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Pandemic, job performance and the fight to preserve democracy


NY Times:

Booster shots are keeping older Americans out of the hospital, new C.D.C. data suggest.

That booster shots keep people from becoming infected, at least for a while, has not been in dispute. But the new finding largely supports conclusions from Israel and other countries showing that boosters also are effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization, especially in older adults.

And the C.D.C.’s figures represent the first real-world data showing the effects of extra shots of a Covid vaccine in the United States.

The numbers published on the agency’s website on Thursday night suggest that in December, unvaccinated people ages 50 and older were 17 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who had completed the initial immunization series — without boosters.

But unvaccinated Americans between 50 and 64 were 44 times more likely to end up in the hospital with Covid than those in the age group who were vaccinated and received a booster shot.

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Ed Yong/Atlantic:

It’s a Terrible Idea to Deny Medical Care to Unvaccinated People
Omicron is pushing hospitals to their limit, but the medical system still has an ethical responsibility to all patients—no matter the choices they make.

To be clear, this debate is theoretical: Health-care workers are not denying care to unvaccinated patients, even though, ironically, many told me they’ve been accused of doing so by not prescribing ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, which are ineffective against COVID but are often wrongly billed as lifesavers. Still, I ran this argument past several ethicists, clinicians, and public-health practitioners. Many of them sympathized with the exasperation and fear behind the sentiment. But all of them said that it was an awful idea—unethical, impractical, and founded on a shallow understanding of why some people remain unvaccinated.

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WilliamOckham/emptywheel blog:

THE TIE THAT BINDS THE CONSPIRACIES

This post began as an attempt to figure out who developed the “fake elector vote count in a box” package Republicans in seven states used to create “alternate” elector vote certifications.

It ended up helping me understand the “bigger conspiracy” to which Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel referred. What follows is not an indictment and nothing in it is particularly new. Most of what I describe can be found in various comments here at emptywheel.

I’ve laid out how I think the “alternate” elector scheme played a central role in the coup. I think I understand why it was important for Nessel to refer this to the Department of Justice. Because some of these activities violated multiple states’ laws, it’s easier to show the entire scheme was corrupt.

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Justin Baragona/Daily Beast:

OAN Anchor Assisted Rudy Giuliani on Trump Fake Elector Stunt

Giuliani oversaw a behind-the-scenes operation to coordinate Trump-supporting electors to submit electoral certificates in states Biden won. And Bobb was on those calls.

One America News anchor Christina Bobb assisted Rudy Giuliani on the Trump campaign’s outlandish plan to submit rival Republican elector slates to affirm then-President Donald Trump’s victory in five states President Joe Biden won, according to The Washington Post.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are now focusing heavily on the origins of the rival Trump electors, seeing if it was all part of an orchestrated campaign assembled by the Trump team.

While the operation was conducted in plain sight in Dec. 2020, and cited by right-wing media and campaign officials at the time as necessary for Trump’s legal efforts, the behind-the-scenes operation led by Giuliani is now gathering attention.

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Matt Robinson/Editorial Board:

Reality check: President Joe Biden’s year-one grade? A+
Any other answer is insane.

Yes, administration officials, including the president, have occasionally given confusing or awkward messages or raised expectations too high.  This president has also been more successful in passing meaningful legislation in his first year than any in living memory, leading to truly historic economic gains, lifting 3 million children out of poverty, finally investing in desperately-needed infrastructure, including major climate progress and environmental justice, and saving millions from eviction.

Along the way, outside of Congress, he reversed the Trump administration’s assault on the environment, gotten more judges confirmed in his first year than any president in 40 years, ended the European trade war and stopped the panic of global allies.  

Neither should we be hornswoggled by the fallacy that failing grades are coming from voters. Any pollster worth their salt will tell you low approval ratings are not a serious assessment of performance. They are a mirror of voter’s feelings about their situation.

Amid higher prices and the omicron wave, voters are understandably very unhappy. They voice low approval ratings and grades to pollsters, which is the major avenue they have for signaling that unhappiness, especially the Republicans whose responses account for the bulk of negative Biden ratings.

Again, are voters unhappy about how the world is right now? Clearly. Does this really reflect Biden’s performance? Nope.
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Jane Mayer/NewYorker:

Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court?

Behind closed doors, Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is working with many groups directly involved in controversial cases before the Court.

The claim that the Justices’ opinions are politically neutral is becoming increasingly hard to accept, especially from Thomas, whose wife, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas, is a vocal right-wing activist. She has declared that America is in existential danger because of the “deep state” and the “fascist left,” which includes “transsexual fascists.” Thomas, a lawyer who runs a small political-lobbying firm, Liberty Consulting, has become a prominent member of various hard-line groups. Her political activism has caused controversy for years. For the most part, it has been dismissed as the harmless action of an independent spouse. But now the Court appears likely to secure victories for her allies in a number of highly polarizing cases—on abortion, affirmative action, and gun rights.





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