Patterico's Pontifications


Dr. Trump Corrects CDC Director

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:26 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The director of the CDC said today that, if one does not get immunity from the vaccine, wearing a face mask will provide protection:

Face coverings are “the most powerful public health tool” the nation has against the coronavirus and might even provide better protection against it than a vaccine, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told lawmakers Wednesday.

“We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.”

Redfield told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that a potential coronavirus vaccine, which will likely be available in limited quantities by the end of this year, may only have an immunogenicity of 70%.

“If I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me. This face mask will,” Redfield told lawmakers while holding up a blue surgical face mask. He urged Americans, particularly those between 18 and 25 years old, to continue wearing face coverings, reiterating they could help bring the pandemic under control in a matter of weeks if people wore them universally.

Renowned infectious disease expert and virologist Dr. Donald J. Trump was compelled to correct the director:

At a White House press briefing later on Wednesday, the president said Redfield might have “misunderstood” the question by lawmakers, adding that masks are not as important as the vaccine. Trump said “perhaps” face masks help.

“I hope that the vaccine’s going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks,” Trump told reporters. “As far as the mask is concerned, he made a mistake.”

Though certainly not at the top of the list, among my reasons for wanting to see the pandemic end asap, is that arguments about the efficacy of masks will cease. Yet, more importantly, we will no longer have to hear Dr. Trump stupidly opine about masks and their lack of effectiveness.


Survey: Large Number of Young People Don’t Know About The Holocaust; Large Number Who Do, Say It’s A Myth

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but I am:

Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.

According to the study of millennial and Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 39, almost half (48%) could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during the second world war.

Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (12%) said they had definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust.

More than half (56%) said they had seen Nazi symbols on their social media platforms and/or in their communities, and almost half (49%) had seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online.

Gideon Taylor, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which commissioned the survey, points out that this is why it’s vital that remaining survivors continue to tell their stories:

The results are both shocking and saddening, and they underscore why we must act now while Holocaust survivors are still with us to voice their stories. We need to understand why we aren’t doing better in educating a younger generation about the Holocaust and the lessons of the past. This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act.

Interestingly, the survey ranked states “according to a score based on three criteria: whether young people have definitely heard about the Holocaust; whether they can name one concentration camp, death camp or ghetto; and whether they know 6 million Jews were killed”. Here is how some of the states ranked:

The top-scoring state was Wisconsin, where 42% of millennial and Gen Z adults met all three criteria, followed by Minnesota at 37% and Massachusetts at 35%. The lowest-scoring states were Florida at 20%, Mississippi at 18% and Arkansas at 17%.

More survey findings:

Nationally, 63% of respondents did not know 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and more than one in three (36%) thought 2 million or fewer had been killed.

Eleven per cent of respondents across the US believed that Jews had caused the Holocaust, with the proportion in New York state at 19%, followed by 16% in Louisiana, Tennessee and Montana, and 15% in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Nevada and New Mexico.

Nationally, 44% of those questioned were able to identify Auschwitz-Birkenau, and only 3% were familiar with Bergen-Belsen. Six out of 10 respondents in Texas could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto.

I think this helps explain why so many young adults refer to authorities as Nazis when they use lawful means to tamp down the looting and vandalism in cities currently facing out-of-control rioting. They have no concept of who the Nazis were and have no understanding of just how deeply evil they were toward their fellow man. Many of the claims and accusations we hear bandied about today in the public square are simply the offspring of ignorance. Sadly, far too many accept them as gospel. Also, anti-Semitism is popular at many institutions of higher learning, along with solid BDS movements, so, you know…


Oh, My: President Trump Campaigns For Joe Biden

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:43 am

[guest post by Dana]

I know this is low-hanging fruit but it’s also Trump at his most Trumpian. Confused, indignant at being confronted about a hot-button issue, deflecting, assigning blame to someone else, and making excuses for his actions. In other words, offering everything but a well-thought-out, logical explanation for his decisions:

President Donald Trump caused some confusion during an ABC News town hall on Tuesday when he criticized Democratic nominee Joe Biden for not following through on a pledge to institute a mask mandate to control the spread of COVID-19 – even though Biden does not hold office – and citing restaurant servers as a group opposed to the use of masks…

“The wearing of masks has proven to lessen the spread of COVID. Why don’t you support a mandate for national mask-wearing? And why don’t you wear a mask more often?” asked Bard, who said she voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“Well, I do wear them when I have to, and when I’m in hospitals and other locations,” Trump replied. “But I will say this: They said at the Democrat convention they’re going to do a national mandate. They never did it, because they’ve checked out and they didn’t do it. And a good question is, you ask why Joe Biden – they said we’re going to do a national mandate on masks.”

Moderator George Stephanopoulos pointed out that Biden encouraged governors to institute mask mandates.

“Well no, but he didn’t do it. I mean, he never did it,” Trump said.

He added that a lot of people don’t want to wear masks:

“A lot of people don’t want to wear masks,” Trump said, immediately after his criticism of Biden for not implementing a mandate. “A lot of people think that masks are not good,” he added.

“Who are those people?” asked Stephanopoulos.

“I’ll tell you who those people are: waiters,” Trump said. “They come over and they serve you, and they have a mask. And I saw it the other day where they were serving me, and they’re playing with the mask. I’m not blaming them, I’m just saying what happens. They’re playing with the mask, so the mask is over, and they’re touching it, and then they’re touching the plate. That can’t be good.”

[Ed. By this “logic,” Trump should then be praising Biden for *not* implementing a mask mandate in Trump’s imaginary world.]

I can’t even. The President seems determined to ignore the pandemic at all costs. Deny the efficacy of masks and the effectiveness of wearing one, and act as if his wishcasting has worked. Anything but face the fact that he is the President of the United States, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and that the buck stops with him.


Congratulations! Our Friend Dustin Has Had a Baby Boy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:00 am

Well, technically his wife has, but you know what I mean. Here is the comment where he dropped the bomb:

It was stupid how I drove home overnight, but I made it to the delivery room an hour before my son was born and everyone is fine, catching up on rest. Thanks! God is good.

I have more information but am not sure how much he wants to share publicly. Anyway, how about we take up a collection for the new baby boy? I’ll start the ball rolling with $100. PayPal me at patterico AT gmail DOT com and put something in the comments about Dustin’s boy, and I’ll make sure it gets to him.

Times are tough with the coronavirus, and the audience is smaller than it used to be, but I like to think we’re still a community, and I hope we can pull together and make things a little easier for the new parents.


UPDATE: I have had a couple of requests for Venmo. Mrs. P. runs that. If you’re a Venmo person, email me and I will respond with the Venmo address. Thanks!

Only Minorities Need Apply: A Story in Two Parts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Part One comes from San Francisco:

Mayor London Breed announced today the launch of a new pilot program that will provide a basic income to Black and Pacific Islander women during pregnancy and after giving birth.

The 150 women chosen will receive a monthly income supplement of $1,000 for the duration of their pregnancy and for the first six months of their baby’s life, with the goal of eventually providing a supplement for up to two years post-pregnancy.

It’s a public/private partnership, but Eugene Volokh says it sounds unconstitutional:

But a partly public funding program limited to people of particular races or ethnic groups generally violates the Equal Protection Clause (see, e.g., City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989); Podberesky v. Kirwan (4th Cir. 1994)). And that is true even when it is an attempt to remedy racial disparities (such as the higher premature birth rate, maternal death rate, or infant death rate, cited by the S.F. Mayor’s office press release). If the government wants to provide benefits for poor mothers, or mothers who have other traits that directly put them at risk (e.g., certain health conditions), it can do so. But it can’t use race as a proxy for special risk or special need.

Prof. Volokh explains that the sole exception would be if the program were designed to remedy specific discrimination against these groups by San Francisco, but as he says in his typically understated fashion: “I very much doubt that San Francisco would be able to demonstrate that.” Uh, yeah.

Part Two is apparently an older story, from July, but I just learned about it. From the University of Chicago English Department:

The English department at the University of Chicago believes that Black Lives Matter, and that the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks matter, as do thousands of others named and unnamed who have been subject to police violence. As literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.

For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black Studies. We understand Black Studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages, and time periods. For more information on faculty and current graduate students in this area, please visit our Black Studies page.

Now, technically, non-blacks may apply, so the headline is not entirely accurate — but one suspects that the message is really that non-blacks need not apply. And what if a student isn’t interested in “Black Studies”? What if, heaven forfend, a black student isn’t interested??? Too bad. Next year it’s “Black Studies” or nothing.

I took a class in college heavily skewed towards black American writers, and it was great. There are many fantastic black writers in American history, and you should know them. I’m not a big fan of Toni Morrison, but Ralph Ellison? James Baldwin? Richard Wright? These are people worth reading.

But for heaven’s sake, there is more to life and there is more to English and more to literature. Segregating “Black Studies” from all other English studies and making it the only thing graduate students are allowed to study is the kind of virtue signaling that helps nobody, but makes the woke crowd feel good about itself.

And it’s more emphasis on race in a country that needs to revert to the color-blind ideal that has underlay the civil rights struggles for most of its history.

Thanks to S.J.

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