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Gender: Female
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 01:04 PM
Number of posts: 85,373

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Weekend Economists Celebrate the Boys of Summer June 27-29, 2014

Yes, it's baseball season. Despite the world-wide soccer/football games in Brazil, summer belongs to the diamond crowd.

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players each who take turns batting and fielding.

The offense attempts to score runs by hitting a ball thrown by the pitcher with a bat and moving counter-clockwise around a series of four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. A run is scored when a player advances around the bases and returns to home plate.

Players on the batting team take turns hitting against the pitcher of the fielding team, which tries to prevent runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team who reaches a base safely can later attempt to advance to subsequent bases during teammates' turns batting, such as on a hit or by other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn batting for both teams, beginning with the visiting team, constitutes an inning. A game comprises nine innings, and the team with the greater number of runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-18th century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball is now popular in North America and parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, East Asia, and Europe.

In the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The major league champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. The top level of play is similarly split in Japan between the Central League and Pacific Leagues and in Cuba between the West League and East League...wikipedia

Does anyone have any first-hand information on the Rotary Club?

Weekend Economists' Sumer Is Icumen In June 20-22, 2014

"Sumer Is Icumen In" is a medieval English rota of the mid-13th century. It is also known as "The Cuckoo Song".

The title translates approximately to "Summer Has Come In" or "Summer Has Arrived". The song is composed in the Wessex dialect of Middle English. Although the composer's identity is unknown today, it may have been W. de Wycombe. The year of composition is estimated to be c. 1260.

This rota is the oldest known musical composition featuring six-part polyphony (Albright, 1994), and is possibly the oldest surviving example of independent melodic counterpoint.

It is sometimes called the Reading Rota because the earliest known copy of the composition, a manuscript written in mensural notation, was found at Reading Abbey; it was probably not drafted there, however. The British Library now retains this manuscript.

Middle English lyrics

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing, cuccu;
Groweth sed
and bloweth med,
And springth the wode nu;
Sing, cuccu!

Awe bleteth after lomb,
Lhouth after calue cu;
Bulluc sterteth,
Bucke uerteth,

Murie sing, cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu,
Wel singes thu, cuccu;
Ne swic thu naver nu.

Sing, cuccu, nu; sing, cuccu;
Sing, cuccu; sing, cuccu, nu!

Dr. Lorna Wing, Who Broadened Views of Autism, Dies at 85


...Dr. Wing helped redraw the map of a behavioral terrain that was virtually unheard-of until the mid-20th century and that now, partly as a result of her insights, is said to affect the lives of roughly one out of every 70 people in the world. She is widely credited with recognizing autism as a spectrum of related problems, rather than as a single condition.

She is best known for rediscovering the work of Hans Asperger, an Austrian psychiatrist who first described a form of autism in a group of intelligent, verbally adroit boys who were indifferent to their schoolwork but intensely interested in one or two subjects, like trains, dinosaurs or royal genealogy. The “little professors,” as he called them, shared many of the usual problems common to autism: inability to make friends, repetitive behaviors, distress at any break in routine.

Dr. Asperger’s paper challenged the commonly held belief of the day that all autistic children were cognitively disabled or schizophrenic. But his findings, published in Switzerland in 1944, went almost completely unnoticed during World War II.

Decades later, his paper had still not been translated from German to English when Dr. Wing obtained a copy. With a translator’s help, she described its findings in a paper of her own, “Asperger’s Syndrome: A Clinical Account,” published in 1981. (She relabeled the disorder with Asperger’s name, she said, because the term he originally used, “autistic psychopathy,” might suggest violent behavior.) Until the publication of Dr. Wing’s paper, said Scott Badesch, president of the Autism Society, an American organization, “no one had heard of Asperger’s except Asperger.”...

No Vacation Until You Fix the Roads--PETITION DRIVE


Conservatives in Lansing just skipped town without taking action to fix our roads. Tell Governor Rick Snyder to call a special session to force lawmakers to end their vacation, get back to work and fix our roads.

Buying Health Insurance: A Pig in a Poke A DOCTOR'S TALE OF WOE


By Michael Gorback, M.D., board-certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. He taught for 8 years at Duke University and is the author of 32 scientific articles and textbook chapters, and one medical book. Dr. Gorback currently practices pain management at the Center for Pain Relief in Houston, TX, and claims that nobody has ever suffered due to lack of knowledge of his opinion. Cross posted from Testosterone Pit

I recently called my pharmacy to refill my blood pressure medication. I have taken this medication for years with good control and no side effects. There has never been a problem with refills other than my family doctor insisting that 5 years really is too long to go without being seen by him.

Until now.

This time the pharmacy called to inform me that the prescription would require “pre-authorization” – an interesting term that I can’t really distinguish from plain old “authorization.” I suppose there is post-authorization, in the form of “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission,” but this rarely works with insurance companies. Actually it doesn’t work at all when someone is looking for an excuse not to pay for something.

I asked the pharmacy to forward the request to my family doctor, along with a picture of me so he would remember what I look like. Eventually my doctor’s office called and said they couldn’t get the medication pre-authorized and they prescribed another, similar medication that was ok with my insurance company. The difference between these two drugs was the cost. The insurance company, after years of paying for my medication, simply changed the rules and forced me to get another drug that cost less. The alternative was to pay full freight at about $170/month because they wouldn’t cover it at all.

The point of this exercise is not that there were cheaper drugs available that had the same pharmacologic action (a topic for another day) but that my insurer could change the rules without my knowledge or approval. As it turns out, when you purchase a health insurance policy, you only think you know what you’re buying. You know parameters such as the deductible, coinsurance, premium, maximum out of pocket, and so on. You know whether or not you have maternity coverage, psychiatry coverage, a lifetime cap – and all sorts of nonspecific things. But the devil doesn’t lurk in nonspecific things, does he? Your policy documents don’t specifically say that certain drugs aren’t covered, or that you might have to try one or more other drugs before they will cover it, or they might refuse to cover it because your condition is not listed as an FDA-approved use for the drug. One of my colleagues relates an amusing story about this hypocritical farce. He prescribed pregabalin for a patient. The insurer denied it. He spoke with a doctor at the insurance company, who said they wouldn’t cover pregabalin because it wasn’t FDA-approved for that condition. He said they would cover a very similar drug called gabapentin. Gabapentin is cheaper than pregabalin. My colleague then observed that gabapentin wasn’t FDA-approved for that condition either. Upon which the insurance company authorized pregabalin. Or was it pre-authorized?....MORE UGLY STORIES....There is no way you can know any of this when you sign your contract. Even if you could, they can change it whenever they feel like it, just like they did to me. One year they might pay for a certain treatment, the next year they might decide there’s not enough evidence and your coverage is gone.

You have to use your policy if you want to find out what’s in it.


Helpful advice. thanks!

If I ever getting the remodeling done, a new TV is the next thing....

There are Two Kinds of Power: Coercion, and Empowerment

People who opt for Empowerment don't go in for Coercion.

And yet, a powerful, unified Left organization would in fact be coercive either by intent, by structure, or both. Empowerment doesn't work in a Win/Lose game environment, which is what our political system is built to be.

Anyone who works at empowerment is taking the risk that their labors will enable others who didn't believe in "universality" to coerce their fellow man.

That is why public education, which uses coercion for promoting empowerment, is getting canned. It's one or the other, not a balance between the two, or rapid seesawing between, like a bipolar illness.

That's why Obamacare is so despised. Too much coeercion, too little empowerment, and too great a cost.

That's why the Bill of Rights was so important to the first Americans, and why it is under relentless attack by the NSA, FBI, CIA, the Supreme Court etc.

I don't know the solution to this....we've never had a successful Empowerment movement in history, to my knowledge. Look at how Occupy got slammed...the best example of Empowerment I've ever seen. I can only hope that the yeast of Empowerment is building up enough pressure and ferment to blow Coercion out of the water.

Weekend Economists Hit the Trifecta! June 13-15, 2014

What Is So Rare As a Day in June

by James Russell Lowell

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

for a lovely rendering, see: http://www.vanyamelda.com/poetry/what_%20is_so_rare_as_a_day_in_june.html

Well, up here it's more like April than June, which is fine by me. We had 4 inches of snow in April, so getting some of Spring, however tardy, is welcome.

But as to the rarity of June days, how about this weekend? We have Friday the 13th, Saturday is Flag Day, and Sunday is Father's Day. Talk about cramming it in!

So, what shall we brood upon? That remains to be seen!

On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn’t Know a Year Ago


1. We saw an example of the court orders that authorize the NSA to collect virtually every phone call record in the United States—that’s who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where.

2. We saw NSA Powerpoint slides documenting how the NSA conducts “upstream” collection, gathering intelligence information directly from the infrastructure of telecommunications providers.Prsim/Upstream slide

3. The NSA has created a “content dragnet” by asserting that it can intercept not only communications where a target is a party to a communication but also communications “about a target, even if the target isn’t a party to the communication.”

4. The NSA has confirmed that it is searching data collected under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act to access American’s communications without a warrant, in what Senator Ron Wyden called the "back door search loophole."

5. Although the NSA has repeatedly stated it does not target Americans, its own documents show that searches of data collected under Section 702 are designed simply to determine with 51 percent confidence a target’s “foreignness.’”

6. If the NSA does not determine a target’s foreignness, it will not stop spying on that target. Instead the NSA will presume that target to be foreign unless they “can be positively identified as a United States person.”

7. A leaked internal NSA audit detailed 2,776 violations of rules or court orders in just a one-year period.

8. Hackers at the NSA target sysadmins, regardless of the fact that these sysadmins themselves may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing...

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