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Member since: Sat Feb 22, 2020, 12:55 PM
Number of posts: 4,884

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Is America Greater Than It Was Four Years Ago?

This is a spin on the Reagan quote of course, but with a finer point which pokes Trump's campaign slogan in the soft underbelly.

It is the bumper sticker question the Biden campaign should be asking the American people.


And again.


America's Lost Year of Education: A Warning!

I worry about the impact a lost year of education would have on today's students.

Without Social Studies, how will students be able to study the national emergencies and wars of the past? How will they be drilled with the lesson that even small sacrifices by each and every American can amount to a tremendous force for good which can pull us through major calamities?

Without Science, how can students learn the true nature of anthropogenic climate change, pandemics, the big bang, evolution, and other subjects which cannot easily be assessed in daily life? Any vacuum left by a lack of fundamentals and healthy skepticism will be quickly filled by the fog of supernatural beliefs and prepackaged misconceptions.

Without Mathematics, how will students acquire the engineering skills necessary to design tomorrow's nuclear plants, fusion plants, solar cells, and batteries in order to phase out fossil fuels? Without these skills, we can expect a diminished role on the world stage as other countries rise to the occasion.

The workforce and electorate of today have mostly enjoyed the fruits of a robust education system featuring in-person classroom training. If we take that away, we...uh...run the risk of...uh...

Oh fuck it.

My drunk driving conservative buddy informs me of three things

First, he has had more sobriety tests than ANYBODY else. He has had numerous roadside field sobriety tests. He's had blood tests at the county jail. He has a beautiful vehicle breathalyzer interlock system which he is very proud of and shows off to all his dates. All these tests (more than ANYBODY else) demonstrate how committed he is to sobriety and, naturally, how extremely low of a risk he is of having another infraction.

Second, this high level of testing (more than ANYBODY else) does result in positive results from time to time. However, if there wasn't so much testing being done, there wouldn't be NEARLY as many. This is simple math.

Third, one of his arrests came after drinking Tsingtao beer all night. Made in CHINA. He informs me that these are clearly "high-gravity" beers which are mislabeled as 4.8% ABV. Mislabeled in CHINA. So he doesn't drink CHINA beer anymore, even when EVERYBODY ELSE was still drinking it and saying it was fine. This demonstrates his remarkable foresight.

Do these analogies ever resonate with conservatives? It doesn't seem like it. But we can laugh.

New Rule: The Quarantine 15 Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Maher flirts with fat-shaming which isn't my style, but I think he's onto an important message here.

Maher quotes a study from Public Health England that people with a BMI of 35 to 40 increase their risk of death from CV-19 by 40%, and it goes up dramatically from there. If accurate, he makes a fair point that the media should touch on this more. Face coverings help protect others as well, but only provide about 5% protection for the wearer as I understand it. That's nowhere near as significant as this.

I've never reached a BMI of 35 but was about 15 lbs over the top of my normal BMI range a month ago. After a month of hellish strenuous exercising I'm only about 5 lbs over now. So I started working on this before the Maher story. Perhaps I have confirmation bias?

Question for Dr. Fauci

Can Hurricane Isaias pick up the virus from the stricken state of Florida and precipitate it down on the Carolinas?

The MSM squanders Fauci's time with mostly moronic and superfluous viewer questions all the time, so why not.

2020 Republican National Convention Caravan

The 2020 Republican National Convention Caravan was originally going to camp at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte was the only city in the country showing much interest in hosting the caravan. This was no surprise considering the caravan's odd consortium of pseudo-scientists, cultists, snake-oil salesmen, and fear-mongers led by the carnival-barking leader himself Donald Trump.

In May, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper grew skittish about the size of the caravan and its oddly influential leader and wanted to see it reduced in size. Eventually, Cooper turned the caravan away entirely in June due to fears from North Carolina residents.

The caravan travelled to Atlanta, Dallas, Jacksonville, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, and Savannah, but were turned away at every city's gates.

The caravan finally headed south to Jacksonville, Florida after a seemingly positive discussion with the Governor. However, by July Floridians had adopted a similar skeptical mindset as the Charlotteans regarding the wandering caravan. Trying to save face, caravan leader Trump claimed that the caravan would be disbanded based strictly on his own decision.

Magical thinking about school openings in US

As I understand it, the justification that schools can be opened safely this fall is based on the following two assertions:

1) The risk to children getting severely ill from CV-19 is low
2) There is no evidence children can cause significant spread of CV-19

I accept assertion 1 as the science and data clearly back this up. However, assertion 2 appears to be based on a logical fallacy. It has not been demonstrated that unaffected children can be largely immune to CV-19 as opposed to being merely asymptomatic. While the inverse has not be demonstrated either, I believe the default position should be that children can cause significant spread. This belief is compatible with having an abundance of caution related to this health crisis.

If you accept my definition of this default position, you have no choice to reject assertion 2 as it represents a shifting of the burden of proof. If you accept that assertion 2 is not sound, you must also reject the justification that schools can be opened safely.

I don't know of any children who live alone and can socially distance. Schools are at risk of creating a "mixer" environment where children spread it to each other and then to their parents and grandparents, fueling the pandemic further.

The connection between BLM and wearing masks in public

These two hot-button issues are related in a way the MSM isn't playing up much.

So it's well-established that certain groups are being disproportionally impacted by CV-19. These groups include minorities (including blacks), the elderly, those with certain medical risk factors, and others. The reasons for the impact on the minority communities may not be entirely known, but there is a clear correlation with working manual labor jobs where social distancing is not always practical.

So those who are not in these groups who choose to come into close proximity with others without wearing a mask are putting those other groups at risk. All of this has been discussed.

However, what is not being exposed is the hypocrisy of those who find excuses not to wear masks, yet simultaneously claim to "love" these groups. Trump claims that 'MAGA loves the black people'. It's apparent to me, generally speaking, that conservatives forgo masks in public more often than liberals. Where's the love? How much love can there really be when so many excuses are given to avoid this minor inconvenience, to opt out of this simple sacrifice? And at the leadership level, how much love can Trump truly feel for those whose lives apparently take a back seat to his vanity?

Gah! Another anti-mask pseudo-scientific argument

So I was chatting with a conservative family member today and he informs me that wearing masks in places like supermarkets suppresses repeated mild exposure to the virus which would slowly and safely inoculate the public. This is basically a spin on herd immunity that I hadn't heard before.

I concede that acquired immunity is a real thing and will likely play a role in the future. However, I'm not aware of any science that suggests you can safely inoculate through a limited exposure to the virus, even in a lab environment. So the "science" is bogus if it somehow leads to the conclusion that this is in any way good public policy.

My real question is where is this coming from? Is it a Limbaugh-ism? I haven't watched Carlson or Hannity in a few weeks, are they spewing this now? Good grief.

CNN is stirring up the crazies

CNN's reporters are getting jeered at for wearing masks in the Myrtle Beach area.

This is not a good trend and appears to be more prevalent in the red states (surprise surprise).

Trump can't take all the blame for this. The MSM is making a thing out of Trump's lack of wearing a mask and there may be some partisan/anti-MSM blowback going on.

I live in this red state and don't need this action. Please stop it CNN.
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