[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items to talk about. Feel free to share anything that you think might interest readers. Please make sure to include links.
First news item
“I was sick to my stomach,” Bush said in a taped interview broadcast Thursday for the SXSW conference out of Austin, Texas.
While he did not mention former President Donald Trump by name, Bush said he was disgusted “to see our nation’s Capitol being stormed by hostile forces.” The attack “really disturbed me to the point where I did put out a statement, and I’m still disturbed when I think about it,” he said.
“It undermines rule of law and the ability to express yourself in peaceful ways in the public square,” Bush told interviewer Evan Smith, the CEO of the Texas Tribune. “This was an expression that was not peaceful.”
On the election:
“I think the election, all elections, have some kind of improprieties,” Bush said at one point, but he added “the results of this election, though, were confirmed when Joe Biden got inaugurated as president.”
Asked specifically if he thinks the election was stolen, Bush said: “No.”
Second news item
Former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach club has been partially closed because of a Covid outbreak.
That’s according to several people familiar with the situation, including a club member who received a phone call about the closure Friday. A receptionist at the Mar-a-Lago club confirmed the news, saying it was closed until further notice, but declined to comment further.
Third news item
— The Breakfast Club (@breakfastclubam) February 11, 2019
Dozens of young White House staffers have been suspended, asked to resign, or placed in a remote work program due to past marijuana use, frustrating staffers who were pleased by initial indications from the Biden administration that recreational use of cannabis would not be immediately disqualifying for would-be personnel, according to three people familiar with the situation.
The policy has even affected staffers whose marijuana use was exclusive to one of the 14 states—and the District of Columbia—where cannabis is legal. Sources familiar with the matter also said a number of young staffers were either put on probation or canned because they revealed past marijuana use in an official document they filled out as part of the lengthy background check for a position in the Biden White House.
In some cases, staffers were informally told by transition higher-ups ahead of formally joining the administration that they would likely overlook some past marijuana use, only to be asked later to resign.
Third news item:
And as happens in too many of our increasingly stupid media sagas, the mob immediately moved to cancel McCammond for old, bad tweets.
The bad tweets in question include obviously racist stereotypes about Asians and homophobic slurs. McCammond, who is black, also evidently wrote them a decade ago, when she was presumably a 17- or 18-year-old high school student. She had already apologized for them in 2019, and in her adult life, there hasn’t been any other allegation that McCammond engaged in or expressed racism, homophobia, or any other kind of bigotry.
And yet, more than 20 staffers at Teen Vogue called for her ouster before McCammond even began the job. In less than a month, she announced that she “decided to part ways with Condé Nast.”
Consider that few people on the planet are more responsible for transitioning and empowering the American aristocracy into the 21st century than Anna Wintour, the global chief content officer of Condé Nast, who oversaw the creation of Teen Vogue. A trust fund baby from a landed gentry family, Wintour was placed in a journalism job first by her father, despite never actually being a reporter or a writer. In her post at Vogue, she (reportedly) has kept black models off of fashion’s most important cover and black journalists out of her newsroom. She famously refuses to hire fat people and single-handedly revived the fur industry.
Fourth news item
President Vladimir Putin reacted on Thursday to President Joe Biden’s agreement with a description of the Russian leader as “a killer” by suggesting Mr. Biden reflect on America’s own bleak history, as Moscow pulled its ambassador home from Washington and other Russian officials demanded an apology…
“In the history of every nation, every state, there are many very difficult, very dramatic and bloody events. But when we evaluate other people, or when we evaluate even other states, other nations, we always seem to look in a mirror,” Putin said. He elaborated by using a Russian expression often used by children, which can be translated: “One who calls names is himself called that name.”
He said the mass killing of Native Americans and the United States’ early reliance on slavery had led to present-day problems, linking them specifically to ongoing calls for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Speaking more directly about Mr. Biden, whom he said he knows personally, Putin said: “I would say to him: I wish you good health. I say that without irony or joking.”
Fifth news item
Those who commit hateful but noncriminal conduct should be confronted by the NYPD.
“I assure you, if an NYPD officer calls you or shows up at your door to ask about something you did, that makes people think twice, and we need that. I think that has an educating impact on people; I think that has a sobering impact that we need.”
Sixth news item
…Today, defending the proposition that Joe Biden is instinctively a moderate but that his party is the problem is akin to defending the proposition that Macbeth is a peaceful man but that his wife is the problem. In a highly technical sense it is defensible, and yet in practice it means nothing of consequence, for no amount of vehemence will bring Banquo back to life. We are now 45 days into Biden’s presidency, and his accomplishments and ambitions are being openly compared to FDR’s. Having spent $1.9 trillion on progressive priorities on the waning pretext of COVID-19, Biden, we are now told, has his sights on another $2–$4 trillion in spending on infrastructure; on a public option of the sort that could not get through a filibuster-proof Senate a decade ago; on the wholesale (and likely unconstitutional) rewriting of the American election system; on a federal takeover of local police departments; on the national prohibition of the right to work, which has been explicitly protected since 1947 and was protected de facto before 1935; on a $15 minimum wage; on the dramatic narrowing of traditional freelance work; on the prohibition, and maybe confiscation, of the most commonly owned rifle in the country; and on the first major tax hike since 1993 — all on the heels of a flurry of hard-left executive orders so relentless and so prolific that even the New York Times urged him to tap the brakes. A reasonable polity can debate the efficacy and desirability of these measures without fear or favor, but a reasonable polity will not misdescribe them — and “moderate” is by no means the mot juste.
Seventh news item
Hate has turned my once proud and confident Asian-American mother into a shut-in.
It’s not because of the virus as Covid-19 continues to rage in my home state of California. It’s because she is absolutely certain that as an older Asian woman with a limp she will be targeted by violence.
THIS is the America she left her homeland for?
Back in February last year, my mom started to self-isolate during the outbreak just to avoid the comments and stares she received while wearing a mask outside.
She told me on FaceTime with a self-deprecating chuckle, “It’s allergy season too. I’m too afraid of sneezing or ‘coughing while Asian.'”
But the micro-aggressions continued: people coughing in her general direction, someone saying “you must be from Wuhan,” another asking, “Why are Asians so paranoid?”
As the pandemic dragged on, such casual slurs have morphed into next-level bigotry. Asian senior citizens have been robbed, slashed and killed as the number of hate crimes against Asian-Americans spiked.
Eighth news item
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for schools. On Friday, the agency announced it “now recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings.”
Previously the guidance stated, “Physical distancing (at least 6 feet) should be maximized to the greatest extent possible.” The new guidelines still call for 6 feet of distance between adults and students as well as in common areas, such as auditoriums, and when masks are off, such as while eating. And the 6-foot distancing rule still applies for the general public in settings such as grocery stores.
“We didn’t see any substantial difference in cases among students or staff in districts with 3 feet versus 6 feet, suggesting that we can open the schools safely at 3 feet, provided that some of the mitigation measures that were present here in Massachusetts are in place,” said Westyn Branch-Elliman, a co-author of the study and an infectious diseases specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Our study adds to a growing body of worldwide data about the safety of 3 feet in school settings.”
“For the sake of public trust and clarity, we urge the CDC to provide far more detail about the rationale for the change from six feet to three feet for students in classrooms, clearly and publicly account for differences in types of school environments, new virus variants, differences in mitigation compliance, and how study participants were tested for the virus. We are concerned that the CDC has changed one of the basic rules for how to ensure school safety without demonstrating certainty that the change is justified by the science and can be implemented in a manner that does not detract from the larger long-term needs of students.
Ninth news item
When Nic Dyson got a Facebook message from an alias account claiming to be his long-lost third cousin — and CNN anchor Jake Tapper — he assumed it was fake news.
“I thought, why does he know so much about my family?” Dyson said.
“He started throwing out names and stuff and I was like, maybe this is some creepy, stalkery stuff.”
But when the high-profile American journalist told his 3.3 million Twitter followers about the “amazingly talented” third cousin he just discovered on Ancestry.com, things got real — fast.
Check him outhttps://t.co/8p3EU0ggbX
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 17, 2021
And when Tapper shared Dyson’s music with his millions of followers it meant a lot.
“As a disabled musician, I don’t really get out of the city much,” said Dyson, 27, who lives with cerebral palsy. He got his driver’s licence two years ago with the help of hand controls.
“It’s really hard for me to grow my audience, especially without any backing.”
So when that backing came, it was unexpected, but much appreciated.
“This is just immediately global, pretty much with the click of a button, and that’s just amazing to me,” Dyson said.
I love the quiet simplicity of this story. Simple in that one person found another person, and as a result, they have already enriched one another’s life. This is a sweet story that cuts through the grueling grind of the pandemic. Make sure to give Dyson’s music a listen. Its soft, soulfulness makes you lean in just a little bit more to catch whispers of gold dust wafting through the air.
Have a great weekend.