Science-y!

Dear Saint Paul bars and restaurants,

I get it. You’re between a rock and a hard place. Many of you know how stupid the mayor’s vaccine mandate is – someone who got the Pfizer vaccine a year ago can come into your establishment, hacking their brains out and contagious as can be, while someone with natural immunity a month old is kept out. And your employees have no vaccine mandate, even though they’re the ones who will be standing around the place for hours at a time – which, the science shows, is where the real risk comes from.

And it’s not like I don’t take this pandemic seriously. I’ve got very vulnerable relatives. I’ve had Covid, donated all kinds of convalescent plasma, been vaccinated, and take all the care necessary. I’m not laughing this whole thing off.

But even the CDC and other public health authorities are starting to admit that vaccine mandates and lockdowns are completely counterproductive, that masks are about as useful at public health as aluminum foil pants, that eventually everyone is going to get Omicron, and that the right approach is likely going to be to protect the vulnerable, but go on living our lives.

Which is the exact opposite of the approach the Mayor is taking with this idiot mandate.

So I’ll tell you what.

If you agree with the mandate? Feel free to make your sentiments public. My response should be obvious by this point. You needn’t worry about making room for me.

If you want to go along with the mandate because you have to, that’s fine. I won’t be patronizing your establishment for the duration. I get the bind you’re in, but at some point people have to say enough is enough. Feel free to tell the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, and all the other people who support this idiot policy I said so. Do you want me to help you put pressure on them? I’m there. And I hope we can get together when the crazy is over.

If you don’t want to go along with the policy, but you need to be discreet? Pass the word around – under the table, discreetly, obviously. I will do my best to be there, and bring friends. I get it, you don’t want to be made an example of like the places that stayed open last year. “Test cases are for other people”, in public health as in self-defense. I’m not going to ask you to be a hero. But pass the word; I will do my best to make it worthwhile.

Enough is enough.

Crisis

When I was a kid, working at small-town radio stations in North Dakota, my favorite part of the job was working during tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings.

Which seems counterintuitive, perhaps – but there was something about the crackle and buzz of imporance, of purpose, in the air; the increasingly urgent National Weather service bulletins, the terse phone calls from the cops and sherif, that far more than overcame the whole “there’s a tornado coming!” thing.

And as a tall, gawky, greasy-haired, uncoordinated kid with little apparent athletic talent in a town that idolized the basketball team, it didn’t hurt that I knew, all over town, people were listening.

To me.

Of course, when the warning was over, I and the rest of Stutsman and Foster Counties went back to normal life. I didn’t keep telling people to stay in their basements when the front had passed and the warning was over. Because much as I enjoyed knowing that people were paying attention (and, more important, that I could deliver what they were tuning in for, with style), there were other things in life, and I didn’t need the state of crisis to keep giving me value.


A lot of people out there today can’t say that.

Covid has brought out a strain in a small, but socially prominent, group of people that find their self-worth in crying “Crisis!”.

Not just the media – it’s a given that they will make hay out of crises; pandemics and riots make them more relevant, just as tornados made Mitch Berg’s patter more important to more people than the usual diet of local sports and Rupert Holmes records that occupied most of my time on those stations.

No – it’s regular, workadaddy, hugamommy, usually but not always left-of-center types, for whom being the harbinger brings meaning to life.

And it’s to them that so much of Big Public Health’s narrative is aimed.

Great Twitter thread on the subject:

They – on social media, in the checkout line at Target, or in the comment section here – remind me. of the kids who ran to the teacher when someone stepped out of line when talking from the classroom to the water fountain. They got their sense of personal value from enforcing rules on others – whatever the rules, however niggling and petty and useless – back then, as now.

It’s the toxic corollary to “we’re all in this together”: the unstated “…and I’m not gonna let you forget about it!”.

Inhuman

Remember in the 1980s, when some “conservative” fundies rejoiced at the deaths of AIDS patients.

It was a pretty depraved stance. Everyone knows that.

Someone tell the fairly irredeemable LA Times drone Michael Hiltzik – who has reprised that particular bit of human depravity by declaring “Mocking some anti-vaxxers’ deaths is necessary“.

Helpfully, he adds “My exception applies to those who have actively undermined public health for the sake of an ideology and a culture war”.

I’m not going to extensively pull-quote the column – which is full of the sort of “two weeks to stop the virus” cheerleading that seems to have come from a CDC press release in April 2020, or from someone who thinks Gavin Newsom is on the right track.

That’s not especially remarkable.

Remarkable? Humanity is secondary to progs like Hiltzik:

It may be ghoulish to celebrate or exult in the deaths of vaccine opponents. And it may be proper to express sympathy and solicitude to those they leave behind.

But mockery is not necessarily the wrong reaction to those who publicly mocked anti-COVID measures and encouraged others to follow suit, before they perished of the disease the dangers of which they belittled…There may be no other way to make sure that the lessons of these teachable moments are heard.

Actually, there is another way: : stop politicizing public health. Stop spreading distrust of “the Trump Vaccine” during the elections, and then turn around and claim credit for it. Stop making “sowing controllable panic” the default setting for public health messaging. Stop being whores for the Democrats, if you’re the media.

Of course, this is more about them than – and their needs to find a scapegoat for their frustrations – than the unvaccinated.

But let’s not pretend this – mocking and giggling about opponents, on whatever issue, that die unfortunate deaths – is anything but the default setting for ghouls like Hiltzik. After watching people like him giggle and guffaw over the deaths of Tony Snow, Antonin Scalia and Rush Limbaugh, and hoot and holler for the death of Steve Scaliise, it’s a stretch to assume they have any other setting.

Sort of like guffawing about dead AIDS patents, only apparently acceptable.

Dear Hostage-Takers – And Hostages

To: Mayors Carter and Frey
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re: Your Hostages

Mayors,

You just announced your new and, if I may be frank, moronic Covid restrictions:

Let’s make sure we’re clear here.

I had the OG Covid, way back in 2020. Back before it got easy to catch and less virulent.

I’ve donated convalescent plasma. As much as I could, in fact.

Got vaccinated – not out of any ideological drive, but because I’ve got some exceptionally vulnerable relatives.

Pretty sure I just got over Omicron.

I’ve been contributing to herd immunity since most of you, my “Karen” neighbors, were hiding in your basement and dunking your food in rubbing alcohol before eating it. I am likely the immunologically safest person you will meet anytime soon.

And I will not be spending one dollar in Minneapolis or Saint Paul until this is over. And if I get completely out of the habit of spending in Saint Paul?

Oh, no.

Bear in mind – I’ve been trying to spend more money in harried Saint Paul establishments over the past 20 months; I’ve tried to help my neighbors out.

No more. You people voted for these hamsters. You all can go down with the ship.

Not another dime.

Nurse Shortage

Joe Doakes from Como parks emails:Joe Doakes from Como parks emails:

Hospitals are bringing in foreigners to do the nursing work Americans won’t do.

The article implies the reason for the nursing shortage is that American nurses are tired from working so hard taking care of Covid patients. They’re quitting in exhaustion. Apparently, they will never recover, never return to work, therefore we must replace them with nurses brought in from overseas. Foreign nurses are much more durable, more resilient, I guess. They aren’t quitters. They’re willing to work.

Who believes this rot?

If we’re worried about a nurse staffing shortage, maybe we shouldn’t be firing nurses during a pandemic for violating a vaccine mandate? Particularly not over a vaccine which doesn’t prevent the spread of an illness which is basically just a bad flu. Another example of the endless lack of Second Order Thinking in the Brandon administration.

Joe Doakes

Why, yes – it does seem a little bit like the right hand doesn’t know what stories the left-hand is telling.

Continuum Of Sanity

If we consider the notion of “sanity“ as a continuum, with “very very sane“ on one end, and “not sane at all“ on the left, it’s pretty fair that our systems Covid fear mongering has driven this particular mother (and teacher) to the “left“ end of the scale:

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Houston-area mother whose teenage son was allegedly found in the trunk of her car at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site on Friday…According to the charging documents, Beam told Gordon that her child was in the trunk because he had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result, wanted to “prevent her from getting exposed to possible COVID” while driving him to get additional testing at the stadium.

Gordon told Beam that she “would not be receiving COVID testing until the child would be removed from the trunk of the vehicle and place[d] in the back seat of the vehicle.”

On the other end of the scale? This entire Twitter thread:

Sanity is pounding at the door.

And from inside the trunk, where applicable.

Compare And Contrast

Scene 1: Fall, 2020.

Us:  “Eventually, Covid is going to be endemic.  We’ll never eliminate it.  Masks are public health theater.  Shutdowns will make things worse. Vaccines are great news, but let’s be cautious about the claims.   We need to protect the vulnerable, and learn to live with it.  Eventually, between herd immunity and mutation,  this is going to be just like the flu. 

Them:  Hah!  Just like the flu, he says!  Hundreds of thousands have died!  Masks are effective! IF we could only lock down for six weeks, we’d destroy the virus, just like the Germans!  Mask up, Minnesota!


Scene 2: Today.

Them: The experts say Covid is going to be with us for good. Masks maybe useless. The economy needs to breathe! Vaccines are really more like flu shots than smallpox or polio shots. This is going to be like the flu, eventually.

Us: Ummm…

Them: Becasue shut up.

(And SCENE).


Supply Chain

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is the first worthwhile analysis of supply chain disruptions I’ve found. It’s worthwhile because it doesn’t focus on one tree (ships in port) but on the whole forest of supply chain issues, particularly the consequences of the abrupt shift in consumption due to Covid regulations. It’s another example of Second Order thinking.

Remember last year when Cub had no toilet paper? That’s because toilet paper in the office restroom is single-ply industrial grade on a huge roll, but toilet paper at home is two-ply softer grade. Toilet paper manufacturers know the normal office-versus-at-home percentages but when everybody shifted from working at the office to working at home, manufacturers weren’t prepared to instantly shift percentages and weren’t thrilled at incurring the expense because nobody knew how long lockdowns would last so they couldn’t calculate whether the shift would be worth the cost. It took months for the industry to catch up.

Everything in the supply chain works that way, including food. The author claims that pre-pandemic, 60% of all food in the US was eaten outside the home, at school and restaurants. How much during the lockdowns? Consider the consequence of shifting tomato sauce from Costco sized cans into Cub sized jars, if you can even obtain that many Cub sized jars because they’re made in Mexico where workers are quarantined for their own government’s lockdowns and the few jars they do make are shipped on boats sitting in ports waiting to unload containers.

The people who thought they could lock down the economy without consequences are the same people who figure they can shut down electric generating plants without consequences. There will always be toilet paper on the shelves and the lights will always come on when you flip the switch, right? They never seriously ask, “What could go wrong?” because they are too busy signaling their virtue to engage in second order thinking.

Joe Doakes

In the “progressive“ world, everything but political science is, in a practical sense, hypothetical.

Science!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“SCIENCE! CNN finally admits cloth mask don’t stop Covid!

The late stages of this pandemic have seen, and will see more, of what used to be as accepted as heresy by Big Karen quietly being proclaimed as gospel.

There’s been a steady stream: it’s not spread by surface contact; It’s spread by nontrivial contact in confined spaces; acquired immunity works.

And masks might be perfectly adequate personal infection control under the right circumstances, but they are a useless public health measure.

And I will be in particular gratified to see cloth masks recognized as better landfill than infection control.

I’m Pretty Convinced…

…that Covid provides a disturbing proportion of our society with a reason to wake up in the morning; “enforcing the misery” gives their lives whatever meaning it has.

Which brings us to this:

First, kudos to the guy, who learned the important lesson: when a woman, no matter how wrong, no matter how impaired, no matter how depraved, attacks you, don’t hit back; your best bet is to hope for enough bruising (or, nowadays with video everywhere, clear video) to make your case in court.

Which I hope the guy does – winning everything this vile shrew owns or will ever own.

Back on point: as the emergency winds down, expect more of this, as Karens, bereft of their purpose and. meaning, lash out.

And – given that most “wars of religion” are really wars over other longstanding fault lines that happen to have a veneer of religious difference slapped on, what other fault lines will the pandemic adhere to?

We’ve got race, class, region, economics…?

Overwhelmed

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals claim Minnesota hospitals are being overwhelmed with Covid patients.  I have questions about that.

This Minnesota Department of Health chart says we only have about 1,000 total ICU beds in the state.  What happened to the 3,000 Governor Walz said we had available on 72 hours’ notice, when he extended the lockdown last Spring?  That same chart shows we almost always have 1,000 ICU beds in use and presently only 366 of the ICU beds are being used by Covid patients.  Who’s using all the other ICU beds and if we need more ICU beds, why don’t we ramp up more ICU beds to handle all the patients?

Curiously, look at the map of Minnesota located below the chart.  It shows “Staffed ICU beds.”  Why “Staffed” and not just “Beds?”  Because “ICU bed” isn’t a physical thing.  The bed itself has no therapeutic properties.  “ICU bed” is a billing code that entitles the hospital to higher reimbursement because the patient in an ICU bed is being attended by staff qualified to monitor the patient using special equipment such as a heart monitor or ventilator.  That’s why we can set up ICU beds in tents or on a ship – it’s not about the beds, it’s about the staff and ancillary equipment. 

The chart says “Staffed” because you can’t bill it as an “ICU Bed” if you don’t have enough staff.  And why aren’t there enough staff?  What happened to all the caregivers?  Burnout?  Generous unemployment benefits? 

Ask it quietly: vaccine mandates?  But don’t expect an answer.  Liberals don’t want to talk about that.

Joe Doakes

When you have to be a lawyer to decipher the law, that’s annoying.

When you have to be a lawyer to decipher the news, that’s a bureaucracy run amok.

Acceptable

SCENE: Mitch BERG is paying his tab at a Korean restaurant. As his card is running, Avery LIBRELLE walks in. Waiting for his card, BERG desperately tries to make himself as small as possible. But it doesn’t work.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, shiiiiiiiiitake mushrooms made the perfect kimchi for the Galbi, and how the hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: You had Covid?

BERG: Not that it’s any of your business, but yeah, I did. The original version.

LIBRELLE: So you were a negligent person who allowed yourself to get sick, endangering everyone around you.

BERG: So you think people who catch Covid bear some culplability…

LIBRELLE: It shows they don’t care about the poeple around them, and have depraved indifference to the suffering of those around you.

BERG: You haven’t heard, have you?

LIBRELLE: Nonsense. Probably. What?

BERG: The news.

LIBRELLE: What news?

BERG: Governor Klink…er, Walz, and most of his family, have tested positive for Covid.

LIBRELLE: …

BERG: And that’s after having all the vaccines and boosters, and apparently being able to go through hard-to-get tests like they are a bunch of gang-bangers burning through ammo.

LIBRELLE: …

BERG: So – what do you have to say?

LIBRELLE: The Governor is contributing to herd immunity, and is a hero.

BERG: Just like me.

LIBRELLE: Er…

BERG: Merry Christmas, Avery.

LIBRELLE: Hey, that’s triggering!

(But BERG is already out the door)

And SCENE

Debased

Joe Doakes from Como park emails:

There is no proof that Ivermectin does anything for Covid. None at all. And when I say ‘none,’ I mean there is some, more than we’re prepared to admit, so we simply deny any proof exists.

That’s not proof, that’s just anecdotal gossipy rumor.

That’s not proof either. Everybody knows you can’t trust those dark-skinned savages to count correctly. It’s not as if they invented a new number or something.

Proof consists of a double-blind study performed by medical experts. Unless it’s the Pfizer vaccine being tested, then it would be unconscionable to deny half the patients the real medicine. In that case, give it to all and ignore the results.

This is SCIENCE. You must trust the SCIENCE. You’re not a SCIENCE denier, are you?

Joe Doakes

The biggest casualty of Covid – and of modern progressivism – is actual science.

The New Normal

Colorado’s Democrat governor has basically declared the pandemic – or at least, state government’s heavy-handed response to it – over.

Is it because they’re listening to the science, accepting that Covid is a highly mutable virus that will be with us pretty much forever (in forms that are more contagious and less lethal over time)?

Or is it because mid-terms are looking that bad in this very purple state?

The answer: either way, more of this.

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Joe Doakes from Como park emails:

A restaurant owner in Albert Lea has been convicted of violating Walz’ Executive Order to close. The judge gave her 90 days in jail.

A restaurant owner in Lynd (near Marshall) had her restaurant license yanked by the Minnesota Department of Health because she stayed open in defiance of Gov. Walz’ Executive Order to close.

Those of us who have worked with small-town restaurant owners know it’s a business with brutal working hours and razor-thin margins. They don’t get paid vacation. They don’t have capital reserves to weather a ‘temporary’ shutdown of ‘two weeks to flatten the curve’ which dragged into months. The cooks and wait staff are typically local people of limited skills who depend on these jobs to survive. The banks typically force owners to pledge their homes as collateral for the business loan so if the business fails, they lose everything.

There is no scientific evidence that closing a small town restaurant but allowing larger restaurants (including casinos) to remain open, has any effect on public health. The Executive Order took away vested property rights with no rational basis. It’s unconstitutional.

Governor Walz stole these people’s livelihoods and robbed them of their future, for no reason.

Refused to obey an unconstitutional order to close, so their employees could feed their families? They ought to be given a medal.

Joe Doakes

You’ve got to break some eggs to make a kombucha.

Or something like that.

Evolution

Theory: As mutation-prone viruses evolve, natural selection favors strains that are more contagious, and less lethal to their hosts.

It’s basic natural selection. Dead hosts = viruses that reproduce less,.

Evidence?

While it’s early, there have so far been no confirmed deaths attributed to Omicron, according to those Anti-Vaxxer tools, the WHO and the Guardian.

Of course, we don’t get that until paragraph six – but we get it.

Fearless prediction: Omicron will be more contagious than Delta, and less lethal.

Pi, Rho and Sigma will be more contagious still – and the death rates per case will drop.

By the time we get near Psi and Omega, it’ll be nearly as contagious as the common flu, and about as deadly.

And Karen will need to find another purpose in life.

“Gosh, Why Do People Distrust Our Public Health Messaging?”

Uh, because they routinely lie to you, and we know it, but they keep on trying to deny it?

Whistle blown on Bloomington public health director, lying to school parents about the effectiveness of masks:

Emphasis added:

At an August 2 “Return to School” webinar on the district’s proposed COVID plan, Kelley urged parents to get their kids vaccinated, calling it the “cornerstone” to containing COVID. Next up in his presentation, Kelly unveiled a list of best practices for schools to follow in preventing the spread of the virus, emphasizing masks were the most important tool of all.

“They’re called best practices because this is the evidence-based data we have for driving how to protect kids in school environments based on experiences we saw in the last two school years,” Kelley said in the August meeting posted on YouTube. “Masking is at the top of that list. The ability to have source control and some aspect of protection for the wearer is a phenomenal tool to control a respiratory pathogen like COVID.”

Yet in a closed door meeting of Bloomington Public Health staff the week school began, Kelley appeared to offer a markedly different view of the usefulness of mandatory masking at schools, according to a watchdog who attended the virtual meeting.

“In terms of purely broad effectiveness, the least effective mitigation we’re implementing in this process is masking,” Kelley said in a recording provided by the watchdog. “Masking, the quality of the consistency of the fit, all those things are highly variable in a population setting.”

It’s becoming a Berg’s Law; anyone who refers to an argument as “evidence-based” should be distrusted and verified – and, almost invariably, distrusted thereafter.

Urban Progressive Privilege: Am I The Only One That Thinks…

…that the current, possibly-excessive, garment-rending over the “Omicron” variant is the sound of an awful lot of people who’ve gone through lives with little purpose or meaning, and have found a perverted version of both in bullying, shunning and scarlet-lettering people with different conclusions and means of dealing with Covid?

That depression and anxiety might be the least of society’s mental health issues when it comes to this pandemic – that the wave of cultural narcissism it’s released dwarves everything else (except, obviously, the suicide?)

Pattern Recognition

I don’t believe the doomsayers. In reply, they call me a science denier. Actually, I’m practicing a different kind of science – pattern recognition – which informs my analysis.

Most political hoaxes are based on the logical fallacy “Appeal to Authority.” The hoax follows a familiar pattern. Once you recognize the pattern, the hoax is obvious.

“There are only a few years left to save the planet from global climate change. No, you can’t see my data, you aren’t capable of understanding it. I am a climate scientist. You must trust me and do as I say.”

“The Second Amendment does not protect a personal right to bear arms. We know this because hardly anybody owned guns in colonial America. No, you can’t see my probate court data, you aren’t capable of understanding it. I am a historian. You must trust me and do as I say.”

“There is no evidence the election was stolen. No, you can’t see the ballot counting software, you’re not capable of understanding it. I am an election official. You must trust me and do as I say.”

It never works, of course. The truth leaks out eventually. Michael Mann’s climate change “hockey stick” graph has been thoroughly discredited. Michael Bellesiles’ probate court research was simply made up. Statistical analysis shows significant election fraud occurred. These were not cases of “science” being challenged or denied, they were cases of “science” being manipulated and distorted to promote a specific political agenda. Once it became clear the “science” didn’t say what the proponents claimed it said, the hoax was laid bare for all to see – all who were willing to see. Not everybody is willing to see.

And now this: “The Covid virus is deadly to everyone of all ages. Only the Pfizer vaccine can save you from it. No, you can’t see my data, you aren’t capable of understanding it. I am a medical doctor. You must trust me and do as I say.”

The funding and origin of the virus is shrouded in lies. Mortality statistics are inflated even as breakthrough cases are undercounted and vaccine adverse reactions are downplayed. Policies of lockdown, masks, social distance, mandatory vaccination are based on assertions, not evidence, backed by threat of prosecution and financial ruin, but only for those who lack political privilege.

The existence of the Covid virus is not a hoax. The panic response to the Covid virus is the hoax. This is not a medical problem. This is a political problem. We must begin treating it as one.

Joe Doakes

I hope the actual science finds a way to recover from this past two years.

The Inmates Are Running The Asylum. And The Schools.

Schools in Edina – once known as a good school district – are

Pictures of Normandale Elementary School in Edina show students eating their lunch outside with hats, coats and mittens on.

“Since the beginning of school, I learned that essentially if you brought a lunch from home, you were eating outside,” said Carissa Palm, the mother of a third-grader at the school.

The related article, from KSTP-TV, is too full of nauseatingly idiotic school administrator pullquotes, or, worse, “no comments”, to get through without yelling at the screen.

Government is the things we do together – stupidly and with the lowest common intellectual denominator in charge.

Game On

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals says — no mandate for you:

A federal appeals court has upheld its stay on President Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for companies with at least 100 employees.

In a 22-page ruling on Friday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the mandate was “fatally flawed,” and barred the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing the mandate “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for permanent injunction.

OSHA shall “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order,” the ruling stated.

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The mandate, which was supposed to take effect Jan. 4, requires business with at least 100 employees to mandate their workers get vaccinated or undergo frequent testing.

Two predictions:

  • Biden and co. will ignore the court ruling; and
  • The chorus of MSM scolds will try to justify whatever Biden does. Constitutional crises are so 2020, doncha know.

 

There Are Many Ways To Destroy A Civil Society

Incenting people to snitch on each other over personal and business decisions is one of them.

“But wait, Mitch – the fact that you didn’t say anything against the Texas abortion law’s incentives for filing actions against abortion providers or customers speaks volumes“.

It sure does. I’m not necessarily wild about that part of the Texas law – although the decision to abort affects more than just the mother; in many cases, more than just the mother and child, as well.

But in this case? If you loved East Germany under the Stasi, you’ll love a second Biden term.