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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Switzerland
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
Number of posts: 9,444

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6 Habits of Highly Empathetic People

According to new research, empathy is a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives. But what is empathy? And how can you expand your own empathetic potential?


If you think you’re hearing the word “empathy” everywhere, you’re right. It’s now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But there is a vital question that few people ask: How can I expand my own empathic potential? Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it’s a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives.

But what is empathy? It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity. And don’t confuse it with the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As George Bernard Shaw pointed out, “Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you—they might have different tastes.” Empathy is about discovering those tastes.

The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to one side by evidence that we are also homo empathicus, wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid.

Over the last decade, neuroscientists have identified a 10-section “empathy circuit” in our brains which, if damaged, can curtail our ability to understand what other people are feeling. Evolutionary biologists like Frans de Waal have shown that we are social animals who have naturally evolved to care for each other, just like our primate cousins. And psychologists have revealed that we are primed for empathy by strong attachment relationships in the first two years of life.

The End Of A Republican Party

Racial and cultural resentment have replaced the party’s small government ethos.


While I can't say that I am not happy to see the GOP implode, articles like this make it even more important for Dems to be unified and GOTV for Hillary and Dem candidates in November. If a party with an extremely flawed candidate and a far-right social and political agenda can still pull off a win, then the phrase "complete and utter disaster" cannot be considered hyperbolic in any way.

But it is very sad to see a party that began the 20th-century with liberal ideals - and then began casting them aside bit by bit until Reagan finally killed whatever was left - become the bigoted, racist, POS party that the GOP has become today.

Moments of historical change in the course of a party’s life can be difficult to spot. In “Party Ideologies in America, 1828-1996,” political scientist John Gerring marks the beginning of the modern Republican Party as Herbert Hoover’s shifting campaign rhetoric in 1928 and 1932, when he talked more about the virtues of the American home and family than hard-tack economics. Hoover’s oratory about the progress of the individual being threatened by an overzealous government bureaucracy stuck around for the next eight decades, and the wisdom of generations has helped us discern that this was indeed the start of a new Republican era.

The shock of 2016, though, is just how self-evident the inflection point at which the Republican Party finds itself is; Trump is a one-man crisis for the GOP. The party has been growing more conservative and less tolerant of deviations from doctrine over the past decades, so what does it mean that a man who has freely eschewed conservative orthodoxy on policy is now the Republicans’ standard-bearer?

Many have assumed that adherence to a certain conservative purity was the engine of the GOP, and given the party’s demographic homogeneity, this made sense. But re-evaluating recent history in light of Trump, and looking a bit closer at this year’s numbers, something else seems to be the primary motivator of GOP voters, something closer to the neighborhood of cultural conservatism and racial and economic grievance rather than a passion for small government.


Of course she does.

Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Backs Her Boss, Roger Ailes, in Gretchen Carlson Lawsuit


Greta Van Susteren and I have ONE thing in common. We both attended the same law school. She was a halfway decent commentator at CNN. But she lost all credibility with me when she joined Faux Snooze years ago and had plastic surgery to do so. Frankly, I thought that she looked better before.

The 62-year-old Van Susteren—who gave up her Washington law practice 22 years ago to become a fulltime television legal expert on CNN , and next January celebrates her 15th anniversary at Fox News—said she decided to speak up for her boss on her own, and was not asked to do so either by Ailes or the Fox News media relations department.

She said she hasn’t even spoken to Ailes in the past two days.

“I have a very long-term deal,” she said about her arrangement with the conservative-leaning cable news network, adding that if she ever loses her show on Fox she’ll be happy to return to teaching at Georgetown or re-enter law practice.

“I have no reason to curry favor with Roger Ailes. I can assure you that there’s nothing Roger can do for me or against me. My contract is with the corporation. I’m not trying to get a new one.”

Briton's African gap year memoir sparks angry Twitter response


Gap Year Gaffe

Western writer sparks social media storm over book outlining her experiences of war, spiders and ‘smiling children with HIV’

Westerners writing about their gap year in Africa should be aware of the risks by now. After Gap Yah guy’s satire of his time in “Tanzaniaaa”, “Africaaa”, where he actually saw someone contract “Malariaaa”, travellers have had to think carefully about how they talk about their year abroad.

At best they risk ridicule. At worst they will be accused of colonialism, cultural blindness and perpetuating an outdated narrative of the developing world for their own means.

But no one seemed to have warned Louise Linton, whose article “How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare” appeared in the Telegraph this week to promote a book about her experience.

Despite being in Zambia, she writes about becoming a “central character” in the Congolese war of the late 1990s – terrified of what the rebels from across the border “would do to the ‘skinny white muzungu with long angel hair’”.

Much more at the link, including links to this individual's memoir and that of "Gap Yah guy."

If you believed the lies about the FBI investigation, you owe it to yourself to find better sources


It's not just the RW (and LW radicals) who ginned this faux scandal up, it is also largely due to "churnalism" and that churnalism continues with coverage today.

First, I want to say to everyone who actually believed there was something to the e-mail scandal: I’m sorry that you were lied to. I don’t want this post to be a victory lap or an “I told you so” post, because the issue we’re dealing with is serious, and deserves serious thought.

What this whole story reveals is that we have a problem with churnalism. The reporters, writers, and journalists who bring us news are so understaffed that they don’t actually have time to fact check their own reporting. What most reporters do right now is just re-word whatever press release they’ve been handed. If you were someone who believed the oft-repeated lies told about the facts in this case, I’m sorry. But recognize that we don’t have effective news companies anymore, even in the new media space. In new media, people are often just re-wording what someone else previously re-worded. There’s no actual reporting.

And as citizen journalists, the lot of you are actually capable of picking up a phone and calling someone who’s the subject of a story, or an expert. Just tell them you’re a blogger, and e-mail them the resulting post. I’ve done that. I think the rest of you should consider doing it, too.

I wrote months ago that the only possible charges to bring against Clinton would be civil, and internal to the state department, requiring a sit down meeting with the president whose job it would have been to decide whether any sanction was necessary.

Good read on Huffington Blog ...


The end to Bernie’s campaign is likely the best example of turning a win into a loss I have ever seen. Some are calling it an extreme case of ‘white privilege‘ and sexism.

Lauren Rankin writes “If Bernie Sanders is such a progressive revolutionary, why does he insist on undermining an eminently qualified female presidential candidate who can beat a fascistic demagogue?” She goes on to write “Moving the Democratic platform to the left is a laudable goal, but it isn’t one that he alone has led. There have been many movements, including the movement to end the Hyde Amendment, the “Fight for 15,” and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, that have pushed the Democratic Party to the left. But Bernie Sanders is presenting it as if he himself is the leader of this progressive revolution, as if he and his candidacy have been doing all of the work. This is privileged ignorance at best, and sinister appropriation at worst. Sanders has constructed himself as the progressive revolutionary savior that we have all been waiting for, a privileged and entitled point of view if there ever was one. He is unwilling to stop mansplaining to the country that he’s right because either he believes so deeply that he is right and we are wrong or does he sense that this is the one time that he will ever be this relevant to American politics and his male ego is unwilling to let this go?” I go with the last explanation.

Hillary Clinton is probably the most prepared person to ever run for President. She is brilliant and hardworking. She has worked for The Children’s Defense Fund and a Congressional Committee. Been recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in the country; was First Lady of Arkansas; First Lady of the United States; two-term Senator from New York; and Secretary of State.

For twenty-five years Republicans have attacked her and spent over a billion dollars of their and the governments money trying to prove Hillary is evil and dishonest without ever proving anything. Yet the attacks have left their mark and a majority today wrongly see her as dishonest and untrustworthy. Still Clinton leads Trump by more than two-to-one when people are asked who is more prepared to be President.

Canada's first woman PM on Hillary Clinton


During his speech in Canada this week, Prez O mentioned how Canada has already had its first woman as head of state much earlier than the US has. Kim Campbell was Prime Minister from June 25 to November 3, 1993. Additionally, she was also the first female leader of the Progressive Conservatives, winning the leadership race after former prime minister Brian Mulroney resigned, the first female defense minister in any NATO country, the first woman to serve as attorney general in Canada and, before any of those accomplishments, the first girl to be president of her high school student council in Vancouver. More about her here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Campbell

But like Hillary Clinton, having a history of real accomplishments just wasn't enough for some. Kim Campbell has a few things of her own to say about that.

"We all carry around implicit attitudes based on how we have understood the way the world works as we grow up and if you never see a certain kind of person in a certain job, and all of a sudden somebody who looks or sounds like that shows up, you go 'Oh, wait a minute. Who are you? You don't belong here,' " she said.

She said she believes this is a factor in some of the criticism of Clinton, who was First Lady to former U.S. president Bill Clinton when Campbell first met her at the G7 Summit in Tokyo in 1993.

"Things that people hate about her ... are kind of small potatoes, compared to other people who have run for public office," said Campbell, who then mentioned the email scandal and the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.

"You're looking for the way to be able to say 'Aha! You see? That's why I'm not going to vote for her.' But underlying it is really this sense of discomfort that 'I've never voted for somebody like that for president.' "

I LIKE this woman!

Penultimate CA vote-count reporting update

Note to Alerters and Mods: this OP is not intended to be provocative, nor is it intended to fight the last primary over again. It is merely an attempt to put actual facts, so far as they exist, out there for all to see.

As of 6:21 pm on July 1, the actual vote count of the Dem Presidential Primary as between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders stands as follows: http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/president/party/democratic/

Hillary Clinton 2,713,259

Bernie Sanders 2,326,030


1. Clinton and Sanders are NOT the only two Dem candidates AND the votes counted since June 7 are being counted for ALL candidates of ALL political parties. I won't give that breakdown. The information can be found at the above link.

2. Clinton has so far surpassed her 2008 Primary performance of 2,608,184. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Democratic_primary,_2008

3. Sanders has so far surpassed Barack Obama's 2008 performance of 2,186,662. (info at Wiki link above)

As of July 1, 6:13, 33/48 counties have completed their counting, i.e., have "CCC" status: http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/status/ More detailed information can be found at the link.

Bottom line 1: Hillary continues to hold a margin of several hundred thousand votes over Bernie in CA.

Bottom line 2: Although the winning margin percentage has dwindled, the ultimate winner will remain as that announced on June 7, i.e., Hillary Clinton.

I will post a final report after July 8, when in accordance with CA law all vote-counting must stop.

Susie Orbach: in therapy, everyone wants to talk about Brexit


The psychotherapist has been dealing with people’s emotional responses to Brexit in her therapy room. There is fury, uncertainty and anxiety. Now, she says, we need to address the divisions in a emotionally literate way

We are a week in, and every therapy session has started with Brexit. They’ve stayed with it, too. The shock, the fear, the dismay, the feelings of shame, of being unsafe, of being misplaced and unwanted. Notions of what the UK has stood for in people’s consciousness are being shredded. The vote experienced as an assault on senses of self, of identity and community that people didn’t know they carried inside of them and relied upon until the vote shattered it.

People express anger and despair. The image of where they lived, and what the country has meant to them, is pushing them to consider what kind of fantasy they (and, of course, many of us) have lived with until it came crashing down a week ago. Were they delusional, some ask, to not see the level of alienation and despair that has gripped so much of the country? Were they living in a fairytale in which despite the woes of the last years, it all works out in the end? Were they themselves complicit in a make-believe in which politicians can kick the EU and then expect people to support it? Has Britain become the kind of family in which one side is not talking to the other? There is too, a dirtiness, a sense of having cleaved to an alliance with people they didn’t necessarily like while disdaining the political rhetoric of the other side. Yes, these are Remainers, for the most part. But lest you wonder, my practice is metropolitan, cosmopolitan, London-based, but it isn’t essentially middle-class or Guardian-reading.

The alienations and sorrows that drove people to therapy in the first place are writ large in Brexit. Questions of insecurity and belonging are uppermost; do I have a place, do we have a place, how unbearable that others don’t feel they have a place. These sentiments from the consulting room include a concern for self, rage and worry, mixed with concern for those on the other side. For some, the same psychological factors that led them to disown or split off unwelcome parts of themselves, or to repress them or project them on to others, rebound in Brexit darkness. A few have said: there are parts of myself that I don’t want to know about, and there are parts of my country (or the country) I live in that are showing me a darkness I would rather suppress.

In this sense, Brexit, with its foreboding of irreversibility (although who knows on that one), has brought people into a confrontation with self, with helplessness. For some, there has been the expression of a desire to act, to be counted in a more profound way. Equally, there is fright and consternation about a racism now given oxygen. The barely visible, the shadow, is being seen and it is unwelcome. It has released a shockwave as people recognise that the political really is the personal, and that what is personal – what counts as a response to alienation in some of the Brexiters – is the ugliness of othering the foreign, the newly arrived, the people who are displaced from home. The starkness of this recognition, in the taunts and daubings and attacks that show a fear of the other, are sobering and scary. It hurts to know how powerful and how close to the surface such feelings are, and it is crucial that we contest the underlying terms of a political debate in which racism is acceptable expression of powerlessness. By contrast, it has shocked people to see the nakedness of political power, the House of Cards moves played out in plain view as though politics were a game, even a playpen, with leadership, stewardship and inclusivity barely on the table.

Sam Wang puts Hillary's probability of winning at 85%

I posted this on GD 2016 with the article's actual headline, which is more cerebral. It's getting very little traction there, possibly because of that, so I am cross-posting here, where I know that it will be appreciated, and with a more eye-catching headline.


If you want to give the GD 2016 OP some love, far be it for me to discourage that!
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