Steve Kelman on Politics, Culture, and Life


Self-Promotion Alert

Schoolmask mandates and covid infections

A newly released study shows that schools without mask mandates for students are 3.7 times as likely to experience covid outbreaks as those with a mandate. (Caution: these differences may be exaggerated because high vaccination rates are probably associated with a school's likelihood of introducing a mandate.)

Covid deaths in different parts of the US

The Times has a graphic on the front page today on covid deaths across the country. All of New England, except the very northernmost part of Maine, are in the very lowest death category. So are New Jersey and almost all of New York. The Southern States dominate deaths, especially Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana. Florida is bad except for South Florida. The mountain States aren't great either, with Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana being especially high, also Western Oregon.

Covid hospitalizations way down in Asia

The Times report today that vaccination rates in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia have now forged ahead of the rate in the United States, although they got a much slower start, because they were prioritizing aggressive disease prevention measures. In Japan, serious cases have declined by half during the last month, and hospitalizations are down from 230,000 in August to 30,000 now. Another embarrassment for our country.

Fox on mask mandate tear

Guess what? Fox had a pair of guests this morning who were fired for refusing a vaccine mandate. I have defended my watching Fox against skeptics on Facebook, but this is getting tiresome.

Red Roulette – business and the communist party in China

I just finished the book Red Roulette about dealings between business and the Communist party in China. I thought it was somewhat less spectacular than some of the advance indications, including a review in The Times, suggest. I read it as showing that business people who want to get help from the government do need to lobby extensively, and take Communist and government officials out to dinners and drinking as part of that. However, there was very little indication in the book about direct bribes where business people paid the government money for help with establishing establishing new activities.. Indeed, the book suggests that the Communist party really tried to stop bribes from taking place. But it does show that government support for a business is often extremely helpful to that business.

Sets of Mao’s complete works as a wedding present in China

The China book by John Pomfret includes an anecdote about a character who got married in 1968, during the cultural revolution, and received 10 sets of mao's complete works as wedding presents.

Private car ownership in China

China first legalized private car ownership in 1979, about when reform and opening was beginning.

Jimmy Carter’s 97th birthday

I wrote a post about Jimmy Carter's 97th birthday, and my friend Thomas Main noted that carter is one of the presidents for whom his presidency was the low point of his career, not the high point. The others, he noted, were John Quincy Adams, Ulysses Grant, and Herbert Hoover. Interesting!

Vilifying Facebook

Facebook has a full page in The Times today on their safety protection efforts. They now have 40,000 people working oh working on this, mostly content moderation, and have in the past few months taken down 1.7 billion fake accounts, 30 million violent and graphic posts, and 7 million terrorism related posts.I have to confess that I do not participate in the vilification of Facebook that is so common.

Theories of management

Bob Stone, with whom I worked during reinventing government in the Clinton administration, has described his theory of management as, "Some people look for things that've gone wrong and try to fix them. I look for thins that've gone right and try to spread them."

New leader for Taiwan opposition party

There has just been an internal election in Taiwan's KMT party for party chair. This is Taiwan's more pro China party. The more pro China of the candidates was defeated in favor of somebody who is more moderate. Taiwan even has democracy inside their 2 major parties. A beacon for Asia.

Food from Taiwan

Another plug for Taiwan food products. For a number of years I have eaten, though only occasionally, bamboo shoots marinated in a mild chili oil. Just opened a new package I had bought at my supermarket and discovered it is made in Taiwan. Yummy.

Protests against removal of Taiwan flag

The Taiwan flag was taken down from the scoreboard at an International diving competition after China stopped live streaming the event in China. At that point, ten of the participants, including the US, France, Germany, South Korea, and Australia, removed their own flags in protest.

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