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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
Number of posts: 166,966

Journal Archives

FL Gov Extends Ban On Cities Imposing Their Own Mask Mandates--Critic Calls Move A 'Killing Spree'

Nov 25, 2020,03:12pm EST
Florida Governor Extends Ban On Cities Imposing Their Own Mask Mandates—Critic Calls Move A ‘Killing Spree’
Nicholas ReimannForbes Staff
Updated Nov 25, 2020, 03:28pm EST

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended an order that bans localities in the state from enforcing mask mandates, seen as one of the simplest and most effective government measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, even as data shows the strain on the state’s health care system continuing to worsen.

Florida Democrats sharply criticized the governor’s decision, including Daniella Levine Cava, the new mayor of Miami-Dade County, who called it “deeply frustrating.”

Chris King, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, tweeted a local news story about the decision and tweeted: “Alternate headline: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Continues Killing Spree.”

DeSantis’ decision came less than a week after a bipartisan group of mayors held a meeting at which they pleaded for the governor to allow mask mandates to be enforced.

The governor is reportedly no longer returning phone calls from south Florida mayors.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Nov 25, 2020, 05:45 PM (25 replies)

Eric Boehlert: A crack in the Noise Machine -- how Murdoch derailed Trump


A crack in the Noise Machine — how Murdoch derailed Trump
Feedback loop fails him
Eric Boehlert
2 hr ago


For a right-wing media Noise Machine that is defined by its orthodoxy and its willingness to support Republican politicians at any cost, and especially Trump, the break at the Journal undercuts his effort to build a cohesive "fraud" messaging machine. And for that, Trump can blame Murdoch who in recent weeks emerged as Trump's most important and powerful media foe.

Using all three of his American properties, Fox News, the New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch clearly sent a top-down message that he did not support Trump’s move to denigrate free and fair elections. Without those unified voices on the right cheering his every move, Trump’s road to securing even a rhetorical victory became nearly impossible.

GOP propaganda works best, and has proven to be so effective over the years years, when there's a united media front pushing the same lies and distortions. It creates a powerful feedback loop, with outrage talking points being hit over and over. With Murdoch properties often refusing to play along since Election Day, that messaging war fell apart, just like Trump's legal debacle.

It’s clear that it was Murdoch who sent out the dictate and who for weeks has enforced the company line. None of this stuff happens by chance in the world of Murdoch media. There’s no way those media outlets simultaneously decided to oppose Trump in his moment of misinformation need. Murdoch properties don’t work when it comes to partisan politics — he decides. That’s why he massively overpaid to buy the Journal, and that’s why he keeps the money-losing Post in business, so he can use those outposts as personal megaphones. For the last three weeks he's been using them to send a message to Trump, 'Move on,’ especially the hard-right pages of the Journal:


I’m not congratulating Murdoch for any of this, or giving him credit. And I don't know why he chose this moment to oppose Trump. Murdoch remains an immoral man who has done incalculable damage to our democracy. Fox News itself is likely responsible for thousands of Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. this year, as the network has churned out dangerous and deliberate lies about a public health crisis.

The Biden administration should still boot Fox News from the White House briefing room next year, rather than grant them the legitimacy of coveted press credentials. But it’s important to note the role the media play in our politics and how small, rare rifts within the right-wing echo chamber can have long-term consequences.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Nov 25, 2020, 09:31 AM (11 replies)

'Don't be like my family': Fifteen relatives got Covid-19 after a small gathering

'Don't be like my family': Fifteen relatives got Covid-19 after a small gathering
"My family has taken every single precaution with the exception of one and that exception has cost us so much."
Nov. 25, 2020, 7:41 AM EST
By Meghan Holohan

The Aragonez family feels that they’re just like other families navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. They strictly followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention precautions, but after eight months, they ignored one rule and gathered in someone’s house. Now, they’re sharing their story in the hopes that others won’t make the same mistake.

“My family has taken every single precaution with the exception of one and that exception has cost us so much,” Alexa Aragonez, 26, of Arlington, Texas, told TODAY. “We’re not some family that is outside of the norm. Unfortunately, we are the norm. Families gather together because we’re tired. We want to return back to normal life. But we just can’t do that yet because the pandemic is not over.”

After an impromptu birthday party, 15 members of the Aragonez family tested positive for COVID-19, with Aragonez’s mother spending seven days in the hospital. The family recorded a video hoping that their experience with a family get-together would show how easily the coronavirus spreads.

“I am quite fortunate that I can say that I didn’t lose 15 members of my family,” Aragonez said. “A lot of people in this nation are not as fortunate."

A birthday party leads to numerous COVID-19 cases

Everyone in the family was careful to take the coronavirus restrictions seriously and wore masks and avoided going to bars or restaurants and skipped church services. That’s why, in part, they thought it would be safe to attend a birthday party.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Nov 25, 2020, 08:45 AM (6 replies)

Mom Who Says Masks Are Child Abuse Throws Kid 250-Person Homecoming Party

I can't even. So who will take responsibility should any of these kids get sick, or die? We know this isn't the end of it.

Mom Who Says Masks Are Child Abuse Throws Kid 250-Person Homecoming Party
Olivia Messer 11 hrs ago

In any other year, a glittering homecoming dance in McDonough, Georgia, wouldn’t be controversial.

But during the raging coronavirus pandemic, from which at least 257,072 Americans have died, Ola High School had no plans to host a mass gathering of singing and sweating teenagers. So parents in the town about 35 miles south of Atlanta did it themselves, with few precautions, on Nov. 14.

Photos on social media show students wearing bronzer and hoop earrings. Boys wore rented tuxedos and boutonnières to match their dates’ blue satin. Bright green homecoming court sashes sat draped across sequin dresses and giant crowns rested atop loose curls.

“It’s my daughter’s senior year, so I hosted a dance,” one parent, Beth Knight, told The Daily Beast over Facebook messenger. “It was terrific.”

“We sold over 300 tickets, but only about 250 kids actually showed up because they were warned by teachers and coaches that they should not attend because of the virus,” Knight added. “The kids who came had fun.”

A trawl of social media accounts linked to the event—with not a mask in sight—appeared to confirm that. It was just the latest in a laundry list of weddings, dances, religious gatherings, and concerts that appeared to flout public health guidance as pandemic fatigue set in across the country. Couples, parents, and church leaders have gathered in crowds together despite months of repeated messages from authorities about masks and hand-washing and distancing—and warnings about an impending, deadly holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Nov 24, 2020, 04:34 PM (16 replies)

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleads guilty in criminal case

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma pleads guilty in criminal case
an hour ago

Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty Tuesday to three criminal charges, formally taking responsibility for its part in an opioid epidemic that has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths but also angering critics who want to see individuals held accountable, in addition to the company.

In a virtual hearing with a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, the OxyContin maker admitted impeding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to combat the addiction crisis.

Purdue acknowledged that it had not maintained an effective program to prevent prescription drugs from being diverted to the black market, even though it had told the DEA it did have such a program, and that it provided misleading information to the agency as a way to boost company manufacturing quotas.

It also admitted paying doctors through a speakers program to induce them to write more prescriptions for its painkillers.

And it admitted paying an electronic medical records company to send doctors information on patients that encouraged them to prescribe opioids.

The guilty pleas were entered by Purdue board chairperson Steve Miller on behalf of the company. They were part of a criminal and civil settlement announced last month between the Stamford, Connecticut-based company and the Justice Department.

The deal includes $8.3 billion in penalties and forfeitures, but the company is on the hook for a direct payment to the federal government of only a fraction of that, $225 million. It would pay the smaller amount as long as it executes a settlement moving through federal bankruptcy court with state and local governments and other entities suing it over the toll of the opioid epidemic.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Nov 24, 2020, 04:27 PM (2 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Getting Through the Next Two Months of Hope and Dread


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Getting Through the Next Two Months of Hope and Dread

1. It is okay to feel hopeful in the wake of the ascertainment of the election of President-Elect Joe Biden, thus starting the transition from the catastrophic fuckstorm of Donald Trump's presidency. Everyone who was supposed to do their jobs decided to finally do their jobs, from the state canvassers in Michigan to the General Services Administrator. In one consequential day, we went from "Oh, Christ, this fucker might have a chance to steal this election" to "Thank Christ, this fucker is actually going to be gone." Between that fact and the vaccine light at the end of the COVID tunnel, for the first time in years, it's possible to envision a future. Not a perfect one, not an easy one, but one where there's a chance to move again towards "more perfect," where we take on the difficult tasks like climate change and poverty. No, I'm not blinded by hope to think any of this won't be a daily struggle against people who despise us and with people on our own side who want to do more or do less. But, goddamn, the air feels lighter, less weighted with the miasma of unending despair that has filled our noses and lungs. And it's just fine to enjoy breathing that cool breeze for a bit.

2. It is okay to feel dread for the damage that Trump can and will do over the next two months that he's in office. Trump and the vindictive cuntfleas he has surrounded himself with will seek to undermine the Biden administration in ways trivial and in ways important. Right now, they're wrecking trust in our elections by insisting that this one was corrupt and stolen and that they've lost only because the complicit courts won't let them present their secret evidence or some fucking thing. It doesn't matter. What matters is destroying as much of that nation's faith in the federal government - hell, in all governments run by Democrats - that they can, as well as discrediting voters from people of color who live in those Democratic places. And this sabotage extends to fucking up the United States's place in the world by undermining treaties like Open Skies. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see Trump start a conflict with Iran or break diplomatic ties with an ally or NATO as a pissy middle finger to anyone who questions his idiotic "America First" policy. We can be pretty sure they're all destroying records as quickly as possible, as many as they can get away with, covering up what are likely voluminous numbers of crimes. And we've gotta survive the next two months of inaction on COVID, including underfunded preparation for the vaccine rollout. Yeah, there's a fuckton to dread.


4. It's okay to want Trump and this administration brought to justice. I wrote about my fears that Biden won't do that back last December, and there's much more to say. However, I wouldn't expect any movement on that front until after the Georgia runoffs. You don't want to turn Trump into a MAGA martyr yet. Let's get them to depress the GOP vote so we can possibly get the Senate.

5. Mostly, keep telling yourself this: There will be a January 20th, 2021. There will be a vaccine. And then we gotta put on our work boots and step into the shit to clean it all up.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Nov 24, 2020, 04:21 PM (5 replies)

Charles P. Pierce: This Is More than Another Line on John Kerry's Resume


This Is More than Another Line on John Kerry's Resumé
The very creation of his new position—Special Envoy for the Climate Crisis—is a signal that the climate crisis is now a national-security crisis.
By Charles P. Pierce
Nov 23, 2020

Secure in the knowledge that the Colorforms lawsuits brought by the opposition will continue to be objects of ridicule among federal judges and courthouse coffee-shop operators, Joe Biden began to roll out his Cabinet picks on Monday. Mostly, this was Biden's putting together a national-security team with whom he was most comfortable. (The closest recent parallel to Biden and his Secretary of State-designate Tony Blinken probably is George H.W. Bush hiring James Baker.) No Team of Rivals stuff here. The Blinken choice is as Establishment as it gets.

However, some of the other choices are more innovative and, therefore, more intriguing. Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to head the Department of Homeland Security, which is a giant departure from the current, Stephen Miller-infected regime. Serious study has to be done about reforming ICE and the Border Patrol, which have been allowed to run riot over the past four years. (I first heard of him as the U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted Heidi Fleiss, the so-called "Hollywood Madam." ) An immigrant from Cuba, Mayorkas worked as a deputy at DHS during the Obama administration and also was involved in that administration's outreach to Cuba. His confirmation to the DHS post was a bit stormy; the Republicans boycotted his confirmation hearing, so we should all keep an eye on that.

John Kerry's appointment as the Special Envoy for the Climate Crisis is an extraordinarily hopeful sign. Hell, the very creation of the position is an extraordinarily hopeful sign. (Kerry already has been proclaimed the Climate Czar by our nation's headline writers.) In accepting the position, Kerry said:

America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is. I'm proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President's Climate Envoy.

Kerry's appointment—which, since it is a position on the National Security Council, doesn't need Senate approval—pretty well cinches that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, which Kerry helped fashion during his time as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. And his appeal to young people, who currently make up the energetic base for action on the crisis, shows that he's been paying attention to the people paying closest attention, not unlike his former Massachusetts colleague in Congress, Ed Markey, another septuagenarian who won re-election to the Senate because of his career-long involvement with environmental issues. It's more than another line on Kerry's already impressive political CV. It's a loud warning signal that the climate crisis is now a national-security crisis. Which is about time.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Nov 23, 2020, 03:45 PM (8 replies)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Offers to Help Biden-Harris Administration with Coronaviru


Posted on Mon, Nov 23rd, 2020 by Alan Ryland
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Offers to Help Biden-Harris Administration with Coronavirus

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has offered to help President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as soon as they’re in office.

“I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials in order to share their experience on things we’ve learnt on our Covid-19 journey,” Ardern said after she had her first joint meeting with both the president-elect and vice president-elect.

Ardern added that she emphasized “the importance of organizations like the World Trade Organisation to a country like New Zealand … [and] our eagerness to support work to unblock some of the issues we’ve experienced.” She said President-elect Biden “spoke positively about New Zealand’s response to the pandemic.”

Under Ardern’s leadership, New Zealand has eliminated Covid-19 twice. The country has recorded just 25 deaths and 2,030 cases since the pandemic began. By contrast, the United States has recorded more than 256,000 deaths and recently broke 12 million cases as the global epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic.

The news is a far cry from Ardern’s relationship with President Donald Trump and his administration, who have weathered harsh criticism for undermining the severity of the pandemic as well as the pandemic response.

Over the summer, Ardern responded to President Donald Trump’s claim that the country was struggling with the virus after containing an outbreak. (On the same day that New Zealand reported just nine new cases, the United States reported 40,612. Despite this, Trump suggested that New Zealand’s response to the virus had faltered.)

“We are still one of the best-performing countries in the world when it comes to COVID,” Ardern said at the time. “Our workers are focused on keeping it that way.”

“Obviously it’s patently wrong,” Ardern said when journalists asked her about Trump’s comments. “I don’t think there’s any comparison between New Zealand’s current cluster and the tens of thousands of cases that are being seen daily in the United States. Obviously, every country is experiencing its own fight with COVID-19. It is a tricky virus, but not one where I would compare New Zealand’s current status to the United States.”

Posted by babylonsister | Mon Nov 23, 2020, 03:17 PM (15 replies)

Biden's dull-by-design plan

Works for me!


2 hours ago - Politics & Policy
Biden's dull-by-design plan
Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei

The most remarkable part of President-elect Biden’s campaign and early picks for positions of true power is the unremarkable — and predictable — nature of his big moves.

Why it matters: Biden is obsessed with bringing stability and conventional sanity back to governance. "He is approaching this — in part — like an experienced mechanic intent on repairing something that's been badly broken," said one source familiar with the president-elect's thinking.

The picks — including Tony Blinken for secretary of state, which leaked last night and is to be announced tomorrow — fit with Biden's penchant for sticking to comfort foods when it comes to people, policies and political techniques.

"He knows everybody. But these are the people he really knows, and he's going with 'em," a former Obama-Biden official told Axios.

The official said: "Biden wants process. Trump was the anti-process guy. Their idea is that process is their friend."

The big picture: All modern White Houses are oligarchies — authentic power is held by just a few. So pay closest attention to the chosen few who are inserted into the real inner circle.

Blinken was national security adviser to Biden when he was V.P., before becoming President Obama's principal deputy national security adviser, then deputy secretary of state.

Other longtime Biden hands on the new White House team:

Senior adviser Mike Donilon has been an adviser and consultant to Biden since 1981.

Chief of staff Ron Klain, who first worked for Sen. Joe Biden in the late '80s, was later Biden's chief of staff as vice president, then White House Ebola response coordinator.

Cathy Russell, the White House director of presidential personnel, worked on Biden's 1988 presidential campaign and was chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden in the White House, before becoming U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State during the Obama Administration.

Counselor Steve Ricchetti went to work for Biden in the White House in 2012.

Jake Sullivan, a longtime Biden and Hillary Clinton adviser, is expected to be named national security adviser.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Nov 23, 2020, 09:46 AM (7 replies)

Eric Boehlert: Trump's not "sulking," he's waging war on democracy

Trump’s not “sulking,” he’s waging war on democracy
Don't normalize this
Eric Boehlert
1 hr ago

Trump’s election sabotage campaign is running out of time, but the damage he’s inflicting will have long lasting consequences. Covering this unprecedented attack on American election integrity, the press is still not being honest about Trump’s ruinous final chapter.

The Daily Beast last week reported on Trump’s “quixotic and potentially destructive effort” to steal a victory. “Quixotic” and “possibly destructive”? He’s the first president in 240 years who has not accepted the election results, after losing by six million votes. Worse, he’s been on a three-month crusade to denigrate free and fair elections in America, and he’s making it impossible for there to be a smooth transition of power.

This is so far beyond “quixotic.” Of course it’s destructive to our democracy — does anyone think the Republican Party will soon return to the days of rationally accepting ballot results? The GOP has blown a permanent hole in our election process.

A hallmark failure of the press for four years has been that it refuses to use the proper language, to describe the truly lawless nature of Trump and today’s GOP.

Instead of referring to his treasonous post-election behavior surrounding the would-be coup by a power-hungry authoritarian out to steal an election, we get news updates about Trump’s “tactics,” his vague “moves” and “chicanery”; his legal “strategy” and “power play” while “sulking” and “brooding” inside the White House. None of that captures the historic events that have unfolded since Election Day. Events that if they occurred in a foreign country would be covered much differently by the American press.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Nov 23, 2020, 08:19 AM (7 replies)
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