Always something auspicious about threes. We are in week three of the Great Scientist Power Hour here, which is something catchy that I just came up with on the fly to call this little adventure. For those keeping score at home, I am talking about going back to undergraduate classes to do pre-med, and the classes that I have to take to get into med school are all hard sciences. This semester is Physics, Cell Biology and Organic Chemistry. I already have an exam in Organic Chemistry! How great is that, an exam on the… *counts on fingers* 5th total class meeting? Yeah. So that’s pretty cool. The extra twisted thing about that is that it’s my favorite class so far, even though its kind of the most frightening.
And physically threatening. You handle some really gnarly stuff in the lab.
In the time it took me to actually finish writing this blog post, I have taken that test, and I got a 90 out of 100 while identifying an error in one of the questions. I am feeling pretty great about how chemistry is going.
Chemistry has been interesting. It’s kind of the jumping off point for this whole experience and was the corner stone in feeling like I am actually capable of undertaking this whole doctor of medicine endeavor. I was encouraged to take a class. I looked at what I would need to finish that I neglected to take the first time I went to college. Introduction to general chemistry had the least stringent pre-requisites and seemed like it would be the least difficult with math. I got very close to dropping the class in the first couple of weeks. Chemistry revolves, at least in part, around the idea of dimensional analysis. You also need to know and understand that particles can act as waves and that those waves can determine the properties of chemicals. It’s nightmarish, because you realize that this is indeed related to other math based sciences and you are suddenly computing wavelength as a function of the speed of light. It was more algebra than I have done in maybe 13 years. I didn’t like the feeling of helplessness that it caused, feeling like I am in face a smart individual and that I couldn’t do these math manipulations. I managed to stick with it though and ended up getting an A in the course.
I ended up liking general chemistry. Nothing was terribly complicated but I learned quite a bit about what amounts to the fundamental Lego bricks that put everything around us together. It’s a strange a fortuitous accident that the elements have these very stable and predictable properties, the penchant for atoms to accrue 8 electrons at all costs, some with more violence than others, makes them into a weird erector set.
So, I’ve owned this website and domain for maybe 8 years now. Throughout that time, I have tried using it for assorted different things. I used to write a lot of impassioned speeches and break downs of local news (gaining the ire of some overzealous students) and about national politics (things were bad and then they got worse in a way I did NOT predict) all under the banner of DoctorZulak’s Clinic. I wasn’t a doctor, and I wasn’t on my way to being one, though I hadn’t abandoned my thoughts on being a Ph.D in linguistics quite yet.
Well, things are different now.
I was encouraged at my last job to try taking a class. I took Introductory Chemistry at the Johnson County Community College. It was in the middle of a global pandemic (which warrants some spotlight time at a later date) and I thought I was going to drop it after the first two weeks because I was having a hard time with the math required. I practiced a little and I realized I was just fine at the math. I was simply out of shape, I hadn’t had to do formal math in almost 16 years.
I ended up getting an A.
With that accomplishment, and the fact that I had already finished a Master’s degree in an evolving field, I decided that maybe my thoughts on the future were possible. I had wanted to be a doctor when I was small, when I saw them help my dad when he had had a heart attack. The doctors fixed him up. I gave up when I got a bad (but passing) grade in Calculus II when I was a sophomore in high school. All my friends had done well, and they dubbed me “bad at math.” I believed it and decided I wanted to be a musician. Well, clearly, that worked out, and I went on to study linguistics, brain anatomy, and how we think about language. After that, I’ve been miserable. I have taken steadily worse jobs instead of incrementally better ones. I am over educated and under appreciated, at least as far as the work force is concerned, and that isn’t a problem unique to me.
I feel like now that I know that I could be, I am obligated to become a doctor. In a few very short years, there will be a shortage of physicians in America. There will be unfilled spots in hospitals an clinics and hospitals and clinics will lack the man power to reliably treat the populations of the towns they serve. Schools charge too much for education and there aren’t enough spots for resident doctors, the government will have to pay off the loans of future doctors and hospitals will have to get grant money to open up learning positions, or we will risk a severe health crisis on top of ecological disaster. I have to do what I can to help.
This space, then, is going to turn into a spot where you can join me on my trip. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like I was left behind by an economy not meant to serve me, and I am not stuck in my path. It’s not to late to change gears and become something better, and I think that that is a story that I can share.
I’m sitting here in a restaurant in then middle of the afternoon having a beer and just feeling like total shit. I am feeling supremely upset about a lot of things on this July the Third. First and foremost I am just absolutely on tilt about what’s happening currently on the Southern Boarder of the United States. For anyone living pretty literally under a rock that has somehow managed to find their way to my blog, first, what the hell, your priorities are… Flattering but way out of wack, brohan. Second, the United States has opted to start putting immigrants coming from any non-white, non-European origin into detainment inside pretty vulgar concentration camps. The weeks headlines have been eaten up with the fact that Fuckface vonClownstick* took his daughter Feckless-Cunt vonClownstick (that’s an opaque Samantha Bee reference) as his diplomatic group, which also included mouth breathing reprobate and likely literal toad Tucker Carlson, to North Korea, the fact that he’s diverted National Parks money for a tank parade, and the pundits have argued over if, in fact, the concentration camps can be technically considered real concentration camps (spoiler: Speaker Pelosi and most media say that’s a harsh definition, but academics that study genocide and concentration camps for a living say that they are pretty easily classified as concentration camps, so, you can pick who is right on that front, I know who I believe at any rate.)
Anyway, I needed a place to collate the things I’ve read so far and be able to share again later. I have been trying to wrote essays on Facebook and I’m relatively confident that the Facebook algorithm actively buries any large block of text, especially if it deals with a negative subject. This is what I’ve gleaned and I can attach a link and a catchy quip later for your digestion later.
- Early in the week, ProPublica released a report detailing that a private Facebook group for Border Protection employees that contained something to the tune of 9,500 users that was sexually and physically violent, largely disrespectful of immigrants, and contained no small number of violent and explicit threats towards sitting congress representatives. Representatives that where scheduled to tour their detention facilities, no less. CBP employs approximately 20,000 people so… That’s approx. half of the total employee base spending time in a toxic place propagating toxic ideas and actively dehumanizing the people they are employed and sworn to protect.
- The conditions are deplorable. The reports include refugees being kept outdoors in the middle of the desert, meaning extreme temperature swings and little to no protection from the sun and no blankets or supplementary clothing for the freezing night time temperatures. They are not provided cots or bedrolls inside the metal fenced cages described on multiple occasions as like “dog kennels” with dirt or sand foundations. Immigrants a refugees that are moved indoors are kept in an area called “the freezer” which sounds like it might actually be a walk in refrigerator; it is kept at 55 degrees Fahrenheit and has a concrete floor. Again, detainees are not provided cots or bedrolls. Detainees in some instances have been kept in these facilities for more than two months.
- Children are frequently seperated from parents, there are anecdotal reports of the following: infants being stripped of clothing by guards before being returned to holding areas, children running fevers with no medical attention being attended only by older children, parents being forced into detention cells designed to hold 40 or so detainees in numbers over 100, women and children being told to get their potable water from the bowl of the toilet, children being afraid to interact with reporters and watch dogs for fear of reprisal from guards.
- The Supreme Court has, in recent days, mandated that CBP and the Trump administration immediately allow doctors who have offered to provide emergency medical services into the facilities. They have been barred from entry multiple times.
- Immigrants and refugees have been denied basic hygiene items like soap and toothpaste, as they have also been provided very little in the way of food. This is especially gauling for two reasons. First, ICE has multiple temporary shelters that are fully stocked that are purposefully being kept empty to antagonize the detainees. Second, the private equity groups running the facilities are reportedly charging something to the tune of $750 per day per detainee. It has been pointed out multiple times this is a price tag significantly higher then staying a Trump Luxury Hotel. Even the most calloused observer should question if keeping humans in a dog kennel with 0 basic amenities really costs the company more than a luxury vacation per day.
- One of the private equity groups charging the government this amount per day was quietly contracted in a no bid Sweetheart deal, and happens to have recently hired on John Kelly, who until recently was employed as Trump’s chief of staff.
- The Supreme Court also ruled this week that yes, as is established in the United States laws, asylum seeking is in fact legal and asylum seekers are guaranteed due process. The solution that the administration has to this and all of the negative attention that the concentration camps have been getting is in fact not to spend more money on lawyers, judges, and beuracratic processing while closing the camps and moving detainees to waiting, humane shelters, but to try and move the concentration camps from civilian controlled properties and institutions and into extraterritorial and military bases, places where, traditionally, foreigners have no rights and allow no civilian watchdogs like reporters, UN human rights observers, and even Congressional Representatives and Senators are barred from access. They have put into motion using Guantanamo Bay as a location for moving the concentration camp. Literally the place they used to torture Prisoners of War during the War on Terror. The place where they made people “disappear” to.
This is rapidly approaching a situation that, if I wasn’t living in this dystopic, apathetic hellscape right fucking now, I would have believed as a child would be cause for armed, organized and concentrated dissent. Young me would believe that the good people of America would march into those camps and tear down the fences and take those people to hospitals. That they would be in the streets throwing molotovs until the president resigned. In the 90s, we had a violent riot because Bill Clinton at the DNC in LA triangulated towards Bank deregulation.
I honestly don’t know what to think or do, other than, as a citizen, I am disgusted and violently disturbed that America, the force that liberated Dachau and Auschwitz, is in process to open a death camp on Guantanamo Bay and no news anchor isn’t livid every single night. Most people don’t even know.
If you see it now, Don’t you dare look away.
I’m not actually sure if I’m procrastinating. I’m actually trying to determine exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m trying very hard to determine a consistent theme with which to publish a newsletter on the weekly. I’m sure that I do, in fact, know enough interesting stuff to keep this idea floating and working, but I have this consistent guilt that I’ll just be shooting mindless, unguided brain musings into space.
I think I over slept. I think I’ve been paying for this domain name and not publishing content for…
*scrambles for a clock*
*throws away alarm clock*
Quick, what’s happened in that time period?! Nothing too drastic, right?
SORRY, WHO THE FUCK DID YOU SAY WAS PRESIDENT?