Monday, August 9, 2021

Recapping a Year of Covid19 in 2021 

I haven't written much in the last few years but maybe its time to start again.  For the past year and a half the world has had to deal with Covid19 or Corona Virus.  Millions of people have died, economies have been devastated, families have been decimated.  In this country the initial Government response, under the Trump administration was simply to deny it.  It started with cruise ships being held off shore and not allowed to discharge passengers.  Then it hit large metropolitan cities like New York and Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago.  We went into a national lockdown and hundreds died.  Hospitals were overwhelmed, bodies were being stored in refrigerated trucks. We didn't have enough ventilators or masks for the nurses and doctors and believe it or not, people started hoarding toilet paper which disappeared from all the grocery shelves.

Geralyn and I were in Key West at the time, spending the winter on CallieB.  In March 2020 we decided to leave early as we did not know what restrictions the base was going to impose on our movements.  Already boats were restricted from leaving the marina and returning, all new arrivals were cancelled and no new applications were being accepted.  Bars and restaurants were having to close early and soon they would all have to shut down.  So we left and drove back to Indianapolis.  It was a pretty easy trip and gas was suddenly cheap as already states were going into lockdown and very few were driving and the highways suddenly became nearly empty.  You were only supposed to leave your home for necessities such as groceries and supplies.   All restaurants and bars were closed, as well as hair salons and gyms.  School children were sent home and studies became virtual.  I had never heard of Zoom but suddenly it became a lifeline to visit with friends and relatives.  "Can you see me now?" became the most common phrase of the day.   Everyone started ordering masks that matched their lifestyle or color combinations and yes politics.  

In politics denial by the Trump administration soon switched to blame and Trump tried to label it the China Virus.  In the meantime a huge effort to create a vaccine was undertaken and funded, and yes the Trump administration did push this.  Credit where credit is deserved.  Unfortunately politics were in season. It was election year and Trump needed his base which happened to be comprised of religions zealots, ultra libertarians', nationalists and Nazis want-a-bees.  All suspicious of Big Government and Big Brother.  So, where large gatherings had been discouraged and is some places outlawed, Trump proceeded to hold huge rallies, all maskless and  reminiscent of Nazis rallies of the 30s when Hitler was coming into power in Germany.  Liberty and Freedom from the mask were now the slogan of the right.  Then in November 2020 Trump's world was upended by the election of Joe Biden.   A fact that he could not comprehend and hence became The Big Lie that the election was somehow stolen from him.   Conspiracy theories abounded such as somehow the voting machines, in only swing states that Trump lost, were corrupted by hackers in Italy or space lasers operated by Jews.  Ballots were being printed in China and surreptitiously snuck into the counting rooms in the middle of the night.  Suits were brought to throw out the election on flimsy affidavits from nefarious sources.  All thrown out of court, even by the Supreme Court, which had been packed with three new conservative judges during Trump's administration. 

Unfortunately this all culminated in the events of January 6, 2021, which will be remembered historically similarly to December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001.  A day when our democracy was almost destroyed.  A day that saw Confederate battle flags mixed with American flags and MAGA flags and Trump flags used as weapons to storm the US Capitol in order to stop the counting of electoral votes and overthrow a duly elected government.   How easily supposedly good people can be turned into monsters with the right words and wrongful lies.  

So Crazy started the year 2021 and has continued up until the writing of this even though the election of Joe Biden, and his assumption of office, have given us a little respite from the continual upheaval of the four long years of Donald Trump.  The fact that Trump has been essentially kicked off of his social media platforms and has lost the bully pulpit also helps.  Nevertheless the politicization of Covid has continued.  

Back in January and February when the vaccine was first approved, Geralyn and I got up at 6am to try to get an appointment for the vaccine.  We finally ended up driving 90 miles each way on separate occasions to get our vaccine.  But more lies and more conspiracies have worked to slow down and in some cases almost stop the vaccination process in many deep red communities as well in communities of color, who are even more susceptible to the virus.  

Now, as I write this, the virus is resurging throughout the country and indeed the world due to a variant of the original virus called the Delta Variant.  It is more transmissible, more virulent and more deadly and is raging through the unvaccinated population.  Hospitals are again being overrun with Covid patients, with over 95% being the unvaccinated.  Plus, due to the polarization of our world and the politicization, some Governors of red states have even banned the ability of local authorities to impose restrictions and mask mandates.  This goes against logic and borders on forming a death cult by these people.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

 Regressive vs. Progressive Taxation.  From the NYT, September 17, 2020.  


Many states have tax systems that are regressive: They take a greater share of income from the poor than the rich. And because a disproportionate share of the richest taxpayers are white, these state tax systems also widen racial wealth gaps.

In Illinois, for example, the lowest-earning fifth of the population pays 14.4 percent of its income in state and local taxes, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The middle-earning fifth pays 12.6. The highest-earning 1 percent of residents pays 7.4 percent.

This year, Illinoisans will vote on whether to change this system, through a constitutional amendment to authorize a more progressive tax, called the Fair Tax. It would cut taxes for the 97 percent of residents who make less than $250,000 in taxable income — and raise taxes for the remaining 3 percent, according to the study. If the Fair Tax had been in place over the past two decades, it would have effectively transferred $50 billion in wealth from this richest 3 percent to everyone else.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

 Listening to Bob Woodward discussing his book RAGE as regards General Mattis and Dan Coats and why he thinks they really haven't come forward yet to verify elements of his book.  

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Flag I Knew but Never Thought About.

I’m a product of the South. I grew up a southern white boy in the 50’s.  I went to all white schools and lived in all white neighborhoods.  I had all white friends and dated all white girls.  I read books about the civil war exploits of confederate soldiers.  I watched movies dramatizing the antebellum south. I watched TV shows like “The Gray Ghost” glorifying the exploits of John Singleton Mosby (Mosby’s Raiders).  I listened to my grandmother talking about her father, my great grandfather, who fought under Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville.  Yes, I’m a true “son of the confederacy”.  To me the Confederate flag was a sign of a proud heritage and second only to the American flag.   The problem was I never thought about the other side of the meaning of that flag.  

We in the south, and when I say that, I mean we white people in the south grew up glorifying the confederacy. We lived, we breathed it, it was just part of us.  I never thought about the real meaning of the flag and the reasons for the Civil War.  True, I studied it in school, but I studied it in a southern school with a southern curriculum.  It was just as much "The War for States Rights" or more strikingly the "War for Southern Independence" as it was the Civil War.  We studied more about Bull Run then The Battle of Appomattox and Sherman's March to the Sea was a horrendous uncalled for excessively brutal treatment of the South.  I learned about slavery but what I learned about slavery was that most slave owners treated their property humanely and that most white families cherished the relations they had with their black families and there were only a few owners who treated them cruelly.  I'm sorry this is what we were taught.  

I am now an old man in the twilight of my years.  I look back upon my childhood and see that I sure missed a lot in those days.  There was a whole other world out there of people that were on the other side.  Sons and daughters of sons and daughters of the slaves that were that property.  What our white view was not what their black view was.  Where I looked at that flag and saw pride, they grew up looking at that flag and saw fear.  What I experienced growing up was institutionalized racism, what's being called today systemic racism, and I was ground into it.  That's the problem today.  So many of us grew up the way I have described and never even knew it.   

There was a lot of things we didn't know.  We didn't know how it felt to be relegated to the balcony of the Carolina Theatre and have to enter through the rear door.  We didn't know how it felt to be sent to the back of the city bus or have to drink out of the colored only water fountain in the Kress store or not be served at the lunch counter or not be allowed to use the public toilet unless there was a "colored" one available.  Yes, I lived those days but didn't experience them.  Over the years I have often said that had I experienced them I probably wouldn't be here today.  True, black men my age have had to endure a lot more than I have and are probably more scarce then my kind. 

So I am not surprised at all about the feelings and emotion that erupting today in the Black community and the awareness that seems to be coming about in many of us in the white community.  It is long overdue.  We thought that when Obama was elected we had transgressed into a new era.  Oh how wrong we were.  His election did bring out a degree of pride and personal worth to the black community but it brought a lot of anger, animosity and fear in the white community, but suppressed until the advent of Trump.   

The election of Donald Trump, with his say it like it is type of personality and his bully mentality allowed white people with racial tendencies to just let it rip.  So it's no wonder that after nearly 4 years the country is like a powder keg.  Lets hope there is enough young people with sense who haven't grown up like I did that can make this country whole again and fix a problem that has been festering for 150 years.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Home at St. Johns Yacht Harbor on the Stono River

So Dave Arnold and I stayed at the Cooper River Marina for about 3 weeks.  While there we installed both a oil guage and a temperature guage.  While testing the oil sensor we found that the prop had become separated from the shaft once again so the fix we had at Amelia Island only last about two weeks.  Moved  the boat to Pierside Boadyard to do the bottom and have the prop reinstalled.  Nelso at Palmetto Props had a bronze bore reducer made for me and a new key machined to bid the shaft and prop.  I will never go back to Pierside as they really screwed me at the end of which I will not go into on this form.

After vacation with China in Florida and house sitting for Carol I moved back on the boat and
moved it to St. Johns Yacht Basin on the Stono River.  Really nice marina, very comfortable with floating docks, pool and bar/restaurant.

Charleston provides a good market so I have pretty much decided to keep the boat here and put it on the market.  In the meantime I will purchase a more comfortable livaboard boat for my slip in Boca Chica.  Have looked at a few boats already in Florida and plan to look at a couple more this week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fernandina Beach to Charleston

So let me catch up with this adventure or more aptly "tale of woe".   Left Fernandina Beach at about 6:30am on Sunday morning.  Had a beautiful day sail. Weather was 5-10 out of Southeast   Made great time all day with GPS predicting our Charleston arrival at around 6:30am. Great 24 hour run, but not to be. Even caught a nice blackfin tuna.  

The winds predicted approaching Charleston 5-10 out of the north turned out to be 20 out of the northeast, right on our nose.  Waves and wind slowed us to 1-2kts putting us in Charleston at somewhere late afternoon. Too much pounding to weather for two senior citizens.  We turned around and headed for Port Royal Sound, 33 miles away to the south. We were 25 miles from Charleston at the time.  Neither Dave nor I had ever entered Port Royal so it was daunting with a steady 20 kts out of the Northeast.  The channel approach is due North for nearly 5 miles, then a turn of about 30deg to the west for 6 miles putting the waves on our beam. Thankfully the channel is well marked and deep.  We made it in though, fueled up at Port Royal Landing, where I now have some of the rubber from their floating dock on the port side of my boat.  Kissed it a little hard and Dave forgot to put out the fenders.  Took a ball at Beaufort town marina for $20 and had dinner at Luthers.  

Dropped the ball at 6:15 and requested bridge opening with 2 boats following us through.  Let them pass thinking they were more familiar. Great move until we tried to enter the Ashepoo Cooshaw cut.  The boat we were following went aground and us right behind him.  I tried to go right but too late we went into the mud.  Luckily I was able to back off.  We anchored, thinking we would wait for more tide as it was very low.  A passing trawler gave us a heads up on the proper course so we tried it again snd made it. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fernandina Beach

Wednesday 5/16/14.  Left Amelia YB around 9:30.  Found that my RAM mic did not work now.  How much more can fail.  Engine hours when we left was 145.   Added one qt of oil.   Purchase 40 gallons of fuel and put in about 32.  Total hours in 32 gallons was about 32.  Took a slip at FB City marina. Winds gusting to 26kts out of the west.  

Recapping a Year of Covid19 in 2021  I haven't written much in the last few years but maybe its time to start again.  For the past year ...