Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Poem: The Crows

The Crows

The eyes
as eyes of a crow.

Such images
heal themselves
in our blood.

Night descends
with the voice
of silence,

And we
are left here
seeking names.

But this night
heals no thing
in its grasp.

is a promise
without end.

The eyes
of crows
watch us dance.

Like puppets
we dangle
at the end of strings.

Gratitude 10/20/07

I had dinner tonight with Kira, my ex. Aside from some work related stuff (we both work for the same people sometimes, and even on the same projects), we haven't really talked since she ended our relationship. But we ran into each other at the IFS conference a couple of weeks ago and agreed to get together and clear the air a bit.

I'm glad we did.

It's hard to admit what an ass I was sometimes, and the ways in which I failed her in our relationship. But I'm grateful to her for the time we shared, for all that I learned in our time together, and for her willingness to get together tonight.

It's easy to say I should have done one thing, or not done another -- all the shoulds that echo in our heads from time to time. But it happened as it did. I can no more change things now than I can flap my arms and fly to the moon.

One of the hard parts of life is making mistakes. But one of the gifts of life is that we can choose to learn from those mistakes so that we can become healthier, better people. I think we each have done that in our own way.

I'm amazed by the amount of inner work she has done over the last year. I'm equally impressed -- looking back -- at how much I have grown in the last year as well. The ironic thing is that we both credit Internal Family Systems Therapy (parts work) for much of that growth.

Anyway, tonight I am grateful for a nice dinner with Kira.

What are you grateful for tonight?

Fitness News You Can Use

From Exercise Etc.

October 15, 2007
Exercise ETC's Review of Exercise Related Research

Compiled by Chris Marino, MS, CSCS
Director of Education, Exercise ETC

Creatine Supplementation Increases Muscle Mass in Older Adults

"Sarcopenia" is to muscle as "osteoporosis" is to bone. The age-associated decline in muscle mass becomes pathological when it reaches 2 standard deviations below the average peak muscle mass that is attained at around the age of 30. It’s estimated that functional impairment due to sarcopenia affects a quarter of adults over age 75.

Although resistance exercise is the best method for increasing lean mass across all age groups, gains in lean mass are dependent on hormones, such as testosterone, which facilitate anabolic activity. Levels of anabolic hormones are substantially lower in older adults than in younger adults, thereby delaying increases in muscle hypertrophy that would occur with resistance exercise alone. Due to the urgency presented by conditions such as sarcopenia, researchers are seeking alternative ways to augment the effects of resistance exercise on muscle hypertrophy in older adults. Creatine may be one such alternative.

A recent study assessed whether creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid would increase lean body mass, decrease fat mass, and increase strength when used in combination with resistance exercise in older adults. Thirty-nine men and women between the ages of 65 and 85 participated in 6 months of resistance training while supplementing with creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid. Researchers measured muscle strength & endurance, a variety of performance-based tasks, body composition and other markers.

The results were positive. Although resistance exercise alone improved functional capacity and strength, greater improvement in endurance, strength and lean mass as well as lower fat mass, were observed in the creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid group. In this study, the combination of creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid did effectively augment the increase in lean mass associated with resistance exercise.

It's important to note that this is the first known study to evaluate use of creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid along with resistance exercise in the older adult population, and that further studies should be published before any recommendations can be made to the public. As always, fitness professionals should use caution before recommending nutrition supplements to clients, and any client wanting to use any supplement should be advised to speak with a registered dietitian or a physician first.

Tarnopolsky, M. (2007) Creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid improve strength and body composition following resistance exercise in older adults. PLoS ONE. 2(10): 991.

Can Static Stretching Actually Improve Performance?

Static stretching has become quite controversial in performance training over the past decade. Research has reported that there are no apparent injury reduction benefits for pre-exercise stretching and some speculate that static stretching could actually increase injuries in sports that are explosive in nature because of decreased force potential in a muscle that's been stretched for as little as 15 seconds. Interestingly, a recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise now suggests that de-conditioned populations may experience performance gains with static stretching alone.

Thirty-eight participants were randomly assigned to stretching and control groups. The stretching group participated in lower-extremity static stretching 3 days per week for 40-minutes over 10 weeks. No other exercise activities were permitting during this period. Researchers assessed flexibility, explosive power via 20-meter sprint, standing long jump and vertical jump, strength via 1RM testing for knee flexion and extension, and strength endurance via total repetitions at 60% 1RM in knee flexion and extension.

Although flexibility did improve 18% over the course of the study, what surprised researchers was the significant increase in performance measures. Among tests of power, standing long jump, vertical jump, and 20-meter sprint participants all improved. Strength improved 15.3% for knee flexion and 32.4% for knee extension, whereas knee flexion endurance and knee extension endurance increased 30.4% and 28.5%, respectively. Controls showed no improvement in any of the variables assessed.

The results of this study indicate that static stretching might benefit individuals who are not capable of participating in a traditional exercise program. This may explain some of the perceived strength benefits attained when a deconditioned individual starts a yoga program. Athletes and other well-conditioned populations are not expected to see similar benefits.

Kokkonen, J. et al (2007) Chronic static stretching improves exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 39(10): 1825-31.

Is Soy Protein As Effective as Whey Protein?

The combination of resistance exercise and adequate protein intake is essential for increasing lean body mass. Although optimal protein sources are derived from whole foods, supplemental protein is popular because it is convenient and effective in providing the essential amino acids necessary for building muscle. Supplemental proteins are typically divided into two categories: soy products and milk-based (whey and casein).

Soy foods contain phytoestrogens or isoflavones, which are found to both promote and inhibit estrogenic activity. This may deter individuals from using soy-based proteins because an increase in estrogen results in reduced testosterone production. Milk proteins contain a greater number of BCAA (branch-chain amino acids) when compared to soy. BCAA’s, including leucine, isoleucine and valine have been found to have important properties in muscle hypertrophy. Unfortunately, research directly comparing the two types of protein and their effects on hypertrophy is lacking... until now.

Researchers had twenty participants ingest 50g of either Soy concentrate, Soy isolate, Soy Isolate with Whey Blend, or a Whey Blend only while on a 12-week resistance training program. Twenty-five grams were taken with 10-12 oz of water within 1 hour of resistance training. An additional 25g was ingested later during the day. Pre- and post-measures of body composition, testosterone, estradiol, and SHBG in addition to total cholesterol, LDL, and glucose were evaluated.

Interestingly, all protein sources were equally effective at increasing lean body mass. The testosterone/estradiol ratio was increased in all groups while estradiol decreased. The greatest increase in testosterone/estradiol was found in the soy isolate + whey blend group, while estradiol was lowest in the whey blend group.

In actuality, most manufacturers use a combination of milk and soy-based proteins in their products. The researchers speculate that reductions in testosterone as a result of soy proteins may be dose dependent and that the smaller amounts in mixed protein powders is not sufficient to cause androgens to decline. There was no decline in testosterone in any of the groups in this study.

It's important to note that the sponsors of this study included The Solae Company, which is a major manufacturer of Soy-based products. The impact of their contribution to the published results cannot be ascertained.

Kalman, D. et al (2007) Effect of protein source and resistance training on body composition and sex hormones. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 4(1): 4

Low Bone Mass Common in Women Runners

Weight-bearing activities are known to promote increased bone mineral density (BMD), especially in women under 30. Therefore, it would be logical to conclude that the impact-nature of running would improve BMD. A recent study, however, found that intercollegiate female runners have the lowest bone mineral density (BMD) than athletes in other sports.

Researchers at Michigan State University collected data from 99 female NCAA division 1 athletes in 12 sports and compared BMD values controlling for body mass and menstrual dysfunction. Compared to all other sports, runners had lower total BMD and BMD at the pelvis and lumbar spine. Although not significantly different from runners, swimmers presented with lowest BMD in the legs.

If running is an intense weight-bearing activity that should increase BMD, what factors are voiding the projected gains? The researchers speculate that calorie intakes in female runners may be insufficient relative to the costs of higher volumes of training. They also cite the possibility of a high incidence of eating disorders and low calcium intake in long-distance runners.

The results of this study should encourage athletic trainers to be aware of the concerns for stress fractures and bone injuries in this population. Coaches and parents should address psycho-social factors that are contributing to undereating while emphasizing the need to prevent osteoporosis in youth.

Mudd, L.M., et al (2007) Bone Mineral Density in Collegiate Female Athletes: Comparisons among Sports. Journal of Athletic Training. 42(3):403-408

Dharma Quotes: Suffering

Today's Dharma quotes from Snow Lion Publications are related -- both look at suffering in their own ways.

Dharma Quote of the Week

Just as your innermost wish is to be free from suffering and to abide in happiness, so too is it the aspiration of all other beings. But, they, like you, encounter sufferings and problems in their lives, and often their difficulties are much worse than your own. Examine your capacity to help them. At this time your ability to help them is quite limited, but if you reduce your own ignorance, anger, attachment, and other faults, and increase your good qualities such as generosity, patience, loving-kindness, compassion, and wisdom, you will be of greater benefit. If you become fully enlightened, you will be of the greatest possible benefit to all beings. Thus generate the altruistic intention to become a Buddha in order to benefit all sentient beings most effectively.

~ From Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path by Thubten Chodron, foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama, published by Snow Lion Publications.

And . . .

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

We can see that there are many ways in which we actively contribute to our own experience of mental unrest and suffering. Although, in general, mental and emotional afflictions themselves can come naturally, often it is our own reinforcement of those negative emotions that makes them so much worse. For instance when we have anger or hatred towards a person, there is less likelihood of its developing to a very intense degree if we leave it unattended. However, if we think about the projected injustices done to us, the ways in which we have been unfairly treated, and we keep on thinking about them over and over, then that feeds the hatred. It makes the hatred very powerful and intense. Of course, the same can apply to when we have an attachment towards a particular person; we can feed that by thinking about how beautiful he or she is, and as we keep thinking about the projected qualities that we see in the person, the attachment becomes more and more intense. But this shows how through constant familiarity and thinking, we ourselves can make our emotions more intense and powerful.

We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, overreacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally. We tend to take small things too seriously and blow them up out of proportion, while at the same time we often remain indifferent to the really important things, those things which have profound effects on our lives and long-term consequences and implications.

So I think that to a large extent, whether you suffer depends on how you respond to a given situation.

~ From The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.

Frontline - Cheney's Law

This is an excellent look at the mind and agenda of Darth Cheney. Depressing as hell, but revealing.

For three decades Vice President Dick Cheney conducted a secretive, behind-closed-doors campaign to give the president virtually unlimited wartime power. Finally, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Justice Department and the White House made a number of controversial legal decisions. Orchestrated by Cheney and his lawyer David Addington, the department interpreted executive power in an expansive and extraordinary way, granting President George W. Bush the power to detain, interrogate, torture, wiretap and spy -- without congressional approval or judicial review.


Friday, October 19, 2007

New Poem: Blue Heron

Blue Heron

~ After W.C.W.

So much depends
upon a blue heron

at water's edge

as aspen leaves
float past

beneath clouds

an endless
desert sky.

Gratitude 10/19/07

I just watched an amazing and beautiful film, Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?

This unique Korean film explores the relationship between an elderly Zen master, an orphaned boy, and a young monk named Ki Bong.

With little time left before his impending death, Master Hyegok teaches his two students all he knows about Zen Buddhism, which he has devoted his life to.

In order to learn, both Ki Bong and the orphan Hae Jin must face and overcome their feelings of guilt for past deeds. Ki Bong left behind his blind mother and family when he came to the monastery; Hae Jin accidentally caused the death of a bird.

After the old man's death, the monk and the orphan attempt to use their master's teachings to achieve spiritual enlightenment.

From the review in the New York Times:

Again and again, the film finds visual analogues for the oneness of the universe and the enlightenment to be found through the renunciation of earthly desires. In gazing into the physical world with a fixity, clarity and depth rarely found in the cinema, "Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?" goes about as far as a film can go in conjuring a meditative state.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a trailer online.

If you haven't seen this film, and if you have any interest in Buddhism, run -- don't walk -- to your video store and rent it NOW. One of the best films I have ever seen.

Speedlinking 10/19/07

Quote of the day:

"People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest."
~ Hermann Hesse

Image of the day (David Winston):

~ You Should Be Doing This Exercise -- "It's called the face pull, and it addresses one of the biggest problem areas for guys--the external shoulder rotators. Weakness in these muscles can result in shoulder injuries, and all around poor shoulder stability, which limits the amount of weight you can lift in other exercises."
~ Bringing the Pendulum back to center -- "It is often said by futurists (those who study the past to predict the future) that there is an over-reaction to most new concepts in the short term, yet an under-reaction in the long term. We can all come up with countless examples of it – the high carb trend of a few years ago – which has become the zero carb trend recently. However, never has this concept been more apparent than in the strength and conditioning industry particularly in recent years."
~ Build Aerobic Capacity by Strengthening Leg Muscles -- "Aerobic capacity is a measure of your ability to use oxygen to do work. If your body can process more oxygen than that of another person, usually you will be able to run faster, walk or work longer, and have more energy than that person."
~ Hand washing best way to fight 'superbug' -- "The headlines are disturbing -- schools closing for disinfection, a 17-year-old dead from a drug-resistant "superbug." But health officials said on Friday it is no new emergency and the best way to deal with the bacteria is simply to wash your hands."
~ Lack of sleep may hike women's blood pressure -- "Women who regularly get fewer than seven hours of sleep each night may have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, a new study suggests." I'd guess this is true for men as well.
~ The REAL Reasons You Want to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods -- "In this lecture, Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, summarizes the contents of his book, which explains the health dangers of genetically modified foods, and the industry cover-up." A three-part video.
~ Fast-food portions keep getting bigger -- "Fast-food restaurants may brag about their premium salads and apple fries, but for all the healthier items they've added to menus, portion bloat is bigger than ever."

~ Adolescents need support during family breakups -- "Family breakups take a toll on adolescents, who have high rates of psychological and social problems, including substance abuse, behavioral disorders, anxiety and depression, according to a report in the journal Pediatrics."
~ PTSD Treatments Need Further Study -- "Most posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatments lack strong evidence on their effectiveness, according to a report released today by the Institute of Medicine."
~ Key to mental 'resilience' found -- "US scientists have pinpointed a difference in brain chemistry which may explain why some people cope better than others in the face of adversity."
~ Ghosts and other childhood terrors -- "Fears are a natural part of how kids learn to understand their environment, experts say. Every developmental passage, from infancy on, is accompanied by some kind of anxiety, ranging from monsters to vacuum cleaners. Whatever the source of your little one's fear, it's how you help her confront it that's key."
~ Understanding of Mind-Body Connection Helpful for Depression Treatment -- "Physical and emotional pain share biological pathways and neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, so it is not surprising that depression causes physical and well as mental symptoms."
~ Three More Reasons Why Your Brain is Not Your Friend -- "Last week, I explained some of the ways that our brain tricks us. There’s more ways than just the three I listed that the brain works in odd and mysterious ways, causing us no end of mischief. Here’s three more...."
~ Grieving Is Essential To Let Go By Jacquiline Macaraig -- "People always talk about life. They either marvel about it, mouth-off a litany of complaints, or burst into a series of philosophical points to ponder...."

~ Josh Bolotsky: Rendition and the Modern Issue Film in an Era of High Broderism -- "There are several things you might expect a review of Gavin Hood's new film Rendition, out today, to begin with. Perhaps a discussion of Reese Witherspoon's first role since 2005's Walk The Line; maybe a mention of how it is the first piece of popular culture to really deal with Bush-era torture; maybe even an overall verdict on the efficacy of the film as a political thriller. I'm going to begin with a discussion of High Broderism. Allow me to explain."
~ Shelly Palmer: The End of Analog Television -- "A few weeks ago, Washington woke up and realized that February 17, 2009 was less then two years away. This wouldn't matter except that it's the day the government has chosen to be the end of analog television." This may be when I stop watching TV.
~ Deepak Chopra: Your Apocalypse or Mine? -- "Some time back I wrote a post entitled "The Seduction of Apocalypse" (April 7, 2006), pointing out the dark appeal of believing that the world is coming to an end. This seems like a good time for a follow-up, because in fact there are two versions of the apocalypse teetering on the brink, one Christian, the other Islamic."
~ Who Is Behind the Attack on Bhutto? -- "Her enemies range from al-Qaeda to the military, but whoever is reponsible, the attempt on her life could have a chilling effect on her supporters."
~ Thompson Woos 'Values Voters' -- "In a speech to 2,000 conservative evangelicals at the Family Research Council's "Values Voters Summit" in Washington, Republican Fred Thompson made some headway with conservative Christians who've been left uninspired during the desultory days of his first month on the presidential campaign trail."
~ Mukasey Mum on Torture Techniques -- "Attorney General-nominee Michael Mukasey refused to say Thursday whether he considers waterboarding a form of torture, frustrating Democrats and potentially slowing his confirmation to head the Justice Department."
~ The War Was Right, the President Was Wrong -- "Five years ago, Congress and President Bush made the most consequential and, as now seems more likely than not, unfortunate decision of this country's still young century. On October 16, 2002, Bush signed a resolution authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Should war supporters apologize?" This is an interesting look at the reasons for supporting the Iraq War, and why it was a mistake.

~ How Singing Bats Communicate -- "Bats are the most vocal mammals other than humans, and understanding how they communicate during their nocturnal outings could lead to better treatments for human speech disorders. Thousands of bats native to Central Texas fly overhead each night singing songs of complex syllables -- but at frequencies too high for humans to hear."
~ In the pack -- "Glenn Hurowitz writes that Environmental Defense has "abandoned other green groups" by voicing support for climate change legislation introduced last week by Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner. "Environmental Defense is once again destroying the unity of the environmental movement by endorsing this bill now despite some major weaknesses," he says."
~ Cave Speak: Did Neandertals Talk? -- "German researchers have discovered Neandertals apparently had the human variant of a gene that is linked to speech and language. A team of scientists, primarily from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, made the discovery during efforts to reconstruct a full genome of the extinct hominid."
~ Fossilized Cashew Nuts Reveal Europe Was Important Route Between Africa And South America -- "Cashew nut fossils have been identified in 47-million year old lake sediment in Germany, revealing that the cashew genus Anacardium was once distributed in Europe, remote from its modern 'native' distribution in Central and South America. It was previously proposed that Anacardium and its African sister genus, Fegimanra, diverged from their common ancestor when the landmasses of Africa and South America separated. However, this groundbreaking new data indicate that Europe may be an important biogeographic link between Africa and the New World."
~ Why 'Made in China' should increase our carbon footprint -- "Nearly a quarter of China's carbon emissions are created by goods manufactured and exported to Western consumers, according to research by University of Sussex climate change analysts Dr Tao Wang and Dr Jim Watson."
~ Swiss elections get spooky -- "High-profile applications of quantum trickery raise the question of what to call these new technologies. Philip Ball doubts that one proposal will catch on."

~ Researching Traditionalism -- "Recently I have been reading a lot more of Traditionalist literature, i.e. Frithjof Schuon, Rene Guenon, and others of the perennial philosophy school of thought."
~ Questioning Kazlev's Redefinitions -- "A close reading of Sections 2, 3, 4, and 6 of M. Alan Kazlev's Essay "Redefining Integral" published in Integral World."
~ Monks and Scientists to Conduct Research on Mind-Body Links -- "The Dalai Lama has always taught enlightenment — but what few people know is he says that path includes lessons in modern science. And Emory will assist Tibetans to realize His Holiness’s vision."
~ Music to Photography -- "Music is imagination, critical thought, idiosyncratic and recycling. Photography is painting with light. Writing is a release. Composition is the all-inclusive whole of my life. Art is deconstruction."
~ The Two Biggest Political Issues of the 2010s -- "What will the two biggest political issues of the 2010s be, worldwide? You might guess global warming (maybe in the 2020s), or oil price spikes or the collapse of the US dollar (they'll be old news by the 2010s), or even, as I posted yesterday, outrage over wealth and income disparity. But you'd be wrong. My prediction? It all comes down to what touches people personally, and there are two issues that will touch us all personally in the 2010s...."
~ Coming to terms with impermanance -- "One of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha is that all things are impermanent. This may seem like a *duh* from an intellectual point of view, but admit it! We still cling to jobs, relationships, possessions and our youthfulness. When they are gone, our logical appreciation of their impermanence gets flushed down the toilet as we grieve their loss."
~ Calculus of Torment -- "A notion raised in the writings of Wilber is the calculus of torment. The calculus of torment is based on the notion of the Absolute/relative truths. Namely that the world is nothing but one perception-without-a-perceiver (from the awakened state only). And we have to make choices as individual instantiations, communal networks, and the rest within that Oneness. You can’t go on a killing spree in other words because all is one and everything is self-liberated."

Daily Dharma: True Freedom Is an Inward State of Being

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

True Freedom Is an Inward State of Being

Morality as taught by way of rules is extremely powerful and valuable in the development of practice. It must be remembered that it, like all the techniques in meditation, is merely a tool to enable one to eventually get to that place of unselfishness where morality and wisdom flow naturally. In the West, there's a myth that freedom means free expression--that to follow all desires wherever they take one is true freedom. In fact, as one serves the mind, one sees that following desires, attractions, repulsions is not at all freedom, but is a kind of bondage. A mind filled with desires and grasping inevitably entails great suffering. Freedom is not to be gained through the ability to perform certain external actions. True freedom is an inward state of being. Once it is attained, no situation in the world can bind one or limit one's freedom. It is in this context that we must understand moral precepts and moral rules.

~ Jack Kornfield, Living Dharma; from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics

In These Times has a good review of Matt Bai's new book: The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics.

So what does it mean to be a progressive in 2007? What do we stand for? What do we believe in?

The extraordinary buzz surrounding Matt Bai’s new book, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, has brought these issues to the surface in a way that almost nothing else has in recent years. Yet, rather than help bring clarity to the debates within the movement, Bai only adds to the confusion.

By any measure, Bai, The New York Times Magazine’s leading political journalist, has written an entertaining narrative that combines serious analysis with an often rollicking mix of humor and political gossip. In doing so, he provides readers with a rare and fascinating inside view into some of the key players in the blogosphere, the leadership of the Democratic Party and the secretive world of the multimillionaires and billionaires who are bankrolling many of the left’s most important organizations.

The author tells us that over the past three years, he “set out across the country to find the places where this nascent [progressive] movement was coalescing and to trace its arc.” He then goes on to explain the significance of the book’s title: “The movement that dominates the next generation of American politics will be the one … that articulates some new and persuasive argument for how we meet the future.”

Bai’s quest to see if anyone or any organization has come up with “the argument” (or as he also characterizes it, “new ideas” and/or “one big idea”), seems to be based on a silver-bullet theory of social change. As such, many readers will find Bai’s near-obsessive search for “the argument” to be a one-dimensional way of analyzing what is a complex, multilayered process.

Read the whole review -- reviewer Ken Brociner isn't a fan of the new book.

Stephen Colbert to Run for President

Stephen Colbert on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, discussing his possible presidential run.


Merry Melodies "Fresh Hare" (1942)

An early Bugs Bunny cartoon -- check out the funky version of Elmer Fudd.


Satire: Entire Precinct Made Up Of Loose Cannons

From The Onion:

Entire Precinct Made Up Of Loose Cannons

October 19, 2007 | Issue 43•42

LOS ANGELES—Thirty-four lone-wolf detectives and beat officers from Los Angeles' 77th Police Precinct received unpaid three-month suspensions Monday for unprofessional and insubordinate conduct that their chief said he's tolerated for the "last goddamn time."

Enlarge Image Roger "Apeshit" McAdams

Detective Roger "Apeshit" McAdams is one of the 34 loose cannons, screwballs, head cases, and real grade-A hard-asses recently suspended from active duty at Los Angeles' 77th Precinct.

The police officers have been subjected to scathing public criticism over the years for their tendency to play by their own rules, which include refusing to obtain warrants, beating up junkies to extract information, and hurling corrupt city officials through plate-glass windows on more than 60 occasions.

"I called those sons of bitches into my office one by one and made them hand over their badges and guns," Los Angeles Police Department chief William J. Bratton said. "I know deep down that McCluskey's a good man, but he needs to shape up or ship out. Same goes for Conroy, McAdams, Peterman, Black, Grimwald, Tobias, Keating, and McAllister."

"Also Cobb, Williams, Miller, Sanchez, Rutgers, Grodinger, Spencer, Smith, Anderson, Garcia, Walker, Thompson, Nelson, Collins, Ellroy, Morris, Coleman, Gibson, Payne, Matthews, Gonzalez, Jacobs, Hoffman, Walters, and Hopkins," Bratton added.

Although the precinct has boasted a 100 percent arrest rate since 1988, fewer than 2 percent of the indicted offenders have gone to trial, since the vast majority of drug dealers, child molesters, and serial killers investigated by the 77th Precinct have died or disappeared before their court dates. The 34 officers have caused an estimated $98 million in property damage over two decades, and the LAPD has reportedly received 1,239 citizen complaints about their conduct this summer alone. In addition, each of the suspended officers has suffered nonfatal bullet wounds to the left shoulder.

Despite their many infractions, precinct commander Thomas Henderson defended the officers as "the best damn men on the whole force."

Enlarge Image Detective Sonny "Mad Dog" Grodinger

Detective Sonny "Mad Dog" Grodinger

"I don't always necessarily agree with their cockeyed methods, but, I've got to admit, they get results," Henderson said. "And they save the department thousands in chair costs by sitting on the corners of their desks."

The suspensions leave the 77th Precinct virtually depleted of staff. The shortage is compounded by the recent tragic loss of the 34 suspended officers' partners, who were reportedly gunned down in warehouses across the city while doing something brave.

According to internal affairs investigator Lee Birk, the officers have not filed a single police report in 10 years, routinely shoot out the tires of double-parked cars, and have punched out 232 paid police informants who, they later explained, made them "want to puke."

"They destroyed every single squad car and helicopter in the department and ruined the annual policeman's ball more than once," Birk said. "If they didn't prevent the terrorists from blowing up City Hall, they would have all been out on their collective asses."

The officers' darkest moment reportedly came in November 1992, when they shot and killed three dozen children who darted out of a dark alley holding toy guns. Following the incident, Henderson traveled to the San Pedro, CA marina where all 34 officers docked their houseboats. He found them passed out with bottles of Wild Turkey in their left hands and .44-caliber Magnum handguns in their right.

"I dragged every one of those sorry bastards into the shower myself, brewed 28 gallons of coffee, and made them drink it. By the time I was done, it was 3 a.m. and I was completely exhausted, but I got them back on the right track," Henderson said.

City Council candidate Bernard Lawry angrily condemned the rogue officers during a speech at a fundraiser at the Getty Center Monday evening.

"These men are a scourge on our society, and there is no place for this kind of behavior," Lawry said.

Seconds later, the suspended detectives burst into the room, exposed Lawry as the ringleader of an underground child prostitution ring, and escorted him to an awaiting police van in 34 pairs of handcuffs.

For their role in apprehending Lawry, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rewarded the officers with a mass promotion to police lieutenant. But in the ceremony at City Hall Tuesday, the officers all turned down their promotions by simultaneously throwing their lieutenant's bars to the ground.

"Get that damn thing out of my face," Detective Bruce Walker said as he and his 33 colleagues shoved TV news cameras out of their way. "I've got work to do."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Speedlinking 10/18/07

Quote of the day:

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
~ Leo Tolstoy

Image of the day:

~ New study finds red wine can fight diabetes -- "I can hear the cheers from the streets. All those with type 2 diabetes are celebrating the recent news. A new study has found that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, may be able to counter type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance." Resveratrol is good, but you won't get enough from Red Wine to help, unless you drink so damn much you'll get diabetes from the alcohol.
~ The Injury Prevention Roundtable -- "Nobody cares about injuries (boring!) until they get one. That's too bad, because sooner or later your knee, shoulder, hip, or back is going to start barking like a coonhound on the hunt. Even babes aren't immune."
~ Survey Identifies Diet Fatigue As A Leading Cause Of Diet Failure -- "Dieters, some of whom have tried as many as 20 different diets, reported "tiring of dieting" as a primary reason for stopping a weight loss program, according to a survey conducted by Health and InsightExpress. More than 30 percent of respondents cited having dieted between three to five times in their lifetime, and a quarter have attempted dieting at least 20 times." That's why we shouldn't diet -- we should adopt a new lifestyle.
~ New Study: Pine Bark Extract Boosts Nitric Oxide (NO) Production -- "A study to be published in the October edition of Hypertension Research reveals Pycnogenol(R), (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, helps individuals by enhancing healthy nitric oxide (NO) production which leads to an increase in blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles." This is the same way Viagra works, and I'll bet this is much cheaper.
~ Low male hormones may predict metabolic syndrome -- "As men age they are more likely than women to develop symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including increased belly size, high blood pressure, and cholesterol and blood sugar abnormalities; and study findings also suggest that low male hormone levels may predict an increased metabolic syndrome risk."
~ Health Tip: Breast Self-Exams -- "Women should give themselves a breast exam each month, beginning at age 20. This exam should be performed at about the same time every month."
~ Raw Seafood Poses Digestive Risks -- "Eating raw or undercooked seafood -- such as sushi and sashimi -- increases the risk of infection by parasitic worm larvae. And such infection can cause severe stomach and intestinal problems such as diarrhea, cramping, and vomiting that warrant a visit to a hospital emergency department, say two cases studies by Japanese researchers."
~ 13 Tips to Actually Enjoy Exercising -- "Is staying in shape always something that gets bumped to the bottom of your list? I know many people that complain about not having enough time to exercise. I think they are lying to themselves. The real problem is that they hate exercising, so it will never be a priority."

~ Feminists (and their men) have more fun -- "Feminism boosts sexual satisfaction for both men and women, a new study suggests. Busting stereotypes that peg feminists as man-haters, a new study shows that having a feminist partner is linked with healthier, more romantic heterosexual relationships."
~ Big, Buff and Bad: Police on Steroids -- "Police on tough beats are increasingly turning to steroids to cope with fear."
~ The relationship between money and happiness -- "Newsweek has a brief article on what research has told us about the link between money and happiness. Essentially, more money makes you happier until you're comfortable, and then, it really doesn't do much good."
~ Kids May Benefit from Less Support -- "When children become frustrated or angry, it's only natural that their parents will want to comfort them, but research indicates that parents who provide too much support for their children may actually hinder their emotional development."
~ Dream Symbols 20: Animals in General -- "At first glance, animals in dreams could be interpreted as the instinctual part of our nature; the part that is not yet refined, sophisticated, and conscious."
~ Sentimentality: A Fetish for Firsts -- "Why we love authentic originals."
~ Memories: Sweet Remembrance -- "Nostalgic people have high self-esteem."
~ A Simple Method to Avoid Being Judgmental (yes, that means you!) -- "We are all judgmental. Yes, even you. I certainly am, many times. I think it’s human nature."
~ Family Togetherness at Mealtime Leads to Overall Benefits -- "I've been talking about it for years and so was pleased to see the New York Times dedicate an article to the topic recently. Families that eat together show dramatic results that could potentially mean a lot from the point of view of our global society."

~ Brownback to Drop Out -- "The AP is reporting and First Read has confirmed that Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) will withdraw from the presidential race tomorrow in a speech in Topeka, Kan."
~ Report warns of ethnic cleansing in Baghdad -- "U.S. officials in Baghdad fear that violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites in some areas will erupt into "ethnic cleansing" with the departure of U.S. forces, a government watchdog said on Thursday."
~ 'Slam': Witty tale of a teenage skateboarder brought down to Earth -- "Nick Hornby specializes in movingly hilarious tales of emotionally neutered man-boys grappling with unwelcome adult problems...."
~ Naomi Wolf: Finally, Action! Ron Paul Introduces Bill to Defend Constitution! -- "On Monday, Rep. Ron Paul, the outsider Republican presidential candidate who has long upheld these values and who was an early voice warning of the grave danger to all of us of these abuses, introduced the AFA's legislative package into Congress. (The mainstream press has an irrational habit of disparaging outsider candidates -- as if corrupt money and machine endorsements equal seriousness of purpose -- even though the Founders hoped that the system they established would lead citizens, ideally those unembedded in the establishment, to offer their service to the nation.) It is the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 [PDF], and you should read it in its entirety: just as accounts of the recent abuses send chills down your spine, this beautifully argued document feels historic and has the ring of great power to correct great injustice."
~ War on Iraq: Report: Iraqis Years Away From Autonomy -- "In Congressional testimony, USIP officials say the country needs years of 'engagement.'"
~ The trouble with indie rock -- "New Yorker pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones has often indicated boredom and annoyance with a lot of the critically acclaimed, music-blog, and/or NPR-approved "indie rock" of this decade. This week, in an article, a couple of blog entries, and a podcast, he tries to articulate why. His answer?"
~ The Dems' Post-Veto Vote Plan -- "Their attempt to override Bush on children's health care is just the start of a campaign to dare the President to veto other bills."

~ Dioxin pollution leads to more baby girls -study -- "More girls than boys are born in some Canadian communities because airborne pollutants called dioxins can alter normal sex ratios, even if the source of the pollution is many kilometers away, researchers say." Xenoestrogens are nasty.
~ China reveals space plans -- "China on Thursday revealed its plans for space -- including space walking, spacecraft docking and the setting up of a space laboratory before 2010, state media reported."
~ When Ants Go Sweating: Zoologists to Study Climate Change Effects -- "A North Carolina State University zoologist is the lead researcher on a five-year, $3 million study that will turn up the heat on a number of ant species to learn more about the effects of climate change."
~ US climate bill calls for emission caps -- "Compromise bill set to be first to move through US legislative process."
~ Moonlight Inspires Corals to Spawn -- "By the light, of the silvery moon, corals get in tune, and soon, it's a spawning delight. While their silvery moon was written about people, songwriters Ray Noble and Snookie Lanson understood the motivation. Now, scientists think they may have found out how reef-building corals manage to coordinate their sex lives in moonlight bay."
~ Sticky mussels inspire biomedical engineer yet again -- "Mussels are delicious when cooked in a white wine broth, but they also have two other well-known qualities before they`re put in a pot: they stick to virtually all inorganic and organic surfaces, and they stick with amazing tenacity."

~ Fundamentalism -- "In writing the previous post, I was reminded of how we are all fundamentalists. What we usually recognize as fundamentalism is the crude form of taking certain religious or political views as absolutely true and beyond what can be questioned."
~ Buddhism and the Use of Force -- "A recent post by US military chaplain candidate Malasri [aka, somya] to the blog Buddhist Military Sangha raises an interesting question: Can a Buddhist Join the Army? And, it raises further, related questions of what role we should expect for “force,” from the military or police, to play in society."
~ The Crossroads, Oh Yes, Yet Again -- "It would be easy to say something like "Life was good but I knew it wouldn't last" but that wouldn't be truthful. It was more that I understood that "the robot was happy", that soon enough Things of The World would come round that would make the robot unhappy, and that dang skippy if I wasn't going to enjoy the heck out of whatever Happy was allotted to me this go around."
~ Integral Shamanics -- " SHAMANIC HEALING is an ancient, effective way to address and remedy core causes of illness in the body, heart, mind, and spirit. It assists in the release of emotional and physical pain, old patterns of behavior, and blocks that stand in the way of a life lived with strength, clarity, and meaning. It can help relieve symptoms of depression, fatigue, anxiety, anger, confusion, and stress."
~ Replacing The Need to Be Right with The Desire to Share -- "This post about judgmentalism at zen habits made me think hard. There’s nothing wrong with judgment per se; we have to utilize judgment every day in order to survive. The problems come about because human beings are horrible at detaching our judgment of specific ideas and actions from the person behind them. We may start out believing that we’re “loving the sinner and hating the sin”; bust the majority of the time, we end up judging the person - and enjoying the feeling of moral superiority we reap from it." It's good to have Jay blogging again!
~ Roundup on October 17, 2007 -- "Five quick items for today: Eric in Baghdad; a monk nowhere; the world all around us; Justin in conflict; and Radiohead in your DVD player."

Does the Dalai Lama Still Matter?

An interesting article from Time. In the end, they conclude that he does matter, as evidenced by how strongly China wages a war of words trying to discredit the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

In recent years, the Dalai Lama has ceased talking about a free Tibet. He is willing to negotiate an autonomous Tibet within the dictates of the Chinese Constitution (yes, they have one), which would limit settlement by non-Tibetans. It may be too late. Some estimates now suggest that only 1 in 3 people living in certain regions of Tibet are Tibetan. This site offers some facts on the Chinese settlement of Tibet.


In Tibet today there are over 7.5 million non-Tibetan settlers including Chinese and Hui Muslims while Tibetans inside Tibet comprise only six million. The increasing Chinese population transfer into Tibet has reduced the Tibetan people to a minority group in their own land. The marginalisation of the Tibetan people has resulted in exertion of Chinese control in all spheres of economic, social and political life.

You can get two sides (China's and Tibet's) to the whole situation at this site.

I think the real indication that China fears the Dalai Lama is that they now require all reincarnating monks to register with the state. Further, they have said that they will be the final word on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama when we passes. This is an important step for the Chinese government. They have already imprisoned the Panchen Lama (the second highest ranking monk after the Dalai Lama) and placed their own choice in that role.

If the Dalai Lama did not matter, China would not be going to such great lengths to discredit him and to generate their own replacement for him when we dies.

It's time for the world to stand up to China and demand autonomy for Tibet. With China trying to become a major player on the world stage, they are uniquely positioned to be responsive to pressure on this crucial human rights issue.

Sacred Spaces by Michael DuBois

Nicely done. Very evocative images with soothing music.


This is the text that came with the post at Video Sift:

Sacred Spaces is an abstract animated work of contemplative video art. Abstract forms evoke crystalline vaults, temple arches, radiant passages ranging into infinity - sacred forms that defy description. This heavenly journey through luminous spaces transports the viewer through ever-evolving forms of imagination. The movements in Sacred Spaces emulate the motion of consciousness itself, steadily arising as form upon form, in an endlesssly shifting pageant of radiant exposition. From the Luminous Dimensions DVD by Michael DuBois, For more, visit

You Are Being Observed - Act Accordingly

Life should come with the above warning these days. History Channel's Modern Marvels covers Surveillance technology.