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Wolverines

I read The Premoniton by Michael Lewis last weekend.

Ok, I don’t mean to put myself in the same category as the problem solvers, thought experimenters and out of the box thinkers that Lewis describes in his book but I will point to this post I made on January 24, 2020. By the time I wrote this, I had been checking out the JHU tracker for about a week:

And the government’s plan is… what, exactly?

Posted on January 24, 2020 by riverdaughter | Edit

We may have a Plague scenario developing:

Some of us have or may still have compromised immune systems. This s}#% isn’t funny. 

Luckily, I bought masks last year with a virus barrier layer. That won’t help much if we should all wear spacesuits. 

Normally, I wouldn’t get freaked out about this but we have a contagious illness with human to human transmission. It’s viral and we have no drugs or vaccines for it. It started in a densely populated area of a densely populated country and it’s a holiday season there. It’s spreading to other countries. 

I’d like to know what Trump’s plan is to combat this. I mean in coherent sentences and where he can answer questions that indicate he understands cause, effect and the consequences of inaction. 

He’s been gutting science in government so I’m concerned that we may be under resourced. 

Commence the “la-la-la, we can’t HEAR you!” response from the Republicans with a death grip on our health agencies. 

As Schiff asked, can we reasonably expect that Trump will do something in our interest and not simply his own?

The reason I was thinking about this is because I had been to Ontario on MLK weekend and when I came back, I saw that there were two cases reported in Toronto and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I wondered how close I got to them as I passed through a food court on the outskirts of Toronto on the way home.

Maybe it was just coincidence. But I can’t explain why my attention was so riveted on coronavirus back then. The news reports were only just starting. Even weirder was Trump’s response was about as underwhelming and irresponsible as I predicted. And our scientific infrastructure found it difficult to rise to the occasion.

Lewis’s book is all about the people who were initially tasked with coming up with a pandemic response back in the day when George W. Bush read about the 1918 Flu pandemic while he was on vacation. I hate to give Bush credit for anything. It’s not that he never did anything good. It’s that it was all negated by the tsunami of bad.

The wolverines consisted of former members of that pandemic task force (remember, they were disbanded by John Bolton) who came up with the social distancing concepts that we have relied on during this pandemic. Chief among the wolverines was an ICU doctor named Carter Mecher who appears to be a wizard at design thinking. He had planned school closing scenarios and safety net enhancements back in 2007.

But it was California’s Assistant Public Health Officer Dr. Charity Dean who took some of those ideas and created the public health pandemic plan and region codes we see today. Dean might be pleased to know that Pennsylvania adopted her plan. So did many countries around the world.

What I learned from this book is that the parts of the world that followed Mecher and Dean’s recommendations fared far better at controlling the pandemic within their borders than we did. The blame for that underperformance lies with the politicization of the CDC over 40 years and the lack of presidential leadership during the Obama and Trump years. Undermining our governmental agencies hit its apex during Trump but we might not have known how seriously our CDC and pandemic response was compromised if we hadn’t had Covid.

Now we know.

As for Charity Dean, the world owes her a medal. Her background is very similar to mine except for that whole MD thing. It probably helped that she wasn’t shifted around the country to a zillion schools in her youth. She managed to snag a scholarship to college that was intended for underprivileged kids. I’m not saying I’m bitter or anything but when you’re poor and your family is dead set against you getting a college education, it helps if someone takes notice and gives you a scholarship so you don’t have to work til 2am closing the restaurant you just worked a shift at instead of studying.

Let that be a lesson to all of us. You never know what a poor kid is capable of until you give them the opportunity to get a stress free college education.

Anyway, The Premonition is a unputdownable read. Highly recommended.

12 Responses

  1. I don’t think that the country could survive with another Trump. The difference between the way that he “dealt” with the pandemic, and the way that Biden and his administration are dealing with it, is immense. I cannot even bear to think about where we would be had he won. If for that reason alone, people should realize that they cannot ever vote for Republicans. But memories are short for many of them.

  2. I think that my sense of what was going to happen seemed so awful,that I did not even want to dwell on it You have a man of no intelligence, and no interest in science, who also has no concern about anybody else, and he is going to deal with a rising pandemic. It was and still is the stuff of nightmares. Stupidity and sadism have inevitable consequences.

  3. Trump tells his cultists that it’s OK to be mean, stupid, selfish bigots, which is what they want to hear, more than anything else in this or any other world. This is why they well-nigh worship him.

    For the ones who are culturally Christian, Trump is better than Christ, because that hippie rabbi Jesus demands that they love people, even people different from them, and that they not worship money (personified as “Mammon” in the Gospels).

    Deep down, they resent Jesus for demanding they try to be better people than they are.

    Not only do Trump, and the “intellectuals” of the “Christian” Right and the Mighty Wurlitzer, not demand that they turn away from their sins, as Jesus does demand–but they tell the cultists that their sins are virtues.

  4. If either of you feel like posting an essay on the excommunication of Liz Cheney from the GQP Qult, here’s a picture you can use.

    By Driftglass.

    • Or, as if Bismarck fought Hitler.

      Rational, Merely Ruthless Evil vs. Insane Satanic Evil, with both sides having common cultural roots.

  5. I can’t post links on William’s threads, so I must put this one here.

    I complete my 58th solar orbit today.

    I don’t endorse the witless concept of “die while we’re still young”, but this is still a great song.

  6. Off-topic weekly reminder:

    Friday nights 8 PM – 9 PM North American Central Time:

    The Magical Mystery Tour. Host Tom Wood takes a look at the Beatles from a different angle each week.

    Friday nights 9 PM – 12 AM North American Central Time:

    Beaker Street, the legendary rock radio program, has returned. Iconic host Clyde Clifford has returned from his medical absence.

    Both shows can be found at http://arkansasrocks.com/

    If you can’t catch Beaker Street live, MP3 files are available soon afterward at https://beakerstreetsetlists.com/

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