Friday, July 10, 2020

A plasma shot could act as a coronavirus prophylactic; more vaccine enws


Emily Baumgaertner writes in the Los Angeles Times, that a plasma shot can prevent coronavirus infection short term now. 

The federal government and pharmaceuticals are cool on this now, apparently for financial reasons.

There would be a good question as to how many doses could be made, and who gets them (health care workers first).

A similar question exists for the BMG vaccine.

Elizaeth Cohen reports on CNN  that 4 major studies are requesting volunteers for vaccine studies, om this site.    I signed up July 8.

The Conversation reports on the idea of one vaccine to handle all coronaviruses, but there could be dangers, like ADE, or unusual microclots. 

The  CEI of Pfizer says it can have a vaccine ready for some use by October. 


Thursday, July 09, 2020

Supreme Court gives away half of Oklahoma as reparations? Not exactly; also Trump is able to punt on his legal problems long enough for the election "football clock" to run out


The Supreme Court has ruled, 5-4, that a treaty made in the 19th Century with the Creek Nation will, if followed for other tribes, mean that close to half of the state, mostly in the Eastern (Ozark) areas will legally fall under tribal control. The Wall Street Journal story by Hess Bravin is here.

The ruling could affect federal jurisdiction in some areas (the case was started by a state jurisdiction dispute), as well as licensing and the ability to collect local taxes.  It is not expected to affect real property owners in the areas;  it is not an expropriation of land from people.

The case is McGirt v. Oklahoma.

David A. Fahrenthold and Robert Barnes explain two Supreme Court rulings which said that Trump cannot avoid subpoenas from state prosecutors to see his tax records, but that Congress did not have a right to see them (now).  Both cases were sent back to lower courts.  The cases are Trump v. Mazars and Trump v. Vance.

CNN spent a lot of time dissecting these cases this morning.

Soon we’ll have to look at Prop 209 in California, it sounds serious.


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

What will make the coming economic crisis different? Lack of worker control of the economy, so says a leftist economist


Professor of Economics Richard Wolff (who admittedly comes from “The Left”) explains why the coming economic crash is unlike any in the past.

The reason.  The Fed is now buying back corporate debate (CLOs??) and guaranteeing everything.  The populist Right is in control.  There is no movement among workers as there was in the 1930s.

And he thinks Biden is not far enough to the Left.

“The Hill” presents the analysis. 

Monday, July 06, 2020

States can demand electors say "great is my faithfulness", 9-0

Noble Knob looking North

The Supreme Court today ruled 9-0 that states may pass laws binding electors to vote for the popular vote for a state. CNN analyzes the importance for the 2020 election. 

There is a proposed Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act, so far enacted by six states, including Washington.  

The case is Chiafolo v. Washington  

Wikipedia embed, Mr. Baker (click for attribution)


Sunday, July 05, 2020

"Chemotherapy" aimed at cell kinases may inhibit SARS-Cov2; more controversy over aerosol transmission


There is some interest in using some anti-cancer drugs to treat early Covid-19 infection, by disabling kinases, which are biological control switches that control cell growth but which viruses use to take over cells.

The Conversation has a detailed article by Dr. Elisabeth Fischer, which gives some details and names some of the drugs, which will be brought into use very soon.

It did not say how long the drugs would be needed, and whether it would have the side effects like nausea and vomiting or hair loss.  That could be significant if a drug like this could be used as a prophylactic, given right after a positive test or even exposure to knock out any infection immediately. It also isn’t clear how long it would be taken.

By comparison, prophylactics for HIV, as well as protease inhibitor for infection with HIV, generally are well tolerated.

Many media outlets, such as the Los Angeles Times, are reporting that aerosols can transmit the virus and help account for superspreader events in mainly indoor spaces.  It’s not clear that masks would be as effective in stopping aerosols as droplets.  The letter in Clinical Infectious Diseases to WHO is available by PDF at this URL.  This could lead to difficult standards upgrades for indoor workplaces, possibly heating and airconditioning systems in highrise residential buildings. 

Update: July 6  Regeneron is reported to be testing a therapeutic with specially crafted antibodies. 

Update: July 7.  WHO says it will consider the letter and admits that aersolized droplets may be more significant than thought.  Some buildings should add more powerful filters and ultraviolet light or more ventilation. I can imagine how this could become significant in some residential quarantine or isolation situations, possibly forcing removal to a hotel. It could interfere with doing emergency maintenance in some buildings.  Would ordinary masks stop the aersolized particles?  Would an N95? 

Trump is withdrawing US support of WHO effective 2021 (Statnews). 



Saturday, July 04, 2020

SCOTUS sidesteps "election safety" in Alabama; Montana and parochial schools


The Supreme Court has sided with the state of Alabama in declining the application for a stay of an order prohibiting measures to allow more curbside and absentee mail voting, in a 5-4 vote, after some localities wanted to install them with NAACP and other support (CBS).   The litigation continues (no opinion yet). 

The plaintiffs had wanted to reduce the presence of people on Election Day over COVID concerns, which could affect safety of election day poll workers (who are often elderly) as well as voters.

Generally concerns about mail fraud have been considered minimal, yet YouTube commentator Tim Pool says he received a fraudulent ballot unsolicited in New Jersey.

The Supreme Court also prohibited Montana from stopping a family from using education vouchers for a parochial school, story in Salon. . The case is Espinosa v. Montana, opinion

There is also an important trademark case (generic names) and a case involving trafficking and HIV which we’ll look at later.


Friday, July 03, 2020

New mutation G614 in novel coronavirus spike protein increases transmissibility, might be affecting resurgence in southwest, but might have been in US by March


There are many reports that a mutated strain, G614, is more contagious (by about 10 times) and is prevalent in the US and Europe, compared to the D614 strain that originally appeared in China and Asia. A good article appears in BioSpace. June 30.  Maggie Fox adds more commentary for CNN.  The original paper was in Cell

The reports say that the mutated virus does not appear to be more virulent.

However two caveats.  One is that any exposure (even a smaller exposure from a fomite or in an outdoor crowd or highrise elevator even through a mask) could be larger than it would have been with the Wuhan version, and might be more dangerous even to an older person living alone in a high rise. Furthermore, the recent spikes in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and at least the Los Angeles area with increases in hospitalizations even in younger adults could suggest that the larger doses do make the virus more virulent in practice.

The mutation appears to help the spike remain stable while opening the ACE2 receptor and getting at the furin “pie filling” inside.

Some theorists, however, maintain that while this helps a virus enter a cell, it might actually make it less efficient at reproducing inside a cell. That goes along with the usual trend of a virus’s becoming more transmissible but less virulent as it adapts to a new host.

The finding could make the design of a face mask worn by the public more medically relevant.


I am going to take the “copyright risk” of reproducing CNN’s diagram here of mask effectiveness, for public good.  A 3-layer dental mask is widely available now and superior to bandanas, and eventually higher quality masks might be required in public.  These masks may protect “you” as well as others somewhat.

The mutation may have been present in Italy by late February and may account for the explosive spread in New York City in March.  So it may have been around for a while and we may be “used to it” (in elevators, on surfaces) by now.

The report needs to be considered in light of findings of virus in wastewater in Europe as early as March 2019 in Barcelona.  We need to know if this mutation is in the wastewater, as well as other controversial components (“prra”) that explain why the bat virus adapted to humans so quickly.  We cannot rule out the possibility that something happened in China to introduce it to civilians around Wuhan. 

 The Houston Chronicle has a story indicating that most of the new cases in Houston recently have the G strain. However not all experts are convinced transmissibility has really increased.

As reported recently, by the way, China is already vaccinating its military with an experimental but apparently promising vaccine candidate. There has been a delay in starting the large Moderna trial until August (CNN). 


Wednesday, July 01, 2020

NYTimes reports hopefully about mountaintop removal reclamation in eastern Kentucky


I’ll change the subject for one day, back to strip mining and mountaintop removal.

Oliver Whang, with photographs by Morgan Hornsby, has a booklet article, “Elk return to Kentucky, Bring Economic Life”, link

The article talks about mountaintop removal in NE Kentucky, near the southern border of West Virginia.

The photographs do seem to show many of the ridge tops remaining, thankfully. They would all be behind Black Mountain and Breaks Interstate Park along the Virginia border.

I made a weekend trip with a former grad school roommate in May 1972, which became Chapter 8 in my DADT III book, where we drove through the area and it had been ripped apart.

The NYTimes article says that the mountaintop removal started in the 1960s.  By around 1971, I remember hearing on car radio broadcasts a Kentucky congressman say “our mountains will be gone.”

I recall that Luke Andraka, Jack’s older brother (Science Fair movie) had won a science fair competition in Maryland in 2010 with “Electrochemical Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage” (Baltimore Sun).

 Picture: VA KY border on US 58, 2005 (mine). 


Monday, June 29, 2020

SCOTUS uses precedence to strike down Lousiana "admitting privileges" abortion law

 

The Supreme Court struck down Lousiana’s anti-abortion law, 5-4, with Chief Justice Roberts joining the majority of letting precedent stay, with this opinion.

The law had been predicated on the misuse of admitting privileges, which effectively made abortion impossible in the state and triggered the “undue burden” idea from an earlier Texas case.  Roberts decided that earlier precedent must hold.

Devan Cole, et al, provide a detailed story for CNN.  Jeffrey Toobin had predicted that Trump’s earlier SCOTUS appointments doomed Roe v, Wade, but now it looks like
that is now so as Robert and in a sense Gorsuch are turning out to be more moderate due to literalism (ironically). 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

How quarantined people get emergency repairs done still seems ambiguous


If you are quarantined (or even isolated without symptoms) and an appliance breaks, or you have a major water leak, can you have a service person come to your home or apartment?

It’s hard to find an answer online, and I have checked into this before. 

Olivia Harvey of Apartment Therapy has an article (also this) that seems to suggest that repairs can be done, usually by the landlord or condo engineering staff.  Check Consumer Reports and OHSA. Verizon has an ambiguous page

You will be expected to clean off and sanitize all surfaces near the affected area (like a leak) and remove objects in the way. 

When I had a toilet flapper fail, I called a plumber off hours and was asked to verify that I was not under isolation or quarantine.  But what if I had been?  I think the building could have done it.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Trump "prays" for the Supreme Court to null Obamacare. after the GOP zeroes out the "individual mandate tax"; two late SCOTUS rulings on discrimination


Once again, the Trump Administration is going after Obamacare, asking the Supreme Court to overturn the law entirely.

The Politico story by Sussanah Luthi notes that other Republicans don’t like it and think it is mean. The point may be to make COVID-19 a pre-existing condition, and hold people who get infected financially responsible for letting themselves be exposed, as if that makes any sense.  Pelosi intends to introduce legislation building on the act.

Sheryl Gay Stohlberg’s NYTimes story reports that Republicans (in a Texas case) made the law unconstitutional in 2017 when they zeroed the tax penalty that had left the law hanging by a thread from amputation. 

 I'm not too impressed with the House's passing a DC statehood amendment, leaving a zigzag federal zone, when there are more important things to do,  (The Hill). You could re-retrocede Arlington (and Alexandria) back to the state, too. 


Update: July 8

Brent Kendall et al report in the WSJ two Supreme Court decisions that exempt employers with religious objections to compliance with civil rights laws. 

Even a private company can claim religious objection to participating in Obamacare in coverage for contraception. And parochial schools can regard teachers as "ministers" and expect them to comply with religious. law. 

Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Pennsylvania et al, opinion

Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey et al  opinion.   Vox has some detailed analysis. It appears that the school is in California (there is another such church near Pharr Texas near the border). 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

New York State and northeast, and EU will "reverse" the quarantines and travel bans as sunbelt states do badly after "reopening": protests don't seem to be a major issue


With a sudden surge of cases in many southern and western states, New York State (as well as New Jersey and Connecticut) will impose a 14 day quarantine on people entering the state from nine states, effectively with a rate of 10 per 100000 resident infections.  The states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington state.  New York Times reports (also here). 

California was not included, but has also said an alarming increase.

It is hard for the public to track because no currently available tracker shows the rate per population or the rolling averages in that kind of detail.

In New York State, visitors would be subject to increasing fines if caught not quarantining,.

It is not practical, of course, more most visitors to spend that much time in anyone location.

The rules would apply to residents returning to New York from these states.  The rule takes effect at midnight tonight June 24.

The European Union will probably ban travel from the United States starting July 1, until some evidence of control of the epidemic (or medical progress) intervenes. The EU will reopen travel within its own borders (Axios). 

The increases in cases, including hospitalizations, seem to be the result of increased congregation of young adults, especially since Memorial Day, socially.  They don’t seem to be the result of protests, but it is not yet clear.  California may be having an increase because of protests. Protesting is not as dangerous as going to bars or indoor places for social events.

It will be very important to know what the clinical picture is of all young adults who test positive.  Will most cases be trivial, or will many have lasting complications?


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Trump doubles down on protectionism, stops new work visas through the end of 2020, even for highly skilled (it seems)


On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order suspending new visas for most foreign workers through the end of 2020, as NBC News reports in a typical story. Michelle Hackman has a more detailed story in the Wall Street Journal. Existing visa holders are not affected.  The XO will bring litigation. 

Trump claims that this order is necessary as protectionism, for jobs for Americans being lost due to the COVID shutdowns.  But this would not be true in the tech area, where you need real international talent in solving problems like vaccination strategies.

The order even backtracked on au pair’s (which can’t possibly affect me).  

Update: June 25.  There are claims that the XO encourages the Labor Dept. to find reasons to terminate existing visas and deport workers, Forbes, Stuart Anderson. 


Monday, June 22, 2020

San Francisco newspaper warns young adults about COVID-19 with case histories


Mike Moffitt writes a sobering piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about relatively young adults who “recover” from the novel coronavirus.  

There is a 29 year old man with severe heart disease a couple months later. There are people with lung transplants.

The article takes us to a blog by a special education teacher, here.  

Let’s hope that the protesters (hundreds of thousands) who get exposed just get the antibodies and nothing more, no symptoms.

California is joining Florida and Arizona with increases in hospitalizations.

You may not feel very “desirable” again as a young adult if you get hospitalized for very long (although I do know of cases not nearly as bad as reported here).

 Among the protesters, they act like their group oppression is more important than their own health as individuals. I hope they hold up OK.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Major medical reports in late May dissect how Sars-Cov2 interracts with the human cellular immune system


Cell has an important paper dated May 28, 2020 by Daniel Blanco-Melo et al, which explains that the Sars-Cov2 coronavirus has unusual ability to hide for a long time from the innate immune system (cellular), especially in older people.  Nevertheless, it seems that most healthy young people do deal with the virus with their cellular immunity.

Derek Lowe summarizes the article in Science Mag, “There may be a unique coronavirus immune response”.

Sharon Begley writes in Statnews, “It’s something I’ve never seen. How the Covid-19 virus hijacks cells”, as another summary and suggests that interferon-like therapy might be appropriate right after infection.

William Petri discusses the significance of antibody tests in Inverse.  

Let's also mention that Trump's "joke" in Tulsa about reducing testing so we don't report so many cases was not in good taste. 


Picture: Lake Erie north of Painesville, Ohio 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Could banks get in trouble soon? Is holding the 2020 election safely in trouble, too? (answer from Virginia to me today)

A couple of hot topics this Saturday morning.

One is whether big banks could get in trouble later this summer (especially if Covid starts a second wave or stimulus benefits run out) over a new financial product, collateralized loan obligations (or CLO’s). These products do not include mortgages or credit default swaps. But they still could cascade and go bad quickly.

I covered this Sunday (June 14) on my retirement blog. They could make the portfolios of some people unstable and even make them look at FDIC insurance rules again. They could also compromise generosity of “wealthier” people to contribute to the assistance of those seriously impoverished by the COVID lockdowns, should they come back.  I’ve noted on that blog that we could see pressure from activists to go after inherited wealth (like we used to have in the early 1970s).  Activists and SJW’s are so distracted by racial justice for its own sake that they are missing a lot of other ideas.


I also wanted to call attention to the dilemma that may develop with the November 2020 elections.  It may be impossible to hold in many areas with social distancing (outdoors) with the overworked and underpaid staff’s common in many states.

Virginia is offering “no explanation” early voting, but still has not implemented unlimited vote by mail. (From Arlington Democrats – and I am not partisan here, they just have the information).  Virginia’s legislature needs to allow unlimited vote by mail. It may be only marginally less secure.

I would wonder if otherwise you would be in a position of asking poll workers to take health risks, possibly existential (as many election officers are elderly). You could be expecting them to be isolated afterwards, unless the medicine improves (and Virginia’s governor is an MD, he should know to think about this).  

Aerial view of Judiciary Square

Two other quick items.  Protesters removed the statue of Albert Pike at Judiciary Square last night, News2share video.  There are reports of a shooting in Seattle's Chaz.  I will get back to these in more detail soon.  I watched the protest at Judiciary Square from home, and will visit the site early next week myself. 

Pictures: near Broad street in Richmond, June 17 (my visit). The grafitti text reads "Justice for Duncan and Lerry 3/12/20". The aerial of Judiciary Square is an embed from Wikipedia (click for attribution). 

   

 Update:  Fairfax County Elections tell me that Virginia has changed the law and now no-excuse voting by mail is allowed unlimited, tweet. 



Friday, June 19, 2020

Antibodies to coronavirus may not last long, but that may not matter as much as you think


There has been some flak today over reports regarding the relatively brief half-lives of IgG and other antibodies to the coronavirus.

Apoorva Mandavilli explains in the New York Times

At first this sounds like bad news for a vaccine.  But another study (in Nature) suggests that practical immunity seems to persist, probably from cellular immune function, and that convalescent serum even with low levels of antibody seems to be effective.

I wrote about the new material on asymptomatic patients on the International Issues blog Thursday. One person contacted me and indicated he had minor symptoms at first, but suddenly relapsed two months later with shortness of breath and was ill for eight days.

With some people the virus seems to hide in the body for a long time without being detected and doing much, and then suddenly there is severe disease.

Wellcome Trust has a 6-minute video “Developing Immunological Memory” from 2015.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

SCOTUS holds up Trump administration on DACA, but Congress still hasn't done its job


The Supreme Court has ruled, 5-4, that the Trump administration cannot end the DACA program by itself, without reasonable consideration of the impact on those affected.  

Justice Roberts cast the deciding vote.

The case is Department of Homeland Security v. Regentsof the University of California et al.

Conservatives have criticized the opinion as the court’s playing “Mother May I” when an administration wants to change a major implementation of a policy from a previous administration.  I wonder of that kind of reasoning could apply to net neutrality.

In a practical sense, Congress has not yet “done its job” so the ruling does have the effect of giving DACA recipients (and maybe those trying to assist them) more time


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Bar patrons in Jacksonville FL get COVID with significant symptoms, as Florida tries to reopen more

JaxFLSouthbank2014

A major spreading event of SARS-Cov2 occurred at a Jacksonville FL “Irish” beach pub, where up to 15 people tested positive after visiting the bar in a certain time frame after reopening, according to News4 in Jacksonville.  Subsequent reports say that several bars closed for recleaning and a waiting period.

What I think was more alarming was that a number of the people, younger adults (30s and 40s and many women) experienced shortness of breath.

I have been told by friends (in the LGBTQ community) about periods of loss of taste and smell for 2-days and fatigue and bodyaches.  In a number of cases, the symptoms completely resolve in about 5 days, taste returns, as does a sense of well-being. It is logical to expect that these are “mild” COVID cases where the young adult could transmit it to other people for a few days. It is logical to expect a positive antibody test, possibly eligibility for convalescent plasma donation (although active gay men have been turned down), and (if not HIV infected or on medication) a cellular immune response that should be somewhat protective even after antibodies disappear.  Anecdotally, low-level cases seem to be very common.  This might happen a lot with people who marches in protests.  Very few people report shortness of breath and really not that much coughing.

But we aren’t testing mild or asymptomatic cases well enough to know if they are really protected now.  Younger patients seem to be more susceptible to taste and smell issues.

Texas, Florida and Arizona seem to be setting records for new cases in a week. 

Wikipedia:  St. Johns River, click for attribution (embed).

Monday, June 15, 2020

The public may have to pay more attention to the quality of masks it wears in public now


Today there are reports to the effect that the public should not wear masks (like 3M) with valves, which may allow droplets to leave but which are designed for workmen to protect them from dust.

Businesses and localities may start forbidding their use.

Some are N95’s which are not to be worn with beards (or even long hair with health care workers).

It is now highly desirable that a mask have at least three fabric layers.

Here is an NPR story on the difficulty in getting people in individualistic countries to wear masks. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

SARS-Cov2 virus may have become more infectious in humans (esp. in Europe and then NY) but when? Is it causing even more asymptomatic infections as it adapts to humans?


Maggie Fox on CNN reports that a mutation of the SARS-Cov2 virus could have made it more infectious or transmissible. 

This may relate to earlier strains discussed as A, B, C – West Coast v East Coast in the US, with China and US being different. But the CNN report refers to a more recent study in Florida. The spike proteins may have become hardier and able to attach to receptors more easily. 

The article implies that the more transmissible trains may have been in the in late January or February and could have come from European travelers rather than China.

So that would imply that the stay-at-home measures that worked reasonably well (until recent re-openings) probably already were being used against more transmissible strains.

It’s unclear how this would affect vaccines. Some of them are more generic.

It’s possible that increase of transmissibility means more asymptomatic or very mild infections, as likely to happen among protesters.  That could mean more people develop antibody and herd immunity comes sooner.  But it might mean more people could transmit it to vulnerable people.

It might mean that surface transmission matters, but the overall evidence is that severe cases happen more often in mass hot spot events after gatherings (with some rare unexplained severe cases in people with maybe genetic vulnerabilities).

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Protesters form an "intentional community" ("CHAZ") in Seattle; warning about mosquito-born encephalitis in northeast


Two very different items to note.

One is a recent story about EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which has been around for decades, and is transmitted only by mosquitoes, in New England and some of the upper Great Lakes.  It disappears after a hard freeze for the winter, and is not transmitted person-to-person.  

I’m told there was a major outbreak in Michigan last year, and I traveled in upper Michigan in late September.

It would get exacerbated by climate change.

The other is that protesters have formed a “Capitol Hill autonomous Zone” in Seattle, driving out the police department. Mynorthwest has a typical story  There seems to be a messy political battle between Mayor Duncan and Gov. Inslee, and Trump has threatened to restore order. (Oh, please don’t!) 

This seems similar to an “occupy” protest, except that police have left.  Tim Pool has two videos (Timcast, and featured).   

I visited the area in 1996 when I was working on my first book.

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone Snacks

Wikipedia calls the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) an “intentional community” similar in theory to Twin Oaks in VA (April 7, 2012).  Most of these are rural (I stumbled on another one in West Virginia near Spruce Knob in 2016).  There are “lawful” ways to set these up, and most of them screen future members carefully and expect them to do a work apprenticeship before living there,  But they do fit the ideas of “non compete’ or localized communism.  Some reports indicate that businesses are paying "extortion" to protesters.  There are residences in this zone, apparently. 

Minneapolis lost a police station but it hasn't formed a commune on Lake Street (yet) as far as I know. And for what it's worth, Camden NJ "defunded" its old police department and completely restructured, with some success (reports later).   Protesters in Richmond VA yanked down the statue of Jefferson Davis while its removal was tied up in court. (Update: Three statues have now been removed.)

This could be an explosive story.  Note the combination of news items here.  I understand (cognitively) the oppression of minorities.  But I also pay attention to global security threats to us all, that could make everything else we're used to irrelevant.  We are so self-focused that we're terrible at understanding approaching disasters (as Sam Feinberg said about the power grids in a Sept 2017 speech at Baylor, look up on YouTube). 

Click on the image of the pantry in the CHAZ for attribution (Wikipedia).

 Update: June 17 Katelyn Burns offers a nicer, kinder account of CHAZ or CHOP which denies that the "extortion" happens. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Democrat and Republican plans on police misconduct start to emerge; the word "black" is now appropriate again


Republicans and Democrats in Congress are coming up with somewhat different proposals to deal with police misconduct with respect to race, as summarized by Nicholas Fandos et al in the New York Times this morning. 

Republicans want specifically an anti-lynching provision (but a few extremists want to exclude LGBT from such protection).

Democrats want a national registry on police misconduct.

CBS has a summary in a video.

I am still pondering what activists who maintain that all their white “brothers and sisters” must drop what they are doing and join them, really expect?  My own idea is to work on things that may connect to what I have already done.  But I can’t ignore other topics (like COVID) and stop treating them in an objective manner.  See the video on the TV blog.

One speaker (a black athlete) made the comment on “Good Morning America” today that people should use the word “black” rather than “African-American” because the latter is not inclusive.  But twenty years ago “black” was often considered an unacceptable word (although not as bad as the “n” word).  Neutrality in speech (especially in the workplace) was demanded.  Now activists want rules like, public companies must have at least one minority (but which minorities?) board member.  At a certain level there are logical inconsistencies in what the Left wants.


Tuesday, June 09, 2020

"Justice in Policing Act" apparently does not allow journalists to inspect police camera footage, which would be a good secondary check on police misconduct


The “Justice in Policing Act” submitted by Bass and Nadler is already attracting some attention. That is, Karen Bass (D-CA, Chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Jerry Nadler, D-NY, chair of House Judiciary Committee, and supported by Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), herself a former prosecutor.

On page 100, there is a provision listing affirmatively who has the right to see camera footage taken of police activity.  It seems to give the accused, their attorneys, or their next of kin the right to see it.  But then interpreted this way, it does not seem to give journalists the same right.  

It would be possible later on to pose a question as to whether someone needs formal press credentials to view the footage, or whether anyone in the public came. 

Ford Fischer (from News2Share and Zenger News) has pointed out this possible interpretation on Twitter today. Ford has in the past (such as at the Liberty Conference in Arlington VA in 2019) spoken about the right to film the police.  I think this was mentioned at the Minds conference in Philadelphia in August in a QA.

The possibility that a journalist could investigate activity by the police could be an effective deterrent against police misbehavior, especially in situations involving profiling or race sensitivity.  This could be an effective step in restoring public confidence in law enforcement in times of enormous distrust.

Tom Roussey of WJLA writes that the DC City Council has unanimously passed a police reform bill, and it would prevent rubber bullets and flashbangs against protesters. It would also preclude most use of facial biometrics against protesters.  Ford Fischer may narrowly missed a serious eye injury on May 30 from a rubber bullet, according to his own tweets.

Moderate and conservative commentators have been trying to steer the discussion of “defunding” the police to funding other community services to replace use of police. 

I have not yet heard many reports of serious coronavirus illnesses from protesters or journalists covering them.  I personally think that outdoors the (largely masked) exposures should be small (but there serious problems after Mardi Gras and spring break, no masks).


Sunday, June 07, 2020

WHO tightens guidance on public's wearing of masks; some may need to be of higher quality; also, COVID recovery problems after ventilator use


WHO is revising recommendations on mask use, as summarized in this Ars Technica article by Beth Mole, link.

The interim guidance document is here. 

Generally, WHO is recommending that non-medical masks, if needed because social distancing is not possible, be of sufficient quality (probably 3 layers).  The WHO guidance may be stricter than CDC’s.  It could lead to demands in states and businesses that people have masks made up to certain standards, like multiple cloth or fabric layers. 

People with symptoms are supposed to use medical masks, as “vulnerable” people over 60 when in a situation where strict social distancing is not possible. N95’s require that men be clean-shaven to be properly fitted.

Other guidance says that people should not use sunglasses as eye protectiom.

There is a report in the Washington Post by Dan Hurley regarding the very long time it takes some COVID patients on ventilators to wake up and regain mental function.  Would newer ventilators from Canada make a difference?


Saturday, June 06, 2020

Can you really disband city police and still have law and order? Or do you just get Marxist revolution?


Can you really disband a city police department?

Minneapolis city councilman Steve Fletcher says so, in this Time op-ed

It’s true that you don’t need police for every call (especially just medical emergencies, including drug overdoses). 

He wants unarmed neighborhood policing by, I guess, volunteers.  Up to a point, there is a little bit of that going on with condo (or neighborhood) homeowner’s associations, which typically provide some private security to enforce rules. But that presumes “gated-ness”.  Many people are too much into their own “global” lives to give time to anything like this, although COVID-19 might change this attitude permanently. 

Does he intend to keep a sheriff’s department and use state police for the real crimes?  What do you do when there is violent crime, aggressive burglary, or a shooter? 

I lived in Minneapolis, downtown in the Churchill Apartments for six years, 1997-2003. The building was safe and we had almost no incidents at all.

 There is a report of how Mayor Jacob Frey was booed by a very angry mob in NE Minneapolis for refusing to meet these very radical demands.  

Then, we had a mass resignation from the Buffalo NY police response team after an elderly white man was shoved and injured (Forbes

We have police and first responders with high rates of COVID, although that may be settling down.  Maybe there is a case for giving them one of the vaccines being tested even now.  

Let's add a story by Carrie Freibel of NPR, that use of tear gas is not illegal in riots but is illegal in war, and it may well add to the danger for those already infected with Covid, or causing their symptoms to get worse or spreading it to others. 

Update:  Sunday, June 7

The Minneapolis City council has voted to disband the police gradually without any clear idea of how to replace it.  They don't want roving armed police attacking black people, as if they cannot supervise them, NYTimes story.  Other people on Twitter now write "your own self-protection cannot be outsourced." The gun control debate is settled. Tim Pool reports that "citizen patrols" have formed in Minneapolis. In fact, Jared Goyette describes volunteer business owners patroling streets armed

One other note: in 2014, media reported that many of the smaller police departments around Sr. Louis made money with traffic and parking tickets in the black community.  That sort of thing has to stop. But most people don't pay enough attention to their local governments to make sure this doesn't go on.