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hay rick

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Member since: Thu Jan 31, 2008, 10:08 PM
Number of posts: 6,422

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It's a big, bad Blame Biden Balloon!

Florida Freedom Coloring Book!

Approved for grades K-12.

America has a hygiene problem.

Paul Krugman estimates the price (in dead bodies) of "freedom" in Florida.

Paul Krugman Twitter thread from November 13 unrolled.

Can Ron DeSantis effectively challenge Trump? I have no idea. But one thing I hope doesn't get forgotten in the horse-race coverage is DeSantis's major achievement as governor: the unnecessary death of around 20,000 Floridians 1/

Here's how I get that number. Compare Covid deaths by state since Jan. 1, 2021 — roughly when vaccines became widely available. (2020 comparisons distorted by early carnage in New York areas when we didn't know it was airborne) 2/

By state, deaths since then are FL 59,170 CA 70,565 NY 35,247 But CA has a much larger population than FL, NY a slightly smaller one. 3/

Adjusted for population, the Florida-equivalent death toll was FL 59,170 CA 39,217 NY 39,551 So states that didn't have governors promoting Covid disinformation and anti-tax propaganda lost far fewer people — the equivalent of ~20K excess in FL 4/

Why didn't DeSantis pay a price for this? Because Covid victims die out of the public eye, offscreen as it were. A resident of Florida is ~20X as likely to die gratuitously from Covid as a resident of NY is to be murdered, but crime makes headlines while other deaths don't 5/

And no, it's not about freedom. We're not talking about lockdowns and restrictions at this point, just about lifesaving shots that DeSantis deterred people from getting. Truly awesome 6/

The Book of Genesis, Sistine Chapel, etc. updated by Ron and Casey DeSantis.

It's crude. It's sacrilegious. It's a DeSantis campaign commercial: https://twitter.com/i/status/1588539069243473924
The mass media may be too embarrassed to give this video the coverage it deserves. Also, there's a risk it could derail the DeSantis narrative that they have been busily assembling in advance of the 2024 presidential campaign.

This video should not be confused with a random exercise in repulsively bad taste. In fact, DeSantis has been carefully crafting and refining his message with the objective of claiming evangelical Christians as his dependable base.

Elon Musk and free speech.

Protecting the right to lob verbal Molotov cocktails in the town square.

DeSantis is reshaping Florida's public schools. Be afraid, very afraid.

Ron DeSantis is working to reshape public education in Florida by pushing all the far right hate buttons. He is not failing. With his Moms For Liberty allies, he engineered a takeover of several school boards, including where I live in Martin County.

The latest installment of the Martin County story started less than a year before the nonpartisan school board election scheduled for primary day on August 23. A “Mom” moved from Virginia to Martin County and decided to run for our school board. Her qualifications were a single semester of community college and 6 years of experience as an administrative assistant at a Christian daycare/pre-K center. The facility was also licensed to teach grades K-4 and enrolled about 40 students. In MFL world, this is more than adequate experience to be one of 5 people sitting on a school board that supervises the education of 15,000 students.

Both MFL candidates were members of the same megachurch. They got support from the church in the form of endorsements from the pulpit and help for parishioners in filling out their ballot. The church also featured the candidates on their podcast. When a listener on the podcast asked “don’t you think it’s a good idea to have a cross in every classroom?” the candidate’s response was “Praise the Lord!”

The governor endorsed the candidate and was featured standing with her in her campaign materials. PACs allied with the governor flooded mailboxes in the “nonpartisan” race with heavy-handed attacks on her opponent’s WOKE liberalism and the imminent threat of “indoctrination” in our schools. The governor’s candidate won comfortably against her far better qualified opponent. The second Moms candidate also won a closer race against a long-term incumbent, sealing the deal.

Florida schools are open again after the summer break and substantive change will likely have to wait until the next budget cycle. In the meantime, though, there are hints of what classrooms will look like under the “Stop WOKE Act” and “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. All classrooms are required to display a “safe place” notice. The old notices were ordered to be removed and replaced with a new version. It looks like some students are going to be safer than others.

Keeping score with Ron DeSantis

“You are what your record says you are.”- Bill Parcells

Ron DeSantis kicked off his reelection campaign with a tv commercial extolling his leadership during the pandemic. In his telling, his policies optimized both public health and “freedom.” A review of Florida's Covid response paints a less flattering picture, replete with politically motivated bumbling.

Florida, along with the rest of the nation, watched in shock and horror as Covid-19 overwhelmed hospitals in the New York metropolitan area in the Spring of 2020. The only positive outcome from that harsh experience was that the rest of the country had several weeks to watch and learn. Meanwhile, many of the headlines in Florida featured a state unemployment system that staggered and collapsed under the burden of 1.5 million unemployment claims in the month of April. In fairness to DeSantis, the online claims system was still festooned with the drool of Florida’s former governor, Rick Scott. DeSantis would later remark: “the failed CONNECT system was built with ‘roadblocks’ meant to yield the ‘least number of claims being paid out possible.”

Seeking better optics, DeSantis tried switching the focus to the ongoing carnage up north. The governor took the first of many premature victory laps and defined who his opponents were in a news conference on May 20. He compared Florida to New York and boasted “we have a lower death rate than the Acela corridor, DC, everyone up there…We’ve succeeded and I think that people just don’t want to recognize that.” Florida’s first Covid surge started just weeks later.

DeSantis briefly diverted attention from the burgeoning pandemic and the state’s cruel and dysfunctional unemployment system by procuring one million doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug proven effective against malaria, lupus, and other diseases. Florida hospitals declined to administer it, however, and by July the National Institute of Health had abandoned clinical trials using the drug for Covid patients. This was the first of several flirtations of the DeSantis administration with unproven treatments and misleading information. In August, in the middle of the surge, the governor was touring the state with radiologist Dr. Scott Atlas, of “herd immunity” fame, not long after he was hounded out of the White House.

As the case counts came down modestly, DeSantis suggested that students at state colleges needed a “bill of rights” to protect them from sanctions for partying in violation of the schools’ current social distancing policies. The next day, September 25, 2020, he issued an executive order that allowed bars and restaurants to open at full capacity. DeSantis’ order also stopped cities and counties from fining people for not wearing mandated face coverings and suspended all fines from previous violations. Under DeSantis, Florida would always be the leader in throwing caution to the winds in the name of “freedom”- even if that freedom was the inconsequential freedom to party. Of course, that freedom also was not free. The cost was paid by all the other citizens of Florida in the form of additional risk, with or without their knowledge or consent.

The premature celebration of a return to normalcy was immediately followed by the second Covid surge. The lone bright spot was the rapid increase in the availability of vaccines. Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths retreated in the Spring. Determined to burnish his image as Covid’s swashbuckling antagonist, DeSantis proclaimed on May 3, 2021, that “we are no longer in a state of emergency” and suspended all local Covid ordinances, including mask mandates, and banned businesses from requiring vaccine passports. The practical effect of the executive order was to implement a law already passed by the legislature two months early and give the governor an extra turn in the spotlight. By the middle of the next month, the Delta variant settled into Florida for the third and deadliest surge yet.

As the cases, hospitalizations and deaths rocketed to new heights, DeSantis seemed more concerned about saving his brand than his citizens. On July 30, 2021, he issued another executive order- this one banning mask mandates in schools. During the school year, when some school districts in Democratic-leaning districts implemented mask mandates anyway, DeSantis would respond by pulling state funding from those districts. Looking back on the Delta surge, on September 10 the Washington Post reported: “About 54,000 more people have died of COVID-19 [nationally] since June 2021. Nearly 1 in 5 of those deaths have occurred in Florida – 18% of the deaths come from a state that makes up about 6% of the country’s population. What’s more, over the course of the surge, the percentage of deaths occurring in Florida has been increasing.”

Undiscouraged by recent experience, DeSantis signed his “Freedom Agenda” into law on November 18 following a special legislative session he called just for that purpose. The new laws prohibited Florida businesses from complying with recent vaccine mandates originating from the White House. In a characteristically petty gesture, DeSantis scheduled the bill-signing ceremony in Brandon, Florida. Earlier in the year, DeSantis’ online campaign store started selling beverage coozies labelled “Don’t Fauci my Florida.” The store also sells tee shirts with a picture of the governor toasting with a beer and saying “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”

While Delta was raging unchecked that August, the federal government started distributing doses of the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid infections. Offering “free” treatment (actual cost $2,100- paid for by the federal government), DeSantis opened treatment centers at breakneck speed across the state and used each opening as a photo op. In his appearances, he touted “Early Treatment” and went silent on the value of vaccination. In January, DeSantis refused to say if he personally had received a booster shot.

Sadly, it soon became apparent that the Regeneron treatment was ineffective against the newly emerging Omicron variant. By January 15, Omicron represented 99% of all cases and on January 24, 2022, the FDA suspended the use of the current Eli Lilly and Regeneron monoclonal antibodies. DeSantis’ immediate response was to accuse the Biden administration of “withholding the treatments without evidence” and threatening to sue. At the same time, the company confirmed that the current antibodies were no longer effective. DeSantis quietly dropped the subject.

The Omicron wave has been prolonged at a lower level by the emergence of more transmissible sub-variants and variants with increased ability to evade immunity from prior infection and vaccines. Florida continues to have more avoidable infections and deaths than most states due in part to DeSantis having taken away the ability of local jurisdictions to use mitigation measures when appropriate. The anti-mandate culture that DeSantis fertilized is another handicap for maintaining public health. DeSantis’ “freedom agenda” is just a wink and a nod to the anti-mask, anti-vax, Stop the Steal, MAGA voters he hopes can propel him through the presidential primaries. A future historian could be tempted to title the chapter on Florida’s pandemic response “Mutating Virus Meets Mutating Mass Psychoses.”

In June, Florida’s Auditor General announced that an investigation found that Florida undercounted its Covid death toll by more than 3,000 in 2020. This too followed a sad but familiar pattern. Providing Covid statistics always served an additional function for DeSantis. Reporting the numbers was not just a civic duty and transparent guide for public policy- it was also a political tool. It was score keeping. Cases, hospitalizations, and especially deaths, were entries in the Error column and would be disputed, minimized, or require a change of subject. When Rebekah Jones disputed Florida’s method of counting cases, she was fired and later arrested in front of her children. Florida was the first state to stop providing daily pandemic updates. In October of 2020, just weeks before the election, there was an unexplained lag in reporting cases that created a convenient, temporary illusion of substantial progress in Florida’s pandemic management.

By the middle of this August, Florida passed rival New York in Covid deaths per capita during the pandemic, placing it ahead of only 13 states and behind the other 36. That’s DeSantis’ record. Read it and weep.

The stats: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109011/coronavirus-covid19-death-rates-us-by-state/

The “Freedom Agenda” has never been about good science or responsible public health decisions. It has always been about personal ambition. Florida’s governor is poised to take Trump’s torch when it comes to conning the rubes. The two share similarities- both are thin-skinned and devoid of empathy and humor. The difference is that Trump’s pandering is maniacal while DeSantis’ seems calculated. What’s new is pandering in complete sentences. For the disciple looking to surpass the master, climbing over dead bodies is just another obstacle on the path to a bigger and better future for Ron DeSantis.

January 6th: the Botox has spoken.

Florida busted for under-reporting covid deaths early in the pandemic (listen up, Bill Maher).

See the article here: https://sports.yahoo.com/florida-missed-thousands-covid-deaths-175004432.html

From the article:

Florida health officials missed thousands of COVID-19 deaths in 2020, had incomplete information for millions of tests and spent millions of taxpayer dollars on testing that lacked vital data, a state report released Monday has found.

From September 2020 through November 2021, the Florida Auditor General’s office examined nearly 11.3 million laboratory test results and nearly 730,000 coronavirus cases documented statewide in 2020 from March through October.

The investigation found 3,082 COVID deaths the state Health Department did not include in its official counts. Those victims would have pushed the state’s reported death toll up 18% higher than it was Oct. 31, 2020.

This deserves as much attention as DeSantis got when he was taking his victory lap for his anti-mandate, open-for-business, vaccine-agnostic approach earlier. Bill Maher ridiculed states that enforced mandates and prioritized public health on his show in January, pointing out at the time that states as different in approach as West Virginia and Massachusetts ranked 10 and 11 in covid deaths per capita. They now rank 5 and 32- not so close (see statistics here: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109011/coronavirus-covid19-death-rates-us-by-state/).

Maher also took swipes at New Jersey and New York, comparing them unfavorably with Florida- disregarding the fact that the New York metro area piled up thousands of bodies in the early days of the outbreak before vaccines, during the ppe shortage, and while the medical community was still learning how to treat covid patients. At the time of his show, New Jersey ranked 4 and New York 6 among the states in death statistics. New Jersey is now down to 8 and New York is down to 14. Florida is at 19, but their ranking is looking suspect now that evidence of significant undercounting has emerged.

Perhaps Mr. Maher would like to share an update. He can take off his parroting-Fox-News-talking-points hat and put on his truth-teller hat. C'mon Bill...
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