Joe Manchin’s wrench in the Joe Biden’s monkey works

I’m still trying to catch up. Meanwhile, there has been a disaster beneath me. There is flooding in the garage and the basement beneath my apartment. My landlord blames me, but there’s no water damage around the sink he thinks is the culprit, my books all still in moving boxes in the kitchen surely would have been damaged, and I honestly don’t see how it could be me.


Jonathan Chait, “Joe Manchin Has Put Biden’s Presidency in Mortal Danger,” New York, September 2, 2021,

Rick Perlstein, “When America Had a Moral Panic Over Inflation,” New York, September 2, 2021,


Ashlyn Still and Alyssa Fowers, “With evictions expected to mount, access to rental aid remains uneven,” Washington Post, September 2, 2021,


Yesterday, I criticized Nancy Gibbs for what’s really a false analogy[1] in arguing that COVID-19 vaccine refusers should not be denied medical care when resources are tight.[2] But Uché Blackstock makes an argument I’ve aspired to make, but really failed.

A problem with an argument like Gibbs’ is that even as its ethical appeal draws on real world experience, it fails when the rubber hits the road. That’s where Blackstock really succeeds, pointing to her experience having to take her infant to a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Imagine, she all but argues, if that PICU had not been available, taken up by a child whose parents had refused the vaccination.[3]

I don’t argue for holding children, let alone infants, responsible for their parents’ sins. But Gibbs’ argument fails precisely because it fails to take account of a reality that people will be denied medical care. The point that Blackstock reaches is that this is not a question of whether we deny care, but rather, who will be denied care and why. In this situation, that why question directly implicates vaccine refusal.

Uché Blackstock, “Two words no parent of a sick child should have to hear: ‘At capacity,’” Washington Post, September 2, 2021,

Hannah Knowles and Timothy Bella, “A hospital refused to give ivermectin to a covid patient. Then a judge ordered doctors to administer it,” Washington Post, September 2, 2021,


Felicia Sonmez, “Sen. Collins repeatedly asserted that Kavanaugh considered abortion rights settled law. The justice’s decision on Texas’s restrictive law suggests otherwise,” Washington Post, September 2, 2021,

  1. [1]David Benfell, “No more excuses. Mandate the vaccine now,” Not Housebroken, September 2, 2021,” target=”_blank”>
  2. [2]Nancy Gibbs, “Do the unvaccinated deserve scarce ICU beds?” Washington Post, September 1, 2021,
  3. [3]Uché Blackstock, “Two words no parent of a sick child should have to hear: ‘At capacity,’” Washington Post, September 2, 2021,

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