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Guest Post - Both Sides Do It

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.30.17

Minivet writes: Same ingredient, two demos:

Goop: Why am I so effing tired
Formulated with a variety of vitamins (including a high dose of the B's) and supplements--many sourced from ancient Ayurveda--this helps re-balance an overtaxed system. Replenishing the nutrients you may be lacking may improve energy levels and diminish stress.
Infowars: Brain Force Plus
Top scientists and researchers agree: we are being hit by toxic weapons in the food and water supply that are making us fat, sick, and stupid. It's time to fight back with Brain Force Plus, the next generation of advanced neural activation.

Heebie's take: This article is hilarious:


We at Quartz have created a compendium, from Ashwagandha to zizyphus, of the magical healing ingredients both sides of the political spectrum are buying, and how they are presented to each. We looked at the ingredients used in products sold on the Infowars store, and compared them to products on the wellness shops Moon Juice and Goop. All make similar claims about the health benefits of these ingredients, but what gets called "Super Male Vitality" by Infowars is branded as "Sex Dust" by Moon Juice.

but also lengthy and exhaustive. I've long described Heebieville as the place where the two sides of the spectrum meet around in the back - sort of hippie-libertarian-home schoolers who are aware enough to realize they should take a critical eye to everything, but not very clear thinkers once that critical eye is gazing. Maybe it's more widespread than I think.

Also on the subject of Alex Jones - there was a time when he seemed semi-useful for sheer questioning of everything. (Sort of like Julian Assange - there was a time when he seemed useful as a whistle-blower.) For example, I remember Jones harping on W's friendships with Saudi royalty after 9/11 and during the run up to the gulf war, when the MSM was all going, "Wait, are we pretending that Iraq and Afghanistan are the same place? We're all on the same page? You're not going to hang me out to dry? All right then, mushy WMD and a big blur of terror starting with WTC!"

Recently I saw an article about why you shouldn't bother arguing with conspiracy theorists - basically that their arguments are unfalsifiable, because all counterevidence is double-secret-probation-evidence of the depth of the conspiracy.

Some sort of trajectory happened over the past 15 years, where conspiracy theorists started out being correctly critical and sympathetic, although still nuts, and then became destructive and despicable - Sandy Hook, frex - and then gained this mainstream position of power by blending in with Brietbart and Bannon and now have measurable influence in the mainstream world. It's awful.


 

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San Francisco Meet Up and question

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.29.17

I'll be in town on July 5th for a meet-up, remember.

Question: Jammies and the Geeblets are flying back on the 5th, and I'm flying back on the 6th. Would it be easier to have a rental car or not have a rental car for that single day?

I basically extended my trip by an extra day just to see you monsters, so I hope you appreciate it. I also did that with my New York City trip in mid-July. I never seem to have trips where it's easy to see everyone at the bar for an evening, so finally I decided to put a lot of effort into doing so, for these two trips. (Which slightly raises the stakes - if no one shows up, I'll feel a little foolish for having done so.) (It's a trip, and a guilt trip!)(Mostly kidding.) But really, on the rental car?

Bump: so when and where would you all like to meet? Just tell me where to go. Anyone bringing kids or need special accommodations?


 

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Guest Post - Positive story from UC Riverside

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.29.17

Nick S. writes: About the college's successful efforts to create a positive experience for African American students:

The campus has one of the smallest racial achievement gaps in the nation. African Americans at Riverside graduate at rates similar to those of whites and Latinos and just below Asian Americans. The six-year graduation rate in 2015 for students who started and finished at UC Riverside was 73% for blacks, 71% for whites, 69% for Latinos and 77% for Asian Americans, according to campus data.
Other UC campuses have higher black graduation rates. But in a study this year of 676 public and private campuses, UC Riverside ranked first in California and sixth in the nation in outperforming universities with similar student populations. The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, said UC Riverside showed consistent success, with a 69.5% graduation rate averaged over three years (2012-2014), compared with an average of 48.4% at comparable universities, such as the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of North Carolina and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Click through to see lovely, joyful photographs (most from the recent Graduation ceremony).

Heebie's take: So how'd they do it? How'd they graduate so fast?

Chancellor Kim Wilcox said there was no secret formula, but he ticked off several key approaches. Adequate financial aid helps "ease anxiety and frees students to be students," he said. Diversity fosters a welcoming environment. Early interventions can arrest academic slides. And leadership opportunities help students feel empowered and connected to the campus.
"This is not magic," Wilcox said. "This is about a deeper ethos of respecting people of all stripes and giving everybody who has the interest, aptitude and energy the opportunity to come and study and learn."

Lack of financial support and staffing ruins so many necessary projects. Putting those aside, I've become more interested lately in how positive, productive cultures get built and maintained.


 

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At Whom the Media Clucks

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.28.17

This link has annoying music, but it's nice to see the issue boiled down so succinctly: I Don't Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People.

There are all kinds of practical, self-serving reasons to raise the minimum wage (fairly compensated workers typically do better work), fund public schools (everyone's safer when the general public can read and use critical thinking), and make sure every American can access health care (outbreaks of preventable diseases being generally undesirable).
But if making sure your fellow citizens can afford to eat, get an education, and go to the doctor isn't enough of a reason to fund those things, I have nothing left to say to you.
I can't debate someone into caring about what happens to their fellow human beings. The fact that such detached cruelty is so normalized in a certain party's political discourse is at once infuriating and terrifying.

Of course, that's just some shmuck on HuffPo, and not a Deep Serious Thinker clucking at NYT. But for real, all the other arguments we have with Republicans are just window dressing.

Recently Atrios was talking about which issues get covvered with a quiet volume and clucking and which issues get covered with screams and outrage:

Taking their queue from the top and decades of media letting Republicans lie about everything, they've realized they can just go on TV and lie about their plan to kill you in order to lower taxes for a tiny number of very rich people.
Reporters will respond "oh, but, we ran a fact check, we pointed out that people disagree..." And, yes, they're right, but the press can collectively turn "lying about important national policy affecting the entire country" into a kind of 24/7 thing they way "Al Gore 'lying' about inventing the internet" was, or they can just shrug it off as just another day in politics. Sure, they lied, but, hey, Hugh Hewitt says they didn't lie...
And, no, individual reporters aren't responsible for the collective, but I think individual reporters too often pretend the collective doesn't exist. Some stories go the Full OJ and some stories don't. No one person has the power to make that happen, but they all can choose whether or not this is, in fact, more important than Barack Obama not wearing a flag pin.

This is exactly right. The biggest problem with the MSM is the tone - what gets outrage, and what gets pleasant discussion about the curious differences between how different races get treated by police.



 

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Titties, Fast & Slow

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.28.17

1. This article starts out super predictably:

In a survey a few years ago, 92 percent of women said they had problems in the first few days of breast-feeding. They couldn't get the baby to latch onto the nipple. They had pain. Sore nipples. And they were worried they weren't making enough milk.
"This is just surprising because breast-feeding was a critical function for child survival in the past, and if you couldn't figure it out, your infant was going to be in really big trouble," Scelza says.
It's almost like in the U.S. we've lost the breast-feeding instinct. That Western society has somehow messed it up. Scelza wanted to figure out why: What are we doing wrong?

So she goes to a purer, simpler tribe in Africa to find out how pure people do it, unpolluted by Western excess:

Two-thirds of the women said they had some problems at the beginning, such as pain, fear, troubles getting the baby to latch and concerns about the milk supply -- just like American moms.
And their problems went behind breast-feeding.
"Most women talked about having little knowledge about early infant care, such as how to hold babies or how to be sure they're sleeping safely," Scelza says.

It turned out to be a quite grounded article. The difference turns out to be grandmothers: that the mother's mother plays a much more standardized role in helping the new mom figure it out. I ended up really liking the article.

2. 4 Button-Down Shirts That Will Make Your Harlot Tits Look Profesh. I laughed and laughed.

Via RHC, I think



 

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Living Quarters

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.27.17

We're staying in a rental house while they lift the house. It's maybe 900 square feet? Maybe 1000? What I would call a standard two bedroom/1 bath apartment. The kids' room is annoyingly small - we have to put three of the mattresses up every day, because they occupy all of the floor when down (and these are not adult size mattresses), but it's fine.

What makes the house tolerable is that it's not cluttered with all our stuff. On the other hand, what we all miss most is all our stuff. (If we actually lived in a 1000 square foot apartment, we would put a lot more thought into storage, and the kids would have their bunk beds, and we would not use up most of the living room with a pool table.) The other thing I miss is having two separate ends of the house for hanging out. (The bedrooms are in the middle.)

In conclusion: 2000 square feet is more pleasant than 1000 square feet for a family of 6, but 1000 square feet is not the end of the world. Those tiny houses that are no longer fetishized quite like they used to be: now those seem pretty unpleasant.

On the subject of housing, I think what this town needs most is boarding houses for very poor single mothers, with a cafeteria and a fulltime employee to help stay on top of organization. I think they should have two bedroom units, maybe 8 to a building, with a communal living room, and then several of these buildings around common building with a functional cafeteria, and some outdoor space with a playground. Well-subsidized. If I were a poor single mother in this town with a weak support system, that would help me stay sane and connected to other parents. It's never going to happen, of course.


 

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'Sup, remecourt?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.26.17

In order to preserve 40 comment topic purity on any and all prior discussion, I do hereby ordain and establish this here thread for the discussion of Supreme Court Decisions. Void where prohibited.


 

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Health Care, Fast & Slow

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.26.17

1. Ugh, the Senate vote. Apo repeatedly says elsewhere that all this hemming and hawing by moderate Republicans is just performance, and that there are currently zero moderate Republicans in the Senate. I think he's probably right, but that a big enough stink would cause them to waver on their re-election.

IMO, the real lesson for Senate Republicans is from the House vote: If the opposition rallies against you, just wait a month and try again. It takes tremendous energy from everyday, non-elected voters to wage these oppositions, and we can't do it over and over again.

So do I think the vote will pass this week? Not necessarily. But I think they'll wear down the activists by doing this month after month until it ceases to command attention, and then it will pass. It might screw up their reconciliation timeline, but since when has blowing through a deadline bothered Congress? They've got a million ways to stall and extend deadlines and do stop-gap measures.

2. One of the trainers at the gym is heading to Peru for one of these Ayahuasca-Shaman led guided weeks to turn yourself inside out and upside down. He's a really interesting candidate - a vet who is pretty straightlaced, but struggles a lot. (In general, I respect him a lot for struggling internally and not burying it in rightward talking points. He's definitely struggling, but is not kidding himself about that point, if you see what I mean.)

If I weren't a parent, I would do something like that in a heartbeat. In general, I am pretty damn risk averse, but that kind of thing just sounds like Disney World to me.


 

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ATM: How does one approach professional mental health care?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.25.17

Consul Caius Martius writes:

I've had, for about the last 12 years, periods of what I as layman would call depression. I'm not sure how consistent they've been in frequency or duration. Presently, they're maybe 1-2 weeks long at 1-2 month intervals. The worst I can remember was during college, lasting maybe 5 months; in hindsight, I think that one would qualify as clinical depression. I also procrastinate chronically, causing repeated dropouts and massive underachievement in college.

I've never been in any therapy before, apart from a couple of one-off sessions I attended unwillingly years ago; I know a little about psychology, from one year of study and random reading. From that, I have some prejudice in favor of psychiatry, as opposed to psychology. I've been to one introductory session, with psychologists. I think it went well, and was much easier than I expected.

The proximate cause of this is rage issues (I teach; students sometimes anger me). My manager suggested I go and get help. I think she is sincerely supportive,* but is also bound to protect the organization. I am otherwise good at my work; they've said essentially that they would have fired me already if I wasn't.

I told the psychologists everything above, but didn't mention the suicidal ideation, self-harm, and occasional heavy drinking; because I really wasn't willing to say that up front, and because they didn't ask, but also because I want to hold those facts in reserve in case I need to give someone a persuasive push somewhere down the road.

I pushed for medication; they said that drugs would make an immediate change, but that they didn't want to go that way: what you feel is what you are. I said I didn't like what I feel, and wanted to change it. (Which is true. I am very tired.) They didn't push back, and didn't seem affronted,* and will refer me to a psychiatrist. We agreed to further counseling combined with medication. I would have agreed anyway, tactically, but I did actually see value in the counseling; simply in answering questions I realized things I hadn't noticed before; for instance that (as best I can calculate) my job satisfaction on any given day tracks my mood, rather than vice versa.

I am an expatriate in a non-English speaking country, but there are English-fluent people available (my privilege, I cuddle it like a teddy bear). This is a land of single-payer, so money is unlikely to be an issue. All the therapists will work in hospitals rather than private practice, and I'm guessing will have limited flexibility in scheduling; I don't see these as issues, but that's the picture.

General comments? Advice? Specifically: withholding information? Gaming tests, which I could probably do if I tried? Figuring out drug regimens? Anger? I want to make this work. I didn't expect it, but I left that session with a glimmer of hope, which in retrospect I don't think I've had for years.

*But I can't read people for shit.

Heebie's take: I think medication plus therapy is the way to go, provided that you find a therapist that you don't think is dumb, and that you respect them enough to be basically cooperative and open-minded. I think one of the biggest hurdles is therapist-shopping, because each new appointment takes such a toll of hope/energy/re-hashing unpleasant questions that the idea of doing it 3 times and then picking a therapist is enough to just turn Netflix back on and binge whatever the depressives are binging on these days. (I would not enter it by booking three different appointments. Just book one, and if you are on the fence with the person afterwards, book one more, and trust that the profession has a wide, wide range of people practicing it.)

On withholding information: you are fully entitled to withhold information, especially at the beginning, when the therapist is still earning your trust and respect. Some people might feel comfortable disclosing all information up front, but if you don't, then don't. Same with gaming tests: the tests aren't the therapy, they're shorthand for acquiring information from patients in a systematic way. As long as you engage honestly and sincerely with your therapist when you find one you trust, then I would just do whatever feels most expedient and useful on the tests to get there.

Once you have a therapist that you trust and respect, you are on the hook to engage honestly and sincerely. There's no point in wasting everyone's time. On withholding information: it's okay to wait while you get to know the therapist, and then at a certain point, it would become counterproductive. You are not obligated, but I imagine there'd be a point where your System I and System II grow into conflict about it, and you'd have to sort it out.


 

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