Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's the real cause of addiction?

The Huffington Post ran a fascinating article about a week ago that speaks to the factors behind addiction. Unsurprisingly, it's not simply laziness or a lack of self-control or personal responsibility, as social-safety-net-hating Republicans would have us believe.

But it's also probably not what you're thinking, even if your political ideology is different. Here's a key excerpt from the article:
Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It's how we get our satisfaction. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about 'addiction' altogether, and instead call it 'bonding.' A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.
Read that last line again, because it's enormously important.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The strategy behind demonizing the poor

What an asshole.
I'd much sooner mandate regular drug testing for elected officials — whose salary and benefits are courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer — than force the minimum wage worker and single mother of three to pee in a cup before she can collect her food stamps, as Scott Walker is planning to do.

In fact, the public strongly favors drug-testing politicians. Why doesn't it bear any clout among Republicans? Oh, right — probably because it's a touchy subject for them in particular these days. Hypocrites.

It doesn't matter to proponents of welfare drug testing that almost no one on public assistance has tested positive for narcotics use, or that states with such laws on the books have wasted more money than they've saved by forcing welfare recipients to do this. (Sort of like how it doesn't matter to voter suppression proponents that there is no evidence of so-called "voter fraud.")

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Best line from tonight's State of the Union address

House Speaker John Boehner makes a mental note
of what else his caucus will have to obstruct
in the upcoming year.
Here it is in case you missed it:

Obama: I have no more campaigns to run…

[Completely predictable, obnoxious GOP applause]

Obama: …I know, because I won both of them.

[Hammer drops.]

The president was obviously prepared for this — and wisely so. I think John Boehner's face turned a deeper shade of orange as Obama lobbed that comeback.

In other news, The Onion gets it right as per usual. Not much more to say about tonight. Yawn.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why Romney still isn't viable, in three words

As Mitt Romney ever so humbly considers yet another bid for the presidency, I'm amazed that almost no one is talking about the one issue that plagued him more than any other during the 2012 campaign: his hidden tax returns.

This is like the elephant that entered the room three years ago and never left.

The returns were never were released, and of course there's a reason for that. Whatever it is, it's free ammunition to whatever opponent(s) he should face if he moves forward; they'd be idiots not to exploit it to its full potential.

And potential it still absolutely has. Mother Jones has the only recent article I've seen on this issue, and it does a good job explaining why this is still a big deal.

Mitt Romney is simply too smug to admit that his time has come and gone.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A New Year's resolution for this blog

A cursory glance at the frequency of posts on here over the past several months ought to reveal that…well, I simply don't have time for it anymore.

It's not because I've suddenly acquired a glamorous social life. It's because I'm fully ensconced in reading and writing about psychopathologies and sexual disorders. In fact, come next fall, I have an internship starting in this field (location yet to be determined). Scary stuff.

In the meantime, if you're interested, invite me out for a beer and I'll tell you all about it.

As for the blog, I don't want to give it up even though I don't have time for it and even though almost no one at all — quite literally — reads it, much less knows of its existence.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Scenes from the land of Evita and Pope Francis

My dad and I at an overlook in Patagonia with Perito Moreno Glacier in the background. Yes, the fleece I'm wearing is Patagonia.
Once again, through a combination of factors, this blog has become a distant priority, its most recent post now more than a month old. Perhaps the biggest contributor to that was the nearly two weeks I recently spent in Argentina with my dad.

Having been there, I can say with confidence that this is a place everyone needs to add to their bucket list, even if you're not a fan of Evita or Pope Francis (and the pop culture there still very much is). The eighth-largest country in the world by land area, Argentina's landscapes are nearly as diverse as those of the United States — with coastal beaches, flat agricultural plains, deserts, jungles, jagged mountains, rivers, lakes, bays, waterfalls, and much more.

The people and cities are similarly varied — from the sophisticated cosmopolitanism of Buenos Aires to the remote reaches of Patagonia. (Think of Manhattan, and then compare it to rural Nevada.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why do people idolize guns? Because they're afraid.

There are at least a few people who are extremely unhappy about the passage of Initiative 594 in Washington state, which closes the so-called "background check loophole" and requires all gun transfers to go through a licensed firearm dealer. According to this article:
In Washington State last week, voters gave a 60 percent majority to Initiative 594 — an initiative that closes the gun show loophole. It requires that all gun transfers — with a few exceptions — must go through a licensed firearms dealer.

It takes effect next month. And right after it does, this man plans to go to the state capitol, and defy it.

"We're going to pass guns. We're going to encourage people to freely buy and sell guns. We're going to violate I-594 in every possible way because it's void and we're declaring it publicly that I-594 will not be tolerated," says [name redacted because I don't want him finding this post on a search engine and inviting his supporters over here to hijack the comments], a professional photographer and gun owner who is organizing the "I Will Not Comply Rally."
You hear that, liberals? Will NOT be tolerated! Because…guns! And freedom! And…'murica!

The Facebook page for the group started by this guy describes gun possession as a "birthright" — as in, endowed by God himself.