Sunday, September 5, 2010


I have swung from the right to the left; if you have read this at all you know. There was a time I supported big business, I believed the Republican and right wing Christian nonsense about profit, Capitalism, (God's own economic way, don't ya know) and the ability for the poor to get rich, because of "trickle down" economics. However, I have come to my senses. I was watching CNN yesterday and a commercial came on railing against taxes for energy companies. "Madness!" "Crazy!" and other such adjectives hurled at me by blue collar actor portrayals...and people are buying this crap hook, line, and sinker. Here is a story from Newsweek, CEO's are lamenting their poor abused status as the victimized rich.

The Book of James states in chapter 5 v.4: "Look! The wages you have failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you." NIV.

Let me take it a step further: The companies in the United States are on a wholesale robbery spree against the workers. The CEO's are empowered, the workers are weak. Such is the legacy of Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. They are stealing from us, and screaming about taxes. Wake up, a country cannot be operative without revenue, and that revenue comes form taxes.

I am working toward reversing this trend, and it begins with education. It is high time to end the utter exploitation of the worker, the farmer, the average person in the U.S.

Let me be clear: The Richest in this country are never going to come off their money unless forced to by the people. There has been a massive redistribution of wealth-from the bottom up to the top. The economic policies of Saint Ronald have done nothing except grow the coffers of the already rich. Reaganomics have failed, George W. Bush is a failure, and Conservative are morally bankrupt.

Listen middle class and poor-you are in the financial straights today as a direct result of the Conservative and Republican economic policy. And yes, Bill Clinton is to blame also.

In a few days I am going to post some pics of a little town in Arkansas that has gone completely in the shitter as a direct result of Conservatives and the Republicans. Home after home after home has been abandoned and houses are falling apart, yet the people are embittered against the left, and they are voting Republican to get even with Wall Street. (thanks Thomas Frank for putting that into perspective for me.)

Stuffing Their Pockets

For CEOs, a lucrative recession.

One of the most startling things about the post-crisis landscape is how tone-deaf the wealthiest Americans remain to outrage over their Croesus-like pay packages. The award for complete obliviousness would have to go to Blackstone cofounder Stephen Schwarzman, who earlier this summer compared government attempts to raise taxes on financiers such as himself to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Silver medals should certainly be handed out to the many executives and corporate lawyers who were grousing last week about the new Dodd-Frank bill, which includes a rule requiring companies to disclose the difference in pay between their chief executive and their lowest-level workers. It would be a “logistical nightmare,” these titans of industry wailed, for firms to compile this information.

Well, maybe, but if you issue pay stubs, surely you can tally them up (and perhaps keep a few more workers on board to do just that). The real nightmare will be when the public sees the numbers, which will illuminate just how egregious the U.S. pay gap has become. According to the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank based in Washington, the average S&P 500 CEO takes home 263 times what his cheapest laborer does. While CEO pay is indeed down from its pre-crisis highs in 2007, it’s still double what it was in the 1990s, and eight times the level in the 1950s.

Meanwhile, American workers are taking home less in real weekly wages than they did in the 1970s. So much for the idea that the financial crisis would somehow even things up by wiping out a good chunk of the paper wealth of the plutocrats. Indeed, stock prices have surged so much since last year that many CEOs, who receive a good chunk of their pay in equity, are wealthier than ever before.

Such facts are inevitably followed by the impossible-to-answer question, do they deserve it? While the corporate world has certainly gotten more complex over the last 50 years, it’s hard to make the case that CEOs themselves have gotten any smarter, or that investors are doing a better job of judging a CEO’s success. Compensation levels are all too often driven by short-term thinking. The CEOs of the 50 firms that laid off the most workers since the onset of the economic crisis took home 42 percent more pay in 2009 than their peers did—largely because cutting workers boosts short-term profits and appeals to Wall Street. Yet a growing body of academic research suggests that downsizing doesn’t always lead to increased profitability over the longer haul, or even lower costs. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the fact that companies going into layoff mode often lose their best workers to competitors, to the toll taken on R&D spending, which is what produces the revenue and growth potential of the future.

While one can argue the merits of layoffs on a company-by-company basis, what’s striking is that the executives who are the most willing to ax workers also seem to be the least likely to tighten their own belts. Management guru Peter Drucker once noted that after CEO-to-worker pay ratios went above 25–1, major moral questions started to be raised. It will be hard to make employees believe that “we’re all in this together” when it becomes clear in public documents that company leaders have largely insulated themselves from any financial risk.

The larger issue of growing inequity in the Western world is a tough one to tackle; the forces of globalization that have led to stagnating wages aren’t going to disappear. But executive pay could be made fairer and more transparent. For starters, corporate America might take a page out of the European playbook. In countries like Germany, which boasts many of the world’s most competitive and productive companies, worker representatives often sit on corporate boards, providing a check against bloated pay packages.

On the other hand, U.S. corporate boards are full of very rich people who have no incentive to complain about each others’ pay. That’s why politicians might consider getting rid of tax rules that let companies write off unlimited amounts of corporate compensation. And whatever arguments there might be about the complexity of the Dodd-Frank rules, the notion of publishing pay numbers is a good one. If nothing else, it could be the starting point of a conversation in which America’s business leaders explain, to their shareholders and to the wider public, exactly why they need so much money to get the job done.

Thanks Newsweek-peace

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Gotta love Eric Prince, the sleaze behind Blackwater. It is amazing to see how the right distorts Christianity and how the Christians on the Right love to wage war. It's a growth industry, don't ya know, and Capitalism is God's own economy...Eric Prince is as anti-christ and unamerican as any Soviet era official...Pure Capitalism, the type the Christian Right wants to usher in, is as evil as Communism in its pure form...Check out Jeremy Scahill's excellent book "BLACKWATER." You won't regret it.

Thank you NYT again...

Blackwater won contracts with web of companies
Network let it obscure involvement from contracting officials and public

By James Risen and Mark Mazzetti

updated 9/4/2010 12:07:58 AM ET

WASHINGTON — Blackwater Worldwide created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq, according to Congressional investigators and former Blackwater officials.

While it is not clear how many of those businesses won contracts, at least three had deals with the United States military or the Central Intelligence Agency, according to former government and company officials. Since 2001, the intelligence agency has awarded up to $600 million in classified contracts to Blackwater and its affiliates, according to a United States government official.

The Senate Armed Services Committee this week released a chart that identified 31 affiliates of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services. The network was disclosed as part of a committee’s investigation into government contracting. The investigation revealed the lengths to which Blackwater went to continue winning contracts after Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in September 2007. That episode and other reports of abuses led to criminal and Congressional investigations, and cost the company its lucrative security contract with the State Department in Iraq.

The network of companies — which includes several businesses located in offshore tax havens — allowed Blackwater to obscure its involvement in government work from contracting officials or the public, and to assure a low profile for any of its classified activities, said former Blackwater officials, who, like the government officials, spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that it was worth “looking into why Blackwater would need to create the dozens of other names” and said he had requested that the Justice Department investigate whether Blackwater officers misled the government when using subsidiaries to solicit contracts.

The C.I.A.’s continuing relationship with the company, which recently was awarded a $100 million contract to provide security at agency bases in Afghanistan, has drawn harsh criticism from some members of Congress, who argue that the company’s tarnished record should preclude it from such work. At least two of the Blackwater-affiliated companies, XPG and Greystone, obtained secret contracts from the agency, according to interviews with a half dozen former Blackwater officials.

A C.I.A. spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, said that Xe’s current duties for the agency were to provide security for agency operatives. Contractors “do the tasks we ask them to do in strict accord with the law; they are supervised by C.I.A. staff officers; and they are held to the highest standards of conduct” he said. “As for Xe specifically, they help provide security in tough environments, an assignment at which their people have shown both skill and courage.”

Congress began to investigate the affiliated companies last year, after the shooting deaths of two Afghans by Blackwater security personnel working for a subsidiary named Paravant, which had obtained Pentagon contracts in Afghanistan. In a Senate hearing earlier this year, Army officials said that when they awarded the contract to Paravant for training of the Afghan Army, they had no idea that the business was part of Blackwater.
Most popular
More bombs found in Discovery standoff case
NYT: Web of Blackwater companies revealed
Family of copper heiress asks court to protect her
Mother’s touch saves baby’s life
New Zealand quake rocks city of 350,000
While Congressional investigators have identified other Blackwater-linked businesses, it was not the focus of their inquiry to determine how much money from government contracts flowed through the web of corporations, especially money earmarked for clandestine programs. The former company officials say that Greystone did extensive work for the intelligence community, though they did not describe the nature of the activities. The firm was incorporated in Barbados for tax purposes, but had executives who worked at Blackwater’s headquarters in North Carolina.
The former company officials say that Erik Prince, the business’s founder, was eager to find ways to continue to handle secret work after the 2007 shootings in Baghdad’s Nisour Square and set up a special office to handle classified work at his farm in Middleburg, Va.
Enrique Prado, a former top C.I.A. official who joined the contractor, worked closely with Mr. Prince to develop Blackwater’s clandestine abilities, according to several former officials. In an internal e-mail obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Prado claimed that he had created a Blackwater spy network that could be hired by the American government.

“We have a rapidly growing, worldwide network of folks that can do everything from surveillance to ground truth to disruption operations,” Mr. Prado wrote in the October 2007 message, in which he asked another Blackwater official whether the Drug Enforcement Administration might be interested in using the spy network. “These are all foreign nationals,” he added, “so deniability is built in and should be a big plus.”

It is not clear whether Mr. Prado’s secret spy service ever conducted any operations for the government. From 2004 to 2006, both Mr. Prado and Mr. Prince were involved in a C.I.A. program to hunt senior leaders of Al Qaeda that had been outsourced to Blackwater, though current and former American officials said that the assassination program did not carry out any operations. Company employees also loaded bombs and missiles onto Predator drones in Pakistan, work that was terminated last year by the C.I.A.

Both Mr. Prince and Mr. Prado declined to be interviewed for this article.

The company is facing a string of legal problems, including the indictment in April of five former Blackwater officials on weapons and obstruction charges, and civil suits stemming from the 2007 shootings in Iraq.

The business is up for sale by Mr. Prince, who colleagues say is embittered by the public criticism and scrutiny that Blackwater has faced. He has not been implicated in the criminal charges against his former subordinates, but he has recently moved his family to Abu Dhabi, where he hopes to focus on obtaining contracts from governments in Africa and the Middle East, according to colleagues and former company officials.

After awarding Blackwater the new security contract in June, the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, publicly defended the decision, saying Blackwater had “cleaned up its act.”

But Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she could not understand why the intelligence community had been unwilling to cut ties to Blackwater. “I am continually and increasingly mystified by this relationship,” she said. “To engage with a company that is such a chronic, repeat offender, it’s reckless.”

It is unclear how much of Blackwater’s relationship with the C.I.A. will become public during the criminal proceedings in North Carolina because the Obama administration won a court order limiting the use of classified information. Among other things, company executives are accused of obtaining large numbers of AK-47s and M-4 automatic weapons, but arranging to make it appear as if they had been bought by the sheriff’s department in Camden County, N.C. Such purchases were legal only if made by law enforcement agencies.

But defense lawyers say they hope to argue that Blackwater had a classified contract with the C.I.A. and wanted at least some of the guns for weapons training for agency officers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


This is a repost from the AP...just a thought, the Right wing, the right wing christians (small "c") and the republican in general expose themselves on a regular basis for their racism and hate of those without a Euro-Cauc heritage...Drunk Lindsay Graham and his bible thumping ridiculous beliefs are behind the yapping from the right regarding the repealing of the 14th Amendment...Citizenship Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Due Process Clause would all be done away with...makes you wonder just how out of control the right is...answer? Very.

Keep on keeping on exposing these fuckers for exactly what they are...bear in mind haters, I used to vote right wing, then i woke the hell up and saw it for what it is..."Conservatism is a euphemism for social cowardice." Nothing else.

WASHINGTON — Leading Republicans are joining a push to reconsider the constitutional amendment that grants automatic citizenship to people born in the United States.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he supports holding hearings on the Constitutional right, although he emphasized that Washington's immigration focus should remain on border security.

His comments came as other Republicans in recent days have questioned or challenged birthright citizenship, embracing a cause that had largely been confined to the far right.

The senators include Arizona's John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee; Arizona's Jon Kyl, the Republicans' second-ranking senator; Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, a leading negotiator on immigration legislation.

"I'm not sure exactly what the drafters of the (14th) amendment had in mind, but I doubt it was that somebody could fly in from Brazil and have a child and fly back home with that child, and that child is forever an American citizen," Sessions said.

Legal experts say repealing the citizenship right can be done only through constitutional amendment, which would require approval by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress and by three-fourths of the states. Legislation to amend the right, introduced previously in the House of Representatives, has stalled.

The proposals are sure to appeal to conservative voters as immigration so far is playing a central role in November's elections. They also could carry risks by alienating Hispanic voters and alarming moderates who could view constitutional challenges as extreme. Hispanics have become the largest minority group in the United States, and many are highly driven by the illegal immigrant debate.

McConnell and McCain seemed to recognize the risk by offering guarded statements Tuesday.

McCain, who faces a conservative challenge in his re-election bid, said he supports reviewing citizenship rights. He emphasized, however, that amending the Constitution is a serious matter.

"I believe that the Constitution is a strong, complete and carefully crafted document that has successfully governed our nation for centuries and any proposal to amend the Constitution should receive extensive and thoughtful consideration," he said.

At a news conference, McConnell refused to endorse Graham's suggestion that citizenship rights be repealed for children of illegal immigrants. While refusing to take questions, he suggested instead that he would look narrowly into reports of businesses that help immigrants arrange to have babies in the United States in order to win their children U.S. citizenship.

The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868 in the aftermath of the Civil War, granted citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," including recently freed slaves.

Defenders of the amendment say altering it would weaken a fundamental American value while doing little to deter illegal immigration. They also say it would create bureaucratic hardships for parents giving birth.

Quoting a newspaper columnist, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Republicans were "either taking leave of their senses or their principles" in advocating repeal.

An estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants were living in the U.S. as of January 2009, according to the Homeland Security Department. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that as of 2008, there were 3.8 million illegal immigrants in this country whose children are U.S. citizens.

Thanks credit where it is due...and can someone tell me why the people of Alabama keep voting in that squirrely bastard Jeff Sessions? Please Alabama give yourself an anal/cranal-ectomy, and quit fucking up the country for the rest of us...Peace!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


(posted under ratfuckery, stupid shit, right wing...)

Yeah a big fucking hole in the heads of the like of Michael Steele, John McCain, (wow he sure was disappointing, huh? Talk about selling your soul to the devil), and the complete moron Sarah Palin...

Shut down British Petroleum, and hold your elected officials responsible. The reason this utter nightmare is taking place in the gulf is because the United States Government has allowed the petroleum companies that drill in US waters to NOT have the safety measures, safety measures that EXIST but are expensive to the poor oil companies), in place to protect the public and the natural world. Safety measures that exist in other countries, safety measures that work.

This is what happens when corporations are allowed to run amok. This is what happens when our elected officials are on the take. Period.

Today is Saturday. On Monday, hit your phone, grab your laptop, grab a sheet of paper and a pen and scream at your elected officials...

Oh yeah, what do you think is going to happen on the Redneck Riviera when that oil hits shore? Does America really think we can afford another disaster on the scale of Katrina? How about 3 or 4 Katrinas? While we will not see the Human casualties from this PREVENTABLE DISASTER, the environmental impact, and the financial impact of states like Mississippi with the grossly fat and stupid Haley Barbour, (Hey! Fat-ass Haley!!! you will NEVER be President you redneck moron), is going to be enormous...the fishing industry, shrimping, oysters, clams, seabirds...Good God, what a bunch of absolute fucking assholes...I will NOT USE BRITISH PETROLEUM UNTIL THEY RECTIFY THE DAMAGE THEY HAVE DONE...and Searchers, did you know the American taxpayer is footing the clean up bill? Yeah, BP doesn't have ships out in the gulf cleaning. Shut BP down. Please do the same...Peace-


Green energy is the future.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


So I"ve been thinking...and this is what I have come up with:

Samuel Chris Flanagin, Dora Flanagin Hughes, Good Ole Patty Pat Pat Flanigan and Hank:

Chris: I forgive you for breaking into my home and attempting to murder my wife and me. You are an absolute utter douchebag, raised by an atrocious father. It's what you do. You are a hater and that's a hater's job-to hate. However Samuel, (I'm going to fax this to your offices, the paper and your buddy Tony Rogers,) if you're (catch the correct spelling and use of the word you're bud,) buddy Tony is going to run again for his seat, I am going to mail your mugshot all over your county with a short explanation of Tony Roger's character and his hiring of a utter criminal.

One more thought Samuel: Mrs. Searcher is not brain washed, she simply wants nothing to do with you, period. Shove your ego up your ass, Chris, you ain't no prize...but I forgive you for attempting to murder my wife and me.

Dora, you are dumb. Period. An example, the comment posted below is from an earlier posting and it is vintage Dora Hughes, a shining example of the school system in the state of arkansas, complete with misspellings, lies, with a heaping helping of insanity...this is my in laws? I mean, my God, EVERY computer has a spellcheck!!! Lord...

This worthlss, uneduated,PSYCHO came to our class reunion and was kicked out! Poor nice, pretty, once normal Kelli. we all know he brainwashed her as she was too cool to be with a 40 year old crazy whimp! She supports his lazy ass and we heard he has 5 or 6 kids he does not even support. Pretty Bad to get kicked out a mocked at a class runion. Notice how he downgrades successful people and identifies with otyher lunatic terrorist! We heard he was a bundy with a touch of Charlie- but they were even more educated than this wimp looser!

Okay. Mrs. Searcher has never been to a high school reunion, she was getting a Bachelor of Science in Psychology...btw, she's almost done with her SECOND B.S., in you have a GED, Dora?? Well? 'Nough said...I forgive you Dora, you simply can't help is an example of Mrs. Searchers comment on a recent posting:

"This is one of my favorite posts. It is the only place I have heard or read about these truths. You bring lucidity to other searchers."

This is an example of how someone who is not an uneducated dolt writes...but I forgive you Dora, you simply cannot help yourself, but you need serious medical care...and I believe you should check yourself into an inpatient're sick, and I forgive you...

Patty Pat-You have no class. I forgive you, your hate and anger have eaten you up inside, and is shearing years from your life. I refuse to be like you, your sister, or your sons...I forgive you...

Hank you were raised by your father, and like just can't help yourself. I forgive you for saying you hope my son, your nephew, gets hit by a are a douchebag, but I forgive you...don't ever contact my family again, and you will have no problems, hank. I am bigger than you Hank, but I will not use that fact to harm you...I forgive you Hank.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


A lot like our family attitude toward Mrs. Searchers worthless relatives...

Can't believe people still pay attention to Fox News...scroll down till you hit the video, don't miss it-peace

"I know that I criticize you and Fox News a lot, but only because you're truly a terrible, cynical, disingenuous news organization."
-Jon Stewart

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back

Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


This foolishness is no different than the nonsense from right wing christianity in the United States...

From the BBC:

Iranian Cleric Blames Qakes On Promiscuous Women

Women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes, an Iranian cleric says.

Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi, the acting Friday prayer leader in Tehran, said women should stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves.

"Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes," he explained.

Tens of thousands of people have died in Iran earthquakes in the last decade.

Mr Sediqi was delivering a televised sermon at the Tehran University campus mosque last Friday on the need for a "general repentance" by Iranians when he warned of a "prevalence of degeneracy".

"What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes," he said.

'Disappoint God'

Correspondents say many young Iranians sometimes push the boundaries of how they can dress, showing hair under their headscarves or wearing tight-fitting clothes.

Mr Sediqi also described the violence following last year's disputed presidential election - the result of which prompted thousands of people to hold mass protests - as a "political earthquake".

"Now if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God's power, only God's power. So lets not disappoint God."

More than 25,000 people died when a powerful earthquake hit the ancient city of Bam in 2003.

Seismologists have warned that the capital, Tehran, is situated on a large number of tectonic fault lines and could be hit by a devastating earthquake soon.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said many of Tehran's 12 million inhabitants should relocate.

There are plans to build a purpose built new capital near Qom.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities"

oh- happy 420

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Good show, Maher never fails to throw it out there-

HBO Friday nights



Ah the legacy of life on Monticello article from the New York Times:

After Abuse, Changes in the Brain


Published: February 23, 2009

For years, psychiatrists have known that children who are abused or neglected run a high risk of developing mental problems later in life, from anxiety and depression to substance abuse and suicide.

Epigenetic Regulation of the Glucocorticoid Receptor in Human Brain Associates With Childhood Abuse (Nature Neuroscience)The connection is not surprising, but it raises a crucial scientific question: Does the abuse cause biological changes that may increase the risk for these problems?

Over the past decade or so, researchers at McGill University in Montreal, led by Michael Meaney, have shown that affectionate mothering alters the expression of genes in animals, allowing them to dampen their physiological response to stress. These biological buffers are then passed on to the next generation: rodents and nonhuman primates biologically primed to handle stress tend to be more nurturing to their own offspring, Dr. Meaney and other researchers have found.

Now, for the first time, they have direct evidence that the same system is at work in humans. In a study of people who committed suicide published Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers in Montreal report that people who were abused or neglected as children showed genetic alterations that likely made them more biologically sensitive to stress.

The findings help clarify the biology behind the wounds of a difficult childhood and hint at what constitutes resilience in those able to shake off such wounds.

The study “extends the animal work on the regulation of stress to humans in a dramatic way,” Jaak Panksepp, an adjunct professor at Washington State University who was not involved in the research, wrote in an e-mail message.

He added that the study “suggests pathways that have promoted the psychic pain that makes life intolerable,” and continued, “It’s a wonderful example of how the study of animal models of emotional resilience can lead the way to understanding human vicissitudes.”

In the study, scientists at McGill and the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences compared the brains of 12 people who had committed suicide and who had had difficult childhoods with 12 people who had committed suicide and who had not suffered abuse or neglect as children.

The scientists determined the nature of the subjects’ upbringing by doing extensive interviews with next of kin, as well as investigating medical records. The brains are preserved at Douglas Hospital in Montreal as part of the Quebec Suicide Brain Bank, a program founded by McGill researchers to promote suicide studies that receives brain donations from around the province.

When people are under stress, the hormone cortisol circulates widely, putting the body on high alert. One way the brain reduces this physical anxiety is to make receptors on brain cells that help clear the cortisol, inhibiting the distress and protecting neurons from extended exposure to the hormone, which can be damaging.

The researchers found that the genes that code for these receptors were about 40 percent less active in people who had been abused as children than in those who had not. The scientists found the same striking differences between the abused group and the brains of 12 control subjects, who had not been abused and who died from causes other than suicide. “It is good evidence that the same systems are at work in humans that we have seen in other animals,” said Patrick McGowan, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Meaney’s lab at McGill and the lead author of the study.

His co-authors, along with Dr. Meaney, were Aya Sasaki, Ana C. D’Alessio, Sergiy Dymov, Benoît Labonté and Moshe Szyf, all of McGill, and Dr. Gustavo Turecki, a McGill researcher who leads the Brain Bank.

Because of individual differences in the genetic machinery that regulates stress response, experts say, many people manage their distress despite awful childhoods. Others may find solace in other people, which helps them regulate the inevitable pain of living a full life.

“The bottom line is that this is a terrific line of work, but there is a very long way to go either to understand the effects of early experience or the causes of mental disorders,” Dr. Steven Hyman, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard, wrote in an e-mail message.

Interesting stuff...peace

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Black by Choice

Sister Citizen
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell
This article appeared in the May 3, 2010 edition of The Nation.

April 15, 2010

President Obama created a bit of a stir in early April when he completed his Census form. In response to the question about racial identity the president indicated he was "Black, African American or Negro." Despite having been born of a white mother and raised in part by white grandparents, Obama chose to identify himself solely as black even though the Census allows people to check multiple answers for racial identity.

This choice disappointed some who have fought to ensure that multiracial people have the right to indicate their complex racial heritage. It confused some who were surprised by his choice not to officially recognize his white heritage. It led to an odd flurry of obvious political stories confirming that Obama was, indeed, the first African-American president.

When Obama marked his Census form, he offered another lesson in what has been an intensive if unintentional seminar on the social construction of race. In just a few years, decades of multiple racial formations have been projected onto him at hyperspeed; it's a bit like watching those nature films that show the growth of an apple tree from a seed in just thirty seconds. When Hillary Clinton held a significant lead among black voters, media outlets regularly questioned if Obama was "black enough" to earn African-American electoral support. When the Rev. Jeremiah Wright dominated the news cycle, the question shifted to whether Obama was "too black" to garner white votes. By the final months of the campaign, Obama's opponents charged that he was a noncitizen, a Muslim and a terrorist. In less than two years a single body had been subjected to definitions ranging from insufficiently black, to far too black, to somehow foreign and frightening.

But Obama did more than disrupt standard definitions of blackness; he created a definitional crisis for whiteness. Imagine for a moment that a young American falls into a Rip Van Winkle sleep in 1960. He awakens suddenly in 2008 and learns that we are in the midst of a historic presidential election between a white and a black candidate. He learns that one candidate is a Democrat, a Harvard Law School graduate, a lecturer at the conservative University of Chicago Law School. He also discovers that this candidate is married to his first wife, and they have two children who attend an exclusive private school. His running mate is an Irish Catholic. The other candidate is a Republican. He was an average student who made his mark in the military. This candidate has been married twice, and his running mate is a woman whose teenage daughter is pregnant out of wedlock.

Now ask our recently awakened American to guess which candidate is white and which is black. Remember, his understanding of race and politics was frozen in 1960, when a significant number of blacks still identified themselves as Republican, an Ivy League education was a marker of whiteness and military service a common career path for young black men. Remember that he would expect marriage stability among whites and sexual immorality to mark black life. It's entirely possible that our Rip would guess that Obama was the white candidate and McCain the black one.

By displaying all these tropes of traditional whiteness, Obama's candidacy disrupted the very idea of whiteness. Suddenly whiteness was no longer about educational achievement, family stability or the command of spoken English. One might argue that the folksy interventions of Sarah Palin were a desperate attempt to reclaim and redefine whiteness as a gun-toting ordinariness that eschews traditional and elite markers of achievement.

Obama's whiteness in this sense is frightening and strange for those invested in believing that racial categories are stable, meaningful and essential. Those who yearn for a postracial America hoped Obama had transcended blackness, but the real threat he poses to the American racial order is that he disrupts whiteness, because whiteness has been the identity that defines citizenship, access to privilege and the power to define national history.

In 1998 Toni Morrison wrote that Bill Clinton was the first "black president" because he "displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas." Ten years later the man who truly became America's first black president displayed few of these tropes. Instead he was a scholarly, worldly, health food-eating man from Hawaii. In this sense, Obama was the white candidate in 2008, and a substantial portion of white voters preferred Obama's version of whiteness to that of McCain and Palin.

Which brings us back to Obama's Census choice. Despite his legitimate claims on whiteness, he chose to call himself black. As historian Nell Painter documents in her new book The History of White People, white identity was a heavily policed and protected border for most of American history. A person born to an African parent and a white parent could be legally enslaved in America until 1865. From 1877 until 1965 that person would have been subject to segregation in public accommodations, schools, housing and employment. In 1896 the Supreme Court established the doctrine of separate but equal in the case of Homer Plessy, a New Orleans Creole of color whose ancestry was only a small fraction African. President Obama's Census self-identification was a moment of solidarity with these black people and a recognition that the legal and historical realities of race are definitive, that he would have been subject to all the same legal restrictions had he been born at another time. So in April, Obama did as he has done repeatedly in his adult life: he embraced blackness, with all its disprivilege, tumultuous history and disquieting symbolism. He did not deny his white parentage, but he acknowledged that in America, for those who also have African heritage, having a white parent has never meant becoming white.

About Melissa Harris-Lacewell
Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, is completing her latest book, Sister Citizen: A Text for Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Isn't Enough.

You can catch Dr. Harris-Lacewell's analysis often on MSNBC...


The Nation Online


Hello Searchers and's been back soon...