We’re back to wearing masks indoors again and it’s hard to keep track of what’s allowed and what’s not. One thing is for certain. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you can still get COVID-19 and the new Delta variant appears to be more easily passed to others. If you’re vaccinated and get the virus again, it won’t be as serious and probably won’t put you into the hospital or kill you but you most definitely will be sick. I know people this has already happened to. So, if you’re in a high risk category, like older age or prior health problems, it’s probably a good idea to just stay inside and hunker down until the worst of the Delta passes. What absolutely astounds me is the reluctance of significant numbers of people to get vaccinated, even when many of them know people who are sick with COVID-19, or have been hospitalized or even have died. The level of denial, or their willingness to listen to news personalities who are poo-pooing vaccinations while they themselves have all been vaccinated just boggles my mind. Are there any psychiatrists out there who have an answer?

•••

There is a new America First Movement, or at least Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and his wingwoman, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, are trying to travel the country and hold rallies to gather the faithful—and, I suspect, for Gaetz trying to head off a possible criminal prosecution for consorting with a minor and who knows what other nasties. Greene would appear to be a certifiable wacko who just loves the spotlight and simply wants everyone to watch her. Before you lose faith, remember that we’ve always had some weird characters in congress and I’m not sure it’s any crazier now than it’s ever been. I remember some years back when the powerful congressional chair of House Committee on Ways and Means, Wilbur Mills, got himself into a bit of trouble when he stopped his limo one evening and his stripper girlfriend, whom I think was named Fanny Fox (editor’s note: it’s Fanne Foxe), decided to take a bath in one of the nation’s more famous Washington, DC landmark foundations. As you might guess, Wilbur and Fanny had tippled more than a bit so at least they had something of an excuse, but the current generation of wackos seems to be doing it all stone cold sober, which is even scarier. As for the “America First” label that Trump chose, he was apparently oblivious that the name came from the late 1930s and early 1940s when there was a big domestic push to keep us out of European wars. Then, the America First Committee was spearheaded by Colonel Charles Lindbergh and included a number of prominent Americans: fascists, pro-Nazi fans, anti-Semites, anti-immigration advocates and anti-everything-not-white-like-them-from-small-town-America types. That Trump chose that name is not terribly surprising since he probably hasn’t cracked open a history book since third grade.

•••

We’ve got the Tokyo Olympics coming up and strangely no one seems to be very engaged or excited. Maybe as it gets closer people will get excited or maybe COVID-19 has just rung all the energy out of us. The reason I say that is there also doesn’t seem to be much excitement about the upcoming gubernatorial recall election in September either. It’s got the Democrats worried. Everyone is so blah that even though the Dems have a clear numerical advantage in this state they’re fearful that the faithful won’t turn out to vote. The Dems managed to keep any other Dems from challenging the governor so, for the party, it’s a simple up or down on the recall. If the Dems show and vote “No” that ends it. If the Dems stay home or don’t vote and the voters recall the governor then its choosing from among 30 or so Republicans vying for the spot. 

 

•••

It’s beginning to look like the infrastructure bill is becoming less likely, at least on a bipartisan basis. I’m guessing that soon the Dems are going to go it alone and give up and any idea the anything can be bipartisan in our current political climate, which would be a very sad thing for our country. 

Odds & Ends

• There is something called a DMV Real ID, which is kind of upgraded driver license that may become necessary for traveling in the future. The pandemic and long lines at all of the DMVs have kept many people from going for the new license. I read recently that the DMV and the Auto Club of Southern California have cut a deal and you may be able to get the new license at AAA offices. It’s worth a call. Let us know how you do.

• A U.S. District Court Judge in Texas has just held that it would be unconstitutional to add any new young people to the DACA program because congress has not passed a law to permit it. The ones already in DACA he’s leaving alone. The Department of Justice, of course, is appealing the district court decision but this is what happens when the congress is gridlocked: the president begins to operate by executive order which stands as long as that president is in office. When Trump was elected he revoked almost of Obama’s executive orders and issued new executive orders. When Biden beat Trump (yes, he really did beat him) he revoked all of Trump’s executive orders and issued his own executive orders. It’s not a very good way to run a government but any president is left with little choice if the congress can’t agree on anything. No president is going to sit on his hands for four years, so he issues instruction to all the federal agencies, interprets existing law however he wants and leaves it to the electorate or the courts to figure it out.

• Closing with a piece of good news: Water has come back to Legacy Park in the center of Malibu, and the geese, ducks, birds and all sorts of life are returning. If you’ve never visited, take a stroll around the park. It’s about a half mile, flat and easy to walk, plus your dog will love it. Thanks to all the city employees who sprang into action to make it happen.

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