Monthly Archives: September 2007

My idiot representative – damn it all


Duncan can’t even protect his website – how could he protect the country ?!?!

Can’t this asshat just retire already? Sheesh.

Talking Points Memo

Earlier this week, Columbia University replaced MoveOn.org as Public Enemy #1 for many conservatives, because the school hosted a forum for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Most notably, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) announced on Fox News that he would “move in Congress to cut off every single type of federal funding to Columbia University.”

Now, Hunter clearly has an incentive to appear unhinged. He’s a faltering presidential candidate, and the GOP base is easily riled up by absurd stunts like these. Indeed, it’s a two-fer — it’s posturing on Iran and it’s blasting an Ivy League university filled with “intellectual elites.”

Part of me assumed the controversy would fade; even conservatives would realize Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia made him, not the university, look ridiculous; and the right would find some new boogeyman for next week.

Alas, no such luck. Hunter meant it — he’s introduced a bill called the “Restore Patriotism to University Campuses Act.”

It’s almost as if Hunter wants to look ridiculous. I’m sure someone will get around to mentioning to Hunter the constitutional problems associated with Congress punishing colleges based on the content of political speech, but I have a hunch it won’t matter.

Rubensesque

About the picture – this is part of my artistic evolution, which really goes back to taking Pamela Underwood’s body writing workshop. This was one of the pictures I chose that most affected me and resembles my own body image as a Rubenesque female. I actually painted in the critter on the left side into one of my works. These days, I lack a space to do art and the privacy to do it, and that is one of the things that is most bothering me. The materials are at hand and I want to do it, but time and available space seem such an obstacle. On the plus side, I’m going to the art expo in Pasadena in a couple of weeks and taking some classes there. Yay!

As I get nearer my birthday, Ive been starting to beat up on myself a bit for not even getting close to one of the goals I set for the year of dropping all the weight I had wanted to. I initially lost about 15 pounds, but have gained about five of those back again.

But perhaps that was the wrong goal anyway. I have eaten far better this year, worked out a lot more, and am far stronger and have more lean muscle mass than I did last year. While I’m still “Rubenesque” (and yes, I could have posed for the picture above), and always will be with these hips, I think I can be happy about the “gains” I have made in my overall health. I’ve even gone off one of my mainstay bipolar drugs, Effexor, since it was pushing up my blood pressure and intraocular (eye) pressure. While I haven’t found quite the right combination of nutritional replacements and supplements yet, I’m certainly paying way more attention to what I eat and gaining a lot of knowledge about what the nutritional needs are for people with bipolar disorder.

As I do my research, I occasionally run across gems like this one that remind me that I need to keep my eyes on the real prize, better health, and not on my scale.

Diet and Obesity

How easy is it to take off weight and keep it off? Unfortunately, we run into a wall when we lose 10 percent of our body weight, Dr Korner reported. Adipose tissue shrinks, which results in less leptin, which puts the hypothalamus on red alert. The body goes into survival mode, increasing hunger pangs and lowering metabolism. Within three to five years, she said, almost all dieters are back up to original body weight.

All this comes as cold comfort to those of us caught in the pincers of our illness and our meds. Depression sends many of us into the warm embrace of ice cream and chocolate while our meds can amount to hot fudge sundaes in pill form with none of the pleasures. Weight management obviously needs to be regarded as a lifetime task – eating the right foods and getting plenty of exercise, while setting realistic goals.

Setting realistic goals may mean that aiming for a Rubenesque ideal is okay for now. Trying to accomplish too much too soon is counterproductive and will only lead to disappointment.

Keep in mind that BMI (body mass index) – which purports to define ideal weight according to one’s height, gender, and age – fails to account for body fat. Muscle is heavier than fat, which may mean that working out after a certain point could put on weight (which is good, in this context). A 5′ 9′ light heavyweight boxer who tips the scales at 175 pounds is only overweight in BMI Land..

The BMI is also blind to body type. Ectomorphs – with light bones, slight muscles, and long limbs (such as marathon runners) are not going to turn into mesomorphic Tarzans – with large bones, broad chest, and well-defined muscles – simply by gulping down protein drinks and going to the gym. Likewise, medical science has yet to find a way for endomorphic Santas to stretch their soft round, short-limbed bodies into a mesomorphic or ecto-meso ideal.

Basically, we have to work with what we’ve got, but this should not discourage you. Athletically chunky is beautiful, as is pleasingly plump. Ignore the computer-enhanced cover girls that bombard our environment and pay attention, instead, to the paintings of the old masters.

The President's Analyst

Talking Points Memo

“I don’t have the time, the energy or the inclination to psychoanalyze the president’s thought process.”

–GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, one of the 45 Republicans supporting the SCHIP expansion, on Bush’s opposition to it.

OK, well I do — the President is a sociopath — he can’t be bothered to care about someone else’s children, or perhaps even his own, since he doesn’t seem to have done a very good job of raising them. But, considering his own past as a child, with his sister Robin, his favorite sibling, dying and his parents not even caring enough to bother telling him she had died, or why she was sent to a hospital when she was ill, it’s understandable. Babs is probably the worst mother in the world, really.

Denying health care for other people’s kids doesn’t bother Bush. He can’t be worried to care about people who can’t afford health care, because they don’t contribute to his political campaigns or figure into the right-wing’s agenda. So “who cares what you think”, would be his response to those who worry about such things.

I really hope that one day all those morons who vote Republican will get that THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU. The poor are poor because they deserve to be poor, according to Bush. They are stupid and lazy and didn’t pick the right parents.

Sociopaths don’t really give a shit about anyone, or about what anyone thinks of them, really. As Bush noted when asked about history’s take on him and his administration, “I’ll be dead then”.

As to Mr. Gilchrest, he ought to look into his own head and find out why he supports such an uncaring, unfeeling, unthinking president.

Cheney to address secret group

Why can’t conservatives be honest about what they are doing? What are we not supposed to know about their nefarious plans anyway? Are conservatives that afraid of letting people know what their ideas really are?

Salt Lake Tribune – Cheney to address secret group

Vice President Dick Cheney will speak to a super-secret, conservative policy group in Utah on Friday during his second trip to the state this year.
Cheney will address the fall meeting of the Council for National Policy, a group whose self-described mission is to promote “a free-enterprise system, a strong national defense and support for traditional Western values.”
The organization – made up of few hundred powerful conservative activists – holds confidential meetings and members are advised not to use the name of the group in communications, according to a New York Times profile of the group.
“The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before [or] after a meeting,” a list of rules obtained by The Times showed. The group did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Czech Republic President Václav Klaus is also expected to address the Council for National Policy’s meeting in downtown Salt Lake City. After his speech, Cheney will meet with Klaus, the vice president’s office said Tuesday.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, will also be in Utah on Friday but his campaign did not respond to a question about whether he would talk with the group.
Cheney’s visit is expected to be short, only a few hours, according to people familiar with the trip’s details. The trip coincides with fundraisers in California, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming, Cheney’s spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said.
All of the events on the trip are closed to the public and the news media, McBride said.
Cheney last visited the state April 26 to give the commencement speech at Brigham Young University.
tburr@sltrib.com

Pay Attention

This is an old article, but these last few paragraphs intrigued me. My kids have no interest in even trying drugs or alcohol, and when I look back at how they were raised – all the things we exposed them to, how “toy rich” we made their environment, how much we encouraged them to read and use their minds and imagination – I guess it’s no wonder they turned out as well as they have.

Psychology Today: Addiction: Pay Attention

This urge to connect to the world and learn from it is more important than mere pleasure, says Volkow. It’s part of the most basic force in behavior: the will to live. It’s not automatic, she points out. Seriously ill or very depressed people can lose the will to survive. “What is the motivation we all have to be alive, to do things?” she asks. “It’s not pleasure. Our lives would be so much simpler if we were motivated just for the sake of pleasure.”

But dopamine sensitivity and addiction aren’t genetically determined or inevitable. One experiment with monkeys showed that the dopamine system may be influenced by social interactions: Animals that lost social status also lost D2 receptors. Context is also crucial. Obviously, it’s easier to get hooked if drugs are easy to get in your neighborhood, but it’s not just a question of supply and demand. People who grow up in stimulating, engaging surroundings are protected against addiction, Volkow believes, even if they don’t have a naturally responsive dopamine system. If you connect to the world in a meaningful way, and have more chances to get excited about natural stimuli, you’re less likely to need an artificial boost.

“If you don’t get excited by everyday things in life, if things look gray, and the drug makes things look extraordinary, that puts you at risk,” she says. “But if you get great excitement out of a great multiplicity of things, and intensely enjoy these things—seeing a movie, or climbing a mountain—and then you try a drug, you’ll think: What’s the big deal?” For those lucky enough to grow up as Volkow did, surrounded by sharp minds and fascinating history, drugs are just nowhere near as interesting as everyday life.

Coercion

We have two basic choices when trying to resolve any conflict within a relationship: persuasion or coercion. Persuasion is possible only where freedom exists. If I am willing to accept whatever choice you may make, I am able to use persuasion and nothing more in my attempt to get you to do what I’d like you to do. Persuasion contains no elements of cruelty — by its very nature, persuasion contains the freedoms of both involved, and within that freedom lies profound respect even if disagreement exists. If the dog is truly free to say “No, thanks” and we are truly willing to accept that answer, then we are engaged in persuasion.

But persuasion has limits, and especially within the context of our role as guardians and caretakers, persuasion may fail. In some situations, compulsion or coercion may be justified, especially if the consequences of a failure to respond or act in a certain way can be dangerous or even deadly. Few of us would choose persuasion to deal with a child about to stick a fork in an electrical outlet or walk into traffic; most of us would simply forcefully compel the child to stop.

There are times when the simple obligations of being a dog’s keeper and guardian brings us into conflict with the dog’s impulses, needs, desires and even his instincts. How we will handle the inveitable conflict between us and the dog, how we will use coercion, is the question. And this is where we tread on treacherous ground. Cruelty does not rear its ugly head in moments of agreement; only where conflict exists can cruelty germinate. A friend of mine once noted that anger was not possible without a goal. No goal, no possibility of anger. I thought about this a long time and realized that no matter how modest or unimportant the goal, the moment I have something I want, an outcome I desire more than other possible outcomes, there arises the possibility for anger, and farther along that spectrum, the possibility of cruelty if I am willing to pursue my goal at any cost, even at the expense of another living being. We may not take the achievement of a goal to Mahiavellian extremes. But simply shaping a goal and focusing on it has the additional effect of narrowing our perspective; aimed at our goal, we may forget the dog beside us. — Suzanne Clothier, “Bones Would Rain From the Sky”

Fruildo

Oh you must go read the whole thing.

I love this woman, she’s crazier than I am and writes way better than I do!

One Good Thing

Steve called me this morning on his way home from the post office.

“Are you expecting something from overseas?” he asked. Something heavy and metallic and rattles around?”

“As a matter of fact, I am,” I said. “Bring it on, and quickly!”

Last week I’d received an offer of a free sample from Brylka Erotic Foods, a German company interested in finding toy stores willing to carry their latest product, the Fruildo….