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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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MARCH 4,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

THIS DATE – Why is March 4th so significant?  Starting with George Washington's second inaugural,  March 4th became the official date for the inauguration of the president.  There were exceptions.  If March 4th fell on a Sunday, the inauguration would be held on a Monday.  Or, in the case of the death or resignation of a president, the new president was sworn in immediately.  The official date was changed to January 20th, in time for Franklin D. Roosevelt's second inaugural in 1937.   It was felt that the March 4th date had been appropriate in an age of slow travel, but was obsolete in the new age of fast trains and faster planes.  We still make the change more slowly than many other countries.  In Britain, if the prime minister is tossed out of office by a national election, the new chap usually moves into the official residence at 10 Downing Street the next day.  Doesn't even get a paint job.

OUTRAGEOUS – FROM FOX:  Amazon continues to generate headlines for canceling content that doesn’t coincide with its liberal politics, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas appears to be the latest victim.
The documentary film about Thomas, "Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words," was removed from Amazon’s streaming service last month, and the filmmaker said he was never given an explanation.
"What Amazon has done is a disservice to anyone—black or white—who is interested in the rich history of black Americans," Wall Street Journal columnist Jason L. Riley wrote about the decision.  The film features extensive interviews with Thomas and chronicles his journey from "the depths of poverty" to the Supreme Court and everything in between, including his contentious confirmation hearings where Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment.   I thought this was the United States, where freedom of expression is cherished.  Apparently I was misinformed.

March 4, 2021       Permalink

 

IS IT OKAY TO COME OUT OF OUR BOMB SHELTERS? – AT 11:30 P.M. ET:    I really hope so.  I mean, wasn't this the day – March 4th – when the Trump hordes, aided by the Ku Klux Klan and led by Robert E. Lee, were going to storm the Capitol again?  Don't be deceived by the fact that only four people showed up.  Obviously, they were an advance guard, or scouts.  Nancy Pelosi had surrounded the Capitol with National Guard troops, and the House went out of session, the better to be protected from the insurrection.

Stonewall Jackson was spotted near the Kennedy Center. 

Some swear that Lincoln's statue was singing "Dixie."

Oh, they'll be back, undoubtedly with chemical weapons cooked up in the kitchens of Trump hotels and golf courses. 

This is from USA TODAY, some hours ago:

WASHINGTON – The House left town early, the Senate continued to debate a $1.9 trillion bill for coronavirus relief and U.S. Capitol Police braced for a potential security threat Thursday as a possible follow-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The House moved up its voting on a measure to overhaul policing to late Wednesday, after Capitol police alerted to a potential security threat. The police released a statement warning of a “possible plot to breach the Capitol by an unidentified militia group.” Downtown businesses have warned tenants about potential protests.

March 4 has been highlighted by the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory as an inauguration day for former President Donald Trump to return to office. March 4 was the date presidents were inaugurated until the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted in the 1930s.

"The USCP is steadfast in ensuring that an incident of this nature will never occur again, especially with the realization that the possibility of a similar incident occurring in the current environment is a very real and present danger," acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told lawmakers Wednesday.

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Tuesday that the problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing, and “it’s not going away any time soon.”

COMMENT:  I wonder if he includes left-wing terrorism in that assessment.  I'm not sure he does. 

March 4, 2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

MARCH 3,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

YIKES – FROM REUTERS:   The US House of Representatives canceled its planned Thursday session after the Capitol Police warned on Wednesday of a possible plot by a militia group to breach the building, an threat that echoed the deadly Jan. 6 attack.  The House had been scheduled to debate and vote on a police reform bill on Thursday. But a House Democratic aide said that the police warning, based on intelligence that "an identified militia group" could present a security threat, contributed to the change in plans.  The Senate will convene as planned to begin debating President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19-relief bill on Thursday.  Authorities have said right-wing extremists were part of a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump that stormed the Capitol in January, interrupting the formal congressional certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.  Thursday marks the date when some right-wing conspiracy theorists have falsely claimed that Trump, defeated by Biden in the Nov. 3 election, will be sworn in for a second term in office.  Such heroes, those members of Congress.  How can we thank them for their bravery?

SOME COMMON SENSE – FROM FOX:   A Republican can win this year's mayoral election in New York City, longtime radio host Curtis Sliwa told "America’s Newsroom" Wednesday. Sliwa, a GOP candidate who founded the Guardian Angels civilian patrol group to help combat widespread violence in the late 1970s, explained that New York did not experience "crime issues" when Republican mayors like Rudolph Giuliani were in office.  "I’ve seen it come full circle, from when I started the group back in 1979 when crime was out of control, to what has just transpired in the city over the summer," he said.  The number of shootings and murders in New York City soared in 2020, according to year-end crime data released by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in January. The number of shootings jumped 97% from 2019 and murders jumped by 44%, the New York Post reported, citing data provided by the NYPD.  Recalling the unrest in the city that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, Sliwa claimed that "only the Guardian Angels were in the streets because the mayor ordered the police to stand down, and unfortunately the police, the NYPD, the most efficient and well-respected police department in the world, has now had to become reactive.  We've said here many times that New York could elect a Republican mayor to counter the wreckage of the hard-left de Blasio administration.  But Republicans don't seem much interested in finding a new Rudy or running an effective campaign.  The election is this year.  There is no stirring on the right.  So difficult to get out of bed.

March 3, 2021       Permalink

 

HE MUST GO – OVERNIGHT:  Bidden has made a disastrous choice in his nomination of Health and Human Services secretary.  Republicans are on the case, but need some Democratic help to block the nomination.  From Fox: 

Fresh off President Biden withdrawing Neera Tanden's nomination for head of the Office of Management and Budget, Republicans are now looking to prevent the confirmation of Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra.

Hours after Tanden requested to be removed from consideration due to opposition from both sides of the aisle, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on Becerra's nomination Wednesday morning. A number of Republicans have already voiced concern over Becerra's professional background, believing the California attorney general is not qualified to lead HHS.

"I would've been willing to vote for somebody, absolutely, but you've got to at least know something about the subject matter," Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said after Becerra's confirmation hearing, according to The Hill.

"If I as a doctor was appointed to be the attorney general of the United States of America, what would you think?  That's kind of odd," he continued.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also reportedly called Becerra’s nomination "a puzzling selection for this critical post," and Fox News has learned that Finance Committee member Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, plans to vote against Becerra.

If a majority of the committee — whose membership is split evenly among Democrats and Republicans — do not agree to report favorably to the Senate on Becerra's nomination, it may still opt to report without any recommendation. This would still allow the full Senate to move forward with its vote.

Timed to coincide with Wednesday's vote, conservative group Heritage Action for America is launching an ad campaign that targets West Virginia and Arizona, the homes of moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. While neither senator is on the Finance Committee, their decisions when nominations are brought to the Senate floor can be pivotal. If every Republican opposes a nominee, a no vote from either Democrat would be enough to sink a Cabinet pick.

UPDATE TO THIS STORY – FROM REUTERS: 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Finance Committee deadlocked on Wednesday over President Joe Biden's pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, raising questions about Democrats' ability to overcome Republican opposition to the California attorney general.

The 14-14 party-line vote sent Becerra's nomination to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for further action. Under new rules to deal with the 50-50 Senate split between the two parties, either can file a motion to bypass a tied committee and bring matters straight to the Senate floor with a separate procedural vote.

Becerra's fate will depend on Senate Democrats' ability to stick together and support him, possibly with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris.

The defection of one moderate Democrat, Joe Manchin, derailed the nomination of Biden's pick as budget director, Neera Tanden, especially given the lack of Republican support, but administration officials suggested that was an isolated case given lawmakers' frustration over Tanden's past tweets.
A spokesman for Manchin could not immediately be reached for comment on Becerra's nomination.

COMMENT:  Biden could have easily filled this position with a better-qualified nominee.  Wonder why he didn't.

March 3, 2021       Permalink

 

PEOPLE DO FIND OUT – AT 11:08 P.M. ET:  President Biden's standing in the polls is dropping after only one month in office.  Not much of a honeymoon.  The more people see, the less they seem to like.  I have a feeling much of this comes from the lag in opening schools and the mess at our borders.  That list is growing longer.  From Fox:

A new national poll indicates that President Joe Biden’s approval rating has slipped during his first month in the White House.

Biden holds a 51% approval rating in a Monmouth University survey released on Wednesday. That’s down slightly from the 54% of Americans who gave the new president a thumbs-up in late January, days after his inauguration.

More noticeable is rise in Biden’s disapproval rating – from 30% in late January to 42% now. The rise comes as more people form an opinion of Biden – with those saying they had "no opinion" of the president plunging from 16% soon after his inauguration to 8% now.

"It’s probably not a surprise that Biden’s honeymoon period has closed quickly," Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray highlighted. But Murray noted that the president maintains a net positive rating in the new poll, which was conducted Feb. 25–March 1.

An average of all of the latest national polls that measured Biden’s approval rating – compiled by Real Clear Politics – put’s the president’s numbers at 55% approval and 40% disapproval.

Ninety-one percent of Democrats questioned in the Monmouth survey approve of Biden’s performance – basically unchanged since January. Eight in 10 Republicans disapprove, a jump of 10 points from a month ago. Independents are divided – with 43% approving and 48% disapproving.

That’s a switch from January, when Biden held a 47%-30% approval/disapproval rating with independents.

The Monmouth survey also points to a drop in approval for Congress.

Three in 10 surveyed give approve of the job Congress is doing, down from 35% a month ago. Disapproval jumped from 51% in January to 59% now. But Monmouth notes that the January "results were a historical high in eight years of national polling by Monmouth. While the current ratings have declined, they remain on the higher end of the range across which they have fluctuated since 2013."

COMMENT:  There is no great "wanting" of Biden, and his personal appearances reinforce the image many have of him as a temporary president.  He's now gone longer in not holding a press conference than ay president in a century. 

Republicans are well set up for the 2020 Congressional campaigns, which will begin late this year.  The objective will be to flip enough moderate Democrat seats to win control of both houses of Congress.  Then comes the great reckoning of 2024, where the Democratic candidate for president will be...?

March 3, 2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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