Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • New research: Bullying hurts kids’ brains

    84180856A new study reports that kids victimized by bullies develop abnormal brains that may make them more susceptible to depression and other psychological problems.  Harvard University researcher Martin Teicher, who oversaw the blockbuster study, has long been researching the ways that young people are harmed when they experience or witness physical abuse in family settings.

    "The reason I think that verbal abuse is so powerful is that individuals exposed to it repeat it to themselves," Teicher tells The Upshot. "When you're told things about yourself--when you're told that you're fat or that you're ugly or that you're a spaz--you wind up in a situation where that voice gets incorporated in your thinking. You wind up in a repetitive pattern of humiliation.

    "We're wounded in a way that's enduring by our exposure. It's really important to be mindful--and very important, I think, for teachers in school to not allow it."

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  • PARTING SHOTS: 4,500 stranded on cruise ship

    Here's today's list of stories that managed to evade full-on blog treatment:

    • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on President Obama's criticism of expanded settler developments on the West Bank today: "Jerusalem is not a settlement." (NYT)

    • Seventeen people were arrested for defrauding $42 million from Holocaust survivors. (New York Post)

    • The Obama administration threatens to take back hundreds of millions in stimulus funds if Wisconsin doesn't continue with its high-speed-rail plan. (NYT)

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  • NYC schools chief to join News Corp.; magazine exec to lead schools

    AP090708030474New York City's reform-minded schools chancellor has announced he will step down and be replaced by magazine executive Cathie Black, who has no experience in the education sector.

    Black, chairwoman of Hearst Magazines, will now head up the nation's largest school district. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference Tuesday that her experience managing people and succeeding as an executive will be an asset to the schools. She inherits a sometimes uncomfortable relationship with the teachers union, which objects to the expansion of charter schools in the city.

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  • Smugglers stow migrants on deserted island

    AP060411017738Human traffickers are hiding migrants on a deserted island off San Diego, a local news station reports.

    Channel 10 News traveled there with humanitarian group Desert Angels, which leaves food and water on "Smuggle Island" in the northern part of Mexico's Coronado Islands to provide sustenance for immigrants entering the United States illegally.

    The group's members told the station that when smugglers are worried about getting caught by the Coast Guard or when weather is bad, they leave immigrants on the island for days. Smugglers then transport the immigrants into U.S. territory via small "panga" boats that cross into San Diego in the middle of the night.

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  • Michigan official is fired for Web war on gay student

    shirvellMichigan Assistant Attorney Andrew Shirvell has been fired after launching a one-man Internet campaign against Michigan University's student body president, who is gay.

    Shirvell's lawyer Philip Thomas tells the Detroit Free Press the move is "political," since Shirvell received excellent performance reviews at work. "There's been a tremendous piling on against Andrew. The liberal media started this tempest in a teapot," he said.

    Shirvell wrote a blog devoted to ridiculing University of Michigan student Chris Armstrong as a "pervert" and "Nazi." He even protested outside of the 21-year-old's home. He defended his actions to CNN's Anderson Cooper as free speech and argued that Armstrong was a public figure because he is a student leader.

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  • Court blocks Oklahoma’s Sharia ban

    AP101101013890A judge in Oklahoma has temporarily blocked a voter-approved ban on the application of Islamic and international law in the state's courts.

    The head of a Muslim rights group sued the state, saying the measure stigmatizes Muslims and violates the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of religion. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange will decide whether to grant a longer injunction on Nov. 22.

    "Today's ruling is a reminder of the strength of our nation's legal system and the protections it grants to religious minorities," Muneer Awad, director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a press release. "We are humbled by this opportunity to show our fellow Oklahomans that Muslims are their neighbors and that we are committed to upholding the U.S. Constitution and promoting the benefits of a pluralistic society."

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  • Scientists re-create Big Bang in lab

    experimentScientists say they have created a mini Big Bang using the world's largest atom smasher, resulting in a temperature "a millions times hotter" than the sun's center, the BBC reports.

    In an underground tunnel near Geneva, the European Organization for Nuclear Research smashed together particles inside the $10 billion accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider, in an effort to learn more about the plasma that formed the universe a split- second after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. Scientists say a tiny ball of matter exploded and then quickly formed a melted "soup" of matter, which then re-ordered itself into what is now the universe.

    The experiment, using lead ions instead of protons, produced the highest densities and temperatures ever created by scientists, and a kind of matter formerly unseen on Earth, The Telegraph reports.

    [Photo: Astronomers discover oldest galaxy]

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  • Some Afghan women resort to self-immolation


    Some Afghan women are resorting to fiery suicides to escape what are often powerless and bleak lives, the New York Times reports in a dispatch from the region.

    One hospital in central Afghanistan saw a spike in the number of women brought to the center with body-enveloping burns in October, according to the Times. The nation's Ministry of Women's Affairs documented 103 cases of women who set themselves on fire between March 2009 and March 2010--and the reported number is probably a fraction of the total cases, according to a July Time story on the problem.

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  • Is repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ dead?

    AP101101022693The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler declared the Democrats' long-promised repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service "all but lost" on Monday. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is in talks with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to strip the repeal from the must-pass defense reauthorization bill, Meckler reports.

    Human Rights Campaign spokesman Michael Cole tells The Upshot that his organization still thinks repeal is possible. Democratic senators will be making a mistake if they don't push for repeal, he says, since most Americans think gay people should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

    "Removing 'don't ask, don't tell' is in fact not as controversial as some may claim," Cole said. "We firmly believe that there are enough votes to preserve the repeal language that's in the bill -- except a small group of senators has been afraid to even bring the bill up to a debate because they don't want to have a conversation about repeal.

    "It would be a mistake to bow to the whims of a small group of senators."

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  • Michigan, colleges ban Four Loko

    AP100913149207The state of Michigan has officially banned Four Loko, the highly caffeinated alcoholic beverage that's gotten a whole lot of bad press this fall. In a series of incidents, numerous college kids ended up hospitalized around the country after apparently ingesting copious amounts of the multi-stimulating beverage.

    The Michigan ban states that all alcoholic energy drinks "pose serious health and safety risks to American youth" and must be taken off the shelves within 30 days.

    But is Four Loko really that bad?

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