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From the Civic Commons blog:

The Civic Commons’ tagline is “Turning Talk Into Action.” But how do we even begin to talk about an issue as complex, life-threatening and, frankly, frightening as teen abuse of prescription drugs?

Your Teen Media believes that performance can open up roads to dialogue, making it then possible for parents and teens to explore the topic and progress toward healthy behavior. Courtesy of Your Teen and numerous sponsors, “LEGALLY ADDICTED: Prescription Drug Abuse,” a play from Recovery Resources, will be presented at the Westlake Performing Arts Center in Westlake on Monday, April 15 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm and again at the John Carroll Annex in University Heights on Monday, April 22 also from 7:00pm-8:30pm. (You can see the flyer with the exact address and other information here.) The expectation is that, through performance and a discussion that will be moderated by Kim Wheeler, WKYC News Anchor, we can start a conversation in a little less threatening a way than it otherwise might get started.

Please read the rest of the post, spread the word, share this information with everyone and anyone you think could benefit. It is easy to turn our heads but families and individuals are hurting because of this epidemic. Many thanks to the good people at Your Teen for taking on this topic and helping us learn how we can engage parents and kids and community.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 3:19 pm April 11th, 2013 in arts, Health Care, Mental health, Parenting, Social Issues, Youth | Comments Off 

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Well, when it came to talking Browns. Sort of. You’ll see. Here’s the blurb:

Guest Analyst:  Kevin T. Jacques, Boynton D. Murch Chair in Finance at Baldwin Wallace University—Congress and the President managed to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ but the tax bill for most working Americans is going up.  A deal that raises marginal tax rates on the highest wage earners also allows a payroll tax break to expire, affecting wage earners at all income levels.  Also going up are taxes on business and investors.  Without a deal marginal tax rates would have gone up for most workers. Still looming are new debates over the federal debt ceiling and discretionary spending.

Roundtable:  Michael Heaton, columnist, The Plain Dealer; Jill Miller Zimon, blogger, Writes Like She Talks; Ned Whelan, Whelan Communications.

Fiscal Cliff—the panel continues discussion about the fallout from the fiscal cliff resolution on New Year’s Day.

Browns Seek New Field Management—the new ownership team is shopping for a head coach and a general manager after the house-cleaning that followed the end of another losing season.  Team president Joe Banner is busy interviewing head coach candidates, including University of Oregon’s successful coach Chip Kelly and Ken Whisenhunt, who once lead the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl.

Armed Teachers? Hundreds of Ohio teachers signed up for firearms training in the wake of the latest deadly school shooting that took 26 lives in Newtown, CT.  The gun owners’ advocacy group Buckeye Firearms Association offered free training for teachers and administrators, with the first class expected in the spring. The Association’s president says interest has exceeded expectations.

On the Way Out for Good—The Plain Dealer’s Minister of Culture, Michael Heaton, writes that many cultural icons are headed for the ash heap of history.  Among utilitarian items on their way out are wristwatches, replaced by a multitude of tools that tell time; alarm clocks, made redundant by cell phones that have built-in alarm functions and the local post office, a business model that’s quickly fading in a digital world.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:00 pm January 4th, 2013 in Congress, guns, Jill Miller Zimon, Media, Mental health | 4 Comments 

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No shortage of coverage, thank goodness, of the life and death of Betty Ford, former First Lady to Gerald Ford’s president, 1974-1977Spiro Agnew’s resignation and Richard Nixon’s resignation were seminal political events in my life, very much as Gerald Ford, the pardon of Nixon and Chevy Chases’ Ford-inspired pratfalls were too.

I’m devouring everything that’s being published about Mrs. Ford and I hope I can find this 1987 telepic in which one of my favorite actresses, Gena Rowlands, plays Mrs. Ford and won an Emmy for it.  Here’s a few less conventional items you may not have read yet regarding Betty Ford and her contributions to this country and our lives:

A Slideshow of Betty Ford’s life

CBS Sunday Morning tribute to her, in video, from this morning

Biography from the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio

Betty Ford Biography from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:24 pm July 10th, 2011 in leadership, Mental health, Politics, RIP, Women | 2 Comments 

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Thank you to a fairly regular commenter at The Moderate Voice for linking to this New York Times article, “A Fate That Narcissists Will Hate: Being Ignored,” on the elimination of Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the upcoming DSM revision.  It’s a very well-written article that crystalizes the key differences between people who have a lot of self-love and those who are clinically ensconced in themselves. An excerpt:

The central requirement for N.P.D. is a special kind of self-absorption: a grandiose sense of self, a serious miscalculation of one’s abilities and potential that is often accompanied by fantasies of greatness. It is the difference between two high school baseball players of moderate ability: one is absolutely convinced he’ll be a major-league player, the other is hoping for a college scholarship.

The second requirement for N.P.D.: since the narcissist is so convinced of his high station (most are men), he automatically expects that others will recognize his superior qualities and will tell him so. This is often referred to as “mirroring.” It’s not enough that he knows he’s great. Others must confirm it as well, and they must do so in the spirit of “vote early, and vote often.”

Finally, the narcissist, who longs for the approval and admiration of others, is often clueless about how things look from someone else’s perspective. Narcissists are very sensitive to being overlooked or slighted in the smallest fashion, but they often fail to recognize when they are doing it to others.

Sigh.  Maybe the Me Decade is coming back.

See also: Sarah Palin Benefits from Insatiable Narcissism, When Will We?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:37 pm November 30th, 2010 in Illness, Mental health, Politics, Sarah Palin | Comments Off 

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Because Sarah Palin believes that the threat of her running for president is that scary.

From Politico:

Sarah Palin took the media and even President Barack Obama to task Thursday in a Thanksgiving message posted online.

Palin’s Facebook statement served as both a warning shot to the media and to the White House. She has made it clear in the Past several weeks that she is considering running for president, telling ABC that she could defeat Obama. [emphasis added]

The gist of Palin’s memo was that the media should apply even standards to candidates and their slip-ups.

So – if I’m reading this right, Sarah Palin is warning us about how the price to be paid, if the media and others do not apply standards evenly to all candidates on their slip-ups, is that she’ll become a presidential candidate. And that that “sanction” should frighten us enough to apply even standards, or else…she’ll run.

This means that, now, even she is buying how scary she is. Maybe we’re making some progress, except I suspect that as with so many words in the English language, she just doesn’t define them the same way most people do.

Of course, the reality is that it doesn’t matter if everyone on the left and the right and in between write about this person every waking moment of every day.  Sarah Palin is a world-class narcissist and her need for attention will never be satiated, neh-ver ever ever.  As in – at no such time as will ever exist in any dimension.

To boot, she is a person who trusts no one except possibly but not even necessarily those who espouse precisely what she does.  Who within her circle who has influence on her deviates from her preferences?  This nearly 8,000 word piece from last week’s New York Times magazine sure doesn’t seem to indicate that there’s anyone. And she spends day in and day out defending her paranoia and deflecting criticism in anyway she can.  For more understanding of what her behaviors tell us about her, read this.

And now, if you believe Politico’s take, she wants us to behave the way she thinks we should behave by virtue of the power she believes exists in the threat that she may run for president?

This takes fearmongering to a whole new level.

Hattip to Joanne Bamberger.

Other worthwile and provocative reading on this subject from Addie Stan and Elizabeth Wurtzel.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:26 pm November 26th, 2010 in Mental health, Politics, Sarah Palin | 6 Comments 

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Local station WKYC has coverage here (thank you Kim Wendel for the link). Read about it in post 1 and post 2 at Ohio Daily Blog or at Plunderbund, whose post notes very poignantly, “What makes this particularly sickening is that nearby Mentor High School has had four kids in the last two years commit suicide after being bullied.”

Pam’s House Blend wrote about it here and our own Earl Pike recommended this action on Facebook:

PLEASE TAKE ACTION, AND SPREAD THE WORD: Make a call, now. The superintendent of the Willoughby-Eastlake School is Dr. Keith Miller, Ph.D. His email is The rest of the administration’s contact information can be found here: Folks have shared some other tips on my FB wall; go there to learn more, and to share what you’re doing.

If you blog, please blog it. If you tweet, please tweet it. And whether you blog or tweet, please sign this petition.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:29 pm October 18th, 2010 in activism, intolerance, Mental health, Ohio, Social Issues, Youth | Comments Off 

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The Ohio Supreme Court handed down a decision today in McFee v. Nursing Care Management of America, Inc. that holds that, “…it’s not gender discrimination for employers to require a minimum tenure for employees to take an extended leave for any purpose, pregnancy included.” (See this Columbus Dispatch blog post.)

What’s the problem?

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said [that the ruling punishes] working women for having children.

“This is appalling,” Copeland said. “We should be having policies in place that allow people to have children and not lose their jobs because they choose to have a child. This illustrates a major hole in Ohio law – there is no protection for women in this type of situation.”

As for employers’ ability to not support working women:

R.C. Chapter 4112 does not require employers to provide pregnancy/maternity leave when it provides no other leave or to waive or ignore minimum-length-of-service eligibility requirements for obtaining a leave of absence when an employee requests pregnancy/maternity leave.

So this is where I see the separation of women who support women wheat from women who say they support women but don’t really support women chaff: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:45 pm June 23rd, 2010 in Abortion, Business, conservatives, democracy, Economy, Education, employment, Gender, Government, Health Care, intolerance, Law, leadership, Media, Mental health, Ohio, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Sexism, Social Issues, Women, Youth | 2 Comments 

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Take a look at the Plain Dealer’s Metro section today, page B3.  Here are the headlines:

North Ridgeville teen guilty of killing of sex abuser

Brooklyn ex-mayor pleads not guilty in 2008 case [charges involve assaulting a woman at City Hall while the ex-mayor was drunk]

Couple: Boy found beaten, tied to table

Crash: Community staggered by teenagers’ deaths [car crash involving 3 teens including one - who crashed into a car pulling out of  a driveway - who has admitted driving with a broken speedometer on a classic Mustang]

Then read this obituary of Alice Miller and this account of her work at Alice Miller, Child Abuse and Mistreatment. It’s not just what makes it to B3.

What are people thinking?

Devastating. Just absolutely tears rolling down my cheeks red with anger devastating.

We have failed to inculcate that there were laws to protect animals before there were laws to protect kids and that being a parent involves undertaking the single most grave responsibility there is in this life: raising another human being.

*TO BE CLEAR: It’s not the PD’s fault that people are committing these acts.  Yes, they choose the news we end up reading, but “but for” people being behind these acts, there wouldn’t be any of this to report.  Frankly, if I thought it would keep one person from hurting another and protect one person from being hurt, I’d tell the PD to fill an entire day’s edition full of these stories until people rid themselves of every tool of anger, rage, intolerance and lack of a conscience.  If we don’t trust that we can make an argument with words to persuade others, I refuse to accept that using violence will reach any preferable result.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:26 am April 30th, 2010 in Civil Rights, Crime, Culture, Education, Ethics, Health Care, Illness, intolerance, Law, leadership, Mental health, Parenting, peace, Sexism, Social Issues, Women, Youth | 1 Comment 

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I’m kind of into the Jewish guilt shaming thing that says that just by writing about how absurd and erroneous Ohio GOP Kevin DeWine’s statements about Ohio Lt. Governor pick Yvette McGee Brown are, he’ll realize the error of his ways and correct himself.

But doing it this way, courtesy of Jennifer Brunner, has its advantages too, especially the part wherein the Ohio chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (a group I belonged to for several years) chastises the insulting nature of DeWine’s attempting critique of Brown:

In a statement, the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers recently said: “ … Mr. DeWine used the title ‘social worker’ in an attempt to discredit Judge Brown’s competence for the position of Lieutenant Governor. In doing so, Mr. DeWine demeaned the profession by declaring social workers unfit for public service.”

“For over 100 years, social workers have been active in shaping public policy at the local, state, and federal government levels. Social workers are qualified to hold public positions through their training and experience,” the Ohio NASW said.

But yeah – look how lowly social workers are – can you believe they ascribe to these things? Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:59 pm January 21st, 2010 in Campaigning, Elections, Government, intolerance, Jennifer Brunner, leadership, Mental health, Ohio, Politics, Social Issues | 1 Comment 

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This is getting really embarrassing – it’s almost like people who continue to insist that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had something to do with 9/11 (he didn’t).  I’d urge Kevin DeWine to research the concept of projection before he makes a third public slur against the social work profession. (Ohio Secretary of State and Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Senate, Jennifer Brunner, has asked for an apology.)

Here’s DeWine’s latest attempt to offend, demean and diminish mental health professionals, from the Dayton Daily News:

[Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's choice of Yvette McGee Brown, who is NOT a social worker] didn’t impress state Republican Chairman Kevin who used a press release to blast Strickland’s “sinking ship.”

“He might need a social worker to counsel him through that failure, but Ohio needs a governor with the backbone and experience to make bold, visionary choices,” said DeWine.

Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:12 am January 20th, 2010 in Campaigning, Elections, intolerance, Mental health, Ohio, Politics, Republicans | 5 Comments 

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No one gets away with dissing social workers and me not blogging about it. Thank you, Modern Esquire, for the heads up.  The fact that I’m also a lawyer and an elected official just further incenses me over this incident that exposes enormous ignorance on the part of the Ohio Republican Party Chair, Kevin DeWine.

According to an item by Bill Hershey (one of my all-time favorite Ohio newspeople), DeWine appears to harbor unpacked anger toward people in the mental health professions who are also lawyers and elected Franklin County judges, though not actually social workers, even though he seems to think they are, and African-American and female and under 50: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:01 am January 19th, 2010 in Announcements, Courts, Culture, Flip, Gender, Government, Health Care, Law, leadership, Mental health, Ohio, Politics, Republicans, Sexism, Social Issues, Ted Strickland, Women | 9 Comments 

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See – these are the stories that I dread, that other women who are unhappy with the new guideline recommendation about breast cancer screening dread.  That, under the new recommendations, a 30 year old woman will either not perform self-breast examinations and therefore have something with which they can go to a doctor and ask for more screening, or that if they ignore the new guidelines (which argue against self-examination) and go ahead and do self exams, that when they then go to their doctors and ask for the screening, the doctor will require some ridiculous threshold before he or she will approve or recommend the screening. And that even then, the woman’s insurance won’t cover it since the guidelines say that it’s imperfect and not recommended for women under 50.

That passivity will be approved and routine.  That women will not trust themselves to know their body, that they will not bother because the system does not want to bother – because the system is so concerned about the harm of anxiety and over-biopsying.

I’ve read the guidelines, the reports and the very carefully worded explanations written by women I trust and admire.

But I am trusting my instinct on this and I am telling you – disapproving of self breast-examination and suggesting that women will have to walk in with such a threshold of concern for what they’re feeling about their body absolutely makes me irate at the thought of what a set back this is for women – for humans, for patients – to be in control of their health.

And the utter disregard for the human toll these illnesses take on everyone around the one diagnosed with the breast cancer.

Anxiety sucks. I’ve been there done that for years with shadows on films and MRIs that required additional testing.  And while I have a “family history” we don’t have the gene.  My Gale score isn’t high enough to get me into most clinical trials.

From the New York Times:

While many women do not think a screening test can be harmful, medical experts say the risks are real. A test can trigger unnecessary further tests, like biopsies, that can create extreme anxiety. And mammograms can find cancers that grow so slowly that they never would be noticed in a woman’s lifetime, resulting in unnecessary treatment.

Over all, the report says, the modest benefit of mammograms — reducing the breast cancer death rate by 15 percent — must be weighed against the harms.

Screening in the 40-49 decade results in a 15% reduction in fatalities? I’ll take that over reducing the harm of anxiety and overbiopsying anyday.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:52 pm November 19th, 2009 in Culture, Ethics, Gender, Health Care, Illness, leadership, Mental health, Politics, Research, Science, Sexism, Social Issues, Women | 5 Comments 

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I haven’t blogged about the health care debate much.  I’ve been watching it go by on Twitter, I caught some on cable news last night, I hear it on the radio and read it in the paper.  I even liveblogged it while President Obama was in Shaker Heights. It’s nearly impossible to avoid it, to be honest.  

But this evening, the radio had what I think is the most relevant information for right now: a report on NPR called, “Separating Fact From Fiction In Health Care Debate.” The piece centers around the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact operation and this key finding:

“…much of the dialogue is being set by the critics who are making some very strong claims about this, and when we check them out, we find that many of them are exaggerated or completely false,” he says.

Both the NPR piece and the PolitiFact website cover the extent of the false assertions and also point out where claims made by proponents, including President Obama, are also wrong.

One of the most egregious errors is the critics’ claim that abortions will be funded.  And the prime critic is none other than Ohio’s own John Boehner, Republican representative (OH-8) and House Minority Leader. Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:09 pm August 7th, 2009 in Barack Obama, Congress, democracy, Economy, Government, Health Care, Illness, leadership, Media, Mental health, Ohio, Politics, Social Issues, social media | 5 Comments 

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how little first-hand experience I have with meeting, listening to or learning from individuals who’ve dedicated significant portions of their life to military service.  So it was ironic to me that the Plain Dealer’s foreign-affairs columnist and editorial page associate editor, Elizabeth Sullivan’s column yesterday seemed to specifically address the need for people like me to engage with military personnel, in some way, at some level.

From her column:

Today, with all the bumper stickers for the troops and the atta-boys, with all the honor guards and huge community outpourings of grief when our military personnel don’t make it back alive, why is combat stress and PTSD as high — maybe even higher — than it was in the Vietnam era? Why are suicides the newest cause of death for our fighting men and women?

Could it be that, despite the atta-boys, most of us still don’t know how to speak of war, or listen or understand what it means to go to a war that is so remote, so “over there?” Is combat in Iraq and Afghanistan so beyond the ken of most of us as to become invisible?

I could not agree more with this notion that we lack the language to understand.  I remember having this exact same flash just after 9/11, when newscasters and commentators kept referring to the attack as indescribable. Why? In part because we in America had no language for it – for what happened, for the impact, for the reactions.  Countries that have endured terrorism and civil war have lexicons to match.  We didn’t.

So this notion of not having the language to deploy to try and engage now too really resonates with me.  As a result of reading Sullivan’s column, I spent an even longer time than usual with a particular neighbor at a local pool party today.  Her son will be in his final year at West Point in the fall.  And we talked a lot about the mindset and how difficult it can be to understand.

I don’t know a thing about the literature that exists to help people like myself understand what it means to be of a mind that prepares for military service, but I’ll take all suggestions, because, as Sullivan concludes:

Remembrance is not just about decorating the graves and flying the flag. It’s also about engagement with today’s fighting forces. It’s about paying attention to the details of the wars they’re fighting, and it’s also about listening. Just listening could mean a lot.

WCPN broadcast a wonderful first chance for listening this morning:

When soldiers return home from war, many cope with the aftermath of traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress. But it’s not just the soldier who suffers, parents, especially mothers, who have given up everything — their jobs, retirement savings, and plans for the future – often step in and care for their wounded children. On Memorial Day, we share a Public Radio Exchange program Picking Up the Pieces. 

You can read more here. The program this morning was excellent, and involved just listening.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:24 pm May 25th, 2009 in Foreign Affairs, Mental health, Military, war, WCPN/SOI | 11 Comments 

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The Assistant Majority Whip for the West Virginia House of Delegates, Jeff Eldridge (D-Lincoln), is simultaneously seeking to legalize “the emerging full-contact – and often bloody – sport of mixed martial arts” while also pushing to make it “unlawful to sell Barbie and similar dolls ‘that promote or influence girls to place an undue importance on physical beauty to the detriment of their intellectual and emotional development.’” 

The background:

From an article in The Charleston Daily Mail, which also describes in great detail Eldridge’s upbringing and history with fighting:

[Eldridge's] knack for and interest in competitive fighting has led Eldridge to introduce legislation that would allow mixed marital arts events in West Virginia.

In recent years, boxing has dropped in popularity, but the emerging full-contact – and often bloody – sport of mixed martial arts is gaining more fans.

Mixed martial arts is a one-on-one combat sport that allows various fighting techniques, from striking to grappling.

Kicking, punching, wrestling, kneeing, elbowing, slamming, twisting – it’s all allowed. Winners are determined by knockout, submission or referee’s decision.

The sport has come a long way since the 1990s, when U.S. Sen. John McCain dubbed it, “human cockfighting.”

“To my knowledge, no one has died in the UFC,” Eldridge said “There’s a referee and doctors on the scene. It’s professional.

“It’s aggressive, but I’ve seen bad fights in a game of marbles, too.”

Okay – take a deep breadth.  Because, although Eldridge has seen bad fights in a game of marbles too, and still wants to legalize mixed martial arts? He’s got his rationale for banning Barbie all worked out:

House Bill 2918 [a bill "relating to banning the sale of "Barbie" dolls and other dolls that influence girls to be beautiful], introduced Tuesday, would make it unlawful to sell Barbie and similar dolls “that promote or influence girls to place an undue importance on physical beauty to the detriment of their intellectual and emotional development.”

“That’s the image out there that’s the most impressionable on our younger children, especially our little girls — ‘I want to be like Barbie,’” said the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Jeff Eldridge, D-Lincoln. “If we had that other image of Barbie being smart, and beautiful as well, I think that would be a great image to send to our young kids. ”

If the bill makes any headway in the Legislature, West Virginia’s government would not be the first to try to block Barbie from store shelves. Iran has tried to ban Barbie dolls in the past, in large part because of how they are dressed.

He is concerned about what could hurt girls’ self-images and said not all the blame should go to Barbie. There also is the image that parents and other family members or adults pass on to young girls that “You’re beautiful” or “You’re a princess,” instead of integrating images of both beauty and intelligence, he said.

The article says Mattel has yet to comment.

Did I mention that one of the committees to which he’s assigned is a Committee on Children, Juveniles and Other Issues?

Did I mention that the W.Va. House of Delegates has 100 members20 of whom are women?

Did I mention that Barbie’s official birthday, her 50th this year, is March 9? (Listen here to a great Diane Rehm show from Monday in which the panel debates the merits and demerits of Barbie.)

Did I mention that Barbie dolls and mixed martial arts are legal in Ohio? Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:53 pm March 4th, 2009 in Culture, Gender, Law, Marketing, Media, Mental health, Ohio, Politics, Sexism, Social Issues, Sports, Statehouse, Women, Youth | 8 Comments 

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I’m really unsure as to why National Geographic, or any peer-reviewed journal, would publish the results of a study that involved only 16 subjects, but I haven’t been in the bona fide research business for several years.

From the article, “Bullies’ Brains Light Up With Pleasure as People Squirm”:

In the study, Lahey and his colleagues looked at brain activity of eight 16- to 18-year-old boys with histories of lying, stealing, committing vandalism, and bullying.

These eight boys, who suffer what’s clinically known as aggressive conduct disorder, were compared to a group of adolescent boys with no such histories.

The bullying group was shown a series of brief videos that depict painful situations—some accidental, such as a hammer dropped on a toe; others intentional, such as a piano lid closed on a player’s fingers.

In addition to revealing activity in pleasure- and pain-related areas of the brain, the scans also showed that a portion of the brain that helps regulate emotion is inactive in bullies.

In other words, bullies lack a mechanism to keep themselves in check when, for example, a kid accidentally bumps them in the lunch line.

The results are somewhat sensational and, I would argue, not surprising, if you are at all familiar with having to deal with bullies, yourself or via your kids or others you know.  Having performed mental health assessments and amenability reviews on juveniles alledged to have committed acts of delinquincy or crime, I’ve met kids who absolutely do get pleasure from other people’s pain and have shown no emotion.

Still, I would be extremely cautious about drawing any kind of conclusions from a study of just 16 teen boys.  I’m very curious to understand how the journal justifies publishing the findings at this point.

This ABC News item has more details of the study.

Hattip Blogesque tweet.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:05 pm November 10th, 2008 in Mental health, Parenting, Research, Science, Youth | 2 Comments 

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I’ve been framing the campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin as one that projects its own worst characteristics onto the opponent for a while now, most specifically in this post from over a week ago,
“Projecting “unknown quantity” meme from McCain/Palin campaign shows weakness.”

Nora Ephron, at Huffington Post, seems to like the concept too:

[John McCain] gave the game away in his first answer when, in talking about the economy, he said that Americans were angry. But Americans aren’t angry, they’re poleaxed. They’re terrified. They’re afraid they’re going to lose their jobs or their homes or their pensions. They’re worried they won’t be able to send their kids to college. If John McCain thinks they’re angry, it’s either because he’s projecting, or else he’s simply been going to too many of his own rallies.

I observed something just like that during the live-blog last night, too.  Also, last night, Terry Gross aired an interview on Fresh Air with Anchorage Daily News columnist Michael Carey.  And during the conversation, particularly in the context of Todd Palin’s role in the Alaska governor’s office, he talks about the lack of boundaries Sarah Palin has between the personal and the professional.

If I were giving a mental status exam for the two campaigns, naming the healthier one would not be difficult.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 1:24 pm October 16th, 2008 in Campaigning, John McCain, Mental health, Politics, Sarah Palin, WH2008 | 1 Comment 

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I’ve been following the conversations about Barack Obama’s statements regarding late term abortion and mental health exceptions at the following blogs among others:

Mahablog (where I was banned – you can read the thread, and read her comment policy and decide for yourself)



And I wrote about it here, here and here.

I stand by my assertions that degrading the seriousness with which the concept of “mental health” is regarded is a matter of the great importance to me (though it is not a one-issue issue for me – no issue is or else who could I vote for?).  So Obama’s explanations (original and clarification) are less than okay to me.  And, for comparison’s sake, he’s shown care in discussing race and patriotism. So why not the same when responding to a question about abortion and citing the loaded phrase, “mental distress”? I will never get that, beyond the expediency, given that he was speaking with a Christian magazine.  It was too brief and obvious a target that didn’t have to be.

But regardless of my dissatisfaction from the mental health angle, from the abortion angle, I’d like to offer this information from a pdf I linked to last year (a post which, just to demonstrate my consistent focus on the mental health piece far more than the abortion piece, was titled, “Anti-abortion advocate degrades & demeans mental health issues in pregnant women”).

The pdf is a collection of statistics from Kansas, the only state that was collecting data about partial birth procedures. It shows that in 1999, 182 partial birth procedures were reported to have been performed in KS and that in all those instances, the physicians indicated that the major bodily function that would have been impaired if the procedure was’t performed was mental, not physical.

How many is 182?  Out of all abortions?  Well, the numbers aren’t really there to know for sure, but here are some numbers for perspective:

The best estimate [of how many partial birth procedures are performed annually] appears to be by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute in New York, which researches reproductive health issues. In 2000, the last time it studied the question, the institute estimated there were 1.31 million abortions performed in the United States each year. Of that total, about 2,200, or 0.17 percent, were by “intact dilation and extraction,” which is the medical term for the same procedure [partial birth procedure].

To be willing to throw the definition of mental illness or disease under the bus, or at least make it murkier than it already is, in order to side against reproductive rights on an extremely rarely performed procedure and maybe gain a few conservative votes is the kind of thing makes the phrase, “It will come back to haunt us” play over and over.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:01 am July 13th, 2008 in Abortion, Barack Obama, Blogging, Campaigning, Courts, Culture, Debates, Elections, Gender, Government, Health Care, Illness, Law, Mental health, Parenting, Politics, Social Issues, WH2008, Women | 9 Comments 

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From the New York Post:

The helping hand Esmin Green didn’t get in life from New York City, she’ll be getting in death.Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday that the city would pick up the funeral expenses of the 49-year-old Brooklynite, who was left to die on the waiting-room floor of Kings County Hospital’s psychiatric emergency room on June 19.

The mayor also said developer Forest City Ratner had agreed to pay to fly Green’s relatives here from Jamaica and back, and to fly the body there.

What’s the Forest City and/or Ratner connection? I can’t say definitively – I couldn’t find a statement from the company (Forest City Ratner is the NY branch of Forest City) but here’s an article, “New Health Care Facilities Planned in NY,” from less than two weeks ago that outlines, then details myriad construction projects connected to health care service in NYC.  One of the projects is being constructed by Forest City Ratner:

Construction is under way at Forest City Ratner and architect Frank Gehry’s new 76-story mixed-use residential tower at 8 Spruce St., on a former parking lot owned by New York Downtown Hospital. When completed, the 1.1 million-square-foot tower will house 903 market-rate apartments, a 100,000-square-foot public school, 13,000 square feet of retail, 26,000 square feet of below-grade parking for 175 cars, and a much-needed health care component – a 21,000-square-foot ambulatory care center to be used as doctors’ offices to service the business and residential community. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

Hopefully, a statement from the company will be forthcoming as to what moved them to make this gesture.If you are not familiar with the case of Esmin Green, you may be sorry that you now are, because, in a world of tragic stories, this one is beyond the pale, even as it is being considered to be less surprising than we might imagine. My blogging friend and health care maven, Catherine Morgan, wrote an excellent post about the case here.  She links to the video of Ms. Green falling out of her waiting room chair and being ignored, then kicked to see if alive and then tended to. This Gothamist post provides additional video coverage.

On a related tangent, some people are up in arms over and other people are poopooing the significance of Barack Obama’s reference to mental distress as not rising to the level of physical health exceptions for late term abortions.  Even if that position is tenable, the fact remains: the downgrading of the seriousness of mental health issues continues to lead to second citizen or less treatment and attention, whether we’re talking reproductive rights, gun rights or veterans.

Add to the list of “national discussions” that we must have, like racism (I second, third and fourth the references in the links I’ve used in this post that connect how, as a woman, a black woman, a poor black woman and a mentally in need of help poor black woman, we utterly, completely and shamelessly failed Esmin Green, as well as others like her, daily) and sexism, and add mental health.

Update: Looks like I’m not the only one wondering why Forest City Ratner would be involved in covering costs.

Also, the Jamaica Observer has a lengthy piece on the people whose lives intertwined with Esmin Green.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 3:20 pm July 5th, 2008 in Civil Rights, Courts, Crime, Government, Health Care, leadership, Mental health, Politics, Social Issues, Women | 5 Comments 

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Hmm, you know – it’s really hard to get excited about $18,000 to a foodbank in Ohio when they’re giving $400 million to Rush Limbaugh.

Here’s a bit about the giving side of Clear Channel and here’s a list of what it’s done in Ohio.

Anyone with primary experience: am I being too harsh? Or not harsh enough?

Here’s a list of what they own in every state, including Ohio. For Cleveland:


Phew – I only have to re-set two pre-sets.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:02 am July 3rd, 2008 in Business, Debates, Media, Mental health, Music, Ohio, Politics, Social Issues | 12 Comments 

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