Category Archives: News

protesting the World Cup

Is protest without any kind of sacrifice or effort meaningful?  I personally don’t think so.  The type of protest that can most accurately be called virtue signaling or slactivism or better yet, both, just doesn’t mean anything to me.  An example would be wearing a “One Love” armband when you know the only consequence is a fine you can well afford and the support and affirmation of peers and journalists.

This was demonstrated in the last few days.  European soccer captains said they would take the terribly brave step of wearing an armband during their games to show support for LGBTQ people.  OK, sounds good.  Then FIFA said they’d give people who did this a yellow card.  The captains can only wear and “anti-discrimination” armband instead starting in the quarterfinal.  Now, in soccer, if you receive two yellow cards, you get kicked out of the game and your side is left with ten players instead of eleven.  This is a huge disadvantage.  In addition, the captain also tends to be one of the best players on the team, sometimes the best full stop.  So yes, accepting a yellow card is in fact a big disadvantage since that player must now play more carefully to avoid getting a second.  But here’s the thing, instead of a meaningless virtue signal, wearing the armbands became a meaningful sacrifice that actually required the participants to show genuine commitment to the issue they claim to care so much about.  So what happened?  They all sorrowfully declared they wouldn’t be able to participate in the “protest” after all.

Now, if you don’t happen to be a soccer captain on an international team, you can still show how much you hate those nasty Qataris and their unpleasant views on LGBTQ people.  The Atlantic encouraged brave Americans to forego their beloved game of soccer and skip watching the World Cup.  I could hardly roll my eyes any harder.   First of all, most Americans barely care about soccer.  Not many will watch in the first place, regardless of their views on Qatar.  Our team more or less sucks as a general rule and will likely struggle to dispatch Wales in the first round.  If this were England or Brazil, not watching the World Cup would be a meaningful sacrifice.  But in the US?  Come on.

For what it’s worth, I fully agree that Qatar wasn’t the right choice for this event, though apparently the country stopped flogging women for adultery since they were awarded the tournament.  So maybe it’ll be a net benefit in the end.  Probably the award followed by protest and criticism is all part and parcel of the potential benefit to Qatar’s citizens.  My understanding is the whole thing came about due to bribery, though, not wise people weighing the pros and cons and making a well-deliberated decision with ideals of sport and virtue in mind.

ETA: I feel like I am becoming incredibly cynical.  I am even more cynical on this blog than elsewhere, but I’m kind of cynical in general.  It’s not a great way to approach the world.  Maybe a brave soccer captain will take a stand or FIFA will back down.  Maybe for Thanksgiving, I should resolve for at least a while to be more thankful and less cynical.

Covid in Seattle

There are so many examples of harm done by stupid pandemic policies, but just in case you need another, here it is.

The jail discontinued group activities, classes and in-person family visitation at the outset of the pandemic as a way to reduce COVID-19 transmission, but those policies have continued as the jail grapples with an understaffing crisis.

Families of people in jail custody have cited the jail’s shutdown of in-person visitation and programming like Narcotics Anonymous and group religious services as contributors to their loved ones’ deteriorating mental health.

What a surprise that the jail seized the opportunity discontinue services with Covid as an excuse, and more than two years later, they’re still stopped.  How horrible that they’ve stopped in-person family visitation!  Disgusting.

Between August 2021 and July 2022, four people died by suicide in the downtown jail or in the hospital following a jail stay, a rate more than four times the national pre-pandemic jail average, according to Seattle Times reporting.

These are small numbers, but for all the people who actually manage to kill themselves, imagine how many others must be in a state of despair.

But don’t worry . . . they’ve got a 2-year plan to restore visits.  Yes, a 2-year plan.  By 2024, people will be able to have visitors again.  Can you imagine?  I’m no bleeding heart and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about criminals, but this is ridiculous.  I think a lot of people and organizations have shown their true colors in their response to the pandemic.  And Biden is right, the pandemic is over and has been for a while.

Meanwhile, Seattle libraries had 130 closures this summer.  Yes, 130.  You really couldn’t make this stuff up.  Seattle librarians are STILL required to wear masks.  (Yes, those books are apparently still dangerous.  Remember the ones they were quarantining for 72 hours for a solid year?)  Libraries used to close at 85 degrees, which is rather unusual in Seattle.  Now they close at 80 degrees, which is far more common.  Why?  Because the masks make it unsafe to work in temperatures above 80.


I’ve been watching the reaction to QE2’s death with a mix of fascination and horror.  I’ve found the fawning over her from American quarters . . . interesting.  Here in the US, we’re all about canceling Thomas Jefferson, but an imperialist British monarch?  Well, she was wonderful.  Did you ever see such a collection of puff pieces?  Yes, after a bit of time, our media leaders let a bit of criticism slide by, but really.

Did you know Charles is now king of FOURTEEN countries?  Yes, let’s list them: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.  Australia has already proclaimed him their head of state.  I’m curious whether all these countries will make an affirmative proclamation, and how many will decide it’s finally time to move on.  Countries that ditched Elizabeth include: Sri Lanka, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago and Uganda.

Elizabeth was a cute old lady and rather easy to tolerate for those of us who grew up when she was already old and not doing much.  Charles is more obnoxious to look at even.   As for the younger royals, it’s hard to say who’s more obnoxious, them and their bickering and trendy cause grandstanding or the Kardashians.

a pox on both your houses

This is kind of hilarious and kind of not.  I noticed last week, per the NY Times, that the CDC had introduced a recommendation that everyone, including in the US, wear masks during travel to avoid monkeypox.  I was surprised at the lack of coverage of this recommendation.  Given that monkeypox, like Covid, is not going away, this was another clear indication of preference of our health overlords for permanent masking.  I guess some Democrats must have felt it might hurt their re-election prospects, because the recommendation was withdrawn the next day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance last week for travelers wishing to protect themselves against monkeypox. This was one of its recommendations: “Wear a mask. Wearing a mask can help protect you from many diseases, including monkeypox.”

Late Monday night, that recommendation was deleted.

“C.D.C. removed the mask recommendation from the monkeypox travel health notice because it caused confusion,” the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

(My read of the original story was that the recommendation was that EVERYONE should wear masks, not just those who wanted to protect themselves.  But I only read the NYTimes story, not the CDC guidance.)

But in briefings with the press and with the general public, health officials have not explicitly addressed the possibility of airborne transmission or the use of masks for protection.

And in interviews, they emphasized the role of large respiratory droplets that are expelled from infected patients and drift onto objects or people.

I kind of feel like Covid showed that the difference between “droplets” and airborne is academic.  Airborne is airborne.  I guess the NY Times picked up on that not-so-subtle point also:

The C.D.C.’s swift about-face on masks for travelers concerned about monkeypox was reminiscent of its early denials that the coronavirus was airborne. In September 2020, the agency published guidance on airborne transmission of the virus and then abruptly withdrew it just days later.

It was not until May 2021 that the agency acknowledged that the coronavirus could “remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours.”

And then there’s this:

“Most people think that smallpox usually is transmitted by large droplets, but it can, for whatever reason, occasionally be transmitted by small-particle aerosols,” said Mark Challberg, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

I’d say we can trust the CDC about as far as we can throw them on monkeypox, much like on Covid in the early days months years.



what to do if your children’s school is under attack

Truly unbelievable.

What makes this truly egregious is that, instead of going in to rescue the children, the cops instead blocked parents from entering.  If parents had entered might some of them have died?  Yes.  Might fewer children have died?  Also yes.  Any parent would lay down their life for their child and would consider that a good trade.  If the police were too cowardly to enter themselves, they should have let the parents in.

The lesson to learn from this?  If you are a parent, don’t let police block you from entering the school.  Break a window and go inside and save your kid.  In general, listening to figures of authority in crisis situation is dubious.  Remember 9/11 when they told people to stay at their desks?

This reminds me of Virginia Tech when the shooter killed 32 people over the course of an hour.  The doors were chained and the police, who arrived their quickly, just couldn’t find a way to enter.

Let’s review again.  Police arrived at the scene in four minutes but didn’t enter the building for an hour because they exchanged fire with the gunman and had to “fall back.”  Give me a fucking break.

None of this should distract from the real problem here, which is the availability of military weapons to anyone who feels like buying them.  But it makes me pretty frikking mad.

I probably shouldn’t say this, but I find the lack of fury interesting.  George Floyd is killed and literally millions of people hit the streets protesting.  A parcel of innocent elementary school kids are murdered in cold blood, police protecting the killer inside from angry parents outside, and there is barely a peep.

The rally in front of City Hall Thursday afternoon to persuade Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to cancel the NRA convention generated a less-than-overwhelming turnout. I counted about a dozen attendees, establishing a roughly two-protesters-to-every-media-photographer ratio.

I guess it’s just not as fun to protest as when work is canceled and the alternative is sitting alone in your house due to quarantine laws.  Not that honestly those protests made that much difference in the end.  I’m reading about the Russian revolution at the moment.  Real change requires revolution, and at least half the time, you end up worse than you were before, possibly with your children starving to death.