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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

What Government Health Care Looks Like

Silverfiddle Rant!


Obama Admin didn't Replenish N95 Mask Stockpile

Trump Admin Wasted Months

We have government agencies that--regardless of president or party--are charged with carrying out plans and policies crafted by congress and signed by the president. Clearly, our government was caught flat-footed by the Wuhan Virus, first and foremost thanks to the the lying Chinese Communist Party, abetted in their face-saving lies by the World Health Organization.

Still, that excuse only goes so far. Our government is supposed to have plans and stockpiles for such events.  Like most catastrophes, the after-action reporting on this debacle will have many factors that played out in a horrible comedy of errors.

Please read this:

Inside the coronavirus testing failure: Alarm and dismay among the scientists who sought to help

Here are the lowlights from this tale of frustration, told by scientists and doctors at clinics, labs and hospitals attempting to navigate the US government's Soviet-era style bureaucracy:
"We have the skills and resources as a community but we are collectively paralyzed by a bloated bureaucratic/administrative process," Marc Couturier, medical director at academic laboratory ARUP in Utah, wrote to other microbiologists on Feb. 27 after weeks of mounting frustration.
A scientist named Greninger describes trying to submit his test for government approval:
Greninger channeled his energy into the paperwork problem, spending more than 100 hours filling out forms and collecting information needed for the application, he told The Post. But when he finally submitted the material, an FDA official told him the agency could not accept it - because he had emailed it.
"We received your email and attachments regarding the UW 2019-nCoV assay pre-EUA," an FDA official wrote on Feb. 20. "However, we have not received the official submission through DCC."
"What is the DCC?" Greninger wrote back.
"The Document Control Center," came the reply.
"What is the Document Control Center?"
Greninger then learned about another requirement. Under FDA rules, he was supposed to digitally copy the electronic documents he had emailed to the FDA, burn the copies onto a disk and mail the hard disk to an office in suburban District of Columbia.
Greninger shared his exasperation in a Feb. 20 email to a colleague: "repeat after me, emergency."
Please read the article and give us your thoughts.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Mull This Over....(With Addendum)

The video at THIS LINK with the title "‘We Should Never Let Someone Like That Run This Country’: Tucker Carlson Says Dr. Fauci’s Advice Could Lead To ‘National Suicide.’"

I couldn't embed the video, so you must go to the link to watch it.

Additional material, by Midnight Rider of Infidel Bloggers Alliance, dated April 4, 2020: A MESSAGE FROM THE BUNKER: 274,000 Americans infected with Covid Out of 330,000,000 Americans total = .08% --- Not .08 or 8% but 8 one hundredths of one percent.

You might find the comments to the above interesting, too. In those comments, I expressed my own concerns about the definition of the term "recovery":
Mr. AOW is "recovered" from his stroke of 2009. His recovery looks like this: basically paralyzed on his left side (he was left handed), hospital bed in the living room, bedside potty in the living room, needs help with just about every ADL you can think of, totally disabled.

Would you call the above a real recovery?
Addendum below the fold: inside intensive care unit at University College Hospital in London (8 minute video):

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness," an American Christian hymn dating from 1923, has a special place in my heart, in part because it was the hymn requested by my paternal Uncle John to be used as the congregational hymn at his memorial service, held years ago when he perished from Alzheimer's Disease:

More hymns performed by Blue Rock Mennonite Youth HERE.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Break For Beauty

(For politics, please scroll down. New post published on April 2)

Rainbow here in Northern Virginia on April 1. Photo courtesy of NextDoor Online Neighborhood:


Silverfiddle Rant!
There is something profoundly ugly in this. Monbiot and other greens seem to view Covid-19 as a disaster that will have an upside: it might roll back the Enlightenment-era belief that humankind can exercise dominion over nature and remind us that actually we are at nature’s mercy. They hope this disaster will restore nature’s power over the humanised world.  - Brendan O'Neill, Spiked On-line

"This is positively Biblical. Gaia is God in this scenario, coming to punish us for our sins."

Brendan O'Neill nails the Greens who are screaming like a pack of 19th Century Millenarians that the end is nigh. It disturbs me to see the tastemakers and thought leaders express a nostalgia for the bad old days and craving a need for sacrifice.
"This is a new moment,” said Jon Meacham, a historian and author of The Soul of America. “Prolonged sacrifice isn’t something we’ve been asked to do, really, since World War II,” Meacham said.”
Here's another example:
“We used to tax in times of crisis. Now we don’t,” Zelizer said. “We asked people to ration in times of crisis. Now we don’t. We asked people to serve in times of crisis. Now we don’t. So this is a sea change. The thing is, Americans might not have a choice.”
The Infotainment Media Complex collective has been displaying signs of repressed guilt for a long time. Purges, cleanses, public shaming, struggle sessions, and virtue signalling...

Their consciences must be filthy, and all the ambien in the world cannot silence the rusty chains rattling in the dark night of their blinkered souls.

Marginally Related:  Virus causes surge in WW II references, but is it merited?

Monday, March 30, 2020

R.I.P., My Dear Friend Patricia (May 6, 1954-March 29, 2020). Hymn Added.

(For politics, please scroll down.  Active thread one post down)

Patricia here on our wheelchair ramp in 2010.
My dear friend Patricia (former blogger The Merry Widow) went Home to the Lord suddenly on March 29, of an apparent heart attack in the emergency room.

Warren's words when he heard the sad news: "If anybody was right with God, it was Patricia."

Her last three posts on Facebook, the second two from the ER:

Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Great Awakening?

Silverfiddle Rant!

Could a rogue virus lead to a grand creative moment in America’s history? Will Americans, shaken by the reality of a risky universe, rediscover the God who proclaimed himself sovereign over every catastrophe?
-- Robert Nicholson

"Thy Kingdom Come"

I have been praying for another great awakening for quite some time, and I'm confident my prayers join those of hundreds of millions of other people of faith, so this article caught my eye: A Coronavirus Great Awakening?

America has experienced three or four Great Awakenings. Are we due for another one? What would it look like? What preachers or churches would lead it?

A physics PhD and deep thinker I used to work for opined last week that this could lead to a new wave of intellectual ferment and new ideas and inventions, just as the black plague of the Middle Ages did.  I'm not that steeped in history, but he averred that the plague forced people to shutter themselves away and spend a lot of time with their thoughts, and that led to many wonderful new ideas that ended up ushering in the Enlightenment. I'm thinking, "yeah, but those people didn't have Netflix, social media and internet porn..."

Have you been praying more?  Reading the Bible? Developing intellectual theories or coming up with a new invention?  If the government ordered you to stay in your home, what have you been doing to occupy your time?

At the Casa Silverfiddle, we have been praying and reading the Bible more.  The kids are doing schoolwork, bracelet-making, origami and playing music. I've been playing a lot of banjo, slowing down and focusing on good technique, and knocking the rust of the old fiddle, reacquainting myself with all the fiddle tunes I used to know.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Voices From The Past

Please take a few minutes to watch the two short videos below:

Below is the most-watched YouTube documentary on the topic of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic — if you have time to watch (over 4 million views):

Now for my family's own stories.......

My father's younger sister, about age 7, died of "the aftereffects of the flu." Something like the 1990 film Awakenings? Full movie HERE at YouTube, albeit poor quality.  I highly recommend the film! It is available via Amazon Prime Video.

Dad occasionally spoke of what happened when his sister died: "The undertaker embalmed Chrissie at the house — and dumped the blood behind the barn."  The funeral service and burial were private.  The influenza didn't stop until everything was shut down: schools, funerals, churches, etc.  And the government refused to believe that something terrible was happening with Americans' health.  Until, that is, bodies began piling up on the sidewalks and in the streets of Washington, D.C.

My maternal grandmother (1898-1981) had a robust immune system. It fell to her to take care of her brother Walter, who brought influenza to their remote location in the mountains of East Tennessee when he was discharged from the US Army, fell ill himself, and gave the flu to his brother-in-law Fred, my grandmother's husband.  My grandmother sent her two children, one born in 1916 and the other in 1918 to her parents' farm and took care of Walter and Fred.

My grandmother related the story of those days in this way: "I got almost no sleep.  I went back and forth between the river for cold water and the menfolks' foreheads.  They were out of their heads with fever.  My sister brought food, called to me, and set the food down about 25 feet from the house; I fetched the food from there.  I don't remember how long all this went on.  Seemed like forever.  But Walter and Fred got well, and life went back to normal."

I asked Wawa how she stood those weeks of hard work as a nurse.  Her response: "Life isn't about what you want to do.  Life is about what you have to do."  She also told me of a particular safely measure she used: teetotaler though she was, she gargled in moonshine morning and evening.  And she swallowed that moonshine, too.

Bringing us back to today....A view of the front lines of this grim war against Coronavirus (dated March 23, 2020): The Growing Chaos Inside New York’s Hospitals.

And one more thing...in the immortal words of Gilda Radner:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Silverfiddle Rant!
Life is all about trade-offs. If government action causes our economy to take a trillion dollar hit, with the goal of saving one million lives, that is one million dollars per human life saved.  One trillion dollars gone, and a shriveled economy now one trillion dollars less able to power the nation back to health.

Our economic engine is our strength to power through this, with technology, scientific breakthroughs, and everyday activity that produces wealth, but government has thrown the switch and the machine is now running on two cylinders.  It would be smarter and cheaper to take extraordinary measures to isolate and protect the vulnerable, while allowing the rest of us to get on with generating wealth by working and consuming, so we can fund the medical breakthroughs to beat this and prepare for future pandemics.

Below are excerpts from the WSJ article, WSJ - Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown.  The article is now hidden behind a paywall, which is why I have reposted whole paragraphs.

Thank you, CDC and public health officials.  We have learned much, and we have helped slow the disease by putting your lessons into practice:
The vast social-distancing project of the last 10 days or so has been necessary and has done much good. Warnings about large gatherings of more than 10 people and limiting access to nursing homes will save lives. The public has received a crucial education in hygiene and disease prevention, and even young people may get the message. With any luck, this behavior change will reduce the coronavirus spread enough that our hospitals won’t be overwhelmed with patients. Anthony Fauci, Scott Gottlieb and other disease experts are buying crucial time for government and private industry to marshal resources against the virus.
 At what cost?
In a normal recession the U.S. loses about 5% of national output over the course of a year or so. In this case we may lose that much, or twice as much, in a month.
The initial shutdown was supposed to last two weeks.  Let's adjust and try to do things smarter...
That will surely include strict measures to isolate and protect the most vulnerable—our elderly and those with underlying medical problems. This should not become a debate over how many lives to sacrifice against how many lost jobs we can tolerate.
But no society can safeguard public health for long at the cost of its overall economic health. 
 Even America’s resources to fight a viral plague aren’t limitless—and they will become more limited by the day as individuals lose jobs, businesses close, and American prosperity gives way to poverty.
America urgently needs a pandemic strategy that is more economically and socially sustainable than the current national lockdown.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Hysteria & Panic: Counting the Cost

Silverfiddle Rant!
“This is not Ebola, this is not sars, this is not some science fiction movie come to life. The hysteria here is way out of line with the actuality and the facts.” *

I surveyed the bare shelves, and my mind kept turning to the working poor with children who perhaps only have a narrow opportunity to shop once a week, elderly and disabled people for whom a trip to the grocery store is a herculean effort of pain and worry...

And they find the store stripped by panicked hordes of healthy, able-bodied people, most of whom could miss a few meals and it would do them some good.
"We have 30,000 traffic deaths every year!  We're ordering all vehicles off the roads to save those lives!"
Heather MacDonald asks if governments' abundance of caution is worth the cost in her article, Compared to What?
Even if my odds of dying from coronavirus should suddenly jump ten-thousand-fold, from the current rate of .000012 percent across the U.S. population all the way up to .12 percent, I’d happily take those odds over the destruction being wrought on the U.S. and global economy from this unbridled panic.
Stimulate What?

Federal, state and local government have crashed the economy by ordering businesses to close and throwing tens of millions out of work.  Now, they are borrowing trillions to bail out the economy they wrecked.

How in the hell are people supposed to stimulate the economy with fistfulls of government cash when government has shuttered all the businesses?

I don't need a thousand dollar check.  I am still working, thank God.

Could government actions have been a little more targeted?  Lasers instead of meat axes and sledge hammers?

Now that the economic wreckage from government panic is in the trillions, here are two actions governments should immediately take:

1.  Unemployment checks to those millions of workers the federal, state and local governments threw out of work

2.  Financial assistance to small business owners the federal, state and local governments ordered shut down

These payments are not socialism.  This is government providing a small remuneration for the harm they caused, and states should foot their part of financial responsibility.  It is easy to decree broad, sweeping mandates when you don't have to pay for the disastrous consequences.

States Can't Shut Down Non-Essential Businesses Without Harming Essential Ones

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

[about the above ballad, which tells a story and dates to as far back as 1670]

One set of lyrics:
"O, where are you going?" "To Scarborough fair,"
Savoury sage, rosemary, and thyme;
"Remember me to a lass who lives there,
For once she was a true love of mine.

"And tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
Savoury sage, rosemary, and thyme,
Without any seam or needlework,
And then she shall be a true love of mine.

"And tell her to wash it in yonder dry well,
Savoury sage, rosemary, and thyme,
Where no water sprung, nor a drop of rain fell,
And then she shall be a true love of mine."

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Herd Immunity - MIT Answers Our Corona Virus Questions

Silverfiddle Rant!
MIT has a free website where they provide factual, non-sensational information about COVID-19:

Technology Review - Coronavirus

Below are a few excerpts:

What is herd immunity and can it stop the coronavirus?
There are basically three ways to stop the Covid-19 disease for good.
One involves extraordinary restrictions on free movement and assembly, as well as aggressive testing, to interrupt its transmission entirely. That may be impossible now that the virus is in over 100 countries.
The second is a vaccine that could protect everyone, but it still needs to be developed.
A third is potentially effective but horrible to consider: just wait until enough people get it.
If the virus keeps spreading, eventually so many people will have been infected and (if they survive) become immune that the outbreak will fizzle out on its own as the germ finds it harder and harder to find a susceptible host. This phenomenon is known as herd immunity.
See also:  Your Biggest Questions Answered

I also recommend A fiasco in the making? The essay has been targeted as too cavalier about the situation, but that is a mischaracterization.  The article is five days old now, a lifetime in this era of fast-paced events, but I recommend it because it is authored by a Stanford professor of medicine who performs a sober calculation of the math, considers various hypotheticals, and takes the position throughout that, based on current date, we just don't know.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Humor For These Days Of Toilet Paper Mania

(For serious politics, please scroll down)

We need a little laughter to stay sane.

From Bored Panda

Posted last week on my ritzy online neighborhood network and generating more than 112 comments, most enjoying the thread:
At 7:00pm, I will be tossing a single roll of toilet paper into the street directly outside of the...parking garage back exit. I will observe the ensuing battle from my balcony. If the spectacle is entertaining, I will raise my thumb. The victor will be then granted an additional two-ply roll. May the stars be aligned in your favor.
Over the course of several days, more information appeared, such as:

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Chinese Virus

Silverfiddle Rant!
Proof there is a God:

Despite our criminally stupid government, the nation yet endures.

China produces around 90% of our pharmaceuticals, holds near-monopoly on rare earth elements, and our dependence on them for food and everyday household items is disconcerting.

Why would supposedly responsible people in government, Democrats and Republicans, think its a good idea to hand so much power over us to a brutal communist dictatorship that has publicly stated its goal is to overtake us economically, militarily, and replace us as the dominant force on the globe?

From Project Syndicate:
The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for a world that has accepted China’s lengthening shadow over global supply chains for far too long. Only by reducing China’s global economic influence – beginning in the pharmaceutical sector – can the world be kept safe from the country's political pathologies.
It is also clear the communist dictatorship plays by its own rules, and gets by with it:
If any other country had triggered such a far-reaching, deadly, and above all preventable crisis, it would now be a global pariah. But China, with its tremendous economic clout, has largely escaped censure. Nonetheless, it will take considerable effort for Xi’s regime to restore its standing at home and abroad.
Can you imagine Germany, Japan or other responsible nations performing such a dark passive aggressive threat disguised as hurt feelings?
China’s leaders are publicly congratulating themselves for not limiting exports of medical supplies and APIs used to make medicines, vitamins, and vaccines. If China decided to ban such exports to the United States, the state-run news agency Xinhua recently noted, the US would be “plunged into a mighty sea of coronavirus.” China, the article implies, would be justified in taking such a step. It would simply be retaliating against “unkind” US measures taken after COVID-19’s emergence, such as restricting entry to the US by Chinese and foreigners who had visited China.
Isn’t the world lucky that China is not that petty?
What say you?

Saturday, March 14, 2020