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hunter's Journal
hunter's Journal
January 20, 2017

All sorts of wretched things happen in U.S. healthcare.

Doctors are increasingly forced to practice "assembly line" medicine.

The patients come through their offices and emergency rooms like chocolates on a conveyor belt.

It's a false kind of productivity.

My vacation to the psych ward was my second bounce. On my first trip to the E.R. they gave me some powerful meds and sent me on my way in less than 24 hours.

A week later I was in worse shape.

I don't really remember my first day in the psych ward because I was hallucinating so badly, and paranoid. I remember wandering the halls late at night when some cheerful nurse caught up with me and gave me some meds I just took without question. Then he led me back to my bed and I sat there for a time. There may or may not have been a blood draw too. I figured if they were going to kill me, with pills or needles, or anything else, that was okay. I was just done.

Since then I've been taking some pretty powerful meds, but they seem to be working, except for some of the OCD stuff I've always suffered, much of it useless. I've become very chatty here on DU, and I can chew on computer code for hours at a time, my current obsession being image processing and compression algorithms, especially those that require minimal cpu horsepower.

Once again I've learned how important it is to have a support network of family and friends because here in the U.S.A. the social "safety nets" are very unreliable or non-existent, especially for those of us who suffer more severe forms of mental illness.
January 18, 2017

The ACA has been good for the health insurance industry.

The ACA pulled the health insurance industry's feet out of the fire.

Other plans for reforming U.S. healthcare might have severely damaged their revenue streams.

The insurance industry doesn't want to go back to the way it was. I'm certain they've got their lobbyists pushing back against Republicans who would repeal "Obamacare."

That's what the optimistic voices in my head are saying.

The pessimistic voices are saying that we'll be getting our health care from Wal-Mart clinics managed by twenty-somethings who've had three weeks of training on how to enter your medical issues on a secure web page form, read the automated diagnosis, and have a prescription prepared for you. Each patient's electronic diagnosis will be signed by a doctor in India who will briefly examine the data and push one of four buttons, "Approve, Deny, Send-to-Specialty-clinic, or Call-an-Uber-Ambulance," thus examining hundreds of patients every day.

The Republicans will still be complaining about the piecework rates they are paying Indian Doctors, in spite of the fact these doctors are being paid ten cents per patient, and the patients are being charged fifty dollars for a doctor's services.

January 16, 2017

Imagine what kind of hell DU would be if MIRT didn't ban certain posters.

Read the comment section of any poorly moderated anyone-can-post news site. Anti-intellectualism, racism, and misogyny are still thriving in the U.S.A..

"Free Speech" doesn't mean I'm obligated to listen respectfully to vile gibberish. I'm certainly not obligated to provide a platform for it.

If anyone thinks MY words here are vile gibberish then they're welcome to tell me so or put me on "ignore."

The only time I ever demanded a respectful audience is teaching, and even then it's not about respecting me, it's about students respecting one another. Teachers enjoy a very limited freedom of speech anyways. A teacher who is not teaching the subject, or a teacher who is being a sexist racist asshole, or a teacher who is verbally abusing students, etc., will be fired. That teacher will lose their platform.

It amuses me to hear Breitbart bullies throwing temper tantrums like toddlers. "Waaaahhhhh! These people won't listen to me respectfully! Free Speech, Free Speech!"

The only people they're fooling is the morons who support them.

They are terrified that straight white males will lose the privilege of being listened to respectfully, no matter how vile the gibberish they are spewing.

They are very well aware of how they've disrespected everyone else and they don't want a similar disrespect heaped upon them.

Well too bad, they reap what they sow. They'll just have to grow a thicker skin and learn the language of righteous anger, just as all the groups they've oppressed have. If their anger is not righteous, and it's not, we have no ethical obligation to respect or tolerate their tantrums.

January 10, 2017

Let me guess... Evangelicals.


Their preachers told them that Trump is the Chosen One, and that's how they voted.

But other religions are not immune.

My parents used to live in a very Republican part of California. We'd go to Mass there occasionally when visiting and every time it was a diatribe against abortion, or gay marriage, and every other right wing talk radio meme of the week. Some of the older people were still complaining about Vatican II, and they'd kneel for communion, even a few who weren't even born then. I'm sure they hate Pope Francis, I'm sure they hate Hillary Clinton, and I'm sure they make Black and Hispanic visitors feel very uncomfortable.

We went to Mass enough times to know it was always like that. Plus, the priest was an asshole when my great uncle passed away. He did the bare minimum, going through the motions, and all but said he thought my great uncle was burning in hell so we shouldn't be like him.

But we had a nice wake. My great uncle had many friends and I'm sure he made the world a better place... which is more than I can say about that church.

I'm the worst heretic you know... I got that from my mom. She'd met a venal, chain smoking, hard drinking, and worst of all, leering priest when she was young and innocent and seventeen and she never got over it. Which is how she ended up with the Jehovah's Witnesses, until she declared war on them too. My own late teen and early adulthood religious experiences were the David Lynch version of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" that left me bleeding on the road after I jumped out of my girlfriend's moving car in Berkeley. I'm totally PTSD about it, and it's tripped me up a few times since, once when my wife and I were driving on the same street, and we were arguing about some stupid thing, and it all flooded back, and I jumped out of the car again, but not when it was moving, mostly because I was driving. And then again, another time...
January 9, 2017

My mom gave both my sister and me electric typewriters when we started college.

She'd made us all take typing in middle school. This was before computers. The skill served us well later on.

My mom's a master typist, she was probably among the fastest in the U.S. for a time She could transcribe tapes without pausing while editing along the way. Sometimes she'd hear us struggling to finish papers late at night in high school, tap.tap.tap...tap, and it would irritate her so much she'd get out of bed, shove us aside, and BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAP she'd finish typing the paper in two minutes. But it would cost us in peace of mind, she wouldn't be happy about it.

My original term papers were always cut-and-paste monstrosities. The magic thing about these typewriters was that they had a white ribbon erase feature so you didn't have to use liquid paper. I replaced that white ribbon much more frequently than the regular black ribbon. But my papers still looked like crap so I'd get them copied at Kinko's and hand in the copies. Professors and TA's sometimes balked at that until they saw what my originals looked like, or worse, suffered my handwriting. No one ever doubted I'd written the papers, my "I don't give a shit about grammar, I'm just hammering the words out" writing voice was unusual.

Then I discovered vi. It was a damned miracle, writing papers using a computer, and there was a spell checker too.

Soon enough I had my own computer, an Atari 800 (my favorite machine ever) and I traded some work for a nice Epson dot matrix printer. It completely changed my life. I even wrote a few printer drivers to make the printer do things the standard printer drivers couldn't do; simple math formulas and such. But the typewriter was still essential for filling out paper forms, especially since my handwriting was so awful.

When my kids were small they were more fascinated by the typewriter than they were my computers, learning how to change the paper and everything.

I gave the typewriter away years ago.

Even in grade school my kids were using computers to write book reports and papers.

January 7, 2017

I love old computers, they've got lot's of blinking lights and cathode ray tubes.

And men standing around being so attentive to something that has less computing power than a $3 kids toy at Wal-Mart.

Then again, I remember typing Fortran programs on punched cards. My mom had been prescient and made me take typing in seventh grade, even though there were only two guys in the class, both of us considered queer.

None of the other guys in my college Fortran class could type. There were two young women in the class, and they could type. We'd secretly laugh at the future engineers hunting an pecking, or begging others to punch the cards for them.

January 6, 2017

"Scary Black or Brown Person of the Day" is a regular feature of television news in the U.S.A..

That's one of the reasons I don't watch that crap. My television only plays movies. I don't suffer television advertising or propaganda.

I read the local newspapers and get my national and international news from more reputable sources.

The BBC is still pretty good, with some biases about international financial markets. They don't go looking for dirt in those. But they're not nearly so bad as NPR's constant groveling at the feet of Big Money. Oh, look, we have happy today, stocks are rising! Oh no, we have sads, stocks are falling!

News sources like CNN or MSNBC are just irritating. News-like stuff. Pasteurized process cheese product. FOX news is, of course, a public toilet that's rarely cleaned.

January 5, 2017

Frankly, it makes people feel "good" within certain kinds of social structures.

Especially those where "productivity" in shitty jobs is expected and rewarded, and in communities that are oppressive and, let's be honest, fucking boring.

It's a rare person who won't escalate their use of amphetamines in such circumstances.

Many of the problems of methamphetamines can be attributed to the illegality and gross impurity of illicit sources. As with all addictions, non-judgmental clinical assistance is the only reliable solution, even if that requires indefinite supervised use of prescription medicines or alcohol.

Paul Erdős, one of the great mathematicians of history, used amphetamines. But he had pure legal and quasi-legal sources and he never escalated his use. He tried not using amphetamines occasionally and felt that hurt his ability to do the math. I'd speculate he's one of the rarer people who could use amphetamines as an anti-depressant. Brain chemistry is a complicated subject.

Personally, I'm not fond of any drugs, legal or illegal, except maybe beer, and I can take that or leave it. I usually leave it when I feel I'm gaining fat and losing muscle. The first time I got drunk was in my twenties, while most alcoholics start drinking heavily in their teens. But I do have a dangerous family history.

I joke here on DU sometimes that when I want to get high, all I have to do is quit my meds, which are currently anti-psychotics and an anti-depressant. My own depression is not the stay-in-bed sort, it's the "I think I'll go swim with the sharks" sort. There's a strong OCD component to it. I used to run obsessively too, so much that my knees and hips curse me all day and night.

Back to your original post, I think the "War on Drugs" has killed and maimed too many people. It ought to be easy for anyone with an addiction to get help, without fear of entanglement with our sometimes barbaric legal system. We also need to start thinking about what's wrong with our communities and society that so many people suffer addiction.

If people were dying left-and-right of cholera, we'd want to know where it was coming from, we'd want to know the fundamental reason people are getting sick. Is our sewage treatment inadequate? What?

Addictions are just another illness, but maybe we don't want to know where that's coming from, maybe we don't want to know what's fundamentally wrong with our society. Or maybe deep down we do know, but we don't want to face it.

January 3, 2017

I wish we'd stop pretending the U.S.A. is some kind of first world social democracy.

It's not, and it never has been.

Our elections are crooked and our people oppressed.

Sure, millions of white guys had it good for a time, mostly thanks to strong unions and FDR, but even that is fading away.

Progress like rural electrification, the interstate highway system, the Apollo moon landing... we're told those types of projects are somehow impossible now. We can't have internet for everyone, a national health care system, free college and trade schools, all these things other nations have accomplished... why?

It's just fucking sad.

Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 37,978

About hunter

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.

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