Elon is Right, We Need an Online Town Square

happened on a link to an article about a Twitter fight. The Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times featured columnist Paul Krugman tweeted that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was responsible for 20 thousand excess Covid deaths. Krugman arrived at this figure using the state Covid death totals for California, New York, and Florida adjusted for population. Using this method, he determined that the Florida Governor was responsible for 20 thousand more people unnecessarily losing their lives in Florida because of his policies. 

It is well known DeSantis reopened Florida, including its schools, rather than keeping the state locked down. According to Krugman, these reckless policies resulted in this horrible death toll. It painted the governor as an uncaring mass murderer. If true, this is quite damming for a potential presidential candidate. 

Others, including economists and statisticians, immediately tweeted Krugman had made an unacceptable error. The kind that would result in a Statistics 101 student getting a failing grade. He failed to adjust for age. Anyone following my series on Covid (available here) knows 75% of Covid deaths occurred in those over 65. I always used age-adjusted figures as Florida has the second oldest state population. Failing to adjust for age gives a highly distorted picture. 

Once you make the proper adjustment, the Florida death rate is comparable to California and much better than New York. Whether intended as a meanspirited false accusation or just an older person losing his grip, not refuting the allegation could harm the Florida governor. 

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The Sunshine Boys

We’ve had the midterm elections, and it’s time to comment. Unfortunately, we’re a week’s end, and we still need to find out who controls the Senate and the House. As I feared, the most incompetent administration since Buchanan could hold the executive and legislative branches for two more years. This lack of resolution indicates how hard it is for the government at any level to do things in a timely fashion.

This outcome would allow Biden to pass Lincoln’s predecessor in the all-time presidential dud rankings. I can almost hear the media cheering on the new champion. Given his past performance, he’s up to the challenge. After all, at his news conference, he was asked if he would do anything different in the future, and he replied, “nothing.”

Biden claims he won a significant victory and has all but announced his reelection bid. The fact he will be 82 in 2024 gives new meaning to the old geezer.

It brings to mind Neil Simon’s play, the Sunshine Boys” about a hugely successful vaudeville act. The two performers hated each other but needed each other to succeed. Brought back in old age to perform together, the dislike and need were still present.

No matter how much they loathe each other, Joe Biden and Donald Trump need each other to thrive. The prospect of a 2020 rerun is the only justification for either to lead their party.

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A Must Battle for 2024

If you expect a post dealing with the upcoming mid-terms, forget it. With less than a week to go, if people continue to support the most incompetent administration since Buchanan, nothing I can say now will change minds. I’ve given chapter and verse of Biden and his friend’s ability to screw up everything. Either the administration, with the all-out support of its media allies, gets two more years of total government control or common sense prevails. With millions of people already voted, it’s time to move on. 

While not the central issue in this election, one problem is increasingly coming to the forefront, the utter failure of our public K-12 education system. Parents observed the performance of public school systems during the pandemic and didn’t care for what they saw. The lack of in-person learning and perceived indoctrination led Glenn Youngkin’s surprise gubernatorial win in Virginia. 

The N.A.E.P.’s national assessment confirmed the worst fears of parents. Our kid’s lost substantial ground during the pandemic. If not made up, kids not learning to read or do the math properly may never catch up. Of course, this deficit falls hardest among those already in challenging circumstances.

Learning loss is evident in those losing the most in-person schooling. Public schools, both traditional and charter, were more likely to be remote. On the other hand, Catholic and other private schools were mostly open. The latter group lost little, if any, ground: 

The Swedish experience shows school closures were unjustified and keeping them shut unnecessarily. The Swedes, following the data, refused to close their K-12 schools. This courageous stand resulted in no learning loss.

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The Truss in the Coal Mine

Ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss has taken it on the chin. Mocked by the U.K. tabloid, the Daily Star newspaper, as unable to outlast lettuce, she proved to be the U.K.’s shortest-serving P.M. The scorn crossed the pond to the New York Times featured columnist Maureen Dowd. She dumped on Truss because “She didn’t understand that you couldn’t simply borrow money from the future.” This a strange observation from someone living in a nation with $31 trillion in debt. I’ve always found Dowd more snark than depth, and she continues to prove me right.

Nevertheless, Dowd is symbolic of the elite class here and abroad, claiming awareness of how debt and interest work but having no clue. I fear they’re going to find what their hubris has wrought.

While so many are having a great time over Liz’s political demise, we need to heed the message it delivers. While Truss’s fiscal plan is radical to some, it mostly follows the route taken by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Reducing stifling taxes and regulations to increase goods and services to offset too much money chasing not enough goods worked for those successful leaders. 

Truss opened the nation to fracking and new leases for offshore exploration to increase domestic oil and gas. She also reduced regulations. The most expensive part was that her proposed subsidies offset the U.K.’s sky-high energy costs. The E.U. will pay a similar fortune to subsidize energy to avoid a crisis. The plan also included some tax cuts. What government could survive its people freezing through the winter? In response, markets reacted harshly to the nation’s bonds and currency. The turmoil forced the Bank of England to intervene.

With only limited political support and an astonishing lack of grit and skill, Truss crumbled. 

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Not Enough of a Skeptic

As we now know, mRNA Cvid vaccines don’t prevent transmission. Vaccinated people can both spread and get Covid. At a recent E.U. Covid hearing, a Phizer representative admitted the company never tested their vaccine for transmission prevention. Call me naive, but I thought the vaccine, when approved, protected against both.

There was no basis for this delusion. Why was there all the talk about vaccine passports and gatherings of any size demanding proof of vaccination? Mandates became widespread. Remember Pres. Biden’s “Pandemic of the Unvaccinated?” If the vaccines fail to block transmission, How could we be so misled?

Our experience with smallpox and other vaccines is they protect us against getting and spreading disease. It’s why I went to great lengths to get poked ASAP. After all, people over 65 made up three-quarters of Covid deaths. My wife and I being in our 80s are prime targets. When it proved impossible to make an appointment online, I called our County supervisor’s office. Realizing our plight, they found us spots clear across the Valley of the Sun. We were thrilled. We would be safe, and others safe around us.

While some people noticed a lack of test results on vaccine effectiveness against transmission, the government and media establishment labeled them “vaccine skeptics.” Evens though we observed “breakthrough ” infections and spread among the vaccinated, the push to vaccinate everyone, including children, became almost universal.

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