Sunday, March 29, 2020

Michael Smith adds some perspective to death statistics

"I'm not trying to minimize the deaths from the Coronavirus pandemic but when I heard a report yesterday that now in New York, one person dies every 17 minutes due to the disease and that it could get to one person every 9 minutes.

So I checked to see if I could find comparable numbers anywhere on the CDC's website and here's what I found:

Mortality reason #1:
Number of deaths: 36,338
Deaths per 100,000 population: 11.2
Death rate - 1 person per every 15 minutes - comparable to the current mortality frequency of the pandemic in New York.

Mortality reason #2:
Number of deaths: 64,795
Deaths per 100,000 population: 19.9
Death rate: 1 person every 8 minutes - comparable to the predicted mortality frequency of the pandemic in New York.

Mortality reason #1 - unintentional falls.
Mortality reason #2 - unintentional poisonings.

One might think the moral panic is being stoked by the way this pandemic is being promoted in the media.

I don't know how to get people to look at this pandemic with any sense of proportionality - there's just too much fear out there that blocks any sense of rationality."

Friday, March 27, 2020

Thoughts on the current situation upon waking up at home today

I've been thinking . . .

1) One of the things that has been the most surprising to me in this latest crisis is the demand (and willingness) to cede all personal, local and state sovereignty to the federal government—by liberals, conservatives and even some libertarians and thousands of know-nothings who don't even vote.

2) What hasn’t been as surprising is It’s been exacerbated by the raging horror and hate for the president where everything he says, comments on or jokes about becomes front page news and taken out of context. I’ve briefly skimmed some of the federal guidelines established after the Swine flu epidemic of 2009-10 built on other disaster plans. I see no evidence that Clinton, Bush, Obama or Trump were expected to be knowledgeable about virology, epidemics, public health or supply and storage of medical products. They were expected to be managers of a disaster and appoint knowledgeable people.

3) Third, it is shocking to see that local communities and hospitals have not taken care of having their own people protected with proper equipment. Did they think everything bad happens only in LA or New York City? These are guidelines for states and local agencies to follow! Yes, there are some warehouses scattered around the country in case of bioterrorism, but those supplies (and extremely secret locations) are not necessarily suitable for a virus. The make-up of committees or task forces is not in concrete, nor are the budgets. The opportunity for political machinations and pork are spectacular, and the bidding process probably follows long established murky procedures and regulations developed the last 50 years for another war—the War on Poverty, many of which are being swept aside in the scramble to defeat this virus. There are minority set asides, exceptions for LGBTQ groups, demands for female appointments, environmental protection regulations, disability protections, climate change models, etc. all of which have protective, special interest groups which run to the media and claim they are being ignored or abused. That’s how abortion pork got into Pelosi’s wish list about Covid-19—she is politically supported by Planned Parenthood. If the CDC seems sluggish or bloated, it's because increasingly it's been expected to achieve social change goals, not medical.

4) 25 year old reporters who don’t even remember 9/11 are getting their opinions published and faces on the evening news; the rumor mill is grinding away; people are panicked by every suggestion, some as wild as Trump has killed someone who drank fish tank cleaner in hopes of obtaining a cure. 80 year old bloggers or Facebookers of my generation are making false assumptions based on their own immunity built up during their lifetimes, bringing with it their political gripes.

5) I’d rather have various companies within the supply chain—from McDonald’s to Microsoft to Meier’s-- doing their best to serve, keep their people employed and make a profit, than to listen to a party hack like Pelosi that is pushing for socialism so we’d all be on the same page and under the same umbrella leading us to failure and disaster. Let’s at least go down fighting that system.

Thoughts on bizarre behavior of the anti-Trumpers

The PA at Marc's was playing good (you can sing it) music this morning, and paused to apologize for shortages (although there were very few), and then reminded us: "We will get through this with everyone working together." Now, when the President says that, my Democrat friends call him a liar and idiot, then repeat smears about Fox News which continues to flash the light at the end of their dark tunnel. When a discount grocery clerk with a pleasant voice and an essential job says it, we all smile and nod. Even the Democrats. Funny what politics does to otherwise smart people.

Many drugs that were used for other viruses are being repurposed and researched for use with Covid19. If Trump mentioned them in one of the many TV briefings, then you'll see media reports denying their usefulness. Media would rather you die than support anything Trump says. Just so you know, check out the NIH/NLM LitCovid data base. Today's entries are from March 26. There you can hear the experts agree, disagree or confirm just about anything about Covid19 and various body parts, transmission, countries, opinions, etc.  But the governor of Michigan is forbidding doctors to prescribe the malaria off label drug for treating this virus while it’s being further tested.  She hates Trump that much—he’d spoken hopefully about it in a news conference.  Some people are so unhinged about the president it will cost someone their life~~

Members of the President's Covid19 task force who sound hopefully cautious are now being accused by the mob and its media of being Trumpsters. You know, there were a lot of Americans who didn't like FDR in 1941 for the take overs and failures of the 1930s. They believed, and it's been shown in many academic studies since, that there were Communists among his advisors (and also Eleanor's). But they sucked it up and supported the war effort.

The covid virus song—really cute.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

My new office


After 3 weeks of one finger typing on my I-pad I decided I really needed my computer and a desk at Phil's. I was looking on-line and at local stores and then everything shut down. So I looked around our house and noticed a drop leaf table in Bob's office was only holding books, and my great-grandmother's dining room chair recaned by my mother was just a place holder at another desk, so I set them up and brought over my computer. Open for business.

The table's story isn't too interesting--I bought it at Target in 2002 so Bob would have a table in his office while talking to clients about their architectural needs. The chair, however, if I can believe family lore, travelled from Pennsylvania to northern Illinois after my great grandparents married in 1855. Grandfather David had left home in 1848 to search for gold in California with a friend. The friend died, and somehow David ended up in northern Illinois, worked in Rockford, saved his money, then bought farmland between Ashton and Franklin Grove for $1/acre. There were other settlers in that area who were also members of the Dunkers (Brethren), German Anabaptists, so it's possible he knew people who could help him. So needing a wife, he went back to Adams Co., PA, and married Susan. She probably brought along a number of family things. Many years later, probably the 1920s, it was fashionable to paint old furniture dark, so my grandfather slathered almost every piece of furniture in the house with a reddish, black varnish to "modernize" them. The chairs fell on hard times, and were probably either in the barn or attic when my mom rescued them, refinished and caned them in the 1970s. I have three of them, and a fourth I think is with cousin Dianne from her mother, my mother's sister. If there are more than four, I don't know where the rest of them are.
And now you know why I can't say all that with an I-pad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

We’ll be OK—we’ll come out stronger

Taken from a friend's post. . . and passed along by Diane Orr McDermott (grew up in Mt. Morris, and lives in New Orleans) “gotta love the American people no matter what self-serving politicians do in Washington:”

“The reports are that the truckers are getting supplies to the stores. People are stocking the shelves all night and letting old people shop first.

Carnival Cruise line told Trump “We got your back and can match those big Navy Hospital ships with some fully staffed cruise ships.”

GM said hold our cars and watch this; we can make those ventilators where we were making cars starting next week. Women and children are making homemade masks and handing out snacks to truckers.

Restaurants and schools said, We’ve got kitchens and staff; we can feed kids.” Churches are holding on-line services and taking care of their members and community.

NBA basketball players said, “Hold our basketballs while we write checks to pay the arena staff.” Construction companies said, “Here are some masks for the medical staff and doctors”.  Breweries are making sanitizer out of the left-over ingredients.

We thought we couldn’t live without Baseball, NASCAR, NBA or going to the beach, restaurants or a bar. Instead, we’re trying to keep those businesses open by ordering take-out.

What communist China didn't count on was America saying "Hey, hold my beer and watch this."

I think a Japanese Admiral in the middle of the Pacific said it best in 1941, "I think we have awakened a sleeping giant."

Give us a few more weeks (maybe months) and we will be doing much better! And stop listening to the hysterical media!!  Sharing this from another FB friend. We have a wonderful country and an amazing God.

I know we will be ok .”

Jibe and Gibe—what’s the difference?

These seem to be pronounced the same: jybe. Gibe was the MW world of the day for March 25.  Makes me think I’ve been occasionally misspelling, but not sure I ever heard the meaning of gibe.

“Confused about jibe and gibe? The distinction actually isn't as clear-cut as some commentators would like it to be. Jibe is used both for the verb meaning "to be in accord" or "agree" (as in "the results do not jibe with those from other studies") and for the nautical verb and noun referring to the act of shifting a sail from one side to the other ("jibe the mainsail," "a risky jibe in heavy seas"). Gibe is used as a verb and noun for derisive teasing or taunting. But jibe is also a recognized variant of gibe, so it too has teasing or taunting uses. Gibe has been used occasionally as a variant of jibe, but the use is not common enough to warrant dictionary entry, and is widely considered an error.”

Monday, March 23, 2020

While we’re all washing, don’t forget. . .fingernails

Let me add one more health measure I haven't seen mentioned. Your fingernails. Trim them shorter than usual. Fake nails are factories of bacteria and fungus. Painted natural nails are too in that you can't see the crude they accumulate and cracks harbor critters. Yes, this is a virus, but you don't want to add to the stew, especially if you are working in any health facility or food service. If you're in veterinary medicine, you don't want to share your work with your pet at home.

"A real threat to patients lurks at the very tips of health-care workers’ fingers. Even when properly washed and gloved, the risk of infection is still there. The threat is pathogens harbored beneath artificial fingernails. If clinicians forgo artificial fingernails, it could make a significant difference in infection control. Studies have shown that artificial nails, as well as chipped nail polish, possess a greater amount of gram negative bacteria and pathogens than natural nails. The grooves and rough areas create a prefect space for bacteria to thrive."

The coronavirus death rate—Ross Rant, March 21

“. . . the death rate apples to confirmed cases, not the total population, so when they say 3% or 1% or whatever, it is a percent of a tiny number. Second they still have no good data to know the death rate. The data is very incomplete so far, and inaccurate from places like China. In South Korea, which seems to have good data, the death rate is around 1% of confirmed cases, not of the population. In the entire world there are only 11, 585 deaths as of Saturday morning (March 21). There are over 4 billion people in the world. The US deaths are only 300 so far, and only 19 a day when the virus is likely at its peak right now, out of 330 million population. Of those, there are a considerable number who were very old and dying anyway in a short time in nursing homes, or otherwise quite sick. The number of perfectly healthy people dying is barely measurable. Far more die from auto accidents, opioids or flu every day. You have to just wait for the data experts to give us real numbers, and ignore the disinformation on the internet. What we do know is that most people who do test positive just feel like they have a bad cold or mild flu and recuperate at home. Just because someone tests positive does not mean they need to be hospitalized at all.

Haters continue to bring down our country

The Lap dog media have been misquoting the president for over 3 years, and then their followers on FB, Twitter and blog land continue the stream of misinformation. He never said there were good people in the right wing hate groups or the left wing hate groups at a demonstration against destroying American history by tearing down statues, and he never said the coronavirus was a hoax. He never said Mexicans were bad people. But the haters still hate and the liars still lie. Even when it gets corrected at the source, or watchdog groups show the video was cut or filtered, the lies still circulate because they hate Trump and by extension, the 60 million who put him in office. Even now in a crisis that is hurting their own pension funds and investments, their neighbors and their families, they continue to lie, because they hate Trump more than they love Americans.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

What is your reserve?

What amount of reserve do you need to meet a disaster? Like the current health crisis which has closed 100s of businesses. I  can remember when I was about 45-50 our reserve would cover new tires for the car or a fence if the old one collapsed.  Our savings was put and take. We’d save it and 2 months later an appliance would die. No 3 months, not even 1 month. When I finally went back to work full time in a tenure track job we just didn’t spend my salary, and 15% went to TDA.  It was a very late start for retirement.

When our son was diagnosed with a brain tumor that ended his employment on October 1 we discovered that disability assistance based on Social Security begins SIX months after diagnosis, and medical help 2 years after that (Medicare). If you are poor or an illegal alien there is help, otherwise you should have enough assets to row your own boat for 6 months. Hospitals and cancer clinics have special programs to help low income patients , some don’t pay a penny, but not those who earn over $25,000 and own a house and car. And that is most who read this post.  So . . . Do you have 6 months of liquid resources?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

A statement from Pastor Steve Turnbull, UALC, Columbus, Ohio

Coronavirus is in the news, and the global spread of this new virus is a reality. I’d like to address this situation pastorally and share with you how we can respond as a church. We can be a church following Jesus with soft hearts, engaged minds, open (clean!) hands, and whole spirits.
In our responses, we will be guided by wisdom and love, not fear or panic. My social media feeds are populated by two extremes: those who dismiss and minimize the threat and those who are whipping others into a frenzy. These extremes are neither wise nor loving, nor helpful.
Here are some facts for engaged minds:
  1. Public health officials now project that many or most people will be infected eventually and develop the disease called COVID-19.
  2. The overwhelming majority of people will recover safely, as is also true for other similar viruses.
  3. Some people are more vulnerable than others to serious health risks resulting from this virus, particularly older adults and those with underlying health conditions. Health officials are recommending “social distancing” for those with chronic health conditions and for adults over 70.
  4. Slowing the spread of the disease to these more vulnerable groups is the wisest and most loving priority for us to embrace.
Please allow me to address this fourth idea and how we can prioritize loving our neighbors as our ourselves. Jesus has made us whole, and we are free to respond to one another in faith and love. As Christians we “look not to our own interests but to the interests of others.” Here’s what that means practically:
  1. I ask that you please pray for one another, especially for those at higher risk.
  2. I ask those of you in lower-risk groups to soften your hearts toward our higher-risk neighbors and take precautions to “bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” This means that you are not just washing your hands for yourself but for the person you’re about to meet. Or if you have symptoms, you may be able to power through your day and get a few things accomplished, but you might also be putting someone else at serious risk. Please love your neighbor and keep your germs to yourself.
  3. Perhaps you could also take open-handed steps of love and sacrifice for those who are vulnerable. Some of you could offer to pick up groceries or medications for others who need to limit their public exposure. This is an opportunity to be creative and thoughtful with our intentional acts of kindness to one another.
  4. Finally, I'd recommend engaging your mind with news from and more locally from You might consider taking a break from Facebook and cable news for a while.
It's so important that we practice love and wisdom as a church community. As a result, we have made the decision to suspend activities in our building effective immediately. Although it breaks my heart to say so, this applies even to worship on Sunday mornings. Worship is central to the life of our Christian community, and it is only through prayer and with much counsel that we have come to this decision. I hope and pray that actions like these, together with many others, lead to outcomes that will make the precautions seem to have been unnecessary. God make it so. None of these decisions are reached in a spirit of panic but rather love for those at greatest risk. This is how we “bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” At present we intend for the suspension of activities, including worship, to be in effect for the remainder of the month of March. We all realize that this is a rapidly developing situation, and we will update you as new information becomes available. Please visit for the most accurate communication.
During the time that we do not gather on Sunday mornings for worship, we will do our best to stay connected and support the faith and life of our community.
  1. Our worship and technical teams are already working to develop the best mechanisms to help us connect in prayer, in worship, and in the sharing of the Gospel. I will send out further information in the coming days. This would be a great time for you to download the UALC mobile app. You can find it on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store or get a link by texting “UALC App” to 77977.
  2. You can still participate in giving your tithes and offerings at I have done my giving as a recurring transaction for many years now. It helps me remain faithful in my giving, provides for the church’s needs, and even brings a bit of worship to my otherwise less joyful bill paying and record keeping! Of course, you may also mail your gifts to the church office at 2300 Lytham Road, Columbus, Ohio 43220.
  3. We are developing strategies to continue to care for one another during this season. Your small groups are a great community to stay in communication with. We are also providing additional support to our care department to check on and care for our members.
  4. Please be intentional to reach out, communicate with, and care for one another during this season.
As Christians, we can walk by faith and live in love. We trust that Jesus is Lord, no matter what. And we follow His example in loving one another. Thank you for being the church of Jesus Christ and for sharing in His life for the world, especially now.

Following Jesus with you,
Pastor Steve

Now a pandemic

Six weeks after our President acted to limit travel from China to the U.S. to protect Americans, schools, assemblies, conferences, sports teams, nursing homes and whole towns have put stringent rules in place that limit person to person spread of the Coronavirus. Are those officials all racists and xenophobes? Have they been slow to act and irresponsible because the power of socialism would have done it faster and better? Of course not. That honor goes to the accusers of the President.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Update on Phil

When I noted on Facebook that Phil was at his own home after 6 days in the hospital with help from his family, a friend from church, a widow about my age, sent this message, one that warms a mother’s heart:

“Thanks so much for update on dear Phil, Norma. I continue to pray for him and your family. Please tell him I keep his note on my computer, and I think of him always; it says, "Thank you for everything you've done for me. Phil Bruce." It was attached to flowers he sent to me at work -- a long time ago. O how I have loved you, Phil, for many years, and I've always felt we have had a good connection, starting when you were in one of my Sunday school classes. I hope it feels good for you to be home now; I pray you can feel God's presence and love, Phil, and mine.”

This week-end we hired a care giver for the first time so we could get some rest.  However, with medication confusion and the need to be there for a plumber, we didn’t see much rest.  It’s like leaving your baby with a sitter for the first time. (I remember that, too.)  She’s very nice and we all liked her right away.  She’s from Sierra Leone and lost her own daughter during their terrible Civil War in the 1990s—and I’m guessing she would have been about Phil’s age.  She’s been in the U.S. about 30 years, is a Christian, and prayed with Phil (I found out later).

Phil is on a number of prayer lists—my cousin Gayle, my siblings and the Indiana relatives have been particularly faithful about that, although there are many others. Phil’s church has a “Care and Share” group that brings him special meals and has provided me with suggestions. His pastors visit regularly.

Because of my vertigo I haven’t been driving to his home (about 25 minutes through a lot of traffic) and this week Keith, a friend of Phil’s from high school, was home (he’s a pilot) and provided me transportation three times, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.  On Thursday he also brought along a wonderful dinner of fish, rice and spinach which he had made the night before.  In addition to his friendship, he’s also a great chef. He was born in Goa, India and lived many years in Japan

Phil’s girlfriend Sara has been invaluable.  She’s a teacher with a busy schedule that includes volunteering, tutoring, and checking in on her own relatives, but still finds time to spend hours with Phil, bathing, changing sheets, running errands, doing laundry, and bringing him treats he likes.

Life is easier when the body of Christ works together.

Comrade Bernie is 50 years behind

“Europeans, then, having learned that socialism does not work, are trying to narrow our gap with the United States with various reforms—just as Bernie Sanders, 50 years too late, seeks to emulate Europe. Doesn’t Sanders know that his program has been applied in Europe, and failed? He must: and this would mean that his true ambition is not free health care or free college, but a deeper transformation of the United States. Perhaps he hates the free-market society and wants to replace it with a socialist, egalitarian one, overseen by the “tyranny of the benevolent,” which Tocqueville warned against.

Why would so many American voters find Sanders’s socialism attractive? For the same reasons that socialism was once popular in Europe: the love for equality over individual freedom; the illusion of a safe life, guaranteed by a benevolent state; the allure of transferring personal responsibility to a public nurse. Then as now, these offers exert a strong psychological appeal; the answer to them is reality. Socialism does not work—but perhaps one needs to live through it to be convinced.”

Monday, March 02, 2020

A Venezuelan speaks on freedom

Daniel DiMartino grew up amid violence, poverty, and corruption in socialist Venezuela. Luckily, he escaped those horrors and began a new life in the United States with a full tuition scholarship to a university in Indiana. “Waking up in America and waking up in Venezuela are two very different things. While in Venezuela I didn’t have the hope of ever having my own home, having a car, starting a family, in America I’m not only hopeful but I am sure that I will be able to do those things,” said DiMartino while sharing his story in a new Heritage video. DiMartino’s story is a prime example of what makes America truly exceptional.

The fake news virus

The coronavirus isn’t fake, and the hysteria about it isn’t fake, but the news media making it all about Trump, is definitely in the fake category.

“Trump was in a relaxed and cheerful mood [at CPAC] when he took the stage of the Potomac Ballroom at the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor. Just before helicoptering over to CPAC on Marine One, the president had joined Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Dr. Anthony Fauci at a White House press conference on the coronavirus. As with everything else in the Trump Age, this turned into a confrontation with the “fake news” media. An NBC reporter asked about a New York Times article that claimed Dr. Fauci had been “muzzled” by the administration. Trump responded that the question was “dishonest,” then yielded the microphone to Dr. Fauci. “I have never been muzzled, and I’ve been doing this since the administration of Ronald Reagan,” Dr. Fauci said, explaining that what happened involved scheduled TV appearances and the appointment of Pence to head the administration’s response to the disease that spread from China. “I have not been muzzled at all. That was a real misrepresentation of what happened.”

I’m surprised anyone believes anything published in New York Times, or Washington Post.