Interpreting the association between conservatism and COVID death rates.
There is mounting evidence of an association between conservative politics and COVID impacts. Indeed, the higher death rate among Republicans may even have swung some close elections. A recent study sheds light on how ideology and death rates interact. As the Washington Post reports, the results were striking: “Covid death rates were 11 percent higher …CONTINUE READING
Despite all the political huffing and puffing, Biden’s order has a solid legal basis.
Incensed critics are calling Biden’s proposed “vaccine mandate” an outrageous usurpation of power. They need to take a deep breath. It’s not really a vaccine mandate, the only statutory issue is procedural, and there’s no constitutional problem. Calling Biden’s order a vaccine mandate is misleading. It could just as well be considered a testing mandate …CONTINUE READING
12 Lessons from the COVID response in how NOT to manage a crisis.
The Trump Administration’s bungling of the coronavirus pandemic surely should feature in management textbooks. Just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Some of the problems derived from having a top manager who was fundamentally indifferent and seemingly incapable of grasping basic facts. But other problems were due to inability to manage the …CONTINUE READING
Here’s what we can (probably) expect.
The Delta Variant sounds like the title of one of those Robert Ludlum thrillers, like The Bourne Identity. Actually, though, it’s a lot scarier. The Delta variant of the coronavirus is rapidly becoming dominant. What are its characteristics and what can we expect from its spread? The first thing to know is that the Delta …CONTINUE READING
Anti-vaxxers and climate deniers are abandoning America’s founding values.
Ironically, those who most trumpet their allegiance to the Founders often have least in common with their values. The Founding Fathers were men of the Enlightenment. They shared a belief that reason, free inquiry, and science would better the human condition. They looked to reason as a guide. They sought, in Jefferson’s words, to expunge …CONTINUE READING
The places hit hardest by opioids are often skeptical of vaccines. That’s probably not a coincidence.
The opioid crisis was the product of corporate greed run amok and a corrupted regulatory process. That crisis may have amplified deep distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and its government watchdogs — distrust that may now be reflected in vaccine skepticism. First, a little history. The manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, aggressively promoted the use of oxycontin, …CONTINUE READING
We know it was bad, but how much of the U.S. death rate can be attributed to him rather than circumstances?
The U.S. COVID response went badly in 2020. How much was because Trump was Trump? That is, if Trump had been a moderately competent but imperfect leader, facing a diverse population with a significant resistance to public health measures, how many lives would have been saved? That’s not a question that anyone can answer with …CONTINUE READING
A wild-eyed misinterpretation of the commerce clause
A federal district judge ruled today that the federal government’s moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. The judge’s theory is that evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent isn’t an “economic” activity. Therefore, it’s beyond Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. I know that sounds nuts, but that actually it is what the judge said. The judge’s theory …CONTINUE READING
The threat of COVID-19 continues to loom over us.
We’re all sick of being locked down, and the economic downturn has been brutal. There’s a palpable sense that it’s time to put the coronavirus behind us and move on. Unfortunately, the coronavirus does not agree. People now seem used to the idea of hundreds of new coronavirus deaths a day. Yet, even 500 deaths …CONTINUE READING
Eyeballing trends in the epidemic? Proceed with caution!
Many of us anxiously scan coronavirus statistics, looking at trends and cross-country comparisons. Warning: We need to be cautious in interpreting those numbers. There’s lots of noise in the data, meaning that it’s not always an accurate measure of what we want to know about the disease. Even death counts are not always reliable — …CONTINUE READING