Blue Fragility: Open Letter To Jonathan Chait

To: Johnathan “Chaitful” Chait
From: Mitch Berg – Red State Sleeper Agent
Re: This Little “Eliminationist Hatred” Problem You Have

Mr. Chait

We go way back, of course – and not in a good way. You have a bit of a history of being a horrible excuse for a human being. But you are a gift that keeps giving, for people like me, so for that I thank you, even if backhandedly.

This past week, you wrote an article in “New York Magazine” claiming that the Republican response to Covid is, in your terms, a “Death Cult”.

I won’t pullquote anything – the article is long, and never really improves over the title.

But I have two questions.

First, some background – here’s the listed Covid fatalities/million as of last Friday:

  • NY (D): 1,684
  • NJ (D): 1,790
  • US average: 474
  • FL (R): 319
  • MN (DFL): 291
  • TX (R): 241
  • ND (R): 135

So I’ve got two questions for you, Mr. Chait:

  1. Did you ever refer to Cuomo (or the governors of NJ/CT/MA) as running a “death cult?” I’ll confess, I’m an infrequent reader of yours. I only read you (or John Fugelsang) when you step on your d**k spectacularly – but I’d hate to be unfair.
  2. I wager you a shiny new quarter that as of November 3, 2020, TX and FL will be below half NY’s fatalities per million. Any action on that bet?


By the way – at the risk of sounding uncharitable, there are times that I think you are God’s karmic gift to me for never teasing the short-bus kids in elementary school. For this, I thank Him, and urge you to keep up the, uh, work, karmically speaking.

That is all.

Side Note: I’m making this the The George W. Bush Corollary To Berg’s Seventh Law – All of a Republican’s sins, imaginary or (for sake of argument) real, will be forgotten once the Republican can no longer hold office. 

25 thoughts on “Blue Fragility: Open Letter To Jonathan Chait

  1. To have a successful death cult, don’t you need . . . deaths?

    Minnesota averages about 4,000 deaths per month. Even using the phony numbers, Covid deaths in the single digits. If you didn’t go looking for them, Covid deaths would be indistinguishable from the background noise of ordinary deaths.

    It’s not much of a pandemic if nobody can tell you’re having it.

  2. Also, not to detract from your point, Mitch, but you’re still using the wrong metric. It looks as if Minnesota is doing a better job than Florida. We are not.

    Comparing deaths-per-million assumes the virus strikes all ages uniformly, children and adults alike. It does not. The virus strikes old people, particularly old sick people. Snowbirds and retirees in retirement states skew the numbers.

    To get an accurate comparison, you’d have to calculate the death rate for each state’s pool of at-risk people. Here’s an example:

    5,639,632 (Minnesota population*) times 16.3% (percentage over age 65) = 919,260 (at risk pool). 627 (total Minnesota Covid deaths in at-risk pool **) divided by 919,260 (at risk pool) = .00067. Times 100 to convert to percentage: 0.067% of the Minnesotans at-risk have died from Covid.

    21,477,737 (Florida population *) times 20.9% (percentage over age 65) = 4,488,847 (at risk pool). 2,177 (total Florida Covid deaths in at-risk pool **) divided by 21,477,737 (at risk pool) = .000101. Times 100 to convert to percentage: 0.010 percent of the Floridans at-risk have died from Covid.

    Minnesota has killed nearly SEVEN TIMES more of its at-risk population than Florida. That’s a number worth shouting.

    * US Census Bureau QuickFacts


  3. First, treatment has improved so doubtless fatalities will be lower, but less than half, we’ll see (as Der Trumpfer says). Second, NY started far sooner, of course they’ll have more fatalities, but let’s see how many TX has in ICU vs NY on 11/3. I’ll bet the number in TX, per millions is nearly as high, and probably higher, than in NY. That’s a bet I’ll take.

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  5. Paddyboy, scroll up, past Greg, to my 5:07. I went into serious detail explaining why per-million deaths is not a valid metric to measure the effectiveness of government response to the Covid virus. Yet here you are, offering to bet on it.

    This is why nobody takes you seriously.

  6. Also, Mitch, cherry pick data much? Both Florida and Texas have passed NY in total cases, despite having more time to prepare and being better warned. Fatalities are one metric, but obviously treatments have VASTLY improved even since March when doctors didn’t understand the impacts of clotting, how this invested the heart in addition to lungs, how and when to use Remdesivir or Dexomethisone or Actemra Good lord. You know what we don’t need, we don’t need this further politicized. My family in part lives in Texas, I am happy to put you in touch with them or better yet, some physicians they know, and you can tell them how swell things are in Texas and how well their decision to re-open played out. After they laugh you out of the room, please come back and bet me more money, i’ll take it, but still be heartbroken at the needless tragedy of it all They say there are lies, damned lies, and facts (in that order) and your comment about mortality rates is just one of those. Yesterday the US lost another 1k lives, you know how many Italy lost, 44. Yes, it’s smaller than the US, but it’s not 1/20th our size. Are you trying to suggest we’re doing a “great job” to quote Trump? Can you seriously say that with a straight face?

  7. Crap. I made a mistake in my numbers. I didn’t realize they break apart Covid deaths into Male and Female. I only counted Males.

    Corrected number of Minnesota Covid deaths (both sexes): 1,356.
    Corrected percentage of Minnesota Covid deaths in at-risk pool: 0.15%

    Corrected number of Florida Covid deaths (both sexes): 4,189.
    Corrected percentage of Florida Covid deaths in at-risk pool: 0.093%

    Minnesota is only killing TWICE as many of its at-risk pool as Florida.

    At least, I think we are. Somebody better check my figures. After all, I was an English major for a reason.

  8. Population of Texas: 28 million
    Population of Florida: 21 million
    Population of New York: 19 million

    Guess what – the states with more people have more Covid deaths. Shocking.

    Paddyboy, you are hopeless.

  9. Joe, you’re a joke.. Florida is SLIGHTLY larger than NY as a population base yet has 492k cases NOW to NY 422k, Here’s some rough math for you, as a percentage of cases, NY is 90% of the size of FL yet has 85% of the cases, despite having had the disease present in larger numbers far earlier. Get a clue. Seriously. Texas is 50% larger, but again, they are clearly catching up to NY. They have 492k cases to NY 422. It’s not YET 50% more, but I’m going to bet you it is more than that by 11/3. It’s a sad state of affairs, pun intended.

  10. Also, Joe, seriously, STOP comparing failed responses across the US to other somewhat less failed responses (FL to NY or TX to NY), compare our abject failure compared to peers. The EU has 1k cases a DAY, we have 70,000. We have roughly the same population base, the virus was their first, we had more warning. We’ve done piss all to contact trace, hire staff to do so, have a planful coordinated response. Trump is going to lose BADLY in November because his response is pathetic, as was Georgia’s and Texas’ and Florida’s. Are they getting better, yes, FINALLY, they are listening, but we/they had to endure MONTHS of machismo BS while they mocked people for wearing masks. Did you read Gohmert’s staffer talking about how they were berated for wearing masks? Does that sound like a good response to you? Talk about hopeless, you righties are that and far more. This should NEVER have been a partisan issue, had Trump responded correctly, he’d have coasted to re-election but what’s FAR more important our infection rates would be down and we’d have an economy that was recovering. I said it MONTHS ago to you dingos, if you don’t fix the pandemic, you can’t fix the economy. Duh.

  11. Countries where there have been very significant flareups over the last short period of time are Spain, Germany, France, Australia, Japan.” ~ Donald Trump

    This was a big opportunity for Trump but the crazy got in the way.

    Coronavirus deaths reported on Aug. 1:
    US: 1,244
    Spain: 0
    Germany: 0
    France: 11
    Australia: 7
    Japan: 1

    This is what happens when your staff builds a Truman Show around you.

  12. I’m going to post a short response to the Idiot Twins, then I’m done with you two.

    The numbers are lies, all of them, because of political and financial incentives. To the extent we use any numbers, we must use them from the same source so the lies break in the same direction.

    “Cases” are irrelevant. Unless people are dying from it, nobody cares.

    Comparing deaths between political subdivisions is meaningless because the virus doesn’t strike every age group equally. You must compare deaths between pools of the at-risk population, which are the old sick people, who are concentrated in retirement areas.

    Nobody controls a pandemic, anywhere, ever. Pandemics follow Farr’s Law and the dying ends when the pandemic burns itself out. Quarantine the sick, liberate the healthy, is the only response with demonstrated success.

  13. You must compare deaths between pools of the at-risk population, which are the old sick people, who are concentrated in retirement areas.


    Also tests are (mostly) meaningless unless the test regime is thoroughly randomized and controlled for age, gender and geography. In other words, testing 1,000 meat processing workers who have all been exposed to covid means nothing to the folks living two counties to the east.

  14. So — if Herman Cain hadn’t been tested for coronavirus he would still be alive?

    I heard somewhere that if we stop testing there will be no new cases.

    Let’s open the White House for tours again

  15. Probably the single highest impact measure to stem the carnage would be right wing commentators getting on board with basic science.

  16. I’m going to dare suggest that if Texas and Florida are working to keep COVID sufferers out of nursing homes, they’re going to end up with a whole lot less deaths than New York and New Jersey. Maybe a lot more cases than NY and NJ, but a lot less deaths unless they go full idiot like Cuomo.

  17. bikebubba
    be sure to always include MN and Gov Walz on that list.

    As of today 1,233 or 76% of the 1,620 deaths in MN occurred in LTC or nursing homes.

    So when you list the various authors of Democide in our country, alongside Cuomo, deBlasio, and Whitmer be sure to include Walz.

  18. Covid cases yesterday – NY 745, TX 9175, so Joe, or should I say dumbass Joe, let’s take 745 x 1.5, as TX is about 1.5 times the size of NY =hmmm, that’s 322+745=1067… is that MORE or LESS than 9175, oh wait, it’s less… gosh..
    Deaths in NY yesterday 30, TX 422, again, is 1.5*30=45 less than or more than 422… hmmm, yep, less.

    Then Dicklator Trump said yesterday that the explosion in Beirut was an attack… yep, no proof, just more idiotic conspiracy theory. That explosion was recorded pretty extensively, a fire stared in a warehouse where 2700 metric tons of ammonium nitrate was stored, for you idiots (I should say neo-cons, although that’s a synonym) ammonium nitrate is an explosive compound, so the equivalent of about a 3 kt. explosion happened, it looked like an atomic bomb, it wasn’t. It was preceded by obvious, recorded smaller explosions. Yet, moron in chief said it was an attack. Just like Barrack Obama is a Muslim, Communist, Kenyan.

    The reason you’re not taken seriously is because you deny facts, pick out idiotic points like that NY has a higher fatality rate than TX, of course it does, they were exposed FAR earlier, and by that deny that re-opening caused issues, deny epidemiology and experts, and instead listen to Dicktator Drumph spout stupidity. Hundreds of THOUSANDS are dying because of his ineptitude.

    So, Mitch, $500 that TX has more than 150% of the number of patients in ICU on 11/3. Put up or shut up, as the saying goes.

  19. Lots of insanity and death-wishing from the TDS folks on this thread.
    There is no signifixant coreallaton between covid deaths and dictated mask wearing and social distancing. I keep waiting for one of the TDS to provide a link that proves me wrong, but I don’t get one.
    I never will.
    I like data, not imaginary scenarios.
    Hawaii’s case load has been jumping up, and they have a strict and easily enforced quarantine that is significantly screwing up my personal life in ways I won’t get into here.
    Use some common f’n sense, TDS morons.

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