We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, April 22. 2021
Coming Out of the Chemical Closet - Neuropsychopharmacologist Carl Hart says most of what the public knows about drugs is both scary and wrong.
I'd prefer a cocktail, but who knows? Only opiates I've had were after dental procedures, and they made me feel sick. Almost forgot - had fentanyl for a colonoscopy years ago. That did feel nice. Floaty, without a care.
The predicted COVID apocalypse in ‘Neanderthal’ Texas never happened
How Government Subsidizes Obesity
Overweight is the #1 COVID risk factor
Andrew Yang has momentum — can he keep up to be next NYC mayor?: Goodwin
Tucker Carlson says Washington Post contacting his 'old college classmates' looking for dirt
Glad nobody is looking for dirt on my foolish youth
John Kerry in Earth Day wonderland
Commentary: The Problem with ‘Systemic Racism’
After the Floyd verdict: the US is not a racist dystopia. George Floyd’s killing united America in outrage. But some want to use it to keep us permanently divided.
Portland Rioters Smash Windows at Starbucks, Attack Police Officer
Vile response to the verdict: Devine
Biden: Chauvin Verdict Can Be 'Giant Step' Forward Toward Justice in America
LeBron James Threatens Hero Columbus Police Officer Because He Stopped a Teen From Stabbing Another Girl
Some of these people need to spend a day with a working officer
Land of Confusion. Review of 'The Last Shah' by Ray Takeyh
Russian and Chinese Shows of Force Confront Biden Administration
Afghanistan’s war and US stake in it won’t end when troops leave
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Some did predict that Texas and Florida and other states opening up would see a dangerous spike in cases. However, even among those who thought it premature, most did not make such a prediction. In the cases of the states opening up, new cases and deaths were headed close to zero but the decline stopped. Some did see a rise in deaths, most got neither worse nor better.
Some conservatives are delighting in pointing out "look, we found someone who predicted catastrophe, but they were WRONG," as if such predictions were universal and only they, the wise ones, knew it was all bunk. I's not true. It's cherry-picking.
Overall, the numbers were headed toward zero but are now holding at a modest level instead. You can go look at the state-by-state graphs at worldometers yourself (scroll down), you don't have to take my word for it. Maybe that level of death is considered a fair tradeoff by most Americans - that's a separate question. But we should not be pretending things that aren't true.
OK, but how many of the experts who did predict disaster, using pejorative terms like "Neanderthal", have admitted their mistake and outlined what they are doing to understand it and incorporate learning?
I listened to a few minutes' worth of Fauci trying to BS his way through a couple of Congressional questions, and didn't come away with the impression that he understood anything more than he did when he started slinging mud. To be fair, I didn't think the questioner's approach was particularly unbiased, either. I don't think very many people expect perfection when it comes to making predictions about something as complex as a pandemic. But maybe there would be more trust in these empowered public policy makers if they demonstrated they were making an effort to learn from their errors.
As far as I can see, that doesn't happen very much; for instance, Fauci has said nothing about reaching out to Florida's or Texas' public health experts to explore the surprising outcome further. It doesn't inspire confidence when officials make dire predictions and refuse to reconcile them just as publicly when it become obvious to everyone that they are not panning out. It sometimes seems as if there is a belief that credibility is not something that requires maintenance - easier just to move on to the next crisis and maintain a consistent tone of message, as if branding is everything. Not that I'm blaming the just the policy experts; to the media, branding really is everything.
Fighting Covid? It Just Didn’t Matter
What has been the bottom line? This interactive map from the Centers for Disease Control tells the story. Just scroll around from state to state, and you will see that cases per 100,000 residents, to date, are all around the same, regardless of measures that states did or did not take to “fight” the coronavirus. The midpoint is around 10,000 cases per 100,000.
There are a few anomalies. The Pacific Northwest and the extreme Northeast have been hit less hard, so far, than the rest of the country. And I seriously doubt that Vermont and New Hampshire are as different as the CDC data suggest. But generally, there isn’t much difference in cumulative case rates from state to state, regardless of shutdowns or mask mandates.
Viruses don't care about politics and symbolism. I think alot people just couldn't cope with the idea that there was really nothing they could do to "handle" it, so they gravitated toward shutdown/mask superstition and pseudo science. Politicians sure did exploit this psychological weakness.
Fauci has been irrelevant for months and people need to stop focusing on him. He is a political animal rather than a scientist, but that has been a sunk cost for a year.
I have to mostly disagree with you on this. It's true that the professional modellers all give ranges-- best case, average case, and worst case. It's equally true that the news and the politicians invariably trumpet the worst case, and use inflammatory language. That's not the fault of the modellers. BUT, all of the models showed that removing the mask mandate would cause an increase in cases (even in the best case scenario), whereas, the actual fact was that cases went down. That's a model failure, and they should be called out on that. They weren't even directionally right.
In my state, there's a mask mandate... cases have mostly levelled out to around 15/100,000. Texas removed the mandate, and cases have mostly levelled out to around 11/100,000. There's no place in the US where cases are actually trending to zero, and so there's no reason to compare Texas to this imaginary place and find them wanting. We're going to be living with Covid for the forseeable future, I think. We need to get focused on taking up a long-distance pace for this race.
Masks being mandated protects no one. Masks being actually worn-- correctly, and in situations where a mask might conceivably help-- protects people, whether or not there is a mandate. In Texas, the governor removed the mandate, but encouraged people to keep wearing masks. It's a reasonable approach, given that masks are likely only moderately effective. Making a law that 1) you can't enforce and 2) a significant portion of the populace finds personally insulting... is not a reasonable approach, whatever you might wish to be true.
Cases were trending to zero, partly from the disease slowly spending itself, partly from vaccinations. As I noted, you can look at the graphs and figure out the best fit lines on your own.
There was general prediction that cases would increase when masks went off. In some places it did, some not. The current claims on conservative sites that there was widespread prediction of explosive increase in cases is simply not true. I don't have any clearer way of putting that, and I am distressed at how this has become an accepted fact in so many places. But the presence of the vaccine changes that equation. Without that, it is most likely that the cases would have increased. I say that with Texas, Florida, and California right in front of me. I don't see how an estimate of those trends with no vaccine present goes anywhere else.
Removing mask mandates might still have been the correct decision, weighing one things versus another. But it did mean more deaths.
"Some of these people need to spend a day with a working officer"
In my part of fly over 'Murica I think you might have some difficulty finding a working officer that would want to take these SJW's for a ride along. The only way your going to open the minds of these people is with a crowbar. The blunt side, not using it as a pry bar.
Re: Our continuing interest in Afghanistan
One thing that the author failed to mention in supporting the Forever War is that in the 20 years we've been dumping billions of dollars into Afghanistan, I've never once developed a case of leprosy. I can only assume people who want us out of Afghanistan must want me to get leprosy.
The predicted COVID apocalypse in ‘Neanderthal’ Texas never happened: Nooooo! SURELY it was COVERED UP!!!!
Tucker Carlson says Washington Post contacting his 'old college classmates' looking for dirt: Ahhhh, the WaPoo WaPoops AGAIN!!!!!!!111!!!! (Note: If you like that, it's FREE for use!)
Portland Rioters Smash Windows at Starbucks, Attack Police Officer: Portland used to be a pretty nice city. I've been there. Ain't NEVER going back.
Vile response to the verdict: Devine: As expected...
“YOU’RE NEXT” – LeBron James Threatens Hero Columbus Police Officer Because He Stopped a Teen From Stabbing Another Girl: The STUPID is STRONG in LeBron...
WITCH HUNT: Mass. Locals Organized to Force Businesses to Embrace BLM
About the heroin guy, he's right that people can carry on indefinitely in spite of a drug dependency. But it only works if they have a steady supply and have the discipline to stick with a maintenance dosage. Heroin doesn't make people high in that situation, it just allows them to be 'normal' and functional. Drug addicts are not known to have this kind of discipline. They usually get addicted because they like getting high. In order to keep getting high, they need to increase dosage. It ends badly. Anyway, the whole interview sounded like an elaborate rationalization for his addiction.
"...response to the Derek Chauvin verdict..."
The mob, rules.
China's Fishing Fleet Is Vacuuming the Oceans
This is nothing new. When I was working in the Far East 25 years ago, the Chinese factory ships would roll up into remote bays and deploy a fleet of smaller trawlers. The trawlers would scrape every living thing out of the water using gill nets, from surface right down to seabed, and bring it all back to the mother ship where it was processed into feed protein. It was deplorable then, as it is now. What a great topic, with loads of evidence, for our leaders to trot out on Earth Day. Oh, wait.
I seem to recall whaling horror stories of the Soviet Union, released decades after the fall of the Empire, telling of the wasteful, irresponsible and often illegal fishing practices. The two cultures share a political ideology. Yet, John Kerry thinks he can make climate change agreements with communists, and expect them to follow right along. Yes, it is not always communism that creates the atmosphere for theses sort of practices; greed in America nearly wiped out the bison and beaver. But it was the same culture, including beaver and bison hunters, that eventually came around to reversing course.
Did you know there are no birds in China?
Google it if you don't believe me.
Japan has crows and Korea has magpies, but China?
The problem in Afghanistan isn't just religious extremism, it's also population growth, accompanied by lack of infrastructure. There's no way for Afghan authorities to know if people are engaged in illegal activities such as bomb building, smuggling, drug manufacturing, etc. The list is endless. Right now, Afghanistan is in a state of pure chaos. American troops on the ground can't solve that problem. There are too many bad guys.
In my view, the only solution to Afghanistan is carpet bombing. That action doesn't risk American lives, and it can be used as a tool to break-up the political structure which is causing so much trouble. The population of Afghanistan should be reduced by ninety percent. When it's done, a few million Afghani people can learn to live peacefully.