Yes, let’s talk about ‘freedom,’ shall we? Will I, despite Republicans’ vaccine resistance, be able to visit my mother next February?

Updates

  1. Originally published, July 14, 2021 at 9:19 am.

  2. July 15, 2021, 1:49 am:

    • Some folks in California are being a bit more forceful about getting people vaccinated.[1]

    • The Amazon rainforest is now a net carbon emitter and by no small amount.[2]

    • I’m just not trusting mainstream media coverage on Cuba: Of course they hate Cuba’s government. Of course they’re boosting dissent. They’ve been doing this literally my entire life. And indeed it looks like the real issue is an economic crisis for which the U.S. embargo is largely responsible.[3] Such a surprise.

    • Under [Chuck Schumer, Ron Wyden, and Cory Booker’s] plan, states would be able to write their own cannabis laws and marijuana would be eliminated from the federal list of controlled substances within 60 days of implementation. The bill would shift the regulatory jurisdiction from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Food and Drug Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.[4]

      Californians, however, might spot something familiar:

      As is the case with alcohol and tobacco, cannabis and its products would be subject to an excise tax. The tax rate would increase over a five-year period after enactment, starting at 10% and gradually increasing to 25% after five years.[5]

      Revenue, baby. It’s all about the revenue.


    • Fig. 1. My new car. Photograph by author, July 14, 2021.

      I picked up my new car late this afternoon. I was a bundle of nerves but everything went smoothly. I got the car one-third of the way through the break-in (to 200 miles) tonight; I can now brake hard if necessary. Now I need another 400 miles without high speed or hard acceleration; this is my project for tomorrow.

      One thing I notice right away is that the odometer is the most accurate I’ve ever seen, probably to within 1 mile in 100. That made it possible for me to get home right at the 200 mile mark.

      The car hates my garage, which is ridiculously narrow. I have alarms going off all while I’m pulling in or out. It’s only a half inch wider than the Camry Hybrid was.


My new car has arrived. I’ll be going in at 4:00 pm to trade in my poor old 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid and take delivery on the new car.


Pandemic

I had planned to drive cross country next February to visit my mother and retrieve more of my stuff that I left behind when I moved back to Pittsburgh a couple years ago. The trouble is that the route I would use, a southern route to limit winter weather, traverses a bunch of states where vaccine resistance is high.[6] The absolute last thing I dare do, however, is carry the coronavirus to my mother and I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I’m going to be able to make this trip.

As things stand, the answer is probably yes. My mother and I are both fully vaccinated, so even if I were exposed, I would be unlikely to transmit the virus.[7] But new variants, some perhaps more likely to “break through” vaccinations, have to be expected.[8]

Brett Kelman, “Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach to minors — not just for COVID-19,” Nashville Tennessean, July 13, 2021, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/health/2021/07/13/tennessee-halts-all-vaccine-outreach-minors-not-just-covid-19/7928701002/

Hannah Knowles, “DeSantis sells ‘Don’t Fauci My Florida’ merch as new coronavirus cases near highest in nation,” Washington Post, July 14, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/13/desantis-fauci-florida/


Voting rights

Elizabeth Findell, “Texas Senate Passes Voting Bill, as Democratic Rivals Push Federal Bill,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-senate-expected-to-take-up-vote-on-election-legislation-11626176054

Amy Gardner et al., “Inside the secret plan for the Texas Democratic exodus: A phone tree, a scramble to pack and a politically perilous trip,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-democrats-voting-exodus/2021/07/13/f391dc9e-e3ce-11eb-a41e-c8442c213fa8_story.html


Climate crisis

Damian Carrington, “Amazon rainforest now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs,” Guardian, July 14, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/14/amazon-rainforest-now-emitting-more-co2-than-it-absorbs


Cuba

Democracy Now! “‘We Just Want the Basics’: Rare Protests in Cuba Amid Deep Economic Crisis, Ongoing U.S. Blockade,” July 14, 2021, https://www.democracynow.org/2021/7/14/cuba_protests_covid19_us_blockade


Marijuana

Jack Turman, “3 Senate Democrats draft plan to end federal ban on marijuana,” CBS News, July 14, 2021, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ending-federal-ban-on-marijuana-senate-plan/


  1. [1]Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin, II, “Tougher tactics targeting the unvaccinated needed to stop new COVID-19 spike, experts say,” Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-07-14/to-slow-covid-19-rise-door-to-door-vaccine-outreach-and-workplace-requirements-could-help
  2. [2]Damian Carrington, “Amazon rainforest now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs,” Guardian, July 14, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/14/amazon-rainforest-now-emitting-more-co2-than-it-absorbs
  3. [3]Democracy Now! “‘We Just Want the Basics’: Rare Protests in Cuba Amid Deep Economic Crisis, Ongoing U.S. Blockade,” July 14, 2021, https://www.democracynow.org/2021/7/14/cuba_protests_covid19_us_blockade
  4. [4]Jack Turman, “3 Senate Democrats draft plan to end federal ban on marijuana,” CBS News, July 14, 2021, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ending-federal-ban-on-marijuana-senate-plan/
  5. [5]Jack Turman, “3 Senate Democrats draft plan to end federal ban on marijuana,” CBS News, July 14, 2021, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ending-federal-ban-on-marijuana-senate-plan/
  6. [6]Max Boot, “Republicans are preventing America from reaching Biden’s vaccination goal,” Washington Post, July 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/06/republican-antivaxxers-biden-vaccination-goal/; Philip Bump, “A third of White conservatives refuse to get vaccinated — a refusal shown in polling and the real world,” Washington Post, July 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/06/third-white-conservatives-refuse-get-vaccine-refusal-shown-both-polling-real-world/; Maggie Fox, “Unvaccinated people are ‘variant factories,’ infectious diseases expert says,” CNN, July 3, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/03/health/unvaccinated-variant-factories/index.html; Courtney Ann Jackson, “Mississippi doctors still urging folks to get vaccinated as Delta variant becomes dominant COVID strain,” WLBT, July 5, 2021, https://www.wlbt.com/2021/07/06/mississippi-doctors-still-urging-folks-get-vaccinated-delta-variant-becomes-dominant-covid-strain/; Peter Jamison, “Their neighbors called covid-19 a hoax. Can these ICU nurses forgive them?” Washington Post, July 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/07/06/appalachian-covid-deniers-nurses-virginia/; Ron Kampeas, “In latest Nazi analogy, Marjorie Taylor Greene invokes ‘medical brown shirts’ in decrying vaccination outreach,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 7, 2021, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/in-latest-nazi-analogy-marjorie-taylor-greene-invokes-medical-brown-shirts-in-decrying-vaccination-outreach; Brett Kelman, “Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach to minors — not just for COVID-19,” Nashville Tennessean, July 13, 2021, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/health/2021/07/13/tennessee-halts-all-vaccine-outreach-minors-not-just-covid-19/7928701002/; Dhruv Khullar, “One half of America is protected. The other is approaching a perilous moment in the pandemic,” New Yorker, June 23, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/the-delta-variant-is-a-grave-danger-to-the-unvaccinated; Ed Kilgore, “The Willfully Unvaccinated Are the Newest Republican Martyrs,” New York, July 13, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/the-willfully-unvaccinated-are-the-newest-republican-martyrs.html; Paul Waldman, “Right-wing anti-vaccine hysteria is increasing. We’ll all pay the price,” Washington Post, July 8, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/08/right-wing-anti-vaccine-hysteria-is-increasing-well-all-pay-price/
  7. [7]Dhruv Khullar, “One half of America is protected. The other is approaching a perilous moment in the pandemic,” New Yorker, June 23, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/the-delta-variant-is-a-grave-danger-to-the-unvaccinated; Rong-Gong Lin, II, “Confidence grows that COVID-19 vaccines hold their own against variants,” Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2021-05-10/covid-vaccines-holding-their-own-against-coronavirus-variants; German Lopez, “Got the vaccine? Experts say you can relax about your Covid-19 risk now. Really,” Vox, May 11, 2021, https://www.vox.com/22423098/covid-19-vaccine-coronavirus-protection-herd-immunity; Zeke Miller and Michael Balsamo, “‘Great day for America’: Vaccinated can largely ditch masks,” Associated Press, May 13, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-masks-cdc-guidelines-9d10c8b5f80a4ac720fa1df2a4fb93e5; Don Sweeney and Katie Camero, “Face masks not necessary in US to curb Delta variant, CDC chief says,” Sacramento Bee, June 30, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article252469793.html;
  8. [8]Maggie Fox, “Unvaccinated people are ‘variant factories,’ infectious diseases expert says,” CNN, July 3, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/03/health/unvaccinated-variant-factories/index.html

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