New Yorkers should vote for Donald Trump just to get a bailout?

“Retail Chains Abandon Manhattan: ‘It’s Unsustainable’” (NYT):

Of Ark Restaurants’ five Manhattan restaurants, only two have reopened, while its properties in Florida — where the virus is far worse — have expanded outdoor seating with tents and tables into their parking lots, serving almost as many guests as they had indoors.

“There’s no reason to do business in New York,” Mr. Weinstein said. “I can do the same volume in Florida in the same square feet as I would have in New York, with my expenses being much less. The idea was that branding and locations were important, but the expense of being in this city has overtaken the marketing group that says you have to be there.”

But New York today looks nothing like it did just a few months ago.

In Manhattan’s major retail corridors, from SoHo to Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue, once packed sidewalks are now nearly empty. A fraction of the usual army of office workers goes into work every day, and many wealthy residents have left the city for second homes.

For four months, the Victoria’s Secret flagship store at Herald Square in Manhattan has been closed and not paying its $937,000 monthly rent. “It will be years before retail has even a chance of returning to New York City in its pre-Covid form,” the retailer’s parent company recently told its landlord in a legal document.

Faith in human action:

New York’s stringent lockdown and methodical reopening may have brought the virus to heel, Mr. McCann said, but it is also wreaking havoc on businesses with so few people going to work, virtually no visitors and many residents “a little loath to go out” and worried for their health.

It can’t be that the virus ran out of suitable hosts in NYC! Bold action by the governor and mayor defeated the virus.

Democrats in New York assert that Donald Trump is corrupt and acts out of personal financial interest. Donald Trump is known to own a lot of real estate in NYC that would get a big lift from a federal bailout of NYC. Putting these things together, wouldn’t it therefore make sense for New Yorkers to rally behind Donald Trump for the 2020 election? What other politician is certain to divert rivers of federal cash in New York’s direction?

From January 2019, NYC subway:

Now they know that the real minimum wage is actually $0 and/or $600/week…

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American colleges and universities transition from providing education to spreading coronaplague

I have been asking Harvard undergraduates how their online learning experience was. “Terrible,” was a typical response. “I stopped watching after a month or so.” I asked a math major if she had been able to get help with proofs from teaching assistants during the purported virtual learning portion of last semester. “Only if I knew someone and arranged it privately,” she answered. “There was no structured tutoring provided.”

Asking around the rest of the U.S., the consensus seems to be that the bricks and mortar universities are nowhere near as good at delivering online education as the schools that have been doing it for decades, e.g., Western Governors University. Occasionally a student will praise an individual professor for being good at delivering an online experience, but that was never due to any institutional commitment.

How about for the fall? What have the brilliant administrative minds backed up by multi-$billion endowments managed to arrange? An Oberlin professor told me that the school was switching to trimesters and telling students to show up for only two out of three. He complained that it was a lot of work to redesign the curriculum, but said it was necessary due to a lack of dorm space. “We want every student to have a single room,” he explained.

Now that I’ve been defriended for heresy by everyone on Facebook I need to offend people before we are even friends. So, on this group video chat I said “The Chinese built a hospital for 5,000 patients in 10 days. Oberlin is sitting in the middle of farms and can’t set up a few extra dorm rooms in six months?” This was, I learned, a completely unfair comparison.

How about other schools? Most of them seem unable to come up with the idea of renting out blocks of hotel rooms to serve as dormitories (has there ever been a better time to get a long-term lease on a 400-room hotel?). Harvard, for example, is telling most undergraduates that they can’t return to campus (but the ones with a compelling victimhood narrative are welcome!). So the undergrads will meekly isolate in mom and dad’s house (well, actually mom’s house under most U.S. states’ family law systems, even if dad may not realize it yet)? No! Boston-area landlords are now besieged by groups of 6 Harvard undergraduates seeking to crowd into 2BR apartments. So they’ll be in Boston and they’ll get infected with coronaplague, but Harvard can argue that their infections occurred off campus. (See “12 People in a 3-Bedroom House, Then the Virus Entered the Equation”: “Overcrowding, not density, has defined many coronavirus hot spots. Service workers’ quarters skirting Silicon Valley are no exception.”)

From Harvard Yard in March:

Answer: 4 of them are in a 1BR apartment in Porter Square.

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Karen tracks her Au Pair

From Karen the Harvard professor:

I know every family is doing something different in terms of house rules with Covid, but I’m curious to know what those who are pregnant or with newborn are asking of their au pair. I’m due 9/1 and as things open up and 9/1 approaches we want to institute stricter rules. It would be helpful to know what others are doing especially if pregnant/with newborn.

For example, does it seem reasonable to say only building you can enter is our house, no public transit or anyone’s car? Tell us anytime you are leaving house where you’re going? We want to track your phone?

The other Karens in the au pair host mom group approve:

we are in the same boat! Good to hear other families are doing similar things

think that’s reasonable given your situation. AP might
not but I would have an honest conversation. Also does
she have access to your car? [Answer from Original Karen: “she doesn’t have access to our car. She doesn’t need it for her job and tbh I don’t want her driving it”]

How do these au pairs even get to the U.S. anymore? They can’t, which has led to “The Great Au Pair Rush” (NYT). Exactly when Government Daycare (i.e., K-12) shut down, the cruel Trump Administration also shut down the supply of foreign daycare labor.


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Timelock refrigerator and/or kitchen doors for work-from-home fatties?

Our national strategy for dealing with a virus that attacks fat people has been to order everyone to stay home and make trips to the fridge every 15 minutes since mid-March.

Since our coronapanic lifestyle shows signs of becoming permanent, how about the following: timelocks on the refrigerator and/or kitchen doors so that cower-at-home Americans can hit the fridge only at mealtimes? No more midnight snacking. No more second breakfast.

Readers: Would this be a good strategy for minimizing the Covid-19 death rate going forward (a thinner population is a safer population!) and also for minimizing the deaths associated with our shutdown?

Bacchus, from my Boboli Gardens photos (on film!).

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$100 million to rebrand our local hospitals

If you want to know how much profit there is in the non-profit world… a friend who works at Partners told me that the enterprise will be spending more than $100 million to rebrand back to what is essentially their old names: “Mass General Brigham” (combination of Massachusetts General Hospital, a.k.a., “the Massive Genital”, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital). That’s confirmed by this article.

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2700-year-old idea for running American schools in 2020-2021?

Posted by various Facebook Shutdown Karens:

Certainly this is potentially relevant for elementary school children whose parents are 82-year-olds with underlying health conditions (Maskachusetts statistics). And, if this were a realistic scenario for more than a handful of children on Planet Earth, we could make a lot of money building orphanages in Sweden, since their schools never closed, even in the midst of a raging coronaplague. We could also make money building orphanages in most of Europe, since their schools reopened in April or May while coronaplague at least simmered.

The image made me wonder if we already have a solution to (a) protecting American Karens from the viral monster under their beds, while (b) educating American children: ἀγωγή (agōgē). This was the system set up by Sparta in which all state-run schools for children were residential schools. Boys lived in the school from age 7-21 and thus wouldn’t be able to spread any viruses to their parents. Of course, today we would not limit the agōgē to children who identify as “boys”, but would instead host a full rainbow of gender IDs.

As an added bonus “in these times” (my favorite expression!), the Spartan system promoted the LGBTQIA+ lifestyle and most boys were ultimately persuaded of the shortcomings of cisgender heterosexuality (see “Status of homosexuality in ancient Sparta?”).

Readers: What do you think? Time for residential schools for every American K-12er? For extra protection we can limit teachers to those under age 50 and also have the teachers live in the school.

Mystras, 2004, near the site of ancient Sparta:


  • Twitter post by a law professor regarding the Arlington County Public Schools: “My wife, who is apparently a glutton for punishment, listened to an entire Arlington County school board meeting last night. She reports there was great concern expressed about, and discussion of how to help: (1) the teachers, especially those who will have kids at home; (2) the staff, as the county wants to avoid layoffs even for those who will have nothing to do with school online, such as extended day staff; (3) poor kids who rely on school lunches; and (4) poor kids who have trouble accessing the internet. Other than (4), there was essentially no discussion how educating students, which is indefinitely online (and was a disaster in the Spring), nor concern expressed for parents who can’t afford childcare, can’t afford tutors to help their kids, and who are otherwise experiencing a looming disaster with indefinite school closure. The way at least my county school system has reacted to this crisis would have been considered outrageous ideological propaganda if a libertarian-oriented public choice scholar had predicted it.” (Due to being next to Washington, D.C., the source of much wealth in a mostly-planned economy, this is one of the richest counties in the U.S.)
  • “Lost Summer: How Schools Missed a Chance to Fix Remote Learning” (NYT, August 7): government workers on vacation did nothing other than vacation…
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Sturgis starts today

Hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists will gather starting today in Sturgis, South Dakota. SD was the only state that did not attempt to lock its residents down (though unionized schoolteachers were protected from potential harm via a public school shutdown!).

If you see anyone wearing one of these T-shirts:

it might be time to deliver some unsolicited Covid-19 education, perhaps quoting from the twin saints Fauci and Cuomo. And to gently suggest a mask to match the following more traditional Harley-rider T-shirt:

I would pay to watch a Bay Area or Maskachusetts Shutdown Karen trying to re-educate a group of Harley riders!

Maybe EAA AirVenture needs to be moved to South Dakota where it can be safe from the Wisconsin governor’s whims! Call it “Oshkosh in Sturgis”? The 5100′ runway of 49B would not support a lot of the aircraft that come into KOSH. Maybe come to an arrangement with Sioux Falls? Two huge runways, just like KOSH (though, unfortunately, intersecting). My personal favorite airport in SD is the “Philip Airport”, and I have actually landed there and purchased self-serve fuel. But the 4000′ runway will never work.


  • “‘If We Get It, We Chose to Be Here’: Despite Virus, Thousands Converge on Sturgis for Huge Rally” (NYT): Attendance on Friday was on par with previous years, said Dan Ainslie, City Manager for Sturgis. … The rally, which has taken place every summer in Sturgis since 1938, commenced amid strong objections from residents. In a city-sponsored survey, more than 60 percent of the nearly 7,000 residents favored postponing the event. … Little could be done to stop the event, said Doreen Allison Creed, the Meade County commissioner who represents Sturgis. Ms. Creed said the county lacked the authority to shut down the rally because much of it takes place on state-licensed campgrounds. When it became clear that it would go on as planned, the city said in a news release that changes would be made to safeguard residents from the coronavirus, including adding hand-sanitizing stations to the downtown area. The city plans to offer coronavirus testing for its residents once the rally concludes on Aug. 16. (This puts South Dakota/Sturgis on the same level as never-shut Belarus! Sweden’s rules, in place since March, wouldn’t allow a gathering of more than 50 people. So the U.S. has whipsawed through ordering people to stay at home to gathering by the hundreds of thousands.)
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Deplorable Dad Advice

Some Deplorables were having a private discussion regarding “Activist Teachers Say It’s Not Safe To Go Back To Work, While Many Attend Mass Protests”.

Deplorable 1: Protesting is awesome because it is virtue signaling, a great place to meet other woke people, good for anti Trump news media, and it is not working but entertainment; what is not to love?

Deplorable Dad: Yes. I was driving [teenage son] through [town in Maskachusetts] and saw about 10 high school girls holding BLM signs. I offered to drop him off and told him it was ok to pretend to be liberal to get chicks. These girls would love to date a minority to prove they are woke.

(His son has at least as strong a claim to identifying as a person of color as Elizabeth Warren does!)

(On the subject of meeting people while protesting… a friend met a woman half his age while protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration at the first San Francisco Women’s March. To demonstrate her opposition to the white patriarchy, she moved into his multi-$million house for a year or two…)

A sign at our town’s busiest intersection:


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Saving lives with traffic circles

Back in March, I wondered “Why do we care about COVID-19 deaths more than driving-related deaths?” and closed with

What is the answer? Why do we accept that hundreds of thousands of Americans will die in the next 10-20 years because of our failure to invest in engineering and infrastructure today, but we can’t accept that up to hundreds of thousands of Americans will die in the next year because we didn’t do a sufficiently thorough shutdown?

Is it too soon to start asking what we could do to save lives if we invested coronapanic-scale money on something other than coronapanic?

“For Traffic Safety, Roundabouts Run Circles Around Stoplights” (Strxur):

Jim Brainard, the city’s mayor since 1996, has made roundabouts Carmel’s most characteristic feature. Within the 48-square-mile city of 100,000, located just northwest of the state’s capital of Indianapolis, Brainard has built 132 roundabouts. He’s also become America’s—and perhaps the world’s—most adamant cheerleader for roundabout adoption.

“Roundabouts have reduced traffic fatalities by 90% in Carmel,” said Brainard, a lawyer by training. “The U.S. average fatality rate per 100,000 people is 14. It tends to be higher in suburban areas because the roads are built wider for faster speeds. Indianapolis has done a little bit better than normal—11.7 per 100,000. The average in Carmel is two.”

Now that the U.S. will have to give up on public transport #BecauseCorona, is there hope for getting more flow through our existing road network to accommodate the existing 330 million plus the next 100 million immigrants?

The smaller the circles are, the safer they become. “We have higher crash rates in our double lane roundabouts then our single lane roundabouts,” Brainard said. “But they’re still a vast improvement over stoplights. We can move 50% more cars per hour through roundabouts than we could through stoplights. If you have constant flow, you don’t have to add more lanes.”

These can’t be retrofit easily to cities, but if the future of America is suburban (#BecauseCorona), maybe this is part of the answer!

From the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2019, evidence of a bad traffic light encounter?

The exhibits on the bad shape that the world was in, circa June 2019.

Do we credit these artists for prescience? The “Vague Anxiety” is no longer vague! “Acts of Mourning” is no longer a metaphor, as only 99.965 percent of the Irish people remain alive, the remaining 0.0035 percent having been killed by Covid-19.

From the bookstore, is it possible this would be considered insulting by those who call themselves “feminist”?

The rest of the bookstore was unobjectionable, except to those who had faith that public-key encryption would enable a secure Internet.

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Who was right, the stupid programmer or the smart doctor?

A comment on “Power of the Media to Shape Coronaplague Beliefs” (June 29):

Brett Arron, MD

It is amazing that people are willing to dismiss the NYT reports while ignoring data evaluations by the experts in infectious diseases and epidemiology. New cases are a leading indicator of what is coming. Average onset of symptoms from exposure is 5.2 days ranging up to 10-14 days. It is another 10 days before hospitalization becomes necessary for about 20% of the population, It may be another few days before intubation and mechanical ventilation become necessary in about 2.5% of the infected population. Around 1.8% of the CoV19 patients progress from respiratory failure and develop failure of multiple organ systems and succumb to the infection 1-3 weeks after intubation.
Rather than trying to reason your way with an incomplete set of data and facts to an answer you would like, you would be best following expert advice. Wear mask, socially distance, minimize your exposure to crowds and encourage others to exercise exemplary citizenship and do the same.
BTW in some recent strains of the SARS2 CoV-19 virus spike S1 and S2 proteins have stable and more effective at transmitting the infection to cells.
Annual mortality in the US from the annual influenza seasons averages about 0.2%. US CoV-19 mortality rates are 10 times higher about 2%. With the recent trends to younger patients hopefully the mortality rate will start to fall.
Publishing half truths confuses the issues and distracts from our best responses. Sweden’s mortality rates are much higher than their neighbors. New Zealand clamped down hard initially and is now CoV-19 disease free.
Free speech has limits. It is illegal to scream fire in a movie theater. In this analogy, there is a fire in the theater and you and people like you are telling people it is okay to stay in your seats, just ignore the smoke and fire alarms, no one had died.
Herd immunity

My implicit prediction was that the downward/flat trend in deaths in the U.S. was likely to continue, despite the rising trend, starting in mid-June, of positive infection tests. This prediction was based on decades of experience… as a computer programmer. Dr. Brett Arron’s was based on actually knowing something.

It has now been roughly 8 weeks since the “new reported cases in the U.S.” started trending up. What are we seeing in the trend of “new reported deaths”?

———— everything above this line was written on June 29 ————-

Well… it looks like I owe Dr. Arron dinner! From NYT:

I surely wish that I had been right, partly because I love to be right but mostly because it is sad when a virus is able to kill people.

On June 29 there were roughly 40,000 cases (positive tests). Using Dr. Arron’s numbers, today would be roughly when we would expect those who tested positive on June 29 to die. The death rate is about 1,000 people per day. Dr. Arron said it would be 1.8 percent of those who tested positive, which works out to 720.

Other than admitting to being stupid, what is my explanation for being wrong? I have consistently underestimated the power of shutdown. Knowing that Americans, despite a “shutdown”, were continuing to meet in grocery stores, marijuana stores, liquor stores, on Tinder (record usage), etc., and having seen Americans wearing filthy bandanas underneath their noses as PPE, I did not believe that we were having an effect on viral transmission.

About two weeks after the post that kicked off this follow-up, I began to doubt my assumptions: “Coronaplague test data show that Florida successfully flattened the curve?” At least in Florida, everything worked the way that it was supposed to, according to the Church of Shutdown dogma, March edition. By sacrificing their children’s education, sacrificing their long-term mental and physical health, sacrificing development of work skills, and eliminating their social lives, Floridians actually did push their plague back by a couple of months. If Floridians did it, maybe people in a lot of other states “succeeded” as well. This is a Pyrrhic victory, of course, since the reward is simply prolonging the shutdown and the “war” that we’ve declared on the virus that we are almost certainly destined to lose. It is also not a “success” as defined by minimizing deaths, since the deaths from shutdown will far exceed any lives saved from slowing down Covid-19.

Could we have done anything differently if we had known that the decline in deaths was simply to a local minimum?

Wear masks more diligently? “The land with no face masks: Holland’s top scientists say there’s no solid evidence coverings work and warn they could even damage the fight against Covid-19” (Daily Mail, August 4)

Social distance more distantly? Well, people don’t bother once they’re masked. But, even if they did, what would be the point? Shift Covid-19 infections and deaths into October?

Minimize exposure to crowds, as Dr. Arron suggests? Young people have already given up on this, right? And old/vulnerable people are still in their bunkers.

What is the value of all of these data, aside from proving that Dr. Arron was right and I was wrong?


  • Our reward for all of the shutdowns and sacrifices: “One death every 80 seconds: The grim new toll of COVID-19 in America” (NBC) Over the last seven days, a grim new COVID-19 calculus has emerged: one person died every 80 seconds from the coronavirus in America. … The Chicago Public School system became the latest to ditch plans to reopen classrooms to in-person education come September. Instead, the nation’s third-largest school system will do what many other school districts are doing and reopen remotely on Sept. 8 and revisit that strategy on Nov. 9. [instead of three months of European-style terrible news from around the whole country, followed by a European-style resumption of normal life, we will perhaps have years to beat ourselves up about this]
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