Friday Four

Friday, January 05, 2018

Four Things

Belated happy New Year's wishes come with this post, as I begin the second half of my annual blogging hiatus. Expect me back here on the fifteenth.

1. Richard E. Ralston, Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, debunks commentary from the left regarding the repeal of the ACA personal mandate:

We have been told ceaselessly and repeatedly that the end of the mandate means 13 million people will have their health insurance taken away. That is an Orwellian way of saying that 13 million people will not be forced, fined, or taxed to buy insurance that they do not want. Allowing people to choose to obtain their own insurance (or not) is intolerable to politicians who believe they know what is best for citizens. Eliminating the coercive mandate is instead a restoration of freedom for those 13 million people.
Also, Ralston calls the repeal "poetic justice," given the ... creative ... way that part of the law was saved from being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

2. Some are calling "raw water" the "New Anti-Vax," while others are complaining that natural selection won't work fast enough on the buyers:
Members are taking up the unrefined drink due to both concern for the quality of tap water and the perceived benefits of drinking water in a natural state. Raw water enthusiasts are wary of the potential for contaminants in municipal water, such as traces of unfilterable pharmaceuticals and lead from plumbing. Some are concerned by harmless additives in tap water, such as disinfectants and fluoride, which effectively reduces tooth decay. Moreover, many believe that drinking "living" water that's organically laden with minerals, bacteria, and other "natural" compounds has health benefits, such as boosting "energy" and "peacefulness."
Lots of people are warning enthusiasts about the numerous hazards of drinking untreated water of which they are apparently not wary, but I can see such warnings falling on mostly deaf ears.

To ignore the huge swath of common knowledge about untreated water -- but grant credence to conspiracy theories, such as those about fluoridation requires such a degree of evasion and magical thinking that one could credibly say, "To the raw water skeptic, no warning is necessary; to the customer, none is possible." I can almost hear some hippie saying, "That's just propaganda, man," as he rushes to the water closet a few days after swilling some of this.

3. Thanks to Gallium OS, a lighweight Linux distribution, I have finally have a new "netbook" to replace the one that died when I moved to Baltimore.

The new netbook, during a break.
I'd been using a full-sized laptop for my mobile computing ever since, and it's a fine computer, but I missed the convenience of the tiny, light form factor. Unfortunately, Chromebooks -- similarly-sized laptops running the dumbed-down, web-centric Chrome-OS -- had killed off the netbook. Chrome is inadequate for my needs, but I heard about people installing Linux on Chromebooks and looked into it. I now own a Samsung Chromebook 3 that runs Gallium. As much as I liked my netbook, I'd forgotten how convenient it was, and what a perfect (at least for me) writing platform it was.

I never expected a $200.00 semi-nostalgic Christmas indulgence to be quite so liberating.

4. NPR recently put out an interesting piece on the small Chinese community in the Mississippi Delta:
"The Chinese face with a Southern accent throws people off," Jean Maskas chimes in. "I was at my daughter's school, and we'd taken some friends out to eat, and they all said, 'I just can't get used to talking to your mother! It's like an identity theft!'" The others chuckle knowingly.

Quon says the more she's traveled, the more she's come to realize how unique this Mississippi Chinese community is.

"We are all connected," she says. "The other states are not like that, truly. We knew Chinese from Memphis to Vicksburg."
The Chinese presence in the rural Delta is declining as a younger generation, encouraged by their parents, seeks opportunities elsewhere.

-- CAV


Today: (1) Fixed formatting glitch. (2) Edited caption. 


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! For your listening pleasure, here's a fine oddity for you--though odd only if you hear about it rather than hear it. So, remember Tom Jones? The guy with the great voice and (alas) unfortunate taste in songs? Familiar with Rhiannon Giddens, one of my favorite contemporary American singers? What would they or could they have in common besides him being Welsh and her having a Welsh name? Well, they have this in common, singing one of the best blues songs together.

Gus Van Horn said...


Sorry for the long delay. Lots of travel on that break, and still catching up. I look forward to listening to these during a break today.


Snedcat said...


Heh, that was me. Not sure how I got anonymized, except that I seem to remember I did have some weird problems getting through the filter.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thought that was you. Still haven't gotten around to the songs yet. Today will be tricky, too. Snow may yet wipe out half or more of my day.

Snedcat said...

Well, when you get a chance, you might want to add these two fine Nigerian singers to the list--rather, this fine Nigerian American singer (the second link is some good reggae, I might add, while the other two are quite different in style) and this fine Nigerian French singer. And in addition to being fine singers, makers of fun videos.

Gus Van Horn said...


No, I wasn't trying to set a new record for lateness in posting. I just got busy and forgot.

Thanks for the further suggestions!