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  1. The estimated death rate of ~ 2% is certainly an overestimate, as it only counts deaths among people who were sick enough to seek medical help and tested positive for COVID-19. Certainly many infected people are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. On the other hand, it seems such people may still be infectious. There is no practical way to detect and quarantine such asymptomatic people, so they slip though any effort at isolating the virus. Already we are seeing a few cases in the US of diagnosed patients who have no travel history or history of contact with known patients. The possibility of becoming infected by handling products shipped from China has been discounted, so those new cases must have been exposed in some way to an asymptomatic carrier. There is no way to prevent the virus from coming to the US, though it might be possible to slow things down a bit. The precautions Bill mentions are very reasonable. Unfortunately the US health care system is not well prepared for this situation in some ways. We are told to see a doctor and stay home from work if we get sick. The US has a much larger proportion of the population that is uninsured, and who work at jobs without paid sick leave. Missing work can have serious financial implications, ranging from big medical bills and lost pay to losing your job. Often people in this situation do go to work until they get so sick they can't. Also they will send their kids (who have been exposed to whatever illness is involved) to day care, opening another avenue to spread the virus. If we had universal health care and universal paid sick leave the situation could be much better. Don
  2. The story seems outrageous, but then again Fox has been known to slant their coverage more than a little. No doubt there was more to the story than what Fox chose to tell. Anyway, if this case makes it OK to solicit murder, then surely the non-prosecution of Trump even after he bragged on camera about assaulting women makes that behavior legal for everybody? Don
  3. It is consistent with the new Republican Party platform though. That platform being, Trump is King, and whatever is in Trump's personal interest is by definition in the national interest. On the other hand, any criticism of Trump, or any disagreement with his brain-dead policies, is by definition unpatriotic and even treasonous. I recall the days when the Republican party at least pretended to have principles and policies. That party is dead if not buried. Now it is a personality cult. I'm quite certain that Trump could walk into Congress, shoot Schiff and Pelosi in the head in front of all the members of the House and Senate, and not one Republican would speak a word of criticism. Don
  4. Hopefully not. MAGA (My Ass Got Arrested) Don
  5. According to a recent poll, 53% of Republicans think Cadet Bone Spurs is a better President than Abraham Lincoln. Don
  6. Wouldn't that make the donkey a stable genius? Wow, the similarities with Trump are amazing. Surely that can't be just a coincidence. Don
  7. The first point is true, but the story is more complicated than that. Whether to have a large or a small family can be a deliberate economic choice, and either can be optimal depending on circumstances. In underdeveloped economies it may make sense to have a lot of children, especially if you make a living by farming but also under other circumstances. Children are relatively inexpensive if you have little expectation that you will have to pay for education, sports or other optional activities, fancy "toys" (computers, the latest cell phones), etc. On the other hand, children can provide much of the labor of planting/weeding/harvesting. Having multiple children in this role provides some assurance that this work will get done even if you (the parent) are incapacitated with malaria or some other disease. When you get to be too old to work, you will dependent on your kids to take care of you. Remember that in these economies there is no such thing as pensions, social security, or basically any government support. Some of your kids will die in childhood or along the way, and most will end up barely scraping by. If you have several kids, odds are better that one or two will do well enough to care for you, or at least keep you from starving. Note that this model also applied to much of the US until just a few generations ago. In developed economies, we don't depend on our kids to work the farm (or other business) in the same way. We are expected to put money aside (voluntarily through pensions/investments, or involuntarily through social security or equivalents) to care for ourselves. It seems selfish to say "I don't need to put money away, my kids will look after me." Kids are, in our society, very expensive. There are expectations that we will provide clothing, medical and dental care, education up through college/university if we can, extracurricular activities, and so on. My brother has a 12 year old son who is in a traveling hockey team (so quite advanced/competitive) . He spends $20-30,000 a year on fees, equipment, rink rental, coaches, and travel. Even "simple" things like transportation is impacted by family size. How do you get a family of 12 anywhere? Own a bus? In developed economies, kids (despite their many positive attributes) are a net large economic liability. Even if you want a large family, you might not be able to afford that, or you may have to make painful tradeoffs. Of course, education of women is also important. Educated women can make choices and exert some control over their lives (as much as any of us can I suppose). Educated women may contribute to the economic success of the family, and reduce the dependence on kids. Of course, they can support themselves and so are not dependent on being in a family to survive. Generally, women's access to education goes along with economic development, so it can be hard to disentangle the role of education from other aspects of economic development that tend to drive the transition from kids as investments to kids as economic consumers. Don
  8. Like it or not, coal is not coming back. Former coal miners would be well advised to train for a different career, rather than put their trust in a bloviating orange mango con artist who will say anything to get you to buy the kool-aid. Clinton lost because Republicans have been making baseless accusations against her ever since she dared to step out of line and declare that she wasn't going to stay in the kitchen and bake cookies. It didn't help her cause that she decided to stay with Bill. I live in the buckle of the bible belt, where 90% of the people I know are hard core Baptists, and I swear half of them are on their third or fourth marriage and have no clue about forgiveness or commitment. They may not say it out loud, but given the view of the Baptist church on the role of women, I have no doubt that they are offended by an uppity educated woman daring to aspire to any sort of leadership position. Just look at the elected Republican officials from the South: white white white and male male male. Don
  9. It says a lot that Trump makes us wish for the "good old days" of the George W. Bush administration. Don
  10. It also lacks the body count. Don
  11. A while ago I saw Steve Cortes on CNN trying to argue that although slavery was a "black mark on American history" it wasn't so bad because even as slaves Africans had more rights than minorities did anywhere else in the world. I figured anyone who could argue that without throwing up in their mouth had nothing of any value to say, ever. Don
  12. I'm curious about what exactly you think those people in El Paso and Dayton should have done to "be prepared". Don
  13. So, then, why did Trump and the Republican Party repeal the law that required people with certain mental health issues to be reported to the database that is used for federal background checks? The law had required that people who are so mentally ill that they are on disability, and also have been ruled by the courts to be unable to manage their own affairs so they have to have someone else manage those disability payments, be reported to the database. Since the repeal, which was promoted by the NRA and enthusiastically backed by the Republican party, people who cannot be trusted with a credit card or checkbook must be trusted with any legal firearm. That's crazy! Also, what do you mean by " "This is the world we live in, live accordingly." It's a dangerous world out there, Be prepared for it." Does that mean be prepared to shoot first and ask questions later? Or does it mean "Prepare to die at any instant, such as while watching a movie, listening to a concert, enjoying a food festival, etc? Or maybe it means "hide in your house and let crazy people with guns run amuck". "This is the world we live in" was the refrain of those who supported all kinds of social atrocities, such as Jim Crow laws. "If you don't like it, move somewhere else". How about asking why this is the world we live in, if the world could be a better place, and if so why not change the rules to make it better. Don
  14. Tanks in a parade seem fairly obvious, but also the cost is relatively trivial compared to the total budget. The problem is that for almost everything one person's "wasteful boondoggle" is someone else's "essential program". Often this falls along lines determined by whether on not the person offering the opinion is benefiting from the program. I tend to think that the problem is more along the lines that most people want the government to maintain programs that benefit them, but no-one wants to actually pay for those programs. Generations of politicians have discovered that the easiest path is to maintain government programs and at the same time promise tax cuts. No-one wants to be the politician who killed social security, or sold off the national parks, etc; nor do they want to confront people with the actual cost of those programs. An easy way to kill your political career is to campaign on cutting the military, you'll immediately be painted as unpatriotic or a terrorist lover by your opponent, who does not need to ever explain how they plan to pay for yet another billion or two in new military spending. Don
  15. I could be mistaken, but I recall that the guy who was so angry at Phillykev (and I assumed was the troublemaker) disappeared from right after things blew up. I just figured that he had been banned. I forget the guy's name but I think he worked on a submarine or something like that. Also I recall that Phillykev had more trouble than "just" being fired, I think the police showed up and confiscated his gun collection. He definitely got screwed over. As far as Google tracking my every move is concerned, I hope they have a high tolerance for boredom. Don