Sunday, July 31, 2011

So Much for Don

I know I owe you a post about the seminar I went to this past week, but I am still trying to type it out. My thumbs are trying their best to drive me mad with pain. So for now, let me share with you the cell phone photos I took on Thursday of Tropical Storm Don's outer bands arriving in my neck of the woods.

I just happened to be on the road and the photos do not do the contrast of clouds justice. It was actually kinda hard to concentrate on driving, but to be fair, I must confess that I had never taken photos before on my cell phone, so part of the distraction for me was learning on the fly how to do that {busted!}.

Photo #1, driving south up on the Hartman Suspension Bridge. Believe it or not, I was in blinding sunlight seconds before.

Over the bridge now and still going south, but at ground level it's a more monstrous sight.

My quick errand done, now driving due north and back over the bridge, the clouds have beaten me back home.

You can better see the stark contrast between sunny and stormy in this cloud shot.

This one gives an idea of how low-hanging Don's clouds were, as well as the sunny-stormy contrast.

Throughout the entire trip, not one drop of rain fell on my dusty dirty car. When we finally got a little bit of rain on Friday, it was almost anti-climactic. I heard thunder and one slight wind gust at 6 a.m. exactly. Then a gentle shower lasting 10 minutes. That was as bad as it got. I was grateful for the cloudiness, though, as our temperatures dropped a few degrees. So, so much for Don.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Awaiting Armageddon

Don't know about you, but the closer we've been getting to August 2nd, the more fidgety and anxious I've tried to be. And the stress just snowballs for me when that happens, so when my girlfriend Vanny called and asked me to tag along to a symposium in Houston with her, I lept at the chance.

This is how desperate I was to get out of the house and visit with her -- it's 2 whole days of all aspects of health care cost containment trends through statistical analysis. Just the trends and not the strategies or processes, thank the Lord. But as quirky as Life often is, I have to say I learned a LOT of stuff I never knew about and got away from the cable news minute-by-minute of nothing. And, as I hadn't seen Vanny in a long while, we got to catch up and that was worth everything to me.

Today was Day One, and as I must be up early for Day Two, I promise to blog about it tomorrow. Til then, stay calm and cool! We are apparently getting a tropical storm on Friday, so the rain will be good.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Domi-Nation Psychology

Ok, so I'm watching CNN and Dr. Drew comes on to tease his upcoming interview with Bristol Palin. A few of their topics of conversation were shared with Sanjay Gupta asking basically what-wrong-with-that (how she answered), which gave Dr. Drew the perfect opportunity to analyze Bristol's behavior. I was struck by the number of times Dr. Drew and Gupta criticized Bristol for quote-unquote hiding or masking or being less than forthcoming with her emotions.

Now, as I was watching Bristol, I was continuously struck by how mature and well-spoken and honest she was for someone her age. So, the guys' take on this was stinking a little to me. Something about it was odd. Thinking further, I began to think, can it be that Bristol was being pushed to be more sensational, and because she did have control and maturity, she never took the bait and was subsequently criticized?

I left feeling pretty sure that I was believing that was the deal.

Dang, that line is so blurred and micro-thin that I need to start feeling sorry for people who are interviewed nowadays. Cuz if that isn't already happening, you know it is just a matter of not alotta time before it is. I like Dr. Drew. I want to like him, but it is hard sometimes. Like when he's on Nancy Grace and just nods affirmatively to all her insane nonsense instead of standing up to her. He should analyze her ass. Now, to be fair, he turns around and on his own show builds his own case around the exact opposite of what he just puppy-dog agreed with, but still, geez. No balls on that one.

It makes me think, what's the use, when I get aggravated with him not being fair enough to note in all honesty, what smart person would bare her soul like his producers want. He'll just say it is the price he has to pay to be on TV. And that's pretty sad. What lengths we go to nowadays in order to dominate others.

So, this whole thing reminds me of a French art film with subtitles from 1980 called Mon Oncle d'Amerique (My American Uncle). I watched it the other night and it was quite interesting. A very young Gérard Depardieu does a very nice job as a sensitive cog in a corporate wheel.

If you know what evolutionary psychology is, the movie's plot was about an EP researcher doing lab experiments with mice that illustrate the four human reactions of that theory, and then it showed human examples of them in the characters and their integrated story plots. Think, perhaps, of an R-rated Plaza Suite , but with an over-arching behavioral science applicability.

IMDB describes it as this: "Prof. Henri Laborit uses the stories of the lives of three people to discuss behaviorist theories of survival, combat, rewards and punishment, and anxiety. René is a technical manager at a textile factory and must face the anxiety caused by corporate downsizing. Janine is a self-educated actress/stylist who learns that the wife of her lover is dying and must decide to let them reunite. Jean is a controversial career-climbing writer/politician at a crossroads in life."

Call me crazy, but I find it fascinating to see how differently people react to dominant acts made upon them by others. I do believe that we have physiological hard-wiring in us that tend to make us do things in certain predictable ways, but like William James, I think that is only part of the story, and it is possible for cultural or societal variables to influence us as well.

If I were debating a skeptic of EP, I would defend the existence of EP without it being the sole answer. Rather, part of the puzzle, but I'd insist that EP is not a dead or limited theory since the human brain and body are constantly evolving, including its hard-wired circuit board. Humans' use of language is always given as an example of EP, but we did not and do not start out knowing one.

I read a column this year by David Brooks where he dissed EP as being a dead theory and not accounting for change. I was almost wild with frustration over his assertion, like I wanted to grab his shoulders and ask him what the fuck did he think the word evolutionary meant in the name??? Hello?

This is just another example of where I think some people get all tied up in believing all the politically correct things they think they are supposed to think, and then they either don't see any contradictions or just throw up their hands and say oh well, not everything goes together, so sue me. I still cannot fathom how a Liberal who believes in Evolution to the point that he vehemently opposes the teaching of any other theory in schools, can sit there and diss capitalism for its obvious Darwinian ways. I mean, wft? Or how he might diss someone who believes that Evolution is totally logical and probable, and also believes that God invented it as a way to expedite his creating abilities.

Anyway, once a brain gets to thinking about EP and how we react to being dominated, it begins to notice there is a whole lot of it happening on a daily basis. For one thing, advertising methodology is very much based on it. Political behavior totally is. I would love to know what has caused so much bullying in schools, because I have never seen adolescent children so mean to each other as they are getting to be. Back in my day, we had them too, but were we just better able to do what we were advised, which was to just blow them off and not let them get to us? Really? Like they are the same bullies and the bullied have gotten softer? Maybe it is the reactions that are different now, and EP and this movie are all about that. So, if you ever have occasion to see it, take a chance on it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nancy & Bill *Jonesing* Again

Well, I have tried to just not comment any further on the Casey Anthony trial. The verdict came in, largely as I'd predicted, not because I'm clairvoyant, but because the jury concluded as I did - the State over-charged its case and then did not prove it's charge. However, thanks to Bill O'Reilly and Nancy Grace, we are not able to move on and are likely to be stuck in emotional hell all summer.

O'Reilly and Grace -- makes a great team title, no? -- are appearing tonight on Bill's show The Factor, and I will not be watching. I've watched Bill's show faithfully (and with 3 runs per night, how can one avoid it?) for years, mostly because I like his regular guests and skits (Greg Gutfeld, Tanya Reiman, Dennis Miller, Bernie Goldberg, Culture Quiz, Culture Warriors, and the grandaddy of them all, original guest commentator Kinky Friedman). I would excuse his constant interruptions and leprechaun-ish anger-fits as so much entertainment, because it would only show itself occasionally.

But as I have seen it increase, I have been tiring for months now of Bill's Irish-Catholic kneejerk evangelical bully-pulpit tirades, and the latest series of them over the Anthony verdict is the last straw for me. I emailed his producers that Bill was turning into a female Nancy Grace, and apparently they like that idea and perhaps thought it was a compliment, which it was not. (I also wrote that imo Bill slandered Juror #3). Tonight's desperate attempt to mirror-justify themselves sickens me, and I have to wonder if Melinda Duckett is turning over in her suicidal grave.

Back in 2006, Nancy similarly went off the reservation and her tirading resulted in Grace paying Duckett's family off after taking her own life because of being in Nancy's crosshairs. It was called Grace's "Jenny Jones moment", and I submit that Grace is once again Jonesing and O'Reilly is along for the ride.

This is outrageous behavior, and both show hosts need to stop right now. "Justice for Caylee" is not achieved by increasing ratings at her expense, and when you think about it in the light of day, that is all that is getting accomplished by Bill and Nancy's behaviors. How are they any different than Casey Anthony would be if she were taking book deals and paid interviews...seriously?

Send both of them a message -- quit watching their shows. You are not missing a thing because they are both so predictable. You probably already know what they are gonna be saying. How is that compelling or otherwise worth it? Besides, if as I fear, either of them have fanned the flames of a vigilante "justice for caylee" fan taking it upon themselves to kill Casey after she is released, then by not watching, you are washing your hands of any indirect involvement in something that sordid and ugly. And please do not laugh at my fears -- the Druckett family would like to tell you a few things, I'm sure.

O'Reilly and Grace are nothing more than matching bookend BULLIES. Don't be a party to feeding their ilk. They eat their young...and may perhaps end up eating each other, if we are lucky.

It is far better to reward responsible commentators like Greta Van Sustern, Piers Morgan, Geraldo Rivera and Dr. Drew Pinsky with your viewership (even Sean Hannity was even-minded enough to present both sides and not slander the jury for their decision, and I give him kudos for not falling for the kneejerk law & order mindset on this one).

The Anthony jury foreman will be on Greta tonight, and this is probably because he knows Greta to be fair. I am interested in learning how they arrived at their decision, and Greta is a champion deposer. She will ask the questions that get the illuminating answers without bullying, disparaging or disrespecting her guest.

Wouldn't it be nice if O'Reilly could learn to do the same, and wouldn't it be even nicer if attorney Grace could once again show some respect for our legal system? Until they do (or it snows in Hell), I will not condone them, remember them, or egg them on by watching them. I invite you to do the same.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Global Guilties, Anyone?

I've heard from some of you on the Casey Anthony case, but not as many of you as I'd thought. Hmm, if it wasn't summer, I might be tempted to wonder the reason. Let me hear from you via email if you are of a mind to.

I learn something new every day, and thanks to your emails, my position has evolved a bit. I now have a complete and total distrust of George Anthony. Forget what I said about him not being able to conspire to commit or cover up a crime. Many of you would not trust him as far as you could throw him, as we say in Texas.

I got an email from a very old girlfriend of mine (who has a degree in law enforcement and 3 decades of experience), who reminded me that when she was in college, she dated a married cop in Houston and discovered an entire black market world of what they call "holes" -- places where cops can, shall we say, unwind while on duty, meaning places they can go for sex when they need or want to, or a meal, or a nap, as well as many other things. It blew her mind (and mine) to discover this underground world.

I must admit, I'd forgotten all of that. Thanks, G, for reminding me. G said that George is quite convincing, but then liars often are. G's reason for thinking George is guilty as an accessory is because the execution of the crime (whether it be chloroform or drowning) was almost successful in it leaving no trail for the coroner. She asked me, how often does that appear in a prosecutable crime? And how often is an ex-cop involved? Her radar detects a family cover-up of immense proportion, and I have to vouch for her radar, which is right-on most of the time.

I am still seeing a covered up accidental death by chloroforming, and not a drowning accident, and here is why. A drowning accident would not be indictable by a grand jury. But an accidental chloroforming death would. Simple as that. Don't make it any more complicated than that. Add in George's police experience expertise, both parents wanting to save their daughter's life, and a daughter who is an expert at lying and deceit (and having learned it from her parents, they are equally gifted in lying). The prosecution says the chloroform searches were evidence of premeditation of intent to kill, and I've already addressed that it seems more like premeditation for chloroforming with intent to keep alive. Seems like it would have been a better defense to come clean about the accident and argue that difference of intent, but this is now, not at the trial's beginning. And, besides, it is obvious that this lying family had a big hand in whatever story was fed to Jose Baez.

Speaking of which, today we found out that Cindy had apparently lied on the stand about doing the google searches, because her work records were subpoenaed and they do not corroborate her testimony. I missed seeing today's court proceedings, but the work records show that Cindy was logged in at work, not home. I have to wonder why Cindy attempted this admission at all, knowing full well the limits and rules of her employ. You might just brush that off as her being a dumb-ass, me not at all. Perhaps she thought she had the employer records figured out to be not as detailed, or that they may have been purged due to age. It does prove one thing, though. It proves Cindy's boldness for lying. Should she be cited for this? I think so, especially if a kid can get 6 days in jail for shooting the finger in the courtroom at the prosecutor.
Yesterday, George's alleged mistress Krystal Hollaway aka River Cruz, testified. (G says she thinks Krystal still wants him and is in love with him, and I got that impression as well). Her testimony was what began to erode my trust of George being the stand-up guy I'd believed him to be. To me, this was not the behavior on the stand of a woman trying to scam anyone. She was believable and quite human. Also, when George was back on the stand and asked about it, he twice wrote her allegations off to being very funny, as in humorous. Folks, would this not be the LAST thing you would say in the same position (but innocent)? I mean, use the word laughable, preposterous, even fiction, but not funny. Really, really weird response there. And Jose Baez could have replied, not funny, Mr. Anthony. Dang, I should be a consultant, haha.

It seems strangely consistent, when I look around the world at other big court trials, that there are others besides Casey Anthony apparently being railroaded to conviction based on evidence that ain't quite all there.

Take, for instance, Dominic Strauss-Kahn, the French IMF head who was arrested in NYC for allegedly accosting a hotel maid...remember him? Or perhaps more importantly, remember the way he was treated? He had to do the perpwalk in handcuffs and was refused bail on his own recognizance.

Nobody stood up for the guy really, other than Ben Stein, who warned us to remember about the presumption of innocence in his courageous essay titled "Presumed Innocent, Anyone?" (a witty jab at his Buellar days, and inspiration for my title today). Well, NOW it seems that the case against Strauss-Kahn is in jeopardy, due to some questions about his accuser. All together now, apologies to Mr. Stein....anyone? anyone? You know you owe it, especially those of you who called him a slug or worse.

And remember Amanda Knox, the American student over in Italy, who was convicted there of the murder of her roommate? And while it was happening, we just watched it with passive mild disinterest? Well, NOW, her case is being appealed, this time uncovering corruption during the trial by the prosecution, as well as shoddy evidence that may have been tainted.

It is becoming obvious to me that people the world over have become more knee jerk and pessimistic in their jurist duties, anyway. (This may spell trouble for Casey Anthony, with a Capital M). They say people act this way when times are bad. How else do the violent crowds and rebellious insurgencies form? Could this be why so many liberals see the Tea Party as violent thugs? And why don't they react similarly to those liberal environmental and anarchist student groups who actually do riot, loot and lob Molotov cocktails through store windows at G7 conferences? Ah, food for another thought time, my friends.

Finally, I want to change channels and express my thanks and appreciation to outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates. If you click on his name, it'll take you to his Wiki page where I guarantee you will get seasick trying to absorb all the man's accomplishments. On one hand, he's probably one of the few men in our history that George Washington himself would approve of heartily to oversee our common defense. So, it's a sad day to lose his service, and the world will be a bit more dangerous now. On the other hand, the guy deserves a vacay, retirement, whatever he wants. He's earned it several times over. I admit to having just put my worries in that dept. on the back burner and given them up to Mr. Sec-Def Emeritus. Definitely one of the best role models our society has. He will be missed, but I wish him well and thank him for his service.