Tuesday, June 30, 2020

That Didn't Take Long

TMA spokesperson Brent Annear said in an email Monday that TMA's agreement to sponsor the Republican Party convention "will not be revisited."

"TMA signed on as a sponsor for this convention months ago, before the pandemic was a major issue here – before we hit any stay-home suggestions or mandates, mask policies or anything like that," he said Monday. "No conditions like that were discussed."

TMA said it made $5,000 contributions to both the Republican Party of Texas and the Texas Democratic Party in exchange for a brief video advertising TMA's mission at each convention.

"Our staff reassured RPT staff that TMA would advertise in a virtual gathering, but asked that if an in-person meeting would occur to please utilize CDC, state and local guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks," Fite wrote Tuesday.


In an open letter to party leadership Tuesday, Dr. Diana Fite, TMA president, cited the growing number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Harris County as a reason for the Texas Republican Party to cancel its Houston convention. The county has the highest number of cases and deaths in the state.

“The daily chart of active cases in Harris County has been nearly a straight line upward for the past two weeks,” Fite wrote. “As an emergency physician in Houston treating patients with COVID-19, I speak from firsthand experience: It would be best for the health of your conventiongoers and the residents of Houston for the RPT not to hold its biennial convention there as planned.”

I'm guessing they didn't notice this until Monday.  Or maybe they were too focused on the video of "their mission."  Which is what, again?

Trump Insults Nation. Again.

Nation waits patiently for its turn.

When Government is Governed by Incompetence

I fell better and better about the November election.  I don't feel that much better about the future.

"Most at Risk"?

I'm a little confused by what "most at risk" means here.  I don't know about cases in Florida, or in Texas in general.  I do know the majority of cases in Houston are in the 20-40 age brackets.  If you mean "most at risk" for dying, yes, I'll agree, those over 60 (hello!) are more likely to die (they also have the fewest cases, here in Houston).

But this disease destroys lungs, leaves people debilitated, may have consequences we don't see yet.  My mother-in-law lost hearing in one ear to measles (IIRC; it was some "childhood" disease we don't blink at now).  She didn't die, so was she ever "at risk"?  I know people crippled for life from polio.  I don't think the death count was all that high, ever, but does that mean they were not "at risk" before the vaccines came along?

This is a stupid way to guage risk.  By death count?  What kind of monsters do we have running our states?  Does DeSantis imagine he's George Patton telling a soldier in the medical tent to get back into battle, he didn't have a serious wound?  Does he think he's General Turgid:  "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed!  But I am saying ten to twenty million killed, tops!"  Adjusting that for Florida's population, of course.  So what are acceptable losses to the Governor, and what is acceptable damage to survivors?

When did we all volunteer to become sacrifices for the great green god of the marketplace?  Why are we even still having this conversation?
We know who is most at risk?

Regarding “Houston ICU capacity could soon be exceeded as COVID-19 hospitalizations worsen, TMC projects,” (June 24): First, the explosion will happen. Calls for intubation will sound. Every few minutes, physicians rushing to someone whose oxygen saturation is 70 percent. Then you run out of ICU beds. You’ll have nowhere to put patients. You will invent new ICUs, perhaps in the operating room or on random floors. You might see a patient one hour and the next they will be dead. Some will be saturating well at 9 a.m., then intubated by dinner.

You’ll try a number of things and wonder if anything works. Steroids, IL6 inhibitors, remdesivir, plasma. You will have young patients. A normal 30-year-old who maybe had high blood pressure. You are intubating him. A week later you hear he died. Don’t try to find out how anyone you cared for did. They probably died. Medications, machines and staff will dwindle. Pray for relief. Everyone will need dialysis. You may run out of machines.

A week or two after the initial explosion, many will die, drop like flies. Code after code after code. You will see so much COVID you’ll wonder if anyone has any other illness. Your colleagues will get sick. Some will die. And for what?

This was New York City, where I worked in a hospital treating COVID, beginning in March.

I do not know what will happen to you, my colleagues, where there is no lockdown, people don’t wear masks and your leaders can’t make the key decisions that will save thousands.

One thing is clear: This is your real first wave.
Shaoli Chauduri, M.D., New York City

As I was saying....

White Privilege Looks Like What?

Gaetz is right:  this is all of us.  At least "all of us" who think we have the privilege to defend our house and environs (the couple said this crowd as in their "living room"!) with guns.

I had a guy actually drive into my house, at 11:30 at night (it's not the neighborhood you think it is, the way I talk about it), and I didn't go out with a gun in my hand (again, because I don't own one?).  And that guy was literally in my bedroom.

Well, that would be funny.  But this reminds me of when Huey Newton convinced the Black Panthers to carry guns, because under California law that was legal.  Newton was trying to counter the police.  The Panthers suddenly became national figures. I just remember hearing how dangerous they were.  Now I know why I was hearing that.

Would Gaetz and Trump post these pictures if the couple in the house were black?  If they did, it wouldn't be approvingly.

No offense to Garcia fans....

But I keep telling you these guys are "dead heads."

Unfortuanately that's too much on the nose right now.

This is pretty much....

"Black Man in the White House and how did THAT Happen?"

I guess because we disrespected the police?

It's kind of a surprise Trump and Sessions didn't get along better.  They're both thin-skinned whiny white men.  And racists.

Meanwhile, back in Texas

This is only the public sites, in Houston anyway.  There are only two.  There are about 10 testing sites at a private facility, with locations around town.  It's a 15 minute test there, according to news reports last night.  But for inexplicable reasons, the wait at each facility runs to 10 hours.  That's 10 hours to get in and get tested.

There are reports the response on testing can take weeks.  So you could be infected and not know it for the two weeks you should be quarantined.  That's happened more than once.

This is why I tell Dan Crenshaw to fuck right off.

Stats last night showed about 20,000 more (IIRC) mail in ballots by Democrats than Republicans, state wide.  Also showed larger turnout for early voting yesterday among Dems than Republicans.  Overall, I'd say the enthusiasm (it's a primary runoff) favors the Democrats.  Which may, or may not, mean anything in November.  But Trump may be depressing voting by mail.  And I heard one person on local news explaining people in Texas could vote by mail out of fear of the coronavirus, citing the Texas Supreme Court decision.  Hope!

No small amount of confusion in Houston as major hospitals and the Medical Center insist they are not overcrowded, and at the same time, reports say they are near or at capacity. (The two public hospitals are overcrowded, but they aren't in it for the $$$$.)  Probably the hospital CEO's want to tamp down reports of capacity to get Abbott to lift restrictions on elective surgeries (Follow the $$$).  Obviously the Texas AMA is doing just that.

Medicine and politics is an ugly combination.  Has been since at least Reagan was shilling for the AMA against Medicare.

Thot 4 the Day

And then we’ll tell them everything is fine

...and we took care of it. Trust us.

What? I’m old, I’ve earned my cynicism. Trust me.

Black Lives Matter: NIMBY edition

"...fear of imminent and grave."

I know, I'm a lawyer, too.  And I write for publication, and I make typos and errors in syntax, etc.  But really, at least three lawyers looked at this statement, and none of them noticed this?

Yes, the house (which is huge) is on a gated street.  But does that justify this?

Frankly, this is the "price" you pay for living in a gated community next to the Mayor's house.  These protestors are on the sidewalk and in the street, and they come out to the edge of their lawn waving a pistol around?  And the homeowners are the ones "threatened"?

This is why I hate gated communities.

Assuming, arguendo, that is the gate in question, I'm left with a question not entirely relevant to this matter:  why does the Mayor live here?  It's hardly a high security situation.  I know the city of St. Louis well enough to know it's seen better days, and no doubt people who can afford a house like that want to be secure in the city (which ain't the nicest place, for the most part).  I was there 25 years ago, I doubt the city has improved much since I left.  Still, why there?

And why guns?  I mean, I went out one night recently, at midnight, because my neighbor was running  an outboard motor on a boat on a trailer in the street (don't ask).  And actually my neighbor is renting the place from a very nice guy who moved on, unfortunately.  Still, I didn't go out waving a gun (maybe because I don't have one?).  A gun?  Really?  And you still say (through your mouthpiece) that you have a "longstanding commitment to protecting the civil rights of clients victimized at the hands of law enforcement"?  So long as they don't walk down your street uninvited and carrying signs, huh?

The smart play next time is to call the police and stay inside.  Or just stay inside.  Those people weren't even on your lawn.

You live in the Bastille?  That's really what you want to say?

"Like a miracle, it will just disappear"

2020 sucks.

Mike Pence on What Really Matters: Court Packing

That's one problem: this is the other.

Even if you agree with Pence on the Supreme Court's decision (and I don't), the price is simply too high.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Wait a minute

"Banks... served in Afghanistan until April of 2015."  Didn't you just push this back to the Obama administration?  Which means Trump had to know what was going on, or he's been derelict in his duty since he took his hand off that Bible.  Which means he's violated his oath since Day One.

You sure you want to go there?

Besides, by your time line it's been over 5 years since this scandal began.  When the fuck is the investigation supposed to end?  And Trump has been sucking up to Putin all this time?  Why?  Because American troops matter less than Putin being brought back in to reconstitute the G-8?  Really?  That's your defense?

Fact:  you're so full of shit your eyes are brown.

Obviously Barr is gonna have help.  What is wrong with these people?  They're all violating their oaths of office:
You wanna address this, Rep. Banks?

No wonder they'd rather blame the New York Times:

There's not a member of the GOP in Congress who isn't a waste of space.  I hope Sen. Collins is at least 'concerned.'

So it's not fake news anymore?

The question remains:  why hasn't Congress been told?  Which doesn't answer the question:  why do they think this is a defense?

Houston Really Should Do the Same

There's still time left.
After all, what would Abbott do?

Accountability is for Suckers

This Is An Often Overlooked Point

Well, that and we don't have a parliamentary system, or Trump would have faced a "no-confidence" vote years ago, and been flushed out (he'd never have gotten this far, in fact.  He exposes an inherent weakness in OUR system.).

But that "40% support" that's repeated like a mantra or a talisman against evil (or just for keeping the elephants away) ignores both the signal factore that NO PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES HAS EVEN BEEN REMOVED FROM OFFICE INVOLUNTARILY.  So the fact a President persists in office for at least 4 years is not a sign of anything, except a truly obsequious Senate which only wants to see judges appointed because that's what the Majority Leader wants.

Otherwise, Trump's support is....what, exactly?

But that 40% has always been more "meh" than "MAGA!"  Look, the guy couldn't get more than 6000 to travel to Tulsa (and it's always been a traveling show, never a show of grassroots support wherever he plants his foot. He doesn't make a thousand flowers grow where ever he is, he brings the artificial flowers with him).  And many of them were bored.  His support is tissue thin and much of it is "yeah, I guess" or diehard "Anybody but a Demoncrat!"

And frankly, even if all 25% of the people who "strongly support" Trump show up at the polls in November, that's not enough to win in any one state, much less enough states to take the electoral college again.

Trump was never going to "cruise" to re-election.  And he's not running against Adlai Stevenson again.  The question to be answered in November is not: will he lose? It's only:  by how much?


By The Way, Rep. Crenshaw

This is a Federal government responsibility.  The CDC authorizes the tests and the testing.  What have you done to make testing more available for Texans?

Nothing?  That's what I thought.

Fuck you.

Don't Think That's Going To Do It

Call it a "hunch."

Would These Be From the Same People

who didn't want to tell you about the Russian bounties on American soldiers?

Although I like the idea that the polls are a "joke."  No one who wants you to leave office should rest on the laurels that someone else will do the job for them.  I'm still hopeful that's the lesson we all learned from 2016.

Why Can’t They Put Down The Shovels?

Future generations will wonder.

I Remember a Story from Early in Trump's Presidency

About how he regularly tore up and crumpled paper reports after he had read them.  Apparently it was a practice he developed in business, at the urging of Roy Cohn:  never leave a paper trail.

The story was the White House had hired someone simply to collect the scraps and tape the pieces of paper back together.  Word came later that, because of that story, that person had been fired.

So has someone been preserving the Presidential record since then?  Because Trump is clearly a creature of habits he's not going to start breaking now.

Inquiring minds want to know.


Hate to see what she'd call a "forest fire".

The Other Side of the Coin Turns Up

Or should I say:  "the elephant in the room"?  Whether or not the President was briefed is one issue.  Why Congress was not briefed, is quite another.

Apparently only certain members of Congress are entitled to information from this Administration.

COVID-19 doesn’t pay

Elective surgery does.

"It's just the flu!"

I'm beginning to think we're living in a horror story.

The Problem with Long-Range Psychoanalysis

I've known a lot of people like this, as legal clients and as church members.  I would never have thought any of them were pathological narcissists, but they certainly insisted reality conformed to their desires, especially when it didn't.

This kind of thing reminds me of a newspaper astrology column, just with a different vocabulary.

In Advance of the Texas GOP Convention in July?


a) he's modeling this behavior to others.

b) people are just whingers now, and they accept him as one of their own.

c)  both/and


Oh, Dear, What Can The Matter Be?

Well, maybe...

Advisers, meanwhile, are frustrated with the president’s tendency to portray himself as the victim, and have urged him to stop the public displays of self-pity.

“If the election was today, we are in big trouble,” according to one person close to Trump, who like others requested anonymity to share a candid assessment. “Thankfully it is not.”
Speaking Thursday in Pennsylvania, Biden similarly took aim at Trump’s seeming inability to rise to the moment, saying the president is handling the coronavirus “like a child who can’t believe this has happened to him.”

“All his whining and self-pity,” Biden said. “This pandemic didn’t happen to him. It happened to all of us. And his job isn’t to whine about it. His job is to do something about it, to lead.”
Does anybody really think Biden has to say more than that from now to November?

Help is on the way!

And imagine how those grifters and establishment GOP consultants are gonna feel about this, with Trump's support among "seniors" already slipping (although I gotta say, the "Greatest Generation" is pretty much under the sod by now.  My father entered the Navy as early as he could, the war was over by the time his training was, and he died 4 years ago.  At 90.):

(Still, this does make its point.)

Welcome To Our Nightmare

And as long as we're on the subject:

Neither Dallas County nor Harris County saw "tens of thousands of protestors" in their city streets.  All evidence points to no increase in coronavirus cases in New York City or Washington, D.C., despite large protests there.  But cases did start rising after Gov. Abbott opened bars and restaurants in Texas.

No, he really isn't, is he?

The Texas resurgence was predictable. Local officials who wanted stronger rules on masks and crowds and social distancing — in both big and small Texas cities and counties — were right after all. And Abbott, who blocked local governments from acting on their concerns about the coronavirus, waited until case numbers, infection rates and hospitalizations jumped.

You can get ready when a storm is coming or wait until it blows your roof off. Abbott, who’s been reinstalling some of the regulatory safeguards he dismantled in May, dithered until the wind was blowing.

Even as that was happening, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was whistling through the graveyard, saying on talk TV on Thursday that the Texas numbers are rising, but not alarming. “We have seen a spike in cases,” he said on Fox News. “We expected that, because we’re now testing almost 35,000 a day ... so we expected those numbers to go up. Our hospitalizations are up. But here’s the good news. The good news is, we’re not seeing it translate to the ICU units or into fatalities.” 

You know what, Lite Guv?  We are now.  ICU in Houston is maxed out, and signs aren't it won't get better soon.

Peddle stupid somewhere else, Crenshaw; we're all full up here.


So, they’re keeping him in the dark and feeding him shit?

Or he’s trying to do that to us?  Either way, he's determined to take the GOP down with him.

If it wasn't for the coronavirus, this might actually be fun.  Well, that and all the dead Americans the Russians paid for.  Kind of kills the schadenfreude, too.  Come to think of it, there's nothing fun about this.

Shit? Or Go Blind?

Go blind?

But one American official had told The Times that the intelligence finding that the Russians had offered and paid bounties to Afghan militants and criminals had been briefed at the highest levels of the White House.

Another said it was included in the President’s Daily Brief, a written document which draws from spywork to make analytic predictions about longstanding adversaries, unfolding plots and emerging crises around the world. The briefing document is given to the president to read and they serve as the basis for oral briefings to him several times a week.

Asked on Saturday evening how the president could not have known about the report if it had been in his daily brief, a National Security Council spokesman did not immediately respond.

Ms. McEnany notably did not question the substance of the intelligence assessment, saying only that her statement “did not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence.” She also did not challenge the Times’s reporting that the National Security Council had convened an interagency meeting about what to do about the report in late March.

Ms. McEnany did not explain why such an important report would have been withheld from Mr. Trump. Nor did she indicate whether Mr. Trump was upset at his subordinates for purportedly withholding the information from him.
Or shit a brick?

“Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” Mr. Biden said in a virtual town hall event held by a voter group, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.

“His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Mr. Biden added. “It’s a betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation, to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way.” 
Or at least don't notice that Biden is safely "leaving" the basement, while Pence trots off to Dallas to meet with 2200 people in a closed room and no masks.

O my sweet Lord!

I'm guessing the "Freedom from Life" aspect of having 2200 people
jammed together for two hours in a closed room, was just an afterthought.

Ben Carson:

U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson, who rode along with Pence from Washington D.C., along with Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, also addressed the church and urged resilience rooted in "self-sufficiency" against the virus.

"We must learn to dominate the virus and not let the virus dominate us," Carson said.

Sounds like Bill Maher:

“I’m not asking you to storm the beaches at Normandy. Just storm the beaches. And the stores. Go to the mall and buy some pants. Remember pants?”

He urged them to take the necessary precautions (”do the masks!” he said), but said the chances of them catching the virus is “very unlikely”.

He heaped praise upon millennials following news that tens of thousands had signed up to be injected with coronavirus to help find a vaccination.

“What a great way to fight that generation’s reputation for being safety-obsessed scaredy cats,” he said.
Who is, need it be said, an idiot.

"Dominate the virus"?  This is not a wrestling match, or an incel's fantasy of how to relate to women.

How Ben Carson still has a license to practice medicine is beyond me.  How he got it in the first place is a testament to the power of the mind to conquer technical knowledge, and absolutely nothing else.

How Bill Maher manages to walk and chew gum is still under investigation.

More Fun With Metaphors

Still think of that phrase as a euphemism for the dead.

Number of deaths is over 127,000.  I understand that makes us the world leader.  We also lead in the number of cases.  And is it coincidence the hardest hit states are run by Republicans who want to be as aligned with Trump as possible?

Oh, and the thing about icebergs?  They stay underwater.  So whether Trump's "silent majority" is dead or alive, it's not likely to break the surface.

Maybe they're just non-existent.

And there's still this:

It Passes All Understanding

This is just funny.

“Sorry You Have To Go So Soon!”

Does he NOT know what Abbott did on Friday?
Again:  seriously?  Do you know where you even are?

Thanks for nuthin'!  Don’t let the door hit ya!  Come back when you can't stay so long!

That Will Be A Good Morning

But that day is not today. Dammit!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Lines of Communication Are NOT Open

Not goin’ out on that limb.

Can’t Run A Two-Car Funeral Procession

Well, that aged well...

He DID delete a racist tweet

Credit where credit is due.

Tired of this shit, no more Mr. Nice Guy

a)  I'm pretty sure the Governor of Texas did that first.

b)  Blaming people for going to bars and restaurants after you open the bars and restaurants AND (at least in Texas, thanks, again, to the aforementioned Governor) you suspend the authority of local officials (county judges, mayors) to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing rules, is kinda chickenshit.  No, it isn't "kinda," it IS chickenshit.

c)  You're in Dallas this morning, and I'll lay odds you're not wearing a mask anywhere on your trip, and certainly not when you appear in public.  Don't want to piss off the guy elected to the other Constitutional office in the Administration who can't fire you if he wanted to, right?

d)  Fuck you.  I'm older than you, and done with you, and done with false politeness.  I've earned the right to be cranky and honest.  Fuck you.  You're a disgrace.  Learn a lesson from that Christianity you claim to think so much of:  "Go and sin no more."  If you can't manage that, at least pontificate no more.  It's just as bad, and you're no good at it anyway.  You're even a worthless excuse for a public official.

e)  The truth is your Administration and your "team" did nothing about this for months, the CDC issued a set of vague and glittering guidelines which effectively said "Do good", and which nobody, including your own President, even pretended to try to follow.  And now you blame the people for your utter and abject failures?  The fact you aren't ashamed just proves the old adage "You can't shame a whore."  Did I mention how I feel about you?  Let me be sure you heard me:  FUCK YOU!

I hear the dog-whistle

Or I suppose we could say, the context:

“I cherish the progress that we have made,” [Vice President Mike Pence] continued, “for African-Americans throughout our history. And I’ve aspired throughout my career to be a part of that ongoing work. It’s really a heart issue for me. And as a pro-life Americans, I also believe that all lives matter, born and the unborn.”
But honest-to-Pete, "unborn"?  Is that like "undead"?  Is that some reference to all the souls in waiting, anxious at their turn on this earth?  Is that some reference to our responsibility to "be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth"? (We'll argue the proper understanding of Genesis another day.)  Does "unborn" somehow mean the not yet brought to term because not yet pregnant duty of women to get pregnant and bring those souls into the world as babies?

Seriously.  At what point does terminology like this not just become madness and insanity?  "Unborn"?  What the hell is that?  "Born" has a distinct starting point, kind of liked "dead" had a distinct ending point.  Interestingly, "born" and "dead" are both rather transitive states, because birth is a process and death is a process, and "born" and "dead" stand at the conclusion of either, as appropriate, and means the condition established by one or the other.  But "unborn"?  What does that refer to?

Gore Vidal once said "the silent majority" was a term used by Homer to describe the dead.  I've never found the reference elsewhere, and haven't combed Homer to brush out that particular nit, but it's a sensible metaphor.   But Pence is not speaking metaphorically here, so what does the term mean?  It's kind of like "undead," which is a cute way of establishing a fantasticaly middle category between dead and alive, since Dracula (whom Stoker called "undead," the first usage of the word, AFAIK) as animate but not living.  Dead things are not animate.  But "unborn"?

I suppose my daughter was "unborn" the 9 months she was in utero, but I never thought of her that way.  I just thought of her as "not born yet."  "Unborn" sounds like something undone, like "untied" (or "uneducated," but that again would mean "not born").  Of course in that sense "unborn" is....dead.  "Unborn" should not carry the sense of "not born yet," because the prefix undoes what the noun/verb (depending on context!) says.  Or it should.

So, grammar aside (let's not get lost discussing what a noun turns into when it becomes a verb but can still be a noun, leave that to the 19th century Latin scholars), what the hell is "unborn"?  I mean, other than a dog-whistle.  Because it's clearly that; and it ain't much more.

As to why can't Mike Pence say "Black Lives Matter"?  The question answers itself, doesn't it?  I mean:

I cherish the progress that we have made for African-Americans throughout our history.

 just screams:  WHITE MAN'S BURDEN!  As well as:  "Doin' pretty good, ain't we?"  There's more than one reason Trump and Pence still get along.

"Government is not the solution"

"Government is the problem."


"Nothing to see here!"

And then Trump pulled it.

Or probably more accurately, his staff pulled it.

Funny, everybody else heard it:

Trump is on the golf course.  Protecting American troops, or something equally important.

Flattening The Curve!

Round Two:

What's that old line? "If you ain't scared, you ain't payin' attention."

Something like that.

This is not about politics.

This is about people.

It's long; but it's worth reading.  Think of it as coming in lieu of a sermon, today.

This story is not going anywhere

Press The Meat

Chuck Todd asked John Bolton one question about it. He did mention the story is 48 hours old, but his agenda was set 49 hours ago, and he ain’t gonna change it. Of course, he also put Hugh Hewitt on the air again, so....

(Chuck didn’t notice these tweets at all.)