Its all connected

The COVID-19 vaccine will require billions of glass vials—but lockdowns are cratering the supply of recycled glass

When the coronavirus began to spread in the U.S., recycling rates started to drop. Some cities suspended curbside recycling; in other areas, the recycling centers that sort through waste had to close because workers couldn’t safely stay 6 feet apart. Several states suspended the bottle bills that pay consumers to bring containers back to stores. Some haulers started taking recyclables to landfills.

……

“We’ve designed our manufacturing process to use significant quantities of recycled glass, and so have all their other glass manufacturers in the country,” says Randy Burns, vice president of governmental affairs at O-I Glass, a major producer. “It takes less energy and heat to use recycled glass. So if you’ve designed your equipment to run on a high percentage of that, you have a choice to make if there’s no recycled content available. You can use more virgin raw materials, yes. But the equipment may not produce the same quantity of those products because it has to run at higher temperatures. And the configuration isn’t optimized for that input.”

Turns out that “non-essential” just means “some politician has decided we don’t need it”. But I knew that back in March 2020.


Unpopular opinion time

Over the last year I have slowly come to the realization that the phrase “if it saves just one life” might just be one of the most selfish sayings ever.

We’ll likely never know if the forced shutdowns and closures actually saved people’s lives (from dying of covid19) or not. They may well have.

The problem is that at the same time that the closures may have prevented deaths from covid19, they caused deaths from other things.

Suicide rates are up across the country, especially in the child populations. And the mental health of the remainder has taken a hell of a hit.

The elderly and people living in community housing are suddenly dying of loneliness and depression as their contact with family and the outside world was cut off.

Reports of drug overdoses and deaths have also continued to rise, reports of domestic abuse and rape as well.

And we’ll likely never know what the long term medical side effects of the forced lack of “non-essential” medical care for an extended period did to the world-wide population.

Unemployment continues to climb, small businesses continue to fail at astronomical rates. The tolls of high unemployment on a population are well known, all by itself it means an increase in suicide rates, drug overdose, and domestic abuse. How many small businesses that had been around for generations have to close due to the shut downs for it to count? What do you think that has done to the mental health of those people, to watch their businesses fail?

Every business that fails, every now unemployed person, is that many fewer to pay taxes. And all those stimulus checks and payments have to come from somewhere. What happens when there’s fewer people paying taxes? I can guarantee that the various politicians won’t be taking pay cuts to make up the difference.

The food supply chain still isn’t back to normal. We’re damn close to a year out from the original forced shutdown here in the USA, but the grocery store shelves STILL aren’t back to where they were prior. Never mind the supply chains for so many other things.

And that’s all without getting into the political climate. Something close to half the country now believes that the corrupt run the country and nothing they can say or do (legally) is going to make a difference. Something close to the other half of the country is happily calling for the blood, forced unemployment and re-education, and even death, of the first half. Oh sure, it’s more involved than that, but as someone who’s had a front row seat to how both sides think, I think that pretty well sums it up.

All those people who suicided due to the shutdown. All those people who died from lack of medical care, or who will die due to lack of medical care, during the shutdown. All those people who’s lives are now in a downward spiral because of the shutdown. They all had as much a right to live as the folks the shutdown was supposed to protect. “If it saves one life” is fucking useless if it kills 2. Its selfish as hell is what it is.

All of this has been running through my brain for a while. It’s part of why I’ve stuck to memes so much. I’m not prone to depression, but god it’s depressing to look at the bigger picture.


Really??

Look, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I firmly believe that human stupidity and greed is capable of making up for any such, and that the average human couldn’t keep a secret that long anyway.

But when they do stupid shit like this:

Its enough to make even me wonder.

I’d love to see the various politicians get their asses handed to them, but I’m starting to think that the ones we really need to go after is the media…..


Vaccine numbers, reality

If one more person tells me “omg, we have a vaccine, we can get back to normal!!!!”…..

Ok, numbers.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses. Pfizer says it plans to produce 1,300,000,000 doses by the end of 2021. That’s 650,000,000 vaccinated people if everything goes smoothly and there’s no unexpected problems.

According to the US Census bureau there’s over 330,000,000 people in the USA. So IN THEORY Pfizer can vaccinate everyone in the USA by the end of 2021 no problem.

Of course, Pfizer is also sending some of that vaccine outside of the USA, (which makes sense, because if we don’t vaccinate the entire god-dammed world the virus is just going to spread and mutate to the point where who knows if the vaccine will work,) but hey, there’s other vaccines about to be on the market. Let’s assume (and as of right now that’s a hell of an assumption, but hey, we’ll run with it) Moderna can also produce enough vaccines to vaccinate 650,000,000 people by the end of 2021.

The same Census bureau link above says estimated world population is over 7,730,000,000. Assuming vaccine production as stated above, thats approx 1/7 of the world’s population vaccinated. But hey, Australia is also working on a vaccine, so another 650,000,000 people vaccinated (maybe, if we’re lucky). And while I’ve not been following TO closely I’m sure other countries are also trying to develop vaccines.

But 7.7 billion people is ALOT of doses of vaccine, even if all the other vaccines are single shots not doubles like Pfizer’s.

Assuming that nothing goes wrong with production or distribution. Hint, things are already trying to go wrong.

That assumes that all vaccines are equally good at preventing people from getting sick, not all countries medical establishments are up to USA standards.

Or that they’ll actually stop the spread of the virus. Hint, last time I checked Pfizer’s vaccine stopped you from feeling the symptoms of Covid19, but they didn’t actually know if it stopped you from SPREADING the virus, which is a bit of a loophole since even if everyone in the world WANTED the vaccine there are people who CAN NOT get it.

And hell, they don’t actually know how many people, minimum, they have to vaccinate in order to ensure herd immunity. So while yes, they probably don’t actually have to vaccinate all 7.7 billion people in order to stop the spread, they have no way of knowing when they’ll hit that benchmark.

And that assumes everyone is willing and able to take the vaccine. As noted above there are people who are going to be medically advised NOT to take it. And polls are varying, by ALOT, of what percentage of people are going to be WILLING to take the vaccine, at least here in the USA. I’m seeing numbers saying between 30 to over 50% of people are either planning on refusing the vaccine, or are planning on waiting as long as possible because they worry about the side effects. Right or wrong it’s going to happen that people are going to refuse it, and it’s not going to be just the usual vaccine refusers either.

Covid19 isn’t going to go away any time soon. And if you think all the various businesses that keep being partially or fully shut down are going to last through another year of this mess you’re dreaming. Nor can our government afford to bail out the entire USA for another year, or years.

Nor are you going to get everyone to wear a mask, this is the USA, right or wrong our fight reflex is to strong. It’s not going to happen. Making people criminals for not wearing a mask, while releasing criminals because OMG they might get sick in prison, is counter productive.

Look, if you feel safer wearing a mask, wear it. If you feel safer keeping your kid out of school cause you’re worried about the school spread then do it (hint, more and more studies are showing remarkably little spread via in person schooling) then figure out a way to keep them properly educated and socialized from home. If you feel safer not getting your nails done, hair cut, or eating out, then do what you need to do to make you feel safe.

And I do think that the spread of hands free shopping, and deliveries, and curb-side pick-ups and the like is a good thing. As is the recognition that the general public is a filthy mass and maybe we should all be cleaning a bit more to stop the spread of things like the flu. And I’d definitely like to see a wider recognition that if you’re sick, even if it’s “just a cold”, then stay home.

But this screaming panic over this is doing SO MUCH MORE damage than the virus itself. Even if all the long term side effects of getting it turn out to be truly bad.

No, I don’t want your grandma to die of Covid so that the rest of us can have “normal” lives. But I don’t want your grandma dying of loneliness and despair in a nursing home because she hasn’t seen her family in person in months, or even touched another human being, either.

I don’t want women dying of breast cancer, or ovarian cancer, because they missed their annual checkup which would have found it and so it doesn’t get caught until to late. Or any one of another from a HUGE list of medical problems that preventive and voluntary medical procedures are meant to catch.

And I’m sick to hell already of watching small business after small business fail this year after their owners have struggled to keep them going.

And all that IS happening.

And maybe, just maybe, consider that the USA’s news cycle thrives on the negative, and that maybe, just maybe, you’re being fed deliberately bad news in order to hook you in. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s how they survive. I noticed it all the way back on 9/11/2001, so its not new.

So take a deep breath, step away from the news pages telling you how bad it is, and figure out how to live.

Edit:

shortly after posting the above I found THIS. *sarcasm* But hey, we’re protecting the children, so its all ok. */sarcasm*

And its not just the kids. Winter is a horrible time for depresion anyway, especially after the holidays. This year? Well, the holidays aren’t going to be very holiday-ish. I can guarantee that more and more adults are feeling depressed this year too. Between the fear of the virus, fear of job security, fear of loss of income, and how am I going to feed my family, on top of lack of socializing and interacting. I’ve certainly seen deteriorating interpersonal skills in my customers since this started. I’m sure the depression is right there with it. If you need additional help to get through this make sure you get it.

And yah, stay away from the news. Its not worth it.


No No No No!

Ran across this article yesterday.

Shutting down businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.

…….

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks.”

…….

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/11/biden-covid-advisor-says-us-lockdown-of-4-to-6-weeks-could-control-pandemic-and-revive-economy.html

Ok, first of all, where the hell do you plan to GET that much money?? Oh I know, you’ll borrow it. Nice, that’ll TOTALLY solve the economy problem…..And what about those of us who work for big sized companies? I mean, sure, my job is actually pretty secure, but not ALL big sized companies are. And if THEY start failing……that’s a hell of a trigger point there.

Then there’s the little fact that the economy is about more than just money. Money is only good for buying things. If you shut everything down again there won’t be anything to buy you moron! All the stimulus paychecks in the world won’t solve THAT.

You DO recall what happened in March when things shut down right? Despite frantic attempts to keep SOMETHING on the store shelves just about every store that was able to remain open ended up with empty shelves. Canned foods? Nope. Milk? Nope. Paper goods? Nope. Peanut butter? Nope. Disinfecting cleaning supplies? Nope. And while some of that was the result of people panicking and buying whatever they could get their hands on, not all of it was. Manufacturers are currently HOPING they’ll be able to be back to normal schedules at some point in 2021. HOPING! They are NOT caught up. Not even Kinda. Another 6 week shutdown, before they’re caught up? No, no, no, no…..

Oh, but the grocery shelves are back to normal! Right? No, no they aren’t. And neither are the cleaning supplies. Or, or, or…..the stores have just become really creative at how they stock the shelves. But if you know what you’re looking for? Yah, its really really obvious. Look, I’ve mentioned before that I have a wholesale foods account. The pricelist from the wholesaler back in March was 30 pages long, single column. Their current price list? 2 pages, double column. There’s SO MUCH stuff they can’t get right now. And what they can get, quantities still aren’t back to normal. And cleaning supplies? Look, I personally sell those at my work. There are entire brand lines of products that I haven’t seen even a single case of since this started.

And don’t get me started on Christmas. I hate to advocate buying your Christmas decor early. But this year? Buy it now. Or it won’t be there when you do go to the store. The ONLY thing we have plenty of stock of is pre-lit trees. We have NO backstock of ornaments. Barely any backstock of yard decor and blowups. No where NEAR enough backstock of lights. And the stock we do have? The selection isn’t near as wide as usual.

And then there’s the fact that the shutdown literally killed people. An awful lot of those “non-essential” medical treatments are only non-essential because the thing they treat was caught early enough to keep it from being an emergency. Or because they’re preventative, to keep things from becoming an emergency. Take away the availability of those treatments and suddenly there’s a lot more things that end up being emergencies, or that aren’t caught at all until it’s to late. And the lack of contact for seniors and the disabled stuck in assisted living and nursing homes? Yah, that killed some of them too, and set others back drastically.

Not to mention that all that assumes that we’ll HAVE a functional, GOOD, vaccine by the end of that 6 weeks. And yes, I know, it looks like we might. But might is not 100%. And no, I won’t be taking a vaccine that was rushed through trials that way. I WILL claim religious exemption if I need to. I’m not anti vaccine, they’re good things. But one that was rushed through like this? That we have NO CLUE what the long term outlook of it is? Fuck no. And I’m not the only one feeling twitchy at the way they’re rushing this vaccine through.

Look I get it. Nasty scary virus we don’t understand completely. But if the “cure” is doing more damage than the bug there’s a hell of a problem in how you’re doing it.


Election

Look, I’m not a Trump fan. He didn’t do as badly in his first 4 years as I’d been afraid, but still, not a fan. But there was no way in hell I was going to help vote in a geriatric dementia case with a California VP. Not that it matters since I live in upstate NY, and New York City dictates how the state’s votes go in national votes. My entire extended inlaw family could write in for the dog and it wouldn’t affect how the state’s results went.

I’m not any more worried by a Biden (or Harris) presidency than I was a Trump presidency. President not dictator or king. Not thrilled, but we’ll get through it just like we got through Trump’s presidency. Well, we’ll get through it if they can not sink the economy further by shutting everything down again cause COVID!!!

The general public’s response to the election has been my concern. I have friends on about every side of the political divide that you can imagine. And the divide between the news sources and media stories that each side sees, reads, and shares is drastic. To the point where its hard to tell that they’re talking about the same specific incident or happening.

And now the media has declared for Biden. But the legal side of it isn’t complete. What happens if the legal side of it changes that result? My entire FB and Twitter feed is nothing but cheering. The riots and hate if things don’t go their way is going to be even worse. And yah, outside of the idiots on each side (cause there are always idiots on every side) the majority of hate is coming from one side in particular. And its the side that seems to delight in eating their own too.

Look, I don’t care how you voted, or your political views of this mess. Take a deep breath. Make sure your home and family is secure. That you can withstand another 3 month shutdown, food, home, money wise. Cause while Biden/Harris don’t especially worry me, the rest of the political backlash has very major potential to go very bad.


Tell me again

Tell me again, how lockdowns were the only option for handling this virus.

Tell me again, how lockdowns were the only way to keep the public safe.

Tell me again, how forcing those already confined into total solitude was the only way to save their lives.

Tell me again, how its all for the children.

There were and are absolutely intermediate steps that can and should be done to protect the vulnerable. The expansion of shopping services, and other hands off services. The expansion of sick days and the ability to work from home from businesses. The recognition that some people have fucked immune systems and need additional protection. I’d certainly like to see these things continued and expanded.

But the assumption that we, as a national and international community, needed to shut down everything in order to save lives?

No.

The long term health damage from these shutdowns is going to be astronomical, just in the first world countries involved. Physical health, mental health, and emotional health. And not just to the adults. Children NEED the social interactions we just forced them to miss, they NEED it in order to learn to be better adults. We just fucked the hell out of the next generation, and that sort of thing has the ability to snowball into additional generations as those kids grow up and have kids of their own.

The long term health damage done to non-first world countries due to the shutdown? Programs to alleviate starvation had to shut down. Programs to alleviate various major diseases had to shut down. Shutdowns that mean that their efforts could be set back years due to having to start over in some areas. Shutdowns that mean that they now have to start over at gaining local trust.

And the economic, world wide, damage done by the shut down and the following various health issues? Yah.

So tell me again…..


Memorial Day

People complain about the commercialization of Christmas.

No, ANYTHING that can be monetized on has been commercialized.

To the point where I have people screaming at me at work this week because Home Depot isn’t running their normal Memorial Day sales.

I don’t really care what your POV of the whole pandemic shut down is, right or wrong, doesn’t matter.

If you’re screaming at the girl (I sound about 14 on the phone) who had the bad luck to answer the phone at your local big box store, because she just informed you that they aren’t running the usual sale, on a holiday that’s supposed to be in memory of the soldiers who died to keep you free, you need to sit down and shut the fuck up.

 

 

What can you see from your window?
I can’t see anything from mine
Flags on the side of the highway
And scripture on grocery store signs
Maybe eighteen was too early
Maybe thirty or forty is too
Did you get your chance to make peace with the man
Before he sent down his angels for you?

Mamas and grandmamas love you
‘Cause that’s all they know how to do
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

Your wife said this all would be funny
When you came back home in a week
You’d turn twenty-two and we’d celebrate you
In a bar or a tent by the creek
Your baby would just about be here
Your very last tour would be up
But you won’t be back. They’re all dressing in black
Drinking sweet tea in styrofoam cups

Mamas and grandmamas love you
American boys hate to lose
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

Now the high school gymnasium’s ready
Full of flowers and old legionnaires
Nobody showed up to protest
They just sniffle and stare
But there’s red, white, and blue in the rafters
And there’s silent old men from the corps
What did they say when they shipped you away
To give all in some God awful war?

Nobody here could forget you
You showed us what we had to lose
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

No, no you never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

 

or if you prefer:

 

Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone

When they come I will stand my ground
Stand my ground I’ll not be afraid

Thoughts of home take away my fear
Sweat and blood hide my veil of tears

Once a year say a prayer for me
Close your eyes and remember me

Never more shall I see the sun
For I fell to a Germans gun

Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone

Where before many more have gone

In memory of Sgt. Charles Stuart MacKenzie
Seaforth Highlanders
Who along with many others gave up his life so that we can live free. We will remember them


Four years to get the rest of the Solar Panels up

Not sure the finances are there.  Unless we can get another local promo like we did last time.  Arg…..

Cuomo to shut down Indian Point Nuclear Plant by 2021

The Indian Point nuclear power plant north of New York City has been supplying low-cost electricity to the metropolitan area for more than 50 years. But to hear Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo tell it, New Yorkers will hardly miss Indian Point.

Mr. Cuomo announced on Monday that the state had reached an agreement with the plant’s operator, Entergy, to shut it down by April 2021. He minimized the effects the closure would have on the power grid, electric bills, workers and the regional economy.
……

Still, other company executives and energy experts were left wondering how the state would replace the plant’s capacity of 2,000 megawatts, or about one-fourth of the power consumed by New York City and Westchester County. The state will have to do that while trying to meet Mr. Cuomo’s goal of having renewable energy account for half of the electricity delivered by utilities in New York by 2030.
………

Mr. Cuomo said the state would invest in wind farms and other renewable energy sources and add transmission lines to carry hydropower from Quebec.

 

No, I’m not in NYC, but if you think this won’t affect the whole state you’re not paying enough attention!