Mid-Day Ethics Survey, 10/6/21: Enterprise Lies, And Shooting Capt. Kirk Back Into Space

I missed the warm-up yesterday, as life, deadlines and the Red Sox-Yankee one game play-off interfered. Now I’m horribly backed up.

Yesterday was an important ethics date in our history, and an especially bad one for Native Americans. On October 5 in 1813, during the War of 1812, a combined army of British and Native American forces were defeated by General William Harrison’s American army at the Battle of the Thames in Ontario, Canada. The leader of the Indian warriors was Tecumseh, the powerful Shawnee chief who organized inter-tribal resistance to white settlers on Native lands. He was killed in the fighting, spelling doom for Native American resistance east of the Mississippi. The defeated tribes soon moved west, which bought them time but no peace. Sixty-five years later, on the anniversary of Tecumseh’s defeat, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribes surrendered to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana. Joseph was another remarkable Native American leader: after the U.S. government broke a land treaty with the Nez Perce that forced them out of their homeland. The area in Idaho they were ordered to move to was unacceptable, so over three months, Chief Joseph led about 300 Nez Perce to the Canadian border, a 1,000 mile trek, as they fled and fought 2,000 pursuing U.S. soldiers. Only 40 miles short of the Canadian border, Chief Joseph’s group was trapped by the U.S. Army, and escorted to a barren reservation. His famous quote expresses the futility and sadness of the entire, cruel but inevitable destruction of the Native American tribes and the appropriation of their territory by white settlers.

Is something that experience teaches us cannot be avoided still unethical? I believe so, but that conclusion leads to the slippery slope of “life is unfair” and what can or should be done about it.

1. ‘Where have you gone, Jackie Robinson?’ Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is resigning from office after accepting a plea deal regarding charges of financial misappropriation. She joins a long list of black, female mayors in major cities—San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, which has had a succession—that have embarrassed their cities, parties and supporters by proving utterly untrustworthy and incompetent, if not outright corrupt. This doesn’t help. If the idea is to increase the number of female, black officials, it is important that all of these ‘firsts” actually be good leaders. Having one spectacularly awful black, female mayor after another is how biases take hold. Of course the fact that so many black, female mayors of recent vintage have been unqualified, obnoxious fools shouldn’t reflect negatively on future mayoral candidates who are deserving of support and trust, but inevitably it will. This is why parties and voters can’t adopt the Kamala Harris Standard that the Democrats imposed on us: “gender and color is qualification enough.” No, they aren’t. They aren’t qualifications at all.

2. Sometimes I think Biden isn’t even trying. Banks and their trade groups, including the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, are almost certainly going to oppose Biden’s choice to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Why? Oh, not much, just that her past writing suggest that she’s a communist. The Wall Street Journal wrote that Omarova wants to adopt a Soviet-style banking system, which isn’t too surprising since “she graduated from Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Thirty years later, she still believes the Soviet economic system was superior, and that U.S. banking should be remade in the Gosbank’s image.”

She’s tweeted about the deficiencies of the free market in terms of guaranteeing gender equity—why should any economic system generate gender equity? She also doesn’t like the idea of supply and demand determining the salaries and product prices; she wants these set by the government. Yeah, if there is one thing banking organizations want, it’s a Commie setting their regulations. Does the Biden administration vet these people at all? Or is the fact that she’s a minority female—another potential first!–automatically mean she’s a great choice in the eyes of the White House gang.

“The core of all of this and the source of our most significant concerns is we look at everything that she has said or written publicly, there are bold ideas that essentially look at eliminating the banking system as we know it today,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, the president of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

If this is mistaken, wouldn’t you think the supporters of Comrade Omarova would have a rebuttal ready? So far, no comment.

3. Eventually, I’m going to break down and ask. Someone wrote that wearing masks in public is the new MAGA cap for the woke. I think that’s about right, except that a cap doesn’t make you unintelligible, difficult to relate to, and generally degrade social interaction generally.In progressive Northern Virginia, I’d estimate that 75% of all adults and about 50% of children are wearing the damn things, inside and outside. I am dying to stop some of them and ask, “I’m sorry, why are you wearing that? There’s no one near you. Are you vaccinated? If so, why the mask? If not, why the hell not? And why is your 10-year-old wearing a mask? Do you intend to do this forever? Why? Do you know that the mask you are wearing is virtually useless? What are you trying to convey?

4. Who would nominate this fascist for the Supreme Court? Merrick Garland announced that the FBI would work with U.S. attorneys and federal, state, local, territorial and tribal authorities in each district to develop strategies against the threats pose ed by parents who vigorously object to school boards seeking to impose critical race theory, a.k.a. mandatory ant-white racist indoctrination, in the schools.“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” he said.

It does extend, however to the government chilling free speech by, just to pick a wild example out of the air, threatening to treat dissenters against school indoctrination as “domestic terrorists.”

5. Space, the really final frontier… William Shatner, who is 90 years old, is scheduled to fly to the edge of space a Blue Origin rocket, launched by the private space company owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Bill can do what he wants, and I’m sure Bezos has all necessary waivers from Shatner, who probably wouldn’t mind dying in space at this point. Blue Origin, however, is irresponsible and ruthless for recruiting him to do it. Kant’s Categorical Imperative holds that using a human being as a means to an end is unethical. That’s what’s going on here.

6. The New York Times asks “Is there an ethical way to “fake it til you make it”? No. Next question? The issue of start-ups shading the truth in order to suck in investors is suddenly a hot topic. Someone at Ozy Media, a rising digital media company, impersonated a YouTube executive on a call with Goldman Sachs investors. This discovery led to other revelations about Ozy’s business practices, including marketing materials, potential investors fled, and it announced last week that it was shutting down. This story broke while Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is being tried on 12 counts of wire fraud after the company’s blood testing technology, once valued at $9 billion, was revealed to be less that she had claimed. so the New York Times tracked down an alleged ethical entrepreneur, Eric Ries, to ask him how far start-up businesses could fudge what they could do before they actually could do it in order to acquire the funds to do it. Ries said in part, “As long as you’re hiding something that the customer doesn’t need to know and you have not made promises that contradict it, there’s no ethical problem there. But these are fine distinctions to make and you see how it is easy for people to get into trouble.”

Why are you hiding it, if the customer doesn’t need to know? Omitting information that suggests to someone that the information doesn’t exist is still deception. The examples that Ries pronounced as “ethical” included “a task may be accomplished by a human instead of technology” and ” items may be purchased from a store instead of shipped from the company’s own inventory.”

This goes in the “I don’t know why I bother” file.

41 thoughts on “Mid-Day Ethics Survey, 10/6/21: Enterprise Lies, And Shooting Capt. Kirk Back Into Space

  1. I’ll answer these for you!

    “I’m sorry, why are you wearing that?”

    Because there is global pandemic and it’s takes little to no effort to wear a mask.

    “There’s no one near you.”

    You’re near me and it’s impossible to predict who I may bump into. Please stand 6 feet away.

    “Are you vaccinated?”

    Yes.

    “If so, why the mask?”

    It’s like an onion. The more layers of protection against Covid we have, the better off we are. You can see this in studies from all over the world. Here is graphic for you:

    “And why is your 10-year-old wearing a mask?”

    Because there’s a global pandemic and I don’t want my child to get sick and die, or get a debilitating respiratory illness that affect’s his lungs for the rest of his life. It also prevents the spread of Covid to other, more vulnerable people if my child has it. It’s like a seat belt!

    “Do you intend to do this forever? Why?”

    Probably not. But at least until the global pandemic ends.

    “Do you know that the mask you are wearing is virtually useless?”

    It is not useless. Again, it’s like an onion of protection. I can site many studies…but here is a good mental model for you:

    Even a possible “small effect” of a mask is important. It used to be that a mask (sometimes) stopped the spread to one person, who in turn might spread to 1.3 others. Now, if your mask stops the spread to that person, it might be stopping the subsequent spread to seven other people (we don’t know the exact number, but yes I have heard “seven” bandied around as a possibility).

    https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/08/masks-and-the-delta-variant.html

    “What are you trying to convey?”

    Nothing, just want to do my part to end the pandemic and protect myself, my family, and others.

    • Thank-you! Now I can give what my reply would be:

      1. Because there is global pandemic and it’s takes little to no effort to wear a mask.

      The mask does nothing to ease the global pandemic, since you are vaccinated. Being unvaccinated and saying you want to end the pandemic by wearing a mask in public. is idiotic and irresponsible. If you are unvaccinated, stay home.

      2. You’re near me and it’s impossible to predict who I may bump into. Please stand 6 feet away.

      Bite me. I had natural immunity and have been vaccinated twice. There is no reason for me to stand 6 feet away. Get psychiatric help for your phobia…which is your problem.

      3. “It’s like an onion. The more layers of protection against Covid we have, the better off we are. You can see this in studies from all over the world. Here is graphic for you:

      https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/inline-images/covid19-spread.png

      By that theory, no cars should go over ten mpr, and ought to be made of armor. Risk is part of life, and arguing that no risk is acceptable is ruinous to society. I get it; the idea is social control and to isolate individuals. Good plan. Did I al
      ready say “Bite me”?

      TBC…

      • “The mask does nothing to ease the global pandemic, since you are vaccinated.”

        That’s just not true. Again, it’s like an onion, the more layers of protection we have, the more we can prevent the spread of covid.

        This is a fact.

        “Bite me.”

        I’d rather not since you’re a total stranger and I have no idea what diseases you have.

        I knew you would just totally hand wave the “layers of protection” fact. You’re also engaging in the slippery slope fallacy. We can have seat belts or wear masks without slipping into total social control or ruin society.

        We already have laws and rules we all follow to keep everyone safe. Wearing a mask to stop a global pandemic is such an easy thing to do, like a seat belt, with such a high reward, I don’t know why people like you pretend this is 1984. It just doesn’t graph onto reality.

        • I’ve been vaccinated, and I wear a mask in establishments that require it (like my current job). If I ever come down with a cough, I may wear it more often (I understand this was already a practice in some places well before COVID). But I’m not going to wear one every time I step outside. It muffles my speech, it’s hot and uncomfortable, and it makes it hard to read expressions. Plus I have a hard enough time remembering people’s faces as it is, meeting a person masked up like a bandit doesn’t make it any easier. There is a cost to masks and 6 feet of separation from your fellow man. And there is indeed a slippery slope, we are sliding down it now. https://www.foxnews.com/us/los-angeles-greenlights-vaccine-passport-among-strictest-in-us
          Perhaps a better analogy would be the camel nosing its way into the tent. Yes, it’s such an easy thing, and so is the next thing…and the next…and the next…you yourself have observed that masks alone are just one layer of protection, meaning they are just one of many “easy things” imposed on us by people who have shown themselves prone to both error and lying.

          I can understand the fear that leads to all these measures, but at some point they provide diminishing returns. You say you plan to wear masks and practice social distancing until the pandemic ends? Well when DOES it end, and who do you trust to say when it ends?

        • Exactly which controlled studies demonstrate mask efficacy by the general public. Only highly controlled studies using N95 masks show any demonstrable efficacy.

          You stated it was high reward but it seems inequitable for those accepting the risks of vaccination to provide a measure of safety for those unwilling to get vaccinated. And, if those previously infected with and recovered from covid are 27 times less likely to become reinvested because of natural immunity doesn’t the expected value of the reward drop precipitously. Further because the CDC no longer counts breakthrough cases we cannot assess the relative value of either the vaccine or masks. We now see Pharmacy pushing boosters because the vaccines ” wear out” after 6 months. So will I need to get a booster every six months. I, for one, would prefer to get infected and recover rather than being a slave to edicts of the CDC or Pharma.
          If some want to wear a mask because they feel they are gaining an added measure of safety, go right ahead. But I draw the line when someone talks about it being a civic responsibility. If they do I will point out that when every member of society pulls their own weight society can tell me what my civic responsibilities are. Until then, whether I wear a mask or not is my decision.

          No one seems to be factoring in the costs of cleaning up the millions of disposable masks that litter the streets, parking lots and waterways discarded by those who leave potentially infectious residue for others to encounter.

          • Re: disposable mask litter

            The number I saw recently was 120 billion disposable masks per month are being thrown out. A lot are ending up as litter, but even the ones that make it to a landfill will be around for an estimated 500 years, due to their plastic (polypropylene) construction. That’s a lot of waste for something that’s of barely marginal benefit in even the most optimistic assessments.

            One of my jobs occasionally takes me to military installations for annual groundwater sampling (it seems the Pentagon had a penchant in years gone by for just dumping any old chemicals on the ground, or burying them in drums, leaving behind polluted groundwater). One site is a large training camp spanning thousands of acres, and some of the locations we have to inspect are deep in the woods. I routinely find discarded masks in these remote locations, especially near creeks and arroyos that carry water during heavy rains. This is literally the geometric center of nowhere, but these masks are making their way into such places. I shudder to think how many millions of these things are cluttering up the oceans.

        • “Wearing a mask to stop a global pandemic is such an easy thing to do, like a seat belt, with such a high reward, I don’t know why people like you pretend this is 1984.”

          Tom, do you change or wash your mask daily? Do you wash your hands every time you touch/adjust your mask during the day? Do you remove your mask in a separate room and place into a plastic bag to be disposed of? Do you sterilize the dedicated removal room daily? Where do you place your contaminated mask when removed for some reason while out in public? Zero adults do this so imagine how children relate to their face diapers.
          All the aforementioned is proper mask protocol.

          The graphed analysis I have seen indicates no statistical difference between states and countries when comparing strict mask mandates to no mandates.

          How do you define the end of the pandemic? What will that look like?

          With the current administration there isn’t any need to pretend 1984.

        • Here’s my second set of responses. (I had to walk the dog, who was attacking my laptop.)

          4. “Because there’s a global pandemic and I don’t want my child to get sick and die, or get a debilitating respiratory illness that affect’s his lungs for the rest of his life. It also prevents the spread of Covid to other, more vulnerable people if my child has it. It’s like a seat belt!”

          The chances of your child getting sick and dying is miniscule. You child can contract any number of dread diseases: I assume this means that you will require him or her to be masked forever, permanently crippling his social development, enjoyment of life and comfort, while training him to be a germaphobe. It is nothing like a seatbelt.

          5. Probably not. But at least until the global pandemic ends.

          Why? There’s always the flu, and children sometimes die of that. What’s your definition of the end of the pandemic? When nobody gets the Wuhan virus? Be honest: you see this is permanent.

          6. It is not useless. Again, it’s like an onion of protection. I can site many studies…but here is a good mental model for you: Even a possible “small effect” of a mask is important. It used to be that a mask (sometimes) stopped the spread to one person, who in turn might spread to 1.3 others. Now, if your mask stops the spread to that person, it might be stopping the subsequent spread to seven other people (we don’t know the exact number, but yes I have heard “seven” bandied around as a possibility).

          Nobody should have to inconvenience themselves and make society permanently less sociable and enjoyable because others are irresponsible. I’m not likely to give you the virus if I’m vaccinated, if you’re vaccinated, and if I do, it’s not a big deal—then it is like a cold or the flu. If you are not vaccinated, that’s your problem: don’t make me cover up because you’re being dumb. There’s also a small chance anyone might attack you or rob you. Being in society involves accepting such risks.

          7. “Nothing, just want to do my part to end the pandemic and protect myself, my family, and others.”

          Got it. You’re virtue signaling and making it more difficult for society to return to normal.

          • “The chances of your child getting sick and dying is miniscule.”

            Well, it’s not 0%. It’s a simple cost/benefit analysis. Making my kid wear a mask also protects others and helps to end the pandemic. You keep ignoring that.

            “You child can contract any number of dread diseases”

            Sure, but there’s only 1 global pandemic occurring right now. That’s what I’m concerned with currently and informs my decisions about wearing a mask. It’s an attempt to END COVID. I’m not trying to prevent my kid from never getting sick.

            “I assume this means that you will require him or her to be masked forever, permanently crippling his social development, enjoyment of life and comfort, while training him to be a germaphobe.”

            Nope…only until the literal global pandemic is over.

            “It is nothing like a seatbelt.”

            Yes it is.

            “Why? There’s always the flu, and children sometimes die of that. ”

            Sure, but there is currently a global pandemic due to Covid-19. Other flu viruses haven’t caused a global pandemic in recent years. Also, it’s not protect others and prevent mutations, not only my kid’s health…it effects us all.

            “What’s your definition of the end of the pandemic?”

            Achieving population immunity, less than 10,000 new cases a day, when deaths fall to levels of that of seasonal flu, etc…

            “When nobody gets the Wuhan virus? Be honest: you see this is permanent.”

            No, but I think YOU do. That’s why you’re having a conniption over wearing a mask.

            “Nobody should have to inconvenience themselves and make society permanently less sociable and enjoyable because others are irresponsible.
            I’m not likely to give you the virus if I’m vaccinated, if you’re vaccinated, and if I do, it’s not a big deal—then it is like a cold or the flu. If you are not vaccinated, that’s your problem: don’t make me cover up because you’re being dumb. There’s also a small chance anyone might attack you or rob you. Being in society involves accepting such risks.”

            This just goes back to you not knowing that masks make a difference. They do, even if you’re vaccinated. This is a fact. It’s simple math. Even people with the vaccine can get covid and spread it…that’s why we have extra layers to protect everyone, like wearing a mask.

            “Got it. You’re virtue signaling and making it more difficult for society to return to normal.”

            I don’t think you know what virtue signaling means.

            Also, I’m petty sure people not doing the right thing (like wearing a mask, getting vaccinated) is what’s preventing us from returning to normal…but hey…let’s keep this global pandemic going!

            • Covid is not going away. Ever. It will mutate into new strains which will spread seasonally the same way the flu now does. It has become an endemic virus, and it is never, ever going to go away. Eventually enough people will have caught it to make most people immune or protected to most strains, and the pandemic will be over. New strains will mutate, and some people will get sick, the exact same way the flu virus mutates and some people get sick with the flu.

              This is just a fact of life. Viruses exist, people get sick. This virus was only special because no one had had it yet, and a lot of people were going to get sick at once. That is no longer the case, millions upon millions of people having had the virus, and the pandemic is already pretty much over. It will end when it ends, and no amount of useless human intervention will change that.

              Panic porn streaming from every corner made people go bat crap crazy and believe the nonsense about lockdowns and masks helping, but they don’t. Lockdowns did nothing but destroy lives and the economy. Cloth masks do absolutely nothing to stop the virus, surgical masks do almost nothing to stop the virus, and N95 masks have moderate efficacy at stopping the virus when used properly (which no one does) but those really are not available to the general public so it doesn’t matter. An N95 respirator will stop you from catching it if used properly, but it spews the virus into the air around you so no one else is protected. Masks, as they are used today, are worthless as anything other than a placebo and security blanket.

              You don’t accept that. Fine. I don’t care what other people do. If you need your placebo to feel safe, that is your prerogative.

              Trying to control what other people do is wrong. Societal duty sounds like a fancy, PC way to say “everyone has to do what I say, or else!”

              The goal now should be to find effective treatment measures for this endemic virus, and that goal is being actively obstructed by people who would rather try to control everyone around them. It is counterproductive and idiotic to push useless measures rather than work towards effective treatments.

      • Jack
        I really don’t see a need to ask someone why they are wearing a mask. It only becomes an issue when it becomes a requirement. If a mask wearer decided to wear his underwear on the outside I would not ask that question either. I might laugh but not question.

        The real issue is that so many are becoming victims to the scare mongering by less than honest politicians, health officials and celebrities. I would ask Tom or other mask wearers why they are not outraged by the government’s intentional seeding communities with Covid infected persons who crossed our southern border or were resettled here from Afghanistan simply to increase the speed at which politically favorable demographic shifts take place. There is no question that that is the goal because the fearmongers are pushing as hard as possible to include amnesty in the infrastructure bill.
        I find it easier just say that mask wearers are planning to vacation abroad which means they need to do everything possible 2 weeks prior to avoid testing positive in the mandatory test 3 days prior to boarding, or they are simply useful idiots who will believe their politicians will never use them for political gain.

    • “I’m sorry, why are you wearing that?”

      Because there is global pandemic and it’s takes little to no effort to wear a mask.

      That is not true in general, as you would know if you had only observed how many masks ride down below the nose or even mouth in ordinary use. In my case it is even worse, as it rides up and pokes me in the eyes – so causing both watering eyes and a dripping nose; I find it necessary to defy official instructions and hold it in place by hand rather than attempting to use its loops.

      It’s like an onion. The more layers of protection against Covid we have, the better off we are.

      That is not in fact the case, because of something technical called opportunity cost. For instance, a study once revealed an occupational group that rarely caught colds: manure spreaders. It turned out that many people kept their distance from members of that group. By your reasoning, you would do well to cover yourself in shit, the better to keep the greater unwashed at bay.

      • PM
        I would bet manure spreaders had built up natural immunities because of their contact with the manure. There is an old adage that states you need to eat a peck of dirt before you die. The point of that is if you always live in a sterile environment you are at severe risk of succumbing to germs. The whole concept of vaccines is predicated on the idea that you are introducing a bit of “dirt” into the body so it develops resistance to that “dirt”.

        • As I heard it, that wasn’t the mechanism involved that time. But it doesn’t matter either way, for the purposes of my comment, it only matters that scatophiliac behaviour could conceivably protect. I was hoping that Tom would either face up to doing things as absurd and unseemly as that, in the name of health, or alternatively reject it and so show himself that there can indeed be costs to measures. As it stands he is operating without a full deck, in denial that there are any other cards. Only once you (or I) know what is involved, or at least your (and my) areas of uncertainty, can there even be such a thing as a calculated risk.

    • I thought long and hard about not responding, because this is the kind of comment that attracts a whole lot of engagement and usually everyone else eventually says what I was going to anyway, but this is one of those issues where I disagree with some of the people I normally agree with.

      I don’t understand the hostility towards people wearing masks. I disagree with them, I think their risk appetite is outrageously low, I think they’re probably misinformed, but unless they’re actually bothering me about why I’m not wearing one, I can’t imagine a reason I’d go out of my way to care.

      “Because there is global pandemic and it’s takes little to no effort to wear a mask.”

      This is absolutely true. I don’t think masking is as effective as you seem to, but it is a very low effort thing that basically anyone can do that could prevent some marginal infections.

      “You’re near me and it’s impossible to predict who I may bump into. Please stand 6 feet away.”

      I’ve written about this… The six foot rule was never actually determined to be effective. Six feet is the CDC’s rule of thumb for viruses that have a droplet infection vector, but in July of 2020 they admitted that Covid was airborne. There is no safe distance, only safe practices. This is why nursing homes were a major infection vector and airplanes are not: Ventilation and filtration.

      “Yes.”

      Thanks!

      “It’s like an onion. The more layers of protection against Covid we have, the better off we are. You can see this in studies from all over the world.”

      On a personal level, you can make whatever choices your risk appetite calls for, but at some point this becomes unreasonable. We are never going to get to zero Covid, but we can get to a point where Covid isn’t serious. One of the things the vaccine does exceptionally well is uncouple infections from serious outcomes. Sure, vaccinated people can still be hospitalized and/or die, but at a fractional rate compared to the unvaccinated. Eventually, we’re all going to get antibodies, either through the vaccine or the old fashioned way, and then Covid will fade into the background as a new strain of seasonal flu. It pays to remember that while Covid was much more transmissible than the seasonal flu, and almost five times as deadly, 60,000 people a year in the US died from the flu annually previous to this pandemic. There always was a certain amount of risk we took on in life, and depending on your situation, Covid might not pose as great a risk to you personally as a whole lot of other things you do on a daily basis.

      “Because there’s a global pandemic and I don’t want my child to get sick and die, or get a debilitating respiratory illness that affect’s his lungs for the rest of his life. It also prevents the spread of Covid to other, more vulnerable people if my child has it. It’s like a seat belt!”

      Again… You do you, but this isn’t reasonable. Since the beginning of this pandemic, almost two full years now, the number of Americans under the age of 18 that have died from Covid is less than 500, and of those, almost all died from with comorbidities. And while that is a tragedy for every family involved, the fact of the matter is that’s a vanishingly small number when put into context: You’re in a country of 330 million people, and 2,300 infants die from SIDS every year. Children have a lower infection rate, and when they are infected, they have a lower impact rate. If there wasn’t a vaccine, with those fact patterns, the correct thing to do would be to get kids infected a la 80’s Chicken Pox parties. We have a vaccine, so that isn’t necessary, but your kids are orders of magnitude safer than you, and you’re still pretty safe.

      “Probably not. But at least until the global pandemic ends.”

      I’d be interested to hear you define the term. Right now we’re in the middle of a “wave” that looks more like a dead cat bounce, I don’t think we’ll ever see infection rates like we did last January ever again, but like I said… We’re never going to get to zero Covid. So what does the “global pandemic ending” look like, in your mind?

      “It is not useless. Again, it’s like an onion of protection. I can site many studies…but here is a good mental model for you:”

      It’s also not particularly effective. Your own citation made the point, but didn’t follow it to the obvious conclusion: The viral load from Delta is orders of magnitude larger than the Wild strain, even if masks are 50% effective at stopping viral load, that means that those orders of magnitude are being halved to something that is still more infectious than the Wild type, and the Wild type had it’s way with America. Everyone who could possibly be infected will eventually be infected.

      I just want to put it out there… You can tell that masks are largely performative because there is no curiosity as to which masks might be more or less effective than others, if masks were actually and seriously seen as a cog in the machine that is fighting Covid, there would be a standard mask. But there isn’t. You see people out there, using anything from a dust mask to a surgical mask to a cloth mask to a sock wrapped around their head, and the signal is: “They’re doing their part”. I’m personally of the opinion that masks are largely a mental health placebo; They are a low cost thing that everyone could do, and a lot of people out there want to be able to do something, because otherwise, being powerless in the face of a microscopic thing that you can’t see but can die from is fucking terrifying.

      • Count on you, HT, to agree with me while disagreeing with me.

        I could not disagree more about masks, and that you would say “I can’t imagine a reason I’d go out of my way to care” amazes me. The longer we wear them, the more likely wearing them is going to become a social norm—a social norm that is abnormal. Not being able to see half of people’s faces is a social handicap. We already have too many people wandering in public paying no attention to the people around them—this just exacerbates the problem, and encourages social interaction. Not seeing a whole face makes it harder to understand unspoken signals. Too may people mutter under masks—you can’t hear them, or misunderstand them. As a glasses wearer, I can’t see after a few breaths with a mask, because my glasses fog up. I will not go to a restaurant and pay money when I have to put on a mask between bites, as one restaurant required. I like to sing outside to express my joy in life; I even whistle sometimes. I don’t want to be bothered washing things that I don’t want to wear and shouldn’t have to. I don’t want to be seen in public as sending a message I do not only not agree with, but believe is harmful to society and the human race. I don’t want to enable “experts” who have made such recommendations as telling lovers to wear masks while fucking. Most of all, I don’t want to allow antivaxx hysterics to dictate my behavior. If they are at risk, then they should stay home. I’ve been responsible, and my reward is that I shouldn’t have to wear the damn things.

        • All those things you don’t want to do… Don’t do them.

          As for the masks on other people… Treat it like fashion. Fashion has gone some weird places; Denim jackets, barrettes, bell bottom pants, fluffy shirts, pastel colors, pants that hang out around the knees, various piercings, crocs, fanny packs, padded shoulders, tie-dye, and while we can mock some or all of that, I don’t think I could bring myself to care what someone else wears.

          If you want to make the argument that it’s political fashion, then sure… But we do that too. Half of the squad is cosplaying the #Resistance, capitalism has been great for grifters selling hammer and sickle or Che Guevara tee shirts.

          The issue is the social pressure, I think. The unspoken “why aren’t you being good like me?” holier than thou attitude that might not be behind every masked individual’s eyes…. But definitely some. Being concerned about that would require that I actually care what they think or respect their intelligence.

          I don’t. A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the concerns of sheep.

      • The way to get to where Covid isn’t serious (ie, where the pandemic ends) is by utilizing many layers of protections. Vaccines, masks, avoiding large indoor gatherings, wash your hands, etc…

        This is so we as a global community can fully optimize our chances of ending this thing. Even if wearing a mask reduces the spread of covid in the US by 2%, I think it’s worth it.

        The end of the pandemic will be achieving population immunity, less than 10,000 new cases a day, deaths falling to levels of that of seasonal flu, etc…

        There is literally a global pandemic going on right now. And people like Jack have more issues with people wearing masks outside than the actual global pandemic. They act like this is just a seasonal flu..it’s not.

        A kid wearing a mask ALSO protects others from getting sick.

        The pandemic is the reason why society can’t return to normal…not because of people doing all they can to end it (like wearing masks).

        Jack thinks wearing masks will be a social norm and he wants to shame people who would rather masks be a social norm than a GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

        Like…can’t we all just do what’s right to end this thing? Go get the shot, wear a mask, don’t hate on people who want to protect themselves and others.

        • This is Exhibit A of what media fearmongering does to the gullible and biased. My sister has been made similarly phobic. The fearmongering will do more long-term damage than the virus.

          • “The fearmongering will do more long-term damage than the virus.”

            No it won’t.

            Knowing how to differentiate facts from fiction makes me gullible and biased?

            Yeah, okay.

            Also, when people just use insults, that means they don’t have anything left to say.

            Your comment is Exhibit A for why smart, erudite people like Charles don’t come here anymore.

            Time to wake up to reality (that meaning the reality of the pandemic as well).

            • No insults, just diagnosis. You know, like the quiz about not lying to the terminally ill. You blather about science, but as many have correctly pointed out, your supposedly scientific nostrums are based on junk. Social distancing isn’t science, it’s boilerplate. The “science” on masks is weak. The CDC told me that if I was vaccinated, I didn’t need to wear a mask. That’s a fact. Now it’s not a fact? When will your next “fact” flip? Fauci said that we might not be able to spend Xmas with our families, was scalded online, and then reversed himself. That’s your “science.” I deal in trust. In this area, as in others, science has been playing politics, misstating theories as truth, and only knee jerk phobics and ideologues still believe whatever the “experts” say.

              • Here’s another fact: Charles quit the blog because he refused to accept my analysis of the Russian collusion plot, which was spot-on then, and has been proven right since. How you can cite a refusal to accept facts and Charles’s exit because his illusions would be shattered if he looked at the commentary here objectively defies logic. What you call “facts” is really leftist cant.

              • “supposedly scientific nostrums are based on junk.”

                And this is why you’re also labeled a science dunce and your blog draws antivaxxers and climate change deniers.

                Are you a flat earther too?

                You don’t believe in reality. The CDC is a government agency, not the global scientific community. Which is what you’re ignorant of.

        • Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) admitted on camera the reason why she wears a mask. A maskless attendee at an event in Detroit got the impression Tlaib distanced herself from him because he wasn’t wearing a mask. “Oh, my bad, I’m sorry,” he said before quickly putting a mask on. “Oh, no, oh, not you!” Tlaib assured him. She then got close to him and pulled her mask down. “No, no, no — I’m just wearing it because I’ve got a Republican tracker here.”

          • Well in THAT case…I guess that means we should just ignore the global scientific community who is trying to end the pandemic.

            I think you should stop reading political stories and go brush up on your science. You’ve let your mistrust of the media and politicians cloud your judgment when it comes to science.

  2. 4. Garlands son in law founded a firm that contracts with school districts to document student attitudes and equity outcomes. The firm has contracts with 1500 of the 14000 school districts nationwide and has a 2.4 million dollar contract with Fairfax VA public schools. The firm just received a 60M dollar investment from the Chan-Zuckerberg investment fund. Garland has a familial financial conflict of interest in attempting to suppress parent’s ability to petition government for redress of grievances.

  3. Re: 5
    Blue was my former employer. A flight on NS is somewhere between parachute jumping with an instructor and riding a roller coaster. I’m unclear on why you say he was recruited to fly. I wasn’t around for the sale of the first ticket, but I suspect Shatner might have been one of the bidders among other celebrities.

  4. Re: the War of 1812

    The general sentiment expressed in the summary of the events is something that’s bothered me for some time. Our soldiers risked life and limb to fight British and Native American forces in what has been called a “Second War of Independence”. The Native Americans who fought with the British knew what the stakes were — they fought and they lost. The land was not “stolen” or “appropriated”, it was conquered. A culture that regards its history and its warriors as shameful is not going to last long.

    Perhaps some day (in the not too distant future, at this rate) a superior force will invade and conquer what ever remains of the United States.

    • One can dream…

      However, if so, I would hope that the “poison pill” connections don’t get triggered and drag others down too.

      • The Americans didn’t get “shellacked” at New Orleans. That said, the UK had somewhat the better of the fighting on land before then. The real losers were the Indians who tried to take advantage of the situation. Shortly before Harrison’s victory here, Andrew Jackson destroyed the Red Sticks, and with them the power of the Creek nation, at Horseshoe Bend. Afterwards the British never again repeated their high-handed conduct at sea, and the Americans never again tried to conquer Canada, although supposedly the issue came up for the last time after the Civil War. You see, the British shipbuilders had built the Confederate raiders CSS Alabama (sunk off Cherbourg by the USS Kearsarge in 1864) CSS Florida (captured by the USS Wachusett in Bahia in 1864), and CSS Shenandoah (surrendered November 1865), and they’d done huge economic damage to the US. The US supposedly said something to the effect of “you did millions worth of damage, but you give us Canada, and we’ll call it even.” The two nations later arrived at a financial settlement instead.

        • To be fair to you, you’re mostly right, and I’m really just poking the bear.

          But on a more serious note, The War of 1812 is taught very differently inside of America than it is outside, and while you’re right that the Americans did better in the water, that the end of the war was basically a stalemate, and that neither side was particularly interested in continuing, the base fact is that it was a war of conquest started by America, ending with British Canada having burned down the white house and occupying 10 million acres of land, including the city of Detroit, which we were neighborly enough to return.

          The reason I poke is because Americans really seem to hate admitting that they lost, I’ve never seen one admit it, and they’re generally varying degrees of belligerent about it. There’s this contortionist exercise of euphemisms and metaphors… I’d never heard “We were fighting a second war for independence” before, it’s usually “we won because we’re still here”, or “we won because diplomatic relations improved after the war.” or “We won because we discovered who we are, and national unity was better afterwards.” Any or all of which might even have elements of the truth to them, but they’re exceptionally novel win conditions for the aggressor in a war of conquest.

          • The British set the fires in DC because the Americans had stupidly and unnecessarily burned York (now Toronto). I can buy that in retaliation. I can’t buy the deliberate destruction of homes and business in Bucksport and Bangor, ME, by your Commodore Barrie, who told the locals they were lucky he didn’t butcher them as well. The war was basically a draw, the final battle at New Orleans notwithstanding. The US DID learn that it needed a full-time professional army and that was a good thing. I have never said we were fighting a second war for independence, that’s just silly.

        • … Afterwards the British never again repeated their high-handed conduct at sea …

          I have seen assertions similar to this before. They seem to arise from a lack of context, thus:-

          – The British had been well within their rights to do any and everything they did, from pressing sailors to not evacuating posts, because they were under no obligation to cease and desist until the U.S.A. complied with its own treaty obligations, like compensating oppressed Loyalists, which it never had. That was how things had been set up. So it wasn’t mere high handedness, it was as provided.

          – That wording suggests, at least to those who read it as a cause and effect thing, that fighting that war, as such, delivered that result – a real pressure on Britain. That is, that the Americans made it too difficult for the British to go on as before, so they stopped. But that’s not what happened at all. Rather, the Napoleonic Wars ended and so brought an end to pressing any sailors regardless of U.S. connection, and that war* ended with a treaty with the terms of which the U.S.A. did comply. Bluntly, without those other things, pressing sailors couldn’t have been stopped by the U.S.A.

          * Around here, we call it the British-American War. “War of 1812” makes us think of much more material combat operations that were going on around then, e.g. Napoleon in Russia.

  5. RE #2: The other day, we learned via John Kerry (no great intellectual, he) that Biden was unaware of the whole issue related to France, Australia and the submarine deal.

    Does anyone really think Biden has any knowledge of this appointment, or the individual nominated to fill it?

    I don’t see how one can conclude Biden is anything more than a puppet. The questions are 1) who’d pulling the strings, and 2) why?

    • The situation may be scarier than that. No one’s pulling the strings. They were never attached in the first place. They just hang down and he trips over them occasionally. That’s why his brain wobbles around and his words get garbled and things in general aren’t …. well, understood.

      • Though I applaud the reference to Alan Moore’s most famous quote, somebody is pushing Biden to advance nominees like this. It’s highly unlikely that he came up with this one – and many others – on his own. The questions remain: who and why?

  6. The Battle of the Thames, which set William Henry Harrison, “Old Tippecanoe,” on the path to the White House. It wasn’t really the end of the confederation that Tecumseh and his one-eyed, delusional brother Tenskatawa had tried to put together, that hope had died two years earlier when Harrison’s small force destroyed their main stronghold at Prophetstown. Their attempt to rebuild the confederacy, and their alliance with the British to do so, was one of several things that actually led to the War of 1812. Tecumseh probably overestimated the help he would get from the UK and had a little too much faith in them, because after the Battle of the Thames, the British quickly retired from the field, leaving the surviving Indians at the mercy of the Americans. Ironically, Tenskatawa, the “prophet” who’d fomented a lot of this, returned from exile in Canada in 1836, to help persuade his people to move west.

    Chief Joseph might be a bit overrated. He was not a war chief, and probably did not command the retreat of the Ne Perce himself. However, by the time the small group was boxed in by General Terry, most of the war chiefs who did command the retreat had perished, leaving him the senior leader. It’s also believed now that his poetic speech at the time of the surrender was apocryphal and a creation of Lt. Charles Erskine Wood, whose original pencil notes from the surrender were preserved, and included the notation “here insert Joseph’s reply to the demand for surrender.”

    Frankly this Italian-American has had it up to the hilt with the virtue-signaling and ass-kissing towards Native Americans way after the fact. The fact is that, historically, once a less developed society meets a more developed one, that society’s days are usually numbered. That’s why the Celts fled before the Romans, that’s why the Saxons collapsed before the Carolingians, and that’s why the Egyptians pushed the Nubians back. It’s also a fact that those who can advance and adapt usually win in the end. That’s why the Romans, after they developed the corvus and upped their sailing game, defeated the Carthaginians the first time out, and why Hannibal, who was poles above the Roman generals, couldn’t defeat them because he somehow could not acquire siege equipment. It’s also why the Europeans finally decisively defeated the Mongols in 1286 after they fortified towns with walls and started using disciplined armored forces.

    P.S. The acting mayor of Boston, who will not be in the election next year, just did a “stealth” executive order to recognize Indigenous People’s Day. Ethics are what you do when no one is looking or you have nothing to lose. She has nothing to lose.

    1. Bullseye. “so many black, female mayors of recent vintage have been unqualified, obnoxious fools.” That said, white woke people and blacks would vote for a pile of crap if it had a D next to its name and was opposed to Trump. These women are just successors to Maxine Waters, first elected to Congress 31 years ago, and Sheila Jackson Lee, elected 4 years after her. They are proof that all you need is a lot of anger and a loud, piercing voice that goes right through people for black people to elect you, and keep electing you. If these cities fall to crap, so be it, but at least their anger and self-righteousness will be intact.

    2. He isn’t, and neither is whoever is pulling the strings. His approval rating is now down to 38%. But hey, no more mean tweets, right?

    3. I wear my mask if the place I am requires it. That’s it. I am fully vaccinated and I have been since April. Even if I get the virus it isn’t going to kill me. I’m done acting like this is still April of last year when everyone was afraid to even touch a doorknob. Ironically, a lot of the folks pushing this mask wearing bs are the same folks who forty years ago were saying AIDS was no big deal and we shouldn’t treat AIDS patients, or at-risk people like gay people, like lepers.

    4. Garland’s decisions as a judge don’t reflect this. He dissented only once from now-Justice Kavanaugh. I think he is just being a good soldier. That said, this heavy-handed approach is just going to damage the Democrats’ chances next year more.

    5. Yup, although this is much more benign use of a human than Greta.

    6. Ethics entrepreneur? Sounds more like an enabler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.