Politics

July 7, 2008

Esmin Green Died Because Only Kings County Hospital Cared


esmin green.jpg


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"


flag 2008.jpg


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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May 29, 2008

The New Yorker Writes About Power



With authority.



wolfowitz.jpg



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April 28, 2008

Election 2008


Remember the good old days of 2004?  When political debate was suitable for yelling out open car windows?   "Bush lied!  And he's a cowboy!"  "Kerry flip flops!  And he's French!"  That was awesome.

This time around, instead of repeating empty, meaningless soundbites that we steal from various media sources, let's dispense with the pretense that we thought anything through, and simply yell out the sources themselves.

"CNBC at 12:30 Tuesday.  I don't remember most of it, but he got it from Rush Limbaugh."

"That's stupid, because I caught the last nine seconds of a contrasting position on Lou Dobbs at 8p on Wednesday.  That's prime time."

"My friend said XM said that All Things Considered said Dobbs was a fool, and ATC is  certainly more intellectual than the show you didn't watch, so I am ahead."

He boots up his Mac.  "Except The New Yorker had a three page story on the election that I therefore didn't need to read, so I own you."

"Oh, please, the friggin New Yorker.  I read Daily Kos."

"The Daily Kos can blow me."

Pause.

"That's it?"

"Just saying."  He orders another decaf mocha.  "Besides, Time said bloggers are monkeys with one hand down their pants."

"The crawl on CNN said Time readership is down, and masturbating primates have determined six of the last three elections.  The crawl is where all the good stuff is."

"You wish.  That crawl is as compelling as a Soulja Boy acoustic set.  Besides, the anchor at CBS made fun of CNN.  Anchor beats crawl."

"But didn't the CBS anchor steal his quotes from CNBC?"

"Yes, who in turn quoted Rush--"

"--who was responding to something from The Daily Show!"  He tears open a Splenda.    "Wait, does all political discourse in this country originate with Rush Limbaugh and Jon Stewart?"

"Sadly, yes."

Pause.  He googles Juno and iphone.

"I wonder why that is?'






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April 24, 2008

Update on Schering Plough

It started with the Vytorin study, and my belief that doctors purposely misstated the results in order to support/portray an anti-Pharma bias.  The stock tanked, but I predicted that  eventually reality would set in, and so the American College of Cardiology was giving me the  opportunity to make 20%.


sgp.jpg


Technically, it was only 18%, but I'll take it.  Sold today.  Likely goes to 20, but I only bought it to prove a point: doctors, especially in committees, cannot be trusted with their own data, and politics always wins over science.   I was able to make money on the politics, but what about the patients who are pawns in this game, who think they're getting "evidence based" care?

 Good luck, everyone.  You'll need it.


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April 9, 2008

Time Magazine Stays Out Of the Election



Look at the page for three seconds only.  Guess which party Time favors?


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March 25, 2008

Eliot Spitzer and Alexandra Dupre: Don't Choose The Red Pill


What color bikini does Alexandra Dupre have?  That's right, you're a pawn. 


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March 4, 2008

An Observation About The Current Election


I can't believe that with all the anger most Democrats have against George Bush, they are this-- apathetic.  Four years the Democrats had, to find and build the perfect candidate.  To organize as a party and say, "never again!" and build a careful platform, encourage cohesion, work to bring in disgruntled Republicans...

Instead, they defaulted to Clinton, barely half-heartedly, leaving plenty of room for Obama to try.  A young, never tested Senator-- there should have been no way he could have entered the race, let alone won.  Not because he's not good-- but because, by now, the Democrats should have already decided who they wanted.

It's a lack of organization and commitment which will, unfortunately, lead to a loss in 2008.

I'd tell you this applies equally to Republicans-- it does.  The difference is that this election, since at least 2006, was going to go to the Democrats.  Republicans should have been preparing for 2012, or the Senate.  But now...

Don't flame me.  I'm not making a comment on the candidates' abilities, just on how the system should have worked, but failed.  And the reason it failed is the same reason we're in a recession: lack of organization, and lack of commitment.





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January 21, 2008

A Study Finds Antidepressants Don't Work, And Suddenly It's October 25



ABC News, and others, report that the NEJM study found that antidepressants "may be duds." 

Climb on the bandwagon, my bolsheviks, no brakes, no driver, let us see where it takes us.


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January 14, 2008

Do Narcissists Get Abortions?


Apparently, yes.


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November 29, 2007

One Of These Things Is A Straw Man, And The Other Is On Fire


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Daniel Carlat, of the Carlat Report, has an article in the New York Times Magazine.  It's six pages long, and decidedly anti-Pharma.  But Daniel Carlat isn't from New York-- so why would he have an article published there?

You say: well, where he's from has nothing to do with it, the New York Times is publishing it because of what he says.

Exactly.

His article, well written and persuasive, stands as is, undisputed because there is no forum in which to dispute it.  I guess it would be nice if the Times would allow me to write an op-ed-- you know, in op to the ed-- but I guess this blog will have to do.

Carlat is wrong, very wrong, not because he is factually incorrect about his target, but because his target is a straw man.  The problem isn't Pharma.  It's doctors.



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November 27, 2007

Which Is Worse: An Altered Photo of Reality, Or A Photo That Alters Reality?



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On the left is real 1989 Tiananmen Square.  On the right, a doctored photo.  300 people were shown either a real or altered photo of two different protests, and then asked to recall what happened back then.  The point of this study was to show that altering a photograph will change how the events are actually remembered (in this case, as bigger and more violent.)  It's important to emphasize that the subjects already had a memory of the events (from TV, etc)-- so this photo actually changed their pre-existing memories, and they weren't aware of it.


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October 29, 2007

Presidential Anti-Pharma Rhetoric Heats Up

So once again I’m in the weird position of having to defend something I’m actually against.



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October 12, 2007

What Hath Google Wrought

 

 go ogle

The quote, "what hath God wrought" comes from Numbers 23:23, about the Israelites, but it was popularized by Samuel Morse when he sent it as the first message over the telegraph.

I've been telling everyone who will listen to buy Google-- it's up 140 points since I wrote about it a month ago-- because it is more than an investment, it is a paradigm shift.



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October 10, 2007

This Is Just a Joke, Really, No, Really, It's Not Real, We're Much More Rigorous Than This, I Said It's A Joke, Okay? Let It Go!

(From Bliss at ComicsPage)

bliss 

 

Sigh.  Rispalin.   Go ahead and deny it.



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September 28, 2007

So Doctors Are Allowed To Breast Feed

A ridiculous story about a female medical student needing to go to appeals court to get extra time  during the medical licensing exam so she could breast feed her kid.

Here's why it's ridiculous.  If she had ADHD-- which does not exist as a physical entity but is considered an illness-- then she could get extra time.  But because it's a baby-- which does exist, but is not considered an illness-- then she is entitled to nothing.



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July 27, 2007

Why I Am Against Mental Health Parity

The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007, a cleverly named piece of legislature which conveys the warming sentiment of equality and progressiveness. But the Act is fatally flawed; not only does it not necessarily help patients, but it will likely worsen an already broken system.  It should not be passed.


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July 3, 2007

When I Said Doctors Were Too Involved In Social Policy, This Isn't Exactly What I Meant

 

"Seven of the eight people arrested are doctors or medical students..."

 

No psychiatrists, but it's only Tuesday.



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June 27, 2007

Damned If You Do... No, That's All. Damned If You Do.

In case there was any doubt that psychiatry is on the march (from Psychiatric Times June 2007):

The mass murders at Virginia Tech [sic: there was only one mass murder] could lead to harsher laws restricting [mentally ill people's] rights... Perlin, professor of law at NYU, predicted that several states will try to change the basis for involuntary commitment from danger of harm to self and/or others to the need for psychiatric treatment. [emphasis mine, but really, does it need emphasis?]

Mr. Perlin said he expects the U.S. Supreme Court will be asked to rule on such a statute's constitutionality within 10 years.  "I am already counting the votes."

Me, too: Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Ginsburg-- strange bedfellows, indeed, but Scalia and Ginsburg spend every New Year's Eve together-- against; Souter, Kennedy for; the rest is anyone's guess (Stevens may not even be there.)

The second article, from the same issue, accidentally describes the crux of the psychiatry/violence dichotomy.  In "Mental Health Staff Can't Sue If Injured By Patient," the writer explains how it is rare, and generally discouraged, for staff to sue or press charges against a patient who is violent and injures them.

Patients who attack mental health professionals in hospital settings are rarely prosecuted and usually cannot be sued for civil damages [said] Ralph Slovenko, Ph.D. at the annual meeting of the American College of Forensic  Psychiatry.

...Authorities usually take the position that it would be inconsistent to prosecute a person who has already been hospitalized for reason of mental illness...

... a New Jersey Court ruled [that] to convict a mentally ill person for displaying symptoms of mental illness... could not be justified constitutionally or morally.

Anyone disagree?  Choose carefully.  Here's the problem: the exemption from prosecution isn't for the insane behaving insanely, or the schizophrenic exhibiting psychosis; the exemption is for any patient. "Patient" in this context, is defined as anyone who is in the psychiatric hospital.  In other words, it's not a label based on pathology; it's a label based on geography.

This may surprise many people, but psychiatrists hospitalize non-mentally ill people all the time.  Any resident will lament how often they are confronted with the malingering drug user who fakes suicidality to gain admission.  Well, if you admit him-- strike that, if he has ever been admitted-- then he is a de facto patient.  If he kills you, he is automatically in a different legal status than if he murdered you in a supermarket.  For example: no death penalty.

It goes without saying, of course, that even the presence of mental illness shouldn't free one from prosecution.  That's why we have the legal construct of insanity.

Here's the clincher:

The situation is analogous to the "Fireman's Rule" in tort law, he said. A firefighter... cannot sue the owner of a burning building for injuries sustained in firefighting.

... I assume because a firefighter must have a reasonable expectation of fire-related danger.  Fine.  But if the firefighter, while fighting the fire, gets shot in the face by one of the meth-lab workers inside that the owner of the building is employing to make methamphetamine, is there no basis for a suit?  Does reasonable expectation of a certain level of danger extend to, well, to volitional acts of violence that have nothing to do with the physical structure that the violence happens in?

The reason I mention these two articles together is because they are the same. "Mental illness" is a term so vague and empty that it is dangerously useless.  Reducing one's responsibility, or restricting their freedom, based on such an arbitrary term is, well, insane.  Doing both at the same time is a tacit acceptance of classism; that some have the responsibility to rule, and some have the responsibility to be ruled.

Oh, I know:  everyone hates George Bush because he has no respect for civil liberties.  Ok.



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