Patterico's Pontifications

9/17/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:00 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Hello. Getting a jump start on the weekend. Here are a few items to get the conversation started. Feel free to add your own items. Make sure to include links.

First news item

President Biden warned:

[24] attorneys general sent a seven-page letter to the president Thursday warning that a lawsuit will follow the implementation of the proposed requirement on private-sector employees to either get a COVID-19 shot, submit to weekly testing, or be fired…The attorneys general say some workers will quit their jobs rather than comply, further straining an already tight labor market…“Your plan is disastrous and counterproductive,” they wrote. “From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds — it will simply drive further skepticism.”

Second news item

Apparently, some out-of-towners reacted badly to New York City’s requirement for vaccination proof to dine indoors:

Three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting a New York City restaurant hostess on Thursday after she asked a group of diners visiting from Texas to show proof they had been vaccinated before seating them.

Cellphone footage obtained by NBC New York shows a brawl involving several people outside Carmine’s Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. Staff and bystanders intervened to break up the melee after it broke out around 5 p.m. ET, the station added.

Third news item

White House tries to ease tensions with France:

Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said France remained a “vital partner” in the Indo-Pacific region in an attempt to calm the fury in Paris over America’s new naval security pact with Australia and the UK.

The agreement announced this week by Joe Biden, the US president, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, and Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, is seen as a landmark initiative to strengthen their defence co-operation in the face of a rising China.

But the deal faced a stinging backlash from France, whose own lucrative submarine contract and partnership with Australia was scrapped as a result of the new trilateral initiative.

Senior French officials have lashed out at the US for a “lack of coherence” in excluding France from the pact, bringing diplomatic relations between Washington and Paris to their lowest point of Biden’s presidency. US officials only discussed the pact with their French counterparts this week, on the day it was announced.

[Ed: Oof.]

Now France has recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia.

Fourth news item

Unfolding disaster:

Thousands of Haitian migrants have assembled under and around a bridge in a small Texas border town, presenting the Biden administration with a new and chaotic challenge Friday as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil.

Haitians crossed the Rio Grande freely and in a steady stream, going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico through knee-deep water with some parents carrying small children on their shoulders. Unable to buy supplies in the U.S., they returned briefly to Mexico for food and cardboard to settle, temporarily at least, under or near the bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.

The vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants at the bridge on Friday were Haitian…Some families have been under the bridge for as long as six days.

Some migrants built cave-like shelters within the reeds along the river, Owens said. Trash piles were 10 feet wide and at least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital, he said.

Mixed message chaos:

Gov. Greg Abbott said on Thursday that he directed state troopers and the Texas National Guard “to shut down six points of entry along the southern border” at the request of U.S. Customs and Border Protection — then reversed himself shortly after, blaming the Biden administration for flip-flopping in its request for state help.

But a CBP spokesperson said the federal government — which operates ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border — had no plans to shut down any ports of entry.

“I have directed the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to surge personnel and vehicles to shut down six points of entry along the southern border to stop these [migrant] caravans from overrunning our state,” Abbott said in an emailed statement. “The border crisis is so dire that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by the chaos.”

Renae Eze, Abbott’s spokesperson, added that the state “is shutting down the ports of entry at the request of and in collaboration with CBP.”

A few hours later, Abbott sent out a new statement saying that the Biden administration “has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border … I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”

Fifth news item

Asking the question:

The suicide bombings that ripped through Kabul’s airport in late August and killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghans upped the ante for the U.S. to thwart more terrorist attacks in the final days of its withdrawal.

The Biden administration said it prevented another suicide bombing a few days later with a drone strike that officials said killed a suspected Islamic State group driver and an associate near the airport. U.S. officials told reporters that the target had been under surveillance for hours and that people were seen loading explosives into the trunk of his car.

But two separate investigations by The New York Times and The Washington Post cast doubt on that narrative. These news reports must elicit a fuller explanation than what the Biden administration has offered so far.

Ahmadi’s family members said 10 people were killed, including seven children. The relatives showed reporters photos of burned bodies belonging to children, and neighbors confirmed that children’s bodies were removed from the site.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Monday that the administration is looking at the matter “very, very, very carefully.” However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that while officials are investigating, he’s not aware of a plan to put investigators on the ground in Kabul. If two American newspapers can check out information on the ground, why can’t the U.S. government?

Ah:

No disciplinary action is expected but how about a resignation [by the one claiming full responsibility]?

Sixth news item

Yet another politician’s what they said vs. what they didpandemic moment:

In early August, [San Francisco Mayor London Breed] emphasized the need for the city to bring back its indoor mask mandate.

“We don’t want to shut down this city or this country down any longer than we have to. Our economy and our livelihood, and our kids going back to school, and everything in between depends on it,” she said.

In a news release about the mandate, the mayor’s office clearly spelled out the rules, stating, “The orders require all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions.”

Among those exceptions are actively eating or drinking in a club, bar or restaurant.

What she did:

A photo posted, and later taken down, from the Black Cat Nightclub’s Instagram page shows a smiling Breed celebrating with friends Wednesday night.

The problem is, she’s clearly not wearing a mask as stated by the city’s rules she put into place.

There are a few cocktails on the table, but nobody appears to be actively drinking them – which would be a moment when it’s OK to remove your mask.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Breed spent the night dancing, singing along and posing for pictures maskless.

Seventh news item

Closet capitalist infiltrates Met Gala:

After the gala, the congresswoman’s office sent out a fundraising email, encouraging supporters to buy Ocasio-Cortez-branded T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the same “Tax the rich” slogan she promoted at the Met. The T-shirts cost $27 apiece, while the hoodies cost $58.

You better believe James is likewise benefiting from Ocasio-Cortez’s supposed attempt to “break the fourth wall” for “working-class women of color.”

Brother Vellies’s website now offers a “customized” version of the $995 handbag Ocasio-Cortez sported at the one percenter party. The product listing for the “Tax the rich” handbag includes the line, “As seen at the 2021 MET Gala .” The product listing also includes a photo of the congresswoman modeling the handbag at the gala.

Just so we’re all on the same page: Ocasio-Cortez, a supposed advocate for the working class, attended a gathering best known for its flagrant displays of extravagant wealth. She attended wearing a designer dress borrowed from the girlfriend of the billionaire Seagram heir. The congresswoman, whose admission was waived by the taxpayer-subsidized Met, also showed up to the event toting a customized $995 “Tax the rich” handbag, likewise provided by the Canadian-born designer.

I opted not to post about the Met Gala kerfuffle involving AOC and a dress cut to perfection with a silly message emblazoned on it. The more she tried to explain, the more I lost interest. Politicians are, at the end of the day, looking to a) raise money b) raise their profile, and c) convince the public of their righteousness. It’s baked into the job. And not even my delight in designer fashion could shake me from my boredom at the hysteria coming from both sides of the aisle, which in turn, ironically, reminded me of an unpopular fashion maven’s messaging that really encapsulates my feelings on this latest public kerfuffle:

Eighth news item

Loud and clear:

Ninth news item

“Justice for J6″ rally jibber-jabber:

The extremist forums that cheered on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have soured on the planned Saturday rally in Washington, insisting without evidence that the event is a secret government plot to arrest more people involved in the riot.

Users in extreme far-right Facebook groups and extremist forums such as TheDonald and 4chan, which previously hosted pictures of users streaming into Washington hotel rooms and even maps of the Capitol tunnel system in the days before the Jan. 6 riot, are largely steering users away from the upcoming event.

Those posting on these forums say they largely believe the event to be a setup for a “false flag” event or “honeypot,” in which they’ll be entrapped and coerced to commit violence by federal agents.

You know who else thinks this? That’s right:

“On Saturday, that’s a setup,” Trump said in an interview with the Federalist. “If people don’t show up they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s a lack of spirit.’ And if people do show up they’ll be harassed.”

Tenth news item

FDA on Pfizer boosters:

After hours of discussion and a request to revise the question they were being asked, a key federal advisory committee on Friday agreed to a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine six months after full vaccination for people aged 65 and older and those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

The initial question, posed by Pfizer, would have made the booster available to everyone aged 16 and up.

There isn’t yet sufficient evidence to show boosters for people under 65 are necessary, members of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee said.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

Republican Representative Won’t Seek Re-Election, Points To “Toxic Dynamics Inside Our Own Party”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:18 am



[guest post by Dana]

This is certainly a loss for the GOP :

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez — one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol — will not seek re-election to his northern Ohio seat in 2022.

“Since entering politics, I have always said that I will do this job for as long as the voters will have me and it still works for my family,” Gonzalez said in a statement he tweeted late Thursday. “As Elizabeth and I consider the realities of continuing in public service while juggling the increasing responsibilities of being parents to our two beautiful children, it is clear that the best path for our family is to not seek re-election next fall.”

He added that, while his family was at the heart of his decision, “it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision.”

More:

Calling former President Donald J. Trump “a cancer for the country,” Representative Anthony Gonzalez, Republican of Ohio, said in an interview on Thursday that he would not run for re-election in 2022, ceding his seat after just two terms in Congress rather than compete against a Trump-backed primary opponent…

The congressman, who has two young children, emphasized that he was leaving in large part because of family considerations and the difficulties that come with living between two cities. But he made clear that the strain had only grown worse since his impeachment vote, after which he was deluged with threats and feared for the safety of his wife and children.

Mr. Gonzalez said that quality-of-life issues had been paramount in his decision. He recounted an “eye-opening” moment this year: when he and his family were greeted at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers, part of extra security precautions taken after the impeachment vote.

“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said…

Mr. Gonzalez was emphatic that the threats were not why he was leaving — the commute was more trying, he said — but in a matter-of-fact fashion, he recounted people online saying things like, “We’re coming to your house.”

As for Gonzalez’s primary challenger Max Miller, there can be no doubt about his loyalties:

There is no greater fighter that this country has ever had, and I have never had a greater role model than President Donald J. Trump, period. Bar none”

And how did the head of the Reptrumplican Party react to Gonzalez’s announcement? Exactly how you would expect:

RINO Congressman Anthony Gonzalez, who has poorly represented his district in the Great State of Ohio, has decided to quit after enduring a tremendous loss of popularity, of which he had little, since his ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting President of the United States, me.

Again, it’ glaringly obvious that Trump’s actions have absolutely nothing to do with the betterment of our nation, adherence to the Constitution, good governance, integrity, or even making America great again. This is nothing more than a self-serving narcissist desperately and deviously looking for payback after a bitter – yet legitimate – loss that he still can’t accept. He cares not one whit about you or me or the nation at large. He cares only about his bruised ego. This is, of course, nothing new. He remains a sore loser, and the Republican Party remains locked in his grip. Consider that he has now endorsed primary challengers to some of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him.

–Dana

Norm MacDonald, RIP

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I sure didn’t expect to be typing those words any time soon when I woke up two days ago.

Norm MacDonald is possibly the funniest human being who lived at the same time I lived. Back when he was running his podcast, I would listen to them as I would go to sleep — and then my wife (who generally goes to bed later than I do) would hear me laughing out loud until I could barely breathe and come into the bedroom to find out what was so funny.

Nobody else ever made me laugh like that.

We were fortunate enough to see Norm live a couple of times. On one of the last times we were going to see him, we were told that he was not feeling well and would not be performing. Hearing the news, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the cancer he had fought for so long was getting to him that night. But we did get to see him in March 2020, just as the pandemic was starting to shut everything down. Norm was great that night, doing a whole riff on the coronavirus. He looked at the room full of people — and in truth many of us were wondering if we should have gone — and said we had made a great decision to come and sit in a room right next to a bunch of strangers. “At least I’m up here away from you.” Waxing philosophical, he began talking about how you never know what is going to kill you — and then said, in an offhand manner, “well, of course, now we do. It’s just a matter of what order we go in.” He blamed the coronavirus situation on the failure of a guy in China to order the “Impossible Bat” in his bat soup.

The following clip is a good example of his humor. There’s cursing, which puts some people off, but it’s a great example of his surprising style. There’s the put-on where he pretends not to know that Ben Matlock is a fictional character, the bit where he says he doesn’t like books because they make him “sleepy” (the man read Tolstoy for fun), and then the end of the story, which is pure Norm.

Also by request of JVW is this bit, which is extra-special just because of the way Norm explains the joke at the end:

One overlooked reason I think virtually everyone liked Norm: he always smiled. Always. And he did not seem mean. Even when he was talking about a guy who fired him for making OJ jokes, he would smile and say the guy was a good guy.

He was one of a kind.

RIP.


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