Lifeboat rules

If this doesn't inspire residents to rise up and replace their HOA board with something more humanoid, nothing will.

That must have hurt

The New York Times article drips with doubt, but can't quite avoiding the conclusion that doctors find chloroquine helps.  Michigan's governor caved a while back.  Not even Nevada's governor wants to be seen now as obstructing treatment.  Fact-checkers are racing to prove that no one seriously obstructed it in the first place. Within a week, we'll hear criticism that President Trump has blood on his hands for not making chloroquine treatments both free and mandatory in all 50 states two months ago.

Dollars and lives

What "essential" means:
It really hasn't occurred to most of you that businesses fail from not engaging in business. This just tells me the socialist indoctrination centers (schools) have utterly failed to explain how business works.
And let me stick in a note here that no matter what you think of the type of business, they have employees who suffer first. Go ahead and get your hate-on about whomever, but the wage earners will be out of jobs.
Quite soon we're going to need a combination of treatment options, targeted quarantine, and enhanced safety measures that let most workers and customers get back out at least partially into public, not just to buy food, but to support all kinds of economic movement.

That's a relief

What was that about supply and demand again?

This stuff is so intellectually challenging, that must be why we always get it wrong.
The reason we don’t have enough hand sanitizer is because something so simple is so regulated.
The FDA regulates hand sanitizer like a drug. Its ingredients are simple enough that it’s inexpensive most of the time.
But the regulations created a barrier to meaningful competition. And when demand spun out of control, there wasn’t enough supply. Prices soared and people who needed it were left without.
Got to have those barriers to competition, or else some consumer somewhere might have to assume some risk, and some manufacturer might have to be exposed to dog-eat-dog competition. Price spikes are the price we pay for making civilization infinitely safe, and supply crashes are the price we pay for avoiding the dreaded price gouging.

Texas: Religious Services Essential

You guys have a good governor. Now take care doing it so this doesn't become a stick to beat religious people.

Music from Cimmeria

Bye, bye, ER

The sole ER in my little county (we have no hospital) just shut its doors, ostensibly because of concern that doctors had too little PPE gear. In fact, the medical staff desperately wanted to stay open and had made great strides finding PPE donations. So far we have zero reported cases in this county. The ER has been operating in the red for the last year or so and has been taken over by its lender. The red ink results from the fact that the ER is freestanding and therefore ineligible for Medicare, in addition to which Blue Cross hates freestanding ERs and wouldn’t give them a PPO agreement on terms that would cover costs. The lender simply announced, without no warning, that it would shut its doors this morning and “furlough” staff for 45 days, helpfully adding that now they could pursue unemployment and other emergency benefits. I believe the peak for Texas is projected for May 15, i.e., about 45 days out.

The wokest Senator

Senator Tom Cotton was a voice crying in the wilderness:
On January 22, one day before the Chinese government began a quarantine of Wuhan to contain the spread of the virus, the Arkansas senator sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar encouraging the Trump administration to consider banning travel between China and the United States and warning that the Communist regime could be covering up how dangerous the disease really was. That same day, he amplified his warnings on Twitter and in an appearance on the radio program of Fox + Friends host Brian Kilmeade.
* * *
When the first classified briefing on the virus was held in the Senate on January 24, only 14 senators reportedly showed up. Cotton’s public and private warnings became more urgent that last week of January. In a January 28 letter to the secretaries of state, health and human services, and homeland security, he noted that “no amount of screening [at airports] will identify a contagious-but-asymptomatic person afflicted with the coronavirus” and called for an immediate evacuation of Americans in China and a ban on all commercial flights between China and the United States. Cotton first spoke to President Trump about the virus the next day. The Arkansas Gazette reported that he missed nearly three hours of the impeachment trial while he was discussing the matter with Trump-administration officials. The outbreak was “the biggest and the most important story in the world,” he said in a Senate hearing that week.
* * *
. . . On January 31, the president announced a ban on entry to foreign travelers who had been in China in the previous two weeks, while allowing Americans and permanent residents to continue to travel back and forth between the two countries. The measure was not as stringent as Cotton’s call for a ban on all commercial flights, but Cotton points out that the president “did not have many advisers encouraging him to shut down travel.” Advisers who were supportive tended to be national-security aides, he adds, while “most of his economic and public-health advisers were ambivalent at best about the travel ban.” 
“I commend the president greatly for ultimately making the right decision contrary to what the so-called experts were telling him,” he says.
Meanwhile, what were most of the other Senators distracted by? Well, you know.

Leadership failed, and by leadership I mean Comey

It was lies all the way down.
The FBI’s former chief of intelligence Kevin Brock, who served under prior Director Robert Mueller, said the new IG findings add to a body of evidence that Comey’s tenure at FBI was infected with a record of noncompliance.“
* * *
Not a single application from the past five years reviewed by the inspector general was up to snuff," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, lamented. "That’s alarming and unacceptable."
* * *
For longtime FBI leaders like Brock, Comey’s tenure inflicted a culture shift that may take years for the country’s premier law enforcement agency to shed. 
"This is not the way it has always been in the FBI. Very specific policies and procedures were written in the early 2000s to ensure the proper use of confidential sources, to assess their reliability and credibility, to protect against abuses and mistakes,” Brock said. “Somewhere along the line, actual practice drifted away from these protective policies. And management and legal counsel didn’t step in. Leadership failed.”

Mr. Cuomo has an epiphany

Now, whom do we know who's made a point like this one?
“Where do we get the masks? China. Where do we get the gowns? China. Where do we get the gloves? China. Where do we get the ventilators? China,” Cuomo told reporters at a press conference in Albany.
“I don’t know how we got into this position.”
In another portion of the briefing, he sounded a similar alarm.
“Why don’t we have medical supplies made in this country? Why are we shopping in China for basic medical supplies?
Perhaps he doesn't often think seriously about where the policies he supports lead us.  I can imagine saying, "I see now that the priorities I gave different goals have led us to this emergency, so I'm painfully rethinking my positions."  Nothing could induce me to say something as ridiculous as "I don't know how we got into this position" of relying on cheap imported Chinese goods.  Any semi-sentient person knows exactly how we got here.

Naturally the clamor is for more government intervention to force American companies to supply critical goods.  And yet in this emergency American companies are doing so voluntarily, when regulations don't stymie them.  In the long term, we consumers will have to demand it by being willing to pay more for secure local supplies instead of cheap, tenuous ones.

An Objection

They don't really have the resources to enforce all these mandates, which have proliferated far beyond their capacity to deploy anyone to force the issue. At some point they are going to hit a psychological wall at which the ordinary person is going to stop obeying. What then? Shoot to kill? Gun stores are essential businesses.

"Men's Grooming"

Apparently people think beards and long hair will be fashionable by summer. You can't get to the barber, see.

I haven't trimmed my beard since 2011, but I shave my head myself and have since it became obvious that male pattern baldness was in my genetic destiny. (That's OK; anyone can change their pronouns, but only a real man can display male pattern baldness.) I expect no changes in my 'grooming routine,' whatever that is.

Adjusting Fire as Necessary

UPDATE: For the immersion sects:

Staff of life

We were running out of bread, and I didn't feel like going inside the store, and curbside delivery slots are a week or more out, so I made some easy bread.  This isn't artisanal bread with my neighbor's tasty natural yeast, and I didn't fire up the outdoor oven, either.  It's just the easiest possible indoor-oven bread with commercial yeast, flour, water, and salt.  No kneading, just 5 minutes on a dough hook in a mixer to start, then about two minutes of work separated by 3 waiting periods.  Start to finish, maybe 6-7 hours.  It bakes at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or so, in a dutch oven with a lid, but you take the lid off to finish it.  When the internal temperature gets close to 200 degrees, it's done.

Ad Auctoritati

I started not going out back on the 7th of March. In the time since then I have left my property on now five occasions, two of which were motorcycle rides in the mountains, one of which was a motorcycle ride to town to check the post office and gas up, and two of which were trips to the county dump. I could have skipped the motorcycle rides, but they were through open country air and I enjoyed them.

Today's trip to the dump (and the post office) was the first one of these made under the lockdown order. I told my wife that I hadn't minded at all engaging in all this isolation when it was my decision to do it, but now that someone is trying to tell me that I have to do it I find myself rebelling against it internally. I'm still doing it freely -- it was my decision to start with -- but suddenly I'm aware of a prick of irritation that wasn't there before. I suppose that is just my nature.

Speaking of arguments against authority, read Eli Lake today on how the FBI has proven it cannot be trusted to surveil Americans. I've met Eli a couple of times over the years. He seems like a solid investigator of these sorts of issues, and -- unlike me -- not inclined to oppose authority just by instinct. His questions are always informed, good ones.

I happen to agree with him here, but of course I do.

Taking one's eye off the ball

From Ixtu Diaz:
In the midst of this festival of frivolity, harsh reality landed in Europe. In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.
More and more my reaction to a lot of people's drama is "I don't have time for your BS."  I have only so much time, attention, and resources to try to solve problems.  Some pseudo-problems have dropped the bottom of my list, to deserve attention when the rest of the world has become perfect.

Michigan caves

Governor Whitmer saw the elephant, especially after the FDA also saw the elephant and authorized the use of chloroquine to treat COVID-19:
"When used under the conditions described in this authorization, the known and potential benefits of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate when used to treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks of such products," FDA Chief Scientist Denise M. Hinton wrote in the approval letter.

Sweden Goes Its Own Way

This is interesting for two reasons. The first is that it will provide a laboratory for testing whether or not this approach is wise. If Sweden comes out ahead here, we may have to consider that our response ultimately did impose unnecessary costs on our nation in order to advance a misguided approach to the pandemic.

The other reason it's interesting to me is that Sweden is one of the premier countries held up as an exemplar by Bernie Sanders et al. Yet this approach is treated as a moral monstrosity when it is proposed by anyone here, or in the UK for that matter. How will they resolve the conflict that will create?

Hard Times All Around

Mexican cartels are really struggling.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has sent the price of heroin, methamphetamines and fentanyl soaring, as the likes of the Sinaloa cartel – and its main rival, the Jalisco “New Generation” – struggle to obtain the necessary chemicals to make the synthetic drugs, which typically come from China and are now in minimal supply.

“The cartels have suffered from COVID-19 due to the inability to get the regular shipments of synthetic opioids and precursor chemicals for the massive production of meth from China,” Derek Maltz, a former special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Operations Division in New York, told Fox News.


Obdola underscored fentanyl, which originates from China, has become the most coveted cartel commodity in recent weeks.

“In China, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), around 5,000 illegal drug laboratories have been processing synthetic drugs and chemicals to process them. Most of these drugs have Europe and North America as the main markets,” he continued.
Even the cartels can't trust China, it seems.

Pulling up the drawbridge

My county has now closed the boat ramps, not because it's seriously a public health risk for people to go out in boats to fish, but because leaving them open felt too much like an invitation for careless yahoos to come visit.  New short-term rentals and hotel/motel bookings are also halted for the next couple of weeks.  Right now this tourist town has no patience for tourists.  Everyone remembers the Spring Break and Mardi Gras idiots.  No one wants even casual contact with anyone he doesn't know and trust to have been behaving responsibly.

There's huge anxiety over a Corpus Christi TV news station's report of 2 "Aransas" cases.  Wherever the guy got his information, the chances are they didn't know the difference between two nearby towns with "Aransas" in their name and "Aransas County."  Much Facebook bandwidth is now devoted to nailing down with perfect precision where the two culprits, if they exist at all, are located at this precise moment.

I'm telling people it doesn't make the tiniest difference.  We can't know exactly how many cases are out there.  We already know there are some (probably so far not many) cases fairly nearby.  That's it, that's all you need to know, and as much as you possibly can know right now.  You don't need to know who they are or exactly where they live, and we're not going to put the tiniest effort into finding that out for you or broadcasting it.  You need to behave as though the disease were present, because if it isn't yet, it will be, and you'll never know exactly where it is no matter how infallible you think the TV news anchor or some "expert" is.

Nothing about this news changes how you need to behave:  stay home as much as you can, and wash everything you touch, for your own sake and for the sake of your duty to neighbors.  As far as your own emergency medical needs go, you don't have any yet, so here's the plan:  LATER, if you're short of breath, call an ER and arrange to follow their protocols for going in.  LATER, if you have a fever, be even more careful about contaminating anyone else, including your household.  If you have both, do both.  If you have a fever but aren't short of breath, keep isolating yourself as much as possible, and be ready on short notice to contact the ER if, and only if, you get short of breath.  If you never get short of breath, then you're pretty much golden, so don't borrow trouble.  Just don't spread it.


Did the press really just melt down because a guy who converted his factory to mask-making read from the Bible?  Talk about purity obsessions.

As Ben Shapiro said, “If you’re angry at the guy shifting over his factory to produce 50,000 facemasks a day for medical professionals, you’re doing being human wrong.”

A Worthy Question

Do these closure orders constitute eminent domain, being a destruction of private wealth for a public good, and thus merit compensation?  I’d prefer the answer to be “yes,” though as a taxpayer I’d be on the hook for it. Limits on government power even in an emergency are needed. Otherwise government can always manufacture emergencies whenever it wants more power.

A statistical argument for chloroquine

A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Roy Spencer noted an inverse correlation between malaria and COVID-19 in hundreds of countries:
If I sort all 234 countries by incidence of malaria, and compute the average incidence of malaria and the average incidence of COVID-19, the results are simply amazing: those countries with malaria have virtually no COVID-19 cases, and those countries with many COVID-19 cases have little to no malaria.
Here are the averages for the three country groupings:
Top 40 Malaria countries:
212.24 malaria per thousand = 0.2 COVID-19 cases per million
Next 40 Malaria countries:
7.30 malaria per thousand = 10.1 COVID-19 cases per million
Remaining 154 (non-)Malaria countries:
0.00 malaria per thousand = 68.7 COVID-19 cases per million
One possibility is the impact of widespread use of chloroquine as a long-term preventative for malaria. There are other possibilities, of course, including heat and humidity, but there also is an indication that patient populations being treated with chloroquine are not coming down with COVID-19. At least, I read that during the last week, but it's getting harder and harder to find a search engine that will generate any "chloroquine" results that aren't deeply skeptical and full of spiteful references to the Bad Man, fish-tank cleaner, and the suffering of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients, even while chloroquine manufacturers are dialing up cheap chloroquine production to 11 and donating doses by the tens of millions.

“We Cannot Direct The Wind, But We Can Adjust The Sails”

Dolly Parton reads bedtime stories. Do you know about Dolly Parton? She’s really something.

Outlaw Cinema For the People

For the next two months, REBELLER is going to be free to read. The legendary Joe Bob Briggs writes there often now.

Paid to be wrong

But wrong in a good cause!

Lockdown Time Now

North Carolina's just started one minute ago, and is scheduled to last until the end of next month.

Relax, We've Got That Climate Problem Licked

A new invention makes vodka from carbon dioxide.

Begging bureaucrats for beds

I'm pleased to see that Texas doesn't have a "certificate of need" program.  Let's make the bureaucrats seek a public referendum to get a certificate of need for a CON program.

A lot of things need to change.  November is coming.

What’s It Like To Be A Bee?

An investigation within limits.

Unfair tactics.

Red tape, red garbage

How many examples do we need of why everything the government touches becomes shoddy, overpriced, and in short supply?

Trends in most places show some promise

Supply lines

One of the things that made me the most nervous a couple of weeks ago was the difficulty of ordering food online. We routinely order a number of things that our grocery store doesn't stock, so when the grocery stock aisles got iffy and I wanted to avoid crowds anyway, my first recourse was to Amazon. It was disquieting how many things suddenly were out, from beans to rice to canned anything to almost any kind of cleaning supplies. I checked again today, though, and found supplies almost in an ordinary condition.

I've been using the local grocery's curbside service. It's clunky; you get a delivery date that's a week out instead of same-day. Once you choose your items, there's a very limited ability to add anything else you may think of. Substitutions and outages are still common. Still, there's minimal personal contact, which is safer not only for us but for the workers. Considering the conditions they're operating under, they're doing a great job and trying hard to be both conscientious and flexible. Our lurking neighbors (hello, lurking neighbors!) are being even more careful than we are, minimizing risk to themselves and to the 99-year-old materfamilias onsite.

Most of the county is being at least fairly careful. There is a growing resentment of outsiders who arrive from who-knows-where having practiced who-knows-what hygiene. My own feeling is that it's more important how we all act in public than whether we've been here for a short or long time. It's all about the hands and the face, and overcoming that careless tendency to think it's no big deal to be in public with a fever or a cough.

The local restaurants are trying to hold on by offering take-out and delivery. Controversy is brewing over whether it's best to support the ones offering discounts, or the ones imposing surcharges. Again, my own feeling is that it's more important to keep the restaurant enterprises together, so they can preserve jobs, than to supply the community with cheaper entertainment. If we just want cheap food, we're all able to cook at home. Food supplies became inconvenient for a while, but never to the point of hunger; mostly we just had to be flexible about substitutions. Because Mr. Tex and I cook most of our food at home anyway, we didn't feel the disruption nearly as much as many did.

A Small Cost of Social Distancing

Yesterday I went for a motorcycle ride in the country. I came across a cow loose in the road, as occurs from time to time. I had a very strong impulse to stop, as I normally would, and help return the cow to her pasture. I generally feel a duty to do that sort of thing, and I wanted to do it. On any normal day I would have done it, but on this day I realized I had conflicting duties.

On this day, there was already a crowd of people standing around -- uselessly as far as I could tell -- and I could tell that it would be impossible to avoid interacting with them. They had clearly called for help, and were numerous enough that people would notice them and slow down (thus avoiding collision with the cow). Everything's easier to catch here than back in Georgia, where flatter land and wider rivers made it easy for livestock to get free and go a long ways. They probably managed the fairly easy task of herding one cow down into her pasture.

I rode on and left them to deal with it, with sad regret. It's likely enough we soon will have worse things to regret than the lost chance to help catch a loose cow, but I hated to go on without helping. I was one person there who really knew how to deal with the problem having dealt with that particular problem some several times before. I could have been a help, but this time I was no help at all.

Alas Joe Diffie

The sad irony is that we cannot fulfill his longstanding last request.

Crisis envy

If we can shut down the world to stop a virus, how come the public won't accept plans to cripple the global economy in service of climate alarmism? I'm just spitballing here, but it's possible a lot of people genuinely believe in the danger of a contagious, sometimes fatal disease, and aren't just virtue-signaling about a trendy hypothetical threat. Even in the case of the virus, there are those inconvenient people who insist on continually checking our assumptions against facts on the ground, kvetching about shoddy models, and thinking about cost-benefit trade-offs.

Why? Because We Love You

Headline: "Why has the media ignored sexual assault allegations against Biden?"
It is hugely frustrating to see conservatives, who couldn’t give a damn about the multiple sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, weaponize the accusations against Biden. However, it’s also frustrating to see so many liberals turning a blind eye. The accusations against the former vice-president are serious; why aren’t they being taken seriously?
Obviously because it's the only moral decision, since derailing his candidacy at this stage would ensure a Trump re-election, and that latter is literally the worst possible outcome. For humanity and the world, not just the country. It goes beyond patriotism, it's a religious duty with metaphysical force.

I think conservatives are less hypocritical here, because their real objection seems to be the same one she's raising: why the double standard? Why is a guy like Kavanaugh subjected to a life-altering examination in the public eye even given that he faced accusers who fielded no actual evidence, but Bill Clinton and Joe Biden are ushered past security with a wink and a nod? Well, we know why: religious duty with metaphysical force.
One obvious reason is that Reade’s accusations are very hard to prove.
Yes, but Kavanaugh was accused of running a high-school rape ring that somehow preyed on college-aged women who gladly attended these high-school parties, while being a blackout drunk who somehow excelled in law school and rose to the high bench, and the star witness against him had no corroboration that the event she described had ever happened. Several of his accusers recanted, and the lawyer flogging the story is now in prison for defrauding his client. Mere difficulty of proof can't be the reason. Speaking of which:
You know who has talked publicly about the importance of taking women seriously? Biden. During the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Biden stood up for Dr Christine Blasey Ford, noting: “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.”

Does this presumption not apply when the guy being accused is a Democrat running for president? It would seem that way.
It certainly would.

She does at least get to the point of questioning the duty:
[It is] hugely unlikely that Reade’s accusations will do any damage whatsoever to Biden’s ambitions. Allegations of sexual assault certainly haven’t posed any hindrance to Trump. The allegations against Kavanaugh didn’t stop him from becoming a supreme court justice. The allegations against Louis CK didn’t kill his career in comedy. And the multiple women who have accused Biden of touching them inappropriately in the past haven’t exactly derailed his career.
In point of fact, there are endless photos of Biden touching women inappropriately. She's right, this hasn't done him any damage apparently.

The conservative position as I understand it is that not all of these accusations are equally believable, and we ought to insist on some level of proof before deploying the very harsh sanctions we (at least sometimes, haphazardly) levy against the guilty. Harvey Weinstein is in Rikers right now, stripped of fame and wealth and freedom, and he'll likely die there. Jeffery Epstein would have died in prison even if he hadn't been killed. The punishments do really fall, sometimes, and they are sometimes life-ending punishments. Conservatives argue that such punishments should not be deployed without proof, and certainly (as in the case of Kavanaugh) not without corroborating evidence. I don't get the sense that they don't believe the punishments shouldn't be deployed at all.

The liberal position seems to be that accusations should presumptively or even always be believed, and career-ending consequences deployed, if the accused is the wrong kind of person. If they're the right kind of person, even hard evidence -- endless pictures, blue dresses -- should not be allowed to interfere with their exercise of freedom and power.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding or misstating the positions; perhaps liberals simply can't believe (in spite of the obvious evidence) that a nice guy like Joltin' Joe Biden or Bill Clinton could engage in anything bad. Rascally, perhaps, but bad? Obviously they're not bad people, so they can't be guilty; and the evidence of our eyes must therefore be deceptive. (AVI's favorite, Slate Star Codex, calls that top-down processing.)

It does appear, though, the double standard is real. The accusations against Kavanaugh were unlikely, and some of them were implausible on their face. All the same, screaming hordes of liberal women came to try to force Congress to destroy him -- not just to refuse to promote him, but to impeach him, investigate and try him, find a way to send him to prison for the harm he allegedly caused the nice-seeming lady with the memories she recovered in therapy decades after the event almost certianly never happened. The accusations against Clinton and Biden are supported by physical evidence, which you can verify for yourself. No similar outcry is occurring. In fact, you can't even get the press to admit the story exists.