Archive for the ‘news’ Category

How to Improve American Idol

May 24, 2009

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As Simon Cowell reiterated throughout Season 8, this is a talent competition. Yet the American public has all sorts of reasons for voting for their candidate, often having nothing to do with talent. The judges are professionals who recognize it when they see it, yet their professional opinions are not factored into the voting  results. This is not fair to the contestants.

For the first time in Season 8 we saw the show give the judges a little more clout in the results by giving them a “save” to use one time to help a losing contestant, Matt Giraud,  who they deemed to have promise.  Whey not give them more influence on the results, to balance politics vs a true talent search? 

These professional judges should be part of the voting process. They would have to unanimously agree on their candidate, just like they did with the pass. Then a formula should be created where their vote factors in with the public vote…Say 50%? 

This would at least help to prevent travesties such as we witnessed in the Lambert/Allen fiasco.

Adam Lambert Didn’t Win????

May 21, 2009

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I have never understood the emotional investment people have about their favorite sports teams. I don’t know which team is in which league and I don’t care who wins.  People behave as if their team is their family. Better not say anything bad about the team, and don’t go near the fans the day after the team loses.  You might lose your head, or at least your hearing, about the unfairness of it all.

Now, tonight, I get it. As an ardent American Idol viewer, I’ve been wowed by Lambert since his first performance. He’s been the team I’ve been cheering for. I mean really cheering. He took the stage by storm with a range of notes I’ve never even heard and he did it consistently, week after week. He had charisma that I think has not been seen since Elvis Presley. He had confidence, presence, amazing good looks, polish, professionalism,  and sex appeal. He does not have talent. He has a gift. He made all the other contestants, including the winner, look like amateurs.

And he didn’t win. I feel as sad as my son would feel if the NY Yankees lost. I felt so sick about it I had to turn off the TV while the winner sang his song.

And so I wonder…why didn’t he win? I did not know until I fell upon it by chance today that he may be gay. That apparently there was a photo circulating the web showing him kissing another guy. When asked he said, “I am what I am.”   I so respect him for that. Yet also circulating the web were speculations that his questionable sexual orientation would bring him down in the end. Bad boy vs right wing boy next door.   If that’s why he lost, I’m not sad. I’m angry. So angry. As Cowell reiterated throughout the season, its supposed to be a talent show. 

Was this a witch hunt?

Do You Know What Lupus Is?

May 8, 2009

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You  should… It can kill you or a loved one.

May is Lupus Awareness Month. Click here to find out what you should know… And here.

Psychscribe Quote # 56

March 10, 2009

For my friend VanessaLeigh, who organized a vigil acknowledging the eve of the beginning of testimony regarding Prop 8 in California:

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”  Margaret Chase Smith

“Interview” with Career Criminal

February 15, 2009

 

I was just watching a news story about a police officer who was killed by a “career criminal”. 

Now there’s something for the perpetrator to be proud of.  A murder to add to his resume.

Come with me to an interview with a career criminal composite. We’re having coffee at a Mac Donald’s in a really scary part of town.

“So what do you do for a living, Bob?”

“i’m a career criminal.”

“Could you tell us a bit about your job?”

“Yeah. I  sell drugs. Steal and kill and stuff like that.”

“What kind of compensation can a good career criminal hope to make?” 

“Well, the drugs are always good for a few hundred, even a grand some nights.  Or you can always get some cash  from someone walkin’ down the street.  It depends on the victim. You have to be good at targeting your mark. If you’re lucky, you can make hundreds in just one night. If you screw up and the mark has no cash, there’s always the payoff of the thrill kill.”

“Thrill kill?”

“Yeah, you know, like, you kill the mark anyway because you’re pissed off and just want to at least get a rush from that. Cops are better though.” 

“How so?”

“Cause they think they’re so above us, and are always sticking their noses into our business. I mean everyone has to make a living, right? I need a roof over my head and food on my table just like anyone else.

“Well…it must be dangerous?”

“Some. ” (He flexes his muscles a bit, clearly proud.) “But not if you’re tough, and you’re good. A lot of so called career criminals are just criminal wannabe’s. They’re amateurs. They don’t stay on the street, or anywhere else, very long.”

“Does your mother know what you do for a living?”

“Well, she knows I’ve done time but she also knows I was wrongfully  convicted.  I mean, otherwise why would they allow us conjugal visits?”

“Conjugal vists?????”

“Yeah, man it ain’t so bad at all. In our state, we have the right to get a trailer one weekend a month for our booty call.”

“Have you ever thought of going straight, getting a…real job?”

“Hey lady, you ever see where I grew up?  Did ya think I was gonna be a banker, or a lawyer? I”m doin’ just what my daddy did..”  

“You could go back to school…”

“And make what? Ten, fifteen bucks an hour when I get out? Who could live on that?” He looks at me like I”m a complete jackass and stomps out, like a bull ready to charge.

I walk fast, trying not to run, and get into my upscale car, locking all the doors. I feel scared, confused, angry, and also strangely sad for him.  For the blankness in his eyes and the danger in his soul. 

I zoom home to my cozy little house in the burbs, and thank God our sons were born into the life we’ve been able to offer them.

Matchmakers Making Big Bucks on Wall Street

February 12, 2009

Today I found this article published by Reuters….

People are writing checks  for $30,000 -$50,000 up front to find a perfect mate. These appear to be primarily men, who in the stress of their jobs during this economic turmoil would rather come home to the comfort and soothing of a good wife than date around as in past glory days.

So while Wall Street is crashing, matchmaking is smashing. One matchmaker said that she’s recently had a 30 year old write her a $30,00. check up front “without batting an eyelid.”  Another matchmaker said she  recently spent a week at a luxury hotel in New York interviewing  20 women for a client who wanted to meet a graduate of the same Ivy League university he attended.  The client paid more than $50,000. for the search.

Two thoughts occur to me.

1. I went into the wrong profession in terms of income.  

2. Can you imagine how many hungry kids that money could feed around the globe? Is it just me, or is this decadent?

Cool New Blog in the ‘Sphere

February 11, 2009

 

 

I would like to introduce the brand new blog of my friend Viv:  Zen and the Art of  Tightrope Walking.

She’s a  wise and witty writer, a wicked poet, and a sincere and cool soul searcher. Check it out!

OJ Didn’t Mean It

December 10, 2008

Yeah right. The judge in this case is on record as saying that she’s not here for paybacks…But from a non legalese standpoint, paybacks are a bitch. 🙂

Am I “addicted” to the Internet?

November 10, 2008

I just read the psychology news brief in my sidebar:  Chinese Issue First Definition of Internet Addiction.  “Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.  The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.”

Who? Me? Do nights count? Well….I’ve never counted how many hours a day I spend online.  But its a lot. I blog, read others’ blogs, go online for news, weather, telephone numbers, to shop, bid on my ebay beads, and find out lots of other information or research that interests me. I also email lots of friends, and belong to various professional listservs that I read to stay current in my field. The internet has replaced magazines as a source of leisure reading, and most of the major newspapers are now online.

I definitely get irritated when I can’t get at my computer when I want to, and I sometimes yearn to get back to it when I’m in a boring social situation. I doubt its 6 hours a day, but maybe I’m  in denial. Maybe my family will shock me with a group intervention. Though I don’t know where they’d find time since they’re all online too…

What amazes me about this news article is that they were able to tear the people away from their computers and into psychiatric units.  Unless…ew…they were taken involuntarily?

What do you think of this definition? And where do you fall according to these guidelines?

When A Spouse Comes Out

November 5, 2008

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I found an interesting column by Garry Cooper  in this month’s Psychotherapy Networker.  

He reports that  Amity Pierce Buxton, founder of The Straight Spouse Network, estimates that as many as two million straight spouses will, often suddenly, traumatically,  and by accident, find themselves discovering that they have a gay or bi spouse. The article also reports that Joe Kort, an Imago therapist specializing in gay issues, has seen couples negotiate arrangements other than splitting.  Some agreed upon solutions have been allowing one or both parters to have relationships outside the marriage, allowing the bi/ gay partner to use porn and webcams but not meet sexual partners face to face, or the bi/gay partner agrees not to indulge in outside sexual behaviors or porn.

What a tough and painful situation for everyone involved…particularly where there are children…or the spouses still love each other…  What would you do?

Organ Donor? Not Me…

November 3, 2008

I just read an article about a California surgeon facing trial in an organ donation case. He is accused of hastening the death of a very ill man in order to harvest his organs. The man’s mother sued the hospital and got a $250,000. settlement, though the hospital admitted no wrongdoing…hmmm…

It seems so morally admirable to be an organ donor, at least in theory. Like giving blood. But I confess that its exactly for this reason that I said no when asked recently if I wished to be an organ donor. I would not want to live on life support, but I frankly don’t trust anyone except my loved ones to make the decision to pull the plug. At that point, I would be more than glad to help someone else live a longer or better life as I leave this one. (Not that anyone could even use my diseaed organs, I don’t think. Maybe my eyes..)

But I don’t want medical staff, or anyone else who doesn’t love me, speeding me along on my journey for purposes of expedience. 

How about you? Are you a donor? Or not?

Lupus News

October 31, 2008

Headlines from the  Lupus Foundation of America :

 

“Congress Reaffirms Support and Continues Funding For Lupus Research, Education and Patient Registry

Congress has again provided funding for critically important lupus research and education programs advocated by the Lupus Foundation of America.  President Bush recently signed the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2638).  This legislation continues funding for important lupus programs, including basic, clinical and epidemiological research, and public education and awareness initiatives.
Read more >>>


Fluorescent Light Bulbs and People with Lupus  

 

Some reports suggest that there may be enough UVB radiation in fluorescent light bulbs to cause photosensitivity in people with lupus. Are you one of the people affected by fluorescent light bulbs? Please share your story with us atadvocacy@lupus.org.


Save the Date for Advocacy Day 2009 — March 2-3, 2009!  

 

The Lupus Foundation of America’s 11th Annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill will take place March 2-3, 2009! Mark your calendars today!

In 2008, more than 300 people with lupus, their families, and health professionals visited with Members of Congress, and asked them to increase government funding for lupus medical research and to enact legislation that will greatly expand federal efforts on lupus.
Read what others had to say about Advocacy Day 2008.


Sign up to be an e-Advocate for the Lupus Foundation of America  

 

LFA e-Advocates are an important group of lupus activists who stand ready to spring into action when called upon. Our e-Advocates will respond to legislative alerts by contacting their federal or state elected officials to educate them on issues of critical importance to people with lupus, their families and health professionals.
Sign up today.”


 



 


Jennifer Hudson “Domestic Issues”

October 25, 2008

By now we all know that Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother were recently murdered. The media, noting that there is a male suspect,  reports a history of “domestic issues”. 

That phrase, or its twin “domestic dispute” is a  terribly  insidious euphemism. It suggests an issue or dispute over who left the socks on the floor or disagreements over household operations. When you hear it often enough in the news, the real meaning becomes so diluted that its impact upon society  becomes diluted.

For purposes of my post this morning, let me give you the exact definition I found at good old dictionary.com: 

euphemism – the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

Of course domestic violence is what’s really being substituted here.  Bland domestic disputes don’t result in a woman calling the police for help. Bland domestic disputes don’t invoke public outrage or action.  I worked for two years in an agency for battered women. Speaking from first hand experience, here are what “domestic disputes” and “domestic issues” look like. And yes, these images are offensive, harsh, and blunt.  Just like the domestic violence that was committed against women such as these. 

 

One out of every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every day. We need more public awareness, education, advocacy and funds to help a cause much closer to home than we might think. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic lines.  It could happen to you, your sister, your mother, your daughter. It’s about time the legal system stopped protecting the public from offensive, harsh reality and started protecting the victims of the offensive, harsh reality.
If you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
        

What is the Ubuntu Blog Movement?

October 8, 2008

 

Find out at Sanity Found’s Ramblings.

 I am because you are.

How Hospitals Can Kill You

October 7, 2008

I read a really scary article in Live Science that is hardly comforting to people with chronic illness. I mean really scary, at least to me. Every time I’ve been rushed to the hospital I’ve felt safer the minute I was triaged into the noisy, flourescent, bustling emergency room. So many people watching you, sticking you, taking your body fluids and analyzing them. They’re not gonna let you die, right?

Wrong. I mean, we’ve all heard that hospitals screw up sometimes, but this article put it all together into one punch in the stomach whole.

The article How Hospitals Can Turn Deadly by Robert Roy Britt

mentions, in part,  the following:

Superbugs – staph infections which apparently thrive in hospitals, increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and according to the CDC responsible for 99,000 deaths in 2002. If you’re young, not to worry.  Most younger people survive such infections, its the elderly who die. People like your grandparents.

Noise – causes staff stress and more errors.

Exhaustion – overworked residents and other staff are sleep deprived. A study showed that they were three times more likely to report a fatigue related “significant medical error.” I have always wondered about that when I watch Grey’s Anatomy. Not to mention all the doctors missing in action in the on call rooms. (Those scenes are accurately depicted, by the way. I used to be married to a medical resident.)

Bad timing- Whatever you do, don’t have an emergency during off hours or on the weekend. You’re more likely to wait longer for help and at a higher risk of death. This is cited in a JAMA published study on heart attack victims.

Really scary,  but along the same lines, the article statees that “babies born at night are at least 12 percent more likely to die within 28 days, according to a different 2005 study. The reasons are thought to include fatigue and inattention related to shift changes.”

Really getting burned- This one freaked me out, I’d never heard of such a thing. Apparently, in Pennsylvania,  “every year about 28 patients are burned during surgery by fires, such as when oxygen inside a mask ignited. Extrapolated nationwide, the data suggests 550 to 650 surgical burns occur nationwide each year, including one or two deaths, according to a recentMSNBC analysis. Cathy Lake, the daughter of a surgical burn victim, createdwww.surgicalfire.org to highlight the problem.”

Medication mistakes-    A 2006 study found that medication mistakes injure more than 1.5 million Americans every year.

In all fairness none of these things has ever happened to me, and I’m a frequent flier to hospital staff in the various states I have called home.  But in all fairness, shouldn’t hospitals be more closely monitored for careless mistakes?? Research and exposure to the pubic about these things is one thing. But how about consequenses? We all know that in medicine, like anything other business, money is the bottom line. How about the government fining hospitals for careless mistakes? I’ll bet you that would decrease those stats.

OK, I’ll give them a break on the resistant staph thing. Who knows? Maybe its extra-terrestial or something.

Homosexual Brain Resembles Opposite Sex

July 11, 2008

An article in Science Daily reports that Swedish researchers have found  some physical attributes of the homosexual brain to resemble those found in the opposite sex.

The findings: 

The brains of heterosexual men and homosexual women are slightly asymmetric—the right hemisphere is larger than the left—and the brains of gay men and straight women are not.

In connectivity of the amygdala (which is important for emotional learning), lesbians resemble straight men, and gay men resemble straight women. 

So…….maybe moral choice regarding this issue, with all the negative moral judgements attached to it, really does come down to natural, biological chance. And doesn’t everyone deserve a chance to be who they were created to be?

Tim Russert’s death means life to many

July 9, 2008

I read a moving essay in today’s NY Times, by a man who might not even be alive today if he hadn’t remembered the well publicized facts and symptoms of Russert’s heart attack. He notes that apparently  many, many men are arriving in emergency rooms, better safe than sorry.

Its so worth reading…

MS: Hope is Always Good

July 6, 2008

Photo copyright Jupiter Images 2008

In what is considered the most significant genetic breakthrough in MS research in three decades, scientists last year announced they had found a gene that increases the risk of developing the disease by 30 percent.

“This discovery is very significant, because it is hopefully the first of many, and after more than 30 years of finding nothing,” said Dr. Jennie Q. Lou, professor of public health and internal medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.”

Go to Live Science to read the full article.

Alpha Seal???!

May 13, 2008

What can I tell you? I find these weird things to be interesting. Scientists discovered a seal trying to have sex with a penguin, quite aggressively, I might add…

From Live Science:

“One summer morning, scientists observing elephant seals on a beach on Marion Island near the Antarctic spotted a young male Antarctic fur seal subduing a king penguin. “

“At first we thought it was hunting the penguin, but then it became clear that his intentions were rather more amorous,” de Bruyn recalled today via email.

In this article, scientists make the connection that aggression is closely linked to the mating urge in animals, and speculate it is the same in humans…. Read the full story…if these were humans it would be attempted rape for sure…

 

Slime Helped OJ Get Away With Murder

May 10, 2008

I will not even dignify the slime by writing his name here, or help him by promoting his book. I’m sure you noticed all the news hoopla about the tell all book. He reports that weeks after the arrest Simpson, high on drugs and alcohol, confessed to killing Nicole and Ron Goldman.  He confesses to helping Simpson get away with murder by advising him not to take his arthritis medication so his hands would swell and the glove wouldn’t fit- a key factor in the acquittal.

I don’t know the law, but it just feels like this guy should get in trouble for something

I remember being so shocked when I watched the not guilty verdict live that I screamed no! and threw something at the TV. Such a travesty of justice. Worse yet, my daughter was in high school at the time, and they were watching it in class. She said the boys cheered at the verdict.

I’ve always wondered what the kids grew up believing.

Did this news story trigger anyone else like it did me?

Save Money on Rx Drugs

May 7, 2008

I just read an article on abc news that is worth looking at. They talk about a Consumer Reports analysis of the huge differences in prices for the same rx drugs in different states and even in different pharmacies within your state. Overall they found Costco to be the least expensive, and Rite Aid to be the most expensive. They also recommend independent pharmacies, which I was pleased to see since my sister owns one! Also, if you can’t afford your meds, or are strapped, most pharmaceutical companies have programs to help. All you have to do is call and ask if you qualify. Anyway, I hope this helps someone.

Is this Justice??

May 3, 2008

I could not believe the news story I read today. A man in Texas caught his wife in a truck  with her lover. She cried rape, apparently in an attempt to get away with the infidelity. Ostensibly he attempted to defend her so he shot the guy to death. No charges have been filed against the husband, but she has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter because her cry of rape incited the husband to shoot…. She faces 2-20 years in prison. 

I don’t know…I have a problem with this. In one respect, I get it that she has responsibility here for the lover’s death. But somehow the husband not having any accountability for killing the guy does not sit right with me. I mean, there was no mention of the lover having a weapon, tho this news story is pretty brief. But couldn’t the husband have taken a few swings at the guy rather than pull out his gun and kill him?   Is this another “crime of passion” excused by the legal system? What do you think?

Polygamist Abuse

April 18, 2008

Ok, ok, I know there is no proof yet, no evidence, but I read Carol Jessup’s book “Escape” and I believed it. The horrors she describes of beatings and sexual abuse of children, of women and children basically being slaves to the men due to God supposedly speaking thru their leader, were believable and sickening.  Women and children removed from a man with no power or clout in the community, being “re-assigned” to a different man,  who would then become the new husband and father. Pubescent girls being married and forced into sex with men old enough to be their grandfathers…The favorite wife abusing  the other wives, and the children of those wives,  with full authority of the husband. And the only way to attain power and status in the family and the community was for a girl/woman to force herself to entice the man who revolted her into sharing her bed as often as possible….thus rising in the ranks to the favored, alpha female position…

So this is their culture, this is all they know, and here is the controversy…how can you take children from their mothers (we don’t have to worry about attachment in the musical chairs daddy game) in a situation like this?

How can you NOT?

 

Slow Suicide, Ladies?

April 16, 2008

Hurray for the French! They’ve proposed a bill banning those awful websites like ana and mia that teach women how to be successfully anorexic or bulimic. Proponents of the bill  say it would curb the awful prevalence of these psychiatric disorders. Opponents say it would have no impact. I say it would.

Cultural values spawn bigots, racists, sexists, and homophobics. It makes sense that the cultural worship of female emaciation as the norm spawns desperation in some women to live up to the sick standard of the fashion industry. And unfortunately the  female culture itself.  Imagine if we had a movement, and websites, which substituted the words “slow suicide” as a means of attaining physical beauty?

The culture of the internet is not to be underestimated. After all, what are you doing right now?

 

Parents Pick Prayer Over Medicine & Daughter Dies

March 29, 2008

Ok, this story outrages many people including me. Did you read about it? It happened out in Wisconsin. The parents of an 11 year old girl let her die, believing in the power of prayer to heal her. She died of complications from diabetes. Now, I also believe in the power of prayer. Therefore I believe in God. But I also believe that God has helped humankind to discover medicine and surgical procedures to help do His work.  These parents are not a part of a fanatic religioius sect, in fact they are not affiliated with any particular religion, so you can’t blame cultural conditioning on their choice.  What can you  blame? I don’t know, but as a parent one thing I know for sure: despite their assertions even now that they believe they did the right thing, they will be blaming themselves until the day they die.  

My question to you: should they be punished by our legal system?

Here is the full story: http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2008/03/parents-pick-prayer-over-docs.php