Category Archives: Reason

Love Donald, By All Means, But Why DIE FOR THE GUY?!

COVID-19, Democrats, Donald Trump, Healthcare, Reason, Republicans, Science

One wonders if there is a difference in COVID infection rates between Trump opponents and his supporters.

The Economist: “…a third of Americans who had voted for Mr Trump said they thought covid-19 was either a minor problem nationwide or not a problem at all. A recent Gallup poll showed that 94% of Democrats say they always or very often wear a mask when outside their homes compared with 46% of Republicans (and 68% of independents).”

… evidence suggests that younger adults are behind the latest surge in the virus. In Floridathe median age of covid-19 patients has dropped from 65 to near 40. Third, there is usually a lag of several weeks between a patient contracting the illness and when the patient’s death is reported to state authorities. Fourth, doctors seem to have become better at treating severe cases of covid-19, reducing the death rate even for those who must be hospitalised.

Given the rise in cases, however, it seems unlikely that the death rate will remain stagnant for much longer. Deaths for patients infected weeks ago will probably start to pile up. Some morgues in Arizona and Texas are running out of capacity and are already seeking refrigerated trucks, just as those in New York City did months ago. Uncontrolled community transmission among young people is likely to result in a spread in nursing homes, where a large share of fatalities occurs among the more vulnerable elderly. Should hospital capacity become strained, as appears to be the case in Houston, the quality of care could deteriorate and result in increased deaths as well.

Denial has not proved to be a particularly effective virus-suppression strategy. When polled by YouGov last week, a third of Americans who had voted for Mr Trump said they thought covid-19 was either a minor problem nationwide or not a problem at all. A recent Gallup poll showed that 94% of Democrats say they always or very often wear a mask when outside their homes compared with 46% of Republicans (and 68% of independents). To many voters, worry about the virus transmuted into coded disapproval of the president; mask-wearing is seen as a talisman of deranged coastal liberalism.

MORE: Covid deaths v cases:America is in the midst of an extraordinary surge of covid-19. Will the gap between cases and deaths persist?

*Image courtesy the Economist

UPDATED (7/5): ‘Systemic Racism’ Or Systemic Rubbish? The Latter!

Argument, Logic, Political Philosophy, Race, Racism, Reason

A media person made a ponderous comment on Twitter about the tiff between Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who “transmitted a letter to the City Council, urging members to take action against Councilwoman Sawant.”

In response, I summed up the empty fracas, paraphrasing “The Barbarians Are In Charge: Scenes From The Sacking of America“:

The Sawant and Durkan dynamic gives new meaning to the ‘broad’ sweep of ideas in Seattle: A socialist calls on a progressive to resign over abuse of power (what power?) and systemic racism (a meaningless abstraction), while the city is sacked.

William Barnes replied on twitter to the “systemic racism” (meaningless abstraction) refrain: “This is an important point. If someone tells you racism is systemic, they should be able to provide specifics.”

Indeed, operationalize the nebulous variable of “systemic racism,” or get out of my face. Until you have methodologically and statistically operationalized the abstraction that is “racism”—it remains is nothing but a thought crime. And even when you have, thought crimes are nobody’s business in free societies.

UPDATE (7/5):

On CNN, comedian DL Hughley had compared the THOUGHT CRIME of racism to the BODILY ASSAULT that is COVID19. Illogical. He says that whitey can be an asymptomatic carrier of racism. Just because you haven’t done anything racist, ventured Hughley, it doesn’t mean you AIN’T RACIST. It’s ironic that the nebulous abstraction that is “systemic racism” comes out of the West (postmodernism). After all, such “thinking” flouts Western law and logic.

UPDATED (8/4/020): ‘Mercy For Animals’ Contaminates Worthy Message With The Illogic Of Racial Politics

Argument, COVID-19, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Free Speech, Logic, Political Philosophy, Politics, Propaganda, Race, Racism, Reason

All good people would intuitively support “Mercy For Animals,” if the organization refrained from veering into racial politics. Such fuzzy, imprecise thinking, as expressed in this fortune-cookie quality notice above, will only serve to weaken the appeal of the worthy causes of “Mercy For Animals.”

In connecting the cause of animals with the “Black Lives Matter” production, “Mercy For Animals” has ridiculously and irrationally conflated unrelated issues. It’s akin to the epidemiologist who suddenly starts rabbiting about racism as a pandemic.

Racism is generally a thought crime—the crime of thinking politically impure thoughts.

COVID-19, the pandemic, is the spread of a physical, contagious disease that affects the body.

Logically, never the twain shall meet.

Aside from spouting irrational stupidity, such “medics” have crossed over into politics—policing thoughts, in particular—and should forthwith, as a result, lose all medical credibility.

Likewise, “Mercy for Animals” should stick to their needy charges: abused and misused animals.

UPDATED (8/4/020): No learning curve.

“Mercy for Animals” should not be muddying its laudable message and mission with political overtones. Leave off the racism, diversity doxology and such political constructs.

Animals don’t deserve to have their cause polluted. MFA will also lose supporters and donors who understand that a message not polluted by politics maximizes outcomes for the critters.

Told You So About Testing: Now, Italian Experts Are Getting Testy, Too

Argument, Critique, Europe, Healthcare, Intelligence, Reason

Today, April 17, Dr. Anthony Fauci finally explained what I EXPLAINED on April 9, a week ago, in the column, “Kung Flu Is A Killer, All Right, But So Are The Bureaucrats“:

“… COVID testing [is not] an amulet against the dreaded disease. It isn’t. All testing does is give an individual a snapshot in time of his COVID status. As soon as he drives out of the testing facility, a COVID-free person could become infected. Unless they engage in prevention, a single testing in time doesn’t in any way give individuals a clean bill of health.
Prevention protects people.”

Testing is, however—at this stage of spread—helpful in giving medical researchers a grip on the symptomless-sick phenomenon, as well as an idea of how the disease is disseminated and distributed in the population.

Test and keep testing large enough representative samples, and you’ll get good prevalence data.

Maybe Anthony Fauci got a whiff of what his Italian colleagues in Lombardy were saying, for they preceded his belated, simple, overdue insight about the limits of testing:

“… some doctors at the Italian epicentre of the health crisis doubt that testing is their way out of confinement.”

It is a nonsense,” Milan’s Polytechnic Institute professor Davide Manca said. “Conceptually, I am sceptical.”

The reason for Manca’s scepticism is plain to see in the math.

Milan’s Lombardy region has 10 million people and 11,142 officially registered COVID-19 deaths.
The economically strong area, the size of Belgium, has been under one of the world’s strictest lockdowns since early March.

Yet Lombardy has been conducting just 6,500 tests daily over the past 10 days.

Manca estimates it would take more than five years for everyone in Lombardy to get tested just once.
And you need people tested every 15 days for it to have any meaning,” Manca said in a phone interview. [My point here exactly.]”

“Even if you raise that number 10 times, that would still take 200 days for one test. That’s six or seven months.”

“Manca said he still did not understand how the end of confinement would work.”

“Herd immunity is very difficult to achieve with COVID,” the professor said.

“You need 90-95 percent (of the population) to have COVID for immunity. That number is too high to reach.”

More candidly, in Italy, they are not talking dishonestly about “opening up the country.” They are talking about “coexisting with the coronavirus.”

Well, yours truly beat the good doctors to it on April 9, with “Kung Flu Is A Killer, All Right, But So Are The Bureaucrats.

However, these medical heroes were busy saving lives. Bless them.

* Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP