I’ll take my COVID curve short and steep, not long and flat

Scientists are still debating whether we should try to “flatten” the COVID curve. The curve is a plot of deaths on the vertical axis versus time on the horizontal axis. The graph above is an example, showing daily deaths worldwide from COVID since the advent of the pandemic.

If you add up the daily deaths, you of course wind up with the total deaths – currently over 800,000 in the U.S. This is the “area under the curve.” (Calculus, anyone?)

“Flattening the curve” means lowering the peaks – lowering the daily deaths. Scientists on one side of the “flattening” debate – call them the Flatteners – say that we can accomplish that by taking preventive measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing, as we have for the last two years to varying degrees.

On its face, that sounds prudent. It was certainly prudent two years ago when COVID infections threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

Other scientists – call them the Non-Flatteners – contend that, with Omicron now the dominant variant, we should do the opposite. (Yes, “follow the science” is a meaningless platitude when scientists disagree, as they frequently do.) The Non-Flatteners point out that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, and so preventive measures are futile.

Moreover, the Non-Flatteners say that the lethality of Omicron in low anyway. So people who catch it are even more unlikely to die than people who caught previous variants. In fact, Omicron infections seldom require even hospitalization, and so the threat of overwhelming the health system is mostly gone.

Finally, the Non-Flatteners say that allowing people to catch Omicron would be a good thing because, though a small percentage of them will die of it, the vast majority will survive. And the survivors will be conferred immunity from future infections that is far more effective than the immunity conferred by the vaccines.

The Non-Flatteners say that even if we can flatten the curve, and it’s not clear that we can, the flattening will lengthen it, and so the area under the curve will not be reduced. In other words, the pandemic will go on for longer, albeit at a lower daily death rate, to produce the same or a greater number of total deaths.

I’m not skilled in COVID epidemiology (and, the last two years suggest, neither are epidemiologists) but my instinct is that the Non-Flatteners are right. Flattening the curve by reducing the daily death rate will produce a longer curve by prolonging the pandemic. Consequently, the area under the flattened but lengthened curve – the total deaths – will be the same as under the higher but shorter unflattened curve.

And so the question becomes, do we choose a short steep curve of greater pain or a longer flatter curve of more moderate pain?

Expressed that way, this choice is no longer a debate about science so much as a debate about philosophy. It’s a debate about how to live. Some people will choose low-level pain that goes for years over high-level pain that goes for months.

I respect that. But for me, I’ll take my pain short and steep. I recognize that this short, steep curve of pain could claim me personally, or those I love. But so could the long, flattened curve of pain.

I don’t live recklessly. I take risks, but I calculate them. Sometimes I miscalculate, but better to miscalculate than not to calculate at all. Regular readers know that I was in the original Pfizer vaccine clinical trials, and still am. That entailed risk but my calculation was that the risk was acceptable when weighed against the benefits.

So too on this issue of flattening the curve. In my calculation of risks and benefits, I choose to live real over living long. I’m done with masks and social distancing. Life is too big, brave and steep to live it small, fearful and flat.

Don’t hate Joe for his senility; hate “doctor” Jill and his other handlers for their elder abuse

After another loss at the Supreme Court and on the verge of more losses at even the Democrat-controlled Senate, the guy who used to be Joe Biden read a speech last week that someone wrote:

“The next few days … will mark a turning point in this nation’s history. Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadows, justice over injustice? I know where I stand … I will defend … our democracy against all enemies – foreign and, yes, domestic.”

“Where will the institution of the United States Senate stand? … “Will you stand against voter suppression? Yes or no? … Will you stand against election subversion? Yes or no? Will you stand for democracy? Yes or no?”

“I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered? … Do you want to be … on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”

This is unadulterated crap. The Georgia voting laws he’s demagoguing as fascist and racist are less strict than in Biden’s liberal home state of Delaware and less strict than in uber-liberal New York State.

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The Supreme Court will probably toss out the tyrannical OSHA vaccine mandate

Let’s be clear what the issue is here. The issue before the court is not whether vaccination is good or bad. All nine of the Justices have been fully vaccinated and have also received boosters (as I have). It’s fair to conclude that the Justices all think vaccinations are good, at least for people of their demographic.

Nor is the issue whether state or federal government can impose vaccine mandates on the population. They probably can, and occasionally have. In oral argument yesterday, Justice Gorsuch noted in passing that he recently rejected a challenge to a vaccine mandate imposed by the state government of New Mexico. Similarly, Congress could pass a law imposing a vaccine mandate or authorizing the Executive Branch to impose one.

What’s at issue in this case is much narrower. It’s whether the Executive Branch via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) can impose vaccine mandates without specific authorization from Congress.

The six conservative justices signaled that they think the answer is no.

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I don’t want to sleep with AOC, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or Donald Trump

New York Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio Cortez can’t get enough of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. She harps obsessively on his purported mismanagement of COVID, including his refusal to mandate masks against the will of the people in the state he was elected to govern.

And so it was interesting that AOC was recently photographed in Florida. Did she come to stalk DeSantis? If so, she might have stalked in the wrong place. The photograph of her was taken in a drag bar, which is probably not the type of place DeSantis frequents.

Upon hearing the news, DeSantis good naturedly welcomed AOC to his state. Other Republicans, however, pointed out the contradiction between AOC’s words criticizing DeSantis’ management of COVID in Florida and and her actions in coming to Florida for bar entertainment in close quarters.

AOC tweeted her defense, of sorts: “It’s starting to get old ignoring the very obvious, strange, and deranged sexual frustrations that underpin the Republican fixation on me, women, & LGBT+ people in general. These people clearly need therapy, won’t do it, and use politics as their outlet instead. It’s really weird.”

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What I will remember about COVID is that people got mean

I remember 9/11 well. People were shocked and angry, but also brave and compassionate. Police and firefighters ran into the burning World Trade Towers to save office workers. Many of those police and firefighters were still there trying to save lives when the buildings collapsed over and under them.

On a hijacked flight over Pennsylvania, passengers heard by telephone of the collapse of the Trade Towers and surmised that their hijackers planned a similar strike. Some of the passengers huddled, plotted and made a pact to overcome the terrorists.

The terrorists had already murdered the pilots, and so the passengers knew their actions would crash the plane and end their own lives. But they figured that by crashing the plane before reaching the building that the terrorists had targeted (we now know it was the Capitol Building) they could save people.

A passenger pictured above named Todd Beamer said the Lord’s Prayer. Others joined in. At the conclusion he said, “Let’s roll.” And they did. All aboard died, but thousands on the ground were saved.

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What is “obscene” wealth?

According to a friend at a Christmas party, “obscene” wealth is the kind that’s unneeded. His example was a 100-foot yacht. “Nobody needs a 100-foot yacht,” he intoned.

I agreed that nobody needs a 100-foot yacht. But nobody needs a glass of expensive chardonnay either. I kindly offered to relieve him of the one he was holding.

The only things that are truly needed by humans are food, shelter, simple clothing and occasional medical treatment. Everything beyond that is unneeded and, therefore, under my friend’s definition, obscene.

So “obscene” wealth must mean something other than the unneeded kind. But what?

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I tell you the truth, Jesus is not our mom

Note: I first wrote and published this a few years ago. I occasionally revise and republish it.

Two thousand years ago, a carpenter lived a conventional life for 30 years in a tiny village in the Middle East. Then he somehow became as they might say today, “radicalized.”

Historians agree that Jesus did exist. There are reliable ancient records of him. But most of what we know are opaque and contradictory accounts written decades after his death in what we now call the Gospel of the New Testament.

In one sense, those Gospel accounts are profoundly simple. They say Jesus was the Messiah prophesized in the Hebrew Bible. As such, he performed miracles to save those needing saving. He came back from the dead. That’s the word.

But in a personal sense, the Gospels present a more complicated man than the one presented in Sunday School or even adult church services.

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The Democrats’ political malpractice killed BBB

The Democrats need every single Dem Senator in order to pass their “Build Back Better” bill. That’s the $1.7 trillion social-spend-a-palooza that really costs more like $4.9 trillion according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Several Dem Senators have reservations about BBB behind the scenes, but the one with the guts to stand up to it publicly is Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Manchin publicly objected to the bill on the grounds that it pumps too much money into the economy at a time when inflation is rocketing, that it contains numerous provisions unrelated to the budget process such as illegal immigrant amnesty (where the Senate Parliamentarian has agreed with him, three times), that it is larded with too many social handouts that aren’t “means tested,” meaning they are welfare for people who don’t need it, and that the true cost of the bill is deliberately hidden by accounting gimmicks – and the CBO agrees.

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Democrats weren’t always the party of stupid

No, that mostly happened with the election of somnolent, senile, drowsy, sleepy, lazy, sluggish, lethargic SlowJoe Biden (in Joe’s case, one such adjective is just not enough) and an ex-bartender called “AOC” which may stand for Auditory Out of Control.

In the old days, by contrast, the Democrats used to say some wise things. For example:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Today’s Democrats say that statement is racist. They say it’s not only permissible to judge people by the color of their skin, but mandated.

Those having white skin must be judged evil-doers, and those having black skin must be judged their victims. Skin color is real, while “character” is a white construct. That’s the thrust of the Critical Race Theory that is indoctrinating our children.

The Dems promote this divisive victimology because they think it keeps blacks on the Dem plantation. It works only so long as blacks stay there.

“The buck stops here.” Harry Truman

Bucks don’t stop at Joe Biden’s office. They don’t even come for a visit. They don’t call, they don’t write. Heck, he doesn’t even Zoom with them in a COVID mask.

Bucks are something for Joe to pass on to his military advisers or to his predecessor. Over ten thousand Americans are still trapped in Afghanistan while this somnolent, senile etc. president-ish cardboard cutout reads teleprompter lies where he robotically says at the end something like, “…end of speech, DON’T take questions…”

The only bucks that stop at Joe’s office are in envelopes from Hunter marked “Big Guy.”

“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy

Democrats used to make an art of trading free stuff for votes. Now all the art is out of it. It’s explicit horse-trading. Want to renege on your student loans or mortgage payments? Vote Dem. Want free shoot-up parks for your heroin addiction? Vote Dem. Want free babysitting? Vote Dem. Want lower rent? Vote Dem. Want to smash a window and grab a Prada bag? Vote Dem.

JFK almost died for his country in WWII and then did die for his country in office. Todays Democrats not only won’t die for their country, they want their country to die for them. If their country won’t voluntarily die for them, then by gosh they’ll kill it.

“The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.” Jimmy Carter

Democrats don’t want to demonstrate that our system should be emulated. They believe it should be exterminated. The countries that should be emulated are countries with all the traits of Cuba and Venezuela.

Except the name. Branding is everything.

“Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Today’s Democrats don’t like work. They don’t like doing it, and they don’t like other people doing it. That’s because, like religion, work is a threat to Democrat authority. They want to keep the citizenry forever dependent on government – run by Democrats.

You might ask, where will the handouts come from if nobody works? The Dem answer is to tax the rich. Then kill ‘em and eat ‘em. FDR wanted a chicken in every pot. Today’s Dems want a rich person in every pot. Rich people are like cotton candy – they taste terrible, but are fun to eat.

“The hardest test I ever faced in my life was praying.” Malcolm X

Democrats don’t pray anymore. They’re fine with other people praying so long as it’s done in private, sort of like masturbation used to be before Jeffrey Toobin came along.

“Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men.” JFK

This one contains at least three bad concepts. “Men” is now a bad word. “Pray” is a bad activity. “Strength” is a bad thing.

Today’s Dems don’t pray for manly strength. Rather they beg for the unearned status of a weak and genderless victim – without, of course, any actual transgression against them. See, Smollett, Jussie.

“It’s overwhelmingly in the self-interest of the United States of America to have a secure, democratic friend, a strategic partner like Israel.” Joe Biden, 2014

Fast forward seven years. Today’s Joe Biden and the rest of the Democrats have thrown Israel under the hurtling Iranian nuke bus. In view of the catastrophic geopolitical ramifications of a nuclear Iran, one can only conclude this is because the Dems dislike the religion of the Israelis.

“The future is not an inheritance. It’s an opportunity and an obligation.” Bill Clinton

“Opportunity” and “obligation” are triggering for modern Democrats. Once again, they imply work.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.” Barack Obama More of that work stuff. How unwoke.

“And, uh, in addition to that, in addition to that, we have to make sure that, we are … Well, let me go to the second thing.” Joe Biden, 2021,with the help of a teleprompter

And that’s where we are today with Joe and the party of stupid.

Whose fault is it that America is descending into Third World status?

Store theft is now done openly. People load their arms or shopping carts with stuff they want and simply walk out the door. After closing, mobs of them smash the storefront and grab what they want. I’m reminded of stores in Mexico where padlocked steel curtains cover the glass storefronts each night. After closing, the store become a little fortress.

The left explains that this isn’t looting because . . . reasons. One reason is that it’s really a protest for social justice, whatever that is. Another reason is that stores have insurance, dontcha know, and so stealing from them isn’t really stealing. Another reason is that the looters are jobless due to COVID, and so their theft is excused by their hunger.

In other words, the left contends that stealing a Prada bag to feed their greed is just like Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s children.

Speaking of the jobless, employers are desperately seeking to relieve them of that status while the jobless are desperately seeking to maintain that status. People have decided they’d rather not work, which is understandable since we told them they don’t need to and we even pay them money not to.

Joe Biden still denies it’s happening (he’s probably being ignorantly sincere but he might be knowingly lying – you never know which it is with Joe) but these workers opting out of work have caused a shortage of the things that workers used to make. Go figure.

The resulting inflation has now reached that level of emotional spiral where it takes on a life of its own. Unable to hire workers to meet the demand for their products, businesses raise prices on the little product they can produce, which causes inflation which causes the expectation of more inflation which causes more inflation.

The left says this mass resignation of American workers is a good thing. Lefty economist Paul Krugman writing for the New York Times says people’s refusal to return to jobs they were reasonably happy with, but shouldn’t have been, is a “silver lining” to COVID.  

Consider the irony that Krugman, who thinks societal wealth is produced by printing more money, analogizes to a precious metal.

It must bug Krug that millions of people wade across the Rio Grande in search of these jobs that make people unhappy if only they weren’t too stupid to know it. His only solace is that at least they come illegally and so he thinks that they, like most criminals, are future Democrats.

He’s mostly wrong. People who risk everything and even commit an immigration crime, all for the purpose of finding work to feed their families, are not likely to become Democrats. Indeed, Hispanics were never really on the Dem plantation, and increasingly don’t want anything to do with it.

Murder is on the rise nationwide. The left explains that it’s not because murderers are emboldened or society is coarsened, but because of COVID. Oh, and guns too, which were evidently invented just now. It might also be due to global warming. Meanwhile, lefty politicians defund the police while spending taxpayer dollars for personal bodyguards.

On the streets and highways, people drive wildly. I’m not talking about speeding 10 mph over the limit or running yellow lights. I’m talking about running lights that have been red for a long time, maniacal weaving through highway traffic, and laying on the horn and flipping the bird at other drivers who commit no offense other than being in their way.

The left now instructs the police – the ones not yet defunded – not to stop these lunatics because that would be racist because too many of them have dark skin.

Fine, but could we at least stop the white ones?

They are sure to stop the Asian ones if they can find any. Anti-Asian discrimination is the good kind, we’re told. Harvard candidly discriminates against them because, dontcha know, they have bad personalities. An Obama-appointed judge in Boston agreed. The Supreme Court is stalling on whether to decide the case or just let it fly under their radar. After all, the victims are only Asians.  

Everyone knows that the real reason for discriminating against Asians is that they’re too meritorious. So rather than increasing the merit of non-Asians in order to compete better with Asians, the left is abolishing merit. If their favored groups don’t do well on the tests, they abolish the tests.

That same Supreme Court looks like it will decide to uphold a law in Mississippi that allows a pregnant woman only three months to abort her baby. The left says this law from the former and current Confederacy – which is similar to the abortion laws of France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Switzerland – violates Section . . . um, mumble . . .  of the Constitutional guaranteeing a womyn’s right choose an abortion whenever she/he/they/it wants and guaranteeing a baby’s obligation to be the victim of that abortion whenever the womyn wants – just like in China.

Justice-ish Sotomayor, appointed by the current de facto president, Barack Obama, warned her colleague-ish Justices in open court that upholding this law would create the “stench” (her word) of a politicized Supreme Court because it would require reconsidering the celebrated case of Roe v. Wade where a Justice nicknamed “Hip Pocket Harry” for his choice of residency in the hip pocket (or was it the front pocket?) of the Chief Justice at the time discovered said Section . . . umm, mumble . . . of the Constitution.

But according to the left it would be different to overrule Citizens United which held that under something called the First Amendment (curses on that Bill of Rights thingy!) political candidates can receive not just money from trade unions, as they always have, but also money from the people. Same with Heller which said that the Second Amendment (more curses on that Bill of Rights – rights are for trade unions, school boards and the FBI, not for people!) means what it says. Overruling those cases, the left assures us, would not be politically stenchy but would be a breath of fresh air.

Which is something increasingly rare in our once-great cities where fresh air is polluted by stenchy vagrants who camp on the sidewalks and poop in the parks. They’re not discouraged; they’re heroized. The leftist rulers of our cities spend taxpayer money to entice them downtown to remind us that America is bad. The bums allow themselves to be used in this manner because it satisfies their need for the sympathy deserving of a willing victim of a life of willful failure.

Fresh air is something also denied to toddlers who are forced to wear COVID masks. The left orders this not to protect toddlers – who get approximately 0.0% of COVID cases – but to remind you that they’re the boss. They control what your children wear and what they learn. They own them.

There’s a common thread here. The left controls colleges, big business, schools, media and entertainment. They’ve convinced much of America especially young people that Western Civilization is bad. They’re actively rooting against us.

Their ideas for a substitute civilization that they will rule, benevolently they assure us, are at best pipe dreams and are at worst authoritarian nightmares. Their substitute civilizations will fail, as they always have, but in the meantime they want to destroy what’s here. In that, they’re winning.

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