Biden cements big spender rep. Plus: Let's use truth to encourage vaccines. And, Dr. J's truth.

By Gary Abernathy

Biden’s speech cemented his big spending goals

My take on President Biden’s Wednesday night speech, in today’s Washington Post:

The main message from President Biden on Wednesday to a joint session of Congress — made eerily skeletal by covid-19 concerns — was that although we’ve spent unprecedented trillions over the past year, trillions more will be needed if he’s going to check off all the items on his wish list…

… And so, Biden grabbed the national credit cards, ordered the limits obliterated and started calling all his friends, urging them to add their items to the cart ASAP — because checkout will happen as soon as there are 50 votes (plus Vice President Harris’s tiebreaker) in the Senate, which shouldn’t take longer than a few promises of future favors to Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)…

… Conservatives in Congress will pay Reaganesque lip service to worries about the debt and deficit, but they lost their credibility on spending after they partied on with Trump. The United States turned the corner into socialist-style waters when “trillions” became an acceptable term for a single spending package last year, and again this year, and now Biden wants at least two more with the T-word attached.

Read the whole column at this link. Subscription may be required.

Let’s use truth to incentivize covid vaccinations

I got my second Pfizer covid vaccine Wednesday, three weeks after the first. I chose a CVS pharmacy as my provider. When I went for my first shot, there were quite a few people there, and I had to wait in line for a while, despite having an appointment. On Wednesday – which appeared to be a day devoted only to second shots, presumably with the same people who were there three weeks earlier for their first shots, there were much fewer people, and I was in and out pretty quickly. This reinforces reports that a lot of people are choosing not to receive the second shot, for some reason.

Some people report mild reactions to the shots, especially the second one, which could include low-grade fevers for a few hours, usually occurring later the same day. I’m happy to report that 24 hours now after my second shot, I had no side effects from either shot.

As I’ve said before, deciding to get vaccinated was a personal choice, and I wouldn’t try to twist anyone’s arm to make the same decision. Part of my motivation was to quit wearing masks as soon as possible, and being armed with a good argument about why I shouldn’t have to wear one. I’m still not going to be a problem child for stores or other indoor places that ask people to wear them. But if you’re vaccinated, the science says you’re protected, and  not likely to be a carrier, as reported in this New York Times story. So why should vaccinated people have to wear a mask indoors or out?

Officials are worried because more people aren’t being vaccinated. If the CDC and other health officials (please listen, Dr. Fauci) would tell people that if they get vaccinated they can ditch the masks, period, people would line up.

Dr. J snubs LeBron, relegates Jordan to 2nd team

Finally, I have to say I enjoyed the fact that the great Julius “Dr. J” Erving left LeBron James off of his first and second team choices for all-time NBA great players during a recent Chris Haynes podcast.

Erving chose Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell for his first team, and Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for his second team.

I’m assuming he made himself ineligible for either team. He would certainly be a candidate for the second team, at least. And I think it’s a bit of a cheat to place both Chamberlain and Russell on the first team. They’re both centers, and if you’re choosing by position – two guards, two forwards, one center – you have to make tough choices. Otherwise, why choose five? For instance, Erving’s second team has two guards (Jordan, Johnson), two forwards (Bird, Malone) and one center (Abdul-Jabbar).

But leaving LeBron off entirely, and relegating Jordan to the second team, are indeed controversial choices. As much as I am annoyed by LeBron’s efforts to inject himself into politics – lately embarrassing himself with his reckless tweet about a Columbus police officer -- I’d have to grudgingly place him on the first team of all-time NBA greats. But I enjoy the fact that Dr. J felt no compulsion about leaving him off entirely.

Erving’s reasoning on LeBron, as reported by the New York Post:

He was a guy who led the charge in terms of ‘super teams’ being put together,” Erving said, noting how James had a role in recruiting talent to Miami, Cleveland and Los Angeles — all of which ended in championships with James leading the way…

“He can pick his own team, I ain’t going to pick his team,” Erving said, laughing.

In response to a hypothetical argument from James that “super teams” have “always existed,” Erving hit back and said that it wasn’t the players who were pulling strings before James got to the league.

Very true. I abhor the practice of players trying to manipulate situations to piece together teammates of their choice. It devalues them all. For instance, the championship Kevin Durant won with the Golden State Warriors – already a “super team” before he joined them – will never have the value or give Durant the respect he would have had if he had won the championship with his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Great players lead their teams to championships, they don’t go fishing for championship teams, or try to pair themselves with other great players to lighten their loads.

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