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Member since: Thu Dec 30, 2004, 02:05 PM
Number of posts: 12,711

Journal Archives

The Lethality of Loneliness We now know how it can ravage our body and brain

As W. H. Auden put it, “We must love one another or die.”

At a deeper level, though, loneliness research forces us to acknowledge our own extraordinary malleability in the face of social forces. This susceptibility is both terrifying and exhilarating. On the terrifying side is the unhappy fact that isolation, especially when it stems from the disenfranchisement of the underprivileged, creates a bodily limitation all too easily reproduced in each successive generation. Given that we have been scaling back the kinds of programs that could help people overcome such disadvantages and that many in Congress, mostly Republicans, have been trying to defund exactly the kind of behavioral science research that could yield even better programs, we have reason to be afraid. But there’s something awe-inspiring about our resilience, too. Put an orphan in foster care, and his brain will repair its missing connections. Teach a lonely person to respond to others without fear and paranoia, and over time, her body will make fewer stress hormones and get less sick from them. Care for a pet or start believing in a supernatural being and your score on the UCLA Loneliness Scale will go down. Even an act as simple as joining an athletic team or a church can lead to what Cole calls “molecular remodeling.” “One message I take away from this is, ‘Hey, it’s not just early life that counts,’ ” he says. “We have to choose our life well.”http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113176/science-loneliness-how-isolation-can-kill-you#

US drone strikes condemned as illegal by Pakistan's highest court

Source: The Verge

A decision from Pakistan's highest court in Peshawar has ruled that US drone strikes on tribal lands have taken place illegally and in violation of human rights.

The court found that the strikes constitute war crimes, and occur without the consent of the Pakistani government, leaving a secret deal forged by the CIA and Pakistani military as the only possible hint of cooperation between the two nations. The decision cites recent estimates that the strikes have caused "at least 400" civilian casualties since 2004, a number supported by previous reporting from public interest groups such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New America Foundation. The case was originally filed by a charity representing the families of 17 people killed during a US drone strike, which occurred during a communal meeting in one of Pakistan's tribal areas in March of 2011.

The court ruled that the Pakistani government "must ensure that no drone strike takes place in the future," and has drawn up a resolution against the strikes for the Foreign Ministry to present at the UN. It added that if the US tries to block the resolution, Pakistan "should think about breaking diplomatic ties with the US." Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has also vowed to end the drone attacks, saying they are "against the national sovereignty and a challenge for the country's autonomy and independence.”

Read more: http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/13/4325344/pakistan-court-rules-us-drone-strikes-are-illegal

"The court found that the strikes constitute war crimes..."

Stop it, you're killing me.

Anyone who refuses to prosecute somebody who tortured innocent people is sick, IMHO. WARNING GRAPHIC

The recent Cleveland house of horrors story has just brought this up for me again.... the fact that innocent people were tortured in the Bush years and nothing is being done about...

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

—Maj. General Antonio M. Taguba (USA-Ret.), preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives

"I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture..."

- George W. Bush, June 2003

Infographic: Is Your State's Highest-Paid Employee A Coach? (Probably)

There are at least three problems.

Coaches don't generate revenue on their own; you could make the exact same case for the student-athletes who actually play the game and score the points and fracture their legs.

It can be tough to attribute this revenue directly to the performance of the head coach. In 2011-2012, Mack Brown was paid $5 million to lead a mediocre 8-5 Texas team to the Holiday Bowl. The team still generated $103.8 million in revenue, the most in college football. You don't have to pay someone $5 million to make college football profitable in Texas.

This revenue rarely makes its way back to the general funds of these universities. Looking at data from 2011-2012, athletic departments at 99 major schools lost an average of $5 million once you take out revenue generated from "student fees" and "university subsidies." If you take out "contributions and donations"—some of which might have gone to the universities had they not been lavished on the athletic departments—this drops to an average loss of $17 million, with just one school (Army) in the black. All this football/basketball revenue is sucked up by coach and AD salaries, by administrative and facility costs, and by the athletic department's non-revenue generating sports; it's not like it's going to microscopes and Bunsen burners.

Posted by grahamhgreen | Thu May 9, 2013, 09:57 PM (9 replies)

None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use


By David Roberts

The notion of “externalities” has become familiar in environmental circles. It refers to costs imposed by businesses that are not paid for by those businesses. For instance, industrial processes can put pollutants in the air that increase public health costs, but the public, not the polluting businesses, picks up the tab. In this way, businesses privatize profits and publicize costs....

So how much is that costing us? Trucost’s headline results are fairly stunning.

First, the total unpriced natural capital consumed by the more than 1,000 “global primary production and primary processing region-sectors” amounts to $7.3 trillion a year — 13 percent of 2009 global GDP.... Second, surprising no one, coal is the enemy of the human race. Trucost compiled rankings, both of the top environmental impacts and of the top industrial culprits.

Trucost’s third big finding is the coup de grace. Of the top 20 region-sectors ranked by environmental impacts, none would be profitable if environmental costs were fully integrated. Ponder that for a moment: None of the world’s top industrial sectors would be profitable if they were paying their full freight. Zero. That amounts to an global industrial system built on sleight of hand. As Paul Hawken likes to put it, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.

Posted by grahamhgreen | Wed May 8, 2013, 05:38 PM (8 replies)

Updated map gay marriage equality in the US

Note how Colorado goes from nothing to legal ban to constitutional ban to civil unions, as well as Wisconsin and a few others....!
Posted by grahamhgreen | Wed May 8, 2013, 03:27 PM (3 replies)

Singer of Christian Metal Band Arrested for Hiring Hitman to Kill Wife

On Tuesday, Tim Lambesis, the singer for Christian heavy metal band As I Lay Dying, was arrested for allegedly attempting to hire a hitman to murder his estranged wife.

As it turns out, the “hitman” he tried to hire was actually an undercover detective, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Police were reportedly tipped off last Thursday.

"The information came to us late last week. We acted quickly on it. I believe that we averted a great tragedy," San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell told Reuters.

Lambesis was taken into custody from an Oceanside, California business without incident and was booked into Vista Jail on suspicion of solicitation of murder.


New Republic: Austerity - The History of a Pernicious Idea

There is no greater obstacle to progressive change than the idea of austerity. It has dominated economic policy in Europe, resulting in continued slow growth (or outright contraction) and high unemployment. These conditions have produced demoralized electorates that lack faith in all politicians—a cynicism that has only deepened when leftist parties have attained power and failed to revive growth. In such an environment, progressive change is not possible, and the left is reduced to purely defensive actions.


How did we get into such a pickle? Does the current mania for austerity make any sense whatsoever? And could the recent discrediting of Carmen Reinhart’s and Kenneth Rogoff’s influential pro-austerity paper provide any hope for the defusing of this mania? Mark Blyth’s timely new book, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, provides answers to these questions, and they are not necessarily comforting ones.

Keynes’s anti-austerity ideas had their day of course—and a very successful day it was, lasting from the mid-’30s to the mid-’70s. But austerity ideas never went away because, as outlined above, they are rooted in an entire philosophy about the state and public debt that is not subject to disproof, especially among the conservative forces and big economic interests who embrace it. As a result, when Keynesian economics appeared to falter in the 1970s, austerity-based economics came roaring back and dominated economic thinking for decades.

Now, after a brief resurgence of Keynesian economics in 2008-2010, it is back again. (See this paper by Henry Farrell and John Quiggin for a blow-by-blow description of how this happened.) Austerity dominates today’s economic discussions, this time with the chimera of “expansionary fiscal austerity”—the idea that the way out of an economic slump is to cut spending which will lead to rising business confidence, more investment and strong growth.

Posted by grahamhgreen | Mon May 6, 2013, 07:38 PM (4 replies)

Make Me Retch: "Obama's 'try anything' bid to woo GOP moves from dinner to golf course"

In an effort to build support for his second-term agenda, President Obama hit the golf course Monday with two Republican senators – part of what White House spokesman Jay Carney said is a “try anything” approach.The White House acknowledged that the golf excursion was part of its outreach to Republicans in Congress, which also included a dinner with a bipartisan group of women senators and two dinners with Republican senators. The administration is trying to build support for Mr. Obama’s second-term agenda, which includes immigration reform and an agreement to deal with America's fiscal woes......

“He is willing to try anything,” Mr. Carney said at Monday’s press briefing. “And whether it’s a conversation on the phone or a meeting in the Oval Office or a dinner in a restaurant or dinner in the residence, he going to have the same kind of conversations."


The press pool accompanying the president was able to only briefly observe the golfing action. On the first green, Obama chipped his first shot past the hole and “later appeared to miss a putt,” said pool reporter Bartholomew Sullivan of Scripps Howard News Service.


Willing to try anything except progressive solutions that have a history of working and are the solutions to our current problems.

Disturbing: Private "Charter" Schools Using No Teachers! Kids Sit Alone in Cubicles.

Apparently the new educationist care so much about children, they want nothing to do with them except collect their parents money....

FROM REDDIT: "I am a person who from 9-15 years old attended a school that did not have any teachers, you were required to teach yourself every subject from books at your own pace, while sitting in cubicles all day with very little interaction with other students or extracurricular activities. AMA (Ask Me Anything)"

And from the comments:

"philphish 51 points 1 hour ago

Sorry to break it to you but you weren't in school...your mom dumped you at the library for free babysitting.

designtraveler 49 points 1 hour ago

it certainly was FAR from free, this was a private school

sarah-bellum 29 points 55 minutes ago

That's really interesting - you seem to be implying that it was quite expensive, but if there was really no teacher involvement in anything you did (even grading tests as you mentioned further down), what on earth were you paying for? I know there must have been expenses like books etc. but surely not enough to warrant really high tuition fees. (I'm not doubting your honesty or anything, it just seems like a huge money grab on the school's part.)

designtraveler 13 points 35 minutes ago

money grab i agree, cheaper than most private schools but still expensive considering, about $10,000 a year, I guess you payed for the 'good wholesome Christian environment'


DallasITGuy 6 points 39 minutes ago*

I went to one of these schools the spring of my 7th grade year in 1972. It was called Accelerated Christian Education. It was a joke in terms of learning. We had "packets" for each course. I finished the last half of my 7th grade year and all of the 8th grade packets in one semester. I had a 98% average. I did not learn diddly.

At my school one had to earn privilege levels each week - one either had an A, and AC or an ACE (the initials standing for Accelerated Christian Education). Privileges were earned based on how many packets you finished, books you read and special projects.

The instructors were just glorified baby sitters. Not one had a teaching certificate.

We had (sometimes quite long) chapel worships every day. Basically like a full church service each day.

P.E. was held three times a week by driving out to a public park where we played. Rain or shine, get out of the bus and go do something kid. No supervision. I got into several fights with no punishment. We threw a kid over an embankment once, he fell into a creek and almost drowned.

I have never been able to forgive my parents for sending me to that hellhole.

(edit for additional info on "P.E. class".)"


Posted by grahamhgreen | Mon May 6, 2013, 12:56 PM (0 replies)
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