David Brooks gets U.S. history and the cultural effect of the pandemic wrong

Featured image Here is how David Brooks begins his May 21 column for the New York Times: I was an American history major in college, back in the 1980s. I’ll be honest with you. I thrilled to the way the American story was told back then. To immigrate to America was to join the luckiest and greatest nation in history. . . . To be born American was to be born to »

Is COVID-19 Dying Out?

Featured image From the U.K. comes the extraordinary news that vaccine manufacturers may not be able to test their vaccines successfully because hardly anyone is getting the Wuhan virus: Hopes that a vaccine for the coronavirus could be ready by September are hanging in the balance, as the scientists developing it are concerned that a slowdown in the rate of infection in the general population could invalidate the human trials currently taking »

Coronavirus in one state (49)

Featured image Governor Tim Walz called a press conference yesterday afternoon to announce his limited stand down on religious worship. I have posted the video from the governor’s YouTube channel below. Walz takes the lectern at about 3:00. Walz is a force to contend with. He played a losing hand here to maximum effect and then smothered the resolution in a torrent of verbiage. No one is going to outtalk this guy. »

Minnesota governor backs down on restriction of religious services

Featured image Scott reported here on the resistance from Minnesota’s Catholic bishops and Lutheran leaders to continuing restrictions placed on religious worship by Gov. Walz. That resistance has paid off. Walz has agreed to lift his restriction on church services of more than ten people. The way is now clear for houses of worship of all faith traditions to open to larger groups starting Wednesday, May 27, 2020. The Becket Fund, which »

Coronavirus in one state (48)

Featured image Yesterday brought the news that this year’s edition of the Minnesota State Fair is canceled. Dating back to our territorial days, the fair was last canceled in 1948 as a result of the polio epidemic. The cancelation is only the fifth time in the fair’s history. State authorities advised the fair board that COVID-19 “would still be with us at dangerous levels” at the end of August, according to Health »

Normal Americans Consider the Shutdown

Featured image Rebellion against governors’ irrational and unscientific shutdown orders is growing across the country. As we have noted before, the revolt is especially strong in rural areas. What is striking is how sane and thoughtful the critiques from red America are, compared with the submissive hysteria that dominates most urban areas. This is just one example among many, an account in the Mille Lacs Messenger, a central Minnesota newspaper, of a »

The deadly health impacts of prolonged lockdowns

Featured image Since the early days of the pandemic, we have noted that an economy seriously damaged by prolonged lockdowns would be very bad for public health. In our first Power Line VIP program following the lockdowns, Steve pointed to robust research regarding the adverse health effects of major economic downturns. Since then, many others have made the same point. Even some liberals seem finally to be recognizing this reality. Writing in »

Coronavirus in one state (47)

Featured image Minneapolis boy mayor Jacob Frey is concerned that Governor Walz is enjoying all the action. He means to get in on it. Frey has now ordered face masks to be worn by those over the age of 2 inside all places of public accommodation, effective next week. Noncompliance is subject to a $1,000 fine. Who was that unmasked man? We are about to find out. The rest of us will »

How the pandemic has widened our political divide

Featured image There might have been a time when the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic would have united Americans, or at least not exacerbated our divisions. Americans might have been able to agree that China should be strongly condemned for its deadly misconduct in providing false information about the scope of the pandemic and how the virus spreads. Barring entry to the U.S. of people from the pandemic’s epicenter might not have been controversial, »

Shutdowns: What’s the Point?

Featured image When the federal government recommended closing down much economic and social activity, and nearly all governors obliged by issuing shutdown orders that were more or less comprehensive, there was an explicit and coherent rationale: the shutdowns were needed to flatten the curve, to spread out the time during which the coronavirus would be active so that hospitals would not be overcrowded by a sudden onset of critically ill patients. That »

Unintended Consequences Show Up Again

Featured image The Wall Street Journal has a long feature today (“The Day the Coronavirus Nearly Broke the Financial Markets“) about the breakdown and near collapse of the credit markets on March 16. As the story’s short nut graf puts it, “March 16 was the day a microscopic virus brought the financial system to the brink. Few realized how close it came to going over the edge entirely.” It makes for great reading, »

Coronavirus in one state (46)

Featured image Listening to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and his team announce Walz’s eagerly anticipated but extremely disappointing new edict on bars and restaurants at his press briefing yesterday (video below), I had the thought that we have reached the San Marcos phase of emergency rule as depicted in Woody Allen’s Bananas. “Hear me! I am your new president. From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish,” »

The not so great hydroxychloroquine debate

Featured image So, President Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against contracting the Wuhan coronavirus. You have to give him credit. He has the courage of his convictions. Actually, it doesn’t require courage to take hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure. The drug has been widely used to treat malaria and lupus for many decades. Like virtually every medication, it has side effects. However, it is not dangerous. The FDA »

The Pushback Continues [Updated]

Featured image Around the country, citizens are fighting back against extreme and likely illegal shutdown orders. An inspiring example comes from Minnesota, where today all of the state’s Catholic bishops signed a letter to their congregants saying that they will not obey Governor Walz’s current order. Walz modified his shutdown order again today, but it still prohibits churches from gathering in groups of more than ten. A local newscaster commented: Churches can »

The coronavirus in Europe, a comparative analysis

Featured image The Wuhan coronavirus is waning in Europe. A month ago, new reported cases in Italy were running at about 3,500 per day, down from a peak of around 6,000. Now, they are averaging around 800. A month ago, Italy was averaging around 500 reported deaths from the virus per day, down from a peak of more than 800. Now, the daily average is around 150. Moreover, the number of reported »

Ron DeSantis Has Had Enough

Featured image Florida has been a shining star in the current coronavirus epidemic. Its fatality rate is unusually low, in part because its governor, Ron DeSantis, has followed the opposite approach from that of the inept Andy Cuomo: he has gotten infected people out of nursing homes rather than stashing them there. Of course DeSantis has been given no credit for his excellent performance. When Florida reopened for business ahead of most »

Trump/Barr DOJ warns California against disfavoring churches

Featured image The Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Barr, has moved aggressively to make sure that state and local measures to contain the Wuhan coronavirus do not violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. We discussed some of the DOJ’s actions here, here, and here. Now, the New York Times reports that Justice Department has “warned California’s governor that his COVID-19 restrictions discriminate[] against places of worship »