More Vaccine Ranting

Georgia just announced that anyone above the age of 16 will be eligible to get the vaccine starting tomorrow. My social media is full of friends and family being vaccinated in Kentucky. Meanwhile, here in Maryland, the “big” move forward for us was that starting yesterday people over the age of 60 are eligible. This coming Tuesday people of any age with underlying health conditions are finally eligible. Then it opens to 55 plus before finally, just in time for Biden’s May 1 deadline, late April everyone is available. We are moving a snail’s pace while also being told 70% of the people in the first phase have received a shot.

We are perilously close to more and more vaccines sitting on a shelf(I’ve read but not confirmed that Maryland already has 500,000 unused doses). We have a preregistration system here so there is no way to know if our mass vax sites have open appointments that aren’t filled because they can’t find the “right” people. I assume it’s possible since there was hand wringing in the Post today about people from other states and the “unqualified” getting spots when the called and got canceled slots. Would we rather those slots go unfilled? Isn’t the goal to vaccinate as many people as possible as fast as possible? Are we so worried about following the rules that we would rather vaccinate no one than vaccinate someone that the great Larry Hogan has not declared eligible? This is what happens when the government is in charge and the person in charge is addicted to power and TV. Nothing gets done so Hogan can avoid bad press. With the slow process he can brag about how he’s “protecting the vulnerable” and I’m sure in a few weeks suddenly release the 500,000 or more stored doses while claiming he had to fight the feds for them and now he’s a hero. Kind of like his big, fake photo op with the tests he bought from Korea that didn’t work.

Also, we are months into the vaccination process and his big announcement yesterday is that we are just now opening a mass vax site in our most populous county. My county will get one in mid-April. Another part of the process that has inched along.

It’s embarrassing that we are behind Mississippi in the process. Mississippi! Along with many other states. I could probably move back home to Kentucky, establish residency, and be eligible faster than I will be in Maryland.

Hogan is vey obviously already running for president. He takes every opportunity to go on TV an brag about how great he is. He has stopped governing Maryland and puts us all at risk of disease while he inches along in the process and no one on the media has called him out on it. Why isn’t he being held accountable? Where are the questions about the pace and the unused shots?

The timeline has reduced my anxiety about the vaccine. At least I know when I am eligible. Now I’m just mad that he is so bad at coordinating the process and seems to be getting a free pass from the media.

Losing Friends on Facebook

About a month ago, a friend on Facebook posted that she was going to unfriend people she considered hypocrites for speaking out against the Capitol riots and not on the Black Lives Matters protests. Or something like that. I can no longer see the post because very soon after that post she was no longer my friend on Facebook. In this case, it’s easy to know why she unfriended me. It was easy to see that she unfriended me because I went to look for something she had posted around the same time and saw we were no longer friends. I discovered soon after that when I posted something in a Facebook group for my high school class that I was no longer friends with a couple more people from high school/ I have no idea when or why they unfriended me. I have downloaded an app now that tells me who unfriended me because I think it will be interesting to track when it happens to see if I can guess why. Since downloading the app, I’ve lost one more friend. This time it as someone I only vaguely knew via library stuff. I’m assuming in this case it was just them cleaning up their friend list and random “no longer librarian” didn’t make the cut.

Being unfriended is nothing new to me. I’ve lost several friends over the years and I can guess in a lot of cases why. Here are some I know of:

One friend from college who got mad when I didn’t reply to a comment he made on a post. He then posted a comment telling me if I was going to ignore him he would unfriend me. After that, it was pretty much 100% I was never going to reply/ We are no longer Facebook friends.

Another college acquaintance I met at a religious organization. We were playing some Facebook game from long ago where it asked random questions to friends. The one that came up for me to send to him was “have you ever had an STD?” He said I needed better questions and then was no longer my Facebook friend.

Another person from the same place that has friended and unfriended me a couple of times. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect I’m not “Christian” enough in my posts for her.

A high school friend who unfriended me during the 2016 election when it was clear I was very anti-Trump.

Other have unfriended me over the years without a clear cut reason. I assume it’s because they cant handle so much awesome.

I don’t generally unfriend people. I did do a purge at one point where I started unfriending people from work who were not actual friends. The theory was that I was going to go completely private, but then halfway through I gave up and stayed public. I unfriended two people from high school who were way into conspiracy stuff and posted after mass shootings that they were false flag operations and the victims ere crisis actors. I didn’t want to ne connected to people who would post that. I generally just unfollow people rather than unfriend them. Sometimes I mute them for 30 days first and then unfollow if they are still posting what annoys me. I unfollow some people for posting so much that my entire feed is them. I rarely unfriend.

Have you lost friends on Facebook due to politics or other disagreements?

Do you unfriend people you disagree with?

Death and Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh died of lung cancer yesterday. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were full of people who were giddy about his death. They didn’t like him. They thought he was a terrible person. They were glad he was dead. They made jokes. It was a great day. This is not a defense of Rush Limbaugh. I didn’t like him. I will admit that back in the early 90;s when I spent all day in my car delivering papers in downtown Cincinnati I would sometimes listen to his show. I found that music all day didn’t work for me so I rotated through various talk radio shows until the comedy radio show I liked started. Sometimes I would land on Rush. I didn’t agree with him and spent time yelling at the radio. I stopped listening the day he called homeless people human debris. I know he promoted a lot of terrible views and there is a good reason for people not to like him. My question is – Is it really ever OK to celebrate someone’s death?

I have mixed feelings on this. I think it was generally considered acceptable to celebrate the death of Bin Laden. I think celebrating the death of Hitler was OK. They were terrible people who were behind atrocities and the deaths of a lot of people. Charles Manson? Jeffrey Dahmer? Ted Bundy? I think most people would be OK with celebrating the death of a serial killer. What about other members of the Manson family? People who did bad things but seemed to change once they were no longer under Manson’s influence? Still a celebration? Do we celebrate the death of people who committed other terrible crimes short of murder? Does it depend on the circumstance or how close the crime was to you? Is it really a good thing to celebrate the death of someone because they promoted hateful ideas on the radio? And celebrate publicly? In some cases, seemingly stalk pages online so you can comment on other people’s comments to make sure they know you hated him and are glad he is dead?

I’m not claiming any high ground here. I’m just saying that I am not a fan of seeing post after post of people giddy about the death of anyone. In this case, I also think about the fact that I have family members who post hate filled posts on Facebook. Terrible, racist stuff. I have unfollowed them so I don’t see it and I am embarrassed that they are part of my family. I would hate to see people celebrating if they died because of this. I’m sure there are people in Limbaugh’s family in the same boat. They hated what he said and promoted on air, but he was family and people are saying we should all be glad he is dead. It just doesn’t seem right.

Do you think it is OK to celebrate the death of Rush?

Is it ever OK to celebrate anyone’s death?

Support the Common Tater

Politics and the Vaccine

I was going to avoid this topic, but since it is mostly what is in my head this morning, here we go. I will begin by saying that I am on the very bottom of the list of who will get the vaccine. It makes sense. I don’t have to leave the house to work. I’m 52 years old and relatively healthy. Even when I did go to work, I didn’t work with the public. I worked in a building with a small group of people with masks and distancing with an administration who has no plans to open to the public until the virus is gone. None of this is about me wanting to jump the line(though I would get the shot today if someone offered it to me). I’m not mad at the people who are getting the vaccine. You should definitely get it when it is offered.

I am tired of all of the politics involved in all of this. Constant fighting over who should be first in line. People in certain professions declaring that they should be considered essential. Pushing and shoving and shouting about being more important than others so you can get the shot first. Local jurisdictions complaining that the state won’t give them enough vaccines while the state complains that the feds aren’t giving them enough vaccines while the feds are justifying a very low vaccination goal that is basically status quo. If we are depending on politicians to save us we are all doomed.

If we base vaccinations on what jobs are declared essential we are saying industries with the most powerful lobby get to jump the line. My former industry very loudly say they are essential during funding, then very loudly said they weren’t essential when it came to opening during the pandemic and now are very loudly proclaiming they are essential again now that they want the vaccine. Can we have a rule that if you closed to the public in March and never even considered reopening regardless of the numbers that you have sacrificed your claim to essential? Especially when you even refused to consider curbside pick up of printing or any expansion of services past online programs and curbside pickup of books? Now, this might all be bitterness about how all of the issues I dealt with while there were ignored and swept under the rug. It might be me being mad that I would leave a job because of the issues and thus sacrificed a chance at a vaccination. I think most people would agree, though, that if you don’t actually work with the public and have no plan to work with the public any time soon you should not be jumping the line for the vaccine. This issue is also highlighted by the situation in Fairfax County, VA where the teachers all signed up to be first for the vaccine but then said they still wouldn’t go back to work until kids can be vaccinated. Despicable.

If we depend on politics some of us are doomed by having a governor who is positioning himself to run for president and a county executive who is positioning himself to run for governor. The day our governor scheduled a press conference to say he was opening the vaccinations to 75 and up my county executive made a big pronouncement ahead of time that he wasn’t waiting for the state and that he was opening up vaccinations to 75 up in our county. It is obvious he knew what was coming and wanted to look like the savior. Now, today, the governor has scheduled a 2pm press conference to talk about vaccinations and my county executive has scheduled one for 11am. Probably more of the same. Our vaccination pace sucks and everyone is playing political games instead of working together to speed up the process.

The vaccine schedule should have been health care workers and first responders and then all age based. Moving down the age scale as supply allows. If you don’t have enough 75 ups one day to fill the appointments, don’t hold the doses waiting for them. Call 65 ups until the slots are filled. Doses should not be on the shelf while you wait for the “right people” to sign up to get the shots. Move the vaccinations away from health departments and hospitals and into places in neighborhoods where people go to get the flu shot. It shouldn’t take people hours to figure out where to go to sign up for a vaccination. Government run vaccinations should be at mass vaccination sites run by FEMA and the military and open long hours 7 days a week. Covid doesn’t take weekends off, neither should we.

We need to stop playing politics and start worrying about saving lives.

Inauguration Day

Four years ago I wrote about inauguration day. I wrote about looking for hope even if you didn’t like the person being inaugurated. I think the last four years have been even more disastrous than I expected. The news has been worse and worse as the yeas have gone by, ending in the midst of a pandemic.

Looking back at my post from four years ago I see I had too much faith in other politicians. I should have known better. No one stepped up, No one in the president’s party spoke up against him until it was basically over. Politicians did what politicians always do – care more about power and reelection than the people they represent. It also seems hard to think about finding hope in each other. Try to remember that there is much more good than bad out there. The bad gets all the press, but the good is out there. Continue to find hope in the thought that our children can make the world a better place than we have left it. We can still work to become the hope in the world. Spend more time working to make the world better for others instead of arguing with each other on Facebook. Volunteer. March when necessary. Be a light in the darkness.

Today is a day of hope for the future.

We have a new president who is much more stable than what we have had for the past four years.

We have the possibility of leaders from both parties finding common ground.

We have hope that the vaccinations will ramp up and we will finally emerge from the darkness of the pandemic.

We have hope that we will go back to working with the rest of the world instead of distancing ourselves.

There will still be bad out there. Things won’t magically get better at noon today. We won’t magically live in utopia because of a change in leadership. The hope doesn’t fall completely on one man. The hope falls on all of us. Turn off the news. Stop arguing on social media. Start becoming the good you want to see.

If you enjoy my writing, please consider supporting me here

Watching the Attack on the Capitol

I’m glad I decided early on yesterday that I was going to get nothing done. I expected to read my book while keeping an eye on the certification vote. As is standard thee days, instead of reading my book I was scrolling through Twitter. As CNN was still on the speeches Twitter was reporting that a couple of buildings in DC had been evacuated. Then I saw a reporter tweet that people had breached the Capitol grounds and were trying to get in the building. It took a few minutes for CNN to switch coverage from the speeches to the events outside. Soon after it was reported that the hearing was paused. I watched stunned as the rioters broke into the Capitol building. I was seeing pictures from inside of guns drawn. I saw the woman who was shot being taken out on a stretcher. I couldn’t believe this was happening, but in some ways I guess I wasn’t shocked at all. We’ve had four years of a president who encouraged the worst behavior from his supporters. They threatened violence on the streets if he lost. I expect this is not the end. I expect more riots and violence in the days to come. I expect disruptions at the inauguration. I will not be shocked if someone attempts to assassinate Biden. Thats where we are as a country.

On Facebook I called it what it was – an attack on our country. I said the military needed to be called in to drag the rioters out in shackles. It is appalling that these people were allowed to wander around the Capitol doing what they wanted. It is appalling that there is video of them walking calmly out while a police officer holds the door open for them. No one should have let the building not in cuffs. Every single person who entered the building should be in jail and they should be in jail for a long time. An attack on our country should not be met with politeness. The president who incited this should be removed from office and indicted for treason. Allowing something like this to happen with no repercussions is damaging to our country and our elections.

This was not a protest. This was a riot. This was an attack on democracy. It should be treated as such.

I noticed today that a friend from high school unfriended me on Facebook after my post. I’m actually surprised it was only one. I saw before I was unfriended that she was going to unfriend anyone who called out this but was too silent on the Black Lives Matters protests. I’m not sad at all that she is gone the same as I’m not sad at people who unfriended me because I’m not “religious enough” for them.

I am who I am. Take it or leave it.

The Day After

I gave up on watching the results at 11 last night. I knew nothing would be decided so I might as well get some sleep. I was hoping for a little more clarity when I woke up this morning. It looks like it might be a few days before we know who is the next president. I knew it was coming, but the stress and anxiety of the election added to my normal stress and anxiety, likely heightened by phone calls today that will stress me out even more is not good. I need non-work distraction. Some random thoughts:

We should all want every vote to be counted even if they are votes for the candidate we don’t like.

Counting votes after the polls close is a normal and legal thing.

Mail in votes are valid votes.

No matter what is happening now, our laws have a process in place for someone to become president in January.

Our country is still divided and will continue to be divided no matter the results. We need to work on figuring out how to fix this.

A History of Election Posts

Instead of a new election post, I’ve put together a list of past posts regarding elections. The last one goes all the way back to the first time Obama was elected. So, if you want to read old Tater thoughts on elections, here you go. I’m so ready to be done with political ads this year. Here’s hoping this is not a long, drawn out process and we get an answer soon. And while voting – click here to vote buying Tater a coffee

In Defense of Independent Candidates

A History of Dumb Posts on Election Day

Another Message to America

We Are the Problem

A Message to America

Election Thoughts

Tater’s Take on the Fight for Justice

This is what I wrote after the death of Justice Scalia. I stand by the first paragraph. I have not seen any posts celebrating the death of RBG, but if I do I will feel the same.

My feelings on the second paragraph now – the same people who said it would be wrong to vote on Garland have now said they will vote on a Trump nominee. This is wrong. This is situational ethics. If it was wrong to vote on Garland it is wrong to vote on a Trump nominee this close to an election.

Unless you have been living under a rock for several days, you know that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on Saturday. This leaves an opening on the Supreme Court during an election year with less than a year remaining on President Obama’s time in office. This lead to much discussion about Scalia and his possible replacement. I have a couple of thoughts on this. I will start with the people who are rejoicing in his death. Antonin Scalia was a human being with family and friends who loved him. His death is not a happy occasion to be celebrated. It doesn’t matter how you feel about his politics, rejoicing in his death is bad form. Filling social media with negative posts about him does no one any good. It just shows that the poster lacks basic human decency.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t like your politics and opinions, shall we have a party when you die?

Secondly, the people who say the Republicans should delay any vote to confirm an Obama nominated justice because “we should let the American people decide who gets to make the pick” – the American people already decided who they wanted to make this decision when we held an election in 2012. The American people voted to President Obama to remain in office until January of 2017. Until January of 2017 it is President Obama’s job to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. President Obama plans to do his job. We elected people to Congress who’s job it is to confirm this nominee. I would hope they will be grown ups and do their job as well. If we wait and leave it to President Trump we might end up with Judge Judy on the court.

Tater Talks Current Events

Before I write anything about current events I want to make sure there is no doubt on two things: 1. I believe Covid is real. I wear a mask in public and the only people I have seen in person are my family and people at work. 2. I am not a fan of Donald Trump. If the Democrats ran a potato against him I would vote for the potato. Tater for president! Now on to the random thoughts I’ve had recently

I stumbled on this article recently After severe illness, NBC’s Dr. Joseph Fair tests negative for COVID-19 antibodies and I remember when he was on air talking about his battle with coronavirus. He was ill. He was in the hospital and on oxygen. He talked about how he had been so careful and all he could come up with on how he got the virus was through his eyes on a plane. It was big news on the Today Show. Only problem? He tested negative for the virus four times and then his antibody test came back negative He was sick, but with something else. This didn’t stop him from going on TV to talk about his recovery from an illness he never had. I get that he had al the symptoms and thought it was safe to assure he had it, but I also think that someone in his position needs to be a lot more careful with his reporting. It is things like this that make it easier for people to come to the conclusion that much of this is fake. You can read this article and think that if he reported he had it when he didn’t, how many more of the reports are fake.

Another big thing in the news is the discussion about opening schools in the fall. I’m not going to give an opinion. I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision. I’m glad I don’t have any K-12 students. It’s bad enough stressing about what college will look like for my daughter. One thing I do know – Trump deciding he is going to push states to open schools does not help the matter. We are in a very divisive state right now. People have taken sides and they will dig in and refuse to agree with the other side on anything. Especially when Trump is involved. All Trump has done is guarantee that even people on the left who might have been leaning toward wanting schools to open will now dig in against him and fight against any openings. That’s just where we are now. If he had announced that schools should stay closed I would bet some of those same people would have become the loudest proponents of doing whatever it takes to open schools and the people on the right would immediately become lockdown proponents.

Masks are now a political fight. It shouldn’t be this way. We can’t recover as a country if we fight about everything. We’ve reached a point where it seems like some people are rooting for the virus and against the country. I’ve seen people comment that they hope cases go up where they live so they could never consider opening schools. They are actively rooting for more people to get sick so they get what they want. It’s insane. When the virus was ravaging New York there were people who were OK with that. It’s only hitting a city full of liberals, so it’s no big deal to them. Now that it is hitting the south  I’ve seen posts from people happy that the “red states” are doing poorly. We should not be happy that anyone is getting sick and dying. Everyone has lost their minds.

We need to take a pause and remember that we are humans first not living embodiments of our political party.

Click here to buy me a cup of coffee