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Friday, April 25, 2003

Drug Problem, or Pain Problem?

M. Simon has a provocative read on Winds of Change about whether drug enforcement policy can ever really be effective if what we call addiction is in fact self-treatment of undiagnosed pain.

He gave me a head up a few days ago to the article in reference to my review of John Stossell addiction program on ABC. After hearing about his article, I recalled the book I read by Dr. John Sarno on healing back pain. Dr. Sarno presents a very good case that back pain and other mystery ailments are actually the brains mechanism for self-treatment of undiagnosed pain. This pain, in Dr. Sarno's view, is in fact the avoidance of physiological pain that causes the brain to "invent" the physical pain. The physical pain is real, but the causes are not physiological, but physiological - hence the do not respond to traditional medical treatments well.

If you are a back pain sufferer, see if this is you: Your back pain really gets to you on stressful days. If you are a spouse, when you come home and if it has been a shitty day, you are bound to hear about the pain in your spouses back.

The good news is that you don't have to resolve your physiological pain to make the physical pain go away. You simply have to acknowledge that your brain is trying to "protect" you from having to deal with the physiological pain by presenting physical ailments. Once you acknowledge the link, the physical pain disappears.

As to the drug problem, it is not a stretch to imagine that indulging in various narcotics is another manifestation of physiological pain avoidance that you brain is using to divert attention.

Read the Sarno book, it may help you with pain...

Comments On

So I've turned on the comment option... We'll see how that goes.

Stop The Insanity!

Howard Owens over at the appropriately titled HowardOwens.com has a good read on A tale of two presidents. The whole Santorum and Dixie Chicks (bet you never thought those two would be mentioned together) episodes of late have me really wondering about the effects of virtual "mobs". I've seen them referred to as virtual lynch mobs, witch hunters, etc. For every target on the one side there seems to be a target on the other side getting the kind of treatment that the first side is complaining about. While I do not equate Senator Santorum and Natile Maines, I do note the level of vitriol.

Which brings me back to Howard's article. The kind of bashing of Clinton (for the most part rightly deserved) that made for the "vast right wing conspiracy" charge seems to have reversed itself and now is snipping at Bush. Howard's points about co-opting the other sides ideals highlights the pettiness of much of the rancor.

The blogsphere as a whole seems to do a good job of hashing out the arguments of both sides. It is the dark force that I will call "special Interest groups", wholly for lack of a better term, that scare me. Mobilizing groups to appear to be large in order to push sound bytes and/or distorted representations of "facts" seems to be a new national past time. These "groups" on the far left and far right charge up a media storm to push a single issue and try to inflict more collateral damage than any of the ordnance we dropped on Iraq. So what if a persons livelihood is ruined, seems to be the mantra, as long as we capture the fleeting fancy of the media.

The following is the contents of a message I sent to Dan Gillmor in regards to his Making the News project (regarding the power of the Internet to bring communities together outside the media establishment):

Netizens can also be an unruly lynch mob. The quick grass roots process and near real time building of coalitions of protest is in most cases a good thing. The potential problem is what if the underlying premise of the "gang" is faulty. The potential for libel, slander or career/character assassination is high.

There is a system (albeit a flawed one) of redress against Big Media - the court system. In the UK, for example, a story in the Guardian contains the following passage:

"There is no general immunity for reporting untruths, even in the absence of malice. Repeating defamatory comments creates liability not merely for what is said but also for the resulting spread of the untruths. You may believe what you read or hear in the media, but if it is untrue and you pass it on, you may become liable yourself for its further "publication".

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Sounds like an ordinary day at my house...

PARIS (Reuters) - Two three-year-old twin boys who disappeared from home then reappeared hours later without their clothes had been off wreaking havoc in a neighbor's empty house, French newspapers reported on Thursday.

Police initially feared an abduction by a pedophile when the missing boys were discovered late in the evening walking through their home town of Deols, western France, stark naked and holding a bedside lamp.

But a call from a neighbor to report a suspected burglary revealed the boys had broken into a nearby house and gone berserk, emptying out drawers, bouncing on beds, scribbling on walls and gobbling up orange-flavored vitamin pills.

The twins discarded their clothes after getting covered in shampoo and toothpaste after a rampage through the bathroom, squeezing out bottles and tubes.

They grabbed a bedside light and took it away with them thinking it would help them find their way home in the dark.

The boys' parents will compensate the house owners, daily Liberation said. It did not say how they would punish the twins.

Update: Wizbang wife unit reminds me that our next door neighbors just sold their house and it is empty, and my twin boys are used to going over there to play...

MediaReview - Keeping tabs on print and television journalism, so you don't have to...

So the last couple posts have been about journalism and media. As part of my startup for a new blog called MediaReview I've been cross posting. I can't promise I will never cross post between the two sites, but MediaReview is a blog dedicated to tracking print and television media (if I get really ambitious I might add radio). Check it out, the volume and frequency of posts will increase rapidly. Of note, MediaReview is using the new Dano release of Blogger.

You may be wondering about the domain name (davidbloom.tv). I was planning on doing a tribute to NBC's David Bloom, but I think that covering the industry is more relevant and ultimately a better tribute...

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

U.S. Officials Seize Art, Weapons Looted from Iraq

Reuters is reporting that returning journalists and military personnel are being searched for looted Iraqi art and weapons.

Marvin Kalb, senior fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University said there is a long tradition of war bounty.

Oh really... I'm sure custom agents have a deep appreciation for the traditions of wartime booty gathering by the media...

MSNBC - A shift to the right?

As the war winds down and networks and cable news outlets assess their relative strength, consider the case of perpetual also-ran MSNBC. Clearly the cable news outlet has the talent and resources to compete (NBC and Microsoft as owners), and they do effectively compete on the Internet - with msnbc.com regularly besting cnn.com. The cable news side of the house stocked with NBC's minor league team and featuring cameos by its heavy hitters should be doing better.

Ratings for the war indicate the extent of MSNBC's problem. Fox News attracted an average of 3.3 million viewers between March 19 and April 12, up from 716,000 during the same period a year ago. CNN saw viewership increase 374 percent to 2.6 million viewers. MSNBC had the biggest viewership gain, 397 percent, but remained a distant third with an average of 1.4 million viewers.

So if MSNBC is so messed up, what is the problem? Lack of identity!

Fox, "fair and balanced" claims to the contrary, caters to the right. CNN is the choice for the left, so where does that leave MSNBC? Logically you would assume the middle, right? Well MSNBC has muddled in the middle ground and found few ratings points there. I know Fox and CNN are not exclusively right and left networks, I'm doing a lot of generalizing here, but stick with me. MSNBC made a big deal of bringing in over the hill lefty Phil (Mr. Marlo Thomas) Donahue. Given the choice of Donahue, and scheduling his "talk show" against Larry King, you could assume that the target was CNN. Given the whole "mainstream liberal media bias" theory attacking CNN should have been popular with the MSNBC troops (since they would be left leaning as well). That experiment was a disaster, and seems to have crystallized the new thinking at MSNBC. Having failed to make any headway against CNN using a left leaning approach, MSNBC is now targeting Fox with a right leaning approach.

Consider the prime time lineup from Wednesday, April 23

6:00 P.M. ET BUCHANAN AND PRESS - Senator Rick Santorum is defending his controversial comments on homosexuality today in Pennsylvania. Robert Knight, a director with Concerned Women for America, the country's largest conservative public policy women's organization joins the show. Also; a new Palestinian cabinet has now been agreed upon in the West Bank. What will this mean to the White House's plan for mid east peace? Pat and Bill will ask James Zogby from the Arab American Institute.
7:00 P.M. ET HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS - The Hardball College Tour Senator John McCain, our most celebrated POW, on what our troops endure at the hands of the enemy.
8:00 P.M. ET COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN - Saddam's 55 most-devious -- The startling number of cards still on the table.
9:00 P.M. ET OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM - Lester Holt anchors Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accused the State Department of undermining President Bush's foreign policy and denounced Secretary of State Colin Powell's plan to go to Syria as ludicrous. Richard Boucher, State Dept spokesperson, guest tonight to discuss this, as well as post-war Iraq, U.N. inspections, and lifting the U.N. sanctions against Iraq. Plus, Gen. Barry McCaffrey on rebuilding Iraq.
10:00 P.M. ET SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY - Teflon Powell? How liberals manage to criticize White House diplomacy, without pointing fingers at America's TOP diplomat.

OK, we've got Buchanan and Scarborough who are farther right than most anyone on Fox. Chris Matthews may have been a Democrat at one point (and possibly still is), but he slants seriously conservative. Keith Olbermann (the Dennis Miller of newscasting) slants towards viewers with a large vocabulary, as opposed to right or left. Lester Holt's show is more of a newscast than a personality driven show. Once the media decides that the war is over (not the actual fighting per se) expect to see Holt's hour renamed as a news program like the old Brian Williams show. Add to the mix wrestler-turned-politician Jesse Ventura and controversial radio host Michael Savage, and you have a deliberate attempt to capitalize on the successful formula Fox has employed.

MSNBC coverage of Sen. Rick Santorum's remarks, as discussed on Hardball last night, plainly indicated the shift out loud. There was a lot of time spent attacking the AP reporter for the parenthetical use of the word gay, and quite a bit of defense of Santorum. Chris Matthews accused Santorum of retreating to Fox to escape the liberal media, and acknowledged that MSNBC was now as conservative friendly as Fox when he chastised Santorum for not coming to MSNBC.

What does all this add up to? After extended watching of MSNBC over the last week it appears that the new enemy is Fox and the battle is for the viewship that likes "fair and balanced" *** reporting. Will it work? I'll keep you updated.

*** Should be read as "not the mainstream liberal media bias" kind of balance

Monday I noted a San Francisco Chronicle had a story: Case of another 'Laci' languishes in obscurity. This is now getting some serious press as an early preview of one of the avenues of a possible defense for Scott Peterson. The theory goes that there is a serial killer roaming the Bay Area decapitating pregnant women and dumping them in the bay. You will hear the name Evelyn Hernandez quite a bit in the coming month, most likely from Petersons defense attorney as a deflecting mechanism. There may or may not be other similar murders in the Bay Area, but expect the defense to put on a full court press that the Modesto police have failed to follow-up on this angle.

Robert Scheer in the LA Times (registration required) wonders: Did Bush Deceive Us in His Rush to War?. The subject of the following quotation is the lack of findings (yet) of WMD.

And, in a more sober mood, one must still ask the embarrassing yet essential question: Did our president knowingly deceive us in his rush to war?

If he did, and we are truly concerned about our own democracy, we would have to acknowledge that such an egregious abuse of power rises to the status of an impeachable offense.

Are you kidding me? The authority to impeach is limited in the Constitution to findings of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors. Which exactly does the LA Times suspect George W. Bush of engaging in?

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

TMQ Mock Draft @ ESPN.com - Page2. TMQ (Tuesday Morning Quarterback, originally on Slate, but soldout to ESPN) is a personal favorite and required reading for anyone who likes the NFL, but not the typical boring sports columnists associated with it. Also included (during the football season only) is the ever popular New York Times Final-Score tracking system. NYT scored a 1-272 for the 2002 NFL season and a cumulative 1-833 since TMQ began tracking. Not only does NYT predict winners, the predict final scores... As you can see they don't do very well...

Rant: I Can't Help Myself

Ratings loser ABC, offered up Help Me! I Can't Help Myself Monday night. I like John Stossel on 20/20 and his specials are usually good. This one was a classic. The basic point of the whole hour, was that various special interests are making diseases out of everything. If you want to stop being (fat, smoking, drug addicted, etc.) just stop! Makes perfectly good sense.

Take Carnie Wilson, for example. You cannot get to and stay at 300 pounds without eating too much food, and maintaining your overeating. It is how much and what you eat that keeps you fat, protests of the overeaters aside. If that was not the case then why would all of the people getting gastric bypass be losing weight? Gastric bypass works because the shrink the size of the stomach so you can only hold a little food in it. Eat too much and it comes right back up... It's no miracle the Carnie Wilson looses 200 pounds, she can't eat enough to maintain 300 pounds with her surgically altered stomach.

People who get gastric bypass are too lazy to eat smaller portions without a medical "fix". Sooner or later someone will invent a pill that does the same thing and they will get rich.

Salon offers up a review of Dennis Miller's HBO special "Raw Feed", that complains mostly about his politics. I

Overall, though, Miller's self-congratulatory tone is off-putting. While the humble goofiness of Chris Rock or Ray Romano can make you sympathize with their perspective, even when they're crabby or close-minded, Miller's arrogance renders his over-the-top opinions even less palatable. Then again, even if Miller were humbler or sillier, it might be tough to rally behind a commentator who can't stop boasting about our military might, who thanks the most diplomatically impaired and internationally mistrusted president in years, George W. Bush, for allowing him "to respect the American presidency again" and who's impatient with the fact that we haven't exploited all our environmental resources yet. "What about Alaska?" he complains. "Are we just never gonna do anything with Alaska, ever?"

Memo to Salon, we won the war. Miller's special was taped before we won the war... Aslo it it much easier to respect a president who is not getting blowjobs from interns...

Monday, April 21, 2003

Joseph Menn has a great artcile in the Boston Globe Magazine about the death of Napster, and the main culprit. Juicy family details...

Why TiVo Owners Can't Shut Up

As a long time convert, I can only say that after a while you do shut up. Of course you are smug in the knowledge that you have it better than everyone else when you know that you can watch Friends, Scubs, Will & Grace, Survivor, CSI, and ER by 11pm (Dual tuner DirecTivo required). Also if you already have a Tivo and find 30 hours to limiting, why not get an upgrade to 120 hours? It doesn't cost much, and if you are not technically inclined William Regnery can do it for you. He is one of the dedicated Tivo community members who perfected the art of the Tivo upgrade... He did mine and I've got no problems recommending his work..

Case of another 'Laci' languishes in obscurity

Kelly St. John has a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about the torso of missing pregnant mom was found in S.F. Bay last year. The similarities with the Laci Peterson case are heartbreaking.

I happened to be in San Francisco in mid January, when the Laci Peterson case was getting a lot of attention, and was duly captivated by the story. Reading about a similar situation that got almost no press, it makes you wonder about how stories like this (and Elizabeth Smart) become hot news. Some stories ?stick? while other equally worthy stories just completely fall of the radar screen. Of course in the case of the other 'Laci', it did not help that she was not an all-American white girl... The news media is like a pack of hungry piranhas, tearing up a story then moving on... Sad...

Sunday, April 20, 2003

I enjoy Rachel Lucas's Blog. How could you not be won over by a gun totting Texan who likes to call people "assclown". I have been trying to think of who in the news I can use this term to describe, since I like it so much... As I was pondering, this picture showed up on my screen:

Scott Peterson Assclown of the week!
View Picture.

Looks like Monica Lewinsky and Christina Aguilera need to lay off the Hagen Daz. By the way, both of you have had your 15 minutes of fame...

NYT (login required) is reporting that the U.S. plan to keep 4 bases in Iraq and possibly reduce its profile in other countries.

The United States is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region, senior Bush administration officials say.

I was sure that this was part of the plan all along, but image the kind of shit storm this would have generated before the war.


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