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Speaker of the House Watch – 2nd day, evening edition.

The House just convened for more votes on who will be speaker. If you’ve lost count, we are about to have a SEVENTH vote for speaker of the House after Kevin McCarthy has lost to Hakeem Jeffries for 6 straight tries by something like 8-10 votes (counting the one that is “present”. )

But wait, what’s this? The Republicans have asked for an adjournment until tomorrow. Cheryl Johnson, the Clerk of the House asked for a voice vote. All Democrats opposed but it was difficult to tell whether there were enough Republican “ayes” to adjourn. They are now actually voting to adjourn.

But during the voice vote, it looked like the “nos” got carried away, pumping their arms and repeating “no!, no!,no!” It got very noisy. And then something about this scene reminded me of an act from This American Life about an amateur production of Peter Pan at a local community auditorium. The director was fresh and excited and this was her first production.

Peter crashes through Wendy’s window.

Things started to go wrong. Then the pace of things going wrong accelerated. At first, the audience was mildly amused. Then slowly the laughing got louder. Then they reached the tipping point. We pick it up just as Wendy loses her ability to fly with the apparatus that has been malfunctioning since the beginning of the play:

So now there is this big loop of wire hanging in front of the stage, and there’s Wendy holding the kite. And she ad libbed as best she could, as I remember. She sort of said, on second thought, maybe I can swim. And with that, she walked off the stage, sort of motioning her arms like you would do the swim, the dance in 1965.

So she does that. At this point, I mean, the actors are just falling apart. They are so frightened of the audience. There are just belly laughs rolling up to the stage from the audience. People are howling with laughter at every mistake.

And now any small mistake just takes on these– any instigation for laughter is just enough for this audience. And now the old people have given it up. Everyone has quit being nice. Now there’s just this kind of frightening roar that comes from the audience every time there’s a mistake.

Ira Glass

Well, what happened? At some point, the audience turned and realized, oh, wait. I realize what’s going on here. This is a fiasco.

Jack Hitt

Yeah, this is a fiasco. And what’s really interesting about a fiasco is that once it starts to tumble down, the audience wants to push it further along.

Ira Glass

Oh, they get hungry for more fiasco.

Jack Hitt

Oh, yeah.

Ira Glass

If the play proceeded perfectly, they would be disappointed.

Jack Hitt

Oh, it would have been a grave disappointment had there not been just one more mistake after another, one more embarrassment after another. Now the reason they’re there is to chronicle these embarrassments. This is why I have remembered this play for 25 years.

The ayes barely nudged out the nays (2 votes) and the House is adjourned. But not before jeering and noise and a discernible appetite from the nays for more unforced errors. It should be noted that to have a 2 vote separation means that a few Republicans have joined the peanut gallery.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is where we are.

The House has been taken over by amateur directors. They started off badly and it’s getting worse and more out of control with every vote. And it’s going to be like this for two solid years.

It is, in short, a fiasco.

Speaker of the House Watch- Day 2

Second verse, same as the first.

Some new actors have entered the stage. First is Byron Donalds from Florida, another member of the “Freedom” Caucus, who has taken Jim Jordan’s spot as the non-viable alternative to McCarthy.

New twist with Victoria Spartz, R from Indiana who said something to the effect of “Stop wasting our time (Kevin) and take a meeting to line up your votes before you make us do this again”. She sounds like Speaker material to me. Brief, to the point, and confident enough to lead in voting “present”. Sitting on her vote changes the number of votes needed for speaker but McCarthy is screwed anyway because more and more people are not liking him.

Maybe it’s because he’s wasting their time? Just a guess.

Use the comments section to keep the watch going.

We’re headed into a 6th vote unless McCarthy puts us out of his misery.

Is this ok with you?

Stuff that pissed me off before 7am this morning.

1.) Cheryl Johnson is the Clerk of the House. Because there is no speaker and Kevin McCarthy lost his election for speaker THREE TIMES yesterday, Johnson is in charge of the House. Mind you, this doesn’t mean there is actually a Congress in session. It can’t be sworn in until there is a new Speaker. Johnson is only there to keep the lights on, follow procedures to elect a new speaker and any other tasks that fall to her to prepare the House for the new session. Presumably, she was appointed to this very important position because she was the best person for the job. Indeed she was. Her profile and credentials are a mile long. She’s more qualified to run the House than most House members. Lauren Boebert couldn’t touch the hem of Cheryl Johnson’s skirt, that’s how elevated Johnson is in credentials.

But apparently, Kevin McCarthy didn’t like the way Johnson adjourned the House yesterday after three votes failed to produce a speaker. In his late night press conference yesterday, he practically snarled that Cheryl Johnson was chosen by Pelosi, as if that alone made her a bad choice.

What Kevin is probably more upset with was that Johnson wisely terminated the vote for Speaker yesterday because it was going nowhere and forcing another three votes would just keep House members glued to their seats for an indefinite period of time while Kevin did the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

I don’t know what is worse for Kevin. Is it that he keeps losing or is it the fact that Hakeem Jeffries keeps beating him? Whatever the case may be, Johnson spared him more humiliation yesterday. He should be thanking her for her good judgement and executive decisions, not fairly spitting out her name when he has to refer to her, as if she were nothing and certainly not worthy of respect.

God help us all if he gets to be Speaker. I can’t imagine anyone who deserves it less.

2.) The awful thing that happened to Damar Hamlin the other day has brought out the Covid nuts again. By the way, Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was caused by something called commotio cordis. That is a ventricular fibrillation caused by a sharp blow to the heart at a specific point in its beat. It’s a weird, flukey thing that has been observed in other athletes where they may be struck by flying objects to the chest or close contact with other players.

But that won’t stop the anti-vax nuts from jumping in and claiming some kind of averse reaction.

And it has suddenly occurred to me that the reason they’re doing this is because it benefits the class action legal industry. Let’s put it this way, if you can generate enough anger about the vaccines, justified or not, you could potentially persuade juries to award copious amounts of money.

Think of it this way. If we conservatively estimate that 1 billion vaccines were administered and if 1% of all administrations resulted in an adverse reaction, whether sufficiently investigated and correlated, you might be able to convince a jury of ordinary people to award damages to a class of people. Let’s put a dollar amount of $250,000 per claim.

Let’s do the math:

1,000,000,000 vaccines X .01 X $250,000 = $2,500,000,000,000.00.

That’s trillion with a T.

This is likely the reason why the companies that made the mRNA vaccines demanded a guarantee from the government that they would be shielded from lawsuits. It’s because ain’t nobody got trillions of dollars in their corporate bank accounts and no sane insurer is going to take on that risk.

That doesn’t make the companies or government guilty of negligence. They likely made some calculations about what would happen to the country and economy as a whole if out of control variants killed a high number of people, collapsed the health care system, and brought commerce to a screeching halt.

I’ll leave that to the ethicists to sort out. But I will say one thing based on my years in pharma R&D. You never know what kind of adverse events will show up in the general public until the therapeutic is widely available. There is no amount of clinical studies that can account for every possible genetic and environmental factor that might contribute to an adverse event.

Given the high number of doses administered throughout the world and the extremely low number of verified adverse events, we may actually be looking at one of the safest therapeutic agents ever approved. It’s only the wildly high number of doses that makes the potential payoff extremely attractive to the class action legal profession.

They’re looking for deep pockets. It’s either going to be pharma or government. If you were a pharma company looking at those kinds of potential suits, wouldn’t you want some guarantees? I know I would.

The benefit to mankind was enormous. The adverse effects were minuscule. Not everything that goes wrong is the fault of the Covid vaccine. Sometimes it’s just an untimely blow to the chest.