The Bob Cesca Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog https://www.bobcesca.com We Cover The World Fri, 16 Apr 2021 22:09:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.17 22972724 Tribalism https://www.bobcesca.com/tribalism/ https://www.bobcesca.com/tribalism/#respond Fri, 16 Apr 2021 21:00:58 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159322
(Cartoonist - Matt Davies)

In other news, Raul Castro announced today that he's resigning from Cuba’s Communist Party and ending 62 years of Castro control.

Meanwhile, Russia retaliated for the Biden administration's sanctions today by expelling a group of American diplomats.

Finally, some small businesses say the only thing they've gained from the Brexit is bigger bills and red tape.

Customs checks, paperwork and border delays since the U.K. completed its withdrawal from the European Union at the start of the year are sucking cash and time out of firms from big-name retailers to small family-owned businesses. Companies, which warned for years that this would happen, take no pleasure in saying “we told you so,” but the frustration is clear as they grapple with the long-term reality. [...]

Fresh food is particularly complex, but the issues are widespread. It’s been especially dire in Northern Ireland, now separated from Great Britain by a trade border in the Irish Sea, the result of the unloved Northern Ireland Protocol. Ashley Pigott, managing director of AJ Power, a maker of diesel generators in Craigavon, says charges to bring components from Great Britain will add about 100,000 pounds ($137,000) a year to his bills.

“By the time we get through to July, we’ll start to see those costs really starting to bite,” he says.

I don't know about all of you, but my brain is fried at the end of this week. And I'll tell you what, the weather isn't helping. It's way too cold and ugly for mid April. I'm going to stay in bed as long as I possibly can this weekend.

As much as I try to shake it off, the truth is waking up to a new anti-trans bill virtually every day is exhausting. And there's so many of them now -- introduced or passed in over 30 states -- that I can only cover the worst ones. There are days when I have nothing left; no outrage left in the tank. I think I may take a mental health break at the end of the month when I am due for the second dose of vaccine in any case, but I will see you here next week.

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U.S. Passes 200 Million Vaccinations https://www.bobcesca.com/u-s-passes-200-million-vaccinations/ https://www.bobcesca.com/u-s-passes-200-million-vaccinations/#respond Fri, 16 Apr 2021 19:16:51 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159318 The incoming Biden administration set a goal of vaccinating 100 million people within the first 100 days of taking office, but we blew past that goal in less than half that time and we've now reached the administration's adjusted goal.

As of yesterday evening, the United States had vaccinated 200 million people with about a week to spare in the first 100 days.

Just under 40% of Americans have had at least one dose, and about a quarter have completed the one- and two-dose vaccinations. The news was announced on Twitter by Cyrus Shahpar, the White House Covid-19 Data Director.

The vaccine rollout has been accelerating as supply increases, with the U.S. giving shots to about 1% of the population every day, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. It took the U.S. 89 days to administer the first 100 million doses, a milestone reached on March 12. The second 100 million has come in just 36 days.

Now, technically, a much smaller number of vaccinations were shot into arms while Trump was still in power, but we could hit 200 million shots by Monday even if you exclude those.

Considering that it took two months to administer 16 million shots under Trump, we probably wouldn't have even reached 100 million by now if he were still in power.

That puts things into perspective for me because I originally did not expect to get shot up until later this summer and possibly even next fall, but I'm scheduled to receive my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on May 4th.

My friends -- who are all much bigger nerds than I am -- were delighted to point out that I will receive my second shot on Star Wars Day.

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Public Enemy https://www.bobcesca.com/public-enemy/ https://www.bobcesca.com/public-enemy/#respond Thu, 15 Apr 2021 22:15:28 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159307
(Cartoonist - Mike Luckovich)

In other news, new claims for unemployment dropped to 576,000 last week; the lowest number since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Meanwhile, the Capitol Police inspector general's report on the January 6th attack says widespread problems hindered their response.

Equipment was old and stored badly; officers didn’t complete required training; and there was a lack of direction at the Civil Disturbance Unit, which exists to ensure that legislative functions of Congress are not disrupted by civil unrest or protest activity. That was exactly what happened on Jan. 6 when Trump supporters violently pushed past police and broke into the Capitol as Congress counted the Electoral College votes that certified Joe Biden’s victory.

The report also focuses on several pieces of missed intelligence, including the force’s own inconsistent information gathering and an FBI memo sent the day before the insurrection that then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund has told lawmakers he never saw.

Finally, the CEO of Pfizer says we might need annual coronavirus booster shots because of variants.

“We need to see what would be the sequence, and for how often we need to do that, that remains to be seen,” [CEO Albert Bourla] told CNBC’s Bertha Coombs during an event with CVS Health. “A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role.”

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The Bob Cesca Show 4/15/21 https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-show-4-15-21/ https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-show-4-15-21/#respond Thu, 15 Apr 2021 21:12:48 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159312 Money For Ass -- [Explicit Content] Bob reaches the conclusion of his quest for a vaccine; The Safeway data mining operation; Pfizer recipients will have to be vaccinated again within a year; Suck it, Pooty Poot; Biden's new sanctions against Russia and Kilimnik; Minnesota police officer charged with second degree manslaughter; Derek Chauvin takes the Fifth; When will Matt Gaetz resign?; Gaetz allegedly paid "money for ass"; The COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill; Army NCO arrested for accosting a Black pedestrian; With Jody Hamilton and TRex David Ferguson; And music by Rigorous Proof and Terri Morris; and more!]]>

Money For Ass -- [Explicit Content] Bob reaches the conclusion of his quest for a vaccine; The Safeway data mining operation; Pfizer recipients will have to be vaccinated again within a year; Suck it, Pooty Poot; Biden's new sanctions against Russia and Kilimnik; Minnesota police officer charged with second degree manslaughter; Derek Chauvin takes the Fifth; When will Matt Gaetz resign?; Gaetz allegedly paid "money for ass"; The COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill; Army NCO arrested for accosting a Black pedestrian; With Jody Hamilton and TRex David Ferguson; And music by Rigorous Proof and Terri Morris; and more!

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Vaccines Go Unused in Conservative Areas https://www.bobcesca.com/vaccines-go-unused-in-conservative-areas/ https://www.bobcesca.com/vaccines-go-unused-in-conservative-areas/#respond Thu, 15 Apr 2021 20:00:20 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159303 The United States has vaccinated a huge number of people against the coronavirus very quickly, but speculation that we could hit a wall during the drive toward herd immunity is starting to look like more than a theory.

Recent polling tells us that willingness to get a shot is divided along partisan lines and numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us the polls are probably correct.

A significantly higher number of vaccines are going unused in Republican states and even within the more conservative areas of Democratic states.

From Bloomberg:

The data indicate as many as one in three doses are unused in some states. Appointments for shots often go untaken, with few people signing up. [...]

In Charlottesville, a mostly Democratic area that is home to the University of Virginia, vaccine appointments are tough to snag even with two mass clinics right in town. In Lynchburg, 70 miles south and dominated by conservative Liberty University, open appointments at an old TJ Maxx are easy to find. The disparity has led to in-state vaccine tourism where residents in northern Virginia flock south to snap up shots that would otherwise go unused. The wide availability of vaccines also signals that areas like Lynchburg may be running out of residents willing to get vaccinated. [...]

Taken together, the worst-performing quartile of states holds 14.1 million unused doses, meaning that 31% of doses delivered in those states are yet to be marked as used. In the best-performing quartile of states, only 11% of doses were unused.

A government-issued "vaccine passport" of some description will likely never become a thing for various reasons, but privately-owned businesses, employers, and venues requiring proof of vaccination may be the only way we'll reach herd immunity.

If people want to go to a crowded concert, for example, they should have to provide proof of vaccination to enter the venue. Selfish people who want to go back do doing those things without helping to make it possible themselves deserve to be coerced in that manner.

I consider it relatively easy to sit here and say 'fuck'em, if they want to get sick and die that's on them' but the reality is vaccine hesitancy will also make it more difficult for the rest of us to resume more normal lives. It's going to take longer for safety restrictions to be lifted if too many people refuse to get vaccinated.

My arm was a little sore after my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but that's it. It was no big deal.

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Florida GOP Passes Bill to Examine Kids’ Genitals https://www.bobcesca.com/florida-gop-passes-bill-to-examine-kids-genitals/ https://www.bobcesca.com/florida-gop-passes-bill-to-examine-kids-genitals/#respond Thu, 15 Apr 2021 18:30:28 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159291 Every bill that targets transgender children and bans them from participating in youth sports is heinous, of course, but it's also particularly telling that the conversation surrounding trans participation in sports is centered almost entirely around girls.

Republican critics of transgender rights center all of their rhetoric on girls and most legislation against trans participation in sports specifically targets girls. Transgender boys also exist, but they're almost never a subject of debate in state legislatures or on cable news.

Some people would tell you that transphobia is just the last acceptable form of homophobia -- and it is that -- but the rhetoric and effort to specifically target girls is transmisogyny. It's based on the idea that women and girls are particularly weak or vulnerable and must be protected, but protecting them actually means controlling them. Transgender women and girls are subjected to both homophobia and misogyny; as if we're all dangerous predators but also too weak or stupid to make our own decisions. Legislation that targets transgender girls assumes they don't know what they're doing while also assuming that cisgender girls and women can't handle it. Lawmakers want to control all girls by controlling what they're suppose to look like.

Republicans who control Florida's state House of Representatives met yesterday evening and passed a bill that explicitly bans transgender girls from participating in youth sports while allowing participation for transgender boys.

The legislation also calls for inspecting the genitals of any girl whose physical appearance raises suspicion in some manner and does not meet unspecified standards.

HB 1475, sponsored by Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, would enact a blanket ban on transgender athletes competing in scholastic girls’ and women’s sports in Florida. Transgender athletes would still be allowed to compete in boys and men’s sports.

The bill, which is modeled after an Idaho law that was temporarily struck down by a federal judge last year, allows a school or competitor to lodge a complaint about an athlete competing in a girls’ or woman’s sport. If the party complaining suspects the athlete was not assigned the female gender at birth, the athlete in question will have to prove their birth gender — via a genetic test, a test of their testosterone levels or an examination of their reproductive anatomy by a medical professional — in order to compete.

Hello, we're the Republican party. We don't believe in free markets, or progressive taxation, or public health, or environmental safety, or national sovereignty threatened by foreign actors who support us. We only care about preserving white supremacy, suppressing minorities votes, and banning kids from playing soccer and closely scrutinizing what's in their pants if necessary.

That reads like snark, but it really isn't.

Any piece of legislation that targets kids because of their appearance or physical characteristics will inevitably be used against cisgender kids more than transgender kids because trans kids are a tiny minority. It will discourage transgender kids from even trying to live a normal life and could also harm cisgender girls who are judged to be too butch or too large by parents of other kids or other schools.

Transphobic lawmakers have done such poor homework, and so sloppily written their laws, there's little doubt in my mind that each of these laws passed in GOP-controlled state across the country will be struck down in court. But a considerable amount of psychological damage will be done to transgender youth in the meantime. It's also taxing on older adults like myself because we have to speak up for them or no one else will.

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Biden Admin Expels Russians, Imposes Sanctions https://www.bobcesca.com/biden-admin-expels-russians-imposes-sanctions/ https://www.bobcesca.com/biden-admin-expels-russians-imposes-sanctions/#respond Thu, 15 Apr 2021 17:00:54 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159286 Leaks from the diplomatic and national security community told us the Biden administration was preparing to impose retaliatory sanctions on Russia and Russian individuals in response to a wide range of Russian actions, but those actions go further back than previously reported.

The new sanctions come in response to the SolarWinds hack and interference in the 2020 election, but the sanctions also come in response to Russia's invasion and annexation of Crimea and even interference in the 2016 election.

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats and sanctions against dozens of people and companies as it moved to hold the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year’s presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies.

The sanctions also target Moscow’s ability to borrow money by prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from buying Russian bonds directly from Russian institutions. [...]

The measures announced Thursday include sanctions on six Russian companies that support the country’s cyber activities, in addition to sanctions on 32 individuals and entities accused of attempting to interfere in last year’s presidential election, including by spreading disinformation. The U.S. also sanctioned eight people and entities tied to Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

The 10 diplomats being expelled include representatives of Russian intelligence services, the Biden administration said.

You may recall one particular scandal in which Trump's 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was accused of sharing the campaign's polling data with Russian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik

The new sanctions from the United States Treasury explicitly say Kilimnik shared Manafort's data and Trump's campaign strategy with Russian intelligence in 2016.

Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik) is a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The response to Putin's most recent actions were expected, but the response to events from five years ago tells me the intelligence community knows more than the Trump regime allowed them to disclose. But I suppose that's no surprise, is it?

None of the sanctions announced today cover Russia's bounty program that offered rewards for killing foreign service members in Afghanistan, but a separate response to that program is reportedly coming according to multiple sources.

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The Bob Cesca Interview: Diana Butler Bass 4/14/21 https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-interview-diana-butler-bass-4-14-21/ https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-interview-diana-butler-bass-4-14-21/#respond Wed, 14 Apr 2021 21:34:35 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159277 Diana Butler Bass -- You might know Diana as a regular on the John Fugelsang Show on SiriusXM, but she's also a speaker, scholar, and authority on American religion and culture. She's the author of eleven books, including her latest called FREEING JESUS, a bold exploration beyond the narrow confines surrounding the image of Jesus. Ultimately, it's an invitation to leave the Jesus wars behind and rediscover him in entirely new ways, as a teacher rather than a wrathful savior. Link in the description under this episode at BobCesca.com. Meanwhile if you like what you hear today, don't forget to subscribe to our bonus content at patreon.com/bobcescashow.]]>

Please consider supporting the show by subscribing to our bonus content on Patreon.

Diana Butler Bass -- You might know Diana as a regular on the John Fugelsang Show on SiriusXM, but she's also a speaker, scholar, and authority on American religion and culture. She's the author of eleven books, including her latest called FREEING JESUS, a bold exploration beyond the narrow confines surrounding the image of Jesus. Ultimately, it's an invitation to leave the Jesus wars behind and rediscover him in entirely new ways, as a teacher rather than a wrathful savior. Link in the description under this episode at BobCesca.com. Meanwhile if you like what you hear today, don't forget to subscribe to our bonus content at patreon.com/bobcescashow.

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Public Safety https://www.bobcesca.com/public-safety-2/ https://www.bobcesca.com/public-safety-2/#respond Wed, 14 Apr 2021 21:00:51 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159273
(Cartoonist - Matt Davies)

In other news, the primary author of the Trump tax cuts, Rep. Kevin Brady, says he will not run for reelection next year. He's the fifth House Republicans to call it quits.

Meanwhile, the Senate has confirmed Gary Gensler to serve as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The vote was 53 to 45.

Finally, federal prosecutors say members of the Oath Keepers militia stored rifles at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia for a "quick reaction force" that could have been used in the January 6th attack on the capitol.

Multiple affiliates of the Oath Keepers, and multiple cases that appeared to contain firearms, made the trip to a Virginia hotel in advance of the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

And these people, and suspected weapons, were ready to swoop into D.C. “at a moment’s notice” during the attack on the Capitol, he said.

The details about the purported “quick reaction force” set up in a hotel in Arlington, Virginia were the most extensive that federal prosecutors have revealed to date about their knowledge of an alleged force ready and waiting to join the Capitol attack.

If they had actually used guns in the attack, it seems likely that members of Congress would have been killed. The attack was just a hair away from being much worse than it was.

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GOP Voters Say No to Vaccines https://www.bobcesca.com/gop-voters-say-no-to-vaccines/ https://www.bobcesca.com/gop-voters-say-no-to-vaccines/#respond Wed, 14 Apr 2021 18:30:17 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=159262 The United States is vaccinating the population at a very quick pace and we may even reach the Biden administration's goal of vaccinating 200 million people in 100 days, but it's also possible that we're going to hit a wall in the coming months if current trends in polling hold up.

Public eagerness and willingness to get vaccinated is divided along partisan lines and a new survey conducted by Monmouth University found that almost half of self-identified Republicans say they won't get a shot.

Partisanship remains the main distinguishing factor among those who want to avoid the vaccine altogether, with 43% of Republicans versus just 5% of Democrats saying this. Currently, 22% of independents say they want to avoid getting the vaccine altogether. Demographically, adults under age 65 (25%) continue to be more likely than seniors (11%) to rule out getting the vaccine. There are no discernable differences by race, though, with similar number of whites (22%) and people of color (20%) saying they will avoid getting the vaccine if they can.

Just over half (51%) of the adult population reports having already received at least one Covid jab and another 14% say they will get the vaccine as soon as they are allowed. Democrats (67%) are more likely than independents (47%) and Republicans (36%) to report being vaccinated. More white Americans (54%) than people of color (45%) report having already received a shot.

As these numbers suggest, maps of vaccinations are starting to look like a typical electoral map of election results.

This map from the Department of Health and Human Services shows which areas of the country are more likely to refuse a vaccine.

As you can see, the most liberal areas -- or at least the most liberal voting areas along the west and east coasts and far north -- are far more open to being vaccinated.

You could draw almost any conclusion that you want from this and I would say you're probably right to some degree.

There may come a point when we're struggling to reach true herd immunity in the United States because too many people are refusing to get vaccinated, not because we don't have enough doses. We already have enough doses to inject virtually everyone.

I hope that is not the case and that more people will change their minds over time.

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