Politicians and Lazy Reporters Will Always Spread Disinformation

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The statistics here are correct. Two million people who exposed themselves to drinking water will die this year. But is this useful information?

The following article is printed in full from The WGN News (Chicago):

Chicago NOT most dangerous U.S. city, new report says

CHICAGO — It’s common knowledge that Chicago is one of the nation’s most dangerous cities when it comes to gun violence.
But that’s only because it has one of the highest populations.
A non-profit news outlet that focuses on gun coverage called The Trace, found that in gun violence per capita, Chicago isn’t even in the top 10 — or the top 15.
Miami, Washington, D.C. and other metro areas are worse.
And here are the absolute worst: New Orleans is on top, followed by Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore and Oakland.
You have to go all the way down to number 18 to find Chicago, right behind Pittsburgh.
The report points out that Chicago does have the most homicides but its murder rate per capita is one third as high as New Orleans.
In another report, Trace detailed that in 2016,  Chicago had a rate of 27.9 killings per 100,000 residents — half that of St. Louis, whose 188 murders amounted to 59.3 homicides per 100,000 people and preserved that city’s status as America’s murder capital.
Chicago recorded 762 homicides, and more than 3,000 shooting incidents in 2016 — the most in more than two decades.

Chicago’s needs to cope with the violence that plagues it. There is no argument against this; the numbers are abhorrent. I am not trying in any way to minimize the gunplay in my city last year. Rather I do, however, want to question the statistics that are being printed, broadcasted and decried by a number of politicians.

There is something very wrong with the way these numbers are presented, interpreted and shared. The statement that Chicago had 762 homicide deaths by firearms during 2016 is accurate, but can we say this is the most meaningful statistic?

Chicago had 762 homicides during all of 2016 while St. Louis had only 188. To add a little fuel to the fire, Baltimore reported 318. Therefore, using the raw numbers, Chicago would seem to be four times as dangerous as St. Louis and more than twice as dangerous as baltimore.

Let’s apply this logic one more time.  During 2015, Illinois had 25,652 deaths due to heart disease, while Iowa had only 6,813. Should we Illinoisans pack up in a hurry and move to Iowa? Isn’t that what these numbers are telling us? Or maybe there’s more to it.

At this point it is important that we realize that every number I have used is a valid statistic. Nothing faked here at all. Even so, the problem with this method is that it makes us draw the wrong conclusions when we try to make comparisons. We desperately need, in all cases, to use the appropriate statistic –to pick from all the numbers and tables published just those numbers that are not only correct, but are also meaningful.

The newspaper article above tells us that in these cases the raw statistics have to be factored by their occurrence per 100,000 population.

When we compare correctly, last year Chicago came in at 18th place, meaning 17 cities were more dangerous. But we rarely hear of them. Donald Trump loves to single out Chicago as the murder capital of the country. Very bad, he says. Somebody needs to whisper in his ear that he is living in a city more dangerous than Chicago. Washington, D.C. was #13 on the list of worst cities. The example of heart disease comes out the same way, so I won’t go through the exercise of explaining it.

No, Chicago does not have shootings under control. And it is not as simple as catching the shooters and putting them in jail. Until whole neighborhoods are rid of despair and unjust economic barriers, there will always be a new generation of shooters who quickly rise to take their predecessors places.

But in the meantime, let’s no distort the facts. They are simple enough to dig up if anyone cares enough to do so.

There are more murders in Chicago each year than in New York and Los Angeles combined. But it isn’t the deadliest large city in America.

To those who read this post, I apologize for its length. If I had thought of an appropriate way, I would have made it shorter.

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World Naked Bike Ride, Chicago Version

Strange and beautiful things happen in large cites. This is just one of them.

World Naked Bike Ride, June 9, 2017, Chicago Style :

The slogan of this ride was:

Celebrating freedom from oil and the beauty of people!

An enjoyable way to be “free from oil” is to ride a bike. And what better way to celebrate the beauty of people than to take off as much clothing as you feel “comfortable” witout reaching the point of embarrassment or self-shame.

The event’s architects planned for this.  Some significant number of riders wore some clothing or sported large amounts of body paint. What’s more, in Chicago you are subject to arrest if, man or woman, you reveal full frontal nudity  . In the spirit of the event the police tended to let it go. There were a significant number of people who participated au naturel.

Events like this Bike Ride in Chicago draw participants from smaller towns who have no practical way to pull this off in their home community.

Divagaciones de un Gato

Gracias, Zoe Ruíz. Sabiduría felina que inspira la instrospección por parte de la raza humana.

Historias Furtivas

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He hecho uso de mis siete vidas caminando sobre infinitos tejados, en busca de respuestas, pero ni siquiera la Luna, que entiende el lenguaje de mis maullidos, ha podido ayudarme a resolver el misterio que envuelve a las personas. Así es, soy un gato y como todos los gatos, los perros o cualquier especie sobre y bajo la tierra, no consigo entenderlas. Quizás, su misterio radica en su contradictorio afán de mantenerse unidas, pero separadas por barreras, no como nosotros, que lo mismo nos da si somos angoras, siameses o callejeros y que nos reconocemos el uno en la mirada del otro, respetamos nuestros respectivos territorios y hacemos las paces después de reñir para obtenerlos. Las personas también son territoriales, pero no siempre hacen las paces y se aíslan alzando muros entre ellos, como si olvidaran que se necesitan entre sí. Sin embargo, después de cualquier suceso catastrófico, sea o…

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LA ÚLTIMA NOVELA DE ROBERTO BOLAÑO

 

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Roberto Bolaño (1953 – 2003) vía jotdown.es

“Desde hace años trabajo en una (novela) que se titula Los Sinsabores del Verdadero Policía y que es MI NOVELA. El protagonista es un viudo, 50 años, profesor universitario, (con una) hija de 17, que se va a vivir a Santa Teresa, ciudad cercana a la frontera con los USA. Ochocientas mil páginas, un enredo demencial que no hay quien lo entienda”.                                      —Roberto Bolaño  1995

¡FELIZ DÍA DEL LIBRO A TODOS!

En honor a este día tan especial para nosotros, les presento algunos comentarios sobre la novela que acabo de leer. La recomiendo sin reservas a todos que no sean disuadidos por los siguientes hechos y observaciones.

Winston Churchill, el Primer Ministro del Reino Unido durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, dijo alguna vez, «Rusia es un acertijo envuelto en un misterio dentro de un enigma». En el inglés contemporaneo solemos usar esta descripción independientemente de la política para calificar un asunto como más  que meramente perplejo: por ejemplo, «el universo es un acertijo. . .»

Para mí, Los sinsabores del verdadero policía, una de las novela escritas durante los últimos quince años de la vida de Roberto Bolaño, se alínea sin duda a esta descripción. De hecho, casi todas sus novelas son así y especialmente sus más apremiadas. De ésta última, algunos críticos dicen que carece de cierta credibilidad debido a que el mismo Bolaños no la acabó, tal cual su novela 2666. Dicen que las dos fueron editados postúmamente y de allí no demuestran todos los toques maestros que pudieron haber tenido.

El renombrado editor Jorge Herralde de Anagrama dijo esto sobre Los sinsabores del verdadero policïa:

« [La] lectura de la novela nos convence de que estamos ante una obra de una calidad literaria extraordinaria, en el territorio de ‘2666’ y ‘Los detectives salvajes’, es decir, del Bolaño en su mejor forma”.

Bueno, ya he leído ocho novelas de Bolaño (trece, si los cinco partes de 2666 son de verdad cinco novelas, como el mismo Bolaño las denominó) y hay tres cosas que me quedan claras que quiero compartir aquí:

  • Las novelas de Bolaño casi nunca tienen climax. La historia misma es lo que más le importa al lector. Leer sus novelas es como pasear en montaña rusa: la emoción más intensa se siente durante la trayectoria y no cuando el tren para al final.
  • Leer a Bolaño implica pausar, reflexionar, volver a leer y esculcar el texto buscando en vano lo que no se encuentra en ninguna parte.
  • Leer a Bolaño es reirse de cosas insólitas, identificar dentro de ti mismo cierta semejanza con algunos de los personajes, desde los más ejemplares hasta los más abyectos. Siento que comprendo más de la naturaleza humana y que, gracias a estas lecturas, estoy dispuesto a aceptar más de ella tal como es.

Si quieren conocer las obras de Bolaño que siguen una cronología, tienen una historia que mantiene su unidad de principio a fin, y hasta llevan un aire de misterio que se aclara dentro de la misma novela, les recomiendo La pista de hielo (1993) y Nocturno de Chile  (2000).

 

Maravillosa fórmula para cuidar el alma escrita por Claudia Hernández

Mira arriba y dale permiso al sol que llegue a tus pies y suba a tu frente. Que te haga sudar todos los problemas que se encuentran en tu vida y que se pierdan. Siente el sol y deja que te alivie un poco el alma.

Mira abajo y permite que la arena acaricie el daño que ha sufrido tu cuerpo. Puede ser incómoda pero suave a la vez; quema pero refresca. Siente la arena y deja que su dorado se camufle en ti y te convierta en oro.

Mira al frente, siempre. Sumérgete en lo infinito del océano y que tu vida fluya como las olas. Húndete en lo que la vida te envíe. Bucea entre todo lo bueno y malo y confía que nunca te quedarás sin respirar porque estas hecho para soportar todo lo que venga.

Eres fuerte y siempre lo serás si te permites sentir. Siente el mar y deja que te ayude a vivir. Puede que la vida no sea tan mala como pensabas.

©Claudia Hernández

via Siente el mar.  — Claudia Hernandez

City Life

I know of no author who can portray today’s big city life more masterfully than Don DeLillo. His words are accurate and loaded with the emotion that city living evokes. The insights he shares didn’t come his way by  majoring in urban studies at some distant university; he got them by pounding the pavement in his native Bronx and the rest of New York City (NYC) before fame ever found him.

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In his latest novel, Zero K, he offers a glimpse of modern city life and especially homelessness:

Languages, sirens all the time, beggar in a bundled mass, man, or woman, hard to tell even when I approach and drop a dollar in the dented plastic cup. Two blocks farther on I tell myself that I should have said something, and then I change the subject before it gets too complicated.

“Before it gets too complicated.” These words still give me goosebumps every time I read them. It’s what we have to do in the cities. Find a way to live with the complexities of languages, cultures, religions, mental states and economic disparities. And you have to embrace it too or it will defeat you.

According to U.S. Census data, a total of 192 different languages are spoken in NYC homes, while 156 are spoken in Chicago. And languages reflect cultures; those who speak different languages also have different customs, traditions, moral codes and holidays. At first glance these numbers seem to be cool statistics, but how do you run a city with them? How do you prepare schools and teachers? First responders? Libraries?

Now, despite their relatively harsh winters, both  NYC and Chicago have homeless populations numbering in the tens of thousands. Everyone agrees there is a problem, but agreement on what exactly is the problem is another story. A solution, if their is one, depends on defining the problem(s), identifying the various causes and the level of empathy and tolerance on the part of the overall population when it come to taking actions. Whew!

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Chicago Homeless Camp via Chicago Sun Times

I suggest you read the DeLillo quote again. We all feel it to some degree when encountering  a homeless person. Am I being conned? Should I give? If I do, how much? Is he or she drunk? If so, do I help out or not? What about the next person and the next? Should I offer something more —something that may take my time as well as my money? Should I have said something too instead of avoiding eye contact? Is this person critically ill? Should I call an ambulance? . . .

About all any one person can do is change the subject before it gets too complicated.  That and keep the resolve to stay in the city and stay engaged.

Of Moneymakers and Artists

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What cannot be measured in dollars and cents? This is a question that used to have many more answers that it has today.

Take movies, for example. How are script writers, directors and actors valued by those who fund their production? The measure is usually one-dimensional: box office success. As a result, movies are made almost exclusively according to their appeal to general audiences. If you watch clips of actors being interviewed nowadays it is not unusual to hear them yearn for the availability of independent productions, movies which would allow them to test their ability to interpret meaningful scripts and bring fleshed-out characters to life. Here, the word independent is synonymous with low budget and targeted appeal —conditions which rarely, if ever, will attract investors. Top-earning actors and directors have themselves become investors in their own independent films as a last resort to get them produced.

Now, in reference to the quote illustrated above, let’s take a similar look at fiction writing. Juan Carlos Onetti, a marvelous Uruguayan writer whose books, if measured by sales volume, were largely unsuccessful during his lifetime, has subsequently emerged as a literary artist of the highest magnitude. Many of his contemporary peers have been the ones to affirm this.

The quote above, translated to English, says the following:

The author who writes what everyone likes may be a good writer but will never be an artist.

So, in line with movie production, most new novels are green-lighted based on their projected sales appeal to specific audiences. In this case, however, the novels published are marketed according to the specific tastes (genres) of the reading public: romance fiction; science fiction; and other categories such as historical, mystery, crime, and so on. Sadly, the category of literary fiction is often the last to be funded, unless the author in question has already acquired a demonstrable following that makes a new novel less risky to the publisher.

Students of film and writing are made aware of these conditions and then encouraged to follow the path of least resistance. As a result, we have gradually discouraged the artists among us while encouraging those who generate good books and movies —”good” as measured along that one-dimensional axis of dollars and cents.

#1 RELATIONSHIPS OF A GIRL

I have come across this powerful post written by a young woman who I believe lives in India. I understand all her questions but can’t think of one answer I could give her that would help her to feel less trapped. I don’t have many followers, but maybe among you there is someone who can open a door to hope for her.

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What are relationships?? How are they built?  How can someone come to a conclusion of its true or not?

I have many questions in my mind and heart.  More than what am going to lay down here today.

Our society teaches us everything.  To adjust, compromise, sacrifice, loyal, etc.  But I always wonder why are these teachings mostly given to the female clan of the world? In the big Indian custom society girls are told about limits and taught to adjust and compromise before she’s grown into a your woman.  She’s taught to adapt with others like and dislikes,  keeping hers aside.

When she’s a daughter she cannot even wear the clothes of her choice.  She’s not free enough tk go out and enjoy by herself with her friends like her brother or any other guys she may know. Even the way she’s gonna keep her hair isn’t her choice…

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Mi obsesión con los cuentos y novelas de Juan Carlos Onetti

Primero que todo, reconozco que ya he escrito más sobre este autor que sobre los demás autores en su conjunto. Me atrevo a decir que las obras de Onetti para mí son como La Perla de Gran Precio de la Biblia; que han llegado a ser de un valor incalculable para mí.

Mi lectura predilecta sin lugar a dudas son las novelas. Prefiero leer una novela a lo largo de una serie de 6 ó 7 etapas en lugar de leer 6 ó 7 cuentos, cada uno por completo a su vez. Pero ya había leído casi todas las novelas escritas por Onetti cuando comencé a leer El viaje a la ficción del escritor Mario Vargas Llosa, Premio Nobel de Literatura 2010. Me llamó la atención cómo elogió varios cuentos de Onetti, sobre todo El infierno tan temible.

Cuando llegó al momento de resumir y criticar éste, Vargas Llosa lo hizo así:

“[L]as pocas páginas de que consta El infierno tan temido son engañosas, pues, aunque la historia parece de entrada claramente inteligible, la verdad es que toda ella está cargada de sobreentendidos, alusiones, pistas, referencias, omisiones y acertijos que permiten lecturas muy diversas y hacen de ella unas suerte de palimpsesto en el que distintos niveles superpuestos de escritura trazan una inquietante descripción de la vocación de crueldad congénita a la condición humana”

Más tarde, en una entrevista hecha por resonancias.org, resumió este cuento de la siguiente manera:

“El infierno tan temido” es uno de los grandes cuentos de la literatura. El consigue mostrar algo que no sabemos definir muy bien: el mal, el pecado original, el instinto tanático. “Las fieras” [ de Roberto Arlt], y desde luego, en “El infierno tan temido”, que es un cuento que no sé cuántas veces he leído, me producen siempre una especie de terror metafísico. Uno descubre que también somos eso. Y es también absolutamente extraordinario que, al mismo tiempo, a todo eso se lo pueda llamar una historia de amor. Una historia de amor, digamos, retorcida, perversa, pero hay ahí una especie de entendimiento en esa pareja a través de esos horrores que se hacen.

Poco después de leer estos comentarios compré un ejemplar de Cuentos Completos de Juan Carlos Onetti y leí El infierno tan temible. Lo leí y lo volví a leer. Estoy de acuerdo con lo que dijo Vargas Llosa: estas páginas de hecho son engañosas y éstas no pueden ser desenredados mediante una sola lectura.

Se lo recomiendo, sin reserva alguna,  a todos que lean esta entrada. No será necesario que compren este tomo tan grueso que compré yo, a menos que ya sean aficionados de las obras de Onetti; que, en tal caso, sería una maravillosa adquisición. Este cuento está disponible en forma PDF en varias páginas Web, inclusive en cervantes.com.

In Hiding 

This is only the second post I have reblogged.

Quoted from the original blog: “I always remind myself that I am only one bad decision away from being on that or some other list myself.”

This is a doctor’s prescription I want to take to heart.

Behind the White Coat

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I have a habit of checking the State Medical Board discipline postings whenever they come out to see if anyone I know is on there.

Typically there is no one. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I found someone that I knew.

This time, however, I found two.

Two.

The first I recognized as an old classmate of mine from medical school. He lost his license due to substance abuse… alcohol specifically. Several DUIs. A failed treatment program. I wondered when that issue started. In medical school he never seemed to be a partier. There were those but he did not run with that group. He was quiet. Studious. Funny. I liked him back then. What happened between then and now? All of those years of training and sacrifice. What is left of his life? His family?

The other was a man I had worked with as a…

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