17 June 2021

Thought For The Day - 17 June 2021

Every now again, more often than not, you owe it to yourself to put "Human Wheels" on whatever music machine you have and run it at the highest volume your speakers or headphones can handle. You really should.

16 June 2021

Your Cheatin Heart - part the ninth

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT.

Since the point is daily trend, updated to use reported daily cases. Per 100K is only reported, in this source, as 7-day.
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    201     8 
Louisiana 421 10
Alabama 285 6 cases data on the 14th is way whacky, so stick with 7-day average
Wyoming 83 12
Idaho 167 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

[update 21 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    105     5 
Louisiana 340 9
Alabama 443 6
Wyoming 70 14
Idaho 167 9
[update 28 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    131     5 
Louisiana 354 9
Alabama 228 5
Wyoming 96 12
Idaho 135 8
[update 4 June]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    141     4 
Louisiana 364 7
Alabama 557 6
Wyoming 80 12
Idaho 166 6
[update 11 June]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    236     4 
Louisiana 228 7
Alabama 188 5
Wyoming 103 12
Idaho 118 6
[update 15 June]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi     47     4 
Louisiana 559 8
Alabama 290 5
Wyoming 68 11
Idaho 89 5
[14 June]
Here's Dr. Peter Hotez on the Southern Problem. It's not going away.
If new variants arising from the southern states are allowed to emerge over the summer, these could accelerate across the rest of the country into the fall. For example, the P.1 variant (and possibly the E484K mutation superimposed on B.1.1.7) appears to be slightly less susceptible to the current vaccines compared to, say, the original lineages, or the B.1.1.7 variant on its own. Regarding the Delta variant, two doses of the mRNA vaccine still appear to work well, whereas a single vaccine dose appears to exhibit reduced efficacy.
Sound familiar? The forest fire analogy is apt: suppress it fast when it's small, or there's the Devil to pay later.

All in all, yet another mixed bag. Louisiana and Alabama are deer in the headlights mode. Mississippi is all over the place, the 14th was 266 while the 11th was 0. A. Corres Pondent is sorta, kinda half right as of the 15th. Likely the article would be spiked. Given the concern offered up by the 'experts' with regard to variant propagation among the poorly vaccinated states, and these five were the bottom of the barrel at the outset of this sequence, I'll give the review two more full week iterations and thence re-visit the data if the situation goes into the abyss.

13 June 2021

By The Numbers - part the twelfth

wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 continues on his Grievance Tour of Red America, continuing to claim that, somehow, the Snowflakes stole the election from him. There remains the critical problem, which the Snowflake News neglects to mention (and they should each and every time they report on the Tour), that it was only ex-President AuH2O 2020 who lost by 7,000,000 votes. If the Snowflakes had figured out how to rig the vote, it would be completely stupid to only steal from Dear Leader Yo! Semite of Thigh Land, when it's even more important, in my humble opinion, for the Snowflakes to gain full control, 60 seats, of the Senate. Not only did the wily Snowflakes not get that, and only got 50 by getting out the voters in the GA Special, they lost seats in the House.

It seems odd that the Snowflakes would use their magnificent machine in such a clumsy way. But, of course, the Crazys don't think. Much.

12 June 2021

Your Cheatin Heart - part the eighth

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT.

Since the point is daily trend, updated to use reported daily cases. Per 100K is only reported, in this source, as 7-day.
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    201     8 
Louisiana 421 10
Alabama 285 6 cases data on the 14th is way whacky, so stick with 7-day average
Wyoming 83 12
Idaho 167 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

[update 21 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    105     5 
Louisiana 340 9
Alabama 443 6
Wyoming 70 14
Idaho 167 9
[update 28 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    131     5 
Louisiana 354 9
Alabama 228 5
Wyoming 96 12
Idaho 135 8
[update 4 June]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    141     4 
Louisiana 364 7
Alabama 557 6
Wyoming 80 12
Idaho 166 6
[update 11 June]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    236     4 
Louisiana 228 7
Alabama 188 5
Wyoming 103 12
Idaho 118 6
[10 June] Well, the Lamestream Press is starting, too late in my estimation, to call out the Red States.
A range of theories has emerged about why the South, which as of Wednesday was home to eight of the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates, lags behind the rest of the country: hesitancy from conservative white people, concerns among some Black residents, longstanding challenges when it comes to health care access and transportation.

The answer, interviews across the region revealed, was all of the above.
[12 June] Since this is reporting day for this series, I'll include this bit of news for today. It should come as no surprise.
Less than half of adults living in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wyoming have received one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the CDC this week.
Idaho has swapped with Tennessee, which is kind of no surprise. It appears that Blaine county pulled Idaho out of ignominy; and, to no one's surprise, a Blue population. Tennessee has not one county above 50% fully vaccinated.
Blaine County has a higher cost of living than surrounding areas; the median value of its owner-occupied housing units is more than double the state average.
...
Blaine County has gained a reputation as a Democratic Party enclave in strongly Republican Idaho. The Democratic presidential candidate has won the county in every election since 1992.

Mixed bag again. I look askance at the Alabama precipitous drop; color me unconvinced. We'll see. A few more days. Being diehard suspicious of the Red states, perhaps two weekly updates from today in addition to the normative 15 June one. Fingers crossed; may be A. Corres Pondent will have nothing to write. Hope springs eternal.

09 June 2021

Thought For The Day - 9 June 2021

First, it's Lake Mead drying up, now FDA has gone rogue, or thoroughly corrupt, by approving an Alzheimers 'drug' that doesn't work. I wonder how well the Sun Belt is going to work out: no water and millions of geezers hooked up to $56,000/year IVs? Oh, that's right, the Blue State taxpayers will bail these 'growth states' out. "We must build a pipeline from New England lakes and reservoirs to the parched Southwest!! They must have water!!" As usual. FDR should have told the Old South to go to hell. (The following is prominent in my dead-trees copy from today, but not in the on-line version. No explanation.)
This is what really keeps me up at night: A therapy of this cost is going to have enormous implications for everyone. And by everyone, I literally mean you, too. There's going to be some 60- and 70-year olds in your plan. If they start getting this treatment, you will see your premiums will go up.
-- Dr. Joseph Ross, Yale
America will never be a socialist country.
-- wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024/2019

Well, OK. Then only demented geezers (nearly the entirety of the Trump Party rural base) who have a spare $56K/year sitting around can get it. Not to mention that $30K in ancillary costs.

The only meaningful difference between European/Canadian style socialism and the sub-rosa American version is that here in the USofA, corps like Biogen rake in billions from the masses. Yeah, I guess that's proof that a country runs better with a few stupidly rich folks, and the rest scratching for an existence. Ya think? Did I mention that, thanks to some purloined tax returns, we now know that the top 25 richest paid little to nothing in taxes? For what benefit to the society and economy? One might wonder?

05 June 2021

Your Cheatin Heart - part the seventh

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT.

Since the point is daily trend, updated to use reported daily cases. Per 100K is only reported, in this source, as 7-day.
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    201     8 
Louisiana 421 10
Alabama 285 6 cases data on the 14th is way whacky, so stick with 7-day average
Wyoming 83 12
Idaho 167 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

[update 21 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    105     5 
Louisiana 340 9
Alabama 443 6
Wyoming 70 14
Idaho 167 9
[updated 28 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    131     5 
Louisiana 354 9
Alabama 228 5
Wyoming 96 12
Idaho 135 8
[updated 4 June]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    141     4 
Louisiana 364 7
Alabama 557 6
Wyoming 80 12
Idaho 166 6
On the whole, life is getting worse in the states of the free. Time continues.

[1 June]
A touch of honesty. Who knew?
Peru has more than doubled its official death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic following a government review of the figures, leaving the country with the highest coronavirus-related death rate per capita in the world.

Peru's prime minister announced Monday that the death toll from March 1, 2020 to May 22, 2021 had been revised up to 180,764. The previous figure was 67,807, which is 2.6 times lower.
[3 June]
Well, we have concrete evidence of those cheatin hearts.
That changed in mid-May after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised vaccinated Americans that they could go maskless in most indoor settings. The next week, the store told employees that they could no longer ask customers to cover their faces. So mask use plummeted, and the anxiety of Ms. Wainwright and other workers shot up.

"We just feel like we're sitting ducks,"said Ms. Wainwright, who estimated that far fewer than half of patrons wore masks on a recent Sunday. "Now it's just a free-for-all."
No surprise that the cheats are in those Red states.

[4 June] Sitting ducks?
"There are 12 states that are already at 70%. I worry about the ones that are way below that, and they are sitting ducks for the next outbreak of Covid-19 -- which shouldn't have to happen now," National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told CNN's Chris Cuomo.
You betcha.

And for those who feel they don't need the protection of the vaccine, Collins said to think of getting doses as a "donation" to those in communities who -- for reasons like chemotherapy and organ transplants -- aren't necessarily protected against Covid-19 by vaccinations.
But, but, but... for the Social Darwinists in the Freedom Protecting Red states, "donations" to the community is just Communism. And you know these knuckledraggers are all for guns and meth, but hate anything that smacks of Communism.

29 May 2021

Your Cheatin Heart - part the sixth

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT.

Since the point is daily trend, updated to use reported daily cases. Per 100K is only reported, in this source, as 7-day.
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    201     8 
Louisiana 421 10
Alabama 285 6 cases data on the 14th is way whacky, so stick with 7-day average
Wyoming 83 12
Idaho 167 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

[update 21 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    105     5 
Louisiana 340 9
Alabama 443 6
Wyoming 70 14
Idaho 167 9
[updated 28 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    131     5 
Louisiana 354 9
Alabama 228 5
Wyoming 96 12
Idaho 135 8
Remember when Canada closed its borders with the the Covid-dirty USofA?
Government leaders in both countries first announced the border closure more than one year ago on March 21, 2020, and have extended the order on a near-monthly basis since.
When Canada was a paragon of good sense and effective policy? Canada has been recently mentioned here because the facts on the ground, as they say, have changed. While no where near Brazil or India in absolute numbers (the population is a small fraction of either of those countries), Canada is experiencing yet another surge; some say third while others this is the fourth.

Today's report focuses on Manitoba. Recall that Canada's governmental structure is not just a Little USofA; it is actually more of a Confederate State's Rights nation. Provincial government has more authority then US states. For instance
The situation is a remarkable reversal. Manitoba once stood out as an example of the effectiveness of tight restrictions, like closing its borders to the rest of Canada, to curb the spread of the virus.
Now:
Over the past two weeks, the province has reported a daily average of 35 new cases per 100,000 people, far exceeding Canada as a whole, which is averaging about 10. Manitoba has more than twice as many new cases per day than the next-highest state or province.
Across the globe, the truth is manifest: containment of a pathogen as Covid-19 means you cannot 'open up' the economy/society as soon as the case count drops a bit. In fact, just opening at some arbitrary lower case count, without instituting aggressive testing and contact tracing means that Dat Ole Exponential Growth will come aroarin back. Why would it not? Lack of those two effective measures is how we got to last January in the first place (thanks to ex-President AuH2O 2020). Combine opening at some lower case count without testing and contact tracing and with low a vaccination rate guarantees another surge. Canada is a poster child for how not to do it. Most provinces are in about the same boat as Manitoba. In order to nip such a pathogen in the bud, so to say, the healthcare system has to know, lickety split, who's newly infected, who they got it from, and who they may have infected. It was last year that most of the USofA gave up on testing and tracing because Covid had been allowed to explode past the testing and tracing capacity.

One of my few teeVee addictions is "Air Disasters", which The Wife deplores since I've always had an antipathy to flying (I don't trust engineers as a group). Yet knowing this about self, I'm still fascinated by the show, for the simple reason that it's a showcase for how other engineers tease out the failure of an airplane flight. Sometimes it's just that the crew screwed up. Other times, more interestingly and importantly, the investigators discover some systemic issue, sometimes with the aircraft model, other times with the ATC system, and sometimes with the regulators. Always, at least in the show, the system, broadly, learns from the disaster, and institutes changes to prevent a recurrence. On the whole, globally, politicians have refused to learn anything about quashing Covid.

We've got another couple of weeks to see whether the vaccine resistent states have their own, localized, surges. So far the numbers are mixed. Stay tuned.

25 May 2021

I Still Hate Neil Irwin - part the eighteenth

My, but we of the dead trees NYT have to wait. Today's Times has the reporting (most of it, anyway) I've been waiting for Mr. Irwin to write for a vewy, vewy long time. The subject, inflation. Note the date on the link: 20 May. Yikes!

But, I suppose, better late than never. The point of the piece is that inflation isn't solely the product of money-grubbing, overpaid serfs, i.e. wage push. Finally, he discusses the other forms, and in particular, inflation in limited sectors caused by immediate term shortage. IOW, after more than a year of Covid contraction, and a vewy, vewy rapid vaccination regime (well, in the consumer sourcing Blue States, at least), production needs some time to ramp back up. And given that a significant proportion of consumer goods, even those with American brand names, come from Asia, supply won't re-appear with a snap of the fingers.

So, he starts with some pertinent questions:
Is this a change in relative prices, or a change in overall prices? Are the prices of items becoming more expensive likely to rise further, stay the same, or go down? Are wages also rising? Is inflation so high and erratic that it is hard to plan ahead? And is this really inflation at all, or is it a shift in the price of investments like stocks and bonds?
Regular reader may see one question with which I've always disagreed with Mr. Irwin: the soaring of Mr. Market's prices since the Great Recession is still just inflation; lots of analysts have been saying for most of those years that P/E ratios are whacky. One might also argue, I have, that the Fed's QE/bond buying effort to keep nominal interest rates very low also drives up stock prices. Vis-a-vis Damn Gimmint zero-risk instruments, aka the opportunity cost, more moolah flows to stocks, pushing up prices, and lowering the interest analog, the inverse of P/E.

And, then the crux of the current matter
The core challenge of an economy emerging from a pandemic is that numerous industries are going through major shocks in demand and supply simultaneously. That means more big swings in relative price than usual.
It's going to take some time for those widgets to get here by boat from Asia. Just that simple.

23 May 2021

Your Cheatin Heart - part the fifth

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT.

Since the point is daily trend, updated to use reported daily cases. Per 100K is only reported, in this source, as 7-day.
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    201     8 
Louisiana 421 10
Alabama 285 6 cases data on the 14th is way whacky, so stick with 7-day average
Wyoming 83 12
Idaho 167 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

[update 21 May]
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    105     5 
Louisiana 340 9
Alabama 443 6
Wyoming 70 14
Idaho 167 9
Mixed result. Most are down, but some are already headed up. For myself, I didn't (and don't) expect the upswing until 15 June; it takes about a month for behaviorial changes to manifest in the data.

Going forward, reporting will consist of what's new since the last part; not much reason to wade through it all from the start, even if top posting. The data blocks will be in toto, so trend is clear.

Your Cheatin Heart - part the fourth

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    226     8 
Louisiana 457 10
Alabama 290 6
Wyoming 67 12
Idaho 164 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

[update 18 May]
Well, that didn't take long
"I say this respectfully to the CDC but we really need to get back to a point where it's encouraging (people) to get vaccinated and more of that focus rather than celebrating our newfound freedoms," the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, told CNN on Monday. "Because the honor system just ain't working here, I don't think it's going to work in a lot of parts in this country," Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
[my emphasis]
"a lot of parts"? May be his Red neighbors?

[update 19 May] The train is picking up speed; that A. Corres Pondent article may drop before 15 June. Just sayin.
Ten states have vaccinated less than half of their adult residents with at least one dose, and their average per capita case rate was about 19% higher than those seven states that have already reached the Biden administration's goal. The 10 states that have vaccinated less than half of their adult residents -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming -- reported an average of more than 78 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week.

18 May 2021

Your Cheatin Heart - part the third

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    226     8 
Louisiana 457 10
Alabama 290 6
Wyoming 67 12
Idaho 164 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

[update 18 May]
Well, that didn't take long
"I say this respectfully to the CDC but we really need to get back to a point where it's encouraging (people) to get vaccinated and more of that focus rather than celebrating our newfound freedoms," the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, told CNN on Monday. "Because the honor system just ain't working here, I don't think it's going to work in a lot of parts in this country," Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
[my emphasis]
"a lot of parts"? May be his Red neighbors?

17 May 2021

The Red and The Blue - part the third

There is not much that pisses me off more than Red politicians who boast about helping their constituents with aid they voted against. The various Covid relief is just the latest example.

But this has been going on since at least FDR, who brought electricity, water, sewers, roads and much of the infrastructure to the rural areas, especially the South, that the state politicians refused to provide. And yet, the voters continue to elect them. To be fair, what is perhaps the largest collections of mansions in one place is Newport, Rhode Island. Our go-to destination is Block Island, also Rhode Island, and it's on the way to Nantcuket style exclusion. The rich get richer and the poor have kids.

Appalachia is likely the epitome of laissez-faire governance, and the poster child of Red state government that ignores the needs of its people and lets the Blue states, through the federal government, make up the difference. Note that the opiod crisis was/is significantly, if not majority, an Appalachian experience.

Well, today's news brings two reports highlighting this passive-aggressive attitude of Red state government.

This first is an obituary of one Eula Hall, who created a modicum of healthcare in eastern Kentucky pretty much on her own.
Among many other things, Mrs. Hall operated the Mud Creek Clinic in eastern Kentucky for mountain people, many of them coal miners and members of their families. One night in 1982, someone looking for drugs set fire to the place. When her patients showed up the next morning to find that the clinic was gone, Mrs. Hall did not miss a beat. She and a doctor set up shop on a picnic table, had a phone installed on a nearby tree and kept their appointments.
The second is a lengthy report on rural high speed innterTubes. Once again, the Blue states will pay to 'uplift' the Red states through the auspices of Biden's initiatives. All with the intent, on the part of the Red state politicians, to draw economic advantage they didn't invest in. Way to go guys.
Rural areas have complained for years that slow, unreliable or simply unavailable internet access is restricting their economic growth. But the pandemic has given new urgency to those concerns, at the same time that President Biden\u2019s infrastructure plan — which includes $100 billion to improve broadband access — has raised hope that the problem might finally be addressed.
The report focuses on a town in Iowa, home to a very Right Wingnut coterie of politicians.
Running against socialism when Trump larded $60bn on agribusiness in the past two years over disasters of his own making seemed like a thin soup. A rural electorate immersed in Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting and Facebook lapped it up. The propaganda (Democrats eat babies – it's right there on social media), the preachers in the pulpit damning liberal judges and politicians, and a relentless ground game that saw Iowa Republicans register 20,000 more voters than Democrats put a seemingly indelible red lock on what used to be a purple state.
Just like they did under FDR, and less so under LBJ who tied the Great Society to racial equity, they want the benefits for free. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Who are the real Welfare Queens, anyway? The net flows of money through DC have been from Blue states, which progress, to Red states, which exalt the CSA for decades.

14 May 2021

Your Cheatin Heart - part the second

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID

To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

[update 14 May]
Here's the vaccination record for the states. The bottom of the barrel
At the other end, the five states with the lowest percentage of people with one dose are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
So, one dose isn't the best measure, but still. Here's the benchmark as of 14 May behind the June 15 lede from the NYT
             cases    per 100K
Mississippi    226     8 
Louisiana 457 10
Alabama 290 6
Wyoming 67 12
Idaho 164 9
We'll stop by the data every now and again to see whether the Oracle turns out to be correct. One actually hopes not, since Covid doesn't respect state lines.

I Still Hate Neil Irwin - part the seventeenth

Once again, we find Mr. Irwin cadging from some of my earlier musings. I don't see the Times until it shows up on the front step, which in this case was an hour or so ago.
Well, Friday the thirteenth falls on a Thursday this month, and the Right Wingnuts in the crowd are bloviating on 'Inflation is Here!!! We must punish the lower classes!!'. No, it isn't; at least in the excess moolah version, which is the only version that the Right Wingnuts admit to.
Today, Mr. Irwin writes
But let's imagine that, in response to the problem, the Fed raised interest rates or that Congress increased taxes to claw back stimulus payments.

Those actions alone wouldn't create more microchips or let rental car companies undo decisions from a year ago. Higher interest rates or taxes might even make things worse, if the actions led suppliers to hold back on investing in new capacity for fear demand would fall in the future.
The problem? Production shortages.

The central fact of the American economy in mid-2021 is that demand for all sorts of goods and services has surged. But supplies are coming back slowly, with the economy acting like a creaky machine that was turned off for a year and has some rusty parts. The result, as underlined in new government data this week, is shortages and price inflation across many parts of the economy. That is putting the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve in a jam that is only partly of their own making.
The bleating of the Phat Cats should be ignored. Along with Greene and other total nutballs.

13 May 2021

Your Cheatin Heart

June 15, 2021 

New York Times
by A. Corres Pondent
RED STATES WITH SPARSE VACCINATIONS EXPLODE WITH COVID
To the surprise of No One, the Red States, which have been lax in getting their populations vaccinated, are experiencing a resurgence in Covid. The curve started back up on May 14, the day after the CDC and President Biden announced that the fully vaccinated are free to go about their lives without a mask in all venues, not just outdoors.

To the surprise of No One, all those Red State Yahoos immediately dis-masked, even though the majority eligible for vaccines have refused to be vaccinated. If the rest of the country is fortunate, the Yahoos will infect themselves to death.

Thought For The Day - 13 May 2021

Well, Friday the thirteenth falls on a Thursday this month, and the Right Wingnuts in the crowd are bloviating on 'Inflation is Here!!! We must punish the lower classes!!'. No, it isn't; at least in the excess moolah version, which is the only version that the Right Wingnuts admit to. Or, in other words, whenever there's a hint of price appreciation (outside of Mr. Market's prices, of course), they yell and scream that Joe Sixpack has too much moolah and we 'have to, just have to, even if it hurts the Little People!! rein in wages'. It's a sacrifice the Little People are very willing to pay. They told us so. Just like geezers said they'd be delighted to risk dying in order to keep the Engine of Commerce humming along a year ago; bah humbug on masks and distancing and store-front closings. We heard them. Yes, we did.

Baloney, of course. The edging up of producer prices is driven by output shortages, accumulated during the Pandemic Recession when producers, in their own defense, reduced production. Only so much inventory build can be justified, especially when the end of the Pandemic Recession isn't penciled in the calendar with a Date Certain. While Covid-19 raced through the population in weeks, rebuilding the economy will take a tad longer.

Once producers are convinced that the Pandemic Recession has run its course, output will increase to meet demand. Don't forget that we're still in the neighborhood of being down 8 million jobs vis-a-vis pre-Pandemic Recession. To assert that there's some slack in the Engine of Commerce is a bit of an understatement. The evil bit: all those people facing businesses, restaurants and retail and the like, may decide that they can get along just fine, and make more profit, with the skeleton staffing they've adapted to over the last year. Mark my words. They ain't all that many Joe Sixpacks flush with cash, running out to scarf up doodads. There just isn't.

12 May 2021

Liar's Poker

It could be that some readers have a passing interest in horse racing, especially during the Triple Crown season. I fall into that category, though I've never placed a bet. I have, not surprisingly, long ago formed the opinion that Bob Baffert is a fundamental cheat. Just like wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024, though I don't know whether they're Best Buds.

The crux of Baffert's excuse is that some ointment containing some amount of betamethasone made its way into the horse's bloodstream, thus causing the positive test. Now, that whole idea struck me as outlandish, to put it kindly, when I first read it. So, off to the innterTubes. This is a professional vet's assessment.
Q: Would the levels of betamethasone detected in Medina Spirit also have required him to have ingested the topical ointment?

A: No way to know. I don't know that there's any pharmacokinetic data on concentrations of betamethasone following topical treatment. And again–because I never make anything easy, right–that would depend on the condition of the skin, too. Intact skin would likely absorb less into the blood stream than inflamed skin, or an open wound where there's more direct contact between the blood and the blood vessels and the medication.
So, how much betamethasone is there in Otomax?
Each gram of Otomax Otic Ointment contains... USP equivalent to 1 mg betamethasone
That's one milligram. The test said there were 21 picograms (per what?) in the blood sample. A picogram is one trillionth of a gram, vs. one thousandth in the ointment. It doesn't take much to run afoul. On the other hand, given the volume of blood in a horse, and if the measure is per gram, that could be a lot of beta. Some reports said that this was twice the allowed limit, others that Kentucky now has an absolute ban.

For comparison, a 1,100 lb. horse has 40 liters of blood. Humans, 5 liters. For dogs, for which Otomax was created to clear ear infections, a Labrador retriever for example, it's 2.35 liters.

So, where does speculation leave us? Is it likely that an ointment meant to topically treat ear infections in a 2.35 liter animal could generate a measurable quantity in a 40 liter animal, applied not in the ear? Color me No Bloody Way.

Quants Hubris - part the ninth

Blythe Masters rides again! Again! And again!! And again!!!

After all this time, one might surmise that the Regulators That Be would pay attention to the practice of creating and selling synthetic assests. It isn't as if such shenanigans haven't been fatal in the past. Well, guess again. The only saving grace, to the extent one could feel so, is that the dim bulb Regulators That Be are Brits. Wait... These are the same folks dumb enough to be flummoxed into Brexit by a few snake oil salesmen, playing on latent jingoism.
Greensill Capital's supply chain finance business wasn't regulated in Britain but the Financial Conduct Authority did have supervision of the company to ensure it complied with anti-money-laundering rules.
Drop the ball much? This is what Greensill was doing:
[B]ut Greensill added a twist. It packaged the invoices and other receivables by the suppliers into assets that were then sold to investors through funds. The company also provided financing to companies based on "future receivables," which were based on transactions that hadn't yet happened.
Ah, c'mon Man! Social Darwinism Finance. One might wonder how many billions Greensill socked away up to the collapse, just like the Sacklers? Regulators That Be have a vital role in macro policy: disallow behaviours which can fail far beyond the assets of the bad/stupid actors to cover. They get away, at least, scot-free or maybe with a tidy nest egg that'll keep them in a small villa in the South of France in perpetuity.

10 May 2021

Conspiracy Theory Number One [update]

Color me cynical, but given how eager Putin has been to prop up ex-President AuH2O 2020, I expect that the pipeline attack is yet another favor. Puts those Northern Blue States in a bind. Just what wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 desires. Prove me wrong.

[update]
Are you surprised? Much scouring yielded only one organ with the, obvious, attribution.
Once they gain access to Windows domain credentials, they will deploy the ransomware throughout the network to encrypt devices.
Thank you Mr. Bill.

07 May 2021

I Forgot My Lithium Pill!

There have been a handful of missives in these endeavors over the last few years, going back to at least 2015, that ponder the use of battery electrics. So far, no one has created an element better at electrical energy density than lithium (creating such an element would make one rather rich), so that's what is used to make Tesla, et al batteries. Most of the metal is being mined outside the USofA, and for good reason: it is a filthy business, made manifest in today's NYT.

You would do well to read it up. It's, kind of, the repeat of my story from high school or junior high school. The teacher posed a question to the class: would increasing centrally electrified public transport, metros and trolley cars and the like, while decreasing personal autos reduce air pollution? This was long before the notion of climate change or global warming was a signficant part of public discourse. Humbly, I leaped into the breach and offered that it would depend on the efficiency and emissions of power plants vis-a-vis auto engines. I don't believe there was a strong answer to the question.

As the earlier missives in these endeavors have pointed out, all such comparisons can lead to intelligent decisions only if such comparisons calculate goods and bads on an end-to-end basis. Just because a Tesla emits no emissions while you drive doesn't mean that none were emitted from extraction of all the natural resources needed to make that Tesla as well as the processes undertaken to make that Tesla. The article spends a lot of ink delving into an answer to that question.

Balls To The Wall - part the first

Wow!! Just, Wow!! Years ago The Wife insisted we go to Bermuda, with what turned out to be the last of our money. Sailed from NYC on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that was decades old, and was soon sold off to an even lower class English line. They cut it in half, added several tens of feet to the hull, and went merrily on their way.

I found out later that NCL, how it is commonly referred, is, within the industry, de-acronymed as No Class Line. So it comes as a great shock to read today that the CEO has taken a rational stand against Ronny VirusSeed©:
"At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can't operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from, and we can operate from the Caribbean for a ship that otherwise would have gone to Florida," CEO Frank Del Rio said during the company's quarterly earnings call.
Not the company I expected to do more than blather. It's not the voter suppression issue, of course, but it ain't nuthin.

04 May 2021

Country Roads

How's an interstate travel ban sound? Now that we're down, mostly, to the two main anti-vaccine groups, Trumpsters and Godnuts, let's make sure they're bottled up in their own hollers and revival tents in their Ruby Red States. Come this winter of our disconnect, may be they'll kill off a substantial number of themselves. The Blacks-only-enforced voter suppression gigs will be offset. A bit. That's 'Good Eats'. And, following on with speculation/prediction in these missives, the 'experts' now conclude that garden variety herd immunity is out of reach. Among the reasons: by elongating the vaccinations, Covid has more time to mutate; with upwards of 30% of Americans (the Real Americans) refusing to be vaccinated we get a double whammy, both more time to mutate and more bodies to infect; so, given both of the forgoing, the probability that a vaccine-resistent mutation can erupt here in the USofA increases.

Here are some current numbers on vaccinations and infections. One ought not to be surprised they go together like a horse and carriage. You'll note that these are nearly all Trump States or Trump Counties. Who would have guessed?

More than one epidemiologist is warning that if the USofA doesn't act as a communal society with a common enemy, winter 21-22 will look rather like 20-21. The biggest IF is, if Covid gets an extended period of time to transmit and mutate (and visits from shithole countries like India and Brazil), the greater the likelihood that a new surge, disconnected from original Covid-19, will be visited upon us. A price of Personal Freedom the Trumpsters and Godnuts are willing to pay; it seems. If only they get sick and die, then let them. But they have no right to visit that on the rest of us.

Thought For The Day - 4 May 2021

About those new and interesting voter suppression efforts in the Ruby Red Rural States. If you believe that any of those new laws and regulations are enforced anywhere but Black or Brown or Hispanic precincts, you're quite out of your skull. The fish-belly whites will get all of the water and snacks they need. Not, of course, that they'll really need either since their voting lines will be only three or four deep.

23 April 2021

The Tyranny of Average Cost - part the fifteenth

Well, well yet another episode in this continuing series, a paean to the power of amortization. Here's a tidbit from today's news. Regular reader clearly understands the notion underpinning the titles of this series: the more physical capital a production process requires, the less flexible it is in regard to profitable output level. The arithmetic is straightforward, by counter-example: with a labor intensive production function (say, plantation cotton), the bidnezzman hires (or just acquires) more workers to increase output; vice-versa should demand and output fall he simply sheds workers one way or another (unemployment insurance? we don't need no none of dat).

When the production function hits the tipping point (calculating that is no simple task) of capital/labor ratio, adjusting output to meet demand, i.e. reducing output, the cost of capital must still be paid, and average cost increases as that cost is spread over fewer units. The advantage of this mini-factory approach is a one-way street. It supports the idea of adding incrementally to capacity as demand builds, thus not having to build a River Rouge in the expectation that, some day, its full capacity can be sold. But the vice-versa does not happen; whenever demand slackens, some number of those mini-factories are just as redundant as a corner or two of a River Rouge, and their capital cost also does not disappear. The Piper still must be paid in either circumstance.

It is a problem. And, for the only time in recent memory, a Master of the Universe admits it. Be still my heart.
"The assembly line approach is very capital-intensive, and you have to get to very high production levels to make any margin," said Avinash Rugoobur, Arrival's president and a former General Motors executive. "The microfactory allows us to build vehicles profitably at really any volume."
[my emphasis, and Holy Shit!!! Who knew my readership went so far?]
Note well: Arrival isn't proposing to reduce capital content in its production function, if anything Arrival will end up with a higher capital/labor ratio in toto (all of those wonderful robots, which don't get sick or take lunch breaks, but you can't fire, either), but because of this mini-factory structure, they have convinced themselves that such yields a lower average cost. I doubt it.

Alas, Rugoobur is delusional. What matters: total sunk cost in physical capital and total output. It simply doesn't matter if that physical capital is embodied in The River Rouge plant or dozens of small plants scattered across the land. Shutting down one plant to reduce output still leaves the bill for the physical capital to pay. The Tyranny of Average Cost never goes away. Thinking that, by chopping capital into smaller bits, the Grim Reaper of amortization disappears is delusional. (I suspect this guy is an MBA. Let's see if we can find out. Perhaps goodly, not an MBA by that name. His last qualy is in Library Science.) The Tyranny of Average Cost applies to all costs and output levels. Slicing and dicing doesn't vanquish The Tyrant. The Tyrant lives in the production process, not the output level.

As a reminder: this basic idea, of dicing production into discrete bits and pieces, was attempted decades ago. It was/is called Cellular Manufacturing. The prime example: from 1987, and Volvo.
Building on concepts it pioneered at its 13-year-old plant here, Sweden's A. B. Volvo is now intent upon entirely jettisoning Ford's assembly line approach at a $315 million plant it is constructing at Uddevalla on the west coast of the Swedish peninsula. If all goes as planned, the plant will be organized into work teams - each of which will ultimately assemble a complete car by itself.
IOW, Arrival is old wine in new bottle. So, what happened to that Volvo plant? Let's see if we can find out. The plant was closed in 1994.

More detail here
Both are in southern Sweden, and negotiations began immediately with union leaders on the possibility of transferring some workers to Torslanda, on the west coast. Concentrating Volvo's car production in Sweden at one plant will save nearly $60 million annually, Mr. Jeansson said.
[my emphasis; how embarrassing]
Is past prologue? The Tyranny of Average Cost cannot be avoided. There is no veronica in physical production; you cannot escape The Bull by waving a red cape.

22 April 2021

About Those Wolves and Sheep

Did you or yours ever believe that the Right Wingnut assault on Big Tech was to protect Joe Sixpack from the ravaging Coastal High Tech wolves? Or, due to keeping up with the news, you clearly saw that the Right Wingnuts, not satisified with owning all of Murdoch and the vast Right Wing Conspiracy Network, they are determined to own the innterTubes, too? Yet another case of wolves in sheep's clothing.

Well, the latter has been my view from the start. The Right Wingnuts are the essential zero-sum contingent, thus they only see progress for themselves as driven solely by the deprivation of their Enemy.

So, today's news brings us the 'revelation' that Republicans are pushing Big Tech aside. For how long? We will see.
The lawmakers said in a letter that the companies had limited the reach of conservative voices, citing bans on the chat app Parler after it was used by participants in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and had abused their market power.
No mention, of course, of the flagrant lying that goes on in the Right Wingnut (so-called) News Organs. Of course not. Does it strike you as a tad odd that the Big Tech targets of the Right Wingnuts are within the sphere of the innterTubes? What about chip makers? Or AI outfits that shape public opinion? And let us not forget the estimable Palantir/Thiel. I have not heard any squeals of opposition about such entities from the Republicans; no bleating about the tyranny of corporations. And you would not expect them too, after all, politics as advertising got its rocket fuel from Atwater before and during Reagan.

21 April 2021

Karma's A Bitch

Oh, my!! Although Bordain sat down with Nugent, I still have no use for such a moron. Now we get the news that his claim of hoax has beat his ass nearly to death. Couldn't happen to a nastier guy.
[O]ver the last year he has spent most of his energy on denying the existence of Covid-19. Now Nugent, whose age at 72 makes him one of the most vulnerable to the virus, has admitted he has contracted the coronavirus.
...
I have never been so sick in all my life. I could barely crawl out of bed.
Good for him.

19 April 2021

Almost Heaven

Back in the early 80s I was a faceless bureaucrat in Washington. A woman I worked with frequently joked that if her domestic situation went sufficiently sour, she would run away to Nitro, West Virginia. The first few times she said it, I was not sure that any place would name itself Nitro. As you can see, there is such a place. So far as I can recall, she never headed that far west. Even then, some people decided to earn metro DC Damn Gummint salaries (which earnings were scaled, more or less, to local cost of living) and stretch its buying power through the expedient of living in the far eastern part of the state. It was one hell of a commute, to say the least; mitigated by the fact that 'flex time' work hours were allowed in DC Metro. Well, lo and behold!! The wiki just blew my socks off. Some 40 years later, Jefferson County is defined as part of an extended DC MSA (can't tell how long this has been true). What I do recall is that the commuters in my agency lived in Charles Town (not Charleston or Charlestown). Again according to the wiki, it is a 73 mile trek to DC.

This brief history of bureaucratic thriftiness is brought to you by Gov. Jim Justice, erstwhile Democratic now Republican governor (that was all a ruse, of course). Today's report is about the bounty the state is offering to 'remote workers' to move to the state.
The first three host cities are Shepherdstown, Lewisburg and Morgantown.
Let's see. Shepherdstown is also in Jefferson county and about the same time/distance as Charles Town; could be home of some bureaucrats today. Lewisburg is the SW corner and at least a 4 hour drive to DC, so not even flex time will help. One hopes. Lastly, Morgantown. It is on the PA border, due south of Pittsburgh, and 205 miles and three and a half hour drive. Not likely to be housing bureaucrats at this time.
The $12,000 West Virginia is offering is paid over two years, with $10,000 divided in monthly payments for the first year and $2,000 paid at the end of the second year, according to the program's website. If you move early, you keep the money that you've earned so far.
This grift is only likely to work IFF post-Covid, at the epidemic levels currently, is the New Normal, which is to say there is no post-Covid. The worry in Blue Cities, of course, is that irregardless of the waning of Covid to (really, in fact) 'just the flu', business will find it's just a whole hell of lot cheaper to not have offices in skyscrapers, or any offices anywhere. The hope of grifting Red states is that they'll not only gain more voters, but that such voters will morph from Leftist Snowflake to Right Wingnut tout de suite. They should take note of TX, which has been turning ever deeper Purple with the influx of Snowflakes. Be careful what you wish for.
Fear that Texas — a state once synonymous with Republican strength — could actually tilt Democratic this year, as recent transplants from California and other blue states help reshape the Lone Star state's electorate.
Be careful what you wish for. Remember that old wive's tale: your first love is your best love and time never changes that.

18 April 2021

The Price of Hubris

Through most of Covid, Canada demonstrated a willingness to follow the science and keep the wee little critter at bay; certainly more effectively than wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 and his venal minions. There has been a drip, drip of warnings over the last couple of months that Canadians weren't going to behave rationally, any more. How things have changed, Canada is an epicenter of surge. How could this happen?
"The government didn't listen to scientists, they didn't listen to epidemiologists, they didn't listen to doctors other than their chief medical officer of health. And because they failed to listen to scientists, they thought they could negotiate themselves out of this virus, but the virus is too strong, the variant is a different disease," said Warner, telling CNN on Friday his ICU was working at 115% capacity.
Who knew that ex-President AuH2O 2020 could infect Canada? It looks like he did.
"Whatever we put into place though, it's going to take time to take affect so right now, the trajectories of Covid rises are really baked in and I think the next 2 to 3 weeks for Ontario and Canada are going to be very, very, tough." said Dr. Fahad Razak, who treats coronavirus patients at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
Recall, if you might, this earlier missive about the Vancouver hockey team
Faithful readers may recall, very early on, that Canada hard-closed our border to keep us out of their neighborhood. Mr. Rogers yelled, 'get off my lawn!' Eh? Now, we find P.1 making rapid inroads in BC and lesser variants in the eastern provinces. What might not have been predictable: while the new surge is more non-geezer than previously, Canada's vaccination initiative hasn't been stellar, thus taking geezers out of the infectionable pool.
"Meanwhile in Canada" is trending on social media as Canadians lament their wobbly vaccination program. More than 30% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose compared to about 12% of Canadians, according to public health statistics from both nations.
In one respect, Canada has an excuse for lacking a national policy on Covid. Turns out provinces are more independent than USofA states.
In Canada, the courts (notably the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council, which, till 1949, was our highest court) have in general so interpreted the Constitution Act, 1867, as to narrow federal power and widen provincial power. The result is that the United States is, in actual fact, now a much more highly centralized federation than Canada, and Canada has become, perhaps, the most decentralized federation in the world.
This means, among other things, the public services granted in one province's government may be different from, more or less, any or all others.
It is up to the province in whose jurisdiction health[care] lies to run the program and determine how it is run. Each province has its own system and as long as it meets the basic requirements determine how its run. They often collaborate on best practice.
Thus, even if Trudeau wanted to, a national Covid program would be a departure from the norm. Here is a Canadian description (from a year ago) of the provincial Covid actions.
COVID-19 has also underscored how decentralized federalism enables provinces to innovate and learn from one another. Since March 9, when both Ontario and Nova Scotia restricted visits to long term care centres – a policy since adopted by all provinces – Canadians have witnessed this learning and innovating in real time. Provinces have responded to their own contexts in their own way, and polls published throughout the crisis indicate that the public has generally been satisfied by their province's handling of the crisis. ... While several provinces have restricted interprovincial travel, Quebec is the only province to have formally restricted intra-provincial travel.
Wouldn't it have been nice to wall-off Ronny VirusSeed©'s Florida and the entire mountain West early on? Yes, yes it would. Build the damn walls!!
The next important test for "COVID-19 federalism" will be how provinces lift the restrictions imposed since early March. What happens when one province decides to lift some restrictions, as Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is contemplating, and neighbouring provinces do not feel like they are ready to do so? And as some provinces lift restrictions one by one, public pressure will mount on those who do not.
We know, now, may be why BC and Ontario are in deep shit today. BC with P.1 and Ontario with most everything else.

Here in the USofA, one might be reminded of, not so long ago, Gym Jordan arguing with Fauci over exactly when we could get our freedoms back, as if mask wearing and distancing were such a grave assault on freedom. Back during the 1918 flu, San Franciscans were liable for a $5 fine if not wearing a mask. Granted, surgical masks of the day weren't as effective as today's Blue Bunnies, but five bucks back then went a whole lot further than today.
Cities that passed masking ordinances in the fall of 1918 struggled to enforce them among the small portion of people who rebelled. Common punishments were fines, prison sentences and having your name printed in the paper. In one horrific incident in San Francisco, a special officer for the board of health shot a man who refused to wear a mask as well as two bystanders.
That'll get your attention.

Of course, let's not forget what Maxine Waters did to Jordan when he kept at it
"You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth," Waters, 82, told Jordan, 57, after he kept talking over House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jim Clyburn, who had recognized another lawmaker in order to move on.
Mouth, and face, covering are important acts to stem Covid. Even in Congress.

As opined in an earlier missive, present may be prologue.

16 April 2021

Not Just Pure Speculation

Previously in this story -
TL;DR The Pill.

Onward.

What we know, from public reporting, is that the six blood clot patients:
- all women
- age range 18 to 48

Does that spark a memory? Of course it does. The Pill has been implicated in blood clots from the beginning. It will be this time, too. What is not yet reported:
- did these women all use any form of The Pill?
- did they all/most use the same Pill?
- does this Pill formulation have higher incidence of blood clots?

So, today we get new reporting, and lo and behold
It's also not clear who's at highest risk, Dr. Douglas Cines of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. James Bussel of Weill Cornell Medicine wrote in a commentary. "Most of the patients included in these reports were women younger than 50 years of age, some of whom were receiving estrogen-replacement therapy or oral contraceptives. A remarkably high percentage of the patients had thromboses at unusual sites," they wrote.
"Some" makes the correlation not a slam dunk, of course. "All" would be a much better signal; perhaps we'll find out soon.

15 April 2021

I Told You So - 15 April 2021

Just under three years ago, based on my experience with spooks in DC I offered
My time in DC convinces me that the intelligence community, the NSA in particular, has the Trump Tapes. It's perfectly legal for NSA/CIA/FBI to sweep up Americans who engage with foreigners in treasonous activities. Doesn't matter where their feet are at the time. The cabal knows what it did, and was counting on not winning to keep their activities from public view. Thus the FISA nonsense. They just wanted the money. Just as Jared extorted from Qatar. In due time, the community will release the tapes. Whether Orange Julius Caesar spends time in prison is the only question.
So, tonight it's all over the news (well, modulo Fox and the rest of the Right Wingnut organs) that it has been concluded that the ball went from Manafort to Gates to Kilimnik to the FSB. The NSA has known this from the jump. Just my humble opinion, of course, though based on reporting I did while in DC. The NSA knows all.

14 April 2021

Wolverine

How to explain Michigan being Ground Zero for the fourth surge? Well, it's kind of easy.

1) The NYT Hotspot map shows, by county, what Michigan is (not) doing. That map will change, more or less, by the time you go visit, but as I type, eastern Michigan sticks out like a sore thumb. A long time simile for the LP.

2) How about income level? We know, at least the Effete Eastern Intellectuals do, that poor, rural folks have drunk deeply of wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024's Flavour Aid and refuse to adhere to public health measures which reduce transmission. Boy howdy, this map shows that eastern Michigan is both poor and rural.

3) How about education level? Again, the poorly educated also have drunk deeply from the Flavour Aid, which this map demonstrates.

The report which follows below that map is well worth reading, if for no other reason that a later map, US education deserts, maps almost exactly with the counties that fueled the fall-winter surge. It is as if one were a tracing of the other. Eerie.

To the extent that poor, uneducated, rural folk are angry about their situation, and looking to blame the Effete Eastern Intellectuals, they really can only change the trajectory, if not for the middle aged and older but for the kiddies, if they admit they have been electing Right Wingnut politicos whose intent has been to keep them poor, uneducated, and unhealthy. As the ancient adage goes, 'insanity is continually doing the same thing and expecting a different result'.

Of course, those older adults complain that if kiddies get good education, they'll just up and leave the county for Detroit or Chicago or New York. Well, likely so. But, why begrudge them a better life?

Whitmer does her damnedest to keep Covid at bay, and Wolverines try to kill her? About what one would expect from such folks.

Pure Speculation

TL;DR The Pill.

Onward.

What we know, from public reporting, is that the six blood clot patients:
- all women
- age range 18 to 48

Does that spark a memory? Of course it does. The Pill has been implicated in blood clots from the beginning. It will be this time, too. What is not yet reported:
- did these women all use any form of The Pill?
- did they all/most use the same Pill?
- does this Pill formulation have higher incidence of blood clots?

13 April 2021

Car Pdot1 Where Are You?

The 'Brazil' mutation, P.1, is finally getting some ink. In this report it is found that existing vaccines are protective
The inactivated vaccine, CoronaVac, proved effective in combatting COVID-19 in the city of Manaus, Brazil, where the highly transmissible P.1 variant emerged and has devastated the local population, researchers from Brazil and the Yale School of Public Health have found.
Background: CoronaVac is 'the' China vaccine which is of the long standing inactivated-virus type.

On the other hand, our friendly friends to the North have a problem.
As provinces across Canada break records for new cases of the virus, experts have grown increasingly troubled by the rapid and covert spread of variants. With 877 confirmed cases of P1, the province of British Columbia is now the centre of the world's largest sequenced outbreak of the variant outside Brazil – and nearly a quarter of those cases have been linked to Whistler [ski resort].
Illinois leads the pack with 7.6% P.1
Michigan leads the pack with 57.6% B.1.1.7
[here]

Anyone who thinks we're near the finish line is an idiot.

12 April 2021

You Should Read This

The Covid Tracking Project has wrapped up. This is a closing statement, of sorts.

It is a harrowing tale, especially for those who really, truly believe Suits who say, more or less, "We are a data driven organization." The reality is exactly different. The CTP dealt with, they imply, incompetent data creation and collection, yet the real enemy of data is Policy. Policy is driven by power to enforce the wishes of the Suits. Data don't matter; what matters is that Policy supports power and punishes the powerless.

More times then regular readers may want, these missives have pointed to situations where Data was ignored by Policy. It will always be true. Very occasionally Data will support Policy a priori. Rarely.

What is particularly disappointing: even these folks, up to their necks in data, don't offer an explanation for the cliff dive from 6 January. In other words, in the jargon of the stat/data scientist, what was/is the data generation process? WHY, for crying out loud, could so much Covid just disappear in a few weeks. Until someone without an agenda makes a sensible statement, I will continue to believe we have been snookered by Policy.
"What CDC is not accounting for is that we have been flying blind for weeks with essentially no [testing]," Carter Mecher, a medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, wrote to an email list of federal officials on March 13. "The difference between models and real life is that with models we can set the parameters as if they are known. In real life, these parameters are as clear as mud."
It was wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024's intent to flick Covid away, as one might a fly from one's desperate coif. In other words, until 20 January 2021, Policy prevented Data from existing. Birx's latter-day confession should not have been a surprise.

I have long found that the mathifacation of economics led to two related Bad Things. - at the micro level, from the individual organization to its aggregation(s), census data is routinely available. all the convoluted math and stat models are the result of believing that reality is really what is measured. - over time, following from Samuelson, macro practitioners succumbed to the pressure to 'mathify' the study, but, naturally, macro is all about Policy, and Data has but one job: to demonstrate that those affilated with Power got what they wanted from change in Policy. Sometimes, when Snowflake Lefties are in power, 'affilation' means most of the country.
The COVID Tracking Project clung to one principle: We told people the truth as we could discern it. We didn't say what we wanted to be true, nor what we hoped would engender a specific public response.

Parallax View - part the fifty third

Another week's up, so here are today's numbers:
  >= 1,000 -   339
100 to 999 - 1,167
(New) grand total of counties reads at 3,067. While I've not gotten into an argument with the Topo folks over this re-definition of 'affected' counties, it certainly looks like a move to bolster wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024's perpetual lying.

[8 April] What did earlier missives say? 'What about P.1?' Well, today we find that the Vancouver Canuks (they play hockey in the NHL) are nearly 100% infected with that variant.
The P.1 variant has seen a spike in the Vancouver region over recent weeks. On Tuesday, the province announced 1,068 new cases of Covid-19, including three deaths and 207 new cases from variants of concern.
Taking out, to all intents and purposes, an entire team is saying something.

One might surmise that P.1 is slipping across the border, but not so mucn.
As of April 6, 2021, there had been 356 reported cases of the P.1. COVID-19 variant, with Florida accounting for the highest number of cases. COVID-19 variants act differently than the original disease and therefore may spread more quickly or cause more severe disease.
[my emphasis]
Great oaks from little acorns grow.

Massachusetts is second, but Washington, which has a long-ish border with BC, sits at 13.

All these numbers are almost certainly to differ by Monday when this missive is transmitted. One hopes they, as wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 said a year ago, they will fall to 0. Not the side I would bet.

[9 April] Aren't you glad they built a wall?
Canada's third wave of the pandemic is now more serious than the previous two, as hospitalizations and critical care admissions spike and the vaccine rollout is unlikely to change things over the next few weeks.
Faithful readers may recall, very early on, that Canada hard-closed our border to keep us out of their neighborhood. Mr. Rogers yelled, 'get off my lawn!' Eh? Now, we find P.1 making rapid inroads in BC and lesser variants in the eastern provinces. What might not have been predictable: while the new surge is more non-geezer than previously, Canada's vaccination initiative hasn't been stellar, thus taking geezers out of the infectionable pool.
"Meanwhile in Canada" is trending on social media as Canadians lament their wobbly vaccination program. More than 30% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose compared to about 12% of Canadians, according to public health statistics from both nations.
A college friend of The Wife lives in greater Vancouver, and emailed a few days ago that she "lived in one of those shithole countries" that can't vaccinate. Said friend is 65+, so would have been eligible here at least a month ago.

It appears that the Topo map is less and less expressive of what is going on with Covid. Going forward, individually named missives. Farewell.

11 April 2021

By The Numbers - part the eleventh

So, today's reporting on vaccination includes the 'fact' that 40% of Marines decline to be vaccinated. Let us see what the reporting offers about why.
Officials say most of the vaccine hesitancy stems from concerns about the speed at which the vaccines were developed and fears over long-term effects.
Pretty tepid excuse. One might surmise (I surely will) that too many in the armed forces come from Red states where wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024-ism is rampant. Well, here are some numbers.
Looking at each state's share of recruits by the number of 18-to-24-year-olds in the state determines how well or how poorly a state is doing compared to its recruitable population. By that measure, the top five states in 2016 were: Hawaii, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Florida. The five places with the smallest share of recruits were: Washington D.C., North Dakota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.
Except for Hawaii, Red. Hawaii had low unemployment and thus not a hot target for enlistment, but Hawaii is mostly about tourism and military and not higher education driven employment; the Islands can't even make enough public school teachers. On the other side, North Dakota looks out of place. The unemployment rate at the time of the survey was quite low in North Dakota. Hmm?? So it is not Patriotism, but moolah that encourages? Don't tell that to the Rabid Right Wing.

We know that police, military, and ex-military were disproportionately in The Insurrection. You are only a Patriot if you are in thrall to wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024.
As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers and aides hid wherever they could, waiting for the military and police to arrive. But many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution. In fact, an NPR analysis has found that nearly 1 in 5 people charged over their alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have a military history.
As to Hawaii, this report demonstrates that Hawaii has the second highest per capita military presence. And, naturally, that doesn't include civilians working for the various branches.

09 April 2021

Quants' Hubris - part the eighth

Everything you need to know, or a quant needs to know, about getting rich from Mr. Market:
[T]he Flow Show report from BofA Securities indicated that total global equity inflows over the past five months ($576 billion) has exceeded total inflows for the past 12 years ($425 billion)!
-- briefing.com/9 April 2021
IOW, Mr. Market gets phat when mo money comes in. So, if you know the tide is coming in before enough other quants, you can front run Mr. Market. Needless to say, once the information has made it to organs such as briefing.com, the advantage has gone poof.

05 April 2021

By The Numbers - part the tenth [update]

Sometimes a grift is just a grift. It's not always clear why some grifters bother. In today's example Asa Hutchinson vetoes an anti-trans bill. A really woke kind of guy, right?

Well, not so much:
state House 70 to 22 pass
state Senate 28 to 7 pass

In most states, override requires something more than 50% + 1. Not in Arkansas, merely that. Just a ploy, openly (snicker...) grifting. I suppose he thinks that he's feeling the breeze from next-door Georgia.

[update]
All of which raises the question: what are the rules of veto override among the states?

36 states require a two-thirds vote from both chambers of the legislature.
Seven states require a three-fifths vote from both chambers of the legislature.
Six states require a majority vote from both chambers of the legislature.
Alaska requires a two-thirds vote in a joint meeting of its legislative chambers.

So, Arkansas and five others have a worthless veto. Well, unless someone changes voting. Swell. But which ones?

The wiki to the rescue: the backward states with simple majority.
Alabama
Arkansas
Indiana
Kentucky
Tennessee
West Virgina

Parallax View - part the fifty second

Another week's up, so here are today's numbers:
  >= 1,000 -   333
100 to 999 - 1,227
(New) grand total of counties reads at 3,081. While I've not gotten into an argument with the Topo folks over this re-definition of 'affected' counties, it certainly looks like a move to bolster wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024's perpetual lying.

[4 April] Stupid is as stupid does
For example, just 22% of those who say they'll never get vaccinated say they have avoided public places in the last week compared to 54% of those who are fully vaccinated, according to Gallup polling.
We're now I think in that cycle where the Upper Midwest is just now beginning to start this fourth surge. I think it was a wake-up call to everyone yesterday when Michigan reported out at 8,400 new cases, and we're now seeing increasing number of severe illnesses, ICU hospitalizations, in individuals who are between 30 and 50 years of age who have not been vaccinated.
-- Michael Osterholm

One hopes he is just being paranoid. But he's been right before.

Well yeah, I tole you so many missives ago
Doctors are worried that coronavirus may end up being like influenza, which requires a new vaccine every year both because the circulating strains mutate fast and because immunity from the vaccine wears off quickly.
Not, naturally, because I'm a scientist expert in coronaviruses. But, as the saying goes, I can read, and reading up on coronaviruses led rather swiftly to reporting that recovery immunity to coronaviruses has been short with previous types. Ergo, absent specific new evidence, we would be smarter to err on the side of caution with this type of coronavirus. There's been some complaining on various retail plunger investor sites of late that Pfizer and Moderna and J&J aren't/won't get rich off these vaccines. Well, I expect they will. I expect that, call it a booster or re-vaccination, we'll be seeing a two-fer (flu and Covid) shot next fall. And the fall after that... Time will tell.

What's still disquieting: no mention in reports about USofA Covid situation taking into account the P.1 variant overrunning Brazil. As with the NYC situation last year, it will take only one plane load from Rio to set in motion a new epidemic here. And, of course, it's already arrived.

[5 April] Welcome to the party, kids! Combine B.1.1.7, which is vectoring towards the Young Sets, and Ronny VirusSeed©'s Spring Break Infectiathon, and will we see another January spike? If so, will that be sufficient to disabuse the Younger Sets of their belief and assertion that Covid is The Old People's Grim Reaper, ergo of no concern to them? Sacrifice more than the occasional individual kiddie might be enough of a slap upside the head? Only The Shadow knows.
In Florida's Orange County, officials reported late last month a rise in Covid-19 cases in the 18-25 age group.

And a third of all of the county's Covid-19 hospitalizations were people younger than 45, according to Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.