I hadn’t even realized…

Another mass shooting in Colorado, at a King Soopers which is everyone’s basic grocery chain around here.

And I’ve just gotten my first vaccination and was really looking forward to doing my own shopping again. Maybe not so much anymore.

While reading some reports from folks on the scene, recounting how they always look for the exits when they go into a store, I realized something I had not recognized before in my own behavior. And that is, ever since Aurora, which was the horrific shooting in a Colorado theater that you might recall, ever since then when I go in a theater I’ve always looked to check out the exits. And in the back of my mind I’m thinking what I would do if someone came in with guns. Somewhere in the back of my mind there is always a picture of that crazy guy dressed in black who came through the back of the theater and started killing anyone he could. I suppose he’ll always be there now.

It’s weird because it’s clear in my mind but I hardly noticed it before. Took for granted I’d be watching the exits, as if that’s a normal thing to do and not a horror. Is this what grocery shopping will be like for me now, forevermore?


An excellent choice

Deb Haaland was sworn in today as Secretary of the Interior. This is the best choice Biden could have made for this position.

In the New Yorker, Bill McKibben said:

[M]uch of the pressure will fall on Haaland, because the territory she’s responsible for is so vast, and the political terrain so charged. She’s a brilliant choice because, with luck, she’ll be able to summon the rest of the country to appreciate the legacy that she now protects: the amazing landscape of the American West, the ancestral home of her own people and of many of our ideas about American identity. If she can leverage those powerful sentiments to get the resources she needs to underwrite a fair transition away from fossil fuels for the Western states, she will have played an outsized role in protecting that land, and the whole world, for the next thirty-five generations.

And here’s wonderful endorsement.

I hope she does find her path among all the forces she’ll have to deal with. Her position here raises a lot of hope in my heart.


Biden’s BFD

Hat tip to Balloon Juice commenters for the title.

Eric Levitz at New York Magazine seems to like that title too. He lays out details of what’s in the bill.

Biden’s COVID-Relief Bill Is a Big F**king Deal

• The average household in the bottom quintile of America’s economic ladder will see its annual income rise by more than 20 percent.

• A family of four with one working parent and one unemployed one will have $12,460 more in government benefits to help them make ends meet.

• The poorest single mothers in America will receive at least $3,000 more per child in government support, along with $1,400 for themselves and additional funds for nutritional assistance and rental aid.

• Child poverty in the U.S. will drop by half.

• More than 1 million unionized workers who were poised to lose their pensions will now receive 100 percent of their promised retirement benefits for at least the next 30 years.

• America’s Indigenous communities will receive $31.2 billion in aid, the largest investment the federal government has ever made in the country’s Native people.

• Black farmers will receive $5 billion in recompense for a century of discrimination and dispossession, a miniature reparation that will have huge consequences for individual African-American agriculturalists, many of whom will escape from debt and retain their land as a direct result of the legislation.

• The large majority of Americans who earn less than $75,000 as individuals or less than $150,000 as couples will receive a $1,400 stimulus check for themselves and another for each child or adult dependent in their care.

• America’s child-care centers will not go into bankruptcy en masse, thanks to a $39 billion investment in the nation’s care infrastructure.

• Virtually all states and municipalities in America will exit the pandemic in better fiscal health than pre-COVID, which is to say a great many layoffs of public employees and cutbacks in public services will be averted.

• No one in the United States will have to devote more than 8.5 percent of their income to paying for health insurance for at least the next two years, while ACA plans will become premium-free for a large number of low-income workers.

• America’s unemployed will not see their federal benefits lapse this weekend and will have an extra $300 to spend every week through the first week in September….

And there’s more at the link. As Charlie Pierce points out, this is a clean break from former Democratic Party policies, which emphasized austerity concerns more than concerns for poor and working people. I am so glad to see it.


For me, 50 weeks today

That’s how long our house has kept itself in quarantine so far.

And today I got my first shot of the Moderna vaccine here in Colorado. Mr. J isn’t eligible yet, so we’ll keep ourselves in quarantine until we both have as full immunity as we can get.

Guess who else got her shot today? Dolly Parton.

She is such a lovely person and I can’t thank her enough for helping to fund the vaccine I received today. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine…


Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary

“I acknowledge that we are on the ancestral homelands of the Nakochtank, Anacostan, and Piscataway people.”

Above is her opening statement. Tom Udall and Mark Udall say, in USA Today:

Rep. Haaland’s nomination is both historic and long overdue. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American Cabinet member. Her record is in line with mainstream conservation priorities. Thus, the exceptional criticism of Rep. Haaland and the threatened holds on her nomination must be motivated by something other than her record.

Of course as a woman she gets more scrutiny, even more so as an indigenous woman.

Today she will continue her time in confirmation hearings. You can follow along on C-SPAN, or read the live blog at Indian Country Today.

I can’t think of anyone better to steward our public lands.


So far, so okay

The election of Biden and Harris was a relief, but I didn’t feel jubilant as many did. I was exhausted of course, from four years of bullshit, and worn out by days of waiting for the election to be called. But more than that I did not trust the situation. I felt sure that Trump would try to beat his way out of this somehow, even though it seems unlikely he can. I was right.

So here we are, happy to have won the election, but also watching Trump thrash about and refuse to acknowledge reality. His enablers in Congress are doing their enabling thing, as they put our democracy in danger and pretend there is doubt about the outcome of the election even though there is not. It’s a dangerous situation, and an embarrassment for the entire country, but it can be survived. I hope. We shall see.

In the meantime we have one huge task before us, an important one. And that is the runoff vote for two Senate seats in Georgia which will take place on Jan. 5, 2021, before the next Congressional session begins. It’s possible that we could bring the Senate to a 50-50 tie, where VP Kamala Harris would be able to vote for the majority. And on her vote would balance the entire Biden/Harris agenda for the next two years. So as I say, it’s important.

The two Democrats to back are Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Rev. Warnock is running neck and neck with the currently appointed Senator Loeffler, while Mr. Ossoff is running a bit behind current Senator Purdue. Everything is going to depend on turnout.

Luckily for all of us, Fair Fight, the organization founded by Stacey Abrams to fight for fair elections in Georgia, is already involved in fundraising and get-out-the-vote work for this special election. You can donate to either candidate through the websites linked above, or use Fair Fight’s ActBlue link which collects donations for both.

If you have some extra time to spend, check out the grassroots organizations I linked in my earlier post. I know Vote Forward is planning another letter-writing campaign, and I suspect a lot of the others will get involved as well.

If you are a voter in Georgia, or if you know some, remember that election day is January 5. You can already request an absentee ballot now. You can register to vote through December 7. And in-person early voting starts December 14.

Let’s keep ourselves useful and work on this final piece of the 2020 elections, even as we watch warily to see what new shit Trump is going to pull every day. Trust me, he will pull shit. We still have to keep our eyes on the task at hand.

Let’s keep hoping that we’ll soon see a happy finish to this election cycle, and let’s keep working to make it so.