TWIT 768: Steer Into the Skid

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!


While I didn’t catch the whole episode, I would like to thank Amy for her “salute” to all of the IT workers that are making “work at home” a reality.


It was a shock to hear the you fund your schools in the U.S by the selling of lottery tickets.And now there is a lost of funding for schools because no one is buying them.I do remember from living in Michigan some 18 years ago That students who lived in wealthy zip codes, received a better education than students living in poorer zip codes.Why should the quality of a student’s education rely on a parents wealth or status, especially for primary schooling?
Is this the same in all 50 states?
Also if the U.S. is planning to compete globally after this pandemic is over is this model of funding the best way forward.
This pandemic has showed that every country weakness and strength that need to be addressed.And now the is the time to look at addressing them.


Unfortunately, there is more to the story in this regard. I cannot speak for all 50 states - but generally… When the lottery started in most states, there was a goal for this lottery money… To have ADDITIONAL funding for schools. However, in practice, they added the lottery money, and just took out the same amount that WOULD HAVE gone to the schools. So, it was not actually any additional money, over and above… They just moved money around and paid for part of the schools thru the lottery.

In reality, it is just another income stream into the main reservoir of funds, and things get moved around here and there on financial columns. I remember when I grew up, and the state I lived in at the time added the lottery. That was the argument pro-lottery govt officials made in order to get the thing passed in state law… That the money would be EXTRA money for education.

There is always a game afoot…

It’s sorta like my local city that owns the utility company. The profits from the utility company in my city goes into the general fund. They can raise electric rates higher than in other areas of the state, and just claim it’s the result of high electrify rates. But, it’s actually a tax that requires no public vote, and gets no media notice as it being a “tax.”

The city can then claim to not have raised taxes, when in effect, they essentially did. Everyone needs electricity, and its not right when our city does not participate in being able to “shop” for lower electric rates like other areas of the state can.

It doesn’t quite equate, but I’m just showing how much of this is just a game, unfortunately. We don’t always get what we are promised when something initially gets started.

As for local schools - in Texas, the schools are MOSTLY funded thru property taxes (lottery funds also help, though). And, they are not cheap. 1/3 of an average mortgage payment is for property taxes. When I first moved here, we were almost about to buy, and then we discovered this. It put off a home purchase for another year because of the additional $$ tagged into the monthly mortgage money… Property “rich” districts have to give money to “property poor” areas to even things out. The city I live in gives 1-2 million dollars to other districts in an effort to even things out a bit. But, it doesn’t always work.

We don’t have an income tax in Texas, but I think we pay more in property taxes than some other states do that have income taxes. The state I grew up in had much, much lower property taxes, and the state income tax was actually not that bad. I would pay less in taxes if I lived there. But in fairness, the schools and road system in that state sucks. So, in some regards, ya get what ya pay for I guess…


In the state of Washington, our public schools are funded with property taxes, levies (it’s extremely difficult to get voters to support a levy for the schools or the library in my rural district), and yes - the lottery. We want schools to produce thinkers, but I don’t see a lottery ticket as a smart buy, so funding education with such a stupid idea has always been an irony that’s a bit much for me.


This is how the state of MI funds education as well. Too much money floats around elsewhere from the lotto but some of it goes (26 cents to every dollar goes to the School FUnd). MI funded this program early in the 70s. More information here:

My thoughts on the show: Stop the focus on the Labradoodle portion of the HHS person who is now on the coronavirus task force

Let’s take a look at all the govnerment focused jobs the gentleman had before and after running a business in Texas:

Great quote from the Dallas News story: "“your job is to keep the trains moving. It’s not being the guy who comes up with the idea about what HHS does about testing,” said Peter Urbanowicz, Harrison’s predecessor as chief of staff "

@Leo mentioned Ruth’s Chris getting a bailout but didn’t correct himself that they are returning their money:

A great missed episode title: “Algorithmic Determinism” as said by Amy Webb

A great show, very interesting discussion with Amy about China and North Korea.

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Great show until drinking the better of @IainT. Anyone who starts a statement with “China has done a better job with the pandemic than…” is no longer credible.


@P_J China HAS done a better job. They have over a billion citizens which is at least three times the number of citizens of USA. Yet if you check the stats, say at , then you would find the USA has more infections and deaths than any other country in the world. As I look right now, the USA has over 50K deaths and China has less than 5K… which is a difference of 10 before compensating for the differences in population.


I would agree. Once they realized the extent of this virus, China went into full lock down to try to stop the spreading. No one leaves their houses for any reason. No one in/out of a specific area. A full lock down.
Unfortunately, such a lock down is not feasible in the US.

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And you REALLY believe the numbers China has put out? Plus, our media seems to be NOT reporting many stories about China’s issues in all this, because they have financial ties to China and cannot do otherwise (like the NBA)…

China blocked internal travel in and out of the affected area, but allowed international travel to and from that province - which spread the disease internationally (on purpose - maybe?). They have repeatedly covered up the truth, refused to give information, and done all sorts of other things concerning the virus. They would not allow our medical teams to enter their country when this all started, to help them and also get information for us. Since then, they have even blamed the US for this publicly, and went back on their word and charged Italy after they “donated” supplies during Italy’s darkest hour. And, I won’t even get into the whole WHO issue and China…

Plus, doctors and others who have tried to talk about the virus in China have “disappeared.” They have not been seen from again…

There were also several credible reports that they have underestimated the deaths from the very beginning. And, there are continuing reports that they are STILL underestimating the deaths (concerning the numbers of burned bodies and the handing out of urns to families - along with info that families are forced to keep quiet). Really, we don’t even know how many people in China have died. We NEVER will. And they are doing a better job than the USA? Really? How can anyone say that with a straight face? I am really shocked that anyone here can even say that.


No, I don’t believe the numbers from China, I’m sure they are a lot worse.
But what they did in Asia (including China) to lock down once the virus started spreading was a whole lot more effective than what the US is doing. But again, if the US had that response, there would be revolting going on.


We don’t know how many people in China died, so we don’t know the true effect it had. And yes - there would be a civil war if we did what China did. They also had zero concern about the rest of the world, allowing it to spread… Because of that - you can’t compare China’s actions to any other country.

It’s like saying someone was cured of leprosy, but we cut off all their arms and legs to do it… But, they have it under control now… And they did a better job than we did… There is no sane way to do a comparison.

Do you really believe the US figures? Little testing, those that die outside of the hospital aren’t counted and if they have a secondary condition, that is reported as the cause of death? (Not just the USA, Britain had an NHS Trust informing its doctors to not put COVID-19 as the cause of death, but to put flu or other terms instead.) The dark statistics of actual infections and actual COVID-19 related deaths is much higher than officially reported, because only those that tested positive are reported as COVID-19, if they aren’t tested and die, they can’t be reported as official COVID-19 cases for the statistics.

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Actually, there have been a few stories here of doctors being pressured to claim people died of Covid 19 who didn’t. Hospitals are supposedly pressuring the doctors. A few have spoken up. The claim is that they want inflated numbers.

So, who knows how many people died of it. Last week, Pennsylvania had to adjust their numbers down by several hundred.

Add that to the way the press lies, you cannot believe anything anymore. Who knows…

But my original comments stand… You CANNOT believe anything about China’s statements.

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Trying very hard to avoid all the political stuff on the community at the mo.

But as an ex crisis and major incident manager, getting reliable metrics in the middle of crisis response is hard. Hence why you pick a reliable KPI (like hospital deaths with a positive test result) rather than attempt to pull in reporting from everywhere, include ‘best judgements’ etc. You need a solid metric to track progress. Different countries will have made different decisions on this, so avoid direct comparisons IMO.


Exactly, as I said above, AFAIK, only the confirmed COVID-19 deaths in hospitals of people tested for the disease count in the official figures. The hundreds or thousands not tested in hospital or dying at home are not officially listed (this seems an international standard), as it hasn’t been confirmed and there are so many deaths, they can’t all be post-mortemed to clarify, so they are the “dark statistic”, once the epidemic is over the official figures can be adjusted to reflect the actual situation.

But during the crisis, you can only count the deaths of those that were tested positive and then died. The UK trusts telling doctors to lie on the death certificates is another matter.

I believe the WHO have a standard for reporting, so it should be the same for each country. But you can’t compare number for number, you need % tested and % dead and recovered. Internationally, the Johns Hopkins’ figures seemed to be accepted as the defacto record.