My Articles for Friday, September 28, 2007

“Photos of the Day: Red for Burma.” Photographs supporting the Burma Monk demonstrations, and which document the Burma Junta violent attacks upon the demonstrators. High-resolution photographs, video and a video photo-gallery are presented here for you.

[tags: Photos of the Day, Red for Burma, photographs, Burma Monk demonstrations, gallery, videeo]

“Photo of the Day: Chickies.” Chicks, babes, hot babes, hot chicks? Well, you’ll just have to take a look and find out. This is a beautiful photograph, presented here for you in stunning high-resolution.

[tags: Photo of the Day, Photograph of the Day, Chickies, chicks, photograph, photography, New York City]

See the Rest of My Articles at Blue Dot

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Photos of the Day: Red for Burma

Images of Religious Life in Burma

Video Photo-Gallery: Burma Monk Demonstrations

Burma Junta Kills Japanese Reporter

(Caution: Disturbing Video Footage)

The Burma Junta: Ethnic Cleansing in East Burma

For interested readers, Andrew Sullivan has made a number of posts about recent events in Burma in The Atlantic Magazine.

And The Associated Press has filed recent reports about developments regarding the demonstrations.

The Guardian (U.K.) is also reporting on the Burma demonstrations.

One exiled blogger in particular, Ko Htike, said to be a student in London, has attracted intense interest and received many photographs and eye-witness accounts that he posts on his site, www.ko-htike.blogspot.com.

Recent reporting from the BBC.

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My Articles for Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blame has long circulated around the deficient Hurricane Katrina federal relief efforts. In August 2006 Harvard researchers observed that mental illness had doubled after Katrina. With the continuation of shoddy relief efforts, depression among residents has become increasingly enduring. Photographs, a photo gallery and music audio are included.

[tags: Hurricane Katrina, depression, suicide, music audio, photographs, photo gallery, New Orleans]

“Photo of the Day: Toes.” That’s it…just toes. Pretty toes, though. The photograph is presented here for your enjoyment in colorful high-resolution.

[tags: blogs, Photo of the Day, Photograph of the Day, toes, photograph, photography, art]

Yesterday was the official “United Nations International Day of Peace.” This is a posting that celebrates The International Day of Peace. The posting presents a beautiful image of the Picasso Peace Dove, as well as a Photo Gallery that commemorates the Day of Peace. Picasso Peace Dove image and photo gallery are included.

[tags: United Nations International Day of Peace, Day of Peace, peace, Picasso, Picasso peace dove, peace dove, photographs, photo gallery]

The Advocate, the gay tabloid, has published an interview with Hillary Clinton, in which she directly addresses the long-persisting rumors that she is a lesbian. Nope, Hillary Clinton’s not gay. Then is America ready for a straight woman president? Samantha Bee thinks about that one on The Daily Show. Photo and hilarious video are included.

[tags: Hillary Clinton, gay, woman president, The Daily Show, Samantha Bee, photograph, video]

See the Rest of My Articles at Blue Dot

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Enduring and Tenacious States of Depression: Hurricane Katrina’s Emotional Toll

Photography by Chris Jordan

Let Us Not Forget the Victims of Katrina

About two years ago, I wrote here that the high winds of blame were continuing to circulate around the abhorrently deficient level of the Hurricane Katrina federal relief efforts. Echoing the frustrations of local officials who had complained for days at that time about the slow federal response, the major New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, called for the removal of every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Today, one can hardly say that there have been any marked changes in the living conditions under which many of the Katrina victims have continued to suffer. Let us not forget those victims.

The Psychological Toll of the Disaster

As long ago as August 2006, a year after the Katrina catastrophe, a news release from the Harvard Medical School described some findings from a thorough study that it was conducting on the emotional effects of the Katrina tragedy upon survivors of the flood. That research, which was led by investigators from Harvard Medical School (HMS), was published in a special online edition of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/bulletin/en/. According to the findings of the most comprehensive survey of the mental health functioning of Hurricane Katrina survivors that had been done up until that time, the proportion of people with a serious mental illness doubled in the months after the hurricane, when compared to a survey carried out several years before the hurricane.

Paradoxically, the study found that while mental illness doubled, including a substantial increase in reported cases of serious depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), reports of suicidal ideation didn’t increase despite the dramatic increase in psychiatric pathologies. Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., and his co-authors suggested that this low rate of suicide thoughts might have been related to optimistic beliefs at the time about the success of future recovery efforts. “The increase in mental illness among Katrina survivors is not surprising, but the low suicidality is a surprise,” said Ronald Kessler, PhD, professor of health care policy at HMS and lead author of the study. “Our concern, though, is that this lowering of suicidal tendencies appears to be strongly associated with expectations for recovery efforts that might not be realistic.”

In summary, in August 2006 the researchers observed that despite the doubling of mental illness after Hurricane Katrina, positive cognitions or hopes that help would actually arrive appear to have prevented increased suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts. However, they also concluded that because the positive cognitions were tied to potentially unreliable expectations about a better future, the results might only be a temporary reprieve.

Feelings of Depression Become Enduring and Persistent

More than two years after the storm, it is not Hurricane Katrina itself but the persistent frustrations of the delayed recovery that are exacting a high psychological toll on people who never before had such troubles, psychiatrists and a major study say. A burst of adrenaline and hope propelled many here through the first months but, with so many neighborhoods still semi-deserted, those feelings of inspiration have ended.

Calls to a mental health hotline jumped after the storm and have remained high, organizers said. Psychiatrists report being overbooked, at least partly because demand has spiked. And the most thorough survey of the Gulf Coast’s mental health recently showed that while signs of depression and other ills doubled after the hurricane, two years later, those levels have not subsided, they have risen.

Two years into the Harvard study of Katrina’s emotional effects, Ronald C. Kessler, the professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School, who has been leading the study, stated that “It’s really stunning in juxtaposition to what these kinds of surveys have shown after other disasters, or after people have been raped or mugged.” Typically, “people have a lot of trouble the first night and the first month afterward. Then you see a lot of improvement.” But, in New Orleans, the percentage of people reporting signs of severe mental illness, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder increased between March 2006 and the summer of 2007, the survey showed.

While depression is often discussed in terms of chemical causes, interviews with psychiatrists and patients in the Gulf-coast area ascribed its appearance in post-Katrina New Orleans to the stresses of rebuilding. Because of the hurricane, many have lost or changed jobs. Thousands are still living in cramped FEMA trailers and many are living in semi-deserted streets. “If you’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your house and you’ve lost your friends — well, you ought to be depressed, man, or else you’re out of touch with reality,” said psychiatrist Elmore Rigamer, the medical director for Catholic Charities in New Orleans, which runs five city mental health clinics. At this point, the positive cognitions associated with expectations or hopes about a better future that were reported in the 2006 survey turn out to have been only a temporary reprieve.

In The Washington Post, Peter Whorisky described the emotional toll of Katrina, the enduring or unremitting depression experienced by people in the area:

There’s more depression, more financial problems, more marital conflict, more thoughts of suicide,” said Daphne Glindmeyer, a New Orleans psychiatrist who is president of the Louisiana Psychiatric Medicine Association. “And a lot of it is in people who never had any trouble before.”

Interviews with psychiatrists turn up story after story of people with no history of depression plunged into mental anguish deep enough to require treatment.

A teenager living in a trailer turns homicidal. A woman whose mother died in the car during an evacuation — and then could not be taken to funeral home — suffers post-traumatic stress disorder. A firefighter involved in dozens of rescues seethes with anger at the region’s inability to come back.

These people don’t necessarily need a good psychiatrist,” Rigamer said. “They need a good contractor or someone to fix the ‘Road Home’ program and good leadership.”

A moving account of the emotional effects upon the survivors of Hurricane Katrina was published in The Washington Post. Readers who are interested in learning more about this aspect of Hurricane Katrina’s toll can access the article here.

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Madonna: Hey You, Open Up Your Heart !!

Madonna: Hey You!!

The Live Earth Concerts (2007)

Madonna set the world’s musical beat in motion yesterday, as she rocked the London segment of the Live Earth concerts that were streamed to 2 billion people.  Madonna’s performance began with her rendition of Hey You, where she was joined by a choir of schoolchildren.  She then strummed an electric guitar to Ray of Light, followed by a rousing delivery of La Isla Bonita accompanied by cult New York Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello

After thanking Al Gore, the brainchild of the nine concerts across the globe, “for giving the world the wake-up call it so badlyneeds and for starting an avalanche of awareness that we are running out of time,” Madonna closed the London event with a blistering rendition of her disco hit Hung Up.

Madonna: Hey You (2007)

Madonna: Ray of Light

Madonna: Hung Up (Confessions Tour)

Slideshow: Rocking for the Earth 

(Click Image for Slideshow)

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Obama Campaign Raises $30 Million: History-Making 250,000 Donors!

National news sources are reporting early today that Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign raised more than $30 Million during the second quarter, which ended yesterday.  That stunning figure even tops Obama’s haul during the first quarter of the year, when he reported raising $25.8 Million.  Further, the Obama campaign has now reached more than 250,000 donors, a quarter of a million people, which makes Obama’s the first presidential campaign in history ever to have garnered this many financial supporters by the June 1st deadline.

Official figures have not yet been released by some of Obama’s rivals for the Democratic nomination, although the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., had said it hoped to raise about $27 Million during the quarter.  The campaign of former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., is said to have taken in about $9 Million, which was about $5 Million less than his campaign raised during the first quarter.  New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was close behind Edwards, with his campaign reporting more than $7 Million raised.

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My Articles for Friday, June 29, 2007

The Chelsea Hotel on West 23d Street in Manhattan is an elegantly shabby Victorian-Gothic hotel, which is registered as a national historic landmark. The Chelsea has a long history of serving as a sanctuary for the the avant-garde.

Through the years, those who lived at the Chelsea have included Jack Kerouac, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Tennessee Williams, Edith Piaf, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Leonard Cohen, Willem de Kooning, Jane Fonda, Janis Joplin, Milos Forman, Jimi Hendrix, Dennis Hopper, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Vladimir Nabokov and Wes Klein. Dylan Thomas drank 18 straight whiskies there, his last. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while living there.

Recently, a corporate-style management team has taken over running the Chelsea, and its artist-residents are worried that the hotel will be transformed into a posh New York “boutique” hotel. A national grassroots protest is underway, and this posting is in support of that protest.

The article contains photographs and a video photography composition with music audio (Lou Reed: Walk on The Wild Side).

[tags: The Chelsea Hotel, artists, New York City, images, photographs, music, video, urban life, slideshow]

See the Rest of My Articles at Blue Dot

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