Friday, June 27, 2014

Celebrate Iraqi Partition


    This blog's interest in what might be called linguistic nationalism, the idea that state borders are stablest and best when the match the linguistic map of the people, would obviously result in the eventual breakdown of the borders drawn as a result of the "scramble for Africa"Sykes-Picot"the Great Game", etc.

    Today a couple articles were published, one in the NY Times, one in the Daily Beast, against just such an idea.

     The first was penned by a mendacious fool who attempts to equate border-changing with the evils of Marxist Communism by starting out:
 Over the past two weeks, the specter that has haunted Iraq since its founding 93 years ago appears to have become a reality: the de facto partition of the country into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish cantons.
     The emphasis is mine. As an unnecessary reminder, Marx and Engels began the Communist Manifesto with the sentence "A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism."

     The Daily Beast Op/Ed was written by a a person without a clue who could seriously pen these words:
[P]artition will not lead to self-rule and stability in Iraq, rather it will provide ISIS with a haven in which it can subjugate the local population and plan further conquests.
     Again, the emphasis is mine. The majority of local population under putative ISIS control, I've heard reported, would rather have ISIS than US or Republic of Iraq troops around them, for starters, and these low-tech guerilla-style fighters are never going to able to project military power in a way that threatens anything but sparsely populated desert areas with Sunni Arab populations, and even then, it isn't like the Saudi or Jordanian Air Force will be particularly merciful if they ever move against those regional powers.

     In any event, we all should have learned that ISIS was a bunch of loonies when they started talking about taking the Shia holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. Where ISIS is wanted, it can succeed, where it is not, it will fail.

My Recent Hospital Stay, Weight and Heart


    I had lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. I was down to 121 pounds and I am 6'2" tall. I was admitted to the Mayo Clinic hospital in Jacksonville for malnutrition. One week later the same scale said I was 174.8 pounds. It's almost all swelling, and, since my blood albumin (protein) is low, likely anasarca.

     I have had scleroderma (SSc) since at least January, 2010. I have a bad, perhaps severe, case. It affects my skin, my entire GI tract, my lungs, some joints, and my kidneys. The only organ that SSc affects that hadn't hit me was my heart... or so we thought. I had an echocardiogram at the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday. My ejection fraction was measured at 37%, far below the norm of 65%. On Wednesday I had a cardiac catheterization to rule out blocked arteries being the cause. When it was over the doctor who did the test made sure to tell me my arteries were "great." Apparently the measurements were all zeroes. I felt a bit of pride at this. A lot of people go to the gym, but men tend to spend a lot more time with the weights, while I spent a lot of time on the elliptical and stair machines. I don't think I ever worked my heart too hard, and so would imagine that the net result was a really tip-top cardiovascular system.

     But what no one in the Cardiac team, led by Dr. Mohamad Yamani, mentioned was that some of all that swelling was around my heart, pressuring it, reducing my measured ejection fraction?