« the art of playing time | Main | Something different »

May 03, 2020


Is there a reason why we should expect herd immunity to stop Covid-19 any more than it stops flu or the common cold?

with all the standard disclaimers and caveats in place - my understanding is not so much that herd immunity makes it go away, but that it prevents epidemic spread.

it makes it manageable without extraordinary measures, allowing a return to some sustainable version of normal life.

i'm not an epidemiologist, just trying to keep up.

apologists, to your stations!


Flu mutates so quickly that there is no lasting immunity for individuals, and hence no lasting herd immunity. Vaccines are usually only partially efficacious.

Not sure whether COVID will be different on either front, but my reading gives me a sense that experts are somewhat optimistic.

Is there a reason why we should expect herd immunity to stop Covid-19 any more than it stops flu or the common cold?

I wrote a too-long comment based on the time I once spent sitting next to an evolutionary biologist on an airplane, who delivered an hour-long lecture on the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful viruses (one direct quote that has stuck with me: "Ebola is terrible at being a virus."). Instead I'll just boil the results down to a few points.

We regard ~40,000 influenza deaths per year in the US from influenza as acceptable. That is, we (collectively, 330M of us) do not bewail the tragedy of influenza, track the deaths on the front page of papers, demand universal testing, require people to be vaccinated, etc, etc.

Suppose steady-state herd immunity to the Covid-19 virus means ~100,000 deaths per year in the US. Will that be regarded as acceptable? My own guess would be yes, after a few years it will be just one of those things.

More than that will die this year. Perhaps an order of magnitude more.

There are at least several reasons to believe a steady-state of 100,000 per year in the US is more likely than, say, a steady-state of 1,000,000.

i'm not sure we'd be cool with C19 hanging around.

because it's not just feeling like crap for several weeks, like the flu. C19 apparently causes permanent damage - from the Kawasaki-like stuff in kids, to permanent lung damage, lasting blood-clotting issues, heart damage, neurological damage, etc..

that's not something we're going to be nonchalant about.

not me, anyway.

“You watch, they’ll milk it every single day between now and November 3," the younger Trump said. "And guess what, after November 3, coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.”

Looks like SOMEONE remembers how the GOP used Ebola for midterm elections, and expects that this pandemic is just more of the same.

Sorry, Trumper, just because you luvv you some fucking of rats, doesn't mean that anyone else shares your kinks.

i'm not sure we'd be cool with C19 hanging around.

Which is one of the reasons to be optimistic about what the steady-state numbers will be: we'll be willing to spend more on it than we do on the flu. Not outlandishly when "spend" is used broadly -- people may feel like money for vaccines and treatments is one thing, but no more casual vacations in Europe may be another.

I suppose full disclosure requires me to say that yesterday we pretty much committed to moving this summer. We had been planning it, then putting it off because of the virus, but have decided to go ahead because (a) we're not getting any younger and (b) the granddaughters are getting older. We will have more social contact because of this than we would ordinarily have.

From the other thread:

i meant 'small potatoes' in the sense that, despite what people say about "All those dumb states are reopening! Idiots!", it really isn't - at least this state isn't. it's just doing some targeted things here and there; "small steps" like you said.

and it can all be shut down again if things get worse.

Posted by: cleek | May 18, 2020 at 12:49 PM

Since I’m one of the peple who has been saying something like that, here’s some background on why.

From the Portland paper a few days ago:

It’s a brutal question, but it needs to be asked: What is the value of Maine’s summer tourist economy – not in dollars, but in human lives?

We already know the money part. According to Maine Revenue Services, Maine hotels and other accommodations took in just over $800 million between May and September of last year, representing 64 percent of the industry’s annual revenue. During the same period, restaurant receipts totaled more than $1.3 billion, almost half their yearly income.

But that was in another time. Now, amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the tectonic collision between public safety and Maine’s gasping economy finds us at another summer’s doorstep.

Some of us remain determined to keep our distance from anyone and everyone. Others clamor to throw off the shackles of stay-at-home orders and quarantines and (deep breath) jump back into a modified version of the way life should be.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

There’s no simple answer. But there is one common-sense truth: The more out-of-state visitors Maine receives in the next three or four months, the more Maine’s COVID-19 death count – now at 70 – will rise.

Go ahead, call me an alarmist. But before you do, look at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map showing how states are faring with the pandemic.

You’ll see that northern New England stands out for its relatively low COVID-19 count – as of Saturday, Maine had 566 active cases.

Next, look at Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – home to the bulk of the tourists who travel to Maine each summer. As of Saturday afternoon, the cumulative number of active COVID-19 cases in these states stood at 542,530 – roughly half the total active cases in the entire country.

Some background:

The quarantine for out-of-state visitors is intended to prevent the spread of coronavirus from hot spots such as the Boston area and New York City to Maine, which has so far prevented the virus from overwhelming its health care system.

Unfortunately, those areas are also major sources of the state’s tourists. Maine had more than 37 million out-of-state visits in 2019, three-quarters of them during the summer.

Direct tourism spending exceeded $6 billion last year, roughly 11 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. The tourism and hospitality industry supports a host of other industries across the state.

Allyson Cavaretta, principal at the Meadomere Resort in Ogunquit, is among a chorus of voices in the hospitality industry asking for clarity on the reopening plan.

A quarantine “is not a reasonable position for the tourism industry to succeed,” she said.

Lots of people in Maine have already been challenging and ignoring COVID-19 measures, egged on by the previous governor, who says he's going to run again next time.

And once things open up further, it’s hardly going to be a piece of cake to shut them down again. Unlike New Brunswick, we can’t station the State Police at the borders and keep everyone out, even if we wanted to try.

Maybe it will be a piece of cake in North Carolina. I don't think it's going to be a piece of cake in Maine.

Maybe it will be a piece of cake in North Carolina. I don't think it's going to be a piece of cake in Maine.

no, it won't be. we've got the same demands for re-opening here - protests and all. and just for reference... in raw dollars, NC's coastal tourism sector is about 15x the size of ME's ($25.3B vs $1.7B per yr).

the coastal beaches were opened this past week, and they were packed, from what i hear. tourist home rentals are apparently open. no thanks!

we have a deposit on a beach house for a week end-of-Sept., like we always do. but we're pretty sure we're not going to go. not because we or our friends might be sick, but because we don't trust that the people in the house the week before us won't be sick.

It’s a brutal question, but it needs to be asked: What is the value of Maine’s summer tourist economy – not in dollars, but in human lives?

It's particularly fraught because you not only need to ask how many people will die of the virus in order to open up the tourist industry. You also have to ask the other side: how many lives will be lost if the economy is trashed by the lack of said economy? Because there's not just a financial cost there.

I think the balance still falls on the side of being cautious about opening up. But it's not a simple, one sided, question.

From what I've heard, the Jersey shore has been a madhouse on weekends already, pre-Memorial Day. If you've never been on a busy boardwalk in a town like Ocean City or Wildwood, I can tell you it's not a place where social distancing is really possible. It's crowded, and I've heard that many/most people aren't wearing masks. It's not the kind of controlled environment that a single place of business is.

This is all hearsay, I suppose, but I don't have reason to doubt it much. Assuming it's true, I hope that the fact that these people are outdoors means they are far less likely to infect each other.

Another country heard from (metaphorically speaking). A bunch of Maine small business owners speak up and ask the governor to go slow. Nice to see some people on that side of the question get their voices heard.


wj: But it's not a simple, one sided, question.

No, absolutely not. A big problem, as russell summarized earlier, or yesterday (time is all mushed together for me these days), is that so far we have very little of what we would need to even try to answer the question.

Leana Wen on taking it slow, and parameters for doing it sensibly.

I read a very good article in the last few days about this, and now can't find the link. But the suggestions in the article were things we can never possibly try, because of who's in charge in this country, and the megaphone that has been given to looney-tunes conspiracy theories, armed "liberty" buffs, et al.

I think the balance still falls on the side of being cautious about opening up. But it's not a simple, one sided, question.

Me too, and I agree with the rest of what you said in the comment.

In addition to the non-financial cost of the economic devastation, there's domestic abuse and other side-effects of semi-isolation.

I am not suffering at all, other than feeling a bit restless. But this isn't easy for a lot of people whose circumstances aren't as simple as mine.

But the suggestions in the article were things we can never possibly try, because of who's in charge in this country, and the megaphone that has been given to looney-tunes conspiracy theories, armed "liberty" buffs, et al.

it's astounding how unfit Trump is in general. but in a situation like this, his unfitness for the task is, well, breathtaking.

When the guy in charge is incompetent, things start going downhill. But if there isn't a crisis, they just mosey downhill. When a crisis hits is when you finally see just how massively horrible he is. (At least, those who refrain from hiding their heads in the sand do.)

Speaking of unfitness...

Famed germophobe doses himself with unproven, risky drug.

what kind of lunatic doctor would give him an immuno-suppressant in this climate?

er, i mean, carry on, Mr President.

what kind of lunatic doctor would give him an immuno-suppressant in this climate?

The kind who writes a health report that says he's the healthiest President ever. Regardless of what his actual condition is.

The Trump quotes at JanieM’s link read like an Onion article. There’s something terribly wrong with him. (Not big news, of course. It just needs noting sometimes.)

It never occurred to me that he might be lying (why not? It's Trump), but discussing it with a very cynical but rather insightful friend, she said that personally she doubted he was actually doing it, because of fear of possible side-effects, but that he just wanted to give credence to all his previous claims. I still think he's stupid enough to actually do it, but I guess her theory is also credible.

The kind who writes a health report that says he's the healthiest President ever.

Or the kind with enough nerve to feed the POTUS placebos.

I had thought of the possibility that he was lying (I mean, when does he not lie?), but not that his doctor might be lying to him.

That's even more fun, depending on what you're hoping for.


cauliflower to hydroxychloroquine. whouda thunk it was so close?

Didn't read all of lj's link but LOL-ed at this:

In terms familiar to harassed parents of toddlers worldwide, Jackson said that work included “making the ice cream less accessible” and “putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes”.

And -- Ronny Jackson was a rear admiral? SRSLY? Is that a rank they just automatically give physicians who are in the navy for a certain length of time?

PS I meant to add, on a different topic, that I've taken a couple of days off from the graphs, because I'm trying to decide whether to keep on with them, and/or write a post about the numbers, or what.

Summary: they're going down. It would be great if they would stay that way. Tuesday often being the day for a bump back up, tomorrow will be informative.

In the foreign country that is the present, I sit with my wife on the bench on our front porch. It was a wedding gift from my in-laws, who are now gone for some years. We like to sit out there in the evening before dinner, or else just before bedtime, and catch up on the day.

My wife is from northeast Ohio, from a town called Stow, which is next to a town called Kent, where there is a state university. 50 years ago this week she was an undergraduate there when the Ohio National Guard shot a number of people, killing four and wounding several others. She knew one of the young women killed, they had been in and English class together.

Her aunt, who still lives in Stow, sent her a local paper commemorating the shootings on the 50th anniversary, and she's been reading through those over the past week.

Tonight, the past and the present all caught up with her, and we spent some time with her crying, and me sitting with her while she did so.

Things just aren't any better, she said.

I found it hard to argue the point.

I'm glad to see the COVID numbers start to come down.

Good night all.

I still think he's stupid enough to actually do it

Don’t forget that close aides have become infected in the last fortnight.

I find it entirely credible that he’s taking it as a prophylactic (and indeed there is still some medical argument, though no actual evidence, that it might have some utility in this respect).

And for a complete change, here’s a very good article which is bang on topic.

What Kind of Regime Does China Have?
... What Americans need to keep in mind is that their enemy and rival right now is not China, but a Chinese Communist Party that has shifted into high-totalitarian mode. We are not dealing with the China of the 1990s or even the 2000s, but a completely different animal that represents a clear challenge to our democratic values. We need to hold it at bay until some point in the future when it returns to being a more normal authoritarian country, or indeed is on its way to being a liberal country. That will not necessarily eliminate the challenge that China represents; a more liberal China could easily be more nationalistic. But it will nonetheless be easier to deal with in many ways.

Unfortunately, over the past three and a half years, the United States has been doing everything it can to weaken itself. It has elected a leader who revels in demonizing his domestic opponents far more than his foreign rivals, who has blithely thrown away the moral high ground that used to be the foundation of American global power, and who has governed the country with such incompetence during the largest crisis of the past three generations that it is no longer taken seriously by either friends or enemies. While democracies as a group have not done worse than authoritarian governments in controlling the crisis, China is able to present itself as having outperformed the United States, and that bilateral comparison is the one that people are paying attention to around the world right now....

so, I guess the end of history hasn't actually arrived, has it?

so, I guess the end of history hasn't actually arrived, has it?


And -- Ronny Jackson was a rear admiral? SRSLY? Is that a rank they just automatically give physicians who are in the navy for a certain length of time?

Jackson was also physician to the president for Obama. Obama put Jackson on the promotion list for one star (rear admiral, lower half). Jackson's predecessor as physician to the president was a one-star general, so it's apparently not unusual. And it's the US military, where there's a lot of up-or-out for career officers.

Rank rank inflation...

It's unfortunate that Fukuyama fails to note how many of the things he deplores about China are things that they are adopting from the west. The instruments of 'totalitarian control' are the same things that Facebook Amazon and others have monetized. The desire to go beyond their borders, again, whose model are they following?

And this kills me
It is possible to look back at the years from 1978 to 2012 with a certain nostalgia, since the Chinese people for the first time since the Revolution were given a degree of personal freedom

Thank god that Americans don't look with nostalgia on a past that had lots of problematic aspects.

We have met the enemy and he is us...

That was very poignant, russell. I'm sorry for that sadness, and thank you for telling us about that personal loss, reminding us of our collective loss.

I've been reading old books lately. Many of us, by now, have had a lot of acquaintance with death. But I don't think that it has been as much with us as with the folks from previous generations. Death wasn't a surprise event. It was a constant hum. I'm not offering this to encourage us to accept it with more enthusiasm. I just feel quite fortunate that when relatives, friends and close acquaintances died, those years were significant and way fewer than when I just got on with whatever else was doing otherwise, which was most of the time.

I've been thinking lately about years that someone important in my life died, and how my life was different because of their going. How I remember my grandmothers, and didn't know my grandfathers. What they were like, and why they were like that. I'm not surprised, now that I'm older, that the world has changed in a way that I don't understand. I'm just perplexed by the fact that it's people older than me, people from a generation after my parents, but before me, that are the worst culprits.

China is able to present itself as having outperformed the United States

If Trump gets a second term Burkina Faso will be able present itself as having outperformed the United States.

We have met the enemy and he is us...

I truly hope not.

I still have some hopes of western societies avoiding the totalitarian outcome:
...The “social credit” system combines all of the methods of artificial intelligence, big data, and pervasive sensors, and puts them in the hands of the (Chinese) state....

Though of course the current regime is a little too disorganised for that.

The US is arguably close to this stage...

...Most early states were what Max Weber labeled “patrimonial”—that is, the state grew out of the household of the ruler and was based on personal relationships between the ruler and his friends and family....

The US is arguably close to this stage...

Yes, except in our case it's a regression.

lj, what do you know/think about this? It's from a comment at CT by David J. Littleboy, who I believe lives in Japan:

““Don’t collapse the health system” became a new non-arbitrary target, even though it is a rather high target.”

It’s a target that varies widely by country, even among industrialized countries. Japan, with an amazingly low numbers of Covid-19 cases, came close to collapsing it’s health system. Four states other than Tokyo were at over 80% capacity recently, and at that time the newspaper failed to report the situation in Tokyo (claiming not to have the data). Now, (10 days later) Tokyo’s at 79% and all other states quite a bit better. The last I heard, Texas, with over 10 times the number of new cases per day as all of Japan, was gung-ho to reopen. I guess they have a lot of hospital beds…

That thread has a lot of good stuff in it.

““Don’t collapse the health system” became a new non-arbitrary target, even though it is a rather high target.”

In some respects it was an entirely arbitrary target.

It led, for example, to the large scale discharge of elderly patients, many of whom were infected, into care homes.

Yes, Trump is an astoundingly horrible person in terms of pure character: If you were to rank the 44 men who have been president of the United States in terms of the half dozen most important character traits that a president should have, he would rank dead last in every single one, usually by a mile. But he also represents a horrible ideology. Indeed the only “good” thing about him is that his complete degeneracy as a human being interferes with the efficient advancement of that ideology.

The Republican party is an eschatological death cult being exploited by various laissez faire looters, who aim to steal everything that’s not nailed down before the opening of the Seventh Seal. That Donald Trump is currently astride this rough beast is not exactly bad luck.

Apologies. I couldn't resist.

The future of public spaces -- how much like the past will it be?

bobbyp, I also liked this, even though the phrase in bold would of course no longer apply (if it ever did):

“We put a malevolent imbecile in charge and nothing bad has happened yet” is, in fact, the way really stupid people think about things.

That thread has a lot of good stuff in it.

On the whataboutery discussed, I've seen exactly the arguments described (i.e. "What about all these other causes of death we tolerate?") seemingly coming independently from individual people. But it has to be parroting of arguments coming from a few prominent RW sources.

Anyway, a bit off topic, but on the deaths from car accidents, why do we have street-legal cars that aren't mandated to be mechanically incapable of exceeding, say, 85 MPH? And if you're caught exceeding that speed in a car, presumably because it was modified to get around whatever governing method was used in its manufacture, your car gets impounded and you face a prison sentence. Or whatever. I'm just riffing. It just seems that road deaths could be greatly reduced if cars simply couldn't go as fast as they now can.

(Also, too, I drive kind of fast under the right conditions, but I'd actually prefer that something other than my own restraint kept me in check. Sometimes, I'm not that aware of how fast I'm going on a wide, straight, open road with good visibility and a dry surface.)

Even then, it was more "nothing bad enough that it can't be ignored, albeit with effort, has happened yet"

That, as a political matter, is the significance of covid-19: it is something bad enough to make ignoring it far harder. Sort of like the difference between a war in Somalia or Yemen, and a war where American soldiers are coming home badly wounded or in body bags. It's when it's people you actually know who are severely impacted that something becomes real for most people.

hsh -- on my once or twice a year visits to Ohio, I see a lot of TV (mostly sports) that I don't see ordinarily, since ordinarily I see none at all.

Relevantly to your thought train, my brother was for many years an ardent NASCAR fan. He's a very good mechanic; I used to think his happiest career would have been as par of a pit crew.

I was bemused to learn about restrictor plates, i.e. in races where, to an ignorant person like myself, part of the point was to go faster than everyone else, there were reasons why all the cars had to be prevented from going as fast as they otherwise could have.

It actually still bemuses me, but I guess I can see why, on the one hand, people would want to see if they could keep developing ever more powerful engines, and on the other, ever more powerful engines would wreck racing if they were allowed to proliferate unrestricted and unrestrictedly.

(Word play, on the other hand, is unrestrictable.)

Supporting our boys in uniform. And the heroes of the war on the virus:

More than 40,000 National Guard members currently helping states test residents for the coronavirus and trace the spread of infections will face a “hard stop” on their deployments on June 24 — just one day shy of many members becoming eligible for key federal benefits [qualifying for early retirement and education benefits], according to a senior FEMA official [per the Post-9/11 GI bill].
Words fail me. The utter pettiness is unbelievable.

Another group on the front lines, not that underpaying and undervaluing them is new in the COVID-19 era.

Subhead of the article: "Direct care workers are already living paycheck to paycheck," a researcher said. "Now they are being asked to put their lives on the line for $13 an hour.”

I don't want my comment about nursing home workers to deflect attention from wj's 12:12.

I'm sure it's pie in the sky, but I hope someone in some quiet government office somewhere is quietly keeping track of all this pettiness viciousness, so that we have a chance of righting some of the wrongs when we vote these people into oblivion.

Or however they're going to get there.

wj's comment @12.12 must go on resonating until this is all over and, as Janie says, perhaps some of it can be put right.

But since the future is a foreign country, and we must therefore always be aware of the past, I would be remiss, yet again, if I didn't point out that for the first time since the year after the battle of Agincourt, storks are nesting and raising chicks in these islands.

GftNC: as to the storks: wow.

How quickly would they take the whole thing back from us if we disappeared altogether? Tho' you don't say whether this development has anything to do with human activity having quieted down lately.

To an American, or at least to this one, it's haunting to think of having the stories of your land go back that far.


Speaking of your land, I just picked up 1066 and All That and read the first 10 or 12 pages. For the first few pages I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to lose my lunch. After that I calmed down a little, but I don't know whether that was because there were more references that I just wasn't getting, or because they just couldn't sustain that density of nonsense for longer than a few pages. But for anyone who might pick the book up, be sure to read the front matter, don't just skip to the first actual chapter. Everything except the copyright page is hilarious.

The style of humor brought to mind Nick Hornby's "Ten Years in a Tub" -- a collection of his book reviews. Several years ago I read about half that book, leaving the rest for later because I got too flooded with titles that he made me desperately want to read.

That book too triggers belly laughs, in part because of droll repetitions that go on from one review to the next, like referring to us Americans as "you lot."

Here's a question about 1066: who would have gotten all the jokes when the book was written? I mean, Eton and Harrow are referenced....but what about everyone else? What about now? I find it hard to believe that anyone is still taught about Boadicea and woad and Alfred and the cakes, but maybe I'm wrong about that.

It’s an interesting question, JanieM.

I have to confess that, though familiar with quite a number of quotes form the book, I have never read it. (Perhaps because adults told me it was funny, when I was a child, and I was perversely resistant to overenthusiastic book recommendations, despite being a voracious reader.)

The authors’ note that “America was thus clearly Top Nation, and history came to a ." was strangely disconcerting, too.

Noting that it was written in 1930, I now must read it....

A splendidly (and rightly) paranoid article:

Since I Met Edward Snowden, I’ve Never Stopped Watching My Back

Recommended long read, and I shall buy the book.

Nigel -- in case it's not obvious from hints, "top nation" is a recurring theme in the book.

Also, I'm pretty sure that when I first read it at about age 18, I had no idea that "you lot" called that little dot a "full stop." That was only one of the many jokes that surely went right past me, and even so I remember thinking the book was about the funniest thing I had ever read.


perversely resistant to overenthusiastic... _____

Fill in the blank with any number of things and we could start a support group. I didn't give it up with childhood, to be honest. ;-)

What joy to have something to talk about that isn't pure misery.

The storks are back partly as a result of rewilding, a certain amount of which is going on in the estates etc of sympathetic landowners. Several adults were reintroduced a few years ago, but this is the first year they have successfully bred: two nests and six chicks altogether. As for whether the general quietening down has anything to do with it, rather hard to tell. It is in a rather rural place, so possibly not. The landowner was interviewed, and said: beavers next! (They have already been reintroduced in a few places, with excellent results in e.g. flood amelioration.) He did, however, say that bears and wolves might have to wait til people were ready for it - I'm guessing to North Americans, neither of those is nearly as inconceivable as it would be to us! And speaking of North Americans, I confess I often think of you as "you lot".

On 1066, you inspire me to look at it again. I haven't done so for ages. My memory says that by the time I was 18 or so (and leaving high school) I probably got most of the references, and I also remember that the more you knew the funnier it was. I went to a very academic public school (your equivalent of a prep school), so not that different from a girls' version of Eton or Harrow, and of course there were lots of excellent state schools too, so I think most of what the book covers was still on the then high school curriculum, and the authors were after all history teachers. I don't really know about now, although I think Boadicea is still taught (but now she is, apparently more authentically, called Boudicca). I do remember that the "Test papers" were a brilliant parody of the real thing, even in my time, despite having been written in the 30s. But the version of history being lampooned has been out of fashion now for decades, so who knows. I left school in 1973, and by the mid 80s, or maybe the 90s, I think it was already different.

Thanks for pointing me to "Ten Years in a Tub", I seriously need book recommendations at the moment.

Off to find 1066 And All That....given the state of my flat, I might, like Captain Oates, be some time....

Bears we have, wolves, in the eastern US, not so much unless you want to include the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota as "east". Their historic range did not include the southeast.

Coyotes, on the other hand, are everywhere now. Deer as well. Was startled a couple years ago late one evening as I was driving down a multi-lane (two travel lanes in each direction plus multiple turn lanes) road in a developed suburban area, had to slow as an at-least 12-point buck ambled across the road towards the giant parking lot of a big-box home improvement store.

I was just reading an article that mentioned "rewildinging" in England, introducing such things as moose.

Which reminded me of the story of a Scotsman touring a museum in the US, where he saw a stuffed moose:

"wha critter be tha?"
"A moose"
"Och! If that's a moose, they mus have RATS the size of elephants!"

Sorry, I missed Janie's comment about the CT comment. I always have difficult following CT comment threads, partly because of my own preferences but also because there seems to be so much devil's advocate arguments and the goal sometimes doesn't seen to be clarity but more like winning arguments. So just focussing on David's comment, my city, which has 700,000+ people, only has 9 ICU beds. I read a journal article about the 1919 pandemic in Japan and it noted that the hospital stats in Japan were quite different than in the rest of the world, so there seems to be some cultural aspect about the way Japanese use hospitals vs the way Westerners do. So from that point, it's true, but I can't follow the line of argument about whether not collapsing the health system is an important point to keep in mind or if, because it can't be quantified, is meaningless.

I mean, when John Quiggen write
"The virus is exactly similar to car crashes – risky behavior endangers yourself and others"

Well, yeah, but no. 'Exactly similar'? I mean it is possible for a drunk driver to cause the death of a number of people and emerge unscathed, but for the virus, someone can do that and then go on with their life as if nothing happened. Or is he being ironic? I love sarcasm, but when it creates a situation where you don't know what is actually being said, it can really cause problems. Or is this one of those taking the arguments as far as they will go? I dunno.

Huh, I can't find it. I have just ordered another copy from Abebooks. I must have lent it years ago, and never got it back. It's one of those books you have to lend when you encounter people of similar sensibilities: another two examples (and wonders both, although of very different kinds) are Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Thirteen Clocks

lj -- I thought that JQ comment was weird too, but I don't comment there hardly ever, so I left it alone. I also read their threads very randomly -- mostly just certain commenters, or to follow an exchange that catches my eye.

Also, there like here, I think there are ongoing "rivalries" (?), and not being familiar with them makes it harder to interpret comments like that JQ one.

I mostly flagged Littleboy's comment because I wondered about your take on Japan. He rarely comments, but I believe he's an alum of my college, so I tend to notice.

Tara Reade!

What 74 former Biden staffers think about Tara Reade’s allegations

The PBS NewsHour spoke with 74 former Biden staffers, of whom 62 were women, in order to get a broader picture of his behavior toward women over the course of his career, how they see the new allegation, and whether there was evidence of a larger pattern.

None of the people interviewed said that they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct, until the recent assault allegation made by Tara Reade. Former staffers said they believed Reade should be heard, and acknowledged that their experiences do not disprove her accusation.

In all, the NewsHour tried to contact nearly 200 former staffers of Biden’s, based primarily on public records of his time in the Senate and White House and also from interviews with current campaign advisers. They include former interns and senior aides, from his 1972 Senate campaign through his time at the White House.

or, we can take the word of someone who claimed to earn a degree that she didn't earn in a degree program that never existed.

Just try, if you can, to imagine the hair-on-fire outrage over something like this if Hillary Clinton had done it when she was SoS.


State Department officials involved in the dinners said they had raised concerns internally that the events were essentially using federal resources to cultivate a donor and supporter base for Pompeo's political ambitions — complete with extensive contact information that gets sent back to Susan Pompeo's personal email address. The officials and others who attended discussed the dinners on condition of anonymity.


The records show that about 29 percent of the invitees came from the corporate world, while about a quarter of them hailed from the media or entertainment industries, with conservative media members heavily represented. About 30 percent work in politics or government, and just 14 percent were diplomats or foreign officials. Every single member of the House or the Senate who has been invited is a Republican.

Oh, well.


Thanks to my wife and cleek, my Tara Reade Credibility Index has been trending downward.

When I see these high profile, and very convenient, charges I incline to skepticism. Of the "innocent until proven guilty" variety, not the "she must be lying" variety. Whether they are about sexual harrassment or theft or anything else.

In which vein, I observe this
Apparently the super high profile change of heart by the woman in Roe v Wade was just a paid performance. Up to $500,000 per appearance before the cameras.

wearing a mask, washing your hands....just another chapter in the culture wars.

Oh, well.

i'm sure they're just very busy editing audio in order to accuse Job Biden of doing his job w/r/t Ukraine.

Job Biden.

his stuttering is contagious.

Have you read his book? It's full of wisdom.

An expressed desire to do things in a strictly proper manner must mean that you were doing the opposite. Well, at least if you were in the Obama administration.


An expressed desire to do things in a strictly proper manner must mean that you were doing the opposite. Well, at least if you were in the Obama administration.

This makes sense, if you think about it. Someone who reflexively lies about pretty much anything and everything is naturally going to expect that whatever anyone else says is a lie. So of course he's going to assume that this must have been a lie as well. Because he can't imagine someone who is actually honest or ethical -- just not part of his world.

hsh's link.

When a reporter asked Trump what law Biden may have broken, he declined to go into detail. And Attorney General Bill Barr said he didn’t expect Durham’s probe to result in criminal charges against Obama or Biden.

why, it's almost as if the whole thing is a non-falsifiable matter of faith, to the GOP laity.

the clergy know better. but they also know what's most important.

They are just trying to flip the script again. If something was used against Kavanaugh, then anything that could put Biden in the same frame is going to get play. The Rice email is their attempt to make an Obama/Biden exchange look enough like the "no quid pro quo" declarations in the Ukraine affair that they can relieve any lingering values dissonance from their supporters with a little tu quoque.

one big difference between this and "no quid pro quo" is that nobody doubts Rice knows what the words "by the book" mean, and wasn't just repeating a phrase she'd heard her lawyer repeating to her over and over.

hey Republicans, clean up your party becfore it's too late.

Where we go one, we go all,” Perkins said in the video, reciting a QAnon slogan. “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team. Thank you Anons, and thank you patriots. And together, we can save our republic.”

Perkins is the GOP nominee for Senate in Oregon.

"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce." - Karl Marx

I'm not sure what we're repeating, or which episode was the tragic one. Probably a few to pick from.

But farce has been achieved.

Great Depression -- history
Great Recession -- tragedy
Today's economy* -- farce

* name still TBD. Trump's Chasm comes to mind, but we might do better.

but who will guard the potatos?

But where is the “e”?

Real men don't bother with "e". That's why they're mal. ;-)

On Fukuyama's article, China is exporting its social control model:

..Secondly, there is huge appetite among insecure leaders across Eurasia to emulate China’s model of societal control and surveillance. Chinese companies including Hikvision and Huawei have been aggressively pushing their products to authoritarian leaders in the region long before the pandemic. Moscow’s city government was an early adopter of this technology, relying on Chinese vendors like Hikvision. In Central Asia, Huawei and other Chinese companies have been building similar systems throughout the last decade. For the Kremlin, the pandemic has been the best possible justification for the rapid embrace of Chinese-style monitoring systems, such as the surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition technology that are starting to appear on city streets. Now it is increasingly likely that other Russian cities will roll out similar systems, and the Kremlin will no doubt turn to China for technical assistance...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad