Archive for January, 2008

31
Jan
08

Record Number of Soldiers Committing Suicide

Rates are up 20% since last year, and at the highest level since the Army began keeping records in 1980.  From The WP (my emphases):

The Army was unprepared for the high number of suicides and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among its troops, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued far longer than anticipated.

[An army study] found that the common factors in suicides and attempted suicides include failed personal relationships; legal, financial or occupational problems; and the frequency and length of overseas deployments…The study…acknowledges that the Army still does not know how to adequately assess, monitor and treat soldiers with psychological problems. In fact, it says that “the current Army Suicide Prevention Program was not originally designed for a combat/deployment environment.”

Staff Sgt. Gladys Santos, an Army medic who attempted suicide after three tours in Iraq, said the Army urgently needs to hire more psychiatrists and psychologists who have an understanding of war. “They gave me an 800 number to call if I needed help,” she said. “When I come to feeling overwhelmed, I don’t care about the 800 number. I want a one-on-one talk with a trained psychiatrist who’s either been to war or understands war.”

Santos, who is being treated at Walter Reed, said the only effective therapy she has received there in the past year have been the one-on-one sessions with her psychiatrist, not the group sessions in which soldiers are told “Don’t hit your wife, don’t hit your kids” or the other groups where they play bingo or learn how to properly set a table.

The article also tells this miserable story of a female Army medic who was repeatedly harrassed by her commander in Iraq, had a nervous breakdown and shot herself, and then was brought up on charges by her commander and faced a court-martial.  After she tried to kill herself, the charges were dropped. 

Under this Administration, we’ve overtaxed and underserved our Armed Forces, to put it mildly.  This week the House and Senate will negotiate the differences in their economic stimulus plans.  The House bill is the one the Administration supports.  The much more generous Senate bill is the one in which disabled vets would receive rebates.  They were not included in the House/Bush bill.  Fortunately, we’ve got this to look forward to, and, of course, THIS.

Supplemental Reading: 

Clinton’s plans for Vets: 21st Century GI Bill for education, streamlined and  accessible healthcare/treatment, and a major expansion of economic benefits, especially housing and jobs.

Obama’s plans for Vets: improved administration, benefits expansion, and explicit emphasis on mental health

Current proposed legislation on veterans’ benefits

Mental Health Parity Act: Passed in the Senate, languishing in the House

 

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31
Jan
08

Warm Fuzzies

How often do you get those in political debate these days?  Check out this terrific thread on what folks LIKE about Clinton and Obama.  (While it’s neck and neck between the candidates in the feel-good-vibes thread here, Michelle Obama is beating the pants off Bill Clinton!  Ew, no pun intended!)

This is much more enjoyable than my very convoluted earlier post about Clinton and Obama as role models (yeah, I think that was supposed to be the point).

30
Jan
08

Strike another blow for town-gown relationships

It’s last call for the oldest bar in Mexico City.

Heads up, uni: You can take the revolutionaries out of the bar, but you can’t take the spirits out of the revolutionaries!!

Clearly, this calls for a drink.

 

30
Jan
08

It’s My Turn

Sing along with Diana Ross, y’all:

It’s My Turn, to see what I can see. I hope you’ll understand, this time’s just for me. Because It’s My Turn, with no apologies, I’ve given up the truth to those I’ve tried to please. 

It’s My Turn, with no more room for lies.  For years I’ve seen my life through someone else’s eyes.  It’s My Turn, to try and find my way.  And if I should get lost, at least I’ll own today. 

It’s My Turn, to start from number one: trying to undo some damage that’s been done.  But now It’s My Turn to reach and touch the sky. No one’s gonna say at least I didn’t try.

Honestly, does it get any better than that?  Yes, some might say, if, for instance, we realized the amazing opportunity to vote into office the first woman or African-American president in our two hundred plus years of that elected office.  And yet, for some reason, with two excellent candidates before us, whom arguably share few policy differences, those of us who culturally identify with either are chastised for, or (often vocally) shy away from, the idea that we take into account the gender, race, personal history, etc. of either candidate. 

Continue reading ‘It’s My Turn’

27
Jan
08

New Orleans: Photos & Essay

I said to the M.A.S. on the last night of our L.A. vacation: “you’re the image, i’m the words.”  A metaphor for our relationship constructed of his photography work and my writing. 

He’s recently uploaded hundreds of his photos of New Orleans on Flickr – the majority of which were taken during joint visits to the region since January 2006.  His work is foremost a testament to the city, and is accompanied by a moving essay describing his love affair with it, including his mourning and desires for the place since Katrina hit in August ’05.  He writes: Continue reading ‘New Orleans: Photos & Essay’

27
Jan
08

The Poverty Candidate

Don’t believe Edwards’s hype: it ain’t him.  And as most Dems seem to already know, we can’t go wrong with Clinton or Obama. 

Closely reading the candidates’ platforms on poverty and inequality might have been more interesting several months ago for all you handicappers, wonks and voters, but the recent summaries of the anti-poverty platforms of Edwards, Clinton and Obama in the new academic journal Pathways only arrived in my inbox this week.  Check out Latoya Peterson’s excellent summary of the candidates’ positions over at Racialicious.  I highly recommend looking at it, because with the exception of my critique of Edwards’s plan, as I won’t be delving too deeply into the details here.  After the jump, what follows is my analysis of their overall priorities and approaches to fighting poverty.

Continue reading ‘The Poverty Candidate’

24
Jan
08

De-Link-ious

While I continue to mull over my options for life in new-thousand-eight, here are some links to interesting political convos around the web that right now I’m too self-absorbed to join.  But it’s good to know my peeps are out there edu-ma-catin’ in my absence.

Rockstar organizer, KSG professor and Obama campaigner Marshall Ganz explains different kinds of power in presidential leadership.  Commenters tell him to “stop shilling” and debate history amongst themselves.

Now that Hillary’s fightin’ like a “Re-thug-lican” (to quote The Field Negro), some progressives find they hate it.  Including Obama.  Meanwhile, CNN wishes Bill Clinton would just punch a reporter already.

New Orleans is the “vagina of America.”  You know, because it’s got a lot people rushing it (two grad students in my dept. today separately told me they were thinking of moving there), and the city’s control and autonomy over its property is under seige.  Solution?  Bring on the 10th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues!

Oh, how I long to be as hilarious as Ms. McEwan while pointing out the hypocrisy in the criticisms over Bill campaigning for Hillary.  Bonus: She trashes Maureen Dowd too!  (Actually, Dowd trashing is the point, but I’m too unmotivated to write about the hypocrisy, so I’m tucking it in here.)

The accountants speak: We’re all fucked.

And PS: Politicians lie.  A lot.  Is it any wonder the word for politics in Swahili “sihasa” is the blend of two words “si,” meaning “not” and “hasa,” meaning “right” or “true.”