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CT Eco-Capitalist Blogger: The new and revised Milford Walk Book, is hot off the press with updates including bike and water activities.

The new and revised Milford Walk Book, is hot off the press with updates including bike and water activities.
The book is also available in softcopy at City Hall, the library, and the Milford Recreation center.
Click here to download it

Polar Vortex Splitting Meteorological Images of January 2013 - weather.com

Meteorological Images of January 2013 - weather.com

 
News

Meteorological Images of January 2013

Stu Ostro Published: Jan 31, 2013, 8:11 PM EST weather.com

Polar Vortex Splitting


Image credit: Andreas Dörnbrack
This might look like sci-fi, and the atmospheric parameter it plots is "Lait potential vorticity at the 550K theta level"; it shows the polar vortex splitting in two after a sudden stratospheric warming event.  Okay, enough technical jargon -- what did it mean for those of us down on Earth?  Cold weather in parts of North America and Eurasia. 

Meteorological Images of January 2013 - weather.com

Meteorological Images of January 2013 - weather.com\


Eye of Jove

Image credit: NASA/GSFC MODIS Rapid Response
Just offshore of New England, although it didn't have a true eyewall, the center of the winter storm that TWC named Jove took on the appearance of an eye.  To the west cold air streamed in behind the storm and so did lake-effect snowbands off the Great Lakes.  Erie, Pennsylvania had its largest snow amount on a calendar day in January in records that go back to the late 1800s.

News Meteorological Images of January 2013 Stu Ostro Published: Jan 31, 2013, 8:11 PM EST weather.com Share Tweet 15 Gigantic Cyclone Prev Next Image credit: NERC Satellite Receiving Station, Dundee University, Scotland Here's what that cyclone over the North Atlantic looked like on satellite imagery. Jan 2013





Meteorological Images of January 2013

Stu Ostro Published: Jan 31, 2013, 8:11 PM EST weather.com

Pacific Cyclone

Image credit: NERC Satellite Receiving Station, Dundee University, Scotland
And a gigantic cyclone over the North Pacific looked similar.

The Swiss turn on the super-rich | Reuters

The Swiss turn on the super-rich | Reuters














The Swiss turn on the super-rich

A demonstrator stands in front of the UBS building during the 'Occupy Paradeplatz' protest in Zurich October 15, 2011. REUTERS-Christian Hartmann

Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:12am EST
(Reuters) - In February 2008, Thomas Minder, a Swiss businessman whose family-owned company is best known for its old-fashioned herbal toothpaste, attacked his banker, UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel, as if he were a form of stubborn plaque. At a shareholders' meeting in Basel, he stormed the podium as Ospel addressed the crowd. Ospel's bodyguards grappled with Minder and wrestled him away before he could land his symbolic blow — he was trying to hand the embattled head of Switzerland's largest bank a bound copy of Swiss company law, which codifies corporate temperance.
"Gentlemen, you are responsible for the biggest write-downs in Swiss corporate history," Minder had railed just a few minutes before, referring to UBS's loss of $50 billion during the subprime meltdown that prompted it to seek a government bailout. "Put an end to the Americanization of UBS corporate philosophy!"
The bodyguards marched Minder out of the hall amid a chorus of boos and jeers. Two months later, Ospel was gone, taking the fall for UBS's recklessness, but Minder's campaign against big bonuses had only just begun; shortly after Ospel was ousted, Minder filed the 100,000 signatures needed to launch a referendum to impose some of the tightest controls on executive compensation in the world.
Of the top 100 Swiss companies, 49 give shareholders a consulting vote on the pay of executives. A few other countries, including the United States and Germany, have introduced advisory "say on pay" votes in response to the anger over inequality and corporate excess that drove the Occupy Wall Street movement. Britain is also planning to implement rules in late 2013 that will give shareholders a binding vote on pay and "exit payments" at least every three years. Minder's initiative goes further, forcing all listed companies to have binding votes on compensation for company managers and directors, and ban golden handshakes and parachutes. It would also ban bonus payments to managers if their companies are taken over, and impose severe penalties — including possible jail sentences and fines — for breaches of these new rules.

The perils of overseas tax disclosure: An immigrant's story | Reuters

The perils of overseas tax disclosure: An immigrant's story | Reuters


The perils of overseas tax disclosure: An immigrant's story

Women walk out of an Internal Revenue Service office in New York April 18, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK | Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:25pm EST
(Reuters) - When Andrew Winfield applied to become a U.S. citizen in 2011, he realized he owed taxes on accounts he had left behind in his native England.
So he paid what he believed he owed — $2,800 in back taxes, plus the estimated interest and penalties - and entered the U.S. Internal Revenue Service's overseas disclosure program.
But when the IRS assessed its penalty in November, Winfield was stunned to learn that it would be $28,000 — 10 times the amount of tax he owed from 2003 to 2010.
"My first reaction was: ‘There's no way in hell I'm going to pay that,'" the 39-year-old Wake Forest, North Carolina, resident says. "It's kind of crazy when you look at the numbers and compare the penalty to the $2,800 (in back taxes) due."
The IRS has been aggressively seeking out taxpayers with offshore assets, asking them to come in on their own to avoid further prosecution and requiring foreign financial institutions to send information about American accounts.
But the voluntary disclosure programs have lumped together overseas Americans and immigrants with relatively small accounts and those trying to evade taxes by putting their money offshore.
Winfield moved to the United States from England in 1992 to go to college, with the hope of becoming a professional tennis player. He ended up staying and becoming a certified public accountant.

I developed Septicemia on April 15, 2012 I shivered like crazy, my leg felt like it was boiling and my heart beat so hard. I had only one regret, not being able to tell my daughter how amazing she is. I survived but my leg refuses to recover. It's a life changing event. Septicemia Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery. I'm glad I have another chance to see you Emily Vasseur. I love you. | Woman's Diary

Septicemia: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery | Woman's Diary

Septicemia: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery

Septicemia,also called septicaemia or septicæmia, or erroneously septasemia and septisema, is a related but deprecated medical term referring to the presence of pathogenic organisms in the bloodstream, leading to sepsis. The term has not been sharply defined. It has been inconsistently used in the past by medical professionals, for example as a synonym of bacteremia, causing some confusion. The present medical consensus is therefore that the term “septicemia” is problematic and should be avoided.
Septicaemia kills over thirty seven thousand people a year and is a leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer, and claims more lives than breast or bowel cancer. Many people are infected after routine surgery for example a vasectomy or hernia operation. It occurs when an infection in the bloodstream causes the body’s immune system to go haywire and start attacking the body it is meant to protect. Among its victims are Superman actor Christopher Reeve, former Bee Gee Maurice Gibb and Pope Paul 11.
Reeve Christopher 286x300 Septicemia: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery
Despite the number of victims it claims, its symptoms are often unrecognised by doctors and nurses. As a result the window for effective treatment is missed with fatal consequences. Hospital specialists have now launched a campaign to educate medical staff and raise public awareness of the condition. They say that prompt recognition and treatment for all septicaemia cases could halve the death rate at a stroke, saving thousands of lives.Although septicaemia is recognized as a major cause of death it is often not mentioned on death certificates. Instead doctors simply write more general diagnoses such as pneumonia or perforated bowel because patients have not even been tested for bacterial infection.
Causes of Septicemia
Infections of cuts or surgical wounds both carry a risk or developing septicemia. These wounds that begin to feel hot, look red, have red streaks coming out from them, or that seem to be draining pus should all be examined by a doctor. Since many people who have surgery now go home within a day or two, self-examination is important to rule out possible infection. With a large cut or surgical wound, one has a slightly increased risk of septicemia, because blood loss lowers the body’s natural immunities.
Burns are another major causal factor in septicemia. Third degree burns are particularly vulnerable to infection, and the larger the burn, the greater the chance of infection. Often third degree burns damage the nerve endings of skin, causing people not to initially feel pain at the site of the burn. People may not notice initial infection of burns without visual inspection.
Another possible cause of septicemia is internal injury, such as a stomach injury after a car accident. Intestinal rupture, gall bladder disease and rupture of the appendix or spleen are indicated in septicemia as well. These ruptures very often are treated with antibiotics from the onset, since the blood is immediately exposed to high and dangerous bacteria levels. This is particularly of issue with intestinal perforations, which spill bowel contents into other parts of the body, causing almost immediate septicemia.
Symptoms and The Warning Signs
Sudden high fever or unexplained shivering accompanied by drenching sweats.Sometimes sufferers may not look hot, instead the skin may look blotchy or turn blue. Hands and feet may feel cold and clammy.Generally feeling unwell. Headaches and limb pains though the sufferer may have the symptoms of pneumonia or urinary infection.
Abdominal pain,an unexplained rash on any part of the body,nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are part of the cascade of symptoms which lead to dehydration and a fall in blood pressure. Anxiety, drowsiness and confusion. The sufferer may seem vacant or behave strangely. Shortness of breath and rapid heart rate as the body struggles to compensate for loss of blood pressure.
Treatment and recovery
Immunisation can protect people from certain bacteria that can cause septicaemia. For example, in the UK babies are vaccinated against group C Meningococcus as part of their routine immunisation programme.
To reduce the risk of wounds and burns becoming infected, keep them clean and properly dressed. If you suspect an infection, seek medical advice before more serious problems have the chance to develop. The same applies to any suspected tooth or gum infections.
Septicaemia is a medical emergency requiring urgent hospital treatment. This may include antibiotics to kill the invading bacteria.
Often intensive care therapy is needed to support any organs that have been damaged by the infection. If treatment is given early enough, most people make a good recovery.

I was really foolish. I went to bed believing I might feel better in the morning. I was lucky I survived.

'Kid genius' activist and hacker liberator of digital content - The Irish Times - Sat, Jan 19, 2013

'Kid genius' activist and hacker liberator of digital content - The Irish Times - Sat, Jan 19, 2013

 The Irish Times - Saturday, January 19, 2013

'Kid genius' activist and hacker liberator of digital content

Aaron Swartz, Born: November 8th, 1986 Died: January 11th, 2013 Aaron Swartz took his own life in an apartment in Brooklyn on January 11th. Though only 26 when he died, Swartz had many claims to fame.
At the age of 14, he had co-authored specification 1.0 of RSS, the service that allows irishtimes.comand virtually every other major website to syndicate content to users. Swartz dropped out of Stanford to pursue his own start-up, Infogami, which merged with Reddit in 2005.
Reddit’s sale to Condé Nast made Swartz rich by the standards of most 19-year-olds. Swartz’s interests, however, lay beyond the commercial.
As a precocious teen, he had used the internet to seek out connections with eminent minds, including Prof Lawrence Lessig, a key figure in internet law based at Harvard University. He became heavily involved with the Creative Commons movement to recast copyright in the digital era, becoming a prominent campaigner in the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act .
Swartz was an embodiment of the principles of the hacker tradition, which had grown first at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s own Research Laboratory of Electronics at the end of the 1950s. He was a genius with an axe to grind. He was also, as Cory Doctorow’s obituary in Boing Boing noted, both principled and inflexible.
Before he took his life, he was due to appear in court for attempting to “liberate” the contents of the JSTOR database of academic research documents through the MIT network. JSTOR tried to stop Swartz’s efforts, and went so far as to block access to the entire MIT network.
Swartz persevered and downloaded more than four million documents. This was one of a number of attempts he had made in “opposition to . . . private theft of public culture . . . in the grand tradition of civil disobedience” (as he wrote in his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto of 2008). The legal fallout was considerable, and the prospect of a jail sentence may have prompted his suicide. Following his death, the Swartz family blamed the department of justice for taking so hard a line in its prosecution.
Swartz lived at the blurring edge of two communities: technologists and activists. Attendees at his funeral included both Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the worldwide web, and Padraig O’Hara, organiser of Occupy Wall Street.
The “Anonymous” collective provided a guard of honour (and hacked MIT’s website to call for a renewed “commitment to a free and unfettered internet”). Lawrence Lessig eulogised him as “A kid genius. A soul, a conscience.”

Resolute and unassuming trade unionist - The Irish Times - Sat, Jan 26, 2013 What a beautiful soul.

Resolute and unassuming trade unionist - The Irish Times - Sat, Jan 26, 2013

 The Irish Times - Saturday, January 26, 2013

Resolute and unassuming trade unionist


Inez McCormack, Born: September 28th, 1943 Died: January 21st, 2013  When Inez McCormack learned in 2011 that she had been listed as one of Newsweek’s “150 women who shake the world” for her work campaigning for social justice, she said the honour “highlights . . . people who have been excluded, modestly and determinedly making their own change”.
She will be mourned by world leaders and by those who clean their offices, all of them inspired by her certainty that it was possible and necessary to change the world, and her warmth and encouraging laughter as they set about it.
Former president Mary Robinson praised her capacity for friendship: “It was from Inez I learned that you can achieve much more if you don’t need the credit.”
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said McCormack had been a major influence and spoke of their friendship in an address she gave during her visit to Ireland last year. She noted that when they spoke, although Inez knew she was dying, “she wanted to talk about how we had to keep working to bring people together”.
She was proud that the project she chaired, the Participation and Practise of Rights, had, in December, been used as an example of best practice by the UN High Commission for Human Rights. The project is based on McCormack’s deep conviction that the Northern Ireland peace process was dangerously incomplete.
“You cannot have a peace settlement unless the most excluded are involved in making change,” she argued. She led a coalition that campaigned for human rights measures in the Belfast Agreement.
Hated snobbish attitudes
Inez Murphy was born into a lower middle-class Protestant family in Co Down. A lifelong habit of breaking new ground began when she was one of the first children from a non-fee-paying state primary school to go to a local grammar school. She hated its snobbish attitudes and left at aged 16 to work in her father’s business.
In 1963, the year prime minister Terence O’Neill said his task would be to “transform Ulster”, she joined the civil service. She recalled being asked at interview how she would feel if her brother, who had emigrated to South Africa, “married a black”. She left to get A-levels and a place at Magee College in Derry and finished her degree at Trinity College Dublin.
In 1967, she met and fell in love with Vincent McCormack, from a working-class Catholic family in Derry’s Bogside. They lived in London, with Inez modelling for Biba and getting paid in Mary Quant dresses.
They set off to hitch around Europe, but returned when they saw televised coverage of the October 1968 RUC attack on a civil rights march in Derry. They were on the People’s Democracy march which was attacked by loyalists at Burntollet. She recalled the feeling of relief when she saw police officers, having been brought up to respect the security forces, only to realise they were supporting those attacking the student marchers. She was regarded by her own people as a rebel.
After she and Vincent married, their flat in Belfast became a hub for political discussions, though McCormack commented that “apart from Bernadette [Devlin]”, women were in the background. She got a job as a social worker in the impoverished Ballymurphy estate during the most violent early years of the NI conflict.
In 1976 she became the first female official in the National Union of Public Employees. She broke new ground by encouraging part-time women workers in low-paid jobs, including hospital cleaners and home helps, to join the union. Her efforts to raise issues of women’s inequality were discouraged by male leaders who called them divisive distractions. She found the women’s movement inhospitable to married women with children. McCormack was elected to the NI committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) in 1980 and became the first woman to chair it in 1984, and later the first woman president of Ictu in 1999.
She was a signatory to the MacBride principles to address employment discrimination against Catholics and lobbied hard in the US to persuade big investors in the NI economy to insist on their implementation, against fierce opposition by the British government.
Their adoption was one of her greatest achievements and paved the way for the involvement of the Clinton administration in the peace process.
‘True grit’
McCormack and those she called the “securocrats” at Stormont were natural enemies. Patricia McKeown, regional secretary of Unison, noted that it was a Tory secretary of state who told McCormack: “I have worked out that you are loved in low places and loathed in high places”. McKeown said McCormack “took that as affirmation that she was doing the right thing”.
President Michael D Higgins praised her courage and “true grit”.
She described the marriage of their daughter Anne to Mark, last autumn, as “the happiest day of my life”.
She delighted in her grandchildren, Maisie and Jamie.
In 2011 her life story was included in Seven, a play which wove together the stories of international women activists.

Hagel Confirmation Hearing Opens With More Deflection Than Defense

Hagel Confirmation Hearing Opens With More Deflection Than Defense
 Hagel appears to be the last of the American Patriots. Honest, instead of politically correct. I admire this man!

Hagel Confirmation Hearing Opens With More Deflection Than Defense

Posted:   |  Updated: 01/31/2013 5:38 pm EST
In the morning session of his confirmation hearing for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel struck a largely conciliatory tone, deflecting the most confrontational questions from Republican senators over his foreign policy views and largely declining to engage in the details of their critiques.
Hagel's approach seemed designed to avoid miring the former Republican senator from Nebraska in a messy debate about some of the hot-button issues that had dominated headlines in recent weeks, including his controversial stance on gays in the military and his pro-Israel bona fides.
But his reticence also appeared to irritate members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who sought direct responses to their "fundamental differences of opinion," as one of them, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), put it.
After repeatedly trying to get Hagel to respond to a yes-or-no question about whether he stood by his past remarks that the surge in Iraq would prove to be a dangerous mistake, McCain said that Hagel's "refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong about it is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not."

It was a pattern that repeated over the morning, frustrating both Hagel opponents and supporters alike. During a fraught exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) over Hagel's work to reduce America's nuclear arsenal, the nominee declined to defend the proposals of a bipartisan panel he participated in last year, describing them instead as a series of hypothetical "illustrations."
"Let me correct some of your interpretation of what the global zero report was and what it actually said," Hagel said. "Here is the key part to all of this ... Bilateral, never unilateral. Nothing was suggested on a unilateral basis to take down our arsenal."
In fact, the report, called "Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Strategy, Force Structure and Posture," refers to its "illustrative plan" as a series of proposals and makes numerous judgments about how to draw down the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including a possible unilateral effort.
"The less good approach would be to adopt this agenda unilaterally," the report says, before emphasizing that "a strong case" can be made nevertheless that it could be done without weakening U.S. nuclear deterrence against Russia or China.
At another point, asked by McCain whether the U.S. ought to impose a no-fly zone over Syria or deliver weapons to the rebel forces, Hagel similarly demurred, saying that he believed the Obama administration was considering those actions, but "I don't know the details, I'm not there now."
In some ways, Hagel's reticence also reflected a determination to not let his personal views trump the positions of the administration in which he hopes to serve. Asked at one point about the possibility of containing a nuclear Iran -- rather than putting all focus on preventing the country from acquiring nuclear weapons -- Hagel seemed to suggest that he would support the former option.
Then he was quietly handed a note by an aide, and he asked to clarify that his view was the same as the administration's: prevention.
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Chuck Hagel, John McCain Clash Over Iraq Surge (VIDEO)

Chuck Hagel, John McCain Clash Over Iraq Surge (VIDEO)


Chuck Hagel, John McCain Clash Over Iraq Surge (VIDEO)

WASHINGTON -- The debate over the Iraq War was reignited on Thursday when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took on Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel for his opposition to the surge of 2007.
McCain and then-Sen. Hagel (R-Neb.) were two of the most prominent voices debating the war at the time, with McCain backing the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies and Hagel part of the growing movement of dissent. And one of McCain's favorite parts of the Bush strategy was the surge, which sent 20,000 additional troops into Iraq.
On Thursday, McCain attempted to re-litigate whether the surge was the right decision, aggressively pressing Hagel on whether he stands by his past statements. He quoted Hagel as saying in 2007 that the surge was the "most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."
"Were you right?" McCain asked. "Were you correct in your assessment?"
"Well, I would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out," Hagel said.
"This committee deserves your judgment as to whether you were right or wrong about the surge," McCain responded, adding, "I want to know if you were right or wrong. That's a direct question. I expect a direct answer."
When Hagel continued to insist that the answer was more complicated than a yes or no answer, McCain grew frustrated.
READ MORE!

Boy Scout Files To Be Released: Minn. Judge Orders Release Of More 'Perversion Files'

Boy Scout Files To Be Released: Minn. Judge Orders Release Of More 'Perversion Files'


Boy Scout Files To Be Released: Minn. Judge Orders Release Of More 'Perversion Files'

By STEVE KARNOWSKI 01/29/13 08:57 PM ET EST AP
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota judge on Tuesday ordered the handover of confidential national Boy Scout records on sexual abuse from 1999 to 2008 in a move attorneys said could add to the body of evidence showing that the organization failed to take adequate steps to protect young people from molesters in its ranks.
Ramsey County District Judge Elena Ostby issued the order in a lawsuit involving former suburban Minneapolis scoutmaster Peter Stibal II, who is serving a 21-year prison sentence for molesting four scouts in his troop. The lawsuit was filed by one of his victims.
That victim's attorney, Jeff Anderson, said these files are from internal Boy Scouts of America records on adult volunteers suspected of molestation that are widely known as the "perversion files," but they cover a later period than records made public last October by court order in Oregon, which covered from 1965 to 1985. He called the order a triumph over institutional secrecy.
Attorneys for the Boy Scouts of America and the local Northern Star Council did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Ostby ordered that identifying information in the files be blacked out, but Anderson's co-counsel, Paul Mones, said the material would still be valuable for establishing what scouting officials knew about the problem of abuse and when because they cover more recent times, when Stibal was a leader. Defense attorneys have two weeks to produce them. Mones said this order also follows similar orders by state courts in Texas and California for the Scouts to produce files covering 1985 through 2011 to plaintiffs suing in other pending abuse cases.
"The significance of this decision is that it is the third state court decision in less than one year in which the Boy Scouts have been ordered to turn over the `perversion files' to a plaintiff who was a victim of Scout leader sexual abuse," Mones said, adding that in each case judges determined the files were important for these victims to demonstrate that the Scouts knew about the abuse problem before these boys were molested.
The Minnesota lawsuit names the national and local scouting bodies, Stibal and the church that sponsored the troop. It's scheduled to go to trial this spring.
Stibal, now 47, was sentenced in June 2011 to more than 21 years in prison for molesting four scouts in his troop at River Hills United Methodist Church in Burnsville. A jury first convicted Stibal of molesting one scout. He then agreed to a deal in the cases of three other boys, in which he maintained his innocence but acknowledged the prosecution likely had enough evidence to convict him. The crimes happened from 2003 to 2008, when the boys were 11 to 15.
READ MORE

Walmart Limits Ammunition Sales After Demand Surges

Walmart Limits Ammunition Sales After Demand Surges


Walmart Limits Ammunition Sales After Demand Surges
Walmart Limits Ammunition Sales After Demand Surges
Read(2)

Chuck Hagel, John McCain Clash Over Iraq Surge (VIDEO)

Chuck Hagel, John McCain Clash Over Iraq Surge (VIDEO)


Chuck Hagel, John McCain Clash Over Iraq Surge (VIDEO)

Posted:   |  Updated: 01/31/2013 7:11 pm EST
WASHINGTON -- The debate over the Iraq War was reignited on Thursday when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took on Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel for his opposition to the surge of 2007.
McCain and then-Sen. Hagel (R-Neb.) were two of the most prominent voices debating the war at the time, with McCain backing the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies and Hagel part of the growing movement of dissent. And one of McCain's favorite parts of the Bush strategy was the surge, which sent 20,000 additional troops into Iraq.
On Thursday, McCain attempted to re-litigate whether the surge was the right decision, aggressively pressing Hagel on whether he stands by his past statements. He quoted Hagel as saying in 2007 that the surge was the "most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."
"Were you right?" McCain asked. "Were you correct in your assessment?"
"Well, I would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out," Hagel said.
"This committee deserves your judgment as to whether you were right or wrong about the surge," McCain responded, adding, "I want to know if you were right or wrong. That's a direct question. I expect a direct answer."
When Hagel continued to insist that the answer was more complicated than a yes or no answer, McCain grew frustrated.
"Will you please answer the question?" McCain said. "Were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the 'most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.' Were you correct or incorrect, yes or no?"
Hagel added that his comment about the "most dangerous foreign policy blunder" was not just about the surge, but about the overall decision to invade Iraq -- a belief he stood by because it took the U.S. focus off Afghanistan.
"Our war in Iraq I think was the most fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since Vietnam," Hagel said.
READ MORE!

Stop Demonizing The Other Side's Supporters

Stop Demonizing The Other Side's Supporters



Lara M. Gardner

Lara M. Gardner

Posted: October 14, 2008 08:40 AM

Stop Demonizing The Other Side's Supporters


A couple of days ago I received several emails forwarding the video of Sarah Palin being booed at the hockey game. I watched as she stepped onto the ice with her children, boos resounding from the highest bleachers, fans waving thumbs down signs in her direction. While I shared their sentiment, I also felt sad and sort of sorry for her, standing there with her daughters at her side, the one child so small, tossed into a giant mess of which she can have no understanding.
A few days before I received as many emails forwarding the video of the angry mobs outside the McCain rally. I felt a similar discomfort at the sight, a vague sense of unease and knowing that even though I disagreed with their views, it felt wrong to display these people in all their rage and ignorance.
Today a friend sent me an email containing the photo of a man carrying a sign with the words, "Ohio Christians Against Baby-Murdering Muslims for President." The man holding the sign looks stoic, defensive, angry.
What kind of fear leads a man to become this person? What has happened in his life that this is what he believes? This photo is being sent around to horrified liberals, an excellent representative of the trainwreck display this election has become, but I see no one asking these simple questions, trying to understand the minds of the humans on the other side.
Every day I open my email to dozens of new notices from well-meaning friends pointing out the obvious level of new lows in this campaign. We have gotten to the point where we take hideous and superior delight in the stumbles on the other side, react in anger at the latest new lies, and laugh and point fingers at angry right-wingers screaming and acting like lunatics. We do this, seeming to miss the hypocrisy in our own schadenfreude.
The level of simply bad behavior is evident on both sides. I certainly do not advocate bending over and taking it in the backside, but what about our own fundamental human decency? Are any of us on either side able to see where the other is coming from? Are any of us able to have some compassion?
I am especially disturbed by the videos of McCain supporters screaming hateful obscenities and photos of men like the one described above, not only because of the behavior of the people in them, but because decent people I know are forwarding them on to laugh at and criticize. This election has turned into so much us versus them. Each side is demonizing the other. None of this will get us anywhere that solves any of our very large, very real problems.
We receive and pass on videos of the candidates. See our candidate? See how good he is? Then we get a video from the other side. See their candidate? See how horrible he is? And while I absolutely might agree with what is being shown, I keep coming back to the belief that all this bickering and finger-pointing is doing absolutely nothing to elevate the common good. In fact I am afraid that all of this fighting is going to lead to an all-out war among ourselves regardless which candidate is elected. Unless and until we actually do start seeing ourselves as part of one country in this together, until we start to recognize all our humanity, we are going to dissolve in destruction and violence. This is a very real and frightening possibility.
I know it sounds simplistic, but it is possible to focus on the issues and get this country back on track if we all start acting with a bit more civility and stop making of fun of people who must be experiencing real inner turmoil and fear to act the way they do. We just have to take the initiative, stop passing around hate mail, and focus on what really matters.

VIDEO: Dad of Sandy Hook Victim Gives Emotional Remarks on Gun Control, Saying “The Problem Is Not Gun Laws” | Fox News Insider

VIDEO: Dad of Sandy Hook Victim Gives Emotional Remarks on Gun Control, Saying “The Problem Is Not Gun Laws” | Fox News Insider


VIDEO: Dad of Sandy Hook Victim Gives Emotional Remarks on Gun Control, Saying “The Problem Is Not Gun Laws”




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In emotional remarks given today on the future of gun control in the nation, Mark Mattioli – father of six-year-old James who was shot and killed in the Newtown, CT tragedy in December – said he doesn’t believe more gun laws will provide all the answers we need to deal with the problem at hand.
Heartbreaking highlights in the video below show Mattioli remarking that he believes there’s more “promise for a solution” in identifying and researching in the area of mental health. He also said that the issue of gun violence and others are not necessarily “as complex as you’ve been told.”
“I believe the solution may not be as easy to implement as I might hope, but it’s a simple concept,” he said. “We need civility across our nation. What we’re seeing are symptoms of a bigger problem. This is a symptom. The problem is not gun laws. The problem is a lack of civility.”

“Properly funded treatment for mental illness and addiction is not a luxury,” WASHINGTON: Newtown massacre may impel states to beef up mental health services | National Politics | Idahostatesman.com

WASHINGTON: Newtown massacre may impel states to beef up mental health services | National Politics | Idahostatesman.com


Newtown massacre may impel states to beef up mental health services

Published: January 31, 2013 Updated 2 hours ago
— The push for expanded mental health services after the mass murders of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., has moved from Congress to the nation’s statehouses, where health care advocates hope growing tax revenues and renewed outrage over gun violence will lead lawmakers to boost funding for counseling.
While experts say a connection between mental illness and gun violence is tenuous, a string of deadly shootings by mentally ill gunmen has fueled calls to beef up affordable treatment options for people who might be dangerous to themselves and others.
States, reeling from faltering tax revenues and the end of enhanced Medicaid funding from the economic stimulus bill, cut a collective $4.4 billion from their mental health budgets from 2009 to 2012, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
The cuts came just as the need for services was growing, with more people facing the emotional stress and financial uncertainty of job losses stemming from the Great Recession.
“It came down to sort of a tough choice,” said Ted Lutterman, the director of research analysis at the national association’s research institute in Alexandria, Va. “Do you close community-based crisis services, things that can help (mentally ill) people live in the community? Or do you close state hospital beds? A number of states did a mixture of both.”
South Carolina led the nation, cutting its mental health budget by 39 percent from 2009 to 2012, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The state mental health agency continued to provide services for 70,000 adults and 30,000 youths, “but they’re just not seeing them as often,” said Bill Lindsey, the executive director of the alliance’s South Carolina affiliate.
“A patient may be seeing a psychiatrist every four to six weeks, but now it’s 12 to 16 weeks between visits,” Lindsey said. “And in terms of new patients coming in, they’re only able to see the sickest of the sick.”
Other states made similar cuts. Alaska pared nearly $41 million, about one-third of its mental health services budget, from 2009 to 2012. Illinois cut $187 million, about 32 percent of its budget. Kansas trimmed more than 12 percent, or $12.4 percent of its budget, according to alliance figures.
The effects were devastating. An estimated 4,500 state psychiatric hospital beds were eliminated over that time, Lutterman said, and state mental health agencies across the country reduced staff, cut funding for community providers and served fewer people.
But the budget pressures that caused the cuts are easing. After increasing for the last 11 quarters, state tax revenue continues to rebound, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York at Albany. While tax receipts haven’t reached pre-recession levels, many states now have more budget flexibility than at any time since the recession officially ended in June 2009.
In the aftershock of Newtown, where 20 children and six adults were killed in December when a mentally ill gunman stormed the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Congress and the White House have emphasized better mental services, among other approaches, as one way to combat gun violence. As a result, mental health advocates are finding state lawmakers more open to boosting spending, even in states where budget-cutting Republicans have chafed at increasing state services.
“We are seeing some good things,” said Debbie Plotnick, the senior director of state policy at the advocacy group Mental Health America. “But we’re also seeing some bad things.”
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to put another $10 million into mental health services for at-risk patients who can’t get services through Medicaid. In Pennsylvania, where the current state budget cuts 10 percent from community mental health services, the Republican chair of the House of Representatives Human Services Committee, state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, will offer legislation to restore the funding.
“Properly funded treatment for mental illness and addiction is not a luxury,” DiGirolamo said recently.
In South Carolina, where the state mental health budget has shrunk by $74 million since 2009, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley is calling for an $11 million increase for the state’s beleaguered mental health agency.
After a recent legislative hearing on the proposal, Lindsey liked what he’d heard from lawmakers: “It looks like they’re at least going to do that much, but we won’t know for sure until June,” when the budget is finalized. “But so far, so good.”
In Mississippi, however, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant wants to cut $1.7 million from the mental health agency budget, while the Republican-led legislature wants to cut nearly $6 million from the department, which already has absorbed $27 million in cuts since 2009.
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