2020 Status Check

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Pham Nuwen
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Pham Nuwen »

Jadagul wrote: 04 Jan 2021, 17:30 "We ran the numbers, and prioritizing the elderly will save more lives even under conservative assumptions, but racial justice means we should prioritize the cashiers".
You'll have to forgive me but I'm not aware of this being the angle of that meeting. Could you link an article for me?
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

None of officialdom escapes blame entirely. If this were a civil legal litigation, the concept that would be applied is that of joint and several tortfeasors. It may not be the case that in their contradictory entirety the CDC's actions constituted negligence, let alone reckless disregard or intentional misconduct, but ethically they're at least partially blameworthy.

Giving the devil his due, for all of Trump's dissembling, placing his own benefit over the welfare of the nation, merely delusional thinking, etc., he did apply pressure to get a vaccine ASAP, more so than I can recall for any other health crisis, and that's a factor in mitigation, if nothing else. That said, Trump also repeatedly booted the pooch. If he hadn't, he'd have probably won reelection in a landslide.

And, yes, in some ways America has been hamstrung by federalism, though we'll have to wait until we can take a dispassionate look at how that compared to other nations' handling of the pandemic. Different states with different approaches, restrictions, etc., whether politically motivated or not, created more confusion than anything else. Meanwhile, both the CDC and the White House were erratic in their assertion of questionable federal authority, trying on more than one occasion to take credit and shift blame.

Also, let's face it, there are millions of stupid people in the U.S., stupid people who didn't have social media to display their stupidity and ignorance in previous crises, and that has caused more public confusion, consternation and frustration. There's no cure for stupid. So way too much of the public discourse over the pandemic has been Sports Bar binary thinking. Either the pandemic is the only thing that matters or the economy is the only thing that matters. Pick a side and stick with it. Nuanced opinion and crediting those who disagree as not being evil or stup is a sucker's game.

All that said, isn't this pretty much the same situation as global warming? That is, there's a general consensus among those who have the scientific credentials to weigh in that anthropogenic warming is occurring. There is also some disagreement among them as to how much, how soon. They're the folks to believe as to the science, including the fact that the science per se includes some range of legitimate scientific disagreement. But as with the CDC we've found that the scientific experts have been known to exaggerate the situation in order to prompt a desired course of action and, as a result, lost some credibility.

Regardless, they have nothing to contribute as scientists per se as to what should be done. That's a political and economic question, and while we should also be listening to people with that sort of expertise regarding what the cost of doing X versus the cost of not doing X may be, the political side of it is ultimately going to be determined politically. So instead of listening to the scientific evidence and weighing the economic and political alternatives, we're back to Sports Bar binary thinking.

And it seems almost impossible to make these points, most of which I consider close to self-evident, even among relatively well educated and non-stupid people. Why? I don't know. Because political ideology trumps everything else? *shrug*
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thoreau
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Pham Nuwen wrote: 04 Jan 2021, 18:16
Jadagul wrote: 04 Jan 2021, 17:30 "We ran the numbers, and prioritizing the elderly will save more lives even under conservative assumptions, but racial justice means we should prioritize the cashiers".
You'll have to forgive me but I'm not aware of this being the angle of that meeting. Could you link an article for me?
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meeti ... ooling.pdf

https://reason.com/2020/12/18/vaccine-c ... -covid-19/

Also, it's very likely that what you see happening at ground level is very different (and quite possibly better) than what people at the top are saying. This isn't about criticizing what you do. It's about the messaging from the people at the top undermining public trust and keeping people from understanding what you do.
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thoreau
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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D.A. Ridgely wrote: 04 Jan 2021, 18:20Also, let's face it, there are millions of stupid people in the U.S., stupid people who didn't have social media to display their stupidity and ignorance in previous crises, and that has caused more public confusion, consternation and frustration. There's no cure for stupid. So way too much of the public discourse over the pandemic has been Sports Bar binary thinking. Either the pandemic is the only thing that matters or the economy is the only thing that matters. Pick a side and stick with it. Nuanced opinion and crediting those who disagree as not being evil or stup is a sucker's game.
The problem is that the more visible elite stupidity and hypocrisy is, the less people trust whoever's telling them to wear a mask and get vaccinated. There's plenty of blame to go around for that, but the bottom line is that we're only getting out of this if enough people get the damn vaccine. I sort of wish that we'd designated one vaccine as Red, another as Blue, and a third (since Astra Zeneca is now in the mix) as For Those Cooler Than Either Side. Let Reds shout that Pfizer is as good as Hydroxychloroquine while Blues shout that Moderna is as good as Remdesivir (or vice-versa) and point with pride to where they got injected. As long as they get a damn vaccine I would be happy with it.

Then again, it doesn't help matters that too many idiots have made vaccine prioritization into a moral imperative, and deviations from the priority list into a mortal sin, with threats of serious punishment for those who jump lines. So while Israeli nurses are rushing out to vaccinate anyone they can find and damn the list if they have a dose about to expire, US governors are threatening punishment for anyone who gets vaccinated before their number comes up on the Official List (the existence of which is a laughable notion, but that doesn't make officials any less stupid or authoritarian about it).
And it seems almost impossible to make these points, most of which I consider close to self-evident, even among relatively well educated and non-stupid people. Why? I don't know. Because political ideology trumps everything else? *shrug*
That and pandemic conditions tap into deep religious impulses. Between the fear of death and the way that holy books' sections on diet and ritual cleanliness are (at least in part) about protection from disease, plus the fact that the few large gatherings have been protests, i.e. airings of ideological and tribal affiliation, we're busy creating new religions (in practice if not in name).
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Jadagul
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Jadagul »

A little bit more specifically, each jurisdiction gets to set their own rules. And some of them (cough New York cough) are setting really dumb ones.

But ACIP was setting out a series of guideline regulations. And they said the dumb thing I quoted earlier; that's the PDF Thoreau linked. The internet exploded and everyone yelled at them for a day and a half (and a bunch of people yelled at those people too), and then they changed their guidelines to something more reasonable.



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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

thoreau wrote: 04 Jan 2021, 18:34
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 04 Jan 2021, 18:20Also, let's face it, there are millions of stupid people in the U.S., stupid people who didn't have social media to display their stupidity and ignorance in previous crises, and that has caused more public confusion, consternation and frustration. There's no cure for stupid. So way too much of the public discourse over the pandemic has been Sports Bar binary thinking. Either the pandemic is the only thing that matters or the economy is the only thing that matters. Pick a side and stick with it. Nuanced opinion and crediting those who disagree as not being evil or stup is a sucker's game.
The problem is that the more visible elite stupidity and hypocrisy is, the less people trust whoever's telling them to wear a mask and get vaccinated. There's plenty of blame to go around for that, but the bottom line is that we're only getting out of this if enough people get the damn vaccine. I sort of wish that we'd designated one vaccine as Red, another as Blue, and a third (since Astra Zeneca is now in the mix) as For Those Cooler Than Either Side. Let Reds shout that Pfizer is as good as Hydroxychloroquine while Blues shout that Moderna is as good as Remdesivir (or vice-versa) and point with pride to where they got injected. As long as they get a damn vaccine I would be happy with it.

Then again, it doesn't help matters that too many idiots have made vaccine prioritization into a moral imperative, and deviations from the priority list into a mortal sin, with threats of serious punishment for those who jump lines. So while Israeli nurses are rushing out to vaccinate anyone they can find and damn the list if they have a dose about to expire, US governors are threatening punishment for anyone who gets vaccinated before their number comes up on the Official List (the existence of which is a laughable notion, but that doesn't make officials any less stupid or authoritarian about it).
And it seems almost impossible to make these points, most of which I consider close to self-evident, even among relatively well educated and non-stupid people. Why? I don't know. Because political ideology trumps everything else? *shrug*
That and pandemic conditions tap into deep religious impulses. Between the fear of death and the way that holy books' sections on diet and ritual cleanliness are (at least in part) about protection from disease, plus the fact that the few large gatherings have been protests, i.e. airings of ideological and tribal affiliation, we're busy creating new religions (in practice if not in name).
That's brilliant. You're wasting your time as a physicist; you could make a fortune in marketing consulting.
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JasonL
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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I would add to my list that American federalism is fundamentally broken. States are incompetent units of governance and are allowed by voters to proceed as though all real issues are federal issues. Hi here's your infinity pension I have to give you because I'm Pro Teacher. Oh you won't raise taxes ok well I guess that's a thing we'll get assistance for here are some bonds. We need extra billions for distribution of vaccine because ... we didn't know this was coming? The commerce clause makes all regulatory issues federal. We are pretending we have a thing we don't actually have.

What we are pretending we have is the Swiss Cantonic system, which I think we should stare at pretty hard. I find it impressive in its ability to presever regional ways of living, high variance in taxation and benefits with the Swiss state providing a kind of miniumum guideline model. Like healthcare is a local issue, you have to have a system that offers Basic Care, but after that you can do what you like and you have to raise funds for it as a canton. Cantons can negotiate trade treaties with foreign powers.
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Kolohe
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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“Cantonic System, more like Catatonic System amirite?”
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Jennifer
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Jennifer »

I don't know how well a Swiss-style canton system would work scaled up to US-sized. According to a quick search of Wikipedia, Switzerland is a bit less than half the size of the US state of Georgia (135 miles north to south and 220 at its widest from east to west for Switzerland, compared to Georgia's 300 miles by 230 miles), and that small space is subdivided into 26 cantons.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Eric the .5b »

Jennifer wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 18:32I don't know how well a Swiss-style canton system would work scaled up to US-sized. According to a quick search of Wikipedia, Switzerland is a bit less than half the size of the US state of Georgia (135 miles north to south and 220 at its widest from east to west for Switzerland, compared to Georgia's 300 miles by 230 miles), and that small space is subdivided into 26 cantons.
And only 80% of Georgia's population. Less than that of NYC. Less than twice that of Harris County (Houston).

As with many "Why don't you build a system like X country in Europe?" arguments, my response converges on, "I'd like to see that actually work in a country remotely as large as the US." As with welfare state systems, the larger the countries get, the more people there are prone to saying any given system doesn't actually work by their standards. But we're supposed to emulate Sweden or Switzerland and if not, it's because we're deficient.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Social democracy can only be failed...
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thoreau
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Social democracy can definitely fail, but there are countries that seem to do more or less OK with it. No, not perfectly, maybe it wouldn't work here, and maybe we shouldn't want it, but it's not some unobtainable pipe dream either. It's a thing that exists and more or less works in many wealthy and liberal democracies. It's a real thing with pros and cons.
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JasonL
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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There are I think understood parameters for large welfare states. It's just that nobody likes them when they see them up close. Everyone has to pay high taxes and agree that they want the stuff the government provides because discretionary spending at the household level is a fraction of other places both because of the effects of the price level and because you took everyone's money to ensure they had these specific things that look exactly like this. If everyone is cool with that it works. If not, not.

The Cantonic thing is more about specifically the way federalism plays out. The French provincial system is very soft on local powers and they all accept the feds do everything. The Cantonic system is very strong on local powers and they all agree the locals do most everything. We talk shit like B but whine like A. Broken accountability chains.
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Jadagul
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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JasonL wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 21:47 There are I think understood parameters for large welfare states. It's just that nobody likes them when they see them up close. Everyone has to pay high taxes and agree that they want the stuff the government provides because discretionary spending at the household level is a fraction of other places both because of the effects of the price level and because you took everyone's money to ensure they had these specific things that look exactly like this. If everyone is cool with that it works. If not, not.

The Cantonic thing is more about specifically the way federalism plays out. The French provincial system is very soft on local powers and they all accept the feds do everything. The Cantonic system is very strong on local powers and they all agree the locals do most everything. We talk shit like B but whine like A. Broken accountability chains.
I think that second bit is important. There's nothing wrong with leaving planning and decisions to the states, if the states also have the capacity, resources, and authority to do the planning. But when the Federal government is the one with the resources, it has to be the one making the decisions. (Or very proactively enabling states to make those decisions.)
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Any welfare state would have t be federal rather than local, else we'd end up with something like public education (funded by hyper-local property taxes): rich-people towns have excellent schools, poor-people towns have shitty ones.

Also: I know basically nothing about Swiss history except neutrality, Nazi gold bank accounts and being appallingly late (by western standards) to full suffrage, but: do they have any nasty history of, say, "canton rights" being a dog whistle for "legal bigotry against unpopular minority groups?"
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Jennifer wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 22:02 Any welfare state would have t be federal rather than local, else we'd end up with something like public education (funded by hyper-local property taxes): rich-people towns have excellent schools, poor-people towns have shitty ones.
If only there were some level of government between the municipal and the federal. A level that could tax wealthier people and spend the revenues on welfare for the poorer people, but still be responsive to local/regional issues. Oh well I guess.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Hugh Akston wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 22:53
Jennifer wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 22:02 Any welfare state would have t be federal rather than local, else we'd end up with something like public education (funded by hyper-local property taxes): rich-people towns have excellent schools, poor-people towns have shitty ones.
If only there were some level of government between the municipal and the federal. A level that could tax wealthier people and spend the revenues on welfare for the poorer people, but still be responsive to local/regional issues. Oh well I guess.
If only the part of my comment which you quoted had been followed by an additional line pre-emptively addressing the point you ever-so-politely alluded to here. Oh, wait, it was:
Also: I know basically nothing about Swiss history except neutrality, Nazi gold bank accounts and being appallingly late (by western standards) to full suffrage, but: do they have any nasty history of, say, "canton rights" being a dog whistle for "legal bigotry against unpopular minority groups?"
See, when I said "canton rights" it was actually a reference to the well-known American history phrase "state's rights," get it? Heh heh heh heh heh.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Jennifer wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 22:02 do they have any nasty history of, say, "canton rights" being a dog whistle for "legal bigotry against unpopular minority groups?"
I don't know how this has played out in Switzerland, but you make an important point about federalism as it has actually been defended for a substantial and terrible part of US history. Context matters, and just as context could determine whether a particular flavor of social democracy could work here, context is also why federalism and limited government have bad reputations to sizable portions of the US public. This article gives a nice explanation from a conservative POV: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opin ... in-america
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Shem
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Hugh Akston wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 22:53
Jennifer wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 22:02 Any welfare state would have t be federal rather than local, else we'd end up with something like public education (funded by hyper-local property taxes): rich-people towns have excellent schools, poor-people towns have shitty ones.
If only there were some level of government between the municipal and the federal. A level that could tax wealthier people and spend the revenues on welfare for the poorer people, but still be responsive to local/regional issues. Oh well I guess.
Yeah, and when Mississippi loses the ~43% of their annual budget that comes from federal grants, I'm sure they'll become even less of a shithole.

Swiss cantons spent the past 400 years developing more or less in sync with each other. Instituting that system in the US today would end with California, NY, Texas, and a half dozen other states playing Germany and France to MS/MT/LA/NM/&c's Greece and Italy. And that's before you consider the trappings of empire we'd have to give up that would make it a non-starter. Would it be better? In some ways without a doubt. Is it realistic for us to move toward it? No way.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Welcome to 2021 motherfuckers.
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Pham Nuwen
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Booooo! Everyone boo Warren! Boooooooo!
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Jennifer wrote: 05 Jan 2021, 22:02 I know basically nothing about Swiss history except neutrality, Nazi gold bank accounts and being appallingly late (by western standards) to full suffrage, but: do they have any nasty history of, say, "canton rights" being a dog whistle for "legal bigotry against unpopular minority groups?"
I always thought Switzerland was just a bunch of minorities that decided to get together and hate each other in peace.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by Mo »

I’m willing to excuse decision making (aside from stuff linked to it will just go away) in COVID before mid/early April. We didn’t know what was going on and Cuomo’s plan with elderly care centers was thought of as a triage because of the fear that hospitals would get overwhelmed. His actions after that have been shit.

I now thing centralized quarantine is a superior pandemic mitigation response. People are fucking idiots and we’d better off if we just locked down people that tested positive for two weeks than locking everyone down for months.

I’ve pretty much written off the Republicans for the next couple decades. I thought they were bad, they’re much worse. Oddly, I hate the Charles Cooke and Rich Lowry types more than the Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tommy Tuberville types. At least the latter genuinely believe it.

Like Jason, I’m buying into the Bowling Alone thesis. This has hit closer to home moving to a new place and how hard it is to make connections during the pandemic.
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JasonL
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Re: 2020 Status Check

Post by JasonL »

I'm not really saying we can be a Cantonic system. I'm saying that we should look at the mechanisms of its operation to see if there's anything we can do. Geneva is insanely richer than like the bernese oberland moo cow country. How does cost sharing work while retaining cantonic independence and accountability? We just can't pretend states do things that they never do.

It occurs to me, and I don't know this, that the nature of the cantons being independent states for so long implies cantonic capitals that probably serve as regional economic engines. It could be that Bern can adequately fund the large pasturelands surrounding without much help from Geneva, but you need at least one engine city per area.
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Re: 2020 Status Check

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Mo wrote: 07 Jan 2021, 01:37 I now thing centralized quarantine is a superior pandemic mitigation response. People are fucking idiots and we’d better off if we just locked down people that tested positive for two weeks than locking everyone down for months.
and we still are
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