Tuesday, July 28, 2020


I want to get back to blogging more science. But events keep getting in the way, important events, historical events. I know it's a cliche by now, but this really is the most important election of our lifetimes. (What does it say about America that this has been true for the last five or so elections now?) Four more years of Trump and this country will be left in shreds.

At the Republican National Convention in 2016 Trump said the nation was in crisis and then he said "I alone can fix it."

Is there any part of America that is better today than it was in 2016? Perhaps only the stock market, up about 38% since he was sworn in. But then, "84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to the wealthiest 10 percent of households."

By the way, the same Wilshire 5000 was up 35% in Obama's first term, 51% in his second.

Trump can't be blamed for the pandemic, but he is certainly responsible for the US's feeble, uncoordinated, feckless response to it. The deaths of tens of thousands lies in Trump's hands. He has no clue how to provide leadership in this crisis, no ability to, and, worst of all, no desire to. He is such a psychological head case that he sees himself as the victim in all this, pathetic beyond compare. He lies as he breathes, and even when we all know he's lying, he lies again. It's clear by now that, despite all his bluster, he is a very weak, broken man.

So I have to write about what's going on politically, socially, culturally, at least untl the election. If it doesn't convince anyone of anything, at least it gets some stress out of me, in this lonely pandemic, which is something I need right now. I hope you can bear with me.


Florida now has more COVID-19 cases than New York state. But New York still leads per capita, 21.2 cases/K to 19.8 cases/K. (Not sure about any other states.) About 1/5th per hundred. Still pretty low, unless you're vulnerable.


The Kaiser Family Foundation says 8 in 10 people who have died from COVID-19 were 65 or older. That's the national number; it varies by state, from 90% in Idaho to 70% in D.C.


Gallup: Two in Three Americans Support Racial Justice Protests.


David Frum writes about pandemic life in Canada right now. It's eye-opening. 
"It’s not the health-care system, exactly—although that has coped better, too. A close friend in Los Angeles combatting cancer this week began to experience COVID-19-like symptoms. Her cancer treatment had to pause while she awaited first a test (a two-day delay) then the results (God knows how long). Meanwhile, my two Canadian nephews took the precaution of a COVID-19 test before coming to visit us in the country. They got the test on a walk-in basis. The results arrived a few hours later: all clear."

A little while back I mentioned John Hersey's book Hiroshima, which was a journalistic account of the bomb through profiles of six people who survived it. It was originally published in The New Yorker, taking up the entire issue of the August 31, 1946 magazine. It sold out almost immediately; nationwide radio read it in its entirety over the air.

This Daily Beast article says Harry Truman, who of course ordered the dropping of the bomb (and also that on Nagasaki), didn't want to read about what he'd done. I guess that's understandable, but still. The article is password protected, so I can't read the details for now; it will probably become available without a password in a few days. We'll see if he actually did read it or not.

Albert Einstein ordered a thousand copies.


I thought these two comments were excellent, from this NY Times opinion piece, "In Portland’s So-Called War Zone, It’s the Troops Who Provide the Menace: If President Trump is actually trying to establish order, he is stunningly incompetent," by Nicholas Kristof (who lives about 20 miles outside Portland and grew up on a farm there):


Clay Bennett:


The melting of Arctic sea ice has stalled in the last week and is returning to something normal (at least normal for an AGW world):



David in Cal said...

Chris's comment is spin. He wrote, "Armed citizens stormed the Michigan State Capital." In this context, "storm" means:
Suddenly attack and capture (a building or other place) by means of force. E.g., "commandos stormed a hijacked plane early today"

In fact, there was no force. There was an entirely peaceful demonstration at the State Capital. Some of the demonstrators were legally armed, but they made no threat with their arms.

OTOH the demonstrations in Portland were violent, including arson and blinding some federal police with lasers.

Also, the demonstration in Michigan was a single, one-time event. OTOH federal police were not sent into Portland until the violent demonstrations in had been going on for four weeks. Federal police were needed because local authorities were not dealing with the violence.


J. D. said...

There was more than one demonstration in Michigan. The first blocked the streets for hours including those leading to a hospital treating coronavirus patients.
I will put a link at the end of this post to a YouTube video showing them at the second demo inside the building. Have a look and tell me if you think those scores of protesters, heavily armed and some of them wearing bullet proof vests, were invited into the building. Note them also screaming at the police. What do you think would have happened if the police had attacked them to try and clear the building? Of course Trump fully supported them. This was his reaction.
"These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."
This is the President of the United States encouraging armed protesters who were cramped inside a building during a pandemic screaming at people. Of course they were his supporters and he was desperate to end the lockdowns because he wanted to get the pre election rallys started so he wasn't going to discourage them.
There was at least one more demo after that.

J. D. said...

Oops. I forgot the YouTube link. Here it is.

David Appell said...

Thanks for that JD.

David, ANYONE carrying an AR-15 at a demonstration is not demonstration is not demonstrating "peacefully," but with a threat. That's why they're carrying the gun.

"OTOH the demonstrations in Portland were violent,"

It's interesting how only the police are allowed to be violent. Why they're allowed to use tear gas even on peaceful protesters. Why they're allowed to shoot peaceful protesters, even in the head with potentially lethal munitions.

That's what ramped up the protests. People are *fighting* back against a police state. They're patriots.