One problem with America's response to the COVID-19 pandemic — even without Donald Trump mismanagement — is that in some states, we've got mad scientists running the laboratories of democracy. Like for instance Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who would sure like to have an effective response to the pandemic as long as it doesn't involve requiring masks, vaccines, or anything else that might upset rightwing Georgians and make them vote for one of his farther-right challengers in next year's gubernatorial primary. Lately, Kemp has taken to claiming that vaccine mandates don't work, because just look at how mandating the AIDS vaccine didn't work. The problem with that, of course, is that there is no such thing as a vaccine for HIV/AIDS at all, and also no government mandates for that nonexistent vaccine.

Here's video, via Now This News, with an OMGWTFGFOH reply from Georgia State Rep. Sam Park:

youtu.be


Georgia Public Broadcasting has the details:

"Just like the AIDS vaccine; mandating it didn't work," Kemp said in a Sept. 13 interview on Fox Business News.

Kemp repeated the assertion last week on the podcast of Macon-based conservative pundit Erick Erickson. There he argued the best path to more COVID vaccination is through public education.

"That's basically how the AIDS vaccine worked," Kemp said. "I mean, people wouldn't take it early on because it was mandated."

Neither on Fox Business News nor the Erick Erickson podcast did the interviewer attempt to correct Kemp.

Kemp also made the claim in September 2020, only that time he was comparing the nonexistent AIDS vaccine to mask mandates, not vaccines.

But don't you worry, kids, Kemp's office has an easy and absolutely credible explanation for why Kemp keeps saying the "AIDS vaccine" mandate never worked! It's been telling media outlets that Kemp simply meant the vaccine against human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer.

Nice save! Except for how it's transparently bullshit, since Kemp never once said "HIV," which we suppose someone might plausibly conflate with HPV once. And it's also true that Republicans hate the HPV vaccine too, because if teenaged girls don't fear cervical cancer, they'll all turn into hoors.

Mind you, Kemp's just-so story about this supposed failure of a vaccine mandate doesn't make any sense, either for HPV or for HIV/AIDS. For one thing, only five jurisdictions (Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington DC) in the US actually mandate the HPV vaccine for school attendance. Georgia is not among them, as astute readers might notice. As GPB points out, Georgia actually lags behind the national average for HPV vaccination, too. [Georgia Public Broadcasting / POZ]

And of course, the good news is that Kemp's just plain wrong about the effectiveness of vaccine mandates: They work just great for childhood immunizations, and already during this pandemic, compliance with employer and governmental mandates has been very good. F'rinstance, of its 67,000 US workers, United Airlines announced today that it will begin the process of firing just 593 employees who refuse to get vaccinated. Hey, over 99 percent compliance is pretty darn good! [Reuters]


Florida: Ron DeSantis Declares War On Australia, Which Might Be China

One of the ways that Australia has kept its death toll from the pandemic low — just 1,256 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic — has been an aggressive use of localized lockdowns in cities where there have been outbreaks. Back in July, when the Delta variant led to an outbreak involving some 3,000 cases and nine deaths, unarmed Australian soldiers were brought in to help police enforce the lockdown in Sydney. With the pandemic now waning, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that after Sydney phases in an end to its lockdown, between October 11 and December 1, people will need to show proof of vaccination to enter stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

The Australian lockdowns prompted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to wonder yesterday why the United States even maintains diplomatic relations with such a totalitarian place, which is surely exactly as opposed to freedom as Communist China. Speaking at a boat show, DeSantis lamented conditions in the Australian gulag-cities:

"That's not a free country. It's not a free country at all," DeSantis said. "In fact, I wonder why we would still have the same diplomatic relations when they're doing that. Is Australia freer than communist China right now? I don't know. The fact that that's even a question tells you something has gone dramatically off the rails with some of this stuff."

While he was at it, DeSantis took the opportunity to attack Dr. Anthony Fauci, lying through his teeth and claiming Fauci wants to reimpose lockdowns, because after all, isn't telling people to wear masks exactly the same thing? DeSantis asserted that Fauci wanted to override people's freedoms just like those commie Australians, and urged them to go have fun instead, because "this idea that Fauci says just stay in your house and never leave, that is just so destructive to people's overall well-being." Again, Dr. Fauci has called for people to get vaccinated and to wear masks in indoor public settings. That's actually different from sitting in your house and never leaving. It is also not China!

We should also note that, in comparison to Australia's total of 1,256 COVID deaths during the entire pandemic so far, Florida notched up nearly double that number, 2448 deaths, between September 3 and September 9 of this year. But Floridians can go boating, so the state's total death toll of 54,067 pretty much evens out. [Florida Politics / Reuters]


Alabama: COVID Relief Funds Going To Build Prisons

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama defended her decision to use roughly $400 million in assistance from the American Rescue Plan to build and renovate several prisons in the state, because what good is getting funding to help with the pandemic if you can't construct places where the next pandemic can spread?

"The Democrat-controlled federal government has never had an issue with throwing trillions of dollars toward their ideological pet projects," Ivey said in a statement on Tuesday. "These prisons need to be built, and we have crafted a fiscally conservative plan."

House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calling for an investigation, because how the hell are prisons related to dealing with the pandemic? [WaPo (No paywall)]


Texas, South Carolina: Judges Tell GOP Govs To GTFO With Mask Mandate Bans

Two separate state courts in Texas ruled yesterday that local officials can order temporary mask mandates for city and county buildings and in public schools, Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order banning such mask mandates notwithstanding. One ruling affected Bexar County, home to San Antonio, and the other applied to Dallas County. County officials in both counties ordered masks be worn in schools and public buildings by the end of the day. With Dallas and San Antonio joining the festival of public health tyranny begun by Austin, Houston, and Fort Worth, that means schools in all five of Texas's largest cities are now defying Abbott's mask mandate ban. Good luck, kids, you're still in Texas. [New York Times]

And in South Carolina, a federal judge suspended South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster's ban on school mask mandates yesterday, saying the decision wasn't even a close call, you dipshit. US District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis agreed with the ACLU that the ban on masking discriminates against the need to provide equal education for kids with disabilities, also you dipshit:

"It is noncontroversial that children need to go to school. And, they are entitled to any reasonable accommodation that allows them to do so. No one can reasonably argue that it is an undue burden to wear a mask to accommodate a child with disabilities," Lewis wrote.

Lewis compared the General Assembly preventing mask requirements to telling schools they can no longer install wheelchair ramps.

"Masks must, at a minimum, be an option for school districts to employ to accommodate those with disabilities so they, too, can access a free public education," the judge wrote.

A spokesturd for McMaster said the governor would fight the decision all the way to the US Supreme Court if he has to, because liberty, and if people think disabled kids have a right to breathe, their parents can just move to Australia or China, now can't they? [AP]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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