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Coronavirus meets religion #1

Monday, March 16th, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — a quick miscellany ]
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The Vatican:

Starting fairly near home, depending on your flavor of the local religion, the Pope in Rome lives in the Vatican — an independent absolute monarchy wholly enclosed by Italy, and unable to escape the virus sweeping its host nation. The Vatican has now reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus.

The Pope, accordingly, has delivered his usual public Sunday Mass by video conference, and instructed the pries of the Catholic Church to attend to those affected by tea coronavirus.

Islam:

The Kaaba in Mecca, usually crammed with pilgrims, is almost completely empty.

The Shiite regime in Tehran has declared that that medical work is jihad — struggle, typically “in the way of Allah. The Mullah Khamenei:

I have already sincerely thanked physicians, nurses and medical teams, but I deem it necessary to thank all those dear ones once more. Certain phenomena were witnessed these days which are really and truly instructive for all of us and which indicate the sense of responsibility of our medical staff and their human and religious commitment in the country.

India:

Put face-masks on the gods / “idols”. This one’s Shiva, from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi:

**

Sending my best wishes to all..

Outbreak: Anatomy of a Plague

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — scientific [precision meets human error in cases of outbreak — with links to a terrific science thread by Palli Thordarson @PalliThordarson, and a great video titled Outbreak: Anatomy of a Plague ]

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Scientific clarity:

On the one hand, the science seems crisp and certain:

This diagram is taken from a fascinating twitter-thread on why soap works better on dissolving viruses than alcohol posted by Palli Thordarson, a chemistry professor at the University of New South Wales..

**

Human fallibility:

On the other, failures in human diagnostics, labeling, communications &c are far lrss reliable. I thought this quote, from the film Outbreak: Anatomy of a Plague, was worth repeating here:

In the buildup to great catastrophes, everything goes wrong: small things as well as big things go wrong. You have little misunderstandings and chains of misunderstandings. And some things we’ll never know the answer to..

This quote should make us tremble.

It is taken from plague historian Michael Bliss, in the movie Outbreak: Anatomy of a Plague, currently free o0n Amazoin Prime.

A Methodist Happiness Healthcare Ouroboros

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — on finding that the word hospital just might be related to the word hospitable ]
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Note that the name of the medical group is Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

**

The twenty-first century thinks in terms of optics; Christianity thinks in terms of the imitation of Christ. And it would seem from this ProPublica report that Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare isn’t doing terribly well on either count:

The thing is, there’s an ouroboric (snake-bites-tail-ish) quality to the situation. The same hospital group that is under-paying and under-insuring its workers is then over-suing them for their medical costs.

It wouldn’t be terribly good, from either a Christian or an optical perspective, if they were suing people who were too poor to pay, but who were employed by others. That would be simple thoughtless meanness, though, and since they’d not be responsible for the financial situation of their creditors, John Wesley, the Anglican pastor who founded Methodism as a revivalist movement in the English church, might shrug in his grave, knowing how things tend to be down or up here on earth, but not actually spin.

But Methodist Le Bonheur are the ones under-paying and under-insuring their own workers: they appear to control both ends of a vicious circle, and that’s why the headline above caught my eye.

See the vicious circle? That’s the snake biting its tail — that’s ouroboros.

**

Hmm.

The appearance is terrible — as, in these cases at least, is the fidelity to Christ’s teachings as reported in Matthew 25: 35-40 —

I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me .. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

It’s pure speculation, of course, but my guess is that there’s a layer or three of bureaucracy atop the medical staff, inhospitable to hospital-ity. And that’s the ouroboric vicious serpent in its essence: being inhospitable to hospitality

**

Le Bonheur is French for happiness, welfare, by the way.

Here’s aother way of phrasing the problem: those whose focus is on quantity all too often blind themselves to quality.

I fully expect Methodists do a great many (quantity) of good works (quality). What ProPublica reports here would not appear to be among them.

If you were reading the New Yorker after the Dem debate..

Friday, June 28th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — on excellence in writing with insight — Katy Waldman ]
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If you were reading the New Yorker after the Dem debate, you might have read [a], with [b] as a chaser, then worried that [c] —

  • John Cassidy, Joe Biden’s Faltering Debate Performance Raises Big Doubts
  • Jelani Cobb, Democratic Debate 2019: Kamala Harris Exposed the Biden Weaknesses
  • Susan Glasser, Kamala Harris Won in Miami, but Vladimir Putin Won in Osaka
  • But I hope you’ll conclude with [d], because I think it gets to the heart of the matter:

  • Katy Waldman, Democratic Debate 2019: Kamala Harris Is the Best Storyteller
  • It’s a much smaller piece, but right on the money. Consider:

    Onstage, Harris, the former prosecutor, distinguishes herself as a storyteller, who conjures up images as well as arguments in ways the other contenders do not. Answering a question about health care, she spoke of parents looking through the glass door of the hospital as they calculated the costs of treating their sick child. Answering a question about detainment camps for undocumented immigrants, she hypothesized about a mother enlisting the services of a coyote, desperate to secure a better chance for her kid. “We need to think about this situation in terms of real people,” Harris insisted. She certainly demonstrated her ability to do so—to imagine policy as embodied in actual American lives. That narrative instinct framed the most powerful moment of the debate. Criticizing Biden for his past lack of support for busing, Harris began telling another story. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”

    The New Yorker is celebrated for excellent writing with insight: Katy Waldman has insight — nicely done!

    29th in the series — more on Mueller Barr’d, but first —

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — including being mind blind, a flourish or two of Shakespearean trumpets, spawn and other hardball terms, the new Democratic reality.. a spin on the roulette wheel.. more ..]
    .

    Quick, from Rachel tonight 26 March:

    Barbara McQuade: The analogy I have made is, it’s as if you are the New England Patriots, and Tom Brady has been your quarterback all season and throughout the Super Bowl, and for the very last drive of the game, coach Bill Belichick puts himself in as quarterback instead. What on earth is that — I thought we had a game plan here. And to change it up into something so significant at the last minute like that, is not only strange, I think it is contrary to the purpose of the Special Counsel rule, which is to bring in someone who is independent, outside the chain of command in the executive branch, so that the public can have confidence in the decision, that it was free from political considerations. By stepping in, I think Bar has defeated that purpose here.

    Rachel: You now have me imagining William Barr in an oversize sweatshirt with the sleeves cut like cap sleeves and a big frown on his face – he does actually kind of look like Bill Belichick, which might be why you came up with that analogy, which would attest further to your brilliance.

    We do love our sports analogies, don’t we?

    Barbara McQuade: I don’t know whether he anticipated that William Barr would take the ball and run with it this way, or that Barr snatched it from him, so that he could, to continue our football analogy, even if Congress does want to look at this later for possible impeachment, he has now prejudged the evidence and put it out there in the public domain, that this is the decision, and so as football, for instant replay, to change the call on the field requires clear and convincing evidence, a much higher standard — because now the presumption is, that he’s been cleared, and so for Congress to come up with a contrary opinion, would appear to be a very politically motivated, unfair overturning of the original call.,

    **

    Well, there’s a start.

    Let’s go back, and pick up where we left off, with Chris Matthews and Hardball, 3/25/2019:

    vs:

    Okay. That’s the basic ping-pong, if I may use a sports metaphor myself..

    Onwards:

    Spawns is a great word..

    Chris Matthews:

    Why did Robert Mueller not decide? Why did he play Pontius Pilate here? Why did he pass the buck?

    Mimi Rocah:

    To quote my former boss, Preet Bharara, I think Mueller was punting the ball to Congress, and Barr swooped in and intercepted it and took it out to the bleachers.

    I don’t really have much in the way of mental imaging, I’m what’s technically (and recently) termed aphantasic — but those words brought a flash of football to me, utterly momentary, then gone..

    Mind blind.

    Chris Matthews:

    Spy vs Spy — let me picture it for me!

    Ah, yes, treasonous — a wonder word that exaggerates furiously, but doesn’t actually assert treason, the noun, the death-penalty offence.

    These six lied about their Russian contacts.

    Shannon Pettypiece:

    It [his spasm of fifty-odd tweets] has kept him in the spotlight, it has kept him out there, able to counter-punch, being able to stir up his base. If he doesn’t have that microphone..

    Co-equal. That sounds so Trinitarian, I wonder how the Constitution would have handled the executive, legislative and judicial “branches” of government if the conceot of tghe Trinity hadn’t been hard-wired into the mainstream mind by centuries of credal recitation..

    Rep Hakeem Jeffries:

    That’s not the House Democratic Caucus playbook, that’s the James Madison playbook, and so we’re well within our rights ..

    and

    Okay:

    Hardball’s the name Chris Matthews chose, meaning (implying) that he intends to play hardball with his guests, so this is a nice one where the implication is made explicit, and the ball is on the other foot — can I say that? — and it’s his guest who’s playing hardball with him.

    And Woodward’s a neat choice of guest, with an implied Nixon / Trump parallelism, as so often around the Mueller probe.

    Woodward, describing what DJT’s attorneys told him:

    You make things up. You lie. You’ll end up in a jump-suit if you testify

    >>>>>

    All of which leads to, sennet or tucket, ta-rah!!

    Chris Hayes, All In:

    Ah, yes, McConnell bars, Barrs, the release of the Mueller report:

    and Mueller punts:

  • Neil Katyal, The Many Problems With the Barr Letter
  • Ahem, Katyal authored the Special Counsel formulation.

    A too obvious pun, or excellent?

    A nice Russian Roulette instance:

    David Corn:

    We havbe this tossed ball on obstruction ..

    It’s very unusual for Robert Mueller, or a Special Counsel, to end upm in a tie..

    **

    Vaarious oddments:

    There’s a chyron somewhere:

    Trump allies celebrate end of Mueller probe, slam opponent5s

    Have I used that? Can I find it? It’s a good one..

    Okay..

    This one’s a useful quote on the prosecutorial process, the source maybe Hardball, with Barb perhaps speaking and Chris responding —

    We direct them at bigger targets. It takes a minnow to catch a barracuda, a barracuda to catch a shark. It’s a metaphor.

    I don’t fish..

    Not sure where this one came from, either — AMJoy 3/26/2019?

    While the President should be relieved, he’s still not ..

    I think it’s a bit early for a victory lap ..

    And now…

    Rachel, 3/26/2019, which is where we started:

    Rachel:

    If Trump now gets his way.. 21 million AMericans will lose all health insurance just like that..

    another 133 million, that’s half the country under the age of 65 wiloll get to take a spin on the roulette wheel ..

    Rachel

    :We got rid of that roulette wheel nine yers ago in this country with the Affordable Care Act..

    If Trump gets his way..

    **

    One final quote from Chuck Rosenberg, again, source unknown, but a treasure:

    These statutes, sometimes in their interpretation, are more art than science ..

    /


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