URLs du Jour

2021-04-10

[Amazon Link]

  • Send The Bill To My Kids. And Their Kids. And… Christian Britschgi has good news for those rooting for American decline: Biden’s $1.5 Trillion Budget Request Would Fund All Nails Needed for the Coffin of Fiscal Restraint.

    Despite the record amounts of money the federal government has spent over the last year responding to the pandemic—and the record deficits it's racked up in the process—the Biden administration continues to ask for trillions more.

    Today, the White House released its first budget request. It has asked Congress to approve a $1.52 trillion budget, including $769 billion in non-defense discretionary spending (a 16 percent increase over fiscal year 2021) and $753 billion in defense spending (a 1.7 percent increase).

    That would represent an overall 8.4 percent increase in federal spending from last year, when excluding the recent $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that Biden signed in March, reports Bloomberg. Today's budget request also comes in addition to the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan that Biden unveiled last week.

    I think someone on the Reason Podcast made this observation recently:

    • A million seconds is about 11½ days.
    • A billion seconds is about 31.7 years.
    • A trillion seconds is about 31,710 years.

    Biden et al. rely on the public not understanding the difference between "a lot of money", "an exorbitant lot of money", and "an insanely exorbitant amount of money".

    I'm no economist, but I can't see how this ends well.


  • Good Luck on That Advice. Ramesh suggests Fauci and CDC's Walensky Should Be Candid About Vaccines Now.

    On March 29, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, shared “the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.” Later that day, she gave MSNBC viewers some good news: “Our data from the CDC today suggests, you know, that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick.”

    Three days later, a spokesman for the CDC took it back: “Dr. Walensky spoke broadly during this interview. It’s possible that some people who are fully vaccinated could get Covid-19. The evidence isn’t clear whether they can spread the virus to others. We are continuing to evaluate the evidence.”

    When I heard that "feeling of impending dooom" thing, I thought: Lady, maybe you shouldn't be blabbing about your psychological problems to a nationwide audience.

    But never mind that. Ramesh notes that both the NIH (Fauci) and CDC have been confusing and inconsistent in their pronouncements. To the point of dishonesty: crafting their messaging so it doesn't "elicit undesirable behaviors from the public."

    Ramesh further notes that (sensibly enough) as a result, many people stop trusting government health advice.

    That's not the mark of a healthy relationship.

    I should add that, back on March 3, Biden derided the Texas and Mississippi decisions to stop mandating masks as 'Neanderthal thinking'.

    Nearly 40 days later: both Texas and Mississippi are classified as states where "new cases are lower and staying low" on the NYT Coronavirus summary page.

    New Hampshire, where mandates remain in place? It's been stuck in the (much larger) category of states where "new cases are higher and staying high".

    Why it's almost as if treating your citizens as adults and able to make rational decisions about their risks works well.


  • A Much Bigger Heath Threat: Misinformation From Government Officials. We ain't quite done with Dr. Rochelle yet. Jim Treacher looks at her recent pronunciamento: 'Racism Is a Serious Public Health Threat'.

    The last time I paid any attention to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, she was moaning about her “recurring feeling… of impending doom” about COVID-19. She used her public platform to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and the libs all loved her for it. If you thought that was pathetic and insane, check out Walensky’s latest “Director’s Commentary” from the CDC website:

    The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the death of over 500,000 Americans. Tens of millions have been infected. And across this country people are suffering. Importantly, these painful experiences and the impact of COVID-19 is felt, most severely, in communities of color—communities that have experienced disproportionate case counts and deaths, and where the social impact of the pandemic has been most extreme.

    Yet, the disparities seen over the past year were not a result of COVID-19. Instead, the pandemic illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism.

    What we know is this: racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans.

    Isn’t racism the real virus, when you don’t think about it?

    It's probably wrong of me, but whenever I see Dr. Rochelle on TV: (a) she looks very low-res, like Max Headroom; (b) I can't help but think of Rochelle, Rochelle, the running-gag fictional movie on Seinfeld. Described as "a young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk".

    And then to the CDC.


  • When Uncle Stupid Makes It Rain… there will be no shortage of well-connected folks waiting around with buckets. Connor Harris in the New York Post: Amtrak Joe's rail line will blow your cash on pricey repairs.

    President Biden’s lavish infrastructure plan promises to give $80 billion to improving long-distance rail, almost all of it going to Amtrak — the mode of transport beloved by, well, “Amtrak Joe.” Amtrak released a plan for what it wants to do with the money: A fact sheet that the rail service posted on its Web site, for a project called Amtrak Connects US, shows several new or improved routes crisscrossing the nation.

    Amtrak’s route expansion plans are at once strikingly unambitious and dogged by its famous inefficiencies.

    Amtrak plans to add routes connecting nearby cities with trips that would take only a few hours: for instance, Dallas to Houston and Cleveland to Cincinnati. This may seem prudent, but one has to wonder how much ridership these lines will get: Amtrak generally runs low-quality equipment with average speeds slower than freeways, and Amtrak’s new routes parallel major highways, most of them with preexisting bus service.

    My main gripe with Connor's column is that it speculates how Amtrak could work in an alternate universe with sensible construction costs. I'm positive there's no way to get to that alternate universe, and even if there were, the result would still be plagued with declining ridership, lousy service, and perpetual subsidies.


  • Things I Didn't Know (A Recurring Series). Patterico drops a truth bomb on a 50-year-old song that's been one of my favorites for… pretty much that entire time. “Layla” Outro: Stolen. Summarized in a tweet:

    The victim is Rita Coolidge (not very "obscure" to us baby boomers) who was Gordon's lady friend at the time. Gordon, as Patterico notes, went on to murder his mom,