Johnson and Johnson Vaccine "Paused" in U.S.

Six women between the ages of 18 and 48 have been afflicted with a blood clotting disorder within three weeks of taking the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. One died, one is in critical condition in the hospital. While that's a tiny number of the 9 million people in America who have received the vaccine, the government is concerned enough to put a "pause" on the vaccine until they know more.

Scientists with the F.D.A. and C.D.C. will jointly examine possible links between the vaccine and the disorder and determine whether the F.D.A. should continue to authorize use of the vaccine for all adults or modify the authorization, possibly limiting it to certain population groups. An emergency meeting of the C.D.C.’s outside vaccine advisory committee has been scheduled for Wednesday.

What population group would you exclude? Females between 18 and 48? [More...]

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Tuesday Open Thread

Our last open thread is full, time for a new one.

The trial of police officer Derek Chauvin is winding down. Judging from the reporting, it seems like the defense is going to have a hard time selling that George Floyd died of drugs and heart problems given the multiple experts called by the prosecution. The Judge expects the jury to get the case Monday, and they will be sequestered.

Nelson is presenting two key arguments. He says that whatever actions Chauvin took were reasonable and followed his training as a police officer, and that in any case those actions are not what killed Floyd.

“You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing,” he told the jury.


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Matt Gaetz Keeps Talking as More Chips Fall

Matt Gaetz was a lawyer before he ran for Congress. I have no idea why he believes he can talk his way to innocence in a pending criminal investigation involving alleged sex trafficking of a minor, but it seems he's intent on trying.

Here’s a summary of the events to date in the Gaetz investigation by Florida Politics.

When the New York Times first broke the story, Gaetz responded with a denial on Twitter claiming he and his father, former Florida state senator Don Gaetz, were victims of a $25 million extortion plot by a former DOJ official who wanted the money to free a former FBI agent taken hostage in Iran. (The FBI said months ago it thinks the hostage is dead). According to Gaetz, the former DOJ official offered to use his influence to help Gaetz in the pending sex trafficking investigation in exchange for the money. Gaetz claimed, and the FBI doesn’t dispute, that Don Gaetz wore a wire at its request to get the former DOJ official to admit the plot on tape. Apparently the former DOJ official didn’t bite. [More...]

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Happy Passover and Open Thread

To those of you attending seders this week for Pesach (Passover), enjoy. I made Matzoh Brei for breadfast, and will have matzoh ball soup for dinner, but I'm not willing to be in a room full of people I haven't seen in a year to do a live seder. Zoom doesn't do much for me either, so I'll take a pass.

Stay safe out there, and don't believe the hype that this virus is on its way out. This Wall St. Journal article about the P.1 variant that's overtaken Brazil is very scary. The Lancet has more on the P.1 variant and Manaus.

Maine got its first case 2 days ago. It is also in New York. [More...]

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Thursday Night Open Thread

Seriously, Joe Biden intends to seek a second term? Who is he kidding? Trump's kids must be screaming with delight, thinking it's their turn next.

Politics has been completely boring lately. I think it's to be expected after four years of living on the edge of our seats and not knowing whether we'd live another year -- as a country or individually.

I had court this morning and the Judge wasn't wearing a mask. The only people in the courtroom were his clerk, 2 U.S. Marshals and me and my client (all masked). (The prosecutor and court reporter appeared by video). At one point he said the risk wasn't too big since all of us had probably gotten at least one vaccination dose. [More...]

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Ahmad Alissi's First Court Hearing

My condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in and outside King Soopers in Boulder this week.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, age 21, will be told today that he is facing 9 counts of First Degree Murder -- After Deliberation; 1 count of First Degree Murder of a Police Officer and 1 count of Attempted First Degree Murder of a Police Officer.

He will be represented by members of Boulder's excellent Public Defender's office. The two defenders filing his pleadings are Kathryn Herrold and Samuel Dunn. (I assume they will be the ones who appear in court.)

The DA filed the case directly in District Court so there will be no county court judge. District Court Judge Thomas Mulvahill will handle all proceedings. He's held that position since 2009. Before then, he was a criminal defense lawyer in private practice. [More...]

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Waiting for the Snowpocalypse and Open Thread

The news in Colorado all week has been dominated by the massive and "historic" snowstorm expected to hit the state this weekend. At 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, downtown Denver has yet to see a single snowflake. I won't be surprised if it passes right over Denver and hits Ft Collins or Greely on its way north to Cheyenne.

I'll be upset if that happens. I want my Snowpocalypse. I braved the grocery and liquor stores Thursday where goods and foods and bottles of beverages were flying off the shelves faster than the employees could restock them. I got sucked into the mindset of the masses, stocking up on things I'll never use unless there's a big storm like flashlights, candles, an extra blanket. You better believe I want my snow storm. [More...]

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Andrew Cuomo: Sorry but He Will Not Resign

Andrew Cuomo today said he's sorry he made anyone feel uncomfortable but he won't resign.

Good for him. He should not resign. This piling on of accusations from years past with automatic acceptance of the accusers' allegations is simply wrong. This country was founded on the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

Andrew Cuomo is not alleged to have physically assaulted anyone. It's not alleged that he threatened to use or used physical "force" against anyone with the intent of causing them physical injury. He's alleged to have used a "pattern of words and actions that have...made three women who are decades his junior feel deeply uncomfortable, in their collective telling."

By today's moral standards, if true, his words and actions constitutes sexual harassment. By legal standards, it might or might not constitute an actionable civil claim for damages or is unlikely to be a basis for criminal prosecution. (Personally, I think it should be neither, but I don't make the laws, I just defend people charged with breaking them.) [More...]

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"Neanderthal" Thinking in Texas

It is beyond head-scratching that Texas announced the end of a mask mandate yesterday and lifted coronavirus restrictions statewide.

America (and even Texas) are not at a safe place. Yes, the numbers are decreasing, but that could change in an instant. Such as by people not wearing masks and congregating outside their personal bubbles.

President Biden today called Texas' move "neanderthal". I agree.

Biden says follow the science. But the goverment is also supportive of expanding in person dining, allowing concerts, and greater capacity at public events. It feels like we are being dressed by two different mothers. [More...]

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Capitol Threat for Thursday: House Cancels Sessions

Due to the threat of a new assault at the Capitol for tommorrow, the House of Representatives has canceled its planned sessions.

Leaving nothing to chance, House leaders on Wednesday abruptly moved a vote on policing legislation from Thursday to Wednesday night, so lawmakers could leave town, according to a senior Democratic aide familiar with the planning.

The Capitol Police issued a release that says:

“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the force said in a statement. “We are taking the intelligence seriously.”

Runaway is the new policy for responding to terror threats? That's not a sign of strength.

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Biden Compromises on Stimulus Checks

If you were counting on a $1,400. stimulus check, you might be disappointed. If you are single and made more than $80,000 or filed jointly and earned more than $160,000 you will get zilch, according to a compromise Joe Biden agreed to today.

Under the new proposal blessed by Mr. Biden, individuals earning more than $80,000 and households with incomes exceeding $160,000 would be disqualified from receiving stimulus checks. The caps are $20,000 lower than they were in the last round, wiping out payments for millions of Americans.

The plan would send $1,400 checks to individuals earning up to $75,000, single parents with children earning $112,500 and couples making $150,000, with the amount gradually falling for people with larger incomes.

Between 8 and 12 million people who received past stimulus checks are expected not to received this new round. [More...]

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500k Corona Deaths in U.S.: Open Thread

The United States has now endured 28 million cases of COVID-19 and 500,000 covid-related deaths. And it sure is not over.

I got my second Moderna shot on Saturday. I was a little trepidatious because I had read the second shot carries a more powerful punch. But I felt nothing. Not yesterday afternoon, not last night, not today or tonight.

Maybe I don't have any immune cells to fight off the enemy? Maybe I have lazy immune cells? Maybe it means nothing at all?

Do I feel safer having received my two doses of vaxx? Not really. I'm still staying home almost exclusively, double masking when I go out, and reminding every person I see with a mask that has slid under his nostrils to please put it back up. Yet, masks are no guarantee, they are just better than not wearing masks. But they sure beat the alternative: getting sick and with covid and even though you have no prior risky conditions, for some unknown reason you become a long hauler. [More...]

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Ted Cruz Flies Back from Cancun After Being Outed by Media

Senator Ted Cruz, not realizing the crassness of his flying to Cancun for a few days of R&R while his constituents in Texas freeze their as*s off with no heat and power, has a moment of Joni Mitchell clarity:

Turn this crazy bird around I shouldn't have got on this flight tonight

Talk about poor optics. And now his story is he was just flying his family down to tuck them in, he was always going to fly right back to Texas. Sorry, no sale.

Here he is on the plane going to Cancun. A few hours ago he was waitlisted for an upgrade on today on the return flight.

Shorter version on Twitter: #TedFled.

Here's a more spirited version of the song by Nazareth. [More...]

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Senate Vote Falls Short for Conviction on Impeachment

Donald Trump, who holds the record for the number of times an occupant of a desk in the oval office has been impeached in the House of Representatives, avoided conviction in the Senate today.

All 50 Democrats and seven Republicans voted “guilty,” falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds necessary for conviction.

Maybe now the media will finally stop its coverage of all things Trump. They have been reduced to an insignificant pebble in an otherwise mountain of smooth grains of sand.

Congress can can turn its attention to things that matter, like providing economic relief to the residents of this country and tackling the coronavirus and its mutations. [More...]

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Friday Open Thread

Trump's lawyers are presenting a First Amendment defense. I think arguing that he didn't understand what he was saying, which we all know was too often the case, would be a more credible argument. Or that there was a vast right wing conpsiracy of white supremacists who planned this for months and used him as a patsy, dressing themselves up in Trump and maga gear pretending to be his supporters but he has no idea who the h*ll they were. Shorter version: He was duped into supporting bad guys he thought were good guys.

Trump will be acquitted by spineless Republicans.

I don't think he's planning on running in 2024, I think he's trying to reserve the field for Ivanka or even worse, Don. Jr.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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