Biden’s Covid-19 Plan is Maddeningly Obvious

Ezra Klein:

I wish I could tell you that the incoming Biden administration had a genius plan for combating Covid-19, thick with ideas no one else had thought of and strategies no one else had tried. But it doesn’t.

What it does have is the obvious plan for combating Covid-19, full of ideas many others have thought of and strategies it is appalling we haven’t yet tried. That it is possible for Joe Biden and his team to release a plan this straightforward is the most damning indictment of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response imaginable.

“Worse than we could have imagined” is the Trump Administration’s motto.

The Trump Administration’s Vaccine Plan is a Mess

Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post:

Zients pulled no punches in characterizing the challenge. “Uneven at best” was how he described the administration’s effort, which largely consisted of dropping everything in state officials’ laps. “We’re struck by the incompetence across the board,” he underscored. “Worse than we could have imagined,” he repeated.

“Worse than we could have imagined” is the Trump Administration’s motto.

The Cowardly Ben Sasse

Michael A. Cohen, in his new Truth and Consequences newsletter:

Sasse’s constant flip-flops are nearly as odious as the brazen opportunism of Hawley and Cruz. It’s merely opportunism by a different name, cloaked in the gauzy rhetoric of American ideals. The Nebraska Senator is that most loathsome of political figures: a person who preaches the virtues of democracy and political compromise and then violates those words the moment it’s in his political interest to do so.

There’re a lot of ways to be spineless.

“This is Not Justice.”

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Supreme Court, in a powerful dissent to the court allowing the Trump administration to continue its spree of executions:

After seventeen years without a single federal execution, the Government has executed twelve people since July. They are Daniel Lee, Wesley Purkey, Dustin Honken, Lezmond Mitchell, Keith Nelson, William LeCroy Jr., Christopher Vialva, Orlando Hall, Brandon Bernard, Alfred Bourgeois, Lisa Montgomery, and, just last night, Corey Johnson. Today, Dustin Higgs will become the thirteenth. To put that in historical context, the Federal Government will have executed more than three times as many people in the last six months than it had in the previous six decades. […]

Throughout this expedited spree of executions, this Court has consistently rejected inmates’ credible claims for relief. The Court has even intervened to lift stays of execution that lower courts put in place, thereby ensuring those prisoners’ challenges would never receive a meaningful airing. The Court made these weighty decisions in response to emergency applications, with little opportunity for proper briefing and consideration, often in just a few short days or even hours. Very few of these decisions offered any public explanation for their rationale.

This is not justice. After waiting almost two decades to resume federal executions, the Government should have proceeded with some measure of restraint to ensure it did so lawfully. When it did not, this Court should have. It has not. Because the Court continues this pattern today, I dissent.

The Year in Illustration

This is the kind of end-of-year list I can get behind: The New York Times’ art directors pick their favorite illustrations. The whole list is good, including the motion graphics, but some of my favorites:

By Michael Mapes for The Rape Kit’s History.
By Cannaday Chapman
By Hokyoung Kim for What the Fall and Winter of the Pandemic Will Look Like.

I also love the names of these files, such as the final image above: “18interlandi-1-superJumbo-v2.jpg”.

‘Suck It Up, Buttercup’ Lawmaker Hangs Up on As It Happens

I was reminded of this brief 4-year-old clip from Canadian interview program As It Happens between host Carol Off and Iowa State Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton):

CO: Sorry — just a minute — who are the buttercups that need to suck it up?

BK: Well that would be people that are simply hysterical because an election was lost. That have never understood that life has winners and losers and in their adult life there are going to be times when they have wins and they have losses and there isn’t always going to be someone there to coddle them.

The Pro-Trump Mob was Doing It for the Gram

Elamin Abdelmahmoud at BuzzFeed:

But it was also quickly apparent that this was a very dumb coup. A coup with no plot, no end to achieve, no plan but to pose. Thousands invaded the highest centers of power, and the first thing they did was take selfies and videos. They were making content as spoils to take back to the digital empires where they dwell, where that content is currency.

This is why Facebook, Twitch and other platform bans are important and meaningful to Trump and his followers.

But it’s also important to not get led astray. There were, of course, paramilitary apparently ready to take hostages, IDEs and explosives found and threats to take very seriously. And the costumes are part of the we’re-a-bunch-of-jokers aesthetic. From a Talking Points Memo reader, behind a paywall:

Several of the people in my field (theater and performance studies) have been noting in social media that the capitol coup on Wednesday was costumed like a sports event — the facepaint, the viking hats, the furs — in order to camouflage the event as mere fun, and as part of populist entertainment more generally. It helps create the image of a bunch of amateur jokers, and conceals — and claims to diffuse — the truly dangerous and seditious nature of these events.