UNCONSCIONABLE!!!

The Republicans have crossed that line in the sand, they have gone too far, and it’s high time to stop them, even if it requires emergency procedures that defy their “constitutional rights”.  They are costing us our lives and I for one am sick and damn tired of it!  Jamelle Bouie writing for the New York Times sums it up in his most recent column … guaranteed to make you growl and stomp your feet.


Do Republicans Actually Want the Pandemic to End?

Aug. 31, 2021

By Jamelle Bouie

Opinion Columnist

President Barack Obama promised unity. In his 2008 campaign, he said he would heal the nation’s political divides and end more than a decade of partisan rancor.

To keep this promise, Obama needed allies, or at least partners, in the Republican Party. But they said no. If they could block Obama — if they could withhold support on anything significant he planned to do — then they could make him break his promise. Republicans would obstruct and Obama would get the blame. Which, you might remember, is what happened. By the 2010 midterm elections, Obama was a divisive president.

Joe Biden, in his 2020 campaign for president, promised to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. With additional aid to working families and free distribution of multiple effective vaccines, he would lead the United States out of its ongoing public health crisis.

I think you can see where this is going.

Rather than work with him to vaccinate the country, Biden’s Republican opposition has, with only a few exceptions, done everything in its power to politicize the vaccine and make refusal to cooperate a test of partisan loyalty. The party is, for all practical purposes, pro-Covid. If it’s sincere, it is monstrous. And if it’s not, it is an unbelievably cynical and nihilistic strategy. Unfortunately for both Biden and the country, it appears to be working.

Naturally, some of the loudest vaccine-skeptical Republicans are in Congress. “Think about what those mechanisms could be used for,” Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina said of the Biden administration’s plan for door-to-door vaccine ambassadors. “They could then go door-to-door to take your guns. They could go door-to-door to take your Bibles.”

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has similarly criticized the president’s effort to reach the unvaccinated. “People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations,” she tweeted. “You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.”

Cawthorn and Greene are obviously fringe figures. But these days, the fringe is not far from the center of the Republican Party (if it ever was to begin with). Their rhetoric is not too different, in other words, from that of their more mainstream colleagues in the Senate.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has attacked vaccine mandates — “There should be no mandates, zero, concerning Covid,” he said in a recent interview with the Fox News host Sean Hannity — while Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has urged Americans to “resist” efforts to stop the spread of the virus. “It’s time for us to resist,” Paul said in a video posted to Twitter. “They can’t arrest all of us. They can’t keep all of your kids home from school. They can’t keep every government building closed, although I’ve got a long list of ones they might keep closed or ought to keep closed.”

Republican rhetoric in Washington, however, is a sideshow to the real fight over Covid, in states like Florida and Texas.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected vaccine passports and launched an aggressive campaign against mandatory mask-wearing in schools. “It is very important that we say, unequivocally, no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions and no to mandates,” he told a gathering of conservative activists in Utah last month. DeSantis has suspended city and county emergency orders, put limits on future mitigation efforts and signed a law that “shields nursing homes, hospitals and businesses from legal liability if employees and patrons contract the virus on their premises.”

All of this, even as the state has been ravaged by the Delta variant of the virus. Florida has been reporting more than 20,000 new infections a day and has averaged 262 Covid deaths — the most of any state, at least in absolute numbers. More than 16,000 people are hospitalized and thousands have been taken to intensive care units. Who does DeSantis blame for these outcomes? Biden.

“You know, he said he was going to end Covid. He hasn’t done that,” the Florida governor told the Fox News host Jesse Watters last week. “At the end of the day, he is trying to find a way to distract from the failures of his presidency.”

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has banned mask mandates, signed legislation that would deny state contracts or licenses to businesses that require proof of vaccination and — after recovering from a breakthrough Covid infection himself — barred local governments from requiring the vaccine for any public agency or private institution. In a statement, Abbott said that this was to avoid a “patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas.” But in a message to the state legislature, the governor appeared to be asking lawmakers to consider an outright ban on vaccine mandates. On Aug. 25, the day Abbott sent his message, Texas reported more than 23,000 new cases of Covid, along with 14,000 hospitalizations and 245 deaths.

Abbott and DeSantis are not alone. Earlier this month, the Republican governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, created two new grant programs that would give funds to families and school districts that rejected mask mandates. And in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem once again cheered the Sturgis motorcycle rally, a year after it contributed to a Covid outbreak throughout the region and into the Midwest. This year, health officials have already linked the rally to cases in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The effect of all of this for the country is a pandemic that won’t die. The effect of it for the Republican Party is a substantial part of its base that won’t take the vaccine. According to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Republicans lag behind most of the rest of the country in vaccine uptake; 54 percent said they had received at least one dose at the time of the survey, compared with 67 percent of all adults. And the effect of this for Biden is a sharp drop in his approval rating; a Reuters poll conducted mid-month found the president down 21 points among all Americans for his handling of the pandemic.

What amounts to a Republican effort to prolong the pandemic shows no sign of abating. It may even get worse, as powerful conservative media personalities spread vaccine skepticism and embrace dubious miracle cures like ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms in livestock, not viruses in humans.

If Biden does not want the kind of backlash that his Democratic predecessor faced, he needs to act aggressively to push the United States off its vaccination plateau. Republicans might be setting him up to break his promise to stop Covid, but the president should understand that he’s not actually at their mercy.

Da Judge Is Playin’ Doctor Now!

This one came straight out of my local news channel and my jaw dropped to the floor.

A local man, Jeffrey Smith, is in the hospital fighting for his life against Covid.  He refused to be vaccinated, refused to wear a mask, and so this is where all his naysaying got him.  His wife, Julie, asked the hospital to treat him with Ivermectin, the horse de-worming medicine, the latest quack theory among the uneducated.  Doctors and the FDA have issued strong warnings against humans taking this drug, for it is made for animals who have a different system than ours and who often weigh more than five times as much as a human.  Needless to say, the docs at West Chester Hospital refused the woman’s request to give her hubby this unqualified drug.  Funny, he didn’t want the approved vaccine in his body, but he wants this crap that isn’t even safe for human consumption!

This should be the end of this story, right?  But nope.  Ol’ Julie Smith took her case to court where Butler County Judge Gregory Howard ordered the doctors treating Smith to immediately administer Ivermectin to Smith!  Since when does a judge with a law degree, not a medical degree, decide on a treatment regimen for a patient???  Does the doctor now get a chance to rule on the latest murder case?  THIS IS CRAZY!!!!!!!!

I did a bit of background research on Judge Howard, and nothing jumped out, other than that he is active in the local Republican Party, but no surprise there.  I bet money that if the former guy were still in office, he’d be nominating him for a seat on the Supreme Court right about now!  It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Does the doctor, having taken a Hippocratic Oath that is meant to guide him, have the right/ability to defy the judge’s order?  If Smith dies, who gets sued … the doctor or the judge?  I’ve asked my daughter, an RN, to ask some of the docs she works for their opinion of this fiasco.  I’m betting none of them will be thrilled to think of a judge telling them what to prescribe for a patient!

A Little Bit Rant-y

I’m in rather a rant-y mood this evening, so tell you what … I’ll share my angst with you, just in case your life was feeling a bit too peaceful at the moment.  No need to thank me.


Punish the truth-seekers

Jim Banks is a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana.  Jim Banks is apparently not a very conscionable person, apparently has forgotten that Oath of Office he last took on January 3rd of this year.  He has served in the House since 2017, though for the life of me I cannot imagine why.

That’s congressman Banks above … looks like a real sharp one, yes?

Naturally Mr. Banks was one of many Republicans to contest the results of the 2020 election, even knowing that President Biden had won fairly and honestly, but it seems to be some sort of rite of initiation for those in the GOP to perpetuate the Big Lie and even put their integrity on the line to do so.  But it’s his latest transgression that has Filosofa growling.  Mr. Banks is urging his party to punish every lawmaker investigating the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.  Punish them?  For doing their jobs?  For trying to find out how and why and by whom our democratic foundations were damn near overthrown???  What the hell planet spawned this dude?

“When we win back the majority next year, we have a duty as Republicans to hold every member of this committee accountable for this abuse of power, for stepping over the line, by preventing them from being in positions of authority. Take them off any committee, get them as far away from positions of power as you can because they’ve shown us that by threatening to do this that they abuse their power, wherever they are.”

I voted in November.  I voted for President Biden.  Many of you reading this voted for him also.  And this jackass is saying that our votes, our voices, our only representation in the government we fund should have been erased and that nobody should even try to figure out how, why, and by whom?  Indianans … you all really need to recall this clown before somebody does it for you!

Oh, and if you want the icing on the cake … the ignominious Tucker Carlson’s son works for Mr. Banks! Birds of a feather …


I have a right to kill my people!

Good ol’ Florida governor Ron DeSantis is back in the news.  On Friday, Florida Judge John Cooper ruled on a lawsuit brought by parents who say DeSantis overstepped his authority when his administration said school districts couldn’t order students to wear masks. DeSantis had warned that “there will be consequences” for districts that defied the ban.

Score one for sanity.  But wait … DeSantis is already threatening (“promising”) to appeal immediately, for he seems to believe that he is God, not the governor, and that as such, he has a right to condemn a large swath of his state to death.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Floridians are finally starting to see the light.  A Quinnipiac University poll released this month had DeSantis’ approval rating dipping below 50 percent, with 47 percent approving of his job performance, and 45 percent disapproving. Those numbers dropped to 44-51 when asked about his handling of public schools. The Quinnipiac poll follows other public polling that shows a similar erosion to DeSantis’ approval rating. A St. Pete Polls survey earlier this month showed 43 percent approved of the job he was doing while 48 percent did not.  And this is the man who was considering a run for president in 2024?  🤣 🤣 🤣

And then in other Florida news, with hospitals nearly full to capacity and 17,000 hospitalized with Covid, turns out the morgues are also filling up.

“The Central Florida Division of AdventHealth has reached capacity of our hospital morgues due to an influx of COVID-19 patients. We have begun utilizing rented, refrigerated coolers at 10 of our campuses throughout Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, & Volusia counties. These coolers are quickly becoming filled also.”

All because one man has a god-complex and thinks that “he alone can fix this”.  Wonder where he got that ego?

Guns And COVID — Both Murder Weapons

If I owned a retail establishment (a ‘store’, for any Republicans who might be reading), I would be well within my rights to impose and enforce a ban on guns in my business.  I would have a sign on all entrances stating my ‘no gun’ policy and anyone caught bringing a gun into my place would be given a lifetime ban.  No exceptions.  Why?  Because guns kill, because guns are dangerous even in the most well-trained hands.  Because I don’t want to have to hire a crew to clean the blood stains off of my walls.

Murder, by the way, is against the law here in the U.S.  So, if you brought a gun into my establishment, lost your temper with, say somebody who accidentally jostled you, and you shot them … you would go to prison.

Now, the gun rights’ activists will tell me that I’m infringing on their 2nd Amendment rights, but frankly I don’t give a damn and that isn’t how I see it.

So now we have another lethal weapon in the public arsenal, this one less obvious at a glance than a bulky gun:  COVID.  Covid is a lethal killer … to date, 4.5 million people worldwide have died of this disease since its inception and there is no sign that it is slowing down in too many places, most notably parts of the U.S.  So, again, I would be well within my rights to refuse entry to my place of business to anyone not vaccinated and not wearing a mask – the only two tools in our toolbox to fight this killer.

If you wish to visit my store, you will show valid proof of vaccination AND you will wear a mask.  Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass what Governor DeSantis or Governor Abbott have to say about it … I will ban those who cannot follow the rules of public safety.

Today, the vaccine has been widely available and free for a number of months, and this week received full FDA approval, so there is NO remaining excuse for anybody to continue to shun the vaccine.  But if you do, be advised that you, too, will be shunned by good people of conscience.

It seems to me that, Covid being every bit as lethal, though not as obvious, as a gun, then it should be restricted in the same way … that … oh wait, we don’t restrict guns, either do we?  But seriously, folks … the person who refuses to be vaccinated, who refuses to wear a mask in public, is every bit as much a murderer in my book as the person who pulls a gun in a crowded movie theater.  Consider the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally earlier this month.  According to NBC News …

Two weeks after the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, reported Covid infections in the state have risen nearly sixfold.

South Dakota counted 3,819 new cases in the past two weeks, including seven deaths, up from 644 cases in the 14 days preceding it. That makes it the state with the largest percent increase in Covid cases in the past two weeks.

Packed in like sardines and in all the pictures I’ve seen, I did not see a single masked face.

Y’know, my friends, if a person wants to commit suicide, that is his or her business and contrary to what I thought, it is not against the law.  But it does seem that there are more reliable and less traumatic ways to do it than to catch Covid intentionally.  But when we start talking about other people’s lives, then … WHOA!  Put the brakes on, stop sipping that Jack Daniels, stop being stubborn just for the sake of showing the world what an asshole you are, and think for a minute.  Murder, as it happens, IS illegal.  If you intentionally place your unvaccinated, unmasked self into a group of people, you are potentially committing murder.  You may be murdering a two-year-old child or an elderly woman like myself.  You may be murdering a schoolteacher or a nurse.  It’s a game of Russian roulette and I’M TIRED OF IT!

Tell me again, Scott Lawlor, how your right to shun the vaccine overrides my right to life!  Tell us all, you stupid bitches holding up signs reading “My body, my choice”, what you would do if your own child caught Covid and died as a result of your “choice”.

It seems to me that there should be a nation-wide mandate for both the vaccine and masks.  Anybody caught not obeying … there is plenty of jail space.  We could whip Covid in this country in a matter of weeks if EVERYONE did their part … a really simple part, actually.  But no, there are 30% – 40% of the people in this nation who aren’t particularly smart, aren’t at all compassionate, but rather are greedy, selfish bastards.  And governors who would rather see a reduction in the population of their state than make an unpopular decision.  Wow, real tough guys, eh?

Have a safe and happy weekend, my friends, and stay away from covidiots.

We Don’t Need More Babies!!!!

I saw an article headline in the New York Times this morning …

Who Has the Cure for America’s Declining Birthrate? Canada.

A number of things went spinning through my mind, but the dominating thought was – why does our declining birth rate need or deserve a cure???  All things considered, this world does not need any more humans hellbent on destroying our precious resources!  It seems, especially of late, that there is a taint in the gene pool here in the U.S. that more and more of our population are affected with TS – Terminal Stupidity.

Rather than trying to increase an already hefty population, let’s focus on educating the ones we have!  In fact, I would advocate sterilization for every single individual who blatantly refuses to be vaccinated or to wear a mask.  They are the breeders of TS.

And then there’s the environment.  At the current rate which we are ignoring the dire warnings of the scientific community and the IPCC, human life on this planet cannot possibly last past the end of the century, likely not even that long.  So … WHY does anybody think it’s a good idea to bring more lives onto the planet to suffer the devastating effects that are going to take place in the coming years???  What a cruel thing to do!  Over the next generation or two, there will be food and water scarcity, devastating fires, droughts, floods.

Rather than try to boost the birthrate, I say we make birth control free and widely available, same with abortions.  It is unconscionable to keep piling people on top of people who have no future.  We, humans, have no future and we have only ourselves to blame.  Don’t subject even more people to a slow, painful, drawn-out death.

Now, some of you may argue that one of those new lives could be the very person who grows up to find a way to save the planet.  And there was a time that would have been my view as well.  However, as I watch those with TS parading around doing far more harm than good, even to their own loved ones, I realize that if we were handed a solution on a silver platter today, there are far too many affected by TS who would rebel, who would refuse to make whatever sacrifices were needed on their part, for it would, in their book, “infringe on their freedoms”.  They would sooner see this planet crash and burn than to make some small effort to help save it, so no matter how brilliant the plan to save the planet might be, the TS bunch will stomp on it.

Sorry, folks, but my faith in the goodness of human nature is gone.  Done.  When I see a parent ripping the mask off of a teacher, see hordes of people cheering a madman who has done more than his share to add to the destruction of not only this nation, but the world, and see a motorcycle rally where not one lousy person of the thousands in attendance is wearing a mask, despite the surge in both new cases and deaths, despite the new Lambda variant on the horizon, then I know there isn’t much hope for rallying the crowd in a huge effort to save the planet.  Let the birth rate continue to decline.  It’s for the best.

And for those of you who haven’t yet had the joy of grandchildren … buy a puppy.  They’re cuter, much more low-maintenance, cheaper to feed, and loyal.

When Will They Ever Learn???

I am appalled by the anti-mask, anti-vax bunch and the lengths they will go to in order to ensure that we never come out from under the Covid thumb!  To ensure that their own children have an equal opportunity to die at a young age.  For PETE’S SAKE PEOPLE!!!  Wake the hell up!

There is yet another new variant of Covid just beginning to make the rounds and it is thought to be largely resistant to the vaccines we have today.  It is called the Lambda variant, that started in Peru but is quickly popping up all over the globe.  And so … how are people ensuring that we all keep safe?  By breathing on us, by refusing to wear a mask or to allow their children to wear one.  Damn fools!

On the first day back to school in California this week, a parent assaulted a teacher when he saw his son come out of school with a mask on.  The teacher was not seriously injured, having only some bruises, lacerations, and a knot on his head, but this is horrifying!  The man would, apparently, rather see his son dead than wearing a mask!  I wonder if, when the son is in the hospital on life support, the father will assault the doctors and nurses for putting an oxygen mask on his face?

The anti-life group is now attacking restaurants, as well, even restaurants they have never eaten in.  They are leaving 1-star reviews on sites such as YELP, a restaurant reviewing site, simply because those restaurants require proof of vaccination.  The owners of some restaurants requiring proof of vaccination are being called ‘Nazis’ and ‘communists’ and more.  WTF???

To a large extent, I blame the nation’s Republican politicians for this, as well as the right-wing Fox ‘News’, for far too many of them have often done and said things that the uneducated and the willfully ignorant take to heart.  But let me be perfectly clear here:  lack of education and purposeful ignorance are NOT an excuse for risking the lives of others!  People who claim their ‘rights’ must also accept their responsibility to their own family and to the rest of the world.  No, you do NOT have the right to risk my life or even the lives of your own children.  They are not possessions that you can either care for or toss in the rubbish!

This nonsense has gone beyond ridiculous and those who choose to infect the rest of us may well end up being responsible for the extinction of the human species!  Maybe that’s for the best, since we humans seem to have zero respect for the planet or other species.  Perhaps humans were the worse example of a bad experiment.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has written a column for The Atlantic titled “Don’t Be a Schmuck. Put on a Mask.”  I strongly urge you to read it, but here are a few snippets from his piece:

Earlier this week, I delivered a simple message: There is a virus here. It kills people. The only way you can prevent it is to get vaccinated, wear masks, and do social distancing.

Some people are complaining, “Well, my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.” Well, I told them, “Screw your freedom.” You have the freedom to wear no mask. But if you exercise that freedom, you’re a schmuck—because you’re supposed to protect your fellow Americans.

But some of the responses really worried me. Many people told me that the Constitution gives them rights, but not responsibilities. They feel no duty to protect their fellow citizens.

That’s when I realized we all need a civics lesson. I can’t help but wonder how much better off we’d be if Americans took a step back from politics and spent a minute thinking about how lucky we are to call this country home. Instead of tweeting, we could think about what we owe to the patriots who came before us and those who will follow us.

The Constitution aimed to “promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” It’s right there in our founding document. We need to think beyond our selfish interests.

Our country began with a willingness to make personal sacrifices for the collective good. It’s right there in the closing line of the Declaration of Independence: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Almost two centuries later, John F. Kennedy posed his famous challenge: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Our country became great because every generation before us knew that liberty and duty go hand in hand. I am worried that many of my fellow Americans have now lost sight of that.

Wake up, people.  Were it in my power, I would issue a nationwide mask mandate and have police arrest anybody found in a public venue not wearing a mask.  Alas, nobody asked my opinion.  So, I’ll likely continue to opine here, as the new lambda variant creates surges in hospitalizations and raises the death tolls once again.  Meanwhile, just get vaccinated and wear a damn mask!

Two Monsters In Governor’s Clothing

The state of Florida currently has more hospitalizations due to COVID than any other state in the nation.  Cases in Texas are also surging, sending hospitals scrambling to find ICU beds for all the patients.  Both of these states have Republican governors who are doing everything in their power to reduce the population in their states.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left) and Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Both Governor DeSantis of Florida and Governor Abbott of Texas have banned mask mandates in their state, meaning that localities cannot legally put a mask mandate into effect in order to protect the people.  Bad enough under any circumstances, but now, with parents preparing to send their children back to school in a week or two, it is critical.

Columnist Greg Sargent has the latest on the battle between the governors, localities, and school boards …


The rebellion against pro-Trump, anti-mask GOP governors is gaining steam

Opinion by

Greg Sargent

Columnist

Yesterday at 11:04 a.m. EDT

Let’s state this up front: GOP governors are not required by some higher Trumpian law to use official powers to actively thwart efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Some are choosing not to do that: In South Dakota, the governor left decisions about mask mandates to local officials, and in Arkansas the governor admitted that an earlier ban on them was an “error.”

But the Republican governors of Texas and Florida — Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis — are in a class by themselves. Their states are seeing some of the worst surges of covid in the nation, yet they are continuing to hamstring local officials from acting to protect their constituents.

Which is why these governors are facing a rebellion of sorts. In both states, ABC News reports, officials are defying limits on mask mandates, setting up direct conflicts with those governors.

This will flush out into the open the truly twisted nature of what DeSantis and Abbott are doing. They piously claim to be defending their constituents’ freedom from government mandates. But they are using their power to prevent local officials from implementing basic public health measures in a highly selective way that is plainly molded around the obsessions of former president Donald Trump and his movement, not anchored in any genuine public interest rationale.

Local officials are rebelling

The derangement of this position is particularly clear in Texas. On Monday, Abbott announced that he is seeking the help of outside medical professionals to deal with the state’s covid surge. He is also asking hospitals to postpone all elective medical procedures as hospitals fill up.

Amid all this, the Dallas schools superintendent has reasonably announced that students, visitors and staff will have to wear masks in schools. He noted that the decision is an “urgent” matter of “protecting” children, teachers and workers.

Yet this directive required him to defy Abbott’s executive order barring mask mandates by government entities. To be clear, Abbott’s own actions amount to a stark admission that the state is in serious trouble — yet he continues to ban localities from taking measures to protect public health.

The absurd result, as the New York Times reports, is that local officials are scouring legal codes to find ways to get around Abbott’s blockade on implementing public health measures. This isn’t how officials should have to spend time and resources during a public health emergency.

In Austin, where cases are surging, local officials have recommended masking, but cannot require it, which has led the mayor of Austin to declare the situation “dire.” The Austin school district just announced a mask requirement, defying Abbott.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools is moving ahead with mandatory masking. This is in defiance of DeSantis’s recent executive order empowering the state to withhold funds to punish school boards who implement mask mandates.

Incredibly, it appears DeSantis may make good on this threat. The superintendent, Carlee Simon, told “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that she’s received a letter from the state demanding justification for her move and essentially indicating that funding is at risk if she continues.

A handful of Florida parents are now suing DeSantis. One mom told CNN that she “never envisioned” that the governor “would actively be trying to harm my child,” and lamented correctly that limits on mask mandates are interfering with her son’s ability to get educated safely.

Anyone who has taken a young child to a camp or gathering this summer has witnessed how children playing together continue to drift inevitably into very close contact. It’s particularly ludicrous and venal to bar local officials from acting to defend these children from spread.

Abbott and DeSantis love to proclaim that they are defending the liberty of their states’ residents to proceed free of public health mandates, and that they should merely exercise “personal responsibility” in dealing with covid. But it’s hard to discern any genuine ideological vision here, since they have no apparent objection to all manner of other public health mandates.

“We have plenty of mandates,” Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told me. “We require elementary school students to get various vaccinations. We require drivers to wear seat belts. We require adults to wear clothes.”

“There are any number of ways in which the laws of every state, including Florida and Texas, impose mandates that are designed to protect individuals,” Vladeck continued.

‘Covid exceptionalism’

All of which suggests that the real working ideology here is something you might call “covid exceptionalism.”

Obviously it would theoretically be possible for DeSantis and Abbott to believe, in good faith, that mandates against covid represent unacceptable incursions on liberty while other mandates do not.

But everyone knows the real reason DeSantis and Abbott are suddenly concerned with protecting people from public health mandates on covid in particular is that government officials eager to battle covid this way have become associated with assorted enemies of Trump and his following.

Because Trump and his movement have required this adherence to covid exceptionalism, local officials are being hamstrung from carrying out their own official responsibilities to act in defense of public health. It’s hard to find the right language to describe the seething contempt for public service and the public good that’s truly on display here.

Goodbye Cuomo, Hello Hochul … WHO???

Well, folks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did what he said he wouldn’t do … he resigned.  I have mixed feelings … certainly it was the right thing to do in light of all the credible accusations of sexual harassment against him, not to mention a looming impeachment.  He was correct when he said that the last thing government needs is to be distracted, and he has, of late, become a distraction not only for the State of New York, but for the nation.  Still, I was a bit sad, for he has done much good during his eleven years in office and was the voice of reason during the height of the pandemic, the antithesis to the former president’s lies.  His father, Mario Cuomo, governed New York for eleven years, from 1983 to 1994, and was a popular governor, as has been Andrew until recent events.

In two weeks, when Cuomo leaves the governor’s mansion for the final time, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will take his place and will become the first woman governor in the history of New York!  So … who is this Kathy Hochul of whom we know almost nothing?

She served briefly, just under two years from June 2011 ‘til January 2013, in the U.S. House of Representatives representing New York’s 26th district.  Then in 2014, Governor Cuomo named her as his choice for Lieutenant Governor and she was sworn in on January 1st, 2015.

Not much is known about her political views, for she has remained in the background through much of her tenure, but what I see, I like.  She supports raising taxes on those earning more than $500,000 per year, she supports the development of alternative energy sources, she supports the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), supports women’s rights, same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.

In his resignation speech, Governor Cuomo supported her, saying …

“Kathy Hochul, my lieutenant governor is smart and competent. This transition must be seamless. We have a lot going on. I’m very worried about the Delta variant and so should you be, but she can come up to speed quickly.”

Interestingly, she hasn’t spoken with Governor Cuomo since February, according to one source. Her last public appearance with Cuomo was at a Covid briefing in Buffalo at the end of January.  Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner gave her a positive review …

“Her work speaks for itself. She’s done this stuff outside the bubble of the governor and built her own relationships out there. She did not take this job lightly. She’ll be prepared, she’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.”

And Assembly member Karen McMahon, a Democrat whose district borders Buffalo, is also in Hochul’s corner …

“She is probably one of the most down-to-earth people that you could ever meet. She’s gone to great heights in government, yet one-to-one, she is so accessible and so warm and just a very generous person … She’s always able to help — particularly women, too.”

She will have some big challenges ahead of her, but I think she is up for the task.

Covidiots and Maskholes

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters is angry, and I don’t blame him … I share his angst and anger on this issue. COVID in the U.S. could be but a distant nightmare today, but instead, thanks to politicians, the Republicans, the former guy, and willful ignorance, we are once again seeing surging cases and a rising death toll. We are still … those of us with any sense … confined mainly to our homes. It didn’t have to be this way … Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your thoughts on this, which are the same as my own.

On The Fence Voters

Please know that the derogatory title to this post only refers to those who refuse to do the right thing and help their fellow human beings by getting a shot and wearing a mask when necessary. By no means do I mean to offend anyone. But if I do? I couldn’t care less.

What’s it going to take, folks? How many more deaths? How much suffering must the American people endure? It appears that for a particular segment of society, there is no inflection point. Their minds are already made up, so the carrots our governmental leaders have extended to them are no longer worth continuing. It’s time to use the most oversized sticks we can find to whack them over their heads.

Enough.

I want to submit to you some statistics from the Del Norte County Public Health website that will give you a glimpse of what’s going on…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/7

As she does every Saturday, our friend TokyoSand has scoured the ‘Net for the best political cartoons of the week.  There are a couple of really great ones this week.  As you might guess, the big topics of the week are the COVID surge and Andrew Cuomo.  Here are a few, but be sure to head over to TokyoSand’s place, Political Charge, to see the rest!  The very last one on TokyoSand’s page is especially touching.  Thank you for all your hard work in finding these, TS!

Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons over at Political Charge!