Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:55 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to chew over. Please feel free to post anything that might be of interest to readers. Remember to include links.

First news item

California governor seems determined to help the Recall Newsom campaign:

California’s health department on Thursday started recommending that residents “double mask” to better protect from the spread of the coronavirus.

While the state doesn’t require wearing two masks over each other, Gov. Gavin Newsom said people who use cloth face coverings are encouraged to do so.

“We are encouraging people basically to double down on mask wearing, particularly in light of all of what I would argue is bad information coming from at least four states in this country,” Newsom said. “We will not be walking down their path. We’re mindful of your health and our future.”

Second news item

CDC eases COVID restrictions at migrant shelters:

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement that they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

…The fact that the country’s premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded “facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases.”

American parents and their children still at home have questions:

While it states in its opening paragraph that children have been less affected by the coronavirus than adults, the memo makes clear its recommendations are only in response to rising numbers of migrant children — and don’t apply to other group settings.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

The Biden administration is offering to reimburse local officials and nonprofits in Texas who are helping migrant families released from U.S. border custody by testing them for COVID-19 and providing them with shelter, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by CBS News.

But Texas’ Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has rejected the proposal, alleging it amounts to an “illegal immigration program.”

The DHS memo says that qualified state, local and tribal agencies would be reimbursed for sheltering and COVID-19 testing of migrant parents and children who have been released from Border Patrol custody. It reasons that extended stays in U.S. Border Patrol facilities “are not conducive to the health and well-being of migrant families and adjacent communities.”…

Abbott said in a statement to CBS News that Texas would “not aid a program that makes our country a magnet for illegal immigration.”‘

Third news item

“Could raise constitutionality concerns?” Ya think???:

A bill that would require new cellphones and tablets sold in Utah to come with activated pornography filters won final approval in the state Legislature, although some lawmakers argued the proposal is unworkable and could raise constitutionality concerns.

Several years ago, Utah lawmakers passed a resolution that declared pornography a “public health crisis” and recognized the need for education, prevention, research and policy changes to control a “pornography epidemic.” Last year, legislators approved a bill to require that all pornography in Utah come with a warning label.

This year’s legislation, sponsored by South Jordan Republican Susan Pulsipher requires every new mobile device and tablet sold in Utah after Jan. 1, 2022, to have adult content filters turned on at the time of purchase. Pulsipher has said this requirement will assist parents who want to protect their children from harmful online content but don’t have the technological know-how to block it from their devices.

Fourth news item

Another red state toys with the First Amendment:

Texas governor Greg Abbott said Facebook and Twitter are leading a “dangerous movement to silence conservative voices and religious freedoms” as he backed a state bill Friday that would allow any Texans temporarily removed or banned from Facebook or Twitter to sue the social media companies in order to get reinstated.

“Big tech’s efforts to censor conservative viewpoints is un-American, and we are not going to allow it in the Lone Star State,” Abbott said.

Texas state Senator Bryan Hughes, who sponsored the bill and spoke along with Abbott, said that all the state wanted to do was protect the freedoms of its citizens. “We don’t allow a cable company to cut off your television because of your religion,” Hughes offered as a justification for the proposed law.

Fifth news item

A bit too on the nose:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had someone else take his mandatory workplace sex harassment training course for him — then signed off on it as if he’d taken it himself, accuser Charlotte Bennett says in a bombshell new interview aired Friday night.

Sixth news item

Biden approves:

The President supports the compromise agreement, and is grateful to all the Senators who worked so hard to reach this outcome. It extends supplemental unemployment benefit into September, and helps the vast majority of unemployment insurance recipients avoid unanticipated tax bills. Most importantly, this agreement allows us to move forward on the urgently needed American Rescue Plan, with $1400 relief checks, funding we need to finish the vaccine rollout, open our schools, help those suffering from the pandemic, and more.”

Some party members less than happy:

“We obviously are now ultimately sending money to less people than the Trump administration,” Omar said. “This is not the promise that we made… Ultimately it is a failure when we compromise ourselves out of delivering on behalf of the American people and in keeping our propositions.”

Keilar asked, “You’re saying that Trump wanted to deliver more in the way of checks for Americans than Biden?”

“Yeah,” Omar said.

“The last checks that we were able to send had given, you know, 17 million more people than we will ultimately do with the caps now. And that, you know, is going to be something that we’re going to have to explain, and I don’t know if many of us have a logical explanation on why we are delivering less than what the Republicans were willing to compromise us on delivering on to the American people,” she added.

“We’re not going to be able to blame Republicans for our inability to deliver on the promises that we made.”

Seventh news item

Eight vote “no”:

One of President Biden’s top policy goals, an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, suffered a big setback Friday when eight members of the Senate Democratic caucus voted against it….Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sen. Angus King (I-Maine)

Eighth news item

Republican Party restores tarnished image by focusing on what matter most:


Down to the bone in the Valley of Vision:

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.

Making sure you leave the joint with a smile:

Have a good weekend.


Patterico Podcast, Episode 3 — A Conversation with Dana About Faith

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:41 pm

The third edition of the podcast is available and can be heard — if you are a paid subscriber — here. It’s an hour-long conversation I had with Dana about our Chrisian faith — the role it plays in our lives, how we came to it, and how we’re doing with it. We talk about atheism, determinism and free will, churches we have attended (or not attended), whether the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God, what happens to non-believers after death, and many other topics. We are restricting access to the paid subscribers because, at least for now, we are more comfortable with having it heard by a (much) smaller audience. Hope you like it! If you want to join the crowd, you can do so here.

Fight for Fifteen Put on Hold for Now

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:59 pm

[guest post by JVW]

NRO reporting:

Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) proposed amendment to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 failed in the Senate on Friday, with seven Democrats and one independent joining Republicans in voting down the measure.

Senators Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.), Chris Coons (D., Del.) Tom Carper (D., Del.) and Angus King (I., Maine.) voted against an attempt to waive a procedural objection against adding the wage hike to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

Because the Senate parliamentarian had earlier ruled that the minimum wage hike could not be considered as part of a budgetary bill and would thus require 60 votes to waive that rule in order to proceed, these Democrats (and Sen. King) could have made party activists happy by voting in favor and then lamenting that those nasty Republicans blocked the bill by not providing their assent. So I find it kind of surprising that those eight Senators who caucus with Democrats were willing to go on record as being against the federal rise in the minimum wage. I am scouring their Twitter feeds to see if any of them have addressed the issue, and it appears that only Sen. Sinema has stepped up to the plate to say that she favors a higher minimum wage, but feels that attaching it to a COVID bill was not appropriate. Perhaps we will hear more from them over the weekend, but surely she understands that it is highly unlikely to survive a filibuster as a separate bill in a 50-50 Senate.

This was not at all unexpected, with even the President acknowledging that Democrats would be likely forced to sacrifice the higher minimum wage in this go-around. The battle carries on, with everyone’s favorite grouchy Marxist, Senator Bernard Sanders, vowing to bring this bill up again and again until Democrats have managed to bring inflation to such a level that $15 is the price of two Taco Supremes, a bean burrito, and a medium Pepsi at Taco Bell, at which point we could compound our misery by artificially raising wages which won’t matter much to the robots assembling your drive-thru lunch anyway. But the Democrats run the show now (just barely), so be prepared for all sorts of this kind of stuff coming up.


Wall Street Journal Turns on Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Better late than never, I guess.

What really seems to rankle the most famous resident of Mar-a-Lago isn’t his caricature of our policy differences. It’s that we recognize the reality that Mr. Trump is the main reason Republicans lost two Georgia Senate races in January and thus the Senate majority. Mr. Trump refuses to take responsibility for those defeats, contrary to all evidence.

Mr. Trump’s statement blames the Georgia losses on GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. His rap on Mr. Kemp is that he didn’t fight hard enough to overturn the President’s loss of the state in November, a claim Mr. Trump turned into his main campaign theme before the Georgia Senate elections on Jan. 5.

All the polling showed that the best argument for electing the two Republicans was as a check and balance against an all-Democratic government. But rather than make that point to voters, Mr. Trump focused on his grievances against Mr. Kemp and his claims that the election was stolen. Mr. Trump told Republican voters that their November votes had been meaningless, so it’s hardly a surprise their turnout fell in January. As the FiveThirtyEight website found, “The better Trump did in a county in November, the more its turnout tended to drop in the runoffs” in January.

It’s not about principle. It’s about winning. And Trump not only lost, but caused other Republicans to lose. That is the cardinal sin.

We rehearse all this because it matters to GOP fortunes going forward. In the single Trump term, Republicans lost the House, White House and finally the Senate. How can it be that everyone other than the most prominent Republican in the country is responsible for victories but not the defeats that have left Republicans in the wilderness?

Losing to Joe Biden of all people, and by 7.1 million votes as an incumbent President, must be painful. Counseling could be in order. Any good analyst will explain that the first step toward recovery is to accept reality. The same applies to Republican voters who want to win back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024.

That’s as close as they will get to un-endorsing him for 2024. But like all the other toadies, if he wins the nomination, they’ll come around.

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