We Must Fight COVID Aggressively Right Now And Avoid Getting Too Lax Too Soon

3-6-21
   The COVID pandemic has been raging for over a year now. People are getting tired of wearing masks, social distancing, not seeing friends and family in person, not attending gatherings, and so on and so on. A great number of people are hurting financially due to jobs being lost or hours being severely curtailed because of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Many businesses are suffering and quite a few sadly have closed permanently.
   So I understand why people are so eager to try to get life back to a more normal level.
   But, the pandemic is still raging. While in a number of areas, cases have slowed down to some degree compared to during the holidays, the numbers of new cases are still dangerously high. And in many states and cities, the rate of new cases right now is higher as compared to the spring of 2020 when states went into total lockdown.
   I’m not saying we should to go into a total lockdown again. But we must continue to fight the pandemic.
   Texas has rescinded its mask wearing mandate and is allowing businesses to open to full capacity. This is dangerously premature and in my opinion will absolutely cost lives to be lost unnecessarily and tragically. It’s way too soon to open businesses at 100% capacity, and rescinding mask wearing mandates is grossly irresponsible.
   The COVID virus has mutated as viruses due. Currently, there are multiple variants spreading around the country and the world. Several have shown to be more contagious than the original strain. We also can’t say how efficacious the current vaccines will be against all these new variants. This is why mask wearing, social distancing, and restrictions on how many people are allowed inside businesses are still vitally important in fighting this virus.
   What we need is for everyone around the country and the world to continue wearing masks and social distancing in public. Businesses will have to find ways to function as best they can with restrictions such as limiting the number of customers allowed inside. We also need as many people as possible to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. If we do this, we will get control over the COVID virus much sooner, which in the long run will save lives and help businesses get back to more normal levels sooner than otherwise.
   But fully reopening and relaxing mask wearing/social distancing rules too soon will prolong the pandemic and cost more lives to be lost, lives which could have been saved otherwise. The other thing that would prolong the pandemic is if too many people refuse to get vaccinated. In order to reach herd immunity, we need as much of the population to get vaccinated as possible.
   So please, continue taking precautions. Wear masks and social distance in public. And when your turn comes, unless your doctor has a genuine legitimate reason not to, get vaccinated against the COVID virus.
   By working together we can get through this and get through it sooner. But it’s up to all of us.

The United States Badly Needs The COVID Relief Bill Passed

3-1-21
   People all around the country are hurting badly during this pandemic between health concerns, tragic deaths, and economic impacts.
   A great number of businesses are seriously hurting, and as a result, many people have found their hours being cut or their jobs lost completely. Even places that have been around for decades with devoted customers have had to shutter their doors permanently. Many people are on the precipice of potentially being kicked out of their apartments and homes. Millions of Americans are barely hanging on.
   But the thing is: this pandemic is still raging. People are still getting sick and too many are dying, so various restrictions are still needed to try to control spread of the disease and save lives.
   It’s a terrible dilemma. We have to balance fighting the virus while trying not to devastate the economy at the same time.
   This is why we really need Congress and the White House to pass the COVID relief bill as soon as possible. Everyone’s not going to get everything they want in the bill. This is a democracy in a time where partisan divides are often extreme and bitter. But we have to find ways to work together and get something passed to help people and businesses who are struggling economically as well as provide strategy and coordination in the effort to battle the devastating virus.
   Come on DC. Please get it done.

Everyone Needs To Do Their Part In Battling The COVID Pandemic

3-1-21
   I know people are sick and tired of the pandemic. They want to get out and do things. They miss restaurants, family gatherings, bars, movie theaters, the list goes on and on.
   People are getting impatient. They want their lives back to the way they were before.
   But folks, the COVID Pandemic is still raging.
   People are still dying. As a matter of fact, people are dying at a daily rate that is higher than was seen back in early 2020 when strict shut down measures were first instituted.
   We must all do our part to fight this deadly disease, and that means keep wearing masks and social distancing in public. It also means that when your turn comes to get a vaccine, get it! Unless your doctor has genuine legitimate reasons not to, get a COVID vaccine when your turn comes because it’s not just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting everyone. In order to gain herd immunity in the population, we need as many people as possible to get vaccinated. That’s how it works. If a bunch of people refuse to get vaccinated, the pandemic will continue and people will keep dying needlessly, tragically, and before their time.
   So please, please, please: do your part.
   Practice social distancing and mask wearing in public. Avoid large gatherings especially when indoors. And when your turn comes, get vaccinated!
   Together, we will get through this.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

NASA’s Perseverance Spacecraft Is Due To Land On Mars Thursday, February 18th.

2-15-21
   We’re almost there!
   The Perseverance spacecraft will be arriving at Mars this Thursday, February 18th, after having traveled 292.5 million miles from Earth to the Red Planet. That in itself is an extraordinary feat. But then the real challenge begins.
   The plan is that at approximately 3:55 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the descent stage of the craft will start the process of entering Martian atmosphere and descending down to the surface of the planet. This is what NASA calls “7 minutes of terror. “
   Why is it so terrifying you might wonder?
   Well consider this. The craft will enter the atmosphere of Mars at approximately 12,000 miles per hour. It must do so at the proper angle, otherwise the mission could fail right then and there. Once it enters the atmosphere, the craft must slow down in 7 minutes so that it can safely land on the surface without being damaged. It will essentially go from 12,000 mph to zero mph in 7 minutes. Also consider this: it takes radio signals approximately 10.5 minutes to travel from Earth to Mars. The result is that once NASA instructs the craft to begin descent, it will be totally out of NASA’s hands. The spacecraft will be entirely on its own as it conducts a complex series of dangerous procedures to land on the Red Planet. And NASA won’t be able to do a single thing to help it out.
   Pretty terrifying when you think about it.
   If all goes well, humanity will have sent a craft and landed it on another world. Impressive when you think about it.
   Once landed, there will be diagnostics and tests conducted to check things out and see if everything is performing properly. One of the Perseverance rover’s missions will be to find a flat surface onto which to place the miniature helicopter, which is called Ingenuity. The plan is that over a 30-day period, there will be a series of short flights to demonstrate the ability of flying a helicopter on another planet. This will be an amazing accomplishment by itself.
   The other primary mission of the Perseverance rover will be to explore its landing site, the Jezero Crater. Billions of years ago, it is believed that an ancient lake and river delta once existed there. Using a variety of instruments, the rover will explore the area learning about its geology and climate as well as searching for potential signs of ancient microbial life. This mission will take years.
   If all goes well, the Perseverance mission is going to be a great achievement that expands our knowledge of another world and further explores the question of whether life evolved on places outside our own planet Earth.
   I recommend checking out the attached links which go into more detail about the exciting Perseverance mission to Mars.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/02/15/world/mars-landing-nasa-perseverance-guide-scn/index.html

https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-invites-public-to-share-thrill-of-mars-perseverance-rover-landing

Valentine’s Day Can Be A Rough Day For Many People

2-14-21
   Well, it’s Valentine’s Day. A day for celebrating romance, love, companionship, and that special someone.
   But what about those of us who have no one, who never found romance, or who had it once but it’s gone now? This day can be frustrating and brutally difficult because it reminds many of us of what we either have never been able to find or had once but lost. For those of us who are alone, seeing and hearing all the trappings this day entails can be like having salt rubbed into a festering wound causing terrible pain. We can’t help but wonder about why others have romance in their lives while we don’t, and such thoughts can be particularly difficult on this holiday.
   So for those of us for whom Valentine’s Day is painful, hang in there and do your best not to let it bring you down. Keep your chin up. Do something you enjoy. Like watching a good movie, reading an interesting book, playing a video game, taking a walk, something that brings you joy.
   Will romantic love be in your future? I don’t know. For some, finding real romance will happen, yet for others, it won’t.
   Whatever the future holds, hang in there and believe in yourself. If you never find a significant other, remember that you always have yourself. Can always rely on yourself. You can be your own best friend.
   You will always have you.

Donald Trump Clearly Incited The Angry Mob That Stormed US Capitol Building.

2-10-21
   Okay folks, let’s get one thing abundantly clear: Donald Trump absolutely encouraged, instigated, and incited the angry mob who stormed the US Capitol Building on January 6th.
   He did.
   Trump started attacking the election months before the first ballot was even cast. Think about how he began assaulting mail in voting before the first ballot was even sent out to people. He made outrageous claims like his saying that the only way he could lose the election was if it was stolen from him. And this was before any voting actually occurred.
   Then we come to the election itself. Joe Biden won, and Donald Trump lost. Fair and square. Every single state, including those run by Republicans, certified the election. There were also international observers from multiple countries who monitored the process. On top of this, in all the ballot counting rooms in all the states, there were Republican, Democrat, and Independent monitors overseeing the counting process and who were present to answer questions if any arose. Trump and his people lost over 60 lawsuits that were based on their false claims about the election, and many of the judges who ruled against Trump were Republicans themselves.
   The fact is that this was a free and fair election. There was no widespread fraud or irregularities. Joe Biden was the elected legitimately and honestly by winning the popular vote as well as the electoral college vote.
   Yet Donald Trump’s outrageous, false claims and rhetoric with regards to the election got worse and worse. He repeatedly told his followers with fury and anger how the election had supposedly been stolen from him. He kept making these ridiculous and utterly false claims over and over which got his followers more and more outraged.
   Then we arrive at the fateful day, January 6th.
   Trump gave a fiery speech making his sickeningly false claims about the election and further inflaming the angry audience with comments like “our country has had enough” and referring to Joe Biden as “an illegitimate president.” He called the election itself “a catastrophe” and claimed that he had won states that he had clearly lost. Trump made outrageously false accusations that had no basis in reality throughout the speech, but the crowd of devout Trump followers believed every word and got more and more infuriated with every passing minute.
   Then he said, “And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Soon after this, he told the angry mob to go to the Capitol.
   If you don’t believe me, listen to the speech itself or read the transcript. It’s out there word for word.
   So here’s the thing folks. The months of lies and sickeningly outrageous rhetoric making false claims that had no basis in reality set the stage for the tragedy that unfolded. All that was needed was to light the match, which is exactly what Donald Trump did in his speech on January 6th.
   Donald Trump undermined and attacked our democratic values throughout his tenure in office, and the events on January 6th were a culmination of this abhorrent and repugnant behavior.
   It is clear that Trump is threatening our democracy and should be found guilty by the Senate. He should then be barred from holding federal office ever again. The big question is will enough Republican Senators finally grow some spines and do the right thing to find Donald Trump guilty.
   Time will tell. But whatever happens, people know the truth, and History is going to treat Donald Trump very harshly.

Getting Beyond The Vicious Toxicity Of The Trump Era Will Be Challenging.

2-1-21
   The toxic rhetoric, hate, and lies from Trump and others continue to haunt us. Thousands of National Guard troops are still in Washington DC in order to help protect the US Capitol Building and other important sites from far right extremists.
   Think about that.
   Right now, the biggest terror threat to our country is from home grown, domestic terrorists. Far right extremists who have been encouraged and galvanized by Trump’s outrageous lies and rhetoric.
   It’s seriously disturbing and sad that our country has sunk to this level. And it’s clear that Donald Trump along with those enabling him and blindly following him are major factors in bringing our nation to this twisted, deeply troubling state of affairs.
   Divisions, lack of understanding, intolerance, hate, prejudice, and so on were already problems in the United States when Trump started his campaign for the Presidency back in 2016. The thing is: Trump took advantage of these problems, encouraging and exacerbating them, with his outrageous, hurtful, vicious, and often totally false rhetoric, actions, and lies. Instead of trying to unite people, he worsened divisions creating a toxic, hateful atmosphere so that prejudiced hate groups felt emboldened to become more brazen and vocal.
   Then came the 2020 election, which overwhelming evidence shows was free and fair. There was no widespread fraud or irregularities.
   But Trump began attacking the election before it even had a chance to get started as he viciously went after mail in voting for months prior to a single ballot being sent out to anyone.  Once he lost the election, he quickly began spreading ridiculous, totally false claims and conspiracy theories in his quest to try to stay in office, even though Joe Biden clearly and legitimately won.
   The years of lies, intolerance, xenophobia, and outrageous rhetoric from Trump and others in addition to all these false claims about the election incited these far right extremists to storm the US Capitol Building in an effort to stop Congress from certifying the free and fair 2020 election. Fortunately, these domestic terrorists failed, and Congress did its Constitutional duty and certified the election.
   Troubling still is how throughout all of this, numerous Republicans in important positions as well as millions of every day Americans are still enabling Trump’s horrendous behavior by always going along with him, not standing up to him, and flat out blindly following him. It appears that a significant amount of Republicans in Congress are still bowing to Trump’s whims, even after everything that has happened.
   It’s disgusting, horrifying, sickening, and disturbing seeing how low things have sunk to. It’s also scary how many people are still blindly following Trump despite the fact he incited insurrection and is still undermining (I would say attacking) our democracy.
   For things to get better, we have to be strong and stand up for decency, honesty, compassion, science, caring, and democracy. While Donald Trump and a number of other people should be held accountable for their despicable actions, we also need to put the hate, narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and viciousness of the Trump era behind us and strive to make this a better place for all. People must relearn how to open their minds, listen to one another, and work together where possible.
   It won’t be easy. We as a society and a country are battered and bruised. Healing will take time as will bridging the deep divides that have been tearing this nation apart.
   But we will get through it. Our democracy will endure and if we work at it, the United States will get closer to being the shining beacon that we want it to be.

DC’s Federal Triangle Neighborhood Was Night And Day Different In The 19th Century

    Washington DC. It’s a beautiful city full of powerful government buildings,  majestic monuments, blocks of lovely old townhouses, amazing museums, and wonderful restaurants.
   Just east/southeast of the White House between Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Avenue, and 15th Street NW are the impressive, neoclassical buildings that make up the formidably large Federal Triangle complex. These grand structures are full of offices where people work throughout the week keeping the bureaucracy of government churning along. Next to the office buildings is the stunning columned National Archives.
   But it wasn’t always this way.
   Nope.
   The structures there now were built in the 20th Century. Before this, the neighborhood was quite different. Like night and day different.
   Put it this way, during the latter half of the 1800s, this neighborhood had several names including Hooker’s Division and Murder Bay.
   Back then, the area was often pretty rough and consisted of smaller buildings and houses, many of which contained saloons and bordellos. Gambling and prostitution were prevalent as was theft, fighting, and the occasional murder.
   During the Civil War, Union troops were frequently encamped in and around the city.  In their off hours, the soldiers would often seek out places to drink, gamble, and have sex. As a result, prostitution in the neighborhood became very common. Apparently, for a while, Union General Joseph Hooker ordered all the city’s prostitutes to congregate in this neighborhood, thus the nickname Hooker’s Division. Though, it should be noted that the referring to prostitutes as hookers probably predates this time.
   Immediately after the war, it seems to have been a working class neighborhood that became much rougher as the years went by. Gambling, drinking, prostitution, and theft were extensive and murders were not uncommon. Many would say don’t go south of Pennsylvania Avenue after dark, and supposedly, many police agreed and stayed away at night themselves. There are reports that as a result, volunteer firefighters may have taken on the role of peacekeepers at times. This is considerably ironic since they were often a tough, rowdy bunch and likely started quite a few drunken brawls themselves.
   In 1914, Washington DC began to seriously crackdown on prostitution which led to the closure of the bordellos. The Federal Government acquired the area and eventually tore down the old buildings and replaced them with the structures you see today.

The Toxicity Of The Trump Era Needs To Be Put Behind Us

1-16-21
   25,000 National Guard troops are in (or on the way to) Washington DC in order to protect the transfer of power from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration.
   Think about that.
   Thousands of soldiers needed to protect the Inauguration of President Elect Joe Biden.
   It’s disturbing and sad that our country has sunk to this level. And it’s clear that Donald Trump along with those enabling him and blindly following him brought our nation to this twisted, deeply troubling state of affairs.
   Divisions, lack of understanding, intolerance, hate, prejudice, and so on were already problems in the United States when Trump started his campaign for the Presidency. The thing is: Trump took advantage of these problems and exacerbated them with his outrageous, hurtful, vicious, and often totally false rhetoric, actions, and lies. Instead of trying to unite people, he worsened divisions  and hate creating such a toxic atmosphere that prejudiced hate groups felt emboldened to become more brazen and vocal.
   And then we come to the 2020 election.
   He began attacking the election before it even had a chance to get started as he viciously went after mail in voting for months prior to a single ballot being sent out to anyone.  Once he lost the election, he quickly began spreading ridiculous, totally false claims and conspiracy theories in his quest to try to stay in office, even though Joe Biden clearly and legitimately won.
   And throughout all of this, numerous Republicans in important positions as well as millions of every day Americans have enabled Trump’s horrendous behavior by always going along with him, not standing up to him, and flat out blindly following him. And now we are having to endure the results of this sickening situation. We watched in disgust and horror as an angry mob of Trump supporters (incited by Trump and others) literally assaulted the US Capitol Building with the purpose of trying to stop Congress from certifying the free and fair 2020 election. This was clearly a form of undemocratic insurrection seeing how they used violence to attempt to stop Biden from becoming President.
   It’s disgusting, horrifying, sickening, and disturbing seeing how low things have sunk to. It’s also scary how many people are still blindly following Trump despite the fact he incited insurrection.
   We have to be strong and stand up for decency, honesty, compassion, science, caring, and democracy. It’s time to put the hate, narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and viciousness of the Trump era behind us and strive to make this a better place for all.
   It won’t be easy. We as a society and a country are battered and bruised. Healing will take time as will bridging the deep divides that have been tearing this nation apart.
   But we will get through it. Our democracy will endure and if we work at it, the United States will get closer to being the shining beacon we want it to be.

People Need To Educate Themselves About Bisexual+ Sexuality

  Let’s be clear here: I think most of the population still has a lot to learn about Bisexual+ sexuality. Evidence of this includes the fact that too many Bi+ individuals feel they have to live in the closet due to the lack of understanding, intolerance, and prejudice encountered from too many members of the Straight and Gay/Lesbian Communities.
   This has got to change. It’s way past time for everyone to open their minds and educate themselves about Bi+ sexuality!
   So let’s get started.
   What is Bi+ sexuality you may be wondering. Well, Bisexual+, or Bi+, is an umbrella term for anyone who can be attracted to more than one gender whatever terms or labels they prefer, for there isn’t one label everyone uses. Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, Omnisexual, Heteroflexible, Homoflexible, and Queer (a catch all for all LGBTQ people) are just some examples. There are different terms and different ways people look at the potential of being attracted to more than one gender.
   Now, like any community, there is a wide range of Bi+ folks from all walks of life with a plethora of feelings, ideas, and outlooks. Bi+ can be rich, poor, young, old, male, female, nonbinary, genderfluid, genderqueer, you name it. Most are looking for, or are in, monogamous relationships while there are others in ethically open or polyamorous relationships.
   Everyone needs to recognize that the vast majority of Bi+ people are decent human beings hoping to find someone special. Searching for love, romance, companionship, chemistry, and connection. Sound familiar?
   And sure, like all communities, there are a few jerks. But they are the exceptions, not the rule.
   One of the big problems facing Bi+ today is how so much of the Straight and Gay/Lesbian communities believe or go along with unfair, preconceived stereotypes that are not true the majority of the time. Bi+ are not a bunch of confused, lying cheaters, yet way too much of society goes along with such ridiculous notions. This is why so much of the Bi+ Community suffers in the closet, afraid of what will happen if their secret is discovered. And Bi+ individuals who are out frequently face intolerance and prejudice from members of the Straight and Gay/Lesbian Communities. As a result, Bi+ often finding dating brutally difficult since so many people categorically refuse to go out on even one date once they realize an individual is Bi+.
   Newsflash folks: if you like someone, you’re interested in them in many ways, there is great chemistry, you both want a monogamous relationship (for example), and so on, but you automatically refuse to go out with them (without giving them a chance) once you realize they can be attracted to more than one gender, that is a form of prejudice!
   This needs to change.
   People need to educate themselves and open their minds.
   They should not be intolerant, jumping to unfair conclusions, just because someone is Bi+.
   They need to remember that Bi+ are people too and deserve a chance.
   Remember: Love Is Love!

https://bi.org/en

https://biresource.org/

http://stillbisexual.com/