I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
May 17, 2016 - 9:00 p.m.
So guess who got meds. Come on guess. Well yeah, you're right but that's not who I mean. Now you got it! Me! Yesterday morning, I had my blood taken for testing. This afternoon I met with my psychiatrist. He went on the computer to get the results. They were not there. They had not been sent to him. He then spent 15 minutes on the phone dealing with bureaucracy. I could tell one person gave him a hard time. He was very good and told the bureaucrat that he was staying on the phone till I got the results of the tests. He finally got a verbal report, that nothing was wrong, not details. I was not too surprised. I spent enough time in hospitals to know these things happen. With the negative blood test, he prescribed me meds; I have Zoloft®! A one-week supply. I haven't taken it yet. The first will be tonight. I asked about side effects. He said the only common one was sexual dysfunction. I told him that wouldn't come up in the next week. You'll get why that's funny soon. Now you got it. I didn't mean it as a joke.
Now on to politics. While reading the Times this morning I came up with economics 101 solutions to two longstanding problems; one fits in very nicely with what I've always felt and the other required a total rethinking and there are still voices in my head saying "No it's wrong." So let's start with the one where my emotions and brains are on the same page. Here's the article that set me thinking. Why There’s an Uproar Over Trying to Increase Funding for Poor Schools. The U.S. has a terrible system for funding schools. Because so much is done at a local level more money is spent on richer schools than poorer one despite the fact that the poor students have greater needs. Read the article you'll see the those fighting to maintain the status quo, Conservative Republicans and the usually liberal teachers' unions. The problem is that it's easier to teach rich students and that's who the majority of experienced teachers with seniority choose to teach. That means the poor end up being served by new teachers learning on the job. That drives down the salaries in those schools so less money is spent on them. What I propose is simple. Econ 101 says if you want more and higher quality people to do a job you pay them more. There should be a bonus for teaching classes with a higher percentages of poor students. I said classes not schools because there are districts with some rich students who test better and in schools where the students are assigned to classes based on test scores they'll be in the same class and that's the one the experienced teachers will choose to teach. People will always try and game the system. That's not a knock on teachers. I love and admire teachers. But it's what enough people do that you have to take it into account. How much extra do you pay them? Back to Econ 101, it requires experimentation. You know it's right when the mix of experience of teachers is even between affluent and poorer schools.
Now on to the one that might make you squeamish. It makes me squeamish. Here's the article that inspired it; Finding Organ Donors Concealed in Plain Sight. The article is on an approach to get living organ donors. There is a huge shortage of organs for transplants "… in 2015, only 6,000 living people actually donated organs across the country, leaving more than 121,000 people remaining on waiting lists for a transplant." Being a living donor requires a big sacrifice, it means undergoing major surgery with all the inherent risks and the added risk of losing your margin of safety for the rest of your life. You give a kidney and your other one gets damaged and now you need a transplant. Is it any wonder there's a shortage? So what's the Econ 101 solution, you know what it is; pay the donors enough to make it worth the risk. And now comes the yuck reactions. I have always had the yuck reaction and stopped right there and said, "It's just wrong." You get filled with thoughts of it exploiting poor people. I have to fight to continue writing this. There's a voice in my head saying "Stop!" I'm not listening to it for the sake of the 121,000 waiting for transplants. All will have a diminished quality of life until they get a transplant or die. So how can it be made to work? It would require a lot of regulation and a lot more thought and expert knowledge than I'm going to come up with while I blog. I am thinking something along the lines of the way people who want to die are treated where euthanasia is legal. Anyone choosing to donate needs an extraordinary amount of counselling to give informed consent. We don't want desperate people who have other options to do it because they feel they have no choice. We want to make sure nobody is coerced. On the other hand, it can prove a boon to some donors, people otherwise steal or sell drugs. Some who instead of selling an organ would sell their bodies, over and over again. It might save someone's house or provide start-up funds for a business. Knowing how much transplants already cost my guess is that the donors will make a great deal of money or else they wouldn't do it.
I'm not sold on this. I'm still squeamish but I trust my reasoning more than my sense of disgust. Remember it's the sense of disgust that generates opposition to gay marriage and transgender people using the bathroom they identify with. It makes many oppose giving clean needles to drug addicts to curtain the spread of AIDS and hepatitis. It's not reliable. The idea may be wrong but we don't know if we don’t' seriously explore the possibility. Right now I don't think it's in the Overton window. All I'm trying to do is nudge the window enough to allow discussing the possibility.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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