Archive for December, 2008

The WORST call by a referee EVER

December 31, 2008

While I’m on the subject of not taking the time to think things through and rely on common sense, it is fitting to see that even in a situation as black and white as the following sports situation, we need to beware. Last night,

the Portland Trail Blazers accidentally put six men on the court against the Boston Celtics. The sixth man scored a basket. The referees acknowledged that he should not have been allowed on the floor. And then they permitted his basket to stand.

In other words, the officials rewarded a team for the most brazen form of cheating.

 The Celtics lost the game. Portland didn’ t do it on purpose, of course, they were embarrassed by it.

So how did this happen? Those refs must have feared somone more than the consequences of abandoning common sense. That fear seriously clouded their thinking. The NBA is a business after all. We are all aware of managers that don’t encourage or even allow people to think for themselves without being punished for it.

This is what  can happen.


The most gullible is the most influential

December 31, 2008

Oprah Winfrey has been duped again by another memoir hoax. She has been duped a lot over the years, hasn’t she? Remember all the diets she tried.    At best, she is gullible.  So what does that make the many people who continue to put so much stock in what she promotes? Oprah’s genius is her ability to get people to reveal their pain – deep pain. I know, being a therapist, how vulnerable this makes people.  Then she brings people in to save these vulnerable people and all of us who share their troubles. The fact that she gives money to the unfortunate does not absolve her of responsibility for misleading people over and over. You have to wonder if it is intentional since it is so profitable for her and she seems never to lose any credibility from her followers. Dare I say it – cult following?

She’d make less money if she gave up this shtick and started showing some healthy skepticism at all these claims  about ‘the next best thing’ in every walk of life.

I am hoping that with the current disillusionment in our economy after all those promises made that were  far too good to be true, such as the idea that everyone should be able to own a house, that people will take a look at how characters like Oprah can only exist if we continue to abandon our critical thinking faculties.

Abandon Oprah. You can find something better to do at 4:oo PM on weekdays.

From the Left, A Call to end the Dutch notion of tolerance

December 30, 2008

The Dutch are famous for their tolerance, but even their political parties on the Left  are beginning to realize that they need to apply a little common sense.

I am reading this book given to me by my wife called ‘The Islamist” by  a British Pakinstani,  Ed Hussein, who was inside Islamist organizations for 5 years, associating with the very same people who  were later arrested for terrorism. I haven’t finished the book, but it talks about the ease with which young Muslims were indoctrinated, the culmination of which was the bombing in London on 7/7/07. They were resisted by many Muslims and other Brits but the police needed to pay more attention than they did.

So I am glad the Dutch are waking up across the political spectrum.

A glimpse into my professional world

December 26, 2008

Below is a post I made to a listserve of psychotherapists therapists that I am involved with.  We have a method of practicing therapy in common called CDOI (client directed outcome informed).  Simply put we use really brief scales to begin and end therapy thus formalizing client feedback rating how they are doing across sessions  and how they rate the sessions themselves. It sounds very simple and it is,  but it is a rarity in my field to be accountable in this way. We refer to the scales as PCOMS.  The folks over at , Barry and Scott and others, got the ball rolling with this.  Someone asked about the limitations of CDOI on the listserve, and this is my response. Hopefully it is intelligible for a non-therapist. One term I use that you probably won’t understand is the dodo-bird factor. This refers to the dodo bird from Alice in Wonderland who proclaims that “…all are winners  and everyone wins prizes.”  This refers to the research finding that no one type of therapy has demonstrated itself to be better in terms of client outcomes than any other after meta-analysis of the research in the field of therapy (ie. all are winners).  However,  some therapists are demonstably better than others. Of course, as in many specialist human endeavors, more therapists consider themselves to be ‘above average’ than is statistically possible. I fall between average and just above average depending on what cohort I am comparing myself too.   Anyways, read my post in reponse to the question – what are the limitations of CDOI?

I am also in a medical setting, so maybe we feel the divide a little more than others.

Ironically, the first book I read by Barry and Scott was Escape from Babel. I still feel like I am in Babel. This book described  the multitude of therapy theories out there and the need for a unifying language that emphasized the common factors . But the common factors are still generally seen as just more trees in the forest.
Since the dodo bird factor continues to apply , no one tree is taller than any other so no one can see the forest as long as they stay in their tree. I see CDOI as a deliberate step back from the trees and the forest and into the client’s world. The language spoken in each client’s world takes time for the therapist to learn. Each  is  a  miniculture unto itself.  You have to immerse yourself in it, and PCOMS offers an essential tool allowing the client to inform you when  they don’t understand you, or you them.  PCOMS helps catch the linguistic glitches sooner so that they are less likely to blow up into full fledged and irreparable ruptures to the alliance. Beware the polite nodding by the inwardly exasperated client!
 The more I get into my clients’ unique worlds and languages, the more I feel like an oddball with my colleagues, this list being an exception. 
As my interaction with my clients gets more and more sophisticated and nuanced, my interaction with my colleagues more banal and primitive. You know the drill: “suicidal or not, depressed or not, compliant or not, borderline or not, drug seeking or not”. ugghh
 I am becoming more aware of how thinking in this way has done violence to my mind, not to mention that of my clients. And as was mentioned in another post by someone, many  clients come to us  heavily influenced by the current psychobabble.  I think they are put in danger when they misapply this binary thinking to their own worlds,  but I realize  they are just trying to muddle through in  planet mental health. I can make a bad situation worse if I disrupt their equilibrium too soon.   I do  hold to the tenet that in the long run they will need their own voice and language to go where they really want to go in their world. Their voice is always there, if I listen for it, and tolerate the frustration of not being completely in the know while I pick up some meanings.
  I am not sure of any remedy that won’t take away valuable time from my ‘language studies’. For their part, most of my colleagues are very busy teaching their languages to their clients, so I don’t think I am missed.   

Weather on my mind

December 22, 2008

A meteorologist at CNN recently went out on a limb and disputed the idea that global warming is a man made phenomenon and will eventually kill us.  I’d like to ask him about the polar ice caps melting. I find it interesting that such a public figure would take such a risk.

Apparently he is not the only one, also from the article:  

Dr. Jay Lehr, an expert on environmental policy, told “Lou Dobbs Tonight” viewers you can detect subtle patterns over recorded history, but that dates back to the 13th Century.


“If we go back really, in recorded human history, in the 13th Century, we were probably 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than we are now and it was a very prosperous time for mankind,” Lehr said. “If go back to the Revolutionary War 300 years ago, it was very, very cold. We’ve been warming out of that cold spell from the Revolutionary War period and now we’re back into a cooling cycle.”


Lehr suggested the earth is presently entering a cooling cycle – a result of nature, not man.


“The last 10 years have been quite cool,” Lehr continued. “And right now, I think we’re going into cooling rather than warming and that should be a much greater concern for humankind. But, all we can do is adapt. It is the sun that does it, not man.”


Lehr is a senior fellow and science director of The Heartland Institute, an organization that will be holding the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change in New York March 8-10.


Full article:

Bush is still your decider

December 17, 2008

 Bush has been our President for 8 years, and he has made decisions in the post 911 era to protect us. We may not like what he did, but that was his mission and he took it seriously. But it pisses off so many people that this guy  that has been our ‘decider’, to use his words. The fact that our ‘decider’ went to such extremes to protect us really rubs in the humiliation of 911.  He stuck our noses in our dependence and vulnerability with the Wars in Asia and the Patriot Act. It is as if he thinks of us as naive teenagers so he has to be  the  ‘man’. So we knock him down to size. He is referred to as a pretender cowboy, a rich boy, or a frat boy.  Humorous artistic depictions of him are often designed to make him look like a boy. Yet  he doesn’t fight back when people ridicule him. He doesn’t get defensive. He doesn’t argue over the meaning of the word ‘is’. He is very parental in a way.  Many people rebel against the blase  manner in which he deals with our angst:  “He LIED to us. He only cares about HIMSELF. He is an IDIOT.” He just laughs it off, literally. He’s in charge after all, and he feels like he has serious work to attend to.

Pretty infuriating.

Then you have Obama. He is easier to relate to. He has little experience but comes across much more confidently. He’s cooler. We’d like to hang out with him. He thinks the war in Iraq was an overreaction too.  We all just need to chill out, right!? Chill, like Obama, when he voted against the war in Iraq. He really ‘got’ us, before we did. We were spazzing out about 911, and he was cool about it before we had the sense to be that cool.   

When the Iraqi reporter threw those shoes, he was trying to humilate Bush, because he felt humiliated by Bush. I think many have that in common with this Iraqi reporter. He hated being so dependent on Bush.  Bush set him free from an oppressive regime, allowed him free speech, has come close to defeating the insurgency, and plans are underway to leave Iraq. Bush’s final humiliation for this man was that he has succeeded in saving him without his consent. The reporter wants to decide how and when and who will be involved in his affairs including liberation. He wanted this to happen without an unchosen sacrifice, and I understand that like many, this reporter lost family members in this war.  Bush has not allowed this man to have total  freedom, yet.  So the reporter threw the shoes at him. Americans laugh, if they are liberal – because it allows them to continue to think of Bush as a boyish and naive fool. Conservatives are enraged at the humiliation and  ingratitude of it. They see Bush’s glib reaction as weak.  Arabs marching in the street see him as some kind of hero.  I see it as  the ultimate adolescent act, and I don’t mean that pejoratively at all. I believe it is the end phase of adolescence for him and others like him. He wants to be INDEPENDENT, like all adolescents want to be as they move into adulthood. He didn’t blow himself up or join an insurgency, which would require him to become dependent  on an ideology. He rejected another dependency. Instead, he told Bush with those shoes that he better not expect anything but rejection for not letting him be on his own, because HE is the BOSS of  HIMSELF. And he is. Good for him. Awkward, but a start.

 If we really want to completely humiliate this Iraqi reporter, we ought to just urge the Iraqi authorities to let him go, like a minor offender in the US who we think just needs some therapy.  But then we’d be humiliating the Iraqi government, because they need to respect themselves and their people enough to hold them accountable for their actions.

It was certainly understandable for him to be angry enough to act up. He’s been through a lot, to say the least. But he’s a man, let’s treat him and others like him as such.

Maybe I am giving Bush too much credit, but the lighthearted way in which he took this incident suggests that he ‘gets’ that about the motives behind this incident. He, after all, had a prolonged adolescence himself abusing alcohol and cocaine until his wife insisted that he grow up. He was pretty much a failure until he was born again and turned it around. I think he knows humiliation.

The reporter knows humiliation.

Americans know humiliation – whether they primarily blame Bush or the terrorists for it – seems to be a matter of political ideology.    

But there is a new sheriff coming to town…a new decider.


Who didn’t think it was cool when Obama was elected? I did, and I voted for McCain. The fact that we could elect a Black President is a very cool thing.

 Coolness may have helped him  get into office, and felt soothing to us somehow in the pain of our humiliation,  but when he becomes ‘the man’, the decider,   cool may not seem cool as it did in 2008.

I’d like him to just be a brilliant leader who proves me dead wrong.  

That would be really cool.

Condi speaks – maybe Hillary ought to listen

December 16, 2008

The last 8 years have been ugly, and it has been fairly easy for many to just blame Bush for it and let their minds tend to other things.  If that is working for you, don’t read this interview of the current Secretary of State , Condoleeza Rice.

American pilot cooperating with Iranian military

December 14, 2008

Iranian Air Defense Radar: ‘Unknown aircraft at (location unknown), you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.’

Aircraft: ‘This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.’

Air Defense Radar: ‘ You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!’

Aircraft: ‘This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter. Send ‘em up, I’ll wait!’

Air Defense Radar: (no response … total silence)”.

Thanks to TMR

Going girly

December 8, 2008

I am not just talking about Michael Jackson here. All of life is being feminized. Read the article – fittingly found                                                      on TMR.

Obama really respects his adversaries

December 3, 2008

Biden , Clinton and   Richardson   all opposed Obama in the Democratic primaries, and now they are critical members of his team. Interesting  T

The Democratic primary was one of his most prominent political experiences, and it makes sense that these were the people he would have gotten  to know  best in his very short political career. He was a frequent no show in the Senate, so he doesn’t know a lot of people there.

If any of Obama’s picks had won the Presidency, do you think they would have picked him to be on their team?

I don’t think so.

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