5/27/2020

Lies, Damn Lies, And Statistics

I was taught there are three ways to lie.

Most people will tell untruths in a fashion that leads people to believe the lies. Others will lie by omission, telling the truth but leaving things out that changes the perception of the true. More uncommon but one of the most effective ways to lie is to tell the absolute truth, leaving nothing out, but telling the truth in such a fashion that people believes that everything that was said was a lie. It is the second method that is used most often when someone uses statistics to prove their point. A case in point is this from the Pew Research Center (by way of Instapundit) that tries to paint a picture that is entirely deceiving, claiming that Covid-19 deaths have been declining in Democrat congressional districts, but have been stable in GOP districts, i.e., not declining. This is a screen capture of the tweet from Pew showing the decline.



Looks like the Dem districts are indeed seeing a decline in Covid-19 deaths. See, it’s right there in the chart! But what’s missing?

The chart showing the deaths in GOP congressional districts.

Here’s the full chart showing the deaths in both Democrat and Republican districts.



Looking at both sets of data one can now see the Pew Research Center was misleading the public with their tweet, even though they did not outright lie. Instead they withheld the information that changed the meaning of what they published. It was a lie of omission, one used to serve a specific narrative.

5/26/2020

Out On The Lake

It was a warm day here in central New Hampshire. Both my ex and our son had the day off, as did I. (Taking some vacation time, I am.) So we headed out on to Lake Winnipesaukee for a few hours, visiting both Alton Bay and Paugus Bay at opposite ends of the lake. That there were very few people out on the lake made it even better than it might have been under normal circumstances.

The Boat is now back at its dock and I made my way back home for dinner.

5/24/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

It is Memorial Day Weekend here in Coronavirus America, though not everyplace may be showing it as the unofficial start of the summer season.

Our town has scaled back its Memorial Day observances in light of the precautions being taken to help prevent any spreading of the Wuhan virus. There will be wreath-laying and a prayer at our town’s WWI and WWII Memorial in our village center and at the War Memorial in the nearby cemetery. But there will be no parade, no speeches, no marching band. It will be a smaller and more sober remembrance than those in the past...and perhaps more poignant.

********************


During my travels around town yesterday (with my guest co-pilot, Mike), I noticed a number of contradictory things regarding the unofficial start of summer.

When I first ventured out, making my every-other weekly trip to the dump, traffic was surprisingly light. At that time of the morning – 10 a.m. - there is usually a surge in traffic as folks head out to take care of their shopping and other errands. It’s like a switch is thrown and everyone so inclined hops into their cars/trucks/SUVs to take care of those errands. But not yesterday. Traffic was surprisingly light for that time of the morning. In fact, it was almost non-existent.

After the trip to the dump, my co-pilot and I traveled around the town as I showed him some small number of various highlights – one of the lakeside parks, the town docks, one of our local eateries which had set up a tent for outdoors dining, one of our “old-fashioned” general stores, our DPW (he likes that kind of stuff), one of our farm stands, as well as some of the more scenic views of the lake and mountains.

By noon, traffic had gone from minimal to looking more like rush hour in a big city – heavy traffic, bumper-to-bumper on one of the state roads running through our town, lots of motorcycles, lots of SUVs and trucks hauling boat trailers, many of those also stuffed with all kinds of gear and luggage for the long weekend...or for the whole summer as folks were also opening their summer cottages and camps. It pretty much remained that way until later in the afternoon, then dropped off to more normal traffic levels.

A resident living near the town docks reported traffic at the boat ramps had been insane during late Friday afternoon, sending us a couple of photos showing the traffic jam at the ramps. Both this and the traffic seen on Saturday may be indicative of pent up demand and the feeling of freedom now that summer is here, even unofficially.

********************


As Lord John Maynard Keynes once said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?”

It seems that people, including scientists, are hesitant to publicly change their minds when facts change or new facts override old ‘facts’. It seems a lot of that doesn’t always come from their reluctance to actually change their minds so much as their fear of losing face or the public losing their faith in them.

Science always changes as new discoveries are made that add to or override old knowledge that changes our perceptions about our lives, our world, or our universe.

As Albert Einstein once said on the matter, “It doesn’t matter if 10,000 scientists agree with me. All it takes is one to prove me wrong.” He understood that if the facts of what he believed changed, then his beliefs were in error and that he would need to change his beliefs to match the facts. To do anything else was dishonest.

Maybe it’s time for all of the self-proclaimed ‘scientists’ out there to take it to heart...particularly practitioners of Political Science masquerading as actual scientists.

********************


In line with the above, there’s this from Scientific American, a once worthy science journal now reduced to being politically correct rather than scientifically correct: Researchers identify a major risk factor for pernicious effects of misinformation.

While this article dates back to 2018, it is no less accurate for being two years old.

“Fake news” is Donald Trump’s favorite catchphrase. Since the 2016 election, it has appeared in hundreds of tweets by the President, decrying everything from accusations of sexual assault against him to the Russian collusion investigation to reports that he watches up to eight hours of television a day. Trump may just use “fake news” as a rhetorical device to discredit stories he doesn’t like, but there is evidence that real fake news is a serious problem. As one alarming example, an analysis by the internet media company Buzzfeed revealed that during the final three months of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the 20 most popular false election stories generated around 1.3 million more Facebook engagements—shares, reactions, and comments—than did the 20 most popular legitimate stories. The most popular fake story was “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President.”

Fake news can distort people’s beliefs even after being debunked. For example, repeated over and over, a story such as the one about the Pope endorsing Trump can create a glow around a political candidate that persists long after the story is exposed as fake. A 2017 study published in the journal Intelligence suggests that some people may have an especially difficult time rejecting misinformation. Asked to rate a fictitious person on a range of character traits, people who scored low on a test of cognitive ability continued to be influenced by damaging information about the person even after they were explicitly told the information was false. The study is significant because it identifies what may be a major risk factor for vulnerability to fake news.

We see it every day on Facebook, in comments posted about a news story or blog post, and on the actual news outlets like the DNC-MSM. I have seen it when someone makes the long-debunked claim that Blue states pay more in federal taxes than Red states and that Red states receive more in federal funds than Blue states. I have responded to that claim, using information readily available from Federal Government websites that show how the numbers are being manipulated. Larger states with the correlating larger populations always pay more in federal taxes than smaller states. That’s a no-brainer. But when you look at the numbers based upon per capita taxes paid, the numbers shift showing that Red states tend to send more money to Washington DC than Blue states. The same is true if federal funds sent to the individual states is broken down by category, things like Welfare, Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare, Social Security, highway funds, law enforcement grants, federal wages (for federal employees), military wages/operating funds/procurement/etc., and so on. It then takes on an entirely different picture.

Even when sent links to state/federal government websites proving where the money comes from and where it goes, the Progressive Left will continue to insist they are right and that the facts don’t matter. They can’t help themselves if for no other reason that it doesn’t meet with their closely held beliefs. Therefore, they choose to ignore the facts and continue to spread their debunked misinformation. This is but one small example. Others abound...on both sides of the political aisle.

********************


I watched as ABC News showed the failure of two dams in Michigan due to heavy rains, the commentary telling us that at least one of the dams hadn’t been in compliance with state law and that regulators would be investigating the dam failure, keeping that non-compliance in mind during the investigation.

The problem? The dam owner had wanted to lower the level of the lake waters behind the dam because of concerns for its reliability, but the state refused permission to do so because they were more concerned for the fate of endangered fresh water mussels. The dam failed under the heavy rains and the mussels were just as imperiled, if not more so, than if the dam owner had been allowed to lower the lake level as it had requested.

Such is the short-sightedness of government bureaucracies.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are evident in great numbers, everyone is trying to get their boats into the water at the same time, and the summer restaurants are doing a lot of business.

5/20/2020

Resistance To Stay-At-Home Edicts Rising

Listening to the various news reports on the DNC-MSM about the increasing resistance against the stay-at-home edicts issued by the various states’ governors, one gets the impression they are trying to shame people they don’t like to fall in line and comply, to be “Good Germans” and listen to their F├╝hrer. Snitch lines were set up to “inform” on those refusing to comply any longer. Even ‘snitches’ turned the tables on the snitch lines, informing on actual snitches, providing false reports, or leaving expletive-laden “denunciations”, making the snitch lines all but useless.

Some dissenters have been singular, refusing to comply with over-the-top shutdown orders by keeping their businesses open or enjoying outdoors areas like parks, hiking and bike trails, and beaches. Others were collective, officials like mayors, city and town councilors, county commissioners, county sheriffs, and police chiefs, citing their refusal to violate the US and their state’s Constitution by issuing citations or arresting people for violating gubernatorial or municipal executive orders that made no sense. Some saw the edicts as being nothing more than a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that didn’t exist in their communities. Government actions taken in large metropolitan areas either didn’t make sense or wouldn’t work in more sparsely populated areas, but that didn’t stop them from being imposed anyways.

Many of the shutdown measures went way too far, making it obvious those advising state and local officials had little understanding of many of the businesses they were forcing to close, little understanding of the processes and services used and provided by them.

Restrictions were placed on what goods that could be purchased by people that also made no sense. Why would anyone (*cough* *cough* Governor Whitmer *cough*) feel it was necessary to ban the purchase of things like vegetable seeds, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, just to name a few? All it did was add more of a burden to the citizens of Michigan already burdened by other over-the-top restrictions on everyday activities. Did the folks deciding on this restriction really believe such restrictions would make any difference whatsoever, or was it a test to see the if there were limits to their power and to what their subjects…err…constituents would submit? At least that question has been answered in part – The Powers That Be went too far and the peasants have had enough and are revolting.

We have certainly been seeing a growing resistance here in my home state of New Hampshire. Seeing how Covid-19 has been affecting primarily one section of the populace, and seeing how such a large percentage of the deaths have happened in long-term care facilities to patients with underlying health conditions, adjustments should ne made to the various restrictions since we know it is those at risk that must be protected. Keeping everyone under the one-size-fits-all ‘solution’ is a non-starter and is hurting far more people than it’s helping. While some of those restrictions are being lifted over the next couple of weeks, it isn’t happening fast enough. Locking down long-term care facilities – nursing homes, assisted living communities, rehab facilities – makes perfect sense and is easier to achieve. (My ex works at one such long-term care facility and they locked down around the time the first case was reported in New Hampshire. So far, they have had exactly zero cases among residents and staff. They did it right.)

It must be mentioned that not all states went on lockdown. South Dakota was one such and the population wasn’t struck down by the pandemic nor were their hospitals overwhelmed by the sick. One has to wonder if other rural and thinly settled areas round the nation would have done just as well as South Dakota.

5/17/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

It looks like we’ve made it through yet another week in Coronavirus America.

I have to say I am disappointed in a number of my fellow Granite Staters, with them buying into the “We need to destroy ourselves in order to save ourselves” bulls**t. Some of them cite the ‘surge’ in new cases of Covid-19 as a reason to keep our economy shut down, choosing to ignore the reason for that surge: a lot more testing. What I’d like them to do is to look at the number of people tested for antibodies and compare them to the number of positive cases. As time goes forward, I think they’ll find the ratio of positive cases to those testing positive for antibodies is going to show a similar ratio as that seen in the San Francisco Bay area, approximately one positive Covid-19 case for every eighty-five people showing positive for antibodies.

I have decided to get tested for antibodies as I am curious to see how widespread the presence of this coronavirus may be. It will not be a surprise if I test positive. I will let you know once I find out.

********************


Imperial College model used to justify UK and U.S. lockdowns deemed ‘buggy mess’ & ‘total unreliable’ by experts.

As the tagline in the above linked post states, “One expert’s damning assessment: “In our commercial reality, we would fire anyone for developing code like this and any business that relied on it to produce software for sale would likely go bust.””

I would be fired from my job if I used a circuit simulation model as defective as this one, and rightfully so. No one, including me, would be able to trust anything coming out of it. If we did, there would be no confidence the circuit would work. Would we ‘bet the farm’ developing a product based upon such a defective model? No. So why would governments decide pandemic policy based upon a model as defective as the Imperial College model?

********************


By way of Maggie’s Farm comes these two quotes that may apply to the above.

" If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part."

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."

-Richard P. Feynman

I’ll now add one that I have used more than once that is within the same vein as those by Feynman:

It doesn’t matter if 10,000 scientists agree with me. All it takes is one to prove me wrong.

-Albert Einstein

********************


More than a few people have commented that the our present crisis should not be used as an excuse to bail out those spendthrift states who now find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. They are not in this financial state because of Covid-19, but because they were already on the financial brink before the pandemic ‘panic’ is pushing them over the edge.

A group of Wisconsin lawmakers have asked their state’s congressional delegation “asking them not to support any coronavirus relief bill that gives money to Illinois and other states with a history of “reckless budgeting.”” If these states receive a bailout it is highly unlikely they will reform their profligate spending, making financial promises they have neither the wherewithal or the intention to keep. It would be throwing good money after bad.

In New Hampshire, Greg Moore, the New Hampshire state director of Americans For Prosperity is voicing a similar opinion.

With our nation expecting to borrow $3 trillion in this quarter alone, pushing our overall debt over $25 trillion, some states want to compound this economic harm by asking federal taxpayers to bail them out from decades of bad choices.

It is time for some true leaders to step up and say “no.”

Illinois legislative leadership requested a $44 billion bailout, with $10 billion going directly to plug holes in their pension fund, which has been chronically mismanaged for decades. Illinois’ budget for the current fiscal year is $40 billion, making that state’s bailout request $4 billion more than they planned to spend for the whole year.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom joined other Western governors to ask the federal government for $1 trillion. That state has had huge financial problems for years, and getting the federal government to bail it out would stall needed changes that must happen and should have taken place already.

New Hampshire hit some financial difficulties as part of the Great Recession that started in 2008-2009, taking measures that returned the state to financial health. State spending was reduced by up to 18% in 2011 and follow-on state spending held in check until the economy recovered. The state did what it needed to do to return New Hampshire government to financial health. It appears states like Illinois, California, Connecticut, New Jersey are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to return to financial health. They want someone else to pay their bills and bail out their pensions systems.

This phenomenon also happens at a lower level, as we’ve seen here in New Hampshire, though more on a theoretical level. At one point a reporter working for one of our local newspapers expressed the opinion that the wealthier towns should be giving money to towns that were struggling to make ends meet. Skip Murphy, he of the famous GraniteGrok blog, put him in his place.

His real goal? No one town keeps ANY of its revenue – the same with any local control which goes to a central location. How do I know this? Like Niel Young, I fell off Kitch’s list a long time ago after a knock down, drag out over this exact topic.

My argument – [our town works] HARD at keeping expenses low and taxes low. We manage our town well – sure, my hamlet provides more than the limited government that I would prefer, but rather within a loose range of "ok".

His take? We should tax more, and then send it to towns and cities that need it. Made no difference if they had been careful stewards of the taxpayer monies. Made no different if they had kept their expenditures lower than possible. Made no difference if they had just spent their taxpayers into the ground recklessly.

If they need it, and if we had "extra capacity", we were simply cold-hearted by not taking it from OUR taxpayers and sending it to those that had, admittedly, mis-managed their finances. We were stingy and just plain rotten, for there were citizens in need (regardless that their elected officials were just plain unmitigated disasters) that needed our money. The small little fact of "then why do those needy citizens keep re-electing those fiascos" fell of deaf ears – it was OUR problem because WE had the money – and they didn’t.

Some of the ‘property poor’ towns are property poor because of decisions made by town officials or the townsfolk themselves at town meeting. Yet towns that did the right things and made the right decisions are somehow obligated to help the towns that consistently make the wrong financial decisions?

This is insanity, be it at state or local level.

********************


Moonbattery has its own take on the crippling looting spree planned by the Democrats (see above).

The ChiCom virus has been seized upon as a pretext for a radical expansion of Big Government. If Democrats have their way, the extravagant wasteful spending is only just beginning.

--snip--

Already, the federal government paying people not to work is making it impossible to reopen businesses. Imagine the situation when a family of five is paid $120,000 per year for doing nothing.

Flinging around hundreds of $billions every month with ever fewer people generating wealth for that money to represent will quickly produce Zimbabwe levels of inflation. Before long, $120,000 will not be enough to put food on the table.

Yet another step the Democrats are taking to build their socialist ‘utopia’.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is getting better (slowly), summer season businesses are opening...cautiously, and where my boat is finally in the water and tied up at its summer home.

5/16/2020

Hear Our Prayers...

It was a busy day today, with the morning devoted to prepping the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout to be put back into the water, and the afternoon/early evening visiting friends up north. (They live in a county with only 4 reported Covid-19 cases, so the chance of catching it from them was very low, and that the county where I reside has 49 reported cases, of which 39 have recovered, so the chance of them catching it from me is pretty darned low.) So time to put together something cogent and riveting just wasn't there. Instead, I'll share something with you that my ex shared with me:

5/13/2020

Karens: The Apocalypse

I wish this was only satire. But somehow it seems a little to real to me and it scares me. It should scare you, too.



The only way they'd get me is if I ran out of ammo.

Just sayin'...

5/10/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

We’ve managed to make it through yet another week here in Coronavirus America.

It has been a little weird here in New England, weather-wise. Here it is, mid-May, and we’ve seen weather and temperatures more appropriate for mid-December. We had a couple of inches of snow, high winds, and below-freezing temperatures yesterday. It is warmer today, along with lower winds, but the temperature is still well below normal.

And to think I had planned to put the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout, aka The Boat, into the water yesterday. The official launch has been postponed until next weekend.

********************


Some of the stay-at-home restrictions in my home state end at midnight tonight and restaurants and bars that do not have outdoor seating are reopening, but under the condition that there be outdoor seating only.

In our town, the Town Powers That Be decided the affected bars/restaurants didn’t need to get permission to create temporary outdoor seating. The only stipulation for them doing so was making sure patrons and staff would be protected from vehicular traffic, there would be no impediment to traffic, and that fire safety requirements would be met.

We’re hoping all of the restrictions will be removed by Memorial Day weekend.

********************


Could it be that universal use of facemasks and hand-washing along with isolation of the most vulnerable people is all that was needed to deal with this pandemic? Was the widespread lockdown imposed in the various states too over the top?

Seeing the infection patterns, the number of cases, and the protection taken (or not taken), it looks like to me like the lockdowns were not really effective. Hygiene and personal protective measures appear to be more effective than locking everyone away from everyone else and shutting down businesses.

********************


I have to agree with this assessment of The Won:

Obama is a sanctimonious, arrogant, dangerous, viper.

He’s also a racist and suffers from delusions of adequacy. But that’s not important now.

What we need to understand is that Obama used the DOJ and the FBI (and the IRS) as his personal ‘hit squads’ to spy on and try to destroy his successor -Trump - and members of the new administration, as well as targeting conservative organizations that support Trump. In other words, he was a scumbag that used scumbag (and illegal) tactics to try to destroy someone he saw as unworthy to sit in the Oval Office. That’s rich, coming from someone who was never worthy to occupy the White House in the first place.

********************


It turns out the media hates Trump for a good reason: He’s exposed them for the cheap mockery they are.

The media hasn’t received a fraction of the abuse it deserves.

********************


And that’s the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter weather has returned, boat launchings have stalled, and where restaurants are re-opening.

5/09/2020

Is The Aftermath Of Covid-19 Driving People To Leave Large Cities?

Will one of the aftereffects of the coronavirus pandemic be people moving out of large cities and their surrounding exurban areas to smaller suburban and rural areas? From personally gathered anecdotal evidence I’d have to say the answer to that question is yes.

I know that demand for homes up here in New Hampshire is high and inventory is low. From some of the realtors I know I have learned that a lot of that demand is being driven by folks “from away”, meaning folks from the Greater Boston area, Metro New York, and New Jersey. It isn’t vacation homes that many of these folks have been looking for (though the demand for vacation homes hasn’t diminished), but primary homes.

Then there’s this from a Rasmussen poll:

Pollsters often ask respondents what they expect to happen generally. When you look at the data by age, those between 18 and 44 hold that opinion at higher rates than the average.

This is particularly interesting because millennials, who are currently aged 24 to 39, have a well-documented preference for urban living. Yet in this survey, that age group says there will be an exodus from urban areas at rates of 44% and 47% respectively. Perhaps coronavirus has taught them that shuttling on a jam-packed human meat tube through an underground tunnel may have some downsides. While this pandemic has proven most dangerous to those over 65, that is not always true. Both H1N1 and the Spanish Flu had far higher mortality rates in the working-age population.

--snip--

The pandemic has resulted in other changes that may make living outside the city more appealing. Economists predict the forced teleworking arrangements may outlast the pandemic. Companies that were slow to gravitate to work-from-home arrangements because of company culture or distrust have been forced to adopt the practice. Many are finding these arrangements are just as productive and can reduce their brick-and-mortar overhead costs. Amazon and Microsoft have already announced these polices will extend through October. As employers perfect these practices, it will help them attract talent by letting employees work from nearly anywhere. Commutes may be a thing of the past for many knowledge workers and call-center employees, allowing them to live where they prefer.

I know my employer has been seeing some of the advantages of work-from-home. It may affect my employer’s search for a new engineering facility. (Most of our production, repair, sales work, and shipping/receiving has moved to another facility leaving our present facility vastly underutilized.) If we can reduce our needs regarding our brick-and-mortar facilities, we can use a much smaller building than originally envisioned yet maintain our same level of staffing.

There are times when I prefer to work from home. I get more work done because I don’t have the distractions. There are times when I prefer to work at the office because that’s where our labs are. It isn’t like I have a long commute...unless I hit red at all 4 traffic lights between home and work. Then my commute can be 5 minutes longer than it otherwise would be. It’s a sacrifice I don’t mind making.

5/08/2020

The Tie Between Vitamin D and Covid-19

There is growing evidence that Vitamin D deficiencies are playing a major role in the severity of Covid-19 cases and the number of deaths.

A suggestive set of numbers was published online in April by a medical scientist in the Philippines, Dr Mark Alipio. Of 49 patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19 in three hospitals in southern Asian countries, only two had low levels of vitamin D; of 104 patients with critical or severe symptoms, only four did not have low levels of vitamin D. The more severe the symptoms, the more likely a patient was to be not just low but deficient in the vitamin. Could vitamin D deficiency make the difference between getting very ill or not?

There has long been evidence that a sufficiency of vitamin D protects against viruses, especially respiratory ones, including the common cold. Vitamin D increases the production of antiviral proteins and decreases cytokines, the immune molecules that can cause a “storm” of dangerous inflammation. It has long been suspected that most people’s low vitamin D levels in late winter partly explain the seasonal peaking of flu epidemics, and rising vitamin D levels in spring partly explain their sudden ending. Vitamin D is made by ultraviolet light falling on the skin, so many people in northern climates have a deficiency by the end of winter. Eating fish and eggs helps, but it is hard to get enough of it in the diet.

Living in a northern clime is one reason why I take Vitamin D supplements starting in late fall and through mid to late spring. I’m outdoors enough the rest of the time that I am not concerned with a Vitamin D deficiency.

It has also been suggested that those who received MMR vaccinations are also less susceptible to Covid-19. Considering the number of people tested for coronavirus antibodies appears to be up to 85 times higher than the number of people testing positive for Covid-19, one has to wonder about the actual fatality rate of coronavirus. (The “85 times” number comes from a study the San Francisco Bay area.)

If the ratio of positive cases versus those with antibodies holds true, it signals to me two things:

First, the coronavirus has been in the US a lot longer than most have thought.

Second, Covid-19 didn’t really become prevalent until winter when people’s Vitamin D levels fell due to a lack of exposure to sunlight.

To quote Dennis Miller, “It’s just my opinion. I might be wrong.” But somehow I think there’s a strong link between the factors I’ve mentions above.

5/03/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

It looks like we’ve survived yet another week here in Coronavirus America.

States have been backing off on some of their restrictions, reopening businesses and getting some people back to work. My home state has been one of those dialing back some restrictions, with golf courses, campgrounds, and restaurants reopening with some social distancing conditions. The same is true of some retail stores that have been closed. More restrictions will be removed in a couple of more weeks to help get the state ready for the summer tourist season. (Yes, New Hampshire has been seeing more reported cases of Covid-19, but not because it’s becoming more prevalent so much as it’s been because the number of tests being performed has gone way up. A vast majority of the 84 Covid-19 deaths to date have taken place in long-term care facilities in one of two counties.)

Some events have been rescheduled until later in the summer, one of those being the annual Laconia Motorcycle Rally, i.e. Bike Week. It usually takes place in June, starting the weekend before Father’s Day, but has been moved to the third week in August. (This actually helps because one of the main roads that lead into Weirs Beach, the epicenter of Bike Week, has been closed to allow for the replacement of a bridge deck that crosses over the tracks of the Winnipesaukee Railroad. The work will be completed before the new date of Bike Week.)

********************


It’s got to be something in the water. That’s the only thing that explains the eliminationist rhetoric emanating from California, in this case from a planning commission member in Antioch, California.

The official in question, Ken Turnage, stated COVID-19 should be allowed to run its course, killing elderly and homeless residents to “fix what is a significant burden on our society." With that in mind, how far a step is it to “We should just kill ‘em off because they’re nothing but a burden on society”?

********************


Is vulnerability to Covid-19 a function of vitamin D deficiency? If that is indeed the case, then things like shelter-at-home policies may have been counterproductive, increasing the incidences of vitamin D deficiencies during a time when we needed to see the opposite trend.

Could the easiest and cheapest means of reducing the number of Covid-19 deaths be as simple as exposure to more sunshine and/or taking vitamin D supplements?

********************


Who didn’t see this coming?

Sweden is seeing an increase in violent crime committed by Muslim immigrants.

********************


One has to wonder whether this is an outlier or a general indicator that coronavirus infections are much higher than anyone knew.

It turns out that the San Francisco Bay area antibody testing has shown that coronavirus infections may be up to 85 times higher than reported.

Antibody testing has started in other areas (including here) and I expect we’ll see exposure to and infection by coronavirus is many times higher than originally thought. If that is indeed the case, then that means the death rate is much lower.

It also means that many of the more draconian precautions taken by the states were over the top and ineffective.

********************


It’s been great weather here in central New Hampshire and people are making the best of it. One of our iconic seasonal restaurants reopened last weekend and people have been flocking to it in large numbers for their takeout chicken, burgers, lobster rolls, and ice cream treats. People have been out on the lake, walking the trails, or walking along the roads in their towns. Town parks have seen a lot of people, with some of the playgrounds remaining closed. Our town’s beach will be opening shortly (though the lake’s water will still be a little too cold for swimming for more than a few minutes at a time), as will a number of other town state beaches along the lake and the seacoast.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where some summer activities have already started, summer eateries are already opening, and the weather is cooperating.

4/29/2020

It's Time To Reopen New Hampshire

May 4th. That’s the day our governor’s stay home order is supposed to expire here in New Hampshire. The question is whether or not the governor will extend his order for another week or two...or four. Frankly, I’m hoping he’ll let it expire and let our economy restart, but I’m not holding breath.

I can see maintaining social distancing, use of masks, and washing hands as a means of limiting the spread of Covid-19. I can see limiting access to long term care facilities to reduce the possibility of infecting some of our most vulnerable citizens. I can see reopening hospitals and medical practices to patients with more mundane and normal medical needs.

Regardless of whether or not the state reopens for business on May 4th, one has to wonder whether all 10 counties will ‘reopen’ all at once, or if it will be reopening in stages, with the least affected counties opening first and the most affected opening last. That one is a tough call.

I would like to see all 10 counties open at the same time, but I understand if the governor wants to stage it. (I don’t agree with doing that, but the call it isn’t mine.) The two most affected counties are also suffering the most, economically. Keeping them closed longer than the other eight counties seems unfair and unwise.

Regardless of the date our state reopens, my employer has decided to extend their work-at-home directive until June. So far it seems to be working well as our sales are trending upwards and calls for support from existing customers has been doing likewise. I am splitting my time between working at home taking care of the paperwork and working in the lab, something that is working for me.

I admit I am worried about how our summer tourist season will be affected, knowing a delayed reopening can adversely affect the abilities of summer seasonal businesses to prepare. Those businesses include restaurants, resorts, rental homes/cottages, and other summer attractions. I have talked to a number of marinas in the area and they are seeing a paradoxical situation: many of their regular customers are calling early to get their boats ready for the boating season, but for the number of slips rented for the summer is down. That can change over a very short period of time, so I can’t say it is an indicator that the summer season will be a bust for those renting out boat slips. It could merely be an indicator that some folks are taking a wait-and-see position for now, watching to see how the summer season is shaping up.

Only time will tell how this is going to work out.

4/26/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

It looks like most of us have survived yet another week in Coronavirus America.

I have been doing my best to get things back to normal, securing the boat slip I have been using for the past 15+ years for yet another boating season and requesting the boatyard where the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout - aka ‘The Boat’ - is stored and serviced to be pulled out of winter storage and prepared for launching. If all goes well The Boat will be back at its slip in two weeks and we’ll be enjoying our version of social distancing.

Another bit of normalcy that has reappeared is the opening of one of our favorite seasonal restaurants this weekend. Considering a majority of its business is takeout (it does have a small dining room), it shouldn’t be affected by the effects (or aftereffects) of the pandemic unless the summer tourist season is a bust. Time will tell.

********************


It looks like I was prescient when it came to possible changes in office work due to the coronavirus.

It now appears that others are looking at the same thing and may be coming up with similar conclusions...or not.

Cubicle culture has gone dark. Open floor plans stand empty.

Offices around the world are shut during the pandemic, making work from home the new normal for millions of white-collar employees.

In the United States, remote work is still being encouraged under guidelines outlined by the federal government.

But in webinars and conference calls, business leaders and management strategists are discussing what steps must be taken to bring workers back to America's offices.

--snip--

Companies will need to adapt significantly...to make "employees confident that coming to work is something that they can and should do and feel safe about."

--snip--

Why should workers able to do their jobs remotely return to the office if they could be asymptomatic carriers?

The piece goes on to answer questions businesses need to ask themselves, and mentions in passing that the drive to bring workers back into their offices may be hampered by the freedom experienced by workers who were required to work from home due to the various Covid-19 restrictions. It may behoove those businesses to take a closer look at allowing their workers the option of working from home on a more long term, if not permanent basis.

It will be interesting to see how many businesses will see this as an opportunity.

********************


Our comrades over at The People’s Cube are asking the right question, that being “Are you enjoying your ‘test drive’ of Socialist America?”

Are you enjoying your first taste of socialism? Life in America today is a sneak preview of life in Cuba or Venezuela. Democrats love it. This is the future they plan for you. The current economic catastrophe is exactly what America will look like if we institute “the Green New Deal.”

The goal is to defeat “climate change” by killing your job, taking your cars away, closing your business and turning America into Cuba, or Venezuela.

Of course the Democrat elite won’t be required to subject themselves to such restrictions. It will only apply to we Deplorables and the Democrat cannon fodder.

********************


Should states and cities be allowed to go bankrupt? That’s a question that has two answers, at least in my opinion.

Yes, but only if it’s a one-time thing and with certain conditions laid upon the state or city.

No, because if states and cities are allowed to declare bankruptcy they will be less likely to be fiscally prudent knowing they can wipe away any debt when it gets too big.

In the private sector, individuals and companies go bankrupt and start anew. In bankruptcy, the owners and debtors are the major financial victims. However, pensions can also be materially impacted. Those pension plans that are defined contribution plans are generally unimpacted.

--snip--

Cities can and do bankrupt under current law. Cities generally have bondholders and creditors who are impacted, often severely, by bankruptcy. Generally, cities have neither defined contribution plans nor any federal protection from the PBGC. Cities have partially unfunded pension plans. A municipal bankruptcy can lead to general creditors, bondholders and pension recipients all taking financial haircuts as the result of bankruptcy.

--snip--

States cannot go bankrupt. But why not? Should not the states that have been managed the most poorly be able to right themselves through bankruptcy? Bondholders and employees had ample knowledge of the financial situations of these states. Federal judges should be tasked with the responsibility of approving such plans and determine the impacts to both bondholders and pension recipients. This is what happens everywhere else; why not states?

If a state goes bankrupt it leaves everyone else in the country on the hook. That’s irresponsible. (That the federal government is broke is even more so.) If a state goes bankrupt because of poor fiscal planning and policy by the state government (and specifically its elected officials – the governor and members of the state legislature), filing for bankruptcy should trigger a number of events not normally seen in a bankruptcy. Some suggestions (not inclusive):

The governor, lieutenant governor (if the state has one), and all members of the state legislature will be required to step down.

The state will have a receiver assigned by the bankruptcy court to handle the day to day operations and all financial matters.

The state will revert to territory status and a new governor will be assigned by the federal government. Once its financial house is back in order, it can apply for statehood.

If a large state, it may be broken up into two or more smaller states/territories. (It would certainly help residents in states like California, Illinois, and New York, where large urban areas dominate the politics and fiscal policies of the entire state to the detriment of the smaller urban, suburban, and rural areas.)

All expenditures, taxes, and fees would come under review for reaffirmation, modification, or elimination.

I can probably come up with another dozen or so, but these might be a good starting place.

********************


Today it’s been the proverbial “calm before the storm”.

The weather has been pretty nice through the morning and a good portion of the afternoon, with temps in the 50’s. But we’ve got a Nor’easter coming that is likely to dump 4 to 8 inches of snow here in central New Hampshire and maybe as much as a foot of snow farther north in the White Mountains . It is expected to start some time late this evening.

It’s ironic that the only Nor’easter we’re experiencing that will be dumping snow is in late April. We usually see them starting in late fall, through winter, and early spring (March), but there hasn’t been a single Nor’easter all winter which explains our below normal snowfall.

It’s ironic considering I expect my boat will be put into the water in two weeks.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where snow is on its way, boats are on the lake, and where we’re deathly sick of being cooped up because of coronavirus.

4/25/2020

Some News Has Just Disappeared

Something the WP Mom asked me that got me thinking: “Have you noticed that since Covid-19 came on the scene we don’t hear anything about what’s going on in Afghanistan or Iraq?”

It seems news about what’s been going in the those two countries in regard to our forces there have disappeared from the media’s consciousness. About the only thing we hear from anywhere near either country usually deals with Iran and its continuing belligerence or Saudi Arabia and it’s ongoing oil war with Russia. Other than that, bupkis.

One has to wonder if such news will return to the public eye or remain invisible as other more ‘important’ news keeps it submersed.

4/23/2020

It Continues...For Now

As we’re still dealing with the direct and indirect effects of the coronavirus, I was not surprised to receive an e-mail from my employer informing me and my fellow employees that our company’s “work at home” directive will be extended to June 1st, adding a month to the to the original directive. Not that it really affects me all that much as I have been spending an equal amount of time working at home and the lab, and that suits me just fine. The split lets me deal with the two aspects of my work – paperwork and lab work – without interruption. Each has its pros and cons, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

I’m hoping I will be able to continue doing so after our “work at home” directive expires. In fact, The Powers That Be have seen some real advantages of more of the various staff working from home.

Here’s hoping they decide it’s a good policy, even on an occasional basis.

4/19/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

Welcome to yet another in week in Coronavirus America. (I have to admit that writing his opening line is getting old.)

What have we learned this week? Let’s see.

A lot of areas in the US are seeing little if any cases of Covid-19. A perfect example of this is comparing Upstate New York with Downstate New York (Albany, the NYC Metro Area, and much of Long Island.) The latter is a major epicenter of Covid-19 cases. The former is not even close. The same is true if you compare northern New England to southern New England. It’s true in a lot of other places across the US as well, particularly rural areas.

Some governors have gone overboard with restricting the activities of the citizens in their respective states. Some have waited for just such an opportunity to exercise dictatorial powers and have done so. (Governor Whitmer, this means you.) They have restricted activities and purchases that have absolutely nothing to do with slowing the spread of Covid-19. They’re doing it because they can. They have also given is a preview of what life will be like in Progressive America should that particular infection spread. (Yes, Progressivism is a disease that destroys, all in the name of ‘fairness’, a fairness that will never come to be. It’s failure has been proven again and again, much like its progenitor, Marxism.)

We have seen the models used to predict the spread of infection and deaths have been way off. We have seen how actions taken by some governors, mayors, and Congresscritters helped make the pandemic worse because Orange Man Bad.

We have seen more of the public rebelling against the over-the-top lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Many think that social distancing, masks, and hand-washing would be sufficient going forward and re-opening America for business is important.

I guess we’ll see.

********************


Despite what the envirowackos and watermelon environmentalists believe, clean energy isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Like most technological knownothings, they do not have an inkling what it takes to harvest clean energy, nor that clean energy is clean by no means.

Some proponents of the Green New Deal seem to believe that it will pave the way to a utopia of “green growth.” Once we trade dirty fossil fuels for clean energy, there’s no reason we can’t keep expanding the economy forever.

This narrative may seem reasonable enough at first glance, but there are good reasons to think twice about it. One of them has to do with clean energy itself.

The phrase “clean energy” normally conjures up happy, innocent images of warm sunshine and fresh wind. But while sunshine and wind is obviously clean, the infrastructure we need to capture it is not. Far from it. The transition to renewables is going to require a dramatic increase in the extraction of metals and rare-earth minerals, with real ecological and social costs.

One of the things that is supposed to make things like wind and solar viable is storage, something many proponents of clean energy have been faithfully ignoring. Some have been saying that all we need are more lithium-ion battery cells to make the storage batteries needed. The only problem is that there isn’t enough lithium available to do that and have enough available for lithium-ion batteries in items like smart phones, laptops, tablets, hybrid or electric cars.

If they want clean energy, then molten salt reactors are the way to go. Using thorium as its main fuel, much of the existing expended fuel from existing nuclear plants can be ‘burned’, eliminating the problems associated with long-lived radio-isotopes, the big one being safe disposal.

If fusion is ever perfected, then clean energy becomes the rule rather than the exception.

********************


Apparently the L.A. Times has a real problem with those of us working from home wearing sweatpants while we do so.

So they’re pitching a fit over work-from-home fashion? I don’t know about you, but does it really make difference? I can see being dressed nicely, at least from the waist up should a video conference take place. But from the waist down? Nope. Sweats are good enough for me and millions of others.

********************


Claims about on oncoming “megadrought” that will affect the American Southwest that is being caused by global warming is “all wet” according to Anthony Watts.

The media this week are hyping a new study claiming global warming is causing a new megadrought in the American Southwest. In reality, the recent drought in the American Southwest is nothing new when you look at historical data.

--snip--

Is the USA in a “megadrought”? Looking at April 14th 2020 data from the United States Drought Monitor, it sure doesn’t seem so. While there are indications of some drought in the USA Southwest, there seem to be equally large areas that have no drought conditions at all. And, just one year ago, there were no indications of drought in the southwest USA whatsoever. This might be why Stahle only used data through 2018, because the “no drought” year of 2019 didn’t support the claims of “megadrought”. Cherry picking anyone?

This “megadrought” is beginning to sound more like wishful thinking to sell the narrative of climate change.

********************


One thing I find I have to circle back to is the difference in the number of Covid-19 cases in different states. While watching the morning news our local TV station listed the total number of cases in New Hampshire and neighboring Massachusetts. The differences are staggering.

First, let’s compare the population of both states. New Hampshire’s population is about 1.3 million. The population of Massachusetts is about 6.9 million, a little over 5 times that of New Hampshire.

Second, let’s look at the area and population density of both states. New Hampshire has a land area of 8,969 square miles with a population density of 145 people/square mile. Massachusetts has a land area of 7,838 square miles with a population density of 880 people/square mile, or 6 times that of New Hampshire.

Third,let us now compare the number of Covid-19 cases in both states. New Hampshire has reported 1,342 cases with 38 deaths. Massachusetts has reported 36,372 cases with 1,560 deaths. With 5 times the population of New Hampshire, Massachusetts has 27 the times the number of cases and 41 times the number of fatalities.

While population density certainly has an effect on the number of cases, one would think it would be proportional, but that hasn’t proved to be so, at least at first glance. If we break down the number of cases by county, you’d find the less densely populated counties in Massachusetts (primarily those in Western Massachusetts) have far fewer cases per capita than the more thickly settled suburban and urban counties. That’s something you’ll find in every state.

The point of all of this?

Maybe it’s time to back off on the restrictions placed on the residents in the more rural counties across the nation because they really don’t live under the same conditions as those in the more heavily populated counties.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where tree pollen has been flying, more boats are appearing on the lake every day, and where people hope things will be opened up in time for summer.

4/16/2020

An Upside To Coronavirus

There have certainly been a number of downsides to the stay-at-home edicts, social distancing, business restrictions, and quarantines. There have been major disruptions in the economy. People have seen their finances upended as their jobs disappeared as businesses closed. Unemployment has skyrocketed from about 3% to better than 10% in a matter of weeks. Social isolation has increased and people are feeling that isolation.

Despite all of this, there has been at least one upside to the Covid-19 pandemic: Working from home.

I’m not talking about the actual act of working from home. I am talking about the advantages being discovered by companies forced to close their offices and have their workforce shift to working from home.

I think it is no secret that most companies have been reluctant to allow their employees to work from home. Call it the archaic “We have to keep an eye on them at all times” mindset. The Powers That Be figure that unless they can see their employees at all times that they won’t work. But with the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 precautions, working from home was the only alternative to closing the business, nothing any business wanted to do. So they were forced to move their operations from their offices to their employees homes.

What did many of them find out with this move?

Work efficiency went up and costs went down.

First, let’s address costs.

Office space costs. There’s a cost per square foot of office space. That cost includes rent, furniture, heating, cooling, lighting, phones, Internet service, storage space, and janitorial services, just to name a few. But what if those costs can be reduced by having a good portion of the staff working from home? The space needed is reduced which in turn reduces all of the other costs.

I can state from my personal experience that working from home is more efficient for me, at least when it comes to dealing with the ‘paper’ side of things. (I still have to go into the office a couple of days a week during the stay-at-home period because that’s where our labs are located.) I find I get more done in a given period of time, am more focused on the task at hand, and am not as easily distracted. It wouldn’t surprise me that others working from home experience the same things I have.

I think more than a few companies are rethinking their policies about working from home now that they have hard facts about doing so. I’m going to predict that some of them will start using it as a standard policy because they’ve found that it works.

4/12/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

Welcome to yet another week in Coronvirus America.

This past week was the first week I worked from home for the entire week. I’ll be heading into work first thing Monday morning as I have quite a bit of lab work waiting for me, though it’s unlikely I’ll have to put in a full week at the lab as I doubt there’s a week’s worth of lab working waiting for me. It is what it is.

I did notice that there was little traffic on the road Saturday morning and even less this morning. It’s probably the least amount of traffic I’ve seen since this whole thing started. What made it worse is that this is the first Easter Sunday the WP Clan has not been together in decades.

********************


Is it time to scrap the Renewable Fuel Standard?

I’d say it’s well past time. It’s original reason for being no longer exists – reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Considering we have more oil than we know what to do with, I’d say our dependence of foreign oil (specifically from the Middle East) is long over. Our present situation is a perfect time to end the RFS.

...one of the hardest hit sectors in the U.S. is the energy sector as it experiences the double blows of the Chinese coronavirus and the flooding of the oil market by Russia and Saudi Arabia, a move that has driven oil prices down while those nations fight for market share with the United States. So while demand is down, prices are also down.

To add to this problematic situation, small and large U.S. refineries are getting punished under an unrealistic Renewable Fuel Standard mandate. So in the middle of an economic downturn, as our energy sector is under tremendous stress, we are continuing the madness of unnecessary regulations on a key aspect of our economy (one that should also be considered a national security issue). These RFS mandates imposed on this core industry in America impose a heavy cost of RFS compliance credits (RINs) that is then draining cash from American-owned businesses at a time when draining cash can, and actually may, lead to bankruptcy.

What’s even more paradoxical it isn’t the envirowackos demanding to keep the RFS, but the rent-seeking ethanol producers. For them the RFS is a guaranteed market even if they don’t sell ethanol to the refiners because if the refiners don’t buy enough ethanol as mandated they have to purchase the equivalent of “indulgences”, meaning they have to pay the government for the aforementioned RINs. So whether they use the ethanol or not, the refiners still have to pay for it. Some of the money collected from RINs goes to subsidize the ethanol producers.

Large ethanol producers like Archer Daniels Midland aren’t going to willingly give up billions in dollars of guaranteed income, so they and the other rent-seekers will do everything in their power to retain the RFS.

********************


Some people have been complaining about the townsfolk in the rural towns where they own second homes not exactly welcoming them when they decide to sit out the Covid-19 pandemic in that second home. The people do indeed own their homes and pay taxes on them, so making it difficult for them to occupy a home they own certainly is skirting the law.

On the other hand, the townsfolk in that rural town don’t like the idea of folks “from away” bringing the very thing they are supposedly fleeing with them and sickening townsfolk.

Both concerns are valid. What to do?

If the folks from away will self-quarantine for a specified period of time, then it may not be as much of an issue. If they won’t, then they are showing they really don’t care about the town in which their second home is located and maybe they deserve any abuse they receive. They are showing the townsfolk that they aren’t good neighbors.

Make sure to read the comments of the linked post above.

********************


Oh, yeah, I’m liking this!

The ATF has authorized gun shops to provide curbside service.

Now I don’t even have to get out of my truck to buy ammo!

Who says there are no upsides to the coronavirus pandemic?

********************


I find it interesting that the very people who have been so adamant about ever more stringent gun control laws are now upset that they have come under the control of those very same laws.

It appears more than a few of them bought into the fallacy promoted by TV ‘reports’ and anti-gun propaganda that buying a gun was as easy as buying a loaf of bread at their local convenience store. However, reality slapped them in the face and many were angry that they couldn’t buy a gun to protect themselves when they ‘needed’ to.

Somehow I doubt that many of them will remember their inconvenience going forward and will support more of the same type of laws that frustrated them...until the next time.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

********************


Like many others, Easter Services at our church was not held inside. Those wishing to attend in person did so in the church parking lot, staying in their cars, with our pastor outside, his sermon carried on FM radio. The rest of us watched the livestream. Not our usual church service, but under the circumstances, it served.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where boats are already being seen out on the water, summer homes have been opened early, and one of our local ice cream shops have already opened.

4/11/2020

What I'm Not Missing

Something the WP Mom said got me thinking.

Quoth she, “Have you noticed that you don’t hear any news about fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, or where ever since the coronavirus arrived?”

There are a whole host of other ‘important’ issues that have all but disappeared from the news. Here are a few:

Climate change (other than when trying to blame it for the coronavirus)

LGBTQWhatever rights

Gun control

Microagressions

Greta Thunberg

Alexandra Occasional-Cortex (except in passing)

Transgendered bathrooms

#MeToo

Title IX

Tom Brady

That’s just a short list, but I do have to say I am enjoying the break from the usual media drivel.

4/10/2020

Latest Democrat "Trump 'Gotcha' " Doesn't Exist

It looks like the Democrat S**tshow known as the on-going and neverending “We’re Gonna Throw Trump Out Of Office Even If We Have To Make Things Up” Impeachment Farce has decided they have something new to use to “get” President Trump. That something new?

An intelligence report from last November reporting the danger of a new virus spreading in China “that could become a crisis in the US.”

Apparently Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi thought they had yet another issue they could use to remove Trump from office.

There’s only one problem: That intelligence report doesn’t exist and never has.

ABC News breathlessly reported yesterday on what they claim was an intelligence report last November about a severe outbreak of an unknown virus in China that could become a crisis in the U.S.

--snip--

Of course, Trump reads every scrap of paper from every single U.S. intelligence agency -- even extraordinary obscure ones like the NCMI [National Center for Medical Intelligence] -- and should have known that the U.S. was going to be in crisis four months later.

Except that scrap of paper doesn't exist.

From Fox News comes this:

Col. R. Shane Day, the director of the NCMI, a component of the Defense Intelligence Agency, refuted the ABC News report in a statement.

"As a matter of practice the National Center for Medical Intelligence does not comment publicly on specific intelligence matters," he said. "However, in the interest of transparency during this current public health crisis, we can confirm that media reporting about the existence/release of a National Center for Medical Intelligence Coronavirus-related product/assessment in November of 2019 is not correct. No such NCMI product exists."

But if past behavior is any indication of future actions, then I have no doubt that the non-existent intelligence report will still be used by Schiff et al for a second go at Trump. That there is no “there” there will not deter them. It certainly didn’t deter them the last time.

4/05/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

I have to say that I have noticed the schizophrenic nature of Coronavirus America. While it hasn’t bothered me all that much, me being something of a misanthropic surly curmudgeon with elements of universal distrust, it has made some things more inconvenient.

One thing that I have noticed is that toilet paper continues to be in short supply, something I didn’t understand at first. The ‘panic buying’ that took place at the beginning made absolutely no sense to me or anyone else whatsoever. Now that many businesses are closed and so many are working from home, the usage of toilet paper at home has skyrocketed while that at businesses has plummeted. There is plenty of ‘commercial’ toilet paper available, but you won’t see it in any supermarket or convenience store. Much of it is different in that it isn’t made to fit into TP holders we see in our bathrooms.

How much longer will this toilet paper drought last?

********************


One thing a lot of folks have been been saying is that we’re getting a preview of what a Socialist America will be like, all the time. At least one poll has found, most people are unimpressed with their 30-day free trial of Communism.

“It kinda sucks,” 19-year-old San Diegan Britta Fowler said of the trial. “I was expecting all this free stuff, which I guess we’re getting, but I also didn’t expect empty store shelves and house arrest for everyone. It’s really lame!”

“Yeah, they’re giving us money but what good is that if you can’t spend it on anything you want?” Fowler asked.

“We thought we’d entice the people everywhere into Communist utopia with a trial run,” USBS Secretary John Lennon said. “We thought, hey, it works with Netflix, so it should work with Communism!”

--snip--

“Everything went well but only a few Karens across the country are really enjoying it.” Lennon added. “They really revel in telling people to ‘stay the f**k home!'”

“I don’t think I’ll continue with this Communism stuff after the trial. I kinda like being able to do stuff with people,” Fowler said.

As a good friend who grew up in the Soviet Union has told me, he’s been getting flashbacks of the bad old days when “standing on line” was a national past-time. You stood in line to get into stores that may or may not have what you’re looking for. Food, clothing, hygiene products, shoes, and a lengthy list of products and goods were in constant short supply. You couldn’t shop for a week’s worth of groceries because there wasn’t a week’s worth available anywhere but the black market. You had to shop every day to buy the staples needed.

This is the vision the Democrats have for us – total control over the population because we Deplorables aren’t capable of making our own decisions. They would love the world of the Hunger Games...as long as they were the elite living in the cities.

(ALERT: For those with poor sarcasm discrimination skills, some of this is sarcasm. Some is not. I’ll leave to you to figure out which is which.)

********************


I think there may be some truth in this.


(From the comments of this Instapundit post.)

********************


Skip over at GraniteGrok has his opinion on the benefits to him and those like him regarding social distancing. As the illustration he used at the header of his post proclaims – “Introverts Unite!...Separately...In Your Own Homes!”

As I wrote in reply:

For me, a closeted misanthropic surly curmudgeon, this period in our history has been a relief for me. I don't have to socialize with anyone, nor am I expected to do so. My 'welcome' mat is no longer seen as a joke - "Welcome! Now Go Away!" - but as the height of social responsibility.

I work now mostly from home, something that allows me to get more work done with fewer interruptions. When I do have to go into the lab I am generally there with only two or three other people and we're all in different labs, so it's just like being there alone because they don't interrupt me and I don't interrupt them.

Most social interaction, at least for work, has been reduced to texts, e-mails, and the occasional video conference.

I'm in heaven!

I am sure there are plenty of others out there with the same viewpoint.

********************


Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) slams clueless Glenn Kessler, one of those anti-American media types who has no problem trying to blame Trump for things he said in the past, those things said being true when Trump said them.

The media sucks.

Big time.

Yeah yeah, we know, you know that. But it’s like they keep getting suckier every day.

Glenn Kessler really thought this was something smart to tweet …

@GlennKesslerWP Line from Trump's State of the Union address that did not age well: "“Incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country.”

Yeah, that thing the president said several months before this pandemic that is destroying economies all over the world … he was wrong.

Ted’s response to Kessler:

@tedcruz

The press HATED that, three months ago, we had the lowest African-American & Hispanic unemployment ever recorded. Now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic—which originated in Wuhan, not the Oval Office—too many in the press are giddy with glee.

Haters gotta hate. Apparently Glenn Kessler is one of them.

********************


Mike Hendrix over at Cold Fury tells us the numbers just don’t add up when it comes to coronavirus projections. He’s not the only one.

Ed Mosca over at GraniteGrok has been tracking projected Covid-19 cases here in New Hampshire with the actual numbers appearing. The two are nowhere near each other.

********************


And that’s the news from quarantined Lake Winnipesaukee, where Ice Out is going to be declared any time now, the number of out-of-state plates seen has been increasing, and where even though Monday is coming again too soon, I don’t care because I’ll be working from home.

4/03/2020

What Are The True Numbers?

Watching the opening of this evening’s ABC World News, it became quite apparent to me that they are buying China’s claim that they brought Covid-19 under control and that there have been no (or very few) new cases for weeks now.

Their opening story displayed a chart showing the number of cases of Covid-19. The two most telling lines were those displaying the number of cases in China and the US. The US still shows an upward slope while China’s shows a flattening out weeks ago, with the total reported by China well below that of the US.

I’m not buying it.

As I have stated elsewhere, pandemics don’t just stop. The number of new cases don’t fall off a cliff and hit zero overnight, yet that’s what the Chinese government wants everyone to believe. The official number of cases reported by the Chinese seem very low. Reports from China do not seem to jibe with information received by way of electronics parts suppliers in Wuhan. Some intelligence reports gathered by the UK imply the number of cases and deaths in China were between 15 and 40 times higher than reported.

Which one is the truth?

If it’s reported by ABC News then the chances are pretty good that it isn’t true.

4/01/2020

Coronavirus Is Deadlier Than The Flu

How many times have we heard one talking head, keyboard warrior, or propagandist journalist make the claim the Wuhan virus is no more deadly than the usual annual influenza?

Looking at both the US numbers and worldwide numbers for the Wuhan virus, the mortality rate is much higher than we see for influenza. As of this morning the mortality rate in the US is 2%, more than twice the mortality rate of the flu. Worldwide, the mortality rate is just under 5%.

The argument has been made that the number of Covid-19 cases has been underreported because some folks with mild symptoms didn’t report they were sick (but stayed home) nor were they tested. But isn’t that also true of the annual flu? How many report they’ve had the flu? If I had to guess, the same percentage as those who have had Covid-19 with mild symptoms, assuming they even knew they were positive for the virus. So I’m not buying the ‘underreported’ argument as the reason why the mortality rate is so much higher for Covid-19.

When the White House states we might see between 100,000-240,000 deaths due to Covid-19, it’s an indicator that the Wuhan virus is deadlier than the ‘regular’ flu.

Of course, the argument can be made that the mortality rate is being purposely overstated as an excuse to take extraordinary actions and whittle away at our civil rights. There could be a kernel of truth to that argument. Only time will tell.

3/29/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

Here it is, another Sunday in Coronavirus America.

The governor in my home state of New Hampshire released a Stay-At-Home executive order that took effect at midnight Friday night. While not nearly as restrictive as other states’ and cities’ Shelter-In-Place orders, a number of businesses have been ordered closed, restaurant dining rooms closed and the restaurants switching over take-out and delivery only service, and other businesses and local government offices changing over to limited hours/appointment only service.

The WP Mom and I did venture out both yesterday and today to take care of our regular weekly shopping. We didn’t buy anything out of ordinary, didn’t have any issues with shortages of any goods, though the toilet paper supply is still a little spotty in some stores.

********************


Something to remember when it comes to pandemics, specifically when it comes to China, is that the number of cases doesn’t suddenly drop to zero. They taper off until the number of new cases reaches zero.

That China has suddenly reported no new cases is suspicious on the face of it. But as I have linked to before, the reason no new cases have been reported in China is because it is no longer testing for coronavirus.

If no testing is being performed then there could not possibly be reports of any new cases. Instead, they have reclassified any new deaths as caused by ‘regular’ influenza or pneumonia, but not coronavirus.

Sorry, but I’m calling “Bulls**t!” on this one.

********************


Don’t believe the coronavirus numbers the media is reporting. Why?

Because they are usually comparing apples and oranges.

While the US now has more coronavirus cases than China (supposedly – see above), looking at the per capita incidences of coronavirus patients you will see the US is at the bottom of the curve, but you won’t hear the media talk about that aspect of it at all.

One note: You will notice that the graphs in the linked post do not include any figures from China.

********************


Is the Covid-19 pandemic a possible media extinction event?

I hope so. Too much of the media no longer reports the news, but tells you want to think about what little news they actually report.

Perhaps TV newscasters should end each segment with “More of the alleged news after this…”. Call it journalistic truth.

********************


I find it interesting (but not surprising) that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is blaming President Trump for the coronavirus problems, choosing to conveniently forget that she has been one of the biggest blockades to getting things done.

********************


The Manhattan Contrarian offers some advice for dealing with the coronavirus.

The more you read about this, the more you realize that the key to true success against the virus is to embrace environmental incorrectness. Many of the environmental fads of the last few years turn out to be exactly what you should not be doing. Like it or not, you are now going to have to use more plastics and increase your “carbon footprint.” Hey, it’s the least you can do to keep yourself and your family and friends alive.

Read the whole thing.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where folks are dealing with restrictions caused by coronavirus with aplomb, most folks aren’t really noticing many differences, and where some folks are think the 6-foot distancing is too close...and always have.

3/28/2020

Is The Day Of "Papers, Please" Coming To America?

Hearing that Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo (D) has the National Guard going door-to-door looking for “Noo Yawkers” who recently came into the Ocean State from the Metro New York City area has given me a case of the willies. Seems a little too late-1930’s Germany to me.

“Right now we have a pinpointed risk,” Raimondo said at a news conference Friday. “That risk is called New York City.”

The state police in Rhode Island have begun pulling over cars with New York plates. Raimondo says anyone from New York City found to have recently come into the state will be automatically quarantined for 14 days.

Apparently New York governor Andrew Cuomo is taking exception to the Governor Raimondo’s actions, saying “I don’t believe it’s medically justified.”

Not medically justified? Hey, Andy. There are 44,000 people in your largest city who have tested positive for the virus. The only thing in this situation that might not be medically justified is building a wall surrounding the Big Apple and turning it into one big hospital ward. Or perhaps some kind of Escape from New York prison.

Of course none of this will matter if President Trump quarantines parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

3/27/2020

Social Distancing - Northern New England Yankee Style

In line with what has been going on in the US, particularly here in New Hampshire, and with social distancing having become the norm, I figured it was time to show you how we’ve always done something like that up here in Northern New England. Call it the “Surly Northern New England Yankee Curmudgeon Socially Distanced Greeting:

Surly Curmudgeon #1- "Good day?" (Translation: "Are you having a good day today, friend?")

Surly Curmudgeon #2- "Ayuh. You?" (Translation: "Yes, I've been having a most excellent and exceedingly good day. How about you?"

Surly Curmudgeon #1- "Ayuh?" (Translation: "As am I. Will I see you later down at the general store/dump/Agway/diner/town meeting?")

Surly Curmudgeon #2- “Ayuh.” (Translation: “Most assuredly. I look forward to discussing matters of great import at length with you.”)

Cuts right to the chase, is efficient, and keeps interactions to a minimum. Ayuh.

UPDATE: A fellow Northern New England Yankee added a bit to this:

Yet Another Surly Curmudgeon: "Six-foot separation for 'social distancing'? Why would I want to get that close to anybody?"

Ayuh.

3/22/2020

Thoughts On A Sunday

Here we are, yet another week into dealing with coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases is increasing as expected. (More tests means more infections being detected, even those that show little or no symptoms.) The media is still sensationalizing rather than actually reporting the news, still trying to blame President Trump for everything, and scaring folks for no other reason than they can.

Most of the folks up here are taking it with little fear or trepidation. Other than the initial surge of panic buying of paper towel and hand sanitizer, things have pretty much settled down. There have been a few spot shortages here and there (Half-and-Half and Jello being two of them for no reason I can determine), but I haven’t come across anything that is truly in short supply. Some of the local supermarkets are instituting special shopping hours for their elderly customers to help reduce the possibility of infection by Covid-19.

Local government is limiting access to town and city halls, with as much of the services provided as possible being shifted online in order to reduce person-to-person contact as much as is practical. Police and fire departments are closing access to the public from their facilities, trying to move as many of their non-emergency services as possible online and telephone.

********************


Is China’s claim of coronavirus recovery fake? Knowing how the Chinese government has prevaricated about coronavirus since the beginning, can we believe it now?

A supplier for my company located in Wuhan has been telling a different story than the ‘official’ story from the Chinese government.

I am more inclined to believe our supplier as they are on the scene.

UPDATE: It seems the reason why there are have been no more cases of Covid-19 reported in China is because China is reportedly no longer testing for it.

No testing, no reports.

********************


I’ve stated more than once that the push away from ‘single-use’ plastic shopping bags was a mistake considering they are less expensive, less impactful on the environment, are actually reused in a number of ways, and are less likely to spread disease than reusable “sustainable” cloth totes. Banning of single-use plastic bags is based more on virtue signaling than being environmentally responsible and may be responsible for helping spread Covid-19.

As the government, businesses, and individuals move to slow Wuhan coronavirus’ spread, one of the environmentalists’ pet “green” projects is under threat. Many municipalities and states banned single-use plastic bags due to heavy lobbying by those who insist that officials replace them with germ- and bacteria-laden reusable shopping bags.

That seems to be changing, much to environmentalists’ dissatisfaction, in the face of the Wuhan coronavirus. Because the virus can survive on such items and thus spread infection, many plastic bag bans are being delayed or lifted to shut down the petri dish of contagion these reusable shopping bags represent.

Science and knowledge about disease and contagion must take second place to the watermelon environmentalist narrative. That the reusable bags can spread disease and death is not seen as a bug, but as a feature by the purported environmentalists. Anything that cuts down the human population is seen as a plus by a lot of these folks.

********************


There is one thing that is more shocking than the coronavirus and it has shaken many of us to the core.

Tom Brady signed a two-year $60 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There is also a $9 million performance incentive to go with it, and a promise to rename the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the Tom Brady Buccaneers.

(OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating. It might have been only a $6 million performance incentive.)

Needless to say, a number of tears of anguish were shed in New England. The end of an era has come.

********************


This sounds like a good idea whose time has come.

It’s time for an open source project to review “all the laws which have proven themselves unnecessary.”

My home state had something called a Sunset Commission that reviewed all existing laws and regulations and made a list of those which either no longer served a purpose or caused more problems than they solved. Quite often the legislature would repeal the redundant ones and repeal or modify the problematic ones. Unfortunately a Democrat governor convinced the state legislature in the late 70’s/early 80’s that it was no longer needed and it was itself “sunsetted”, a mistake we’ve been paying for ever since.

It’s time to bring it back to New Hampshire and to bring it to life at the federal level.

********************


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is breaking up, discussions and preparations are already being made for the coming boating season, and where we expect commuting traffic is going to be pretty sparse for a while.

3/21/2020

An American Solution To A World Problem

Everyone has been complaining that testing for Covid-19 is taking a long time.

Here's one possible solution:



(H/T Powerline)