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Non-Election News

The Riddle Report 12 07 2020

While the Presidential election fraud cases wind their way through the court system to the Supreme Court, I thought it appropriate to take a break and report on other news matters. So, what follows covers wide ranging subjects.

Covid-19

This issue continues to dominate the news. In my opinion, while it is serious it is no longer the danger it once was. It doesn’t help that the media and selected doctors talk about a second wave when such a second wave is hard to find. I haven’t been following Europe, but here in America the spikes have appeared to be in areas where Covid-19 wasn’t a major factor earlier. An exception would be nursing homes, which is another story.

Take the Death Rate. It is by far the most important factor, but it is continually under-reported. For example, while the Cases are spiking, the Death Rate continues to fall. In today’s paper the deaths and cases reported turn out to have a death rate of 0.0191 or 1.91% for the nation and 0.0184 or 1.84% for Florida. It keeps going down as the cases go up.

This suggests that while there are record setting daily deaths the overall death count has stabilized and is falling. How can that be? Well, it is hard to tell but watching the news carefully you might detect that many of the spikes are in areas not previously hit. In a recent blog I mentioned Findlay, Ohio. They have been hard hit, but I saw a chart that showed the virus as negligible prior to that. And, in my opinion, that is not a second wave, it is the first wave hitting new territory.

Clearly, this is evidence that we are past the worst which was rising cases and rising deaths.  But that doesn’t fit the media agenda, so we just continue to hear about negative news that supports that agenda, which I think is to push for more government control of our lives.

I agree that social distancing and wearing masks are helpful, but mandates are not. In some cases where the spikes have hit, you see people masked and social distancing, plus you learn the community is tough on people who don’t. Yet, they are hit as bad or worse than those who don’t mandate.

The overall news when it includes a rapidly declining Death Rate is good news. And the soon to arrive vaccine is better news. I would anticipate that they might use the vaccine in highly impacted areas first. We already know they will be used with first responders, but they should also be used in the hardest hit areas.

Iran

Trying to take advantage of our election woes, Iran is planning to increase oil production within the next 3 months. They are anticipating a Bide/Harris win and the restoration of the Obama era nuclear accords.

And indeed, former Vice President Biden, who currently leads President Trump in assumed electoral votes, has indicated he wants to bring Iran back into the disastrous accord he brokered under President Obama. In connection with this, it is also believed that the Biden/Harris Presidency will ban fracking, which would increase Iran’s value as a supplier of oil products. It would also increase unemployment at home and make us more reliant on Mideast oil.

SpaceX

SpaceX has entered a new phase in their space program. With a newer and bigger Dragon capsule supply ship, they will supply the International Space Station (ISS) with Christmas presents, tracts, and treats. SpaceX expects to always have at least one Dragon capsule at the ISS supplying the station with necessary goods.

While NASA was energized under the Trump Administration it is unknown what plans the Biden/Harris team has if they get elected. Assuming the fraud cases are eventually successful upon reaching the Supreme Court, and the trajectory is going as expected, then the space program will remain in safe hands.

Distance Learning

Distance Learning is not new. It has been around awhile, particularly on the college level. But Home Schoolers often make use of it rather successfully. So, when Covid-19 hit it wasn’t a surprise when the public schools decided to use DL. But it has been a surprise that they have had troubles with it.

In this mornings paper there was an Associated Press story detailing the problems they are having with Distance Learning. After reading the article I find myself asking some questions. Now, remember that while I am not a teacher, I have been around Christian private schools, I know people who Home School, and my wife had Distance Learning in college. And I have taken online courses before.

So, it is not that hard to learn. It does take self-discipline and a computer connection. It also takes teachers who know how to supervise students over the internet. So, why these problems?

Skipping Assignments – That suggests lack of control by the teachers. Some seem concerned about marking a student down and giving them a zero. The poor child might feel bad. But skipping assignments should never be an option. And in this day of Zoom, etc., you can interact with the student one-on-one.

Camera off – Also lack of control. Kids today know how to turn the camera on. Classroom (even though on the internet) discipline should be exercised. The student must be seen as well as the teacher. If they don’t turn their camera on, they get a lower grade.

Skipping School for the day – Come on! Did you allow that in the physical classroom?

Unfortunately, our public-school education system has not been well for years. We are a third-class country in education. The usual suggestions for improvement are smaller class sizes, easier grading, etc. I suggest that the students would do better if the teachers insisted that they learn. Back when I was a child, the teacher ran the classroom.

The ‘experts’ don’t really know why all this is happening and probably don’t agree with my suggested solutions (above), but their methods certainly haven’t worked.

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is the 79th anniversary of Pearl Harbor where over 2,400 military and civilian lives were lost and some 1,200 wounded. It was a cowardly sneak attack that brought America into a world war. The Japanese expected it to keep America on the sidelines; instead, it led to the demise of their empire!

America responded with power and determination. And this is how America has always responded when under attack. Today America is under attack from within. It is not just the attempted steal of an election, it is the wholesale attack on our education, free enterprise, and our representative democracy. To honor those who have fought and died for our country we owe it to them to stand up for what is right. If you are a Christian, I ask you to pray that God will intervene and not let the liberals destroy our country. But more than that, we need a return to God nationally, corporately, and personally.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Confusing COVID-19 Data

The Riddle Report 12 04 2020

Covid-19 Cases Up!

Covid-19 Hospitalizations Up!

Covid-19 Deaths Up!

Covid-19 Death Rate Down!

How can that be?

Perhaps this strikes me more than you since I’ve worked with numbers most of my life. But logic tells me that if Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths are up then so should the Death Rate.

What is the Death Rate?

The Death Rate is simple division. You take the Total Numbers of Deaths-to-Date and divide that number by the Total Number of Cases-to-Date. For Example, today’s published deaths for this year-to-date are 275,550 while the published cases for this year-to-date are 14,086,016. When you divide the Cases into the Deaths you get 0.01956 or 1.96% which is lower than last March’s high of 2.04%.

Now, even if you compensate for the lag time, generally considered 2 weeks although it could be longer, you still get a plunging death rate.

The Numbers Don’t Add UP

It makes one suspicious when such discrepancies occur. If all three (cases, hospitalizations, and deaths) are up then it stands to reason that the death rate would also be up. Anyone can figure out the death rate, but we are dependent upon CDC and others (including the news media) to keep us informed.

So, What is Happening?

It looks to me like someone is not being honest. Like I said, the numbers aren’t adding up. We know for a fact that the cases are up in certain areas of the country. We also know that hospitalizations are up in certain areas of the country. And it is possible that deaths are up in certain parts of the country.

What I suspect is that these ‘certain areas’ are not all the same. For example, cases are up in Findlay Ohio? Are hospitalizations and deaths? For Hancock County (where Findlay is located) the deaths are 46 year-to-date and cases are 2845 year-to-date for a death rate 1.62%. However, the week-to-week increase was more around 15% for deaths. And that may explain the differences.

The News Media Reports Week to Week

When you do that you make things seem far worse than they are. The only true gauge, in my opinion, is month to month or, better, year-to-date. Year-to-date takes into account lag time between cases and related deaths. It doesn’t focus on spikes but on overall trends.

Isn’t This A Second Wave?

That is what they tell us. But getting back to Hancock, Ohio the chart (not shown here) shows very little in the way of cases and deaths until just recently. And the report I looked at today shows a sudden drop off to 0 cases for the last two days. To me this means it is still the First Wave which hadn’t really hit the area earlier. But it sounds more alarming when you call it a second wave instead of a spike.

Again, a longer time span is more instructive than a short one. And a large area is also more instructive. This is great for us trying to understand the trends, but for individuals and families with Covid-19 they are in the now and trends don’t mean much.

So, Why the Difference?

In my opinion, it is because it serves the news media’s agenda to publish the more alarming data. And it justifies the liberal politicians’ pursuit of total lockdowns and mask mandates.

Are We Going to have Mask Mandates?

It looks like it in some communities. I, personally, am not opposed to wearing masks and social distancing. Of the two, I believe social distancing is more effective. Both together may be even more effective. But extreme measures are not warranted and so far, if you look at the states with stringent rules, it doesn’t work.

I believe that President Trump hit the nail on the head when he said, repeatedly, ‘you cannot have the cure worse than the disease’.

Common Sense is in Short Supply.

Common sense tells you that taking precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing may help friends, neighbors, and relatives. These should not be mandated. Period. I am glad that the Supreme Court stepped in and by all appearances gave a unanimous decision striking down California’s war on churches. The state was willing to throw the rights of the people and the rights of churches under the bus, but the court said, ‘No’.

Liberal politicians are using ‘panic’ to further their political agendas. And that is wrong. Don’t believe me. The Democratic controlled House of Representatives waited until after the election to compromise on the Relief Bill. They could have done so before the election, but they waited until it appeared that Biden won.

Did Biden Win?

That’s another subject but the evidence that the news media says doesn’t exist is so overwhelming that there is serious doubt about a Biden win. Now that the lawsuits are moving into the federal court system and away from the state courts (primarily controlled by Democrats) the issues and the evidence are being taken seriously.

Will We Ever Know the Truth About Covid-19 and the Election?

Those are two different issues. It is possible there are connections, but I am treating them as separate. The truth about Covid-19 will take time. There is ample evidence the virus while deadly is not nearly as deadly as the media reports. How deadly is a matter of looking back over time. But yes, I think we will eventually know the truth.

As for the Election, the answer to that will come much faster. You have courts and state legislatures (who are the only ones with the final say according to the U.S. Constitution) that are already investigating. And don’t forget we have a Senate runoff election coming up in Georgia. That is already stirring up legal scrutiny.

But they must decide these things soon to determine who leads our country for the next four years. My own opinion is that President Trump will emerge as having won the election. But only God knows the truth right now.

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Thanksgiving

The Riddle Report 11 18 2020

So, now the government wants us to forego Thanksgiving. Governors are not only suggesting it, but some are going Orwellian and threatening jail time. We Americans have the right to assemble in our churches and in our homes to worship and thank God for His blessings.

Shouldn’t we be careful though?

Should we be careful? Of course, but suggesting we limit the size of family that visits us or that we insist on testing is going too far. That is the politics of fear. I understand that the cases have been spiking and some hospitals are having difficulties. But the nation as a whole is experiencing a decline in the death rate. That means that the virus is still deadly, but less so than it was in May when the death rate hit its highest level at 5.8%. It is now down to 2.23% and dropping.

What about locally?

Here in Florida the cases have risen to 897,323 since January and 17,644 deaths for a death rate of 1.97%. Meanwhile Texas has year-to-date cases of 1,078,875 and 20,147 deaths for a death rate of 1.87%. With the media constantly emphasizing the case load and the total number of deaths it lends itself to creating panic. It is a case of overreaching by the media and perhaps by some politicians seeking their own glory.

It might also be noted that now there are effective measures in place to help people who contract the virus. It is not like it was in the period of March thru May. Doctors have the tools, hospitals can order the supplies needed, and the government can get these supplies to the hospitals. One more thing to consider. The media points to the fact that 11 million people have contracted the disease and 245,000 have died. But the total population as of 2019 was 328 million.

What does that mean?

It means that only 3.35% of Americans have contracted the disease since January and 2.23% of the patients have died. We need to keep these low numbers in mind because the media will ignore them. And remember those numbers include all cases since the beginning of January not just the last two weeks!

What should we do?

Common sense tells you that if you live in an area that is hit hard you need to practice social distancing and wear masks. In fact, that is not bad advice for anywhere. But the testing part I am not so sure about. It seems to me that the testing is so broad that it captures people who don’t really have the disease and instead have other conditions like the flu or a simple cold. It is misleading and creates doubt and fear.

To put it simply, I don’t believe the doctors really know the symptoms and are using a wide net hoping to catch the real infected people. And if your only concern is to beat the virus then perhaps that is ok. But our concern needs to be more narrowly focused.

With the election over, as far as the voting is concerned, the need to cause panic should also be over. Politicians need to act more responsibly and more in line with our constitution. Locking down homes and businesses is a draconian response and certainly not responsible leadership. I know of people who have contracted Covid-19 and everyone of them has responded responsibly. That is the American way.

Personally, my wife and I will probably stay home for Thanksgiving, but not because of Covid-19. It is an opportunity for the two of us to spend some time thanking the Lord for His care. Our health is good right now, my wife is in remission, and we enjoy one another. If we have the opportunity to visit family, we will certainly consider it.

Here’s a thought: Instead of letting a disease control you, take control yourself. You decide what the risks are and what, if any, risks you are willing to take. Thanksgiving is not just a time of fellowship; it is a time when we can and should thank God. It is a spiritual right and responsibility for all Christians.

It is not the responsibility of the government to tell us whether we can go to church, visit family, or what health steps we should take. We are fully capable of handling this without the government’s intervention.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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News 09 04 20

Today’s Issue: Really!

Welcome to News & Views which is published every Monday and Friday.

Let me get this straight. A person who is 3rd in line to be President, wields great power, and a millionaire was set up by a hair salon or a stylist. Really!

Setup or Just Arrogant?

The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has enormous power. She has people available who not only monitor but are in control of where she goes, etc. The U.S. Capitol Police protect her, but as the next in line after Vice-President Pence, she apparently has Secret Service protection as well.

My point is that whatever agency protects her would have the ability to “scout ahead” to find out if it is safe. They would also have known of any state or local regulations that would or could impact her travel. In this case, they would have known that salons were not yet allowed to open up.

In my mind, Nancy Pelosi cannot blame the salon owner or the stylist. Her people would or at least should have known about any and all circumstances surrounding her appointment. Further, not wearing her mask for a brief time is completely on her. I don’t go to salons, but I am quite sure that in these days wearing a mask is required by most store owners, not to mention local government.

So, being setup is a non-starter. If her people didn’t inform her, then she has a personnel problem. But commonsense tells all of us wearing a mask when entering a facility is usually required. And having it around her neck is not what is meant.

What’s her Problem?

There’re no term limits for legislators. So, she has been serving in Congress for 33 years, including 7 years representing the 12th District. In that amount of time a person acquires a lot of political power.

She’s been Speaker of the House for 17 years. That makes it very hard to get rid of her as either Speaker or Minority Leader (if Republicans win majority).

However, I think she is slipping. Not talking mentally, although one could argue that. But politically she has suffered defeats. The Impeachment fiasco should never have happened. In case you forgot, she went from saying “impeachment is so divisive” to pushing it through. And it was not because of overwhelming evidence. They had a lot of innuendos, fake manifesto, and political skills on their side, but not much in the way of real evidence.

But for the first time in her career she felt fear. She sees these younger strident women coming into Congress and found she couldn’t control them. I believe to this day that she never supported impeachment but did so because of the loud voices of a few. Now she is stuck with it and will forever be linked to it.

I think we’re seeing the demise of her leadership role. I’m not celebrating, because the Party is selling out to the Far Left. She may linger on for a while yet, but I think the die is cast and she will be replaced by someone further to the Left.

I believe her response of blaming others for her own actions is just a symptom of what is going on. We may see a lot more in the future.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Monday News & Comments 08 24 20

Today’s Issue: Epicenter of Covid-19

Welcome to Monday News & Comments.

This morning I read an article that was critical of the way Florida has been handling Covid-19. To read that article you would think that Florida is the Epicenter of Covid-19 in the United States. That is not true!

What is true is that Florida cases peaked higher than New York, but the real story is in the deaths. In New York you saw body bags being stacked and stored, but in Florida there’s been nothing like that.

In SE Florida you have what we call the epicenter for Florida. It includes Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach. That area leads the nation in cases per capita. Another area is the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area. And as mentioned above Florida surpassed New York in cases per capita. This has caused experts to label Florida the new epicenter of Covid-19. But let’s take a deeper look.

Florida has had 600,571 cases and 10,462 deaths for a Death Rate of 1.74%.

New York has had 460,460 cases and 32,967 deaths for a Death Rate of 7.16%.

Again, experts keep warning us that the numbers of deaths lag the case rise. Let’s assume they are correct, after all they are the experts. But New York’s numbers of deaths to cases has been extremely high from the beginning! Remember the body bags? They were hit early and hard.

In Florida’s situation the case load has been high for awhile now. There is no doubt the case load is much higher than New York’s, but it has not been nearly as deadly. When you compare the two states by death count you discover that Florida is less than 1/3 New York’s death count (10,462 / 32,967 = 31.7%) yet Florida’s cases are much higher (600,571-460,460 = 140,111 or 30.4% higher).

I contend that while cases per capita may be helpful to the experts, it is misleading to us average folks. It creates panic. It should raise concern because even 1 death is tragic, but the truth is that Florida is considerably safer than New York. You might get sicker down here, but your chances of survival are higher.

This throwing numbers around belongs in the lab not the newspaper or local news. It creates unnecessary panic. Getting sick (and they say for young adults it’s equivalent to a bad case of flu) is not to be feared. No one wants to get sick which is a good argument for wearing masks and practicing social distancing. But the death rate is encouraging news, especially since the time span now covers almost eight months!

But broadcasting these numbers on national TV is almost criminal. It creates a problem that is bigger than the facts, creates panic, keeps businesses shut down, and makes it hard for people to return to a more normal life.

We need more responsible reporting and less finger pointing.  

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R Frederick Riddle, Editor of TR Writing Services, provides help struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He also authors Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus he is co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Tip of the Day Coronavirus

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at Coronavirus.

In the interest of transparency, I am not a doctor, nurse, or in anyway associated with medical degrees or work. But I am concerned about the reporting done on this virus. While it may contain a great deal of facts, it is misleading.

When you turn on TV news or read the newspaper you are hit with the rise in cases and deaths which, in my opinion, creates a false narrative. Yes, the cases and deaths are rising, but is that where the focus should be?

The fact is that it has been weeks since the cases started its new surge, and the death rate, the most important stat, has plummeted. From a high of 5.8% it is now 3.8%. Another fact. Do you remember the body bags in New York? We don’t see them anymore.

Could it change for the worse? Perhaps, but consider this:

This pandemic didn’t go away and then return, it shifted from older folks to younger, more resilient people, such as young adults, teens, and children. The news media either ignores this fact or dismisses it as not relevant.

Any disease is important, so I am not dismissing Covid-19, but the overblown coverage of it is disturbing. While any death is terrible, the death rate due to Covid-19 has been going down since the end of May. Actually, it plunged. Yet the media is still in panic mode and misleading people about the masks (see blog Masks or No Masks). Local media does a better job, but national media is atrocious.

 I think it is time for less urgency and more calmness. Yes, encourage social distancing and wearing of masks, but get off the mandate train. Let’s take a a calmer, saner approach.

Tip of the Day: Be calm. This too shall go away.

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ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Ron’s Tip of the Day Mask or No Mask

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at Mask or No Mask.

Watch the video then read on.

When I first published this video, I received a comment that I had it on upside down. Considering that they probably were referring to the piece of flexible metal to conform to the nose, then I did. But my experience has shown that this feature is basically a joke; it didn’t work for me.

Now for additional comments.

The mask debate continues and most writers on the subject emphasize two things: It is like the seat belt controversy and that it saves lives.

Seatbelt controversy: No, it isn’t the same. There are a few arguments being made that are similar, such as our rights. That is a legitimate argument and should be made, especially since we have seen our rights slowly taken away over the last several decades. But seatbelts are a proven safety measure, masks are not.

Saving lives: As referred to above seatbelts save lives. A lot of people were saved by wearing them, yet there have also been cases where the belt was part of the problem. But far more lives have been saved than lost.

But with masks there is no proof. Instead we have studies. But, as shown in the video, we also have evidence of their limitations. If you are not practicing social distancing (maintaining a 6’ separation from others), then masks are ineffective. Moreover, masks don’t protect you, but are meant to protect others.

What Should I Do?

If mandated by government, there’s no choice. But, if not mandated, you do. There’s some protection when done with social distancing and it’s recommended using them. The choice then is yours.

Tip of the Day: Masks may protect others.

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ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.