January 15th, 2011

npr coverage of secret service study of assassins


"But, as Fein points out, the way these people sought to address what they saw as their main problems — anonymity and failure — wasn't inherently crazy.

"There's nothing crazy about thinking that if I attacked the president or a major public official, I would get a lot of attention. I would get a lot of attention. My goal was notoriety," Fein says. "That's why I bought the weapon.""

I went back up and checked. Fein is the psychologist. There's nothing crazy about thinking that if I want attention, attacking someone is a reasonable way to get it? Excuse me? Yes, it will work. It is reality based. But it is _still_ crazy. Crazy isn't _just_ not-being-reality-based. Quite the contrary. Crazy is a cultural construct and at times, being reality based is regarded as being mentally ill.

The stuff about being organized indicating not-crazy is so pathetic I don't even know what to do with it. If anything, needing a high degree of organization is itself a sign of The Crazy (we call it OCD and clump it with the anxiety disorders).

selective reading of the constitution

My husband told me today he heard about a guy claiming that the Supreme Court held that child labor laws were unconstitutional. I heard the same clip that my husband saw -- the case the guy had zeroed in on was from 1918 and ignored a later case (in 1941, IIRC) which reversed that earlier decision.

Sample coverage over at Think Progress (I'm not saying they broke this -- I have no idea where R. saw it; I saw it on Countdown):


FWIW, this would be like ignoring Brown vs. the Board of Education and arguing that segregation is constitutional because of Plessy vs. Ferguson.

Or, saying it's _not_ okay to be gay, but it _is_ okay to eat shrimp.

Law School vs. Housewifery


Long article in the NYT from last week about people graduating from law schools to discover that they are deeply in debt, the job market for lawyers is terrible and there is no way to make school debt disappear. The article goes into some details summarizing what a bunch of blogs have been saying: the US News Law School ratings have been gamed, most law schools aren't worth going to under any circumstances and being a lawyer isn't that great anyway. It also points to some of those blogs.

One of those blogs is Rose Colored Glasses, and here is her response to the article:


"I have been accused by some of whining and looking for pity, or feeling entitled, but the fact is that if all this blog is is a chance for me to rant about how miserable I am in law school and the legal field, and for like minded people to respond in kind, it hasn't done anyone much good. The real point is to reach people who are CONSIDERING applying to or enrolling in law school and make sure that they really know what they are getting in to."

I was forcibly reminded of FM. A whole bunch of mostly well-off young'uns are convinced to do something not particularly appealing because they believe it will be really good for their future. Turns out, it's even less appealing than it seemed -- and terrible for their future.

It's almost like capitalism produces this kind of situation. You know, commodification and such.

Well coverage of autism


Above average article on the subject. There are some problems (oh, I always have issues). I could wish they hadn't only mentioned Autism Speaks as an advocacy organization. Autism Speaks doesn't ever let people _with_ autism or autism spectrum disorders ever actually speak -- only NTs. Then there's the ridiculous focus on vaccinations to the exclusion of everything else. And the exclusive perspective on autism and autism spectrum disorders as a disease that needs to be cured, vs. an alternative way of being, say. I also tend to disapprove of treating increased diagnosis as unambiguous evidence of increase in incidence; my family history says otherwise.

I _liked_ the focus on Floortime. All too often, people talking about autism go straight to ABA. OTOH, I wouldn't mind seeing Floortime joined in media coverage by RDI, SCERTS, ESDM, etc.

All that said, the stories at the beginning were very nice and sounded just exactly right to me. We had a tree this year, and I had a lot of concerns about how that was going to go. We got lucky and it turned out okay; we even included turning the lights on in the afternoon as part of T.'s regular routine for several weeks. I think it helped that we had a bunch of apps on the iPads with Christmas/holiday themes. I think it also helps that we just don't take the holidays all that seriously anyway, and have removed a lot of the must-wait/Christmas Day is special pressure by Officially Celebrating Solstice -- no one can really give us crap on the 25th for having already opened most of the presents and we don't necessarily need to tell them that we've been handing stuff to the kids to open for days or weeks (and they do need practice at unwrapping -- I'm not kidding).

My biggest regret this Xmas was forgetting to bring T.'s headphones to the family gathering. With the iPad and headphones, he sat at the kids table at T-day and even ate a waffle. With no headphones, when it got loud he had to leave the room.

hey look, this is my, um, let's see ...


Stamboom is family tree or pedigree or whatever. This is basically a guy in the Netherlands doing what I'm doing here in the US: assembling a family tree online. And he's got my paternal grandmother's maternal grandparents.

I think that's right: it's my father's mother (that's Bertha)'s mother (Hendriena/Hendrina/Wilhelmina/who knows)'s parents (Dammis Poldervaart -- misspelled OF COURSE in my paper geneaology) and Pietertje Dijkman. The glory of knowing a little bit of Dutch is I quite quickly realized that Dammis was not spelled Dammes, which led me to this.

Sweet! The dates match up just fine, however this guy's tree does not go down my path, so I'll have to keep looking.