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Opinion: Lone Star state's trouble comes in bunches

February 21, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 26.3%. 4 min read.

Jose Blanco fills a cooler with water from using a hose from a public park spigot Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Houston. Houston and several surrounding cities are under a boil water notice as many residents are still without running water in their homes. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Covid-19 has spread disease, death and economic distress around the world over the past 12 months. But Americans have also had to contend with a host of other disasters, including the extreme weather that brought bitter cold to Texas and nearby states.

Nearly a year ago, the Covid-19 pandemic began bringing death, disease and economic distress to millions of households.

America isn't a failed state, Frida Ghitis noted, but "the way it has 'handled' recent disasters, from the pandemic to the current weather crisis in Texas", makes a "mighty nation" look like one.

"Last August," recalled James Moore, "Cruz boldly mocked California's electricity problems during their heatwave and fires, tweeting that the state was 'unable to perform even the basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity. ' More hilariously, Cruz ridiculed the Austin mayor for flying to a Mexican beach during Covid after urging his city's residents to stay home.

Adam Sobel, who studies extreme weather, wrote "there is an ongoing, legitimate scientific debate" about exactly what role global climate change plays in producing storms like this week's.

Demonstrating that government can work effectively is key to the fortunes of President Joe Biden, wrote Julian Zelizer, who noted "there has been considerable confusion over the plan to reopen schools and the administration's contradictory statements on the issue have already drawn criticism. "

After this week's weather in Texas, Biden "declared a major disaster and ordered federal assistance, but what comes next will be key. . . Presidents are judged right off the bat by their ability to govern, implement policies and wield the levers of the federal government efficiently. "

Alok Sharma, the President of COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, welcomed the US "back to the frontline of the global fight against climate change. " Its effects are all around us, Sharma wrote: "melting glaciers, sea level rises, crop degradation, deforestation, and pollution choking some of the world's greatest cities. . . taking a heavy toll on human health, the destruction of homes and livelihoods, and an alarming loss of biodiversity. "

"Two years later Covid lockdowns would send sales of RVs and camper vans skyrocketing," wrote Sara Stewart.

Along the way, she connects and reconnects with like-minded travelers, older Americans who, for one reason or another, are living out of their vans and RVs, doing seasonal work and occasionally coming together to trade tips and celebrate nomad life. " The film, she said, is "a masterpiece of natural beauty. "

Last spring, New York's Andrew Cuomo and California's Gavin Newsom were feted as governors who had figured out how to fight Covid-19, in contrast to the Trump administration's erratic leadership.

"Late last month, New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a scathing report about how nursing homes in the state handled Covid-19, including a finding that the state's Department of Health undercounted Covid deaths at nursing homes by approximately 50%," wrote Jennifer Rodgers.

When the Justice Department and state legislators asked for data on nursing homes, "the Cuomo administration, according to a recent admission by a top Cuomo aide, delayed the release of the figures out of concern about a possible politically motivated federal investigation. . . If New Yorkers want transparency and accountability from this administration, our public integrity systems provide the tools to make that happen. "

The governor's record has been mixed, but on Covid, California's "response under Newsom has been, relative to other states, about the middle of the pack or slightly better. "

In a CNN town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper, President Biden calmly set out his policy priorities, answered audience questions and reassured an 8-year-old girl that she had little reason to fear getting Covid-19.

The "former guy" tag is an effective way to counter Trump, wrote Michael D'Antonio.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who has blasted Trump, became the target of a letter from some of his relatives accusing him of joining "the devil's army. " Psychologist Peggy Drexler wrote that "families have been ripped apart by the turn politics has taken, and that much of blame lies with the former president, a longtime spokesmodel for conflict over comity. "

Limbaugh's show, wrote historian Nicole Hemmer, "laid the groundwork for Trump's presidency. " Top Republicans "essentially transformed Limbaugh into the de facto leader of their party -- and turned conservative media into a powerful political institution that carried as much weight as the party itself. "

Edna Greene Medford of Howard University observed that one of "the more complicated and persistent historical beliefs is the one that credits Abraham Lincoln as having single-handedly 'freed the slaves. '" With the Emancipation Proclamation, she wrote, "he opened the door that led to the end of slavery throughout America.

And this week, HBO Max, which is owned by CNN's parent company WarnerMedia, began airing "It's a Sin," a UK-produced series about "the last great pandemic to engulf Britain and America: the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s," wrote Kate Maltby.

"Despite its status as historical storytelling, one of the things that makes 'It's a Sin' extraordinary -- and there will be few more extraordinary pieces of television this year -- is its resonance in the time of Covid-19.

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