Daily Archives: June 11, 2009

Chronic Racial Discrimination Affects Health

The role of racial discrimination in mental health has been established in a number of studies, and a new study works out some of the details in how this works.

The study found blacks may, in general, have poorer mental health as a result of two mechanisms: First, chronic exposure to racial discrimination leads to more experiences of daily discrimination and, second, it also results in an accumulation of daily negative events across various domains of life, from family and friends to health and finances. The combination of these mechanisms, reports Anthony Ong, assistant professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, places blacks at greater risk for daily symptoms of depression, anxiety and negative moods.

“As a result, African-Americans experience high levels of chronic stress. And individuals who are exposed to more daily stress end up having fewer resources to cope with them,” said Ong.

The study, one of the first to look at the underlying mechanisms through which racial discrimination operates to affect the daily mental health of African-Americans, was conducted with Cornell graduate student Thomas Fuller-Rowell and Anthony Burrow, assistant professor of psychology at Loyola University-Chicago; it is published in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (96:6).

Press release here

The Homeland Security Report on Right Wing Extremism

You will find the report below the fold. Please note that according to this document, you are not supposed to be reading it on the internet. I assume that is old and out of date information. But just in case, don’t mention to anyone that you have seen this or where you saw it. K?

You asked, I answer. (Don’t grow accustom to that, by the way.)

– – – – – the fold – – – – –

Continue reading The Homeland Security Report on Right Wing Extremism

Swine Flu Alert Level Raised by WHO

The long-awaited pandemic announcement is scientific confirmation that a new flu virus has emerged and is quickly circling the globe. WHO will now ask drugmakers to speed up production of a swine flu vaccine. The declaration will also prompt governments to devote more money toward efforts to contain the virus.

This means that the alert level is going to Level Six.

Ominously, WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan said: “The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century, … The (swine flu) virus is now unstoppable.”

We are warned that a second wave of the flu may pass through areas that have already experienced a first wave. We are also told that this flu is badly affecting a relatively larger percentage of relatively healthy people than does seasonal flu (another hallmark of the 1918 pandemic).

The core of the statement by WHO’s director is:

On present evidence, the overwhelming majority of patients experience mild symptoms and make a rapid and full recovery, often in the absence of any form of medical treatment.

Worldwide, the number of deaths is small. … we do not expect to see a sudden and dramatic jump in the number of severe or fatal infections.

We know that the novel H1N1 virus preferentially infects younger people. In nearly all areas with large and sustained outbreaks, the majority of cases have occurred in people under the age of 25 years.

In some of these countries, around 2% of cases have developed severe illness, often with very rapid progression to life-threatening pneumonia.

Most cases of severe and fatal infections have been in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 years.

This pattern is significantly different from that seen during epidemics of seasonal influenza, when most deaths occur in frail elderly people.

Many, though not all, severe cases have occurred in people with underlying chronic conditions. …

At the same time, it is important to note that around one third to half of the severe and fatal infections are occurring in previously healthy young and middle-aged people.

Without question, pregnant women are at increased risk of complications. This heightened risk takes on added importance for a virus, like this one, that preferentially infects younger age groups.

Finally, and perhaps of greatest concern, we do not know how this virus will behave under conditions typically found in the developing world. To date, the vast majority of cases have been detected and investigated in comparatively well-off countries.



Lest we forget, a review of hatred on the campaign trail, 2008

I’ve worked for political campaigns. There are people who are watching what happens on the rope lines, in the rally lines, at the rallies themselves. The kinds of things we saw during the last election were not uncontrolled random populous movements. They are semi-orchestrated, semi-managed events designed to turn political differences into seething hate (for political purposes). For instance, the things you see in this video do not happen without the knowledge of the candidate or senior staff, and there are efforts to control how people behave in these situations. What you see here is people acting as they have been encouraged to act by party activists.

Continue reading Lest we forget, a review of hatred on the campaign trail, 2008