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It’s been a week since Joe Biden won. Now what for medical science policy?

In 2016 and 2020, scientists expressed surprise and alarm at the results of the Presidential election. In 2016 it was alarm that someone as antiscience as Donald Trump was elected, and in 2020 it was over how close the election was, given Trump’s dismal record on science, medicine, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Are scientists out of touch? And now what, for federal science policy and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A week ago this Saturday, after four days of ballot counting, tabulation, speculation, commiseration, and angst on all sides, it became clear that Joe Biden had won Pennsylvania, and with it the necessary Electoral College votes to put him over the top for the Presidency. True, there have been (and probably will still be) be recounts and legal challenges, but most agree that President Trump doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on legally, and thus far his legal challenges have been shot down like Japanese Zeroes during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. (Look it up if you’re not big on WWII history. It’s even a bit of a Thanksgiving reference.) It is also unlikely that recounts will change the results in enough states to flip the election back to President Trump. What this means is that, barring a truly unexpected development, on January 20, Joe Biden will take the oath of office and become the 46th President of the United States.

I’m not interested in discussing the politics, mechanisms, or machinations of the election itself so much, though. Regular readers know my politics (particularly if they follow my Twitter feed, which is a lot more explicit about my leanings). Still, on this blog, I strive to remain nonpartisan, although, contrary to what some try to tell me I should be, I’ve never been apolitical, given my support for science-based health policy, such as cracking down on quackery, not legitimizing homeopathy with FDA approval, and supporting strong school vaccine mandates. That being said, this election season has been very painful to watch and participate in (at least for me), and, I’m sure, nerve-wracking for some of my friends in the UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries around the world to watch from afar. Regardless of party, what I am interested in is what the new administration will mean for science and science-based medicine in terms of federal law and policy. Unfortunately, these days it is impossible not to be at least somewhat partisan, given the policies of the two parties with respect to science in 2020.

In any event, I can’t help but note that I did the same thing four years ago, commenting on what I thought might be the consequences after Donald Trump had first become President-Elect. Interestingly, many of the predictions at the time were fairly prescient, although none of us who made them can take that much credit for brilliance given how much the Trump campaign had telegraphed its hostility to climate science, environmental science, and what it perceived as excessive “regulation” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over drug approval and development. It didn’t take much knowledge to produce at least a rough outline of what would be coming.

Scientists’ reactions to 2016 versus real-life outcomes

In 2016, blogger Jann Bellamy noted that Trump’s victory had “stunned scientists“, citing a number of them saying things like:

Also:

“With a climate skeptic as President and a creationist as vice-president, scientists can only be worried.” —Albert Descoteaux, a biologist studying host-parasite reactions at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

And:

“Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had,” Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C., told the journal Nature. “The consequences are going to be very, very severe.”

Perhaps the most telling reaction cited was this one:

“I am confused, angry, depressed. I feel much like I do when I receive the comments on a rejected paper that the reviewers have torn apart. This morning I realized that I don’t actually know a Trump supporter who I could talk to about the election. How can I reach the public if I’m only speaking to my own circle?” —Peter Peregrine, an anthropologist at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico.

Therein lies part of our problem as scientists. I’ll have more to say about that near the end of this post, but for now I want to start by mentioning that my reaction to the election of Donald Trump as President focused primarily on its potential effect on science policy with respect to SBM. (Surprise! Surprise! I’m a surgeon, translational scientist, and my main hobby is blogging about SBM and its opposites!) For example, one of my posts right after the 2016 election concentrated on Trump’s (and, let’s face it, the Republican Party’s) obsession with “deregulation” and its definite sympathy towards the “health freedom movement” and what that might mean for “right-to-try,” given that Trump would be entering office with control of both Houses of Congress as well. It turns out that, in retrospect, I was correct about a lot of things, and a federal “right-to-try” law was passed in 2018 (although it didn’t really do much of anything, other than allow for the exploitation of desperate patients, as it was intended to. I was also correct about the push to loosen drug approval standards at the FDA, which began immediately, when Trump floated the names of Peter Thiel-backed libertarians to head the FDA, one of whom thought that the free market should decide which drugs are effective and that the FDA should only make sure they are safe before approving them, the other of whom thought that online rating systems, an “Uber” or “Yelp” for drugs if you will, would be a fine idea to evaluate the safety and efficacy of medications. Scott Gottlieb, who was ultimately chosen, turned out to be the “least bad” choice in that he at least was competent. However, he was a genuine “pharma shill” with deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry who believed in “streamlining” the FDA drug approval process further than it had been “streamlined” already, even though arguably the process had already become too lax.

Meanwhile, Trump chose Dr. Tom Price, a member of the medical crank organization disguised as a medical professional society (the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, or AAPS) to be the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Recall that AAPS has long promoted a wide range of conspiracy theories, including antivaccine pseudoscience (including Andrew Wakefield), and has since pivoted to promoting COVID-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories. This reminds me, the Trump administration was already quite awful with respect to federal policy relating to SBM even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Every year, it proposed slashing the NIH budget starting immediately upon taking office, for example. Fortunately, every year, even the Republican-controlled Congress didn’t oblige him and even significantly increased the NIH budget. In addition, his first CDC Director, although refreshingly very pro-vaccine, had a history of selling quackery, while there were reported attempts to censor the CDC’s budget requests by flagging it for words that should not be said.

COVID-19 intervenes

Regular readers will likely have noticed that over the last several months the COVID-19 pandemic has come to dominate the blogging here at SBM. This is no surprise, of course, given that the pandemic, our responses to it in terms of policy, the search for treatments and a vaccine, and the political response to federal, state, and local policies represent the single largest ongoing story related to medicine in 2020 and will without a doubt continue to be so well into next year, if not for the full year. How could it be otherwise? Basically, the COVID-19 pandemic is not going away any time soon, the wishful thinking of President Trump notwithstanding, and the US has had disproportionately more cases and more fatalities than any other nation on earth. That last part is just a fact. The US represents only 5% of the world’s population but accounts for nearly one-fifth of the world’s deaths from COVID-19, roughly 237,000 so far as of the time I write this, and we are racking up over 100,000 new cases per day. By any reasonable measure, things are not going well with respect to COVID-19 in the US. As a nation, we are not handling the pandemic well.

There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is how COVID-19 has unleashed conspiracy theories all over the world, but in particular in the US. The antivaccine movement rapidly joined forces with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, minimizers, deniers, and cranks, an unholy alliance that developed very early in the pandemic, to become a major force in resisting public health interventions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its massive harm. Antivaccine conspiracy theories merged with COVID-19 conspiracy theories and then with QAnon to produce a toxic soup of seemingly unstoppable misinformation and disinformation that millions, ensconced in their social media bubbles, have come to believe, while antivaxxers launched a pre-emptive disinformation campaign to cast doubt on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine candidates that had rapidly gone into development.

Here’s one area where the Trump Administration, in its hostility to regulation coupled with its desperation to find a quick fix for the pandemic, made things so much worse. First, it named its COVID-19 vaccine initiative “Operation Warp Speed,” a name that implied that speed was being valued above all, including safety, to the point where even pro-vaccine voices (including myself) expressed doubt over whether the FDA would adequately assess and confirm the safety of COVID-19 vaccine candidates before approving them. It took a lot to lead those of us as pro-vaccine as, for example, Paul Offit, Peter Hotez, and myself, to question whether the FDA would adequately assess the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, but damn if the Trump administration didn’t manage it.

Then there was the active undermining of science-based responses to the pandemic. Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, and others tried to emphasize responses to the pandemic based on the best public health science. True, the disaster that has been the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t all Trump’s fault. (In an event this large, it never is anyone’s fault, solely.) For example, there were missteps coming from the President’s coronavirus task force. Messaging on masks early in the pandemic was borderline disastrous, such as when the main message being promoted was that people probably shouldn’t wear masks routinely unless they were sick. This was likely adopted in an effort to preserve the supply of medical grade masks for frontline healthcare workers and based on the then-current understanding that COVID-19 probably wasn’t contagious in asymptomatic patients, a conclusion that turned out to be tragically wrong when it became clear that asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease, is a major means of its spread.

Whatever the reasons in the “fog of war” early in the pandemic for this misstep, the mixed messaging on masks wasn’t entirely Trump’s fault. What was Trump’s fault was his decisions to refuse to wear a mask, to mock those who did wear masks (including his opponent former Vice President Joe Biden) as “weak,” and to politicize the wearing of masks such that not wearing one became a mark of Trump’s “tribe,” while wearing a mask marked a person as being a “liberal,” or the enemy “tribe.” This continued even after the evidence made it clear that masks work to slow the spread of COVID-19. Unlike Fauci, however, Trump refused to change his mind when evidence had by June become pretty definitive that masks work, encouraging the spread of disinformation about masks. (Also, masks don’t make you sicker, nor are shopkeepers obligated under the Americans With Disabilities Act to let maskless shoppers into their stores.) Even after he himself had contracted COVID-19 six weeks ago, thanks to a lack of concern about most precautions other than testing in the White House, and became, I suspect, sicker than was being let on, President Trump continued to attack public health messaging designed to slow the spread of the disease and portrayed himself as having “beaten it”, all while continuing to portray the US as just “rounding the turn” with respect to the pandemic, despite the copious evidence otherwise.

And don’t even get me started on the other—shall we say?—unhelpful things that Trump did. Who could forget his promotion of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial and mildly immunosuppressive drug whose efficacy was at the time unproven, as a “cure” for COVID-19? This led to a run on the drug, resulting in shortages for those patients who needed it to treat their rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Spurred by Trump, all manner of quacks (e.g., Drs. Mehmet Oz, Didier Raoult) and Trump administration officials (e.g., Peter Navarro) promoted the drug as a virtual “miracle cure,” complete with “miracle cure” testimonials of recovery, and portrayed those casting doubt on its efficacy (or even just urging caution and waiting for results from randomized clinical trials) as downright evil people who wanted more people to die. All of this led to a premature emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA for hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, an EUA that was rescinded not long after as randomized clinical trials failed to demonstrate efficacy. Even now, hydroxychloroquine is the Black Knight of COVID-19 treatments, its adherents refusing to admit what science has shown and astroturf campaigns still actively promoting the drug, along with the conspiracy theory that big pharma and other nefarious “deep state” forces had “suppressed” evidence that it works.

Meanwhile, the politicization of the FDA and CDC got so bad that last month the Government Accountability Office launched an investigation, charging that “the Trump Administration has reportedly pressured the CDC and FDA throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, repeatedly applying political pressure and imposing orders on career scientists that undermine the agencies’ credibility and independence”. This sort of pressure took the form of political pressure to approve a vaccine by EUA, pressure that led me to ask two months ago if we can even trust the CDC and FDA any more, given how the messaging from the CDC had been affected and the declining trust in the FDA’s drug approval processes, given the obvious political pressure brought to bear on the agency. In the last couple of months, even Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx were sidelined, in favor of someone who is—let’s face it—a hack, a radiologist who hasn’t practiced in years and has no training or experience relevant to the pandemic in public health, epidemiology, or infectious disease, a Hoover Institution political flack named Dr. Scott Atlas. This is a man who has basically embraced the nonsolution based on likely unattainable “herd immunity” known as the Great Barrington Declaration, whose proponents have a rather inflated view of themselves and their importance.

The bottom line, from my perspective at least in terms of the Trump administration’s record with respect to federal policy related to SBM, is that President Trump was even worse than I had feared. That was even before his disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic and doesn’t even count his record on climate change and the environment. He sidelined scientists, prematurely approved treatments, and basically meddled in science-based policy in disastrous ways, leading to damage in the federal scientific infrastructure that could take decades to undo.

Will Joe Biden be better?

All of this leads to the natural question: Will Joe Biden, after he becomes President, be any better than President Trump on science? Certainly, it would be quite difficult for him to do worse, and there are several encouraging signs. For one thing, President-Elect Biden made controlling COVID-19 the centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that the economic damage due to public health mitigation measures can’t be reversed until the pandemic is under much better control. He has promised to listen to scientists and a week ago appointed a COVID-19 transition task force full of real scientists to advise him during the transition.

Another failure of the Trump administration was to refuse to use the resources of the federal government to provide guidance and instead basically leaving each state to fend for itself. Another disastrous decision was to pull the US out of the World Health Organization:

Biden’s administration will also re-open lines of communication with other countries and international organizations in its fight against the coronavirus. Trump pulled the United States out of the World Health Organization earlier this year, criticizing the international agency for supporting China, where the outbreak began. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris understand that no country can face our current challenges alone and hopefully will re-engage and help re-form key science-based multilateral institutions,” says Marga Gual Soler, an expert in science diplomacy and policy adviser to the European Union.

Regular readers know that we haven’t exactly always been the biggest fans of the WHO, but our criticism has been in response to its naïvété about the antivaccine movement and its too-easy embrace of quackery in the form of traditional Chinese medicine and other traditional medicines, which it’s legitimized by incorporating them into ICD-11. However, when it comes to a global pandemic, not collaborating with WHO on responses to the pandemic was about as bad an idea as there could be.

Again, all of this is just about the pandemic. There are so many other areas of science where a President Biden is very likely to be so much better than President Trump was. Moreover, the horror of scientists over the response of this administration to the pandemic was not primarily due to politics, as Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves put it:

Precisely. It’s true that most scientists (although not most physicians) tend to lean left in their politics, but many are the scientists who have worked with Democrats and Republicans over the years to craft health and biomedical science policy. The horror of scientists, physicians, epidemiologists, and public health academics over the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic was far more due to the bungling and the hostility towards listening to scientists than it was to dislike of Trump’s politics. Yes, it is true that pretty much all administrations, be they Democrat or Republican, have a problem with “inconvenient science” that conflicts with political imperatives or messaging at some point or another, but never have I seen anything like the war on science carried out by the Trump administration.

This brings me back, at long last, to the reaction of scientists.

Why were scientists surprised in 2020 as well?

As I related, scientists were shocked at the outcome of the 2016 election. At the time, I wondered why, not so much because I myself wasn’t shocked that Trump was actually elected President, but more because so many of the responses were along the lines of, “How could we elect someone so hostile to science and science-based federal policy?” At the time, after some thought, my response was: Because to most voters, science and science-based policy are not the most important determinants of how people vote, often not even close. This was particularly true given the tsunami of misinformation and disinformation that social media served up in the run-up to the election.

So it was that I was rather disappointed to see the same sorts of responses to this election, specifically scientists expressing disappointment that the election was not an overwhelming repudiation of Donald Trump in that it was very close in several swing states to the point that the Electoral College was so close and that the Senate appears likely to remain in Republican hands. Indeed, on the day after the election, Nature published a news report entitled Scientists aghast as hopes for landslide Biden election victory vanish:

“It’s horrific,” says Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Cobb has her own fears about the pandemic, the economy and climate change but is trying to understand the anxieties that are driving so many to vote for Trump. “

It is depressing to see that the American electorate have not heeded the evidence of the last four years to give a strong message about the damage being caused by Trump’s actions and behaviour, for their own country as well as the wider world,” says Athene Donald, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, UK.

And:

Michael Lubell, a physicist at the City College of New York who tracks science policy, worries about what the results of the election say about the value that many Americans put on truth. Trump, former host of the television show

, is well known for making inaccurate statements and spreading misinformation to further his political agenda. “What I see is people rejecting reality, and opting more for a reality show,” says Lubell. “And that to me is frightening.”

The Apprentice

You might remember that Lubell was one of the scientists cited at the beginning of this post as having been horrified by Trump’s victory in 2016. As someone who has long advocated science-based health and medical policy, I understand his horror. What I don’t understand is his surprise, however, that Biden didn’t head up a “blue wave.” Again, science is not one of the major drivers of whom voters choose when they vote. Scientists seem not to understand this, which is somewhat understandable in that they are, well, scientists. However, this is not surprising in a nation this politically polarized, with such large segments of the population subjected to conspiracy theories about COVID-19, climate change, vaccines, and many other areas of science to the point where they believe antiscience conspiracy theories. Add to that the sheer number of people who believe in alternative medicine and don’t trust SBM, and I’m surprised that scientists would be so shocked at a close result. By contrast, the reason I was surprised by how close the result was (at least in the Electoral College) was primarily due to all the polling that showed Biden with such a stable and significant lead rather than because I expected the electorate to soundly reject him based on his antiscience attitude and policies. (I’m not bragging, either. I just understand this because I happen to spend so much time refuting pseudoscience and antiscience conspiracy theories.)

The article’s tag line is: “With so many votes cast for Trump in US election, some researchers conclude that they must work harder to communicate the importance of facts, science, and truth.” Personally, I can’t argue with that, but I also can’t help but note that there is still a disdain out there among my fellow scientists and physicians for scientists and physicians who choose to engage in science communication directed at the general public. It’s a disdain that dates back to Carl Sagan and before, an attitude that does not value such activity and even views it as a waste of time compared to other activities. While it is true that science communication is a lot more respected now (or at least a lot less disrespect and disdain are directed at it) by fellow scientists and physicians, we have a long way to go. Also, as much of a bubble as Trump supporters live in, we scientists have to be careful not to stay within our own bubbles so much. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be surprised at occurrences like the results of the 2020 election.

Over the next several months, I think I’ll try to devote more verbiage to how we as medical scientists can try to promote good science, critical thinking, and reason in the face of the massive waves of disinformation that dominate social media. I’ll have to think about it, though. I hope those of you who share our mission will take the time to reflect as well on what we can do better. While it’s true that having Joe Biden as President will mean better science policy, the forces that elevated Donald Trump to the Presidency and supported his antiscience policies haven’t gone away and will make reversing the damage to federal science very difficult, even after the pandemic is finally brought under better control.

Particularly hopeful is that there are now two vaccine candidates whose companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have reported very promising efficacy, although I am still waiting for the detailed data to be published. It is a near-certainty that a Biden administration will handle the rollout of these vaccines far better than the Trump administration would have.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

146 replies on “It’s been a week since Joe Biden won. Now what for medical science policy?”

With all due respect, Joe Biden has not won the title of “President-Elect.” The US Electoral College will decide who the next President-Elect will be in mid-December – or it may be decided by the Supreme Court of the USA. Until then, please do not misrepresent facts.

@ syrrupdishes

“With all due respect, Joe Biden has not won the title of “President-Elect.””

Oh, really? Did I miss something?

Look. Back down from this ridiculous position. Democracy could be defined as a system that ensures peaceful transition of power. You people are threatening it. And as someone who is not an American, let me tell you that the last thing we need in this world right now is the US rejecting the notion of democracy.

Nothing has been filed with the Supreme Court that could overturn the election results.

Nothing is before any other court that could, at this point. So far the Trump campaign has not provided evidence of fraud. At least two of their lawyers said in court they’re not alleging fraud.

If they don’t bring real evidence of wide scale fraud in the next day or two, and there’s no indication they have it, their chance likely drop from near zero to full zero.

They just don’t have strong legal claims and have been doing dismally on producing evidence.

So far the Trump campaign has not provided evidence of fraud.

Well, aside from the waddling phenomenology of Guiliani, I suppose.

Evidently, Mr. Bidens cancer charity brought in millions in donations. Some people were paid very well like this guy, Gregory Simon. Mr. Simon is a former Pfizer executive and longtime health care lobbyist who made $429,850 in fiscal year July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. After salaries/expenses were paid, there was no money left for research. Hopefully Mr. Biden will be more fiscally responsible as president. To help him, his trusty aides need to be sure he never runs out of Concerta or diapers.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/1802955/joe-biden-cancer-charity-millions-salaries-none-research/

Evidently, Mr. Bidens cancer charity

Whether it’s true or not, Trump did it, too (technically, it was one of his sons, but the parent’s company was the one benefitting). I don’t remember you complaining about it then.
You Americans who stayed silent these past four years have lost any standing to give the rest of the world lessons in morals.

The above line is going to be my standard response to any Yankee for the next decade.

It kind of matters what is true. What is being reported about this charity is that it spent most of its money on salaries and not grants. It did hold a conference with over 500,000. It hired oncologists and people with expertise. Then, it is reported, it kind of tapered off as the Bidens went on the campaign trail.

You can disagree with its allocation of money or criticize it as not doing enough. But that’s not illegal or fraud. That’s just another non-profit that did not fully live up to its potential. It happens. There’s no suggestion of illegality in any of the stories I’ve seen, and the Bidens themselves did not make any money from it.

This is the story I saw. https://nypost.com/2020/11/14/biden-cancer-initiative-spent-millions-on-payroll-zero-on-research-report/ The Sun story seems similar.

If that’s the worse haters have, it doesn’t mean much.

@ Dorit

Thanks.
I wasn’t interested in listening more from her side.
This story had all the hallmarks of being Clinton foundation v2. Déjà vu all over again. Or is it v3, with Hunter Biden: The Return of the Ukrainian Prosecutor being the second opus?
Now I’m waiting for Pizzagate v2, a.k.a. Blood libel v934 (approximately).
Like nothing happened in the past four years.

Business as usual for the common contrarians and conspiracy theorists. No matter what happens, they know better.
Although, for all their smart talk, they cannot recognize actual bullying, child abuse, and human right infringements – like voter suppression – when it’s looking them straight in the face in their own country.

If they did, they would have to do some real advocacy. Too much hard work, coming with real risks. Easier to yell in the general supposed direction of some nebulous “medical cartel” or “globalist cabal” and pat oneself on the back for not being a sheeple.

No. That is why they are sadistic child haters who love to see kids suffer from high fevers, seizures, pneumonia, etc.

I cannot find 990 form of this charity from IRS website. But then, I cannot find Rober Kennedy Jr´s either. Want to bet how big consult fees he paid to himself ?
Point of salaries is who get them. If research charity pays to scientists, this is OK. Sun did not separate types salaries.

One other encouraging sign: in debates, President-Elect Biden has pointed out that under the Obama administration, a handbook for handling pandemic – referenced positively during this crisis by multiple experts – was written, and it was ignored by the Trump Administration.

Being aware of the need for such general guidance and preparedness is helpful.

I would quibble a bit with the view that the election was close. I agree with the election law experts on twitter who point out that this was not a close election, it just looked that way because of the way the votes were counted. These votes were all in on election night. Where we are now is that President-Elect Biden is leading the electoral college count 306-232, and in the states that looked close on election night, by counts ranging from slightly over 10,000 to over 140,000 in your home state of Michigan. That is not a close election, even though yes, I would have liked to see a stronger repudiation.

What interested me was the split in red states vs blue states – Trump got roughly 2/3 of the vote in red states vs Biden getting in the 55% of votes in blue states. Dems definitely seem to have tougher margins and there is still a deep well of…frankly I’m not sure what to call it other than scary.

@ JDK:

This may be about the urban/ rural divide.
perhaps red states have less of the urban enclaves that vote blue – in other words, only small areas of blue whilst blue states have large numbers of rural voters as well as urban If you look at a map of how states vote (by county) you may see what I mean **. As states become more “citified” and less white ( GA, AZ) they get more blue. Most red states are mostly red and blue states are more diverse ( in both senses of the term)

** there are vast rural areas that I call “red state CA” or “red state NY” etc.

USA Today ( 2020/ 11/10) has maps that illustrate counties and population density
‘2020 presidential election by county’

Biden did better in MI, WI, PA than Trump did in 2016 plus he flipped strongholds like AZ and GA; this was also seen at the county level in many places.. His popular vote totals are even more striking .Totals in blue enclaves reflect strength as well ( see CA, NY, NJ, CT, MA etc) Young people, minorities, college grads and women showed their power
( although I’m not happy about totals for white women overall) People in locales that were “doing well” voted for Biden, less successful areas for Trump (new data) a rural/ exurb divide.
I often tell my SO that people like me are the betes noires of the most adamant Trumpites, I check all of the boxes they hate.

Thanks for the nuance, Denice! I was just going by the NYTimes electoral map totals. I live in a district that was part urban but largely rural and the conservative candidate always won no matter how much of a moron they were. As population levels increased the urban got split from the rural and we succeeded in getting a liberal candidate in. The conservative still carried his rural district fine. To quote a favourite comedian: some people will vote for a gerbil as long as it promises to lower their taxes.

In fairness to some Republicans, it’s worth pointing out that the GWBush administration developed a pandemic playbook in 2005-6; and that playbook was expanded and updated by the Obama administration. It’s only the current president-eject who decided that planning for a pandemic response was unnecessary.

the current president-eject

Is is the official term? As a non-USian, I don’t know if there is even an official term for the sson-to-be former president.

Don’t tell me, I want to keep it.

Watch out, Mr!*
If you are at all concerned about inadequate testing of new vaccines, resident anti-vaxxers just might call you an anti-vaxxer! You’re not 100% all in as medical policy dictates!

— @ Ginger Taylor calls herself “Queen Elect” since Biden calls himself ‘President Elect’. I’m sure she also has scores of millions of votes, foreign leaders and media in agreement
— RFK jr is unhappy about his television encounter with Fox Business’ Kennedy ( nee Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) because she said you could sue pharmaceutical companies
— Most of PRN’s Noontime Woo-fest is concerned with Covid denialism ( it’s not the cause of death, vaccines won’t work, tests don’t work, cheap meds and supplements work, figures are inflated, governors are “little emperors” – even Gretchen?, masks protect you only from other microbes, not Covid***, Fauci is wrong and other BS) Endless lying to attract customers for his product line
— Not one of the people I survey ( woo, anti-vax) disseminates reasonable, SB information about Covid
— the current situation re Trump and Biden reminds me a bit of the 14th Century’s concurrent popes at Rome and Avignon. Will the people I know in the Wilmington Delaware area be in the Alternate Holy See?. Or is it the other way around?
— Trump was not seen for nearly a week and it appeared that he let his hair go naturally white. Was the golden shade spray-on as well as the tan? It takes a long time to grow out permanent dyes.

** it is quite appropriate to call Orac either Dr or Mr.
*** that’s a new one

Technically, you can sue whoever you want. A guy once sued Satan. (Case failed because they couldn’t serve process on the defendant, among other issues). United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (W.D.Pa. 1971)

“couldn’t serve process on the defendant”

You can find god, but satan finds you.

“and His Staff”

The interview process for new hires must be fascinating. Where do I apply?

“and His Staff”

They couldn’t find anyone on Satan’s payroll? Where is the Witchfinder General when you need him?

Maybe they meant his staff as an item – a tall cane or scepter – , not a collection of people?

the current situation re Trump and Biden reminds me a bit of the 14th Century’s concurrent popes at Rome and Avignon.

Ooh, I like that reference. Fun historical times.
Who is going to be the Antipope? Or, here, the AntiPotus?

Heh.I couldn’t recall how the original situation transpired so I consulted Wikipedia ( see Avignon popes) and am still not sure how to complete the analogy: is Trump of Rome or Avignon? ( You probably know more about this than I do because of your origins.). When Biden becomes President will Trump be the anti-president? Who is now the French king? Is Delaware Rome or Avignon? .

You probably know more about this

Eh, I am of the generation who grew up with “Les Rois Maudits” of Maurice Druon being mandatory reading in school and generally mainstream. Quite the doorstoppers.
I was still mixing up my popes, I had to check Wikipedia as well 🙂

While the guy in Avignon was the one labeled the antipope nowadays, at the time, he was of course saying that he was the real Pope and that the antipope was the other guy. But in term of political lines of succession, the Roman Pope could be seen – and is seen, of course, by the current Catholic hierarchy – as being the only legitimate one.
To parallel this to the current events in US… I guess it depends if you accept that Biden has been duly elected, or not.

The problem with creating an analogy is that several issues are involved:
— location
— legitimacy
— time frame
In the original ( as I understand it), le roi francais set up a vote to make his guy pope who wound up in Avignon
Popes in Rome were elected in another manner
Both called themselves legitimate
This happened more than once over a century- several sets of popes/ pretenders
The RC Church accepts the Roman popes

Today, there are NOT two simultaneous presidents only a current one and a newly elected one not yet sworn in
The current one is in DC and the president elect is in Delaware
Both were elected but in different years.
Most media outlets accept Biden as President elect as do foreign powers BUT partisans believe the election was illegitimate.
( Actually people could argue that the 2016 election was tainted because of voter suppression, false information, foreign interference)
So it depends if you accept the 2020 election as fair or not

Actually, maybe should ask F68.10 for his perspective

I loved Les Rois Maudits.

Need to re-read the series. It’s so complex (and yet compelling).

I’m re-reading, and almost done, with Simone Bertierre’s wonderful biography of Marie Antoinette, L’Insoumise. (Sorry. I don’t know how to add accents with this keyboard). Will key up Druon for next. Are there any other series of the same calibre you’d recommend?

By the way, for others, the series – at least the first four volumes, maybe all – was translated into English with the title The Accursed Kings. And it’s excellent.

@ Dorit

Are there any other series of the same calibre you’d recommend?

About French history, another classic is the series “Fortunes de France” from Robert Merle.
Quite a long series, 13 volumes; It follows the fortune of the second son of a soldier who (the soldier) was given a title by Francois the first on the battlefield. The father is Huguenot (Protestant); the mother is Catholic, and this son, the main hero/narrator, quickly finds himself a witness of the big events of the French religious wars. Plus
a few plagues and some other wars. The whole series goes from 1547 to 1661.

The books about the hero studying medicine in Montpellier, and of course the book about the St-Barthelemy in Paris, are a must-read for those interested in this period.
By the later half-dozen books, the main protagonist stands back and it’s the turn of his own son to be thrown in the middle of history. The books detailing the relationship between king Louis the 13th and Richelieu are also a must-read. It’s a full 180 compared to the romantic view espoused in The Three Musketeers, and a lot more historically accurate.
As you may surmise, these books see more than a bit of swashbuckling action.

Not fully historical books, but another series I would recommend about French history is by author Marc Paillet.
He wrote a few whodunnits set during the reign of Charlemagne, with two missi dominici and their cohorts going as diplomats and investigators all around the Empire . And beyond, once among the Vikings, another time going to Bagdad.
Light reading, maybe targeting a young adult audience (the French editor published the books’ series in a so-called “Collection 10/18 Grands Detectives”). But still heavy with medieval history. If you know the series of whodunnits with the monk Cadfael, by Ellis Peters, there are some similarities. The editor actually published Cadfael in the same collection.

Ooh, I like that reference.

Am I the only one who remembers back when HDB Uncle Smut was surprised that at least three members of the commentariat were familiar with Marat/Sade?

About French history, another classic is the series “Fortunes de France” from Robert Merle.

Is Germany out? I only know Berlin Alexanderplatz from the miniseries, but that was indeed adapted from the novel.

Again, science is not one of the major drivers of whom voters choose when they vote.

That may well be true with many voters, but I would also offer that maybe the situation is slightly more nuanced. As a scientist, I am uniquely priviliged of also being in a family with a hardcore Trump supporter. The first thing I would point out is that this person genuinely believes that they can make good decisions about science despite not actually being a scientist. Worse perhaps is that this person fancies themselves as being a “Scientist” due to having a fairly high level medical degree. It’s as if the notion of Dunning-Kruger simply never reaches them, and even when that is pointed out to them, I have to watch out not to have this point turned back in my face… it simply does not occur to this person that they are not at my level of skill at certain critical points in a conversation. It’s an extremely toxic dynamic: they are proud of my degree, my education, having known me my entire life, but seem to simply not understand what that degree means. I can’t have political discussions with this person anymore because it’s fighting uphill through a Gish Gallop that I am not prepared to refute, and moreover, I stay away from scientific discussions that might touch on politically sensitive topics because they simply will not hear what I have to say.

This person is well-read, smart, capable, very successful and highly self-confident. And, I feel that all of these things are an impediment in the current environment of misinformation and politicization. I don’t think one can talk down somebody who is confident that they have their hands on the truth every single time. You sometimes knock RFKjr for the large library he presents himself with in his Youtube videos. I would point out that the man may genuinely have that library in his house and he may well have read every single one of those books. He’s a lawyer after all. That won’t change the cognitive dissonance and motivated reasoning he uses to insulate himself from being less than he takes himself to be.

In my opinion, no amount of engagement by scientists can change the basic culture of people who believe that by having access to information that they automatically are flawless in evaluating that information. If you look closely at this, it’s fundamentally Libertarian and somewhat anarchic; these people believe they do not need others to help form their opinions for them and they fundamentally do not accept the role of specialized expertise, particularly scientific expertise, in society. To believe otherwise would break the notion that any individual person can ever be a truly self-sufficient John Galt. In a world where real science is very much a collectivist, or even an extended communal activity, they believe that brave mavericks can exist.

Mostly OT, but I’ve been preoccupied and not much around:

the result is the major stories that impact us Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself are quickly forgotten and buried

Thanks, Kim. XOX.

“You sometimes knock RFKjr for the large library he presents himself with in his Youtube videos. I would point out that the man may genuinely have that library in his house and he may well have read every single one of those books.”

Not only that, he’s probably read the Jacqueline Susann and L. Ron Hubbard books two or three times.

What would the alternative be? That it’s a painted set piece? That it’s in someone else’s house? It’s not there for him to read, though. It’s there for looks. Any harcore reader will recognize that is waaaay too tidy for a library in avid use.

Yeah, that liar Fauci is just like my Mom. She told me that I didn’t need a jacket in July, but insisted that I needed one in December. Fortunately, I saw through her claim that “conditions had changed” , just like I see through Fauci’s claim that masks were unnecessary in February when Covid was rare, but magically became necessary in May when Covid was common.

@ SocraticGadfly Hello. Thank you for your insight and link to your blog. A lie whether is is noble or not is still a lie. Fauci did himself and public healthscare a huge disservice by his deceit.

Your piece, “Joe Biden should be thanking COVID on his knees” is relevant and sums up Bidens pathetic “win”. If he is able to get down on his knees, he needs help getting back up. Dude seems frail and demented to me. He would have fell apart campaigning like Hilary did back in the day, fainting and falling on her Depends padded butt.

If Biden does become president, I predict Kamala will be behind the scenes calling the shots until they can’t hide Joe anymore and he is deemed unfit, terminal or he croaks. Just my unpopular opinion.

Good day and good health to you.

https://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2020/11/joe-biden-should-be-thanking-covid-on.html

The need to imagine bad medical things for people whose opinions they don’t like seems another feature of antivaccine culture.

It’s not a better way to understand reality than other forms of assuming it to be the way you want it to be. It speaks to you, not the subject of your fantasy.

Actually,Trump had all the power to handle COVID 19 professionally. He did not. Biden could thank Trump’s stupidity. He will not, because only antivaxxers are happy with a dangerous pandemic killing hundred thousands.

Dude seems frail and demented to me.

If Biden has some day troubles drinking from a water bottle, walking down stairs, or mixes up soap and bleach, we could talk about it. Until this threshold is met, there is no need.

Actually, there are precedents of people in bad health and still doing a somewhat good job as Potus. I am notably thinking of both Roosevelts.

Millions of Americans voted for the Biden/Harris ticked because they believed Sen. Harris would move Pres.-elect Biden to the left and make him keep his promises to introduce progressive legislation.

The sudden fixation on incontinence is weird, don’t you think?

I’m sure Freud would have something to say about that, but he was probably wrong.

@ EmJay

I have to admit, I have to figure out what’s scaring some people so much with the possibility that K. Harris may “call the shots” or eventually replace Biden.
They say it like it’s a bad thing.

AFAIK, she isn’t some sort of religious extreme guy or, let’s say, Jack Bauer fan like some previous vice-presidents.
Weird how some people are suddenly all concerned about the health of Potus and who the VP is.

Finally, Natalie admits she’s an antivaxer. 🙂

Given the intense fearmongering campaign by antivaxers designed to torpedo a Covid-19 vaccine and their opposition to scientifically proven steps to curb the pandemic, one has to assume they’re happy with prolonging it indefinitely.

@ DB- “Finally, Natalie admits she’s an antivaxer.” You got nothin’. Go back and read what I wrote.

Then DB writes, “opposition to scientifically proven steps to curb the pandemic” – If the scientifically proven steps are working so well, why do the cases continue to climb? Of course, the media doesn’t specify the actual number of people who have an active infection. Cases do not equal active infections. The media has been misleading and fearmongering.

I wear a cloth mask when I’m out in public in closed spaces. Within 15 min, the mask is damp. So people who are wearing masks for 8 hours a day are washing their hands every time after touching their wet masks? They aren’t. This is why the masks may be worse than not wearing anything at all. Dirty wet masks = dirty wet hands touching EVERYTHING. Handwashing, sneezing/coughing in the crook of your arm, AND STAYING HOME IF YOU ARE SYMPTOMATIC seem more effective but maybe that’s just too complicated for some. The asymptomatic carrier problem seems far-fetched.

You’re a lab guy, a pathologist? What about the PCR testing? Did you look at the link from the NYT article? Is this a problem? Is testing still being done like this? The article was from August.

NW: “If the scientifically proven steps are working so well, why do the cases continue to climb?”

Because they aren’t being implemented. In the places those steps are implemented, cases have dropped. See Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia.

Why do you assume that people are touching their masks with their hands?

Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spreaders are known. There is nothing far-fetched about them.

“If the scientifically proven steps are working so well, why do the cases continue to climb?”

Because that one maskless guy in an enclosed space can wipe out all the rest with standard cloth masks. The wearer’s mask does the lifting here… to catch droplets before they get smaller and float around. Around here, they dropped the 6-foot thing and pulled up all the stickers. They did keep the mask mandate but people take the whole thing much less serious now and even the employees don’t wear them except when they get behind the counter. They are friendly enough but I try to remember to close my eyes as her slipstream breezes by — this is probably interpreted as being rude.

“Cases do not equal active infections. The media has been misleading and fearmongering.”

They just don’t want you to waste your ‘money’* at the hospital over that buddy-buster boob job you’ve been eyeing.

*I never realized before that one could purchase knives and harpoons with EBT. Seems prudent.. fishing implements. I hope Andrew Yang gets a position; There should be UBI at least enough to pay the outrageous water bill the landlord at the trailor park charges for water (then calls it sewage fee) trickling through a 3/16 inch line.

There’s a gap in your reasoning. Yes, if Natalie understood logic and English, then her statement is either a non sequitur, or a confession – but you see the gap, now, don’t you?

I wear a cloth mask when I’m out in public in closed spaces. Within 15 min, the mask is damp.

Sheesh, you should go away and start making heavy-breathing phone calls.

@Natalie White Do you think that touching mask dries it ? Just dont touch it. Much easier than stay home when asymptomically infected.
What about deaths ? You do not need very sophisticated test here.

You dont fool me, Orac, your privilege blinds you.

The first clue was how you were in favor of killing millions of BiPoC through lockdown
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/hunger-pandemic-un-1.5540045
despite RCT showing that it is ineffective
https://twitter.com/tlowdon/status/1326965137266208769
thus you ignoring the science for some reason

The second clue was you denigrating other ways of knowing by the undiscovered genius Moses Turkle Bility, a BiPoC.
So you committed hate speech and thus violence https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/opinion/sunday/when-is-speech-violence.html

70 million voted for the guy, who did? It must have been ppl, like family members, friends or even your “friendly neighbourhood scientist”. Hidden in plain sight. Thats the only way to collect 70 million votes. They are everywhere, camouflaged like regular ppl.

Hiding behind “science” to commit scientific racism, like against TCM, is appalling. It qualifies as white supremacy. Youve exposed yourself, Orac.

How many of your friends, are LGBTQIA+, BiPoC, women, or one of the other 70+ genders?

You need to educate yourself.

So. Edumacate me: That is only 7 (the +’s cancel). What of the others?? What is the A and the I?? Mo-bility aside, I’m pretty sure that if Orac “exposed” himself that it would make blogging history; boom goes the dynamite (nobody wants to see that shit (for the most part, I can’t speak for myself or others)).

https://youtu.be/NccI6aKIsxA

Your first link is about covid causing hunger. It was not about remedy attempts causing it. Besides, there is not yet any hunger epidemic happening.

The second clue was you denigrating other ways of knowing by the undiscovered genius Moses Turkle Bility, a BiPoC.

Seriously, you are a fool.

This is not another way of knowing. It is another way of fooling themselves. Bility’s paper was a crock. It is based on a theory he invented out of nothing. He then went and gathered observations about mice, refactored them through the lens of his invented theory and concluded they supported his theory. No experiment was conducted, no control was in place.

Undiscovered genius Bility is not, crank is closer to the mark.

Step back and calm down Chris. I think Q-Ball was being sarcastic which is lost on the many literal thinkers in this crowd.

@QBall – If I said that TCM didn’t work because it’s Chinese, that would be racist. If I said TCM doesn’t work, it’s simply the truth. You need to educate yourself.

Q-ball: So you think that “millions of BiPoC” should instead be forced to risk their lives by sending them back to work primarily in service-sector jobs?

That’s got to be one of the most disingenuous arguments I’ve read by a commenter on this site, and I’ve been here a long time.

NW: “I wear a cloth mask when I’m out in public in closed spaces. Within 15 min, the mask is damp.”

You’re supposed to breathe through it, not drool into it.

That would require stopping the cocaine, haloperidol, and sucking on the Sorbees. I’ll bet NW is really fun at certain kinds of parties, though.

@ DB – Well, I ask you questions about your supposed area of expertise and you come back with “You’re supposed to breathe through it, not drool into it.”

The mask is catching droplets, you do realize, moisture is released on the exhale, whether coming from the mouth or nose. If talking/mouth breathing, the mask becomes wet even sooner. You already know this. I was curious to get an opinion on the PCR test cycles, etc. but you reply with nonsense.

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/infectious-positive-pcr-test-result-covid-19/

@ JustaTech – I see people touching/fidgeting with their masks ALL THE TIME. Look at Joe. He is a prime example. LOL!

@ Narad writes, “Sheesh, you should go away and start making heavy-breathing phone calls.” LOL. Missed you Cheeky. Good to see you are well.

If you are still living among multiple cats, I hope you are washing your hands A LOT. Toxoplasmosis is really nasty. Just look at what the parasite does to a rats brains. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-parasite-that-makes-a-rat-love-a-cat-86515093/

Good day and good health to you.

@ Tim writes, “I’ll bet NW is really fun at certain kinds of parties, though.” I’ll bet I’m more fun than the majority of the stiffs around here. And, “Sorry, Natalie. That was mean.” I think you’re funny, irreverent, and blissfully, politically incorrect. I only take a few folks on here seriously and you’re not one of ’em.

Cheers!

Natalie–don’t some of those moisture droplets from exhalation evaporate from the external surface of the mask and the gaps at the edges?

Thing is, if you’re constantly spraying droplets sufficient to get a cloth mask “damp” within 15 minutes, there’s something wrong – you’d have to be sneezing, hacking, drooling or something similar.

Natalie needs to consult with a physician to discover what allergy, infection or other ailment is making her soggify her mask so rapidly.* I (and other people I see with masks) manage to avoid this problem. It sounds like a bogus excuse used to avoid mask-wearing.

*possibly including PCR testing for Sars-CoV-2. It’s actually quite accurate.

http://aamc.org/news-insights/your-covid-19-testing-questions-answered

I also find it strange in the day since masks were made mandatory, I haven’t had this problem with cloth masks.

I do get a problem with my chemical respirator, but that is because it is made of different materials and is designed to only have air flow through the filters. Working in the sun for a couple of hours spraying plots leads to a build up of perspiration within the mask.

Jan 17, 2021

The conflagration of Capitol Hill still rages on. No one dares approach as radionuclide counts are really, really, bigly bad and, besides, everyone who might have had a clue have been sacked — It is not known which terrorist organization did the deed; But NewsMax TV reports that it was a rouge one, for sure, as all the legitimate ones are Trump loyalists.

Melania is still missing and presumed dead. She was in the area doing a photo shoot and advertising deal signoff with Goya Beans. Naturally, Trump is still distraught over the loss but not as much after taking a child bride (which he warm and affectionately calls ‘Kitten’).

Meanwhile, coronavirus deaths have topped 5000/day and ancilliary death much greater as all hospital systems have collapsed.

Natalie White is trying to flee to Canada. She’s hunkered down in the back of an open produce truck with 37 other refugees. One of the coyotes is a real hard case and mask compliance has been pretty consistent since he blew karen’s head off and unceremoniously discarded the body off the back of the truck behind a Sunoco a couple states over.

Now in Montana, just 3 miles from the Alberta border, Natalie has a crisis. She can’t breath. No, really. She can’t because it is -40F and her mask has frozen up. She panicks and jumps off the truck into a snow bank. She claws and beats at the mask but it has frozen solid to her face. She tries to scream but all that is heard is a sort of muffled bellowing which a nearby moose has taken to mean “consent”.

Personally, the only mask I’ve gotten to a state I would call “sodden” was when I wore one running a half marathon at the end of August and it was kind of humid out.

When I wear one indoors, even for a full workday it might be slightly damp, but it’s hardly sodden.

“thing is, if you’re constantly spraying droplets sufficient to get a cloth mask “damp” within 15 minutes, there’s something wrong”

That thing is breathing through my nose while shopping. I have no respiratory issues. I’m not spraying droplets, coughing, etc… I can feel the moisture gather on my face making the mask damp. I’ve had conversations with others who have similar and other complaints about the masks.

Anywho….Thanks for the link. It was informative.

I wore a mask in hospital for over an hour yesterday. Wasn’t damp at all afterwards. Maybe our Nat is naturally moist.

I’m often asked to make adjustments at work based on what people actually do rather than what they should do. I may be forced to comply but my argument is usually ‘why don’t you train them properly instead of me having to moron-proof everything’. The same could be said for effective mask use.

@ DB:

I think that I’ve figured out RI’s troll problem:
these creatures descend upon us and to prove their vast superiority by citing isolated contrarian references and anecdotes so that they can brag to their cohorts on social media how they stumped the ‘Orthodoxy’, much like the poseur I follow at PRN. They have all of the answers and spread doubt, uncertainty and fear. about vaccines, Covid etc..

However, not one of them is able to find an actually accredited college or university that teaches what they believe concerning vaccines, autism or related issues** The type of material they present wouldn’t stand in a basic course in bio, psych or critical thinking AT ALL as I know very well.. So obviously, they avoid actual classes like the plague. But if they are truly the innovative thinkers they perceive themselves to be why do they not challenge authorities in academic settings? *** Make a name for themselves?
Some of these courses are available on line for free. Why do they spend hours here when they could actually learn science or critical thinking?

I venture that it’s because they know- on some level- that standard courses would involve material that they don’t like and which contradicts or demolishes their basic points much as the commenters here do (which is easier for scoffers to evade and dismiss) ..
Self taught ‘scholars’ can avoid issues and data they reject whereas basic courses survey the entire field as agreed upon by experts from around the globe
.
** similarly Conrick, Wright, RFK jr, Del, Wakefield, Null, Adams
***and yes, I know that Orac and many of the regulars teach or work with students. .

@ Denice

these creatures descend upon us and to prove their vast superiority

There is that, definitively.
To be fair, a lot of social interaction on the internet and elsewhere could be summarized as “you are wrong and I am right”, being flung back-and-forth.
We are social animals, and that’s part of how we socialize / validate our existence.

To paraphrase a French novelist who answered thusly to the question “do you see yourself as a great writer?”, if someone decides to write a book, they are very unlikely to be someone who suffers from an excess of humility.
To a lesser extend, that holds true for people commenting online. Or for the regulars exchanging about life, the universe and the rest in the local alcoholic beverage outlet.

The difference between a honest human being and one with an overinflated ego and/or a chip on their shoulder, of course, is the ability to stop in their tracks and say “oh, indeed, you are right and I was wrong” (OK, or just abandon a foolish line).
A troll/contrarian will just switch tracks and keep coming at people with a new line of attack, in order to stay the one with the vastly superior intellect.
The more annoying trolls will just drop the topic a few days, and then come back with it, using the same old arguments, fully ignoring whatever else was said.

Tl;dr: some people are trying to communicate through their computer.
Some other just yell at their computer.

@ Athaic:

Certainement
What’s astonishing to me are their persistence and vehemence which leads me to believe that much more is at stake for them than just “being right”:- it’s about their identity or another deep seated issue as well as a vent for their supposedly righteous anger towards any opposing view.
You wouldn’t believe the nastiness I’ve seen and heard leveled against SBM supporters including myself.

Concerning the recent (quasi) debate here, Orac wrote extensively about Covid and the flu vaccine ( see Search fx ‘Covid and flu vaccine’, especially one in late March 2020).

Looks like Sarah Hengle PhD from the hysterical above quoted twitter rant published 10 of her 14 research papers after Trump was elected in 2016, lol. I think she’s fine in spite of her drama.

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=um6EwIkAAAAJ&hl=en

What will happen to policy? I don’t know but Biden is a tool. I’d say “be careful of what you wish for” but it is already done. Personally I don’t see that Trump’s policies changed much & i doubt Biden’s will either.

Covid CFR is going to surge in unprecedented numbers for the next few months because the CD4 T cell response specific for influenza is also specific to covid & repeated influenza vaccination blunts CD4 T cell response. The influenza vaccine campaign just sealed our fate. Viral load is going way too high, putting us all at risk no matter what our vaccination status is. If Brazil’s experience after their aggressive influenza vaccine campaign in March is any indicator; our soon to be unprecedented surge of covid CFR, which is has only just started, should start to decrease by March, no matter who is POTUS.

Biden is a tool ? Of great vaccine conspiracy ?
T cell response is specific to a specific antigen. That is why it is called adaptive immunity. Only a specific antigen is targeted.

Christine’s latest fling-antivax-nonsense-against-the-wall-and-desperately-hope-that-something-sticks is yet another fail. Influenza vaccination is not associated with increased Covid-19 risk, and may actually have a protective effect.

http://medicalnewstoday.com/articles/flu-vaccinations-not-linked-to-increased-covid-19-risk#The-urgency-of-a-flu-vaccination
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-flu-shot-might-reduce-coronavirus-infections-early-research-suggests/

Sometimes I feel like the guy on the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show who cleans up after the big parade (on RI, the Christine/Natalie/Aelxa parade is responsible for fetid mounds of antivax droppings).

From someone who spent years working with T cells about incredibly specific responses (different parts of HIV), I can clearly say: that’s not how CD4 T-cells work, that’s not what “specific” means and, as usual, CK is wrong.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the blitherers had to clean up after themselves every once in a while?

@ JustaTech,

Which one is wrong:

That CD4+ T cells help B cells to produce antibodies and help CD8+ T cells to kill cells infected with covid. Or:

That repeated influenza vaccination blunts CD4 T cell response?

Since you spent years working with them, please tell me which statement is incorrect.

Both statements are incorrect.
First one:
Immune response is based on a double lock system, both B cell and T cell activation are needed for a full response. T cells are not helping, they are controlling.
Second one:
This original antigenic sin. Vaccine (and of course an infection) causes an ineffective memory cell response, when pathogen slightly mutated. This is not at all generic blunting of T cell response, it is suboptimal specific response.

@ Aarno

T cells are not helping, they are controlling.

To nickpick:
Some T-cells (the CD4+, IIRC) are called T-Cell helpers, so I can see why people would use the verb “help” to describe the interaction.
Although you are right, “controlling” is a much accurate description.
(or “needed for the full activation of B-cells/cytotoxic T-cells”)

As you likely know, it’s by targeting and killing these CD4+ cells that the HIV depress the immune system and creates the AIDS status.

CK: “That repeated influenza vaccination blunts CD4 T cell response?”

Blunts what CD4 response? T cells are specific to antigens. It does not matter one iota to the immune response to SARS-Cov-2 if the CD4 T-cell response to influenza or measles or pertussis is blunted, because those T cells aren’t used to respond to SARS-Cov-2.

As to your other statement, you haven’t even scratched the surface of the interactions involved in the signaling of the immune system. You haven’t address the co-stimulation signals requires to initiate a T cell response. So even your first statement is only barely accurate.

Here’s the thing: if a flu shot really did “blunt” the CD4 response (it doesn’t) in the way you are proposing (ie, all CD4 T cells) then everyone who had gotten a flu shot would be dead because they wouldn’t have a CD4 response to anything. Obviously that is not true, so your idea is wrong.

I do not understand why you persist with this when it has been explained to you by several people several times. Go get an immunology text book and learn.

@DB,

A study that concluded on June 1st 2020; only 5 months after the pandemic started & 8 months AFTER the flu shot campaign? Brazil’s death rates started dropping 6 months after their flu shot campaign started. What in the hell is that study trying to say? Which statement is wrong:

That CD4+ T cells help B cells to produce antibodies and help CD8+ T cells to kill cells infected with covid. Or:

That repeated influenza vaccination blunts CD4 T cell response?

I answered the question previously. This is called original antigenic sin.
Brazil flu season is of course during northern summer. So if your “theory” is right, Brazil should have no COVID when US has it.

The latest JAMA issue has an editorial emphasizing that “low-tech tools” including mask-wearing are essential and “will still be needed after a vaccine is initially available”.

It further notes that light scattering experiments “indicate that 1 minute of loud speaking potentially can generate more than 1000 virion-containing aerosols that may linger in the air in a closed, stagnant environment.” So, absolutely no Xmas caroling at holiday get-togethers, RIers!

“Angels we have heard on high
Say if you don’t wear a mask, you’ll die”

2020 has been grand.

*the editorial is co-written by Anthony Fauci, MD and CD (Covid Demon).

The inventor of the PCR test, Kary Mullis…a very interesting man. In this Ted talk, he shares a story about building and launching rockets as a teenager. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSVy1b-RyVM

He died just months before the ‘Rona came on to the scene. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kary_Mullis

This explains the benefits, limitations and cycles of PCR testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_1Z8cSXI-Q

Oh no….not the purple tier! Here comes the lock-down and we go round and round and round!

@ Aarno,

How does that change the fact that repeated influenza vaccination changes the ability of the CD4 T cells to “control”?

It is about specific response to a specific influenza virus antigen. It is not about general blunting of T cell response (immune suppression). This specific response is caused by suboptimal response from immune memory,

@ Aarno,

So you are saying there is no CD4 T cell cross-reactivity between influenza & coronaviruses yet the DOD study found significant viral interference from the influenza vaccine & coronaviruses.

@ CK: That wasn’t SARS-CoV-2 and you know it.
And that wasn’t what that study showed, either.
Both were extensively discussed here, so you know that we know that you are incorrect. Why do you keep saying things we all know aren’t true?

@ Aarno,

"Brazil flu season is of course during northern summer. So if your “theory” is
right, Brazil should have no COVID when US has it."

Sigh. That’s what’s happening.

I am not concerned about case rates after the flu shot. Covid is a coronavirus; we are all going to “have” it. What the flu shot is contributing to; is increased severity. Deaths.

In the US; covid deaths started on March 3rd & the 7-day moving average peaked in 6 weeks (on April 21) at 2,259 deaths per day. Three weeks after that (May 16th), was the first time after that, that the 7 day moving average dropped below 1,500 cases a day (1,484). They continued to drop for the next 5 weeks, hitting the lowest point before the summer “reopening” wave on July 5 at 518.

In Brazil; covid deaths started on March 20 & they were only having 14 deaths a day when their influenza vaccine campaign started on March 28. One month (April 28) later they were at a 7 day average of 332. Two months (May 28) later they were at an average of 954. UNLIKE THE US, where deaths had already started to decline after remaining high for only 2 weeks.

THREE MONTHS LATER (June 28) ; when the US was dropping to the lowest rates since this whole pandemic started; Brazil’s average was at 1,000!

FOUR MONTHS LATER; Brazil is still at a 1,005 deaths per day average! FIVE MONTHS LATER; Brazil has a small decline to an average of 887 deaths per day.

You know why they plateaued for high death rates for three MONTHS straight, starting in May? Because they started vaccinating for the Flu right before the first week of April.

You know why the US went from their highest death rate in April to their lowest death rates in July? Because our flu vaccines from 2019 were waning.

You know why Sweden never had many deaths to begin with? Because they start their flu vaccine campaign in September & distribute 90% of their flu shots by November 1st, encourage rapid uptake & their vaccines were waning by March. You know why they started rising on October 19? Because they started their campaign in September & by 3 weeks ago, they had distributed 90% of their flu vaccines (unlike in the US, where they still have people getting their flu shots all winter long).

Everywhere IS behaving just as it should be; “if my theory is right”. Because my theory IS right. Brazil’s death rate didn’t start rising until the US death rate started dropping & Brazil’s death rates didn’t start dropping, until the US death rate started rising.

Because my theory IS right.

It’s based on the assumption that the protection given by the flu vaccine of previous years is waning.
You should first prove that there is such a waning happening.

And no, that we have to vaccine against the flu every year is not evidence of this. We vaccine against different flu strains – different viruses – every year.

Also, the flu vaccine uptake is notoriously low – far from everybody get the vaccine.

But vaccines are magic, aren’t they? I’m surprised you haven’t tell us yet that vaccines are the reason the toilet seat stays up.

Herschmann serves in an advisory role outside the counsel’s office, and no one in the counsel’s office participated on the call, according to another person familiar with the call.
.
.
Asked whether the White House counsel’s office would be present in the meeting, Herschmann told the Trump campaign officials that the counsel’s office would not be represented but that somebody needed to brief the president about the legal situation.

.
.
One of the participants on the call said Rudy Giuliani should not attend the White House meeting because he’d surely been exposed to his son. Then Ellis, a Giuliani sidekick, said if that was the case then the entire Giuliani-affiliated legal team was probably exposed, the sources said.
.
.
The Trump campaign declined to comment.

What’s next: A source familiar with the situation told Axios that another campaign attorney is planning to attend the White House meeting in place of the COVID-infected members of the Giuliani legal team. [righhht. plans change all the time]

https://www.axios.com/trump-giuliani-white-house-michigan-covid-abbbbcf3-e415-4d9d-8911-427be7b645b1.html

We know how this works: Trump’s got him in the room alone where he then whips out the kompromat {and probably his dick so dude can suck it demonstrating his fealty and that he understands}.

It shoots, it scores! Donald Trump Jr. https://twitter.com/JenniferJJacobs/status/1329922009543831552

Maybe I’m a horrible person but I hope he fukkin’ dies. He is awful and, if he lives, and trump and GOP pulls this shit off, would just be a transition of power from trump to him like those NK fattie wannabe’s.

Trump may be up for re-infection in a few weeks. I say a little prayer against him and wish that he is typical and a second infection is much worse. That, and that his doctor ‘team’ is not so diligent this time; perhaps making a wrong judgement call or medication mistake. And there is no way trump would ever take the vaccine — he can not trust that ‘his’ peeps hasn’t slipped up and missed that the ‘deep state’ put a little Putin Po or novichok into it. Sucks to be Nero, right now; but he so has it coming.

“… 12 more years… I never kid…” — DJT

You are the better human. I wish to CMA by saying I was just being hyperbolic — The truth is that it probably wouldn’t set back their millions of followers one iota anyways. It probably would be just like making them martyrs, somehow, and they all would just double down and to the point I feel leads to mass violence against non-anti-maskers and others.

The truth is, I am distraught and don’t like being here. Listening to Limbaugh yesterday, without the context of having seen Guiliani and Sydney Powell’s ‘event’, left me fuming and fearful.

He was spouting the same crap that Jim Watkins* had fed OANN a few days earlier and pumping it up and pumping it up, enraging millions of followers — I’m convinced that Trump thinks he can pull this off {and I know people who seem to lust after him doing so–Not so much as “look how my team got away with that bad play” but more like “look how our inside guy got in, gassed everyone unconscious and changed the scoreboard} and that he wants much violence in the streets so he can get off on wielding his brand of Law and Order. The petulant, pernicious oaf.

*Watkins is widely believed to be the actual ‘Q’. He was cofounder of 8kun and supposedly the only one who knows ‘him’ and maintains his stupid drop pages and archive. A common backwater CDN with very few clients lends credence to this supposition. Also, he has mutton chops down to his shoulders; an honest-to-god r/justneckbeardthings.

You gentlemen are meaner than I am!

I hope that DJT is healthy, doesn’t suffer from dementia ( as his father did) and lives at least 20 more years: playing golf, eating expensive hamburgers, wearing unflattering fashion and entertaining his cronies at his posh seaside resort. Although he may be found guilty of many crimes, like Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi he will be given a light or suspended sentence because of his age BUT
he will survive to witness his entire financial empire unravel and watch his many governmental policies and actions be repudiated by most of the world: his exploits and expressions will be ridiculed even by small children and his own progeny will be ostracised from polite society, politics and the business world, His massive fortune will be liquidated to pay his huge legal bills and fines – federal, state and local- only allowing him an island of peaceful retreat in Palm Beach where he will lord it over ingratiating sycophants desperate enough to hang on for the very last crumbs of his approval as he obsessively watches television dreaming of what “might have been” in contrast to the New Reality that proceeds without him.

On second thought, maybe, I’m meaner.:.

I hope you are right, Denice Walter.

“On second thought, maybe, I’m meaner.:.”

Definitely so if you had added “gets necrotizing fasciitis and his nose falls off so children point and exclaim ‘look, mommy!’ “

So let’s see: according to Christine, the U.S.’s summer spike in Covid-19 infections (when few people were being vaccinated against influenza) was due to lockdown relaxations, while Sweden’s recent increase in infections is not a consequence of their longstanding lack of restrictions on mass gatherings, but is caused by people getting flu shots.

This is unusually stupid even for Christine.

On second thought, it’s pretty much subpar for the course.

@ DB,

Deaths, DB, not cases. I thought I clarified that to begin with. Sweden’s deaths started dropping almost as soon as they registered & were almost nonexistent by July. There is a 6 week lag from cases to deaths; I predict Sweden will be slammed with deaths starting around the second week of December.

The US highest case rate for the Spring was around 30,000 & daily deaths peaked at 2,770. Summer waves highest daily case was 79,440 but the highest daily deaths was “only” 1,800.

Deaths; not cases. The flu vaccine is causing increased coronavirus deaths. We will also be slammed with DEATHS, starting mid December.

@Natalie White

Of what material is your ‘daily driver’ mask?? Naugahyde is suboptimal and could account for this soggification (yes, I’m stealing that, DB).

Is it not possible that Orange Donald could be introduced to that ‘wonderful’ therapeutic regime offered by Scientology who could perhaps audit him to enable removal of the very damaging engram of allergy to the truth of anything opposing his views or actions? Kidding of course.

@ Tim – Some kind of poly-cotton blend. My trips to get groceries are short and sweet ‘cuz I find the feeling most unpleasant. Gov. Nuisance has locked us down again anyway not that there was much going on before. Of course, he’s able to roam freely and do what he wants. https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/11/18/covid-gov-gavin-newsom-remains-on-hot-seat-over-french-laundry-dinner-party-after-photos-surface/

btw – I liked your post with the Adam Freelands, “We want your soul.” So appropriate. Did you know that Coke is more globally accessible than clean drinking water? Sad.

Your prediction about my future attempt at escaping the US? Canada and their politics suck….plus not a fan of frigid temps. If there is a sequel, put me in Mexico next time!

Adios amigo.

“Some kind of poly-cotton blend.”

Mixed fibres are a sin, don’cha know?

Deuteronomy 22:11 You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together.


April 9, 2021

… She doesn’t ride him now but plods along side as Crackers has developed a wheezy rasp. She is more and more convinced that the beast was not built for desert life and fears for his health. “Woah, Crackers.” There, in the midst of the ringlet of charred cactii, a satellite truck! She pulls her trusty steed to heel, lie low. Is it former government factions? She fears, she shudders, she squints; No, it’s a news crew! King4 News…

Spread before them is an entire dessicated crew; it’s, as if, they died where they stood. What could have happened? No matter, because what lies before Natalie is a television personality of questionable integrity, mic still in hand in front of the camera and it’s deceased operator, decked out in Spandex. Sparkly, purple Spandex; her once before favorite. Crackers gives it a nudge, a couple sniffs, and an indifferent snort — safe {Crackers has proven quite adept at rooting out, and defending against, the odd walker since the paroxysm of death and trumpites convulsed this former nation}.

Ugg. Just as she thought; the foot came away at the ankle and she had to shake it out the pants leg. No matter, that stuff never stains. It seems a lifetime since Natalie had felt the stretchy caress of Spandex against her inner thighs and her spirit began to lift. Her attention turns towards the truck. Perhaps there is some supplies, water, a working link to the rest of the world within it…

With her hand upon the handle, she perceives a rising, menacing ‘bzzz’. She stops, she tiptoes to peer into the small window, “Fuck. Murder Hornets”, she whispers. Crouched, her back against the van doors, she peeks around the edge. She spies a bloated, white figure which could pass for the Michelin or Staypufft man studded with…with… as she inches closer and closer, it becomes apparent that the figure is studded with dead murder hornets; like a big, white, dead murder hornet pincushion. She tickles her ego at her powers of deductive reasoning that the crew was probably here to document them.

“Suboptimal suit, dude”, she chides him to herself and has to forcefully choke down an audible giggle (the hornets, the hornets). Looking forward, about 20 yards ahead, she spies a support travel trailor.

As she inches past the farcicle fractal of a self-doomed swarm stuck into whatever inflated vision of himself occupied that stupid, until now untested, suit, Natalie catches a glimpse of herself in the side view mirror. Since her flesh on the left side from the bridge of the nose along and below the eyelids and down to her chin was rent away, she has avoided mirrors. Except for the cursory utilitarian glance, she only knows the gnarled scar by feel. She could not bear to look before; Now she gazes. Maybe the nostalgia of the Spandex, maybe the vanity of what once was; but she gazes. she feels. As a tear wells and a great grin spreads, she whispers “bitchin’ wicked!” {the grin was cut short because the thing still bigly throbby hurted} She has finally come to embraced her new self and look and outlook…

Cola! Crates and crates of Cola!{and Granola bars, yuck} Natalie and friend are saved, for now; She pulls the hub caps and fills them for Crackers to drink. After a night of good-hearted but unwelcome nuzzling, it is time to resume the trek.

A couple hours in and Crackers is acting strangly. He is sniffing at stuff that does not warrant sniffing. He is baying at stuff that isn’t there. He is bolting. Crackers never ‘bolts’; Natalie did not even dream that moose run. At least, Crackers never did. But he sure does now. Natalie is holding onto his rack for dear life, fearing that she’ll be flung forward and trampled, and regretting that she never carved out those vanity custom hand-holds because now her moisty mits are getting slick. With each space-warping lurching lunge, Crackers lowers his head and this pivots Natalie high in the air to then slam hard back onto Cracker’s back; Her ample, bulbous buttocks compressing and rebounding within the Spandex, undulating like two counter-syncronous water ballons.* AHHH!!! Woah! Woah! Dammit, Woah!…

The wildest of rides seems to be over; Crackers has fallen back into his familiar and gentle sauntering gait. Natalie catches her breath, wipes the grit from her eyes, looks out and, behold! Off in the distance, a glorious, towering grey monolith. Wait, not a monolith but a giant fence. It can’t be more than a mile away….

Perhaps I tried to hard. The found-footage, shakey-cam, straight to video moviefilm should be much better. I promise (not really).

*r/menwritingwomen

{at the risk of a huge wall of repost as it looks like the site is working now, please delete the former, because editors, and shit}

Mixed fibres are a sin don’cha know?:

Deuteronomy 22:11 “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

April 9, 2021

… She doesn’t ride him now but plods along side as Crackers has developed a wheezy rasp. She is more and more convinced that the beast was not built for desert life and fears for his health. “Woah, Crackers.” There in the midst of the ringlet of charred cactii, a satellite truck! She pulls her trusty steed to heel, lie low. Is it former government factions? She fears, she shudders, she squints; No, it’s a news crew! King4 News…

Spread before them is an entire dessicated crew; it’s, as if, they died where they stood. What could have happened? No matter, because what lies before Natalie is a television personality of questionable integrity, mic still in hand in front of the camera and its’ deceased operator, decked out in Spandex. Sparkly, purple Spandex; her once before favorite. Crackers gives it a nudge, a couple sniffs, and an indifferent snort — “safe” {Crackers has proven quite adept at rooting out, and defending against, the odd walker since the paroxysm of death and trumpites convulsed this former nation}.

Ugg. Just as she thought; the foot came away at the ankle and she had to shake it out the pants leg. No matter, that stuff never stains. It seems a lifetime since Natalie had felt the stretchy caress of Spandex against her inner thighs and her spirit began to lift. Her attention turns towards the truck. Perhaps there is some supplies, water, a working link to the rest of the world within it…

With her hand upon the handle, she perceives a rising, menacing ‘bzzz’. She stops, she tiptoes to peer into the small window, “Fuck. Murder Hornets”, she whispers. Crouched, her back against the van doors, she peeks around the edge. She spies a bloated, white figure which could pass for the Michelin or Staypufft man studded with…with… as she inches closer and closer, it becomes apparent that the figure is studded with dead murder hornets; like a big, white, dead murder hornet pincushion. She tickles her ego at her powers of deductive reasoning that the crew was probably here to document them.

“Suboptimal suit, dude”, she chides him to herself and has to forcefully choke down an audible giggle (the hornets, the hornets). Looking forward, about 20 yards ahead, she spies a support travel trailor.

As she inches past the farcicle fractal of a self-doomed swarm stuck into whatever inflated vision of himself occupied that stupid, until now untested, suit, Natalie catches a glimpse of herself in the side view mirror. Since her flesh on the left side from the bridge of the nose along and below the eyelids and down to her chin was rent away, she has avoided mirrors. Except for the cursory utilitarian glance, she only knows the gnarled scar by feel. She could not bear to look before; Now she gazes. Maybe the nostalgia of the Spandex, maybe the vanity of what once was; but she gazes. she feels. As a tear wells and a great grin spreads, she whispers “bitchin’ wicked!” {the grin was cut short because the thing still bigly throbby hurted} She has finally come to embraced her new self and look and outlook…

Cola! Crates and crates of Cola!{and Granola bars. yuck} Natalie and friend are saved, for now; She pulls the hub caps and fills them for Crackers to drink. After a night of good-hearted but unwelcome nuzzling, it is time to resume the trek.

A couple hours in and Crackers is acting strangly. He is sniffing at stuff that does not warrant sniffing. He is baying at stuff that isn’t there. He is bolting. Crackers never ‘bolts’; Natalie did not even dream that moose run. At least, Crackers never did. But he sure does now. In fact, he is flying and so is Natalie, for the most part. Natalie is holding onto his rack for dear life, fearing that she’ll be flung forward and trampled, and regretting that she never carved out those vanity custom hand-holds because now her moisty mits are getting slick. With each space-warping lunging lurch, Crackers lowers his head and this pivots Natalie high in the air to then slam hard back onto Cracker’s back; Her ample, bulbous buttocks compressing and rebounding within the Spandex, undulating like two counter-syncronous water ballons.* AHHH!!! Woah! Woah! Dammit, Woah!…

The wildest of rides seems to be over; Crackers has fallen back into his familiar and gentle sauntering gait. Natalie catches her breath, wipes the grit from her eyes, looks out and, behold! Off in the distance, a glorious, towering grey monolith. Wait, not a monolith but a giant fence. It can’t be more than a mile away….

Perhaps I tried to hard. The found-footage, shakey-cam, straight to video moviefilm should be much better. I promise (not really).

*r/menwritingwomen

{I’m trying it again as the site seems fixed; I try this post for a third time. At the risk that the former ones work their way though; Please, please remove any previous posts or this sub-thread will be such a wall of text that it rivals an Orac post; Only, it is the same stuff over and over and over and highly unlikely to make anyone reconsider vaccine hesitancy}

Mixed fibres are a sin (or so it is written):
Deuteronomy 22:11 “Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.”


April 9, 2021

… She doesn’t ride him now but plods along side as Crackers has developed a wheezy rasp. She is more and more convinced that the beast was not built for desert life and fears for his health. “Woah, Crackers.” There in the midst of the ringlet of charred cactii, a satellite truck! She pulls her trusty steed to heel, lie low. Is it former government factions? She fears, she shudders, she squints; No, it’s a news crew! King4 News…

Spread before them is an entire dessicated crew; it’s, as if, they died where they stood. What could have happened? No matter, because what lies before Natalie is a dead television personality of questionable integrity, mic still in hand in front of the camera and it’s deceased operator, decked out in Spandex. Sparkly, purple Spandex; her once a time before favorite. Crackers gives it a nudge, a couple sniffs, and an indifferent snort — safe {Crackers has proven quite adept at rooting out, and defending against, the odd walker since the paroxysm of death and trumpites convulsed this former nation}.

Ugg. Just as she thought; the foot came away at the ankle and she had to shake it out the pants leg. No matter, that stuff never stains. It seems a lifetime since Natalie had felt the stretchy caress of Spandex against her inner thighs and her spirit began to lift. Her attention turns towards the truck. Perhaps there is some supplies, water, a working link to the rest of the world within it…

With her hand upon the handle, she perceives a rising, menacing ‘bzzz’. She stops, she tiptoes to peer into the small window, “Fuck. Murder Hornets”, she whispers. Crouched, her back against the van doors, she peeks around the edge. She spies a bloated, white figure which could pass for the Michelin or Staypufft man studded with…with…. as she inches closer and closer, it becomes apparent that the figure is studded with dead murder hornets; like a big, white, dead murder hornet pincushion. She tickles her ego at her powers of deductive reasoning that the crew was probably here to document them.

“Suboptimal suit, dude”, she chides him to herself and has to forcefully choke down an audible giggle (the hornets, the hornets). Looking forward, about 20 yards ahead, she spies a support travel trailor.

As she inches past the farcicle fractal of a self-doomed swarm stuck into whatever inflated vision of himself occupied that stupid, until now untested, suit, Natalie catches a glimpse of herself in the side view mirror. Since her flesh on the left side from the bridge of the nose along and below the eyelid and down to her chin was rent away, she has avoided mirrors. Except for the cursory utilitarian glance, she only knows the gnarled scar by feel. She could not bear to look before; Now she gazes. Maybe the nostalgia of the Spandex, maybe the vanity of what once was; but she gazes. she feels. As a tear wells and a great grin spreads, she whispers “bitchin’ wicked!” {the grin was cut short because the thing still bigly throbby hurted} She has finally come to embraced her new self and look and outlook…

Cola! Crates and crates of Cola! {and Granola bars; yuck} Natalie and friend are saved, for now; She pulls the hub caps and fills them for Crackers to drink. After a night of good-hearted but unwelcome nuzzling, it is time to resume the trek.

A couple hours in and Crackers is acting strangely. He is sniffing at stuff that does not warrant sniffing. He is baying at stuff that isn’t there. He is bolting. Crackers never ‘bolts’; Natalie White did not ever even dream that moose run. At least, Crackers never did. But he sure does now. He is flying and so is Natalie (for the most part). Natalie is holding onto his rack for dear life, fearing that she’ll be flung forward and trampled, and regretting that she never carved out those vanity custom hand-holds because now her moisty mits are getting slick. With each space-warping lunging lurch, Crackers juttingly lowers his head and this pivots Natalie high in the air to then slam hard onto Cracker’s back; Her ample, bulbous buttocks compressing and rebounding within the Spandex, undulating like two counter-syncronous water ballons.* AHHH!!! Woah! Woah! Dammit, Woah!…

The wildest of rides seems to be over; Crackers has fallen back into his familiar and gentle sauntering gait. Natalie catches her breath, wipes the grit from her eyes, looks forward and, behold! Off in the distance, a glorious, towering grey monolith. Wait, not a monolith but a giant fence. It can’t be more than a mile away….

Perhaps I tried to hard. The found-footage, shakey-cam, straight to video moviefilm should be much better. I promise (not really).

*r/menwritingwomen

Dr. Gorski,

This time of year reminds me to express gratitude. Thank you for allowing me to post on your site….uncensored. I realize it is a privilege.

To the rest of you: Dr. Bacon, JustaTech, Athaic, Narad Trabant, Wang, Squirrelelite, Mephistopheles O’Brien, MJD, ORD, Smut Clyde, Najera, Aarno, Julian and Tim, thanks for being MOSTLY good sports. I appreciate you and your comments more than you know.

Good day and good health to you.

Whatever. https://youtu.be/EbW0WWQDPUk?t=1

I have a bitch fit to pitch. Fuck Google. They had that outage last week, they now put ads on every video without even a trickle of monetization to the owner, and now I get “click to watch on youtube… much traffic from your network, please fill out this form…” {coincidence? I think not} Which I can’t do because I don’t let google scripts run. Same with the search, they are not allowing people behind a vpn to use them; only sheeple that consent to being tracked and traced and scanned and sheared can use any of it now.

I sent another excerpted chapter from that two bit ‘script writer’ {you trekkin’ to mexico, biatch} but either I misstyped my credentials or the site is still so fucked* that it never made it. Will wait to see if it is just in moderation.

*Orac, as you must know, your site is acting dickwadish (at least for me, vpn or not). The 504’s and 524’s are still coming from cloudflare so ????

@ Aarno,

I’ve been using WOM this entire time. I apologize but I don’t fully understand your question. WOM only link to flu data sends me to a WHO site.

There is a 6-8 week lag time between covid exposures to covid death. The case rates just started increasing late October; you won’t see fatalities significantly increase until December.

To repeat, Sweden’s data is here:
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/
First wave death rate out of flu season was higher than second wave in.
If you check the fatality rate, it seems to be much lower during second wave. How do you explain that ?
Death rates during first wave peaked very fast, too. There were no half year lagging period, either (speaking about your prediction.)

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