Last February, I wrote with sadness about the death of longtime reader and offline acquaintance, Tom Freeland. Tom and his wife Joyce practiced law in Oxford, Mississippi. Though I mentioned Tom's love of Faulkner in my post, I didn't get into the specifics of Tom's connection with Faulkner.
The dead French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan came up elsewhere today, and I thought of something Noam Chomsky said in an interview. I don't imagine my readers will be much interested, but it cracked me up because my reaction to Lacan has always been: "what the fuck is he talking about?" I've read a lot of psychoanalytic theory, but Lacan sounds like gibberish to me. Anyway, I'll let Chomsky speak:
What you’re referring to is what’s called “theory.” And when I said I’m not interested in theory, what I meant is, I’m not interested in posturing–using fancy terms like polysyllables and pretending you have a theory when you have no theory whatsoever. So there’s no theory in any of this stuff, not in the sense of theory that anyone is familiar with in the sciences or any other serious field. Try to find in all of the work you mentioned some principles from which you can deduce conclusions, empirically testable propositions where it all goes beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old. See if you can find that when the fancy words are decoded. I can’t. So I’m not interested in that kind of posturing. Žižek is an extreme example of it. I don’t see anything to what he’s saying. Jacques Lacan I actually knew. I kind of liked him. We had meetings every once in awhile. But quite frankly I thought he was a total charlatan. He was just posturing for the television cameras in the way many Paris intellectuals do. Why this is influential, I haven’t the slightest idea. I don’t see anything there that should be influential.
A biotech company has been offering payments to academic researchers who cite them in scientific papers.
Here's an easy-to-use, electrocardiogram app that alerts the user to possible heart problems. Results can easily be shared with the user's physician. Cost of the system is about $75.00.
Used to be the US attracted the best and brightest to our shores while other nations complained about brain drain. Now we cultivate the best and brightest, but force them to leave once they're ready to contribute. Is that good, bad or does it make no difference?
30-40% of forest firefighters battling California blazes are prison inmates.
I missed this story about a survivor of ISIS sex-slavery, published by the NY Times in June. The details testify to the ability of human beings to rationalize absolutely anything they do as morally acceptable.
And today, The Times has another story about the religious enshrinement of rape by ISIS.
Here's a stepmother's disturbing account of dealing with middle school bullying of her stepson. I certainly have a some criticisms of how the situation was handled, but I wasn't there, and I don't doubt that this stepmom was doing the best she could. Meantime, her stepson had two legal parents who were perhaps too slow to engage, according to her telling of the story.
Much is being made of Sesame Street airing on HBO with delayed broadcast of episodes on PBS. I see the freakout over this development as much ado about nothing. In his post on the subject, Cory Doctorow suggests that the ability to charge a premium price for early viewing on HBO indicates that early viewers have an advantage that matters. I think he confuses the notion of market value with other notions of value that are more relevant in this case, for example, developmental value to children. Keep in mind, there are all sorts of premium purchases that people make that don't matter to their well-being or best interests.
CHICAGO (WLS) --Four purses were stolen during the middle of the day from a store on Michigan Avenue. They were worth $12,000, Chicago police said.
My guess is the perpetrators will be locked up by the end of August. Whether or not they're convicted and sentenced to prison time is another matter, but they'll probably sit in jail awaiting trial because they'll be unable to post bail.
If the robbers are tried and convicted, time spent in jail while awaiting trial counts toward any prison sentence that might follow.
"Four teens were charged after a four-hour standoff in the city's Lawndale [Chciago] neighborhood Sunday afternoon. Malik Earkins, 19, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, criminal trespass and criminal damage to property."
I Googled Mr. Earkins and found a June 2015 Tribune article about him. Earkins was mistakenly held in prison for an extra five months on a previous burglary conviction. He was released this past May. Mr. Earkins commented on the mistake:
"It sucks," Erkins, now 18, said in a recent interview at his home. 'There was no reason I had to spend an extra five months of my life in prison."
Perhaps the court can give him a five-month credit toward his next prison sentence.
I have no idea if the shooting of Christian Taylor was justified or not, but the implicit denial in this Tweet sickens me. On the night he died, Christian Taylor illegally entered a closed car dealership after midnight. Video shows him jumping on car hoods and smashing a vehicle windshield in the showroom. After that, he drove an SUV through the the showroom doors. According to police responding to this felony in progress, Taylor ignored their commands to drop to the ground.
In what universe, do those who see Taylor as an innocent victim reside?
Again, I have no idea if the shooting of Taylor was itself necessary or justified at the moment it occurred, but treating his 2014 tweet as some sort of prescient observation regarding the dangers faced by young black men is mindless bullshit.
Christian Taylor was not an innocent young black man, walking down the street, minding his own business. He was engaged in an off-the-charts bizarre crime at 1:00 am. He broke into a business, he destroyed other people's property and may have attacked police officers who were doing their job.
Of course, the shooting should be investigated and action taken against the officer who shot Taylor if the finding is that the shooting was unjustified. But for crap sakes, enough with treating Taylor as some innocent little boy who was gunned down in cold blood. If I was doing what he did, I'd expect that I might lose my life in the process. Why are expectations for young black men so damned low?
A group of men robbed the Nordstrom at Wabash and Grand in Chicago. The robbers jumped into their getaway car, which was, evidently, pointed in the wrong direction. The car made a hasty u-turn, spinning out on the sidewalk across the street. Then the car wouldn't start, The men jumped out and fled on foot.
Opencare.com called me again. It's one of those websites that allows patients to make an appointment online.
I never signed up for their site or zocdoc or any other online appointment site, but Opencare keeps calling me as if I'm listed with them. Each time they call, they say that they have patients who want to know if I'm accepting out-of-pocket payers. They want me to call back and either tell them that I'm not accepting new patients or update my information.
Of course, this is bullshit. Why would someone contact this company when they can easily contact me to see if I'm accepting patients? Moreover, no one ever calls to see if a doc accepts self-pay. Prospective patients call to see if you accept assignment of benefits with their insurer. But Opencare, a company I never signed up with, always seems to have several patients asking if I'm accepting self-pay patients.