20 June 2018

Paht Country

"My girl left me, my dog died, and my truck won't start." Or something like that is the essence of country music. Now we can add, "I's so fat,I cain't see my dick no more."

The reality of the fat country sluggard is true; let's go to the videotape. Not that anyone paying attention should be surprised. Orange Julius Caesar rode white grievance and white entitlement to his throne. Most of his voters were so conked out on opiates that they likely didn't know what, exactly, Orange Julius Caesar was up to. They just knew he'd put those darkies in their place; while he picks their pockets, to be sure. Make America White Agin. May be enough will croak before the next election? Thinning the herd; just what Stephen Miller wants. Just not his herd, naturally.
Country folk are being hit harder by the U.S. obesity epidemic than city dwellers, two new government studies show. Nearly 40 percent of rural American men and almost half of rural women are now statistically obese, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers reported Tuesday.
...
For example, people who had a college degree were less likely to be obese or severely obese.

So, here's the question: how much longer will the heads of CDC and the unit(s) doing the research still be employed? I bet they're gone by the end of the week.

Not On My Watch

The outrage over asylum seekers' treatment by Orange Julius Caesar and his xenophobic cabal is genuine. But the wailing that "this isn't America" and such is nonsense. For most of its history, my country has been xenophobic and racist. Moreover, fish belly white folks, who came from countries considered lower than England and Scotland, the Irish as one example, got what Orange Julius Caesar is dishing out today. (This is source.)
Many native-born Americans claimed that "their incessant childbearing [would] ensure an Irish political takeover of American cities [and that] Catholicism would become the reigning faith of the hitherto Protestant nation."

Sound just the bit familiar? Do you want Muslims and brown people taking your country away from you? This is not new. If you don't read the wiki article through, that was in the mid-1800s during the Irish potato failure. For much of the 1800s, job postings carried, not EOE, but NINA. No Irish Need Apply. Orange Julius Caesar is just channeling age old xenophobia.

Site Launch

What's intelligence? What's insight? I'd say a close enough definition is the ability to see a real world truth before there's measurement. This was how Einstein figured out special relativity; observing a bell tower from a tram. Some refer to this process as intuition. Others as real intelligence, vis-a-vis the artificial version.

Which brings me to a David Leonhardt from the last week. One of the bones I've had to pick with the Right, who know they're lying, is their assertion that small business was, is, and will be the savior of American economy. Orange Julius Caesar went on a tirade at a small business conference yesterday. All one need do, over the last three or four decades is see what has happened in one's town, city, or state. The Big get Bigger and the Small get crushed. As Leonhardt says, mainstream punditry, and analytics as well it seems, hasn't been measuring. So he set out to do so. Good on him. I already knew it, of course. But it's heartwarming to see my insight validated.
Today, companies with at least 10,000 workers employ more people than companies with fewer than 50 workers.

There's a, as the Brits put it, knock-on effect of behemothing (that's now a word) of American business. In times past, economists and other analysts have made the point that the blue collar middle class emerged due to the confluence (or symbiosis) of big business and big unions. Auto workers made a middle class living because The Big 3 had oligopoly power, and the unions had the legal clout to force a sharing of that power in a form of enforced profit-sharing. The workers got a share of the vig. So, between the Right Wing destruction of unions and off-shoring of jobs (no, China didn't steal them, American corps. sent them), the blue collar middle class no longer exists. And those knuckleheads are convinced that a big city con man will make it all better? Here's the first paper that came up in a simple search.

You really want to MAGA? Bring back strong unions. With more market power held by large corporations, there's more 'rents' to share with workers. "Vote for George O'Brian. Get poor Charlie off the MTA!"

Ah, Truth

One of my many pet peeves with the right wing set is that they claim the increase in life expectancy since the beginning of Social Security is proof positive that SS is unsustainable. Just look at how many years have been added!!!!!! Well, as has been reported here a number of times, life expectancy increase, measured from any time before about 1960 (and any place), is not due to people of 60 or so living all those many years longer. Au contraire! It's been that young folks, from birth, now make it through young adulthood standing up. Vaccines and sulfa drugs and cleaner water and a host of other public health measures mean that an American baby in 2018 is better off than an American baby born in 1932. But not better than most OECD countries.

Here is a fellow thinker.
Life expectancy is calculated directly from death rates. And mathematically speaking, changes in infant mortality have a much greater impact on life expectancy than do changes in death rates in any other year.

Or, put more starkly:
More realistically, if death rates in the first year went up to 250 out 1,000 (which would be around the worst current day level, but well within historical ranges), life expectancy comes down from 79 to around 50, despite death rates at all other ages staying the same as in 2015 France.

17 June 2018

Thought For The Day - 17 June 2018

Just finished Bourdain's next but last (so far, CNN hasn't said how many season 12 episodes were finished and if so would be broadcast) episode, and did some innterTubes looking about, and came across a CNN piece where an anonymous CNNer allowed has how they should continue the show with a replacement reporter (or whatever Bourdain was; he denied being a journalist). I vote for Paul Theroux. I doubt he would do it, but he's as close to Bourdain as I've encountered.

Other nominations welcome.

13 June 2018

Neo Barnum

There are times, sometimes too many, when quant looks sheepish. This is one of those days. I have a few rules of thumb. One is that biopharma from the Boston-Cambridge axis is legit, while that of the San Diego version is garbage. I don't recall an instance where the latter has failed. But here's a case of the former proving false.
The biotech industry's Arctic ice-cube salesman Cristoph Westphal managed to raise $86 million Wednesday night in an initial public offering to develop a treatment for leg cramps made from food ingredients commonly found in your spice drawer and refrigerator.

That's one guy's assessment from three years ago. Here's today's results
... announced that the Company is ending its ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial investigations of FLX-787 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) due to oral tolerability concerns observed in both studies, in a subset of patients being treated, with the oral disintegrating tablet formulation at 30 mg, taken three times a day.

What was it Barnum said...? It should be noted that cinnamon, by folklore, is a cure for diabetes. And my PCP swears by magnesium, not potassium, for cramps. Works for me.

09 June 2018

Phil and Tony

In the early 1960s, Bobby Zimmerman left Lake Wobegon, became Bob Dylan and was annointed the angry young man singer-songwriter doing protest songs. In due time, we all figured out that he was just another pop singer. About the same time, a real protest singer, in the folk tradition, emerged. His name was Phil Ochs. In 1976, age 35, he hanged himself in the bathroom of his sister's house. His records, when he could get them made, didn't sell. Live gigs had dried up. He despaired of making a living. You can get his 'greatest hits' from Amazon. And you should.

Friday Anthony Bourdain did the same, only in a five-star hotel in Kaysersberg, France while recording an episode of "Parts Unknown" with Eric Ripert, one of his best friends. He had his crew with him. He was not isolated. He was wildly successful. But he left for parts unknown. Regular readers recall that I've said his show the best thing on the TeeVee, so it's unnerving to consider TeeVee without him.

You'll find all manner of tributes, including one I missed on CNN last night; I didn't know it was on. It'll be run Sunday at 10pm. You should watch. The scheduled episode will go on at 9pm. Whether the remaining completed episodes will be shown, I don't yet know. It is a bit unsettling watching the 'favorite episodes' as I write this. Still, it would be a shame if CNN withholds completed episodes.