Pandemic Playbook: How Norway Took the Lead

The WSJ says Norway focused heavily on its failures, which made it a huge success that the rest of the world should follow.

Norway’s government had the foresight during the first days of Covid-19 to appoint a panel called the Koronakommisjonen. Its mission was figuring out what the Norwegians did, what they could have done and what they should do. This crisis was barely under way when they began preparing for the next one.

American Cowboy Hat True Origins: The Mexican Sombrero

“Do these Mexican hats make us look Mexican?”

An interesting note in True West magazine is that the cowboy hat was a product of shameless appropriation — white immigrants stealing everything they could from Mexicans.

As Texian cattlemen appropriated Mexican cattle and land, they adopted elements of the vaquero’s working attire. Modern buckaroos throughout the Southwest inherited much of their forebearers’ culture, including their name—an imprecise rendering of the word vaquero.

The dimensions of the sombrero overwhelmed the anglo interlopers who wore small-billed caps, slouch hats, bowlers and derbies. In 1865, Philadelphia hatmaker John B. Stetson designed a more modest version that still sheltered its wearer from the sun and rain. Stetson’s “Boss of the Plains,” originally a hand-felt design meant to amuse traveling companions on a tour of the American West, quickly became the first, and arguably the most distinct, identifiable part of a cowboy’s ensemble.

And on a related note, Atlas Obscura wants us to know the bad guys wore white hats (if not hoods).

Go digging into the history of black hats vs. white hats, and you’ll find that good guys wore black, bad guys wore white. “There is no trope or consistency in who wears white or black,” says Peter Stanfield, who’s studied the B-westerns of the 1930s.

For one obvious example, the “legend of the West” and lawman (Sheriff and Marshall) Bat Masterson wore the true working-man’s hat, the British black bowler.

Source: USPS Commemorative Stamp

In fact the black bowler was by far the most popular hat in the West and favored by cowboys and railroad workers for its obvious advantages — designed in 1840s as protective gear for hard-riding British horsemen it was firmly fitted to the head and durable. No wonder Butch Cassidy, Black Bart, Billy the Kid, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, Roscoe Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy… all were known to wear the bowler.

Some might even argue the Stetson “American cowboy” hat company fame came directly from combining the British bowler tough guy design with the Mexican sombrero hot sun features (sombra in Spanish means “shade”), yet that also traces back to the British.

Miller Christys’ hat factory in Frampton Cotterell (moved near Bristol from London “as a result of labour troubles”) indeed recorded that it had fought a patent dispute against J. B. Stetson and WON the case.

The British hat maker had designed their wide brimmed fur felt hats long before Stetson, for the 1800s slave plantation “Boss” in the West Indies.

Source: Leverhulme Trust project “Runaway Slaves in 18th century Britain”, University of Glasgow.
Source: British Online Archives

Christys barely mention this major detail on their history page where they also show the “Boss” design that Stetson obviously took from them.

1849 The Bowler hat is invented by Lock & Co and The Bowler Brothers. Christys, from its factory in Bermondsey, London, becomes one of the largest manufacturers of this iconic British styles.


1886: JB Stetson visits the Christys’ Stockport [Manchester, England] factory and writes to enquire ‘How Christys maintains such a productive workforce? Stetson use Christys’ design for the Ten Gallon hat – for which Christys received an on-going royalty.

The original “Ten gallon” hat designed by Christys was stolen by Stetson. He was forced to pay royalties after being sued in court. Source: Christys’ official history pages

Stetson literally had to pay a foreign company a license fee to market his most famous hat that Americans somehow were led to believe wasn’t entirely foreign (when really both Christys and Stetson should have paid far more respect to Mexican hat makers).

I have yet to see anyone in America really admit the point that a slave plantation “Boss” hat of Christys is where Stetson even got his idea for a “Boss of the Plains” marketing campaign WHEN U.S. CIVIL WAR ENDED.

That’s right, in 1865 the Civil War is over and slavery is abolished. That was the year Stetson claims to have started his design — appropriation of a British felt big brimmed “Boss” design that symbolized riches for a white population, based on violent power to expropriate labor and wealth from enslaved people.

It’s easy to explain why, as some historians already have in books like How the South Won the Civil War:

Once Reconstruction ended, and with it black voting in the south, Republicans looked west. Anti-lynching and voting rights legislation lost because of the votes of westerners, and new states aligned for decades more “with the hierarchical structure of the south than with the democratic principles of the civil war Republicans”, thanks to their reliance on extractive industries and agribusiness. […] [Pro-slavery politicians] mythologized the cowboy, self-reliant and tough, making his way in the world on his own”, notably ignoring the brutal work required and the fact that about a third of cowboys were people of color.

Reagan, George W. Bush, Trump all have tried to convey themselves as “cowboy” Presidents, meaning embrace of a Southern plutocracy/oligarchy-wild west grabbing and conquering approach to governance.

The character “Hoss” on the fictional TV show “Bonanza” (1959-1973) helped to popularize a British slave plantation hat based on a Mexican design as somehow being American.

Americans today thus should probably associate their “cowboy hat” with a desire to continue Civil War more than anything, which isn’t any kind of secret if you peruse flyers from domestic terror groups.

Source: Skousen manual for white militias

You might be wondering where the two “dimples” on the top of a Stetson came into being… but yet again the Mexicans wore a pinched sombrero, long before Stetson stole that idea too.

Anyway the next time someone in security calls themselves a white hat, perhaps ask them if they meant to say the dumb bad guy “Boss” wearing a British imitation of a Mexican idea.

Which sombrero indicates the bad guy?

As I wrote here a while ago…

…Texas “exceptionalism” and “frontier” spirit meant slavery. Again, Texas was Mexico until white immigrants came with slaves and said no white man could survive the harsh conditions without non-whites to do all the hard work for them. They usurped power and seceded from Mexico (and later from America) just to avoid hard work and keep slaves instead. Being “free to be stupid” is thus a dog-whistle to slavery, which is not freedom at all.

American Business Desperate for Trains as Air Travel Falls Apart

The WSJ reports air travel reliability has deteriorated so much that business communities are scratching their head about why they can’t get on a modern high-speed train instead.

This summer’s air-travel disruptions are leading some business travelers to change plans and hit the road.

But is “hitting” deteriorating infrastructure of roads to just sit in long traffic jams any kind of real upgrade from air travel?

It says a lot that people believe stepping into the infamous security theater of a Chertoff checkpoint feels worse than driving — something incredibly stressful, dangerous and expensive. Even pilots try to warn potential customers that being in hell for up to six hours is better than American air travel.

“Drive when you can,” Tom Kubik, a retired pilot with 42 years of experience, told budgeting website Humble Dollar. “We draw a six-hour drive circle around our house. If we’re within six hours, we’re in the car. The airport experience and the hassles associated with flying these days make driving a much less stressful trip. That’s true even with gas prices where they are today.”

Rental car companies like Avis are of course ready to get behind dumping on air travel with tone-deaf logic such as this.

Opt for driving if: You dislike the crowds, lines…

Do we know what is absolutely full of awful crowds and lines?


Based on the overall findings, the U.S. ranked as the most traffic-congested developed nation in the world, with American drivers spending an average of 41 hours a year battling traffic…

Worse, driving in America means you become far LESS safe because of crowds and lines. At least crowds and lines in airports are designed to make you safer.

The American driving model is basically a racist death trap that gets exponentially worse when things go wrong.

Aside from their weaknesses as evacuation conduits, highways are dangerous in their own right. Road accidents are a persistently high cause of fatalities in the United States. And, as the traffic jam in Virginia shows, highways are not only bottlenecks but traps. With the right circumstances—an accident, a stopped tractor trailer, the wrong kind of weather—motor vehicles can move neither forward nor back, leaving people stuck unless they abandon the limited shelter their cars offer. Worse, most emergency response is also based on motor vehicles. Stretches of highway may become largely inaccessible to ambulances or buses for evacuation, making assistance that much more difficult.

Yes, I said racist. America’s interstate highway system was a race-based design by VP Nixon (under President Eisenhower) for segregationist planners to destroy and block non-white prosperity — today experts in transit design literally call it a network of “death corridors“.

This only gets worse with racist companies like the unsafe-by-design Tesla, which pretend they are doing something innovative while obviously repeating the worst engineering mistakes in history and killing far more people.

All that sets up any intelligent business traveler to look hard at America and ask where’s the train?!

  • Economist: How trains could replace planes in Europe
  • NYT: “rail is the way to go”
  • EuroNews: “The majority of the European population would be in favour of banning short-distance flights at an EU level and taking the train instead”
  • Bloomberg: Europe Asks Travelers to Ditch Planes for Night Trains
  • BBC: How to travel by train – and ditch the plane

FTC complaint: Harley Davidson “illegally restricting customers’ rights”

Hot off the FTC desk is a complaint that the company was violating American freedom.

“Consumers deserve choices when it comes to repairing their products, and independent dealers deserve a chance to compete,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. [Harley Davidson was] imposing illegal warranty terms that voided customers’ warranties if they used anyone other than the companies and their authorized dealers to get parts or repairs for their products.

Perhaps The Drive said it best:

The truth is, Harley-Davidson is a luxury brand cleverly disguised as a blue-collar, workin’ man’s brand. It’s a name synonymous with regular, working-class folk, but have you seen the prices of these things? Harley-Davidson is in the same price range as BMW and Ducati, two brands with a public perception of being expensive toys for the upper-class.

Agreed. Harley is like riding a BMW or Ducati. None of them are meant for working people who actually work on things. They are brands that represent heritage-obsessed lawless elitists — German, Italian and American icons of fascism if you will.

I mean we all know BMW and Ducati riders don’t wrench, right? The dichotomy between freedom and “luxurious ignorance” was literally the thesis of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance published in 1974.

The freedom-loving Robert Pirsig rode and repaired Honda, not some white-collar shiny untouchable Harley.

Kiss of Death: Florida Governor Blocks Healthcare for Children

Florida’s Governor is running with scissors in opposition to science.

The Florida Department of Health said Wednesday that it has not pre-ordered COVID vaccines for children under 5 because it does not recommend the shot for all children. Why it matters: Every other state has pre-ordered vaccine supply for the age group…

Florida has also recommended that healthy children ages 5-17 not get vaccinated against COVID in direct contradiction to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommends the Pfizer vaccine for the age group.

This Governor is clearly evil. There’s no better way to describe such abject dismissal of life and his abortion of children.

“I would say we are affirmatively against the COVID vaccine for young kids,” DeSantis said. “These are the people who have zero risk of getting anything,” he said…

Affirmatively against. He means blocking a young kids right to life.

Zero risk? Such twisted propaganda, basically an obvious lie as children die.

Data collected by the CDC up to June 2022 and no secret (viewed 1.74M times) shows hundreds of dead children across America.

0-4 years — 442 dead
5-18 years — 815 dead

That’s very much NOT ZERO risk.

Someone should put 1,000 baby coffins on DeSantis’ lawn and ask him if he can say ZERO risk while looking at all the innocent and preventable lives lost.

Source: “Project places 1,000 wreaths on the graves of 1,000…”

Imagine DeSantis standing over the graves of 1,000 American soldiers and trying to promote a theory that they faced zero risks, their lives didn’t matter because they were young.

More to the point, even though DeSantis has been repeatedly documented as racist, when it comes to these children his disrespect isn’t even based on race. Here are the largest numbers in the 0-4 year old group:

Hispanic — 123 dead
Non-Hispanic Black — 117 dead
Non-Hispanic White — 160 dead

Scientists since March of 2022 have been explaining very clearly that these numbers of dead children will continue go up and could accelerate without vaccination — the safest and most effective prevention.

As many as 20% of all child deaths from Covid in the US have occurred during the Omicron surge of the pandemic. […] “We saw a massive surge of hospitalized young children during Omicron that we didn’t see in the earlier months of the pandemic,” said Jason Kane, a pediatric intensivist and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Comer children’s hospital. […] The under-five age group saw record-high hospitalizations over the past few months. Omicron hospitalization rates for kids under the age of five soared five times higher at Omicron’s peak than during the Delta wave, according to recent CDC research and data tables.

Governor DeSantis knows children in Florida are dying faster than ever before as he sits on one of the most alarming statistics.

Florida’s COVID-19 response took a hit this week as the number of COVID-related child deaths in Florida more than doubled in just over a month, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

The actual stories from parents are heart-wrenching.

…family is trying to process how their 10-year-old daughter went from being perfectly healthy to dying in five days from Covid-19. […] “They did her chest X-ray and when they came back, they said that there was no signs of Covid pneumonia, her lungs were perfect, beautiful. They didn’t seem concerned,” Nicole said. So they went home and Teresa continued to quarantine.

Within 24 hours, she stopped breathing and was rushed to a local hospital and ultimately transferred to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) Norfolk where she died.

It’s so hard to read this kind of news. Like reading about children dying in car crashes who weren’t wearing a seat-belt or in a car-seat… if only Teresa could have gotten the vaccine.

CDC study shows that child passenger deaths have decreased 43 percent from 2002 – 2011

We know the solution. We know the deaths are easily preventable.

Any Governor who says children have zero risk of dying in car accidents should be impeached, and I feel the same when they very fraudulently say children have zero risk of dying from a virus.

No more premature deaths should be the goal of good government, and it’s easy to see how removing DeSantis from office could save a lot of lives.

“I don’t think he cares about his family. He let Casey DeSantis all over the place without a mask during chemotherapy. I don’t think he cares about his daughters. He’s heartless,” said [Florida Senator] Polsky.

What is it about these elitists from Harvard law?

…by defying the best science we have in the face of a lethal pandemic, DeSantis is also one of the most dangerous people in our country today. […] Both Harvard and Yale should rebuke him.

See also:

the poetry of information security