SL 849

Yesterday was Ian’s first day of full time school since March 2020. I think it’s going to stick, so…. time to get back to work. Really happy.

My jaw is still on the ground about the TX abortion law. I don’t have anything original to say; there are those with a real expertise on this issue, so I’ll let them do their thing.

Taliban propaganda is frightening and effective at the same time. I’m not sure that the NYT should run those videos, even with a disclaimer at the end. Especially, when stuff like this is happening.

Over the past ten years, we have lost real progressivism — focus and attention on the groups of people that need help and issues that need attention — to the easier (and free) focus on the Trump Buffoon and COVID hysteria. It’s time to return to our roots. Here’s a great article about rural education by Casey Parks. I want more of this.

Cooking: Made last year’s viral feta/cherry tomato pasta dish, because we have so, so, so many garden tomatoes to use up. Tonight is more sheet pan chicken.

Home: I haven’t written up a before/after post about the siding on our house yet, because I’m waiting for the landscaper to pop in some shrubs into the front of the house. That’s happening next Monday. But if you want to see some teaser pictures, look here.

Travel: Steve and Ian and I went to the Met Museum of art last Monday. I was really attracted to the deep colors on the walls and art. Great exhibit on the art during the era of the Medici. Some pictures here. Afterwards, we got a bite in one of those dive Irish pubs on the Upper East Side that still haven’t been swallowed up by development. On Saturday, we’re going down to the beach for a week.

29 thoughts on “SL 849

  1. Focusing on Trump isn’t free, isn’t easy, and isn’t done. Beating him in Pennsylvania in 2020 took a huge effort that involved hundreds of people just in my part of town and it’s never stopped because they keep trying to overturn the election. I’m tired, I’m doing nothing political but trying to keep Trump from winning in 2024, and I think that’s the very best use of my time.


    1. Maybe because I’m in Jersey, but I don’t see anybody IRL talking about Trump. He’s done. If I was worried, I would be blogging about it nonstop.


      1. Every state Biden won that was close is having at least partially successful efforts to strip away the checks that prevented Trump from being declared the winner.


    2. Agree with MH that thinking Trump is done is a dangerous blue bubble mistake especially if it has the concrete effect of ignoring the nationwide redistricting, voter restriction, . . . effects.

      Biden won because of small majorities nurtured and grown and supported in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia (<1% of votes margin), North Carolina, Michigan, Nevada (<3% of votes). Georgia and Arizona are actively trying to strip election officials of authority (and even criminalize it). Pennsylvania and Michigan were close calls in preventing the subversion of the election.

      And, in many of those states Republicans hold the keys to redistricting.

      Trump not being done and the subversion of the Republican party is a problem for all of us because it makes it more difficult to support the politics of solutions (on education, housing, . . .). Who can face the tragedies described in your education link with solutions? Seems like the intelligentsia was looking towards people like JD Vance, but his current posturing don't seem to trend towards solution based approaches to education.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think every time that CNN talks about Trump, Trump loves it. He knows that bad publicity is still publicity. By talking about him, we give credence to the belief from fringe freaks on the right that they have a shot. If we ignore him, he goes away.


    1. I agree on not giving him media attention, but the 2022 election in Pennsylvania and other close states is going to determine if he can win in 2024. My optimistic take is that if the PA governorship stays with the Democrats and other states don’t have Trump-ist election officials, he won’t run in 2024.

      He’s not going away regardless. The Trump signs aren’t even down.


    2. I think Twitter shutting down his access to the world in general was a very positive change. But I do not agree that CNN & us ignoring him will mean that he goes away.

      The fringe freaks who are aligned with him include the Republican Minority leader and enough congressional Republicans that they are the center of the National Republican party. They are, just barely, a minority right now, but redistricting, voting restrictions, and enough suburban voters thinking that they can ignore Trump’s ideological control of the Republican party could put them in the majority again.


  3. I like quiz/surveys, especially now that they can be completed online, plotted, without adding up numbers. The NY Times 6 parties quiz was circulating on my twitter. My share link, Quiz: If America Had Six Parties, Which Would You Belong To?

    I do not agree that more parties is a solution to the gridlock in our political system, didn’t like the questions which trended towards questioning ideology and not solutions (“is climate change important?” rather than “should we subsidize solar panel installations?”), but I think it got my theoretical party about right.


  4. Some thoughts:

    –Trump doesn’t have an ideology, per se. He just has an ego that needs constant feeding.
    –Trump isn’t going to win another general election, but it is possible for him to keep a more electable Republican from winning the nomination.
    –It is possible for him to shift into a king-maker position–but will his ego insist on being the prima donna instead?
    –Biden is an old man, and he’s getting older every minute. There’s no way he is on the ticket in 2024.
    –I don’t know that the Texas law is good as law but it is time for people to acknowledge that Roe v. Wade was a bad decision and that it is not the place of the Supreme Court to micromanage the entire country. Roe v. Wade was 48 years ago and it’s still a contentious legal issue–it’s time to give up on managing this from the federal level and allow states to make their own laws.
    –It looks like there’s finally some movement on getting stranded US citizens out of Afghanistan, but US green card holders in Afghanistan seem to be in a terrible position–the Taliban is refusing to let them out, and the US government is often not even acknowledging them when talking about people left in Afghanistan. And that’s to say nothing about SIV people. These people are in terrible danger, and it’s been virtually crickets for about a week. They still need help. It was not wise to assume that it would be easier to get people out after the full US withdrawal from Kabul airport.
    –It’s been noticeable how much evacuation assistance in Afghanistan has been coming from US volunteers working on their own time, as opposed to federal employees whose job it’s supposed to be.
    –I have very, very low expectations of Biden’s “new” COVID plan, whatever it turns out to be. On the bright side, US cases seem to be peaking right now, so it’s largely irrelevant. I expect that a lot of the people who can ignore Biden’s guidelines are going to ignore them.
    –That said, I am pretty comfortable with COVID vaccine mandates for hospitals and nursing homes, although darned if I know how we keep them staffed if enough frontline workers balk.
    –I would like to see a lot more use of rapid COVID tests, especially for test-and-stay to cut down quarantine times for kids in school.

    They test for 5 days. I believe the UK has had good results with this, too.


    1. Speaking of rapid tests, this was annoying:

      “Abbott Laboratories purged supplies and laid off workers as sales [of rapid home tests] dwindled this spring, just weeks before the Delta variant led to an increase in cases.”

      Abbott says that it was just expiring components, but still…

      Would it have killed the feds to buy supplies and encourage Abbott to keep workers on? What exactly is the CDC doing? This is so reminiscent of previous experiences with US N95 manufacturers.

      I see from my reading that the US has approved only a couple of rapid tests compared to some parts of Europe, where they have many brands and home rapid tests are dirt cheap. Sis says that her son takes a rapid test whenever he’s going out in Germany.


    2. Roe v Wade & the states: There are things that are appropriate to leave to the states but when there is a vital protection for a vulnerable group you end up leaving people out to dry. I lived this with regard to marriage – I was not able to marry and be assured my marriage was recognized anywhere in this country till I was 50. Before that time I had friends who 1) were denied the release of their partner’s body (he had died while traveling) and partner had to convince an estranged relative to help 2) were denied visitation with partner in an ICU (even though they had all the expensive paperwork drawn up – power of attorney, etc. Catholic hospital said they could make decisions but not come in. ) 3) Going into the hospital for surgery in 2001 involved anxiety about whether I would have my (not yet legal) wife’s advocacy respected.
      Essentially you are saying let’s throw women who aren’t lucky enough to live in a state where they have protection against state interference in their pregnancies under the bus.
      I’ll also add that it’s still legal to fire someone like me just for being married to another woman in many states. Is that also ok? Am I allowed to be a full human being or is that “up to the states”?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. “it’s time to give up on managing this from the federal level and allow states to make their own laws‘

      Kind of like with slavery?

      I consider decisions about my body to be a fundamental right and thus am not willing to cede it to individual states.

      I also, more generally, find the argument that “states make their own laws” about abortion to be entirely disingenuous. Sure, maybe Texas can make it’s own decisions about regulating electric power (even when it makes some questionable choices). But, the decisions around abortion pit fundamental rights against each other, with Roe coming to a balance between the rights of the woman (including to medical care completely separate from controlling fertility) and the rights of the potential human inside her. Would the anti-abortion activists supporting “state’s rights” arguments against abortion at 7 weeks be OK with a state taken over by extremists that decided to allow abortion into the third trimester, at 33 weeks when nearly all babies survive?

      Also dangerous in the Texas law is the growth of vigilante empowerment to deny fundamental rights. In my twitter, someone suggested a blue state pass a law imposing a bounty for the report of someone known to sell a gun. Liberals aren’t following this path, but apparently, in support of even more extreme gun rights, conservatives are targeting police departments in Missouri — a 50K bounty if law enforcement cooperates with the federal government on enforcing gun laws:


      1. bj said, “Kind of like with slavery?”

        Well, hypothetically, under your preferred system, the slave states could have imposed slavery on the free states indefinitely. Northern states that eliminated slavery immediately after the Revolutionary War might not have been allowed to do so, if they had been required to get federal approval first.

        There’s also the issue of Dred Scott:

        “In March 1857, the [US] Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision against Dred Scott. In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roger Taney, the Court ruled that people of African descent “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States”.”


        If the Civil War hadn’t broken out 4 years later and if the 13th Amendment had not been ratified as a result of the war, Dred Scot would presumably have remained the law of the land for some time.

        “I consider decisions about my body to be a fundamental right and thus am not willing to cede it to individual states.”

        So, how do you feel about the new federal vaccine mandates? Or is it OK if it’s the feds dictating what happens to your body?

        “Would the anti-abortion activists supporting “state’s rights” arguments against abortion at 7 weeks be OK with a state taken over by extremists that decided to allow abortion into the third trimester, at 33 weeks when nearly all babies survive?”

        It’s not a question of being “OK” with it, it’s a question of recognizing the rock bottom reality that there is no national consensus on abortion, so it is unworkable to manage abortion policy at the national level–particularly when the managers for the past 48 years have been 9 unelected judges.

        It makes more sense to make abortion law a) in the political sphere, as opposed to the judicial sphere (not least because it has led to the politicization of the judiciary) and b) at the state level, where it’s easier to reach lasting consensus than at the federal level.

        “Also dangerous in the Texas law is the growth of vigilante empowerment to deny fundamental rights. In my twitter, someone suggested a blue state pass a law imposing a bounty for the report of someone known to sell a gun.”

        That is an argument against the particular Texas law.


      2. The reason it should be a judicial, as with marriage equality is that control of her own body should be a woman’s right. Both marriage and bodily autonomy are fundamental rights of people, regardless of the state they live in or the consensus of any group.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One of the things that have become obvious over the past few years is how much government depends on consent of the governed, and how much higher levels of government depend on lower levels for enforcement. See, for example, how many states have successfully legalized marijuana despite federal law.

        It’s going to be quite a show when the Biden administration attempts to enforce the vaccine mandates on red states, especially going into the 2022 election.

        I do not understand why Biden got it into his head to do this now, given that we are 2 months into the Delta surge, Delta seems to have finally peaked in most of the US, and up until Labor Day, the US was vaccinating 6 million people a week. A number of low-vaxx states have been vaccinating very hard and fast for the last several weeks. Why mess with that?

        75% of US residents 18-and-over have had at least one shot–we’re getting very close to Pareto territory here.


      4. “Would the anti-abortion activists supporting “state’s rights” arguments against abortion at 7 weeks be OK with a state taken over by extremists that decided to allow abortion into the third trimester, at 33 weeks when nearly all babies survive?”

        I have a big problem with this argument because the limits on when abortion can be performed are medical decisions and should be handled via standards of care by the medical profession, not by legislators or voters.


  5. I know you guys hate my Royal Family posts, but just ignore them. They bring in a ton of traffic. I am in transition mode before starting a new project, so this keeps me amused.


  6. Reading about the German free rapid test program (which they are apparently tuning down in early October in an effort to encourage vaccination without a mandate). I skimmed an article that said the program seems to have been effective in reducing spread during the period when Germany was less vaxed and this article: that said it was useful in opening schools.

    I agree that we should have more rapid testing. Kid in college is being tested regularly (though vaxed). Kid in HS has access to free tests if symptomatic (which means he can be tested rather than just quarantine for symptoms).

    So, with each of these situations what happens with the results? Do students isolate if they get a positive test? At a private school, the student & their siblings have to stay home from school, for 10 symptom free days (or 10 days after the positive test). Should people be required to show tests at the door to eat at restaurants, go to concerts, go to theater? (as in Germany) or even school?

    If the presumption is that people will have negative tests and get go out and be free cards, that’s not how it will work, especially if the tests are accurate and incident rates are high.


  7. In vax data (especially given Biden’s announcement of a significant vax mandate), King county in WA released information about infection/hospitalization/deaths as a function of vax status:

    It was good for me to see. Vaccination is highly effective, even with talk of breakthrough cases and, I can see that my kiddos in school are probably as well protected as they are ever going to be (with their vaccinations).


  8. We got our policy update from our private school “COVID Task Force.”

    –They’re announcing a two-week extension of the all-school masking requirement, but say that they do not foresee this continuing all year.
    –“Our current quarantine policy allows students who are vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days to remain on campus while masked and symptom-free.”
    –Close contacts who were masked during exposure can stay on campus “while masked and symptom-free.”
    –There are some complicated rules about shortening quarantine that I’m not sure I follow.
    –The school stats for the first 4 weeks of school were: Week 1 (0 positive 0 quarantine), Week 2 (9 positives 52 quarantine), Week 3 (2 positives 4 quarantine) and Week 4 (0 positives 2 quarantine). That’s for 400 kids + faculty.
    –Week 2 (when 1/5 of the lower school wound up quarantined) was when we got the masking order for the next two weeks.
    –Last year, there was a very pronounced pattern in the area that for most of the school year, public elementary schools had very few cases and very little spread. It’s a small sample, but so far, our private school has had the reverse. Over the past 4 weeks, the PK-6 school had 9 positives, while the 7-12 building had only 2. (The lower and upper school both have roughly 200 kids.) Of course, the upper school had more cases last year, and all of the upper school kids are eligible for vaccination while almost none of the lower school kids are…
    –I have seen quite a few instances of a beginning of school bounce in COVID cases that resolves pretty quickly–so beginning of school cases are not necessarily a reason to freak out. Hometown U. also had a beginning-of-term surge that has largely resolved.
    –I’m kind of inclined to shut down schools between Thanksgiving and New Years, though…
    –School did a parent survey and collected 260 responses. Parents were 70% for following CDC advice to mask indoors, 61% against having families make their own choices about masking, 53% in favor of shortening quarantine protocols (had been 10 days), and 79% in favor of lifting quarantine requirements for vaccinated kids or for kids who have had COVID in the past 90 days (assuming that they are masked and symptom-free).


    1. “Just two more weeks!” has gotten to be a bit of a meme, but eyeballing local stats, I can see that two more weeks might genuinely make a big difference.

      We are in talks with a very cautious doctor’s family about planning some social events for our (vaccinated) high school boys in about 2 weeks.


  9. Laura retweeted Noah Michelson, who said:

    “Too often the burden of educating the bigoted and defiant and stupid lands on the folks who receive the brunt of that bigotry and defiance and stupidity and it’s exhausting and unfair
    So, every once in a while, it’s nice to hear people just tell those cretins “F*** you!” instead”

    Ah, but then you’ll get fired from your high school teaching job!


  10. Apparently, there’s a Sept. 27 deadline for certain NY entities (not sure which) to get employees vaccinated.

    I don’t know how reputable this is, but the Sept. 27 deadline may create school staffing problems in some schools if they can’t get enough subs, leading to…remote schooling again.

    I don’t know if this is true, but we’ll find out soon!

    I’m glad that NYS is taking one for the team and running the vaccine mandate experiment first.

    LA County is mandating vaccines for students 12-and-up. Their deadline is Jan. 10 for kids to be fully vaccinated. On the one hand, yay, they gave kids more time. On the other hand, one wonders whether the timing is designed to make sure that schools collect funding for the kids’ attendance before kicking them out again.


    1. I’ve thought for a long time that there should be federal vaccine bonuses for certain sensitive positions (like nursing home workers), but I guess people like using the stick better.

      Oh, well.


  11. There’s an awful lot of people up on the Herman Cain Award page lately. To get the award have to be enough of an asshole to put up false information about covid on a public Facebook page, be insulting about it, get covid, die of covid, have a family member who updates your Facebook to say you died of covid, and have someone who follows you who wants to mock you enough take the time to capture, anonymize, and post your alt-right memes on Reddit. Anyway, I’m wondering if enough people aren’t going to know someone dead or dying soon enough that vaccine resistance drops noticeably.


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