Republican Governors Are Reacting to Biden's Vaccine Mandate With Their Usual Calm, Cool Demeanour

Photo credit: Tom Pennington - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tom Pennington - Getty Images

(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog’s Favorite Living Canadian)

As you can probably imagine, various Republican governors have reacted to the president’s quite modest enactment of a vaccine mandate with the calm, cool demeanour with which they greet everything else the president does. Here, for example, is Henry McMaster, the governor of the home office of American sedition, the state of South Carolina. From WPDE:

"The American Dream has turned into a nightmare under President Biden and the radical Democrats. They have declared war against capitalism, thumbed their noses at the Constitution, and empowered our enemies abroad. Rest assured, we will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian.”

The last time South Carolina took issue with the Sovereignty Clause, it didn’t work out well at all. Veteran journalist-assaulter Greg Gianforte out on Montana was not happy, either. From the Helena Independent Record:

"President Biden's vaccination mandate is unlawful and un-American," Gianforte tweeted Thursday afternoon. "We are committed to protecting Montanans' freedoms and liberties against this gross federal overreach.”

And what did we hear from elsewhere in the plague-ridden American South? From Channel 24 in Memphis:

On Twitter, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “I fully support continued efforts to increase vaccination rates across our nation, but the federal mandates on private businesses are not the right answer. I have been consistent in the freedom of businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated, and I have opposed the government from saying businesses cannot exercise that freedom. The same principle should protect the private sector from government overreach that requires them to vaccinate all employees.”

At least Hutchinson had the good sense to attempt a little tap-dancing on the issue. Down in Mississippi, which is drowning in COVID patients at the moment, Governor Tate Reeves appears ready to march on Lexington Green.

“The President has no authority to require that Americans inject themselves because of their employment at a private business. The vaccine itself is life-saving, but this unconstitutional move is terrifying. This is still America, and we still believe in freedom from tyrants.”

And what of Tennessee, where the pandemic is frolicking merrily from the Smokies to the Mississippi River?

“The Constitution won’t allow this power grab, and in the meantime, I will stand up for all Tennesseans. To be clear: the vaccine is the best tool we have to combat the pandemic but heavy-handed mandates are the wrong approach.”

Fox17 in Nashville would like a word with Governor Lee, I think.

“Governor Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn have not only failed Tennessee children and families, they have also failed Tennessee teachers, administrators, and staff,” says Rev. Brandon Gilvin, pastor of First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.

The howls were not limited to incumbent Republican governors, either. Former Indiana Governor and onetime White House fireplace poker Mike Pence visited with the famous Fox morning show, Three Dolts on a Divan, and pronounced himself appalled.

"I have to tell you the president’s speech yesterday was unlike anything I'd ever heard from an American president.”

Actually, since you spent four years caddying for a guy who couldn’t produce a coherent thought any more than he could spit diamonds, you don’t “have” to tell anyone anything at all, Mike. Ever.

"I mean, to have the president of the United States say that he has been patient but his patience is wearing thin — that’s not how the American people expect to be spoken to by our elected leaders.”

You mean with, you know, verbs and things?

Anyway, here with an opposing viewpoint, and all the way from 1905, is Mr. Justice Harlan of the United States Supreme Court, upholding a vaccine mandate from here in the Commonwealth (God save it!).

"The possession and enjoyment of all rights are subject to such reasonable conditions as may be deemed by the governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, peace, good order and morals of the community. Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is not unrestricted license to act according to one's own will. It is only freedom from restraint under conditions essential to the equal enjoyment of the same right by others. It is then liberty regulated by law.”

In the constitution of Massachusetts adopted in 1780, it was laid down as a fundamental principle of the social compact that the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for "the common good," and that government is instituted "for the common good, for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people, and not for the profit, honor or private interests of anyone man, family or class of men.”

Photo credit: Scott Eisen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Scott Eisen - Getty Images

Of course, Governor Greg Abbott is in a class by himself. Under his leadership, Texas has demolished a constitutional right enjoyed by women for a half-century, obstructed the franchise for minority citizens who have enjoyed it for a decade longer than that, and now he’s decided that, while the government can’t make private companies mandate vaccines, he can tell private companies what they can and cannot publish. From the Washington Post:

“It is now law that conservative viewpoints in Texas cannot be banned on social media,” Abbott said. Conservatives have long claimed without evidence that Silicon Valley social media companies are censoring them based on their political affiliation. The companies deny those accusations.

Do you think people like Abbott ever sit down and are struck by the notion that their ideology is little more than fodder for talk radio, and that it requires them to argue two contradictory things at once? Jesus, these really are the mole people.

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Take Your Drunken Ass Home” (Big Al Carson): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.

Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archives: Here, from 1926, is a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Greasy Grass. Things go pretty badly wrong right from the opening title card, I’m thinking. Famous movie cowboy William S. Hart was the big star, History is so cool.

One of the places hardest hit by Hurricane Ida was St. James Parish in Louisiana, already famous for being the heart of “Cancer Alley,” and for recently scoring a win over a company that wanted to drop a huge plastics company in the middle of the already chemical-scarred landscape. From the Advocate:

Hurricane Ida's eye passed just west of this west bank community in St. James Parish, off La. 20. The power of the storm's winds was evident up and down Vacherie's narrow streets. Trees were toppled, and some landed on houses. Trailers and a few older homes had their walls and roofs sheared off. Metal sheds were splintered into shards — one was even picked up and dropped on a house next door…

Parish officials think the wind reached 70 to 90 mph on the east bank and blew even harder on the west bank. It smashed the parish's electrical grid, temporarily strained its water system and likely shut down the parish's largest east bank grocery, Winn Dixie, for as much as five months. Another east bank grocery, Matherne's, was open, but customers had to drive under partially downed powerlines.

And, to paraphrase Mr. Joyce, chemicals were general all over Ida. From nola.com:

•ETC Texas Pipelines reported the release of two barrels of condensate onto the ground near the intersection of La. 151 and Virgil Road in Minden, La., the result of a corroded pipe.

•Koch Nitrogen in Hahnville reported the release of 58 pounds of ammonia through a flare during a power outage caused by Ida. The release was halted, and plant officials said they were working to restore power at the plant. No information about the amount of nitrogen released was available

•CF Industries in Donaldsonville reported that the pilots on the flares of two storage tanks were extinguished, while control valves were partially open, allowing the release of ammonia. “Conditions from Hurricane Ida are ongoing and a crew is unable to secure the release,” the company reported. The amount of ammonia released was unknown.

•Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC reported two leaks on two separate pipelines, RV 26 and RV 32, due to conditions during Ida, resulting in the release of propylene and isobutane into the atmosphere. “It is unknown if there is waterway impact at this time,” the company reported. The releases were near Paradis and Louisiana 3127 in St. Charles Parish.

•Mosaic Fertilizer reported ammonia vapor released inside its St. James facility after a flare blew out during Ida.

•Shintech Louisiana, in Plaquemine, reported the release of an unknown amount of ethylene dichloride from a storage tank into the air “due to power consistency/Hurricane Ida.”

None of which sounds good.

Is it a good day for dinosaur news, Smithsonian? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!!!

For tens of millions of years, the earlier relatives of Tyrannosaurus lived in the shadow of larger carnivores with serrated, knife-like teeth. These predators were the carcharodontosaurs, or “shark-toothed lizards,” and paleontologists have just named a new species from a pivotal point in dinosaurian history. The new dinosaur, represented by a bone found in the 90-million-year-old rock of Uzbekistan, is a carcharodontosaur estimated to be about 30 feet long. But that’s hardly all. This new dinosaur species also lived alongside a much smaller tyrannosaur and helps narrow down when the fearsome carcharodontosaurs began to cede the role of apex predator to bigger, badder tyrannosaurs.

There’s always someone after your job, even among apex predators.

Around 160 million years ago, for example, the early tyrannosaur Guanlong from ancient China was overshadowed by the much larger Sinraptor. The same relationship is apparent in the Early Cretaceous, 125 million years ago, when the tyrannosaur Eotyrannus lived alongside the larger Neovenator in prehistoric England. The co-occurrence of Ulughbegsaurus and the little tyrannosaur Timurlengia fits this same pattern. “For many tens of millions of years, tyrannosaurs were the understudies of the allosauroids,” Brusatte says. Only in environments where large, competing carnivores were absent did tyrannosaurs get big. Around 125 million years ago, for example, Early Cretaceous China was home to a large, 30-foot-long tyrannosaur called Yutyrannus.

Uneasy lies the head with the big-ass jawbone, I always say. Evolution among massive predators then makes me happy now.

I’ll be back on Monday with what I am sure will be another week of what my mother would have called HIGH-sterics from various people about the tyranny of good health. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, wear the damn mask, and, for the love of god, get the damn shots.

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