Saturday, January 30, 2021

Saturation Coverage

Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Executive Director for Emergencies at the weekly Covid-19 media briefing yesterday,  when asked about the China expert visit:

The visits will include the Wuhan Institute of Virology, other labs, the Hunan market, early responders, hospitals in which the first clusters of cases occurred. It's a very busy schedule and I also wonder; sometimes the media accompaniment of the teams is much larger than the international and Chinese team put together

Don't mess with the Protocol


Thursday, January 28, 2021

The afterlife

Saudi Arabia Future Investment Initiative press statement --

Others scheduled to participate include ...  Lord Grimstone of Boscobel; Minister for Investment at the UK Department for International Trade; ... and Anthony Scaramucci, Founder & Managing Partner of SkyBridge Capital.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

He also is Mermaid Man in one Spongebob episode

A classic detail from the superb FT recounting of the last year in Brexit: 

To while away the tedious hours in Brussels, Frost and his exhausted team would sip whisky at the UK ambassador's ­residence. "There was one night we were discussing our favourite Batman — Frosty could only think of Adam West," says one British official. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Irish Blood, English Heart

From the truly bizarre White House 1776 report, where it sounds like reactionary American conservativism meets rant overheard at Irish bar in Washington DC --

British monarchs not only disputed one another’s claims to the throne but imposed their preferred religious doctrines on the whole nation. Gruesome tortures and political imprisonments were common. The Puritans proclaimed a “commonwealth” which executed the Anglican king. The executed king’s son proceeded to supplant the “commonwealth,” but because his brother was suspected of being Catholic, Protestants expelled him in the so-called  "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 that installed the Protestant monarch of the Netherlands and his wife as England’s king and queen.

Monday, January 11, 2021


There was an article briefly posted on the White House website which purported to blame state-level Covid-19 related business restrictions for the bad payroll numbers in December. The article has disappeared (here's the busted link). Blaming states for their attempted mitigation of uncontrolled spread  of a virus whose impact was constantly minimized by the President is ... interesting.  

UPDATE: It's reposted, but the headline message has been changed. The headline does not blame the states ("December job losses driven by state-enforced shutdowns"), it is now attributed to industries. 

Friday, January 08, 2021

Late to the party

There is attention of the "that's unexpected!" variety on the Wall Street Journal editorial calling for Donald Trump to go, preferably via resignation. The problem is, the editorial is rubbish.  It's not worth line by line analysis. But it starts: 

The lodestar of these columns is the U.S. Constitution.

But then it goes on to complain that some people say the 6th of January events prove he was unfit for office all along. Which it rebuts by reference to the 63 million votes that he got in 2016. Except that ... Hillary Clinton got more votes! If the metric is votes, he wouldn't be in office in the first place. So you can't say that your lodestar is the Constitution and what about his millions of votes -- they are constitutionally irrelevant.

The Constitution does not have a fit and proper test for the Presidency. So conduct in office surely matters -- that's what impeachment is there for.  So now their complaint is that the Democrats "abused the process" in 2019. Remember how the constitution is their lodestar? It says nothing about something "abusing the process" by applying it -- it's for Congress to decide what merits impeachment. 

The most that they can bring themselves to say about Ukraine is Trump was "ham-handed." But the only reason it didn't translate into Senate conviction is that some Senators (most notably Susan Collins) decided that he had learned his lesson from it. Which his phone call to Brad Raffensperger showed otherwise. 

This editorial is more about easing the consciences of people jumping off the Trump bandwagon at this late stage. But there's no way such a logical shambles has broader significance. It's not news. 

Monday, January 04, 2021

Putting the ME in media

Just one of the astounding exchanges in the Trump Georgia election phone call (transcript via Wall Street Journal) --

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Well, Mr. President, the problem that you have with social media, they can – people can say anything. 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no, this isn’t social. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not. It’s not social media. I don’t care about social. I couldn’t care less. Social media is big tech. Big tech is on your side, you know? I don’t even know why you have a side, because you should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Quote of the Day

Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism (1927):

This is the function that the liberal doctrine assigns to the state: the protection of property, liberty, and peace. The German socialist, Ferdinand Lassalle, tried to make the conception of a government limited exclusively to this sphere appear ridiculous by calling the state constituted on the basis of liberal principles the "night-watchman state." But it is difficult to see why the night-watchman state should be any more ridiculous or worse than the state that concerns itself with the preparation of sauerkraut, with the manufacture of trouser buttons, or with the publication of newspapers. 

Context: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a new layer of eligibility proof and associated penalties for when a vaccine is given out of "priority." The night-watchman state would seek to vaccinate as many people, as quickly as possible.