Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Basically an Optimist' - Still

3/27/10. Nobel economist Gary Becker predicts that the American people can be trusted to vote for limited government in November.

Professor Becker says:

"Here in the United States, we spend about 17% of our GDP on health care, but out-of-pocket expenses make up only about 12% of total health-care spending. In Switzerland, where they spend only 11% of GDP on health care, their out-of-pocket expenses equal about 31% of total spending. The difference between 12% and 31% is huge. Once people begin spending substantial sums from their own pockets, they become willing to shop around. Ordinary market incentives begin to operate. A good bill would have encouraged that."

Eminent particle physicist finds the unseen realities of religion

3/27/10. This is a interview with John Polkinghorne, one of the founders of the quark who went on to become an Anglican priest. He is the founder of the International Society for Science and Religion and of the Society of Ordained Science.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fess Parker, R.I.P.

3/19/20. Thank to Fess Parker, a.k.a. Davy Crockett, my brothers and I were the only kids we knew with real coonskin caps --- compliments of our furrier father.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Obama's Health Reform Illusions

3/16/10. Journalist Robert Samuelson dissects Obama's health care reform and finds smoke and mirrors.

Samuelson writes:

"One job of presidents is to educate Americans about crucial national problems. On health care, Barack Obama has failed. Almost everything you think you know about health care is probably wrong or, at least, half wrong. Great simplicities and distortions have been peddled in the name of achieving "universal health coverage." The miseducation has worsened as the debate approaches its climax..."

"Addiction: A Disorder of Choice"

1/16/10.Psychiatrist Sally Satel reviews "Addiction: A Disorder of Choice," by Gene M. Hyman

Dr. Satel writes:

"Now comes an important and provocative book called Addiction: A Disorder of Choice by the psychologist Gene Heyman, a research psychologist at McLean Hospital and a lecturer at Harvard. Heyman mounts a devastating assault on the brain-based model of addiction. Not that he views addiction as independent of the brain—no serious person could even entertain such a claim. What he rejects, however, is the notion that excessive drug or alcohol consumption is an irresistible act wholly beyond the user’s control, as the term “addiction,” commonly understood, implies. If anything, Heyman writes, “[a]ddiction … helps us understand voluntary behavior.” How so? “[B]ecause,” he explains, “it is not possible to understand addiction without understanding how we make choices.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Michigan Psychological Association Newsletter

3/10/10. First Quarter: 2010.

"The Battle of the Brain"


Iain McGilchrist:

"Why is the brain divided? If it is about making connections, why has evolution so carefully preserved the segregation of its hemispheres? Almost every function once thought to be the province of one or other hemisphere—language, imagery, reason, emotion—is served by both hemispheres, not one."

"On the Origins of Comics"


Brian Boyd:

"Comics can have almost no mass and yet be the most mass of mass arts: Garfield has had up to 263 million readers a day. Comics constitute a new art, just over a century old, and usually an unusually accessible one. So what can evolution add to our understanding of comics?"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"When Anger Is An Illness"


"Scream at the boss? Snap at a colleague? Throw your cell phone into your @#$%%&* computer monitor? If so, you may find yourself headed to anger-management classes, which have become an all-purpose antidote for fit-throwing celebrities, chair-throwing coaches, vandals, road ragers, delinquent teens, disruptive airline passengers, and obstreperous employees."

Demand for treatment of the anger-prone cannot keep up with the supply.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"Thank You For Not Expressing Yourself"

3/6/10. "Not every devotee of reason is himself reasonable: that is a lesson that the convinced, indeed militant, atheist, Richard Dawkins, has recently learned...He ran a website for people of like mind, but noticed that many of the comments that appeared on it were beside the point, either mere gossip or insult..."

So writes Theodore Dalrymple (a.k.a Anthony Daniels) retired psychiatrist from London, England who worked in a prison.