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  • Archive for March, 2020

    The Media-Focus Problem

    Posted by David Foster on 18th March 2020 (All posts by )

    It’s well understood that media entities like to focus on the negative–‘if it bleeds, it leads.’  But there’s also another media behavior problem worth noticing…

    Cable TV networks, especially, tend to focus obsessively on whatever the hottest issue is at the moment, and absolutely beat it to death to the exclusion of any attention to *other* important things going on…until one of those other things get so important and so bad that it displaces the previous obsession and the cycle repeats.  To borrow a term from the field of computer operating systems, you could think of it is a single-thread way to approach the world. And in the field of combat aviation, there is a phrase, Target Fixation, to describe the situation where a pilot is so focused on his target that he flies into a mountain or does something equally disastrous.

    Posted in COVID-19, Current Events, Human Behavior, Media, Miscellaneous | 4 Comments »

    How to fix US empty store shelves in 48 hours

    Posted by TM Lutas on 18th March 2020 (All posts by )

    It’s never a pleasant thing to stand up, alone, in the face of a national mania and provide an unpleasant solution. I’ve been putting it off for some time.

    Finally, I’ve had it. Nobody who does this for a living seems to be willing to step up to the plate so I guess I’m stuck doing the job. The free-market solution to excess demand over supply is to raise prices. We are not raising prices to end the empty shelves because the government in various jurisdictions has made it illegal to raise prices in the face of an emergency.

    Nobody has had the courage to say this. Everyone who has taken a basic economics course in the US knows this. This lack of even discussion on how to fix the empty shelf problem is deeply weird and nobody is talking about the odd silence either.

    Update: Kudos to John Stossel who did address this issue (from a different perspective) a few hours prior to my publishing this. His article is here.

    Posted in COVID-19, Economics & Finance, Politics | 30 Comments »

    Book Review: The Year of the French (St Patrick’s day rerun)

    Posted by David Foster on 17th March 2020 (All posts by )

    The Year of the French, by Thomas Flanagan

    (This being St Patrick’s day, I’m again taking advantage of the hook to re-post this review, in the hope of inspiring a few more people to read this incredibly fine historical novel)

    Ralph Peters calls this book “the finest historical novel written in English, at least in the twentieth century,” going on to say “except for ‘The Leopard,’ I know of no historical novel that so richly and convincingly captures the ambience of a bygone world.”

    In August of 1798, the French revolutionary government landed 1000 troops in County Mayo to support indigenous Irish rebels, with the objective of overthrowing British rule in Ireland.  The Year of the French tells the (fictionalized but fact-based) story of these events from the viewpoint of several characters, representing different groups in the complex and strife-ridden Irish social structure of the time.

    Owen MacCarthy is a schoolmaster and poet who writes in the Gaelic tradition.  He is pressed by illiterate locals to write a threatening letter to a landlord who has evicted tenants while switching land from farming to cattle-raising.  With his dark vision of how an attempt at rebellion must end–“In Caslebar.  They will load you in carts with your wrists tied behind you and take you down to Castlebar and try you there and hang you there”–MacCarthy is reluctant to get involved, but he writes the letter.

    Sam Cooper, the recipient of the letter, is a small-scale landlord, and captain of the local militia.  Indigenously Irish, his family converted to Protestantism several generations ago to avoid the crippling social and economic disabilities imposed on Catholics. Cooper’s wife, Kate, herself still Catholic, is a beautiful and utterly ruthless woman…she advises Cooper to respond to the letter by rounding up “a few of the likeliest rogues,”  jailing and flogging them, without any concern for actual guilt or innocence. “My God, what a creature you are for a woman,”  Cooper responds. “It is a man you should have been born.”  “A strange creature that would make me in your bed,” Kate fires back, “It is a woman I am, and fine cause you have to know it…What matters now is who has the land and who will keep it.”

    Ferdy O’Donnell  is a young hillside farmer on Cooper’s land.  Far back in the past, the land was owned by the O’Donnell family…Ferdy had once shown Cooper  “a valueless curiosity, a parchment that recorded the fact in faded ink the colour of old, dried blood.”

    Arthur Vincent Broome is a Protestant clergyman who is not thrilled by the “wild and dismal region” to which he has been assigned, but who performs his duties as best he can. Broome is resolved to eschew religious bigotry, but…”I affirm most sincerely that distinctions which rest upon creed mean little to me, and yet I confess that my compassion for their misery is mingled with an abhorrence of their alien ways…they live and thrive in mud and squalour…their music, for all that antiquarians and fanatics can find to say in its flavor, is wild and savage…they combine a grave and gentle courtesy with a murderous violence that erupts without warning…”‘

    Malcolm Elliott is a Protestant landlord and solicitor, and a member of the Society of United Irishmen.  This was a revolutionary group with Enlightenment ideals, dedicated to bringing Catholics and Protestants together in the cause of overthrowing British rule and establishing an Irish Republic.  His wife, Judith, is an Englishwoman with romantic ideas about Ireland.

    John Moore, also a United Irishman, is a member of one of the few Catholic families that have managed to hold on to their land.  He is in love with Ellen Treacy, daughter of another prominent Catholic family: she returns his love, but believes that he is caught in a web of words that can only lead to disaster.  “One of these days you will say a loose word to some fellow and he will get on his horse and ride off to Westport to lay an information with Dennis Browne, and that will be the last seen of you”

    Dennis Browne is High Sheriff of Mayo…smooth, manipulative, and devoted to the interests of the very largest landowners in the county, such as his brother Lord Altamont and the mysterious Lord Glenthorne, the “Big Lord” who owns vast landholdings and an immense house which he has never visited.

    Randall MacDonnell is a Catholic landowner with a decrepit farm and house, devoted primarily to his horses.  His motivations for joining the rebellion are quite different from those of the idealistic United Irishman…”For a hundred years of more, those Protestant bastards have been the cocks of the walk, strutting around on acres that belong by rights to the Irish…there are men still living who remember when a son could grab his father’s land by turning Protestant.”

    Jean Joseph Humbert is the commander of the French forces.  A former dealer in animal skins, he owes his position in life to the revolution.  He is a talented commander, but  the battle he is most concerned about is the battle for status and supremacy between himself and  Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Charles Cornwallis, the general who surrendered to the Americans at Yorktown, is now in charge of defeating the French and the rebels and pacifying the rebellious areas of Ireland.   Seen through the eyes of  a young aide who admires him greatly, Cornwallis is portrayed as a basically kindly man who can be hard when he thinks it necessary, but takes no pleasure in it.  “The color of war had long since bleached from his thoughts, and it remained for him only a duty to be scrupulously performed.”

    This book is largely about the way in which the past lives on in the present, both in the world of physical objects and the world of social relationships.  Two characters who make a brief appearance are Richard Manning, proprietor of a decrepit and debt-laden castle, and his companion Ellen Kirwan: 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Britain, France, History, Ireland | 1 Comment »

    COVID-19 Letter to Employees

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th March 2020 (All posts by )

    Regular readers here know that I own a small business that is in the trade of HVAC wholesale distribution, which is a subset of industrial distribution. Today I came out with a statement to the employees and I am interested in what the readers here think about it. If you are interested, please see below the fold and thanks in advance for any comments, good or bad. Some parts redacted or altered to preserve privacy.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, COVID-19, Current Events | 11 Comments »

    Sh*t Just Got Real

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 14th March 2020 (All posts by )

    I had been half-expecting that San Antonio would cancel or delay the yearly Fiesta; this was made official Friday morning: put off the celebrations until November. Fiesta San Antonio was originally focused on Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto – which took place in April of 1836. (Lot of other events being cancelled as well.) Since Wednesday, I had been getting emails from various companies who I do business with, at least enough business for them to have my email: Costco, Sam’s, Petco, Frost Bank, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Texas author’s group (who have put off the Wimberly book event from June until November)the senior center in Bulverde who hosts a fall craft fair, Lowe’s and Home Depot – I think. All had pretty much the same message: “Aware of the Covid-19 thing, taking every precaution – deep-cleaning, sanitizing, encouraging sick employees to stay home, those who can to work remotely, concern but doing what we can, customers encouraged to wash hands, self-quarantine if feeling ill …” I wonder now if there wasn’t a degree of coordination going on, or if all the corporate public relations departments simultaneously came to the same conclusion. Reasoning? I rather thought the city and the Fiesta Commission would have to do something of the sort, after reading of Disneyland closing, and the LDS temporarily suspending meetings at every level. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Civil Society, COVID-19, Current Events, Health Care, Media, Personal Narrative | 47 Comments »

    Crisis Remote Working: What Will be the Long-Term Effects?

    Posted by David Foster on 13th March 2020 (All posts by )

    A lot of people…office workers, students…are going to be getting their first experience of remote working, and a lot of organizations are going to be getting either their first experience or a greatly expanded experience in managing this kind of work.  What will be the long-term effects of this?…will people eagerly return to their brick-and-mortar working environment as soon as it is safely possible?

    Certainly, there are a lot of workers who would welcome the opportunity to avoid their daily commutes.  And there are a lot of employers who would be happy to save a lot of money on office space.

    And there are surely some parents who would welcome the opportunity to keep their kids at home…there are also more than a few who have arranged their lives and their work schedules around the assumption that their kids will be in school for several hours every weekday.

    Many of the remote working experiences are surely going to be suboptimal, however, given that there has been little if any leadtime to prepare systems, content, and procedures.

    So what do you think?..a return to things the way they were, or permanent change?

    Posted in Business, COVID-19, Education, Management, Medicine, Tech | 25 Comments »

    Paranoia Anecdotes

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 12th March 2020 (All posts by )

    I thought I would just include anecdotes about paranoia and comment on them as a way of getting information across.

    Update!  One of the other social workers told me today that she thinks C19 is all just a coverup for all the damage from 5G.

    Paranoid people also project.  What they think their persecutors or opponents are capable of doing is often a mirror of what they themselves would do.  The recent political example is theFBI and other agencies being so sure that Trump is dangerous enough to democracy that he would disregard the rules and protections for others that they dangerously disregarded the rules and protections for others themselves.

    My uncle tells me that my grandfather, when he heard that Joe McCarthy claimed there were 300 communists in the State Department said “Is that all?  I would have thought it was more than that.” I believe that was a common sentiment in NH at the time. McCarthy played his cards poorly, partly because of his personality, and partly because there was a supportive culture that didn’t mind if accusers of communists didn’t bother with the niceties of actually nailing the information down.  However, it turns out in retrospect that the right-wing crazies didn’t know the half of it. Communist penetration of federal agencies was worse than even they thought. Alger Hiss was in fact guilty. The Rosenbergs were guilty. Venona confirmed a great deal of speculation. I don’t know how things would have been different if a savvier player than McCarthy broke the news, but it can hardly have been worse. He played for drama. Maybe that would work today. It didn’t work then. (Compare also to the paragraph above.)  Paranoid leftists were able to accuse anticommunists of paranoia for years. In DC politics I think that some paranoia is always justified.  People are conspiring all the time. Exactly who, and for what reason, is the issue, and determines how reasonable one’s paranoia is.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 18 Comments »

    Schumer’s Threats, in Context

    Posted by David Foster on 10th March 2020 (All posts by )

    Democrat Charles Schumer, speaking to “protestors” outside the Supreme Court: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

    This statement was clearly a threat, but what kind of threat? Perhaps a direct physical threat, but more likely, I think, a threat to subject the two justices to the kind of orchestrated slander campaign that was already unleashed against Justice Kavanaugh; a slander campaign the would result in great emotional pain to the Justices and their families and great disruption to the operations of the Court.

    The crowd to which Schumer was speaking is typically referred to as “protestors” in news reports, but what are they protesting? No decision has been made in this case. Evidently they are protesting the willingness of the Court to even consider the arguments made by the two sides in this case.

    I’d call them a mob. Judge Andrew Napolitano, who does not believe Schumer’s statement violated any laws, nevertheless called the statement an “effort to politicize the court, to make them look like they can be intimidated by a mob outside of the courthouse.”

    The present-day Democratic Party together with its media/academic/activist archipelago has become quite friendly toward mob action and mob intimidation. One especially appalling event was the attempt to shut down law professor Josh Blackman’s talk at the City University of New York law school. When Blackman said the way to deal with a law you don’t like is to change the law…

    A student shouted out “[expletive] the law.” This comment stunned me. I replied, “[expletive] the law? That’s a very odd thing. You are all in law school. And it is a bizarre thing to say [expletive] the law when you are in law school.” They all started to yell and shout over me.

    There has been an awful lot of this sort of thing, and it seems to have been increasing exponentially over the last several years.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Current Events, Germany, History, Human Behavior, Law, Leftism, USA | 13 Comments »

    Chicagoboyz Waiting Room Series: 28

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th March 2020 (All posts by )

    woof

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 2 Comments »

    “The Irish Antifa Project”

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th March 2020 (All posts by )

    Along the lines of Project Veritas comes a promising new endeavor by right-of-center Irish students:

    In December of last year a Twitter account was set-up. Titled “Irish Students Against Fascism”, it described itself as an aspiring antifascist organising hub to physically, socially and professionally harass individuals engaged with conservative or nationalist politics on campuses.
     
    Very soon the account garnered well over a thousand followers, with retweets from the Union of Students Ireland’s official account among other leftist activist organizations. The account boasted of an impending website dumping incriminating material relating to students on campus, particularly in Young Fine Gael, and invited individuals to contribute over private messaging.
     
    What has been unknown until today was that, from the very onset, the page was operated by students involved with The Burkean. The account was set up with the intent of performing long term investigative work into antifascism in Ireland, as well as its insidious and often blatant links with civic society, journalism and politics.
     
    Put politely, antifascism is the euphemism given to the work done to destroy the lives of people with right leaning sympathies. While traditionally associated with left republicanism, it is these days more often than not linked to Ireland’s ubiquitous NGO complex, as well as well-funded activists heavily networked within the world of journalism, politics and the private sector.
     
    Many young people on the Irish Right have long claimed that there is institutional bias constantly working against them. However, it is only now that we can definitively say that this is not the case.
     
    There is no institutional bias against young conservatives. There is an outright conspiracy against them…

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Civil Society, Conservatism, Ireland, Leftism, Media, Political Philosophy, Politics | 4 Comments »

    Ask Not …

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 9th March 2020 (All posts by )

    … whom the woke-mob bays for; it bayeth for thee… to paraphrase John Dunne. As no less than Woody Allan may testify at this point, as the article linked here outlines. So the woke mob claims another scalp; yay, wokesters of New York City Mainstream Publishing Division! Take a bow, having thrown a glorious temper tantrum and bent your employer to your will! Today, Woody Allen – tomorrow? Who knows?! N.K. Jemison, a notoriously woke science fiction writer and beneficiary of the current system, weighed in on behalf of the mob, which is … not a good look for someone dealing in speculative fiction. She is supposed to possess some talent, but again – encouraging the mob, even joining in – not something which a thoughtful person with a sense of events and historical recall ought to do. But never mind.

    Frankly, as far as I am concerned the mainstream publishing establishment, which is centered in New York (as if that wasn’t sufficient punishment) may ride off into the sunset any time now. Words like “incestuous” and “culturally-blind” come to mind, as well as “arrogant” and “exploitative.” Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Business, Diversions, Marketing, Media | 6 Comments »

    Recommended

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 8th March 2020 (All posts by )

    Sorry to be sucking up all the oxygen in the room at present, but my Paranoia post struck a nerve and I will be adding at least one more after this. Cross-posted at Assistant Village Idiot, so comment in either place, depending on which comments you feel more at home with.

    Deevs asked for recommendations of books about paranoia.  I thought this worked better as a separate post. I used to psychblog from 2005-2009, but I haven’t put in so much since then. As there as been interest in the first post on paranoia and some questions asked, I will have another go later – with anecdotes.

    The classic in the field is Surviving Schizophrenia, by E. Fuller Torrey. Checking up to see if it had come out in a fifth edition, I found that it is now in its seventh edition. Xavier Amador has written the very readable I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help, and is an engaging speaker as well.  He has a series of talks on Youtube, of which this is the best introduction.  He was studying to become a psychologist when his brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  The battle over medications and having to confront that “lack of insight” is a frequent symptom was very painful for him.  He eventually became his brother’s guardian, agreed to forced long-acting injectable medication to keep his brother alive, and was relieved that his brother was consistently treated and nonpsychotic for decades. However, even at the end, he would ask his brother if he needed the medication.  “Nah.  I just take it to keep you happy,” said his brother, with mild affection. You can see what a bind that creates. People have rights, and the idea of the government giving permission for guardianship, allowing someone to force treatment on you that you don’t think you need has obvious problems. You can find complaints about this all the time on civil libertarian websites and in comment sections of both liberal and conservative sites. Horror stories are recounted, at which I nod my head and think “I’ll bet I know the other side of that story.”  Sometimes there are real horror stories, of people being railroaded who are not particularly ill. But in most places, psychotic folks are getting too little treatment, rather than merely annoying people getting forced treatment they don’t need.  I can imagine how some trends in mental health could create a situation, decades down the road, where inconvenient beliefs are medicated against the person’s will.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 5 Comments »

    Paranoia

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 7th March 2020 (All posts by )

    For most of you, people with paranoid disorders are encountered more frequently online than in regular life. Not for me, of course, but my situation is unusual. I would like to explain them to you a bit. Parts of their thinking that seem strange are quite reasonable once you understand what they are starting from. They may end up in a crazy set of ideas, but the reasoning to get there often makes an internal sense. This is part of why you can’t argue them out of these ideas.  It’s not that their reasoning is broken, it’s that something else is broken. Chesterton’s first chapter of Orthodoxy goes into the idea quite well from the perspective of a nonprofessional writing over a century ago. And fun.

    First, they retain most of the knowledge and abilities they had before, not necessarily impaired in any way.  If she knew horses well, she still knows about horses; if she played the cello well, she can still play well.  She may have developed suspicions about people in the horse barn or the orchestra.  These may grow until she can no longer manage to stay involved with either. She may or may not be attracted to new theories that explain things to her and decide that horses or music are far more important in the cosmic scheme of things than others have noticed.

    There is a sense that some things are important that others have overlooked.  In the same way that theme music plays in a movie, telling us that the villain has arrived, (cue Darth Vader music) the person with paranoia has a sense (quieter, though no less sure) that something ominous is occurring when they hear the news or even just go to the supermarket.  The number 7 is occurring too frequently, there are people who have Russian names, or look Russian, the cashier exchanges a look with the bagger that tells the person she knows something. They wonder for a time what it all must mean, but settle quickly on an explanation.  The brain will not allow events to stand unexplained.  They must be fit in somehow. The insignificant data that is regarded as significant continues to accumulate.  This is supplemented by real data , sought or unsought. The ATM has twice not been available when you needed it most.  A guy who you met just last week and told about these growing plots has a car accident.  There must be a Russian (or more frequently, a Jew) behind this.  Those forces are signalling to you to back off.  They know you are onto them and will punish you.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 14 Comments »

    Gratitude

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 6th March 2020 (All posts by )

    I just want to mention my gratitude to Trent for tracking down good information and getting it to us in quantity. I have not commented because I have no particular expertise, neither on the medical nor the political side. As I work in a psychiatric hospital I may end up over time knowing things that most people don’t, but at the moment I am dependent on those who know more and those who do their homework. Thank you.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 12 Comments »

    SARS-CoV2/COVID-10 Update 3-5-2020 — “As long as you remember to keep breathing and don’t fall asleep, it’s basically just like the flu.”

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 5th March 2020 (All posts by )

    Issues covered will be on COVID-19 spread, World Headlines, the 3-4-2020 Seattle Public Health Press conference, World Headlind Summary, Corruption at the WHO, Bad and good news COVID-19 medical developments. the Political/Demographic Implications of COVID-19 for the Gov’t Elites, and the social media and videos COVID-19 tracking source section.

    Top line, There are currently 97,138 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 3,351 fatalities as of the March 5, 2020, at he 4:48pm ET time hack on the BNO News corona virus tracking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-coronavirus-cases/) There are 80(+) and growing umber of nations including China plus three “Chinese special administrative regions” (Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan) that have reported COVID-19 infections. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Iran, Germany, R.O.K. and the USA all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease. Russia, Egypt, and Columbia appear to have joined the endemic spread list as well due to airports in the UAE and elsewhere picking up air travelers originating from those nations as sick with COVID-19.

    WORLD HEADLINE SUMMARY (3/5/2020)

    o New Jersey confirms first presumptive case
    o NY state cases double to 22
    o Seattle closes 26 schools
    o Pentagon tracking 12 possible COVID-19 cases
    o Illinois reports 5 more cases
    o NYC reports 2 more cases, raising total to 4
    o Italy postpones referendum vote; death toll hits 148
    o WHO’s Tedros: “Now’s the time to pull out the stops”
    o Tennessee confirms case
    o Nevada confirms first case
    o New Delhi closes primary schools
    o EU officials weigh pushing retired health-care workers back into service to combat virus
    o Italy to ask EU for permission to raise budget deficit as lawmakers approve €7.5 billion euros
    o Beijing tells residents not to share food
    o 30-year-old Chinese man dies in Wuhan 5 days after hospital discharge
    o Cali authorities tell ‘Grand Princess’ cruise ship not to return to port until everyone is tested
    o Global case total passes 95k
    o Lebanon sees cases double to 31
    o France deaths climb to 7, cases up 138 to 423
    o EY sends 1,500 Madrid employees home after staffer catches virus
    o Trump says he has a “hunch” true virus mortality rate is closer to 1%
    o Switzerland reports 1st death
    o South Africa confirms 1st case
    o UK chief medical officer confirms ‘human-to-human’ infections are happening in UK
    o UK case total hits 115
    o Google, Apple, Netflix cancel events
    o HSBC sends research department and part of London trading floor home
    o Facebook contract infected in Seattle
    o Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Netflix cancel events and/or ask employees to work from home
    o Netherlands cases double to 82
    o Spain cases climb 40, 1 new death
    o Belgium reports 27 new cases bringing total to 50
    o Germany adds 87 cases bringing total to 349

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, China, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, COVID-19, Culture, Current Events, Dogs, Ebola, Economics & Finance, Iran, Medicine, Middle East, Miscellaneous, USA | 125 Comments »

    Protecting Feelings II

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 4th March 2020 (All posts by )

    Update:   There is likely something in this of why black males are defecting to Trump much more than black females, but I can’t quite see what that is.  Offer suggestions you think might fit.

    As I developed this, I think I came upon an explanation of the Sanders/Biden split in the Democratic primaries as well. I almost made that into a separate post because I am striving for shorter essays these days, but the one topic just flowed into the other. Bear with me, and be charitable.

    James the Lesser uses the word “perverse” to describe the elevation of feelings over actual sickness and safety in the comments under Protecting Feelings, just a few days ago. It is also revealing of the motivations of those folks.  No one who has been sick near death would say having their feelings hurt was worse, nor would we say that if we had had the experience of watching another go through a terrible illness. It is rather like those people who tell us that various verbal oppressions are just as bad as physical abuse, or that sexual harassment is just as bad as rape.  Those who have been abused or raped might give a different answer, don’t you think? These must either be people who do not believe that the danger is real, or are vulnerable enough that the social death of hurt feelings is the worst they can imagine.

    This latter came up in reference to Jonathan Haidt’s The Coddling of the American Mind, which I discussed about ten weeks ago. He identifies the highschool classes of 2013 and 2014 as a sharp break point, with anxiety, depression, and suicide rising in that group and remaining high.  He attributes this to this being the first cohort which had personal devices starting in middle school. They really do live in a world where social death is more frightening, because it can strike in an instant and there is no effective fighting back.  Those whose personalities were formed outside of internet life have resilience against this.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 12 Comments »

    Co-Vid -19 and Supply Chain

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 4th March 2020 (All posts by )

    As I mentioned on these pages a few days ago, I am attending a national conference in DC for my company and around 300 of our vendors. As a reminder, I am involved in industrial distribution (actually HVAC distribution, which is a subset of industrial distribution).

    I asked the same question of dozens of my top vendors, and it was basically “what issues are you seeing with regards to the production slowdowns in China?”. I left the question open intentionally as I didn’t want to funnel responses.

    Almost all of them, as if they rehearsed their responses together, said the following:

    We have enough safety stock to get us through the Spring orders and a few months afterward.
    We are in constant contact with our Chinese vendors (as if this means anything) and are looking at alternate sources (prices will increase).
    There may be shortages on certain items in the future.

    I distilled these responses down a bit and thought about it and I think that there will be some supply chain issues, and there may be some opportunities. One vendor remarked that once Chinese production is fully back on line that there is a container logjam anticipated that might put some orders back several months. The vendors could be giving us the “remain calm” routine to try to keep runs on product to a minimum, but the demand in HVAC just isn’t there right now, as we are firmly in “shoulder” season. Shoulder season is Spring and Fall, where there aren’t too many emergencies, unless you live in the commercial world, where everything is an emergency.

    Not much more outside of these comments was related to me and I think they are for the most part telling the truth. I guess we will know in a few months. If we start out Spring with some hot weather like in 2018, we could start to see some relationships tested.

    Posted in China, COVID-19, Current Events | 2 Comments »

    SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Update 3 March 2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 3rd March 2020 (All posts by )

    This will be a short update. Issues covered will be on COVID-19 spread, World Headlines, COVID-19 medical developments regards PPE & the role of building contamination in spreading disease in Japan, and the social media and videos COVID-19 tracking source section.
     
    Top line, There are currently 92,138 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 3,134 fatalities as of the 3 March 2020 at 5:51 a.m. ET time hack on the BNO News corona virus traking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-coronavirus-cases/) There are 70(+) and growing nations including China plus three “Chinese special administrative regions” (Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan) that have reported COVID-19 infections. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Iran, Germany, R.O.K. and the USA all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease.
    The reality of personal protective equipment shortages in the USA because we outsourced most such production to China.

    The reality of personal protective equipment shortages in the USA because we outsourced most such production to China and many regional medical systems sent a lot of our existing medical PPE to China in January 2020 per the request of the CDC.

     
    World Headline Summary (As of late evening 3/2/2020):
     
    o US death toll climbs to 6; all in WA, which has 18 cases
    o 2 new cases confirmed in Tampa Bay
    o 1st case reported in New Hampshire
    o Hubei reports 114 new cases, 31 new deaths
    o Santa Clara County confirms 2 more cases, bringing county total to 9
    o Gottlieb warns US cases likely in ‘low thousands’
    o Illinois announces 4th case
    o Boris Johnson: “A very significant expansion” of the virus is “clearly in the cards”
    o Italian death toll climbs 18 to 52 while total cases surpasses 2,000
    o BMW tells 150 to quarantine after Munich employee infected
    o Algeria total hits 5
    o Senegal becomes 2nd sub-Saharan country to confirm virus
    o WHO’s Tedros: Virus is “common enemy” of humanity so don’t focus on blame
    o Jordan reports first two cases
    o French death toll revised to 3, total cases climb to 191
    o Tunisia reports first case
    o UK total climbs to 40
    o OECD warns global growth could fall by half
    o Indonesia reports first cases
    o “Progress is being made” toward a vaccine
    o Cuomo says NY expects more cases
    o India confirms 2 more cases
    o ‘Official’ Iran death toll hits 66
    o EU confirms 38 deaths across 18 members
    o First cases confirmed in Fla.
    o 2 Amazon employees test positive in Milan
    o Virus now in 8 US states: Washington, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Florida, Oregon and New Hampshire
    o San Antonio virus patient re-hospitalized after testing positive
    o China warns it could face ‘locust invasion’
     
    COVID-19 MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS
     
    This article is very much worth reading in full, printing out a copy, highlighting and carrying around. I’ll excerpt a couple of sections from it below the title and link:
     
    Unmasked: Experts explain necessary respiratory protection for COVID-19
    by Stephanie Soucheray
    CIDRAP News, Feb 13, 2020
     
     

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, COVID-19, Current Events, Health Care, Human Behavior, Miscellaneous, USA | 41 Comments »

    Politics, Demographics, and Milkshakes

    Posted by David Foster on 2nd March 2020 (All posts by )

    Much political media coverage these days focuses on demographic categories:  How will candidate X do among women…among Black people…gay people…low-income people…etc?  And much if not most political marketing is also aligned along these categories.

    Demographic and targeting are also used in business marketing, of course.  But that’s not the *only* approach that can be used.

    In his book The Innovator’s Solution, the late Dr Clayton Christensen told of a restaurant chain which was trying to improve sales results for its milkshake product line. “The chain’s marketers segmented its customers along a variety of psychobehavioral dimension in order to define a profile of the customer most likely to buy milkshakes. In other words, it first structured its market by product–milkshakes–and then segmented it by the characteristics of existing milkshake customers….both attribute-based categorization schemes. It then assembled panels of people with these attributes, and explored whether making the shakes thinker, chocolatier, cheaper, or chunkier would satisfy them better.”  Marketing 101 stuff, but it didn’t yield much in terms of results.

    A different team of researchers. found that, surprisingly, most of the milkshakes were being bought in the early morning. Customer interviews indicated that these were people who faced a long, boring commute and wanted something to eat/drink on the way. Milkshakes were superior to alternatives because they didn’t get crumbs all over (like bagels) or get the steering wheel greasy (like a sausage & egg sandwich.)  And the morning milkshake buyers wanted shakes that were thick, in a large container, whereas the customers at other times preferred less-viscous shakes and smaller containers.  (Even though the morning and non-morning customers might be the very same individuals)

    Christensen observed that a product can be thought of in terms of the ‘job’ it is doing for the customer:  what is a customer trying to accomplish when he ‘hires a milkshake’?

    The parallel isn’t perfect, but something like the same thought process might be applicable in political marketing:  What is a voter trying to accomplish when he ‘hires’ a candidate for X position?

    For example, there are a lot of voters who lives in areas with poor public schools and who are not in a position to send their kids to private school.  Maybe the ‘job’ they want to ‘hire’ a politician for is to give them realistic alternatives.  And maybe the appeal of this message is pretty independent of whether the voters are male, female, black, or white, and of whatever sexual preference they have.

    There are a lot of voters who own small business.  They have a lot of broadly-similar issues that are relevant to politics, and, again, these are mostly independent of the usual demographic categories.

    Seems to me that a lot more could be done with this kind of cross-demographic-category marketing…not that demographics can be totally ignored, but that other voter-behavior factors need more consideration.

    Also, it’s important to note that the Democrats are, because of their emphasis on top-down planning, inherently much more focused on demographic categorization than are the Republicans.  As Rose Wilder Lane wrote:

    Nobody can plan the actions of even a thousand living persons, separately. Anyone attempting to control millions must divide them into classes, and make a plan applying to these classes. But these classes do not exist. No two persons are alike. No two are in the same circumstances; no two have the same abilities; beyond getting the barest necessities of life, no two have the same desires.Therefore the men who try to enforce, in real life, a planned economy that is their theory, come up against the infinite diversity of human beings.

    But people who think in categories…and rigid categories, at that….tend to communicate in those same categories.  Which may not always be to their interest.

    Your thoughts?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 6 Comments »

    SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Update 02 March 2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 2nd March 2020 (All posts by )

    The themes of this update will be on issues of COVID-19 spread, World Headlines, Major COVID-19 medical developments, the Washington State COVID-19 outbreak and its implications, and the social media and videos COVID-19 tracking source section.
     
    Top line, There are currently 89,788 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 3,061 fatalities as of the 2 March 2020 at 7:03 a.m. ET time hack on the BNO News corona virus traking site (https://bnonews.com/index.php/2020/02/the-latest-coronavirus-cases/) There are 65(+) and growing nations including China plus three “Chinese special administrative regions” (Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan) that have reported COVID-19 infections. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Iran, Germany, R.O.K.and the USA all appear to have local, or endemic, spread of the disease.
     
    World Headline Summary (As of late evening 3/1/2020):
     
    o Global virus deaths hit 3,000 as China reports another 42
    o NY State confirms 1st case of Covid-19
    o Rhode island announces “presumptive” case; patient recently visited Italy
    o Washington State confirms 2 more cases
    o 2 new cases confirmed in California
    o Israel case total hits 10 day before vote
    o South Korea death toll hits 22
    o Germany case total doubles in 24 hours to 129
    o Mexico case total climbs to 5
    o White House to hold meeting tomorrow with 8 pharma CEOs
    o Italy reports 42% jump in cases overnight to nearly 1,700
    o France reports 30 new cases, bringing total to 130
    o Czech Republic, Dominican Republic report first cases
    o Chinese health officials report first ‘double lung’ transplant connected to virus case
    o Iraq, Bahrain confirm 6 new cases; Lebanon confirms 3
    o 6 being tested in NYC for coronavirus
    o South Korea confirms 18th death, officials seek murder charges for founder of church at epicenter of outbreak
    o American Physical Society cancels major scientific conference
    o Juventus quarantines U23 squad [Professional Soccer/football in Europe]
    o Iran death toll hits 54 as Trump offers aid
    o Thailand, Australia report first deaths
    o Spain case count hits 73; France hits 100
    o Independent scientist says it could have been spreading in WA for six weeks, with hundreds infected [Much more below]
    o Italian cases number more than 1,100; South Korea reports more than 3,700
    o Italian death toll hits 29 [with a 9% serious case rate]
    o Luxembourg reports first cases, says it’s linked to Italy
    o UK cases rise to 35 as 12 new cases confirmed; 2 cases infected inside UK
    o UK health secretary says China-style lockdowns “an option”
     

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in COVID-19, Miscellaneous | 26 Comments »

    The Battling B’s

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 1st March 2020 (All posts by )

    Oh, my … does the Dem Party, the historic party of slavery, secession, and segregation now look to add another “s” to their banner of massive fail – that of ‘socialism’, or whatever currently-fashionably euphemism that superannuated, work-shy Commie-symp, Bernie Sanders wants to call state control of any resources of value, including the labor of the masses? Looks like the finger of the burned fool is wabbling back to the fire, as Mr. Kipling so memorably put it all these decades ago. The live-action political version of Grandpa Simpson polled well in Nevada; he would have looked perfectly awful at the Dem Party debate-debacle … save that apparently all the other contenders came off even worse. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Conservatism, Crony Capitalism, Current Events, Politics | 10 Comments »

    A Presidential Ad in Wisconsin for Someone Not Named Bloomberg

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 1st March 2020 (All posts by )

    I have finally seen an ad for “not Mike Bloomberg” here in Wisconsin – it was sort of like a bigfoot sighting I was so slack-jawed. And it was from an unlikely source: Liz Warren. The ad wasn’t about how great she was or about any sort of policy, rather it was a Bloomberg bash. I couldn’t find the ad on youtube, but essentially it just said something like “hey, aren’t you tired of all of those Bloomberg ads, billionaires bad, I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message”. I thought for sure I would have started to see some Biden stuff by now, but not a peep, as of yet.

    Posted in Politics | 12 Comments »