Category Archives: Uncategorized

Honor Harriet Tubman By Making a Better World (aka bye-bye modern slavery)

Laura Nicole Diamond

As we turn our national attention to Harriet Tubman today, following Secretary of Treasury Lew’s announcement yesterday that her image will replace Andrew Jackson’s on the $20 bill, it brought many questions to mind, about Harriet Tubman herself, and what meaning she has for us today.

What riotous imagination did it take to envision a life and world impossibly different from her present circumstances? To imagine freedom, having lived only slavery?

What deep well of bravery must she have plumbed to choose to fight for that life, knowing that failure meant torture, then death? And what deep wells of compassion, conviction, and still more bravery must she have had to turn around and help others do the same?

Or perhaps bravery is not required when the fight you undertake feels more like a compulsion than a choice?

And, for us…What kind of imagination will it take to envision the world we want — without war, without refugees, without hunger, without catastrophic pollution?…

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Distribution of the slave population of the southern United States, 1860

Rapid Notes

Percentage of Slaves by U.S. County, 1860

I find the numbers incredible. South Carolina and Mississippi had more slaves than free citizens!

Census of 1860

In September of 1861, the U.S. Coast Survey published a large map, approximately two feet by three feet, titled a “Map showing the distribution of the slave population of the southern states of the United States.” Based on the population statistics gathered in the 1860 Census, and certified by the superintendent of the Census Office, the map depicted the percentage of the population enslaved in each county. At a glance, the viewer could see the large-scale patterns of the economic system that kept nearly 4 million people in bondage: slavery was concentrated along the Chesapeake Bay and in eastern Virginia; along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts; in a crescent of lands in…

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The Dirty Secret about CPR in the Hospital (That Doctors Desperately Want You to Know)

K.V. Scruggs

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A few things have changed in medicine over the last few decades. Okay, a lot has changed, and most of it good. But along with the improvements in patient care there has been an exponential increase in expectations. We’ve somehow gone from “your loved one has a life threatening illness and we will do what we can to treat it and in the meantime ensure they don’t suffer” to “your loved one has a life threatening illness that we have the capacity to cure, and if we don’t we will have done something wrong.”

The problem is, last I checked, everyone dies. Let me say that again for good measure. Everyone. Dies. The problem is not with that truth alone, but with the fact that patients with terminal illnesses – and their caregivers – rarely understand their mortality. And when patients and families have unrealistic expectations about what their doctors…

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Protests, Incitement, and You: A Primer

Since I’m not an attorney, my opinion about Trump not suffering a loss of “free speech” even when protested, is unqualified. Here’s a more qualified explanation of what is and isn’t covered by the First Amendment, for the enlightenment of general readers.

The Hipcrime Vocab

First, a disclaimer. Although your Mulligan is an attorney licensed to practice in the district courts of the United States, nothing in here should be taken as legal advise, and is presented for educational purposes only.

Second, we need to talk about candidate speeches and protests. Candidates from all sides of the aisle have seen their political rallies interrupted this election season. Some of these candidates have reacted better than others.

So what are the legalities of this situation? Have a primer.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Very few people actually understand what the First Amendment and “free speech” or “free expression” mean. The first, and most important, lesson here is that the First Amendment only applies to government action. That is, no private entity, be it corporation or person, can violate your free speech rights. If your neighbor kicks you out of his backyard barbecue because your speech offends him…

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Viewing Primaries as a Sale

It’s an interesting primary season in the USA. There’s nothing unique about it if you have a decent education in our history, or world history. But people want their own lives to be momentous and unique, and they will cling to that illusion in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary. That’s the problem with logic. It doesn’t provide as much adrenaline as emotion does. Trade, the process of buying and selling, is what emotionally engages most people.

I’m an odd duck, by my nature, training, and experience. When I complete an exam and end up with superior diagnostic views of a difficult patient, the doctor and I trade “high fives”. I get the same rush as if my home team won the Super Bowl. But before and during the actual exam, I’m in a logical headspace, calculating radiation dosage, distance, part thickness, tissue composition and photographic factors needed to produce the best images. Because I’m hyper-focused on the math and science, things like a wounded patient’s cries, or the wiggliness of a five year old with pneumonia don’t distract me. I do the job. It’s a kind of meditation exercise.

I tend to employ similar methods when I vote. I do research, read and watch interviews, carefully go over candidate web sites, trying to extract facts from the sales pitches. I’m not immune to appeals to my emotions, but they had better be smart, backed by facts, and honest. When candidates employ half-truths, I hold the behavior against them, like a grudge. I don’t like feeling like I got “sold” a candidate. I want it to be my unfettered choice to support or oppose them. But I think I’m atypical. I believe most people enjoy it when candidates give them attention. And it affects their vote choices.

Political campaigns are not run like scientific professions. They try to employ some science, internal polling, demographic strategies and such, but most of the money and effort go into persuasion, marketing, branding and affirmations of allegiance – all ways to appeal to emotion. In sales, this is the IQPC Model: Intro, Qualify, Pitch and Close. These are “Four Steps to a Sale” practiced by millions each day. There are other versions of this concept, but this is the one I learned working in retail sales many years ago:

1.) INTRO – You manage and control the first impression, greet the customer (voter) warmly with a word or two about yourself, establishing your desire to be helpful while inviting them to engage further.

2.) QUALIFY – Through questions, you (the seller) gain a quick understanding of the customer’s (voter’s) desires, needs and their budget. This allows the seller to separate those most likely to buy from “looky-loos” (uncommitted browsers).

3.) PITCH – The seller presents the product in a way that most closely matches the goals of the prospective buyer (determined by the qualifying questions).

4.) CLOSE – The seller asks the prospective customer to commit to the sale. Closing is the most important step, and there are different styles and methods for closes.

There are lots of ways to derail a successful sale. The seller may offer a poor INTRO, after which all efforts will be more difficult. The QUALIFY may be mismanaged by asking questions that do not provide enough information about what the customer needs, wants, and if they are willing and able to buy. The PITCH will not be persuasive if it ignores the customer’s goals, or can’t fulfill them. More sellers fail when CLOSING than at any other point in the process, because asking for the sale is harder than chatting and getting to know each other.

There are lots of ways to analyze political candidates. You can view them through the IQPC lens too, since voting is a type of transaction, a sale. Here are my short performance reviews of some recent and current presidential candidates, according to the Four Steps model:

Carly Fiorina, businessperson, former candidate for Senate

INTRO = 50/50. Good backstory that was partly deceptive.

QUALIFY = Poor. Failure to judge customer needs.

PITCH = Poor. Misjudged voters interests based on poor Q.

CLOSE = Could not close after two previous missteps

 

Ben Carson, retired Neurosurgeon

INTRO = 70/30 Excellent backstory marred by probable deception.

QUALIFY = Poor estimation of customer goals and desires

PITCH = Worst of entire field of candidates

CLOSE = Unable to close due to previous mistakes

 

Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey

I = Poor. Entered transaction with reputation as a bully/RINO

Q = 50/50 Misjudgment of customer interest in aggressive policy approach

P = 50/50 Adept in debates but off-putting behavior soured the sale

C = Passed customer off to another salesperson

 

Ted Cruz, Senator from Texas

I = 70/30 Good resume impacted by co-worker dislike

Q = 70/30 Good rapport, but over-focus on select clientele

P = 70/30 Good pitch for target clients, bad for general custom

C = Making the sale is possible, but not probable

Donald Trump, Real Estate tycoon, TV performer

I = 50/50 A mix of obvious virtues and obvious flaws

Q = 70/30 Good customer evaluation, mistreatment of browsers

P = 50/50 Oversimplification, only convincing to some

C = Best closer of any GOP candidate. Sale (nomination) likely.

Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont

I = Good intro. Consistent

Q = Good qualifying questions

P = 70/30 Overly narrow focus on some customer needs, not all

C = Possible sale, if able to broaden appeal of product.

 

Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, former Senator

I = 50/50 Lots of positives and negatives (see Trump).

Q = Encyclopedic understanding of customer needs and desires

P = 80/20 Tendency to oversell, diminishing effectiveness of message

C = Probable sale, definite if able to refine pitch

These are my perceptions, but my readers are “above average”. I know you don’t see everything exactly as I do, and I celebrate those differences. Nothing would please me more than if you offer your own opinions of how these or other candidates have done, according to the Four Steps model. (That was a quick pitch and close.)

 

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How Single Payer Healthcare Works and What’s Been Going on in Britain

Benjamin Studebaker

Today I’d like to get at some of the deeper intricacies of single payer healthcare systems by telling you a story about what’s going on with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). If you’re American, this post will shed some light on how Bernie Sanders’ system potentially works. If you’re British, this is where you’ll get my view on the junior doctors’ strike and what the conservatives are trying to do with the NHS.

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Wage Peace, Not War!

Frugalchariot's Blog

“The evil that men do lives after them;
the good is oft interred with their bones.”
(William Shakespeare)

Way back in the late sixties I happened across an article that caught my eye: “Wage Peace, Not War!” the title read. The article itself was in a science or engineering monthly (can’t remember which  one), so the title seemed a bit out of place — but the concept implicit grabbed me (I was, at the time, about as anti-Vietnam as anyone could be) and hasn’t let go since. Then just this week up pops this on Think Progress:

Veteran Confronts Chris Christie About The Military Industrial Complex

Feb 3, 2016

(U.S. Navy veteran Will) Thomas, a New Hampshire native and voter in next week’s critical primary election, has been trying to nail down the candidates visiting his state on how they would pursue peace, not war, if…

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