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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Both the election and the pandemic go on and on and on…

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ABC News:

Biden receives high marks on COVID-19, lags on immigration, guns: POLL

As he confronts a set of concurrent challenges, President Joe Biden receives high marks on his top priorities — the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recovery. Still, there are warning signs for other areas of his agenda where external events have imposed new urgency, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.

The president’s approval lands at 72% for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, numerically higher than the 68% of Americans who said the same earlier this month just before Congress passed his $1.9 trillion relief package, his first major legislative achievement. Only 28% disapprove of his response in the poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.


David Rothkopf/Daily beast:

We’re Number One? The U.S. Is More Like Number 19 These Days.

From birth, we here in the US are raised to think of this as the greatest country in the world. Well, it’s time to think again. We no longer live up to our own hype by almost any metric.

This past week has seen two new studies that have got to cut flag-waving Uncle-Sam-has-abs-of-steel boosters to their jingoistic quick. In the latest World Happiness Report, America ranked 19th. In the most recent Freedom House World Democracy Rankings, the US plummeted to a position right behind Argentina and Mongolia and on a par with Panama, Romania and Croatia. On top of that at President Biden’s inaugural press conference, he made reference to how poorly America’s infrastructure ranks when compared to other countries—13th in the world as it turns out.

Ruth Marcus/WaPo:

Georgia’s shameful new voting laws are a product of GOP desperation

The tableau of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signing a new elections law said it all: six White legislators flanking the Republican governor, his pen poised above a gleaming wood table. Behind them, a painting of the white-columned Callaway Plantation.

Not shown: the enslaved people who once picked cotton and raised livestock on the 3,000-acre plantation.

Not shown, either: Black state legislator Park Cannon, arrested by White state troopers after she knocked repeatedly to gain entrance to the bill-signing. Among other things, the new law makes it a crime — yes, a crime — to provide water or food to people waiting in line to vote.


Paul Kane/WaPo:

The popularity of Congress is at its highest level in more than a decade as stimulus checks hit bank accounts

Last spring, after a flurry of bipartisan coronavirus rescue packages totaling nearly $3 trillion, more than 30 percent of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing for two consecutive months, the first time the Gallup poll recorded that level since 2009. Republicans, Democrats and independents all showed gains in approving how Congress handled the early days of the pandemic, when more than 25 million jobs vanished and hospital wards were flooded.

But the public quickly soured on Congress again as the late spring, summer and fall were dominated by partisan sniping and no legislative results ahead of the bitter November elections.

By mid-December, as President Donald Trump and nearly 150 congressional GOP allies prepared to contest Biden’s clear victory, just 15 percent of Americans approved of Congress — and the rejection was across the ideological spectrum. Democratic voters were the most scornful, as just 11 percent approved of the performance on Capitol Hill, according to the monthly Gallup poll.


Jeremy Farrar: COVID-19 pandemic ‘is nowhere near its end’

New waves of coronavirus infections in countries across the world serve as a reminder that the pandemic is far from ending, Wellcome Director Jeremy Farrar said Tuesday at the fifth meeting of the Facilitation Council for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT-A.

“We are all tired. We have all had friends, family members around the world who have been ill or died of this COVID-19. But this is the time we have to recommit,” he said during the meeting, attended virtually by policymakers and aid organization officials.

“There remains in my view too much optimism that there will be a single magic bullet that solves it all,” Farrar said.


Philip Bump/WaPo:

Expanding voting is not simply the political inverse of limiting voting

In many ways, the debate over access to casting a ballot in the United States is more complicated than it needs to be. It can be distilled at its most basic to one question: How much do you care about getting as many people as possible who are eligible to vote to actually do so?

Some people are straightforward, arguing that not everyone who can vote should. Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh (R) took that position when speaking to CNN earlier this month, saying that “everybody shouldn’t be voting.” It is fine not to encourage turnout from those who are “totally uninformed on the issues,” he said, though polling shows that it’s often Republicans who are uninformed or misinformed about key political issues.

Others express the same sentiment in other ways, from saying that only those who own property should vote to delineating more nuanced boundaries for participation. There are those who believe that every adult citizen should have the franchise and there are those who think that there are necessary boundaries, such as prohibitions for those with criminal convictions.

And just for fun, Passover on the high seas, sea shanty style:


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