Category: Blog

Here Comes Obama’s Nervous Breakdown

IMHO: Obama will have a nervous breakdown if he has to president (a new verb) for another 4 years.  No joke.  We may not learn about it until after he leaves office in 2016 (should he win in November), but the man looks and sounds psychologically run down; like he’s running for re-election for reasons he himself doesn’t understand and/or accept.

To be continued…


Is the overuse of video games and online porn causing the demise of guys, asks Psychologist, Dr. Philip Zimbardo in his book, The Demise of Guys?   Researchers say yes, as young men become hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.

Every compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict will tell you that they want increasingly more of a game or drink or drug in order to get the same quality of buzz. But the tech buzz is different.  The gamer and porn addict wants new and different dopamine pushing stuff.  More of the same wears thin or is tolerated, and, according to Zimbardo, the consequences could be dramatic. The excessive use of video games and online porn in pursuit of the next thing is creating a generation of risk-adverse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.

Young men — who play video games and use porn the most — are being digitally rewired – scary -  in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation. And those delicate, developing brains are being catered to by video games and porn-on-demand, with a click of the mouse, in endless variety.  In other words, there is no more waiting or earning time for reward.  So, the expectations, like the games and porn, are unrealistic.  Real life is swapped out for instant gratification.  Why date and chat and wait and beg, when – like in porn movies – the girl should just say, “Hiya,” and strip and lay down?  Why put up with a punk in school, when you can just aggressively take him out AND be rewarded?

In the zen teaching, we are instructed to cherish the present moment.  This new kind of human addictive arousal traps users into an expanded present hedonistic time zone. Past and future are distant and remote as the present moment expands to dominate everything. That present scene is totally dynamic, with images changing constantly.  I don’t think that is what the zen masters had in mind.  But, who knows?  If the Buddha had porn or World of Warcraft at his disposal, who knows?  I do know that Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik reported during his trial that he prepared his mind and body for his marksman-focused shooting of 77 people by playing “World of Warcraft” for a year and then “Call of Duty” for 16 hours a day.  That alone, should be enough for any parent to take the XBox and set it on fire, kick the kid in the ass, and get him a job shoveling coal.

Haley Barbourous

One of the men controversially pardoned earlier this year by Mississippi’s outgoing governor could land back behind bars after being charged with driving drunk and causing an accident that killed an 18-year-old woman this past Thursday.  A Pontotoc County, Mississippi, grand jury has charged Harry Bostick with drunken driving leading to a death, felony drunken driving and fleeing the scene of an accident where a death occurred.

This guy, Harry Bostick, was convicted of felony drunken driving in 2009, just after having been convicted in 2008 – for drunken driving.  He was still going through a court mandated drug rehab program when he applied for his pardon last summer. On September 30, the Mississippi Parole Board sent its review of Bostick’s application to Barbour, recommending a full pardon in a 3-2 vote. Then… a week after Barbour let him loose, Bostick was again driving under the influence when he pulled out onto a highway and slammed into a car, killing Charity Smith.  Barbour had said that he wasn’t aware of Bostick’s October 2011 DUI arrest when he chose to pardon him.  But e-mails obtained by CNN show that the governor’s office did, in fact, know about it.  Amanda Jones, the governor’s chief counsel, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann were told about the October car crash that killed Smith just days after it happened.
Jones and Hosemann were even urged by a lawyer in the firm that represented Bostick not to issue the pardon, according to the e-mails.

I tried looking up what some so-called experts had to say on Barbour’s move…Professors of American Studies and Political Science, Ex-Senators, and the like, and found nothing but standard jibber-jabber.  Liberals citing forgiveness, Conservatives saying Barbour’s career in politics is over.  LK and I feel that there is something stinky in Denmark – or in this case, Mississippi.  So, like Ex-State Senator, Jeff Smith said, “Do the pardons jeopardize public safety? We won’t know the answer to that unless we read about one of them in the newspaper someday.”  Well, there ya go, Jeff.  Read.  I will wait for someone to uncover the truth about the ex-Governor, and hope that in the meantime, no more of Haley’s pals go off.

Abbott (and Costello) Labs

Why is Abbott Labs, the monster pharmaceutical company, not being charged with crimes against humanity for mis-labeling Depakote?  I’ll try to cut through the technical stuff and make my point.

Depakote is a medication that has proven effective for seizure and also as a kind of leveling agent for the manic phase of Bipolar Depression.  However, Abbott admitted that from 1998 through 2006, it “maintained a specialized sales force trained to market Depakote in nursing homes for the control of agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients, despite the absence of credible scientific evidence that Depakote was safe and effective for that use.”  They also trained its sales force to promote the drug to health care providers and employees of nursing homes as better than anti psychotic drugs for controlling agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients, and then went further and promoted the drug as a treatment for schizophrenia.

Though the company paid for two studies of the use of Depakote to treat schizophrenia, neither met the goals established for the study.
“When the second study failed to show proof of their claims, Abbott waited nearly two years to notify its own sales force about the study results and another two years to publish those results”.

During that time, the company continued to promote the drug for the treatment of schizophrenia.  Obviously, it didn’t work, and although no deaths were reported, there were cases of anorexia and dehydration and other side effects.

And what happened to these crooks?  Fines.  Big ones, but to a company with Abbott’s assets, the fines amount to couch change.  Plus, they are allowed to continue to sell their drugs through government programs! They targeted the weak and the helpless.  Nursing homes.  Elderly people, already vulnerable and unable to make clear decisions about their care, got fed junk meds.  And even the sharpest doctors rode along, cause it is the drug representative’s job to not only sell the stuff, but to present an honest and accurate picture of their product.

Since no one is going to do jail time, I suggest that the CEO, COO, and the whole top level crew of Abbott be canned.  That is the least that should happen, because we put our trust in these companies, and they , by putting profits ahead of patients, throw that trust back in our faces, risking the health of our loved ones.

Cerebrating Cinco De Mayo

Hey, everyone… it’s almost Cinco de Mayo!   Yeah. Time to get blasted and eat tacos and get blasted some more cause – well…it’s Cinco de Mayo!

No offense, but why the hell would I celebrate the Battle of Puebla? Yeah, that’s – I just looked it up – what all the commotion is about. Some battle between the Mexicans and the French. I’m Italian. Do I ask everyone to celebrate the St. Valentines’ Day Massacre? No. We celebrate that quietly, here by lining up 14 pieces of fish against a wall and then eating them while making Tommy Gun sounds with our mouths.

Seriously, that’s how stupid this sounds to me. We have Labor Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Flag Day, Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day, Groundhog Day, April Fools Day, Patriot Day, Women’s Equality Day. We got days for it just being a day. Do we need a Mexico verses France Day? Really?

And how come we don’t have any Night Days? Halloween used to be a night thing, but because we are such a sick society, any parent with half a brain takes his kid out way before the sun goes down. I want a Night Day. I want a celebration that marks the onset of nighttime. No one sleeps during the day of Night Day, so that when night falls we can emerge zombie-like and crawl from bar to bar in a gleeful stupor celebrating the dark. Of course the Catholic Church will see this as some Satanic thing and ban Catholics from participating, but that will just make it more enticing. In fact, I suggest that all Catholics wear a big “C” on their chest during Night Day. This will entitle them to one free drink at any bar of their choice. Sweet!

Hey, then maybe we can follow this up with Buddha Day, where everyone hits the streets with their fat bellies hanging out. And Brain Dead Day where we drink beers until our teeth are numb and then fire calculus questions at one another.

I should be Secretary of Holidays. Yeah. Then, of course, there will be another reason for yet another Day. Hey, let’s party…it’s Secretary of Holidays Day!

Survivor Or Victim? Your Call; 2012 Redux

The BBC reports that that Mein Kampf is being published by the German state of Bavaria, for the first time since WWII.  It brought to mind the piece below (written in 2009), which used the Jews in pre-war Germany as an example of a larger human tendency, and of a looming global unease.  LK

Following World War I, there were millions of Jews living in Germany, Austria, Poland, and myriad other Western and Eastern European countries.  During the 1920’s and early 30’s the seeds of Nazism were planted and Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 sealed the evil deal.

During this Rosemary’s Baby-like gestation period there were Jews who felt the change coming and emigrated, despite having to leave careers and wealth behind, and despite having to deal with starting anew in foreign lands.

There were others who also felt the rumbles, but did the equivalent of sticking their heads in the sand, acting as if perhaps they were exempt from the oncoming tsunami, or deferring to their ultimately deadly sense of inertia, which caused them to stay put.

There were also those who were impervious to the odor of the foul winds, whose antennae weren’t sensitive enough, and who didn’t have the ability to process what they were able to feel, and went about their business as usual.  They too fell hard.

The second group, the group that, with effort, ignored the impressions received by their senses and souls, could rightly be called the true “victim class”, as they were the ones who, for lack of a gentler way to put it,  chose to become victims.

I submit that there’s something brewing in America, and in the world, that will result in changes as substantial as those that led to the World Wars, the Great Depression, the Civil War, the Crusades, and countless other historic tipping points.  It hasn’t yet solidified enough to have a name or recognizable shape, but vapors will turn into clouds, and clouds into icebergs,  and those icebergs will cause our Titanic world to undergo yet another tectonic shift.

While I’ve used the Jews in the period prior to WWII as an example of the types of choices we humans make in the face of foundational fissures, my point applies to all of us now living in the Western World.

The question is, will we, as groups and/or as individuals, choose to heed the early warning signs as they steadily become more apparent, or will we simply hope that by going about our daily work and daily play we can avoid the inevitable?  And will those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear make the extra effort to assist the third group, those without the ability to perceive or avoid the dangers ahead?

There is much to ponder, and much to do.

The Tone of Timber

I have solved the great Zen riddle; if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did the tree really fall?  The answer is, if the tree didn’t fall on me, I don’t care.

That, I think, is the answer that works in the world that we inhabit.  How else do we make it through all of the incredible ugliness of what is all around us and not snap our collective noggins?  How do we sit through the recitation of horrors in the Charles Taylor trial?  How do we absorb the slaughter by Assad’s regime in Syria, as they actually make a game out of following the UN observers and popping off a fresh group of their own people as soon as the UN guys move to the next village?  The answer again…if the tree didn’t fall on me, I don’t care.  Translation:  If the mayor of my town is not setting up the Chamber of Commerce on the roof tops of shops along Main street, and arming them with sniper rifles, or – - if the Governor of New Jersey is not chopping hands off and collecting little kids to be in his revolutionary army, I’m not effected.

We shake our heads and sigh in disbelief, as we go back to waxing our cars and trimming the bushes.  Me?  I give some money to Amnesty International.  I give some money to the International Red Cross.  Man, I even bought some mosquito nets so the African kids don’t all die so fast from Malaria.  Yeah.  I’m one of the good guys.  Of course, it takes me about 17 seconds to ‘internet’ my part and then I get back to the important stuff, like the cars and lawn.  But, hey… power to the people, I say!  I will strike my thunderous blows to evil and tyranny everywhere!

To be fair, denial is salvation.  Should we all be absorbed in the misery that is painting most of the 3rd World, we would shrivel and wilt like the daisies we are- – having been born here in the Civilized West.  We are not made of the same stuff…at least not that we are aware of.  Yeah, somewhere deep in our darkest recesses we feel it…that black, ugly sense that if pushed, we could turn into a Charles Taylor, but we spend every minute of every day – according to Freud at least – pushing that down, as we attempt to fit into some societal model.  I guess that’s best, so remember, if you actually do hear the tree fall, pretend it was thunder or God’s bowling ball and get out of the way!

Din-Din With Barack

I really am not interested in having dinner with Barack.  Not that he’s probably not a nice guy, and I certainly would be the envy of my friends, it’s just that – well there are not many people I would like to have dinner with.  Outside of my friends and family, I can’t even think of anyone famous I would enjoy sharing meat and words with.

Then there is the contest – Dinner With Barack.  You get picked.  The Secret Service – those randy bad boys – send you a ticket to somewhere.  Right.  You don’t even know where you are going.  I mean what if it’s Oklahoma?  No offense to Oklahoma, but I’ve been there and swore to Jesus and a bunch of Saints that if I ever made it out of there I would become his servant.  So, you see I can’t go back there, cause I welched on my part of the Agreement.  You also don’t have a date or a time until the last minute.  Okay, so what if I was planning on cleaning my old vinyl albums, or my wife had plans to paint the living room?

Na.  I am not interested.  I mean, it’s not like I could sit there and say stuff like, “Hey B, why, after Karzai keeps insulting you, are you really going to wait until 2014 to leave Afghanistan?”  Or.  “Yo, Mr. P., did you ever feel like smacking that guy, Hannity in the face?”  See, that is dinner conversation.  It’s also chit chat that I am sure is off-limits with Barack.  So, what’s the point? And what if my wife doesn’t hit it off with Michelle, or they show up in the same dress?  Whoa, that could make for an awkward evening.

It’s better I stay here and just say stuff behind the President’s back and under the protection of my microphone.  That just feels more American to me.

A Cartoon; Not Funny

Regardless of what you think of the Trayvon Martin incident (I tend to believe the earlier reports and the police’s initial desire to press charges against George Zimmerman, rather than the recent counterclaims and the DA’s choosing not to move ahead on the police assertions), this cartoon, courtesy of the University of Texas student newspaper, confirms that enough Texans to matter are living in pre-Confederacy times with a pre-Civil Rights movement mentality.

It’s a wonder they don’t burn pictures of their own LBJ in effigy,  and it fuels fears that today’s southern youth are in large part tomorrow’s subversive Klansmen.

Of course, the protesting high school students rampaging through the FLA Walgreens doesn’t help matters any.

Ill. Primary Reflection That Doesn’t Reflect Well

Santorum got the poor evangelical vote but few other demographic groups.  One fascinating metric is that he did better with people who think the economy isn’t getting better, and Romney did better with those who think it is.

This initially seemed counter-intuitive,  as one would have thought that those who needed the economy to improve would lean towards the business oriented Romney.

However, after thinking it through,  it actually makes sense, as (and this is harsh, sad, and true) the poor, poorly educated and less employable take refuge in Santorum’s bigotries.