Category Archives: Poetry

Rural American Healthcare During COVID19 Worse Than 3rd World

The entire notion of a “3rd World” is a weird political framing of the world by the French. Economist Alfred Sauvy in 1952 spoke of Africa and Asia being like France’s “Third Estate“.

The vast majority of people (over 90%) in pre-Revolution France belonged neither to a clergy (1st) nor nobility (2nd), had less privileges and were unrepresented in government; this imbalance led to their Revolution.

With that in mind, Politico has an article making it clear that rural Americans are tiny in number and spread out, which leads worse healthcare than in the worst in the world.

“We have a residency program at Guyana, on the coast of South America,” Russ said. “These are the types of things that [I see] when I go down and work in Guyana. We see this for the Amerindian population that are coming out of the villages and need a canoe to get, you know, to a hospital. This isn’t the type of thing that we’re used to seeing in the United States.”

Tennessee lost over 1,200 staffed hospital beds between 2010 and 2020 despite a population that grew by over half a million, according to the American Hospital Directory and census data. Mississippi, with the most Covid-19 deaths per capita, lost over 1,100 beds over that decade. Alabama, second only to Mississippi in per-capita deaths from the virus, lost over 800.

Apparently living in rural America with a need for healthcare is like having a canoe without a paddle.

Or, as Dolly Parton famously sang, life on a mountain in Tennessee is hard.

Didja know corn don’t grow at all on Rocky Top?
The dirt’s too rocky by far
And that’s why all the folks on Rocky Top
Get their corn from a jar

Apparently nobody thought to put dirt in a jar and grow fresh corn. Yee haw.

But seriously those lyrics are about the rural community suspicion of federal government (e.g. prohibition and the history of bourbon, which is basically alcohol encoded as corn in a jar).

They come right after lyrics about killing the federal agents who visited.

Once two strangers climbed ol’ Rocky Top
Lookin’ for a moonshine still
Strangers ain’t come down from Rocky Top
Reckon they never will

As much as scarcity of services may seem like news, also I remember experiencing it myself in rural America for decades. A trip to a hospital was considered a minimum 30 minute drive. Even that was to what felt like an outpost where chance of meeting someone with any clue about science was marginal at best.

More recently when I tried to setup a primary care physician — a step required to use health insurance — I was told there was no availability. Doctors would not accept any new patients because healthcare crisis (COVID19) meant they had zero capacity. At one point the American healthcare “system” advised I try to find the rare Muslim woman doctor because they estimated (without explaining why) she would be most likely to have availability and take new patients.

Ho! Ho! Jefferson D

From “Poet’s Corner” in the Third Cavalry Division Chronicle” of Monday, March 6th, 1865.

How do you like it as far as you’ve got?
Jefferson D, Jefferson D,
Are you glad you began it, or do you wish you had not?
Jefferson, Jefferson D.
People say, though of course I don’t know that it’s so,
That your spirits are getting decidedly low,
That you’re sick and discouraged and don’t know what,
But say though — do you like it as far as you’ve got.
Ho! Ho! Jefferson D,
Things look rather shaky now
‘Twixt you and me.
You can’t think how sorry I was when I heard,
Jefferson D, Jefferson D,
That your visit to Washington had been deferred,
Jefferson, Jefferson D,
But I hope you will find it convenient to come
When Abe and the rest of the boys are at home
And I trust you won’t mind it, they’re such a lot,
If they ask you how you like it as far as you’ve got.
Ho! Ho! Jefferson D.

Also of note is the following advertisement poking fun at Confederates who both advertised for whereabouts of their escaped slaves, while also tending themselves to run away.

“Two Dollars Reward, Confederate Currency,” for the whereabouts of “Jube, answering to the name of Early,” [i.e., Confederate general Jubal A. Early] and One Cent Reward for General [Thomas L.] Rosser.

The T in Tesla Stands for Trash: Owners Now Face Criminal Prosecution

Clearly I’m a huge fan of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and have a lot of respect for him. You can read all about it in my many posts on Tesla engineering practices.

Just kidding.

But seriously, I’ve just read a very bizarre article by an automotive automation expert (redundant, I know) about Tesla’s “self-driving” software.

This industry luminary (bringing oodles of experience and expertise) starts off with saccharin and effusive framing of a car manufacturer CEO before absolutely TRASHING the cars as garbage that nobody should buy and must be explicitly branded as inferior.

Does it make sense for this automotive expert to promote such an abject failure of leadership in deserving respect before rightfully calling the Tesla CEO’s predominant work an obvious pile of trash?

This is evidence of someone throwing a big juicy bone in order to disorient the obvious mindless attack dogs; much like we see in totalitarian governments where voices of reason have to account for a dictator’s insecurity police before saying anything honest.

Anyway on to the article itself

I have great respect and admiration for Elon Musk, so sorry to say this but … it’s terrible. I mean really bad. After all those videos I didn’t expect a lot, but I expected more than this. My first drive home after activating it was frightening. […] So I’m giving Tesla FSD an “F” when it comes to self-driving. In fact it clearly shouldn’t have that name, as many have pointed out. It should have a driver-assist name, so I will call it “Street Autopilot”. The problem is I have to give it a “D” as a driver assist product.

Sorry?

He is being too kind. Where does such respect and admiration for fraud come from? I suspect the author is worried about his position in the industry and doesn’t want to ruffle feathers, but at this point he seems to be growing a spine — he no longer can deny water flooding into a purportedly unsinkable Titanic.

That’s why it’s so remarkable to see someone come out waving peace and love flags of apology, while also warning everyone to stay away from Tesla because it’s a total scam.

Really he should have used the warning that Tesla deserves: That T on the car means pile of Trash

If the grouchy Tesla owners insist on “going for a ride” that puts everyone at risk (including them), then should they be cited under existing public safety laws (e.g. littering)?

Proud new Trash owner details it, arguing “I can do whatever I want and avoid accountability because it’s called my Trash can, not a Trash can’t!”

I can’t take any credit for such obviously necessary rebranding as a means of safety awareness campaigns. Tesla rightfully has been called a pile of trash for a very long time by many other owners dealing with the fraud.

Perhaps no better example is a thread from three months ago, when an owner taking delivery of his new “top of the line” model groused how product management was awful and disappointing:

Tesla Model S Plaid build quality is trash

From there you will find comments about an absurdly priced “flagship” such as…

$13,000 car. $130,000 window sticker… same people who are fitting the panels are also fitting the suspension bits and important bolts… an old S’s subframe failed because the design had no margin of safety. It was really poorly designed.

And perhaps straight to the heart of the matter is this comment:

It’s bad: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/model-s-plaid-lr-2021-refresh-issues-thread.232656/page-104. Keep in mind, this is a car they have built for years but keep making excuses for why they are shit piles.

Unfortunately as Sesame Street might say “shit piles” doesn’t start with the letter T.

Will it ever stick or slow down ownership? It has been like going backwards in time and monitoring a fan club for the Titanic, as I’ve been saying here for many years.

Great Disasters of Machine Learning: Predicting Titanic Events in Our Oceans of Math

My favorite comment from one of these pile of Trash owners is here:

Some manufacturers used to have a problem with so-called ‘Friday cars’. Tesla avoids that by making them all Friday quality.

Ha ha? It is funny except this is safety-related and thus actually criminal-level stuff. Think of all the people around in danger from neglect related to automotive safety quality failures.

It is an intentional race to the absolute bottom of quality and safety if I ever saw one. The CEO is to blame here, right?

So far it looks instead like customers will be the ones taking the heat for a product marred with gross negligence by executive management.

Los Angeles County prosecutors have filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against the driver of a Tesla on autopilot who ran a red light, slammed into another car and killed two people in Gardena in 2019. The defendant appears to be the first person to be charged with a felony in the United States for a fatal crash involving a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system. Los Angeles County prosecutors filed the charges in October, but they came to light only last week. […] Criminal charging documents do not mention Autopilot. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which sent investigators to the crash, confirmed last week that Autopilot was in use in the Tesla at the time of the crash.

Did you know when you buy a Tesla you may face criminal prosecution for operating false-autopilot exactly how the CEO has repeatedly and personally told you to do so?

In a related case a drunk driver in Norway was pulled by police from his car and he tried to escape blame by arguing Tesla’s CEO had instructed him it was ok to be unconscious at the wheel since he no longer believed he was the driver of the car he was driving.

For what it’s worth as a final thought the CEO, now known for mountains of Trash of his own making, has started a campaign in classic propagandist fashion to fling his mounting failures at his competitors.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday: “[Our competitor’s] software is a pile of trash.” [Full self driving (FSD) software by Tesla] is controversial and critics say the name is deceptive… because it doesn’t make cars fully autonomous.

And thus I offer my dear readers an easy to remember security haiku:

Full is not true full.
Self driving is not true self.
T means pile of Trash.

How many ways can you say “rain” in Arabic?

A new meme floating around lately on social media emphasizes how Arabic has many poetic ways to say “rain”; I mean the bone-chilling stuff that falls from storm clouds, which soon may cry on us with their sorrow (ﻏَﺪﺍً ﺳَﺘُﻤﻄِﺮُ ﺍَﻟﺪُﻧﻴَﺎ ﻋَﻠَﻰ ﺍَﻟﻘِﺼَﺺِ ﺍَﻟﻤُﺠَﺮَّﺣَﺔِ).

Source: alkhaleejonline.net إنفوجرافيك (infographic)

Does the rain fall continuously (Al-Wadaq) or in long waves (Al-Shaabeeb), frequent short squalls (Al-Youlool) or intermittently (Al-Martha’ina’)? Is the size of the drop small (Al-Qitqit), misty (A’-Tull) or large (Al-Wabil) and is it strong (Al-Gadaq) or weak (A’-Rihmah/Al-Hameemah)? Was it long and soft (A’Deemah)? Is the rain needed (Al-Ghaith) and nourishing (Al-Jaaw), leave a lot of water around (Al-Bu’aaq) or was it a deluge (A’-Saheetah) that washed away soil (A’-Saahiyah)? Does it cover a wide area (Al-Jada), and does it last many days with the consistency of a spring (Al-Ain)?

While these are beautiful thoughts about the variables of nature and the utility of language, it reminded me also of the old meme also about water from a different angle; all the ways you can say “camel” in Arabic

السلوف-A female camel that leads other camels to the watering hole to drink

الدفون -A female camel in the middle of a herd of camels

الملواح or الهافة- A female camel that gets thirsty quickly

عيوف-A female camel that smells the water but often doesn’t drink it

مقامح- A female camel that doesn’t drink to heal her affliction

رقوب — A female camel that doesn’t drink from the watering hole when it’s busy, but waits and observes

ملحاح A female camel that doesn’t often leave the watering hole

ميراد A female camel that rushes to get to the watering hole

All food (er, water?) for thought when translating a very outlaw-sounding “revenge” message scrawled on a small fixed-wing drone that was just shot out of the sky by a counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) at 0430 local time near Baghdad International Airport.

Source: Twitter @HeshmatAlavi
Source: AFP

Reading right to left…
عمليات (eamaliaat) = operation
ثأر (thar) = revenge
القادة (alqada) = leaders

Now we just need to start translating the Chinese writing for what appears to be a DLW-20 engine or similar variant.

Source: REUTERS
Source: REUTERS

The writing on these wings distinguishes the drone from others that dropped from the sky six months ago, as documented on social media then by the “Directorate General of Counter Terrorism (CTD) of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC)” (دژه تیرۆری کوردستان).

Related: Death from above.

Drones pose the biggest threat to US troops in the Middle East since IEDs, top general says

War Pigs

by Black Sabbath from their 1970 album Paranoid

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death’s construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds

Oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Yeah

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait ’till their judgment day comes

Yeah

Now in darkness world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgment, God is calling
On their knees the war pig’s crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing spreads his wings

Oh lord yeah!

It’s fascinating to reflect back on how a young cold-sober god-fearing band were writing an obvious anti-war pacifist song, which was interpreted as being the exact opposite and attacked viciously by white American “Christian” groups.

The band’s “innovative” sound borrowed heavily from a long tradition of “wailing” in American blues.

Consider, for example, how famous and controversial Janis Joplin was already for using a loud and raw screaming style that “scared” people. The following rough newspaper review of Joplin is from 1969, labeling her whitewashed blues style with very prototypical “metal” language an entire year before Black Sabbath released even their first song.

Click to read entire review

Clearly British musicians emulating American music would have seen an opportunity to capitalize on such a style to express their own “blues” of that time.

Black Sabbath’s bassist Geezer Butler explained in a 2010 interview in Noisecreep that he was keying into British working class themes of protest against inequality and powerlessness.

Noisecreep: It’s no secret that you guys drank a lot and experimented with all sorts of drugs. Did that contribute to the creative vibe on Paranoid?

Butler: No, because we really weren’t doing anything back then besides sharing the occasional joint. We couldn’t afford it. We couldn’t even afford booze, so none of us were drinking yet. The music we were making was more a reflection of what we were thinking and experiencing at the time. We weren’t into flower power and good vibes. That was crap to us, because from where we were, everything was bleak and dark. […] We were four working class people in the most industrial part of England, and all we had to look forward to was dead-end jobs in factories. And we thought at any second we’d be called up to drop in to the Vietnam War, because it looked like Britain was going to get involved in it as well. So there wasn’t much future in anything for us.

Butler goes on to explain it was an anti-war protest behind this particular song.

The song was written as ‘Walpurgis,’ which sounds a little like ‘War Pigs.’ But ‘Walpurgis’ is sort of like Christmas for Satanists. And to me, war was the big Satan. It wasn’t about politics or government or anything. It was evil. So I was saying “generals gathered in the masses/just like witches at black masses” to make an analogy. But when we brought it to the record company, they thought ‘Walpurgis’ sounded too Satanic. And that’s when we turned it into ‘War Pigs.’ But we didn’t change the lyrics, because they were already finished.

In an interview from 2015 Butler even doubles-down on his religious upbringing and pacifism.

I was brought up strictly Catholic and I guess I was naïve in thinking that religion shouldn’t be fought over. I always felt that God and Jesus wanted us to love each other. It was just a bad time in Northern Ireland, setting bombs off in England and such. We all believed in Jesus — and yet people were killing each other over it. To me, it was just ridiculous. I thought that if God could see us killing each other in his name, he’d be disgusted.

At this point I have to mention how the latest research on WWI based on documentary evidence suggests that British troops sometimes reported that being sent into outdoor killing fields was an improvement over being drafted into the slow, agonizing programmed death of the class-enforced loneliness and toxicity from indoor factory work.

I am definitely not saying Black Sabbath members would have been happier being drafted into the Vietnam War instead, just that the recorded misery of British life was severe enough some before them even called it a life worse than trench warfare.

Black Sabbath was singing the blues.

War Pigs thus fits quite simply as another anti-war blues song, drawing from the brash “wailing” style of guitar licks and screaming voice popularized decades before in America. Here are some obvious examples from the mid-1960s:

Black Sabbath (who found their band name upon noticing long lines of people trying to get into a 1963 Italian horror film called Black Sabbath) inventively drew from old American blues styles, added Italian horror film marketing, and then wrote lyrics of British mysticism and a post-world-war trend of the youth very intentionally and directly trying to shock a culture trained to not be shocked (given horrors of war) — force audiences to notice and have any kind of reaction.

It was the opposite and arguably more potent method than “hippie” group shame tactics in Lennon’s 1969 syrupy anti-war blues piece “Give Peace a Chance“.

A sardonic Joy Division in 1979 bridged these two styles when they ripped Black Sabbath’s guitar solo to put it into their passive negative sentiment song called New Dawn Fades.

All that being said, Butler wrote the War Pigs lyrics so we have to take his word for it (pun not intended) when he explains the true meaning and motives.

In a SPIN interview from 2013 you can even read why the religiously suggestive word “masses” was repeated at the start.

SPIN: For some reason in “War Pigs,” it always bothered me that you rhymed “generals in their masses” with “just like witches at black masses.” Why use “masses” twice? Did you try to think of a different word?

Butler: I just couldn’t think of anything else to rhyme with it. And a lot of the old Victorian poets used to do stuff like that — rhyming the same word together. It didn’t really bother me. It wasn’t a lesson in poetry or anything.

And as a final thought on musicians borrowing, Ice-T was perhaps being ironic when he sampled War Pigs in his far more poetic 1987 song “Rhyme Pays” (1:50 guitar riff).