The Other Day I Caught a Cold

The other day I caught a cold.  Then my wife caught it from me.  We now believe this was actually a case of the flu.  Which is a surprise because every year I get a flu shot sometime in October.  As I did in 2012.  Our household relies on this so no one gets the flu.  My wife mainly works from home and doesn’t get the exposure I get from my students (many of whom have kids).

I won’t go into the symptoms that indicate flu rather than a cold because this website is offensive enough already.  But after a quick look around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I have a pretty good idea what’s going on.  This appears to be a beta test of the U.S. government’s solution to the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare (and Obamacare as it is currently written).

The pullquote below is a long quotation from the CDC’s website.  Let me summarize the relevant parts.  For people older than 65 (which includes me, but not my wife),  Incidentally, VE stands for vaccine effectiveness.

  • “…the VE against flu A and B viruses ranged from 27% in people 65 and older…”
  • “…VE against flu A (H3N2) viruses in people 65 and older was significantly lower than in other age groups.
  • “Overall, VE estimates suggest that the 2012-2013 flu vaccine has moderate effectiveness for most people against the flu viruses spreading in the United States, similar to previously published reports. The one exception to this was the VE among people 65 and older against flu A (H3N2) viruses, which was lower. The single point estimate for VE in this age group was 9% (95% CI: -84% to 55%). Note that because the confidence interval crossed zero for the 65 and older age group, this estimate is not statistically significant, and therefore, the results should be interpreted with caution.”

Got that?  The government is trying to kill us old folks.  Their first attempt was the distribution of “free” cheese to those 65 and older.  Unfortunately (for the government, not for us elderly), Big Pharma invented the statin drugs which are keeping us alive longer than the government prediction.  So here we have a second try: a flu vaccine that just happens to not work very well against old folks.  Gotta hand it to the folks in Washington, D.C.  This is almost better than trying to use a poisoned cigar to assassinate Fidel Castro.

What are CDC’s current estimates of flu vaccine effectiveness this season?

… Overall, the VE estimate for protecting against having to go to the doctor because of flu illness was 56% for all age groups (95% confidence interval: 47% to 63%). … This VE estimate means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the vaccinated population’s risk of having to go to the doctor because of the flu by more than half. However, VE can vary across age groups and across different flu viruses, so CDC further analyzed the VE estimates to adjust for these factors. When broken down by different age groups, the VE against flu A and B viruses ranged from 27% in people 65 and older to 64% in children (aged 6 months to 17 years old). …

… The one exception to [the overall VE] was the VE among people 65 and older against flu A (H3N2) viruses, which was lower. The single point estimate for VE in this age group was 9% (95% CI: -84% to 55%). …. Overall, this estimate means that vaccine effectiveness was lower than expected in this age group against flu A (H3N2) viruses. …

 

Mayor Bloomberg’s War on Obesity

New Yorker CoverNew York mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared war on obesity.  The opening salvo was banning the sale of “Super-Sized” or “Big Gulp” sugared sodas.  It hardly needs pointing out that pfpfp is completely opposed to this move.  Contrary to Mayor Bloomberg’s opinion, we believe there is not enough obesity.  More obesity means more, earlier deaths means fewer people.  What’s not to like?

The New Yorker cover above nails it pretty well.

 

Fast and Furious Scandal Continues to do a Great Job

The operation Fast and Furious scandal continues to do a great job of reducing population.  Fast and Furious was the U.S. Department of Justice program that gave guns to Mexican drug dealers in a failed attempt to trace said dealers.  Result: no drug dealers caught, many more guns in Mexico.  Perhaps this is the Obama administration’s approach to U.S. gun control: export the guns to other countries.  Oh, wait, I forgot the <sarcasm> tag.

Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta
Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta

Now comes the latest travesty, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.  From their March 19 story:

“Federal agents stopped the main target of the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious in May 2010. After they questioned him, he disappeared back into Mexico, and the program went on to spiral out of control.

Detained for questioning that day in May 2010, Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta described to agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosiveshis close association with a top Mexican drug cartel member, according to documents obtained this weekend by the Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.

The top Fast and Furious investigator, Special Agent Hope MacAllister, scribbled her phone number on a $10 bill after he pledged to cooperate and keep in touch with investigators.

Then Celis-Acosta disappeared into Mexico. He never called.”

What a surprise.  We applaud the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder for their ongoing contributions to population reduction.

 

China Announced a New Warning Policy

China announced a new warning policy for their one child per family edict.  According to Yahoo! News, the previous harsh announcements are to be replaced with new, less threatening statements.  Let’s compare old and new.

Old: “If you don’t receive the tubal ligation surgery by the deadline, your house will be demolished!”

New: “Caring for the girl means caring for the future of the nation.”

Old: “We would rather scrape your womb than allow you to have a second child!”

New: “Please get rid of the alcohol and cigarettes before you plan to be a father.”

Old: “Kill all your family members if you don’t follow the rule!”

And…

“Once you get captured, an immediate tubal ligation will be done; Should you escape, we’ll hunt you down; If you attempt a suicide, we’ll offer you either the rope or a bottle of poison.”

No other examples of the newer phrasing were available in press reports.

At pfpfp, we’re disappointed in the Chinese government for knuckling under to the population growth extremists.  After all, so far the one-child policy has produced a nation that will be mostly men in a few generations.  Talk about population control!

We Support the Obama Administration

We support the Obama Administration.  Attorney General Eric Holder has filed an appeal to the full Ninth Circuit Court of a ruling by a three-judge panel that would allow compensation to bone marrow donors.  The Wall Street Journal reports,

“Enter the Institute for Justice, which in 2009 filed suit on behalf of a group of patients, including Lewiston, Maine mother Doreen Flynn, three of whose children are afflicted with a blood disease called Fanconi anemia. Without marrow transplants in their teens, few with the disease are likely to survive. In Doreen Flynn et al. v. Holder, the Institute challenged the ban on equal protection grounds for its irrational treatment of marrow donation relative to blood donation, as well as due process grounds for the government’s interference in an otherwise legal medical procedure.

The three-judge panel unanimously agreed, noting that ‘if the government’s argument . . . were correct, then the statute would prohibit compensating blood donors.'”

However, we think the administration should go even further and ban compensation for blood donors as well.  Those two policies will move the planet to population-free status even faster.

We Support the New U.S. Policy Toward Iran

Nuclear explosionWe support the new U.S. policy toward Iran.  Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta articulated – OK, “articulated” is wrong, but I’m pretty sure “incoherented” isn’t an actual word – the following:

“For Washington, the activation of Fordow is not, in of itself, a red line. This was made clear by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Sunday when he appeared on the television program Face the Nation and said that, for the United States, the red line was the development of a nuclear weapon, not just the capability.” (Jerusalem Post, January 10, 2012.  Available at http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=252902 .)

At People for a Population-Free Planet, we support Secretary Panetta’s initiative to help Iran develop a nuclear weapon.  Apparently the new line in the sand which Iran must not cross has actually developed said nuclear weapon.  And the new policy toward Iran (policy number 1,742 during the Obama administration by our count) is that nothing will be done other than sanctions until Iran actually has the bomb.

This is an amazingly hopeful step toward ridding the planet of the human pestilence.  Thank you Secretary Panetta and President Obama for lending such support to our cause.

President Obama Rips Up the Constitution

President Obama Rips Up the Constitution
President Obama Rips Up the Constitution

President Obama rips up the Constitution.  With his “recess” appointments of Richard Cordray as the first chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three members of the NLRB, this president has done something that even George W. Bush did not attempt.

The problem is that the Senate is not in recess.  There is a pro forma session held every business day.  According to the White House, their counsel declared the Senate in recess.  Funny, I thought it was up to the Senators to make that decision.  The Wall Street Journal has the best take on all this:

“The last clause of Section 5 of Article 1 of the Constitution says that “Neither House” of Congress can adjourn for more than three days “without the Consent of the other” house. In this case, the House of Representatives had not formally consented to Senate adjournment. It’s true the House did this to block the President from making recess appointments, but it is following the Constitution in doing so. Let’s hear Mr. Obama’s legal justification.

Democrats had used a similar process to try to thwart Mr. Bush’s recess appointments late in his term when they controlled both the House and the Senate. Prodded by West Virginia’s Robert C. Byrd, who has since died, Majority Leader Harry Reid kept the Senate in pro forma session. Some advisers urged Mr. Bush to ignore the Senate and make recess appointments anyway, but he declined. Now Mr. Reid is supporting Mr. Obama’s decision to make an end run around a Senate practice that he pioneered.”

First it was the assassination of U.S. citizen Anwar al Awlaki based on nothing more than Mr. Obama’s allegation that he was a terrorist.  I’ve written about this elsewhere, so I won’t repeat it here. And others (notably Robert Knight and Aaron Dykes) have commented as well.  But the utter contempt for the Constitution displayed by this administration is breathtaking in its scope.

Where is the Outrage Over the Anwar al-Awlaki Assassination?

“The U.S. has confirmed that Al Qaeda figure Anwar al-Awlaki was killed today in Yemen, in what was likely a drone strike …” (Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2011). There’s a longer (and more intelligent) piece on Wired.com.  Normally, People for a Population Free Planet would applaud such a move.  But not this time. Where is the outrage over the Anwar al-Awlaki assassination?

Here at pfpfp we have supported the war in Afghanistan.  And, with some trepidation, we have also supported drone strikes.  But so far these have targeted bad folks who were not U.S. citizens.

It happens that Mr. al-Awlaki held dual citizenship in Yemen and the U.S.  Thus, the U.S. government has assassinated a U.S. citizen.  The Obama administration’s argument that the Authorization of Force allows this is shaky, to put it mildly.  Here’s a quotation from the Wired article:

“… Mary Ellen O’Connell disagrees. And her credentials are just as impressive: She’s the vice chairman of the prestigious American Society of International Law, as well as a professor at the University of Notre Dame. Her argument doesn’t rely on Awlaki’s American citizenship.

‘The United States is not involved in any armed conflict in Yemen,’ O’Connell tells Danger Room, ‘so to use military force to carry out these killings violates international law.’

O’Connell’s argument turns on the question of whether the U.S. is legally at war in Yemen. And for the administration, that’s a dicey proposition. The Obama administration relies on the vague Authorization to Use Military Force, passed in the days after 9/11, to justify its Shadow Wars against terrorists. Under its broad definition, the Authorization’s writ makes Planet Earth a battlefield, legally speaking.

But the Authorization authorizes war against ‘nations, organizations, or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.’ It’s a stretch to apply that to al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate, which didn’t exist on 9/11. But when House Republicans tried to re-up the Authorization to explicitly bless the new contours of the war against al-Qaida, the Obama administration balked, fearing the GOP was actually tying its hands on the separate question of terrorist detentions.”

Well, Ms. O’Connell is undoubtedly a better lawyer than me.  And I’m certain she can split hairs about international law as well as the next attorney.  But, for me, the idea that my government can simply kill one of my fellow citizens without any judicial process is repugnant in the extreme.  Thus vanishes one more of our civil rights.  I believe the Declaration of Independence also has something in it about the right to life.

On the other hand, People for a Population-Free Planet probably should endorse this sort of thing.  Nah, it’s just too extreme.

Update: Glenn Greenwald over at Salon.com titled his piece “The due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizens is now reality.”

If You Give Them a Job, They’ll Find Something to Do

After years of working as an economist, seeking “Lima’s Lemma” I’ve finally found it.

Lima’s Lemma: Adding a natural disaster to the title of any bureaucrat makes the disaster permanent.

Case in point: Despite full reservoirs and an overall pretty good water situation, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has declared that water shortage pricing is in effect for the summer of 2010.  Their Drought Emergency Coordinator undoubtedly had significant input into this decision.

A more recent example: Sunday (August 23) we discovered two things.  First, the temperature Monday and Tuesday would be above 90 degrees for the first time since June 27 (92 degrees, matched on June 12).  Second, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District declared that Monday would be the first “spare the air” day of this summer.

For those living in areas with somewhat sane governments, let me explain what this means.  On spare the air days, residents of the greater San Francisco -San Jose – Oakland SMSA are supposed to cut down on our driving, avoid using lawn mowers, and not do any charcoal grilling.  Oh, yes, no fires in fireplaces either (although that probably isn’t an issue this time around).  The idea is to reduce smog.  Not our smog.  The Bay Area is blessed with coastal winds that export our smog to the Central Valley and points east.  Nevertheless, as good neighbors, we try to comply.

But not this time.  We routinely take a 4 mile hike that reaches an altitude of about 900 feet.  Here’s what we saw about noon Monday:

View north to San Francisco
The view north from 900 feet up August 23, 2010

Looks pretty clear from 900 feet.  In fact, this is as good as we’ve seen the view since the storms in January!

Taking the same hike August 24, we saw this:

The view north August 24.
The same view August 24.

Spare the air?  Looks to me like the folks at BAAQMD needed something to make their jobs worthwhile.  (If you’re wondering about the haze, it’s the normal Bay Area fog.)

Conclusion

Lima’s Lemma is declared proved for these two cases.  Readers are invited to submit their own examples.

But remember — without people none of these problems would exist!