March 30, 2008

"Stop Loss" and PTSD


View larger image

I spent Saturday (along with 70 others) listening to Dr. Richard J. Loewenstein, Medical Director of The Trauma Disorders Program at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, widely published and internationally known expert on Dissociative Disorders - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a dissociative disorder. The day was a reminder of the excruciating devastation that major trauma causes to the mind, body, spirit and family of an affected individual.

Toward the end of the conference, Loewenstein discussed medications that are sometimes helpful to trauma patients. A therapist who works with young men asked about the prophyllactic use of inderal, a common beta-blocker for high blood pressure, in the prevention of PTSD . The kids she works with are under the impression that they won't "get PTSD" because there is now a "morning after" pill available. Loewenstein was quick to puncture that myth. It should be obvious that there will never be a pill to stop the trauma caused the loss of a limb or a face.

That evening, in the spirit of the day, I saw "Stop-Loss", a new movie by the director of "Boys Don't Cry", Kimberly Pierce. Stop-loss, sometimes known as the back door draft, is a forced reenlistment policy. Although I knew that soldiers are enticed with $40,000 reenlistment bonuses, I did not realize that 81,000 men have been involuntarily stop-lossed thus far in the Iraq War.

The movie does a thorough job of dramatizing every possible PTSD symptom, flashbacks, nightmares, uncontrollable angry outbursts, numbing, difficultly returning to "normal" circumstances, inability to sleep, depression leading to suicide (as of October 31, 2007 there were 1683 suicides among returning vets). "Stop-Loss" also shows the grim alternatives to reenlisting, a fugitive lifestyle, or jail. Approximately ten thousand soldiers have gone AWOL anyway.

Our country is sending traumatized men back to the battlefield against their wishes. What are they doing to Iraqi civilians, who are themselves trauma victims. What will they do to themselves, their families and society on return? How are we helping them? Our esteemed leaders really don't care.

Photo note: A fragmented world view - what happens to perception with PTSD

Adeendum: PTSD Forum

Posted by Dakota at 08:20 AM

March 27, 2008

No McCain T-Shirt For Us


View larger image

Ever since John McCain's questionable slip of the tongue -- you know, the one about Shiite Iran training Sunni al Qaida, which required a whispered correction to the left ear by the Democrat's most famous Republican, Joe Lieberman -- all of us here at Dakota have been a little worried about what's really going on with respect to Iran. We smell something cooking, and it isn't cinnamon buns, and so does Keith, particularly since Dick Cheney felt the need to drop by the Middle East just after Admiral Fallon's abrupt resignation last week, while the nation was transfixed by the Eliot and Silda Show.

McCain gave his foreign policy speech yesterday which was recycled but thankfully not plagiarized. In response,former Ambassador Marc Ginsberg warns Democrats:

To remain impervious to McCain's attempted act at presidential statesmanship risks cementing in the minds of voters a dangerous perception that McCain will chart a new, more responsible and appealing foreign policy course that represents a break with neoconservatism orthodoxy.

Caveat Emptor: read between the lines!

It's hard to keep up with the old boy, lately he's changed his mind a couple of times. John Perr traced McCain's development from maverick to prostitute to spare us all that tedius research..

All of us here at Dakota join military leaders who worry about McCain's temperament which they feel is ill suited for a man with nuclear capacities:

It is not difficult in Washington to find high-level military officials who have had close encounters with John McCain's temper, and who find it worrisome. Politicians sometimes scream for effect, but the concern is that McCain has, at times, come across as out of control. It is difficult to find current or former officers willing to describe those encounters in detail on the record. That's because, by and large, those officers admire McCain. But that doesn't mean they want his finger on the proverbial button, and they are supporting Clinton or Obama instead.

It seems risky to elect a man with a bad temper, especially when the system of checks and balances is completely out of commission, and the person who will be lying next to him in bed when the red phone rings at 3 AM has a few problems of her own.

Photo note: A nifty bumper sticker. I'd buy a dozen if I could find them, as well as the red white and blue magnetic bumper ribbon that says "Let's pretend everything is okay"

Addendum: Megs McCain has a blog
Addendum #2: Glenn Greenwald says it better

Posted by Dakota at 12:41 PM

March 25, 2008

The Girls


View larger image

Since Obama Girl is back with a new video, and, as you well know, all of us here at Dakota are obsessed by the latest trends, we thought we'd post the complete collection.

Obama Girl

Hillary Girl

McCain Girls

Bush Girl

Photo note: The girls (oh, god, it's probably Buddha, how embarassing) We are praying that this is Kuan Yin the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, so you can watch what we consider to be a real video

Posted by Dakota at 07:50 AM

March 23, 2008

Happy Easter


View larger image

Fuzzy chicks
and bunnies
the kind that
can secrete

jelly beans
in baskets
with colored eggs

rolls and hunts
on grassy greens
and roast lamb
as our meat

we celebrate
at Easter

we make it
such a treat

in fact you
must admit
quite a feat

Photo note: Easter lilies - inspired by ruby 131, you know who you are

Posted by Dakota at 08:57 AM

March 21, 2008

Spitzer SubPrime and the Federal Reserve - Getting the Whole Picture


View image

For those of you who have overdosed on Kristin Ashley Alexandra Dupre's cleavage, musical gifts and childhood home photos, we would like to offer something more substantive.

Forensic economist, Greg Palast, uncovers the more elusive story behind Spitzer's bust - the difference between buying consentual sex and raping the Treasury of the United States, once again. A mere precis, so you must read the whole article:

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there’s a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush’s man Bernanke was using ours.

And then there is the issue of moral hazard . Ellen Goodman shows us how the term applies to poor people who were swindled and are now losing their homes, and how it doesn't seem to apply to the corporations responsible who are being rescued by the Federal Reserve and to their CEOs who are walking away from the disasters they have created with millions.

Another heist of epic proportion right under our noses.

Paul Krugman and Jon Stewart help us along with our economic education.

Photo note: A metaphorophoto - The pieces sort of fit together - You think you know what you're seeing but there's another picture which is unclear, fragmented, you can't really tell what's real and what isn't, what's transparent, reflective or opaque, kinda like what's going on with Eliot

Posted by Dakota at 06:51 AM

March 18, 2008

Obama Inspires The Big Baby


View larger image

up close

Okay folks - maybe you just stopped by to see how the big baby with the green hair is feeling. Update: she now thinks her hair is too red. Let us just say you wouldn't want to invite us out to lunch this week. The big baby's infantile rage is spewing out everywhere. The research department at ebay who had the bad judgment to send a script of a "help dialog" (along with a comprehension test) after a new password confrontation, has a a big doodie in their mailbox from you know who.

Oh well, all of us here at Dakota are doing our best to quiet the liver chi and understand why the big baby is so stirred up, we'll let you know when we figure it out so that our furious part doesn't take it out on others, like some people we know.

Actually Obama's speech (here's the movie and the text) was quite an inspiration in this area. Others had the same reaction

And of course the mainstream media was right on top of it

Addendum:"Why Obama's Speech On Race Was Such A Political Homwe Run"

Photo note: Look where the big baby turned up. This photo was taken at my ladies group Friday when my shaman said, "Oh look, a metaphorophoto!" - it was consequently shot in her wastebasket. When we went to retrieve what we thought to be a cookie, we found that it was only printed on a plastic bag, whatever THAT means

Posted by Dakota at 06:12 PM

March 14, 2008

Green Hair, How Unfortunate


No, it's not St Patricks Day, nor is it a pretty picture. The big babies are upset about their hair, which they think has turned green, or greenish, and all of us here at Dakota have been trying to console them.

First we tried poking around on Pink Martini's website, listening to "Tea for Two", watching one of their videos and The China Forbes Story. The babies were having none of it, so we found something a little edgier.

That had rather the opposite effect so we let them click around on the black screen and see what happened for awhile, after which we noticed a mild improvement.

Then we put them on the back of the bike with a camera and they shot hair pictures and brought them home to photoshop sickly shades of green.

Then we suggested that they write a poem.

I do not like green hair
at all
I do not like it in the mall
I do not like it on the wall
I do not like it on my head
I do not like it in my bed
I do not like it on my face
I want to blow it up with mace
I do not like the looks of lit
to me it looks like baby shit.

Then we tried to reframe the issue and feel fortunate that our hair turned green just in time for St.Patrick's Day.

Alrighty then -- it looks like we're not going to have any peace until we go back and get it done the right color. Prepare for a week of hissy fits until that happens.

Photo note: About what you get for $200 bucks these days

Posted by Dakota at 10:10 PM

March 12, 2008

Bush's Song and Dance


View image

Last week our President tap danced for news cameras while awaiting John McCain's visit to the White House. Some thought it was funny, but all of us here at Dakota thought it showed poor impulse control for a head of state. This week he sang for the press at the Gridiron dinner. The man is a regular vaudeville act. Listen to the unconscionable lyrics. What is wrong with him? Maybe he's just happy to be leaving all this hard work behind,. or maybe he's happy to be starting another war. More to the point, what's is wrong with the sychophants yucking it up with him.

Speaking of the devil (it's just an idiom), Alan Brinkley reviewed Salon editor Jacob Weisberg's book "The Bush Tragedy" and concluded:

Is the story of George W. Bush in fact a tragedy? Many Americans, of course, believe that his presidency has been a tragedy for the nation and for the world. But Weisberg provides few reasons to think it has been a tragedy for Bush himself. He portrays Bush as a willfully careless figure, only glancingly interested in his legacy or even his popularity. “To challenge a thoughtful, moderate and pragmatic father,” Weisberg argues, “he trained himself to be hasty, extreme and unbending. He learned to overcome all forms of doubt through the exercise of will.” Tragedy, in the Shakespearean form that Weisberg seems to cite (although there is nothing tragic about Henry V either), requires self-awareness and at least some level of greatness squandered. The Bush whom Weisberg skillfully and largely convincingly portrays is a man who has rarely reflected, who has almost never looked back, and who has constructed a self-image of strength, courage and boldness that has little basis in the reality of his life. He is driven less by bold vision than by a desire to get elected (and settle scores), less by real strength than by unfocused ambition, and less by courage than by an almost passive acquiescence in disastrous plans that the people he empowered pursued in his name.

And while we're on the subject of bold vision, there are big plans for the George W. Library, Dan Froomkin points out;

The Washington Post editorial board writes: "Imagine a country whose leader collected huge sums for his personal benefit from corporations, from wealthy individuals with interests before the government and maybe even from foreign countries. Imagine that the leader didn't have to reveal anything about the size of the checks or their sources. If this sounds like some corrupt, second-rate republic, think again. It's happened right here, in the United States, and it may be about to happen all over again. We refer, of course, to George W. Bush's presidential library, which recently finalized an agreement with Southern Methodist University to build a library, museum and public policy institute there, at an estimated cost of around $250 million."

But enough focus on what we don't want, let's turn our attention to what we do want.

Photo note: The American flag in bad shape

Posted by Dakota at 03:32 PM

The Last Word


View larger image

up close

All of us here at Dakota have decided to give Red Wing at The Seminal the last word about the Spitzer scandal that will ever appear on this blog.

What in god's name was Spitzer thinking?

When most of the myriad talkers and typers were asking that, they were no doubt thinking: What was Spitzer doing frequenting prostitutes? Is he nuts? He has a wife! He wants to be President! Prostitutes?!?

I suppose that’s a valid question, but, to me, it is not a particularly interesting one.

Here's the thing—I am not really that amazed that an aggressive and powerful politico thought that he could get away with paying for sex. Spitzer is hardly the first, and he will certainly not be the last. The morality of this behavior can be debated, but the originality of it cannot.

But here’s what I am amazed by: I am amazed that a Democrat—no, let’s make that any Democrat—thinks that he or she can do anything on the sly and keep it secret these days.

I actually have to wonder, as I've wondered before, if elected Democrats realize that issues like the US Attorney scandal and warrantless surveillance are not just inside baseball, not just about a debatable difference of opinion on the balance to strike between security and civil rights, but are rather about Republican attempts to lock in one party rule.

Does Spitzer or any of the Democratic Party leadership really believe that their calls and e-mails are not being monitored? Ten years ago, maybe I would have broken out the tinfoil hats, but now, after all we know? C'mon!

What in god’s name was Spitzer thinking?

Then again, maybe he just wanted to sell more T-shirts.

Thank god, Hillary, at least, is immune to this sort of sexually incontinent behavior, that is we think she is.

Photo note: A metaphorophoto that has it all -- the twisted phallic forms, the faceless, nay headless, women's bodies, the stop light with the lighted "do not cross" hand ... and those bars - it is also a more complete shot of the wonderful sculptures in gallery window in yesterday's entry.

Posted by Dakota at 03:15 PM

March 09, 2008

Your Privacy is Going to Hell


View larger image

All of us here at Dakota were dismayed to learn that the US Terrorist Watch List now exceeds 900,000 names. Scroll down to see who made the No-Fly List, and then send your membership dues to the ACLU promptly.

Lest you have questioned all the hubbub the ACLU has kicked up recently, security expert Bruce Schneier reminds us of the inherent value of privacy:

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

And woe be to those who do have a little something to hide, just ask Eliot Spitzer.

In The Banality of the Surveillance State consitituional lawyer Glenn Greenwald writes: doesn't take cackling, Lex-Luthor-like government villains to cause serious abuse. Particularly given the almost complete lack of oversight in how the executive branch functions, it's very easy to imagine the definition of what's "relevant" and "appropriate" slowly (though inexorably) being moved increasingly outward even by well-intentioned though overzealous law enforcement officials, to say nothing of the ones who aren't well-intentioned. In fact, it's almost impossible to imagine that not happening.

It's extremely easy to find people who believe that attendance at a political rally, or membership in certain political groups, or even more pedestrian conduct referenced by Priest, constitutes reasonable grounds for "suspicion." That mentality is obviously prevalent among some substantial segment of federal government employees and intelligence and other law enforcement agents. The decades of intelligence abuses leave no doubt about that.

People who think that way, and who are empowered to maintain dossiers on Americans and investigate them, don't think they're doing anything wrong by using those activities to consider certain American suspicious and to spy on them or investigate them further. They think they're doing their jobs, battling dangers. And as is true for all government power, the greater the scope of the domestic dossiers, the larger it will grow, the more uses that will be found for it. And that's true regardless of the good faith of the Government at any given moment or its party or ideology. Variables like ideology or bad faith can simply make those dangers even more pronounced. .....

Even the Wall Street Journal sounds a little worried.

On the other hand, there may be those of you who would like to join the government security effort, in which case you should know that InfraGard is recruiting at your workplace. Your membership will come with certain exciting perks. Be the first in your pod to sign up.

Photo note: You could stretch this one into a metaphorophoto if you really worked on it. You know - windows for privacy and the cudzo stuff for creepy intrusion, proliferation and strangulation. It's really the sculptures in a gallery window which is, in turn, reflecting the building across the street.

Addendum: Interview with Mark Klein AT&T whistleblower who talks about a REAL crime that affects all of us, and his difficulties making himself heard
More about the Spitzer trap
The Spitzer Scandal

Posted by Dakota at 06:49 PM

March 07, 2008

A Modest Proposal


View larger image

Since we seem to have elected two Presidents with undiagnosed neurological conditions (both Republican, you will note). -- the sainted Reagan (Alzheimer's) and that little devil George W. Bush (Korsakoff's)--- it would seem judicious to ask that all presidential candidates take a battery of neuropsych tests to discover any existing abnormal brain conditon. Of course if a condition were uncovered, it would then be disclosed just like any other physical condition or tax returnfor that matter. We already know that the United States can operate adequately with a President who has no brain, but shouldn't we know that before we vote?

While we're at it, candidates could take the MMPI, a valid test for pathological personality, particularly sociopathy. We can already be certain that anyone who runs for this office has to have a narcissistic personality disorder .

Can you tell all of us here at Dakota are a little worried about John McCain.

Photo note: A metaphorophoto -The American flag affixed to a foggy surface with drips

Posted by Dakota at 06:38 PM

March 06, 2008

Studying Terrorism


View larger image

As the presidential race heats up, terrorism will undoubtedly be flapped in front of us like a locker room towel. All of us here at Dakota thought It would be a good idea to understand the facts about these guys, rather than continue to rely on Bush, Cheney and McCain's personal projections about their own inner demons onto the enemy. We are already all too familiar with those.

So, as you might imagine, we were delighted to discover that Dr. Marc Sageman, M.D., Ph.D.( political sociology) former CIA officer, psychiatrist, flight surgeon and author of Leaderless Jihad: Terro Networks in the Twenty-First Century and Understanding Terrorist Networks has actually done extensive research on terrorist, which deserves to be more widely disseminated.

Sageman debunks an number of myths including the following: terrorism comes from poverty, .terrorists are naïve young men, madrassahs brainwash young Muslims into becoming terrorists, Islam radicalized young Muslims into becoming terrorists and exported violence to the West from their home countries, Al-Qaida terrorists are poorly educated, joining al-Qaida out of ignorance and Al-Qaida suicide terrorists are single males, without any family responsibility, Al-Qaida terrorists join their organization out of desperation, because they don't have any marketable occupational skills, and more, which you will have to read for yourself..

Or you can just sit back and watch Marc Sageman on video. He's quite entertaining, considering the subject.

Photo note: A gremlin cast in stone. Who do you think he most resembles?

Posted by Dakota at 09:33 AM

March 03, 2008


View larger image

I am
with my
big baby
once again

it can be
when she
as a

it was
to improve
to blame

the essence
of the
is odious
and bleak
and the
damn baby's

Photo note: a good place for a witch

Posted by Dakota at 03:57 PM | TrackBack