Thursday, April 29, 2021

Theater of the Absurd

Joe Biden finally addressed a Joint Session of Congress last night nearly 100 days into his Presidential term.

To me, it was a theater of the absurd.

Start with the fact that Nancy Pelosi only allowed 200 people into the House chamber to view the speech in a room that holds 1,600 individuals. 

Social distance was in full effect even though every person in attendance was required to be fully vaccinated against Covid in order to attend.

Source: Politico

This Congressman shared his experience when he arrived for the speech.

Looking at the television audience for Biden's speech it is also hard to see how this man garnered more votes for President than anyone in history.

Overnight ratings of the major networks show that 11.6 million viewers tuned into the speech. This total does not include cable outlets so the final number will undoubtedly be higher.

However, compare that number with the ratings for Trump's State of the Union speeches.

Looking at the numbers it appears that a good portion of the American people chose to be socially distanced from the tv speech. We still don't know how many were double-masked of those who watched.

A CBS poll claimed that 85% of TV viewers approved of the speech. However, only 18% of those surveyed for the poll were Republicans. That sounds like CBS found it very hard to find many Republicans who bothered to watch the speech.

What I have found most absurd about Biden's administration thus far is the fact that he acts as if he and the Democrats were elected with an overwhelming mandate to remake America.

Let it not be forgotten that but for 50,000 votes in three states (Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin) Joe Biden would have been in Delaware last night.

The Joint Session of Congress that Biden addressed last night also has the slimmest majority margins (50-50 in Senate and 218-212 in House) in decades.

This is hardly the environment in which anyone should be trying to remake America.

In fact, Rich Lowry calls Biden "downright delusional" to think that he can revolutionize America with the slim majority he has.


For context, when FDR came into office in 1933 and immediately began introducing legislation to implement his "New Deal" he had a Democrat majority in the Senate of 58-38 and almost 200 seats in the House (313-117) after the Democrats won almost 100 seats in the 1932 election. By contrast, House Democrats LOST 12 seats in the 2020 Congressional election.

We are a long way from any mandate or consensus on major policy changes based on the numbers.

However, for Biden and the Democrats, their current slippery grip on power means that they are going to attempt to pass every liberal, left-wing idea that was ever put on someone's wish list. All they know or care about is power. And they can only yield power by buying it. They clearly understand that.

I am having a hard time just keeping up on what the Democrats want to spend.

They already passed and signed into law a "Covid relief bill" of $1.9 trillion which was in addition to $4.4 trillion in Covid relief measures passed in 2020. If you are keeping track, that is $6.3 trillion in spending related to Covid in one year.

Only $400 billion of that $1.9 trillion went for the $1,400 individual stimulus checks that most people received in March. Most of the remaining $1.5 trillion went to bail-out Democrat cities and states from fiscal issues that pre-dated Covid and other payments that would benefit Democrat constituencies.

In his speech, Biden also was promoting his "America's Job Plan" which is his infrastructure plan that hardly spends any money on those things that most people consider as infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc). Nevertheless, Biden proposes to spend $2.3 trillion on another long Democrat wish list of "progressive" ways to make America better.

 $4.2 trillion was not enough money to get all the spending the Democrats want so in his speech Biden also promoted what he is calling the  "American Families Plan" where he calls for an additional $1.8 trillion in new federal spending.

$6.0 trillion in new spending in these three proposals alone.

Let's put that amount of spending in perspective.

In the year before Covid-19 hit, we only collected $3.5 trillion in total federal revenues.

We spent $1.3 trillion on federal discretionary spending.

We spent a grand total of $676 billion on defense in 2019.

Let's put that in further perspective. 

FDR's New Deal cost in 1933 was $47.1 billion. In today's dollars that would be equal to a cost of about $1 trillion. Biden's spending proposals are equal to six New Deals!

Biden says that he is not going to add to the deficit with his "Jobs" or "Families" plan and is going to get the money from taxing corporations and "the rich".

That idea alone is absurd.

Biden is proposing $4.1 trillion in new spending in those two proposals alone over the next 10 years.

All of the Trump tax cuts totaled $1.9 trillion in net costs over 10 years and the majority of those cuts went to the middle class. That total also did not include feedback benefits resulting from increased economic activity as a result of the tax cuts.

It is absurd to suggest that this spending is not going to increase the budget deficit.

All of it is theater. And it is absurd.

Every day I think the theater and the absurdity will abate and every day I am wrong.

A few other recent examples.

Fully vaccinated Biden walking among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery.

Was he protecting these fallen heroes or was he concerned the tombstones were unmasked?

Fully vaccinated Biden the only leader at the recent virtual Global Climate Summit wearing a mask.

I am sure that this absurd theater will also do much to bridge our divide with Islamic countries around the world.


We entered the Theater of the Absurd on January 20, 2021.

We are 100 days into the production.

It is not too hard to predict how this show and performance is going to end.

All I am interested in is finding the Exit doors.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Best Vaccine

What is the best vaccine against Covid?

It is a question many are asking.

Which vaccine is the most effective in protecting you, working against further transmission and limiting any near-term or long-term side effects?

Pfizer? Moderna? Johnson and Johnson (Janssen)? AstraZeneca?

This question has taken on further importance as more concerns have been raised about possible side effects in the vaccines.

AstraZeneca's vaccine has still not been authorized for use in the United States. Various European countries have paused its use after concerns about blood clots developing in those who have been vaccinated.

The FDA in the United States paused the use of the J&J vaccine for similar concerns, in particular for women under the age of 50. The pause has now been lifted with new warnings about the risks of blood clots, particularly for younger women.

You may recall that I warned about the advisability of anyone under the age of 50 being vaccinated against Covid (particularly women) back in January when I saw the early VAERS reports on adverse effects.

I am personally troubled by the deaths reported in the age 25-50 age group. Does the potential benefit of the vaccine outweigh the cost for this group considering the low Covid death rate for these ages?

I think the breakdowns by sex for the adverse events that have been reported to VAERS for hospitalizations and ER/urgent care visits is very interesting.

Are the vaccines creating greater side effects on females than males? These are very heavily skewed towards females for some reason.

Looking at the data, I would have a hard time recommending anyone under age 50 take the vaccine right now. This seems even more true for females. I just don't see the benefits outweighing the potential costs.


Recall as well that this was at a time when the only vaccines that were being utilized were Pfizer and Moderna. J&J's had not been authorized at that time.

Since there is a known blood clot problem with the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines might there also be one with the two mRNA vaccines that is not being publicized?

The VAERS data indicates that this might also be the case with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as well.

These are the adverse events related to blood clots and strokes the vaccines by each manufacturer through April 16, 2020.


As you can see, blood clot and stroke issues are in no way exclusively an issue with the J&J vaccine in the United States. However, the per capita incidence of these issues with the two mRNA vaccines is lower in that Pfizer and Moderna have been utilized far more in the United States.

However, even taking this into account, Andrew Bostom an academic internist and epidemiologist has concluded that that the risks of the vaccines do not warrant mass vaccination of those under age 50.

This is a chart that Bostom prepared detailing the risks and benefits of the J&J, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines based on the CDC's own models.


Note that the J&J/Janssen vaccine is projected to cause 21 deaths in order to prevent 44 Covid deaths.

That is a horrendous mortality trade-off.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are better but you still are going to have 1 death from the vaccine for every 5 that are prevented in the age 50 and younger population with mass vaccinations.

I don't know that any other vaccines in human history have had a mortality trade-off that was worse. 

From an ethical perspective I don't know what a reasonable mortality trade-off would be but I know it shouldn't be 1 in 2 or 1 in 5. After all, a vaccination is an act of commission and medical ethics suggests that the first rule should be "do no harm."

When you look at these numbers you also see how ethically dubious it is for anyone to suggest that children should be vaccinated against a disease of which they have very little risk of becoming seriously ill or dying.

What makes even less sense is the push to vaccinate those that have already had Covid and are carrying antibodies against the virus. 

When in human history has it ever been suggested that you should be vaccinated against a disease that you have recently recovered from? Why should any of these people be subject to any risks of the vaccine when they already have antibodies against the virus?

It defies all reason and logic.

In case I was missing something I recently asked a physician who trained in Rheumatology and Immunology if there was any reason why someone who had recovered from Covid should get the vaccine? 

This is what he told me.

"Vaccinating someone that has already had the illness not only is useless at best but exceedingly dangerous at worst." 

The conclusion that vaccinating a recovered person is useless seems to be supported by a recent Israeli study that questioned the need to vaccinate anyone who had previously been infected with Covid.

This research must be one of the reasons that Israel, as a matter of national public policy, is not vaccinating anyone who has recovered from Covid, despite having the most robust vaccination program for its citizens in the entire world.

The Israeli study found that the Pfizer vaccine (which is being exclusively used in Israel) had an estimated overall efficacy for documented infection of 92.8% and for severe illness of 94.4%.

However, those who had previously had Covid has an overall efficacy of documented infection of 94.8% and for severe illness of 96.4%.

This suggests that the best vaccine is your natural immune system. It will convey better immunity than any vaccine.

Of course, to get that level of protection it requires you to contract the disease.

The point of a vaccine is to convey that benefit without having to suffer the ill effects of the virus.

However, with these vaccines many are having strong adverse ill-effects after receiving the doses such that the CDC recently reported that millions of people are not showing up for their second dose of the mRNA vaccines.

The New York Times reports that nearly 8% of the people who've so far received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have missed their follow-up appointments to receive the second dose.

There are several reasons a growing number of Americans are choosing not to receive the second dose, the Times reported. Some have said they don't want to experience any potential side effects while others feel like one dose should be enough protection against the virus.

I still find it interesting that there seems to be a natural barrier of immunity to Covid in most large populations of healthy individuals wherein 80% of those exposed will not get infected.

We saw this on the Diamond Princess. the USS Teddy Roosevelt and in the household studies around the world that found that only about 17% of those in households with a symptomatic Covid case later developed the infection themselves.

In other words, taking the vaccine might not increase your protection from 0% to 93% (the Israeli study). It might only be giving you additional protection from 80% to 93%.

However, as to the adverse effects from the vaccine, you are really going from a 0% risk to something else altogether that you would never have faced otherwise but for taking the vaccine.

If you were previously infected, the Israeli study suggests there is no additional benefit from the vaccine weighed against any potential short and long-term side effects that might come with the vaccine.

The bottom line is that our natural immune system is the best vaccine if it is working properly. 

It certainly provides the least risk.

For many it provides much more protection from Covid than they might otherwise realize.

I fervently hope that the Covid vaccines live up to all that they promise. Some of the early data was mixed but we are seeing positive trends in the most vulnerable populations in particular. Let us hope that these trends continue for the older age groups which seem to be having fewer adverse effects than younger age groups.

As I have written previously, I have no argument with anyone over 50, who has not been previously infected, from making the choice to vaccinate. It is a reasonable personal choice as long as it is an informed choice knowing these are not approved vaccines but are merely authorized for emergency use. at this time. They will not be fully approved for at least two more years.

The benefit to risk profile of the vaccine is much more advantageous the older you are.

I cannot say the same for most of those under age 50 when I consider the data. 

For example, here is the latest VAERS report on ER/Urgent Care visits by age following vaccination.

Thru April 16, 2021

Is it not cause for concern that there are many more adverse events for those under age 50 than over age 50 when the risk profile from Covid for this younger age group is so much lower? To date, there have also been many more vaccines doses administered to those over age 50 than for those under that age.

This younger group in particular may need to have a better understanding that the best vaccine for them might be the one God provided.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tornado Watch

We are in the midst of tornado season.

The months of April, May and June usually present the greatest risk of tornado activity in the United States.


I know something about the dangers and risks of tornadoes having survived a direct hit to my home from a category f4 tornado 60 years ago today. (Wind speeds in excess of 207 mph. Only about 1% of tornados reach this level of devastating damage) The memories of that day are as clear to me today as if it was yesterday.

I wrote about that experience in these pages 10 years ago which I have inserted below.

The common narrative we hear today is that climate change is causing an increase in violent storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes. In his 2006 movie, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore claimed that tornadoes would increase in frequency and intensity due to global warming.

However, the facts do not support that narrative.

Those claims are often accompanied by a chart like this that supposedly shows an increased level of tornado activity over the last 25-30 years.


However, before you believe that tornado activity is trending up, bear in mind that tornado reporting is much better today than it was 30, 40 or 50 years ago. Nothing occurs on the face of our earth today that is not reported and chronicled. It was not always that way. In years past, many smaller tornadoes were never recorded as they meandered harmlessly across a Kansas field.

The advent of Doppler radar in the early 1990's made it possible to document every tornado no matter how small. The fact is that most tornadoes are category f0 or f1 and they comprise 80% of all tornadoes.

A better perspective in comparing tornado activity over the years is to focus on those storms that are rated f3+ to f5+ on the Fujita scale. These are the tornadoes that cause the most severe damage and would clearly have been captured in previous statistics.  

This data indicates that tornado activity is actually less severe in the United States today than it was previously and has actually been trending downwards in recent years. For example, 2018 had the lowest number of f3+ tornadoes since the NOAA started publishing tornado activity in 1954.


This graphic shows the path of every tornado track since 1950. The areas of the United States with the greatest storm risk are the Central and Southeastern states.


Here are the state averages for tornado activity for the period 1995-2019.

The top states are Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Iowa.

Note that when I wrote the blog post below in 2011 we were experiencing a spike in tornado activity. Climate alarmists jumped on this at the time but the tornado activity quickly settled down. We have seen nothing like that year since.

Could it be that man has nothing to do with the weather or climate?

Am I crazy in believing that it is in God's hands?

I needed to believe that 60 years ago today. 

A Tornado Tale
(Originally published 4/25/11)

50 years ago today I came close to death. I was in a house that took a direct hit from an f4 Tornado (winds of 207-260 mph) in Eaton, Ohio. It was shortly before 4:00pm on a late April afternoon and I was in my bedroom organizing baseball cards with my best friend. My mother was visiting a neighbor with my younger brother.  I looked out the back window and looming straight ahead about a half mile away was a tornado dancing back and forth right in front of my eyes.  It appeared to be on a direct path to our home.

I remember seeing details that you normally don't pick up in photographs.  I clearly could see lumber, shingles and other debris swirling around near the top of the twister.  We made a quick call to my friend's home to warn them of the approaching tornado and headed for the basement.  We bounded down the stairs. We heard the sound of a car's horn racing down the main road that was parallel to the tornado's path.  We later learned it was the family who operated the farm behind us who had decided to run for it rather than go to their basement.

A few seconds later the tornado hit. It was a deafening roar.  It was as if you were standing right by the railroad tracks and a train was going by at enormous speed. I covered my ears with my hands because of the roar.  I remember my friend and I shouting at each other at the top of our lungs but you could not hear a word over the sound.  Suddenly it got even louder and it sounded as if the entire house was caving in. I remember looking up at the floor and joists above me and thinking that this was it.  I fully expected to be buried alive. Time did slow down.  I remember thinking I had just turned 11 years old and this was the end of the road for me.  It then became deathly quiet.  The floor had held and my friend and I checked each other to be sure we were all right.

We cautiously started up the basement stairs.  The door would not open but we both put our shoulder to it and pushed hard. We got it about half way open and slithered out the basement door.  Staring at us through the adjoining door to the garage was a steel beam that had been thrown around like a tooth pick. It had penetrated almost a foot through the door into the house.  The windows on the back side of the house that faced the tornado were all broken.  The draperies hung in tatters and were now blowing in the wind.  The windows on the front of the house were intact but were caked with dirt and grass that looked like it had been sprayed on. The dirt was so thick you could not see through the windows at all.  All through the house lay debris. Drywall from the ceiling was laying all over. You could look up and see the sky through the open roof.

I tried to make my way back to my bedroom but I couldn't navigate the debris that littered the hallway.  My friend and I went out the front door and we could see the tornado continuing on its way to more destruction down the road.  The tornado looked much better from the backside.

I did not have shoes on but I began running toward the house where my mother was.  It had been spared but for some minor damage.  It was a debris field of 2x4's, downed electric wires and protruding nails to get to her. I saw some hay straw blown straight into some siding as if it was a nail. I reached my mother and looked back at our house for the first time.  I almost could not believe the sight.  It looked as if our house had been bombed.  I had a hard time choking back tears as I saw our house.  I kept saying to my mother, "Look at our house".  She just kept repeating, "It is ok.  You are alive". Even after 50 years, you do not forget a day like that.

Photographs and other background on the tornado of April 25, 1961.

Photo taken of the tornado by a local photographer at close to the time it destroyed our house.

Photo of what was left of the Turner farmhouse that was directly behind our house.  Witnesses said that when the tornado hit the 2-story frame house it lifted it straight up and the house exploded. The entire remains of the house was deposited in the basement as debris.  Fortunately, the Turner family did not go to the basement for shelter.  Mr. and Mrs. Turner started for the basement but their 20-year son did not feel the house could withstand the tornado.  They jumped in their car and made a run for it.  That decision undoubtedly saved their lives. It was their car horn I heard in the basement right before the tornado struck.

Our house was totally constructed out of stone.  I was in the basement on the left side of the house as you look at this picture.  The people are on top of debris that used to be the garage and a back porch both of which were on a slab.  It was the sound of the collapse of this part of the house that had me thinking the entire house was coming down on me. You can also see that the entire roof on the side of the basement that I was in was destroyed.

The house as it looked shortly after construction in 1957 (4 years before the tornado). I was in the bedroom looking out the window on the far right side of the house when I first saw the tornado approaching.

The house from the right front showing the collapsed garage.  I was in the basement near this corner of the house when the tornado struck.

Through April 24, 2011 according to the National Weather Service, there have been 438 confirmed tornadoes in the United States. Only one has been an f4 similar to the Eaton tornado of 1961.  We have already seen 306 tornadoes in April, 2011. This is the highest April total ever.  The previous record was 267 in 1974. The average number of April tornadoes is 163.  Keep your eyes on the sky and take shelter immediately if one of these terrible twisters heads your way.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Will We Ever Focus on Causes Rather Than Consequences?

New data on births to unmarried women in the United States has just been released for 2019 by the National Center for Health Statistics.

In total, 40% of all births in the United States were to unmarried women in 2019.

Mississippi (54.9%) and Louisiana (54.0%) are the states with the most births to unmarried women.

Utah (19.2%) and Colorado (24.3%) have the fewest.

This chart breaks down the births to unmarried women by race.

Many people look at these numbers and argue that poverty is the root cause of the disparities in the percent of births to unmarried women by race.

However, until the 1950's black children were more likely to live with two parents than were white children.

In 1960, only 22% of black children were born out of wedlock. At that time, 55% of all black families lived in poverty. In 2019, only 16% of black families lived in poverty but 70% of black children were born out of wedlock.

Right before the passage of the War on Poverty legislation in 1964, 78% of black children lived with two married parents. That number is only 36% today according to the most recent Census Bureau statistic.

However, the rate of poverty for Black children living with two parents is only 8%. It is 46% for children living with a single parent.

Poverty is a factor in women having children outside of marriage. However, it is much more certain that it will result in poverty for the mother and child than it being the primary cause for these out of wedlock births.

If we had the same number of black children living with two parents as we did in the 1950's you have to wonder what the overall black poverty rate would be?

In the 1960's, as we declared a "War on Poverty", did we actually sow the seeds of breaking up the black family? You have to ask what caused the out of wedlock rate for black children to rise from 22% to 70%?

If you look at it logically it should have declined with the introduction of oral contraceptives not to mention the legalization of abortion by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970's.

Another graph that I think is interesting is this one that shows that the United States has a higher percentage of children living in single-parent homes than any other country in the world.


The percentage of children in single-parent homes in China is 3%.

In Nigeria it is 4%.

In India it is 5%.

In Mexico it is 7%.

If this is a poverty issue why are the numbers that low in those countries who have poverty that is unimaginable in the United States?

For example, 92% of the population of Nigeria lives on less than $5.50 per day as does 60% of the population of India.

You have to ask whether the consequences of unwed black mothers are actually being caused by our well meaning policies in the United States?

In the 1950's an illegitimate child was a problem for the immediate family of the unwed mother. It resulted in the single mother being totally dependent on her family to assist her. That is undoubtedly true as well in Nigeria and India.

That dependency on the family has been replaced by a dependency on government. However, that dependency on the government also provides independence from the family which can be attractive to a young woman who wants to move out from under her family. That was not possible in the 1950's. It is today. As a result, women were much more careful in the choices they made in the 1950's. 

One interesting factoid I came across in the 2019 birth data is that a 17 year-old had her 8th child during the year. She was Black. In addition, two 19 year-olds had their 8th child. Those mothers were White.

If we are to make any progress in lowering the poverty rate for children, a key focus has to be on seeing more children living with two parents and fewer in homes with single mothers. It is clearly more efficient economically when two parents can bring the potential for two incomes and can also share the costs of one household. This is true even without considering the emotional and psychological benefits for children in two-parent households.

If we want to make real progress on reducing poverty we need to start dealing with the causes rather than just spending money on the consequences.

I was disappointed with the Presidency of Barack Obama on many levels. However, there is nothing that was more disappointing than Obama's total failure to address this issue as President.

Obama had a unique opportunity to address this problem. He could have made a real difference. He could have spoken forcefully and consistently about the causes. Instead, his policies actually made the problem worse.

There is nothing that indicates it will be any different in the Biden/Harris administration.

We will likely continue to deal with the consequences rather than the causes of this problem for many more years. Political correctness guarantees it. No one wants to talk about the causes. Therefore, the cycle of poverty and its consequences will persist.

Many speeches will be made. Billions of dollars will be spent. It will all be about the consequences.

When is someone of consequence in the Democrat party going to start talking about the causes?

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

What Crisis?

The Biden administration has spent the last few months denying that the chaos from the flood of illegal immigrants over the southern border of the United States is a crisis.

Of course, the mainstream media has done all it can to repeat that narrative.

What crisis?

For example, the Associated Press in an internal memo told all of its reporters and editors to avoid using the word "crisis" to refer to the migrant surge at the border.



Let's look at the facts regarding what has transpired at the border with Joe Biden in charge.

The U.S. Border Patrol recently reported that it apprehended 172,331 illegal aliens crossing the border in March. 101,028 were apprehended in February. Of course, we have no idea how many more snuck into the country and eluded capture.

This graph compares 2021 Border Patrol apprehensions with 2020.


Let's put those numbers in context.

If the number of illegals coming into the country for the first full two months of the Biden administration continues for a full year we will see over 1.6 million illegal immigrants.

Current United States immigration law establishes the number of legal immigrants who can enter the country each year at approximately 1.1 million.

In other words, the number of illegals entering the country this year will be almost 50% more than the number of legal immigrants established by law.

There is a reason that we have a law that establishes standards and rules for those who want to enter the United States. It is meant to facilitate a fair and orderly process for people from all over the world to have the opportunity to immigrate to the United States. 

No other country in the world allows for more legal immigration annually than the United States of America. Ignoring the law and allowing the border to be overwhelmed is not only unfair to those in other parts of the world who are waiting to immigrate here legally but it is a recipe for chaos and crisis.

The dimensions of the crisis comes into even clearer focus when you look at the data concerning the number of unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border.

18,663 unaccompanied children were in those March numbers of illegals that were apprehended. That is over 10% of the total. There were an additional 9,271 in February and 5,689 in January.

This is a graph from U.S. Customs and Border Protection that compares border encounters for unaccompanied minors between 2021 and 2020.


You may recall the constant criticism that the Trump administration received for allegedly housing the unaccompanied minors in "cages".  Never mind that the so-called "cages" were built by the Obama administration.

It seems that most are no longer concerned about those children in cages. The New York Post is an exception which posted this picture of the holding facility in Donna, Texas.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also speaking out.

AOC actually has called for reparations for illegal families entering the country due to the overcrowded conditions at the border. Who else would think that giving money to people for breaking the law and creating the chaos and crisis at the border would be a good idea?

Pete Buttigieg, Biden's Transportation Secretary, also actually advocated for the same thing when he was running for President.


Of course, Biden himself encouraged all of the chaos we are seeing now when he signaled during his Presidential campaign that he would welcome migrants into the United States.

During a 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate, President Biden said that the United States is a country that tells people struggling under oppression or poor conditions, "You should come," as he argued for a more open asylum policy. 

This is how you end up with illegals at our border with t-shirts like this.


Doesn't this make you wonder who is paying for the shirts and coordinating all of this? Is it the DNC? George Soros? China? Russia? Iran?

How do supposedly oppressed and poverty-striken migrants organize and fund a PR campaign and pay for t-shirts that are clearly meant for media consumption?

When you look at the facts and data the "Biden Effect" is unmistakable.


The President of the National Border Patrol Council stated that it is "the biggest surge we have seen in the history of the Border Patrol".

You can see how the number of unaccompanied children in HHS care has exploded in the last three weeks from this dataset.


How many unaccompanied children were in HHS care in 2018 and 2019 when the Trump administration was being criticized for the "crisis" caused by the large number of migrants in custodial care?

April, 2018      8,647

April, 2019     12,587

However, the 19,798 unaccompanied children in HHS care today is not a crisis?

Words have consequences.

Elections have consequences.

What we are seeing today are the consequences.

What crisis?

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Panic, Politics or Power?

One of the most common responses of human beings to an emergency situation is to panic.

When you panic your brain naturally starts to be controlled by your emotions rather than rational thinking.

For example, if someone catches on fire the natural instinct is to want to run.

Of course, that is the worst thing you can do as it makes a bad situation even worse.

The only way to avoid panic in an emergency situation is to plan, prepare and practice. You need to plan and prepare for your response in advance as it is unlikely you will be thinking straight if an emergency occurs.

That is why we are taught to drop and roll if we catch on fire.

That is why there are fire drills in schools and businesses.

That is why the military constantly plans and drills on what to do if our nation is attacked.

That is why basketball coaches practice plays with their teams on what to do when the other team scores with 3.3  seconds to go and they need a basket to win the game.

It is also why the Center for Disease Control produced a planning guidance and strategy document on what the responses should be if we found ourselves in a pandemic influenza situation. That planning document was based on a Pandemic Severity Index that provided guidance on the interventions and mitigation  efforts that should be utilized in different scenarios. The document dates back to 2007.

The focus of the document was primarily on the rationale, utilization and length of time that Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI's) should be used to slow the pandemic. It included all of the things we have all now become very familiar with---social distancing, bans on mass gatherings, school closures, etc.

Since Covid spreads like the flu and shares many of the same symptoms, this planning document seemed to be the obvious place to look for the recommendations to deal with this pandemic.

This excerpt from the document summarizes the essence of the planning guidance.

This interim guidance introduces a Pandemic Severity Index to characterize the severity of a pandemic, provides planning recommendations for specific interventions that communities may use for a given level of pandemic severity, and suggests when these measures should be started and how long they should be used.

This graph in the document should look familiar to anyone who has heard the phrase "flatten the curve" during this pandemic.


This is the Case Severity Index from the CDC planning document.

For well over a year it was generally known that we were looking at a pandemic with an overall case fatality rate of less than 1%. This would place the Covid pandemic as a Category 2 or 3 on the severity scale developed by the CDC.

The Spanish flu pandemic would be an example of a Category 5 pandemic.

What were the recommendations made in the planning document to deal with these various scenarios?

There was no recommendation for lockdowns even in a Category 4 or 5 pandemic.

It was recommended that schools and colleges might want to close for no more than 12 weeks in Category 4 and 5. The limit suggested for school closures was no more than 4 weeks for Category 2 and 3.

The only mitigation measure that was definitely recommended for a Category 2 or 3 pandemic was the "voluntary isolation" of the ill at home.

In fact, never in human history has there ever been a pandemic in which the healthy were told to quarantine. Not once.

Why was it done with Covid?

You will notice as well that the document also does not recommend the use of face masks in the community.

Why was that done with Covid? 

It was done despite the fact that the CDC stated in their planning document that they did not know that masks worked and that more research was required before that recommendation could be made. Notice that they did not even consider the potential use of homemade masks. They were talking about the use of surgical masks and respirators.

The only thing suggested in the planning document is that more research and study should be done regarding the effectiveness of masks.

Since the planning document was written in 2007 it is fair to consider the fact that research between 2007 and 2020 could have answered the question about the effectiveness of masks found that they had no significant effect on the transmission of laboratory confirmed influenza.

However,  the most recent research study cited by the CDC in May, 2020 (shortly before masks mandates became common place) on the efficacy of masks as a NPI came to this conclusion.

Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids (36). There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory confirmed influenza.

If that study is not current enough I suggest you read the the more recent study that was published by Stanford University physician Baruch Vainshelboim that concluded the following after reviewing the scientific evidence regarding the use of face masks specifically in the Covid-19 era. 

Face masks have proven ineffective in blocking human-to-human transmission of Covid. Moreover, wearing face masks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects.

The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. 


What is also striking in the planning document is that the CDC did not conceive of any of the measures lasting more than 6-8 weeks with the possibility that it might require NPI's of at most 12 weeks in the case of a Category 4 or 5 pandemic that involved mitigation efforts.

Considering that we will soon be at 60 weeks of NPI's in this pandemic suggests to me that our public health response has been better at prolonging the pandemic with its recommendations than it has in curtailing or containing it.

How did we get here?

There was a detailed plan sitting on the shelf when this all began.

Why did our public health experts not follow the plan that had been established?

Did they panic?

Did politics outweigh good policy?

Was it all about the public health "experts" enjoying their new found power?

I don't know the answer.

However, it is clear to me that the public health people establishment has caused greater damage to mankind in its response to Covid than anyone else has ever done in human history short of causing a World War.

I hope we some day find out the answer as to why the CDC and other ignored their own planning document in responding to the Covid pandemic.

Panic. Politics. Power. What was it?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Narrative Is In Control

Much has been made of the new voting law in Georgia.

Corporations such as Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola have condemned the law arguing that it intended to suppress the vote. 

Major league baseball, reportedly under pressure from corporate sponsors such as Coke and Delta, moved this year's All-Star game from Atlanta due to allegedly discriminatory law.

Interestingly, the All-Star game was moved to Denver, Colorado which some have argued has more restrictive voting requirements than Georgia.

The move will have negative economic impacts on Atlanta because the game was estimated to have a $100 million economic impact to the Atlanta area. 

It bears mentioning that 51.8% of Atlanta's population and 31.2% of Georgia's is Black.

Denver's Black population is 8.9% and only 12% of Colorado is Black.

In fact, 7x as many African Americans live in the five major Atlanta metro counties (Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton. Cobb and Gwinnett) as live in the entire state of Colorado. 4x as many Blacks live just in Fulton and DeKalb county as in Colorado as a whole.

In moving the game from an area with a high concentration of African Americans to an area that is predominantly White isn't major league baseball getting involved in a form of economic suppression of Blacks?

What I also found interesting is the difference in how the media portrayed the voting bill that was just passed in Kentucky compared to Georgia.

Recall that the Georgia law is referred to as a racist example of voter suppression. Joe Biden called it "Jim Crow in the 21st Century". That seems to be due to the fact that the new law will require absentee voters to supply voter id with their mail-in ballot in the same manner it has always been required for in-person voting on election day.

Look at how the the new Kentucky law was portrayed in the mainstream media.

All the reports are glowing about the "expanded" voting reforms in that state. It is a popular narrative just as is the fact that Georgia is restricting voting rights.



Lexington (KY) Herald Leader.

The Herald Leader article reveals this key fact in the body of the story that belies the headline.

Kentucky already has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country. Even with the expansions included in the bill, the state’s voting laws in many ways remain more restrictive than the provisions contained in a controversial law that was recently signed in Georgia.

Let's compare the laws in each state after the two reform bills have been passed and try to figure out why Kentucky is being praised and Georgia castigated.

Early voting

Georgia- 17 mandatory early voting days throughout the state. 2 optional Sunday early voting days.

Kentucky- 3 days of early voting

Absentee Voting

Georgia- Mail-in voting allowed with no excuse required.

Kentucky- Mail-in absentee ballots only allowed with valid excuse (out of state, disabled, etc.)

Identification Requirement

Georgia- Voter id required for in-person and mail-in voting

Kentucky-Voter id required for in-person and mail-in voting

Ballot Harvesting

Georgia- Not permitted

Kentucky-Not permitted 

It is just one more example of where we are today.

Facts don't matter.

The truth doesn't matter.

The narrative is all that matters.

The sad fact is also that if the narrative is repeated often enough that 95% of the people actually believe it is the truth.

Consider yourself in the 5% who actually know the facts.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Gambling Away The Future

Casino gambling was legalized by voter referendum in Ohio in 2009.

When the voters were asked to vote on the referendum the supporters projected that the four casinos that would be authorized (in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo) would bring in $1.9 billion in gross revenues "shortly after they opened" in 2013.

52% of the voters approved of the measure after it had previously been defeated four times in the state.

Over a decade later the casinos have not gotten anywhere close to those revenue numbers proving once again that it is wise to remain skeptical about projections and models that politicians and others use when they want to sell something to the public.

However, last month the Ohio casinos had their biggest revenue month ever---$91 million was wagered. If annualized, that still is just over half the gambling revenue that was projected when the casino issue was sold to voters.

This is the Ohio Casino Control Commission revenue reports for the first three months of 2021.

Ohio Casino Revenues
Jan-Mar, 2021

For comparison, here are the reports for 2020 and 2019. The casinos were forced to close from mid-March thru mid-June in 2020.

Ohio Casino Revenues
Jan-Mar, 2020

Ohio Casino Revenues
Jan-Mar, 2019

When I heard the numbers I could not help but think of how weird that report is.

We are supposedly in the middle of a pandemic and Ohio's casinos have their best revenue month ever? Many churches are closed or have limited services. Many schools are still closed for in-person instruction.

Is it not true that casinos involve large gatherings of people indoors?

It is true that the casinos in Ohio were limited in the hours they could operate until mid-February.

Maryland casinos also set a record for revenues in March with $169 million in revenue.

Perhaps the record revenue is the result of pent-up demand and people just wanting to get out of the house.

Could there be another reason?

Might it not be the result of the federal government sending $1,400 to most every American for Covid relief in March?

We spend $1,400 per person in the middle of a pandemic so that they can go gather with a bunch of other people and gamble the money away?

Even better, our children will have to carry that debt for the rest of their lives.

It sounds like another well reasoned government program.

Every day we seem to gamble away the future some more with what we are doing.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Infrastructure Redefined

Americans are generally in favor of more federal spending on infrastructure.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found solid majorities supporting increased infrastructure spending.

- 79% of Americans supported a government overhaul of American roadways, railroads, bridges, and ports.

- 71% supported a plan to extend high-speed internet to all Americans.

- 68% supported an initiative to replace every lead pipe in the country.

- 66% supported tax credits for renewable energy.

However, when asked if they supported the recent $2.3 trillion infrastructure and jobs bill proposed by the Biden administration, only 45% expressed support.

How is that possible?

It might be a sign that voters are already leery of the big spending habits of the Democrats and distrust that the $2.3 trillion is really going to be spent on infrastructure.

If that is the reason, the voters seem to be very smart.

The reality is that just 6% of the total spending goes for spending on roads and bridges which most people think about when infrastructure is mentioned (see poll survey above).

Only $115 billion is allocated for roads and bridges in the bill but $213 billion is going to be spent on retrofitting homes and businesses to make them "greener".  $174 billion is allocated towards forcing Americans out of gasoline-powered vehicles and into Green New Deal electric vehicles and building electric fast charging stations around the country. Of course, those vehicles will still rely on electricity that comes primarily from fossil fuel power plants.

I have written before of the utter lunacy of believing that we are going to replace the generating power of our electric grid with green energy anytime soon to power all of these electric vehicles.

I also don't think that the federal government needed to incentivize Americans to trade in their horses for horseless carriages in the early 20th Century and they certainly did not build gas stations to fuel them. Why is this now considered a function of government and why is it considered infrastructure?

It's another example of the Democrat playbook. Push a lot of far left spending proposals into a bill that is supposed to be about something else and put a name on it that will mislead the public. Of course, the mainstream media will just push the narrative along without any type of scrutiny.

This graphic from The Washington Post outlines where the spending is supposed to go.

Notice that $45 billion of the proposed spending is to be spent on "transportation inequities". 

Some of this money is allocated to tear up or reroute interstate highways in the name of "advancing racial equity and environmental justice". This is because these highways pass through Black neighborhoods. 

“The President’s plan includes $20 billion for a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access,” a fact sheet from the White House read.

Two examples were cited in the fact sheet accompanying the legislative proposal.

“Too often, past transportation investments divided communities — like the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans or I-81 in Syracuse — or it left out the people most in need of affordable transportation options.” 

I guess this means that there are no interstates that pass through and divide white communities.

I also find it incredible that the bill would allocate almost 20% ($400 billion) of the total for what is called a "Caretaking Economy" which includes spending on home and community-based care for elderly and disabled people".

This might be worthwhile to do but how is that considered "infrastructure"?

Infrastructure spending funding by government would generally be analogous to capital spending by a private business. A capital investment is made up front with the expectation that it will produce a return on the investment in future years. 

How does the Biden infrastructure bill measure up on this score?

The PennWharton Budget Model of the University of Pennsylvania modeled the effects that the Biden bill would have on the U.S. economy.

Interestingly, rather than the infrastructure bill providing a boost to the economy it actually would reduce GDP over the long term. 

Here are the projections from the PennWharton model on the spending provisions in the proposed legislation.

Not only does the "investment" spending not pay for itself long term it substantially increases government debt as a result. This additional debt would also crowd out private investment (capital stock) in the economy.

In order to counter this, Biden is arguing that the bill must be pay for itself with tax increases on corporations and the "wealthy". However, even the proposed tax increases only "pay for" about 60% of the increased spending.

However, the PennWharton model shows that the tax increases are particularly damaging for the economy although it does improve the government debt situation modestly in the long term.

When you look at the total effects of the bill (spending and tax increases) the economic effects look like this in the PennWharton model.

Long term GDP is reduced by almost 1%.

Capital stock is reduced by 3%.

Government debt is increased over the next 10 years before seeing some reductions in 20-30 years.

There are modest productivity benefits.

It kind of makes you wonder how this can be called an Infrastructure or Jobs bill.

It all makes you wonder how this is going to make America better.

It doesn't make much sense which we can say about many things that are occurring right now.

A sensible, targeted infrastructure bill clearly would make sense.

However, redefining infrastructure to mean any spending that the liberal left wants is something else.

Why not just be honest with the American people?

 I think we all know the answer to that question.