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social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

Posts tagged Congress

I was old enough to vote in my first presidential election in 1972 when I was 21 years old. I voted Democratic then and since then I have always voted for the Democratic candidate often as a perceived lesser of two evils. I voted for Hillary Clinton last year not because she was a good candidate or a good person (in my judgment) but she was better than Mr Trump who was the most extreme political presidential candidate since George Wallace and the most “out of it” candidate since Ross Perot. Before I could vote, I lived through the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon’s first term.

I have a neurodegenerative condition that makes me almost uncontrollably anxious at times, obsessive-compulsive at others, and not particular good at decision making. But more than ever, I think that Trump’s Fake Populism is a horrible way to run the USA and the World and I am pretty sure that in spite of cognitive decline my perceptions of Trump are accurate.

Trump’s behavior makes me very anxious and deeply concerned about the USA I will be leaving behind soon. A lot of Americans (according to recent polls, the majority) share my concerns that Trump is an extremely bad President.

I would personally feel much better if the USA required its presidential candidates to take non-partisan medical, neuropsychological, and psychological evaluations before assuming office and annually. My belief is that a group of actively practicing medical doctors enlisted in the Uniformed Services of the United States could make an overall assessment of an individual’s fitness to be “the most powerful person on earth” and commander in chief of the world’s largest army and largest biggest nuclear arsenal, as well as the architect and steward of the world’s largest budget. I note that medical doctors and other healthcare professionals in the US Uniformed Services have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It is reasonable to expect that the medical practitioners of the United States Uniformed Services can use due diligence and state-of-the-art medical skills to ensure that an individual honored with the duties of the President of the United States is physically and mentally fit to deal with the stresses of the job. I also note that 14 members of the 115th US Congress (2017-2019) are physicians (and 2 are Democrats while 12 are Republicans) and that I have confidence that their medical ethics and competence in medicine would permit a nonpartisan panel to oversee such an assessment (even though I vote as a very liberal Democrat). Perhaps Mr Trump has a medical condition affecting his ability to perform the duties of his office or perhaps he is just a bigoted, narcissistic, incompetent jerk who is quite successful at manipulating the voters of the USA, even without the assistance of Mr Putin and his hackers.

Is my cognitive decline causing my perceptions to slip in their accuracy or are my observations accurate descriptions of living for several months in #TrumpWorld?

Click on the image to expand.

Note. None of the 14 physicians in the current Congress has formal training in neurology. Since a neurological assessment is an important part of a medical exam for a 70-year old person, independent neurologists of either political party should also be part of a supervisory and assessment panel.

 

People who learn to take responsibility for their own actions could save me a lot of money.

They

  • 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.

Imagine.

[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.]

Click image to expand.

JULY 4 THOUGHTS  FOR A BETTER  USA

In a prior post, I discussed issues about fonts and their use in mind maps for people with varying types of cognitive impairment. In a second prior post, I showed examples of  using free fonts thought to be useful for individuals with dyslexia.

I spent a lot of time today looking at recommendations about fonts. Generally there seems to be a general consensus that the following fonts may be useful for individuals with dyslexia.

  • OpenDyslexic (one of three variations)*
  • Lexia Readable*
  • Dyslexie**
  • Ventana***
  • Trebuchet***
  • Lucida Grande***
  • Georgia***
  • Comic Sans***
  • Arial***
  • Times Roman***

*free for individuals
**paid
***common and probably on your computer already

Another recommendation is to use a light (beige, pastel) background with a very dark text color (black, navy blue).

Finally, size is an issue with the general recommendation being that it is desirable that the font size be larger than usual.

Would you like to see how different combinations of fonts and color and size work. Click on the image link below and change the fonts, size, and colors and see what happens.

grab64

In a prior post, I discussed issues about fonts and their use in mind maps for people with varying types of cognitive impairment. This post contrasts an original mind map from another recent post to four variations which use different “dyslexia” fonts. Note that the four dyslexia fonts are all available without cost to individuals.

First, the original mind map with an “artistic” professionally drawn font. There is no claim that this font helps or hinders those with dyslexia from reading the map rapidly and accurately.

Click images to expand.

mapvocacy

Here is the same mind map in three variations of the OpenDyslexia font (free).

mapvocacy opendyslexic mapvocacy opendyslexicalta mapvocacy opendyslexicmono

The final example uses the font Lexia Readable, another free font created for those with dyslexia.

mapvocacylexireadable

Of the four “dyslexic” fonts, I prefer the final variant (Lexia Readable). But I do not have dyslexia and so cannot say anything about how well it will work for even one individual (me).

None of the fonts illustrated nor a quite expensive professional one (Dyslexie; not shown here but very similar to the free OpenDyslexia) has strong empirical evidence that it helps those with dyslexia read faster or with more accuracy. Some tiny and flawed studies do suggest efficacy for these fonts for dyslexia, but I do not take the evidence seriously and much more study is needed.

[Note that this post has NOT addressed the issue of whether curved branches should be used or avoided for maps that may be used by dyslexics.]

What do you think?

MAPVOCACY with straight lexia

My personal plan is to provide a second version of some of my mind maps that eliminates curved branches and uses the Lexi Readable font. I do not know if these changes will make the map more readable for those with cognitive impairments (primarily dyslexia), but it certainly does not hurt to put in a little extra effort.

I wish somebody had taken notice of the things I said in the past 45 years of my life about

  • peace
  • universal human rights
  • healthcare reform
  • free education
  • equal opportunity
  • equal access
  • fairness

Better late than never, here is a new tool that might help ensure that people listen …

mapvocacy

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.

Scientific Consensus Panel on Healthcare at the Zoo

I was sitting in the office of an individual designated as an “essential” federal employee at mid-morning on November 14, 1995. We were meeting at the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration main offices in the Parklawn Building in Rockville, MD.

My federally funded Evaluation and Technical Support Center for a HRSA Initiative on Implementing the zidovudine protocol for preventing HIV transmission from HIV-positive mother to her child during birth was meeting with 10 federal grantees the next day in Baltimore. The meeting was mandated by the HRSA funding agreements.

Each project had at least three staff in transit to Baltimore (most by air) for the meeting the next day. At least one representative of each project was a woman living with HIV/AIDS; this was mandated.

The bell rang at noon in the Parklawn Building. The loudspeakers had started squawking earlier reminding all non-essential employees that they must exit the building by noon. Guards came through the building reminding people to leave. It was eerie to be in the second-largest US federal office building with almost no other people around.

I met with the essential employee, the head of a very large program on HIV/AIDS treatment. She could not tell me whether to have the meeting the next day. While she could guarantee that the representatives from the projects would have their travel reimbursed she could not tell me whether the scheduled meeting rooms, scheduled food service, and other costs would be covered although she would allow me to pay for costs already agreed to through contracts with the hotel. She did note that we could not use use the meeting room we had paid for nor eat any of the food we had pre-paid. The meeting would no longer be a federal meeting. Everybody there was just a private citizen meeting because they wanted to be there after being stranded by having flown to a mandatory federal meeting that was cancelled without notice. No federal employee, however, could be at the meeting because they were not working and they were not allowed to go to any activity that could be construed as federal “work” since they might then demand payment for their time.

I had to tell this to about 50 attendees at 9 am on Wednesday morning. The Maryland Dept of Health agreed to let the group use space at their offices 15 or so blocks away. Everyone walked over there in freezing rain. Maryland made available a conference room that could seat about 12 comfortably, about 25 uncomfortably, and the rest squeezed in and stood. The State Director (part of the group) lent us her personal 10 cup Mr Coffee to brew coffee. In trying to make enough coffee for 50, I broke it, and when I returned to California, I sent her another one by FedEx because I was a little annoyed that she got very upset that I had dropped the $20 machine and had announced to 50 people that I was the reason there was no coffee.

After about an hour or so of chaos and having everybody totally upset — as they should have been — about having about 15 women with HIV (many with advanced stage AIDS) in an overheated claustrophobic facility along with another 35 people in an overheated claustrophobic facility, I decided that the company I owned would personally guarantee the costs for the meeting facilities and food that had already been paid — if the government asked for the money back from anyone because I had decided that those who had come to Baltimore in good faith could meet in the rooms already paid for and eat prepaid food that was going to be thrown out. As I recall this was probably close to $5,000 or more. Fortunately no one ever asked me for the money back and since I over-ran our budget by far more than $20,000 (which we never billed) in part because the feds had totally screwed up the process, that we were even. And, no woman with HIV had fainted or otherwise hurt herself during the meeting because we did not have healthy conditions.

The grantees were — as would be expected — totally pissed off. The initiative ran for several more years, but in a fairly “inefficient” way. Chaos. The feds went back to work after Thanksgiving, but then went out again for more than a month starting in mid-December when Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton still would not do their jobs. When the budget was settled in mid-January, the government announced it would pay all of the federal employees for all days they had been sitting at home in Maryland and Virginia and the District playing in the snow and worrying about their personal finances.

A demotivated, angry workforce went back to work to deal with a number of demotivated, angry contractors and grantees. It wasn’t the same for another two years.

Obamacare was passed by a majority of the US Congress, all of whom had been elected by the majority of their constituents. It was signed into law by a President elected by the majority of the US electoral voters as specified in the Constitution. When the Constitutionality of Obamacare was challenged by those who did not like it, the majority of the Supreme Court Justices, each confirmed when appointed by a majority of the US Senate, decided that Obamacare was constitutional.

Each step of passing Obamacare into law was done according to the specifics of the US Constitution.

Those attempting to derail Obamacare by using certain procedural technicalities in ways never intended and just plain silly, are acting in opposition to the approved Affordable Care Act passed by the Congress and approved by the President and the Supreme Court according to the procedures specified in the US Constitution.

Are those in Congressional representatives holding the budget hostage Congressional “Leaders” or (in words attributed to Al Gore) “terrorists?”

Today, I hope that the US government will decide to “feed” those sitting around waiting for their US Congress and Executive Branch to meet their Constitutionally assigned responsibilities that the elected officials of the United States have sworn to uphold. Fortunately World War II vets in wheel chairs were allowed to look at the barricaded World War II memorial on the federal mall today (the barriers were lifted by Congress members in front of TV cameras); my further hope is that all of the veterans in VA hospitals get fed dinner tonight whether or not the TV crews are parked in front of the facilities.

Those elected officials who claim that their Tea Party is as much against “taxation without representation” as the founders were in 1776, obviously have not read the Constitution resulting from the actions in 1776.  Thankfully, a majority of the Supreme Court justices and the President were in school that day.

screenshot3

 

screenshot2

ELIMINATING AIDS FROM THE PLANET  G J HUBA PHD  JULY 2012

good bad ugly

Delays (no surprise here) in implementing Obamacare have led to the “new” Republican mantra that the law is unworkable.

Grow-up. The Congress passed Obamacare by a majority. The President signed the bill into law. The Supreme Court (led by a Republican-appointed Chief Justice) said the law was constitutional.

Is there any part of this the Congressional Republicans do not understand?

It is very hard to build a system (factory assembly line) so that all of the parts work together, are reliable, produce the intended result, have quality, and are appropriately timed.

Any idiot can throw wooden shoes in the machinery.

Palpatine

Help build the assembly line as did our ancestors of more than 200 years ago. We all benefit from cooperation and well-conceived majority rule.

art 2

If you can tell us something about each of the areas listed below (when relevant and if the information is available , your mind map is probably quite significant. Click map to zoom.

[Baker's Dozen of] Ways to Improve Mind Maps Purported to Present Expert Professional Content

There are a number of things that can be done to cut the cost of healthcare while, at the same time, freeing doctors and others to do their jobs better. These improvements cost almost nothing to implement [if all of the constituencies and politicians do not compete to be King Kong].

Visiting legislator who stumbled across this web page? Here’s your chance to act like a grown-up and represent the people of the world, not drug companies nor major research universities nor individual “researcher” egos and retirement funds.

Click on images to expand.[almost free] strategies to improve healthcare

Cartoon Rabbit - Giving A Thumbs Up

This analysis, that analysis, yesterday’s analysis, tomorrow’s analysis, Uncle Izzy’s analysis … is there anything that is a not a form of analysis? Create your own bullshit anagram and bullshit detector. And then see how well it applies various politicians, political claims, the cable news stations, and others. You’re on your way to become a walking, human bullshit analyzer.

So without much further ado, a new form of analysis. And a make your own anagram template.

bullshit analysis

We have sequestration and a US Congress that refuses to develop a realistic compromise US federal budget and long-term economic plan. Never one at loss for ideas, I propose that the US Congress initiate the following silent auction. As absurd as my proposal is, it seems no more absurd than the ideas expressed on cable news each night by our “striking” employees (the US Congress). Before starting this auction, I prefer that the Members of Congress and POTUS sit down once and for all and do their jobs in managing the economic future of the USA. Otherwise, they are going to have to conduct something like this auction (currently going on in a limited and inefficient manner through lobbyists and Cabinet Level administrators).

Click image to expand.

USA Auction

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.

sequestration pain

Why would 536 (POTUS + Congress) people (mostly white men) play Russian Roulette with world’s health-education-welfare-economy? [circle all that apply]

a) they are arrogant (specify “they” ____________)

b) they are stoopid (specify “they” ____________)

c) they are mean (specify “they” ____________)

d) they have no ability to imagine a harmonious future (specify “they” ____________)

e) they love their face time on cable TV news (specify “they” ____________)

f) John Boehner made them do it (specify “them” ____________)

g) POTUS made them do it (specify “them” ____________)

h) Palpatine made them do it (specify “them” ____________)

g) all of the above

h) what is sequestration?

i) other comments:___________________________________________________

*****

Or as Yoda would say — Jedi not are they

Palpatine

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.

Cable News Versus Social Media

Keyword Boardtopics 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

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.

Fractal2

 

Update Jan 2 2013: I think I might study snakes next.

Even though I tend to vote Democratic [the Dems are really too conservative for me, not to mention pretty arrogant and not so smart but the best I can vote for], I think that this is a very smart statement by a very smart Republican physician about the absurdity of the current healthcare reforms. Unfortunately, Romneycare or doing nothing will be worse and Obamacare is all we have right now that could make it through a Congress of bozos from both parties.

The link above is to the viral version of the video (almost 2M downloads as of this morning). There is also a full 12 minute version. The viral version is taken from the first 2 minutes.

A link to the full version is given below.

In spite of our differences on healthcare reform, I would certainly like to see Dr. Beller at the table in further discussions about the national healthcare system. She has a lot to contribute.