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MAY 12,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT: 

MAJOR HEALTH NEWS – FROM PIX 11:    New York City will continue to restrict use of plastic straws after the city council passed a new measure restricting their use in restaurants, bars and markets.  The legislation, first introduced by Councilmember Rafael Espinal in 2018, bans the provision of single-use plastic stirrers and “splash sticks” of any kind, in addition to the limitation of straws.  Beginning Nov. 1, places like restaurants, cafes, bars, grocery stores, delis and food trucks can no longer provide single-use plastic straws unless customers actively request one. In that case, establishments will be required to provide a plastic straw free of charge, no questions asked. To refuse to provide the plastic straw, or to ask why, could constitute a violation of New York City’s human rights law.  Straws as a human right.  What a concept.  I'd go to war over that, wouldn't you?  I'm so grateful for this moment. 

RON ROMPS – FROM POLITICO:   TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis remains on solid ground as he heads into his reelection campaign as Democrats ramp up their efforts to challenge him, a fresh new round of polling in Florida shows.  Three polls all have DeSantis with favorable job approval ratings more than a year and a half ahead of Election Day and highlight the difficulty that Democrats will have with the incumbent, who is raking in millions for his reelection effort.  Still, at least one poll paid by Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo’s political committee, shared exclusively with POLITICO, shows that Democrats may have some openings to go after the incumbent. Taddeo’s poll, conducted by SEA Polling & Strategic Design, suggests not all Floridians support the governor’s move to ban so-called “vaccine passports” or crack down on mail-in balloting and drop boxes.  The poll, done for Taddeo as she considers whether to mount her own statewide bid, showed DeSantis with a job approval rating of 53 percent, compared to 55 percent in a newly-released poll on behalf of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. The governor had a 60 percent job approval rating in a survey done by well-known Republican pollster Ryan Tyson for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.  The Chamber poll also showed DeSantis with double-digit leads in head-to-head matchups with U.S. Reps. Val Demings and Charlie Crist as well as Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Crist has already jumped into the race, with both Fried and Demings expected to follow. Fried put out a video on Wednesday teasing a June 1 official announcement.  The three polls were done between mid-April and the first week of May and ranged in size from about 600 people surveyed to 1,000 people.  One of America's best governors and clearly on the short list for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.  That means the Dems will make him into a special target, and throw everything they can at him. 

May 12, 2021       Permalink

 

LIZ ISN'T – AT 6:40 P.M. ET:  Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was ousted from her leadership position among House Republicans today.  It is a very rare move by a political party, but Liz's insistence on continuing her campaign against former President Trump played a large role.  From Fox: 

House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney Wednesday morning in a closed-door vote from the No. 3 spot from leadership -- but the Wyoming Republican remained defiant on the way out.

Cheney had remained steadfast in her opposition to former President Donald Trump and his "dangerous lies" about the 2020 election being stolen from him -- putting her at odds with other House Republicans who wanted to move on from the Jan. 6 riot and unite the party to win in the 2022 midterms.

Cheney was removed by a voice vote and took a swing at Trump after the Capitol meeting.

"I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office," Cheney said after the vote. "We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution, and I think it's very important that we make sure whomever we elect, is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution."

An election on who will replace Cheney will occur at a later date. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., is the front runner who has the endorsement of Trump and the top two GOP leaders: Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise.

Trump praised the decision to remove Cheney immediately after the vote and attacked the Wyoming congresswoman and daughter of the former vice president.

"Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being," Trump said in a statement. "I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party. She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our country. She is a talking point for Democrats."

COMMENT:  It's very sad.  Liz Cheney comes from a great political tradition, and has strongly supported the basic positions of conservatism.  But her obsessive hatred of Trump, which, as you just read, was heartily returned, made it impossible for her to remain in a leadership position.   She was too divisive at a time when the GOP needs unity to move toward next year's election.  It doesn't need martyrs.

Whether Liz has a future with the party will depend on two things – 1) whether she can be re-elected to the House from Wyoming, where her anti-Trumpism has made her controversial; and 2) whether she can make an important enough contribution to be seen as too valuable to lose.  That is a tough order.

May 12,  2021     Permalink

 

 

 

 

MAY 11,  2021

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – OVERNIGHT:

THE JUDGMENT OF SO-CALLED EDUCATORS – FROM FOX:   The parents of three University of Massachusetts-Amherst students who were suspended for reportedly violating the COVID-19 health policy after a photo of the trio, maskless at a party off-campus, was passed to school administrators told "Fox & Friends" the "draconian" punishment was "complete overkill."  The students – all women – were pictured outside and without masks at a large off-campus gathering, according to reports, which noted that the school first removed the students from campus, then later cut off their remote lesson access.  "They went to a gathering, off-campus on a Saturday. They took a picture and another student screenshotted that picture on Instagram and sent it to the administration," one of the parents told host Brian Kilmeade on Tuesday. "So that picture virtually got them kicked out of school."  "It's been heartbreaking watching my well-adjusted daughter be emotionally distraught," she added. "It's been heartbreaking for my whole family."  She stressed that the university has shown "no compassion to us."  The women were also reportedly not allowed to take their final exams, rendering the school year moot and forcing them to reapply next year. The cost for one semester is $16,000 -- a fee the families will not see refunded as part of the punishment.  This isn't discipline.  This is madness.  It tells us something about the kind of "administrators" hired by today's woke colleges.  UMass is a public institution, and the parents involved should go directly to the governor.  They'd get plenty of public support.

DE SANTIS IN ACTION AGAIN – FROM FOX BUSINESS:   Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in response to a cyberattack that shut down a major pipeline and left more than 1,000 gas stations across several states – including Florida – without fuel.   DeSantis’s declaration activates the Florida National Guard as necessary and directs state emergency management officials to work with federal and local officials.   The Colonial Pipeline – the nation’s largest fuel pipeline – delivers about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast.   Among the states hit by the gas shortages, Florida was the least affected. Most of Central Florida’s fuel comes from Gulf Coast refineries. The fuel shortage will have its biggest impact on the Panhandle because it gets most of its gas supply from Georgia, which the Colonial Pipeline serves, Tampa Bay’s FOX 13 reported.   Nevertheless, drivers in Florida and neighboring states have rushed to the pumps creating what analysts say is unwarranted panic-buying among drivers.    Ron DeSantis is establishing a superior record of keeping people calm in emergencies, and handling complex situations.  He is high on every Republican's presidential prospect list, and for good reason.

May 11, 2021       Permalink

 

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE – OVERNIGHT:  There is a growing feeling, picked up in public opinion polls, that something terrible is happening in American society.  We don't seem to be America any longer,   The feel of the country, the tone, has changed, and not for the better.

But why?  We turn to one of the most courageous women of our time, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has stood up against Islamic fundamentalism at the risk of her life.  She gives us an answer, and a warning.  From The New York Post: 

Numerous studies support the hypothesis that American life — not just politics, but life in general — has become deeply polarized. The deeply divided society we now live in increasingly reminds me of clan or tribal behavior in Africa...

...We are, I fear, close to the precipice of serious destabilization. Many American cities are either militarized (Washington, DC), near a social boiling point (Minneapolis), or have capitulated to anarchist protests and pressures (Portland, Seattle). These tribal quirks run deep on both sides of the aisle. Many Republicans continue to dispute the legitimacy of the result of the last presidential election; while on the Left, the woke are eroding the Democratic Party from the inside, as identity politics displace universalist aspirations. Some citizens are viewed as part of oppressive groups, some as part of oppressed groups. A person’s individual actions can generally do little to change the immutable characteristics of the tribe to which they belong.

There is frequently a visceral hostility towards anyone who leans even slightly toward the Right. Today, especially in academia, those who don’t conform with the “progressive” narrative, no matter how ethical they might be as individuals, are vilified as racists, white supremacists, homophobes or transphobes. Individuals can be attacked, canceled, disinvited or even fired for the tiniest of verbal transgressions.

This kind of intolerance has for some time been apparent in high schools, too. Another friend of mine has a daughter who attends a private school outside of San Francisco. Last year, when it was revealed that she had expressed mild support for President Trump, she was pushed down the stairs by a fellow pupil.

It was a horrifying and, one hopes, rare incident. And yet there is something very striking about tribalism: it is a basic human trait, like skin color or gender. However, despite being the natural state of being for many humans, it is not a positive or helpful trait, particularly in modern times. Tribalism developed as an imperfect social survival mechanism in the early stages of human civilization. But in modern times, it can lead to social disintegration and severe violence between groups.

The beautiful story of America, the reason so many people around the world still yearn to come here, is to a large extent founded on our rejection of tribalism and our establishment of civic, neutral institutions, based on the fundamental principle of equality before the law. These institutions are imperfect, of course, but they are far superior to the tribalism that rules other parts of the world. Our overcoming of such a natural urge is an accomplishment.

As “woke” politics strengthens its grasp on our institutions — extending beyond the educational system into the media and now many corporations — that accomplishment is being eroded. The presumption of innocence, the commitment to blind justice and the whole notion of due process are all falling victim to spurious notions of “equity” and “anti-racism” — both of which carry within them an implicit intention to discriminate on racial lines.

If we continue to slip down this path, the thirst for tribalism will be unquenchable. That’s why moderate liberals need to stand up to the destructive forces that are taking over the Democratic party, just as moderate conservatives need to resist the tribal impulse that often grows in reaction to the other side’s excesses.

In Somalia, we failed to do this. In America it is imperative that we succeed.

COMMENT:  Wonderfully said.  It is that kind of thinking that has made Ayaan Hirsi Ali a pariah on the far left, and especially on college campuses.  But for the real America she's a national treasure.

May 11, 2021       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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