Here’s a bit of good news — Justice Breyer is retiring. President Biden gets a Supreme Court pick, and Mitch McConnell can’t block it. It won’t change the conservative dominance on the Court, of course.
Now, on to today’s Derp News, Republicans versus Science edition.
Via Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, I learned today about DJ Ferguson, 31, who is hospitalized in Boston and in desperate need of a heart transplant. He is the father of two children, and his wife is expecting a third. He was at the top of the transplant list, but … he refused to get a covid vaccine. So the hospital took him off the list.
The hospital is not just being mean. People who have recently received organ transplants are hugely immunocompromised. Just about any virus infection could kill them, never mind covid. Being fully vaccinated against everything they can possibly catch is a condition for getting a transplant, because it’s a waste of an organ to put it into someone who is at increased risk compared to other patients.
Dr. Arthur Caplan, the head of medical ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, explains that being vaccinated is necessary for this type of procedure.
“Post any transplant, kidney, heart whatever, your immune system is shut off,” Caplan said. “The flu could kill you, a cold could kill you, COVID could kill you. The organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving.”
Okay, that makes sense. But not to DJ Ferguson. His family says he is sticking to principles. His father, David Ferguson, says the family is pursuing other options, but they are running out of time. He may already be too fragile to move to another hospital, assuming there is one that would give him the transplant. As I understand it, the protocols for who gets a heart are not decided by the hospitals.
And while the family says DJ has received great care from doctors and nurses at Brigham and Women’s, they just don’t agree with the heart transplant COVID vaccination policy.
“I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more,” David Ferguson said.
Which is why the family is sticking by his side and hoping for the best. “It’s his body. It’s his choice,” Ferguson added.
So he’ll probably die, and his three children will grow up without their father. And for what “principles”? That “they can’t make me do it what I don’t wanna do it, nyah nyah nyah?” Seriously? What about his responsibilities to his children?
At The Atlantic, Kurt Andersen writes that “The Anti-Vaccine Right Brought Human Sacrifice to America.” At first I thought that was a tad hyperbolic, but now I’m not so sure. JD Ferguson certainly seems determined to sacrifice himself for completely empty “principles.”
In ancient times human sacrifice was driven by political and religious power, fused together; “politics plus faith,” Andersen calls it. Andersen compares people like Ferguson to the folks who drank the Kool-Aid at Jonestown. Some of the people who died at Jonestown did not do so voluntarily, it says here. They literally had guns to their heads, which Ferguson does not, so it’s not a perfect analogy. But it does seem he’s prepared to throw his life away rather than betray his faith in something that he thinks is a “principle.”
“,,, for a long time now the right’s ongoing propaganda campaign against and organized political resistance to vaccination, among other public-health protocols, has been killing many, many Americans for no reasonable, ethically justifiable social purpose,” Andersen writes. “In other words, what we’ve experienced certainly since the middle of 2021 is literally ritual human sacrifice on a mass scale—the real thing, comparable to the innumerable ghastly historical versions.”
Other desperately sick people are choosing death before what they think is dishonor.
A man seeking a kidney transplant has also been denied a place on the active transplant list because he chose not to get vaccinated.
Shamgar Connors, 42, is a patient at University of Virginia Hospital who is now listed as “inactive” on the list for a life-saving kidney transplant. Connors said his entire family had COVID-19 and doesn’t believe he needs the vaccine.
“I’d rather die of kidney failure,” Connors told Dr. Karen Warburton after she asked if he was willing to receive the vaccine, according to Fox News Digital.
Similarly, a Colorado woman was denied a kidney transplant because she refuses to get the vaccine for religious reasons.
Leilani Lutali said she would not get vaccinated because of the role that fetal cell lines have played in vaccine development, according to the Associated Press.
The business about fetal cell lines is a howler, since just about all medications are initially tested using fetal lines that have lived in laboratories since the 1970s. If you were going to be consistent on this you’d have to refuse to take all medicines, including Tylenol. But if Leilani Lutali wants to die on that hill, I’m not personally feeling a strong urge to stop her.
Also from Lawyers, Guns and Money, see Erik Loomis, Why Fox Went All-In on Killing Their Viewers, and Scott Lemieux, The GOP Is a Remarkably Successful Death Cult.
In other covid derp news: Some anti-vaxx governors have made a big deal of offering monoclonal antibody therapies as a treatment for covid, as part of their argument that nobody needs vaccines since they’ve got these treatments. The monoclonal antibody therapies generally do help quite a bit, although they aren’t a sure-fire cure. The federal government bought huge quantities of the stuff to distribute to the states and medical facilities.
However, it has been discovered that two of the most distributed monoclonal antibody therapies, those made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, are ineffective against Omicron. So the feds have paused the distribution, since just about everybody is getting Omicron now, and there’s no point wasting the stuff. Another monoclonal antibody treatment, by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, is effective against Omicron, but there is not yet a big stockpile of it.
Lo, guess who’s having a fit about it.
Floridians have benefited from the state’s treatment sites and their access to treatment shouldn’t be denied based on the whims of a floundering president. https://t.co/Y5nmAV1LCs
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 25, 2022
DeSantis is threatening to sue the Biden Administration to get them to release the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly therapies, even though Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly agree the therapies don’t work against Omicron. And the decision was made by the FDA, not by President Biden. Like most righties, DeSantis is basically an overgrown spoiled child who can’t process not getting everything he wants.
"But he has FAITH! He BELIEVES, and that makes him good!"
This is how Talibangelicals think. They cultivate blind gullible belief as a virtue in itself. I have no energy left to care about these ritual suiciders, only the collateral damage people they coercively take to the grave.
Fergoddesssakes, the Catholics killed way more than the Aztecs. They killed the Aztecs!
Ten Bears — that doesn’t qualify as “sacrifice,” since smallpox did most of the work. And before that it was just plain old warfare between the Aztecs and the Conquistadors. (Fun fact: The Aztecs were so disliked by other indigenous peoples that some of them fought with the Spanish.) Spain and the Church did work together, but the conquest of Mexico was mostly Spain’s show, and it was just that, a conquest.
You want to piss away your life – the one and only one we know of – because you refuse to get this vaccine?
Go right ahead there, Skippy!
Sadly for the people in both of the cases maha mentions, the Covid virus doesn't recognize integrity and principles. What the virus does recognize, is that is sees a wide open playing field.
And BTW, we've ALL – A-L-L!!! – been vaccinated before. Even these two dimwits. What’s one more?
I don't get it. I just don't get it.
I mean, I'll die for a cause. A just cause.
These fools are dying, for what? Just cause…
The ancient Cannanite god, Moloch, demanded the sacrifice of children. The victims were thrown into a giant furnace in the shape of the god, while the high priests beat drums and blew trumpets to drown out the cries of the children. In this case, Moloch is COVID, the children are, well, the children and the other 900,000 Americans, and the high priests are trump* and the republicans.
Also too: You know what vaccine we desperately need?
A vaccine against religion.
Think of a world without religious mumbo-jumbo. A world without superstition. Without guilt over gender and sex.
Another valuable vaccine would be one that helped prevent catching conservatism.
Of course, the vaccine against religion might help prevent conservatism as a beneficial side-effect.
Actually, that one vaccine might help prevent catching a world of non-medical ills
We have a vaccine against religion, it's called education. Which is why Republicans have spent the last 40+ years trying to gut our education system.
I'm not one to celebrate the deaths of those who succumb to the covid virus for refusing the vaccine but, I have no sympathy for those who outwardly raille against getting the vaccine and are taken down by the virus. And I find I have a perverse delight in seeing Christian leaders die who taunt science by claiming that taking the vaccine is surrendering to the devil while denying the power of God. Death for them is a just recompense for poisoning people's minds. Go be with your Jesus!
How much Regeneron stock does Desantis have?
Is the anti vax a front for selling drugs or ivermectin?is antivax really about certain people making money?
Land tenure: make sure the old and sick die so they pass on their land.
These people don't seem to comprehend the irony of "I won't take the vaccine because I don't trust in something I can't prove. I rely on my faith instead."
Well, one should be willing to die for one's sincerely held principles. I just wish these loons would hurry up and do so.
Talibangelical gets past the spell checker I find and has made the category of derogatory slang. One would expect the Talibangelical to propagate right-wing "Christian" views but of late have taken (perhaps unconsciously) toward beliefs associated with the Pagan god Thanatos. The Wiki describes Thanatos as:
It all seems to fit as well as these sorts of things fit. Adjectives such as merciless and indiscriminate combining with an aura of hate and paganism. Add a dash of a death wish or death obsession and this term may deserve higher than slang status. I can't wait to ask one of these clowns when they became a Talibangelist?
Behold, a cautionary tale. Pride really is a deadly sin. It's killing him.
Go Darwin !!
These people are trying to establish something *important*. They want us (society) to allow that their reality, ungrounded in fact, is just as vital as the shared reality of (for example) a doctor whose reality says they are full of prunes.
If the surgeon knows, based on empirical evidence, that the vax improves the odds of a good outcome, he's requiring it. (The facility is also looking at the way an unvaxxed patient changes the odds unfavorably for other patients in the hospital.) The patient is demanding the "right" to decide what the doctor will do and what the hospital will do. Because what he believes is superior to what medical pros *know*.
Contemplate this for a moment because it's central. Everyone has to surrender to the"sincere" beliefs of a true convert. This translates into other spheres. If you don't believe in non-traditional sexual roles, you can prohibit the respectful discussion of same-sex marriage or demand that gender roles be taught based exclusively your bio-plumbing at birth, not the roles determined by your psyche.
If you don't want to consider racial discrimination, not only can YOU decide that we have reached racial equality, you can demand that that's how history will be taught. There was a time when the evidence determined the verdict – now you can just believe or disbelieve and demand that society bends to your whim.
Medical science needs to stand up here (and is.) You do not have to avail yourself of the life-saving advances that medical science offers. If you want the benefit,of a transplant for example, you will play by the rules of science as set by scientists. Or go see a witch doctor or practitioner who will accede to your demands. If you want your kids to get a public-school education, it's actual history based on actual events that will be taught. Some of it is noble but much is ugly but mythology is not taught as history. (If you don't like this, home-school. But remember that institutions of higher learning will grade based on the facts.)
Responding to the opening comment of the post, Biden will be nominating a black woman to replace Breyer. This is a huge deal, not just for the recognition of Black women implicit in the choice, but because it's a trigger. Tucker Carlson is going there with comments to the effect that the choice (and other nominees for the Federal bench) "… look nothing like Amerca., not even close."
No nominee for the USSC will make any Republican happy. This choice, by gender and race, will set off open bigotry that will even rear up in the Senate, I predict. And this will backfire because opposing the nominee because of race and gender may drive up voter participation by Democrats more than it will stimulate voting by conservatives.
Generally, the GOP prefers to dog-whistle racism and misogamy. This nomination will drag the issue(s) out into the open, right when the USSC is going to strike down Roe and as they are gutting protections for minority voters. This is where WE want the conversation, and the GOP does not.
Tucker does seem to be getting free reign from the Republican party to propagate racism and misogyny. Do you see a way to paint a bright future for any American if they force a political fight in this arena? Or maybe the better question is does the Republican party have to follow Tucker who is too big to fail?
Bernie – you are on to an interesting dynamic – the degree that the leadership is led by the followers. Tucker has the highest-rated Fox show. GOP voters are eating up that vomit. (This is not unique. Glenn Beck was top-rated with his audience but advertisers left him.)
Fox News and GOP candidates for office have to sell what viewers will watch and voters will endorse. The impact can't be overstated – Trump is catching hell every time he endorses the vaccines to take credit for them.
The risk is that open racism and misogyny will sell badly with the segment of voters who can be swayed. There's a pivotal few percent who voted for Obama and also voted for Trump (the first time.) IMO, Trump has figured out he needs that group and generally, they have been vaxed.
In the kindest terms, this critical segment of voters is "low information." They don't watch Fox. They did watch "The Apprentice." Over the next year or two, they may see Trump as a liar and a cheat, rather than a "stable genius" and his most rabid followers as terrorists rather than patriots. The GOP (party organization) can't yet divorce itself from the base they are married to.
Yet. But it will happen.