23 thoughts on “News/Politics 4-28-20

  1. More abuse of the program designed to help small businesses.

    They returned it, but they never should have gotten it in the first place.



  2. I realize the reasoning behind the rush, but this is not helpful.


    “FDA pushed through scores of inaccurate antibody tests without agency review

    Some are giving too many false positive results, which could mislead some people into thinking they have already been infected.”

    “The Food and Drug Administration is dealing with a flood of inaccurate coronavirus antibody tests after it allowed more than 120 manufacturers and labs to bring the tests to market without an agency review.

    The tests, which look for antibodies that indicate whether a person has been exposed to the virus, have been eyed as a tool to help reopen the country by identifying people who may have immunity. Antibody data could also help determine the true extent of the U.S. outbreak by finding cases that were never formally diagnosed.

    Normally, the FDA does its own quality check before allowing tests on the market. Agency leaders have said they tried to create more flexibility for makers of antibody tests to help inform discussions about when people can safely return to work and school, and to identify survivors whose antibody-rich blood could help treat the sick.

    But many of the tests available now aren’t accurate enough for such purposes. Some are giving too many false positive results, which could mislead people into thinking they have already been infected.

    The problem has gotten so bad that the New York City Health Department warned health providers last week against using the tests to determine whether someone is infected with the coronavirus or has developed immunity through exposure.”


  3. So I guess we now how to question these numbers if faulty tests were used.


    “New Data From Cuomo: Almost 25% Of New York City Residents Have Coronavirus Antibodies”

    “A few days ago it was 21.2 percent. The new number is from the second round of tests, leaving me with the same question Nate Silver had: Is this new 25 percent figure the product of a bigger sample or is there reason to think that prevalence in NYC has increased by four points or so between the time of the first round of testing and this second round? If the latter, can we guesstimate how long it’ll be until they reach the 60 percent or so needed (we think) for herd immunity effects to be seen?

    Maybe that doesn’t matter. A more humane way to think about the road to herd immunity is how many deaths, not how much time, it’ll take to get there. If the price of 20 percent of the city getting infected was 10,000 or so fatalities, we should expect 20,000 more, whether sooner or more gradually.

    Regionally, the results suggest:

    24.7% positive in New York City
    15.1% positive in Westchester/Rockland
    14.4% positive on Long Island
    3.2% positive in the rest of the state

    The governor said he’s going to conduct antibody surveys of 1,000 NYPD and FDNY personnel to determine the infection rate in those organizations. A similar survey will be done with 3,000 health care workers and 1,000 transit workers.

    We should have comprehensive data from New York soon-ish, as Cuomo says he’s authorizing 5,000 independent pharmacies to conduct antibody testing going forward. Quickie math: If 24.7 percent of NYC has been infected and 12,287 city residents have died, that would mean an infection fatality rate a shade under 0.6 percent…

    …if you accept the official death toll as definitive. We have a denominator problem in calculating the disease’s fatality rate since no one knows how many people have been infected. (Including many of those people. It may well be that a majority of all infections are asymptomatic.) Antibody tests will give us an inkling. But we have a numerator problem too. Just as many people have gotten infected and recovered without ever having had their illness confirmed as COVID because they were never tested, many have died without their deaths being confirmed as due to COVID because they were never tested either. How many of those are out there?”


  4. Greg Abbott is re-opening Texas, says the stay at home order will be allowed to expire Thursday. I guess we need guinea pigs, so……



  5. Some Democrats are joining Republicans in calling for Pelosi to get the House back to work.


    “New Democrat Coalition To Pelosi: We Respectfully Request You Get Your Rear In Gear And Reopen Congress”

    “Respectfully? Pretty much, yes, but the subtext of this request from the New Democrat Coalition leadership to Nancy Pelosi clearly questions the wisdom of her strategy, if not her leadership. With the COVID-19 crisis stretching out more than a month without any significant oversight in Congress, Pelosi appears to be facing a backbench revolt as House Democrats begin to wonder why Pelosi keeps them sidelined.

    Politico noted the frustration this morning, as well as the Washington Post, which reported on it first. “We’re basically ill-prepared,” one House Democrat lamented, but so was everyone else. Other essential businesses figured out a way to continue operations, and Congress should have been no exception:

    Yet amid the biggest national crisis in generations, the one branch of government where Democrats hold power has largely sidelined itself, struggling so far to adopt remote voting, Zoom video hearings or any of the other alternative methods that have become standard for most workplaces in the age of covid-19. No administration official has appeared at a congressional hearing in over a month. Committees have been unable to meet in person to debate and advance bills. There is no firm date for when the new oversight panel will start its work.

    “I haven’t had a classified briefing in over six weeks,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, which needs to reauthorize the annual policy bill for the military. Crow said he has yet to get committee leaders to agree with his proposal to “open a nationwide infrastructure” for classified briefings for members of Congress, by using the secure rooms in regional FBI offices and military bases across the nation.

    The frustration is evident among House Democrats, with many increasingly convinced that Congress is functioning as a shadow of its former self, with rank and file largely bystanders as party leaders hastily assemble massive spending bills. More than a dozen told The Washington Post in recent days that the House was failing to meet its constitutional mandate amid an epochal global crisis, abdicating power to the Trump administration as the nation demands strong political leadership.

    That’s precisely what has happened. The New York Times finally figured it out almost two weeks ago, which one might have supposed would grab the attention of Democrats. Even so, most of them made their way back to Washington DC last week for a long-delayed vote on replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program, but then returned home without a peep of protest immediately afterward.”


  6. No thanks….





  7. Why NYC failed while Seattle succeeded.


    “While public-health officials were getting in front of the coronavirus in Seattle, Mayor Bill de Blasio dragged his feet and openly bickered with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York, according to a report highlighting the night-and-day disparity between the cities’ responses.

    “It feels like we might have stopped the tsunami before it hit,” Dr. Francis Riedo, the medical director for infectious disease at a hospital in suburban Kirkland, Wash. told The New Yorker for a piece published Sunday.

    Despite their outbreaks emerging at around the same time, Washington had seen fewer than 700 fatalities as of last week, as compared to more than 17,000 in the Empire State.

    “I don’t want to tempt fate, but it seems like it’s working,” Riedo told the magazine. “Which is what makes it so much harder when I look at places like New York.”

    Though factors such as New York’s more dense population and status as an international travel hub presented complications with which Seattle didn’t have to contend, the Big Apple’s leadership committed several unforced errors, according to the report.

    While the Evergreen State let scientists, rather than politicians, guide its decision-making and public messaging from the get-go — in accordance with guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — de Blasio and Cuomo have thrust themselves into the spotlight in New York.

    Their already contentious relationship repeatedly manifested itself in petty one-upmanship and disjointed public policy on everything from schools to playgrounds to stay-home orders, all while the disease continued to spread.

    “You have to make the kinds of choices that, if you aren’t trained for them, are really hard to make,” Sonja Rasmussen, a former CDC official, told The New Yorker. “And there’s no time to learn from your mistakes.”

    De Blasio also repeatedly offered tone-deaf messaging and eschewed the advice of experts from the city’s nationally-regarded Department of Health in favor of micromanagement, leaving members of his senior staff, as The Post has reported, on the verge of revolt.

    “There’s always a bit of a split between the political appointees, whose jobs are to make a mayor look good, and public-health professionals, who sometimes have to make unpopular recommendations,” an unidentified former DOH head told The New Yorker. “But with the de Blasio people, that antagonism is 10 times worse. They are so much more impossible to work with than other administrations.”


    So in a word, politics.


  8. The collapse continues. This was Hillary, Obama, and DNC operated from the start, while Comey and Brennan played the roll of useful idiots.


    “Dossier Author Christopher Steele Had Previously Undisclosed Meetings With Lawyers For DNC, Clinton Campaign”

    “Christopher Steele shed new light on his work for the Clinton campaign and DNC, revealing in testimony last month that he met with two lawyers for the Democrats as part of his investigation into Donald Trump.

    Steele met with Perkins Coie partners Michael Sussmann and Marc Elias, he testified.

    Steele said that Sussmann provided him with the now-debunked tip that a Russian bank had a secret communications channel with the Trump Organization”

    “A lawyer representing the DNC and Clinton campaign provided Christopher Steele with information in 2016 regarding an alleged secret communications channel between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank, the former spy told a British court last month.

    That now-debunked tip, from Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann, set off a chain of events that led to Steele publishing a Sept. 14, 2016 memo accusing the founders of the bank, Alfa Bank, of having “illicit” ties to Vladimir Putin, according to a court transcript obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

    A week after Steele wrote that memo, he had another meeting with Sussmann’s colleague, Marc Elias, according to the transcript.

    Steele disclosed the previously unreported meetings with Sussmann and Elias during testimony in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by the Alfa Bank founders, the transcript shows.

    Steele’s testimony about Sussmann and Elias provides insight into how deeply involved the two lawyers were in the Trump investigation, and suggests they helped shape Steele’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Perkins Coie, Sussmann and Elias did not respond to requests for comment for this story.”


    Gee, I wonder why….. Not.


  9. When you give a clown a press pass, you’re gonna get clown questions. This is absurd.



    Liked by 1 person

  10. The censorship at YouTube continues.


    John posted the compelling video of Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi in “A report from the front lines” over the weekend in two parts. At the time John posted the videos, they had more than 2,000,000 views. The doctors decried the California lockdown in particular on medical and economic grounds. Part 1 carried the heart of the doctors’ remarks in about 50 minutes.

    Drs. Erickson and Massihi are the proprietors of Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, Fresno, and Temecula. Their remarks were based on their experience dealing with the virus in Kern County. They focused on their own experience and widened the discussion to take in California generally. They made many of the same points we have been making here over the past month, but tied the discussion to their experience as physicians and owners in the business of treating patients in need of urgent care.

    Laura Ingraham invited Dr. Erickson on for a segment of her FOX News show last night, and she got action! As events transpired, she was able to report in real time that YouTube had removed the viral part 1 video following the segment — for violating YouTube’s terms of service, of course (video below). It must have been something he said.”


  11. The models have all been wrong, and how to fix it.


    “Why No COVID-19 Models Have Been Accurate, And How To Fix That

    The decisions that are being made during this crisis are far too important and complex to be based on such imprecise data and with such unreliable results.”

    “There’s been a lot of armchair analysis about various models being used to predict outcomes of COVID-19. For those of us who have built spatial and statistical models, all of this discussion brings to mind George Box’s dictum, “All models are wrong, but some are useful”—or useless, as the case may be.

    The problem with data-driven models, especially when data is lacking, can be easily explained. First of all, in terms of helping decision makers make quality decisions, statistical hypothesis testing and data analysis is just one tool in a large tool box.

    It’s based on what we generally call reductionist theory. In short, the tool examines parts of a system (usually by estimating an average or mean) and then makes inferences to the whole system. The tool is usually quite good at testing hypotheses under carefully controlled experimental conditions.

    For example, the success of the pharmaceutical industry is, in part, due to the fact that they can design and implement controlled experiments in a laboratory. However, even under controlled experimental procedures, the tool has limitations and is subject to sampling error. In reality, the true mean (the true number or answer we are seeking) is unknowable because we cannot possibly measure everything or everybody, and model estimates always have a certain amount of error.

    These Models Are Unreliable
    Simple confidence intervals can provide good insight into the precision and reliability, or usefulness, of the part estimated by reductionist models. With the COVID-19 models, the so-called “news” appears to be using either the confidence interval from one model or actual estimated values (i.e., means) from different models as a way of reporting a range of the “predicted” number of people who may contract or die from the disease (e.g., 60,000 to 2 million).

    Either way, the range in estimates is quite large and useless, at least for helping decision makers make such key decisions about our health, economy, and civil liberties. The armchair analysts’ descriptions about these estimates show how clueless they are of even the simplest of statistical interpretation.

    The fact is, when a model has a confidence interval as wide as those reported, the primary conclusion is that the model is imprecise and unreliable. Likewise, if these wide ranges are coming from estimated means of several different models, it clearly indicates a lack of repeatability (i.e., again, a lack of precision and reliability).

    Either way, these types of results are an indication of bias in the data, which can come from many sources (such as not enough data, measurement error, reporting error, using too many variables, etc.). For the COVID-19 models, most of the data appears to come from large population centers like New York. This means the data sample is biased, which makes the entire analysis invalid for making any inferences outside of New York or, at best, areas without similar population density.

    It would be antithetical to the scientific method if such data were used to make decisions in, for example, Wyoming or rural Virginia. While these models can sometimes provide decision makers useful information, the decisions that are being made during this crisis are far too important and complex to be based on such imprecise data. There are volumes of scientific literature that explain the limitations of reductionist methods, if the reader wishes to investigate this further.

    Despite Unreliability, Models Influence Huge Decisions”


  12. Still nothing….


    “Going to work in the midst of a pandemic is “essential” for doctors, nurses, first responders, and even grocery store workers and delivery people. House Democrats don’t think it’s “essential” for a Congress in the middle of a national emergency and a three trillion dollar spending spree. In a sudden reversal from a commitment last night, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced a few minutes ago that the lower chamber will not come back into session next week as scheduled:”

    “The House will not come back to Washington next week, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Tuesday, reversing an announcement he made on a Democratic Caucus conference call the previous day.

    The change of course comes as members expressed concern about returning to Washington while some areas in the region are developing into coronavirus hot spots. Hoyer said the decision to delay the return, which had been briefly scheduled for May 4, came after he talked with the Capitol physician, who said he recommended against taking the risk involved in members returning.

    “The house doctor, when I talked to him yesterday, was concerned because the numbers in the District of Columbia are going up,” the Maryland Democrat said. “They’re not flat, and they’re not going down.”

    Politico had reported earlier that House Democrats had balked at returning to the Capitol. They are also frustrated at being sidelined in the crisis while Nancy Pelosi singlehandedly makes decisions for them, but don’t seem too keen on fixing that problem:

    The decision to resume in-person business comes amid growing frustrations from lawmakers in both parties who are worried about being seen as sitting on their hands while the crisis rages. And lawmakers have so far been unable to agree on a remote voting plan that would allow them to work from afar. “Look, it doesn’t make sense for the Senate to sit on the sidelines while a lot of other people are going to work everyday and trying to get us through this,” McConnell told Burgess in an interview.

    But, but, but … some lawmakers are upset over returning to Washington next week — nearly two weeks before D.C.’s stay-at-home order ends. Several members raised concerns during a private Democratic caucus call yesterday, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who warned that a premature return could be “dangerous.” Others fretted about the prospect of an extended stay in Washington when they don’t have childcare at home. And on a separate call, the Capitol physician warned a group of lawmakers that they might be “years” away from normalcy.

    So … we are years away from having a Congress that stays on the job? Seriously?”


  13. So, they are saying that Congress is non-essential. That wouldn’t make a such a great campaign slogan.

    Are they still collecting their salaries? Isn’t there some way they can meet elsewhere if D.C. is considered too dangerous?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. And some have childcare problems? Boo hoo. Lots of working families or single moms have serious childcare problems, and even if they have good childcare, it is expensive (even not-so-good childcare is expensive), and takes a huge chunk of their pay.


  15. Speaking of child care: I read an article in the local paper yesterday. Educators bemoaning children going to work in the fields due to the virus closing the schools. The interviewees? Three seventeen year old boys who, finding themselves with nothing to do, opted to go to work picking rocks for farmers (so the farm equipment does not get broken while tilling or seeding or fertilizing or harvesting). One took his chromebook to work on in the fields during breaks. One did his on the weekends and one did his evenings. They easily had time for the work, though one struggled a bit with that. And they had hopes of college so were working to pay their way. I saw nothing wrong with that and commend the parents for instilling a work ethic. They saw opportunity and ran with it.

    The article also mentioned that migrants are reliant on migrant head start and such for childcare and if that closes, the children will have to go with them. Having been a child who went to work with my dad and saw it as the greatest of opportunities, I am happy for them. Do I want children endangered? No. Do I think outside is wonderful for children? Yes. Do I like head start? No (one of my children went until we realized what it was doing to him)

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Kizzie,

    “So, they are saying that Congress is non-essential. That wouldn’t make a such a great campaign slogan.”

    Unless you’re a Republican. Dems control the House, and R’s can campaign on their lack of work during the crisis.


    And yes, like all furloughed fed govt workers, they are still being paid. Nice, huh?

    They got 4 months salary guaranteed in the stimulus bill. And back pay, in case it takes a bit to get our money for doing nothing.



    There was a bi-partisan plan to do it remotely, work from home, but Pelosi killed that too. McConnell did too, but only because there was no sense in them doing it without the House doing it. They can’t do anything without the House, so it would have been meaningless. And McConnell wanted the Senate back in session weeks ago, but again, without the House….

    They’ve conceded the running of our govt to Trump, but now cry he’s being a dictator. Whether you like him or not, at least he’s working every single day. And he donates his salary to charity, unlike the leeched in Congress.


    “Don’t expect members of Congress to telecommute any time soon.”

    “Rep. Jim McGovern’s plan to allow House members to vote on coronavirus-related matters by proxy — meaning any lawmaker working remotely could authorize a colleague in the chamber to vote on their behalf — has been put on hold.

    McGovern, who chairs the House Rules Committee and released a report on the remote voting proposal last month, was all set to bring his plan to a committee vote last night — with hopes of delivering the bill for a full House vote today. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nixed that plan, announcing the formation of a bipartisan committee to study the matter instead. The move came after some Republican lawmakers voiced strong opposition to the measure.

    At the Rules Committee hearing last night, McGovern fell in line with Pelosi, but said action must be taken soon.

    “I’ve always said changes, if possible, should be done in a bipartisan and collaborative way,” McGovern said, speaking through a New England Patriots face mask. “And I hope that we can get there together, but I really believe inaction and maintaining the status quo is not an option.”


    But is boss Pelosi disagrees.


  17. Note the

    “The move came after some Republican lawmakers voiced strong opposition to the measure.”

    That’s a total cop out seeking to push blame on others. Dems control the House, and have the votes to do anything they want, even without one single R vote. But there was numerous Rs on the record agreeing to the bi-partisan measure. They had R co-signers for the bill that Pelosi killed. This is on her.


  18. Yesterday, you agreed with me that the banks’ administration of the PPP was flawed. You proposed reduced the incentive to quickly loan large amounts. I’m still puzzled why the government does not have the administrative capacity. Is the administrative state so minimal it can’t run a basic program? No other developed nation uses private banks to distribute gov’t funds. Instead they use use civil servants who are paid a base salary with no bonus or incentives and they deliver. A dedicated civil servant would not loan money to the LA Lakers under the PPP — they know its ridiculous and have no incentive to do that.

    However, the behavior of the governing bodies demonstrates a lack of a governing state. You rightly criticize Pelosi. There’s no reason she can’t propose an agreement to have the House meet with minimal members to obtain quorum and draw them from close to DC as possible to minimize travel. And obviously keep the same ratio of D to Rs. The rest can use technology to monitor or even participate. However, Pelosi isn’t the only one to blame. The Republicans since Reagan have held that governing should occur as little as possible and McConnell is the perfect embodiment of this ideal. And if you told him this, he would take it as a compliment.

    AOC and her side of the aisle has been critical of Pelosi’s judgement here — as many noted is Pelosi simply admitting McConnell’s approach of minimal governance is correct?. Is the governing state as non-essential as apparently the administrative state. What’s left — the armed forces and Trump? Is she conceding authority and also responsibility? Trump loved the initial daily attention but I think he and his advisers now realize they have also been stuck with the responsibility, rightly or wrongly.


  19. The NYC initial reaction may have been too political — but the same can be said for the Trump admin. Initially their biggest concern seem to be how they were perceived — hence a fixation on ratings, etc. And even now Trump seems hard pressed not to follow up or interject in a scientific presentation. del Blasio and Trump both needed to listen to the science. However, many politicians have egos which makes it difficult to stay in the background even when its better to just shut up and listen.

    I saw “Vietnam” question on a leftist site and had to give Trump credit for not losing it. However, one of your supportive tweets said the US need credit for its high survival rate — but that’s not true, the US is actually below average in know cases. And right now the US is approaching the same rate of infection as Italy with far less testing. The question was obnoxiously formed and quite stupid given that there is actually legitimate questions regarding the US performance.

    Youtube and other social media don’t censor on the basis of political beliefs. Most of them have algorithms to prevent questionable content from being posted — and they cast the net fairly wide in favor of curtailing too much rather than too little. Military historians who use Youtube as a source of income constantly complain they are demonetize because of content — to avoid this some WWII historians have started using Wehrmacht flags instead of Nazi flags on battlefield maps — too many Nazi flags and your video disappears and your site is demonetized.

    Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic has generated some serious backlash. He is pictured among 10-15 other people as the only one not wearing a mask. The Mayo Clinic requires a mask to be worn at all times and Pence chose to ignore it. Now Pence correctly points out that he was tested and was negative therefore wearing a mask isn’t necessary (masks only prevent you from infecting others not vice versa) However, obey the rules of a hospital, its good role modelling — especially when everyone else did — the optics are horrible.


  20. Mumsee, I totally agree with you. My granddaughter picked strawberries last year and she is just in her teens. She was thrilled when she was asked. She made some nice money. My other grands have worked on fishing vessels and are happy to do it, as well. Nothing wrong with teens working, as long as safety measures are taken and their education also continues.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.