California versus Florida government workers

Jesus said “The last shall be first and the first last.” Perhaps he was talking about government workers in Florida and California who swapped jobs?

Searching the Web for teaching examples of strategic plans (private companies’ plans tend not to be available), I found one for the Florida DMV (“Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles”). Pages 11-12 cover the outcomes that Florida considers important to measure. All of them relate to the customer until the last one…

Employee welfare is not even a “value”. Page 4:

What about their brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters working for the California DMV? The 2021-2026 strategic plan puts workers #1 on page #1:

This is over a heading mentioning “stakeholders” (i.e., people other than customers). A little more detail on page 4:

Separately, it turns out that a resident of Florida doesn’t interact with “the DMV” to get a license, register a car, etc. County tax collectors are responsible for dealing with the unwashed. Due to coronapanic, the thinly populated counties are refusing to deal with non-residents and the densely populated counties, such as Palm Beach, require appointments. Once there, one finds that the front-line workers are all masked and behind the Plexiglas dividers that #Science first told us to install and now says are useless. What about the management overlords who set up the mask policy? They’re in open cubicles, about 20′ behind the front-liners, next to a bank of windows looking out at the palm trees… unmasked.

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Coronapanic orders from governors meet the American people

From California, one of the world centers of optimism regarding the power of government, via shutdown and mask orders, to reduce, not merely delay, coronavirus infections: “The number of babies infected with syphilis was already surging. Then came the pandemic” (Los Angeles Times). If Californians did what Gavin Newsom told them to do, you’d expect a pandemic to reduce sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis. It is tough to catch syphilis while staying home and watching Netflix/playing Xbox for 18+ months. But, with the same logic we use for COVID-19 is sure to kill you, but life insurance rates haven’t changed and Wave of death among the elderly bankrupts Social Security, we can actually blame coronashutdowns for an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. From the LA Times:

More and more babies in L.A. County have been infected with syphilis in the womb, which can lead to stillbirth, neurological problems, blindness, bone abnormalities and other complications. Nine years ago, only six cases were reported across L.A. County, according to a Department of Public Health report. Last year, that number reached 113.

The numbers were already surging before the arrival of COVID-19, but public health officials fear the pandemic exacerbated the problem, closing clinics that screen people for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections and putting new efforts to battle the disease on ice.

At the time, she said, she feared that going to a clinic could lead to her being jailed for using meth. “You think, ‘I’m going to get in trouble because I’m high,’” she said.

The surge in congenital syphilis has been especially frustrating to experts because the illness can be thwarted if pregnant people are tested and treated in time.

Men who have sex with men have been especially vulnerable, but the accelerating numbers among women and babies have spurred particular alarm for health officials because of the potentially devastating consequences.

Note the use of CDC-approved vocabulary, e.g., “pregnant people” and “men who have sex with men”. But then things break down a bit as the article wears on…

In L.A. County jails, eight cases of syphilis had been confirmed among 170 pregnant patients seen as of late August, said Dr. Noah Nattell, who oversees women’s health for the county‘s Correctional Health Services agency.

The sentence starts with “pregnant patients”, but falls back to the old term “women” towards the end. The inconsistency continues lower down:

Researchers have found that nationally, not all pregnant people are screened for syphilis despite the urgings by health officials. Even when they are diagnosed, nearly a third of pregnant women with syphilis did not get the care they needed, according to an analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The sentence that immediately follows one in which “pregnant people” is used falls back to the discredited term “pregnant women.” There is only one author for this article. Why can’t Emily Alpert Reyes pick one term and stick with it?

One of the key problems is that, unlike marijuana, methamphetamine hasn’t yet been recognized for its medicinal value and therefore remains illegal.

The woman who lost her baby said she started using meth at an overwhelming point in her life, facing the demands of a stressful job, school and a relationship that had grown strained after her earlier struggle to get pregnant.

At the time, the drug felt like “a ticket to freedom.” She quit her unrewarding job. Her boyfriend moved out. Meth made her feel brave, “like I could take a deep breath finally.”

She started seeing a man who told her he didn’t need to use a condom with her, a decision she now sees as naive. After they broke up, she got into a relationship with a friend who would become the father of her baby.

When the waves of pain began to roll over her in a hotel room where she was spending time with her boyfriend, another man and his girlfriend, the girlfriend quickly realized she was in labor and urged them to call 911, she said. But the men bristled at the idea, she recalled, because there were drugs there and they didn’t want attention from the police.

Soo… the population that was supposed to be refraining from gathering and using the governor-ordered face masks consistently and correctly is, in fact, spreading sexually transmitted diseases at a higher-than-previous rate, partying in hotel rooms with a miscellaneous collection of potentially infectious humans, etc. Is it fair to say that America’s leading public health experts have never met the American public?

(Separately, how effective have California’s measures been? In the COVID Olympics, California has a higher COVID-19-tagged death rate than do-almost-nothing Sweden. California initially appears to have had some success, if we’re measuring a society’s success by this one number, compared to Florida. Adjusted for population over 65, however, California has actually had a higher death rate than Florida, where adults have enjoyed near-total freedom. Could a failure to consider what Americans are actually like be part of the reason that California’s aggressive lockdowns and mask orders have had no apparent effect?

(And let’s see how the masks and lockdowns worked in California compared to the #Science-denials of the Florida Free State… from a Stanford Med School prof:

Compared to Florida, California may have a lower cumulative death rate tagged to COVID-19, but that is only because the population is younger (free and/or subsidized housing available only to those with children apparently encourages “pregnant people” to have babies and become “lactating people”!). For a given person of a given age, the risk of dying from COVID-19 was actually lower in Florida.)

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California governor recall results: Now we know how many Americans love to be locked down?

When friends who don’t follow #Science (most have MDs and/or PhDs) ask why U.S. state governors (except for the infidels in South Dakota and Florida) have generally ordered lockdowns, masks, and other measures that were considered useless against respiratory viruses through 2019, my standard answer is “They’re politicians so the best answer is that they’re doing what voters want them to do. If governors order people to wrap a saliva-soaked bandana around their mouths as a disease preventive, we can infer that the majority of Americans want governors to order bandanas.” (A European friend: “The sheep demand a shepherd.”)

Is it fair to say that the result of the referendum on keeping lock-down-the-peasants-while-dining-with-friends Gavin Newsom (66 percent in favor) tells us the percentage of Americans who want and/or need governor-directed lockdowns?

To extrapolate these numbers to the U.S., of course, we’d have to adjust for Democrat/Republican percentages. Presidents Biden and Harris won 63.5 percent of Californians’ votes in 2020. So we can presume that, in any given state, the percentage of people who want to be locked down is roughly 3 percentage points more than the percentage who voted for Biden/Harris.

(What have been the effects of California’s 1.5 years of lockdown, school closure, mask orders, etc.? On the leaderboard of states by COVID-19-tagged death rate, California has turned in a middling performance, with about 1,700 deaths per million (170). That’s a worse performance than “do almost nothing because the virus won’t care” Sweden (1,429 per million). Beach-closed schools-closed California has a 25 percent lower unadjusted-for-age death rate than no-mask-order, bars-open, indoor everything open, schools-open Florida, portrayed currently in the media as the Land of Certain COVID-19 Death (12/50 in the state-by-state ranking, with roughly 2,270 deaths per million). That’s success, right, since we’re measuring overall success of a society by a single number (COVID-19 death rate) and 1,700 is less than 2,270? Actually, if we look at the over-65 population that COVID-19 tends to kill, California has a higher death rate than Florida’s. California is one of the youngest states in the country, with just 14 percent of its population over 65. Florida is the second oldest (not in our Abacoa neighborhood though!), with 20.5 percent of the population over 65. But neither the governor nor the media is not going to perform this adjustment (nor adjust for opioid addiction, alcoholism, weight gain in quarantine, reduced life expectancy from reduced education, reduced life expectancy from long-term unemployment, etc.) and therefore Californians will continue to believe that their governor’s suspension of what had been their rights (e.g., to gather, to have children educated, to walk outside without a mask, to go to the beach or the park) “saved lives”.)

Los Angeles, end of February 2020, almost the last day when Californians were free to walk outside their apartments, unmasked, and go to school or work without checking to see what the governor might have ordered. This homeless encampment is across from the lavish new Federal courthouse. The prediction on February 28, 2020? “Good Things Are Coming!” (schools for city children closed on March 16, 2020 and didn’t full reopen until August 16, 2021).

And let’s not forget, in the Land of Big Hearts (TM), the homeless encampment across the street from the homeless encampment:

Readers: Can we agree that a vote for Newsom was a vote for lockdown?

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Should California build a moat and a rainbow-painted wall around the state?

“California Bans State Travel To Florida And 4 Other States” (from state-sponsored NPR, June 29):

California added five more states, including Florida, to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, the state attorney general announced Monday.

Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to the list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except under limited circumstances.

“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it,” Bonta said.

Lawmakers in 2016 banned non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The 12 other states on the list are: Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee.

Nearly half of the country is now unclean, from a California religious perspective, defiled by failure to fly enough rainbow flags. Why not also ban the untouchables from those 17 states from coming into California? Dig a moat and build a wall to enforce the ban (maybe people who swear a loyalty oath to the rainbow flag and bathe in a ritual bath that cleanses them of hate can be admitted through the checkpoints?).

Speaking of now-banned Florida, here are a few photos of Hate Central (St. Petersburg) from June 25/26 (“Every Day is Pride Day”):

I attended an opera performance in St. Pete and sat next to two middle-aged ladies who had formerly run a B&B in Provincetown, Massachusetts (not exactly the center of straightness). “We’ve been here for two years and love it,” one said. “The government seems to do a better job here. The city is clean, but you never see the cleaners. The roads are very well maintained. Everything is so much cheaper than in Massachusetts.”


  • “California lawmakers take trip to Hawaii amid COVID surge, travel advisory” (Sac Bee, November 2020): COVID-19 has squashed most holiday and vacation plans this year amid travel restrictions and quarantine recommendations to slow the spread of the virus. Yet some California lawmakers have traveled to Maui this week for the California Independent Voter Project’s annual policy conference. … The Hawaii trip follows on the heels of backlash over Gov. Gavin Newsom attending a friend and political adviser’s 50th birthday party at a Napa County restaurant called French Laundry, known for its expensive meals.
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Good news for Californians who spent all of their money on marijuana

Both medical and recreational marijuana stores were open throughout California’s coronapanic shutdown. “Amid coronavirus pandemic, California gov classifies cannabis industry as ‘essential’ during state’s effective lockdown” (March 21, 2020):

Under a clarification document Gov. Gavin Newsom issued late Friday, all licensed marijuana businesses in California can continue with business as usual during an effective statewide lockdown implemented in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision to categorize cannabis companies as “essential” in effect provides an economic lifeline to the marijuana industry by allowing MJ businesses to keep their doors open.

The entire cannabis supply chain – including all state-licensed MJ businesses such as farmers, distributors, manufacturers and testing labs – also are considered “essential” under the state policy, according to Nicole Elliott, senior adviser on cannabis in Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

Elliott noted there’s no differentiation between “medical” and “recreational” cannabis companies, which means every licensed marijuana business that chooses to continue operations during the lockdown can stay open.

In a separate news release, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control said: “Because cannabis is an essential medicine for many residents, licensees may continue to operate at this time so long as their operations comply with local rules and regulations.”

What about Californians who didn’t pay their landlords because the CDC has thus far blocked evictions and it was more important to purchase “essential” marijuana? “California Has a Plan to Pay the Back Rent for Low-Income Tenants. All of It.” (NYT, June 21):

A $5.2 billion program in final negotiations at the State Legislature would pay 100 percent of unpaid rent that lower-income Californians incurred during the pandemic and would be financed entirely by federal money. The state is also proposing to set aside $2 billion to pay for unpaid water and electricity bills.

The state’s separate rental relief program would be available to residents who earn no more than 80 percent of the median income in their area and who can show pandemic-related financial hardship. In San Francisco, a family of four would have to earn less than $146,350 to qualify.

So if you’re a working class American in the Midwest, paying rent on an apartment and paying taxes to the federal government, your hard-earned dollars will go to bail out California stoners earning $146,000 per year, so long as those Californians said “I prefer not to” when their landlords asked them to pay rent.

From 2019, when it was legal to have an in-person class at a college in San Francisco:

And, since it is Pride Month, we can take Pride in the Eros club (reopened long before the San Francisco Public Schools because bathing with friends is “essential”?):

(Of course I am Proud to have been in the Castro (dinner with a patent litigator), but I merely walked by Eros and did not go in. So my Pride level is only at 10 percent.)

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Californians: Walk over to the local vaccine clinic and get your shot

In order to get a shot that he did not need, a healthy slender fit work-from-home 32-year-old whom I know volunteered for 8 hours at a vaccine clinic in northern California. “People are supposed to have appointments,” he said, “and prove this by coming with a printout. But nobody checks because we had no way to look up anyone’s name or what appointments had been booked. Everyone who said ‘I don’t have a printer’ got a shot.” Did young-looking people have to bring proof of conditions or status in order to get shots? “No,” he replied. “Restaurant workers qualify, so you might think that a pay stub should be required, but unemployed restaurant workers also qualify and they can’t be expected to have a pay stub since they’re not getting paid.” Anyone who identifies as an unemployed restaurant worker with an appointment, even if showing up with no documentation, will get a shot.

The work-from-home Shutdown Karen featured blaming “Latinos” in Assumption that masks are effective leads to conclusion that people of color are responsible for coronaplague went down the hill from his all-white enclave into Oakland to the vaccine clinic set up to ensure that “communities of color” get shots. He and his wife are in their 50s and reasonably fit. They were seeking afternoon leftover shots and found that the clinic was undersubscribed and happy to inject them. They then asked if their college-age and high-school-age children could come the next day. Appointments were made for these not-at-risk cower-at-home individuals as well. Nobody in the household has any reason to leave the house nor to be concerned about COVID-19 and yet all are now vaccinated.

It seems that the only Californians who can’t get shots are those who wish to follow the state’s elaborate guidelines and procedures.

Here’s my personal nominee for someone who should get a shot. A Samoyed is depending on her! (or was depending on her back in 2004 when I took the photo)

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Coronavirus PPE from Berkeley

A Berkeley, California friend’s Facebook post:

given #B117 mutation, masked protection needs to be intensified
I’m doubling down, with cloth on top of N95 (thx Mitt Romney)
Also bought a little neck fan for blowing air – designed to cool off the wearer, when inverted it nudges incoming air away from my mouth
Stacking layers in my SafetyLasagna (which includes vitamin D in the AM, saline spray to line my nasal passages, then these crazy additions)

Above a photo, cropped for privacy:

Although this inventor is a Dr. just like Dr. Jill Biden, MD, his California friends are not impressed:

My understanding is that fans, while protective for the wearer, actually increase the risk to others by blowing exhaled virus farther. I would steer clear of anyone I saw in public with a fan near their face.

Your fans could harm others if you were unknowingly covid+

I have read that the masks with the valve are not appropriate as a virus barrier, but are intended to prevent dust inhalation–so they let your breath out but prevent particles from coming in. You have an N95 underneath, so not an issue here, but since this is an opportunity for community review of a safety plan, wondering if you have thoughts there. Stay healthy! #SafetyLasagna

We actually do know that fans increase projection of viral particles. If you are wearing a fan, you increase risk of transmission from you to others, but also from others to you, just by stirring up a lot of air near the face.

I told him that I thought it would be simpler to eat real lasagna until his BMI hits 40 and thus get higher priority for the vaccine. A friend from MIT with some mechanical engineering ability:

If he is going to bother at all, which is debatable, he should use a P-100 respirator and NIOSH approved goggles. If you are really that concerned, add a faceshield. Doubling two useless filters ain’t going to do it…. P-100 filters are 167 times more efficient than N-95 (which are 10-20 time better than surgical masks). You need an elastomeric/plastic seal on your face or you aren’t getting to the next level. Some N95s have such seals.

Readers: Who has seen some interesting PPE solutions lately? The LG PuriCare (N95-ish mask with fan assist), announced in August, doesn’t seem to be available in the U.S., but online retailers in Hong Kong show that it is in stock there for HK$1,180 ($150 in the currency that Jesus prefers everyone to use).

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Why aren’t Arizona and California vaccinating people at midnight?

The CDC map currently shows Arizona and California right at the top of the current plague level chart:

Former media whipping state South Dakota (unmasked and un-shut, with a heretical governor who says that government cannot stop a respiratory virus) is way down the list at 48 daily infections per 100,000 people, half the AZ/CA level. Yet South Dakota is #1 in “Percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered” at 69% (Becker’s Hospital Review). Arizona is #49, behind only Georgia, at 18%. California at #47 with less than 24% administered.

California and Arizona would seemingly have more motivation than almost all of the other states to move vaccines out of warehouses and into bodies. Why wouldn’t they be doing clinics at midnight if that’s what it takes to use up the vaccine as soon as it arrives? Shouldn’t we see dramatic TV footage of coffee-and-donut-fueled late night shot clinics in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.?

(It does not seem to be the case that California and Arizona received extra vaccine. They’re also near the bottom of states ranked by percentage of population that has been vaccinated. 1.3 percent for California and 1.2 percent for Arizona (NYT))

Admittedly it is tougher to get organized to administer shots when the same personnel are needed to give COVID-19 tests, etc., but New Jersey and Rhode Island are near the top of the infection chart and are managing to administer vaccine shots at the same time. And Israel, which has its own raging plague, has managed to vaccinate over 18 percent of its population so far over roughly the same time period.


  • TIME vaccine page
  • percent population vaccinated by country (U.S. is #5 at 1.8 percent; the infrastructure and manufacturing champs in China on whom I would have bet are at just 0.31 percent)
  • “Why 300 Doses of Vaccine Sat Unused in Freezers for 2 Weeks” (NYT): Dr. Peter Meacher expected to receive just a small supply of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to inoculate his staff at a network of clinics that he oversees in New York City. Instead, 600 doses arrived late last month, far more than he needed. … Dr. Meacher said he would like to give the extra vaccine to high-risk patients, but had not for fear of violating strict eligibility rules from the state and city about who can receive it. … “It’s stressful and frustrating to have vaccine and to be unable to start giving it to our patients as quickly as we would like,” said Dr. Meacher, chief medical officer for the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in Manhattan, which serves some 18,000 L.G.B.T.Q. New Yorkers.
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California current COVID-19 rate more than double South Dakota’s

From the CDC: California (nation’s second most restricted state) now has the highest rate of current COVID-19 cases in the U.S., more than double the rate of never-masked, never-shut South Dakota (nation’s most free state) and about 5X the rate in give-the-finger-to-the-virus Sweden.

(South Dakota is at 43.)

From WHO:

(Adjust for 7 days to get the daily rate that the CDC uses and then for the fact that Sweden has 10.4 million population.)

And a comparison whose source I can’t find…

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Rent control is keeping rents high in San Francisco

A friend owns a three-unit building in San Francisco, occupying the top floor himself. The two tenants underneath have fled. One lost a job and the other kept the job, but decided to lose the California tax rates and mask/shutdown protocols. Both units are now vacant.

I asked how much rents have fallen and he responded with “30 percent.” Why not rent the units out at the current market rate? “If you ever rent to someone in San Francisco,” he replied, “you can never raise their rent more than about 2 percent per year after that. You’re locked it at whatever rate you start with. So I am waiting until the shutdown ends, hoping that market rents will come back closer to what they were when I bought the building.”

(Why not turn the vacant units into AirBnBs? San Francisco limits AirBnB to 90 days per year, requires them to be part of the owner’s residence, requires a variety of registrations and taxes, etc.)

If his experience is typical, there are a lot of landlords withholding supply and therefore the true market rents should actually be lower than what we’ve heard.

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