black and white window wallpaper, what they say versus reality, making substance a priority

black and white window wallpaper

Mostly some quick takes today.

There is little chance of repealing health care reform ( The Affordable Care Act), but that did not stop Republicans in the House of Representatives from putting on a little dog and pony show at tax payers expense with their recent symbolic vote to do so. What sugar frosted goodness could average working class Americans reap from such a repeal,

Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act, individuals and families were faced with skyrocketing premiums. Premiums for individuals increased 120 percent and family premiums increased 130 percent from 1999 to 2009. The Affordable Care Act controls these costs. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office or CBO looked at the law’s effect on premiums in 2016 and estimated that the health reform law would cut premiums for millions of Americans.

By all means let’s bring back the inflationary spiral of death and repeal reform. Hold on there, those stellar representatives of rectitude and snowy white values John Boehner(R-OH) and Mitch McConnel(R-KY) have sworn the Affordable Care Act is a job killer.

The Affordable Care Act helps create as many as 400,000 jobs annually over the next decade by lowering costs and helping promote a healthier workforce. It includes cost-containment measures to slow the rate of growth of health care spending. Small businesses in particular are helped through exchanges that allow them to pool resources to lower costs as well as tax credits to make it more affordable to offer their employees health coverage.

But..but..but health care reform is bad for grandma. If you care about grandma, health care reform is one way to show it,

The Affordable Care Act eliminates the “donut hole” in the Medicare prescription drug program by 2020. Seniors with high prescription drug expenses before health reform had to pay full price for their prescription drugs—without any help from their drug plan—once their prescription drug spending reached a pre-defined limit. People who hit this limit in 2011 will get a 50 percent discount on their name-brand prescription drugs, saving some Medicare enrollees as much as $1,500 in out-of-pocket drug costs. Those savings will not be realized if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

It has never been true that conservatives care about deficits. Have any senior friends who have talked about building a boat and sailing around the world. They’ve been talking about that boat trip for as long as anyone can remember. Republicans have been talking about their boat of fiscal conservatism since Nixon. They have never balanced a budget. Never. So for those who pay attention to what conservatives actually do rather than the boiler plate nonsense that escapes their pie holes it is no surprise that repealing health care reform will increase the deficit. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the Affordable care Act will reduce the federal budget deficit by $143 billion over the first 10 years and more than $1.2 trillion over the next two decades. Conservatives, and not for the first time, are pro deficits. The noise they make otherwise is part of a decades long tradition of hollow words and peacockery.

Just because I cannot write does not mean I can’t find good articles about writing, How To Write a (Good) Sentence. Adam Haslett on Stanley Fish.

The trouble with the book isn’t the rules themselves, which the authors are sage enough to recognize “the best writers sometimes disregard,” but the knock-on effect that their bias for plain statement has tended to have not only on expositional but literary prose. In this, admittedly, Strunk & White had a few assists, in particular Hemingway. If the history of the American sentence were a John Ford movie, its second act would conclude with the young Ernest walking into a saloon, finding an etiolated Henry James slumped at the bar in a haze of indecision, and shooting him dead. The terse, declarative sentence in all its masculine hardness routed the passive involutions of a higher, denser style. (James, from “The Altar of the Dead”: “He had a mortal dislike, poor Stransom, to lean anniversaries, and loved them still less when they made a pretence of a figure”; Hemingway, from “A Way You’ll Never Be”: “These were the new dead and no one had bothered with anything but their pockets.”) As a result, pared-down prose of the sort editor Gordon Lish would later encourage in Raymond Carver became our default “realism.” This is a real loss, not because we necessarily need more Jamesian novels but because too often the instruction to “omit needless words” (Rule 17) leads young writers to be cautious and dull; minimalist style becomes minimalist thought, and that is a problem.

Adam’s reaction might be a little overboard, but his general thesis seems sound. As others who have read his essay have noted, to begin to be a good writer it is important to get down to the bare bones of what one is trying to say before going off on some poetically enhanced flight of purple prose. If one has just read Henry James or William Faulkner it is understandable to aspire to those standards of prose. The former a master of the compound sentence and the latter a master of creating multiple layers within one sentence. Rather than start at those complex heights it is better to concentrate on conveying one’s basic premise. There is plenty of time on rewrites to work on adding the flourishes that will distinguish and add layers to one’s meaning. You would not build a house starting with a beautiful art-deco facade and add in the framing and foundation later. A related essay here, In Defense of Purple Prose,

Of course, purple is not only highly colored prose. It is the world written up, intensified and made pleasurably palpable, not only to suggest the impetuous abundance of Creation, but also to add to it by showing – showing off – the expansive power of the mind itself, its unique knack for making itself at home among trees, dawns, viruses, and then turning them into something else: a word, a daub, a sonata. The impulse here is to make everything larger than life, almost to overrespond, maybe because, habituated to life written down, in both senses, we become inured and have to be awakened with something almost intolerably vivid. When the deep purple blooms, you are looking at a dimension, not a posy.

It is usually irritating to read someone who seems to have gift for highly imaginative prose, but who has never reflected on the substance. Such an undisciplined talent is like looking at a painting with wonderful colors but which fails to provide any insight for the viewer. Substance first, style later.

I highly recommend Adam Haslett’s essay at Slate. It was a pleasure to read as well as informative.

city landscapes

new york street wallpaper

Largely because of America’s deep-rooted Calvinistic and boneheaded attitudes about suffering and what is frequently the illusion of independence, health care reform is controversial. A modern republic should want to put such a fundamental human need in the column of basic necessities, rather than acting like spoiled children who have had their TV privileges taken away. If America’s private health care system and its administrators were in charge of running my household, they’d be in sitting the corner on a time out contemplating the paint texture. Imagine the temper tantrums if we shifted the next great hurdle in the health care debate to America’s dental health. Because of state budget cut backs there have been Medicaid cut backs. Balancing the budget literally at the expense of seniors teeth. All the aches and pains, the atrophication of muscle and increasingly poor eyesight, seem punishment enough for living a long time. To do so without proper dental care is especially deplorable. Maybe some day down the road America will get over its infatuation with social-Darwinism and those seniors will be able to grow a new set of teeth, Dentistry: from restorative to regenerative with stem cells

Dr. Jeremy Mao: The interest in stem cells is based on their unique characteristics. Stem cells are master cells in the body that can transform into many types of cells that form nerves, bone, teeth, cartilage, and muscle, for example. Some of the unique characteristics of stem cells are the basis for the field of regenerative medicine, which uses the body’s own ability to maintain and repair itself to treat diseases, trauma, and tumor resection defects. Scientists are breaking new ground on a regular basis — developing therapies, growing organs, teeth, and bone using stem cell solutions.

[  ]…Dr. Jeremy Mao: The patient and dentist relationship will change on several fronts. Dentistry will move from restorative to regenerative, as dental stem cells show their capability to regrow teeth, jawbone, and muscle tissue. In addition to being the person you go to for a root canal or cavity filling, the dentist will serve as a gateway to a wide variety of regenerative therapies.

[  ]… Instead of turning to dentures or dental implants, I believe patients will be able to regrow damaged or missing teeth with their own dental stem cells. Regenerated teeth or tooth components would be a long-lasting alternative, whereas dental implants can fail and cannot change to mold to surrounding jawbone that undergoes changes over time