Actuarial Love

This story didn’t really surprise me, but it should have.  A modern, educated, liberated woman is bored of dating progressive, enlightened men, and finds herself strongly attracted to a man who believes that he should control the finances in a relationship because he is the man, and only he should initiate sex.  She is very sad when he breaks it off, partly, at least, because he finds that she earns more money than he does.

This is real.  It’s not made up.  It’s not from Fox News.   It is a real, educated, affluent young woman declaring that there is something about a man with conservative values that appeals to her on a visceral level, something she isn’t sure she herself comprehends.

At the same time, some men who behaved the way she describes are being excoriated by feminists.  The question is, how far from “abusive” behavior is the style of a conservative man who believes, as she described, that the man always initiates sex?  That means he makes the first move.  That means he doesn’t ask for her consent first.  He makes a move.  And if the woman is receptive, she makes that clear with her body language and sounds– not with verbal consent.  In fact, that is one things she clearly doesn’t wish.  And she’s not the first writer on the subject in the Times to say so.

Consider this:

My idea of a hero is not someone who comes and sweeps the woman off her feet and turns her into a princess, but a man who cares about what a woman has to say, who listens to her, who pays attention to her needs and wants,” Guillory said when we recently spoke over the phone, adding that the ideal romantic lead would also then ask “what she wants, just to make sure that he’s right” in his assessment.

Well, that pretty well sounds exactly like the one thing Jasmine Guillory in The Atlantic denies she says she wants: to be treated like a princess.  She wants someone who listens, pays attention, addresses her needs and wants only what she wants.  Your highness.

Jesus, that does sound exactly like a princess.  It certainly doesn’t sound like a partnership.  It doesn’t sound like two people of equal abilities and capacities and potential and strength of character coming together for a mutually beneficial relationship in which obligations, responsibilities, and assets are shared equally.  But yeah, doesn’t that sound kind of boring?

Just imagine this:

My idea of a lady is not someone who comes and sweeps the man off his feet and turns him into a prince, but a woman who cares about what a man has to say, who listens to him, who pays attention to his needs and wants…”


Pulling the Goalie (2)

I got an answer.  Or did I?   (From this interesting site.)

And here’s the meat: “A team that practices optimal goalie-pulling gains an average of 0.02 more points per game. That is worth 1.76 points in an 82 game season, over a team that never pulls the goalie”. !! And that does not include a factor that Gladwell doesn’t consider (which is typical of Gladwell– missing obvious but important factors) and the paper at SSRN doesn’t appear to consider: what if the opposing team with the lead changes their strategy? Given five full minutes of an empty net, some teams might optimize the idea of getting the puck to a sharpshooter near center, rather than “circling the wagons”. At one point, Gladwell even says that pulling the goalie is better than not pulling the goalie because if you don’t pull the goalie, you have “a zero chance of winning”, which is clearly not true. And his expert admits that he would pull the goalie right at the start of the game, if it were up to him, which is exactly what I wish somebody would do, for at least 25 games, to give us a good sample.

Here’s an actual example of the specious reasoning involved:

A team down a goal with short time remaining gains a lot by scoring, and loses little if the other team scores as losing by two
goals is no worse than losing by one (admittedly our model doesn’t consider pride!).

Look carefully at the logic of this argument.  True, losing by two goals instead of one makes no difference.  But that’s not what happens.  What happens is your chances of tying the game with one goal is lost: you are now two behind.  And here is the point he completely misses:  there is still time left in the game.  

Again, all concerned assume that you cannot score a goal unless you pull your goalie.

Incidentally, that same paper criticizes baseball managers who have been slow to adopt “the infield shift”. But more careful analysis of the infield shift have raised serious questions about whether it’s really effective. It reduces the number of ground ball hits, but not the outcome: runners on base.

The author also said he would not have bailed out any banks during the 2008 financial crisis, which is interesting, but beside the point. The real issue was the government allowing sub-prime mortgages, junk bonds, and derivatives in the first place.

2019-01-21: I just watched the Leafs lose to the Arizona Coyotes– one of the Leafs’ worst games of the season.  I continue to wonder why Babcock is regarded as a good coach.  I’m not saying he’s not– I’m just saying I don’t know how, given the Leafs’ recent struggles, you could tell that he was good.  Anyway, the Leafs were applying a lot of pressure in the 3rd period, trying to tie the score, and getting some pretty good chances.  I thought they had a real shot at it.  Until they pulled their goalie.  It’s not hard to feel vindicated if you believe it’s a bad idea because even “pull the goalie” enthusiasts have to admit that the opponent is 3 times as likely to score and the team that pulls the goalie.

Pulling the Goalie

As far as I can tell, all the research on pulling the goalie early only compares pulling the goalie with a minute left, or earlier. I haven’t located any research that compares pulling the goalie with not pulling the goalie. Presumably, teams pressing for a tying goal, might actually occasionally score at even strength if they didn’t pull their goalie. But pulling your goalie will result in your opponent scoring about three times as often as it results in your team scoring, and your chances are only about 10% anyway. The trouble is, everybody pulls their goalie, so there’s no benchmark to compare it to. (Except in Russia, apparently, where it’s not done.)  The infamous study that leads to the misconception.

So I am sticking to my theory that it makes just as much sense to pull your goalie right from the start of the game (or any time you have a face off in your opponent’s end) as it does in the last minute.  In other words, it does not make sense.

I wish someone would try it.

And we all know why no one will: because the fundamental equation does not work.

The same logic applies to “no-doubles defense” in baseball.  This idea is simply silly.  There is presumably an optimal location in the outfield for all the fielders during normal play.  This position has been arrived at through years of experience and analysis: where is the ball most likely to be hit.  The goal is to maximize the chance of catching it and making an out.  The essential goal is to stop the other team from advancing a runner to home plate.  If you put the fielders in the wrong place, you might prevent more doubles but you would allow more singles, which will result in more runs being scored.  For eight innings of baseball, everybody agrees with that wisdom.

Suddenly, in the 9th inning (and sometimes sooner), all this analysis and wisdom is out the window and, instead, we move everyone back to make sure that nobody gets a double.  This obviously increases the chances of a hitter getting a single, because you’ve opened up space between the infielders and the outfielders.  And the idea is that decreasing the chances of making an out on a hit that might now be a single is worth the possibility that you will hold the batter to one base, instead of two.   So, you get something like 1.3 singles instead of one double.  So you now have runners on first and third when you might have had two outs instead.

I haven’t seen a good statistical analysis of this idea yet but it really isn’t necessary.  It’s a logical problem.  Is it logical to increase the chances of a hit and reduce the chance of an out in order to reduce the chance that the hit will be a double?  No.  Is it logical to believe that moving the outfielders back from their optimal positions on the field is an advantage in the late innings?  If it is, then why is it not an advantage in the first inning?

Think about it– is there any logical reason why it would not also be an advantage early in the game?  It doesn’t really matter when the other team scores their runs, as long as they score more than you.

What is understandable is this: the manager has to manage.  What else is he going to do in the late innings of a close game?  Get a glove and join the outfielders?

Just listen to the commentators!  I just saw one last night on the issue of pulling the goalie in the last minute.  Mike Babcock, after the Leafs already gave up an empty net goal, making it 4-2 for the Carolina Hurricanes, hesitated to pull the goalie a second time.  One of the “analysts” said, “I wondered, why the hell is he not pulling the goalie!”.

Mike Babcock is certainly smart enough to know that pulling the goalie only marginally increases your chances of tying the game if you are one goal behind.  The chances that you would score 2 goals is ridiculously small.

But it would take a truly remarkable coach to defy commentary like that and do something different.

So for the foreseeable future, we will be stuck with an NHL that refuses to entertain the idea that pulling your goalie is a bad strategy.

Incidentally, last year, Tampa Bay Devil Rays tried the novel approach of having a reliever start the game, pitch an inning or two, and then bring in a “starter”.  I love the fact that somebody has the guts to at least try something different.  How did they do?  Very, very well.

Your Perfect Body

“Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen.

I was brought up in a pretty traditional Christian environment that regarded all sexual desire outside of marriage as pernicious. You could be a good Christian or you could be a slave to earthly desires, but you couldn’t be both.

Then one of my older brothers brought “Songs of Leonard Cohen”, Leonard Cohen’s first album, into the house.   I have no idea why I put it on ever but I did.  And I was mesmerized by the entire album but especially “Suzanne”. The first verse is about desire: Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river and feeds you tea and oranges and gets you on her wavelength and so on. I got it. Then the second verse: Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water… and when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him, he said all men shall be sailors then until the sea shall free them. Cohen linked the two, the fact that only “drowning” men could really grasp the spiritual significance of his “lonely wooden tower”, and that this drowning was linked to being immersed in Suzanne’s seductive “tea and oranges”, in her “wavelength”.  That blew my mind.  This was a Jesus I had never heard of at church or Saturday morning bible school.  What was he doing in a song about “Suzanne”, a strange woman who lived near the harbour and obviously offered more to you than just tea and oranges.

You are drawn to both Suzanne and Jesus because they “touched your perfect body” with their minds. Your body was not corrupted by either Suzanne or Jesus, but made perfect by both.  It was the most mysterious and allusive image in the song: your perfect body.  It suggested to me a state of transcendence, of moving beyond the shabby physical reality of sweat and moles and smell and hair into a kind of ecstatic sensual encounter that made everything beautiful.

I began to believe that the two forces were not in opposition but were intimate companions on the quest to realize yourself as fully human, as a complete person, to become perfectly aware of beauty and spiritual truth. I began to believe that conventional Christian morality was, in comparison, petty and legalistic, a culture of sad equations and inhibitions, and that sexual intimacy can and should be a sacred experience.

A few years later, I saw a film, “Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Leonard Cohen”, a short biographical piece by the National Film Board of Canada.  At one point, Cohen was going to read some of his poetry.  And off-camera director or technician said, “now remember, Mr. Cohen; no dirty words.”   Cohen showed umbrage and said, “there are no dirty words. Ever.”

No, there aren’t.

I think that towards the end of his life, Cohen began to believe his own press, and began to cater to his audience of worshipful wannabes.  I think he began to believe that there really were “dirty words”.  Pity.

As for myself, I’m not compromising.  There are no dirty words.  Ever.


Why Aren’t You Listening to Me

I present this with little comment because I think it speaks for itself.  It is a post on Reddit by a woman who complains that some of her male friends didn’t respond the way she wanted them to to her story of an attempted assault.  I did not edit a word.  As they say in the CBC, have a listen:

Sorry for the length, just need to vent. I’m going to keep this vague for fear of the post being recognized but I am so angry. In light of the trials of this past couple years and especially in light of the Kavanaugh trial, I just want to highlight exactly how hard it can be to talk about your experiences when, even the people you least expect, don’t want to hear it. I was hanging out with some guy friends of mine and we were talking about some of the shitty neighbors that have come through our building. I brought up this older man that use to live there. I always thought of him as just a lonely old man and watched sports with him here and there. Everyone I was with started saying good things about this man and I contested, saying he assaulted me. Now, these are all guys I’ve known awhile and felt absolutely comfortable telling them what happened, especially if they didn’t know what a dirtbag he was. Anyways, I start telling them about how he relentlessly tried to pull me away from my husband and party I was hosting until I finally gave in and said I’d come get whatever “present” he had to give me. When I got to his apartment, he gave me a shooter, saying he knew how much I loved this liquor. I laughed and thanked him and went to head back home when he pushed me onto his couch and put his arms on my legs asking “what’s the rush”. Like I said, he was older so I was able to push him off and run home. As I was saying these things, I’m not even joking, these “friends of mine just started talking, at the same time I was. Just spoke amongst each other as if I was not there and as if I hadn’t even started speaking. They just moved on completely uninterested. I was so angry, I just got up and went home without a word. WHEN A WOMAN CANT EVEN SPEAK TO MEN THAT ARE HER “FRIENDS” ABOUT AN ASSUALT, WHY IS IT SO HARD TO BELIEVE SHE DIDNT REPORT OR SPEAK TO AN OFFICIAL. BE THERE FOR THE WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE, OR YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

From Here

Would it be fair to say that the essence of her complaint is that a) her story is very important and her expectation is that her male friends should respond with sympathy and outrage and support and encouragement, and, b) her male friends found what she was saying uninteresting and moved on to other topics among themselves.  And, c) it is morally offensive that she was not important enough to them to cause them to respond the way she thought they should.

In a way, it feels to me as if she is complaining that they didn’t like her.

I had an experience in college which I probably should be sorry about but I’m not.  A young woman in the psychology program– a casual acquaintance– struck up a conversation with me very late one night, in the dorm lounge, and began telling me how she had been sexually abused by a male relative.

What is the purpose of this, I wondered, at the time.  I am still perplexed by that question.  It’s not that it should be secret or that there was anything shameful about it– women often describe their “shame” about such experiences but I’ve never gotten why they are the ones who should be ashamed when it was the perpetrator who behaved badly.  She wanted me to know this about her.  She had a purpose in mind.

I thought, is this supposed to make me pity you or admire you or regard you as a person who is really, really interesting?”  Of course, I was supposed to be shocked and appalled and make various profuse expressions of support, encouragement, and respect.  The fact that I didn’t was not evidence that I didn’t care that someone had assaulted her.  It was evidence of the fact that I didn’t care about her as a person and I thought she was using this story to get something from me that I hadn’t offered.

I didn’t like her.  I thought she was self-centered and pompous and tiresome.  I wanted to get out of the conversation but, due to some native instinct of polite deference, I continued to listen uneasily.

I heard later that she was quite angry with me.  I felt I owed her nothing.  Just because you are the victim of a terrible act by someone you knew does not mean you are entitled to my attention or sympathy.   She flogged her victimization at me expecting something in return that I refused to give.  Why did she think I owed it to her?  If I had been in her position, I would not have wanted a relationship based on pity.

[whohit]Why Are You Not Listening to Me[/whohit]

Why we go on Failing

This Sad Story

Prostitution is illegal.  It is a sex act between two consenting adults for which one of them is paid a sum of money by the other.

Why is it illegal?  Because our society decided long ago that there was a moral– and physical– harm caused by the activity.  As opposed to, say, polluting drinking water, spewing carbon emissions into the air, or being Mitch McConnell.

The truth is, there was never a great reason to make prostitution illegal, at least, not insofar as it is an act between two consenting adults in which money changes hands.  Who is unwillingly harmed?  If you argue that society is, that it is debased by the existence of this transaction, that families are undermined and morality declines, you are making a religious argument.  It shouldn’t stand up in court.  We know that.  Yet almost no politician in North America has the guts to say the obvious:  prostitution will always be with us and we should legalize it and develop the infrastructure needed to keep sex-workers safe from violence and abuse and exploitation, and their customers safe from disease.

There has been progress.  We seem to be leaning more towards treating the prostitutes as social cases rather than criminals, but we still arrest them, like Sisi, and haul them off into court and force them into the dark shadows of dangerous streets and alley-ways, and tiny apartments that charge excessive rents managed by people with no legal or discernible relationship to the real owners.

We took two steps forward with the more recent tendency to not publicly identify johns so we could enjoy destroying their family lives and careers.  But the feminist and #metoo movements are threatening to go backwards on this issue and some police forces make noises about going after the customers rather than the girls.  But then they go after the girls anyway.

In the meantime, young women like Sisi are abused and ruthlessly exploited at least partly because they forced to keep their positions secret from the very people who could protect them.

[whohit]Why we go on Failing[/whohit]

Khe Sanh

The battle of Khe Sanh is memorialized generously by U.S. military fanboys as an example of courage, determination, military acuity, and patriotism.  These were marines!  These were real men!  They were heroes!

In it’s simplest form, a large group of American boys equipped with every piece of deadly military hardware available at the time flew over to a foreign country half-way around the world, landed in the jungle in the middle of nowhere, set up a base, and then courageously stopped the people who lived there from driving them out.  They fought on behalf of a corrupt, intolerant, dictatorial South Vietnamese government that was unwilling and unable to fight for themselves.

Let us salute the flag and sing the national anthem in respect of the wonders of foreign policy and the wit and wisdom of President Lyndon Johnson!

These were draftees, by the way, not volunteers.  They had no choice.  At the age of 18, these young men became eligible for the draft.  If drafted, they had to go or they would be sent to prison.  They were trained and then flown over to this undeveloped nation half-way around the world and told to fight off the young men who lived there.  Kill them.  Bomb them.  Blow up and burn their villages if necessary.  When you come back, we’ll hold a parade in honor of what you did (it turned out, there were no parades as American journalists didn’t understand the necessity of this war either and told the people).

This video talks about payback for the casualties inflicted on the marines by the Viet Cong and the NVA.  Payback!  As if the NVA had invaded Iowa.  As if the battle of Khe Sanh had had an actual strategic value in the war against communist tyranny.

It ends with some of the marines who fought there revisiting the scene in 2000.

There is a bit of a tone of “fuck the politicians” who sent us, but let’s have great reverence for the soldiers who fought there.  I always feel ambivalent about that.   Yes, they had no choice, really, but without willing combatants and parents and veterans who keep talking about the glories of military service, none of these stupid wars could happen.  They urge us to be proud of our fighting men but it is that pride that lines them up to be slaughtered as a result of idiotic and corrupt politics.

And how brave are you, really, when you are dropped into the circumstances these men were dropped into?  They were fighting to protect their friends and themselves from those unreasonable people who didn’t want them there.

President Lyndon Johnson admitted that he knew the war was lost but couldn’t pull out because the Republicans would have called him yellow.  That’s why your son, your brother, your husband, your father died at Khe Sanh.


[whohit]Khe Sanh[/whohit]


The Persistent Idiocy of Climate Change Deniers

Ah sheesh. Just when I thought I found a website that was serious about challenging the IPCC report on climate change, you find this: “The foundation was established in November 2009, shortly after the start of the Climatic Research Unit email controversy, with its headquarters in a room at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, subsequently moved to 55 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL. Its director is Benny Peiser,[7][8] an expert on the social and economic aspects of physical exercise, and it is chaired by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson.[9]”

An expert on … what? In a room… where? So, who’s funding you? They won’t tell, while insisting that opponents are funded by the environmental “industry”. Of course. Then they had to admit that a graph showing the temperature declining was “in error”.

“People such as Lord Lawson [a board member] are not skeptical, for if one major peer-reviewed piece of scientific research were ever to be published casting doubt on climate change theory, you just know they’d have it up in neon at Piccadilly Circus. ”  They only doubt science that gets in the way of profits.  But hey, if you get cancer, you’re free to choose a chiropractor over a physician if you really want to.

This kind of BS is exactly why reasonable, open-minded people have very little reason to credit the climate-change deniers. You do a search, survey the pro and con sites, and find the deniers are embarrassingly thin on the science, the logic, transparency, and integrity. And without exception, are funded by the carbon industry, oil and coal.

[whohit]The Persistent Idiocy of Climate Change Deniers[/whohit]

Linda Bishop

Yet after enduring so many irritations in her hospital unit—patients who wouldn’t stop talking, or who touched her, or sat in her favorite chair, or made noise in the middle of the night—she didn’t mind having time alone.  New Yorker

“God Knows Where I Am” would have you believe that the government, through misguided activism, has extended too many rights to the mentally ill.  They can no longer be locked up, as easily, against their will.  As a result, people like Linda Bishop end up wandering the streets alone in the middle of winter and then starving to death in an abandoned farmhouse instead of wisely accepting the custodial guardianship of her sister, Joan.

They are not completely wrong.  There is a problem.   But I was disturbed by how quickly and easily these advocates slipped into the idea that it should be easy for a relative or guardian to take over an individual’s right to decide, for herself, where she wants to be.  That’s one issue: her safety and health.  But what may have really pissed off the staff at the New Hampshire Hospital was her continued refusal to recognize that they were right and she was wrong.  I am sure they did not distinguish, in their own minds, between their concern for her well-being and their concern for their own status as gatekeepers.  But one of the reasons for her continued incarceration, rather than the actual symptoms of schizophrenia, was that she refused to admit that they had justly appropriated her autonomy.  That she had no right to decide whether she was competent or not.

…psychiatry is stuck in a kind of moral impasse. It is the only field in which refusal of treatment is commonly viewed as a manifestation of illness rather than as an authentic wish.

They are not, as I said, completely wrong.  There are cases– Linda Bishop is probably one–in which it might be necessary for the state to step in to ensure that a patient does not cause herself or others harm.   But there is one enormous flaw in this process and it should not be run roughshod over by those eager to save someone from themselves.  It is this:  we may very well use that custodial arrangement to lock somebody up in a hell-hole from which they have no chance– ever– of escaping.

Or this.

Not one of the advocates for stronger measures for guardianship gave even a little credence to the possibility that the care that will be given to the secured patient will be inadequate, or incorrect, or downright negligent.  Or worse.  The New Hampshire Hospital, where she was institutionalized, seems like a fine, adequately funded operation.   At least, for the much smaller numbers of patients they harbour today than they used to.  But they didn’t acknowledge that, in the past, people with mental disturbances have been warehoused under brutal conditions.   They could be beaten, assaulted, sexually abused, neglected, and abandoned, by an institution deliberately underfunded by an uncaring government unwilling to ask voters for more money to do a better job.

One of the untold  reasons that the mentally ill were moved out of institutions in the first place was not really to free them but to save money.

Patients spent so many years in the hospital that they no longer knew how to leave it. (The institution has two graveyards for people who died in its care.)

Think about that.

It could mean they can’t find the exit.  It could also mean that they don’t understand the paperwork required.  It could also mean that after a certain amount of time spent in an institution the desire to leave, in and of itself, can be regarded as a symptom of mental incompetence.  In Linda Bishop’s case, that is at least partly true.

It is possible that Linda Bishop might have received excellent care somewhere.  It is possible that she was receiving excellent care at the New Hampshire Hospital in Concord where she was held for three years.  But it is possible that the money would run out eventually and she would be moved to a cheaper, state-run institution that needed to save money by cutting staff and buying cheaper food and drugging most patients into oblivion so they wander aimlessly in the common areas to be watched by minimal staff.

During her first, voluntary, incarceration, Linda cried constantly for four days, feeling betrayed by those who had persuaded her to go in.  Finally, she acknowledged she was suffering from delusions.  From the accounts of the staff there, it’s not clear that they make any distinction between a real acknowledgement and the more obvious fact that she gave up trying to convince them that she really was sane and decided to play along so she could be released.  If that’s what she wanted, it worked: she got a prescription.  And a release.

One interviewee argues that one would never allow a patient with a bleeding wound from the chest to just walk out of a hospital, so why would you allow a patient with bipolar disorder do it?  Well, one reason is this: one doctor thought she was bipolar, but another psychiatrist thought she was schizo-affective.  So one doctor thinks the patient needs stitches to a wound in the heart and another doctor thinks he needs a cast on his leg.  And perhaps the surgeon puts in a catheter.

Let’s think further about it: what patient, after getting treatment for a bleeding wound, would intentionally rip out the stitches?  Yet patient after patient who is on medication for a mental illness stops taking their medications.  The medications make them feel less alive, drugged, indifferent.  They feel less creative.  Or they start to feel great but they don’t really seem to believe that the drugs are responsible.

And let’s take note of something else: there is well-known experiment in which a group of perfectly sane psychology students posed as schizophrenics to get themselves admitted to psychiatric institutions.  Once inside, they all behaved exactly as normal, and requested a reassessment and release.  I don’t believe a single one of them was diagnosed as sane and released.  Not one.  Not one.  When a resentful psychiatrist dared them to try his hospital, they announced that they would.  A few months later, that psychiatrist had identified a fair number of “fakes”.  The problem is, that none of them were: no attempt was made to infiltrate that hospital.

At one point, again, Linda was offered access to a funded apartment for people in transition.  But to get it, she had to sign a document which essentially forced her to admit that she was mentally ill.  She refused.  Logic, here, somebody, anybody?  A woman refuses housing intended to help the mentally ill because you want to force her to admit that the diagnosticians are right and she is wrong and, more significantly, she is not competent to determine for herself whether she is sane or not.  And if she doesn’t sign– in other words, if she really is mentally ill– or she really is not mentally ill– it doesn’t matter– she doesn’t get the help intended for …. the mentally ill.

What she needed was a Hogeweyk: the Dutch institution for patients with dementia who want to be free, and wander the community, and shop, and go to school.  The Dutch solution: build a “school”, a “store”, a “community”, staff it with mental health professionals, and let them “free”.  Everyone’s safe.  Everyone’s happy.  It’s a marvel of common sense and practicality.

When Saks was a law student at Yale, she was restrained and medicated against her wishes; she calls it one of the most degrading experiences of her life.

I really believe there should be a constitutional amendment that says this: if the state is going to deprive an individual of the freedom to come and go as he or she pleases, it is required to provide the kind of quality of care that an objective observer would characterize as “excellent”, including good quality food, adequate staff, and opportunities for exercise, activities, relaxation, and privacy.

And it absolutely should include facilities like Hogeweyk.

If not.  If it cannot guarantee that level of care, then the forced institutionalization of individuals with mental problems is nothing more or less than imprisonment and even toture.

Right now, if the government, fails to provide enough funding to make these individuals comfortable, our elected representatives are not subject to any serious consequences.   Only the inmates bear consequences, in the form of neglect, restraint, harassment, lack of privacy, and abuse.

Incidentally, is the belief that there is not such thing as global warming really, in substance, all that different from the belief that “they are spying on me” and “they are out to get me”?  They are both equally fictional.

A Progressive Trump?

The thing about Trump that a lot of his supporters like is the way he just ignores tradition and culture and complexity and makes his stupid decisions on the fly with no regard for the consequences other than whether or not he can brag about it later.  These kind of politicians are almost invariably right-wing nowadays, though some earlier populists like Huey Long had some progressive elements in their program.

So when do we get a left-wing politician of a similar bent?  Someone who will enact single-payer health care and damn the medical establishment if it doesn’t like it.  Someone who will slash military spending by 25% in his first year, because the U.S. already has ridiculously more than enough military hardware.  Someone who will decriminalize all drugs and step up treatment programs and declare that from now on the government will treat all drug problems as medical and social issues rather than criminal issues.  Someone who will ban all advertising during children’s television programming, and threaten to take away the broadcasting license of any media outlet that does not provide three hours of high-quality original children’s programming every Saturday morning.  Someone who will limit the interest rates banks can charge on credit cards and pay-day loans, because people who need to borrow money for a month are already desperate and don’t need these vampires to bleed them dry.

If you are wondering why carbon emissions is absent from that list, it is because it is too late.  We are actually beyond the point of no return.

Anyway, yes, there is Bernie Sanders.  And what do the Democrats do?  Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats are too polite to elect someone who will actually implement genuinely progressive policies.  So they nominate Hillary Clinton.

Have they learned?

[whohit]Progressive Trump[/whohit]