Huh?

April 21st, 2020

A Frenchman named Marcelo Desnoyers travels to Argentina in 1870, and he marries the elder daughter of Julio Madariaga, the owner of a ranch. Eventually Marcelo, his wife, and his children Julio and Chichi move back to France and live in a mansion in Paris. Julio turns out to be a spoiled, lazy young man who avoids commitments and flirts with a married woman named Marguerite Laurier. Meanwhile, Madariaga’s younger daughter has married a German man named Karl Hartrott, and the Hartrotts move back to Germany. The Desnoyers family and the Hartrott family are thus set against each other with the onset of World War I. However, Julio Desnoyers initially shows no interest in the war, while Hartrott’s family eagerly supports the German cause. It is only after Julio’s lover, Marguerite, lavishes attention upon her husband after the latter is wounded in battle, that Julio is moved to participate in the war. While young Julio Desnoyers serves as a soldier, the aging Marcelo Desnoyers leaves the shelter and returns to his mansion, where he watches the German soldiers advance and eventually plunder his belongings and eat his food. At last the French soldiers push back the German soldiers, and Marcelo chooses to defend a German man who had earlier spared Marcelo’s life.Julio Desnoyers returns to his family, wounded in a battle but praised for his valour, and he quickly sets out again to continue fighting. At the close of the war, Julio is killed in battle. The novel ends with Marcelo at his son’s grave, regretting that if his daughter, Chichi, has any children, they will not bear the name “Desnoyers.” Marcelo finds that Hartrott, too, has lost a son in the war.

Huh?. Lamb of God, or Lion of Judah, (Jesus Christ) opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons forth four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, respectively. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgm. aha!

We liked the all the characters in the movie, the clever numbers of numbers of smiling.

Doom!!

April 20th, 2020

Doom!!

Tick Tock

April 19th, 2020

(1) Biden/Obama were a disaster in handling the H1N1 Swine Flu. Polling at the time showed disastrous approval numbers. 17,000 people died unnecessarily and through incompetence! Also, don’t forget their 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare website that should have cost close to nothing! (2) We bonus: from the other night.

Our thoughts

April 17th, 2020

US:

I sat with a guy on, on a telephone and he’s telling me, he said, “I don’t always,” he said, “Look, I, I, I, I, I, I’m, I, I worked at the hospital.” And he said, “Then I, I got, I got myself a position where I got the virus so they quarantined me and, and they put me in the hospital, and I made it out and so I’m out [slurp]. But they don’t want me with my family. I’m on the third floor. I spent 15 minutes on the phone with them saying,’ he said, ‘I have a three-year-old and a four-year-old. They come to the door outside and they just knock on the door and say ‘Daddy, Daddy, can I see you Daddy, can I see you Daddy?’ So we spent time going through it [slurp], I used to do with my kids when they were little and I couldn’t see them and we’d play games. I said, “Knock, make up a game, knock, knock on the door and say this is, you know [slurp].” [incomprehensible] This is practical things, the guy’s scared to death. And he’s worried about his children, he’s worried about his wie [sic]. I mean, these are practical things. And the president talks about this like, “OK, it’s gonna be OK. We’re gonna open tomorrow. We’re gonna do this.”

Or maybe it’s just this or this from PW. Or maybe this from PA. BTW, Xi Jinping is looking not too good – a bit like those early Bond guys from the early 1960’s.

BTW, we have no idea what this is, but maybe we’ll get back our eyesight. Or this…

Tick Tock

April 16th, 2020

Barr:

My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness. There is something far more troubling here, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history. Without any basis they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning, actually is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president. So I — to sabotage the presidency, and I think that – or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.

it might come as a surprise to some of these people that the federal government, the Justice Department specifically, has 115,000 people who are dedicated to protecting the public safety, including preventing narcotics trafficking, and we’re actually able to do more than one thing at a time, and we’re handling different kinds of cases. Maybe fraud is not on the top of their mind, but we still police fraud. // it’s very interesting because drugs kill 70,000 Americans a year, 70,000 a year. And it’s poison, and we have to make sure that during this period the cartels are not taking advantage of the United States and pumping this poison up into the United States.

So they’re all guilty, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, etc, etc. Johnson, Solomon, and on and on…

Hey, Dennis Prager had this guy on, and we’re wondering who is right…

The other day

April 16th, 2020

We observed that the guy from a Red China correspondent showed up with a high temp at the Trump rally. And of course there are all these other people with big problems. Are we making this up, or do the secret service suspect things?

Funny stuff

April 14th, 2020

Hilarious.

Back to 2004 again

April 13th, 2020

VDH:

As we continue to debate about numerators and denominators in determining the real impact of this virus, one common denominator remains certain about the elites advising, crafting, and developing our response: they aren’t touched by the impact of their decisions. The virus will teach us many things, but one lesson has already been relearned by the American people: there are two, quite different, types of wisdom.

One, and the most renowned, is a specialization in education that results in titled degrees and presumed authority. That ensuing prestige, in turn, dictates the decisions of most politicians, the media, and public officials—who for the most part share the values and confidence of the credentialed elite.

The other wisdom is not, as commonly caricatured, know-nothingism. Indeed, Americans have always believed in self-improvement and the advantages of higher education, a trust that explained broad public 19th-century support for mandatory elementary and secondary schooling and, during the postwar era, the G.I. Bill.

But the other wisdom also puts a much higher premium on pragmatism and experience, values instilled by fighting nature daily and mixing it up with those who must master the physical world.

The result is the sort of humility that arises when daily drivers test their skills and cunning in a semi-truck barreling along the freeway to make a delivery deadline with a cylinder misfiring up on the high pass, while plagued by worries whether there will be enough deliveries this month to pay the mortgage.

An appreciation of practical knowledge accrues from watching central-heating mechanics come out in the evening to troubleshoot the unit on the roof, battling the roof grade, the ice, and the dark while pitting their own acquired knowledge in a war with the latest computerized wiring board of the new heating exchange unit that proves far more unreliable than the 20-year-old model it replaced.

Humility is key to learning, but it is found more easily from a wealth of diverse existential experiences on the margins. It is less a dividend of the struggle for great success versus greater success still, but one of survival versus utter failure. So far in this crisis, our elite have let us down in a manner the muscularly wise have never done.

Take any contentious issue—travel bans, the advantages of masks, the Chinese compromising of WHO, the entire industry of grievance politics infecting criticism of China’s despicable behavior, delayed testing by the Centers for Disease Control and FDA, modeling, the efficacy of antimalarial drugs—and our elite seem unable to admit they were wrong, and wrong with a great deal of costly arrogance.

It is no exaggeration to say that most models that the best and brightest offered the public, from the imported Imperial College in London to those from the University of Washington and many more besides, were not just inaccurate, but quite mistaken in two tragic ways: First, they were accepted as gospel by governments and thus their flawed assumptions became the basis for policies that in many cases may prove counterproductive. Second, the modelers themselves either did not promptly correct their warped inputs, or were not completely forthcoming about their data and methodologies, or blamed their flawed assumptions on others or circumstances beyond imagination, or claimed that their mistakes were in fact salutary—if not sorta, kinda planned—in galvanizing a presumably infantile public to accept draconian measures that it otherwise would not.

I know a plumber and an electrician, both skilled in the pragmatic engineering of pipes and wires, who would not dare to think they could offer a model of plumbing or electrical prediction if they had no idea of the real size of the denominator and were likewise unsure that the numerator was widely accepted as accurate and clearly defined.

If I called my car mechanic and explained that I had a bad knock in my engine in the middle of night in the middle of nowhere, he likely would tell me ways to risk driving home, even if possibly hurting the engine, given the lose-lose proposition of spending the night in an unsafe area—in a way our media class seemed to have little clue that hydroxychloroquine for those who cannot breathe need not be certified as 100 percent efficacious in their effort to inhale one more day.

On March 12, Governor DeWine of Ohio, flanked by his state health director, told the 11 million residents of Ohio that based on models he knew that 100,000 “had” active cases of the disease. That was a caseload that his experts further warned would double every six days. In other words, at the then roughly 2 percent lethality rate of the known actively infected—his medical team all but frightened the state with the certainty that in 24 days there could be 1.6 million infected Ohioans and an assumed 40,000 dead.

In fact, about a week ago, on April 6, there were fewer than 5,000 known cases and less than 200 Ohioans who had succumbed to COVID-19. Even with far more unknown cases than known and the efficacy of slowing viral transmission via mass sheltering, the data was not just flawed but perhaps even preposterous. State officials could have offered some official explanations for their misinformation other than the subtext that such fright was medicinal in persuading a public to do something they supposed the public did not know was good for it to do.

When California Governor Gavin Newsom warned that 25.5 million Californians “will” get the virus in the eight weeks following March 18, albeit without his shelter-in-place orders, he was also essentially stating that, at a then 2.6 percent lethality rate for Californians known to have the active virus, about 1 million would die. As I write, 24 days out from his prediction and nearing the half-way point to Doomsday, about 23,000 Californians have tested positive, and either are fighting the disease or have recovered. Since late January, about 650 of 40 million Californians have died from the disease, in a state where well over 700 people die from some cause every day.

If 10 times that number of known positive tests are now actively infected, we legitimately could assume at least 222,000 residents are now active or past carriers. Those who advised Newsom to shut down the world’s sixth-largest economy, including universities like Cal Tech, UC Berkeley, and Stanford, Silicon Valley, and the commerce and livelihoods of 40 million residents, apparently did not factor into their models some possible collective immunity among thousands of Californians who, for months, were on the front lines of arriving flights from China.

Nor did modelers seem to factor in the ability of people to social distance even before the shutdown was ordered, or the fact that a virus that does not kill 95.5 percent of those who are infected, but not frontline health workers or over 60 years old, may be deemed by the public manageable in a way that does not require having multigenerational small businesses ruined, or careers destroyed, or retirement savings accounts wrecked, or key appointments with doctors postponed or canceled.

Practical wisdom might warn that one also does not erode the Constitution because of a mysterious virus, in the sense one does not arrest ministers preaching in parking lots, or those walking hand in hand alongside the road.

Given past misadventures in times of crisis from Woodrow Wilson’s wartime de facto suspension of the First Amendment to FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans, one should not advocate instituting a national register of the infected and recovered, as some sort of super citizenry and then entrust such knowledge to what we know of the civil liberty sensitivities of Silicon Valley—all because a Bill Gates or Anthony Fauci believe their expertise leads them to think it may be a good idea.

Sometime in the late 19th century, the wide-scale growth of graduate education, professional schooling, and the formal granting of a M.D., Ph.D., or J.D. were necessary antidotes to quackery and the dangers of autodidactic expertise masquerading as the product of the scientific method. But in the last two centuries, that notion of argument from authority has metamorphosed into a religion, a faith-based discipline.

No one at Harvard Medical School or the World Health Organization can guarantee exact science in the sense of something completely right and absolutely wrong, any more than stomach ulcers were supposedly only due to stress and aspirin in 1960s, and then also to H. Pylori and Advil in the 21st century and then also to a mixture of all that and also something no doubt undiscovered today.

The former gold standard of cobalt radiation (“the cobalt bomb”) to treat cancer may soon seem a little barbaric, in the manner that our present chemotherapy regimens likely will appear medieval to doctors a half entry from now. Science is evolutionary. On occasion, yesterday’s certainty is today’s skepticism and tomorrow’s ridiculousness.

In other words, common sense, indeed humility as well, as a corrective to scientific arrogance was often lost in this crisis. One day the Imperial College in London was lauded as Einsteinian, the next it appeared Vegas-like.

The result of scientific arrogance, without practical audit, presents as something like the surreal online “world meter” data on the hourly progress of the virus. Such sites offer superficially impressively precise, but ultimately flawed, information on COVID-19 cases, mortality, and lethality and infection—without label warnings that neither the number of actual active or past infectious cases, nor the percentage of those who die from, rather than with, can yet be accurate. Much less are we informed by such electronic meters of the absolute unreliability of statistics from China and other authoritarian countries.

Our modelers constantly downsize their bleak prognostications as “data changes” as if one should ever publish such Armageddon scenarios when they had insufficient information. More worrisome, are post facto claims that such mistakes might have been salutary.

Perhaps a mechanic could rejoin that he warned the driver never to venture 5 miles beyond his home given tiny fissures in the driver’s cylinder block, and when his diagnosis is revealed to be erroneous and quite costly to his client, offered, “Well, at least I saved him gas money, wear and tear on the car, and a possible traffic death.”

Degrees no longer necessarily reflect merit, at least as it once was calibrated by a university’s or a public agency’s own standards. Over 20 years ago, one could read any scholarly journal in the social sciences or humanities—and today even their scientific counterparts—and learn how social justice, identity politics, and political activism had warped science and data-driven analyses. The erosion infected everything from studies of global warming to illegal immigration to the role of the “Other” in ancient societies. It was as if letters behind one’s name allowed authors to massage data and argumentation for the higher purposes of egalitarianism and contemporary social justice.

Every young scholar is now faced with the dilemma of writing the truth as the evidence compels him to do, or venturing into weaponized speculation that is far more likely to win him peer approbation and career enhancement, even as it insidiously bankrupts his discipline.

Elite wisdom, which in its allegiance to the scientific method eventually is likely to find an antidote and vaccination against the virus, still fails us in so many other ways in which it should not, in part also because its high priests rarely face the consequences of their own ideological and scientific pronouncements.

Whatever the end result of this crisis, few at the WHO, CDC or the state health directors are going to lose their jobs in a way the small restaurateurs and Uber drivers most certainly will.

When the corporate lawyer, under 65 and not a health-care worker, rails that the know-nothings wish to endanger him by restarting the economy, despite a 5-in-1,000 chance of dying if infected, his argument is not based on existential need, nor is it part of the lose-lose landscape of his supposed social inferiors who are willing to risk a small chance of severe infection to prevent a very likely chance of going broke and ruining an entire family.

That is, elites who make policy do not necessarily immediately need to plug back into a normal economy to survive. An Ezekiel Emanuel—brother of Rahm (of “never let a crisis go to waste” infamy), advisor to Joe Biden, and of greater infamy for his prior callous pronouncements that those over 75 (e.g., like Joe Biden) more or less are society’s unproductive and enfeebled sponges—claims that we might need to be shut down America for up to another 18 months (but then why not two or three years?).

The subtext of Emanuel’s warning is that even after 72 weeks of such exhausting punditry from a university billet, he will emerge more or less financially secure, maybe our national health czar in a new administration, and without much worry that millions of others will not—or in fact will die or sicken trying to remain solvent.

Back to 2004 again, with the guy playing the game, as Rush said today. And here’s more, from the PL guys. Boring, boring, etc. Maybe we’ll look up all the inanities when we get around to 2004, but not now.

Bonus: Tawana! Extra bonus: Elder.

Oh no!!!

April 12th, 2020

Yawn. Boring.

Crossfire Hurricane?

April 11th, 2020

Two good pieces from Tom Lifson and Scott Johnson on Crossfire Hurricane. We seem to recall that the phrase had something to do with the birth of Keith Richards during WWII (we’re currently too lazy to look it up). No doubt the user had used the term from time to time in other contexts, and that could be a way for Barr to find the guy who used it in this odd way. (Hey, the 4 or 5 guys can all claim credit for it — just made up stuff, you know.)

Just a few weeks ago

April 10th, 2020

“The big projection being that 2.2 million people would die if we did nothing. That was another decision we made, close it up. That was a big decision that we made. 2 very smart people walked into my office and said listen these are your alternatives. And that was a projection of 1.5 to 2.2 million people if we didn’t close it up. That’s a lot of people.” Actual: maybe 18K or maybe a fraction of that.

Meh

April 10th, 2020

(1) Huh? or (2) ???. Weird.

And here’s a really odd one.

Can you say scam without using the words $8 trillion

April 9th, 2020

PL: Scott Jensen is both a physician and a Minnesota state senator. Yesterday he was interviewed by a local television station and dropped a bombshell: he, and presumably all other Minnesota doctors, got a seven-page letter from the Minnesota Department of Health that gave guidance on how to classify COVID-19 deaths. The letter said that if a patient died of, e.g., pneumonia, and was believed to have been exposed to COVID-19, the death certificate should say that COVID-19 was the cause of death even though the patient was never tested, or never tested positive

Here’s a hint: when the scam contains $8 trillion, feel free to guess it’s a scam.

For the record from 2/7

April 8th, 2020

“Trump uses virus to test his border plan; Trump removes inspector general who was to oversee $2 trillion; Acting Navy Secretary resigns after insulting; Treasury Secretary Mnuchin seeks additional $250 billion; Underfunded, Understaffed and under siege: unemployment offices nationwide are struggling; Trump expects quick economic comeback, but China’s incomplete recovery hints at long-lasting problems; Stephanie Graham out as White House Press Secretary after eight months during which she held no regular news briefings; Leslie Jourdan is our feisty quarantine uncle; Going outside is our only escape, but now that’s scary too; Listen: voting in a pandemic, an island’s fears,” etc, etc. Nothing here was made up; these are the WaPo stories from their presence on the Kindle WaPo, repeated without eliminating others, and in the order displayed by the Post, without eliminating others. QED.

Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake

April 7th, 2020

That’s from this charming song. Take a look at the lead stories of the last few days of the WaPo – we’re not going to link; nasty stuff and fine dinner intros for Bezos. As VDH says, “we have never had journalism of this low character before — not in the acrimony over the Founding, not in the furor during the Civil War, not even in the age of yellow journalism at the turn of the 20th century.” Bonus fun: China is in on it. Amazing!

2MM Annual Heart Attack, Cancer, etc. US stats vs. Corona Corona

April 7th, 2020

Annual US figures
Heart disease: 647,457
Cancer: 599,108
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
Diabetes: 83,564
Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173
Corona Corona: tiny but still estimated way too high

$8 trillion so far – greatest scam ever

Corona Corona to the nth degree

April 6th, 2020

It’s Sunday so we run and we repeat, indeed shout, Corona Corona every time we hear it. Never stops. On the radio, the program is the same, you know, how the evil one is doing everything badly. Sigh. For us Conrad, Clarice, the PL guys, etc.

Some feel good stuff

April 4th, 2020

We liked the Corona virus silliness and the Cuomo pictures and the FDR press conference. There, that’s enough for today.

61st minute, 16 years later

April 4th, 2020

We’re 16 years beyond the 61st minute post at Powerline, and we participated in that. It was a hit piece on Bush. Today we note that (1) some judge is unqualified to be on a court, and (2) the Corona Corona yipping just won’t end – and we all know the reason for that one. Sigh.

Odd

April 3rd, 2020

Such a tough life being a billionaire. Very odd.