Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Spending and Producing

Spending and Producing When a framing becomes ubiquitous you forget it’s a framing.  This is what popped into my head when I read a headline this morning about the infrastructure bills pending in Congress: Democrats Hit the Road to Sell Big Spending Bills as Republicans Attack. Yes, they are proposals to spend money; that’s one way to look […]

Analytical Bias

Analytical Bias The world is made up of systems.  Our body is a system, or in fact a system of systems.  What we call “society” is another system of systems, as is the natural environment.  And all these meta-systems are themselves elements in even more encompassing systems that interconnect them.   But these systems are very […]

“Do Your Research”

“Do Your Research” Is it my imagination, or do vax- and mask-hesitant people, reported in news stories about the Covid Divide, almost always say they “have done their research” or something like that?  The medical people and public health advocates that get interviewed rarely seem to use this phrase, at least not in the first […]

Politics and the Pandemic: Why I Think Paul Krugman Is Wrong

Politics and the Pandemic: Why I Think Paul Krugman Is Wrong  Krugman has a piece in the New York Times today that offers an explanation for why Republicans oppose every measure—vaccination, masking, limits on indoor gathering—that could reverse the pandemic.  He says it’s because the Democrats support them and that Biden would take credit for reduced caseloads, […]

Antivax Memes

Antivax Memes  Based on various sources, including the recent NY Times podcast with interviews of vaccine resisters/hesitant, here’s my list of common elements. 1. Assuming the sole criterion for whether to take the vaccine is its effect on your own health—not taking into account whether you may infect someone else.  Antivax people nearly always justify their choice […]

What Does Vaccine Effectiveness Mean?

What Does Vaccine Effectiveness Mean? by Peter Dorman  When technical specialists adopt an everyday word, they often give it a meaning that differs from its everyday use.  This can be misleading for nonspecialists, especially when little effort is made to explain the difference.  A well-known example is “significance”, which means one thing when used in […]

One Dose or Two?

One Dose or Two? There are two theories out there about how to vaccinate.  One says, look, we have data only on the protocols that were adopted in the trials.  The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were administered in two doses, three to four weeks apart.  We know that works.  Don’t mess with it.  Stick to […]

Impeachment: What’s the Message?

Impeachment: What’s the Message? The mantra of the moment is that impeachment is not a trial and shouldn’t be governed by the same rules that apply to a court of law.  True, but that means it’s really a political event, where the verdict matters less than the message. What’s coming through the media reporting is […]