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.


From The Archives

Seems like forever ago that Michael Mann published his hockey-stick
graph, Mary Steyn made fun of it in a column for National Review, and
Mann sued for defamation.  The case has lingered for eight years in the
courts, only now entering the ‘discovery’ phase after National Review
was dismissed as a defendant.

Mark Steyn was deposed by Michael Mann’s lawyer.  Steyn uploaded the
transcript here: https://www.steynonline.com/documents/11106.pdf

I suppose reading deposition transcripts isn’t everyone’s cup of tea,
but I found it entertaining.  Your mileage may vary.

Joe Doakes

I can’t imagine those lawyers knew what hit them.

2+2=Road Salt

Got any questions?

Don’t bring ’em to Erin Maye Quade, former MN state representative, 2018 Lieutenant Governor candidate, and (along with former commenter Dog Gone and William Davis) one of the Minnesota DFL’s most imortant intellectual thought leaders.

Because, being a thought leader, she’s got the answers:

So a trans woman, having experienced none of growing up as a bio-female, can not only appropriate a lifetime of bio-female experience, but in so doing scoop up all the scholarships – which, I hasten to add, are what put a lot of working-class bio-girls a shot at a higher education (for what little that seems to be worth these days)?

Seems a little…misogynistic?

My daughter grew up playing basketball in elementary school and junior high with, and against, a bunch of very talented, largely black girls from Frogtown, the Midway and the North End.

Some of these girls, even at 10-13 years old, were already working hard on their games, in hopes of getting scholarships.

I’m dying to see how Ms. Maye Quade would explain to those working-class girls how not only were their scholarships going to bio-boys, but they’d best shut up about it if they ever wanted to do lunch at the Saint Paul Grill again.

I’m just waiting for a bunch of bio-guys who couldn’t quite make the NBA, and are tired of playing in Italy and Poland, to “transition” and dominate the living s**t out of the WNBA and Women’s Soccer.

Boys Will Be Boys Whatever Leadership Says They Are

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

On his very first day in office, President Biden ended Girls’ Sports. From now on, there will be Boys Champions and Boys in Dresses Champions but no girl champions because they’ll be physically unable to compete.

Good! Gives the girls more time to work on sewing and baking cookies and raising babies, being properly ladylike instead of roughhousing tomboys.

Joe Doakes

Why, it’s almost as if every single “progressive“ policy destroys the things that they are ostensibly trying to promote.

Rhetorical Media Questions

It’s rhetorical, because Big Media never actually responds to the plebs.

But is it possible…:

…that there could be a less scientifically literate phrase than “believe in Science?”

How about “Think Critically about the data in front of us, and make an informed decision?”

Nah, that’s just more radical conservative talk.

And I’m Ready…

…for a Senator who knows science is a system of analyzing the world involving healthy skepticism of conventional wisdom and relentless questioning…

…rather than a pseudoreligion used to browbeat people into acquiescence.

Which, if you take her at her word, is apparently what she thinks it is:

All About The Science!

Cornell – the Dollar General of the Ivy League – is requiring students to get vaccinated for Covid when a vaccine is available.

Well, most students:

That is, unless those students are “Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC).” Those students aren’t subject to the same stringent vaccine requirements of their white classmates, and though they are strongly encouraged to get tested and get the flu shot, the university offers them an exemption should they choose not to. The university even describes the requirements foisted on whites as “suspect or even exploitative” to its students of color.

Cornell won’t dispatch racial scientists to check the skin tone of any of these students, or ask for a DNA test. Merely identifying as “BIPOC” is considered grounds for exemption, meaning bonafide crackers like Shaun King or Rachel Dolezal could avoid the shot, were they students at Cornell.

Because apparently one’s stated identity has physiological effects.

We have the dumbest ruling class ever.

Blinding Science

The worst part of this pandemic may be how “science” has been turned from a system for analyzing what we don’t know, into a weapon to logroll people into line behind a conclusion.

It’s not just Karens karen-ing, or @NPRNews claiming there’s a “Team Science”, a consistant, constant body of knowledge and its high priests standing united against the uninformed peasants attacking the metaphorical observatory with pitchforks and torches. That’s bad – but it’s been a problem for a while, now.

Scientists are now adopting social media tactics, and “influencing” “followers” to “cancel” scientists they disagree with.

People are turning science into Scientism – a pseudo-religious, faith-based mass of dogmas combining the worst aspects of revival religion and social media herd mentality.


SCENE: Mitch BERG is waiting for takeout at a near-eastern restaurant on Snelling Avenue when Avery LIBRELLE walks in. Trapped, BERG tries to ignore…er, Avery. To no avail.


BERG: Oh, hey, Avery. What’s new…

LIBRELLE: Republicans reject science!

BERG: Is that so?

LIBRELLE: That’s right. You don’t wear masks.

BERG: Huh. So – just to be clear, if you conduct an experiment, and the theory succeeds, and succeeds repeatedly, then it’s an indication that one’s theory is holding up well.

LIBRELLE: Of course. Science is awesome.

BERG: OK. So – theory: defending against ballistic missiles would remove a key area where a hostile foreign power can blackmail the US by threatening millions of American lives. Hypothesis: modern technology makes point defense against incoming missiles not only feasible, but reliable enough to incorporate in foreign and defense policy.

LIBRELLE: Nonsense. It’s impossible. That science was settled back in the 1980s.

BERG: This ain’t the eighties, and the science is settling in the direction of “set ’em up, we can shoot ’em down”.

LIBRELLE: Not only is it impossible to shoot down missiles, but even considering it is destabilizing, actually making a nuclear attack more likely, which would disproportionally affect People of Color, Latinx, gay and transgender people.

BERG: So we’ve gone from science to intersectional sociology.

LIBRELLE: Intersectional sociology is science.

BERG: Huh. And queer gender theory?

LIBRELLE: Science.

BERG: The 1619 Project?

LIBRELLE: Science.

BERG: Vox.com?

LIBRELLE: Scientists, every one of ’em.

BERG: Shooting down missiles using a 50-year-old missile and guidance technology that’s been steadily improving since Jimmy Carter was in office?

LIBRELLE: Pure emotion.

BERG: Gotcha.

LIBRELLE: Hey, could you buy me a gyro?

BERG: When can you pay me back?

LIBRELLE: What do you mean?

BERG: Right.


Generation Plath

Consider the possibility that humans evolved over millions of years. Consider the possibility that survival traits selected for evolutionary value are different for women than men. Consider the possibility that the most evolutionary successful survival traits for women include the herd instinct, and maternal instincts.

College teaches women to be strong, independent, career-oriented people who have children late in life, if at all. Everything about modern feminist education directly contradicts the millennia of hardwired evolutionary instincts. The endless mental conflict between what society tells you to do and what your instincts tell you to do, is exhausting and depressing.

But that’s all silly, isn’t it? That’s just white privilege and mansplaining and patriarchal oppression. 

Isn’t it?

Joe Doakes

To answer your observation of the contradictions, shut up.

What If We Held A State Of Emergency, And The State Of Nature Didn’t Care?

Hypothesis: neither the lockdown nor the re-opening really affected the course of the pandemic:

TrendMacro, my analytics firm, tallied the cumulative number of reported COVID-19 cases in each state and the District of Columbia as a percentage of population, based on data from state and local health departments aggregated by the Covid Tracking Project. We then compared that with the timing and intensity of the lockdown in each jurisdiction. That is measured not by the mandates put in place by government officials, but rather by observing what people in each jurisdiction actually did, along with their baseline behavior before the lockdowns. This is captured in highly detailed anonymized cellphone tracking data provided by Google and others and tabulated by the University of Maryland’s Transportation Institute into a “Social Distancing Index.”

Measuring from the start of the year to each state’s point of maximum lockdown, which range from April 5 to April 18, it turns out that lockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus. States with longer, stricter lockdowns also had larger outbreaks. The five places with the harshest lockdowns — DC, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts — had the heaviest caseloads.

It could be that strict lockdowns were imposed as a response to already severe outbreaks. But the surprising negative correlation, while statistically weak, persists even when excluding states with the heaviest caseloads. And it makes no difference if the analysis includes other potential explanatory factors, such as population density, age, ethnicity, prevalence of nursing homes, general health or temperature. The only factor that seems to make a demonstrable difference is the intensity of mass-transit use.

The whole thing is worth a read and a critical evaluation.

But as this thing progresses, it seems more and more that the public health response was largely political posturing, and that the scientifically supported response was to promote responsible personal behavior (not just wearing masks and washing hands, either – losing weight, quitting smoking, managing diabetes and blood pressure all have outsized importance), aggressively protecting the extremely vulnerable, and investigate treatments (ideally free of politically-motivated interference).

We are in times in which the conservative approach (i.e., science) is pretty radical.

When Reality Imitates Satire

It’s easy to “joke” – especially living as a Republican in places like Saint Paul – that “Mike Judge’s cult classic Idiocracy isn’t a comedy, it’s a documentary”.

But you – we – are not wrong:

And for exactly the reason Judge lampooned…

So why are we supposedly getting dumber?

Previous research has found that women of higher intelligence are having fewer children, meaning women of lower intelligence are driving population growth, according to the study.

Over time, experts say, that would affect the average IQ of a population.

…or “lampooned”, as the case may be.

It’s only funny if you don’t look at the world around you.


It annoys me when writers are carefree with their words.  As Mark Twain pointed out: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

This article starts out saying: “So when a crisis of the magnitude of the COVID-19 global pandemic forces restaurants to close, and their revenue drops to zero overnight, things get particularly dire.”

Except it didn’t.  Covid was not the cause, Covid was the excuse.  Restaurants were closed by the government and remain closed to various degrees in various states because of politicians

There is no evidence bar patrons in Wisconsin (wide open) are dying in greater numbers than Minnesota (some controls) or California (total ban).  Same virus, diffferent government, different revenue loss,

Okay, it’s nit picking.  I get that.  But still, blaming your restaurant woes on a virus is a conceptual error.  It’s not the virus’ fault.  It’s the Governor’s fault.  And we must not forget that because there is always an excuse to take away your rights, if we’re willing to let them.

Joe Doakes

Most journalists – including some NPR “science correspondents” – can’t discern cause and effect, or correlation and causation, much less the finer points of science.

MiniHealth Has Never Been At War With MiniPol

Some Henco Commisioners want to declare racism a public health crisis:

Hennepin County Commissioners Angela Conley and Irene Fernando plan to introduce a resolution on Tuesday declaring racism a public health emergency in the county.

“We need to be explicit about racism,” Conley said. “We need to say that at the root of the disparities is systemic racism . . . and we need to do it now while this conversation is ripe.”

Nearly a dozen other counties across the country have passed similar resolutions, many doing so in recent weeks as governments and businesses aim to address racism within their own organizations in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis…The move to declare racism a public health crisis is symbolic, but would also direct the county to consider racial equity in all of its decision making.

When you mix politics and science, you don’t get scientific politics. You get politicized science.

It is a strong contender to be Berg’s 21st Law.

Open Question For “The Party Of Science”

To: Governor Walz and the Minnesota DFL
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant who passed College Biology
Re: Help me underdstand this

Governor Walz

So let me get this straight. According to you;

Covid19 is a lethal epidemic.

Attending protests to seek the re-opening of the state during the middle of the pandemic threatens grandma and, since “essential workers” will bear the brunt of any outbreak, likely racist as well.

But when one is attending mass demonstrations, even ones involving violence and property damage, against a politically-acceptable cause, or attending a funeral in a packed church full of un-masked people, it’s utterly acceptable from an epidemiological standpoint.

Unless there’s tear gas involved. Because then, Covid is a deadly pandemic.

Remembering, as always, that y’all are the “party of science”, not febrile superstition, yessireebob.

That is all.

Press Conference

SCENE: THE PRESS natters away, focusing their cameras and exchanging black-market hair stylists, waiting for a conference with POLITICS, GOVERNMENT and REALITY.

Shortly, the three enter the room and move to the podium. POLITICS – a dapper, 30-something man with CEO hair and a perfectly cut suit, steps to the microphone.

POLITICS: Welcome, and thank you all for coming out to this joint press conference. We’re going try to take this opportunity to clarify our mutual, cooperative response to the Covid virus in Minnesota. Before we take questions, I’d just like to say “We’re all One Minnesota, and we’re all in this together. (). Anything to add?”

(GOVERNMENT, a morbidly obese woman in a frizzy red “Karen” hairdo and a slightly long in the tooth pants suit, sticks her head awkwardly in front of POLITICS to get to the mike).

GOVERNMENT: I’d just like to add, that not are we all not in this together and practicing a second or subsequent Minnesota is subject to reporting, citation and arrest.

POLITICS: Thanks, Government! Anything to add, Reality?

(REALITY, a slovenly man resembling a larger, fatter Danny DiVito, wearing an ill-fitting red track suit and carrying a Jimmy Johns sandwich whose paper wrapper he’s been rolling down like the skin of a banana, nudges himself to the mike.

REALITY: This process has remorselessly worked its say down to a series of haves and have nots. (Shrugs)

POLITICS: Thanks. Again, we’re all in complete agreement.

(PRESS nods as one)

POLITICS: Any questions?

PRESS (in unison): So when can MInnesota businesses return to normal?

POLITICS: We’ve developed, in cooperation with Government and Reality, a 12 step process of steps and levers that will be the red lines leading to re-opening. Care to elaborate, Government?

GOVERNMENT: Yes. I’d just like to say, I’ve never had a job outside the public sector, and I don’t actually trust businesses to do anything but exploit the people.

REALITY: You’ve got people who are neither scientists nor businesspeople making decisions for and on behalf of both. If you expect anything other than a glorified junior high school production of West Wing, you probably watched way too much of the actual West Wing.

POLITICS: Thanks. As I said, One Minnesota. Next question?

PRESS: What does the science tell us?

POLITICS: We are using the best data science tells us.

GOVERNMENT: Anyone using or repeating information from scientists not on the approved list will be facing serious consequences.

REALITY: The “science” is being applied via a layer of sociology, and at best everyone is winging it and nobody has a clue what the future holds.

POLITICS: Thanks. We are all in this together. Next question?

PRESS: What are your current preconditions for getting back to normal.

POLITICIANS: Well, obviously, sufficient testing.

GOVERNMENT: We have chosen the figure of 20,000 tests a day, for no reason that we choose to make available to you.

REALITY: And she could say 1,000, or 10,000, or eleventy-teen million, because after a month of yammering about testing, the daily tests performed are creeping along in the low four figures a day, and there is no visible indication that is changing, or for that matter that it’s going to matter, if indeed it turns out this epidemic has been active in the population since January.

POLITICS: Minnesota strong. Next question?

THE PRESS: Any others?

POLITICS: Standard public health practice would be to do contact tracing.

GOVERNMENT: Therefore, all MInnesotans must keep a list of all their contacts.

REALITY: This is pure fairy dust. Contact tracing is incredibly labor intensive work even for a disease with a fairly predictable means of transmission, like AIDS, and which spreads from symptomatic people, like Ebola. This is neither. Someone could unknowingly pass it on to hundreds of people before they knew they were sick. Contact tracing could be the CIvilian Conservation Corps project of the new millennium, employing hundreds of thousands of people, and we’d still never get it all done.

PRESS: How about a vaccine?

POLITICS: Our best and brightest are working 24/7 to try to develop one.

GOVERNMENT: We will be locked down until a vaccine is developed and tested, however long it takes.

REALITY: (Tosses the rest of the sandwich into his mouth, talks while chewing) Nobody has successfully developed a vaccine for a corona virus, and even if this is the first, it’ll take years – and if we shut down the entire economy nobody will be able to pay for the vaccine, much less developing it.

POLITICS: Last question?

PRESS: How about re-opening businesses?

POLITICS: We’ll re-open businesses according to the plan.

GOVERNMENT: And anyone not adhering to the common-sense, scientific plan will face consequences.

REALITY: (stifles a burp as he rumples up his now-empty Jimmy Johns bag) Look, the policy is utterly capricious today. There is literally no reason to keep a Walmart or a Menards open but shut down a Vape shop or a guitar store. There is literally no reason they can’t follow the same restrictions. Restaurants and bars and barber shops are more complicated, but do you honestly think a business owner is less suited to see to their own survival than… (nudges head toward GOVERNMENT).

POLITICS Well, thank you all for coming out. Remember – we’re one Minnesota…

PRESS: (as one) We’re One MInnesota…

POLITICS: And we’re all in this together.

PRESS: And we’re all in this together.

GOVERNMENT: Depart the room in an orderly fashion in the reverse order you came in, via the door you came though…

Killing The Patient To Save It

I spent a little time watching some of the local TV news and weather drones chattering about Earth Day yesterday.

I know – I forgot to celebrate it, too, right?

And the line among the various weather drones, in noting that pollution is at record lows around the planet, was simultaneously predictable and a crushing face palm;

“it just shows what people can do to Fight climate change when they set their mind to it”

Yes. When the economy slows to a record halt, vaporizing trillions of dollars in personal and institutional wealth, throwing millions/tens of millions, really, into at least short term poverty and possibly much worse, with industries shut down and hundreds of thousands of small businesses vanquished over a little more than six weeks, the air will get a little clean.

Casualties Of Pestilence

Thousands of people have died of Covid19. Thousands more will likely die.

Every one of those deaths is a tragedy, snuffing out a human life of incalculable worth and immense potential.

Well, all of them but one.

One of the casualties is the “Green New Deal”, says Kevin Williamson, as people life with previews of the Green New Deal:

What we are seeing right now is what it looks like when Washington tries to steer the economy. There are times when that is necessary, and this is one of those times. But emergencies do not last forever, and emergency measures should be, by nature, temporary. The attraction of the climate-change crusade is that it creates a permanent state of emergency. The Left wants very much to convince Americans that climate change presents an emergency of the same kind requiring the same “moral equivalent of war” worldwide mobilization.107

One suspects that the people who are missing their paychecks right now, and the ones who worry that they may be missing them soon, are going to need some convincing. The adverse effects of climate change are likely to be significant and may prove severe — as noted, many of our progressive friends insist that they already are. But we have a new point of comparison, and those challenges feel relatively manageable if the alternative is an extended version of the coronavirus shutdown — and no amount of marketing will change the fact that that is precisely what is being advocated.

A couple of months of this is going to be very hard to take. Nobody is signing up for a lifetime of it.

And two trillion dollars of bailout is bad. The Green New Deal is going to cost an order of magnitude and change more. And unlike Covid, it’ll never end.