Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy, safe, prosperous, and hopefully COVID-free 2022 as it brings you the year’s first roundup.

Off the Kuff looked at the motion filed by Harris County to stop the part of the voter suppression law that criminalizes the encouragement of voting by mail.

SocraticGadfly had a three-parter on coronavirus issues last week. First was that some people’s claims that autoimmune disorders preclude vaccination are largely BS. Second was whether Fauci’s words about COVID moving from pandemic to endemic will come back to haunt him with wingnuts, and if Biden will face some problems with words and non-actions. Third, he took a nuanced look at vax mandates in the bigger picture of a spectrum of COVID public health actions.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

John Coby summarizes 2021.

Juanita scoffs at Alex Jones’ latest ravings.

The Dallas Observer introduces us to Ted Cruz’s very online daughter.

The Current notes that Texas doesn’t score all that well on some metrics for personal liberties.

Jef Rouner tells you why you’re just wrong.

Another Week in COVID-19

A friend pointed me to a pretty good podcast on how Omicron is counterintuitive. Check it out here. It talks about where we are and about where we may be heading. There may be some hope in a world of “WTF is going on?!?”. Still, we must mask-up and not just be vax’d and boosted.

A few weeks into Omicron, it seems Greg Abbott finally panicked enough to beg the Biden administration for help. He still doesn’t want Texans and Texas schoolkids wearing masks, and, though vax’d and boosted himself, doesn’t want to require it for anyone else. But he demands more tests and monoclonal antibodies for his unvax’d and unmasked fans. C’mon, Abbott, Marco Rubio is calling you “irrational“!

Of course, he is also suing Biden because he says he is the state’s national guard leader (Remember Jade Helm!) and doesn’t think they should be vax’d if they don’t want to be. This is the same “leader” who has overseen recent suicides of his soldiers who are tired of being at the Texas border wasting time and taxpayer money. Some leader.

But Biden isn’t in the clear despite his press conference, either. ICE facilities have failed to give their migrant guests vaccine boosters to protect them from Omicron. We know that Omicron spreads easily and in close quarters like an immigrant prison, well, everyone is endangered. One would hope that Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez will be asked by Senators about this, since he’s been re-nominated for ICE Director after the Senate failed to act on his original nomination. Or will it be the Senate’s original questions on human warehousing and hunting and profits? Good luck, Sheriff.

Well, we’re still on fire here in Texas. COVID-19 continues its spread, infections continue to rise, and hospitalizations of the unvaccinated continue. Anecdotally, folks still seem to be acting as if invincible as I see them unmasked (and hacking up a lung) at the store. The good thing is that the holidays are over and there are less mass events among Democrats again. At least, I’m not seeing any selfies at events.

Stay masked. Stay vax’d and boosted. And stay away from large gatherings.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that all is calm and bright with you as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff discusses a couple more redistricting lawsuits, a new one filed by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer over CD35, and an earlier one filed by a state prison inmate who objected to the practice of counting inmates where they are being incarcerated rather than where they live for the purposes of apportioning districts.

SocraticGadfly noted that Ronny Jackson and other Texas winger Congresscritters want to fight the effects of climate change, but only when it affects cops, and without admitting that the likes of Winter Storm Uri are connected to climate change.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Rick Casey speculates about what might happen if Donald Trump runs but does not win Texas in 2024.

Mark Pitcavage presents some random facts about white supremacist tattoos.

Mandy Giles is now blogging at Parents of Trans Youth. Elise Hu looks back on her 2021.

InnovationMap presents Houston’s top three COVID research stories from 2021.

Reform Austin introduces us to some school librarians who are fed up with and fighting back against book bans.

Susan Hays and Nonsequiteuse eulogize the great Sarah Weddington.

The Top 10 DC Posts of 2021

Thankfully, readership on DC is not completely dead, so, I guess I better continue writing. 2022 will be the 17th year of DosCentavos.net and with COVID-19 still hanging around, the 2022 Democratic Primary and November election, as well as lots of culture and happenings still to open up, there will be a lot to write about. Maybe a podcast. Maybe other stuff. We shall see. Here are 2021’s Top 10 posts.

  1. Latin Grammy Tejano Noms Are Out
  2. Judge Lesley Briones Announces for Harris Commissioner Pct 4
  3. Ben Chou Files for Harris Commissioner Pct 4
  4. Former State Rep Gina Calanni Enters Race for Pct 4
  5. The Delta Variant is Real
  6. Dan Crenshaw Tried To Register My Late Mom To Vote
  7. The 2021 Alief ISD Bond
  8. Early Voting Has Begun
  9. QEPD – Gregg Barrios
  10. Biden Kiddie Jail Opens in South Texas

Looks like local politics was the big winner this year. Thanks to all who still visit, to my friends/referrers, to those who take a few seconds to share a post in their social media and not just “like” it. Have a Good 2022!

New Year’s Week in COVID-19

The Omicron surge continues, well, surging, as more positive tests are added to the count. And, testing has surged, too, as folks have tested for travel and family visit purposes and seem to be testing after the Christmas weekend. So much so, COVID tests are still in demand, whether PCR or at-home quick ones. A drive down Westheimer on the west side found long lines at testing kiosks, whether in ones car or by foot.

It will take another week or so to count new infections that came about from unmasked and/or unvaccinated family visits over the Christmas weekend. It takes 3 to 7 days for symptoms to appear, on average, so, those testing soon after a weekend visit may get a negative. That just means one should test again in a few days to make sure. Even the at-home tests have two tests for this reason. And if you’ve been exposed and are asymptomatic, test anyway!

The CDC has cut the number of days one must quarantine in half. Specifically:

Americans who test positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms can stop isolating after five days as long as they continue wearing masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday, halving the agency’s previous isolation period down from 10 days. 

The CDC also said it was loosening its guidance for quarantining after a COVID-19 exposure for unvaccinated Americans or those eligible for a booster who have not yet received their additional shot. It now recommends a five-day quarantine followed by five days of strict mask-wearing, but says that if quarantine “is not feasible,” it can be skipped as long as they wear a mask in the 10 days after exposure. 

The CDC says people who are fully vaccinated and boosted do not need to quarantine after exposure.

The keyword in all of this seems to be masks. The ones the vaccinated (Dem politicos included) weren’t wearing while attending two weeks worth of holiday parties and the reason we just can’t only blame the unvax’d for his new spread. Wear them. And wear the good ones (n95 or kn95), or, at the very least, wear a surgical/medical mask covered by a cloth mask. Omicron is very transmissible as one person can infect as many as three, on average. Also…

As to when to wear a mask, obviously you want to cover up when you’re using public transit, including airports and airplanes, and when you’re indoors in grocery stores or other public places, as with previous surges.

And also with family visits, if one isn’t sure about everyone’s vaccination status. All it takes is one to affect many.

Also, listen to updates from Dr. Fauci or Dr. Peter Hotez in Houston. You can find them on the news or on Twitter!

I’ve gotten or seen social media posts telling me everything from “We’re all going to get it,” to “diets” to avoid COVID-19. If you don’t want to get it, follow the guidelines of mask-wearing and maybe stop jumping into a COVID snot cloud at a crowded event. Stop looking for excuses to not wear a mask or to go to mass events. It’s that simple, if you really care about humanity. If you don’t, well, stay away from me and my family. I have no problem writing people off when there are family members to protect.

America should have been ready for this.

Feliz Navidad To All!

From the good people at DosCentavos.net and the Medellin Family, to all of you: Get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask when in gatherings, you all know the drill. Merry Christmas!

Greg Abbott’s Inhumanity Continues

Let’s not be shocked that Greg Abbott’s inaction on COVID-19 continues. Instead of a strong push on vaccinations, he’s just sitting back and doing nothing. Instead of a push to encourage mask-wearing, he’s safe in the mansion enjoying the holidays. He fears his right-wing base so much that he won’t even tell us if he got the booster or not. And as Trump found out, ignorance is bliss with that crowd. All this as Omicron is upon us and the last check on COVID-19 positivity tracking toward 15%. With all the testing going on of travelers and people wanting to visit their families, it’s sure to jump a bit more.

Meanwhile, Abbott’s use of the Texas-Mexico border for political purposes continues. He’s trumping up a wall–less than 1,000 feet so far. He’s thrown tax dollars at it–a billion dollars which will build a few miles for photo op purposes. No details and no transparency, but that’s how Republicans work as they dole out money to corporations for this debacle. All while blaming migrants escaping violence and poverty caused by bad US policy. If Texans buy this as a solution, well, the stupid is strong in those believers.

Then, there’s the “catch and jail” program in which Abbott charges migrants with trespassing when captured on private border land, places them in a state prison (which are badly run), and give them to border counties (Kinney) to prosecute. This whole program is a farce and badly run, just like the state of Texas, as the judge in charge has appointed his own set of judges to ensure Abbott keeps his prison filled with pre-trial detainees.

Then, there’s Abbott rescinding a posthumous pardon of George Floyd because of a clerical error? Thousands of employees and lots of lawyers and they can’t get it right? C’mon!

So, as Kuff reminds us today, Abbott is the same as he ever was. Evil.

Visit BetoForTexas.com for the alternative.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows exactly how nice or naughty everyone in this week’s roundup is.

Off the Kuff lets you know about the absolutely bonkers primary election that Republican voters in Potter County are fixing to have.

SocraticGadfly offers a few thoughts from up on the Red about 2022 primary filings (and Green and Libertarian convention filings).

Stace gives us his thoughts on some of the 2022 Dem Primary races.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

CultureMap breaks the news of the whiskey being distilled by the folks at Saint Arnold.

Texas Monthly presents the 2022 Bum Steer Award winners.

The Bloggess tells you how to participate in the 12th annual James Garfield Miracle.

Mark Sumner earns “honorary Texan” status for reminding us of the time that Louie Gohmert sued Mike Pence for the crime of obeying the law this past January.

Juanita is not impressed by Ken Paxton’s “vote fraud” efforts.

Will Wilder and Elizabeth Hira show how the Freedom to Vote Act would de-fang Texas’ voter suppression law.

Now, Breakthrough Cases Are Being Covered

It seems a lot of folks I know, friends even, have been hit by COVID-19 despite being vaccinated–some even boosted. I feel for them and am almost waiting “my turn” as workplace exposures are becoming a thing now which are sending folks for testing.

Unfortunately, with the holidays and gatherings in in our present and future, testing facilities are having their supply demanded. I’ve pretty much cancelled my Xmas weekend with family and my tamales-making mood is effectively dead.

So, the conversation about breakthrough infections is also a thing. Even President Biden has told us to expect more of them as Omicron takes over as the main variant. Time magazine has an interesting article about breakthroughs.

Now that the world has largely reopened and a new, highly contagious variant is here, avoiding COVID-19 completely is no longer a realistic long-term plan, says Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency medicine physician and associate dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health.

“There is a high likelihood that most of us will catch COVID at some point,” Ranney says. “The goal of the vaccines is to delay that as long as possible, and then to make it so that, if and when we do catch COVID, it is as mild as possible.”

But that doesn’t mean we should abandon every precaution, Ranney says. For one thing, we’re still learning a lot about what Omicron can do. There are also unanswered questions about how often breakthrough infections lead to Long COVID and whether Omicron changes those odds.

Well, that’s just lovely.

The main worry is about the health care system and that even though vaccines and boosters will make things easier for most, that others will still need care, thus overrunning the system. Top that with medical staff who are already working with skeleton crews and the concern increases.

The main suggestion to flatten the curve? (Hadn’t heard that in a while): Mask and vaccine mandates. Well, since this is Texas, we are all on our own because of Greg Abbott’s death wish for most of us.

A reminder from one of the docs in the article.

“We need to do what we can to flatten the curve,” says Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, an infectious disease physician and associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “I’m thinking it’s going to be 10 weeks, 12 weeks until we’re able to relax a little bit and move into a normalized response.”

Then the article goes into treating COVID-19 as a normal part of life. In the future, that is.

Right now, someone with a breakthrough case of COVID-19 is supposed to isolate for 10 days after testing positive or developing symptoms, even though recent evidence suggests that vaccinated people may clear the virus faster. Before too long, she says, we’ll probably scrap that policy and move toward a more familiar approach, in which people stay home while they’re symptomatic but don’t necessarily pause their entire lives for 10 days. Someday, people may not even need to test or seek treatment, so long as they only have mild symptoms, Wurtz says.

But not yet!

Another way to be better prepared for spikes is to improve the socioeconomic problems of the United States. Well, the Build Back Better plan seems to be falling apart since it is not a priority for Joe Manchin or Kirsten Synema. Thanks to Biden, student loan debtors have a 3-month reprieve, but if the Docs in the article are correct, it’ll take that long to go back to the previous normal we experienced–the one where vaccinated folks went unmasked to holiday parties and ended up sick and giving it to others.

I tend to agree with Senator Bernie Sanders in that student loan debt needs to be cancelled completely. Take it out the Pentagon’s petty cash fund.

Needless to say, we are seeing talk of breakthrough infections normalizing. I guess that means someone is keeping a tally of them, now? Too bad no one seems to be listening.

Stay masked. Get vax’d and boosted. Get tested if you want to visit with family. Better yet, stay home!

Y’all Suck! We Are Back At Orange!

Looks like we are back at Code Orange in the COVID-19 threat level in Harris County.

“Due to the explosive growth of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus across Harris County, public health officials are strongly urging all eligible Harris County residents, especially individuals 65 and older, to get their booster shots as soon as possible,” county officials said in a statement released Monday. “Residents who are not vaccinated are cautioned to do so immediately. Regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask and get tested before attending holiday gatherings.

I don’t like to second guess leaders that I support, but the masking/testing suggestion for all should have continued, instead of going “Yellow.” Instead, we’ve seen so many maskless mass events attended by the unmasked, yet vaccinated, as holiday parties and graduations have been celebrated and, unsurprisingly, the numbers took a turn for the worse in a very bad and quick way. Some of our Democratic stars are getting breakthrough infections. My worry is also with workplaces who have “fully opened” and have gone unmasked as they follow Greg Abbott.

Let’s not forget that when we went to “Yellow” the other day, word of Omicron surfaced. And what we know about Omicron now is that we will have more breakthrough infections. And the worry is that many of those breakthrough infections will hit hospital and medical staff.

We should have remained careful. Hell, I did and continue double-masking and avoiding maskless crowds, but that’s because I have my own comorbidities and I have family members who are immunosuppressed that I’d much rather hang-out with than all other humans. I’m not going to risk them.

I know leaders want to provide citizens some sort of incentive or reward or relief from masks for bringing numbers down, but, with so many still unvaccinated and unmasked scoffing at our leaders who are trying to do something good, well, idiocy should not be rewarded. Certainly, the maskholes didn’t feel the need to vax and mask while those of us who have done our part were the ones who were actually being rewarded.

President Biden will speak on Omicron on Tuesday. While I hear chatter from some considered experts that “COVID-19 is here to stay” and that “we will all get it, eventually,” I hope leaders at the very top don’t listen to them and actually lead. Some of us just don’t want to get sick, no matter how “mild” the symptoms.

For more, here’s Kuff.