Two great agendas that go great together!
In one of those weird things that you don't hear about until it's a done deal (OK, that we didn't hear about until this morning), it turns out that the $900 billion stimulus bill has a nice chunk of change — about $35 billion — for US climate policy tucked into it, according to the Washington Post. Fact Check: We suspect the Post has that slightly wrong, and that the green provisions are actually part of the great big omnibus spending bill that the stimmy bill was bundled with, which is how GreenTech Media is reporting it. Since Donald Trump is getting all pissy about things in the larger spending bill that aren't in the stimulus part of the bill, the distinction became more important last night. (Grist though also reports that it's specifically in the stimulus bill, not the spending bill, which again are two different things.)
Either way, it's good news for the climate, because in addition to a bunch of spending on various green energy programs and tax incentives, the legislation will outlaw an entire class of chemicals, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), that are seriously bad contributors to the greenhouse effect. As Greenpeace 'splained in a 2009 report, HFCs, used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, are "'super-greenhouse gases.' Molecule for molecule, some of them have the capacity to heat the planet thousands of times more than carbon dioxide." If the roughly 300 grams of HFC-134 gas in the average modern refrigerator were released into the atmosphere, that's roughly equivalent to "the carbon emissions from driving a Volkswagen Golf, for example, from London to Moscow."
Or worse, now, seeing as how the 2020 Golf gets seven miles per gallon more than the 2009 model. And you certainly don't want the GTI if you're buying used, because some kid has probably driven the hell out of it, to Moscow and back, and probably crashed into a refrigerator we bet. Kids these days!
Okay, the reason is they want more virus and no aid.
A crowd of rightwing idiots, some armed with long guns, tried to break into the Oregon Capitol building in Salem yesterday as the state legislature began its third special session this year. The session was called by Gov. Kate Brown for the purpose of passing an extension of Oregon's eviction moratorium, as well as financial help for landlords, more funding for Oregon's response to the pandemic, and funding for recovery from this summer's wildfires. Clearly, all that was tyranny, especially because the Capitol was closed to all but legislators, staff, and some journalists, to prevent spread of the virus.
Although legislative staffers set up televisions outside the building so the public could view the proceedings, which are also being livestreamed, protester Crystal Wagner knew that her rights were being infringed, damnit:
"Why are they having a legislative hearing without the people?" Wagner said. "We are the people, we are the taxpayers. We're here to fight for our democracy."
Sorry, Ms. Wagner, that should have been "without We The People" and "We are We The People," so points off.
Eat a dick, science magazines.
If you are not a space scientist like Wonkette, you might not even know there is a Space Thing happening tonight that you should look at. Luckily, we are a space scientist -- allegedly -- and because you read Wonkette, you will also now know about the thing.
Jupiter and Saturn, which are #ScienceFact planets, have been creeping ever closer together in the night sky (which is what you look at if you want to see space) for a few months now. When we were in Florida at the beach at the beginning of October (don't start, it was the most COVID-compliant trip ever), we looked up each night and they were both screaming at our faces like "Hey, we are some planets!" (If you are ever looking for a just wonderful Florida beach place to go, somewhere where there is nary a high-rise in sight and just shitloads of private beachfront houses to rent, may we recommend St. George Island. The "nary a high-rise in sight" part, and just the general remoteness of it, is why you get such incredible views of stars and planets and the scientific phenomenon known as space.)
Anyway, tonight, the big science thing happens. Jupiter and Saturn have been creeping closer together, like we said, and tonight, in the southwestern sky, if it's not cloudy, and depending on where you are, some conditions apply, they might look like ONE BIG PLANET STAR. (Maybe. Space dot com is tempering some expectations on that.) Put another scientific way, Saturn and Jupiter have been getting closer and closer together, and tonight is the night they are finally going to 69 each other, on the butt. It will be a beautiful sight!
THEY THEY THEY THEY THEY.
On his Fox News program last night, Tucker Carlson continued his campaign for Worst Person In America Maybe Even Including Donald Trump, with a rant about the small number of people who have had allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Apparently bored with insisting Donald Trump is still president, Carlson has moved on to suggesting there's something nefarious about all these media reports saying the vaccine against the deadly pandemic might be a good thing. As ever, the maxim holds: There are few situations Tucker Carlson can't make worse.
Before we look at the video, let's Truth Sandwich this: Every medication carries some risk of side effects, including allergic reactions, particularly among people who have a history of severe allergies. As of right now, out of more than 130,000 doses delivered in the UK in the first week and lord knows how many tens of thousands in the US in the vaccine's first week (probably similar, but darned if we could find a firm number), it looks like there have been exactly four people who had allergic reactions, two in the US and two in Britain. Here in the USA, two healthcare workers in Juneau, Alaska, had reactions; one suffered relatively mild symptoms, but the other, a middle-aged woman with no known history of allergies, had to be hospitalized Wednesday after she went into anaphylactic shock. Doctors described her reaction as "serious but not life threatening," and she soon stabilized; by Thursday, the hospital planned to hold her for one more day for observation before releasing her.
ER doc Lindy Jones said, "During the whole time, she was still enthusiastic that she got the vaccine and the benefits that it would give her in the future," and the hospital's press release said the woman was "still encouraging her colleagues to get the vaccine."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed yesterday that those are the only known cases of allergic reaction in the country. Further, the CDC recommends that while patients with a history of serious allergic reactions to vaccinations should consult with their doctors before getting the vaccine, and be monitored for 30 minutes after getting the shot, they should still get the vaccine, because the risks of COVID-19 are far greater.
The CDC only recommends avoiding the vaccine for people who have a known allergy to specific components of the vaccine (ask your doctor). But for folks with other allergies, like to bee stings or food allergies, no special precautions.
Now that we've inoculated you against Tucker Carlson's dangerous bullshit, here's the video; side effects may include disgust, nausea, and yelling "oh come ON, you idiot!" Look at this prick: