Category Archive 'COVID-19'
01 Jun 2020

We Need to Explain the Difference

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Ross Clark notes that an explanation, other than politics, is required to account for the difference in the impact of the COVID-19 virus in Asia from the toll it’s taken in Europe and the United States.

Japan… has not used any of the standard measures for tackling Covid-19 – lockdown, test, track and trace – with any great vigour. Neither has it succeeded in snuffing out the virus by any other means. If you think Boris Johnson or Donald Trump have been reckless in some way, you ought to be berating the Japanese government far more. But you won’t because Japan, in spite of its laissez-faire attitude, has had remarkably few deaths: seven for every million citizens, compared with 567 in the UK. Even Europe’s Covid pin-up – Germany – has suffered a death rate that is multiples that of Japan: 103 per million.

But then again, if you compared Japan with its Far Eastern neighbours, you could establish a case that Japan has been reckless: South Korea and Taiwan have even lower death rates at 5 per million and 0.3 per million respectively.

This brings one to an inescapable conclusion that has been obvious since mid-March, at least to anyone who has been prepared to see it: that there is a fundamental difference in the way that this virus has behaved in the Far East compared with Europe and America. It has been far, far deadlier in the latter two, and in a way which cannot even nearly be explained by the way different governments have handled the epidemic. This raises two possibilities: either there is a difference in the virus that has been attacking Western countries or there is a difference in the human populations.

RTWT

21 May 2020

Confuse a Liberal

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18 May 2020

Sounds Right

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15 May 2020

Peggy Noonan on the Class Aspect of Lockdown

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Peggy Noonan, this week, is remembering her working class roots again.

I’m afraid, however, when push comes to shove, Peggy is always going to side with the Community of Fashion over ordinary America.

There is a class divide between those who are hard-line on lockdowns and those who are pushing back. We see the professionals on one side—those James Burnham called the managerial elite, and Michael Lind, in “The New Class War,” calls “the overclass”—and regular people on the other. The overclass are highly educated and exert outsize influence as managers and leaders of important institutions—hospitals, companies, statehouses. The normal people aren’t connected through professional or social lines to power structures, and they have regular jobs—service worker, small-business owner.

Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in charge—scientists, doctors, political figures, consultants—calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist won’t lose his livelihood over what’s happened. Neither will the midday anchor.

I’ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. There is an aspect of it that is not much discussed but bears on current arguments. How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures. I think it’s fair to say citizens of red states have been pushing back harder than those of blue states.

It’s not that those in red states don’t think there’s a pandemic. They’ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualties—fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.

They’ll take the latter. It’s a loss either way but one loss is worse than the other. They know the politicians and scientists can’t really weigh all this on a scale with any precision because life is a messy thing that doesn’t want to be quantified.

Here’s a generalization based on a lifetime of experience and observation. The working-class people who are pushing back have had harder lives than those now determining their fate. They haven’t had familial or economic ease. No one sent them to Yale. They often come from considerable family dysfunction. This has left them tougher or harder, you choose the word.

They’re more fatalistic about life because life has taught them to be fatalistic. And they look at these scientists and reporters making their warnings about how tough it’s going to be if we lift shutdowns and they don’t think, “Oh what informed, caring observers.” They think, “You have no idea what tough is. You don’t know what painful is.” And if you don’t know, why should you have so much say?

The overclass says, “Wait three months before we’re safe.” They reply, “There’s no such thing as safe.”

Something else is true about those pushing back. They live life closer to the ground …

RTWT

07 May 2020

The Nelson Touch

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George Peter Alexander Healy, Horatio, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1844 National Portrait Gallery, London.

Taki differs completely from the great majority of commentators gloating over the sacking of Neil Ferguson for violating “social isolation” by receiving visits from his mistress.

Let me begin with a salute to the winner of this year’s Sir Jimmy Goldsmith prize: Professor Neil Ferguson. The prize is awarded every year to a man who casts convention aside and — lockdown or no lockdown — continues to shag his mistress and to hell with the coronavirus. The professor has apologised but Antonia Staats, the mistress, has not. Neither of them has anything to feel sorry about. When the urge comes, social distancing grows smaller, pardon the reverse pun. We all want to flatten the curve, and Ferguson did just that. He has proved by his rash action that sex conquers all, following in the tradition of England’s greatest hero, Horatio Nelson, and countless others, unsung heroes all. They have been overshadowed by the French and Italians to be sure, but now, with the prof leading the way, there’s hope that Britain can emerge as a nation of shaggers who are fearless in their pursuit of sexual gratification even in the face of Chinese efforts to turn us all into a nation of self-abusers.

07 May 2020

Print This And Carry in Your Wallet

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HT: Vanderleun.

06 May 2020

That’s Typical New York For You

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Pix11:

Health care workers that came to New York to help fight the coronavirus pandemic at its epicenter will have to pay state taxes, according to the governor.

He addressed the issues Tuesday at a news conference.

“We’re not in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “So there’s a lot of good things I’d like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do, but it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I’m gonna spend more money, when I can’t even pay the essential services.”

Even though the state government asked thousands of people to come to New York from out of state to help fight coronavirus, they will have to pay New York state taxes, even on income they might make from their home states that they’re paid while in New York.

Cuomo said he needs help from Washington in order to cover budget deficits from COVID-19, let alone subsidize state income tax for essential workers that flocked to New York’s aid.

“If we don’t get more money from Washington, we can’t fund schools, right, so at the rate we want to fund them. We are in dire financial need,” he said.

The issue first came up when the temporary hospital in Central Park was being erected by Samaritan’s Purse.

“Our financial comptroller called me,” said Ken Isaacs, a vice president of the organization, “and he said, ‘Do you know that all of you are going to be liable for New York state income tax?’

“I said, ‘What?'” Isaacs continued. “[The comptroller] said, ‘Yeah, there’s a law. If you work in New York State for more than 14 days, you have to pay state income tax.'”

“I didn’t know that,” Isaacs told PIX11 News.

RTWT

30 Apr 2020

Go Down, Donald

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HT: Vanderleun.

24 Apr 2020

Tweet of the Day

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21 Apr 2020

A Texas Grocery Chain Outperformed Hospitals and World Governments

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Pacific Legal Foundation:

Since early March, grocery shoppers across the country have faced empty shelves, long lines, and watchful guards enforcing government rules. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are dealing with shortages of staples like flour, yeast, and (inexplicably) toilet paper in our once-well-stocked stores. The government response to the pandemic has been sluggish, with piecemeal shelter in place orders, abysmal testing capabilities, and disrupted supply chains. It seems like no one, from grocery stores to the federal government, was prepared for this crisis.

Except in Texas.

While government is way behind the curve, the San Antonio-based grocery chain HEB is leading the way in keeping Texans supplied with the items they need.

For those unfamiliar with this beloved Texas grocery chain, some background: Founded in the small town of Kerrville in 1905, today H-E-B employs over 116,000 employees and operates more than 400 stores across Texas and Mexico, making it the largest private employer in Texas. It is the dominant grocery store chain in south and central Texas, and in some smaller towns, the only grocery store for miles.

But in a state with its share of natural disasters, H-E-B is also a key player in disaster response. From hurricanes to wildfires, H-E-B’s emergency response teams show up with mobile kitchens, pharmacies, water tankers, and other vital services to help hard-hit communities. For example, when Hurricane Harvey left the city of Beaumont without drinking water and FEMA said it couldn’t get through, the city’s leaders called H-E-B. Within a few hours, a fleet of H-E-B trucks was plowing through two feet of flood waters, with the senior vice president of supply chain in the lead truck, to deliver trailer-loads of water to the stricken city.

But H-E-B is ready for much more than hurricanes. A recent Texas Monthly article highlights just how prepared H-E-B was to confront the current COVID-19 crisis. The company, which employs a full-time director of Emergency Preparedness and has an emergency operations center standing ready, has had a pandemic and influenza plan in place since 2005. H-E-B keeps emergency supplies staged at every warehouse, ready to go when needed. While the federal government did not declare COVID-19 a national emergency until March 13, H-E-B’s team had been watching the virus’ progression since early January as it began to impact Chinese suppliers, and implemented its pandemic emergency plan on February 2. H-E-B kept in close contact with retailers and suppliers in China, and later Italy and Spain, to learn from their experiences as the virus and subsequent lockdowns overtook their countries.

Thanks to its advance preparation, H-E-B has been able to shift production, get creative with suppliers, and help ensure that the most-needed products are making it to the shelves (although they’re just as perplexed as the rest of us about the run on toilet paper). It hasn’t been perfect—some products are still hard to find, and social distancing requirements can mean lines out the door—but overall, most shoppers are getting what they need. H-E-B’s initiative and foresight should be celebrated, and businesses across the country should be empowered to emulate H-E-B’s example.

H-E-B’s COVID-19 response shows how nimble private companies perform better than the government behemoth, especially during crisis. H-E-B is above all a business, and businesses make money by offering things people want to buy. If H-E-B can’t supply the products its customers want, like eggs, milk, and paper towels, then it won’t survive.

And you don’t have to do business with them unless you want to, and they do not tax you or tell you what to do.

21 Apr 2020

Words of Wisdom

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HT: Vanderleun.

19 Apr 2020

Laura Ingraham Has More Testosterone Than Rod Dreher

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