What if we get this right?
The next generation marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a policy expert and writer, and a Brooklyn native.
Her thoughts on hope…better served as possibility:
‘While I’m not a fan of hope as a guiding principle, because it by definition assumes that the outcome will be good, which I know is not a given, I am completely enamored with the amount of possibility that’s available to us. So that’s the word that I try to embrace when I think about what if we get it right, is how much possibility remains.’
‘And we live in a species moment, is how I think of this. It was probably true, pre-2020, but it is clear, post-2020. And I believe that underlying every grave and wondrous potential that we have as a species, and ratcheting up the panic that leads us away from rising to our highest human capacities, in every sphere of our life together, each of us knows and feels the disarray of the natural world at a cellular level, in our bodies. What is true is that we are not separate from it. It’s not even so much that we are in it — we are of it.’
We are one of 8 million or so species on this planet.
‘(Johnson) is cofounder of the Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities. She co-created Spotify-Gimlet’s podcast How to Save a Planet, on climate solutions. She coedited this beautiful climate anthology, which I had not discovered until now, and I so recommend it: All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. And also, you’re cofounder of the All We Can Save Project, which I recommend that people look up online. I love how you stress, in the description of that work, that you’re nurturing the “we” in that “all we can save.”’
I’ve always been focused on solutions. I have this extremely practical approach to most things — I’m like, OK, who’s doing what? What’s the plan? Like, let’s not talk about feelings so much; let’s figure out what’s next. And so that is the vibe that I’ve tried to take into my work as it’s broadened from oceans to climate more generally, is we have most of the solutions we need at our fingertips, for all of these climate challenges, whether it’s agriculture or green building retrofits or bike lanes or composting or wind energy in the ocean or farming seaweed or whatever. We know how to do this stuff. We just have to do it. And so figuring out how we can welcome more people into this work, get people excited, help them find where they fit, is really where I’ve been focusing my yammering energies, these days.
I mean, the most depressing thing I can think of is to just watch the world burn and crumble before my eyes while I just wallow in self-pity on the couch. Right? So I don’t have any delusions that I can “save the planet,” but you’ve got to try to do your part.
And that’s how I think about all of this. We know what we’re supposed to do, in that same way that you were describing we know that it’s wrong right now. We know that things are out of balance, on a cellular level. We can feel that sort of friction, with the way that we move through the world. I mean, I dare you to stand in a redwood grove and not be humbled, or to dive on a coral reef and see even just the glimmer of its former magnificence and have some respect for these ecosystems and the fact that we are sharing this planet.
So I think that climate communication has focused too much on the problem. I will admit, I don’t read the details of every UN climate report, because I know the summary is, it is worse than you thought, it is happening faster than you thought, and we really need to get our act together. And I focus on the getting our act together part, because I think that’s the pivot that we need right now. We have more than enough information. I’m grateful for the science, and it’s helping us make more nuanced and clear decisions, but the broad strokes that everyone needs to pitch in, have been there for a long time.
Eunice Newton Foote
There’s a whole lineage that you are in — names we don’t remember, people who’ve contributed. And I wonder, also, just —
It was Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, coeditor of All We Can Save, who introduced me to Eunice. I feel like I’m on a first-name basis with her, even though she was doing her research in 1856, when she discovered that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas and would warm the planet. A woman discovered this through experimentation in her backyard and was essentially erased from history. An Irish physicist a few years later came to a very similar discovery and was credited as “the father of climate science.”
Someone with a Y chromosome.
And Eunice also signed the Seneca Falls Convention.
So she was, as Katharine and I like to say, the first climate feminist — although she didn’t really see this whole apocalypse coming, per se. [laughs] She was just like, This turns out it will warm the atmosphere, if we emit all of this carbon dioxide.
This conversation, a must listen, was recorded at the 2022 TED Conference. Click the box above.
“To whom much is given, much is expected.”
Listening to this podcast with Johnson, a marine biologist, I remembered the sweet and very real aspirations of 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez. A student brutally murdered at the school in Uvalde, Texas. Maite was a lover of animals and the environment, and she dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. She often wore a pair of green (her favorite color) high-top Converse shoes with a heart drawn in marker over her right toes. The work I do going forward for our planet, for the oceans, will be in Maite’s memory, a life cut short because of access to automatic weapons in the United States.
Held at press conference in D.C. Maite was wearing green Converse shoes when she was massacred with other students and two teachers in Uvalde. The only way her little body could be identified were by her green high tops. She drew the heart on the right toe.
For Maite. For Uvalde. For our planet. 🌏
“They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
Absolutely brilliant. #MustSee
Directors: Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio
Personally, a microcosm of my own cultural history, from John Davidson, to Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffon, Michael Douglas, Johnny Carson, first SNL in ’75, and every comedian who was influenced by his work and intellect. Fourteen years after Carlin’s death, his material remains relevant and vital, as the directors illustrate with their remarkable editing, and why Carlin often still trends today with his stand-up soundbites. KQED calls the documentary ‘revelatory.’ Indeed.
The examples of just how many things Carlin got right and/or predicted over the course of his nearly 50-year career are too numerous to list here. But as W. Kamau Bell notes in the second half of this two-part, three-and-a-half hour documentary: “I mean we all love Lenny Bruce. But no one’s sharing a Lenny Bruce bit to explain what’s happening in the culture right now.”
“I still refer to him all the time, which for a comic … I mean, comedy is so ephemeral in so many ways. It takes him out of the class of pop star and puts him in the class of Bach and Beethoven and classicists—people that created something that was timeless because it wasn’t based on a moment, it was based on a deeper truth.”
More from KQED: ‘George Carlin’s American Dream will expose you to myriad truths—about life, about comedy, about power, about pain. Some of them hurt, some of them entertain, but all, presented through Carlin’s eyes, feel inspiring, motivating and, frankly, like a kick in the ass. Even 14 years after his death, Carlin’s words still have the power to give us a jolt. It’s up to us now to figure out what to do with them.’
He became his ‘authentic self’ on stage and with his material after, as Stephen Colbert shares in the documentary, he went from the Beatles’ ‘Love Me Do’ period, to the ‘White Album.’ “He is the Beatles of comedy.”
[“He created the scientific method for comics.” Comedians Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Hasan Minhaj, Sam Jay,Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr and many more share how the legendary comic influenced their own work.]
A perfectly beautiful archive of Carlin’s work, what he meant, and still means, to our culture and to all of us.
“There is nothing more tragic in the modern world than the misuse of power and action to which men are driven by their own Faustian misunderstandings and misapprehensions. We have more power at our disposal today than we have ever had, and yet we are more alienated and estranged from the ground of meaning and of love than we have ever been.
Contemplation in a World of Action, 1965
‘…you will see that (we) move almost automatically into a pattern of up or down, in our out, for me or against me, right or wrong, black or white, gay or straight, good or bad. It is the basic reason why the “stinkin’ thinkin'” of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, religious imperialism, and prejudice of all kinds is so hard to overcome and has lasted so long…’
‘Neuroscience now makes very clear that humans deeply love predictability and fear all unpredictability, which encourages us to make all kinds of absolute affirmations, especially about fearful or dangerous things…’
‘Our religion is not working well: suffering, fear, violence, injustice, greed, and meaninglessness still abound. This is not even close to the reign of God that Jesus taught. And we must be frank: in their behavior and impact upon the world, Christians are not much different than other people. — Christianity is now seen as “irrelevant” by some, “toxic” by many, and often as a large part of the problem rather than any kind of solution. Some of us are almost embarrassed to say we are Christian because of the negative images that word conjures in others’ minds. Young people especially are turned off by how judgmental, exclusionary, impractical, and ineffective Christian culture seems to be. — We must rediscover what St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) called the “marrow of the Gospel.” It’s time to rebuild from the bottom up. If the foundation is not solid and sure, everything we try to build on top of it is weak and ineffective. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that so much is tumbling down around us. It’s time to begin again.’
-Fr Richard Rohr
“In a sense, Christians have always lived a different epistemological existence than nonbelievers. But this is something new.”
An expose on Evangelical Christianity leaning into civil war written by Tim Alberta, the chief political correspondent for Politico. His piece was recently published in The Atlantic.
“More than a few times, I’ve heard casual talk of civil war inside places that purport to worship the Prince of Peace.”
‘Southern Baptist leaders covered up sex abuse, lied to members about secret database, explosive report shows
Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention released a major third-party investigation that found that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top leaders in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. They also lied to Southern Baptists over whether they could maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse when top leaders were secretly keeping a private list for years.
The report — the first investigation of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the SBC — is expected to send shock waves into a conservative Christian community that has had intense internal battles over how to handle sex abuse. The 13 million-member denomination, along with other religious institutions in the United States, has struggled with declining membership for the past 15 years. Its leaders have long resisted comparisons between its sexual abuse crisis and that of the Catholic Church, saying the total number of abuse cases among Southern Bapitists was small.’ [5.22.22]
Full report: https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2022/05/22/southern-baptist-sex-abuse-report/?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wp_news_alert_revere&location=alert&wpmk=1&wpisrc=al_news__alert-national&pwapi_token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJjb29raWVuYW1lIjoid3BfY3J0aWQiLCJpc3MiOiJDYXJ0YSIsImNvb2tpZXZhbHVlIjoiNWUwMDBiYzU5YmJjMGY0MTRmNTNkNDdmIiwidGFnIjoid3BfbmV3c19hbGVydF9yZXZlcmUiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy53YXNoaW5ndG9ucG9zdC5jb20vcmVsaWdpb24vMjAyMi8wNS8yMi9zb3V0aGVybi1iYXB0aXN0LXNleC1hYnVzZS1yZXBvcnQvP3V0bV9zb3VyY2U9YWxlcnQmdXRtX21lZGl1bT1lbWFpbCZ1dG1fY2FtcGFpZ249d3BfbmV3c19hbGVydF9yZXZlcmUmbG9jYXRpb249YWxlcnQmd3Btaz0xJndwaXNyYz1hbF9uZXdzX19hbGVydC1uYXRpb25hbCJ9.hkvN_HNmvFCt_smR2GkfwgcJb9kpJR0uK-bzs1QfXzs
‘Without the contemplative and converted mind, much religion is frankly dangerous for society.’ Fr Richard Rohr
We all will reach a moment when a voice inside says, “I can’t. It’s too difficult, too dark.” What if these moments were invitations to find another voice inside? The voice that says “You are brave.” The pain of transition is what precedes the beginning of something new. -Revolutionary Love
Dan Rather, journalist and author, “Steady” and the book What Unites Us:
‘As with all that we face, we can find resilience in recognizing the threat and calling it out. We should not let the abhorrent become acceptable. There can be pressure in persistence.
In resisting and organizing against the forces of division, we can secure our democracy in ways that could leave it stronger. The crises we face are not new. Turning back the tide, through the vote and the mobilization of action, can leave this country more just and better prepared for the challenges ahead.’
[Yoichi R. Okamoto, Munich’s Large and Beautiful Fussgangerzone (detail), 1973, photograph, Munich, Public Domain.]
S U R V I V A L S K I L L S
From writer and author Suleika Jaouad:
‘When I think of this, I think of my friend Quintin Jones—aka “Lil’ GQ,” if you’ve read my book [Between Two Kingdoms]. Quin survived a childhood difficult beyond measure, including poverty, abuse, mental illness, addiction, and living on the streets as a young teen. In his two decades on death row, he spent 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, and he could have folded in on himself, given up all sense of hope. Instead he reckoned with his past, sought forgiveness for his wrongs, and committed to becoming a light to others, building meaningful friendships from his cell with pen pals across the world, myself included.
To me, Quin is the embodiment of someone who was forced to plumb the depths of their strength and was continually uncovering new reserves. Here on the one-year anniversary of his execution, I’m resharing his prompt “Survival Skills,” which asks us to reflect on our strength—on our ability to endure.’ [5.22.22]
Ending with a story of light ✨from professor Scott Galloway, who returned to his Los Angeles high school recently.
‘Scott goes back to high school.’
Addendum, May 23, 2022
Center for Action and Contemplation
Christianity’s Violence Problem
CAC teacher Brian McLaren has long asked questions out loud that many have often asked only to themselves. In his new book Do I Stay Christian?, Brian outlines compelling reasons both to leave and stay within Christianity. Today we share his critique of Christianity’s complicity with violence. Such truth-telling can be difficult to read. We invite you to practice the contemplative stance of “holding the tension of opposites”:
Echoing its founder’s nonviolence, the Christian faith initially grew as a nonviolent spiritual movement of counter-imperial values. It promoted love, not war. Its primal creed elevated solidarity, not oppression and exclusion [see Galatians 3:26–28]. . . . The early Christians elevated the equality of friendship rather than the supremacy of hierarchy (John 15:15; 3 John 14, 15).
This commitment to nonviolence rapidly eroded in the early fourth century when the emperor Constantine declared Christianity the religion of the empire. This led to an acceptance of violence and domination against the empire’s enemies, but also perceived “enemies” from within:
What the empire wanted to do, the church generally blessed. . . . This cozy relationship with empire continued long after the Roman Empire had fully collapsed. The church supported the empire’s many reincarnations in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, British, Russian, German, and American imperial ventures. Each empire could count on the mainstream Christian church to bless its successes, pardon its failures, and pacify and unify its masses.
A community with a history of violence to Jews . . . does not sound like a safe place for non-Christians. But as a chaplain to empire, Christianity was not a particularly safe place for Christians either—at least not those who chose to differ from the authorities of the church or state. Choosing to differ, in fact, was the root meaning of the word heresy. . . .
Historians generally agree: while the records are unreliable and incomplete, at least tens of thousands of suspected nonconformists were prosecuted by church courts between 1180 and 1450; many thousands were tortured; over a thousand were executed by church authorities. . . . In a seventy-year period starting in 1560, 80,000 women were tried as witches and 40,000 were killed. . . .
Today, abuse of Christians by Christians tends to be more emotional and spiritual than physical. But shunning and disowning (forms of relational banishment), public shaming and character assassination, private humiliations, church trials of nonconformists, blacklisting, and other forms of Christian-on-Christian cruelty continue, and more and more traumatized people are coming forward with their stories. . . .
To state the obvious: Jesus never tortured or killed or ruined the life of anyone, but the same cannot be said for the religion that claims to follow him.
Knowing what I now know, if I were not already a Christian, I would hesitate in becoming one, at least until the religion in all its major forms offers a fearless, searching, public moral accounting for its past crimes . . . first, against Jews, and also against its own nonconformist members.
This new moon, let us make this promise together to never ever look away…ever.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Mariupol, once one of the country’s most developed cities, is now a “Russian concentration camp among the ruins.”
For the refugees, for those who suffer, for all who simply want to leave in peace. jai ☮︎
A Safe Place To Land
The ocean is wild and over your head
And the boat beneath you is sinking
Don’t need room for your bags, hope is all that you have
So say the Lord’s Prayer twice, hold your babies tight
Surely someone will reach out a hand
And show you a safe place to land
Migrants and immigrants, refugees all.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
“The physical generation of renewable energy isn’t really the problem here,” Oliver explained. “The key issue is the transmission of it. Basically, how do you get that energy from where it’s made, like a wind farm in Wyoming, to where it is needed, which could be a thousand miles away.”
The answer is transmission lines, “the absolute heart of our grid, and we’re going to need more of them”, said Oliver. But there are several difficulties to refreshed transmission lines, starting with location: building hundreds of miles of lines is a logistical nightmare, and local opposition to bigger towers can derail plans for years.
Basically, how do you get that energy from where it’s made, like a wind farm in Wyoming, to where it is needed, which could be a thousand miles away.”
“But the key thing going forward here might be to start thinking about this differently than we currently are, because for far too long, whenever we’ve experienced blackouts, we tend to think of it as the power gird ‘failing’. But the truth is, it’s not failing us; we are failing it, by asking it to do something it was not designed to do, in conditions that it was not designed to handle.”
In this New York Times bestselling investigation, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
“Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before.
It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors—from “hacktivists” to terrorists—have the capability as well. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, “it’s a question of when.”
And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.
In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation’s estimated three million “preppers,” we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company – the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?”
When the Power Grid Fails – 12 Things You Need to Prepare
getting older. It is reaching capacity and it is under attack. As of 2021, the average age of the power grid is 31 years old. Power outages are over 2.5 times more likely than they were in 1984.
In the article Bracing for a big power grid attack: ‘One is too many’, USA Today states “About once every four days, part of the nation’s power grid — a system whose failure could leave millions in the dark — is struck by a cyber or physical attack.” Without a plan in place, most of us would be in bad shape with an extended grid outage. Power outages cost between $18 and $33 billion per year in the United States.
- Back-up Power
- Off Grid Cooking Supplies
- Heating and Cooling
- First Aid Supplies
- Everything Else
Blaine County, Idaho
While hunger and housing crises have plagued our community for decades, we’ve reached a breaking point. If we don’t make some big decisions in support of working folks, everything we love about our community will be lost.
Recently, we participated in a 50 year vision exercise facilitated by our friend Estefania Mondragon, executive director of PODER of Idaho. Together, our team envisioned what a healthy community will look like decades from now.
Predictably, we envisioned a place with farm-fresh food everywhere. A place where edible gardens and forests grow from every inch of free dirt. We looked to the power of our relationships and dreamed of youth and elders taking care of one another and neighbors sharing meals with abandon. Nice, right?
But there was more to it than that. When we dreamed of the future, working people had somewhere to live, somewhere safe to raise their children; they had medical care, childcare, education, and fair wages. Hunger was something kids learned about in history books.
Then things got harder. Estefania challenged us to name the changes we need to make today to fulfill this vision in fifty years. We are building a plan of action from these very things.
As we draft this plan, there are actions we can all take today to pave the way.
- You can choose leaders who put their energy into our most pressing community needs.
- You could follow the youth activists in our circle and take your message straight to Washington.
- You could join a rally, make a sign, or share an article on social media.
- You can make a donation to The Hunger Coalition so we can not only provide emergency food in times of crisis, but effectively end hunger long-term.
There are a million little things we can each do in the name of progress. Jump over to social media, share your own 50 year vision, and tell all your friends how you are making a difference today. Onward.
The Hunger Coalition Team
Northern California wildfires may have killed hundreds of giant sequoias as they swept through groves of the majestic monarchs in the Sierra Nevada, an official says.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Christy Brigham, head of resource management and science for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
The lightning-caused KNP Complex that erupted on Sept. 9 in the park, Brigham said.
More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze in sometimes treacherous terrain. On Wednesday afternoon, four people working on the fire were injured when a tree fell on them, the National Park Service reported.
The four were airlifted to hospitals and “while the injuries are serious, they are in stable condition,” the report said. It didn’t provide other details.
The KNP Complex was only 11% contained after burning 134 square miles of forest. Cooler weather has helped slow the flames and the area could see some slight rain on Friday, forecasters said.
The fire’s impact on giant sequoia groves was mixed. Most saw low- to medium-intensity fire behavior that the sequoias have evolved to survive, Brigham said.
However, it appeared that two groves – including one with 5,000 trees – were seared by high-intensity fire that can send up 100-foot flames capable of burning the canopies of the towering trees.
That leaves the monarchs at risk of going up “like a horrible Roman candle,” Brigham said.
Two burned trees fell in Giant Forest, which is home to about 2,000 sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree, which is considered the world’s largest by volume. However, the most notable trees survived and Brigham said the grove appeared to be mostly intact.
In one grove, Dickman counted 29 sequoias that were “just incinerated,” he told CNN.
“There were four of those that had burned so hot that they’d fallen over,” he said.
The 152-acre fire was 75% contained.
Imagine if Zuckerberg and the media spent as much energy and time covering the climate emergency, our planet, our dear Gaia, as they do the former president and hateful, divisive rhetoric. Imagine. Two senators, two, tied to fossil fuel and special interests, dark money, may proclude our ability to change this awful climate trajectory. Zero compassion for Earth and humanity’s future. They. Do. Not. Care. Only power, greed, self-interest. I live in Idaho. Our elected leaders do not represent their constituents, only the GOP and their lobbyists. They will do nothing. -dayle
“Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.
1 Chronicles 16:33
A cabin at Table Mountain Ranch with a geodesic dome.
The Last Glimpses of California’s Vanishing Hippie Utopias
Half a century ago, a legion of idealists dropped out of society and went back to the land, creating a patchwork of utopian communes across Northern California. Here, the last of those rogue souls offer a glimpse of their otherworldly residences—and the tail end of a grand social experiment.
There was an aphorism in the movement: “Bad roads make good communes.” And the road we’re on today is bad. Several miles inland from California’s foggy coastline, we’re driving down a single lane hemmed in by 50-foot fir trees and then turn onto a rocky dirt path, joggling our rented SUV. Photographer Michael Schmelling and I are in Mendocino County, about a three-hour drive north of San Francisco, looking for what remains of perhaps the most famous of the hundreds of rural communes established across Northern California in the late ’60s and ’70s: Table Mountain Ranch.
The entire expanse—which once was a kind of American Arcadia, home to scores of hippies who’d fled San Francisco to live a new, idealistic kind of life
At one point in 1970, Table Mountain had over a hundred residents, some living in tipis, some in cabins, some crashing in the open air. It appears that before it became a commune, the 120-acre property had been a dude ranch, and the cabins and outbuildings were constantly being expanded in an endless ad hoc construction project.
It’s common in Northern California to find people who abruptly dropped out of society, never to return.
A deserted cabin at Table Mountain Ranch.
Scientific breakthroughs are exhilarating and in recognition of brilliant minds joining with the collective spirit to benefit all species. Let’s do this! And with open minds and hearts for the common good.
Highly recommend Walter Isaacson’s latest book, Code Breaker. (Mind boggling the body of work, depth, research and writing Isaacson continues to share.)
This book illustrates clearly the symmetry of knowledge and research made manifest in the discoveries of CRISPR.
Also, the documentary film ‘Human Nature’ streaming on Netflix is a wonderful precursor for Isaacson’s book, produced by journalist Dan Rather.
This important read from The Atlantic dropped on the 19th gives understanding to COVID, vaccinations and the increasing variants in relation to the vaccine and what scientists are working on now.
SCIENCEKATHERINE J. WU
Don’t Be Surprised When Vaccinated People Get Infected
Post-immunization cases, sometimes called “breakthroughs,” are very rare and very expected.
“Breakthrough infections, which occur when fully vaccinated people are infected by the pathogen that their shots were designed to protect against, are an entirely expected part of any vaccination process. They’re the data points that keep vaccines from reaching 100 percent efficacy in trials; they’re simple proof that no inoculation is a perfect preventative. And so far, the ones found after COVID-19 vaccination seem to be unextraordinary.
When breakthrough cases do arise, it’s not always clear why. The trio of vaccines now circulating in the United States were all designed around the original coronavirus variant, and seem to be a bit less effective against some newer versions of the virus. These troublesome variants have yet to render any of our current vaccines obsolete. But “the more variants there are, the more concern you have for breakthrough cases,” Saad Omer, a vaccine expert at Yale, told me. The circumstances of exposure to any version of the coronavirus will also make a difference. If vaccinated people are spending time with groups of unvaccinated people in places where the virus is running rampant, that still raises their chance of getting sick. Large doses of the virus can overwhelm the sturdiest of immune defenses, if given the chance.
The human side of the equation matters, too. Immunity is not a monolith, and the degree of defense roused by an infection or a vaccine will differ from person to person, even between identical twins. Some people might have underlying conditions that hamstring their immune system’s response to vaccination; others might simply, by chance, churn out fewer or less potent antibodies and T cells that can nip a coronavirus infection in the bud.”
Bottom line: the more folks who are vaccinated the less chance the variants continue to mutate off of each other. We need, at the very least, a base line of vaccinations. This isn’t political, or scary, it’s science.
As of March 19th, 40 million American’s have received full vaccinations. [The Atlantic]
Dr. David Pate serves on the Idaho COVID task force. He is the former President & CEO of St. Luke’s Health, receiving an MD in internal medicine from Baylor College of Medicine, and a JD in health from University of Houston Law Center.
Many of us who live in Idaho are exhausted by a politically polarized legislature, none more than Dr. Pate who continually puts the health of Idahoans first, while the state legislature does not. (Many whom are less than intellectually sound and gravitate to red hats, but, hey, that’s a personal take.)
Here is a recent thread from Dr. Pate’s twitter feed as we head into a potential fourth wave of COVID while states like Mississippi and Texas reverse mask mandates and open businesses. Idaho just introduced legislation this week that would eliminate mask mandates in certain communities, like Blaine County and McCall. Governor Brad Little never implemented a state-wide mask mandate. -dayle
As Idaho Republicans keep introducing bills, I have to continue to rearrange to a new one to the list of stupidest bills. This is ridiculous. Legislation Introduced That Would ban Mask Mandates in Idaho.
I warned school board members in the middle of February: Please don’t commit to bringing students back for full in-person classes given admin admitted that we would have to decrease physical distancing. I warned that the UK variant behaves differently in schools and it is likely to become the dominant strain right as you plan to bring all these students back. At that time, the UK variant accounted for about 1% of cases. Today, just two weeks later it accounts for an estimated 10% of cases.
That is a doubling time of 5.6 days.
Using some simple math – with West Ada’s plan to bring everyone back in 26 days – that would mean 4.5 more doubling times = the UK variant will indeed be the predominant strain, in fact, unless we find that one of the other variants (maybe the California variant?), out-competes it, it will completely replace the previous variants on which their whole operating plan was based. I should know- I wrote it.
This variant [P1] has shown up next door, Idaho. I guarantee you this is not the time to give up masks & physical distancing, & I have no idea why elected leaders think we should have larger gatherings. Brazil’s Covid Crisis Is a Warning to the Whole World.
Brazil’s Covid Crisis Is a Warning to the Whole World, Scientists Say
Brazil is seeing a record number of deaths, and the spread of a more contagious coronavirus variant that may cause reinfection.
Dr. Pate can be heard on Boise State Public Radio’s ‘Idaho Matters’, every Wednesday, KBSX radio, or online streaming. Also available via podcast.
From the Washington Post this afternoon, 3.4.21:
Health officials continue to criticize Texas and Mississippi’s moves to rescind mask mandates and let businesses operate at full capacity.
The nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, called the choices “ill-advised,” while some local officials begged residents to keep wearing face coverings. Previously plummeting infection totals in the United States have stalled in recent days, possibly because in part to the spread of more contagious variants.
Many businesses in Texas and Mississippi were quick to remove their “masks required” signs, but some of the country’s biggest retailers – including Target and Starbucks – said they would continue to mandate masks in their Texas stores to protect front-line workers and customers.
Meanwhile, Europe is also experiencing an end to six weeks of declining case numbers as the virus mounts an unwelcome resurgence. New cases have risen by 9 percent in the past week, with central and eastern Europe impacted the most. World Health Organization officials attributed some of the increase to a more contagious variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, that is driving an outbreak in the Czech Republic and Hungary.
From Dr. Anthony Fauci:
Public health officials have been warning of a possible fourth wave of the pandemic should the nation let its guard down, especially since the seven-day average of new cases remains at roughly 65,000 in the U.S.
“I don’t know why they’re doing it, but it’s certainly from a public health standpoint ill-advised.” If you look at, right now, the curves of the diminution of infections that are going down, it’s reached the point where the last seven days have plateaued. We’ve been to this scene before, months and months ago when we tried to open up the country and open up the economy, when certain states did not abide by the guidelines, we had rebounds that were very troublesome.”
Earlier in the day, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky acknowledged that a year of restrictions was helping to fuel a worrisome change in behavior.
“Stamina has worn thin,” Walensky said during a press briefing Wednesday morning. “Fatigue is winning, and the exact measures we have taken to stop the pandemic are now too often being flagrantly ignored.” [Yahoo News]
‘The first half of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography makes some things abundantly clear:
He had no natural ability to play the guitar. In fact, after his first lessons, he quit, unable to play a note.
He had no singing talent. Every group he was part of needed a lead singer, and it wasn’t him.
And just about everyone dismissed him. Audiences walked out, his first agent simply stopped returning his calls and bandmates gave up and moved on.
He didn’t even know how to drive a car. Not only wasn’t he dating in high school, he wasn’t even cruising around town, being a charismatic rock star.
Talent is overrated. Skill is acquirable.
Showing up is something almost every creative leader has in common. In business, in the arts, in society. Consistently shipping the work, despite the world’s reaction, despite the nascent nature of our skill, despite the doubts.
And community is essential. The people you surround yourself with can reinforce your story, raise the bar and egg you on.
After the fact, the community becomes an integral part of your story of success. But first, you have to commit to the journey.’
-Seth Godin, author
“Writing about yourself is a funny business…but in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind.”
Can we agree at least on this?
Knitting Yarns and Years
“We are reaping what we have sown. Let’s replant.”
A repaired world; a partnership between the generations.
Would love to have you join us! ~dayle
Public Speaking Workshop
About this Event
Meets: Monday and Wednesday
Dates: January 13 and January 15
Format: Zoom Classroom
Instructor: Dayle Ohlau
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
Professional public speaking is not a death wish! We’re going to keep you out of the box and brighten the skills you didn’t even know you already have in this two-day introductory course to Professional Public Speaking.
Research indicates that oral communication skills are the number one factor in employment success, beyond self-motivation, problem-solving, decision-making, and leadership skills. This class will help you strengthen your ability to communicate effectively in a professional environment. The instructor, Dayle Ohlau, has taught various college-level communication classes and formerly hosted and produced radio programs in southern California, as well as a CBS-TV news program in Northern Michigan. For this course she will focus on verbal, non-verbal, and listening communication skills with an emphasis on interpersonal and small-group dynamics.
Required: Computer with a microphone and the ability to download the zoom add-on to a PC, tablet, or phone.
[A full class will be offered in February.]
Dayle Ohlau is a native of San Diego, California, living in Sun Valley, Idaho for the past 20 years. She is an adjunct professor in communications and public speaking with a 37-year background in radio and TV broadcasting. Dayle majored in communications at DePauw University in Indiana, and human behavior for her Master’s Degree in San Diego. She is currently working on her PhD with the California Institution of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
To register, follow the link:
Peninsula College is a public community college in Port Angeles, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. It serves Clallam and Jefferson Counties and extends from the Pacific Ocean at Neah Bay to Brinnon on Hood Canal. It was founded in 1961 by a group of local citizens.
Roe v. Wade.
The right to join a union.
Eye On Sun Valley
“Dr. Anthony Fauci calls it the most important flu shot you will ever get.”
Health officials recommend you get a flu shot any time after Sept. 15 into early October. Only 47% of Americans got the flu vaccine last year—Idaho ranked 4th lowest in the nation for children flu vaccination [American Academy of Pediatrics.] Rhode Island has the highest rate with 76 percent.
Health officials want to avoid a twindemic, in which those sick with flu will inundate health clinics and hospitals at the same time people are seeking care for COVID.
Or, worse yet, cases in which someone contracts both COVID and flu at the same time.
Having flu makes one more susceptible to getting COVID. And getting both could be exponentially more serious, as both can cause pneumonia, respiratory inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues and other maladies.
Blaine County Idaho’s seven-day moving average remains low with just 0.4 cases per day on average, says Paul Ries.
Only 45% of American’s wear masks to guard against COVID.
“For the first time in a decade, more people left California last year for other states than arrived.”
- Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said: “People who have lived in California for 30, 40 years are saying this is unprecedented, it has never been this hot, it has never been this smoky.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), on Friday: “California, folks, is America — fast forward.” (ABC’s “This Week”)
San Francisco this past week.
[Photo: Nick Otto for The Washington Post, via Getty Images]
‘A line formed last Saturday outside a newly listed home for sale in Meridian—they had people lined up in the streets and in their cars all day. I was told by a neighbor that the house went under contract with four full-cash offers the same day.
The asking price: $540,000.
“Idaho dodged a bullet this year,” one climatologist said. “It’s hard to not expect that Idaho’s time will come soon.” Idaho is up there with California as the state in the lower 48 that has the most fire in general.”
Whether Idaho wildfires will prove to be as destructive and fatal as those in neighboring states remains to be seen, but experts say they’ll almost certainly burn more of our state than they have in years past.
Part of Idaho’s exploding wildfire problem is that we got a little too good at putting fires out. That created an excess of fuel, even in places like Idaho’s forests, which are less inclined to burn than the Great Basin that stretches into Southern Idaho.
“The warming and drying climate is basically exposing that legacy of fire suppression,” Abatzoglou said. “We often talk about these forests having a deficit of fire, and the warming and drying climate is making us pay that debt back.”
‘Officials and health experts urged residents to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, keep doors and windows closed, and use fans and air conditioners to keep air circulating in their homes.’
‘Dear darkening ground, you’ve endured so patiently the walls we’ve built, perhaps you’ll give the cities one more hour.’
We don’t get over loss or tragedy.
“We learn to hold them both at the same time. in an open mind and heart, at the same time. In an open mind and heart, there is room for both.”
Dalai Lama about 9/11: ‘It happened.’ 📿
‘Don’t try to see or force yourself to see the traumas of your past as gifts. They are givens.’
-Roshi Joan Halifax
‘An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive, abusive, unjust, unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy.’
“Days like today are when revolutions are born. A better world is possible.”
-Eric Holthaus, author and climate correspondent
[Photo taken in Ketchum, Idaho.]
‘Anita Hill vows to vote for Joe Biden and will work with him on gender issues if he becomes president.’
“…it’s not just because he’s running against Donald Trump. It’s more about the survivors of gender violence. That’s really what it’s about. And if that means voting for and working with Joe Biden, then so be it.”
Anita Hill never pictured herself voting for Joe Biden.But given the political reality the nation is facing, she’s not only going to vote for Biden — she’s also willing to work with him, should he become president.
“Notwithstanding all of his limitations in the past, and the mistakes that he made in the past, notwithstanding those — at this point, between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, I think Joe Biden is the person who should be elected in November,” Hill told CNN’s Gloria Borger.
“My commitment is to finding solutions, and I am more than willing to work with him,” Hill said.
She’d like to work on issues of sexual harassment, gender violence and gender discrimination.
Hill and Biden have a troubled history dating back nearly three decades: In 1991, Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and oversaw the confirmation hearing of then-US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Hill was the star witness, testifying that Thomas sexually harassed her when they worked together at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas denied the allegations.
Hill said those hearings permanently altered her life.
For Hill, the public declaration of a willingness to work inside government is a sea change.
“One of the impacts of 1991 was my desire not to really work with the government in any way,” Hill said. “I always said, I think I can be more effective as an outsider, as opposed to an insider. And now, I’m willing to evolve myself, to work for change inside.”
Hill insisted this is bigger than her — and bigger than Biden.
“What drives me is the people who have experienced [those issues] and the people who will be experiencing them, if we don’t do something about it,” Hill said. “That is what has opened me up to do something that I probably would not have said I would do a year ago.”
As the chairman, Biden has long defended himself against complaints that he didn’t take Hill’s allegations seriously enough, and that he didn’t step in to intervene when the hearings devolved into a circus-like atmosphere in which Hill was humiliated. The panel of all-male senators grilled her on her accusations in painful detail, and they called into question her own personal character.
“I believed her story from the very beginning,” Biden told CNN in an exclusive 90-minute interview in July. “I wish I could have protected her more. … I did get in shouting matches, as you’ll remember, with some of the witnesses who were saying things that were off the wall.”
Hill says she believes Biden lost control. But Biden maintains he did not allow his Republican colleagues to take over the hearings.
“I don’t think I did,” he said. “I wish I could have done it differently under the rules. But when it ended, I was determined to do two things. One, make sure never again would there not be women on the committee. … And I was determined to continue and finish writing and passing the Violence Against Women Act.”
Biden said he has apologized to Hill. The two spoke on the phone shortly before Biden launched his presidential campaign in April 2019.
After the call, Hill told The New York Times she would not characterize it as an apology. She still hesitates to use that word to describe it.
“An apology, to be real and sincere, has to take responsibility for harm,” Hill told CNN. That’s not what she heard when she spoke to him at the time. She wanted to hear him acknowledge the harm done to victims of sexual harassment. “He didn’t take responsibility. He didn’t hold himself accountable in any way, except that he was sorry that I felt I wasn’t treated fairly. He didn’t take ownership of his own role as chair of the committee.”
She called the conversation “unsatisfying.” After that call, Biden told ABC’s Good Morning America that he acknowledged his role as chairman in her treatment.
“As the committee chairman, I take responsibility that she did not get treated well. I take responsibility for that,” Biden told ABC in April 2019.
Hill was listening. She now says she believes he’s evolved.
“There was a statement about ‘I take accountability; I hold myself responsible for the way the hearing was run,'” Hill said. “And so that, I think, is as close as we’ve gotten, you know, and that’s good. That’s an opening.”
And that is something Hill says she’s willing to work with.
“I want the next president to be somebody that I can go to and talk about the real issues that women, men, and non-binary people are experiencing with violence in this country, that’s directed to them because of their gender,” Hill said.
“I believe that Joe Biden would be that person. I do not believe that Donald Trump would be the person who would hear me.”