Music: "Star Trek" soundtrack
Posted on 2009-05-18 10:41:00
Tags: happiness politics links
Apparently the President's Worldwide Intelligence Updates (prepared by the Pentagon) often had verses from the Bible on the cover, which makes me a little queasy. I agree that, if you're religious, there's nothing wrong with looking to your religion/God for faith and guidance, but this seems more like "Hey, the Bible says this whole war thing is A-OK, carry on!" The accompanying article is full of new information about Rumsfeld, including
The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”
“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”
The problem was that the Guard deployment (which would eventually reach 15,000 troops) had not arrived—at least not in sufficient numbers, and not where it needed to be. And though much of the chaos was being overstated by the media, the very suggestion of a state of anarchy was enough to dissuade other relief workers from entering the city. Having only recently come to grips with the roiling disaster, Bush convened a meeting in the Situation Room on Friday morning. According to several who were present, the president was agitated. Turning to the man seated at his immediate left, Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”
Rumsfeld replied by trotting out the ongoing National Guard deployments and suggesting that sending active-duty troops would create “unity of command” issues. Visibly impatient, Bush turned away from Rumsfeld and began to direct his inquiries at Lieutenant General Honoré on the video screen. “From then on, it was a Bush-Honoré dialogue,” remembers another participant. “The president cut Rumsfeld to pieces. I just wish it had happened earlier in the week.”
Another excellent article I read this weekend was What Makes Us Happy? in The Atlantic. (a magazine I consistently enjoy) It looks at a study that started following Harvard students in the 1930s and kept up with them until now, trying to determine what factors were most important to living a happy life. What they found was
Employing mature adaptations was one. The others were education, stable marriage, not smoking, not abusing alcohol, some exercise, and healthy weight. Of the 106 Harvard men who had five or six of these factors in their favor at age 50, half ended up at 80 as what Vaillant called “happy-well” and only 7.5 percent as “sad-sick.” Meanwhile, of the men who had three or fewer of the health factors at age 50, none ended up “happy-well” at 80. Even if they had been in adequate physical shape at 50, the men who had three or fewer protective factors were three times as likely to be dead at 80 as those with four or more factors.(bolding mine) The "mature adaptations" they mention consist of
altruism, humor, anticipation (looking ahead and planning for future discomfort), suppression (a conscious decision to postpone attention to an impulse or conflict, to be addressed in good time), and sublimation (finding outlets for feelings, like putting aggression into sport, or lust into courtship)(bolding mine)
Comment from djedi:
You forgot the other excellent prescriptive quote:
Vaillant’s other main interest is the power of relationships. “It is social aptitude,” he writes, “not intellectual brilliance or parental social class, that leads to successful aging.” Warm connections are necessary—and if not found in a mother or father, they can come from siblings, uncles, friends, mentors. The men’s relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable, except defenses...In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”
So apparently social connections, family and friends, is the other key way to grow old and happy. =) We should be all set then. ;)
Comment from gerdemb:
I saw the same article about the Bible verses on the intelligence reports. Interestingly nobody involved admits on the record or anonymously that they ever saw or heard about them. The story seems just a little to fantastic that I wonder if it's really true. Why did this only come out now and how do GQ (of all magazines) get a copy of them? Not that I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be true...
Comment from gregstoll:
This is true...although looking at the cover sheets themselves, they look fairly authentic.
Comment from froggandie:
That happiness article is great . . . thanks for posting.
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