The Talk of Connecticut
 
Show Rundown for Monday, July 20, 2015
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DAVID LIGHTMAN (National Correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers) Davis checks in again to wrap-up the last week in politics, including all the buzz surrounding HILLARY CLINTON, DONALD TRUMP and the Iraq nuclear deal.

JEFF BIRNBAUM (Fox News political analyst and Washington Times columnist) THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS SAYS IT WILL START CLOSING HOSPITALS IN WEEKS IF CONGRESS DOESN’T HELP PLUG ITS BUDGET HOLE Senior lawmakers traveled from Capitol Hill to the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters to hear firsthand why the agency is threatening to shut down some hospitals next month if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall. The visit by the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate committees that oversee veterans care was the agency’s latest effort to step up pressure on Congress to fill a $3 billion hole in its budget before the August recess. The lawmakers attended a daily meeting of agency staff that is trying to manage an explosion in demand for health care. VA officials and congressional aides say privately they’re confident they’ll reach a resolution by the end of July that will avoid cutting services to veterans. But a short-term plan does not look like it will quell tensions between Capitol Hill and VA leaders over money and management of veterans care. VA officials sent their latest plan to Congress to shift $3 billion from the underused Choice Card program to cover shortfalls in the department’s Care in the Community program, which provides veterans with outside medical care.

STEVEN KLEIN (Leadership and Productivity Expert, Workplace Culture Expert, Employment Expert) DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS: PHONE AND EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS KILL CONCENTRATION Mobile phone notifications can ruin your focus even if you do not actually pick up the phone to respond to them, a study says. The Florida State University study found that alerts can break concentration, whether or not immediate action is taken on them, Digital Trends reported. "Although these notifications are generally short in duration, they can prompt task-irrelevant thoughts, or mind wandering, which has been shown to damage task performance," lead study author Cary Stothart was quoted as saying. "We found that notifications alone significantly disrupted performance on an attention-demanding task, even when participants did not directly interact with a mobile device during the task," Stothart said. Study authors, Ainsley Mitchum, and Courtney Yehnert ran volunteers through an attention-monitoring test to reach their conclusions. Participants were found to perform significantly worse on a task when their phones were buzzing or ringing. In fact, they were three times more likely to make mistakes. The level of distraction was comparable to actually answering a phone call or writing a text message. "If you really want to keep your mind on a task, just ignoring your phone notifications is not enough. You need to disable them altogether," the researchers said. Is the constant pinging of messages on our devices driving us to distraction?

JOHN MATTHEWS (Highly-Decorated Law Enforcement Vet. Author of "Mass Shootings: Six Steps to Survival." He trains schools across the country how to respond to a mass shooting event. He's also worked with Fed Gov't on developing response systems.) CHATTANOOGA SHOOTING: FOUR MARINES DEAD IN AN ACT OF TERRORISM A man sprays bullets from a silver convertible Mustang at a military recruiting center tucked into a Chattanooga, Tennessee, strip mall. He moves to another military facility a few minutes later, a few miles away, killing four Marines there before he dies. Authorities have identified the man behind the carnage as Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez. What they haven't said is what spurred this once accomplished student, well-liked peer, mixed martial arts fighter and devout Muslim to do it. He was a devout Muslim but didn't appear to be radical, according to some who knew him. The Kuwaiti-born Abdulazeez, who officials say had Jordanian citizenship and was a naturalized U.S. citizen. Was the gunman who killed four Marines a 'lone wolf' or part of a larger network? And is he the 'new normal' in terror? How do we protect ourselves? How do we prevent this from happening in our neighborhoods?

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