Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
Welcome to the weekend. Let’s go!
First news item
California mandates vaccines for students:
In the first such action in the nation, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a mandate Friday requiring all eligible public and private schoolchildren in California to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a policy the state expects to affect millions of students.
The mandate would take effect for grades 7 through 12 the semester following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the vaccine for children ages 12 and older, according to the governor’s office. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade would be phased in after the vaccine is formally approved for younger children…
Medical and religious exemptions would be available.
Under the governor’s order, unvaccinated students will have the option of enrolling in a fully online school, attending independent-study programs offered by school districts or be homeschooled.
Question: Will Gov. Newsom get his 12-year old vaccinated?
Second news item
Just STFU about yellow stars and Covid oppresion already:
The mayor of Alaska’s largest city apologized Thursday for his comments supporting some residents’ use of Holocaust imagery to liken a proposed citywide mask mandate to the oppression of Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has said he staunchly opposes the proposal and initially defended the use of yellow Stars of David worn by other critics this week at heated public hearings. Such imagery has been used by opponents of mask and vaccine mandates across the US, drawing condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish organizations.
The proposal before the Anchorage Assembly would require people to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors at large events. If approved as written, businesses and building owners would be required to deny entry to people not wearing masks, though there are exceptions for small children and some others.
It’s nothing less than obscene to equate Covid mandates with anything to do with the Holocaust and imagery associated with it. And yet:
2/2 The Assembly audience broke into sustained cheering and applause. APD has made multiple arrests, including the arrest of one man with a firearm. Tonight's meeting may go down as the most chaotic Assembly meeting in recent history.
— The Alaska Landmine (@alaskalandmine) September 30, 2021
*Assembly Member Christopher Constant is gay.*
Keep covering yourselves in glory, Alaska.
Third news item
The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes food and energy costs, soared to a 30-year high in August.
The measure increased 0.3 percent for the month and was up 3.6 percent from last year in its steepest climb since May 1991, a trend suggesting that the pandemic’s inflationary pressures, catalyzed by massive government spending, supply chain bottlenecks and surging demand, are not correcting as quickly as some economists anticipated…
Personal income increased 0.2 percent for the month, while spending increased by 0.8 percent…
Much of the price index data from the last several months has validated the argument that inflation may not be a transitory phenomenon this time around. However, some economists and financial analysts cited by the White House to justify their $3.5 trillion spending bill still believe inflation will subside as soon as market disequilibriums balance.
Fourth news item
Promising antiviral pill on the way?:
An investigational antiviral pill reduced the chances that patients newly diagnosed with Covid-19 would be hospitalized by about 50%, a finding that could give doctors a desperately needed new way to treat the sick, the drug maker Merck announced Friday.
A five-day course of molnupiravir, developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, reduced both hospitalization and death compared to a placebo. In the placebo group, 53 patients, or 14.1%, were hospitalized or died. For those who received the drug, 28, or 7.3%, were hospitalized or died…
“If this pans out, it will change the landscape,” said Andy Pavia, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Utah. “There’s still a lot we need to know. What does the side effect profile look like? Do we know how to dose it in populations that are different such as children and the obese? But as a top-line result, this is definitely exciting.”
Fifth news item
In a history-making move…Gov. Gavin Newsom has authorized the return of property known as Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of a Black couple that had been run out of Manhattan Beach almost a century ago.
Senate Bill 796, signed into law Thursday by Newsom…confirms that the city’s taking of this shorefront land — on which the Bruces ran a thriving resort for Black beachgoers — was racially motivated and done under false and unlawful pretenses.
By 1912, Willa Bruce had purchased for $1,225 the first of two lots along the Strand between 26th and 27th streets. While her husband, Charles, worked as a dining-car chef on the train running between Salt Lake City and L.A., Willa ran a popular lodge, cafe and dance hall — providing Black families a way to enjoy a weekend on the coast.
Many referred to this area as Bruce’s Beach. A few more Black families, drawn to this new community, bought and built their own cottages by the sea.
Then the ugliness happened:
But white neighbors resented Bruce’s growing popularity. Tires were slashed. The Ku Klux Klan purportedly set fire to a mattress under the main deck and torched a Black-owned home nearby. Fake “10 minutes only” parking signs were posted to deter Black out-of-town folk. To reach the ocean, visitors had to walk an extra half mile around property owned by Peck, who had lined it with security and “No Trespassing” signs…
When racism failed to drive the Bruce’s Beach community out of town, city officials in 1924 condemned the neighborhood and seized more than two dozen properties through eminent domain. The reason, they said, was an urgent need for a public park.
But for decades, the properties sat empty. The Bruces’ two oceanfront parcels were transferred to the state in 1948, then to the county in 1995. As for the remaining lots, city officials eventually turned them into a pretty park overlooking the sea.
Sixth news item
What got lost amid all the talking this week was another kind of bottom line: while Democrats were fighting about liberal spending priorities in debates that at times resembled a congressional version of fantasy football, they were neither passing Biden’s agenda nor bolstering the case for his Presidency. The stakes for Biden are about as existential as they come in politics; his approval ratings are dropping, and his time is running out to get anything done in Congress before the midterm elections—when the Party’s majorities may disappear. And they may not last even that long, given the actuarial tables in the Senate, where a single sick or retiring senator could overnight end Biden’s Presidency when it comes to major legislative initiatives.
The person who benefits the most from all of this, of course, is someone who was rarely mentioned this week but should have been: Donald Trump.
Seventh news item
[Thomas Chatterton Williams]…who is known as one of the leading critics of the “progressive” identity politics gripping the west but doesn’t sit comfortably on either side of the divide. To his detractors on the left he is an “anti-woke” crusader who gives racists and transphobes a platform; to others on the right he is an “enabler” of just the kind of illiberalism he denounces…
…I ask him if he ever worries that while he apparently eschews tribal identity politics, he himself has become part of a tribe, a tribe that his critics would call “anti-woke”.
“I am not ideologically anti-woke, I’m just not woke — I think that’s a very important distinction. I think you can get into your own blind religious fervour with anti-wokeness, and then you reproduce the same errors you’re ostensibly trying to counteract,” he says…
Williams opposes CRT…because he doesn’t share the idea that racism is permanent, and because he thinks CRT recreates and exacerbates the forces it claims to want to counteract. But he wanted to make clear that outlawing something you don’t agree with is not the answer.
“It’s not like it gets any good points with the people that hate you from the left — they say it’s too little too late . . . and you get nothing but hate from the right . . . But I’m in this because I’m trying to be honest, I’m not in this because I want to play for a team. I’ve lost people who had become allies — I lost a bunch of them with that op-ed…people that we thought respected us for thinking clearly. No, they just wanted people on their team, and they’re just as tribal as the worst people they say they’re against.”
Eighth news item
The deadline has passed for unvaccinated New York City public school employees to get their first dose of the COVID-19 shot or face suspension and possible termination, after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor declined to provide a last minute reprieve Friday.
Sotomayor denied the request by a group of teachers for an emergency injunction. She did not issue any explanation or statement, and she did not refer the matter to the full court for a vote…
The city had given its roughly 148,000 school employees until 5 p.m. to get their first shot or be suspended without pay when schools open on Monday.
Ninth news item
Couldn’t get it done:
Biden: It doesn’t matter if it’s in six minutes, six days, or six weeks… we’re going to get it done pic.twitter.com/LgeHePln5I
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 1, 2021
INSIDE the caucus:
At the end of his remarks, BIDEN offered to take questions from members but his staff jumped in.
He didn't take any questions.
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) October 1, 2021
Panama foreign minister Erika Mouynes expressed frustration to Axios that the Biden administration seemed caught off guard by the Haitian migrant crisis because “we sounded the alarm when we should have.”
The worst may still be coming. Mouynes said there are as many as 60,000 migrants — mostly Haitian — poised to make their way north to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Panama is expecting more migrants to cross through the dangerous jungles of the Darién Gap this month than in all of 2019 — nearly 27,000, according to Panamanian government estimates provided to Axios.
Mouynes is calling on the U.S. to help enforce a plan coordinated with countries in the region, saying, ultimately, “Let’s recognize that they all are heading toward the U.S.”
…Mouynes expressed her exasperation to Axios after spending months warning leaders across the hemisphere of the impeding Haitian wave.
“We’ve engaged with every single authority that we can think of, that we can come across, to say, ‘Please, let’s pay attention to this,'” Mouynes said.
The stunning painting hangs at the Norton Simon Museum, perhaps my favorite museum in Los Angeles. It’s a rather large oil on canvas. Coupled with vibrant reds and golds, it really is quite a vision.
Have a good weekend.