Backtalk, Part 2

The Thinker by Rodin

Time for more belated replies to dated comments.

  • To Kim, on my post Psychiatrists agree: Republicans are insane. The title of this post could perhaps be improved because insanity suggests randomness and a lack of culpability, not deliberate malice. In this latter sense, I don’t think Republicans are insane. I wrote another post suggesting that Republicans were sadists. This is closer to the truth. I went further on Facebook and suggested Republicans were “a bunch of filthy sadists”. Perhaps the truest thing that can be said about them is that they are almost wholly lacking in empathy for anyone not like them. Inability to feel empathy also suggests a psychopathy. This was borne home to me yesterday in conversation with my wife, who recently saw her ophthalmologist. Her ophthalmologist was promoting the ideas of Rep. Paul Ryan, specifically his suggestion to reform Medicare by giving senior vouchers to provide health insurance. She was all for it, and cared not a whit if it didn’t buy them the services they needed. I guess the Hippocratic Oath is now optional reading in medical school. Sadly, I suspect she is representative of most physicians I have interacted with. If anyone should care about relieving suffering, you would think it would be a physician. I fear for our nation since it is full of people in charge with such callous and cruel natures.
  • To bruce, on my post The potential of Google Visualizations. The technology is very neat but I am sorry to say it is not catching on, which is a shame. What is catching on is jQuery, arguably a more generic approach. jQuery graphics is just one aspect of using this Javascript framework. We (the unit I manage) are betting on jQuery, in part due to its wide use and endorsement by Google, and are embedding it into our user interface.
  • To spleeness, on my post Rep. Chris Lee fails Infidelity 101. I think politicians by their nature are drawn to risk, so I am not surprised the hornier of them are drawn toward infidelity. Like Las Vegas gamblers, most assume their skill and charms will allow them to beat the odds. Until, as in the case of John Edwards this week, infidelity not only becomes immoral but also could land you in prison with a felony.
  • To Dave Gunderson, on my post The View at 54. I am now less than a year away from being able to retire. All civil servants should be very nervous about their retirements and pensions, old CSRS types like us included, and plan a second career after retirement, for you are likely to need the income. My feeling is that we are going to have the rug pulled from under us, and soon. I am asking my financial advisor to let me know how my retirement would look like if my pension were reduced by a quarter. I can easily foresee the day when, using the excuse of our indebtedness, a Republican Congress and President declares the country bankrupt and all federal pensions null and void, treating us just like autoworkers. Keep putting as much money as you can into the Thrift Savings Plan and other investments, my friend. I get the feeling that whatever budget package results from deficit talks that are underway, federal workers will be considered the most expedient to hit. Expect taxes to rise for federal workers under the guise of pay cuts and being forced to contribute more toward your own retirement. There may be pension cuts as well, including for those already retired.
  • To Anonymous, on my post The rags to riches myth. If I could rewrite the post, I would add a few asterisks. Like all myths there are germs of truth. Oprah Winfrey, for example, defied virtually all odds. However, she is one in three hundred million Americans; you have much better odds of winning the lottery. President Abraham Lincoln beat the odds too, but you can rest assured that he would not today, and the Illinois Supreme Court will not give an uneducated person a law license by simply appearing before them and looking intelligent enough to practice law in the state. No doubt, they want an endorsement from the American Bar Association today.
  • To Erik, on my post Psychiatrists agree: Republicans are insane. I believe in karma, and the United States will pay in lives, treasure and possibly in the loss of our nationhood for the harm we inflicted in so many places, including most recently Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m selfish enough though to hope I’ll be dead before then, but I think it is already underway and is being evidenced, in part, by our declining standard of living.

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