Patterico's Pontifications

3/31/2021

“It Was Long Ago. Seems Like Yesterday”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:21 pm



When Pat Dinizio of The Smithereens passed, I told a story about my first date with my wife:

The first time I went out with Mrs. P in what could be considered a date, she wanted to dance. I hate dancing. But I told her that I would dance with her if “Behind the Wall of Sleep” by the Smithereens came on. It did. We danced, and later that night we kissed for the first time.

Except, as I had to sheepishly admit in an update, I got the song wrong when I initially related the story in the post. The actual song in question was “Blood and Roses.”

UPDATE 12-30-17: How awful. Mrs. P. reminds me that the song was “Blood and Roses” and not “Behind the Wall of Sleep.” (Actually, the way it worked is that I related the story to my brother-in-law, but citing the relevant song as “Behind the Wall of Sleep.” Christi told me I got it wrong, and that I had three more tries before I was “locked out’ — you know, the way one gets locked out of their iPhone upon guessing the password wrong . . . but with presumably more dire consequences. I got it right on the next try.)

So anyway, the day we first kissed was 30 years ago today.

I told this story to Dana and John earlier and thought I’d share it with you:

Although our first kiss was March 31st, 1991, that was only because it happened after midnight. Our first dance was earlier in the evening . . . on March 30th. Christi pointed this out last night. So, I put on “Blood and Roses” as she was making her dinner, and we danced again, albeit more creakily than we had danced in our early 20s, exactly 30 years earlier.

The first line of the song is: “It was long ago. Seems like yesterday.”

No kidding.

President Biden And The Border Crisis

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:32 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I know a number of media outlets have published stories about the media visiting the detention center in Donna, Texas. I decided to bring to your attention CBS New’s Homeland Security reporter Nicole Sganga’s blunt description about what she saw when she visited the facility:

Reporters toured the temporary border facility in Donna, TX today.

The Biden admin allowed pooled coverage for the first time.

We saw a “pod” designed for 32 migrant children under CDC guidelines now holding 615.

The facility is at 1700% pandemic capacity.

Unaccompanied migrant children ages 4 months – 9 years old are now being held in the recreational area around the clock because there’s just no room for them in the dormitory areas.

The outdoor recreational area is being used to stage COVID testing before unaccompanied migrant children are transferred to HHS facilities.

We counted more than 50 COVID positive (and largely asymptomatic) kids waiting for their quarantined bus right next to a soccer game.

More than 2000 migrants at the temporary processing facility in Donna, TX have been here for over the legal limit of 72 hours.

Senior CBP officials told reporters more than 1200 migrants are processed and waiting to be transferred to HHS facilities. HHS has nowhere to put them.

At least 39 unaccompanied migrant children have been in the temporary processing facility for more than 15 DAYS, Acting Executive Officer for RGV Operational Programs Division, Oscar Escamilla, told reporters.

The legal limit is 72 hours.

Raul Ortiz, Deputy Chief of U.S. Border Patrol, told reporters CBP agents now see “self-separation” by families expelled under Title 42.

Unaccompanied migrant children re-cross the border without their parents so they can seek legal asylum within the United States.

Deputy Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, Raul Ortiz, told reporters @CBP anticipates *more than 1 million encounters* of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in FY 2021 alone.

It cost $6.1 million to stand up the processing facility in Donna, TX, according to Acting Executive Officer, Oscar Escamilla.

It should cost $6 million per month for @CBP to run the facility at its 250-person capacity.

It’s so overcrowded that it costs $16 million per month.

Pool reporters stumbled upon 27 unaccompanied migrant children and young families outside of Mission, TX.

One mother of a two-month old recounted to @cbsmireya how she fled Guatemala in a raft because there was just too much violence and poverty to stay.

Reporters passed the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission, TX, where dozens of migrants still appeared to be assembled underneath.

We asked to stop, but were not permitted.

Border agents told us @CBP does not intend to hold migrants there for more than a couple of hours.

(Make sure to click on the link to her Twitter feed to see accompanying photos.)

Another problem reported by the AP is that the US is waiving FBI checks on caregivers at new migrant facilities:

The Biden administration is not requiring FBI fingerprint background checks of caregivers at its rapidly expanding network of emergency sites to hold thousands of immigrant teenagers, alarming child welfare experts who say the waiver compromises safety.

In the rush to get children out of overcrowded and often unsuitable Border Patrol sites, President Joe Biden’s team is turning to a measure used by previous administrations: tent camps, convention centers and other huge facilities operated by private contractors and funded by U.S. Health and Human Services. In March alone, the Biden administration announced it will open eight new emergency sites across the Southwest adding 15,000 new beds, more than doubling the size of its existing system.

These emergency sites don’t have to be licensed by state authorities or provide the same services as permanent HHS facilities. They also cost far more, an estimated $775 per child per day.

And to staff the sites quickly, the Biden administration has waived vetting procedures intended to protect minors from potential harm.

Staff and volunteers directly caring for children at new emergency sites don’t have to undergo FBI fingerprint checks, which use criminal databases not accessible to the public and can overcome someone changing their name or using a false identity.

Laura Nodolf, the district attorney in Midland, Texas, where HHS opened an emergency site this month, said that without fingerprint checks, “we truly do not know who the individual is who is providing direct care.”

“That’s placing the children under care of HHS in the path, potentially, of a sex offender,” Nodolf said. “They are putting these children in a position of becoming potential victims.”

Unsurprisingly, President Biden’s approval numbers on immigration have slipped from when he took office in January, according to a new NPR/Marist Poll released yesterday:

Just a third of Americans questioned in an NPR/Marist poll released on Tuesday say they approve of Biden’s handling of the issue of immigration, with 53% saying they disapprove of his performance. While two-thirds of Democrats say they approve of how Biden has handled the issue in the first two months of his presidency, approval plunges to 27% among independents and to just 5% among Republicans…

The poll indicates that Biden’s overall approval on immigration is down four points from late January, when it stood at 38%.

Pushback from the Democrat Party seems to be coming from the progressive wing:

Biden is also facing incoming fire from the Democratic Party’s progressive left, which is increasingly frustrated with the slow progress so far by the president to deliver what he promised on the 2020 campaign trail – a more humane immigration system than the restrictive policies under former President Donald Trump’s administration.

As a reminder, during his campaign for the presidency, Joe Biden’s goals for immigration included:

The challenges we face will not be solved by a constitutionally dubious “national emergency” to build a wall, by separating families, or by denying asylum to people fleeing persecution and violence. Addressing the Trump-created humanitarian crisis at our border, bringing our nation together, reasserting our core values, and reforming our immigration system will require real leadership and real solutions. Biden is prepared on day one to deliver both.

As president, Biden will forcefully pursue policies that safeguard our security, provide a fair and just system that helps to grow and enhance our economy, and secure our cherished values. He will:

Take urgent action to undo Trump’s damage and reclaim America’s values
Modernize America’s immigration system
Welcome immigrants in our communities
Reassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees
Tackle the root causes of irregular migration
Implement effective border screening

–Dana

Rep. Matt Gaetz And His Bizarre Story

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:39 am



[guest post by Dana]

I just don’t have the energy to get in the weeds with this complicated story, but here’s Rep. Matt Gaetz talking about the leak to the New York Times, and the federal investigation into a former DOJ employee allegedly out to get him:

David McGhee, the former DOJ employee, denies Gaetz’s claims:

In an interview with The Daily Beast late Tuesday night, McGee said any reports of extortion involving him or his firm were “completely, totally false.”

“This is a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that Matt Gaetz is apparently about to be indicted for sex trafficking underage girls,” McGee said.

And to make it even weirder, there was this from a New York Times report yesterday:

…the Times reported that the investigation of Gaetz’s relationship and financial dealings stems from the indictment and prosecution of Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector. Greenberg was such a close political ally of Gaetz that the congressman endorsed him for a potential congressional run in a 2017 talk radio interview. The two visited the White House together in 2019, posing for a selfie on the lawn.

Greenberg was indicted in June 2020 on charges of sex trafficking a child, alleging he “recruited” and “solicited” a teenage girl between the ages of 14 and 17 for sex for multiple months in 2017 in exchange for favors. Greenberg also allegedly used state resources, including surrendered licenses, to create fake IDs—and allegedly concocted false child-sex allegations against a political rival.

He resigned from his position in the aftermath, and he is currently jailed for violating the terms of his bail as he awaits trial in June. Greenberg has pleaded not guilty.

Mark Horwitz, who represented Greenberg until December, told The Daily Beast he “couldn’t possibly comment” on any link between his former client’s case and an investigation involving Gaetz.

P.S. On Tuesday, Axios reported that Gaetz was looking to retire from Congress and take a job with Newsmax…

Hoo boy.

–Dana

3/30/2021

Mitch McConnell: C’mon Republican Men, Get Vaccinated!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:17 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This is unsurprising. Yet it also reveals a big disconnect given that the former President and his wife received coronavirus vaccinations back in January at the White House:

Americans who currently reject the COVID-19 vaccine also don’t trust several of the healthcare experts who are urging vaccination.

There is one person whose medical advice these Americans trust — and it is someone who was vaccinated himself in January: President Donald Trump. Half of those who reject the COVID vaccine today (50%), trust medical advice when it comes from President Trump.

That is far more than the share of this group that trusts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (23%), President Joe Biden (15%), or Dr. Anthony Fauci (13%), the head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. The poll shows that, although no longer president, Donald Trump still has a role to play in the nation’s vaccination efforts. This already seems to have been recognized by Dr. Fauci and other medical experts who have called upon Trump to recommend the vaccine to his supporters, something the former president did in a recent Fox News interview.

The public overall is far more likely to trust the CDC (55%), Fauci (46%), and Biden (42%) for their medical advice than to trust former President Trump (31%). Republicans overall (66%) are more likely than those who refuse vaccination to say they trust medical advice from President Trump, compared to 7% of Democrats.

poll

A recent PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released earlier this month indicated that 49% of Republican men aren’t planning on getting vaccinated. Yesterday, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a public appeal to “all Republican men” to get vaccinated:

“I can say as a Republican man, as soon as it was my turn, I took the vaccine. I would encourage all Republican men to do that,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, on Monday, when asked what kind of messaging he can push as the GOP leader to help encourage people, specifically Republican men, that the vaccine is safe and they should get it.

McConnell added that there is “no good argument not to get the vaccination. I would encourage all men regardless of party affiliation to get the vaccination,” at a news conference in Hazard, Kentucky, outside a health care clinic for an event focusing on the state’s vaccination efforts.

–Dana

Washington Post Fact Checker Gives President Biden 4 Pinocchios

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:19 am



[guest post by Dana]

After Georgia’s Governor Kemp signed the state’s voting bill, President Biden came out the following day and wholly condemned it. Part of his criticism focused on his belief that it limited voting hours:

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick … deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work.”

— President Biden, in remarks at a news conference, March 25

“Among the outrageous parts of this new state law, it ends voting hours early so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over.”

— Biden, in a statement “on the attack on the right to vote in Georgia,” March 26

For his inaccurate claims, the Washington Post gave President Biden four Pinocchios:

On Election Day in Georgia, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and if you are in line by 7 p.m., you are allowed to cast your ballot. Nothing in the new law changes those rules.

However, the law did make some changes to early voting. But experts say the net effect was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them.

While the report notes that University of Georgia political scientist Charles S. Bullock III suggested that the President may have been referencing an earlier draft of the bill and not the final copy, it’s good to see accuracy taking priority over the obvious inaccuracy of the President’s claims.

Anyway, while the Georgia law contains the outrageous ban on water being provided to voters in a state where lines extended up to 10 hours last year, it now looks like Florida Republicans will follow suit and also make it illegal to provide water to voters waiting in line:

Florida Republicans are considering a bill that would effectively make it a crime to give voters food or drink, including water, within 150 feet of polling places.

According to the text of an elections bill introduced last week, state law currently prohibits offering voters assistance within 100 feet of polling locations; H.B. 7041 proposes expanding that zone to 150 feet and includes a prohibition on giving “any item” to voters or “interacting or attempting to interact” with voters within that zone.

State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, a Republican from Spring Hill, said in a committee meeting last Monday that the ban would include “food or beverages.”

Is there no end to the pernicious influence of Trump’s “stolen election” lies on the GOP:

“Congratulations to Georgia and the Georgia state legislature on changing their voter rules and regulations,” Trump said in a statement through his Pac, Save America, which repeated his baseless allegation that fraud was a factor in his election loss to Biden. “They learned from the travesty of the 2020 presidential election, which can never be allowed to happen again. Too bad these changes could not have been done sooner!”

–Dana

3/29/2021

One More Accuser: Woman Alleges Gov. Cuomo Forcibly Kissed Her In Her Home

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:02 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I think we’ve hit double-digits now. Another Cuomo accuser alleges that the governor kissed her without consent in 2017 while touring her flood-damaged home:

“The whole thing was so strange and inappropriate and still makes me nervous and afraid because of his power and position,” said Sherry Vill, a 55-year-old married mother of three, as she spoke out in an afternoon briefing alongside lawyer Gloria Allred. “I am still afraid of him, but I am no longer willing to remain silent.”

Vill, whose house was among those damaged, invited Cuomo into her home and expressed dismay at its condition.

“That’s when the governor looked at me, approached me, took my hand and pulled me to him,” Vill said. “He leaned down over me and kissed my cheek. I was holding my small dog in my arms and I thought he was going to pet my dog. But instead he went to squeeze between the dog and mine and kiss me on the other cheek in what I felt was a highly sexual manner.”

According to Vill, Gov. Cuomo brushed off the accusations by saying it’s just what Italians do:

“He said, ‘That’s what Italians do, kiss both cheeks,’” recalled Vill.

“I felt shocked and didn’t understand what had just happened,” said Vill. “But I knew I felt embarrassed and weird about his kissing me. I am Italian, and in my family, family members kiss. Strangers do not kiss, especially upon meeting someone for the first time.”

Vill, who is being represented by Gloria Allred, also said that Cuomo told her she was “beautiful,” but didn’t stop there:

Cuomo again allegedly grabbed Vill’s face and kissed her on the cheek outside the home — in front of Vill’s son, who was recording the governor’s visit and caught an image of the contact, displayed at the virtual briefing.

“I felt like I was being manhandled, especially because he was holding my face and he was kissing my cheek again,” said Vill. “The way he looked at me and his body language made me very uncomfortable. I felt he was acting in a highly flirtatious and inappropriate manner, especially in front of my family and neighbors.”

Here is the photo Vill’s son captured of the creepy and completely inappropriate encounter:
gov. cuomo

According to reports, Allred and Vill have not reached out to Cuomo’s office about the allegations. Per Allred, they will be getting in touch with the attorney general’s office which is conducting an investigation into claims made against the governor. A lawsuit has not yet been filed.

Despite calls to resign by New York’s delegation to the House of Representatives, Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand, and Mayor Blasio, Cuomo is staying put – at least for now. That could very well have to do with the fact that he is still receiving enough support from state Democrats:

…nearly half of voters (49 percent) in New York say that he should not resign while 43 percent say he should resign, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh- pea-ack) University poll of registered voters in New York State. The poll was conducted from March 16th – 17th. In a March 4th survey, voters said 55 – 40 percent he should not resign.

Today, Democrats say 67 – 23 percent he should not resign, 49 percent of independents say Cuomo should not resign with 42 percent saying he should resign, and Republicans say 72 – 26 percent he should resign.

In a separate question, voters were asked about the positions elected officials have taken about whether or not Governor Cuomo should step down. Just over 1 in 5 voters (22 percent) say they agree more with elected officials calling on Governor Cuomo to resign immediately. About three-quarters of voters (74 percent) say they agree more with elected officials saying they will wait until the New York Attorney General’s independent investigation is completed before they decide whether or not to call for Governor Cuomo to resign.

If you’re keeping track, there are now three ongoing investigations into the Cuomo administration.

–Dana

Dr. Birx: Concerns About Trump’s Reaction Resulted in Restrained Messaging About Covid Risks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:58 am



[guest post by Dana]

In a CNN special about COVID-19, top health officials talk openly with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the pandemic and their experiences as medical professionals during the past year. Here is a devastating statement from Dr. Deborah Birx about the massive death toll in the US:

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator under Trump, said the majority of those deaths could have been prevented.

“I look at it this way — the first time we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge,” Birx said. “All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”

In another segment of the interview, Dr. Birx, who joined the White House coronavirus task force to counter the administration’s efforts to play down the risk of Covid-19, was asked whether she felt Trump had threatened her to keep quiet about how widespread the virus was:

Birx was not able to do quite as much as she had hoped. After speaking out in August about the coronavirus pandemic being “extraordinarily widespread” across both rural and urban communities in the US, Birx received a call from former President Trump, after which she says she was blocked from speaking about the pandemic nationally.

“I got called by the President. It was very uncomfortable, very direct and very difficult to hear,” Birx said.

Asked if President Trump threatened her, Birx said “I would say it was a very uncomfortable conversation.”

Birx said she took her public warnings about the pandemic to a local level.

She said she would speak frankly “with regional and local press and governors and mayors — and be very clear about mask mandates and closing bars and severely restricting indoor dining and all of these elements that I was never allowed to say nationally.

Asked if she was being censored, Birx said “Clearly someone was blocking me from doing it. My understanding is I could not be national because the President might see it.”

She added “He felt very strongly that I misrepresented the pandemic in the United States, that I made it out to be much worse than it is. I feel like I didn’t even make it out as bad as it was.”

It’s a bit hard to square Dr. Birx today with Dr. Birx one year ago when she just couldn’t say enough about Trump and his efforts in the pandemic fight:

“He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data. I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues.

Was it her worst decision to accept a position under the Trump administration in the first place? Would she have had more of a voice working outside of the White House and influence decisions that could have ultimately helped save more American lives? Obviously, Trump would have fired Dr. Birx had she openly defied his efforts to downplay the virus. But she would have walked out with her integrity fully intact. It’s been clear that those in prominent and influential positions in the Trump administration who had daily contact with the former president would eventually be compelled to make a decision about whether they were willing to cross the line of complicity or walk away:

She, like many of us, had no idea how badly his administration would distort, ignore and deny science and the truth during the pandemic. Although she said she took the job out of a sense of obligation (“That’s what a civil servant is supposed to do,” she said a year later), Birx became inextricably tied to the harmful decisions of her negligent, disastrously ignorant boss.

As of today, the U.S. COVID-19 death toll stands at 549,000.

–Dana

3/28/2021

Sunday Music: Bach’s St. Mark Passion (Reconstruction), BWV 247

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:16 pm



It is Palm Sunday, the day when the passion story is read in its entirety. Today’s music is Bach’s St. Mark Passion, BWV 247 — a work available in reconstruction:

The Gospel today is the Passion according to St. Mark: Mark 14:1-15:47. It’s long, so I’ll tuck the rest of the post in the extended entry.

(more…)

3/27/2021

Constitutional Vanguard: Elizabeth Warren Violates the First Amendment with a Tweet

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:17 pm



So Trumpy!

The tweet itself, in my view, should be disqualifying. It’s a blatant abuse of power and it is a violation of the First Amendment. Yes: even if she takes no further action, the tweet itself is a violation that could lead to legal consequences for Warren. I explain in my latest newsletter, which you can access here, and get in your inbox by subscribing here.

UPDATE: Great post by Mike Masnick at TechDirt making essentially the same points independently.

3/26/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:31 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to talk about. Feel free to share anything you think readers would find interesting. Please make sure to include links.

Here we go!

First news item

Georgia on his mind:

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan on Sunday said he wants to expand voting, calling many voting reform proposals “solutions in search of a problem.”

“Republicans don’t need election reform to win, we need leadership,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” disavowing former President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine faith in elections.

“I think there’s millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump’s divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections,” Duncan said.

Pulling dumb, tone-deaf stunts like this is not “leadership”:

A controversial provision of a massive voting and election administration-related bill signed into law in Georgia on Thursday will prohibit volunteers from delivering free supplies like food, water, chairs, or rain gear to voters waiting in line to vote.

Those limits apply inside and within 150 feet of voting locations, and within 25 feet of voting lines. The section of the law says that volunteers and election officials, however, can set up water stations that voters can independently go to.

So Georgia Republicans believe that making it illegal to hand out water to voters waiting in line is a sure path to victory? Got it.

Interestingly:

A majority of voters in Georgia oppose a provision in the recently signed election bill that makes it a crime to provide food and water to voters while they are waiting in line to cast their ballot, according to a new poll.

The poll, which as conducted by Target Smart, found that 76 percent of voters in the state said they oppose the provision, including 83 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans.

What didn’t make the cut :

Georgia Republicans had been pushing to:
1) Eliminate mail voting for most people under age 65
2) Curtail early in-person voting
3) Completely end “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting
4) End automatic voting registration
5) Eliminate drop boxes
None of that got included.

Second news item

Poor is poor and hungry is hungry, no?:

The mayor of Oakland, Calif., announced on Tuesday that a privately funded program will offer low-income families of color $500 per month, with no restrictions on how to spend the funds.

To be eligible for the Oakland Resilient Families program, which has already raised $6.75 million from private donors, must be non-white, have at least one child under 18, and income at or below 50 percent of the area median income — roughly $59,000 per year for a family of three.

Half of the spaces are set aside for those who earn below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounts to roughly $30,000 per year for a family of three.

Participants will be randomly selected from a pool of applicants who meet eligibility criteria. It will aim to help up to 600 families, one of the largest efforts nationwide and the first to restrict participation to black, indigenous and people of color communities.

Third news item

Take your medicine:

The San Francisco school board voted 5-2 Thursday to strip Board member Alison Collins of her title as vice president and committee assignments in a rare and somber vote of no confidence…

Collins has been the subject of widespread calls for her resignation this week after a group working toward the recall of several board members resurfaced 2016 tweets of hers targeting Asian Americans.

Details:

In the tweets, Collins wrote that she was attempting to “to combat anti-black racism in the Asian community at at [sic] my daughters’ mostly Asian Am[erican] school.” She wrote that she once attended a “mostly Asian Am[erican] school” and knows “all too well” that many Asian Americans “believe they benefit from the ‘model minority’ BS,” and use “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” She noted that on Facebook, her former high school peers’ timelines are full of whites and Asians, and yet “No recognition #BlackLivesMatter exists.”

She demanded to know where “are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don’t they know they are on his list as well?”

“Do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten? Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You’re still considered “the help.”

Collins’ apologized for the tweets but said they were taken out of context. Just gonna say, Allison, you are a grown-ass woman and not some dumb 17-year old, and you cannot justify tweeting what you did, so just sit down.

Collins also pushed to rename 44 of San Francisco’s public schools because a pandemic and thousands of school kids stuck in fronts of screens at home apparently wasn’t the pressing problem that parents believed it to be.

Fourth news item

Identity crisis: no, we will not refer to you as Her Royal Highness:

Dear Liz, you entitled prig, consider yourself heckled with the purest, most precisely aimed, well-honed bit of passive-aggressive snottiness ever lobbed your way. America’s wonderful freedom to criticize, heckle, and insult its leaders – especially those self-regarded aristocrats – shall not be allowed to languish when such a ripe opportunity presents itself. Sniff.

Fifth news item

How is this not censoring the news:

As the Biden administration scrambles to accommodate a spike of migrant children crossing the border, it has largely cut off media access to the story where it is taking place, leaving the American public blind to the costs and consequences. Every administration endeavors to manage the images that shape public opinion, but this is not management; it seems more like censorship…

Unfortunately, with almost no journalists allowed inside, there is little indication how those strains look, sound and feel. A few members of Congress have visited — one, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who accompanied Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to a Customs and Border Protection processing facility in El Paso last week, described young migrants sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor, bunched a foot or less apart from each other. But for now, that description and a few other scraps are all Americans have to go by…

News organizations that for weeks have been requesting access to facilities, or permission to go on ride-alongs with border agents, have been refused or ignored. One photojournalist who has worked along the border for years, John Moore, wrote in The Post that the restrictions he has encountered are unprecedented in recent years.

Sixth news item

Stuck, with few options:

A colossal container ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday has ensnarled one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in a marine traffic jam.

Two days later, more than 100 container ships are still waiting at each end of the canal as tug boats and dredgers struggle to free the Ever Given, which weighs 200,000 metric tons and stretches 1,300 feet long.

“It’s just like having an accident on the interstate,” Donald Maier, the Dean for the School of Maritime Transportation, Logistics, and Management at the California Maritime Academy, tells Pop Mech. “That accident shuts down all lanes of travel, and everything will then start to back up.”

If the Panamanian-flagged ship isn’t freed soon, it could spell disaster for a global shipping industry already hobbled by the effects of COVID-19.

The Ever Given, which is owned by the Japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha, was on its way to the port of Rotterdam from China when it became stuck after a sandstorm blew through the region. Visibility plummeted and wind gusts reached speeds of up to 31 miles per hour.

It’s certainly a grave situation given that the longer the ships remain stuck, the greater the possibility of piracy.

Japan puts on an optimistic face:

On Friday morning, the canal’s service provider, Leth Agencies, said in a tweet that the Ever Given “remains grounded in the same position” with tugboats and dredgers working to dislodge the vessel, which is blocking the flow of an estimated $12 billion in goods.

Meanwhile, the Japanese owner of the ship expressed hope that it could be freed by Saturday night. Yukito Higaki, president of Shoei Kisen Kaisha, apologized Friday for the “great trouble and concern,” adding, “we want to work hard and get the situation back to normal,” according to the Japanese financial news website Nikkei Asia.

Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority said Friday afternoon that its dredging operations were roughly 87 percent complete, but navigational safety regulations prevented the dredging ship from moving too close to the Ever Given. Other methods of removing the sand will be deployed, the authority said, without specifying what that might entail.

I’m adding this to end on a lighter note and because it’s so cleverly done:

Seventh news item

Outrageous:

The sister of a man who was shot and killed by a juvenile gang member is outraged after the motion to have him prosecuted as an adult was withdrawn by District Attorney George Gascón as part of his new reforms, despite the fact that the murderer has continued to post his allegiance to his gang on social media while in custody.

In September 2017, 40-year-old Ontario Courtney’s car broke down in the wrong neighborhood in South LA, in an area that was controlled by the Hoover’s gang.

While he was waiting for AAA, a vehicle full of four Main Street Mafia Crips gang members spotted him, pulled up, and shot at him at least 36 times, according to prosecutors.

Ontario didn’t survive. He had been mistaken as a member of the Hoovers gang, according to prosecutors.

No wonder victims of violent crimes are campaigning to recall Gascon.

Eighth news item

Michigan GOP keeps it classy:

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser labeled the state’s top Democratic officeholders “witches” and referenced “assassination” when pressed Thursday for answers about how to remove two sitting GOP congressmen.

After the remarks were reported by The Detroit News on Friday, prompting a firestorm of criticism mostly from Democrats and calls for his resignation from the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents, Weiser said on Twitter that his comments “are clearly being taken out of context.” But he admitted he should have “chosen my words more carefully,” while saying he wouldn’t resign from the UM board.

Someone in the crowd asked how to unseat U.S. Reps. Fred Upton of St. Joseph and Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids Township, who were among 10 House Republicans to support the impeachment of former President Donald Trump in January. The Senate voted to acquit.

Weiser responded the party is focused on beating the “three witches” in 2022, apparently referring to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson — the three statewide Democratic leaders who are up for re-election next year.

Then someone in the crowd can be heard asking about the “witches in our own party.”

“Ma’am, other than assassination, I have no other way … other than voting out. OK?” Weiser said. “You people have to go out there and support their opponents. You have to do what you need to get out the vote in those areas. That’s how you beat people.”

Ninth news item

Blasting filibuster flip-flop:

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., ripped President Biden and congressional Democrats Friday for changing their view of the Senate filibuster rule, telling “Fox News Primetime” that they are invoking racism in order to scare Republicans.

Scott told host Brian Kilmeade it was both “frustrating and irritating” to see Democrats use the filibuster last year to block a police reform bill he proposed and claimed would have disproportionately helped the Black community.

“Here’s what we know about the Democrats,” Scott said. “They were for the filibuster before they were against the filibuster. I keep asking myself, ‘Will the real Chuck Schumer please stand up?’ Is it the one who was for the filibuster or is it the new one who is now against filibuster?”

Finally, this is so true! (Keep an eye on the gate):

(h/t norcal)

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

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