Politics

February 19, 2009

Chicago Tea Party

It makes a lot of Americans insane that Wall Street execs are paying themselves gazillions in bonuses, even as they demolish their own firms and the financial system.  They blame Wall Street for the financial crisis.

Then there are others who have a different explanation.



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February 12, 2009

Congress Has Its Say, And It Says, "Hey, Did You Cashew Shells Loan Out All The Money We Told You Not To Dare Lose Any Of?"

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If I told you you were allowed to spend $1.5 trillion dollars to fix the planet, would you then go take an 8 month nap?




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January 29, 2009

Wrong About Obama

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The most dangerous case of buyer's remorse in history.



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December 10, 2008

Is An Hourglass Figure The Ideal? Only If You're Weak And Stupid

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I may have my own sexual preferences, and they may or may not involve rum and the high seas, but I know a political agenda masquerading as a journal publication when I see one.



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November 24, 2008

Do We Want Neuroimaging In Court?

Or, more specifically: do we want psychiatrists to help judge other people based on pictures even less useful than a Rorschach?


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November 10, 2008

Should Kids Go To College Early?

Oh my God, does no one see this for the scam that it is?


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October 10, 2008

Secretary Paulson Implements the Regulatory Act of 1773

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The news is out: US to buy stakes in banks, first since Depression.

An Act For Establishing Certain Regulations For The Better Management Of The Affairs Of The East India Company, As Well In India As In Europe US Banking System

Whereas the several powers and authorities granted by charters to the united company of merchants in England trading to the East Indies to banking companies have been found, by experience, not to have sufficient force and efficacy to prevent various abuses which have prevailed in the government and administration of the affairs of the said united company, as well at home as in India abroad, to the manifest injury of the public credit, and of the commercial interests of the said company; and it is therefore become highly expedient that certain further regulations, better adapted to their present circumstances and condition, should be provided and established: ...

By these acts is established the United States of America Company.  We are all mercantilists now.  Auspico Presidentis et Senatus Americaniae.





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October 3, 2008

What An Obama Presidency Means For Blacks

This is not an anti- or pro-Obama article, so get over yourself.


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September 29, 2008

We Are All Mercantilists Now


Marx was wrong: feudalism doesn't precede capitalism, it follows it.  And after feudalism comes this:

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Welcome to 1600.


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September 28, 2008

Either Conservatives Are Cowards Or Liberals Are...

I.

A news story, talked about ad nauseam, concerning a study in Science that no one will bother to read.

Subjects-- liberals and conservatives-- are shown random pictures of scary stuff (spider on a person's face) interspersed between photos of neutral stuff (bunnies.)   Conservatives exhibit much more fear (e.g. startle response, skin response) than liberals.

In case the political implications of this study are not obvious, these are the titles of the news reports about the study: 


Etc. The message is clear: conservatives get scared more easily than liberals.

Right?  That's what the titles say--  I'm not off base here, right?  There's no other possible way to interpret them?

II. 

The methodology is fine-- but the interpretation is so demonstrably flawed that they are actually interpreting the results backwards.

Here's the most important line of all-- found only in the SA article-- in the second to last paragraph, of course:

People who leaned more politically left didn't respond any differently to those [scary]  images than they did to pictures of a bowl of fruit, a rabbit or a happy child.

Really?  Spider on face vs. happy child?  No difference?

That extra bit of info doesn't even appear in the Science News story-- or anywhere else, for that matter.


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The graph shows that liberals and conservatives have a trivial skin response to neutral pictures, and liberals show no difference in response when confronted with a scary photo.

So the actual finding isn't that conservatives are fearful; it's that liberals seem not to exhibit much response to scary photos.

III.


But it's actually a little worse than that.

The typical use for such tests of startle and fear aren't to see how scared people are, they are used specifically to find out how scared people aren't.  For example, they are used to evaluate psychopathy, and the results are the same as here-- psychopaths have decreased responses, compared to normal people, to aversive photos.

So which is it?  Are conservatives fearful, or are liberals psychopaths?

I'm not picking sides in the debate, but I am pointing out how this study missed the actual result-- liberals are less fearful than would be expected-- and then the study was publicized in the media with an entirely backwards inference, that conservatives scare easily.

But it sounds like science, conducted by scientists; it's published in Science, and then publicized in Scientific American.  It must be true.

(more)




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September 26, 2008

Obama And McCain On Mental Health Coverage

Applicable to their perspective on a wider range of issues.

NAMI released the results of their questionnaire to the candidates.  Obama answered the questions (24 of them) while McCain sent a formal statement.

On the whole, neither response is heavy on content, but I made one interesting observation:

Obama: 2 out of  2000 words
McCain: 8 out of 450 words

the word "cost"


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September 24, 2008

My Fellow Americans: The Speech President Bush Should Give



As government officials flounder trying to explain why the most important fiscal maneuver in U.S. history is so necessary, I offer a potential Presidential speech.  With footnotes.


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September 15, 2008

MMS Chicks: Oil, Sex, Drugs And Anything Else You Want To Imagine


This is the article I got on my RSS filter that uses the keywords, "things I wish I did in college."


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August 15, 2008

Ara Abrahamian Wins Award For Medal Toss, Saved By Passport


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Between 1am and 9am, a previous 2 paragraph version of this post managed to offend Swedes, Armenians, wrestlers, the Olympics, bronze medals and mats.

In the interest of completeness, I will this time include the French.



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August 6, 2008

A Little Bird Told Me



1. McCain may drop out of the race-- running mate Romney to continue?

2. Oil prices were pushed higher (Iran/Israel tensions, etc) by a concerted government effort to generate oil revenues for Iraq, promote greater stability so as to allow partial withdrawal of troops before election; and a subsequent reduction of oil prices to erase them as a campaign issue.  Both Iran and Israel were in on the plan.

Tin foil hat stuff, but thought I'd put it out there.


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July 30, 2008

Social Welfare Is A Red Herring: The Return Of Feudalism


The policies sound good, and perhaps they would be, if not for the malignant intentions that motivate them.


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July 11, 2008

What Are We Voting For?


me



An article, over a year old, which must be posted again.

There isn't really an easier way to say this: that cavalier, simplistic attitude towards history; myopic beliefs which bypass logic or reason, supported only by intuition and faith; and a hatred of others who have a radically different perspective on humanity-- that's not Bush, that's us.  I'm not even saying this perspective doesn't have some merit; but know thyself, yo. 

Most of our enemies share a common social philosophy that, at its core, is psychic: don't trust any country where women are regularly more powerful than men; where individuals are more important than a collective; and where personal beliefs and freedoms trump historical identity.  Because that means that its men are weak, its individuals are selfish, and they cannot be trusted to act in the long term interests of their own people.  Rather than responding seriously to worldview, with equal fervor-- and it's so easy to do it-- the country has instead chosen to release this press statement: "Bush lied."

It is, to me, the most important article I have ever written on this blog. 

http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/05/the_wrong_lessons_of_iraq.html

Please, read it, and pass it around.  It's happening now.





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July 7, 2008

Esmin Green Died Because Only Kings County Hospital Cared


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You can read about the case here, but the summary is that a psych patient dies in a Kings County psych ER, and no one notices. 

There's indignation and outrage all around, of course, so I won't repeat it here.  But I will suggest that the reason it happened has little to do with Kings County.


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July 3, 2008

Election 2008: "What Patriotism Means To Me"


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Parade Magazine asks the Best Of Us What Is Patriotism? and they answer:

McCain: Putting The Country First
Obama: Faith In One Another As Americans

As neutrally as possible, I look at the differences between the answers.


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June 14, 2008

McCain, Obama Describe Tim Russert-- And Themselves



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TV journalist Tim Russert, from Meet The Press, died yesterday.

Both Obama and McCain delivered a short speech to the press, around the same time of day, and both did it outside at airports.

They used almost the same words.  So what was different?



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