URLs du Jour

2020-12-06

  • I really, truly, laughed at this. Via Viking Pundit: Prove you're not a robot.

    The Brits can still do comedy. Fair play to them.


  • I did not, however, laugh at this: FDA Career Staff Are Delaying the Vaccine As Thousands of Americans Die. From Marty Makary at the Dispatch:

    FDA regulators are wasting precious time in greenlighting a COVID vaccine as more than 2,000 Americans are dying each day and the pandemic continues to starve American society.

    Pfizer submitted data detailing the safety and effectiveness of its vaccine on Nov. 22. But rather than immediately convening experts, the FDA scheduled a review meeting on Dec. 10, almost three weeks later. As Pfizer’s application sits on the shelf at the FDA awaiting authorization, about 27,000 Americans will have died. So what is the FDA doing for three weeks?

    I've been wondering the same thing myself, and Makary's article illuminates the bureaucratic tarpit that is the FDA.

    And Makary isn't some tinfoil-hat crank:

    Marty Makary M.D., M.P.H. is a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is editor-in-chief of Medpage Today and the author of the 2020 Business Book of the Year, The Price We Pay.

    I read The Price We Pay back in July. My take (it's a mixed bag) here.

    You can quibble with Markary's death number, but it's about what you can get on the New York Times Covid page; they, too, have the US going over 2000 deaths/day ((7-day moving average).

    Even back in April there was a good argument for dumping the FDA. That argument might start resonating outside the libertarian bubble.


  • Alex Tabarrok comments on the issue at Marginal Revolution: Don't Delay a Vaccine to Allay Fear.

    I am getting very angry at people like Anthony Fauci who say that FDA delay is necessary or useful to alleviate vaccine hesitancy.

    Fauci told Fox News that the FDA “really scrutinises the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine. I think if we did any less, we would add to the already existing hesitancy on the part of many people because … they’re concerned that we went too quickly.”

    The WSJ says much the same thing just with a slightly different flavor:

    …this regulatory rigmarole is essentially a placebo to reassure the public it will be safe to get inoculated.

    The ‘we must delay to allay’ argument is deadly and wrong.

    Click over for Alex's full argument, but to summarize: Letting the "risk averse, fearful and scientifically illiterate" guide policies is both misguided and pointless; you won't convince a significant number of those people by sitting on your hands for weeks and months. And it gives the public the wrong message, implying this is a difficult decision; it's not.

    Fauci has been making excuses for the Federal health bureaucracy killing people since March.


  • Oh well. Covid isn't just killing people. It's killing universities. Or maybe just killing them faster. Power Line reports The Higher Ed Meltdown Accelerates. They quote an article at VTDigger that describes the woe at the UofTSTOL (University of The State To Our Left):

    The University of Vermont announced proposed cuts Wednesday to 12 majors and 11 minors in the College of Arts and Sciences. University officials say the college has seen a 17% reduction in enrollment in liberal arts classes from 2010 to 2016. Low enrollment is defined as 25 or fewer students or fewer than 5 graduates per year.

    The university plans to eliminate geology, religion and classics departments. Twelve out of 56 majors will go by the boards, including regional studies, romance languages and cultures, Latin, Greek, German, Russian and Italian.

    No announcements, yet, from the University Near Here.


  • A marvelous essay from Paul Graham, rebutting AOC et al.. He runs "Y Combinator", a startup "incubator" (which has incubated, among others, Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and Reddit.)

    Anyway: Billionaires Build.

    As I was deciding what to write about next, I was surprised to find that two separate essays I'd been planning to write were actually the same.

    The first is about how to ace your Y Combinator interview. There has been so much nonsense written about this topic that I've been meaning for years to write something telling founders the truth.

    The second is about something politicians sometimes say — that the only way to become a billionaire is by exploiting people — and why this is mistaken.

    Keep reading, and you'll learn both simultaneously.

    I know the politicians are mistaken because it was my job to predict which people will become billionaires. I think I can truthfully say that I know as much about how to do this as anyone. If the key to becoming a billionaire — the defining feature of billionaires — was to exploit people, then I, as a professional billionaire scout, would surely realize this and look for people who would be good at it, just as an NFL scout looks for speed in wide receivers.

    I'd assume the fraction of Pun Salad readers who are looking forward to an imminent Y Combinator interview is small. But the next time AOC opens her yap about evil billionaires, you'll be ready.


  • And one of the sane people left at Instapundit, Ed Driscoll, excerpts an NYT op-ed

    The secretary of agriculture should lead the fight against corporations that have created a toxic food environment and support groups building healthful alternatives. The secretary should champion unity among farmers, rural people and urban advocates for racial and economic justice against the common enemy of consolidation and concentration of wealth. And the secretary should use the department’s vaunted research and extension capacity to support a food system that can rebuild rural economies, regenerate ecological capital, mitigate climate change and provide nourishing food for all.

    While we’re at it, we might as well change the department’s name from its archaic, misleading misnomer to something that reflects the country’s needs: a Department of Food and Well Being.

    Also left as a comment: Just reading the excerpt, I was saying: "Gee, that sounds like a Mark Bittman parody." I click over, and what do you know? He's moved into self-parody.

    I used to enjoy snarking at Bittman. If you can stand it: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Bittman was never shy about his desires to use state power to force people to eat their beets.


Last Modified 2020-12-06 9:24 AM EST