Author Archives: Craig

Is a Tesla car (or other EV) “Green”?

The short answer is NO.

The longer answer would be “Compared to What” and also involve “At what Cost?”.

The issues here are complex. If you have a 4,000 square foot poorly insulated house and downsize to a 3,200 sq. ft. of same insulation – it is “greener” of course, but it is not green!
This is the type of problem we run into when trying to calculate advantages or disadvantages of Electric Vehicles (EV).

Let’s start at the top and work down through the issues. Some of them may be of more importance to prospective buyers – others less so.

  1. The Big Problem is the combination of “Car Culture” and the amount of resources and infrastructure needed for it.

This should be obvious – but many don’t even think this far. An EV will weigh 1500 lbs more than many ICE or Hybrid vehicles. This means it takes much more energy and “stuff”  to manufacture it. It also means that the wear and tear on roads, bridges and tires is greater. Gasoline infrastructure is mostly built – while we need to spend trillions on improving the electric grid and millions of charging stations.
Read this – just on tires! A 5500 Lb Tesla will likely “out pollute” 3000 lb Hybrid in this way.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/03/car-tyres-produce-more-particle-pollution-than-exhausts-tests-show

Buying a EV does nothing to avoid the building of those additional lanes on the interstate. It does nothing to help with the waste of time in traffic – and it does very little to avoid the death and destruction on the highways.

In short, many would say it’s the wrong direction in the first place – to continue the full-on car culture instead of building Bullet Trains and other forms of transport which are 100% proven to be vastly greener. We are not going to get “there” by having vehicles that are 5% or 10% “better and greener” than the last generation. Consider a good modern Hybrid car – they are 200% to 300% better than the gas cars from 15 or 20 years ago.

By pointing to Car Culture as the Main Problem, this writer is not saying “we must get rid of all cars” – rather, the point is that investment should geared toward solving the real problems – at a cost we can afford.

The greenest car you can have is an ancient used model that sits in the garage most of the time.   Remote Working, uBer, eBikes, etc. allow many modern families to get by with one (or fewer) cars. If the USA were to truly plan a greener future, we’d be building Bullet Trains as quickly as we could. A cynic might note that there is not nearly as much profit in Bullet Trains as there is in selling every household an EV or two.

2. Initial Cost of Vehicle and ongoing Costs.

Short Version – the 5 year cost of ownership or a Tesla Model Y is 52,000
The same for (larger) Avalon Hybrid is 30,000
The same for  Honda Hybrid is 24,000 to 27,000
A Tesla Y buyer is spending $25,000 extra over 5 years…

Do your own research at this Link – Tesla is not even in the top 100 vehicles for low cost of ownership.
https://caredge.com/ranks/costs

At present, the cost of a mid-level EV from Tesla is 50 to 100% more than a hybrid. “Green” applies to many things, including money (value for the dollar). Even if EV’s were greener then they are (they might be someday), they have to be affordable. The consumer could spend that extra 20 or 30K on many things which might provide better results (PV on their house, insulation, new furnace, carbon offsets, eBikes, etc.). None of these are as sexy “look at me” as a Tesla, but likely many will provide more help for Mother Nature.

Some parts of an EV may outlast those on regular cars – but others, such as tires, roads and bridges, are going to cost more due to the excess weight.

Fuel costs can differ – in general an EV costs as much or more than a good hybrid in per mile driven (fuel). Gasoline can spike – some lucky few live near Hydro plants or have large Solar PV arrays on their own roof…in these cases, the EV gets both greener and cheaper.

Right now – the Energy Mix in most of the USA is such that approx. 60% of the Electricity is generated by Fossil Fuels (Nat Gas and Coal). Therefore, in most cases, the critics who say “Your Tesla is powered by Fossil Fuels” have a point. On the other hand, in a country like Norway where almost 100% of the electric is renewable Hydro, an EV is much cleaner when it comes to the actual emissions generated. In these types of use cases, an EV may only take a year or two to “pay for” the increased use of manufacturing materials.

Q and A – anticipating what many folks might ask

Q: If this is the case, why are so many people – including Elon Musk – promoting these machines?
A: Two Teslas in your garage = $120,000 in revenue to Tesla. The cost of Bullet Trains, Trams, Light Rail and other upgrades to transportation and efficiency don’t “make money” in that fashion.

Q: What qualifications do you have? What do the real Experts say?
A: I have been in alt energy since the 1970’s – installed Solar Panels commercially starting in 1979. Imported, distributed, installed tens of millions of dollars worth of renewables. Studied energy of all types extensively.
Yale did a study in 2021 – quite detailed asking these same questions. The only way an EV works out, according to their research, is as I myself promote (small, shareable, public transit – and, more renewables. Here is their summary (read carefully).
“the current demand level of personal motorized transport is compatible with ambitious climate targets only under two major conditions: (1) consumers must switch to more energy-and material-efficient vehicles, for example, smaller or shared electrified vehicles, and (2) the energy used to charge these vehicles must be highly decarbonized.” 
Q: Would Full Self Driving Change the “Green Calculation:?
A: YES! In fact, the entire idea of Tesla being green is dependent on full self-driving – something called Level 4 or Level 5 automation. Tesla is currently at Level 2. WayMo (google) appears to be the current leader in this technology with Level 4 cars on the road.

Q: When will Tesla have Full Self Driving?
A: The question should be modified to ask “Will Tesla every have Full Self Driving, and – if so, when is it likely?”.
There is no good answer to this so I will bring forward the current situation, delays and opinions of other experts. Tesla claimed, in 2019, that they might have this “Robo-Taxi” functioning by 2020. It didn’t occur. Now, Tesla is predicting 2024/2025, which is 10X as long as the original claims (made on AI Day in 2019). Some experts in AI (Artificial Intelligence) say it may never happen to the extent claimed – “never” meaning 20+ years, IMHO.

Q: How many Companies are Actively working on Self-Driving cars or software?
A: Quite a few! It’s safe to guess about a dozen which have a very serious commitment to the project and many more working on smaller parts of the problem. This includes ALL the big car makers worldwide in addition to the newer EV-only companies, as well as various IC (chip) and computing companies.

Q: If I buy an EV now, will be be able to be upgraded to Full Self Driving with software?
A: Maybe…maybe not. But don’t count on it in terms of making an expensive purchase decision. The Self-Driving hardware of Tesla was upgraded in 2019 and odds are it will be upgraded every few years. Newer hardware is vastly superior – and since the self-driving problem has not been fully solved, no one can say exactly what hardware is needed to get to Level 5. These problems have always been underestimated and there is no reason to think this will change.
Companies like WayMo (google) are likely to license out their software and hardware package to existing manufacturers…when and if that happens, you would know that you have a vehicle that passes the regulatory burden. Same with Tesla – when they have full approval from all the regulatory bodies and have their cars running in public at level 4 and 5 you will then know that the hardware/software is ready for the job.

Q: Can you detail some of the big problems of so-called “Car Culture”?
A: Sure, first – look around you! Highways are adding more and more lanes – and yet traffic persists. 40,000 dead each year just in the USA – many more terribly injured. Blacktop and roads and parking lots all create excess runoff and pollution – use large amount of energy to produce (blacktop made from coal, oil, etc.). Landscape is often ruined – take not for just one day and see what your car does and what is needed to support it! Like this:
1. Parked in my garage (cost for garage, insurance, runoff, etc.).
2. Drove down my driveway (blacktop, runoff, heat sink).
3. Drove to Store (roads, lights, danger to pedestrians, large parking lots needed)
You get the idea. Your car is MUCH more than just “a car” – it requires vast amounts of support which costs money – and create many problems.
High Speed Rail, for example, would take up much less space and be many times as efficient per seat-mile. It doesn’t require rest stops, gas stations, hotels along the way, eateries, etc. – you get from here to there without the entire landscape in-between being highly disturbed.
The same is true, to some degree, with newer airliners. You need an airport at each end, but no ribbons of hotels and roads in-between.
Newer airlines get approx. 80 MPG for a single seat, making them more efficient than most cars for longer trips…even when two people are traveling (40 MPG equiv).

Why (or how) I ended up on Twitter!

Twitter is the type of social media I would usually avoid – shallow, unmoderated and chaotic.

And yet, I am a techie and early adopter of most everything – examples:

I was debating Politics online on Compuserve in 1986 (by this time I had done Ham Radio, CB, Newsletters and actual real community).

I was on the actual internet – and understood it – since 1994.

I started and published massive web sites since 1995.

My eBay account was started in 1999, my Amazon in 1998 and my gmail account is from the end of 2006.

Even my Twitter account is from 2007 – but I must have just signed up and never used it!  I was, and still am, accustomed to longer form discussion, writing, etc – not quick gossip, rumors, stories, etc.

The ONLY reason I started using twitter a little more was due to my entering the field of tech journalism (camera drones) in the time period approx 2015. Even then I often used a 2nd account which was just for the Drone business. Example of 2016 Drone Posting:

Despite having another large Web site (Hearth.com – millions of page views each month), I never used Twitter for that more “timeless and serious” property. Many of my articles and pictures had millions of “reads” – frankly, the “here today and gone tomorrow” Twitter popularity held (and still holds) very little appeal to me.

I sold the Drone site in 2018 and once again largely ignored Twitter.

UNTIL COVID.  I was living in both Florida and New England and the differences, as well as the nightmare which unfolded (the US Largely failed) held my attention for over a year. Also, as with many of you, there was less to do during the Pandemic so time on Twitter was not as much “wasted”.

So, what now? At this point I’m just a user with many interests. It’s almost back to 1986 and debating Politics again!

One of my specialties is Energy – renewables and efficiency and so on. I am considering starting another web site with a more broadly focused mission – of helping people to understand the issues relating to this. This is somewhat of a family affair as one of my “kids” is an engineer and attorney for the Sierra Club and works on massive Energy issues (car MPG, power plant pollution, etc.).

At heart I am a writer and a teacher…and I feel somewhat that my experience is currently not be used to the max. Another option would be for me to join an existing energy focused web property – but I’d have high standards as to what I’d need in terms of whatever relationship I might explore.

The Great Reset – My own (back when) and a Friends

With all the current stories about “The Great Reset”, I decided to post a couple of my own experiences. “Doing your Own Thing” is nothing new and was a major part of the Counterculture (hippie) Revolution of the late 1960’s.

The Assembly Line

I had this super-Hippie friend from the poor side of the tracks (SW Philly) named Jimmy. He wasn’t in our Main Line (philly) crowd being that he was dirt-poor and not local. I may have met him in Atlantic City or through other Overbrook connections.
We were broke – so one day Jimmy said “Craig, there is a local place that is hiring…let’s go over there” – and we did. The place was named “Mailers Unlimited” and it was a mail fulfillment center. They distributed magazines and did direct-mail for companies, etc.
I worked there doing various tasks for one week. One example would be taking a stack of magazines off a conveyor and putting them in a strapping machine, pushing a foot pedal to bundle them, and then repeating. Another job was stuffing envelopes.
At the end of that week I vowed that I would never again work a “rote” job like that…and I never have! To a young hippie it was the very definition of hell. Just like pushing that rock up the hill which then rolls down. That week seemed like a year – and you can just imagine how bad it was if I still write about it now!
The Type A Woman who Thought About It
I did a 10 day silent meditation retreat in about 2002 – ours was for “leaders and executives” – which didn’t differ from the regular courses other than it was at a really nice facility in the Berkshires. 11 hours of silent meditation a day makes a person “go through some things”.
On the 7th evening we had a group meditation and a few of our peers went up on stage to express their thoughts. A woman walked up – she looked like a typical “executive powerhouse” type A, maybe 35 years old.
“I just spent the last week realizing everything I have done in my life was useless and fruitless” (or something of the sort – it was exactly what the Great Resignation type of mindset today is cast as”.
I don’t think any of this is new – but to me it’s a great thing if younger people reexamine (or examine in the first place) their lives and plan accordingly.
Jimmy, by the way, a dirt-poor Irish kid who did a bunch of Psychedelics and probably in normal times would have ended up either nowhere or gotten lucky with a Union Job, ended up going to Japan to teach English (he had zero qualifications and was very non-verbal!).
He fell in love over there and made a full life in Japan!
Now THAT is a Great Reset!
“Do your thing – do what you wanna do – I can’t tell you, who to sock it to”
“Dance to the Beat of a Different Drummer”
“White Collared Conservative – walking down the street, pointing your Plastic Finger at me. You’re hoping my kind will soon drop and die, but I’m gonna wave my freak flag high”.

The Closing Word on Florida’s self-inflicted Summer of Death.

Over 25,000 Floridians have died since May 1 – a good “start date” because vaccines were available to everyone – plus a few weeks for them to kick in and people already sick to either recover or pass away. Some numbers show 20,000 of these death in 10 weeks – from July 1 to mid-September. No other state in the US has come close. To put post-vaccine deaths in perspective, here are a few examples:

Post Vaccine (May 1-Oct 15) Deaths from COVID – CDC/IHME Data
Adjusted for Population (based on FL base*)
FL – 25,000
TX- 14.000
NY – 4,000
CA – 5,500
MN – 5,200
MA -3,600
*adjusted means, for example, that 3,600 people didn’t die in MA – it was < 1/3rd that amount but MA has 1/3rd the population.

The Big Question is Why?

The answer is simple. The very same policies, lack of leadership and bad behavior which has caused Florida to become the laughing stock of much of the civilized world. If it seemed like Floridians were almost INTENTIONALLY infecting everyone – well, that is the FL Plan!

Even if we give Florida some slack, 20,0000 “extra” deaths occurred – and as I write this, deaths are still high (120/day). However, that particular Delta wave is over – it burned out.

Bad leadership and bad behavior caused this. It’s as simple as that. It’s wasn’t “seasonal” – there is no such thing as a respiratory season in summer in Florida. It wasn’t “age-adjusted” – you can read some of the other articles on that particular subject.

“Oh, but watch, this is because Floridians are indoors in the hot summer – and now cases are going down because summer is over” – I wonder if people listen to themselves as they spout this nonsense? The temperature has come down from a high of 89 to a high of 87….and, how many lawyers, CPA’s, doctors, bankers, retail workers, hair stylists, etc. work OUTDOORS? Basically the same amount of people are indoors (in their cars, shops, offices, doctors) all year round.

As noted in many other articles, summer is by far the lowest death time of year in Florida – for various reasons including a smaller population AND it’s not “season”.

Lay it our for me!

Here is what happened. The Gov. did the vaccinations incorrectly and incompletely. Due to this AND the lax attitude the state has assumed, people dropped their guard before they should have. This is the “behavior” part. The chart below shows observed mask wearing in Florida – note how it went down – about 50% down by the middle of June. Other chancy behavior followed along with it.

By the beginning of August, Floridians were noticing people around them dying and getting very sick – and what happened? Mask wearing went up quite a bit! However, by then it was too late. COVID had been given a warm welcome by the leaders and population of Florida with positivity rates hitting 20% and above. These are about as high as they can go when considering even a position vaccinated and millions with some antibodies from previous infections. For comparison, a chart of the positivity and deaths of my other state (MA) is below. The “summer surge” can be seen as a small bump – positivity may have reached 2.3% and deaths as high as 11 a day (equiv. to 35 or so in Florida). However, the population and leaders watched the numbers and squashed Delta in the Bud.

Self-Harm for what?

Florida gained nothing by letting extra 10’s of thousands die. In fact, the reputation of the state is probably harmed by being in the news cycle for mass death. A sane person would ask why…

Much of my opinion is spelled out in other articles so I won’t repeat it here. IMHO, this rises to the level of a Crime Against Humanity. In fact, there is a name for this – the abandonment of older people to die (when it can be helped).

Senicide is one name – Geronticide is the other. They both mean the same thing. Sadly, this is who we are (in Florida). I wish it were not so.

The new Fallacy – “Age Adjusted” COVID Deaths in Florida

“THE #1 PREDICTOR OF LOWER COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS AND/OR DEATHS IS THE ABILITY TO AVOID GETTING COVID.”

As has been mentioned in a recent post here, the Florida COVID denier crowd, after running out of ALL other excuses, now is standing upon a new and FALSE premise – that “age adjusted” Florida deaths somehow explains the 500 death per day peak and #1 Ranking of Florida in Post-Vaccine deaths.

When I first ran upon this I knew (you know, in my GUT) it was wrong. This was due to many factors, including it being repeated over and over by people who didn’t know things! This is the sure sign of “Tucker told me what to say” or what many call the Echo Chamber.

However, I wanted to explore this in more details – as just calling “BS” does not help the few who might really want to understand the relationship between COVID and Age – and.or who might want to understand why FL is now #1 in COVID deaths post-vaccine.

For those who get dizzy easily w/numbers, let me start with some broad statements which may help show how ridiculous this particular talking point is.

  1. TEXAS is one of the youngest states in the USA. Yet, it’s in the top few in DEATHS post vaccine. This, of course, goes 100% against the “old is big factor” point.
  2. Vaccinations lower the death rate by 4X (assuming 80% effective). This is such a large number that “adjustments” of many other types become just rounding errors.

For purposes of my short study, I used New England to compare to Florida. This makes sense for various reasons. New England has an older Population with some states as old or older than Florida in some categories. In terms of averages, the sum total of New England is approx. 1.8 years younger than Florida. All of New England has a population of 15 million, which – in all calculations – I am adjusting upwards to match Florida seasonal population.

Average Age Florida = approx 42 years. – Average Age New England = 40.3 years.

For those who may not get to the end of this article, I will start with some of the summary of calculation. All of my reasoning and calculations will use April 1, 2021 forward, as that is the “post vaccination” world we live in currently and covers the detail many are interested in – the massive waves of death that Florida experienced in Summer, 2021.

Apples to Apples – Excess Deaths (CDC, IHME)  in Florida in the time period noted were 30,000. In New England (adjusted), they were 3,700. The FLORIDA Death Rate from COVID is 8x as high (800%).

On the Specifics of Age Adjustment

There is an old expression concerning “Baffle them with BS” – which holds true in many discussions of complex subjects. I am not using Grad School Computational Statistics – this post is not destined for Nature or JAMA and needs no peer review. The differences are so vast that there is no need to take things out to many decimal places. Here are some short answers/calcs/guesses to the “What About” that is sure to follow.

Floridians are not in Florida NOW

To a Floridian this is fairly obvious. Myself and most of my friends and neighbors are NOT IN FLORIDA in the Summertime. This means the Population of Seniors” is much lower than the calculations (which are based on a Census taken in April). While I knew this – due to 50% or more of the houses in our area being vacant, I previously had no actual figures on it. Florida to the rescue – it appears some work was done on this very topic. A very low guess would be that 600,000  Floridians 55 and older are elsewhere during the Summer. This figure alone may counter the slight difference in years – yet alone other adjustments!

What About When New England Gets Hit Hard in the Fall/Winter?

These projections are already in – to some extent – and I agree that the North will see increases over the late Fall and Winter. However, death and taxes and COVID are all things better put off for later. The real answer here is that whether FL is 8X New England or 6X or 4X or even twice (2X) is of little meaning in the Big Picture. If 15,000 of those 30,000 could have been saved that’s a really big deal.

Craig, you didn’t Adjust for Age above!

Ah, now you are thinking – and reading! Congrats. YES, there is an adjustment for age. It would be very complex and most of it pre-dates vaccination, but it would look something like this.

Out of 1,000 COVID deaths, the pre-vaccination difference in the 1.8 years of age might be as large as 10%. Whereas 1,000 would die in Florida, 900 would die in New England. If no one had ever been vaccinated (ONLY behavior and leadership and demographics/density/lifestyle), this would be the largest theorectical difference.

Vaccines would likely reduce that 1,000 to 100-200…tho.

Summary – Age Adjustment is total BS for we Lay Persons

That MAGA individual parroting “age adjustment” on Twitter should be asked “Well, What-about Texas, that super-young population dropping like flies?”. Or, to put it more professionally, the repeating of an “age adjustment” slogan (or, let’s face it, an excuse) is not valid.

If you are a researcher or scientists studying millions of cases over the post-vaccine period – even then, ages are usually classified into 5 year periods…at the most! No doubt that Age is one of the many factors involved with COVID mortality but it pales in comparison with MANY others.

If two states or regions are being compared and the differences are small, say <20%, it might be valid to confirm ages and other demographics. However when we discuss double, triple, quadruple and more the amount of deaths in a period when all tools (testing, treatment and vaccines) are available, a couple years difference is not likely to tip the scales.

Older is actually BETTER

Again, I had the feeling based on Common Sense that Florida had great advantages. Retired people have the ability to stay home. They self-select for being mobile and healthy ($$ to buy property and move). However, a lifelong health care expert has done the deep statistics and math for us. His finding is exactly as per my “gut”. With COVID, there is no such thing as age-adjusted when looking at state and county populations. If anything, the opposite is true. He states something obvious which few pay attention to.
THE #1 PREDICTOR OF LOWER COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS AND/OR DEATHS IS THE ABILITY TO AVOID GETTING COVID.

Seems simple, eh? It is. A place like Florida or Texas where the Virus is intentionally spread will see vastly more death. Period.

“Age is not a population wide determinant of COVID death rates. This is because higher-risk demographics spend more effort NOT becoming infected”

Why the Florida “Old People” and “Age Adjusted” talking point is BS

In the time period between my last FL COVID articles and now, things have gotten vastly worse – almost indescribable how high the body counts and other numbers have become. It safe to say most numbers doubled from the massive peaks of early August.

Estimates and Reports have Florida deaths peaking at over 450 per day – and, as I write this (9/21) that is a 14 day average! This marks, by far, the highest ever seen in Florida during the pandemic. A short discussion of “why” is in order.

The Reasons are simple – I wrote extensively about the Gov. failed vaccination program (wrong people vaccinated, not enough people vaccinated) – that, combined with bad behavior and poor leadership (the Gov. policy IS mass infection) mean even more death and suffering.

On cue, the defenders of the Gov. policies and the “Florida Way” have made up a number of new excuses. Did you expect them to cry “Uncle”? “We were wrong?” – of course not! There is never a situation that they cannot get SOME FOOLS to belive.

We might think they’d run out of excuses – or be embarrassed about putting new ones forward due to how wrong the old ones proved to be – this is not the case. They have put the best minds together – including Doctors and the Mass Infection Experts and have come up with a Novel Excuse for the Novel Virus which is killing more people in Florida than ANYWHERE – and is, by far the most deadly event in the Human History of the state.

Florida has Old People in it

 

Yes, folks, after 16 months of hearing how superior Florida was at handling disease – after bragging of “we are #1, then #5, then #10, then 1st 1/2, then middle…then “I found worse”, it’s now “Don’t you know, Florida has old people there? – old people die from COVID”

The first and very obvious response is that we hardly heard this mentioned for over a year – and now it is almost the single most used excuse! As with all propaganda (propaganda is not lies!), this contains a grain of accuracy. If we were to express the actual truth regarding this statement, it would be something like this “The sum of ALL the age and health related dynamics in Florida is that the extra 1 or 2% of older folks here makes no difference – and, in fact, it very well could be the other way around (a benefit). Here are some facts and discussions for those enjoying more of a deeper dive.

  1. There are other states as old or older than Florida – especially in certain categories (80+ or 85+, the most vulnerable). These include, but are not limited to, Maine, Vermont, PA, WV, RI and Delaware. Those who are detail orientated and do research – watch out….do not use 2010 Census data! Many of the other states which joined the “age” club have done so slowly over the past decade.
  2. Florida is NOT an Obese State – as we know, Obesity is one of the leading co-morbidities associated with COVID. Floridas good position here (likely because so many of us are FROM other healthier states and bring our health with us), probably itself cancels out years of age.
  3. Self-Selection – this is a big deal but one which very few think about. Older Floridians – many of them have retired here or moved here later in life. Those who have both the money and mobility to buy a 2nd house or to move are NOT the “average or below” person. As an example, a multi-generational family in NJ or NY or Chicago where the older members are often sick already at 60 – those people are not moving to Florida and playing tennis, golf and going sailing! The poor and lower middle class are generally forced to live and die where they already are. This self-selection means that Florida Seniors, as a full group, are likely much healthier and active than Seniors from many other places. This type of dynamic can cancel out MANY years – and, together with the lack of obesity (which is part and parcel of self-selection – 300lb seniors aren’t flocking to the tennis courts in FL) – offsets many years.
  4. Fewer of us are there when we don’t have to be – This Summer Surge is happening at the time of year when there are less people in Florida. Millions of us own 2nd homes there but also have a house or apartment somewhere else. ANYONE with the choice of not being in Florida during the Summer generally will take advantage of that choice. In fact, many Florida Residents (natives!) own 2nd houses in the Mountains of NC and similar locations and spend 6 months at their more northern home. This effectively depopulates seniors to the tune of 100’s of thousands – during this COVID massive wave.

Even if one had no common sense – and took zero stock in these dynamics – the “age adjusted” type of scenario could not be responsible for anything near the levels of death we have seen in Florida.

One dynamic I have not mentioned is that the entire “Florida Plan” involved the Gov. telling us he had a way of protecting the most vulnerable. Therefore, anyone using the excuse “they are old” should just as well be saying “DeSantis Lied About Protecting Seniors”.

It’s understandable that no one wants to take responsibility for this disaster in Florida. We seem to live in a time where it’s rare for leaders to do so. However, when the same leaders are involved in misinformation campaigns in order to “protect their brands”, it’s troubling. DeSantis admits favoring mass infection. OK, then, Ron – just say out loud “My policies were unable to protect Florida Seniors and now they have to pay the price”. That sounds much more accurate than “but they are old – and they have to die sometime!”.

Why “What About” may be the two most Dangerous Words!

No doubt you’ve been hearing “what about” – in relation to the massive COVID spikes in places like Florida and Texas.

What about India?
What about Bangladesh? (yes, I’ve heard this!).
What about California?
What about NYC?
What about Sweden?

In general it is usually best to consider those words and statements as a good time to end the “debate” . In the Twitterverse, one may even consider it akin to a person telling you to look at the Bald Eagle over there whilst they pick your wallet out of your pocket. In short, an attempt to make you and others take their eyes and minds off of what is most important.

Disinformation or Lack of Information

There are two main reasons why one might use these words in the present discussions of COVID. Some sincere and honest folks just may not know better. They heard it somewhere and it makes sense to them on the surface, so they repeat it. MANY others fall into the disinformation category where they are likely quoting an Echo Chamber which they believe will lead readers to, again, take their eye off the ball.

Where I Reside – Where I/You are Concerned

The world is complex enough without attempting to understand every corner of it. Predictably, most of us are concerned with where we and our families reside, work or travel. In my case that is Florida and Western MA.

This is the obvious answer to the question “Why are you concerned about MA and why are you comparing it with Florida?” and similar queries. When you spend many months or years in a place – including during a pandemic, the sum of your experiences and knowledge about that location will likely exceed that of random places. Living here, it is natural for me to post a tweet like this below – which lays out the vast differences in how the Pandemic is being handled now. Whoa! There is another key word and concept “NOW” and/or “now and in the future”. It should come as no surprise that worrying about last year will do absolutely nothing to change our status!

Mid-August 2021 Tweet

“What About” can go from Plain Wrong to Friggin Crazy!

The plain Jane “what about” may refer to Sweden, an example often used to argue that the pandemic can be handled without major swings in the way we all live. Examples such as this are just plain wrong in that the persons using them are completely unfamiliar with Sweden and their policies/populace so the point being made could actually be the opposite! A perfect example of a similar Talking Point used by the same general type of person was Switzerland…used for years to illustrate that “gun culture” and weapons ownership cannot be responsible for the US high violence, murder and suicide rates relating to firearms. Those using this example fail to mention (or do not know) that the weapons which the Citizen (Citizens make up a militia/guard there) are allowed to own at home HAVE NO AMMO. Yes, the Ammo is kept locked up in an armory in the local town or city. To even compare that to unlimited gun ownership and the ability to buy 1,000’s of rounds of ammo is off-the-wall. It makes the complete opposite point!

So, yes, those types of “what about” are plain wrong – the person may be clueless (which there is no excuse for) or, again, trying to spread things which are wrong…knowing that many won’t look it up.

Now we go to the crazy. There seems no end to how far folks will go to prove they are correct. One of my recent favorites may be related to Horse Dewormer in the sense that some have pointed to India during the pandemic as some sort of an example (along with claims that they eat horse dewormer which has saved them from COVID).  The same folks were pushing this when Deaths and Cases in India were 20% of what they are today – updated facts cannot be expected to sway these people.

When I hear claims which sound “off”, I immediately ask the question “What am I missing here?”. I’m not talking nuances or rounding errors, but rather questions which are fundamental to understanding the theory being put forward. The very obvious is “Why would we EVER have to look at somewhere 1/2 way around the world which has almost nothing in common with us?”. Yet this type of reason and/or common sense doesn’t appear to be popular, so we need a larger “hole to poke in theory” to illustrate why we should throw out “What about India”?

A person born in India in 1950 or before – those who would be most subject to death and complications from COVID – lived to 31 years of age. If born in 1940, they would be of Prime Avg Age for death from COVID (80+) – that population lived to an average of 27 years old. 

Put another way, the targets of COVID might have died 3X over waiting for the time of the pandemic when they might be hurt by COVID. 

If you do not fully understand the part above in italics, it’s time to delete your ˇTwitter Account and/or go back to the Sports interests you first joined for. If, however, you immediately “got it”, you can also now consider that knowledge as being foundational to COVID – that is, where much longer life spans exist, COVID will likely hurt much more.

We could get into Indians being mostly vegetarian….I’ve never noticed that being pushed forward. Why? Likely the folks pushing “India did great” are big consumers of meats. They may enjoy “fat shaming” their own countrymen, but get really quiet about whether a vegetarian diet might be associated with some better health outcomes. As with the Swiss example, the “what about’ crowd seems to overlook foundational facts!

Those of us here in the USA have plenty of examples close by – in our own country, Canada and even Mexico. There is no need for us to dig around the world and find narratives that we think fit our already decided conclusions. Not to say most Americans know even their own demographics well – but they might know them better than 1/2 way around the world.

Knowing the Ground which you Walk Upon 

Many years ago a direct marketing firm that took phone orders insisted that every one of their employees in the call center have a college degree. When asked for the reason they said “If the customer service people know more basics about the country, they are going to be able to relate to the caller much better”. I had experience with this in my own business – we took orders for $7,000 heating systems – sight unseen – over the phone. If a customer called from Stowe, VT and I inquired “is their snow on the mountain yet?”, it becomes a very personal connection. If they called from Eastern PA I might mention the Anthracite coal mines or the iron foundries and my own ancestors that lived and worked in the area. These are yet more examples of how we can better understand that of which we are familiar (by living, visiting, reading about, etc.). Given the Topic, I am more likely to listen to a person from South Carolina explaining to me about how the locals live and think.

The Current “What About” CA and NY, etc.

This is an “extra credit” subject – for those who wish to know why we currently hear the What About in regard to California, NY, NJ and similar places. At heart it’s simply a matter of trying to somehow find a place that might be worse than Florida. The problem is, when all dynamics, metrics and variables are figured in, there are no places in the USA that are worse than Florida.

The “method to the madness” involves certain sleights of hand. Current popular is the “since the beginning of the pandemic” trick. Putting aside that FL is projected to catch up and surpass even the hardest hit of states, the idea of comparison of the 1st wave to ANYTHING ELSE is foolish. The “excuses” matter very much. With no testing or treatment available it was impossible to identify or help many of those infected. The ramp-up of testing capability and the basics of treatment discovered in the first 60 days lowered mortality (deaths) by 70%. Since Florida didn’t get the first wave, they were spared a 5 or 6% mortality rate. If Dr. DeSantis had developed these tests and treatments we’d hail him…but we all know both tests and treatments came from elsewhere- the later from those first hard hit areas. The “luck” of missing the 1st wave is not an accomplishment, but a happenstance.

“What About” in relation to the crowded NE is well know – but, again, skipped over. Most dense places in the USA. 100X the arrivals from overseas hot spots into the airports. Public Transit. Multi-generational families in a house. Lack of any ability to distance. Lack of testing and treatment protocols…and so on. It’s that same old story – COVID is about “What you do with the hand dealt” – NOT about the hand dealt.

Any fair measurement of COVID actions and results would use two dates forward:
1. June 1, 2020 forward – as the date when testing, treatment and tracing – as well as most suggestions for mitigation of the disease – were known.
2. April 1, 2021 forward – which encompasses all of the above plus many millions of vaccinations – enough to do, if done right, the majority of the most vulnerable populations.

Talk about California – NOT

The whole “this state vs that” can lead to poor conclusions….as if comparing RI (1.2 million people in a tiny area) to CA (40 million, vast) or WY/ND/SD (less than a million, large areas) is going to inform. There are some cases where you can do this – for example, VT, NH, ME and SD/ND – all rural, small populations, less travel, etc. . The NE states blow away their midwestern counterparts in this COVID contest. However, in the case of California we have a state which is not like any other. Those who have interest in the state should probably consider it by regions due to both size and vast differences in behavior.

The “what about” crowd often uses CA. as a codeword or dog whistle, either not understanding or wanting to understand that region of the country. Did you know that some of the very first anti-mask protests were in SoCal? (southern California). April 17th – they surely didn’t have much patience!

I suspect many readers don’t know about – or understand – Southern California nor inland California. SoCal is the “Florida of California” and, in fact, was probably Florida before Florida was Florida. What do I mean? Everything. Hells Angels, Nixon and Reagan came from there, the “ME ME” always being elevated above the “WE WE” and so on. The same culture of selfishness you see in many places today was perfected there long ago.

The California that many people think of – and the one the Dog Whistles an What About crowd think they are critiquing, is the Bay Area – about 8 Million people who live within 100 miles or so of the Golden Gate. Unfortunately for the CA-Haters and What-Abouters, this area did relatively well w/COVID considering it’s massive density and many other factors. Again, we have those international airports – this time with vast Asian communities and so on. Incredible mobility of the population – Hong Kong one week, Europe, China etc – not the more limited Florida type of situation where most travel to the NE or Midwest.

San Francisco – with all the disadvantage (massive public transit, tight spaces, international airport, etc.) has about 600 deaths for a population the same as South Dakota. Imagine that! SD – with total room for distancing, months of pre-warning, testing and treatment available, has over 2,000 – well over TRIPLE the deaths. In theory, it should be the other way around – by a LONG shot. Germ Theory indicates that density and mixing (public transit) are two prime spreaders of disease.

Yet here we are. The “What About” crowd doesn’t consider 3X or 5X or even 10X the deaths to be indicators that science works.

However, if you have gotten this far reading – you are almost certainly not one of those people. Congratulations!

Why DeSantis is pushing expensive Treatments instead of Vaccines

As is clear in some of my other posts, Florida is in a worst case scenario with COVID (Summer of 2021) due to various reasons, all preventable. At a time when it is almost impossible to have a major COVID STORM, DeSantis and his allies (including masses of clueless citizens and cruel politicians) somehow manage to do the opposite of what is right.

Jaws dropped, and for good reason, when last week the Gov. started pumping monoclonal therapy as a “cure” for COVID. Not only did the Gov. promote these vastly more than Vaccines, he opened various infusion clinics statewide – in stadiums, libraries and other public and private facilities.

Let’s be clear here. This is, once again, a uniquely Florida situation. No other Gov. or high placed official in the USA is pushing  these drugs in the same fashion – instead they remain one of many tools that doctors, hospitals, clinics or others can use in treatment of the disease. Being as it is 2021, Vaccines – that is, the PREVENTION of serious sickness from COVID, have been the go-to, so it seems weird to heavily promote a treatment which only works once your are sick with COVID.

This “Florida Man” move has both experts and laypeople wondering….why?  The monoclonal therapy treatment is experimental, derived from Fetal Cell lines in testing and doesn’t work in MANY cases. Very sick patients, the sickest of all, have to travel and congregate in centralized places to obtain the treatment. Given the cost, time and energy promoting these – a much better result (more lives and hospitalizations saved) could be obtained if the Gov. heavily promoted Vaccines full-time – and went to work giving them. Instead, he got his own vaccine in secret and has not made a single widely distributed Public Service Announcement about the Vaccines.

Cost – Benefit

The Vaccine costs about $35. The monoclonal therapy is closer to $2,000 when all is figured in. It’s not just the cost of the drug ($1200 to $1500 in bulk) but the initial qualification, travel (sick patients), administer (IV Infusion) and then follow up. It’s fair to say that the less effective of the two costs 30 to 40X as much as the better one! What “conservative” (or sane human) would make that choice?

So, Why is the Big Question?

As I am writing this the Govs infamous Press Secretary, Christina Pushaw, was banned from twitter for her poor (and threatening) conduct against the Associated Press. Seems she didn’t like an article they published detailing the Gov and his donors relationship with the Stock and Securities of the company which manufacturers this expensive treatment. Many similar articles and comments have been written – which appear to have hit a tender spot in the Gov. and his Press Sec (we wish he had tender spots for Mom and Dad). Here is the AP article: https://miami.cbslocal.com/2021/08/20/ap-desantis-donor-regeneron-investor/

The counter to that article – that Gov is pushing this due to his donors or others having stock in the company, goes like this “We have so much money that these millions and tens of millions is a drop in the bucket – so you are wrong to think we are making policy based on just 17 million or so”.

In this very rare moment – I’d argue that the Gov. is largely telling the truth! Does anyone really think this massively corrupt Gov. and State are moved by a few million dollars? That would be fantastic. I’m sure the Gov will do you a small favor for 10 million donated to his re-election account, but he’s not going to actually WORK (this effort is the first actual work I’ve seen him do) to benefit just one of his big donors w/chicken feed. This kind of money isn’t even enough for a one year nice Netjet account!

The More Likely Answer(s).

We have to start with the fact that most everything the Gov. does is non-sensical, inefficient, ineffective, immoral or just plain wrong. Therefore, a weird action like this doesn’t fall outside any of the normal behavior – like hiring an uBer Driver to re-count FL COVID deaths! With that said, let’s line up the likely forces at work in Florida when it comes to the highest possible profits and $$ that can be associated with the Pandemic.

Occams Razor – the theory that most things are the obvious fits, but you need to know things.
1)  1st, Florida is a corrupt Narco/Banking/HealthCare/Mob/Dump_Pollution/Etc. state. From Opiate Pill Mills to destruction of Public Health and vast Medicare Fraud, this has become a BIG part of the “success” of modern Florida. Was it an accident that CEO of one of the largest health care “criminal” (his firm and many executives) actions in history was the last Gov? Or that he is the Senator now? Of course not! One of the many terrible things Rick Scott has done is to continue to destroy Public Health in Florida – moving it to the vast modern Hospital Corporations with the resources to siphon $ from medicare, medicaid and other Fed Taxpayer funding. Florida is #48 in health care access…while having all these amazing Modern Hospitals. Think! How is that possible? Well…..”access” is the key word with the 2nd part being who is paying? Florida takes 4X as much from the Fed. Gov. as it gives, and Health Care is the single largest item (by FAR) in the budget of these United States.

2) The Money involved in the Gaetz (LTC), Greenberg, Pot (legal), Corruptions (much Russian/Ukranian these days), Real Estate, etc – is in the 10’s or 100’s of Billions – Ron and the 100’s or thousands of other corrupt officials and businesses are into THAT, not into a few bucks in a stock portfolio! Many people own stock – but that’s tiny compared to taxpayer and other money which can be skimmed or assigned to friends.

3) Further as to #1 above – Florida is designed as a giant vending machine designed to suck either your, or Fed, money away. It turns out Health Care alone puts Heroin, Pot, Cocaine, etc. to shame – and so, when FL gives Vax (free), GDP goes up by tiny amt. When it allows mass infection and spends thousands of dollars on each, it adds more to Florida GDP. In other words, it may be of more perceived benefit to the totality of the economy of Florida to have as many people sick as possible for the longest time period possible.

Yes, I know you are scratching your head right about now. If you care to understand a little of what I am getting at, please listen to this – it’s only 2 minutes and I promise it will give you a new perspective on a major defect in our system and thinking.

4) Lastly, Gov has 100% admitted he favors infection with COVID as the solution to the Pandemic – mass infection is his game. This is no secret nor a conspiracy! He made videos about it (removed from youtube). Only Naive would ask why Gov. wants to infect people! Answer – because he said that’s his policy! Again, read just a little about his policy of mass infection!Do you know the saying “When someone shows you who they are – you would be wise to believe them”? IMHO, the case is as simple as this. Due to stubbornness and ignorance the Gov. thinks that best cure for COVID is for most everyone to get COVID. Independent of that, the Gov. values money and power over human life (or seems to). Making Florida GDP stay the same or get larger is a “win” for DeSantis – because when he brags about it he won’t say “FL GDP was up 4% last year, but 10% of that was money the Federal Government gave us out of debt and deficit”. No. He will just say “As proof of how great I am and the fine decisions I have made, note the amount of money that has filtered through the Florida economy.

That’s my opinion – and, frankly, there are not many possibilities left. We could simplify it to a sentence as simple as “Increased GDP and Mass Infection fit with the mass Antibody treatment narrative”. If you have ideas, leave them in the comments or tweet to @craigsfire

Florida is, by far, the worst state in a bad Nation RE: COVID Handling

As I write this FL is headed for a peak of over 200 deaths per day – and has record hospitalizations. All avoidable -with no consequences! To see what FL has done in a simple graph (#51?), click here.

Approx. Aug 1, 2021

But…But…. FLorida is somewhere in the middle, says World-O-Meter or somewhere else – or someone else. If that is the extent of your inquiry then it is unlikely you wish to learn more. The COVID situation is incredibly complex and requires vast numbers of inputs, both in data and the social sciences, to gain even a basic perspective.

Summary

For the many who don’t care to read and/or understand, the summary of why Florida is the worst of the worst would look something like this:

  1. It’s not the hand dealt – it’s what you DO with the hand you are dealt.
  2. Population matters – with 21+ Million people, what happens in FL affects vastly more of us than what happens in Utah.
  3. Mobility matters- In addition to population, 120 MILLION visits are made to Florida – many of them undefined in terms of length (seasonal residents, 2nd and 3rd homes). This effectively means that Florida cannot be walled off from the rest of the USA – and what happens in Florida will always spread…to a degree
  4. Personal Behavior AND leadership matter – Leaders who try hard (MI, OH, etc.) cannot force an ignorant population to behave properly. It takes a combination of good or decent leadership and good behavior.

The first “Big Picture” item for folks to realize is that the entire US did terribly with the COVID Pandemic. Many lives could have been saved, as the final death count will be at least 1 million. After leaving the White House COVID team, Dr. Birx stated that ALL deaths after the first surge (1st 100,000) could have been mitigated. Long into the Pandemic the White House had projected only 100K death – a figure eventually raised to 200K. It was never considered that a certain percentage of Americans would have a Death Wish and refuse to cooperate with even basic public health behaviors. This is NOT a matter of “lockdowns or not”, rather a matter of preening around as if the Virus didn’t exist (the Hoax narrative).

Make no mistake about it. The single largest blame/fault lies with the White House during the last administration. Many of the actions are well known – we won’t repeat or lay them all out. However, suffice it to be said that the White House did not act in the interest of the People of the United States. They did not lead – or, put another way, they led in the wrong direction.

This caused, or allowed, the public who had such tendencies to follow along with this selfish and non-caring attitude. Such behavior was 90% plus exhibited on the Right Side of the Aisle (politically) and continues to be so. Society, and Adults by extension, are impressionable and subject to peer pressure much like children. When the POTUS and your preacher and your friends all take something for granted (a Hoax, fill the Pews by Easter), many people will go along even though they do not have the real information (the truth).

Since I like to take a centered and common-sense approach to novel situations, I use a number which is double that of Dr. Birx. That is, my take is that 200K should have been approx death toll from COVID-19 and that the other 800K were largely preventable. An exact number is not important since the saving of 100K or 300K lives are both so large that the mind numbs trying to compare. We don’t want to fall into the trap of “every life matters” – because in a large analysis this is not the case. It is a truism that many COVID victims were extremely sick and very late in life. There was no possible avoidance of all excess deaths, however vast amounts of money, trouble and suffering could have been saved (some still can be!).

There IS a bottom in Florida – not as much so in some other places.

A certain percentage of Floridians, maybe even a majority, protected themselves and others. These people – by and large – survived the pandemic. Given the mobility of the more well-off (they can leave the state for their other home, etc.) if things are bad enough. Since many Floridians are retired, the capability of many to stay at home exceed that of more balanced working populations.

This ties in with a certain self-selection. Some have noted that Florida has an elder population. Actually, many states are catching up and even exceeding Florida in the very oldest (80+). The reason is simple – those who have less wealth and social mobility have to stay in place. The multi-generational family who lives in a dense place like NYC has no option to move to Florida – and such families often have elders with the typical conditions (diabetes, etc.) which further limit their mobility. Many Floridians, like myself and my spouse, self-select as much healthier elders due to our ability to afford moving and living – AND, taking part in sports and other active lifestyles requires that same level of health. The point here is – that while Florida may contain elders, a significant portion of them have options (such as not using Public Transit, etc.) that are not available to their Northern counterparts or those that cannot afford two houses, etc.

The 95% Metric

Adding to the “luck”  of Florida w.COVID was that the 1st surge of COVID missed Florida almost completely. This was due to the lack of travel between Florida and Asia/Europe as compared to other states. COVID was brought into the USA mostly by air – and a few airports represent an outsized share of these specific travelers. These airports are JFK, Newark, Boston and Philadelphia on the east coast, Chicago in the Midwest and San Francisco/Seattle/LA on the west coast. Florida thereby escapes mass infection “from all sides” in the first waves. It is likely that the Florida initial cases (very light numbers) were from Cruises (international crew!) as well as some travelers from the Northeast who had unknowingly been infected by the European returnees. The “cancelling” of Spring Break and docking of Cruise Ships in FL in 2020 ended up exporting most of the first surge – Cruise Ships were allowed to dock and the passengers shuttled right to Ft Lauderdale airport…with no testing or tracing…to go back and infect their home states. At some point the Fed. Government limited the number of airports where foreign flights could land – none of these airports were in Florida.

Only 5% of Florida infections and deaths happened prior to June, 2020 – meaning that 95% have happened after the 1st surge and after we already had testing and treatment. This realization is what should change the minds of those clinging to the “Florida did middling” narrative. Just the testing and treatment alone – being available – reduced the COVID Mortality Rate from 6% to less than 2%. Putting this another way, if Florida had been unlucky enough to get the first surge (due to international travel and no testing and treatment), the 2.7 million infections in the state would have resulted in 180,000 resident deaths (plus deaths exported to other states) as opposed to 1/3rd that amount which is more likely the case (60,000+). Obviously, decisions of the Gov. of Florida and behavior of the population have nothing to do with the discovery of treatment protocols and the production of testing chemicals and kits. It was happenstance (luck) that allowed for Florida never to experience the terrible 5-7% mortality seen in many early situations.

Florida Failed using the Gov. own Words and Goals

Gov. Desantis and his spokespeople repeat the same thing – no matter what happens! They continue to rely on the “luck” of having months of warning as if that casts a light on leadership. It does not. This where “what is done w/hand dealt” comes in. The decisions of Florida effectively started with the Gov. decision to partially open against his own written plan – at the end of May, 2020. The Chart from Florida DOH (Dept. of Health) below shows what happened immediately after his first real decisions (and since).

This is a chart that cannot be denied nor misinterpreted. The state has experienced Mass Infection almost from the exact day the Gov. become involved w/managing COVID. As a comparison, a NE state that experienced the first surge heavily might have a chart that looks like below – a heavy surge when no testing or treatment or tracing was available and an immediate decline to near-normal as soon as the behavior and leadership kicked in

The Florida June/July/August cases were incredibly high – the result of DeSantis and his cohorts not believing in the Virus (Hoax, overblown) and acting as well as legislating accordingly.

Not content to let people and local cities and counties be responsible for themselves, DeSantis made it against the law STATEWIDE to require masks. Put another way, he became the Best Friend of the Virus and did everything he could to make sure the population of Florida did not practice basic health.

But But But – The Economy!

The excuse used by DeSantis and the pro-infection crowd was that “the economy” was more important than lives of our elders. The Lt. Gov. of Texas said it outright – he would “give his life” so his kids and grandkids could go shopping more. This same ideal was promoted in Florida. The facts show, however, that this was short term thinking and – as usual – resulted in the opposite effect claimed. Let’s look at a few metrics which give us some idea of the harm done to the economy of Florida by NOT beating the Virus as soon as possible.

If one listens to the Pro-Infection crowd they’d think Florida is BOOMING – doing amazingly well, But the truth is that Florida would be bankrupt or worse without the injection of 10’s of Billions in Free Federal Money. The money was supposed to help beat COVID – but much was just put into the General Fund. When the Gov. tossed out his Vax plan or his re-opening plan he “saved money” but “cost lives”.

Florida Tax Revenues were down in 2020 while many so-called “lockdown” states were up. California declared a 75 BILLION dollar budget surplus – an unheard of number in 2020. Meantime, Florida continues to be a “taker” which uses 4X as many Federal Dollars as they produce.

My opinion is that Florida pursuers a Lose-Lose-Lose strategy w/COVID as well as a shift of risk from the State to the Federal Government, other taxpayers and other States (exporting of COVID). Florida might make $500 “profit” from a tourist, but when that family goes back to NY or NJ and starts a chain of infection, the cost to us all is vastly more than the small amount made.

But it gets worse! Even with risk shifting (offloading of responsibility – costing others). Florida tourism is WAY down….not just in 2020, which would be expected, but in 2021. It is actually lower still than it was a year back (which was low!). Banks and experts agree that it may be many years before Florida Tourism recovers to what it was in 2018….then many MORE years until it enters where it would be with normal 3% yearly growth from that date onward.

Many have claimed they will never go back to Florida – some with the caveat that they will never return while DeSantis is Gov. This is not due to his being a member of the GOP – the same people would gladly visit MA. or OH. or many other states with Republican leaders. It is simply due to his callous disregard for human life and basic public health. As it stood even before COVID, Florida was rated at the very bottom of the states when it came to various health care metrics. One can only imagine where it is now.

But WHY?

Why would DeSantis follow policies which ruin the state? Why could he disinvite virtually every source of money (except Free Federal Grants) to Florida? He has specifically chased out tech, liberals, democrats, new yorkers and many other groups – calling them by name and telling them not to come to Florida unless they changed into a Human more similar to him!

The truth is he is not a leader. He has zero executive experience and would not be able to run Florida even if he wasn’t ignorant of Public Health and the very basics of Germ Theory. It’s yet another example (GWB, Trump) of elevating people to positions that they have no business being in.

Whether re-elected or not, DeSantis will leave Florida in a terrible long term position. Pollution, traffic, crime, over-development and disease are ravaging what is left of “natural” Florida. When a tourist comes twice over 5 years and both times has Red Tide making it so they can’t go near the Beach, they are unlikely to be excited to return.

Florida COULD BE a great place. It’s not written in stone that it must become an over-populated polluted and crime-ridden Corrupt Narco (and Oligarch) corner of the USA. However, that is the narrative currently winning out. There is, unfortunately, a lot of truth to the “Florida Man” and Carl Hiassen comedy narrative of Florida – that it contains large numbers of people who do crazy things – many of whom are in positions of power.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Even the citizens of Florida have shown enlightenment in their votes on Bond Issues – only to have them squashed by the Gov. when no one was looking.

Opinion, of Course!

It goes without saying that this article represents an opinion – although it is one held by many in Florida and elsewhere. We could argue that, for example, SD or ND or LA are worse when it comes to COVID – but these places lack the population size, the mobility and therefore the influence on the rest of these United States. The take presented above takes into account that Florida is very important – in everything from disease control to Federal Elections. It is in this light that Florida becomes the worst of the worst.

To whom great power is given, great things are expected. Florida needs to set examples as opposed to being a joke or the laughing stock of the world.

Strange, but true, Thoughts

The final cost of the failed COVID Response – in the USA – will total approx. 20 TRILLION dollars. based on population, Florida will cost well over a Trillion Dollars. If we “play pretend” for a moment and say that Florida decided to pull in the economy for a FULL YEAR to squash COVID down to way less than 1% – and then did Vax correctly – what would the cost be? For a round number, let’s guess we cut the economy by 50% for that year. The cost for that would be approx 1/2 a Trillion dollars.

Put another way, we could have paid the entire state budget in full PLUS made sure every citizen and business was made 100% whole in terms of their former income for well less than 1/2 of what it is going to end up costing us now! In addition, we’d have saved 50,000 or more lives and endless suffering AND been able to restart the economy at a much higher level – say 90% of what it was for the 2nd year and 100% (plus growth) in the 3rd year.

But the “Florida Way” was to force low-wage workers back to non-living wage jobs…where they could be easily infected and infect more.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box. Spending double the money for a situation vastly worse than what could have been is not a good deal.

If we allocated money this way, we could have offered States the balance “free” – so Florida would have an extra 400 Billion or so if they handled it properly. This is 4 years of the full state budget – imagine how much this money could do to fight Red Tide and to improve Floridans environment, education and health care? Used properly, it would catapult Florida into the top tier of states in most all categories which are measurements of civilization.

Why should you Listen to Me in regards to COVID and Florida

This is a informal presentation of my qualifications as well as some of my personal timeline regarding the Pandemic in Florida. The article itself is at this link

“So, Craig, you are writing this long article detailing COVID in Florida  – why should I consider your take as anything more then just a run-of-the-mill partisan (or tribal) rant”

First, congratulations for getting this far! If you are considering reading the article you are a person who considers that real world experience as well as other viewpoints might be of value! If you are reading THIS, you are going even further by investigating my reasoning.

Firstly, I am a citizen and voter in Florida – I own a house and spend 1/2 of my time there – the other 1/2 being traveling and another property in Western MA (New England).

I am a Amateur Historian – who has read 100’s of thousands of pages starting when I was 10 years old (that’s 58 years of reading!). By the time I was 13 I had read the entire World Book Encyclopedia and, along the decades, read only memoirs and history. The details of earlier US and other Pandemics and Epidemics have always been part of my regular reading as disease has killed vastly more people than bullet and bombs (even during most wars!).

My working life and hobbies/interests have been in the fields of business, engineering, innovation, journalism, computers, communications, construction, alternate energy and many others. I have never worked for anyone – always started and ran my own enterprises. I have been online since 1986 and on the Internet (as a founder, writer and programmer) since 1995. I have created web publications from scratch that garnered millions of page views – and ran internet sites which made a profit every year for 20+ years. This was largely AFTER most of my regular careers. I have written technical manuals, authored best-selling books and done technology journalism. I have taught adult classes in various subjects from Marketing to Digital Photography. Along the way I have always worked with numbers, whether it was Sales charts, income statements or web site statistics.

I am not new to American Politics – having experienced first hand the upheavals of the late 1960’s, Vietnam, Nixon’s resignation and many other historical events. I am most definitely Socially Liberal (even Libertarian) – a Perot and Nader voter!

I do not have Cable TV of any kind – I do not regular watch or listen to any radio program – no “dittos” for me, thank you very much! Might I make a suggestion that you – if you do partake of these things – find some educational podcasts and listen to those instead?

Being largely retired from day to day business, I had endless hours to spend studying every detail of the COVID Pandemic as it occurred. I was in Sarasota, Florida when the Pandemic first hit and was well aware of what was going on by Mid-February 2020. Some of my volunteer jobs involved personal interaction with Senior Citizens – a situation which concerned me greatly when I saw little being done even as March arrived. In fact, I had to write a “for your eyes only” letter to the manager of one volunteer org I worked for telling them we (his org) was endangering the lives of Seniors by taking them to Church and other events. A snippet of that email is below – this was dated March 9, 2020.

Sadly, the Churches were still all hugging people and the assisted living facilities managers were scared because they had no tools/advice and very little communication from HQ or the State.

After that time I watched, minute by minute as all of this played out. I wasn’t alone – not my a long shot! Just our local COVID Facebook Group had over 4,000 members! Most of us agreed on many of the basics (the poor handling and behavior).

We watched as the Gov did largely nothing. We applied pressure and finally he took some steps to shut down the Spring Break Craziness which was underway in Florida. We then watched as all the infamous Florida Events took place. When we knew it was about to REALLY get bad, DeSantis opened the state back up – despite the evidence that the COVID metrics did not meet HIS standards. We know what the result was going to be – and, sure enough, we watched it all happen. People on our groups got sick – they went to the hospital, were put on ventilators. Some neighbors died….at home.

After almost a year of these nightmarish scenarios we watched the Vaccine come out – and, again, the Gov – seemingly intentionally – tossed out any semblance of a vaccination plan. We ranted, screamed and begged for Florida to do the vaccinations in proper priority – claiming that if this was not done, thousands of extra deaths would occur! No changes were made – the chaos continued and Florida became the Leader in Deaths and Hospitalizations post-vaccine (still true as I write this).

The article itself summarizes a lot of the events and results. This post is simply a way to say that I was there watching this first hand. I wasn’t getting my information from a distance nor was it faceless and nameless.

Lastly, I have been blessed (or cursed) with a very good memory. I could recite many of the details of what happened in Florida almost day by day (at least by week!) over a year later. This quality, if nothing else, allows me to put it all together and see it as a whole.

My wife often chides me “You were right again!”. I have a fairly good track record – she used to claim I was right almost 100% of the time – now she has lowered the score to 95%. It’s not Magic – it’s more that I am evidence based and experienced in many disciplines (Jack of All Trades).

Independent of my qualifications or lack of such, I was present as much of the Florida Debacle occurred. Similarly to some parts of the Trump administration, I kept thinking “No, the Gov. could not possibly do THAT (something which would result in death or suffering) – and, sure enough, he would go right ahead and do it.

Shut down the Surgeon General? Check.
Didn’t follow the Plan he made up himself? Check.
Made the Pandemic purely political? Check.

None of it made sense…not even from the so-called “economy” perspective. Yet it all happened – and is still happening.

Thanks for visiting my Blog and I hope you find the referenced article interesting!