Opinion: We know this on our heart

 Opinion: We know this on our heart

By George Smith  — October 2, 2021


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PO Box 721

Scottsville TX 75688

Opinion: Dear Close Friend


By George Smith  — September 19, 2021

A close friend, one I’d trust with my life, is a Trump supporter. We pledged to not talk politics and he broke the pledge in a typical Trumpuppet fashion, lamenting our ”senile” president, the immigrant problem, the price of gas and how the country is doomed. Then he started in on

As an off-the-wall rant, it was a good one; this friend is an excellent writer.

I didn’t have to respond but did so after he foisted “.your liberal party” upon my head.

My screed at 5 a.m.:

Wow! You are worked up.

Please remember this: I am not a Democrat. I am an independent.

I vote for (but mainly against, since real change is impossible without true campaign finance reform and, in my opinion, term limits) a candidate on issues. I voted for Reagan and both Bushes…once. At the time, I liked them better than the Democratic candidates.

I’m concerned that Republicans care more about big business, tax breaks for the wealthy, high drug prices, the success of military equipment manufacturers, and throwing up scare tactics about antifa and BLM than they are about the ordinary citizen.

GOPers, like all militia groups, scream about personal freedom — “My body, my choice!” Is a popular theme right now — but demand that women and girls do not have that same right when it comes to personal health care in consultation with their doctor and their god.

Your comment about Democrats and education was, really, beneath you and I took it as a statement made out of exasperation and mental anguish.

Two areas — national security and education — should be the primary concerns of this country. As a teacher and a one-time history major, I rever the historical truisms of this world and our nation — ALL of the stories, not just those that are pleasant and sanitized.

Due to greed and a belief that the white race was superior to all others, early settlers and would-be land barons, with the help of the military (after “buying” Manhattan in the worst/best land deal in history) took the whole of the U.S. from Native Americans. Of course they paid Spain for the Louisiana Purchase and Alaska from Russia (both “dream” real estate deals), after those countries stole it from various tribes and indigenous folk.

Slavery, abhorrent treatment of Native Americans (who, themselves, were immigrants) and the history of immigrant-bashing are part of the nation’s historical fabric.

It is impossible to unweave the cloth and create a new narrative without presenting a phony and superfluous picture of the past.

History is history. Trying to change it to fit a certain political philosophy, ease guilty consciences or just to assure that sensitive feelings are spared is NOT history.

If we do not actively and persistently acknowledge the mistakes of our ancestors, how on God’s green earth can we ever learn from them?


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BREAKING NEWS An F.D.A. panel recommended a Pfizer Covid booster for those 65 or older or at high risk, after earlier voting not to recommend it for younger people.

 Protection of BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster Against Covid-19 in Israel (NEJM) At least 12 days after the booster dose, the rate of confirmed infection was lower in the booster group than in the nonbooster group by a factor of 11.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.4 to 12.3); the rate of severe illness was lower by a factor of 19.5 (95% CI, 12.9 to 29.5). In a secondary analysis, the rate of confirmed infection at least 12 days after vaccination was lower than the rate after 4 to 6 days by a factor of 5.4 (95% CI, 4.8 to 6.1).

(J. Harris: This is one of a series of reports from Israel regarding a 3rd. v

Pfizer vaccination shot. If you are >65 or are fragile, take a third shot. I did.)





1. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Through 6 Months (NEJM) BNT162b2 continued to be safe and have an acceptable adverse-event profile. Few participants had adverse events leading to withdrawal from the trial. Vaccine efficacy against Covid-19 was 91.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 89.0 to 93.2) through 6 months of follow-up among the participants without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection who could be evaluated. There was a gradual decline in vaccine efficacy.

2. Parenting a Child Under 12 in the Age of Delta: ‘It’s Like a Fire Alarm Every Day’ (Washington Post) With a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 unlikely to be approved for at least a few more months, parents of young children are weighing a dizzying array of variables every day as they try to navigate the risks of covid against the mental health and physical consequences of social isolation and their own livelihood.


Mask Wars




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Opinion: A Limited Rant

By George Smith  — September 18, 2021

This is not a rant against women. It is a rant against certain women, prominent GOP shrews, a gaggle of ill-tempered, nagging and argumentative politicians whose sole purpose seems to be to promote the Donald Trump Irrational Theory of MAGA.

(Note to readers: The adjectives used above are the clinical definition of a shrew. Blame Funk and Wagnall’s, not me.)

Shrew 1: Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the U.N. and, at one time, a possible future presidential contender.

Haley, before she opted to be a kiss-hiney suck-up to Trump, stood alone on the distaff side of rational Republican politicians. She was dynamic, engaging, charming, a politician/chameleon that fit the mold of one bound for future greatness within her party.

As an astute minority politician, Haley, whose full name is Nimrata “Nikki”  Randhawa Haley, the GOP offered her a place in history. That place is assured, now that her name will always be associated with the only president to be impeached twice.

Now, Haley’s stock has tumbled, as she has to hold the female-side of the GOP banner with two other Trumpettes.

Shrew 2: introducing the Queen of Snark; Majorie Taylor Green. Green, who represents Georgia’s 14th District, is a slash-and-burn politician, a born-again Trumpuppet who is interested in only two things, how many times can she be in the headlines or on TV and how much hell she has to raise to be interviewed on Fox News or  NewsMax.

Green is so annoying and disliked on The Hill that she was removed from committees by House leaders.

Greene has promoted numerous far-right, white supremacist, and antisemitic conspiracy theories including the white genocide conspiracy theory, anything in QAnon sites, and Pizzagate, as well as other disproven conspiracy theories such as false mass shootings, the Clinton body count, and those related to 9/11.

In other words, she’s a nut.

Shrew 3: Lauren Opal Boebert is a businesswoman and gun-rights activist, now serving as the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district.

When deciding to run for Congress, she thought it might be good if she had a high school diploma, so she got her GED.

Boebert owns Shooters Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, where staff members are encouraged to openly carry firearms.

If that does not tell you all you need to know, Boebert was a leader in trying to get Antifa, a non-organization railing against fascism, as a terrorist organization.

A QAnon advocate, Boebert, to quote an opinion piece in a national newspaper, is “caught in a cacophony of crazy.”

These are the leaders of the women’s’ movement in the Republican Party.

Too bad. So sad.


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PO Box 721

Scottsville TX 75688

Marshall Unveils New Animal Shelter

 Marshall Unveils New Animal Shelter

To view the interview – click here.


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1. PRIORITY REVIEW OF PFIZER-BIONTECH VACCINE Pfizer-BioNTech on July 16 announced the US FDA granted priority review status for the Biologics License Application for their 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. An FDA official reportedly said a decision on whether to grant full approval for the vaccine’s use in people ages 16 and older will come soon, possibly within the next 2 months. The FDA must make its decision by January under the priority review. Pfizer-BioNTech completed their application in May and expects to apply for full approval for people ages 12 to 15 when data are available. Moderna has begun its application to the FDA for full approval of its 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and J&J-Janssen also is expected to seek full approval of its 1-dose vaccine. Full approval of a vaccine could impact US vaccination coverage by prompting vaccine mandates for some schools, businesses, or the US military, and by swaying some who are reluctant because of safety concerns to undergo vaccination.

2. FRANCE VACCINATIONS In an effort to control the surging Delta variant (B.1.617.2), French President Emmanuel Macron announced that proof of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test must soon be provided to enter certain public venues or transportation. 

3. HAJJ Historically, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca draws millions of visitors from around the world. Last year, Saudi Arabia limited visitors to only 1,000 pilgrims, but for the ongoing Hajj (July 17-22), the government is permitting a total of 60,000 visitors, limited to Saudi residents who are fully vaccinated, aged 18-65 years, and have no chronic health conditions. While this is considerably more people than were permitted in 2020, it is still far fewer than the more than 2 million who typically attend Hajj.

In order to reduce risk, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah implemented additional restrictions and protective measures. Upon arrival, pilgrims are assigned to groups of 20, with no mixing between groups. Individuals are assigned specific dates and times to visit the Grand Mosque, where 6,000 individuals are permitted to enter every 3 hours. Facilities at the Grand Mosque undergo sterilization between each session. Despite the additional protective measures, including the vaccination requirement, the US CDC still has a Level 3 Travel Warning in place (Avoid Nonessential Travel) for the Hajj, due in part to the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with mass gatherings.

(J. Harris: Too bad. I surely hope that this type of Covid Caution doesn’t spread to really important super spreader events like  THE 81ST STURGIS MOTORCYCLE RALLY to be held in August in SD [https://sturgis.com/].See you there???)

4. SUPER ANTIBODY In a study published July 14 in Nature, researchers describe a newly discovered “super antibody” capable of protecting against SARS-CoV-2 and a group of related coronaviruses, called sarbecoviruses. The antibody, named S2H97, is believed to work by attaching to a section of the ACE2 receptor binding motif on the virus spike protein that is only exposed when a sarbecovirus is attempting to enter a cell. S2H97 was able to prevent the spread of multiple sarbecoviruses between cells in a lab, and the antibody also protected hamsters from infection with SARS-CoV-2 isolated from the initial Wuhan, China, outbreak. Researchers further described the antibody as a pan-sarbecovirus due to its broad efficacy across the sarbecovirus subgenus. The description of a usually hidden antibody binding region in the ACE2 RBM is important because it could be used as a target for future vaccines and therapeutics. Additionally, a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine could be used to prevent outbreaks from as-of-yet-undiscovered members of the Coronaviridae family of viruses.


J. Harris: Our neighbors in LA must have more Covid, more Testing, or (likely) both.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEASED (Thank you George and Sam)


Click here to see the video — it could save your life


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QUICK NOTE IN WASHINGTON POST, TODAY, 5/27 ”In a non–peer reviewed preprint study, German scientists say they have determined the cause of rare blood clots in some people who got the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.”


1. The majority of Navajo Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the United States, is immunized – about 70 percent are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the tribe’s president. And leaders of other American Indian tribes say their vaccination numbers are similarly impressive. Reasons for this success, those leaders explain, include their sovereignty to distribute vaccines and cultural values that emphasize community. 

2. One vaccinated person in Ohio will receive $1 million tonight when the state reveals the first winner from its immunization lottery. Nearly 2.8 million Ohioans have registered for the “Vax-a-Million” program, which in total will give $1 million prizes to five adults and full-ride scholarships to Ohio public colleges to five teens. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said the lottery contributed to higher vaccination rates, particularly among young adults, in the state.


“…Amazon reportedly is considering delving deeper into the prescription drug business by either opening standalone retail pharmacies or adding pharmacies to its Whole Foods stores, Business Insider reported…Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 and last year launched Amazon Pharmacy…”

‘Overrun with kids attempting suicide’: Children’s Colorado declares state of emergency (J. Harris: Why? Pot? Covid? School changes? Depressed or poor parenting?)



Characteristics of COVID-19 Cases and Outbreaks at Child Care Facilities — District of Columbia, July–December 2020 Among 469 child care facilities in the District of Columbia, 23.9% reported at least one COVID-19 case, and 5.8% reported outbreak-associated cases during July 1–December 31, 2020. Among 319 cases, approximately one half were among teachers or staff members. Outbreak risk was increased in facilities operating ❤ years, with symptomatic persons who sought testing ≥3 days after symptom onset, or with asymptomatic cases. (CDC MMWR, 5/21/2021)


Mask Use and Ventilation Improvements to Reduce COVID-19 Incidence in Elementary Schools — Georgia, November 16–December 11, 2020 COVID-19 incidence was 37% lower in schools that required teachers and staff members to use masks and 39% lower in schools that improved ventilation. Ventilation strategies associated with lower school incidence included dilution methods alone (35% lower incidence) or in combination with filtration methods (48% lower incidence). Mask requirements for teachers and staff members and improved ventilation are important strategies in addition to vaccination of teachers and staff members that elementary schools could implement as part of a multicomponent approach to provide safer, in-person learning environments. (CDC MMWR, 5/21/2021)


“… Results: …Main Outcomes and Measures  Participants underwent T2R38 phenotype taste testing to determine whether they were supertasters (those who experienced greater intensity of bitter tastes), tasters, or nontasters (those who experienced low intensity of bitter tastes or no bitter tastes) and underwent evaluation for lack of infection with SARS-CoV-2 via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and IgM and IgG testing. (A group of participants was randomly selected for genotype analysis to correlate phenotype). Participants were followed up until confirmation of infection with SARS-CoV-2 via PCR testing. Phenotype of T2R38 was retested after infection with SARS-CoV-2. The results were compared with clinical course:……….A total of 1935 individuals (1101 women [56.9%]; mean [SD] age, 45.5 [13.9] years) participated in the study. Results of phenotype taste testing showed that 508 (26.3%) were supertasters, 917 (47.4%) were tasters, and 510 (26.4%) were nontasters.

... A total of 266 participants (13.7%) had positive PCR test results for SARS-CoV-2. Of these, 55 (20.7%) required hospitalization. Symptom duration among patients with positive results ranged from 0 to 48 days. Nontasters were significantly more likely than tasters and supertasters to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 …(, to be hospitalized once infected (odds ratio, 3.9 [1.5-10.2]; P = .006), and to be symptomatic for a longer duration (mean [SE] duration, 23.7 [0.5] days vs 13.5 [0.4] days vs 5.0 [0.6] days; P < .001). A total of 47 of 55 patients (85.5%) with COVID-19 who required inpatient admission were nontasters. Conversely, 15 of 266 patients (5.6%) with positive PCR test results were supertasters.

Conclusions and Relevance  This cohort study suggests that T2R38 receptor allelic variants were associated with participants’ innate immune response toward SARS-CoV-2. The T2R phenotype was associated with patients’ clinical course after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nontasters were more likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 than the other 2 groups, suggesting enhanced innate immune protection against SARS-CoV-2.


1. There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: ‘abstemious’ and ‘facetious.’  

(Okay, admit it, you just went through   a-e-i-o-u  in your head.)  

2. There are only four words in the English language which end in ‘dous’: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.      

(You’re not possibly still doubting any of this, are you ?)


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B.1.1.7.   U. K.





Coordinated Strategy for a Model-Based Decision Support Tool for Coronavirus Disease, Utah, USA


The coronavirus disease pandemic has highlighted the key role epidemiologic models play in supporting public health decision-making. In particular, these models provide estimates of outbreak potential when data are scarce and decision-making is critical and urgent. We document the integrated modeling response used in the US state of Utah early in the coronavirus disease pandemic, which brought together a diverse set of technical experts and public health and healthcare officials and led to an evidence-based response to the pandemic. We describe how we adapted a standard epidemiologic model; harmonized the outputs across modeling groups; and maintained a constant dialogue with policymakers at multiple levels of government to produce timely, evidence-based, and coordinated public health recommendations and interventions during the first wave of the pandemic. This framework continues to support the state’s response to ongoing outbreaks and can be applied in other settings to address unique public health challenges.

(J. Harris: This study in a state with a small, uniform, compliant population seems to show a useful model for pandemic control.)

Hopkins Cited:

1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and outcomes of COVID-19 in the ISARIC Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK cohort: a matched, prospective cohort study (ASPIRIN, MOTRIN, ALLEVE, ETC)

“NSAID use is NOT associated with higher mortality or increased severity of COVID-19. Policy makers should consider reviewing issued advice around NSAID prescribing and COVID-19 severity.”

2. Mucormycosis: The ‘Black Fungus’ Maiming Covid Patients in India (BBC) Even as a deadly second wave of Covid-19 ravages India, doctors are now reporting a rash of cases involving a rare infection – also called the “black fungus” – among recovering and recovered Covid-19 patients. Mucormycosis is a very rare infection. It is caused by exposure to mucor mould which is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. It affects the sinuses, the brain and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS. Doctors believe mucormycosis, which has an overall mortality rate of 50%, may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients.

3. Neutralizing Antibody Vaccine for Pandemic and Pre-emergent Coronaviruses (Nature) Here, we show that macaque immunization with a multimeric SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) nanoparticle adjuvanted with 3M-052/Alum elicited cross-neutralizing antibody (cross-nAb) responses against batCoVs, SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7, P.1, and B.1.351. Nanoparticle vaccination resulted in a SARS-CoV-2 reciprocal geometric mean neutralization ID50 titer of 47,216, and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in macaque upper and lower respiratory tracts. Importantly, nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding a stabilized transmembrane spike or monomeric RBD also induced SARS-CoV-1 and batCoV cross-nAbs, albeit at lower titers. These results demonstrate current mRNA vaccines may provide some protection from future zoonotic betaCoV outbreaks, and provide a platform for further development of pan-betaCoV vaccines.


HHS Announces $250 Million from American Rescue Plan to Develop and Support a Community-Based Workforce to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations in Underserved Communities The US Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the availability of approximately $250 million to develop and support a community-based workforce who will serve as trusted voices sharing information about vaccines, increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence, and address any barriers to vaccination for individuals living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities. This funding will help community-based organizations to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists and others to conduct on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in getting the information they need about vaccination, help make vaccine appointments, and assist with transportation and other needs to get to individuals to each of their vaccination appointments. (HHS, 5/4/2021)



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COVID 19 vaccine appointments are available at our office by going to https://mhchd.org/ to schedule an appointment. We currently have doses of the Janssen (J&J) single dose COVID 19 available. If you need assistance scheduling please contact us at 903-938-8338. 

Jennifer Hancock, RN, BSN  

Executive Director – Marshall-Harrison County Health District

(J. Harris: Counts are stable locally but are going up in Tyler and LA areas.)

Find COVID-19 Vaccines Near You

(J. Harris: The CDC Vaccine Finder)


US Vaccination

The US has distributed nearly 230 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered nearly 175 million doses. The US is currently administering 2.8 million doses per day*, including 1.3 million people fully vaccinated.

A total of 112 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to approximately one-third of the entire US population and 43% of all adults. Of those, 66.2 million (20% of the total population; 26% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 77% have received at least 1 dose, and 58% are fully vaccinated.

In terms of full vaccination, 32.8 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 28.5 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 4.9 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

As a virus variant sweeps Europe, a look at lessons for the rest of the world.

“…The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is not only more contagious than the virus’s initial form, but is also deadlier… outbreaks have since ballooned, and B.1.1.7 has crowded out other versions of the virus, becoming dominant in more than a dozen European countries…lawmakers in continental Europe were slow to react…“People underestimated it, instead of saying we should learn from what’s happening in the U.K.”

(J. Harris: There are several other timely short summaries at this site. Remember, our vaccines are superior to the AstraZeneka Vaccine that they use in Europe — and are much safer.)

In Mississippi, 73,000 Vaccine Slots and Few Takers

(J. Harris: Unfortunately, these same problems are apparent in parts of East Texas. If I was still practicing medicine, I likely would ask any patient who declined Covid vaccination, without a sound medical reason, to find another doctor…. Yes, in nonemergency situations and with a decent interval of time provided, a doctor may ethically dismiss a patient. A few times when I suggested that this action might need to be taken, patient compliance improved. Now, I honestly do not know how to convince hesitant people to take the vaccine. All I can do is try to avoid the unvaccinated, carless, and ignorant.)

China’s response to COVID-19: a chance for collaboration

How has China managed to control COVID-19? And is the global scientific community in a position to benefit from China’s experiences?

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China’s strategy was built on active case finding and case management with identification and quarantine of close contacts, as well as risk-based lifting of restrictions. Chinese authorities aim to test each suspected case and all close contacts of those infected…pooled testing approach coordinated by the government with the cooperation of residents enabled 10·9 million people—almost the entire population of [Qingdao] city—to be tested within 5 days.




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The Future of Everything

Imagine an exchange that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can buy and sell everything from stocks to cryptocurrency to art. Trades happen almost instantly, without the need for middlemen or gatekeepers. Profits can turn to losses in the wink of an eye. 

A blockchain-based exchange is less far-fetched than ever. This week, the WSJ’s Paul Vigna reports on a number of pilot programs and other experiments investigating how to create digitized markets that can keep up with changing times. 💵The article is part of our latest issue, which looks at what’s ahead for money and finance. Elsewhere, we round up innovative credit-card rewards headed to your wallet, as well as four investments about to go mainstream. We question the speed of stimulus payments, meet the next generation of financial chatbots, dig into the European Union’s roll out of sustainability reporting metrics and look at the potential role of satellite networks in high-frequency trading.

Last but not least, we examine how connected devices are learning to buy and sell goods and services. 📰Read the full report here or in today’s paper. Or keep scrolling. 👇And, as always, send me your thoughts, questions and predictions by hitting “reply” to this email.


🚀 The Future of Everything Festival takes place online May 11-13. Together, we’ll look around the corner at the ideas triggering seismic shifts in how we live, work and play. You’ll collaborate with entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, scientists and thinkers so that you can plan for what’s next with informed projections—not predictions. The Wall Street Journal will deliver all of this and more, so join us and experience the future as it takes shape. Register here for your 3-Day Pass (complimentary for WSJ members).

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