Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The beginning of the end of the free podcasts era

Now that Apple is adding an easy way to allow for paid podcasts on its Podcast App, I expect the era of plentiful free podcasts is about to come to a close.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Are lots of people skipping their second COVID vaccine dose?

On May 28, 2021, Pennsylvania go to 70% of the adult population partially vaccinated. The fully vaccinated number was only 52.7% at that time. I figured that meant in 3-4 weeks the fully vaccinated number would reach 70% because the delay between the first and second Pfizer shot is 3 weeks, and the delay between the first and second Moderna shot is 4 weeks (J&J gets you fully vaccinated after one shot--and those three, Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J are the only approved vaccines in the U.S.) Which would mean our state could be approaching that magical (perhaps mythical) herd immunity number by early July.

It's not 3.5 weeks later and the percentage of fully vaccinated adults has barely moved. Today the PA Department of Health web site says 54.2% of Pennsylvanians age 18 or older are fully vaccinated. Are that many people not showing up for their second Pfizer or Moderna shot? If that's the case, why isn't is a huge issue?

Thursday, June 10, 2021


Every once in a while I talk to a conservative who is utterly convinced that the rest of the world doesn't respect America whenever they have a Democrat in office. Trump echoed that sense when he ran for president claiming that our foreign allies were "laughing at" the U.S. under Obama. That whole "the world looks down upon the U.S. under weak Democrats" is pretty funny when you consider that, at least in recent decades, precisely the opposite seems to be true.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Team Trump has never fully appreciated how unpopular he is

I think I've written several variations of this already, but the biggest flaw in the Trumpistas' plan to overthrow democracy and install Trump as president is that Trump the politician has always been and continues to be really really unpopular.

Trump's approval rating never got over 45% and spent most of his term wobbling between the high-30s and the low-40s. Even on the best day of his entire presidency 10% more Americans disapproved of him than approved of him. No President in modern history had a significantly higher disapproval rating than approval on every single day of his term. Even Jimmy Carter, the paradigm case for an unpopular president, had periods of popularity that dwarfed Trump's pathetic numbers.

(Green line is Trump, black line is Carter)

Trump's fans (not to mention Trump himself) don't seem to understand that most of the country hates his fucking guts. Sure, a dictator isn't directly responsive to the public. But even dictators need a well of popular support to seize and hold power. That's why dictators spend so many resources trying to suppress bad news about themselves and manage public opinion about them. The constituency who wants to overthrow the government and install Biden is a much smaller minority than I think they get.

We all live in our bubbles, and in a hyper polarized country those bubbles are even more self-contained than ever. So I don't think Trump's fan see this problem at all. But it doesn't change the basic problem that Trump's deep and fairly broad unpopularity would pose a real barrier to a coup. That doesn't make it impossible. But all coups are hard to pull off. Unpopularity would be a big strike against this one's success.

Monday, May 31, 2021



If every year was an hour then I'd be married for a full day.

(Days of Yore: 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7...)

This doesn’t need an entire op-ed piece to explain

Actually it’s because that issue is really hard and every American president is extremely unlikely  to solve it.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Sham election*

You gotta wonder what's the deal with that 4.9% that didn't vote for Assad. Why were they allowed to vote for someone else when so many others were not?

Or did they make up the just under 5% number made up because the Syrian government thought a 100% vote would not be credible? Are they really so dumb to think that a 95.1% vote is credible?


*Yeah I know I used this title before. When a country is colloquially referred to as "Sham" in its native language (شام = "Sham" = Damascus or generally Syria) how can any election not be a sham?