Groundhog Day Special Edition

Pick a City

Madison, WI

Baton Rouge, LA

San Bernardino,  CA

Des Moines, IA

Birmingham, AL

Rochester, NY

Tempe, AZ

Modesto, CA

Tacoma, WA

Grand Rapids, MI

Tallahassee, FL

Little Rock, AR

Bill Maher and Bari Weiss made quite a lot of noise on his program on January 21. They insisted that we’re so over the need for restrictions against COVID – masks required in public places, having to show vaccination cards, distancing from one another, school children never seeing the lower half of their friends’ faces and more.

Worse, it just isn’t necessary, they said. Hundreds of millions of us are vaccinated and millions have been sick and recovered, so they have some level of immunity. Bill and Bari are just so done with COVID, they told us. Can’t we just get back to normal?

Nope. Not yet. That’s because we’re killing over 2,000 of our fellow citizens every day with this virus. Here’s what that means.

Pick your favorite city from the list above – your choice. COVID is killing our people so fast that it can completely wipe out everyone in your favorite city in roughly 100 days. Everyone. COVID kills at a rate that could eliminate every man, woman and child in Punxatawney, PA in less than 3 days. That’s why we still need to continue to practice safe COVID.

Over and over we foolishly succumb to frustration and have the argument about getting back to normal. That’s why it’s Groundhog Day yet again.

To all the Bill’s and Bari’s, whatever their name, who are just so over COVID, read Dan Rather’s piece. Read some of the many comments, too. Then come back here and write in this Comments section about whether you’re still so over COVID.

BTW – There’s life changing news for our anti-vaxxers who refused because the vaccines were “experimental.” The FDA has fully approved both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, so we should be seeing queues of anti-vaxxers in front of their pharmacies and other freebie vaccine dispensing locations. Check out Walgreens and tell me if you see a line of people with their sleeves rolled up. *

Children’s Brains

From STAT:

“Just as a child tax credit for low-income families prompted by the pandemic has expired, new research points to benefits in brain development for babies whose families received unconditional cash assistance through a randomized clinical trial. The study was small and the changes were modest, but its conclusions align with previous observational studies. Published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the analysis covers 435 1-year-old children and their mothers who got either monthly cash gifts of $333 or monthly gifts of $20 starting shortly after birth. Children in the higher gift group exhibited more high-frequency, rapid brain activity on an EEG, compared with the lower gift group. Because that brain activity pattern is associated with developing high-level cognitive skills, the authors say, the results reveal a link between poverty reduction and early childhood brain activity.”

Good thing we killed the child tax credit. We wouldn’t want babies born in poverty to be smart, right?

That regularly occurring, self-defeating governmental stinginess and neglect of We the People is why it’s Groundhog Day yet again.

And Of Course

Republicans are already criticizing President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, even though he hasn’t yet named one.

Republicans are criticizing how Biden is dealing with Putin, even though they don’t have a clue what he’s doing.

Republicans voted in congressional goose stepping unison to prevent two voting rights bills from even being debated.

There’s no point in extending this list because you already know that Republicans are only interested in opposing everything any Democrat might support, this in order to secure their own minority control. It’s been that way at least since Reagan, that great champion of democracy (for some) and Iran-Contra. And, surely, you remember Mitch McConnell’s brave, anti-democratic words: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

He said that as the economy was in the free-fall of the Great Recession, businesses where closing, millions were losing their jobs and their housing and we were mired in two intractable wars. Nevertheless, all the Republicans focused on was political combat designed to help themselves and harm Democrats. They hadn’t a care about We the People or our country.**

And, of course, now we have (yet again) the flaming Nazi-like,  Fahrenheit 451 Republican states of Florida, Texas, Tennessee and some other wannabe censor states. In their Salem Witch Hunt revival to cast out the evil spirit of education, they want to ban books that speak of that which must not be mentioned. Fine. I’ll do the mentioning.

They want to protect our apparently fragile White children from the realities of racial discrimination, sex, violence, the Holocaust and other topics that might inform students. “Better to keep them ignorant and mindless,” think the geniuses in our book burning states.

John Pavlovitz thinks that in their list of books to be banned they’ve missed the most ban-able book: the Bible. He writes:

“If Republicans want to ban books that perpetuate violence and inhumanity or tell stories of generational racism and discrimination, and they’re being honest—they’d better start with the Bible.

Thanks go to AT for the cartoon

“Christians who are responsible students of history, know that the Bible is the single most weaponized piece of writing on the planet: responsible for unjust wars, systematic genocide, generational anti-semitism [sic], violent extremism, subjugation of women, and pervasive racism. This isn’t really up for debate. From the Crusades to the Inquisition to the Troubles to The Holocaust to slavery, to racism and homophobia in America, the shadow of the Bible looms large.”

The present craze to ban books is just the newest wash-rinse-repeat cycle of Republican purity hypocrisy. We’ve seen these flames before. That’s why with the Republicans, every day is Groundhog Day, as they display their inner rodent.


* Have a look at this for the entertainment of international temper tantrums based on disinformation.

** Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner regularly declared that the Republicans were all about, “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” Then he and his Republican majority proceeded to kill every bill designed to stimulate job growth, leaving millions of Americans unemployed. They had to be shamed into passing a bill designed to help military veterans leaving the service get jobs, this after having first killed that bill. That’s how far Republicans were willing to go to prevent President Obama from having a win. They have nothing to lift us; only actions to diminish their opponents. And we and our country pay the price.


The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

I’m No Anti-Vaxxer

Reading time – 6:14  .  .  .

Conspiracy theories about vaccines abound. As well, reasonable, science based objections have made solid challenges to vaccines, too. Regardless, history tells us that blind acceptance of vaccines probably isn’t a good idea.

Take, for instance, the recent comments of FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. He insisted that any Covid-19 vaccine would have to “adhere to standards” for safety and efficacy. Perfect. We want to know that a vaccine or med we take to protect us both works and is safe. That’s especially important reassurance now, given the enormous political pressure being applied to develop a vaccine by election day. That’s where this story grows dark.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner, FDA

Trump is making fantastical claims that we’ll have a vaccine by the election. Sometimes he makes solid promises – “We’ll have 100 million doses by November.” Sometimes they’re typical Trump vacuous teasers – “might be,” “very soon,” “like you’ve never seen before,”  “I think in some cases, yes possibly before [the November election], but right around that time,” “It will be unbelievable,” etc. Side note: He uses the word “unbelievable” like a circus sideshow barker to describe nearly everything he is promoting or claiming as a victory for himself. When he does that I know that he is at last speaking truth: it probably is unbelievable; i.e. not worthy of our belief. Back to the main point.

Nearly every time Trump speaks about the pandemic, fiction comes from his mouth in an avalanche, as he struggles to paper over his abject failure to meet the challenge. Note that when he at last admitted in March that the pandemic is here and is a big deal, he said we’re fighting a war and that he’s a wartime president. If that’s so, then it’s fair to say that he’s lost nearly every battle and the enemy is winning this war decisively. That’s why he’s desperate to have a vaccine before the election. His eagerness has nothing to do with your health.

So, Trump is leaning hard on the doctors, scientists, epidemiologists, researchers and pharma company CEOs to bail out his sinking wartime command ship. The good news is what Hahn said about adhering to standards. What you probably didn’t hear is that he left the door open to “emergency use authorization” of vaccines that haven’t yet “adhered to standards.” It’s a bit like chancey, off-label use of a drug; for example, hydroxychloroquine.

As you likely know, it’s a drug used to treat patients with malaria. That, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are the sole FDA authorized uses of this drug. Fairly early in this pandemic somebody decided to try using it to treat Covid-19. In fact it was given FDA off-label authorization for that use – right up until our VA hospitals realized that they were killing our vets with hydroxychloroquine. That’s when the FDA rescinded the off-label use of the drug.

To be fair, there are reputable criticisms that suggest that hydroxychloroquine wasn’t used properly, in that it wasn’t used in conjunction with medically significant adjunctive treatments. Regardless, it was the government/FDA’s authorization that caused the problems.

Oddly, our president continued to recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine. He even said that he was taking it prophylactically, although he didn’t use that big word. The result was that there was enormous demand for the drug. People stockpiled it in case they got sick. There were two problems with that. First, people who had malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis couldn’t get their meds on time because production couldn’t keep up with the Trump-caused, artificially inflated demand. Second, hydroxychloroquine just might kill the stockpilers if they were to use it to treat their Covid-19 and did so improperly. Nevertheless, Trump continues to either promote the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 or allows his prior nonsensical rah-rah for it to linger because he is incapable of admitting he made a mistake. And we pay the price for his limitations with our health and our lives. The key point is that the FDA allowed off-label use of hydroxychloroquine and that killed people.

Follow the money: Who benefits from the increased demand for hydroxychloroquine and why is Trump so invested in that?

Again, while Dr. Hahn promised that the FDA and manufacturers would “adhere to standards” for a Covid-19 vaccine, he left the door open for emergency use authorization of these as-yet unproven vaccines. That is expressly, intentionally not adhering to standards.

In other words, Hahn and his agency might succumb to political pressure and roll the dice with the lives of granny, your children and you so that Trump can get reelected. Wild guess: That probably doesn’t sound too good to you and you’re already doubting Covid-19 vaccines. It turns out this story gets worse.

AstraZeneca is one of the key players in Covid-19 vaccine development and their drug is in a phase 3 trial. They have selected 30,000 people to be vaccinated and then watch to see if they become protected from the virus or if they get sick and perhaps die. I’m wondering if they intentionally expose these human Guinea pigs to the virus to test the vaccine. How else would they know if the vaccine had successfully protected them against the virus unless they knew test subjects had been exposed to it? That makes me think of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

There are two efficacy problems with the trial. The first is that they are only testing healthy, relatively young people. That means that if you have any underlying health issue, especially hypertension, diabetes or obesity, or are older or a child – any condition that is substantially different from the test group  – whatever the phase 3 trial shows, you won’t know if the vaccine will work for you as it did for those phase 3 trial subjects.

The second issue is that this phase 3 trial is being run without a placebo comparison; i.e. this isn’t a blind, much less double-blind test. That means that there will be no way to determine the true efficacy of the drug – whether it actually works. And we are expected to trust this vaccine with our lives.

The FDA’s mission is to protect the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human drugs and more (taken from the FDA’s Mission Statement). That’s why they have protocols and standards. And President Trump is leaning hard on Mr. Hahn to abandon those protocols and standards in order to win his election. Frighteningly, Hahn may be willing to cave in to the pressure and issue “emergency use authorization” of these non-adhering-to-standards vaccines before the election.

“Do you feel lucky, punk?” Click the pic.

This looks to me like they’re giving the anti-vaxxers big gun ammunition at a time when we desperately need confidence in something to protect all of us and stop the Covid-19 rampage.

I’m no anti-vaxxer, but as I said, blind acceptance of vaccines – especially a proposed, new generation, emergency-use-authorization vaccine, the use of which is entirely politically motivated – probably isn’t a good idea.

Makes me think of Dirty Harry. Like the guy in the car, my answer is no. Click the pic to the right and you’ll understand.


Post Office Update

Stopping by the post office to mail a letter just in time for the last pickup of the day brought me face-to-face with Lizzy (not her real name), a postal service worker who was emptying the collection box. We chatted for a bit and I asked her about the reported slow down of the mail system orchestrated by the new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. He is a big Trump contributor and a complete postal system know-nothing. He has eliminated overtime, slowed the sorting process and done other things, which have resulted in reported mountains of undelivered mail, especially at the big sorting centers. That’s what I asked Lizzy about.

“Oh, yeah, everything’s slowed down,” she said. “We hate that – we care about service.”

DeJoy claims to be a logistics expert and declares that he’s reducing costs. Sounds good. But our most mailed-in election balloting in history is already underway and he’s clogging the system. What do you suppose Donald Trump will say about the election when it appears he’s lost big and those mountains of undelivered mail are highlighted by him on November 4? Decide for yourself how much Trump election conspiracy to assign to that and let Professor Laurence Tribe be your guide:

Key Impact Point: Go to your secretary of state’s website, register to vote and request a mail-in ballot. The clock is ticking and soon you may run out of time to do that and make your vote count. Especially with DeJoy screwing up the system, you better move on this.


Conservative Corner

Have you noticed how many things have gone on in the Trump era, like what’s covered in this post, that aren’t remotely conservative? As I’ve written so many times, we need the traditional Republican party to come back, to saddle up and hit the trail for America. Where are you guys?

Another 4 years of Trump won’t bring back conservatism. In fact, Trump will crush under his heel everything that conservatives hold dear and which he hasn’t already destroyed. It goes without saying that the things liberals/progressives hold dear are terminal, too.

Have you always voted Republican and cannot even imagine pulling the lever for a Democrat (I have such relatives and friends)? Now’s the time to imagine something bigger and for you to dare to go where you haven’t gone before while you still can. Remember that Trump has repeatedly threatened to cancel elections. That ain’t conservative.



Leonard Cohen in 1988. Click the pic for his biography.

From poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

These are hard times and it’s difficult to know what to do and where to start. What is important is simply that we start. That we ring the bells that still can ring. Follow Leonard Cohen’s advice. Today is a good day for that.


Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so

  1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.


The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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