Today’s interesting reading: PSTD, Ultranationalist, Myths, and Rex Stout, Oh My.

Ancient warrior myths help veterans fight PTSD

Many people in the audience are surprised that these classic battle stress symptoms are thousands of years old. “By using an ancient text, we’re trying to create a safe distance,” Doerries said. According to John Klocek, a psychology professor at Baylor University who treated PTSD at the VA for years, letting veterans know that PTSD is an ancient condition might also help remove the stigma around it.

Contextualization and integration into a social narrative helps relieve PSTD. I wonder if this could be used to have traumatized women or those getting out of drug-war related gang violence, etc. , not just war vets.

European far-right bloc collapses :

Italian MEP Alessandra Mussolini, the grand-daughter of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, reportedly described Romanians as “habitual law-breakers”.

Italy recently expelled 20 Romanians following a spate of violent crimes.

The resignations take the bloc’s membership below the minimum required for a grouping in the parliament.

The European parliament only grants official status to political groups that can claim a minimum of 20 members from at least five countries.

Well, the good thing about nationalists in an international forum is that their nationalism blocks unified effort. It is still a bad sign for European Parliamentary legitimacy, but there are a bunch of center-right parties breathing a little less hurried because the ultra-nationalists can not get over their ethnic tensions first. At least, they have not in the past from 2007 to current. Still, all indicators say the mood about the EU outside of Germany is pretty profoundly negative in most member countries.

Also related: Meet your ultra-nationalists.

ITUC Report: S. Korea near the bottom of the global pile on worker rights

Park, the daughter of the last dictator of South Korea, has made things worse, and it was never great in South Korea on this front. There were Unions, but they had about the power of the Unions in the Southern US (which is to say, very little). I used to get tired of expats complaining about work conditions when I lived there as if they were being discriminated against–and they were sometimes, but generally they were actually treated better than their Korean counterparts. Work culture in Korea is just difficult for a OECD country.

Rex Stout on Writing .

Just some friendly advice.

‘I Am a Secular Christian,’ Richard Dawkins Admits

As an atheist, I have always been amazed that until about two or three years ago, how much the cultural Anglicanism and some the attendant misreadings of Muslims and Catholics that were lifted directly from Protestant polemic got a pass in Dawkins.

Colleges Rattled as Obama Seeks Rating System

The rating system, which the president called for in a speech last year and is under development, would compare schools on factors like how many of their students graduate, how much debt their students accumulate and how much money their students earn after graduating. Ultimately, Mr. Obama wants Congress to agree to use the ratings to allocate the billions in federal student loans and grants. Schools that earn a high rating on the government’s list would be able to offer more student aid than schools at the bottom.

While I agree with the diagnosis, the solution is similar to the accountability solutions offered to Secondary Schools, and we have seen how that has played out. Gains are hard to measure, but poor and minority achievement gaps made gains until 1997 and then stopped. School reforms which are specifically targeted at this very problem have not made inroads since the reform movement itself started in late 1990s.

Euro blues

The first thing to say about the elections to the European parliament is that the turnout across Europe was almost exactly the same as in the last time in 2009 at 43%. Despite the campaigns of anger by the Eurosceptic and far right parties against the EU, voters continued to show a lack of interest in the EU parliament and doubt that EU institutions were relevant to their lives. The NO VOTE party won again. Voter turnout has steadily fallen since 1979 when it was 62% with the no vote party starting to win from 1999 when the euro emerged. . . .

Public opinion pollsters have found that, of those who voted for the likes of UKIP or the FN, about one-third were just fed up with all the main parties and another 10% were protesting against the existing government. In France, apparently over 40% of white working class voters went for the FN. Yes, there is a layer of voters who are anti-immigrant, nationalist and even racist. But this layer remains relatively small in the broad sweep of things. Take the UKIP vote in the UK. Of those who voted in the UK EU election, nearly three-quarters voted for other parties and less than one in ten who could have voted did so for UKIP. Similarly even in France, only one in nine voted for the FN.

So you have the emergence of something like the Tea Party being supported by generalized anger at the main parties and a heavy dose of Euro-skepticism more than nationalism. That seems to be the trend.

Piketty, data and the scientific method

That rare breed, a Marxist economist, takes a serious look at Piketty and Chris Giles’s critique of Piketty’s numbers. As one would expect–or perhaps not given the number of right-wing magazines who paint Piketty as the second coming of Marx (who Piketty has admitted to not studying particularly deeply)–Robert’s has a very mixed take on both the book and the critique.

A Textbook Case of Charter Skimming

Charters acting corrupt and getting high needs students off their enrollment… well, I never!


One thought on “Today’s interesting reading: PSTD, Ultranationalist, Myths, and Rex Stout, Oh My.

  1. It may be worth noting that that the news story with the nationalists calling each other untermenschen is from 2007. Hopefully, history will repeat itself. (Er, you know, that particular bit of history, not certain other ones.)

    I wonder how much the underlying observation can be extended: how much of the leftward trend over time can be explained by the greater ability of universalists to cooperate than particularists? We would expect this effect to show up at all stages of history, but not all periods seem to show this trend (before the modern period the most obvious example I can think of is the spread of univeralistic religions, though surely there are others.)

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