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Biden Blood Babble July 24, 2021

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Was musing over Joe Biden’s weird statement: “Are there people in the Republican Party who think we’re sucking the blood out of kids?”

Could just be more Bidenbabble or maybe some convoluted reference to vaccinating children, but then I thought about Tony Wyss-Coray and his work at Stanford and his company, Alkahest.

You all may recall that back in 2014 Professor Wyss-Coray mated the circulatory systems of an old mouse and a young mouse, resulting in large improvements in the physical and mental health of the old mouse. They ran some tests on a small number of people with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, and the young blood treatment seemed to help some of them. The press made a lot of stupid vampire jokes about it, and then promptly forgot about it though the research continues.

Fast forward to Joe Biden’s non sequitor: perhaps the notion of young blood treatments for dementia patients was on his mind.

Can’t imagine why.

Quick Review of “Soul” July 4, 2021

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Just watched Soul last night – the Pixar animation with Jamie Foxx as an aspiring jazz pianist. Not too bad (4.3/5, I’d say). Probably the upper limit of the amount of jazz reg’lar people can tolerate, but frustratingly short jazz licks for people like me who enjoy it.

Kind of a banal message from the film, but certainly better than all the woke messaging we get from most media. Revealing the message might corrupt your viewing, so I’ll put it below the fold:

(more…)

Biden Makes No Progress on Employment Participation July 3, 2021

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Last month I showed y’all a plot from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which illustrated how the recovery in labor participation had remained flat ever since Biden was elected. Here’s this month’s update, again from the BLS, which shows that nothing has changed:

You can refer to the earlier post for a view of a longer timeline.

Biden tells us that Milton Friedman is no longer the boss of him. But Biden and his administration will always be subject to the basic principles that everybody save Modern Money Theorists understand:

If you pay people to stay home, they stay home. And if you print money to pay for them to stay home, you get inflation.

Fittest Air Force Evah July 2, 2021

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You may have heard that the Air Force is planning on changing their fitness testing to allow walking and raised hand pushups. One wag burdened us with his thoughts:

“I think you can make an event like walking just as hard as running depending on how you score it,” Spoehr said. For example, he explained, a two-and-a-half mile walk in 13 minutes for a 17-year-old can be “really, really hard to make.”

Doing some quick math (13 minutes/2.5 miles) gives us 5.2 minute miles (5 minutes, 12 seconds), which I’m pretty sure no human on the planet is capable of doing.

For comparison, let’s check in on the world record for a mile:

British Olympian Tom Bosworth race-walked a mile in 5:31.08 at a Diamond League meet in London on Sunday, the fastest time ever in the rarely contested event. Bosworth broke a 27-year-old record by almost six seconds.

When I was a young lad in the Air Force we were required to run a mile and half in less than 12 minutes. Perhaps that’s more like what General Spoehr (ret.) was thinking. But I’m kind of stunned that no one did a spit take when he made his statement.

Grilling Biden’s PR Folk About July 4 Cookout Prices July 2, 2021

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The White House is desperate to dispel concerns over inflation. So desperate, in fact, that they put out idiotic tweets like this:

Idiotic indeed, both due to the terrible puns (hence my obnoxious title) and the abuse of the Farm Bureau’s data. Mainly the latter, as you’ll see.

If you dig into the Farm Bureau’s report and plot the results, you find that ground beef, pork & beans, ice cream, and pork chops were the biggest contributors to the decline in prices:

But the Farm Bureau sez:

“Beef and pork processing plant disruptions that occurred in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been resolved, leading to lower retail ground beef and pork chop prices in 2021 compared to 2020,” Nigh said. “However, consumers looking a bit farther back to compare prices are seeing higher prices for ground beef, pork chops and chicken breasts compared to pre-pandemic (2019) prices.”

The run on canned goods last year would easily explain the drop in pork & beans price as well. So all of their fanfare is due to COVID-19 effects.

I am excited about the drop in ice cream price, though . . .

Anyway, you might well ask, “How do 2021 prices compare to 2019 prices?” Here’s the Farm Bureau’s handy chart:

Yes, prices have inflated 8% since 2019.

And that, my friends, is the Biden economic plan “working.”

Telling Our Children of Economies That Were Free June 24, 2021

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(Apologies to the memory of Ronald Reagan) The Heritage Foundation released its annual Economic Freedom Index three months ago. Here’s how the US is doing:

You could argue that the blue curve should be shifted 6 months to the left to correspond to real-world events, since the 2021 report actually reflects freedom in 2020. But even so I think you can correlate certain events. Nancy Pelosi’s assumption of control of the House in 2007 and 2019 also come to mind.

The bottom line is that economic freedom has never been lower, due to the COVID-19 crisis and the government’s overreaction thereto. The question is if it will bounce back and continue on the post-Obama upward trend.

Not likely.

Crazy Like a Science-Following Fox June 17, 2021

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It’s now a matter of happy history that Governors DeSantis and Abbott did not cause widespread death and suffering by opening up their states before the Biden administration thought it was prudent. But you may not appreciate how ballsy the calls were at the time – more so for DeSantis than Abbott, but still . . .

Yup, DeSantis made his decision when daily deaths were near their all-time highs, and Abbott made his when they were still fairly high.

Seems like the Biden administration owes someone an abject apology, because some people’s reading of the science was far better than others’.

[The plot comes from the CDC, and I added the annotations (with a marked lack of success in matching the CDC’s green).]

RIP, COVID-19 June 17, 2021

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At least for now. Here are the latest plots from the CDC (with their awful formatting):

Both data series seem to be on a continuing downward trend, so hopefully we’ll continue to enjoy good news for the next month.

Biden’s Malignant Malignation June 12, 2021

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The Biden administration was (is) fond of criticizing Trump’s vaccine distribution efforts. Recalling the always-to-be-asterisked President’s March 2 press conference:

“When I came into office, the prior administration had contracted for not nearly enough vaccine to cover adults in America,” said Biden. “We rectified that.”

So let’s see just how badly Trump missed it. Remember, all of Trump’s initial contracts were issued in July 2020, with no real data on efficacy or safety. Here’s how they did:

Doses Administered
(6/11/2021)
Doses Purchased
(July 2020)
Doses Purchased
(Dec 2020)
Option for Doses
(July 2020)
Pfizer167 million100 million100 million400 million (12/20)
Moderna128 million100 million100 million400 million (12/20)
J & J11.4 million100 million200 million
AstraZeneca 0100 million200 million
Novavax0100 million
Sanofi0100 million500 million

There are 259 million adults in America, and Trump ordered enough vaccine for 300 million people (400 million double doses and 100 million single doses). So Biden’s statement was ridiculous on its face.

But it gets worse. Three months later we still haven’t used all of the 400 million approved doses purchased by the Trump administration, and even if we had, there were options in place to easily order more.

Options which Biden took advantage of, without giving any credit to his predecessor.

Suppressing Employment, the Biden Way June 4, 2021

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The news is abuzz with the tidings of the miss on employment (pundits were expecting 650K new jobs, but only 559K were added), but I thought this other little factoid was interesting. Look at the % of people who are employed (chart generated by the BLS site):

Nice steady increase in the % of the population that’s employed until COVID hit, when employment plummeted. But let’s zoom in on that period from January 2020 (just before COVID-19 blew up the economy) through last month:

Yeah, we were rebounding nicely until the election, upon which the curve goes essentially flat. This, despite the huge progress in vaccination and the reopening of many states.

The suppression of the recovery in employment suggests, if not trumpets, that the current administration’s policies are somewhat misguided.

Eurovision 2021 Winner May 30, 2021

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Time to check in on Eurovision. This year’s contest was not in front of a live audience, so it must have been tough for the acts to get fired up.

Måneskin, the entry from Italy, won with their (somewhat dated, IMHO) head-bangy rock song, Zitti E Buoni (“Shut Up and Behave”). Here’s their entry video (videos from the Finals aren’t yet available in the US):

A translation of the lyrics can be found here.

Old Vid of a Russian Guy With a Mean Falsetto May 29, 2021

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My daughter and I were playing “Dueling YouTube Videos” the other night, where we alternate in picking videos to impress, educate, and/or horrify the other party. One of her early entries was from Vitas, a Russian singer known for singing ridiculously high notes (for a guy, anyway). Here’s his Opera No. 2 (very poor quality video).

Can’t get enough? Try this goofy disco-ey song entitled The 7th Element: