Call Me Theo

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

Before getting started…I thought I’d written and saved this story from long ago, but for some reason can’t find it in any of my files… Today a friend wanted to know what T. F. stood for, True Friend or Truck Farmer.  So, here goes…

Back in the mid to late 1970s while working downtown as a police officer, one of our daily assignments was to stand in front of the Harris County Court House around noontime so we could escort felony prisoners that would be offloaded onto the sidewalk.  We’d then remove their handcuffs and put our handcuffs back on them, take them upstairs to have their Miranda Legal Warning read to them by a county court judge and then take them back down to the street, exchange handcuffs once more and load them back into the paddy wagon to be returned to the city jail.

No, I’m not making this absurd ritual up.  There was a safe prisoner zone in the lower level of the County Court House, but it was reserved and could only be used by the Harris County Sherriff’s Department and strictly off-limits for the City of Houston police officers.  Yeah, we had a wonderful working relationship as you can see.

Think about it this way…we had a felony prisoner (homicide, robbery, burglary, rapist or who knows what) that was in a safe place (the city jail), but some fool (supervisor of higher rank) decided that we should take that felony prisoner outside the jail and drive him through downtown Houston in the paddy wagon with several other felony prisoners and offload them onto the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.  This meant letting them out of the paddy wagon where there was minimal to non-existent security available, taking their handcuffs off and trading them for the ones belonging to a police officer standing there on the sidewalk.

What could possibly go wrong?  But that’s not why I’m writing this today…

Aside from this insanity, there were a collection of odd women, groupies if you will, trolling for police officers like they were band bunnies or something.  They’d start conversations hoping to engage a police officer, flirting or whatever until such time as all the prisoners had been taken upstairs.

One day, while awaiting my turn to take a felony prisoner upstairs, a young woman got up in my face, going on about just about anything.  She handled my name tag, physically touching it as she read the name, T. F. Stern.  Then she asked, “What’s the T. F. stand for?”

Not sure where my answer came from, but sarcasm is a standard file in my personality, as I responded, “It’s supposed to be T. B. Stern but they got it wrong”.

“So what’s the T. B. stand for?”

“Theophanous Bastardo Stern.  Some of the folks call me The Old Bastard, but my friends just call me Theo.”  As I said, I’ve no idea where this stuff comes from; but the young woman huffed a bit and walked away feeling insulted.

On the other hand, one of the other police officers who’d been standing there in front of the courthouse almost lost it, trying to contain his belly laugh.  From that day on he called me Theo.  It would have been a shame to lose a story like this simply because of a bad filing system.


Hydroxychloroquine Cocktails: How Many Anecdotes Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb, Dr. Fauci?

By: Richard J. Wright
VirtualWright.com | COVID-19

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” — Richard Feynman

The “experts,” especially Dr. Fauci, keep telling us that the actual positive clinical results many doctors around the country and around the world are reporting for a medicine “cocktail” of hydroxychloroquine, plus azithromycin, plus zinc, are just “anecdotal.” We need large scale, randomized, double-blind, controlled studies in order to determine its effectiveness as a curative treatment for patients suffering the mortal threat of the rapid advancement of Covid-19.

So, let’s see. You’re in the hospital with a high fever, horrible cough and having a very hard time breathing. Your blood oxygen saturation level is dangerously low. If things don’t get better you might very quickly end up in the ICU and if you get put on a ventilator your odds are not good at all. Dr. Fauci comes up to you and asks if you would like to be a part of this wonderful scientific study by which we will be able to determine whether or not this drug combination is effective in treating the disease. And it’s the only way because we have no FDA approved therapies. Sure, sign me up!

But do you know that you might be part of the ever so important control group which will not receive any medication at all, just a sugar pill, a placebo? “Double-blind” means that neither you nor the doctors treating you will know who gets the medication and who does not. Only the people who designed the test will know and you will never meet them nor they, you. Are you willing to die for science?

You don’t have to. These kinds of experiments are great in principle but completely immoral when it comes to deadly diseases. And they are unnecessary. We have plenty of people around the world who have had to be admitted into hospitals, ICU’s, put on ventilators and died. We have a lot of information about the risk factors associated with age and underlying conditions. If a drug is anything more than just slightly effective, all we have to do is statistically compare the outcomes of people getting the drug to the outcomes we have seen based on age and underlying conditions.

That is what front line doctors are doing and they are reporting that there is clear and, sometimes, profound clinical improvement in many, many patients, especially when this combination of medicines is administered earlier rather than later. Some of these are highly respected, practicing infectious disease experts. And we’ve had decades of experience in prescribing these drugs so there is no uncertainty as to their safety.

Dr. Michael Erdek, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and School of Medicine writes concerning one of earliest of these studies (which was controlled, by the way) by eminent French researchers:

It is ironic that the authors of this study state, ‘For ethical reasons and because our first results are so significant and evident we decide to share our findings with the medical community, given the urgent need for an effective drug against SARS-CoV-2 in the current pandemic context.’ The true ethical responsibility of researchers is to produce and to publish data and subsequent recommendations yielded as a function of a robust methodology and stringent review. Perhaps some investigators may be altruistically motivated in an effort to rapidly disseminate hopeful conclusions. Nevertheless, the responsibility we hold to our patients and, especially in the setting of the current pandemic, to greater society at large depends on good judgment and fiduciary concern rather than on haste to demonstrate beneficial outcomes.


The study being criticized was small but the results were so profound as to be impossible to dismiss. Bioethicist Erdek thinks ethics is about “robust methodology and stringent review” and not about saving lives.

How many anecdotes does it take to change a light bulb?

If the light bulb is Dr. Fauci’s mind (and others like him) then I’m afraid the answer is infinity.

Richard J. Wright, a chemist and information technology specialist, has been tracking the official Covid-19 (Corona-SARS) data and assessing our government’s disease progression modeling, plus responses, at virtualwright.com.

Hat Tip: Gulag Bound