Thurs. Dec. 3, 2020 – whoooooshhhhh. <--sound of this week flying by

Cool and wet, but hopefully not raining all day.  Like yesterday.

When I got nothing done.  Well, did get the daughter safely to school and back for her class picture, and annual hearing and vision checkup.  Talked to a couple of the moms while there.  One was the volunteer coordinator for the science program I led.  She’s working on getting something we can do remotely with the kids.  I miss seeing the kids and doing the experiments.

I miss doing all of my volunteer stuff.  I miss my ham radio lunches, and my non-prepping hobby meetings.  (Both of those are primarily composed of guys with a couple of decades on me and a laundry list of co-morbidities.    Wouldn’t be prudent.)  I wonder where we’ll be in three weeks.

It occurs to me I’ve been saying that for 9 months.  We’ll see in a few weeks…  and for the most part, what we saw was not as bad as we feared (but we did see the increases, and the deaths).   And we’ve gradually gotten used to it, and the overton window has moved dramatically.    March – “FREAKING FOUR PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN WASHINGTON!!11!!  December – “It’s barely 2000 dead a week, and most of them were ready to die anyway, I need a beer.”

We got used to it.

I don’t know where we’ll be in three weeks.  I don’t know where we’ll be in three months.  I don’t know where we’ll be in three years.  I do know that what has been set in motion will continue in motion.

In a state that was isolated from the worst of the .gov excesses, where we were never really locked in our homes, where businesses continued as much as possible to keep going, with the strongest economy in the country, I see the signs of the downward spiral.  I was driving in different areas Wednesday, near to home but toward the kid’s school.  Areas that I really haven’t been in much in the last few months.  LOTS more bums.  Lots more immigrants on the street in the rain.  More vacant storefronts.   More ‘For Lease’ signs.   Projects that got started, but now haven’t progressed are everywhere.  They cleared the lot and put up the fence, but no further work has been done, and the weeds are 4 foot high.  They remodeled the restaurant or store but never opened.  There is a LOT of newly vacant commercial property around me.

There are some signs of life.  Several big housing developments are still building houses- a block from one that is built out, but has a 20 foot sign “HUGE incentives to buyers” in front.  The Aldi store a couple of blocks from my house is going to open this week.  I can’t help but wonder though if that is just momentum.   Once the money is in motion, it sometimes costs more to stop than to continue, even if the deal no longer makes sense.

We seem to be in the stage where things gradually get shirtier.  More bums on the street.   More trash and litter.  More illegal dumping.   More graffiti and tags, and they stay up longer.   McDonalds took 20 minutes to get me two large fries, and they both tasted like they’d been held too long, even though the drive thru girl said we were waiting while they cooked them.  Limited menu and few customers too.  AND over $5.

Smaller sizes, and higher prices.  Limited selections and more frequent shortages.  Increasing frequency and duration of outages of basic services.  We are ALREADY in this stage of collapse.  Inertia will carry us further into it no matter what happens in the next two months.

In the past we dealt with adversity.  We rolled up our sleeves and we tightened our belts.  We sacrificed because ‘we were all in it together’.   We’re not anymore.  We can see the ‘elite’ and connected getting a better deal than us.  They say ‘stay home’ while they fly on a private jet to a vacation resort.  A jet they don’t own or pay for, that someone else in their network ‘shares’ with them.   They’re already laying out the new Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in their tweets.  Oppose the party and be crushed.   Express any idea or hold a belief that isn’t approved, and the might of “the people” will be focused against you.

It’s all going to get worse for at least a while too.  There is still hope, but not for long.  We’ll know in a few weeks….

.

.

.

And then it might get a lot worse.  Possibly very quickly.  And…….

We’ll get used to it.

Hard times are coming.  Hell, for many they are already here, and just getting started.  Use the time wisely.  Keep stacking whatever you think you’ll need.  Moxie and pretzels, if that’s your thing.  But stack it high.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

96 thoughts on “Thurs. Dec. 3, 2020 – whoooooshhhhh. <--sound of this week flying by”


  1. It’s barely 2000 dead a week

    But deaths by cancer and heart attack have gone almost to zero.

    And deaths by medical error generally didn’t appear in the reported numbers, so no change there.

  2. Brad, your comment yesterday on the election fraud was, unusually for you, wrong about practically everything. Most or all of the facts recited were correct, but they were selected and presented in such a way as to propagandize rather than to inform.

    (Hate to shoot and scoot, but I need to get The Child up and out the door. More anon, unless work catches on fire and I need to fix it.)

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  3. It got down to 44F last night.

    I didn’t sleep well, and I’m tired. Gonna be a long day and my brain is fogged.

    n

  4. There are some signs of life. Several big housing developments are still building houses- a block from one that is built out, but has a 20 foot sign “HUGE incentives to buyers” in front. The Aldi store a couple of blocks from my house is going to open this week.

    An Aldi moving into the neighborhood is a mixed bag. The weekly meat specials can be very good, but it isn’t a positive economic sign overall IMHO. Aldi puts a lot of thought and research into every store location, and they target a lower demo than their second-cousin-twice-removed chain Trader Joes.

    Try the Aldi spaetzle with your kids if the store stocks it. Also, we bought the Appleton Farms $10 turkey breast weekly meat deal a couple of years ago at Christmastime for just a regular Sunday dinner, and it was excellent.

    Bring a quarter for the shopping cart deposit.

    The double whammy in your neighborhood would be Aldi and a busy Papa Murphy’s.

    Papa takes food stamps … EBT … whatever the Feds issue these days.

  5. And Cindy got her 40 pieces of silver.

    Cindy McCain’s family has been wealthy for a long time. In most places, having an Anheuser Busch distribution deal is almost as good a guarantee of multiple generations of family wealth as an inherited NYSE company specialist gig.

    It was personal with Trump. At some point, the family will throw Mark Kelley under the bus and take back the Senate seat they consider to be theirs with either a sock puppet Republican or a family member. The AZ Governor will also be taken to the woodshed for violating The Maverick’s supposed last wish that his wife replace him by appointment to the Senate.

  6. Somehow Aldi has positioned themselves as upscale value here in Houston with ‘the mommies’. They were all atwitter over getting one. I remember them from before dollar stores. Limited inventory, weird brands on pallets on the floor, the 25c cart rental, no bags or baggers…

    It’s a very nice looking building and looks great inside too. Since it’s so close I’ll check it out, but HEB and Kroger Signature are both close too.

    n

  7. Biden is listed as “President elect” everywhere, and that is soaking into the public consciousness.

    I also notice that his backdrop for most of his speeches state “Office of the President Elect” along with the presidential seal. There is no such office, never has been such an office. It was made up by his staff to indoctrinate the people. My understanding is that the presidential seal can only be used by a sitting president. Maybe that changed so Obuttwad could continue his ego trip.

    Another major irritant is that Biden was touting his plan for Covid. Said it would save thousands of lives. If his plan was/is so good why did he keep it hidden? He was still a senator. By withholding his plan he cost thousands of people their lives. No one, who has a solution to Covid, should be keeping it a secret regardless of political position.

    When I bring that up to Biden supporters, ask them why he kept his plan hidden, they generally state so he could use it when he takes office. I then ask if the plan is so good, would save lives, why did he not announce his plan when it was conceived? Is that not the job of a sitting senator? Their comments generally run from I am an idiot to I just don’t understand (I referring to myself).

    The clueless live among us, and they voted. Some twice, some while dead.

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  8. Obama & Co invented the Faux “Office of the President-Elect” in 2008. I could not believe they got away with such an amateurish move…. but Obamas’ whole first year was Amateur Night with Vengence.

    That the Biden Handlers are doing the same stupid thing is an outward display that they expect to be Obama III complete with fake plastic roman columns.

    Edit to add this funny from the article that I didn’t know or had forgotten:

    Back in June [2008], [Obama] spoke at a podium bearing a new seal that altered the official presidential seal.

    The seal did include the American bald eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch, but the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” was changed to “Vero Possumus,” a rough translation of the Obama campaign slogan, “Yes we can.”

    “Vero Possumus” Good grief.

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  9. Somehow Aldi has positioned themselves as upscale value here in Houston with ‘the mommies’. They were all atwitter over getting one. I remember them from before dollar stores. Limited inventory, weird brands on pallets on the floor, the 25c cart rental, no bags or baggers…

    It’s a very nice looking building and looks great inside too. Since it’s so close I’ll check it out, but HEB and Kroger Signature are both close too.

    I used to shop the Aldi meat deals regularly when I worked for CGI in Temple. We’ve never had anything from the chain which required a store return, and I’ve taken cooked beef and pork back to both HEB and Sam’s.

    The Mommies might be thinking that Aldi = Trader Joes, but Aldi East owns Trader Joe’s while Aldi West runs the US stores. While they sometimes share suppliers and warehouses, the relationship between East and West is very complicated, the end result of the two founding brothers feuding and dividing the company between them decades ago.

  10. Somehow Aldi has positioned themselves as upscale value here in Houston with ‘the mommies’. They were all atwitter over getting one. I remember them from before dollar stores. Limited inventory, weird brands on pallets on the floor, the 25c cart rental, no bags or baggers…

    It’s a very nice looking building and looks great inside too. Since it’s so close I’ll check it out, but HEB and Kroger Signature are both close too.

    I used to shop the Aldi meat deals regularly when I worked for CGI in Temple. We’ve never had anything from the chain which required a store return, and I’ve taken cooked beef and pork back to both HEB and Sam’s.

    The Mommies might be thinking that Aldi = Trader Joes, but Aldi East owns Trader Joe’s while Aldi West runs the US stores. While they sometimes share suppliers and warehouses, the relationship between East and West is very complicated, more like cousin companies than siblings.

    If Lidl is in town, that might explain the upscale building. Or if the neighborhood has a lot of Subcontinent, like the store in Pflugerville.

    (@Lynn – HPE is building a new HQ in Houston according to the San Antonio Clear Channel news I heard yesterday.)

    I don’t think you could do your weekly shopping at Aldi, but watch the sales. We also used to buy milk there regularly in Florida when the chain replaced part of an old Albertson’s on my commuting route.

    We haven’t been to Aldi in a while. Pflugerville is the closest to us, and I hate going over there due to the heavy emphasis on toll roads to access that side of the freeway.

  11. @SteveF: There was fraud, but I really think Trump has missed his chance: he needed to prove it fast. I think it is too late now. What is your take?

    On the Corona front: although my school is 100% virtual now, they have announced that semester final exams will be in-person. That seems an odd decision, after a virtual semester. Apparently, they just cannot get their collective heads around online exams.

    On the list for next week: start writing exams…

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  12. Apparently, they just cannot get their collective heads around online exams

    I think it has more to do with cheating. Many of the state required exams have specific requirements for student separation and in person proctoring. A student taking an online exam at home cares little about displaying their knowledge, only about the grade. With cheating being easy, the student will do so. It is not difficult to have an online exam on one screen (or computer) and google open on another screen (or computer). Students do this all the time for regular classroom tests while in the classroom. Being at home the cheating would be even easier.

    I guess it is possible to an adult to watch the student take the test. But really, how many parents would even do that or even care?

  13. Something interesting I noticed about Aldi’s since March: they continued to stay well-stocked with their food products during it all. Yes, their meat specials sell out fast and early – but that was always the case before the shutdown. Yes, they sold out of some things between trucks, but the next truck would have more on it. Yes, they have had limits (and still do) that go on and off, but they are rarely completely out of their primary stock items. I don’t shop anywhere often, but invariably, they have had what I wanted.

    Aldi’s took me a long time to trust. I thought it was one of those generic warehouse places, because that is how it looked. But in fact, their meat quality rivals HEB, yet at realistic prices. We have lived in top sheep raising parts of Texas for decades, without ever being able to buy lamb in the grocery stores – the rare times it would be in stock would be limited to one thing, usually chops, priced at $18 a pound. For the first time in history, we can have good lamb every week if we want, not only chops but leg of lamb, even boneless, and ground lamb, at $5.99 or 6.99 a pound, thanks to Aldi. And their house brands are excellent. Some, such as their coffee creamer, we prefer to national brands because the quality is as high as those brands were 40 years ago. My dad thinks their fresh pepperoni pizza is one of the best pizzas he’s ever had, better than restaurants.

    At our Aldi’s, they rearranged the place a few months ago, and it no longer looks like a warehouse. As a result, it always seems to be 4x busier than it ever was before. Produce up front is gorgeous.

  14. So the COVID vaccine(s) will be showing up soonly. The first to get it (they will be required/forced) will be doctors, nurses, nurses aides, dentists, dental hygienists, (basically all the people involved in keeping us healthy and alive), and the people in “old folks” homes.

    Personally, I do not think this is going to end well. This is nothing more than a plan by the “dark side” to first eliminate all health care, then all the old and infirm, and finally let the chaos take care of the rest.

    And “that is the way it is” (credit to Walter Cronkite).

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  15. This is nothing more than a plan by the “dark side” to first eliminate all health care, then all the old and infirm, and finally let the chaos take care of the rest.

    Maybe I need to exercise my conspiracy muscles, but I don’t quite understand your reasoning/speculation. Care to explain?

  16. So the COVID vaccine(s) will be showing up soonly. The first to get it (they will be required/forced) will be doctors, nurses, nurses aides, dentists, dental hygienists, (basically all the people involved in keeping us healthy and alive), and the people in “old folks” homes.

    Personally, I do not think this is going to end well. This is nothing more than a plan by the “dark side” to first eliminate all health care, then all the old and infirm, and finally let the chaos take care of the rest.

    The VA has dropped hints about making a vaccine mandatory, but there was a lot of push back from the front line workers, including my wife.

    In theory, possible Covid patients are screened at the door using questionnaires and therm scans, but 2-3 a week make it past the check at the door only to flunk the temperature reading at check in.

  17. Maybe I need to exercise my conspiracy muscles, but I don’t quite understand your reasoning/speculation. Care to explain?

    /tinfoilhat

    I think Mr. DadCooks is talking about Medicare For All, single payer/provider. ObolaCare was designed to kill insurance, admitted to by it’s primary creator (to lazy to Googs the name). The Dark Side is the ProgLibTurds who have pushed for socialized medicine for decades. Add in Death Panels ala Palin to get ride of the old. The rest of us scramble to get in line for our colonoscopies.

    /tinfoilhat

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  18. I guess it is possible to an adult to watch the student take the test. But really, how many parents would even do that or even care?

    Subcontinent here dominates the ISD’s gifted programs because the parents pass around copies of the entrance exams and coach the kids on the answers. The ISD knows, but the stakes are relatively low — a really determined parent can get their kid into the programs regardless of test scores.

  19. I think Mr. DadCooks is talking about Medicare For All, single payer/provider. ObolaCare was designed to kill insurance, admitted to by it’s primary create (to lazy to Googs the name). The Dark Side is the ProgLibTurds who have pushed for socialized medicine for decades.

    Call it correctly — Medicaid for All.

    Medicare only works now because of the supplement plans, many of which are still funded as part of defined benefit pensions provided by government and/or union jobs. Bare Medicare without a supplement, as most of the population would experience under an expansion, is pretty grim care.

    “Medicare for All” is clever marketing. People hear it and think the government will take care of them as well as their parents and grandparents have been for ~ 55 years. That is far from the truth of what will happen.


  20. Maybe I need to exercise my conspiracy muscles, but I don’t quite understand your reasoning/speculation. Care to explain?

    Never has a vaccine been developed in such a short time. It usually takes years and many many sets of test subjects. Never has a vaccine been developed that the first few test rounds did not produce fatalities.

    Things just don’t smell right. I have no trust in the medical-industrial complex, big pharma, or the gooberment.

    I had Polio in 1951, paralyzed my left leg. When the first vaccines came out those of us with Polio were in the first group to get it. I, and everyone in my test group, developed a Polio that was far more severe than what we had. Some died. Call it survivor’s guilt, but I grew tired of being a lab rat a long time ago.

    If you could get access to the real medical facts regarding the Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines you too would be very skeptical of anything coming out of big pharma.

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  21. Things just don’t smell right. I have no trust in the medical-industrial complex, big pharma, or the gooberment.

    Oh, I get it now. The “Cutter Incident” in re that polio vaccine established the precedent of implied warranty of merchantability which is the root cause of all the silly lawsuits since then. Threw caveat emptor out the window. I say you pays your money, you takes your chances.

    If I were a little older or had comorbidities I’d pay, but I sure as hell don’t want it forced or coerced upon me. That’s called freedom.

  22. Somehow Aldi has positioned themselves as upscale value here in Houston with ‘the mommies’. They were all atwitter over getting one. I remember them from before dollar stores. Limited inventory, weird brands on pallets on the floor, the 25c cart rental, no bags or baggers…

    It’s a very nice looking building and looks great inside too. Since it’s so close I’ll check it out, but HEB and Kroger Signature are both close too.

    Our Aldi can hold 100 people (8,000 ft2). Our HEB can hold 500 people (50,000 ft2). Our Kroger can hold 1,000 people (125,000 ft2). The service area at +- 10 miles is 250,000 people. Aldi does not even compete because it cannot get people inside.

  23. Our Aldi can hold 100 people (8,000 ft2). Our HEB can hold 500 people (50,000 ft2). Our Kroger can hold 1,000 people (125,000 ft2). The service area at +- 10 miles is 250,000 people. Aldi does not even compete because it cannot get people inside.

    Aldi stores are designed to be staffed completely by around a dozen people IIRC, part of the extreme cost cutting discipline the chain practices. When the first location did well in part of an abandoned Albertsons in our suburban area east of Tampa, rather than expand to fill the rest of the store bulding, the chain opened another store just a couple of miles from the first … in part of another abandoned Albertsons.

  24. Bring a quarter for the shopping cart deposit.

    I was leaving Aldi the other day and a lady came running up to me with her quarter which she gave to me so she did not have to play the insert the quarter game.


  25. Bring a quarter for the shopping cart deposit.

    What I’m hearing is that if you want to buy a shopping cart (for whatever random reason) then Aldi’s sells them for 25¢. 🙂

  26. Bring a quarter for the shopping cart deposit.

    What I’m hearing is that if you want to buy a shopping cart (for whatever random reason) then Aldi’s sells them for 25¢.

    Yup, they suck. I prefer the premiere buggies at Sam’s Club. Then the buggies at HEB. Walmart and Kroger buggies suck. Aldi buggies are for girls to move their doll collection around in.

  27. I don’t know where we’ll be in three weeks. I don’t know where we’ll be in three months. I don’t know where we’ll be in three years. I do know that what has been set in motion will continue in motion.

    In a state that was isolated from the worst of the .gov excesses, where we were never really locked in our homes, where businesses continued as much as possible to keep going, with the strongest economy in the country, I see the signs of the downward spiral. I was driving in different areas Wednesday, near to home but toward the kid’s school. Areas that I really haven’t been in much in the last few months. LOTS more bums. Lots more immigrants on the street in the rain. More vacant storefronts. More ‘For Lease’ signs. Projects that got started, but now haven’t progressed are everywhere. They cleared the lot and put up the fence, but no further work has been done, and the weeds are 4 foot high. They remodeled the restaurant or store but never opened. There is a LOT of newly vacant commercial property around me.

    2020 reminds me a whole lot of 1985. The bottom of that boom and bust cycle was 1986. Exxon has reputedly laid off 30,000 people this year. Out of the 600 oil and gas companies in the USA, 300 of them are staring at bankruptcy. Chesapeake was not a surprise.

    I have just noticed that most of my friends (58 to 75) have retired last year and this year. Most of the retirements were involuntary.

  28. Out of the 600 oil and gas companies in the USA, 300 of them are staring at bankruptcy.

    California Resources is already in bankruptcy. I’m wondering what will happen to my little oil royalty checks if they go belly up with no buyer? It was a legacy from my great-great grandfather, and I’m just surprised there’s any oil left to pump. Kern county, CA.

  29. So the COVID vaccine(s) will be showing up soonly. The first to get it (they will be required/forced) will be doctors, nurses, nurses aides, dentists, dental hygienists, (basically all the people involved in keeping us healthy and alive), and the people in “old folks” homes.

    Personally, I do not think this is going to end well. This is nothing more than a plan by the “dark side” to first eliminate all health care, then all the old and infirm, and finally let the chaos take care of the rest.

    Nah. They are going to expand the VA program all over the place. Except, not as well run as the present day VA. You should expect to be treated with aspirin for most problems. You know, like the UK and Canada.

    Private physicians and hospitals will be pay as you go with no ERs. Just urgent care for those who have paid the concierge fee. You know, like politicians and federal employees.

    My parents are 82 and 79. They are very concerned about getting death paneled, especially since they are both in remission from stage 4 cancers.

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  30. Out of the 600 oil and gas companies in the USA, 300 of them are staring at bankruptcy.

    California Resources is already in bankruptcy. I’m wondering what will happen to my little oil royalty checks if they go belly up with no buyer? It was a legacy from my great-great grandfather, and I’m just surprised there’s any oil left to pump. Kern county, CA.

    Most of the empty oil reservoirs are very slowly refilling with oil and gas. Turns out that there are even larger oil and gas reservoirs under them. But they are 20,000 to 100,000 ft down. I think that the deepest producing well in the USA is 30,000 ft and had many problems.

  31. Never has a vaccine been developed in such a short time. It usually takes years and many many sets of test subjects. Never has a vaccine been developed that the first few test rounds did not produce fatalities.

    Things just don’t smell right. I have no trust in the medical-industrial complex, big pharma, or the gooberment.

    I had Polio in 1951, paralyzed my left leg. When the first vaccines came out those of us with Polio were in the first group to get it. I, and everyone in my test group, developed a Polio that was far more severe than what we had. Some died. Call it survivor’s guilt, but I grew tired of being a lab rat a long time ago.

    If you could get access to the real medical facts regarding the Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines you too would be very skeptical of anything coming out of big pharma.

    I am going to watch my two person test group, Mom and Dad, for a while. They are going to get the vaccine as soon as possible. They figure that the benefits outweigh the danger for them.

    Wasn’t the first polio vaccine an attenuated live virus ? And then they move to a dead virus.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polio_vaccine

    “The first successful demonstration of a polio vaccine was by Hilary Koprowski in 1950, with a live attenuated virus which people drank.[8] The vaccine was not approved for use in the United States, but was used successfully elsewhere.[8] An inactivated polio vaccine, developed a few years later by Jonas Salk, came into use in 1955.[2][9”

  32. Out of the 600 oil and gas companies in the USA, 300 of them are staring at bankruptcy.

    California Resources is already in bankruptcy. I’m wondering what will happen to my little oil royalty checks if they go belly up with no buyer? It was a legacy from my great-great grandfather, and I’m just surprised there’s any oil left to pump. Kern county, CA.

    I’ve only got one customer left in California and they build compressors and pumps. The rest have filed bankruptcy or just shut down.


  33. McDonalds took 20 minutes to get me two large fries, and they both tasted like they’d been held too long, even though the drive thru girl said we were waiting while they cooked them. Limited menu and few customers too. AND over $5.

    Order your fries without salt and then ask for some salt packets – should always get you fresh fries…and besides, they often (I find) oversalt them anyway. Not that I eat them, don’t care for them that skinny. Five Guys has good fries, but my favorite is Nathan’s, especially from the Coney Island location. The McDonalds app (or kiosk if you choose to go inside) are best for customizing menu items rather than relying on the order takers.
    And yes, the Mickey D prices of late are quite eye-opening.

  34. I have just noticed that most of my friends (58 to 75) have retired last year and this year. Most of the retirements were involuntary.

    The tech companies and other industries dependent on IT are anticipating the floodgates opening on the H1B visa numbers.

  35. Sam’s Club run today at lunchtime.

    Charmin and other name brand TP was readily available provided that you didn’t mind paying $2/roll. $24 for a 12 pack. Limit one.


  36. Heads up if you’re planning to order from NewEgg (and five other retailers)…

    https://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/528408-ups-ignoring-some-major-retailers-shipments-amid-pandemic-fueled-holiday-surge

    We ship a LOT of packages via UPS where I work. Roughly, 9M per year. UPS informed us and their other top 300 (IIRC) shippers that they were capping how much they would ship this holiday season. If we sent them more than that the trailers would just sit in their yard. Retail has been steadily shifting online (and thus shifting to being received via packages) for years, but it is estimated the pandemic accelerated the shift by 5 years (i.e. UPS is handling 2025-level volume in 2020). We were able to shift our excess volume to USPS (which costs us more).

    In addition to the cap on how many packages can be shipped UPS, there’s also a new assessorial fee per package for any packages that exceed pre-pandemic averages (which they decided was average package volume based on February 2020 which is not a particularly high volume month for most retailers).

    They also voided our contract (we pay a lot less to ship a box than the average Joe walking into a UPS Store pays) and offered us a new contract with a 20% increase in rates. Though, as such a big customer of theirs even with their rate increase it still costs us less to ship UPS than it does to ship FedEx or USPS.

    UPS really stuck it to their big customers. Though, what was the alternative? Not ship packages? Have packages spends weeks or months on trailers parked at hubs? Tell all the small business to fuck off? I’m not sure what a good solution would have been. Can you imagine how bad things at UPS would be if Amazon hadn’t started doing their own shipping?

    Next time it’s contract negotiation time and we have UPS, FedEx, and USPS competing for our business it’ll be fun to see how that works out.

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  37. WRT when the first Polio “vaccine” was approved (or not) is a real gray area and there is a lot of misinformation out there. My doctor was deeply involved in the Polio “business” in ways that are very scary. He suffered great remorse from what he did to his patients that he honestly at the time thought was in ours and the world’s best interests. I’m sorry, but I am not allowed to divulge the full story. When he passed away all of his patients were sent a huge file marked “confidential” for patient’s eyes only. It was presented to me by a Legal Courier and I had to sign, basically, a non-disclosure agreement. The contents of these files are to remain forever out of the public domain. Most of my fellow patients I still had contact with read and then burned or shredded the files.

    I am one of the lucky ones who endured and still endure the effects of Polio. I am alive and I have limited mobility.

    Like everything else, if you think you “own” anything, including your own body and right to life, then you will have a rude awakening one day.

    However, never give in, never give up. (Thank you, Uncle, Sir Winston Churchill)


  38. My understanding is that the presidential seal can only be used by a sitting president.

    In general, commercial use of the seal is prohibited by 18 USC 713 of the United States Code, and further defined by Executive Orders 11916 and 11649. The United States Secret Service is authorized to use the seal in conjunction with fund raising sales for its charitable benefit fund.
    Unofficial use of the seal is regulated by the White House Graphics and Calligraphy Office and monitored by the office of the White House Counsel. On September 28, 2005, Grant M. Dixton, associate counsel to George W. Bush, requested that the satirical newspaper The Onion remove the presidential seal from its website. The Graphic and Calligraphy Office will approve of the seal’s use in application of official gifts, an example being its application to a silver cigarette box presented as a gift to Franklin Roosevelt.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_of_the_President_of_the_United_States#Uses


  39. I am one of the lucky ones who endured and still endure the effects of Polio. I am alive and I have limited mobility.

    Seems to me you are saying that the manufacturer of the vaccine was liable even though you chose to take it voluntarily?

    Like everything else, if you think you “own” anything, including your own body and right to life, then you will have a rude awakening one day.

    Seems to me you’re saying I’m my brother’s keeper and vice versa?

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on both points.

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  40. The contents of these files are to remain forever out of the public domain. Most of my fellow patients I still had contact with read and then burned or shredded the files.

    Why not post it anonymously? It shouldn’t be hard for a Man of your talents.

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  41. Pellets for the pellet grill…. VBG over here.

    Friday of Color and Cyber WTF-ever e-mails are sort of fun. I get 3 or 5 a day from Staples. How much printer paper do I need? Plenty from Newegg. From both are un-readable…. “Thunderbird doesn’t support this security protocol” or some such. Yeah, TB 2.x doesn’t support HTTPS images. There may be a setting. But HTTPS images in bulk e-mail seems pretty effin stupid. Actually images in e-mail seems stupid… thanks for the 150Kb e-mail when a 10Kb e-mail of links would be as effective.
    The mail from Northern is ok. It’s usable without enabling images. Oh, snagged two more of the trickle chargers at 24.99. One for each tractor.

    For knowing if your water softener is working, er, look for lime build-up? Perhaps test the water with this? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008FM7WLU?tag=ttgnet-20 “Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit, Model 5-B “. Easy to use.

    I don’t know, I’m BSing my way with this water stuff. I’m sure there are classes or training if you get a job with a company that sells water softeners.

    As for R/O units, no clue. I guess it works until the membrane is clogged.

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  42. WRT when the first Polio “vaccine” was approved (or not) is a real gray area and there is a lot of misinformation out there.

    Yep. My Mom wasn’t really cool with what she heard about the vaccine but, her precious first son got the shot because she knew kids she grew up with living in iron lungs.

    Heck of a scar. Like a moon crater.

  43. “Sitting Congresswoman re-Tweets call for Jewish genocide”
    https://gunfreezone.net/sitting-congresswoman-re-tweets-call-for-jewish-genocide/

    “Rashida Tlaib RT’s out the same message that got Marc Lamont Hill canned from CNN.”

    “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free – code for eradicating the State of Israel and its millions of Jews.”

    ““From the river to the sea” is a call for the total annihilation of the State of Israel and all the Jews that live there.”

    You know, this looks like hate speech to me if there is such a thing as hate speech.

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  44. Heck of a scar. Like a moon crater.

    The polio shot left a scar?

    I’ve got one from the olde TB tine test. Probably the last of my generation to ever get one. (b. 1961)

    Lol, I still remember getting it. Doc said, “1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, Home run!” Bet I even got a lollipop. 🙂

  45. Heck of a scar. Like a moon crater.

    I think that is from the TB inoculation. My mother had such a scare and she was an adult when polio became available. I remember polio vividly and the scare. I also remember the first vaccine, a series of three injections, none of which left a scar. I was about five years old when I got my first injection. They hurt. Hated them but the other option was not good. There were boosters over the years, sugar cube, drop on tongue. Now part of the DPT that infants receive in their first year of life.

  46. @~jim – there was no volunteering or consent involved, that was just the way it was.

  47. WRT when the first Polio “vaccine” was approved (or not) is a real gray area and there is a lot of misinformation out there.

    Yep. My Mom wasn’t really cool with what she heard about the vaccine but, her precious first son got the shot because she knew kids she grew up with living in iron lungs.

    Heck of a scar. Like a moon crater.

    The big scar that I got in 1970 in the Lake Jackson, Texas elementary school parking lot (the entire school) was the smallpox injection using an air ??? gun. The polio vaccine was yellow stuff on a sugar cube.

  48. Polio? I took the Salk one and it came in a cube of sugar.
    TB vaccine? Yep, I still have a small hill where they pricked several times and there was a lolly with it as well.

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  49. For knowing if your water softener is working, er, look for lime build-up? Perhaps test the water with this? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008FM7WLU?tag=ttgnet-20 “Hach 145300 Total Hardness Test Kit, Model 5-B “. Easy to use.

    Thanks ! I am going to try this inexpensive electric tester as I am color blind between red and green. Make traffic lights interesting at times. Reading colored strips is a disaster.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073713G5F/?tag=ttgnet-20


  50. I am color blind between red and green. Make traffic lights interesting at times.

    And buying chili peppers!


  51. What I’m hearing is that if you want to buy a shopping cart (for whatever random reason) then Aldi’s sells them for 25¢.

    We first saw this practice in the UK in the 90s, where one chain grocery, memory fails, (wife said it was Aldies) required a pound coin, over $1 value, to take a cart from the cart stack.

  52. Sabin was the sugar, Salk was injectable

    It was a looong time ago but I thing you are right. I do remember the sugar though. 🙂


  53. What I’m hearing is that if you want to buy a shopping cart (for whatever random reason) then Aldi’s sells them for 25¢.

    We first saw this practice in the UK in the 90s, where one chain grocery, memory fails, (wife said it was Aldies) required a pound coin, over $1 value, to take a cart from the cart stack.

    In Oz the carts have two slots, one for a dollar coin and one for a two dollar coin. They also sell a keyring with a dollar shape that you can use.
    I strongly support this. Less carts go astray and get hammered. The other supermarkets do not have this, some people take them out of the shopping centre and wreck wheels and then some. The Aldi carts are always OK and you do not have to fight with bent wheels that want to go right, left or sideways…
    Aldi here is considerably cheaper than the others, have special non daily offers twice a week and the service is reasonable. I shop there for groceries and waste more money than I should on specials…


  54. I then ask if the plan is so good, would save lives, why did he not announce his plan when it was conceived? Is that not the job of a sitting senator?

    Your point is still good, but Biden has not been a senator since he became vice president.

  55. I’ve got the mark on my left shoulder from the polio vaccine, I always thought. There was a TB vaccine? or was it the small pox vaccine? Funny that they called the venereal disease that took years to kill you the large pox and the deadly disease the ‘small’ pox. Unless the pimples are different sizes?

    I read the crater sentence to be a mark on her conscience… funny how we can all read the same words and think different things.

    There was a lot more trust of government, doctors, and public health officials. the diseases were very real and people had direct experience of the consequences. My grandfather used the word cholera as an expletive. “God’s Blood! Cholera!” only in Lithuanian.

    I mentioned some days ago that there should be camera footage of the cheating if it happened. Well, there you go. And yes, people haven’t internalized that they are under surveillance most places, many of them even in their own homes. Or they knew but didn’t care because FREAKING SUITCASES! and the fix was in. Remember that in these questionable jurisdictions, we are talking about deeply entrenched and ‘made’ political insiders, who are one candidate’s political enemies. What kind of a system puts political partisans in charge of counting the votes from the other side? Machine politics.

    n

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  56. or was it the small pox vaccine?

    Maybe. I remember TB being told to me when I was young. My memory could certainly be wrong. I do vividly remember the polio being a single needle. Repeated two times. They really hurt.

  57. I’ve got the mark on my left shoulder from the polio vaccine, I always thought. There was a TB vaccine? or was it the small pox vaccine?

    Smallpox. My son got one in 2007 ??? before his second trip to Iraq with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. His was about an inch in diameter and he was cautioned not to let anyone touch it as it was still weeping.

    My smallpox mark is long gone. They say if the mark is no longer there then you are no longer vaccinated against the smallpox. I do not have a clue if that is real or an old wife’s tale.


  58. Biden has not been a senator since he became vice president

    I never checked. I heard him referred to as senator Biden and former VP Biden. Thanks for the correction.

    Still, if his plan was that good, why did he hide and withhold? Lives, and small businesses, are at stake. In my opinion he has nothing other than lock everyone in their homes.

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  59. I mentioned some days ago that there should be camera footage of the cheating if it happened. Well, there you go. And yes, people haven’t internalized that they are under surveillance most places, many of them even in their own homes. Or they knew but didn’t care because FREAKING SUITCASES! and the fix was in. Remember that in these questionable jurisdictions, we are talking about deeply entrenched and ‘made’ political insiders, who are one candidate’s political enemies. What kind of a system puts political partisans in charge of counting the votes from the other side? Machine politics.

    We are going to have to do something about the liberals in the large cities. I do not have a clue how to fix them though other than the old treason route. In a real situation where people had honor, morals, and ethics, those false ballots would have been reported to the police. And the police would have done something about it instead of ignoring it.

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  60. Repeated two times. They really hurt.

    Just recently got the first of the two injections for the new Shingles vaccine. And my arm was noticeably more sore for a good 24 hours than for any other vaccination that I can recall. Second injection in two months (if we’re allowed out of our houses).

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  61. “Warner Bros.’ 2021 Films to Hit Both HBO Max and Theaters”
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-03/warner-bros-2021-films-to-hit-hbo-max-on-same-day-as-theaters?srnd=premium

    “Warner Bros., one of Hollywood’s biggest studios, plans to release all its major movies next year in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time, a dramatic change that shows just how much Covid-19 and streaming have disrupted the industry.”

    I am not surprised.

  62. “Pfizer Scaled Back Vaccine Output Targets Earlier This Year”
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-03/pfizer-declines-on-report-of-smaller-covid-19-vaccine-rollout?srnd=premium

    “In news releases through September, Pfizer had said that it aimed to manufacture up to 100 million vaccine doses this year. But in several releases in November, the company cut that to an estimate of up to 50 million doses. Pfizer is developing its vaccine with Germany-based BioNTech SE.”

    Oops. And their main partner UPS is a little busy through Dec 25.

  63. @Alan

    Just recently got the first of the two injections for the new Shingles vaccine. And my arm was noticeably more sore for a good 24 hours than for any other vaccination that I can recall. Second injection in two months (if we’re allowed out of our houses).

    I had a very mild case of shingles about 10 years ago. It was a burning sensation that felt like it was inside my skin – in my mid-back. Uncomfortable, about a 4 on the 1-10 scale. Luckily, I had no blisters or other problems. I understand it can get quite painful.

    So, a sore arm from the shots is a good trade-off against getting shingles. IMHO.

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  64. @Alan

    Just recently got the first of the two injections for the new Shingles vaccine. And my arm was noticeably more sore for a good 24 hours than for any other vaccination that I can recall. Second injection in two months (if we’re allowed out of our houses).

    I had a very mild case of shingles about 10 years ago. It was a burning sensation that felt like it was inside my skin – in my mid-back. Uncomfortable, about a 4 on the 1-10 scale. Luckily, I had no blisters or other problems. I understand it can get quite painful.

    So, a sore arm from the shots is a good trade-off against getting shingles. IMHO.

    My business partner that passed away in February had Leukemia about 12 or 14 years ago. He had several chemo sessions which did not affect him very much at all. But, at the end of each chemo run, he got shingles. Very, very, very painful shingles, enough so he pushed me fairly hard to get the shingles shot when I turned 50 ? 55 ? (am 60 now and do not remember when I got it). He remembered when I had the Chicken Pox in 1967 ??? and how bad it was (I had blisters on my eyes).


  65. Nah. They are going to expand the VA program all over the place. Except, not as well run as the present day VA. You should expect to be treated with aspirin for most problems. You know, like the UK and Canada.

    Yes, that was my downvote. I can’t speak for the the level of care in the UK, but you can’t speak for the level of care in Canada. I can, and it’s fine, thanks.

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  66. What other things are they ‘not certain’ about?

    Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla told Dateline host Lester Holt that the pharmaceutical company was “not certain” if the vaccine prevented the coronavirus from being transmitted, saying, “This is something that needs to be examined.”

    https://thehill.com/news-by-subject/healthcare/528619-pfizer-chairman-were-not-sure-if-someone-can-transmit-virus-after

    “Philadelphia Priest Dies After Participating In Moderna COVID Vaccine Trial”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/philadelphia-priest-dies-after-participating-moderna-covid-vaccine-trial

    They are saying it was probably a heart attack and not related to the vaccine. Probably.

    ADD (I just saw this below the advert): “Three of the 15 human guinea pigs in the high-dose cohort – 250MG – reportedly suffered a “serious adverse event” within 43 days of receiving Moderna’s jab.”

    I wonder if they grew a third kidney ? Or if their kidneys failed ? Or ???

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  67. “Warner Bros.’ 2021 Films to Hit Both HBO Max and Theaters”

    I am not surprised.

    AT&T is $150 Billion in debt with a lot of big ticket films in the pipeline and theaters closing again in a lot of areas.

    They’re basically turning the next year’s scheduled releases into same-day torrent fodder. I’m not sure I understand the logic, but ok.

    “Friends” will be back on Netflix by Christmas 2021. Maybe Thanksgiving, complete with the TBS marathon of episodes themed around the holiday.

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  68. Just recently got the first of the two injections for the new Shingles vaccine. And my arm was noticeably more sore for a good 24 hours than for any other vaccination that I can recall. Second injection in two months (if we’re allowed out of our houses).

    Had that vaccine. First was a sore shoulder for about a day. The second had me feeling a bit ill for a couple of days. Not sore, but just not feeling right.

  69. “Warner Bros.’ 2021 Films to Hit Both HBO Max and Theaters”

    I am not surprised.

    AT&T is $150 Billion in debt with a lot of big ticket films in the pipeline and theaters closing again in a lot of areas.

    They’re basically turning the next year’s scheduled releases into same-day torrent fodder. I’m not sure I understand the logic, but ok.

    “Friends” will be back on Netflix by Christmas 2021.

    Netflix has been paying for several movies and releasing them simultaneously for streaming and theaters (limited). Such as “The Old Guard” and “Hillbilly Elegy”. WB (AT&T) is throwing in the towel also.

  70. Nah. They are going to expand the VA program all over the place. Except, not as well run as the present day VA. You should expect to be treated with aspirin for most problems. You know, like the UK and Canada.

    Yes, that was my downvote. I can’t speak for the the level of care in the UK, but you can’t speak for the level of care in Canada. I can, and it’s fine, thanks.

    And I got downvoted (sigh). What I think is a bit funny about all this is that in the same way Lynn tossed-off a comment on health care in Canada (and got my dander up – I am being thin-skinned tonight for some reason – sorry) reflects how US health care is often portrayed in Canada. Something along the lines of “lucky we don’t have that horrible private health care like in the US”. A bit of the “grass is greener on MY side of the fence” is going on. In my opinion both systems work for the vast majority of people and each has it’s own flaws. Neither is perfect. From what I have read, Obamacare tried to push the US to universal coverage (like Canada) whereas some in Canada are trying to make changes to allow purchase of private care top-ups (more like the US (I think, but don’t know, because I really don’t understand how US health care works)).

  71. Netflix has been paying for several movies and releasing them simultaneously for streaming and theaters (limited). Such as “The Old Guard” and “Hillbilly Elegy”. WB (AT&T) is throwing in the towel also.

    CBS ran the original “Coming to America” Sunday night. No doubt Amazon money was involved because the sequel will stream on Prime starting March 5.

  72. Nah. They are going to expand the VA program all over the place. Except, not as well run as the present day VA. You should expect to be treated with aspirin for most problems. You know, like the UK and Canada.

    The VA can barely manage their patient load now, after four years of being a special focus of Trump.

    The rumors of mandatory vaccinations and a continued “innovative” Covid schedule tricking doctors into working 50 hour weeks has motivated three providers in my wife’s clinic to quit in the last two weeks.

    I nixed my wife going to four 10 hour days with the promise of just doing telemedicine at home on the last day. I suffered with her working a similar schedule in Vantucky and knew it was a trick. I inisited on the VA being held to the contract she signed.

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  73. Obamacare tried to push the US to universal coverage (like Canada) whereas some in Canada are trying to make changes to allow purchase of private care top-ups (more like the US (I think, but don’t know, because I really don’t understand how US health care works)).

    Hehehe. Oz is already there. 🙂

  74. @TV,, ” I can, and it’s fine, thanks. ”

    –are you sure? I had a green card (well, a Canadian work permit, green card in the US) for a number of years and spent a fair amount of time in Calgary and the Kitchener/Waterloo area. Since I was a US employee of the US branch of the company, but managed by and reported to the Canadian branch, and did project work in Canada, I got to see a bit of it, and spoke to EVERYONE about it. Granted by everyone, I mean mostly contractors in the building trades, but also young professionals, and even random guys in the bar. It’s a very popular topic of discussion.

    What I saw seemed to work pretty well for ordinary things. For anything requiring imaging or specialized treatment, all I every heard was about the waits and delays. One guy had cancer treatement (successful) but needed re-checks every two years. Unfortunately for him there was a three year backlog for the exam he needed. Meaning, he got an appointment today, earliest visit available was one year PAST when he was supposed to be seen. I asked him what he’d do if the cancer came back during that year, and his answer was “I guess I die.” There are always edge cases so I don’t take it as proof of anything.

    I’ll say that because of the profit motive, if I need imaging I can get it within hours, or worst case a couple of days. Our system has an over-abundance of CT, MRI, digital xray, and all the add ons like contrast media… if you don’t like the traditional machines, there are even open plan or stand up machines and facilities that advertise them with billboards. Our small animal vets have MRI machines.

    There is a lab for any test I can pay for in pretty much every strip mall around here. If a Dr writes a prescription, my insurance will pay for it. If I want to know if Junior is really mine, or on drugs, or eating lead chips, I can find out in a couple of days.

    How it gets paid for is different for everyone and changed somewhat with obbamma(no)care. Most medium and large employers offer some type of group plan of private insurance that they often subsidize (this goes back to price and wage controls during the great depression, and Kaiser corp. google the history of kaiser/permanente to see the unintended consequences of government meddling in the free market.) The group part is important because it gave the actuaries something to base their numbers on. Some of that change with obamma care.

    I had a long discussion with a young carpenter in St Johns about ‘free’ care. I pointed out his care wasn’t ‘free’, he paid for it with taxes on his income. LARGE taxes. For care he really wasn’t using. But old guys like the contractor with cancer used a lot of. When he figured out how much tax he paid annually, and then I told him how much I paid, I pointed out that I had enough extra to pay for my insurance (cost based mostly on my risk, ie. low as I was younger and in good health) and put the remainder into savings. He got quite angry about it.

    I talked to lot of people who got tired of waiting, and came down to the US to have procedures done and paid for it themselves.

    That was all 10 years or longer ago though, and government meddling has messed up an already distorted system even more. We currently have almost the worst possible parts of the bad previous choices and influences. But it’s still better than most of the rest of the world, it just costs more at the time. Other western countries have made other choices, and they’re still better than most of the rest of the world too.

    n

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  75. From what I have read, Obamacare tried to push the US to universal coverage (like Canada) whereas some in Canada are trying to make changes to allow purchase of private care top-ups (more like the US (I think, but don’t know, because I really don’t understand how US health care works)). \

    US healthcare is awesome. Works very well and tries to fix its mistakes. The rest it buries. The nice thing is that you can go crazy and chase doctors all over the place to fix your real and imaginary problems. Even go to specialized hospitals for treating special cases: children, cancer, heart, etc.

    But paying for healthcare in the USA is a freaking disaster. There are ten of thousands of payers before you get to the citizens. The biggest is the feddies at $2 trillion/year. Then each of the 50 states pays anywhere from $200 billion/year (California) to $10 billion/year (Rhode Island ???) Then comes private insurance at $2 ??? $3 ??? trillion/year. Then comes peoples copays and out of pocket at another trillion $/year. Yup, $5 to $7 trillion/year. Please note that all of these numbers are SWAGs (scientific wild ass guesses).

    Obamacare was a failure because it tried to use the health insurance companies to fix things (a distributed payment system). Obamacare should have set up Medicare For All which would have become Medicaid For All (a centralized payment system). And even then the whole mess would have gone bankrupt as the doctors bailed out of the system right, left, and sideways.

  76. What I saw seemed to work pretty well for ordinary things. For anything requiring imaging or specialized treatment, all I every heard was about the waits and delays. One guy had cancer treatement (successful) but needed re-checks every two years. Unfortunately for him there was a three year backlog for the exam he needed. Meaning, he got an appointment today, earliest visit available was one year PAST when he was supposed to be seen. I asked him what he’d do if the cancer came back during that year, and his answer was “I guess I die.” There are always edge cases so I don’t take it as proof of anything.

    This is called rationing and it is what they want to implement in the USA using the socalled “death panels”. It is the only way that they can control the growth of the healthcare system in the USA.

  77. “Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Calls For Signature Audit of Ballots Following Release of Bombshell ‘Ballot-Stuffing’ Video”
    https://amgreatness.com/2020/12/03/georgia-gov-brian-kemp-calls-for-signature-audit-of-ballots-following-release-of-bombshell-ballot-stuffing-video/

    “Georgia Governor Brian Kemp called on Sec. of State State Brad Raffensperger to conduct a signature audit after a bombshell video unveiled by President Trump’s legal team on Thursday showed what appeared to be a ballot-stuffing operation in Fulton County on Election night.”

    “The surveillance video shows crooked election workers at the State Farm Arena in Fulton County pulling suitcases filled with ballots out from under a table after poll observers had been sent home.”

    The governor of Georgia needs to send the state troopers over to the Georgia Secretary of State’s house and arrest him. He is obviously stalling.

    Any ballot recount (they are in their second recount) without a signature audit is worthless.

    Hat tip to:
    https://thelibertydaily.com/

  78. Nah. They are going to expand the VA program all over the place. Except, not as well run as the present day VA. You should expect to be treated with aspirin for most problems. You know, like the UK and Canada.

    The VA can barely manage their patient load now, after four years of being a special focus of Trump.

    Rationing will be required.

    The rationing may be based on your social equity score.


  79. More anon, unless work catches on fire and I need to fix it.

    And, in fact, data transfer from the main client fell down and went boom and I spent ten hours getting that fixed and then getting the various reports out to the medical practices and whoever else gets them. (And kept an eye on my daughter, whom I kept home from school again but who could do her classes via Skype but who would also goof around given half a chance.) (And kept an eye on Grandma, who seemed determined to scorch every pot in the house by setting something to boiling and then forgetting it.)

    But that’s OK. The data transfer from the same client failed again last night. I checked the DB server status a couple hours ago and took care of what I could and now have a glorious fifteen minutes of free time before getting The Child up, moving downstairs to keep an eye on the kitchen, and setting up for another ten hours of unscrewupping and rerunning jobs on four different servers. Yes, I’m totally loving my life….

    (In related news, what my employer does is claimed to be valuable — “phenomenally valuable” was how it was put at least once — for the medical practices and hospitals and for the insurance company which recently bought my employer, both as a general thing and especially now during the dempanic. And my work in particular is absolutely essential to my employer doing what it does, as I keep the application servers going, fix many of the database problems, and actually get the reports out to the recipients. But the new corporate masters say that there’s no money for raises because of, you know, dempanic and things. Some people got bonuses (just a gift card to WalMart or something) but I seem not to have been one of them. Yah, loving it. In theory I’m sending out resumes. In practice I’m too busy and tired to look for a new job or to do any side work, between the 50-hour work week, in effect single-parenting a teen, and various day-to-day chores involved in staying alive and keeping the house in good shape. OK, enough whining.)

    Brad, from yesterday, yes, in an ideal world the Republican or independent poll watchers would have stood firm, refused to be ejected, forced the police to arrest them in order to remove them, and then made a big stink when they went before a judge. In the real world, that’s an awful lot to ask. Especially given that the judges in many cities are just as dishonest as the other elected officials.

    In an ideal world, Trump would have had teams in place in the various states, ready to file challenges concerning “irregularities”. In the real world, that seems to be the case. They’re being stymied for the moment by a number of county election boards, state secretaries of state, and state-level judges who refuse to look at evidence of fraud or who deny claims on specious technicalities, all under cover of a media system which is all-in on denying that any fraud happened, proclaiming that Biden is President-elect, and doing everything in their power to get Trump out of the White House at the earliest possible moment. Trump appears to have been prepared for all that and the first of the appeals are already at the Supreme Court. What more do you want him to have done?

    There’s the option of declaring martial law and arresting half a dozen state secretaries of state, county election boards, police chiefs, mayors, and whoever else is destroying evidence (eg, wiping the voting machines) or interfering with an investigation, but that’s a Rubicon that shouldn’t be crossed except in extremis.

    There’s the option of calling on the militia to rise up and bring down the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. That’s a line which probably should never be crossed.

    Again, what more do you want Trump to do? What other steps should he have taken before the election?

    … And with that, I need to dash off again. Will grace you all with my wisdom in comments later, if the day eases up enough.

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  80. Aldi puts a lot of thought and research into every store location, and they target a lower demo than their second-cousin-twice-removed chain Trader Joes.

    Most of the Aldis in Houston are in suburban areas, middle class to upscale. I go to the one by us for bread (their low net carb bread is $1 loaf cheaper than the Sara Lee version), eggs, half and half, and occasional German foods they stock. Their house brands are hit and miss, but prices are generally good. They are keeping the price of a lot of staples lower at the nearby HEB.

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