Monday, January 10, 2005

And Four Runners-Up Will Win Jobs at CBS 

THE CHALLENGE: Tell us which of the following is an authentic news item from CNN (meaning it is at least putatively true) and which is a pasquinade from our good friends at The Swift Report (meaning it is at best metaphorically true).

THE PRIZES: The first ten contestants to answer correctly will win One Dollar American, minus shipping (37¢) and handling (65¢).

Library officials in two southern Mississippi counties have banned Jon Stewart's best-selling America (The Book) over the satirical textbook's nude depictions of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices.

"I've been a librarian for 40 years and this is the only book I've objected to so strongly that I wouldn't allow it to circulate," said Robert Willits, director of the Jackson-George Regional Library System of eight libraries in Jackson and George counties.

"We're not an adult bookstore. Our entire collection is open to the entire public," Willits said. "If they had published the book without that one picture, that one page, we'd have the book."

Wal-Mart has declined to stock the book because of the page, which features the faces of the nine Supreme Court justices superimposed over naked bodies.

The facing page has cutouts of the justices' robes, complete with a caption asking readers to "restore their dignity by matching each justice with his or her respective robe."
When Zacharia Goodman recently sought out the help of a therapist, it was no mystery as to what was ailing him. The 27-year-old copy editor was so consumed by his belief that President George W. Bush stole the recent election that he was having trouble sleeping, completing rudimentary tasks at work, and carrying on conversations about topics not related to politics . . . .

Now a group of Republican lawmakers is hoping that they can do something about the problem. When the 109th Congress convenes in Washington in January, Senator Bill Frist, the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928, plans to file a bill that would define "political paranoia" as a mental disorder, paving the way for individuals who suffer from paranoid delusions regarding voter fraud, political persecution and FBI surveillance to receive Medicare reimbursement for any psychiatric treatment they receive.

"If you're still convinced that President Bush won the election because Republicans figured out a way to hack into electronic voting machines, you've obviously got a problem," says [Frist spokesperson Rick] Smith. "If we can figure out a way to ease your suffering by getting you into therapy and onto medication, that's something that we hope the entire 109th Congress will support."

Of course, while Congress can pass laws defining mental disorders, the ultimate decision regarding the inclusion of political paranoia disorder in the next version of the DSM isn't up to legislators but to psychiatrists. The entire assembly of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) must approve the addition of the disorder when that body convenes in Atlanta in May.

This won't be the first time that the APA has bowed to political pressure to add or delete common mental disorders. In 1973, the APA removed homosexuality from the massive psychiatric desk reference. The 1987 publication of DSM-III-R deleted ego-dystonic homosexuality as well.

Answers here and here.

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