Schizophrenia more common in west

It is often taught that the prevalence of this disease is constant from one region or culture to another. But this study finds that recovery from an episode of the disease is less likely in the Western world. I share the speculation of some that the difference is likely attributable to the breakdown in social connectedness in the modern world, as opposed to village and family networks in the third world.

Martians Attack, With Extra Baggage

“It may be difficult to say something nice about the Martians, but we feel compelled to try. Even H. G. Wells, whose extraterrestrials in his 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds, were as frightening as those in Steven Spielberg’s new film version, gave those horrific beings their due. And much depends on how they are understood, for the Martians, as everyone knows, are also metaphors. They may even have some connections with Mr. Spielberg’s next film and its views of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

…Perhaps that idea of terrorists with a cause and defenders with doubts influenced the discomfort felt in the current film as well. At any rate, the novel was more rigorous. It saw the similarities between victim and attacker but also what was at stake and what effect the attacks ultimately had. Through them, Wells writes, humanity was robbed ‘of that serene confidence in the future which is the most fruitful source of decadence.'” (New York Times )

In New Court, Roe May Stand, So Foes Look to Limit Its Scope

“The basic right to abortion, declared in Roe v. Wade in 1973, will survive regardless of who replaces Justice O’Connor, given that the current majority for Roe is 6 to 3, many experts agree. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was one of the two original dissenters from the Roe decision; if he retires, as has been widely speculated, President Bush would presumably replace him with a similar conservative, so that would not change the balance on Roe.

But a number of cases that are likely to reach the court in the next few years, including the latest versions of the ban on the procedure that critics call partial-birth abortion, may give a new set of justices the opportunity to restrict abortion in significant ways.” (New York Times )

Specter Offers a Suggestion for Chief Justice…

…O’Connor: “Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, suggested on Sunday that President Bush could name Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is retiring from the Supreme Court, to the position of chief justice if it opens up.

‘I think it would be very tempting if the president said to Justice O’Connor, ‘You could help the country now,’ ‘ Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and a pivotal player in any confirmation hearings, said in an interview on the CBS program ‘Face the Nation.’ ‘She has received so much adulation that a confirmation proceeding would be more like a coronation, and she might be willing to stay on for a year or so.’

Although Mr. Specter’s seeming endorsement of the idea was highly speculative – Justice O’Connor, 75, has announced her retirement, while Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 80, has not stepped down – it was the clearest of his several recent signals that he plans to steer his own course as he oversees hearings on a replacement for Justice O’Connor, independent of the president and of his party’s conservative base.” (New York Times )