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Meanwhile, at UC-Irvine....

Pillow fight

Pillow fight! Students smash record

Students at the Irvine campus at the University of California break world record for largest pillow fight

New students at the Irvine campus at the University of California break a Guinness World Record for largest pillow fight. Some 4,200 students took part in the pillow feat, beating the old record by more than 500 people. The pillow fight has become an annual ritual for incoming UCI students.
The Lessons of the Dallas Ebola Case

The Lessons of the Dallas Ebola Case

By Benjamin Wallace-Wells

The Texas Ebola patient, a Liberian national named Thomas Eric Duncan, was admitted to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Sunday night, where he has since been kept in isolation. At a press conference this afternoon, hospital and public health officials explained that Duncan had first sought care in the hospital's emergency room a few days earlier, late on Thursday night, though his symptoms had not been very specific then. During that first visit, an emergency nurse asked him whether he had traveled anywhere recently, a question meant to screen for Ebola exposure, and Duncan replied that he had just come from Liberia. "Regretfully that information was not fully communicated" to the rest of the medical team, the hospital chief executive said today, and Duncan was sent home, with a diagnosis of a "low-grade fever from a viral infection." By the end of the weekend, he was back.

You have to feel for that nurse, and that medical team. Dallas officials are now monitoring five children for Ebola exposure who "possibly had contact with [Duncan] over the weekend." If the nurse had successfully communicated the news about Duncan's recent trip from Liberia to the rest of the medical team, he surely would have been in the hospital through the weekend, not at home near those children or anyone else.

But these details also explain exactly how much pressure medical and public health systems can come under when they are up against a lethal communicative disease like Ebola, and how such mundane errors — a nurse failing to explain a detail clearly to a doctor when both are rushed, or the doctor's failure to understand — can allow the contagion to spread.

Liberian Officials Identify Ebola Victim in Texas as Thomas Eric Duncan

U.S. Patient Aided Pregnant Liberian, Then Took Ill

Liberian Officials Identify Ebola Victim in Texas as Thomas Eric Duncan

A man who flew to Dallas and was later found to have the Ebola virus was identified by senior Liberian government officials on Wednesday as Thomas Eric Duncan, a resident of Monrovia in his mid-40s.

Mr. Duncan, the first person to develop symptoms outside Africa during the current epidemic, had direct contact with a woman stricken by Ebola on Sept. 15, just four days before he left Liberia for the United States, the woman’s parents and Mr. Duncan’s neighbors said.

In a pattern often seen here in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, the family of the woman, Marthalene Williams, 19, took her by taxi to a hospital with Mr. Duncan’s help on Sept. 15 after failing to get an ambulance, said her parents, Emmanuel and Amie Williams. She was convulsing and seven months pregnant, they said.

In a pattern often seen here in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, the family of the woman, Marthalene Williams, 19, took her by taxi to a hospital with Mr. Duncan’s help on Sept. 15 after failing to get an ambulance, said her parents, Emmanuel and Amie Williams. She was convulsing and seven months pregnant, they said.

Turned away from a hospital for lack of space in its Ebola treatment ward, the family said it took Ms. Williams back home in the evening, and that she died hours later, around 3 a.m.

Mr. Duncan, who was a family friend and also a tenant in a house owned by the Williams family, rode in the taxi in the front passenger seat while Ms. Williams, her father and her brother, Sonny Boy, shared the back seat, her parents said. Mr. Duncan then helped carry Ms. Williams, who was no longer able to walk, back to the family home that evening, neighbors said.


The body of Sonny Boy Williams, 21, hours after he was picked up alive from his home in Monrovia, Liberia. 

Sonny Boy, 21, also started getting sick about a week ago, his family said, around the same time that Mr. Duncan first started showing symptoms.

In a sign of how furiously the disease can spread, an ambulance had come to their house on Wednesday to pick up Sonny Boy. Another ambulance picked up a woman and her daughter from the same area, and a team of body collectors came to retrieve the body of yet another woman — all four appeared to have been infected in a chain reaction started by Marthalene Williams.

Secret Service Director and former Boy Scout, Julia Pierson, resigns.

Secret Service Director Resigns Over Terrible Protection of the President

By Joe Coscarelli

Julia Pierson is out as the director of the Secret Service following story after story in recent days about the agency's shocking incompetency, including the one about a man running wild through the White House with a knife. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced her predictable exit in a statement: Today, Pierson "offered her resignation, and I accepted it," he said. "I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation."

Pierson is a native of Orlando, Florida. While she attended high school, she worked at Walt Disney World as a parking lot attendant, watercraft attendant, and in costume in Disney parades. She was an Explorer in the Boy Scouts of America, in a post specializing in law enforcement chartered to the Orlando Police Department. She was the 1978 National Law Enforcement Exploring Youth Representative, leading the Law Enforcement Exploring division, and was selected as the National Law Enforcement Exploring chair. She attended the University of Central Florida, graduating in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. - Wikipedia

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Calif.) said Pierson's "resignation is a matter of national security and I am pleased she is stepping down." He called for an independent investigation of the Secret Service.

Ebola Spreads in Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the children are being monitored at home.

Texas Ebola patient made contact with school-aged children after hospital sent him home

BY Meg Wagner


Gov. Rick Perry said all the kids have been identified and are being monitored at home. It’s unclear if the children were the Dallas patient’s own. The patient went to the hospital on Friday, but he wasn’t put into isolation until two days later because doctors didn’t ask about his travel history, sources said.

Health officials said five kids were in contact with the patient over the weekend — after he was discharged from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Friday because doctors failed to ask about his travel history, sources told CNN. The kids went to school earlier this week before the man diagnosed and isolated Tuesday, marking the first Ebola case diagnosed on U.S. soil.

Their relationship to the man is not clear.

Earlier Wednesday, Texas health officials announced they are monitoring a possible second Ebola patient. The second patient was in close contact with the first, Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, told WFAA.

Thompson did not say if the second patient showed any symptoms of Ebola.

"This is real. There should be a concern, but it's contained to the specific family members and close friends at this moment," he said.

The American Family Is Making a Comeback

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The American Family Is Making a Comeback

Michael Wear

Marriage is on the decline, birthrates are down, and divorce rates are high. But politicians in both parties are finally putting forth proposals to help—and strengthen society.

It is true that marriage is on the decline, birthrates are down, and divorce rates are high. Some are even suggesting we need to move “beyond marriage.” But people’s aspirations, rather than just their status, suggest family is still important in American life. This was affirmed in a New York Times feature on “the changing American family” last year which observed that “the old-fashioned family plan of stably married parents residing with their children remains a source of considerable power in America—but one that is increasingly seen as out of reach to all but the educated elite.” While this perception may result in part from a set of assumptions that need revision—for instance, the view of marriage as a “capstone,” rather than a “cornerstone”—the decline of marriage is not simply a matter of culture. The strains on families and family formation are real, rational, and profound.

A commitment to building a stable family is not the deal it used to be in America. The average American family is poorer than it was 10 years ago. As Stephanie Coontz has pointed out, over the last 40 years changes in the workforce and growing socioeconomic inequality have conspired to stoke familial instability. Our policies have failed to address this new landscape, and because of it we are inhibiting one of our nation’s greatest contributors to the public good, and Americans’ most personal aspirations: family.

Man diagnosed with Ebola in US was sent home for two days, officials admit

Dr. Edward Goodman, left, epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, at a news conference.

Man diagnosed with Ebola in US was sent home for two days, officials admit

Dallas hospital says patient’s symptoms were not definitive when he was first seen, as officials urge people not to panic.

Lauren Gambino in New York, Tom Dart in Houston and Karen McVeigh in London

The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola outside Africa during the latest outbreak was sent home with a course of antibiotics for two days after seeking medical care at a Dallas hospital last week, a hospital official said.

The patient, believed to be male, was admitted to an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital on Sunday, after coming to the same hospital two days before.

Edward Goodman, the infectious disease specialist at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital, told National Public Radio that the patient’s symptoms were not definitive when he was first seen. Goodman said: “He was evaluated for his illness, which was very nondescript. He had some laboratory tests, which were not very impressive, and he was dismissed with some antibiotics.”

Medical officials in the US announced on Tuesday that tests confirmed the man, who had travelled from Liberia, had Ebola.

Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the patient was being treated in strict isolation and that all measures would be taken to ensure that the disease would not spread in the US.

The CDC Was Wrong About How to Stop Ebola


The CDC Was Wrong About How to Stop Ebola

News that a man has been diagnosed with the virus in Dallas days after arriving from Liberia is alarming—and to prevent more U.S. cases, certain rules must never be broken.

The announcement that a case of Ebola virus has been diagnosed in a Dallas hospital sent a chill through the medical, public health, and basic citizen communities. I know my jaw surely dropped as far as it has dropped since 2001, when the word of the first anthrax case in New York appeared in my email. As the details have begun to emerge, many people are wondering the same thing: Will this happen in my city?

The answer is quite clear: Maybe.

The facts are straightforward, at least in the version that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out: A man of uncertain age flew from Liberia, where the disease remains uncontrolled, to Dallas to visit family. When checked for illness on departure, he had no fever. Upon landing in Texas on September 20, he was fine. Within four days, though, he began to feel ill—sufficiently so that he sought medical attention on September 26. That evaluation apparently failed to provide clues to the diagnosis, but two days later his symptoms had progressed enough that he again sought medical attention and this time was hospitalized, placed immediately into isolation, and diagnosed on September 30.

The timeline as presented raises countless questions. First: Was he contagious when boarding the plane and are his plane-mates therefore at risk? Surely not—the most compelling epidemiological fact in the entire tragic seven month outbreak has been the story of Patrick Sawyer, the Minnesotan who after traveling from Liberia to Nigeria, developed symptoms of overwhelming Ebola and died soon thereafter. Although few details have been revealed, none of those who traveled with Sawyer developed the disease despite the fact that he, unlike the Dallas case, was ill with the infection while traveling. And it is axiomatic (and hopefully true) that a person is contagious only when they are sick, not when they are brewing the infection.

Second: What about others? Surely others in Texas were exposed and are at risk—specifically those the new case spent time with from September 26, when he first felt ill, until September 28, when he was hospitalized and placed promptly into isolation. Here is where the CDC’s calm and forceful “Nothing to See Here” message cracks a bit around the edges. Dr. Thomas Frieden, who has led the CDC admirably throughout the Obama years, stressed in his press conference Tuesday that Ebola could and would be controlled by hewing to the basic principles of infection control: isolation and contact tracing of anyone suspected of contact. With this approach, people with exposure are placed into quarantine and, if sick, into isolation. This method works for TB, for cholera, for rabid animals—for just about everything.

But what about Ebola? The Dallas case is breaking some of our ironclad assumptions. The CDC has a well-considered algorithm that places those returning from the three endemic West Africa countries—Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia—into a measure of extra vigilance if and only if the person has had exposure to a known case of Ebola. Per the press conference, the Dallas case had no such exposure. He was not a health-care worker treating patients, nor was he from a family battling active disease. Of course, more facts may emerge that contradict today’s story—but today’s facts, if they hold up, mean that yesterday’s assumptions are no longer correct. Liberia may indeed be enough of a hotbed of Ebola that anyone arriving from the area will need to be considered for extra vigilance.

More disturbing, though, is this: Infections follow basic rules. That’s what informs the confidence of public health experts. TB, for example, is spread when I inhale the exhaled breath of a person with active disease. Cholera and typhoid fever are transmitted when I ingest contaminated food or drink. And blood-borne infections like HIV, hepatitis B, and Ebola are spread after contacting infected blood or having sex with an infected person.

But even according to these basic rules, Ebola is slightly different in a way that remains obscure. HIV is not spread easily: The per-sexual exposure with an infected person is on the order of 1 in 100; a needlestick with blood from an infection person sustained by a health-care worker transmits infection in only 300 exposures.  Hepatitis B plays by the same rules, though the rates of transmission are about 10 times more frequent. In other words, the likelihood of catching HIV or hepatitis B from an infected person, even with a blood or sexual exposure, is quite low.

Exposures to Ebola, however, seem to leave no room for error. Although we lack carefully performed studies, Kent Brantly, the physician who developed the disease and was airlifted to Atlanta, seemed to have no gross exposure to the disease, though he worked on an Ebola ward. Ditto for Nancy Writebol the other American flown back in that dramatic first wave. According to reports, they were mighty careful at every step, but just not careful enough.

Do You Have the Grit to Create Lasting Success?

Do You Have the Grit to Create Lasting Success?

By Michelle McQuaid

When it comes to the goals you most want to achieve in your career, do you have the passion and perseverance to create the kind of success you’re longing for? The world's leading grit researcher, Associate Professor Angela Duckworth shares 4 ways you can build your grit at work.

Up to 12 people could be infected with Ebola in Texas

The ambulance which carried the patient suffering from Ebola has been isolated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in an effort to prevent the spread of Ebola following the first diagnosis on U.S. soil

Who else did he infect?

Hunt for people who came into contact with Ebola victim who was loose in Dallas for a WEEK before he sought help.

By Zoe Szathmary and Louise Boyle and Associated Press and Dan Bates for MailOnline

Up to 12 people could be infected with Ebola in Texas including five children, it was revealed today, as health officials scramble to contain the deadly virus following the first diagnosis on U.S. soil. 

Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday that the male Ebola patient's family at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who came in contact with him may be infected.

The man, who flew from Liberia in West Africa to Dallas, Texas on September 20, is said to be critically ill and has been kept in isolation since Sunday.

However he was in the U.S. for almost a week before being sequestered.

The patient showed no symptoms of the disease while traveling but began to develop signs on September 24 and sought medical care two days later - but was dismissed with antibiotics.

Two days later he was placed in the isolation unit at Texas Presbyterian. It raises the frightening prospect that he was mixing freely with others for a full four days while showing symptoms of the virus - the time when Ebola is most contagious.

Caution: Ebola is not contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread
D.C. mystery: Bezos' plan for the Washington Post

A digital screen in the lobby of the Washington Post building. | AP Photo

D.C. mystery: Bezos' plan for the Washington Post


Jeff Bezos rarely visits The Washington Post.

His most recent trip to the nation’s capital, on Sept. 17, was for a press conference about Blue Origin, his spaceflight startup. He doesn’t keep an office at the Post’s headquarters, on 15th Street, and he doesn’t much care for hobnobbing with the D.C. media establishment. Every few months he meets face-to-face with the Post leadership, but these gatherings usually take place 3,000 miles outside the Beltway, in his hometown of Seattle.

Meanwhile, the Post, far from embarking on the radical reinvention that many thought Bezos would bring, remains more old school than cutting edge. Its executive editor, Martin Baron, is the epitome of the 20th-century newspaperman. Its new publisher, former POLITICO CEO Fred Ryan, is a fixture of the old Washington scene. The paper has hired a whopping 100 staffers this year, but few among them are marquee names. It has launched several new blogs, but few have drawn much notice. The homepage could use a redesign.

Former senator Larry Craig owes U.S. Treasury $242,000

Larry Craig, Suzanne Craig

Former senator Larry Craig owes U.S. Treasury $242,000 over airport sex-sting arrest.

A federal judge Tuesday ordered former senator Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R-Idaho) to pay the U.S. Treasury $242,000 for improperly using campaign funds to pay for his legal defense after a 2007 sex-sting arrest in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.

Craig incurred the legal costs after seeking to withdraw his guilty plea to one count of disorderly conduct at the airport during a layover from a return flight to Washington from his home.

Loop Fans may recall our prior analyses of his trip to the bathroom. Best we were able to determine at the time — judging from what sources told us were the usual arrival and departure gates for his flights — Craig may have passed not one, not two, not three but four bathrooms at the airport along the way before choosing the very one that an airport official called “the biggest hotspot” for sexual encounters.

The Science Behind Pick-Up Lines: Do They Work?

The Science Behind Pick-Up Lines: Do They Work?

By Jeremy Nicholson, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Do pick-up lines work? What types of guys use them and why? Which women find them appealing? Learn what science has to say...

Generally, pick-up lines that showed off some aspect of a man's positive attributes and value as a mate were seen as most effective. These types of pick-up lines were especially appealing to women who were self-conscious, shy, or anxious, and looking for a friendly and considerate man. In contrast, women who were more outgoing and energetic preferred humorous and direct lines from men, as they desired leadership characteristics in their mate. Finally, women who were aggressive, impulsive, and risk-takers tended to especially like the bad boy type—and preferred generic compliments and overtly sexual lines.

The Cure For Relationship Boredom

The Cure For Relationship Boredom

By Juliana Breines, Ph.D.

Are you bored in your relationship? Chances are you’re not alone. But don’t be too quick to blame your relationship, or yourself. Positive feelings naturally decline over time due to a process called hedonic adaptation. Here’s what you can do to counteract it.

GOP sets sights on bigger House gains

House Speaker John Boehner is pictured. | AP Photo

GOP sets sights on bigger House gains


House Republicans have been destined for modest gains in the midterms despite a favorable political environment. Now, just five weeks until Election Day, the party is raising its ambitions, jumping into Democratic strongholds long thought to be beyond the GOP’s reach.

The goal: Achieve their biggest House majority since Harry Truman’s presidency.

Over the past several weeks, the National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved millions of dollars of TV advertising time in two House districts — one in upstate New York, the other in northern Maine — that broke sharply for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election but where GOP prospects have been on the rise.

In the coming days, the House GOP campaign arm will launch a polling project to gauge whether to invest in three other blue congressional districts that have only recently come onto the national radar, according to two sources familiar with the deliberations. Two of them comprise the eastern, more liberal half of Iowa. The other is in Obama’s native Hawaii.

Is US being weak - or careful - on Hong Kong protests?

Is US being weak - or careful - on Hong Kong protests?

By Howard LaFranchi

As pro-democracy protests continue in Hong Kong, critics are calling for US sanctions on China. But, as long as the demonstrations remain largely peaceful, some US-China experts counter that the US is right to take a cautious approach, especially publicly.

“The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the basic law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said this week.

Yet with each day that the protesters refuse to back down, the cautious US approach risks looking increasingly thin and weak on democracy, supporters of a more robust US response say. Some are already calling for sanctions along the lines of those slapped on China in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Ryan fears 'armchair' Gen. Obama

Ryan fears 'armchair' Gen. Obama


Paul Ryan is pictured. | Getty

Rep. Paul Ryan says he fears that President Barack Obama will play “armchair general” with the military and potentially interfere in the mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Appearing on CNN on Tuesday evening, the Wisconsin Republican said he supports the president’s plan to combat ISIL, but is concerned that the president won’t listen to the advice of military leaders, particularly if they were to advocate combat forces on the ground.

Asked whether Obama can keep his promise — which he has made repeatedly — that the U.S. will not have boots on the ground in the fight against ISIL, Ryan said: “I don’t think so.”

“No. 1, you should not telegraph to your enemies what you will not do,” he continued. “No. 2, define the mission, give it to the military, and then let them do their jobs and don’t armchair general these guys. That’s my fear with the president. Look, I’m supportive with what the president has done, going into Syria and Iraq, but we need to see this thing through.”

Missiles Destroy Islamic State Arsenal in Iraq

Missiles Destroy Islamic State Arsenal in Iraq

The British have launched their first airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq, while ground fighting continues near the Syrian-Turkish border.

Obama's life is at risk

Obama's life is at risk


As if on cue, each time headlines reveal a new Secret Service scandal, President Obama and his White House defend the agency.

The latest example was Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken’s statement on the Secret Service’s failure, in 2011, to detect gunshots at the White House until four days later. Blinken said that the task of the Secret Service is “incredible,” and Secret Service Director Julia Pierson will correct any deficiencies as she looks into the incident, a story first reported in my book, The First Family Detail.

But an officer of the Secret Service Uniformed Division, the unit that handles security at the White House, did report hearing gunshots. Why would she back down after a supervisor pooh-poohed her report? Why would uniformed officers at the White House let Michaele and Tareq Salahi and Carlos Allen, the little-remembered third gate-crasher, into a state dinner when they knew they were not on the guest list? Why would uniformed officers and agents fail to take out an intruder who raced into the White House with a knife and could have been armed with explosives or weapons of mass destruction?

The answer is that while agents and uniformed officers are for the most part brave and dedicated, Secret Service management perpetuates a culture that punishes those who point out deficiencies and rewards with promotions those who cover up problems and foster the myth that the agency is invincible.

“If you dare voice your opinion and report something bad, you are mocked,” says a current agent who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Secret service officers missed three chances to deter White House intruder

Julia Pierson secret service

Secret service officers missed three chances to deter White House intruder

Dan Roberts in Washington

Damaging new evidence details how officers encountered Omar Gonzalez on separate occasions before latest breach

Secret service officers missed three earlier chances to deter the armed intruder who broke into the White House this month, according to devastating new evidence of security lapses leading up to the incident.

Omar Gonzalez, a former army sniper diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, was first interviewed by the secret service after he was referred by local police worried by an arsenal of 11 heavy weapons and an annotated map pointing to the White House.

On a second encounter, he was discovered walking around outside the White House fence with a hatchet, but was let go by secret service officers after he told them he was going camping.

And on a third occasion, two officers spotted and recognised Gonzalez outside the White House again but failed to report him before he scaled the fence, ran unimpeded across the North Lawn and through three rooms of the residence just minutes after the departure of president Barack Obama and his family.

The fresh evidence given to the House oversight committee for a hearing on Tuesday confirms officers provided misleading public statements after the event, claiming the intruder was unarmed and implying he did not make it past the front door, when in fact he barrelled past an agent who was trying to lock the door and made it more than 80 feet into the building with a three-inch serrated knife.

The First Case of Ebola in America

The First Case of Ebola in America

A man in Texas has been diagnosed with the disease. What does this mean for our healthcare system?

By Olga Khazan

Ebola-like viruses have already breached our borders, and there were no secondary infections. There are airport workers whose job it is to identify passengers who have flu-like symptoms and quarantine them immediately. And the disease is only spread through contact with bodily fluids, so there’s little chance that even the unlucky seat-mate of the Ebola flyer would catch it.

Nevertheless, Ebola is a rare disease, and the fact that it’s both incurable and highly lethal naturally prompts morbid fascination. So let’s say there was a science-fiction scenario in which you, dear reader, were infected with this deadly hemorrhagic fever. The ways in which the American healthcare system have prepared for such a thing offer some interesting insights into infectious-disease protocols and the pharmaceutical industry.

Richard Cohen: What Bill O’Reilly ignored about George Patton

What Bill O’Reilly ignored about George Patton

It’s a fortunate thing that Bill O’Reilly’s latest book, “Killing Patton,” was written by him and not someone else. If not, O’Reilly would have taken the poor person apart, criticizing the book for its chaotic structure, its considerable padding and its repellent admiration of a war-loving martinet who fought the Nazis and really never understood why. George S. Patton stood almost shoulder to shoulder with them in his anti-Semitism — not that O’Reilly seems to have noticed or, for that matter, mentioned it in his book.

It is, of course, permissible to admire Patton for his generalship and astonishing bravery. It is even possible to give him a pass for some of the foolish things he said that were repeatedly getting him into trouble and finally caused Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to effectively sack him. Even Patton’s likening some Nazis to Republican or Democratic apparatchiks, while tasteless and heroically impolitic, had an explicable context: Plenty of people became Nazis for career, rather than ideological, reasons.

Patton’s anti-Semitism is a different matter. As far as I know, he never made his views public, but he was repulsively candid in letters home to his wife, Beatrice, and in diary entries. What’s more, he acted on those views. It was Patton’s job after the defeat of Germany to run the displaced-persons (DP) camps in southern Germany, where he was commanding officer. In the view of some, including an outraged President Harry S. Truman, he treated these Holocaust survivors little better than the Nazis did.

The Alarming New Research on Perfectionism

The Alarming New Research on Perfectionism

By Melissa Dahl

Perfectionism is a trait many of us cop to coyly, maybe even a little proudly. (“I’m a perfectionist” being the classic response you say in a job interview when asked to name your biggest flaw — one that you think isn’t really a flaw — for example.) But real perfectionism can be devastatingly destructive, leading to crippling anxiety or depression, and it may even be an overlooked risk factor for suicide, argues a new paper in Review of General Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association. 

The most agreed-upon definition of perfectionist is simply the need to be perfect, or to at least appear that way. We tend to see the Martha Stewarts and Steve Jobs and Tracy Flicks of the world as high-functioning, high-achieving people, even if they are a little intense, said lead author Gordon Flett, a psychologist at York University who has spent decades researching the potentially ruinous psychological impact of perfectionism. “Other than those people who have suffered greatly because of their perfectionism or the perfectionism of a loved one, the average person has very little understanding or awareness of how destructive perfectionism can be,” Flett said in an email. But for many perfectionists, that “together” image is just an emotionally draining mask and underneath “they feel like imposters,” he said.

And, eventually, that façade may collapse. In one 2007 study, researchers conducted interviews with the friends and family members of people who had recently killed themselves. Without prompting, more than half of the deceased were described as “perfectionists” by their loved ones. Similarly, in a British study of students who committed suicide, 11 out of the 20 students who’d died were described by those who knew them as being afraid of failure. In another study, published last year, more than 70 percent of 33 boys and young men who had killed themselves were said by their parents to have placed “exceedingly high” demands and expectations on themselves — traits associated with perfectionism.

Radiate Self-Acceptance

Radiate Self-Acceptance

By Susan McQuillan, M.S., R.D.N.

Everyone is flawed. When you accept yourself, you are much more comfortable showing your flaws to others and will attract more people who love, respect, and accept you as you are.

When you free yourself from obsession, you will be a different person from who you are now. You will think, look, and feel different. Getting to that truth, that place of self-acceptance, comes from exploring yourself from the inside out. Defining who you are and what you want from life is the first step to knowing yourself and getting what you want—a happier, healthier life.
Obama has skipped more than HALF of his daily intelligence briefings

Obama has skipped more than HALF of his daily intelligence briefings

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 4: U.S. President Barack Obama looks over some papers in a West Wing office after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House on February 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Obama returned from a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota to promote his initiative to reduce gun violence. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama has skipped his in-person daily intelligence briefing on four out of every seven days of his presidency, according to a shocking report released Tuesday.

The Government Accountability Institute, previously best-known for needling members of Congress over insider-trading deals that lax laws have rendered legal, used the official White House calendar to compile a list of the days when Obama wasn't scheduled to receive a briefing.

The resulting numbers showed that he only attended the Presidential Daily Brief 42.1 per cent of the time.

ABC News reported in 2012 that the president often prefers to receive his daily briefing in writing, and reads it on his iPad. 

Obama received daily briefings in person only 3 out of every 7 days; this photo shows his November 14, 2012 brief with then-National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, then-Chief of Staff Jack Lew, and then-Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough

'It's pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,' the aide said. 'He gets them in writing.'

The resulting picture is one of a solitary chief executive consuming his intelligence briefs in a vacuum instead of engaging in two-way conversations with generals and spymasters. The personal disconnect between the Oval Office and the intelligence community has been a sore spot for the military, the CIA and the National Security Agency since early in the Obama presidency. Those tensions came to a head on Sunday, when the president blamed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for failing to foresee the ISIS terror army's rise to power.

Oklahoma beheading: workplace violence or terrorism?

After a beheading in Oklahoma, debate over what to call it

The gruesome beheading in Oklahoma last week was, by any reasonable measure, horrifying. Police in Moore said that after Alton Nolen, an employee at a food processing plant, was fired on Thursday, he went to another part of the facility and attacked another employee with a knife. He killed Colleen Hufford and “severed” her head, according to a statement from Sgt. Jeremy Lewis. Nolen, who turned 30 last month, then attacked another co-worker named Traci Johnson.

Mark Vaughn, the chief operating officer of Vaughan Foods and a reserve deputy with Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office since 2010, confronted Nolen and shot him. Johnson and Nolen were both taken to the hospital in stable condition. Nolen has not been charged yet, though it is expected that he will be charged with murder. His mother and sister have apologized for the murders.

Authorities have not called the Oklahoma beheading terrorism, instead saying that it appears to be a case of workplace violence. Some commentators and politicians have disagreed with this assessment. Television host Joe Scarborough said this was due to “political correctness.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who is considering another presidential campaign in 2016, told Fox News that this appears to be “an act of violence that is associated with terrorism.”

“I think Americans are confused about what this is, and if this is a clear case of an individual going in and doing something that doesn’t meet their definition of workplace violence,” Perry said, according to the Hill. “I think any rational-thinking American is going to look and this and go this is more than just normal workplace violence.”

Putting aside the macabre reality of a world in which “normal workplace violence” and “what should count under the heading of school shootings” are things we can categorize and debate, there is the reality of what police and authorities say. The Moore police said that Nolen had tried to convert several co-workers to Islam. Two federal law enforcement officials told The Washington Post that Nolen was a recent convert to Islam with a “provocative” Facebook page that included a photo of Osama bin Laden.

Clooney - Alamuddin wedding: 'A sensational piece of multimedia street theatre'

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wave for the camera as they leave Venice City Hall, Palazzo Ca' Farsetti, after their wedding on 29 September, 2014.

 Clooney - Alamuddin wedding: 'A sensational piece of multimedia street theatre'

The nuptials of the actor and the lawyer were so lavishly staged and starry you’d be forgiven for wondering what kind of heist was happening in the background.

Human-rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin finally married her movie actor fiancé George Clooney in a five-day festival in Venice, which has been like an affair of state, conducted in what paparazzi brusquely call “goat fuck” conditions.

 The boat carrying George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin is surrounded by media and security boats as they cruise the Grand Canal after leaving the Aman luxury Hotel in Venice on Sunday

Innumerable reporters and photographers in speedboats and chartered water taxis have been drenching canalside gift shops with tidal waves of murky water as they whoosh madly back and forth looking for stories. Meanwhile, thousands of columnists all over the world have all filed “Does-this-mean-I-can’t-marry-George?” articles.

The ceremony itself has been locked down, picture rights having been sold for charity to US Vogue – whose editor, Anna Wintour, has been pictured gingerly stepping aboard a bobbing craft – but snippets have got out. The ceremony was performed by Rome’s former mayor Walter Veltroni, and the bride and groom processed through an arch of imported white roses while the assembled guests beamed and a string quintet played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Later, guests were reportedly offered a choice between sea bass and Chianina steak. The couple have released a lovably goofy snapshot of George biting Amal’s hat.

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin in Venice on Sunday.

What a difference to his first wedding in 1989, in which the younger George Clooney, unencumbered by these almost constitutional responsibilities, just jumped into a Winnebago with his girlfriend Talia Balsam, headed for Vegas and got hitched. The couple parted some years later, on perfectly amicable terms. That cheap’n’cheerful scenario, together with his new wife’s job, call to mind one of George Clooney’s greatest and in my view most underrated performances: as Miles Massey, the divorce lawyer in the Coen brothers’ comedy Intolerable Cruelty, from 2003.

Miles Massey specialises in protecting older rich guys with what he calls the “Massey prenup”, a specially worded clause that will ring-fence their fortunes in case of marital breakdown. He himself is not susceptible to the blandishments of beautiful women – or so he thinks, until he meets serial divorcee Marilyn Rexroth, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, a woman so seductive she gets rich men galloping to Las Vegas to tie the knot without taking any form of legal precaution. At the time, Zeta-Jones’s witty performance was especially savoured because she had just married Michael Douglas.

Well, there is of course no comparison here. Alamuddin is highly successful and respected as a professional in her own right: a brilliant and serious person who was perhaps the only plausible marital prospect for a man who has become almost a byword for handsomeness, a bachelor from another, more glamorous age who could surely not expect or want to remain single forever.

Revisiting the Lehman Brothers Bailout That Never Was

Revisiting the Lehman Brothers Bailout That Never Was


Inside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, time was running out to answer a question that would change Wall Street forever.

At issue that September, six years ago, was whether the Fed could save a major investment bank whose failure might threaten the entire economy.

The firm was Lehman Brothers. And the answer for some inside the Fed was yes, the government could bail out Lehman, according to new accounts by Fed officials who were there at the time.

But as the world now knows, no one rescued Lehman. Instead, the firm was allowed to collapse overnight, a decision that, in cool hindsight, let problems at one bank snowball into a full-blown panic. By the time it was over, nearly every other major bank had to be saved.

Why, given all that happened, was Lehman the only bank that was not too big to fail? For the first time, Fed officials have offered an account that differs significantly from the versions that, for many, have hardened into history.

Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman at the time, Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury Secretary, and Timothy F. Geithner, who was then president of the New York Fed, have all argued that Lehman Brothers was in such a deep hole from its risky real estate investments that Fed did not have the legal authority to rescue it.


Understanding why Lehman was allowed to die goes beyond apportioning responsibility for the financial crisis and the recession that cost millions of ordinary Americans jobs and savings. Today, long after the bailouts, the debate rages over the Fed’s authority to bail out failing firms. Some Fed officials worry that when the next financial crisis comes, the Fed will have less power to shield the financial system from the failure of a single large bank. After the Lehman debacle, Congress curbed the Fed’s ability to rescue a bank in trouble.

Whether to save Lehman came down to a crucial question: Did Lehman have enough solid assets to back a loan from the Fed? Finding the answer fell to two teams of financial experts at the New York Fed. Those teams had provisionally concluded that Lehman might, in fact, be a candidate for rescue, but members of those teams said they never briefed Mr. Geithner, who said he did not know of the results.

5 Lessons Monogamous Families can Learn from Polyamorists

5 Lessons Monogamous Families can Learn from Polyamorists

By Elisabeth A. Sheff, Ph.D.

While polyamory is not for everyone, the folks who are successful at it spend so much time and energy nurturing their relationships that they have developed a variety of techniques to sustain their connections. These techniques can be useful to people in more conventional relationships as well, especially those in blended or divorced families.

US & Russia Re-Arming for a New Cold War

US & Russia Re-Arming for a New Cold War

The U.S. and Russia are sinking billions into nuclear-capable bombers, missiles, and submarines. Another round of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” anyone?

Along with Russia’s persistence in the development of the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile, the replacement of older intercontinental ballistic missiles by the road-mobile RS-26, and the apparent breach of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty by the testing of the Iskander-K truck-mobile cruise missile, these developments have (to put it mildly) weakened the argument that if the U.S. led the way in cutting its nuclear forces, the rest of the world would follow.

A U.S. administration that started out showing sympathy with the Global Zero movement—the one to eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons—has quietly taken decisions that point in a very different direction. Notably, the future of the nuclear-deterrence triad seems more assured than it has for many years.

Between Obama’s election and inauguration, the first significant contract for what is now the Ohio Replacement Program submarine project was signed, and the administration has continued to support it. The controversial issue of whether, when and how the Long-Range Strike Bomber would be nuclear-capable has been put to bed: Every LRS-B will be nuclear-capable and it will be nuclear-certified two years after it enters service.

On the frontlines with drone pilots

On the frontlines with drone pilots

Ed Pilkington in Grand Forks, North Dakota

global hawk drone

The remote Grand Forks air force base is a command centre for Global Hawks surveillance drones, and the futuristic base from which pilots fly over far-flung nations by way of controls, keyboards and monitors.

Lieutenant Matthew, 23, is the face of the new generation of US fighter pilot. He dresses in the familiar single-piece olive green uniform worn by Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and like Cruise’s character, Maverick, he flies missions over war zones with multi-million dollar aircraft.

But Matthew – due to air force security rules, he did not give his last name – has never felt the G-forces of a fighter jet or flown at supersonic speeds. His background is not in flying, but in civil engineering. He sits behind a bank of digital screens rather than in a cockpit. And instead of a control stick, he uses a mouse.

In other words, Matthew is a computer geek.

He is a pilot with the 69th Reconnaissance Group stationed at Grand Forks air force base in North Dakota. His job is to fly Global Hawks, the unmanned surveillance drones that act as the frontline intelligence gatherers – the eyes and – of the US military.

Every day Matthew flies a Global Hawk remotely from his computer console, steering it with his mouse over a militarily significant part of the globe, from where the aircraft’s powerful sensors stream back precision images of enemy targets to air force headquarters. (He was not allowed to identify the countries in which he is currently flying.)

He says that although he is usually thousands of miles away from the location in which he is operating, he takes a keen interest in the geography. “You want to know which areas are dangerous and where there’s a risk of being shot down,” he says.

Lieutenant Matthew Global Hawk drone.

The Global Hawks do not carry weapons. But they are intimately involved in the deadly work of the US military, acting as intelligence gatherers for forces on the ground as well as pinpointing targets for bombers. Does he feel, as he sits at his computer console, that he is part of a military effort – that there is a “fighter” component to his title of “fighter pilot”?

When not on active missions over Afghanistan or Iraq, the Global Hawks are maintained in a hangar in the Grand Forks base. They make a jaw-dropping, if inelegant, spectacle. With their gargantuan 131-feet wingspan, and lumpy bodies, they have none of the brutal sleekness of conventional manned fighter jets, resembling nothing so much as a featherless chicken.

But they do well what they were designed to do: endurance flying at high altitudes. This summer a team at Grand Forks broke the record for distance flying, keeping a Global Hawk in the air without refueling for 34 hours straight. And with their formidable array of sensor equipment – including electro-optical and infrared cameras, synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator radar – the aircraft can detect individual people and trucks moving on the ground from 60,000 feet.

It is an indication of the power of drones to revolutionize the way humans do business, in this case warfare, that the arrival of the Global Hawks has entirely transformed Grand Forks air force base. Until four years ago the base was a centre for conventional piloted aircraft, specifically the KC-135 refueling tankers that are used to keep fighter jets aloft.

But within a year, all manned planes at Grand Forks had been replaced by the Global Hawks. Today, the 1,700 active duty military personnel on the base focus their energies specifically on operating the drones.

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