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MindMover

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Member since: Sun Jul 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
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151 Victims of Mass Shootings in 2012: Here Are Their Stories

The media coverage tends to linger on the killers. But as the nation mourns the excruciating losses in Newtown—and finally begins to confront an epidemic of mass shootings amid the worst year for them in modern US history—it is equally important to bear witness to the victims. What follows are portraits of 151 people physically wounded or killed in the rampages of 2012. In addition to the victims of this year's seven mass shootings, we've included the victims of similar but less lethal rampages in a Portland shopping mall, a Milwaukee spa, and a Cleveland high school.

The total number of lives devastated by these attacks far exceeds 151, of course, starting with survivors who narrowly escaped physical harm, such as the unidentified six-year-old girl who played dead and walked out of Sandy Hook Elementary School against all odds. Mother Jones has only included photos of those injured and killed that were shared publicly by the families or survivors themselves, or for which we were granted specific permission. For essential context and findings from our in-depth investigation, also see our guide to mass shootings in America.

Scroll down to begin, or jump directly to any of these attacks of 2012:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-victims-2012

The Larger Question of Chuck Hagel

The up-in-the-air nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Defense Secretary has become a test of whether the Israel Lobby can still shoot down an American public servant who is deemed insufficiently passionate regarding Israel, a test that now confronts President Obama, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

The Israel Lobby is hell bent on sabotaging President Barack Obama’s tentative plan to appoint former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. And – with Obama now dithering about this selection – the Lobby and its neocon allies sense another impending victory.

Perhaps The New Yorker’s Connie Bruck described Hagel’s predicament best in assessing why the Israel Lobby is so determined to destroy the Nebraska Republican though he is “a committed supporter of Israel.”

But, as Bruck explained, “Hagel did not make the obeisance to the lobby that the overwhelming majority of his Congressional colleagues do. And he further violated a taboo by talking about the lobby, and its power.” Hagel had the audacity, in an interview for a 2008 book, to say something that you are not supposed to say in Official Washington, that the Israel Lobby pulls the strings on many members of Congress.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/13599-the-larger-question-of-chuck-hagel

US Treasury to take steps to avoid borrowing limit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department will begin taking steps on Friday to delay hitting the government’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit on Dec. 31.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a letter Wednesday to congressional leaders that the department will use accounting measures to save approximately $200 billion. That could keep the government from reaching the limit for about two months.

The move comes as President Barack Obama and the GOP congressional leadership resume negotiations over how to avoid a series of tax increases and spending cuts, known as the ‘‘fiscal cliff,’’ that are scheduled to take effect in the new year.


Obama has sought to include an increase in the borrowing limit in any agreement to avoid the cliff. But Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders have demanded concessions in return. The negotiations hit a stalemate last week. Obama and lawmakers are returning to Washington this week to try again.

Geithner says the negotiations over tax and spending policies make it difficult to predict how long he can delay reaching the borrowing limit. The absence of a specific timeframe may be intended to pressure Republicans to allow a debt limit increase in a potential budget deal.

http://bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2012/12/26/treasury-take-steps-avoid-borrowing-limit/NuYmhhGFvzMEai4oP6JtsO/story.html

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The Great Republican Recession of 2013 is Now Five Days Away

After the failure of his fiscal cliff negotiations with the White House, followed by his humiliating inability to get even his ridiculous "Plan B" proposal approved by House Republicans, John Boehner gave up and punted the whole thing over to the president and the Senate. Why? Matt Yglesias says Boehner likes the idea because the only way to get anything through the Senate is to compromise with Republicans, which will produce a compromise to the right of Obama's current proposal. "Then once something like that difference-splitting bill passes the Senate, Boehner gets to take it up as the new baseline for negotiations and pull the ultimate resolution even further to the right."

True enough. But I doubt this was Boehner's intent from the beginning. Remember that during the debt limit talks last year, Boehner initially handed off negotiating duties to Eric Cantor, hoping that if Cantor signed off on a deal it would get the rest of the tea party caucus to throw in their votes as well. But Cantor double-crossed him after a few weeks, pulling out of the talks and pushing them back in Boehner's lap so that Boehner would have to take the heat for agreeing to any tax increases. But even at that, Boehner didn't give up: he tried to keep negotiating until it became clear that the Cantorites just flatly wouldn't approve any feasible deal. Eventually a deal got done after Mitch McConnell got involved.

We're seeing the same dynamic this time around: Boehner trying to negotiate, but eventually giving up after it became clear that the Cantorites wouldn't agree to any feasible kind of deal. So now he's going back to the debt limit playbook, and hoping that maybe a deal that comes with the imprimatur of Senate Republicans will also get enough Republican votes in the House to pass. Besides, if a deal passes the Senate, that gives him an excuse to bring it to the floor even if it doesn't have the votes of a majority of the Republican caucus.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/12/great-republican-recession-2013-now-days-away?

Vice President Bill Clinton? Take 3

Slate has contradicted itself. "History Lesson" says Bill Clinton can't run for vice president. "Explainer" says he can. What's the skinny?

The answer is: He can. The 12th Amendment states that anybody who is eligible for the presidency under Article II of the Constitution (a natural-born citizen age 35 or older) is eligible for the vice presidency. Clinton is a natural-born citizen over 35, so he qualifies. The putative roadblock to a Clinton vice presidency--the 22nd Amendment--doesn't apply. This hastily worded and passed amendment, designed to block another multi-multi-term presidency such as FDR's, only bars the election of a president to more than two terms in that office. It doesn't prevent a two-term president from running for the vice presidency.

The 25th Amendment affords Clinton another route to the vice presidency: In the event the vice presidency is vacated, the president appoints a new veep, subject to confirmation by Congress. (This is how Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller became vice president.)

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/press_box/2000/09/vice_president_bill_clinton_take_3.html

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/LAW/08/columns/fl.dorf.goreclinton.08.01/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR2006101901572.html

A century ago, more automobiles were powered by electricity than by gasoline.

But the need for longer travel ranges, the availability of a more affordable fuel source and a reliable power infrastructure soon turned internal combustion engines into the predominant means of motor transportation.

Now drivers are considering a move away from gasoline and back to electricity as an ideal source for automotive power, but big challenges remain. IBM and partners are working on solving one of the biggest barriers to widespread electric vehicle adoption: limited battery range.

An antidote to 'range anxiety'

Most people consider switching to electric vehicles to save money on gas and contribute to a healthier environment. But “range anxiety,” the fear of being stranded with no power, was cited by 64 percent of consumers as a main detractor to buying an electric vehicle.

http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smart_grid/article/battery500.html

Psychology Reveals the Comforts of the Apocalypse

December 21, according to much-hyped misreadings of the Mayan calendar, will mark the end of the world. It’s not the first “end is nigh” proclamation—and it’s unlikely to be the last. That’s because, deep down for various reasons, there’s something appealing—at least to some of us—about the end of the world.

Enjoy the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

University of Minnesota neuroscientist Shmuel Lissek, who studies the fear system, believes that at its heart, the concept of doomsday evokes an innate and ancient bias in most mammals. “The initial response to any hint of alarm is fear. This is the architecture with which we’re built,” Lissek says. Over evolutionary history, organisms with a better-safe-than-sorry approach survive. This mechanism has had consequences for both the body and brain, where the fast-acting amygdala can activate a fearful stress response before “higher” cortical areas have a chance to assess the situation and respond more rationally.

But why would anyone enjoy kindling this fearful response? Lissek suspects that some apocalyptic believers find the idea that the end is nigh to be validating. Individuals with a history of traumatic experiences, for example, may be fatalistic. For these people, finding a group of like-minded fatalists is reassuring. There may also be comfort in being able to attribute doom to some larger cosmic order—such as an ancient Mayan prophecy. This kind of mythology removes any sense of individual responsibility.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/12/18/psychology-reveals-the-comforts-of-the-apocalypse/

Coming soon: 100% renewable power

One day in the not-too-distant future — probably sooner than many expect — some parts of the world will have power grids that are completely powered by renewables. Eventually, the entire world could be powered by renewables.

These are not green pie-in-the-sky fantasies, but the conclusions of recent research.

There is no doubt that renewable resources are positively vast. Solar alone could power the world: The solar energy that falls on the Earth every minute is more than the amount of fossil fuel the world uses every year. Wind alone could provide about 15 times the world’s energy demand. The recoverable geothermal heat under the U.S. is about 140,000 times its annual energy consumption. Wave power alone could supply twice as much electricity as the world consumes.

Capturing that energy, and being able to use it to power everything, is the hard part.

Probably the most ambitious attempt to quantify that challenge to date has been done by Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi of Stanford University, who have published a series of papers over the past several years outlining how it could be done. In 2010, they published two papers (Part I and Part II) estimating how the world’s energy demand for all purposes — including electric power, transportation, heating and cooling — could be met with renewables by 2030, and replace the existing energy generation mix by 2050:

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/take/coming-soon-100-renewable-power/296

The Richy Richs of this world do NOT make the best politicians ....

How One GOP Plutocrat Helped Make 20,000 Kids Homeless

There are 20,000 kids sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City, according to the city's latest estimate, a number that does not include homeless kids who are not sleeping in shelters because their families have been turned away. Up to 65 percent of families who apply for shelter don't get in, and their options can be grim.

"Some end up sleeping in subway trains," Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless, tells AlterNet. "Some go to hospital emergency rooms or laundromats. Women are going back to their batterers or staying in unsafe apartments."

Families that make it into shelters are taking longer to leave and move into stable, permanent housing. Asked by reporters why families were staying 30% longer than even last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "... it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before."

“Is it great?" He elaborated a day later in response to outcry over his comments. "No. It’s not the Plaza Hotel ... but that’s not what shelter is supposed to be and that’s not what the public can afford or the public wants.”


http://truth-out.org/news/item/13157-how-one-gop-plutocrat-helped-make-20000-kids-homeless


As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me...They think, deep down, that they are better than we are.”

and quarks were a matter of quirky conjecture just a few years ago ...

psychiatry and psychology are as imperfect as every other science known to man ...
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