Categories
Austin Current Events

All Adults Eligible

All adults in Texas will be eligible for the COVID vaccine starting on March 29th.

In some areas of the state, demand in the priority groups is dropping, but in Austin, we’re still seeing a lot of Phase 1 folks trying to get a vaccine.

In other words, just because the state is making everyone eligible, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get an appointment. If you’re able to travel, the neighboring counties may not be a bad bet.

Categories
Austin Current Events

Texas 1C Announced

Effective March 15th, Texas will start offering vaccines to the newly announced Phase 1C group.

The new list of those eligible as of March 15th now includes:

  • Phase 1A
    • Health Care Workers, including “last responders” (mortuary)
    • Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Phase 1B
    • All 65+
    • Those 16 years old and older with at least one chronic medical condition that elevates their risk. To include but not limited to:
      • Cancer
      • Kidney disease
      • COPD
      • Heart conditions
      • Organ transplant recipients (I would assume living donors too, personally).
      • Obesity (30 kg/m2+)
      • Pregnancy
      • Sickle cell
      • Type 2 diabetes
  • “Federal Directive” Phase
    • Pre-primary, primary, secondary (Pre-K through 12th Grade) workers.
    • Head Start/Early Head Start workers (teachers, staff, and bus drivers).
    • Licensed child care providers.
  • Phase 1C, effective March 15
    • All 50+ years old.

Phase 2 and beyond classifications and timelines are to be determined.

While there are a lot of places to get the vaccine, I’ve seen the most success with Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin.

For Austin Public Health, pre-register on their website and follow them on Twitter or Facebook. They are releasing appointments for the week on Monday evenings and again on Thursday if they have available spots. From experience, if they say on social media they are opening the waiting room at 5:45 for a 6:00 p.m. drop, be there at 5:40. For me, those who joined at 5:55 p.m. were too late. With the drop on Monday, be prepared to wait for hours until your turn to get an appointment.

For UT Health Austin, see their website to request an appointment. For them, fill out the form and they’ll add you to their health management system when it is your turn. From what I saw, you’ll get the e-mail saying you’re in the management system and awhile later (the end of the day? the next day?), you’ll get the e-mail saying you can schedule your appointment. You can schedule from the system as soon as you get the e-mail saying you’ve been added. You don’t need to wait for the second e-mail.

Good luck y’all. Keep wearing a mask. Stay safe.

Update: Starting on March 29th, all adults are eligible.

Categories
Austin Current Events

Eyes of Texas Report Released

As an alumnus, I am very happy to see the detail in The University of Texas at Austin “Eyes of Texas” report. I need to sit with it, read it carefully, and think about it before commenting further.

Agree or disagree, I do appreciate the obvious time and effort that went into it.

The site is handy, but feel free to skip to the full book-length report.

One immediate thing I read was that the committee could find no proof that the phrase was based on Robert Lee’s “The Eyes of the South are upon you”, as I had heard. It was in the memoir of a former engineering dean, but that work had other factual errors. In researching with Washington and Lee University (where it was said to have been said by Lee), they couldn’t find any instance of Lee ever saying that. I’m updating my previous post about this to note this detail.

Categories
Austin Current Events

Back to Normal?

I miss normal too.

Today, Texas Governor Abbott teased that he’s going to make a big statewide announcement tomorrow while speaking to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. Here’s my guess as to what’s going to go down.

First, he teased this news on Twitter. That means he thinks it is a positive thing. It’s too soon to make any new announcement regarding the energy sector (it’s already a legislative priority, so out of his hands) and Lubbock isn’t a place that such an announcement would mean much. Except for maybe some wind farms, but we know he’s not going to celebrate new wind energy right now.

So, the other thing is, obviously, Covid. He has also teased the idea that maybe the mask mandate has run its course.

My first guess is he’ll lift the mask mandate. While cases are definitely looking better than January, we’re only slightly better than we were in early July when the mandate was issued. Back when we thought 10,000 cases in a day was mindblowing and seeing the increase above 5,000 spurred the mandate in the first place.

He’s speaking in Lubbock. Eyeballing it, I think Lubbock may have the highest percentage of vaccinated folks in the state.

Tomorrow is also Texas Independence Day—yes, that’s a holiday that majority of native Texans know and, dare I say, many of us celebrate in some form. Lifting the mask mandate on Texas Independence Day is what I’d expect from Gov. Abbott. Since wearing a mask is oppressing my freedom. Y’all can join me in protesting at the every building with a sign saying “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” later.

I’m tired of wearing masks too, but businesses can operate fairly normally with a mask mandate in place. He’s going to make the announcement at a Chamber of Commerce.

He’s going to lift the capacity limits for businesses. With rhetoric about freedom and trying to boost the Texas sales pitch for business (after the state leadership absolute failure in supporting businesses when we couldn’t keep the lights on and water flowing), he’s going to rip off the chains of caring for our fellow man—what a silly concept that is—and basically “reopen Texas”. Which is what he said at the end of May before saying “whoops, shouldn’t have reopened bars. My bad!”

I’m sure he has Texas’ best interest at heart and this has nothing to do with him teasing this while sharing a tweet showing him with better polling numbers than Ted Cruz. And has nothing to do with Ted Cruz getting more love at CPAC than he did.

Y’all, hang in there just a bit longer. I’m tired of all this too. I’m holding on to the hope that, come fall, things may be looking more normal. But, we still have plenty of time to screw this up.

Categories
Austin College Current Events Tradition

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You

In the news recently is a group of Longhorns student-athletes who, among other things, have asked The University of Texas at Austin to stop singing The Eyes of Texas.

The Eyes of Texas is rooted as satire making fun of then-University President Prather who used the phrase “The eyes of Texas are upon you” in speeches to the University community.

He took the phrase from General Robert E. Lee, while he was president of Washington University where Prather was a student, who said “the eyes of the South are upon you”. After research by the UT-Austin commission on the song, they determined that the story of the origination of the phrase “The Eyes of Texas are upon you” coming from Lee’s “The Eyes of the South are upon you” is not correct with no evidence to support it.

The song itself was written and sung by a group of university students who first performed the song at a minstrel show, which means it is pretty likely that it was performed in blackface.

On one hand, I love the notion that “the eyes of Texas are upon you”. Prescribed by the state’s constitution, we are the state’s first-class university, meant to be the crown jewel of the higher learning of Texas. The notion that the entire state looks at what The University is doing resonates with me.

The tune itself is just I’ve Been Working on the Railroad—which is not that interesting musically and, notably, not without it’s own controversial minstrel origins.

Alternatively, “What Starts Here Changes The World” has been the University’s slogan for nearly 20 years now and celebrates UT’s role as an international university of note. The eyes of Texas aren’t all that are upon us.

At the end of the day, the University is a living organization. Traditions change over time. Some of them we can remember and acknowledge that maybe they weren’t the best idea. Some of them can change over time.

My affiliation is first to the friends I made while at the University and to my own evolution that took place there. Secondly, it is to the institution as it is now—my role as an alumnus to support the next generation and to learn from them. Lastly, it is to the traditions that existed in my time.

I’ll always have my memories of those traditions and what they meant to me at the time. I’m not ashamed of my ignorance at the time. As an university of the first class, meant to be an intellectual beacon of exploration, I would be ashamed if the University refused to advance forward.

Categories
Austin College Food Microblog

Texas Leading Innovation

This is why I chose UT-Austin for my undergraduate education. An institution of the first class, they solve problems that most aren't yet aware exists.