ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Magical Thinking

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday April 03, 2012 - 06:59:00 PM

An example of magical thinking is a gambling addict who has the belief he or she is going to hit the lucky number, win a million dollars and live happily ever after. Meanwhile that person is gambling away the food money and the rent money. Magical thinking of the previous President created the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in the assumption that it would be a much easier and simpler enterprise than it turned out to be. (The U.S. military believed we could install a government in Iraq that is favorable to us, and Iraqi citizens would blithely allow themselves to be governed by it.) Magical thinking is responsible for gross errors in human behavior. It says that wanting something means you deserve it and will get it, in the absence of performing the necessary work. Magical thinkers falsely believe that God likes them better than other people. And they believe there will always be someone there to clean up their mess. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Trayvon Martin Killing: Let Investigations Run Their Course

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday April 05, 2012 - 02:50:00 PM

On Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman captain. The teen was walking inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida, where his father and stepmother lived. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was not arrested or charged and little or no investigation was conducted by the Sanford police department. -more-

My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Tuesday April 03, 2012 - 08:10:00 PM

“ . . . the greatest writers inevitably demand too much of, and are failed by, readers.” -more-


By Bob Burnett
Friday March 30, 2012 - 03:31:00 PM

The Hunger Games movie had a multimillion-dollar weekend opening and seems destined to be the most successful film of the year. Which is remarkable because it’s a political movie set in a not-too-distant America and expresses themes that are familiar and disturbing. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Puerto Rico: The GOP Primary, Latino Vote and Statehood

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 30, 2012 - 03:56:00 PM

My wife and I just returned from a visit to Puerto Rico. The temperatures were in the high 80s with very little humidity and no rain. We spent most of our time in old San Juan, but did take a 2-hour road trip across the island to Ponce, named after Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, the great-grandson of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León.

During our visit, the GOP hopefuls, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum personally campaigned for Puerto Rico's 20 delegates. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich did not personally campaign there. The vote was held on Sunday -- with no alcohol sales during voting -- and as has been reported, Romney won all 20 delegates to the national convention at stake.

Why would Romney and Santorum spend so much time for 20 delegates when the Illinois primary with 69 delegates at stake was just a few days away? Probably because to win the White House, the GOP candidate will have to win about 45 percent of the Hispanic vote. Obama won about 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008. -more-

SENIOR POWER: getting online

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday March 30, 2012 - 05:45:00 PM

How many senior citizens does it take to fight their landlord in a light bulb?

A group of tenants is fighting their landlord’s online-only rent payment rule. Elderly renters in south Los Angeles’ Woodlake Manor apartment building are suing landlord Jones & Jones. They allege that its requirement could leave them vulnerable to eviction under the Woodland Hills company’s new requirement that they make all their payments online and that a "green" initiative introduced by the company is actually a pretense to evict low-income, elderly renters benefiting from rent-stabilization provisions. -more-