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Everything posted by Ormond

  1. I remember several years ago in another thread about the topic on this board that there was a poster whose main argument against universal health care in the USA was that America was a nation of hypochondriacs, and if the government paid for everyone's health care that people would be running to the doctor all the time for issues that weren't real illnesses and so health care costs would skyrocket. She seemed to have believe that Americans were way more likely to be this way than citizens of most other countries , so pointing out how it worked in other places did not change her opinion. I do NOT agree with the above myself but will always remember that as a unique argument for the USA couldn't afford universal care.
  2. Here is today's column. I think part of Aaliyah's second boom after 2008 was due to its being taken up by many Hispanic parents. https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-aaliyahs-popularity-rose-with-superstar-singers-fame/article_3b261148-73d9-11ec-88b1-cb48f8868a6c.html
  3. As I have shared before much to my chagrin I have somehow gotten onto the email list of a Trump fundraising organization. For the third time this week I have just received the following message: It just boggles my mind that whoever is sending these out thinks that there are substantial numbers of people out there who can be fooled to think they can possbily still be the "first donor of the year" on January 14.
  4. I just got a letter in the mail from the U.S. Medicare urging all Medicare recipients to get a Covid booster and assuring us it's free. I got my booster back in October, but I guess it's a good thing they're urging everyone to get one.
  5. Thanks, but it's now been a century since he left office. Anyone more recent than that?
  6. I hugely appreciate DMC's contributions to this thread. But to ask a semi-serious question regarding this quip, has there ever been someone with a graduate degree in Political Science who has run for President or Congress in the USA? Or does being an expert on this turn people off from actually running for elective office?
  7. Yesterday I finished The Briar King by Greg Keyes. This is the first book in his "The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" four book fantasy series. I really loved this book. It does follow the somewhat conventional plotline of an ancient evil reawakening in a fantasy world, but it does this very well. Its viewpoint characters are complex and show growth and change during the course of the novel. They include Anne, a 15 year old princess of the royal house, who combines some of the traits of Sansa and Arya but actually seems a more accurate representation of an impetuous teenager forced to develop some wisdom than I usually see. There is a young monk called Stephen who is a great example of a naive bookish young man who also is forced to change in surprising ways. Keyes was able to get me so invested in these and other characters that I was more frightened reading the chapters near the end of the book when major violence impacts their lives than I often am while reading fiction. Keyes also makes quite amazing uses of humor -- there is an arrogant young fool of a swordsman who shows up in the second half of the book who had me laughing out loud while he's helping to save Anne from very frightening foes. I know from seeing many comments on the Web that a great many fans of this series absolutely hated the fourth book, or at least its ending, so much so that they seem to have soured on the whole series. (I have seen a few contrary opinions to that.) I have avoided "spoiler" reviews so have no idea what Keyes did in his ending to irk so many readers, but this first book is so good it's quite a shame that happened to this series. One of the somewhat unique facets of this series is that some of the characters -- including Anne and Stephen -- are obviously descendants of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. The founder of the ruling dynasty of the main country in this fantasy world was Virginia Dare (spelled Virgenya in the book), first British child born in the New World. Stephen's surname is Darige, and his main nemesis's surname is Spendlove, which are both unusual surnames found on the list of the names of the real colonists on Roanoke Island. Though the connection is obvious to anyone who knows a bit about the Lost Colony, at the end of the first book one is still left with many questions as to how these English colonists on an island off the North Carolina coast were translated into this fantasy world and how such a small group ended up conquering an empire in a world where magic works. And one of my quibbles is how the religion of Keyes' fantasy world is a medieval Christianity with saints but without God or Jesus -- a sort of polytheism with churches, bishops, and monks just like in medieval Christendom. I don't see how the Roanoke colonists would have forgotten the story of Christ. One of my guesses as to what perhaps Keyes did in the fourth book that angered fans was to resolve the connections between his fantasy world and our real world in a very unbelievable way. (Please don't tell me if you know!) I guess at this point in my life I sort of appreciate Keyes having finished his series even if he did it badly. And my style of reading is such that I might never make it to the fourth book before I die, anyway. So at this point I feel really happy to have read a book I liked so much.
  8. There is nothing in the article you posted that implies that Adams believes he has the authority to order banks to do anything about this. He is giving his opinion and using his "bully pulpit" to express it. I think his opinion is wrong, but his expressed reasons involving the livelihood of blue collar workers seems to be a less negative reason for his views than you are implying.
  9. In terms of the discussion on "collectivism" -- well, of course. Research in cross-cultural psychology has consistently shown that the United States averages out as the most individualistic country in the world. American culture promotes the belief that the main causal factors for one's success and/or happiness reside within oneself, and that individuals have both the right and responsibility to create their own destiny free from any input by a wider society. This is NOT just a result of a "frontier mentality." We may be the most individualistic nation, but we inherited a focus on individualism from the English, who are the most individualistic people in Europe. On cross-national comparisons, the UK and Australia almost always come in at #2 and #3 on measures of individualism, with Canada usually tied with the Netherlands right below them. (I think the Canadian national average is probably reduced a little bit because of averaging in the French Canadians with the English ones.) The influence of the frontier may explain our being #1, but again, although we are consistently a bit higher than the British on individualism, it's only by a small amount. And within the USA it is the "majority White" subculture which is most individualistic. African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans, though still more individualistic than most other groups in the world, are less so than the majority, while helps to explain some of the fear Whites have of losing their numerical majority status.
  10. In regard to "imprinting" -- I myself am not Freudian enough to believe that things that happen in the first two years of life, before we have the capacity to create true long-term memories, have a huge impact on one's adult personality. So I'm really skeptical that whatever his mother did or did not do with him as a baby (and we know that she did breastfeed him) had a big impact. One aspect of Freud's personality that is relevant to this is that he revelled in the image of being the "beleaguered genius." He greatly exaggerated the extent to which his ideas were rejected by others, focusing on bad reviews of his books and ignoring the positive reviews he did get. Since part of his theory was believing that those who more successfully dealt with their Oedipus complex also more fully repressed memory of it, he used the fact that the idea of infantile sexuality was strongly rejected by people when they first heard it as evidence that his theory was true. So he probably would have interpreted the ancient Greek culture's horror of mother-son incest as actually showing they had particularly strong unconscious inclinations toward it.
  11. Freud's family was not extremely "well-off" in the modern sense. His father's business was going downhill when he was born, which was why they eventually moved to Vienna from Freiberg (now Pribor, Czech Republic). Of course, even what would today be considered families of average middle-class means had servants back then, and he did have a nursemaid when he was young. Freud's beliefs that he had discovered childhood sexual feelings toward his mother probably had more to do with the fact that his mother was twenty years younger than his father, and his mother was 20 when he was born. His elder half-brother was about two years older than his mother. So he remembered his mother as being young and beautiful while his father seemed old and weak. He was also quite definitely his mother's favorite child. She doted on him and gave him privileges her other children didn't have.
  12. Here's the link to today's column: https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-sports-music-and-works-of-fiction-helped-popularize-andre/article_aa50b7f8-6290-11ec-899b-0fdfe26707a6.html
  13. Desmond Tutu has died at age 90. GIven his life commitments, it may be very appropriate that he died on Christmas Day, https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/26/africa/desmond-tutu-death-intl-hnk/index.html I think Tutu was one of the most important figures on the international stage during my lifetime. In addition to his fight against apartheid, he was one of the few religious leaders on his continent to support the rights of GLBTQ persons. I am sorry to see him go but very grateful for his life and example.
  14. The article really doesn't have any statistics on what % of the early retirees are voluntary and what % are facing true age discrimination. There'd have to be more research to determine that. I know people who have retired earlier than they planned because of the pandemic but who are happy with their decision and do not want to go back to work. The latest is the sister of my best friend in Omaha, who is a schoolteacher in a suburban Omaha district. She is 63 and was planning on working a few more years but is retiring at the end of this school year because she is just burned out after having to deal with all the extra hassles around the pandemic. She won't have any real finanical hardship because of this and is looking forward to it. I am sure there are both people like my friend's sister, and people like the "Linda" mentioned at the end of the article who really would like to go back to work among the 55+ workers who are not back to work yet. I just don't know which of these is the bigger proportion.
  15. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I am in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee just east of Nashville spending Christmas at my sister's. The temperature will be 70 F here today so it hardly seems like Christmas weatherwise, but since 70 is also my age I'm not complaining.
  16. I probably should let the lawyers answer this, but I would think the opinions of judges would be the least part of the problem here. Even if judges didn't pay attention to what law school someone had their degree from, I am sure that prospective clients, especially the more wealthy ones, often do, and that if one has graduated from a more prestigious school one is much more likely to get a job at a big well-known law firm that can afford to pay one a big salary. Most prospective clients are of course not going to have the resources to find out who the "rich fools" are before they have to hire a lawyer, and so will go with making decisions based on the prestige of where one got one's degree, or more likely, the prestige of the firm, and the best-known firms themselves I believe are notoriously prejudiced toward hiring grads of the top law schools.
  17. Perhaps not, but I will wait to evaluate that when it looks like any of them has any real chance at getting the nomination.
  18. My preferences for a 2024 candidate depend upon whether Trump is the opponent again or not. I believe Trump is so dangerous that if he is the Republican nominee, I will base my candidate choice entirely on who I think can mostly likely defeat him. Whatever policy preferences I have, a Democratic candidate's positions on them would not be more important to me than defeating Trump. And I really don't think I will have an idea of whether a candidate more "like" Sanders or "like" Biden would be better for defeating Trump in 2024 until 2024 itself rolls around.
  19. Here is the link to today's column -- only about 8 hours late instead of 8 days. https://omaha.com/lifestyles/from-stage-to-screen-to-athletics-evan-celebrates-pop-culture-popularity/article_73fcef26-5de2-11ec-b594-9b9749df690c.html
  20. Well then, I hope it's winning the Hugo will lead to it being published in paper for antideluvians like myself who don't do ebooks. Also of course very happy to see the Headley translation win.
  21. Just finished David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas yesterday. It was the latest selection of the book club I now attend. This was one of the few times in my life I've seen a movie before reading the book it was based on. I really enjoyed Cloud Atlas. Mitchell's blending of different genres of stories into a larger tale about reincarnation and human values was very well done. I have a few quibbles -- why was one of the stories set in a fictional California city when the rest were set in very real geographic locations with what seemed to be great accuracy? But I really appreciated being prompted to learn about some things I never had heard of before -- especially the genocide of the Moriori people on the Chatham Islands. The Chatham Islands are one of the last places on Earth I knew about -- I think I vaguely knew New Zealand owned something called the Chatham Islands but never knew they were even big enough to be inhabited, much less that they were the site of one of the worst genocidal massacres in recorded history. It was a fascinating book and I'd recommend it to anyone who has the patience to deal with some different dialects and its unusual "Russian doll" story structure.
  22. Personally I think you are very wrong if you think this would motivate Democratic voters more than Republican ones.
  23. No knowledgable person ever expected Covid-19 to be a virus one could completely "get rid of" like smallpox, and I don't think I ever heard any expert claim that. But getting the huge majority of the world vaccinated will certainly slow down the rate of transmission and infection. And that will slow down the rate of mutations of the virus and so make vaccines and boosters themselves more effective. Vaccination certainly would do a very good job of protecting people. If you think it doesn't do a "good enough job", it's because you have the completely black and white unrealistic view that only a nearly 100% "effective" vaccine is "good enough", which does not seem at all reasonable to me.
  24. For some reason the World-Herald did not put my column which was published on December 5 up on their Omaha.com website until an hour ago, 8 days later. Here it finally is: https://omaha.com/lifestyles/cleveland-evans-in-song-or-in-prayer-maria-is-beloved-by-many/article_5fe3ba92-5c2f-11ec-9d4d-0b425972e9af.html
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