How worried about you about something going South on Election Day? Are Trump voters not showing up in the polls right now, but they will show up on Election Day? Will Trump and his supporters pull some monkey business after the election?
Europe is prioritizing schools. Why aren’t we?
Should we be caring a little more about Hunter Biden stuff? Or has Donald Trump made us immune to whiffs of corruption?
Who’s curious about Melania Trump? I am! Great article by Caitlin Flanagan with a great first line: “Stephanie winston wolkoff is one of those patriotic Americans who went to work in the Trump White House, only to come soaring back over the gates, rejected by the host organism.”
We’re loving Good Lord Bird.
43 thoughts on “SL 805”
For my sanity, I have decided I’ve done what I could (vote, mostly) and plan to wait out to see what happens.
Regarding polling in which one asks what other people’s preferences will be (the “social circle” polling described in the article about Kapteyn and Cahaly, I think that there is good evidence that people are bad at making that prediction. People tend to over-estimate the willingness of others to engage in engaging in the socially negative choice (i.e. do other people cheat on taxes, drink to excess, . . .). And, the “what will others do” is prone to the over counting of the same person. Say if you asked my social circle if they know someone who was COVID+, we are likely to say yes, but we would all be referring to the same person.
The Hunter Biden stuff is laughable. He’s basically been an addict most of his life, and worst case scenario is that Joe hovers over him to try to keep him from making bad choices.
We could do school right if we threw money at it. But heaven f*ing forbid we throw money at school and/or tax billionaires.
Wendy said, “But heaven f*ing forbid we throw money at school and/or tax billionaires.”
I normally hate deficit spending on “investments,” but my opinion on this is: spend the necessary money on COVID stuff and figure out to pay for it later. As I’ve said before, the US has been ridiculously penny wise, pound foolish on COVID.
It’s hard enough to get a working majority to agree on what to spend money on and how much to spend without also agreeing 100% on where exactly to get the money from.
This is the worst possible time for a big tax fight, which could easily take months. Congress has already spent months deadlocked on a second relief package, which is literally the least they could do right now. I am morbidly curious if the folks in Congress are going to get around to do it right after the election…or if they are planning on waiting until late January.
Relief has to be an integral part of the COVID plan. There is no hope of keeping high-risk businesses (bars, indoor dining, gyms, etc.) closed if there isn’t both relief for furloughed workers and relief for businesses (so that the businesses themselves will survive until after the pandemic and be able to rehire at least some furloughed workers). The fact that there isn’t such relief is part of what creates pressure to keep those businesses open.
I agree that spending money (especially with rates where they are now) is what makes sense. I appreciate the model of giving money to businesses to keep paying their workers (which is what the loan program was supposed to do, and also what I’ve heard of some other countries doing). I think the direct money to individuals is necessary if we thin they need to stay home, and not try to start or keep the business going (think, putt putt golf inside).
I also think trying to be to rigid about spending the money with significant eligibility standards (lots of means testing, document keeping on what it gets spent on) will delay its usefulness and that we have to think hard about the simplest measures to reduce (prevention is not possible) outright fraud while getting the money out.
Yeah, we had the ‘pay business to support staff’ model here in NZ during lockdown.
It was a flat amount ($585/week for full time, $350 for part time) – and the employer had to face a 30% projected loss of income and commit to paying the staff at least 80% of their salary (or the whole amount received if it was more than 80%). This is pretty much the minimum wage, so didn’t cover the whole of the amount for businesses with significant levels of highly-qualified staff.
Business was pretty widely defined (sole operators and contractors were covered)
Now a lot of controversy over businesses which initially qualified (i.e. they were totally shut down by govt fiat during lockdown, so had no revenue), but have bounced back with significant sales, and are paying dividends to shareholders. General consensus that there should have been a claw-back provision (probably during the end of financial year tax) But there wasn’t, and the Govt don’t seem to be prepared to do anything about it retrospectively.
The whole subsidy worked fairly effectively to keep salaries going while the whole country (or most of it, at least) was in total lockdown. Without money coming it, a *lot* of people would have just flouted the lockdown rules because they needed a pay-cheque.
Some businesses given the wage subsidy just needed this over the lockdown period (i.e. their business model can succeed post-Covid); some (in retrospect) actually didn’t need the support (but have happily taken it), and some have gone broke or been wound up since the subsidy ended (travel agents and tourism operators, for example, just don’t have a viable business right now, inner-city businesses dependent on city workers are having a very rough time).
However, not all of this was predictable in advance, and there was a very high degree of uncertainty about what a post-Covid environment would look like and how long it would take.There was considerable advantage in making it universally available, in terms of cutting down admin and time taken to assess eligibility, etc. (our bureaucrats are no more efficient and timely than yours are, I’m sure). The mistake was not allowing claw-back if the business ended up doing well.
Scheme has now been wound up, as NZ is largely out of the domestic Covid crisis (although, of course, the international situation has huge impact)
Of course, it was also hellishly expensive. Government borrowed money hand over fist to fund this totally unbudgeted, expense and is continuing to do so with Covid stimulus development packages. I think they’re now looking at govt books being back in control around 2035!
bj said, “I also think trying to be to rigid about spending the money with significant eligibility standards (lots of means testing, document keeping on what it gets spent on) will delay its usefulness and that we have to think hard about the simplest measures to reduce (prevention is not possible) outright fraud while getting the money out.”
There was a lot of shaming of bigger businesses (or franchises of bigger businesses) some months ago with regard to loans, with the result that some of them turned down the loans they got and then wound up laying off workers.
That wasn’t great.
Oh also, re TV: I am LOL that you were watching S2 of the Baby Yoda show as per Twitter because that’s what we did too. I told my husband after dinner: “I would like to see the baby.”
We also love Good Lord Bird and Ethan Hawke’s scenery-chewing performance.
What’s happening about Halloween in the US (or is that too big a question)?
We’ve just had about half-as-many Trick or Treaters as usual – even though we’re out of lockdown. It seems as though some parents are being more cautious than usual, and keeping them home.
[All our treats are wrapped – and the scaring was not in ‘touching’ distance (we have an animatronic witch which scares the pants off the younger crowd, and is a drawcard for the older ones).]
We’re planning on watching the Mandalorian as well – Disney Plus is universal…;-)
In the Northeast, people are planning to trick or treat, but it will probably be a little less. We’re trying to decide how to handle it. We might put out candy as opposed to giving it out. We also had a surprise snowfall of about 3 inches yesterday, and now our power is out, and it’s going to get a little icy. We’ll see.
Ann said, “What’s happening about Halloween in the US (or is that too big a question)?”
I expect our neighborhood to be deader than usual. I’m going to put out a bowl of treats and the 2nd grader and I are going to walk the neighborhood looking for bowls of treats or whatever. We’re not going to doorbell anybody except possibly my buddy. (We have a lot of older people in the neigborhood.) I bought candy last night on the assumption that we might be eating nearly all of it ourselves.
In other parts of the country, people have been encouraged to use chutes for candy. I think that that has roughly nothing to contribute to COVID safety, but it does look fun!
“We’re planning on watching the Mandalorian as well.”
We’re saving it for Thanksgiving–the younger kids get a week off.
I think the concept behind the chutes is distancing, but still delivery, but I mostly agree. I hope there’s someone out there building a complicated rube Goldberg contraption for delivering candy and or using remote control. If we had more trick-or-treaters, I might have invested in a robot delivery system (also because I’d like to play with a robot and or drone).
bj said, “I think the concept behind the chutes is distancing, but still delivery, but I mostly agree. I hope there’s someone out there building a complicated rube Goldberg contraption for delivering candy and or using remote control. If we had more trick-or-treaters, I might have invested in a robot delivery system (also because I’d like to play with a robot and or drone).”
That would be fun! I discovered this evening that my neighborhood friend has a self-serve dish with an animatronic skeleton. We just put out a bowl.
We trick-or-treated with our neighborhood friends. It turned out that at least half of our neighborhood went big for Halloween. A lot of people had lights out or were empty-handed, but the people who did it, went really big. The neighbors on the nearby cul de sac got an inflatable screen and are going to be showing Halloween shorts on the cul de sac. My 2nd grader kind of wanted to do that, but got talked into going to the college president’s house, where the college president is handing out full-size candy bars tonight.
Some of the neighbor kids I saw tonight were: Iron Man, the Mandalorian, a tiny toddler fairy, a very small Hermione Granger and Mad-Eye Moody. My 2nd grader was a black cat.
A child of a friend did build a remote delivery system. I am so impressed
Really different in different places. We don’t get a lot of treaters in our neighborhood; being who I am I have a spreadsheet — last year we had 21 treaters. We have, this year, put up decorations and are planning on leaving candy for pickup on a table outside.
I was going to drop candy out the second story window (there’s an overhang so the kids can stand right below) until my wife told me that no, I wasn’t going to do that. We only get like five kids a year anyway.
Well, out of respect for our hostess I read the entire review, notwithstanding that I mostly think Caitlin Flanagan is a moron. That does not seem like a book worth reading, and I question why it even merits a review. Rich women who don’t do very much–this applies to Caroline Kennedy just as much as Melania Trump–really aren’t very interesting.
Our family did another round of COVID testing a couple days ago, and besides another set of negatives, I have very happy news: the federal surge testing that I’ve been griping about the slowness of took about 36 hours to give results for saliva testing. (The promotional materials had said 3-5 business days, which is utterly wretched.)
I think 36 hours is actually really good, and if they can do that consistently across the country, there’s hope of achieving COVID control this winter.
While we were waiting for results, I started to get antsy thinking about 5+ days and wondering if our teen would be cleared to go back to school by Monday, and we talked to our pediatrician, who turned out to have the faster, less accurate rapid tests. My middle child did a video apt. on the phone with the pediatrician and then I took him to get swabbed for the rapid COVID test and strep. We got the results for both same day. It’s technically 15 minutes for the rapid test, but we hit lunch time…
Anyway, if the lab tests have such good turnaround, that’s good enough, but it occurs to me that if the labs get backed up but there are enough rapid tests, it might make sense to start giving the rapid tests at the same time as the lab tests. People with rapid positives can be told to strictly isolate and people with rapid negatives can be told to be cautious until they get their lab results, and this might keep a lot more COVID positives out of circulation than the recent method of people getting tested and then just going about their business until they get their lab results a week later, at which point they’re probably OK even if they had been positive…
But, again, as long as they can get lab results back in 36 hours, it’s a moot point.
(Not an epidemiologist, but it never hurts to state the obvious.)
I’m also noting that more and more people in the store have rather nice masks now. I’m not close enough to see, but they’re either KN-95s or N95s.
I’ve lost confidence in the use of the rapid antigen tests for covid control after the White House debacle (assuming that they really were testing). I haven’t found a good review of the use of the tests to form bubbles and allow people to interact yet (though I feel like there should be some studies now).
Our PCR tests have been 24-48 hours, which is, in general, fast enough, and, with that timing, I’m not sure how much more the antigen tests would add (especially having lost confidence in their negatives, which are expected to be problematic).
I think testing should be part of the strategy, though, part of the idea of reducing risk even if risk isn’t 0. So, if we can say that having taken the test reduces the odds that you are infectious for some period of time, we should use that information, even if it doesn’t mean that you are 100% not infectious. Similar to the idea of reducing the length of quarantine after exposure, reducing risk should be a goal even if it doesn’t eliminate risk.
Yes, my evaluation of the White House failure is different if they were straight out lying to us (which would, unfortunately, not surprise me).
And, mitigation of risk is a good goal (i.e. masks), but I would also want to see some evidence that the use of the rapid tests in the form they could be used in schools does mitigate risk.
The NBA is promising, but the test was also used with a significant bubble/quarantine.
The final players (staff, coaches, etc) were effectively quarantined from July 7th to October 12.
“I’ve lost confidence in the use of the rapid antigen tests for covid control after the White House debacle (assuming that they really were testing). I haven’t found a good review of the use of the tests to form bubbles and allow people to interact yet (though I feel like there should be some studies now).”
Some thoughts on that:
–Remember how evasive the White House got when asked when Trump’s last negative test was? I suspect that their testing had gotten spotty, especially Trump’s testing.
–The White House could have been a bubble, but it really wasn’t. Or, at least it stops being a bubble once you invite a couple hundred outside people in…
–The NBA bubble did really well using a somewhat less accurate saliva test.
–With schools, it’s more a question of reducing harm and slowing spread, rather than expecting to completely exclude COVID. If schools are already open (which a lot of schools are), the rapid antigen tests can cut down the amount of COVID circulating in the building, especially if there are a several other methods being used at the same time.
Click to access swiss%20cheese.pdf
It’s one more Swiss cheese layer. Being able to remove even 80% of the COVID from a building is a pretty big deal.
“Our PCR tests have been 24-48 hours, which is, in general, fast enough, and, with that timing, I’m not sure how much more the antigen tests would add (especially having lost confidence in their negatives, which are expected to be problematic).”
That is good. The problem is that as cases go up this winter, the labs may get backed up again.
“Similar to the idea of reducing the length of quarantine after exposure, reducing risk should be a goal even if it doesn’t eliminate risk.”
There was a recent outbreak at a leading Boston Hospital. The first case tested negative twice: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/brigham-and-women-e2-80-99s-hospital-completes-investigation-of-coronavirus-outbreak/ar-BB1abFN5
The patient who probably introduced the virus had symptoms of a respiratory infection when the person came to the hospital for another reason, Klompas said. But the patient twice tested negative for COVID-19.
The patient infected a roommate, was transferred to another unit where the person infected three successive roommates, and then went to a third unit where two more roommates were infected, Klompas said. There ensued a web of transmission among multiple patients and employees, he said.
The outbreak was detected Sept. 22 when a staff member became ill with COVID-19. The staff member had worked during the days right before falling ill, a time when people can be highly infectious. Because this staff member cared for the first patient, that patient was tested again and found to be positive. The hospital also found that other patients who had previously tested negative were now testing positive, a sign that in-hospital transmission had occurred.
In Czechia, high school health care students and college nursing students are being called up to assist in Czech hospitals, which are being overwhelmed.
“Every day there is an increase of 1,000 sick health care workers. With 10 million people in the Czech Republic, this is a serious number,” said Dr. Milan Kubek, president of the Czech Medical Chamber.”
“The Czech Republic has an infection rate that is higher than almost any other major country on earth — six times higher than the United States. Officially, one in every 63 people in the country are currently infected with the virus.”
Czechia did admirably in the spring.
Our family is planning to donate to the Czech Red Cross and Polish Caritas soon, but if anybody has better ideas for where to contribute to the Czech and Polish COVID response, I’m all ears.
Laura had a link in her twitter feed, gaming out the aerosol risk level of different activities:
It is a really interesting link, but I have to note that real life US schools don’t seem nearly as spread-y as the worst-case simulation.
The New York Times has declared my county to be one of the 20 most important in the U.S. this election cycle.
Lots and lots of Biden signs in my township, but we are bluest part of the county.
Speaking of monkey business, quite a few people I know are leaving the City this week, for fear of civil unrest if Trump should win. I guess if I were a liberal, I would have to believe that they are batsh*t crazy: if Biden wins, NYC will be the last stronghold to hold out against the Trump mob, and and if Trump wins, NYC will be an oasis of stability, due to the commitment to civility and order which characterizes the American left. Everyone should come into the City this week, if you want to be safe. Do I have any takers?
ey81 said, “Speaking of monkey business, quite a few people I know are leaving the City this week, for fear of civil unrest if Trump should win.”
A lot plywood has been going up on big city storefronts this week.
I was watching the Denver cathedral Mass this morning and the priest said that they are worried about election unrest and to please pray for them.
Cathedrals tend to be downtown, which has disadvantages these days.
The priest is worried about unrest by Trump supporters? In Denver? That doesn’t seem like a real worry.
y81 said, “The priest is worried about unrest by Trump supporters? In Denver? That doesn’t seem like a real worry.”
He didn’t say whose unrest he was concerned about, just that they were concerned.
I googled and the Denver Catholic cathedral (which is exquisite 1911 gothic) is very close to the Colorado state capitol building.
A bunch of churches have been hit during this year’s Unpleasantness.
Trump supporters made trouble in NYC yesterday, blocking bridges/roads. y81 likes to view NYC and other cities as liberal strongholds, but apparently it takes only 20 or so assholes from the suburbs (or possibly outer boroughs, in NYC, but where the hell would they park those huge expensive pickup trucks?) to cause mayhem.
And the Biden bus incident in Texas, in which the pickup that hit the other car was apparently driven by the same man who drove his pickup through a BLM protest in San Antonio earlier in the year, Eliazar Cisneros.
Slovakia tested 1/2 of their population in the course of a single day using rapid tests.
At least the US didn’t do this:
Believe it or not, the UK had a government program called “Eat Out To Help Out.” It launched in August, with the idea that the government would subsidize up to 50% of restaurant bills Monday-Wednesday to encourage restaurant dining.
The program may have caused a significant percentage of British COVID clusters.
Totally off topic, have you seen the notice of the withdrawn Atlantic story?
There’s a link to a pdf of the withdrawn article at the link.
I understand The Atlantic took the proper actions. On the other hand, I also think that the youth niche sports are as crazy as the article claims. It is a mistake, though, to get facts wrong about families who have their own lawyers and publicists. (Just speculating, after reading the article.)
We followed that article closely. The Ruth Shalit backstory was fascinating (one got the impression Wemple at the Washington Post had some kind of personal history, though it might just have been that of a contemporary of hers who was trying to do journalism legitimately). And, I thought the detailing of the deliberate embellishments was interesting and probably required a retraction.
But, I also agree with you that there is a competitive, wealthy, elite sports world that is just as crazy as described in the article. I also think the way that the details of the “Sloan” story was unraveled showed precisely the craziness that was described in the article. Looking up the 12 year old who withdrew, finding the family, finding their Facebook page, and then reporting all that information at the Washington Post. I feel like Wemple might have had an interest in Shalit but would not be at all surprised to learn that he has a connection to the competitive fencing world that was used to expose information.
I’ve witnessed that wealthy niche sports world. Now, we are not athletes, not unless there’s ever a board game league. Nevertheless, it is crazy.
For example, it is crazy that in our former town, your child wouldn’t have a real shot of being on the high school soccer, lacrosse, tennis, golf, etc. teams, without an early childhood being privately coached in the sports. I could not explain logically, rationally, why the parents set so much on their children being recruited by colleges for sports. After all, the big name colleges go to the Middle East for squash, the US West Coast for swimming/diving/water polo, the South for tennis, etc.
As Yale is now being sued for discrimination, I wonder if many of the colleges will move away from niche, primarily white, sports. That is the gateway the Varsity Blues fraud parents used, although they used money and Photoshop to pretend that their children were athletes.
I have nothing against children playing sports for fun. But high school students getting the Tommy John surgery is not fun. Athletes committing verbally to colleges in sophomore year of high school is not fun.
A huge step forward for colleges would be to just actually, really, follow their NCAA rules. Maybe strengthen them. Don’t allow coaches to scout middle schoolers. Don’t allow them to visit summer showcases. Don’t allow athletes to talk with them before they’re at least juniors in high school. Or make it a draft, like pro sports have. Decouple college admissions and team admissions. Cap college coaches’ salaries, perhaps to not more than college presidents’ salaries.
Now, it is certain that there is a set of very wealthy parents who think they are doing the best for their children by grooming them for competitive sports. There are many, many people who make a good living catering to the luxury sport parenting industry. There are small liberal arts colleges that would have a very difficult time filling their classes, were they not able to recruit athletes. There are parents who desperately want their children to be athletes in college.
I cannot discuss this topic here at all, but I have lots of opinions happening offline about this.
A number of elite colleges are revamping their sports programs to well, first, save money and to skew the effect on admissions. They’re not getting rid of these rich niche sports, but are concentrating on the ones where they can reap rewards (i.e. their team wins, or they attract Olympic level athletes).
Why do parents do it though? In my world (I see crew, lacrosse, and skiing first hand), I think parents start out supporting children who are good at something. The kids like winning and succeeding and might indeed like the activity. They also quickly have a world in which much of their social group is the sport (and, sometimes, that extends to the social group of the parents, as well). Then, the parents keep doing the next thing (hiring the trainer, finding the competitions that earn points, finding the right tournaments, paying the people who say they can smooth the way). But, knowing recruited rowers, recruited tennis players, and a MLB first draft pick, I’d say that each of those kids is a big driver, a driver with ability compounded by nearly infinite resources.
I saw this article on the WaPo reporter who called attention to the problems with the story:
Totally irrelevant, but I figured some might enjoy this. My farm experience is dairy farming, so I don’t know combines, but my interest was piqued by concerns about antifa attacking farms in Nebraska, which is just hilariously paranoid to begin with.
“Wemple suggests that publications may be more reluctant to give a second chance to other journalists with backgrounds like Barrett’s. “The episode suggests that there’s a reason some journalists rack up notorious records as serial plagiarists and fabricators. It’s not because of youthful indiscretion or the perils of cut-and-paste. It’s often because that’s who they are.”” From the article Wendy links.
Makes me wonder. I want to believe that everyone can be redeemed but it does seem that some people get second chances while others don’t get first chances.
Shalit, for example, is married to the stepson of Edward Klein, a former editor of the NY Times magazine and most recently a tell all book writer.
That’s a great thread Wendy. Thanks. I hadn’t seen the article.
MH, I posted it for you! Don’t say I never gave you anything. ;D
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