HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » babylonsister » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Next »

babylonsister

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 168,250

Journal Archives

Let It Rip

This is about all we have left.

https://politicalwire.com/2021/07/31/let-it-rip/

Let It Rip
July 31, 2021 at 7:49 am EDT By Taegan Goddard 299 Comments


Andrew Sullivan: “We are at a stage in this pandemic when we are trying to persuade the hold-outs — disproportionately white Republicans/evangelicals and urban African-Americans — to get vaccinated. How do we best do this? Endless, condescending nagging won’t help. Coercion is not an option in a free country. Since the vaccinated appear to be able to transmit the virus as well, vaccine passports lose their power to remove all risk. Forcing all the responsible people to go back to constraining their everyday lives for the sake of the vaccine-averse is both unfair and actually weakens the incentive to get a vaccine, because it lowers the general risk of getting it in the broader society.”

“So the obviously correct public policy is to let mounting sickness and rising deaths concentrate the minds of the recalcitrant. Let reality persuade the delusional and deranged. It has a pretty solid record of doing just that.”

“The government cannot be held responsible for sickness and death it has already provided the means to avoid. People are responsible for their own lives.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 31, 2021, 10:33 AM (38 replies)

The Obscene Hypocrisy of Republicans Blaming Everyone But Themselves: The COVID Edition

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/07/the-obscene-hypocrisy-of-republicans-blaming-everyone-but-themselves-the-covid-edition/


July 28, 2021
The Obscene Hypocrisy of Republicans Blaming Everyone But Themselves: The COVID Edition
They spent so much time owning the libs, they forgot to care about the lives of their constituents.
Nathalie Baptiste


After nearly a year and a half of telling their constituents that it’s their constitutional right to ignore coronavirus guidelines and public health restrictions, it seems to be dawning on leaders in the Republican Party that letting a deadly and very infectious disease run rampant through their states and localities—not to mention the rest of the country—is actually a terrible idea.

So now, as the highly contagious Delta variant is creating a new surge of infections, the time has come to reverse course. But there’s an obvious problem: After feeding a large swath of the country a steady diet of potentially fatal misinformation, distrust in the government, and demonization of the other, while insisting that individual “freedom” is more important than the collective good, it’s nearly impossible to convince the true believers to do otherwise. For decades now, the conservative ethos has been predicated on a selfish individualism that informs everything from social and tax policies to medical care. And of course, this ideology, further amped up by a deranged president, has plagued the US response to COVID-19 since the beginning. Now, we’re all paying the price.

Unlike the early days of vaccine distribution, the US has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to vaccine supply, which has been scientifically proven to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Yet, according to the Washington Post, as of July only 49 percent of eligible people in the US are fully vaccinated. And there’s one major reason for this: GOP leadership—from state and local politicians to members of Congress to the conservative media amplification machine. So now, as 41 percent of conservatives choose not to get vaccinated, cases are up nationwide but especially in states where vaccine rates are low. The repercussions are dire. In Florida and Arkansas, every county is recording “high transmission” rates. In Alabama, doctors describe dying patients begging for the vaccine—but it’s too late.

None of this is surprising. From encouraging lockdown protests to eschewing masks and downplaying the severity of the virus, the GOP followed the lead of its president and underplayed science. Even when its standard bearer, former President Donald Trump, contracted the virus and was hospitalized, nothing changed. Trump had a particularly contradictory stance: at once whining about not getting enough credit for the vaccine, opting to get quietly vaccinated before he left office, and doing nothing to encourage his supporters to get their shots. He just further added to the politicization of it all by making fun of mask-wearing and insisting the virus was nothing to be afraid of even after his hospitalization.

snip//

On a personal level, it can be frustrating to see so many people choose not to get vaccinated. They’ve made things more dangerous for everyone. But railing against them, as Ivey did, is misguided. The idea that personal freedom is more important than public health has become a do-or-die tenet for Republicans—literally. There’s something obscene about seeing them act surprised by what their own voters truly believe. The GOP leadership has turned masks, lockdowns, and now vaccines into a culture war. Conservatives spent so much time owning the libs, they forgot to care about the lives of their constituents. The increase in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths is indeed tragic for everyone. But Republican leaders have no one to blame but themselves.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 30, 2021, 03:38 PM (1 replies)

What's in the new infrastructure bill -- and why it's a big deal


What’s in the new infrastructure bill — and why it’s a big deal
The bill would genuinely impact many people’s lives.
By German Lopez@germanrlopezgerman.lopez@vox.com Jul 29, 2021, 1:50pm EDT

snip//

Here are the areas that would get major new spending:

Transportation projects: The bill would spend $110 billion in new funds for road, bridges, and related projects. It also would commit $39 billion for public transit — which the Biden administration described as “the largest federal investment in public transit in history” — along with $66 billion in rail. It’d spend $42 billion on ports, airports, and related projects. And it would invest $11 billion in making America’s roads safer.

Reconnected communities: In the past few decades of road construction, many American cities have been physically divided by large highways, disproportionately affecting minority communities. The bill would spend $1 billion to reconnect many of these places.

High-speed internet: The bill would spend $65 billion with a goal of providing broadband internet to all Americans, further aiming to boost competition among providers and reduce the cost of high-speed internet to make it more affordable.

Electric vehicles: The bill would put $7.5 billion into a national network of electric vehicle chargers. It would also put $7.5 billion toward electrifying buses and ferries. These actions, the Biden administration said, are meant to create jobs but also help tackle global warming by decarbonizing major components of American transportation systems.

Other action on climate change: The bill would also make several other investments meant to combat climate change, including $28 billion on power grid infrastructure, resiliency, and reliability (in part to help expand the reach of clean energy) and $46 billion to, in part, mitigate damage from floods, wildfires, and droughts.

Clean drinking water: The deal would spend $55 billion on clean water infrastructure, particularly to eliminate lead pipes and other dangerous chemicals in today’s service lines.

Cleaning up the environment: The bill would also commit $21 billion on environmental remediation, particularly to clean up superfund and brownfield sites, abandoned mines, and orphaned gas wells.


more...

https://www.vox.com/22598883/infrastructure-deal-bipartisan-bill-biden-manchin
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 30, 2021, 12:58 PM (4 replies)

Internal CDC document says delta should be treated as whole new virus: More contagious, more deadly

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/7/30/2042861/-Internal-CDC-document-says-Delta-should-be-treated-as-whole-new-virus-More-contagious-more-deadly

Internal CDC document says delta should be treated as whole new virus: More contagious, more deadly
Mark Sumner
Daily Kos Staff
Friday July 30, 2021 · 9:22 AM EDT



Internal documents exchanged among scientists at the CDC indicate that the delta variant is both more transmissible and more virulent than previously suggested. Where most public estimates had put the rate of reproduction around 6, this document places delta as similar to chickenpox where each person infected might be expected to pass the disease to 10 or more others. And, on top of that stomach-dropping number, the document also warns that delta is more capable of causing severe illness.

As The Washington Post reports, the document is actually a slide deck prepared for sharing within the CDC. To say that the document is urgent is somewhat underselling it. The point of the presentation is that “the war has changed,” and that the delta virus is so transmissible, so dangerous that it needs to be treated like a whole new virus. Included in the document are results from studies that are still unpublished, but whose early results are grim.


Some good news …
https://twitter.com/cyrusshahpar46/status/1421127110706483204
One of the factors discussed is that, while vaccinated individuals tend to have less severe illness from the delta variant, they can pass the virus along to others. That has been suspected for weeks and formed part of the background for recent changes in CDC recommendations involving vaccinated individuals wearing masks, but the concern revealed in the document is that existing messaging—one that has suggested that vaccinated individuals should be allowed privileges not given the unvaccinated—are inaccurate when it comes to stopping the spread of delta.

“Sobering,” is one way to describe the document. “Frightening” also works. And what it definitely shows is an agency desperately searching for the right way to deal with an unprecedented crisis.

From the beginning, the CDC has had the extremely unenviable task of trying to design guidelines against a disease that is, as the original name suggested, completely “novel.” The action of the virus, the pathway that it uses in attacking human cells, how it spreads from person to person … all of that was an unknown at the outset. Even so, the CDC had to provide instructions on how the nation should address the threat. It certainly didn’t help that, at the outset of the pandemic, that guidance was heavily distorted by political pressure from a White House intent on downplaying the threat at every turn.

Advice has shifted over time as more information has come in, but the advice from the agency has also been affected by pressure from businesses that pushed back against restrictions, by parents who wanted their kids back in school, and by politicians eager to please both. Pair that with a shifting understanding of how the virus spreads—droplets? surfaces? aerosols?—and wrap it all in a big case of “we don’t know.” We don’t know how many people will suffer long-term damage. We don’t know how long those who have been previously infected are protected against reinfection, even by the same variant. We don’t know how long vaccines will last. The CDC is stuck giving the best advice it can give, or at least the best advice it is allowed to give.

Even when the agency does act, its advice had been rendered toothless by a previous White House that took exactly zero actions on the basis of its recommendations. How long did America go into lockdown? It didn’t. When did America shut down the schools? It didn’t. What were the rules on the mask mandates? There never was one. Everything was left to state and local authorities to interpret, creating an absolutely unworkable hodgepodge of rules that might as well have been designed by the virus itself.

All of this has the effect of not just increasing distrust among those already inclined to believe in anti-vax plots, but of making even those most inclined to support the experts at the CDC suspicious of their veracity. For good reason.

Right now, the agency is spreading a message on masking that backs away from the theme that the unvaccinated can go about their business as normal, but only just backing away. Meanwhile, internally the message is much more simple: “Given higher transmissibility and current vaccine coverage, universal masking is essential to reduce transmission of the Delta variant.”

A disease that has an R0 of 10 or 12 cannot be stopped unless there is a very high level of immunity to that disease. Right now, the CDC indicates that 49.4% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated. According to the official numbers, about 11% of the population has been infected by the virus. That second number is surely a large underestimate, but there are also overlaps between those who have been infected and those who have been vaccinated, so the assumption that around 60% of the population has some level of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 may be pretty close.

However, if those who have been previously infected by other variants of COVID-19, as well as those vaccinated, can still pass along the disease, the effective level of resistance to the delta variant is 0%. Assuming that the vaccines both reduce the chance of infection, and reduce the chance of passing along an infection, that number might be cranked up. But the safer thing is to assume it doesn’t.

The good news out of all this is that vaccination still does appear to give good protection against severe illness caused by the delta variant. That’s a very good thing, because the other big indication from the internal document is that illness produced by the delta variant is more likely to be severe among the unvaccinated.

As vaccine expert Dr. Kathleen Neuzil expressed when speaking to the Post, getting people vaccinated remains the priority in protecting the nation, but when it comes to delta, “We really need to shift toward a goal of preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences, and not worry about every virus detected in somebody’s nose.” And, according to Neuzil, “It’s hard to do, but I think we have to become comfortable with coronavirus not going away.”

That advice may seem like tough love, but it may also be impossible. The simple fact that the delta variant is so much more contagious than previous variants, is able to cause breakthrough infections among the vaccinated, and is so capable of causing more severe illness shows that this novel virus is just getting started. Many of those in the “COVID-19 must have been engineered” camp have pointed to how infectious the virus was at the outset and concluded that steps must have been taken to make SARS-CoV-2 so effective in attaching to human cells. But the opposite conclusion may actually be more frightening—if the original “wild” form of the virus was exactly that, there has been an incredibly rapid progression demonstrating an enormous possibility for “improvement” in the sense of creating something worse.

For the moment, the message of getting everyone vaccinated to protect against deaths caused by delta is a good one. But it can’t be the final message. Because there is absolutely no evidence that this virus is something we can learn to live with, and a massive amount of evidence that we are something this virus is still learning to kill.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 30, 2021, 12:10 PM (1 replies)

Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott team up to give $40 million to support women


Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott team up to give $40 million to support women
Clare Duffy
By Clare Duffy, CNN Business
Updated 3:29 AM ET, Fri July 30, 2021


New York (CNN Business)In a powerful philanthropic pairing, Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott have teamed up to direct $40 million to advancing the power and influence of American women over the next decade.

The donation is being awarded to winners of the Equality Can't Wait Challenge, a competition hosted by French Gates' investment firm Pivotal Ventures, with financial support from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, as well as from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. The challenge billed itself as "the first competition centered on gender and equality in the U.S. with an award of this magnitude and ... an opportunity to invest in and empower women leaders."

The four contest winners — which were chosen from among 550 applicants — proposed various creative ways to empower and improve the lives of women and gender non-conforming people in the United States. They include establishing publicly supported infrastructure for childcare and other forms of caregiving; creating training for women interested in software development careers; accelerating young women's trajectories through college and their early careers; and growing "impactful businesses owned by Native womxn."

Many of these issues have become particularly important given the Covid-19 pandemic's outsized impact on women, which experts have said set gender equality back by years. Each winning organization will receive $10 million for their projects.

more...

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/29/business/melinda-french-gates-mckenzie-scott-women-donation/index.html
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 30, 2021, 09:58 AM (1 replies)

Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott team up to give $40 million to support women



Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott team up to give $40 million to support women
Clare Duffy
By Clare Duffy, CNN Business
Updated 3:29 AM ET, Fri July 30, 2021


New York (CNN Business)In a powerful philanthropic pairing, Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott have teamed up to direct $40 million to advancing the power and influence of American women over the next decade.

The donation is being awarded to winners of the Equality Can't Wait Challenge, a competition hosted by French Gates' investment firm Pivotal Ventures, with financial support from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, as well as from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. The challenge billed itself as "the first competition centered on gender and equality in the U.S. with an award of this magnitude and ... an opportunity to invest in and empower women leaders."

The four contest winners — which were chosen from among 550 applicants — proposed various creative ways to empower and improve the lives of women and gender non-conforming people in the United States. They include establishing publicly supported infrastructure for childcare and other forms of caregiving; creating training for women interested in software development careers; accelerating young women's trajectories through college and their early careers; and growing "impactful businesses owned by Native womxn."

Many of these issues have become particularly important given the Covid-19 pandemic's outsized impact on women, which experts have said set gender equality back by years. Each winning organization will receive $10 million for their projects.

more...

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/29/business/melinda-french-gates-mckenzie-scott-women-donation/index.html
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 30, 2021, 09:23 AM (10 replies)

First Group of Afghan Translators Arrive in U.S. as Others Fear Taliban Reprisal

https://www.thedailybeast.com/first-group-of-afghan-translators-arrive-in-us-as-others-fear-taliban-reprisal?ref=home

First Group of Afghan Translators Arrive in U.S. as Others Fear Taliban Reprisal
Corbin Bolies
Breaking News Intern
Published Jul. 30, 2021 7:22AM ET


About 200 Afghan translators and interpreters arrived in the U.S. Friday after years of helping U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But those still waiting for their applications to be approved are worried the Taliban may kill them before ever hearing back. “We need to get out of the country. They are looking after us,” one interpreter said to CNN. The U.S. said it was working to put some Afghan natives on to U.S. military bases or in other countries to complete their applications in safety, but many fear the Taliban may get to them first. The fundamentalist militia has set up checkpoints across the country, including on the path to Kabul, where applications are being received. According to some of the translators, the Taliban is executing people it believes helped U.S. forces. Another translator said Taliban forces searched extensively for him, burning his house down as he completed an overnight trek to Kabul. To him, “our future will be dark” if he cannot leave Afghanistan.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said in an MSNBC interview that the State Department is facing a two- to four-year backlog of interpreter visa applications.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 30, 2021, 07:36 AM (1 replies)

How Biden Got the Infrastructure Deal Trump Couldn't

https://politicalwire.com/2021/07/30/how-biden-got-the-infrastructure-deal-trump-couldnt/

How Biden Got the Infrastructure Deal Trump Couldn’t
July 30, 2021 at 6:24 am EDT By Taegan Goddard


“President Biden’s success at propelling an infrastructure deal past its first major hurdle this week was a vindication of his faith in bipartisanship and a repudiation of the slash-and-burn politics of his immediate predecessor, President Donald Trump, who tried and failed to block it,” the New York Times reports.

“Having campaigned as the anti-Trump — an insider who regarded compromise as a virtue, rather than a missed opportunity to crush a rival — Mr. Biden has held up the promise of a broad infrastructure accord not just as a policy priority but as a test of the fundamental rationale for his presidency.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jul 30, 2021, 07:33 AM (26 replies)

Connie Schultz: On Jan. 6, I feared for my country, my colleagues, my husband....

COLUMNISTS
On Jan. 6, I feared for my country, my colleagues, my husband. I had no idea how bad it really was.
Connie Schultz
USA TODAY


Before I share my thoughts about the House select committee’s first hearing on the violent Jan. 6 attack on our Capitol, I owe you three disclosures:

I am an American who believes that, despite its many flaws, our democracy is worth preserving. I see the insurrectionists as traitors, egged on by Donald Trump in his last desperate days as a defeated president.

I am a journalist who worried that day for the safety of my colleagues working in and around the Capitol. After four years of Trump calling them the enemy of the people, they were as vulnerable as the members of Congress who fled for their lives that day.

I am the wife of a Democratic U.S. senator. For 40 minutes after the mob stormed the Capitol, I didn’t know if my husband, Sherrod Brown, was safe or even alive. I am one of hundreds, likely thousands, of family members who worried about someone working in the Capitol that day. I would never claim to be a spokesperson for any of them, but I’m the only one who is a columnist. Silence would be a betrayal of the men and women who risked their lives that day to protect the people we love.

more...

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/columnist/2021/07/30/capitol-riot-officers-testimony-january-6/5399814001/
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jul 29, 2021, 10:31 PM (0 replies)

Lollapalooza To Require Vaccination Card Or Negative Test To Attend The Festival

Good luck with this.


Lollapalooza To Require Vaccination Card Or Negative Test To Attend The Festival
July 28, 20216:26 PM ET
The Associated Press


CHICAGO — The hordes of people expected to descend on Chicago's Grant Park for the Lollapalooza music festival this week will be required to show proof that they've been vaccinated for COVID-19 or tested negative for the disease within the last three days.

The four-day festival starts Thursday and is expected to be back at full capacity, with roughly 100,000 daily attendees. After missing last summer because of the threat of the coronavirus, it will easily be Chicago's largest gathering since the pandemic started, and one of the country's.

This year's festival will look very different than in the past. To gain entry, attendees will have to present their vaccination cards or a printed copy of a negative COVID-19 test that is no more than 72 hours old. That means that anyone with a four-day pass who isn't vaccinated will have to get tested twice. Furthermore, anyone who isn't vaccinated will have to wear a mask.

Public health officials and others have raised concerns that such a large gathering, even outdoors, risks turning into a super-spreader event. Officials in the Netherlands were shocked after a much smaller music festival attended by 20,000 people over two days early this month led to nearly 1,000 cases of COVID-19, CNBC reported. That festival had similar safeguards to Lollapalooza's.

Despite the recent spike in cases caused by the highly contagious delta variant, Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said this week that she feels comfortable with Lollapalooza going ahead as planned because of the precautions organizers are taking, saying they have gone "above and beyond." In addition to the entry requirements, organizers have looked at air ventilation for any indoor spaces, made sure backstage workers are vaccinated, will make masks available and will test ticket-takers.

more...

https://www.npr.org/2021/07/28/1021946563/lollapalooza-to-require-vaccination-card-or-negative-test-to-attend-the-festival
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jul 29, 2021, 09:40 AM (9 replies)
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Next »