Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mother who was jailed for letting her 9-year-old daughter play, unsupervised, at a crowded park, is now out of a job. Harrell’s lawyer, Robert Phillips, told Think Progress that his client was fired from her position at McDonald’s, even though she was released on bond the day after she was arrested. A spokesperson for the fast-food chain declined to explain exactly why Harrell was let go.
In a situation already packed with absurd overreactions to Harrell’s perfectly reasonable — if not ideal — decision, this development seems particularly unfair, since she only left her kid alone (with a cell phone) because there was no one to care for her while she went to work. Meanwhile, Harrell and her daughter have been reunited, but the Department of Social Services is still required to investigate the case. An online fund-raiser started by some nice strangers has already raised over $26,000 for Harrell.
ugh lawyer dude who shares an office with my company just came in to complain about people who wanted help with medicaid planning because that means they’re poor and there’s no money in them and they’re probably trying to do something shady to make the government have to take care of them. i replied how we often had to help with medicaid planning when people got settlement payments for police brutality cases or hospital malpractice cases or other situations where they were being compensated for someone having done them significant wrong, and we had to help spend down the settlement in approved exempted ways so it wouldn’t disqualify them for ongoing medicaid. (things like pre-paying rent, saving for education, or in one memorable case, buying a huge freezer and a whole lot of meat for future food supply.) he replied that in those cases, the people should just get smaller settlements. “then everyone wins!”
Many advocates for gay and transgender students were surprised and angered when they learned that U.S. Education Department had granted George Fox University an exemption from parts of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The exemption will permit George Fox to deny a transgender student the right to live in male student housing. George Fox said, and the Education Department accepted, that its Quaker religious beliefs would be violated by being forced to let the transgender student live in a way that affirms his gender identity.
This is not the first time George Fox has sought and received exemptions from Title IX. And the previous exemption (no longer in place) suggests that policies that the university once said were based on Scripture and could not be changed could in fact be changed.
In 1985, the Education Department said that because of its religious views, George Fox could — in what would otherwise have been a violation of Title IX — decline to enroll or hire divorced individuals or the parents of out-of-wedlock children. Details are not available on Education Department deliberations in the case, but it apparently took years for the department to make a decision; George Fox requested the exemption in 1976.
Late on Monday, the Broad Institute, a biomedical research center, announced a $650 million donation for psychiatric research from the Stanley Family Foundation — one of the largest private gifts ever for scientific research.
It comes at a time when basic research into mental illness is sputtering, and many drug makers have all but abandoned the search for new treatments. Despite decades of costly research, experts have learned virtually nothing about the causes of psychiatric disorders and have developed no truly novel drug treatments in more than a quarter century.
Broad Institute officials hope that Mr. Stanley’s donation will change that, and they timed their announcement to coincide with the publication of the largest analysis to date on the genetics of schizophrenia. The analysis, reported by the journal Nature on Monday, identified more than 100 regions of DNA associated with the disease. Many of them contain genes involved in just a few biological functions, like pumping calcium into neurons, that could help guide the search for treatments.
The U.S. Department of Education said Friday that it will automatically reprocess the federal financial aid applications of tens of thousands of students whose aid eligibility was likely reduced because of a decimal place error. The problem came to light this month after some students and families filling out the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, incorrectly entered both dollars and cents into a box that was supposed to accept only whole-dollar values. As a result, the agency said, the government’s computer system interpreted a student reporting an income of $5,000.19 as having an income of $500,019, which would likely reduce that student’s eligibility for need-based grants and loans.
Australian newspapers are reporting that the Malaysian Airlines flight that was shot down Thursday had many passengers who were AIDS researchers or public health workers headed to the 20th International AIDS Conference, which convenes Sunday in Melbourne, Australia. The International AIDS Society, the sponsor of the meeting, did not confirm how many people headed to the conference were on the flight.
“[F]or most, systemic delay has made their execution so unlikely that the death sentence carefully and deliberately imposed by the jury has been quietly transformed into one no rational jury or legislature could ever impose: life in prison, with the remote possibility of death,” wrote Federal Judge Cormac J. Carney of death row inmates in California. “As for the random few for whom execution does become a reality, they will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.”—California judge strikes down death penalty | MSNBC
The largest-ever study of same-sex parents found their children turn out healthier and happier than the general population. A new study of 315 same-sex parents and 500 children in Australia found that, after correcting for socioeconomic factors, their children fared well on several measures, including asthma, dental care, behavioral issues, learning, sleep, and speech. Perceived stigmas were associated with worse scores for physical activity, mental health, family cohesion, and emotional outcomes. The stigmas, however, were not prevalent enough to negatively tilt the children’s outcomes in a comparison to outcomes across the general population.
Robert Seigel is more interested in fixing what he calls the “disconnect” between science and society than diagnosing it. His first big push has been creating a website called Publiscize. It’s a platform that helps scientists break down and promote their published research for a lay audience – either readers on their own or college and university communications department staffers who might not otherwise be aware of the work taking place on their campuses. “I didn’t feel quite satisfied as a scientist with how disconnected I was with the rest of the world,” said Seigel. “So I started working on this about seven or eight months ago, formulating my thoughts and getting everything together. We recently launched and we’re really starting to move this along.” Publiscize has an intuitive interface that allows users to create accounts either as scientists, organizations, or “enthusiasts” with access to daily email alerts about new content. Seigel verifies the identities of scientists based on their published research before approving them to post content. To post a “scinopsis,” or scientific synopsis of their peer-reviewed research (accepted or published only – Seigel says he’s not interested in the journal business), scientists fill out a form designed to make work accessible. They start with a title and 300-character summary or “lede” before moving on to a short synopsis. Several principles guide scientists through the process: write in terms that anyone in your family can understand, think carefully about first- versus third-person narration (one brings the reader in; the other smacks of objectivity), and put the bottom line up front. An accompanying graphic from a 2011 Physics Today article by Richard Somerville and Susan Hassol about communicating climate change acknowledges that this process is different from the way academics usually write. Instead of declaring their main point in the opening paragraphs, they say, academics tend to write in a more linear manner, starting with background.
i am supposed to be researching mapping software alternatives to ArcGIS which costs all of the money, and i just spent a while banging my head against the wall to figure out how to make a map in cartoDB and i finally got it to work - so my reward is that i get to try to figure out how to replicate that same map using R.
someone please come by and hit me in the head with something heavy, is my point.
so jose antonio vargas has been detained at a border checkpoint after he went to a vigil in mcallen, texas. and i am having feelings about it. a lot of the twitter talk has focused on his contribution to the country and his pulitzer prize and how he has made this country better. and that may all be true, but focusing on that as the reason he should not be detained and his status shouldn’t be a problem makes me uncomfortable. he went there to speak on behalf of kids who have been sent to the US to avoid gangs and drugs and violence and death in their home countries, who are too young and too scared and too alone to have made any major contributions to the country. i’m wary that the rhetoric around vargas’ rights may come as the expense of arguments that would support these children. let’s not pit these people against each other.
Police Department Sgt. David Spraggs said officers were initially dispatched at about 7:45 p.m. after receiving reports that somebody was there eating their own eyeball. When officers arrived, they saw that what the reporting party thought was an eyeball was actually an eye-shaped glass pipe.
Those looking for a break from the normal morning commute can take the wet way to work Tuesday for the seventh installment of Tube to Work Day.Starting at 8 a.m. at Eben G. Fine Park, at Third Street and Canyon Boulevard, participants will hop into their tubes and make their way down Boulder Creek in their wetsuits and business suits. What began as two men tubing to work in 2008 last year saw almost 30 participants, according to founder Jeff Kagan.
Since the 1990s, a number of commentators have expressed concern about the accuracy of Chinese statistics. The challenges of producing accurate statistics are substantial in an economy growing as fast as China’s, in which the structures of production and expenditure are changing rapidly (see Holz 2008). Furthermore, even prominent Chinese political leaders have expressed concern that certain key statistics might sometimes be manipulated for political advantage. For example, in remarks to the U.S. ambassador in 2007, Vice Premier Li Keqiang stated, “GDP figures are ‘man-made’ and therefore unreliable,” according to a Wikileaks release of a U.S. diplomatic cable (see Wikileaks 2007).
China’s GDP data move closely in sync with other high-profile official indicators, such as industrial production and retail sales. However, these indicators might themselves be distorted. In addition, to the extent these indicators are incorporated directly into GDP as inputs, they might not vary independently.
I am watching the world cup final with a Venezuelan friend who hates Argentina and who explodes in Spanish cursing every 30 seconds or so. If you are not watching the world cup this way, you are missing out.
A former University of Oregon athlete may have a third shot at a college basketball career, starting fresh at a community college after being accused of sexual assault at two other institutions. Brandon Austin was one of three Oregon basketball players who were suspended for up to 10 years last month after allegedly sexually assaulting a female classmate. He had been previously suspended from the Providence College basketball team for an alleged sexual assault there. Austin denies the charges and local law enforcement said it didn’t have enough to charge him or any of the other men in either assault. Lawyers defending the three Oregon players accused the university of mishandling the case. In an open letter published in June, the victim criticized Oregon’s athletic department for bringing Austin to the campus given his alleged history at Providence. “I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students,” she wrote. “I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene.” Now, Austin may head to Kansas to play basketball for Hutchinson Community College, which has a reputation for sending athletes to Division I teams. Austin has visited the college apparently as part of a recruitment effort, but Steve Carpenter, Hutchinson’s sports information director, said there’s no decision yet on whether Austin will be a student there, or a member of its basketball team.
What have you been reading lately that's super, super fantastic?
ooh, great question. some stuff i’ve read lately that i really enjoyed and stayed with me:
an untamed state, roxane gay. no joke, this book is HARD. kidnapping and torture, and unflinching. but also so poetic, so beautiful, so kind and caring to the heroine. not for everyone, but i found the descriptions of post-trauma survival really touched me.
the noble hustle - colson whitehead. yes, i sometimes read non-fiction. but really because i love whitehead’s voice from his fiction. this story of his venture into the world of professional poker was as engrossing as it was dry and depressing. a quick but enjoyable read.
i’ve been reading a whole lot what with my new bus commute, but unfortunately have been focusing too much on popular fiction and quick trashy reads rather than anything good or of substance. any recommendations, y’all?
“Ava (a pseudonym) is a Latina, non-tenure-track professor at a small liberal arts college on the West Coast; she has an invisible psychiatric disability. She reports that colleagues often “complain about ‘special snowflake’ accommodations for students with mental health issues.” Ava finds these complaints troubling and sometimes feels an urge to disclose her own disability to help explain “why these accommodations have nothing to with the student being a snowflake and everything to do with them leading as normal a student life as possible.””—
I wish so many of the teachers I’ve had, at so many levels of education, would read and think about this. Even those aware of language issues about other identities didn’t think much about this. Not just frustrating, it was exclusionary, and contributed to the message that people with these disabilities - especially mental disabilities more ‘scary’ than depression - didn’t belong in those classrooms.
The Denver County clerk’s office on Thursday began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, just hours after a Boulder judge rejected a bid by the state to block a similar move there. The first couple, Samantha Getman, 33, and Victoria Quintana, 23, got their license shortly before 2 p.m. They were far outnumbered by reporters, photographers and activists. Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson’s decision came after a Boulder County judge said he would allow Boulder’s clerk to continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, rejecting a request from Attorney General John Suthers to issue an injunction. Johnson said on her Twitter account: “FINALLY! We can issue marriage licenses to ALL loving couples here in CO. Our Office will be issuing licenses till 4:30 pm today.” Earlier Thursday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told Post journalists during a meeting that he would back any decision Johnson made about issuing licenses to same-sex couples. “As a city, we have stood together against injustice and for the rights of all people,” Hancock said in a statement. “Today, I fully support Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson in her issuing of marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who simply want the freedom to be united with the ones they love. I stand proudly with her as we take another step toward marriage equality for every single resident of this great city.”
So what are you up to lately? What's so boring about work?
i should be clear - lately things are great, beyond great, super awesome. i am working at my new job after having dropped out of the phd program that was making me sad and bad. and at my new job, i get to use the methods and skills i wanted to use (data management and analysis, evaluation design, etc) to work on the content i wanted to focus on (education, both K-12 and higher ed stuff), with people i like and respect who treat me well and who are giving me a very respectable paycheck. this is really beyond what i thought was possible for my life and it seems slightly unbelievable that i was able to pull this off.
however, i am coming in during the middle of multi-year projects and the best way for me to get up to speed is to read multiple 100+ page long technical documents and contracts and statements of work to figure out what the hell is going on, what program are we evaluating, what data did we ask for or is being generated by the program, what did we find out in the first year of the project, both in terms of promising aspects and horrifically awful snarls that are going to keep happening to us, etc. and all of them are written in the very formal, stilted language of grant applications and contracts, so extracting useful information from them is both tedious and headache-inducing.
i am also mildly cranky because i had to clean up some leftover work from phd days and, blergh.
so - minor blips. but overall, dream job, dream life.
i am working from home, which means i am at a coffee shop, and first the people next to me had a gleeful conversation about that leaked britney track without autotune and they all first affirmed that they had NEVER liked her, because of course, but HOW AWFUL and even THEY WERE BETTER and i did not stab any of them nor did i yell at them nor did i insist any of them do a dance routine that would be compelling in an arena.
now at the coffee shop one woman is using all 4 power outlets and isn’t even sitting at her table, she’s walking around talking on her cell, and i told her she was being “very greedy” with the power outlets.
people are the worst, is what i’m saying, including me.
For a long list of investment “biases,” including lack of diversification, excessive trading, and the disposition effect, we find that genetic differences explain up to 45% of the remaining variation across individual investors, after controlling for observable individual characteristics. The evidence is consistent with a view that investment biases are manifestations of innate and evolutionary ancient features of human behavior. We find that work experience with finance reduces genetic predispositions to investment biases. Finally, we find that even genetically identical investors, who grew up in the same family environment, often differ substantially in their investment behaviors due to individual-specific experiences or events.
The classic moral stories have been used extensively to teach children about the consequences of lying and the virtue of honesty. Despite their widespread use, there is no evidence whether these stories actually promote honesty in children. This study compared the effectiveness of four classic moral stories in promoting honesty in 3- to 7-year-olds. Surprisingly, the stories of “Pinocchio” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” failed to reduce lying in children. In contrast, the apocryphal story of “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” significantly increased truth telling. Further results suggest that the reason for the difference in honesty-promoting effectiveness between the “George Washington” story and the other stories was that the former emphasizes the positive consequences of honesty, whereas the latter focus on the negative consequences of dishonesty. When the “George Washington” story was altered to focus on the negative consequences of dishonesty, it too failed to promote honesty in children.
i was just at a baseball game in 90+ degree weather, sitting in the full sun, with all water costing a billion dollars, and now i feel gross and dehydrated and am legitimately trying to figure out how i can drink ice water while in the shower.
“If only I could buy packs of black underwear, I would be the happiest. Instead, your standard Hanes/Fruit of the Loom multipacks are almost guaranteed to have at least one white panty that I WILL NEVER WEAR JFC EW.”—
in my town right now, the county clerk is issuing marriage licenses to all couples, including same-sex couples, and has been doing so since immediately following the 10th circuit decision. this is despite a current state law forbidding same sex marriage. she has issued over 100 licenses to same-sex couples.
she was recently sued by the state attorney general to stop doing this. many people thought that she would issue licenses to same-sex couples until the AG told her to stop. but the AG told her to stop, and she kept going. the AG then filed suit against her, and she is still doing it. in fact:
Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall argues that Colorado’s gay marriage ban is “unconstitutional and unenforceable” in her response to the suit filed by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers seeking to stop her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In a response filed Monday, Hall said Suthers’ office is forcing local officials to enforce a provision that will likely be proven unconstitutional in the wake of rulings on similar cases around the country.
"The state has all but admitted that, in the absence of a final Hail Mary decision from the United States Supreme Court that is contrary to the 23 courts that have thus far examined the constitutionality of state same-sex marriage bans, Colorado’s marriage bans are unconstitutional and unenforceable," David Hughes, deputy Boulder County attorney, wrote in the motion. "This court should find that local officials — in particular Clerk Hall — should not be required to enforce unconstitutional laws while the cases against such laws wind their way through the court system." (cite)
i am too far removed from the law and never practiced this kind of law, so it’s hard to speculate on the legal effect of these licenses and the potential result of the impending lawsuit. i do know, though, that this kind of thing is not new for women in my town:
Around this time, Clela Rorex, a 30-year-old Boulder feminist and a single mother, heard that Democrats were determined to run a man for county clerk. The Republicans were backing a woman, and the Democrats figured they could surely win with a man.
She took office in January 1975. Just a few months later, a gay couple attempted to wed in Colorado Springs. “They were told to go to Boulder, because they do that sort of thing up there,” Rorex said.
At the time, she said it seemed like a simple decision, not based in morality or fairness. The gay men, Dave McCord and Dave Zamora, were 27 and asked for a marriage license.
"I asked the District Attorney (Alex Hunter). He said it wasn`t illegal. So I did it," she said. On March 27, 1975, she issued them a marriage license. Five more same-sex couples would follow. (cite)
i am proud to be from a town that behaves like this. i’m proud to have county clerks who act like this. i am proud that she is insisting on doing what she knows to be right.
a not bad and non-technical review of how to critically read education data research studies and articles. basically, and technically: think about internal and external validity, power, and don’t conflate correlation with causation.
watching the bachelorette is not as calming when it is interrupted every 5 minutes with hail and thunderstorm warnings. “expect damage to roofs, siding, windows and vehicles. go to an interior room on the lowest floor.” stop it, i am watching andi find “love”!