Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About Ormond

  • Rank
    Council Member
  • Birthday 07/10/1951

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

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

Recent Profile Visitors

10,114 profile views
  1. What "weird split"?? Are you confusing New Hampshire with Maine?
  2. Ormond

    First Quarter 2019 Reading

    I finished Naomi Novik's Uprooted last night. I feel this was the best fantasy novel I've read in years. I am surprised I loved it so because it's written in "first person" style, which I usually don't like, but Novik's narrator, Agnieszka, had about the most engaging voice and personality of any "first person narrator" I've read in fiction. The novel was full of interesting twists that managed to be both surprising and believable. The characters were complex, with none of the "bad guys" being "pure evil." Both royal and "peasant" characters are portrayed realistically, and even anonymous soldiers are presented as real human beings. The magic in the story is very believable despite being quite powerful. I love Novik's writing -- she comes up with inventive turns of phrase often without resorting to obscure vocabulary. Uprooted richly deserved the Nebula award it won for Best Novel. I recommend it most highly.
  3. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    I don't get this criticism. If you are discussing policies toward Israel, you criticize the lobbying organizations who focus on those policies. If someone would criticize the money Pharmaceutical lobbies use to influence politicians while discussing the opioid crisis without mentioning the organizations that lobby on other issues, that doesn't make them "anti-druggist". So why does criticizing the money a pro-Israel lobby spends without mentioning groups that lobby on other issues make one "anti-Semitic"?
  4. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    I know this is picky, but the Detroit "urbanized area" in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties had over 3.7 million people in 2010, and to me that is way to big to be called a "modest sized city."
  5. Here's the link to today's column: https://www.omaha.com/living/evans-long-history-has-helped-abraham-endure/article_32d6cd3c-e1a7-5aca-8bae-a95db15c125d.html In researching this I was rather surprised to see that Abraham was among the top 50 boys' names in England all the way from 1550 until the end of the 19th century. I also was a bit surprised to see how it has risen on the SSA lists since 1967. It seems to be one of those slow-rising "sleeper" names that people don't realize are getting more popular. Does anyone on the board know any Abrahams under the age of 30 in the USA? Do they tend to go by Abe or by Bram these days?
  6. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    If Wikipedia is correct, the $238 million is the highest price ever for a "home" in the United States. And unless he's planning to move, it will be one of his "second homes" as he is based in Chicago at this time. That's what a fortune of $9.9 billion can get you. Makes me realize how different Warren Buffett is with his middle-class personal spending habits. Warren Buffett and I go to the same barber in Omaha, a fact which always blows my mind. I've seen him in the shop several times over the last 30 years but never had enough nerve to speak to him. I wonder how much Griffin pays for his haircuts?
  7. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    Thanks for both of your responses. I stayed in the Sheraton Times Square when I was in New York in January and walked up to the southern part of Central Park on Sunday afternoon when I had a few hours to kill. I well remember seeing the extremely tall new construction of what must have been the Central Park Tower. The pictures of what it's supposed to look like when finished actually look rather scary to me with that huge "overhang" in the upper stories. I can see how many New Yorkers would think that building is "overkill" for its neighborhood. https://newyorkyimby.com/2018/10/sales-launch-for-extells-central-park-tower-at-217-west-57th-street-in-midtown-manhattan.html
  8. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    Thanks for your very informative post. I was in New York City for the first time in around 20 years for the Names Society conference the first week in January and I really enjoyed learning about the lack of alleys and the scaffolding issue. A law requiring facades to be inspected sounds like a good idea to me -- it's good to know that's what going on with most of the scaffolds. Can you expand a little on Point 6 above? The online definitions of "pied a terre" I found all say it is a "small" second home, so "massive" would seem to be a contradiction in terms. And does KYC stand for "Know Your Customer"? I suppose what you are talking about here are extreme luxury condominium buildings where buying the condo is somehow part of money laundering. Who exactly are the buyers here and how does buying a luxury condo on the south side of Central Park allow them to "launder" ill gotten gains?
  9. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    Since the "basic essentials" would include transportation and other costs involved in having a job itself, it would seem to me that a "basic guaranteed income" could be a least a small amount lower than minimum wage income.
  10. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    I knew there was something wrong with that figure. The Vox article does NOT say "average class size" dropped from 20 to 12. It says there are now 12 students for every teacher employed, which is NOT the same thing. Here are a couple of paragraphs from an NEA report about 2014 statistics pointing this out: http://www.nea.org/home/rankings-and-estimates-2014-2015.html The above doesn't explain why this is so, but the main factor I am sure is simply that there are many teachers employed in American schools who are not "classroom" teachers. Back when I was a child in elementary school 50 years ago, there were teachers of physical education, art, and music that covered those subjects for all the students in the school and moved from classroom to classroom. I would suppose that the idea that laws relating to "special needs" kids have helped push the ratio down must mean that many schools also have teachers who focus on helping students with learning disabilities or other problems and who do not have charge of individual classrooms. The NEA stats above are for K-3. If you had a small elementary school with 2 classrooms per grade at that level, with an average of 26 students per class, you'd have a total of 208 students. If you added four more teachers for physical education, art, music, and "special education", that would be 12 total teachers and you'd have 17 students per teacher in the school, not far off from the 16:1 figure in the NEA article. It may very well be that there are other employees of schools these days who are designated as "teachers" who are not the main teacher assigned to the classroom. People who work in elementary education would know more about that than I do. But in any event, the student teacher ratio is not the same thing as "average class size."
  11. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    In my experience the credit hours of most "remedial courses" at the college level do NOT count in the total credit hours needed for graduation. They are extra credit hours the student would not otherwise be taking in order to earn a degree. If that is the case, how is providing the remedial courses for students who need them "dumbing down" college education? If the remedial courses do their job and provide the preparation needed to succeed in the further courses one takes, that is the opposite of "dumbing down." "Dumbing down" would be if a college did NOT require any remedial work by students who need it but passed them in the upper level courses any way. There are some rational arguments to be made about "grade inflation", elimination of foreign language requirements, and other issues in terms of the possible "dumbing down" of higher education. But providing remedial courses isn't one of them.
  12. Ormond

    US Politics: The Accountability Problem

    There are many different types of "conservatives." I think most people who call themselves politically "conservative" and who are both college educated and actively interested in politics would agree that Medicare is a "socialist program" when asked in private. But I think the great majority of Americans who label themselves as being "politically conservative" would not have an intellectual understanding of such things and would be quite willing to deny Medicare is a "socialist program" precisely because they like it, and anything they like can't be "socialist" in their unsophisticated understanding of the term.
  13. Perhaps part of the difference between you and me is that I personally don't particularly associate Warren's issue with Donald Trump. I really had no idea that Trump had ever claimed to be of Swedish ancestry until you mentioned it on this thread. I was very familiar with the "Pocahontas" slur about Warren years ago, as it was used against her by some Libertarian acquaintances of mine way before anyone thought Trump would be a real Presidential candidate. I think Trump is massively unfit to be President, but a claim that his ancestry is Swedish would be the least of the reasons. And my problem with Warren's judgment on the issue is more with how she seemed to double down on the claims after it became an issue, not because I think she received tangible benefits for it. It just makes her look tone deaf to reality. P.S. And I think the lack of judgment is more relevant to her "electability" rather than her ability to perform Presidential functions.
  14. I am somewhat sympathetic to Warren as I know just how common the claim that one has Amerindian ancestors is in the South, among both Whites and Blacks, It is one thing to be proud that one has an ancestor from a particular group. It is quite another thing to designate oneself as being "Native American" on the basis of such a small % of ancestry from that group on an official form, even if one does not receive any tangible benefits from it. It seems to show a complete confusion between one's genetics and one's actual place in the culture. And the Ancestry.com commercials are loathsome in my opinion precisely because they get people to confuse genetic ancestry with culture and real membership in an ethnic group. I'm sorry, but a Black American does not become part of a West African culture simply by putting on a dashiki and eating peanut soup. And someone who grew up being actively part of a German-American cultural group should not "trade his lederhosen in for a kilt" just because Ancestry tells him more of his genes supposedly go back to Britain than Germany. As someone who teaches a course in cross-cultural psychology, I find that stuff to be offensive. I recently found out that my mitochondrial DNA is from haplogroup B2C, which is a Native American group. I had no idea I would have any Native American ancestry until that result came up, and I had my DNA retested by a different group to make sure it was correct. My Native American ancestry is probably in the same "6 to 10 generations back" as Elizabeth Warren's. I will probably never know for sure what Native American nation my ancestry is from, though given the geography of where my ancestors on the all female line were from, the best guess is Munsee (the group living in the New York City area when Europeans arrived.) I have become very interested in learning about the Munsees and their culture, but even if I could prove that my ancestor was from that group, I think it would be both stupid and offensive to call myself Munsee or Native American. I was not raised in any Native culture and there is no way simply having B2C mitochondria should get me that designation. There is also the problem of Warren completely ignoring the fact that most Native Americans in the USA do not want membership in their groups to be defined by genetics at all. This is partly because many Native American nations had a long tradition of adopting people into their groups, even as adults, and giving them full rights as members, even before Europeans arrived. Even in cases where one has to prove having a great-grandparent who was a member of the group in order to get benefits from casinos, etc., most Native American groups want that defined as to whether or not the great-grandparent was officially on the tribal rolls, not by doing any analysis of the genes. A great many Native Americans in the United States are really suspicious of genetic testing precisely because they do not want the government defining membership in their group by genes alone -- and most of the testing of Amerindian people's genetic ancestry has therefore been done in Canada and Mexico, NOT in the United States. Native Americans in the USA have tried to explain all that to Elizabeth Warren and feel that she has ignored them on this issue. So I am sympathetic to Warren's family (and think they are damn lucky the DNA tests showed she did have a tiny bit of Native American ancestry, as many people would have had Native genes from a single ancestor "wash out" over that many generations), but I do think someone who is a Harvard professor should have a better understanding of this and find her calling herself "Native American" to show an incredible lack of judgment.
  15. You and me both. And I am procrastinating on doing that right now by reading this thread. Must get back to work.