If you think the COVID pandemic is over-- about a third of Americans do-- you're delusional. Yesterday, the U.S. reported 88,149 new cases, without reports from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Arizona, Indiana, Washington, South Carolina, Missouri, Utah, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont. a more accurate estimate would be that yesterday the U.S. had over 100,000 new cases (and we had on Wednesday. when more states reported and the total was 106,741. Wednesday there were also 371 deaths reported. The U.S. is now 66% fully vaccinated. That's holding the death rate down in the 9 states states where over 75% of the people are vaccinated-- Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and Maryland.
There are 17 states I categorize as the Typhoid Mary states, the ones whose residents have chose to not get vaccinated in large enough numbers to approach herd immunity. Their death rates are higher than the rest of teh country's. The national rate is 3,107 deaths per million residents. The half dozen worst are backward, red states with poorly educated populations:
Wyoming- 51% fully vaccinated (3,145 deaths per million residents)
Alabama- 51% fully vaccinated (4,006 deaths per million residents)
Mississippi- 52% fully vaccinated (4,187 deaths per million residents)
Louisiana- 54% fully vaccinated (3,723 deaths per million residents)
Arkansas- 54% fully vaccinated (3,786 deaths per million residents)
Tennessee- 55% fully vaccinated (3,851 deaths per million residents)
Yesterday, the Senate failed to overcome the Republican Party filibuster of the COVID relief bill. 52 senators voted for it-- including 5 Republicans (Blunt, Cassidy, Collins, Murkowski and Wicker). 43 Republicans vote against the relief package, pure partisan obstructionism. The Punchbowl News crew noted this morning that the vote "came just hours after the Senate cleared a $40 billion Ukraine aid package on an emergency basis, so money isn’t the issue here. It’s what the White House and Democratic leaders want to spend it on." The GOP has been blocking this relief package-- needed to replenish federal stockpiles of tests, therapeutics and vaccines-- for almost 4 months, claiming the spending is inflationary and demanding an authorization of Title 42 to expel migrants at the southern border.
Tom Nelson is the progressive candidate challenging Wisconsin's MAGA nut case Ron Johnson. "From day 1, Ron Johnson hasn't taken COVID serious," he told me this morning. "Quite frankly, it would be surprising if he changed his tune, got a clue and helped his constituents for a change. Then again, this is the fella that voted against baby formula. You can't make this up." Or, in Dan Rather's words, "Why vote to solve a problem when you can grandstand against it?"
But the Senate isn't the only place where obstructionism is front and center for the GOP. In the House yesterday, every single Republican (plus 4 conservative Democrats) voted against a popular bill to prevent gasoline price-gouging. Blue America decided to make sure constituents of some of these Republican obstructionists are aware of how their congressmember is voting. One of the Republicans who refused to back it was Mario Diaz-Balart and starting today, Facebook and Instagram are running this ad:
The day before, the House passed the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act and, again, McCarthy and Scalise instructed the Republicans to vote against it. 192 of them did-- just an even dozen voting for this popular bill. Again, Blue America rushed out ads in several districts where progressives are challenging Republican obstructionists. Here in California ads are already running against Mike Garcia and Jay Obernolte to boost the campaigns of Ruth Luevanos and Derick Marshall:
A word about these simple ads. We reach tens of thousands of people in the candidates' districts for just a couple hundred dollars. If you'd like to help us with more of these issue-oriented ads, between now and November please consider contributing what you can to the Blue America Independent Expenditure Committee here. All the money we collect goes into ads for the candidates; none goes to any of us, to any "expenses" or to any consultants or into any aspect of the DC swamp. An I.E. Committee like this is just for independent expenditures on behalf of campaigns. We ran a dozen ads in Oregon on behalf of Jamie McLeod Skinner, who is currently winning a tough race-- ballots are still being counted-- against Blue Dog Kurt Schrader the worst Democrat in the House. Here's a report from the Facebook ad library for one of the ads. This one gave us at least a hundred thousand impressions-- all targeted to Democratic voters in her district-- for less than $700. I don't think there were any other groups doing this particular work.