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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,712

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With no beds, overwhelmed U.S. hospitals ship patients to far-off cities

The surge in the delta variant, combined with low vaccination rates, has pushed hospitals to the brink in many states.

MISSION, Kan. — Many overwhelmed hospitals, with no beds to offer, are putting critically ill COVID-19 patients on planes, helicopters and ambulances and sending them hundreds of miles to far-flung states for treatment.

The surge in the delta variant of the virus, combined with low vaccination rates, has pushed hospitals to the brink in many states and resulted in a desperate scramble to find beds for patients.

The issue is that large hospitals in urban areas already were running short of space and staff with non-COVID procedures like cancer biopsies and hip replacements when the summer surge started. That means they have very few free beds to offer to patients from small rural hospitals without ICUs or from medical centers in virus hotspots.

“Just imagine not having the support of your family near, to have that kind of anxiety if you have someone grow acutely ill,” said Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth, whose hospital in Springfield, Missouri, is treating patients from as far away as Alabama.


A mom of 4 who died of covid days after her husband makes a wish: 'Make sure my kids get vaccinated'

A few weeks ago, Lydia Rodriguez thought her body was strong enough to fight the coronavirus without the vaccine.

But after a week-long church camp, she and other members of her family tested positive for the coronavirus. By the time Rodriguez, 42, changed her mind and asked for the shot, it was too late, her doctor said. A ventilator awaited her, her cousin Dottie Jones told The Washington Post.

Out of options, the Galveston, Tex., mother of four, asked her family to make a promise: “Please make sure my kids get vaccinated,” Rodriguez, a piano teacher, told her sister during their last phone call.

Rodriguez died Monday — two weeks after her husband, Lawrence Rodriguez, 49, also died after coronavirus complications. The couple fought the virus from hospital beds just a few feet from one another in a Texas intensive care unit, Jones said.


Is Ron DeSantis's Fox News Obsession Backfiring on Florida?

DeSantis has yet to meet one-on-one with his state’s top public health official this year, per a new report. But in the first six months of 2021, he met with Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham at least half a dozen times.

The governor presiding over the new epicenter of the coronavirus is seemingly more focused on winning the approval of conservative media than on ensuring the health of his constituents. In the first half of 2021, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024, “had scheduled as many appearances with top Fox hosts—[Sean] Hannity (8 times), Tucker Carlson (6) and Laura Ingraham (7)—as he had meetings with his lieutenant governor, Jeanette Nuñez (7),” the Tampa Bay Times reports. More telling still, DeSantis has reportedly yet to meet one-on-one with his Florida’s top public health official this year, per his schedules.

In a detailed exposé about the symbiotic relationship between DeSantis and Fox News, Times political editor Steve Contorno reviewed emails between DeSantis’s office and the network that totaled more than 1,000 pages. Contorno found that the governor is a mainstay on the network; he was asked to appear 113 times, “or nearly once a day,” in the period between November 2020 and February 2021, after Donald Trump’s loss. This heightened exposure has boosted DeSantis’s name recognition and made him a familiar face to important Fox viewers, potentially furthering his presidential ambitions. “He’s been given the first Fox audition for 2024,” Adam Goodman, a veteran Republican media strategist, told the Times.

Fox News pushed back on the paper’s conclusion that the network favor-traded with DeSantis, reportedly appearing “eager to play ball when DeSantis’ team pitched…‘exclusives.’” In a statement, the Fox said that it “works to secure interviews daily with headliners across the political spectrum which is a basic journalism practice at all news organizations.” But the governor is no stranger to leveraging cable news to serve his own ends; his rise in Florida politics was certainly aided by Fox hits, which he used to help win the gubernatorial GOP primary in 2018.

This latest iteration of apparent back-scratching happens to come as DeSantis falls under heightened scrutiny over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which he “has steadily expanded the powers of his office while using it to blunt that of local officials,” the Washington Post reports, and local leaders attempting to respond to surging cases and hospitalizations must answer to a governor who prides himself on rejecting mask and vaccination mandates. That approach has chafed on Florida mayors, many of whom have spoken out against DeSantis’s tactics. “I can’t mandate masks. I can’t mandate social distancing. I can’t mandate vaccinations,” St. Petersburg, Florida, mayor Rick Kriseman told the Post. “All I can do is encourage people to do the right thing, and that is about it.”


People Now Spend More at Amazon Than at Walmart

Proof that the online future has arrived: The biggest e-commerce company outside China has unseated the biggest brick-and-mortar seller.

SEATTLE — Amazon has eclipsed Walmart to become the world’s largest retail seller outside China, according to corporate and industry data, a milestone in the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping that has changed how people buy everything from Teddy Grahams to teddy bears.

Propelled in part by surging demand during the pandemic, people spent more than $610 billion on Amazon over the 12 months ending in June, according to Wall Street estimates compiled by the financial research firm FactSet. Walmart on Tuesday posted sales of $566 billion for the 12 months ending in July.

Alibaba, the giant online Chinese retailer, is the world’s top seller. Neither Amazon nor Walmart is a dominant player in China.

In racing past Walmart, Amazon has dethroned one of the most successful — and feared — companies of recent decades. Walmart perfected a thriving big-box model of retailing that squeezed every possible penny out of its costs, which drove down prices and vanquished competitors.


Intelligence Warned of Afghan Military Collapse, Despite Biden's Assurances

Even as the president was telling the public that Kabul was unlikely to fall, intelligence assessments painted a grimmer picture.

WASHINGTON — Classified assessments by American spy agencies over the summer painted an increasingly grim picture of the prospect of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and warned of the rapid collapse of the Afghan military, even as President Biden and his advisers said publicly that was unlikely to happen as quickly, according to current and former American government officials.

By July, many intelligence reports grew more pessimistic, questioning whether any Afghan security forces would muster serious resistance and whether the government could hold on in Kabul, the capital. President Biden said on July 8 that the Afghan government was unlikely to fall and that there would be no chaotic evacuations of Americans similar to the end of the Vietnam War.

The drumbeat of warnings over the summer raise questions about why Biden administration officials, and military planners in Afghanistan, seemed ill-prepared to deal with the Taliban’s final push into Kabul, including a failure to ensure security at the main airport and rushing thousands more troops back to the country to protect the United States’ final exit.

One report in July — as dozens of Afghan districts were falling and Taliban fighters were laying siege to several major cities — laid out the growing risks to Kabul, noting that the Afghan government was unprepared for a Taliban assault, according to a person familiar with the intelligence.


The latest GOP anti-mask lunacy is stirring a backlash. New polling reveals it.

The other day, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis likened mask and other health mandates to “medical authoritarianism.” The Republican added that we may be witnessing “the most significant threat to freedom in my lifetime, certainly since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

Because DeSantis was speaking in the hermetically sealed-off information universe of Fox News, such drivel was certain to elicit approval. But outside of that universe — with DeSantis and Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott actively thwarting local officials from protecting their constituents with mask mandates — a backlash to these antics may be brewing.

A new Axios-Ipsos poll probes public sentiments on this in a novel way. It asks respondents about state laws that prohibit local officials from creating mask requirements. Both DeSantis and Abbott have sought to do this, albeit by executive order.

The result: 66 percent of Americans oppose such state laws, and only 33 percent support them. What’s more, the poll also finds that a whopping 77 percent oppose efforts to withhold funding from school districts and local governments that implement mask mandates.


More than 8,000 Florida students isolate or quarantine because of a school district's covid-19 spike

Source: Washington Post

A Florida school board is set to hold an emergency meeting this week to consider a mask mandate as more than 8,000 students and hundreds of employees in its district are in isolation or quarantine because of a surge in coronavirus cases and possible exposure.

Hillsborough County Public Schools, which includes Tampa, has 8,400 students and 307 staff members either in isolation because of a positive test or in quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive, district spokesperson Tanya Arja told The Washington Post on Tuesday. The number of students who are either in isolation or quarantine jumped by nearly 3,000 from the total given by the school district on Monday.

Arja said that the district is following quarantine and isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health. The CDC recommends that people should quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with someone who tested positive, while those in isolation should be at home at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

“All quarantines are not necessarily associated with a school or district site,” Arja told The Post. “For attendance reasons, students who are quarantined due to exposure to an off-campus COVID positive case are included in our overall quarantine numbers.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/08/17/florida-students-covid-quarantine-hillsborough/

Trump-loving county clerk faces consequences after massive security breach of election equipment

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters—a “high-ranking Election Division staff worker”—and a “mystery man” reportedly accessed the secure Election Division room where, the following day, Colorado election equipment was going to be upgraded. The Daily Sentinel reports that these three individuals are alleged to have made copies of the hard drive and copies of the election management software. Some of these files and images are suspected of having made their way onto an election conspiracy theory website. Peters is suspected of having created this “serious breach” of Colorado elections security to help fuel Trump-supporting conspiracy theories that massive voter fraud led to the single most unpopular president losing his election in recent memory.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, who has opened an investigation into the breach, says that Peters will be replaced in upcoming elections. This comes days after Secretary of State Jena Griswold ordered 41 pieces of election equipment replaced, saying that the security breach had compromised their integrity. That equipment must be replaced and certified by the end of August, or the county must hand-count ballots in upcoming elections. The Colorado Sun reports that while Secretary of State Griswold cannot have Peters removed from office, she can bar Peters from overseeing this November’s elections.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office released a statement on Monday outlining the intricacies of their election security system, saying:

Colorado leads the way in secure elections, and has layers of security measures, both preventative and for detection purposes. This includes restricted access, chain-of-custody logs, equipment that is under lock and key, multiple sets of passwords or keys that no single person holds, and tamper evident seals. Colorado’s election system is also segmented, with each county having its own closed network and systems across counties are not connected to one another. Election systems have separate sets of passwords; one set is only held by a few specific civil servants with the Department of State and the other is held by the county officials. No one person has all the keys to the castle, as there are several passwords that are kept separate and protected by separate parties. Should there be an internal security breach like the one that occurred in Mesa County, in addition to the safeguards outlined prior to an election, Colorado also requires security protocols such as bipartisan testing on election equipment like tabulation machines before and after elections, mail ballot signature verification, and bipartisan risk limiting audits.

The Daily Sentinel has identified one of the two mystery people as Gerald Wood. Peters, this other staff worker—whose name is being withheld by the Sentinel at this time—allegedly passed off Wood as an employee of the county, giving him security access he did not have. The Colorado Sun reports that investigators believe the drives were copied and taken on May 23. The result: Images taken from the room were posted on a conspiracy website. They contained passwords and other delicate information and were taken a couple of days later, allegedly by Wood.


Fucking criminals. Corrupting the very methods and mechanisms they were obligated and duty-bound to protect.

Sarasota charity latest link to Donald Trump's lie

Yeah, yeah, so the world has a few problems. Like the virus, earthquakes and terrorists overtaking countries. Big deal. You want a problem? Try losing an election you won. Now that's a problem. Show a little compassion, will you?

Forget helping the homeless and hungry, thank goodness a charity exists with its priorities straight. One like the America Project, based right here in Sarasota, of course, and in the true spirit of spreading benevolence throughout humanity, its desire is to have the 2020 election overturned and Donald Trump restored to the presidency.

The America Project, registered in Florida as a charity, has given $3.25 million to Cyber Ninjas, the controversial Sarasota computer security company conducting an audit of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, Az.

Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com and one of the America Project's founders, said during an internet interview on something called The Daily 302 that he thinks results of the Ninjas' meticulous work on behalf of the nation will be revealed this week. Fraud will be found, he predicts, and enough that 13 to 20 other states will conduct recounts as well.


Republicans float far-fetched 25th Amendment plan to oust Biden over Kabul debacle

Some Republicans are floating an improbable use of the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove President Joe Biden from office in the wake of the United States’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan amid a Taliban takeover of the country’s capital of Kabul over the weekend.

“After the disastrous events in Afghanistan, we must confront a serious question: Is Joe Biden capable of discharging the duties of his office or has time come to exercise the provisions of the 25th Amendment?” Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott tweeted on Monday.

Republican New York Rep. Claudia Tenney also pushed for setting up the process for removing Biden through the constitutional process.

“Last year, my colleague Jamie Raskin stated ‘The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it.’ Well, NOW is the time,” Tenney tweeted on Monday.


They just never stop being complete assholes.
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