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31 Democrats Vote YEA:
Lamar Alexander R TN
Kelly Ayotte R NH
Tammy Baldwin D WI
John Barrasso R WY
Mark Begich D AK
Michael Bennet D CO
Roy Blunt R MO
John Boozman R AR
Richard M. Burr R NC
Benjamin L. Cardin D MD
Thomas R. Carper D DE
Bob Casey D PA
Daniel Coats R IN
Thad Cochran R MS
Susan Collins R ME
Christopher A. Coons D DE
John Cornyn R TX
Joe Donnelly D IN
Richard J. Durbin D IL
Michael B. Enzi R WY
Deb Fischer R NE
Lindsey Graham R SC
Kay Hagan D NC
Orrin G. Hatch R UT
Martin Heinrich D NM
Heidi Heitkamp D ND
John Hoeven R ND
Johnny Isakson R GA
Mike Johanns R NE
Tim Johnson D SD
Tim Kaine D VA
Angus King I ME
Mark Steven Kirk R IL
Mary L. Landrieu D LA
Patrick J. Leahy D VT
Mitch McConnell R KY
Barbara A. Mikulski D MD
Lisa Murkowski R AK
Christopher S. Murphy D CT
Patty Murray D WA
Bill Nelson D FL
Mark Pryor D AR
Harry Reid D NV
Pat Roberts R KS
John D. Rockefeller IV D WV
Brian Schatz D HI
Charles E. Schumer D NY
Jeanne Shaheen D NH
Debbie Stabenow D MI
John Thune R SD
Patrick J. Toomey R PA
Mark Udall D CO
Tom Udall D NM
John Walsh D MT
Mark Warner D VA
Roger Wicker R MS
Posted by xocet | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 11:32 PM (3 replies)
Torture victims will bear psychological scars long after CIA report scandal fades
The architects of CIA torture sought to make individuals powerless to disobey by breaking down their self-control. Restoring it can be a lifetime’s work
Spencer Ackerman in New York
Saturday 13 December 2014 10.13 EST
Jabuli prefers solitude indoors, having lost all safety once before. When he does go out he seeks crowded public spaces, so there will be witnesses if his tormentors reappear to kidnap him again. Ten years on, time and distance have not healed the damage that comes from torture.
“You live with the fear that the people who tortured you may come back to torture you again,” he said, “regardless of if you are in a safe country.”
Triggers are everywhere, even a decade later. Armored vans on the street make him think of the station where he was tortured. He fears intimacy, because he doesn’t want someone to see him having nightmares, or to watch him wake up crying. He worries he will not be “good enough to have a family”.
More than a decade ago, Jabuli endured seven months in a torture chamber in a central African country he asked the Guardian not to identify. (Jabuli is a pseudonym he recommended.) He was placed in “stress positions”: his elbows and ankles were bound to each other behind his back as he faced downward, resulting in a pain so consuming that he could barely breathe.
Posted by xocet | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 03:46 PM (0 replies)
Obama Proclamation of Bill of Rights Day 2014
12 December 2014
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
December 12, 2014
BILL OF RIGHTS DAY, 2014
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
For more than two centuries, our Nation has been shaped by courageous women and men who have dared to raise their voices and work to safeguard the blessings of liberty and justice*. In the face of tyranny, early patriots stood up against an empire and proclaimed the independence of a new Nation, declaring that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. To secure these rights, they fought a war and enshrined these truths into our Constitution. The product of a fierce debate and great compromise, our founding charter was a remarkable yet imperfect document. It provided the foundation for a society built on freedom and democracy, but essential questions -- including those of race and gender -- were left unresolved. Yet before it was fully ratified, our Founding Fathers began working to refine its text, an early milestone in our unending journey to form a more perfect Union.
Ratified on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights secured our most fundamental freedoms. These first 10 Constitutional Amendments protect our rights to protest, practice our faiths, and hold our Government accountable. They guarantee justice under the law, allow for the dissemination of new ideas, and create the opportunity for those left out of our charter to fight to expand its promise. In times of war and peace, and through waves of depression and prosperity, these tenets have not only endured, but they have strengthened our Nation and served as an example to all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.
On the anniversary of the Bill of Rights, we reflect on the blessings of freedom we enjoy today, and we are reminded that our work to foster a more free, more fair, and more just society is never truly done. Guided by these sacred principles, we continue striving to make our country a place where our daughters' voices are valued just as much as our sons'; where due process of law is afforded to all people, regardless of skin color; and where the individual liberties that we cherish empower every American to pursue their dreams and achieve their own full measure of happiness.
Our fidelity to these timeless ideals binds us together as a Nation. As we celebrate Bill of Rights Day, let us recommit to the values that define us as a people and continue our work to broaden democracy's reach by strengthening the freedoms with which we have been endowed.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 15, 2014, as Bill of Rights Day. I call upon the people of the United States to mark this observance with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twelfth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
There seems to be some irony present in this proclamation, but it eludes me. Maybe I am only imagining it.
Posted by xocet | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 12:13 AM (7 replies)
Though the first obvious answer is "Who really cares? Don't waste time discussing him.", though the second obvious answer is something that profanely approximates "Let that guy burn!", and though the third obvious answer is "Of course!", an examination of Glenn's following statement seems to indicate that he is exactly as gullible as the rubes who believe his dangerous, self-serving, jingoistic, conjoined fictions of patriotism and religion (that is, if one can suspend the belief that his videos are nothing but a shabby ruse to allow Glenn to bilk his stable of rubes out of more of their money):
Here is an approximate transcription of Glenn Beck's statement from time 5:39 to time 8:04 in the video: he is discussing Carrick Brain Centers. (Following this is a 2011 commentary on chiropractic neurology from the site Science-Based Medicine along with the background of that site's editor - the author of the commentary.)
"Honestly, it is a place that you go to if you are absolutely desperate, because they do...crazy stuff...crazy stuff. ... They..uh..they engage in experimental therapy. You know the stuff the government and the insurance companies aren't sure that they believe in. And because of that they don't take insurance, and they cost quite a bit of money. And..uh..and they don't make any promises. But when you're fifteen or twenty doctors in and no diagnosis - at least, a diagnosis that you feel good about. What do you have to lose? Besides, I wondered - big miracle - what are the odds of me moving from New York City to Dallas, Texas, and buying a studio that was literally three-and-a-half minutes down the street from the only place in the world that seems to specialize in exactly what was wrong with me? So, we went and - after a few short visits - they found that I had several things going on from an autoimmune disorder to adrenal fatigue and they found the connection on everything that was going on. And for the first time gave us hope that we could reboot my system - not stop it - but reverse at least parts of it. Everything these guys told us made sense for the first time. It never felt like it made sense. Um...you know...Me never having to sleep was now finally understandable. Apparently, the last sign of adrenal failure is a hyperextension of your adrenal gland. So, in other words, I didn't need to sleep. I could have been lifting cars during my time at Fox. I wish I would have...That would have made a great episode. But now because of that, my adrenal system had blown out, and all I could do was sleep. And one thing on top of another and in the end, my immune system was looking at these natural horm...it was looking at adrenaline as an infection, and so my body was trying to kill its basic functions...."
From Science-Based Medicine:
Posted by Steven Novella on November 16, 2011
Chiropractic neurology appears to me to be the very definition of pseudoscience – it has all the trappings of a legitimate profession, with a complex set of beliefs and practices, but there is no underlying scientific basis for any of it.
Some symptoms are also susceptible to conditioning. Vertigo is perhaps the best example of this. At present the most effective treatment for chronic vertigo (a subjective sense of movement, such as spinning) is vestibular therapy – physical therapy designed to condition the patient to the symptoms, to diminish them over time. It is therefore possible that some chiropractic neurology interventions are simply providing this known mechanism. For example, here is a description of Carrick’s treatment of Hockey player, Crosby:
Carrick then signals to restart the gyroscope—with one difference. This time Crosby will be turned upside-down while he is also spun around. He hasn’t experienced this dual action yet. The door clangs shut. Above it, a stack of red, yellow and green lights shines while 10 high-pitched beeps signal the gyroscope is about to start. Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
This is a very dramatic treatment, sure to impress the naive. It follows a common philosophy in dubious neurological treatments – the notion that you can “rebuild the brain” by stimulating it. While it is true that activity and simulation are better than no activity and stimulation, it does not follow that simply increasing stimulation will increase the brain’s plasticity or recovery (a simplistic more-is-better philosophy). That basic notion was researched and discarded decades ago, for example with specific reference to psychomotor patterning treatments.
Steven P. Novella, MD
Founder and currently Executive Editor of Science-Based Medicine Steven Novella, MD is an academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and the author of the NeuroLogicaBlog, a daily blog that covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. Dr. Novella also contributes every Sunday to The Rogues Gallery, the official blog of the SGU.
At some point, I thought for certain that Glenn was going to exhibit empathy and was going to call for universal health care. I guess I was wrong...
Posted by xocet | Tue Nov 11, 2014, 08:28 PM (25 replies)
However, is there further data that supports the TC hypothesis?
For the actual paper and some other background information on TC from 2007, see the following:
Technicolor Higgs boson in the light of LHC data
Phys. Rev. D 90, 035012 – Published 13 August 2014
Alexander Belyaev, Matthew S. Brown, Roshan Foadi, and Mads T. Frandsen
We consider scenarios in which the 125 GeV resonance observed at the Large Hadron Collider is a Technicolor (TC) isosinglet scalar, the TC Higgs and explore the viable parameter space of the effective Higgs boson couplings within the TC Higgs scenario using the latest LHC data. By comparison with quantum chromodynamics, we argue that the couplings of the TC Higgs to the massive weak bosons are very close to the standard model (SM) values. The couplings to photons and gluons are model-dependent, but close to the SM values in several TC theories. The couplings of the TC Higgs to SM fermions are due to interactions beyond TC, such as extended technicolor: if such interactions successfully generate mass for the SM fermions, we argue that the couplings of the latter to the TC Higgs are also SM-like. We suggest a generic parametrization of the TC Higgs interactions with SM particles that accommodates a large class of TC models, and we perform a fit of these parameters to the Higgs LHC data. The fit reveals regions of the parameter space where the form factors have an order-one absolute value at the 95% CL, in agreement with expectations in TC theories. This indicates that the discovered Higgs boson is consistent with the TC Higgs hypothesis for several TC theories.
Posted by xocet | Mon Nov 10, 2014, 11:51 AM (0 replies)
An Introduction to Caving...
Caving is a potentially dangerous sport, but it can be made as safe as you want it to be. Unavoidable accidents are extremely rare; people make mistakes and they, or others, can get hurt because of those mistakes. There are many things which can cause an accident; you are expected to know about them and have sufficient foresight and use enough caution to avoid them. ...
The following pages describe some of the more common hazards of caving. Don't let it scare you off, though. In a certain sense caving can be compared to driving. If you had never driven a car you could get into a lot of trouble by driving out into rush hour traffic. Once you have the knowledge and experience, you can drive safely. The same is true of caving.
The General Rules of Caving Safety
NEVER go caving alone. Three people is the absolute minimum number for a trip. The reason for this is that if a person is hurt, someone must remain with the injured party while the third person goes for help. Four to six people is generally considered the optimum size party for the average caving trip. Also, other people can help you when you are having trouble (which happens a lot to varying degrees).
Start caving with experienced cavers. Learn your capabilities in easy caves. Don't exceed your limits. Get to know the abilities of your caving friends. One often hears of "high school students" who get into trouble in a cave. This is caused by inexperience and/or a "swollen head".
Hey, at least, they have the requisite minimum of three people needed for safe caving. The next two years should go exceptionally well:
Posted by xocet | Thu Nov 6, 2014, 02:13 PM (6 replies)
Smart Decision 2014: Voter guide on local, state ballot issues
Posted: Nov 3, 2014 6:46 PM by Matt Kalish, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
Updated: Nov 3, 2014 6:50 PM
COLUMBIA - The Missouri ballot for election day Tuesday features four proposed amendments to the state constitution dealing with varying issues, including one that would change how school districts evaluate teachers and another which would allow state lawmakers to override additional actions by the governor.
Voters in Columbia will also see two propositions on their ballots.
To help voters make an informed, smart decision on Election Day KOMU 8 News has complied this guide which ties together our coverage and provides an overview of issue.
KOMU 8 News will provide complete election results online and on air after the polls close at 7 p.m.
Posted by xocet | Tue Nov 4, 2014, 01:23 PM (0 replies)
It’s time for an “American jihad”
By Dr. Keith Ablow | Published October 28, 2014
An American jihad would reawaken in American citizens the certain knowledge that our Constitution is a sacred document that better defines and preserves the liberty and autonomy of human beings than the charter of any other nation on earth.
The Constitution, along with the miracle of our nation's founding and the providential history of America fighting and winning war after war against oppressive regimes, proves our manifest destiny not only to preserve our borders and safety and national character at home, but to spread around the world our love of individual freedom and insist on its reflection in every government.
We would accept the fact that an American jihad could mean boots on the ground in many places in the world where human rights are being denigrated and horrors are unfolding. Because wherever leaders and movements appear that seek to trample upon the human spirit, we have a God-given right to intervene — because we have been to the mountaintop of freedom, and we have seen the Promised Land spanning the globe.
We the People of the United States are good and we are right. And we need the spirit of an American jihad to properly invite, intensify and focus our intentions to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution here at home, and to seek to spread its principles abroad.
Source: www foxnews com/opinion/2014/10/28/its-time-for-american-jihad/
Apparently, Keith has been "psychiatrin' " too hard and has lost touch with the last decade or so of life in the USA. Seemingly, he has learned nothing about invading countries and attempting to convert said countries to democracy. Strangely too, in the his piece, France, Sweden and Germany are not nearly democratic enough for Dr. Ablow.
Of course, the USA has the greatest democracy that the world has ever seen. That clearly goes without saying.
However, is the world willing to admit this? One might wonder just how the world sees the USA's exceptional democracy.
As it turns out, there is an organization that has attempted to study the functioning of democracies and governments worldwide. This group is the Democracy Ranking Association (Förderung von Demokratiequalität) and is based in Vienna, Austria.
One may see their staff here:
One may read about their methodology here:
The Democracy Ranking relies on the following conceptual formula for quality of democracy:
Quality of Democracy = (freedom & other characteristics of the political system) & (performance of the non-political dimensions).
Concept and method: The Democracy Ranking model refers to one political dimension and five non-political dimensions, which are: (1) gender (socio-economic and educational gender equality); (2) economy (economic system); (3) knowledge (knowledge-based information society, research and education); (4) health (health status and health system); (5) environment (environmental sustainability). To every dimension different indicators are assigned, therefore the dimensions behave as indicator-based. All indicators are transformed to a value range of “1” to “100”, where “1” represents the weakest (poorest) and “100” the strongest (best) value. For every individual Democracy Ranking release, the used indicators are being specifically (and again) re-transformed to the value range from “1” to “100”. Therefore, when results of different Democracy Rankings are compared, scores can deviate, only the ranking positions stay constant.
Comprehensive gender dimension: Because gender indicators with a political orientation are assigned to the political dimension, the political dimension already contains gender information. Out of an interest of wanting to know what a possible ranking pattern of a broader gender dimension might be, the Democracy Ranking calculates a “comprehensive gender dimension” (a so-called seventh dimension). The ranking scores of that comprehensive gender dimension are also documented, however, they do not impact the aggregated ranking of the Democracy Ranking. The comprehensive gender dimension is based as an aggregation on the following indicators with the following weight measures (see also Comprehensive Scoreboards in the Ranking Excel Files): Global Gender Gap Report 20%; Political Rights (Freedom House) 15%; Civil Liberties (Freedom House) 15%; life expectancy at birth, female (years) 16.67%; labor force, female (% of total labor force) 8.33%; and unemployment, female (% of female labor force) 8.33%. All the other indicators are weighted equally with 4.17%: primary education, pupils (% female); school enrollment, secondary, female (% gross); school enrollment, secondary, female (% net); school enrollment, tertiary, female (% gross).
So, do they admit that the USA is the world's greatest democracy?
... Umm ... Something's really wrong here. ... They think that we're ... ????? NUMBER 15 !?!?!?
Democracy Ranking 2013
Apparently, Austria needs to be invaded first!
(A lot of this OP should be understood to be SARCASTIC in nature.)
Posted by xocet | Wed Oct 29, 2014, 05:56 PM (8 replies)
Police Chief Suggests Protests May Have Led to an Increase in the Number of 2014 St. Louis Homicides
Homicides in St. Louis poised to pass 2013 total
| Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Homicides are up more than 25 percent in St. Louis this year, and the city is already poised to surpass the total number of killings for all of 2013.
Four more deaths in the next two months would put the number of slayings above last year’s total of 120 homicides, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. From Jan. 1 of this year through Wednesday, 117 people have been killed in St. Louis. Ninety-one homicides were reported in about the same time frame last year.
“What’s the only thing that’s changed since the middle of August?” Dotson said. He said one answer could be the protests that followed the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9 by a Ferguson police officer.
“I believe there is some segment of the community that feels empowered by what’s going on,” Dotson said.
Bizarre. Perhaps it is time to get a new police chief in St. Louis. However, I might be misreading his remarks.
Access to St. Louis crime statistics seems to be here:
Posted by xocet | Sun Oct 26, 2014, 04:35 AM (5 replies)