What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Linkee-poo, someone's screaming my name, come and make me holy again

Just two notes. The Senate healthcare bill isn't dead, it's just "delayed." The Senate needs to clear that healthcare bill (either pass it, or have it removed from the schedule) before they can begin either budget work or tax reform work (by the rules of the Senate and by the reconciliation process McConnell used to try and pass this bill).

The I Should Be Writing podcast where Mur discusses Brain Weasels. There comes a point where everything is hard. Most people can do a lot of things passingly (law of averages), there are particular things we can do well (our talents), and then there's the professional (or Olympic if you want to remain amateur) level. The difference between the last two levels is an amazing amount of hard work. Unfortunately our culture tells us the opposite. Our mythology tells us everything is hard work, but to work at the top level, especially in the arts, is amazingly easy. It's your "gift," after all. Hundreds of movies and thousands of stories about an artist being "discovered" and suddenly shining and everybody is just amazed at their abilities change our views of reality. The reality is to do anything at that level is hard work. Sure, you could win the high school talent contest without practicing too hard. Your parents will always put your finger-painting on the fridge (okay, the way families are supposed to work they would, YMMV). You can sing karaoke. But everyone will hit a wall in every endeavor where they want to be more widely recognized/competent, or when you start facing more competent competition for the same space. I have yet to find an exception here. And yes, for all those Talent Reality Shows you're being sold the myth that talent is easy. They make up (or gloss over a lot of) histories for the contestants.

"Behind the scenes at major art museums, conservators are hard at work, keeping masterpieces looking their best. Their methods are meticulous — and sometimes surprising." Susan Stamberg goes behind the galleries at the National Gallery to see the work of these incredible people.

We don't need no stinking regulations. "The most common complaints… (to the FDA against hair care products, skin care products and tattoos)… were hair loss or breakage and local skin irritation. Baby products, personal cleanliness products, and hair care and coloring products were found to have the highest proportion of serious adverse events, including serious injuries, hospitalization and death… From 2015 to 2016, the number of reported adverse events more than doubled." I'm sure the market will sort all this out. And if a few hundred people need to spend thousands to rectify damage done to them (such as with Wen hair care products), or may even die, well that's the price of freedom, isn't it? Hell, maybe we could make Black Friday a National Holiday in remembrance of all those brave and ignorant consumers who died from the use of products not regulated by the government.

The battle of the studies continues. "Three years ago, Seattle became one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to embrace a $15-an-hour minimum wage, to be phased in over several years… Over the past week, two studies have purported to demonstrate the effects of the first stages of that increase — but with starkly diverging results." Could be good, could be bad. Both sides have a vested interest in making their case.

And then two studies about school vouchers. And, again, a "meh" result.

"So by getting people to change just five of 100 trips, the researchers saw the neighborhoods in their experiments become more economically balanced." Well, yes, "shop local" is a wonderful idea. I wonder if the researchers worked out if it was possible to change the destination of 5 shopping trips. While in Europe it may be easier, in the US poorer neighborhoods are food (and business) deserts. The reason why people may be traveling to richer neighborhoods to shop is to purchase the goods they want, instead of the goods available in their (or poorer) neighborhoods. I doubt we'll see many people in swanky neighborhoods travel to the nearest Dollar Store.

I love the conservative mindset that can hold the concept of "can't fund the healthcare side of Planned Parenthood because that directly supports the abortions side of Planned Parenthood" and "we can fund the 'secular' side of churches without directly supporting the religious mission of churches." I think George Orwell had something to say about that ability.

"New research from Erin Kearns and colleagues at Georgia State University shows that the president is right — sort of. There is a systematic bias in the way terrorism is covered — just not in the way the president thinks." And the difference isn't even close. Here is another story about this research. And I recommend listening to the Hidden Brain podcast, "Is He Muslim." Each story shows a part, but the podcast includes much more research.

The first stress cracks appear as Brian Karem takes deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to task over being called "fake news." Beat a dog long enough and eventually it will bite you.

Oh sure, complimenting a female reporter on her smile and than implying that she treats the politicians in her home country (Ireland) "well" while on a phone call with the Irish PM… totally not sexist or creepy at all.

"However, if a bill before the House of Representatives passes, the maximum (a victim would be able to receive for such 'non-economic' damages would be $250,000." Open letter from Ohio to Congress, we tried this. That's the exact cap Ohio placed on 'non-economic damages' back in 2004. And guess what, it did squat to healthcare costs and to medical malpractice insurance premiums. As the insurance industry said in 2005, "We were never asked what it would take to reduce malpractice premiums." But as a victim, you're still limited in the reward. The amount of $250,000 is what poor people think of as a lot of money, so they won't think they're getting ripped off. However, it's low enough that most lawyers won't take on a case without a contingency fee (or even just a fee for service contract). All it does is allow insurance companies to keep greater profits.

1 comment:

Fabutronic Sheila said...

Great analogy about conservative mindsets on funding Planned Parenthood vs. funding "secular" stuff at churches. I don't really understand how the so-called "conservatives" conserve anything, aside from wealth and power in the hands of people who already have it. They are not interested in environmental conservation, preserving clean air/water and sustainable agriculture practices that people have traditionally helped people survive. And when some "conservative" people use the term "liberal" as an insult, I remind them that "liberal" means "open-minded" -- and if they are against open-mindedness, what does that make them? Never get an answer for that one.

Loved the linkee-poo to the art conservation story. Did you see the exhibition that showed the ongoing restoration of the Caravaggio at the Cleveland Museum of Art a year or two ago? That was really cool! For more behind-the-scenes at art museums, check out the 1990 documentary "Louvre City" (it's available through libraries in the Clevenet system). My Steve and I just watched it over the weekend, and it was fascinating.