jump to navigation

BA.5, We Hardly Knew Ye January 31, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

Back in August, a mere 6 months ago, I wrote a post noting that the dominant COVID strain at that time was BA.5, which accounted for 90% of cases. How quickly things change (chart from CDC):

There’s a 3-week lag in the data, so they have this “Nowcast” estimate that brings you up to date:

As you can see, the best estimate is that BA.5 is essentially extinct at this time. At the same time, XBB.1.5, which appeared 2 months ago, is now estimated to account for 61% of cases.

These timelines are stunning – the mutations are so fast that there’s no way vaccine modifications can keep up. Although a recent study claimed that the newish bivalent booster was ~50% effective in preventing “symptomatic XBB.1.5 infection,” it’s doubtful that those numbers will hold up as more data becomes available, and particularly as the boosters age. Not that 50% is all that impressive anyway.

The bottom line is that people who opt to get the boosters are doing so on blind faith. They have no idea how long the booster will last, or whether it will be effective against strains that can emerge from nowhere to dominate the case counts within a couple of months.

Seems like we’d be just as well off if we just boosted the immune system in a general way.

An Unwelcome Uptick at the Pump January 31, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

Gas prices have jumped 13% from their Xmas low of $3.05/gallon. We’re now at $3.44/gallon, which is about $1/gallon higher than the pre-COVID days.

See for yourself (chart downloaded from GasBuddy):

Defining Manliness January 26, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

Seems like people are always trying to define what a “man” is. I remember a few years back when some yahoo had a list of manly attributes. Among them was “charging his wife and kids’ cellphones at night.” He was thoroughly and justly mocked.

Today Instapundit linked to a commendable essay which talks about the definition of manhood.

Man among men


On what it means to be a man.

The debate about Burke reminded me of the debate about men: what makes a man? One way of answering this question is to go about it the way the short historian approached Burke, to describe men’s beliefs and influences. The psychologist James Mahalik did exactly this in 2003 when, along with a team of researchers and postgraduates, he created a list of twelve “masculine norms . . . Winning, Emotional Control, Risk-Taking, Violence, Dominance, Playboy, Self-Reliance, Primacy of Work, Power Over Women, Disdain for Homosexuals, Physical Toughness, and Pursuit of Status.” Being a man is, in this sense, about the possession of certain qualities. Jack Donovan arrives at a similar conclusion in his book The Way of Men (2012): “Strength, courage, mastery, and honor,” he writes, “are the fundamental virtues of men because without them, no ‘higher’ virtues can be attained.”

After considering these and other perspectives, the author decides that a man can be defined by his roles as son, brother (in the sense of being a brother to all men), husband, and father.

That’s not bad, but I’ve had simple working definition I’ve become fond of, which I think covers the concept of manhood pretty comprehensively:

A “real” man is a man who does what it takes to support and protect his family, friends, community, and country using honorable means.

Same definition I have for a real woman, actually. Or any human.

When Less is Way Less January 24, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

I’ve written before about my mystification at libs’ penchant for using any excuse to take off their clothes. From the previous post:

It seems like every time an issue comes up, liberals disrobe. Attention-getting? Sure, but for all the wrong reasons.

My take is that if you have to take off your clothes to get people to pay attention to your cause or issue, maybe your cause/issue aren’t that important. Maybe your arguments aren’t compelling, and playing “Strip Debate” isn’t going to help them.

Despite my kind counsel, they’re still at it:

Topless Women in Period-Blood Costumes Run Hog-Wild Through French Streets for Abortion

In this case, I think they do succeed in conveying a message beyond “Wow! Look at them boobs!!” And that message is: “Wow! These ladies are idiots!!”

You can decide for yourself at this link to video of the scene, provided purely for sociological research purposes.

Transcending Trans Lodging January 23, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

RedState tells about Ithaca College’s latest housing innovation:

At New York’s Ithaca College, a specialized housing provision has been made. Established in 1892, the institution is keeping up with the times. Hence, its “Open Pages” residential community.

If you’re something other than “cisgender,” you’ll be right at home at the 20-bed facility.

From Ithaca.edu:

Open Pages is a transgender and nonbinary RLC (Residence Learning Community). The goal of Open Pages is to provide an inclusive space for non-cis identifying students and to create a supportive community on campus comprised of students that have a shared experience.

As nice as this may sound to transgender folk at Ithaca, I suspect the bloom will fall off that rose pretty quickly. After all, a good deal of the attraction of becoming transgender is the attention and accommodations you can demand from non-trans folk. Hard to feel special or to guilt people into getting your way when you’re surrounded by people with the same status.

I give it 6 months and then it’ll fade away.

When I’m Wrong, I’m Wrong January 21, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

Told my daughter a couple of years ago that, “There’s no way Joe Biden can make it two years in office. His mental decline will get to the point where they can’t cover for him anymore.”

Well, Joe Biden is still in office. And the press and his staff have done a man’s work in covering for his gaffes and (literal) stumbles.

I was absolutely wrong, but I don’t think by much . . .

CNN Embraces Insecurity January 20, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

CNN trying hard to protect Biden:

“This kind of classified spillage happens almost every day, and most of the time it’s completely accidental. An employee accidentally takes home a document in a briefcase,” reporter Katie Bo Lillis told “CNN This Morning” host Kaitlan Collins. “One example we were told, the employee found a classified document that had been accidentally attached to an unclassified travel itinerary. He slept with it under his pillow for a night, returned it the next day and that was that.”

“Most of these cases are dealt with administratively, internally, with a simple conversation with the security officer at the agency in question,” Lillis said. “Now, of course, in more severe cases there can be penalties such as losing your security clearance or even being fired.”


You know, back when I was a young lieutenant in this man’s Air Force, every couple of months I’d come up in the rotation to check the safes in the office at the end of the day. They were hardly ever opened, but at the end of every work day someone had to go around to each of the 20-odd safes, jiggle the handle and pull to make sure it wasn’t unlocked, and then initial a card on the safe and sign a line on a form.

One day I forgot to initial the card on one of the safes. I checked the safe, signed the line on the form, the safe wasn’t open, no classified information was compromised, but because I forgot to initial the card, all hell broke loose.

Fortunately for my permanent record, they decided that since I had signed the line on the form, that was good enough. But I was on the precipice of earning myself career-ending trouble just for a little administrative oversight.

So when somebody says they have actual classified material sitting in their unsecured garage for 5 years, I don’t believe that a “simple conversation” is an adequate response.

I don’t know what it’s like at the White House level, but at the worker bee level in the Defense Department and their contractors, you have a record of every document you keep. You inventory the documents annually. If someone borrows a document, you have a record of it leaving the safe and returning to the safe. They don’t just disappear for 5 years with no one noticing.

I don’t believe that the VP enjoys the same powers over classified material that the president does. I (and others) have argued that since all authority to classify material is derived from the office of the president, the president can throw out classified material to the New Years’ crowd in Times Square with complete impunity. Not a good idea, but it’s within his power.

Biden has the same power today, but when he acquired the documents he did not, which makes him subject to all the regulations that applied to those documents. Since they were TS/SCI, it’s a pretty grave infraction.

MLK Deserved So Much Better January 15, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

That new MLK statue evoked memories of an old picture:

The Federalist’s Lame Attempt to Deflect Blame from Victoria’s Secrets Getting Woke, Going Broke January 11, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

[Been trying to stay off the blogging train, but sometimes you just can’t let things slide…]

Madeline Osborne of The Federalist assures us that:

No, Victoria’s Secret Isn’t Going Broke Because It Dropped The Angels For Fat Chicks

After Victoria’s Secret’s stock price plummeted last week and CEO Amy Hauk announced her departure after just eight months at the lingerie brand, conservative critics were quick to diagnose the company’s failures as a classic case of “go woke, go broke.”

It’s an easy, albeit lazy, argument to make…

Victoria’s Secret introduced its more “inclusive” rebrand campaign in 2021, … But blaming these “woke” changes that only happened less than a year and a half ago doesn’t add up when you consider the brand faced nearly identical leadership changes in 2018 and slumping sales since 2019

Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. But her argument is completely unsupported.

Take her sales link – what it really talks about is the decline of quarterly sales from one quarter to the next. It says nothing about annual sales in 2019 or any year since. Here are the facts, courtesy of a chart I copied from Statista:

So sales in 2019 were actually higher than the preceding two years, and were then followed by the disastrous COVID year of 2020. Sales didn’t fully recover in 2021, and the projection for 2022 is a mere $6.4 billion.

What’s all that mean? It means that Osborne’s narrative is nonsense. Sales had flattened from 2015 to 2019, but they weren’t declining. And it is striking that in 2021 and 2022, the years of increased wokeness, sales couldn’t break $7 billion.

She goes on to speculate that maybe the brand has become dowdy and vulnerable to competition. Could be, but she doesn’t provide any support for her musings. Finally, she assures us that there’s no way the American public will ever disassociate the Victoria’s Secret brand from hot models. Her evidence?

This is best illustrated by the fact that despite the company’s ongoing attempts at rebranding for several years now, one of the top viral TikTok songs of 2022 and a Billboard Top 100 song titled “Victoria’s Secret,” by the singer/songwriter Jax, is constantly played on pop stations as an anthem against “body shaming” and takes direct aim at the company.

Yup, her best piece of evidence is a popular song. I can assure Ms. Osborne that I personally have successfully disassociated the VS brand from hot models. Just as with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, it wasn’t difficult.

It’s possible that the company’s pivot to woke hasn’t been responsible for the disastrous decline in sales, but it’s absolutely certain that it hasn’t increased sales.