The Spectacle Blog

Defending Happy-Pills

By on 12.13.05 | 2:47PM

Regarding James G. Poulos's silly anti-Paxil rant: Paxil is not a "serotonin-bomb." It contains no serotonin; rather, like all Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, it affects the way the body processes the serotonin that it creates. And no one on Paxil would be "staggering around hiccuping" with "discolored skin, enlarged breasts, and [a] demented gait," because as anyone with an iota of experience with psychotropic medication knows, adverse side-effects lead patients and their doctors to discontinue a drug. There are several SSRIs that work in somewhat different ways, and it often takes a few tries to find the one that works best for a given person.

These drugs change lives dramatically for the better (it is not "normal" to live in paralyzing fear of social gatherings, and it's much more pleasant not to). In many cases they save lives that would otherwise be lost to suicide. Discouraging people who suffer from debilitating emotional problems from taking medication makes as much sense as telling diabetics to be leery of insulin.

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One Man, One Illegal Vote

By on 12.13.05 | 1:33PM

We know how dependent liberal opinion has been on the courts to come through for its causes and politics whenever voters will not. A sign of its current desperation are reactions to news that the Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging the DeLay-led remapping of Texas's congressional districts in 2003. The justice to watch, according to the New York Times, is Anthony Kennedy, who in an earlier case left open the possibility he'd be open to more precise arguments about constitutional violations in such highly charged partisan disputes.

One likely argument is that redistricting weakened minority voting power. One set of plaintiffs is pointing to the 2003 redrawing being based on the 2000 census, which they see as a violation of one-man, one-vote. Here's where the Washington Post report has a Freudian slip moment:

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Looks Like a Liberal, Talks Like a Liberal

By on 12.13.05 | 12:28PM

Mea culpa: I missed Pat Toomey's op-ed on Linc Chafee in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. It's a must-read for those fed up with Republican "moderates."

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Re: Iraq Pullout Planned

By on 12.13.05 | 11:52AM

You know, Dave, I'm a little disappointed. Nowhere in your post do you mention whether "ides" ought to make one wary. What a throw-away.

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Iraq Pullout Planned

By on 12.13.05 | 11:22AM

The Times of London reports today that U.S. and British forces plan to begin a phased withdrawal after the permanent Iraqi government is installed, as early as March.

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More on the Wiki Debate

By on 12.13.05 | 9:59AM

Though we didn't know it at the time, there was more consternation over Wikipedia's veracity yesterday. John Seigenthaler, a former administrative assistant to Bobby Kennedy, was implicated in his Wikipedia bio as a part of JFK's assassination. The libeler recanted the post and admitted he made up all the claims, but only after Seigenthaler found out. The Register takes Wikipedia to task, fairly dramatically, but well enough, and here are a few of their stronger points:


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Berger vs Keyser: A Double Standard?

By on 12.13.05 | 8:21AM

The Washington Times' Jerry Seper reports this morning on the guilty plea entered by former top State Department official Donald Keyser for "unlawfully removing classified U.S. government documents, including some 'top secret' material, and to making false official statements." Keyser, former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, faces eight years in prison, disqualification from holding any public office and $250,000 in fines. According to reports, Keyser was a highly regarded career employee whose counsel was valued by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. $250K. 8 years in the slammer.

Last year, former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemenor for what several news agencies reported as the following: stealing from the National Archives -- by stuffing in his pants and socks -- several copies of some of the most highly guarded national security

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The Times Weeps for Tookie

By on 12.13.05 | 7:22AM

This odd piece is linked on the L.A. Times' main page, just below the main news story about Stanley "Tookie" Williams' execution. Apparently penned by a news staff writer, Steve Lopez, it's marked neither as news nor op-ed. So does it speak for the Times? Perhaps:

His anti-violence books and speeches were too little, too late, and the methodologizing of him was as unconvincing as the Nobel nominations.

But his execution was a macabre spectacle in a nation that preaches godly virtue to the world while resisting a global march away from the Medieval practice of capital punishment.

I would have had no problem leaving Williams locked up with his regrets and haunted by his deeds for the rest of his natural life.

I watched a man die today, killed by the state of California with institutional resolve, and wondered what we gained.

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Speaking of Children’s Books

By on 12.12.05 | 4:20PM

What ever happened to Roald Dahl? A copy of Kenneth C. Davis's book, Don't Know Much About Martin Luther King Jr. found its way to my desk, and it's amusing in the worst of ways. If you don't know, the "Don't Know Much About" series is an introduction to a topic for kids 8-12, in question and answer format. Here's an excerpt:

Who called King "the most notorious liar in the country"?

The director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover did, soon after hearing that King would receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Hoover did not say what King was lying about, but hinted that he had done terrible things.

Hoover had hated King for years. He didn't like blacks and especially didn't like King, who fought for social change. He had gotten permission from Robert Kennedy to wiretap King's phone by saying that King associated with communists and was a national danger. (Many Americans in the 1950s and early 1960s feared communism, which was associated with the Soviet Union and the fight for world power.) It was true that King's friend Stanley Levison had given money to the communist party many years earlier, but King was not a communist.

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