The new US COVID-19 cases are a quarter of six weeks ago, with the daily rate is decreasing 15 percent to 25 percent a week. It’s time for the country to start moving quickly towards normalcy – restoring jobs and restoring lives. Attention is still regular, but that’s it.
But President Biden, after vowing that the nation would have enough doses of vaccine by the end of July to vaccinate every American, only said he only hoped to return to normal by “next Christmas.” Hah?
“I don’t want to be overly promising here,” “A year from now,” he told CNN, “I think there will be fewer people who have to keep their distance socially, have to wear masks.” It doesn’t avoid over-pledging, as he claims: It instantly tells everyone to expect another year of economic and social devastation.
Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said the worst pandemic was “probably” behind us. But he also told the Americans they had to wear masks (maybe two at once) at least until 2022 – even if they are vaccinated.
This doesn’t make sense: Our leaders must continue to encourage reluctant Americans to be stabbed so that we can all move on with our lives.
Some point to the variants – from Britain, South Africa, Brazil and now New York – as new reasons for great concern. But while some of these strains have been shown to be more contagious, none have proved more deadly.
Hospitalizations and deaths continued to decline, even as the variant developed: Mortality fell 20 percent in the last two weeks. The British variant dominates in the UK, Switzerland, Denmark and Israel – and all of them have seen a drop in cases too.
And that drug company (thanks to President Donald Trump tearing up the bureaucracy) developing a life-saving vaccine at lightning speed already tested the latest versions targeting variants, although their “classic vax” still offers high protection against them.
And even though America’s vaccination process has been slower than it should be, the process is still ongoing.
More than 13 percent of Americans have gotten at least one dose, and the majority are healthcare workers or those in nursing homes or other high-risk settings.
Add that to the number of us who are thought to have been infected – 35 percent from Los Angeles County and more than half from Miami-Dade County, for example – and you can see why Johns Hopkins prof Marty Makary predicts we’ll have herd immunity before April.
And the Americans most at risk have acquired immunity. Data scientist Youyang Gu estimates that the number of “vulnerable” Americans, those over 45 without immunity, has fallen from a third of the country at the start of the year to 10 percent or less now.
Cases in nursing homes fell by more than 80 percent from late December to early February. When deaths spike during the holidays, they literally fall into nursing homes.
But the youngest Americans – at least at risk of transmitting the virus or suffering terribly from it – must recover their lives immediately. At least 38,000 New York City teachers have been vaccinated, according to City Hall and the United Teachers Federation.
Perhaps just because the normality makes it too difficult to justify the rush to pass a $ 1.9 trillion “aid” bill filled with Democratic pet projects. We’d rather not think cynical politics are behind Biden’s gloom, but it’s hard to see any other reason he denies that the end of the pandemic stares us in the face.
The Australian Parliament has pass the Media Bargain Code become law. What is Congress waiting for?
Lawmakers from both sides of the US have been making a lot of noise about the crackdown on Big Tech, but actual legislation with any hope of passing remains nowhere in sight. An obvious first step would be to copy laws from Down Under, which would force Facebook and Google to pay media companies for news content that generates big bucks for the tech company.
The two companies are trying to avoid the Aussies from moving forward, and Facebook it even blocks Australian news from its website last week, along with an “accidental” blockage of the government’s public info release. But it didn’t work.
Yes, Facebook won some concessions, however, the law still sets the milestone of the first law that forced Big Tech to share the huge profits it made from other people’s intellectual property. Pew Research Center reports that employment in US newspapers has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2008, driven by falling ad revenue – even as Google and Facebook together collect about three-quarters of all online ad revenue.
Now Canada was looking to follow Australia; Germany, France, Finland and others are also interested.
The DPR Judiciary Committee started see statute to let small US news organizations bargain collectively with Google and Facebook, but that is nothing without a bipartisan push toward legislation like Australia.
If anyone can provide the “unity” Washington the president continues to talk about, it is the impetus to make Big Tech pay for what is now being exploited for free.
For Pakistani cricket fans, IMRAN KHAN is a STAR embraced by the crescent moon on its flag. No wonder they screamed hoarsely when they saw his batting and bowling and later as Captain of ‘IMRAN Zindabad’ as they did later when he entered the political sphere he now lives, and orders.
I remember how Sri Lankan cricket fans watched in awe as this stylish Oxford-educated film star was seen rocking Sri Lanka with his bowling all over the place. She drops the filling from the Sri Lankan batsmen with beautiful stitching and swing spells.
Imran has a tendency to create history! History will be created when for the first time a prominent sportsman and the Prime Minister make a three-day visit to Sri Lanka starting Tuesday.
Imran will be here at the invitation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government for bilateral talks. But rest assured that no ‘talk’ will be complete without a memory of the difference he brought in guiding Pakistan to their first World Cup victory in Australia against England in the 1992 final.
With this victory his popularity soared and he became a hero –and legend –for all cricket Pakistanis. During his stay in the game, he was a rare player.
He has a wonderful run and few hops in goal and the ability to generate speed in the air and off the goal. He troubles the best batsmen with his swings and biting speed. And the delivery is packed with guards who sting. He is also a right-hand hitter who hits hard and he has played many game-winning halves. He is a thinking captain as well as a safe winger.
When Sri Lanka achieved Exam status in 1982, its first tour was to Pakistan for a series of Trials. The writer was the first journalist to accompany a Lankan and cover the three Trials for the ‘Times’ and ‘Daily Mirror’.
Oxford-educated IMRAN did not play in the first Two Tests but returned wholeheartedly to play the third Test at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. History records how he beat Pakistan to a resounding victory.
While the author was with Pakistani journalists Qamar Ahmed and Chisty Mujahid at the Hilton Hotel in Lahore, IMRAN came and spoke with Ahmed and Mujahid who introduced me to this cricket hero who after a little chat gave us a lift in his vehicle to Gaddafi Stadium.
He continued talking to me and was very happy that Sri Lanka had finally reached Trial status and predicted that Sri Lanka would be a worthy opponent and cricket strength very soon. He is very friendly and relaxed. Even at the peak of his career he never wore feathers and behaved like a backyard chicken.
Being the only Sri Lankan journalist to tour, radio commentators Wasim Tariq and Ahmed invited me to give expert commentary on Tes and were very memorable to go on air while Imran was bowling and commenting on his heroism where he rocked the batsmen to give Pakistan a resounding victory.
IMRAN’s bowling at the top beat the Sri Lankan batsmen with fine stitching and swing bowling to return the 8 for 58 and 6 for 58 and no batsmen could fight against him.
IMRAN visited Sri Lanka as a promising all-around player and his talents were such that he soon became a cricket super star in demand and his country’s captain’s hat didn’t take long to come. And he crowned it all by leading Pakistan to win the World Cup in 1992 which has eluded them ever since. After that victory, he was given the jewel mark on the Pakistani cricket crown.
The Sri Lankan cricketer who will always remember IMRAN is the former captain, dashing batsman and first batsman to score a century goal in the World Cup final Aravinda de Silva. The reason was because Aravinda hooked the bouncer from IMRAN in the Trials in Faisalabad to reach his century which was a rare achievement.
Another feat to remember which IMRAN is concerned about is Sri Lanka’s second win in Test cricket. It happened on CCC ground when IMRAN was leading Pakistan and he acknowledged the victory in his chats.
As the Sri Lankan government and the cricket fraternity await the arrival of one of the game’s great legends who are now Pakistan’s politicians and Prime Minister, there are many reasons to celebrate with extraordinary warmth.
Joe Root shows you how
Joe Root the England captain demonstrated what could be described as a captain’s knock in two Tests against Sri Lanka and in the first Test against India he made two hundred times which helped England beat the top Indian by 227 runs.
In Sri Lanka he made 228 and 186 and followed suit taking extraordinary form to India where against a very strong Indian offensive he scored an excellent double century which attracted not only attention but above all EXAMPLE.
In making his two hundredfold against India, he captained the first visitors’ team to score the highest in India and that is all the more creditable as he played 100th Test which was an achievement that will never be easily matched or surpassed.
When playing in India to win throws, hitting first and scoring a big first half is very important, as the goals are made to be friendly to their spinners.
In the first test, the goal on the Chennai pitch on the first day was favored by the batsmen and the English who scored a big first half score won the match with their spinners Bess and Leach taking the lead.
Coming in on the second Test and India having good luck to hit first and in goal allowing a ferocious spin from day one, spinners Ashwin and Patel were out of action and beat India with an easy win.
With two more Tests to be played, the first hitting hand and putting up a great score must win, because the goal will be made for spinners and India has the better spinners.
Music and food are two of the best things in life. And what better way to help raise money for humanity’s most basic need – food – than a music concert over Valentine’s weekend.
Food for Love is a virtual show, given the current reality, with proceeds going to all five New Mexico food banks – including The Food Depot in Santa Fe.
It has an impressive description: “A star-studded virtual concert to end hunger in New Mexico.” On February 13th, that’s what was planned.
The need is real, with the country’s food bank pressed to meet the needs of people whose lives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Job losses, cut wages and other disruptions due to the virus’s impact on the economy have left many of our neighbors struggling to make ends meet.
As a poor state, recent economic hardships have left more people in need of help, with food banks struggling to keep up with demand. One in 3 children and 1 in 5 adults struggles with hunger – how big it is.
Concerts, then, are designed to both bring joy and bring home the points that people need help with. Every donation – 100 percent – goes to the New Mexico Association of Food Banks. And every dollar raised can be converted into four meals.
The concert will be broadcast starting at 5 pm Saturday. (See foodforlove.org for details on how to watch.) It’s a huge lineup.
There will be New Mexico fan favorites, including Chevel Shepherd, Bill Hearne, Michael Hearne and Lara Manzanares, with lots of help from Texas musicians.
Santa Fe resident Terry Allen, artist and singer-songwriter, would play alongside many of his Texas friends, especially musician Lubbock in his youth. The concert featured Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Lloyd Maines, who performed alongside Terri Hendrix. Lloyd’s famous daughter Natalie and her band, The Chicks, (formerly The Dixie Chicks) also signed up. So did stars like David Byrne, Delbert McClinton, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Alejandro Escovedo and Ryan Bingham, whom the residents of Santa Fe remember from their stellar change. Crazy Heart, which was filmed here.
Byrne, who compiled a playlist to listen to before the concert davidbyrne.com, writing about this eclectic mix of musicians: “Now to some, my relationship with these musicians may seem a little strange – we don’t make the same kind of music – but I think there are some mutual rewards. It must be on my end. “
Byrne met Allen, who helped organize concerts, while filming, True story. That led to Allen introducing Byrne to the Flatlanders – Ely, Hancock and Gilmore. More connections were made, and as Byrne wrote, “Alejandro Escovedo was in the punk band The Nuns, and Joe Strummer of The Clash and Joe Ely were close friends. Many boundaries are being breached with this crowd. So being a part of this may not be as surprising as people think. “
Special guests included Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Ali MacGraw, N. Scott Momaday, George RR Martin, Hampton Sides and Jo Harvey Allen. Through the various companion grants on offer – Avalon Trust Company, Thornburg Investment Management, and Thornburg Foundation participated – organizers thought they could raise enough money to provide 840,000 meals for hungry New Mexicans.
That’s a lot of money.