The Brits don’t love the world’s best health care system

From a bookstore in Kensington:

A Guardian review says it is all about the death panels:

Side Effects forces us to face up to – rather than ignore or deny – the realities of balancing the vast sums that can be spent on a single, seriously ill patient against the “distressing conditions in which many frail and elderly people live out their final years, often as a result of lack of adequate funding”. It is all too tempting, Haslam recognises, to dismiss as abhorrent the act of attaching a price tag to a person – as though their worth can be measured in pounds and pence. A human life, surely, is priceless? No amount of mere money or stuff comes close? But anyone who is actually involved in the real, messy world of healthcare knows full well this is nothing but rhetorical posturing.

Later that afternoon I was talking to a guy who is married to an emergency medicine doc in London. With the cost of living adjustment, she can expect to earn 80,000 pounds per year (i.e., $80,000!) after 15 years of slavery for the NHS (age 40). “A train driver will earn more,” he noted, “because their union is actually effective.”

Who is smarter than the Brits for running a universal health care system that doesn’t bankrupt everyone? Africans! “Middle class Nigerians who need any kind of advanced medical treatment will come here on a tourist visa,” my friend explained, and go straight from Heathrow to an NHS hospital. Once they’re in the system they get treated just like anyone else. After consuming what might be hundreds of thousands of pounds in services and recovering, they go back to Nigeria.”

What else did they have in the bookstore? It’s “smart thinking” to fight structural racism:

An American hero who inspires Biden voters can also inspire the British:

Although the age of consent in the UK is 16 (e.g., a 16-year-old could consent to have sex with a rich guy after a Gulfstream flight to somewhere luxurious) and prostitution is a legal career for an 18-year-old, the British are apparently shocked about what Jeffrey Epstein was allegedly up to:

Anyone who isn’t a cisgender heterosexual white male is in trouble:

England was saved from German invasion by women of color who were willing to risk their lives in combat while white men relaxed in the safety of their country homes:

Despite the fact that some heroines exist, the entire Earth is, literally, toast because of those who Deny the Science (i.e., unlike World War II, this is not a war that can be won by women alone):

An entire section of the front of the bookstore was devoted to a personage who by right should have been King of England and was denied this position purely on account of her gender ID:

Circling back to the British health care system… if we aren’t willing to use death panels or at least a quality-adjusted life year calculation the way that the Brits do, how are we going to keep health care from growing to consume 25 percent of American GDP (a shrinking quantity in the aggregate and, since the population continues to grow via immigration, an even more dramatically shrinking quantity on a per-capita basis)?

Full post, including comments

Do elites fret about climate change and COVID-19 because nothing else can touch them?

A Facebook friend posted “The Israel We Knew Is Gone” (Thomas Friedman, NYT, Nov 4, 2022):

Imagine you woke up after the 2024 U.S. presidential election and found that Donald Trump had been re-elected and chose … Marjorie Taylor Greene for the White House spokeswoman.

“Impossible,” you would say. Well, think again.

… the national unity government that came to power in Israel in June 2021 … has now collapsed and is being replaced by the most far-far-right coalition in Israel’s history. …

The coalition that Likud leader Bibi Netanyahu is riding back into power is the Israeli equivalent of the nightmare U.S. cabinet I imagined above.

Netanyahu has been propelled into power by bedfellows who: see Israeli Arab citizens as a fifth column who can’t be trusted; have vowed to take political control over judicial appointments; believe that Jewish settlements must be expanded so there is not an inch left anywhere in the West Bank for a Palestinian state; want to enact judicial changes that could freeze Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial; and express contempt for Israel’s long and strong embrace of L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

Obviously it would be a nightmare to live in a world where Marjorie Taylor Greene was permitted to spew misinformation such as “COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission” and where there was a room that did not display a rainbow flag. So I didn’t argue with Friedman’s brilliant thesis. My comment was that it could be dangerous to take advice form those who don’t have skin in the game:

Having made the prudent decision to marry the daughter of a billionaire, Friedman doesn’t need Israel. He can continue living in his massive Bethesda mansion (while telling others to emit less C02) and, if the US becomes uncomfortable for Jews, buy citizenship in almost any country worldwide. Israel exists as a refuge for Jews who aren’t billionaires.

That Friedman is a billionaire (via marriage) matters because he is immune to any consequences that might ensue from people following his recommendations. The article you’ve referenced is mostly about Jewish-Arab relations and management of the war declared by the Arabs in 1948 that has never been settled. Should the Palestinians achieve their war goals, Israel will cease to exist. This will have a significant impact on Jewish Israelis who voted for a candidate that Thomas Friedman does not like. The end of Israel would have a big impact on low- and middle-income Jews worldwide who are in countries with populations that become anti-Jewish. It will have no impact on Thomas Friedman. Even if the entire U.S. were to adopt the Nuremberg Laws, Friedman would face no consequence more serious than picking a new country in which to live.

See also Eric Schmidt, who has offered various ideas for U.S. politics. If these ideas prove disastrous, he can get on a private jet and go anywhere in the EU. (Cyprus passport)

The Friedman admirer and his friend:

I don’t care about Friedman’s personal life. I do care about having a refuge for Jews. The more Israel becomes a far-right settler theocracy, the more it will turn away anyone who the Rabbinate judges to be not Jewish enough.

even today, religious Jews who are not orthodox might find Israel less pleasant of a refuge than they might hope. If the new government continues this trend, it might become even less pleasant.


I am not saying that Friedman is wrong or that Israelis who voted for Netanyahu are right. Only that people who don’t live in Israel and who are so rich that there is no situation in which they would ever need to live in Israel are likely to advocate higher risk strategies than those for whom the elimination of Israel would have severe personal consequences. It’s the same tension with venture capital-backed companies. The founders have a portfolio of just one company so it doesn’t make sense for them to do things that put the company at risk. The VCs have a portfolio of 100 companies and need to “swing for the fences”. So the VCs will support bet-the-company risks that don’t make sense for the founders and other employees. Friedman is like an outsider VC with respect to Israel.

Look at Twitter right now. Outsiders with big portfolios are now the owners. The insiders made only incremental changes and never had a dramatic loss in ad revenue. The outsiders are doing a massive restart that will either kill the company or enable it to be highly profitable. If Twitter dies, the consequences for workers will be much more severe than the consequences for the diversified investors who now own it.

The Friedman fans and Netanyahu-haters had some persuasive arguments that this new Israeli government will not be an improvement, but those aren’t relevant to the main point of this post, which is how it prompted some thinking about the differences between elite and non-elite thinking.

Friedman is an elite who spends all of his time with other elites so, from his point of view, a country is its elites. He opens by saying that the U.S. would be a completely different country if Donald Trump were back in the White House and people could once again read tweets from Marjorie Taylor Greene. Friedman starts from the assumption that what the 9 million-ish non-elite people who live in Israel do is far less important than what a handful of elites at the head of the Israeli government are doing. So a changing of the elites completely changes the country. I disagree with this assumption. For an Israeli who actually leaves his/her/zir/their house and interacts with other Israelis, what determines quality of life is the quality of these social encounters. The overwhelming number of these encounters will not be with elites.

Maybe the reason that the elites are so concerned about climate change and viral epidemics is that they are immune to almost everything else. A member of the elite can get into a private jet and escape any problem that is limited to a continent or two: crime, war, unsightly poverty, civil unrest, political strife, etc. But if the Earth turns into Venus, the Boeing Business Jet isn’t of much use. Respiratory viruses take out even people with unlimited access to medicine. If you’re not elite, you might say that climate change is your #30 risk (requiring a move to a new apartment or city) and COVID is your #40 risk (way behind kids not doing well in school, some other disease that causes disability, crime, boredom and mental health issues, being sued for divorce (happens to the elite as well, but they can be re-partnered, if desired, within days, and half of $10 billion is still a lot of money), etc.).

It is the sentence in bold that is the subject of this post. This is probably obvious to everyone else, but I don’t remember thinking it before. The correlation between being elite and being alarmed regarding climate change isn’t perfect, but it is strong enough that Nobel physics laureate Ivar Giaever is never going to be invited to speak at Davos. Elites have been in the forefront of COVID alarmism as well (leading via laptops from their suburban fortresses to which supplies were delivered by essential immigrants from Latinx America).

Tying together the elites and the “LGBTQ rights” (not 2SLGBTQQIA+) that Thomas Friedman mentioned, some rainbow wine in waterfront back yard (Walgreens here in Florida did not get the “Don’t Say Gay” memo, apparently):

(“Everyone’s Welcome in Our House”? What about Kanye West, J.K. Rowling, the January 6 insurrectionists, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and other Deplorables? Are they welcome?)

Full post, including comments

Gaithersburg, Maryland plane crash into powerlines

Friends in the D.C. area have been texting me tonight regarding a Mooney that landed in some powerlines near KGAI. From CBS:

A small plane crashed into power lines in Maryland, leaving two people dangling about 100 feet in the air, officials said. The crash knocked out power to thousands of people in the area.

A single-engine Mooney M20J crashed into wires near Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Maryland, around 5:40 p.m. local time Sunday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane appeared to be intact as it was caught in a web of power lines about 100 feet in the air.

As of roughly 7:50 p.m., Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer said the people aboard the plane were uninured. Earlier he said that they remained in a “very precarious situation,” as the wires were still energized. Utility company Pepco said that as of around 8:30 p.m. the lines had been deenergized.

How could this happen? Mooney pilots are usually pretty good! The plane departed from Westchester County, NY, according to ABC. So the task at Gaithersburg was an attempt to land. Where are these powerlines? Let’s check The Google:

The only tall high-voltage lines that I can see are about a mile from the runway, top left of the above image, rather near Giant Food. That’s quite a distance from the runway to be so low to the ground.

Let’s check the weather. 5:40 pm is 17:40 EST then add 5 hours and we get 2240Z. Here’s are the METARS:

KGAI 272156Z AUTO VRB04KT 1 1/4SM BR OVC002 11/11 A2945 RMK AO2 SLP987 T01060106
KGAI 272128Z AUTO 18003KT 1 1/4SM BR OVC002 11/11 A2945 RMK AO2
KGAI 272121Z AUTO 14006KT 3/4SM BR OVC002 10/10 A2945 RMK AO2
KGAI 272110Z AUTO 14007KT 1 1/4SM BR OVC002 11/10 A2946 RMK AO2
KGAI 272056Z AUTO 15004KT 2SM BR OVC002 11/10 A2947 RMK AO2 PRESFR SLP995 60003 T01060100 56050

Why isn’t there a METAR closer to 2240Z? It seems that the 2256Z observation would have come after the massive power failure. Here’s an observation from nearby Dulles Airport:

KIAD 272252Z 21011KT 1 1/2SM BR OVC003 11/11 A2945 RMK AO2 SFC VIS 9 SLP971 T01110106

Could part of the problem be that the altimeter in the Mooney wasn’t set correctly and, therefore, the instruments were showing the plane to be higher than it was? This is an irrelevant factor for an approach with a glide path, which KGAI has. They would have gotten fresh altimeter settings during the entire flight from Air Traffic Control. The departure airport, KHPN, had an altimeter setting of 29.64″ about one hour before accident. So if they’d taken off from HPN and never touched the altimeter they would have been (29.64-29.45)*1000 = 190′ lower than indicated. This kind of mistake resulted in an accident at KBDL to American Airlines 1572 (The NTSB report says that they were on a VOR 15 non-precision (no glideslope) approach.)

The weather was not improving dramatically after 2156Z (4:56 pm). Is it reasonable to land with only 1.25 miles of visibility and 200′ overcast? If you’re a two-pilot crew going into Dulles Airport with its idiot-proof runways and powerful approach lighting system that will cut through the clouds and mist… yes. In fact, the minimums for the ILS 1R at KIAD are 200′ ceiling and 1800′ of visibility.

What about at KGAI? Assuming that this airplane was trying to land, they’d be using the RNAV 14. With the latest and greatest WAAS-capable avionics, the weather minimums are 269′ and 1 mile of visibility. Touchdown zone elevation is 520:

So this would have been an attempt to do the an approach that the weather report suggested could not be accomplished legally. This is actually legal for Part 91 (private) flying, but is not permitted for airlines (Part 121).

On the third hand, had the pilot flown the approach correctly, it should have resulted in a safe landing on the runway even with weather below minimums. Based on my experience, the virtual glide path created by the WAAS GPS box is valid all the way to the ground. (And this was part of our airline training at a Delta subsidiary for ILS approaches; the glide slope (projected via radio waves from the ground) could be used as a reference even after breaking out from the clouds and being within 50′ or 100′ from the runway.) In fact, an autopilot could take the plane down all the way to the runway (would be a rough landing without a flare, but nothing that would be hazardous to the people inside the plane).

So the crash remains something of a mystery at this point. I would want to know if the Mooney (potentially ancient) had a modern WAAS-capable GPS for the RNAV 14 approach. If not, the weather minimum is 400′ ceiling and 1.5 miles of visibility and the challenge for the pilot is substantially greater.

This would be perfect for a Godzilla movie. Godzilla loves powerlines and he is often well-disposed to humanity so he could simply pull the airplane out of the powerlines and set it down on the runway.

Update: I found some relevant Air Traffic Control audio at Controllers often speak on multiple frequencies and I found half of a conversation on 128.7 in the archive block starting at 2200Z on 11/27 (so the media reports of a crash at 5:40 pm are probably incorrect; it would have been around 5:28 pm). captured Potomac Approach, but not the Mooney or other aircraft (so it is likely that the exchanges were happening on a different frequency associated with Potomac Approach; a merged recording of 126.75, 125.52, and 133.85 contains some fuzzy responses from the planes/pilots). The Mooney’s tail number seems to end with “1RF” (One Romeo Foxtrot). At 9 minutes in, the controller suggests (gently) that the 1RF has not followed a previous instruction correctly. At 14:45, the controller says “if you’re able to land at Gaithersburg you can report cancellation…” (i.e., it was foreseen that the weather could be below minimums). At 15:55, a Pilatus PC-12 (“Kronos”) is also going to GAI. At 16:45, the controller mentions, probably to the Pilatus, that a Cheyenne went missed from GAI and was diverting to FDK. At 17:45, the controller acknowledges a communication from 1RF. At 18:30, the controller tells 1RF about traffic and tells 1RF to join the approach. At 20:15, 1RF is cleared for the approach (allowed to descend from previously assigned altitude). At 23:15, 1RF is told to switch to the advisory frequency at the untowered KGAI airport (“CTAF”; used for pilot-to-pilot communication). Just before 27:00 the controller uses the full call sign: N201RF, which is the registration for a 1977 Mooney. Unfortunately, this is to issue a low altitude alert. If indeed the Mooney had switched to the CTAF, the message would not have been heard. Just before 30:00, the controller says “it looks like they made it” regarding the Mooney, but tells the Pilatus that he is waiting to get a cancellation from the Mooney (can’t have two airplanes doing instrument approaches at the same untowered airport at the same time).

My best guess is that the conversation was on 126.75, but the receiver that feeds is not well-positioned to hear low-altitude planes near KGAI.

Second Update: presidentpicker in the comments below gives us an overlay of the Flightaware ADS-B 3D track and the approach. The tracklog ends at 5:27:20 pm and sadly infers an arrival:

Pilot readers: Before we escaped the Land of Lockdown for the Florida Free State, KGAI was my most common destination airport for trips into D.C. My personal rule was that if the weather wasn’t great I would land at Dulles instead. “Not great” meant winds of more than about 20 knots unless straight down the runway, ceiling below 400′, or visibility of less than 3 miles. I would also go into Dulles if I were arriving after the KGAI FBO closed and I wanted a rental car. The fees at Jet Aviation Dulles or Signature for a single-engine piston aircraft were actually quite reasonable. It’s great to be a skilled pilot, but it is even better to set up a situation in which skills are not required. And there’s nothing wrong with doing an approach to minimums, especially if you’ve set up a two-pilot crew in your little Cirrus, but it doesn’t make sense when one of the world’s largest airports is only 5-10 minutes farther from your ground destination.

The Dulles photo above was taken just before landing at KGAI last week:

We departed Torrance, California in the Robinson R44 Raven II shown above and landed at Gaithersburg on November 21, 2022. There were a few stops in between…


Full post, including comments

Why didn’t Joe Biden visit his granddaughter in Arkansas for Thanksgiving?

Joe Biden spent Thanksgiving connecting with the American working class and hearing about their struggles in an economy ravaged by inflation. “Biden, family hit Nantucket stores for some holiday shopping” (AP):

Biden, his wife, Jill, and daughter Ashley went from store to store on Main Street in downtown Nantucket, lingering at Polo Ralph Lauren, Murray’s Toggery Shop and The Black Dog, among other establishments.

The president’s son Hunter and his wife, Melissa, were also shopping with their 2-year-old son, Beau.

The real story is about the Second Wannsee Conference, chaired by a Mexican-American and a Black poet:

As Biden went from store to store, a reporter asked what he thought about a dinner meeting former President Donald Trump recently had at his Florida home with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist. Both of Trump’s dinner guests have expressed anti-semitic views. Trump has said he did not know anything about Fuentes’ background.

(the first Wannsee Conference happened in 1942, the year that the Vanquisher of Corn Pop was born)

I’m curious as to why President Biden didn’t go to Arkansas, home to the nation’s greatest American art museum, to visit his granddaughter Navy Joan, daughter of retired stripper Lunden Roberts, whose family court career gives men roughly 5 million good reasons to study Ye’s early work carefully:

Like Nantucket, Arkansas is home to some of our working class brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters.

Entering “lunden roberts” and “navy joan” in the New York Times search engine yields no results. So I am apparently the only person in the U.S. who wonders why Joe Biden’s granddaughter does not get to meet her famous grandfather.

Photos from a January 2019 visit to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas:

A 2SLGBTQQIA+ painting from 1885:

Bentonville’s Elizabeth Warren museum predicted the exodus from Twitter:

It would have been nice if this had been our rental car:

There’s also the Walmart Museum, in which we learn that Sam Walton’s twin passions were computers and flying light aircraft!

Ice cream was available at pre-Jimmy Carter prices:

Full post, including comments

When will the Ministry of Truth get to work?

It has been a month since Elon Musk closed his acquisition of Twitter. Changes are happening at a fast pace, potentially proving SR-71 pilot Paul Crickmore’s point “You’ve never been lost until you’ve been lost at Mach 3.”

According to President Biden, this is a platform for lies. FoxBusiness:

President Biden mentioned Elon Musk and Twitter during a fundraiser Friday night …

“Elon Musk goes out and buys an outlet that sends — that spews lies all across the world,” Biden remarked. “There are no editors anymore in America. There are no editors.”

The president seemed to suggest there was no longer any moderation on Twitter, a claim echoed by several others on the platform who are also critical of Musk.

“How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake? What is at stake? So there’s a lot going on, a lot going on. But we have an enormous opportunity, enormous opportunity,” Biden added.

Biden’s comments soon after a White House tweet bragging about the Social Security cost-of-living increase was flagged by Twitter for lacking “context.” The White House later deleted the tweet.

If there are lies there must also be truth, right? Here are some lies that ultimately resulted in Marjorie Taylor Greene being “permanently suspended” from Twitter:

The Truth at the time (August 2021) was that vaccines do prevent infection and spread of COVID-19. As of November 5, 2022, the above tweet remained inaccessible via a search for “the fda should not approve the covid vaccines (from:mtgreenee)”. Twitter returned the following screen:

For those who sought to read something critical of the Federal government, in other words, Twitter reminded them to cease their thoughtcrime and read only official Federal government sites.

I guess it was fair to say that there was a Ministry of Truth operating within Twitter in August 2021 and even earlier this month.

But if Joe Biden and the rest of the U.S. government want Twitter to prevent lies from being published, does it makes sense for each social media platform to decide what is a lie and what is the truth? Advertisers are supposedly demanding that Twitter eliminate lies from its platform (yet the cash-seeking Democrat running against Ron DeSantis was allowed to lie with impunity; see Twitter won’t suspend a politician who lies to get money?), but how can they have confidence unless Twitter follows an official source of truth and flags anything that contradicts that source? We don’t want Facebook and Twitter to have different concepts of lie vs. truth, do we?


Full post, including comments

Evolution of Jewish victimhood 1947-2022

“Trump hosted Holocaust denier at Mar-a-Lago estate during visit with Kanye West, a week after announcing 2024 run” (CNN, today):

Former President Donald Trump hosted White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West at his Mar-a-Lago estate this week, demonstrating his continued willingness to associate with figures who have well-publicized antisemitic views as he embarks on another White House run.

West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, posted a video Thursday on Twitter in which he claimed that Trump “is really impressed with Fuentes,” who has repeatedly made antisemitic and racist comments as chronicled by the Anti-Defamation League.

(Why isn’t it forbidden deadnaming to refer to Ye as “Kanye West”?)

I had to visit Wikipedia to figure out who Nick Fuentes was, i.e., a young Mexican-American who has already been unpersoned by nearly all (Jewish-controlled?) media. Readers: Had you heard about Nick Fuentes before this week?

Here are some typical tweets on the subject of Trump’s dinner table:

I’m not sure that I love the evolution of Jewish victimhood over the past 75 years. In 1948, we fought against the regular militaries of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Today our enemy is an individual 24-year-old incel. If we extrapolate out another 10 years, is it reasonable to predict that all Jews worldwide can be taken out by a pet rabbit and we need all of the goyim to rally around us and protect us from that rabbit?

Separately, if indeed it is true that Nick Fuentes is a Holocaust skeptic, why isn’t it reasonable for a 24-year-old to question the Holocaust? Much of what he has been exposed to in U.S. media during his lifetime has proved to be lies. Why is it obvious that on this one subject the New York Times happens to be telling the truth? (Note that the Holocaust was not considered an important subject by the NYT in the 1940s.)

Finally, what is the evidence that Fuentes hates Jews for being Jewish. Maybe he hates the Democrat political program and knows that the majority of secular American Jews have adopted this program as their replacement religion. Is Fuentes on record as saying that he hates Jewish conservatives?

Update: If the pool at Mar-A-Lago were renamed “Wannsee” we could say that a Mexican-American and a Black poet chaired the Second Wannsee Conference.


Full post, including comments

Long COVID and California Worker’s Compensation

I was chatting with a guy who works at a Los Angeles-based manufacturer about the challenge of building back up to full production. “One issue is that if you got COVID at any time during the past two and a half years,” he said, “California assumes that you got it at work. Then if you say that you have Long COVID you will get years of Worker’s Compensation payments. Especially older workers were prone to making Long COVID Worker’s Comp claims. and, if you add up their Social Security, Worker’s Comp, and 401k, it wouldn’t make any sense for them to return to the factory.”

Fact check: this law firm says “with COVID-19, there is a rebuttable presumption of a workplace connection. An employer has the burden of proving that a claimant was not exposed to COVID-19 in the relation to their employment.”

Let’s look at the California labor force participation rate. California has one of the nation’s youngest populations (one reason the COVID-tagged death rate was lower than in some other states) and we’d therefore expect the labor force participation rate to be higher than the U.S. average. Yet it isn’t:

We see participation rising as women entered the labor market (70s and 80s) and then falling as women were offered the opportunity to earn cash via divorce litigation or simply having sex with a married dentist (state child support formulas guaranteeing profits were introduced around 1990; history and also “Divorce laws and the economic behavior of married couples” (Voena 2016)). Then we see the downward trend from all of the enhancements to the welfare state that started in 2009 (see Book Review: The Redistribution Recession for how Americans could find themselves in a higher-than-100-percent tax bracket as a consequence of means-tested programs, including mortgage relief). And right now we are bumping along at 62 percent in one of the best labor markets for workers in history. That’s the same as the national rate despite California being 1.5 years younger (median) than the U.S. overall.

Full post, including comments

If student loan forgiveness is illegal, can it still be accomplished via an infinite payment pause?

Continuing with our Thanksgiving theme, we can give thanks to the most generous members of our society. The most praiseworthy generosity is, of course, giving away money that other people earned. If we accept that stealing a neighbor’s car and donating it to charity makes me a more charitable person, Washington, D.C., is home to the world’s most generous humans. As we try to chew our dried leftover turkey, let’s look at a notable example of generosity from the central planners… “Biden extends student loan payment pause as debt relief plan remains on hold” (NBC):

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it would extend the payment pause on federal student loans, as President Joe Biden’s debt cancellation plan remains blocked in court.

The payment pause, which was previously set to expire in January, will be extended until June 30 or until the litigation is resolved — whichever comes first. If the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, payments will resume 60 days after that.

“I’m completely confident that my plan is legal,” Biden said in a video announcement. “But it isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit.”

Federal student loan holders have not been required to make payments since March 2020, when President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which paused payments through September 2020 and stopped interest from accruing to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In theory it is Congress that sets the budget. So it might be illegal for a president to forgive loans, such that the borrowers don’t have to pay for their gender studies degrees and the cost can instead be shifted onto the working class. And, since Congress can spend money and transfer costs from the working class to the laptop class, the original payment/interest pause in 2020 was definitely legal. But maybe it is also legal for a charitable president with a big heart to keep extending the pauses via executive order. The loan isn’t “forgiven” (illegal unless Congress does it and more accurately described as “transferred to the working class”), but it never has to be paid so long as a great humanitarian/philanthropist is in the White House. The original value of the loan eventually becomes insignificant due to inflation.


  • “Student Loan Pause Could Cost $275 Billion” (CRB): The pause costs over $5 billion per month and extending it through the end of 2024 would cost at least $120 billion. This would bring the total cost since Spring of 2020 to $275 billion. This represents about 70 percent of the cost of the President’s announced debt cancellation plan and is higher than the ten-year cost of President Biden’s proposal to double the maximum Pell Grant by 2029.
Full post, including comments

Ice Cube evaluates the Science

Back in the 20th century, a Ph.D. physicist in our lab at MIT introduced all of us to his favorite musical artists. Ice Cube was high on the list, especially for Death Certificate.

We can give thanks today for Ice Cube’s thoughtful analysis of the Covid vaccine Science. From the New York Post:

Last year, it was reported that Cube left the cast of Sony’s ”Oh Hell No“ after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine shot.

“I turned down a movie because I didn’t want to get the motherf–king jab,” Cube said on the podcast. “I turned down $9 million. I didn’t want get the jab. F–k that jab. F–k y’all for trying to make me get it. I don’t know how Hollywood feels about me right now.”

“Those motherf—ers didn’t give it to me because I wouldn’t get the shot. I didn’t turn it down. They just wouldn’t give it to me,” his expletive-filled rant continued. “The covid shot, the jab … I didn’t need it. I didn’t catch that shit at all. Nothing. F–k them. I didn’t need that s–t.”

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone! I trust and hope that all of you are following this MSNBC physician’s advice to refrain from gathering and instead sit alone watching Netflix (especially House of Cards featuring Kevin Spacey?):


  • Rammstein, another physics favorite (but they’re German so they can’t be included in our celebration of stealing a continent from the Native Americans)
Full post, including comments

If rich countries pay poor countries for climate change victimization, must poor countries pay rich countries for science and engineering?

Poor countries are the victims of rich countries, according to the Newspaper of the Righteous, and should get paid for their victimization. “Calls for Climate Reparations Reach Boiling Point in Glasgow Talks” (NYT, November 11):

For decades, vulnerable countries and activist groups have demanded that rich polluter countries pay for irreparable damage from climate change. This year, there may be a breakthrough.

What is owed to countries least responsible for the problem of global warming but most harmed by its effects — and by whom?

Year after year, calls have steadily grown louder for industrialized nations responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions already heating up the planet to own up to the problem — and pay for the damage.

This year, demands for redress have sharpened as climate justice has become a rallying cry, not just from countries in the global south, like Mr. Huq’s, but from a broad range of activists, especially young people, in the United States and Europe.

How much are we talking?

Estimates of the amount of money required to address loss and damage varies widely, from roughly $300 to $600 billion a year by 2030.

Less than the elites steal from the American working class every year via low-skill immigration! (Harvard study: $500 billion/year from the working class to the elites in pre-Biden money)

There’s additional scrutiny on the United States, in part because of its outsized role as history’s biggest polluter, but also because of the stated commitments of the Biden administration to climate justice.

The journalist and editors at the New York Times do not quote anyone who has an argument against paying. Is that because no argument can be made?

It’s Thanksgiving week. What about the fact that non-Western countries have gotten Western science (not Science in the form of cloth masks and vaccines that don’t prevent infection or transmission, but science as taught prior to 2020) for free? Shouldn’t these non-Western countries give thanks for Western science and engineering and maybe even give money (as an offset) for Western science and engineering?

How much are Michelle Faraday‘s descriptions of electrical phenomena worth? For a poor country that wishes to set up a power grid, what are Katherine Clerk Maxwell’s Equations worth? For people in poor countries who don’t want to die from infection, how much value did they receive from being handed the work of Louise Pasteur? If they want to get from place to place without having to build roads, aren’t they getting a lot of value from Katharine Wright‘s invention of the first practical flying machine? (assembled and piloted by her brothers) If they enjoy communicating and being entertained, they’re getting value from Wilma Shockley‘s invention of the transistor, no? If they don’t want to starve to death, they need the fertilizers that are made via the process that chemists Frida Haber and Carla Bosch developed.

It doesn’t make sense to start money flowing until both credits and debits have been tallied, does it? If we did that accounting, wouldn’t we likely find that poor countries were getting a lot more than $600 billion in value from Western science and engineering? World GDP is roughly $100 trillion.

Here are some October 2022 photos from Westminster Abbey. Important English and Scottish scientists, including Isabelle Newton, either get a tomb or a memorial or both.

Let’s not forget the monuments to British colonialism and an author whose low opinion of Jews is amply confirmed by Sam Bankman-Fried:

Full post, including comments