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Sympthsical's Journal
Sympthsical's Journal
August 21, 2021

My school's idea of Covid safety is non-existant.

So I up and decided I wanted to get a master's. Boredom, working full time from home, thinking about a change of career. That sort of thing. Before tossing down some bucks at the majority university down the road, I'm spending a semester or two knocking down some other courses first at the local comm. college that has a transfer program.

First off, it's in person. Really not what I wanted. No, there wasn't an option for the classes I need online.

Guess what's not in person? The entire administration.

Library? Closed. Well, the doors are open, but there's no one working there. Cafeteria? Closed. Counseling? Closed. Financial aid office? Closed. Anyone who is not actively teaching? Poof. Gone.

You know who is there? 26 students and a teacher crammed into a windowless room without ventilation. Social distance isn't even possible.

Do we need proof of vaccination? Nope! We do have this neat little phone app where we answer symptom questions once a day and get a little green pass on the screen. Only one of my teachers is even checking for the thing.

So let me get this totally clear. Covid and the surge with Delta is so uncertain that the administration doesn't have to take risks. Doesn't have to be on campus. Doesn't have to interact with anyone in person. But cramming the students into rooms haphazardly is totally fine? Oh, and they take strict, mandatory attendance.

What kind of Marie Antoinette bullshit is this?

My partner has a heart condition. I am not ok with this. On Monday morning, there will be phone calls.

This is in California to boot. We're supposed to be one of the sane states.

August 18, 2021

FIL is on a California recall mission

This is kind of cute. Partner's dad is a retired elderly Filipino immigrant. Very Democratic. They live in the same town, so he stops by once a week to drop off food and leave comments about our prowess (or lack thereof) at lawn care and gardening.

He came by yesterday, and the first thing he did was ask if we'd gotten our ballots. He is all kinds of pissed off about the recall. Yep, got them, mailed them.

So, this is a big family, and most of them either live in the same town as us or nearby. He apparently spent yesterday hopping around to everyone's home and collecting ballots.

Got everyone to fill theirs out, collected them, and mailed them off.

14 in all.

Not too shabby.

(We all voted no, of course)

August 16, 2021

Biden administration increases food stamps by 25%

This story will easily get lost as the media focus on Afghanistan this week, but it's significant and should be highlighted. There are a lot of people going hungry in the country. It's the biggest increase in the program in history.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has approved a significant and permanent increase in the levels of food stamp assistance available to needy families—the largest single increase in the program’s history.

Starting in October, average benefits for food stamps (officially known as the SNAP program) will rise more than 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels. The increased assistance will be available indefinitely to all 42 million SNAP beneficiaries.

The aid boost was first reported by The New York Times and the details were confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture. They will be formally announced Monday by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The aid boost is being packaged as a major revision of the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan. In concrete terms, the average monthly per-person benefits will rise from $121 to $157.
August 15, 2021

Today I learned everyone was against the Afghan war from the beginning

I mean, 88% support when we went in.

But yes, everyone knew right from the start it was a bad idea and wanted nothing to do with it.

I wonder if people are just muddling Afghanistan with Iraq in their memories.

Because the American people, Republicans and Democrats, very much wanted in there after 9/11. Now, even journalists, who are getting called out left and right, are going, "We knew it was a bad idea and opposed it . . ." Johnny, roll the tape.

People do know the Internet exists, right? That there's video and posts and web pages that go back to 2001?

This is like me going growing my hair out and declaring I have always been against short hair. There are, you know, pictures.

August 15, 2021

Hoo boy, just got 8 California ballots in the mail. Not great.

Two of them are legitimately ours.

Two are right house number, wrong street.

Two are right street, wrong house number.

Two are people who don't (no longer?) live here.

The four in my neighborhood I'll be walking over in the morning. Our two will get mailed when I do that.

Still. Eesh, USPS. Good thing it doesn't matter, eh?

August 10, 2021

A Republican could easily become California governor

If Newsom is recalled in Question #1 of the ballot, the person selected in Question #2 will replace him.

Here's the thing. Last I checked, there are 46 names listed on the second question. Whoever gets the most votes wins. Doesn't need to be a majority. There will not be a run-off. If the vote is divided all over, someone with 10% of the vote on Question #2 can be governor.

All the Republicans have to do is coalesce around someone. Looks like Larry Elder is it at the moment.

Here's the absolutely totally crazy thing.

Newsom's campaign is telling people to leave Question #2 blank.


In a statement, Nathan Click, Newsom’s advisor wrote,

"Leave it blank. Voting NO is the only way to block the Republican power grab and prevent the Republican takeover of California."

"They've made a strategic choice to solely focus on that first question because anything in their minds is a loss,” said News 8 political analyst Laura Fink.

It is so, so important for people to vote on this. If you're Californian - or even if you're not and know some - get your ballots filled out and mailed, and make sure everyone you know in the state is doing their part.

This situation can go to hell real easily. And then everyone will act all shocked and surprised. It's a heavily blue state. We have no excuse here.
August 9, 2021

President Obama's birthday party was a bad idea

The Right is having an absolute field day with it. Of course photos and videos got out. That was inevitable. People crowded together around the dance floor. No masks. Social distancing non-existent.

You know who was wearing masks? The staff. What a great optic.

Sigh. This was totally foreseeable.

People don't like this stuff. "Rules for thee but not for me." That's a nice chunk of why Newsom got himself in trouble in California. I don't think people from out of state understand the pure rage people had when he and London Breed got nailed for their behavior. Not just Republicans, either. Nearly everyone. Certainly everyone I know.

This stuff hurts us. It hurts our efforts.

The politicians and famous people on our side need to abide by the rules and recommendations given to everyone else. If you give someone an order, then you yourself don't follow it, it pisses people off. Even the ones who are inclined to be on your side.

I know we don't like to call out our own, but why this completely predictable chum thrown into the water for our opponents?

This was stupid.

August 6, 2021

Smoke and ash moving into Sacramento and Bay Area

Now it feels like summer.

Winds shifted overnight, and smoke from the fires has started moving south. It had been getting blown east the past few months, as I know many Americans can attest. We're finally transitioning back to what much of our summer was like last year. Blocked sunlight. The house smells like a camp site. Just brushed ash off my car.

Lovely. Probably just the beginning, as fire season goes well into Oct/Nov now. Around here, it's a total tinderbox. The hills were dead brown by April after a rainy season with no rain. That is not a good sign.

We're probably in for a repeat of last year, which was pretty bad.

What climate change?
August 5, 2021

Congress and the President need to make clear their plans on expiring unemployment assistance now

The Covid relief benefit of an extra $300 per week is ending on Labor Day. Half the states have already ended this benefit (mostly Republican governors).

We have one month left until the end of benefits. The Delta variant may cause further disruptions in businesses and hiring.

We should let people know so they can plan. Will the benefits definitively end? Will Democrats attempt to procure some kind of relief or extension? What can people expect?

We need to avoid a repeat of the eviction moratorium, where people had no idea what was going on until the last conceivable minute, and everyone had to scramble to figure something out. Everyone knew the day was coming. People sat on their hands until literally days before.

We shouldn't have a repeat of that chaos. Let people know, let people plan. And if Congress or the administration need to take action, let's start getting that together sooner rather than last minute.

August 2, 2021

Meltdown at the pharmacy over Covid vaccine

My partner is a higher up for a pharmacy system, and I just heard this one (he works from home and sometimes has calls on speaker).

A patient went into the pharmacy to pick up a prescription that apparently needed pharmacist consultation. The pharmacist asked if they had gotten the Covid vaccine, and if not, would they like to get one for free today? It's just something they do.

And then the fireworks began. The patient went ballistic on the pharmacist, demanding why she asked ("That's private!" ). Then lit into her for asking out loud. What if his neighbors were there and heard he was unvaccinated? What if anyone he knew had overheard? Apparently he took his mask off while ranting, and the waiting area cleared out fast (the pharmacy is within a hospital). Then security was called.

I didn't hear the ultimate resolution as I had a work call just then.

But sure. Let's behave that way in public in a hospital setting.

What if his neighbors overheard? Hell, I'd call that fair warning for them.

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