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.