Flatten The Curve

JUMP TO:

Media Confirms Opening Premise That Flattening the Curve Was To Protect Hospitals/Healthcare ★ A Debate on My Facebook About The Curve ★ Historical Stresses on the Healthcare/Hospital System  [192,446 Hospitalizations for Covid-19 as of May 27 2020 | 2017-2018 Flu Season: 810,000 Hosdptalizations (low: 620,000 | high:1,400,000) – CDC] ★ Ventilator Shortage MythsDamages of Continued Flatten Curve Power Grabs: Hospitals Going Bankrupt

OPENING PREMISE:
Not To Overwhelm Hospitals

This first part of a multi-part post is merely to discuss what the Flattening the curve was for ~ AND THAT WAS ~ not over-burden our healthcare system.

The Los Angeles Times explains:

The goal is no longer to prevent the virus from spreading freely from person to person, as it was in the outbreak’s early days. Instead, the objective is to spread out the inevitable infections so that the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed with patients.

Public health officials have a name for this: Flattening the curve.

The curve they’re talking about plots the number of infections over time. In the beginning of an outbreak, there are just a few. As the virus spreads, the number of cases can spike. At some point, when there aren’t as many people left for the pathogen to attack, the number of new cases will fall. Eventually, it will dwindle to zero.

If you picture the curve, it looks like a tall mountain peak. But with containment measures, it can be squashed into a wide hill.

The outbreak will take longer to run its course. But if the strategy works, the number of people who are sick at any given time will be greatly reduced. Ideally, it will fall below the threshold that would swamp hospitals, urgent care clinics and medical offices, said Dr. Gabor Kelen, chair of the emergency medicine department at Johns Hopkins University

(LOS ANGELES TIMES / SCIENCE, March 11, 2020)

No Other Reason


MORE CONFIRMATION


LOS ANGELES TIMES: Why We Should Still Try To Contain The Coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak that has sickened at least 125,000 people on six continents and caused nearly 4,600 deaths is now an official global pandemic. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on trying to contain it, health experts say. The goal is no longer to prevent the virus from spreading freely from person to person, as it was in the outbreak’s early days. Instead, the objective is to spread out the inevitable infections so that the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed with patients. Public health officials have a name for this: Flattening the curve. (Healy and Khan, 3/11)

ABC NEWS: Why Flattening The Curve For Coronavirus Matters (March 11, 2020)

NBC NEWS: What Is ‘Flatten The Curve‘? The Chart That Shows How Critical It Is For Everyone To Fight Coronavirus Spread. (March 11, 2020)

Confirming the above, you will see that the trend line was to spread out the disease, not to defeat it. And this endeavor would take two weeks at the least, six at the most:

Anywhere from 20 percent to 60 percent of the adults around the world may be infected with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. That’s the estimate from leading epidemiological experts on communicable disease dynamics.

[….]

So yes, even if every person on Earth eventually comes down with COVID-19, there are real benefits to making sure it doesn’t all happen in the NEXT FEW WEEKS.

(SCIENCE ALERT, March 11, 2020)

Dena Grayson, MD, PhD, a Florida-based expert in Ebola and other pandemic threats, told Medscape Medical News that EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, Washington, is a good example of what it means when a virus overwhelms healthcare operations.

[….]

Grayson points out that the COVID-19 cases come on top of a severe flu season and the usual cases hospitals see, so the bar on the graphic is even lower than it usually would be.

“We have a relatively limited capacity with ICU beds to begin with,” she said.

So far, closures, postponements, and cancellations are woefully inadequate, Grayson said.

“We can’t stop this virus. We can hope to contain it and slow down the rate of infection,” she said.

“We need to right now shut down all the schools, preschools, and universities,” Grayson said. “We need to look at shutting down public transportation. We need people to stay home — AND NOT FOR A DAY BUT FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS.”

The graphic was developed by visual-data journalist Rosamund Pearce, based on a graphic that had appeared in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) article titled “Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza,” the Times reports.

(MED SCAPE, March 13, 2020)

To slow down the spread of the pandemic virus in areas that are beginning to experience local outbreaks and thereby allow time for the local health care system to prepare additional resources for responding to increased demand for health care services (CLOSURES UP TO 6 WEEKS)

(CDC, April 21, 2017)

On the other hand, if that same large number of patients arrived at the hospital at a slower rate, for example, OVER THE COURSE OF SEVERAL WEEKS, the line of the graph would look like a longer, flatter curve.

(JOHN HOPKINS MEDICINE, April 11, 2020)

And, here is a conversation via my Facebook that elucidates how people have this idea of saving lives mixed up with not pressuring or overwhelming our healthcare system

EXCERPT FROM FACEBOOK CONVO

(ME)

  • Steve W — you do know Steve that the same amount of death from and infection due to Covid-19 exists under the trend line of doing nothing and the most strict quarentine rules…. right? In other words, we are not saving lives. And, in fact, we have made it worse for our economy next fall/winter because it is coming back as it makes its rounds around the world.

(STEVE W)

  • Sean Giordano I have heard that said but not seen it from a credible source. So I think that is false.

(ME)

  • Steve W what is false?

(STEVE W)

  • Sean Giordano “the same amount of death from and infection due to Covid-19 exists under the trend line of doing nothing”

(ME)

Steve Wallace now you are saying don’t listen to Dr. Fauci?

Many bemoan Trump for not listening to him (even though he has), and some I meet do not support Fauci in the idea that this was to elongate the process as to not put any undue stress on our health care system. Even though he clearly announced multiple times this was the reason to do so

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM mentions the following, and all the graphs of the United States shown by Doctors Fauci and Birx have all used this idea as well (graph below from CDC and WEF)

CHRIS WALLACE: All right. You talk about slowing the virus down. You talk a lot, and I’ve very used to this now, you can either have a bump like this of cases or you could make it maybe the same total cases, but it’s a much more gradual and slower and longer curve. I want to put up some numbers. We have in this country about 950,000 hospital beds, and about 45,000 beds in Intensive Care Unit. How worried are you that this virus is going to overwhelm hospitals, not just beds, but ventilators? We only have 160,000 ventilators. And could we be in a situation where you have to ration who gets the bed, who gets the ventilator?

DR. FAUCI: OK. So let me put it in a way that it doesn’t get taken out of context. When people talk about modeling where outbreaks are going, the modeling is only as good as the assumptions you put into the model. And what they do, they have a worst-case scenario, a best-case scenario, and likely where it’s going to be. If we have a worst-case scenario, we’ve got to admit it, we could be overwhelmed. Are we going to have a worst-case scenario? I don’t think so. I hope not.

What are we doing to not have that worst-case scenario? That’s when you get into the things that we’re doing. We’re preventing infections from going in with some rather stringent travel restrictions. And we’re doing containment and mitigation from within. So, at a worst-case scenario, anywhere in the world, no matter what country you are, you won’t be prepared. So our job is to not let that worst-case scenario happen.

(…. STILL ME….)

STEVE W for you not to understand the goal of all this, and then get on here sharing insights is itself insightful. I am not blaming you STEVE I just see this fundamental misunderstanding of the underlying factors and goals of this whole endeavor of bending the curve as applicable to MANY A PERSON in these discussions here and elsewhere on social media. I am giving you, in fact, the most respectful benefit of a doubt, but am merely in conversation with you at this moment. This conversation is just multiplied (others are having) across social media many fold. Blessings to you and yours friend. Yet, this foundational view is not known well by othersthat is, the reason behind flattening the curve as well as the data underneath the trend line.

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Here I wish to switch gears a bit and start to discuss another “info graphic” post from MY SITES FACEBOOK I shared with my readers. And since the entire idea behind “flattening the curve” was to keep the health and hospital system working well by not getting inundated all at once, this should have lasted two or three weeks. Not as long as it has — our economy is important too! Damnit!

CAPACITY OF THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

The following was compiled after a conversation I had on Facebook. It touches on some of the issues above. Enjoy

  •  I note the bell curve because many are under the false impression we are doing this to “save lives.” This was never the case.

The quarantine was to lessen the apex of the bell curve as to not put pressure on the hospital/health system. The same amount of people in the elongated “quarantine bell curve” (the trend-line) would die and get sick. In other words, the same statistics exist below the line (POWERLINE). Here is a site cataloging the hospitalizations for the rona that POWERLINE used – US CORONAVIRUS HOSPITALIZATIONS  …they used both the CDC site and this one, but the CDC site has lower hospitalizations, so they opted for the most updated numbers. WHICH AS OF APRIL 21ST STAND AT 84,292 HOSPITALIZATIONS FROM JANUARY TILL NOW. This is important, because, the flu season of 2017-2018 we saw 810,000 hospitalization, and our health system didn’t collapse. Nor did the Swine Flu of 2009-to-2010, which saw 60-million American infected and 300,000 hospitalizations.

No quarantines then.

No exaggerated respirator shortages then.

SOME VENTILATOR MYTHS

  • The Ventilator Shortage That Wasn’t (NATIONAL REVIEW)
  • Report: New York City Auctioned Off Ventilator Stockpile (BREITBART)
  • New York City auctioned off extra ventilators due to cost of maintenance: report (THE HILL)
  • Gov Cuomo Refused To Buy Ventilators In 2015 Despite Knowing They’d Be Needed (INDEPENDENT SENTINEL)
  • Trump Was Right: Cuomo Admits New York Has ‘Stockpile’ of Ventilators, Says ‘We Don’t Need Them Yet’ (DIAMOND and SILK | BREITBART | WESTERN JOURNAL)

(What was different I wonder? Maybe the Orange Man Bad Syndrome?)

This then may explain why all the field hospital’s the ARMY CORE OF ENGINEERS built are being dismantled without a single bed being used.

  • The panic and fear among the people who cannot be bothered to read the actual statistics about this pandemic is what should concern most preppers. In fact, this virus has been so overhyped that the Army’s field hospital in Seattle, an “epicenter” of the pandemic has closed after three days without seeing one single COVID-19 patient. According to a report by Military.com, the hastily built field hospital set up by the Army in Seattle’s pro football stadium is shutting down without ever seeing a patient. [….] The decision to close the Seattle field hospital comes amid early signs that the number of new cases could be hitting a plateau in New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., and other states. At a news conference Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Overall, New York is flattening the curve.” — ZERO HEDGE (see: MILITARY TIMES | DAILY CALLER)
  • Unlike the Mercy, the Comfort is treating COVID-19 patients on board as well as patients who do not have the virus. The ship has treated more than 120 people since it arrived March 30, and about 50 of those have been discharged, said Lt. Mary Catherine Walsh. The ship removed half of its 1,000 beds so it could isolate and treat coronavirus patients. [The Mercy has seen 48 patients, all non-Covid related] (THE STAR)

And literally handfulls of patients on the Comfort (New York City) and the Comfort (Los Angeles) — *see comment below. There was never a shortage of respirators (NATIONAL REVIEW), and we may surpass the 2018-to-2019 flu death rate, but come nowhere close to the 2017-to-2018 flu death rate:

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

And it seems that we are reaching a plateau with The Rona, so there is good news in this regard (POWERLINE).


* Here is a comment from the Military Times article from a few days ago:

So, why did we spend all that Taxpayer’s money to move the Comfort to NYC and all the added Military medical personnel to staff the Javitt’s Center? Because Cuomo was crying WOLF.

“So far, the thousands of beds provided by a converted convention center and a hospital ship have not been needed, but the extra personnel are coming in handy for the city’s civilian hospitals.

About 200 doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and others are working in New York’s medical centers, where bed space has not been overwhelmed, but where hospital-acquired coronavirus cases have sidelined civilian staff.”

…TO WIT…

HOSPITALS GOING BANKRUPT

VOX actually has a decent story on this:

  • Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston is laying off 900 people from its 17,000-person staff and asking full-time salaried employees to take a 15 percent pay cut, according to the Post & Courier; the hospital says it’s not laying off front-line workers at this time.
  • Essentia Health, a major medical system of clinics and hospitals in Duluth, Minnesota, is laying off 500 workers, per KBJR.
  • The Cookeville Regional Medical Center in Tennessee will be furloughing 400 of its 2,400-person staff, and a few hundred others will see a cut in their hours, Fox 17 Nashville reports.
  • Boston Medical Center is furloughing 10 percent of its staff, about 700 people, according to the Boston Globe.
  • Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, which runs five hospitals in the Philadelphia area and employs 125,000 people there, will furlough an unspecific percentage of its staff, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Mercy Health, the largest health system in Ohio, is temporarily laying off 700 workers.
  • Two hospital systems in West Virginia are furloughing upward of 1,000 employees combined, Metro News reports.
  • The largest hospital system in eastern Kentucky is laying off 500 workers, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

I’m sure there are many more stories like these. But you get the idea.

Hospitals have typically said in these announcements that they are starting with nonmedical staff for furloughs and reduced hours, which is no solace to those workers but softens the impact on our medical capacity.

But it’s not clear how long medical systems can avoid cutting doctors and nurses as well, and some of them clearly cannot. I heard from a nurse in Texas, who asked that neither she nor her hospital be named for fear of professional repercussions, who has been furloughed because of the ongoing economic crisis.

She said how constrained she felt by the news. If she wanted to help with the coronavirus response by taking a job with a travel nursing service offering temporary postings in Covid-19 hot spots, for example, she would lose her old job and her health insurance.

”It really is frustrating to hear that you’re a hero but also we don’t value you enough to prepare or pay you,” she said. “I would be happy to temporarily relocate, work in a hot spot, and make the same wages as I normally would. I can’t afford to work for free, exactly, but it’s frustrating if I can’t work at all.”

Hospitals have taken huge revenue losses as they postpone elective surgeries and other routine care so they can make more staff and space available for the Covid-19 response. Some hospitals expect to lose half their income, and the top industry trade groups have warned that hundreds of hospitals could close after this crisis.

Congress pumped $100 billion into US hospitals as part of its first stimulus package, and Democratic leaders are already calling for another $100 billion in the next stimulus bill they hope Congress will pass.

But that may still not be enough, in the end. When one in four rural hospitals were already vulnerable to closure before the coronavirus struck, the current pandemic is almost certainly going to leave some hospitals with no choice but to close, no matter how much money the federal government provides….

And to compliment the Left leaning VOX article is the “Right” leaning FEDERALIST article:

….During a press conference Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis noted that health experts initially projected 465,000 Floridians would be hospitalized because of coronavirus by April 24. But as of April 22, the number is slightly more than 2,000.

Even in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last month he would need 30,000 ventilators, hospitals never came close to needing that many. The projected peak need was about 5,000, and actual usage may have been even lower.

Other overflow measures have also proven unnecessary. On Tuesday, President Trump said the USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship that had been deployed to New York to provide emergency care for coronavirus patients, will be leaving the city. The ship had been prepared to treat 500 patients. As of Friday, only 71 beds were occupied. An Army field hospital set up in Seattle’s pro football stadium shut down earlier this month without ever having seen a single patient.

It’s the same story in much of the country. In Texas, where this week Gov. Greg Abbott began gradually loosening lockdown measures, including a prohibition on most medical procedures, hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. In Dallas and Houston, where coronavirus cases are concentrated in the state, makeshift overflow centers that had been under construction might not be used at all.

In Illinois, where hospitals across the state scrambled to stock up on ventilators last month, fewer than half of them have been put to use—and as of Sunday, only 757 of 1,345 ventilators were being used by COVID-19 patients. In Virginia, only about 22 percent of the ventilator supply is being used.

Meanwhile, hospitals and health care systems nationwide have had to furlough or lay off thousands of employees. Why? Because the vast majority of most hospitals’ revenue comes from elective or “non-essential” procedures. We’re not talking about LASIK eye surgery but things like coronary angioplasty and stents, procedures that are necessary but maybe not emergencies—yet. If hospitals can’t perform these procedures because governors have banned them, then they can’t pay their bills, or their employees.

To take just one example, a friend who works in a cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) in rural Virginia called recently and told me about how they had reorganized their entire system around caring for coronavirus patients. They had cancelled most “non-essential” procedures, imposed furloughs and pay cuts, and created a special ICU ward for patients with COVID-19. So far, they have had only one patient. One. The nurses assigned to the COVID-19 ward have very little to do. In the entire area covered by this hospital system, only about 30 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

If Hospitals Can Handle The Load, End The Lockdowns

I’m sure the governors and health officials who ordered these lockdowns meant well. They based their decisions on deeply flawed and woefully inaccurate models, and they should have been less panicky and more skeptical, but they were facing a completely new disease about which, thanks to China, they had almost no reliable information.

However, in hindsight it seems clear that treating the entire country as if it were New York City was a huge mistake that has cost millions of American jobs and destroyed untold amounts of wealth. Now that we know our hospitals aren’t going to be overrun by COVID-19 cases, governors and mayors should immediately reverse course and begin opening their states and communities for business…..

L.A. Times Visceral Attack On the Value of Life (Paso Robles)

(JUMP to Added Update)

While on vacation I remembered this reading by Dennis Prager of an LA TIMES article that enrages his sensibilities… why you ask? Exactly because the Left doesn’t use theirs. So a volume caution at around 8:22 to about 9:30 is required.

Here is my Facebook post as I was sitting for breakfast in the Central Coast wine country:

I am in the free breakfast area of the Best Western in Atascadero [Wine Tasting in Paso Robles] and the news item on the TV that caught my attention was the police officer not entering the school, risking his life to save the lives of children and teachers in that very recent school shooting. Instead, he took up a position outside the school… probably thinking that this position will assure his going home to his own family. (Who knows what was going through his mind, but self preservation was most probably the adrenalin enforced decision. All those calling the officer a coward would probably do the same.) And it is this natural “self-preservation” that would be in my mind the best argument for allowing teachers and staff to conceal-carry that would protect the most lives in such a situation. But, like that teacher who raised against the military being the lowest of the low, saying that bankers and scholars do not join the military, the Left seems to have a picture of an educated elite guiding them (an example of this is their belief that science is a consensus — at least in regard to global warming, not gender). They also have Utopian dreams of men in uniform laying aside self preservation in order to save them. Which is why the statement by William F. Buckley will always remain true: “I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” Which is why the gulf between the base of the GOP (conservative/libertarian roots) and the base of the Dems (socialist/progressives) will always exist. Doing many of life’s struggles oneself versus expecting others to do it for them.

Someone on Facebook wasn’t picking up what I was laying down. She responded thus:

  • While i’ll admit that self preservation is a driving force for many of us, many of us did not go to the academy and swear to an oath “to protect & serve”, which was failed completely. Now we are protecting him from violence? Who protected those children? He’s a cop, let him protect himself like he did those children. Any action he could have & should have taken may have saved even just one life, one less family paying for a funeral.

I expanded my view a bit:

  • I know two people at the elementary my boys attended that would be more than happy to conceal carry. And if their kids and they were to come under fire, their self-preservation would kick in and many children’s lives would be saved. Because of the natural instinct to live another day. That same instinct that stopped four officers from entering a school would have kicked in with armed staff and teachers. It’s Florida for God sakeThere would have been more than a couple armed staff.

Now, more important than my editorial above, are cold hard facts in the face of the mantras. To wit, while in Paso Robles wine tasting, the wine tender at Rocky Creek (FACEBOOK PAGE – great wines BTW) mentioned that the United States has all the mass killings like the one in Florida. This just is not true. John Lott clears this up for us over at IBD:

…..President Obama talked about it a lot, including in June of 2015, after a gunman shot nine people in a Charleston, North Carolina church: “Let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Obama said. 

Days later, Sen. Harry Reid echoed his comments. “The United States is the only advanced country where this kind of mass violence occurs,” he said.

More recently, the tragic, preventable slaying of 17 students by accused gunman Nikolas Cruz elicited similar sentiments from Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, speaking in the Senate just  last Thursday: “This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America.”

Powerful remarks, and no doubt heartfelt. But a study of global mass-shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, headed by economist John Lott, shows the U.S. doesn’t lead the world in mass shootings. In fact, it doesn’t even make the top 10, when measured by death rate per million population from mass public shootings.

So who’s tops? Surprisingly, Norway is, with an outlier mass shooting death rate of 1.888 per million (high no doubt because of the rifle assault by political extremist Anders Brevik that claimed 77 lives in 2011). No. 2 is Serbia, at just 0.381, followed by France at 0.347, Macedonia at 0.337, and Albania at 0.206. Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and Czech Republic all follow. Then comes the U.S., at No. 11, with a death rate of 0.089.

That’s not all. There were also 27% more casualties from 2009 to 2015 per mass shooting incident in the European Union than in the U.S.

“There were 16 cases where at least 15 people were killed,” the study said. “Out of those cases, four were in the United States, two in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.”

“But the U.S. has a population four times greater than Germany’s and five times the U.K.’s, so on a per-capita basis the U.S. ranks low in comparison — actually, those two countries would have had a frequency of attacks 1.96 (Germany) and 2.46 (UK) times higher.”

Yes, the U.S. rate is still high, and nothing to be proud of. But it’s not the highest in the developed world. Not by a long shot…….

Another myth surrounds the AR-15 and the progression of semi-automatics from military to civilian use. The truth is just the opposite, via HOT AIR:

…..The third problem is a historical one. Semi-automatic rifles were originally created for the civilian market, but eventually made their way into the military. The Standard Catalog of Remington Firearms notes the old Model 8 “was the first successful American semi-autom sporting rifle.” It appears the M1 Garand is when semi-automatic rifles became focused on the military use first, before civilian use. One of these reasons is because developer Springfield Armory was owned by the U.S. government. It’s interesting to see how government focus on weapons development increased as the U.S. became more involved in international conflicts. It was really a role reversal with gun manufacturers making arms for the Pentagon, before selling it on the civilian market. Other semi-automatic rifles were still being developed and sold to civilians, but the M16 style was strictly for military.

Richard Mann believes one reason why the AR-15 jumped in popularity was because of the political footballing of the White House, starting after Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush who had replaced Bill Clinton. Mann suggested in GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the AR-15 people started buying AR-15’s because they expected the Democratically held government to re-pass the Assault Weapons ban……

So much for the mantras I heard on vacation. I will share more in a review of my time in Paso.


UPDATED


Here is part of Prager’s article:

Why does the left oppose allowing a small number of highly trained teachers and other adults who work at schools to arm themselves?

When asked, their response is consistent: “It’s a crazy idea.” And “We need fewer guns, not more guns.”

A New York Times editorial offered the following argument against having any armed teachers: “Nationwide statistics on police shooting accuracy are not to be found. But if New York is typical, analyses show that its officers hit their targets only one-third of the time. And during gunfights, when the adrenaline is really pumping, that accuracy can drop to as low as 13 percent.”

But if that is an argument against armed teachers, why isn’t it an argument against armed police?

And that argument was Aristotelian compared to this one from a Los Angeles Times editorial: “If a pistol-strapping chemistry teacher had grabbed her .45 and unloaded on today’s gunman after he killed, what, one student? Three? Five? That would be good news?”

Of course, no murder is “good news.” But to most of us, one or three or five as compared with 17  murdered is good news. Only those who think it isn’t good news think permitting some teachers and other school staff to be armed is a bad idea.

Beyond such arguments, the left rarely, if ever, explains why allowing some teachers and other adults in a school to be armed is a crazy idea. They merely assert it as a self-evident truth……..

(read it all)

SCOTUS Is Worried About Lower Courts!

The L.A. Times notes the following… I will emphasize the main point:

….The court’s conservative justices agreed with Trump and his lawyers, who argued that the Constitution and federal immigration laws give the chief executive broad power to restrict or “suspend” the entry of foreign individuals or groups into this country.

[….]

THE HIGH-COURT DECISION SUGGESTS THAT THE JUSTICES WERE MORE TROUBLED BY THE BOLD INTERVENTION OF THE JUDGES WHO BLOCKED TRUMP’S ORDER THAN BY THE NEW PRESIDENT’S AGGRESSIVE USE OF HIS AUTHORITY.

[….]

In appealing to the high court, acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall contended that the judges had wrongly “second guessed” the president’s determination that travelers from these six nations could threaten the nation’s security. He quoted a June 19 opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that said “national security policy is the province of the Congress and president,” adding that courts should “accord deference to what the executive branch has determined is essential to national security.”()

(LA TIMES)

Dennis Prager Interviews David Savage of the LA Times

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Dennis Prager interviews David Savage, washington bureau writer for the L.A. TIMES, about his article seemingly making last years Supreme Court pick by Obama, Merrick Garland, a centrist. While this isn’t the entire interview, it is the first two segments of this March 2016 interview.

In a thoughtful challenge on my FaceBook, the following conversation took place:

  • S.S. From what I’ve seen/heard of his testimony, they will never find a more objective one. He was outstanding.
  • B.M. I agree that Gorsuch is more then qualified. Unfortunately they’re hung up on Merrick Garland. And so it goes.

I respond a bit:

  • This is not the same B.M. Since FDR tried packing the court, both parties have not put forward a nominee to the court in the last year[-] of an outgoing President. Obama broke this tradition and so was rebuffed.

A great question by B.M. followed:

  • Was this a tradition or a rule?

Here are my more in-depth responses to the above…

It was not official, but was well known to both sides, and pushed most by Democrats — shown by Sen Biden in 1992 (called thereafter, the Biden Rule):

…..Biden contended this was not an attempt to play politics with the selection.

  • “Some will criticize such a decision and say it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in the hopes that a Democrat will be permitted to fill it. But that would not be our intention, Mr. President, if that were the course we were to choose in the Senate — to not consider holding hearings until after the election. Instead, it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.”

In the case of Obama’s nomination of Garland, Democrats have argued that the Supreme Court seat should be filled immediately because the court needs a deciding vote.

Biden in his 1992 speech addressed that issue, saying that some people “may fret that this approach would leave the Court with only eight members for some time. But as I see it, Mr. President, the cost of such a result, the need to re-argue three or four cases that will divide the justices four to four are quite minor compared to the cost that a nominee, the president, the senate, and the nation would have to pay for what would assuredly be a bitter fight, no matter how good a person is nominated by the President, if that nomination were to take place in the next several weeks.”

(POLITIFACT)

So, by the breaking of this decorum, Republicans declined to move Obama’s nominee through the Senate, AGAIN, most recently based on the principle articulated by Sen. Joe Biden: that a Supreme Court Justice should not be confirmed in the last year of a lame duck administration.

…OH YEAH…

He [Biden] also called on the Senate not to schedule any confirmation hearings until after the election that year between incumbent President George H. W. Bush, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and independent candidate Ross Perot.

“It is my view that if the president goes the way of Presidents Fillmore and Johnson, and presses an election year nomination, the Senate judiciary committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

(DAILY CALLER)

B.M. kindly noted:

  • Thanks for the education. Not being snarky, honestly didn’t know the origin of this.

Magic Negroes and Race Flow Charts

Originally posted in July of 2010

Updated with the Opie Sirius Show in November 2014

Updated Today, February 2017

While much of it deals with comedy and race… the underlying this is once special rights are created for “classes of people” rather than ALL people… you start to get adoption agencies shut down, business owners forced out of business by government, and countering groups fighting each other in society and in court.

The Blaze notes that “when Behar claimed that Limbaugh refers to President Barack Obama as the ‘magic negro,’ Norton still pushed back. The phrase made its way to Limbaugh’s radio show in the form of satirical song written by political satirist Paul Shanklin.

The song came after Los Angeles Times critic David Ehrenstein first linked Obama to the magic negro, a ‘figure of postmodern folk culture’ who serves to ease racial tensions.” There seems to be a lot of piling on Rush Limbaugh for a parody song, Barack the Magic Negro, based off of a black writers L.A. Times article (he is pictured below, hint – he is not the Asian guy).

I figure these people do not allow satire unless by John Stewart or SNL? Parody songs have been on Rush’s show for years, while I typically do not listen to him (Dennis Prager is on at the same time), I have caught a few songs here-and-there. The only reason I wish to deal with this now is I keep seeing it pop-up as a dig against Rush as a racist (implied either implicitly or explicitly) when the author of the idea — a black man — is not mentioned at all. It seems odd to me. So here is part of that L.A. Times article, followed by some Wikipedia info:

Obama the ‘Magic Negro’: The Illinois senator lends himself to white America’s idealized, less-than-real black man

AS EVERY CARBON-BASED life form on this planet surely knows, Barack Obama, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, is running for president. Since making his announcement, there has been no end of commentary about him in all quarters — musing over his charisma and the prospect he offers of being the first African American to be elected to the White House.

But it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro.”

The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. “He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist,” reads the description on Wikipedia.

He’s there to assuage white “guilt” (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest….

…(read more at the L.A. Times by David Ehrenstein)…

In this article, Ehrenstein references a Wiki article on the subject. I wonder where the outrage is for others mentioned at this site? Or does the term mean something different:

….African-American filmmaker Spike Lee popularized the term, deriding the archetype of the “super-duper magical negro” in 2001 while discussing films with students at Washington State University and at Yale University.

The magical negro is a subset of the more generic numinous negro, a term coined by Richard Brookhiser in National Review. The latter term refers to saintly, respected or heroic black protagonists or mentors….

Another L.A. Times article, Redefining “black”,  mentions that maybe Barack Obama is not black enough. (NewsBusters wrote on this.) In this article the relationship between immigrants from Africa and the Americanized black culture is highlighted. They talk of the following issues: “Among African Americans, discussions about his racial identity typically vacillate between the ideologically charged options of ‘black’ versus ‘not black enough’ or between ‘black’ and ‘black, but not like us’.”


CONFUSING DEFINITIONS

When special categories are created, law ceases being equal


This was discussed on the Colbert Report, in which the guest was very serious about this, to which Colbert had a field day with…

Debra Dickerson

Of course there are other great skits worth mentioning based on this as well:

Mixed Race Flow Chart

Obama’s “Blackness” Scale


All these parodies tap into this “in-house-discussion” (in the Black Community), as well as the historical “Magic Negro” concept that has its essence in a hero aspect of the black man.

~ context, context, context ~

CONTEXT IS KING

I suggest to the more serious reader one of my favorite authors and intellectuals, Thomas Sowell and his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. (Thomas Sowell happens to be a “Magic Negro” to me, a hero to emulate my intellectual life after.) A great read in understanding this topic in a scholarly way. If you do not want to purchase the book, order it at Barnes and Noble (if it isn’t in stock) and read the first chapter, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals,” in the store and do not purchase it (you are allowed to view books before purchasing them). Another great book is White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, by Shelby Steele.

To conclude, here is political correctness and the “offended generation” at its best, and then warping it to use against whom they dislike (Sarah Silverstein — whom I dislike but think free speech is key to our country as well as comedy):

More about the Political Correctness chill on comedy from REASON:

Can We Take a Joke, a feature-length documentary about stand-up comedy, “outrage culture,” and censorship is now available for digital download on iTunes, Google Play, and on-demand through most major cable providers. The film was directed by former Reason TV producer Ted Balaker and co-produced and co-written by yours truly.

The reviews already have begun to roll in, with the LA Times saying that “Can We Take a Joke? poses a valid question at a juncture when freedom of speech is a hot topic,” and The Hollywood Reporter writes that the film delivers “sobering commentary” and “strongly makes the case that we’ve all got to get over ourselves.”

The movie features several stand-up comedians who’ve had unpleasant encounters with the online outrage mob, including Adam Carolla, Lisa Lampanelli, Jim Norton, and Gilbert Gottfried, who famously lost his job as the voice of the AFLAC duck after he sparked outrage on social media after making Twitter jokes about the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

“When people are outraged, they’re also patting themselves on the back,” says Gottfried. “Like, ‘Hey, I’m a good person. I was outraged.'”

Everyone, of course, has the legal right to be offended and the right to demand the firing of comedians for telling jokes. The First Amendment only protects against the government censorship of ideas, not corporate or mob censorship. But the film argues that the very idea of “free speech” requires more than simply government protection of the press.

“The First Amendment, although it’s necessary, it’s not sufficient. It has to rest on a social foundation of First Amendment values,” says Jonathan Rauch, scholar at the Brookings Institute and author the book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought. “Once you get into the business of saying you are going to prohibit things you find offensive or wrongheaded, that’s where the most sensitive person in society gets to determine what all the rest of us can hear.”…

Public Schools Are for Brainwashing – California Democrat

In this great short review of an article in the LOS ANGELES TIMES speaking about Santa Monica’s own Stephen Miller, we find an admission of the goals of public school education:

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), who was the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s board president at the time, remembered Miller showing up at events in coat and tie — “unlike any other student” — to argue against special treatment for immigrants and others.

“He had very conservative views — the exact opposite of what we were trying to accomplish in the school district,” she said.

A good heads up on the article as well as commentary!

Minimum Wage and Regulations Killing L.A.’s Garment District

Dennis Prager discusses a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed article regarding minimum wage entitled: “Leaving for Las Vegas: California’s minimum wage law leaves businesses no choice.” Here is the bottom line from the article (and this will definitely make it into my ECON 101 page):

…Here’s what the math looks like: I pay my employees $10.50 an hour, plus productivity bonuses. In addition, I pay payroll taxes and one of the highest worker compensation rates in the state. Even still, I could likely absorb a minimum wage as high as $11.50 an hour. But a $15-an-hour wage for my employees translates into $18.90 in costs for me — or just under $40,000 a year per full-time employee.

…When the $15 minimum wage is fully phased in, my company would be losing in excess of $200,000 a year (and far more if my workforce grows as anticipated). That may be a drop in the bucket for large corporations, but a small business cannot absorb such losses. I could try to charge more to offset that cost, but my customers —the companies that are looking for someone to produce their clothing line — wouldn’t pay it. The result would be layoffs.

When Los Angeles County’s minimum wage ordinance was approved in July, I began looking at Ventura County, Orange County and other parts of the state. Then, when California embraced a $15 wage target, I realized that my company couldn’t continue to operate in the state. After considering Texas and North Carolina, I’ve settled on moving the business to Las Vegas, where I’m looking for the right facility. About half of our employees will make the move with us.

Nevada’s minimum wage is only $8.25 right now, so I can keep my current pay structure or possibly increase wages. Even in the event that Nevada raises its minimum wage, I’ll still be better off with reduced regulations, no state taxes, and significantly less expensive worker compensation insurance. I have had the opportunity to meet with Las Vegas city officials (including the mayor)…

California’s Green Death of a Thousand Cuts

John and Ken read from an L.A. TIMES article that raises the alarm a bit too late for Californians.

  • Californians are likely to pay more for gasoline, electricity, food and new homes — and to feel their lives jolted in myriad other ways — because their state broadly expanded its war on climate change this summer. The ambitious new goals will require complex regulations on an unprecedented scale, but were approved in Sacramento without a study of possible economic repercussions. Some of the nation’s top energy, housing and business experts say the effort may not only raise the cost of staples, but also slow the pace of job and income growth for millions of California families.

Not that most them care about the business climate anyways. The attrition has been happening for many years (More Businesses Leave California), and California is chasing alternative energy companies (Two Models: Prosperity or Egalitarianism) out of the state as well. An earlier discussion mentioned these new regulations hurting the economy of California (Jerry Brown Just Destroyed California’s Economy), but this article is just another nail in the coffin. Not to mention the many other factors killing California… like the teachers unions (California Teacher Unions Draining State Budget) and the pension promised benefits to the state’s other unions (State Deficits Budget Shortfall on Pensions || The Author of “Plunder” Interviewed).

Arnold Swartzenegger’s 79,000 Calorie Sandwich (Kevin & Bean)

Kevin & Bean talk to Harley Morenstein from Epic Meal Time about cooking with Arnold Swartzenegger. Funny interview, small portion of video included.

(LA Times) An almost 80,000-calorie sandwich made by Arnold Schwarzenegger? We must be talking about Epic Meal Time, the popular YouTube show with the sole mission of making the most epic meals ever.

The Governator teamed up with the show’s Harley Morenstein to create what they’re calling the steak and egger sandwich. And the best part? They cook parts of the sandwich on Schwarzenegger’s M47 Patton tank.

Yes, it’s an actual tank, with Schwarzenegger’s name written across the side.

“What more do you want, Internet?” asks Morenstein in the video.

The two men layer slices of cheese, a loaf of baked ground meat, bacon and ostrich eggs on two giant buns.

“This section alone will build huge biceps,” says Schwarzenegger, pointing out different areas of the sandwich. “This section here, the calves.”

Before putting on the top bun, Schwarzenegger does some push-ups on top of the sandwich. So we can now add “The Terminator” star’s sweat to the list of growing ingredients.

According to an Epic Meal Time calorie counter in the video, the sandwich contains 78,583 calories and 4,172 grams of fat.

And would you believe us if we told you this monster sandwich is really for the kids? Schwarzenegger and Morenstein are using the sandwich video to promote the charity After-School All-Stars that creates after-school programs for kids. You can donate $10 for a chance to make a meal and video with Schwarzenegger and Morenstein, then ride with the two in his tank.

Scientist Corrects Los Angeles Times Reporter On the Connection Between Global Warming and Tornadoes

Video Description:

This is a story from NewsBusters (http://tinyurl.com/noo9bdo), and I decided to isolate the portion that the story references. A Los Angeles Times reporter, Stacey Lessca, asks a question about the connection between hurricanes and tornadoes in regards to climate change/global warming. The research climatologist from the National Severe Storms Laboratory, Robin Tanamachi, corrects this understanding mentioning that the data does not support this idea.

Not to mention this in from Max Plank’s institute on climate (http://tinyurl.com/ps2kxqr):

Max Planck Institute For Meteorology: “Prognoses Confirm Model Forecasts” Warming Postponed “Hundreds Of Years”

Now that global temperatures have not risen in 15 years, a number of scientists find themselves having great difficulty coming to terms with that new reality.

The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) in Hamburg is no exception. For years the institute insisted that the man-made climate catastrophe was real and happening now. Today it finds itself scrambling for a backdoor.

[….]

“Jochem Marotzke is part of a team of the world’s most renowned climate scientists who have taken the most recent development of the surface temperature into account in order to forecast how the Earth will heat up from the greenhouse effect, foremost from carbon dioxide (CO2). These prognoses confirm that the climate models correctly forecast global warming trend over multiple decades, that is until the middle or the end of the 21st century. There is no wise reason for calling off the alarm. Because the climate has a very high thermal inertia and the oceans warm up only very slowly, it’s going to take some time before the effects of the greenhouse gases completely take hold. A warming from the greenhouse effect will be amplified by numerous feedbacks, and weakened by a few processes. Only when this complicated interaction quiets down will the climate come to a stable condition. This long-term reaction by the climate is called equilibrium climate sensitivity (ESC) and is calculated by climate scientists. It is the final temperature increase that comes from a doubling of CO2  concentration, and will probably occur first after a few hundred years.

Jump Out Boys

Some more news via Crime and Justice News:

Seven Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have been told the department intends to fire them for belonging to a secret law enforcement clique that allegedly celebrated shootings and branded its members with matching tattoos, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Times reported last year about the existence of the clique, dubbed the Jump Out Boys, and the discovery of a pamphlet that described the group’s creed, which required aggressive policing and awarded tattoo modifications for police shootings.

The seven worked on an elite gang-enforcement team that patrols neighborhoods where violence is high. The team makes a priority of taking guns off the street, officials said. The Sheriff’s Department has a long history of secret cliques with members of the groups having reached high-ranking positions within the agency. Sheriff officials have sought to crack down on the groups, fearing that they tarnished the department’s reputation and encouraged unethical conduct. One member, who spoke to The Times said the group promoted only hard work and bravery.