The London Review of Books has an article about how the
American right constructed a mythology around Jane Fonda in order to
delegitimize opposition to the Vietnam war.
the Nixon administration and its supporters engaged in a systematic
campaign of misinformation to make Fonda and anti-war veterans into
The urinal stickers would not be far
behind. Every time Nixon ratcheted down the US commitment to the war,
he launched an attack on the people who called on him to ratchet down
the commitment. While the article doesn’t draw an explicit parallel with what’s happening
today, it’s lurking just beneath the surface.
current efforts of various right wing propagandists to tar the anti-war left as traitors smack of Nixon’s smear campaign in
Then, as now, there was a widespread perception on left
and right that the war was a disaster. Nonetheless, Nixon succeeded in
using it as a wedge issue to split voters from the Democratic party,
and to generate a set of pernicious myths that last to this day (not
only Hanoi Jane’s treachery, but bogus stories about anti-war protesters spitting on veterans.
Another log has been tossed on the nature versus nurture fire with the publication this week in the Royal Economic
Society’s Economic Journal of a study that argues that income and home
environment account for about 25% of educational attainment while inherited
intelligence is responsible for the rest.
The researchers came to their conclusion by comparing how well
adopted children did at school when they were brought up alongside
parents’ biological children. The relative effects of genes and the
home environment were then separated out.
studies have suggested that the home environment, and in particular the
level of family income, is the most important determinant of
educational attainment. Link
According to a new survey commissioned by the Commonwealth Fund, a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation and reported Nov. 4 in the Washington Post Americans pay more when they get sick than people in other Western
nations and get more confused, error-prone treatment, according to the
largest survey to compare U.S. health care with other nations.
The survey of nearly 7,000 sick adults in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and Germany found Americans were the most likely to pay at least $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.
More than half went without needed care because of cost and more than
one-third endured mistakes and disorganized care when they did get
Although patients in every nation sometimes run into obstacles to getting care and deficiencies when they do get treated, the United States stood out for having the highest error rates, most disorganized care and highest costs.
One of the more bizarre items in the annals of contemporary American history is hysteria surrounding alleged Satanic sexual abuse of day care children in the notorious Los Angeles McMartin Pre School child molestation case.
Now one of the "victims" has come forward to tell his story. Kyle Zirpolo is now 30 years old but is still troubled by the impact his false testimony had on the owners and employees of the school.
Some 400 former McMartin children were interviewed and given genital exams, and many were diagnosed as abuse victims.
This LA Times piece by Debbie Nathan includes a first-person account by Zirpolo who describes how his 'story' was extracted from him by professionals clearly victims themselves of mass hysteria and questionable professional judgment. Zirpolo also describes how his attempts at age 10 to confess his false statements to his mother were rejected and to this day his mother refuses to believe him when he says no one molested him despite having so testified in 1984.
A revealing, and damning transcript of a small part of his testimony is reproduced in the article.
Debbie Nathan was contacted by Zirpolo after he saw Capturing the Friedmans, a documentary in which she appeared, about a similar case of alleged child abuse on Long Island. The film is well worth viewing too.
Millions of people worldwide are forced to walk long distances on a daily basis to collect their water requirements for the day.Traditional
methods of collecting water include the use of 20-liter (5-gallon)
buckets, which are laboriously carried on the head. Extensive suffering occurs in the process. This method is very time and energy consuming and is also the cause of many serious health problems. More
I've been wondering about what's going on with W ever since he
emerged from his bizarre groundhog-like vacation and responded to
Hurricane Katrina as if he were under water. He had no affect at all.
He was almost robotic. His meager vocabulary seemed to have shrunk even
further. He conveyed no feeling for the victims -- and this was early
on, way before anyone realized how many poor people were involved. It
was strange. What's so hard about cranking yourself up for hurricane
victims, especially when you think they're mostly white people who have
lost their second homes on the Gulf Coast?
At the time I wondered if Bush was on Paxil or Lexapro, drugs that
several of my friends are taking and that seem to have turned them into
strangely muted versions of themselves. I asked my friend Rita, who's a
shrink, but Rita is very careful about committing on subjects of this
sort. She did point out, though, that sometimes, when the President
talks, his mouth has a strange sideways twitch, which is apparently
common in people who are on antidepressants. Actually it might have
been my husband who said this, I can't remember.
But I started thinking about all this again on Sunday. On the Chris
Matthews Show, there was some old footage of the president from last
year's presidential campaign. He was outdoors, talking to a group of
people in hard hats; he was energetic, focused, confident, on top of
the world. Now you could easily counter: of course he was, it was a
lovely day, he was surrounded by supporters, things were going well.
But the President we're seeing these days is a completely different man.
He has, of course, a lot of reasons to be depressed -- no point in
enumerating them, you know what they are. But most of all, I think he's
depressed because the job has turned out to be so much more onerous
than he expected -- he said as much to a friend of mine in September.
"You have no idea," he said, "how hard these five years have been."
This is a fairly breathtaking remark given the number of people who,
thanks to this president, are now dead as a result of his five years in
the Oval Office, but never mind.
The point is that it seems possible to me that when George Bush gave
up alcohol in 1986, he dealt with the depression that often accompanies
sobriety by becoming an obsessive exerciser. And that's what he's
essentially done ever since. He's never held anything that could be
confused with a job. Owning a football team is not a job. Even being
governor of Texas takes only a couple of months a year, it turns out.
So he was free to exercise.
But at some point this year, something happened and the exercise
regimen stopped working. Bush started becoming depressed. My theory is
that a certain amount of panic ensued, and more exercise was
prescribed: hence, the afternoon on the bicycle in Maryland, and the
reluctance to disturb an already disturbed, irritable man.
(Interestingly, the incident happened just after the President returned
from a four-day trip to Europe, which had not only required him to work
several hours each day but undoubtedly interrupted his exercise
routine.) Then came the vacation in August, the odd, sequestered
vacation, a perfect time for the President's doctor to try medication,
or change medication, or adjust medication. Then Katrina and the
emergence in the fall of an unenergetic, irritable, muted, unfocussed
President, the man you see today.
Look it up: depression + symptoms. You'll read it for yourself: loss
of energy, irritability, feeling "slowed down," inability to
Not that I'm an expert on any of this, of course. But it's possible, isn't it? Just asking. Link