Progressives Every Day: They're not even trying to protect us

But there's some good news

It’s election day in New York, Virginia and Kentucky!

Here in New York, we won’t know who won most races for at least a week — who knew Iowa would be the new normal?

I’m not complaining — the delay is due to the sheer number of absentee ballots being sent in, and in New York at least, the state moved back the postmark deadline to election day itself. Unfortunately, that switch wasn’t noted on the ballots, as they’d been printed before the decision was made. That’s caused a lot of confusion for people who didn’t get their absentee ballots until yesterday (myself included), but at least we’ve been able to look it up online and then send in our ballots — there are some people who didn’t get them at all.

It’s clear that most Boards of Election just were not prepared for these extremely unique circumstances. The pandemic created uncertainty and a mad scramble to adjust to new election rules, caused an unprecedented request for absentee ballots, put a strain on the USPS, and made it difficult for BOE employees to process the applications. Hopefully, the primaries serve as a test run that allows election officials to work out the kinks.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, they’re seeing record turnout, fueled in part by the matchup between Amy McGrath and Charles Booker:

Everything’s bigger in Texas

In Texas, where there will be a primary election next Tuesday that may or may not have mass absentee balloting, COVID-19 infection rates continue to soar. It’s getting so bad, in fact, that Gov. Ken Abbott might even do something about it.

Hospitalizations in the state have hit record levels 11 days in a row and positivity rates are back up to 8.8%, which matches April peaks. And in more densely populated parts of the state, the numbers are skyrocketing:

In North Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have increased by 24% compared with the week before, according to data collected from UT Southwestern Medical Center on Friday. Because of the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive, UT Southwestern’s model predicts that new cases and hospitalizations will increase by approximately 20% over the next two weeks, experts told reporters Monday morning.

In response, Abbott is politely insisting that Texans wear masks and use precautions while partaking in the many dangerous public activities that he prematurely opened and refuses to ban. He also gently suggested people wear masks but refused to consider a statewide mandate.

At least some Republicans are finally starting to get a bit more serious about the pandemic. State House Speaker Adam Bonnen used the language of his deranged base in a statement endorsing the bare minimum.

"It's time to mask up," Bonnen said. "It’s time to employ personal responsibility — a key tenet of ensuring liberty and freedom. It’s time to stand up to the mask naysayers who speak loudly but act irresponsibly as they destroy the liberty and freedom we ALL deserve."

Then again, the one Republican who really matters right now is doubling down on ensuring people die.

The Trump administration is ending funding and support for local COVID-19 testing sites around the country this month, as cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in many states.

The federal government will stop providing money and support for 13 sites across five states which were originally set up in the first months of the pandemic to speed up testing at the local level.

Texas will be particularly hard hit by the decision. The federal government gives much-needed testing kits and laboratory access to seven testing sites around Texas. But in the state, which is seeing new peaks in cases, people still face long lines for testing that continues to fail to meet overwhelming demand.

Guess he wasn’t joking around about slowing down the testing. That the news comes at the same time that Dr. Fauci is explicitly screaming that things are only going to get worse:

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told members of Congress on Tuesday that the nation does not yet have the coronavirus under control and is seeing a “disturbing surge” of infections in some parts of the country, as Americans ignore social distancing guidelines and states reopen without adequate plans for testing and tracing the contacts of those who get sick.

Dr. Fauci’s assessment, delivered during a lengthy hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, painted a much grimmer picture of the coronavirus threat than the one given by President Trump, who claimed last week that the virus that had infected more than two million Americans and killed more than 120,000 would just “fade away.”

“The virus is not going to disappear,” Dr. Fauci said.

Hate crime bill passes in Georgia

Georgia on Tuesday passed hate crime legislation that would, among other things, enhance criminal penalties against anyone who was found to be “targeting their victims on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or physical or mental disability,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Courier.

House Bill 426 passed with a bipartisan majority; GOP House Speaker David Ralston had been pushing it for months before the Black Lives Matter protests and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks convinced his fellow Republicans to do at least the bare minimum.

The bill, which was approved by the State Senate and will go to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk, also requires police departments to track hate crimes that happen within their jurisdictions.

Sensing a pattern?

Remember last week when a bunch of New York City detectives and their union ran around screaming that the secret ANTIFA agent working Shake Shack’s milkshake machine had tried to poison them?

They were obviously full of shit and admitted as much by the following morning. Now the behind-the-scene details have come out and the story is somehow even dumber than it first seemed.

Police sources explained it was clear that the workers couldn’t have known cops had placed the orders “since it wasn’t done in person” — and they couldn’t have dosed the drinks after the officers arrived, because they were packaged and waiting for pickup when the trio walked in.

Soon after sipping the shakes, however, the cops realized they didn’t taste or smell right, so they threw the drinks in the trash and alerted a manager, who apologized and issued them vouchers for free food or drink, which they accepted, according to sources.

But when the cops told their sergeant about the incident, the supervisor called in the Emergency Service Unit to set up a crime scene at the fast-food joint for an evidence search around 9:20 p.m. — nearly two hours after they first got the sour shakes.

The three were rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where they were examined and released without ever showing symptoms, sources said.

Tremendously stupid, right? But it’s also scary. Police officers can throw accusations around any time they want and local media, which relies on cops for so many of its stories, will just run amplify them without stopping to consider how legit they are or who they might hurt. If detectives would do it to a Shake Shack employee who is just trying to get by on a minimum wage job in the middle of a pandemic, what’s to stop them from doing it to a black man who isn’t being monitored by several in-store security cameras or an app that can prove their innocence?

Remember, the cops who murdered George Floyd said he was resisting arrest.

If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that police officers and local reporters will definitely take these lessons to heart.

Oh wait.

Saw this last night

There were a few of these banners out near Gracie Mansion last night, despite the fact that they are clearly outdated. This city really hates the mayor. It’s the one thing that unites us.