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Archive for June 8th, 2014

Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision
David Redish and his graduate student Adam Steiner of the University of Minnesota didn’t set out to study if rats experience regret. They were looking at decision-making in rats. But something about the behavior of their subjects struck them as interesting. When a rat made a mistake, it stopped and looked backwards. Anthropomorphically, it looked to Steiner and Redish as if the rat was feeling regret. That observation lead the researchers to design an experiment to induce regret in rats and then measure behavioral and neurophysiological markers consistent with regret. The results were published in Nature Neuroscience.

Ed Gillespie Wins Virginia Senate Primary
Former presidential adviser and lobbyist Ed Gillespie won the Republican nomination at the state party convention Saturday and will face Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in the general election in November. Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman, has made millions as a corporate lobbyist after he worked as an aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. “I will take our fight to Mark Warner, I will lead us to victory in the fall and we can turn our great country around again,” Gillespie said.


Adidas and Nike jostle for edge at the World Cup

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Adidas and Nike jostle for edge at the World Cup
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The competition on the pitch has yet to start, but the fight over World Cup consumers is already intense — and no more so than between the athletic companies that are jockeying for their once-every-four-years shot at the ever-growing worldwide soccer market.

5 things to watch in Game 2 of the NBA Finals
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat expect more comfortable conditions, and better overall play, in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Arizona serial killer saved pills before suicide
PHOENIX (AP) — A convicted serial killer who committed suicide in an Arizona prison last year was likely hoarding antidepressants from a fellow inmate in the months before his death, a state prison investigation said.


The CIA joins Twitter and Facebook

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The CIA joins Twitter and Facebook
The Central Intelligence Agency is getting into social media, and its first tweet is surprisingly funny

Hillary Clinton brushes off questions about age, health
Former secretary of state says she has “no lingering effects” from her 2012 concussion, defends Obama on Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap


Wash. Post ‘s George Will: Sexual Assault Victim Is Now A “Coveted Status”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Wash. Post ‘s George Will: Sexual Assault Victim Is Now A “Coveted Status”

Fox News contributor and Washington Post columnist George Will derided efforts on college campuses to combat the sexual assault epidemic as a ploy to “make victimhood a coveted status that confers privilege.” 

In a June 7 syndicated op-ed which appeared in The Washington Post and the New York Post, Will dismissed “the supposed campus epidemic of rape, aka ‘sexual assault,'” arguing that the definition of sexual assault was too broad because it could include “nonconsensual touching” and disputing the evidence that shows 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault on campuses in the U.S., implying that individuals were pretending to be victims because colleges have made victimhood a “coveted status” (emphasis added): 

Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. 

They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.

[…]

Now the Obama administration is riding to the rescue of “sexual assault” victims. It vows to excavate equities from the ambiguities of the hookup culture, this cocktail of hormones, alcohol and the faux sophistication of today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.

The administration’s crucial and contradictory statistics are validated the usual way, by official repetition; Joe Biden has been heard from. The statistics are: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12% of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12% reporting rate is correct, the 20% assault rate is preposterous. 

[…]

Education Department lawyers disregard pesky arithmetic and elementary due process. Threatening to withdraw federal funding, the department mandates adoption of a minimal “preponderance of the evidence” standard when adjudicating sexual assault charges between males and the female “survivors” — note the language of prejudgment.Combine this with capacious definitions of sexual assault that can include not only forcible sexual penetration but also nonconsensual touching. Then add the doctrine that the consent of a female who has been drinking might not protect a male from being found guilty of rape. Then comes costly litigation against institutions that have denied due process to males they accuse of what society considers serious felonies.

Will also criticized colleges and universities for attempting “to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimization.”

Despite Will’s dismissal of the statistics, a report on sexual violence by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that “in a study of undergraduate women, 19% experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.” Moreover, the dangerous stigmatization of sexual assault victims has kept many from reporting these crimes — particularly because victims who do report can become the targets of vicious attacks. According to the FBI, people falsely report sexual assault only 3 percent of the time


Somewhere, Bin Laden Is Smiling

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Somewhere, Bin Laden Is Smiling
Pat Buchanan, RealClearPolitics
Bowe Bergdahl was “an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield” who “served the United States with distinction and honor,” asserted Susan Rice, the president’s national security adviser. Rice was speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos the morning after Barack Obama’s Rose Garden celebration of Bergdahl’s release. When she spoke last Sunday, could Rice have been ignorant of the widespread reports that Bergdahl had deserted?Before last Sunday, her credibility was already in tatters. Five days after Ambassador Chris Stevens and three Americans were killed in Benghazi, Rice went on…

217,000 Jobs Gained in May; Recession Losses Finally Erased
Michael Cipriano, RealClearPolitics
Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its employment figures for May, revealing a 217,000 increase in nonfarm jobs, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 6.3 percent. Perhaps more significantly, the new number means that seven years after massive job erosion began, leading to the Great Recession, employment losses have been regained. Job growth in May exceeded analysts’ expectations by 17,000, and marked the fourth straight month of job growth eclipsing 200,000. The civilian labor force participation rate remained at 62.8 percent; the number of unemployed also remained…

Obama’s Bergdahl Defense; Christie’s Choice; Presidential Words at Normandy
Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
Good morning. It’s Friday, June 6, 2014. President Obama is in France today paying homage to the heroes of Normandy, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. This was Obama’s second trip to the place he described as “democracy’s beachhead.” He came five years ago, too, on the 65th anniversary, a gesture to the sad fact that America’s “greatest generation” — and the veterans of its momentous invasion — are passing into the next life. One of them was Obama’s own grandfather, whom he mentioned wistfully today in a departure from…

Six Points Concerning Bergdahl
Eugene Robinson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Bringing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home was the right thing to do, and President Obama did it in a mostly reasonable way. The high-volume “debate” about Bergdahl’s homecoming sounds like the ravings heard around the water coolers of Crazytown. Here, in descending order of importance, are the issues the Bergdahl affair presents — and a rational way to think about them. 1. “We leave no soldier behind on the battlefield.” This is the commitment we make to the men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces. The promise was made to Bergdahl, and the nation was honor-bound to respect…


Morgan’s all-women shortlist call

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Morgan’s all-women shortlist call
Women-only shortlists should be considered by the Labour Party for every Westminster seat that comes up in Wales, says AM and former MP Julie Morgan.

Referendum campaigns mark milestone
Campaigners in the Scottish independence debate mark the milestone of 100 days to go until the referendum vote.

DUP criticises Sinn Féin OTRs stance
Sinn Féin’s decision not to attend Westminster’s ‘On the Runs’ inquiry is “not surprising”, the DUP has said.


New tensions for Obama, Israel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

New tensions for Obama, Israel
The decision to work with Israel’s new government is stoking new tensions.


Critics of P.O.W. Swap Question the Absence of a Wider Agreement

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Critics of P.O.W. Swap Question the Absence of a Wider Agreement
Many in the Afghan government believed that American officials misled them into thinking that the prisoner swap would not be done unless it was connected to a broader peace effort.



Sinosphere Blog: In Communist Party Parlance, Adultery Has Many Names
China’s top antigraft body actually used the Chinese word for adultery last week while announcing the expulsion of a party member, rather than oft-used euphemisms like “moral corruption.”



As World Cup Arrives, Some Brazilians Play an Acrobatic Variation of the Game
Futevolei is a popular Brazilian version of beach volleyball in which players use any move that would be legal in soccer to get the ball back over the net.


Arizona Prisons Ignored Medical Needs And Let Sick Inmates Die, Major Lawsuit Claims

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Arizona Prisons Ignored Medical Needs And Let Sick Inmates Die, Major Lawsuit Claims

A class action suit on behalf of Arizona’s entire prison population is headed to trial.

The post Arizona Prisons Ignored Medical Needs And Let Sick Inmates Die, Major Lawsuit Claims appeared first on ThinkProgress.

prison

CREDIT: Shutterstock

More than 33,000 inmates being held in Arizona’s ten prisons are filing a class action lawsuit against the state, alleging they have been denied proper medical and mental health care while behind bars. The prisons are being accused of failing to hire enough medical staff, denying inmates’ access to medical specialists, refusing to fill drug prescriptions, and withholding basic mental health care to inmates suffering from suicidal thoughts and mental illnesses.

“The State of Arizona has long ignored the basic needs of people confined in its prisons, including the constitutional mandate to provide adequate health care,” David Fathi, the director of the National Prison Project at the ACLU, said in a statement. “Prisoners have suffered unnecessarily and even died while waiting for basic care.”

The ACLU and the Prison Law Office first filed the lawsuit against Arizona back in 2012. In their court documents, they detailed examples of prisoners being forced to wait years to receive treatment for health problems like fractured bones and broken teeth, as well as the deterioration of prisoners’ mental health after they were held in solitary confinement in small windowless cells with lights left on 24 hours a day.

They also documented some of the horrific consequences of ignoring inmates’ medical needs. For instance, one inmate died from cancer after his pleas for medical attention were ignored for two years and his liver swelled to four times its natural size. A pregnant prisoner was left alone in solitary confinement while she suffered a miscarriage. After an inmate suffered a heart attack and was told to wait several days for a follow-up medical appointment, he had another heart attack and died the next day. A severely mentally ill inmate bled to death after his second suicide attempt, as prison guards watched on and failed to intervene.

“In two decades of prison litigation, this is one of the most broken systems I’ve seen,” Fathi said back when the lawsuit was first introduced. “The indifference to the needs of desperately ill people is shocking.”

The allegations in the lawsuit are consistent with the same issues that outside investigations uncovered as early as 2009. According to the Arizona Republic, at least 37 inmates needlessly died over the past several years as a result of neglect. The paper also reported that the suicide rate in Arizona’s prisons is 60 percent higher than the national average, and half of those suicides occur among prisoners who are subjected to solitary confinement.

Over the past two years, the legal challenge has been delayed because the state argued the inmates’ allegations weren’t similar enough to constitute a class action suit. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected that argument this past week, effectively clearing the lawsuit for trial. Its class action status ensures that it applies to every prisoner in Arizona, which has the sixth highest incarceration rate in the nation.

This isn’t the only health care scandal plaguing Arizona. For the past several weeks, the nation has been grappling with a crisis at the Veterans Health Administration, after evidence emerged that some vets have died after being forced to wait months for critical medical services. Many of those allegations have centered on the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system in Arizona, where officials were maintaining secret waiting lists to obscure the fact that so many veterans were waiting to see a doctor.

But unlike veterans, the medical issues that plague prison inmates don’t necessarily elicit mass public outrage. Although the lawsuit in Arizona is hardly the only evidence that prisons are neglecting neglecting inmates’ basic health needs, and essentially allowing them to die from treatable diseases, the issue hasn’t inspired the same type of political pressure in response.

The post Arizona Prisons Ignored Medical Needs And Let Sick Inmates Die, Major Lawsuit Claims appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Bergdahl and President Obama’s Gitmo Predicament

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 8th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bergdahl and President Obama’s Gitmo Predicament
Max Fisher, Vox
When President Obama secured the freedom of American POW Bowe Bergdahl from Afghanistan by releasing by five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, he unintentionally reopened the debate over his long-promised, long-failed pledge to close that detention center entirely.

The Incredible Shrinking President
Walter Russell Mead, NY Daily News
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.Less than two years after voters gave President Barack Obama a strong mandate for a second term, the White House is struggling against perceptions that it is losing its grip.

Jumping the Shark on Common Core
Joy Pullmann, The Federalist
Several local Chamber of Commerce members in different states have told me the organization is turning into its industry’s equivalent of the PTA: A shill for the establishment rather than a unique voice actively protecting the changing interests of its constituents.

Marijuana Rules
Maureen Dowd, New York Times
WASHINGTON — IN the last chapter, I covered how not to get high. In this one, I will cover how to get high.After my admission that I did a foolish thing in Denver — failing to realize that consuming a single square, about a quarter, of a pot candy bar was dicey for an edibles virgin — many in the pot industry upbraided me for doing a foolish thing.