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411mania » The 411 » Mark Radulich
Name:Mark Radulich
Current Roles:
Past Roles:
Other credits:Book reviewer for Popandpolitics.com
Quote:Ribonucleic acid freak out, the power of prayer - Clutch
Comments - 07.24.2010

So I've been thinking a lot about the comment section here at 411. First let me say that despite my criticisms, I love it. I was thrilled when comments were added to the politics section and even at worst and most negative, I still think the comments section is an important part of the politics zone.

However, I will not comment on my own columns any longer unless I'm answering a correction (and only if the poster isn't a douche about it).

As I have said in a previous post, I couldn't begin to understand how comments are approved here. I know that for my personal blog I have to personally approve everything first to keep the spam out so I assume that comment approving is a manual labor here as well. But I have also noticed that comments I have left which have ranged from counter-arguments with links to a stream of obscenities (to make the point that it's pointless to just attack people) have been dinged from the site. I don't know if that was purposeful or an accident due to the heavy traffic comments here. Either way, between the 50/50 chance my responses will not be seen and the usually lengthy lag in approval I have decided that it's just not worth it to engage in pointless written debates with people.

Verbal debates are another story. Over the past several columns I've been attacked for one reason or another regarding anything from having left out a detail of a story to just being a conservative. Believe it or not I'm fine with that. I don't care if people attack me here, it's your comment zone so if you want to crap all over it that's on you. I will not answer or baited. However, I do a radio show every Tue night (and the occasional Monday) on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whiskeyrebellion at 8PM eastern time. I've already addressed some recent attacks there and will continue to do so. If you want to engage me, that's the venue to do so. Even if you just want to have a civil conversation, that's the venue to do so. But like I said, other than the occasional correction, provided one is not a jerk about it or assumes that an honest mistake is a lie, I'm done commenting on my own stuff.

I may still chime in on other columns but I will not engage in another endless circular debate like what happened with Enrique's Helen Thomas article (I felt kind of bad about that).

So if you want to debate about a topic I've written about or just yell at me for being conservative, I'm ready to hear you at:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whiskeyrebellion Tuesday 8PM call in info is on the site.
And we're rolling... - 01.21.2008

Rather than writing an article or including this in an article, I figured if people really cared that much, they can read it here. Basically I know that I haven't been writing all that much lately and that is mostly depression related. Losing my job at the beginning of December was harder on me than I was letting on and feeling as I did, I didn't really have the enthusiasm to write about politics. But things are better now and the intention is to get back to a regular writing schedule. Also, I'm going to merge my 411 column with the PC Live monologue since I often end up talking about the same stuff. Right now the show is Monday's at 7:00 PM but that may change in a week or so.
And we're rolling... - 01.25.2006

My lovely fiance wised me up to a pair of stories that illustrates just how much President Bush appears to have failed in his most important role as Commander-in-Chief. First, let me say that beyond all of the policy issues a president must contend with, your first loyalty must be to the armed forces, in my opinion. That is the job George Washington was entrusted with and strict loyalty to the troops has been the responsibility of each sitting president ever since. No leader, here or elsewhere, should ever flex their military muscle lightly. In the event that duty calls, as I believe it did in Afghanistan and Iraq, the president is beholdent to make sure that there are enough troops deployed, that they have all the tools they need, and when it's all over, each and every soldier is afforded all the accomodations befitting the hero's that they are.

In this task, President Bush has appeared to fail the men and women he is leading in the War on Terror.

First, there is this story: More Than 260,000 Can't Get VA Health Care

More than a quarter-million veterans considered to have higher incomes could not sign up for health care with the Veterans Affairs Department during the last fiscal year because of a cost-cutting move.

Those locked out - totaling 263,257 in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 - have no illnesses or injuries attributable to their service in the military and earn more than the average wage in their community.

The VA suspended enrollment of such veterans beginning in January 2003 after then-VA Secretary Anthony Principi said the agency was struggling to provide adequate health care to the rapidly rising number of veterans seeking it.

That year the VA population was about 6.8 million. About 7.5 million are enrolled today, with more than 5 million treated.

"There is no reason for the VA to give the cold shoulder to veterans who have served our country honorably," said Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois, ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

VA spokesman Matt Burns said VA provides world-class health care to veterans, "particularly our newly returning veterans, those with low incomes and those who have sustained service-related injuries or illnesses."

Iraq veterans are guaranteed health care if they enroll within two years of leaving the military.

Under the Bush administration, there has been debate about providing veterans health care. President Bush's budgets have included proposals to require some veterans to pay a portion of their care with co-payments, but Congress has repeatedly rejected that idea.

The fact of the matter is that whether or not you "need" VA benefits based on income or health issues unrelated to ones service, the vets were promised these benefits in return for service to the country. Period. There should be no debate about this. Slashing VA budgets and leaving any veteran out in the cold, regardless of their need, sends a horrible message about what this administration thinks of its soldiers, former and current.

This leads me to the next story.

Study: Army Stretched to Breaking Point

Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

As evidence, Krepinevich points to the Army's 2005 recruiting slump - missing its recruiting goal for the first time since 1999 - and its decision to offer much bigger enlistment bonuses and other incentives.

"You really begin to wonder just how much stress and strain there is on the Army, how much longer it can continue," he said in an interview. He added that the Army is still a highly effective fighting force and is implementing a plan that will expand the number of combat brigades available for rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 136-page report represents a more sobering picture of the Army's condition than military officials offer in public. While not released publicly, a copy of the report was provided in response to an Associated Press inquiry.

Illustrating his level of concern about strain on the Army, Krepinevich titled one of his report's chapters, "The Thin Green Line."

He wrote that the Army is "in a race against time" to adjust to the demands of war "or risk 'breaking' the force in the form of a catastrophic decline" in recruitment and re-enlistment.

Well it certainly sounds like we're ready to fight Iran now doesn't it? ::::rolls eyes in back of head:::::::

"We didn't know the insurgency would last this long," is not an excuse for this level of incompetance. The fact remains that the war plan, as designed by former Searle CEO, Donald Rumsfeld, did not call for overwhelming force in Iraq. He thought, mostly due to Chalabi, that overwhelming force wouldn't be necessary. This gross misjudgment has now resulted in over 2,000 and though that is the price of war, the situation in Iraq as it is right now, could have been avoided if this administration had just used some common sense. Have any of them ever played Risk before? You also send more than necessary to take over a territory. That's been the strategy since man began to fight an it will always be the strategy that wins wars. Once again, this is illustrative of this administrations failures to honor the integrity of the American military.

For shame.
And we're rolling... - 01.18.2006

Now I'm not the least bit surprised by this. Most days I'm confronted with men and teenage boys who have a very wrathful philosophical outlook on life. When asked most males of varying stripes will prescribe an eye for an eye as the solution to any degree of loss. I'm not just talking about the dysfunctional youth I treat on my day job, but also people such as men in my biological and extended family. They all have a near zealous belief in issues like the death penalty regardless of what evidence is shown in how ineffective it is or in cases where innocent people are executed.

Also, vengence aside, most men think that physical suffering of others is just damn funny. Only men tend to laugh at other men being kicked in the nuts. For some strange reason women just don't see the comedy in a good kick to the groin. Anywho, here's the story:

Bill Clinton said he felt others' pain. But a new brain-scanning study suggests that when guys see a cheater get a mild electric shock, they don't feel his pain much at all. In fact, they rather enjoy it.

In contrast, women's brains showed they do empathize with the cheater's pain and don't get a kick out it.

It's not clear whether this difference in schadenfreude - enjoyment of another's misfortune - results from basic biology or sex roles learned during life, researchers say. But it could help explain why men have historically taken charge of punishing criminals and others who violate societal rules, said researcher Dr. Klaas Stephan.

Stephan, a senior research fellow at the University College London, is co-author of a study led by Tania Singer at the college and published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.

Singer, in an e-mail message, said the sex difference in results was a surprise and must be confirmed by larger studies. The researchers said women might have reacted like men if the cheater suffered psychological or financial pain instead.

The scientists scanned the brains of 16 men and 16 women after the volunteers played a game with what they thought were other volunteers, but who in fact were actors. The actors either played the game fairly or obviously cheated.

During the brain scans, each volunteer watched as the hands of a "fair" player and a cheater received a mild electrical shock. When it came to the fair-player, both men's and women's brains showed activation in pain-related areas, indicating that they empathized with that player's pain.

But for the cheater, while the women's brains still showed a response, men's brains showed virtually no specific reaction. Also, in another brain area associated with feelings of reward, men's brains showed a greater average response to the cheater's shock than to the fair player's shock, while women's brains did not.

A questionnaire revealed that the men expressed a stronger desire than women did for revenge against the cheater. The more a man said he wanted revenge, the higher his jump in the brain's reward area when the cheater got a shock. No such correlation showed up in women.

Philip Jackson, who studies brain systems responsible for empathy at the University of Laval in Quebec City in Canada, said he found the sex differences intriguing and worth following up on.

The overall results elegantly tie together "a lot of things we either knew or suspected strongly" about how social interaction can affect the brain's activity, he said.
And we're rolling... - 01.16.2006

So I've been getting some feedback on the new writing style and content. Basically what people have said is that I should keep it balanced between the foreign policy stuff and the social stuff. That works for me as well. Though tomorrow, or whenever it goes up will be about the dork running for governor of Minnesota claiming to be a vampire, this week will be split amongst both themes.

The thing I'm finding difficult is how to talk about Iran in a new way. I've pretty warned as many people as I could what was going to happen and give a decision or two here and there, it's basically coming true. I guess I'll figure it out because it is important and needs to be covered, even if I'm repeating myself.

Happy MLK B-Day everyone!
And we're rolling... - 01.10.2006

...apparently I'm a progressive. I just read his new column and basically the definition of progressivism that he cited fits me to a T. Well at least the name of blog now makes more sense.
And we're rolling... - 01.04.2006

I recently facilitated a group lecture and discussion at my substance abuse rehabilitation program about the effects of the club drug commonly called Ecstasy. What I learned as I was doing my research was that beyond it's psychedelic effects, under the right circumstances and supervision of a licensed and competent clinician, it can also be used as one of the many tools in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

For those of you don't know PTSD, "is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life.

PTSD is marked by clear biological changes as well as psychological symptoms. PTSD is complicated by the fact that it frequently occurs in conjunction with related disorders such as depression, substance abuse, problems of memory and cognition, and other problems of physical and mental health. The disorder is also associated with impairment of the person's ability to function in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems and divorces, family discord, and difficulties in parenting."

Many of the clients that I currently treating have been exposed to on-going episodes of violence in the home or community, drugs in the home or community, sexual assault and/or rape and other events that can cause trauma in a young person in various stages of mental development. These same clients often self-medicate themselves abusing the very drug that might, again if used properly, be the very salvation in coping with their mental disorder.

According to the following article, ecstasy, or MDMA as it called in the clinical world, is being re-examined as a medication for sufferers of PTSD.

But recent research has seen a resurgence of interest in the therapeutic effects of MDMA. Successful results have been reported from trials in the use of MDMA on people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and in the relief of anxiety in patients with terminal cancer. It is a return to the spirit of the original use of MDMA: after its synthesis by Shulgin in the late 1960s, its first use was in psychotherapy.

This seems to be the pattern with medication. Many of the street drugs such as cocaine and heroin that we are so familiar with today started out as perfectly legal medicines. Of course as we know by now they also had such severe side effects that eventually they were prohibited by law in order to "protect" the average civilian. Though they are stimatized today, in some cases, certain countries like Canada and Switzerland offer prescription programs that allow users to obtain both drugs so long as they register and attend therapy. It is entirely possible that in the near future, MDMA may also be reconsidered for it's therapeutic uses.

Considering the propensity for active users to either abuse prescription drugs like Xanax (the kids call it Zanibars) or invent new ones (maybe you've heard of Triple C's - Cordicin Cough and Cold/dextromethorphan/DXM), we should not be so quick to condemn a possibly useful drug just because it might be abused. Remember, there was a time when people would do whippets and yet whipped cream in a can, can still be readily bought in your local grocery store.
And we're rolling... - 12.30.2005

PC refers to my blog, Progressiveconservatism.blogspot.com, which is where I originally posted this piece. The content does however reflect changes in my writing as it relates to 411Mania. Howdy y'all! It's been a whirlwind year for me. At the onset of 2005 I was quitting my job in NY to move to Miami. By July I met the woman whom I'd end up being engaged to. Unfortunately she lived 4 hours north of me and so from about August to the end of October I drove back and forth from Miami to Tampa every weekend to be with her. All the while I still made sure that provided fresh content for this blog. I started PC back in November of 2004 just after the presidential election. I had spent the previous 3 years (since 9/11) arguing with and ulitimately alienating my friends and family with my political analysis. Up to that point I didn't even know what a blog was. I was turned on to the blogging world, ironically, by a group of "friends" who actually thought my opinions bordered somewhere between insanity and fascism. Anywho, this blog ended up being the perfect outlet for all of my political energy and more importantly, it got me back into a hobby I've long neglected, writing. PC is a labor of love. When I started it, I had visions of being "seen" and possibly tapped to be a professional opinion writer. I used to joke that I wanted to apprentice under Sean Hannity as I could shill with the best of them for the rice price ; ) However, at 100 hits a day, while anything is possible, I've gotten away from the idea that this is a living resume for political writing and have just embraced the fact that this blog is indeed my hobby. A hobby I relish and will continue to pour my heart and soul into in the new year. There will be some changes though. Over the passed year many people have commented to me that while I write well and cover interesting topics, many people don't comment because they either don't see the relevance of the story to their lives or my commentary isn't particularly bombastic. Some folks have said that my blog tends to be very reasonable and even-handed. There's not much I can do about the latter but the former I intend to fix. Next year I will abandon my own rule about covering stories that nobody else seems to be looking at. I used to believe that doing this would peel away Drudges readership. It ain't gonna happen. Instead I will mix it up a bit. I didn't talk at all about Iraq because everyone else seemed to be doing and I wanted to stand apart from the pack. Next year I will make more of an effort to throw my two cents in on mainstream topics along side the more obscure foriegn affairs stories. As they say in Hollywood, you do one for the business and one for yourself. I'm also going to try and write more authentic columns drawing on my experiences as a social worker and a therapist. I've already started to experiment with these themes and although I personally enjoy writing about foriegn affairs, it is the social commentaries that seem to garner the most positive responses. In fact, my "Politics of Star Wars," piece ended up being the most commented on story of the year on PC. In addition, my pieces on farm subsidies, parenting, education, child welfare/sex trade and alternative fuels were the most reprinted stories across the blogosphere according to a recent google search of my name. Intermitten with the news items, both domestic and foriegn, and the social commentaries, I will still try to cover some business news. It's not the most popular part of my blog but I still like it and in reading about these things I end up learning a lot. I will however try to make those posts more interesting for you readers. The other part of my blog that seems to get a lot of responses in reposts if not in direct comments is book reviews. As a matter of fact, my review of "South Park Conservatives" ended up being linked to Wikipedia. Maybe that doesn't mean much but I think it's pretty cool. Unless I'm told otherwise, I'll still be reviewing books for Popandpolitics.com once a week in the new year. My editor seems to be posting my reviews Thursday nights so said reviews will still be posted here Friday mornings and through the weekend. This year I'm going to try and balance what I review between 5 main topics. Politics/Current affairs, religion, history, business/financial and science. I've mapped out my reading list for the 6 months (because I'm a nerd) and here are some of the books that I will be reviewing: Plows, Plagues and Petroleum by William F. Ruddiman How to Make Love Like a Porn Start by Jenna Jameson Rogue State by William C. Triplett II House Poor by June Fletcher The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney Excavating Jesus by John Dominic Crossan, Jonathan L. Reed The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Battelle The First World War by Hew Strachan Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Jared Diamond Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan, Richard Holbrooke Pornified by Pamela Paul Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins That about wraps it up for me. They'll be one more joint post with 411Mania.com sometime between tomorrow and the New Year and then we'll start fresh on January 2nd. Thanks to all the people that have kept coming back to this blog and have left comments. I appreciate it. Happy New Year! (Condi in '08)
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