Sunday, March 15, 2009

Legal Male Prostitution in San Francisco

The New York Times reports today on a commune, "One Taste," in San Francisco in which female members are manually stimulated by men:

At 7 a.m. each day, as the rest of America is eating Cheerios or trying to face gridlock without hyperventilating, about a dozen women, naked from the waist down, lie with eyes closed in a velvet-curtained room, while clothed men huddle over them, stroking them in a ritual known as orgasmic meditation

How is this legal? Female members of the commune don't pay directly for the sexual activity, instead they pay for the "course":

She resisted offers to pursue further courses (for a fee), deleting the center’s incessant e-mail messages. But on the cusp of her 29th birthday, she tentatively returned. “I was scared to open up my life that much, but I was more scared not to,” she said.

Now an instructor herself, Ms. Crittenden talks about “the lingering velocity of my desire and my hesitation to give into it.”

In my opinion, California authorities should shut down this commune. They should treat it in the same manner they would a "massage parlor" that offers erotic activities (of course, I have nothing against legitimate massage therapists).

Organic Psychosis

The NY Times Sunday Magazine presents an interesting case of psychosis due to a combination of Concerta (long-acting ritalin) and pheochromacytoma:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why I am not Depressed

I eat a lot of salt:

A study at the University of Iowa found that rats that were deficient in salt did not participate in activities they normally enjoy -- one of the hallmarks of depression. Salt's mood-altering effect may explain why many people consume too much of it even when they know it's unhealthy -- almost like an addictive drug, researchers said.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bad-Beat Stories

Apparently there's an art to writing about these losing poker hands:

Granting, then, that the primary goal of a bad-beat story is to get something off your chest, there are narrative strategies you can employ to make sure other posters don’t yawn you off a board. To win sympathy and kudos, according to at least one bad-beat narratologist, you have only to make clear how focused and intelligent you were, how high the stakes, how slim your odds of losing, how vile your opponent was and how well you command the idiom of your game

Who Stole our Country?

Every wonder who got the hundreds of billions of dollars (180 billion at lost count) that Bush and Obama gave to AIG?

It turns out that much of the money is going to foreigners (though exactly who is getting how much money hasn't been released):

some of the banks paid by AIG since the insurer started getting taxpayer funds were: Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale, Calyon, Barclays Plc, Rabobank, Danske, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, Bank of America, and Lloyds Banking Group.

"That's why we could not allow AIG to fail as we allowed Lehman to fail, because that would have precipitated the failure of the European banking system," said Kanjorski, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who chairs the House Insurance Subcommittee.

U.S. lawmakers have said they are running out of patience with regulators' refusal to identify AIG's counterparties.
On Thursday, Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the banking committee, said: "The Fed and Treasury can be secretive for a while but not forever."

Politics at Mississippi's State Psychiatric Hospital

The Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi's main newspaper, reports today on a courageous psychiatrist, Dr. Stept, who allegedly was forced from his job at Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield for refusing to discharge dangerous patients:

In a quest to reduce long-term beds, state mental health officials are releasing some psychotic and potentially violent patients, says a psychiatrist who was transferred after he said he refused to follow those plans.

"I was asked to discharge patients I thought should not be discharged.

"I felt they were too psychotic."

In fact, some of these patients had "killed people in psychotic states," he said.

The psychiatrist said he refused to discharge a patient in 2007 for medical reasons, telling Whitfield officials if they wanted the patient discharged, the clinical director would have to sign the papers.

Days after this, Stept said he was told he was being transferred to another building.

Not long after this, Whitfield officials threatened to bring him before the peer review committee without telling him why, he said. "When I called and said I was retiring, the process of bringing me before a peer review committee was dropped."

I worked at Whitfield from mid-2006 to mid-2007. I was part-time and wasn't aware any of this was going on. I don't know Dr. Stept.