I chose to get vaccinated. When I was very young I got chickenpox from my sister. This was the old-fashioned way children in my generation got immunity from chickenpox. If an unvaccinated person chooses the old-fashioned way to get COVDI-19 immunity, who am I to complain. They might have underlying medical conditions in which a preventative treatment with ivermectin is a safer choice. If I follow the science then I am immune from COVID-19. If I am not fully immune, science says it is highly likely that I will have a low-grade illness which will result in natural immunity. That works for me! I like that scenario better than a COVID-19 booster. Don’t mandate COVID-19 vaccinations on other people for my sake. Let the unvaccinated people make their own medical decisions.
When I look at the current 3.5 trillion dollar spending package it reminds me of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. At the time economists were anticipating 3.5% GDP growth and the economy never reached its potential. For the next eight years, we had a very tepid economy and job growth.
The economic conditions surrounding the current economy are more challenging than in 2009. The supply-chain problems are going to leave some retailers without sufficient inventory during the most important buying season of the year. For retailers whose survival depends on Christmas spending, they are screwed regardless of what the government does. COVID-19 restrictions are going to continue to hinder restaurants, entertainment, and travel. Government spending is not going to help them either. The economy in 2021 looks like an economy with no slack and no opportunities to increase capacity until we fix the supply chain and COVID-19 restrictions. The challenge we face is that if government spending does not increase consumer spending by more than 3.5 trillion dollars, we are screwed. Most of the ideas in the spending package are never going to show up on the economic growth bottom line. 3.5 trillion dollars spent on “feel-good projects” is a lot of debt to saddle future generations with.
My first impression about the January 6th Armed Insurrection was that it was a clown show. In the middle of 2020, the pundits warned everyone listening that this election would be prone to massive voter irregularities due to the increase in mail-in voting and the removal of voter integrity controls. The presidential election did not disappoint. Several precincts made errors. Some of the mistakes were innocent mistakes. Other mistakes are suspicious and warranted a non-partisan investigation. According to the media, the guys in this picture represent or are spokespeople for the “Big Lie”. When I look at photos of the insurrection, I do not see anyone who looks like a leader. Recently Reuters reported that the FBI has concluded that there was no conspiracy or coordinated effort behind the events at the Capitol on January 6. So why did the media select these guys? I think the press promoted these guys as leadership because it made for an entertaining news story even though they knew it was false.
When I think of an “armed insurrection”, I see it as the most extreme protest form. As an example of armed insurrection, I think of the first battle of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord. The Americans were armed and wanted to overthrow British rule. People got shot, and there was no turning back.
Domestic terrorism is another example of extreme protest. Two examples of domestic terrorism are the 2017 Congressional Baseball shooting and the 2009 Fort Hood shooting. Both of these incidents involved a person shooting people they disagreed with for political reasons. However, unlike these events, no protester shot anyone on January 6.
The ANTIFA/BLM “mostly peaceful” protests in the summer of 2020 are more examples of extreme protests. These protests were far more organized and had a wide selection of non-lethal weaponry. Rocks, canned goods, and frozen water bottles were staged at strategic points for the protesters to throw. Some protesters carried commercial fireworks, lasers, and the occasional gun. When you compare the Armed Insurrection protesters to the sophistication of the ANTIFA/BLM protesters, the Armed Insurrection protesters were practically unarmed. Their weaponry appears to be bear spray and the occasional fire extinguisher once they got inside. It does not look like the majority of the protesters planned to breach the Capitol and were surprised it happened so quickly.
The final part of the unraveling narrative about the January 6th Armed Insurrection is the Capitol Police plan to defend the Capitol. When you look at the non-lethal weaponry employed by the police, you have to wonder whether they planned to defend the Capitol at all? I am pretty sure tear gas would have chased most protesters away. If that did not work, I suspect spraying the protesters with water in the middle of winter would have been a good deterrent, too. I did not see any tear gas in the photos and far too many physical confrontations between police and protesters. It was a stupid position to put the police in where tear gas would do. If you do not have the non-lethal weaponry, then the only plan left was for the Capitol Police to retreat. Most of the Capitol Police officers followed this plan. One officer did not and ended up shooting an unarmed Ashli Babbitt while she crawled in a window. She was not a lethal threat to the officer. Since the officer did not have pepper spray or other non-lethal weaponry to encourage her to retreat, the officer was responsible for de-escalating the situation by retreating. Just because the only weapon the officer had was a gun does not excuse the officer from the responsibility to withdraw and not to kill her.
The “Armed Insurrection” was neither armed nor an insurrection. President Biden and Speaker of the House Pelosi thought they could pin the protest on “white supremacists” and President Trump. They probably thought they could shut up President Trump and his supporters forever. The problem is that the facts do not support their position. First, the FBI has concluded that there was no conspiracy or coordinated effort. So it wasn’t Trump. Now the Department of Justice is left with indicting people for selfies. Second, the protest was about a stolen election. Although I remain skeptical that the voter fraud investigations will indict anyone or overturn the Presidential election, investigations in several states lead me to believe that it is now more likely than not that voter fraud turned several states. Thus, the “Big Lie” narrative was a coverup. As for shutting up President Trump, I don’t think it is working either!
My mother-in-law broke her hip last week. When she was admitted to the hospital, the hospital administered a COVID-19 test. Despite showing no COVID-19 symptoms and have been given the first COVID-19 shot earlier in the month, she tested positive for COVID-19. The doctors said she would have to be transferred to a medical facility housing COVID-19 patients. My wife was upset and demanded a second test. Not surprisingly, the second test came back negative. Although my mother-in-law has probably developed some immunity from the first shot, it is unlikely she has enough immunity to survive the viral load in a COVID-19 ward. The doctors almost made a dreadful mistake. Thanks to my wife, my mother-in-law dodged that bullet.
Many years ago I signed up for Twitter because I thought it would be fun. At that time the phrase “don’t be evil“, was embraced in Google’s corporate code of conduct and we had a warm, fuzzy feeling about the social media companies. Well, things have changed. The fun is gone and the arrogance of social media companies has grown unbearable. They may have thought they had a good reason for censorship but their actions are scaring the rest of us. I no longer trust social media companies to do the “right thing”. In this brand new world, it makes sense to review my privacy exposure and get rid of any social media I am not actively using. Goodbye, Twitter.
When I was in kindergarten my older sister came home with the chickenpox. Although we did not have a “pox party” per se, my parents believed it was better to “get over” chickenpox and measles at an early age. Since we have safe and effective vaccines for Chickenpox and Measles today, doctors frown on this method of immunization. Immunization from COVID-19 is different. The soonest we expect to have a COVID-19 vaccine is 2021. It looks like the low-risk part of the population is tired of the lockdown. Their solution is a good old fashion COVID-19 “pox party”.
On July 5th, the seven-day moving average of COVID-19 confirmed cases was 953 per day. The long term trend was 460 per day. Part of this increase can be explained by 17,275 tests per day. This is at least 50% more than two weeks ago. Despite the confirmed case surge, the most important COVID-19 statistics are hospitalizations, ICU, and deaths, and the seven-day moving averages have dropped below long-term trends. On Friday, we had zero deaths. This probably means the elderly with pre-existing conditions are not being adversely affected by the surge in young people getting infected. The sooner the young people get over COVID-19, the closer we get to herd immunity. This is the next best thing to a vaccine.
I have been recording Ohio’s COVID-19 statistics in a spreadsheet since mid-March. To my surprise, when I plotted the data in April, I got a bunch of straight lines. I was expecting an exponential curve as seen in places like New York City. When President Trump announced the federal rules for states to re-open, I was puzzled. The Ohio COVID-19 statistics were straight lines and not declining. According to federal rules for re-opening, Ohio had not met one of the basic rules. Ohio went ahead anyway. It is now almost 30 days after Ohio started re-opening. Those daily increases for Confirmed Cases, Hospitalizations, ICU, and deaths have not budged. The coefficient of determination for the trendlines, R2, is really good. With 109 days of data in the books, we can safely say that the lockdown, masks, and social distancing do not appear to have had much of an effect on the COVID-19 statistics in Ohio.
If we can believe that Kente scarves are more about black pride than a convenient way to identify slave traders, then why do we have problems with Civil War reconciliation efforts such as civil war statues? The Civil War was the largest human catastrophe in American history. According to the American Battlefield Trust, “there were an estimated 1.5 million casualties reported during the Civil War“. There were 27 million white people in the United States in 1860. About 5.5% of the population did not come home from the war. At the end of the war, the slavery issue was settled but the reconciliation between the North and the South was a huge problem. The South was decimated and the North proved themselves to be particularly inept as an occupying force. Eventually, both sides agreed to let local communities grieve in their own way. Especially in the South, they chose to erect statues and hold parades to commemorate those who served. It was not much but the communities gradually healed. For this purpose, the statues served their purpose and can be put away now. When you look at the loss of life during the war, the people complaining about the statues sound petty and hypocritical. It is as if 1.5 million casualties do not matter. Joseph Stalin would approve.
“The death of one man is tragic, but the death of thousands is statistic.” ~ Joseph Stalin
History has shown that when people start rioting the police back off or drop to a knee. When the police abandon you and you are confronted with a violent situation, normally peaceful people will do what is necessary to protect themselves and their property. Just a couple of months ago brandishing a weapon and using deadly force would have gotten you arrested. Now it is the new normal. Times are a-changing.
I make most of my meals from scratch and shop at a big box store, Sam’s Club, so setting up a pantry made sense for me. Despite being somewhat prepared for the pandemic, I ran into a few problems.
- Toilet Paper – Although I buy enough toilet paper to last us three months, we had only one month’s supply when the lockdown started. I purchased a few emergency rolls before I could get the 45 rolls of toilet paper.
- Beans – I keep dried beans on the shelf and I ran out of black beans. I did not realize that my supply of beans was low. Surprisingly, I found some black beans in the gourmet section of the grocery store. I found canned black beans in the Hispanic food section.
- Diced Tomatoes – I buy diced tomatoes by the case and the case lasts about two months. When the lockdown started I had only one can in the case. I waited for two months for Sam’s Club to restock. I finally gave up and bought it online.
- Spaghetti – I typically buy a six-pound package and it took Sam’s Club three months to restock.
- Chicken – I typically like to buy large packages of boneless chicken breasts and thighs. I use part of the chicken in one meal and freeze the rest. The availability has been so unpredictable I have been buying it whenever I found it in stock.
- Beef and Pork – Surprisingly, beef and pork availability was great at the beginning of the lockdown. Now it is terrible.
- Do a better job of keeping track of inventory levels when things are getting squirrely. Checking your inventory after the government has announced a lockdown is too late. A six month supply looks like a reasonable tradeoff between shelf space and cost. If I had increased my inventory levels to six months in February, I would have not run out of anything.
- Availability is the problem. Adaptability is the solution. When chicken breasts, beef, and pork were not available, I switched to organic chicken, frozen fish fillets, and frozen hamburger patties.