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Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Will Debate Just An Exercise In Futility

I just finished reading an article on the Huffington Post by Amy Green entitled, Researchers Probe Whether, Why 'Free Will' Exists. She wrote about Florida State University getting a 4.4 million dollar grant from John Templeton Foundation to study free will. So Amy has a bunch of quotes in her article and all kinds of interesting tidbits about free will. It has some interesting thoughts about genetic and environmental factors possibly determining our decisions. At the end of the article she has a quote from Norman Geisler, a man who has written about 70 books on the topic of free will! He said, "The bible affirms that man is free, morally responsible, because if our actions are pre-determined then God is to blame for our choices." But not everyone believes in the bible. Hmmm...I understand he is an expert and I respect all his research. And Amy's article was good. But...trying to scientifically define free will is doomed to be futile. Why? Because the term free will is related to religions and people's personal beliefs in relation to their religious beliefs. So everyone has a different definition. And guess what? No religion is right or wrong...just different. So what people really should be spending 4.4 million dollars on is helping people and animals in dire need today, right now. And what we really need to study is patience. Because patience is "a state of endurance under difficult circumstances." And we must have patience in this challenging life until we die. Because only when we are dead, will we then know, or not know, which religion is right...or not.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Airline Accountability...NOT!

Just when you thought maybe, just maybe someone was protecting your rights, along comes another law that puts money in the government's pocket at our expense. So get this...The Department of Transportation announced a new passenger protection rule. Yup, airlines will be fined if people are stuck on the tarmac for more than 3 hours. BUT...if the highly-trained-unionized air traffic controller thinks getting all those peeps off the plane would create a "major disruption in airport operations," well then they can override that silly little rule! AND...if the DOT decides to fine the airline...up to $27,500 per passenger...well now who do you think gets that money??? That's right, the government. The passenger who was inflicted with tarmac torture gets nothing. How is this kick-back-like deal not going to lead to corruption?? Bottom line...airlines can still hold you against your will for as many hours as they want. Is there no Constitutional Clout on a plane? So for your next flight, bring lots of snacks, wear a diaper, and pop some anti-anxiety medications, cause flying still beats driving across the country with a screaming toddler and your mother-in-law.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

McDonald's Happy-less Meals

So Santa Clara County just passed a law stating restaurants can no longer use toys to entice kids to eat fast food. Any restaurant engaging in this insane criminal act will be fined $1000! Are you kidding me!?! I didn't realize our young ones were turned into zombies by toys and forced to eat fast food! I didn't realize children as young as five were driving themselves to McDonald's and purchasing a happy meal with their own hard-earned money! How about a law that punishes parents who have overweight kids!?!? That seems more appropriate. They should fine Mr. and Mrs. Smith for allowing their kid to eat that crap!! Or maybe some jail time! Why are small and big governments telling us what to eat!?! If Mr. and Mrs. Smith want to give their kid fast food...then so be it...because truthfully, it's none of my business what they do! Bottom line...don't blame the toy, it's the parents who hand their kids that food to eat. And the other bottom line...governments big and small need to stop telling us what to do.

Psychiatric Evaluations in an ER

Question: I live in the state of Ca, My brother is 50 and still living at home with mom. His health is failing, the doctor's will not tell us what is going on, he will pass out and then it is another trip to the hospital. He weighs 250 lbs. and my mother can't help him up after 10 min. of uncon. The doctor's will not let us what is wrong and he WILL NOT!!! Is there a site I can go to get him committed I know he has mental problems???

Click on comments to read Laura's advice.

A Short Fuse

Question: Lately I have had a sense of irritation/aggravation towards everything and everyone around me. This problem happens at any time unexpectedly. The smallest things get to me and when I get mad it is hard for me to calm down. I know I need psychiatric help but I can't afford it so my problems go untreated. What can I do to get help or to calm me down?

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.

Janet Napolitano Remains Clueless

Well, the Arizona borders are being compared to a "western movie shoot-out." The people who actually live there say it's really really bad. So why doesn't Janet Napolitano believe them?? What's wrong with her?? At the very least, she should validate their feelings and acknowledge their suffering. But instead, she denies everything as if those people are liars! Sorry Janet, but you have very poor people skills! Arizona is requesting the National Guard to help at the border. Sounds good to me! That's exactly why we have a National Guard! So why the resistance from Washington?? Gabrielle Giffords is a democrat from down there and Ted Poe is a republican from down there and they both say it's bad and they need help securing the border! And you may be wondering about Harry Reid...well he seems a bit lost in space these days right!?! He's wandering around the floor of congress talking about "re-prioritizing climate change talks." Harry...Wake up brother! How is it that we have secured Iraqi borders better than our own borders? Harry and Janet need to take the first flight out of DC and get to the Arizona border, take some No-Doz, drink a Starbucks double espresso, and work with the border patrol all night.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Depression and Thought Process

Question: I relate to ethical right and wrong but can't seem to make a rational decision. I do drink out of control sometimes. I find I am very egotistical..I used to make a lot of geographical cures to no avail. a little about me, I own my own business, I'm incapable of running, I'm 60 y.o. I signed up for ssd 7 years ago they think I can run my business. my wife was running it for last 20 years she got tired of me. I know if I quit and go on welfare it would make them happy. If other health issues wasn't involved I would walk away. i have no family or anyone I try Dr's I know I put up a good front. I've got a garden planted. I do drive some, scared to too much. very much a loner. Thanks.

Children Should Not Respect Their Elders

Alice Miller, 87, recently died. I saw her obit in The New York Times and it reminded me of stuff we learned in psych classes. She had Freudian training and her work focused on children. So Alice believed that the family...parents...are the root of all your problems. She said, "All mental illness is caused by childhood trauma and inner pain." Certainly some mental illness is from that...but all?? I fully embrace the neurobiology and environmental combo answer myself. But Ms. Miller gave us important parental tools. She showed us the importance of our actions and our words related to our children's well-being. And now we know...parents aren't always right, parental coercion isn't right, and that not all adults deserve a child's respect. We unfortunately teach our children to blindly obey their elders. It is our fault that our children fall prey to the notion that their teacher's, their friend's parents, their bus driver's, their clergymen are to be listened to and obeyed...but that's not always right, and we see that everyday as more and more cases of child abuse are exposed. Don't teach your children to respect their elders. That level of trust and respect must be earned. Teach your children to be wary, to analyze a situation, and to create their own thoughts about who they will give respect. Empower your children to be independent thinkers, to make informed decisions, and to negotiate life. Thank you Ms. Miller!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wal-Mart Karma

I just love the saying "what goes around comes around." You all know it right!?! It's a karma thing. And today, the largest class-action lawsuit in our history got the green light from the federal appeals court. Yup. Dukes vs. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In 2001, Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart employee, realized she was not being paid the same as her male counterparts. She complained and nothing happened. Then she started doing some research, and found that not only were women employees paid less than men employees, but women were given fewer opportunities for promotion than men. So how is this karma you ask? Well, think of all the family homes Wal-Mart has stolen from us with eminent domain. That wasn't the right thing to do. And cheating women out of fair pay and work opportunities isn't the right thing to do either. So now Wal-Mart will have to face the court and defend it's unethical ways. I tip my hat to you, Ms. Betty Dukes! Thank you for reminding us that women still have a way to go. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for not being afraid of the big corporation. You are an inspiration. And Wal-Mart...your slogan, "save money, live better" needs to be changed to "steal money, loathsome bias."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Addictions and Compulsions

Question: For about the past fifteen years (I am 30 now) I have been involved in what I consider to be compulsions. I compulsively pick at scalp and skin trying to erase the imperfections (bald patches on head, scars on body, but i do have psoriasis and acne), that will last for months, then it will stop for a few months to a few years, and then I pick it right back up and spend hours a day doing it not even fully aware I am doing it. If I'm picking at my scalp I become agitated if I have to stop and say use that arm. What concerns me greater than that are the compulsions I have to enter this sort of fantasy world. I spend hours a day doing this, and if prevented from doing so I can get extremely angry and feel this just imbalance inside, that is MUST be done. I can't simply just stop doing it, at good times though I may go a few days without doing it but those are rare and only happen every few years (and the thought of it never leaves my mind). During my trance like state reality becomes clouded, what feels like minutes is actually hours passing, and outside sounds become distorted, I can't make out what I am hearing in this state. My vision blurs, and I focus on lists of purchases I'd like to make/need to make, people that don't exist that I have created in my mind and often I replay the same images over and over again for hours of say what I have to buy at bed bath and beyond or what I wished I looked like, or who I wished I was. during this I have a ritual. I hold an object in each hand, always the same object and if i lose one of the objects great distress blankets over me. With an object in each hand I flutter my wrists back and forth and eventually my vision blurs, and I am only slightly aware of my surroundings. Sometimes during this state I am suddenly snapped out of it by an audible sound that I make that seems to me to come from nowhere, almost like I was holding my breath and I wasn't even aware. Sometimes pacing is involved and during that the objects in hands can become lose from the fluttering and have snapped me out of trance like state by smacking me in the face. I feel like i can somewhat control the level of the trance, I get pleasure from my activities on one hand (no pun intended) because they soothe me and seem more natural to me than not doing them, but on the other it is time consuming, embarrassing, and I spend a great deal of my life trying to hide that I do this which causes strain on my relationships with other people, especially my husband. There's such a guilt involved that this doesn't seem like a mental disorder I can pinpoint, and therefore part of me agrees with my family that I should just be able to stop. I have never had counseling for this, even as a teen I was ashamed of it and when my parents sought out treatment i would deny it in therapy. sometimes when I am not in trance like state I will still flutter my wrists with objects, like I am doing now as I type this, I also do it while I read books. It feels like I can almost heighten my imagination if I am doing this. as much as the clouded kind of consciousness, the fluttering is another compulsion I just have to do related, and unrelated. I read one time a question on an ask a therapist site that sounded like me, and the writer was told that he was just lacking stimulation, but I disagree in my case if we truly are similar. If I go out to say Disneyland or Busch gardens today and have a great day completely over stimulated, I'll want my alone time so i can do my rituals. It's much more than just a bored habit to me. I think I do have low self esteem, as indicated by a lot of the fantasies in my world are a more grandiose me (sometimes so far removed from myself that I have another name but I am still me, or rather maybe I become them for a time). In my aware self I am always certain of who I am, I do not suffer from any sort of split personality. I have used marijuana from time to time in the past, but the problem started before that and continues without it. All the marijuana did was make me a little more focused on my fantasy world, and perhaps a little more agitated if I was being prevented from it. I do have unstable emotions at times that fluctuate, and I feel like sometimes my emotions are out of my hands, but through practice I am learning to control myself better. I just can't control my compulsions,I think that if I didn't spend hours a day doing these activities I could actually do some of the things I fantasize about, like landing that dream job or what have you. I am fully aware that what I do is not considered "normal". I am aware enough to the point of hiding it from loved ones. any sort of insight on any of this would help. thanks. PS: my family background was a very unstable home, being bounced around, I didn't know my father much and my mom died several years after I started doing this.

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.

Love him or Leave him?

Question: If married to a workaholic for 36 years of married life, does it really help to divorce him? He just can't stop working and he has put me in this odd situation of there is no way out except to possibly commit suicide!

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.

Anxiety and Panic Relief

Question: I've had anxiety and panic attacks for 20 years now. But seems to be centered around things I can't control...kids having issues that live thousands of miles away...my own medical issues...a spouse with medical issues. Talking it out with therapists helps a bit. Xanax, taken as needed...5 or 6 times a year works to get my head straight and get productive again. The daily anti-depression meds make be flush and sweat a lot. What am I to do?

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why is Congress' Hand in My Chip Bag?

Who doesn't love potato chips? Or pickles? Or bread? So tasty good right? Well it all may change because Congress wants the FDA to set limits for levels of salt in our food! How about working on homelessness, or maybe fixing the economy first!?! Do not mess with American snacks! And do not tell me what to eat! So Congress spent your hard-earned money on a study done by the Institute of Medicine. Yup, a study to tell us what we already know...salt is not good for you in large amounts! We know! That's why you can go down the chip aisle and pick regular or low salt chips. I thought we solved this a long time ago by offering the low salt version? Congress wants the FDA to implement a "gradual reduction of salt in all foods over time" to ease us into it, so our mouths don't freak out from blandness! Really!?! Ridiculous! We know that too much salt can raise our blood pressure and lead to health and heart issues. But this is America people! And if I want to eat salty chips...well it's my right to eat them! But just think...maybe there will be a black market for salty chips...we can have an underground network of salty food pantries! Forget the drug dealers...now food dealers can sell a bag of salty chips for $20 in a back alley!! Obama and Pelosi...please leave us alone...you are ruining our lives with your petty control-freak legislation.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Illegal Immigrants - It's Not A Race Issue

Arizona is tossing around a bill in their congress that would require police to determine whether people are here legally. Sounds like a good idea to me! Police are here to uphold the law right? And being in the USA illegally is well...breaking the law! Why would anyone disagree with the passing of this bill? So some people in Arizona say this bill is "mean-spirited" and "unconstitutionally authorizes discrimination." Really? So is it mean-spirited to arrest someone who robs a bank? After all, the poor guy just needed some money right? Ridiculous! And since when is it discrimination when someone is arrested for a crime? Last time I checked, we are all going to get arrested if we do a crime and get caught. Oh wait...get caught...is that what this is about? After all, illegal immigrants provide cheap labor. So let's see, while I'm paying the never-ending unemployment benefits Obama approved...illegal immigrants are working jobs that could be had by the unemployed Americans. Gee, that seems a bit "mean-spirited" to me! Arizona! Wake up and pass the bill! Give those jobs to Americans! Let the police check everyone's ID. Let the police arrest and deport illegal immigrants. State Senator Russell Pearce said it best, "Illegal is not a race, it's a crime."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Attachment Issues

Question: I am the paternal step-grandmother to a 16 month old boy. He has been exposed to a great deal of violence and has had numerous caregivers his entire life. He shows little or no reaction when passed from one caregiver to another and never cries for a primary caregiver or his home. He is nonverbal and has one tooth. I am concerned.

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.

Trying To Like and Love Yourself

Question: Hi, My name is Klarissa and I'm 17 years old and most of my life I have been an over weight girl. I have a lot of self hate, I just honestly need some advice on how to kick this self hatred toward myself because its getting out of control. I'm to my breaking point where my body is out of control. I use to take therapy for depression but I never did for being overweight. I'm at the point where I don't believe what any person has to say about me, I just want to be beautiful in my eyes not everybody else's. And right now I'm nothing close to that, so if you can sometime get back to me with some form of advice. sincerely klarissa

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sleep Less Eat More-Research Rubbish About Fatness

So there's a new study out about overeating. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Online edition dated March 31, reports that a European study found that men who slept less ate more. Twenty-two percent more than when they slept eight hours. The research team thought it might be possible that people eat more after short sleep because mammals store up calories in summer because nights are shorter and there is more food. Hmmm...so is it ok to eat more in the summer, cause the days are longer? Remember when President Bush changed the daylight savings time? He told us not to turn the clocks back until the end of October....maybe it's President Bush's fault that we are fat? This means that no one should be gaining weight over the Christmas Holidays cause the days are shorter, right? So we shouldn't eat when it's dark out? Are you as confused about this study as I am? Maybe it's the simple fact that people don't eat when they are sleeping, so if you sleep longer, you eat less, cause, well...you're sleeping!?! Except for those sleep-eaters they feature on TLC reality TV! You know, where they put the camera in the fridge and they tape people sleep-eating!?! Maybe if those people stayed awake longer, they would be thinner? I don't know. Bottom line, don't eat a big mac in the dark, you'll get fat.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Learning from Relationships

Question: what do you tell a person who has lost everyone close to them ?

no one died, but all the relationships ended on a bad note.

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Snake Me Bro!

Here is a recap of the most relevant news story of the day. So two guys in South Carolina argued during the night about loud music. One dude tells the other dude to turn down the music. Happens all the time! But then the man who complained about the music being too loud seemed to still be angry. There is a standard operating procedure of what to do next...shall we say a set of "unwritten rules," kind of like the triple dog dare episode in A Christmas Story. You can't skip the double dog dare and challenge with the triple dog dare! So instead of calling the police for help, which would have been the obvious next step and equal to the double dog dare, this guy skips right to the triple dog dare and goes and gets his 4-foot python and confronts the loud-music man again and whacks him in the head with the snake! Really?!? Yes, really. It's a simple life lesson...don't skip the double dog dare, cause bad things will happen.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pirates Get Better Medical Care Than Americans

Yeah, there are still pirates trying to take over ships. But finally...we are shooting back! So the latest pirate documentary started with a little skiff filled with 6 pirates who thought they could shoot at the USS Ashland and take it over. So funny! Maybe they were delirious from heat stoke! Anyway, the USS Ashland fired back. And what do you think happened next? Of course the skiff sank and the pirates were swimming around. And then what happened? Would you have guessed that we rescued the pirates and gave them medical care aboard the USS Ashland? Oh yes! It's true! Unfortunately, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Pirate Health Insurance Policy does not cover medical care received aboard enemy ships. What a shame! I wonder if the pirates will receive medical bills? And if they don't pay, will their credit scores go down the tubes? Will they lose all their pirate booty to a collections agency? Somehow I don't think so. Somehow I think they got it all for free at the exact same time a desperate American received a $20000 bill from a hospital. Can you say injustice?

Jim Carrey Does Dumb Tweets

Jim Carrey needs to shut up. No really...who does he think he is talking about Elin Woods being a "knowing participant" in Tiger's infidelities? Jim is just trying to get everyone to ignore what his fresh ex said about him! Does Carrey think we are that stupid? Jim, Jenny said you are depressed. Work on yourself. Go get help. Until you are in good emotional shape, I don't think you should be talking about others issues. Jim Carrey is not funny like he once was. And I think he is sad about that. Well, news flash Jimbo...sending out malicious tweets about others is not funny. And depression is not funny. I suggest you stop tweeting dumb things and go have a complete physical exam with lots of blood work and if there are no medical reasons for your mood disorder, then go see a therapist and get on some psych meds.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kick Ass Movie Scares Men

What's all the hub-bub about this movie Kick Ass? The movie is set to hit theaters April 16th and it looks great! But alas, there is much controversy over the 12 year old girl with the purple hair who kicks every one's ass. Some news organizations say it goes too far... having a 12 year old girl say the C word and partake in violence. Well I say you go girl!!! Who are the nay-Sayers? Oh...I know! Men. Yup. It's simple. Men don't want to see women...let alone girls...have power. That's why Hilary Clinton isn't the president. And that's why this awesome empowered young lady is getting a bum rap. How embarrassing for men around the country to watch their fellow boys get their butts kicked by a girl. It's not about the violence or the foul language, it's about the uneasy feeling the male gender gets when women make the slightest bit of headway in the physical strength department. It really is the last arena left that men use to oppress women. So I will bring my daughters to see Kick Ass! And I will tell my daughters that it's not appropriate to say the C word. And I will tell my daughters that it's not appropriate to assault people. And I will tell my daughters that it's the coolest thing ever to be a girl super hero in a movie! And I will tell my daughters what Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to be nominated as Vice President of the United States said, "We've chosen the path to equality, don't let them turn us around."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Put On A Happy Face?

HealthDay.com posted a report from a study done at Wayne State University that suggests people with the biggest smile will live longer. Awesome! The researchers said, "The more intense smile indicates an underlying happiness, if you will, a more positive attitude, it's hard to fake an intense smile." These researchers had me at hello until I read that last part...the "it's hard to fake" part. Lots of people fake a big smile. How many working moms out there put on a big smile for their kids instead of melting into a puddle of tearful stress so as not to alarm anyone? I've seen lots of criminals smile at the judge...are they happy to be in court pleading for their life? Sometimes a big smile is a lure to get someone to do something, right? I don't believe a smile equals happiness. These days, a smile is more of a courtesy, a habit...you shake hands and it is usually accompanied by a smile. But not all hand shakes are happy shakes! Anyway there is a point to all this! First...don't trust a smile. As Orsen Welles put it, "Fake is as old as the Eden tree." Second...Happiness is really serenity, it is calm satisfaction, it is peace. As Buddha put it, "The mind is everything. What we think we become." It's your thoughts, not your face, that will lead you down a long life path.

P.S. At the end of the article it said, "To learn more about happiness, visit the American Psychological Association." But I say, to learn more about happiness, visit yourself, meditate and evaluate your life, the happiness and contentment are inside you...not at the American Psychological Association.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

No Nukes is like No Underwear

Fox news reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the United States will pledge not to use nuclear weapons no matter what they use against us. What? Maybe I'm missing something...but doesn't that statement make you feel...nude, exposed, vulnerable, weak, without underwear? Going commando didn't work for Paris Hilton, it didn't work for Britney Spears, and it's not going to work for the USA. Gates went on to say, "If any country so bold as to launch such an attack on the United States would face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response." Ok, so what that means is, Obama is willing to shed American blood in a conventional war as opposed to dropping a bomb. Will this mean a draft? What do the veteran's think about this? Obama told the New York Times that he is trying to lead by example in efforts to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons and eventually make them obsolete. Good Luck Brother! Is he really that pompous and narcissistic to think that other countries will follow what he does? Obama's preoccupation with his fantasy of unlimited success and power, along with his grandiose sense of self-importance, is really starting to get on my nerves...how about you?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Permission vs. Forgiveness - Pope Style

I was listening to a story about a married man who decided to go buy a $17000 motorcycle without telling his wife. He took the money out of their joint savings account and bought the bike. Surprise! He then explained, "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission." Wow, we could all use this concept right? People can do whatever they want and then simply say..."sorry." I think the Vatican uses this concept. Maybe that's where it originated. As the Catholic church molestation scandal continues to intensify yet again, The New York Times reported that Pope Benedict is facing accusations that he and his worker bees did not alert civilian authorities or confront priests involved in sexual abuse when he was archbishop. And, the Pope has been quite vocal in dismissing a few other religions, calling some "evil and inhuman." Really? And here is where the forgiveness thing comes in...all those priests who violated children simply have to ask for forgiveness, go to confession, and then all is renewed and pure in the Catholic faith. Well guess what...moral authority does not exist within the Pope or any other religious leader. It is inside you, it is your conscience. You know, scruples, ethics, morals, right vs. wrong. George Santayana, a poet and philosopher said it best, "Religions are the great fairy tales of conscience."

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