Battle of Blair Mountain

As in most other cases in America where the rich, racist, and powerful forces attacked the poor, the workers, and racial minorities — and got away with it, “Those in power decide what gets preserved, and what stories are told about it, the ways in which the narrative is shaped…And those who don’t have the power and resources are left out of the narrative. And often their sites are destroyed.”

Published in: on December 9, 2021 at 5:47 pm  Comments (3)  
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High-Profile Cancer Studies’ Results Often Not Reproducible

A group of scientists have attempted to reproduce a bunch of the most striking results from a swath of popular published scientific studies on cancer.

Unfortunately, they were mostly unable to reproduce the results.

The reasons varied.

This paper can be read at https://www.science.org/content/article/more-half-high-impact-cancer-lab-studies-could-not-be-replicated-controversial-analysis?utm_campaign=news_daily_2021-12-07&et_rid=17050347&et_cid=4025069&

In a number of cases, the original published study did not contain sufficient details about the cell lines or reagents or procedures being used. In some cases, the original authors declined to answer follow-up inquiries on those topics.

In most cases where this effort did indeed reproduce the general result of the study (say, that treatment X caused cancer cells of type Y to shrink by a factor of Z), the degree of shrinkage was only about 15% of what was claimed.

It sounds like the tendency of scientific journals to publish the most remarkable results **before** other researchers have tried and succeeded in confirming them is the source of the problem.

Published in: on December 8, 2021 at 9:34 am  Comments (1)  

Vaccinated vs unvaccinated: the math

Very informative article on the vast differences in death rates from COVID among two groups: the Vaccinated vs the Unvaccinated.

This needs to be more widely known.

https://ourworldindata.org/covid-deaths-by-vaccination

Published in: on December 5, 2021 at 6:52 am  Comments (2)  

Mr Fitz, Student Teacher, and Robots

Published in: on November 15, 2021 at 9:31 pm  Comments (1)  

Why does this sound like Mussolini and his Black-shirted Fascisti?

Peter Greene has done his usual insightful analysis on somebody who really sounds like an out-and-out fascist.

“Lynch is a small demonstration of the challenge of dealing with Trumpism.

“First, it’s clearly not conservatism, though it likes to pretend to be.

“Second, it is about taking power. Taking power through an election is the first resort, but if that doesn’t work, just keep pushing for other routes, all the way to gathering twenty strong men and just taking it by force. Don’t imagine that guys with Lynch can ever be convinced by facts or reality or well-reasoned arguments. “

CURMUDGUCATION

PA: How’s “Twenty Strong Men” vs. School Board Guy Doing?

Posted: 11 Nov 2021 05:25 AM PST

Steve Lynch is a QAnon-quoting, insurrection-joining, Patriot Party-supporting, fully-Trumpified fitnes trainer who, you may recall, made a splash while running for Northampton County executive. He made a national splash by suggesting that the solution to all these Very Naughty School Boards was to take “twenty strong men” into the school board meeting and command the board to either resign or be put out.  

I’m going in with twenty strong men and I’m gonna give them an option–they can leave or they can be removed.

I wrote about him back in August

. I am happy to report that Lynch lost his election bid. He lost it hard, by a margin of 8,000 votes in a 67,000 vote race.

Though as one member of the public points out, it’s discouraging that he go even 29,000 votes at all.Lynch accepted his defeat with grace and dignity and respect for the democratic process he deeply loves.

Ha! No, just kidding.

He’s not handling it well at all. Lynch and his supporters have been hanging out at the courthouse with the aim of monitoring the official ballot processing. That’s because Lynch is pretty sure that skullduggery.

 Here’s a Facebook video in which Lynch complains, among other things, that election integrity is “nonexistent.” He’s also in favor of throwing out votes that don’t “follow the rules.”

He’s also angry at people who do no research who didn’t look at candidate’s records.

“How many of you voted for that other guy because you heard ‘ooh, that Steve Lynch–he’s an insurrectionist.” Which, oddly enough, is actually his record. Also, he throws around some numbers about the votes that he thinks is wrong and says, “I don’t know if this is some kind of liberal Common Core math,” so that’s funny.

His point is that the election was fixed and corrupt, and in another post, he responds to people who think he’s out of line:This is for some of you knuckleheads that say “there’s no proof of what you’re saying that’s going on inside this canvassing…” Newsflash, your county government that is run by this corrupt Administration won’t let you do those things! This should be streamed in HD video at close proximity at every table that has canvassers so that We the People can see every ballot that they’re going through. But they aren’t letting you do that so we’re exposing everything for you as it’s happening. Until you’re willing to get off your lazy rear end and get down to the courthouse to look at it for yourself keep your mouth shut! You are speaking out of pure ignorance and no one’s interested in your opinion because it holds absolutely no water! We the People are so done with your blatant disregard to getting to the truth!

Facts over feelings!

It’s a nice portrayal of small time Trumpism.

We represent You People, but also, you suck because you won’t come down and support us.

And you’re ignorant. But We the People are done with You People. Also, facts matter more than feelings, unless they are facts we don’t like and feelings that are ours, in which case my feeling that the facts of the election are wrong are what matter, you stupid lazy people that I represent.
I’m not just here for the schadenfreude.

Lynch is a small demonstration of the challenge of dealing with Trumpism.

First, it’s clearly not conservatism, though it likes to pretend to be.

Second, it is about taking power. Taking power through an election is the first resort, but if that doesn’t work, just keep pushing for other routes, all the way to gathering twenty strong men and just taking it by force. Don’t imagine that guys with Lynch can ever be convinced by facts or reality or well-reasoned arguments. 
Published in: on November 11, 2021 at 3:54 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Insights from Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: While Americans Sleep, Our Corporate Overlords Make Progress Impossible

Posted on  by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

By Ralph Nader, a consumer advocate and the author of “The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future” (2012). His new book is, “Wrecking America: How Trump’s Lies and Lawbreaking Betray All” (2020, co-authored with Mark Green).Originally published at Common Dreams

“Polarization” is the word most associated with the positions of the Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The mass media and the commentators never tire of this focus, in part because such clashes create the flashes conducive to daily coverage.

Politicians from both parties exploit voters who don’t do their homework on voting records and let the lawmakers use the people’s sovereign power (remember the Constitution’s “We the People”) against them on behalf of the big corporate bosses.

The quiet harmony between the two parties created by the omnipresent power of Big Business and other powerful single-issue lobbyists is often the status quo. That’s why there are so few changes in this country’s politics.

In many cases, the similarities of both major parties are tied to the fundamental concentration of power by the few over the many. In short, the two parties regularly agree on anti-democratic abuses of power. Granted, there are always a few exceptions among the rank & file. Here are some areas of Republican and Democrat concurrence:

1. The Duopoly shares the same stage on a militaristic, imperial foreign policy and massive unaudited military budgets. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Pentagon budget was voted out of a House committee by the Democrats and the GOP with $24 billion MORE than what President Biden asked for from Congress. Neither party does much of anything to curtail the huge waste, fraud, and abuse of corporate military contractors, or the Pentagon’s violation of federal law since 1992 requiring annual auditable data on DOD spending be provided to Congress, the president, and the public.

2. Both Parties allow unconstitutional wars violating federal laws and international treaties that we signed onto long ago, including restrictions on the use of force under the United Nations Charter.

3. Both Parties ignore the burgeoning corporate welfare subsidies, handouts, giveaways, and bailouts turning oceans of inefficient, mismanaged, and coddled profit-glutted companies into tenured corporate welfare Kings.

4. Both Parties decline to crack down on the nationwide corporate crime spree. They don’t even like to use the phrase “corporate crime” or “corporate crime wave.” They prefer to delicately allude to “white-collar crime.”

Trillions of dollars are at stake every year, yet neither party holds corporate crime hearings nor proposes an update of the obsolete, weak federal corporate criminal laws.

In some instances, there is no criminal penalty at all for willful and knowing violations of safety regulatory laws (e.g., the auto safety and aviation safety laws). Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is trying to find just one Republican Senator to co-sponsor the “Hide No Harm Act” that would make it a crime for a corporate officer to knowingly conceal information about a corporate action or product that poses the danger of death or serious physical injury to consumers or workers.

5. Both Parties allow Wall Street’s inexhaustibly greedy CEOs to prey on innocents, including small investors. They also do nothing to curb hundreds of billions of dollars in computerized billing fraud, especially in the health care industry. (See, License to Steal by Malcolm K. Sparrow and a GAO Report about thirty years ago).

6. The third leading cause of death in the U.S. is fatalities from preventable problems in hospitals and clinics. According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study in 2015, a conservative estimate is that 250,000 people yearly are dying from preventable conditions. Neither Congress nor the Executive Branch has an effort remotely up to the scale required to reduce this staggering level of mortality and morbidity. Nor is the American Medical Association (AMA) engaging with this avoidable epidemic.

7. Both Parties sped bailout of over $50 billion to the airline industry during Covid-19, after the companies had spent about $45 billion on unproductive stock buybacks over the last few years to raise the metrics used to boost executive pay.

8. Both Parties starve corporate law enforcement budgets in the Justice Department, the regulatory agencies, and such departments as Labor, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, and Health and Human Services. The Duopoly’s view is that there be no additional federal cops on the corporate crime beat.

9. Both Parties prostrate themselves before the bank-funded Federal Reserve. There are no congressional audits, no congressional oversight of the Fed’s secret, murky operations, and massive printing of money to juice up Wall Street, while keeping interest rates near zero for trillions of dollars held by over one hundred million small to midsize savers in America.

10. Both Parties are wedded to constant and huge bailouts of the risky declining, uncompetitive (with solar and wind energy) nuclear power industry. This is corporate socialism at its worst. Without your taxpayer and ratepayer dollars, nuclear plants would be closing down faster than is now the case. Bipartisan proposals for more nukes come with large subsidies and guarantees by Uncle Sam.

11. Both Parties hate Third Parties and engage in the political bigotry of obstructing their ballot access (See: Richard Winger’s Ballot Access News), with hurdles, harassing lawsuits, and exclusions from public debates. The goal of both parties is to stop a competitive democracy.

12. Both Parties overwhelmingly rubber-stamp whatever the Israeli government wants in the latest U.S. military weaponry, the suppression of Palestinians and illegal occupation of the remaining Palestinian lands, and the periodic slaughter of Gazans with U.S. weapons. The Duopoly also supports the use of the U.S. veto in the UN Security Council to insulate Israel from UN sanctions.

13. Continuing Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich’s debilitating internal deforms of congressional infrastructures, the Democrats have gone along with the GOP’s shrinking of committee and staff budgets, abolition of the crucial Office of Technology Assessment’s (OTA) budget, and concentration of excessive power in the hands of the Speaker and Senate leader. This little noticed immolation reduces further the legislature’s ability to oversee the huge sprawling Executive Branch. The erosion of congressional power is furthered by the three-day work week Congress has reserved for itself.

14. Even on what might seem to be healthy partisan differences, the Democrats and the GOP agree not to replace or ease out Trump’s Director of the Internal Revenue Service, a former corporate loophole tax lawyer, or the head of the U.S. Postal Service, a former profiteer off the Post Office who will shortly curtail service even more than he did in 2020 (See: First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat, by Christopher W Shaw).

Right now, both Parties are readying to give over $50 billion of your tax money to the very profitable under-taxed computer chip industry companies like Intel and Nvidia, so they can make more profit-building plants in the U.S. These companies are loaded with cash. They should invest their own money and stop the stock buyback craze. Isn’t that what capitalism is all about?

Both Parties vote as if the American middle-class taxpayer is a sleeping sucker. Politicians from both parties exploit voters who don’t do their homework on voting records and let the lawmakers use the people’s sovereign power (remember the Constitution’s “We the People”) against them on behalf of the big corporate bosses.

Sleep on America, you have nothing to lose but your dreams.

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This entry was posted in Banana republicGuest PostIncome disparityLegalPoliticsRegulations and regulatorsRidiculously obvious scamsThe destruction of the middle class on  by Jerri-Lynn Scofield.

Vaccines Save Lives. (Duh.)

This graph from today’s NYT shows why.

Why Teaching is, in fact, the worst job out there

Teacher and blgger Jessica Wildfire explains in detail why teaching is the worst job in the world today. It has gotten much, much worse since I retired about 12 years ago.

Here is the link:

and here is a selection:

=================================

Nobody wants to be a teacher, but everyone thinks they could.

The job sounds easy.

It looks even easier in photos.

That’s because the job ads are lying. They talk about nurturing young minds and inspiring creativity. They make it sound like you’ll be trusted with sharing knowledge and promoting democracy.

Here’s what they don’t tell you:

You‘re sort of in charge of a lot of people.

You’ll supervise up to a hundred people whose brains are still developing. They’re sort of your employees, but they’re also sort of your customers. They’re also sort of your bosses. When that gets confusing, just remember one thing. When they don’t want to listen to you, they’re your boss and they pay your salary. You can’t really make them do anything.

Just do your best to persuade them.

You’ll be in charge of training them for a whole bunch of different jobs, and also how to be a decent human being. A decent human being is whatever your boss and/or their parents decide.

If they don’t turn out how we want…

It’s your fault.

Was the COVID risk overblown?

I have seen people claim that COVID wasn’t any worse than the flu, and that the toll from the disease was smaller than the number of people killed in traffic accidents each year.

Is that correct? Sources of data on deaths from all kinds of causes are easy to find. I will limit myself to the US.

Let’s see:

Today’s WorldOMeter says the US has had 666,627 deaths since the start of this pandemic, starting almost exactly 18 months ago (mid-March of 2020 to 9/7/2021).

That number of deaths, divided by 18 months, works out to a monthly death toll from COVID of about 37,000 per month.

Flu, however, takes roughly a full year to kill that many.

If we multiply the 37 thousand by 12 months, you get 444,000 killed by COVID in a year.

Flu’s Toll over the Past Decade

The CDC says that up to but not including the pandemic, influenza has inflicted, per year:

between 9 million and 45 million illnesses

between 140,000 and 810,000 hospitalizations

between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths (so by WorldOMeter’s numbers, COVID has been between 6 and 37 times more deadly)

Traffic deaths

For automobiles, the annual death rate had been about 36,000 people killed per year (up until 2019, and not including any pandemic months)

So COVID is more deadly than traffic accidents of all sorts by a factor of about 12 to one if we use WorldOMeter’s data.

Covid’s Toll

Now let’s compare those figures with the ones from COVID. I think you will see that COVID has been in fact much more dangerous.

Over the past 18 months, the CDC (as opposed to WorldOMeter) says we have had:

120.2 Million Estimated Total Infections (this includes both those who did NOT have any symptoms, as well as those who DID; this can’t really be compared to the figures for the flu)

101.8 Million Estimated Symptomatic Illnesses (since this is more than a year, to be fair, we should adjust by a factor equal to the ratio of 12 months to 18 months, or 2/3. Doing so, I get about 67 million symptomatic COVID infections per year, which is between 2 to 6 times larger than for the flu!)

6.2 Million Estimated Hospitalizations (adjusting as before, this is like 4 million hospitalizations per year, which is between 5 and 29 times worse than the flu)

767,000 Estimated Total Deaths (this is like 511,000 deaths per year – between 8 and 43 times worse than the flu!)

So, those arguments are full of nonsense, to put it politely.

The risk was NOT overblown.

I wish everybody in the US and abroad was permitted to take the vaccine, and did so!

I want this to be over.

======================================================================

My sources were:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html regarding influenza

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/burden.html for COVID-19

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/yearly-snapshot for automobiles

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/#graph-deaths-daily for WorldOMeter’s estimates

What the hell…???

I am utterly confused.

Why on earth would DC’s Department of Transportation purposely leave streets alone that are in poor shape, on the one hand, while they mill and re-pave streets that don’t need it at all?

Is there actually a good explanation? Or even an evil explanation?

Take a look at two maps of my section of Northeast DC (Brookland).

Perhaps the answer is just that the two maps are both out of date and inaccurate?

But, the way it looks to me, then out of 38 blocks around me that are listed by DC-Dot as needing repaving, only ONE (count’em 1) is listed as about to be milled and repaved.

While 8 other blocks that are NOT in bad shape are going to be milled and re-paved without needing it.

What’s going on? Why?? WTF?

Who benefits from this? I don’t get it.

Look for yourself.

I agree – the ones marked as bad streets really are bad. And the others are really OK to good. But why does the second map indicate (in pink, sorry, not the clearest color, my poor choice) that many roads that are in FINE shape are about to get dug up, neglecting lots of blocks in poor shape?

Can anyone explain?

================

Edit: I’ve looked at parts of Anacostia and Wards 3 and 4. Once again, I see no correlation between the streets that DC’s DOT lists as needing to be fixed, and the streets that are on the schedule to get milled and paved. Look for yourself and see if you can explain.

Published in: on June 9, 2021 at 1:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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