Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Evil, Stupid Bushitler Strikes Again

I did some disgusting, unkind things to the people next door. I was going to apologize to them. But, them, I remembered that it's really Bush's fault. Through the sheer evil of his monumental stupidity he deceived me into doing wrong. I am a good person, especially since I've never waterboarded anyone and I've never wiretaped. The massive evil of Bush almost overcame my super human ability to find fault with others. He must be stopped or the universe will be destroyed. Maybe if I join forces with other talented fault finders, we can turn the course of history. Should we attempt it? Why go to all of that trouble since mankind will never appreciate how morally superior we are.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Many of You Backwoods Morons Don't Believe In Evolution?

Anderson Cooper says, "We are even more insulting to the Democratic candidates. But the vast majority of Americans are just too stupid to understand. Do you really expect someone who voted for Bush to appreciate the fine subtleties of my mind?"
Why do people insist on calling them Youtube debates? No one at Youtube has ever chosen even one of the questions. Any characterization beyond, 'the debate that has a distant and tenuous affiliation with Youtube' is dishonest. The most accurate name would be, 'the CNN lefty run farce.'
People complain endlessly about who becomes our president but don't seem to have any problem with so much of the decision being based on a process my junior high school class would have been ashamed to employ. Maybe the stupid choice wasn't so much who as how we decide who. I'd like to blame the liberals but I can't. We are all responsible for this mess.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is the Social Contract Broken?

During the Katrina disaster hundreds of very sick patients were stuck in the middle of downtown New Orleans with a few doctors and nurses who felt an obligation to stay and care for them. They had no electricity and had to break windows to get a little ventilation in the heat. Many days passed and only a few helicopters arrived to evacuate the very sickest patients. Those who remained were abandoned. I think that few Americans who looked closely at this situation would feel that these patients and caregivers were treated properly. I, personally am outraged and disappointed in my country. I am 59 years old and I know that America used to be better than this. We expected more of ourselves than this. And Congress has not looked deeply into FEMA's incompetence or done anything to prevent this from happening again.When I was eighteen I was inspired by Socrates' argument that the laws of Athens had made his civilized life possible and he felt that he had no right to turn his back on these laws just because he had lost the trial for his life. I think that he was motivated to cause young idealists such as I was to respect law and civil life. But, if the laws abandon you, if the president is unconcerned about rescuing the sickest and the poorest among us, and if Congress won't be bothered to do something to insure that this won't happen again, what does the average citizen owe a society so run amok? The president and Congress will tell us what we owe them but seem ready to hide behind legal niceties to avoid doing anything for anyone who hasn't done for them. Maybe they need to read the fine print in the contract.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just Wondering

You know those air quotation signs that people do at about eye level with two fingers? I have begun to notice that I have only seen this done by liberals, progressives, anarchists: by lefties. I cannot remember seeing it done by any conservatives or moderates. It leads me to wonder if air quotes aren't a symptom of a neurological disorder. I think we need more research before America is air quoted out of existence.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Is Anyone Responsible for Anything?

I recently read some lefty blog or news source saying that the Republican party is using the immigration issue to put a wedge between Democratic leaders and Democratic voters. This has got to be some variant of new speak. The voters are against encouraging or supporting illegal immigration and Democrats in congress don't seem to care about enforcing our immigration laws or protecting our borders. How is that the fault of the Republicans? I used to think that the lefties had some complex formula for finding who is responsible for anything. It is more difficult to understand than string theory but it is there somewhere. Something along the lines of: if you and the last three generations of your family are 50.00001% descended from certain approved minorities (chosen every four years by the Democrat superdelagates) then the full weight of dead white men and Republicans have somehow deprived you of any power of choice and have raped you in every possible way. I have come to believe it is really not so complex. I think it is as simple as, 'if it is a good thing the Democrats caused it and if it is a bad thing the Republicans caused it (and we'll create some semi-intellectual blather to explain it especially since all the leftie college professors quit teaching years ago and have plenty of time to spend creating b. s. ex nihilo).'

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Milton's Aeropagitica

I've never read it. I went online looking for a crib. And I didn't find much that satisfied me. So I decided to read it, outline its arguments and post the outline here on my blog. I've started reading it and I find the language delightful. I think it is eminently worth reading. Here's a great sample.
Government licensing of all publications, "will be primely to the discouragement of all learning, and the stop of all truth, not only by disexercising and blunting our abilities in what we know already, but by hindering and cropping the discovery that may be yet further made both in religious and civil wisdom." And many pages later we have, "from thence derives itself to a gallant bravery and well-grounded contempt of their enemies, as if there were no small number of as great spirits among us, as his was, who when Rome was nigh besieged by Hannibal, being in the city, bought that pieceof ground at no cheap rate, whereon Hannibal himself encamped his own regiment."

Monday, November 5, 2007


I used to work as a nurse at a state mental hospital. It is in Norwalk, California and is called Metropolitan State Hospital. Most people just call it Metro. I worked there less than six months but it was interesting work and I learned a lot. But, as is so often the case, it took me years to figure out what I had learned. I came away with many memories but only later developed a cognitive framework in which to understand it all. (See what I did there? I threw out the term 'cognitive framework' so I could keep writing and maybe later I'll figure out what it means or if it even means much.)
DIGRESSION I went to school to become a licensed vocational nurse and passed the state boards to get my nursing license. Then I got a job but felt that I didn't understand what was going on. Everything I had learned in my nursing course was just jumbled in my brain and lacked a cognitive framework. A little more than a year after I left nursing school I spent some time doing private duty nursing. This involved working in the patient's home and caring for only one patient. I had many hours of mostly free time while I sat at the patient's bedside, giving care when needed but also thinking. When I was in school I learned thousands of facts and, now, I began seeing how they were all interrelated. I figured out the the interrelated system of the human body. The human body is like a work of art: a unity made up of parts that that lose meaning or life when separated from the whole. If the feet swell up the problem is probably not centered in the feet. Probably the heart has become less efficient and the force that draws excess fluid back into the circulatory system is most evident where gravity is least helpful: the feet. Or maybe the feet enlarge because the kidneys have become less efficient at removing excess salt and this salt has drawn fluid into the feet.
What did I learn at Metro? I developed a sense for identifying different psychiatric disorders. I didn't learn so much about text book definitions and lists of symptoms. I got a feel and categorized by intuition. I dealt with some extremely sick schizophrenics and saw people totally controlled by their disease. I had a patient named Daniel who spent most of his time walking around and around in the day room. He talked much of the time while he walked. He was addressing no one, he was just talking. He frequently talked about being able to trisect an angle. He also talked incessantly about having invented all psychiatric medications and that they had all been stolen from him by psychiatrists. Even though Daniel was bedeviled by his disease, he was in better shape than many of the schizophrenics we treated. Daniel could communicate with others and was mildly aware of the outer world. Many of our patients were not even aware of the outer world. They were completely caught up in the voices in their heads. We all have voices in our heads. Mine remind me of friends from junior high school, sing songs I don't always want to hear, tell me what people must be thinking about me, etc., etc. But I can usually ignore these voices and concentrate on the outer world. I have seen schizophrenia described as a disease that takes away the ability to distinguish between inner and outer. Most of us are able to identify inner and outer and separate them. This ability is much reduced in schizophrenics. And, sometimes, the inner becomes too loud for the outer to even be noticed. It is very sad to see because these people have lost almost all ability to have any control of their lives. I had a young girl patient who was totally focused on the voices and unaware of the outer world. She was medicated with Prolixin Decanoate, which is an injection that only needs to be given every couple of weeks because of it's long lasting sustained release property. By accident I once gave her twice the dose the doctor had ordered. And I watched her over the next few days to see if there would be any ill effects. I saw no difference. I began to think that since she had twice as much anti-psychotic in her that she might get a little relief from the voices within. I saw no change at all. Her disease was so profound that nothing seemed to make any difference.
We did not get any manic depressives. They tend to be too economically viable to end up in state hospitals very often. But we sometimes treated a variant. These were schizoaffectives who could be called a mixture of schizophrenic and manic depressive. They cycle between depression and mania and are also psychotic through it all.
I also got to see the operation of government up close. I was amazed at this and never got used to it. Some employees would come in in the morning, sign in on their time cards and could not be found again until it was time to sign out again. Many came in, stayed on the unit all day but did almost no work. Often if they were asked to do something would merely reply, "I don't do that," and return to their magazine or watching TV. This behavior amazed me. And it was treated as normal by management. I was told that, since they were state employees and union members, it was next to impossible to fire them. So almost any behavior was accepted. Nurses were the most responsible and most likely to work of all the employees. So the janitors were put under the authority of the nursing coordinator of each unit. The janitors were notoriously unlikely to do any work so the completion of their work became the responsibility of the nursing coordinator. On my unit it was Wanda. And Wanda struggled to get the janitors to do their job. But they only showed for signing in and out. I remember one time that Wanda confronted them as they were leaving after signing in. They threatened to rough her up and all the male nursing staff had to go and insure Wanda's safety. After that Wanda seemed to accept the fact that the janitorial work would never be done by the janitors. So janitorial became another responsibility of the nursing staff. We could usually get most of the work done by the patients by paying them with cigarettes. The levels of management above Wanda were never involved in patient care or the running of the units. The units were grouped into blocks of programs. And during the few months I was there these programs were constantly being broken up and reorganized. The acute psychiatric unit I worked on was part of three different programs during the time I was there. I finally figured out that this was just make-work to justify the administrative staff and keep as far as possible from the patients and lower level employees.
DIGRESSION When a psychiatric nurse says, "She did it," to another psychiatric nurse it is not a reference to sex. What is meant is, "She successfully committed suicide." It is usually answered with the questions, "How? . . . When? . . . Where?" and this usually followed up with sharing of memories of the patient.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

When I was a Leftie -- part two

Too many of the anti Viet Nam war protesters weren't so much against war as against the U.S. winning the war. And I couldn't be a part of that. So, there I was with all the energy and moral superiority of youth wanting to do something to end this war that I couldn't stomach. But my roommate, Stan, and his Straussian friends appeared with an answer to my dilemma. They had formed a more moderate organization that was recruiting students to act against the war without marching in the streets and cheering the success of America's enemies. Instead they drafted petitions and recruited students to go door to door getting the petitions signed and educating the public about the war. So I became involved in this organization. I helped with organizing and helped to staff a little office we set up in a room donated by the local Unitarian church. (I even went to a few services at the Unitarian church. But they seemed rather meatless after my Baptist upbringing.)The main organizers of this little anti-war enterprise were all Straussians and all students of Mike, the professor who taught Straussian political ideas in Cal State Long Beach's political science department.Leo Strauss would probably have approved of this organization since it drained energy away from the mad rabble who were out on the streets. Strauss would have had little use for this mob since it was just such a mob that had executed Socrates for corrupting the youth of Athens. The fear of the mob and the excesses it is capable of is a major theme and motivation in the work of Leo Strauss. He contended that his great hero, Plato, had written cryptically and symbolically in order to both communicate his elitist ideas but still be free from harm from the rabble. Strauss and Plato both despised the mob and felt the mob was incapable of the wisdom necessary for the exercise of power.I now have recollections of the nature of leftie hate and malevolence. I have said I could not support America's enemies. But it is more complex. My anger at the war often got channeled into hate for LBJ, Nixon, Westmoreland, and even military people in general. I'm ashamed to say it now, but I took a rageful enjoyment of the death of American soldiers. They had to die so that I could be proved right. And I was very aware that this sick enjoyment was shared by many of my contemporaries. It helped drive many of them to openly rooting for the Viet Cong. And it helps explains the shabby treatment that many returning soldiers received. I think the present anti-war movement is little different. The human psyche acts in certain general and often repeated patterns. So I think I can safely say that very many anti-war activists take intense and secret pleasure in the death or maiming of any American soldier: being human is a mixed bag and it isn't always pretty or praiseworthy.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

When I was a Leftie -- part one

In 1970 I was an agnostic leftie. I was going to school at Cal State Long Beach. I was studying Homer, Virgil, Dante, and ontology among other things. I had a roommate who was very friendly with a professor named Mike. And Mike taught political science and had studied under a student of Leo Strauss'. So I picked up some of the teachings of Strauss from my roommate, who was named Stan, and from some of his friends. I also read Bloom's commentary on The Republic. College was exciting. I was also drunk a lot of the time, smoked the odd joint, did acid from time to time, and enjoyed speed way too much.Then, in 1970, Nixon invaded Cambodia. I was a semi-dedicated opponent of the war in Viet Nam. And, like many of my fellow students, I felt that going to Cambodia was going too far. Enough of us boycotted class to cause the administration to close the whole school for a few days. College administrators were spineless back then, too.A local head shop had a small auditorium and about 50 of us met there to decide how best to send a message to the president. All of us lefties in Long Beach had been carrying a grudge because the city had spent so much money to acquire the Queen Mary. It had really been a fascist display of complete disregard for the real needs of the people. (The money could have been better spent providing us with reasonably priced acid and speed.) So, it was decided we would all go down to the Queen Mary and hold a protest against the invasion.My friend Doug had a light tan VW bug and I rode in it with him down to the QM. (Doug was an interesting person. I knew him from my philosophy classes. He was a truck driver who decided he wanted to study philosophy. So, he worked part time and got a bachelor's degree in philosophy. Then he went back to driving his truck. I asked him why he wasn't going to use his degree for something. And he said he had just wanted to learn about philosophy, which he had done and now he would be a happier truck driver.) Doug and I were among the first to arrive at the QM. As we were taking the escalator up we could see the first guy to arrive on the first landing. There were 4 or 5 cops around him and all of the cops were beating him like hell with their nightsticks. We could see large streams of blood spurting upward from the guy. Doug turned and ran down the up escalator. I was stunned and just stared at this sight that boys like me from the suburbs seldom, if ever saw. But as soon as I got to the top I quickly got on the down escalator and made an escape.The next day many of us went to Westwood to join in a large march protesting the invasion and the war. At the march the crowd began chanting, "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh! NLF is going to win." I found this more stunning than the previous night's beating. I couldn't chant something so traitorous. I rather like America and I think our Constitution is one of mankind's greatest creations. My father, who grew up during the Depression, and ended up a solid member of the middle class had taught me that being born in America is truly a stroke of good fortune. I separated myself emotionally from those loons and never went to another demonstration or march

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bill Moyers' Journal

I don't think the program should be called Bill Moyers' Journal. A more accurate title would be, "The I Hate George W. Bush Show." The subtitle should be, "And You Have to Pay for Me to Pretend I'm a Serious Journalist Even Though I Could Not Get a Real Job as a Journalist and I Probably Could Not Even Make a Living if the IRS Did Not Take the Money to Pay My Salary Away from You against Your Will . . . Ha Ha."