One upside to our worsening climate emergency, nothing but downsides to our worsening COVID emergency, and Pelosi brokers a deal (for now) between House Democrats to prevent them from destroying themselves. All that and more jammed into today's very busy BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of this summary.]
Among the stories covered on today's program...
- Somehow we managed to find at least one bright spot in our endless Climate Changed Summer: global warming is helping to take down Trump's shoddily constructed border fence --- proving that bypassing critical environmental impact studies before handing out sweetheart contracts for multi-billion dollar government boondoggles is a really dumb idea. Especially in an area like Arizona, prone to summer monsoons. Especially for a fence that can be scaled with a $5 ladder. It's an even dumber idea --- a potentially deadly and catastrophic one, in fact --- to flatten existing river levees on the Rio Grande in Texas to make room for a border wall in a flood plain amid ever-worsening hurricane seasons.
- In still more news of disasters denied and left behind by the Trump Administration for all of us to try and survive, the seemingly unstoppable surge of unvaccinated COVID patients in states run by politically ambitious Republicans is having an horrifically deadly effect --- and not just for COVID patients. In Orlando, Florida, officials are asking residents to immediately cut back water usage as much as 50 percent to avoid potential boil water orders. That's due to a lack of liquid oxygen to purify the water, as the oxygen is currently needed to take care of critically ill COVID patients. In the same state, children now lead all other age groups in the rate at which they are testing positive for the coronavirus. That, as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues his failing war to block school districts from mandating masks, even for kids younger than 12 who can't be vaccinated, but who now have a 23% test positivity rate. And all of that as scores of physicians walked out this week to demonstrate the need for Floridians to get vaccinated as hospitals and ICU's are now filling up and even preventing more non-COVID patients than COVID patients from receiving critical care.
- The story is no better and no less shameful in Texas, where their Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, is also at war with school districts who choose to try and keep their children and teachers safe by instituting mask mandates. The west Texas town of Iraan (Ira-Ann) is now entirely shut down after an explosion of cases just five days into the school year, with just 14 beds total in the small town's hospital and no critical care facilities anywhere nearer than at least 80 miles away. But those facilities, like the ones in crowded Southeast Texas, in places like Houston, are also completely out of both nurses and beds in both emergency and ICU rooms with hundreds of critically ill patients on waiting lists for both. "Are there patients dying because of this that might not have died? Absolutely, yes," says the doctor who serves as CEO of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, adding ominously: "I am very concerned about the fatalities that are about to happen." The Lone Star State is now shipping patients out of state as far as Minnesota to get them care. Of course, "it didn't have to be this way," notes Washington Post's Catherine Rampell, calling on "the GOP to dole out some tough love on vaccines." Good luck with that.
- In brighter news, after a standoff by a rump caucus of conservative "suicide squad" Democrats in the U.S. House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to broker a deal to move forward with passage of the landmark $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation blueprint that would, if ultimately signed into law, expand health care, child care, access to education, begin to take on climate change and raise taxes on corporations and the rich to help pay for it all. Nine or 10 so-called Democratic "moderates" in the House had been holding the measure hostage over the past day, in hopes of forcing Pelosi to allow a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package already passed by the Senate. But Pelosi and President Biden and House progressives have already said that both bills comprising Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda must be passed at the same time. The House standoff ended with an agreement by Pelosi that the infrastructure bill would get a vote by September 27. Whether progressives will vote for it by then likely depends on whether the larger spending bill --- which can pass in both chambers without any Republicans --- is complete. There is still a long, tough road ahead for that agenda. If adopted, it would be a landmark achievement on par with FDR's New Deal. But, after an attempt to undermine by a few Democrats, it is now moving forward again, even as Mitch McConnell is rooting on those Democratic "moderates" in the House, in hopes of scuttling both long-overdue initiatives for the American people.
- Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, which, as usual, is filled with nothing but "fantastic" news...and Barry Manilow...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)