The political news is fast and furious this week and I want to say a bit about several things today so here we go.
The Self-Defeating Pharmaceutical Firm
AstraZeneca just can’t seem to catch a break with its COVID19 vaccine. A big part of it is that it keeps committing what in tennis they call unforced errors. This week they did it again. On Monday they released results indicating their vaccine was 79% effective in stopping the virus and more importantly 100% effective in preventing coronavirus deaths. (The latter number – while arguably more important – never seems to get much press.) Tuesday we woke up to reports that they had cooked the books (to use an accounting term). This is not the first time AstraZeneca has been “selective” in its verbiage concerning its vaccine.
There are many people who are vaccine skeptics, largely based on misinformation from anti-vaxxers of one stripe or another. Getting sufficient participation in the American vaccination program will soon be a challenge and the liars don’t need any ammunition.
The bottom line in COVID19 vaccination is to prevent deaths and severe cases. It appears this vaccine will do that. All the marketing/management people at AstraZeneca have done is muddy the waters in hope of stealing a bit of market share. Almost the entire global population needs to be vaccinated; that’s plenty of market share even if your piece of the pie is just a bit smaller. If anything, AstraZeneca’s marketing efforts have hurt their product and their name.
D C Statehood
Monday the House held committee hearing on a bill to grant the District of Columbia statehood. Congressional Democrats support it and their Republican counterparts oppose it. The Democrats justify their stance by citing one of America’s founding principles namely taxation without representation. DC residents pay federal income taxes yet receive no voting representation in Congress. In fact they pay more in federal income taxes than over 20 of the current states. The population of DC exceeds that of two current states. The people of the District overwhelmingly desire statehood. It’s simply the right thing to do.
The Republicans biggest objections were that DC doesn’t have any mines or car dealerships. DC does not have any mines, although I’ve been informed that it does have auto dealerships – not that either are relevant to the granting of statehood. The real reasons Republicans don’t want to see DC become a state are politics and racial. DC is majority Black and there is little doubt that, at least initially, the voters would elect a Democrat to the House and two to the Senate.
This is another issue that can’t get passed the Senate under the current filibuster rule. This will not be the “test case” but it is more “fuel” for the reform or eliminate the filibuster “fire”.
Our Gun Problem
In less than a week America has experienced two well publicized mass shootings. One in Georgia and the other in Colorado. Those are two very different states. One is arguably purple with a heavy shading toward red. The other had been purple for a while with much more of a blue tint. One is western the other southern. Both have a mix of gun control and gun rights residents. Yet we see the same problem. What can we expect in a country with less than 5% of the global population yet almost 50% of the private gun ownership?
I’m not going to get deep into the motives of these individual shooters; we have news media and law enforcement for that. As of this writing the Georgia shooter is claiming a sex addiction as his motivation. I am skeptical of that but for the moment let’s accept it. I spoke with a friend last week. She is a professional in her late 40s (I’m assuming); a very bright, responsible, respected and productive member of society. She confessed her guilty pleasure/stress relief mechanism is driving too fast on her commute home. (Fortunately it is only 4 miles and that is a “sin” most of us have committed.) If she were to get ticketed or have an accident caused by her speeding, should she go blow up a refinery?
It doesn’t get the biggest spotlight in the gun regulation debate but I have a problem with open carry. Based on the reports available at this writing the Colorado shooter walked into a supermarket carrying an assault rifle. To use NRA language how are we supposed to tell a good guy with a gun from a potential mass murderer at first glance? Furthermore, in an open carry state a law enforcement officer can’t stop a bad guy with a gun until he shoots it and that is too often too late with the officer often being the first target.
Monday night Alabama Representative Mo Brooks announced he will be a candidate for the US Senate. Brooks has been one of the leading nutcases in the House for several years now. He is running largely in anticipation of a Donald Trump endorsement which I think he will get. In a clear signal Trump associate, Stephen Miller, is already aiding him. While there has been no public announcement it is logical to assume Brooks is a person of interest in the events of January 6th.
There are others on the lunatic fringe of the GOP who already have or I expect to jump into races hoping for Trump’s support. That support will be huge in many Republican primaries but the kiss of death in a lot of state’s general elections.
To all those looking to base campaigns on Trump’s support I have a word of caution. Trump will certainly punish his perceived enemies but he has always been quick to abandon his supposed friends when he deems it in his self-interest. In the case of Trump, his only interest is self- interest.
Wisdom Of The Week
This is a great segment to close on. Rookie Senator Raphael Warnock continues to impress me with his speeches. (Being a preacher probably helps him.) I’m paraphrasing, but when discussing voter suppression efforts in his home state of Georgia he said the following: you can buy a gun and kill people with it on the same day but you can’t register to vote and vote on the same day. You have to admit the man has a point!
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