The Idiocracy in Tennessee

Plus: Is it time to use the F-word?

“I became worse.” That’s how double impeachment changed him, Donald Trump told a conservative audience in Dallas last weekend, without a trace of a smile. This was not Trump the insult comic talking. This was the deepest Trump self. And this one time, he told the truth. David Frum, in the Atlantic

Happy Wednesday, which turns out to be a good to day to remind ourselves that Mike Judge’s 2006 movie, Idiocracy, was prophetic.

This is not, unfortunately, a parody: “Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach to minors — not just for COVID-19.”

The Tennessee Department of Health will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach – not just for coronavirus, but all diseases – amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers, according to an internal report and agency emails obtained by the Tennessean. If the health department must issue any information about vaccines, staff are instructed to strip the agency logo off the documents.

Nota bene: Under pressure from GOP pols, Tennessee is stopping all vaccine adolescent outreach. Everything. And not just for COVID.

I’m sorry to be repetitious here, but the GOP omerta applies to all diseases. And if you don’t go along, you get fired.

Just FYI: schoolchildren in Tennessee are still required to show proof of a whole lot of vaccinations. Here’s a list from the state’s own website:

Children enrolling in child care facilities, pre-school, pre-Kindergarten
Infants entering child care facilities must be up to date at the time of enrollment and are required to provide an updated certificate after completing all of the required vaccines due no later than 18 months of age.

  • Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV)

    1. Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) - age younger than 5 years only

    2. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) - age younger than 5 years only

    3. Measles, Mumps, Rubella - 1 dose of each, normally given together as MMR

    4. Varicella - 1 dose or credible history of disease

  • Hepatitis B (HBV)

  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP, or DT if appropriate)

  • Hepatitis A - 1 dose, required by 18 months of age or older​​

Children enrolling in Kindergarten

  • Hepatitis B (HBV)

  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP, or DT if appropriate)

  • Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV) - final dose on or after the 4th birthday

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella - 2 doses of each, usually given together as MMR

  • Varicella - 2 doses or credible history of disease

  • Hepatitis A - total of 2 doses, spaced at least 6 - 18 months apart

All children entering 7th grade (including currently enrolled students)

Children who are new enrollees in a TN school in grades other than Kindergarten

  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP, or DT if appropriate)

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (2 doses of each, normally given together as MMR)

  • Poliomyelitis (IPV or OPV) – final dose on or after the 4th birthday now required

  • Varicella (2 doses or credible history of disease) – previously only one dose was required

  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – previously only for Kindergarten, 7th grade entry

  • New students entering grades other than 7th grade are not required to have Tdap

Full-time Tennessee college students

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (2 doses of each, normally given together as MMR): if born on or after January 1, 1957 only. 

  • Varicella (2 doses or credible history of disease): if born on or after January 1, 1980 only. 

  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – only for health science students expected to have patient contact (before patient contact begins). 

  • Meningococcal - At a minimum of 1 dose given at 16 years of age or greater if enrolling in public institution for the first time and under 22 years of age and living in on-campus housing; private institutions set their own requirements for this vaccine. 

But FauciDeepStateFreedomSpaceLasers, or something:

The [Tennessee] health department will also stop all COVID-19 vaccine events on school property, despite holding at least one such event this month. The decisions to end vaccine outreach and school events come directly from Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, the internal report states.

Additionally, the health department will take steps to ensure it no longer sends postcards or other notices reminding teenagers to get their second dose of the coronavirus vaccines. Postcards will still be sent to adults, but teens will be excluded from the mailing list so the postcards are not “potentially interpreted as solicitation to minors,” the report states.

Meanwhile in California:

In other words: Vaccines work. They keep people from getting sick and dying, and the anti-vax demagoguery is not merely reckless —it is potentially lethal.

But, lulz. In Florida, the GOP’s favorite governor is selling anti-Fauci merch, even as as new coronavirus cases near highest in nation.

“Don’t Fauci My Florida,” read drink koozies and T-shirts that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s campaign team rolled out just as his state sees some of the highest coronavirus hospitalizations, new infections and deaths per capita in the country. It’s the latest example of Republicans running on their opposition to virus-fueled shutdowns and mask mandates.

Bonus ICYMI:

A good speech by Biden, but, but, but.

The president’s speech on voting rights was fiery and on point.

But, as critics noted, even a good speech is not a substitute for legislation.


A possibly unpopular opinion, but nevertheless a reminder that even if you have the moral high ground… optics matter.

David Frum asks: is it time to use the F-word?

Adam Maida / The Atlantic

The Trump movement was always authoritarian and illiberal. It indulged periodically in the rhetoric of violence. Trump himself chafed against the restraints of law. But what the United States did not have before 2020 was a large national movement willing to justify mob violence to claim political power. Now it does.

Through the Trump years, it seemed sensible to eschew comparisons to the worst passages of history. I repeated over and over again a warning against too-easy use of the F-word, fascism: “There are a lot of stops on the train line to bad before you get to Hitler Station.”

That’s a landscape for which a lot of pro-Trump writers and thinkers seem to yearn.

You are living in territory controlled by enemy tribes. You, and all like you, must assume the innocence of anyone remotely like yourself who is charged in any confrontation with those tribes and with their authorities—until proven otherwise beyond a shadow of your doubt. Take his side. In other words, you must shield others like yourself by practicing and urging “jury nullification.”

Those words are not taken from The Turner Diaries or some other Aryan Nation tract. They were published by a leading pro-Trump site, the same site where Trump’s former in-house intellectual Michael Anton publishes. They were written by Angelo Codevilla, who wrote the books and articles that defined so much of the Trump creed in 2016. (Codevilla’s 2016 bookThe Ruling Class, was introduced by Rush Limbaugh and heavily promoted on Limbaugh’s radio program.)

Read the whole thing here.


The Latest Chapter Of Megyn Kelly is officially dumb.

Megyn Kelly is claiming that “there is no question” the media misrepresented the January 6 insurrection, making it “much worse than it actually was.”


Could Larry Summers be right about inflation? As Dems roll out a massive new spending plan, this piece from Politico is worth your time:

There is a new fear circulating inside the West Wing of the White House: Maybe Larry Summers was right.

The former Treasury secretary has been warning since February that President Joe Biden’s big-spending agenda was creating the risk of an inflation spike this year, potentially cutting into the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the moment at least, Summers is looking prescient.

The government said Tuesday the consumer price index rose 5.4 percent in June from the same month last year, the biggest jump since 2008, as costs for everything from used cars and trucks to restaurant meals and hotel stays continued to soar. It marked the second straight month of sharply higher prices. June prices also unexpectedly rose 0.9 percent from May, undercutting the argument that the increases only look bad in comparison to last year, when the pandemic was raging.

Quick Hits

1. As Cubans March for Freedom, Democrats Are Split

Elliott Abrams writes in today’s Bulwark:

President Biden’s statement on the Cuban protests, while less than forthcoming on what the United States can or should do to help our oppressed neighbors desperate for freedom, did call their protests a “clarion call” and commended their bravery. No member of the Squad has said one word for freedom in Cuba, or backed the Cuban people’s demands. (Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would be in a particularly apt position to do so, but I am not holding my breath.)

2. No, the Canadian Residential Schools Were Not “Worth It” Because of the Baptisms

In this morning’s Bulwark, J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon respond to one of the more deplorable arguments we’ve seem from the New Right.

An essay by Declan Leary in the American Conservative last week [argued]… that the suffering endured in residential schools by so many children was justified—not politically, or historically, or culturally—but religiously justified, by the baptisms, confirmations, and catechisms carried out by the schools’ missionary administrators.


“Whatever sacrifices were exacted” in service of baptizing young Indians at residentials schools, were “worth it,” the essay concludes. “Sacrifices” being a tame euphemism for forcibly separating generations of children from their parents.

“The suffocation of a noble pagan culture”—worth it.

“An increase in disease and bodily death due to government negligence”—worth it.

“Even the sundering of natural families”—you guessed it. “Worth it.”

Leary’s reasoning is emblematic of a new kind of macho American Catholicism. How did this happen?

3. Trump’s First Amendment Gambit Unlikely to Work

Kim Wehle, in the Bulwark:

Last week, Trump filed class-action complaints in a Florida federal court against YouTubeTwitterFacebook, and their respective CEOs, claiming that the private companies’ decisions to suspend his social media accounts in the wake of the January 6 insurrection violate, among other things, the First Amendment. In a press conference, Trump called his lawsuits “a very important and beautiful development for our freedom of speech.” If these companies can do this to a president, Trump added, “they can do it to anyone.”

Here’s the glaringly obvious problem: With rare exceptions, the First Amendment doesn’t bind private companies. It applies to the state. As with most of the rest of the Bill of Rights, and indeed much of the Constitution in general, the point is to limit the massive power of the government. The Framers (understood broadly to include the authors of the Bill of Rights) understood exquisitely that people with the power of government tend to abuse it and so power must be limited and checked and balanced.

Share Morning Shots

Cheap Shots