What A Cororaviral Year!



As we begin our third calendar year of the pandemic, let's briefly recall how 2021 began: We had two good vaccines authorized, and the Trump administration was fucking up the rollout because the Great Man was far more interested in undoing the results of the 2020 election. When the vaccines were first approved for use, the administration planned to have 20 million Americans vaccinated by the end of 2020. Instead, as we noted on January 5, the new year began with just 4.3 million Americans having received their first doses, and no real plan by the federal government to get the vaccines to people in any sort of organized way.

Then the next day, almost no one was thinking all that much about vaccines for a little while.


We started seeing new records being set for daily hospitalizations and deaths, but slowly, the supply of vaccines got moving. Joe Biden was inaugurated and his people said they were astonished to find that Trump's team hadn't really had a vaccine distribution plan, and then Fox News complained that the Trump administration did so have a plan that was really shitty, which involved getting vaccines to the states and saying "you handle it." But a crap plan was still a plan, so shame on you, Joe Biden!

Where Trump's messaging on the pandemic was never anything like reality, Biden promised to be guided by the science, to stay vigilant to new developments, and — in a tonal shift that took some getting used to — to acknowledge that the pandemic had killed too many Americans, so we needed to get it under control. The vaccines finally started being delivered where they were needed, older Americans and the most vulnerable started getting not only their first doses but even their second, and by early March, on the anniversary of the pandemic declaration, Biden said the vaccines were plentiful enough that all American adults could expect to be able to get their shot by May 1, and to have Fourth of July barbecues with family.

As it turned out, the vaccines were getting into arms even more quickly than that, and many of us had actually had our first shot in late March, and our second dose well before May 1. Things were looking pretty darn good there for a while, except for some crazy rightwing nuts who suddenly switched from complaining that Biden hadn't given Trump the credit he deserved for personally developing the vaccines himself to insisting that the vaccines were poison and there's no way they'd ever let any of that socialist stuff go into their arms.

By July, just as case numbers were falling sharply and vaccination rates were good, we started hearing about this Delta variant thing, which was more easily transmitted than the original variant of the virus. We had our July 4 cookouts, but the case numbers were creeping up, and unvaccinated kids (they couldn't get vaccinated yet) came back from summer camps to infect their unvaccinated families, and soon it was time for school to start and rightwing parents were screaming about tyranny at school board meetings because the schools wanted their kids not to get sick.

Red state governors competed with each other to see who could impose the most ridiculous restrictions banning public health authorities and school boards from instituting mask mandates, and in Idaho, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who considers the state's conservative Republican governor, Brad Little, too liberal, decided to ban all mask mandates herself while Little was out of the state. It didn't go over so well with Little.

The Children gamely went to school, and got sick, and schools closed, and in several states, parents who actually wanted their kids to be safe at school sued to block the enforcement of mask mandate bans, and won, in part because judges didn't get how a governor's emergency health powers could be invoked to prevent public health.

Delta kept spreading, hospitals were so overwhelmed in Idaho and Alaska that they had to literally ration care because there were no beds, no doctors or nurses or respiratory therapists, and people died — not just people with COVID, but people who needed hospital care but couldn't get admitted because the ERs and ICUs were full. Trumpers started assaulting doctors and nurses, and threatening the lives of public health officials. In Michigan, a county public health director was nearly forced off the road.

Big surprise: We started hearing about more and more healthcare workers quitting, because they couldn't do their jobs with the resources they had, because they had given all the mental energy they could, because their hospitals treated them as disposable resources.

Crazies threatened to quit their jobs instead of getting vaccinated, although in most cases, businesses and governments that mandated vaccinations actually had really good compliance, generally over 90 percent. But Republicans think they really have a winning issue in ginning up resistance to public health, and the country is just crazy enough that in many areas, it might be a winning strategy.

Oh, yes, and now we have the Omicron variant, which is still more virulent than Delta although vaccines plus booster shots also appear to be highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. The FDA has authorized two new antiviral treatments for COVID-19, and both appear to be very effective in preventing serious illness or death in people infected with the Omicron variant, too.

We would say more about the prospects of finally getting a handle on the pandemic in 2022, but suddenly we are run over by a truck.

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AFTER DISAPPEARING, RON DeSANTIS DIDN’T MENTION HIS WIFE’S CANCER UNTIL HE COULD USE IT TO OWN THE LIBS

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has disappeared from public view, and there's been a great deal of speculation about why.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been missing in action as Covid cases in the state have spiked to new heights, Florida Democratic officials charge.

"Counties are overwhelmed w/ lines that stretch for miles," state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, tweeted Thursday. "It's every man/woman for themselves, because leadership is MIA," he added.

DeSantis, a Republican and outspoken opponent of vaccine and mask mandates, last held a Covid press briefing on Dec. 17. Covid cases have reached new highs in Florida since then....

In a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County, a Democrat, called on the governor to step up his response efforts because the omicron surge has resulted in people waiting in line as long as five hours to get tested.

"We have not received any assistance from the state of Florida at our testing sites," Demings said. "Local governments have been left to figure it out and respond on our own. We are doing our best."
The governor's press office released a photo of DeSantis at a bagel shop, but it was two weeks old.


Some speculated that DeSantis was ill, possibly with COVID, or having an affair, like South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in 2009. I had my own theory:


In response to the speculation, his press secretary tweeted this yesterday:


And now we have a fuller response, at Fox News, DeSantis's favorite media outlet:
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis accompanied his wife to her cancer treatment while critics were accusing the governor of taking a vacation as coronavirus cases spiked, Fox News has learned.

A DeSantis spokesperson said the governor accompanied wife Casey to cancer treatment Dec. 29, the day several left-wing critics accused the governor of "missing."

DeSantis' announced in October that his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, telling Fox News at the time that as "the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as first lady."
So if that's the case, why didn't the governor's office simply say so before he disappeared from public view? Our politics may be more smashmouth than civilized, but if DeSantis or his press secretary had simply said this days ago, the governor's critics would have cut him some slack.

But that's now how Republicans operate. They see every waking moment as an opportunity to gain partisan advantage, and they think their opponents approach politics exactly the same way. I think DeSantis didn't announce this because he believes he can never let his guard down, never expose himself in public as a person, someone whose life might have troubles and difficulties. IVn a Trump-like way, he believes he can never be vulnerable. He hired his press secretary not because she can do the old-fashioned job of keeping the public informed about what he and his administration are doing in a straightforward way, but because she's a partisan attack dog. For DeSantis, politics is total war. And this Fox story is clearly intended to shame his critics.

Now it's being reported that DeSantis will make a public appearance tonight at the Orange Bowl. The moment will pass. But it didn't have to become a partisan fight. If the simple explanation is that DeSantis is a person who just wanted to be with a sick wife and their kids, he could have just said so.

Fake Biden Holograms And Demon Sperm: 2021’s Things We Can’t Believe People Actually Believed



It's honestly pretty hard to tell if 2021 was slightly better than the previous five years when it came to the conspiracy nonsense, or if we've all just become inured to it. I think on some level, once you've been through Wayfair and the Mole Children, it's really hard to be particularly shocked by anything anyone comes up with. A bunch of QAnon weirdos are gathering in Texas to herald the return of JFK Jr.? Shrug. They're drinking bleach? Double shrug. They've all been drinking bleach for two years now, and some of them for much longer than that. Maybe I'm just jaded, but these people really seem to love their bleach and it doesn't seem like anyone is going to convince them to stop drinking it.

I'm not saying I want them to continue drinking bleach or that we should stop trying, but it's hard to have particularly high hopes at this point. It's hard to say anything to people who can look at other people who literally turned blue from drinking colloidal silver and still think, "I'm gonna drink me a glass of that."


The biggest difference between this year and the Trump years is that there was no more Q to guide many of these people and so they pretty much had to "Yes and" their way to settling on a narrative. But that doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of weird going on — particularly between COVID woo and voter fraud theories. So behold, some of the things you were probably better off forgetting ever happened!

Facebook Ivermectin Fans So Jazzed About Shedding Their Intestinal Linings!

Alex Jones Pretty Sure Joe Biden Dropped Tornado Nukes On Kentucky

Senate's Dumbest Republican Gonna Cure COVID With Listerine, OPEN WIIIIIIIDE

Tucker Worried About Getting 'Feminized' By COVID Now, Like A Normal Person

Republicans Say Omicron Variant Is Plot To Steal Election, Storm Border, Other Things Probably We Bet

Sidney Powell And Michael Flynn Tried To LOCK HER UP CIA Director Gina Haspel For Server Treason

Dr. 'Demon Sperm' Warns Our Leaders Have Been Replaced With Blood-Drinking Clones

MyPillow Guy Has Very Exciting Thanksgiving Prophecy To Share!

Remember Italygate? Turns Out People Behind It About As Authentic As Pasta With Ketchup

Christian Preacher Very Concerned About Demon-Possessed Joe Biden And His Sex-Trafficking Tunnels

Did Joe Biden Ban High Testosterone Christians From Army? Tucker Carlson Says F*ck It, Sure!

Florida Dad Is Onto Our Nefarious Plan To Depopulate The World With Vaccines

Illuminati Can't Stop Lin Wood From Accusing People Of Child Sex Trafficking

BAD NEWS: QAnon Demon Healer Says Biden Dead And Clintons Dead And Tom Hanks Dead And

Devin Nunes Says Dems Gonna Create Fake Biden Holograms To Make Him Sound Smart As Old 'Best Words' Trump

That is not even close to all of the stupid shit people believed this year, but it sure is a lot.

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Friday Evening Open Thread: If You Can’t Keep Them Home…

… (Try to) keep them outside, and encourage proper pandemic precautions:

The post Friday Evening Open Thread: If You Can’t Keep Them Home… appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Amazing / Strange Things Scientists Calculated in 2021

fahrbot-bot writes: The world is full of beautiful equations, numbers and calculations. From counting beads as toddlers to managing finances as adults, we use math every day. But scientists often go beyond these quotidian forms of counting, to measure, weigh and tally far stranger things in the universe. From the number of bubbles in a typical glass of beer to the weight of all the coronavirus particles circulating in the world, LiveScience notes the 10 weird things scientists calculated in 2021. Number of bubbles in a half-pint glass of beer: up to 2 million bubbles, about twice as many as Champagne. Weight of all SARS-CoV-2 particles: between 0.22 and 22 pounds (0.1 and 10 kilograms).Counted African elephants from space for the first time -- Earth elephants (using satellites and AI) not Space Elephants.Acceleration of a finger snap: maximal rotational velocities of 7,800 deg/s and a maximal rotational acceleration of 1.6 million deg/s squared -- in seven milliseconds, more than 20 times faster than the blink of an eye, which takes more than 150 milliseconds.Calculated pi to 62.8 trillion decimal places.Updated the "friendship paradox" equations.Theoretical number and mass of all Black Holes: about 1% of all ordinary matter (not dark matter) in the universe.How long would it take to walk around the moon? At 4 hours a day, it would take about 547 Earth days, or about 1.5 years.How many active satellites currently orbit the planet? As of September 2021, there were around 7,500 active satellites in low Earth orbit.The "absolute limit" on the human life span: probably 120 to 150 years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Year In Infrastructure Week



After four years of "Infrastructure week" being a bad joke about whatever Donald Trump's administration wanted to distract from, Old Handsome Joe Biden came into office in January and actually did a great big infrastructure plan, which he rolled out at the end of March as the "American Jobs Plan." It was an ambitious plan, $2 trillion over 10 years, that went well beyond the traditional "roads 'n' bridges" stuff that's normally thought of as infrastructure. It included spending on retooling American energy away from fossil fuels, research and development for clean energy, and $174 billion to build a national network of EV charging stations. The proposal also included funding to build out high-speed internet in both rural and urban America and to upgrade public housing for energy efficiency (and to build more public housing, period), as well as $111 billion to ensure that all Americans have clean, safe water. That funding would also include replacing all lead water pipes in the country. ALL of them, finally.

Not surprisingly, the Right got mad because the bill also included some of the "human infrastructure" that Biden wanted to promote, including funds for home and community care for folks with disabilities and for the elderly (plus funding for more home healthcare workers). Wingnuts and a Democrat (possibly two!) got pissy, because since when does anything that you can't drive a truck or a train on even count as infrastructure?


The American Jobs Plan was followed up in short order by the American Families Plan, which was the great big social safety net reform chunk of Biden's agenda. It would have spent $1.8 trillion over 10 years on terrific stuff like paid family and medical leave, universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, subsidized childcare, help for schools and teachers, and an extension of the popular expanded child tax credit that was included in the American Rescue Plan. The whole shebang would be funded by rolling back parts of the 2017 Trump tax cuts.

Say, does this sound familiar? It should, because, combined with a bunch of neat stuff aimed at addressing climate change, nearly all of the basic policies made it into the first version of the Build Back Better reconciliation bill, while many good parts of the Jobs Plan went into what eventually became the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, or BIF. Now that it's become law, we don't know why it isn't called the BIL. Possibly because of calling a Law a BIL, and maybe a copyright infringement warning from Schoolhouse Rock.

Let's review once more what happened with Biden's two big plans in Congress. Conservative Democrats, by whom we mean Senators Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), wanted to show that "bipartisanship" was still possible in these polarized times, so with the help of some Republican "moderates," they carved out much of the "physical infrastructure" stuff that was in the Jobs Plan, cut the amount of spending, and viola! you have a BIF! Then most of the other good stuff from the two plans went into Build Back Better, so it could be passed by reconciliation with just Democratic votes in the Senate, and in June, Democrats announced the whole thing as the "two-track solution," a compromise that would let Manchin pass a thing with Republicans and get the rest of the Biden agenda passed via reconciliation.

From the get-go, the two packages were meant to be passed together; progressives in both houses only agreed to the bipartisan infrastructure chunk on the condition that the reconciliation bill would be passed as well, because they worried that if the infrastructure chunk became law without Build Back Better, moderates might walk off and leave more than half of Biden's agenda hanging. Good thing that never happened!

But plans change, and elections in Virginia get lost, and with an absolute promise that BBB would get a vote in the House later, the House in November passed the BIF and it became law.

As we like reminding you, there's a lot to like in the bill, which does indeed have those roads, airports, rail lines, and bridges, but also includes a lot of funding for things like electrifying city transit systems and making buses and light rail accessible to folks with disabilities, just three short decades after the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

We very much like the law's funding to begin upgrading the nation's electrical grid, although Crom knows the grid will need even more work to truly handle the transition to renewable energy. Additional monies will help make existing infrastructure and systems more resilient to both climate and to cyberattack.

The Jobs Plan's proposals for environmental justice made it into the law, like funding to clean up toxic waste, reconnect communities that were split up by highways and other transportation construction that primarily affected minority and low-income communities, and replace lead pipes — only half of what the Jobs Plan proposed, unfortunately. Other funding will go to clean up decommissioned mines and wells, and for job creation in communities that have relied on fossil fuels.

The plan also includes $65 billion to build out high-speed broadband in rural and urban areas that have gone too long without it. That is down from the $100 billion Biden proposed, but let's hope it means no more kids ever have to do homework on a school laptop outside a Taco Bell.

The law also provides a lot of the neat climate stuff proposed by Biden back in March, like $7.5 billion for a network of EV charging stations (less than the total $174 billion on EV development, supply chain infrastructure, and consumer incentives, although much of that got moved to Build Back Better).

On the whole, it was a pretty good infrastructure package, and Republicans who didn't vote for it are already running campaign ads bragging about all the good it's doing in their districts.

Now all Democrats need to do is corral Joe Manchin, fill him full of those mind-control nanobots the wingnuts say are in the vaccines, and make him vote for Build Back Better. But it's New Year's Eve, so we'll talk about that one more another day.

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Everyone Else Must Be at the Holiday Party (Open Thread)

Looks like everyone must be at the BJ Holiday Party.  My invitation must have gotten lost.  :-)

MazeDancer sent me this yesterday and it was very good timing because I was feeling cranky for no reason yesterday and this cheered me right up.

.

I am making either challah or brioche, depending on who you listen to.  It’s the King Arthur Flour recipe, except that I substituted butter for the oil in the recipe, and I just twist the bread so it’s pretty.  I don’t care about the fancy weaving.

What are you guys up to?

The post Everyone Else Must Be at the Holiday Party (Open Thread) appeared first on Balloon Juice.

A Program for Cheaper Internet for Low-Income Americans Launches Today

Starting today, eligible US residents can apply for help with their internet bills under the new Affordable Connectivity Program. The program launched today with $14.2 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in November. From a report: Households can apply to take up to $30 a month off their internet service bill. For households on qualifying Tribal lands, the discount is up to $75 per month. The program could help to connect millions of people to the internet who haven't had access to it at home, especially in communities that have historically faced more barriers to getting online. Almost a third of people living on Tribal lands lacked high-speed internet at home in 2017, according to a report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). That's compared to just 1.5 percent of city-dwellers without high-speed internet access. On top of limited infrastructure, cost is often another barrier. The United States has the second-highest broadband costs out of 35 countries studied by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And American Indian and Alaska Native people have the highest poverty rate of any race group in the US, according to the US Census Bureau.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

2021: Your Mom Is Hot. No She’s Really Hot, The World Is On Fire!



As 2021 heads for the exit, wildfires in Boulder, Colorado, have burned at least 500 homes and forced more than 30,000 people to evacuate. There are record-setting high temperatures in Alaska, with Kodiak Island hitting 67 degrees F last weekend, even though it only gets six hours of sunlight this time of year.

So yes, global warming is real, kids. The science is both well-established and supported by the data (here's a brief overview of the basics from the EPA, which can once again say science is real, thanks a lot, Biden). When people ask whether extreme weather events like the deadly tornadoes earlier this month are related to climate change, the answer really should be that pretty much everything is related to climate change. While the causes of any particular storm are complex, the overall fact is that climate change is making things freaky, because when the earth gets hotter, complex systems like weather are going to be affected across the planet.

As we noted in our 2019 New Year's Eve roundup, we seem to have finally woken up and noticed that yes, this is a big problem. And while it would have been way easier if we had started phasing out fossil fuels in the 1980s or '90s when the science was already clear, the consensus view is, as the UN's International Panel on Climate Change said earlier this year, that humanity can still make the changes to worldwide energy use necessary to avoid the very worst effects of uncontrolled climate change — but we have to act fast.

Not sure whether this is a motivator for you, but it may help to think of 2021's freaky weather as a baseline. We'll have to work really hard to keep things as good as this year.



A loving homage to/theft of original Trans Am photoshoop by The Onion


For 'Climate Day,' Shirtless Joe Biden Washes Electric Car In White House Driveway

The climate year started off with a big exhale of relief when America inaugurated a president who recognized the reality of climate change, and vowed to follow the science. Joe Biden started his administration by rescinding some of Donald Trump's worst policies, and by signing a bunch of executive orders aimed at changing US climate policy. America rejoined the Paris Climate agreement. Biden said that climate policy would be a "whole of government" effort, not just something to be shunted off to the EPA or the Energy Department, and his Cabinet appointments reflected that emphasis: Deb Haaland at Interior, Pete Buttigieg at Transportation, Jennifer Granholm at Energy, and two new positions whose entire portfolio involved climate. For domestic climate matters, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy became Biden's National Climate Advisor, and for international relations, John Kerry was named Special Presidential Envoy for Climate — a diplomatic position that for the first time ever placed an official on the National Security Council whose whole job was including climate in discussions of security and foreign relations.

Biden also pledged that environmental justice would be a central part of his climate policy, and that 40 percent of spending on climate programs would go to frontline communities that have been effected by climate, or polluted by toxic waste and the environmental damage done by fossil fuels. That "Justice40" initiative may not be the most noticed part of Biden energy/climate policy, but environmental justice has been in every single plan and policy proposal, just quietly humming along on battery power. Buttigieg, no slouch on policy, is keenly aware that transportation policy is wrapped up with issues of social justice, even if idiots on Fox scoff "So now roads are racist?"


Frozen Texas

In February, America got a crash course in "Electric Grid" when extreme cold temperatures nearly caused an actual crash of the statewide electric grid in Texas, mostly due to the combination of a sudden surge in demand for electricity as people cranked up their heat and many power plants failing because they weren't weatherproofed. (Trivia fun: The grid didn't actually crash; instead, grid operators triggered blackouts to prevent the whole grid from going down, which would have taken months to fix, instead of weeks.) Two hundred ten people died because of the winter storm and the blackouts.

Most of the plants that crashed were powered by natural gas, but Texas and national Republican politicians wasted no time in lying that the power outages were due to failures of wind and solar power, which make up an increasingly large part of the state's energy portfolio because, yay, renewable energy is more affordable than fossil fuels.

The big takeaways from the freeze should have been that it's a bad idea to have a power grid that's largely isolated from the rest of the country in order to escape federal regulation, and that emphasizing profitability over stability is a hell of a good way to get grid crashes and to drive power companies into bankruptcy. We also got another Trivia Question reminder that the state agency that regulates oil and gas is called the "Texas Railroad Commission," even though it literally hasn't regulated railroads in Texas for decades.

Also too, the Texas Legislature took action to make everything better by punishing producers of green energy, so everything should be just fine.


Floods And Tornadoes, Too!

Storm Damage at John Schneider's home. The General Lee in the tree is mounted there on purpose, but usually sans tree. (John Schneider, Facebook)


In September, Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast, knocking out power for weeks in New Orleans. The levees held; the power grid, not so much. The storm trashed the Louisiana home and studio of "Dukes of Hazzard" actor John Schneider, wrecking one of several replica 1969 Dodge Chargers (not real classics!) used in the show.

Even though it was downgraded to a tropical storm because its wind speeds had decreased, the remnants of Ida illustrated one of the really destructive elements of hurricanes in the age of climate crisis: Because warmer air and water result in more powerful storms that hold more water vapor, hurricanes will generally cause far more rain and flooding than in the past. Even by the time the storm reached the Northeast US, it was still causing record rainfall and flooding in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Ninety-one people died across nine states, and in New York, many of the deaths involved people drowning in "affordable" basement apartments — another reminder that many of the worst effects of the climate crisis are being felt by the poor.

In December, tornadoes ripped through four states, hitting Kentucky the hardest and killing more than 90 people in all. No, we will not let you be dickish about people dying, even when Kentucky's congressional delegation, especially Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, has constantly blocked climate legislation and even tried to block disaster aid for other parts of the country.

Unlike the increasing strength of hurricanes and the frequency and damage done by wildfires, the exact connection between climate change and tornadoes isn't yet known, apart from the general fact that a warmer planet, with a less stable jet stream, seems likely to create the potential for more unseasonable, powerful storms that can cause tornadoes. And even if a particular storm can't be attributed to climate, the overall increase in extreme weather events worldwide certainly can. At least we can remain certain that, whatever the weather emergency, anything Alex Jones says about it will be wrong.


Don't Just Tread Water, Do Something

Even Republicans know the climate emergency is real, as we saw in the publicity around a new "conservative climate caucus" in the House of Representatives last summer. Unfortunately, since the climate caulkers are also absolutely committed only to "free market" initiatives on climate, none of the members seems willing to take the large-scale action needed to move the US off fossil fuels. They really like nuclear power, and are excited about carbon capture technology, which really may help some but won't do a lick of good if it's only an excuse to keep burning fossil fuels. As we've said before, direct removal of CO2 from the air — by technology other than trees, yes — is both really promising and fraught with potential problems, and we urge you to read or listen to this nifty Mother Jones discussion of just how complicated it is.

Considering the very real costs to the US and world economies that will be caused by climate change — both the physical damage and the economic turbulence that could result from a slapdash transition away from fossil fuels — you might think that Republicans would be on board with preventing the coming climate-related havoc. But the party as a whole is addicted to trolling, and opposing any efforts to take climate seriously has become a matter of GOP orthodoxy, to the point that even when Republicans take useful actions, they won't say the word "climate change," lest their tongues catch fire.

See for instance Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (if you can see him at all), who earlier this month announced a great big package of spending to make Florida infrastructure more resilient against "flooding and sea level rise," without a single mention of why Florida needs to do anything about higher water levels. He even took care to insist that "global warming" shouldn't be mentioned in connection with the infrastructure spending, because when people "start talking about things like global warming, they typically use that as a pretext to do a bunch of left-wing things," you see. Instead, DeSantis insisted this was just normal non-leftwing government spending that's necessary because "OK, we’re a flood-prone state, we do have storms."

Maybe all that speculation that DeSantis is hiding out with COVID-19 or getting plastic surgery is wrong, and he's simply getting physical therapy after tying himself into a pretzel like that.


Coming Up: Infrastructure! Grid! Electric Cars! Let's Get Green!

In our next 2021 roundup, we'll look at the Year In Infrastructure Week, and how that's going to help us get off the fossil fuel teat.

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Ask Slashdot: New Year’s Resolution For Tech Companies?

theodp writes: Slashdot has surveyed personal New Year's resolutions in the past. So this year, how about coming up with a list of New Year's resolutions you'd like to see tech companies keep in 2022? As for me, I'd like to see the tech giants resolve to making their desktop software work in the Cloud (and not just for Business), include a programming language with their desktop and mobile OS, provide the capability to share 'meaningful' file names, and allow developers to cap their Cloud charges. Is that too much to ask for in 2022?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.