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It’s About Time

Monday, January 16th, 2006

Congress finally acknowleges that family violence strikes men too. What a novel idea.br /br /blockquoteLast month, in a little-noticed end-of-the-year action, Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. The final version includes text that, for the first time, recognizes male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. This is a step in the right direction of a balanced approach to family violence—but only the first step./blockquotebr /br /a href=”http://www.reason.com/cy/cy011006.shtml”As Cathy Young points out,/a we still have a long way to go, but sometimes awareness is the first step to recovery.

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The Jails are Just Today’s Asylums

Sunday, January 15th, 2006

The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has compiled a a href=”http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10823343/”list of the top twenty “meanest” cities /afor homelessness in the US. br /br /blockquoteFour of the cities are in Texas, two are in California and two are in Arizona. All are locations that a report accompanying the list finds reflect a growing willingness over the past 25 years “to turn to the criminal justice system to respond to people living in public spaces.”br /br /Michael Stoops, acting executive director for the homeless coalition, put it more bluntly: “There’s open war on the homeless population.” /blockquotebr /br /No, it is not a “war” against the homeless. It is poor forethought and planning for the homeless when good Samaritans opened the mental institutions and turned the mentally ill out onto the streets–a large portion of the homeless are mentally ill-a href=”http://www.cityofknoxville.org/development/homeless2004study.pdf”in some studies up to 50%/a. In addition, the gentrification of downtowns by urban yuppies and city planners caused a rush of condeming, closing or knocking down Single Room Occupancy Housing (SRO) which was devastating to the poor who lived in cheap housing. For example, a href=”http://www.cityofknoxville.org/development/homeless2004study.pdf”in New York City in 1960/a, there were 640,000 people living in SRO’s and rooming houses and by 1990, there were only 137,000. No wonder there are so many homeless there. br /br /Here in Knoxville, we had a cheap motel downtown where one hundred people lived called the 5th Avenue Motel–a href=”http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?s=%20%20992425″the hotel was condemned /aand the residents forced to leave. Many went to live with friends and family, some were lucky enough to be provided with other housing but some, I bet, are back on the streets. There were a number of news interviews here with the residents saying that the 5th Avenue motel was their home. It would seem that living there would beat living in a shelter or the streets. I have even had homeless clients who commit crimes so they can get in jail, get three hots and a cot and maybe some mental health treatment. So the next time the National Coalition for the Homeless wants to blame states for being big meanies who wage war on the homeless, they should ask themselves why these people are homeless in the first place.br /br /Update: a href=”http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2006/01/its-not-just-money.html”Assistant Village Idiot /atalks about the complexities of social problems and why throwing housing and money at the homeless does not necessarily work.

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Is a Rock a Destructive Device?

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

A 23 year old was a href=”http://www3.knoxnews.com/kns/local_news/article/0,1406,KNS_347_4384992,00.html”given a life sentence this week for throwing a ten pound rock /aover an overpass here in Knoxville and killing a 69 year old woman:br /br /blockquoteMorgan was convicted under a seldom-used provision in Tennessee law that makes it first-degree murder if death results from the throwing or placement of a “destructive device” or bomb. br /br /Defense attorney Russell T. Greene said he was disappointed by the verdict but was not completely surprised because jurors had asked questions during deliberations about the “device” charge. br /br /He said he would appeal. /blockquotebr /br /I find this statement from the defendant interesting:br /br /”Morgan testified that what he did was stupid but he never intended to hurt anyone.” br /br /Uhhh..you didn’t? I wonder what this guy can cook up when he does mean to hurt someone? What do you think–is a life sentence too long for this guy or not?

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Pamela Anderson’s Bust

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

You would thinka href=”http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=212082GT1=7654″ Pamela Anderson would have better things to worry about /athan whether or not chickens are mistreated in West Virginia–like maybe keeping an eye on the kids that come by a href=”http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin062501.asp”her ex-husband’s place to swim./a Seriously, I understand her concern if chickens are truly being cruelly tortured before being slaughtered, but somehow, if PETA is involved, it sounds suspect. If they were that concerned, wouldn’t it make more sense to go directly to picket the chicken plant where the birds are being mistreated than to try and oust a bust of Colonel Sanders from the Kentucky State capital?br /br /Update: Well, maybe KFC should just sit back and a href=”http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com/2005/08/people-eating-tasty-animals.html”enjoy the free publicity/a.

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Forgetting

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

The a href=”http://theanchoressonline.com/2006/01/12/ny-times-tipped-terrorists/”Anchoress has an excellent post /a on why we must remember 9/11. If the event has gotten foggy in your own mind–go read her post and it will bring it flooding back with clarity and insight. Here is an excerpt:br /br /blockquoteI remember that when the terrorists used commerical airliners as bombs, they rode to their deaths with little toddlers on board, who had no idea what was going on, and who must have been terribly frightened when some people on the plane were suddenly restrained, or killed, and whose last moments in their short lives were so confusing./blockquotebr /br /On a smaller (but equally tragic) scale, her quote reminds me of a killing that happened around my hometown. A young boy, 11, was shot and killed by his best friend. Prior to the murder, the killer, another 11 year old, had been a troublemaker at best and a hellion at worst. He slashed people’s tires, pulled knives on others and shot at them with his bb gun. The community ignored his horrible behavior until he figured he could get away with anything and killed his best friend. To make matters worse, this friend was a pitiful asthmatic whose family never got him treated and he suffered immensely. You can only imagine his last moments after being shot–he had lived a sad life which had now come to an abrupt end, all because a young thug had been able to get away with whatever he wanted with no restrictions. Yes, the killer was ultimately responsible–but the community and family that allowed the victim to be harmed should also look to itself in this young boy’s death. But the truth is, the community has learned nothing and no one gave a damn about this poor young victim anyway. They have probably forgotten that he even existed. The community’s forgetfulness has made them ripe for the next killing. Just like all of us.br /br /Have you noticed, there is a lot of emphasis on “forgetting” acts of violence? There are those who “forget” the Holocaust, “forget” 9/11 or forget that a young thug can kill an innocent child. If we forget, it is easy to focus away from foreign issues to domestic ones which make us feel safer. After all, if we have the wherewithal to talk about Social Security, healthcare, and education, the world cannot be that scary a place, now can it? The media and liberals would have us believe that the crisis is over (except in the areas of Social Security, healthcare, and education); now they can pave the way for the next Democratic president who will lead us into a utopian world of good health, good schools and a great retirement. Except that, like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, we will still be ripe for the next act of violence–and as for that utopian paradise we will be leading at the hand’s of liberals? Well, hopefully we will be able to forget about that, too.

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Sometimes Freud and Drugs aren’t the Answer

Friday, January 13th, 2006

In a href=”http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2006/01/fear.html”this previous post on fear/a, there is a discussion of the use of psychotropic drugs for treating phobias. a href=”http://psychpundit.blogspot.com/2006/01/as-good-as-it-gets.html”PsychPundit talks /aabout treating a patient with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) successfully without drugs. Take a look.

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The Fierceness of Ann Coulter

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

I just finished watching a documentary entitled, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2path=ASIN/B0007GAEBMtag=wwwviolentkicomcamp=1789creative=9325″emIs It True What They Say About Ann?/em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=B0007GAEBM” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / by Patrick Wright and Elinor Burkett. The documentary looks at the controversy over Ann Coulter and asks the questions, “Icon…or Idiot? Candid…or Crazy?” As the film points out, the answers to these questions depend on who you ask. Her detractors on camera such as Susan Estrich, the law professor, point out that liberals dislike her because she stands for everything they hate. Ann’s admirers love her for standing up for all of the ideas they have but cannot or will not articulate. To me, love her or hate her, you have to admire her. br /br /The documentary takes a look at behind the scenes footage of Ann…just being Ann. She talks about her life, her passions and her love of a good challenge. “I love hate mail,” she states at one point. Rather than take hate mail personally, she understands that the sheer volume of it means that she is really hitting her points home and that people are listening. They may not agree–but she is making them listen and that is her talent. Whether it is watching her spar and, in my opinion, upstage, Katy Couric or respond to a room full of hecklers, (at John Hopkins, her response to hecklers was, “wow, this is what passes for debate? At Harvard, they have questions”) she is up to the task.br /br /In a world where women, a href=”http://www.theconglomerate.org/2006/01/sigh_women_blog.html”including bloggers/a are wasting their time pondering questions such as “Where are the women in politics, blogging etc.?,” Ann Coulter is at the forefront turning words into action. In the video, she is fearless–she speaks for those who are afraid in a climate of political correctness–especially at college campuses–to share their views on affirmative action, homophobia, and the war in Iraq. If you have ever been afraid in the past to speak in public, her courage and bravery will inspire you to speak out–even if you have to stand alone. br /br /At the end of the documentary, police escort her from a college campus and for good reason. In addition to boos and insults (which she handles with grace and humor), she recently had a href=”http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1022042coulter1.html”a pie thrown at her at the University of Arizona/a. Ann Coulter, love her or hate her–you have to appreciate her. a href=”http://www.anncoulterdoc.com/index.php”See the documentary./a

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Where’s the Men’s Center?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

a href=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/1600/deadmeat.jpg”img style=”float:left; margin:0 10px 10px 0;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;” src=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/320/deadmeat.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”" //abr /a href=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/1600/evaninterview.jpg”img style=”float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;” src=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/320/evaninterview.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”" //abr /Well, it’s time for podcast #2 of the Dr. Helen/Instapundit show. In honor of the a href=”http://www.afrfilmfestival.com/”American Renaissance Film/a festival this weekend in Los Angeles, we will be talking with Stuart Browning and a href=”http://www.brain-terminal.com/”Evan Coyne Maloney /aof a href=”http://www.onthefencefilms.com/”On The Fence films /aabout their upcoming documentary, emIndoctrinate U./em It is a documentary about political correctness on college campuses and after seeing some of the footage, I have to say, it is a terrific body of work. For anyone out there who has had to bite their tongue in the classroom, been raked over the coals by a PC professor or lost their job due to unpopular political views, this podcast is for you. a href=”http://instapundit.com/podcasts/evanstuartshow.mp3″Click here /ato play the podcast. You can also subscribe via a href=”http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=116559643s=143441″iTunes./abr /br /And if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments!

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Somehow Being Sweet Like a Sailor does not have the Same Ring

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Since when is cursing like a sailor against the law? I do it all the time so I was surprised when one of my readers (thanks Bruce) emailed me this a href=”http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0601110157jan11,0,7485808.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed”Chicago Tribune article /aabout a sailor who is facing a court martial and criminal charges brought against him for doing what sailors do best–cursing. He is also being charged with sexual harrassment for making some “spicy comments” about his ex-wife that was overheard by a female midshipman. I’m sorry but if you can’t take men or women talking this way even to your face, you do not belong in the Navy but in a convent where sweet, untarnished behavior is expected. The good news is, the article reports that sexual harrassment complaints are down, but this is not enough for champions of victims rights:br /br /blockquoteThis is not necessarily good news if you’re in the business of victim advocacy–and it is a business, perhaps soon to become a career choice if Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has her way. Slaughter is the sponsor of a 95-page bill that would create a Pentagon Office of Victim Advocacy. We may never win the war on terror, but we’ll by golly win the war on hurt feelings.br /br /Slaughter’s bill has met with little success thus far, but the Pentagon is working on the idea. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, reports that the Pentagon contracted with the Wellesley College Centers for Women to study the idea of an OVA and make recommendations. Wellesley has submitted a report for which it was paid $50,000, but the Pentagon has not released it./blockquotebr /br /Wow, I trust Wellesley College to make unbiased decisions on the behalf of women–I mean victims–everywhere. Somehow, I bet that if we did not have enough victims already, we’ll certainly be having more if such an asinine bill flies.

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Some Secrets are Better Left Unsaid

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Have you ever been to the a href=”http://postsecret.blogspot.com/#113665474075194303″website Postsecrets.com/a? It’s an interesting site where people send in their secrets on a postcard to Frank, a guy in Maryland who puts them on his site. He also has a book,a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2path=ASIN/0060899190tag=wwwviolentkicomcamp=1789creative=9325″em PostSecret : Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives,/em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0060899190″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” /which I bought for someone as a gift. I know this site is popular, but if I had a secret to write in to him, it would be that I really hate some of the secrets he shares! Some of the secrets are so downright pathetic and cruel that frankly, I wonder about the morals of some of the authors of these little gems. For example, one postcard read, “It makes me very happy when I hear about a hunter accidentally getting killed while hunting, wish it would happen more often.” Charming. Another postcard reads, “I gave a child up for adoption 25 years ago. She found me. I wish to God I had had the abortion instead.” Of course, some of the secrets people send in are sweet and sincere or just disturbing but not morally bankrupt. Check it out if you have not been to the site. It is rather interesting.

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Fear

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Do you have a phobia of something so strong that just the thought of it sets you into a tailspin? I know I do. My fear is public speaking–I hate it. I have done everything I can to face my fears, including reading books like a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2path=ASIN/0449902927tag=wwwviolentkicomcamp=1789creative=9325″emFeel the Fear and Do It Anyway/em,/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0449902927″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / but sometimes, I have to remind myself that pushing through fear no matter what is not always the answer. br /br /The fear of public speaking started in high school; before that, I could get up in front of the class with some trepidation but I was able to do it. But that all changed in 10th grade English class. I had to give a report on The Canterbury Tales and when I got up to speak, I just lost it. I had already been ignored and/or verbally abused by half the kids in the class and facing them brought the fear I had been hiding for years to the forefront. I froze. Have you ever froze in front of a group of 10th graders? They burst into laughter–the teacher tried to put things into perspective by saying, “We’re laughing with you, not at you.” Yeah, right. I never spoke again in class until my last year in college when I was stuck giving a speech in a required class I needed to graduate. I stumbled through it the best I could–all the while feeling my heart pound and the room spin. I somehow made it through and even got an A with a comment from the professor, “try to look people in the eye when you speak.”br /br /My next bout with public speaking came in graduate school; I was really lucky as The New School for Social Research in NYC had a European style of teaching which meant very large classes where I could slink in the back of the room and then take one written test for my whole semester grade. It was impersonal and suited me fine–I did not have to interact or talk to anyone until my last semester in a small seminar. Again, I needed the class to graduate and had to force myself to attend. The class was taught by my worst nightmare–a strong-willed Israeli professor who seemed to get a sadistic thrill out of poking fun at the “dumb American students.” This mean streak got even worse when she announced that in order to pass the course–each one of us would take our turn “teaching” the class on a different topic. You can only imagine the torment I went through trying to teach on language development in children in front of a malevolent professor who took pleasure in pointing out my every flaw. I rejoiced to get a B- in this woman’s class and never have to deal with her again.br /br /So, fast forward to today. Despite the weeks of anxiety beforehand, shortness of breath, and my heart beating out of my chest, I have perservered in the public speaking arena–and it has never gotten better. I have forced myself to give testimony to legislatures, talked to crowds of 500 about my film, and spoken to groups of professionals about kids who are violent. You would think that after all this–I would feel less fear. But I never do. It is there each time, as strong as ever. A colleague said to me once, “it is not necessary to speak because you think you have to, but it is necessary to be able to speak if you want to.” I think this is the crucial difference. If we face our fears because they keep us from doing something that we want to do, that is one thing–but I have learned that I no longer have to face my fears just to prove to myself that I am not afraid. br /br /Do you have any fears you could share–and if so, how did you overcome them, or not?

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Medical Weblog Awards

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

My blog has been nominated for best Health policies/ethics blog at Medgadget.com. I don’t really think of myself as a medical blog–mainly I just write about topics that are of interest to me. But if you are so inclineda href=”http://medgadget.com/2005bestpolicy.php”–go vote, either for me or check out the other terrific medical blogs. /a Voting goes on until January 15th.

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Medical Ground Rounds is Up

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

The Clinical Cases and Images blog is a href=”http://casesblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/grand-rounds.html”hosting grand rounds of the best posts /aof the medical blogosphere. The topics are varied–ranging from a discussion of Ariel Sharon’s cerebral hemmorage to a suicide bomber with hepatitis who blew himself up and his body particles infected a survivor of the blast. Check it out.

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What the Hell Happened to Freedom of Speech?

Monday, January 9th, 2006

a href=”http://news.com.com/Create+an+e-annoyance%2C+go+to+jail/2010-1028_3-6022491.html?part=rsstag=6022491subj=news”Can this really be true?/a thanks to a href=”http://www.saysuncle.com/archives/2006/01/09/the_end_of_blogs/”SayUncle–another local Tennessee blogger/a.br /br /Update: Here are a href=”http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2006/01/annoy_someone_o.html”some more thoughts and information /aon this annoying clause.

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Podcasting for Dummies

Monday, January 9th, 2006

Thanks to those of you who have listened and commented on our first podcast–some people have asked for more information on the equipment we used and for information on podcasting in general which you can a href=”http://instapundit.com/archives/027921.php”read here at Glenn’s site/a. I like the idea of podcasting as you can do it at your convenience, pick your own guests and ideas–even unpopular ones, and don’t have to get out of your pajamas to do an interview. I wish I had a job like that.

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The Dr. Helen / InstaPundit Podcast

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/1600/michellemalkin.jpg”img style=”float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;” src=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/320/michellemalkin.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”" //abr /br /Our first show is with Michelle Malkin author of a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?path=ASIN/0895260301link_code=as2camp=1789tag=wwwviolentkicomcreative=9325″iUnhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild,/i/a and blogger at a href=”http://www.michellemalkin.com/”MichelleMalkin.com./a She talks about being an author, a mom, and the target of thousands of extremely nasty emails.br /br /Our other interview is with Internet rock star Audra Coldiron of a href=”http://www.theantidote.net/”Audra and the Antidote./a She talks about being an outcast in high school, and how she used that experience as inspiration in her songwriting — and how she hopes her new baby won’t grow up to have the same awful experiences.br /br /You can listen to the podcast by clicking a href=”http://instapundit.com/podcasts/GHPodcast010906.mp3″here./a (You don’t need an iPod to listen to podcasts!) If you want to subscribe to get future podcasts, just copy a href=”http://instapundit.com/index.xml”this link/a and paste it into your podcast-listening software. You’ll also be able to subscribe through iTunes soon. Hope you like it! If you’ve got suggestions for future topics, or guests, let me know by comment or email.br /br /a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/1600/audragroup1sm.jpg”img style=”display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;” src=”http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/750/48/320/audragroup1sm.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”" //a

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Death T-shirts in the News

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

a href=”http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/health/chi-0601080459jan08,1,7006600.story?coll=chi-health-hed”Here is a an article /aabout a href=”http://www.cafepress.com/medtees/616561″Medtees.com /ain the Chicago Tribune today with some quotes from me touting the humor of these t-shirts. But the message of these shirts for people who are ill is a serious one:br /br /blockquoteThe MedTees T-shirts are the brainchild of Evanston Northwestern physician Wes Fisher and his wife, Diane. Fed up with a culture that they say resists the natural processes of aging and illness like leprosy, the Fishers’ idea allows patients and people with illnesses to poke fun at their ailments.br /br /”It’s kind of a countercultural idea,” Wes Fisher said in the kitchen of his home. “People in Western culture really don’t think it’s OK to have an illness or be sick. We have a media image of the perfect body.”/blockquotebr /br /I remember after my heart attack that doctors told me that no one would know that I had an “imperfect body” but a cardiologist, but I know it everyday–and sure as hell don’t try to hide it. People get sick and they get old–so what? It is part of the human condition–but rising above it to do the best we can with the life we have is the answer, not trying to pretend that we are immortal.

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Carnival of the Insanities

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Dr. Sanity’s Carnival of the Insanities is up–a href=”http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2006/01/carnival-of-insanities.html”go take a look./a

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The Holocaust–Just another Postmodern Invention?

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Is the Holocaust just another postmodern figment of the West’s imagination? Apparently, this is what a href=”http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=010506C”some prominent Muslim leaders think/a:br /br /blockquoteUp until now, it was unnecessary in the West, outside of Germany and Austria, to pay serious attention to those who disputed the historicity of the Holocaust: they constituted a tiny fringe group, and dismissing their views had little political risks or consequences. They could simply be shrugged off as quacks, at best, and crypto-Nazis, at worst. But this recent wave of Holocaust denial is not coming from a statistically insignificant potion of the West; it is coming from Muslim leaders with popular followings, and what is even more troublesome, it is not being challenged by others in the Muslim community. As the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said, “The problem is that so far in the Arab world, very few leaders are willing to tell their own people that they have to understand that the Holocaust did take place” — a statement that is putting it very mildly, indeed. br /br /Are we dealing here with simply two different but equally legitimate points of view of what happened to the Jews under Nazi Germany; or are we dealing with a new ideological virus, and one that is on the verge of spreading like an epidemic?br /br /We in the West have already rewritten a great deal of history in the name of cultural tolerance and diversity. But are we prepared to deny the truth of the Holocaust in the name of the same principles? /blockquotebr /br /Have you noticed that as time goes on and people start to forget the horror of tragedy that the mind tends to rewrite the past? Perhaps this is human–for example, a family member dies and we rewrite their life to fit into our own scheme of how we feel about our own lives. If Dad was a fairly pleasant guy, we might overstate how cruel he was to keep ourselves from grieving. But on the other hand, if Dad was downright cruel and abusive, we might rewrite history in our minds to make him out to be a good guy. Either way of thinking puts our mind at ease and gives us the opportunity to feel virtuous about ourselves. In the case of these Muslim leaders with dementia times two, we have a case where they use the denial of the Holocaust as a tool for provoking sympathy from the West and anger in their followers in the Mideast. What better way to further their cause. But can we really allow them to use the bodies of six million corpses to make a political point?br /br /Update: a href=”http://eddriscoll.com/archives/008364.php”Ed Driscoll has more thoughts/a–be sure and read the information on political science Professor Sindi who has taught in the past at UC Irvine and Cal State Pomona–and who believes in the Holocaust Denial and is teaching American students.

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Mentors

Friday, January 6th, 2006

centeriA sound philosophy of life, I think, may be the most valuable asset for a psychiatrist to have when he is treating a patient. — Victor Frankl/i/center br / br /Did you ever have a mentor–either a personal or professional one who guided you through the intricacies of life and work? I had a terrific mentor when I was in my early twenties who not only helped me learn to do my job well but taught me how to live my life well. His name was Dr. Fred Wisner and his office was on Central Park West next to the Dakota building where John Lennon was shot. Every week when I would go to see Dr.Wisner for our weekly supervision sessions, I would pass by the area where Lennon was killed and think about the a href=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3745492.stm”reasons that a madman like Mark Chapman /awould kill Lennon in the first place.br /br /It was Dr. Wisner who helped me understand the human mind and to delve into my patient’s psyche without being afraid of the darkness that was there. He took me inside the minds of Nazi War criminals like Rudolph Hess through his interpretations of the Rorschach cards and taught me that Nazis had no special skills or insight. They were simply average in intelligence and had no empathy for their fellow man. He taught me that degrees meant little except as an entry into a profession and that one’s life work in psychology had more to do with being human and connecting with others than it did with being intellectual and right. br /br /He told me stories about himself being a psychologist in training and wondering if he would be good at this work. He watched his own supervisor, a psychiatrist, pick up a depressed crying male patient and hold him gently on his lap and rock him back and forth until he was soothed. This gentleness helped him to understand how fragile the human psyche can be and yet how strong one must be in his masculinity to soothe a child like this. Dr. Wisner realized that this work was important and that he could help his patients. Today, perhaps his mentor would be afraid to hold a child for fear of a lawsuit–too bad, because the boy and I would have missed out on the usefulness of this story.br /br /Dr. Wisner also taught me that being a therapist was like being an actor because actors took on the personality and personna of those they portray–I learned to get inside my patient’s skins in a way that helped me sort out their pain and suffering as well as my own. After exploring the recesses of my own mind, I learned that there was nothing to fear in the torment of others. Dr. Wisner taught me to have self-confidence in my skills and in myself. He taught me that I was brave even when I felt low and down–he would point out all the positive things I had done with my life where I saw only darkness. br /br /When I would leave his office, I felt light and buoyant–like I had chosen the best line of work that life had to offer. But what I did not realize at the time was that it was not just the job decisions that he had helped me with, it was understanding how to deal with my inner life and the world around me. I cannot think of a better gift I could have been given. br /br /So, wherever you are Dr. Wisner, all I can say is thank you.

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Positive Psychology

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Many of my readers have commented on the focus of unhappiness or psychopathology in psychology. Martin Seligman is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who founded Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology focuses on one’s strengths rather than weaknesses, and asserts that happiness is not the result of genes or good luck. In his book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2path=ASIN/0743222989tag=wwwviolentkicomcamp=1789creative=9325″emAuthentic Happiness : Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment/em,/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0743222989″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;”/Seligman teaches readers that happiness can be cultivated by identifying and using many of the strengths they already possess. If you would like to see what your signature strengths are, you can take the Signature Strength Survey at a href=”http://www.authentichappiness.org/”authentichappiness.org/a. There is even a test designed to test the signature strengths in children coming soon.br /br /Take the test when you have a few minutes although they have a shortened version. Just for the record, my top signature strengths are bravery and valor defined as “you do not shrink from threat, challenge, pain or difficulty. Valor is more than bravery under fire, when one’s physical well-being is threatened. It refers as well to intellectual or emotional stances that are unpopular, difficult, or dangerous.” (This sounds like many of the bloggers I read).br /br /Okay, that looks pretty accurate for me. I have always prized people who are brave and I despise cowardliness in people–and especially in myself. Anyway, take a look at the website if you would like to learn what strengths you have and if you feel like sharing–post a comment about it–or about your thoughts on positive psychology in general.

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Even the "Poor" have a Computer

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

If you have ever thought that the “poor” in this country still live a fairly comfortable lifestyle, a href=”http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/extra/P140067.asp”here is an interesting article /a confirming this:br /br /blockquoteThe Census report also compares, from 1992 through 1998, people’s perceptions of whether basic needs were being met. More than 92% of Americans below the poverty line said they had enough food, as of 1998. Some 86% said they had no unmet need for a doctor, 89% had no roof leaks, and 87% said they had no unpaid rent or mortgage./blockquotebr /br /I wonder about the Census report for the lower middle class–would this many respondents say they had no unmet needs for a doctor and no unpaid rent?

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