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One year after the COVID-19 pandemic turned us upside down, how has life changed?

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 13:03

One year ago this week, my Kansas Jayhawks were the leading contenders to cut down the nets at the NCAA tournament. Everything on that team was clicking. Everyone on the team was perfectly playing their parts, reaching peak performance as they headed into college basketball’s biggest stage. Then the COVID-19 pandemic shut it all down. Like everyone else, the focus of March quite suddenly and dramatically shifted from normal spring happenings like the NCAA tournament to chasing down toilet paper and learning how to make bread at home because the bread and toilet paper shelves were as empty as the basketball arenas down the street. 

Even then scientists like Dr. Fauci were warning the public that we could be wearing masks into 2022 and the pandemic would take considerable time to get under control, if it could be controlled at all. We were thrust into a whole new unfamiliar and terrifying world. What we learned one day (wipe down your groceries! You don’t need to wear masks!) would no longer be best practice the next. It’s been one long, bumpy ride. And while we are not yet out of the woods, there is light at the end of the tunnel with three vaccines and distribution that is about to be significantly ramped up for the general public. 

So, how was this pandemic changed us individually and as a whole?

Categories: Politics

Vaccine Venting Here!

Balloon Juice - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 13:00

Finally, a place to vent and share your vaccination “why is this so fucking hard” woes!

It can also be a place where you can share any hot tips about how to locate the vaccine in your particular state or area.

Plus, *stickers!

If any of the stickers speak to you, let me know which one you want.

I’ll add this to the sidebar along with the I Got the Shot! threads.

*All hail MazeDancer for the stickers.

Update: for teaching and childcare-related jobs that President Biden has directed should be given at least their first shot by the end of March… that is part of the federal program that the administration controls.  So even if your governor isn’t on board, you should be able to get a shot through the federal pharmacy program.

Here is the list of pharmacies in the federal program, listed by state.  (from Scout211)


The post Vaccine Venting Here! appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

You Will Love Stacey Abrams' Answer About Donald 2024

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:44

Stacey Abrams knows how to answer a question about that failed president we just got rid of.

On Tuesday night's Late, Late Show with James Corden, the host asked Abrams about that guy's CPAC speech, where he hinted at a 2024 run.

"I don't care what that man does." said Abrams. "The film I produced, All In: The Fight for Democracy, is about how we can't be stymied by one person or one idea, that we have to be focused on our goals. And the goal of full inclusion in our democracy, means that we can't give the attention that a megalomaniacal narcissistic authoritarian failed president wants. The extent to which we focus our attention on him, and not on the people who need our help, we are doing exactly what he wants. And now I've given him thirty seconds more than I ever intended to."

Here's the trailer for Stacey Abram's movie, which is widely expected to receive an Oscar nomination this year:

[embed eid="44510" /]

Categories: Politics

UH OH! Jim Jordan's Campaign Finances Under Investigation

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:32

The Federal Election Commission has its eye on Rep. Jim Jordan and his campaign committee, because of huge discrepancies in their filings. reports that many of discrepancies are over $100,000 -- in one instance, the amount was over $900,000.

Rep. Jordan claims the problems arose because of massive donations he's received as a Trump apologist and voter fraud grifter.

It pays to lie in the QOP.

"Jordan’s campaign blames the discrepancies on accounting difficulties it encountered as donations soared in tandem with Jordan’s growing national profile during Donald Trump’s presidency."

Jordan has until early April to comply with the letters from the FEC or he faces a full audit.

I wonder if Rep. Jordan will pull out the ole 'I can't release them because I am undergoing an IRS audit' routine?

Categories: Politics

No wedge issue too stupid or racist for Republicans, as Dr. Seuss flap shows

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:27

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that manages the legacy of the late children’s book author, decided of its own accord to stop publishing six Seuss books that, according to a statement, “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” The books being withdrawn from publication are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry StreetIf I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.

Hurtful and wrong how? Well, a 2019 study of 50 Seuss books found that 98% of the human characters in those books were white—and the 2% portrayed as other races were overwhelmingly stereotyped and shown subject to white domination.

Categories: Politics

Republicans plot their poison pills to delay critical COVID-19 relief from reaching Americans

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:10

Senate Republicans are openly plotting how to make passing vital COVID-19 relief—which is still supported by 77% of all voters, including 59% of Republicans—complete hell for Democrats. That includes Sen. Ron Genius Johnson of Wisconsin proposing they extend the voting for "days on end." There's a looming deadline of March 14 when unemployment benefits start running out, but a sooner deadline because the Department of Labor needs some time to authorize the payments and states need time to reconfigure their systems to send them. And Johnson wants to put all that in jeopardy. He wants to delay checks landing in people's bank accounts.

Speaking of checks in people's bank accounts, fewer people will be seeing them now as the "moderate" Democrats secured a "win" from President Biden and leadership: the income cap for the survival checks is now going to be scaled back. Instead of payments gradually reducing for people making $75,000 to $100,000, they will now be cut off at $80,000, and $120,000 for heads of households. Instead of being cut off at $200,000 for joint filers, they’ll stop at $160,000. This makes it all the more important for people who lost income in 2020 to file their taxes as soon as possible, so the IRS uses 2020 instead of 2019 income to make the determination of who gets what. The only good side of this concession is apparently that the moderates gave up their effort to cut the weekly unemployment insurance (UI) boost in the bill from $400 to $300. That supplement to UI will reportedly be the same as in the House bill, $400.

Categories: Politics

Man who knew exactly what he was doing claims family separations 'very unfortunate'

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:04

Former U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III refused to be interviewed for a Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general report from this past January that pointed to him as a “driving force” behind the previous administration’s family separation policy, which resulted in the state-sanctioned kidnapping of thousands of children at the southern border

Flash forward a couple weeks, and America’s most racist Keebler elf is now talking. Not to the inspector general, of course, but to Reuters, where he claimed it “was unfortunate, very unfortunate” that children couldn’t be quickly reunited with their parents. "It turned out to be more of a problem than I think any of us imagined it would be," he said. But report after report has established the fact that former administration officials like Sessions knew exactly what they were doing.

Categories: Politics

Fox News Covers Dr. Seuss Instead Of Senate Hearing On Jan 6 Capitol Attack

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:50

Right-wing media like Fox News has always spread misinformation , but when Trump won the presidency in 2016, they increased it exponentially.

The re-writing of "news" hit its apex during the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. Fox News helped spread the disease throughout the country more quickly in order to protect Trump's re-election prospects. From daytime programs like Fox and Friends to prime time's Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, they attacked Dr. Fauci and mask wearing -- all in service to their narcissistic baby.

They even celebrated Dr. Scott Atlas, (not a virologist) promoted the bogus "herd immunity" idea instead of safety measures.

Right-wing media also spreads disinformation about many of Trump's immoral actions like when he praised as "very fine people," Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

But there is another action which that Qonservative media uses that is just as dangerous. I call it "no-information."

Whenever there is a story that is negative to Trump or the Republican Party, they simply refuse to cover it or cover it so sparingly that their viewers remain ignorant to what has taken place. Then they spin any accurate coverage as a hoax or "fake news" to defend Trump and the QOP.

Case in point: On Tuesday, the Senate held a hearing on the January 6 insurrection and the FBI director was there answering questions all day.

CNN and MSNBC carried it live.

read more

Categories: Politics

'Quiet Part Out Loud': RNC Lawyer Admits GOP Cheats To Win

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:34

This is what they call in the legal world an "oopsie."

The Supreme Court is considering upholding voter suppression laws in Arizona in two cases: Brnovich v. DNC and Arizona Republican Party v. DNC.

Who should show up at SCOTUS during the oral arguments but an attorney representing the Republican National Committee? Even Amy Comey Barrett wondered why he was there.

“What’s the interest of the Arizona RNC here in keeping, say, the out-of-precinct ballot disqualification rules on the books?”, asked the Trump-appointed justice.

“Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats,” the lawyer, Michael Carvin, replied. “Politics is a zero-sum game.”

Categories: Politics

Texas racists get really racist about racist thing that people are calling racist

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:24

Emails The Texas Tribune obtained show just how little wealthy alumni donors from the University of Texas at Austin care about Black people, even those that the graduates cheer for routinely on the football field.

Hundreds of alumni responded with emails to university President Jay Hartzell after they assumed a student effort to have the university part ways with its racist alma mater "The Eyes of Texas'' had seeped onto the football field. Then-quarterback for the school Sam Ehlinger was the only member of the team to remain on the field to sing the song after a crushing loss. But although many interpreted his decision as a stance in support of the alma mater, Ehlinger later said he only stayed behind to talk to coaches, The Texas Tribune reported on Monday.

Categories: Politics

Reverting to Form

Balloon Juice - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:03

I recently praised CNN’s analysis of the QPAC Heaven’s Gate event in Orlando because the analyst (Stephen Collinson) minced no words about those lunatics and the ongoing danger they pose. But here’s Jake Tapper reverting to form, no doubt smiling the smug, self-satisfied smile that can only be smiled when “both sides” are calling him a hack in their unique patois (i.e., death threats vs. c’mon, man):

Sweet weeping Jeebus, that’s almost a “your elderly dog is unpresidential!” level of dumb right there. There’s a pandemic! There’s an economic crisis! There wasn’t a normal transition because The Former Guy lied about the election, sparking a violent insurrection! If Tapper and Liptak research 1861 and find that Abraham Lincoln held a “formal solo press conference within 33 days,” that would be a mostly irrelevant but mildly interesting tidbit. Otherwise, shaddup.

In other reverting to form news, I’m just gonna observe (for myself and anyone else who needs to hear it) that our (Democrats’) congressional representatives are jockeying for their priorities in the COVID relief bill right now, which is totally normal! In fact, that’s their job. So maybe let’s not freak out about it just yet? That’s my plan, anyway — y’all do you.

Open thread.

The post Reverting to Form appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Republican governors throwing states off COVID cliff, and counting on President Biden to catch them

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:51

Three weeks after a closed electricity market that’s designed to turn disasters into windfall profits collapsed in Texas, turning a winter cold snap into a deadly power shortage that still has many Texans dealing with broken pipes and ruined homes, Gov. Greg Abbott is badly in need of a new distraction. Abbott spent days during the cold wave sitting on Fox News explaining how the real culprit was the never-passed Green New Deal, and not the fragile by-energy-billionaires for-energy-billionaires system that Republicans had spent decades assembling in Texas. But then, a lot of Texans didn’t get to see Abbott making excuses about windmills on Fox, because they didn’t have any power.

Obviously, a distraction was needed. Fortunately for Abbott, he could jump right onto a lemming train of Republican governors all making the same bad decision for pretty similar reasons. So on Tuesday Abbott decided that COVID-19 is over in Texas. He’s lifted the state’s (poorly enforced and incomplete) mask mandate, and he’s telling business they can “fully reopen.” But Abbott’s order does more than just lift any official mandate by the state. Because it also prohibits county and city governments from requiring masks, or from limiting business operation, or doing essentially anything to protect their citizens.

Categories: Politics

Coronavirus Growth in Western Countries: March 2 Update

Kevin Drumm - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:41

Here’s the officially reported coronavirus death toll through March 2. The raw data from Johns Hopkins is here.

Categories: Politics

Republican lawyer explains in one sentence why his party wants to make it harder to vote

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:24

One of the central disagreements between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party is coming into focus: voting rights. House Democrats are poised to pass an expansion of voting rights, while at the state level, Republicans have put forward more than 250 bills restricting voting.

Unless Senate Democrats end the filibuster, Senate Republicans will block the For the People Act. State Republicans will definitely pass many voting restrictions. In fact, in Georgia, state election officials already said in December that they would start interpreting a law that bans “the giving or receiving of money or gifts for the purpose of registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate” as banning groups from handing out bottles of water or pizza to people waiting in long lines to vote. As if someone is going to go wait in an hours-long line because they might get a bottle of water or slice of pizza out of it.

This is a fundamental conflict in the views of the two parties, and Republicans have said again and again why they want to make it harder to vote or to have your vote counted: It helps them win.

Categories: Politics

GOP Rep Votes No On Early Education: Mothers Shouldn't 'Come Out Of The Home'

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:12

Early childhood education is a universally loved program, except for Republicans in Idaho?

The bill to accept federal grants for preschools failed, as Republicans control the legislature 56-14 at the moment. Oh, and March is Women's History Month, so I guess Shepherd was just doing his bit to remind us that this sort of thinking is still out there.

Source: KTVB7, Boise

Rep. Charlie Shepherd (R-Pollock) testified against House Bill 226, which would allow the State Board of Education to use nearly $6 million in federal grants to increase early childhood education in the Gem State by making it more available and accessible.

But for the first-term Republican, he made it clear where he stands on bills such as this.

"I don't think anybody does a better job than mothers in the home, and any bill that makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home and let others raise their child, I don't think that's a good direction for us to be going," he said.

read more

Categories: Politics

Dolly Parton PSA: Don't Be A Chicken Squat, Get Out There And Get Your Shot

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:05

Now we know: CNN's New Day anchors are Dolly Parton stans.

"Now to our favorite story of the day. Country music legend -- and as John said, earth legend -- "

"Universal legend. "

"Cosmos legend interplanetary legend Dolly Parton donated a million dollars toward the development of the Moderna vaccine. so yesterday she received a dose of her own medicine," Alysin Camerota said.

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I'm begging of you please don't hesitate.

"That was 'Jolene.' She reworked the lyrics," Camerota said.

"And she posted this message to the American people."

I just wanted to encourage everybody. The sooner we get to feeling better, the sooner we are going to get back to being normal. So I just want to say to all of you cowards out there, don't be such a chicken squat. Get out there and get your shot.

"Oh, that's beautiful. I'll do anything Dolly says," Camerota gushed.

"Seriously. It's such an important message, and good for her," John Berman said.

"She's an angel. Everything she says is just imbued with wisdom. I'm waiting for the moment where a public official or celebrity gets the shot and screams the second they got it," Camerota said.

"Dolly Parton gets the shot and the shot screams. That's what happens. That's how awesome she is. That's how powerful Dolly Parton is. She paid for the vaccine. She gave a million dollars for the Moderna vaccine when it mattered, early on. They say it made a huge difference," Berman said.

read more

Categories: Politics

These 19 House districts flipped parties in the 2020 presidential election

Daily Kos - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:00

Thanks to the recent completion of Daily Kos Elections’ effort to calculate the 2020 presidential election results by congressional district, we now know that Joe Biden won 224 districts to Donald Trump's 211, a net increase of 15 seats for Democrats compared to the 2016 results under the same district lines. As shown on the map at the top of this post (see here for a larger version), 17 districts flipped from backing Trump in 2016 to Biden last year, while two districts switched from supporting Hillary Clinton four years ago to voting for Trump in 2020.

The districts that changed hands share some demographic commonalities, and many were competitive at the House level in November. Those that went from Trump to Biden include many historically red suburban seats with high levels of college education and voters who have grown increasingly hostile to the Republican Party under Trump. That’s an extension of the pattern seen in 2016, when Clinton also flipped many historically red suburban seats.

Categories: Politics

Texas Gov. Abbott Drops Covid Restrictions To Change The Subject From Horrific Storm

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 08:55

Morning Joe was wondering why Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's press conference yesterday seemed so familiar.

It is now time to open Texas 100%. Every business that wants to be open should be open. Everyone who wants to work should have that opportunity. Texans have mastered the daily habits to avoid getting covid.

"I have heard this before. Where have I heard this before?" Joe Scarborough asked. Then they rolled the famous clip from "Jaws":

I'm pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and killed a large predator that supposedly injured some bathers. But as you see, it's a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time, and Amity, as you know, means friendship.

"Yeah. Willie, there are so many things that Republicans do that make them the party of gestures. This could be of course a deadly gesture, but Greg Abbott understands, I hope, that we understand he is doing this and putting peoples' lives in danger because he's trying to move past a crisis of his making where people died," Scarborough said.

"They froze to death. They didn't have drinking water for weeks. He's trying to change the subject when he knows if he just waits a month, the way vaccines are rolling out, he would be able to make that announcement safely. But we learned from CPAC that the people that acted most recklessly are the ones that are the most rewarded."

"Yeah. That's the frustration," Willie Geist said.

read more

Categories: Politics

Asymmetry of risk

Balloon Juice - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 08:48

Right now, US COVID case counts are done to early Fall levels. We have a lot of good news on the vaccine front.

We are starting to see a drop in deaths due to vaccination of the most at risk populations.

We have a significant risk of variants leading to immune evasion and vaccine efficacy reduction. Variants are more likely to occur and if they do occur, more likely to be widespread if there is a high background level of spread and infection.

We have a major COVID relief bill likely to be signed in the next ten days.

We have states that want to YOLO it.

We have an asymmetry of risk. A state re-opening too early by a week has far more consequences than a state re-opening a week too late. A state re-opening too early will marginally increase the risk of variant spread and variant emergence. That risk is not limited to only the state or only the people in the state whose behavior changes. It could generate large and negative externalities. And if there is an increase in cases, the return of normal commerce won’t happen as people are mostly following relative risk instead of public policy. A state that re-opens a week too late may have some small and mostly internalized costs but they are not generating negative public health externalities.

The post Asymmetry of risk appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Former White House Physician To Andrew Cuomo: Dude, Hold My Beer!

Crooks and Liars - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 08:08

Hoo boy. Ronny Jackson makes Andrew Cuomo sound like Mr. Rogers! The Department of Defense inspector general looked into allegations about the former White House physician who's now a Republican congressman, and it ain't pretty. Remember, what's in this report are only the incidents witnesses reported. Via CNN:

The Department of Defense inspector general has issued a scathing review of Rep. Ronny Jackson during his time serving as the top White House physician, concluding that he made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy for drinking alcohol while on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted concerns from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper care.

The findings outlined in the report, which was obtained by CNN prior to its expected release on Wednesday, stem from a years-long IG investigation into Jackson -- who currently represents Texas in the House of Representatives and sits on the House Armed Services subcommittee overseeing military personnel -- that was launched in 2018 and examines allegations that date back to his time serving during the Obama and Trump administrations. Members of Congress were briefed on the IG report findings on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

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Categories: Politics