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Compassion Roundup, Part I: Who cares if your surgeon is a jerk?

Huckabee at the Republican National Convention

A few weeks ago, Mike Huckabee, making a medical analogy about the alarmingly jerky Mitt Romney, told Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast: ““The sicker the patient, the less important is bedside manner.  If you’ve just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you honestly don’t care if your neurosurgeon is a jerk.”  Now I admit that Mike Huckabee is a personable, often funny, natural, and authentic guy, sort of the un-Romney, even though I disagree with him on nearly every political idea he ever expressed including this one.  I disagree with this one so much that it’s been stuck in my head for the last three weeks. Reason? My own personal experience with jerky doctors

Most commentators, including Gail Collins of the New York Times, commented on the weird “damning with faint praise” aspect of that quote, since presumably Huckabee meant to praise (if faintly) our Presidential candiate, who has proven himself even more jerky this week by among other things commenting on an ongoing violent international crisis before knowing the facts, and by suggesting that a statement put out by the American Embassy in Cairo condemning a hate film undermined American values.  Coming from a man who would be President in a highly dangerous, complicated, and non-black-and-white world, this was so misguided and jerky in so many ways that I can’t possibly mention them all in a blog in which I want to comment on Huckabee’s medical analogy.  So for the moment, I’ll simply wonder why Romney, or anyone, thinks it’s not an American value to ALWAYS condemn hate speech, counsel calm, tolerance and compassion, and support the forces of tolerance, understanding, and compassion in every situation and society.  To me this is among the highest of human values.  More about that in my next blog.

So back to Huckabee’s analogy. After endlessly fussing I’ve finally shipped off my memoir, “How I Lost My Bellybutton and Other Naked Survival Stories, to my adorable new literary agent.  While I’ve met many amazing and wonderful doctors during all my medical woes, the memoir details my experiences with some incredibly jerky doctors, including my late son Michael’s neurologist and the surgeon I call only “Plastic Man” whom I encountered during my breast cancer experience.  I think their jerkiness made them less rather than more skilled, that’s for sure.  I won’t talk about the neurologist here, but Plastic Man was jerky mainly because he lacked compassion, and I suffered mightily at his hands, not because he isn’t or wasn’t a skilled cutter. I assume he is, he certainly has a good reputation on that score. But bedside manner? The man was rude, stiff, abrupt, aloof, childish, petulant, and defensive, and became even more so when I developed an infection and became quite sick.  As I detail in my memoir, his jerkiness may have increased because he was afraid of being sued.  This doesn’t excuse it, of course, and in any case research shows that doctors who tend to the doctor/patient relationship lessen their risk of being sued. This makes perfect sense, of course, since people tend to give back what they receive.  The most important thing is, he made my situation even worse than it probably had to be, thereby affecting his skill not just as a cutter but as a physician, who after all should be a healer.  I say this not just because I was terrified and needed reassurance when I was so weak and sick and vulnerable, but because if that surgeon had LISTENED to me, his patient, as a good compassionate, non-jerky physician would do, he might well have been able to spare me all or at least some of that suffering, both mental AND physical.

So I say yes, I guess I’d prefer a jerky surgeon who’s a skilled cutter to a compassionate, non-jerky surgeon who isn’t a skilled cutter, but like almost all things in life it isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an either-or, black-and-white choice.  Why wouldn’t we want physicians—and politicians, and filmmakers, and everyone else–to think of having compassion for the weak (ie non jerkiness), as an important part of their skill and to be BOTH compassionate AND skilled?  As Gandhi and others have said, “The measure of a civilization is in how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable members.” Substitute the word “doctor” for “civilization” and “patient” for “member,” and I think you see how this applies to the medical situation on which Huckabee is commenting, in my view utterly incorrectly.

So here’s a survival tip I learned the hard way.  I put it in my (hopefully soon-to-be published) memoir, “How I Lost My Bellybutton, And Other Naked Survival Stories”:

Survival Tip #17:  Compassion and empathy aren’t luxuries for a doctor, they’re prerequisites. Especially if things go wrong or you’re really suffering and really need compassion and empathy. So if you have a choice, find one who has some.

Mr. Huckabee, I know your analogy was meant to suggest that Mr. Romney has the skill to fix the economy, thereby lifting all weak boats in the trickle-down sense, but I think that the weaker and more vulnerable the patient (or the citizen, for that matter), the more I need and want to be tended to with compassion rather than jerkiness.

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Surviving 9/11: A few thoughts after the anniversary

On Sunday for a while I watched the reading of the names at Ground Zero. It brought up my own recollections of that day, of course.  We lived directly on Long Island Sound at that time, and had an amazing, unique view across the water to the lower half of Manhattan Island. That day was so clear you could practically see the windows in the Towers, which rose in the distance like a number eleven on steroids.

We were building our home at the time, living in a cottage on the property.  That morning, fifteen or so men, mostly of Portuguese ethnicity, were putting on the roof shingles.  I was in the cottage watching the Today Show when they cut to the scene.  Katie Couric said, “A small plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.”  Didn’t even vaguely look like a small plane to me.  How could Katie even say that with a straight face?

In the first of many reality checks of the day, I went outside to affirm that what I was seeing on television was actually happening, or maybe vice versa.  Indeed it was real; you could see the first tower burning across the Sound, smoke rising up into the sky in a huge dark plume that already dwarfed both towers.  The fifteen Portuguese roofers were standing on the plywood up there, transfixed.  And silent, except they had a radio going, a newscast, I think–in Portuguese.  A few of them looked at me, maybe wondering if they should continue.  I didn’t know.  I went back into the house just in time to see the second Tower hit. I began to make my check-in-with-family phone calls.

When the first tower fell, I happened to be outside looking at the actual view, and it seemed like a disappearing act from that 20ish mile distance. One moment, two buildings; the next, one.

An hour or so later, our neighbor across the street came over, distraught.  His wife was working at the time in Tower 2, 84th floor, and he hadn’t heard from her. (She did manage to make her way down, though lost many of her colleagues, and this couple went to memorial services for months.).

All day long, strangers kept stopping by the house just to just stand and witness the thing from our vantage point, the plume of thick dark smoke spreading like a halo over Manhattan.

Ten years later, as I listened to all those people read the names of their dead, I couldn’t help thinking of my own loss, though it had nothing to do with 9/11. (How could I help it when James Taylor played a song I used to sing to my toddler son, You Can Close Your Eyes?) It seems to me that the reading of names stems from a deeply human, universal need to bring the dead back into the world of the living. I know I feel grateful when someone mentions my son or speaks his name. And too, I found it deeply moving to hear each person offer their personal thoughts, prayers, and feelings, which seemed mostly unscripted and authentic to me. So rare nowadays. Everywhere we turn, we find ourselves inundated by so much that is packaged and canned that it seems we have been unalterably changed as a people, possibly unable to identify what should be obviously false. Maybe Katie Couric unquestioningly repeating what she had been told, that a small plane had hit the tower, was some kind of watershed 1984 moment.

In the aftermath of all this, the Bruised Muse would like to express a thought or two about our survival not as individuals who’ve suffered loss, but as a country. Get ready, since this is a rant.

A few days ago a report came out that the United States of America had spent 3.3 TRILLION dollars (that’s Trillion with a T) on the two main wars we’ve engaged in since 9/11. Supposedly, we went to these wars because of 9/11, the Bush Administration touting the idea that we had to be on a war footing. Yet most if not all of the ACTUAL victories against the terrorists, before and after 9/11, have been either special ops or police work.

  • Whatever the reason the Bush Administration wanted the Iraq war–maybe Rumsfeld wanted to test his new war toys or theory, or Bush the younger wanted revenge–it should be clear now to anyone with any critical thinking skills at all that the war was scandalously, monumentally unnecessary. It amazes me that all these years later, no one has been called to pay for the lies they told to convince the country to support that total bait and switch operation.  Worse, that Administration was so effective in telling their lies that many American citizens, voting citizens, apparently STILL believe there was some relationship between Al Queada and Saddam Hussein. The only problem with democracy is that anyone can vote.  Which of course is also its main strength. Yet a huge problem now, in my view, is that our population has become so gullible as a result of ever more sophisticated packaging and canning (ie marketing/pr) that in the absence of a skeptical press (not a polarized press, but a skeptical one), Americans who can’t or won’t educate themselves can STILL vote.
  • And then there’s Afghanistan, which I supported in the beginning, although I thought they should have put more money and special ops personnel into cornering Bin Laden at Bora Bora, which they would have if they hadn’t been set on their Iraq bait and switch. But it’s TEN YEARS LATER, and I recently heard a NY TIMES reporter on NPR ((than God for NPR and the NY TIMES, what’s left of it) that things are worse than ever there. Consider the attack just today on the US embassy there.

I mention all this because, I’ll say it again, WE HAVE NOW SPENT 3.3 TRILLION. Isn’t THIS a HUGE part of the reason we’re now bankrupt?  Are we so lost that rather than speaking the truth about why we’re bankrupt, we have a group of politicians of apparently growing influence proposing (and the people BUYING) that the way out of bankruptcy is to give more money to the richest of us, cut programs that give food to babies, take the people who’ve just gotten health coverage off again, and roll back all the regulatory progress we’ve made in the last fifty years?

THIS will save the country? What country? Do they really think that unregulated corporations interested only in profit will police themselves?  Do they REALLY want to be poisoned by the water, air, food? Or maybe they LIKE the idea of seeing another Triangle Shirt Factory fire?

It’s bad enough that a miserable creature like Ann Coulter can get away with saying on national television that the she’d never seen so many enjoying their husband’s deaths as the 9/11 widows; my guess is she’d actually revel in seeing little girls jump out of windows (as long as they’re liberals jumping).

But my goodness, where are we as a country when they can call a moderate like Obama a SOCIALIST and so many believe it, share it, like it, tweet it?

And when on a nationally televised debate of so-called mainstream Republican candidates, all except one says he (or she) doesn’t believe in climate change or evolutionary science. Which of course, means non-belief in every interconnected branch of science too, from archeology to zoology?

And when on the same debate the moderator asks the leading candidate if we should let a thirty year old uninsured person die because he doesn’t have health care, and the candidate says “Yes.” AND THE AUDIENCE GOES WILD IN SUPPORT.

Well, calling Barack Obama a socialist is truly laughable, but these people are, plain and simple, extremists, and they seem to me to want the country to go back to a time when the people gathered in the town square to watch the hanging. They’re all saying they’re scared of Obama, they want their country back.  Is THIS their country? A country that cheers on the idea of letting a 30 year old die because he doesn’t have or can’t get insurance?

Honestly, we should ALL shudder at the thought of someone like Rick Perry (or Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman) as President. These people, for all their patriotic blathering, don’t even seem to believe in democracy, they seem to support some kind of fundamentalist, anti-intellectual, anti-science theocracy. I’ve been reading Eric Larsen’s book: In the Garden of the Beasts. In Hitler’s Germany, the takeover of a government and a people was gradual and insidious.  Demagogues start by subtly whipping up underlying biases and fears, and then offering easy answers that people cling to to allay those fears. And no one notices the true implication of what’s happening until until it’s too late. This should chill the blood.  Electing some of these people could easily turn us into those who attacked us.

Okay, I’m done now.

McCain/Palin Bizzaro World: What universe/film/book/television show have we entered?

Readers, I’m quite a busy girl these days, so I haven’t had as much time to offer my Bruised Muse musings as regularly as I had been doing.  Today I’m going to cheat a little, and offer a reader’s comment in this space, with only the following as a brief introduction.  People everywhere keep trying to come up with analogies from books and film and television to describe McCain/Palin world. 

I personally feel either I’ve entered “1984,” complete with double think and double speak, or perhaps as if I’m stuck in the room with crazy General Jack Ripper from “Dr. Strangelove” perseverating on those crazy Rooskies and our precious bodily fluids.   Matt Damon feels as if Sarah Palin potentially being President is like a bad Disney movie. On the Huffington Post, Jake Tapper of ABC News compared the whole McCain/Palin campaign to a Saturday Night Live routine.  Gail Collins wonders who the candidate of the week is, and compares whoever he is to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.  Bruised Muse Reader Michael wrote this:

Watching and listening to McCain/Palin reminds me of an old storyline I read as a kid in the Superman comics, of all things. Every once in a while, Superman would go to a planet called Htrae (earth backwards)where all actions and words were opposite of those on earth. Their version of Superman looked more like Frankenstein. What we considered good, they considered bad, and so forth. This planet was called, appropriately, Bizzaro World.

In order to keep a steady, sanity check in the midst of the constant stream of McCain/Palin lies and obvious disingenuousness, combined with the fact that certain people are actually swallowing this garbage, I can only chalk this up to the fact that Bizzaro World exists on our planet and in our country.

Dr. Strangelove.  1984.  Bad Disney Movie. Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Saturday Night Live Skit. Superman Comics Bizzaro World.  Readers, let’s come up with some more bizzaro world analogies.  It won’t change anything, but it’ll make us feel better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McCain/Palin: Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same old thing and expecting a different result.” With polls in recent days actually showing that Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential candidacy may be moving people toward the Republican ticket, I’m beginning to wonder if our whole country has gone insane, or at least half of it, anyway. Could the country actually be on the verge of doing the same thing…again, and expecting a different result? How can even a small proportion of the eighty-two percent of Americans who think the country is going in the wrong direction buy the notion that McCain and Palin are going to take the country in a different direction, when McCain himself has voted with Bush 90% of the time? The only different direction in which McCain and Palin are going to take the country in is even further to the right, with a Vice President-in-waiting who apparently believes that global warming isn’t man made, creationism ought to be taught as science in schools, Iraq is a war from God, and books that don’t conform to her faith-based world view ought to be banned, and who might actually get to BE President, given McCain’s age? Yes, Washington is broken, but it’s not ONLY because of corruption, as McCain keeps saying over and over and over; it’s certainly because of policies, and on that, electing  McCain and Palin is doing the same thing.  Isn’t it insane to expect a different result? 

But it’s even worse than that.  I’m starting to worry about the sanity of the candidate himself.  John McCain has actually been touting the idea that Sarah Palin has foreign policy experience because Alaska is next to Russia.  And Palin, who crammed like a schoolgirl for the now infamous ABC interview with Charlie Gibson, echoed that bizarre absurdity by saying that her foreign policy bonafides include her vision: the fact that she can SEE Russia from Alaska.  Between all this, and  McCain’s perseveration on “We are all Georgians” rhetoric, on peculiar ideas like “Sarah is my soul mate,” and “She’s the most wonderful Vice Presidential candidate in history;” and his impulsive, cynical, irresponsible, politically-motivated pick of this extremist, unvetted, untested Vice Presidential candidate, I feel as if we’ve all landed in the movie Doctor Strangelove, and we’re stuck in the room with General Jack Ripper ranting and perseverating about those Commie Ruskies and our precious bodily fluids. I keep thinking about what a member of McCain’s own party, Thad Cochran, Republican of Mississippi, said once about Mr. McCain, “The thought of his being President send a cold chill up my spine.  He’s erratic, he loses his temper and he worries me.”  Me too, Thad.  Me too. Has anyone actually considered the longterm personality consequences of five years of torture?  Is it possible there’s PTSD here? 

But this isn’t Dr. Strangelove, after all, it’s 1984, and the Republicans seem to have so mastered the art of doublespeak that a sizeable number don’t even realize that we’re being had….again.  When McCain nominated Sarah Palin, I thought surely women, except the true religious right, weren’t going to buy her  just because she was a woman and “one of us?”  We did that already with Bush, who was judged by many as “someone you’d like to have a beer with.”  Are we about to do that again, and get the same result?  I’m sure John McCain is fun and likable in his own way, and Sarah Palin is a lot of fun on a moose-shooting expedition, but why don’t we try something new after eight years, maybe elect someone really smart to the highest office in the land?  After eight years of George Bush, underachiever, do we really want to elect someone who graduated near dead last from Annapolis?  Isn’t that doing the same thing and expecting a different result?  Isn’t that insane?  

I keep asking myself what can be responsible for this vulnerability of Americans to Swift-boat tactics instead of logic and common sense? Why are so many unable to look at a problem and figure out the right solution? Or at least a different solution than the one that hasn’t been working?  Is it a lack of education or critical thinking skills?  Identity politics?  Is that people have no memory? Is it that people can’t prioritize what’s important any more?  Is it that our consumer culture has made us so used to being bombarded with ads and sales pitches that we’re unable to go beyond sound bites and jingoistic phrases? Is it a media that simply isn’t doing its job?  Is it something in the water? Have we gone insane to even think for one moment that we’ll get a different result with McCain and Palin? 

They can call Obama an “elitist” and a “pervert” and whatever else their Rovian minions dream up, but the result will be the same.  While the world moves forward in science, technology, and medicine, we’ll be banning highly promising lines of medical research like stem cells, teaching Adam and Eve as science to our young people, and arguing over irrelevancies, like gay rights, which should be a given in this country. 

While the world burns and terrorists proliferate, to a great degree as a result of OUR policies, we’ll continue with our “tough talk and bad strategy,” to quote Senator Obama. 

While the planet sputters and begins to die, we’ll continue to prop up Petro-dictators in the most repressive, pre-modern, anti-woman countries on earth, countries in which the Church IS the state, and further erode our own separation of church and state in the process.  In the end, we’ll look more like them than they do like us.

While the rest of the world looks on in horror, we’ll continue down our current path, increasing our deficits, mortgaging our and the world’s future, adding to the world’s overpopulation by pushing abstinence only and restricting access to sex education, birth control and abortion, and doing nothing to stop the world from moving toward nuclear catastrophe. 

 

While the signs of global destruction mount all around us, from melting ice in the Artic to wild weather in the Americas, we’ll just continue along the same path we’ve been going for the last eight years, and expect a different result. And the Republicans will continue to live in their fantasy world, insisting that America is still and always will be the world’s “leader,” and calling anyone who would dare speak truth unpatriotic.

 

Bush calls us the “angry left,” but I’m not angry.  I’m horrified that the country has gone insane. I’m grieving. I grieve because we’ll be electing a war monger who will not only keep us in the unnecessary, disgraceful war we’re already in in Iraq, but is going to get us into another war with his bellicose “We are all Georgians” rhetoric. 

 

I grieve for the demise of this country and this planet.  But instead of fighting as we go down, some of us will be chanting insanely “Drill Baby Drill.”  Maybe it’s something in our precious bodily fluids.  Or maybe its in the oil

 

On going green, Tom Friedman calls John McCain “bloody dishonest.”

Yesterday on NPR, in an interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, Tom Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning NYTimes columnist, told it like it is on the absolute necessity to go green. Although I definitely disagreed with him on the lead up to the Iraq war (which I always thought not only incredibly stupid but a strategic and moral catastrophe, and he originally supported), Friedman remains among the most brilliant commentators we have in this country. Friedman ought to be required reading (or listening) for every American. Here are a few memorable (approximated) quotes from that interview that drill down (you should pardon the pun) the problem with electing John McCain:

When I heard Rudi Guiliani lead that crowd (at the Repub convention) in chanting “Drill Baby Drill,” I thought, what planet are these people inhabiting? It’s as if on the eve of the advent of computer technology, the Republicans were out there saying “Let’s stick with the IBM Selectric Typewriter.” Type baby type. Type. Type. Type.

If the Petro-dictators–the leaders of the world’s most repressive, anti-modern, anti-woman regimes like Saudi Arabia, which we’re supporting by our addiction to oil, either foreign OR domestic–were up in the bleachers at that convention, they would have been giving each other high fives! They WANT us to remain focused on fossil fuels.

We ought to be promoting fuels from Heaven (wind, solar, etc) rather than fuels from hell (fossil based)

John McCain, whom I used to respect, has been ‘bloody dishonest.’ He’s making people stupid, and it’s frankly disgusting.

John McCain’s support for lifting the federal gas tax for a summer giveaway was absurd and misleading.

We ought to have 100000 innovators working in 100000 garages.

The current tax and production credits for wind and solar energy expire on December 31. A bill to extend them has been brought up in Congress eight times and John McCain didn’t show up to vote eight times. Obama showed up three times and voted to extend. So now, at this crucial time, the solar and wind innovators in this country are at a dead stop, frozen. Nobody is starting new projects. This makes no sense at all.

President Bush claimed we have an addiction to oil, but do you think he invited all these senators, Republican’s and Democrats, to Camp David and said, “Let’s work it out.” Do you think he lifted one little finger, one pinky to help?

Remember when Ronald Reagan pulled Jimmy Carter’s solar panels off the White House?

When Reagan canceled Carter’s tax credits for wind, Denmark bought the top American wind company and now has the largest wind company in the world.

Now WHICH party and WHICH Candidate are green? George Bush (and John McCain, his twin) don’t want to work it out because the Republican party (of which John McCain is a bonafide member, matter how much they try to distract you with their lipsticked Pitbull and claims of being energy savvy mavericks and change agents), is completely in the pocket of the big oil companies. Make no mistake. The only change they’re going to give you is to move even farther to the right than even George Bush. It’s amazing: Here we have a candidate John McCain who’s made a completely irresponsible pick for Vice President, and in addition has picked just possibly the most anti-green person he could have found. Apparently, in addition to her extremist views on religion, book banning, teaching creationism in school as science, her belief that you can turn gay people straight, and so much else, Sarah Palin also apparently believes global warming isn’t man made. Great. While the rest of the world is moving forward in science and technology and medicine, we’ll be increasing our deficits as Republicans always do; restricting the most promising line of medical research, stem cells; continuing to consume oil at a planet-killing rate; teaching Adam and Eve as science to our young people; arguing over gays; adding to the world’s overpopulation in a resource limited world by pushing abstinence only and restricting access to sex education, birth control and abortion. Now that would be a catastrophe. And the Republicans continue to live in a fantasy world and insist that America is still and always will be the world’s “leader,” and call anyone who would dare speak truth unpatriotic.

To hear the whole Fresh Air interview here’s the link on NPR

Be afraid, people. Be very afraid. Bush calls us the angry left? But I’m not angry, I’m mostly just sad. I grieve for the demise of this country and this planet. But instead of fighting as we go down, some of us will be chanting “Drill Baby Drill.”

Psychologists for TRUTH: Is McCain decompensating?

On this glorious Sunday afternoon, the Bruised Muse would like to follow up on my last post, in which I gave the “Bubblehead of the Year” Award to Cindy McCain for saying that Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives Sarah Palin foreign policy bonafides, and, while I’m at it, respond to Bruised Muse reader Preston, who said, “Completely agree, that was a stupid comment! Have not heard it repeated, so they must’ve told her “don’t go there!”.

Far from telling beautiful Cindy not to go there, the Republicans have made this an ACTUAL TALKING POINT, and we have John McCain himself actually repeating it, as in this interview with Charlie Gibson:

GIBSON: Can you honestly say you feel confident having someone who hasn’t traveled outside the United States until last year, dealing with an insurgent Russia, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror?

MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America’s national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands. Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that.

If Sarah Palin understands that, why doesn’t she sling up that baby and her gun and march back up to Alaska to negotiate with and slay those pesky Rooskies and the moose they’re riding in on, presumably from Cape Dezhnev through the Bering Strait? (And then she can gut and skin and eat the moose too.) Do moose swim? Or is it mooses?

But seriously, Bruised Musers, according to the Introductory Textbook of Psychiatry by Andreason and Black, psychotic disorders are characterized by (among other things) disorganized, derailed speech in which, “The patient tends to skip from topic to topic without warning, to be distracted by events in the environment, to join words together because they are semantically or phonologically alike, even though they make no sense, or to ignore the question asked and answer another.”

Between the disorganized, tangential, illogical speech demonstrated in the Gibson/McCain exchange above; McCain’s constant repetition of irrelevancies and false slogans such as Drill Here and Drill Now (perseveration?); his bizarre switched on/switched off smile (inappropriate affect?); his apparent belief that we’re going to buy him as the “change” agent the country needs (delusion?); his offering of such peculiar comments as “Sarah is my soulmate,” and “She’s best Vice Presidential candidate in history,” (grandiosity?); his bellicose “We are All Georgians” rhetoric (paranoia?); and his obviously impulsive, last minute pick of an extremist, unvetted, unqualified VP, the Bruised Muse is really starting to worry about his sanity.

Senator Barack Obama actually DOES have the right temperament for the Presidency. A more impulsive, bellicose, and erratic man (say Senator John McCain) would surely have lost his temper in the face of the stream of stupidity, bald faced lies, and simplistic nonsense emerging from John McCain and the Republicans.  But Senator Obama laughs amiably and says, with admirably restrained sarcasm, “They must think you’re stupid.”

Delusional is more like it. Good for you, Senator Obama. If I were on the stump right now, my head would be exploding.

I’d like to suggest other psychological types contact me so we can start a group called “Psychologists for Truth.” Now I know Americans don’t like to hear the Truth, and prefer a prettied-up, romanticized version of life, but seriously folks: What are the long term personality consequences of a person enduring torture for five years? As Republican Thad Cochran of Mississippi said, “The thought of McCain being President sends a cold child up my spine.” Me too, Thad. And it’s getting colder by the moment.

Be afraid, reader. Be very afraid. This guy is going to get us into another war.