How the Biden Administration Plans to Convince Skeptical Republicans to Get Vaccinated

Christina Nunnally was driving to work when she heard on the radio that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week.

As the chief quality officer for a network of primary care clinics in northern Mississippi, Nunnally knew she had just the rest of her 30-minute commute to formulate a plan for how her doctors would tell patients the news, reshuffle their schedule and ensure people kept coming in to get vaccinated. Vaccine delivery at North Mississippi Primary Health Care had already “not been a cake walk,” Nunnally says. Mississippi has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the country, and has some of the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy, according to the CDC. “Back in January and February, we had huge demand and we couldn’t get any vaccine,” she says. “Now, we have vaccine and it’s hard to be able to get it out to patients as quickly as we would like.”

Similar situations are playing out in other rural areas, particularly across the southern and western United States, which create added challenges to achieving herd immunity, or the point at which enough of the U.S. population is vaccinated that life can return to some semblance of normal. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the President’s chief medical adviser, has tentatively put this number at 85%. The country is trending in the right direction. The White House said Wednesday that over 133 million Americans—at least 50% of the adult population, including 81% of seniors—have received at least one shot.

But getting the citizens most hesitant about the vaccine to take it may prove to be the most difficult barrier to reaching herd immunity. For President Joe Biden, who has largely staked the success of his first year of office on getting to that point, this next phase represents a particular challenge. Partisan divides in vaccine hesitancy are stark, the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine complicated delivery in rural areas, and many Americans are inherently skeptical of any messaging push from the federal government.

“Our objective is to reach everyone,” Biden said on Wednesday in a speech about the state of the country’s vaccination efforts. “We have the vaccine to deliver.”

To increase vaccine distribution, the …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

      

The ‘America First Caucus’ Is Backtracking, But Its Mistaken Ideas About ‘Anglo-Saxon’ History Still Have Scholars Concerned

The idea of an “America First Caucus” seems to have hit a snag. A draft of a policy platform leaked last Friday, revealing that members of Congress, led by Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, were planning to launch a group united by a “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” The next day, following significant backlash from social media and from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, a spokesperson for Greene told CNN that she is “not launching anything.”

But while the proponents of the America First Caucus were likely more persuaded by their colleagues’ disapproval than by that of historians, scholars’ concerns were less easily assuaged by the launch being scrubbed. As many argued on social media, the idea of “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” is based on a false—and troubling—understanding of history.

TIME spoke to medievalist Mary Rambaran-Olm, an expert on race in early England and Provost Research Fellow at the University of Toronto, who has written about the loaded racist connotations behind the term “Anglo-Saxon.” Here, she talks about her research on the real origins of the term and where the latest controversy over its use—and misuse—fits in its history.

TIME: What does “Anglo-Saxon” mean? Where does it come from? What’s the real origin of this term?

RAMBARAN-OLM: Basically it was an Anglo-Latin term that King Alfred used to describe how he was king over the Angles, which is the English, and the Saxons, two of the main tribes that had migrated to Britain. [Use of the term] has only been recorded three times in the entire corpus of Old English—apart from a handful of charters where kings referred to themselves as such and that was used for propaganda to try and unite the kingdoms. The early English weren’t calling themselves Anglo-Saxons. Once we look at the manuscript evidence, we see that there isn’t really a basis—especially now—for people to be calling themselves Anglo-Saxons. The terms that people used during the period to describe themselves in the vernacular were most commonly “englisc” or “angelcynn.” There’s no record of it in English manuscripts from shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066 until the 1600s.

What changed at the time it started to be used more frequently?

It was tied to colonization. Back in the 17th century, Empire was starting to manifest…and a nationalist tone. They started to look back at the …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

      

David Staples: Will Alberta Premier Jason Kenney deliver on his make-or-break “Best Summer Ever” promise?

Lineups formed later in the morning for the COVID vaccine on the first day of a lower age group eligibility at the EXPO Centre in Edmonton, April 20, 2021. Ed Kaiser/Postmedia

Is this really going to be Alberta’s “Best Summer Ever,” as Premier Jason Kenney promised on April 1?

“If we just stick to our guns for a few more weeks we’ll head into what I truly believe will be the best summer in Alberta history,” Kenney said.

It’s a good line, bold and memorable. It’s become something of a slogan for the United Conservatives. But the statement could very easily come back to bite Kenney hard.

He will soon be pushed hard to lift restrictions and conjure up this fantastic summer.

Many Albertans — and a huge …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics

      

‘A Giant Step Forward.’ Joe Biden Pledges Police Reform After Derek Chauvin’s Guilty Verdict

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris praised the guilty verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd, but cautioned that the fight for racial justice in the United States is nowhere near complete.

“This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America,” Biden said in remarks Tuesday evening at the White House. But he emphasized that a verdict of this nature is “much too rare.” “In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that a tragedy like this will ever occur again,” he said.

The remarks, which came roughly two hours after a jury convicted Chauvin on three counts for murdering Floyd in May 2020, reflect Biden and Harris’ commitment to reckoning with racial inequities, which they have made a centerpiece of their Administration. But they also acknowledged the challenges they face in making a dent in this systemic problem that has plagued the country for centuries. “A measure of justice is not the same as equal justice,” Harris said. “This verdict brings us a step closer, but the fact is we still have work to do.”

But as Biden and Harris look to turn this rhetoric into action, they will encounter obstacles. On Tuesday they both lamented that Congress had yet to pass The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act— the police reform bill that passed the House in twice, once in 2020 and again earlier this year— but is languishing in the Senate, where it requires sixty votes to get passed. The bill includes provisions that would establish a national standard to operate police departments, require law enforcement to collect data on police encounters, and puts a federal ban on chokeholds.

“It shouldn’t take a whole year to get this done,” Biden said of the bill. He said he told the Floyd family in his conversation with them after the verdict that he was going to continue to push for police reform to get passed as quickly as possible so he could sign it into law.

But it is unclear if Congress will take action, even as some members are hopeful. Rep. Karen Bass, a Democrat from California who led the effort to pass the bill in the House, told reporters Tuesday before the verdict that she had been speaking with Sen. Tim Scott …read more

Source:: Time – Politics