Do we have the energy to fight both coronaplague and cleavage?

In the same vein as Time to love smokers again?“Paris Musée d’Orsay sorry for barring visitor in low-cut dress” (BBC):

Temperatures reached 26C on Tuesday, and Jeanne, an art-loving literature student, told of her desire to mark the end of a hot afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay. “It was far from my mind that my cleavage would be the subject of any disagreement,” she says.

Although her friend had a cropped top that showed her navel, Jeanne says attention was fixed on her breasts even before she had had a chance to show her ticket. “Oh no, that’s not going to be possible, that’s not allowed, that is not acceptable,” she quotes a ticket agent as saying.

If society has the energy for this, can we infer that coronaplague isn’t so bad?


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Amy Coney Barrett will inspire Americans to get fit?

“To Conservatives, Barrett Has ‘Perfect Combination’ of Attributes for Supreme Court” (NYT):

“Amy Coney Barrett meets Donald Trump’s two main litmus tests: She has made clear she would invalidate the A.C.A. and take health care away from millions of people and undermine a woman’s reproductive freedom,” said Nan Aron, the president of Alliance for Justice, a liberal group.

It is unclear to me why people who live in properly governed “Blue states” worry about health insurance and the availability of abortion (on demand at up to 24 weeks here in Maskachusetts, and, after that, available if a single doctor believes that “continuation of her pregnancy will impose on [the mother] a substantial risk of grave impairment of her physical or mental health.”) A repeal of Roe v. Wade would not prevent a state from offering unlimited free abortions right up to 40 weeks of pregnancy. A repeal of Obamacare would not prevent a state from using state funds to offer unlimited free health insurance to every resident.

What else do we know about this judge?

Judge Barrett and her husband, Jesse Barrett, a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice, have seven children, all under 20, including two adopted from Haiti and a young son with Down syndrome, whom she would carry downstairs by piggyback in the morning. Judge Barrett is known for volunteering at her children’s grade school, and at age 48, she would be the youngest justice on the bench, poised to shape a generation of American law.

So she’s kind of busy. Does that stop her from working out?

Judge Barrett and other university faculty members have been known to work out together at a CrossFit-type program, sometimes with their former provost.

Seven children and a job as a Federal judge do not stop Amy Coney Barrett from going to the gym. What is stopping the rest of us?

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Teachers at our local high school may go into work soon

One of our local high schools was supposed to start up on September 16, providing two mornings per week of in-person instruction (total of 6 hours per week of free daycare!) and the rest via Zoom (“hybrid”).

From the principal of Lincoln-Sudbury High School, on September 12:

I am very disappointed to share that I learned this morning that there was a crowded indoor and outdoor student party Friday evening that involved alcohol and complete lack of safety precautions to protect against the spread of COVID. Police were called to the scene. An estimated number of 15 students ran into the woods. They collected names from 32 other individuals. 13 of those turned out to be made up names. That means at least 13 plus 15 (28) known to be on site are unaccounted for. If these students had been identified they could be requested to be isolated from school, monitored and tested.

The Sudbury Board of Health is stating that we must start school in remote learning for 14 days from the known incident. On the assumption that students involved are more likely juniors or seniors I asked if we could bring in just 9th and 10th graders. The answer is no, because we don’t know that no younger students were involved or that students involved were not siblings of younger students. … We plan to return to in-person hybrid on Tuesday, September 29th.

I agree completely with the Board of Health that this is the most prudent course of action to take given what has taken place. After the intensity of hard work and planning that has been done to be able to start school with students in-person we are profoundly disappointed at this sudden change of plans. I know you must be as disappointed.

… If one person assumes risky behavior upon themselves it is not fair or safe to bring that risk upon others in a shared community.

So… because roughly 50 of the 1500 students chose to exercise what had been their First Amendment Right to Assemble (off campus, presumably at a parent’s house), the teachers don’t have to run any risk of in-person exposure.

(Masks and all-afternoon sanitization prevent coronavirus from spreading student-to-student or student-to-teacher, which is why tremendous efforts are put into masks and why the school is closed all afternoon every afternoon for sanitization. On the other hand, just in case a single student at the party might have had coronavirus, we can’t possible open up our masked-and-sanitized school.)

I wonder if they can keep this going for the rest of the school year, as a friend’s daughter predicted: “Dad, they’ll eventually find a way to have remote only.” Suppose that a teacher says that he/she/ze/they saw a student in the local supermarket. The student looked familiar, but it was difficult to tell who he/she/ze/they was due to the mask. Said mask was being worn under the nose, rendering him/her/zir/them completely unprotected against coronaplague. The teacher also saw some other customers in the supermarket with loosely fitted bandanas and under-the-nose masks. The school needs to be shut down, right?


  • “Parents And Teen Charged Over Party Which Forced High School Into Remote Learning” (Newsweek), noting that the school was forced to close: Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix … said the large group of youths were allegedly “disregarding state mandated social distancing and face covering protocols” and several party attendees “made threatening comments towards the responding officers”. Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix said that the parents involved as being responsible for the party have been charged in Framingham District Court with providing alcohol to minors and violating Massachusetts Social Host Law. Under the state law anyone “who is in control of the premises and who furnishes alcohol or allows it to be consumed on those premises” constitutes as a social host and may face fines, imprisonment or both.
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Blacks and Jews band together to fight the Blondes

“United Sued for Packing NFL Charters With Young, Blond Crews” (Bloomberg) warms my heart on so many levels, and not simply as a proud former Delta employee.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. packs its charter flights for sports teams with young, blond crews and bars older flight attendants from working the plum routes, according to a new lawsuit.

The attendants — a Black woman who has worked for the airline for 28 years and a Jewish woman with 34 years of tenure — say that they both tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to get assigned to work the charter flights.

Sharon Tesler and Kim Guillory said they were told by supervisors that they were unable to get work on the charters because they weren’t on “preferred” lists that were based on team preferences, according to the complaint.

They said they later discovered that young, white blond attendants — with less seniority — were given the assignments.

United Airlines “has adopted and continues to implement procedures that are designed to ensure that young, white, blond/blue-eyed, female employees receive positions with the charter program, while more senior, and Black and Jewish employees such as plaintiffs, do not,” they said in the complaint.

Is it fair to say that this repairs all of the damage from the Jesse Jackson Hymietown incident?

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#MeToo would like $3.5 million (where your donations to nonprofit organizations go)

Feel better about your charitable donations to the nonprofit Metropolitan Opera: “The Met Opera Fired James Levine, Citing Sexual Misconduct. He Was Paid $3.5 Million.” (NYT) Excerpts:

After ill health forced Mr. Levine to repeatedly cancel performances and miss two full seasons, he had reluctantly agreed to become music director emeritus. He would continue to oversee the young artist program he had founded and to conduct many of his signature operas, with a gala celebration of the 50th anniversary of his 1971 Met debut on the horizon.

Mr. Levine’s continued role came at considerable cost to the company. In addition to his $400,000 salary, the Met agreed to pay him his customary $27,000 fee for each performance he conducted — $10,000 more than what the Met usually described in public as its top fee.

That arrangement came to an abrupt end in December 2017, after The New York Times published the accounts of four men who said that they had been sexually abused by Mr. Levine as teenagers; Mr. Levine denied the accusations.

Just a good business decision?

The Met’s multimillion-dollar payment to Mr. Levine came before the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to close its theater — leaving many employees, including its orchestra and chorus, furloughed without pay since April. Even when the deal was struck, the Met’s finances were precarious. Now the company is fighting for its survival.


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Invest in BLM sign-making company?

“Some Protests Against Police Brutality Take a More Confrontational Approach” (NYT):

The protests are moving into white residential neighborhoods, where activists demand that people choose a side.

Terrance Moses was watching protesters against police brutality march down his quiet residential street one recent evening when some in the group of a few hundred suddenly stopped and started yelling.

Mr. Moses was initially not sure what the protesters were upset about, but as he got closer, he saw it: His neighbors had an American flag on display.

“It went from a peaceful march, calling out the names, to all of a sudden, bang, ‘How dare you fly the American flag?’” said Mr. Moses, who is Black and runs a nonprofit group in the Portland, Ore., area. “They said take it down. They wouldn’t leave. They said they’re going to come back and burn the house down.”

Nearly four months after the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, some protesters against police brutality are taking a more confrontational — and personal — approach. The marches in Portland are increasingly moving to residential and largely white neighborhoods, where demonstrators with bullhorns shout for people to come “out of your house and into the street” and demonstrate their support.

Can investors make money by investing in companies that produce BLM and other social justice signs? And then, once every house in the U.S. has a BLM sign, how will the protesters sort out the true believers from the sham sympathizers who merely place signs as protection?

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COVID-19 false positives, explained by the Oxford evidence-based medicine folks

In dealing with coronaplague, Americans have taken a mechanistic view of the human body. Swab an infected human and you’re guaranteed to capture some virus, which will then be amplified by Kary Mullis‘s magic PCR machine and we’ll have a positive/negative result that is as reliable as if we’d checked the tire pressure on a car.

I had always thought that the main failure of humans to conform to this machine-like model was a lot of false negatives. A human is infected, but the virus does not end up on the swab. See “False Negative Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Infection — Challenges and Implications” (NEJM) and “COVID-19 false negative test results if used too early” (ScienceDaily, reported on a Johns Hopkins study).

From “Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence Based Medicine and Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University, and his colleague Dr Tom Jefferson, a Senior Associate Tutor,” writing in that august journal of science… the Daily Mail:

And increased Covid testing is picking up dead – entirely harmless – fragments of virus as well as genuine infections. So many of the positive results we think we are getting might not be positives at all.

So Kary Mullis’s machine works as advertised, but we don’t know what we should be looking for. Thus our obsessive testing program might end up giving us millions of false positives in addition to tens of millions of false negatives.

Separately, the rest of the article is a lot of fun. American academics, ever-fearful of being canceled and cut off from the river of government cash, would never be able to write anything this harsh.

Today, our bewildered Prime Minister and his platoon of inept advisers might as well be using the planets to guide us through this pandemic, so catastrophic and wildly over-the-top are their decisions.

Why is it that the Government is once again in the grip of doom-mongering scientific modellers who specialise in causing panic and little else?

Yet our PM, and his Dad’s Army of highly paid individuals with little experience of the job at hand, continue to behave as if they are acting on the basis of certainty.

Instead, they move from one poorly designed, rash decision to another, driven by the misguided belief that we are experiencing a ‘second wave’, following Spain’s ‘trajectory’ and just ‘behind the curve’ there.

Our latest study, out yesterday, shows that nearly a third of all Covid-19 deaths recorded in July and August might have actually been the result of other causes –cancer, for example, or road traffic accidents.

It is unfortunate that Mr Johnson is surrounded by mediocre scientific advisers.

It is strange and concerning, that the Government is still relying on mathematical modellers who have a 20-year track record of getting things wrong and have been particularly wrong in the past six months.

And the result is a confused, rudderless Government lost in a swamp of poor statistics and ill-informed recommendations.

But for now the only ‘circuit break’ we need is an end to the current cycle of bad data, bad language and shockingly bad scientific advice.


… and some photos from a 2014 trip to Oxford. Note the unmasked un-distanced sitting ducks for COVID-19:

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Does Cardi B have more concrete policy ideas than Joe Biden?

The rapper Cardi B interviewed Joe Biden and a full transcript is available from Elle:

Cardi B: And also what I want is free Medicare. It’s important to have free [healthcare] because look what is happening right now. Of course, I think we need free college. And I want Black people to stop getting killed and no justice for it. I’m tired of it. I’m sick of it. I just want laws that are fair to Black citizens and that are fair for cops, too. If you kill somebody who doesn’t have a weapon on them, you go to jail. You know what? If I kill somebody, I’ve got to go to jail. You gotta go to jail, too. That’s what I want.

Biden: There’s no reason why we can’t have all of that. Presidents have to take responsibility. I understand one of your favorite presidents is Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt said the American people can take anything if you tell them the truth. Sometimes the truth is hard. But right now, we’re in a position where we have an opportunity to make so much progress. The American public has had the blinders taken off.

Cardi B: I’m always so focused on Medicare and college education, and I never really thought about how important child care is. Nobody is more motivated than a mom. Nobody wants to go hustle out there and get the money for the kid like a mother. [But] how are you supposed to do that when you probably don’t have a babysitter for your kid? Fortunately for me, I have my mom to help take care of my child, but a lot of people, their mom cannot retire and take care of the kids. The mom has to work, too. I feel like this country is so hurt, to the point that this year, a lot of people couldn’t even celebrate July 4th, because not everybody feels like an American. A lot of people feel like [they’re] not even part of America.

Joe Biden: Absolutely. One of the things that I admire about you is that you keep talking about what I call equity—decency, fairness, and treating people with respect. John Lewis, one of the great civil rights leaders, used to say the vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool you have. Look, I’m a lot older than you, to state the obvious. When I was in high school, the civil rights movement was just being started, and along came Bull Connor and his dogs. He thought he was going to drive a wooden stake into the heart of the civil rights movement. But when all those folks saw what was happening in the South—[when] they saw Bull Connor with dogs [attacking] elderly Black women going to church and kids being knocked down with fire hoses—all of a sudden, as Dr. King said, we had the second emancipation. We had the Voting Rights Act and we had the Civil Rights Act. It changed things because people said, “Oh my God, that’s happening.” [Today], the cell phone has changed America. Because we’re at a point where some brave kid can stand there for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds and take a of a Black man [being] brutally murdered. And people around the world were saying, “My God. This really happens?” And now they’re demanding change.

What strikes me about the interview is that it seems to be Cardi B, the 27-year-old rapper, who has the concrete policy ideas. The 77-year-old Joe Biden, on the other hand, is mostly silent and/or vague on what he would actually do as president.

Readers: What do you think? Cardi B for President 2028?


  • “Nobody wants to go hustle out there and get the money for the kid like a mother. [But] how are you supposed to do that when you probably don’t have a babysitter for your kid?” said Cardi B. Hunter Biden’s plaintiff shows one straightforward way to solve this problem. See “Hunter Biden’s child support is finalized with his stripper baby mama” (Daily Mail, regarding a mom who was smart enough to move to Arkansas, which offers unlimited child support profits, prior to giving birth to a baby conceived in Washington, D.C. (practical child support revenue limited to about $2 million))
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New email signatures for white teachers in all-white suburb

The overwhelmingly white unionized public school teachers in our nearly all-white, all-Asian suburb have begun appending, in a red font, the following signature text to every email message…

Lincoln Public Schools are united in standing with those who are calling out ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country and calling for acknowledgement of humanity in one another. This is not just an issue for black and brown people, but an issue that impacts all of our futures. We must:

  • Listen to each other, showing compassion and empathy
  • Never turn our backs on senseless brutality [ordinary brutality is okay?]
  • Continue to denounce injustices
  • Unify our voices to create systemic change

During this painful time, let us work together to be a light to break the darkness that silence can bring. Let us facilitate education, healing, connection, and let us support each other and our communities. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution and we must work together to ensure that there is justice for all.

[Note that relaxing the two-acre zoning minimum so that black and brown people could afford to move into our suburb is not mentioned. And we’re supposed to listen (free), not pay reparations (costly).]

Maybe they will show up to work in these T-shirts?

and for the feet…


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