Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Friends, today I bring you a very interesting analysis of the pandemic conundrum. Check it out:
If the author is right, then many of our extreme measures in dealing with the coronavirus were, if not exactly unnecessary, at least disproportional to the risk that most people bear. Along those lines, note the graph above, which clearly demonstrates that, if you want to people to live (rather than die), making them poor is a very bad way to go about it! And make no mistake -- the effect many of these extreme measures will be a rise in poverty, unemployment, bankruptcy, and despair.
It strikes me that we're making enormous decisions about shutting down the country, and spending and borrowing vast sums of money, based on very incomplete data. What will the excess mortality of this pandemic be? That is, how many of its victims would have died anyway, and at roughly the same time? How deadly is the disease, i.e. what is its true mortality rate? And, to figure that out, we'd have to know how many people already have it -- and, months into the pandemic, we still haven't made much progress answering that simple question!
In the final analysis, the rosier analyses like the one above may turn out to be correct, or they may be incorrect, but the fact is that much of our pandemic strategy is just...a stab in the dark. We deserve better than that.
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Friends, we can be thankful that President Trump cut off travel to and from China as soon as he did (even though Democrats chided him for it). Nonetheless, it's clear that his move came too late, and included too many loopholes, for the U.S. to be spared the pandemic. In future, we're going to have to consider whether the ease of international travel, which has so many cultural and economic benefits, is worth the inherent epidemiological risks. That's an especially vexing question when some other countries obfuscate when a new illness materializes (I'm looking at YOU, President Xi).
In other news, there are indications that Italy and Spain may be past the peak of virus-related deaths. That's extremely heartening. Gov. Cuomo even thinks that NYC may be leveling off. Let us hope and pray that he is right.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Friends, leave it to the tree-huggers and the warmed-over hippies: they've found a ray of sunshine in all the coronavirus gloom. They see the massive industrial/economic contraction now gripping the planet as a net plus, which could accustom us to a more "sustainable" lifestyle going forward. Some of them also look approvingly on the rigid countermeasures many governments are taking -- and the unthinking compliance of hundreds of millions of loyal citizens. Could this unprecedented mobilization to fight a pandemic be a precedent for even greater sacrifices...to stave off climate change? Keep your eye on the ball, conservatives, because you better believe the Left will squeeze every advantage out of this public health emergency that it can.
Thanks to the New York Daily News for hosting my latest tour de force!
Friday, April 3, 2020
Friends, times they are a-changin'! The Navy has removed the Captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt because he wrote a critical letter about the service's response to the coronavirus, which leaked to the press. Biden has now jumped all over the case, coming to the Captain's defense. Biden's motivation is clear enough: anyone who criticizes Trump MUST be a true American hero -- for, clearly, in this moment of national peril, there's no greater service one can perform than Trump-hatred. The facts of the case do matter a little, though. The key question is: was the letter written so that it could be leaked? Did the Captain himself leak it? If so, that's a breach of the chain of command that more than justifies his removal. I don't prejudge the case, personally. Biden does, however. He scents presidential weakness, so he pounced. That he may do permanent harm to the country -- by politicizing the armed services -- seems not to matter. In fact, I'm seeing signs that the (borderline neurotic and almost always duplicitous) attacks on Trump's coronavirus leadership may be working. Trump's poll numbers are wavering. That's depressing, but not entirely surprising. People are sheep. If you repeat something often enough, they'll believe it... Of course, we've got a long way to go before this virus is licked...and even longer to go before November.
In other news, the Swedes just keep on truckin'. Extraordinary. Seems to me we ought to be asking the question: if lockdowns are so great, then why are the countries without them looking better in some metrics than many of the countries with them? I'm not saying lockdowns are necessarily ill-advised, but they ought to be evidence-based. I'm failing to see a lot of critical thinking in the application of these severe restrictions. It's more like a mad rush to the exits...
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Friends, as we face this pandemic, it's important to keep things in perspective. For the elderly, and especially for the chronically sick elderly, COVID-19 is a very dangerous virus. For people who are young and healthy, it rarely is. We have to ask the question, therefore: is quarantining EVERYONE the best way to handle the outbreak? Theoretically, if the virus can't spread at all, we can beat it, sure. If all we do is slow down the spread, however, we will be drawing out the pain and the death, and prolonging the recession/depression, but not necessarily sparing many lives in the final analysis. The public health/economic calculus is tough! I don't have all the answers. Maybe you do?
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show covers so much ground that, in future, Brian and I might need to get pilot's licenses! For instance, Brian and I naturally talk about the ongoing pandemic and the thorny question of how far governments should go to compel behavior that limits the spread of the virus. We also discuss the recent firing of a hospital administrator in Buffalo who advocated (tongue in cheek?) the death by coronavirus of all Trump supporters.
Our conversation about This Day in History ties in with current events when we turn to President Nixon's 1970 decision to sign legislation to ban tv and radio ads for tobacco products. Some irony there, because Nixon was a major pipe smoker. Now, New York State is moving to ban all cigarette sales for six weeks as an anti-corona measure. Smokers are incandescent with rage! In addition, Brian and I look at the founding of the RAF in 1918, the U.S. attack on Okinawa in 1945, and Hitler's treason trial in 1924.
Much food for thought! (But zero nicotine content.) Tune in today.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Friends, before you get the vapors, rest assured that the title of this post is tongue-in-cheek. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a socialist. Be that as it may, something interesting is happening in Europe: one of its most socialist, progressive countries -- and the one country that every leftist points to as heaven-on-earth -- is not following the party line on the coronavirus. In Sweden, there is no lockdown. Schools are open, restaurants are serving customers, and life, such as it is in a bleak socialist hellhole, goes on! Moreover, Sweden's objective performance in handling the pandemic is actually better than many of its European peers. Food for thought.
In other news, the presidential race remains close, but a critical enthusiasm gap has opened up between Trump and Biden -- and remember that Republicans haven't even begun to tear Biden a new one as yet!
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Friends, the Dems have been making a lot of political hay by charging the Trump administration with gutting the CDC and NIH of funding ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that no such thing ever happened. It turns out, moreover, that the cuts that Trump proposed to the CDC were not dissimilar to cuts the Obama-Biden administration proposed. And yet, as usual, the coronavirus is all Trump's fault! Ridiculous.
It looks like Trump is now considering a revised approach to the pandemic that targets the areas most badly affected...including New York! I approve. The idea of a travel ban impacting the entire state is disagreeable, to say the least, because much of the state isn't suffering unduly from the virus. Be that as it may, a more targeted approach probably would have been preferable from the beginning. NYC should have been locked down a long time ago, if you ask me. Now, it may well be too late.
Finally, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Florida (among others), who are now dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases. I nonetheless approve of Gov. DeSantis's strategy, which allows localities and counties to crack down, but spares the least affected parts of the state from a blanket lockdown. Hear hear!
Friday, March 27, 2020
Friends, there are some very interesting news stories today. First, Governor Cuomo is backtracking. He's doubting the wisdom of his initial orders for schools and colleges to close, for businesses to be shuttered, and for everyone to stay home. Why? Because, inadvertently, these orders may increase contact between the most vulnerable, especially the elderly, and their younger relatives. Interesting point. It's also rather flabbergasting that Cuomo is admitting he may have made a mistake. He's also telegraphing a willingness to show flexibility on future policies with respect to the containment of the pandemic. He admits, in other words, that shutting everything down isn't sustainable. In effect, he's sounding a lot more like President Trump! Presumably, Cuomo is feeling so confident in his public standing right now that he thinks he can afford to engage in a little introspection, and even in some self-criticism. Whatever the cause, I applaud Cuomo's preparedness to rethink our coronavirus strategy. Locking down an entire state, when parts of it are in dire straits, and other parts are so far unaffected or barely affected by the virus, never made much sense. The United States as a whole, and New York in particular, needs to get more rational and more targeted in its approach to COVID-19. Does that mean that everyone can go their merry way by Easter? Not necessarily, but it could mean that some restrictions ought to be lifted -- and, perhaps in some places, new ones imposed.
In other news, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has the dreaded virus! Luckily, Boris is a warrior and a prince among men (even more so than Prince Charles?), so we can be confident that he will recover fully, and in record time. Stay strong, Boris!
Friends, there's lots in the coronavirus outbreak to give us pause, but let's not lose sight of one of its very worst features: it's proven that there's nothing, nothing, that unites us as Americans anymore and causes us to put partisanship aside. The TDS-addled Dems are proving that day in and day out. My latest article addresses this disturbing phenomenon. Check it out at World Net Daily: