Friday Odds And Ends

Happy Friday everyone. I hope it is a good day for you. It’s warming up again here in Texas after a bit of a cold snap on Tuesday and Wednesday. For those couple of days, temperatures were in the mid-thirties at night, and I thought I might have to cover my plants again. Luckily, it didn’t go down to freezing, so I was spared that chore. 

Here is a picture of some flowers I planted in a pot by my garage last year toward the end of summer. I thought they were Lantana, but the blooms look different from the plants I had at my other house. 

I did a quick search of the Internet for these flowers and found some interesting facts I hadn’t known. First, they are a good mosquito repellent. I need to get some for my deck. Second, they are toxic to animals. Good thing my dog is still reluctant to get on the deck. 🙂

I am going to get some Lantana for my deck, but these beauties are Lyrical Silvertone Salvia. When trying to identify plants, it helps to keep the little tag that comes with the plant at the garden store. 🙂

Don’t you just love finding out all kinds of neat stuff on the Web? I enjoy research and can get lost for hours looking at one thing that leads to another, and another, and… Well, you get the picture.

On The Daily Podcast on Thursday, a New York Times reporter, Paul Mozur, was interviewed about his recent expulsion from China. He had lived and worked in China for fifteen years and then one day he, and his colleagues received a memo from the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China. The memo said that all American reporters had to leave the country in a few weeks. That included Mozur , who was the Asia technology reporter for the New York times, and reporters from the Wall Street journal and the Washington Post.

In part of the podcast, Mozur described his last few days in the country while trying to cover a story about how people were doing as restrictions from that country’s lock-down were being lifted. In the interview Mozur said the story was going to be positive piece, nothing that would cast a bad light on the Chinese government, and he was surprised when a Chinese police officer followed him and his Chinese colleague and shut down any attempts to talk to people.

Since the end of March, China has been trying to foist the blame for the COVID 19 pandemic on foreigners, even suggesting that the virus was developed in the U.S. and brought to China by the U.S. military. Details can be found in this article at Foreign Policy News.

Listening to the podcast, and then reading that article, I couldn’t help but snicker just a bit. Not that this isn’t a serious problem – the pandemic and all the damage it has caused to lives and livelihoods – but because of the bullying and posturing that has gone on between the leaders of both countries. Each believes that the most important thing is to be seen as “right” and the top-dog in this fight.

Power at all costs – Who cares about the people  

Meanwhile from Texas comes this rather disturbing report about the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID 19. There’s been a lot of debate about the effectiveness of the drug as scientists and physicians are leery about full scale use of the drug for COVID treatment. A report at NPR focused on one doctor in Texas who decided to use the drug to treat patients in a care-facility, often without getting permission from family of patients who couldn’t give consent.

The controversial decision to administer hydroxychloroquine at The Resort at Texas City over the last few days was made by Robin Armstrong, a physician and medical director of the nursing home.

“It’s actually going well. People are getting better,” Armstrong told NPR, adding that after just a handful of days, some of the 39 patients on the medication are showing signs of improvement.

But scientists argue that relying on observational, uncontrolled evidence can be misleading and that the only way to truly prove a drug is working is through carefully controlled clinical trials. And, contrary to Armstrong’s assertion that hydroxychloroquine “has virtually no side effects,” it is known to have serious negative health impacts. That is why so many in the medical community worry about prescribing it without such proof.

The push to use hydroxychloroquine to treat people with the virus is also seriously draining supplies of the drug, making it harder and harder for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and malaria to get the medication they depend on to maintain health.

That’s all for me for today folks. Where ever you are, whatever you’re doing, be safe. Be well. Be happy. 

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