Archive for July, 2009

Make the moment teachable…with beer

July 27, 2009

Yesterday, on Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams came up with a fine formulation, in the context of the Henry Louis Gates imbroglio: “But in this situation, the president spoke without the facts. And so you can’t have a teachable moment if it’s based on a lie.” Amid all the blather about “teachable moments,” I don’t recall anyone else making this simple but profound observation: “You can’t have a teachable moment if it’s based on a lie.” Another way of putting it might be to say that it’s not a “moment” that’s teachable, it’s the truth that’s teachable. So a moment in which everyone colludes to obscure the truth (which seems characteristic of most “teachable moments” in contemporary America) is not a moment of teaching; it’s a moment of deception, of misdirection, of obfuscation. Call it an obfuscatable moment.

picked up form – from the Weekly Standard


I am not sure common sense is teachable anyways.

 I heard someone on call in and say that Gates was within his free speech rights to yell and swear at the cops . The caller said that the cops would have to feel like they thought he was a physical threat to arrest him for disorderly conduct. Was Crowley disingenous when he arrested him? Did he feel physically threatened? Maybe not so much, though an old man with a cane ranting about racism is as likely as anyone to act impulsively.

Even if there was only a slight risk that Gates was going to get physical, I think  it made sense to arrest him with the option of  later dropping the charges – no real harm done other than some hurt pride. The alternative was to let Gates escalate and risk him actually assaulting a police officer in which case they wouldn’t be able to drop the charges so easily.

Crowley  has taken a lot of heat for making the safer decision and risking being called stupid and racist in hindsight.   It took courage.  That’s the lesson I take from this.


Our family vacation as it was

July 26, 2009

Photos  available on

7/17  Uncle Earl arrives – The adults drink a lot and then tackle a big wasp nest attached to our house.

7/18 We all go to Scarborough beach for my bday

7/19 We go to Scarborough again   minus G and X who are with their Mom.

7/20  We all go to 2nd beach in Middletown . We’re lucky and dig up a bunch of quahogs and fry them for dinner. Great Day.

7/21 – Rain day – we go to Dave and Buster’s and Border’s at the mall.

7/22 – Earl and Reena go to Newport and do the Cliff walk. The rest of stay home. Josie doesn’t feel well.

7/23 – We all go to Purgatory Chasm in MA for a short hike. In the evening we go to Uncle Pete’s in Portsmouth to visit with cousin Carly and her daughter Ada who are visiting from Colorado.

7/24 – Rain day. We go to the drive-in  the evening and see the Harry Potter movie.

7/25 – Misquamiqut Beach in Westerly. Very crowded as many of the other beaches are closed.

7/26 – Earl flies home. Xavier gets dropped off at Boy Scout Camp – Yawgoog for a week.  Gabrielle starts soccer camp tomorrow.

Gates and Obama lack common sense

July 24, 2009

After my divorce, my kids met my gf’s little Yorkshire Terriers for the first time. One of them got nervous and snapped at my daughter. He did not bite her and there was no injury. My daughter told my ex-wife on the phone that evening. We we went to bed and at about 10 pm I awoke to banging on my door. I thought it was my ex-wife so I didn’t answer right away. She had a temper and I had reason to be nervous without going into our history. I was looking out the window for her car. I saw a police car instead. An  angry female cop said it was the police and that I had to open the door. I opened the door and she was pissed as she had been there awhile. She had been called to check on my kids to make sure they weren’t injured. She was very rude to me in my apartment.  It was humiliating to be treated that way in front of my kids.  I didn’t want to get in trouble, and frankly, it seemed like she was itching for me to react. I did not.  I didn’t get far trying to explain my delay in answering the door. She obviously didn’t care and thought she had me figured out already, it seemed. She was not there to listen, but to take charge and to make sure I was aware that she was in charge every second she was there.   Thankfully for me,  my ‘cooler head prevailed’, to quote Obama.  I knew I would lose in that situation, and I wasn’t going to put me or my kids through that.

Nothing particularly remarkable about it.

Probably thousands of people every week in America feel that the police are rude or even perhaps baiting them to react so they can arrest them. Most Americans , if they are sober, don’t take the bait. Most Americans are pretty smart that way.

Apparently, Professor Gates lacks this common sense. He has educated himself right out of having to need common sense. In addition, he has  a friend in the President of the United States, who also decided that it would be a good idea to call a Cambridge cop’s actions ‘stupid’ right after admitting he didn’t have all the facts in the case. Obama looked real calm and cool when he said those words, but they were incendiary words. He wasn’t sitting in a bar chatting with his buddies, for God’s sake,  as words in such a context would be harmless, but giving a press conference as the President of the United States. Our President. Officer Crowley’s President.  

 No common sense awards will be forthcoming for Obama here, as far as I can tell.

And that worries me, Obama’s lack of common sense, much less than whether or not  Crowley was the bigger prick that day, and secretly hates black people.

Most Americans know how to survive cops when they act in ways that offend us, but we may not survive this President if he keeps speaking so impetuously.  He certainly isn’t inspiring any police officers to behave more professionally, though he may be starting a trend for the populace to become even mouthier with the police.

Free flyin’ summer fun

July 18, 2009

This photo was taken at my sister’s house two summers ago where we were celebrating cousin Nate and Abbie’s July birthdays. Josie decided to go all out with the celebration. She tried this stunt at day care the next day and landed on a toy and got a big BOOBOOCUT on her knee. Blood everywhere. She cried , not so much for the pain,  but only because the teachers made her stop playing to stop the bleeding. 

This was one of many jumps that day.

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Indefinite sexual side-effects possible even after stopping anti-depressants

July 16, 2009

Sexual side effects of antidepressant medications
are far more common than initially reported, and their scope, quality,
and duration remain poorly captured in the literature.  Antidepressant
treatment emergent sexual dysfunctions may decrease clients’ quality of
life, complicate psychotherapy, and damage the treatment alliance.
Potential damage to the treatment alliance is greatest when clients have
not been adequately informed of risks related to sexual side effects.
It had previously been assumed that sexual side effects always resolve
shortly after medications are discontinued.  Emerging evidence, however,
suggests that in some individuals, sexual dysfunction side effects may
persist indefinitely.  The authors argue that all psychologists should
be well-informed about sexual side effects risks of antidepressant
medications, should routinely conduct a pre-medication baseline
assessment of sexual functioning, and take an active role in the
informed consent process.”

The new issue of the *Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy* (vol. 39,
#2) includes an article: “Sexual side effects of antidepressant
medications: An informed consent accountability gap.”

The authors are Audrey Babrick & Mark Harris.
The author note provides the following contact info: Audrey S. Bahrick,
University Counseling Service, University of Iowa , 3223 Westlawn S.,
Iowa City , IA , US , 52242-1100, <>.

It may become illegal to sound ‘mean’ to someone

July 10, 2009


 It’s true.  Here is the bill [HR 1966]:

a) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

(b) As used in this section-

(1) the term ‘communication’ means the electronic transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user’s choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received;

(2) the term ‘electronic means’ means any equipment dependent on electrical power to access an information service, including email, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones, and text messages.’.


Izzy Kalman thinks we should be worried.,1_1530_AKhbv9EAASMoSlVcqgIDAnWYzT8,1_2268_AKdbv9EAAJCRSlVYegD66QSC2ik,1_3009_AKpbv9EAACwqSlVFsQy9kwsEoIw,1_3733_AKNbv9EAAWRVSlTzOQg02B%2BX%2FoI,1_4239_AKhbv9EAAKuSSlTzLAPuWiGjuPc,1_5093_AKRbv9EAAOjJSlTtHwtcHm48Tvo,1_5679_AKhbv9EAABJRSlTm%2BQ1071yTZQk,&sort=date&order=down&startMid=0&pSize=25&hash=8a96d463d6322fc6d7b579d2b8fa7885&.jsrand=2901627

Not only is no one teaching Freedom of Speech anymore, that precious freedom is being slowly but surely killed. It is being murdered by the growing social movement that has successfully brainwashed virtually everyone into believing that the solution to human emotional misery is to create, by force of law, a society in which no one says anything anyone else finds offensive, in which there is no stigma, and in which there are no imbalances of power. There is not one social movement in the history of the world that has enjoyed such unanimous support as the anti-bully movement. Not one religious or political group has criticized it, despite its being contrary to the basic philosophies of most religions and political groups. Not one psychological organization has criticized it, despite the fact that it violates the principles of almost all major schools of psychology. Neither the American Civil Liberties Union nor any other rights-advocacy group has criticized it, despite the fact that anti-bully laws violate the most basic democratic right, Freedom of Speech. Even organizations that are dedicated to promoting Freedom of Speech have failed to criticize this anti-free-speech movement.

The number one tool of science is logical thinking. 2,400 years ago, Aristotle said, “One thing no government can do, no matter how good it is, is to make its citizens morally virtous.” Simple logic will lead anyone with a basic understanding of human nature to realize that a society in which everyone is always nice to each other is impossible. It has never existed-and will never exist-because it can’t exist.

   John Mellancamp, mcuh more famous than Izzy, thinks it would be great to make it illegal to say distressing things:

“I don’t think people fought and gave their lives so that some guy can sit in his bedroom and be mean. I don’t think that’s what freedom of speech is,” he continued. “Freedom of speech is really about assembly — for us to collectively have an idea. We want to get our point of view out so we can assemble and I can appoint you to be the spokesman. That’s freedom of speech — to be able to collectively speak for a sector of people. But somehow it’s turned into ‘I can be an asshole whenever I feel like, say whatever I like, be disrespectful to people and not be courteous.’ It’s not good for our society. Not being courteous is not really freedom of speech.

Hey John – fuck you. 

Does that hurt your little pink feelings ?

   That ain’t America, only for you not me, however big an asshole you may think me to be.

Freedom has its risks

July 4, 2009


A safe a place as any to get stuck….

Obama seems more outraged by Honduran legal actions than Iran’s murder of its own people

July 3, 2009

 It is important to understand some facts about what just happened in  Honduras to understand why Obama’s rapid and aggressive response is so bizarre, especially when he was so laissez-faire about recent events in Iran until he was pushed into a corner.


Sometimes, the whole world prefers a lie to the truth. The White House, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and much of the media have condemned the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya this past weekend as a coup d’état.

These are the facts: On June 26, President Zelaya issued a decree ordering all government employees to take part in the “Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly.” In doing so, Zelaya triggered a constitutional provision that automatically removed him from office.

The Supreme Court and the attorney general ordered Zelaya’s arrest for disobeying several court orders compelling him to obey the Constitution. He was detained and taken to Costa Rica. Why? Congress needed time to convene and remove him from office. With him inside the country that would have been impossible. This decision was taken by the 123 (of the 128) members of Congress present that day.

Don’t believe the coup myth. The Honduran military acted entirely within the bounds of the Constitution. The military gained nothing but the respect of the nation by its actions.

I am extremely proud of my compatriots. Finally, we have decided to stand up and become a country of laws, not men. From now on, here in Honduras, no one will be above the law.


The leaders of Honduras actually had the balls to enforce their Constitution. As far as I can tell, enforcement of laws requires men with guns.   It makes people in power around the world nervous to see  guns used that way, pointing at one of their own.

Look how quickly Obama is acting to punish Honduras, and how quickly he spoke out.  

Obama has cut military ties to Honduras, is considering a cut-off of all aid, is doing nothing to stop loan suspensions by international organizations over which the U.S. has substantial influence, and is supporting international efforts to isolate Honduras.  (

When Iran’s mullahs ordered use of  guns to murder its citizens, as opposed to  its politicians, Obama displayed nowhere near the outrage and decisiveness.

But in his response to Honduras, we have learned that Obama’s  slow and controlled manner during the Iranian protests is not just a matter of personal style.

He certainly has it in him to pull no punches when he really believes in something.


July 3, 2009


If I ever ate at Burger King, it might actually mean something if I said I’ll never eat there again. 




Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

July 3, 2009

Watch this video and you won’t care that Michael Jackson is dead anymore.

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