Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
I hope you’ve had a good week! Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share anything you think would interest readers. Make sure to include links.
First news item
Let’s be very clear: schools will open when teachers’ unions say they can:
It’s been more than a year since schools closed for the COVID-19 virus. Across the country and across the world, schools have opened up, full-time, for students.
But those of us unlucky enough to live in places with powerful teachers unions and, more importantly, weak leadership, have heard excuse after excuse how it’s just not possible here.
Enough. Open the schools.
Stop lying to parents and dangling promises. Just open.
Union leaders/members can mask-up and meet in person for important business but students can’t mask-up and meet in person with their teachers for the really important business of learning???
So great to finish the day in New Mexico with our great leaders …. @AFTNM and #Fise pic.twitter.com/yqBpj9Z9L7
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) April 9, 2021
Second news item
Not so fast there, President Biden:
Biden said, “You go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want, and no background check.”
This is overstated. If you go to a gun show and buy a firearm from a federally licensed seller, you will have to pass a background check, just as if you went to a bricks-and-mortar gun store. You would only escape a background check at a gun show if you bought from a seller who isn’t federally licensed.
While the data is incomplete, federally licensed sellers have been found to make up a substantial share, and perhaps a majority, of gun show vendors.
We rate Biden’s statement Mostly False.
Third news item
Why let a crisis go to waste when there’s money to be made off of it:
U.S. Rep. Matt Getz started fundraising off a still unfolding sex scandal that could put him in prison…asked for checks to be sent to the campaign account Friends of Matt Gaetz.
“Here we go again,” the email begins. “Just another media hoax. Do you remember the fake Russia Hoax? Their attempt to frame General (Michael) Flynn? I do… and now they are coming for me.”
“They have smeared my name while creating another partisan witch hunt, all because I dared to stand up to them,” Gaetz wrote.
“I will not back down from the Fake News hacks that want to destroy me and America-First patriots like you. I am more determined than ever to shut down this HOAX, and I am glad to have President Trump on my side.”
“The D.C. Swamp protects its own, and their media puppets are going all-out with fake, salacious stories to try to take me down,” Gaetz wrote. “These are the actions of a corrupt Establishment that is seeking to take out Trump supporters… BUT I WON’T BACK DOWN.”
While the House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into the allegations against Gaetz, he’s been busy schmoozing it up with the most gullible gals on earth:
Join me at Trump Doral Friday!
Thank you to “Women for America First” for the invitation to share my vision for our great nation. https://t.co/FxkgaZqeC8
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 6, 2021
Fourth news item
President Joe Biden announced Friday he is forming a commission to study possible changes at the Supreme Court, responding to a call from liberals to expand the nine-member bench to blunt former President Donald Trump’s impact on the court.
Biden promised to name the commission as a candidate amid an outcry from Democrats over Trump’s nomination of three Supreme Court justices, including the rapid confirmation of Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett just before the election, and a bevy of lower court judges that tilted the federal judiciary to the right.
The push for change at the nation’s highest court, where conservatives now have a 6-3 advantage, has put a squeeze on the White House. Throughout the campaign, Biden hedged when asked whether he supported expanding the court, though he allowed in October that he was “not a fan of court-packing.”
During the primary, Biden was consistent in his opposition to court-packing. He said during a Democratic presidential debate last October that he “would not get into court-packing,” adding, “We had three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”
He reiterated his position and this rationale when a voter asked him about his position on expanding the court during a town hall in Iowa later in December. He also told the Iowa Starting Line earlier this year that he opposed court-packing because Democrats will “live to rue the day.”
RBG: “Bad idea when [FDR] tried to pack the court… If anything would make the court appear partisan it'd be…one side saying, ‘When we’re in power we’re going to enlarge the number of judges so we'll have more ppl who will vote the way we want them to.’"pic.twitter.com/e3vj0Mzo0K
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) September 19, 2020
Fifth news item
Alabama Amazon warehouse workers says no to forming a union:
The vast majority of votes cast by Amazon’s workers in Bessemer, Ala., were against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in a stinging defeat of the union drive. The final tally showed 1,798 votes against unionizing and 738 votes in favor of the union…The retail union is now filing a legal challenge to the election and charges of unfair labor practices against Amazon. It’s requesting a hearing by the National Labor Relations Board “to determine if the results of the election should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice.”
Sixth news item
Criminals are looking to cash in on the U.S. immunization push against COVID-19 by selling forgeries of government-issued “vaccination record cards” that show people have been inoculated.
Hundreds of fraudsters are selling blank or forged versions of the cards over ecommerce sites including eBay, Etsy and Shopify, while also running advertisements for the fakes on Facebook, according to Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot, which uses artificial intelligence to detect online retail scams. And with names such as blankcovidcard.com, such sellers are hardly discreet.
The report says that it’s likely anti-vaxxers are purchasing the cards. They don’t want to get the vaccine but want whatever access a card can provide them (potentially air travel, schools, gyms, churches, etc.) So getting a vaccine to help you stay healthy is bad, but willfully lying and breaking the law to get a fake vaccination card is good???
Seventh news item
Russian and Chinese government officials have recently teamed up to publicly accuse the U.S. of creating biological weapons near their borders and suggesting that Americans are responsible for creating COVID-19.
Speaking to the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant on Thursday, Nikolai Patrushev, Russia’s Security Council secretary, said: “I suggest that you pay attention to the fact that biological laboratories under U.S. control are growing by leaps and bounds all over the world. And—by a strange coincidence—mainly near the Russian and Chinese borders.”… China’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Lijian Zhao…tweeted: “The US bio-military activities are not transparent, safe or justified. In Ukraine alone, the US has set up 16 bio-labs. Why does the US need so many labs all over the world? What activities are carried out in those labs, including the one in Fort Detrick?”
Primavera (“Spring”) by Sandro Boticelli
Have a great weekend.