Danehy: Tom runs the numbers

Mario Aranda, Pixabay

My friend Jonathan Hoffman, knowing that I'm a math geek, sent me a link to an article in The Atlantic about some guy who claims that he can predict the future of humankind using a complex algorithm. When I finished reading the piece, my math-based reaction was that I had wasted 548.2 seconds of my life reading the nonsense. I mean, seriously, math can't accurately predict who's going to win a football game. How is it supposed to predict the rise and fall of civilizations?

Still, there are some significant numbers floating around in my head recently.

Among them:


That's the latest number I heard as to the percentage of people who are contracting the COVID-19 virus who are unvaccinated.

But there is a number that's even higher. I'm guessing that when people who have done the right thing for themselves and their fellow citizens—people who have worn masks, practiced social distancing, and gotten vaccinated—hear the aforementioned percentage, at least 98.9% of them have the thought creep into their head, "Well, let 'em die and they can take the pandemic with them."

I'm embarrassed to say that that thought has flashed through my head. But, being as good a Catholic as possible, I have worked hard to refine it. It's like when comedian Martin Lawrence told a story about a frazzled mom whose kid would run wild in the mall. She finally hired a sniper to shoot the kid in the leg, explaining, "I don't want him to die. I just want him to fall hard."

I sincerely hope that they all get sick as a dog. That's the best I can muster after all we've been through.


A recent survey shows that 67% of Arizona Democrats want Kyrsten Sinema to face a primary challenge in 2024. Really?! Only 67%? She's hideous.

And she'd better not try to take any credit for the Infrastructure deal. The need for infrastructure spending is so great and the political benefits so great for an incumbent of either party, even Donald Trump could have gotten something passed if he had had any kind of attention span and had followed through just once on one of his pathetic "Infrastructure Week" proclamations.

What Sinema needs to be doing is realize that this is 2021. Somebody needs to tell her that Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is just a movie. It's a great movie, but it came out in 1939. (Do you realize that when it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, it was up against Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz? Yeah, good luck with that.)

We all love the scene where Jimmy Stewart grabs the floor of the Senate and starts talking with Jean Arthur guiding him from the gallery. But it's a movie; it's not real. Heck, I could almost see Sinema's point if that were the filibuster that she claims to be protecting. But it's not. The racist progeny of Strom Thurmond (apparently, he fathered a whole bunch of kids on both sides of the color bar) don't have to stand up and speak for 24 hours in feeble defense of limiting the voting rights of minorities. They just have to say that they're willing to do that and the debate ends before it begins.

How is that "the greatest deliberative body in the history of the world?" It's more like 100 selfish little babies, each holding a live grenade. That is not something to be cherished; it is to be reviled and done away with.

Infrastructure is fine, even in a pared-down version. What Sinema and the equally gutless Joe Manchin should be concerned about is the right-out-in-the-open use of baseless lies and outright chicanery to manufacture a corrupt system that is designed to keep a party with barely 40% of the populace in power for a generation.

All kinds of numbers.

Insurance companies rake in billions based on actuarials. They use highly precise risk assessment algorithms to determine how much to charge people for coverage. A fat person who chooses to smoke and drink is going to pay more than an in-shape person who takes care of him/herself. The insurance company doesn't tell anybody what to do with or to one's own body. They just tell you how much extra you're going to pay for certain habits, vices, and personal choices.

Well, the time has come for the insurance companies to do the right thing, not necessarily for the good of the country or even the good of their customers. Do it for the bottom line. Starting today, if you're not vaccinated, you're not covered for COVID.

If you want to spout all this "personal liberty" stuff, back it up. Show us how tough you are. You don't think the virus exists or maybe it does but it's not all that serious, why do you need insurance coverage for it? You'd be paying extra for something that can't possibly hurt you. If your religion doesn't believe in vaccinations, it probably doesn't believe in hospitals, either.

What do you think? If insurance companies insisted on customers being vaccinated in exchange for COVID coverage, would there be an uptick in vaccination numbers or would a whole lot of science deniers have to suddenly shift their focus to how to cover six-figure hospital bills?

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