Fact-Free Discourse – Vaccines

How many doses of the several available vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of covid, are available?

You would think that when people call for sending vaccines to India or to make them more available generally around the world, they would check that number. You would be wrong.

Searching brings up a number of references to “doses expected to be available,” but actual numbers from the production plants (and how many of those are there?) are not easy to find.

You would think that journalists would want to check these numbers before making statements like “America is awash in vaccines.” You would be wrong. I have not seen a single one quote numbers. Journalists are supposed to get facts like this to us.

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The Fall Of The White Male Novelist

Publishers have a lot of power. Written material shapes thinking and conversations. When they choose a book or article, they are using physical and mental space that might have gone elsewhere.

For many, many years in the English-speaking countries, that space has gone to white cis men, excluding other voices. Compounding the exclusion has been misogyny in many of those men’s writing.

I gave up reading fiction a long time ago. It was all men’s viewpoints. When Henry Miller’s Tropics became legal in the US, I read them. An older male colleague asked me what I thought. I don’t recall my exact response, but it was along the lines of  it being a viewpoint I didn’t recognize. And Norman Mailer and John Cheever and John Updike and Philip Roth and too many others.

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Russia’s Vaccine Missteps

Russia and China have been exporting their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to build goodwill. At the same time, however, they have been taking steps that undermine that goodwill. Russia has built up its military forces as if to attack Ukraine and is now building them down; additionally, information has come out about earlier attacks on Czech and Bulgarian arms depots. China has been imprisoning Uyghurs in concentration (“reeducation”) camps and has been militarily active in the South China Sea.

Both vaccines, like the AstraZeneca vaccine, use an adenovirus to carry in parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to provoke an immune response. The method has been used successfully for an Ebola vaccine.

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American Aid To India

The covid situation in India is horrendous: 350,000 infections a day, 2500 deaths. After an apparent delay, the United States is sending help.

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That Thin Blue Line Flag

The Police Department in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where Daunte Wright was killed by an officer, has been flying a “Thin Blue Line” flag just below the American flag. The mayor of Brooklyn Center requested that the flag be taken down because it is inflammatory, and the police complied. Its use has been banned by the University of Wisconsin and Pelham, NY, police departments.

The TBL flag has a lot wrong with it. It is related to the “Blue lives matter” slogan, which developed in response to “Black lives matter” to minimize that claim. It is used by white supremacist factions. The flag was displayed in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, with attackers somewhat contradictorily attacking Capitol police with poles with the flag attached.

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