Bill Gates does a good job of explaining how mutations lead to viral variants, and what it means for Covid-19 vaccines in this post to his GatesNotes, “5 things you should know about variants“.
• David Leonhardt and Yaryna Serkez do an excellent job of laying out how much better economic gains have been historically under Democratic administrations, writing “Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?” in the NY Times. Some excepts:
“Since 1933, the economy has grown at an annual average rate of 4.6 percent under Democratic presidents and 2.4 percent under Republicans, according to a Times analysis. In more concrete terms: The average income of Americans would be more than double its current level if the economy had somehow grown at the Democratic rate for all of the past nine decades.”
• A good piece by Ezra Klein, writing in the NYT: Democrats, Here’s How to Lose in 2022. And Deserve It. Lots of work to be done, little time to do it, and the big question of what to do about the filibuster.
• Jennifer Senior delivers an excellent read in her NYT opinion essay Good Riddance Leader McConnell. One delightful and fitting except re. McConnell:
“So if hitching his wagon to a sub-literate mob boss with a fondness for white supremacists and a penchant for conspiracy theories and a sociopath’s smirking disregard for the truth meant getting those tax cuts and those conservative judges … hey, that’s the cost of doing business, right?”
Katz, Lu, and Sanger-Katz, writing in the NY Times, provide some perspective on what the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has meant in the US; using mortality data from the CDC, there were some 400,000 more deaths than normal from March 15, 2020 through December 26, 2020. Researchers from USC and Princeton estimate that average US life expectancy has declined by 1.13 years to 77.48 years, the lowest since 2003. Reductions for Black and Latino populations are 3-4 times more than for Whites.
• From John Gruber’s excellent Daring Fireball, quoting George Orwell, who was writing in 1946:
“The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”
• On the eve of its anniversary, Heather Cox Richardson presents a heartbreaking reminder of the events leading up to the tragic massacre at Wounded Knee in her December 28 Letters from an American post. Heartbreaking indeed.
• Richard North Patterson’s essay on the future of Republicanism, The Ghost of Conservatism Future, is definitely worth a read.