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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 39,506

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

This New COVID Variant Is Shaping Up to Be a Dj Vu Nightmare

The world has built up a lot of immunity in the nine months since the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus became dominant, driving a record wave of infections.

That immunity from vaccines and past infection is helping to keep down hospitalizations and deaths even as Omicron’s offspring—a succession of subvariants—have become dominant, one after one.

Now the virus is trying to find a way around our antibodies. A new subvariant, BA.4.6, is beginning to outcompete its predecessor, BA.5. Its advantages include a particular mutation to the spike protein, the part of the virus that helps it to grab onto and infect our cells.

We’ve seen this R346T mutation before. And every time it’s appeared, it’s been associated with forms of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen with an increased ability to dodge our antibodies. A quality epidemiologists call “immune-escape.”

If BA.4.6 becomes dominant, it could reverse the encouraging trend we’ve seen in most countries in recent weeks toward fewer infections, fewer hospitalizations, fewer deaths.

It’s a reminder that the novel coronavirus is a living, evolving thing. As we adapt to it, it adapts to us. “Viruses in general mutate to be more infectious and to avoid our immunity,” Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington Institute for Health, told The Daily Beast.

Don’t panic quite yet. “One thing I try not to do is get too excited for every new variant that pops up,” Peter Hotez, an expert in vaccine development at Baylor College, told The Daily Beast.

Most coronavirus variants and subvariants appear and disappear without significantly changing the pandemic’s overall direction. Plus, there’s a new kind of vaccine in the works that could help us to fight, long-term, even the worst forms of COVID. Eventually.


California Becomes First State to Offer Free School Meals to All Children

With inflation and food insecurity on the rise, California education leaders are giving parents one less thing to worry about: school lunches.

Starting this year, all school children will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch, no matter their family’s income level.

“A lot of people like me are thankful,” said Melanie Navarrete, a mom.

Navarrete has three kids. With the rising cost of nearly everything, she says, it's not easy having to pack food for them all.

The program is part of Assembly Bill 130 signed into law by Governor Newsom last July, making California the first state to offer free meals to all kids.

“You can’t say no to food. You never know about some of those kids. Some of those kids may not have families that can provide,” said Star Bales who is a grandma.


Dead Can Dance - The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove

Tweet of the Day


Bonus Tweet of the Weekend


Tweet of the Weekend


NY-10; NY-12; NY-17: The NYT endorse all white men in the three most contested Democratic primaries

New York’s chaotic primary elections for Congress, which will be held on Aug. 23, are the outcome of Democrats in Albany having tried to do an end run around the state Constitution’s ban on partisan gerrymandering. The courts smacked them down for that, and a hurried and confusing race to represent 20 million New Yorkers is now the result.

The races are important because they could help determine whether Democrats or Republicans win control of the House in November.

The new congressional map reconfigured the district lines in New York City and its suburbs, some of which have been in place for decades. Some of the districts, like the 10th, include parts of several previous districts. In the 17th, elected officials found that their homes no longer were within the districts they represented. So they had to either move or switch to new districts. In the 12th, the district was consolidated with another, leading to an intensely competitive primary.

More competition is good in politics, and the shapes of some of the new districts are more rational than before. But candidates were given little time to learn districts and voters to learn candidates.

The editorial board’s choices for the best candidates to represent these districts are Dan Goldman, Jerrold Nadler and Sean Maloney.


Extra Bonus Tweet of the Day


Bonus Tweet of the Day


Tweet of the Day

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