The Daily Agenda: FDA gives Pfizer the thumbs up
And the Cyber Ninjas delay for COVID-19 reasons. Plus we have some bugs and animals!
The Food and Drug Administration gave full approval yesterday to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Already, a wave of institutions are approving vaccine mandates — including some that were hesitant to do so when the vaccine was only authorized for emergency use.
But don’t expect a vaccine mandate at Arizona schools and colleges. Colleges around the country announced vaccine mandates after the approval news. But Arizona lawmakers implemented laws to prevent universities from mandating a vaccine, regardless of emergency use or full approval.
Arizona State University confirmed there will be no change in vaccine policy. And University of Arizona President Robert Robbins also said a vaccine mandate was unlikely.
“Given where we are politically in the state, I think that’s a heavy lift to get mandated vaccines," he said.
The law is more complicated for K-12 schools. One part of state law says schools can’t mandate emergency vaccines, while another bans school boards from implementing any COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Still, the approval didn’t come fast enough for the Cyber Ninjas, which announced yet another delay in the delivery of their full audit report.
The delay was predictable. But the reason — that three out of five members of the Cyber Ninjas team has COVID-19, including top conspiracy theorist Doug Logan, and they are “quite sick” — is a bit of a twist.
The fact that there are five members on the Cyber Ninjas team was news to both on-again/off-again audit liaison Ken Bennett and Senate President Karen Fann, who are theoretically in charge of this thing. The recount jokes wrote themselves.
Some politicos could hardly contain their schadenfreude, though most (not all) had the good karmic sense to keep their jokes off Twitter. Election fraud conspiracies and virus misinformation go hand in hand, and Logan has promoted them both.
Brahm Resnik @brahmresnik"Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan has COVID-19 and is quite sick." https://t.co/cTaRu9i4bT
Parts of the report will trickle to the Senate this week, then the Senate’s unimpeachable legal team will vet them. Eventually, perhaps by 2022 at this rate, the Senate Judiciary Committee will receive a final report presentation and the public will see the report.
We’re back at it again: Arizona hospitals are at or near capacity as another surge in COVID-19 cases takes over, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association said in a statement yesterday. Numbers aren’t as high as the winter surge, but the data isn’t looking good. The vaccine is now fully approved by the FDA, if you’re looking to do your part to control the virus.
Can we get a flow chart on who’s investigating what in Arizona?: Cyber Ninjas face another looming deadline. They have until Friday to turn over documents related to fundraising and communications to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee. They already blew the first deadline.
Seriously, a flow chart would help: Since the Attorney General’s Office declined, the Tucson Police Department could instead investigate the Phoenix Police Department’s decision to charge protesters as gang members. (At first, Phoenix said Tucson would investigate, but then Tucson said they were still thinking about it.)
Transparency is in the eye of the beholder: The “most transparent audit in history” is still trying to keep a host of documents secret, arguing that Cyber Ninjas is not subject to public records laws even though the audit is partially funded with public dollars. The Court of Appeals didn’t buy that argument in a separate case, but this one could result in the public actually seeing public records via court order, explains reporter Howie Fischer.
This isn’t politics, but we’re noticing a story trend: We’ve now confirmed there are so many flies, so many moths and so many mosquitoes in the Phoenix area this summer. There are, indeed, so many bugs.
Because of our long-term drought, Arizona animals lack access to drinking water during our brutal summers. But the folks at the Arizona Game and Fish Department maintain 3,000 watering sites in remote areas (some accessible only via helicopter) where animals can come and drink water. The project is partially funded through hunting and fishing licenses, but Game and Fish is also soliciting donations to fill the watering holes.
There’s something unsettling yet vaguely hilarious about the MAGA crowds turning on leaders who spout anything resembling scientific consensus or common sense. In that vein, Alabamians briefly booed former President Donald Trump at a rally this week when he suggested they get vaccinated, as he is. What a time to be alive.
The Phoenix City Council will meet at noon today to discuss the external investigation into gang charges for protesters and the “challenge coin” that showed a protester being shot by a pepper ball. The meeting streams online.
Blake Masters, the U.S. Senate candidate allied with Gawker-killer Peter Thiel, will speak at a Legislative District 17 meeting tonight.
The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board will meet tonight at 6 p.m., though the public won’t be allowed to attend in person after police warned of threats against the board, ABC 15’s Danielle Lerner reported. You can instead stream the meeting online.