Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Reparations: a karma problem for white persons (like myself); is it related to privilege?



The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed with four student letters on the question about making good – “The case for – and against – reparations,” link here, with a picture of Elizabeth Warren . 

One of the letters focuses on individual responsibility. Other letters do consider the accumulated effect of history on groups (African Americans).


One of the problems I face is that most of my posts are about “individual responsibility” so I never get into trying to undo past wrongs against groups.  But individual responsibility does incorporate karma, and the idea that your own moral standing is affected by the privilege you may have inherited.
  
This also gets into tribalism and identarianism. When a group of any ethnicity or sometimes race or religion has been systematically harmed, it sometimes become combative enough to try to shut down well-intended but gratuitous speech that simply ignores its needs, as inherently racist.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Trump administration wants to completely throw out Obamacare again



The Trump administration is maintaining that the courts should totally throw out Obamacare since the penalty for not buying insurance is zero, so the “tax” argument previously upheld by the Supreme Court no longer applies. 

It would appear that many people would love coverage upon next renewal;  yet as recently as September Trump had supported guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions.


Obamacare has been in place for nine years and has been a constant target for the indignant right.

The case is now before the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

It is one of the country’s most conservative. In 1985 it had upheld sodomy laws. 

Update: March 31

ABC News reports on unconvincing reassurances from Mike Mulvaney on Stephanopoulos today. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

No collusion? Not even any more leftist conspiracy theories? (also, Barr Letter text)


Tim Pool played a joke on Twitter, saying MSNBC was radicalizing people and should be banned. I fell for it.  It contains the “no collusion” report back from Mueller, where apparently there will be no more indictments, but maybe subpoenas from the House.

  
Ford Fischer (News2share) filmed a celebratory rally in New York City of Trump supporters today. A few miles away, David Hogg was simultaneously making videos about gun violence and interviewing people in poorer neighborhoods himself.

They should meet.
  
But Pool points out that MSNBC refuses to accept the report and keeps on looking for more evidence of conspiracy. 




Update:  Sunday March 24

This is rather like giving a final exam on a Sunday. 

Here is the WSJ story by Sadie Gurman et al on Barr's letter to Congress, on the Muller investigation. No prosecutable offenses by Trump, but not complete exoneration either. Here is an image document text of the letter itself. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Increase of colon cancer in younger adults may indicate a need for "antifragility"



There are widespread reports that colon cancer is increasing rapidly in young adults under 50. 
  
The University of Texas at Dallas offers this page on the problem. 

Young adults are likely not to seek treatment as soon as older adults as they cannot afford to. 




But one big reason is likely to be the cause:  overprotection.  Young adults today are likely to have been given many more antibiotics, which may destroy helpful intestinal bacteria which fend off carcinogens. There is also the issue of antifragility.  Overprotection and overcleanliness not over leads to more allergies;  it may mean an adulthood with a less robust immune system to catch cancer cells when they form before they can do harm. 

It's also noteworthy that some doctors are replacing the recommended colonoscopies with Cologuard, done at home, which means you may not need to do a colonoscopy if the test is negative. It's usually covered by insurance within certain guidelines that your doctor complies with. 
  
Lisa Feltcher of ABC WJLA7 News has a story with an example of a young woman getting her life back after long chemotherapy.  

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Haque and Ocasio-Cortez both talk about personal motivation under socialism (v capitalism)



I’ll probably develop this more on Wordpress soon, but Umair Haque has recently tried to explain how people really are incentivized to become productive under his idea of socialism (and anti-capitalism).

His idea seems to center around localism, and people paying their dues in trade groups we used to call guilds, which then form small businesses. 
  

  
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez comment about American workers receiving less pay than the “value they create” is supposed to be proto-Marxist, according to Business Insider’s Jim Edwards. 

That theory leads to some internal mathematical contradictions, so it can’t be exactly true (if you’re taking a Master’s Oral exam in Econ and get asked this).   Common infrastructure is part of value (and consider "the tragedy of the commons").

Ocasio-Cortez had made the remark that “if you don’t have a job, you are left to die”.  That puts it bluntly. I have to come back to that.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The college admission scandal puts a faster spin on inequality, and what we might do about it



The media considers this morning’s charges from the DOJ in Massachusetts against a few celebrities and a lot of wealthy parents for bribery of university officials regarding admission of their kids a bombshell. 

Indeed, it will drive the polarization driven by intersectionality and belief in group victimization even further.  It will keep race and POC designation an issue in its own right.  It will surely up the ante on the debate over quotas and even issues like mandatory national service or conscription. 

It is particularly galling that non-athletes were admitted as “athletes” for sports they had never played.  I think of Harvard undergraduate John Fish’s videos, where indeed he shows plenty of videos of his high school track races and explains how track (an individual sport) gave him passion for everything.  


  
ABC’s Terry Moran is right in saying that a lot of what goes on is perfectly legal.  Hiring tutors and coaches and paying for private schools is a resource of the wealthy.   Kids are even told what sports to play or what musical instruments to learn for university class "casting".  Libertarian proposals for private school vouchers may help to some extent.  But, as Tim Pool suggested Monday, much of the problem is duping our kids to go into debt for degrees that are relatively useless in a practical job market.  Economic Invincibility has several videos on why college is a scam for many people. I did get a $2000 scholarship at William and Mary in 1961 strictly based academic ability, despite the fact that my parents were relatively well off; that set up the narrative of my life and books. 
  

Lori Loughlin was the star mom on “Summerland”, a family drama series on TheWB in the mid 2000’s.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Tim Pool writes Twitter stream advocating major reform of student debt, and it's urgent



Tim Pool is certain known for his multiplicative "Timcast" podcasts on YouTube and his commentary recently about social media and payment processor censoring or deplatforming of “conservatives”, and he has ironically drawn criticism because he “doesn’t believe in taking sides”.  Journalists aren’t supposed to, real people have to.



But today he wrote a 12-post Twitter stream on the indebtedness of young adults, especially student loans.  The sum of the parts is essentially like a blog post here. 

Although he has been critical of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he agreed with her observation that “if you don’t have a job, you’re left to die.” 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Pancreatic cancer treatment is complicated by a biochemical quirk with Vitamin D



The Washington Post has several linked stories Sunday morning about pancreatic cancer (following Jeopardy host Alex Trebek’s diagnosis of advanced disease ). 
  
Amy Ellis Nutt reports why pancreatic cancer is so difficult to treat:  it has something to do with the way the tumor cells use Vitamin D. There is also a story about a woman who, at 44, recovered because of an early diagnosis from unusually early painful symptoms. 



In 2016, my own annual physical showed a Vitamin D deficiency, which sounds odd in retrospect. 
  
We’d like to hear if there is progress with licensing Jack Andraka’s simple blood test for cancer markers.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Teenager defies anti-vax mom by getting his vaccinations when turning 18


Ethan Lindenberger, from Ohio, decided once he was a legal adult to get all the usual vaccines, to protect himself and others.  An Australian website reports on this, noting that in Australia they are considering an “no jab no play” policy. 

I’ll add that young adults about to live in dorms at college should get both vaccines for meningitis (the B vaccine is newer).  And the US should require people going to much of Africa for volunteer work to be vaccinated against Ebola. 





Julia Belluz for Vox has a detailed factual story on measles here. Joshua Nerius, a software product manager, describes getting the measles at 30 because of anti-vax rearing.
  
I got the measles in June 1950 shortly before my seventh birthday. We went home from vacation in Ocean City MD early.  There is some possibility that my physical athletic development during grade school could have been compromised. 
  
Facebook has announced it will shadowban posts or pages presenting anti-vaccine misinformation.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Trump's emergency declaration may make building a wall harder: legal expertiese needed badly



Yulyah Panfil has an interesting article on CNN explaining why Trump’s emergency declaration makes building more wall harder. 

The problem is that only Congress can appropriate money to acquire real estate property along the border by eminent domain. Trump may be able to manipulate military projects, but not take land from civilians without Congress. 



And there are not many lawyers schooled in both constitutional law, and real estate (property rights), to see how to connect the dots. 

Chris Cuomo tonight reported on a story that migrant family crossings are at an all time high, often seeking detention as safer than life in Central America – and the border patrol is unprepared for the volume.  This does sound like an emergency of sorts – and contradicts earlier claims that “illegal” entry has declined.  Here is the NPR story by Joel Rose and John Burnett.  

Friday, March 01, 2019

Global warming not a reason to avoid having children



MSN has shared an article about population demographics that seems to come from conservative sources. “No, Global Warming Is Not a Reason to Have No Children”, link

This article seems to come from conservative sources. She gets into arguments that seem like a reverse existentialism, about non-existence and being anti-human and anti-life. I guess we don’t know if neutron stars have their own kind of consciousness (Scientific American).  




She also reports that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been advising her constituents not to have kids as part of her Green New Deal.  I heard about her comment about the cheap seats and being in control, but this one I hadn’t heard, not even from Timcast. 
  
Nevertheless, that new book “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells drives this kind of thinking. I’ll have a full review of it on Wordpress soon.