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

Windsor, VA

Recently, in Windsor, Virginia, United States of America, a local police officer, Police Officer Gutierrez, pulled over Army Second Lieutenant Nazario; ostensibly for the lack of displayed license plate. As it was to turn out, a temporary plate was on display in the vehicle’s rear window. When Lt. Nazario slowly proceeded to a well lighted area in front of a convenience store, pulled over, and stopped, Police Officer Gutierrez, and a second, back up, officer approached the Lt.’s vehicle with guns drawn and pointed at Lt. Nazario while giving somewhat conflicting commands. Lt. Nazario is heard to say that he is afraid to get out of the car.

Was it reasonable force for the two police officers to draw to their weapons for a traffic stop after it was evident that there was no reason to make the stop in the first place? In the video, Police Officer Gutierrez is heard to say, “You received an order, obey it.” Do police have a god-given right to be obeyed? What is so suspicious about an army officer in fatigues near Hampton Roads, VA, (an area as aswarm with military installations and personnel as any in the world)? Why did the police officers demand that Lt. Nazario get out of his vehicle? Why not start with conversation? What right did the officers have to demand that the Second Lt. Nazario lie face down on the pavement? What compelled them to do so? Shouldn’t the police be required to produce proof of suspicious behavior before taking such drastic measures?

The politics of vaccine-stretching

When the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were first approved, it was clear that they were highly effective at preventing covid and that they would be in short supply for months.  The clinical trial data also suggested that, at least in the short-run, one dose of the vaccines would provide almost as much protection against covid as the two-dose protocol that was tested and approved by the FDA. 

This led a number of economists and public health professionals to argue that we could gain an edge in the fight against covid – and likely save tens of thousands of lives – by prioritizing first doses and delaying second doses (“first doses first”).  We could also stretch existing supplies by giving people half-doses, and by giving one dose to people who have recovered from covid and have some degree of natural immunity to reinfection, or simply by delaying their vaccination until more vulnerable people have been protected.

Most of the debate over vaccine stretching policies has been technocratic.  Proponents argue that first-doses-first and other vaccine stretching policies will save lives, and opponents point to various risks.  In my view the technocratic case for first-doses-first and other vaccine stretching policies is strong, but the politics are difficult.  Unfortunately, proponents of these policies have failed to think creatively about how to overcome political obstacles to vaccine stretching.  So let’s think about the political challenges and ask how the Biden administration might have been persuaded to try using first-doses-first, half-doses, and similar policies

The politics of first doses first are challenging

Keeping Fingers Crossed As US Commits To Removing Military From Afghanistan

Keeping Fingers Crossed As US Commits To Removing Military From Afghanistan

 Yes, President Biden has bitten the bullet to remove US troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack that triggered our initial entry into that nation for our longest war.  Of course, we shall not quite be fully out as not only will there still be some Marines guarding the embassy in Kabul, but probably covert CIA forces will continue to operate and drone bombing will probably continue and possibly even continue the expansion that has been going on for some time, with over 7000 bombs dropped on the nation by the US in 2019 according to Juan Cole.  But, hey, still looking good.

Needless to say many are upset and whining and worrying.  David Ignatius in WaPo worries that the Taliban will take Kabul after a bloody war and allow al Qaeda or ISIS to establish themselves there, saying that the worst thing would be for the US to have to go back in again after having left the way we went back into Iraq after ISIS grabbed lots of territories after we left there.  But Biden has been through these discussions and decisions and was long reported to want out from Afghanistan way back when Obama was increasing troop levels up to about 100,000, with them now down to just a few thousand.  Most of the withdrawal has already happened, and with Trump having promised a May 1 withdrawal an effort to go back on that with lots of conditions would probably trigger an upsurge of Taliban attacks on US troops, making a mess of things.

What the Future Holds

It was a warm October evening, back in 1957, when we heard the news and began looking anew toward the night skies. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had just launched a satellite that they called Sputnik into orbit; an event that changed the world forever. A whole new concept; actually, a couple, maybe more, new ones. Thenceforth everyone knew what a satellite was; well, most everyone. Took us awhile longer though to wrap our heads around the orbit bit.

That launch into orbit started a space race that pretty much defined the next 12 years. Actually, it was more of a technology race, a how to do and how to do it first race. How to get a rocket with a man onboard into orbit and on into outer space; how to do all sorts of things in a weightless, atmosphereless, environment? One small step for man, lots of giant leaps for technology. Care for some silicone grease on that silicon chip? How about a wafer with your eggs? All in all, not all that much was learned about space itself that we didn’t already know.

Next

Imagine four or more Sears and Roebuck catalog — and much, much more — type web pages; one of which belongs to the USPS, Amazon gets to keep one, if they can show copyright. Let’s call these Web Pages Amazon, Nile, Mississippi, and Danube, with Mississippi being assigned to the USPS. Each of these Four or More Rivers of commerce would have large numbers of manufacturers/producers as paid subscribers; we are, after all, now in the post retail, post warehouse era.

Anything anyone might want to purchase would be listed on one or more of these Web Pages along with the price and delivery time. The Four or More Web Pages would compete with one another on the basis of their Web Page and quality and value of delivery service. The manufacturers/producers would compete with one another on the basis of quality and price (value), and time of delivery with their ads on one or more of the Four or More Web Pages. The Web Pages/Four or More Rivers would compete with one another for producer/manufacturer listings; and, for orders based marketing skills, rates charged, and quality of service.

Each Web Page site would perforce be huge with millions of listings, employ thousands, and undoubtedly consume gigs and gigs of has to be green power.

In the olden days of retail, manufacturers took orders then produced lots that sat around on the factory floor or in warehouses. In the post-retail/warehouse era, goods are shipped as produced, or shortly thereafter. Instead of buyers and sales, producers will produce a product on the basis of market analysis; a prediction of what the market will be tomorrow that will prove to be more accurate and timely than the old method based on orders received. When a producer gets an order for a size 4 Simier Fariry blue dress — the demand is now — that dress will either be being made or be just finished.

When an order is received by the producer, the item is either ready to ship or will be within hours. The producers will package the order/item and hand it off to one of the Four or More Rivers who will then and there do the sorting and loading by destination. Some mini, van to van type, transfer points, may be required, but this is only all the more reason yet to have production proximate the point of consumption. The order for the blue dress is placed and within hours the dress is delivered to the purchaser’s home by one of the Four or More Rivers.

Infrastructure

An Investment in the Future

It is said that Eisenhower brought home the Autobahn; that he foresaw the need for airports. Let us say that President Eisenhower, seeing these needs for infrastructure, brought America into the 20th Century, and say, “Thanks, Ike.” Through the years, the interstate gave everyone access to work, to recreation, to their Doctor, to the shopping mall, … ; Today, for these same reasons and more, every household should have good access to the internet, and, have a few other good things.

Before Eisenhower, President Roosevelt’s New Deal and its kin employed the unemployed of the Great Depression to build a lot of infrastructure, much of which is still in use today, nearly one-hundred years later. New Deal infrastructure included: safe clean water supplies, electricity, telephones, roads, schools, libraries, universities, parks, hydroelectric and irrigation dams, … . All of these things improved our quality of life. Imagine the 20th Century without them. Imagine today without them. Imagine life without recreation, recreation without those hiking trails. Our National Parks without conservation. Quality of life is important. Infrastructure improves our quality of life.

8 PM EST, Angry Bear may be down for Hardware Update

Hey Gentlemen,

Wanted to give you a heads up that we are upgrading our server hardware to increase performance on our websites tomorrow night (Friday, 3/26) at 7pm CST.

This maintenance will likely result in an extended outage while the hardware is upgraded, which could last up to 2 hours. We are scheduling the upgrade at 7pm CST to minimize impact as much as possible.

Thank you for your patience and have a wonderful weekend!

Just a heads up.

Regards run75441 (Bill H)

Duplicitous Bastards

These are they who insist on their right to easily buy guns, to own as many guns as they wish. They who insist that mass shootings should be dealt with by prosecution. They who vehemently oppose any addressment of the question of who should be permitted to own guns. They who would only treat the symptoms of gun violence; who dare not look to science for the causes. They who think their Second Amendment rights are more important than the lives of mass shooting victims.

When it comes to voting rights, these same they are those who would make it difficult if not impossible for millions to vote whom they think might vote differently from them. They who think that not everyone has the right to vote. They who fear that the right to vote might fall into the wrong hands. They who think it far better to suppress the votes of many rather than take a chance that the one vote might fall into the wrong hands. They who think laws and prosecution are not the answer for voter fraud. They who deny the absence of voter fraud.

True enough, voters don’t have a Second Amendment giving them the constitutional right to vote (This isn’t the Constitution’s only flaw). Gun owners didn’t have one either before Justice Scalia performed his magic trick in Heller, and then bullied the Court into going along with him. Today, in this the 21st Century, in a democracy, the right to vote is a far more important right than the right to own an assault weapon, a gun.