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MannyGoldstein

Profile Information

Name: Manny Goldstein
Gender: Male
Hometown: Greater Boston
Home country: USA
Current location: Remulak, as far as I can tell
Member since: Tue Aug 30, 2005, 09:44 AM
Number of posts: 29,529

Journal Archives

A long post that (thankfully) nobody will read.

Because if people read it, I'll show up on the last few ignore lists I'm not already on.

A lot of discussion these days about whether childhood memories can be counted on as being truthful.

A million years ago when I went to college, I took an intro child psych course from a fellow named Stephen Ceci. To be honest, I only took it because I needed another elective outside my major and the Hum Ec school had a reputation for being... well... not super rigorous.

Indeed, the course was not super rigorous. But it did blow my mind.

Dr. Ceci's research interest was (and still is) children giving testimony in court. We didn't spend much time on that, but he pulled a neat trick on us. One day, in class, he announced that we all needed to watch a film one night next week. But since there were no rooms with projectors which were large enough to hold everyone in the class at once, half of us should go to one location and half to another.

So I went to my location at the appointed time, and watched a film that was simply a courtroom trial, a drug case. Some folks gave testimony, and the film ended after the prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments. We didn't see the verdict, but after the film ended, we were asked to judge for ourselves - innocent or guilty? Practically the entire room voted guilty!

At the next class Dr. Ceci let us in on his secret - both rooms had seen slightly different movies. He'd taken a transcript from a real trial and had actors play the different participants. Both classes saw the same movie, except for one change: in our room, the star witness for the prosecution was played by a child. In the other room, the same witness' dialog was read by an adult. And while my room almost unanimously voted guilty, the other room had almost unanimously voted innocent.

That. Blew. My. Mind.

That one trial doesn't prove anything by itself, but a larger body of work has shown that children are extremely believable as witnesses. Problem is, they're not very good at relating what really happened.

Some years after graduating, the New York Times ran an item about some newer work from Dr. Ceci. From the article:

In the study of children from 4 to 6, parents helped researchers make a list of two events that had occurred in each child's life and eight that had not. In weekly sessions, the researchers reviewed the list with the child, asking for each event, "Has this ever happened to you?"

One 4-year-old boy, for example, answered truthfully, "No, I've never been to the hospital," the first time he was asked if he had ever gone to the hospital because his finger had got caught in a mousetrap.

But the next week, in response to the same question, he volunteered, "Yes. I cried." And by the 11th week of questioning, he was offering an elaborate tale about his brother's pushing him into the mousetrap, near where his father was getting firewood.


In all, after 11 weeks, 56% of children reported at least one of the false events as true, and some said all of 'em were true.

"The more often you ask young children to think about something, the easier it becomes for them to make something up that they think is a memory," said Dr. Ceci.

So: children are very effective at giving testimony, and they're not so good at remembering reality. This is a problem.

But bad things really do happen to children, and sometimes there are no other witnesses. This is also a problem.


This all doesn't mean that children's testimony should be discarded, nor does it mean that the adult testimony of childhood memories should be discarded. But it shouldn't be taken as gospel, either.

We should be careful.


Posted by MannyGoldstein | Tue Feb 4, 2014, 07:22 PM (60 replies)

Elizabeth Warren blasts "obscene" US profits on school loans

US Mass. senator blasts profits on student loans

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Saturday she is shocked that the federal government is earning an estimated $66 billion in profits from student loans originated between 2007 and 2012.

The Democrat from Massachusetts was reacting to a Government Accountability Office report Friday. A previous Congressional Budget Office report estimated that the government will pocket an additional $185 billion in profits on new student loans made over the next 10 years.

‘‘This is obscene. The government should not be making $66 billion in profits off the backs of our students,’’ Warren said in a statement. ‘‘This report reinforces what we already knew — instead of investing in our children and their futures, the government is squeezing profits out of our young people and adding to the mountain of debt they will spend their lives struggling to repay.’’

Warren and eight other U.S. senators committed to wring government profits out of student loans and address a $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt they say is crushing families and putting a strain on the economy.
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Sun Feb 2, 2014, 12:52 PM (42 replies)

Things have changed.

Seismic.

Just a few years ago, even on DU, folks who pointed out that the Emperor had no clothes would get an earful about how we just can't handle having a Democratic President in office, that we are unrealistic Firebaggers.

Suddenly, it's OK to be a Liberal, and the fake Democrats in office haven't a clue as to what to do. Now we get an earful about how the fake Democrats really do believe in the same things as Bernie Sanders, the guy that used to be ridiculed. No honest! Bernie Sanders totally supports the President, we love Bernie, yadda yadda yadda. LOL.

Two "free" trade agreements scheduled to maul working Americans were suspended this week. A step was taken toward the toxic Keystone XL pipeline, but I think Obama is finally scared of FDR Democrats, afraid to take the next step and give the Koch brothers their little gift. A few years ago the Kochs would have gotten their pipeline in a heartbeat as part of some sort of sensible common-sense energy policy derp.

We are making progress in taking back our party and our country. It will get worse before it gets better, but I think it will get better.
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Sat Feb 1, 2014, 01:12 AM (45 replies)

Holder to Boston: #%^* you.

We run a civilized city here: only 33% of Bostonians want the imprisoned Bomber Brother to be killed for his crime.

You'd think Holder would respect the wishes of the very people that were the target of the attack, right? But, no, gotta kill. Probably afraid of the mean things Fox "News" would say otherwise.

Feh. I'm in a really foul mood tonight.
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Thu Jan 30, 2014, 10:17 PM (131 replies)

Here's why I've given up on voting:

Oh #%^* you, of course I vote, all the time. OK, I missed 2000 because of an emergency that had me on a plane all day, but somehow Gore managed to win Massachusetts without me.

Know what? Every other Liberal I know votes enthusiastically in every election. We may not be enthusiastic about the Third Way nudniks that are on the ballot, but we're enthusiastic about making sure the Republicans lose.

Know what else? There is a group that sits out elections when they've been screwed over by the people they voted for: Study after study shows that independents sit it out when they get abused, but Liberals go back for more. (But our time is coming... and soon!)

So can we please stop the bizarre yammering about Liberals needing to #%^*ing vote this time? We vote every #%^*ing time. Go tell the Independents to get out there and vote!

Better yet, tell elected Democrats to actually do stuff that will make Independents *want* to vote for us. After all, two-thirds of Americans hold the Liberal position on virtually any subject you can name - unions, free trade, minimum wage, military budgets, Social Security, Medicare-for-All... you name it. It's not hard to make America ecstatic, they just need to pull their heads out of Wall Street's fundamental orifice and vote for traditional Democratic stuff. Really easy.
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Thu Jan 30, 2014, 09:17 PM (159 replies)

"We must adjust our expectations downwards, rather than fight to win."*

That's my one-line takeaway from last night's SOTU.

I respond to that message by channeling a great American, General Anthony McAuliffe. Surrounded with his 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge, massively outnumbered, McAuliffe received a letter from the German Commander demanding surrender in exchange for allowing the Americans to live. His letter of response:

To the German Commander.

NUTS!

The American Commander


*title is a synopsis, not a real quote of course
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Wed Jan 29, 2014, 12:39 PM (35 replies)

Elizabeth Warren: Raising The Minimum Wage Is 'The Least We Can Do'

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stopped by HuffPost Live ahead of President Barack Obama's 2014 State of the Union address, telling host Zach Carter she believes raising the minimum wage is necessary.

"Come on. Minimum wage, it's the least we can do," Warren said.

Warren said she wants to see Obama "do what he can," but she also hopes he'll push Congress to raise the minimum wage in his speech Tuesday night.

An administration official told The Huffington Post Obama will announce during Tuesday night's address that he's raising the minimum wage for workers under federal contracts to $10.10 per hour.
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Wed Jan 29, 2014, 11:40 AM (0 replies)

FDR's 1941 State of the Union (The Four Freedoms)

The Four Freedoms section starts at 5:25

Posted by MannyGoldstein | Wed Jan 29, 2014, 12:48 AM (4 replies)

What's *your* guess (re: Warren and Sanders)

Why do you think that Elizabeth and Bernie voted for the infernal Farm Bill that cuts food stamps.
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Tue Jan 28, 2014, 06:52 PM (30 replies)

So... cuts to unemployment aid and food stamps

With three unemployed Americans for every one job opening.

What sort of sick savagery is this?

Tonight, our leaders enjoy sumptuous meals washed down with delightful wines, earned by doing favors for their Predator-Class patrons, while more American children than ever before are homeless and hungry.

This is not reasonable compromise. It is barbarism. It must end. And the people who did this, they ain't gonna end it.
Posted by MannyGoldstein | Mon Jan 27, 2014, 11:45 PM (213 replies)
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