While I sat gaping at the spectacle on the tube, some of the valued regulars on this site were already inserting their comments on the disturbance, but after an earlier post. I have a great idea: like having ice cream and pie before dinner, how about readers giving their thoughts (reasonably compact, when possible)? Dissent, disagreements, welcome. Here are the first four comments:. GV
1/8/2021 09:01:04 am
Having had the privilege of being acquainted with some of the Bush kin, I tend to agree about HW. I believe there was a sense of duty to the country that went along with the privilege of material comfort that the family has.
Now having had the benefit of a few more days of history since George's perceptive piece about Thornburgh, I admit to a sense of visceral relief when Pence and McConnell came around on Wednesday. Something like, "See, even they are resisting the Sociopath in Chief . . . ." I can't help that my visceral reactions were not in line with more thoughtful reactions. We cannot allow Republicans' more sensible reactions over the past couple of days to dilute their record of abdication of responsibility to such ideals as truth, democracy and the constitution for more than the past four years.
Our country faces enormous challenges as the Internet has empowered and deceived ignorant white trash - I'm sorry - into believing they matter more than others, based on misinformation. I remember that my 4th grade history book was essentially a compilation of chapter-length biographies of important Americans, including Robert E. Lee. I think curricula need to include strong education from K-12 about discernment of truth over the internet. Scary.
1/8/2021 09:10:44 am
i think pence and mcconnell are officially listed in the better late than never category.
1/8/2021 09:41:01 am
Nope, Bruce. That's what I'm afraid of. "Too little, too late."
1/8/2021 09:56:19 am
Their actions are too late to merit much praise. It was nice to see them publicly chastise Trump, but for me it does not make up for their four years of support.
Cabinet members DeVos and Chao may have resigned in protest, but avoiding a vote on invoking the 25th amendment might have played a part in their decision.
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.