The Yahoo Posse | Letter From The Editor | Memphis News and Events

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In case you were ever worried about the GOP-dominated state government of Tennessee not having the best interests of its citizens at heart, you can relax. Our boys are on the case, battling against the vast, nefarious invasion of transgender young people into high school sports, standing firm against college basketballers who kneel for the National Anthem, and, of course, battling for the right of every Tennessean to pack a gun pretty much anywhere.

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  • Jackson Baker
  • Governor Bill Lee

The truth is that this sort of legislation is just performative. Its only purpose being to stir up outrage among the mouth-breathing masses. “Dang it! We cain’t have boys competin’ against girls in softball!” Right. Because that happens so often. So the legislators propose a bill that ignores all protocols and legal ramifications of the issue and just mandates that transgender folks conform to their birth genitalia, no matter what. The Olympics and other sports organizations have rules involving testosterone levels for athletes, and other regulations that ensure fair competition, but those were ignored in favor of further inciting brocephus prejudices with a law that is very unlikely to stand up in court.

Legislators are also planning to tackle the vital issue of East Tennessee State’s men’s basketball team kneeling for the National Anthem on state property. Look for some overtly unconstitutional legislative foofawfery soon. Never mind that the First Amendment right to protest and free speech is every bit as sacred and protected as, well, the Second Amendment “right” to openly carry a gun into Costco.

Speaking of … If any of these guys ever has the nerve to say “Blue Lives Matter” again, they should be, well, arrested. Open carry laws are opposed by almost every major law-enforcement organization, by district attorneys groups, and by around 80 percent of American voters in recent polls. But Governor Bill Lee and his yahoo posse are more interested in pleasing the NRA and the 20 percent of the population that thinks gun regulations are a violation of the Second Amendment, even though most of them couldn’t spell “amendment” if you spotted them the vowels.


Then there was the egregious piling on by several Republicans of the Shelby County Health Department in the wake of the discovery of 2,400 expired or wasted COVID vaccine doses.

Eighth District Congressman David Kustoff, for example, was shocked and outraged and demanded an investigation into this chicanery. This is the same buffoon who backed Donald Trump’s ignorant and deadly approach to the pandemic for 11 months and who appeared, sans mask, slavishly praising Fearless Leader at rallies. He also voted to overturn the results of a free election after a mob violently demanding the same thing trashed the capitol building where he works, but yes, do demand an investigation into those who are trying, however imperfectly, to save people’s lives.

Lee also weighed in with his concerns, as did several other Republicans. Where was this concern when much smaller (and whiter) Knox County “lost” more than 1,000 doses earlier in February?

Look, there is no denying that Shelby County screwed up some aspects of the vaccine roll-out, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that this scenario is being replicated all over the country.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told NBC News earlier this month: “This kind of thing [having to throw away] vaccines is pretty rampant. I have personally heard stories like this from dozens of physician friends in a variety of different states. Hundreds, if not thousands, of doses are getting tossed across the country every day. It’s unbelievable.”

COVID-19 vaccines have a short shelf life once they are thawed out for use, Jha said. And because of federal and state mandates, many hospitals and other healthcare providers would rather risk a dose going bad than give it to somebody who isn’t scheduled to get a shot.

So yeah, we’ve had some issues with vaccine distribution, but so have a lot of places. More than 120,000 people have been vaccinated in Shelby County, so it’s not all bad. It’s fair to point out mistakes, but let’s keep the performative politics out of it.

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