Bloggers on Robert Draper's Dead Certain.

Bloggers on Robert Draper's Dead Certain.

Bloggers on Robert Draper's Dead Certain.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Sept. 4 2007 6:25 PM

W., Uncovered

Bloggers parse Robert Draper's new book on the Bush administration and blast big pharma over a sharp increase in diagnoses of bipolar disorder among children. Also, David and Goliath analogies abound in the wake of Appalachian State's gridiron victory over Michigan.

W., Uncovered: Dead Certain, the new book by journalist Robert Draper, quotes President Bush as saying he wanted to keep Iraq's military intact, but former Coalition Provisional Authority head L. Paul Bremer has provided letters to the New York Times that he says contradict Bush's statement. Bloggers pounce at the chance to discuss Draper's disclosures about the commander-in-chief. (Slate is running exclusive excerpts of Dead Certain this week.)

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Liberal Steve Benen at Carpetbagger Report expresses shock that Bush says he couldn't remember his response when he learned the Iraqi army had been disbanded: "It's a rather humiliating revelation. Bush comes across like a confused child—he didn't understand the decision, he's not sure how the decision was made, and asked for his reaction to the decision, Bush is left to conclude, 'Yeah, I can't remember.' " Foreign-policy specialist Steve Clemons at the Washington Note is equally boggled: "It is stunning to hear Bush himself admit his surprise that a policy this consequential to the Iraq effort had been reversed by his people—and that he knew little about it. No curiousity? No fury?" Clemons concludes, "Stunning, frustrating, depressing honesty from George W. Bush." Liberal activist Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog offers her interpretation of the Bremer-Bush mixup: "[I]t's entirely possible George Bush cannot—or will not—remember being briefed on the dismantling of the Iraqi Army. By now his conscious recollections of what happened have been reworked into his ego defenses. In his mind, he is not to blame. But neither can he bring himself to go back to that moment and look at it closely."

The Politico's Jonathan Martin dons his reviewer's cap as he writes that Draper's book delivers "neither a wet kiss nor a hatchet job" and that it's "a comprehensive account of the Bush presidency that aims to illuminate not advocate." 

Conservative Paul Mirengoff complains about the Washington Post's coverage: "The Post is obsessed, of course, with stories that cast Bush in a bad light and/or make members of his administration uncomfortable. But this story barely satisfies this criteria." And fellow righty Ed Morrissey writes at Captain's Quarters that: "Those inclined to see Karl Rove as some sort of puppetmaster will likely be disappointed by this new look at the administration. It turns out that Bush is his own man, responsible for his decisions and unafraid to dismiss advice when he thinks he's correct, for better and worse.

Read more blogger reaction to Draper's Dead Certain.

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Big Pharma fallacy: A study reports that bipolar diagnoses in American children and adolescents are aggressively increasing; the authors of the study are unsure how to explain the increase. Is the disease being better diagnosed or overdiagnosed? Bloggers suspect the latter, and are skeptical of the pharmaceutical companies that benefit from such diagnoses.

"Move over ADHD, make room for the new catchall: Pediatric Bipolar," declares   Pythia at mental-health blog This Is Your Brain on Lithium, pointing out that "[n]o one knows how these medications affect the adult brain, much less the still-developing child's brain. There have been no studies of the long-term effects of any of these drug (except lithium—which is not generally given long-term because of the possibility of serious side-effects) on anyone—they're too new."  

The veteran psychologist at Dr. X's Free Associations blames the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry for the increase: "This is what you get when clinical training emphasizes symptom checklists, taxonomy and treatment recipes. It works well for insurers, pharmaceutical companies and simplistic clinicians. It's lousy for the patient." Writer David Berner at the Berner Monologues shares Dr. X's suspicion of pharmaceutical companies: "This is a detestable, legal drug push. And it goes on every day in every country in every doctor's office." Dr. Jim Horn at education-policy blog Schools Matter joins the rally against pharmaceutical companies, noting, "The drug companies have found a whole new market for their anti-psychotic catalog of goodies: schoolchildren."

Read more blogger response to the bipolar study.  Read  William Saletan's "Human Nature"  at Slate on the increased diagnoses.

Debacle in the Big House: Bloggers alternately crow and wail over Appalachian State's unprecedented victory over Michigan on Saturday in Ann Arbor. 

Ryan Alberti at the Bleacher Report places his sympathy with Michigan coach Lloyd Carr: "It's a tough gig, being a college football coach. You watch miles of tape. You drill thousands of reps. You account for contingencies until the cows come home, and you convince yourself you've done everything you can to keep your hold on an ever-tenuous job ... and then when Saturday rolls around you place your fate entirely in the hands of several dozen hormonally imbalanced twenty-somethings." The Michigan fan blog at FanBlogs.com, admits that Appalachian State's win is "one of the biggest upsets ever" and adds: "And to think, Michigan paid App State $400K to wreck their season and hand UM their most embarrassing loss in 128 years." Dave's Football Blog wishes he'd been in Boone, N.C., on Saturday when ASU students tore down the goalposts: "No one ever knows what to do with them beyond carrying them around and yelling a lot, but they usually think of something. The ASU students dropped their goalposts in the chancellor's driveway."

Bruce Ciskie at AOL's sports blog Fanhouse says the loss is a "fatal blow for Michigan's national title chances" but reminds readers that the Wolverines were "ranked in the top five of most preseason rankings. They didn't get there through smoke and mirrors, and it's hard to believe that we were all that wrong about a football team."

Read more bloggers' views on the Appalachian State victory.

Morgan Smith, a former Slate intern, is a law student in Austin, Texas.