On, Wisconsin!

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Plunge right through that poll.
Run the vote way past predictions, lead us to the goal.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Fight on for your fame,
Fight! Badgers, Fellows! Fight! Fight, fight, we’ll win this game.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Stand up, Badgers sing!
‘Forward’ is our driving spirit, loyal voices ring.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise your glowing flame.
Stand, patriots, let us now salute your name!

‘The country is flying blind into what could be the darkest winter in modern history. Undoubtedly, millions more Americans will be infected with the coronavirus and influenza; many thousands will die.’

The person many consider the nation’s top immunologist resigns in disgust from the government’s politicized anti-covid activity.

Public health and safety have been jeopardized by the administration’s hostility to the truth and by its politicization of the pandemic response, undoubtedly leading to tens of thousands of preventable deaths… More than half of the states in this country are reporting rising covid-19 cases. Nine months into the pandemic, the United States continues to grapple with failed White House leadership. Instead, we get the recent spectacle of the president exploiting his own illness for political purposes and advising the nation, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

Other researchers will leave in the same disgust, hoping that their gesture will somehow move the country away from rule by self-serving idiots.

‘Ossoff Beats Perdue By a Nose’…

should be the headline on November 3. Here’s where you can contribute.

Larry Kramer, who won the right to die at an advanced age, has died, age 84.

I mean, he won it. He fought hard for it and won it for himself: a full life. And he fought to win it for everyone else too.

Opening my copy of Reports from the Holocaust: The Making of an AIDS Activist, I go right to his 1987 speech to the Boston Lesbian and Gay Town Meeting – the beginning of Gay Pride Weekend. You want Larry, that’s where you get Larry.

… I believe this gay community of ours has a death wish and that we are going to die, because we refuse to take responsibility for our own lives… What’s the number of dead friends at which you can decide to stop just sitting quietly like the good little boys and girls we were all brought up to be – and start taking rude, noisy, offensive, political action? One? Ten? One hundred? … If I use gross language – go ahead, be offended – I don’t know how else to reach you, how to reach everybody. I tried starting an organization: I cofounded GMHC, which becomes more timid as it becomes richer day by day. I tried writing a play. I tried writing endless articles in the Native and the New York Times and Newsday and screaming on “Donahue” and at every TV camera put in front of me. I helped start ACT UP, a small bunch of too few very courageous people willing to make rude noises. I don’t know what else to do to wake you up! … “You want to die, Felix? Die!” That’s a line from The Normal Heart. In his immense frustration, Ned Weeks yells it at his dying lover. That’s how I feel about all of you… I am telling you they are killing us and we are letting them! Yes, I am screaming like an hysteric. I know that. I look and sound like an asshole. I told you this was going to be my last tirade and I am going to go out screaming so fucking rudely that you will hear this coarse, crude voice of mine in your nightmares. You are going to die and you are going to die very soon unless you get up off your fucking tushies and fight back! Unless you do – you will forgive me – you deserve to die… [Y]ou are saying that your lives are worth shit, and that we deserve to die, and that the deaths of all of our friends and lovers have amounted to nothing.

On Megxit, UD couldn’t agree more with…

… this New York Times editorial. “Prince Harry and Meghan should not be lamented as defectors from the old order, but celebrated as the heroes of the next installment, as modern royals renouncing some level of privilege to seek their fortune in the real world,” the NYT writes; and it’s as Katherine Anne Porter says in her great short story, “Holiday”:

[A]ll my tradition, background, and training had taught me unanswerably that no one except a coward ever runs away from anything. What nonsense! They should have taught me the difference between courage and foolhardiness. … I learned finally [to] take off like a deer at the first warning of certain dangers. … We do not run from the troubles and dangers that are truly ours… and if we don’t run from the others, we are fools.

Whatever becomes of these two, their story so far is about the guts and clarity to free oneself from a destructive life narrative that someone else has laid out for you. But in here it is I must kill the priest and the king, says Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses, as he taps his head. Mind-forg’d manacles are no joke, okay? Imagine how powerful they are when they’re royal. Nothing wrong, UD thinks, with being led to some extent in your life by the title of Graham Greene’s memoir: Ways of Escape.

Luckasz, Tusk. (Not Donald Tusk.)

Polish ingenuity and stout-heartedness.

Best tweet so far:

“Bloody Poles. Coming over here. Taking out our terrorists.”

Excellent choice of weapon.

The Man in the Elegant Suit…

… who didn’t mind getting it mussed.

This story is encouraging on a number of levels.
  1. A guy beat the shit out of the fucker before he could hurt anyone.
  2. The fucker is 21 years old; the shit-kicker is 65 years old.

“…also did postgraduate studies at George Washington University.”

Nail-biting events in Venezuela currently being led by a guy who spent time in UD‘s Foggy Bottom. Very exciting. Very scary.

Crowd scenes.

This blog’s Venezuela posts.

“Hundreds give blood for the mayor of Gdansk.”

In the city of Solidarity, people come together in an ultimately losing battle for the life of their assassinated mayor.

O powerful western fallen star! 
O shades of night—O moody, tearful night! 
O great star disappear’d—

Missing Hitchens

Of course certain things should be illegal, especially as they bear upon the child.  Is there anyone in this hall who thinks that religion justifies the mutilation of a child’s genitals?  Is there?  Good.  Well, wouldn’t you like a law that said that non-elective surgery on the private parts of a child should be [illegal]?  Isn’t it time?

“Greatest threat to our democracy.”

A lot of us say this, since it’s true. But when it comes from people like this guy, it packs a wallop.

“Just really disgusting.” Just as true; and yet UD begins to think that many Americans love disgusting. No idea why.

The New York Times links to my blog.

In my friend Barney’s obit, the writer, Benedict Carey, not only mentions UD, but links to her.

UD is delighted.

Speaking of…

sex dolls, the composer of the immortal Plastic Fantastic Lover has died.

“In the late 1950s I encountered David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd and I imprinted immediately on his term inner-directed. That’s me to a tee, so taking unpopular positions came naturally to me.”

And now a post at total odds with this one.


My friend Barney Carroll has died, at 78,
his final view, from his apartment’s
picture windows, the glorious Carmel Valley.
He sent me a picture, last week, of what he saw.


Allen Frances, a fellow warrior against
corruption in medicine, wrote Barney’s obit.

Barney’s scientific contribution to psychiatric research was to introduce neuroendocrine techniques. He independently discovered the value of the dexamethasone suppression test (DST) as a biomarker of melancholia — the classic, biologically driven subtype of depression. This was the first, and remains one of very few, biomarkers in psychiatry. Barney’s 1981 paper on the DST was among the most highly cited papers in psychiatry. Its impact was immediate, with many replications and extensions.

Another of Barney’s enduring contributions was to educate colleagues in the discipline of proper clinical decision making. He clarified the Bayesian principle that context counts — that is, prior conditional probabilities greatly influence the utility of any clinical feature or laboratory test in making a diagnosis. Throughout medicine, biomarkers and clinical diagnostic features perform with much greater utility in high risk groups than in general populations.

Barney and Allen had both chaired Duke University’s psychiatry department, and they shared an anger at (to quote the subtitle of one of Allen’s books) “Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life.” Both certainly know and knew that, as David Bowie wrote toward the end of his life, “On the whole, this whole world is run by brutes for the common and the stupid.” So they weren’t terribly optimistic that their protest could do much. Once it’s all come down to late-night comedy, it’s a bit late in the day.

But if, as Barney explained to me in a recent email, you’re a hopelessly inner-directed person, you can’t live with yourself if you don’t make a serious daily effort toward de-brutalization. Barney saw in Donald Trump late-stage outer-directedness, and regretted that “I won’t be around to see how it finally plays out with the orange man in the white house.” But he was fundamentally stoic – and typically observant – about the process of dying.

I am watching with detachment as I move along the path to allostatic collapse… What’s allostatic collapse? It’s just a fancy term for the end state of chronic deterioration that comes with terminal illness. We begin to fail piece by piece but we may hang on for years in a new state of compensated but pathologic equilibrium until even that cannot be sustained. Related constructs are chronic life stress and aging before supervening disease appears. My point of collapse is shaping up to be respiratory failure.

I had many questions to ask Barney about allostasis. Can’t ask them now. But he already, in his final sign-off, told me the most important thing.

Be well and be happy.

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