Dancing in the streets

If you ever think you are not doing a good job, just remember, people are not literally dancing in the streets because you are leaving.

The same can’t be said of Trump.

When the Biden/Harris win was announced it led to partying in the big cities all across the US.

LA Times have some great photos from Los Angeles.

USPS workers often took part in the celebration, which this Mashable piece shows.

New York knows Trump the best, and they probably celebrated the hardest – see the coverage at NY Magazine – Intelligencer

Outside the US, there were also celebrations: Fireworks in London, church bells in Paris as Biden win celebrated abroad

On a personal level, I cannot begin to express the joy and relief I felt when I saw the results, and the pleasure I took from seeing the anxiety turn into happiness in my facebook and twitter feed.

Culling the Danish mink

It is a story that has gotten some traction in international media, but which might have been overlooked by people focused on the US election.

The Danish government has ordered the culling of all mink in Danish mink farms.

Denmark is the biggest mink fur producer in the world, so this is a multi-million dollar industry that is getting wiped out.

The reason for the decision, which I am sure wasn’t taken lightly, was that the mink poses a health care risk – more precisely, they are a source of new mutations of the corona virus – some with worrying characteristics. Or as BBC explains it:

Mink kept in large numbers on mink farms have caught the virus from infected workers. And, in a small number of cases, the virus has “spilled back” from mink to humans, picking up genetic changes on the way.

Mutations in some mink-related strains are reported to involve the spike protein of the virus, which is targeted by some, but not all, vaccines being developed.

“If the mutation is on a specific protein that is being currently targeted by the vaccine developers to trigger an immune response in humans then it means that if this new virus strain comes out of the mink back into the humans, even with vaccination, the humans will start spreading it and the vaccine will not protect,” Dr Peyre told BBC News.

While the culling is going on, the region of Denmark where the strain has been observed in humans, has been shut down. People have to stay in their municipalities, avoid gatherings, and all bars, restaurants and cafés have been closed. An effort to test everyone in the region (approximately 280,000 people) has begun.

Some politicians in the Danish parliament, especially those in opposition to the government, has questioned whether the measures are necessary, but it is worth noticing that the only scientist in the Danish parliament, Stinus Lindgreen, has come out in clear support of the measures, stressing the need to react quickly to ensure this doesn’t turn into a greater problem.

Currently, there is negotiations going on about how to compensate not only the people directly affected, but also people who are indirectly affected by the culling and the shut down of the region.


A great relief

Like most other people, I have been in a state of anxiety for the last of couple of weeks due to the US presidential election. When there wasn’t a decisive result on election night, it didn’t exactly help my anxiety. When my brother called me a couple of hours ago, and told me that the news media have called the election for Biden/Harris, it lifted a considerable weight of my chest.

The pattern of the election results followed what was expected, the first few releases of counted votes would bring Trump strongly in front, but as more populated areas, and especially the mail-in votes, got counted Biden would surge, and take the lead.

What we hadn’t expected, was how long it would take for the surge to overtake Trump’s lead, and thus how long time it would take before the election could be called, and by how slim margins.

Biden currently set to get 306 votes in the electoral college, but some of them will be won with razor thin margins – in Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania, Biden is leading with less than 1% of the votes. These numbers are expected to increase, but not into huge margins.

A few thoughts:

First of all, thank you to everyone who fought so hard for Biden to win. It could have been easy to become complaisant after the polls showed Biden well ahead, but people didn’t stop up, but instead fought to get people registered and interested in voting.

As an outsider, it is incredible to me that the margin of victory is so small – especially as it looks like Biden got at least 4 million votes more than Trump, which in a normal democracy would leave little doubt about the results. I guess the US presidential election system shows its ugly side once again.

I see a lot of people claim that the razor thin victory was because it was Biden, and not someone more progressive, like e.g. Bernie Sanders. It is very hard to say anything meaningful about such a claim, but I think it is important to point out how large Trump’s support was. As it stands right now, he is the candidate who got the second most votes ever in the US presidential election, only beaten by Biden. He got a million more votes than Obama in 2008, and more than 8 million more votes now than he got in 2016.

I really have a hard time seeing anyone matching Trump’s results, and I find it impressive how much better Biden did. I think any other Democratic candidate would have failed.

This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t rather have had a different, more progressive president, but I think such a candidate wouldn’t have had broad appeal, which was necessary to win this election.

Speaking of necessary for winning, it is important that the Democrats fight voters suppression. Stacey Abrams did this in Georgia, with such great results, that the state might turn blue (fingers crossed) and that the two senate races are going into run-offs.

And speaking of the Georgia run-offs – these two elections are extremely important for the Democrats effort to take over the Senate. Put simply, the Democrats needs to win both of these races in order to take the majority in the Senate, which is the only way that Biden and the Democrats can introduce any progressive ideas.