November 30, 2021

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Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: More boosters soon to be in the mix

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NY Times:

Here’s what happens next after an F.D.A. panel recommended Moderna and J.&J. boosters.

An independent panel of experts advising the Food and Drug Administration voted on Thursday to recommend a booster shot for many recipients of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, and on Friday to recommend authorizing booster shots of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years or older, at least two months after the first dose.

So what happens now? There are further steps at the F.D.A., then steps at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the process ends with the states. Here’s how it breaks down.

Also significant – the rate of Covid-19 hospitalizations among adults under 50 is about 15 times higher for unvaccinated people than for fully vaccinated people. For those 50 to 64, the hospitalization rate is 31 times higher for unvaccinated people, according to CDC data.

— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) October 15, 2021

Zeynep Tufekci/NY times:

The Unvaccinated May Not Be Who You Think

There has been strikingly little research on the sociology of the pandemic, even though billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on vaccines. The assumption that some scientific breakthrough will swoop in to save the day is built too deeply into our national mythology — but as we’ve seen, again and again, it’s not true.

The research and data we do have show that significant portions of the unvaccinated public were confused and concerned, rather than absolutely opposed to vaccines.

Some key research on the unvaccinated comes from the Covid States Project, an academic consortium that managed to scrape together resources for regular polling. It categorizes them as “vaccine-willing” and “vaccine-resistant,” and finds the groups almost equal in numbers among the remaining unvaccinated. (David Lazer, one of the principal investigators of the Covid States Project, told me that the research was done before the mandates, and that the consortium has limited funding, so they can poll only so often.)

Furthermore, its research finds that the unvaccinated, overall, don’t have much trust in institutions and authorities, and even those they trust, they trust less: 71 percent of the vaccinated trust hospitals and doctors “a lot,” for example, while only 39 percent of the unvaccinated do.

We can agree that as a long-term matter, we would be better served by alternatives to the unpalatable binary choices we often face, but we should also be clear-eyed about the immediate stakes. 3/end

— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) October 15, 2021

Susan B. Glasser/New Yorker:

The Trump Presidency Is Still an Active Crime Scene

It’s hard to consign the Trump years to the history books when we remain in the middle of the crisis that it sparked.

A book from the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, “The Chief’s Chief,” is due out in December; Trump promoted it the other day as “an incredible Christmas present” that will explain how his Administration “did things that no other administration even thought they could do.”

Trump, of course, meant this as a bragging point, not as an ironic commentary on all the norm-busting and lawbreaking that occurred during his four years in office. “Remember,” he said in the statement, “there has never been an administration like ours.” In that, he’s right. The rapidly accumulating pile of books on the history of the Trump Administration is different in a crucial respect: they are not helping to explain the past so much as they are attempting to explain a present and very much ongoing crisis. Meadows, for example, is a crucial witness in the investigation by the House select committee into the events of January 6th. The panel subpoenaed him and several other Trump advisers to give testimony and hand over documents, with a deadline of Thursday. Not one has done so, setting the stage for a new and potentially protracted series of court battles. The panel announced on Thursday that it will seek to hold Steve Bannon, Trump’s fired White House strategist (the two later reconciled), in criminal contempt; it said that it is still negotiating with Meadows and the former Pentagon official Kash Patel. How many months or years will we have to wait to find out what they and others knew, and did, as a pro-Trump mob tried to stop Congress from certifying Trump’s defeat?

Meanwhile, in VA, Dem turnout is roughly doubling GOP turnout thus far. pic.twitter.com/ENxiyxJ0jL

— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) October 15, 2021

Guardian:

Why are Michigan Republicans quietly replacing key election officials?

Last year, the usually under-the-radar board of canvassers became a key part of Trump’s efforts to overturn the result

Monica Palmer, one of the Wayne county Republican canvassers who voted to certify the vote, is among those who are not being tapped for another term. “I think this is clearly an attempt [to ensure] that I don’t remain on the board of canvassers because I did eventually certify the election,” Palmer told the Detroit News last week.

Among the three people Republicans have put forward to replace Palmer is Hima Kolanagireddy, who appears to be the same person who appeared with Rudy Giuliani at a state legislative hearing last year and made racist comments about Chinese Americans.

In Macomb county, which includes the Detroit suburbs, Republicans nominated just one person, Nancy Tiseo, for an opening on the board of canvassers. Tiseo urged Trump last year to “suspend” the meeting of the Electoral College and set up “military tribunals” to investigate the election.

It’s important as a historian to help people understand why and how people in the past understood themselves and made decisions. It is important to understand antisemites and racists and genocidaires and slavers. But not to teach as opposing and equal views, as controversy.

— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) October 15, 2021

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Manchin and Sinema are forcing truly terrible choices on Democrats

A big and morally fraught conflict is shaping up between two major priorities: First, expanding Medicare benefits to include dental, vision and hearing treatment, and second, extending Medicaid coverage to people in 12 Republican states still refusing the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the program.

The first is important to House progressives, and the second is a big goal of many other Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who are also championing expanded ACA subsidies. Though many in each group favor both, negotiations among Democrats over President Biden’s Build Back Better reconciliation bill might force one to be jettisoned.

Odd thing about some of the #VAGov punditry is that McAuliffe’s focus on Trump gets eye-rolls. We’re in a unique situation — an ex-president wants to run again and keeps barging into the news cycle. And we just saw the “my opponent is Trump” message help Newsom turn out his vote.

— Weigel in a Timestack (@daveweigel) October 15, 2021

Jackie Calmes/LA Times:

Why journalists are failing the public with ‘both-siderism’ in political coverage

Yes, it’s critical for political journalists to remain fair and balanced, in contrast with the right-wing network that cynically co-opted those adjectives. And, yes, variations on the word “lie” justifiably made it into the mainstream — something I never thought I’d see, let alone write — to describe what comes out of Trump’s mouth whenever his lips move. Sadly, that was progress.

Yet, now that Trump is no longer president and his words no longer can fire senior officials, move troops or launch bombs, his unhinged utterances go largely uncovered, for better and worse. Better, for everyone’s mental health. Worse, because he is the favorite to be Republicans’ 2024 nominee and perhaps president again, and still commands his party — enabled by his sycophants in Congress, state capitals and thousands of local public offices. Attention must be paid.

27% delta reinfection. A reason why “natural immunity” is not sufficient https://t.co/X1zyQCmd8S

— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) October 15, 2021

Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

Biden Can’t Do Much to Push Democrats’ Bills

A president has limited tools to get contentious legislation over the line.

We’ve reached the point in negotiating the Democrats’ “Build Back Better” bill, which they are still trying to advance along with a bipartisan infrastructure proposal, where both outside observers and participants are saying it’s time to cut a deal — and that President Joe Biden is the one who needs to do so.

The problem? Presidents can’t actually do that. At least … not really.
Presidents do have some options in such circumstances. They can generate media coverage for almost anything they want. They can persuade members of Congress to pay attention to something. They also have a variety of stuff they can attempt to exchange for votes — appointments, executive actions that help a district or a state, publicity for a given lawmaker, and so on.

But what presidents can’t do is order any member of Congress to agree. They can’t even enforce deadlines. And while applying pressure to reach a deal can help, it can also backfire. Publicity might generate pressure to compromise, but if lawmakers don’t hear from constituents, they may learn that the president is safe to ignore. High-profile negotiations and deadlines might force an issue, but can also make any impasse harder to break.
 



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