Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Retaliates Against Another Figure from Impeachment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:03 pm

This time he has fired the Inspector General of the intelligence community who made sure the whistleblower’s complaint made it to Congress.

President Donald Trump has fired Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community Inspector General, who brought forward the whistleblower complaint in light of President Donald Trump’s Ukraine call which led to the impeachment proceedings.

The news comes late Friday night, in a letter obtained by CNN, which states Atkinson is set to be booted in 30 days from his post.

It’s nothing new. Just the same old corruption. How I long for him to be gone already.

I don’t even want to hear from the people who think this is just great. No comments. Have a nice weekend.

UPDATE: University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck:


Hopeful: Doctors Use Blood Plasma From Recovered COVID-19 Patients To Help Sick Patients

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:03 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Old method used in new effort to help patients sick with coronavirus:

St. Joseph Hospital in Orange completed its first blood transfer Wednesday from a recovered COVID-19 patient to a patient sick with the disease. It joins a handful of hospitals across the nation experimenting with transferring blood plasma in the hope that antibodies from a recovered patient will attack the virus and help a sick person heal.

Dr. Timothy Byun, who led the transfer, says he believes St. Joseph is the first hospital on the West Coast to try this experimental treatment.

In mid-March, Jason Garcia, a 36-year-old San Diego man, was diagnosed with COVID-19. Just a week ago, he made a full recovery and was released from isolation by San Diego County’s health department.

He posted his triumph on Facebook and that’s when a friend told him that St. Joseph Hospital was looking for a recovered patient’s blood plasma. So on April 1, Garcia drove up to Orange and donated his plasma.

That same day, the plasma was transferred into an intubated patient who’s in the hospital’s intensive care unit, Dr. Byun said.

One plasma donation can be used for three patients. The hospital plans to do the second and third transfers soon.

Background on how the treatment came about:

The very first Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded in 1901 to Emil von Behring for his life-saving work developing a cure for diphtheria, a bacterial infection that was particularly fatal in children. His groundbreaking treatment, known as diphtheria antitoxin, worked by injecting sick patients with antibodies taken from animals who had recovered from the disease.

Von Behring’s antitoxin wasn’t a vaccine, but the earliest example of a treatment method called “convalescent plasma” that’s being resurrected as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is blood plasma extracted from an animal or human patient who has “convalesced” or recovered from infection with a particular disease.

“Convalescent plasma has been used throughout history when confronting an infectious disease where you have people who recover and there’s no other therapy available,” says Warner Greene, director of the Center for HIV Cure Research at the Gladstone Institutes. “There must be something in their plasma—i.e. an antibody—that helped them recover.”

How the treatment, which was also used during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, works:

Convalescent plasma interacts differently with the immune system than a vaccine. When a person is treated with a vaccine, their immune system actively produces its own antibodies that will kill off any future encounters with the target pathogen. That’s called active immunity.

Convalescent plasma offers what’s called “passive immunity.” The body doesn’t create its own antibodies, but instead “borrows” them from another person or animal who has successfully fought off the disease. Unlike a vaccine, the protection doesn’t last a lifetime, but the borrowed antibodies can greatly reduce recovery times and even be the difference-maker between life and death.

“Convalescent plasma is the crudest of the immunotherapies, but it can be effective,” says Greene.

Doctors are stressing that this treatment would not replace a vaccine but would serve as a “stopgap” measure.

According to Dr. Arturo Casadevall, of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore:

In addition to public health containment and mitigation protocols, this may be our only near-term option for treating and preventing COVID-19. And it is something we can start putting into place in the next few weeks and months.


Ankle Bracelets Used to Keep Suspected COVID-19 Patients At Home

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

If things continue to worsen, and people continue to flout stay-at-home orders, we can be sure that more states will will move toward these kinds of actions as well:

Officials in Kentucky are using GPS monitors to ensure that people suspected of having COVID-19 remain in self-quarantine. At least four people have been fitted with ankle bracelets after they allegedly defied orders to stay at home.

One individual, identified as D.L. in court documents, was told to stay home for at least a week after a person he was living with had been diagnosed with COVID-19. He refused and left the house on multiple occasions before a judge ordered him to wear an ankle monitor. He was told that he will face criminal charges if he leaves his home during the next two weeks.

Another man who tested positive for the coronavirus went out shopping after he learned of his diagnosis and was ordered to wear the device and told to stay at home. Two other people who live together were also fitted with the GPS devices after they refused to stay at home when one of them tested positive for the virus.

As of Friday (April 3), there have been 770 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, and 31 people have died.

Mayor Greg Fischer said that orders like this are needed to help keep the community safe. Other agencies are supportive of the move:

“The home incarceration program is well-suited for this,” said Amy Hess, the city’s chief of public services, which includes oversight of Metro Corrections and Emergency Services. “It provides us with the proper amount of distancing. We can monitor activity after (the monitoring device) gets affixed to them … to make sure they’re not further affecting the community.

The city has gone to great lengths to deal with a community that appears resistant to following stay-at-home orders:

Not enough Louisvillians are taking pandemic guidelines seriously, Fischer stressed again Tuesday. In addition to closing libraries, community centers, the zoo and even some parks over the past few weeks, he’s instructed police to cut back on the types of calls for service officers respond to.

And, in response to a lack of respect for his orders, he even had basketball rims taken off backboards in parks.

Note: A Metro Corrections officer who was sent to attach ankle monitors following Friday’s isolation order has a 101-degree fever and is being tested for COVID-19


A Kentucky man has been charged with violating Indiana’s stay-at-home order – a preventative measure to stop the spread of coronavirus – after already facing gun and drug charges, according to Indiana State Police.

Indiana State Police announced Tuesday that the Hamilton County prosecutor added a misdemeanor charge for “disobeying a declaration of disaster emergency” against Zachary Peters, 24 of Crestwood Kentucky. With that, Peters faces six charges, according to Indiana State Police…He initially was charged with cocaine, marijuana, controlled substance and paraphernalia possession and carrying a handgun without a license.

Peters was recorded going 96 mph in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 69 , police said. The Indiana stay-at-home order he was charged with violating took effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.


Upper West Side Co-op Board Boots Visiting Doctor From Building, In Spite of Being Expert At Intubation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:08 am

[guest post by Dana]

Answering Gov. Cuomo’s call for medical volunteers from across the nation to go to New York to help save lives during the ongoing nightmare of a coronavirus outbreak, New York born Dr. Richard Levitan left New Hampshire to help at Bellevue Hospital Center, where he once trained. Unable to find an available hotel room, he ended up staying at his brother’s vacant apartment on the upper West Side. When word got out that he was a doctor helping to manage coronavirus patients, the building’s board of directors kicked him out. This, in spite of his reputation as “a teaching guru on managing the human airway,” including “performing the tricky but vital task of intubation, threading a breathing tube into people who are not getting enough oxygen”:

At the end of seven hours in mask, gown and gloves at Bellevue Hospital Center on Monday, Dr. Richard Levitan finally had a chance to look at his phone.

Dr. Levitan, an emergency physician who lives in northern New Hampshire, had volunteered to work for 10 days at Bellevue, in Manhattan, as coronavirus patients besieged New York City hospitals. Monday was his first shift there.

A text had arrived from his older brother, who was letting him use an apartment on the Upper West Side. It read: “Hey Richard — We are so proud of you and your heroism. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but looks like our apartment building doesn’t want you staying in our apt.”

The building’s board of directors wanted him out.

That took a minute to sink in.

On the one hand, Dr. Levitan was answering the state’s urgent plea for help in the worst public health crisis in decades.

On the other, his brother was dealing with the idiosyncratic creature known as a New York City co-op, run by a board of apartment owners. Within their four walls, co-ops are tiny nation-states, like thousands of Vatican Cities inside the five boroughs.

So, while Dr. Levitan was working to save the lives of strangers, his brother was pleading with his neighbors on the board to let his sibling lay his head in the apartment. He got nowhere. The board had heard what he was doing and did not want him around.

Note: Most residents had already left the building to hunker down elsewhere – perhaps even in Dr. Levitan’s resident state of New Hampshire:

Though it has nearly 300 apartments, the building was quiet. “The place is a ghost town,” Dr. Levitan said. “Anybody with money has left.”

The building’s manager declined to answer inquiries by The New York Times about Dr. Levitan’s eviction “but offered to pass on an inquiry to the board. No one replied to that, or to phone messages and emails left with board members.”

Lesson here: It’s perfectly acceptable for the wealthy and well-connected to flee NYC to the less populated neighboring states and hunker down in their vacation homes, but it’s not acceptable for a medical expert who is desperately needed by patients at NYC hospitals to stay in their near-empty buildings.

Gov. Cuomo pleaded just four days ago: Help New York. We are the ones who are hit now. Who could imagine that those answering the call would be given the boot.


Baseball Crank: The 41 Worst People You Meet on Twitter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 am

Dan McLaughlin (aka the Baseball Crank, who recently left his law practice to become a full-time writer at NRO) has a very thorough taxonomy of annoying Twitter personalities today titled The 41 Worst People You Meet on Twitter. These particularly amused me:

3. The Chief Dufflepud: The Chief Dufflepud’s signature characteristic is twofold: He has a legion of sycophantic followers who trail after him giving off praise like Sir Robin’s minstrels, and he constantly reinforces their reinforcement of him by retweeting their hosannas to his brilliance and courage. If you argue with the Chief Dufflepud, he will make sure that your mentions are flooded with these people, none of whom will add anything knowledgeable to the discussion; they will simply assert that you have been Owned and Destroyed by The Great One and should Take The L.

. . . .

5. The Swaggerer: The Swaggerer may be male or female (as may most of these types), but machismo is his game, and he is most typically found on the right. What distinguishes The Swaggerer is that he’s more interested in showing that he is Tough and Fights and Never Apologizes and Owns the Libs and Isn’t a Snowflake and Doesn’t Care About Your Feelings than he is in the actual content of his arguments.

. . . .

19. The Instant Logan Act Expert: The Instant Logan Act Expert is an unfortunate by-product of the democratization of discourse. Thirty minutes into any public controversy, the Instant Logan Act Expert suddenly has strong and confident opinions about the topic, despite having never given it a moment’s thought before. Often, the Instant Logan Act Expert is simultaneously an actual expert in one or more other topics, and he should really know better.

Read it all.

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