‘Phoenix’ Category

 

A Talking-To

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – Summer is nearing an end, and I’m wagging my finger  to get your attention this Saturday evening about COVID19 in the United States and the World. The virus hasn’t disappeared yet, and sadly, the United States continues to be coping poorly. The World Health Organization reports 30,369,778 cases tallied up around the globe as of September 19. The Centers for Disease Control reports 6,706,374 cases in the United States as of September 19. Do the math: 22% of the COVID19 cases in the world are in the United States. And remember, the United States accounts for only 4% of the world’s population.

I REPEAT:

  • WORLD COVID19 cases: 30,369,778
  • UNITED STATES COVID19 cases: 6,706,374

  • UNITED STATES: 22% of World COVID19 cases
  • UNITED STATES: 4% of World population

As to DEATHS from COVID19, the World Health Organization reports 948,795 deaths worldwide due to COVID19 as of September 19. The Centers for Disease Control reports 198,099 deaths in the United States due to COVID19 as of September 19.

My stepmother was one of those statistics. She was buried September 13 in Jasper, Alabama (Alabama now the fifth deadliest state to live in). Her name was Opal Burton and she lived for 97 years, until she contracted the virus while quarantined in a nursing home. Not the way anyone should spend their last days on earth; she was in a place that should have been able to keep her safe. It makes me sad, and it makes me angry that we have let this virus dig into our lives the way it has. God bless you Opal, and forgive the laxity that allowed things to get so far beyond control. Your life was much too valuable to be lost in such a way.

DEATHS:

  • WORLD COVID19 deaths: 948,795
  • UNITED STATES COVID19 deaths: 198,099

  • UNITED STATES: 21% of World COVID19 deaths
  • UNITED STATES: 4% of World Population

Within the United States, which states have the WORST RECORD?

The FIVE STATES with the HIGHEST percentage of their population DIAGNOSED with COVID19:

  • Louisiana: 3.47%. Governor John Bell Edwards, Democrat
  • Mississippi: 3.13%. Governor Tate Reeves, Republican
  • Florida: 3.12%. Governor Ron DeSantis, Republican
  • Arizona: 2.93%. Governor Doug Ducey, Republican
  • Alabama: 2.91%. Governor Kay Ivey, Republican

Of those who contracted COVID19, the FIVE STATES with the HIGHEST percentage of those DYING from the virus:

  • Connecticut: 8.09%. Governor Ned Lamont, Democrat
  • New Jersey: 8.08%. Governor Phil Murphy, Democrat
  • New York: 7.29%. Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat
  • Massachusetts: 6.89%. Governor Charles Baker, Republican
  • New Hampshire: 5.57%. Governor Chris Sununu, Republican

We’ve got to do better people. What are YOU doing personally to make sure the virus doesn’t grab onto your beautiful body? And if it unfortunately HAS DONE THAT, and you are feverish and coughing and feel totally pukey BAD, what are you doing to make sure you don’t spread it around? Our powers in office can make good or bad decisions about issuing mandates and opening or closing facilities. But it is up to YOU to practice good common sense. You’ve heard enough details about COVID19 symptoms, and dangers. You know the drill. In all the political froo-froo and blame-game playacting, it’s still WE THE PEOPLE who can slow the virus down by sensible behavior and good judgment. Don’t be a ding-dong!

In 45 days, it’s time to VOTE. Stay tuned for a daily post about each of the 45 presidents who have already served, from GEORGE to DONALD. You DO NOT want to miss that. If you think things are crazy NOW, well, they are, but there has been mucho craziness in the past too.

Don’t despair. You know what to do on November 3.

 
 
 

That Virus Thingy

September 1, 2020, Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – Six months have passed since we really started counting “that virus thingy.” I check the US stats on the Centers for Disease Control website every week; so far no US state or territory has had a week go by with NO new cases. Except for American Samoa, bless their peaceful, well-isolated hearts. Today I took a worldwide look – the World Health Organization has an excellent site and really good advice. It’s vitally important to track what is going on in our own neighborhood, but I believe it is equally important to track what is happening beyond our borders. Compare – how are they managing? How are we, in the US?

As of the beginning of September, 2020, the World Health Organization shows 25,541,380 cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide; 852,000 deaths. If we want to compare that death count with the population of cities of equal size – we could say that EVERYBODY in Indianapolis, Indiana is dead now. Or, Seattle, Washington. Dead. No living, breathing persons left in those cities. When you look at it THAT way, it seems like a lot of deaths, doesn’t it? Other cities in the US that have populations in the 800,000 range are Charlotte, North Carolina; San Francisco, California, Columbus, Ohio; Forth Worth, Texas.  Imagine them gone! Imagine a dystopian horror tale, such as Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars (2012); a world where the unexpected happened – a flu pandemic struck – and life on the planet had to adjust to “what is.” While I’m a believer in Positive Thinking, I’m also a believer in being well-informed. And approaching life in ways that are reasonable, and not based on impatience to “get back to normal, now!” Like, opening schools.  Sure, kids are getting a sucky education right now. Sure, parents are sick and tired of having to manage and monitor their children’s schooling from home.  Sure – well the issue is ablaze in arguments and accusations and vastly different proposals. Politics involved. What is the best solution? Start with facts.

Here are the numbers broken down by sections of the world, and then the US.

World Health Organization Statistics – Number of Cases Reported Worldwide as of September 1, 2020

  • Americas – 13,469,747
  • SE Asia – 4,318,281
  • Europe – 4,225,328
  • Eastern Mediterranean – 1,939,204
  • Africa – 1,056,120
  • Western Pacific – 501,959
  • TOTAL WORLDWIDE – 25,541,380

Of the Americas, that’s both North and South, let’s look at what is happening just in the United States. We’ve got the most cases of any American country — 6,004,443 COVID-19 cases reported to date; 183,050 deaths from the virus. That “death” total kills off everybody in Little Rock, just about! The US numbers are big, and continue to get bigger. Over the next month, I’ll be looking at what other countries in the world are doing to combat a pandemic that is “sure ‘nough” real, and how they are keeping their citizens safe.

Meanwhile, wash your hands, keep your chin up (with MASK intact!), and if you happen to live in any of the states below, get in touch with your governor because your state is leading the pack this week, an honor you don’t want.

US States With Highest Percent of Population Diagnosed With COVID-19 as of September 1

  1. Louisiana – 3.2%, Governor John Bel Edwards, Democrat
  2. Florida – 2.87%, Governor Ronald Dion DeSantis, Republican
  3. Mississippi – 2.81%, Governor Jonathon Tate Reeves, Republican
  4. Arizona – 2.77%, Governor Douglas Anthony Ducey, Republican
  5. Alabama – 2.57%, Governor Kay Ellen Ivey, Republican

US States With Greatest  Numbers of COVID-19  Cases Diagnosed as of September 1

  1. California – 704,485, Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom, Democrat
  2. Florida – 616,629, Governor Ronald Dion DeSantis, Republican
  3. Texas – 612,969, Governor Gregory Wayne Abbott, Republican
  4. New York – 435,783, Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo, Democrat
  5. Georgia – 270,471, Governor Brian Porter Kemp, Republican

US States With Most New Cases Diagnosed in One Week as of September 1

  1. California – 40,416, Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom, Democrat
  2. Texas – 35,432, Governor Gregory Wayne Abbott, Republican
  3. Florida – 22,342, Governor Ronald Dion DeSantis, Republican
  4. Georgia – 16,522, Governor Brian Porter Kemp, Republican
  5. Illinois – 15,130, Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker, Democrat

John Bel Edwards, LA

Ron DeSantis, FL

Tate Reeves, MS

Doug Ducey, AZ

Kay Ivey, AL

Andrew Cuomo, NY

Brian Kemp, GA

Gavin Newsom, CA

Greg Abbott, TX

J B Pritzker, IL

 
 
 

Readin’ and Writin’ and ‘Rithmatic

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – Do you know how many students attended public schools in the United States in the 2019-2020 school year? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/, about  50.8 million – 35.5 million in prekindergarten to grade 8, and 15.3 million in grades 9-12.

About 3.7 million students graduated from high school this spring, in the strangest ending to a school year anyone can recall. I’ve heard stories from my parents of “depression years” and school schedules revolving around “cotton-picking time.” My Dad was double-promoted in high school during hard times and wound up graduating at age 16. “Daddy had been a school teacher, and he made sure I got my studies done first. So I’d go to classes in the morning and then put in a crop in the afternoon,” he told. My Mom was dealt a reverse blow – her father held her back for two of her school years; once due to a lengthy illness and once when she simply needed to help support the family. My grandfather was a carpenter, and she dug clay from the riverbank to make bricks. But both parents persevered. They made it, despite the odds.

This year’s high schoolers were hit with an unexpected, unpredictable crisis along about March. In a flurry of fears and fumbles, as the COVID-19 virus began to creep across the country, schools shifted to stay-at-home, online classes. The methods varied from state to state, even within school districts. “Let’s stay home till this passes,” was Plan 1.

It didn’t pass. Virus cases continued to go up and state governors were tasked with issuing mandates to protect their citizens. What a thoroughly depressing “rock and a hard place” to be between. We can’t let 3.5 million kids miss a senior year! But also, we can’t let 50.8 million kids sit side by side in a classroom when the danger of illness, or death, is entirely possible.

So what to do?

You know what happened, it’s past now. My two high-school-senior-grandchildren toughed it out, sitting at home with their laptops; certain hours for online classtime and individual study. Yes, you can STUDY at home (that’s normally called “homework”) but how the heck do you complete a welding class online? They missed the senior prom, the cross-country meets, the camaraderie with school chums. It all went flat.

I applaud the effort their school officials made to create “virtual graduation ceremonies” so they did get to WEAR those caps and gowns; they did get photographed with smiling faces and feted with “immediate-family-at-home parties.” And cake, of course, cake. I’ve heard stories from friends in different parts of the country that told of similar, and some very unusual, solutions for “how to make it SPECIAL for the Class of 2020.”

Life goes on, and the virus isn’t letting up as the fall “school year” fast approaches. The daily news is mostly daily arguments and accusations; we MUST do this; we CANNOT do that. The impact of school closures extends far beyond “educational concerns” or “health concerns.” Financial, emotional, practical, common-sense issues are topsy-turvy; our structured way of life is no longer certain of its footings.

I analyze COVID-19 cases every day on the CDC site; today’s totals are 2,982,900 with 145,663 deaths so far in our 50 states, the District of Columbia, and our US territories.

Top Ten List

Sometimes, I noted, it isn’t good to make the TOP TEN LIST. Today, the ten US states dealing with the highest sheer numbers of COVID-19 cases are:

  1. 399,925: New York. Capital City Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat
  2. 277,724: California. Capital City Sacramento, Governor Gavin Newsom, Democrat
  3. 210,594: Florida. Capital City Tallahassee, Governor Ron DeSantis, Republican
  4. 210,585: Texas. Capital City Austin, Governor Greg Abbott, Republican
  5. 173,878: New Jersey. Capital City Trenton, Governor Phil Murphy, Democrat
  6. 149,574: Illinois. Capital City Springfield, Governor J B Pritzker, Democrat
  7. 110,338: Massachusetts. Capital City Boston, Governor Charlie Baker, Republican
  8. 105,094: Arizona. Capital City Phoenix, Governor Doug Ducey, Republican
  9. 100,470: Georgia. Capital City Atlanta, Governor Brian Kemp, Republican
  10. 92,148: Pennsylvania. Capital City Harrisburg, Governor Tom Wolf, Democrat

Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, Phil Murphy, J B Pritzker, Charlie Baker, Doug Ducey, Brian Kemp, and Tom Wolf, governors of these hardest-hit states, have some tough decisions ahead. So do the governors, and health departments, and school boards, of ALL our states and territories.

There are more than 50 million children out there whose future rocks, and rolls, on the decisions you make.

Tomorrow: Colleges

 

 
 
 

Struck by Lightning

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona – Lottery fever claimed the city of Phoenix today. In fact, it claimed the attention of nearly everyone in the USA. The eight states that were NOT selling tickets were Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Nevada? Go figure.

The stories were thick and heavy on the news. Sad tales of winners of the past, lives ruined by too much money come too fast; the weeping multi-millionaire who gave his young granddaughter two thousand dollars a week to show his love, then lost her to drugs and drink and a fatal auto crash. His wife left him too; there is no one he can trust, for who’s your friend when you hold the gold? “I’ve lost everything that was important to me,” he cried. » read more

 
 
 

There’s No Excuse

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — There’s no excuse for not knowing.

From your home computer, you can access Arizona state government @ http://www.azleg.gov/

You will be welcomed. This is what you’ll see:

Welcome to the official web site of the Arizona State Legislature. Use this web site as a tool to track pending legislation, plus locate and contact individual legislators, and stay up-to-date on current issues. For an overview of the legislative process in Arizona, please feel free to explore our web site. » read more

 
 
 

Go Gogh

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, ArizonaYou don’t have to like the artistry of Van Gogh, or appreciate art at all. Even if you’re a cranky old goat, you will be touched by the multi-sensory experience you’ll have in the midst of 33 projectors flashing more than 3,000 images on more than 40 screens, columns and walls before you, beside you, behind you, and even on the floor beneath you. All synchronized to a powerful classical score. » read more

 
 
 

Camelback Toyota, Camelback Mountain

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — Today was the day to pay attention to the Scion. The personalized plate had arrived, so I borrowed a screwdriver from the front desk and happily fastened it to my car. I’ll never forget my number now: 50 CCUSA.

Next I wanted to buff up the cargo space. Six thousand miles traveling with “cats in the back” were starting to present a hairy problem. I headed for the nearest Toyota/Scion in Phoenix, which turned out to be Camelback Toyota on (where else) Camelback Road. A fabulous facility, they’ve been there two years, I learned. www.camelbacktoyota.com » read more

 
 
 

A New American University

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — I met Marla in a restaurant. She was my server, friendly and animated, asking about me, and then wanting to hear more about my trip. I of course asked about her. “I’m a student at ASU,” she beamed. I learned that she is graduating in June from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, located on the downtown campus. We talked about journalism, point of view, and writing in general. We wished each other luck with future ventures.

And I wanted to learn a little more about ASU. I must say, I’m impressed, and I pass along what I found. » read more

 
 
 

Social Media and Showing Up

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, ArizonaJenni Troy is a young mother of three who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Jenni was disturbed over the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida February 26. As people around the country began to speak up about the circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death, Jenni decided she wanted to do something too.

So last week, Jenni posted an Event on Facebook titled “Arizona Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin.”  She then contacted local news media, and the Phoenix Police Department, asking for coverage of the rally, and cooperation in keeping the rally safe. “I think everyone needs to stand up and be a voice for him and his family,” she said.

Her efforts paid off. About 500 people  showed up at the edge of the ASU campus in downtown Phoenix at 5 PM today, most wearing black shirts or hoodies, many carrying signs. Jenni addressed the crowd with words of thanks, apologizing for the sound problems, acknowledging “This is the first time I’ve done anything like this.” She gave directions for the march to City Hall, emphasizing “This will be a peaceful march.”

After a prayer from Rev Oscar Tillman, Jenni stepped to the sidewalk to lead the way to City Hall.

 

 
 
 

Home, and Where the Heart Is

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona — “Home is your own private piece of heaven.” These words, softly spoken, are one of many reflections in a video entitled “Home: Native People in the Southwest, Part One” which you can see at the Heard Museum, or online at this link: http://www.heard.org/videos/index.html

Arizona is home to 22 tribal nations, and the Heard Museum has worked with 20 of them to produce short video-tours as an aid to connecting communities, and showcasing their distinct languages and traditions. In this 30 minute video by Dustinn Craig, they tell intimate stories of their connection to the land, and the meaning of home to them.

“Home is a really hard concept for me,“ says one. “I can see it, I can taste it. But I need to create it – that’s home for me.”

“Creating home” is the focus of another whose life was expressed in a love of the land. Frank Lloyd Wright began building Taliesin West in 1937 as a personal winter home, studio, and architectural campus. This desert masterpiece sits in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in northeast Scottsdale, and a variety of guided tours allow you to experience first-hand his brilliant ability to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. http://www.franklloydwright.org/web/Tours.html

Wright preached the beauty of native materials and created buildings to grow naturally from their surroundings. “Whether people are fully conscious of this or not, they actually derive countenance and sustenance from the ‘atmosphere’ of the things they live in, or with,” he said.

As I travel the country over these next two years, listening to the voices and observing how people love and revere this land that is the United States, I will carry with me this thought, expressed in Craig’s video by a Native soul, which has profound meaning for me:

“I’m an elder now. I have dreams that I have to complete. That’s my home.”