SL 823

Here in the Northeast, we have a polar vortex or a chilly umbrella sitting on top of us. It’s honestly too cold to leave the house for a hike or an adventure, so I’ll be camped out in front of my computer for most of the day with HGTV running in the background and a pot of chicken bones on the stove.

Here is what is interesting me today:

Food. I made that viral TikTok feta pasta last night. It was honestly very yummy. Here are pictures. Because I’m stuck at home all day, I’ll make chicken broth. I’ll use it for some black bean soup tonight. We’ll speed through the bean soaking process by putting them in a pressure cooker. Steve says that he’ll do Valentine projects with Ian today, like making chocolate covered strawberries and cupcakes.

Parenting. I’ve been researching and interviewing various experts about the mental health of teenagers — teens have been struggling for a long time, but this pandemic has made things worse. I’ve been hearing about some really innovative school programs. I’ll talk about that more later, but since so many of my readers are parents, let me just say that keep an eye on your kids for extreme isolation, lack of exercise, weird sleep patterns, and other self destructive behavior. Get them help, ASAP.

School Politics. The CDC has come out with the clearest guidance on school openings yet. I’m not going to get into the wisdom of the science behind the plan; others have stronger opinions that I do about how many feet need to separate kids. I do think that it’s very obvious that schools are not going to open anytime soon. Which is a disaster, of course. I think it’s time to demand some creative solutions.

If schools can’t/won’t open normally for a long time, what can be done to open schools not normally? Evening hours to stagger kids? Renting space from churches, abandoned malls, community centers? Prioritizing reading, writing, math? Paying private schools to take more kids?

Home/Girlie Stuff. I’m totally into tall plant stands right now. Steve is growing little lettuces in the basement right now; he could legally expand his operation. Sometimes, I list vintage books in my shop that are in rough shape, because their roughness is cool.

Politics. I was bummed that Gina Carano was fired from Mandolorian, because she’s a great character. At first, I heard that she was fired for anti-semitic tweets, but maybe things weren’t so black and white.

49 thoughts on “SL 823

  1. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about Gina Carano. Are you saying she shouldn’t have been fired? You did link to Chait.

    The Gina Carano stuff has been going on forever. Maybe Disney thought, oh, after she’s in Season 2 and people remember why they like the character, they’ll stop calling for her to be dropped. But no, people stayed angry. And I wonder if Pedro Pascal’s comfort level was an issue, as he has a trans sister, and GC has been vocal about being transphobic.

    And FTR, I love Cara Dune as a character, too.

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    1. Alec Baldwin is, by all accounts, a really repellent person.

      https://nationalpost.com/entertainment/celebrity/alec-baldwin-says-that-time-he-called-his-daughter-a-rude-thoughtless-little-pig-has-hurt-her-in-a-permanent-way

      And yet he was really good in 30 Rock.

      Should he never work again?

      And then there are people like Joss Whedon:

      https://www.thewrap.com/firefly-writer-jose-molina-says-joss-whedon-bragged-about-making-female-writers-cry/

      What are the rules we’re using here? As far as I can see, it’s “fire the nobody and let the important people keep being important.”

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      1. Not to be a thread hog, but the Mandalorian is a Disney product, and Disney recently produced their live action Mulan on location in Xinjiang and thanked various local Chinese government entities in the credits. Also, the actress who played Mulan spoke out in favor of Hong Kong police during protests there:

        https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/08/mulan-boycott-liu-yifei-hong-kong-protests-police

        https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/sep/07/disney-remake-of-mulan-criticised-for-filming-in-xinjiang

        On the one hand, bad tweets!

        On the other hand, literally partnering with concentration camp bosses and making a rah-rah Chinese nationalist movie for them!

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      2. Hmm. I certainly have told Mr 13 that he’s rude and thoughtless. And I’ve yelled at him. And lost my temper, and said some stuff that I’ve subsequently apologised for.
        People are human. And parenting is hard work. And, sometimes, kids are rude, self-entitled little brats (OK, YMMV)
        Shoot me now….

        If that’s the only evidence against Alex Baldwin – I’d be prepared to cut him some slack.

        And the article specifically says (from the daughter’s perspective) that it was the way the media wouldn’t let it go that caused the issues – not the original incident between Baldwin and his daughter.

        So, sounds like invasion of privacy (that was a private call, between Baldwin and his daughter – Baldwin clearly didn’t release it, and the daughter, as a minor wouldn’t have had the legal right to do so) – I would guess that it was released to the media as part of a nasty divorce dispute.

        The biggest culprits here are the media. And (quite frankly) I don’t think it is *ever* acceptable to use kids as clickbait. Unless it’s evidence at a public trial (e.g. child abuse or some other serious crime) – not just a disputed divorce – the media shouldn’t have reported it.

        I think that all divorce (involving children) and child custody cases should be automatically sub judice and media prohibited from reporting them.

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      3. Does Alec Baldwin act that way to people he works with? Does he express the opinion that all little girls are wrong? That might be the issue here.

        I actually had a paragraph in my original reply about Whedon that I deleted thinking it was irrelevant, but to sum up, trust me, we (meaning my corner of fandom) knew by Season 6 that Whedon was not the feminist icon everyone believed him to be. We’ve been waiting for him to be ostracized for years.

        Both these cases are about bad behavior that affects the workplace.

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  2. On Carano: She’s publicly anti-mask. In response to accusations that she is anti-trans, she attacked the people who made the claim rather than making clear that she supports trans people. She used an inappropriate analogy: there is no reasonable comparison for “consequences of your adult choices” and “target of genocide because of your birth.”

    But most importantly, and perhaps most hurtfully to those defending her, Disney decided they’d take less damage by firing her than by keeping her. It’s purely a money decision on their part, and as a private business they have that right.

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    1. I guess it comes down to whether you think actors and actresses have any right to express opinions (no matter how misguided), that offend others.

      I don’t pay any attention to the opinions of ‘influencers’ or ‘social media stars’ or ‘actresses’ unless the opinion is directly related to their area of expertise (e.g. an actress commenting on glass ceilings in the movie world).
      When commenting on politics and social issues – their opinion is worth precisely the same as that of anyone else.

      Disney has made the commercial decision that she’s not worth retaining. And, it will be that blatant: and actor/actress with a higher draw value, might well have been retained.

      Of course, she’ll simply go on to work on other projects (I think one has already been announced) – and the only people poorer-off will be the watchers of The Mandalorian – with no more Cara Dunne.

      I’m not quite sure who is the winner out of this…..

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      1. It’s such a right wing idea to talk about rights without consequences. Of course actors have the right to express their opinions, just as I do. And they will endure the consequences of those expressions, just as I would.

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      2. It’s a great show, but it’s not like refined acting. The puppet did like 90% of the emoting in the whole second season (I haven’t seen the first). It’s Gunsmoke in space. There’s no problem at all to write out a character.

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      3. “Of course, she’ll simply go on to work on other projects (I think one has already been announced)”

        For the record, it’s some sort of Ben Shapiro project, which is weird. Not really someone in the scripted entertainment business.

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  3. But would you get fired for expressing your opinion – not through your workplace, but on a personal platform?
    Would you still be OK with this if it’s the cleaning lady or the person packing your groceries who’s fired for expressing controversial opinions?
    Because that seems to me way too much power to give an employer….

    I admit to being a bit more hard-line about this when it comes to people in politics (effectively you have no private opinions, since you’re representing your electorate), and journalists (concern over reporting being covertly or overtly slanted).

    I have *real* concerns when it comes to academics – I think academic freedom should trump (if one can still use that word!) cancel culture. By all means, demonstrate why someone is wrong. But firing them, or ‘deplatforming’ them, is a step too far.

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    1. I can be fired at any time for anything that isn’t illegal discrimination (basically race, age, religion). Almost every employer in the United States has that power and it is mostly applied to people who have lower-wage jobs. It’s usually not applied for social media posts but is very, very commonly applied for any minor mistake or rudeness in people with jobs that are shitty.

      There’s no protection, unless it comes from a union which is one of the main reasons why unions are so strongly resisted by employers.

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      1. This is actually variable across the US: there are states and cities where you cannot be legally fired for your political views or participating in a protest or other political activity or membership in a group. The broadness of the protection in NZ is probably greater than in the US even in jurisdictions where the decisions of the employer are limited (and, might have more force, since I think in the US you would have to pursue the action and prove your employer fired you for your political beliefs).

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    2. Yes, it’s in my employer’s policies that if I express certain opinions I can be fired – such as disparaging the employer’s customers.

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  4. Goodness, very different to NZ.
    You *can* be fired for ‘bringing your employer into disrepute’ – but it’s a pretty high legal bar – you have to effectively have been a spokesperson for your employer; or be commenting (contrary to your employer’s views or interests) on a matter directly relevant to your employment (e.g. an employee of the Department of Conservation advocating (privately) for strip mining).

    An employee dismissed for comments made privately (not directly related to their employer or role) would almost certainly win a case for unjustified dismissal – and a hefty pay out from the employer.

    Of course, actors/actresses frequently aren’t ’employed’ – one-off-contracts – and nothing prevents an employer declining to engage your services in the future.

    And nothing prevents private stigmatizing – which is why most of us comment under pseudonyms!

    We have an almost reverse situation playing out here in NZ. The Speaker of the House, one Trevor Mallard, made untrue and unjustified claims against a parliamentary employee (accused him of rape within the workplace). He made these claims not only inside the House (where he’s protected by parliamentary privilege from legal action), but also (most unwisely from his perspective) outside the House. Mallard has subsequently admitted that he knew within 24 hours that his accusation was false, but it took him 18 months to withdraw and apologise – not until he was forced to do so by a parliamentary investigation.
    The employee was suspended, investigated (and cleared), and is now suing Mallard for damages (loss of career, humiliation, etc.). And, so he should…..

    The Opposition is calling for Mallard (the ’employee’ of Parliament) to be dismissed for behaviour unbefitting the Speaker. Not only did he get the accusation abysmally wrong, he didn’t rectify the situation until cornered into doing so. The case has already cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars (simply in legal fees) – let along the prospective damages.
    Of course, they are using it as a stick to beat the Government with – but any other senior employee in this situation would almost certainly be fired for bringing their employer into disrepute!

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    1. hmh, not sure why that’s a “reverse situation”. In the US, we just had a high ranked [former] White House official repeatedly lie about the integrity of elections in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, publicly, in print, and in recorded conversation.

      The official did lose his Twitter account over this documented repeated lies. Of course, he would never admit that he lied. I guess that’s the lesson he’s teaching other public officials. Just keep lying and never admit that you did.

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  5. And, we’re back into Level 3 lockdown: work from home (unless unable to do so), collect only from restaurants/cafes, bars closed, shops closed (unless essential), schools remote (unless child of essential workers).

    Sigh….

    One family of 3 with Covid who have no link (so far) to the border or managed isolation. So unsure of the transmission pathway. Covid is the UK highly transmissible variant. Lockdown for 3 days (initially) while they try to trace the source, and identify if there is further community spread. Mass testing of workplaces and school involved.

    Fingers crossed this is as much of a damp squib as our other border failures – and the infection hasn’t spread further.

    But, spitting tacks, there was a *huge* festival in Auckland yesterday – drawing people not only from the whole of Auckland, but across the country. And, even though the organizers *knew about the community cases*, they chose to go ahead (legal, since the shut-down didn’t happen until midnight – but morally….?). They claimed that they had the OK from the Director General of Health because they had ‘Covid precautions’ in place (the precautions were bottles of hand sanitizer and sign-in codes for the Covid app – not a mask in sight and no social distancing. Perfectly adequate with no community transmission – but totally inadequate with community transmission).
    Loads of politicians there (including my local MP) – schmoozing and taking selfies close-up with everyone and their uncle.

    *If* it turns out to be a super-spreader event I’ll know exactly who to blame…..

    Mr 13 is *studying from home*. So far, 1 teacher (out of 6 subjects timetabled for today) has set a minimal amount of work – watch YouTube clips and answer questions.
    No zoom lessons scheduled.
    Every teacher concerned has had three ‘learning experiences’ with remote teaching in the last year. They should *all* be prepared to swing into action and deliver classes online.

    It’s just so obvious that remote learning is just a placeholder – and that teachers (even teachers who are really good in person) have no interest in delivering great (or even adequate) online learning experiences.

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    1. Ugh. Hopefully the source is identified but I think an example of why eliminating a virus is impossible without a vaccine and even then, it is iffy, based on the vaccine and the virus.

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      1. bj said, “Ugh. Hopefully the source is identified but I think an example of why eliminating a virus is impossible without a vaccine and even then, it is iffy, based on the vaccine and the virus.”

        Another thing–I feel like that many Zero COVID folk are forgetting the fact that a lot of animals (wild and domestic) can function as a reservoir for the virus.

        So what humans do or don’t do with regard to non-pharmaceutical interventions is just a piece of the puzzle. We could all be perfect saints with regard to masking, closing restaurants and bars, social distancing, etc., etc., and you could still get outbreaks from (I kid you not) mice.

        https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.25.221291v1

        By the way, that is a possibility for Ann’s mystery COVID outbreak. The carriers don’t need to have been human at all.

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  6. We’re facing a looming ice storm in the area. More snow is on the way.

    It fits the patterns of recent harder winters–not much snow until the end of January, then lots of snow activity.

    We’re not facing what Texas is facing: https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/energy-emergency-texas-power-provider-warns-rotating-outages-cold-weather-tests-limits-grid

    This is catastrophic news not only for the continued freeze in nat gas distribution, but for the explosion in electricity prices which could see many customers see a February electricity bill in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. This is what a power trader at a Houston energy company advised us on Friday:

    Prices in response to the persistent cold have pushed load expectations to all time winter highs, and on par with the hottest summer days the ISO has experienced. Actual shortages could persist if units aren’t weatherized and fail at any point. Monday peak is currently bid 4000, and balweek inclusive of Tuesday through Friday is 1000@2000. Off peak (nights) have traded insane levels as well, with the balance of the month trading 650$. For reference, summer of 2018 never came close to touching these levels. The highest trade on a balday was around 2000$, if i’m not mistaken.

    The PUC is meeting today to discuss coordination and potential conservation efforts, but this event will likely crush several firms who are not collateralized enough to weather (no pun intended) the storm IMO. And all those folks on griddy could literally be looking at paying 4$+ per KWh across the state (as opposed to 12 cents or whatever rate you got at your house), pushing power bills to the moon.

    And sure enough, right now the prices are through the roof: http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/contours/rtmLmp.html

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    1. Cranberry quoted, “This is catastrophic news not only for the continued freeze in nat gas distribution, but for the explosion in electricity prices which could see many customers see a February electricity bill in the thousands, if not tens of thousands.”

      Today has been freakishly cold in TX–7 degrees this morning in our town. I have been hearing about rolling blackouts and the younger kids’ remote school got cancelled today because so many people were having power outages. Hometown U. has cancelled all classes, rather than going remote as planned. I’m expecting that the younger kids’ school will be out 4-5 days this week, and I’m not sure how many days of that will be remote as opposed to just cancellations. It’s a winter wonderland outside, about 15 degrees and sunny, with powdery ski resort snow piled up on the sidewalks.

      On the other hand, at least in our area, the temperature forecast for most of the rest of the week is looking much more normal (highs in the high 20s, low 30s and pretty balmy starting Saturday). I have my doubts about some of the bill levels mentioned in Cranberry’s quote, unless people are using utilities with really exotic rate determination (which is definitely possible). Also, a lot of people (like ourselves) have natural gas heating and water heating, so the cold snap would not be reflected specifically in the electric bill. Winter utility bills are generally pretty modest in TX–we have a large house and our last natural gas bill as $125 and the last electric bill was about $81.

      It also occurs to me that a number of TX utilities have a deal where your highest use days are free, so those companies are going to be in deep trouble given that today is going to be so expensive.

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      1. To be clear, 7 degrees, not minus 7 degrees.

        We’ve lived here 13+ years, and it’s only ever gone into the teens in that time. The last time that happened was about 11 years ago, and it killed almost every palm tree in town.

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      2. There’s a neat site that tracks power outages: https://poweroutage.us/ I’ve used it during hurricanes and winter storms here.

        Highest use days free? That’s interesting, as up here in the Northeast, the highest use days can set the reimbursement rate for extended periods of time for the entire utility. That’s why new programs that draw on customers’ home solar batteries for power at peak use times has the potential to decrease electric rates for everyone: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/iso-england-awards-sunrun-landmark-140000308.html

        However, if there are rolling blackouts, these days will not be the highest use days–highest use likely refers to power use, rather than the cost of said power. I’d expect those days to be during heat waves. Part of the reason for the current problems is that equipment is freezing.

        The electric grid is complex. https://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/2021/02/16/electricity-retailer-griddys-unusual-plea-to-texas-customers-leave-now-before-you-get-a-big-bill/

        Some retail power companies in Texas are making an unusual plea to their customers amid a deep freeze that has sent electricity prices skyrocketing: Please, leave us.

        Power supplier, Griddy, told all 29,000 of its customers that they should switch to another provider as spot electricity prices soared to as high as $9,000 a megawatt-hour. Griddy’s customers are fully exposed to the real-time swings in wholesale power markets, so those who don’t leave soon will face extraordinarily high electricity bills.

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  7. The thought of snow *on the ground* is totally exotic to us – here in subtropical Auckland – especially now, where I’m currently sweltering under a heatwave and utterly vile humidity!
    Yes we do have snow in NZ – but only further south (a couple of hours drive makes a huge difference – where they’re likely to have one or two dumps of snow each winter) – and, of course Auckland’s a coastal city (built on a narrow isthmus between two harbours) – so snow is even less likely. Our winter precipitation is soaking rain and a nasty, pervasive damp chill.

    I’m seeing the same sort of polar blast hitting England. My brother, in London, is seeing snow settling on the ground (and on his balcony) in central London. It’s not unprecedented, but it is unusual.

    The whole electricity market thing is still really settling down here in NZ. Until the 1980s – the prices were government regulated, and most of the supply was government owned. The companies were privatized during our great neo-liberal experiment in government – and the equity issues are still really being resolved. Right now, the power companies (much like petrol companies) have a nice cosy arrangement for themselves, with prices slowly ratcheting upwards – pretty much in unison.

    Most generation is hydro in NZ (with some geothermal), but it’s backed up by gas-fired turbines and (a historic and deeply controversial coal-fired power station). Solar is only at an individual house level (i.e. solar panels on roofs, rather than solar farms). Wind turbines are very few and far between (I don’t think it’s been really economic in NZ)

    Many people (and lots of businesses) supplement electricity with natural gas – especially for heating and cooking. (I have gas heating and hot water, myself).
    The government (in an excess of climate-consciousm zero-carbon fervour) have recently announced a policy for comment, about phasing out all natural gas supply to individual homes.
    They seem not to have considered that many modern houses are built without space for an old-fashioned electric hot-water cylinder! And that restaurants, in particular, are dependent on gas stoves.
    Not to mention, that many of us enjoy the ‘belt-and-braces’ aspect of having additional sources of heating/cooking if/when the power goes out (as it does at least once a winter during major storms).

    Sometimes, I wonder if they have *any* connection with the world the rest of us live in!

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    1. Ann said,

      “The government (in an excess of climate-consciousm zero-carbon fervour) have recently announced a policy for comment, about phasing out all natural gas supply to individual homes.”

      Eek!

      “Not to mention, that many of us enjoy the ‘belt-and-braces’ aspect of having additional sources of heating/cooking if/when the power goes out (as it does at least once a winter during major storms).”

      Yep.

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  8. The school reopening goal posts are getting moved again:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/CDCDirector/status/1361079524587425793

    “The science shows us that most disease transmission does not happen in the walls of the school, but it comes in from the community. So, CDC is advocating to get our K-5 students back in school at least in a hybrid mode with universal mask wearing and 6 ft of distancing.”

    So, only K-5, 6 feet distancing, masks even for 5-year-olds, and potentially only 1 day a week of in-person school, because that still counts as “hybrid.”

    Oh, yeah, and they get 100 days to achieve this.

    And people wonder why anybody voted for Trump…

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    1. “And people wonder why anybody voted for Trump…”

      Because he had almost a year to do anything about COVID and schools and didn’t, and it’s only been 3 and a half weeks for the Biden administration?

      Talk about moving goal posts.

      (Also, that said, I am still very much against the zeitgeist on this blog about schools. I am more comfortable with keeping them closed than not. But remember that my friend lost her niece to COVID that she was exposed to in her school, so the danger feels very real to me.)

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      1. Wendy said, “Because he had almost a year to do anything about COVID and schools and didn’t, and it’s only been 3 and a half weeks for the Biden administration?”

        Biden’s administration keeps shrinking their goals for school reopening. First it’s open K-12. Then it’s open K-8. And now we’re talking about opening K-5.

        https://info.burbio.com/school-tracker-update-feb-8/

        At least as of Feb. 8, over 2/3 of those K-5 kids were already in school at least part-time and there are more going back all the time. It just feels really weird (and frankly disingenuous) for the Biden administration to ignore that and treat hybrid school reopening for K-5 as some sort of moon-shot goal.

        I understand why they don’t want to talk about how many schools are open already, because it makes the hold-out districts who are choosing to keep schools totally closed look weird, especially as more and more teachers are getting vaccinated, the percentage of vaccinated people in the public keeps ticking up, and new cases, hospitalizations and positivity are all plummeting.

        Again, I totally understand if teachers would like to wait to come back until they are fully vaccinated–but a lot of Biden administration reopening talk is seeming to ignore the fact that more and more teachers have had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and probably all of them will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated by the fall.

        This all wouldn’t be a big deal, except that the Biden administration’s CDC is laying the groundwork for a significant number of schools to still be closed for 2021-2022.

        “But remember that my friend lost her niece to COVID that she was exposed to in her school, so the danger feels very real to me.”

        I don’t want anybody to have to send kids back before vaccines are available for kids or COVID goes down to a flu-like level (and a remote public school option ought to be widely available)–but there has to be a finish line for school reopening, and it can’t be “when there’s no more COVID,” because that’s probably not going to happen. We have a flu shot and many of us get a flu shot every year, but flu is still a thing and it’s not going away…unless that universal coronavirus shot becomes a reality.

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    2. And people wonder why anybody voted for Trump…

      I don’t wonder why anybody voted for Trump. People voted for Trump because they were deranged, stupid, ignorant, corrupt, or self-centered to the point of lacking civic virtue (which covers the “our taxes and judges” crowd). For each Trump voter, not all of those are true but at least some of them are.

      There is simply no other alternative.

      Oh, yeah, and they get 100 days to achieve this.

      Sorry, but Biden hasn’t been president a month. Trump still owns this and will for some time. No sane or intelligent person would believe otherwise.

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      1. Jay said, “I don’t wonder why anybody voted for Trump. People voted for Trump because they were deranged, stupid, ignorant, corrupt, or self-centered to the point of lacking civic virtue (which covers the “our taxes and judges” crowd). For each Trump voter, not all of those are true but at least some of them are.”

        You may not like to hear this, but over the past year, the Democrats have been the party of business and school closures, and that’s a deal breaker for a lot of people. From their point of view, people who plan to keep public schools closed for 2+ years and hand-wave away the consequences of that choice are also lacking in “civic virtue.”

        Also, come to think of it, the Democrats were the party ignoring and making excuses for 5+ months of “mostly peaceful” riots, harassment, violence and arson, and talking about defunding the police while actually managing to push through “reforms” that have led to a revolving door of violent felons terrorizing the public.

        https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Fatal-hit-and-run-DA-Boudin-charges-suspect-15845917.php

        https://sfist.com/2021/02/10/yet-another-felon-with-recent-arrest-wearing-ankle-monitor/

        You don’t have to be a terrible person to look at that stuff (the closed schools, the closed businesses, the illogical COVID rules, the lawlessness, the bad ideas about law enforcement) and decide that the other guy really doesn’t look that bad.

        I personally didn’t vote for Trump, haven’t voted for Trump, and have never given him any money–but I understand why people feel that they needed to. You’d have to be really, really privileged to think that ordinary people can get by indefinitely without schools for their children, without jobs, and without safe neighborhoods.

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      2. You don’t have to be a terrible person to look at that stuff (the closed schools, the closed businesses, the illogical COVID rules, the lawlessness, the bad ideas about law enforcement) and decide that the other guy really doesn’t look that bad.

        Um, you do realize who was president in 2020? This is all on Trump. His country, his responsibility. But if people are too dumb to actually realize who was in charge, this explains a lot.

        But even unfairly assigning blame for all this to the opposition, this still leaves Republicans the party of conspiracy, insurrection, and domestic terrorism. (I’ll leave aside the racism for now, although that is there too.) Those who aren’t actively participating in this are perfectly happy to go along for the ride and there is simply no excuse for a someone who is sane, intelligent, or decent to sign on for that. And this was true in 2016. Any sane decent person could have seen this coming.

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      3. Jay said, “But even unfairly assigning blame for all this to the opposition, this still leaves Republicans the party of conspiracy, insurrection, and domestic terrorism. (I’ll leave aside the racism for now, although that is there too.)”

        You could also call a lot of aspects of the 5+ months of BLM protests “conspiracy, insurrection, and domestic terrorism” without stretching the words too much.

        If you look at it in detail, there are a lot of similarities to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol:

        –violence against federal buildings (the Portland federal courthouse)
        –destruction of public property (all those statues that were defaced and destroyed)
        –violence against police
        –refusal to accept the results of lawful elections and the normal political process (the system had failed them so both groups felt that they were entitled to take matters into their own hands)
        –refusal to obey the law and comply with law enforcement
        –harassment of public officials and attempts at violence against them (rioters set fires at the mayor of Portland’s apartment building, Rand Paul and his wife were harassed despite his efforts for police reform, and demonstrators invaded the the black female Seattle police chief’s neighborhood and ultimately forced her resignation)
        –theft.

        Qualitatively, it’s pretty much the same thing as what BLM and Antifa was doing. Quantitatively, the BLM protests were much more destructive because they went on for so much longer and they covered so much more territory and involved more people.

        Like it or not, the BLM protests going on and on for months with near impunity paved the way for the assault on the Capitol. BLM set a precedent.

        I also object to the idea that people who voted for Trump in Nov. 2020 were responsible for knowing that Trump would lose and that there would be an assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters in Jan. 2021. That’s not how time works. Ordinary voters aren’t responsible for knowing stuff that hasn’t happened yet. And if it was obvious–why wasn’t Capitol security better prepared?

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  9. Jay said, “I don’t wonder why anybody voted for Trump. People voted for Trump because they were deranged, stupid, ignorant, corrupt, or self-centered to the point of lacking civic virtue (which covers the “our taxes and judges” crowd). For each Trump voter, not all of those are true but at least some of them are.”

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  10. Jay said, “I don’t wonder why anybody voted for Trump. People voted for Trump because they were deranged, stupid, ignorant, corrupt, or self-centered to the point of lacking civic virtue (which covers the “our taxes and judges” crowd). For each Trump voter, not all of those are true but at least some of them are.”

    That seems like a pretty damning indictment of 74 million Americans. If that’s really true, then the US is in serious trouble.

    The economic and social drivers which led people to vote for Trump haven’t gone away.
    And not every person who voted for Trump is a bad human being.
    Mis-characterizing (and therefore dismissing) those people as insane, stupid or evil is going to get the US a Trump Mk 2 in a few years.

    Biden won (and won, fair and square) but it wasn’t exactly an overwhelming victory. And, if Democrats aren’t willing to examine just why 47 million people didn’t vote for them, and figure out ways to bring at least some of those people into their camp, the pendulum is likely to swing heavily against them – if not at the next election, then at the one after.

    Telling people ‘you disagree with me, therefore you are stupid or evil’ isn’t going persuade anyone to change…..

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    1. It actually was an overwhelming victory 7 million more people voted for Biden.

      And yes, that 74 million people voted for Trump does mean the United States is in trouble, especially when 3/4 of them say they think the election where so many disagreed with them was stolen.

      Trying to do the best for the people that didn’t vote for you does not mean that you can’t point out where they are wrong and tell them the truth (as Romney says).

      If truth comes with risk it is nevertheless necessary.

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  11. “Trying to do the best for the people that didn’t vote for you does not mean that you can’t point out where they are wrong and tell them the truth (as Romney says). ”

    Agree.

    However, telling them that they are stupid, insane or evil isn’t going to persuade them.

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    1. I try hard not to tell people that they are stupid, evil, or insane. But, sometimes their ideas are. Unfortunately there is a large segment of the Republican party who are appear to be who are living in a world that is entirely resistant to persuasion. And, those Republicans who might not be are not in control of the party. Republicans who don’t agree with Democratic policy goals (say, on schools, or minimum wage, or taxes) do not control the party. I’ve said from the beginning of Trumpism that even if everyone who joins that wing doesn’t believe, say, that a judge of Mexican descent is not American, they are making decisions about who they were willing to work along side about, say taxes, where I would be wary of using the word “evil” to describe a policy. But, with four years of consolidation, the evil views have become centralized, the party a cult with loyalty tests. That makes it a tough call for those who don’t support those evil views but also don’t like the other policies. I would like there to be a viable opposition for policies (how to best open schools, how to best open the economy, . . . .). But there isn’t one, when Republicans are also centering their policies around suppressing the vote and denying elections.

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      1. bj said, ” But there isn’t one, when Republicans are also centering their policies around suppressing the vote and denying elections.”

        We’ve never in my lifetime had a president rejecting election results, but there is a pretty strong recent track record of Democrats denying election results that don’t suit them.

        –Bush-Gore 2000 (Some Democrats insisted that Bush was “selected not elected”)
        –Bush-Kerry 2004 (Supposedly Diebold voting machines threw the election to Bush)
        –Trump–Clinton (Russian machinations, including voting machines supposedly switching HRC votes to Trump)
        –Stacey Abrams going around insisting to this day that she won the governorship of Georgia, despite the fact that she lost by over 50,000 votes (Kemp won 50.2% compared to Abrams’ 48.8%)

        I would also note that claims of voter suppression (ironically!) often represent a refusal to accept election results. Voter suppression is an unfalsifiable claim that has become popular even when there’s record turnout, as there was with Trump-Biden in 2020–2020 featured the highest absolute number of votes ever and the highest percentage turnout in the past 60 years.

        I really don’t like where we are today with regard to Trump’s refusal to accept his loss–but Democrats helped pave the road here.

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    1. Indeed as you do (at least on this blog :-). In the last 3 decades, Republicans have won the vote of the majority of Americans in only one election, and, I hadn’t realized that the margin in Bush’s election was the smallest of any winner of the electoral college.

      Republicans are losing nationally — the policies that Biden wants are popular (in addition to Biden, who won). I looked at Amy’s link on the CDC guidance and was honestly surprised to see wide spread opposition not because the CDC guidance was too strict but because it wasn’t strict enough (well, and suggested schools should open at all). I can’t find national polls right now (and, I am not foolish enough to regard twitter threads as representative), but in the summer, the majority of parents appeared to oppose opening schools. Although I think schools should be opened, I am less confident that I am a majority. In my school district less than 50% of K-1 parents wanted their kids to return to school. It would be good if we could have a healthy discussion. But there isn’t one, because the opposition is seemed through with science and fact denial.

      People always ask the Democratic party to reckon with themselves (and negotiate with the opposition) on the policies they support, regardless of whether Democrats have won the election or lost it. But even the rational opposition (the group of 10 Republicans, for example) seem to think that negotiation means saying “do what we want.” (They say, because their ideas are better. But that’s not how negotiation with an opponent who won works).

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      1. bj said, “in the summer, the majority of parents appeared to oppose opening schools.”

        There’s probably been some movement, because there really wasn’t a lot of information at that point. There’s been more and more as time has gone on. I feel that public health experts and doctors have gotten a lot louder with regard to pushing for school reopening over the past several months.

        “(They say, because their ideas are better. But that’s not how negotiation with an opponent who won works).”

        Democrats have 50 votes in the Senate (plus the VP’s tie-breaker) and will presumably lose some Senate seats in 2022. The House split is 221 Democrats to 211 Republicans. That’s not exactly a crushing Democratic majority. (For comparison, Obama got a 57-41 Senate majority and a 257-178 majority in 2008.)

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  12. The Seattle Times (I think the article is behind a paywall) just ran a horrifying story about a 90 year woman who walked 6 miles in the snow to get her COVID vaccine. The woman lives in my neighborhood, so I know where she walked (and, spouse had walked about 2 miles and in the snow and we thought it a big deal). She found a last minute appointment and then it snowed, on Saturday & Sunday, 13+ inches, and we don’t clear our streets. She walked on Saturday, to practice, and then walked on Sunday to her appointment, arriving 5 minutes late. It’s a story of amazing grit, but also of community and systemic failure.

    “And on Sunday morning at 8, she dressed in fleece pants and a short-sleeved shirt so that the nurse could get to her arm easily. Over that, a fleece zip-up, then a down coat, then a rain jacket. She yanked on her snow boots, grabbed her two walking sticks, and headed out.

    “It was not easy going, it was challenging,” she said, adding that the tracks had frozen over and been covered with more snow.

    But Goldman made it to her appointment just 5 minutes late, which was fine. Had she been early, she would have had to wait in her car — which wasn’t there.”

    She has family, but not in the area. She’s presumably also independent and doesn’t want to ask for help. But, I can’t help but think that there, at the very least, should have been somebody to take her to her appointment, even if only to walk with her. My son could have done it, for example. And, did the people who gave her shot really send her off on her way back, letting her walk 3 miles?

    Oh, here’s The Hill article: https://thehill.com/homenews/news/538932-90-year-old-seattle-woman-walks-six-miles-through-snow-to-get-covid-19

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    1. bj said, ” But, I can’t help but think that there, at the very least, should have been somebody to take her to her appointment, even if only to walk with her.”

      The transportation for COVID vaccine apt. thing is a bit sticky, as a lot of us have been avoiding being in an enclosed vehicle with anybody outside of our households.

      But I suppose that as more people get vaccinated, that problem will ease up.

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    2. Also, there rarely not good information about what happens if you miss an appointment due to travel issues; lots of places with automated systems but no friendly voices to walk you through this. Say, for example, you have a relative with an appointment for a second vaccine, and roads are bad but not impossible – they would absolutely avoid driving at any other time, but to get the second vaccine, especially if not getting it means a serious delay in ever getting it? And the whole, elderly-people-who-need-help-but-won’t-ask thing is very, very real.

      Hence, I have spent the morning checking out the highway traffic cams and road conditions map in another state to see how worried I should be about them making it in!

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    3. As I’ve said, she’s in my neighborhood. My spouse might have been walking on the same trail at the time she was returning. I suspect that part of this story is that she is a very independent woman. She might also have been thinking that with a phone/roads with other people on them, she would have help in an emergency.

      And, as a driver herself, I think she doesn’t want to drive in a car with a stranger (and the driving was iffy, even if possible on Sunday).

      I’m finding myself wanting to reach out to Fran and find out more about her and am worrying about her (which would be an example of thinking too much about something I can’t change, since it would be very creepy to try to find her).

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  13. Yes to community and systemic failure. Why is this happening? I think half the country is doing just fine right now, and they are in bubbles, insulated from those who are struggling now. They just don’t want to hear depressing news. I don’t know how to reach them. Others have their own group’s interests that they are promoting right now, and are afraid to broaden the guilt trips to get help for others outside their group.

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