Pounds of Paxil, Vitter and the Vixen, and Don't Mess with China

Morning Meeting

"Morning Meeting" is a recap of our daily editorial meeting. If we had a show today, these are some of the stories you would probably hear.


A pill popping population! hide caption

toggle caption

NEWSCAST: In the Red Mosque raid at least 58 people died when Pakistani troops flushed out militants holed up inside a women's religious school, a Nano iPhone announced, fires in the West break records in Utah, hurricane director quits mid-season, 17 people dead and 30 wounded after a suicide bomber blows himself up near a NATO convoy southwest of Kabul, leaked report says Iraqi government has not reached important benchmarks, Louisiana Senator admits to being on DC Madam's call list, CDC says anti-depressants are the most prescribed drugs.


CHINESE OFFICIAL EXECUTED FOR DOING A BAD JOB: Imagine if say, Heckuvajob Brownie worked in Beijing. China's government confirmed the head of its food and drug administration was invited to no longer be part of this world after he was found guilty of taking bribes for approving untested medicines. Some say he may have gotten the better end of the deal considering the conditions in some of the Chinese work camps. China wants to show the world it is serious about correcting the recent spate of food tainting and health scares about things 'Made In China'. So consider this as you take a look at the Five Friendlies, the cutesie Olympic mascots, in about 11 months. Someone may have been eliminated to make sure you have a wondrous Olympic viewing experience. While cab drivers are being forced to learn English, the world's most populous country will get a lot of attention for other things it forces its people to do. Is this how China will continue to react to the world's spotlight?

IT'S HARD OUT THERE FOR A PIM....WEATHERMAN: A local weatherman in New York said this morning that someone just came up to him and started yelling at him about the high temps. Yesterday the director of the National Hurricane Center had to step down when 23 of the center's 49 staff members signed a statement urging federal officials to get Bill Proenza out of here because his work prevented "the effective functioning of the National Hurricane Center." When Max Mayfield retired from the post last year he said it put so much stress on his family and his life. He looked years older than he was. What is it about the job that makes it so hard? Is it one wrong prediction and a local government will spend millions? Is it just an unpredictable science and people won't accept it? Guest: Former center director or retired meteorologist.

IRAQI BENCHMARKS & MICHAEL MOORE V. THE MEDIA: This segment would be a two-fer. First, a look at the AP report that claims a leaked document shows that the Iraqi government will not meet significant benchmarks put forth by the U.S. government. One sticking point of specific interest — the internal Iraqi debate about oil and who gets it. That's buried deep in some of the news copy, something Michael Moore would say is another fault of the mainstream media who want to sell the war and have been woefully ineffective as a source of information about the conflict. He let this loose during a live interview on CNN yesterday after a medical reporter, who is a surgeon, allegedly "fact checked" Moore's new movie, Sicko. Moore said the mainstream media needs to quit lying. If you haven't seen the exchange take a look. We, like so many, would want to talk to Moore and ask him about his PR strategy. Does he have one? Was his response emotional and based on the moment? Or has he decided to just hit back whenever he can — no matter the venue? Or maybe it is his whole plan? Does he believe he is converting anyone or is he providing red meat..or, rather, blue meat for his fans? Is there a right time and a wrong time to get one's message across?

JOURNALISTS AFTER HOURS: Recently two journalists have found themselves at the center of the story, and not in a good way. Telemundo news anchor Mirthala Salinas is/was having a relationship with the mayor of Los Angeles. His wife isn't/wasn't too happy about it and filed for divorce after 20 years. In Chicago, wearing a two piece swim suit, TV reporter Amy Jacobson was video taped — by a rival station no less — in the pool of a man who was the subject of an news/police investigation into the disappearance of his wife. Both women have explanations. Salinas said she told the bosses. Jacobson says she was on the way to take her kids swimming when the 'subject' called and said he wanted to talk about the case. Both are under ethics review. Guest: A journalism ethicist to talk about crossing lines.

HE WENT BACK TO OHIO: The President of the United States is heading to Cleveland, Ohio today to honor a grandmother for her volunteerism. Oh, that and he might say something to the press about what his aides are calling "his vision for the post-surge". Given his 29 percent approval rating, according to a new USA Today poll, maybe he just wants to stop at honoring Gerris Farris for mentoring 5th graders as a part of Experience Corps. Given the AP is reporting that the Iraqi government is nowhere near reaching certain benchmarks, Mr. Bush may face a skeptical crowd while talking about his own frustrations. Or maybe not. Maybe the heartland has a different view than those in the Beltway. We want to talk to the political reporter from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about how the big picture issues for the president are playing in the swing state of Ohio. What's sticking there — the war? Claims of executive privilege? Gas prices? Let's take a non-Beltway look at politics.

SPRINGFIELD? IS READY FOR ITS CLOSEUP: Fourteen different towns called Springfield will find out today which will be chosen to host the premiere of The Simpons Movie. The namesakes for the hometown of Homer, Crusty the Clown, and Milhouse entered a contest and locals created videos to encourage people to vote for their hamlet to host the big event. Guests: The mayors of a few of the Springfields.

VITTER AND THE VIXEN: Louisiana Republican David Vitter admits to having sinned with one of the DC Madam's girls. His number is among the many Deborah Jeane Palfrey released. Frankly, we were stumped about what to do with this one. There were many good ideas ... but ... we weren't sure so ... stay tuned for a post from Luke later today and help us out.

FRIGHT FLIGHTS: Anyone who has been on a plane in the past month knows the horror. Overbooking, late arrivals, lost luggage. Just this past week Luke's flight didn't get into NYC until 3am. My flight took off three hours late. It is predicted this will be a horrible summer for air travel. Why is it so damn hard to get from point A to point B? Are you helpless? Bumping may be legal but did you know you can get cash money if it happens? How much is your luggage worth? We want to talk to a travel expert about five things — not the obvious, but the secret code sharing number language lingo that can help with the hassles.

THE RAMBLE: Stories worth an honorable mention...Dan Patrick leaves ESPN after 18 years, Cloverfield trailer on Apple.com, first snow in Buenos Aires in 89 years, 72 pages of police interviews with
former astronaut Lisa Nowak — the BPP players would read some aloud.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

"We, like so many, would want to talk to Moore and ask him about his PR strategy. Does he have one? Was his response emotional and based on the moment? Or has he decided to just hit back whenever he can -- no matter the venue?"

I didn't realize this was the Sanjay Gupta fanclub. Or did Sanjay himself sneak onto your computer and write the above?

Seriously folks, Moore responded to CNN's hit job on him. Pure and simple. And it wasn't just one hit job, but 2 in a single week!

Sanjay lied about the $251, he lied about Moore hiding Cuba's ranking on the WHO list. Gupta used old data in other places.

Rather than ask what's the deal with Moore, one can't help but wonder what Gupta's motivations were. After all, he started this tiff. Why put so much energy into Moore, when Gupta could have done a piece on HMOs, or otherwise do something constructive?

Gupta majorly missed an obvious point... all this money we are throwing away into our pointless war in Iraq could easily go to keeping Americans healthy and alive.

Could it be Gupta needs to draw attention to himself because his book isn't selling enough? Maybe he's still desperately trying to get his tv series picked up ("MASH on speed" as the good Doctor Gupta describes it.)

You know, Dr Gupta is such a medical genius that he was actually flimflamed by the Raelian cult. He actually reported that Clonaid had "the capacity to clone" and that he was "anxiously awaiting" the results of the Raelian cloning experiments. What a master of medicine this Gupta truely is!

(It's also true that CNN attempted to tear up F-911 exactly like they did Sicko. And that CNN and most of the mainstream media didn't ask the tough questions at the start of the war. Nor did the media investigate walter reed soon enough. Michael and F-911 were right about the war and the state of the nation.)

Sent by Brian | 11:16 PM | 7-11-2007

With Sicko and Simpsons, you've got 2 news items about movies. And in the last "morning meeting" there was Transformers and the JJ Abrams thing.

How about something about books? Novelizations of movies don't count, nor do books being adapted into film. Comicbooks are certainly acceptible, but like with bookbooks, it should be sans movie connection.

Harry Potter's the talk of the town. But what a weak series. I don't get the mass appeal. The ultimate fantasy series written for kids (but enjoyable by adults too) is _The Dark is Rising_ sequence by Susan Cooper. That stuff is dope. If they ever turned that series into film, it would be sacrilage.


"CDC says anti-depressants are the most prescribed drugs"

Alison (and Luke and Matt),

I'm curious. Hypothetically, if you did use this news item in a show... what would you have said about it? Is it a topic you have personal experience with in some capacity or another?

I used to be on pills. There is no standard in prescribing this stuff. More often than not, docs rush diagnosises and rush presciption choices. There are often chic pills-d'annee, and most waiting rooms are filled with misleading ads trying to sell them. And the "free sample" pack gimmicks really do sway doctors' and patients' decisions.

Long story short I'm a Prop-215'er (medicinal ganja here in Cali). It's safer, gets the job done better than modern science, and has a spiritual dimension to it that pills don't have.

Also becuase our mental health system is so focused on quick fixes, docs are ignoring underlining issues that cause or accompany their patients anxiety or depression. For example I'm 27 and just found out this year that I have Aspergers, despite having been seeking guidence on-and-off for 10 years.

It is true that there are many people who don't have legimate disorders and are taking pills simply becuase they want to rid themselves of sadness. There's a huge difference in weight between sadness and depression. Too many people don't understand the value of that natural human feeling. (God wants people to be sad sometimes; or why else we would we have the capacity for it? We grow from sadness.)

But people abusing the system shouldn't overshadow the fact that there is a fair number of Americans who have legitimate disorders and aren't getting the appropriate care.

Sent by Brian | 1:48 AM | 7-12-2007

Luke, Alison, Matt,

Being 25 and a graduate of a notably computer-oriented university, I consider myself to be very tech-savvy... however, I'm not sure that it's quite clear yet what the BPP is all about or how we (the public) are meant to use/interact with it. :-/ I'm guessing that that is partly your intention, though it leaves me hesitant to post to your blog, as I would hate to be that person who obviously misses the point :-P

Still, I'll send my first post in reaction the brief blurb about antidepressants. This is not creative input, but, perhaps, could be more accurately classified as mild b*tching (I assume you'll bleep that anyway, so I'm bleeping it myself.)

When I read stories about the increasing use of antidepressants in the US (or the world), there always seems to be a tone of distaste on the part of the writers and speakers... As if this phenomenon is representative of some weakness in the character of individual Americans, which is consequently becoming a trait of our culture.

The button photo --though amusing-- and its caption ("A pill-popping population") --though skillfully alliterated -- poke fun at the idea of people using antidepressants to make themselves feel happy. The implications in picture and text are that the medication is unnecessary and acts a crutch for those too weak to deal with life. But how many people actually do that? Do you have a count? Does the CDC? How can we suggest that this is the norm without any numbers indicating how many people actually take them without needing them?

The truth about the psychiatric field is that there is an appalling lack of information for this day-and-age. Neither the illnesses nor the medicines are well understood by doctors, let alone the public. But I will tell you, having resisted medication for years before finally giving in, antidepressants and other psychoactive prescriptions are not fun. You don't take them lightly. You won't enjoy them if you don't need them. In fact, you won't enjoy them if you DO need them.

Pills don't make people happy, as your picture suggests... Pills correct chemical and physical disorders that occur in your brain, which make it impossible to function as a normal person. The side-effects of the pills are horrible for many people, but they are also the only thing that allows some people to live.

Anyone who has been depressed understands the difference between depression and sadness... between illness and weakness. The body and the brain malfunction in a very physical way, often requiring a physical solution. That is not to downplay the psychological component of depression, anxiety, etc. Obviously the illnesses have both physical and psychological components. Some people are able to regain function through psychotherapy alone. Some require the comprehensive treatment to their comprehensive disorders. Pursuing that treatment is not weakness, and it shouldn't be mocked.

I'm not easily offended. It's nearly impossible to say anything of substance without offending SOMEONE. But I do believe that the pervasive ignorance and stigma associated with mental illness has had devastating repercussions for the millions of people who suffer from these disorders. It causes individuals who truly do have medical conditions worthy of treatment to feel guilty, ashamed, insecure, and, yes, weak. It causes many people to avoid seeking help or even admitting to themselves that what they feel may not be healthy.

I'm not suggesting that we tiptoe around the issue and placate the ill for the purposes of being PC... but that we begin to finally shift the tone of discussion about mental illness so that we can bring psychiatric diagnosis and medication up to speed with the rest of the medical field. So that we can treat individuals with mental illness with the same respect that we treat individuals with cancer or other diseases currently in the favor of the American public and media.

I look forward to reading more.

Sent by julia | 2:14 PM | 7-13-2007

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from