Social Distancing Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today detailing how the country of Sweden has handled the coronavirus outbreak. Sweden tried a totally different path than most of the world, and the results are astonishing.

The article reports:

Reporter Johan Norberg joined Laura Ingraham on Thursday to discuss the Sweden’s ‘controversial’ policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike other Western countries progressive Sweden, of all places, decided to leave their economy running and let the disease run its course while the population reached herd immunity.

The Swedish plan appears to be working.
Sweden, a country of 10 million, now has 2,152 reported coronavirus related deaths.
New York, a state of 19.85 million, now has 20,861 reported coronavirus related deaths.

Sweden is actually seeing better results than several of its European neighbors.

On Thursday Sweden’s chief epidemiologist announced the Swedish strategy appears to be working and that “herd immunity” could be reached in the capital Stockholm in a matter of weeks.

The article concludes with a portion of the transcript of the conversation:

Laura Ingraham: We found out that herd immunity will be reached in about 2-3 weeks in Sweden. I mean, then they’re kind of done.

Johan Norberg: That’s why we shouldn’t make too many comparisons to cases and deaths right now. Because almost every other country except Sweden has just postponed deaths. They won’t avoid them because there is still no argument that has been made that suddenly this disease will go away after their lockdowns are over. I mean if they’re waiting for a vaccine that could take over a year if we’re lucky. It could take several years. And no society can be shut down completely and shut down the economy for more than a year without ruining society and the economy entirely. And that will kill many more people than the virus does.

Herd immunity is the best solution to this virus. It seems that because of our lockdown, we may have delayed reaching that point. However, because we are being told that the virus does not like heat or humidity, the virus may exit the southern United States before the south faces the long term health consequences of the lockdown.

Shady Statistics

Fox News is reporting that the federal government is classifying the deaths of patients infected with the coronavirus as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of any underlying health issues that could have contributed to the loss of someone’s life.

The article reports:

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite.

“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU [intensive care unit] and then have a heart or kidney problem,” she said during a Tuesday news briefing at the White House. “Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death.

“The intent is … if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that,” she added.

Asked whether the numbers could skew data the government is trying to collect, Birx said that would mostly apply more to rural areas where testing isn’t being implemented on a wide scale.

“I’m pretty confident that in New York City and New Jersey and places that have these large outbreaks and COVID-only hospitals. … I can tell you they are testing,” she said.

Dr. Michael Baden, a Fox News contributor, said it’s reasonable to include the death of someone infected with the virus, who also had other health issues, in the COVID-19 body count.

Follow the link to read the entire article. This seriously causes me to wonder about the validity of any of the numbers we are seeing regarding deaths due to the coronavirus. People die of heart attacks, cancer, and strokes every day. If they have the coronavirus, those deaths are reported to be the result of the virus. It would be interesting when this is over to compare the number of deaths from heart attacks, cancer, and stokes from this time period to another time period. If the number is significantly lower during this time, it would be easy to conclude that the coronavirus deaths were being exaggerated.

You Might Not Have Read This In The Mainstream Media

Yesterday The Western Journal posted some comments by Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at New York University, a medical correspondent for Fox News, and the author of “False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.”

The article reports Dr. Siegel’s comments:

“I’ve been handling these emerging contagions for about 20 years now, and I have to tell you, I’ve never seen one handled better,” Dr. Marc Siegel said regarding the actions of President Donald Trump since the coronavirus first emerged as a concern in January.

…“The task force are really top players,” said Siegel, noting the inclusion of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci is “one of the top infectious disease experts in the country,” he noted.

“They’ve been doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said, listing actions Trump has called for such as “restricting travel, isolating patients who are sick and, trying to cut down on contact. It’s a very hard thing to do when people are pouring in from all over the world.”

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist, and Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an expert in vaccines who has been sounding the alarm about the virus, are also important members, he said, though he believes the “doom and gloom comment” about the inevitable spread of the virus was uncalled for.

Siegel said that the coronavirus is different from diseases such as SARS or the flu.

“SARS had about a ten percent mortality [rate], but it only affected about 8,000 people. Swine flu had a very, very low mortality for flu, but flu itself really only causes about a point-four percent death rate, and [coronavirus] is about one-point-four percent. So this is killing more than flu, but I want to make a couple of points that will reassure people,” he said.

“One, at the beginning of an emerging contagion, it always appears more deadly than it actually is. The 1918 flu is an exception, but normally as time goes on, it’s less deadly, and part of that is because you see more immunity appearing, and you also find a lot of milder cases — or even cases where people don’t get sick at all. You find that as you start to test more people,” he said.

He also noted that people who were infected but never got sick do not show up in statistics, making the virus seem more deadly than it is.

The bottom line here is that the coronavirus is serious, but it is not the 1918 flu. Wash your hands, and use common sense. Winter is ending, and hopefully the flu season will end with it!

This Isn’t A Surprise To Any Unbiased Person

On Monday The Washington Examiner posted an article about race relations in America. We still have those who are trying to profit or gain personally by creating racial discord, but generally speaking America is doing better.

The article reports:

Satisfaction with race relations in the United States has jumped under President Trump, the latest indication that the Republican is making significant inroads with blacks and other minorities in advance of the 2020 presidential election.

New details from a Gallup survey on satisfaction said race relations and the “position” of minorities under Trump are far higher than they were under President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.

Race relations scored the highest satisfaction advance, 14 points, from 22% at the end of the Obama administration to 36% this month, said Gallup.

The article includes the following chart:

These statistics may explain why the Democrats were willing to embark on the seemingly suicidal mission of impeachment.

The article concludes:

What’s more, Gallup said that the nation’s average satisfaction rate is at a 15-year high.

Said the survey analysis:

“Americans’ average satisfaction rating for the 27 issues Gallup has tracked consistently since 2001 is now 47%. This is up three points from a year ago and is the highest since the January 2005 poll.

“Today’s average satisfaction is roughly on par with the level of the early 2000s. Only in 2002 was the average for this metric substantially higher than it is today. The average 53% recorded that year reflected heightened satisfaction as Americans were in full ‘rally around the flag’ mode shortly after the 9/11 attacks.”

President Trump has been a very successful President. It is a shame that most of the mainstream media has chosen to ignore that fact.

The Impact Of Common Core On Education

By 2014, 45 states and the District of Columbia were using the Common Core standards as the basis for the public education of their children. So what has been the impact of Common Core?

U.S. News & World Report posted an article today with the headline, “Across the Board, Scores Drop in Math and Reading for U.S. Students.” So what is going on in our schools?

On October 26th, the website Lady Liberty 1885 posted an article that might give us a clue as to what has gone wrong.

The article included a form to allow teachers to make a “social, emotional and behavioral assessment” of each student.

This is the form:

No wonder to test scores are sinking–the teachers are too busy evaluating the emotional condition of students and filling out forms. Look at some of the items on this form–they are very subjective. If something about a student makes a teacher uneasy or vice versa, will the form be filled out objectively? Who gets to see this form? Does the form follow the student all the way through school? If a student has a bad year, does it follow him into the next year?

The article at Lady Liberty 1885 sums up the situation as follows:

Let’s Recap

So, for those keeping score:

    • A letter about the assessment dated Oct. 18 to parents went out to some students but not all at our schools. The letter did not name the assessment.
    • I got a copy of the letter from another parent at our school on Oct. 23 but had not received one for our child yet.
    • On Oct. 24, the day after I received the copy of the letter and started asking questions, a copy of the Oct. 18 letter magically was given out to my son’s class.
    • Only when I received the opt-out form did I learn the name of the assessment, which is the BIMAS-2.
    • So far, I am being denied my rights as a parent to inspect this tool.
    • No one at my child’s school can show me the tool because no one has access to this behavioral screening tool, not even the principal. This begs the question: how is this second period teacher even rating the kids?
    • According to the principal at my son’s school, only the district communications director, Tim Simmons, can discuss this tool with parents. I have emailed Mr. Simmons directly and have not received a reply yet.

None of what I just enumerated is remotely OK.

WCPSS’ tactic of using district-wide dragnet to pull all students into this experiment is not OK either.

If the district wants to make this tool available to families who may have an at-risk student, great, go ahead and do that, but make it OPT-IN.

This district, and in particular the WCPSS School Board, has a proven track record of running right over the top of parents and it has to stop. Parents have been an afterthought if we are even considered at all. We should be the first thought.

Children belong to their parents and what starts with parents changes everything.

The article at U.S. News & World Report notes:

Most concerning, she (Peggy Carr, associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics) said, was that compared to 2017, the scores of lower performing students declined in three of the four grade-subject combinations and those drops are what accounted for the overall drop in average scores.

“The distributions are pulling apart, with the bottom dropping faster,” Carr said. “It’s not clear what’s happening here, but it is clear and it’s consistent.”

“The fact that students who need to make the most academic progress are instead making no progress or are falling further behind is extremely troubling,” Tonya Matthews, vice chairwoman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, said in a statement. “We need to see all students make progress.”

Carr said the score drops cannot be traced to any one specific student subgroup, as almost all of them logged declines. For example, black, Hispanic, Native American and white students in fourth and eighth grades scored lower in reading in 2019 compared to 2017.

“They are generally all declining,” she said. “So we can’t say it’s due to changes and shifts in the populations.”

Carr said that she’d love to be able to more fully analyze all the subgroup data they collect, but her team is strapped for resources. She encouraged other researchers to dig deeper.

How about we go back to the teaching methods that worked in the past? We can get our  curriculum from Minnesota and Massachusetts who have traditionally ranked high in both mathematics and language. Common Core has been a failed experiment that has cheated our children out of the education they need. It has also been a way to force social programs on our children that are an invasion into the privacy of parents and have a detrimental impact on the family unit. It is time to go back to basics. It wasn’t broken–you shouldn’t have tried to fix it!

The Impact Of The Policies Of President Trump

Yesterday Breitbart reported that Latino business owners are enjoying a 46 percent jump in revenue this year.

The article reports:

In May, Alfredo Ortiz of the Job Creators Network said that although Democrats claimed the Trump economy was no help to the Hispanic community, the facts revealed the opposite.

Ortiz wrote:

The fact is that Hispanics are flourishing in the Trump economy. Democrats asserting the contrary is a mere partisan talking point to try to deny Trump the Hispanic support he has earned and which may decide the presidential election outcome next year. Expect Democrats to increase their identity politics attacks in an effort to skew Latinos against Republicans over the next year and a half.

In September of 2018, Arora called the rapidly expanding Latino community a “powerful force” and stated that their businesses “contribute more than $700 billion to the economy annually.”

“The achievements of Latino small businesses are impressive when you consider it is often hard for them to gain access to capital. Yet they are making progress,” Arora concluded.

The Democrats will say anything to convince people that the Trump economy is not working for average Americans and minorities, but thinking Americans can look at the statistics and realize that the numbers show that average Americans and minorities are the people who have benefited from President Trump’s economic policies. If these groups want their prosperity to continue, they need to vote to continue those policies. I can guarantee that no Democrat running for President will continue those policies.

The Cost Of Congressional Inaction

America has needed a reasonable approach to immigration for years. Congress has chosen not to meet this need. So what is the cost of their inaction? Today’s Washington Examiner has some of the numbers.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Federal arrests of noncitizens have jumped over 200% in the last 20 years and now account for 64% of those arrested, according to the Justice Department.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that federal arrests of non-Americans rose 234% from 1998-2018. For U.S. citizens, the percentage rose just 10% over those 20 years.

The newly released statistics feed the Trump administration’s narrative that an increase in immigration, especially illegal immigration, has fed a spike in crime.

The article concludes:

Also over that period, illegal immigration has surged off and on and the bureau said that immigration crimes account for the bulk of arrests. In the past, Department of Homeland Security authorities have accounted for a majority of the arrests.

“20 years, 95% of the increase in federal arrests was due to immigration crimes. From 1998 to 2018, federal immigration arrests increased 5-fold (from 20,942 to 108,667), rising more than 50,000 in one year from 2017 to 2018,” said the Justice Department.

Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, said that the statistics and types of crimes disprove claims by pro-immigration advocates that illegal immigrants aren’t involved in crimes.

“Opponents of immigration enforcement are obsessed with trying to establish that illegal aliens and legal immigrants commit fewer crimes than Americans, and so, as their narrative goes, local law enforcement agencies should not cooperate with ICE and should adopt sanctuary policies. This is first of all not true, but is off-point and a dangerous conclusion. What these numbers show is that there are certain types of crime that are disproportionately associated with illegal aliens: drug trafficking, certain gang crimes, and identity theft and document fraud,” she told Secrets.

I can’t even imagine how much this is costing our federal government. It would seem that with budget deficits as far as the eye can see, Congress might be willing to look at fixing the immigration problem as one positive step toward reducing government spending, Nope–the political issue is worth more than the solution. Also, is Congress willing to take responsibility for the Americans who have been harmed by illegal immigration?

A Few Observations From The Polls

I have visited my local voting place twice today. Don’t worry–I didn’t vote twice–my husband was handing out information, and I went to provide food and moral support. While I was there, I picked up some literature from the Democrats and investigated the talking points on their local website.

This is what I learned.

Their website states:

Democrats are standing up for the American Dream: an economy and government that works for everyone, not just the few.

Found on their Twitter page:

Hi kids, this is your Mom. Remember to vote on 11/6. If Trump cuts my Social Security and Medicare I’m moving in with you!

Both these statements are totally misleading.

The American Dream is more accessible to everyone under President Trump than it was under President Obama, a Democrat. According to a Western Journal article posted December 18, 2017:

The national unemployment rate for black Americans, ages 16 and over, is the lowest it has been in 17 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In November 2016, the unemployment rate for black people was at 8 percent, and in November 2017 that rate dropped to 7.3 percent — a percentage not seen since the months of September, October and November 2000.

As reported by CNS News, black unemployment rate during the Bush and Obama era’s fluctuated between 7 and 17 percent.

BLS data also shows that labor force participation among African-Americans rose from 61.9 percent in November 2016 to 62.2 percent in November 2017.

Unemployment rate for the Hispanic demographic fell from 5.7 percent to 4.7 percent — the lowest it’s been in 44 years, while the unemployment rate for whites and Asians hovered around 3 percent, roughly the same as one year prior.

About Social Security cuts–none of us can predict the future, but we can draw conclusions based on past behavior. This is the chart showing Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to Social Security in recent years:

I know that it’s only a coincidence that one of the biggest increases in Social Security occurred in 2011, a year before the 2012 election.

As far as Medicare is concerned, the statements are also misleading. The Republicans are not the ones who have cut Medicare. Medicare funding was cut to fund ObamaCare. On August 13, 2012, Forbes Magazine reported:

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the Obama campaign, but there’s only one Presidential candidate in 2012 who has cut Medicare: Barack Obama, whose Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare by $716 billion from 2013-2022. Today, the Romney campaign reiterated its pledge to repeal Obamacare, and promised to “restore the funding to Medicare [and] ensure that no changes are made to the program for those 55 and older.”

If any of the above is news to you, you need to reconsider where you are getting your news. If you were already aware of the above information and voted Democrat, then it is obvious that facts will not get in the way of your opinion. Facts are such inconvenient things.

An Interesting Perspective On Events In Washington

Nate Silver is a statistician who used to do baseball statistics. He took his methods of statistical analysis and applied them to the American political scene. He has been very successful in both predicting performance of baseball players and predicting political trends.

Yesterday Nate Silver posted an article at grantland.com about the impact of the government shutdown on the mid-term elections. Some of his comments on the shutdown include rather colorful language, so I suggest that if colorful language offends you, you avoid the quotes to follow and don’t follow the link to the original article.

The article points out:

However, presidential elections are more the exception than the rule. As I discuss in my book, the more common tendency instead is that people (and especially the “experts” who write about the issues for a living) overestimate the degree of predictability in complex systems. There are some other exceptions besides presidential elections — sports, in many respects; and weather prediction, which has become much better in recent years. But for the most part, the experts you see on television are much too sure of themselves.

That’s been my impression of the coverage of the shutdown: The folks you see on TV are much too sure of themselves. They’ve been making too much of thin slices of polling and thinner historical precedents that might not apply this time around.

Mr. Silver lists six observations about the government shutdown:

1. The media is probably overstating the magnitude of the shutdown’s political impact.

2. The impact of the 1995-96 shu4. The polling data on the shutdown is not yet all that useful, and we lack data on most important measures of voter preferences.tdowns is overrated in Washington‘s mythology.

3. Democrats face extremely unfavorable conditions in trying to regain the House.

4. The polling data on the shutdown is not yet all that useful, and we lack data on most important measures of voter preferences.

5. President Obama’s change in tactics may be less about a change of heart and more about a change in incentives.

6. The increasing extent of GOP partisanship is without strong recent precedent, and contributes to the systemic uncertainty about political outcomes.

The bottom line here is simple–we really don’t know how what is now happening in Washington will impact the 2014 mid-term elections. Frankly, I think many Americans are thoroughly disgusted with both political parties.

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