August 2011

Txts from New York

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Txts from New York

Txts from new york

No Danger, but was Phil Goff briefed?

A New Zealander with links to terrorist group al Qaeda and who once was arrested trying to enter an al Qaeda stronghold in Pakistan is back in New Zealand, but the Prime Minister does not believe he is a threat.

Yes but what I want to know is does Phil Goff remember the SIS briefing him on the Kiwi who is a member of Al Qaeda, or has he
forgotten that also?


Don't ask, Don't tell – A soldiers perspective

GQ has a great article about the US Military Don’t ask, Don’t tell policy on homosexuals in the military.

“Since I’m a single officer in the Marine barracks and I’ve got the highest security clearance you can get, I also serve at the White House in close quarters with President Bush and President Obama at social events. Very seldom was the president ever alone, but one time the president had said, ‘Go and get the vice president,’ and all the straphangers went, and the president went in the Blue Room and was just standing there waiting for Biden. And there was no Secret Service around or anything, and I went, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to go and talk to the president about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” ‘ He was looking out south—there’s an incredible view down past the Washington Monument to the Jefferson. And I just stepped in and said, ‘Sir?’ and he turned around and walks to me and I just started: ‘You know, sir, I want to let you know that there are a number of us that work very close to you who appreciate very much what you’re doing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—more than you probably realize.’ And he was shaking my hand, he looks up and it’s like…he got it. I said, ‘I want to thank you for this.’ And he goes, ‘No, I want to thank you. Thank you for your service, and thank you for your courage.’ “


The folly of anti-depressants

As long time readers will know I suffer from depression. Due to the length, severity and re-occurrence of my depression over the past few years I know now that it will be with me for life. I am not talking about “feeling a bit sad today” depression, I am talking about the black dog that is severe depression. If I am not vigilant then down into the darkness I will slip. No one chooses depression, it certainly isn’t the box of laughs that the left-wing likes to think it is for me in particular.

At present my depression is held at bay but not through anti-depressants, rather through hard physical exercise and some techniques I picked up along the way through 6 long years of hell. For the first time in a long, long time i am working again. That has challenges in itself that can affect my control over my depression but it is a start.

The best thing I ever did is ditch the medications that doctors and insurance companies forced down my throat in the interests of getting “better”. For me getting well involved ditching the drugs and I will never let them past my lips again.

There also appears to be growing evidence that the pills don’t work.

Anti-depressants can cause worse long-term health effects, and may have an adverse effect on suicide rates in youth, says an award-winning American medical journalist in Nelson this week.

Robert Whitaker, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of several books, will be speaking in Nelson tomorrow night on the effects of psychiatric drugs on the brain and how anti-depressant medications shape long-term health outcomes.

He will discuss his research in the United States which found the increased prescribing of psychiatric drugs to youth led to a sharp rise in the numbers diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the numbers on sickness benefits.

After examining data from several countries, Whitaker also found increased prescribing of anti-depressants to adults correlated with a sharp increase in disability rates due to depression and anxiety.

Clinical trials had shown anti-depressants may increase the suicide risk in youth, he said. He did not have data on whether increased rates of prescribing was linked to suicide rates at a national level.

Anti-depressants made my life worse not better. But a combination of medical experts and insurance company policies means that there are many people like me that would have got well sooner if alternate treatment policies were followed or even allowed. Even ACC and WINZ follow the same policies, and so it isn;t really any wonder that we have burgeoning mental health issues caused by strict adherence to shoving pills down our throats.

It is my belief that the drugs just paper over the cracks. They are not a solution, they are a temporary salve with long term serious side effects. Even then they aren’t all that effective.

Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, had been attacked by some health professionals, but many had responded in a thoughtful way.

I just bet he was attacked. The drug companies have got the insurance companies by the shorts. Meanwhile the sufferers suffer.

No-one wants to know Phil

via the tipline

No-one wants to know Phil Goff, they certainly don’t want to listen to him and they absolutely don’t want to have to pay for the privilege. Poor form in a deep red Labour electorate. I’d be interested to see how many Trevor Mallard could pull for a luncheon with him.


Coup Watch?

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Spotted having coffee this morning at Ujazi in Napier, Labour caucus members King, Chadwick and a bored looking Shane Jones, later joined by Nash.

Their meeting finished, the girls went in one direction, the blokes in another.


UPDATE: Another tipsters says that it was Rick Barker. That makes the meeting even more curious. The Deputy Leader and the two whips with Shane Jones, the leadership aspirant.

Is this Labour's problem?

Daniel Hamermesh thinks there should be legal protections for ugly people:

Sometimes … being physically attractive is necessary to the performance of a job, or at least very advantageous. That’s true of fashion models, and also for many sales jobs. Studies have shown people are more inclined to buy from attractive salesmen… The case for eliminating discrimination based on race or gender is clearer to me because these characteristics normally do not signal anything about ability. But everyone is born with varying natural endowments which determine their success in life. Policy aiming to compensate for these differences can edge onto a slippery slope.

Labour could well be the scientific evidence for proving that Hamermesh is wrong.

Eric Crampton meanwhile looks at the economics of ugly people and politics.

I’d expect that there’d be any number of entrepreneurs helping folks uglify themselves before going in for their government attractiveness rating.

I’d noted a couple weeks ago discrimination against the ugly at the ballot box by uninformed voters. Niclas Berggren found similar results in Finnish data a while back as well

Seems there is something in this ugly candidates thingy. Finland also has proportional representation and so their case study shows a possible for solution for Labour’s current polling doldrums.

We study the role of beauty in politics using candidate photos that figured prominently in electoral campaigns. Our investigation is based on visual assessments of 1929 Finnish political candidates from 10,011 respondents (of which 3708 were Finnish). As Finland has a proportional electoral system, we are able to compare the electoral success of non-incumbent candidates representing the same party. An increase in our measure of beauty by one standard deviation is associated with an increase of 20% in the number of votes for the average non-incumbent parliamentary candidate. The relationship is unaffected by including education and occupation as control variables and withstands several other robustness checks.

Why can't the government do this for schools?

The Ministry of Health is running large ads in papers today comparing each DHB.

Now there is a good idea. How about we do this for schools too?

Goff Memories – Episode 14

Focussing on what matters

As Labour slumps further in the polls their ‘stars’ are continuing to focus on the things that matter to the electorate. Phil Goff is wrong thinking that voters aren’t focused on the issues. They are. Just not with this rubbish.

moroney caring about things that matter