Thanks to Biden, we can get booze and dope after hours here in Maskachusetts

With science-informed leadership in the White House, Maskachusetts residents are now marked safe from late-night alcohol and marijuana, according to the governor’s 62nd executive order (dated January 21, 2021, a day after the Most Blessed Event):


Full post, including comments

MLK Day: Maskachusetts imprisons Black urbanites on weekends

This is the weekend when many Boston-area commuter rail lines cease to run (NBC). Black families that have been locked down for nearly a year, their children in the parody of education that we call “remote school”, will henceforth be unable to come out to the white suburbs/exurbs and walk around in the conservation land.

(The righteous folks of Arlington and Lexington, Massachusetts nearly all have BLM signs, but they previously fought hard to keep the core MBTA subway system from expanding in their direction, thus imposing a transportation barrier to the dark-skinned. Coronaplague has enabled white suburbanites to get a little closer to their dream of isolation from the BIPOC.)

In What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do for us today? I noted that MLK seemed to contemplate a future in which Black Americans would have jobs. Presidents Biden and Harris, though, promise to make it illegal for millions of Black Americans to work (via shutdown: CNN; also via a $15/hour minimum wage: Prospect (anyone whose skills weren’t worth at least $30,000/year would become either impractical or illegal to employ)) and instead to provide them with more welfare.

MLK organized a 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” (the two things that, in a typical state with shutdown orders from the governor, Black Americans have lost during coronapanic!). From the speech:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

(What about those who don’t identify as “sons”? They were going to be cooking in the kitchen and then serving at the table?)

Harvard University did not get this memo:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Gender binarism:

…. one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

Circling back to the “Jobs and Freedom” theme, is it fair to say, then, that coronaplague has helped white Americans take the country farther away from what MLK was hoping to see for Black Americans?


Full post, including comments

Maskachusetts takes aggressive action against climate change…

… starting 14 years from now: “Massachusetts to Ban Sale of New Gas-Powered Cars by 2035” (Car and Driver).

Climate change is an existential crisis, which is why we are going to do nothing about it (other than abandon public transport in favor of private cars) until 2035.

I am waiting for our legislature to ban the sale of Wright Flyers.

How much will this help to heal Planet Earth? At least for now, a battery-electric vehicle actually emits more greenhouse gas over a 10-year life than a plug-in hybrid:

Note further that driving a small conventional gas-powered car would actually result in less emission of CO2 than driving a mid-sized electric car. Also note that the difference in lifetime CO2 emission between a virtuous Tesla and an evil non-hybrid Honda Accord is minimal. If you hate emitting CO2, #StayHomeSaveLives and/or ride a bike.


  • from the October 2020 debate between Virtue and Evil: Biden: Climate change, climate warming, global warming is an existential threat to humanity. We have a moral obligation to deal with it. And we’re told by all the leading scientists in the world that we don’t have much time. We’re going to pass the point of no return within the next eight to 10 years. (My comment on the foregoing: “Humanity is facing an existential threat? Why is Biden worried about Covid-19, which kills as many people as a few bad flu seasons even when a country mostly just gives the finger to the virus? Why not take the $trillions we’re still spending on Covid-19 and instead spend it on preventing Earth from turning into Venus?”)
Full post, including comments

COVID-19 testing is required in Maskachusetts, but unavailable

We have been barraged by emails from our kids’ schools during the Christmas vacation week. If we traveled, the public school administrators want to know where and when and they want to see medical records of a PCR test (required under the governors’ travel orders, though at this point most other U.S. states have a lower rate of COVID-19 cases within 7 days compared to MA). Example:

We will be strictly enforcing the Governor’s Travel Orders and sending students home when we learn about travel and have not received notification and verification of required test results.

The school actually requires additional testing and quarantine days (14) beyond the referenced travel order, which requires 10-day quarantines and testing for those 10 and older:

Children who are 10 years or younger are not required to have a test. However, without a test, they must quarantine before returning to school. So, families will need to choose to either have their children tested and provide the result of the test to the school nurse so that they can return to school immediately if the results are negative or they will need to keep their child home in quarantine for 14 days if a negative test is not provided.

(i.e., if children can keep quiet about that trip to Disney World, they can continue to receive an education!)

The kicker to all of this is that COVID-19 tests aren’t available, except to the mostly-imprisoned college students who don’t need them (they get tested twice/week). Here’s one self-pay $80/test service (recommended by a private school administrator) that you might think would have slots because they don’t take insurance and don’t provide the taxpayer-funded testing that was supposed to be Americans’ right:

As of Sunday morning, it would be possible to get a test on Friday evening in the Cambridge location:

So the result would come back on Monday? That’s 8 days later and the governor’s travel order requires a 10-day quarantine. So the effort and $$ for the test shortens the quarantine period by only 1-2 days.

Separately, one thing that is great about Americans is that we won’t give up our passion for bureaucracy and paperwork even after we declare an “emergency”. For example, although a non-physician (the governor) orders subjects to get tested after travel, a subject can’t actually be tested without paying a physician in addition to paying the lab. From the CIC Health site, regarding pricing for organizations:

To cover the physician who provides the legally-required referral, the clinician to oversee the test, the software for ordering and reviewing results, and logistics support. This fee ranges considerably based on the components required, and range from $5-$35.

As there is no medical treatment for COVID-19 (remdesivir is approved by the FDA, but considered useless by the WHO) and the vast majority of folks who test positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms and the person getting the test probably isn’t sick to begin with, what is the point of paying a physician?

Finally, let me note that rich white people seem to be ignoring the travel order. Friends with vacation houses in other states go to and from freely. A friend recently met up with us for a dog walk in the woods. He talked about having just returned from a ski trip to another state. I asked “Unless you were skiing in Hawaii, didn’t you have to get a Covid test to comply with the governor’s travel orders?” He responded that he hadn’t bothered and wasn’t going to bother. What’s his day job? Physician.


  • Turboprop coast to coast to coast with youngsters (we managed to get a test, but in Kentucky where they’re apparently better organized)
  •, a massive project; on January 3, the site showed “no upcoming times are currently available” at any of the Boston-area locations, but a 2.5-hour round-trip drive to New Bedford, MA would have enabled a test on January 4

Update: Patrick, below, asked whether the situation was better in Western, Maskachusetts, e.g., Pittsfield. The answer seems to be “no”. As of January 3 at 2 pm:

Update from a friend who is considering a brief trip from his all-white COVID-free exurb of COVID-plagued Boston (he’s locked down in a 12,000 square foot house on 10 acres) to rural Maine:

I see. So if I leave MA, go to Maine, and come back – I must quarantine for 10 days. But if I go to Boston and back, I don’t need to. Got it.

Full post, including comments

Biden wins Massachusetts with 2 percent of the vote

The New York times reports: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Massachusetts’ 11 electoral votes”. I read a little more of the page and learned that this fact was reported with 3 percent of the vote counted. In other words, Biden won 2 percent of the votes and that was enough for the NYT to say that he won the state election. Why not report “Biden won” at 7:01 am, then?

Full post, including comments

Post-election Deplorable hunt enabled by mail-in voting?

I finally dug my way through the two ballot questions (see Should I vote for ranked-choice voting?) and am ready to vote here in Maskachusetts. The instructions that came with my mail-in ballot:

Put your ballot into the yellow ballot envelope and seal the ballot envelope.

Sign the ballot envelope. Print your name and address below your signature.

The ballot envelope also has a personalized name/address sticker on it.

When a person votes in-person in Maskachusetts (generally for a candidate running unopposed or one whose odds of winning are 99.99%), he/she/ze/they fills out a ballot in a private booth and then puts the ballot into a scanner. There is no association between ballot and person.

With vote-by-mail, local officials, nearly all of whom are from one party(!), could assemble a list of citizens (and the undocumented?) who failed to vote correctly. After the election, God willing, this could be the basis for correcting the big error that my Dutch friend said the American elites made in 2016 regarding the Deplorables: “They forgot to take away their right to vote.”

I haven’t seen this discussed much, but as far as I can tell, vote-by-mail means the end of anonymous voting in Massachusetts (not sure how it is done in the rest of the country).

Separately, the towns here have spent what is probably $10,000+ each on voting drop boxes on concrete pads:

People who don’t trust the government-run post office to deliver a local letter within 2-3 weeks can use this box to vote for a bigger government that will take over additional day-to-day functions within society and the economy. People who agree with Joe Biden that climate change is an existential threat to humanity can, instead of walking to the end of their own driveway and putting the flag up on their own mailbox, drive a CO2-spewing vehicle to/from the ballot drop box. They will, of course, vote for bold government action to cut CO2 emissions!

Full post, including comments

Why can’t people who’ve previously been infected with COVID-19 clean car interiors?

One of my favorite businesses here in the Boston area has been shut down since March as part of one of the 50+ orders from the Maskachusetts governor: full-service interior cleaning at the Allston Car Wash.

Most of the folks whom I’ve met working there over the years were native Spanish speakers, i.e., the very folks whom NPR tells us are most likely to have been infected with coronavirus:

MassINC’s survey of Latino results found the infection rates for essential workers is far from the only challenge Latino residents have faced. But it is a major one. Public health data, however incomplete, is clear about one thing: Latino residents have been much more likely to contract COVID-19 and to suffer serious health consequences from it. The poll also documented the devastating economic and health consequences many have felt and showed many Latinos to be among those who have been hit the hardest.

So they’ve very likely been exposed to coronavirus and now it is illegal for them to work because they live in the state that ranks #3 for most coronapanic-related restrictions. [The article didn’t talk about “Latinx” residents of Maskachusetts, so have only partial information.]

I previously asked why people who’d previously been hospitalized for COVID-19 and discharged months earlier couldn’t have enjoyed being spectators at the U.S. Open tennis match. Now the same question for working in these banned industries: Why can’t the car wash reopen for interior cleaning if they employ only those who’ve previously had a COVID-19 positive test result? Indulge in some mask theater as well if we want a “belt and suspenders” approach and have the cleaned cars sit for a couple of minutes with the windows open and the vent blowers turned up to max.

Full post, including comments

Maskachusetts must ban its own residents from Maskachusetts

One of our governor’s 50+ orders is banning likely-to-be-plagued visitors from other states from visiting Massachusetts (#3 among states ranked by Covid-19 death rate) unless these unclean individuals go through a 14-day ritual purification and/or receive the sacrament of false negatives (a PCR test on the asymptomatic).

As of yesterday, however, it seems that Massachusetts itself would be a “hot zone” state and visitors from Massachusetts would therefore have to be quarantined before mingling with the righteous locals… here in Massachusetts (Boston Herald).


Full post, including comments

Should I vote for ranked-choice voting?

The first of my five mail-in ballots has arrived. 3 out of 7 candidates are Democrats running unopposed. The remaining 4 races are 100 percent guaranteed to be won by Democrats. A potential contest: Question 2 is whether to adopt ranked choice voting.

As someone whose political beliefs are most aligned with the libertarians, a last-choice party in a nation where people want a planned economy (my 2012 document after watching both the Republican and Democrat candidates promise that government would create jobs, ensure fair wages, etc.), is this for me? I could vote for a libertarian candidate and then also pick a second choice from a party that has a chance in a country whose citizens want government to cater to their every need? Yet in a Massachusetts general election it is almost inconceivable for a non-Democrat to win. So how can this have any practical effect?

The “Independent Women’s Law Center” opposes this question. We don’t know what people identifying with the remaining 50+ genders say. Wikipedia says that Estonia had something like this, but abandoned it in 2001. As government in Estonia is radically more efficient than here in the U.S., that’s a strike against the idea.

Readers: What do you say about this proposal?

Update, 10/16: a friend highlighted “The Ancient Greeks Teach Us The Perils of Ranked Choice Voting”, by a political science professor:

As this list [of supporters] makes clear, RCV supporters fall overwhelmingly into two (mostly overlapping) categories: Democrats and groups whose members vote heavily for Democratic candidates; and groups that (Libertarians aside) have practically no chance of winning elections even under RCV, except at the local level. Given Massachusetts’s status as a heavily Democratic state (the state’s congressional delegation consists solely of Democrats, who also have long held a substantial supermajority in the legislature), Democrats have little to fear from losing elections to Republicans as a result of RCV. Rather, they need to court members of left-liberal fringe groups, as well as public-employee unions, to ensure that they turn out to vote — knowing that those groups’ supporters would almost surely make the Democratic candidate, at worst, their second-choice candidate, further guaranteeing the defeat of any Republican contender.

Full post, including comments

We have now had 50 governor’s orders here in Maskachusetts

The City of Cambridge recently emailed to say “Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Order #50 made certain Phase III adjustments, including extension of outdoor dining provisions and opening of indoor and outdoor gaming arcades”. This reminded me that we’ve now had 50 governor’s orders related to this virus.

What’s in the latest one? First, a reminder of how awesome it is to have the power of being a state governor:

(sorry for the images, but the governor distributes these as scanned PDFs without OCR). Then, just as the City of Cambridge says, two pages regarding under what circumstances the state and local License Rajs might allow restaurants to serve alcohol outdoors and might allow arcades to reopen.

What about a never-shut never-masked country with less than half the COVID-19 death rate compared to Massachusetts? Sweden seems to have had about 10 new regulations in the past 6 months and they’ve either been laws passed by the legislature or regulations issued by bureaucracies, not orders coming down from a muscular executive such as the Prime Minister. Sweden is being governed, even in what Americans have characterized as “an emergency”, by consensus rather than via dictates from individuals.

(How is Sweden doing with plague right now? The WHO dashboard shows them at 578 deaths per 1 million residents (i.e., only 99.94 percent of Swedes remain alive). The U.S. is at 584. So, despite our shutdown, the U.S. caught up to Sweden just as the former chief scientist of the European CDC said (in April) that we would.

What if we compare to the state where I live? Maskachusetts is at 1,134 deaths per million (Statistica). The latest dashboard:

Whatever we have done with shutdowns and/or masks seems to have ensured that we will have a “long tail” of infections/deaths rather than the exponential decline to near-zero that Sweden has had.

Note that this is the dashboard from which deaths-by-age statistics were removed last month just as officials were deciding whether to reopen schools: Maskachusetts: When people aren’t scared enough, change the Covid-19 dashboard )

Full post, including comments