☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Friday, April 22, 2022 ☙ LEVELING 🦠
Reedy Creek falls; an insane Rhode Island vaxx bill; Joe Biden says ... something ... possibly about the airplane mask mandate; and more.
Good morning, and Happy Friday! As another post-pandemic week winds down, I’m writing to you, again, from I-10, Florida, except eastbound this time. I’m headed back to Tallahassee, where I’ll be speaking this afternoon. I promise I’ll be back to something like a normal post schedule soon.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
🪖 Yesterday’s Save a Generation tour event in Destin was great. I met lots of awesome C&C fans, current and former healthcare workers, and military families. For folks outside Florida, Destin is just down the road from Pensacola, a major military installation.
But between the demanding schedule, all the crazy-smart docs to network with, and the loss of an hour from crossing the time zone, C&C is running late again. I’m sorry, I know it’s better WITH the coffee. We’ll be back to our normal schedule soon.
🪖 Operation Multiplier update: since the C&C schedule has been a little weird, I’m postponing the operation until Monday. Stand by.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🐭 During my talk yesterday, an alert C&C fan in the audience held up her cell phone and announced it was over. Despite the best efforts of Florida’s Democrats to defend big corporate tax breaks and special privileges, the Florida House joined the Senate in voting to approve the end of Disney’s Reedy Creek Special Improvement District.
Previously, Disney paid taxes to Reedy Creek, which it controls, and which operates its own fire department, planning department, sewer treatment plant and public works department. Disney fully controls Reedy Creek, which means anytime they want to build a new hotel or highway, they just have to ask themselves for permission. The biggest loss for Disney will be losing that control.
It was endlessly amusing yesterday watching Democrats struggle to adopt conservative talking points to defend Disney’s sweetheart deal. Taxes will go up!, they exclaimed. Disney will have to deal with a lot of red tape!, they whined. The “residents” of Reedy Creek will lose their freedom!, they complained. It’s an assault on the free speech of big corporations!, they screamed.
As with all things, it’s not quite that simple. HB3C was a simple one-and-a-half page bill eliminating ALL independent special districts enacted before the 1968 Florida Constitution. Six districts including Disney’s and several within the Villages of Florida are set to be dissolved on June 1, 2023 — after the upcoming midterm elections and after the 2023 legislative session. But — significantly — the legislature can still reauthorize them.
Leftist rag Mediate thinks this is just raw political skullduggery. It says it amounts to Republicans holding Disney hostage. Mediate whined “the bill essentially sets up a system of legislative blackmail … The legislature is putting Disney on a leash[.]” Well, good.
In less hysterical language, it looks like lawmakers are giving Disney one more chance to clean up its act. The special district isn’t ending now, it won’t end till next year, but it WILL end unless the Legislature changes its mind and re-authorizes the district.
My guess is that, even if the legislature DOES re-authorize the special district, it would almost certainly be on a rolling basis at that point. In other words, not automatic like it is now. Which is a huge improvement over the current status quo, if you ask me. So even if the Mouse doesn’t ultimately lose its special district, the district will always be in the crosshairs from now on.
There’s a LOT of time between now and June 2023. Unless Disney has gone completely insane — admittedly, a debatable proposition — it looks less like Reedy Creek will actually be dissolved and a lot more like the Legislature is sending a strong message; it’s saying if Disney wades into politics in Florida, the Mouse will have to deal with political fallout.
There’s a bigger issue here. Objectors cry that Reedy Creek’s dissolution is state retaliation against a corporation for protected political activity. But the democrats have been doing that for decades, such as by threatening hospitals with delaying or cancelling Medicare reimbursements unless they mandated jabs, for just one recent example. It might be time to have a larger conversation whether and how much government should jam its carrots and sticks up private businesses’ noses.
On Monday, before the special session, Disney stock was trading at 132. This morning it is down to 119. So.
💉 Speaking of government punishing dissenters like Disney, eight democrat lawmakers in Rhode Island just filed S 2552, a bill that would double income taxes for unvaccinated people. It would also fine the unjabbed $50 per month until they take the shots, fine companies $5,000 per month for each pure-blooded worker, and require the approval of THREE DIFFERENT doctors to get an exemption.
I doubt whether, if passed, this would withstand constitutional scrutiny. It’s about the kookiest bill I’ve seen yet, and it reinforces the fact that we’re not done yet, not by a long shot.
💉 Speaking of Rhode Island, it’s almost the one-year anniversary of Rhode Island Democrat state senator Jeanine Calkin — colleague to the eight senators who filed S 2552 — having her right leg amputated to resolve a clot preventing blood flow to both her legs. After the procedure in late April 2021, she tweeted that she didn’t think it had anything to do with the Covid vaccines that she’d taken. She has not mentioned vaccines on twitter since, not once. So.
✈️ Joe Biden commented on the airplane mask mandate appeal yesterday. Well, kind of. The problem was, the reporter asked him about TITLE 42 — the package of emergency Covid border regulations, and that’s when the former vice-president’s remaining neurons started sparking and misfiring wildly:
REPORTER: On Title 42, sir, are you considering delaying lifting Title 42?
JOE BIDEN: No, what I’m considering is, continuing to hear from my, uh, my — First of all, there’s going to be an appeal, by the Justice Department. Because as a matter of principle, we want to be in a position where if in fact it is strongly concluded by the scientists that we need Title 42, we’d be able to do that. But, there has been no decision on extending Title 42.
So … you really can’t make this stuff up. We’re kind of past gaffes now. Anyway, it SEEMED like Joe was saying that the Administration is appealing the mask mandate decision to leave room in case we need new mask orders in the future. The future like, say, next year, right after the midterm elections.
But the reporter’s question wasn’t about masks, it was about the border. What did Biden think he was answering? Biden did refer directly to the border act, Title 42, in his answer. So, was he talking about the border, or about masks on airplanes?
Your guess is as good as anyone’s. I don’t think even Joe knows what Joe meant.
Following the press conference, White House staff issued a written statement for Biden to reporters, explaining “I want to clarify that, in comments at the conclusion of my remarks this morning, I was referring to the CDC’s mask mandate and there is no Department of Justice action on Title 42.” Oops. Never mind.
Previously, freckly White House press secretary and future MSNBC correspondent Jen Psaki had explained that the decision to appeal the mask order wasn’t based on health or science, but to defend the CDC’s AUTHORITY. She told a reporter, “The Department of Justice, as you noted, has indicated that they would appeal… because they think that… we want to preserve that authority for the CDC to have in the future.”
I could get into the legalities over whether it is better to have a single district judge decision against the CDC versus taking a chance of losing at the 11th Circuit, but you get the idea. Although better worded, Psaki’s statement doesn’t make a lot of sense either.
🔥 Recently I reported to you that CNN+, CNN’s flagship new subscriber-funded streaming service, was struggling after its launch earlier this month. Well, “launch” might not be the most accurate word. It didn’t exactly launch so much as expel a bunch of smoke and fall over in a shower of sparks. But in spite of the poor numbers at the launch, CNN insisted it remained thrilled with the service’s future prospects, and argued it always takes a while for something new to catch on.
But then Fox News ran a story yesterday headlined, “MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC All Avoid Covering the Demise Of CNN+.”
Whoops! That didn’t take long. The article reported that CNN’s CEO Chris Licht issued a memo to staff yesterday announcing the newborn streaming service would be terminated, effective April 30. “We have therefore made the decision to cease operations of CNN+ and focus our investment on CNN’s core news-gathering operations and in further building CNN Digital,” Licht explained in the memo. “Our customers and CNN will be best served with a simpler streaming choice,” he added.
CNN+ customers will get prorated refunds of their subscription fees.
Never-Trumper and former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who left Fox in a huff to head the new CNN+ venture’s talent lineup, surprising nobody, couldn’t be reached for comment.
😷 What can I say, you can’t fight Narrative 2.0. Today, Philadelphia announced it is canceling its new indoor mask mandate — after just 4 days — allegedly due to a “leveling of case counts,” whatever that means. It seems like a weird explanation. I mean, if the mask mandate was WORKING, as shown by “leveling” cases, why stop it?
🔥 Elon Musk announced he has secured all the financing required to purchase Twitter pursuant to his offer, which the board has not officially responded to yet. Stand by for more news.
Have a fabulous Friday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow, hopefully on time.
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