Deliberate Ignorance about a Killer

Dr. Michael Mina from Harvard takes aim at how miserably the U.S. has done with the pandemic:

We have a country that likes to bury its head in the sand. Look at testing in the medical centers in the U.S. How many medical hospitals and clinics actually tested their staff and their physicians regularly? Nobody. I mean, it’s just astounding. But they’d rather bury their head in the sand so that they didn’t even know if transmission was happening in their hospital, because they’d rather not know, because there’s economic cost to that . . . The lack of genomic surveillance is another part of not caring.

photo of person with head in sand

An Embarrassment of Riches

The Queen successfully lobbied the government to change a draft law in order to conceal her “embarrassing” private wealth from the public.

photo of Queen Elizabeth

From Zero to “You Must Die” in Three Seconds

How many stories do we have about people killing others over trivialities, over things, like the case of the “neighbor” who killed others over snow being thrown onto his property? A robber enters someone’s house and is shot and killed. The people inside the house weren’t threatened with harm. Only things were being taken. A driver gets cuts off by another vehicle on a highway, and then the driver whips out a gun and begins shooting. These examples are far from an “eye for an eye” biblical directive. So, how did it become acceptable to end other people’s lives when others simply disagree with us or do something that enrages us? When did it become a commonplace to end a person’s life over the theft of a big screen television?

image of film poster "Why Must I Die?"

In the example below, readers need to keep in mind that internet divisions are sometimes driven by outside forces intent on fomenting divisions at the national level for political reasons. These are cases in which neighbors are not the agents of murderous threats and hate, but that won’t likely be evident at first glance. However, it’s also likely that some participants in attacks on the internet are neighbors and fellow citizens. Below is a lament from an Oxfordshire (UK) doctor about what she has endured for describing to others what is happening with the virus at her hospital:

During the first wave, I knew the public had our backs. This time round, being an NHS doctor makes you a target. For the crime of asserting on social media that Covid is real and deadly, I earn daily abuse from a vitriolic minority. I’ve been called Hitler, Shipman, Satan and Mengele for insisting on Twitter that our hospitals aren’t empty. Last night a charming “Covid sceptic” sent me this: “You are paid to lie and a disgrace to your profession. You have clearly sold your soul and are nothing more than a child abuser destroying futures. I do not consent to your satanic ways.” A friend, herself an intensive care doctor, has just been told by another male “sceptic” that he intends to sexually abuse her until she requires one of her own ventilators. And this morning, another colleague, also female, was told: “You evil criminal lying piece of government shit. You need to be executed immediately for treason and genocide.”

The Age of Aquarius, but with Pelagius

The editors of the Blog of the American Philosophical Association have been kind enough to publish a piece I wrote about “The Age of Pelagius.”

photo of Senator Josh Hawley delivering address at Kings College

The Three Little Pigs Knew Better Than to Sign On for these 99 Problems

If you think people with lots of money, able to afford a New York City condo between $15 and $88 million US, use good sense when signing a check for real estate, read on. Floods, creaking walls as the building sways, dodgy elevators, lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my.

The group commissioned SBI Consultants, an engineering firm, to study mechanical and structural issues. Initial findings showed that 73 percent of mechanical, electrical and plumbing components observed failed to conform with the developers’ drawings, and that almost a quarter “presented actual life safety issues.”

Perhaps worst of all is the secrecy the developers, real estate agents, and some residents engage in to protect property values, meaning the problems are passed on to the next sucker. The tale almost makes the Tower of Babel narrative sensible. People who want to be above others take a fall.

“Everybody hates each other here,” she said, but, for the most part, residents want to keep the squabbling out of the public eye.

graphic of tower

For Those with Winter

painting of Wintry Landscape by Harald Pryn

Quotation of the Day

We just can’t accept that building communities [on the internet] around insane conspiracy theories is OK.

From a splendid interview with Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins.


Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Tires of Sovereignty

Graphic of BBC News headline about UK government telling businesses to set up shop in EU

If You Think You’re Stronger than Covid-19

You’re not. You might be fine. Here’s a story, a single tale that can be multiplied by the thousands to convey what happens to many people who thought they’d be fine. Now, this person’s narrative is frightening enough, but the subtext here is how much effort nurses and doctors must exert for just one patient in this condition, and they’re dealing with legions of patients in a seemingly endless stream.

An anaesthetic is a cocktail. Some ingredients keep you “asleep”, others paralyse you so that you can’t roll about, dislodging the tubes, or choke. Back in November, every ICU patient still had an individual specialist nurse watching the monitors around the clock. Nourishment comes through a thin tube up your nose and goes out a catheter at the other end. To drain the constant build-up of toxic crap and to relieve the pressure of the other organs on your damaged lungs, you will probably be “proned” on 18-hour cycles — moved to a facedown position. It takes up to nine people to do it safely, keeping all the plumbing and wiring in place.

Most of the time, intensive care is there for people who’ve had massive surgery, traumatic injury or are near to death, and there’s a reason it’s not taken on lightly. It’s hard to imagine a more invasive assault on the body than paralysing it and taking over all its functions. My friend Binks is a specialist intensive care nurse who’s had way too much experience of it for her young years. As she puts it: “People don’t realise how intense intensive care is.”

graphic of "I May Destroy You"

Former Right-wing Supporters on both sides of the Atlantic Discover They’ve Been Deceived

Graphic of Twitter posting from David Schmeider about Devon fisherman's regrets about voting to leave the EU
Jacob Chansley says he regrets supporting Donald Trump