His Name Was Charles

His name was Charles and he was the first born in the family. He was my brother, but I never knew him as I was born two years after Mom and Dad got the MIA (missing in action) certificate from the government. He was on a volunteer mission after the attack on Pearl Harbor. His plane got off course and went down in the Pacific Ocean somewhere between Hawaii and Christmas Island.

When he was a teenager, the family lived in a town in the Mississippi Delta. They lived down the street from a Ham Radio Operator (Amateur Radio). Even back then radio was a kind of magic, and my brother got the radio bug. I am pretty sure he learned Morse Code from that Ham Operator. After all, the Ham Radio Community has a tradition and duty of mentoring others into the hobby.

During World War I and World War II, the US Government looked at the Amateur Radio community as a ready trained source of Morse Code operators.

Charles, like most young men wanted to grow out of his rural beginnings and see something of the world. His ticket was his skills with the code. Somehow, he became a radio operator in the Civilian Conservation Corps, which apparently had its own communications network.

From there, Charles managed to wrangle an enlistment into the US Army. That does not sound like a tough thing to do, but this was before Pearl Harbor, and Charles first posting was to Hawaii as a radio operator in the shore defense units. This was a prime posting, especially for a newbie.

The communications facility was on Diamond Head. On the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 he took a break, stepping out of the radio building to take a smoke. That’s when he saw the Japanese planes. He witnessed the attack from Diamond Head. I’m not sure why the Japanese didn’t go after radio communications towers, but they didn’t.

Charles later wrote a letter to his little brother, Ray, about the event. This letter was published in the Cleveland, Mississippi newspaper as a first-person witness to the attack.

After the attack, liberties were cancelled, most soldiers were confined to base. It was so boring that Charles volunteered for a mission to ferry airplane parts from Hawaii to Christmas Island. He was on board as the radio operator and was undoubtedly the one to send the message that they were going down. They had gotten off course during a storm and ran out of fuel.

It was an emotional time. Losing a child, especially the first born, is a tough thing to handle. The first MIA certificate the government sent my parents had the incorrect date. Dad called Washington, DC and had this corrected, I was told, after a bit of spicy language with whomever was on the other end of the line. He had called for President Truman. Naturally, he was not put through to the President.

As World War II wound to a close and the soldiers started coming home, Dad would go to the train station in Memphis to look for Charles. Since he was missing in action, there was no proof of his death. Stories abound of how sailors and soldiers were rescued from certain death at sea, only to be held in Japanese prison camps.

Charles never came home.

It is important to remember those eager, young men. They left the farms, towns and cities before many were even shaving regularly. We honor them for their sacrifice.

 

 

It’s All In The Data, Maybe

As expert in all things data, I have been examining the COVID-19 case data and am ready make the following observations.

1. All categories of data are inherently wrong. There is at least a two-week lag before data gets reported, and even then is composed of reports from a myriad of sources, not all of whom collect the same sets of data for each case. What you see for today’s numbers is not going to be what today’s numbers are finally tallied to be.

2. Data are reported through public health departments, hospitals, and even the emergency management agencies. The recording formats are diverse, and accuracy depends on the ability of workers to record little things like the sex and race of the case. For example, in Georgia the stats show African-American and White race cases, and also a large number of cases labeled as “Missing”, and “Unknown” where the race has not been recorded. The word useless comes to mind.

3. There are Billion$ allocated in the CARES ACT for help to hospitals in handling COVID cases. Certainly an easily foreseen consequence of this bill would be the obvious incentive for hospitals to categorize as many cases as COVID as possible for the premium the government pays them under the new law. We hear reports that heart attack deaths sometimes turn into COVID deaths.

4. Data on the global status is accumulated from all the various nations’ public health departments. Take ALL of this data, especially if it comes through the World Health Organization with a great deal of cynicism. It is like all the other United Nations efforts, it is biased. The individual countries, like China, have reason to lie, and they do.

This is an exciting time for many academic fields including economics, epidemiology, medical science, psychology, and other disciplines that depend on data to formulate and make their conclusions. It will be decades if ever before we get it all sorted. In the meantime, we make life and death decisions on incomplete, and sometimes false data.

Our future comes down to the normal risk-reward decisions we make everyday.

Sometimes we win. Some times we lose.

 

 

Welcome To Interesting Times

There’a a purported Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” These are interesting times. We are living through a pandemic like those we read of in history books. It is not as bad as the bubonic plague when about 40% of the worlds population was killed, or is it as fleeting as the ebola virus which ravaged some of the world, but left parts alone.

Our pandemic has been with us since March, and appears to be heading for the first weeks of summer. Here in Georgia, the governor opted to loosen the pandemic strictures somewhat last week to include salons and tattoo parlors. The outcry around the nation was deafening, assuming that we are willing to send people to their graves just to get a paycheck.

Oh, how wrong they were. The new cases in Georgia have been decreasing significantly the last week. However, we won’t know if we have made a mistake until a couple of weeks have passed. At this point it looks like the governor has made the right call. From the looks of the curves in the south, we will be in relatively safe country in June.

The virus is not disappearing, it is migrating. It is moving from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere for their cold and flu season. As fall approaches in the northern hemisphere, we will see an uptick, or spike in the number of corona virus infections as the virus works its way back north. This is the way viruses propagate. It will be some time before the populations have built up enough immunity to consider it not a danger.

One big hope is a vaccine, even though many people say it is physically impossible to achieve a safe and effective vaccine in less than a year. There are some cases where medical institutions have not been able to synthesize a vaccine to combat certain viruses. HIV is one, and SARS is another.

Until then, our leaders must understand that the American people are not stupid, nor are they inherently careless with their health. We understand the risks of opening the economies, and most people are willing to risk infection to feed their families. This is not a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. It is a case of common sense and Americans have that quality in spades.

What’s Up With The Pandemic?

What’s up? Nothing good. People continue to get the virus, some of whom show no symptoms. It’s a sneaky little devil, that’s for sure.

President Trump is using the Fed’s epidemiology models to speculate on when the epidemic reaches it’s peak, and that is in two weeks, April 13 – 15, or Easter Weekend. Even if this is true the problem is not over. The really big question is, when will President Trump open the nation for business?

Here’s the problem. If President Trump makes his decision too early, the trend of coronavirus infected people will do an about face and start increasing, again. If President Trump waits too long, our economy will be in a depression that some consider will be worse than the Great Depression of the  early twentieth century. He is in a Catch-22 situation, or as they say, damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

The reality of the situation boils down to this: the President has to make a decision that results in the least overall damage to the population and the economy, and he knows that at some point the economy takes precedence. It’s that simple.

The person you want to make this decision is either a genius, or a really good river-boat type gambler. Geniuses make decision based on hard data. Gamblers make decisions based on their observation of chances to win.

President Trump is a proven winner, he’s smart, and would make a great James Garner-like river-boat gambler. I will go with the President on this one, even though I am in the high-risk group for death-by-virus.

Keep America Great!

 

Democrat Primary Season: Is It Really A Horse Race?

So far, the Democrat candidate field has caused a lot of dust, but a real horse race has yet to develop.

The last time I blogged on this subject was over three months ago. Since then, we have all been watching the Democrats eat each other, burn their crops, and pander to man and beast. Promises range from simple things like ending plastic bags to multi-trillion dollar revamps of the nation’s economy and explicitly terminating the US Constitution.

Whatever it  takes seems to be their motto. What is fifteen or thirty trillion dollars to the richest (and most indebted) country in the world? To them it doesn’t matter.

All that matters is their position in the polls. The higher the position, the more money they can raise, and the better chance of getting the nomination. Of course, some may be really running for the VP position.

This is where they stand in the latest Real Clear Politics Averages.

Biden – 28.0%

Sanders – 16.0%

Warren – 15.4%

Harris – 7.4%

Buttigieg – 5.0%

O’Rourke – 3.0%

The most significant difference in the last three months is that Elizabeth Warren has moved up sharply. The top six candidates have about 3/4 of the overall vote potential, and I have not counted the remaining ones.

After several so-called debates, Tulsi Gabbard destroyed Kamala Harris, Warren is gaining ground on Sanders with whom she shares the same appeal, and the Buttigieg and under gang are still on the bottom. I believe it is here that some are running for the Vice President slot.

What is this telling us? We all know that Joe Biden has some real problems with his mental acuity and physical strength. He is also the one candidate that the rank and file Democrats feel can win against Donald Trump.

Right now, the Democrats are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If they run Biden it is likely that Trump will run circles around him in debates. If they run anyone else the Democrats run a huge risk of showing their real face, socialist dogma and anti-American ideas of trashing the US constitution.

In the next few months anything can happen. Some unanticipated, but extremely popular person could enter the field and seize the nomination.  Lacking that, things don’t look good for the Dems.

 

The Democrat Horse Race Begins

Former Vice President Joe Biden has finally made his official entry into the Democrat presidential primary race. There are nineteen other Democrat luminaries running, and Biden makes number twenty. The interesting thing is that the polls have Biden in a substantial lead over all the other candidates.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls have Biden at 29, Sanders at 23, Harris at 8.3, and Buttigieg at 7.5. Senator Elizabeth Warren is coming in fifth at 6.5, and the rest of the field is lower than that. The race sets Biden and Sanders as the early strong candidates, with Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg running a close third and fourth.

The weird thing about this group is that the Democrat party has declared that anybody white is bad. So, how does that square with two old, fossilized white men being the most popular entrants in the primaries? Oh, yeah, they are of the male gender, too.  The fourth candidate is a white, gay man. Gay doesn’t buy him any points, anymore. Skin color is the most important factor in Democrat politics.

The Democrat’s nod to victims of color are Kamala Harris, Senator from California, and Senator Cory Spartacus Booker from New Jersey. Booker’s campaign is in the ditch, and will probably stay there. It surely looks like there are heaping helpings of hypocrisy in the Democrat Party.

If the Dems stick to their announced values, Kamala should be a shoo-in for the Presidential nomination. I don’t think she has the experience or smarts to get there, but at this point it is hard to count anyone out except for Robert Beto O’Rourke and Senator Elizabeth Pocahantas Warren. I believed they are political zombies at this point even though they are in the top seven in the polls.

The DNC says there will be a total of twelve primary debates, with the first in June of 2019. As of today, seven of the candidates have qualified with both donation support and public poll standing for the debates. Eight candidates have qualified with only one criterion, and five have not made the grade in either to polls or number of donors.

The DNC will make sure all twenty will be in the first debate on two consecutive nights in June. Only after the first two or three debates will the large field of competitors start to sort itself out.

If Pete Buttigieg can make it past the first two debates with increasing support and financing, he may very well pull ahead of Kamala Harris, putting him in third place. At that point he has to hope that one of the first two kills off the other. I feel that Sanders can sink Biden. Buttigieg may have a chance to take it all if he can make a significant move early in the series of debates.

My speculation is that come 2020, the top six candidates will be Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, possibly Elizabeth Warren, with a dark horse coming in sixth place. Maybe Andrew Yang can be that dark horse, but he is Asian and therefore not among the chosen set of victims to lead the party of collective ignorance.

Most of the candidates are not in the running. Their raison d’etre is to establish notoriety for future political positioning.

Who do you think will be around for the home stretch?

Mayor Pete – The Next Democrat Presidential Nominee?

South Bend Indiana Mayor, Pete Buttigieg has entered the race for the Democrat Presidential nomination for the 2020 elections. His name recognition has gone from about zero to great in just a couple of weeks. How did he do it?

Mayor Pete’s only claim to fame is that he is gay. Nobody cares, anymore, if you are gay or living with a same sex partner. Gay is very common.

To get attention, he picked a fight with Vice President Pence over religion.  Pence has never said anything derogatory about Buttigieg, but that doesn’t keep Pete from showing his true Democrat colors. He lied.

That’s a true blue Democrat. When you have nothing to say, tell a lie. Throwing mud at Pence got Buttigieg off to a fast start, and now he is the darling of the Democrat Party. The field of Democrat contestants is mediocre. Mayor Pete has charisma, a magnetic charm that we saw in JFK, and Barack Obama. The only strike against him is that he is white, irrational as that may be.

Charisma is what makes Buttigieg dangerous. He seems to have some common sense, but I will not bet our country on that idea. At the core, I believe Buttigieg is no better than any of the haters in the Democrat Party.

Pete Buttigieg is a hater. His unwarranted and false accusations made against the Vice President presage that fact. He will be a hater with the best, so watch out. Mayor Pete has a great chance of being the next presidential nominee.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Life – Creation – DNA

How did life begin?

I don’t know what your favorite story is about the creation. From what I have been reading, the most popular hypotheses are listed below.

A) Creationist Accounts (6 thousand year old earth)

B) Primordial Soup (some sort of random march of subatomic particles and forces banging around until lightening strikes the proverbial primordial soup, then magic takes over)

C) Intelligent Design (old earth, but life caused by intelligent designs)

Creationist views take a Biblical version of creation and force it into a six thousand year time-line. In other words Creationists say the earth is only six thousand years old and the actual act of creation is as outlined in the two stories in Genesis taken verbatim. On day one, God created the heavens and the earth. On the second day, God said, “Let there be light.”  God spoke the world and life into existence in exactly seven days.

I have always viewed the Genesis 1:1 account as beautiful poetry. Poets take license to describe events and thoughts in ways that are not always literal. Also, whoever started the Genesis stories could only relate creation in terms contemporary people could understand.

In my opinion the writers of Genesis did not intend for the creation stories to be taken literally. Because of that, I have no problem with an earth that is billions of years old, nor do I have a problem with some form of evolution. Even at that, God is the Creator.

The Primordial Soup hypothesis claims some sort of scientific evidence that life was not created by a higher Intelligence or Being. Instead, evolutionary forces through millions and millions of years managed to crash together the perfect combination of molecules in some sort of soupy ocean, maybe being struck by a gigantic bolt of lightening. Then MAGIC happens and we not only have a single-cell hunk of life, but it comes complete with all the rights and privileges appertaining there-unto, and a complete kit of DNA.

Wow! That’s one big story. The funny thing is that to accept this hypothesis you have to believe in the power of random, whatever that is. In the world of mathematics and our physical world, random means that the cause is uncertain. All this means is that there is nothing scientific about chance beginnings of life.

If you believe in a universe where everything has a cause, primordial soup has no meaning for you.

Intelligent Design is not Creationism or Primordial Soup. Indeed, there is no problem with Intelligent Design recognizing an earth that is over three billion years old. There is no problem in recognizing the processes of evolution. God still is the cause of life itself. The Intelligent Designer.

There is no contradiction between the scientific world and God as creator in Intelligent Design. We know that the earth is billions of years old, and we have physical evidence of evolution, although there is a good bit of disagreement on this evidence and what it means.

I have an Audible Book titled, Signature In The Cell by Stephen C Meyer. The author has tied together the scientific physical evidence world and Intelligent Design. Information theory plays a big part in the realization of this hypothesis. Most people have no idea of information theory and its place in the modern world. It is very mathematical and all of our modern communications system are built on this theory.

The really big deal is DNA. How in the world did DNA come about? Random combinations could never create all the proteins that DNA uses to give meaning and form to life.

This is where information theory comes in.

DNA is information, and is in digital form. The information contained in our DNA would fill a four megabyte memory stick with digital data. That’s a LOT of data. It took decades for scientists to break the DNA code. Now we know that our genetic make-up is housed in our DNA data. It is all we are, or ever could be.

Who put the information into our DNA? It is not noise, nor is it some fake random stuff. DNA is functional, intelligent information.

Therein is the point of Intelligent Design. Simply put, our entire make-up has been delivered to our cells in the form of intelligent instructions, and that intelligence is God.

What do you believe?

 

The New Reality Of Collusion

The Russian collusion hoax has come to an end in spite what the dedicated left-wing politicians and journalists say. With the summary of the Mueller report being announced, the game is now totally different.

Reality has changed.

Like science, once you bet on one version you will inevitably be disappointed in your personal reality. Scientific conclusions change every day. That’s why so-called climate change panic has proven to be junk science. All their supporting data is old, and their forecasts are based on guesses, not real data.

The  Mueller report has changed the reality for the Democrat party. Even though they never had a case for President Trump’s proposed collusion, this didn’t stop them because they had the dominant media outlets on their side. It was all lies.

The Democrat position was lies all the way down. It was lies about all the Trump meetings based on circular reporting based on a so-called dossier that the Democrats bought from the Russians. The whole house of cards has now collapsed.

Where do things go from here? According to liars like Rep Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell there will be no change in the Democrat messaging. If they continue to support this house of cards the Democrat party will become extinct. Defeat is certainly in their future.

I don’t think Nancy Pelosi will let that happen. Strangely enough, she is the adult in the room to keep the little kids from messing all their diapers on the collusion nonsense. It feels strange to say this, but Nancy Pelosi is the only person who can save the Democrats from themselves.

In the meantime some Republicans are planning payback, but Republicans have never been very good in a street fight. That’s where President Trump comes in. He is the best tool to keep defeating the anti-American Democrats, and the best hope for our nation and constitution.

 

 

Source of Educated Idiots

Many of us have wondered for years how all those idiots in Congress graduated the Ivy League universities on their resumes. You read about Hollywood figures’ idiotic and uneducated opinions who went to Ivy League schools. How does this happen?

Come on, folks. All our lives we have known that wealthy people have not only a leg up in life, but their families make sure their children are part of top tier educational networking groups. They keep it in the family.

The Kennedy’s, with the exception of Teddy, went to Harvard. Al Gore went to Yale, with his roommate being Tommy Lee Jones. The Bushes went to Yale. Not all of these people were idiots, but some stress the boundaries.

I am sure that a lot of the children of the rich and famous are intelligent in their own right. However, it is the Al Gore’s of the world that give education a bad name. Gore’s major talent is using his contacts to make money while he moralizes his way to the bank. His ideas are off the scale with respect to stupidity.

The nation is now in the beginning of the biggest education scandal in history.  Wealthy people have been caught buying their kids higher SAT scores to get them into tier one colleges. For every bogus student like this, a hard working, smart and talented kid is denied access to the educational promised land.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a cum laude (with honors) graduate of Boston University. BU is not exactly a top tier institution, but something similar is going on when someone of AOC’s intellectual shortcomings are cum laude graduates. So many universities have become politically correct baby-sitting operations.

The much vaunted liberal arts degree is no more.  In many schools grades are not given, and kids don’t fail. This is primarily in the humanities. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the poster child for this historical fault in our educational system.

So, there it is. If you are rich enough, or have the right connections, you can get your kid accepted into a top tier institution. If you kid is a dummy that is not problem. Nobody fails once accepted into the college club. Your kid is home free.

Now I understand where all  those idiot celebrities and politicians come from.