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☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Tuesday, March 1, 2022 ☙ PRE-SOTU 🦠
Today’s roundup includes all the best pre-SOTU Covid news. It’s good. Get ready.
It’s finally here! Christmas in March. The State of the Union. Time for the Big Guy to make the longest speech he can, way past his bedtime. My guess is he’s getting some good drugs tonight and we won’t see much of him today.
Today’s roundup includes all the best pre-SOTU news for you this morning. It’s good. Get ready.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 I’ve said many times: the way you REALLY end a pandemic is by NOT TESTING. No testing, no pandemic.
Yesterday the CDC quietly announced a change to the contact tracing guidelines that signals we may be in the end game now. In an update to the page, “Prioritizing Case Investigation and Contact Tracing for COVID-19,” the CDC made this remarkable modification:
“Universal case investigation and contact tracing are not recommended for COVID-19.”
Ta-da! Buh-bye, contact tracing. We WON’T miss you.
If you have a kid in a school that is still contact tracing, you might want to let them know about this “new guideline.” Here’s the link: https://tinyurl.com/3nyxuuv9.
And the CDC still has a whole day to make even more guideline changes before the Big Guy gives his speech.
🔥 Although the mask requirement was lifted for the House just in time for the SOTU, the chamber retained its requirement for proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says he’s skipping the SOTU because of the Covid-19 testing requirement. He’s the lucky one, since he doesn’t write a blog.
“I don’t have time to go take a Covid test today,” Rubio told a HuffPo reporter. “I only take a test if I’m sick.” A good start, but why take the test just because of a few sniffles? What would you do differently?
In a radio interview Monday, Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he too might skip the State of the Union. “Nothing good is going to happen,” Scott explained. Well. That’s obvious.
🔥 On hearing that the White House dropped the mask mandate for Congress yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz tweeted, “It’s a State of the Union miracle!”
🔥 The Hill previewed part of the SOTU yesterday in an article headlined, “Biden to focus on lowering costs in SOTU amid rising inflation.” I’ll summarize it for you. Biden is going to repackage his failed Build Back Better bill, which would have sprayed gasoline onto the inflation dumpster fire by injecting ANOTHER few trillion dollars into the economy. He’s going to call it a “four point plan” and mumble something about how his 4-point plan will “lower costs to families” by using wind farms and solar power to reduce household energy bills. Yeah, okay.
Then he’ll probably hiss something in a creepy whisper like “we have to support our families!” In other words, he’s doing it for YOU. You can thank him later.
🚀 The new pandemic, Ukraine, continued to dominate the news cycle yesterday, with repetitive suggestions of global nuclear war terrifying people and making a lot of folks anxious. Since day one, the democrat party and the media have been united in calling for a strong response to Russia. Here in Florida, ethically-challenged pot purveyor, Ag Commissioner, and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried has been relentless in demanding that Governor DeSantis do SOMETHING to get back at Russia. Maybe we could send Putin a really strong strain to mellow him out.
I think it should be obvious by now, but PLEASE don’t let this Ukraine story make you worried or fearful. The headlines are SO identical to early Covid headlines. Like, “Should we be worried about COVID, I mean Ukraine?” Questioning the narrative produces the same “don’t you care about all the people who are dying?” We’ll follow the story, but do NOT let Ukraine get you down.
Back in the day, I would start posts with “I am NOT saying Covid is just like the flu. But.”
I have repeatedly NOT suggested that this Ukraine business is a Wag the Dog farce (resulting in lots of injury to Ukranians) manufactured to help U.S. Democrats hold Congress and reverse Biden’s cratering poll numbers. But. Check out this headline from yesterday’s New York Magazine: “Did Putin Accidentally Reboot Biden’s Presidency?”
Uh huh. There it is.
And you can’t make up the tagline under the article’s main picture of Biden looking resolute: “Joe Biden doesn’t seem so sleepy in addressing Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.”
Hahaha! That’s supposed to be a compliment! Not that he looks Churchillian or anything. No. We’re not shooting THAT high, not with Joe. We’ll be happy if he just doesn’t look so sleepy!
And in the article’s second paragraph, you can find my non-theory, right there:
“Perceptions of Biden’s handling of world affairs took a big hit after the messy U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and they haven’t recovered … Putin’s war does give Biden a chance to change perceptions of his supposedly weak leadership, particularly if he takes full advantage of a State of the Union address likely to be widely watched and discussed in the days ahead.”
Oh, happy day! The Ukranian invasion is a chance for sleepy Joe Biden to look not so sleepy! And it brings more eyes to the SOTU, which is what Biden needs to turn things around. Here, according to New York Magazine, is how it is supposed to work:
“Americans overwhelmingly want Ukrainian independence to survive, but without U.S. troop involvement. If that appears to be happening, even temporarily, Biden will almost certainly get some of the credit, particularly from the Democrats whose support for him has been lagging lately, and from the independents, who turned sour on his presidency some time ago.”
See? The war can help Biden save the base and scrape up some independents, just by “temporary appearances.” And — bonus — it might undermine Republicans:
“It’s also possible that the ill-disguised and sometimes openly expressed MAGA admiration for Putin could undermine the recent revival of fortunes for Republicans, who at best seem divided and irresolute over what is happening in Ukraine.”
Haha. Wishful thinking. In other words, if Republicans back Putin then they’ll suffer politically. But nobody’s backing Putin. This “war” makes zero sense to anybody, except democrat strategists. Anyway. The article continues, explaining where they got the idea by describing a political boost president Carter got from talking tough about the Iranian hostage situation during the primaries, which supposedly helped him repel Ted Kennedy’s challenge:
“[Carter’s] ‘Rose Garden Strategy’ of exemplifying national unity and executive leadership worked wonders: His job-approval rating leaped to 58 percent by the end of January 1980, and he routed Kennedy in the early primaries, all but ensuring his renomination. … It’s possible something of the same dynamics could benefit Joe Biden.”
So they’ve been studying the Carter years. For some reason.
I hate to point this out, but comparing Joe Biden to single-term President Carter is NOT flattering. Carter was a disaster. He presided over massive inflation and almost wrecked the economy. He badly mis-handled the hostage situation which cost him re-election. Maybe the worst modern president. NOT a role model.
The article’s insanity continued, ending on this overly-hopeful note, which neatly summarizes the whole odious strategy:
“If [Biden] can reintroduce himself to a pessimistic and distracted public sick of COVID-19 and fearful of inflation as a bloodied but unbowed leader exhibiting the kind of principles his predecessor (still the de facto leader of the opposition) so notably lacks, Biden could look strong, not sleepy. That would represent still another miscalculation by Putin, who nows seems to be the stumbling, erratic president in the news.”
Um, yeah. “Principled?” “Bloodied but unbowed?” Okay, whatever. For this strategy to work, Biden would have to actually DO something that would “appear” strong and probably produce some distinctly non-Carter-like results. It almost seems like democrats know Biden holds a card to play, a card that could somehow trump the “stumbling, erratic” Putin.
What do they know?
🚀 Don’t believe me? How about if I told you that all the other usual media apparatchiki made the EXACT SAME POINT yesterday?
Headline: “How Ukraine Changes Biden’s State of the Union Speech”:
Subhead: “No one would have wished for this opportunity for a reset, but the president should seize it.”
“No one would have wished for this opportunity for a reset, but the president should seize it … The assault on Ukraine doesn’t just give Biden another chance to reinvent his presidency; it also makes the need for that reinvention indisputable. Starting now, he should do what he promised, and try to bring the country together around widely shared goals.”
LA Times: “The State Of The Union Is Anxious, But Annual Speech To Congress Offers Biden An Opportunity”:
“With broad bipartisan support in the U.S. coalescing behind Ukraine in its fight against Russia, the war represents Biden’s best chance to garner strong applause from both sides of the House chamber … Russia’s war in Ukraine offers Biden an opportunity … to convince Americans of the importance of a united transatlantic alliance and to emphasize that he brought allies together to stand against Putin’s assault … It’s a key moment to take the stage as the global leader who is going to halt authoritarianism by building up our armed forces.”
Washington Post (Jennifer Rubin): “Opinion: Quick! Rewrite the State of the Union.”:
“Biden needs a very different State of the Union. Instead of defending remarkable domestic progress, with foreign policy relegated to the back end of the speech, he needs to flip the order and build the speech around a historic moment when the United States is leading a worldwide coalition in defense of freedom … Thanks to months of planning and careful diplomacy, President Biden put together the most impressive and unified alliance since World War II to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion … This is the most effective response to Russian aggression since the Berlin Airlift. Biden should take credit.”
See? They are SO obvious. This media coordination can only happen if the White House is telling them what to say. So stand by.
🔥 Florida’s SB 524, which creates an Office of Election Crimes and Security within Florida’s Department of State to investigate violations of the elections code and associated rules, is ready for a vote in both the House and Senate. It increases penalties for people who violate vote-by-mail laws, requires supervisors to do annual maintenance of the voter rolls, uses DMV data to remove dead people, and enhances voter registration laws.
I don’t need to tell you that this bill is extremely important for Florida’s future.
🔥 Today’s the day that Pfizer has to release its first batch of documents. I can’t wait.
📊 *COVID IN FLORIDA AND ALACHUA COUNTY* 📊
WOW. It’s not so much that the numbers are predictably down again, with positivity rates back in low single digits. It’s that the new “most important” metric has fallen so quickly: hospitalizations.
In particular, the national admissions figure made a move that is significantly different from what we’ve seen before. At the low point between waves back on December 9, US admissions were just below this week’s report (1,142 then versus 1,295 now). But we haven’t reached the bottom of the Omicron wave yet, suggesting that US admissions will be a LOT lower this time around.
I can only speculate that this acceleration of plunging hospitalization figures is a result of the new “FOR Covid” versus “WITH Covid” counting styles the CDC was working on a couple weeks ago.
As for the rest of the figures, well, take a look at them. In particular, note the R-naught: 0.39. Believe it or not, that’s the lowest recorded R-naught for Florida that I have in my charts, ever.
I prematurely announced the pandemic’s end last year — I even had a get-together to celebrate. This time I’ll wait for the government to say it first.
Have a terrific Tuesday! I’ll see you back here in the morning to discuss the SOTU and what it means for us all.
You can help get the truth out and spread optimism and hope: https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-