≡ Menu

Some Links

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board criticizes the Biden administration for refusing to lift emergency covid measures. A slice:

President Biden finally dared to say it on Sunday, declaring in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that the “pandemic is over.” Various public-health eminences are saying he’s wrong, but his comments recognize the reality of the disease at this stage and the public mood. The trouble is that his Administration still hasn’t lifted its official finding of a Covid public-health emergency.

Eric Topol, the Scripps Research Translational Institute director who is one of America’s leading Covid scolds, tweeted “Wish this was true. What’s over is @POTUS’s and our government’s will to get ahead of it, with magical thinking on the new bivalent boosters. Ignores #LongCovid, inevitability of new variants, and our current incapability for blocking infections and transmission.”

But global Covid deaths in the first week of September were the lowest since March 2020 when the World Health Organization declared Covid a pandemic, and even Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week said “the end is in sight.”

Covid has become significantly less lethal as most people in the U.S. and world have gained some level of immunity from vaccination or infection. About 400 Americans each day have been dying from Covid this summer, but most are elderly or have other medical ailments. It’s still important to protect the vulnerable.

But for most Americans, Covid is no worse than a bad flu. “If you are up-to-date on your vaccines today, and you avail yourself of the treatments, your chances of dying [from] COVID are vanishingly rare and certainly much lower than your risk of getting into trouble with the flu,” White House Covid response coordinator Ashish Jha told National Public Radio.

But if that’s right, why hasn’t the President also declared an end to the public-health and national emergencies? If the pandemic is over, then so is the emergency. Yet the Administration continues to extend the public-health emergency that was first declared in January 2020.

Jonah Lynch, who lives in Italy, recognizes signs of totalitarianism when he encounters them. A slice:

Lockdowns shredded the social contract. They splintered society into violently opposed factions. (They damaged religions, they contributed to the inflation disaster, they contributed to roughly doubling the food price index, they led to mass surveillance, etc). And if the governments got lockdowns so wrong, why should we believe that they got other things right? This is still a relevant question as we careen toward energy rationing and food crises and already see inflation at around 10%.

Willamette University law professor Paul Diller explains how “covid-19 vaccine mandates skew campus viewpoints.”

Well, all of these people are undoubtedly grateful that what killed them wasn’t covid!

I’m always honored to be a guest on Chicago’s Morning Answer with Amy Jacobson and Dan Proft.

Jenin Younes tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Francis Collins: “as the Covid pandemic was raging…I don’t think I ever felt a greater sense of the unanimity of the scientific community to come together.” Faux unanimity that Collins, Fauci, et al manufactured by ensuring dissenting voices weren’t heard

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, NYU physicist Steven Koonin says “Don’t believe the hype about Antarctica’s melting glaciers.” Two slices:

Alarming reports that the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking misrepresent the science under way to understand a very complex situation. Antarctica has been ice-covered for at least 30 million years. The ice sheet holds about 26.5 million gigatons of water (a gigaton is a billion metric tons, or about 2.2 trillion pounds). If it were to melt completely, sea levels would rise 190 feet. Such a change is many millennia in the future, if it comes at all.

Much more modest ice loss is normal in Antarctica. Each year, some 2,200 gigatons (or 0.01%) of the ice is discharged in the form of melt and icebergs, while snowfall adds almost the same amount. The difference between the discharge and addition each year is the ice sheet’s annual loss. That figure has been increasing in recent decades, from 40 gigatons a year in the 1980s to 250 gigatons a year in the 2010s.

But the increase is a small change in a complex and highly variable process. For example, Greenland’s annual loss has fluctuated significantly over the past century. And while the Antarctic losses seem stupendously large, the recent annual losses amount to 0.001% of the total ice and, if they continued at that rate, would raise sea level by only 3 inches over 100 years.


Under scenarios deemed likely by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a connection between ocean currents and discharge would increase the overall discharge rate in one region of the continent by some 10% by the end of the century. But to emphasize the idea being tested, the modelers used human influences almost three times larger. Even though that fact is stated in the paper, reporters rarely catch such nuance, and the media goes with headlines such as “Antarctic Ice Melting Could Be 40 Percent Faster Than Thought” with the absurd statement that “a massive tsunami would swamp New York City and beyond, killing millions. London, Venice and Mumbai would also become aquariums.” A more accurate headline would read: “Ocean currents connecting antarctic glaciers might accelerate their melting.”

Michael Shellenberger asks why some people are more prone than others to see climate change as apocalyptic. Two slices:

Since the end of the Cold War, policymakers, journalists, and activists have pointed to melting glaciers, dying coral, and deadly floods as signs of the apocalypse. “Within 15 years,” said Al Gore in 2006 about Glacier National Park, “this is the park that will be formerly known as Glacier.” In 2017, CNN, PBS, and many others reported, “Climate change is killing the Great Barrier Reef.” And, last May, Newsweek reported that, “Cities Brace for Apocalyptic Flooding As New Age of Super Storms Dawns” while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned of an “above-normal” Atlantic hurricane season.

But people misread the signs. In 2019, Glacier National Park officials began quietly removing visitor signs claiming the glaciers would all be gone by 2020 because they are all still there. Scientists in 2022 measured more coral on the Great Barrier Reef than at any point since they began monitoring them in 1986. And, not only have deaths and damages from flooding declined significantly worldwide, for the first time in 25 years, there were no Atlantic hurricanes in August.


Why is that? Why is it that so many people have come to believe that climate change is an apocalyptic threat, despite all of the science to the contrary? And why do most of them tend to be liberal [DBx: that is, progressive] rather than conservative?

James Pethokoukis explains that “The battle to feed humanity may never end, but human ingenuity keeps winning.”

Scott Shackford is rightly dismayed by a recent ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Two slices:

A panel of federal circuit judges has upheld a Texas law that limits the ability of social media companies to moderate their platforms and forces them to carry speech they find objectionable in what certainly appears to be a complete violation and abandonment of First Amendment protections for private companies.


That decision upholding the law was finally released on Friday, and it reads like a Twitter rant, which is perhaps unsurprising given the subject matter. Written by Circuit Judge Andy Oldham, it declares on its very first page, “Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.” This is something people should find troubling.