We are the United States of America. We think we invented democracy while we struggle to exist as a poorly conceived republic riddled with historical entitlements. Our Legislative Branch of government is totally convoluted with a lack of logic, fairness, honesty, and all kinds of other need processes within a functioning government.
We are incredibly fortunate to have Tony Fauci in charge of scientific efforts to control and eradicate and inform the public about covid-19.
Clip on the image to increase their size
One of the reasons that the USA has had 568,560 people die from covid-19 is that STOOPID politicians posture in front of the television cameras and say incredibly dumb things and frequently misquote data. Of they pick the “experts” they want to listen to by their politics rather than their expertise.. In a democracy like our, you have to let every idiot elected official say what they want to. BUT YOU DO NOT NEED TO BELIEVE IDIOT POLITICIANS. DO BELIEVE CREDIBLE AND HIGHLY SKILLED HEALTH SCIENTISTS LIKE DR. FAUCI.
For entertainment value and to see what Dr. Fauci and other reputable scientists have to deal with from about half of the US Congress and about 40 percent of the US population, all you need to is watch the news or look on YouTube.
Let me start by saying that we are not in the stage of AFTER the recent pandemic COVID pandemic. Rather, much of the world still needs help to address COVID vaccines and other issues like the poverty that lets a pandemic spread. But some countries — and the US is one — are now at the stage where we can start to evaluate and understand our shortcomings to prepare for the future. At the very least, a careful analysis of the problems in the COVID pandemic needs to be done so that rich and poor nations can benefit in the future. And the richer nations need to stockpile medicines and medical supplies and needs for permanent and temporary hospitals and clinics and the poorer nations. And we also need to analyse how and why UNICEF failed the poorer countries.
Bill Gates — the noted fanboy of getting publicity through plagues and pandemics — always runs to the news outlets and says that his approach of giving some of the money he stole from the world through exploitative business practices to medical experts (of which he is not one in spite of the fact he plays one in the media),
The approach of having medical experts lead the fight on a pandemic has been found to be lacking since a pandemic is much more than a medical event. Medical experts provided excellent services and produced the research that led to successful vaccines are a key part. But much more is needed in order to address a fast-moving pandemic. People need to be informed in ways they understand. Medical and social service workers need to quickly retrained in the special skills needed to identify and treat infections. Resources — money, medical providers, medical supplies, training, the poverty of many that limits access to healthcare, how the medical and social systems efficiently perform in a coordinated way, education to children when they cannot go to school because of the risk to themselves and others of exposure to a virus, and many other forms of service and help — need to be shared between the rich nations and the poor nations. And the sharing of resources cannot always start in the rich nations with services provided in the poorer nations last.
Effective prevention and treatment services needs to be provided in fairer and more useful forms in the next pandemic.
The following mind map lists some of the issues that must be identified and fixed for a proactive fight against infectious diseases. People will need to be far more cooperative than during COVID, the rich who pay for most of the fight on emerging pandemics must not always get in line to be first, drug companies and many other businesses must not be allowed to make exploitive profits, and religion and gender and poverty and race must not affect whether a needed service is provided.
It’s pretty hard to find anything good to say about the federal government’s response except to thank G-d that Nancy Pelosi is around. As always we have brilliant, dedicated, and empathetic health care professionals trying their hardest to get us through a pandemic. They show up, they provide the best healthcare they can, and we are damn lucky to have them. Had the US government had our hospitals and medical supplies ready at the earliest stages of the pandemic, the world might have been facing a more easily contained outbreak that could have avoided many of the deaths and erosions of our lives.
The US Government was not ready. For three years, there has been no federal leadership that was appropriate for preparing for a pandemic or a huge natural disaster. Highly trained experts, medical leaders, and bureaucrats had been forced out of the Executive Branch, to be replaced (if they were replaced at all) by the what can be termed at best frivolous hires that were inappropriate and with replacement hires (appointees) incompetently selected for their political affiliations, not professional training and achievements.
In spite of a deliberate attempt to cut medical and social services in the USA, we are still fortunate to have marvelously trained doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals ready to help. But our bureaucrats, as of this day, still cannot them the medical tests, supplies, and facilities that they need to minimize the effects of the pandemic. Politics and greed in the Executive Branch of the US government have greatly affected the healthcare system of the United States and left our country without the resources needed in times of disaster.
Question: Which groups of people are not doing their jobs by trying in a meaningful way to eliminate foreign influences on our elections?
Answer: Circle all answers which apply.
A) US Senate
B) US House of Representatives
C) President of the United States and White House Staff
D) Secretaries of Relevant US Government Departments
E) All of the Above
p dir=”auto”>Time to demand that the bozos you identified above are told by the US public to stop sitting on their backsides (and cashing the checks foreign influences are providing to some to promote their own careers and line their own pockets).
The USA currently has a huge shortage of GOOD leaders of all races, political parties, sexual orientations, national origins, religions, education levels, and gender.
Time to get rid of some BAD leaders sitting in positions where they can do a lot of damage be it to the social integration of all, equal treatment under the law, safety, human services, politics, economic trends, healthcare, financial services, international relations, or educational opportunities.
It is pretty easy to spot the BAD leaders. Here’s a mind map to help you do so. Click to expand the image.
Click here for Part 2 (in a new window) on the Fourth Characteristic of the “Bad” Leader.
People who learn to take responsibility for their own actions could save me a lot of money.
have less kids born into families that cannot support them saving me money on social programs
are less likely to contract STDs especially HIV thus saving me money on STD prevention and treatment programs
graduate from high school (and college and grad school) thus qualifying them to be in higher tax brackets and save me from higher tax rates and subsidizing their living costs
live longer because they forgo tobacco and drinking alcohol to excess thus saving the entire health care system from huge wasted services
pick up their garbage and put it in trash receptacles thus saving me having to pay someone to pick up after them
recycle thus cutting the bill for environmental cleanup
The USA should incentivize self responsibility by granting payments to
every student who ever graduates from high school
every student who ever graduates from college
every student who ever earns a graduate degree
every 18 year old who has never had an STD
every 18 year old woman who has never been pregnant
every 18 year old man who has never fathered a child
every 21 year old who has never been convicted of a DUI offense
every 21 year old who has never used tobacco
every 21 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
every 40 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
every 50 year old who has never been convicted of a DUI offense
every 60 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
Incentives would be in the form of one-time tax credits for the individual or the individual’s family. This means that incentives are only paid to workers and their families.
Oh, the government would supply free voluntary services to all residents on birth control methods including condoms freely available to all children old enough to conceive, unlimited voluntary counseling on avoiding self destructive behaviors, unlimited voluntary counseling on leading a healthy life, and unlimited voluntary counseling for reasons of family instability, mental health, child rearing, and birth control. None of these free services would include any components related to any religion. And legitimate and effective education at all levels from preschool through college would be free to any American resident of any age and with support services to ensure anyone can graduate.
If the USA were to provide fairly significant incentives for learning and exercising self responsible behaviors we could produce a citizenry that creates less problems and is less dependent upon social network and support programs for themselves and their children. This will leave a lot of money to spend on those who truly cannot deal with their own medical and psychological problems no matter what they personally do and probably leave some over for lower tax rates.
Wow. Incentives for studying, working hard, becoming a productive member of society, and paying for needed and fully effective programs for all of those who have mental or physical or developmental disease and cannot legitimately assume full responsibility for all aspects of their lives.
I’d love to see a similar set of ways to incentivize healthcare and education workers. Small increases in productivity and job satisfaction among these critical citizens saves a lot of money and produces a much more healthy society.
Oh, I know, I am a dreamer. After all, my proposal could never make it through Congress. Even though it will save lots of money, promote better lives through self responsibility, and leave sufficient resources for those who truly need medical and mental health services because of factors beyond their control, this is truly an anti-American proposal that expects self responsibility and does not let big religion bully small religions, agnostics, or atheists around.
Every once in a while we need a little revolution.
[Musings of a very liberal, very capitalist, individual who believes in self responsibility and taking care of anyone who cannot take care of themselves with first-rate, state-of-the-art programs.]
It is not illegal in the United States to ask job candidates to take physical and psychological examinations before being hired for a job that has huge physical and psychological demands. For instance, such public employees as police officers, firefighters, military personnel, and others take appropriate physical and psychological tests both before and during employment. They also take tests to detect illegal drug use.
As Americans like to say, the POTUS job is the most powerful person in the world. There is no question that the job has the huge physical demands of prolonged periods of 12-16 hour days under high stress condition. Many problems can be made much worse by such a lifestyle. The president also makes make key decisions, often under high duress and without full data, than can affect the lives and welfare of thousands if not millions of individuals throughout the world. We all know about the use or not of the nuclear codes, but remember that the President may make decisions daily or weekly that affect the safety and well beings of US and other world citizens in profound ways such as food distribution, medical aid and research, international trade agreements, and regulations on the US stock market and financial institutions.
Most Americans agree that we want healthy law enforcement officers that can assist in situations requiring physical fitness without harm to themselves. We also agree that we do not wish to have psychologically distressed individuals without mental stability intervening into situations of aggression, ambiguity, potential harm to bystanders, or mistaking innocent individuals for those who have committed a crime. The same is true for all other first-responders, military personnel, nuclear plant operators, airline pilots, and many more.
Why are willing to let someone be hired for the job as President of the United States (through the process of majority vote) without complete physical, psychological, and neuropsychological examinations conducted by a team of physicians, psychologists, and other appropriate healthcare professionals. A team of 3-9 individuals could be appointed through some type of consensus process among professional associations and political parties. Even better, we could make use of some of the thousands of highly qualified and brilliant healthcare professionals who are officers of the US Military and already sworn to protect the Constitution and laws of the United States without regard to partisan issues.
If there was ever a time to implement this, it is before the November presidential election this year.
I do not want an individual as the “most powerful person in the world” who is physically and/or mentally unfit for the job unknowingly hired by the electorate. I am especially concerned that candidates above the age of 50 could have untreatable neurodegenerative diseases (such as I have) that affect decision making processes, especially under stress.
If POTUS is the most powerful job in the world, it should have the most stringent job requirements including physical, mental, and neuropsychological health making it possible to adequately perform the high demands of the job. Cutting through all of the politics, I believe that the physicians, psychologists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals of the US Military are capable of making competent, non-partisan judgments about fitness requirements for ensuring that the Constitution of the US is protected and followed.
Given the public statements being made by both presumptive presidential candidates this year, it is time to ensure that the contentious statements made by both are not the product of physical, mental, or neuropsychological illness, and rather are being made by motivated but angry, expressive but overly so, individuals using typical standards of normal and healthy logic and decision making. The electorate deserves to be informed about the results of such fitness exams before making the decision in November whether to hire one or none of these candidates.
We are closer but still very far away from solving HIV/AIDS. The UN Goal of 2030 for the effective stop of HIV will not happen with the current international politics of HIV/AIDS and the huge global disparities in income, infrastructure, and other resources.
2030 is possible, but to meet that goal, we are going to need a lot more compassionate and adult behavior in the world than we have ever had during the 64 years of my lifetime.
Doable? Yes. But you better start doing your part to do it.
To fix HIV/AIDS, we have to fix income disparities.To fix income disparities the rich of every country in the world need to be taxed at 100% on any individual net worth greater than $X. It may be more difficult to define an $X that the world will accept than it was to develop the theory of relativity.
Doable? Yes. But not without some new definitions of the rights and responsibilities of rich brats like Donald Trump.
Back in 2012, I published a mind map on this blog suggesting that giving people one chance to learn (as in, you only get one taxpayer-subsidized educational opportunity) or to receive free treatment for drug abuse (as in, if you can’t quit the first time you are morally undeserving because you do not have the moral strength) or to receive specialized behaviorally-related healthcare (as in, you let yourself get fat or nicotine-dependent or out-of-shape so you pay the consequences) is an obscene abuse of other individuals,
It’s just as true now as it was then. I know more about mind mapping now and am even more irritated by those who want to balance the budget by not helping others enough, or even at all. So I thought I would revise my mind map and make this a post a lot more angry that we do not give people second (or even eighteenth chances).
Show me a drug abuse treatment provider who says you can go through treatment one time and it will “stick” and I’ll show you a snake oil salesperson who is trying to sell services to 18 year old entertainment industry billionaires surrounded by a media feeding frenzy. Do you really want to deny additional free education to someone who realizes in their 30s or after going to prison or after achieving a stabilized life without drugs or while serving our country in the Armed Services that they need more education to get good jobs and be successful and much better citizens? Mental health services should not be denied or limited to tossing people pills because someone lost the genetic lottery and has a life-time disease or experienced trauma (like a rape victim or maybe somebody unlucky enough to have lived in an earthquake or hurricane zone or in a dangerous neighborhood or in an Armed Services encampment in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Vietmam).
Enough said. The picture will tell more than 100,000 words ever could. And if one fails after 18 chances?
Well, there’s always a 19th chance or a 36th chance waiting. [And a special ring in hell waiting for those who would only offer people one chance at happiness or productivity or health. Or the politicians who supported this position to get (re)elected.] Oh, and if you were one who denied others a second chance, you have a second chance to act in a more moral and supportive way and give others that second or 18th chance.
Click on the image to expand. Then think about whether we should invest in people and families or in creating the wealthiest uber-class in the history of the United States?
For the past three days I have seen the headlines on news stories and blog posts that state that Obama lied about Obamacare (According to GOP).
I don’t think that he lied (deliberately telling an untruth) but I do believe he repeatedly stated untruths deriving from the fact that neither Obama, the Dems, the GOP, Boehner, the Dem advisors, the GOP advisors, Sebelius, nor the Tea Party idiots really understood what they were debating on and off Fox News.
The screw up is that THEY RUSHED to pass the bill, to try to stop the law in the courts, to put up an untested web site, and to get in front of the cameras first. Nobody took 23 minutes to realize that the entire program was being set up for failure.
Realistically it should take 5-10 years to implement Obamacare in a way that is responsive to patients and healthcare providers, a responsible use of taxpayer money, responsible to all Americans who would like to have their lives be as free of disease and to live as long as possible.
I doubt that there is any experienced healthcare expert in the US who would have thought that the Congress, the States, and POTUS could spend several years in federal courts fighting, thousands of hours on cable tv news debating, no time thinking before opening their mouths, and then at the end implement a well-thought out, effective, responsible healthcare plan for 350 million people.
So really everybody is lying and nobody is lying because nobody understands the plan and its implementation well enough to be able to intelligently comment on it.
Maybe all parties, even the Tea idiots, should agree to take two weeks off, and then start expending energy on implementing a plan that will best benefit ALL Americans. Is this too much to expect from our employees?
PS. Get rid of Sebelius. As of this minute she still does not know what her department is supposed to do in its role as the administrator-manager of all US federal healthcare programs. There are at least 10,000 healthcare professionals in the US who can do a better job at DHHS than Sebelius has done.
The only way I see to develop effective medical treatments and care models for many of the thousands of rare diseases is to pool the RESEARCH resources that individual countries are spending and the data countries are collecting about individual rare diseases and put those research resources under international control for prioritizing research agenda and ensuring public access to ALL results and research data.
Yes, I know the USA (probably the largest resource contributor) Congress will go in front of the television cameras and say that the failure of the United Nations and the disproportionate contributions to a pooled resource fund will ensure failure. They will point to the failure of the world to effectively coordinate collaborative research on HIV/AIDS and point to politics, homophobia, disrespect, and the hatred of American politics by certain national and fundamentalist groups and say we would be wasting our money by letting Africans and Arabs and the Russians and Chinese and Indians and Asians and South Americans collaborate with the USA on research and ensuring that research leads to effective treatments for at least some rare diseases.
Enough already. Let’s rise to the occasion of solving resource limitations in studying rare diseases and get an effective mechanism in place for expanding the impact of admittedly small research efforts by individual countries through international cooperation. I trust the governments of the world to collaborate, contribute as they can, and help us start to get some of these diseases treatable. Disease knows no boundaries.
In the last century we collectively developed very advanced medical research techniques. In this century we need to use these methods to solve all of the medical problems possible by putting aside the nonsense politics and nationalism and individual egos and predatory profits and focus on solving many medical issues and ensuring access to effective treatment world wide.
Here’s a way to start. Any yes, this is a test of our humanity and commitment to universal human rights of which medical treatment is but one. But let’s start somewhere that should be relatively easy to agree on (and let a few hundred angry politicians in the USA know that the world considers them bratty children and cannot tolerate their obstructionist and oppositional behavior).
Click on the image to expand. And let’s start the process of collaboration.
I drew this mind map in 2011 when I was disgusted with the lack of a organized process to develop a national consensus on what was needed for meaningful healthcare reform. I think this as true in 2013 as it was in 2011. Stylistically, I could redraw this map better now than in 2011. But everybody has to start somewhere, so I resisted that impulse.
I would note that some (all) of these scientist “types” are found in the US Congress (whether scientists or not).
Everybody in Congress wants the peanuts and bananas and too many act like King Kong.
Also note that I have been on consensus panels with all of these types.
Started up Google and typed WEATHER. Up came the current five day forecast for my zip code. At the bottom of the forecast, in the usual font I can’t read was the credit to The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and AccuWeather.
I assume there was no intention for the company to name themselves after an American terrorist organization (although some of those working at Fox News probably would say that the radical organization has infiltrated the American psyche with a corporate news service distorting our perceptions of whether it will rain today and thus disrupting our society).
In 1968 I was a freshman (now fortunately known as “first year” as we have cleaned our language up as the world has changed for the better) in college. Around October, Rolling Stone magazine had this weird advertisement in which the non-selling record (yup vinyl) of a new artist named Randy Newman was highlighted as a real bummer (not sure anymore if that term had entered American culture by the 60s) and the record label was giving copies for free (yup, not even any postage) and since I could not afford to purchase records at the age of 17, I sent in the coupon for the “loser’s” record. Came in a few days later, hated it first but played it to death and came to love it. The best song on the album was “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today). The song never became a hit, but Newman hung around and kept recording (perhaps it did not hurt that his dad and uncle were both famous composers of film scores for some of Hollywood’s biggest movies). Second chances are a great thing for everybody, although I am ambivalent about the Weathermen.
[Comment: The juxtaposition of the Weather Underground and Randy Newman does not imply any relationship between Randy Newman and either the weather forecasting company or the terrorist organization from the 1960s. To the best of my knowledge, Mr Newman does not discuss his political views (although I guess from his lyrics that is a very peace-oriented man) nor do I know where he gets information whether it is going to rain on his outdoor concerts. I do know that Mr Newman worked in humanitarian relief efforts after the New Orleans hurricane.]
My lack of admiration for the inability of the US Congress and the President to resolve budget issues in a way that will preserve the economic recovery, provide needed services, and balance the budget should be fairly obvious.
What the current sequestration comes down to is that 535 individuals in Congress who make between $180,000 and $240,000 per year, have exceptional health and pension plans, and have $4,000,000 (tax-free) expense accounts that can be used as needed without audit, are simply not giving the tax payer a very going return for their generous salaries and perks.
This needs to stop. If these folks cannot do their job and pass a compromise budget that meets the goals of long-term economic recovery, high priority services, and debt reduction, we should fire and replace them in 2014. After all, the fact that discussions seem to have ended means that 535 well-compensated public employees have decided to thumb their nose as those who employ them and spend their energy appearing on cable news channels or working on their memoirs or using their expense accounts to get into trouble. No business would tolerate such behavior.
If Congress refuses to work on a compromise they should feel the pain. After all, 10s of millions of Americans are currently feeling it. Every day.
Big data this, big data that. Wow. At the end we will have better ways to sell underwear, automobiles, and “next day” pills (although in the latter case politics and religion might actually trump Amazon and Google). Blind empiricism. Every time you click a key on the Internet it goes into some big database.
“Little data” — lovingly crafted to test theories and collected and analyzed with great care by highly trained professionals — has built our theories of personality, social interactions, the cosmos, and the behavioral economics of buying or saving.
Big data drives marketing. Little data drives the future through generalizable theory.
Trying to find as many typos and logical inconsistencies on my blog as possible. Darn things seem to breed like cockroaches.
And now a cockroach story … not too ugh …
Got start in psych research in an animal learning lab studying single ganglion learning in cockroaches. Important because of technology 40 years ago and simplicity of cockroach. Got cockroaches across street at the Bronx Zoo (they lived in the warm, food rich animal houses of the time). I see a natural progression in my career from studying the “psychological” processes of cockroaches to writing about Congress.
Update Jan 2 2013: I think I might study snakes next.
For many years, I was a heavy consumer of cable network news. I had (and still have) a TV in my home office that used to run all day on one or more cable news networks. As I started to participate in social networks and blogs and following the links for news suggested by others, I found social networks a much better delivery system for high quality news, comment, discussion than cable news. “Twitter killed the Cable Network News Star.” My observations about social media and cable network news are shown in the mind map below.
topics and subtopics: Cable News Versus Social Media My Conclusions Social Media (Twitter) consensus better less acrimony more cooperative participatory more interesting Traditional Cable News not participatory not multidisciplinary contentious more dogmatic boring talking points Discussed Here cable news Fox NBC CNN CNBC others content knowledge current facts debates learning process issues debates learning acrimony vs harmony consensus cooperation vs competition social media Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Facebook Social Media multiple views citizens professionals politicians students stakeholders repeats short time amplification repetition greater audience greater involvement emotionality controversy no $s most participants no fame illusory illusory in social media factual preferred fosters democratization stakeholder consensus process minimal polarization learning 360 degree knowledge views emotional reactions biases desired outcomes functional reasonably polite positions stated 140 characters news link blog link see many views short time disciplinary stakeholders potential further process steps resolutions solutions in selected networks Cable News divisive competing politicians talking heads financial incentive abrasiveness disagreement politicians attorneys repeats same video clip arguments arguments new video clip interview controversy = profits ratings business plan future fosters competition acrimony polarization selfishness silo thinking dysfunctional group consensus information source not balanced fair valid
Every day, the Newseum in Washington, DC, receives electronic copies of many of the world’s newspapers. They print them and post at least one from each US state/territory and many from throughout the world.
The next day they start all over again.
It is amazing to see all of these front pages for one day adjacent to one another. The common and the local; the political and the social-entertainment.
3.16.2013. A smattering of those available inside and outside the museum.