Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.
7 days until JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE
A year into the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, we still lack a complete understanding of who is getting sick, and where, and when. Demographic data from many states are astonishingly incomplete, and even widely collected information, such as the age of patients at the time of diagnosis or death, is so inconsistently presented that it has been impossible to assemble into a clear national picture. The federal government is now making more demographic data available, but the information continues to emerge at a snail’s pace.
This has left government outsiders to try to assemble the data—groups like us, the COVID Tracking Project, which is housed at The Atlantic. For more than nine months, we’ve compiled data from states to create a composite national picture of the pandemic. Time and again, we have seen that a lack of federal support has left overburdened state public-health authorities to fend for themselves, resulting in incomplete reporting, incompatible data definitions, and inconsistent data pipelines.
With vaccine data, the United States has the opportunity for a do-over. The national vaccination effort itself is fragmented and inconsistent, guided by state and county policies in the absence of a comprehensive federal system of support—but the data about vaccinations need not mirror this incoherence. Tracking the distribution of vaccines and the pace of vaccination can provide meaningful insights into the volume of future cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. And particularly given the well-established racial and ethnic disparities we see in COVID-19 cases and deaths, we must have access to data that would reveal whether these disparities are being remediated—or intensified—by our national vaccination effort. [...]
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
Europeans Recognize Trumpism for What It Is, by Anne Applebaum. The foreign minister of tiny Luxembourg called the president a “pyromaniac,” and the criticism was too much for Mike Pompeo.
Amtrak’s Largest Union Doesn’t Want Capitol Hill Rioters on Its Trains, by Aaron Gordon. The call for increased security comes after flight attendants wanted pro-Trump rioters banned from planes.
The Constitution’s Option for Impeachment After a President Leaves Office, by Michael J. Gerhardt. It would make no sense for former officials, or ones who step down just in time, to escape that remedial mechanism. It should accordingly go without saying that if an impeachment begins when an individual is in office, the process may surely continue after they resign or otherwise depart.
“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.” ~~Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 (1973)
On this date at Daily Kos in 2007—The Real Maverick in the Presidential Race:
By now, John McCain’s identity as a "maverick" has been pretty well demolished among thinking people, though it retains a tenacious grip on certain sectors of the media. In light of McCain’s support for overturning Roe v. Wade, his cave on torture, his hiring of significant numbers of Bush-Cheney staffers, his turn to Bush’s big donors, and, of course, the McCain doctrine of Iraq war escalation, you’d think that it would be the joke among journalists it is among bloggers, but what can I say? I guess they’re slow.
Those journalists so desperate for a maverick presidential candidate, though, should take a look at former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (pronounced Gra-VEL), a long-shot Democratic candidate for president. Like McCain, if elected, Gravel would be the oldest president. Like McCain, Gravel’s major political experience is in the US Senate (1969-1981). Gravel also is a veteran, having served in the Army in the Counter Intelligence Corps in the early 1950s.
And just as McCain's initial reputation was made on an act of Vietnam-era courage—refusing to be released from POW status early—in his past, so was Gravel's—entering the Pentagon Papers into the public record via his Senate subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds, and filibustering the renewal of the draft. But unlike McCain, Gravel is genuinely a maverick, with the good and the bad that comes with that status.