Thursday, October 11, 2012

Polling Pulsification: Telling People What They Want to Hear

I have stayed away from the election horse race to talk about the election's deeper issues.  Polls and surveys can be used as tools of propaganda as well as a valuable means of informing us on how the rest of the public thinks as the clips from Stewart (above) and Colbert (below) show.  The unemployment data which came out last week contradicted what Romney supporters wanted to hear so they came out and aggressively claimed that the report was fraudulent with no supporting evidence.

This final clip discusses a blog which seems to be taking the poll spinning to the extreme.  The blogger Dean Chambers at  claims to have recomputed the estimated percentages of each recent poll according to what he believes are the percentages of the political parties and ideologies in the US population.  He doesn't state his source for these percentages which are probably themselves estimates subject to some imprecision.  Colbert and others in the media have done the public a disservice by giving this blog a national forum without adequately skewering him.  Undoubtedly, if Romney wins, Fox News will hire Chambers as the conservative antidote to Nate Silver.  That is my election prediction.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Article in The New People on Vermont & PodCamp Update

I have an article published on Vermont's Single Payer health care law passed last year in this month's issue of The Thomas Merton Center's newspaper, The New People.  It was adapted from a post on the PUSH blog which you can read here.  The New People article can be seen on page 3 in the viewer below at the bottom plus all of the other articles.

Also coming up On Oct. 27 & 28 will be PodCamp, a social media unconference at Point Park University.  Last week, they had a round table discussion on social media and the news which can be seen below.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

The Psychopathology and Incidence of Bullying

Here is the second guest post from guest post U for CSI Without Dead Bodies.
Bullying is any form of aggressive behavior that seeks to force or coerce others, usually by force. Typically bullying presents itself in the context of an imbalance of power and as a habitual behavior by the aggressor. Bullies, especially young ones, may target the religion, sexuality, ability, or race of the recipient of their bullying aggression. There are many types and formats of bullying, and just as many ways to combat bullying from persisting or arising in the first place.

Types of Bullying
Social scientists have identified three main forms of bullying - emotional bullying, verbal bullying, and physical bullying. Emotional and verbal bullying usually come saddled with attempts at coercion and intimidation. Coercion almost explains intimidation in that coercion is defined as forcing another party to behave in an involuntary way via use of bellicose threats and intimidation. Intimidation is defined as an aggressor party presenting injury or harm to another person for some type of benefit, usually social or financial.

Emotional bullying, also known as psychological abuse, may involve coercion and intimidation as well as subjecting another party to any event or treatment that will result in the other party experiencing psychology trauma, such as anxiety or depression. Emotionally bullying is predictably associated with an exploitation of a power imbalance. For this reason, emotional bullying and psychological abuse is prevalent on the schoolyard, the home, and in the workplace.

One form of emotional bullying is verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is colloquially defined as something that intentionally upsets, annoys, or disturbs another person. There are other forms of emotional bullying like dominant and jealous behaviors but those forms of emotionally bullying are unimportant for this conversation. At any rate, the US Department of Justice recently concluded that emotionally abusive characteristics are those which cause fear by intimidation or threaten the physical harm of one's family members, classmates, or fellow employers. Another interesting finding coming out of Health Canada found that emotional abuse is motivated by power and facilitated within social arenas in which power was imbalanced and exploited by the aggressor.

Conventional Yet Harmful
Perhaps the most well-known form of bullying is physical bullying. Physical bullying is defined as an aggressor party deliberately seeking to instill bodily harm or injury onto another party. Popular forms of physical abuse or physical bullying are: striking, kicking, kneeing, drowning, cutting, slapping, and burning. Partly because physical bullying is so openly and inclusively defined, physical bullying is also prevalent in the home, schools, and workplaces all around the United States. Physical abuse is even popular on college campuses in the form of sorority hazing. In the home, physical abuse presents itself as child abuse, sometimes negligence, or domestic violence.

Standup and Fight! 
There has been an increasingly large swell of celebrities and activities seeking to combat bullying. Considering some of the dire outcomes of bullying, like suicide, bullying in the classroom is no laughing matter. Canada actually conceived the National Bullying Prevention Week in 2000. In the United States, the It Gets Better campaign was created in 2010 to tell young, gay teens that bullying doesn't usually persist into later life and that they are apt to feel better in the future. Lady Gaga, in fact, started the Born This Way campaign soon after the unveiling of the It Gets Better campaign, which both directly combat homosexual bullying and indirectly fight teen suicides.

Needs to Stop
After understanding more about the three main types of bullying and the severity of its outcomes, bullying is clearly a problem endemic to many social institutions and peoples that needs to sputter to a stop soon.

Becki Alvarez writes about parenting, education & family finance at
Guest Post U
The University of Great Content