28 October 2021

Shit, Piss, and Corruption

So, DST ends on the first Sunday in November now, and has since 2005. This year that's the seventh, the latest it can be. Got me to wondering whether it's always the same number of days across all years, given that both the start and end days float (not including leap years, of course). Not wanting to calculate it out, I went to the innterTubes. Didn't find the answer, but did find this on the wiki
The 2005 extension was motivated in part by lobbyists from the candy industry, seeking to increase profits by including Halloween (October 31) within the daylight saving time period.
Another genuflection to Big Bidnezz by Dubya. Who wooda thunk it?

25 October 2021

Stupid Is As Stupid Does - part the third

There might well be a beneficial side-effect from the anti-vaxxer movement. Here's a recent report on these folks. Idiots, one and all. It's kind of a Darwin Award analogue: get rid of the idiots in these professions. Especially cops.
In interviews, New Yorkers who have given up their livelihoods spoke of their opposition to the vaccines as rooted in fear or in a deeply held conviction — resistance to vaccination as a principle to live by, one they put above any health, job or financial consideration.

It is this alternative worldview, resistant to carrot or stick, that helps explain why 21 percent of eligible adults in the country have not gotten a single vaccine dose, threatening a nationwide goal of containing the pandemic.

24 October 2021

Death of an Island - part the eighth

It's been a while since the last installment of this thread of interest. Both Bermuda and Block Island have been the 'island' of interest. Today is, once again, Block Island's day.

Last week was our annual pilgrimage to the island. Weather turned out to be the nicest in recent trips; most days high temp in the 70s and clear, though rather windy. When we arrived, there was a posting in the lobby, advising that the town had instituted an indoor mask mandate effective 3 September. Say, what? I had been tracking both islands' Covid experience earlier in the year, but then both reported diminishing cases, and I focused elsewhere. Rhode Island hasn't been anywhere near the top in Covid-Δ states, either. So, what was going on?

I asked various residents we've come to know, what had been going on? What had not been widely reported, if at all, was that Covid-Δ had run through the service people like a hot knife through butter. As with many other resort places, the lodging and feeding establishments get much of their staff from off-island, even out-of-USofA. And they're lodged in vewy, vewy close quarters. The attentive reader will recall the mess made in meat packing plants in Spring 2020; same thing on Block Island during High Season.

Moreover, it turns out even the resident physician only knows a fraction of the infections
Warcup reported 11 positive cases in the past ten days on Block Island, but noted these were only the cases he knew about. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that are sent off to the Rhode Island Department of Health from the Fire Barn are not included in the data set. DOH contacts the patients directly and does not contact the Medical Center to share results. PCR tests are the nose swab tests.
One wonders how many other entities don't get PCR results?

It is, still, a bit puzzling that the town would react so late in the game. Closing the barn door after the horses got out. Might it be that replacing sick staff with other lambs from off-island during High Season was more cost effective? Wouldn't want the million dollar cottage dwellers and day trippers to have a service deprived experience. We always have breakfest at Bethany's; there was only one person, beyond Bethany herself, working the front; weekend breakfasts were a bit slow, but during the week when only oddballs such as us were on-island, things went smoothly.

As to that other island, Bermuda's been going through a similar spike. Here's one report of many on the situation.

11 October 2021

Like the Weather

The color of the sky as far as I can see is coal grey.
Lift my head from the pillow and then fall again.
With a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather.
A quiver in my lips as if I might cry.
-- Natalie Merchant

So, what's up with Michigan? It's still on the climb, denying Leonhardt's two month assertion, moving up on a full four month elevation. Well, if you bring up the rest of the Canadian border states (west of the Great Lakes, at least) you see exactly the same thing; still climbing well past the alleged two month 'surge' (as if the dead recorded on the down-side don't really count). This does not bode well for the rest of the lower 48. These states all bottomed out about 1 July, and are still climbing. Toss in Maine (which may be turning over, from its highest ever peak), the only east of the Lakes state that's as far north, and you can see the future. It ain't pretty.

In a cynical way, further death and destruction in these Ruby Red states may be the best thing that can happen for the Donkey Party. Sleepy Joe and his minions can say, "Look what happens when you ignore the science: more dead people. If that's what you want, vote for the Right Wingnuts, If you don't, vote for the Donkey Party."

08 October 2021

Now I Hate David Leonhardt - part the first

Never thought it would come to this; this title is far less tongue-in-cheek than for Irwin. Leonhardt has gone all wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 on me. I had such regard for his sanity. Now, gone. He has an e-mail thingee (for subscribers I suppose) which is archived as "The Morning Newsletter" if you want to find it, of uncertain (to my memory) frequency. Today's, carrying the title "The Covid Fable", has this to say:
The best measure of U.S. cases (a seven-day average, adjusted for holiday anomalies) peaked around 166,000 on Sept. 1 — the very day that seemed to augur a new surge. The number of new daily cases has since fallen almost 40 percent. Hospitalizations are down about 30 percent. Deaths, which typically change direction a few weeks after cases, have declined 13 percent since Sept. 20.
Then goes on to chronicle the Bad Things that people think:
- Clutch chokers
- Vaccines and humility
The main determinants of Covid's spread (other than vaccines, which are extremely effective) remain mysterious. Some activities that seem dangerous, like in-person school or crowded outdoor gatherings, may not always be. As unsatisfying as it is, we do not know why cases have recently plunged. The decline is consistent with the fact that Covid surges often last for about two months before receding, but that's merely a description of the data, not a causal explanation.
[my emphasis]
I guess he forgets the Sturgis meets? And the original super-spreader: the DeSantis Spring Breakers? There's absolutely no mystery about spread: masks, distancing, staying away from closed-in areas (and jam packed outdoors, too) all have distinguished areas with high counts and those with low counts. Just go back to the Tectonix map from March 2020 to see the spread. Jeez!!

This all, of course, ignores the data splendidly displayed in his own newspaper. Recall from a few days ago, the post 16 June deaths by county map. Is it too much to ask to accept that this map does show how Covid-Δ has spread? The stupid Red states, which ignore all of the proven (despite Leonhardt's instance that 'proven' is a myth) mitigations, have died expeditiously, while the Blue states which continue to be smart about the situation, aren't. What the hell is this guy thinking? If he is, that is.

As to the rise and fall of Covid strains, yes, one should infer that:
- all strains are more infectious than our lackluster testing regime says
- all strains are more asymp than our lackluster testing regime says
- herd immunity is the only reasonable explanation
- if you're willing to kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands by doing nothing...
- the two month cycle he asserts is nowhere near true; in many states it's been much longer
- if you view the USofA map, you'll see that 12 Sep. 2020 doesn't peak until 8 Jan.
- if you view the USofA map, you'll see that each cycle had a different span

These states have either yet to fall over (case counts, not deaths), or have just started to (start, peak)
Alaska - 1 July, 27 September: 3 months so far, still above previous maximum
Hawaii - 1 July, 2 September: 2 months so far, still above previous maximum
Idaho - 4 July, 13 September: 2 1/2 months so far, oscillating just below peak
Michigan - 1 July, none: still climbing
Missouri - 4 June, 7 August: but is in gradual decline, not precipitous
Montana - 6 July, 23 September: oscillating just below peak
North Dakota - 28 June, none: still climbing
South Dakota - 1 July, 14 September: but is in gradual decline, not precipitous
Utah - 2 June, 13 September: was in gradual decline, now climbing
Wisconsin - 2 July, 21 September: was in gradual decline, now climbing
Wyoming - 5 July, 13 September: oscillating just below peak

Going through the individual state graphs is a pain. An alternative, with much less detail, is available here, scroll down to see the map groups.

In sum: Leonhardt is just a knucklehead.

06 October 2021

Mrs. Potato Head

This just in from the lamestream press:
[Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice] McGeachin tweeted that she "fixed" [Gov.] Little's executive order banning vaccine passports to include banning schools, colleges, and universities from requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccinations or a negative Covid-19 test.

"I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty!," the lieutenant governor said.
Stupid is as stupid does. Among other things, have a gander at the NYT Idaho page. Idaho isn't unique, but is in the extreme of experience, so far, with Covid and Covid-Δ. Note, especially, the humps in the Hosptalizations graph.
- there are 4 humps in the graph
- each hump is wider than the previous
- each hump is taller than the previous
- the current one has not yet curled over
- the current one is the tallest
Wouldn't want to be in Idaho, especially the Panhandle, which has been inundating Washington state with Covid-Δ patients. Whatever happened to states' rights?
Idaho has been facing its own COVID-19 crisis. Idaho has enacted its "crisis standards of care" after it was hit with a massive COVID-19 surge that overwhelmed hospitals[.]
Stupid people elect stupid people, who, on the whole, seek mainly to grind the citizens under their heel. MAGA

05 October 2021

Thought For The Day - 5 October 2021

Tell me, oh wise ones, how is Facebook different from any other capitalist organization? News just seen that Collins is retiring from NIH. The Right Wingnuts of the MAGA crowd claim that everything in an economy should be run by capitalists, except may be war. That they make lots of Bongo Bucks from the supply of war materiel, is always elided. Daddy Warbucks was a comics character, but he sprang up from reality.

So, would it be a Good Thing if NIH were run like Facebook? Whataya think?

Here's a recent example of that sort of result.
Birx, who was not present, had pulled the plug on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) system for collecting hospital data and turned much of the responsibility over to a private contractor, Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies Inc., a hospital data management company. The reason: CDC had not met Birx's demand that hospitals report 100% of their COVID-19 data every day.
TeleTracking's majority owner, real estate developer Michael Zamagias, has donated to Republican candidates and has ties to Trump businesses through colleagues, according to an NPR report.
Cyber Ninjas in Arizona?

Of course, Birx is that toady who just sat there when wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 told us all to inhale bleach to end Covid.

Y'all think I'm kidding, right? In 1988, Reagonomics/Papa Bush Land, OMB wanted to privatize much of NIH. That would have been special.

04 October 2021

Game On

So, here's the headline: "Merck's Covid-19 pill is great news but may not be a game-changer". So, of course I disagree, but not in the obvious way.

The essence of the piece is that any anti-viral isn't the key to stopping the march of Covid.
Effective pills given to outpatients could make a large difference for several distinct groups: for people with mild illness, it could prevent progression to more severe, even life-threatening illness, as the study apparently shows; provide an alternative approach to prevent severe disease in vaccine-refuseniks and vaccine-non-responders (those with severely weakened immune systems); and potentially protect those with recent close exposure to an active case (studies already are underway to examine this last possible use).
And, naturally, therein lies the problems.
- the patient has to have symptoms
- the patient has to get the anti-viral pretty much immediately

As the report says:
Antiviral agents work best when given at first symptoms of disease. Symptoms of early Covid-19 resemble those of countless other viral respiratory infections, such as flu and common colds: sniffles, cough, an upset stomach, a little fever. Nothing specific.
What's the chance that the patient will get this anti-viral soon enough for it to be effective? Kind of like knowing you're pregnant within six weeks. Not much.

And, more importantly, soon enough to render the patient non-infective? Recall: the most important point of the vaccines (alas, apologies to the vaccinated), is to stop transmission. If we all had the DeSantis/Abbott protocol, no one would get either vaccine or anti-viral, and Covid would just run its natural course through the population. God will protect the Godly.

Private Parts

What with the Barrett Court about to topple Roe, it's worth noting what the other intended consequence will be. L&O episodes continue to run on the teeVee, and perhaps as coincidence or not, but just the other day was the episode with Fred Thompson playing DA Branch (in a scene which demanded not a whit of acting) in which, toward the end, McCoy and Southerlyn get into a small spat with Branch over the trial just concluded. Branch argues that they think he's just some reactionary, and he insists he's not. In particular, his objection to the Roe decision is based solely on the fact (and it is) that Roe was decided on the basis of an imputed right to privacy, not one stated in the text or amendments.

Now, in order to overturn Roe, the Barrett Court will have to also scuttle the underpinning of the decision: there is no constitutional right to privacy. From that moment forward, any fascist government or corporation will have carte blanche to spy on all Americans. I wonder how that will go over in the Land of Stupid People?

In The Land of Stupid People

Back to the land of Stupid People.
-- Phil Johnson/1990 [leaving the office for his home in Brockton]

Well, the USofA has many lands of stupid people. In most cases, when I reference some data table or graph, I just have a link for gentle reader to go view as s/he feels compelled. "Well, Tex, this one's differnt!" Here's the death map, June to October, from the NYT.