A Few Thoughts on Week 20

I have been off for a few days, so I have had time to think, ponder and write….

  • An interesting piece looking at land dispossession of Black populations in the US.
  • Second, none of you provided paint advice requested in last weeks’ post.
  • I was having a conversation with someone and we got to talking about US politics and the dumpster fire that it is and why everyone is so transfixed by it. What we are watching is the decline of Rome.
    • I have been listing to a lot of The History of Rome which is an older podcast but it has hundreds of episodes that are 20-30 minutes long which makes a great way to learn the rise and fall of Rome.
    • Rome lasted a 1000 years, split evenly almost between the Republican period lasting from 509 BC to Caesars dictatorships in 45BC than almost 500 years of empire until the “collapse” and sacking of Rome in 476AD.
    • The parallels that late republican period are striking:
      • An oligarchical senate was utterly disconnected from the average Roman, their own wealth and political ambitious driving inequality.
      • A rigid social strata that all but excluded social mobility. The military being one of the few paths available for a low born individual to improve their standing in society.
      • Ambitious Counsels and Tribunes shattered social/political norms to maintain their own grips on power. The end of term was often met with legal challenge, prosecution, exile or execution for crimes that could not be punished while in office.
      • An incredible litigious society saw the courts being leveraged to drive advantages for personal or political gain for any slight.
      • Violence in the street as populist mob rule and rioting driving by both legitimate grievances and political allegiance became a tool for advancement.
      • Names like Gracus, Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompei, Julius each took the Republic a step down the road of the Empire. Arguments could be made that Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama and now Trump have each taken steps to undermine Republican virtues.
    • What we are watching is a decline of a Republic, just because America has been that for 243 years, doesn’t mean it always will be.
  • This is a great piece summarize much of the WE scandal, there are issues and lessons here for local NFP and charities as well.
    • There is a real risk that the WE scandal (whatever it is being called) will undermine general trust in all charities. If charities that receive government funds are seen as getting them through their connections/relationships rather than the quality of their work or effectiveness, it is concerning.
      • It could also lead to a general fragmentation of causes where the “grassroots” know best resulting in duplication of services and
    • PWC released a very interesting report on what is “overhead” in the charitable sector and why it might not be a bad thing titled Investing for Effective Impact.
  • The City of Windsor budget process is staying the same which is a shame as the zero point budget process would have been interesting to undertake. Just means that #COVIDcuts will be inside the usual 1000+ pages tome this year too.
  • The City of Toronto is rolling out a free WIFI pilot project with it’s libraries and community centres.
  • Two schoolgirls in India found a earth bound asteroid in June, what have you (or your kids) done during lockdown?

  • There has been some discussion about getting geographically defined data from the health unit related to COVID. Some of that has now occurred with the maps that came out on Friday. Although the underlying data isn’t available.
    • People have to remember that COVID results are a hindsight measures. Given that people can be asymptomatic for their entire time with COVID or for days before showing symptoms, knowing what town or neighbourhood has the most cases this past week largely won’t help you avoid exposure.
    • The WECHU mapping that was released this week, only shows where people live/quarantined following a positive test. It does not show what grocery store they go to, or where they work, or what school their kids might go to.
      • The mapping is based on Census DA’s which have on average 500-700 people in them (although there are outliers both larger and smaller). So a neighbourhood showing up a handful of positive tests per 1000 people (how the health unit presented the data) may only have 1 or 2 cases, yet it yellow and dangerous! A lot of this was covered by myself and others on CBC starting at the 7:50 mark.
    • Knowing that someone has come back positive based on a test they got results of today, for swab that was taken 48-72 hours earlier, when they were infected 4 days before that, still means there is significant risk and you as an individual need to social distance. Having a map of cases doesn’t help you.
      • If you want real time notification you download the app.
      • If you are afraid of the Government tracking you and you found this post on Facebook or Twitter on your phone, give your head a shake. For those interested, here is the Privacy Officers review of the app.
      • If you are an elected official and you are not pushing the contact tracing app while calling on the health unit to release data, you are being negligent. The only way this tool works is if you have herd usage and it actually will warn people, a map of where the virus has been doesn’t help.
    • I have the app on my phone, took it to the Farmers Market on Saturday Morning, looking through the Ping logs on the app.
  • There were 50ish people at the market at the time by my estimate. From my understanding, (tech people correct me if I am wrong) the fact that 0 keys were shared means that no one at the market had a app active with a test key inputted that was shared with my phone.
    • The fact that no matches were found shows that no positive test were shared where keys of positive test were matched to keys on the app server. A postive would have meant that I was in proximity to someone with COVID and had reported it into the app.
    • That being said, I could have it all wrong.
  • Is there a path to reconciliation in the hospital drama…. Maybe but it will be a tight needle to thread.
Izzy had cracked the ball in half and removed a significant piece of fuzz that I expect to see pooped out in a day or so. Demonstration of why she can’t have nice things.

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