Dem Notes

* “As you look at 2022, we need to stay united.”–President Joe Biden’s pragmatic message to Democratic activists.

* “We are letting a noisy wing of our party define the rest of us. And my point is we can’t do that. … Some of those people need to go to a ‘Woke’ detox center or something.”–Democratic analyst James Carville. Bottom line: Downplay the counterproductive rhetoric such as ‘woke’ and “defund the police’ and play up the need for candor about societal realities, including police accountability.

* The infrastructure bill, however imperfect, finally passed and America is much better off. And let’s not forget that Trump never managed to secure an infrastructure deal—multiple pledges notwithstanding.

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 530,000 jobs were created in October. As for unemployment, the rate has dropped from 6.3 percent in January to 4.5 percent. On the other economic hand, inflation rose 6.2 percent in October—compared to a year earlier.

* Re: wealth taxes. The U.S. has 724 billionaires and more than 15 million millionaire households—or nearly 12 percent of all households.

* “Nobody elected (Biden) to be FDR. They elected him to be normal and stop the chaos.”–Moderate Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. True, but infrastructure needs and social safety nets that require overhauling and updating are no less necessary.

* “As anyone who has been here for more than a few years knows, the gears of the Senate have ossified.”–Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

* “My advice to Democrats: Don’t bring a briefing book to a culture war.”–Eugene Robinson, WaPo. Indeed, not unlike bringing a knife to a gun fight.

* This Saturday is President Joe Biden’s birthday. He’s arguably had happier ones. When you turn 79 and Glasgow summit news coverage included presidential nodding off and gas passing, it will occasion something less than traditional greetings and 79-candle shout-outs.

COVID Bits

* Global death toll: More than 5 million.

* Africa: World’s least vaccinated area: Approximately 5 percent fully vaccinated.

* 85 percent of those in Singapore eligible for COVID vaccine have been fully vaccinated. The government recently announced that it will no longer cover the medical costs of those “unvaccinated by choice.”

* Russia has reported more than 250,000 COVID deaths, the most in Europe.

* USA death toll: At least 745,000.

* According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the unvaccinated—across all age groups—were 40 times more likely to die than fully vaccinated people.

* A federal judge ruled that a ban imposed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on mask mandates in schools violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

* Tens of thousands of federal workers have requested vaccination exemptions on religious grounds. What would Jesus say?

Florida

* Here’s one sure way to get the attention of University of Florida officials who had been showing more fealty to state politics than to a university’s societal and constitutional charges. Faculty union leaders calling on donors to withhold contributions until UF takes steps to assert its independence from state politicians and commitment to academic freedom.

* As a result of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, at least $13 billion is coming to Florida for roads and bridge repairs plus funding for increased broadband coverage and airport upgrades. It was relatively bipartisan with Mitch McConnell and 18 Senate GOPsters voting yes. But Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted no.

* “History made. Jobs created. Lives and communities will change. This is a WIN!”–Florida state Sen. Shevrin Jones, on passage of the infrastructure bill.

* “The bottom line is we are dealing with a much more ruthless and sophisticated operator than Rick Scott was.”–Kartik Krishnaiyer, Democratic consultant, on the politicized challenges presented by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

* The “Friends of Ron DeSantis” political committee is promoting beer koozies and other merchandise featuring the vintage DeSantis message: “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”

* A new “freedom”-framed Florida law that eases restrictions and encourages people to run businesses from home is encountering predictable pushback. Not all home-based businesses are a good neighborhood fit. Exhibit A: The owner of Popping Smoke Ammunition filed paperwork to start up–seriously–his ammo-supply company from his 2-bedroom home in Lauderdale Lakes.

* A reminder. “Florida’s election in 2020 was accurate, transparent, and conducted in compliance with Florida law.”–Secretary of State Laurel Lee.

* StonerSpeak: “If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis does not order an audit of the 2020 election to expose the fact that that there are over 1 million phantom voters on the Florida voter rolls in the Sunshine State, I may be forced to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for governor of Florida in 2022.”–Trump acolyte Roger Stone.

* Florida is home to 23 of the 25 most at-risk American cities from sea-level rise resulting from climate change.

* Seven of the 50 worst commutes in the U.S. are in Florida.

* Florida is the country’s most dangerous place for pedestrians.

Tampa Bay

* We now have confirmed plans for the 37-story Pendry Tampa (Hoteland Resorts) on the Riverwalk–not Trump Tower Tampa. How’s that for an image-eroding, dodged bullet?

* Thanks to a partnership between Visit Florida and The Michelin Guide, Tampa will be referenced in the Michelin Stars 2022 Guide. But don’t look for Cuban Sandwich kudos.

* “We feel it is Tampa’s time. Right now, to get some funding for our transportation solutions.”–Mayor Jane Castor, on Florida’s—and Tampa’s—expected share of the trillion-dollar federal infrastructure bill.

Media Matters

* “We have a responsibility to consider whether releasing horse race numbers in close proximity to an election is making a positive or negative contribution to the political discourse.”–Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. Bottom line: Polling has never been more challenging—from push-polling and problematic sampling to cell phone scenarios and online misinformation. This is not the Gallup of yesteryear—with respected, professional pollsters and cooperative callees, who appreciated their participatory role.

* According to research from the University of North Carolina, about ¼ of the nation’s newspapers have closed and half of local journalism jobs lost in the last 15 years.

Musings

* “Let’s go Brandon.” That’s the sanitized version of “F—k Joe Biden” now making the rounds in the usual Augean stable circles. It’s a MAGA version of “Sieg Heil.” It’s also a reminder of an old word-play joke that interchanges “typically nasty weather” with “tickle your ass with a feather.” At least that one is (still) funny–and not another example of how subterranean low the bar is on partisan political taunts. Speaking of “typically nasty weather,” Gov. Ron DeSantis referred to the “Brandon administration” at one of his campaign-style events.

* This just in: Avocado glut leaves Australian farmers crushed as prices hit guac bottom.

Sports Shorts

* Pick sick: Thanks, as it were, to unvaccinated, Joe Rogan fan Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers for reminding us that elite, marquee athletes can also be arrogant, disingenuous and stupid. Hall of Fame quarterbacking doesn’t make one a role model outside the NFL’s parallel universe. There is no requirement that they use their high-profile platform responsibly. Ultimately, of course, there’s no immunity from reality. And, seemingly, none from fools. Rodgers isn’t Bart Starr.

* The world’s top-ranked female golfer, 23-year-old Nelly Kora, is a Bradenton native.

* Yo, Gators: The University of Florida has been making the kind of headlines no prominent university welcomes. The academic freedom issue has been beyond concerning and embarrassing, and the Gator football fortunes that can be welcome distractions only added to the humiliation after one-sided losses to Georgia and South Carolina and giving up 52 points to Samford. Samford!

* The Bucs disappointing loss to Washington was a reminder of NFL parity. Where else in football can you win a championship and have, say, five losses as the Bucs did last season?

* Contentious rivals. “We fiercely dislike Mexico’s soccer team.”–USA coach Gregg Berhalter after the U.S. defeated Mexico, 2-0, in a World Cup Qualifying match.

Trumpster Diving

* “The insurrection took place on Nov. 3, election day. January 6th was the protest.”–Insurrectionist former President Donald Trump, still living his lies.

* “When (Trump) ran for re-election, he lost to Joe Biden.”–Former Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, who still hopes, somehow, to be a presidential player in 2024.

* “The president’s refusal to require compliance with the law laid the foundation for the violations.”–Excerpt from a report from the office of Special Counsel Henry Kerner that more than a dozen Trump officials violated the Hatch Act by mixing governing with campaigning before the 2020 elections.

* “100 percent”: The chance that Trump will run again in 2024, according to former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus.

* “Political leaders who sit silently in the face of these false and dangerous (Trump) claims are aiding a former president who is at war with the rule of law and the Constitution.”–Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

* Badge of dishonor. If Steve Bannon winds up serving time—from 30 days to one year—for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, it will, he knows, only improve his brand in Trump world.

* “One hundred percent of my focus is standing up to this administration.”–Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reminding America, yet again, of his party-first priorities. Barack Obama would, alas, understand.

* According to Forbes magazine rankings, Trump is no longer one of the 400 richest people in America. While no one disputes that he’s wealthy, Trump’s net worth has always been considerably less than he claimed publicly.

Quoteworthy

* “In the 20th century, our fates are linked, as is our future.”–Vice President Kamala Harris, at the Paris Peace Forum.

* “The United States and China have no shortage of differences. But on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done.”–U.S. special climate envoy John F. Kerry.

* “We have to be as bold as the voters will bear.”–Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a member of the House Committee investigating Jan. 6.

* “We can’t go too far left. This is not a center left or a left country. We are a center—if anything, a little center right country.”–West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, further “validating” his swing vote status—and center-stage leverage.

* “If we want to get inflation down, I think continuing to make progress against the pandemic is the most important thing we can do.”–Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

* “What a disgusting video from a pathetic man.”–Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, referring to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who posted an animated video depicting him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and swinging attack swords at President Joe Biden.

* “I have learned that it is possible to become strong at the broken places.”–The late Georgia Sen. Max Cleland—who was a triple-amputee Vietnam vet.

* “An underappreciated aspect of the need for infrastructure investment is population growth.”–Linda Bauer Darr, president and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies.

* “The Tampa Bay community stands in solidarity with the Cuban people for human rights, freedom of expression and a better life. Patria y vida to Cuba from Tampa.”–Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor, D-Tampa.

* “She’s not irreplaceable, because nobody is. But it’s going to be difficult to find somebody who has all the characteristics that Judy Lisi has.”—Bill West, chairman of the Straz Center’s Board of Directors, on the announcement that Straz CEO and president Judy Lisi will be retiring.

* “We’d love it if Tampa could evolve into a real critical mass center of blockchain development. This is a great place to live: I’ve said it for a number of years—why not us.”–Tampa Bay Lightning owner and innovation investor Jeff Vinik.

Alas, No Vaxx For Politics

Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for a (Nov. 15-19) special legislative session to “protect workers against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and address employer policies that force COVID-19 vaccination.” It will play well with Tallahassee GOPsters—and be well played on Fox. “Your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots,” disingenuously declared DeSantis.

Too bad the governor didn’t say: “Your right to keep on living is contingent upon society doing everything to contain a pandemic. That’s all of us. We all have to do our part, and I can certainly help that happen. And nothing helps more than vaccinations, as we well know.

“This isn’t about pandering, bumper-sticker ‘liberties’; this is about enlightened self-interest and common sense, public-safety measures. To not back the mandating of vaccinations would be a dereliction of duty and, to be frank, a politically partisan crime against humanity. To leverage an anti-vaccination stand for political profit would be beyond unconscionable. That’s not who I am or, more importantly, who Floridians need me to be.”