Or 'BONG HITS 4 FAUCI.'
The state of Washington has rolled out a new incentive for people to get the coronavirus vaccine: Get a shot, and get a free marihuana cigarette, or "joint," as the hopheads and jazz musicians call it. The state Liquor and Cannabis Board authorized the "Joints for Jabs" promotion, which will allow cannabis dispensaries to give people over 21 who get vaccinated at in-store clinics one pre-rolled joint for either their first or second vaccination, no not both. No edibles or other products, either, sorry.
The promotion is aimed at getting the state's percentage of adults who've had at least one shot up to 70 percent. Because the state and federal tallies use different criteria, it seems a weekend tweet saying the goal had been reached was in error: The federal count looks at folks aged 18 and up, but Washington bases its figure on people 16 and up. By that method, Washington's only at 64 percent. Once that goal is reached, the state can really start reopening and getting back to normal, according to Gov Jay (HA HA, HIS NAME IS "JAY" AND ITS A WEED STORY!) Inslee.
The weed board said it approved the tokes for pokes after receiving requests from several cannabis retailers for permission to do some sort of spliffy incentive for vaccinations. And while Washington's is the first such statewide initiative, the idea seems to have originated with an Arizona dispensary, which made a joint effort (GET IT?) with a Phoenix medical group to hold on-site vaccine clinics at its three shops. People who got a vaccine received both a pre-rolled joint and a cannabis gummy in a promotion called "Snax for Vaxx," which is a way better name than "Gentle Bud for Antibodies in your Blood."
The joints for jabs promotion is just one of several initiatives Washington is offering to encourage vaccinations. In addition, the liquor and cannabis board is allowing bars to offer a free beer, glass of wine, or cocktail to any adult over 21 with proof of vaccination, and that one, there doesn't have to be an on-site vaccine clinic, which is just as well, given the potential for a tragic karaoke outbreak.
The state health department is also distributing $500,000 in gift cards to folks who get vaccinated at "Care-A-Van" mobile clinics, and Inslee recently announced Washington's own version of a vaccine lottery, called "Shot of a Lifetime." In that one, the state lottery will do four weekly $250,000 drawings for vaccinated adults, with a final million-dollar drawing to cap it off. The promotion also includes $1 million in scholarships and free tuition for the students.
So all in all, Washington, which suffered some of the worst early outbreaks in the pandemic last year, is on its way to getting most of its residents vaccinated.
Maybe Washington could try one more thing: some kind of prize — weed, beer, or a lottery entry — for vaccinated people who convince a friend or family member to get the shot, too. They could call it "Referer Madness."
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Yes, even Republicans.
What does the United States have in common with Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Tonga? Well, it is not that we are a small island nation, that is for sure. No, it's that we're the only countries in the world without sick leave or vacation leave. The United States, Papua New Guinea, Suriname and "a few South Pacific island nations" are the only countries that don't have paid parental leave of any kind.
That is something a large majority of Americans would like to change and have supported changing for some time now, and yet another poll has shown that there is extremely high support for it, including among Republicans.
That poll, commissioned by Paid Leave for All Action, an advocacy group that promotes paid leave policies, surveyed 1,070 likely voters from seven battleground states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). It found that 84 percent of likely voters, including 74 percent of Republicans, support paid leave programs; 69 percent of those polled, including 55 percent of surveyed Republicans, would support a federal leave standard even if they'd have to pay more in taxes to sustain it.
The survey, which was taken from May 14 to 20, had results that are markedly similar to other recent polls on the issue.
For example, a YouGov poll from early April found 82 percent of Americans believe employees should be able to take paid maternity leave, and that 68 percent thought paid maternity and paternity leave ought to be offered.
Even a poll conducted before the pandemic, by the freaking Cato Institute, found that 74 percent of Americans supported paid leave. And 60 percent still supported it after being asked if they would continue supporting it if it meant they got smaller pay raises in the future. Even their big gotcha question that made no actual sense whatsoever got majority support. Perhaps they should have gone with something more severe, like "Would you still support paid leave ... if you were then required to give up your firstborn child to Rumpelstiltskin?"
This is something the American people want. The poll also indicated that support for politicians on both sides of the aisle goes significantly up and down depending on whether or not they would support paid leave.
To win a majority of the seven battleground seats up for grabs in 2022, Democrats and Republicans alike will need to appeal to the 20 percent of undecided voters across the states. The poll found that undecided likely voters in the states surveyed lean slightly toward the Republican Party but become willing to support a generic Democrat candidate who supports paid leave by 46 percentage points.
The poll found that voters would currently like to reelect Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Raphael Warnock (GA), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) by about 5 points each. But their leads rise by an average of 17 points when linking their work with paid leave efforts.
Voters' support for Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (FL), Richard Burr (NC), Pat Toomey (PA), and Ron Johnson (WI), by contrast, goes down an average of 5 points when each senator's opposition to federal paid leave is highlighted.
See that? Seems like a thing we should probably get on then, no?
President Joe Biden is currently pushing for up to 12 weeks of paid medical or family leave program in his American Family Plan, for things like recovering from a pregnancy, being ill, taking care of a sick loved one, seeking safety from domestic violence or stalking, and bereavement. There are currently no plans to pursue mandated paid vacation time, as every other country on earth has, but that would likely be seen as way too big a step for most Americans. We're doing triage here, and we've gotta take care of what's bleeding first.
One side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it really highlighted some serious issues with the American way of doing things, particularly surrounding healthcare and labor issues, and kind of showed a lot of people that we don't actually have to live this way. As much as paid sick leave and family leave enjoyed popular support in the before times, the pandemic made it clearer that it's less a luxury than it an absolute necessity.
"The pandemic completely changed the game," said Dawn Huckelbridge, director of the advocacy group Paid Leave for All. "What had been a hole in our infrastructure, what had been a crisis in the making for years and generations, suddenly now it is out on this really magnified scale. People realize how critical this is to our resilience, to our economic growth, to weathering crises, whether global pandemics or cancer diagnoses."
Part of the reason it's always been hard to get things like paid leave built into our system is the perception that it would make us weak. It's really not just money that is the issue for people, it's getting past that fear that these kinds of things would lead to a country full of coddled and lazy wastrels. There's a kind of macho posturing to not just giving people healthcare, to having a barely-there social safety net, to not having paid leave. To going to work for ten hours without overtime, even though you're dying of the flu.
All of these things were supposed to make us tough, industrious and morally upright citizens who can weather any storm. It didn't work out that way. We thought we were the Ant, but we turned out to be the Grasshopper. We didn't prepare before, but hopefully now we will.
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Why yes, she IS running against him in the R primary.
Last week, Idaho's wackaloon Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, who likes to hang out with anti-government militias and pretends she's some sort of freedom fighter by opposing public health measures, decided that while Gov. Brad Little was out of the state, she'd just fuck around and find out if she could bring LIBERTY to Idaho.
Little had gone to a Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, and Idaho's state constitution says that when the governor leaves the state, they are no longer governor. So last Thursday, McGeachin issued a batshit crazy executive order prohibiting all state "political subdivisions" (other than nursing homes and hospitals) from mandating face masks.
As the Idaho Capital Sun 'splained, the order applied to all Idaho "public schools, counties, cities and public health districts. It also extends to state boards, commissions, departments and divisions." McGeachin said she hadn't checked with schools or informed them of the order before issuing it.
The first that Gov. Little heard of the order was right after he'd spoken at the RGA meeting, when he got a call from Secretary of State Lawrence Denney, the Capital Sun reported yesterday.
"He says, "Brad, I've got an executive order here,'" Little said in a lengthy interview [...] in his office Tuesday morning.
"That's when I first found out about it."
Little returned to Boise last Thursday night, and on Friday morning issued a new executive order undoing McGeachin's craziness. As of yesterday afternoon, the governor and the lieutenant governor hadn't spoken. In Idaho, the two officers are elected separately; they don't run together on a party ticket. It being Idaho, you're gonna have Republicans in both slots anyway. Idaho does have a two-party system, however: There are conservative Republicans like Little, and then there are bonkers whackjob far-Right Republicans like McGeachin.
This latest madness makes us wonder whether someday, the madness in the Idaho Republican Party will get so bad that voters turn away from the Rs. If they do, they'd still probably elect a Whig before a Democrat.
For educational purposes, here's McGeachin's celebratory tweet, with screenshots of the order if you want to see it:
Today, as acting Governor of the State of Idaho, I signed an Executive Order to protect the rights and liberties of… https://t.co/xz3vnIp8RO— Janice McGeachin (@Janice McGeachin)1622132451.0
The "whereases" of the order are really some special disinformation, so let's have a closer look-see. Just keep in mind that the CDC has published plenty of evidence that masks are effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19, and that "mask wearing has no significant adverse health effects for wearers." So this is neat: an executive order from an acting state governor that flat out lies about both those points.
WHEREAS, scientific studies show that COVID-l9 restrictions on individuals and businesses such as social distancing, gathering limitations, and the use of face masks or face coverings of any design have done significant physical, mental, social, and economic harm and were ineffective mitigation measures;
and WHEREAS, serious concerns continue to he raised regarding both short-term and long-term negative effects caused by wearing masks.
WHEREAS, the remaining mask mandates issued by the health districts, public schools, school districts, and political subdivisions of this State due to the COVID-19 fail to serve a public health or safety purpose and unnecessarily restrict the rights and liberties of individuals and business in this State.
Once again: Bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit, right down to the assertion that masking is no longer needed. The CDC has said fully vaccinated people can go without masks, but unvaccinated people should continue wearing masks. And there are still COVID-19 outbreaks in Idaho, which have led some school districts and individual schools to continue their mask orders.
After rescinding McGeachin's order Friday, Little issued a scathing press statement condemning her "irresponsible abuse of power" right in the headline. Little proudly noted that he had never issued a statewide mask mandate because he believed in local control, although we'd argue that if he had, it's possible we would have had fewer than nearly 2,100 COVID deaths. But he added that he also "didn't undermine separately elected officials" who have the authority to set rules locally.
And then he got mean, calling McGeachin's order "not gubernatorial," and an "irresponsible, self-serving political stunt."
And then, like Beto O'Rourke speaking correct but very stilted Spanish, Little showed off his ability to speak Tea Party as a Second Language, saying,
This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny – something we all oppose.
How ironic that the action comes from a person who has groused about tyranny, executive overreach, and balance of power for months.
Why yes, McGeachin did recently announce her plans to run for governor in 2022, and while Little hasn't formally announced he'll run for reelection, that certainly sounded like a stump speech there.
On more practical matters, Little also pointed out that, as written, McGeachin's order could have endangered people, since its blanket ban on non-hospital mask mandates would have prohibited requirements for masks to be worn by "social workers visiting homes of at-risk individuals, or workers in our state testing lab, or employees at congregate facilities" [he means prisons — Dok] that are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease.
No, he was not done. He noted that the order conflicted with other state laws, and added, "This is why you do your homework, Lt. Governor."
At that point, we wondered whether a representative for the Federation of Corporal Punishment Advocates might step in and say "enough, already!"
Now, Little did tell the Capital Sun that he had tried to call McGeachin Friday morning to let her know that he'd be rolling back her executive order with one of his own (or as he put it in the statement, taking action to "clean up a mess" caused by her "flimsy executive order"). But he hadn't heard back from her by the time of the interview Tuesday. He added that while they've managed to be "civil, but maybe not cordial" during the pandemic, "It's no secret it's going to be a little tougher going forward."
Without elaborating, Little said McGeachin's executive order will affect his decisions to travel out of state in the future.
"Obviously it will factor into some of my calculations," he said.
For her part, McGeachin doesn't appear to have responded directly to Little, although on Tuesday, she tweeted that she had acted "to uphold my sworn oath to uphold and protect the rights of our citizens in Idaho," citing the US and Idaho constitutions, and the "rule of law in Idaho."
We're not so sure we agree with her constitution work there, because over the weekend, she'd appeared on a rightwing podcast to explain how, according to her understanding of those documents, all the federal land in Idaho actually belongs to the state. Guess she's not gonna let Ammon Bundy steal her thunder!
Also too, last night she appeared on the Tucker Carlson Insurrection Hour to inveigh against "anti-white indoctrination" in the schools, so really, she's already way finished with her little executive order stunt.
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Ohio Bill To Ban Vax Lotteries, Free Vax Donuts, Saying 'Vaccine' Unless You Turn Around 3 Times And Spit
Biz, government, insurers, all persons may not require or suggest you get a vaccine.
Ohio announced its first winner of the Vax-A-Millions lottery Wednesday. Abbey Bugenske of Cincinnati was on her way to buy a used car when she got the call telling her she'd won, so we hope she decided to go ahead and get the extended warranty. California is following Ohio's lead, designating $116.5 million for vaccine incentives, including a $15 million cash prize that'll be split by 10 lucky people who've gotten vaccinated.
And West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice released a video featuring his bulldog "Baby Dog," advising residents that "she wants you vaccinated, I want you vaccinated, and I want a bunch of you to win all this stuff," by which he means the state's own incentive giveaway of cash prizes, 10 pickup trucks, and college scholarships.
ICYMI: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has made his dog "babydog" the mascot of the state's new vaccine lottery. "S… https://t.co/pYsFbLJxYf— Haleigh Hoffman (@Haleigh Hoffman)1622171149.0
Justice also explained, "I wouldn't dink around with this. I'd go get myself a shot. There's going to be so many wonderful prizes that you can win, it'll blow you away." But mostly, you should do it for this face:
Yes, Baby Dog has her own Twitter account.
So that's the encouraging vaccination news today, thanks for reading and have a great wee ... oh shit, there's also this Ohio fuckery we have to talk about. While Gov. Mike DeWine brags about how the lottery announcement has actually increased rates of vaccination that had been slacking off, Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly have introduced legislation that would largely eliminate vaccination mandates — or even requests or suggestions — across the state.
We're not just talking the COVID vaccine here, either: The proposal, Ohio House Bill 248, would make it virtually impossible for most entities in the state to require vaccinations for infectious diseases, though we suppose the bill's supporters will generously not try to overturn federal requirements, so enlistees in the military will still lose their precious right to contract diphtheria. The Ohio Capital Journal reports that on Tuesday, anti-vaxxers crowded into a hearing so they could demand freedom for infection.
Just how comprehensive would this sucker be?
The legislation would ban vaccine requirements on customers, employees or students from businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges, daycares, or others. It would also prevent governments, insurers, or businesses from offering incentives for people to get vaccinated, or even requesting that people get vaccinated. [...]
Under the bill, a small business owned by asthmatics or cancer survivors — both of whom are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications — would have no legal right to require or even request that employees or customers who come inside be vaccinated. That's according to Dorit Reiss, a professor with a focus on vaccine policy from the UC Hastings College of Law.
"It's against business rights, it's against the individual rights of private businesses, it's against safety, and it's in support of the virus," she said.
And despite his promotion of the COVID vaccine and his confidence that people will recognize that the facts about vaccines will win over folks who are uncertain, DeWine dodged giving a direct answer Monday "when asked about HB 248 or a separate proposal to remove the 'reasons of conscience' exemption from school immunization laws." That's not necessarily a surprise, since the Lege has already overridden his veto of a bill that would limit a governor's ability to impose public health orders.
So Ohio may well end up with a law that's going to actively promote deadly diseases that could be prevented. It's a far more radical gift to anti-vaxxers than the Pennsylvania bill that would limit doctors' ability to ensure that kids get vaccinated.
Not surprisingly, the insurance industry and Ohio's medical community are horrified by HB 248, and doing all they can to oppose it; we'll have to see whether that will be enough to prevent it from becoming law.
Maybe Mike DeWine should get a bulldog.
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