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Media Spin
I have no insight into the details of the problems that have been widely misreported in the mainstream press.  However, as a programmer I know the problem is not with government.  Programming 101 and especially programming involving Ruby (the programming language used by Health.gov), teaches that programmers should develop websites use Test Driven Development (TDD).  TDD means that for each piece of new code you write, you also write a test.  After you write a new piece of a code and a corresponding test, you then run all of your tests.  Using this approach, you can be certain that your website is always working.

The end result is that you always know your code is working or not because you have hundreds if not thousands of tests that inform you what is working and what is not working every step of the way.  When a test fails, you stop and fix it.  You don't stop doing tests which is what the contractors did.

Instead, each time you write a new piece of code and test, you test everything.  That way you know right away if your new piece of code breaks your website.  

Also, when someone else needs to add to your code, they can look at your tests and more easily understand your code.  If they change something, they can instantly know (by running your tests) if their changes will break the website.  

The code for the Affordable Care Act website is found on Github (a public code repository).  There is little in the way of testing.  The only testing I found was from canned software programs the programmers used to jump start their feeble efforts.

The idea that having a demanding client in some way excuses a contractor for writing bad code is absurd.    In my opinion, the contractors' approach to programming is unprofessional especially in a situation where numerous changes could be expected.

The spin doctors claim the fault lies with inadequate testing from CMS.  That is an equally absurd claim.  CMS runs Medicare.  They are not programmers.  They were not contracted to do the testing.  The responsibility lies with the contractors who did the programming.

Another contractor error was to accommodate insurance carriers to an absurd degree.  They should have had a form that all insurance carriers were required to fill out. That form would include all of the information required for them to participate in the exchanges.  Instead, they allowed carriers to present different information which of course greatly complicated the programming task.  

My conclusion is that we have yet another example of business failure being spun as a failure of the Obama administration.

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Norway's big government, oil nationalized, criminal coddling welfare state has the number one economy in the world but their CEOs make a lot less money.  Here are some statistics from this article.

Indicator                                 U.S.             Norway           Year
Average CEO Compensation      $5.5 Million     $1 Million       2006
Hours Worked Per Year           1,775             1,424              2007
Bond Rating                          AAA+              AAA               2012
Life-Expectancy                     78.5                80.3              2012
Employment Protections        Lowest               6th               2012
Hourly Wage Indicator             112.4             132.1             2011
Unemployment Over 1 Year      32.2%             13.7%           2012
Poverty                                 24.4%             13.3%         Late 2000s
Children in Poverty                 20.6%              4.6%            2008
Educational Deprivation Index    4.8%              1.0%            2006
Infant Mortality                        6.8%             3.1%            2005
Bullying                                11.9%              9.4%           2008
Teen Births per 1,000                  50               9.4              2005
Total Carbon Dioxide           6,802,225          53,896             2010
Obesity Rates                        33.9%               10%            2011
GDP                                         9th               4th              2009
Education Index                       23rd                7th             2007
Reading                                 17th                12th             2008
Math                                      31st               21st             2008
Science                                  23rd               24th             2008

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In recent years, banks (in particular banks that back the Republican party) have paid out billions to resolve Justice Department claims of gender, national origin, race and disability discrimination. It's another reason why Hispanics no longer vote Republican. Why vote Republican when the candidate is receiving most of their funding from discrimination defense lawyers and organizations who've paid millions to resolve such claims.  Is their a problem with a system that allows banks to resolve such claims without admitting guilt?

Since 2010, banks have paid over $560 million to resolve claims of loan discrimination against Hispanic and African-American home buyers and businesses and in not one case did the bank go to trial.

It's hard to make an accurate estimate on what a jury would decide is the correct amount to pay if you never take the corporation to trial. Leaving the decision up to lawyers and judges is not how the system is supposed to work especially when individuals such as Aaron Swartz are being over prosecuted and taken to trial.

Top Department of Justice (DOJ) official and former Clinton counsel Larry Breuer is stepping down as he exposed himself as someone who was unwilling to prosecute banks.  He is believed to be responsible for passing on criminal penalties against HSBC for laundering drug money and helping to finance terrorists. Breuer said he's

"losing sleep at night over worrying about what a lawsuit might result in at a large financial institution."

It's not just banks that are let off the hook, however. Hospitals that give poor quality care are rarely receive significant penalties but physicians are taken to court when insurance companies can pressure medical staff with impunity to take too many cases and spend less time with each patient as a result of a Republican backed Supreme court ruling that said insurance companies couldn't be prosecuted for pressuring physicians or providing inadequate resources.

Discuss

The GOP has spent billions on public relations and marketing and now after losing badly in the election they are claiming they are bad at it.  They still believe they need a new rebranding or marketing plant. They still don't realize what President Obama did to them.

Here's what he did.  In the 1970s, a social psychologist named Milton Rokeach conducted a experiment with the celebrity Ed Asner.  They developed a half-hour TV show to determine if they could change people's values and the surprising thing is they did.  People often put a high price on personal freedom and control and the GOP constantly plays to those theme.  

The President campaign, just like that old experiment, was meant to show that personal freedom shouldn't be placed above the freedom of others.  As the President is fond of saying, we're in this together and everyone deserves a fair shot.  He emphasized that economies grow when the middle class, not the wealthy, grow.  

That poses a value question to voters:  me politics versus the politics of mutual support.  

Before the election, many independent voters still believed that supporting the rich gave them more jobs or created more wealth.  The President has not just debunked that idea, he's exposed the phony values behind it.  People will forget an argument but are less inclined to forget basic values.  

The President won the election but perhaps more importantly he has exposed the selfish underbelly of the GOP.  We need to work for candidates that will keep pushing that theme.  

For a long time, the GOP played on the idea that supporting the rich is a good idea and for them to reverse that position would cost them their funders and their supporters so they are stuck unless they can convince independents that giving to the rich is a good idea again.  We must work hard to let people know that's not only a bad idea but it's also shows poor values.

We should learn from President Obama's approach.  He exposed the truth about GOP values in a way that independent voters could understand and we must continue to use that approach in future campaigns so our gains are not lost.  

Discuss

If more people learn to recognize stalking, we have a better chance to protect victims and prevent tragedies. Less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense. Although stalking is not a joke it’s often treated as a joke, “not that big of a deal.” or even more disturbingly it’s treated as being romantic. Since the reality of this crime is often denied, President Obama proclaimed January as stalking awareness month. The theme was “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” He proclaimed January stalking awareness month. You can read his speech and get more information about stalking here. Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime.

It’s estimated to effect 6.6 million adults in the United States per year. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships. Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and 1 in 8 lose time from work and 1 in 7 have to move as a result of their victimization.

One in 6 women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. Using a less conservative definition of stalking, which considers any amount of fear (i.e., a little fearful, somewhat fearful, or very fearful), one in four women and one in 13 men reported being a victim of stalking in their lifetime. The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. More than half of female victims and more than 1/3 of male victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25. About one in five female victims and one in fourteen male victims experienced stalking between the ages of 11 and 17.

According to 1999 statistics (the last available), 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner. 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner. 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder. 79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.

11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more. 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers. Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before. Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly. Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases.

Take the opportunity to learn more about stalking and what you can do about it.

Discuss

Many forums and scientists.  Much of the science was initiated by a famous study - The Stanford Prison Experiment in which some individuals were randomly assigned to play the role of guards and other students were assigned the role of playing prisoners. The experiment had to be stopped because the guards began humiliating and beating the prisoners.  The conditions where this effect is most likely to occur is when the powerful have little fear of being held accountable for their actions and when there is a sense of anonymity between guards and the prisoners. In other words, just like most Internet forums.  Googling "Standford Prison Experiment" "forum moderation" gets you over 40,000 hits.

The good news is there is a solution to this problem.  It's been proven to work time and time again.  

However, the bad news is that people don't usually go along with what psychologists recommend and although people like to make lots of excuses and personal attacks to avoid making the change, the real reason, again according to psychologists, is that they don't like to give up their power.   That's the problem with billionaires, forum moderators and anyone else who gets a taste of power.  

So if you're not convinced by psychologists, why not try Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ph.D.  His drum major instinct speech pulls all the various disciplines and ideas together by that special magic he had. As usual he says it better than anyone else.

Discuss

So several recent posts have brought up the issue of moderation but none addressed the question I want answered which is what is good moderation?

Markos argues that less is better while others argue more is needed.  IMO that's greatly oversimplifying the issue.  The type of moderation policy a website has should display the values of the website.  In some ways, I believe the Daily Kos approach is very good.  For example, in supporting the Democratic community as a whole, as opposed to this is my website and everyone else is the competition, I would give the Daily Kos the highest marks.  I would also give the Daily Kos high marks for not following into the happy talk moderation as some Democratic websites have done.  In my view there are a lot of very serious issues at there and they can't and shouldn't be discussed in just a positive or happy way.  Another way good thing is the Daily Kos allows criticism of itself.  For me those reflect positive values that are consistent with most users.  A blind peer review process has worked well, for the most part, in science and the Daily Kos has an approach that is somewhat similar to that except that the reviewed in science get to see their reviews and can protest to the editor.

Ultimately, a moderation policy reflects certain values.  Do moderation policies attempt to raise the level of discussion.  Do they seek justice or the truth in discussion.  Are decisions made by the community or by the owners?  Are policies enforced for equally for everyone.  Is their accountability for inappropriate moderation.  Whose interests are served.  In my view, the moderation policy could be improved in these areas.  However, I'm more interested in hearing what others think.

However, there is one idea that I would like to put out there.  Leadership theory argues that the best approach is where everyone works together as a community to solve problems like moderation (e.g., juries, accountable moderation).  However, leadership theory also indicates that 99% of owners adopt Theory X which is essentially a bankrupt philosophy which argues that evil people are out there trying to kill the website and we need people to pounce on them.  It's not that leadership deny that that problem exists.  Rather, it argues that pouncing is a terrible idea.  Instead, building community is what works.  Another big positive for the Daily Kos is that is does build a community.  My question is can we do better?  Building community might involve warnings instead of secretly hiding or rating people.  It might involve more responsiveness, openness and accountability for those who moderate and less threats and sanctions unless someone persists.   In my view, it all boils down to whether you take the libertarian approach that there is no truth and you should let the mob decide or the liberal approach which argues that an organization can strive to uphold certain ideals and the community as a whole can seek to uphold those ideals.

So what is an ideal moderation policy and what values should that moderation policy promote?  Some argue that addressing a person who is wrong is promoting arguments.  If you seek the truth, that's not wrong.  Some argue that personal attacks are destructive to the process.  Some argue that moderators can't determine who's truthful and who is not?  If that's the case, do we need a new process that seeks the truth or do we admit that the libertarians are correct?  Is truth so elusive that we as a community can't find it?  

Poll

Do You feel the moderation policy at the Daily Kos reflects the values of Democrats?

83%5 votes
16%1 votes

| 6 votes | Vote | Results

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A reporter for NPR discovered a strange new light (see circled area above) where there used to be only North Dakota grassland.  The light is produced by a massive 15,000 square mile area of fracking natural gas flareoffs produced by over 150 companies who have determined that it's cheaper to burn-off about 29% of the natural gas that is produced by their oil wells.  

The current levels of burning gas from the field inject two million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year which is the equivalent amount of pollution caused by 2.5 million cars.  The flares produce carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulates.

The burnoff is equivalent to 30% of the total U.S. natural gas production. Currently, there is no legislation that requires fracking companies to recapture the natural gas they produce through fracking, although it's only slightly more expensive to recapture the natural gas.  Most of the companies have obtained government permission for the flare-offs with annual renewals.  The industry argues that until the wells are completed it's too expensive to recapture the natural gas.  

On average, eight new wells are added to the area each day which over the next 20 years is expected to become ten times as large as it is today.  The field already produces more oil than the entire state of Alaska.  

Poll

Do You Believe That The US Should Require Fracking Companies to Recapture Their Natural Gas?

98%3981 votes
1%46 votes

| 4027 votes | Vote | Results

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So far, scientists have said they have identified twelve planets that might be habitable.  In fact, there are significant problems with every single planet
identified to date.  For a list of the most habitable exoplanets click here

First, many of these exoplanets (Gliese 581d, Gliese 581g, Gliese 667 Cc, Gliese 163 c, HD 40307 g, 55 Cancri f, GJ 1214 b, HD 85512 b) circle small mass stars.  Many seriously doubt whether life could evolve in these star systems.

M-dwarfs are cooler and much smaller than our sun. They account for about three-quarters of all stars in the Milky Way. Although Earth size planets have been found around such dwarfs, these planets tend to orbit very close to the sun.  Because M dwarfs are small and cool, their temperate zone--also known as the "habitable zone," the region where liquid water might exist is further inward.  New research by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) suggests that there are 17 billion earth-like planets in the Milky Way in an orbit closer than Mercury. In other words, one in six stars has a Earth-like planet in a close orbit.  The problem is, there planets may all be dead worlds.  

Red dwarf planets emit less light so the planet must be closer to it's sun.  Flares on M-dwarfs can be a thousand times stronger than compared to our Sun. Such mega-flares can double the brightness of the star in minutes. Life on the surface of GJ667Cc would have to find a solution to this problem.

In addition, many red dwarfs can lose their light.  They may become covered by sunspots that could reduce the energy output of the star by as much as 40% for periods that may last months.  In other words, random nuclear winters.  Also, red dwarf stars emit very little ultraviolet light, these varying light conditions would be a potential problem for life as we know it.

However, a recent study posed even more problems for low mass stars.

1. Habitable planets that are close to their sun are probably tidally locked so one side of the planet is constantly in daylight while the other side would be frozen in constant darkness. The dark side of these planets will always be too cold to support life and the lighted side could become exposed to too much radiation and the temperature differences would cause extreme weather across the planet.

2. Similarly, tides can cause the planet`s rotation to become perpendicular to its orbit eliminating seasonal variation and again creating dark and light sides with similar problems to 1. In addition, the equator of such a planet could become so hot that it would burn off the atmosphere.

3. Tidal heating causes massive vulcanism. Planets where there are constant lava flows are obviously not habitable.

A recent study estimated there may be as many as 100 billion Earth size planets surrounding dwarf stars in the Milky Way.  The only problem is that they may all be dead worlds.

Second, many other exoplanets revolve around binary or trinary star systems (Kepler-22 b, Kepler-47c).  However, recent research suggests that planets from binary and trinary star systems that produce unstable orbits. Computer simulations suggest that in most cases the binary star system will eventually radically change the orbits of the planets.

Third, Tau Ceti (Tau Ceti e, Tau Ceti f) has an asteroid belt ten times the size of our asteroid belot that would destroy all life in the system.  Also, it's a Tau Ceti is metal-deficient, which deficiency is usually few rocky planets.  In addition, the best guess is that the surface temperature on these planets are oven-like (155 °F, 122 °F).  However, Tau Ceti f may also not have a greenhouse effect so it's average surface temperature would be -31 °F which would leave all the water frozen.

After that quick screening, we're left with no habitable confirmed planets.

Poll

Do You Believe Any of These Planets Have Life On Them?

53%28 votes
46%24 votes

| 52 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:47 AM PST

Obama's 2013 Budget

by USSpinWatcher

President Obama proposed a 256 page budget back in February and congress has only passed a tiny fraction of what's in it.  The budget includes more money for Medicare and Medicaid, jobs, education, infrastructure, patent/intellectual property protection as well as improvements in defense, energy and the environment, foreign affairs, immigration and closing more loopholes for rich.  I made some full text highlights here or you can read the full text at the White House website.

Why do I believe you should you do that?  Because as usual the press is misleading the public. February 2012 was a long time ago and yet many details of his proposal have rarely made it into the mainstream media. They are claiming that the President doesn't have a plan, that he's not showing leadership, that he is trying to increase spending on wasteful programs and not helping to increase jobs.  The White House has been sending out emails to ask for your help.  Get the facts and discuss them with others.  The election may be over but the President needs support for his programs.  I believe most Americans would support the vast majority of his proposals if they knew exactly what they were.
 

Discuss

Conservatives frequently argue that liberals don’t take personal responsibility. For example, on Mitt Romney’s 47% tape, he argues Americans who paid into Medicare and Social Security are lacking personal responsibility when they receive benefits for their payments. He also argues that people without jobs are simply refusing to work. As Romney notes on the tape, he has an idea of how he would like to see people in this country work. He argues we need to bring slave labor back to this country. He doesn’t seem to mind that people in his Chinese factories sleep twelve to a room, only earn $1.99 or less per hour and work 84 hours per week.

In addition, conservative corporate executives such as Mitt Romney have engineered a legal system where they do not have to take responsibility for the problems they create. Romney like many other corporate executives refuse to take responsibility for treating others in a humane way. They’d rather roll back safety and human rights regulations so they can make even more money exploiting workers. That’s why Romney has worked hard moving factories from the U.S. to China in order to make drive down wages and human rights in the U.S.

At the same time conservative lobbyists were creating a legal system where U.S. corporate organization could profit from foreign slave labor, they created a legal system in this country where they could not be held personally responsible for crimes committed by their companies even if they made decisions which contributed to the crimes.

While Citizen’s United gave corporations the ability to influence elections, corporate law allows corporations to pay fines for corporate criminal behavior. Company officials do not go to jail, lose their jobs and their pay is not even reduced when their companies are found guilty of criminal behavior. For example, this system has allowed Transocean execs off the hook in two separate incidents over the past two years. The fines they pay are passed off as the costs of doing business which means the fines are passed off on the consumer.

For example, Transocean, a global provider of offshore oil drilling services and equipment based in Vernier, Switzerland, agreed to plead guilty to violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and entered a civil settlement to resolve claims from the Gulf Oil Deepwater Horizon Disaster that include paying a record $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal fines but no one at the company was held personally responsible. The pattern occurred after Transocean corporate convictions in a foreign bribery scandal.  Bribery led to know person serving any jail time.

People typically seem to blame law enforcement for this but that's a misperception.  The problem usually resides with judicial interpretation and with lawmakers.  Part of allowing the middle class to grow is to make corporate execs accountable.  If we don't it makes it too easy for the people who already have the money to keep it because they've become essentially above the law.

Discuss

The following are two statements by US scientists who are experts on violence in response to the Sandy Hook shootings.  I felt the Daily Kos would like to see a scientific perspective on The Sandy Hook Shootings.  The second statement is remarkably predictive of what we have now learned about the Sandy Hook shooter.

Connecticut School Shooting Position Statement Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community ViolenceDecember 19, 2012 (pdf)

The undersigned school violence prevention researchers and practitioners and associated organizations wish to comment on the tragic acts of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which have shaken the nation, and express our deepest condolences to families and loved ones of the victims and the entire Newtown community. We all share a common priority: Keeping our children safe. We need to come together in our communities to share our grief and talk about how we can move forward in light of this tragic event. This document updates the School Shootings Position Statement that was disseminated nationally following the tragic school-related shootings of 2006.

It is important to emphasize that our concern is not limited to schools. The Connecticut tragedy is referred to as a school shooting, but it is better described as a shooting that took place in a school. It is also relevant to consider the hundreds of multiple casualty shootings that occur in communities throughout the United States every year. Few of them occur in schools, but of course are especially tragic when they occur. Yet children are safer in schools than in almost any other place, including for some, their own homes.

While schools are of paramount concern, the location of a shooting is not its most important feature, although it is the most visible. From the standpoint of prevention, what matters more is the motivation behind a shooting. It is too soon to draw conclusions about this case, but in every mass shooting we must consider two keys to prevention: (1) the presence of severe mental illness and/or (2) an intense interpersonal conflict that the person could not resolve or tolerate.

Inclinations to intensify security in schools should be reconsidered. We cannot and should not turn our schools into fortresses. Effective prevention cannot wait until there is a gunman in a school parking lot. We need resources such as mental health supports and threat assessment teams in every school and community so that people can seek assistance when they recognize that someone is troubled and requires help. For communities, this speaks to a need for increased access to well integrated service structures across mental health, law enforcement, and related agencies. We must encourage people to seek help when they see that someone is embroiled in an intense, persistent conflict or is deeply troubled. If we can recognize and ameliorate these kinds of situations, then we will be more able to prevent violence.

These issues require attention at the school and community levels. We believe that research supports a thoughtful approach to safer schools, guided by four key elements: Balance, Communication, Connectedness, and Support, along with strengthened attention to mental health needs in the community, structured threat assessment approaches, revised policies on youth exposure to violent media, and increased efforts to limit inappropriate access to guns and especially, assault type weapons.

Balance – Communication – Connectedness – Support

A balanced approach implies well-integrated programs that make sense and are effective. Although it may be logical to control public entrances to a school, reliance on metal detectors, security cameras, guards, and entry check points is unlikely to provide protection against all school-related shootings, including the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Indeed, shootings have occurred in schools with strict security measures already in place. A balanced approach to preventing violence and protecting students includes a variety of efforts addressing physical safety, educational practices, and programs that support the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.

Communication is critical. Comprehensive analyses by the U. S. Secret Service, the FBI, and numerous researchers have concluded that the most effective way to prevent many acts of violence targeted at schools is by maintaining close communication and trust with students and others in the community, so that threats will be reported and can be investigated by responsible authorities. Attempts to detect imminently violent individuals based on profiles or checklists of characteristics are ineffective and are most likely to result in false identification of innocent students or other individuals as being dangerous when they actually pose little or no threat. Instead, school authorities should concentrate their efforts on improving communication and training a team of staff members to use principles of threat assessment to take reasonable steps to resolve the problems and conflicts revealed through a threat investigation.

Concerned students, parents, educators, and stakeholders in the community should attend to troubling behaviors that signal something is amiss. For example, if a person utters threats to engage in a violent act or displays a pronounced change of mood and related social behavior, or is engaged in a severe conflict with family members or coworkers, it makes sense to communicate concerns to others who might provide assistance. Early identification is important not only to prevent violence, but to provide troubled individuals the support, treatment, and help they need.

Schools and communities must find effective means to overcome any reluctance to break unwritten rules against “tattling” or “snitching” by communicating to all community members that their lives or the lives of their friends might depend on seeking help for troubled individuals before problems escalate. Channels of efficient, user-friendly communication need to be established and maintained, and can be facilitated when community members, students and staff members feel comfortable bringing concerns regarding safety to the attention of school administrators.

Connectedness refers to what binds us together as families, friends, and communities. All students need to feel that they belong at their school and that others care for them. Similarly, local neighborhoods and communities are better and safer places when neighbors look out for one another, are involved in community activities, and care about the welfare of each other. Research indicates that those students most at risk for delinquency and violence are often those
who are most alienated from the school community. Schools need to reach out to build positive connections to marginalized students, showing concern, and fostering avenues of meaningful involvement.

Support is critical for effective prevention. Many students and family members experience life stresses and difficulties. Depression, anxiety, bullying, incivility, and various forms of conflict need to be taken seriously. Every school should create environments where students and adults feel emotionally safe and have the capacity to support one another. Schools must also have the resources to maintain evidence-based programs designed to address bullying and other forms of student conflict. Research-based violence prevention and related comprehensive support programs should be offered, following a three-tier approach, operating at universal (school-wide), targeted (for students who are at risk), and intensive (for students who are at the highest levels of risk and need) levels.

Mental Health, Integrated Threat Assessment, Media Effects, and Access to Guns

Nationally, the mental health needs of youth and adults are often shortchanged or neglected. That needs to change.  Using much-needed federal and state funding, community-based mental health organizations should work in cooperation with local law enforcement, schools, and other key community stakeholders to create a system of community-based mental health response and threat assessment. These efforts should promote wellness as well as address mental health needs of all community members while simultaneously responding to potential threats to community safety. This initiative should include a large scale public education and awareness campaign, along with newly created channels of communication to help get services to those in need.

Research has established that continued exposure to media violence (e.g., TV, movies, video games) can increase the likelihood of physically and verbally aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, and aggressive emotions. Exposure to
violence in the media can lead to (1) displacement of healthy activities, (2) modeling inappropriate behaviors, (3) disinhibition of socially proscribed behaviors, (4) desensitization to the harmful effects of violence, (5) aggressive arousal, and (6) association with a constellation of risk-taking behaviors. Taken together, this research speaks to a strong need to revise policies on youth exposure to violence in the media.

Finally, it is also important to acknowledge that access to guns plays an important role in many acts of serious violence in the United States. Multiple lines of research have demonstrated a clear connection between local availability of guns and gun-related violent behaviors, with estimates of close to 2 million children and adolescents having access at home to loaded, unlocked guns. Although guns are never the simple cause of a violent act, the availability of lethal weapons
including assault type weapons to youth and adults with emotional disturbance and antisocial behavior poses a serious public health problem. Our political leaders need to find a reasonable and constitutional way to limit the widespread availability of guns to persons who are unwilling or unable to use them in a responsible, lawful manner.

In summary, we ask for a renewed nationwide effort to address the problem of mass shootings that have occurred repeatedly in our schools and communities. Now is the time for our political leaders to take meaningful action to
address the need for improved mental health services and protection from gun violence. At the same time, concerned citizens in every community should engage in comprehensive planning and coordination to prevent violence in our schools and communities. These plans should include access to mental health services for youth and adults who are showing signs of psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, withdrawal, anger, and aggression as well as assistance for the families that support them. The bottom line is that we must all work together toward the common
goal of keeping our schools and communities safe.

The position statement and a complete list of organizations endorsing it is posted at:
http://curry.virginia.edu/...

Co-authors of this document (in alphabetical order)
Ron Avi Astor, Ph.D., University of Southern California
rastor@usc.edu
Dewey G. Cornell, Ph.D., University of Virginia
dcornell@virginia.edu
Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
espelage@illinois.edu
Michael J. Furlong, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
mfurlong@education.ucsb.edu
Shane R. Jimerson, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
jimerson@education.ucsb.edu
Matthew J. Mayer, Ph.D., Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
mayerma@rci.rutgers.edu
Amanda B. Nickerson, Ph.D., University at Buffalo, State University of New York
nickersa@buffalo.edu
David Osher, Ph.D., American Institutes for Research
dosher@air.org
George Sugai, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
george.sugai@uconn.edu
Organizations Endorsing This Statement
Afterschool Alliance
Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying Abuse and School Violence, University at Buffalo

Alliance for Children and Families
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Association of Pastoral Counselors
American Council for School Social Work
American Dance Therapy Association
American Federation of Teachers
American Group Psychotherapy Association
American Music Therapy Association
American Orthopsychiatric Association
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
American School Counselor Association
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies
Association of School Business Officials International
Beach Center on Disability, University of Kansas
Born This Way Foundation
Bullying Research Network
California Association of School Social Workers (CASSW)
California Pupil Services Coalition
Center for Behavior Education and Research. Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Center for Child and Family Well-being at the University of Nebraska Lincoln
Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Child Welfare League of America
College of Education, University of Illinois
Connecticut Commission for Children
Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD)
Council for Exceptional Children
Council for Exceptional Children Division for Research (CEC-DR)
Council of Administrators of Special Education
Council on Social Work Education
Division of Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40), American Psychological Association
Division of Health Psychology (Division 38), American Psychological Association
Everyone Reading
Families International Incorporated
Family Violence and Sexual Assault Institute, San Diego, CA
FedED--thefeded.org
FEI Behavioral Health, Inc.
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University of California Santa Barbara
Graduate School of Education, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Higher Education Consortium for Special Education
Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, University of Oregon
Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, San Diego, CA
International Psychology (Division 52), American Psychological Association
International School Psychology Association
Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Mental Health America
Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders
National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health
National Alliance of Black School Educators
National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
National Association for the Education of Young Children
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders, Inc.
National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
National Association of School Nurses
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of Social Workers-California Chapter
National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Education Association
National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
National Head Start Association
National Organization of Forensic Social Work
National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV)
National School Climate Center
Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families, and Schools at the University of Nebraska
New York Association of School Psychologists
New York State Center for School Safety
Prevent Child Abuse America
Psychoanalysis (Division 39), American Psychological Association
Psychotherapy (Division 29), American Psychological Association
School Psychology (Division 16), American Psychological Association
School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA)
Sheppard Pratt Health Systems, Baltimore Maryland
Social Work Section, American Public Health Association
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Division 14), American Psychological Association
Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45), American Psychological Association
Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity (Division 51), American Psychological Association
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (Division 9), American Psychological Association
Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (Division 36), American Psychological Association
Society for the Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (Division 44), American Psychological Association
Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence (Division 48), American Psychological Association
Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Division 53), American Psychological Association
Society of Consulting Psychology (Division 13), American Psychological Association
Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17), American Psychological Association
Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (Division 49), American Psychological Association
Society of Pediatric Psychology (Division 54), American Psychological Association
Stop Abuse Campaign
Student Affiliates in School Psychology (Division 16), American Psychological Association
Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children
TESOL International Association
The Boys Initiative
The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
United Neighborhood Centers of America
University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service
University of Southern California Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California School of Social Work
Voices for America’s Children
Witness Justice
Individuals Endorsing This Statement
Bob Algozzine, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Craig Anderson, Ph.D., Iowa State University
Julie Antilla, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Anthony Antosh, Ph.D., Rhode Island College
Steven Aragon, Ph.D., Texas State University-San Marcos
Ron Astor, Ph.D., University of Southern California
Carolyn Bates, Ph.D., Austin, TX
Sheri Bauman, Ph.D., University of Arizona
George Bear, Ph.D., University of Delaware
Tom Bellamy, Ph.D., University of Washington
Rami Benbenishty, Ph.D., Bar Ilan University, Israel
Richard Bonnie, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Danah Boyd, Ph.D., NYU & Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Renee Bradley, Ph.D., Parent and Special Educator, Virginia
Catherine Bradshaw, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
Stephen Brock, Ph.D., California State University, Sacramento
Mary Beth Bruder, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Brad Bushman, Ph.D., Ohio State University
Catina Caban-Owen, North Windham School, Connecticut
Kelly Caci, M.A., New York Association of School Psychologists
J. Manuel Casas, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Timothy Cavell, Ph.D., University of Arkansas
Sandra Chafouleas, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Casey Cobb, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D., National School Climate Center
Adam Collins, M.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dewey Cornell , Ph.D., University of Virginia
Jay Corzine, Ph.D., University of Central Florida
Wendy Craig, Ph.D., Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Jonathon Crystal, Ph.D., Indiana University
Jack Cummings, Ph.D., Indiana University
Richard De Lisi, Ph.D., Dean, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University
Thomas DeFranco, Ph.D., Dean Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Frank DeLaurier, Ed.D., Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment
Michelle Demaray, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University
David DeMatteo, JD, Ph.D., Drexel University
Stanley Deno, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Erin Dowdy, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Paul Downes, Ph.D., Dublin City University, Ireland
Joyce Downing , Ph.D., University of Central Missouri
Kame’enui Edward, Ph.D., University of Oregon
Maurice Elias, Ph.D., Rutgers' Center for Community-Based Learning, Service, and Public Scholarship
Michael Epstein, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Graciela Espindola , Sutter County Schools, CA
Michael Faggella-Luby, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Albert Farrell, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University
Patrick Faverty, Ed.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Elizabeth Fernandez, Principal, North Windham School, Connecticut
Diana Fishbein, Ph.D., RTI International
Emily Fisher, Ph.D., Loyola Marymount University
Lori Fishman, Psy.D., Harvard Medical School
Marilyn Flynn, Ph.D., Dean, University of Southern California School of Social Work
Anjali Forber-Pratt, Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Laurie Ford, Ph.D., University of British Columbia
Lise Fox, Ph.D., University of South Florida
Karen Frey, Ph.D., University of Washington
Lynn Fuchs, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Douglas Fuchs, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Michael Furlong, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Ken Furlong, B.A., Carson City Sheriff’s Office
Debra Furr-Holden, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
Robert Gable, Ph.D., Old Dominion University Virginia
Karen Gallagher, Ph.D., Dean, USC Rossier School of Education
James Garbarino, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago
Michael Gerber, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Cynthia Germanotta, M.A., President, Born This Way Foundation
Donna Gilbertson, Ph.D., Utah State University
Peter Goldblum, Ph.D., Palo Alto University
Steven Goodman, Ph.D., Director, Michigan Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative
Deborah Gorman-Smith, Ph.D., University of Chicago
Denise Gottfredson, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Kathy Gould, Illinois Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project
Sandra Graham, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Mark Greenberg, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Frank Gresham, Ph.D., Louisiana State University
Eleanor Guetzloe, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, University of South Florida
Lisa Hagermoser Sanetti, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Laura Hanish, Ph.D., Arizona State University
Gregory Hanley, Ph.D., Western New England University
Isadora Hare, MSW, LCSW, Health Resources and Services Administration
Patricia Hawley, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Richard Hazler, Ph.D., Penn State University
Thomas Hehir, Ph.D., Harvard University
Kirk Heilbrun, Ph.D., Drexel University
Susan Herbst, Ph.D., President, University of Connecticut
Melissa Holt, Ph.D., Boston University
Arthur Horne, Ph.D., Dean Emeritus, Univ. of Georgia
Robert Horner, Ph.D., University of Oregon
Susan Hupp, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Shelley Hymel, Ph.D., University of British Columbia
Shelley Hymel, Ph.D., Bullying Research Network
Decoteau Irby, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Kathy Jens, Ph.D., Cherry Creek Schools, CO
Shane Jimerson, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Asha Jitendra, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Beverly Johns, MacMurray College
LeAnne Johnson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Kristine Jolivette, Ph.D., Georgia State University
Sherri Jones, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
James Kauffman, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia
Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Maryam Kia-Keating, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Jennifer Kitson, Ed.S., NCSP, Education Development Center
Becky Ladd, Ph.D., Arizona State University
Kathleen Lane, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Jim Larson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Kelly Lassman, Ph.D., Pace University
Philip Leaf, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
Seung-yeon Lee, Ph.D., Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea
Peter Leone, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Timothy Lewis, Ph.D., University of Missouri
Robert Lichtenstein, Ph.D., Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Benjamin Lignugaris, Ph.D., Utah State University
Susan Limber, Ph.D., Clemson University
John Lochman, Ph.D., University of Alabama
Allison Lombardi, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Anna Long, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Sabina Low, Ph.D., Arizona State University
Dan Maggin, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago
Christine Malecki, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University
Roxana Marachi, Ph.D., San Jose State University
Matthew Mayer, Ph.D., Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
G. Roy Mayer, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, California State University Los Angeles
Daniel McCarthy, MSW LCSW, School Social Work Association of America
Jennifer McComas, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Scott McConnell, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Phyllis McDonald, Ed.D., Johns Hopkins University
Kent McIntosh, Ph.D., University of Brish columbia
Kristen McMaster, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Janet Medina, Psy.D., McDaniel College
Danielle Mele-Taylor, Psy.D., University at Albany
Sterett Mercer, Ph.D., University of British Columbia
William Mitchell, Ed.D., Licensed Psychologist
Daniel Murrie, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Howard Muscott, Ph.D., SERESC/NH CEBIS
Rick Neel, Ph.D., University of Washington
C. Michael Nelson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky
J. Ron Nelson, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jodi Newman, Ph.D., University of Washington
Amanda Nickerson, Ph.D., University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Pedro Noguera, Ph.D., New York University
Karen Nylund-Gibson, Ph.D., University of California Santa Barbara
Wendy Oakes, Ph.D., Arizona State University
Lindsey O'Brennan, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Breda O'Keeffee, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Robert O'Neill, Ph.D., University of Utah
Pamela Orpinas, Ph.D., University of Georgia
David Osher, Ph.D., American Institutes for Research
Trina Osher, Ph.D., Huff Osher Consulting, Inc.
Ernestina Papacosta, Ph.D., Ministry of Education and Culture E.P.S Cyprus
William Parham, Ph.D., ABPP, Loyola Marymount University, School of Education, Counseling Program
Debra Pepler, Ph.D., York University & Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto Canada.
Reece Peterson, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Faustino Peterson, Psy.D., New York Association of School Psychologists
William Pfohl, Ph.D., Past President, International School Psychology Association
Robert Pianta, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Nicole Powell, Ph.D. MPH, University of Alabama Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems
Ron Prinz, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Robert Putnam, Ph.D., May Institute
Jodi Quas, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
Matt Quirk, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Linda Reddy, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Tyler Renshaw, Ph.D., Louisiana State University
N. Dickson Reppucci, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Cecil Reynolds, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
Ken Rigby, Ph.D., School of Education, University of South Australia
Phil Rodkin, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Philip Rogers, Executive Director, National Assoc of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
Phillip Rogers, Ph.D., National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
Chad Rose, Ph.D., Sam Houston State University
Susan Rose, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Matthew Ruderman, M.Ed., University of California, Santa Barbara
Frank Sacco, Ph.D., President, Community Services Institute, Springfield & Boston, MA
Wayne Sailor, Ph.D., University of Kansas
David Sciarra, JD, Ph.D., Education Law Center
Terrance Scott, Ph.D., University of Louisville
Jill Sharkey, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Susan Sheridan, Ph.D., University of Nebraska
Brandi Simonsen, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Bryan Sipe, B.S., Chief of Police, College of Coastal Georgia
Russell Skiba, Ph.D., Director, Equity Project at Indiana University
Phillip Slee, Ph.D., Flinders University, South Australia
Stephen Smith, Ph.D., University of Florida
Douglas Smith, Ph.D., Southern Oregon University
Andrea Spencer, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education, Pace University
Sharon Stephan, Ph.D., University of Maryland School of Medicine
Skye Stifel, M.A. M.Ed., University of California, Santa Barbara
Sarah Stoddard, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Philip Strain, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Denver
George Sugai, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Michael Sulkowski, Ph.D., University of Arizona
Jean Ann Summers, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Susan Swearer, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Frank Symons, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Elizabeth Talbott, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
Jim Teagarden, Ed.D., Kansas State University
Deborah Tempkin, Ph.D., Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
H. Rutherford Turnbull, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Ann Turnbull, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Jennifer Twyford, Ph.D., California Lutheran University
Brendesha Tynes, Ph.D., USC Rossier School of Education
Marion Underwood, Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas
Tracy Vaillancourt, Ph.D., University of Ottawa
Hill Walker, Ph.D., Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior
Cixin Wang, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Matthew Wappett, Ph.D., University of Idaho
Daniel Webster, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
Michael Wehmeyer, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Mark Weist, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Richard West, Ph.D., Utah State University
Andrew Wiley, Ph.D., Kent State University
Anne Williford, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Mark Wolery, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Marleen Wong, Ph.D., Associate Dean, University of Southern California School of Social Work
Linda Woolf, Ph.D., Webster University
Roger Worthington, Ph.D., Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center
Michelle Ybarra, MPH Ph.D., Center for Innovative Public Health Research (CiPHR)
Jina Yoon, Ph.D., Wayne State University
Marc Zimmerman, Ph.D., University of Michigan

We are not able to add more individuals to this list.

Organizations wishing to join the list can contact Matthew Mayer at mayerma@rci.rutgers.edu

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