More than 16 million children are now living in poverty and, for many of them, a proper home is elusive. Some cash-strapped families stay with relatives; others move into motels or homeless shelters. But, as Scott Pelley reports, sometimes those options run out, leaving an even more desperate choice: living in their cars. 60 Minutes returns to Florida, home to one third of America’s homeless families, to find out what life is like for the epidemic’s youngest survivors.
To learn more about the organization “Families In Transition” – the social services organization featured in this piece – click here. The organization works with homeless students in the Seminole County schools.
The following is a script of “Hard Times Generation” which aired on Nov. 27, 2011. Scott Pelley is correspondent, Bob Anderson and Nicole Young, producers.
Never has unemployment been so high for so long. And as a result, more than 16 million kids are living in poverty – the most since 1962. It’s worst where the construction industry collapsed. And one of those places is central Florida.
We went there eight months ago to meet families who’d become homeless for the first time in their lives. So many were living day-to-day that school buses changed their routes to pick up all the kids living in cheap motels. We called the story “Hard Times Generation.”
A reporter’s story: Finding homeless families
Unemployment in central Florida is so acute that some families are now living in their cars. So how did Scott Pelley’s team track down people without addresses?
Now, we’ve gone back to see how things have changed. It turns out some families are losing their grip on the motels and discovering the homeless shelters are full. Where do they go then? They keep up appearances by day and try to stay out of sight at night – holding on to one another in a hidden America – a place you wouldn’t notice unless you ran into the people that we met in the moments before dawn.
Time, has carried us into uncharted territory. The great recession began December 2007. Almost 1,500 mornings ago.
If you were rushing to work this morning, in Seminole County, Florida, it’s not likely you’d notice the truck or hear the children getting ready for school.
Arielle Metzger: In the clear bin, we have dirty laundry. In that one, there’s tools that we might need.
Scott Pelley: All these bank bags are storage of this and that.
Arielle Metzger: Like shampoo….
Barney Frank, US Rep. for Massachusetts’ 4th district since 1981, won’t seek reelection in 2012.
Latest “12 Days of Christmas Index” up 4.4% over last year.
Oxford English Dictionary Picks ‘Squeezed Middle’ as Word of the Year.
How to be Happy: Tips for Cultivating Contentment “Are you tired of waiting around for happiness to find you? Stop waiting and start getting happy with these tips from the Mayo Clinic.” Related site: Happiness: 6 Myths and Truths.”
Seventy-five percent of all gold in circulation has been extracted since 1910. – Provided by RandomHistory.com
Woman Loses Custody of Obese Son
Officials in Ohio placed an 8-year-old boy in foster care last month because his mother failed to control his ballooning weight, which had surpassed 200 lb (91 kg). The mother stands accused of failing to take the proper measures to control her son’s weight, an infraction officials have categorized as “medical neglect.” While supporters say that the health dangers associated with obesity necessitate such extreme action, opponents say the practice could cause irreparable emotional harm to children and fails to address other factors that contribute to obesity. More
In what sounds like a classic knee-slapper from an Orwellian joke book, the Calgary-based oil and gas company Paramount Resources is naming the subsidiary overseeing it controversial oil sands operation after one of the world’s most beloved animation studios: Pixar.
“Paramount Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the reorganization of all of the Company’s oil sands and carbonate bitumen interests into a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Pixar Petroleum Corp. (“Pixar”),” announced a press release.
The Disney Blog points out that, while shameless, there isn’t likely to be a trademark issue as “there shouldn’t be any real confusion among the public that they’re the same company.”
That being said, Paramount is clearly hoping at least some people might be persuaded to lessen their distaste for the environmentally disastrous oil sands extraction process if they associate it with Buzz or Sulley or Nemo.
Big Screen Animation makes note of a poignant coincidence: The negative environmental impacts of the Athabasca (Alberta) tar sands were well explored in a series of documentaries produced by none-other-than Leslie Iwerks — director of The Pixar Story and A Day in the Life of John Lasseter.
One of the documentaries Downstream, is available for viewing online.
Bittersweet longing: Fighting for North Korean human rights in South Korea
“South Koreans will especially face these questions from North Koreans–what did you know, and what did you do to help us?” declares Suzanne Scholte, Chairman of the North Korean Freedom Coalition. Her voice sounds assertive and confident, the aural equivalent of her blonde bob on an outdoor screen. A Korean woman standing to the right interprets on her behalf.
For a national rally, we are a small number, no more than 200 or so, gathered in the plaza at Seoul Station to commemorate North Korea Freedom Week. It’s drizzly and damp out, though I suspect weather alone isn’t reason enough to explain the lack of supporters. Stacks of white plastic chairs stay piled high, while streams of evening shoppers leaving Lotte Mart and businessmen carrying briefcases walk past, tossing casual glances our way.
Military members fill the first five rows of seating, while the rest are occupied by groups of older Korean women who carry yellow posters that read, “Stop three generations of automatic power!” below a picture of a pig. In place of the pig’s face is a photo of Kim Jong Il’s son, Kim Jung Eun.
The Sex Addiction Epidemic
It wrecks marriages, destroys careers, and saps self-worth. Yet Americans are being diagnosed as sex addicts in record numbers. Inside an epidemic.
Valerie realized that sex was wrecking her life right around the time her second marriage disintegrated. At 30, and employed as a human-resources administrator in Phoenix, she had serially cheated on both her husbands—often with their subordinates and co-workers—logging anonymous hookups in fast-food-restaurant bathrooms, affairs with married men, and one-night stands too numerous to count. But Valerie couldn’t stop. Not even after one man’s wife aimed a shotgun at her head while catching them in flagrante delicto. Valerie called phone-sex chat lines and pored over online pornography, masturbating so compulsively that it wasn’t uncommon for her to choose her vibrator over going to work. She craved public exhibitionism, too, particularly at strip clubs, and even accepted money in exchange for sex—not out of financial necessity but for the illicit rush such acts gave her.
For Valerie, sex was a form of self-medication: to obliterate the anxiety, despair, and crippling fear of emotional intimacy that had haunted her since being abandoned as a child. “In order to soothe the loneliness and the fear of being unwanted, I was looking for love in all the wrong places,” she recalls.
After a decade of carrying on this way, Valerie hit rock bottom. Facing her second divorce as well as the end of an affair, she grew despondent and attempted to take her life by overdosing on prescription medication. Awakening in the ICU, she at last understood what she had become: a sex addict. “Through sexually acting out, I lost two marriages and a job. I ended up homeless and on food stamps,” says Valerie, who, like most sex addicts interviewed for this story, declined to provide her real name. “I was totally out of control.”
“Sex addiction” remains a controversial designation—often dismissed as a myth or providing talk-show punchlines thanks to high-profile lotharios such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Tiger Woods. But compulsive sexual behavior, also called hypersexual disorder, can systematically destroy a person’s life much as addictions to alcohol or drugs can. And it’s affecting an increasing number of Americans, say psychiatrists and addiction experts. “It’s a national epidemic,” says Steven Luff, coauthor of Pure Eyes: A Man’s Guide to Sexual Integrity and leader of the X3LA sexual-addiction recovery groups in Hollywood.
the Siege of Leningrad seventy years on
For the past five years, I have been working on a history of the 1941-44 siege of Leningrad. Just out with Bloomsbury, it’s now making its own way in the world, leaving me to reflect on how perceptions of the siege have changed and are still changing here and in Russia.
One of the great under-reported atrocities of the war
Outside Russia, Leningrad is one of the great under-reported atrocities of the war. Having reached the city outskirts in early September 1941, Hitler and his generals decided that instead of storming the city directly – as they had Kiev and Smolensk – they would besiege it, letting no civilians out nor food or other supplies in. Though Leningrad never fell, the result was about three quarters of a million dead from starvation – between a quarter and a third of Leningrad’s entire pre-siege population. Added to that should be a million or so Soviet servicemen and women killed in action in the Leningrad region, mostly during Germany’s initial invasion and final retreat.
The Blue Angels
In 1946, the US Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, performed for the first time. Intended to enhance Navy recruiting and to represent American armed forces as international ambassadors of good will, the Blue Angels perform aerial demonstrations involving highly precise maneuvers while flying in formation. During the stunts, the jets can sometimes come within 18 inches of each other. Why is it that pilots in the Blue Angels squadron do not wear G-suits? More…
The Dwindling Power of a College Degree
The 2012 presidential election can be seen as offering a choice between two visions of how to return us to this country’s golden age — from roughly 1945 to around 1973 — when working life was most secure for many Americans, particularly white, middle-class men. President Obama said his jobs plan was for people who believed “if you worked hard and played by the rules, you would be rewarded.” Mitt Romney explained his goal was to restore hope for “folks who grew up believing that if they played by the rules . . . they would have the chance to build a good life.” But these days, many workers have lost a near guarantee on a decent wage and benefits — and their careers are likely to have much more volatility (great years; bad years; confusing, mediocre years) than their parents’ ever did. So when did the rules change?
It has been hard to keep track. Over the past four decades, we have experienced the oil embargo, Carter-era malaise and a few recessions. Mixed in were the thrills of the late 1990s and mid-aughts, when it seemed as if you were a sap if you weren’t getting rich or at least trying. But these dramas prevented many of us from realizing that the economic logic was changing fundamentally. Starting in the 1970s, labor was upended by a lot more than just formal government work rules. Increased global trade devastated workers in many industries, especially textiles, apparel, toys, furniture and electronics assembly. Computers and other technological innovations had an arguably greater impact. While factories continue to make more stuff in the United States than ever before, employment in them has collapsed.
The Christian religious holiday may not arrive until December 25, but secular and commercial festivities have been in full swing for almost a month already. Increasingly the non-religious aspects of the holiday are celebrated even in countries without a strong Christian tradition. Gathered here are images of preparations from around the world as it begins to look a lot like Christmas. — Lane Turner (42 photos total)
Only a tiny fraction of the brain is dedicated to conscious behavior. The rest works feverishly behind the scenes regulating everything from breathing to mate selection. In fact, neuroscientist David Eagleman of Baylor College of Medicine argues that the unconscious workings of the brain are so crucial to everyday functioning that their influence often trumps conscious thought. To prove it, he explores little-known historical episodes, the latest psychological research, and enduring medical mysteries, revealing the bizarre and often inexplicable mechanisms underlying daily life.
Eagleman’s theory is epitomized by the deathbed confession of the 19th-century mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who developed fundamental equations unifying electricity and magnetism. Maxwell declared that “something within him” had made the discoveries; he actually had no idea how he’d achieved his great insights. It is easy to take credit after an idea strikes you, but in fact, neurons in your brain secretly perform an enormous amount of work before inspiration hits. The brain, Eagleman argues, runs its show incognito. Or, as Pink Floyd put it, “There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.”
There is a looming chasm between what your brain knows and what your mind is capable of accessing. Consider the simple act of changing lanes while driving a car. Try this: Close your eyes, grip an imaginary steering wheel, and go through the motions of a lane change. Imagine that you are driving in the left lane and you would like to move over to the right lane. Before reading on, actually try it. I’ll give you 100 points if you can do it correctly.
It happens only in asia! – 130 Pics
Two remarkable women living hundreds of miles apart were fortunate enough to survive the Holocaust – one became a famous pianist, the other fought with Tito’s Partisans.
Jamila Kolonomos leafs slowly through the ageing photographs, her finger tracing the outline of her family members.
“My mother Estef, my father Isaac,” she begins, moving through them slowly. “Then my brothers and sisters.”
She goes on, naming all 18 of her relatives killed in the Holocaust.
“I was the only one not taken. I didn’t even say goodbye to them,” she muses, grappling with the memories.
Jamila Kolonomos is one of the few Jews still remaining in Macedonia – a country that lost 98% of its Jewish population, the highest proportion anywhere in the world. I stopped off at her house in Skopje on the way to the city’s new Holocaust museum.
Lab mice: Are they limiting our understanding of human disease?
The dangers of using one lab animal to study every disease.
Mark Mattson knows a lot about mice and rats. He’s fed them; he’s bred them; he’s cut their heads open with a scalpel. Over a brilliant 25-year career in neuroscience—one that’s made him a Laboratory Chief at the National Institute on Aging, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, a consultant to Alzheimer’s nonprofits, and a leading scholar of degenerative brain conditions—Mattson has completed more than 500 original, peer-reviewed studies, using something on the order of 20,000 laboratory rodents. He’s investigated the progression and prevention of age-related diseases in rats and mice of every kind: black ones and brown ones; agoutis and albinos; juveniles and adults; males and females. Still, he never quite noticed how fat they were—how bloated and sedentary and sickly—until a Tuesday afternoon in February 2007. That’s the day it occurred to him, while giving a lecture at Emory University in Atlanta, that his animals were nothing less (and nothing more) than lazy little butterballs. His animals and everyone else’s, too.
Mattson was lecturing on a research program that he’d been conducting since 1995, on whether a strict diet can help ward off brain damage and disease. He’d generated some dramatic data to back up the theory: If you put a rat on a limited feeding schedule—depriving it of food every other day—and then blocked off one of its cerebral arteries to induce a stroke, its brain damage would be greatly reduced. The same held for mice that had been engineered to develop som…
Besides, it was 1969, said Dr. Pinker, who is now a 57-year-old psychologist at Harvard. “If you weren’t an anarchist,” he said, “you couldn’t get a date.”
At the dinner table, he argued with his parents about human nature. “They said, ‘What would happen if there were no police?’ ” he recalled. “I said: ‘What would we do? Would we rob banks? Of course not. Police make no difference.’ ”
This was in Montreal, “a city that prided itself on civility and low rates of crime,” he said. Then, on Oct. 17, 1969, police officers and firefighters went on strike, and he had a chance to test his first hypothesis about human nature.
“All hell broke loose,” Dr. Pinker recalled. “Within a few hours there was looting. There were riots. There was arson. There were two murders. And this was in the morning that they called the strike.”
The Xinjiang Procedure
To figure out what is taking place today in a closed society such as northwest China, sometimes you have to go back a decade, sometimes more.
One clue might be found on a hilltop near southern Guangzhou, on a partly cloudy autumn day in 1991. A small medical team and a young doctor starting a practice in internal medicine had driven up from Sun Yat-sen Medical University in a van modified for surgery. Pulling in on bulldozed earth, they found a small fleet of similar vehicles—clean, white, with smoked glass windows and prominent red crosses on the side. The police had ordered the medical team to stay inside for their safety. Indeed, the view from the side window of lines of ditches—some filled in, others freshly dug—suggested that the hilltop had served as a killing ground for years.
Thirty-six scheduled executions would translate into 72 kidneys and corneas divided among the regional hospitals. Every van contained surgeons who could work fast: 15-30 minutes to extract. Drive back to the hospital. Transplant within six hours. Nothing fancy or experimental; execution would probably ruin the heart.
With the acceleration of Chinese medical expertise over the last decade, organs once considered scraps no longer went to waste. It wasn’t public knowledge exactly, but Chinese medical schools taught that many otherwise wicked criminals volunteered their organs as a final penance.
Right after the first shots the van door was thrust open and two men with white surgical coats thrown over their uniforms carried a body in, the head and feet still twitching slightly. The young doctor noted that the wound was on the right side of the chest as he had expected. When body #3 was laid down, he went to work.