Free money isn’t free (Maskachusetts unemployment insurance rates going up for employers)

Suppose that you can convince an American worker to get off the couch, stop cashing checks from Joe Biden, and don a mask for the CDC-required 8 hours per day? If you’re an employer in Maskachusetts, in addition to paying higher wages you’ll be paying a higher percentage of those wages in unemployment insurance premium.

Email from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, July 15, 2021:

Dear Massachusetts Employer,

… As part of the Commonwealth’s plan to manageably spread over time the cost of benefits paid by the UI Trust Fund in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 crisis, experience-rated employers will be charged a quarterly COVID-19 Recovery Assessment. The 2021 COVID-19 Recovery Assessment Rate Schedule on page 6 shows the assigned COVID-19 Recovery Assessment rate for each UI rate, equal to 10.50% of an employer’s corresponding UI rate. The COVID-19 Recovery Assessment will be retroactive to January 1, 2021. …

Thank you,

DUA Rate Setting Team

Another great reason to use contractors rather than employees whenever possible!

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Recycle Chinese and Soviet anti-landlord propaganda to bolster support for Rochelle Walensky’s rent moratorium order?

“CDC Issues Eviction Order in Areas of Substantial and High Transmission” (

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky today signed an order determining the evictions of tenants for failure to make rent or housing payments could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This order will expire on October 3, 2021 and applies in United States counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2.

As the U.S. is roughly #20 in the COVID Olympics, “substantial and high levels of community transmission levels” exist for 90 percent of American renters (National Fair Housing Alliance, in which “fair” means $0/month).

Some Americans may object to this, feeling sorry for small landlords, e.g., the owner of a Boston-area triple-decker in which the owner’s family occupies one flat while the other two were rented (until March 2020, when the system switched to a Burning Man-style gift economy).

I wonder if we can recycle anti-landlord propaganda developed by smarter people in China and Soviet Russia so that Americans (at least the ones who aren’t landlords) can all get behind Dr. Walensky.

From Wikipedia:

The Land Reform Movement, also known by the Chinese abbreviation Tǔgǎi (土改), was a campaign by the Communist Party leader Mao Zedong during the late phase of the Chinese Civil War and the early People’s Republic of China.[1] The campaign involved mass killings of landlords by tenants and land redistribution to the peasantry.[2] The estimated number of casualties of the movement ranges from hundreds of thousands to millions.[3][4][5] In terms of the communist party’s evaluation Zhou Enlai estimated 830,000 had been killed and Mao Zedong estimated as many as 2 to 3 million were killed.[6]

Those who were killed were targeted on the basis of their social class rather than their ethnicity; the neologism “classicide” is used to describe the killings.[7] Class-motivated mass killings continued almost throughout the 30 years of social and economic transformation in Maoist China, and by the end of reforms, the landlord class had been largely eliminated from Mainland China or had fled to Taiwan.[8] By 1953, land reform in most parts of mainland China was completed except in Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, and Sichuan. From 1953 onwards, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to implement collective ownership of expropriated land through the creation of “Agricultural Production Cooperatives” transferring property rights from the former landlord class to the Chinese state.

We can probably get some appropriate posters from the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre (I loved it there in November 2019!).

Comrade Lenin sweeps away the capitalists after the Decree on Land:

Readers: What are some ideas for good posters? How about landlords trying to block access to vaccine clinics and your state’s governor flattening them with a dump truck full of freshly printed executive orders?

(Note that the above should not be interpreted as a suggestion that the U.S. has adopted “Socialism” or “Communism”. A distinguishing characteristic of Socialism, at least Chinese- and Soviet-style, was that every able-bodied adult worked. The principal distinguishing characteristic of the current American system is idleness. Americans can get married and live off a spouse. Americans can divorce that spouse and continue to live off him/her/zir/them via alimony. Americans can have sex with a high-income already-married person and harvest the child support. Americans can sit in public housing for three generations and watch TV or play Xbox in between appointments to get more Medicaid-funded opioids. All of the above would have been considered criminal parasitism in the Soviet Union. The current U.S. system, therefore, is almost the polar opposite of Socialism, at least from the perspective of the individual citizen.)


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No vaccine clinic at Oshkosh

The government had approximately 50 years of warning that hundreds of thousands of people would be gathering at the Oshkosh airport last week (608,000 through the gates (but the same person could be counted twice if showing up on multiple days, I think); 10,000 aircraft landing KOSH). The same government says that it will pay any price (with printed money?), bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, and oppose any foe to get life-saving vaccines into the arms of those too stupid to realize that they need salvation. From July 28, 2021, state-level: “‘Get vaccinated’ is the united message Wisconsin health officials say amidst COVID-19 spike”. From July 29, federal: “Biden announces measures to incentivize Covid-19 vaccinations, including a requirement for federal employees”.

You don’t have to be a marketing genius to see the opportunity to reach the general public at EAA AirVenture. Ford runs a big pavilion promoting its SUVs and pickups. Cookware, mattress, knife, and massage chair companies rent small booths. You can check out a new concrete truck or military vehicle from the local defense contractor. You can order an AC Cobra replica. The majority of the attendees aren’t pilots and many attendees aren’t even interested in aviation specifically, but merely show up as companions with someone who is. Some Mennonite farm kids, below, for example, just waiting for a technocrat to inject them for their own good:

Why wouldn’t the multi-billion dollar government vaccine bureaucracy not set up a booth at Oshkosh and offer people one-shot J&J or their first or second shot of the other vaccines? EAA probably would have given the government worthies space for free, given that the COVID-19 mandarins have the power to shut down gatherings such as EAA AirVenture. It can’t be a shortage of personnel. At any one time there were probably hundreds of government workers on site for various reasons (police, U.S. military recruiters in their recruiting booths, U.S. military crews that had come with aircraft, FAA administrators and educators, Border Patrol folks showing off their gear, etc.). [Exactly 0 of these folks were observed to be following President Biden’s example by wearing masks!]

Here’s a sampling of non-aviation enterprises that decided a gathering of hundreds of thousands was worth showing up for:

The excuse is that vaccine injections are too complex to deliver without a permanent building? The government actually has several permanent buildings at its disposal during “Oshkosh”. One is an FAA Safety building and one is half of a huge hangar in which various agencies explain their operations (“International Federal Pavilion”). Even without a permanent building, Chick-fil-A was delivering 20+ sandwiches per minute out of a trailer and tent:


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What does Andrew Cuomo do for his next job?

Andrew Cuomo was celebrated less than a year ago: “Andrew Cuomo To Receive International Emmy For ‘Masterful’ COVID-19 Briefings” (NPR, November 21, 2020). At the beginning of coronapanic, his stock was especially high among those identifying as “women” (Daily Mail):

Hot for governor! Women confess they are developing ‘MAJOR crushes’ on Andrew Cuomo, 62, as the New York Democrat takes charge during COVID-19 pandemic (and his TV host brother Chris is getting some love, too)

Women are calling the 62-year-old governor ‘sexy af’ because of how well he is handling coronavirus

Twitter users are admitted they’re finding him attractive and in some cases falling in love with him

Fans cite the strength he shows in his calming daily briefings and his humorous interviews with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo

Democrats’ first choice for 2024 is an 82-year-old Joe Biden, but Cuomo was a close second in August 2020: “Cuomo: “Shocking” to See Poll Showing Him Leading 2024 Democratic Field; A Canadian poll shows Cuomo is the top choice of Democrats if Joe Biden is not on the 2024 ballot” (NBC). Cuomo might have won in November 2020: “‘Draft Cuomo 2020’ groundswell emerges amid the New York governor’s coronavirus response” (ABC, March 31, 2020).

(See also states ranked by COVID-19 death rate, in which Cuomo-led New York is #2 in the nation, and countries ranked by COVID-19 death rate, on which New York State would be #5 if it were its own country, just slightly below first-to-mask-up Czech Republic)

It seems that Governor Cuomo may soon be looking for a new job. “These are the women who were sexually harassed by Andrew Cuomo: AG report” (New York Post):

The independent probe into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo found that he sexually harassed multiple women, both in and out of state government.

Investigators focused on the allegations of 11 women, detailed in a blistering 165-page report released Tuesday by the state attorney general’s office.

My question is what does Mr. Cuomo do for his next job? New Yorkers thought that he was one of the most capable people on Planet Earth, presumably, or they wouldn’t have elected him to run their enormous state government (as a percentage of state income, the very largest in the U.S.!). Even if the 11 potential plaintiffs referenced above are able to mine out all of the savings that he has accumulated from 40 years of working, one would think that he could start to earn again somehow.

(One of our shuttle van drivers in Oshkosh was 75 years old. He volunteered that he couldn’t retire because he’d lost all of his savings, a house on the lake, and much of his income going forward to his first divorce plaintiff and then did it all over again, losing all of his second batch of savings and house 2.0 to divorce plaintiff 2.0. “I’ll be working until I die.” (Under Wisconsin family law, which provides for unlimited child support by formula, his plaintiffs could have done better via brief sexual encounters with higher-income defendants rather than long-term marriage to a median earner). At a minimum, Cuomo could drive for Uber, but I’m hoping that readers have more creative ideas.)

One idea: Design a line of clothing celebrating achievements and empowerment by those identifying as “female”. Here’s an example from Oshkosh:

“Jerrie” likely refers to “the Flying Housewife” Jerrie Mock (around the world solo in 1964).

“Jackie” is presumably early jet pilot Jacqueline Cochran. But it is unclear what she had to “fight” to get. Maybe it was fight other women to marry the rich guy whom she successfully married?

[After divorcing a husband with mediocre earnings,] Cochran met Floyd Bostwick Odlum, founder of Atlas Corp. and CEO of RKO in Hollywood. Fourteen years her senior, he was reputed to be one of the 10 wealthiest men in the world. Odlum became enamored of Cochran and offered to help her establish a cosmetics business.[6][7]

After a friend offered her a ride in an aircraft, Cochran began taking flying lessons at Roosevelt Airfield, Long Island in the early 1930s and learned to fly an aircraft in three weeks. She then soloed and within two years obtained her commercial pilot’s license. Odlum, whom she married in 1936 after his divorce, was an astute financier and savvy marketer who recognized the value of publicity for her business. Calling her line of cosmetics Wings to Beauty,[8][9] she flew her own aircraft around the country promoting her products. Years later, Odlum used his Hollywood connections to get Marilyn Monroe to endorse Cochran’s line of lipstick.

“Amelia” is Amelia Earhart, of course, who flew nonstop across the Atlantic in 1932, 13 years after John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown and 5 years after Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight.

“Pancho” is Pancho Barnes, air racer and aerobatic pilot.

“Bessie” is Bessie Coleman.

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Vietnam War analogy for COVID-19 holding up?

One month ago, from COVID-19 policy is more like the Vietnam War or more like the Penicillin miracle drug euphoric stage?

My personal view for most of the past year has been that the best analogy to the typical Church of Shutdown state’s War on COVID-19 is the American side of the Vietnam War. Our best and brightest (e.g., Dr. Fauci, state governors flanked by their public health officials) present charts and statistics showing that, in any given month, the war against coronavirus is being won. The population is assured that just a little more sacrifice will yield massive dividends. Sometimes the Priests of Shutdown will draw on mathematical models from Whiz Kids. Month after month of winning battles leads to… a lost war (e.g., Maskachusetts having 3X the death rate of Florida, adjusted for population over 65, but the population still has faith in Robert S. McNamara (Governor Charlie Baker)).

and in January 2021, Lockdown is our Vietnam War so it will end gradually? (quoting a Facebook user)

Of course, we can’t actually do this reassessment because doing so would admit that the last year was madness. The lockdowns are like Vietnam, the political and media establishment have so much invested in them, only a gradual drawdown will be permitted, regardless of the “science.”

The July 30, 2021 CNN front page:

As with the Vietnam War, being on a “wartime footing” means different things to people of different ages. In 1968, the 18-year-olds went to sweat and die in the jungle (not yet upgraded to “rainforest”) while 40-year-olds could sip cocktails and play golf. In 2021, K-12 students and Latinx essential workers wear masks 8+ hours per day while the upper-middle-class white people don the hijab for 15 minutes as they go into the “declared-essential” marijuana and alcohol stores. Schools in major cities, e.g., Boston, were closed for a year while adults could party in restaurants (reopened in Maskachusetts in June 2020), meet on Tinder, etc.

Since we are, in fact, losing this war (“life finds a way,” as Dr. Jeff Goldblum, M.D., Ph.D., noted), we also need someone to blame. During Vietnam we blamed the 30-40 percent of Americans who did not support the war. Absent these domestic enemies, our military could have mopped up the rifle-toting peasant resistance using advanced tech. Today we obsess over the people who haven’t taken the time/trouble/risk to get vaccinated. Absent these domestic science-denying Republican-voting enemies, our scientists armed with advanced mRNA tech could have mopped up the remaining pockets of SARS-CoV-2. From CNN, July 31, 2021:

The latest “science” seems inconsistent with blaming the unvaccinated, however. The virus is having no trouble spreading among the vaccinated (CDC; Israel) and it is have no trouble killing the vaccinated in the U.K., where they are good at tracking deaths, COVID-19 status, and vaccination status. Why do we imagine that all of our dreams would come true if the Deplorables got all of their shots?

(The Deplorables might want to consider getting their shots soon, actually, if they read about Marek’s Disease:

Because vaccination does not prevent infection with the virus, Marek’s is still transmissible from vaccinated flocks to other birds, including the wild bird population. The first Marek’s disease vaccine was introduced in 1970. The disease would cause mild paralysis, with the only identifiable lesions being in neural tissue. Mortality of chickens infected with Marek’s disease was quite low. Current strains of Marek virus, decades after the first vaccine was introduced, cause lymphoma formation throughout the chicken’s body and mortality rates have reached 100% in unvaccinated chickens. The Marek’s disease vaccine is a “leaky vaccine”, which means that only the symptoms of the disease are prevented.[12] Infection of the host and the transmission of the virus are not inhibited by the vaccine. This contrasts with most other vaccines, where infection of the host is prevented. Under normal conditions, highly virulent strains of the virus are not selected. A highly virulent strain would kill the host before the virus would have an opportunity to transmit to other potential hosts and replicate. Thus, less virulent strains are selected. These strains are virulent enough to induce symptoms but not enough to kill the host, allowing further transmission. However, the leaky vaccine changes this evolutionary pressure and permits the evolution of highly virulent strains.[13] The vaccine’s inability to prevent infection and transmission allows the spread of highly virulent strains among vaccinated chickens. The fitness of the more virulent strains is increased by the vaccine.

The evolution of Marek’s disease due to vaccination has had a profound effect on the poultry industry. All chickens across the globe are now vaccinated against Marek’s disease (birds hatched in private flocks for laying or exhibition are rarely vaccinated). Highly virulent strains have been selected to the point that any chicken that is unvaccinated will die if infected.[14] Other leaky vaccines are commonly used in agriculture. One vaccine in particular is the vaccine for avian influenza. Leaky vaccine use for avian influenza can select for virulent strains.[15]

The CDC tells us that the COVID-19 vaccines are proving to be “leaky”. Vaccinated Americans are infected and transmitting the virus even in the most virtuous of settings (Provincetown, Massachusetts, for example). So we are very likely breeding a Super COVID-21 that will live up to the doomsday scenarios that were forecast for Sweden and other mask and shutdown scoffers. (The greedy might want to buy some stock in the vaccine companies. Marek’s Disease shows us that selling Batch 1 of a leaky vaccine can lead to 50+ years of sales for additional vaccine doses, required for staying alive in the face of the deadly mutants supported by Batch 1.))


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What have I missed at the Olympics?

Nobody at Oshkosh mentioned the Olympics and it is rare to see a television while participating in EAA AirVenture. Did I miss anything? How much excitement is lost due to the lack of spectators?

This is the first Olympics since all virtuous Americans agreed to condemn gender binarism. With a rainbow of 50+ gender IDs and “men” and “women” now ill-defined ephemeral categories, is anyone pointing out the oddity of having “men’s” and “women’s” events? (I personally think that there should be no gender-ID-based barriers in sports; just have different leagues for people of different ability, as we did in MIT intramural sports (D league hockey for those who couldn’t skate; A league for those who played high school varsity hockey).)

Department of #KnowYourAudience (TV at the Hilton Garden Inn, Oshkosh tuned to Fox News):

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Some hope for the old Avidyne Cirruses

After nearly 15 years of ignoring 4000 Cirrus customers with the Avidyne Entegra glass panel (primary flight display (PFD)/multi-function display (MFD)), Avidyne announced a retrofit at Oshkosh this year. For consumers with 8K TVs from Costco (7,680 x 4,320 pixels), what does two decades of progress and $25,000 (plus installation) buy? The screens go from 10-inch 800×600 (best tech of 2003ish?) to 12-inch 1024×768 (compare to Garmin G500 TXi, a 10-inch 1280×768). This is, unfortunately, not enough resolution for clearly displaying an approach plate. The new screens have a touch panel so the number of hardware soft keys around the bezel has been reduced, as has the size of the bezel.

The menu structure of the Avidynes is not nearly as deep as what Garmin inflicts on pilots and therefore the system should be more efficient to use in flight.

Unfortunately, the $25,000 price is closer to $60,000 if you have a stock -G2 Cirrus. The Garmin 430s must be replaced with Avidyne plug-compatible IFD nav/coms. The rate-based STEC autopilot must be replaced with an Avidyne autopilot (a much better unit and, with these new retrofit screens, it will have redundant AHRS feeding it, unlike when hooked up to the legacy Avidyne Entegra). Add installation and this could easily be a $75,000 project on airframes that, pre-Biden, were worth $100-150,000. An owner who can afford to throw $75,000 at a beloved older airframe can perhaps scratch up $90,000 to implement a full Garmin solution, including the Garmin GFC 500 autopilot, which offers envelope protection even when nominally turned off (the autopilot servos will fight against a pilot who is trying to stall the airplane, overspeed it, or overbank it). Garmin is clunkier, but the investment in learning the Garmin interface can be transferred to the vast number of Garmin-equipped general aviation aircraft flying.

Here’s how the new Avidyne system looked in Hangar C:

The hoped-for certification and on-sale date is “first half 2022”.

Is there any possibility of a cheaper solution? The Dynon displays, originally developed for the experimental market, are the same resolution, work with the legacy Garmin 430W nav/coms, and cost less than $5,000 each. They’re not currently certified for composite aircraft, however. Here’s one at Oshkosh:

Note that it has been configured to display a round airspeed dial, which gives the pilot a lot more information/context than the speed tape uncritically lifted from airliners.

Finally, remember that the military has abandoned the idea that the task of piloting is fundamentally a head-down stare-at-tv-screens activity. A poster inside a Luftwaffe Airbus military cargo plane:

Note that the “Primary Flight Displays” are the heads-up displays and everything else is deprecated as a “head-down display.” (See also The latest glass cockpits are obsolete? regarding what’s in a T-6 Texan II trainer.)

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Best vehicle at Oshkosh: DC-3 turned motorhome

Last day of Oshkosh (EAA AirVenture)…

Even more amazing than all of the U.S. military technology, a two-year father-son project to take a DC-3 fuselage from a field in Missouri into a highway-legal motorhome (not a trailer, but a Class A motorhome with a engine!). From Round Engine Aero:

The TWA Hotel did a great job turning a Lockheed Constellation into a bar, but it isn’t legal to drive down the road.

Two aerial vehicles that are slower than a homemade motorhome…

I asked the owner of this vehicle to kneel with me for the National Anthem, but he/she/ze/they (don’t want to assume gender ID) refused.

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Define irony: Private school hosts diversity, equity, and inclusion event at a country club

Garland Greene:

Define irony – a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.

I would like to propose an update to this philosopher’s work. #DefineIrony: We were invited to an exclusive (and expensive) private school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion event… at a country club.

Related, from Saturday Night Live, April 9 1977

Julian Bond: Well, this is the major problem with these studies. The measurements of I.Q. which form the basis of comparison come from tests composed by whites for whites. The tests are culturally biased; it’s not surprising that whites would score better than blacks.

Garrett Morris: Could you give us an example of what you’re talking about?

Julian Bond: Certainly. Here are some questions that have appeared on recent I.Q. tests. Number one: “You have been invited over for cocktails by the officer of your trust fund. Cocktails begin at 4:30, but you must make an appearance at a 6:00 formal dinner at the Yacht Club. What do you do about dress?
A. Wear your blue-striped seersucker suit to cocktails and change into your tuxedo in the bathroom, apologizing to your host for the inconvenience.
B. Wear your tuxedo to cocktails, apologizing to your host for wearing a dinner jacket before 6:00 PM.
C. Walk to the subway at Columbus Circle and take the “A” Train uptown.”

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Grumman Goose converted to turboprop

My favorite airplane at Oshkosh so far… a Grumman Goose converted to PT6 power. The owner was gracious and let our 7-year-old get into the cockpit and cabin, but I didn’t dare ask him how much it had cost to re-engineer the beast.

In one small area of the event we saw four different sizes of Grumman seaplanes: Widgeon, Mallard, Goose, and Albatross!

And if you thought landing a seaplane was challenging…

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