The primary point of Elf on a Shelf, to my childless understanding, is that the elf acts as a sort of “eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg” but for children, keeping them accountable for their behavior by reminding them that their every false move is being noted and will be accounted for come Christmastime. So in that sense, covid-19 is the Elf on a Shelf for the White House this year, holding a great many grown-ups accountable for continuing to have giant, mask-free gatherings that spread infection like holiday cheer. And every day since early October is basically Christmas. It’s obviously not a one-to-one metaphor, though spiritually, it feels right.
The latest Superspreader on a Shelf scare to pop up and hold the White House accountable for ignoring health guidelines comes via last Friday’s senior staff Christmas party. The gathering was attended by President Trump’s lawyer Jenna Ellis, who has allegedly since tested positive for covid-19. Rumor has it that many of those who attended the indoor event alongside their families (and a reportedly maskless Ellis) are now terrified and angry that they or their loved ones might have covid, because this administration never seems to fucking learn.
In related news, the nation’s eight-year-olds are reportedly incensed that they will not be receiving PS5s from Santa after raiding the cookie jar past bedtime under the eyes of the all-seeing, all-punishing Elves of the Shelves. [AXIOS]
Though an unofficial state slogan warns “Don’t mess with Texas,” some officials within the Lone Star State apparently do not acknowledge the idea that this missive should work both ways and are, in fact, attempting to mess with the entire rest of the country.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for allowing their citizens to vote in the 2020 election, claiming that “pandemic-era changes to election procedures in those states violated federal law, and [asking] the U.S. Supreme Court to block the states from voting in the Electoral College.”
This claim is recognized by experts to be completely baseless and, many suspect, simply a cynical effort to sew discord among Trump supporters. (And help many in the administration slither away from crimes they may or may not have committed in the past five years.) Perhaps unrelated but certainly interesting, Paxton himself “has been under indictment since 2015 for felony securities fraud charges,” according to the Texas Tribune and “is facing fresh criminal allegations from eight of his top deputies, who said they believe he broke the law by using the agency to do favors for a political donor.”
While Paxton is listed as the agency’s lead attorney in this case, a move the Tribune calls “highly unusual,” also notable is the fact that missing from the filing were Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins, who would normally be involved in similar actions, Hawkins’s deputies, and hundreds of other attorneys for the agency. I guess they got the memo about quid pro quo in messing or perhaps abide by the state’s official motto, which is “Friendship.” [Texas Tribune]
- Speaking of friendship, Trump has been calling the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House on the phone to ask for the favor of ignoring reality and declaring him the president. Pennsylvania has reportedly let those calls go to voicemail. [Washington Post]
- Bernie is pushing to stuff a $1,200 minimum stimulus check in every stocking. Thank you, Uncle Bernie. [Politico]
- President-elect Joe Biden is promising 100 million vaccines for his first 100 days in office. Thank you, Uncle Joe. [The Guardian]
- The White House is hinting they might be inclined to throw a paltry little $600 at everyone to shut us up. Fuck you, red-faced coalition of aunts’ estranged-husbands we never have to speak to again after the divorce paperwork goes through this January. [The Washington Post]
- Ivanka and Jared have purchased a $30 million lot on a private island, perhaps under the impression that security fences will keep out feds with warrants. [Page Six]
- Subcontractors tasked with guarding the border wall allegedly built a secret road to smuggle in workers from Mexico to guard the very same wall ostensibly being built to keep them out. [New York Times]
- Meanwhile, covid-19 is still ravaging migrant communities, especially children. [The Washington Post]
- While Texas and the Trump administration accuses Georgia of letting too many people vote, parts of Georgia are still committed to keeping with the time-honored Southern tradition of only letting white men in seersucker suits accompanied by a maximum of two wives and/or mistresses cast ballots. [Washington Post]
- Rebekah Jones, the woman who was fired after revealing that the state was allegedly manipulating covid-19 data says police with guns showed up at her home to raid her home on suspicion of “hacking,” which allowed them to confiscate the laptops on which she claims to have gathered covid-19 data over the course of several months. [Miami Herald]
- The FDA says the vaccine works, which conspiracy theorists will almost certainly take as an indication that it does not. [NBC]