Monthly Archives: May, 2008

David Sirota on Stephen Colbert

I’m reading “The Uprising” now and am hoping to have a review of it online by next weekend.

Car Wash for Eden Park Elementary School

I don’t know about you, but I’m loving all this beautiful weather. The only down side is the ton of tree pollen and other stuff all over my car. What better time than now for a car wash to benefit the education of our Cranston youth!

WHAT: EDEN PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 5th GRADE CLASS CAR WASH

WHEN: Sunday, June 1, 2008 from 10 am – 2 pm

WHERE: Elizabeth Anthony Hair Salon, 516 Pontiac Avenue (between Dr. Wasser’s office and Seabra Market) — cars will be directed to the small parking lot in the back for washing.

COST: Only $5.00 per car!

Hope to see you all there.

Bizarre Comment Gets Bizarre Reaction

That Michelle Malkin sure knows how to get her name inserted in the headlines.

It’s bizarre that Michelle Malkin would see murderous terrorist symbolism in a scarf on Rachael Ray’s neck. But what’s even more bizarre is that Dunkin Donuts would pull the ad based on the comment of one right-wing pundit.

Napolitano is Done Being Mayor

The Projo blog is reporting that Mayor Napolitano will not be seeking re-election. Apparently his family is missing him too much, particularly his wife and children. So now what?

I had contacted the Mayor’s office about two weeks ago, asking for an interview with the Mayor on his re-election plans. I was asked to please be patient as I await a reply. I guess I can see who else wants to interview now. From the Projo:

[...] Now, the focus is on who will replace Napolitano at the top of the city’s Democratic ticket. City Council Vice President Paula B. McFarland and state Reps. Peter G. Palumbo and Charlene Lima voiced interest in interviews this afternoon.

And the question has to be asked: will Laffey “rescue” Cranston again? By the way, it’s time for to revisit the Laffey interview picture taken 6 years ago. I recently discovered this picture posted on Facebook for a club called “Students for Laffey” headed by a Barrington high school student going by the handle of “Wolf Dude.” Apparently Laffey’s minions are trying to show him cozying up to the liberals.

Evaluating a Threat

Just a few preliminary words about why ‘gotcha’ phrases pulled from one person’s public statements are not automatically equivalent to another person’s.

It’s essential to know the context.

Working with the elderly, I hear many expressions of anger and depression from my patients. “Don’t get old.� they tell me. (Having missed the chance to die young and stay pretty I’ll just keep on keeping on.) I hear people say that they want to die. I hear people say that they want someone else to die.

It’s not something to laugh off just because they are old. It’s a problem and needs what remedy I can provide, inadequate as it usually is.

The first step is evaluation. Are they just venting their feelings, as everyone has a right to do sometimes? They are living with the knowledge that their time is limited, so of course they think about it and talk about it frankly. They don’t need to be lectured about a positive attitude.

But elderly suicide and self-neglect is a real problem. I don’t call the police when I hear this talk, but I do a quick check. Do they have the means? Do they have a plan? Does this feel real, is it recent, is it focused? If so, it’s no less an emergency than if they were a teenager, and I can’t leave without providing a plan for their safety.

Otherwise, I owe it to them to get them some help–to enlist their family, doctor or clergy in working with them. I’ve seen people brighten up and completely change their attitude when they finally got relief from chronic physical pain, so it’s never too late to improve your life.

But again, each statement needs to be taken in context of the person and their situation. I had to remove a nurse’s aid from a home because the elderly client made a threat and had the means. The aid would have stayed, but it was past my comfort level. I was not going to let her become collateral damage in a family dispute. Old doesn’t mean harmless.

In the wider context, Jeremiah Wright’s comments are not equivalent to James Hagee’s. The context of history, and the close relationship to the White House enjoyed by Hagee and his fellow evangelical leaders make Hagee’s statements more ominous. The context of history makes recent ‘mis-speaking’ and ‘jokes’ about political assassination a threat with credibility. We have the script, weapons are everywhere and politicians must meet face to face with their constituency.

I hope we are moving away from the narrative of the political martyr, and into a politics of engagement of all Americans, from all backgrounds. I hope we will see an America where all votes are counted and elections are decided with the ballot not the bullet.

But we’re not there yet, and recent loose talk should not be tolerated. Freedom of speech doesn’t cover threats.

Just Wondering… (for May 26, 2008)

• …how President Bush and Senator McCain can in good conscience honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this nation (including the 4,082 American service members killed in the Iraq War) and yet continue to oppose a new GI Bill that has strong bipartisan support.

• …why the United States maintains the unusual practice of allowing the electorate to decide who should dispense justice (“87 percent of all state court judges face elections, and 39 states elect at least some of their judges”), despite concerns that “you’re not going to get fair and impartial judges that way.”

• …what it says about the United States and the policies and priorities of our so-called leaders that we were recently ranked an embarrassing 97th out of 140 nations on the Global Peace Index (edging out Iran and Yemen but falling short of Rwanda, Syria, and China).

• …whether Barack Obama might consider selecting a South American pack animal carrying a large Hostess snack cake as a running mate, just to give Americans the entertaining option of voting for a ticket of Obama Llama Ding Dong in November. (Hey, it’s just a thought.)

Open Space Funding for Cranston

On the docket for Tuesday night’s Cranston City Council Meeting (the Council is meeting on Tuesday this month due to the Monday holiday), is an Open Space & Development/Restoration Bond Referendum Request that is co-sponsored by Council Vice-President McFarland and Councilman Navarro. Council Members McFarland and Navarro are sponsoring this resolution and hope to get approval from the Council to request the General Assembly to place this bond referendum on November’s ballot.

If approved, the bond would provide funding for Open Space Development and/or Restoration projects in each of the City’s 6 Wards and would assist in accomplishing the goals that are proposed in the updated draft of the Comprehensive Plan.

At the very least, it will be interesting to learn the Council Members’ views on funding for Open Space and preserving natural resources throughout our City. The meeting is at 7pm in Council Chambers.

America’s First Blow for Freedom

Do you know what “America’s First Blow for Freedom� was? If you’re like most Rhode Islanders, who live outside of Cranston and Warwick, then the answer more likely or not is no. That’s sad because it means that the majority of Rhode Islanders are unaware of the important role that Rhode Island played in the colonies’ fight for independence from England prior to the American Revolution.

In 1772, the HMS Gaspee patrolled the waters of Narragansett Bay to enforce the Stamp Act. On June 9, the Hannah lured the Gaspee onto a sandbar off of what is now Gaspee Point and while it was stranded, a group of colonists burned the Gaspee. For a more detailed synopsis of the events, visit: http://gaspee.org/BurningGaspee.html

I grew up in the Gaspee Plateau area of Warwick and my neighborhood was located right on Narragansett Bay directly across from Gaspee Point, where the burning of the Gaspee transpired in 1772. Each Memorial Day weekend, my brothers, friends and I would visit the Gaspee Days Arts & Crafts Festival at least two of the three days (sometimes more) and eagerly await the Gaspee Days Parade which is held the second Saturday in June. I can document stages of my childhood from pictures taken at the parade; from my first parade at 10 months old, to when I was a four year old who talked my father into buying me a painter’s cap from Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ tour (my mother was less than pleased), to my teenage years and this year we’ll hopefully get some photos of my son at his first parade.

If you’ve never been to any of the Gaspee Days events, I encourage you to attend the Arts & Crafts Festival, Fireworks at Salter’s Grove, reenactment of the Burning of the Gaspee and of course, the Parade. The Events calendar can be found here: http://gaspee.com/GaspeeDaysEvents.htm. The Gaspee Days’ season has always been a part of my life and I hope to continue that tradition with my son, and even though we don’t live right on the parade route, fortunately, Gramma and Grandpa do!

New Study on Meditative Mindfulness and ADHD

(This is cross-posted from my private practice site.)

Sharpbrains.com, one of the sites in our Technology & Helping Kids blogroll, has an article by Dr. David Rabiner in which he reviews some new research on teaching mindfulness meditation to teens and adults, and how study participants with attentional problems were helped by learning and practicing these techniques. The article also provides this summary for how study participants were trained in mindfulness meditation. From the article:

- Mindfulness Training -

Mindfulness meditation is described as involving 3 basic steps: 1) bringing attention to an “attentional anchor” such as breathing; 2) noting that distraction occurs and letting go of the distraction; and, 3) refocusing back to the “attentional anchor”.

This sequence is repeated many times during the course of each meditative session. As the individual becomes better able to maintain focus on the attentional anchor, the notion of “paying attention to attention” is introduced and individuals are encouraged to bring their attention to the present moment frequently during the course of the day.

By directing one’s attention to the process of paying attention, to noticing notice when one becomes distracted, and to refocusing attention when distraction occurs, mindfulness meditation training can be thought of as an “attention training” program. As such, examining the impact of such training on individuals with ADHD becomes a very interesting question to pursue.

The results of the study are encouraging, with 78% of participants reporting an overall reduction in ADHD symptoms. This was only a pilot study, but it’s a good indicator that meditation and mindfulness may play a key role in mental health.

Gonna Watch Some TV

On Sunday night, at 9pm on HBO. I want to see ‘Recount’ because I saw the trailer and it looks good. Laura Dern as Katherine Harris with a Southern accent! I saw Dern in ‘Citizen Ruth’, a very cynical movie about abortion. She played a glue-sniffing pregnant woman. She was great.

I always regarded the 2000 elections as a coup and a national disgrace. Like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the damage is largely unrepaired, with gaping holes in voting security, fairness and organization.

I’ll stay up past my bedtime for this. Just wish I could say to myself that ‘it’s only a movie’.

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