Saturday, April 10, 2010

Brutal bullies: What makes kids cruel?

Case of tormented teen raises disturbing questions


“Research into bullying didn't start until the 1970s, when psychologist Dan Olweus began to study the phenomenon in Norwegian schoolchildren. In fact, much of the study was triggered by the suicides of several young victims of bullying, said RenĂ© Veenstra, a sociologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.”

photo source

Friday, April 9, 2010

Doses of reality: what’s changed in your health care under the new law? readers reveal the real-world impact of changes coming to the health care system. Who benefits? Who pays? And when does it all hit home? Interested in having your situation profiled? Submit your story below.

Higher taxes, but firm may get price break


Name: Gary Kean, 57, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Occupation: Partner, consumer electronics sales company
Household income: $150,000 to $250,000
Current insurance: PPO through an employer health plan.”

States That Might Have Been

Are you from Nashville? Had history gone in an ever-so-slightly different direction, you'd call your home state Transylvania. The book “Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It” tells the harrowing true story — but here are other almost-states.




This post first appeared here.

Antibacterial in soap comes under U.S. scrutiny

Clay sculpture of an ugly green germ character holding a bar of antibacterial soap and daring you to use it Clipart Picture

Animal studies linked chemical to altered hormones, antibiotic resistance

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it was reviewing the safety of triclosan, a widely used antibacterial agent found in soap, toothpaste and a range of other consumer products.”

Related stories:

Anti-bacterial soap under FDA scrutiny

Spring allergies in full bloom                  Image source

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 19: dual pro-gun rallies set for Washington D.C.

NRA148.jpg NRA148 image by banks272

It just doesn’t make sense. Why is the pro-gun crowd scheduling two 2nd Amendment rallies when their rights are not even being threatened? What’s the real purpose for these gatherings?

Not one law has been passed restricting guns since Obama has been in office (18 months). As a matter of fact, people can now carry guns in National Parks and can even get a concealed gun permit easier now than ever before. Utah and Florida just passed laws that allow then to sell concealed gun permits to people from all over the country. Apparently, the other states are going along with this arrangement. Does that sound like a reason to parade around with guns and demand the country back? Does that sound like their Constitutional rights are being threatened? Hardly.

I wish the NRA crowd would stop rabble-rousing for no reason other than they hate Democrats, liberals, and the current administration. Calling Obama a dictator is ridiculous. He’s not the one that violated out privacy rights and lied to us. That was Bush and the boys who effectively destroyed the economy before they were voted out of office by a majority of Americans.

You want to know whose really going to benefit from these rallies? Gun and ammunition dealers. Thousands of fearful Americans will be motivated to “protect” themselves by buying weapons when they listen to the lies the powerful gun lobbies plan on spewing. It’s a pity that fear leads to lies, and lies lead to violence, and that it’s used like a hammer to brainwash people who live on rhetoric and sound bytes.

It would be nice if these NRA types would explain what part of their country that they want back? What exactly is missing? In addition, these gun lovers should also explain exactly what part of the Constitution is being violated?

Another question you may want to ask is why did these groups pick April 19th? It’s a Monday and not really a good day to have a big rally. It’s also the day Timothy McVeigh bombed the government towers in Oklahoma. April 19, 1775 isn't some sort of banner day in Revolutionary history either.

Hypocrites all! There's been no threat to the 2nd Amendment by Obama. These "rallies" are nothing more than an excuse to stage a heavily-armed gathering designed to viscerally intimidate thinking Americans...

One last thing; if you have a chance to see these rallies take a good look at the complexion of the attendees. Then tell me afterwards how many were of minority races. But don’t take my word for it. Watch with your own eyes and take a good look at these “patriots” (hatriots?) who want “their” country to turn back the clock to the “good old days.”

Here’s what’s coming to Washington, D.C. 


They remain under the radar for now, but expect to hear a lot more about the dual April 19 rallies that will bring anti-government and pro-gun groups to the Washington region.

Both events are scheduled to coincide, organizers say, with the 235th anniversary of "the shot heard round the world" in the battles of Lexington and Concord.

The "Restore the Constitution" rally in Fort Hunt National Park in Virginia, right on the Potomac near Mount Vernon, will be a showcase for the Oath Keepers, the year-old coalition of "currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters."

Founder Stewart Rhodes describes Oath Keepers' mission as "to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here."

Attendees are encouraged to bring firearms; an oath will be administered on the scene.”


The second rally to watch is the Second Amendment March, organized by Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt's group that reliably goes further (and acts faster) than the NRA in backing conservative causes.

Speakers at the grounds of the Washington Monument will include Dick Heller, the D.C. resident whose Supreme Court win overturned the District's gun laws -- if not to the extent to preclude the following rules from being given to marchers -- and ... Stewart Rhodes.

1. NO UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS, ammunition (including empty cases), or magazines (including empty). There is no reciprocity with any states to speak of, no recognition of licenses issued by other states, no provision for non-residents to exercise their 2A right in D.C.

2. If you do not intend to comply with item #1, do not attend.

Image source

Tired? Depressed? It may be hidden allergies

Fend off headaches, yeast infections and possibly depression

See what's been found, and how to control your allergies to alleviate each problem.

“Just a few weeks ago people across the country were digging out of snow, now a summer-like snap has everyone outside enjoying the weather, except people with allergies. Along with the heat, a pollen explosion has taken over most of the U.S.”


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Anyone can deny facts and be uninformed – even a doctor

Jack Cassell

(Original source)

Florida Doctor Warning Away Obama Voters Admits He Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About On Health Care

“A local TV station in Florida spoke to one of Cassell’s patients, who said that while the doctor’s care has been “wonderful,” he’s never going back after this political stunt. “Keep politics out,”It’s not surprising that Cassell doesn’t have the full facts said patient Steve Berger. “I mean, he can have his opinion, but what’s the next sign saying? If you’re Catholic, you can’t come? Or you’re an Arab, you can’t come in, or you’re a Jew? It has to stop somewhere.” It’s not surprising that Cassell doesn’t have the full facts on the health caren the health care law. While he wasn’t even aware that the Affordable Care Act could be accessed online, hekeeps Republican materials in the waiting roomfor his patients to read. As Colmes pointed out, the National Association of Home Care and Hospice actually praised the new law.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has said that he is helping a constituent who was affected by Cassell’s sign file a complaint. In response to this news, Cassell said, “I think he [Grayson] really seriously needs to see a psychiatrist, number one, because he needs to be on some kind of medicine.”

Cassell insists that he’s not actually turning patients away, but as of this morning, he told Fox and Friends that his sign is still up

Overtaxed homeowners start to fight back

Image: Stuart Sendell

My sister, who lives in San Bernardino, appealed her property taxes last year and won. She got a sizable reduction. The whole process was easy, according to her.

I don’t know how many people who own homes can do this, but I think everyone should look into it if their property has been devalued by the recession. 

Millions paying property taxes based on value of home before bubble burst

PHOTO - Stuart Sendell, a retired mortgage banker living in Morristown, N.J., appealed his property assessment — and ultimately lowered his taxes by $5,400 per year.

Confederate History Month sparks anger in Va.

I’ve been keeping a file on the “Sons of the Confederacy” since 2008, tracking their growth and influence. Here is a good example of how a state governor is destroying progress in race relations by turning the clock back on racial tensions after being influenced by them.

For a quick primer on the Sons of the Confederacy go to this web site. You’ll see this “Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans”…

“To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish."

Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee, Commander General,
United Confederate Veterans,
New Orleans, Louisiana, April 25, 1906.

 Civil rights leaders decry ‘offensive’ move; governor predicts tourism boost


“Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia."


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dragon-sized lizard eluded science, until now

Image: A Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard

These reptiles are about six feet long and live in the trees. It’s seems kinda odd that an animal this big has just now been discovered.

Just a hunch, but I’ll bet there’s not a lot of monkeys around where these lizards hunt for fruit.

Spectacularly colored new species of monitor lizard found in the Philippines

“A dragon-sized, fruit-eating lizard that lives in the trees on the northern Philippines island of Luzon has been confirmed as a new species, scientists reported today.”

Magnitude-7.8 quake rattles Indonesia

There’s sure a lot of quakes ranging in the 7.0 plus magnitude lately. I’m talking worldwide. Earthquakes happen every second somewhere, but they just seem to be bigger lately.  

Buildings shake in Sumatra; no immediate reports of casualties

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 rattled the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Tuesday, shaking buildings and causing blackouts. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The quake struck at 5:15 a.m. local time and was centered 125 miles northwest of Sibolga, in Sumatra, a major island in western Indonesia, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It was about 28 miles deep, the agency said.

A tsunami watch was issued for the region, said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu.

U.S. court rules against FCC on Net neutrality

internet-scamsThis is not good news. The cable companies are going to be the gate-keepers to the Internet now. That means they’ll control the content and no one can do a damn thing about it! 

Ruling is setback for agency's push for national broadband plan

"Today's appeals court decision means there are no protections in the law for consumers' broadband services," Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge, said in a statement. "Companies selling Internet access are free to play favorites with content on their networks, to throttle certain applications or simply to block others."

Listen to your elders – study shows they are wise

Social wisdom increases with age, study shows


“It turns out grandma was right: Listen to your elders. New research indicates they are indeed wise — in knowing how to deal with conflicts and accepting life's uncertainties and change.

It isn't a question of how many facts someone knows, or being able to operate a TV remote, but rather how to handle disagreements — social wisdom.”

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oh Shit! The truth comes out about what’s really happening in Afghanistan – now what?

Image: Hamid Karzai

The truth is we’ve been wasting our time in Afghanistan and now we’re faced with the reality of the situation.

We’ve been supporting a corrupt government and overlooking rigged elections in order to keep up the facade that we were making progress there.


Asking Afghan President Karzai to go after his corrupt brother apparently was the last straw.


All the propaganda that has been spoon-fed to Americans is exposed by the very flunky our military planners counted on. We never should have gone there. We poured countless billions into building their infrastructure and security because Pentagon war mongers said we should. Good men and women have died fighting an un-winnable war. Both Americans and Afghans.

How long do you think it’ll be before they kick our asses out of their country? That, or we end up going to war against the regime we supported? After driving them out what do we do? Put in another puppet government and tell the world we’re still committed to making Afghanistan a free country? What hypocrisy. It’s time that it ends.  

Our good buddy Karzai is threatening to quit the political process (that’s us folks) and join the Taliban if outsiders keep pressuring him to reform, according to members of parliament.  Full story


Karzai made the unusual statement at a closed-door meeting Saturday with selected lawmakers — just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind fraud in last year's disputed elections.”

7 ways the mind and body change with age

Research is finding new details on our attitudes and appearances as we grow old.


The poster child of aging seems to be a wrinkly-faced, forgetful, grumpy old man. But science is painting another, more in-depth picture of aging Americans. The elderly tend to become more happy, liberal and in many cases remain pretty darn sharp. Here are 7 ways we change as we get older.”

OKAY…so when we get older this is one thing we can expect (and even dread):


“As a person gets older, their ability to ignore distractions gets worse, according to Karen Campbell, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Toronto.”

BUT WAIT! There’s some good news:


But Campbell and her colleagues found a silver lining that might focus you: Seniors might have the unique ability to "hyper-bind" the irrelevant information, tying it to other information appearing at the same time. The ability could ultimately boost memory.”

Read the rest here.                                              Photo source

Sunday, April 4, 2010

As It Stands: Easter Day reflections on the power of peace

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 04/04/2010 01:27:23 AM PDT

Christians are observing Easter today. It's a day of peace. Many Christians will attend church to celebrate the occasion when the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, rose from the grave. Many non-believers (and Christians) encourage their children to search for Easter eggs hidden by a mythical Easter Bunny.

It's a day of peace. A day for families to be together. At least, it should be. I hope everyone in this country can find a measure of peace. Wouldn't it be nice to see the news dominated by something other than violence today?

Wouldn't it be great to see our warring political parties extend their palms and agree to disagree like civilized humans? Imagine what it would be like to go a whole day without extremists from both parties dominating the news? No talk of domestic terrorists. No incendiary words igniting violence. No lies. No anger. Just peace.

While I'm dreaming, why not imagine an outbreak of peace across the land? Partisan politics would no longer polarize our country. Instead, all Americans could turn away from the politics of fear and turn to the truth. There are many truths. Reality is a truth.

Go here to read the rest.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...