Appreciating our natural world - In Living Color

Weisman Another one of my favorite radio shows is To The Best Of Our Knowledge, TTBOOK, which is an NPR show produced by Wisconsin Public Radio. On 04/13/08 TTBOOK broadcast a show entitled "In Living Color". Here is a brief description of the show from the TTBOOK web site:

Imagine the world as we know it, only without us. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a writer imagines a world reinventing itself without human beings. He sees the New York subway system returning to its watery origins. The re-absorption of carbon into the earth, and endangered wildlife coming back from the brink. Also, one man finds the extraordinary in encounters with birds. And, garbage island - the bobbing plastic wasteland that's plaguing the Pacific.

It is a fascinating show in three segments which lasts about 55 minutes. In the first segment Alan Weisman talks about his book, World Without Humans. I was so fascinated I went out yesterday and bought his book. What would happen if the earth suddenly had no humans?

In the second segment, Thomas Morton described the Pacific gyre. I didn't even know what the pacific gyre is. It is the place where the ocean currents coalesce way out in the pacific and fills up with garbage. Mr. Morton hires a boat to take him out to the gyre and he describes his experience. Also, Sam Keen describes his spiritual experience with nature through bird watching, and Erec Toso describes his experience of being bitten by a rattlesnake in his front yard in Arizona as he was walking home one night in the dark with his two little kids.

Overall, a very good radio show and I recommend it. You can listen on line by going to the TTBOOK web site by clicking on the link below.

Link: 080413A In Living Color.

Is excessive computer use a psychiatric disorder?

Computer_addiction On April 3, 2008, American Public Radio's Show, Future Tense, broadcast a 4 minute interview by Future Tense host Jon Gordon with Psychiatrist Jerald Block who believes that compulsive computer use should be classified as a psychiatric disorder. Here is the description of the segment from the Future Tense web site:

Psychiatrist Jerald Block believes heavy use of computers, video games and the Internet can either cause mental illness or, at the very least, be a destructive manifestation of pre-existing behavioral disorders. Writing in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Block argues there ought to be an entry in the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness called "pathological computer use."

You can go to the Future Tense web site for more information and to listen to the interview by clicking here.

AMA Expands Campaign for Universal Access

Health_care The March 7, 2008 issue of the Psychiatric News reported that the American Medical Association is intending to bump up its advertising campaign for universal health care from 5 million in 2007 to 15 million in 2008 a Presidential campaign year. Good for them. Here's a snippet from the article:

The advocacy push is a big bump up from the $5 million the AMA spent in 2007 on its campaign to get health coverage for the uninsured. The AMA dedicated $15 million in January for a campaign prior to the national election in November to encourage voters to demand universal health care access for all Americans. The AMA push is the second phase of its "Voice for the Uninsured" campaign, which aims to spur action to cover the nation's 47 million uninsured (Psychiatric News, February 1). The campaign stems from observations by AMA members about the consequences faced by their uninsured patients, who often are sicker and die younger, said Samantha Rosman, M.D., an AMA board member, in a written statement. Such patients often skip preventive care and regular checkups until their health problems reach crisis proportions, which then results in more difficult and more costly conditions to treat.

With 45 - 50 million Americans without health care coverage including my 27 year old son, the idea of Universal Health Care is an idea whose time has come. If the Neo Cons can spend 3 trillion dollars on a war in Iraq, we, as Americans, surely can afford health care for every American. If the Europeans and other First World countries can do this, why in the world can't we? It's time. Let your politicians know you want this.

Link: AMA Expands Campaign for Universal Access -- Daly 43 (5): 6 -- Psychiatr News.

The Ethically Challenged

Unethical I have been thinking a lot the last 6 months about the importance of ethics in my life and in our sense of community.

I was at a workshop last October lead by Michael White, the Australian Social Work Psychotherapist, who pioneered what is called Narrative Therapy. Michael was challenged by a grad student in the audience who asked Michael if Narrative Therapy was "an evidence based therapy", and what research has been done on its outcomes? Michael replied that he was not a researcher and would leave that to others. He said that his bigger concern was not whether Narrative Therapy was evidence based but rather was it ethically based? This resonated with me because so much of what I see seems to be based on money, and data, rather than whether it is ethical.

On 11/30/07, This American Life broadcast show 344 entitled "Competition". It includes two segments both well worth listening to. The first segment describes a company in Tulsa, Oklahoma that engaged in human trafficing in order to compete in the global economy. The owner of the company convinced himself that enslaving people and impoverishing them and cheating them was for their own good.

The second segment deals with a ratings war among media companies in Boise, Idaho wherein one TV station unethically ruined a man and his family's life after he had been categorized as a sex offender 13 year prior to the news story being run just to sensationalize its programming to improve ratings.

I came from an ministerial ordination this afternoon where it was stated as part of the ceremony that there is still sin in the world. Indeed, there is and we need to call one another to repentence.

I highly recommend this 50 minute show. It will cost you $0.95 to download it, and it is worth it.

Link: This American Life.

Brain imaging and the criminal justice system

Brain_scans Justice Talking Radio program released an excellent program on 01/14/08 entitled "Neurolaw, The New Frontier" in which various experts discuss the latest brain imaging techniques and how it is being used and could be used in the future.

Some lawyers are using brain scans showing defects to argue that their clients aren’t responsible for criminal behavior. In recent years, this neuroscientific evidence has been increasingly used in our courtrooms. But some scientists argue that the imaging is still new and unreliable, while others question whether juries should be ruling on what counts as a "defective" brain. As neurolaw grows in influence, it could potentially revolutionize our notions of guilt and punishment as criminals say "my brain made me do it." Might we be, one day, just a brain scan away from a form of lie detection and prediction of criminal behavior? Tune in as we examine this new frontier of law on this edition of Justice Talking

The show lasts about 50 minutes and can be listened to on line or downloaded in MP3 format. It is well worth listening to if you are interested in the topic.

Link: Justice Talking.

Justice Talking Radio - FCC approves further media consolidation screwing American citizens

Fcc Justice Talking is a great radio show and on its program released on 01/21/08 Margot Adler the host talks with FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps and other guests about the new FCC rules on media consolidation.

Media Corporations have bought our politicians and now they want to increase their power by controlling not only radio and TV but newspapers. This is not a good thing for our democracy which is becoming increasingly fascistic under the Republican Bush Administration as the politicians and corporations get into bed together to manipulate and oppress citizens at the local level by keeping them in the dark and spinning the news in a direction that the polticians in power say is "Fair and Balanced".

This is a major campaign issue in the 2008 election. Do you know where your candidates stand?

It's a good show which lasts about 55 minutes. Every voting American should listen to it.

Link: Justice Talking.

Trying to be perfect is not always perfect

The_scream WBUR had another great show on 12/07/07 hosted by Jacki Lyden on The Perils of Perfectionism. Here is a summary from the On Point web page:

Nobody's perfect, but perfectionism is a virtue -- right? Great athletes, star CEOs, and Nobel laureates embody it. But where does the perfectionist tendency lead? Great success for some -- but then there are the crazy bosses, pushy parents, and high-striving students on the edge of a breakdown.

New research on perfectionism reveals that the urge to get things just right can go too far. It's linked with compulsive behavior, eating disorders, and depression. The perfect, it turns out, really is the enemy of the good -- or, at least, of good health.

There are a number of things which make perfectionism bad for one's physical and mental health. The first is relentlessness. When is enough, enough? Second, is the failure to enjoy one's successes because there is always more that could have been done or some other aspect that could be improved on. Third, is the toil that one's perfectionism takes on others when anxiety and tension escalate if things aren't just right. Fourth, is what I call catastrophizing, that is, when the sky is constantly falling and the person is living in constant agitation and fear over small things making a tempest our of a teapot, and/or a mountain out of a molehill.

You can listen to the show on line or download it.

Link: On Point : The Perils of Perfectionism.

Al Gore's Nobel prize speech

I have been growing increasingly disenchanted with the coporate media. Thank God there are shows like Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

Democracy Now had a great show on December 11, 2007 featuring Al Gore's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and the acceptance speech of Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Amy also interviewed Ted Glick who is a 99 day fast to protest the Congress's failure to address climate change.

This hour long show is well worth listening to. I think every American should know what is going on with climate change and our corporate media, because of their vested interests, only pay the topic lip service. To listen or download the hour long show, click on the link to the show's web page below.

Link: Democracy Now! | December 11, 2007.

Love and Aging

WBUR in Boston has a great radio show called On Point, and on November 30, 2007, Jane Clayson filling in for the usual host, Tom Ashbrook, had a great show on Love And Aging which is well worth listening to. It lasts about 45 or 50 minutes. Here is a brief synopsis from the On Point web page:

They say love changes everything. But time changes love.

Just how much it can change became front page news last week, when the family of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor revealed that her husband had fallen in love with a fellow Alzheimer's patient.

And she was happy for him.

What happens to the part of ourselves that loves as the mind ages, and changes?

Our culture celebrates young love. But mature love is filled with passion too, even as our memories leave us. Seniors living for the moment - not the past.

This hour On Point: how we love when we grow old.

To go to the web page to listen on line or download the show, click on the link below.

Link: On Point : Love and Aging.

New Research on Disruptive Kindergartners

On November 14, 2007, Diane Rehm had an interesting show on some recent research which has been done on disruptive kindergartners. Diane interviewed Sharon Landesman Ramey, Director, Center for Health and Education, Georgetown University, Dr. Philip Shaw, Psychiatry Fellow, National Institutes of Mental Health, and Greg Duncan, Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education and Social Policy Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

Here is a brief synopsis of the show:

A new study finds children considered troublemakers in kindergarten will do just as well academically as their peers in later school years. There's also new research on children with A.D.H.D. suggesting a possible brain development delay but no long term deficit. New insights on evaluating and educating young children with behavior problems.

In my practice I see many of these kids and every situation is unique and little bit different, but there are also developmental similarities as well. Overall our kids now days are terribly pressured to behave in ways that they are not biologically, biochemically, socially, and emotionally developed enough to comply with. I often suggest to parents that sometimes the best thing they can do for their children is to give them what I call "the gift of time". This can be oversimplistic, but often is exactly the prescription. Now there is research that bears my judgment out.

This show is well worth listening to and you can access it by clicking on the link below.