Daily Archives: May 7, 2020

Burning Witches and Woodstock . . .

Bringing things up to date on the Shelley Luther situation. After some legal maneuvering, she was released from jail at 1:50pm this afternoon. And ultimately, it took a revised Executive Order from Governor Abbott and a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court to spring her out.

A lot of people had been berating Gov. Abbott wanting to know why he didn’t just pardon her. Well, the reason is, that he couldn’t.

Unlike a lot of states,  the governor of Texas doesn’t have unlimited pardon powers. He can only pardon, or not pardon, after a recommendation from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. He can’t just do it unilaterally.

So what he did was to issue a new E.O. eliminating the jail time as a possible consequence of breaking the rules. And then the Texas Supreme Court issued an order for her immediate release.

So as I mentioned in last night’s blog, once again a little ‘civil disobedience’ changed the law. And starting tomorrow, salons can now open legally.

And in this case, a little civil disobedience paid off for Shelley. I mentioned that a friend had set up a GoFundMe account to help cover her $7000 fine and $20,000+ lawyer bills. And it looks like she’ll have a little left over.

Apparently people all over the country rallied to her cause, and when the account was finally shut off about 11am this morning, her fund had topped out at $500,110.00.

And the judge, Judge Eric Moyé, who is up for reelection this November, has an opponent for the seat. And that opponent, lawyer Jessica Lewis, now has contributions pouring into her campaign as well.

It will be interesting to see how the election turns out in a few months.

A while back I mentioned past U.S. ‘pandemics’ and how they were handled. In 1968-69 the Hong Kong Flu (H3N2) swept through the U.S. killing over 100,000 people. And over 1 million worldwide with most of the deaths in people over the age of 65.

But there were no shutdowns, no huddle in place, no bankrupt businesses, no crippling the economy. In fact, right in the middle of this pandemic, Woodstock took place in August 1969, (Also see here) with hundreds of thousands of people gathering in upstate New York. And the Hong Kong Flu actually hung around until later in 1970.

Now, so far, there have been about 77,000 deaths in the U.S. and about 270,000 deaths worldwide. And according to the CDC, the average of someone who dies from the WuFlu is 75.

So what’s different now?   Anyone? Anyone?

And we’re still nowhere near the 2018 seasonal flu/pneumonia death totals of 130,000.

Under the heading of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:

New York is Charging Samaritan’s Purse Income Tax After the Charity Worked for Free

After being asked by New York state lawmakers and Mount Sinai Hospital executives, Samaritan’s Purse came from out of state and built and staffed a 68 bed field hospital in Central Park in NYC. All without charging the city or state a single penny.

But now New York City and the state of New York are demanding that the charity and the people volunteering there are being required to pay city and state income tax on any money they may have earned, even if they were only being paid back in their home states.


And it looks like Governor Brown of Oregon is threatening to keep Oregon in lockdown until at least September, or when a vaccine is available. This from a state that has had only 121 deaths.

Wrapping it up for tonight.

Coronavirus Fatality Rate 10 to 40x Lower than Estimates that Led to Lockdowns

This from the article:

By now, multiple studies from Europe, Japan, and the US all suggest that the overall fatality rate is far lower than early estimates, perhaps below 0.1 to 0.4%, i.e., ten to forty times lower than estimates that motivated extreme isolation.

“For children and young adults, it appears that infection fatality rate is lower than seasonal influenza, and for middle-age adults it is about the same. … While lockdowns were justified initially, their perpetuation may risk many lives.”

So what now?

Thought For The Day:




One Year Ago Today:  We were in Bamberg, Germany

Bamberg, Germany . . .


Our ship docked in Bamberg, Germany for about an hour or so, long enough to let off those of us who were doing the daily excursion, Then, as they’ve done before, they sailed off down the Main River, where we will meet up with them again at dockside in Zeil Am Main.

They do this to allow the ship to make better time along the river, while we’re taking in the city.

Our tour started about 9:15 with a walk from the bus stop into town. Luckily our guide was on crutches, and although I think she was trying to hide it, I believe she was a few months pregnant. I say ‘luckily’ because it meant she walked a little slower. Nicer for us.

Bamberg is another one of the towns in this area that dates to the early 900’s. And for hundreds of years it was an important city of the Holy Roman Empire, and for a short time, the main center.

Bamberg sits on the river Regnitz , near where it branches off from the Main. And by ‘sits on’, the old town hall actually sits on a island in the middle of the river.

Bamberg Town Hall 1

The story goes that the local religious leaders wouldn’t give the town leaders property to build a town hall, so they expanded a small island in the middle of the and built it there.

Here’s what it looks like from in town.

Bamberg Town Hall

The view from the bridge highlighted the waterfront and its importance to the city.

Bamberg Waterfront 1

Bamberg Waterfront

Coming across the bridge, the first thing we saw was what’s nicknamed the Wedgewood House, and it’s easy to see why.

Bamberg Wedgewood House

Known as the Hellerhaus because it was last owned by a famous art collector named Heller, it actually dates from the middle ages. Like pretty much every thing around here, I guess.

Our next stop was the Bamberg Witch Trials Memorial.

Bamberg Witch Memorial

During the early 1600’s Bamberg was the location of over 1000 witch trials and executions, peaking between 1626 and 1631. Apparently, one of the reasons it stopped because people started to realize that anyone could be accused and executed, even themselves.

The memorial doesn’t have a lot of impact in the daytime, but it’s much more impressive at night.

Bamberg Witch Memorial At Night

We also got a look at St. Martin’s Church.

Bamberg St Martins Church

Built in the classic Baroque style, it was completed in only 7 years and finished in 1693.

Taking a break, we decided to try some of Bamberg’s famous Smoked Beer.

Bamberg Smoked Beer

We had already seen the location of the 600+ year old brewery so we had to try it. Or at least I had to try it. Jan had to try the Strawberry Shortcake.

Bamberg Strawberry Shortcake

And ‘Smoked’ is a very apt description. It tastes like a wood fire. Very unique, and very good.

By this time it was back on the buses so we could meet up with our cruise ship at Zeil Am Main. We got there just in time to watch the Skirnir dock. It pulled right opposite the dock site, only slightly bigger than the ship,

Bamberg Docking 1

and then using the Auxiliary Control Panels I mentioned the other day,

Bamberg Docking 2

just slowly moved sideways until it gently touched the dock.

Then, without even tying off, and with only the thrusters to hold it in place, they lowered a portable gangplank into place,

Bamberg Docking 3

Bamberg Docking 4

and we all boarded.

Bamberg Docking 5

Fifteen minutes and we were back under way again. They don’t mess around.

Dinner was my favorite Angus Ribeye, one of the permanent items on the menu,

Bamberg Angus Ribeye

while Jan tried one of the daily items,

Bamberg Fried Cod

the Fried Cod.

Then for dessert we both had this delicious fruit pudding.

Bamberg Dessert

It’s easy to see why everyone says you’ll gain 10 to 15 pounds on one of these cruises. Yikes!

A number of readers had suggested we bring along magnetic hooks, since the cabin walls are all steel. So the wall underneath our window became our auxiliary closet.

Bamberg Aux Closet

Or rather my closet since just about everything on there is mine. No room left in the real closet for me.

Also I had mentioned the other day about how the wheelhouse on the top deck can retract down to allow passage under the low bridges, and it suddenly dawned on me where it goes.

Bamberg Wheelhouse Housing

I had assumed that this area at the back of the bar was just a storeroom, but actually it’s where the wheelhouse ends up. The door that you see just opens to a shallow closet that holds the controls for the room’s audio/visual equipment.

Tomorrow: Würzburg

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