coronavirus

Hey, One Of That Idiot's (Four) Executive Orders This Weekend Was Legal!

Good job, idiot!

While The White House is no closer to actually negotiating with Democrats on a new coronavirus stimulus bill, Donald Trump took some time Wednesday to praise himself for his excellent work with those four executive orders he signed last weekend, including, he claimed, a deferment of student loan payments "until further notice." In typical Trump fashion, he sure was proud of his accomplishment, even if he's not entirely sure what he did. Here, have a video snippet straight from his campaign Twitter account. We like the part where he goes off on a tangent and reads the same line twice, which makes the order twice as good.

I signed a directive providing relief to student borrowers. Not their fault that they can't go to college. I will be deferring payments on student loans at zero interest until further notice, so we're gonna take care of our students. Got a lot of great students out there, and they got hit like everybody else. So I will be deferring payments on student loans at zero interest until further notice.

Couple things here. That "until further notice" doesn't actually mean "indefinitely," because the order is quite specific that the deferment will end on December 31, 2020. It could be renewed, but maybe not, if he's not reelected. Sure would be a shame if it went away.

And of course there's that weird thing where Trump seems to think this is helping out people who are currently in college but can't attend classes. (He's said it before, too, even while first announcing the orders.) Look, someone put it in front of him and he doesn't give a shit either way, so he signed it. It's sure to make him popular with the kids. So what is this thing anyway?

Hey, we should probably mention that when House Democrats passed their stimulus bill back in friggin' May, it extended the CARES Act's student loan deferment a full year. You know, that bill Trump keeps insisting is full of crazy liberal stuff that's unrelated to the pandemic.

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coronavirus

Florida Gov DeSantis Declares Flawless Victory Over COVID-19, Reality

Everyone back in the pool. Or else!

Ron DeSantis, the country's worst governor, has somehow convinced himself that he's got a big future in national politics. Andrew Gillum on a bender couldn't have fucked the coronavirus response up worse than this, and yet DeSantis is convinced that he's got a real shot at the 2024 presidential nomination if he can just magic away COVID-19 with the power of positive thinking. Plus a boatload of arm twisting and repeating the same nonsense over and over, LOUDLY.

Here's three stories from the past 24 hours, because OMG, just look at this shit!

DeSantis Orders Schools to Open, OR ELSE

The Daily Beast has a scoop this morning about DeSantis forcing school districts to open despite coronavirus spikes in their counties. While publicly stating that each district has the final say, DeSantis has ordered health commissioners not to advise local school officials to close for safety. And this week he personally threatened to withhold state funds from local school districts that planned to start the year online.

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News

Ben Sasse Is Willing To Sacrifice Your Kids For College Football. Why Aren’t You?

You a commie or something?

The Broadway League announced in June that the New York theaters would be closed through the end of the year at least. It's also uncertain when movie theaters will fully reopen. For some reason, though, Republicans assumed their favorite fall pastime, college football, would remain unscathed by the nation's piss-poor COVID-19 response.

The United States needs a lot of things right now, including a comprehensive coronavirus testing strategy and 160,000 Americans to no longer be dead. We could also use a new president and fewer Republicans in Congress. We don't need college football. This isn't just a coastal elite dismissal of something “real Americans" enjoy. We don't need theater or movies, either. We want them. We'd desperately like to have them again. They are an important part of our lives, but the people who complain the most about our current lack of a “normal life" have done nothing to alleviate the situation. They've arguably made it worse, refusing to wear masks or social distance. Actions have consequences. Conservatives might think this unpleasant fact only applies to the poor, but they're wrong. And now they have no college football.


The Big Ten presidents voted Sunday to cancel the 2020 college football season because they aren't sociopaths and have a sneaking suspicion that the coronavirus exists. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday, although no “final decisions have been made."

Sports Illustrated obtained a draft of a letter Republican Senator Ben Sasse plans to send urging the Big Ten to reconsider. It's a doozy.

SASSE: We should not cancel the college football season.

Life is about tradeoffs.

This is already not the most inspiring version of the St. Crispin's Day speech. Sasse isn't risking his life or health. He's suggesting other people do so — mostly young Black kids.

SASSE: There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that's absolutely true; it's always true.

Yes, college football players were also at risk for traumatic brain injury even when there wasn't a pandemic.

SASSE: But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18-to-22-year-olds will be if there isn't a season.

It's almost impossible to interpret this in a way that isn't grossly racist. The implication is that these mostly Black kids are “safer" in a controlled environment run by white men. They are somehow less safe either at home where they aren't recklessly exposed to COVID-19 or on the college campuses that are still open.

SASSE: As a former college president, I know many of you actually agree — because I've heard multiple presidents say it when the cameras aren't rolling.

Well, duh, it's no surprise that college presidents who are mostly white men might privately say callous and racist shit. College presidents aren't medical experts, either. Dr. Anthony Fauci has clearly articulated the risks football poses during a pandemic that's not even close to contained.

From NBC Sports:

FAUCI: This is a respiratory virus, so it's going to be spread by shedding virus. The problem with virus shedding is that if I have it in my nasal pharynx, and it sheds and I wipe my hand against my nose—now it's on my hand. You see, then I touch my chest or my thigh, then it's on my chest or my thigh for at least a few hours. Sweat as such won't transmit it. But if people are in such close contact as football players are on every single play, then that's the perfect set up for spreading. I would think that if there is an infected football player on the field—a middle linebacker, a tackle, whoever it is it—as soon as they hit the next guy, the chances are that they will be shedding virus all over that person.

Even with the best testing regimen, we'd have to trust that college football teams would bench — that's the term, right? — their best players if they tested positive before a big game. When a US senator is already publicly referring to “tradeoffs," such trust seems misplaced.

This is all about money. College football generates billions in revenue, none of which student athletes see for themselves. And although college athletes are required to have health insurance, the NCAA doesn't mandate that colleges pay for students' policies. COVID-19 is arguably a greater known risk than even “normal" physical injuries on the field, but it's not clear that coronavirus-related treatment would quality as an athletic-related injury. (First rule of Fight With Your Insurance Club is not to count on your insurance covering any “gray areas.")

Many young people who've “recovered" from COVID-19 suffered longterm, potentially permanent, health issues. Beyond the risk to athletes' lives, rushing them on the field now could jeopardize their academic and professional futures. The chances of going pro are already small but shredded lungs and blood clots won't help. Sasse doesn't even suggest guaranteeing scholarships for students who risk their lives for the college football.

SASSE: Here's the reality: Many of you think that football is safer than no football ...

What idiot thinks that? Football was never safer than no football, even without COVID-19.

SASSE: ... but you also know that you will be blamed if there is football, whereas you can duck any blame if you cancel football.

Yes, college presidents will be blamed if they let student athletes get sick and die. No one's “ducking blame" by approaching the spread of an infectious disease with an abundance of caution. Is this asshole really going to try to spin a “let the chips fall where they may" approach as bold, decisive leadership?

SASSE: This a moment for leadership.

Guess so. Fuck you, Senator.

SASSE: These young men need a season. Please don't cancel college football.

What these young men need are elected leaders who care whether they live or die. Cancelling college football until we've contained COVID-19 is the responsible, humane choice, so naturally, we'll have to fight Republicans on this one, as well.

[Detroit Free Press / NBC Sports]

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Education

Well Of Course They Had To Un-Suspend Georgia Student, Or She'd Still Be On CNN!

Like a boss.

High school sophomore Hannah Watters, one of two students at North Paulding High School who was suspended after posting photos of the school's overcrowded hallways to social media, had her suspension reversed today, according to her mom, Lynne Watters. Ms. Watters spoke by phone with Principal Gabe Carmona this morning, and he assured her Hannah, 15, would not be suspended and there'd be no suspension listed on her Permanent Record.

Hannah took one of the two photos of crowded hallways at the school that went viral this week:

The Washington Post reports it's "unclear" whether the other kid suspended for another viral photo has yet had his suspension removed. Maybe what that boy needs is an interview on CNN to make school administrators play ball, because Hannah was on the cable network last night, looking like a BOSS.


Hannah told CNN's Laura Coates that she'd posted the photo to social media out of concern tor students' safety, because just look at that mess.

I was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county because precautions that the CDC and guidelines that the CDC has been telling us for months now weren't being followed.

She also explained that she'd been suspended for a bunch of dumb rules violations, which she disputed, such as using social media during the school day, a bogus charge since she waited until classes were out for the day to post the photo she'd taken earlier. The timestamp does not lie, Narcs! She did acknowledge breaking one rule, against posting photos of the student body to social media, but said she felt she needed to so people would be aware of the potential health risk.

Asked if she regretted posting the photo, she said, "I like to think this is some good and necessary trouble," and then everybody cried and cheered for Rep. John Lewis, well, half of everybody did, anyway.

My biggest concern is not only about me being safe, it's about everyone being safe because behind every teacher, student and staff member there is a family, there are friends, and I would just want to keep everyone safe.

Yr Wonkette is pretty damned impressed with Hannah Watters, and if she'd like us to send her an authentic Wonkette "Enemy of the People" t-shirt, she just needs to send Yr Editrix an email at our "Contact" linky!



And if you want one, you should order one!

Best of luck to you, Hannah! Keep getting in all the best kinds of trouble.

OPEN THREAD!

[CNN / WaPo]

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