Patterico's Pontifications


More ‘Do As I Say and Not As I Do’ With White House Holiday Party In The Works (ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Despite California’s Gov. Newsom continuing to reel from criticism for his ill-advised decision to violate state Covid-19 guidelines when he and a large party ate indoors at a local eating establishment and Speaker Pelosi forced to seriously scale back plans for an indoor dinner reception for new members at the Capitol because of criticism, the White House seems intent on violating its own guidelines by hosting a holiday party:

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, cautioned against holiday gatherings on Good Morning America on Monday and said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines apply to everyone, including the Trump administration, as First Lady Melania Trump is already planning a holiday reception and the White House outbreak continues to grow.

When asked about the White House’s holiday plans, which will likely be large and indoors, Adams urged all Americans to have small and “smart” celebrations and said the nation is at a “dire point” in the pandemic with increased cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Adams said he wants everyone to know that holiday parties risk becoming superspreader events and directed people to the CDC’s guidelines for holiday events, which he said apply to everyone, including people at the White House.

Mrs. Trump has already sent out invitations to the soiree slated for Nov. 30. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham said that precautions were being taken to ensure a safe party:

The White House gatherings are scheduled to begin later this month, soon after the Thanksgiving holiday may give rise to another dangerous COVID-19 surge.

This year’s events will take place at least partly indoors, on the State Floor, according to Grisham, who added that there are “smaller guest lists” and that “masks will be required and available,” with social distancing measures encouraged and hand sanitizer stations posted throughout.

“Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations,” Grisham added. “All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food-safety guidelines.”

“Attending the parties will be a very personal choice,” Grisham said. “It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations.”

Politicians seem to believe that they alone are exempt from the rules that they establish and expect the rest of us to follow. We know that our personal decisions regarding Covid-19 should not be based on the foolish actions of the do as I say, not as I do crowd, whether they are medical professionals or elected officials:

If public health experts elected officials turn on a dime, and suddenly minimize the importance of public health measures they advocated until yesterday, it doesn’t mean public health measures are unnecessary. It means those particular “experts”elected officials are unreliable and you should not listen to them.

ADDED: Count New York’s Gov. Cuomo among the elected leaders who didn’t consider the optics in having his elderly mother travel to his home for the holiday dinner:

On Monday afternoon, Cuomo indicated he would be having a small dinner when asked about his plans in an interview on a local radio station.

“The story is, my mom is going to come up and two of my girls, but the plans change,” Cuomo told WAMC radio, the NPR affiliate in New York’s Capital Region.

A few hours later, Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, told Insider the dinner is off.

“As the Governor said, ‘The story is my mom is going to come up and two of my girls is the current plan, but the plans change. That’s my plan. I’m going to work — I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and Thanksgiving,’ and given the current circumstances with COVID, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them,” Azzopardi told Insider in a statement early Monday evening.

He added: “Don’t tell his mom — she doesn’t know yet.”

The internet was quick to dunk on Cuomo, given how much he’s been telling New Yorkers to stay home and forsake a normal Thanksgiving due to the coronavirus pandemic and cases surging nationally.

In the Empire State, people are required to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. While Cuomo’s gathering of four would not violate any rules, the age of his mother and the notion that he would still proceed with a holiday dinner angered people online.


Do GOP Senators Keeping Silent About Trump’s Shenanigans Desrerve to Be Re-Elected?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:02 am

[guest post by Dana]

Carl Bernstein names Republican senators whom he claims have privately expressed their disdain at the behavior and actions of President Trump. However, most have remained silent in public. It’s good to know who they are when re-election time rolls around:

Political reporters in Washington, D.C., have been saying a lot of Republicans in Congress privately despise President Trump, but few have publicly criticized him — and likewise, few have publicly acknowledged his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. Carl Bernstein, one half of the journalistic duo that uncovered President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, named 21 names on Sunday night, saying that in private conversations, these Republicans senators “have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump” and his fitness to be president.

The 21 senators he named include names you would expect, but also some surprises, like Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (S.D.). The other 18 GOP senators are Rob Portman (Ohio), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Mike Braun (Ind.), Todd Young (Ind.), Tim Scott (S.D.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Richard Burr (N.C.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Pat Roberts (Kansas), and Richard Shelby (Ala.).

There are, however, Republican senators willing to make public stands when it comes to Trump. We know that Sen. Romney has been publicly vocal about Trump for quite some time, including breaking from his party and voting to convict the President on one of two charges, abuse of power. He was not hesitant about publicly claiming that the President needed to be removed from office. Along with Romney, a few Republican senators have been willing to publicly criticize Trump for his post-election shenanigans:

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, each of whom has been critical of Trump in the past, were the only Republicans to tackle the president’s actions head-on.

“There is a right way and a wrong way for the incumbent President to pursue his rights to contest what he perceives as election irregularities,” Collins said in a statement. “The right way is to compile the evidence and mount legal challenges in our courts. The wrong way is to attempt to pressure state election officials.”

She added, “The states should proceed to certify their election results as scheduled.”

Romney, in comments late Thursday, was harsher.

“Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,” he said. “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.”

Trump, perhaps illustrating why Republicans fear his wrath, fired back in a tweet that Romney is a “RINO” — a Republican in name only — who got “slaughter[ed]” by Barack Obama.

Sasse said in a detailed statement that whenever Trump’s lawyers have had a chance to allege voter fraud in court, they have backed down “because there are legal consequences for lying to judges.” The senator singled out a Thursday news conference by Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, calling it a farce that provided no evidence of electoral malfeasance.

A few other senators have now publicly acknowledged Joe Biden as the President-elect, and encouraged President Trump to stop undermining democracy with a “pressure campaign” to change the election it o outcome:

There is no doubt that the vast majority of the senators who have chosen to remain silent have done so to protect their political futures. Self-preservation is a top priority. They are far less concerned with the undermining of U.S. elections than they are about positioning themselves for a re-election win when the time comes. Especially those in tough districts. But what does it say about an elected official who chooses to ignore a sitting President of the United States’ Herculean efforts to undermine our democracy, and harm the electoral system while constantly – and falsely – asserting that the election was “rigged” and that Biden could have only won through illegitimate means? If these elected officials cannot make a public stand against something as unprecedented and important as a sitting president waging a losing battle over an election outcome by making baseless claims of fraud and having them repeatedly rejected by the courts, why would voters trust them to stand up for, well, anything that concerns them?

After all, the futile efforts by our deluded President are not without likely long-term impacts on future elections:

Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law School professor who specializes in election law, called the Trump lawsuits dangerous.

“It is a sideshow, but it’s a harmful sideshow,” Levitt said. “It’s a toxic sideshow. The continuing baseless, evidence-free claims of alternative facts are actually having an effect on a substantial number of Americans. They are creating the conditions for elections not to work in the future.”


Needed: A Faster Way to Test Vaccines

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Reading Nicholas Christakis’s book Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live (affiliate link), I ran across an interesting fact I had missed in the coverage of the Moderna COVID vaccine: it was developed in February 2020 — before many of us had even heard of the new coronavirus.

That testing has been accomplished this quickly is a miracle. But what if there had been some way to accelerate the testing? I’m not talking about stripping away currently necessary protocols, but a sea change in the way testing is done. Christakis mentions the use of genetically modified animals whose immune reactions are engineered to resemble that of humans. But the real advance, I think, is yet to be discovered: some form of rapid testing on cells that is proved to have similar outcomes to lengthy months- and years-long testing protocols.

It may be unachievable. But imagine if we could have started administering a vaccine for COVID-19 in late February or early March.

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