Link Roundup, 6/30/2016

From Quartz: The science of why people insist on making idiotic choices.

From Fusion: Welcome to the arrest capital of the United States.

From Wired: Humanity is Killing Off Thousands of Species, But It’s Creating Them Too.

From The New York Times: How Canada is welcoming refugees.

From FlowingData: A graphical depiction of income changes in major careers since 1960. Pay special attention to what’s happened in certain specific tiers, like food preparation, construction, and social services. Also note that the main change in the character of income distribution (the upper end blowing out) happened from 1960-80. The rest was just an intensification of that dynamic.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

Posted in Uncategorized
168 comments on “Link Roundup, 6/30/2016
  1. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    A tip of my hat to Elie Wiesel, a splendid human being who, as one of the last few survivors of the indescribable horror that was Auschwitz, dedicated his life to doing all that he could to honor the memories of all those lost and to see that all people would never forget what should never be forgotten. Our world was one that shone brighter with him in it.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m glad you posted that, Ryan. I saw it earlier and hadn’t remembered to go back to read it. I am struck by this quote by Wiesel: “What is the sense of living in a universe that tolerates unimaginable cruelty? ” This brings to mind the evil being done to innocent people throughout the world by ISIL with unimaginable cruelty. We survived the horrors of Jewish genocide only to experience this new cruelty. Evil is always among us.

  2. duncancairncross says:

    Hi Guys

    Dr Brin has launched a scud missile from his website – well worth a read!!
    Even more than usual

  3. tuttabellamia says:

    I’m curious to know where the various commenters on Lifer’s blog are from. I see a lot of vague references to “my country” but without specifics. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas myself, of Mexican heritage, first generation American, attended college back East, but not very well travelled, unfortunately.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      First generation American on my mom’s side, second generation on my dad’s side, but since my mom pretty much raised me single-handedly I consider myself first generation.

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      Akron, Ohio

    • 1mime says:

      Born in LA, where I graduated college, scotch-irish lass, live in TX. Have enjoyed travel in the past now I travel through the shared experiences of others.

    • formdib says:

      I often use the “my home state” “the state I currently reside” etc.

      I tend to refrain from using specific details of such on anonymous boards. What I will say is

      I’m American, so many generations from both sides removed that I have no real concept of European heritage other than general Western cultural heritage (i.e., I don’t play the “I can drink because I’m Irish / German / Italian / Eastern European” game, I play the “I can drink because I’m over 21 and have free will” game).

      I’m from a mid-sized city in the American Southwest and live in the metropolitan Northeast.

      And I lived for two years in the United Arab Emirates.

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      I kinda like the anonymity – I actually prefer it if I didn’t know where or who any of you are. It’s far easier to be unbiased if I don’t know that information and I couldn’t associate a comment to it’s writer’s particulars (age, sex, race, religion and any other dividers you can think of). Comments should be judged based on the information contained within them, no more and no less. Anything else induces bias.

      As for myself, all I’m going to say is that I’ve lived and worked in more than one country. And I speak and write 4 languages well enough to do work in them, and am learning a fifth. That should information might be useful without being able to attach any personal information to me…

      • 1mime says:

        Anonymity all around can make the commentator’s contributions more interesting; however, I enjoy having a sense of what generation one is part of. It informs me about the cultural and social changes that are happening in our society that I might miss otherwise. I am very impressed with the many young contributors on this blog – (I expect the geezers to be sharp!) – They are well educated, articulate and add greatly to the discussion. That makes it all more interesting to me. I don’t care about ethnicity, race, or gender but age is kind of a fun “tell”.

        To each his/her own.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cool. I have a flair for foreign languages myself. I’m completely fluent in 2, proficient in another 2, studied another one off and on but not enough to get past the beginning stage, and currently have my eye on another which I am finding rather difficult. I especially enjoy studying the grammar of various languages.

        I do like to know whether I am talking to male or female, general age group, and what location is involved when people say that in “their country” it’s illegal to say or do certain things. Context is important, at least to flesh things out a bit, and doesn’t necessarily lead to bias. Of course, I don’t ask for particulars because I respect everyone’s anonymity.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        Age is not a “fun tell” unfortunately, mime, and neither are the rest of the particulars. I have a mental image of you already – and whether it’s right or wrong, I find myself compensating for it, and that’s bias. I just found out that tutta is a first generation Mexican, which is valuable information I didn’t need to have and is something I’m going to be using whether I like it or not. Our brains are hard wired to compartmentalize. Being aware of it and compensating is faulty at best. When I want to have intelligent conversation, and have my viewpoints challenged, and be forced to defend my hypotheses from unexpected angles, I don’t like giving my brain the opportunity to do an ad hominem. It’s so easy to. It’s the reason why researchers do double blind tests – to minimize or eliminate bias.

        For example, you’re 72, female, white and a liberal – which are all stuff you’ve mentioned before. I’ve known this for a while now. I mentally class you as an old school feminist, one who sees Clinton as the greatest achievement for that movement, one who doesn’t quite understand why such a very large percentage of young women don’t care about Clinton being a female president, one who believes young people don’t have any idea how it was for women (and especially on issues like abortion) in an older era and don’t understand what’s at stake, one who is likely to be condescending to young people as a result that experience, doesn’t quite understand how people who grew up with the internet and technology use it and how their world views differ, rather than those merely adopted it, probably doesn’t understand previously invisible alternative cultures, and is probably less likely to be well versed in the nuances of basics of newer ones and is/was shocked to learn of even the existence of some, probably is less sensitive to all the seemingly irrelevant stuff that sends the internet into a tizzy, is probably trying to apply pre-internet notions of morality, right and wrong, privacy, security, common good, communities etc. to the internet era, has a nuanced yet possibly outdated ideas of classes, races, tribes, cultures, sexes etc. in the modern landscape, probably has views on money which have been solidified by decades of experience, possibly find the fluidity of younger people’s views on the same interesting/odd and probably a lot more things. Trying to put the classes my brain works with into writing is tricky and I’m terrible at it. Doesn’t help that I’m a terrible writer.

        Note that I didn’t construct this profile in my head out of things I knew. It is very likely inaccurate in more ways than one. I started with things you’ve said, correlated them with things I know about you, and then filled in the blanks. I’ll probably be refining this mental picture as we go along and learn more. This is what we do in real life, when we meet new people, whether consciously or subconsciously. It’s good for forming relationships but bad for eliminating bias. I can never know if someone is being truthful on the internet and that’s liberating – the moment I develop trust (which only happens if a relationship forms), I’m no longer unbiased.

        Oddly enough, that’s why I like Reddit so much. *Enforced* anonymity among groups large enough and flat enough that evolutionary tribe forming instincts completely fail is excellent for intelligent discussion.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, that is an interesting snapshot. You got the age, gender, and political leanings correct. Let’s play with the rest of your assumptions as an exercise in internet character/personality sleuthing:

        * old school feminist, one who sees Clinton as the greatest achievement for that movement, one who doesn’t quite understand why such a very large percentage of young women don’t care about Clinton being a female president.

        Wrong. I have always been supportive of womens’ rights, but do not consider myself a feminist (others might) although I am grateful to those who broke down barriers for women – including our daughter and all women of today. I believe HRC is well qualified but do not see her as the quintessential leader of womens’ rights. That is an honor shared by many, many women who preceded her, individually and collectively, and it is a work in progress. (Equal pay for equal work? Glass ceilings? Egalitarian relationships?) Given the presidential field for this election, I suspect most young women prefer Bernie Sanders because he represents a no bullshit, straight-forward, powerful agenda that speaks to their needs and concerns (college loans, jobs, income inequality). I would certainly hope and expect this group of young women will have enough sense to select Clinton over Trump.

        *one who believes young people don’t have any idea how it was for women (and especially on issues like abortion) in an older era and don’t understand what’s at stake , one who is likely to be condescending to young people as a result that experience

        Dead wrong. I have great admiration for our young women and their views and actions on diversity. I hope I am not guilty of being condescending to any young or old person. Young women today experience a much more challenging world than my own. They are better educated; they compete for jobs in new fields and with males. They not only work but they run households and raise families. In my generation, it was more common for women to be stay at home mothers. It was certainly easier than the load young women carry today, as I can attest from watching our daughter and daughter-in-law who have done fine jobs balancing work, family, and personal interests. I have strong views on the right of women to choose as guaranteed by law. If abortion is elected, I want it to be as safe as possible and without stigma. I also support the right for women who choose pro-life positions but expect the same tolerance I accord them.

        *doesn’t quite understand how people who grew up with the internet and technology use it and how their world views differ, rather than those merely adopted it

        This is true – I grew up with a typewriter. I will never be as proficient with technology as young people are today. It amazes me how much I don’t know. I use my computer principally to research, educate, and communicate…not so much for entertainment although I stream videos occasionally.

        *probably doesn’t understand previously invisible alternative cultures, and is probably less likely to be well versed in the nuances of basics of newer ones and is/was shocked to learn of even the existence of some, probably is less sensitive to all the seemingly irrelevant stuff that sends the internet into a tizzy,

        You’ve got me here…not even sure what previously invisible alternative cultures are (-;

        * is probably trying to apply pre-internet notions of morality, right and wrong, privacy, security, common good, communities etc. to the internet era, has a nuanced yet possibly outdated ideas of classes, races, tribes, cultures, sexes etc. in the modern landscape

        I am a product of the times in which I was raised and am quite comfortable with my sense of right and wrong. Not sure how the internet has impacted morality? Are you speaking of pornography? Online dating services? Not sure what you mean about outdated ideas of classess, races, etc. in the modern landscape so can’t respond.

        *probably has views on money which have been solidified by decades of experience, possibly find the fluidity of younger people’s views on the same interesting/odd and probably a lot more things.

        Hmm, not quite sure where you’re going with that….I do believe in financial discipline and have a keen sense of responsibility for planning for obligations – including children’s educations and retirement. To achieve this, we both worked (I started my careers when children were in high school/college), not too different than most young people will find is necessary. There will always be different views on the importance of money and how to utilize it. That is as old as time itself. Big house, little house. Lots of stuff or minimal….that’s all personal.

        In sum, i agree that a person of my age, 72, finds it difficult to relate to people in their twenties in the same way they would with their peers. This limits me in appreciating the differences in our world views and personal choices. What we should always strive for is to understand and appreciate one another – for our differences and our similarities. In doing so, we will find we have far more in common than different on substantive qualities.

        PR, that was work! I approached the exercise in good faith and hope that is how you meant it. If not, tough.

    • johngalt says:

      From Georgia. Came to Houston for college then meandered around North Carolina and Massachusetts before coming back to Houston. Like form, my family has been here for so many generations that I have no sense of personal ties to the old countries. Further back than that, 23-and-me tells me that I’m the ultimate Caucasian (as in my ancestors came from the Caucasus). Further back than that, my ancestors scurried around in the bushes trying not to be eaten by dinosaurs.

    • texan5142 says:

      Native Texan from Houston, moved to Minnesota in1989. Lived in New Ulm for four years. Moved back to Texas and lived just outside of Grainger Texas for three years. Moved back to Minnesota in1997 and this is where I hang my hat now.

    • flypusher says:

      3/4 of my family tree comes from people who came over from Central and Eastern Europe during the post-Civil War mass immigration waves. The other 1/4 is English, has been in the country for quite a while, and is shrouded in some mystery. Like formdib, I indentify with America and American culture, as I am also far enough removed in time from those immigrant ancestors, and because I’m a Euro-mongrel mix that’s not as likely to happen in Europe.

      I was born into a military family, which means we moved a lot around the country in my early years. This did have an influence on my political thought – I am inclined to think first of the country as a whole, as opposed to the state I live in. We finally stopped in Central TX, so I say that’s where I am from. I came to Houston for graduate school and decided I liked it enough to stay. Places like Houston are why I haven’t left TX.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Fortunately or unfortunately, I honestly don’t know much about my ancestry or whether I come from. I have an honest antipathy about it that even when I ask someone about it, like my mother, I forget most of what she told me after a while.

      Just one of those so-called Millennials in his late twenties; a Caucasian from western Florida. I speak and read Japanese fluently, know a bit of French (not much else though; had a very dispiriting experience with an online course. -___-) and looking to study Mandarin someday too.

      Honestly, disinterest comes rather easily to me, so I try to keep myself entertained with as much things as I can. I like the play the piano (though I’d really like to learn how to play the guitar and violin someday), practice Japanese swordsmanship and other forms of martial arts, translate online visual novels, watch anime and read manga, play video games (mysteries and action series are my favorite genres; games like Phoenix Wright, Professor Layton and Odin Sphere being among them), and work on becoming a professional voice actor someday.

      Apologies that I can’t really tell you where I come from, but hopefully that lets you know a little more about me and who I am.

      • 1mime says:

        I would say for a “twenty-something”, who you “are” is quite a lot (-;

        How did you become exposed to learning Japanese? That’s an interesting choice as is Mandarin, which I have heard is a very difficult language to master (as is Portuguese I’ve been told by foreign language instructors.) In our global society, being fluent in more languages than English is a real asset. Good for you, Formdib, and Tutta.

  4. I know the NY Post is a hack paper but all the same, what the hell was Bill thinking? i voted for Trump in the Florida primary only because he was the only republican i thought Hillary could beat. and now Bill could screw that up! Not me but I can see people who would vote for Hillary reluctantly just saying screw it and not voting!

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Lol what a steaming pile that first paragraph is:

      “It’s common knowledge in law-enforcement circles that, while FBI staffers believe Hillary Clinton should face some charges over her handling of classified government information through her private e-mail server, political types at the Justice Department would (for obvious political reasons) love to quash any talk of an indictment.”

      Any article that opens like this forfeits credibility on anytjing that comes after it.

      It’s “common knowledge” is it? Sources please?

      Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s common knowledge the Post is a hack rag who only hires right wing racists and white supremacists who hate Hillary.

      See? I can do that too.

      As for as charges, Lynch has already said she’s going to accept the recommendation of the career prosececutors conducting the investigation.

  5. formdib says:

    From Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone, an answer to Rauch’s article in The Atlantic:

    Taibbi mostly answers with loaded adjectives, but to be fair to his point, in one of the other threads I posted an article about how the idea of democracy is less popular now than previously. He does give a very good concern.

    I think the issue isn’t “Dumb people shouldn’t vote” or “people are too dumb to vote”, but that there should be systems in place to respond to “What do we do when people vote a dumb decision?”

    Frankly we already have that, it’s the system of checks and balances combined with the representative democracy of having delegates and electors to ‘represent’ the popular votes on election ballots.

    But when you have a referendum, what do you do?

    I’ve heard a lot of people saying “Well there shouldn’t be referendums.”

    I’m not too sure I agree with that. But I’m open to arguments for either side.

    • duncancairncross says:

      We should do what all Parliamentary democracies do – treat referendums as “advisory”

      Even the Brits are probably going to end up down that path

    • 1mime says:

      The party apparatus is supposed to “weed out” people like Trump. The disarray the Republican Party created didn’t allow the political party system to work. To be fair, no one could fathom a Trump being a serious candidate much less “the” nominee, but the GOP apparatus was unable to remove him. It is fair to point out that the GOP has been finessing so many angles – “evangelical vote, gun vote, homophobic and xenophobic vote, ultra conservatives (Tea Party/Freedom Caucus types) that they have lost cohesion and strength in the process. Thus, they couldn’t control this wild hare. Lifer did a post on the value of the political establishment a couple of months ago (or so) in which he addressed this very situation. As is becoming alarmingly obvious, Lifer is the smartest guy in the room in predicting what is going to happen in many areas. Either that, or he has one fantastic magic ball.

      The Friedman interview tonight (PBS) – I’ll link tomorrow, spoke directly to the breakdown of the political party system. He had some really out the box ideas….surprisingly liberal and ultra conservative melded in what he calls a new “fourth party”. He thinks both parties are dying, a third party built as an amalgam of the two would be antiquated, and that something totally new is needed. He talked about the conflict between order and disorder in the world, with developing nations composing the current disorder while participating in a rapidly changing digital age. This exposure to more orderly social societies is stimulating their desire to move into this category….if they can. Sadly, he also feels we are badly underestimating ISIL, and that the disorder provoked by BREXIT will weaken Europe at a time when ISIL is strengthening. Fascinating discussion.

      Friedman said that Donald Trump is the single most unprepared candidate for POTUS America has ever seen and that world leaders (except Putin) are aghast at how his election would weaken the world’s strongest power….who they all depend upon.

    • duncancairncross says:

      Hi Formbib
      It’s a bit complicated and unclear – I don’t think the PM can invoke Article 50

      I am pretty sure that it would need a vote in Parliament

      Also the Northern Irish or Scottish Parliaments MAY have veto power – the Westminster Parliament could override the veto but that would be an additional act of Parliament

      So the clock cannot start ticking until a majority of MP’s vote at least once – and a majority of MP’s don’t want to leave – but there are a lot of chickens in Westminster – dunno which way they will jump

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      The answer is a republic – with elected representatives making informed choices.

      That referendum just showed that direct democracy is basically the whims of public opinion and, in extreme cases, is a Tyranny of the Majority

      • 1mime says:

        “The answer is a republic – with elected representatives making informed choices.”

        Boy, would that our elected representatives right now would be capable of making not only informed choices but fair ones. It would qualify for a whole new political structure, however.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        What recent political experience tells is that First Past The Post is broken.

        It also questions whether two large parties can remain moderately left and moderately right, while squelching the extremists – and makes us wonder if it isn’t better to have a more parliamentary-like system where there are many parties/candidates, some of the smaller ones being quite extremist but we are aware of them and they have very little influence beyond the fringes.

    • 1mime says:

      Another option are recall elections but that is tough. I really thought Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker was going to remove him from office, but, it didn’t. So, guess it’s not easy to do and I guess it shouldn’t be easy, just not impossible. Otherwise, the only other option for citizens is to wait them out and vote someone else in…which can be a very long time and lots of damage done in the interim…thinking of you, Bobby Jindal and Sam Brownback.

  6. Tuttabella says:

    “So don’t be surprised when experts double down on their warnings about Trump, Brexit, or climate change, and appear to have the opposite effect on public opinion. “(From the Quartz article about idiotic decisions)
    For me personally it’s the “doubling down” that often produces the opposite effect. I tend to be skeptical of dire warnings about impending disaster and end-of-life-as-we-know-it scenarios.

    And since expert opinions are usually delivered by the media, they take on the characteristics of the media, complete with attention-grabbing headlines, a focus on the most sensational information and a downplaying of the boring aspects, perhaps displaying the bias of the editorial board or the author, so I find it hard to take a lot of it seriously. Expert opinions suffer from being so intertwined with the media.

    I also tend to see expert opinions as trendy. Fat, alcohol, and chocolate are bad. Then every few years or so a study will come out that concludes, hey, those things are good for you after all!

    • 1mime says:

      Well, chew on this for a bit, Tutta. With the exception of Russia, every major country in the world including China, feel that Donald Trump would be a disaster for America. I watched a couple of very interesting Charlie Rose programs tonight (I DVR them.) One featured Thomas Friedman whose world view offers so many parallel world views to Lifer’s that I hope all get to view it. The second dealt with the terrorist attack on Ataturk Airport in Turkey (an airport I have been in about five years ago…gives you shivers.)

      Ataturk: (about 15′)

      The Friedman interview isn’t online yet (viewed tonight) but will post asap. It is a must watch.

    • duncancairncross says:

      Hi Tuttabella
      Part of the problem is that there are sciences like physics which are “simple” and well understood (at the levels that effect people)
      And biology which is less well understood – then Medicine which is incredibly complex and not well understood at all

      The “experts” who keep changing their tunes are in medicine – this makes all of science look flakey

      • 1mime says:

        Part of the problem about changes in medicine is just that. Keeping up with the research, being willing to abandon old medical standards, while functioning in a new medical environment: medicine as a business….which is what it has morphed into, sadly.

      • Tuttabella says:

        “Medicine as a business,” said Mime.
        Mime, I was thinking along the same lines, but about information, that the flow of information is commercialized, so we see what the media wants us to see, or skewed into how the media wants us to see it, all in the name of ad revenue.

        I am not an expert in climate science, for example, so if you ask me what climate science is, the first thing that comes to mind is that climate science is “something that the left and the right like to argue about.” And my opinion of climate science? I am tired of hearing about it. It’s been reduced to that for me. I honestly have no opinion about it on a global level. While the media and the commenters spend their time arguing about it, I just go about my business keeping my personal sphere clean, recycling, conserving resources, mostly because I detest waste — an accidental environmentalist, I guess.

        Same with medicine and health care. While experts and politicians spent their time arguing about it, I just went about my business taking care of my mom as I saw fit, often ignoring medical and financial advice, on my own as best as I could.

        Same with Trump. I try not to fall into the media’s trap and get too worked up about him, but it’s not easy. I will look into those interviews you recommend. Charlie Rose is one of the few journalists I truly respect.

      • 1mime says:

        If a person wanted to have an outstanding tutorial from some of the brightest minds in the world, you could do so simply by viewing the Charlie Rose Show. The diversity and quality of his guests and the breath and depth of the discussions are a continual seminar in all aspects of life – from crisis, to sports, arts, politics, history. If you access his website and scroll through the video collection, you can appreciate just how much you can learn from this program. (vs “show”….it is not entertainment, it is thoughtful, educational exchange.)

        As soon as the website posts the latest Friedman video, I’ll post it. It’s not up yet and it is something I think the group here would enjoy.

      • WX Wall says:


        If you have no opinion on global climate change, then the climate change deniers have won. They don’t need everyone to become an ardent denier. They just need you to be not sure. If they can get the vast majority of Americans to be so thoroughly confused and disgusted with the topic that it drops down low in their list of priorities (hopefully below what Kim Kardashian is wearing this season), then deals can be cut in the halls of power with both the lobbyists and the politicians knowing they’re safe from any public scrutiny.

        I doubly recommend John Oliver’s piece on scientific news reporting. The truth about climate change (and it is as close to truth as science ever gets) is this: our current systems of living (primarily fossil fuel consumption, but also cutting down rainforests, etc.) are causing significant changes to the Earth’s climate. Most of these changes will be harmful to us humans, or at least cost us so much money to adjust to, that it’s cheaper and far less disruptive to begin changing our systems now rather than dealing with the changes when they’ve progressed further. Of this much, there is almost no doubt (and I say almost for the same reason science calls everything a theory: it’s a humble acceptance that no matter how certain you are, there is *always* a chance for some finding to upend this conclusion. However, no one yet has come forward with one).

        Now, of course, there is legitimate (and very interesting) debate on exactly *what* changes will occur (warmer? Cooler? wetter? Drier? The answer so far, seems to be all of the above, depending on where you live :-), how quickly they’ll occur, what are the best / cheapest / least disruptive ways of combating these changes, etc. But don’t let the highly technical debates about the details (which I’m sure will be revised many times as we get more data and our models become more accurate) obscure the larger picture which isn’t in doubt. That’s a classic trick that people frequently use to discount scientific conclusions they don’t like.

        Just because scientists say they don’t know whether climate change will lead to an expanded or shrunken Sahara doesn’t mean the general conclusions are equally uncertain.

      • 1mime says:

        If you can’t trust what you see, don’t believe what you read, how does one make any decisions? Look at who benefits by denying global warming and thus delaying or ignoring steps we can take to avert the outcome while there is still time. This is critical because there is a tipping point. This doesn’t have to be a political issue when the facts are all around us. That some have made it so doesn’t make them right. For me it has always been something I could understand and agree with, and fundamentally, what is lost by taking positive steps now that will improve our environment – regardless where one is on the issue?

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      “Then every few years or so a study will come out that concludes, hey, those things are good for you after all!”

      “The “experts” who keep changing their tunes are in medicine – this makes all of science look flakey”

      “Part of the problem about changes in medicine is just that. Keeping up with the research, being willing to abandon old medical standards”

      It seems all you folks have learnt about how research works from TV. I apologize if I sound harsh – but while medicine is far less precise than, say, physics, that doesn’t mean the research is uselessly imprecise.

      Dr. Oz and talk shows aren’t representative of medicine. The utter crap you hear on TV is complete nonsense and lies. John oliver’s recent segment on “Scientific Studies” gives a good primer of how things are misrepresented, the problems lie in every single segment of the chain from the academic researchers to the end consumer. Some of those studies are of poor quality, some are meaningless without detailed context, some are misrepresented, some studies just say “hey look, we took a poke at this and found something interesting. Can someone else with more money look into this on a larger scale with better methodology?” and some are just lied about – and no one mentions that the medical world isn’t turning decades of experience and consensus over because some rando somewhere published one study saying something to the contrary, and then uses his/her 15 minutes of fame to get some TV time.

      The whole thing is like a horribly unfunny Chinese whisper game. Here’s an example where things broke at the very first stage of the game. The writer is a psychiatrist

      Academic studies are generally written in very dense language precisely because ambiguity or any hint of imprecise language is unacceptable.

      And none of that changes the fact that the Medical field is a notoriously conservative academic field. No one is changing what decades of experience has shown to work as the result of one new study that you saw on TV. And with good reason – nobody wants a fuckup to cause the death or illness of patients. It’s also the same reason why drug research takes so long, is so expensive, and has to pass through all these clinical trials before it’s FDA certified. And even after that, new drugs are monitored for any rare side effects that were missed. Not to mention doctors themselves will be very cautious about new methodologies, until they prove themselves. Everyone wants to be extrasuperconfident that what they’re doing won’t harm patients.

      The TV crap is utterly useless, and possibly dangerous. There’s a real reason why many countries ban the advertisement of medical products except to doctors – that information really is not meant for the end user, no matter how much you learn off WebMD.

      • 1mime says:

        Ban advertisement of medical products…….it helps keep RX costs lower, too……

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime
        Living in one of the very very few countries that allows medical advertising I agree completely!

        Scottish father, Welsh mother – born in Kuala Lumpur in a country that no longer exists,
        Brought up on RAF bases then Scotland, Worked in England,Indiana (USA)and New Zealand – now retired in NZ

        I personally don’t like anonymity – would you talk to somebody on the street who had a bag on his/her head?

      • 1mime says:

        My husband says that I’m the kind of person who never meets a stranger….so, I’d probably walk right up and ask them why they had that bag on their head!

        I can respect the feelings of those who want anonymity on the internet. There have been some scary experiences in that regard. What I find with GOPlifer’s blog is that I would love to meet everyone who posts here….such a nice and interesting group of people. Who knows, maybe one day before I croak we’ll have a chance. If not, it’s fun posting and exchanging views and commentary. I love hearing all about your career experiences. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to NZ but if I do, I promise to figure out a way to get to meet you.

      • duncancairncross says:

        I’ll put the kettle on!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Pseudo, I haven’t watched TV in 15 years, except for the occasional Charlie Rose program, and I don’t trust what I read on the internet. A lot of the studies and research I hear about are in respected, mainstream newspapers and on NPR, and it still strikes me as fluff.

        My mom had dementia and was doing very well with a combination of Aricept and an anti-psychotic drug (Zoloft or Prozac). Well, her doctor wanted to replace the Aricept and “try something that just came out on the market.” I refused to allow him to experiment on her when she was already doing well. I knew her and the way her mind worked better than he could ever know her, and we got into a shouting match but I won out.

      • 1mime says:

        I have a similar story, and it ended up with us walking out and never seeing this doctor again (neurologist – strange ducks)or recommending him. Doctors who respect and value the caregiver as well as the patient have a lot more going for them. The biggest abuse I have seen is with doctors doing just what yours did – prescribing a new drug but failing to justify the change. Sometimes it can be an improvement but if they can’t explain the benefit and the patient is doing well on current regimen, then they are not performing their job responsibly. As caregivers, we also have to be respectful of a doctor’s time while remaining vigilant and informed. It’s a tough situation for everyone but there are some who simply should be in another profession. Every doctor we see understands that it is a “package deal”. They have the patient and his caregiver advocate. They know I am on top of things and that I have the same expectation of them. Most docs appreciate a well informed patient and caregiver. As always, respect is important in these relationships.

        Medicine has changed and for all the wonderful new meds and procedures, some docs have missed the part about “caring” and “listening”. It’s complicated because of the many demands on their time and all the regs, but the good ones work this out.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        That’s an odd doctor if you got into a shouting match 😛

        But yes, plenty of doctors will try and put a few patients on a new drug and watch the results before prescribing it to all of their patients. He’s likely to have been shown some research that it works better than the older drugs.

        Of course, the dark side is that there is some sort of benefit he might get from the pharma rep…but I generally tend to give doctors the benefit. I happen to know a lot, both in immediate family and further…

        Something to consider – that drug probably had a decade or more of R&D and trials before the doctor could even prescribe it.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        “A lot of the studies and research I hear about are in respected, mainstream newspapers and on NPR, and it still strikes me as fluff.”

        Precisely the problem. THe post I linked to shows an example where the error started at the first stage – at the “cutesy university PR departments”, as that article put it. If they can be so bad – how well do you think NPR or whoever will deal with it?

        I’m saying the media reporting on academic research is completely borked – and that the papers themselves are of varying quality. Only someone well versed in both the field and basic statistics is capable of sifting through all the papers and they tend to talk among themselves or write new academic papers. All the media wants is a good story.

      • 1mime says:

        When I’m doing research for my husband’s condition, I usually go to the NIH website first. There are usually links to studies, experiments etc. It never hurts to try to inform yourself before you make a change, and at the very least, it is helpful in your discussion with your physician. I have several docs and nurses in my family and they are a great resource as well, even if they are a bit biased (-;

  7. Rob Ambrose says:

    Bernie’s fingers are all over the DNC platform draft

    • 1mime says:

      Yes they are but I hope the free college and $15/hr planks don’t box Clinton in. Frankly, I don’t think college should be “free”, but it should be affordable – especially public institutions, and student loan borrowing costs should be revenue neutral. That’s just me.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Actually, I think Clinton’s pragmatic side notched a win on that one by having community college being free and no guarantee for anything else. There’s plenty of wiggle room in there to add work incentives and the like for higher education and particularly graduate school. Sanders’ team may spin that as a win to their supporters, but Clinton clearly got the edge.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Also, the same for $15/hr. The platform may call for that, but it makes no mention of precisely when that should happen and also, specifically, it mentions the approaches taken in NY and California, which Clinton herself has also lauded, as they take into consideration specific increases with respect to regions that may or may not need it and could be even economically detrimental. Again, plenty of wiggle room to work in there.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree that they should be “goals”. My concern is that it places stress on her CBO budget mark up. Oh, well, it may be the least of her challenges……..First she has to get past the FBI report.

      • 1mime says:

        Speaking of the FBI Email Server investigation, Clinton gave a voluntary interview today in D.C. (3.5 hours). Things should be coming to a conclusion now that she has testified.

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    For your daily dose of schadenfreude:

    It’s hard to imagine a more incompetent candidate. The idea that he “hires the best people” is such a laughably false notion, it boggles the mind anybody could look at this person and think they’re fit to be elected dog catcher.

    It is a testament to his profound ignorance that he thinks he can get away with some of the shit he’s tried. Like, did he really think he could get away with not giving the vets their money after using them to escape the Iowa debate and no one would notice? Does he really think he can get away with NOT forgiving the scampaign loans he made and no one would notice?

    This is the behavior of a man who surrounds himself with yes men, who is used to having his word accepted without any follow up, and who is in way, way over his head.

    It almost makes sense that he doesn’t really want tonwin. Wouldbhe be able to launch Trump TV if he became president? I doubt it.

  9. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Really hate to do this. We all may be tired of this topic, but I really am curious whether anyone here, including lifer, knew about this bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney.( It requires liability insurance on newly purchased guns.

    Funny thing, I found out about it on a gun site.

  10. vikinghou says:

    Well, Bill has done it again, dropping in on Loretta Lynch on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. Why neither of them could see the apparent impropriety of such a meeting is beyond me. I imagine Hillary is furious, having given the GOP another chance to go ballistic. I think she should make Bill stay hidden in the attic until the day after the election.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Darn, if only Bill hadn’t done that, the GOP would never have had a reason to go ballistic over anything the Clintons had done ever again… >___>

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I know, viking. What the hell was he thinking?

    • flypusher says:

      I think Bill Clinton is proof that even a very, very smart person can have blind spots.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I guess I don’t see the big deal. Lynch isn’t running the investigation. FBI director Comey (a Republican, if I’m not mistaken) has said he’s keeping personal tabs on it to ensure no political influence.

      What more do they want? She already saidbshea going to accept whatever their recommendation is.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m going to be keeping my eyes open for any “casual” meetings between GOP leadership and committee chairs….any meet ups with Gowdy? With special interest groups? I agree that if your last name is Clinton you have to be reeeeel careful. No conversation is too insignificant to make into a conspiracy…

      • flypusher says:

        Rob, I’m thinking about the old adage about how Caesar’s must be above approach. If you’re in the public eye, and you have enemies who have been trying for years to pin something, anything in you, prudence and discretion sez that you avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

      • 1mime says:

        It.was.dumb. Hillary probably threw the kitchen sink at him…..Anything the Clintons do will be scrutinized. Why give enemies easy targets?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fly, that’s a good point.

        I don’t think it in any way is the scandal the right is trying to make it out to be. What a bone headed move by Bill though.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ll bet that was a painful meeting between Hil and Will….

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Actually, I’m inclined to think Hillary just gave it a shrug. Republicans were already chasing the so-called ‘scandal’ with everything they’ve got anyways, so what’s there to be surprised about here? For the vast majority of people who are sick to death of this already, it’s an opportunity for Clinton to show she stands above all this nonsense and for Trump and the Republicans to overplay their hand and come across as brazenly partisan, once again.

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say Bill did this intentionally, but I’m not going to say a part of him wasn’t hoping for it either.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m fairly certain Hil & Bill had precisely that conversation…what were you thinking? Why did you do this? She has far more to worry about with her depo this weekend with the FBI.

  11. texan5142 says:

    I have lived in Minnesota for a long time now and I would love to rub this in Brownback’s face.

    • 1mime says:

      Wonderful example of what courage looks like. Gov. Dayton proved what “can” work. Once again I find myself saying: if you look at problems and say this or that solution will “never” work, maybe you are part of the problem.

      We have plenty of examples on the right where their decisions have destroyed their states. I won’t bore you with their names. We all know them.

      I’ve shared this with my email list. Thanks, TX.

    • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

      “It’s official — trickle-down economics is bunk. Minnesota has proven it once and for all. If you believe otherwise, you are wrong.”


      • 1mime says:

        OK, guys. What does “word” mean? This grandma wants to get in with the “cool” crowd.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        Appropriated from black hip-hop culture and basically means ‘Yes!’ or I agree.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Tell you grandkids something they have is “on fleek” Mime. As in “nice jacket Bobby. Thats on fleek”.

        They’ll love it.

      • 1mime says:

        Ha! “On fleek!” I’ll remember that and probably embarrass the heck out of my teenage grandsons! A grandma is only supposed to be “sort of cool”…beyond that and she’s trying too hard….

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      In a story that has nothing to do with GOPlifer’s link to a story about “the science of why people insist on making idiotic choices”… everyone’s favorite former vice presidential candidate and former part time governor of Alaska Sarah Palin has develop a new insulting moniker for a subset of the Republican Party.

      (Republicans Against Trump)

      Maybe this isn’t a presidential election anymore.
      Maybe this is high school, we all have been magically transported back to high school again.

      …and someone has to be elected class president.

      I guess I am the neebish kid who has decided not to be on Team Mean Girl/Spoiled Rich Brat.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Reading the article I got a smile on my face and a feeling, a feeling I’m sure was like the feeling my grandson got when he saw his first demolition derby. It was like, see, I knew this was happening somewhere!

  12. JeffAtWolfcreek says:

    I’m trying to wrap my head around the logic of people who have ‘no choice’ but to vote for Trump. It goes like this… HRC is unfit to lead the country because she is a liar or crook or whatever so I will not vote her. Instead I will vote for a BIGGER liar, crook, or whatever who is MORE unfit to lead the country.

    WTF? Am I missing something?

    • Captain Splendid says:

      You’re not missing anything. The actual number of real people who will “abandon” Hillary And the Dems to vote for Trump are going to be statistically insignificant. They do make for good copy, though, so that’s why it feels like their are millions of them.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        I hope you’re right cap. My normally sane brother, not a closet bigot that I’m aware of, was over last weekend saying… well, I’ve gotta see who he picks as VP. Then I’ll make up my mind. Needless to say, I changed subject.

      • 1mime says:

        Why did you change the subject? Why didn’t you ask him why he was considering Trump? We need to understand where trump supporters are coming from. Unless you have a contentious relationship, most people will respond to a gently phrased question….I am doing this whenever I run into this situation because I need to understand and I may actually be able to have a quiet discussion with them and help them think more deeply about their decision.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        Fair enough. I should have. Just didn’t want to spoil an otherwise lovely visit.

    • 1mime says:

      Fair question, Jeff. I boil it down to this: For conservatives, party trumps country. Hell, just don’t vote or vote for Johnson….If conservatives who say they will vote for Trump were really using their heads, they would understand that if they are trying to protect and preserve the Republican Party, Trump will destroy it. So, it’s got to be more basic. They.can’t.stand.HRC. I have more respect for those who are at least honest enough to say this but, geez.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        I can understand ‘I hate Hilliary’, but really, outta the pan and into the fire??

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      There’s nothing mysterious about it, it just requires facing some uncomfortable truths. Generally, people who say they have “no choice” can have their mindsets boiled down as such:

      – Those who buy into far-right media like Breitbart and the Daily Caller who make their money by selling people on political conspiracy theories like Clinton is evil incarnate (Spoiler Alert: she isn’t; just your average flawed human being like the rest of us).

      – Those who see the Democratic Party as the party of minorities (which, for all intents and purposes, it is right now) and justify their own insecurities or outright racism about the direction our country is taking by using Clinton as a convenient scapegoat; which, in turn, is further reinforced by a right-wing media bubble.

      Of course, the stomach turning hypocrisy that comes from their de facto support for a character like Trump speaks volumes and helps to explain why so many don’t support him openly, as if it were a mark of shame (Spoiler Alert #2: It is)

      – Those who have a vested political interest, monetary or otherwise, in vilifying the Clintons for their own self-interested ends; think Karl Rove, the NRA, etc, etc.

    • objv says:

      JeffAtWolfcreek (in Colorado?), Personally, I’ll vote for Trump on the chance that he will honor his promises to appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court. Hillary will continue on with Obama’s unfettered immigration policies, she’ll continue to let other countries take advantage of us, and she’s already shown that she is a poor leader when it comes to running the State Department.

      How do you know that Trump will be worse than Hillary? Hillary has spent most of her adult life in politics. She’s shown that she doesn’t mind bending (and breaking) the rules when it is to her advantage and when she thinks that she can get away with it.

      Say you are going to the animal shelter to chose a dog. The first dog you see is cute but is a known biter and the people at the shelter say she has a bad disposition and steals food from other dogs. The second dog is bigger and looks menacing but hasn’t bitten anyone … yet. Which would you choose?

      In the case of the dogs, the answer would be neither, but in Trump and Hillary’s case, we are left to choose between them.

      Do we choose the cute one who bites or do we choose the scary-looking one?

      P.S. to Mime: Most Republicans I know care precious little for the Republican party.

      • johngalt says:

        What “unfettered immigration policies?” Deportations are up, to the point that pro-immigration advocacy groups are upset with Obama. Net migration to Mexico is outward (e.g., more people moving to Mexico than from there) and has been for several years. What Obama is trying to do is recognize reality, that there many decent, hard-working individuals who have been living in the shadows for decades and provide some reassurance that they would not be arbitrarily deported. This action is only necessary because GOP leaders in Congress have stymied any attempt at crafting a rational immigration system, even when pushed by a Republican president.

      • 1mime says:

        Maybe those who employ illegal immigrants under the table for dirt cheap wages, yet publicly rail against O’s unfettered immigration policies should be called out…..

        I want to know exactly how anyone here with a soul can support deportation of children that were brought into the US (illegally) as infants or very young children. Who are as American as our kids are but are in the legal shadows. It wasn’t their fault. They have lived their entire lives here. This country is all they know. What would you do with this group of people? If you are Trump, you deport ’em all. If you are sitting members of the Republican Party in Congress, you talk big, but do nothing. How is that right?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Just for the record, President Obama has deported more people in his administration than George W. Bush there, so there’s your “unfettered immigration policies”. Or are you specifically referring to DACA; which, if you are, begs the question as to why exactly you have a problem with helping immigrants out of the shadows who haven’t done our country any grave wrong and work hard and pay taxes (yes they do: just the rest of us, yourself included.

        Secondly, it genuinely depresses me that one has to explain precisely why Trump would be worse than Hillary, but for the sake of the truth…

        – Contrary to the inference of his great wealth being a sign of being a smart businessman, it’s not. Trump has made his business on the backs of bankruptcies, get rich quick schemes, genuine scandals like Trump University, failed products like Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump Magazine, etc, etc, etc.

        For anyone who thinks that Trump would bring the fight to Washington, I give an honest, heartfelt bout of laughter. He is nothing new to Washington. Donald J. Trump is the embodiment of everything that people absolutely despise about politics. He is a con artist and a fraud.

        – Whether you disagree with her policies or not, you cannot argue with the fact that Hillary Clinton knows the world. She spent years as SOS and has traveled to more countries and met more people than you or I ever will. Trump’s understanding of the world comes from, in his own words, “consulting himself” and what he watches on morning news.

        To put a fine point on it, this is the man (and I use that term loosely, mind you) that didn’t even know what Brexit was even a WEEK before the vote actually happened, and when he went to visit Scotland to promote his f-ing golf course, he talked as if the Scots had voted to leave the EU; when in fact, they had done the exact opposite and Trump proceeded to get absolutely eviscerated on social media afterwards. Gee, wonder how much respect he got out of that one? >__>

        I could go on and on, but the point is is that Hillary Clinton is infinitely more qualified to be president than Donald Trump even if he lived to be a thousand, and your insinuation that the Supreme Court stands as the sole reason why he’s better is nothing but a transparent excuse for the real reason(s) you remain so obstinate, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I leave it to you and my fellow commentators to know what those reasons really are.

      • objv says:

        Whoa. Unfettered was the wrong word to use. Agreed.

        However, the immigration system is a mess. Along with the good people there are some who are criminals. Right now there are no safeguards as to who is allowed in our country. Would that change under Hillary?

        Ryan, both my parents are immigrants. They came here legally. My dad came first. He had to wait years even though he had a sponsor. My mom had to wait to join him.

        My daughter was born overseas in Norway. She did not get automatic citizenship in that country. My family lived in Venezuela for a few years. We had to get visas. We had to follow the rules and do everything legally even though it was a third world country.

        Why shouldn’t the US be able to control its borders and who it allows into the country? Other countries do. It should have nothing to do with racism. It should have everything to do with what’s best for the citizens of this country.

      • 1mime says:

        None of us disagree with you, ob, but your chosen party has blocked every effort at immigration reform that has been presented in the last decade plus. Point that finger in the right direction.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, you backtrack on “unfettered” and the next sentence states: “Right now there are no safeguards as to who is allowed in our country. ” NO?? Please support that statement, Ob, or backtrack – whichever you feel best.

      • objv says:

        Mime, I think you very well know that people who make it a few miles into the country know chances are slim that they will be deported unless they commit a crime – and even then they can return illegally.

      • 1mime says:

        No, I do not know that or agree with that. These undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows and are always afraid they will be picked up. I know some of these people – good people – most of whom overstayed their visas as opposed to “sneaked in”, but you are still missing JG’s point: America has a net negative immigration rate from Mexico. As their economy has improved and the rhetoric from the right has accelerated, many have returned home. The ones who have stayed likely have families here – children born here – jobs, a home. They are risking it all to be here. IF Republicans really wanted to address this problem, they have had numerous opportunities. They haven’t done squat.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Content-full replies, JG and Ryan. I appreciate you guys!

      • flypusher says:

        “Say you are going to the animal shelter to chose a dog. The first dog you see is cute but is a known biter and the people at the shelter say she has a bad disposition and steals food from other dogs. The second dog is bigger and looks menacing but hasn’t bitten anyone … yet. Which would you choose?”

        If that is not the worst analogy I’ve seen on the blog, it’s in the top two. In many ways Trump is very much a known quantity. It’s very well known that his business career is a long string of bankruptcies and stiffed contractors and lawsuits and fraud allegations. It’s very well known that he runs his mouth before engaging his brain. His deplorable personal life is a very lurid public record. His pathalogical narcissism is also glaringly obvious to someone who hasn’t been living in a cave for the past 40 years. This campaign has exposed even more flaws- he can’t be bothered to pay attention to important current events (see: Brexit response), he can’t be bothered to do the necessary work the goes with the job of being the party’s de facto leader (see: fundraising fiasco). He can’t behave like an adult, even at the age of 70. He’s a bully, a jerk, a bigot, and he has no humility, no concept of his limitations. He doesn’t pick good people, he pick yes-men who suck up to him because he was lucky enough to be born rich. He is the most unqualified person to get this close to the Presidency. Yet you would be willing to inflict that on your country for the firm possibility of a definite maybe that he might pick another asshole like Alito for the SCOTUS. Isn’t that special?

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, and all that money he “donated” to charity? It seems that dedicated researchers find scant evidence of it. Generosity is another one of Trump’s missing qualities.

        Woof, woof

      • texan5142 says:

        Word indeed!

      • texan5142 says:

        I have personally worked along side the”illegals”, sleept at their apartment and was given the only real bed to sleep on while the “illegal” whose bed it was made a bed for himself in the closet. Did not bring enough food to work not knowing how laborious the job was and hungry and how dissy I would be, they fed me. Immimagrents have been the scapegoat for our own shortcomings for far too long. Knock it off.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Objv – Immigration

        Historically the Dems have always increased the budget of the border patrol and GOP has always reduced it
        The reason is simple
        Democrats like LEGAL immigrants – they tend to vote DEM
        The GOP likes illegal immigrants – they don’t vote and because they can’t use the various worker protection laws they depress the wages of the bottom tier
        This is to the benefit of the 1% who get increased profit

        So if you want reduced illegal immigration vote Dem

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “What “unfettered immigration policies?” Deportations are up, to the point that pro-immigration advocacy groups are upset with Obama. Net migration to Mexico is outward (e.g., more people moving to Mexico than from there) and has been for several years”

        JG, I see no reason to let facts get in the way of a good narrative

      • n1cholas says:

        Tell the people who lost their savings that Trump looks menacing, but is really just a good guy.

      • 1mime says:

        This was the best performing week on the NYSE. Hopefully everyone who is invested were fortunate enough to recover their losses. Those who are adventuresome had a great buying opportunity. Those who were worried got a reprieve….for how long????? Only Trump knoz.

      • 1mime says:

        Best performing week “of this year”….clarification.

  13. 1mime says:

    First, a comment about Canada’s welcome to refugees. Many countries start out being welcoming but find it difficult to sustain the effort and financial support necessary to provide for refugees. Canada being as isolated as the U.S. can also be more restrictive, but unlike America, doesn’t appear to have the xenophobia many on the right display.

    A second thought concerns several opinions I have been reading today in numerous major newspapers. They are finally holding the GOPe up to fair criticism for putting party/power before country. Here is one of the best of the articles I’ve read. What is truly sad is that instead of using this as an opportunity to re-invent themselves, the GOPe is doubling down on the long odds that they will succeed in holding the Senate, taking the presidency, and keeping the House majority intact. Of course, I could be proven wrong, but that is not what I see unfolding. If it does, then I may move to Canada too (-; I like the way their approach to a number of life’s challenges and their leadership.

  14. 1mime says:

    We’ve talked a bit about polling. This article compares polling pre-election to exit polling. Interesting. I am always amazed at how early the networks can call these election outcomes.

  15. fiftyohm says:

    Happy Canada Day, y’all!

  16. texan5142 says:

    It has been a few years since I visited my aunt in Gretna, that place is something else.

    What is the difference between a coonass and a jackass… the Sabine River.

  17. Kenneth Devaney says:

    Hi 1mime, we accept foreign students because we have open slots in each class. If we allow the slot to go empty we don’t collect tuition/fees that support the program and facilities. In truth we don’t get enough qualified applicants from just the US population alone. We start with foreign nationals with a high probability of retention…think Canada/Mexico but as those countries have sufficient programs of their own most foreign applicants come from 3rd world or recent post Soviet countries.

    • 1mime says:

      I see lots of Indian doctors practicing in TX. Does India have a more relaxed policy that allows its citizens to remain in the US?

      • Kenneth Devaney says:

        Its a little complicated but yes…if you are really interested you are welcome to email me directly.

      • 1mime says:

        I wouldn’t know how to do that and I don’t want to intrude. It’s just an observation and curiosity of mine. BTW, Our primary physician and two specialists we see are Indian doctors. We have been very pleased with the quality of their care – especially the female. I think there is a different approach to patient/doctor contact with physicians who began their training in India. I am a fan of Abraham Verghese and his philosophical approach to patient care.

  18. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Read the comments below this video. It’s educational.

    My hypothesis – half the negative reaction could have been avoided if they put a couple of extra white American guys in there. Note the frequent posts that “diversity is discrimination against white males” – and “whites are majority, there should be more”.

    Also, it’s a common theme among white supremacist groups that all of the actual product engineering work is done by white and Asian people becaus blacks and hispanics are *genetically less capable* – not because of environmental (poverty etc.) and cultural differences (some cultures have a huge STEM education focus). This is also repeated in the comments section, via giving less value to PR positions, for example. This video unconsciously falls into that trap.

    I find this very interesting because a couple tweaks like showing diverse *engineers* including white men could have gone a long way in decreasing criticism, but that requires enough diversity so that someone on their team could accurately judge what how certain groups of people will react to the video I don’t ever expect a video like that to ever win over supremacists, but there is a lot of potential to tweak that message to be inclusive of more people.

    Note that I don’t disagree with the video itself – I’m just saying this was badly done.

    • antimule says:

      What is seems to be lacking there is class diversity. And by class I don’t mean how much money one has, but the way one thinks, acts and what value system a person has. Something explained here . Trump is rich, but he has what looks like working-class values, so he comes off as “local boy made good”, not as a haughty elitist. Maybe they can import a few Russians who are good programmers but are also Orthodox Christians?

      Basically they need to find a few high-functioning rednecks, is what I am saying.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s a very interesting perspective, antimule, and I think is “dead on”. I wonder if the large group of millennials will be able to impact this issue in a positive manner. They don’t seem to be as caught up in the whole “class” thing or race.

    • flypusher says:

      PR, I can’t see the video or the comments due to an error, but I can probably al lib quite a few of them, as I see them all the time over the Internet. I’m remindied of an old Mad Magazine cartoon called “You can never win with a bigot”. Sample joke- two White guys watching a baseball game. Guy #1: “We just loaded the bases! If the next batter can get a hit, we might tie the game.” Guy#2: “Forget it! A n_____’s coming up to bat. They always choke in the clutch.” Guy#1:” HOMERUN!!!!!” Guy#2: “Wadduya expect? All those c__n’s are as strong as apes. Comes from all those years in the jungle.”

      I doubt including more White people would have helped that much, because bigots always seem to find an excuse. Non-White person doesn’t have a job? They’re mooches, takers, and leeches on hard-working Americans. They have a job, especially good, high-paying job? Obviously they used affirmative action take that opportunity away from a more deserving White guy. Bigots gonna bigot, and you can never please everyone.

    • 1mime says:

      I guess white women in the video don’t count? I couldn’t access comments but agree with Fly – people who are bigots create the justification they need. I thought the video was positive and achieved its purpose. Would the addition of a white male or two have been positive? Sure, but as I understood the purpose, it was to speak to Google’s views on diversity, and who better to represent this than a diverse collection of people from within their ranks?

      • antimule says:

        I don’t have any problem with the video. I am just pointing out that adding some class diversity would probably make some of the people who hate that video less upset. Defusing angry people seems like a good idea if we want to reduce the chance of next Brexit disaster.

      • 1mime says:

        See my earlier response antimule. I agree that everyone in that video was articulate, smart and/or either well educated. If throwing in a white guy or two would calm the water, fine, especially if the video’s purpose is expressly to demonstrate diversity. As for including some “regular” people in the video? This is GOOGLE – do you really think anyone who has an opportunity to work there is not top of the line? My son’s best buddy works for Google and he comes from about as average a family as possible, but he always marched to a different drummer, and, he was smart. From what he tells my son, Google looks for ability first. Shouldn’t that be where all employment begins? Then you can tweak the rolls, but fundamentally, qualifications should matter.

      • antimule says:

        It is possible for one to be top of the line genius and still to have what might be considered “traditional values”. Like, there are a lot of super smart people in Russia, but they tend to think more conservatively and tend to be more religious on average than their western counterparts. Now, I am NOT conservative myself, just pointing out that class diversity like that might calm waters.

      • 1mime says:

        Ha, that’s interesting. You honed in on values and I am seeing class as “background”….which in my bias envelops principally education (public/private), “means”, conduct. Even as someone who grew up in the 50s/60s, I can tell you that there was segregation by race – Black people primarily (I grew up in the south), but wealth wasn’t a big deal. The only private schools were Catholic and the only kids attending it were Catholic (of course that changed with integration). We all pretty much mixed and the public school and neighborhood were the melting pots. Once integration occurred, (which did not happen while I was in high school), this disrupted the social fabric of our community and that is when things got more challenging.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      The video was not badly done, and the comments on the video are idiotic, but the comments here highlight the very fragile nature of the White psyche. Not that you all have fragile psyches but that you recognize the fragile psyches and think we should cater to them at least a little bit.

      I think Chris (or someone) posted this a while back. To talk about race or diversity in America means you have to bend over backwards to ease White folks’ (and White males in this case) overly special sensitivity to this issue.

      We can’t talk about race until we make sure all the dainty snowflakes (none of you here) understand that we don’t mean that they specifically are racists, and we are talking about broader issues. If you don’t do that, it gets shut down.

      Here is an example of a diversity video targeting women, minorities, and immigrants to tout what Google is doing. The intended audience was not White males.

      Part of what is striking about the video is that the target audience is not White dudes, because we consciously or unconsciously expect most things to target White folks.

      The idiot commenters on the video and the very smart commenters here fall into the pattern of thinking that the “default”, the “normal”, and the expected audience is White folks.

      In order to make the video better, we should have thrown some more token White males in the video, even though White males were not the target audience? Bullshit.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Wow…I’m clearly cranky this morning.

      • 1mime says:

        No, you’re not cranky just tired of having to explain things that should be obvious. I found the video positive, as I already stated, and have zero doubt that GOOGLE has both the self interest and means to employ the best talent out there. That their ranks includes a diversity of people is great but I’d put $$ on the fact that first and foremost, they are qualified.

        This is supposedly the lament and basis against affirmative action, which I happen to believe is still important but I also believe that minority applicants need to be qualified to make the cut. Where that level of qualification falls is beyond the scope of my comment here but I believe in diversity as a step up the opportunity ladder.

      • flypusher says:

        I for one am in no mood to cater. But in the interests of full disclosure, I have the luxury of being able to avoid most contact with the butthurt crowd.

        (Yes, we are segregating ourselves.)

      • objv says:

        The story here is not that a few idiots made comments on the video but that Google has not made great strides at becoming more diverse.


        “Google’s overall percentage of non-white, non-Asian employees in the United States did not move at all in 2015 from the year before, remaining at 2 percent for African-Americans, 3 percent for Hispanics, 3 percent for multiracial individuals and less than 1 percent for Native American and Pacific Islanders, according to the company.

        Women made up 31 percent of Google’s overall workforce in 2015, up 1 percent from 2014, and 21 percent of technical hires for the year, up from 19 percent in 2014. White employees made up 59 percent of its U.S. workforce and Asians accounted for 32 percent.”

      • objv says:

        It’s great that google is putting out a video on the need for diversity. However, unless they actually hire more minority workers, the ad blitz is mere window dressing.

      • 1mime says:

        If what you say is correct, Google has more work to do. Good to hear a conservative speak up for diversity.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I always wonder why Asian stopped being a minority. There were a couple of Asians (Both East and aouth Asian) in that video – but nobody cares. The problem is always black and Hispanic people. Both the left and the right do this. It’s just an interesting dynamic – because it suggests that something more than simple race is at play.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:


        Whether you like it or not, pandering a tiny bit can’t hurt.

        Honesty I don’t see much difference between college kids butthurt by Halloween costumes and microagrressioned by white culture vs white males butthurt by the existence and success of non-white people and microagrressioned by hearing a language other than English or an accent.

        Telling people to “suck it up, ya losers” isn’t going to help, however, whether you are left or right, and whatever group your targets belong to. Pandering a tiny bit – like my suggestion was, would have converted a fair proportion of those negative commenters to support the video, and that’s far better for minorities and diversity.

    • johngalt says:

      Perhaps if Google had a few comments from the plantation owners, Brin, Page, and Schmidt (all European-derived Caucasians) that would have made the second rate commenters feel better about themselves.

    • johngalt says:

      “Comments are disabled for this video”

      Guess someone at YouTube pulled the plug on the white supremacists.

  19. Pseudoperson Randomian says:


    This is a continuation of the last thread about skilled immigration. I’ve been asking around and this is what I’ve gathered – though most of this stuff is from people who’re may have a stake in matters – so, maybe confirm things…

    I can now tell you some stats of the doctor question.

    -27% of all doctors are immigrant.

    -All non-US medical school grads (whether citizen or not, EU or Asia) are required to undergo training as a medical resident just like US grads no matter how elite their qualification may be in their home country if they want to practice medicine here.

    – >95% of American medical school graduates get into residency programs and the rest are filled with graduates of foreign medical schools.

    – Research has shown no difference in quality of care or outcomes for immigrant doctors. It appears that residency training equalizes things. That begs the question of why American medical schools are so damn expensive.

    – This is interesting. Many doctors come here on a J-1 visa and not a H1B, which is really odd because a J-1 forces the doctor to return to his home country after his residency training for a minimum period of 3 years. I don’t understand this. We’ve trained the doctor in the US. Why send her home?

    So, essentially that’s working exactly as it should be. If anything, if the US has trained a doctor, we should make sure to keep them.

    Tech worker is a bit more complicated and I don’t quite understand it just yet. Apparently a lot of it is legit – the big and successful companies do use them to identify and import real talent but there are some companies that are twisting the rules to outsource it to cheaper skilled labor within the country. The argument I see is essentially “we can’t hire an engineer with a couple of decades of experience for an skilled entry level job because they’re too expensive and won’t work for entry level pay, and there just aren’t enough skilled US entry level applicants to fill the need for labor.”

    I don’t know what the actual reality is, but it does seem like any tweaks to the skilled immigrant system have to be careful and measured, considering any wrong can damage multiple industries in one go.

    Besides, there’s the other thing that skilled immigration is essentially the US stealing all of the top tier talent from other countries after the other country has has paid for their upbringing and education. And this is because the immigrants want to – my understanding is that job opportunities to travel abroad are competed for heavily.
    That dynamic is absurdly favorable to the US and we should try not to damage it.

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      This post is possibly the worst writing I’ve done in a long while. I apologize. Being drunk and tired seems to cause weird breaks in one’s train of thought

    • 1mime says:

      I’m just guessing here, but could the requirement to return home to one’s country of origin upon completing medical training in U.S. be deliberate? Could this be designed so as to reduce competition for jobs for the American residents? Also, are there requirements from the originating country that might be offering financial support to their citizens who go to US for medical training?

      • Kenneth Devaney says:

        This topic hits a nerve with me. I’ve worked in Academic Medical schools most of my adult life. There is “no thought” regarding visa status other than eligibility requirements. All students even STEM and medical students are on J-1 visa’s and required to return home 12 months upon completion of their degree or training….period. Never mind that we have invested money, time and extraordinary training. To get some of our most promising graduates back can take upwards of 3 years if they return at all. Their home countries, International agencies or foreign companies snap them up…it is a ridiculous wasteful cycle. We have regions in this country starving for locum tenems doctors and willing to pay but we can’t get doctors to them.

      • 1mime says:

        OK, then why do US medical schools accept any foreign students with these limitations?

      • flypusher says:

        Our visa system is a F#$%’ed alphabet soup of a mess. I’m grateful that I’ve only had to attend meetings describing how the clusterf#$% “works”. Some of my friends and colleagues have been hurt by that nonsense- lost time, lost research opportunities.

      • johngalt says:

        Kenneth, I’m not sure whether there are differences between universities but, like you, I’ve spent most of my career at academic medical centers. Our international students are on F-1 visas. These generally expire 12 months after the end of their degree program but students do NOT have to return to their country at the end, provided they find another employer who can sponsor them on a J or H1B visa. This is true even of the Ph.D. students earning a stipend. I’m told that our international post-docs (often on J-1s) are technically supposed to return home, but frequently are able to win exemptions if they move to permanent positions that will sponsor permanent residency.

        One oddity (of many) in the system is that people often have to apply to get or renew a visa in their home country. One former post-doc was on a J-1 when she and her husband won a green card lottery and they had to travel back to their Eastern European country to do the paperwork. Like that makes sense.

      • formdib says:

        @Kevin, re: “There is “no thought” regarding visa status other than eligibility requirements. All students even STEM and medical students are on J-1 visa’s and required to return home 12 months upon completion of their degree or training….period. Never mind that we have invested money, time and extraordinary training. To get some of our most promising graduates back can take upwards of 3 years if they return at all.”

        I’ve never heard about this but this is definitely top tier ‘needs reform’ subject matter.

        Actually what is the prevailing idea, or some prevailing ideas, of what should be done about immigration around here? Like, Chris’s thing about gun licensing and insurance is the prevailing idea surrounding gun control, even if individual commenters disagree they disagree surrounding that concept. Is there a similar idea or two or three for immigration?

      • 1mime says:

        Immigration: that is a BIG subject. Too late in the day to get that ball rolling….it would be a super topic for Lifer though. I assume you are speaking about US immigration policy?

      • formdib says:

        “I assume you are speaking about US immigration policy?”

        First, and then expand to global.

    • formdib says:

      Thanks for responding.

      Your point about medical training being equivalent is part of the point I’m making. “I”, formdib, trust my Polish doctor. He’s awesome, and has great jokes. But I’ve also lived with people both in my home state, my current state, and abroad who ask me questions about doctors I get like, “Are you sure their medical training is up-to-date?” because they’re browner or talk different than white people.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        They have to clear the same exams American doctors have to – and are required to undergo the same training (at least the final half) as American doctors do – and studies have shown no difference in outcomes even when averaged out (unlike an anecdotal polish doctor, for example).

        “Are you sure their medical training is up-to-date?” is a question that has been answered pretty conclusively.

  20. lomamonster says:

    I had to think carefully before making the idiotic choice to assume that someone else might have beaten me in this reply. But finding myself to be strangely alone, I realize just what that has implied!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 454 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: