Category Archives: Politics: National

COVID Vaccinations

New day, new president. Depending on your specific team and taste, this is either good news or bad news. Personally, I am hoping for a break in the incredibly visceral reaction to the recent individuals in presidential politics. From Barack to Hillary to The Donald.

Biden is a welcome dose of vanilla.

Let’s start with one of hi big initiatives that he wants to launch Day 1.

100 million vaccinations in 100 days

On first blush, that’s a fantastic goal. 100 million. 100 days. Very nice repetitive touch of rhetorical skill. The goal is measurable. The goal is soon enough that there is a built in element of urgency. And the idea of the vaccine being rolled out to that many folks gives us hope that we can one day see COVID in the rear view.

But, there is also an element in the goal, and in the news surrounding that goal, that the Biden administration is somehow taking on a Trump vaccine infrastructure that is failing and transforming it into an efficient machine; something that Biden but not Trump, can accomplish.

So, to the data we go.

As I mentioned, 100 million in 100 days is catchy and impressive sounding. Added to that is the notion that it’s a goal the Biden administration is setting for itself to somehow save us from the Trump administration. While there have been problems with the rollout of the vaccination, it would seem that Trump’s mishandling of the vaccination is even more far reaching than many would have guessed: Germany is struggling with their vaccine rollout.

So, how is Trump doing? Reports are that he’s not been doing well:

The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots.

Mississippi’s Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over.

In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccine to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia.

“It’s chaos,” said New York City resident Joan Jeffri, 76, who had to deal with broken hospital web links and unanswered phone calls before her daughter helped her secure an appointment. “If they want to vaccinate 80% of the population, good luck, if this is the system. We’ll be here in five years.”

Ouch. But, while narrative is interesting, I’d like to see the numbers:

More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine

The AP article is dated January 14th. The CDC keeps track of vaccine rollout data. Here is a snapshot from today:

As of today, January 20, there have been 14,270,441 people vaccinated. This is an increase of 3.1 million Americans in 6 days, or about 500,000 per day. Interestingly, the AP article has this tidbit:

More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine, a gain of about 800,000 from the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The data isn’t clear. From the AP article and the CDC data, it appears that we are vaccinating between 500,000 and 800,000 people a day. If we’re dosing 500,000 people per day, the Biden goal is already halfway there and he hasn’t yet done a thing having only been in office 24 hours. If we’re dosing 800,000 people a day, that is already very close to Biden’s goal of 1 million a day.

While team Biden has done a nice job of articulating a goal, the fact is that team Trump likely is already on pace to meet and surpass that goal already.

The Supreme Court

The year was 2009. And things were wacky. The fact that Brett Favre was in the NFC Championship game was, by itself, not at all strange. Brett Favre was a great quarterback having a great year. And he was on the brink of a Superbowl birth. No. The wacky part of that 2009 football season was that ‘ol #4 was wearing the purple and gold for the Minnesota Vikings. And that the game was going to change the rules of football.

You see, the game — and it was a GREAT game — ended in a tie. When the whistle blew the score of that game that would determine who represented the NFC in the Superbowl stood 28-28. The Saints managed to play the Vikings to a tie despite being outplayed the whole game. We’re going to overtime! Now, in the NFL up to and including 2009, the overtime rules were crazy, dumb and outdated. The rule, at the time, was this:

Before overtime started, the teams met at mid-field and a coin toss was conducted. The winner of the coin toss was allowed to declare if they would rather kick the ball or receive the ball. The other team was awarded the decision which end zone they would defend. In almost all circumstances, the winner of the coin toss would choose to receive the ball. The reason was simple; the rules of over time stated that the team to score first would be declared the winner.

This is, of course, stupid.

For example, a team that wins the coin toss gets the ball first and only has to score a field goal to win. And they can do this without the other team even having the chance to posses the ball and impact the outcome. Now, the NFL is not alone in sudden death overtime; hockey also plays extra time with the first score determining the winner. Some soccer leagues also play sudden death. However, other sports are not played in this manner. The NBA plays extra minutes and whoever is ahead at the end of that extra time is awarded the victory. Baseball plays an extra inning; each team is provided an opportunity to bat and if they can score more runs than their opponent during that extra inning, they are the winner.

The NFL’s rule is stupid. And the fact that a game as important as the NFC Championship game is determined by a coin toss only makes that rule more unfortunate. As it turned out, New Orleans won the coin toss, received the ball, moved close enough to attempt a field goal and won the game 31-28. The very next season the NFL changed the over time rules to allow both teams the chance to possess the ball IF the first team scored on a field goal. If they score a touchdown on the first possession, the game is over.

Better – but still dumb.

And here’s the thing; everyone KNOWS that this was a horrible rule. And while the NFL made it better by adjusting for a first strike FG, they still allow sudden death in the event of a touchdown. The rule is a bad rule. It is NOT poorly written or misunderstood. The rule is clear, everyone understands it. But it’s just a bad rule and there hasn’t been a willingness to change the rule.

Now, imagine if the Minnesota Vikings, after giving up that field goal to the Saints, appealed to the refs in the game and made the claim that the decision awarding the win to the Saints wasn’t right. That BOTH teams should be offered the opportunity to score. After all, football should be decided by plays on the field, not the luck of a coin toss. Whats more, there is precedent for such a method and it has been wildly successful. College football has a much better system.

In the college game, when four quarters results in a tie, each team is given the opportunity to score, much like the innings of a baseball game. Rather than have a kickoff, another horribly random play that unfortunately changes the outcomes of too many games, but I digress, the college format dictates that the ball is placed at the opponent’s 25 yard line. From there, each team attempts to drive the ball and score; either by touchdown or by field goal. After each team has had the chance to score, the game is decided by whoever has the most points. In the event of a continued tie; repeat.

Back to our imaginary appeal to the referees after the Saints scored their field goal. The Vikings surly have a case to be made; it is not fair that a team can win a football game by kicking a single field goal based on who wins a coin toss. It is nearly indisputable that the college system is superior. In fact, the college rules not only assure that there will be a winner, in the regular season, an NFL game can end in a tie if no team scores in 15 minutes, but it is superior to the format currently employed by the NHL and most soccer leagues; the dreaded shoot-out. Clearly the rule, as written, is outdated, not fair and has a clear path to a better result.

The referees should absolutely rule in favor of the Minnesota Vikings, award them the ball via Saint’s kick-off and resume play.

Except that’s not how things work.

You see, it is not the job of the referees to write new rules. Their job is to adjudicate existing rules as they are written. It is the role of the owner’s competition committee to write new rules; or not, depending on the will of those owners.

And so we come to my point:

ACB

Amy Coney Barrett

6 – 3

We had a good four years! Perhaps the biggest win for the Trump years was the additions of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. By elevating these three judges to The Supreme Court of the United States, Trump has solidified a conservative majority in the court for a generation; maybe more. But what does it mean to be a “conservative” when it comes to the Supreme Court?

What it’s not is this – A conservative Supreme Court is NOT a court that looks to uphold laws or cases that the partisan right-wing might favor. It is not the role of a conservative Court to see those partisan battle lines and take a side. A conservative Court should not care one single iota if the case being heard is one where a republican President or a democrat President favors the outcome. She should not care a single whiff that the case has the hopes and prayers of a partisan congress or even a partisan electorate writing Op Eds in the Journal or the Times. He should not care that the Senate Majority Leader is stomping on the grounds of the Senate or the Speaker is railing the same in the House.

The role of The Supreme Court of the United States is to adjudicate the law. Before it. As it is written.

Period.

The role of the court is NOT to ascertain what the Founders *may* have thought about certain events today, the changing nature of society today. The court is not to guess what the legislature might say if they could speak today.

The role of the court is to call balls and strikes. Or touchdowns and field goals.

Or overtime rules.

The reason the supreme court is such a hot button topic, and the reason why the liberal left is so emotional about the replacement of RBG by ACB, is that, for them, the court is not a arbiter of rules as written, the court is a process whereby old and archaic laws are to be refreshed, rewritten or reinterpreted. Maybe, maybe, the legislature would have included transgendered rights when they crafted Title VII of The Civil Rights Act back in 1964. Or maybe they wouldn’t have. That’s not important. What IS important is that they didn’t.

Maybe the 2nd amendment would have been written differently if the founders could have conceived a world that we find ourselves living in today. Maybe a just and noble society OUGHT restrict firearms. Maybe. Probably. But all of that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that there exists a process whereby legislation can be enacted to reflect current and prevailing views. If you don’t like the laws, change the laws. Elect politicians who will submit the bill, debate the bill and pass it where it will be signed into law by an executive who has also been elected.

And if you are unable to do that, going to the supreme court to get them to change the law from what it actually says into something that you hope for it to say is outside the role of the court.

So yes, Trump getting Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett on the court is a HUGE deal. Because now we will have a court that will interpret laws and not create them. We will have a court that is not trying to ‘catch the country up’ to society that it thinks we live in.

And that right there, is a pretty strong legacy.

Ellen Cancelled

So, turns out that Ellen is a football fan. Who knew?

And, it turns out that the Joneses, ya’ know, the owners of the Dallas Cowboys, are friends with Ellen. Who knew.

So, what happens when someone goes to a Dallas Cowboys game in Texas? Well, they may see Dubya:

Ellen DeGeneres will not be Twitter-shamed for who she spends time with.

The daytime-talk-show-host-turned-media-mogul used the platform late Monday night to discuss hanging out with former President George W. Bush this weekend at a Dallas Cowboys football game.

There was a bit of an uproar when the pair were spotted — accompanied by Bush’s wife Laura and Degeneres’ wife, actress Portia de Rossi — in a stadium suite enjoying the Cowboys taking on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday (the Cowboys lost, btw) in Dallas.

What kind of world do we live in when folks can’t go to football games with other folks?

This is not a small part of why we are where we are. The nation and its politics have become “Inglorious Bastards” where we are all hunting Nazis. And you HAVE to hunt Nazis because you can’t compromise with a Nazi.

#MeToo – Not For Me Only For You

I’m old enough to remember a time when allegations of sexual assault were to be believed.  I can remember when unsubstantiated and uncorroborated allegations of sexual assault were grounds to ruin a man, a career and prevent elevation to the Supreme Court.

#MeToo

We had democrats protesting in the streets, banging down the doors of power and even harassing elected officials demanding justice.

But now we have a new story:

Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in California who is currently on leave, accused Fairfax of the sexual assault in a hotel room at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

We would expect the good Mr. Fairfax to be excoriated by the press, by the women, by the democrats and by all them, right?  Well, if you thought that, you’d be wrong.  So, what’s the difference between Fairfax and Kavanaugh?

Let’s compare and contrast:

In one case, the accuser can name the date – in the other the accuser cannot.
In one case, the accuser can name the location – in the other the accuser cannot.
In one case, the accused claims not to know the accuser – in the other the accused admits knowing her.
In one case, the accused denies the interaction – in the other, the accused admits to the interaction.
In one case, the WaPo ran story after story – in the other, the WaPo spiked the story.

In one case the accused was a conservative – in the other, the accused was a liberal.

#MeToo indeed.

Turn Off the News: What Do We Care About

We know what we want

Welcome back gentle reader.

If you have been following the news lately, or even if you haven’t – you surely know that:

  • The government is shut down
  • Because the wall

And THAT is a big deal.

If you believe the news. But what do we really think?

policy priorities

It turns out that immigration is on the minds of many Americans.  So much so, that it ranks tied for #1 over all on the most recent AP-NORC Poll:

This after scoring only #3 last year.  Health care placing each of the last 4 years.  While consistently scoring in the top 3, immigration nearly doubled in attention from 2017 to 2018.  Is this attention due to Trump?  Is it due to an increase in the perception of a crisis?  Is it due to the news cycle?

Likely a combination of the three.

THE POINT

Do not let the news cycle guide your eye from the ball; focus on what is important to you.  Reflect on what concerns you.

Pay attention to that.

Wahoo and Ragnar

The Fighting Sioux was a distinguished and honorable legacy.  The University of North Dakota carried that name as a badge of honor – it was a source of immense pride to have worn the colors of the Sioux.

That’s gone now; replaced by the logo of a bird; a hawk.  By itself it’s fine.  We have the Eagles, damn them!, and the Falcons, the Seahawk and even the Hawks.  But North Dakota will always be the Fighting Sioux to me.  I never went to Mariucci to watch the Hawks.

Dumb.

We’re told that we can’t have the Sioux – not because we felt that we were being ignored or insulted.  Not because that we as white people didn’t feel included by our team being named after Sioux warriors.  No.  We were told that we couldn’t be Sioux because it was insulting to the Sioux.

What?

Anyway, I can’t win ’em all.  Snowflakes by the hundreds are happily graduating UND as Hawks.

But.

But then this morning:

Fallout continues from a decision made by the Johnston County School Board to approve a controversial mascot for Selma Middle School which will become a ReStart school in 2018-19.

The current mascot is the “Vikings” – the only mascot the school has ever known – and many teachers, current and former students and community members did not want the mascot name or logo to change.

Which got me to this:

Victor E. Viking is the face of Western, but some students and a professor are looking to change that.

The idea of changing the mascot was brought up at an Associated Students Board meeting earlier this month. Abby Ramos, the AS Vice President for Diversity, said that this conversation started in the summer to discuss changing the mascot to be a more inclusive figure.

Ramos and AS President Belina Seare received a letter from communications studies professor Michael Karlberg regarding the mascot.

“I think this mascot also reflects a sort of hyper masculine, hyper violent sort of image which is doubly problematic. I think we really ought to reconsider,” Karlberg said.

The Viking mascot has been in effect since 1923, University Communications Director Paul Cocke wrote in an email.

The letter was also sent to President Bruce Shepard, but neither responded to the email, Karlberg said.

“I was trying to invite a conversation about whether or not the mascot supports our commitment to diversity, our commitment to create a more safe and attractive and inclusive environment on campus,” Karlberg said.

Ramos had a personal interest in the matter, and decided to reach out to Karlberg when she assumed her position as vice president of diversity,

“[The mascot] doesn’t portray students of color on this campus and it can be very exclusive to students who are potentially looking at coming to Western,” Ramos said.

Blink.

Blink.

Are you shitting me?

We can’t be the Sioux because we are disrespecting the Sioux and we can’t be the Vikings because we are disrespecting the Sioux?

The people are LOOKING to be offended.  They are LOOKING for opportunities to divide.  They are ACTIVELY seeking out the opportunity to divide.

When you find these people in your life, don’t walk – run away!

Facebook

So, it turns out that if you post on Facebook your data isn’t gonna stay private.  You posts, your pictures and your preferences are mined.

And sold.

And used.

I know this.  My kids know this.  Everyone I know knows this.

So how is it possible that the news the Trump campaign used Facebook data is shocking?  Literally, I am shocked that people are shocked?

That aside, the same people who ARE shocked had no issue with Team Obama doing the Exact. Same. Thing.  in 2012.

Seriously.

Tarheel, Roy Moore, Democrats and Hypocrisy

For the record, I do NOT support Roy Moore for elected office, of any kind.  Without the benefit of a trial, I believe the women who are alleging misconduct.  I would have him drop out and be replaced as soon as practical.

In the event he cannot be replaced, I urge Alabama voters to vote for someone not Moore.

This is not to say that I would vote for the democrat.  Likely I would not. And when pressed by people I know why people continue to support Moore, I tell them this, “Because Liberal Democrats and people who vote for them.”

Due process for me – innocence by drowning for you.

As far as hypocrisy and the claims thrown as such by the left onto the right, I’ll take that burden.

No one would ever answer the question,”Which side of the political aisle is the side of family values?” by responding ‘democrats’.  We all know better.

We should be called out when we fail to live up to our moral standards.  And no one should be surprised when the left is unashamed when they don’t.

Where Does the End Come

I just posted when I saw this on my feed:

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) —
Protesters in Durham rushed and toppled a Confederate statue outside the courthouse on Monday evening.

The monument of a Confederate soldier holding a rifle was erected in 1924 and inscribed on it are the words “in memory of the boys who wore the gray.”

Nobody wants this to end.

Reason Absent

 

Charlottesville is a hot shitty mess.   And it’s been a long time in coming.

My thoughts, bullet list style:

  • America is not a racist nation
  • White nationalists are racist assholes
  • Black nationalists are racist assholes
  • The first amendment matters
  • The sixth commandment matters
  • Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist
  • If you are a racist, you likely voted for Trump
  • The Civil War was fought over slavery
  • Many MANY Confederate soldiers and officers were noble honorable warriors
  • Removing Confederate statues does not carry moral worth

 

My heart breaks as Charlottesville unfolds.  So much pain, so much tragedy, so much misplaced … misplaced ‘righteousness’.

Such bullshit.

What is it about human nature that we always see the ‘other’ in the other?  Why is it that we can’t see the common?  See that each of us, almost all of us, wants the same thing?  We wanna love, deeply, and then fall ever deeper in love.  We want a home safe from danger, to live with the front door unlocked, and wake up to sunshine and birds in the yard.

I have never known a neighbor that didn’t want their kids to play in the street, to go to a good school, then a good college and then a good job.  Marriage and kids of their own are next.  We all want that picket fence.  Why do we need to hate?  And hurt?  And be so afraid?

When did we all become so afraid?

Why are we so afraid of the way each lives his life?  Why do we care if he reads Asimov?  Or he reads Othello?  Or she plays chess or he Pokemon?  How can it determine the content if he enjoys listening to this style of music or she enjoys studying this war; this artist or this general?  How can that matter so SO much?

As I watch the news and listen to the radio and read the papers I am inundated.  Inundated with the horror, the rage, the vile nature of the worst example of us.

This is not us – this is not who we are.

Reject it.  Simply reject the premise and make your own way; shit, continue on the glorious noble way that you’ve already forged.  Do it with honor, do it boldly, do it with the same compassion and love that drove you to that place to begin with.

Because the alternative is simply impossible.  It is impossible to live in the world envisioned by those who perpetuate the divide.

For just one fuckin’ second, consider how we are the same and stop focusing on how we’re different.