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Pinback's Journal
Pinback's Journal
September 26, 2022

Credit is due to Fair Fight Georgia and the New Georgia Project.

The popular narrative has been that Biden won Georgia by the famed 11,780 votes because Q-publicans stayed home in 2020 — and that Warnock and Ossoff benefited from the same phenomenon in January 2021.

There’s some truth to that, but as this detailed fivethirtyeight analysis shows, another quite interesting development occurred in that cycle: Democrats lost by less in a number of rural counties. In a statewide election, a couple of hundred votes here, a few hundred there, and so on means victory for the good guys.

That’s why keeping the faith, ignoring the naysayers, and doing the work on the ground over the entire state is so important.

September 20, 2022

No, President Biden, the pandemic is not over (WaPo Editorial Board)

No, President Biden, the pandemic is not over
Washington Post Editorial Board, Sept. 19, 2022
- https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/biden-pandemic-over-60-minutes-wrong/
- https://archive.ph/OBPYo (no-paywall link)

“The pandemic is over” is surely what everyone wanted to hear. President Biden made the declaration in a Sunday “60 Minutes” broadcast. But before rushing out to the ticker-tape parade, sit down. The pandemic is still raging — in the sense that a dangerous virus is infecting, sickening and killing people, mutating to survive and haunting the globe. The pandemic has shifted — and normalcy has returned in many ways — but it is not over.

Why Mr. Biden said otherwise is obvious. The midterm elections are coming, and Americans feel an overwhelming sense of fatigue. “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks,” the president told journalist Scott Pelley. “Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing.”

No hard-and-fast rules mark the exact moment a pandemic ends. The nation and the world have come a long way since the early lockdowns and the devastating delta and omicron waves. Vaccines against the coronavirus are safe and highly effective, giving people confidence to resume many activities. Classrooms are back in person, air travel has revived, commuter traffic is picking up. A lot of the worst misery is in the rearview mirror.

But the pandemic is surely not over. The seven-day moving average of daily deaths in the United States is nearly 400 and has plateaued at this terrible level since April. The average of new daily cases is 60,000, way higher than in the spring. Weighed down by the virus, average life expectancy of Americans fell in 2020 and 2021, the sharpest two-year decline in nearly 100 years. Covid-19 is the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. Long covid — those suffering a constellation of maladies after the immediate symptoms dissipate — threatens millions of people.

More at link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/19/biden-pandemic-over-60-minutes-wrong/

George Washington U. professor Dr. Leana Wen presents an opposing view in this op-ed in the same issue:
Biden is right. The pandemic is over.
- https://archive.ph/IGmrG (no-paywall link)
September 19, 2022

2,700 CBP officers can access the data without a warrant

according to the Washington Post article.

"U.S. government officials are adding data from as many as 10,000 electronic devices each year to a massive database they’ve compiled from cellphones, iPads and computers seized from travelers at the country’s airports, seaports and border crossings, leaders of Customs and Border Protection told congressional staff in a briefing this summer." What could possibly go wrong?

More information:

September 13, 2022

Retirement has many advantages, and some potential pitfalls.

First the pitfalls. One I've noticed a lot is that you can blow a lot of time doing the simplest things. It's common to hear retired people say, "How did I ever have time to work? I can barely get everything done now!" To some extent in my case, that's because I'm older and slower. It's also because as the old saying goes, "Work expands to fill the time allotted to it." So, for example, when deciding on some product to buy, I can easily get sucked into way too much research, whereas when I was working and had very little spare time, I might just drop the hammer and make a decision in 15 minutes because that's all the time I had that evening.

Also, depending on your personality type, you could end up aimlessly drifting at times. Some of this is desirable, at least in the first year or two. It's just so great to be free of the shackles of employment that you may want to revel in being able to sleep late, bum around, and be unproductive. (I sure did, when I could.)

Ultimately, though, you will want to have some feeling of purpose or accomplishment. This can be as simple as planting a garden, or doing some long-postponed home repairs, traveling to places you've wanted to visit for a long time, learn a new skill (or improve an old one), etc. In my case, one of the first things I did was to replace the garage roof. It's kind of crappy looking, to be honest, but it doesn't leak(!) and nobody can see it except the squirrels and birds on the other side of the garage. It was a great project for me because it was a) low risk, b) low cost, and c) completely different from what I'd done for work for many years (fairly stressful corporate desk job).

The advantages of retirement, though -- oh man! One of the main ones is being able to avoid crowds during the day on weekdays. This may or not be a big deal, depending on where you live. I'm in a busy metropolitan area, so being able to go to a grocery store, restaurant, or movie theater while most other poor saps are working or in school is delightful (although I'm sometimes amazed at how many young and middle-aged people buy groceries on a Tuesday morning!).

When I first retired, I would frequently notice what I was missing at work. (“Oh, man! It’s 10:00 on Monday morning and I’m NOT in a staff meeting! Ahhhhhh...”)

I also took extreme pleasure in doing exactly what I wanted during what used to be work hours. I’ll never forget the absolute bliss of just wandering around my local public library at 2 p.m. on a weekday, randomly browsing and sitting down with a book to learn about something I never thought would interest me. I also spent a lot of time biking to local coffee shops where I could chill and browse the web, write down some thoughts, enjoy the morning sun, or whatever.

Eventually, that initial feeling of getting away with something has subsided, and I don't think about work much any more. (And my dreams are much more creative and much less stressful than they used to be when I was working, which is great!)

Over the upcoming few months, I look forward to more of the things I haven’t felt comfortable doing the past couple of years due to COVID: in-person volunteer work, extensive traveling, and frequent indoor dining to name just a few.

You are also retiring at a great time. Two years after I retired, COVID hit, and many things either ground to a halt or had to be considered very carefully. I still haven't been able to take full advantage of retirement due to having to be extra-careful since Spring 2020. But you're entering your years of freedom as the pandemic is in a much better place.

Congratulations, and enjoy yourself. You've earned it!

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