Aaron Rodgers Deserved His Moment With Karma In Green Bay

Simply put, if a person is a high-profile figure, they must not be rewarded with expressing anti-vaccination sentiments. Novak Djokovic was such an example. Aaron Rodgers is another example.

Insulting the intelligence of state residents, and undermining vaccination efforts within the demographics that look up to and follow Rogers hurt the efforts of the medical establishment to stem COVID. We are going into our third year of the pandemic and we needed to have all folks working for the needs of the larger community.

Rodgers refused.

Karma responded.

And so it goes.

Justice Rendered: Novak Djokovic Had His Balls Handed To Him

There is not so much elation at this desk in the very early hours of Sunday as I write, as there is deep gratitude that facts, science, and law prevailed.

I have been waiting over the past hours to discover the outcome of the judge’s ruling concerning Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch attempt to stay in Australia and play tennis.  I have not shied away from stating I wished for him to be kicked out of the nation for his lies and dismal behavior.

The wait is now over.

The brash and arrogant Djokovic failed in his final attempt to stay in the nation and play in the upcoming tournament.  His unvaccinated stance and lies about his travels have cost him dearly.

Sports personalities have many people looking up to them, and as such have a responsibility that comes with fame and fortunes.  The Australian decision was correct.  It was the second visa rejection based on the fact he could very well pose a risk to public health and order.

The icing on this story is this decision cannot be appealed.

I have made it clear with the most irksome Aaron Rodgers, and others who toss intelligence aside concerning COVID, that there must be a price to pay.  In the case of Djokovic, it was clear that allowing him to stay in Australia could encourage others to refuse vaccines or disregard pandemic restrictions.

Simply put, if a person is a high-profile figure, they must not be rewarded with expressing anti-vaccination sentiments.  Today the only proper outcome that could be rendered was handed down in Australia.

And so it goes.

Hypocrisy Boris Johnson Style May Prove Career-Ending–Let’s Add The Salt To Boiling Cauldron

How many posts have been presented on this blog where hypocrisy was front and center to the story. Since I do not have a category listed for the term there is no hard number I can supply to my readers. But since this is mainly a political site one can assume the number is higher than we would wish to be true.

But here we are again with the one thing that catches too many elected officials and politicians by the back end.

Hypocrisy.

This story is well known by now but let us assume a reader to CP has newly arrived from Mars. In May 2020 the British folks were tightly drawn into their homes and ordered to conduct themselves in such a way as to minimize the spread of COVID 19. The pandemic was striking hard and causing death and economic casualties alike.

But at the same time, Downing Street officials were holding a drinking and jolly ole get-together in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s walled garden. The messed-haired leader attended for 25 minutes.

And now the nation is at full outright rage as the story gains momentum. And it is not just the folks at the local pubs who are cranked about Boris.

Dominic Grieve, a barrister who served as David Cameron’s attorney general from 2010 to 2014, said that Tory MPs who are “very unhappy” with the current Prime Minister’s behavior should move to replace him.

Grieve said: “I think that ultimately you have to make a judgment about whether somebody is suitable to be a political leader and the prime minister in a democracy.

I don’t think the current Prime Minister passes that test”.

The talk among the Tory party is one of full understanding about the strength they would need to carry Johnson about, for he is a most absurd politician who has never played straight with anything. Including within his love life.

The newspapers in Britain, never shy of calling someone out for the needed lambasting they deserve, have been having a field day. Each morning it is a delight to see how the national roasting of Johnson is proceeding.

I think the water is about to the boiling point. It might only take a few more days–and if we add some salt….

After all, there is a price to be paid for Brexit. Here at the CP desk, we call it Karma.

Novac Djokovic Is International Disappointment

The news from Australia was very disappointing if you are someone who follows science, believes in medical professionals, and disdains arrogance.

Novac Djokovic had a legal victory after a judge in that country reinstated his visa. The thin line of legal justification was that the tennis professional had not been granted enough time to confer with his lawyer for the hearing. (Cue the barfing.)

The problem is that Djokovic is not serious about COVID, and feels comfortable flaunting the rules and common sense about vaccines. Too many people are letting him get away with his insulting our collective intelligence.

He had COVID and used that infection, and the antibodies it created to get a visa, even though he is not vaccinated. There is not enough medical evidence to support the theory that the antibodies provide the protection that the three-shot series does.

This is not the first time this rather disreputable person played fast and loose with the needs of the larger community during this pandemic. It was just months into this international crisis that Djokovic organized a tennis tournament in the Balkans, tossed aside mask-wearing and of course, he came down with the virus. As did others in that stunt.

The problem I have with Djokovic, other than his brashness is that he constantly refuses to adjust his life for the greater good. In December, he was found to have contracted the virus again but was out and about–up close to people, and shunning the wearing of a mask.

Before entering Australia he was not to have been jetting about the world. But, in fact, he had been to both Spain and Serbia. Meanwhile, the Aussies have been under strict mandates and take the pandemic most seriously, as they should.

I believe in a strong sense of justice, and if other legal matters result in his being allowed to remain in Australia then I hope his time in front of the cameras on the tennis court concludes with his not breaking the men’s singles title record. We should not desire to elevate stupidity.

I post about sports personalities and the way younger people look up to them. As such, it is important they set a standard of behavior we would want our youth to follow. When it comes to Djokovic, however, who has spurned wearing masks, being vaccinated, or refusing to be honest let us hope kids worldwide are playing a video game rather than following the news.

And so it goes.

Guns, Guns, Guns, Guns…..

The news from Rockford on Tuesday about gun violence did not make the headlines as there was a bevy of reports about COVID, a staggering traffic jam on icy roads in Virginia, and court trials (such as Dane County’s Chandler Halderson murder case) that sets shivers down the spines of even the most jaded among us.

But guns played havoc in communities far and wide causing great angst for the law enforcement community.

Following a shooting at Auburn High School Tuesday afternoon that left two teens injured, Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd made an impassioned plea to parents of violent youth, to end gun violence in the city.

“You all know who the kids are who have the guns, who have access to guns. They’re your kids, your neighbors, and your grandkids,” Redd said.

Stop sitting on your bottoms and doing nothing about it.

Every single day in every state and in multiple communities within each state the number of gun shootings, killings, and injuries mount.

In Chicago for instance, there were more gun-related homicides in 2021 than in any other year on record, according to officials. Cook County’s 1,002 homicides, a total that includes Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, was 121 higher than the previous record from 2020 and almost twice as many as the total from 2019.

Just two days before the Monday announcement by the county medical examiner’s office, Chicago police reported that there were more homicides in Chicago, 797, in 2021 than in any year since 1996. There were 772 killed in 2020, and a much lower total of 498 in the year before, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In New York City a recorded 485 murders took place in 2021, a 4% increase from the 468 tallied in 2020. It needs noting that the surge was driven by a startling surge in gun violence across the city. Last year there had been 1,857 shooting victims in that city.

One can comb through the statistics coast-to-coast and see gun violence shot upwards—sorry for the bad pun–as gun-related deaths among kids and teenagers increased during the pandemic. The reasons for the crime rates over the past two years are being studied as to why it occurred.

But it needs stating that this medical crisis in the United States could have been averted in large part with a fact-based White House in 2020 along with the absence of continual lies aimed at the most gullible within the Republican Party. When the larger social implications of not addressing the virus in a most serious fashion during the Donald Trump administration are examined the deaths due to a host of social ills will need to be cited.

Gun violence, not surprisingly, has most demonstrated its wrath and harsh realities on the poor, Black and Hispanic youth over the past years.

When it comes to guns and protecting our youth from getting their hands on the weapons, as Rockford law enforcement talked about on Tuesday, one does have to place that daunting social problem alongside the pandemic and ask a most basic question.

If people can’t even figure out how to manage to wear a face mask correctly, how in the world do we expect them to manage gun ownership?

This blog continually speaks out for gun control measures at the same time it responds to the latest gun violence that the misinterpreted Second Amendment has unleashed on the nation. My first letter to the editor as a teenager was printed in the Waushara Argus. The reason for my letter concerned the need to bring sanity to the issue of gun ownership.

Four decades later and the problem is worse than ever.

And so it goes.

Conservative Republicans, Like Ron Johnson, Play To Under-Educated Base

There seems to be a race underway in the nation where elected conservative Republicans seek to dive deeper into absurdity in an attempt to be nuttier than the previous one.

In Wisconsin, we were offered more outlandish buffoonery from Senator Ron Johnson who stated in a town hall meeting he had an idea about combatting COVID.

“Standard gargle, mouthwash, has been proven to kill the coronavirus. If you get it, you may reduce viral replication. Why not try all these things?” (For the record this is not actual science and rebuked by medical professionals.)

Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie posed his family in front of a decorated tree with all hefting military-type assault weapons for a Christmas greeting, shortly after the Oxford High School gun massacre.

Meanwhile, Tom McMillin, a Republican from Oakland Township, proposed in a social media post that mandatory school attendance be removed in Michigan. He is a member of the Michigan State Board of Education!

I recall during my years as Door County Democratic Chairperson talking with a wide array of people at events such as the annual fair or when campaigning door-to-door for local candidates. At times, I encountered some of the most unbelievable sets of views and ideas that could be imagined. So what is being reported, all too often, in our newspapers and online is not new. Right-wing lunacy has long-been part of our political narrative.

What is so troubling now, however, is that instead of the tin-foil hatted folks being aberrations in the party they now are the base of the GOP. But that is not how I first came to know conservatives.

In my teenage years, I started watching Firing Line with William F. Buckley. He was a conservative with a vocabulary that reached out through the television set and made me sit up and pay attention. In my rural upbringing reasoned approaches to the world seemed utterly sound to me. Then I graduated from high school, left home, and encountered the world.

My first job was working in radio broadcasting in Door County. With a red streak that then ran very deep, the local politics was not for a faint-hearted liberal Democrat. I found, however, that the vast majority on the other side of the aisle were logical and reasoned with varying points and perspectives about the issues of the day.

The conspiracy-laden John Birch Society and the truly unhinged Posse Comitatus crowd were in the county, and not ashamed to spill their views when answering their front door during an election year. Tigerton Dells was then a topic in Wisconsin and those headlines concerning the Posse seemed to embolden that segment of the electorate. I was soon most aware that enlightenment liberalism was not spread evenly across our state.

But that element was a narrow sliver of the whole. Today, however, the under-educated within the GOP revel in their status and expect the rest of us to meet them at that level. Republican officeholders encourage the ridiculous ideas and notions so as to retain power, rather than seeking to better inform and lift up the voters.

There have always been times of great transition and uncertainty in the nation where politicians have used fear to spin a message and gain office. Today class divisions and market revolutions, continuing demand for power and rights among groups from Blacks to transgenders, along with a shifting electorate that is more brown and diverse provide the combustible elements for current conservative pols.

But what is most dismaying is the low level that conservative Republicans will dive into when playing to their base. Such tactics are dangerous to a democracy that does rely on educated citizens to make sound decisions about the path forward for a nation.

John Adams wrote the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Though he penned that public education should be at the heart of that state’s understanding of government, it is easy to see how elected officeholders can, and should, also be teachers and ones who impart facts to the citizenry. He wrote that “wisdom and knowledge . . . diffused generally among the body of the people [are] necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties.”

I wish conservative Republicans would ponder the role they need to play when speaking to their base of support.

And so it goes.

Wisconsinites Defining Themselves

Over the past two years, I have become better acquainted with segments of Wisconsin. Having lived here since my birth in Wild Rose, I have watched and read over the decades the comings and goings of those who lived near me and ones in the farther reaches of the state.

At times, I have been moved by the emotional resolve of a community pulling together, such as after the horrific Barneveld tornado. Recently we saw the better angels of our state move into action to help families impacted by the horror that ripped Waukesha after a man drove into a Christmas parade.

Since early 2020 we have watched as nurses and doctors have spent every day confronting not only a virus that has filled hospitals to capacity but also stressed medical professionals to a point they have never reached before in their careers. We have learned of teachers who crossed technical hurdles so to ensure students could continue their education, even if not sitting in the school classroom.

That is the part of Wisconsin that makes me proud to live here, knowing our lives are enriched with caring and thoughtful people doing tough work under the most trying of circumstances. The best of Midwestern values shines with these people.

But there is another segment of the state who also defined themselves over the past two years.

Perhaps I deluded myself for many years about the true character of some of my fellow citizens in the state. After all, I worked in local politics in Door County and then for a decade with a state legislator and appreciated the wide array of ideas and opinions. I fully grasped policy differences were as natural as the sun rising and setting. Partisan differences were not, for me, the mark of character.

But in 2006, as I drove through my hometown area and saw the number of yard signs in favor of an anti-gay marriage amendment slated for a statewide ballot, I was forced to realize a divide that I had not seen, or perhaps not wished to see all those previous years. This issue was not about increased taxes, or how to pay for road maintenance, or any such sundry list of concerns. This was not the typical issue of the day, but a blunt tool designed to foment bigotry and hate. It pained me to see signs on the lawns of people I personally knew promoting its passage.

This year as our state, like the nation and the world, fought back on a virus that has killed too many and undermined economies I have watched as some rebel against logical ways of living and acting so as to stem COVID’s spread. The utter rejection of wearing a mask so to protect their own families and the communities in which they live, or taking a vaccine that has proven efficacy so to allow for herd immunity, is more than shocking.

For so long I had a real faith in the rest of my fellow citizens, and that makes this year utterly dismaying to watch play out in relation to our basic human interactions with one another. My mom used to say that you never know how ugly families can be until there is a will to probate. She would be aghast to have watched how selfish and outrageous people turned out to be in a pandemic.

People refuse to be vaccinated and in so doing have split families apart. After all, those who follow science and reasoning do not wish to put their lives in peril by being in close proximity to those who reject common sense. Some fight against mandates, even for health workers or emergency workers who arrive at homes in trucks with flashing lights.

I have watched a segment of this state, a segment that is larger than what I would have ever imagined, lean into their tribalism, and in so doing, forsake the greater good. To me, that has been harder to accept than any presidential election night loss. That is because I know in four years there is a good chance at righting the ship of state.

What we have lost as Wisconsinites, as demonstrated by a segment of our populace with the rejection of science, facts, data, and following the advice of medical professionals is not something we can just glue back together again. The loss of our commitment to being good to each other, in the most trying of times, has defined who we are.

It is truly sad.

And so it goes.

Red U.S. Counties, Like Africa, Simply Must Get Vaccinated

The world community is acting with resolve to the news—not totally unexpected given the large swaths of the world not yet vaccinated to COVID–that the omicron variant is likely to be the next major wave of the pandemic. It was only a matter of time before a mutated version of beta, and Delta, would emerge given the low vaccination rates in certain parts of the world.

There was no missing messaging from Isreal about their attitude towards this new variant.

Israel will forbid the entry of noncitizens for two weeks, starting at midnight Sunday night, in an attempt to stem the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant in Israel and to allow experts time to assess its level of transmissibility and resistance against existing vaccines.”

The United States, like a long list of other countries, restricted travel for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa and seven other countries. But the fact is the world community is simply reacting to events.

Dutch health officials said on Sunday that they had found at least 13 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant among 61 infected passengers who had arrived in the Netherlands from South Africa on Friday.

The time for proactive measures were the months the world community had to vaccinate the masses.

This all follows the World Health Organization assigning the newly identified variant the Greek letter omicron and formally recognizing the strain, previously referred to as lineage B.1.1.529, as a “variant of concern.”

The New York Times reported how the new variant was named.

“When it came time to name the potentially dangerous new variant that has emerged in southern Africa, the next letter in alphabetical order was Nu, which officials thought would be too easily confused with ‘new.’”“The letter after that was even more complicated: Xi, a name that in its transliteration, though not its pronunciation, happens to belong to the leader of China, Xi Jinping. So they skipped both and named the new variant Omicron.””

While the quick actions from around the world will be part of a needed plan of action in an attempt to stem the further spread, it is only through the use of vaccines that the world population is protected, and from that outcome, fewer hosts to the virus will then limit future mutations.

The problem is, however, that coronavirus infections are increasing from France to Fort Atkinson while vaccination rates are lukewarm, and there is simply an underwhelming administration of boosters. (Your blogger and his husband have booster shot appointments in just a few days. I strongly encourage my reasoned readers to follow suit.)

In the United States, there is much evidence to prove that where Donald Trump won by a larger margin in 2020 are the counties in which vaccination rates tend to be lower. As an example in Waushara County, Wisconsin where I was born and moved away from at age 20, only 41% of the populace has been fully vaccinated.

The county is heavily Republican and easily led astray from facts. In the 2020 presidential election, they voted 66% for Donald Trump. Now by almost the same percentage, the county refuses to be vaccinated. Trump refused to recognize the severity of the virus and undermined efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus such as encouraging the use of masks. His followers would prefer to be sick, infect others than admit science and medical professionals know more than their political icon.

Kaiser Family Foundation released on Sept. 28 data to show that gaps in vaccination rates across racial and ethnic groups have virtually disappeared–but gaps reflecting political affiliation have widened substantially.

Of Americans surveyed from Sept. 13-22, 72% of adults 18 and older had been vaccinated, including 71% of white Americans, 70% of Black Americans, and 73% of Hispanics. Contrast these converging figures with disparities based on politics: 90% of Democrats had been vaccinated, compared with 68% of Independents and just 58% of Republicans.

The fact is that every red county in this nation has readily available access to vaccines. There is not one logistical reason not to be vaccinated. A bone-headed decision to place partisanship above science is just further proof of what we already know about this demographic in the nation. Sad and pathetic are just the most obvious terms to use in their depiction.

Meanwhile, in Africa, the overall figure for those fully vaccinated is currently at about 6%. In many cases that is due to nations being low-income countries, and struggling with vaccine supply and health infrastructure issues. Not for the first time does this blog remind the world community of its responsibility to the less economically-able nations, and the requirement of mass vaccinations if the world economy is to truly rebound.

Red counties in the United States need to know they are connected to the pandemic solution as much as nations in Africa. The only way out of this pandemic is by being committed as a world community to fighting it. The US economy will not rebound completely until there is a true measure of resolve from all sections of the nation to make it happen.

Red counites like to talk about patriotism as they fly the flag. But when it comes to putting actions to their words Trump Republicans demonstrate their hero-worship means more than combatting the virus, restoring the economy, and securing the health of their communities.

And so it goes.