Friday, November 18, 2011

Who Is GerryMandering?

Outside Independence Hall, ask a graduate student in line to see the Liberty Bell what he thinks of gerrymandering, and you might get this answer:

"I think Gerry Mandering is a great guy."

No, he isn't.

Read or Watch to see why not:

Occupy Wall Street: The 99% Movement

The following select portion is from the 10-28-2011 issue of The Week, a weekly magazine well worth subscribing to:

Occupy Wall Street continues to gather momentum with satellite protests in more than 60 American cities. Yet as the growing protest continues, critics are still asking what it’s all about.

The answer is simple: “income inequality.” The wealthiest 400 people in the U.S. are now worth more than the bottom 150 million Americans. Three years after taxpayers bailed out the Wall Street gamblers whose recklessness plunged the country into the Great Recession, the average pay in the securities industry is $361,000, and the gap between the rich and everyone else is wider than ever. And the rich continue to rig the game, using their wealth to buy off politicians, and lobby for laws and tax policies that help them at the expense of everyone else.

Protesters have legitimate grievances, despite the nonstop demands for “democracy” / though democracy is necessarily an unglamorous, time-consuming process, which you can turn to your advantage only by immersing yourself in rules, laws, institutions, and elections.

Polls show that the “99 percent” movement is resonating with millions of people not present at the protests; the belief that wealthy Americans have grown too rich while the majority have been left behind is “shared by Americans across the political spectrum,” whether rich, poor, Republican, or Democrat. If you tune out the “anti-capitalist claptrap” of the usual “lefty fringe groups,” you’ll hear the “plaintive cry of a middle class in distress.” Who isn’t angry that Washington bailed out the big banks, which immediately went back to awarding their executives obscene bonuses? That “bipartisan dereliction of duty” is what unites the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.

That’s why all politicians should heed the ongoing cry of distress. On the “99 percent” website, the stories that inspire the movement are a portrayal of the grinding misery of the Great Recession: a construction worker laid off from his job, now doing menial labor for $12 an hour; “hard-pressed single moms” who can’t afford health care; the Harvard graduate who owes $60,000 and can’t find a job. This is a moment that calls for bold political leadership and genuine economic reforms. But Obama’s only “misbegotten contribution” has been a costly, ineffective health-care law, and the Republican candidates don’t even seem to be aware of “the troubles of workers down the income scale.”

It’s about the “downward mobility” of middle-class Americans.

Emotional Stress Linked To Common Cold & Flu

Higher levels of mental and emotional stress increases the risk of both infection by cold viruses AND the appearance of cold symptoms.

Researchers administered questionnaires on psychological stress to 420 healthy adults. Participants reported the number of major stressful events experienced "in the past year", etcetera. The investigators used these data to divide volunteers into groups. Next, 394 volunteers received nasal drops containing a low dose of one of five respiratory viruses....

Among the virus-exposed volunteers, 325 became infected and 148 developed colds. Cold virus infections also showed up in five saline recipients from exposure to infected housemates.

The rates of respiratory infection and colds increased in accordance with stress levels reported on the questionnaires. Compared with the lowest-stress group, volunteers who reported the most psychological stress ran twice the risk of getting a cold and more than five time the risk of becoming infected with a cold virus. The pattern held despite statistical controls for varied influences on immune function, including age, sex, education, allergies, weight, viral status prior to the study, cigarette and alcohol use, exercise, diet, quality of sleep, number of housemates, and housemate infection rates. The ink between stress and colds also proved independent of the personality characteristics assessed on questionnaires.;col1

Google: "Stress Management Tips"