What You Miss Not Being on the Internet

My 91 year-old dad is still pretty sharp, but he’s not on the Internet. He reads the daily paper and watches MSNBC, national and local TV news. So, he’s as generally well-informed as he can be, but yesterday I had to explain a couple of things to him.

First, he was not acquainted with the concept of “fuck your feelings” — he was trying to decipher a picture of a Trump flag that was waving during the Capitol assault and wasn’t quite sure that’s what it said. I had to explain the whole concept of the most sensitive people in the world, who whine at every opportunity and whimper about being cancelled while appearing on cable news, disregarding the feelings of others.

Second, he didn’t understand “own the libs”. The context here was a Doonesbury cartoon that showed someone in an ICU bed with COVID saying that at least they “owned the libs.” I don’t know if I fully explained that one, since the whole notion of “being owned” was generated on the Internet.

Before you accuse my family of elder abuse for not getting him Internet access, just trust me when I say that many have tried, and all have failed. This guy gets a couple of pounds of mail every day and is single-handedly financing the local Post Office with the amount of mail he sends, but he just doesn’t want to learn how to use an iPad or even a Jitterbug smart phone.

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It’s the Stupid That Kills

Two pieces of COVID news:

First, Josh Marshall wrote a piece titled No More Dying of Covid where he discusses the new treatments from Merck and Pfizer, which were approved today. The key point that supports his thesis:

Merck’s pill (molnupiravir) reduced the risk of hospitalization by 50% if taken within 5 days of symptom onset; Pfizer’s pill (paxlovid) reduced the risk of hospitalization by 85% if taken with 5 days onset and 89% if taken within three days.

Both treatments showed 100% efficacy against death.

Second, the CDC released a study [via LGM] which shows that the non-vaccinated died of non-COVID illness a lot more than the vaccinated:

After excluding COVID-19–associated deaths, overall SMRs [Standardized Mortality Rates] after dose 1 were 0.42 and 0.37 per 100 person-years for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, respectively, and were 0.35 and 0.34, respectively, after dose 2 (Table 2). These rates were lower than the rate of 1.11 per 100 person-years among the unvaccinated mRNA vaccine comparison group (p <0.001). Among Janssen vaccine recipients, the overall SMR was 0.84 per 100 person-years, lower than the rate of 1.47 per 100 person-years among the unvaccinated comparison group (p <0.001).

In other words, in the period of December 14, 2020 to July 31, 2021, an unvaccinated person was at roughly twice to three times more likely to die of something other than COVID than a vaccinated person. This was a large cohort study that tried to adjust for factors like sex, age and ethnicity.

My unscientific, purely anecdotal time spent perusing the Herman Cain Awards leads me to believe that Josh Marshall is being a little too optimistic about the impact of the Pfizer and Merck drugs. This isn’t because the anti-vaxx population won’t take those drugs — they’re willing to take antibody infusions, after all. Rather, it’s because a good part of the unvaccinated population either can’t or won’t look for medical care in the first few days of onset of COVID.

A typical Herman Cain recipient’s course of illness begins with denial. By the time they’re sick enough to believe that the Ivermectin, bleach and vitamins aren’t working, they’re really sick. So the 100% efficacy against death in a pharma company study that used subjects who were recently diagnosed probably won’t be the real-world outcome of using these drugs. There ain’t no cure for stupid, and the stupid with COVID are going to be hard to cure.

The good news is that doctors have a tool that they can use with the vaccinated immunocompromised and elderly who contract COVID. I hope it works for them, if they can get past the unvaxxed assholes clogging up our medical system.

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Gosar Censured

The House just voted to censure Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and remove him from his committee assignments for tweeting out an anime video that showed him killing AOC and wielding a sword against Biden. The only Republicans who voted for censure were Cheney and Kinzinger.

Any bets on whether Gosar will stand in the well of the House while his censure is read?

I’m surprised that he did, according to the Post:

Shortly after Wednesday’s vote, Gosar stood in the “well” of the House chamber as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) read aloud the censure resolution and a verbal rebuke.

Also, does this make Gosar more or less of a martyr than Ashli Babbitt?

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m going to be traveling and my wife is taking a break from her job, which means we’ll be on Obamacare, which is called Healthy New York in our home state. I mentioned earlier that it is shit insurance. Here’s how bad it is: We need insurance for December. Since my wife and I don’t have any really serious health problems, the bronze plan we’ll be using will cost almost $771/month and it is limited to $14K total outlay for the month of December.

In other words, this program, which Democrats killed themselves to pass, will allow me to feel secure that the most I can possibly pay for medical care next month is around $25K. And, by the way, it was a complete pain in the ass to enroll, and it was only because I was lucky enough to get an excellent call center rep to help me that I was able to enroll. Or, at least, I think I’m enrolled — I have to wait a couple of days for the insurance company to get my file from New York State, and then I need to pay my premium.

Folks going door-to-door in Virginia said that the number one issue on voter’s minds was healthcare. This is the Democrats’ current answer to that concern. It sucks, badly. And if I qualified for premium support, so what? Even if my entire premium were paid via premium support, the spectre of $14K of uncovered medical expense on a ~$40K paycheck-to-paycheck salary is absolutely the opposite of a feeling of security. Sinema and Manchin’s foot dragging and watering down of the BBB plan is just another nail in our coffin given the horrific state of our medical insurance system.

My other update is a little less ugly: I had asked in the comments a while back if anyone knew of an English-language Mexican newspaper. I don’t think anyone mentioned Mexico News Daily. From what I can tell, it’s basically someone (or a few people) re-writing stories in English using the big Spanish-language Mexican newspapers as a source. For $29/year, I’ll take it.

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