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Treating Meniere’s & Its Symptoms

All about Meniere’s Disease. Updated periodically.

When I’m questioned about why I’m retired already, or when someone airs doubts like are you really disabled? the subject of Meniere’s disease is bound to surface. It is bound to surface because Meniere’s disease is the answer to both questions. If you just stumbled across this article on my blog and want to know what is Meniere’s disease? I’ve never heard of it. I can understand that feeling. I’d never heard of it before its symptoms wrecked my life.

Continue reading “Treating Meniere’s & Its Symptoms”

OHM GDP Shrinkage

This is the news that the Orange Hate-Monkey doesn’t want anyone to notice right now. This is what has his rapidly thinning hair on fire.

The Indicator from Planet Money – GDP -32.9%???!!! – July 30, 2020

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released second quarter gross domestic product data today. The number shows how much the economy has grown in a given quarter. And in the second quarter, the BEA says, the American economy grew at an annualized rate of…wait for it…negative 32.9%.

…this is why he is talking about postponing or cancelling the elections in November. It isn’t because of the COVID hazards. It isn’t because of any other reason that people might toss around in an attempt to obscure his motivations.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

The OHM knows that the economic success of the average American is what they will be voting on in November, those people who aren’t interested in politics, health or climate change anyway. Everyone else (the average wage-earner) is going to vote on their own economic status, and right now the average person’s economic status is not good.

They’ve been out of work since March. They have rent due. They are running out of food. They are terrified of catching the plague that is sweeping the nation. Too terrified to send their kids to school, with good reason. The economy is melting down all around us and the Party of Trump is busy trying to talk about budget overruns and how we can’t afford to keep paying people to stay at home as if they have any choice in the matter now.

The Democrats are rolling out election strategies in states they haven’t even bothered to contest in decades. They are campaigning all across the nation in ways that haven’t been seen before, their candidate running double-digit polling projections. Remembering 2016, the Democrats will not lay back and expect votes from average working people. They are going to go out and ask these people to support them, and they probably will.

The OHM has to know that this is not good news for him. He is smart enough to see that writing on the wall. That is why he is talking about postponing the election. Plain and simple. Nevermind that he can’t do it. He will try every trick that he can utilize to see that the election, when it occurs, is contested. This is why he is talking about the insecurity of mail-in ballots. This is why he will roll out the specter of brown people voting against him. Non-citizens voting. He will try to tamper with the counts, stop counts from happening, stop the mail service from delivering ballots.

None of this matters aside from the parlour game that it has been and will be. Oh, he’ll do any number of things to try to stay in office, but unless he can make the count go his way, he ceases to be president on January 20, 2021 anyway.

Why is this? Because the system is more than the election. Barring a winner in a contested presidential election, on January 20, 2021 the president of the United States will be Nancy Pelosi. He can’t stop this from happening. A majority holding for the Trumpists in the Senate can’t stop it. His term of office ends on that day, and the presidency will pass to the successor to the office.

Then the real work begins, for the first time in I don’t know how many years. New Year’s Eve can’t come soon enough to suit me this year.

Featured image: Screenshot from fred.stlouisfed.org

COVID-19 is Airborne

This Viewpoint suggests that infection control guidelines should be re-evaluated to account for the predominance of small particles within infectious aerosols. Protective devices available to health-care workers have a range of protection, increasing from surgical masks to filtering facepiece respirators to powered air-purifying respirators. Although these are indicated for close encounters, their limitations highlight the need for improved administrative controls, such as more rapid diagnosis and isolation, and the development of vaccines and treatments. These data support calls for the recognition of aerosol (ie, traditional airborne) transmission of SARS-CoV-2.144 This could facilitate the use of enhanced dilution and directional ventilation and other environmental control options—eg, air disinfection with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation,145 which might be especially helpful in congregate settings such as nursing homes. Implementation of improved infection control measures could prevent future morbidity and mortality among health-care workers.

thelancet.com

It is airborne. I wish they would just come out and say the word airborne in the media that is targeted at the general public. The average person isn’t going to care about the vagaries of the scientific definition of airborne. A reproduction rate over 5 (which COVID can have) means that the transmission is functionally airborne. Why quibble over the semantics?

If airborne transmission were shown to be a major factor, some experts have suggested it could be helpful to wear masks indoors, even in settings where social distancing is being enforced; that tighter regulations may be needed for ventilation and air conditioning to minimise recirculating air; and that it may even be appropriate to install UV lights in some buildings to guard against potentially infectious particles.

theguardian.com

This article from the New York Times details investigations into methods of transmission aboard the Diamond Princess back in January. Nothing short of a properly adjusted N95 mask or multiple layers of cloth over the mouth and nose will keep you from catching the disease when someone is standing next to you has it. This makes Trump’s fumbling of the supply chains even more damning than I initially thought it was. If masks had been mandatory and available early, a good portion of the deaths we have seen across the country could have been avoided.

nytimes.com

150,000 Dead

My not liking the OHM is perhaps the understatement of the century. I lack the words to describe the volume of revulsion that I feel when contemplating that piece of shit and the cost that he has inflicted on our country since he stole his father’s empire, bankrupted thousands of craftsmen and designers, shat in the heads of every person to watch his inane reality TV program, blustered his way into the office of the president and then killed a hundred and fifty thousand of my fellow Americans as effectively as if he smothered them all himself. If you could find a phrase that could summarize that much loathing and hatred in fewer words than I’ve used here, my hat is off to you.

Facebook (Twitter – Nathan McDermottEvan Brechtel)

There's a headline I bet you never expected to see. But, Goddamm, if it's not the perfect summation of the world we now live in.

Posted by Jim Wright on Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Facebook – Stonekettle Station

It’s been three years now. In order to get a sense of the history of what OHM means, I will link a few crucial posts. I wrote The Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) when it became clear that the Republicans were going to nominate Donald Trump.  I wrote The GOP Cuddles Up To the NSDAP when the GOP refused to ostracize the OHM for his dangerously xenophobic populism. I wrote Caveat Emptor on the day Trump lied with his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the US constitution. I wrote Bullshit is Bullshit on the day I stopped even trying to catalogue the blatant disregard of the truth by the OHM. It mystifies me why people still listen to him, and why the OHM still holds the office of the president. #MAGA means Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans. Anyone who believes differently is a MAGA themselves, otherwise known as a Stormtrumper, h/t to Berkeley Breathed.

Break Up Big Tech?

I keep hearing that phrase. We need to break up big tech. Today Robert Reich released a video about it.

Why We Need to Break Up Big Tech

For the first time ever, Big Tech CEOs are testifying in the House of Representatives today as part of Congress' investigation into their anticompetitive practices.If Jeff Bezos can add $13,000,000,000 to his wealth in a single day during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, I think it's safe to say Amazon has too much monopoly power.Break up Big Tech.

Posted by Robert Reich on Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Facebook – RBReich

It is easy to say “break up big tech”, But how do you do it? We don’t want a bunch of balkanized Facebooks that don’t share a common user base. What would be the point of that? Should Whatsapp and Instagram be peeled off of Facebook? Without a doubt. Those purchases should never have been allowed in the first place, and Facebook should be required to open up its API so that outside contributors can get access to Facebook’s user base. But is that breaking up Facebook?

The same is true of Amazon. You could break storage and delivery services up, but then you increase the cost to the purchaser. Is Amazon proving its worth during the crisis? Without a doubt. What people who talk about Bezos’ wealth always leave out is how much he pays himself for his time. $81,840 is his actual salary (h/t to BusinessInsider.com) There are far, far worse CEOs in the world. Truly deplorable people who not only shouldn’t be wealthy, but should also probably be in prison (yes, I am looking at you Donald Trump and all you little Trumps and Kushners, too) The fact that Amazon has increased in value during the pandemic is an economic affirmation of Amazon’s real worth, as opposed to the imaginary value of stocks on the stock market as a whole.

How many CEOs get paid hundreds of millions to run companies that haven’t increased in value by billions of dollars? Maybe we should be looking at taking away their lavish compensation packages. Clearly they don’t deserve the kind of money that they are being paid.

In the same vein with Amazon and are the co-owners of Google. They too don’t get paid lavish salaries. Like Facebook, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, should have its investments put under a microscope, and some of their shadier advertising practices should be subject to fines, because they are already illegal. But how do you break up a search engine and not render it useless for conducting searches?

Breaking up monopolies only works if those monopolies are artificial monopolies. We established this with the breakups that were forced on Standard Oil and AT&T in previous decades. Rockefeller still made out just fine after Standard Oil was broken up, and most of those companies have merged again into the behemoth known as Exxonmobil. Why aren’t they charging usurious prices now that they’ve re-established their near-monopoly status? Because they aren’t the only players on the block when it comes to energy production, and they know they could be broken up again.

AT&T also reformed itself, and few people seem to care or even notice that it happened. Why? Because the problem, the cost of long-distance phone calls, went away with the creation of mobile phone technology.

So what is the solution? Regulation. We need to be writing regulations to guide these internet companies going forward. That means we need a government that functions at the legislative level, and we need a government that can’t be bribed by industry. In short, the average American needs to stand up and make government pay attention to them and not pay attention to the companies waving dollars in their faces. Replace the representatives that have been shown to be too easy on businesses, that can be shown to be too comfortable taking large sums of money from corporate donors.

We need to institute a standard of employee ownership of every publicly held corporation, ensuring that workers in any company will be paid what the workers think is a fair wage. Completely change the nature of worker/employer relations by giving the employees a seat at the management table. That will help address the problems of homeless working poor.

But we need more than that, too. Rental costs in cities are too high. Property valuations are completely out of whack. As I’ve heard a number of times in my podcasts this week, macroeconomics is broken. We can’t explain what it is we are experiencing as we go through this pandemic, from an economic perspective.

We need to focus on the here and now. How do we keep people in their homes when they have no income and no job prospects on the horizon? How do we keep people fed? Those are the most important questions right now. We’ll get to Bezos and his billions later, he can be assured of that. Let’s deal with the crisis in front of us first. We might need his help with that.

Trump the Demented

“It seems like if you leave a dementia test bragging about all the extra points you got on your dementia test, you have dementia.”

Jessi Klein

Person, Man, Woman, Camera, TV has been making viral rounds this week. I couldn’t bring myself to care long enough to even figure out what that Orange Hate-Monkey bullshit was about. I did try though. I got two minutes into,

The Late Show with Stephen ColbertTrump Proves His Cognitive Abilities With Five Magical Words: Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV – Jul 23, 2020

…and just gave up. Too much OHM lip-flapping, not enough humor. Today (Sat. July 25, 2020) with hints from,

‘Wait Wait’ For July 25, 2020, With Not My Job Guest Padma Lakshmi

I was able to deduce that the OHM is still bragging about how well he did on the dementia test they gave him, two weeks after the bomb dropped that they had tested him for dementia but didn’t bother to tell the American people about it for two years.

Facebook

Fresh Air – Mary Trump, The President’s Niece – July 23, 2020

Suggested reading:

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump Ph.D.

I listened to the entire book last week. It was an interesting listen if only marginally about Donald Trump himself. It was more about the monster that was Fred Trump, and how that monster drove his eldest son into the grave while twisting the minds of the rest of his children. Creating the fascist demagogue that we know as Caudito Trump, the Orange Hate-Monkey in the process. Donald Trump is exactly who his father made him to be. Ruthless. Vindictive. But he is also what he was when he was sent to military school. Slovenly. Empty-headed. Narcissistic.

Mary Trump would say (and did say in the book) that her Uncle was unfit for the office of president. As a doctor with first-hand experience with him, she should know.

Mencken: the American Iconoclast by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers

John Lewis

Our actions entrench the power of the light on this planet. Every positive thought we pass between us makes room for more light. And if we do more than think, then our actions clear the path for even more light. That is why forgiveness and compassion must become more important principles in public life.

John Lewis

hat/tip to:

brainpickings.org
nytimes.com
ABC NewsBarack Obama’s eulogy for Rep. John Lewis – Jul 30, 2020

Imposter Syndrome

Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things.  And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name*. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

Neil Gaiman

hat/tip to Eric Buck

It’s a Mystery

I’ve been putting myself to sleep listening to Phoebe Reads a Mystery ever since the pandemic forced us all indoors back in March. This is no coincidence. Phoebe Judge has been reading a chapter a day from classic mystery novels since the day that she had to shelve/modify her plans for the next season of her two podcasts Criminal and This is Love.

I wondered at where her knowledge of classic mystery novels came from until this morning when I listened to this episode of Criminal while trying to make my sinuses clear so I could put the CPAP mask on and finally be able to sleep.

StitcherCriminal – Episode 75: The Gatekeeper – 9.22.2017

My fingers just itch when I see something that says ‘murder.’

Marilyn Stasio

In that episode of the show featuring the writer of the Crime column that still can be found in various daily newspapers (including the NY Times) Phoebe mentions two or three of the novels that she has been reading over the course of the last three four months.

I cut my eyeteeth on trashy mystery novels. I read through every copy of the Hardy Boys mystery series that was on hand at the Leoti library. I then went on to read a good portion of Nancy Drew. From there I read nearly all of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I never read Agatha Christie. I think I grew tired of the mystery novel when the sheer number of mystery novels seemed to blur together after a while. Pulp fiction is like that. Instead I moved on to Tom Swift and then to non-serialized fiction, finally settling on a fondness for what would probably be called hard Science Fiction.

I still love a good mystery when I can find one, which isn’t often. I liked the Da Vinci Code as I have mentioned previously on the blog. The problem with Dan Brown (like the pulp authors of yore) is that he only knows one kind of mystery story to tell, and so he retells it over and over again in each novel that he writes. I’ve sworn off reading anything else he writes because of previous experiences with his work.

I started in on reading the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson. I had gone so far as to buy hardback copies of his first three books after watching the first movie adaptation, but like so many of my later book purchases they have gone unread for years. I’ve only recently discovered that I have a hard time reading other people’s words on the printed page. I’m not sure why this is but I’m going to blame Meniere’s for it until I can find a better explanation.

The Wife had a subscription to the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine right up until the last few years when we let most of our remaining subscriptions to periodicals lapse. She reads on her Kindle now. I have listened to all of my books since discovering my reading problem. I wish I could still find pleasure in reading, but can’t.

Now that I’m listening to someone else read the story, I’m less inclined to judge a story harshly (see Bucky Dent) I judge more on the quality of the voice than I do the overall content of the story. As long as I can get the story to make sense in my head I will probably stick with the reader to the end. Phoebe Judge has that quality of voice. Much like Maria Hinojosa, I will listen to Phoebe Judge read just about anything.

Having said that, I’m finding I like Agatha Christie’s works as read by Phoebe. I hope that Agatha Christie Limited (as Phoebe discusses in this episode of the Mystery show) doesn’t get in the way of her reading more of Agatha Christie’s work to us in the podcast. I’d hate to have to find someone else to read it to me, and I doubt that I would be as happy with their voices as I am with Phoebe Judge. Would saying please help?

People should be interested in books, not their authors

Agatha Christie

Grant Imahara

I liked the challenge of designing and building things, figuring out how something works and how to make it better or apply it in a different way. When I was a kid, I never wanted to be James Bond. I wanted to be Q, because he was the guy who made all the gadgets. I guess you could say that engineering came naturally.

Grant Imahara, dead at 49
Twitter – Adam Savage
Twitter – Kari Byron

Television was never the same without Mythbusters. Mythbusters would never have been Mythbusters without Grant. We’ll miss you.

Remembering Grant Imahara – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 7/14/20