The Premonition

Marvin the Martian

Hall of Famer
Sep 4, 2001
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The Premonition is Michael Lewis' new book on a group outside government who led our response to COVID. It is simply a great read.

McMurtry will be happy, the CDC is a giant punching bag. It is called variations of an academic institution with a mission to fight a war. The CDC is viewed as more wanting to study the enemy than fight the enemy.

Gavin Need one has a rough go in the book. He hired Sonia Angell to be state health director in 2019. Everyone thought it would be Charity Dean, who is one of the main focuses of the book. However Dean was White and Angell had a big track record working with minority groups. Angell had no experience and no interest in infection disease and largely followed the CDC.

One of the sections on Dean, long before COVID dealt with her interacting with the CDC over Hep B and viral meningitis. In both cases the CDC wax aghast she took action without waiting to confirm. Her point was that people would die if she waited.

But she admits jobs like hers, and the CDC, have a perverse incentive. If they do nothing and an outbreak happens, people will forgive them. If they act and an outbreak doesn't happen they will be blamed and fired. Everyone has an incentive to keep their head down and do nothing.

Trump is not mentioned often, bit the mentions are not kind. He wanted the federal government far removed from involvement, they could not be blamed for something they were not doing. He wanted case counts low, so he wanted little testing.

Some interesting things. Zuckerberg funded a genetics lab. They had the technology and offered to both test and genetic sequence positive cases for free. For free. Almost no one took them up. Some hospitals/government agencies did not want to be seen working with the Zuckerberg name. Some had a problem, Quest charged a lot and their contracts required them to be sole provider. My favorite, some hospitals could not use them because it was free. The hospital accounting system would not allow free entries.

The people in the book are fascinating, and outside the government (though some had worked for Bush). They held conference calls early on. One guy, Carter Mescher (audiobook, I may misspell that last name) seemed to be the leader of the group. He called himself a redneck epidemiologist. Very early on, in January, he knew China was lying. 1) they were building 1000 bed hospitals in days 2) we knew how many Chinese from Wuhan who travelled and were diagnosed. We knew how many travelled. The rate of infection in travellers was far higher than China was saying it was on the ground.

So government employees learned of these conference calls and sat in. Yes, even Dr Fauci. Charity Davis was saying she had no idea who was on these calls and never suspected until Ken Cuccinelli, Director of Homeland Security at that moment, broke in on her talking yelling at her she had to lock down California because he couldn't get any in the White House to do a thing about the virus.

Others were pressuring her to lock down CA, it was why she was added to the calls. But she couldn't, they did not realize she was #2 and lacked the authority and her boss refused to talk to her about COVID because her boss wanted to do what the CDC said.

A couple of the guys worked for Bush who demanded a plan for infectious disease. Bush is the only politician who comes out good (Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Obama get mentions). They discovered the current plan was to do nothing except wait for a vaccination. The reason was Philly in the Spanish flu. Philly had tried social distancing, it did not work. These two, the redneck epidemiologist being one, studied the outbreak. They discovered one thing, Philly waited too late. Other cities, like St Louis, acted well before Philly and had tremendously fewer cases and deaths. Philly waited until they were badly overrun. So the US containment plan became social distancing.

This leads to an error in COVID. They discovered flus are speed by....... Children. Kids do not socially distance. One spent days studying kids in schools. They are packed 3 to a 42 inch seat on a bus. At bus stops, they stand closer than the Seinfeld close-talker. Their desks are under 3 feet apart until high school where they become 3.5.

All that leads to one inescapable conclusion. Schools have to be closed. Now it turned out for reasons still not known, COVID does not spread through children. It will be interesting to see in future pandemics if we will see someone risk closing schools or not.

I have barely scratched the surface, people should read the book. Conservatives will love the portrayal of the government as far too slow and unwieldy. Liberals will probably find the Trump areas and the holes in the for profit healthcare model interesting.

And the Jasons surprisingly had an appearance.
 

mcmurtry66

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Mar 14, 2019
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The Premonition is Michael Lewis' new book on a group outside government who led our response to COVID. It is simply a great read.

McMurtry will be happy, the CDC is a giant punching bag. It is called variations of an academic institution with a mission to fight a war. The CDC is viewed as more wanting to study the enemy than fight the enemy.

Gavin Need one has a rough go in the book. He hired Sonia Angell to be state health director in 2019. Everyone thought it would be Charity Dean, who is one of the main focuses of the book. However Dean was White and Angell had a big track record working with minority groups. Angell had no experience and no interest in infection disease and largely followed the CDC.

One of the sections on Dean, long before COVID dealt with her interacting with the CDC over Hep B and viral meningitis. In both cases the CDC wax aghast she took action without waiting to confirm. Her point was that people would die if she waited.

But she admits jobs like hers, and the CDC, have a perverse incentive. If they do nothing and an outbreak happens, people will forgive them. If they act and an outbreak doesn't happen they will be blamed and fired. Everyone has an incentive to keep their head down and do nothing.

Trump is not mentioned often, bit the mentions are not kind. He wanted the federal government far removed from involvement, they could not be blamed for something they were not doing. He wanted case counts low, so he wanted little testing.

Some interesting things. Zuckerberg funded a genetics lab. They had the technology and offered to both test and genetic sequence positive cases for free. For free. Almost no one took them up. Some hospitals/government agencies did not want to be seen working with the Zuckerberg name. Some had a problem, Quest charged a lot and their contracts required them to be sole provider. My favorite, some hospitals could not use them because it was free. The hospital accounting system would not allow free entries.

The people in the book are fascinating, and outside the government (though some had worked for Bush). They held conference calls early on. One guy, Carter Mescher (audiobook, I may misspell that last name) seemed to be the leader of the group. He called himself a redneck epidemiologist. Very early on, in January, he knew China was lying. 1) they were building 1000 bed hospitals in days 2) we knew how many Chinese from Wuhan who travelled and were diagnosed. We knew how many travelled. The rate of infection in travellers was far higher than China was saying it was on the ground.

So government employees learned of these conference calls and sat in. Yes, even Dr Fauci. Charity Davis was saying she had no idea who was on these calls and never suspected until Ken Cuccinelli, Director of Homeland Security at that moment, broke in on her talking yelling at her she had to lock down California because he couldn't get any in the White House to do a thing about the virus.

Others were pressuring her to lock down CA, it was why she was added to the calls. But she couldn't, they did not realize she was #2 and lacked the authority and her boss refused to talk to her about COVID because her boss wanted to do what the CDC said.

A couple of the guys worked for Bush who demanded a plan for infectious disease. Bush is the only politician who comes out good (Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Obama get mentions). They discovered the current plan was to do nothing except wait for a vaccination. The reason was Philly in the Spanish flu. Philly had tried social distancing, it did not work. These two, the redneck epidemiologist being one, studied the outbreak. They discovered one thing, Philly waited too late. Other cities, like St Louis, acted well before Philly and had tremendously fewer cases and deaths. Philly waited until they were badly overrun. So the US containment plan became social distancing.

This leads to an error in COVID. They discovered flus are speed by....... Children. Kids do not socially dnce. One spent days studying kids in schools. They are packed 3 to a 42 inch seat on a bus. At bus stops, they stand closer than the Seinfeld close-talker. Their desks are under 3 feet apart until high school where they become 3.5.

All that leads to one inescapable conclusion. Schools have to be closed. Now it turned out for reasons still not known, COVID does not spread through children. It will be interesting to see in future pandemics if we will see someone risk closing schools or not.

I have barely scratched the surface, people should read the book. Conservatives will love the portrayal of the government as far too slow and unwieldy. Liberals will probably find the Trump areas and the holes in the for profit healthcare model interesting.

And the Jasons surprisingly had an appearance.
Awesome. Have read a few of his books. He's an entertaining guy. He's had a few trump quotes that have stuck with me that i thought were great: re being president "he's the dog who caught the car." and "our society is like a family with kind of a psycho, alcoholic dad."
 

TommyCracker

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Thanks for the review and recommendation Marv.

I haven't sat down and read a book for entertainment since Moneyball if I recall correctly but I will probably check this out as it sounds fascinating.

So how long do we need to wait for the movie? 10 years? 20? After the key people pass?
 
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Marvin the Martian

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I want to add something tangential. CDC Director moved from civil service to political appointee under Reagan after two issues. One was AIDS research, Reagan did not want the CDC conducting it. The second was Reye's Syndrome. The FDA had a report ready to issue advising parents not to give aspirin to children. Aspirin makers complained to the White House who ordered the report torn up and a new study conducted. This slowed everything way down as the report took some time.

The point isn't to belittle Reagan but Lewis says since WW2 many jobs have moved from civil servants to political appointees. He suggests appointees are more likely to be appeasers, more likely to be Neville Chamberlain and not Winston Churchill (used because Charity Dean often used that analogy to differentiate good public health officers from bad).
 

mcmurtry66

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Mar 14, 2019
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I want to add something tangential. CDC Director moved from civil service to political appointee under Reagan after two issues. One was AIDS research, Reagan did not want the CDC conducting it. The second was Reye's Syndrome. The FDA had a report ready to issue advising parents not to give aspirin to children. Aspirin makers complained to the White House who ordered the report torn up and a new study conducted. This slowed everything way down as the report took some time.

The point isn't to belittle Reagan but Lewis says since WW2 many jobs have moved from civil servants to political appointees. He suggests appointees are more likely to be appeasers, more likely to be Neville Chamberlain and not Winston Churchill (used because Charity Dean often used that analogy to differentiate good public health officers from bad).
Awful - and sad
 
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mcmurtry66

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Gold Member
Mar 14, 2019
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The Premonition is Michael Lewis' new book on a group outside government who led our response to COVID. It is simply a great read.

McMurtry will be happy, the CDC is a giant punching bag. It is called variations of an academic institution with a mission to fight a war. The CDC is viewed as more wanting to study the enemy than fight the enemy.

Gavin Need one has a rough go in the book. He hired Sonia Angell to be state health director in 2019. Everyone thought it would be Charity Dean, who is one of the main focuses of the book. However Dean was White and Angell had a big track record working with minority groups. Angell had no experience and no interest in infection disease and largely followed the CDC.

One of the sections on Dean, long before COVID dealt with her interacting with the CDC over Hep B and viral meningitis. In both cases the CDC wax aghast she took action without waiting to confirm. Her point was that people would die if she waited.

But she admits jobs like hers, and the CDC, have a perverse incentive. If they do nothing and an outbreak happens, people will forgive them. If they act and an outbreak doesn't happen they will be blamed and fired. Everyone has an incentive to keep their head down and do nothing.

Trump is not mentioned often, bit the mentions are not kind. He wanted the federal government far removed from involvement, they could not be blamed for something they were not doing. He wanted case counts low, so he wanted little testing.

Some interesting things. Zuckerberg funded a genetics lab. They had the technology and offered to both test and genetic sequence positive cases for free. For free. Almost no one took them up. Some hospitals/government agencies did not want to be seen working with the Zuckerberg name. Some had a problem, Quest charged a lot and their contracts required them to be sole provider. My favorite, some hospitals could not use them because it was free. The hospital accounting system would not allow free entries.

The people in the book are fascinating, and outside the government (though some had worked for Bush). They held conference calls early on. One guy, Carter Mescher (audiobook, I may misspell that last name) seemed to be the leader of the group. He called himself a redneck epidemiologist. Very early on, in January, he knew China was lying. 1) they were building 1000 bed hospitals in days 2) we knew how many Chinese from Wuhan who travelled and were diagnosed. We knew how many travelled. The rate of infection in travellers was far higher than China was saying it was on the ground.

So government employees learned of these conference calls and sat in. Yes, even Dr Fauci. Charity Davis was saying she had no idea who was on these calls and never suspected until Ken Cuccinelli, Director of Homeland Security at that moment, broke in on her talking yelling at her she had to lock down California because he couldn't get any in the White House to do a thing about the virus.

Others were pressuring her to lock down CA, it was why she was added to the calls. But she couldn't, they did not realize she was #2 and lacked the authority and her boss refused to talk to her about COVID because her boss wanted to do what the CDC said.

A couple of the guys worked for Bush who demanded a plan for infectious disease. Bush is the only politician who comes out good (Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Obama get mentions). They discovered the current plan was to do nothing except wait for a vaccination. The reason was Philly in the Spanish flu. Philly had tried social distancing, it did not work. These two, the redneck epidemiologist being one, studied the outbreak. They discovered one thing, Philly waited too late. Other cities, like St Louis, acted well before Philly and had tremendously fewer cases and deaths. Philly waited until they were badly overrun. So the US containment plan became social distancing.

This leads to an error in COVID. They discovered flus are speed by....... Children. Kids do not socially distance. One spent days studying kids in schools. They are packed 3 to a 42 inch seat on a bus. At bus stops, they stand closer than the Seinfeld close-talker. Their desks are under 3 feet apart until high school where they become 3.5.

All that leads to one inescapable conclusion. Schools have to be closed. Now it turned out for reasons still not known, COVID does not spread through children. It will be interesting to see in future pandemics if we will see someone risk closing schools or not.

I have barely scratched the surface, people should read the book. Conservatives will love the portrayal of the government as far too slow and unwieldy. Liberals will probably find the Trump areas and the holes in the for profit healthcare model interesting.

And the Jasons surprisingly had an appearance.

Does Lewis say who comprised the outside group?
 

Marvin the Martian

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Does Lewis say who comprised the outside group?
The main people are mentioned. Carter Mecher, Charity Dean, Joe DeRisi. Mecher had been in the VA, his story about trying to fix the VA is very interesting.

A 4th person, I cannot remember their name, worked for the government agency that solves science problems no one else will tackle (they developed the flight plan for the Enola Gay). His interest in epidemiology was not professional. His daughter's science fair project was to create a model for infectious disease. There really was none. His work (and hers) would become a major part of their planning.
 

BradStevens

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Silver Member
Mar 16, 2021
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The Premonition is Michael Lewis' new book on a group outside government who led our response to COVID. It is simply a great read.

McMurtry will be happy, the CDC is a giant punching bag. It is called variations of an academic institution with a mission to fight a war. The CDC is viewed as more wanting to study the enemy than fight the enemy.

Gavin Need one has a rough go in the book. He hired Sonia Angell to be state health director in 2019. Everyone thought it would be Charity Dean, who is one of the main focuses of the book. However Dean was White and Angell had a big track record working with minority groups. Angell had no experience and no interest in infection disease and largely followed the CDC.

One of the sections on Dean, long before COVID dealt with her interacting with the CDC over Hep B and viral meningitis. In both cases the CDC wax aghast she took action without waiting to confirm. Her point was that people would die if she waited.

But she admits jobs like hers, and the CDC, have a perverse incentive. If they do nothing and an outbreak happens, people will forgive them. If they act and an outbreak doesn't happen they will be blamed and fired. Everyone has an incentive to keep their head down and do nothing.

Trump is not mentioned often, bit the mentions are not kind. He wanted the federal government far removed from involvement, they could not be blamed for something they were not doing. He wanted case counts low, so he wanted little testing.

Some interesting things. Zuckerberg funded a genetics lab. They had the technology and offered to both test and genetic sequence positive cases for free. For free. Almost no one took them up. Some hospitals/government agencies did not want to be seen working with the Zuckerberg name. Some had a problem, Quest charged a lot and their contracts required them to be sole provider. My favorite, some hospitals could not use them because it was free. The hospital accounting system would not allow free entries.

The people in the book are fascinating, and outside the government (though some had worked for Bush). They held conference calls early on. One guy, Carter Mescher (audiobook, I may misspell that last name) seemed to be the leader of the group. He called himself a redneck epidemiologist. Very early on, in January, he knew China was lying. 1) they were building 1000 bed hospitals in days 2) we knew how many Chinese from Wuhan who travelled and were diagnosed. We knew how many travelled. The rate of infection in travellers was far higher than China was saying it was on the ground.

So government employees learned of these conference calls and sat in. Yes, even Dr Fauci. Charity Davis was saying she had no idea who was on these calls and never suspected until Ken Cuccinelli, Director of Homeland Security at that moment, broke in on her talking yelling at her she had to lock down California because he couldn't get any in the White House to do a thing about the virus.

Others were pressuring her to lock down CA, it was why she was added to the calls. But she couldn't, they did not realize she was #2 and lacked the authority and her boss refused to talk to her about COVID because her boss wanted to do what the CDC said.

A couple of the guys worked for Bush who demanded a plan for infectious disease. Bush is the only politician who comes out good (Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Obama get mentions). They discovered the current plan was to do nothing except wait for a vaccination. The reason was Philly in the Spanish flu. Philly had tried social distancing, it did not work. These two, the redneck epidemiologist being one, studied the outbreak. They discovered one thing, Philly waited too late. Other cities, like St Louis, acted well before Philly and had tremendously fewer cases and deaths. Philly waited until they were badly overrun. So the US containment plan became social distancing.

This leads to an error in COVID. They discovered flus are speed by....... Children. Kids do not socially distance. One spent days studying kids in schools. They are packed 3 to a 42 inch seat on a bus. At bus stops, they stand closer than the Seinfeld close-talker. Their desks are under 3 feet apart until high school where they become 3.5.

All that leads to one inescapable conclusion. Schools have to be closed. Now it turned out for reasons still not known, COVID does not spread through children. It will be interesting to see in future pandemics if we will see someone risk closing schools or not.

I have barely scratched the surface, people should read the book. Conservatives will love the portrayal of the government as far too slow and unwieldy. Liberals will probably find the Trump areas and the holes in the for profit healthcare model interesting.

And the Jasons surprisingly had an appearance.
Lewis is my favorite non-fiction writer. He's an amazing storyteller. That said, I've become a little wary of him because those who tell a good yarn usually are cutting corners or recontextualizing things to make the story that good. I still think it's worth it, can't wait to read this.
 

DrHoops

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Sep 7, 2001
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The Premonition is Michael Lewis' new book on a group outside government who led our response to COVID. It is simply a great read.

McMurtry will be happy, the CDC is a giant punching bag. It is called variations of an academic institution with a mission to fight a war. The CDC is viewed as more wanting to study the enemy than fight the enemy.

Gavin Need one has a rough go in the book. He hired Sonia Angell to be state health director in 2019. Everyone thought it would be Charity Dean, who is one of the main focuses of the book. However Dean was White and Angell had a big track record working with minority groups. Angell had no experience and no interest in infection disease and largely followed the CDC.

One of the sections on Dean, long before COVID dealt with her interacting with the CDC over Hep B and viral meningitis. In both cases the CDC wax aghast she took action without waiting to confirm. Her point was that people would die if she waited.

But she admits jobs like hers, and the CDC, have a perverse incentive. If they do nothing and an outbreak happens, people will forgive them. If they act and an outbreak doesn't happen they will be blamed and fired. Everyone has an incentive to keep their head down and do nothing.

Trump is not mentioned often, bit the mentions are not kind. He wanted the federal government far removed from involvement, they could not be blamed for something they were not doing. He wanted case counts low, so he wanted little testing.

Some interesting things. Zuckerberg funded a genetics lab. They had the technology and offered to both test and genetic sequence positive cases for free. For free. Almost no one took them up. Some hospitals/government agencies did not want to be seen working with the Zuckerberg name. Some had a problem, Quest charged a lot and their contracts required them to be sole provider. My favorite, some hospitals could not use them because it was free. The hospital accounting system would not allow free entries.

The people in the book are fascinating, and outside the government (though some had worked for Bush). They held conference calls early on. One guy, Carter Mescher (audiobook, I may misspell that last name) seemed to be the leader of the group. He called himself a redneck epidemiologist. Very early on, in January, he knew China was lying. 1) they were building 1000 bed hospitals in days 2) we knew how many Chinese from Wuhan who travelled and were diagnosed. We knew how many travelled. The rate of infection in travellers was far higher than China was saying it was on the ground.

So government employees learned of these conference calls and sat in. Yes, even Dr Fauci. Charity Davis was saying she had no idea who was on these calls and never suspected until Ken Cuccinelli, Director of Homeland Security at that moment, broke in on her talking yelling at her she had to lock down California because he couldn't get any in the White House to do a thing about the virus.

Others were pressuring her to lock down CA, it was why she was added to the calls. But she couldn't, they did not realize she was #2 and lacked the authority and her boss refused to talk to her about COVID because her boss wanted to do what the CDC said.

A couple of the guys worked for Bush who demanded a plan for infectious disease. Bush is the only politician who comes out good (Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Obama get mentions). They discovered the current plan was to do nothing except wait for a vaccination. The reason was Philly in the Spanish flu. Philly had tried social distancing, it did not work. These two, the redneck epidemiologist being one, studied the outbreak. They discovered one thing, Philly waited too late. Other cities, like St Louis, acted well before Philly and had tremendously fewer cases and deaths. Philly waited until they were badly overrun. So the US containment plan became social distancing.

This leads to an error in COVID. They discovered flus are speed by....... Children. Kids do not socially distance. One spent days studying kids in schools. They are packed 3 to a 42 inch seat on a bus. At bus stops, they stand closer than the Seinfeld close-talker. Their desks are under 3 feet apart until high school where they become 3.5.

All that leads to one inescapable conclusion. Schools have to be closed. Now it turned out for reasons still not known, COVID does not spread through children. It will be interesting to see in future pandemics if we will see someone risk closing schools or not.

I have barely scratched the surface, people should read the book. Conservatives will love the portrayal of the government as far too slow and unwieldy. Liberals will probably find the Trump areas and the holes in the for profit healthcare model interesting.

And the Jasons surprisingly had an appearance.

Just bought it. Thanks for the suggestion, Marv!
 
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INRanger27

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The main people are mentioned. Carter Mecher, Charity Dean, Joe DeRisi. Mecher had been in the VA, his story about trying to fix the VA is very interesting.

A 4th person, I cannot remember their name, worked for the government agency that solves science problems no one else will tackle (they developed the flight plan for the Enola Gay). His interest in epidemiology was not professional. His daughter's science fair project was to create a model for infectious disease. There really was none. His work (and hers) would become a major part of their planning.
No mention of pharma? Pharma literally is what will lead us out of this. The epidemiologists and their passive defense measures only serve to temporarily slow the rates of growth and inevitably lead to waves.
 
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Marvin the Martian

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Sep 4, 2001
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No mention of pharma? Pharma literally is what will lead us out of this. The epidemiologists and their passive defense measures only serve to temporarily slow the rates of growth and inevitably lead to waves.
Largely no. There are mentions of warp speed. But this is more about the people who saw the tsunami when most people were wondering why the ocean was low.

The idea until Bush was to do nothing at all until pharma came through. This story is about the competing idea. They suggest it is possible, fought early enough, an outbreak can be ended before pharma gets ramped up. Barely mentioned but mentioned is a Gates project to DNA sequence basically every viral infection in high risk areas. If a novel virus is found, teams can get in and shut things down. It was only mentioned because Zuckerberg's group lost out to Gates'.
 

BradStevens

Benchwarmer
Silver Member
Mar 16, 2021
259
356
63
The Premonition is Michael Lewis' new book on a group outside government who led our response to COVID. It is simply a great read.

McMurtry will be happy, the CDC is a giant punching bag. It is called variations of an academic institution with a mission to fight a war. The CDC is viewed as more wanting to study the enemy than fight the enemy.

Gavin Need one has a rough go in the book. He hired Sonia Angell to be state health director in 2019. Everyone thought it would be Charity Dean, who is one of the main focuses of the book. However Dean was White and Angell had a big track record working with minority groups. Angell had no experience and no interest in infection disease and largely followed the CDC.

One of the sections on Dean, long before COVID dealt with her interacting with the CDC over Hep B and viral meningitis. In both cases the CDC wax aghast she took action without waiting to confirm. Her point was that people would die if she waited.

But she admits jobs like hers, and the CDC, have a perverse incentive. If they do nothing and an outbreak happens, people will forgive them. If they act and an outbreak doesn't happen they will be blamed and fired. Everyone has an incentive to keep their head down and do nothing.

Trump is not mentioned often, bit the mentions are not kind. He wanted the federal government far removed from involvement, they could not be blamed for something they were not doing. He wanted case counts low, so he wanted little testing.

Some interesting things. Zuckerberg funded a genetics lab. They had the technology and offered to both test and genetic sequence positive cases for free. For free. Almost no one took them up. Some hospitals/government agencies did not want to be seen working with the Zuckerberg name. Some had a problem, Quest charged a lot and their contracts required them to be sole provider. My favorite, some hospitals could not use them because it was free. The hospital accounting system would not allow free entries.

The people in the book are fascinating, and outside the government (though some had worked for Bush). They held conference calls early on. One guy, Carter Mescher (audiobook, I may misspell that last name) seemed to be the leader of the group. He called himself a redneck epidemiologist. Very early on, in January, he knew China was lying. 1) they were building 1000 bed hospitals in days 2) we knew how many Chinese from Wuhan who travelled and were diagnosed. We knew how many travelled. The rate of infection in travellers was far higher than China was saying it was on the ground.

So government employees learned of these conference calls and sat in. Yes, even Dr Fauci. Charity Davis was saying she had no idea who was on these calls and never suspected until Ken Cuccinelli, Director of Homeland Security at that moment, broke in on her talking yelling at her she had to lock down California because he couldn't get any in the White House to do a thing about the virus.

Others were pressuring her to lock down CA, it was why she was added to the calls. But she couldn't, they did not realize she was #2 and lacked the authority and her boss refused to talk to her about COVID because her boss wanted to do what the CDC said.

A couple of the guys worked for Bush who demanded a plan for infectious disease. Bush is the only politician who comes out good (Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Obama get mentions). They discovered the current plan was to do nothing except wait for a vaccination. The reason was Philly in the Spanish flu. Philly had tried social distancing, it did not work. These two, the redneck epidemiologist being one, studied the outbreak. They discovered one thing, Philly waited too late. Other cities, like St Louis, acted well before Philly and had tremendously fewer cases and deaths. Philly waited until they were badly overrun. So the US containment plan became social distancing.

This leads to an error in COVID. They discovered flus are speed by....... Children. Kids do not socially distance. One spent days studying kids in schools. They are packed 3 to a 42 inch seat on a bus. At bus stops, they stand closer than the Seinfeld close-talker. Their desks are under 3 feet apart until high school where they become 3.5.

All that leads to one inescapable conclusion. Schools have to be closed. Now it turned out for reasons still not known, COVID does not spread through children. It will be interesting to see in future pandemics if we will see someone risk closing schools or not.

I have barely scratched the surface, people should read the book. Conservatives will love the portrayal of the government as far too slow and unwieldy. Liberals will probably find the Trump areas and the holes in the for profit healthcare model interesting.

And the Jasons surprisingly had an appearance.
With respect to Lewis's reporting, writing, and diagnosis, I've always been surprised at how little has changed as a result. In the Big Short, he wrote about some illegal or at least fraudulent conduct in the hiding of valuations of subprime mortgages from those who pioneered CDSs (Burry). In Flashboys, he wrote about a lot of activity that certainly sounded like spoofing with HFTs. And in the Fifth Risk, he wrote about some pretty amazing conflicts of interest between Trump appointees and the departments they led.

So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating? Another way to ask this with respect to this book: do you think the things he writes about will be taken seriously by those in Washington and lead to change so that we can do better next time, or will it all be forgotten within two years as we focus on the new new thing?
 

INRanger27

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With respect to Lewis's reporting, writing, and diagnosis, I've always been surprised at how little has changed as a result. In the Big Short, he wrote about some illegal or at least fraudulent conduct in the hiding of valuations of subprime mortgages from those who pioneered CDSs (Burry). In Flashboys, he wrote about a lot of activity that certainly sounded like spoofing with HFTs. And in the Fifth Risk, he wrote about some pretty amazing conflicts of interest between Trump appointees and the departments they led.

So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating? Another way to ask this with respect to this book: do you think the things he writes about will be taken seriously by those in Washington and lead to change so that we can do better next time, or will it all be forgotten within two years as we focus on the new new thing?
Paging @i’vegotwinners
 

mcmurtry66

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With respect to Lewis's reporting, writing, and diagnosis, I've always been surprised at how little has changed as a result. In the Big Short, he wrote about some illegal or at least fraudulent conduct in the hiding of valuations of subprime mortgages from those who pioneered CDSs (Burry). In Flashboys, he wrote about a lot of activity that certainly sounded like spoofing with HFTs. And in the Fifth Risk, he wrote about some pretty amazing conflicts of interest between Trump appointees and the departments they led.

So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating? Another way to ask this with respect to this book: do you think the things he writes about will be taken seriously by those in Washington and lead to change so that we can do better next time, or will it all be forgotten within two years as we focus on the new new thing?
Inertia
 
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Marvin the Martian

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With respect to Lewis's reporting, writing, and diagnosis, I've always been surprised at how little has changed as a result. In the Big Short, he wrote about some illegal or at least fraudulent conduct in the hiding of valuations of subprime mortgages from those who pioneered CDSs (Burry). In Flashboys, he wrote about a lot of activity that certainly sounded like spoofing with HFTs. And in the Fifth Risk, he wrote about some pretty amazing conflicts of interest between Trump appointees and the departments they led.

So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating? Another way to ask this with respect to this book: do you think the things he writes about will be taken seriously by those in Washington and lead to change so that we can do better next time, or will it all be forgotten within two years as we focus on the new new thing?

I doubt Washington will take it seriously. I bet it is scoffed at by official people.

But, there is hope. Some of them have found money and started a corporation. The idea is to be the Blackwater of public health. Maybe ideas like that will catch on.
 

i'vegotwinners

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With respect to Lewis's reporting, writing, and diagnosis, I've always been surprised at how little has changed as a result. In the Big Short, he wrote about some illegal or at least fraudulent conduct in the hiding of valuations of subprime mortgages from those who pioneered CDSs (Burry). In Flashboys, he wrote about a lot of activity that certainly sounded like spoofing with HFTs. And in the Fifth Risk, he wrote about some pretty amazing conflicts of interest between Trump appointees and the departments they led.

So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating? Another way to ask this with respect to this book: do you think the things he writes about will be taken seriously by those in Washington and lead to change so that we can do better next time, or will it all be forgotten within two years as we focus on the new new thing?


"So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating?"
---------------------------------------------------------------------


the power brokers are untouchable.
 

mcmurtry66

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Thanks for the review and recommendation Marv.

I haven't sat down and read a book for entertainment since Moneyball if I recall correctly but I will probably check this out as it sounds fascinating.

So how long do we need to wait for the movie? 10 years? 20? After the key people pass?
No kidding. Best selling books perfectly suited for movies. Hell of a formula
 

IUCrazy2

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"So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating?"
---------------------------------------------------------------------


the power brokers are untouchable.
You and I view the world much differently, but I would defy anyone, Republican, Democrat, Socialist, liberal, conservative, Libertarian, etc., etc. to argue otherwise. The only way powerbrokers go down is if they f--- with other powerbrokers money. You may find a case here and there where someone takes a fall for something else, but the patsies take the fall and the politically and monetarily connected tend to keep on keeping on.
 

i'vegotwinners

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You and I view the world much differently, but I would defy anyone, Republican, Democrat, Socialist, liberal, conservative, Libertarian, etc., etc. to argue otherwise. The only way powerbrokers go down is if they f--- with other powerbrokers money. You may find a case here and there where someone takes a fall for something else, but the patsies take the fall and the politically and monetarily connected tend to keep on keeping on.

same with big corporations and big govt at SCOTUS.

at SCOTUS, big corps only lose to other big corps, never to Joe Citizen, no matter how strong Joe's case or weak big money's.

that isn't by accident or some crazy coincidence.

those behind closed doors who pick the SCOTUS nominees of either side, allow only nominees that will serve corporate and big govt interests.

those that won't always serve big corp, big money, big govt, will never get on the court in the first place, and that goes for both Dem and Pub nominees, many of whom shilled for big corps before ever getting on SCOTUS.

you guys didn't actually believe one's knowledge of constitutional law was the litmus test did you?

fact is, most high profile cases have no definitive existing law grounding, which is how they ended up at SCOTUS.

knowledge of the law is only a prerequisite so that SCOTCUS judges can give some legal cover their ass excuse to their near 100% pro big corp big govt rulings.

he with the gold makes the rules.

and picks the judges who parse them.
 
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mcmurtry66

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same with big corporations and big govt at SCOTUS.

at SCOTUS, big corps only lose to other big corps, never to Joe Citizen, no matter how strong Joe's case or weak big money's.

that isn't by accident or some crazy coincidence.

those behind closed doors who pick the SCOTUS nominees of either side, allow only nominees that will serve corporate and big govt interests.

those that won't always serve big corp, big money, big govt, will never get on the court in the first place, and that goes for both Dem and Pub nominees, many of whom shilled for big corps before ever getting on SCOTUS.

you guys didn't actually believe one's knowledge of constitutional law was the litmus test did you?

fact is, most high profile cases have no definitive existing law grounding, which is how they ended up at SCOTUS.

knowledge of the law is only a prerequisite so that SCOTCUS judges can give some legal cover their ass excuse to their near 100% pro big corp big govt rulings.

he with the gold makes the rules.

and pick the judges who parse them.
It’s not personal. It’s just business.

I’ve been using that on my kid a lot lately. You’ve infected my home
 
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BradStevens

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"So are the powerbrokers just untouchable on the things he writes about or is he getting it wrong or exaggerating?"
---------------------------------------------------------------------


the power brokers are untouchable.
I am finishing up this book (about 2/3 through) and the number of whopping facts in here that I don't hear about much are piling up. Just to name a few:

1. There is some secret group of generals and higher-ups in government called "The Jasons," who hold top secret confidential meetings in an underground auditorium somewhere in Tyson's Corner on all sorts of things.

2. In late 2018, when a caravan of immigrants had made its way through Mexico, some towards San Diego, the Trump administration through ICE was "driving these people into cities in the dead of night and just leave them there." In an attempt to use the immigrants in the public-relations war, ICE was "just dumping families on street corners at two in the morning. They were trying to create a disaster." (quotes from the very fetching Charity Dean, one of the heroes of this book).

3. When we evacuated Americans from Wuhan in January 2020, we didn't test them all for covid (only those with temps) and only quarantined them for 14 days. But we knew the incubation period could be up to 21 days and that the disease could spread asymptomatically at that time. Baffling.

4. One of the best devices to model the spread of a pandemic, and the tool that led to officials using social distancing and closing of schools to battle virus spread, came from a high school girl's science project that her dad helped with and that he finagled into the Bush White House in mid 00's.
 
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Marvin the Martian

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I am finishing up this book (about 2/3 through) and the number of whopping facts in here that I don't hear about much are piling up. Just to name a few:

1. There is some secret group of generals and higher-ups in government called "The Jasons," who hold top secret confidential meetings in an underground auditorium somewhere in Tyson's Corner on all sorts of things.

2. In late 2018, when a caravan of immigrants had made its way through Mexico, some towards San Diego, the Trump administration through ICE was "driving these people into cities in the dead of night and just leave them there." In an attempt to use the immigrants in the public-relations war, ICE was "just dumping families on street corners at two in the morning. They were trying to create a disaster." (quotes from the very fetching Charity Dean, one of the heroes of this book).

3. When we evacuated Americans from Wuhan in January 2020, we didn't test them all for covid (only those with temps) and only quarantined them for 14 days. But we knew the incubation period could be up to 21 days and that the disease could spread asymptomatically at that time. Baffling.

4. One of the best devices to model the spread of a pandemic, and the tool that led to officials using social distancing and closing of schools to battle virus spread, came from a high school girl's science project that her dad helped with and that he finagled into the Bush White House in mid 00's.
Have you come away thinking we need to rebuild the CDC? I thought they came off amazingly poor.

The Jason's are the very definition of "deep state", you know, if they had any actual power.
 

TheOriginalHappyGoat

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Have you come away thinking we need to rebuild the CDC? I thought they came off amazingly poor.

The Jason's are the very definition of "deep state", you know, if they had any actual power.
I had never heard about the Jasons before this thread. The fact that a secret cabal of scientific elites meets together to discuss important issues actually makes me feel better.
 
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mcmurtry66

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I had never heard about the Jasons before this thread. The fact that a secret cabal of scientific elites meets together to discuss important issues actually makes me feel better.
Apparently reforming/auditing/vetting the cdc wasn’t part of their meetings....
 

BradStevens

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Have you come away thinking we need to rebuild the CDC? I thought they came off amazingly poor.

The Jason's are the very definition of "deep state", you know, if they had any actual power.
Well, Lewis's goal is to paint a target on the CDC, so yeah, I think that. I'd like to hear a response from CDC, though. I do think Lewis does a great job, as usual, of pointing out the misaligned incentives within the CDC and most governmental agencies.

(For the partisans who must make this about Trump or not-Trump, Lewis is not criticizing the CDC to absolve Trump. These two things can both be true: (1) Trump's reaction was not good; and (2) the CDC response was not good through no fault of Trump's. Which leads to another possible truth: a Democratic President's response might have not really saved that many lives because her decision would have been based on the same, faulty CDC. And another, covered in Lewis's previous book, The Fifth Risk: Trump's biggest Achilles heel might have been not paying attention to and neglecting the underlying appointments of boring positions within various governmental agencies that are a lot more important than most of us think.)
 
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BradStevens

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I had never heard about the Jasons before this thread. The fact that a secret cabal of scientific elites meets together to discuss important issues actually makes me feel better.
Except they aren't scientific elites. They are higher ups in the military and intelligence communities, I think.

The story we have is of a scientist who created a chip that can figure out the family of a new or unidentified virus very quickly. He said the next talk after his was titled "Night Fist." But he didn't have any security clearance and couldn't stay to hear what it was about.
 
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mcmurtry66

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They are more tech than process.
Got it. I have no clue about the Jason’s or whatever they are called but it sounds like some clandestine thing when I always just assumed these guys all communicated anyway. I suspect their research overlaps and they all know each other. My ex’s bro got his doctorate at mit in nuclear physics. He was a star. Did a post doc at Los alamos then another at mit then a final one at iu as the accelerator at iu was teamed by a bunch of mit guys. Well he got into a fight with one of the main iu guys and basically torpedoed himself within academia. He related that all the top guys know each other and what they’re working on etc. that’s a known community that regularly collaborate at best and communicate at worst. I’ve always assumed all science is like that.
 
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BradStevens

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Got it. I have no clue about the Jason’s are whatever they are called but it sounds like some clandestine thing when I always just assumed these guys all communicated anyway. I suspect their research overlaps and they all know each other. My ex’s bro got his doctorate at mit in nuclear physics. He was a star. Did a post doc at Los alamos then another at mit then a final one at iu as the accelerator at iu was teamed by a bunch of mit guys. Well he got into a fight with one and basically torpedoed himself within academia. He related that all the top guys know each other and what they’re working on etc.
I really want to meet your ex's bro. Hell, given what I've read about you on here, I really want to meet your ex, too. :)
 

mcmurtry66

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I really want to meet your ex's bro. Hell, given what I've read about you on here, I really want to meet your ex, too. :)
Lmao. Dad was a cop. Mom a grocery checker. Both no college. Oldest brother was a drunk. Next brother mit guy. Next brother pro baseball player and D1 soccer player. Sister with down’s. My ex zero days of college but would have been a star on temptation island. Never know what your kids will end up
 
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BradStevens

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Lmao. Dad was a cop. Mom a grocery checker. Oldest brother was a drunk. Next brother mit guy. Next brother pro baseball player and D1 soccer player. Sister with down’s. My ex zero days of college but would have been a star on temptation island. Never know what your kids will end up
That's a fascinating family. Now I REALLY want to meet your ex.
 

Marvin the Martian

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Got it. I have no clue about the Jason’s are whatever they are called but it sounds like some clandestine thing when I always just assumed these guys all communicated anyway. I suspect their research overlaps and they all know each other. My ex’s bro got his doctorate at mit in nuclear physics. He was a star. Did a post doc at Los alamos then another at mit then a final one at iu as the accelerator at iu was teamed by a bunch of mit guys. Well he got into a fight with one of the main iu guys and basically torpedoed himself within academia. He related that all the top guys know each other and what they’re working on etc. that’s a known community that regularly collaborate at best and communicate at worst. I’ve always assumed all science is like that.
It is a group of scientists that meet to plan US research priorities. They find tech that might be a game changer and bring the inventor in to explain their research. Because much of it is highest classifications, they cannot openly talk. They are anonymous, they all wear name tags in the meetings saying their name is Jason.

Trump ended funding, but I believe they found funding from other sources.

The hook in the story was a scientist invented a tech to rapidly sequence viral DNA and was invited to present. That tech has now been surpassed, but at that time it was well ahead of what we had.
 
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BradStevens

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It is a group of scientists that meet to plan US research priorities. They find tech that might be a game changer and bring the inventor in to explain their research. Because much of it is highest classifications, they cannot openly talk. They are anonymous, they all wear name tags in the meetings saying their name is Jason.

Trump ended funding, but I believe they found funding from other sources.

The hook in the story was a scientist invented a tech to rapidly sequence viral DNA and was invited to present. That tech has now been surpassed, but at that time it was well ahead of what we had.
Where did you see that it was scientists and their purpose? I don't recall that in the book.

Edit: I just looked up some articles. Fascinating. Disregard my earlier post that these were all military guys.
 
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mcmurtry66

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It is a group of scientists that meet to plan US research priorities. They find tech that might be a game changer and bring the inventor in to explain their research. Because much of it is highest classifications, they cannot openly talk. They are anonymous, they all wear name tags in the meetings saying their name is Jason.

Trump ended funding, but I believe they found funding from other sources.

The hook in the story was a scientist invented a tech to rapidly sequence viral DNA and was invited to present. That tech has now been surpassed, but at that time it was well ahead of what we had.
Fascinating stuff
 

UncleMark

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(quotes from the very fetching Charity Dean, one of the heroes of this book)


Winner!

030315-charity-dean-lc-630x420_630_420_99_c1.jpg
 

Marvin the Martian

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Where did you see that it was scientists and their purpose? I don't recall that in the book.

Edit: I just looked up some articles. Fascinating. Disregard my earlier post that these were all military guys.
Yep, after I read the book I looked them up. Part of the trust but verify because frankly I was skeptical.
 
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