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Archive for April 8th, 2020

Commentary said this on Monday:

Dallas County posts how many COVID-19 positives by a zip code color-coded map.  Montgomery County list all their positives without names but includes gender, age group, and city and zip code.  Fort Bend County has them broken down by County Commissioner Precinct where they report the County’s total percentage by Commissioner Precinct.  Chambers County divides the County into three regions and reports age group and gender.  Galveston County provides positives by city (League City and Texas City are getting the brunt).

Harris County has a breakdown by 4 geographic regions NW, NE, SW and SE, plus, age group and gender.  Harris County provides info for the City of Houston and the remainder of Harris County, but not for other cities like Baytown, Bellaire, Pasadena and so on.  Is that info even relevant.  Harris County has roughly 140 geographic zip codes.   That averages out to about 9 positives per zip code.

James tweeted out Pasadena info yesterday and they are reporting over 30 positives.

How about racial breakdown?  Necessary?

Then Commentary said this yesterday:

A grim stat I just saw on CNN.  41% of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan are African Americans.  They are 14% of the population.

I saw a stat about Louisiana yesterday.  70% of their COVID-19 deaths are African Americans.  They are 32% of the population.

Sarah Smith of the Chron tweeted this yesterday:

We can learn about disproportionate impacts of #COVID19 on communities of color and poor communities with zip code data.

Mike Morris of the Chron tweeted this yesterday:

Sigh. Jurisdictions all over the country (and state) are using zip codes.

**Assuming that people will get the wrong impression from the data is not a reason to hide the data.** It’s a reason to better explain the data.

Provide zip codes, please.  Provide other key data, please.

Today, two of the Chron E-Board members have rival Op-Eds on airing the daily briefings.  You know where I stand

My State Representative, good friend and client Anna Eastman has a touching and heartfelt essay in today’s hard copy of the Chron.  Here it is:

Last week the list of things being canceled or postponed started piling up. Two graduations, one high school and one college, that were steeped with unique rituals and traditions — canceled. The runoff election for the state representative seat I’d recently won — postponed. The last two operas in Houston Grand Opera’s season — canceled. As I was running through our personal list of things big and small, I realized we probably wouldn’t be able to host our Seder.

Seder is the Passover supper celebrated by Jews every spring very close to Easter. Passover is a time for family and friends to gather and read the story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Participants read the story aloud passage by passage from a Haggadah — the ritual-rich text that guides the Seder meal.

I attended my first Seder in the spring of 1993. My now husband, Brad, had invited me to his family’s table, replete with Maxwell House Haggadahs, Manischewitz, the gefilte fish I had long eyed warily on grocery store shelves and his mother’s beloved matzo ball soup and brisket. When we got up to serve ourselves from the main course buffet. I overheard Brad’s Grandma whisper, “Aren’t you going to miss this?”

I grew up in a religious Catholic family. Brad grew up Jewish. My family married Catholics or at least other Christians and, until I came along, his family married other Jews. We weren’t in our families’ or even our own plans for our future, but that’s a story for another day. A year later we were living in New York. Determined to prove his Grandma wrong, I signed up for a class on Jewish cooking at The New School and we had our first little Seder with a handful of other displaced young professionals.

Fast forward to 2000. We hosted our first Houston Seder in our home on 11½ Street. The New School’s recipes had been incorporated into our tradition, as had my Catholic parents and Brad’s family — including Grandma Frieda. That smallish group has grown to include over 40 people over the years. We’re a rag-tag bunch including many interfaith families like ours and lots of folks who aren’t Jewish but have become family over the years. We have all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, gender identities and sexual orientations present. People have contributed to the massive effort over the years by boiling and peeling several dozen eggs, making a salad or bringing toys that represent the plagues to occupy the kids who are now mostly at college.

The core group is always joined by some number of last-minute invites. As last year’s Seder was approaching, I got several calls from folks I’d casually invited in the past but who had never been able to make it — did we have room for a couple more? Of course! Brad came home and told me he had also added a few more people. I went into a full-on panic about having enough space to seat everyone. As we were laying down to go to sleep and reviewing what had to be done over the next couple of days, Brad, in typical fashion, busted out with the perfect quote from Isaiah 54:2:

“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations; don’t spare: lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.”

Ugh, he was right, only the porch where we host the dinner doesn’t have curtains for walls and we’d just have to squeeze in, hoping that no one ended up with hot chicken soup down their back while we sidled amongst the tables to serve it. Everyone came — including our two far-flung college kids. It was a glorious, cozy evening, maybe the best yet.

Brad relishes leading the service. Each year he finds a relevant political or social justice issue to weave into the readings. He’s a funny and thoughtful host who loves surrounding himself with little kids, rare at this season in our family’s life, at the head table. I love cooking the food and watching my own children and those of our “Seder family” help serve the endless courses of specialties reserved for this night every year. We’re still pondering how to recreate something over Zoom and if we should leave some matzo ball soup and other ritual foods on our friends’ porches. This time of the coronavirus is full of opportunities to find new meaning in our spring rites. Little did any of us know all those years ago what the future held for us or our Seders. But this year, Grandma Frieda, we are all going to miss it.

Eastman represents District 148 in the Texas House of Representatives.

Well written.

The idea of MLB starting play next month in Arizona was not received well.

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