1. Mu unlikely to replace delta as a dominant variant, virologists say

“…The delta coronavirus variant, which accounts for 99 percent of U.S. COVID-19 cases, will likely maintain its dominance over new variants such as mu (B.1.621) and lambda (C.37), virologists told The Wall Street Journal… they expect delta to outcompete these strains because of its high transmissibility. In short, other variants can’t spread to susceptible people as fast as delta can, which gives it a leg up…This means that new case surges will likely be driven by delta and its sub-variants, not a new virus lineage…At present, delta accounts for about 88 percent of new cases globally… on its current trajectory, delta would achieve fixation as the dominant strain worldwide within about a year of its emergence… In contrast, seasonal flu strains typically take two to five years to achieve fixation…”

2. New York health system to halt maternity care after staff resign over vaccine mandate


Breaking News: Unvaccinated Americans are 11 times more likely to die of Covid, the C.D.C. reported, among other data showing vaccines’ protection from severe cases.


US COVID-19 RESPONSE In a speech delivered on September 9 from the White House, US President Joe Biden laid out a 6-pronged COVID-19 pandemic action plan, including new federal vaccine requirements for about two-thirds of the nation’s federal and private workforce, in an effort to stem the surge caused by the Delta variant and jumpstart economic recovery. President Biden excoriated unvaccinated individuals, saying “our patience is running thin” and blaming them for harming fellow Americans. He also pushed back against the politicization of the pandemic, promising to use the power of the federal government to take on state elected officials who are “undermining” the implementation of vaccination requirements, mask mandates, and other preventive measures.

Under the new plan, all private sector companies employing more than 100 people will be required to mandate vaccination or conduct weekly testing, affecting about 80 million people. Workers at healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding, about 17 million people, also will have to be vaccinated, extending an earlier requirement for workers at nursing homes to include facilities such as hospitals, home-health agencies, and dialysis centers. President Biden also is requiring all executive branch employees and federal contractors to be fully vaccinated, with no testing option, covering several million more workers. Additionally, employees of Head Start programs and schools run by the Department of Defense and Bureau of Indian Education, about 300,000 people, will be required to be vaccinated.

President Biden announced several other pieces of the plan, including a doubling of fines for travelers who refuse to wear masks in transit stations or on airplanes or trains. The government also is working with manufacturers and large retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger, to lower the cost of at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests and distribute the tests to easily accessible sites such as shelters and food banks. The Department of Defense plans to send more teams into hard-hit areas, and the federal government will increase shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments and offer new support to small businesses


1. COVID-19 Vaccines Don’t Raise Miscarriage Risk, 3 Studies Show (CIDRAP) Pregnant women who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine were not at higher risk for miscarriage than their unvaccinated counterparts, according to a trio of new US studies.

2. Los Angeles Mandates Student Vaccinations in Nation’s Second-largest School District (Washington Post) The Los Angeles school board on Thursday agreed to require coronavirus vaccinations for students ages 12 and up in the city’s public school system, with board members arguing that it is the best way to protect students and keep schools open for in-person learning. Los Angeles is by far the largest school district in the country to take this step as experts and officials across the country worry the surging and highly contagious delta variant could upend yet another school year. Already, many school districts mandate vaccination for school faculty and staff members, and in California the requirement is statewide.



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Remembering 911

 Remembering 911
By George Smith

Twenty years ago, September 11, 2001, I was in my second-floor office as editor and publisher of the Benton (AR) Courier when the small TV behind me blasted news about a plane hitting one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

A few minutes later, I watched in slack-jawed horror as a second plane hit the sister tower.

We called in all reporters early and set an aggressive agenda for covering this catastrophic event from the perspective of small town America. That day I reverted to my former role as writer/photographer and got photos and quotes from folks at a local furniture store who were queued up watching a bank of TVs as events developed.

I went to several local churches and sat with strangers and prayed for those who died and the survivors. We held hands and cried together.

I called family members and told them to fill up all cars and gas cans … because … well, just because.

My heart heavy, my head pounding, I drove several miles to an isolated spot on the bank of the Ouachita River and simply sat, looking at the slow-moving water; I watched a darting dragonfly and quietly cried while I prayed.

My grandparents and parents were long gone but I hugged them in my mind, knowing for the first time how they felt on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

I felt the same depths of dread and despair and uncertainty in 2001 that I am sure every American experienced on that day almost 80 years ago.

Heading back to town, I stopped to fill up just behind a biker in full “colors”. We nodded casually and, without really thinking, the corporate me walked over to him and opened my arms. We hugged for a bit longer than strangers normally do. We patted each other on the back, macho-style, and turned away to an uncertain future.

I wish I could reclaim that feeling of brotherhood I had that day for my fellow Americans…all Americans.

That feeling, the ability to reach out and hug strangers on a silent “everything is going to be okay” is sorely needed in this nation today.

Today, find a stranger and tell him or her to have a safe and peaceful day.

That message never gets old.


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PO Box 721

Scottsville TX 75688

 Remembering 911 Twenty Years Later

By Ron Munden


For the last nineteen years I have posted the 911 story that I wrote a few days after the planes struck New York and Washington.  As we reached the twenty-year point, I decided it was time to write about my feelings today — twenty years later.

Today’s perspective is Washington-centric.  I have spent very little time in New York but for 20 years I split my time between San Francisco and Washington DC.  During the late 1990s and 2000s, I spent many hours in the Pentagon on the Army’s portion of the “E” ring.  So, I know I passed the location where the third plane struck the Pentagon.

During the period of 1999 though the first six months of 2001. I worked for Booz Allen Hamilton on an Army project. I left the firm in June.  While working for BAH our project team met frequently with Army management in the Pentagon.  On 9/11 my boss, Dr. Jeep Fisher, and two other members of the team were meeting with an Army General in his office at “ground zero” for the plane impact.

In an exchange of emails over the next few days after “911” I learned that all three BAH employees meeting with the General were killed.

So, when I hear “911” my first thoughts don’t go to New York.  They go to the Pentagon because I have an attachment to the place and people directly impacted by the event.

As the United States completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, I thought – Osama bin Laden achieved his objective.  The event pushed this country into a state of perpetual war and “911” has changed our country forever.  Osama never thought he could defeat the US, but he did feel he could change the way of life in our country.  “911” did that.

Looking back over the last 78 years, I can think of no event that changed the trajectory of the country more.  Sure, Vietnam was bad. It cost many young men their lives and we treated the returning military like shit — but that did not change the fabric of the country.  “911” did.

First, “911” caused people in the United States to decide they were willing to give up their personal freedoms and privacy in order the feel safe.

Second, Americans decided they were willing to send someone else’s son or daughter off to wage a perpetual war because it made them feel safe.

Third, in my opinion without “911” our country would never have invaded Iraq.  “911” allowed the neocons to convince Americans to invade a country and overthrow a government because that would make them feel safe.

“911” made us a warrior nation that fought wars but never won them.

I have one positive memory of “911”.  It brought the country together.  We bought flags.  We sang “God Bless America.” We hugged other Americans without regard to the color or their political party affiliation.

As one commentator said this morning, the country was more united on September 12, 2001, than it had been since World War II.  He went on to say the people of the country have spent the last 20 years destroying that unity.

Sadly, I believe he is right, and this country will never achieve that level of unity again.

The game score for “911”:  Osama bin Laden 1, United States 0


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