Tuesday, November 24, 2015

More evidence that happiness is dispositional

Implying that unhappiness is too. And Leftists are the unhappy people. The world is all wrong according to them.  But they can't help feeling that.  They were born miserable.  So they cannot be reasoned with.  They can only be combatted and defeated

From meditating and reading self-help books to finding true love, people have long been searching for the root of happiness. Now, scientists have discovered exactly where in the brain it can be found.

People who scored higher on contentment surveys had a bigger precuneus - a part of the brain normally associated with consciousness.

Psychologists found a combination of joyful feelings and the satisfaction of life coming together, were experienced in this part of the brain. They said this is what constitutes the subjective experience of being 'happy'.

Until now, the mechanism behind how happiness emerges in the brain remained unclear. Understanding that mechanism, according to the researchers, will be a huge asset for quantifying levels of happiness objectively.

Dr Wataru Sato, a cognitive psychologist at Kyoto University, said: 'Over history, many eminent scholars like Aristotle have contemplated what happiness is. 'I'm very happy that we now know more about what it means to be happy.

The study scanned the brains of research participants with MRI.  They then completed a survey that asked how happy they are generally, how intensely they feel emotions, and how satisfied they are with their lives.

People feel emotions in different ways; for instance, some people feel happiness more intensely than others when they receive compliments, the study found.

Their analysis revealed that those who scored higher on the happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus.  The precuneus is found in the superior parietal lobule at the top, back of the brain.

In other words, people whose brain is larger in this area feel happiness more intensely, feel sadness less intensely, and are more able to find meaning in life.



Despite Obama's Claims, We Are Not Able to Properly Screen Syrian Refugees

There is truly a war taking place throughout the world. Radical Islam is at war with Western civilization that is not currently part of its caliphate. Though the Obama administration is out to convince you that there’s no war, or that climate change is our country’s biggest threat, the bloodbath in Paris proves the contrary without doubt. Though we are not engaged in defending ourselves fully, the one-sided war goes on, allowing our enemy to get stronger and more radical.

America is now faced with a stinging reality, one that threatens the very heart of our national security. President Obama has instructed his administration to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into our country without any real standard of document authentication or actual database of information that would allow us to effectively vet these people.

We have been told repeatedly by this administration that these refugees entering the United States have been vetted, and that we are simply providing aid to the vetted moderate Muslim Syrian refugees. However, FBI Director Comey revealed a different story in a House Judiciary Committee Hearing recently.

When pressed about a fingerprint database, he stated that it will be "challenging" to vet those Syrian refugees who have "never crossed our radar screen."

Think about that: no data, and no way to authenticate people or documents through a Syrian government the Obama administration has been trying to overthrow.

With the slaughtering of innocent lives at the hands of Islamic radical terrorists worldwide, we should be extremely alarmed at the thought of tens of thousands of improperly vetted refugees entering America.

It is the federal government’s job to ensure our safety and to address our vulnerabilities to danger, including our sanctuary cities. While these "safe havens" are designed to make people illegally here feel secure, they are also harboring violent cartels and providing cover for dangerous terrorists, and ISIS intends to take advantage of the sanctuary. This week, they threatened to spill American blood in a sanctuary city called Washington, D.C. There’s surely nothing more unpleasant than having someone make you feel like an unwanted refugee while you are cutting someone’s head off.

In sanctuary cities, various groups actually instruct Muslim immigrants not to talk to law enforcement. In fact, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, plastered a poster on its website which stated "Don’t Talk to the FBI," and urged Muslims to "Build a Wall of Resistance" between them and the authorities.

Of course, CAIR’s input is always welcome at the White House.

The UN Refugee Agency’s own data from January through September of 2015 said 72% of the refugees from the Mediterranean countries were men. Yet the UN data also indicates that of all the other 43 million refugees in the world, about 91% are women and children.

ISIS has stated plainly that they would embed jihadi warriors into those refugees. News reports say two of the bombers in Paris were Syrian refugees.

Despite what President Obama stated mere hours before the Paris terrorist attack, ISIS is not "contained." Anyone with a TV witnessed this fact last Friday night. He also is adamant that the terrorists are not Islamic.

However, a renowned Islamic scholar and expert, who reportedly has a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad, believes and has stated that ISIS is indeed Islamic. That expert’s name is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, otherwise known as the leader of ISIS.

You choose who to believe: the world-renowned, Islamic-degreed expert, or our politician-in-chief.

In this war being waged against Western civilization by Islamic jihad, it is imperative that we realize we are in a war, and that it is not a criminal justice matter. In war, you don’t simply "bring people to justice" as the president keeps vowing without doing; you destroy the enemy and his will.

President Obama tried to assuage us during his Turkish press conference regarding his strategies that work by saying “we will double down on those.” We were taught in elementary math that anything times zero is still zero. It won’t matter if this president doubles or quadruples his non-existent strategy. ISIS will not be defeated by this president’s half-hearted criminal justice effort against this ruthless enemy, as it takes territories and heads.

Until President Obama and his echo-chamber sycophants are willing to name our enemy, now in all 50 states, the loser will be us. And with no honest strategy to defeat these jihadis, this administration simply cannot be trusted to properly vet these refugees. Another large-scale terrorist tragedy will be the inevitable result, whether sooner or later.

It is time to stop ridiculing those of us who have been sounding the alarm about radical Islam, and instead to work together to stop them and their terrorist atrocities. Providing a safe haven for refugees in their own home regions should be a priority. The fact that the vast majority of the refugees are men and are so anxious to come to Western civilization raises a question: have these fighting-age men fled their homes, leaving women and children to fight ISIS alone, or is there an ulterior motive for their coming?



Hillary is totally divorced from reality

Yesterday, while Paris was just cleaning up its second Muslim terrorist attack and just hours before Muslim terrorists stormed a hotel in Mali, releasing hostages who would recite Koranic verses, a Democratic frontrunner for President had this to say:

"Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

That candidate? Hillary Clinton, stepping down from her throne to tell all of us to remind all us right-wing simpletons that Islam is a religion of peace. You see, ivory tower, limousine liberals like Clinton think that ordinary Americans take every terrorist attack as an opportunity to string up the nearest Muslim. They think we can't differentiate, and so they offer hyperbolic pap like this as a means of overcompensating.

It is obvious to anyone that not all Muslims are terrorist, but it is just as obvious that Islam has a pretty big terrorist problem, in that those who kill innocent civilians in its name are carrying out an active Holy War. Any American with two eyes can see this, but it challenges Hillary's nutty worldview. It's a world view that's all well and good if you're the typical 70 something grandmother with that says cute old fashioned things and forgets things sometimes, but it's incredibly problematic if you want to run the country.



Maine Doubles Down on Welfare Reform Despite Media Backlash

Mary Mayhew, commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, knows her politics aren’t always popular.

“I can’t stress enough what an attack campaign it has been from the media for four and a half years,” Mayhew said Thursday at an anti-poverty forum in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Heritage Foundation.

Then there are the more personalized critiques: “There is a poet, or he calls himself a poet, and he sends me poems all the time,” she added. “They are not nice poems.”

Mayhew claims that detractors—who mostly take issue with welfare reforms enacted by Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, since his election in 2011—have gone so far as to call her “Commissioner Evil,” and her and LePage’s policies a “War on the Poor.”

The irony, according to Mayhew, lies in the fact that her and LePage’s efforts actually aim to empower Maine’s poorest citizens. She says a third of the state is on welfare.

“The welfare hurricane doesn’t just destroy one family; it destroys generations of them,” Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, said at the event Thursday. “This work is about giving children a better chance for a future.”

To illustrate that point, Mayhew told a story of one of her first days on the job as DHHS commissioner, spent touring a substance abuse treatment facility for adolescents:

I was taken aback by one of the youth who came up to me—it was actually several youth, who were just completely focused on whether I could help them get disability. These were 15-year-old, 16-year-old young men clearly battling addiction, but they had decided that the answer for them was to pursue disability. And, frankly, as we all look at that pathway, that truly is committing individuals to a lifetime of poverty.

Since LePage assumed the governorship, Maine has reduced enrollment in the state’s food stamp program by over 58,000; currently, according to Mayhew, there are 197,000 people on food stamps, down from a high of 255,663 in February 2012.

Mayhew says the decline is due to eliminating the waiver of the work requirement previously attached to food stamps, as also witnessed in Kansas. Under the new legislation, recipients would need to work 20 hours per week, volunteer for about an hour a day, or attend a class to receive food stamps past three months.

LePage and Mayhew have also rolled back Medicaid eligibility through a series of battles Mayhew called “fierce.”

With a population of roughly 1.3 million, Maine had 357,000 individuals receiving Medicaid benefits when LePage took office. Today, 287,000 people are on Medicaid, according to Mayhew.

“What we have done truly has taken the arguments to the public to underscore what has been lost as that program grew out of control, never mind that the resources that had to be devoted to Medicaid were being taken away from education, infrastructure, and reduced tax burden on the state of Maine,” Mayhew said.

In August, Maine DHHS announced they planned to redirect $3.24 million in welfare savings to fund home care services for elderly citizens as well as the Meals on Wheels program.

Lastly, Mayhew touched upon Maine’s efforts to retool the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card programs, stating that Maine had over 15,000 open TANF cases when LePage took office. That number is down to less than 5,000.

LePage’s and Mayhew’s policies, as Mayhew herself highlighted, have not been without controversy.

Earlier this week, amid an ongoing dispute over EBT cards being used to wire money abroad, critics accused the LePage administration of using last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris to justify reforms.

“This proposal is really an example of fear-mongering at its worst,” Robyn Merrill, executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners, told MPBN News.

But Mayhew does not plan to back down—especially if it means reducing her own influence long-term, and shifting that responsibility to local non-profits.

“I can’t underscore enough that part of the issue is government is too big, my agency is too large, and people are trying to preserve their jobs,” she said.

“We have got to reduce the size and scope of these agencies if we are going to have communities really take on the responsibility of supporting these families and these individuals on those pathways [to independence].”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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