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Friday, January 22, 2021


1.   The picture of Bernie at the inauguration that has gone viral.

2.    Dr. Anthony Fauci at yesterday’s press briefing, almost giddy at having been released from his bondage to Trump.

3.    News that Mitchell McConnell is facing a challenge to his Senate leadership from Republican senators unhappy with his negative statements about Trump.

4.   Joe Biden always speaking of good “union” jobs, not just good jobs, when he talks about his goals for his administration.

5.   The knowledge that my second dose of vaccine is only 17 days away.

6.   Not having heard anything from or about Trump in 72 hours.


And now for some important matters that the mainstream media have somehow failed to put together, even though doing so only requires sixth grade arithmetic. Dr. Fauci says that we need 70% to 85% of the population vaccinated in order to get back to something resembling normal life and he hopes that this can be accomplished by the end of the summer, which means in eight months. This will require roughly 2 million vaccinations a day. Currently we have just hit roughly 1 million a day, and that is before any of the actions planned by the new administration have gone into effect. My guess is that the 2 million per day goal is entirely achievable with the kind of all court press the new administration is putting on. Say what you will about Joe Biden, he is not politically stupid and I suspect his medical experts laid all of this out to him before he declared his dramatic goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first hundred days, knowing full well that he would far exceed it and be able to claim a dramatic victory. This is the political equivalent of what they call in football basic blocking and tackling and it is nice to have a Democratic administration that knows how to do these fundamentals.

Now, if you choose to comment on this blog post, please spare me the doom and gloom. I know all of that and I have been dooming and glooming for the past 70 years. Let an old man enjoy a few moments of pleasure.


taki said...

Speaking as someone who's only been dooming and glooming for the past thirty years, you have my encouragement to luxuriate in some of the opposite. If anything, I keep expecting Biden to live down to my expectations of him, and I have to be careful about that as much as any delusional optimism in that regard. I also am watching myself responding to the news, and noticing how I'm having to retrain myself not to flinch every time a White House official comes on, waiting for the worst of the worst. The trauma that's been embedded in us these past four years above and beyond what came before is something remarkable, and it will time to shake off. I think back to my grandmother, who during WWII went from wealth to poverty, who lost family to violence and who had her whole world turned upside down (and yet not to the degree of many others including obviously those who fell to the Holocaust). I can see the trauma that lived in her the rest of her life in how she would take things and hoard them, how that permeated her relationships to people as well, and to life as a whole in so many ways. Recognizing my own relative privilege within all this as compared to so many, I still have trauma and I have to do things to treat that for myself, for my family, for my friends, for humanity, for reality. I need to work to make myself unclench and enjoy at times. If we cannot find and take moments in which to feel goodness or joy, what the Hell is life? And I say that as the perennial political (existential?) pessimist in my groups. It is said in many ways in most languages, but I will say "l'chaim, professor," because I am capable of saying it right now and thus should.

Anonymous said...

I, and others who grew up during the 1950’s, can empathize with taki’s foreboding and instinctive pessimism. I grew up in a household where pessimism and fear of the future, especially with the threat of nuclear war, hung in the air. My parents lived through the Great Depression and counted every penny. We were scolded if we left a light on in a room after we left it, flushed the toilet too much or took too long showers. My older sister is a constant pessimist. I spoke to her by telephone last night and asked her what she thought about the Inauguration. It was no big deal, all politics as usual. Why didn’t they have Rene Fleming sing the Star Spangled Banner, instead of that silly Lady what’s her name and that ridiculous looking dress (she wore, it, I explained as a pragmatic way to insure social distancing); what kind of a poem was that, it had no rhymes, sounded like rap; that idiot is not gone, he and his supporters are still out there, just waiting to return; there was so much religion; etc., etc. Was there nothing good during the inauguration ceremony, or during the celebration that evening? How about the fireworks, weren’t they great. Yeah, they were OK.

I just find it a pleasure not to have to see or hear Carrothead anymore. And no, I do not think he’s coming back. It was a joy to see Biden’s press secretary smiling, giving candid answers to questions, admitting when she did not know an answer and promising to have a press conference every day – every day! Will I be disappointed if Biden is not aggressive enough on some issues. Perhaps, but maybe he will surprise us and earnestly fight for what he has promised. In the meantime, I want to bask in how it feels to be proud to be an American again, to see competent and intelligent administrators at work, after four years of constant despair.

David Palmeter said...

Biden's biggest achievements may already have occurred: He's gotten rid of Trump; he's put covid on the front burner and will listen to the scientists; we've rejoined the Paris accord and WHO; he's doing all he can by executive order, but that is limited. Anything that requires legislation--further economic stimulus, student loan relief, a public option for Obamacare etc etc--will have a hard time getting through Congress, particularly the 50-50 Senate. (Manchin and Tester are not progressives, and the Republicans have rediscovered the horrors of debt.) Let's just enjoy the fact that, limited as the changes are likely to be, we have gotten rid of a monster who came frighteningly close to creating an autocracy.

Anonymous said...

"The trauma that's been embedded in us these past four years"


Oh brother

DDA said...

There are several nice things about the Bernie memes. First of all, they are funny and often clever. Second, they are affectionate and reflect a belief in Sanders' authenticity. And that's all good.

Chris said...

A neighbor of mine shared last night how the Bernie memes have been enjoyed greatly in her largely very politically conservative synagogue, and have been a point of shared pleasure.

I agree with DDA. The memes have been fun and one might even say uplifting at times.

Biden is not the progressive I want, but he's not the aspiring dictator we had. It's amazing how good Trump managed to make corporate Dems look.

Anonymous said...

I've still not gotten over Clarence Thomas sailing through Biden's committee.

jeffrey g kessen said...

If you want to become even happier, check out the song, "Happy", composed and released a couple of years back by Pharrell Williams---it's got a great kind of late 60's Motown kind of vibe.

Anonymous said...

How about “I’ve Got Plenty of Nothin’” and is “Porgy and Bess” off limits for here on in? Can it be revived, with all of the characters portrayed as poor white trash, or would that, too, be considered stereotyping Trump supporters?

Anonymous said...

The above comment set me to thinking about two diametrically opposed trends in the Broadway Theater and Hollywood movies during the 1930s-1940s. On the one hand, you had songs which glorified the freedom which comes with poverty – e.g., “I’ve Got Plenty of Nothin’” (Porgy and Bess) and “I’ve Got the Sun in the Mornin’ and the Moon at Night” (Annie Get Your Gun). By contrast, during the Great Depression, audiences suffering from deprivation flocked to the movie theaters to see Astaire and Rogers dance through life, he in a tuxedo, and she in glamorous evening gowns, while William Powell and Myrna Loy charmed and joked their way through high society, drinking matinis and smoking incessantly, while the Thin Man solved a murder. Did the audiences struggling to put food on the table feel the least bit jealous?