Slow to Learn, or Some Things Never Change?

“If ever America undergoes great revolutions, they will be brought about by the presence of the black race on the soil of the United States – that is to say, they will owe their origin, not to the equality, but to the inequality of condition.” Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in Democracy in America, published in 1835.

In 1855, Tocqueville wrote the following text, published by Maria Weston Chapman in the Liberty Bell: Testimony against Slavery:

“I do not think it is for me, a foreigner, to indicate to the United States the time, the measures, or the men by whom Slavery shall be abolished. Still, as the persevering enemy of despotism everywhere, and under all its forms, I am pained and astonished by the fact that the freest people in the world is, at the present time, almost the only one among civilized and Christian nations which yet maintains personal servitude; and this while serfdom itself is about disappearing, where it has not already disappeared, from the most degraded nations of Europe.

An old and sincere friend of America, I am uneasy at seeing Slavery retard her progress, tarnish her glory, furnish arms to her detractors, compromise the future career of the Union which is the guaranty of her safety and greatness, and point out beforehand to her, to all her enemies, the spot where they are to strike. As a man, too, I am moved at the spectacle of man’s degradation by man, and I hope to see the day when the law will grant equal civil liberty to all the inhabitants of the same empire, as God accords the freedom of the will, without distinction, to the dwellers upon earth.”


2020-06-26T19:30:30-05:00June 26th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Corruption in High Places

I wonder when (if ever) we will see some action taken on the massive, persistent obstruction of justice undertaken by this administration and its apparently co-opted ally, the DOJ. Replacement of Agency heads by “temporary” partisan flacks in order to bypass senate confirmation, firings of multiple inspectors general who were pursuing/pursued investigations as was their charge, and now news of yet another “Friday Night Massacre” where AG Barr tries to fire the Republican (and administration-appointed) US Attorney conducting multiple active investigations of T**** and his associates.
See Heather Cox Richardson’s June 19 Letters from an American: here and the damning NYT story here.
When will enough be enough?

2020-06-20T08:57:05-05:00June 20th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Provocateur in Chief

Re. the insult from a President who, incredibly enough, thinks he has “done more for the black community than any President since Abraham Lincoln,” Texas congressman and Congressional Black Caucus member Al Green tweeted: “Trump rally with rebel flags (a symbol of slavery and racism) in Tulsa, OK (the place of #TulsaMassacre) on Juneteenth (a day of emancipation recognition) is more than a slap in the face to African Americans; it is overt racism from the highest office in the land. #RejectRacism.”

2020-06-11T18:34:59-05:00June 11th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Difficult Times

Though these are discouraging times in the US, I believe it is important to persevere in the struggle for justice. I offer 3 quotes from James Baldwin:
“I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.// Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.// It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

Let’s keep working to make America a better place for everyone.

2020-06-01T08:59:42-05:00June 1st, 2020|Home, Musings|

Young Gu’s covid19-projections.com

• For anyone interested, the data scientist Guyang Yu ( Twitter | LinkedIn ) has created a remarkably accurate adaptive model of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view projections by country or state-by-state. It’s based on the SEIR/SEIS model using the daily death total provided by Johns Hopkins’ CSSE to simulate the COVID-19 epidemic in each region. The parameters/inputs of this simulator are then incorporated using machine learning techniques that attempt to minimize the error between the projected outputs and the actual results. It’s one of the models the CDC now uses, and a terrific solo effort worth following.

2020-05-06T18:30:21-05:00May 4th, 2020|Home, Musings|


A shout out to MGH’s FLARE (“Fast Literature Assessment Review Email”), a daily MailChimp Newsletter reviewing SARS-CoV-2 and COVID 19 issues that’s put together by MGH’s Pulmonary & Critical Care Divisions and Dept. of Medicine. They do an excellent job of putting together a succinct, referenced review of salient topics.  Details and recent issues located here and you can subscribe here.

2020-04-27T13:26:13-05:00April 27th, 2020|Home, Musings|

Feckless Feds

• From an article by Susan Glasser in The New Yorker –  The Coronavirus and How the United States Ended Up With Nurses Wearing Garbage Bags:
What they did not foresee was that the federal government might never come to the rescue. They did not realize this was a government failure by design—not a problem to be fixed but a policy choice by President Trump that either would not or could not be undone. “No one can believe it. That’s the No. 1 problem with the whole situation: the facts are known, but they are inconceivable,” Ries told me. “So we are just in denial.”…Independent reporting has corroborated what Ries and other volunteers saw for themselves: “a fragmented procurement system now descending into chaos,” as the Associated Press put it. The news agency found that not a single shipment of medical-grade N95 masks arrived at U.S. ports during the month of March. The federal government was not only disorganized; it was absent. Federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders for the urgently needed supplies, the A.P. found. The first large U.S. government order to the big U.S. producer 3M, for a hundred and seventy-three million dollars’ worth of N95 masks, was not placed until March 21st.

2020-04-11T12:59:18-05:00April 11th, 2020|Home, Musings|

The U.S. Approach to Public Health: Neglect, Panic, Repeat.

The U.S. Approach to Public Health: Neglect, Panic, Repeat.
From a NYT Opinion column by Jeneen Interlandi: “A once-in-a-century public health crisis is unfolding, and the richest country in the world is struggling to mount an effective response. Hospitals don’t have enough gowns or masks to protect doctors and nurses, nor enough intensive care beds to treat the surge of patients…Nearly all of these problems might have been averted by a strong, national public health system, but in America, no such system exists.
Time to give new life to an old idea: A strong public health system is the best guarantor of good health.”

2020-04-11T12:48:40-05:00April 9th, 2020|Home, Likes, Musings|