Patterico's Pontifications

1/7/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:48 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Hold them accountable:

Second news item

MAGA masculinity in action:

Ted Cruz on Thursday walked back his use of the word “terrorist” when describing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol during an intense back and forth with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who repeatedly questioned the validity of the Republican senator’s explanation.

Cruz was lambasted during Carlson’s Wednesday night show for describing Jan. 6 as “a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.” During his Thursday night appearance, when Carlson asked him why he used the word “terrorist,” Cruz brushed off his previous phrasing as “sloppy” and “frankly dumb.”

“You told that lie on purpose, and I’m wondering why you did,” Carlson said.

“What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers. I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail,” Cruz said. “I wasn’t saying the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn’t saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting Trump are terrorists.”

Looks like Cruz has made a habit of being “sloppy” and “dumb” when it comes to discussing Jan. 6:

Cruz’s use of “terrorist attack” was not some sort of one-time accident. In fact, he had described the Capitol riot as a terrorist attack or broadly described rioters as terrorists over and over for months — at least 17 previous times in official written statements, in tweets, in remarks at Senate hearings and in interviews.

Third news item

California working hard to encourage residents to leave:

It would increase the top marginal income-tax rate to 18.05 percent. That’s 7.05 percentage points higher than Hawaii, the next highest state, and 12.75 percentage points higher than the national median. It would increase taxes by an average of $12,250 per household. “All told, the new tax package is intended to raise an additional $163 billion per year, which is more than California raised in total tax revenue any year prior to the pandemic,” he writes.

It’s not just income taxes, though. The state wants to implement a payroll tax as well, with the top rate applying to taxpayers making only $49,990 in annual income.

On a side note, how crazy is California? About $295 million worth of crazy:

…high above a quiet Bel Air cul-de-sac known as Airole Way, and surrounded on three sides by a water-filled moat, the main residence features 21 bedrooms and an unfathomable total of 49 bathrooms (42 of them full baths, the remainder powder rooms) sprawled across a whopping 105,000 square feet of Kathryn Rotondi-designed living space. Walls of glass throughout offer panoramic views of the ocean, city skyline and San Gabriel Mountains; there’s also a three-bedroom guesthouse and seven-bedroom staff quarters.

Fourth news item

What’s that you say:

Fifth news item

Oh, come on Floridians!:

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Kevin Guthrie, director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, acknowledged Thursday that 800,000 to a million COVID tests had expired in a state stockpile, with the omicron variant spreading and residents facing long lines for testing.

The expired testing kits had become an issue earlier, when Florida Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a Dec. 30 statement: “It’s come to my attention that Governor DeSantis’ Department of Health has a significant number of COVID-19 tests stockpiled that are set to expire imminently.

“Given the Governor’s lack of transparency throughout this pandemic, there’s no known public information about these tests or how soon they expire. With omicron infections exploding throughout Florida, I beg of him to release these tests immediately to local counties and cities, and to stand up state-sponsored testing sites. To let these tests expire while Floridians anxiously wait for hours in testing lines is negligent at best, and heartless at worst.”

…Guthrie said demand for the tests was low in the fall, prior to the emergency of the omicron variant.

“We tried to give them out prior to that but there wasn’t a demand for it,” Guthrie said.

Sixth news item

Democrat and Republican focus groups reveal similar takes on 2024:

The most surprising thing to us was their shaky faith in the Democratic Party itself — and its ability to do anything either to stop Republicans from doing more violence or change the root problems with “the system.” Listening to both focus groups, you really understand that we live in a country that is at once so radical and so conservative, and that what unites the left and the right is a mistrust in people at the top. There was little enthusiasm among the Democrats for President Biden to run again in 2024 — and ditto for the Republicans and Mr. Trump

Seventh news item

New York City’s new mayor keeping it in the family:

Mayor Eric Adams has tapped his younger brother to serve as a deputy NYPD commissioner, The Post has learned.

Bernard Adams, a 56-year-old retired NYPD sergeant, will oversee governmental affairs, he confirmed Friday. But the full scope of his responsibilities was not immediately clear.

Internal documents obtained by The Post show Bernard Adams listed as a deputy commissioner on the official NYPD roster.

Eighth news item

Dazed and confused at the CDC:

The latest messaging setback happened last month when the CDC cut its recommended isolation period for those with Covid-19 to five days, and recommended people who tested positive should continue to wear a mask in public for five additional days. Confusion ensued, with some outside experts urging the CDC to add a recommendation for a rapid antigen test at the end of the first five days.

Behind the scenes, other federal public health officials also questioned the decision not to include testing. Both Dr. Anthony Fauci, the President’s top medical adviser on Covid-19, and US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy publicly made clear clarifications were coming.

Amid the public backlash, Walensky sought to reassure fellow senior federal health officials, telling Fauci and Murthy that the lack of a testing requirement in the isolation guidance was not motivated by the nationwide testing shortage, one person familiar with the discussions said.

Instead, she insisted that rapid antigen tests were simply not a sufficiently reliable indicator of contagiousness and noted to her colleagues that the US Food and Drug Administration had not approved the tests for that purpose.

She told CNN, “We actually don’t know how our rapid tests perform and how well they predict whether you’re transmissible during the end of disease.”

Ninth news item

Sentenced:

The sentences for Travis McMichael, who shot [Ahmaud] Arbery; and his father, Gregory McMichael, do not carry the possibility of parole. Their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan will be eligible, however, Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said.

All three men were convicted of murder and other charges by a Glynn County jury in November in the pursuit and fatal shooting of Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020.

Tenth news item

Paging Jen Psaki and Jake Sullivan:

When the Taliban seized power in August, the militant group vowed it would not resurrect the violent religious policing it enforced during its first stint in power. The hard-liners claimed they would limit themselves to preaching Islamic values of modesty and dignity.

But nearly five months after regaining power, the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has reclaimed its role as the enforcer of the group’s radical interpretation of Islamic law.

In a spate of decrees issued in recent weeks, the ministry has imposed restrictions on the behavior, movement, and appearances of residents, particularly those of women and girls.

During the Taliban’s first reign from 1996 to 2001, the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice established one of the most brutal reputations of any organization in world history. Its enforcers are the ones who carried out the horrific human-rights abuses that characterized the Taliban regime before the U.S. invasion…

Squads of the ministry’s morality police punished those who disobeyed modesty codes, with beards too thin or ankles that showed. They banished girls from school and women from the workplace and the public eye. A woman could not venture outside without a male guardian.

Radio Azadi reports that this time around, the ministry has ordered shopkeepers to behead mannequins in stores because they consider them idols, and Islam strictly forbids idolatry. (The report also quotes a more mainstream Muslim scholar who says this interpretation is incorrect because mannequins are not idols at all.)

The ministry in December said women who want to travel more than 72 kilometers should not be allowed to do so unaccompanied. It “also directed all vehicle drivers to refrain from playing music in their cars and not to pick up female passengers who did not wear an Islamic hijab covering their hair,” the report says. This order is being enforced by checkpoints all around Kabul.

Evil is as evil does. Always.

MISCELLANEOUS:

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Have a great weekend.

–Dana

Vaccine Mandate Arguments in the Supreme Court — Plus, Leftists Find Misplaced Irony that One of the Lawyers Has COVID

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 am



As I write this, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on President Biden’s mandate. Me, I’m guessing the mandate is going down — and that it will not go into effect on Monday. But we’ll see.

Meanwhile, the hyperpartisan left finds it just hilarballs that one of the lawyers arguing against the mandate has COVID:

So funny, right? Except . . . not really. Here’s a fact Mark Joseph Stern forgot to mention: the lawyer is vaccinated and boosted:

“Ben [Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers] who is vaccinated and boosted, tested positive for COVID-19 after Christmas. His symptoms were exceptionally mild and he has since fully recovered,” said a statement from the Ohio attorney general’s office. “The Court required a PCR test yesterday which detected the virus so for that reason he is arguing remotely.”

Since he is vaccinated and boosted, I fail to see the irony. This strikes me as a cheap shot.

There are many non-frivolous arguments challenging the legality of the mandate. The fact that a vaccinated and boosted lawyer making those arguments contracted COVID means nothing, unless one’s goal is mindless hyperpartisan mockery.

If I wanted to draw a stupid partisan lesson from SG Flowers’s contraction of COVID, I could just as easily argue that vaccines are not terribly effective against spread (the justification for the mandate), because even boosted people get COVID. (I don’t happen to agree with this argument either, because I believe that the vaccines do help prevent spread, albeit imperfectly, by inhibiting replication and reducing viral load, which notably inhibits serious illness but also has some marginal effect on reducing spread.)

As someone on Twitter pointed out, it’s Mark Joseph Stern. So why expect anything but mindless hyperpartisan mockery.


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