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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Immedia versus Social Media

I am reading The Washington Post article:

13, right now
This is what it's like to grow up in the age of likes, lols and longing
Story by Jessica Contrera
Photos by Victoria Milko
She slides into the car, and even before she buckles her seat belt, her phone is alight in her hands. A 13-year-old girl after a day of eighth grade...

And once again I ask myself whether Social Media brings us closer together, farther apart, or is neutral as to immediacy.

As I think it, I create the word "Immedia" which seems in my brain to stand for immediate and intimate activity between persons; of course, it brings to mind Heidegger's being-in-the-world versus what I had called having-in-the world.

In this article, the young girl has vastly more connection with large numbers of people than individuals did in the pre-iPhone days and the pre-Internet days. And rather than asking about the effect of such a large amount of communications, I only ask if these communications - even considered singly one at a time - may have the same effect of face-to-face interaction.

It seems to me the answer in in the subtitle; it is the acronym "lol".

Electronic Communication lacks gesture, touch, deep affect: for example, we usually cannot see the face of those to whom we speak. But even with Skype and camera, the experience of facial recognition is flat and bland.

LOL was devised due to the ambiguity of internet chat and emails, for language alone often leaves it unclear whether one is happy, mad, sarcastic, solicitous, etc. Those emotions are more easily conveyed in person.
So LOL was devised in order to let the recipient know the sender was happy and laughing... at least the sender wanted the recipient to believes so.

So new modular expressions come into being to attempt to fill the voids left by electronic communication, thereby demonstrating that there are many such voids in the first place, and these empty spaces are like interstellar dust between us and distant galaxies, obscuring the far - and near - brilliance.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

High-Context Vs. Low-Context

Edward T. Hall in his book Beyond Culture (Doubleday, 1976) made a distinction between "high" and "low-context" cultures.
I quote from a discussion in the 3rd edition of John A. Hostetler's Amish Society, p. 18:

A high-context culture is one in which people are deeply involved with one another. Awareness of situations, experience, activity, and one's social standing is keenly developed. Information is widely shared.Simple messages with deep meaning flow freely. There are many levels of communication - overt and covert, implicit and explicit signs, symbols, and body gestures, and things one may and may not talk about. Members are sensitive to a screening process that distinguishes outsiders from insiders...

Low-context cultures emphasize literacy and rationality. Highly bureaucratized segments of culture within American life are "low" in context because information is restricted primarily to verbal communication. Other levels of awareness are underdeveloped or dormant. Ways of perceiving are restricted primarily to linear systems of thought, a way of thinking that is considered synonymous with truth. Logic is considered the only road to reality. Low-context cultures use primarily mathematical models to explain nature and environment. People are highly individualistic and somewhat alienated in contexts that require little involvement with other people...
People in low-context cultures are prone to use manipulation to achieve their goals and are also prone to be manipulated... In times of crisis, individuals expect help from institutions, not from persons.

I find this imprecise, but extremely interesting and full of promise in understanding.

Washington Post
I pushed my pre-K students toward reading. And I feel guilty about it.
It’s a Tuesday morning in Room 132, and standing before me is a 4-year-old boy asking for a graham cracker. I’ll call him Josue. His swinging arms are about to topple a crayon cup on my desk, so I steady the cup with one hand and reach for the crackers with the other.

“Ggg — graham cracker. What letter is that, Josue?” I ask, because in the public pre-kindergarten program where I taught for four years, a graham cracker was never just a snack. Every detail, from ceiling to circle-time rug, pulled double duty in pursuit of our mission: to battle the achievement gap. I had just one school year to fill in an early-literacy spreadsheet with categories in uppercase and lowercase letters, letter sounds, rhyming and writing. When Josue went to kindergarten, he would be expected to read.

I am prideful about my completed spreadsheets. A neat row of good scores next to a child’s name reassured parents, lightened the load on my kindergarten-teaching colleagues, and made it easier and less stressful for my students to meet the next round of assessments.

At the same time, I am deeply troubled about the way I pushed Josue and many other children. Early-childhood education studies suggest that hurrying kids to read doesn’t really help them. As Defending the Early Years and the Alliance for Childhood put it in an elegantly simple report this month: “No research documents long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten.” And all the time spent discreetly drilling literacy skills to meet standards imposes a huge opportunity cost. It crowds out the one element in early-childhood classrooms proven to bolster learning outcomes over time: play.

Play isn’t wasting time when you are little. It’s sense-making and experience-building. More important than performance on lowercase-letter assessments is time spent in the block area, working out differences of opinion with other kids. As they create a city together, they solve self-selected problems of engineering, resource-sharing, consensus-building, language and friendship...

Here we see that Play is a learning of many things, one of which is being actively involved in a high-context situation... the completed spreadsheets are the low-context awards for the teacher.

In another column,
This ed-reform trend is supposed to motivate students. Instead, it shames them.
A third-grade teacher on why "data walls" don't work.
My third-graders tumbled into the classroom, and one child I’d especially been watching for — I need to protect her privacy, so I’ll call her Janie — immediately noticed the two poster-size charts I’d hung low on the wall. Still wearing her jacket, she let her backpack drop to the floor and raised one finger to touch her name on the math achievement chart. Slowly, she traced the row of dots representing her scores for each state standard on the latest practice test. Red, red, yellow, red, green, red, red. Janie is a child capable of much drama, but that morning she just lowered her gaze to the floor and shuffled to her chair.

In our test-mired public schools, those charts are known as data walls, and before I caved in and made some for my Northern Virginia classroom last spring, they’d been proliferating in schools across the country — an outgrowth of “data-driven instruction” and the scramble for test scores at all costs. Making data public, say advocates such as Boston Plan for Excellence, instills a “healthy competitive culture.” But that’s not what I saw in my classroom.

The data walls concept originated with University of Chicago education researcher David Kerbow, who in the late 1990s promoted visual displays to chart students’ progress in reading. Kerbow called these displays “assessment walls,” and he meant them to be for faculty eyes only, as tools for discussion and planning. But when that fundamentally sound idea met constant anxiety over test scores in K-12 schools across the United States, data walls leaked out of staff-room doors and down the halls. Today, a quick search on Pinterest yields hundreds of versions of children’s test scores hung in public view.

“Diving Into Data,” a 2014 paper published jointly by the nonprofit Jobs for the Future and the U.S. Education Department, offers step-by-step instructions for data walls that “encourage student engagement” and “ensure students know the classroom or school improvement goals and provide a path for students to reach those goals.” The assumption is that students will want to take that path — that seeing their scores in relationship to others’ will motivate them to new heights of academic achievement. They are meant to think: “Oh, the green dots show my hard work, yellow means I have more work to do, and red means wow, I really need to buckle down. Now I will pay attention in class and ask questions! I have a plan!”

How efficient it would be if simply publishing our weaknesses galvanized us to learn exactly what we’re lacking.

That late night when I got out my markers and drew the charts, I rationalized that it was time to drop all pretenses. Our ostensible goal in third grade was similar to what you’d hear in elementary schools everywhere: to educate the whole child, introduce them to a love of learning and help them discover their potential. We meant that wholeheartedly. But the hidden agenda was always prepping kids for the state’s tests. For third-graders, Virginia has settled on 12 achievement standards in reading and 20 in math, each divided further into subsections. And once blossoms were on the trees, we were just a few weeks from the exams that would mark us as passing school or a failing one. We were either analyzing practice tests, taking a test or prepping for the next test. Among the teachers, we never stopped talking about scores, and at a certain point it felt disingenuous not to tell the kids what was really going on.

I regretted those data walls immediately. Even an adult faced with a row of red dots after her name for all her peers to see would have to dig deep into her hard-won sense of self to put into context what those red dots meant in her life and what she would do about them. An 8-year-old just feels shame.

Psychologists Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener point out in their book “The Upside of Your Dark Side ” that while some uncomfortable feelings can be useful, shame is not productive. Guilt, they say, can encourage people to learn from their mistakes and to do better. In contrast, “people who feel shame suffer. Shamed people dislike themselves and want to change, hide, or get rid of their self."...

"Test-mired public schools..."  are a symptom of the low-context approach to education.

And it seems so obvious that this is a form a marginalization verging on abuse.
Why was it not immediately apparent?
I think low-context culture may be more prone to abuse because there is so little awareness of others are people instead of objects of desire or education or commercialization, etc.


The Bridge At Deir Ez-Zor

This is the bridge at Deir ez-Zor, Syria, over the Euphrates river taken sometime in 2006-2009 by two Canadian bikers.
Deir-ez-Zor: Notes For Bike Tourists

Recently it has been in the middle of the war.
AhlulBayt News Agency - Deir ez-Zor province in eastern Syria includes the three cities of the capital Deir ez-Zor, Al-Mayadin and AL-Bukamal. Over 90 percent of the territory of Deir ez-Zor was seized by ISIS terrorist group in mid-December 2014. It is located between Raqqa, the self-acclaimed capital of ISIS terrorists in Syria, and other ISIS-held areas in the neighboring Iraq. ISIS has one of the most significant sources of income now that it holds a majority of the province’s oilfields and produces and sells oil. Meanwhile, the forces of the government of President Bashar al-Assad still hold control of Deir ez-Zor’s center and also its airport.

During the past two years, Deir ez-Zor witnessed limited clashes between the Syrian armed forces and the terrorists of ISIS, but ISIS’ militants failed to usurp control of the remaining areas of the city from the Syrian forces.

Since August 2015, Deir ez-Zor has been under the tight siege of the ISIS fighters, with over 200,000 Syrian civilians in the city are now trapped in encirclement. The Russian and Syrian planes regularly airdrop aid facilities and food crates to the civilians trapped in some parts of Deir ez-Zor as the only way of access to the besieged city.

Recently, especially since May 7, 2016, ISIS terrorists launched a new wave of efforts, aiming at capturing what remained of Deir ez-Zor province. During the initial assaults, they managed to take control of the whole roads leading to the airport, al-Thayem Oil Refinery and a couple of districts inside the capital city...

This photo of the bridge at night ran with the story about the fight with ISIS. The name of the town has been misspelled;   you can have some leaway with the definite article "al" and the word "zor":
al zor, az-zor, el-zor, ez-zor, ezzor, even ezor, I suppose, although that single "z" would be quite wrong.
It seems to be a photo from quieter times.

The world never seems to have gotten over World War I and its aftermath, thinking Sykes-Picot Agreement here, although the 1917 Balfour Declaration has also had its place.
The results of WWI led to WWII. WWII led to a continuous Cold War, and that has led to a state of constant war, a ceaseless questing for supremacy by the sole superpower.

If you recall during the Bush years, we also claimed the infinity of Space.


Dasein und Dahaben?

What shall I talk about?

The Memorial Day weekend approaches, my mum is in the hospital and actually enjoying herself enormously, and I am trying to get her planned Memorial Day weekend party together and get ready to take off to Maryland myself Monday morning.
And it is a lot more complicated that it appears.

That is what is so interesting about language: it can take the most horrendously complex things and set them down on a piece of foolscap, and they do not seem as weighty and overwhelming - but they are, really! - and one may crumple up that scrap paper and toss it.

So where am I in re the complexity of Life? Infinite detail versus clearly-cut linear rational language chit-chat?

I think I shall start with Martin Heidegger...

 Martin Heidegger

Heidegger and the concept of Celebrity as it exists today in our society.
For I had recently read again of a celebrity who said that they found it hard to believe that they were a celebrity, that they felt as if they should pinch themselves to determine whether they were dreaming, that they were wretchedly fearful that it would all disappear.

The main point here is whether one has achieved a celebrated status due to one's great and continued acts, or whether one has actually done little, but has accrued a media-endowed celebrated status.

In the second case, one may well fear the sudden cessation of celebrity.

Acts, action, being, living; these refer to Heidegger's Dasein: Being-In-The-World.
(compounded of da [there] and sein [to be].)
It is an intimate life within the world, not a detached pseudo-Cartesian subject who views the objects of the world from a privileged viewpoint outside the rough-and-tumble, and this privileged viewpoint endows the subject observer with a dispassionate view and almost total "objectivity".

The pseudo-Cartesian is not an example of being-in-the-world, rather they are outside the world.
What is it to be outside the world? To be that perfect observer?

 "Rainy Day" Cartes

It is somewhat like that celebrity who has actually done little themselves to attain their high status, rather it is the work of media and press agents and publicists and talking-heads.

In essence, the celebrity who does little does not Act; they are not acting totally in the world, and our study of them is not a study of being-in-the-world, rather they "have" celebrity status thrust upon them.

They are a study of Dahaben:  Having-In-The-World.
(compounded of da [there] and haben [to have]....  Apologies all around, not only to Prof. Heidegger, but to anyone who speaks German.)

I play with this notion.
I wonder if our society tends to be more of a Dahaben society which values Having rather than Being?
For example, we tend to "have" religious beliefs rather than "live" and "act" religiously.
It is a matter of talking the talk rather than walking the walk, if you will. How simple it is to sit back and talk, smoke a pipe, nibble lembas and sip miruvor rather than walking a long journey. Ask Bilbo Baggins.




Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sinum Conservate! Preserve The Bay!

Brother Alex of the Order of St. Paul of the Settled and the Wild

Every time I come to Maryland, I try to visit the house of the order of St. Paul of the Oikumene (the settled and inhabited areas) and the Antioikumene (the wild areas). Their service is to conserve and keep clean the Chesapeake Bay. So far, they have been focused and successful as a non-profit that receives some State funding, but not directly, as that would violate Church-State separation.

Maryland and Virginia have found that a religious order, non-profit, seems to be more effective than the previous short term and cyclical efforts to clean and re-clean the Bay.

The House of St. Paul, The Settled and the Wild, Tilghman Island, MD

Friday, April 29, 2016

Maryland's Adultery Law

It is still a crime to commit adultery in Maryland. It is also difficult to get a divorce in Maryland; you need grounds and it takes about 2 years to accomplished fact. So if you are tarrying with friends of the opposite sex while you wait for your divorce, you may commit the crime of adultery.

All of which raised in my mind the question that if the State would define Marriage and the State would define Adultery, then how does the State define liaisons between people of the same sex?
I mean, if you had a same-sex marriage foundering on the rocks of discord, and the principals had a dalliance here and there, would that be adultery?
If so. the State would not only have re-defined marriage but also have re-defined adultery from ancient prescriptions of many years ago.


The Relativity Of The Zika Virus

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican

I had a post about Zika virus in which the Republican Party in control of the House and Senate had decided to drag their feet on any funding to combat the sickness under a lame-duck president.

As it has so far turned out, the Republican controlled Congress has managed to adjourn for 10 days without funding research to comb ate the disease.

The Atlantic
...In early February, the Obama administration asked Congress to quickly pass nearly $1.9 billion in emergency funds. It trotted out public-health officials to explain what they knew about the virus’s potential effect in the Americas, and what they needed to develop: a vaccine, top-flight diagnostic tests, rapid-response teams for any Zika clusters that pop up in the United States, among other measures.

So far, Congress hasn’t allocated any new money. The White House grudgingly repurposed about $600 million in Ebola funds for Zika earlier this month, at House Republicans’ urging, but the administration and public-health officials maintain much more is needed. The number of cases in the continental United States and in the territories continues to grow. Scientists have confirmed the virus causes the birth defect microcephaly and the immune disorder Guillain-Barré, and are investigating a link between Zika and brain and spinal-cord infections. Officials are also concerned about the coming warmer months, particularly in warm-weather states. “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought,” said Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, at a White House briefing two weeks ago.

Congressional Republicans have said for weeks now that their questions on Zika funding haven’t been answered—an allegation the White House and Senate Democrats have refuted. Specifically, Republicans say they need to know how much money is needed before the 2016 fiscal year ends in late September; how much is needed in fiscal year 2017; and, of course, how exactly it’ll be spent. John Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, cautioned Thursday against writing a “blank check” to the administration without hearing the Zika “plan of attack.”

Democrats have condemned the standstill. “Too many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle still don’t seem to see Zika as an emergency,” Senator Patty Murray, the ranking member on the Senate Labor/HHS subcommittee, said Thursday. Some Republicans think it can wait “weeks, or even months,” she added. “Republicans in Congress might be able to wait that long—but families across the country simply can’t.”
“We shouldn't be taking 10 days off as a dangerous virus threatens this nation,” Reid said.

Members of the House GOP have been especially, and predictably, hawkish about how money is doled out. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said the administration has enough money for Zika as it is. Some have suggested more money can be gleaned from Ebola coffers, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has said the White House has “a bit of a track record of over-requesting what they need.” Representative Tom Cole seemed to push back Thursday on the notion that Republicans are unnecessarily blocking funds. “I want to remind the White House, it was a Republican Congress that appropriated everything and more to combat Ebola just last year,” said Cole, the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that finances public-health agencies, in a statement. “It was a Republican Congress that provided double the increase in funds for the National Institutes of Health requested by the White House. And it was a Republican Congress that appropriated more for the Centers for Disease Control than the White House requested.”

The debate in the Senate didn’t look so dire last week. After months of no movement, lawmakers appeared to have a modest breakthrough: Senate appropriators announced at a markup meeting that they were closing in on a Zika deal. But the chief negotiators, Murray and Missouri Republican Roy Blunt, still needed to accomplish two difficult tasks: settling on an exact dollar figure and determining how to get the funding through Congress...

Things to note:
In the second paragraph, there was re-purposing of $600 million in Ebola funds for Zika. What I would like to know at this point is where is the research at into the viability of the Ebola virus which was discovered within the past 5 months living in the eyeballs of people who had recovered from Ebola? Is the virus still alive anywhere else in the bodies of the people? What is the possibility of another epidemic arising from these sources, and would the extra Ebola funding have possibly helped to stop such a possibility?

Representative Tom Cole in paragraph 5 seems to think that what was done in the past against Ebola is a gold star for the Republicans for the present Zika.

After 10 days, they will be back to afflict us with as much venom as they afflict us with their absence.

10 days from the point of view of a Republican legislator is a wink of the eye, whereas from the viewpoint of a pregnant mother in her first trimester, it is an eternity.

[Our Age of Irony!
Once again we see people that preach family values and the protection of children actively position themselves against the integrity of the family and the welfare of children!]

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Big Ted Cruz Announcement !!

Ted Cruz announced that is he were to be elected president, he would put Carly Fiorina's face on the $20 bill. She is the only person I ever saw who looked more severe than Harriet Tubman.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New Mommies' Exercise

I just walked a fretful Mary Olivia Adenike around the kitchen, front hall, and dining room for about 2 hours this morning. I was surprised I did not seem to have my usual aches and pains.

However, this marathon gave me an idea for a exercise manual for new parents, one exercise of which should be:

Pick up the 12-pound weights,
walk 100 feet,
do 10,000 reps.


I Know For Whom I'm Voting

And it is not Hilary Clinton. I will write in Sanders name if I must, or I shall vote Green, but I cannot morally cast a vote for that atrocious person. She and her amoral husband will go down in infamy into history.

I mean, they are only amiable and friendly and supportable in their contrast to the viciously ignorant Republican crowd that has festered in the nation's capitol for so long... not all Republicans, just the know-nothings, the covert racists, the intellectually bankrupt.

I was reading about her debate with Bernie in New York back two weeks ago:

Defending Attack on Libya, Clinton Blames Obama—And Suggests Repeat for Syria
During a heated Democratic debate in New York on Thursday night, Hillary Clinton sought to both defend and deflect responsibility for her central role in destabilizing Libya—by blaming President Barack Obama.

"The decision was the president's," she said in response to criticism from rival Bernie Sanders over her leadership as then-Secretary of State during the 2011 military intervention to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"Did I do due diligence? Did I talk to everybody I could talk to? Did I visit every capitol and then report back to the president? Yes, I did. That's what every secretary of state does," Clinton said. "But at the end of the day, those are the decisions that are made by the president to in any way use American military power, and the president made that decision, and yes, we did try without success because of the Libyans' obstruction to our efforts, but we did try and will continue to try to help the Libyan people."

The remarks come just days after Obama admitted in an interview with Fox News that "failing to plan for the day after" Gaddafi's toppling was the "worst mistake" of his presidency.

In a previous debate, Clinton said the president had made "the right decision at the time" and blamed the instability that followed on the Arab Spring and "a lot of other things." ...

This is the same Hilary Clinton who in an interview laughingly said, "We came, we saw, he died."
The very same person.
Look at the video of her laughing:

Let's run a duelling videos selection of Gadhaffi's last minutes alive Hilary's laughter and do it over and over until we're sick of both of them. It won't tale long. Gadhaffi was a wretch who killed people and Hilary created Syria, although she is trying to pretend she did not.
...Clinton responded with both another seeming criticism of Obama—and by suggesting regime change in Syria.

"Yes, when I was secretary of state, I did urge along with the Department of Defense and the CIA that we seek out, vet, and train, and arm Syrian opposition figures so that they could defend themselves against [President Bashar al] Assad. The president said no."

"I think it's only fair to look at where we are in Syria today and yes, I do still support a no-fly zone because I think we need to put in safe havens for those poor Syrians who are fleeing both Assad and ISIS and so they have some place they can be safe," she said. "Nobody stood up to Assad and removed him, and we have a far greater disaster in Syria than we are currently dealing with right now in Libya."
 She admits her role in the disaster.
And President Obama in the first quote admits that he and his administration - which therefore includes Hilary Clinton - did not plan for Libya after Gadhaffi, even though they have the 10 year plus horrible example of an Iraq War which did not plan for life after Saddam Hussein!!

Even if President Obama could run for a third term, I do not think I would vote for him.
We need something else.


Friday, April 22, 2016


I have gotten tired of the word "hiatus".
I mean, all the blogs I view whose authors have neglected their postings usually have a self-serving notice that they've been busy or they've been on hiatus or are soon gonna be on hiatus or are fixin' to go on hiatus.

I've been on hiatus for a bit merely because I have lost interest in my thoughts and ideas. If they do not interest me, I certainly am not going to serve my Peloponnesian ideas up to you like some ghastly feast of Tantalus....




Why is "Peloponnesian" spelled with a double "n"?
 I mean, "Pelops: is the guy's name, and "nesos" for "island" has but one single "n".

I thought maybe the genitive of Pelops might have an "n" and I'll have to look it up, but most -ops words don't have an "n" pop up in the genitive... I think.

It Takes A Village To ...

PBS NewsHour:
‘Sesame Street’ moves to HBO, with re-airs on PBS
After calling PBS home for 45 years, HBO is now how you first get to “Sesame Street.”

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit group that produces the show, announced Thursday that the next five seasons of the popular educational children’s show will start premiering this fall on the premium cable network, famous for adult dramas such as “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones,” and made available to all its streaming services.

The five-year deal allows HBO to widen its programming to include a long-running and prestigious children’s show, while Sesame Workshop will be able to produce twice as much content each year.

The deal doesn’t mean “Sesame Street” has abandoned its PBS roots. The new episodes will be available to PBS and its member stations, free of charge, after a nine-month delay...

It takes a whole village to PAY to raise a child...

Premium channel HBO? If you can afford premium HBO, you can afford an au pair to nanny and tutor your child.
As far as the re-airings on PBS after 9 months, I guess we'll see about that.

I do not think my sour grapes on this news is just being a curmudgeon; I think our society lacks the imagination and drive to provide essential services for child upbringing at no cost for all people for the long term. This includes not only education, but also such things as paid 6 month leave for new parents, and a real commitment to eliminate child abuse.

Oh, we are committed to eliminating child abuse?!

I'm sorry. I guess I got a different idea from looking at all those Syrian kids washing up on the shores of the Mediterranean, and NATO's thinking that things will improve by paying off the nouveau tyrant Erdogan, who will probably apply a variant of the Armenian Solution to this problem.


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Family Values In Republican Florida

“They are Man's,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree

Florida pledges better health care for poor children to settle lawsuit
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 Reuters
(Reuters) – Florida officials will boost access to health and dental care for poor children in settlement of an 11-year-old class-action lawsuit, the groups behind the legal action said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in 2005, accused Florida officials of failing to pay doctors enough for treating 2 million children with government-supported health coverage, adding that this discouraged physicians from providing their services.

The settlement calls for Florida to increase payments to physicians who treat poor children and sets benchmarks for preventative and dental treatment to be met over five years, according to the Philadelphia-based Public Interest Law Center, which represented the plaintiffs.

Florida health officials and attorneys for the plaintiffs, among them the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, were ordered to negotiate a settlement after a U.S. district judge in December 2014 found Florida fell short of federal standards for providing healthcare to poor children.

Nearly 80 percent of children with government-supported healthcare in Florida were never able to see a dentist, the judge said in his ruling.

The agreement marks a “significant step forward in improving access to medical care” for poor children in Florida, Tommy Schechtman, president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a statement.

An official of the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration could not be reached for comment late on Tuesday.

"Are there no prisons?"
"And the Union workhouses... Are they still in operation?"
"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?"


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Labyrinthine Ways

 Bonnie Blue Butler

Irregular, twisting, and convoluted ways they are...
I believe this was intended to the title of Graham Greene's novel The Power And The Glory, but there was a sea change from the inscrutable workings of the divine to the potency and awesomeness of those workings. Interesting.

There was a story that was similarly interesting:
The Guardian
‘Disgusting’ trolls target family of girl, 9, killed on Cotswold hunt
Horseriders unite in support of family of Bonnie Armitage, whose accidental death was called ‘karma’ by anti-bloodsports activist
Horseriders have criticised comments on a hunt saboteur Facebook group about the death of a nine-year-old girl in a riding accident.

Online trolls claimed Bonnie Armitage’s death on Saturday was “karma” because she was riding with the Cotswold hunt.

Bonnie died in hospital after the accident in Miserden, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, when she was kicked by a horse as she rode her pony.

Her death has hit the equestrian community hard. Fellow riders are showing their support for her family by posting photographs on Facebook of themselves wearing something blue, Bonnie’s favourite colour.

Lucy Barnett posted a picture of her horse and wrote: “Such a tragedy to hear we’ve lost another devoted young rider. Bonnie was just nine years old and was killed by a fateful kick whilst out hunting doing what she loved the most.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear, such sad news. My condolences to her friends and family.”

Stacey Williamson wrote on Twitter: “#blueforbonnie lets show Bonnie’s parents there is so much more support behind them than there is vile trolls.”

Williamson was responding to posts on a Facebook page for hunt saboteurs, where one person said: “Karma. Hopefully the parents don’t indulge in such a disgusting vile pass time any more [sic].”

Another wrote: “Fox 1 - 0 Murderous parents.”

And a third post said: “Tragic and unnecessary but nothing good comes from bloodlust how different it would be if her parents hadn’t put her at risk.”,,,

First, come down angel band, come and around her stand and bear her away on snow white wings to her immortal home.  That is what I said when I read this.

Then, this whole nonsense about SOCIAL media is more technological claptrap. There is nothing social about it. There is no society with people who are so obsessed with their own beliefs that they celebrate the death of an innocent.
Back before computers, to regale ourselves with such misanthropic trolls and their words, we would need to have gone to bars and pubs in the absolutely sketchiest parts of the metropolis. Now, in our Brave New World, we have them right in our studies and bedrooms and living rooms on the computer.

The Bar Room into the Living Room...
Is there any wonder that the USA Republican Party's primary has on live TV and Twitter engorged itself in discussions about sexuality in all its forms?!
If you don't know what I'm talking about, I remind you that Mr. Trump led the charge by referring to Ms. Kelly's time of the month.

This led to comparing male body parts and then to aspersions about the wives...........

However, the most ghastly thread that runs through it all is the fact that Scarlett O'Hara's and Rhett Butler's  child was Bonnie Blue Butler, and the names Bonnie are the same and their loves of Blue are comparable. Then they were both killed in accidents while riding horses.

Bonnie Armitage

The Universe is smaller than you think. We run in tight circles to our fate.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Truffles And Trump

 Rupert Murdoch and FOX Sniffing Out Dangers to the Republic

Half of the Republican Party thinks Mr. Trump is the horn which Gabriel blows at midnight, the other half thinks he's not all that bad.
Ditto the media. I mean, FOX News has trash-canned that whole business of "Fair and Balanced" as of the first attack on one of their blonde anchorpersons. The Huffington Post Real Estate section runs a disturbing little denial at the end of any news articles that mentions Chicago's Trump Tower stating that Mr. Trump is a fascist scoundrel.

I think that is taking journalism to the bridge too far, to the narcissistic road not [hitherto] taken. I mean, because of Mr. Trump, journalists of all stripes have laid aside their differences and agreed upon one thing: they - the journalists - are much smarter than the rest of us, and they have the uncanny ability to sniff out the rotted truffles of fascism!

Is he a demagogue?
And why - exactly - is demagoguery so evil?
Huey Long was a demagogue, and he accomplished things for the people of Louisiana which would have taken regular politicians a couple of centuries to get around to. It seems that if you think it is possible that the deck is stacked against us and in favor of the rich and powerful, then it stands to reason that you are going to back a guy who will be very "innovative" when it comes to getting things done.

It is a dream, and even if Mr. Trump were elected, he would find the deck stacked against him.


The 3rd Party Wheeze is going to be the long term effect of all this anyway.
Hitherto, all the disaffected members of the GOP and Independents and Democrats who like their politics with some real spice that gives them heat, and not just to the rich, will have a national face around which to cluster.
They did not have a spokesman before... or a "bespokes-man" either.

The Fiscal Times
Forget Trump: Here's Who's Really Destroying the Republican Party
The seminal event in the crackup of the Republican Party is not the rise of Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, contrary to popular opinion. It was the overthrow of John Boehner as Speaker of the House. That showed the power of the forty-odd members of the House Freedom Caucus, and their incompatibility with the GOP establishment and the compromises required by divided government (or for that matter, math).

The change in leadership at the top has not bridged this divide. Despite months of happy talk, the Freedom Caucus rejected Paul Ryan’s budget resolution, likely leaving the Republicans with no budget this year, after they made returning to regular order a campaign promise in 2014. The lack of a budget is just a sidelight to the continuing irreconcilable differences between conservative factions. Trump will not be able to fix this either; only a purge of one side of the party or the other would.

The Freedom Caucus essentially wants to control government from a base of 40 members of the House, with only a few allies in the Senate and no president willing to agree to their demands. They want to defund Planned Parenthood, balance the budget through massive spending cuts, dismantle government healthcare programs, and overturn every executive order of the past eight years, regardless of not having the two-thirds support in Congress that would be required currently to override Obama vetoes and make that happen...
(emphasis mine)
 I wrote 2 weeks ago about getting 50 seats in the House. See? It is feasible.

Just remember the famous quote of Santayana:

"The truffle slicing mandolins of the gods slice slowly... but they slice very thin!!"


The Risks Of The Modern Democracy

Boaty.... if the Voters Get Their Way

Boaty McBoatface debacle shows the perils of crowdsourcing opinion: From Hooty McOwlface to Mr Splashy Pants
​When a poll suggested that a new ship be called 'Boaty McBoatface', it was just the latest strike in the risky business of 'ask the public' PR.
Simon Usborne Tuesday 22 March 2016
It wasn't necessarily a silly question, but in a nation of bored people genetically programmed to take the piss, it was perhaps predictable that it might invite a silly answer. So it was that a nice idea became a global public relations headache when the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) asked: “What shall we call our fancy new boat?”

At the time of writing, the website built by the science body to host the competition to name its £200m polar research vessel had sunk without a trace, inundated as it was with votes for Boaty McBoatface, the submission of a former local radio presenter. As America may yet learn, democracy can be a risky way to get things done...

Then today
Trainy McTrainface saluted by commuters after locomotive homage to Boaty McBoatface at Waterloo
Name change intended to bring a ‘smile to the face of customers’
Kayleigh Lewis
A railway worker renamed Tuesday’s Portsmouth to Waterloo service Trainy McTrainface in a playful homage to Boaty McBoatface.

The temporary renaming of the 0729 South West Trains service was a response to the Boaty McBoatface debacle, which saw the National Environment Research Council (NERC) allow the public to vote on the title of a new £200m state-of-the-art research vessel.

“It is a one-off by one of our creative guards who wanted to bring a smile to the face of our customers,” a spokesperson from the railway company said of the hat-tip...

Didnt expect my train to have a name today @SW_Trains #trains
— Matthew Fifield (@funfield5) March 22, 2016

He told the Evening Standard: "My trains were all delayed today so it brightened my morning to see it."
It also brought cheer to many other commuters, who took to social media to "salute" the temporary renaming.

Bravo the member of South West staff at Waterloo. Trainy McTrainface.
— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) March 22, 2016...

However, ... it fell behind schedule.

are you sure about Trainy McTrainface @SW_Trains ..... surely Latey McLateface is more appropriate?
— Lee Mark Davies (@LeeMarkDavies) March 22, 2016


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What's Up With Mawra?

Mawra Hocane

What kind of a name is Hocane? There is a story behind it.

The Express Tribune
Unraveling the mystery: Here's why Mawra and Urwa's surname is 'Hocane'
 It’s just a different way to spell… Hussain...

“I changed the spelling of my surname name when I was in the seventh grade back when I had no idea it would become so famous one day that people would start asking questions about it,” Mawra disclosed to The Express Tribune.

“I knew my first name was unique because people always asked me what it meant. But in my class, a lot of students had the same surname: Hussain. It’s silly but I was very little then and I wanted my surname to be unique too. So I changed the spelling and started writing is as Hocane,” she added. “I thought people would pronounce the ‘C’ as ‘S’, like in Celina and never thought people would pronounce it ‘Hu-Can’ and not Hussain. But that obviously never happened.” ...

However, nothing is quite so simple.
Yesterday, the hashtag #AskMawra was trending on Twitter. And the bubbly Mawra Hocane fell victim to cyber-bullying.
Why don't you write in "Hussain" in straight style. . . Why this ajeeb "Hocane" ? ? ? #AskMawra

  • Samad Aslam Khan@SamadAslamKhan 15h15 hours ago
    @ZulfiqarAnsari One should be proud of having such names in their Full Name instead of being afraid

    Likes like a lot of brothers dumping on the sisters again.

    If Hocane is ajeeb, it is a wonderfully beautiful ajeeb!  And  'azeez!



    This tweet met with these responses:

    and it is a pretty good new mini-literary genre.

    So I gave it a try:

     Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cap of the Bengladesh 11

    I confronted a Muslim Bengladeshi cricket player, home captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to explain the cricket match in Bengaluru, India.
    Bengladesh, chasing 147 for victory in the Group Two match, and making a perfect start, then lost three wickets off the final three deliveries, allowing a jubilant India team to scrape over the line to climb to second in the table!

    He said "In a situation like this it's literally chaos,” said captain Dhoni.
    “What you're trying to do is trying to manage chaos. You have to assess everything but it has to happen in a short span of time.”

    A mealy mouthed reply.
    — Montag@(whatever) March 23, 2016

     It lacks something.

    Technical Words

    What do you call compounds words? And, in particular, what do you call them when you just sort of make them up on the fly: like, what would you call "words-made-up-on-the-fly-or-by-the-seat-of-one's-pants" if you wanted to use it in a post?

    We have portmanteau words, and we've already added "club bag" words, but this is different.

    I just call them maggeph  -
    (pronounced maq-qef', with the q being a k in the back of the throat).  Or  mah-keff ', if you will.

    I really do not know the English technical term.
    I looked it up, and only found "compound words". How bloodless compared to maggeph!

    Then I found:
    The “-” sign is not a dash, but a hyphen. Words that contain one or more hyphens are said to be hyphenated.

    Dashes of various length are used in English writing: “–” is an en dash, and “—” is an em dash. Their names (en and em) are those of typographic units of measurements. The former is used in particular to separate dates in ranges (“Lee, Bruce (1941–73)”), and the latter is used to indicate a break of thought or an unfinished sentence.
    I think I have come across these in Word and maybe Blogger, but the difference does not seem to be as large as that shown above, and to be very honest, a few micromillimeters difference in a linear stroke of black on a white background is an area of research for Particle Physics Ph.D.s, not for me to be trying to read.


    Chasing The Panther


    the power of Wu-Tang.


    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

    It's A Good Life, Topper!

    Can Anthony Come Out and Play, Mr. Fremont?

    The Twilight Zone.
    The Twilight Zone episode, It's A Good Life, with Billy Mumy wishing people who crossed him out into the cornfield or where ever. One gentleman whom he  took a particular dislike to he changed into a jack-in-the-box in the parlor, not in the cornfield. Scary at the time to see his head bobbing in the mixture of childish anger, adult despair, and a general malaise.
    I got to thinking about it. Actually I was wondering about a time-line in an alt-Universe where Rod Serling and Robert Sterling trade places in utero, as it were. (I almost wrote " utero as it weretero!!?" Gadfry Daniels!)

    Thus, Topper would have a rather sinister George Kirby playing off "the ghostess with the mostes' !" Marion Kirby, as played by Anne Jeffreys.
    And Leo G. Carroll would be a lot more respectful when he started in on his "George! Marion!" invocations.

    front: Leo G. Carroll, Lee Patrick
    rear: Anne Jeffreys, Robert Sterling

    The dog is Neill.

    And it follows then that Twilight Zone with Robert Sterling would be a little more up-beat and martini-laden. And instead of wishing a jack-in-the-box-pox upon gents who crossed him, Billy Mumy, as Anthony Fremont, might be merely wishing them late to the board of directors meeting, hungover and asleep in the classic roadster parked on Wall Street in a No Standing zone!


    Continuous Transportation: Off-Road Trucking

    Un État de Transport Continu
    inspiré par le film Transperceneige

    Cook House of Stevensons Brothers Circus in 1946  by Robert D. Good

    Copyright Jim Linderman 


    The Marquis de Sade Revisited

    Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

    The drawing of the Marquis de Sade shows the intensity of madness, not intelligence. He rubs his hand and it stands out like a hand of glory, does it not? A hand of glory that persists in our imaginations, magick, magick limb!

    I was reading The Maverick Philosopher:
    Callicles as Precursor of De Sade
    At Gorgias 492, tr. Helmbold, the divine Plato puts the following words into the mouth of Callicles:

    A man who is going to live a full life must allow his desires to
    become as mighty as may be and never repress them. When his
    passions have come to full maturity, he must be able to serve them
    through his courage and intelligence and gratify every fleeting
    desire as it comes into his heart.

    [. . .]

    The truth, which you claim to pursue, Socrates, is really this:
    luxury, license, and liberty, when they have the upper hand, are
    really virtue, and happiness as well; everything else is a set of
    fine terms, man-made conventions, warped against nature, a pack of
    stuff and nonsense!

    Now let us consider what the decidedly undivine Marquis de Sade has Mme. Delbene say in Julliette or Vice Amply Rewarded:

    . . . I am going to dismiss this equally absurd and childish obligation which enjoins us not to do unto others that which unto us we would not have done. It is the precise contrary Nature recommends, since Nature's single precept is to enjoy oneself, at the expense of no matter whom...

    To me, de Sade is the story of the wastrel French aristocracy before the Revolution, not philosophy. Only the wealthy would have the time and money to expend in endless debauchery, and only the perversely wealthy would seek to maintain a social inequality which allowed them to imprison the majority of the population in powerless squalor - the better position from which to abuse them.

    The story repeats.

    The film Spotlight which retold the Boston Globe's exposure of the Bishop of Boston's cover-up of abuse was all about predatory power and position, was it not? And the rising gap between the rich and the not-rich will lead us into a future of even newer perversions concocted by our new technologies and philosophies, will it not?

    The post ends:
    The natural man, in the grip of his lusts, is a natural sophist: what can be done is eo ipso permissible to do. Reason in a philosopher without God easily becomes unhinged.

    And we have been here recently. Eo Ipso - by that very fact - that is, by the very fact that something may be done implies necessarily that it is permissible to do that something. Not that it should be done, but it may be done without crime. (I am not clear on the concept "natural man", but I believe it is a topic much delved into by those heavy with the grey-matter.)

    The very fact that one may abuse or rape, that one may wage wars based on funky ideologies, that one may cut down rain forests or pollute the waterways for profit... the fact that these things are possible have made them become legitimate pursuits in our present society over the past century or longer.

    We are the heedless aristocrats.
    It reminds me of the film The Aristocrats: an insane repetition of scatology......


    So It Begins...

    picture: Rico


    The State Of The Republican Party


    Monday, March 21, 2016

    Omnium And Gatherum March 21 2016

    Quicken Arena, Cleveland

    The Hypocrisy of Gun Carry Laws, etc.

    It seems that most politicians that support open-carry laws in theory oppose those laws when it comes to venues and meetings where they themselves are going to be in a crowd of just good old folks.
    I believe this phenomenon is what Aunt Sally was referring to when she said that the "proof is in the pudding".

    Down With Tyranny
    Gun Fight At Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena In July? Maybe Not
    Wednesday, February 03, 2016
    ...Sure, sure, we all know the NRA-shilling GOP claims everyone is safer if people carry guns everywhere (except in Congress). But... apparently, despite Ohio's concealed carry law-- yes you can brings guns into a bar-- Republican delegates will not be allowed to bring guns into the July convention...

    The Brainwashing of America
    ...GOP continues to unravel, in both its Presidential nomination process and its increasingly untenable stand against even holding a hearing for Obama's US Supreme Court nominee.
    Brad Friedman 18:38 18.03.2016
    ... I'm joined by documentary filmmaker Jen Senko to discuss her new film, The Brainwashing of My Dad. The documentary details both the rise of the Rightwing media in the US over the past several decades and her own father's disturbing transition from a peaceful, loving Democrat into a hostile, angry 'conservative' after becoming addicted and, yes, brainwashed by Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the rest of the "vast Rightwing conspiracy" machine that has torn apart so many families like her own.

    While the film's tagline is "The truth behind the right-wing media machine that changed a father…and divided the nation," an alternative version for so many who will recognize, within their own families, the story of what happened to Senko's father, might have been: "You are not alone!" "When I started the Kickstarter campaign" for the film, she tells me, "people just started writing me every day, with these heartbreaking stories about so-and-so in their family wouldn't speak to them anymore, or they couldn't talk about anything without them getting angry. It was really shocking. That's when I realized what a phenomenon it was." ...

    Again a reference to a "house divided", just as in the first item above.


    Moral Absolutes In Mel Gibson's Apocalypto

    I received a comment from Anonymous on an old post about Mel Gibson's great film, Apocalypto:

    Well, I think Durant's quote has moral sense as well. A society that loses its moral bearings loses its direction. If right and wrong become relative to personal interpretation, then there can be no unifying principle to hold the civilization together. It is a "house divided against itself."  There is no truth or fairness in trade, respecting the elders, or loving ones neighbor. Every man is a law unto himself. on Mel Gibson's Apocalypto and Will Durant
    So I had to actually stop and think.
    First, it immediately brings to mind ancient writings from Ancient Egypt's Time of Troubles, which I think preceded the Middle Kingdom after the breakdown of the old Kingdom. When I start thinking about something, I usually start around Ancient Egypt, although sometimes I start back in the ancient Sahara desert at a time when there were numerous paleo-lakes and greenery where there now is only sand. I definitely do not go back to the Big Bang.

    The business about each man being a law unto himself brings to mind gun laws and stand-your-ground laws, indicating that the moral breakdown of any society - not just ours - may actually be surprisingly enough a normative breakdown! That is, moral failure may be promulgated by a society's laws.
    The fact that these laws probably were designed to prevent social breakdown adds a layer of irony to the murky business.


    However, I mentioned that I perceived the problem in Apocalypto to be not a lose of moral bearings, but a radical adoption of pernicious norms: the tribe taking slaves for sacrifice has committed itself to a vile and baneful course of action with a unanimity of evil darkness that is portrayed in overwhelming color and detail!

    Nobody lives without moral bearings.
    What is important is the Story of Morals that we have learned since childhood: is it supportive, is it nurturing, does it inculcate virtue and not moral weakness and indulgence?
    And what of the Training in Morals? Do we all "walk the walk" and not merely "talk the talk"?

    And most importantly, can we distinguish between Good and Evil?
    Even in an Age of Political Correctness, the religious rituals of the Central American tribes as portrayed in the film Apocalypto must deserve the name of perniciously vile and evil practices, not merely because of the suffering and death, but because of the extra-human and inhuman scale at which they take place, a scale which seeks to maximize the negative emotional powers available in the awe inspired by naked evil!

    If there were no God, then everything would not be allowed!
    If there were no God, we would have the added burden of being virtuous as well as proofing our own moral code.
    So much of the pain of the 20th and 21st century has been due to the illogical conclusion that mankind is not innately moral, and this is due to the fact that the quest for Good is so difficult and time-consuming that we choose not to do it.
    Rather, we accept our morals ready-made from someone else. That someone else could be anyone, even Jim Jones of Jonestown.