Anti-Vaxx Cops

Among the most outrageous, gobsmacking vaccination-mandate scenarios: resistance from those in law enforcement. It’s disturbingly ironic that a number of those charged with public safety can’t fulfill their critically necessary roles during a pandemic that has already killed more than 700,000 Americans. From Massachusetts state troopers to Chicago cops, officers and their unions have been pushing back—and sometimes resigning—over required vaccinations.

Another irony besides being contrary to the public-safety calling: Vaccinations are self-serving. Cops can’t maintain social distance on the job and can’t mask everything. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 460 American law enforcement officers have died–at least 125 since August–from COVID infections linked to their work. That’s more than four times as many officers who have died from the virus as from gunfire. “If this was cops getting shot on the streets of America today at this number, there would be outrage,” underscored Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

Dem Notes

  • The White House recently (virtually) convened a 30-nation gathering to strategize and combat ransomware. One country was notably omitted: Russia. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called it “an integrated effort to disrupt the ransomware ecosystem.”
  • Another post-Trump, international box checked: The U.S. has now regained a seat on the 47-member, United Nations Human Rights Council. The previous administration dropped out in 2018. Under President Biden, American isolationism has been reversed as the U.S. is also back as a member of the World Health Organization, re-entered the Paris climate accord and restored funding to UN agencies that had been cut.
  • “People believed demography is destiny, but we actually have to go out and convince those people to vote.” That was Cristina Tzintzun-Ramirez, who leads NextGen America, which is targeting younger Texas voters—including 1.1 million between the ages of 18 and 30 who are registered but have not cast ballots consistently in recent elections. Speaking of demographics, people of color accounted for 95 percent of Texas’ growth in the past decade. White Texans now make up less than 40 percent of the state’s population.
  • Convincing likely like-minded voters to actually cast ballots is a familiar and necessary goal of political parties and their grass-roots priorities. It also a sobering reminder that the viability of America’s manifestly vulnerable democracy requires convincing lots of Americans that exercising their right to vote is flat-out necessary.
  • When it comes to doing everything possible and practicable to help avoid an existential climate-change disaster for America and the planet, “moderation” and “centrism” can no longer be countenanced on the Democratic side. The other side, the Trump-sycophant, science-skeptic, party-first crowd, is already a lost cause.
  • With the Senate out of session last week, some Dems were in Europefundraising. That included Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema and Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. While political parties and campaigns cannot raise money from foreign nationals, they can accept contributions from American citizens living abroad.
  • “The Biden Administration set out with hopes for bold change–‘transformational’ was the word in thewinter. But in the autumn, ‘disarray’ is ubiquitous.”—James M. Curry and Frances E. Lee, co-authors of “The Limits of Party: Congress and Lawmaking in a Polarized Era.”

COVID Bits

  • “Vaxathon”: An 8-hour, New Zealand festival—on TV and online—of musicians, celebs and sports stars as health care workers administered vaccinations.
  • Vaccination is the answer to get us to (COVID) control.”—Dr. Anthony Fauci.
  • Unemployment claims recently dropped to 293,000, according to the Labor Department. That’s the first time claims have dipped below 300,000 since the pandemic intensified in March 2020.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices were up 5.4 percent in September compared to a year ago, as the delta variant continues to impact supply chains.

Florida

  • Leon County was fined $3.5 million by the state for violating the ban on vaccination mandates and firing workers who chose not to get vaccinated. “No one should lose their job because of (COVID) shots,” explained Gov. Ron De Santis. Too bad he didn’t say: “No one should have the unilateral right to do that which is society-imperiling wrong during a pandemic. Obviously.”
  • According to data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Florida isn’t running low on its supply of monoclonal antibodies. State hospitals had more than 20,000 doses.
  • “Not while I’m governor.”—Gov. Ron DeSantis, on marijuana legalization. We’ll be seeing that quote again—courtesy of DeSantis—as well as Charlie Crist, Nikki Fried and Annette Taddeo.
  • Among the 18 GOP states who have thrown their formal support behind Texas’ abortion law: Florida.
  • “What we do in Florida is, there’s a pre- and post-election (voting) audit that happens automatically. So, that has happened. It passed with flying colors.”—That was Gov. Ron DeSantis, recognizing reality and not enabling fraud conspiracists.

Tampa Bay

  • Brightline is now targeting 2028 as the opening date for rail service from Miami to Tampa via Orlando. The site of a Tampa station has not yet been revealed. Too quick takeaways. Yeah, thanks again, Rick $cott, for turning down federal (read: Obama) money in 2011 for a light rail, megalopolis line from Orlando to Tampa. It would be up and running on budget by now. Also, a Tampa rail station could be a critical part of any Rays’ Ybor stadium scenario. Its Tropicana lease ends at the termination of the 2027 season.
  • Cross Bay Ferry service resumed this week (Thursday, Oct 21) and will run through May. The service, which is underwritten by Hillsborough and Pinellas counites and the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, will become year-round in October 2024.
  • A report by Price Waterhouse Cooper and the Urban Land Institute ranks the Tampa Bay region 5th in the nation for overall real estate prospects. Nashville topped the list.
  • USF is looking to become an official Hispanic-Serving Institution, which is a U.S. Department of Education designation for schools with at least 25 percent of students identifying as Latino. Currently, Latino students comprise 22 percent of the USF student body.

Media Matters

  • “The media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preferences. They think you become like a politician. That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize faith in legal institutions.”—Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, speaking at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Netflix has gone from the underdog and outsider poking the establishment to the epicenter of the Hollywood establishment. …It’s a global company with massive international ambitions.”—Stephen Galloway, dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.
  • Starting in 2018, Instagram directed almost all of its marketing at teens, mostly through the use of digital ads.

Musings

  • A non-profit, the Majeed Foundation Inc., has landed the naming rights to The Pier in St. Petersburg. Majeed, which is dedicated to supporting fine arts, beautification and food-insecurity relief, plans to donate $2 million. Good community move. Plus, it sounds a helluva lot better than, say, the “1-800-ASK-GARY Pier.”
  • What William Shatner said to Jeff Bezos after Shatner’s Blue Origin rocket ride: “What you have given me is the most propound experience I can imagine.” What Jeff Bezos might have said to William Shatner: “Thank you again, Shat, for ensuring maximum media coverage and free marketing for my human spaceflight business.”
  • Signs of the times. Highway: “Texting While Driving—Oh Cell No.” Vet Hospital: “If Cats Could Text You Back, They Wouldn’t.”

Sports Shorts

  • BTB (before Tom Brady), the Buccaneer franchise had six 44+ point outputs from its first 44 years of existence. The Bucs have scored at least 44 points six times since TB arrived in Tampa Bay last year.
  • “Taunting” is a controversial football penalty. As in somebody’s “taunt” is someone else’s “trash talk” or “smack.” Let’s cut to the chase and avoid semantics. Just call it what it is: “showing no class.”

Trumpster Diving

  • “Trump thinks he can steal the (2024) election. … Across the country, Republicans are pushing out professional election administrators and replacing them with Trumpist conspiracy theorists who say the 2020 election was stolen.”—Paul Waldman, WaPo.
  • “Barring health problems, (Trump) is running.”—Robert Kagan, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute.
  • Herschel Walker, the black Georgia football icon, canceled his Texas fund-raiser over the presence of a swastika, but didn’t actually condemn it. Now we know where he draws the line–sort of. Too bad one wasn’t drawn over his fawning, House Negro fealty to Donald Trump.
  • There was a time when the Republican Party stood for conservative principles. From fiscal restraint to personal responsibility. Now its “principles” are reduced to two priorities: reclaiming power and bowing and scraping to Donald Trump.
  • Speaking of Trump’s impact—and self-serving, spineless GOPster fealty—the Senate’s most senior Republican, Iowa’s 88-year-old Chuck Grassley, has accepted the endorsement of Trump and will run for an 8th term. “I was born at night, but not last night,” said Grassley. “So if I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person who has 91 percent of the Republicans in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart. I’m smart enough to accept that endorsement.” This is how the most senior senator wants his final run, if not legacy, to be remembered? He was endorsed by the worst American president ever. Not smart.
  • The Renew America Movement is hoping to restore a common-sense coalition in Washington instead of risking the wrath of Trump and his GOPster acolytes if they take back leadership in America. To that end, RAM, which includes former Department of Homeland Security (during the Trump Administration) official Miles Taylor and former Republican governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman, will be releasing a slate of nearly two dozen Democratic, independent and Republican candidates worth supporting in 2022. As for 2024: Liz Cheney for president?
  • Too often white evangelicals have looked to strongman political saviors to restore their dominant place.”—David Brooks, NYT.

Quoteworthy

  • “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation.”—James Madison.
  • “As our communities and companies grapple with climate risk, we need to arm them with better climate data—empowering decision-makers across our country and economy with information and insights on how to operate in our ‘new normal.”—Ali Zaidi, deputy national climate adviser.
  • “Get mad, then get over it.”—Former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
  • “There’s lots of demand, and people are seizing that opportunity and quitting their jobs.”—Nick Bunker, economist at the jobs site Indeed, on data that has shown that some 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August—about 2.9 percent of the workforce.
  • “Congress is as ugly and constipated a mess as ever; the decades Biden spent there didn’t endow him with some laxative magic.”—Frank Bruni, New York Times.
  • “What I see is a pretty normal exercise in legislative give-and-take, except that it’s all happening within the Democratic Party—while Republicans hoot, holler and obstruct from the peanut gallery.”—Eugene Robinson, Washington Post.
  • “Third parties are like bees: Once they have stung, they die.”—The late historian Richard Hofstadter.
  • “Chief Justice John Roberts, who did not want the court to be seen as too extreme, has lost control because there are five more rabid conservatives running over him.”—Maureen Dowd, New York Times.
  • “I am an historian who has learned through a lifetime of studying that nothing in the world beats universal education, women’s rights, freedom of religion, democracy, an openness to all ethnic groups, the will to admit that terrible mistakes have been made—slavery, imperialism, segregation—and a determination to correct those mistakes.”—The late Stephen E. Ambrose.
  • “I have always been—and remain—a skeptic of third parties, because they punish the party they have the most in common with.”—Jonah Goldberg, Tribune Content Agency.
  • “Rational Republicans are losing the party civil war. And the only near-term way to battle Trump extremists is for all of us to team up on key races and overarching political goals with our longtime political opponents: the Democrats.”—Miles Taylor, who served at the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019 and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey and EPA administrator under President George W. Bush.
  • “It’s a huge economic driver. We’re thrilled that we’re back.”—Visit Tampa Bay CEO Santiago Corrada, on the return of the first cruise ship—Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas—to sail out of Port Tampa Bay in more than a year and a half.
  • “We have been on the world stage, and people have seen what we’ve been doing. I think it’s been to our benefit.”—Lynda Remund, president and CEO of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, on the media exposure that accompanied championship boat parades.