Monday, December 31, 2007

As Instapundit comments, Fred Thompson represents a continuation of the Washington view, 18th century George Washington that is.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Trish has a comment on her blog post about a restaurant in downtown NY(?) that sounded good. I also recently had John's Italian recommended to me in New York. Went to eat at Kuby's in Snider Plaza, Dallas (Highland Park) yesterday. Crepes and Grobe Bratwurst, Pilsner beer are good.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas tussles

An observation on Christ and the Church: The Christmas Mass has a nice reading from Isaiah on the arrival of Emmanuel, born of a virgin. Rabbi Zimmerman remarked with a 'don't let this get out' kind of expression once that the Catholics had mistranslated the word they were taking for 'virgin.' In Hebrew it may mean just 'young woman.'

Catholicism has high standards for marriage and sexual relations. In 1st Corinthians, Paul answering the question what it takes to be Christian starts out with a 'proper marriage.' If your spouse leaves, you're stuck with having to get an annulment. I wonder if the severity doesn't really start with Mary (or center on her).

An, in a sense, competing line of justification for the Kingship of Jesus falls on his being a descendant of David. This is competing in my view because, if the Holy Spirt was the father and not Joseph, then where's the line of descent?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Candide and health care

Candide was famous for saying 'all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.' Megan McArdle has a blogpost which has devolved into 'efficiencies' and 'minimum standards.' This puts me in mind of a patient who was happy with what we did. It developed that he 'had an income of $24,000' a year. Though he said 'he needed to get cheaper medicines, his previous psychiatrist had continued to prescribe him Risperdal.. which had cost him $700 a month.' I was prescribing him perphenazine and lithium and 'he was now able to afford a car.' He also appreciated that I charged him $60 a visit; most doctors would have charged him more (though insurances wouldn't pay more). I added cyproheptadine which because of its serotonin 2 receptor blocking action will, in combination with the perphenazine, make this Rx set like Risperdal. The same day I wrote a prescription for Abilify, the most expensive antipsychotic, for a Medicaid patient. I had sent this prescription in electronically with a refill some 3 months ago but the state makes you write it out. He has a developmental propfschizophrenia and his mood and interest are better on this than cheaper antipsychotics. The state tries to discourage me from writing it by insisting that I literally write it each time rather than provide it any other way. I was thinking today, well was this unfair that the man with the limited income had less expensive medicine than the person totally dependent on the state. Overall I don't think so because both are getting a very satisfactory treatment. If the state were paying for both though, I think some further way would be found, as hinted at in my second patient, to degrade the potential treatment of them and others.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A New York visit

Really enjoyed New York a few weekends ago. The New York Public Library was surprisingly fun. They had a Kerouac exhibit which included one of his letters or essays, Who is a Reactionary?, written in the 40's. Among the criticisms in it were of Stalin or Russia which banned the works of Dostoevsky because he believed in God. There is a room of oil portrait paintings, many Astors, apparently the library was initially an Astor philanthropy, including an Astor (as modern aristocracy) in a Navy uniform. There is only one bust and that of Raoul Wallenberg, the man who as a diplomat provided many hundreds of Jews with made up parers to escape the Nazis and who himself disappeared at the end of the war into a Soviet concentration camp apparently dying in one in 1953. There is a portrait of the son of Alexander Hamilton. In one of the nearby reference rooms I ran into a book reviewing Southern novels which talked of several from the twenties and thirties which expressed the pain of small town life in its religious intolerance and materialism; thus the authors difficulties in finding empathy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Re: Pharmaceutical representation

Pangloss, I bring you good news from the halls of academe. The money changers have been driven from the temple (the drug reps can't go to Southwestern Medical School anymore). Probably evidence of my philosemitism, but I always enjoyed a good money changer. I was walking down a hall in the Psychiatry Clinic as a resident when the Sandoz rep called out 'Freud said Mellaril is the best phenothiazine.' In preSNL days, that wasn't bad. We had one of those Medical Ethics Lectures this year about the evils of drug marketing. Evidencing my easy cordiality, I said to the lecturer in a question/statement that I felt like I was at like an AA meeting about to say "I am a Doctor. I have lost control of my relationships to drug representatives.. Whereas in fact I had been reminded of Buspar's ability to rescue patients from tachyphylaxis to antidepressants, a fact that had been useful to innumerable patients (and not used by many doctors)." He went on to drivel that 'the residents in his program weren't using lithium.' And he's the boss (sad to say)! Speaking of bosses I sat down next to an old one (secular Jewish bosses not usually getting uptight when you do that), asked him what he thought at the end. "They (the drug reps) are too restricted." George was not contentious but not intimidated either.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

mathematics and medicine

Differential equation and precision at a dose in the radioimmunoassay and using comparisons of statistical power to see what was most biologically significant for the offspring in sequelae to pre-eclampsia are the two topics I have gotten into in relation to mathematics and medicine, a topic brought up by Dr. Helen. This discussion reminds me of 2 courses I took that were like the ideal college experience, an experience like the lines in Ode to a Grecian Urn, Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty, That is all you know on earth and all you need to know, with the emphasis on truth. One of them was Dr. Wall's calculus course at UT Austin, about which perhaps more later.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

'Buying off the opposition' might be seen as appropriate listening to the complaints about a changing economy impacting people. It's focus on long term workers with a firm is correct. There are benefits in trade for the body politic but, like dancing, it can also be awkward.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hither and Yon. Psychologial postulates and Catholicism

Been wanting to write something about an Oedipal interpretation of Jesus and Catholicism. The Church made some important changes with Vatican II. More important than changing the prayers of the Mass to the national language is the fact that the Sunday readings are changed, expanded to a 3 year cycle rather than a 1 year; and I have been struck by the revelation of the ideas of Christ in the Gospels, and the intriguing first readings of the Mass from the Hebrew Bible chosen to stand in a parallel fashion to the later Gospel. It was several weeks ago when, in the manner of being faithful, the Christian was enjoined to accept, though completely following instructions, to see him (or her) self as a 'worthless servant' to the Master.

Joseph is portrayed perhaps little in the Gospel and that portrayal is as a humble, dutiful carpenter. Maybe it's just me really, but this seams like the external appearance of a senior enlisted man in the armed services. Maybe most of them are like June Cleaver's husband; but, when I have seen patients with lifer, enlisted fathers, they report to me brutal if somewhat predictable treatment at the hands of their fathers. To touch on it in part, the Oedipal conflict energizes powerful twin attitudes of competition with and loyalty to father. The cultural and political setting of Jesus' time was of of a Roman political administration that promoted an early globalization and, presumably, some benefits in economic growth. Book/daddy cites a book which talks of this policy ultimately not follwed by Rome to its peril. After all, there did seem to be sufficient resources for Jesus to travel around without 'working.' Allied with the 'globalization' was the suppression of traditional local hegemony. This was theologically difficult for the Jews as they had received their charter from G-d. In a sense this deposed a 'father' who, one can see in the Hebrew readings, is an important guarantor of security in the vicissitudes of life and moral authority. I am going to make another assumption here, and that is that Joseph felt in conflict with the Pharisees, and Jesus entered his public life from that viewpoint and in loyalty to his own father. This also made it possible for him to hold less close traditional ideas of Jewish hegemony. He correctly foresaw the looming 'end of the world' in a conflict of Jewish conservative pride with Roman military and administrative ability which would in the coming century end the Temple centered Jewish life. He proposed a revocation of the loyalty to Temple primarily and proposed 'rendering to Caesar what was Caesar's and to G-d what was G-d's.' Thus to a certain extent he supplanted, competitively, a Jewish father with a Roman father. This was also a plan for coexistence. It left room for high moral ideals, but it also left traces of a Roman, perhaps partially in the image of Joseph, god whom we see in the injunction to consider oneself in relation to as a 'worthless servant' and in the Lord's prayer asking to be granted 'our daily bread' as if a Roman slave and forgoing the ideas of direct communication with G-d and enjoying considerable property as had Abraham.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Care of children

Clarence Parker, MD is a good Southern analyst. He is fond of the South except in one respect, the practice of letting babies cry themselves to sleep. One of the perhaps unappreciated problems in psychology and mental health is rank ordering a principle. For instance, the principle of critical periods is pretty basic which also means of perhaps the highest rank order. It's also pretty obvious in part. The idea of critical periods is that there is a developmental task attendant to a certain age. This applies to growth from infancy to adulthood in a decrescendo fashion with earlier deficits impacting later challenges. I say it's obvious because clearly a baby must gain muscular control in stages, ability to eat in stages. The idea that there may be a process of maturation psychologically then wouldn't seem so odd in this context; yet the possibility seems denied. What isn't obvious is that achieving 'object constancy' is the task of the infant. 'Object constancy' means that mother, father exist, will reappear and are, mostly, supportive. Holding the baby when it cries, finding empathy, helps the infant achieve that object constancy. This should be achieved by 2 years old and then the child might be more left to cry. Other principles and how they are characterized if disputed might be less central and shouldn't lead, as seems to happen, to just throwing out the whole psychology project.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore for a Nobel Prize. I suppose most of us are thinking, 'Heh, my carbon foot print is lower!' Maybe that's the point. When I read it on Instapundit, I had to check and see that it was the BBC and not the Onion that announced it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thinking the thinkable: Why I am voting for Obama in the primary

Any of the likely Republican nominees are all right with me. McCain has been right on the Iraq war. Giuliani has been an effective administrator. Thompson speaks well, goes back to appropriate first principles in making a decision. But a Democrat may be elected. Megan McArdle recommends Obama because he has the best principal economic advisor. He's not a liar as revealed by what he said when asked why he wasn't wearing an American flag lapel pin. Hilary abuses little people close to her office and the law based on her having gained stroke in the government and lies about it. A white acquaintance worked for the Illinois State Senate when Obama was a Senator and says, 'He (Barack Obama) is a nice guy.'

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Communities with high immigrant populations have less crime

A recent article in the Dallas Morning News reported that crime was lower in communities with high immigrant populations, lower than would be predicted by socioeconomic status, a co-variate with crime. This in paragraphs 21-23 comparing Dallas and surrounding cities:

Most cities have violent crime rates that are in line with similar communities around the country. But four area cities – Irving, Denton, Garland and Grand Prairie – had much lower violent crime rates than their socioeconomic statuses would suggest.
While many factors could account for the lower crime rates, recent research might explain at least some of Irving's performance.
High immigration correlates with lower crime rates. Irving has the greatest proportion of foreign-born people among cities with at least 65,000 residents outside the West and East coasts. About a third of the city's population was born elsewhere.
And that runs counter to the common assumption that associates immigrants with crime, said Robert Sampson, professor of sociology at Harvard University. "The data just don't bear this out in any way."
Dr. Sampson points to several reasons why immigration correlates with lower crime rates. Immigrants, he said, often are motivated to improve their lives. Many immigrant families have more traditional family structures. And in many cities, immigrants have improved the economies of their communities.

During the posts on illegal immigration, the self suppressed finding of a sociology professor's finding of a negative effect of diversity on community health was a topic on the old Asymmetric Information blog. Moreover it seems a generally held idea.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Yom Kippur and the crucifixion

Listening to the temple sacrifice which used to occur on Yom Kippur in the Jewish calendar, reported as part of the Yom Kippur liturgy, I was overwhelmed by the equivalence to Christ's crucifixion. Overwhelmed because it seemed clear, He had taken this as a model. In reading Quest of the Historical Jesus, one might be skeptical about what His intentions were and what had later been added for a certain effect. In part however the attitude of fitting events and statements into a puzzle to clarify what really went on leads to something here. Beyond the equivalence of the sacrifice, the second issue imposed as a consequence of the viewpoint of equivalence is to wonder 'Why didn't the Crucifixion and Yom Kippur coincide rather than the crucfixion occur on Passover?' Passover is, in a sense, the beginning of Jewishness as an institutional religion. So the timing suggests that Jesus expected either for the Jewish people to rise up and go to His religion or that His sacrifice would lead to a carrying away of errors and a new religion.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Cosmpolitan

Trish over at Liberal Chicks had a post about having to listen to somebody's personal life from her speaking on a telephone for an hour on a train. I commented that Trish could read Tropic of Cancer into a toy telephone with the chutzpah of Jackie Gleason in response next time. It made me laugh that she liked my comment and the bit about Gleason. I don't know if anybody reads Tropic of Cancer anymore. My college roommate Craig read it just as a thing to do our freshman year in college and read me a few lines. His father not only had a moment in the sun but, also in light of the rest of his career, became European News Manager for UPI. Thinking about him reminds me of the time I was down with Craig at the Dallas office. Mr. F. was leaving and ran into a peer. "How are you doing, Bill?" "Fine, thanks." "How are Joyce and the kids?" A back and forth verbal stroking that was pro forma but seemingly informal that went on for some 4-5 queries on each side while Mr F. continued in stride to the elevator and the other down the hall. Never seen such otherwise. Really it was part of information, relationship management on both sides. Craig was a news manager himself. He went from copy boy at the Wall Street Journal to bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald to living retired in a brownstone in NY worth some million + dollars. When I talked to him last year to arrange a meeting with my son, he could cite truths from novels about the politics of Louisiana over the last century. My favorite news manager story about Craig though occurred in the year after his undergraduate degree. He was in Austin for some reason and was walking across the mall and ran into Dr. Reddng(?), the Dean of Journalism who was a little bit pompous, a little bit uninformative the time I happened to hear him at the Y. Craig and Dr. Redding greeted each other and Dr. Redding asked Craig, who had a C average in the doctor's recollection, what he was doing? Craig, "Working in New York." Dr. Redding, "That's good. I'm glad you found journalism isn't for you (slight pause). What are you doing?." Craig, "I'm a reporter for the Wall Street Journal."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dr. Bollinger, dean of Columbia, opens up a can of whup-ass on Achmadinejad. Part of the privilege of being a professor is writing scathing reviews of articles you are turning down for publication. Well written and scathing here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Yom Kippur

Franz Rosenzweig gave me an invitation. 'You don't need to be Jewish to go to Yom Kippur.' That and tickets, and I'm in. I think the biggest benefit was the 'we have worshipped idols' which got me to thinking about 'research.' In a related vein, there is a nice prayer about having peace 'which neither failure nor wealth can take away.' Rather in contrast to the Christian view of Jews, there are repeatedly prayers about failings but also remind G-d that 'we are weak,' probably something that helps the Arabs be able to visit Israeli porn sites. "I found Elijah in the marketplace," is nice metaphorically as the rabbi reports even if it temporarily gets Hitler out of hell on a technicality.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Reflections on Jerome Weeks defense of Shakespeare

Jerome Weeks had a nice blogpost on the intermittent controversy about 'who wrote Shakespeare.' The nub of the difficulty in disposing of anyone other than Shakespeare himself is, as I see it, 'how could a commoner write so well on court life?' This led me to the following reflection.

"The Courtier" (Il Cortegiano) by Baldissare Castiglione, a handbook of manners, idealizes High Renaissance life. 'A significant translation occurred in 1561 when Sir Thomas Hoby turned "The Courtier" into a compelling English-language work that every educated Elizabethan read. Particularly influenced by it was Shakespeare..'* 'At the center of "The Courtier" was the humanist philosophy, a broad-based collection of high-minded values embodying entire fields of knowledge from poetry and geography to natural science. Castiglione drew on all this for his courtier's pursuit of eloquence, his shying away from specialization, his gentle aloofness and nonchalance. Sprezzatura is the Italian word for this special attitude, this careless elegance, though it is all of the parts that make up the Renaissance gentleman. In modeling a perfect courtier, Castiglione imagines a courtly world tilted toward perfection. This was a powerful current in 16th-century Italy -- an upper class urge to create alternative worlds, imaginary and better than the world around them,' a world that Shakespeare created for us in romance in A Midsummer Nights Dream. 'Shakespeare' may owe more to the High Renaissance of Italy and Castiglione than to the Earl of Oxford.

*W. Amelia, Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Norman Podheretz has a nice article on a free site of the Wall Street Journal about Iraq and VN. I recall walking over to the Walnut Hill branch of the Dallas Public Library from my job at Safeway in college and picking up Commentary and being reassured by what he said. Hat tip Instapundit.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New York

It's really quite a city. 'Took the A train' listened to a black couple practicing a a song and talking about a hip-hop artist. Got sore walking around. An Asian girl was standing outside of Tiffany's a little to herself near a right angle of the building, the picture of elegance, white suit, black striping, white shoes. I thought someone was taking her picture, but she was just standing there.

The smell of urine is pretty memorable around the Sherman statue at the edge of Central park; ditto you don't want to need to get in a subway lift. Freud 'didn't like America because New York didn't have public restrooms,' probably a polite way of complaining about the smell. Was at a kids park near Rector and the Hudson River, condominiums there 1/2 million dollars minimum. A mom led her 7 year old girl just to squat down and pee 7 feet from the unchlorinated fountain play area which drained also into the black astroturf.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Currently Reading The Wolfman and Other Cases. The book takes you back before the jumped the shark Freudian analogies we are wont to make. "At his first encounter with the 'Ratman, Freud asked him what caused him 'to put particular emphasis on information about his sexual life'. The man replied 'that that was what he knows about my theories'. However it turns out that what then particularly drew him to Freud was Freud's work on puns and word association" (Introduction p. xvii). Had a case presentation the other day in which it was said the patient's central complaint was one of concentration which he said was due to a 'suppository Father put up my nose.' This in a person with limited education and intellectual attainment; for me that meant that 'suppository' was on the edge of his word set and the analogy could be, "I suppose it were father and what is coming into my knows."

Monday, August 27, 2007

"This tactic is the only one that allows us to escape from a catastrophic alternative: an Iranian bomb, or the bombing of Iran," so says Nicholas Sarkozy re: diplomatic pressure on Iran.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The two income necessity and rejection of immigration

A couple of recent articles in Volokh contribute to my understanding and explanation of of why America has been reacting as the classical bureaucrat to the issue of Mexican laborers. An article on the two income trap hypothesis explains how the American family is stretched. The review also shows that, because of inflation, where money is going is obscured. I think the anxiety and insecurity in the face of having more but in a sense having fewer options seems, and is, contradictory leading to a tendency to finding security in 'our group.' The Mexican laborer, about who one finds innumerable complaints as to their cost is hypothesized as a cause though their effect on social costs is I don't think so clear. But, 'something has clearly happened,' and they are blamed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"This site is updated just frequently enough to make you wonder why," as a wag Instapundit linked has in his banner.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A psychiatrist and the 'Our Father'

I suppose it could be looked at in a psychoanalytic way. "Pater noster," it is 'our' father, not 'my.' It was said of art but, sotte voce it might be heard, religion can be a 'regression in the service of the ego.' Here, the individual accepts his participation as an equal in a community of believers and humanity. 'Deuspater', 'Juppiter' he was to the Romans, more distant than 'Paternoster.' 'Qui es in caelis;' who rules beyond the operation of our ego. 'Hallowed be thy name;' we shall accept with love and respect your will/rules. 'On earth as it is in heaven;' we shall accept the rules, prohibitions of our own superego as remodeled by the perception of the Church as binding for proper action and not seek rebellion as instead proper for the (my) ego. 'Give us this day our daily bread;' typically felt to acknowledge An outside agency as being capable for providing the basics of life, it can also mean, in the context of G-d as the superego, 'allow the ego to find attractions and sustenance, or let our rules be not so severe as to destroy the ego.' 'And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;' those who we wished to have an identity in our lives of our choosing but have chosen not to be, in a sense, our property but have 'trespassed,' broken the bounds of our assigned property, let us forgive them as you (have), who have remained here with your wishes for our identity regardless of our non conforming. 'Lead us not into temptation;' let this alliance of ego and superego not be overrun by instinctual forces. 'But deliver us from evil,' the destruction of the self or emotionally sustaining others, ideas/objects. 'Amen;' so be it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Read 'Venegeance' first to avoid my spoiling the story

Just finished Vengeance. I was busy so, though I was terribly taken with it, I had to read it with some 24 to 36 hour intervals. Thus I read of Avner's early life and his Mossad training and the beginning of the mission and lived, for a while, in the heady success of the hunting of 9 terrorists. Then, like in a Heinrich von Kleist novel, disaster occurs. In the book, the protagonists discuss 'were they sold out by Louis who was proving information and other support.' That focus as primary question seems misplaced. By the time they met ill fate, they had killed in attempting to attack Salameh, the terrorist number one on their list twice. Now Salameh may have been a dog but even a dog it seems would begin to be a mite curious about who was trying to kill him. They were told that Salameh would be in London and that they should wait at the Grosvener hotel in the lobby for 8 hours a day for 3 successive days to meet with the informer. Now Louis operated on the basis of information inputs. Salameh had created information before that 'was a canard.' With this 'information,' he was stationing his enemies in a place that they could be found. Once Avner recognized that he was being followed in this situation, he should have realized that he was not the hunter but the rabbit and acted accordingly. Maybe it's just that my middle name is 'rabbit' in German.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Woman of the Grecian urn

The last time I saw Kathy was when she was waving good-bye to me hand high above the rest of her in the night from her porch. She was going to the University of Paris the next day. She was the most elegant presence in my high school life. Good-by, Kathy.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Continuing Rationale for the Iraq War

How much did 9/11 cost us? Direct costs were somewhat above $100 billion is the estimate I am familiar with. Were these costs recurrent the overall impact is, I believe, in the range of Posner's estimate for Iraq war. And you haven't yet begun to deal with the problem.

So what about recurrence? Saddam, somewhat like Germany as it left the Wiemar era and transitioned to Hitler, was restrained by measures it was significantly noncompliant with. With again a demonstrated murderer in charge 'a stitch in time saves 9' appeared an appropriate proverb.

More generally, what was the problem in the Arab world? The Palestinians had been left by the Arab nations to nurse a grievance. There was no 'Life is about getting and giving up.' They were not to turn to 'get' anything unless it involved direct retribution for their loss. It was thought that this abnormal psychology was more general in the Arab world and promoted scapegoating and was bound up with a lack of liberty. Thus the idea was that liberty would promote 'getting' for the Arab people. This seen would reduce the impetus to scapegoat the US. If you look at the blog Iraq the Model or those citizen journalists in Iraq Michael Yon and Totten linked through Instapundit, you see that the Iraqis are now richer in liberty.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reflection on the passing of Albert Ellis and on psychotherapy schools

Alfred Adler was the first one who split with Freud where I would fault Freud. Adler had the idea that people had a 'will to power' and that could be used in therapy for them to take control of their lives. In Freud: The Mind of the Moralist, Rief points out that Freud's social views, for instance on women, were those of the group that he grew up identifying with. He was not sui generis completely. A recent Article in the Wall Street Journal's weekend addition points out the composer Wagner had a philosophy of 'a complete cultural, musical folk experience.' He emphasized the Power of the Will and was antisemitic. Freud's milieu objected to Wagner. I believe an antagonism toward Wagnerian thinking may have led Freud to overreaction and rivalry with conscious cognition driven therapies which Albert Ellis later came to represent.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Taking it from Heather

Ran into a great album a couple of weeks ago. "Take it From Me," track 7 if memory serves, is not to be missed; the play on words and change in intonation of the words 'Take it from me' slams me. Richardson, where she is from, is a continuation of Dallas in a suburban community. The iconic Dallas institution Texas Instruments, TI, is on a main highway north at the transition. Heather has Texas or Southern phrasing that is part of the appeal of the album. Heather Morgan refers to a website on the album but her current site is on MySpace.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Death in Venice, Wall Street style

Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) has an interesting discussion about Murdoch and his papers' relationship to the rulers of democracies and China. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has been the philosopher of American capitalism but has not been so successful as a practitioner. CJR looks at how this happened which is why 'the philosopher' is now in play as a takeover target by Murdoch. I wish that CJR had, in looking at Murdoch, looked at the influence the WSJ claimed he had on Michael Powell, when head of the FCC, in blocking the sale of a satellite property to Dish Network; it ended up being bought by Murdoch's DirectTV at a lower price.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Flogging my comment, the last one (23), on 'I saw Sicko.' Also on French neuroscience and my upcoming (ever so little) publication.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Depakote in HIV+, often presenting in depression

Neurology. 2006 Mar 28;66(6):919-21.

Valproic acid adjunctive therapy for HIV-associated cognitive impairment: a first report.
Schifitto G, Peterson DR, Zhong J, Ni H, Cruttenden K, Gaugh M, Gendelman HE, Boska M, Gelbard H.
Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA.

In vitro and animal model data demonstrate that valproic acid (VPA) can ameliorate HIV-associated neurotoxicity. The authors conducted a pilot 10-week placebo-controlled study of VPA 250 mg twice daily in 22 HIV-infected individuals with (n = 16) and without (n = 6) cognitive impairment. VPA was safe and well tolerated, with trends toward improved neuropsychological performance and brain metabolism in the impaired subjects.
PMID: 16510768 [PubMed - indexed ]

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The 'ist' prosecution

My friend Trish over at Liberal Chicks would certainly scan a policy for being sexist, elitist, militarist etc. The idea of an 'ist' policy is that it assumes an undemocratic characterization of a group of people. The statement 'Black people are lazy' is a racist statement insofar as it characterizes each individual of a group as having a negative characteristic and doesn't allow them to be presumed as not 'lazy.'

Fitzgerald's charge in investigating the 'outing' of Valerie Plame was to see if anyone at the White House illegally revealed her name. As a commenter at the Volokh conspiracy recently noted, Armitage was the source of the leak to Novak and obstructed the investigation by not revealing for over a year that he had revealed this name to 2 other reporters, but he was not charged. As surely as there may be a fault with racial profiling, there is a fault that the investigation of the possible crime did not go that way because Armitage, in the State Department, did not fit the assigned profile. Similarly, the possibility that reporters were obscuring what they knew about Plame was not pursued apparently because they did not fit the profile. This 'ist' assumption of blame in an assigned group has more insidious effects however. Fleischer, the former press secretary, was an essential witness against Libby. He basically restated the charge against Libby in having the charge come out of Libby's mouth in a statement to Fleischer as to what needed to be done. Now Fleischer had talked to others about Plame; one reporter says that Fleischer talked to him and another, who denied having heard from Fleischer, Fleischer claimed to have told. Unlike Armitage, Fleischer being a member of the group selected for prosecution had more to fear. Thus there was a special incentive for him to turn and lay the blame on a higher up and thus have a target more suitable for a 'success' in the profiled prosecution.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

So I want an Immigration Bill

Senate Bill www: Titled
Come out, come out, wherever you are

Whereas we may not know you, it is in your and our interest to know you. You do have a name. What is it? You have identifiers including numbers, perhaps a matricula but any government issued number from your government, also your vital statistics: DOB, origin, relatives. We will recognize your status as a resident alien; you owe us a $500 fee. Your status does not give you priority for citizenship. You are subject to deportation if you commit any crimes or are found by a preponderance of evidence to have engaged or conspired to engage in terrorist activities. Crimes includes not paying taxes. You may get a Social Security number. Your retirement is based on the same qualifiers as U.S. citizens, disability retirement is available only for work related injuries. Those not declaring by 1 Nov 2007 will be prioritized for deportation.

Jonathan Rauch and Becker-Posner and 'Jane Galt' have been alluding to or specifying, in various measures, a bill and Glenn Reynolds has been carping about the present one as has Darleen, in Protein Wisdom, reflecting common rants. With a proper designation for 'you' in the above, Senator Mike feels pretty much good to go with the above.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A little apostate music

Cranmer says of the knighthood for Salmon Rushdie that, aside from it making the proper people angry, there was no point to it as Rushdie's books are awful. Don't know that I've heard anyone comment on them otherwise. The New Yorker editor, on terminally important radio (NPR), said that, in regard to one of his books, Rushdie's sister was furious at him for repeating the scene of their father's death as an episode transported into one of his novels. Otherwise it's been radio silence. There is this late breaking report re: the knighthood. Need I remind Cranmer that Knights were those who rode in the face of danger which surely S. Rushdie has done.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Sometimes it seems to me the potential double life of prominent figures has been largely ignored. On the contrary, 2 Samuel 11, a Mass reading for today, reveals the self serving use of power on King David's part. When I think of my own father, I wish that he had had insight that the 'king' might have such a life. People who have been traumatized in an important relationship in their lives tend to choose people with faults I think because they need to persist in their hostility. I don't know if that was a part of it. Along the lines of knowing what the ruler wants, Ann Cooper has a fascinating story passed down in her family. The story is that one of her ancestors carried Queen Elizabeth's message to the effect that Mary Queen of Scots should be killed and she was. That having happened Queen Elizabeth sent forces to arrest her ancestor and he fled to America. Perhaps he was too ready to believe the surface representation of the Queen.

2 Samuel can also be felt as a forgiveness for the Shoah. The authorities in Western culture abandoned the Jews to the forces of the enemy and they were destroyed as Uriah, deliberately put in danger by David, was abandoned and killed. Yet when David sad to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord," Nathan answered David "The Lord on his part has forgiven you your sin, you shall not die."

Friday, June 15, 2007


The Atlantic magazine has a couple of great windows on China this month. J. Fallows shows how China is our industrial back office; Dallas, by the way, is, in part, a financial back office for New York. Interesting is that it has not grown on the Japanese or Korean model, that is the state favoring certain industries or companies. Like Topsy it has just grown as free trade zones were established. So that Japan makes Toyotas but China makes Del, IBM etc laptops. The branding is actually part of our profit and the Chinese pick up the littlest bit. Fallows, in part, covers the activity and career of an Irish business owner in China. Having learned and reported a lot, Fallows closes with asking him to suggest a Chinese government official of any level that might have been useful in facilitating the boom. "I don't know any," is the business man's response. Talk about hands off! But there is still more fascinating detail. The second article is about a 91 year Catholic bishop and his integration of being Chinese, and putting up with the communists, as well as the 'veneration of ancestors' and being Catholic.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Partial Defense of John McCain

No doubt it is inflammatory, but our current stance on the potential new immigration law put me in mind of a commonality between us and some of our opponents in Iraq, not that every jot and tittle of the law is 'for the best.' One reads, 'it's their (the Iraqis) land and how would you feel..' etc.; never mind that they could elect a government which could tell us to leave and we would go. Never mind that a part of our idea is to leave a country with more opportunity, w/o tyrannical oppression of a large part of the populace, a difference from before. Illegal Mexican immigrants would go to San Salvador rather than the U.S if the jobs were better, 'will work for food' as the placard says. And, in this country, we generally want money because we think we can do something with it; that 'something' at times involves the illegals or they wouldn't be here. So we get something for it, the offsets to these benefits are discussed in an Economist blog. So there may be something more psychological than logical about the objections of the Iraqis and ourselves.

And John McCain? Well, he is one of the sponsors of the immigration bill. He also has had the right ideas at the right time about Iraq, our most important public policy issue. More troops earlier is number one. But how about 'McCain-Feingold'? Not that I am for this bill, but if you look at John McCain's history, it becomes less objectionable. When he was a carrier pilot off of VN, he did not have to fly above a certain longitude north, rank had its privilege. He was and is, by those who know this detail, greatly admired for disdaining this privilege and flying anyway. That is how he was shot down and made a prisoner of war. McCain-Feingold protects incumbents from feeling as much that they have to raise a lot of money to run their races, a rank has its privileges deal, something, for him, natural. It is not the end of the world; it can be changed when he is gone.

Monday, June 04, 2007


It was a long ago self that was betrayed. I recall the psychological shock of the Tet offensive. Art Buchwald had a cartoon in which an American in the embassy runs a mimeograph reprinting, 'We're winning,' while saying 'The enemy can't win. They wouldn't know how to run the printing press' risibly making apologists for the American effort ridiculous. Instapundit now cites discussion of the North Vietnamese spy who helped plan the attack on our embassy. He 'helped out' Halberstam, the most celebrated reporter in VN; he aided other reporters and the US and south Vietnamese Army. Did our reporters ever express betrayal as this came out, ever regret for the Americans and Vietnamese killed and betrayed? Sad; alienating.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Word and Memorial Day

Going to Houston a while back I was embarrassed for the owners of Gay Pontiac. This last year there was an article in Opinion Journal, WSJ's free site. The article was about a law proposed by George Murtha that the president should certify, before any forces left for combat that they were 'properly trained and equipped.' The article highlighted how laughable, from a distance, was the equipment and training of the Navy's torpedo bombers. Yet it was they who brought the Japanese fighters down to sea level and allowed our other planes to successfully dive bomb the Japanese fleet at Midway sinking three carriers and breaking the Imperial Navy's Carrier offense. It seems like I recall Star Wars as being conceptually derived from that battle (Midway). George Gay was the one survivor of the attacking torpedo plane force. After his active involvement, he watched the battle from the water. So here's to veterans and those who never left the service alive, who even rescued the name 'Gay.'

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Annika likes the Heckler & Koch Universale Selbstladepistole, aka the HK USP, discussion of which begins at the bottom of page 3, 'Like Goldilocks'.

Reflecting on a woman retaining a French identity

The tenor of female liberation in the U.S. has been on doing those serious things that men do, that 'daddy,' sometimes real and sometimes borrowed, prohibited. Delacroix in Liberty Leading the People gave a different Enlightenment and French ideal for a woman, that of one, in the picture bare breasted, who could initiate by her sexuality and not merely be responsive or guide by traditional passive aggressive means, that is by the man failing until he did what the woman wanted. This feminine liberty may include having 4 children without being officially married as the recent French woman Socialist presidential candidate Royal. It also included the intellectual aggresion of Mme Curie and the first Frau Einstein.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

As part of the New York Times support of the death instinct, it did not publish the following news: the Horror in Knoxville.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thanatos, the death instinct, is a controversial idea of Freud's. It was interesting to see this, an example of it in a basic biologic process.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Acts 15: 'A lawful marriage'

There are several interesting things about the Gospel passage from Acts 15 this last Sunday. The first is that there was the question of the possible necessity of becoming a Jew before, or as part of, becoming a Christian. The Jews are seen as an arrogant, insular people but this implies it was quite accepted by them to become one which kind of dilutes the characterization. Another is the idea that, to be a Christian, you had to abstain from eating idol blood sacrifices and 'have a lawful marriage.' So the Catholic Church 'obsession' with sexual sin happened at the time things changed from purely the teachings of Jesus/ relationship to him to a religion. Freud said that Christianity is the 'religion of the son.' The Pope in his recent trip was wont to define what portion of sexuality the sons/daughters were now due, to me analogously to how the poor, deprived of oral satisfaction, were to be given a portion with the killing/subjugation of the producers/ owners. The degree of repression his superego representation demanded however seemed out of step with what the Brazilians seem to have needed.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Arguing for Bush Derangement Syndrome

A minority of us apparently feel that Mr. Bush is a serious, courageous guy who is doing his best which isn't to say that he shows typical dazzling brilliance. That makes him easy to 'misunderestimate.' He has been able to admit mistakes, viz. his choice of General Petraeus and a new strategy in Iraq. Another view is hard to miss. I have felt that his giving the Medal of Freedom to George Tenet suggests that doing the metaphorical Lewinksi to him is the best policy. Thus Bush has virtually demanded that a criteria be created in your mind to whit, 'Bush not serious,' to which this item be given as an example; thus enrolling himself in those who have 'Bush Derangement Syndrome.' Ron Rosenbaum has comments on Tenet, as usual, when he comments, the best.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lovers' Astronomy

Megan McArdle has a recent blog post re: her reticence to get married and have children. To which:

Dear Megan:

Bishop Sheen's book title 'Three to get Married' may provide a useful metaphor. Lovers wish, before they commit, that their ardor won't cool. This may imply that there are 'three to get married' in the sense that, in an older Catholic word, concupiscence should be part of the alignment. Nothing brings an end to history of course, with or without marriage. In marriage what arises from ardor is often a baby which brings, in a different, but also attachment provoking sphere 'three to get married.' It is like those medieval pictures of a Ptolemaic universe turning and a different sphere emerging. The sphere containing concupiscence has it's own clock and will return however and perhaps having more than one 'three to get married' may help the revolution of the spheres.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Utopia is the opiate of the people."

If V. Lenin were a little more reflective, he might have said that instead. I was thinking of this when I read the practice parameters for disruptive behavior disorders in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry today. I reflected on my daughter's experience with her eighth grade class. Pretty clearly some of the kids revealed a need for (behavior) problem solving skills. Rather than approach this with any attempt at objectivity, the school was wont to deny that there was any need. The reason: the public law that says 'every child must be provided with the means to an education.' That legally makes the school system financially responsible. This leads to a political enforced standoff where the school will provide a nurse-teacher for autistic and MR children but do its best not to notice other problems. Such is state provided utopia.
Saw the Sunday Morning news shows today. George S. on ABC News is the cat that ate the canary. Boy, Stalin would be envious. In marketing terms, I could say they've got a point of view and a selection of facts and judgments that aren't mine. Makes me appreciate Instapundit; a cursory review of his recent posts would be a counterbalance to Stephanopolous.

Passing over the misundersestimating of G. Bush, the primary topic was how the top two Democratic candidates responded to the hypothetical bombing of 2 American cities. The emphasis was on being appropriately martial but to these people being warlike is the same as being antiwarlike; it's theater. One we've dispensed with the theatrical response, we go back to 'Desperate Housewives.'

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dr. Helen has had a couple of recent posts dealing with the tension that ensues when one has a feeling that is not politically correct. I was particularly amused by the direction that the comments took where Dr. Helen said that she would rather be called a 'nappy headed ho' by whomever than "oppressed" by Hillary Clinton. That seemed to be a feeling that made Dr. Helen unsuitable as a psychological expert witness because her feeling was not objectively correct. This also ties into my recent 'Rank and Reality' post. Senator Clinton, somewhat in the tradition of the man from Galilee, has become the 'liberator of oppressed women' and any contradictory data is made null and void in the light of the rank of Senator Clinton who performs the miracle. This, of course, from people who might sneer at the childishness of religion.

Dr. John Meeks said that in family therapy with an adolescent an avenue of progress could be at going to the point where expressiveness could be framed in the form of "I feel that.." with the idea being that, regardless of an underlying truth of an 'allegation,' a person's 'feelings' could be true to the person experiencing them. In my time at university, the editor of the radical paper said that there was no 'objective reporting.' Chaos has not ensued in leftist quarters however because feelings rather than facts have become objectively correct. That makes Dr. Meeks' point of view, that one was allowed one's feelings, old school.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cho and Psychiatry, the issue of forced treatment

Dr. Helen has thought provoking comments and information about the mental health efforts made in regard to the VT killer. The facts given suggest that in January of 2005, a complaint was made that he had been spurned by 2 ladies that he appeared to be 'stalking' and that he seemed to have taken this very hard and might be dangerous. After review, a psychiatrist I presume seemed to be of the opinion that he had something of a depressive reaction to disappointment. He was given an antidepressant, probably an equivalent to Prozac as he 'got up in the morning and took his medication.' It appears as though a 'rambling composition (or speech)' was missed as a symptom of either a manic or schizophrenic illness, the speech process would likely be somewhat distinct characteristic of one or the other disorder. Also his sense of persecution and rage, exaggerating his ill treatment, were also missed and could have pointed to either illness. Thus he would seem to have been treated for Major Depression when his illness should have been categorized as a bipolar manic or schizophrenic illness.

No investigator, nor the manufacturers of Prozac or the like, have claimed that these drugs are effective in mania or schizophrenia. The serotonin reuptake inhibitors, Prozac etc., might be said to have the general psychological effect of helping a person 'let it go.' They are more effective than other antidepressants where self esteem is an issue because they help a person 'let go' of his self criticism. Mania and schizophrenia would likely have been benefited by the antipsychotic drugs or others with an FDA approved indication for these illnesses. The FDA indication means, at a minimum, that substantial and thorough testing has found the drugs to be effective for the indicated illness, here perhaps either a bipolar manic or schizophrenic illness.

One commenter raised the issue of 'enforcing the gun laws we have' and said that he should not have been able to buy a gun because of his having been committed. I believe that the question on the form is 'Have you ever been committed into a psychiatric hospital?' He would have answered truthfully, 'No' because he was ordered to outpatient treatment. If the symptoms reported after the mass murder had been present and recognized, the 'rambling speech' and unreasonable sense of persecution, during an earlier evaluation, dangerousness to others could have been seen as a potential consequence and a brief hospital stay with the appropriate medications ordered.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rank and Reality

'Muslim life is in part defined by who gets deference as the one who speaks the truth' (anon). I was thinking about this as I was reading The Quest of the Historical Jesus, and the outrage/ justice preserved story in the Duke non-rape case. One of the questions encountered for a modern reading the Bible is the issue of miracles. I think the 'Muslims' represent an old method of finding truth. In that frame of reference, the higher your rank the more you can define reality such that ultimately being able to define/make reality anything you want should be appropriate to G-d. thus finding miracles in a story about a G-d is like hearing 'Hail to the Chief' at a public ceremony involving the president; it is protocol. I suppose this is also related to why doctors are so 'trusted.' Life and death pass through our hands; so you wouldn't want to mess with us. True enough, clinical experience and science, which we represent, should also be respected. This also probably bears on the National Health Insurance debate. To an extent, the affirmative side seems to represent an insistence on outranking the doctor and other supply and demand forces that impact medical care. A rearrangement of deference is all that seems needed to get desired treatment in what is otherwise a status quo ante situation. Better count on being Jesus; Texas equivalent: 'Who in the Sam Hill do you think you are?' (Is there an etymologist in the house to explain the equivalence?)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Double Binds and the Way to True Peace

The double bind that Britain is being offered: the British should admit that they had violated Iranian space and their sailors will be released. You can have peace but only on condition of violating your perception of reality. The upshot of that is though that you have now acceded to the mullahs as they who specify what is real. This is a painful spot for cultural relativists, non "racists" in common speak, who here go from respect for others to collapse of their own ego/autonomy. The solution in the West so far has been to bend our perceptions without acknowledging that we have done so except perhaps in displacement. Muslims appear as earnest students and then fly planes into buildings killing 3000, and our chant becomes 'Bush lied; people died.' Newt Gingrich suggests a gasoline blockade and damaging Iran's only gas refinery pending the release of the sailors.

There is a stunning difference in good sense between the articles in the journal Commentary, Jewish I believe, and Commonweal, Catholic, over the issue of Iraq. The article in Commentary is here, from the WSJ free site Opinion Journal.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

In music, I sure have enjoyed Kenny Davern. On the death of Davern, Terry Teachout, WSJ reporter recommended the album he did with Dick Wellstood as his best. That is in the blog About Last Night cited in the left margin. A high school friend who went to Loyola NO was a clarinet player, don't know that he took the locale opportunity to do any jazz work, should have. We joined the band together and played in a loft of an old building. The flute was free or $15; so I played it. I don't know that I've been as honored, though also a bit guilty, as when I left and Mr. Holman the old band/ orchestra director said, publicly as I was leaving with the band there, 'Where would the United States be if, like you, the soldiers had left George Washington?' It must have been February; I was going to run track with Frank Joyce, who would die a year and a half later of Addison's disease. I will always remember the brown mottled color it gave to his shins. If he had gotten more sick before the end of the school year, I do think my father would have visited and diagnosed him. I do wish I could have continued the flute, run track, and not been in denial about the potential seriousness of Frank's illness.

Things that I thought were notable in journalism this last week. Commonweal continues on some parallel universe to me. They had their lead article on Darwin. The fact that intelligent design was never mentioned must make them some kind of intellectual. It was about Darwin the standard British imperialist really; I sent the editors this note commenting also on their Iraq editorial (I think you can see Commonweal with a simple registration):

Christ spoke correctly of the Darwinian success of humanity when he said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall inherit the earth." Man almost uniquely has the capability of seeing the stranger in himself. The 'poor in spirit' see themselves as one among others. Your article was of interest to me as an amateur historian who prefers to see the war disaster of the twentieth century as due, first of all, to the defense of the British Empire which had as a consequence preventing German competition by, firstly, preventing German military movement by a constraining web of alliances. Thus, when the Kaiser went to confront terrorism in Serbia, World War I started. As has oft been said, the failure, the European wars in the West, has led to a self hatred. In Iraq, the U.S. does not seek dominion; there are only 50 American troops in the Kurdish sector. We are in Iraq as police. Police are necessary when an individual or group grossly violates the principle of seeing others as equivalent to themselves. Catholics are correct in seeing that even especially for the police it is necessary to be "poor in spirit."

I was glad to see that Piestewa's parents and children got the house she dreamed to give them (article in the LA Times). Her friend Spc. Lynch, the young woman injured and rescued in the first weeks of the Iraq War, asked Extreme Makeover Home Edition to provide it; ABC did. Piwestra, a young woman from a reservation, you may not recall was with Lynch and killed. Instapundit connects to some funny/awesome pictures and videos from the line 'the troops prepare to be defunded.' See 'the British' link in comments. I liked the British 'On the way to Amarillo' and the 'mercenary sniper' video noted in column right on the British video page.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Libby Guilty!

Well, I'm terribly sad about that. One of my patients said to me that it 'was poetic justice,' fits the Bush lied theme. Have previously posted on aspects related to that idea. The jury near to conviction wore their Valentine's Day love you shirts. I can believe in hangings but wearing a Valentine's shirt and treat the victim like a cockroach just shows a depth of contempt for a Republican that was trying to help his country that shocks me. Valentine's can be a dangerous holiday; a day of oral sadism.

One of the posters on Just One Minute, JOM, which I have been visiting frequently on the Libby trial says:

'The jury bought Fitzgerald's premise that ALL OF THESE WITNESSES couldn't be wrong. Even though each witness individually was a zero, the jury added all the zeros together and came to Guilty.

Each witness was allowed to have a bad memory but Libby's own bad memory was enough to vote guilty on, according to the jury.'

Another poster:
'Dare I say this? Some of the blame for this ridiculous trial and verdict must go to the White House - that's President Bush - for requiring that everyone completely cooperate with the "investigation" (a.k.a. "witch hunt") or risk being fired (and deemed "guilty" by implication). By exhibiting such naivete, Bush painted a big red bulls-eye on his entire administration.' The ground was shifting a bit under his feet. Bush, used to being liked at that point, reached to his enemies to maintain his status; his staff must have failed him. Somebody(s) really failed Libby.

There is a call for a pardon. I believe Libby is a victim of the war on terror, a 'friendly fire' victim if you will. At this point, the most important thing to preserve is honor. I think the president could best do that by sending a memo to the director of the Arlington National Cemetery that when the time comes, I. Lewis Libby, if he wishes, should be buried, with honors, there. The press secretary should announce this having been done.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Jon Allen gave a psychiatry lecture recently on 'mentalizing' as a basis of therapy. Some books on the subject. Fonagy is a key author.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Anyone intersted in my take on why Xanax is the black sheep of the drug family? It is, in part, here; see comment 19. The drug does seem to have unique, at least at FDA authorized doses, euphorant properties for some people.
An English publication the Spectator has an article on the strategic situation and corresponding rhetorical positions of Iran and Israel which constitute a res ipse loquitur predicting future developments.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lent, VN, and Iraq

In 1967, from a bookstore on the 'Drag' at the University of Texas, I got "Lotus in a Sea of Fire" by a Buddhist monk. It was anti VN war, one needs to put VN=Lotus to see the theme, influential to me. Recurrently, in recent years, I have wondered what happened to that monk. Due to a recent issue of Commonweal, I know partially. A Vietnamese Catholic theology professor in D.C. went back to VN with his mother. The Catholic school in their village was gone but a serene Buddhist pagoda was there and his mother prayed before the Buddha. In today's Gospel, Luke:27-38, Jesus says 'to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic.' In Symbol, Dream & Psychosis there is an interesting discussion about how self criticism or guilt may be sexualized, how the ego may experience this pleasurably. I agree that we are presented with a new and useful ethic in the Gospel. As Father Peter says, this is the opening of the Lenten and this Gospel seen as pointing toward the death of Christ. According to Reimarus'it had not been his purpose to suffer and die, but to establish an earthly kingdom and deliver the Jews from political oppression-and in that God's help had failed him.' The example of VN, where we had the televised self immolation of Buddhist monks and innumerable, unpublicized examples of children sent to blow themselves up.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Libby Not Guilty! (perhaps)

As Tim Russert has authoritatively indicated, Americans like nice and innocently open though really Pontius Pilate seems more to be that than Russert now. We are not wearing 'Love YU Valentine's clothes' to a hanging. The jury was wearing such t-shirts today and a spokesman wished everybody a Happy Valentines Day. The shirts may have been the jurors first substantive conversation in relation to the trial. If so, NOT GUILTY on all counts. Fitz may need to keep shopping at Sears*.

*This relates to discussion of the Libby trial at Just One Minute Monday. Fitz, the prosecutor was wearing a seersucker suit, which seemed odd in the winter, and seemed somewhat crestfallen at how the Defense's case was going on its first day. One of the commenter's said it reminded him of the joke about the young man who meant to go Cox's to by a seersucker suit but, being confused, went to Sears instead. Fitz, like all of us, could change and say, in his closing argument, that he has trouble with Russert's testimony, it seems inconsistent, and Fleischer may have just said things because Fitz may have seemed to want to hear them at the time. Now he feels wrong for bringing the case but perhaps it is rather now that he is wrong and so he will leave it to the people, as represented by the jury having heard the evidence, in the U.S. Government vs. Libby

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Forget the Ways of Washington?

Mr. Obama was recently interviewed with his wife about his candidacy. Asked if they were worried for his safety as a candidate, his wife responded, 'A black man could get killed going to the gas station in this country..' That seems to me unchristian. The Lord's Prayer, says 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.' Admittedly one reading of it is that we should forgive anybody anything. This usually means forgiveness of a favored class of transgressors in practice. A more nuanced reading is to see an analogy between the way God forgives us and the way we forgive others. God forgives us as we recognize sin and in doing so make an effort to reform our ways. Thus as God has forgiven us, we should not hold a grudge and, analogously, forgive others who have made an attempt to reform. I believe this country has made an attempt to reform in its race relations. The easy recourse to the cudgel of guilt is unchristian and in fact is an attempt to hold the rest of the nation in bondage. As Abraham Lincoln said, 'no man should own the labor of another.' White folks do look forward to the day when we can say, "Free at last. Thank God, I am free at last."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

An amusing letter from a German reader of a recent Economist article extolling Great Britain, rather insightful re: the relationship maybe since the passing of Queen Victoria.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rudy and the Issues

The restrictive Sullivan law re: guns was passed before Rudy, or I dare say the rest of us, were born. IMHO, it is excessively demanding that Rudy 'enforce the laws that are on the books re: immigration' and then turn around and say, in his public career in NY, he should 'do your own thing' over a settled gun law. Different things jazz different folks one sees. Personally, I think John Edwards has a better position on the danger of being captured by female astronauts. He sees there are '2 Americas,' one, which he is in, where conceivably one might be kidnapped by an astronaut and the rest of us who he is going to be nice enough to recommend for kidnapping when he is elected.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Volokh got into Discourses on Livy which has a new translation By Harvey Mansfield, a Harvard classics prof, who wrote a probably unpopular book on Masculinity this year. 'Discourses' is available at our library as an ebook, the first one I have gotten into. Anyway, the quote they take from Machiavelli in Volokh seems to rather sum up Iranian behavior. One of the interesting things about Machiavelli is that he believed republican and other conflict was inevitable, rather like Adam Smith who saw an 'invisible (beneficial) hand' in organizing the self interests of men (and women) properly. Political theory at the time was inclined to the idea of a patriarchal, beneficent ruler, rather like the statist views of today and the last century.
Megan McArdle, Irish american economista, looks at the abortion debaters and the debate.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Betrayal in Kerbala

Per Omar, the deaths of Americans in the Kerbala attack yells 'inside job.'

It is a duplicity that asks for mental exercise in unraveling the possibilities. One scenario: Financed by Iran. Those SUVs don't come cheap, not to mention coordination. Word is given at a high level: let the pseudoAmericans through. The real Americans are planning protection of Shiites at their most invested pilgrimage. Now or in the future Shiites are to be sacrificed to create a turn to a strong man; burn the Reichstag anyone; blow up Moscow apt. buildings; murder, the earlier referred to, 'angels' at the university in Baghdad?

It reminds me of a certain C company in VN. One day it's members saw a group of soldiers with tubes for a weapon, antiaircraft apparently, in ARVN, that's our side, uniforms. Some days later B company, a company of Rangers 60-120 men, is cut down in the open by this weapon, 3 survivors. Earlier it had been the enemy in allies uniforms.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

B'nai Mitvah

Dr. Rousch put up a generic invitation to go to his twins Bar Mitvah. Never one to demand a personal invitation, I showed up. The neighbors fence was falling down next to the parking lot, convention room chairs in the sanctuary, the kids doing the responses rather than the invocations for a few verses; cool. But the rabbi quite sincere in encouraging and loving the boys, comments on the Torah portion. 'The Jews were in slavery but it's human nature not to want to change from what is known' (learned helplessness in my lingo). Etc. 'To the cognitive dissonance of, in the midst of a discussion of freedom and slavery, to talk about families and generations. I see many familiar Jewish names here, but I never knew a Mishi; that would be worse than being a boy named Sue.' All in all an informality and an inclusion of others particular the B'nai Mitvah boys that you wouldn't see in a Christian ceremony. An interesting analogy between keeping the Torah in a sanctuary box and Catholics keeping the Eucharist there.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

For shame! No WMD in Iraq.

The superiority de jour over the U.S. is Bush being mistaken over the presence of WMD in Iraq. I thought I'd gather my comments on that given in the Volokh Conspiracy and Asymmetrical Information:

I appreciate your criticising Mr. Bush without vitriol. You know there were arguments in the months prior to our going to the UN when it was clear that Mr. Bush wanted to invade Iraq. Saddam had a clear history of murdering innocent and mere opponents, in a sense was like the man eating tiger who had to be considered dangerous for living in that unnatural manner. If Saddam didn't have dangerous WMD, he had them on his Muslim holiday list along with suicide bombers of Israeli children; and the sanctions were tenuous. The Democrats and media, representing you presumably, said we had to get the acquiescence of the world community. Was he going to say that 'after 9/11 (and implications noted by Tony Blair above) I don't think I can do my duty as first soldier and guardian of the country with Saddam Hussein in office?' No, he had to make a case on UN precedents and Saddam's failure to comply. Like the prosecutors we have been lambasting in recent blog posts, he, for you (i.e. those demanding international acquiescence), put on the case with the evidence he had. The case came down not to a conviction or acquittal of Saddam, because there really wasn't sufficient evidence, in part because there was 'obstruction of justice (or investigation).' This then lacked a definitive finding from the UN, and Saddam appeared not to cooperate believing his French and Russian allies would necessitate an affirmative finding on the first charge; but Bush was never compelled by their finding to begin with, only ours of making an honorable international trial, and proceeded then with the public impression of Saddam's obstruction of justice to war.

From my interviews with patients from the First Gulf War, I believe that Saddam used them, chemical weapons, against our troops to a limited extent (or with limited penetrance). Lets assume he still had them. He had a decision to make. The issue before the U.N. was, 'Is war justified by his possession of WMD?' If he attacks our troops with them, then that justifies our aggression. This is only really useful for him if it determines the outcome of the war. Another alternative is to ship them to Syria, which a senior Iraqi Air Force officer has reported in a book. Remember pan-Arabism? Syria is controlled by the Baath party, same as was in Iraq. The information about a planned chemical attack on Amman is consistent with there being in Syria. Also WMD not being found can be a justification for his allies or right minded thinkers to attack the integrity of those who attacked Iraq. The third alternative, simply leaving them in Iraq, can be easily eliminated from his multiple choice answer because that is as bad as using them and without benefit. His stalling and giving incomplete reports leads credence to his having this multiple choice. You ever wonder why the police don't publish in the paper who they're going to bust for marijuana possession next Saturday?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush's speech

I heard it in my car, liked it a lot. Instapundit links to Don Souber 'on Kennedy' in which piece is an elegaic, if abstract, reflection of what we lost by abandoning VN. We didn't watch as Creighton Abrams, Gen. Westmoreland's successor, and our diminishing soldiers, with the Vietnamese, building on earlier sacrifices established a new country there which our congress, taking to heart our cynicism, abandoned. Our ability to learn and the posibility of rehabilitation contribute to my faith that we can bring a good peace and not accept a sardonic and cynical view.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Truth stumbles into us

The Dallas newspaper's Steve Blow (reg. required) is saying that if only Gerald Ford had told us about his questions about what George Bush was going to do in Iraq, the debate could have saved us. Journalist star Woodward got former President Ford to say some things, which come out at us now like him falling out of a helicopter, perhaps as a way to have the star's rapt attention. To say that this would have saved us is to have trouble in a marital relationship and say if only we had talked to Anna Nicole Smith's 91 year old husband before getting into the relationship everything would've been fine. To paraphrase Animal Farm, 'Any thing's possible but some things are more possible than others.'

The problem with this approach is that it really has to do with the 'Go/ No go' question with regard to the war. In regard to that question, I think you have to look at Kesher Talk's unmarked milestone. Could we have significantly turned over policy decisions to a group of notables there shortly after the overthrow of Saddam? That would be my speculation for what would have the best post 'Mission accomplished' course. I think you would have the inherent drive of the Sadr forces to dominate over other elements that wouldn't have been solved directly by this method. Nevertheless, I think this course which would have recapitulated the beginning of our own development. Those people largely had the 'hearts and minds' of the Iraqis as did the prosperous landowners and others at the start of America. In our plodding way though, we are hoping for and making the conditions for a democratic solution there in Iraq.

Tom Maguire has been reading in these subjects,