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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Crazy mixed up news

Schilling won’t run; Foxboro won’t gamble; Republicans won’t help and I feel fine. Also: Brain studies, why we go on the internet, It’s NOT a Wonderful Life and thanks for the fish
By Will Collette

Curt Schilling – Not running. Former Red Sox pitcher and ultra-conservative Republican Curt Schilling made it official: he is not running for the open seat in Massachusetts District Four being vacated by retiring Rep. Barney Frank. He told the Boston Herald that he didn’t have the time, what with running his video game company 38 Studios and his family. 

I didn’t think he would run. Even if he gave every voter in District 4 an autographed bloody sock, he would still have a hard time explaining why he took RI’s $75 million economic development bribe to move his company out of Massachusetts.

Foxboro surprise. A lot of Rhode Islanders were surprised, and some were nervous, about a partnership between New England Patriots owner Robert Craft and a national casino developer to partner up to build a casino near Gillette Stadium. A casino in such a nearby and easily accessible spot would decimate state revenues from the Twin River slot parlor. Who would want to go to such a cheesy place, when you could go up I-95 to such a glitzy new, full-scale casino? 

This bucolic enough for ya?
It seemed to me that Foxboro gave up a long time ago on trying to control development, but in a surprise vote on December 8, the Foxboro Planning Board voted down two key zoning changes crucial to the casino’s development. While this decision does not kill the project outright, it is a huge setback to the development.

Patriot’s owner Bob Kraft and casino mogul Steve Wynn had issued a statement just days before the Planning Board vote promising to drop the proposal if the town objected, and promised that if allowed to go forward, the casino would be in keeping with Foxborough’s “bucolic” (???) setting. And then there’s the jobs.

Congressional Republicans want to cut unemployment benefits AND make the unemployed pee in a cup. House Republicans intend to chop back federal extended unemployment benefits by 40 weeks, according  to The Hill. They intend to include it in an end-of-year tax package. This plan is separate from the current Congressional deadlock that threatens to end federal benefits altogether, in addition to terminating the 2% payroll tax deduction that has saved the average American worker $1000.

Presuming federal unemployment benefits survive long enough for Republicans to cut them, Rep.Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) wants applicants for federally subsidized jobless benefits to fill out a drug screening questionnaire to determine whether they should have to take a drug test. Those identified as having a high probability of drug use would be required to pass a drug test. 

Rhode Island one of the Healthiest States. In a study led by the American Public Health Association, for the second year in a row, Rhode Island has been ranked #10 among the states for health. Which is good news. The bad news is that Rhode Island is ranked lowest among the six New England states. Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts came in 1-2-3-4, respectively. 

Rhode Island’s high marks come in high immunization rates, low number of uninsured and ready access to primary care physicians.

Rhode Island’s low marks come high rates of binge drinking, poverty and preventable hospital admissions.

Smoking has declined to 15.7% among adults, but rates for obesity and diabetes have climbed.

Exploring the brain. We’ve been getting a lot of e-mail from Jim Mageau lately. That led me to be more interested in recent reports from researchers who have come up with some remarkable new insights into how the brain works.

For example, researchers at Brown University report that our brains automatically assign different “right-or-wrong” values to active wrong-doing compared to passively allowing something wrong to happen. It had been previously thought that we consciously make the distinction between actively doing wrong and passively allow wrong to happen.

Psychos ARE Different. And University of Wisconsin researcher released the results of studies conducted on prisoners in a medium security Wisconsin prison to determine the differences between brains of prisoners who were diagnosed as psychopaths and those who were not. The study showed that diagnosed psychopaths had fewer connections between the section of the brain responsible for empathy and guilt with the part that mediates fear and anxiety. "The combination of structural and functional abnormalities provides compelling evidence that the dysfunction observed in this crucial social-emotional circuitry is a stable characteristic of our psychopathic offenders," said UW-Madison psychology Professor Joseph Newman

Not sure if this is related. And here’s another study, this one a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project that says that on any given day, the majority (53%) of young people go on the internet for no particular reason. That’s compared to only 12% of people over 65. The percentage jumps to 27% among those 50-64.  

If you wonder why people commit suicide during xmas time, click here.  

But if you want to really get into the holiday spirit, click here