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Michael S. Pearl

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About Michael S. Pearl

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  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Folsom, Louisiana

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  1. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 12 Picks   

    Keep Watt on the defensive left and go after Strief at RT all day, and Brees will have a tough time of it. Kikaha reports that his ankle is improved. No word yet on Ellerbe. Cam Allen make the Saints' defense any better? Doubt it -- until I see otherwise. So, yeah, Houston wins.
    Let's see what - is any - contrarian picks are available this week.
    If Indy turns the ball over as much as they did early to Atlanta, then the Bucs win. Regardless, I'm thinking that the Bucs are currently better than the Falcons; therefore, Tampa Bay wins.
    Ugh, the pickings are mighty slim again this week. Got to dig deeper to find more.
    This is a tough one, but anything is possible in the NFL, and that's the reason why Pittsburgh wins.
    Lemme see if I can come up with one more.
    The Eagles are horrible. The Lions are terrible. But Philadelphia wins because ... because ... because Detroit doesn't have enough offense? Sheesh.
    Some other thoughts:
    It's hard to imagine Denver generating much offense, and it is especially difficult to imagine them producing enough points. Should be close, and that will give the Broncos a chance.
    I'll admit this about Atlanta: They have been tough against the run, and, if that trend continues, then the Vikings will have to rely more on Bridgewater, and therein lies the Falcons' chance of winning.
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  2. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic Language (and Thought) Expansion   

    There might be something else going on as well.
    In the latter part of my response to Angela, I expressed my reservations about "the notion that violence is inherent either in the functioning of language or in the way we often use language". I said:
    'In conversations of the sort that this blog entry has in mind, I think it would be a good thing to describe the use of language as the presenting of challenges even if the challenge approaches the level of being at some point possibly traumatizing. The dis-integration I mentioned earlier is necessarily challenging and might be sometimes traumatizing, but, ultimately or ideally, the conversation is only an invitation to the other to dis-integrate for himself or herself. However, even such an invitation will often be challenging or even perceived by the other as the putting forth of a challenge, but this is not an inherent violence. For that matter, the perception that one person in a conversation is more skilled linguistically than others presents its own sense of being challenged, but the use of that skill is not inherently violent.'
    Angela subsequently wondered whether my reference to linguistic skill was itself necessarily a matter of "seeing the language of the elite as a norm". I then noted that it would be possible to substitute "the machinations of personal thought that go into producing judgment – including how personal thought is affected (without being necessarily determined) by the context of the social/societal" for the linguistic skill terminology. I was essentially reiterating my earlier point about the non-necessity of particulars words in expression, but now I think what I should have done (in addition) is point out something else.
    Angela appears to have regarded the discussion about linguistic skill as unavoidably invoking an objective or social/societal norm whereas I had thought that by making "perception" the subject of the sentence I was emphasizing the subjective perspective which would give rise to the individual subject's response. That subjective perspective does not depend on either a denial or ignorance of the context effected by the social/societal, but that subjective perspective does operate with the presumption that the social/societal does not (or is not sufficient to necessarily) determine what is experienced as the subjective perspective.
    What I should have done was refer to a section from Carson McCuller's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a conversation between Dr. Copeland, a black physician, and his daughter, Portia:
    Portia's remark might be interpreted as being indicative of the commonly supposed rational/emotional dichotomy; it is certainly not something so simple (or simplistic) as an outright rejection of "the language of the elite" or that language style "as a norm." Instead, and as the story later almost almost makes explicit, what drives Portia and her siblings to talk as she does is the absolute lack of charity, the refusal or inability on the part of Dr. Copeland to respond to those other individuals according to each one's uniqueness, their differences; their own individual otherness:
    Dr. Copeland always regarded these others impersonally, strictly in terms of the possibility of their being cogs - even if very important cogs - in Copeland's notion of a great Marxist purpose. The rational-emotional distinction is properly regarded as a false dichotomy, a shortcut of categorical thinking, often a stereotype. The same is to be said of the subjective/objective distinction, and both distinctions are often applied as utterly simplistically as is the elite/non-elite language distinction: so very simplistic as to not be able to consider - or even suggest - the variety of possibilities that might be pursued to overcome the problems that actually are associated with such distinctions. These are all examples of categorical thinking (and the associated prejudices) which make full use of such thinking only in conjunction with dis-integration.
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  3. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic GOP recent events   

    Sure, but what rhetoric leads you to think that the Clinton position is well described as generally being based upon the notion that "man is basically good", and what rhetoric leads you to describe the Republicans as generally centered on the notion that humans have "an innate propensity for evil"?
    It is legitimate, justified, what have you. Instead of preferring, you can just as well despise some (in this case) politician's proffered position less than those presented by others.
    For instance, let us take Trump's remarks/non-remarks (whatever they were) about registering all Muslims, or just Syrian Muslims, or just Syrian Muslim refugees, and let us also take Kasich's denouncement of Trump's position and then consider Kasich's subsequent call for some sort of government effort to emphasize or promulgate Judeo-Christian values. Is Kasich not really simply trying to appeal - in a more genteel and ideal or mythic American manner - to the very same folks who tend to think (reflexively or otherwise) that Trump has a good point?
    By resorting to the Judeo-Christian descriptor, Kasich is highlighting the already presumed necessary, dubious, and strange otherness of, in this context, the Muslims. Had he wanted to, he could easily have avoided supporting the notion of Muslims' strange otherness by simply highlighting some of the particular values he had in mind, but, then, it would be too apparent that those values are not necessarily Judeo-Christian even if they are compatible with a general Judeo-Christian perspective, and the result would be that Kasich would have no rhetoric by which to appeal to the people who reflexively felt that Trump had a good point.
    Then consider Clinton's denouncing of Trump's remarks/non-remarks. Does her response differ at all significantly from Kerry claiming that it is not the American way to do the sorts of things that Trump claimed/didn't claim that the government needs to do? In which case, couldn't we ask, "Oh, you mean like with the Patriot Act and all that has followed from it?" Furthermore, is there any evidence that Clinton, Obama, or the Democrats in general have real interest in engaging with Muslims as Muslims from any sort of Islamic perspective? No, there is no such evidence. Such is the prejudice of the avowedly or dogmatic secular. The best that could be said for Clinton is that she is more careful about directly insulting Muslims. But where is the engagement? Where is the substantive difference between her disinterest in engagement and that of the Republicans?
    We can go through much the same process with regards to other matters - for instance, Obamacare, a program which might accurately be described as essentially insurance reform primarily (or at least initially) intended to be for the benefit of health insurance companies and hospitals. Republicans do not want to speak of that program in those terms, because they, too, are interested in the well-being of the insurance companies (Medicare Advantage is, after all, a Republican baby), but an admission of Republican interest in health insurance company well-being does not provide an opportunity for rhetoric that bolsters Republican popularity even among the Republicans' supporters. Nevertheless, you can bet that Republicans will make use of the recent report that at least one large company might be moving to get out of Obamacare,
    Basically, I see all this as the same old same old. In general, are politics practiced substantially differently in other countries? I doubt it. Is that cynicism? Nah, the greatest concentration of cynics is to be found in those whose most devoted pursuit is in the political.
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  4. Michael S. Pearl added a topic in Explore   

    Language (and Thought) Expansion
    Angela Roothan recently posted a piece to her blog which she titled Language Expansion to which I responded with some comments. My remarks reveal a particular interest of mine, and I am posting it here just in case it might be of interest to some of our group:

    'I am wholly in favor of "language expansion" - who would not be? - but how is this done? And is it really expansion that is the goal? Or is it something more like disruption or constructive destruction wherein the individual's own current habit of thought and expression is seemingly almost annihilated only to be reborn as the beginning of a new habit which is once again to be subject to further disintegration? Now that I think about it, maybe dis-integration is an early stage in language and thought expansion. I will try to expand on this based upon some passages from the posting.
    Style is a most important aspect of writing. However, to the extent that style is regarded as a matter of form, then style in itself is far from sufficient for producing the most worthwhile writing, because it is also content that makes any writing interesting and, therefore, appealing. Accepting that Lydon's content is interesting at least because of the perspective that it provides, then it can certainly be the case that the "‘non-elitist’ language" he uses would best suit the story he presents - despite the fact that his style might not in the least strike the reader as (let us say) elevating by means of a strictly aesthetic experience (other than in the way the reader might conclude that such an ordinary or earthy style so very well comports with the importance of the perspective). So, sure, it can most definitely be worthwhile to move beyond "the literature canon" and embrace more ordinary manners of expression.
    Yet, that does not exactly produce language expansion. Instead, language and thought expansion is more likely to follow by considering matters and terms such as "non-elitist" and, thereby, "elitist", as well as Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, capitalist, socialist, rational, science or scientific, etc.
    These are categorical terms, terms that generalize by means of apparent similarities, of course, and, particularly in matters where at some point judgment will occur, categories most often serve as a shortcut way of imparting an immediate (even if only initial) sense or expectation that, based upon prior experience, something which fits into a particular category will ultimately be favored or disfavored.
    Categories are no doubt essential to orderly thinking, and that may well be why languages are replete with categorical terms, but categorical thinking/expression is far too rarely regarded as being indicative of initial or cursory thinking, and the associations that produce categorical thinking/expression are far too often taken as the conclusions necessary to justify the favor or disfavor which color a category.
    Language and thought expansion occur after an individual identifies an instance of categorical thinking/expression and then faces up to the fact that no linguistic term is necessary even if some term must be used, leaving that person to re-think and re-express using alternative terms which have the effect of discarding the category without dismissing the similarities upon which the category is based, but, at the same time, re-viewing the differences which the category in itself tends to hide. To put this another way, whereas categorical thinking/expression tends to occur in terms of either this or that, thinking/expression which starts from apparently unavoidable categorical thinking/expression and then dis-integrates the category tends to result in terms of both this and that whereby both the similarities and the differences are pursued. ...'
    A day or two after I posted that comment, I ran across the following passage in Philip J. Harold's book, Prophetic Politics:
    Based on the above, Lippmann's stereotype appears to be an instance of what I discuss in terms of categorical thinking, more specifically that categorical thinking which is utilized as shortcut not as or at the initiation of reasoning but, instead, as a way of leaping to a conclusion in a way that gives it the appearance of having some sufficient justification. Given that categorical thinking is broader than Lippmann's stereotypes, it would seem that it is more the capability of detaching oneself from thinking in terms of categories that is necessary for maturity and probably wisdom as well.
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  5. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 11 Picks   

    Looks like this week gives me more chances for contrarian picks than have been ordinary this year.
    I don't know whether the Falcons have succeeded in figuring out during the off week just what it is they've done to freeze what early in the season had been a super hot offense, but I'm going to go with the belief that they've figured out nothing. So, Indianapolis wins. It's not as if the Colts are good, but I enjoy Falcons losses. I admit it.
    In some strange way, I think the Bucs are better than they realize and better than what they typically show out on the field. The few times I have watched them play I've gotten the feeling that Winston doesn't really grasp what's going on during games, but the Eagles are such a peculiar team - in a bad sense of peculiar - that I expect to see Tampa Bay win. It's almost as if the Bucs seem to have potential whereas the Eagles do not, and it is the sense of the Bucs as pure potential (albeit a potential just about never realized) which always makes a Tampa Bay pick so very iffy.
    It's hard to go with a Houston team that has Yates at QB, but the Texans do seem to have improved their play over the past few weeks. And then there is the Fitzpatrick effect which will - whether directly or indirectly - turn what really should be a Jets victory into the actuality of: Houston wins.
    Some other thoughts:
    "Back to their losing ways" well captures the essence of the Raiders. And there I have been over the past few weeks thinking that they really might have finally turned that franchise around. Maybe they need more seasoning. In any event, the Lions are indeed a bad team; if Oakland were not playing such a bad team, I probably would have picked against them simple because of how they've been betraying my own picks.
    This game is especially important for the Vikings. Divisional games tend to be the toughest, but the psychological burden is entirely on Minnesota because a loss to the seemingly lost/absent Packers will put the NFC North back in the order which has been expected of it year after year. On the other hand, a Vikings victory this week will seem to have vanquished the Pack for at least this year, even though not for seasons to come.
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  6. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks   

    You will NOT - let me repeat and emphasize that - you will NOT wear a Carolina t-shirt to the game. You might get to wear a bag over your head like the Saints fans did back in '80 I think it was, but you will NOT wear a Carolina t-shirt, and you will NOT wear Carolina blue. Duke blue is acceptable, however, but New England Patriots blue is not. If you simply can't help yourself and want a Carolina t-shirt, fine. But you will NOT wear it to the game or in the French Quarter or anywhere else down here!!!!! Why not wear an All Blacks shirt?
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  7. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic GOP recent events   

    I see no reason to believe that the Clinton position is well described as generally being based upon the notion that "man is basically good", and I see no reason to believe that the Republican candidates are well described as holding positions based upon the idea that humans have "an innate propensity for evil". Similarly, Clinton is not well described as being relatively more "concerned with man as an individual, and how he might take a constructive part in society."
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  8. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks   

    In this bye week, the Saints need to face the fact that Ryan has to go. Something has to change, and the easiest change is the coach. Everyone is to be held accountable. Right? They can let Allen finish the season as d-coordinator to give him a chance to continue in the job next year (assuming Payton returns).
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  9. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks   

    Saints are on course for giving up 800 yards to the Skins. Washington won't end up with that much. Probably. But the Saints defense gets worse with each passing week. No offense can be good enough to win with such a defense.
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  10. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks   

    Ellerbe, Hawthorne, and Humber are out for the Redskins game; so, the ILB situation remains terrible - meaning Washington should game plan for going to their TEs. At least Kikaha will be back, and that might help produce some sort of pass rush.
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  11. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks   

    Forgot about the Fitzpatrick factor: any team with Fitzpatrick at QB is therefore less likely to win!!!
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  12. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks   

    Arizona at Seattle
    I'll go with Seattle simply because I do not yet believe in the Cards' red zone offense.
    Jaxville at Baltimore
    I'll assume that the week off will be enough to get the Ravens a win. Without that week off, I'm not so sure that Baltimore would be good enough to take advantage of the gifts Bortles would be handing over.
    Cleveland at Pittsburgh
    If Williams is NOT a full go, then the Browns have a prayer. Barely. The Browns are really bad.
    Minnesota at Oakland
    I'll go with Oakland regardless of Bridgewater's status.
    Not a good week for contrarian picks.
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  13. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks   

    New Orleans at Washington
    I still maintain that Ellerbe is critically important to whether the Saints have enough defense to help out the offense. I have no idea what Ellerbe's status is for this game. Anthony has played well, but a defense needs to have at least two LBs to be at all effective, and Mauti, Hawthorne, and Dunbar simply have been inadequate as replacements for Ellerbe. Even Humber would have been a better replacement for Ellerbe, but he has also been out with injury. On top of all that is the fact that Lewis still has not been up to full speed, and Byrd has continued to be a joke leaving the Saints to run a defense with basically no free safety. Washington wins because the New Orleans offense cannot be expected to score more than 30 points per game - especially since the defense never gives the offense a short(ened) field. Other contrarian picks and additional comments to follow.
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  14. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 9 Picks   

    It's worth noting that Tennessee has the 5th ranked defense in terms of yds/game. The problem is with the Titans offense which is ranked 31st in yds/game.
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  15. Michael S. Pearl added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 9 Picks   

    This is the kind of game that most worries Saints fans. Well, at least if Mariota starts. Since New Orleans will win this game (simply because the really should), I'll just note that Ellerbe seems to be a real difference maker for the defense. Yeah, that's right, he didn't play against the Giants this past Sunday, and I think that made quite a bit of difference. Not that it matters, because the Saints won and that's all that ever matters. I'm just saying look for Ellerbe's status week to week as the season goes forward.
    Okay, I'm gonna pull out a few contrarian picks this week.
    I'm going to agree with everything you say and still have a contrarian pick. That's because "the Packers' Achilles heel" is strained enough to give the wretched Carolina offense a chance, and that chance will ensure that Carolina wins. But that is only if Cam Newton continues to manage to somehow NOT get himself hurt. The man is a beast; too bad his passing accuracy has never gotten better, because, if it did, he alone could make this team as nearly unbeatable as an NFL team can be.
    As great as Bell is, the fact is that Williams is no slouch. He showed as much against the Patriots. Oakland wins because this is where and when they take that step towards demonstrating some consistency.
    Kwan Alexander was good at LSU, but he wasn't as good as he's been so far this year. I have the feeling that Tampa Bay is better than they seem to be. Maybe they aren't playing up to that potential I attribute to them because their rookie QB is still somewhat lost. Still, Tampa Bay wins because Winston finds his receivers (barely) often enough and because the Bucs will run the ball pretty well.
    Additional thoughts:
    I think Atlanta will continue to fade. Their receiving corps looks better on paper than they do on the field. Fortunately for the Falcons, the 49ers are good at getting worse; the 49ers might be the worst team in the league.
    If Buffalo had a QB, I'd likely be inclined to pick the Bills. As things stand, there is no reason why Miami should not pull away in this game.
    So Luck hurt his shoulder; he reportedly also had some broken ribs. None of that explains Luck's play. It's more like he is perpetually concussed, because his brain and vision don't seem to be working. The solution? Fire the offensive coordinator. Right.
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