When someone tells you who they are, over and over, in words and actions, BELIEVE THEM! DJT is an abomination who openly talks about how he will dismantle our democracy, violate the Constitution, and take vengeance on his perceived enemies using the apparatus of a government filled with cronies he installs.  See:

Jamelle Bouie in the NYT : “And Donald Trump is telling us, loud and clear, that he wants to end American democracy as we know it.”

Eric Foner in the NYT: “President Trump announced that he plans to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship, the principle that everyone born in the United States, with a handful of exceptions, is automatically a citizen of the United States.“It was always told to me,” the president declared, “that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t.””

Catherine Rampell, WashPo, quoting DJT: “If I happen to be president, and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them,’” he said. “They’d be out of business. They’d be out of the election.”

Heather Cox Richardson in her Letters From an American, also quoting the weirdly bronzed one: “In honor of our great Veterans on Veteran’s Day [sic] we pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, Racists, and Radical Left Thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our Country, lie, steal, and cheat on Elections, and will do anything possible, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America, and the American Dream”

David Graham, writing in the Atlantic: “In fact, much of what Trump is discussing is un-American, not merely in the sense of being antithetical to some imagined national set of mores, but in that his ideas contravene basic principles of the Constitution or other bedrock bases of American government. They are the sorts of ideas that would have been shocking to hear from any mainstream politician just a decade ago.”

2023-11-14T20:28:06-05:00November 14th, 2023|Home, Musings|

Small Reactors

A reasonable summary of the state of the small nuclear reactor industry by Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn appears here in the NYT .  I support development of this industry as an adjunct to other carbon neutral sources, since wind and solar’s intermittent availability, combined with the inevitably increasing demands of electrification (as well as the inefficiencies and inadequacy of out transmission grid), make achieving net zero otherwise nearly impossible.

2023-11-13T10:17:28-05:00November 13th, 2023|Home, Musings|

Masks, yes they work for individuals

Katelyn Jetelina talks about the evidence showing that masks do work – especially for individuals who wear a high quality mask (N95 or KN95) correctly.  She summarizes the pros and cons well in her Substack post.

Odds Ratios and 95% confidence intervals of a subset of eligible included studies comparing masked versus unmasked.

2023-09-27T18:27:47-05:00September 27th, 2023|Home, Musings|

House Republican Idiocy Continues

It seems there is no end to the idiocy displayed by some members of the US House of Representative’s Republican caucus, who are opposing renewing the funding for PEPFAR.  This was undoubtedly encouraged by the even greater demonstration of irrational thinking displayed in this Heritage Foundation report. Richard W. Bauer, a Roman Catholic priest who spent 25 years working on the ground in clinics for people with H.I.V. in Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia describes the issue in his NYT opinion piece, It’s Not Pro-Life to Oppose a Program That Has Saved 25 Million Lives. An excerpt:

“Despite the impressive successes of PEPFAR, we still have a way to go in the fight against AIDS. Around the world, someone dies from an AIDS-related illness every minute, and only about half of H.I.V.-positive children who need treatment are receiving it. AIDS persists as a leading cause of death among young women in sub-Saharan Africa. Experts warn that we have fallen off track in the quest to end AIDS by 2030. Weakening PEPFAR would all but guarantee we fail to do so.

I remember the days before PEPFAR. We cannot go back to an era when nearly an entire generation was wiped out across Africa. We have come too far in the effort to end AIDS to abandon the course now. Letting PEPFAR lapse would fail to honor the teaching that all human life is sacred and worthy of protection.”

2023-09-05T13:00:24-05:00September 5th, 2023|Home, Musings|

Yes, masks and physical distancing probably did have some COVID benefits

The Royal Society in the UK looked at multiple studies of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) against COVID-19 and issued a report (and summarized here in the BMJ):

“The report is non-judgemental on the timing and manner in which NPIs were applied in different regions and countries around the world. It focuses on understanding the impact of NPIs on SARS-CoV-2 transmission and makes no assessment of the economic or other societal impacts of the different NPIs…

The weight of evidence from all studies suggests that wearing masks, particularly higher quality masks (respirators), supported by mask mandates, generally reduced the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Studies consistently, though not universally, reported that mask wearing and mask mandates were an effective approach to reduce infection…

Stay-at-home orders, physical distancing, and restrictions on gathering size were repeatedly found to be associated with significant reduction in SARS- CoV-2 transmission, with more stringent measures having greater effects…

There is room to debate the societal risk/benefit ratio of the application of these measures; that’s not the point of the paper. What it does suggest is that blanket statements that “these measures are ineffective” are not true, and they must be weighed carefully in the face of the expected future respiratory pandemics we’ll face.

2023-09-05T12:59:53-05:00August 31st, 2023|Home, Musings|

Much Ado About Nothing?

I particularly liked the concluding paragraph from Matt Yglesias’ Slow Boring substack post re. the new Ivy+ Admissions Paper:

“Fundamentally, though, you come back to the themes of my Strange Death ofEducation Reform series about improving public education. This proved to be a substantively difficult and politically unrewarding task. But it’s actually very important! The victims of the inequities identified in this paper — kids with good grades, 1500+ SAT scores, generally from families in the 70th-80th percentile of the income distribution — do perfectly well in the United States of America. The much larger problem is poor kids for whom K-12 school quality makes a huge difference but who often don’t have access to the best teachers or the best curriculum. This doesn’t key into the personal identity issues of New York Times subscribers in the same way that arguing about Ivy League admissions does, but it’s much more important.”


2023-08-01T15:40:31-05:00August 1st, 2023|Home, Musings|
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