Dubya, Explained

The pretzel behind the Bush Doctrine.

The study, published in the May 21 issue of the journal Science, compared the reactions to a gambling game among healthy participants and people who had injuries to the orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that links regions involved in reasoning with other areas involved in emotion. … [W]hen the players were informed of what they would have won or lost had they chosen differently, adding the possibility that they might feel regret, the healthy players minded losing far more than the injured participants did.The researchers then changed the odds, making bolder bets lose more often. The healthy subjects quickly shifted to a cautious strategy, while those with injuries stuck to their original strategy, even as their losses piled up. —”Emotions: Winning, Losing, and Regretting,” by John O’Neil in the May 25 New York Times Q: Thank you, Mr. President. In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you’d made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You’ve looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it? A: I wish you’d have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it. … I hope—I don’t want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I’m confident I have. I just haven’t—you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.President Bush, in his April 13 press conferenceBush lost consciousness for a brief time in the White House on Sunday evening while eating a pretzel and watching a professional football game on television. He fell from his couch and has a scrape and large bruise on his left cheekbone, plus a bruise on his lower lip, to show for his troubles. His glasses cut the side of his face. … [Air Force physician Richard] Tubb told reporters Bush reported a pretzel “did not go down right” and the doctor said it was possible a pretzel had lodged against a nerve and momentarily caused a decrease in the president’s heart rate, causing him to faint. —”Bush on Fainting Episode: Chew Your Food,” CNN, Jan. 14, 2002