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About Ormond

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    Omaha, Nebraska
  • Interests
    Besides ASOIAF:Given names, their usage and history

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  1. I think the Snopes article on this is one to read. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/ronald-reagan-alzheimers-disease/ In any event, I believe it's just wrong to say Reagan had diagnosable "Alzheimer's" before he left office. He MAY have been starting into what's called "Mild Cognitive Impairment" or MCI, which can be (but isn't always) a precursor to Alzheimer's, but the degree of impairment described even by those who want to think he was impaired doesn't rise to the level of a full blown Alzheimer's diagnosis. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/related_conditions/mild-cognitive-impairment https://memory.ucsf.edu/dementia/mild-cognitive-impairment And I remain very skeptical about Trump having major neurocognitive disorders. The supposed changes in his style of speech from when he was younger seem to me to be better explained as an extreme narcissist being under extra stress. There was research done on George W. Bush's speech errors showing that he made many more during his Presidency than while he was governor of Texas, and that this was attributable to the sorts of speech errors most people make in a situation where they are under stress and where they know every word they say is being scrutinized.
  2. This argument is an example of all-or-none thinking. As a psychologist I can agree that 100% complete objectivity is very rare. That does not mean that by making our observations better and by being willing to question our previous assumptions that we can't get closer to the truth than we were before. The Earth is not a 100% perfect sphere in geometric terms. That does not mean that saying the Earth is "round" isn't hugely closer to objective truth than saying it's "flat". Working on getting closer to the truth is extremely important in almost every human endeavor.
  3. Wouldn't at lot of the problems be way less if one just made the transition longer? I remember seeing some politician proposing several years ago that Medicare be gradually expanded by lowering the age of eligibility for it by just one year per year (the first year of the change 64 year olds would be on Medicare, the second year 63 year olds, etc.) and also adding all newborn infants born that year into it. The transition would then take about 30 years and that would be manageable. Also, though I suspect some people on the far left wouldn't like it, I personally would have no problem with letting private insurance companies still manage the functions of Medicare and Medicaid in a M4A system. The goal is to get the entire population to have basic health insurance guaranteed by the federal government, and the private health insurers can all gradually transition to running "Medicare Advantage" type policies for everyone instead of working through employers.
  4. Zephyr has also been used for males. In the 1940 U.S. census (latest one to be released) there are 240 female and 52 male Zephyrs. I don't think most people who have chosen the name are going back to Greek mythology to find it, though. I think they are thinking of it as the poetic English term for a soft gentle breeze, which in modern English does NOT necessarily have to be from the west.
  5. OK, not that you were seriously asking, but as a name expert I can answer that. Teachout is a surname that seems to have originated in upstate New York. The 1800 United States census has 14 families (only the name of the head of the family is given in pre-1850 censuses) with the last name Teachout. All of them lived in Saratoga, Herkimer, or Washington counties in New York except for one in Franklin County, Vermont. It is probably an Americanization of a Dutch surname, possibly Tietsort. Though Zephyr may seem like just a modern "hippy" name, it's been used on rare occasions as a female given name in the USA since the early 19th century. There are six Zephyrs in the 1850 U.S. census, the earliest where all non-slave residents were listed by name. One of them was a seven year old girl living in Saratoga County, New York, so there's a geographical link between Zephyr and where the Teachouts were originally from. Though since Zephyr Teachout's middle name is Rain it does seem if she's an early example of parents choosing a "nature name." Her father is a professor of constitutional law and her mother became a state court judge in Vermont -- and her father was already a law professor when Zephyr was born -- so if they were "hippies" they were highly educated ones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zephyr_Teachout
  6. When pollsters call and ask me if I identify as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, I always say Independent though I am a registered Democrat and don't anticipate ever voting for a Republican again. There used to be a really big part of American culture that identified "straight ticket" voting as being unreasonable and even semi-fanatic and where the ideal was to vote for "the person, not the party." With today's polarization the logic behind that no longer really works, but for those of us over the age of 50 who were raised with that ideal it's emotionally hard not to want the days where that attitude worked to return. I totally understand where Biden is coming from in his wish to do "bipartisan" things. Emotionally that's what I want too, though logically I realize in the present world it's probably a pipe dream.
  7. Nice to be included as "rational", but sad to be included as "doomed." I think I identify with the term "centrist" way more than I actually am "centrist" in terms of policy positions. According to the political test at Pew, I am a "solid liberal." It's just that back in my teens and 20s I definitely thought of myself as a "conservative" and so am still queasy about admitting just how far left my ideas have shifted. I think I've actually continued to shift leftward as I've aged --- I believe I am probably much more in favor of high taxes on the wealthy than I was a decade ago, for instance. Though the one question on the Pew test where I differed from the "solid liberals" was that I agreed with "Most corporations make a fair and reasonable amount of profit". I would also have agreed with "Many corporations make an unfair amount of profit" but just can't get myself to think it's actually over half that do! https://www.people-press.org/quiz/political-typology/ Of course I really most identify with the 6% of the American population who are "religious liberals." That group actually has increased from 5% to 6% since Trump took office. https://relevantmagazine.com/culture/study-the-religious-left-is-the-most-active-group-in-american-politics/
  8. Ormond

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    Not sure I want to see complete student loan forgiveness for everyone, and think Larrytheimp may be defining "working class" solely on income, which I have some problems with. But I really think it should be emphasized how much of the student loan debt problem is what people who attended some college classes but never got a degree owe. I am much more in favor of loan forgiveness or financial help for that population --which is in the millions in the USA -- than for those who did get the degree and so usually have the advantages of a college education. https://www.npr.org/2019/07/18/739451168/i-m-drowning-those-hit-hardest-by-student-loan-debt-never-finished-college One of the worst things the above article says is the following paragraph: This is really completely counterproductive -- there should definitely be a way to get people like this out of default and back into college (or a "trades" program at a community college). It is sad that so much of the extra earning potential of college is based on having the diploma or not, but until we can change the culture to emphasize actual knowledge instead of the degree itself, burdening those who for any reason have only partially finished a degree with all this debt and then not giving them any help to finish the degree is just ridiculous.
  9. Ormond

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    I also think this seems more relevant to people after having Trump in office for three years, because it makes Klobuchar seem seem like she shares a personality characteristic with Trump. There has been a lot of reporting the last three years about how Trump treats his staff, and even though Klobuchar's problems in that regard (even if true) aren't as bad as Trump's. I think it makes Democratic primary voters more wary of her, as having someone who is NOT like Trump would be one of their main goals.
  10. Here's the link to today's column, the annual one about the American Name Society's Name of the Year vote. I came up with the idea of the ANS doing this vote 13 years ago, copying our sister group The American Dialect Society's Word of the Year. I have always run the vote and so haven't voted myself. I am retiring from my position and so get to vote next year if I can make the meeting. I haven't always liked what the voters have chosen as Name of the Year but like this year's "out of this world" choice. https://www.omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-arrokoth-greta-thunberg-are-among-top-names-of/article_c6a84f34-d85c-5089-a8e2-a2908f829c0e.html
  11. Ormond

    First Quarter 2020 Reading

    Last night I finished Runaway, a book of short stories by Canadian author Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2013. I have wanted to read some Munro for years, and I ran across a recommendation that Runaway was one of the best places to start. I have some mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I fully agree that Munro is a great writer. I think one of the signs of a good story is that one catches oneself thinking about it several days after one has read it. Munro's stories have that sort of resonance. I found myself wondering about why her characters made the choices they did and wondering what would have happened to them next long after I expected to still be thinking about them. On the other hand I'm not sure her subject matter is my "cup of tea." The stories in Runaway focus on women, most of whom are dealing with domestic situations which are actually sad or even tragic, but are dealt with in fairly matter of fact quiet ways. I found myself thinking several times that the characters were fitting the stereotype that Canadians are overly polite -- people seemed to be a bit emotionally removed from their situations. Three of the stories in the book deal with the same woman, Juliet, over a 40 year period. In the last of these her only child, a daughter, stops all contact with her when she is in her early 20s without any explanation. Throughout that story Juliet seemed incredibly passive to me -- I kept wondering why she didn't even think of hiring a private detective to track her daughter down. The title story "Runaway" isabout an older woman who encourages a young friend who is in an unhappy marriage with an overcontrolling husband to leave him -- the young wife gets on a bus but changes her mind and goes back to the husband. At the end the wife finds out the husband has probably done something horrible in a fit of anger with her, but deliberately chooses not to investigate to find out whether or not her suspicions are true. Munro is a fantastic writer. But I don't feel motivated to search out more of her books if they are mostly about Canadian women leading passive lives of quiet desperation.
  12. Ormond

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    Nuclear power can't be the major part of the solution because we are at a point where we simply cannot build enough new plants safely quickly enough and have to rely on other measures. And certainly rational people can take the position that the waste problem makes expanding nuclear power not worth it. I was only pointing out that it is wrong to think that expanding nuclear power would increase global warming.
  13. Ormond

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    Switching to nuclear power from carbon based fuels would greatly REDUCE man-made global warming. It would be very smart to expand nuclear power if reducing rapid warming is one's main goal. https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/nuclear-power-global-warming https://www.climatecentral.org/news/nuclear-power-needs-to-double-to-meet-warming-goal-18610 Nuclear energy is not going to solve the climate problem by itself. But it can be some part of the solution.
  14. Ormond

    US Politics: Mail and Managers for Mitch

    I ended up with Bloomberg at 16 and Biden and Klobuchar both with 14. I am a bit chagrined at that because I don't think I would ever vote for Bloomberg in a primary -- just don't trust him and don't want to replace one New York City multimillionaire with another. I have been moving the last week or so toward wanting Klobuchar among those still running, but unfortunately I don't think she has a chance of getting the nomination unless there are a lot of undecided caucus goers in Iowa who will vote for her at the last minute since she's from a neighboring state and that gives her momentum. But the chance of that is probably one in a million or so.