Archive for April, 2020

Data, facts, numbers, and immunity to them

John Merline: Trump Derangement Syndrome Is Immune To The Coronavirus — And The Facts – “The truth is that, for the left, no matter what Trump does, it’s wrong.

Patricia McCarthy: President Trump needs to set the country free now – “For weeks now, nearly every media outlet has behaved as though the Covid19 virus was a cause for celebration.” … “The American mainstream media is the most dangerous enemy of America. There can no longer be any doubt about that fact.

“Wake up Americans! We are by nature a civil and law-abiding people, but what we are being subjected to is monstrous. As VDH reminded, 740 people die in California each day for a vast variety of causes. The virus has upped that number by four people a day. California has a population of forty million people. Is that a viable justification for destroying the livelihoods of multi-millions which will no doubt lead to far more death and destruction?

Victor Davis Hanson: Some Coronavirus Humility – “The pandemic may prove as bad as some warn; it is also possible that our response could prove as harmful as the virus itself.” … “In our current hours of Covid-19 despair, we must fight both the virus and the panic that the disease instills, given that the two can be equally deadly.” … “But the problem with all such educated guesses is that we simply don’t have hard data, at least not yet.

“Issuing dramatic warnings can be as much about life-and-death decisions as not issuing them. Not going to work for those under 65 can pose as much a collective societal risk as going, and panic may be as deadly for a country of 330 million as infection is for those not in high-risk groups—and all such suppositions can change by the time this essay is read.

Humility, not certainty—much less accusation and panic—should be the order of the day.

Scott Johnson: No one here gets out alive – “we are at substantial risk of inflicting catastrophic damage on our economy with literally no benefit in lives saved.” … “If the virus doesn’t get you first, you may be lost in the murder of the economy. In war, I think they call it collateral damage.

Joseph Moore: Data & Numbers: COVID 19 – “Before one can start talking about numbers, what exactly one is counting should be spelled out.” … “The first thing to note, and the thing to keep in mind, is the vast amount of uncertainty in all this. We don’t know, and are very unlikely to ever know, how many people are infected with this virus.”

“Of course, I could be wrong. I’m just a numbers guy. This thing could explode tomorrow, mutate into something really deadly, and kill us all. It just doesn’t look like it will, from the available evidence and history.

So, WHY is everybody panicking over this? WHY is dominating the news and causing us to commit economic seppuku? Those are very good questions.

Andrea Widburg: There’s another side to the story of the fired Navy Captain – “To many people, he was a lone man fighting a hardened bureaucracy on behalf of the men and women in his care. To others, though, he was a dangerous malcontent who placed his entire ship at risk by ignoring rules that exist for a reason.

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Numbers and deception with statistics

Matthew Vadum: New York City is lying about Chinese virus death rates – “The mass hysteria over COVID-19 in the U.S. is driven in large measure by misleading statistics and bad math about the disease’s body count. … The problem starts with the fact that the highly influential statistics from the Big Apple paint a false picture of what is actually happening.”

“In New York City, the death of anyone who dies who tests positive for COVID-19 is counted as a coronavirus death. This is the case even if the coronavirus failed to play a significant role in the person’s passing or illness.

This calculus violates established scientific standards.

Andrea Widburg: Chuck Schumer just got a reminder never to pick a fight with Trump – “Schumer’s attack on President Trump was not only a lie from start to finish, it represented an unadulterated will to power. If this were 1942 and Schumer thought that rooting for the Nazis would win him the White House, that’s what he’d do.”

“For Trump, the counterpuncher, Schumer’s vile accusations on Senate letterhead required a knockout blow and Trump’s responsive letter to Schumer is that blow. The opening line sets the tone: “Thank you for your Democrat public relations letter and incorrect sound bites, which are wrong in every way.”

Following that first blow, Trump proceeded to pummel Schumer. In his terse response, Trump reminded Schumer of the following:

Paul Mirengoff: A letter to Chuck Schumer – Mirengoff has to get in his digs – “There’s no merit in this claim. Impeachment had nothing to do with the New York’s level of preparedness for the Wuhan coronavirus.” Flat statement but rather missing the point that Trump’s letter described the Senate impeachment brouhaha as a distraction and, considering the timing, it hard to see how this was wrong as Mirengoff so flatly states. Then there’s “I don’t doubt that most of Trump’s barbs have a strong basis in reality. Schumer is, first and foremost, a world class grandstander.” Mirengoff is letting style fantasies get in the way of his judgment. Truth and reality seem to bother him when it comes to President Trump.

George Neumayr: A Sick Media – “They use the coronavirus crisis to play propagandistic arbiters.”

George Avery: The Severity of the CoVID-19 Epidemic is Not as Bad as You Think, According to the Numbers. – “Ascertainment bias is a systematic error in statistical estimation of a population parameter resulting from errors in measurement – usually, in undermeasurement of a parameter. In this case, we are underestimating the actual number of cases in the population” – The Diamond Princess cruise ship is cited among other eamples.

“What is needed now is for politicians and the population to pause, take a deep breath, and address the epidemic with rational measures, such as social distancing of the older population, ring screening around identified cases, quarantine of identified infected individuals, and adequate hospital triage systems to protect other patients and health care staff [f]rom infection in order to preserve our ability to treat the most severe cases. This is a strategy identified by myself and colleagues at Purdue in 2007 to ensure adequate capacity to deal with another true influenza pandemic, and it applies to this one as well.

Greg Mankiw: Viral Exposure – cites the NYT “From a policy perspective, we need to consider that not all exposures to the coronavirus may be the same. Stepping into an office building that once had someone with the coronavirus in it is not as dangerous as sitting next to that infected person for an hourlong train commute” … low dose exposures may help understand California’s numbers.

Glen Reynolds noted another interesting factoid at Instapundit. Office TP is a different supply chain than home TP and the cloistering at home has shifted TP usage from office to home disrupting normal supply considerations. Hence, the run on TP and vacant shelves at retail sources.

Timothy Burke: Dershowitz Matters (Unfortunately) – “The terrible thing about what has happened in the Senate is this: the intellectual and institutional infrastructure of legal and political systems can confer a kind of revenant legitimacy even on claims and verdicts that destroy those systems.” First, he distorts Dershowitz. Then he brings in Nazi Germany. Then he makes suspect assertions like “Dershowitz–and thus the GOP–are now fully committed to single-party rule, to an assertion that if they believe themselves the only legitimate rulers of the United States then it is so and they need fear no law nor principle as a barrier to their continued hold on power.” then he fails to follow up on his issue: If the people, via elections, cannot be the ultimate resource for governance, then who is? His ‘misperception’ of Dershowitz also shows an ignorance or avoiding of the many accountability mechanisms built into the Constitution and in law and custom. Getting into those is problematic because it involves exposing, as is indeed happening, the efforts of the Left to circumvent those mechanisms and abuse them. Impeachment was one example. The virus as an excuse to curtail personal rights is another.

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The backstory needs to be dug out, often kicking and screaming in protest by top media

Monica Showalter: So Trump was right all along about medical equipment ‘going out the back door’ – “Human nature being what it is, it’s not ridiculous to ask whether some people will attempt to monetize desperate situations for their own personal gain.” … “Trump’s statement sounds exactly like the kind of wariness that a hotel executive steeped in real world realities would have by raising questions about internal theft, which can have steep consequences for a business even without a crisis.” But where was the top media? … caught again with a knee jerk TDS in the chin.

Victoria Taft: NY Unions to Amazon: It Sure Would Be a Shame If Anything Happened to Your Company, Jeff Bezos. – “And the middle of a national emergency, in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a time when everyone is making sacrifices, union members are threatening Amazon: Do what I say. Or Else.

“The backstory is a bit more, ah, interesting than that. It turns out that the wannabe unionist was under orders not to come to work because he’d been exposed to COVID-19 and was on fully PAID medically-ordered quarantine. He came to his strike anyway and potentially exposed other people to the virus. That’s why he was fired. He broke the company’s COVID-19 protocols.

As I also explained in PJ Media, the unions are using this moment to put the squeeze on grocery delivery services throughout the country, encouraging work stoppages and strikes.

using a national emergency to pick the bones of the vulnerable who are frightened already and in deep need is unseemly and a contamination worse than one might find in any Amazon warehouse.

Victor Davis Hanson: America Still a Global Leader Even in a Time of Crisis – “Any laxity in fighting the virus is not to be found with the U.S., but rather with its loudest and most opportunistic critics.

neo: COVID-19 models, COVID needs, and New York – the numbers just don’t add up and neo struggles to figure it out.

Patterico: The Right’s Callous Rhetoric About Coronavirus Deaths – “people on the right have been making to dismiss the likely number of increased deaths from coronavirus. Hey, it’s not that many people, you know. And by the way, the people it hits are sort of expendable anyway.” The falsehood here is breath taking and more about Patterico than it is about his target. To start is his bigoted assumption about the right being callous. Second is his distortion of their view. Third is the logical fallacy of the binary in negating any consideration of multiple factors in a complex phenomena. Moral preening based on falsehood and self deceit just doesn’t bring anything productive to the discussion.

Or take Elliot Hannon at Slate: The Far Right Is Looking for Miracles and Scapegoats to Bail Us Out of the Coronavirus Crisis – “Dr. Fauci is given a security detail in response to increased threats.” “Far Right” is a key to something amiss in the argument.

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Inability or unwillingness to think. Unwilling to see.

Geoffrey Luck: One Dozen Dissenting Second Opinions – “Australians are being taken for a ride by well-meaning but blinkered bureaucratic experts and subservient politicians. How can the curtailment of human rights and freedoms be justified? Where is the Marc Antony we need to remind us that we are not “men of wood” and call for the very stones to rise and mutiny?

Megan Messerly: Coronavirus contextualized: Exploring, through data, COVID-19 in Nevada and beyond – “numbers can be difficult to parse without context. Below, The Nevada Independent explores that data and puts it into context, walking through what we do and don’t know about coronavirus in Nevada, how Nevada stacks up against other states and projections for the future.” One item noted is just how small the numbers still happen to be both for statistical validity and in setting a reference for comparisons to similar events.

I & I Editorial Board: Some Much-Needed Coronavirus Perspective – “On its own, 3,000 fatalities might seem like a tremendously large number. But that’s before you learn that an average of 7,700 people die in the U.S. every single day. ” … “Then there are all the scary stories about hospitalizations and how the health care system will be overwhelmed. Here, too, there’s no context.” … “But in any situation, context matters. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing missing from the 24/7 coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Post: Does Nancy Pelosi know about the coronavirus outbreak? – “Someone ought to tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the coronavirus outbreak, because her laser focus on pushing her political agenda suggests she’s unaware of it.

Patricia McCarthy: Nancy Pelosi: Cancer on the body politic – “Those are the words of Mark Levin and he is profoundly correct. It is actually an understatement.” Impeachment, Schiff, Wuhan, the state of San Francisco, … “Anyone paying attention to anything Pelosi has to say at this moment in time is mentally challenged.

Andrea Widburg: The mysterious case of the people who ate fish tank cleaner – “As a dedicated murder mystery reader, I didn’t blame Trump. My suspicions were focused elsewhere. It turns out my instincts may have been right on the money. Here’s the story the drive-by media didn’t tell you:

“Here’s an excellent rule of thumb when navigating stories that are hostile to President Trump: Assume everything you hear is a lie, whether it’s from the media or from the anti-Trump source about which the media is reporting. Also, you can learn a lot about human nature and sneaky crimes by reading murder mysteries.

Alex Kouskolekas: The coronavirus and character – “The old adage is that “tough times build character.” The old adage is wrong. The reality is that tough times reveal character, and a stunning number of people come up woefully lacking in this department:”

“It’s a remarkably enlightening time in our history, not because of things being learned, but because of people being exposed for who and what they really are. There have been multiple stories documenting serial failure across all levels of government to restock certain supplies, a failure that predates Trump. Yet the talking point that the Trump administration responded so poorly continues being repeated. Poorly compared to whom?

The inability or unwillingness to think outside the Trump lines colors everything, to the point of being a meme unto itself. … And somehow, it’s the fault of one Donald Trump. This isn’t just losing the ability to debate; it’s losing the ability to reason at all.

Inability or unwillingness to think!

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