This is not a hard one to figure out. How stupid do you have to be?
A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.
The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government's post-Katrina blunders.
Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren't sure who to blame.
Bush was criticized heavily when he did not immediately return to Washington from his vacation in Texas after the storm had reached landfall. The government was also slow to provide relief aid and Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), admitted in a televised interview that he learned that many of the storm's victims at the New Orleans Convention Center were without food and water well after the situation had been reported in the press.
Brown's handling of the response ultimately led to his resignation, but Bush offered an infamous endorsement of the FEMA chief only days before he stepped down.
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," Bush said.
There is an interesting study that says people in gangs have more mental illness. What isn't addressed in the article is if people with these types of mental illness are attracted to gangs and gangs reinforce it or if gangs are the source. I'd guess the former.
Young men in gangs are significantly more likely to suffer from a mental disorder and need psychiatric help than other young men, says a UK study.
It surveyed 108 gang members and found that half had an anxiety disorder, more than 85% a personality disorder and 25% screened positive for psychosis.
Exposure to violence was the likely cause of their mental health problems, it said.
Experts said opportunities to help young people were often missed.
The research team from Queen Mary, University of London, started by surveying 4,664 men aged between 18 and 34 in Britain.
Researchers included significant numbers of men from areas of the country with high gang memberships, such as Hackney and Glasgow East, from areas with high ethnic minority populations and areas of social deprivation.
From the total sample, 3,284 said they had not been violent in the past five years, 1,272 said they had assaulted another person or been involved in a fight and 108 said they were currently in a gang.
Cycle of violence
The gang members and the violent men were found to be particularly prone to mental disorders and more likely to access psychiatric services.
Prof Jeremy Coid, lead study author and director of the forensic psychiatry research unit at Queen Mary, University of London, explained the likely cause.
"It is probable that, among gang members, high levels of anxiety disorder and psychosis were explained by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the most frequent psychiatric outcome of exposure to violence."
He said the fear of future violence and victimisation led young men to experience extreme anxiety.
The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, said: "Readiness to retaliate violently if disrespected, excitement from violence, and short-term benefits from instrumental violence lead to further cycles of violence and risk of violent victimisation."
The study also found that, of the 108 gang members surveyed, around a third had attempted suicide.
The authors said this could be linked "to the notion that impulsive violence may be directed both outward and inward".
However depression was significantly less common among gang members and violent men, the study found.
Andy Bell, deputy chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health, said they had carried out their own research in this area and found very high rates of multiple health and social issues in both boys and girls in gangs.
"It is very clear they have numerous problems throughout their lives, often related to drug, alcohol problems and maltreatment at home - and they all contribute to poor mental health.
"One vulnerability leads to another. The earlier they are dealt with the better - but sadly opportunities are often missed."
Prof Coid agrees that healthcare professionals should be aware of gang membership when assessing young men with psychiatric illnesses in urban areas.
The study reports that although just 1% of 18- to-34 year-old men in Britain are gang members, in areas such as Hackney this rises to around 8.6%. Yet the average age of gang membership can be as low as 15, it adds.
Maybe it's not the way to go in parenting after all.
When Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother came out in 2011, it sparked controversy among many people but especially psychologists and experts in child development. The book, they felt, had lodged in the culture certain stereotypes about an Asian parenting style that was not well-studied or well-understood and certainly not ready to be held up as some kind of model.
Chua’s book was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek memoir of her experiences raising her two daughters with her (non-Asian) husband, which involved hours of forced music practice every day, severe restrictions on extracurriculars, outright bans on social activities like sleepovers, and punishment and shaming on the rare occasions her children failed to attain their mother’s high expectations. Chua eased off as her kids grew older, and she admitted that she might have been wrong in some instances. (Mainstream media coverage portrayals were somewhatless nuanced). Nonetheless, the story of a Yale-professor mother who had pushed her child until she landed at Carnegie Hall seemed to confirm that Asian-American parents are tough, demanding—and they consistently produce whizzes.
When Chua’s book first hit the transom, Su Yeong Kim thought, “Oh my God! I actually have data for this!” An associate professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas, Kim had been following more than 300 Asian-American families for a decade when the book came out. In March, she published her results; they will no doubt surprise Chua and her admirers. Children of parents whom Kim classified as “tiger” had lower academic achievement and attainment—and greater psychological maladjustment—and family alienation, than the kids of parents characterized as “supportive” or "easygoing.”
For Kim’s study, parents and children answered questions during the children’s adolescence about their parenting styles. The vast majority of parents were foreign-born in Hong Kong or southern China, with relatively low educational attainment and a median income of between $30,001 and $45,000 in each of the study’s three phases, spaced out equally over eight years. Three-quarters of their kids were American-born. The study controlled for socioeconomic status and sibling order and other potentially confounding factors.
Kim wanted to look at a particular paradox that had emerged in the academic literature regarding Asian-American parents. When she began, of course, the term “tiger parent” didn’t exist, but scholars had the same impression as average Americans, that “Asian-American parents are more controlling, yet their children are also doing very well academically,” Kim recounts. This was somewhat of a mystery because it contradicted the experience of European-American children; overly strict and unresponsive white parents typically produce messed-up losers.
Since the 1960s, academics have separated parenting styles into three categories, or “profiles”: permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian. Authoritative parenting—a combination of high responsiveness with the exercise of power that’s open to negotiation—has been found (in white families) to produce higher-achieving children with fewer symptoms of depression. Authoritarian parenting combines coercion with less responsiveness, and leads to higher depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem. Permissive parenting is characterized by high warmth and low control and demandingness. (Negligent parenting, added in the 1980s, is both cold and undemanding.)
Kim did not feel that any of these descriptions quite matched what she had experienced growing up. “Whenever scholars compare European-American and Asian-American families,” she said, parents among the latter “almost always score higher on controlling and lower on warmth, which means they’re more likely to be classified as authoritarian.” Yet, their kids were outperforming whites in school. This gave rise to the “achievement/adjustment paradox”: kids doing well by external measures while feeling torn apart inside.
Kim decided that for her study, she would both parse further the different dimensions of the Eurocentric profiles and create new ones that better fit the styles of the East Asian families. The responsiveness that’s considered an aspect of “authoritative” parenting, for example, was broadened to include both positive and negative attributes: warmth and hostility. Control, she would write, has “multiple facets … positive control is measured by parental monitoring and democratic parenting; negative control is measured by psychological control and punitive parenting.” Kim also added inductive reasoning, which is a measure of effective communication, and shaming, which had been established in the literature as a significant aspect in the rearing of Chinese-origin kids.
Adolescents and parents rated the parents on several qualities, for example, “act loving, affectionate, and caring,” “listen carefully,” and “act supportive and understanding.” Warmth, reasoning, monitoring, and democratic parenting were considered positive attributes, while hostility, psychological control, shaming, and punitive measures were considered negative. These characterizations would be combined through a statistical method known as latent profile analysis to determine Kim’s four parenting profiles: Those scoring highest on the positive dimensions were labeled “supportive;” those scoring low on both dimensions were deemed “easygoing;” “harsh” parents were high on negative attributes and low on positive ones, and “tiger” parents scored high on both positive and negative dimensions.
Despite the popular image of Chinese-American parenting that Chua’s book bolstered, fewer “tiger” parents emerged from Kim’s analysis than did “supportive” parents. “Easygoing” were similar in number as “tigers,” and the fewest parents were deemed “harsh.”
Kim also measured the outcomes for each of her categories. Supportive parents had the best developmental outcomes, as measured by academic achievement, educational attainment, family obligation (considered positive outcomes), academic pressure, depressive symptoms, and parent-child alienation (considered negative).Academic achievement and attainment were purely data-driven, while the latter four came from different assessments developed by academics over the years (the academic pressure rating is Kim’s own), which, while considered reliable, are inherently somewhat subjective. Children of easygoing parents were second in outcomes, while tiger moms produced kids who felt more alienated from their parents and experienced higher instances of depressive symptoms. They also had lower GPAs, despite feeling more academic pressure.
In the end, then, Kim finds that Chinese immigrant moms and dads are not that different from American parents with European ancestry: three of Kim’s types correspond to the parenting styles in the prior literature derived from studies of whites (supportive/authoritative, easygoing/permissive, harsh/authoritarian). What’s different is the emergence of the “tiger” profile. Since “tigers” in Kim’s study scored highly on the shaming practice believed more common among Asian-Americans, it seems that, pre-Chua at least, tiger parenting would be less common among whites. (The moms rated themselves more highly on shaming than even their kids, suggesting tiger moms—like Chua, who recounted such instances in her best-seller—feel no shame in their shaming)
And although Chua presented her own children as Exhibit A of why her parenting style works, Kim said, “Our data shows Tiger parenting produces the opposite effect. Not just the general public but Asian-American parents have adopted this idea that if I'm a tiger parent, my kids will be whizzes like Chua’s kids. Unfortunately, tiger children’s GPA’s and depressive symptoms are similar to those whose parents who are very harsh.
“Tiger parenting doesn't produce superior outcomes in kids.”
When I think things can't get any more absurd I only have to wait for Pat Robertson to open his mouth. Get out the guillotines.
Former Republican presidential candidate and longtime television preacher Pat Robertson implied on “The 700 Club” Wednesday that LGBT people are covertly out to destroy the family, the church and the state, in the vein of the Illuminati of the French revolutionary war.
“You go back in history to the French Revolution, you find there was a thrust, uh, spurred by the, uh, writings of a group called the Illuminati, to destroy the family, to destroy the state, to destroy capitalism, to destroy the church,” Robertson continues. “And it was lived out in the blood of the French Revolution.”
So, what exactly does that have to do with LGBT people? Robertson doesn’t quite make the connection, and instead explains: “We have here a debate over same sex marriage. But is it really just about marriage? Or does it go far beyond that? They’re destroying the traditional family and building a country without God.”
See? Totally the same thing as the French revolutionaries.
In this case, it's Rand Paul and and his "Personhood At Conception Act".
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Friday introduced so-called “fetal personhood” legislation that would completely outlaw abortion in the United States.
The Life at Conception Act would declare that human life began at conception, providing fertilized eggs with the same legal status as born persons.
“The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known – that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore is entitled to legal protection from that point forward,” Paul said in a statement. “ The right to life is guaranteed to all Americans in the Declaration of Independence and ensuring this is upheld is the Constitutional duty of all Members of Congress.”
In a fundraising video for the National Pro-Life Alliance last year, the Republican senator explained that the bill would outlaw abortion without contradicting the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Citing the ruling, Paul claimed Congress had the power to define when human life began under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
“The Court then admitted that if the personhood of an unborn baby is established, the right to abort ‘collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the  Amendment,’” he said.
Pro-life activists have pushed to amend the constitutions of several states with “fetal personhood” language, but have so far been rejected by voters.
Have you seen little sperms? They're alive. They wiggle and swim and either get to the egg or they die. You can't die unless you are alive.
As are the little eggs. They're not dead. At least not until they die.
So what's this fine demarcation between life and death? An overwhelming majority of fertilized eggs are naturally aborted, most before a woman even knows she's pregnant. That would be about 75%. That would make God the Great Abortionist In The Sky.
It's particularly Senator Paul wants to grant personhood to every fertilized egg. First, that's not when life starts. Second, most fertilized eggs die naturally before anyone knows of the pregnancy. And a fertilized egg is a part of the pregnant woman, not a separate person.
I realize these arguments have zero affect on the right-wing religious zealots, despite no specific Biblical definition. And it's particularly embarrassing that someone who claims to a libertarian, who is supposed to support keeping government out of its citizens' lives, would support such an incredibly intrusive and stupid policy. At best, it's a political ploy.
However, this is a great way for Republicans to alienate even more women. Perhaps at some point they'll get the message. But then if Republicans didn't have these ridiculous things to distract the hoi polloi from the continuous plundering the Republicans wage on the bottom ninety-nine percent then they'd lose everyone.
Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and other officials didn't immediately identify the police officer or the family members, pending positive identification and the release of names by the Clark County coroner.
"There was an incident today involving one if Metro's lieutenants," a somber Gillespie said in a 2 1/2-minute statement to reporters at a hastily called news conference. "Several bodies were discovered."
Coroner Michael Murphy said after investigators left the fire-charred home Monday afternoon that identifications would probably be made Tuesday.
Gillespie, the elected head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said the lieutenant was a 20-year Las Vegas police veteran. Gillespie spoke of unanswered questions and "untold grief" for family members, friends and co-workers. He took no questions.
The sheriff said the investigation in Boulder City, about 20 miles southeast of Las Vegas, was being handled by police in neighboring Henderson.
Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said a man called 911 at about 8:20 a.m. Monday and told a dispatcher he killed his wife and child, set his house afire and would shoot anyone who approached.
The home is owned by Hans Walters, according to Clark County assessor records. Many know Walters as a Las Vegas police lieutenant married to a former Las Vegas police officer, Kathryn Walters. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that she left the department in 2005.
Boulder City police arrived to find the homeowner with a handgun in the doorway of the burning house before he retreated back inside and apparently killed himself, Paul said.
No shots were fired by police or SWAT officers from Henderson and North Las Vegas who later found the bodies of a 52-year-old man, a 46-year-old woman and a boy inside, Paul said. Officials said the boy was believed to be about 7.
"We're investigating the incident as a murder-suicide at this time," Paul said.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), erstwhile vice presidential candidate in the failed presidential run of former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), has signed on as cosponsor in a draconian new bill aimed at curtailing women’s reproductive freedoms. According to Huffington Post, in spite of the defeat of so-called “fetal personhood” laws in 2012, Ryan and his colleagues are forging ahead with a new measure that classifies all embryonic tissue as a human life from the moment of fertilization.
Ryan and Georgia Congressman Rep. Paul Broun — who gained notoriety in 2011 when video surfaced of him calling scientific facts “lies from the pit of Hell” — cosponsored the bill, which is called the Sanctity of Human Life Act. Broun first introduced the measure in 2011, but Ryan re-introduced it on the Hill last week.
The measure specifies that a “one-cell human embryo,” even before it has implanted itself in the uterine wall and resulted in a pregnancy, should be granted “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.”
According to the ACLU, voters have rejected fetal personhood legislation in droves. A measure trying to establish the citizenship rights of fertilized eggs was voted down by a margin of 16 points in Mississippi, one of the most conservative states in the nation. Petitions to get fetal personhood measures on the ballot in Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Arkansas, Florida and California all failed to receive enough signatures to qualify.
Voters and civil libertarians are concerned that the laws are so strict and unreasonable that they would make some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization illegal, as well as all forms of abortion, including cases of rape and incest and instances where the health of the mother is threatened.
An Oklahoma court struck down that state’s “personhood” law on the grounds that it was plainly unconstitutional and imposed unreasonable restrictions on women’s ability to make their own reproductive choices.
Broun, for his part, disregards these concerns.
“As a physician, I know that human life begins with fertilization, and I remain committed to ending abortion in all stages of pregnancy,” he said in a statement. I will continue to fight this atrocity on behalf of the unborn, and I hope my colleagues will support me in doing so.”
The bill has a total of 17 cosponsors. Ryan, who is rumored to have presidential ambitions for 2016, de-emphasized his extreme anti-abortion views for the sake of the 2012 campaign. He cosponsored 2011′s House Resolution 3, one of the first bills out of the tea party-heavy Republican Congress.
When do Republicans get embarrassed by these guys?
It’s easy to get confused about the fiscal thing, since everyone’s talking about the “fiscal cliff.” Indeed, one recent poll suggests that a large plurality of the public believes that the budget deficit will go up if we go off that cliff.
In fact, of course, it’s just the opposite: The danger is that the deficit will come down too much, too fast. And the reasons that might happen are purely political; we may be about to slash spending and raise taxes not because markets demand it, but because Republicans have been using blackmail as a bargaining strategy, and the president seems ready to call their bluff.
Moreover, despite years of warnings from the usual suspects about the dangers of deficits and debt, our government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates — interest rates on inflation-protected U.S. bonds are actually negative, so investors are paying our government to make use of their money. And don’t tell me that markets may suddenly turn on us. Remember, the U.S. government can’t run out of cash (it prints the stuff), so the worst that could happen would be a fall in the dollar, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing and might actually help the economy.
Yet there is a whole industry built around the promotion of deficit panic. Lavishly funded corporate groups keep hyping the danger of government debt and the urgency of deficit reduction now now now — except that these same groups are suddenly warning against too much deficit reduction. No wonder the public is confused.
Meanwhile, there is almost no organized pressure to deal with the terrible thing that is actually happening right now — namely, mass unemployment. Yes, we’ve made progress over the past year. But long-term unemployment remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression: as of October, 4.9 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months, and 3.6 million had been out of work for more than a year.
When you see numbers like those, bear in mind that we’re looking at millions of human tragedies: at individuals and families whose lives are falling apart because they can’t find work, at savings consumed, homes lost and dreams destroyed. And the longer this goes on, the bigger the tragedy.
There are also huge dollars-and-cents costs to our unmet jobs crisis. When willing workers endure forced idleness society as a whole suffers from the waste of their efforts and talents. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that what we are actually producing falls short of what we could and should be producing by around 6 percent of G.D.P., or $900 billion a year.
Worse yet, there are good reasons to believe that high unemployment is undermining our future growth as well, as the long-term unemployed come to be considered unemployable, as investment falters in the face of inadequate sales.
So what can be done? The panic over the fiscal cliff has been revelatory. It shows that even the deficit scolds are closet Keynesians. That is, they believe that right now spending cuts and tax hikes would destroy jobs; it’s impossible to make that claim while denying that temporary spending increases and tax cuts would create jobs. Yes, our still-depressed economy needs more fiscal stimulus.
And, to his credit, President Obama did include a modest amount of stimulus in his initial budget offer; the White House, at least, hasn’t completely forgotten about the unemployed. Unfortunately, almost nobody expects those stimulus plans to be included in whatever deal is eventually reached.