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Stephanie Brown
Too close for missiles...I'm switching to guns.
Too close for missiles...I'm switching to guns.
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I can't help but notice that Russia's recent behavior (i.e., denying extradition requests, arming Assad, backing out of the Cooperative Threat Reduction agreement) bring to mind the warning Romney gave last year, which was taunted by then-candidate Obama. Romney's statements have only become more valid in recent months...perhaps the administration should take note.

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Please re-post or share with anyone you know who might be trying to find someone today. Thanks to Google for their help!

#personfinder #bostonmarathon #bostonexplosion  
We have launched Person Finder to help people caught in the explosions in Boston. Learn more.

http://google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions
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Revisiting the Robert Bales Case

Due to recent news of his sanity evaluation and the Army seeking the death penalty, I thought I'd re-post. I stand by my initial analysis that he did not suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bales served several tours prior without any mention in his record of a struggle with the war or major traumatic event; even if he suffered delayed-onset PTSD, he did not suffer nightmares, flashbacks, or any avoidance of conflict. Rather, he embraced a violent nature, deliberately waiting until night to strike both villages and brutally kill 16 civilians (9 were children). Witnesses from the Army have provided evidence he was calm, aware of his actions, and did not feel remorse, stating "I thought I was doing the right thing" and going so far as to say while surrendering, "You guys are going to thank me come June." What will be interesting to watch is whether the evals show mental illness or prove a psychotic break, because not everything qualifies under an insanity plea. Conveniently, TBI and PTSD do, but I suspect a personality disorder would be far more difficult to argue.

#robertbales #ptsd #insanityplea #afghanistan  
The case of Robert Bales is tough to decipher. Without having met him or knowing his full history, I would have to say the suggestion of PTSD is not correct. This man spent ten years serving without violent or unsanctioned outbursts; admittedly, he had shown a propensity for violence and undergone several challenges (financial problems especially) but to say he suddenly 'snapped' on account of post traumatic stress disorder doesn't make sense.

Yes, he had encountered a traumatizing incident just earlier in the day--an IED attack that wounded a fellow soldier--but PTSD requires that you've been experiencing symptoms for over a month. Not to mention Mr. Bales never complained of flashbacks or is reported to have any of the other criteria for PTSD. I think PTSD is overdiagnosed, and it's unfair that those who do suffer from such a problem are roped into the same group as a man who has committed these atrocities. The media doesn't help the matter when they don't do their homework. Not everything is PTSD: what about acute stress disorder? Anxiety or adjustment disorder?

It's also entirely possible he suffered from a psychotic break, which could explain why so many who know him have said they could not understand why he acted so out of character. Or perhaps, the opposite is true: this man could have an underlying condition or personality disorder that only became more exaggerated under the conditions of stress. Schizotypal, antisocial, or borderline personality disorders could have gone undiagnosed. There's also the chance he suffered from bipolar disorder, and under the given conditions experienced a psychotic episode. Bottom line: there's just not enough information available to make a clear diagnosis.

Other questions remain unanswered. Could someone have recognized his problematic behavior and reported it? Was there any chance of stopping the tragedy as it unfolded? And most importantly--why did he not seek help?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/us/sgt-robert-bales-from-small-town-ohio-to-afghanistan.html

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A legitimate concern: why does Health & Human Services need voter registration information? And isn't it misleading to include it in an application for healthcare, leading some to believe they must register in order to be eligible for coverage? #scaretactics #obamacare #overstep  

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I think a certain Tom Clancy told us about the 'caterpillar drive' back in 1984. Just wondering: is Captain Ramius at the helm?

#huntforredoctober #boreiclass #subwarfare  

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Probably not the best writing I've seen on the issue, but at least it raises some awareness about the issue of gender stereotypes, psychosocial pressures, and the alarming rise of body and muscle dysmorphia in the United States. Some of the commenters were angry with the author (and rightly so--he didn't state strong examples and tried to allege that many supps contain steroids), however he's spot on about the fine line between being a fit young kid and having an unhealthy fixation on body image. Supplements can help those who do need extra protein, or are lacking an important nutrient in their diet, but a lot could be harming themselves by not talking to a doctor/nutritionist before use. Since supplements aren't FDA-regulated, not all list the amount of caffeine or ingredients in their special 'proprietary' blends. Combine that with an overeager/overzealous kid who thinks he needs to take more than the suggested amount and you can have serious health problems.

Growing up, I was only concerned about being able to do the activities I loved and fitting in my clothes. I didn't own a scale, and to this day I still don't. I hate the bulky look because to me it reflects a vanity rather than the enjoyment of recreation and athleticism. At the core of all this, in my opinion, is a major self-esteem issue. Why aren't we looking at the fact that we promote an unobtainable image in magazines, television, and online? Why do we equate importance and popularity with looking like Adonis? Obesity is also an epidemic within the US, but they are the same issue on opposite sides of the coin. It comes down to what we teach our children, and how positively they view themselves. Address this, and you will have a generation who is confident and healthy without fixating on superficial results.

#nytimes #gymrats #bodybuilding #bodydysmorphia #selfesteem #newyorktimes #health  

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"Nobody is alone in this world. We have to coexist and take care of each other."

A short but interesting documentary on a nature researcher who is compelled to search for and help those in the forest: meet one of the angels of Aokigahara.

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An Open Letter to American Consumers of +Apple inc.,+Motorola, +VIZIO, +Dell, +HP, and +Samsung USA 

I'm not a labor activist, but I have been following the news of Foxconn and its affiliates with growing alarm. However, there seems to be no clear answer as to how a consumer can avoid the pitfalls of buying from companies that condone such unethical business practices.

As a Christian (and a human being), it doesn't seem right to support any manufacturer or company that operates the way they do. They shut down local schools and inform the youth there are "internships" at the plants, despite the fact the jobs are irrelevant to their studies. Just two weeks ago, Foxconn itself admitted to employing children under the age of 14 to work on the lines; these line jobs are shifts that last well over 8 hours without breaks. Riots of thousands of employees, like that of the one in Taiyuan, are not unusual. Many of the campus's, while boasting of supermarkets, game rooms, and other amenities, still maintain the suicide nets following a slew of deaths in 2010. There are no benefits, retirement plans, or employee insurance. Some of the arguments against boycott or reform I've heard include:

"Those conditions are still better than anything else there. What do you expect? It's rural China." Just because conditions seem commonplace does not mean we should accept them. Nothing in this world changes unless people sit up, take notice, and do something about it. I'm sure this sounds naive or unrealistic to some. But take note of some of the major social and moral achievements accomplished throughout history, and you will see that they too began as one person's crazy hope. The major challenge here happens to be awareness: a lot of people don't know how bad it is over there. If consumers knew more, that would be a start.

"Well, even if we know how bad it is, what can we as individuals possibly do about it?" For a start, get informed about the purchases you make. This goes well beyond phones, but we'll stay on that topic for the sake of this post. It doesn't take a lot of time to google a few facts or learn about the companies that you purchase your phone from. If you find their business practices unethical, do not purchase from them again. Let your friends and family know. If you don't want to buy a brand new phone, go ahead and purchase a used item. The footprint has already been made--but at least you are not creating additional profit for the company.

"If you boycott these companies, then the workers will have nowhere else to go! What else will they do? And besides, what Americans would want manufacturing jobs anyways?" If consumers adapt, the companies will follow. If Foxconn continues to receive media scrutiny and continued criticism from consumers, they will have no choice but to comply with the demands. As for the US, there's still a place for manufacturing, albeit a smaller niche. The argument being made here is not to move manufacturing back to the US per se, but to encourage fair and ethical business practices worldwide. Some of the few companies that do not use Foxconn are listed in the news link. For me, I'm hoping to switch over to an +HTC phone (maybe the Droid DNA/Incredible X) this month or next. They're made in Taiwan under fairer conditions.

"You're not going to change anything. You're just one person. What impact could you possibly have?" Well, my friends, the beauty of capitalism (and for those of you who know me personally, I am an ardent capitalist) is that you don't have to support any company that does not align with your needs OR your values. Foxconn and its partners (Apple, Motorola, Samsung, etc.) will no longer receive my support or my money. Making a stand on a smartphone may seem like a humble start, but from here on out I am going to try my best to make purchases that support better business practices.

#smartphone #iphone #iphone5 #apple #samsung #htc #boycott #dell #businesspractice #ethicalbuys #powertotheconsumers  

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Love this...I wish this happened to me!

#skyfall #jamesbond #cokezero

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Reason #473280 why Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever: his love of montages.

#skyfall #jamesbond #SNL #danielcraig #bondjamesbond  
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