Politics at convention

The inclusion of Arlo Guthrie at APA's convention, and his picture in a prominent place in the Monitor on Psychology (November 2005 issue), was a significant, but revealing, error on APA policies and direction. I have nothing against Mr. Guthrie, and have enjoyed his music on many occasions. However, he comes with quite a bit of "baggage," both politically and in the drug messages of his past performances. He is, for better or worse, a "leftover hippie" who is no longer popular or particularly relevant.

This is not the "face" that will advance APA and psychology. It was a political statement that was very short sighted. Is APA an organization promoting psychology or is it a political organization promoting a narrow political agenda that may be less representative than many of its leaders would acknowledge? There might actually be conservative APA members or APA members who are Republicans. You can bet that the other "APA" would not have someone like Mr. Guthrie in a prominent place in their convention.

With psychologists in need of government funding, the role of psychology in business and military becoming more and more important, psychologists attempting to gain prescription privileges, the progression of integrated neuropsychological and biosocial approaches to behavior, and the need for psychology to increase its "hard science" credentials, the inclusion of Mr. Guthrie is a throwback to what I call "beanbag psychology," or psychology as a touchy-feely pseudoscience. It was an embarrassment to psychology as it presents its face to the world.

Michael S. Greenberg, PhD
Florida Center for Cognitive Therapy Inc.
Clearwater, Fla.

Evaluating Head Start

I want to take issue with the comment in the article, "Empirical research and family policy" about Dr. Wade Horn (November Monitor). Apparently Dr. Horn indicated that only now, for the first time in Head Start's history, is the Department of Health and Human Services assessing the program's effectiveness to determine whether it is "having the impact we want."

I have been an APA member since 1965 and I have been involved with Head Start from its earliest beginnings. The first Head Start program, during the summer of 1965, had a strong evaluation component, along with research studies. Research and evaluation have always been big parts of Head Start. When I directed Head Start's "Home Start" and "Child and Family Resource Program" demonstration programs back in 1972-1978, program worked hand in hand with evaluation.

It is a serious disservice to suggest that research and evaluation are new to Head Start.

Ann O'Keefe, EdD
Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Mascot resolution questioned

I wish to comment on a story I read in the Monitor recently ("Council moves to bolster APA's diversity, among other actions," November 2005 Monitor). Yes, it is fine for people's dignity to be protected and for their heritage to be respected, as in the case of the American Indians/Native Americans. However as George Carlin has frequently remarked, we oftentimes take ourselves entirely too seriously. I would hope that APA would not go the way of the NCAA, which is suddenly making a federal issue out of the nicknames and mascots of college sports teams. This is completely ridiculous, and I hope it is known and conveyed that the line of APA does not in any way represent all members of that organization. I am not a racist by any means, and I see great pride that a school may take or a professional team may take in having the name of Redskins, Braves, etc. If the tribes protest that is one thing. For the APA to complain (how many members of APA are Native American?) is totally absurd and ludicrous.

Let's encourage this organization to do the work of psychology and stay out of matters that serve only to make said organization look juvenile and "limited."

Gary Maryman, PsyD
Louisville, Ky.

Diversity in APA

It is of interest to me that Dr. Nicolosi (November 2005 Monitor letters) selects a biological analogy in supporting the book by Cummings and Wright, Destructive Trends in Mental Health (Routledge, 2005). "If psychology is to soar like an eagle," the authors write, "it needs both a left and a right wing." However, what if the left wing says, "I evolved" (evolution) and the right wing says, "I was made by an intelligent designer" (creationism).

Can we equate the two? Aren't we obligated to look at the data and not just accept the "traditionalist" views on homosexuality, family and gender, but press for scientific efforts at asking and answering questions? Otherwise we are guaranteed that the eagle will have a crash landing.

Milton F. Shore, PhD
Silver Spring, Md.