This Is How America Works

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article reporting that Ford Motor Company, GE Healthcare and 3M have started pooling their resources together to make ventilators, respirators and face shields to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

That is fantastic news.

The article reports:

“We were the arsenal of democracy during two world wars,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford explained during his appearance Tuesday on the “Today Show.” We built iron lungs for polio patients. Whenever we’re called on, we’re there.”

“We’re going into our parts bin to see what can be done,” he added. “We’re a very opportunistic company.”

…“By coming together across multiple industries, we can make a real difference for people in need and for those on the front lines of this crisis,” the statement added. “At Ford, we feel a deep obligation to step up and contribute in times of need, just as we always have through the 117-year history of our company.”

Other manufacturers like General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Tesla have announced it will start repurposing to build medical equipment.

Jim Baumbick, vice president of Ford’s Enterprise Product Line Management team, said the company “wanted to help in any way we could in getting a range of critical protective gear in the hands of these brave men and women in the medical community fighting COVID-19 on the front line.”

“We see the need,” he added. “We just want to jump in and find a way to help.”

This is the sort of thinking that won World War II. It will also win the war against the coronavirus.

In The Long Run, This Would Not Have Mattered, But It Was Still Irresponsible

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the shortage of N95 protective respirator masks. Some of the media have stated that President Obama chose not to replenish the stockpile of these masks after the 2009 H1N1 virus epidemic. That is true, but there is more to the story. At this point I would like to note that the masks have a shelf life of five years–even if President Obama had replenished the stockpile, in order for the stockpile to be any good it would have had to have been replenished again in 2014 and 2019. The responsibility for the shortage of these masks rests of both the Obama and Trump administrations. However, I think that the blame actually rests on the bureaucrats running the CDC and other health agencies inside the government.

The article notes:

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, drew down about 100 million N95 protective respirator masks.

Afterward, an H1N1 task force recommended that the Obama administration replace the masks in the national stockpile, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News.

“If the Obama administration didn’t respond to a request for additional masks, and if they did not communicate that need to the incoming [Trump] administration, that would certainly make the present situation more difficult,” Amy Anderson, a registered nurse and co-founder of the Global Nurse Consultants Alliance, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

…The Los Angeles Times reported March 20 that the U.S. government ignored warnings in 2009, making no reference to Obama’s being president at the time. 

The CDC, under the George W. Bush administration, published a “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza” in 2005. In that case, the government heeded the agency’s advice to stockpile medical supplies. 

…The International Safety Equipment Association and the federal H1N1 task force recommended replacing the N95 masks after the response to the swine flu drew down 100 million masks from the federal stockpile, the paper reported.

However, association President Charles Johnson told the Times: “Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown.”

The problem with a medical emergency is that you generally don’t see it coming. Blaming any administration for current supply problems is not helpful. Finding a solution to those problems is helpful. It would be nice if the mainstream media would attempt to unite us rather than divide us. The reporting during the Wuhan Flu epidemic has been horrendous and very unhelpful.

The Discussion Continues

Last night I attended a hearing to discuss bringing 1,250 slot machines into the racetrack at Plainridge in Plainville, Massachusetts. I am a resident of Plainville and live less than five miles from the location of the track. Although I was opposed to the idea of bringing a casino into Foxboro, I support the idea of bringing the slot machines into Plainridge. I am not a gambler, but I am enough of a realist to know that there are people around me who genuinely enjoy gambling as a form of recreation. I don’t have a problem with that, assuming that they are not ruining their finances with that activity. Those who are ruining their financial situation by gambling are going to find a way to do it whether Plainridge introduces slot machines or not. I strongly suspect we will see internet gambling legalized within the next two years, and a lot of people who are addicted to gambling will turn to that rather than leaving their homes to gamble.

Gambling is already at Plainridge–there is sulky racing and simulcast racing. The town also has Keno in some of the local restaurants and lottery tickets at the local convenience stores. It seems a little odd that with those things in place there would be opposition to the slot machines.

One objection voiced last night was the idea that putting slot machines in Plainridge would negatively impact our elementary schools. I definitely need someone to explain to me how that would work–are the first graders going to be playing the slots?

The addition of slot machines will bring people to Plainridge. However, if you look on a map, you will see that Plainridge is on the edge of town, adjacent to a major highway–I suspect that the majority of the people who will frequent Plainridge because of the slot machines will never see the town! Those people will come and lose their money (the house wins on slot machines), the profits at Plainvridge will be taxed, some part of those taxes will go to the Town of Plainville, and everyone will live happily ever after.

One of the things mentioned last night was the social problems that can be associated with gambling. Guess what–those social problems are already here–even without the slot machines.

This whole discussion reminds me a a song from the Music Man:

Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital “T”
That rhymes with “P”
And that stands for Pool,
That stands for pool.
We’ve surely got trouble!
Right here in River City,
Right here!
Gotta figger out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble…

We don’t have trouble here in Plainville–we have a business man who has been an asset to the community asking the town to help him keep his business alive. That is why I support the slot machines.

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