Frozen In Time?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A friend writes:

***

Google Earth street images, which have a timeline feature, have not had any new images of Minneapolis since Summer 2019.   Places where for past years there are numerous dates to choose from, simply have no images later than June of 2019.  Covid prevented cameras from working on the streets ever since the riots ‘mostly peaceful’ protests started?  I just checked Cup Foods at 38th and Chicago: no Saint Floyd Memorial.  No images of boarded up or burned down buildings.  It’s weird how Covid has had such unique and selective symptoms.”

***

Joe Doakes

Weird.

Could be jiggering the algrorithm.

Could be the class inclined to drive Google camera cars is mostly Karens.

Hard to say.

The Sniff Test

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Covid has killed 600,000 Americans. 

Joe Biden got 81 million votes to win the election. 

The Census Bureau says Blue states gained residents in the last decade, Red states lost residents, as people flocked from warm, low-tax Florida and Texas to cold, high-tax New York and New Jersey. 

Numbers don’t lie.  

Joe Doakes

Something’s not quite adding up.

Firing Across Big Karen’s Bow

I’ve had Covid. It was a symptomatic case, although very manageably so.

As such – as we have established in this space, with information from the National Institutes of Health – I have an enhanced degree of, if not complete immunity, at least enhanced, probably highly-enhanced, resistance to Covid.

WIth that being said, I also got vaccinated. The wisdom or lack thereof, or that action’s adherence to your particular version of libertarian conservative, is not up for discussion, and won’t be discussed in this space. I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because I figured it was the minimum expenditure of effort – one shot and round of side effects rather than two – needed to get at least some of the less-irrational Karens, especially business and institutional Karens, to shut the hell up in the coming months. Given that I also have some degree of natural immunity and likely resistance, the J&J vaccine also provides the results I want; since the evidence shows I’m unlikely to get infected at all, preventing infections – the supposed upside of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – is irrelvant to me. Preventing such an infection from killing me or putting me in a hospital, should the current understanding of science turn up flawed, is my only real goal.

Again – the fact that I got a vaccination isn’t up for discussion.

Evading Karen

What is up for discussion is this: Governor Klink has set the state’s restrictions to end on July 1. May it please the crown, thanks. Sarcasm intended. We’ll be caught up with Wisconsin – in seven weeks. Probably.

That’s right – it’ll be mandatory to wear a mask on June 30, but perfectly safe on July 1. Science!

But let’s ignore that, also. We’ve talked about that in this space for over a year, now.

Given that I, like most Minnesotans, have some combination of natural immunity, vaccination or both, masks are completely pointless.

Completely. Pointless.

And yet there is a lineup of stores – big box and ma and pa – promising to continue requiring masks after July 1.

And I want to make sure that I don’t patronize them after July 1. At all.

But how to tell which business is which?

The first step I’ve seen is this crowd-sourced map.

It’s being provisioned by people on both sides of the argument, of course – and some of the “reviews” would be comical if you didn’t realize these people have the same right to vote that you do.

What’s needed next is some way of searching for businesses that, shall we say, match your preference, so you can find ’em on the go.

Prescription

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There are three weeks [as this was written. Currently a little under two weeks, Ed.] until the legislature adjourns. Republicans continue working with Democrats to keep Dictator-for-Life Walz in power and to enact Democrat agendas in police reform, tax increases, and legalizing marijuana.

Why?

Shut everything down until Walz ends the Permanent Emergency and the law
is changed to say he can declare another only with consent of both houses.

Or else drop the masks, change parties and come clean with us. You’re
not staunch conservatives standing up for what’s right. You’re
Republicans in Name Only working hand-in-hand with Democrats to pass
their agenda.

Joe Doakes

It’s high time the MNGOP stood for what’s right, here.

The Covid Nazi Has Spoken

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Empty magazine rack in the hospital waiting room. Because you can catch The Deadliest Virus Ever Known from toilet seats and grocery store check-out belts and waiting room magazine covers.  

Okay, actually, no, you can’t. Scientists have confirmed that the endless cleaning for the last year has been a complete waste of time and resources. But we can’t admit that now or people will suspect the experts don’t know what they are talking about and will no longer blindly follow our orders. 

The Covid Nazi has spoken: no magazine for you.

Joe Doakes

I have a hunch socieity is on the tipping point of a tsunami of satirical mockery.

Well, OK. I hope so.

Fragile

Joe Doakes from Como Park em;ails:

Has anybody else been getting messages saying that in these troubled times, the sender wants us to know how much they care about us?   My credit card company, my bank, even my grocery store care about me now, in these troubled times, which evidently is something new for them – caring about their customers – since they never mentioned it to me, before.

My CEO sent an email to top management.  He pointed out that Thursday was an emotional, soul-searching moment; that the last few weeks had been draining and exhausting for all of us; and how important it is we make space for ourselves to get through troubled times like these, particularly BIPOC employees and leaders.  We must take time to pause and recognize what happens when our systems and structures fail in plain sight.  He asked that staff set aside 12:00 to 2:30 to make space for quiet and to observe Duante Wright’s live-streamed funeral, not to schedule work-as-usual or meetings during that time.

I don’t recall seeing similar messages in the past, when our organization’s mission was to “Delight the Customer.”  I started seeing them when the focus changed to “Racial Justice and Diversity in the Workforce” accompanied by a purge of old White men and promotion of women to management.  Apparently, management now believes it’s essential that we fill the organization with Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color who are unable to do their jobs because they can’t handle the ordinary stresses of life.

I liked it better the old way.

Joe Doakes

I figure people who called 2020 “the worst year ever” never heard of 1942, 1916, 1861, or the Black Death, and have little comprehension of actual difficulty in life.

“Trust The Science”

If there is any justice to come from this pandemic, it will be that our “expert“ culture – the browbeating, anti-scientific version of it that has appropriated the notion of “science“ among so much of our “elites“ – will take a crippling kick to the delicates.

Because they certainly deserve the opprobrium:

The simple, elite explanation for all our problems during the pandemic has been that the public failed to trust the experts and didn’t “follow the science.” This, they argue, is the result of tolerating too much skepticism, which is an ordinary feature of scientific debate. Instead, elites have openly embraced the notion that the public is better served by exaggeration, downplaying uncertainty, or even deception (such as in official estimates of herd immunity).

This disdain for healthy skepticism, a normal part of functioning science and democracy, is corrosive to public trust and impedes the accumulation of knowledge. A climate of overconfidence makes it both more likely that we will adopt bad policy and harder to fix our missteps. Reversals of conventional wisdom are, for better or worse, inevitable in science. We have had many reversals of official positions on COVID-19—from the usefulness of masksto which medications work to guidance about school openings—and will likely see more as evidence continues to come in. The problem is that our current climate locks us into polarized mindsets, which makes it harder to recategorize “misinformation” that winds up being correct.

Among the major victims have been, of course, children – who’s mental health is taking it got shot in the past year.

As it may have all been for nothing:

By June 2020, the evidence was fairly clear on one unusual, but fortunate, aspect of COVID-19 when compared to many other respiratory diseases: It was orders of magnitude less dangerous to children. That’s why even the American Academy of Pediatrics, usually known for its caution, came out in favor of in-person learning in June. Thus, there were two main risks left to consider in reopening schools: the effect on teachers, and the effect on community spread. (On both, evidence was already mounting that schools were not especially risky.) On the flip side, there were risks to consider of children not being in school—their education, mental health, and so forth—which in many cases were drowned out by exaggerated, politically driven coverage of the direct risks of the virus for children.

The entire article is very much worth a read – and worth passing around.

Dropping Like Flies

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The “vaccine” is perfectly safe.  Any claims to the contrary are misinformation spread by science deniers. 

I mean seriously, who are you going to believe: the shills paid to sell it to you, or your lying eyes?

Joe Doakes

If the general public took the message it should from this past year, Big Government would never recover.

Public Health Theater Of The Absurd

When “Karen” tells me “I follow science”, I’ve taken to silently appending, often (but by no means always) in my mind, “you absorbed a CDC announcement a little over a year ago”.

The people maniacally scrubbing surfaces? As re Covid, it’s largely a wasted effort.

Via the Atlantic, which nearly along among periodicals has done a good job of actual journalism as re public health:

Whenever I’ve written about hygiene theater, some people have responded with the same objection: “Hey, what’s the matter with washing our hands?” That’s an easy one: Absolutely nothing. “Pandemic or no pandemic, you should wash your hands, especially after you prepare food, go to the bathroom,” or touch something yucky, Goldman said.

But hygiene theater carries with it an immense opportunity cost. Too many institutions spend scarce funds or sacrifice scarce resources to do microbial battle against fomites that don’t pose a real threat. This is especially true of cash-strapped urban-transit authorities and school districts that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on soap technology rather than their central task of transporting and teaching people.

Hygiene theater also muddles the public-health message. If you tell people, “This disease is on surfaces, on your clothes, on your hands, on your face, and also in the air,” they will react in a scattered and scared way. But if you tell people the truth—this virus doesn’t do very well on surfaces, so you should focus on ventilation—they can protect themselves against what matters.

Of course, if you read this blog (and, to be fair, this blog’s citing of writers in The Atlantic), you had a solid hunch about this nearly a year ago.

If Weasels Were The Size Of Elk

When it comes to “vaccine passports”, the Minnesota Department of Health is keeping its options open:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said just eight days ago that he does not want to implement a “vaccine passport” system that requires Minnesotans to carry documentation that they’ve received the coronavirus vaccine.

“I have no intention of doing vaccine passports,” he told reporters, per KSTP. “Our vaccine passport is get the shot. Get the shot, and we get beyond this. So we have no intention of doing it.”

“Does not want”.

“No Intention”.

If weasels were the size of moose, they could still slip through the wiggle room the Governor has left himself and his administration.

And here come the elk-sized weasels:

However, the governor’s own health department seemed to broadcast a different message via a statement posted to Facebook just six days later, on April 13.

“We don’t know yet know [sic] if you’ll need to show proof of vaccination for things like traveling, concerts or other activities,” the MDH wrote.

Remember – if you assume the typical MNDFL voter has the critical thinking skills of a tenth-grader, it all makes sense.

A Ton Of Prevention Is Worth A Gram Of Cure

Went to Regions to visit a relative who is recovering from a heart attack.  New Covid rules: only one visitor per day.  Not one visitor at a time –  one per day.  If her spouse visits from 10 am – noon, nobody else can visit until 10 the next day when visiting hours start again.

Visitor must wear a mask at all times; must stay in the patient room, use the bathroom there; cannot bring in food or drink but must order from room service and pay by credit card; must leave by 8:00 pm and cannot stay overnight no matter how much the patient begs not to be left alone in the hospital. 

Turns out it’s not only the hospital.  Different relative dying of cancer in a long-term care facility cannot have visitors at all, not even with masks and social distancing.  Might bring in Covid so she spends her days dying alone. 

Covid, you see.  Science.  What am I, a science denier?  Do I want people in the hospital to die? Do I want to kill old people in the nursing home?

Not necessarily.  But heart disease and cancer aren’t the only things that people die from.  People can die of loneliness, too, and from hopelessness. 

Joe Doakes

In the meantime, some facilities have radically different rules. Some long term care facilities are pretty much open (with precaution similar to but less than the ones Jo described in the hospital, above); others, like Joe says, are in full blown lockdown mode.

Science!

So What Is Going On In The ICUs?

The justification for Dictator-for-Life Walz’ continued use of Emergency Powers, and his endless fondling of the dials to raise or lower limits on normal behavior, rests on the notion that if he failed to act, Covid patients would overwhelm the hospital system leaving sufferers to die on gurneys in hallways and parking lots, up to 70,000 of them in Minnesota alone.

This chart from Kevin Roche at Healthy Skeptic illustrates how stupid that lie was and continues to be.  Time to end the lockdowns. 

image.png

Joe Doakes 


It’s A Start

Homeschooling triples during the pandemic.

It may be the closest thing we have to a good side-effect of this past year.

The state – SD? FL? – who makes tax money given to education completely portable for things like home schooling (individual or group) or vouchers will see an economic and population boom like this country hasn’t seen since the days of Ellis Island.

Is The Plural Of Conundrum “Conundra?”

So let me get this straight:

It’s impossible for people to get and keep a government ID, making voter ID laws “unfair“…

… but we’ll implement a “vaccine passport“ that is simultaneously accessible and will protect personal health and medical information that will be the baseline needed for people to participate in business, social life and travel?

Seems perfectly rational.

Fully As Expected

Big Left has had to reckon with the idea that, among major states, Florida and its science-driven approach to Covid has been more successful than the states that Big Media cast its lot with last year.

And by “reckon”, I mean “try to undercut, among the ‘try-not-to-think-too-hard’ crowd” that is the “progressive” base.

The Atlantic tries to cover both sides of Florida’s approach. And the story makes a decent shot at fairness of a sort:

If you want to say something declarative that will be proved wrong in a few months, I strongly encourage you to comment on Florida. Liberals projected that the state would suffer disproportionately for its casual approach to the pandemic, but its deaths are in line with the national average. Conservatives hailed the state for its open-air and open-business approach to 2020, but the available evidence doesn’t seem to prove that Florida’s economy is doing exceptionally well compared with those of its southern neighbors.

And, in fact, the story notes that Florida’s record, on Covid fatalities and economics, is relatively middle of the road:

As far as I can tell, though, it didn’t. At 4.8 percent, its unemployment rate is 18th in the country, and not meaningfully different from that of the median states, South Carolina and Virginia, at 5.3 percent. Real-time data tracking state spending and employment show that Florida is doing, again, no better than average. Compared with January 2020, its consumer spending is down 1 percent, which is right in line with the national average. Its small-business revenue is down about 30 percent—again, almost exactly the national average. These statistics may be missing something. But the national narrative of an exceptionally white-hot Florida economy doesn’t match the statistical record of its performance.

I mean, true – as far as it goes.

But that wasn’t the standard that was set for Florida, then or now .

Nearly a year ago, the media looked up from polishing Andrew Cuomo’s toenails only to confidently predict Florida’s policies would lead to a Walking Dead-level die-off that never came.

The Atlantic piece compares Florida with the average, and finds it right there.

But the valid comparison is with New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts – states with the opposite, media-blessed approach.

Consequences. Unintended And…

A friend of the blog emails:

Essentially this article blames the pandemic as the reason for higher Minneapolis property taxes next year.  The reason is because commercial real estate in the city has been jumping so much over the last 10 years before 2020, home owners have not seen as much increase in property taxes.  It’s all relative.  The city spend money like a drunken sailor and has been able to pass that on to the growing apartment buildings, restaurants, other commercial ventures that have popped up in the last 10 years.  That growth has halted and I predict commercial properties and values will decrease which will shift the burden to homeowners.  Get ready homeowners.

2020 has changed all that.  Part of the change is the pandemic as businesses realize they can keep workers working at home and reduce the amount of office space needed.  But it is also true that businesses will not move into a city that has no police force and allows blocks of businesses to be looted and burned.  Target is downsizing.  There wasn’t even a thought of the Canadian Pacific merger of having the headquarters in downtown Mpls where it is now.  Who thinks Minneapolis will see a Final Four or a Superbowl in the next 10 years?  The airheads running the city have created a bigger mess than just the pandemic.  I am glad to see my favorite establishment, Brit’s Pub, has re-opened but I am not tempted to go there even in daylight due to the dangerous downtown. 

Right now I am watching the discussion on the local Nextdoor.  People are noticing a big jump in their assessed home values yet their property taxes are stable and some even falling a bit.  The respite in tax increase this year is a big head fake.  The 2022 property taxes will increase mightily as these higher home values will shift a big piece of the real estate base from business to homeowners.  Maybe not if the city’s spending can be cut.  Unfortunately those cuts will likely come from the police force which is already being decimated by resignations and retirements.  The city can just recognize reality that they cannot retain and recruit enough badges.    My heart is sad for my beloved Minneapolis.  The local voters have been mislead by the local media and the chickens have come home to roost.  They will appeal to the state of MN for help.  God give backbones to the state legislature to say “NO.”  Just say “no” as Mpls voters caused this problem, they need to fix it.

Let this be a cautionary tale for other cities.  You don’t want this.

The same story can be said for all of Hennepin County. This will affect them as well.

Two observations.

First: when the MInnPost is too far to the middle for a Democrat machine…

Second: This is what a death spiral looks like.

See also: Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark…

…well, you get the idea.

Fairness

The Strib is trying to shame people into getting the Covid vaccine:

Let’s apply this (for sake of argument) “Logic” to other patterns of behavior, shall we?

  • People who are “child free by choice” are “demographic moochers”. Everyone else’s children are going to have to pay the taxes and premiums to support them in their dotage, as well as their own parents.
  • People who live bike and transit-centered lifestyles are “fiscal moochers”. The taxes that pay for their bike lanes, paths, and transit routes and vehicles are paid, extremely disproportionally, by drivers and their gas taxes.
  • Those of you who are getting vaccinated, as opposed to getting and recovering from Covid the old-fashioned way, are moochers on multiple levels.
  • People who net out at no taxes paid in are “tax moochers”. The benefits they disproportionally receive are paid in their entirety by others.

Please see to this, Strib.

Thanks.

Worse Than The Disease

Science: Draconian lockdowns are, at best, of no real effect in containing the effects of Coronavirus:

The Associated Press picked up on the theme over the weekend, finding that states which enacted tight restrictions on commerce and other activities performed no better in preventing coronavirus deaths or confirmed infections. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for instance, imposed some of the most draconian curbs in the nation. Florida was at the opposite extreme. Yet “California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates,” the AP reports, and both rank in the middle in terms of deaths per capita.

The latter is even more significant given that California’s younger demographic means that a higher percentage of Florida residents were at high risk for serious virus complications.

The AP also highlights the contrast between South Dakota and Connecticut, which are both among the 10 worst states in terms of death rates. But the latter was much more aggressive in restricting the actions of its residents, while the former took a laissez-faire approach.

While there are obviously many factors in play when making comparisons between the states, such anecdotal evidence is in line with a peer-reviewed Stanford study of eight countries — including the United States — published in January that found “no clear significant beneficial effect” from stay-at-home orders and business closures.

Politics: “They’re not about containing viruses, silly deplorables”.

Look Through Any Window (With A Correction)

“Look through any window, yeah. What do you see?”

If you follow the directive from the classic Hollies single, you can see a lot of things – smiling faces all around, little ladies in their gowns, bits and pieces of a typical Minnesota spring.

One thing you will not see, in this second Covid spring in Minnesota, is deciduous leaves on your trees.

So when Governor Tim “One Minnesota” Walz announced earlier this week that he and members of his staff were quarantining due to (yet another) Covid exposure, people – not the media mind you, just people – asked a lot of questions.

Why isn’t he vaccinated?

After a year, how does this keep happening?

And now – thanks to a friend on social media – another question the media won’t be bothered to ask.

Where the flaming hootie hoo is the Governor, where…

…you look through any window behind him and see green on deciduous trees?

Mankato?

I don’t think so. I mean, if you’re in southern MN, are the trees leafing out yet? Leave a comment.

Color me green with disbelief.

UPDATE – on second glance, the tree appears to be some sort of pine.

To paraphrase a certain former president, when you run a blog that roasts DFL hypocrisy and media indolence, you do get tired of winning. But not, apparently, this time.