Over 500,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in the United States.

It’s been 34 days since we marked 400,000 dead on Jan. 19, 2021.

🔗 NPR: ‘A Loss To The Whole Society’: U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches 500,000

More than 500,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

This week President Biden is asking Americans to mark the 500,000 deaths with a moment of silence at sunset Monday. He’s also ordered flags on all federal buildings lowered to half-staff for five days.

The disease has killed at least 100,000 people in the past five weeks and was the leading cause of death in the country in January, ahead of heart disease, cancer and other ailments, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Hellen Keller is a real person.

I swear, you guys.

Helen Keller was trending on Twitter due to a couple of viral TikTok videos claiming that she wasn’t real and/or was a Nazi. So, just for everyone’s clarification, Hellen Keller was indeed a real person who was not a Nazi. She was actually pretty cool. Read up. From the link,

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer. Born in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, she lost her sight and hearing after a bout of illness at the age of nineteen months. She then communicated primarily using home signs until the age of seven when she met her first teacher and life-long companion Anne Sullivan, who taught her language, including reading and writing; Sullivan’s first lessons involved spelling words on Keller’s hand to show her the names of objects around her. She also learned how to speak and to understand other people’s speech using the Tadoma method. After an education at both specialist and mainstream schools, she attended Radcliffe College of Harvard University and became the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She worked for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) from 1924 until 1968, during which time she toured the United States and traveled to 39 countries around the globe advocating for those with vision loss.

Featured image: Hellen Keller, restored image, circa 1920, by the Los Angeles Times; restored by Rhododendrites (source and license).

Rush Limbaugh’s dead.

Rush Limbaugh spent all his time and effort making the world a worse place.

The world is a slightly better place this morning, with him out of it.

🔗 NPR: Talk Show Host Rush Limbaugh, A Conservative Lodestar, Dies At 70

Limbaugh was an influencer before the age of social media, a hot-take machine before people stopped pausing to think about what they were saying ahead of sending those words out into the world. And he embodied a counterpunch to what many on the right contended was a liberal media establishment — even as he offended millions with his racist, sexist and homophobic routines and diatribes.

Featured image: Rush Limbaugh, 2019, by Gage Skidmore. (Source and license.)

Disney’s ‘Cruella’

Y’know, some villains don’t qualify for redemption.

I’m sorry, are we trying to humanize Cruella de Vil? Give her a Maleficent-style “redemptive arc”? Because as I remember the story, she was a dog-murdering monster who was gleefully and determinedly trying to steal and skin puppies to make a coat. I don’t feel like there’s a lot of “redemption” available for a character like that.