In the midst of all the ridiculous, trumped-up outrage and rhetoric, there are true heroes out there, doing what it takes.
Here's one - Anuradha Koirala of Nepal
Check this video out.
Puts a slightly different light on energy consumption and supporting the troops. Don't think I realized that there was quite such a direct connection before.
You know what to do.
This is a cool video on data visualization which makes some interesting points in a short, fresh presentation. It may explain some of the blather that has apparently shown up on some of the cable tv political news shows (which I have not seen because I refuse to watch them most of the time).
There is nothing like the power of writing by someone who experienced war first-hand. There's a female Iraq war vet who lives in MN and is dealing with a horrendous case of PTSD, hallucinations, the whole bit, as well as physical injuries. Ginmar's writing is powerful, from-the-gut truth that breaks away a bit of the shell of the ordinary that surrounds our daily lives and puts her readers in a different place.
I first read her writing in the diary: But aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
It introduces a bit of her story as a female vet with severe PTSD and how the VA, at least her particular VA center, hasn't yet figured out how to deal with the concept that there are no front-lines / behind-the-lines roles in modern warfare. That any deployed soldier, whether part of a supply unit or a combat unit, is in combat and female soldiers should not be lumped in with soldiers' wives for group therapy sessions.
Yesterday ginmar posted a diary about how people use the phrase, Thank you for your service. Makes you rethink what and how you respond to soldiers whose service you want to acknowledge.
In a comment in that one, she mentioned that she was going to post about how the hallucinations were becoming so severe that she was having difficulty writing and she did so today. It's called Riding the Nightmare and it's extraordinary.
There's an excerpt in the middle written by her CO in response to some comments by some supposed vets and conservative military types about her unit and what they did in Iraq. Per the CO, they did routes in Iraq that the Marines wouldn't do with 3-4 unarmored vehicles and no armored escort.
I'm not excerpting because it wouldn't do her writing justice. Start with any of the posts though the last one may make more sense if you read them in chronological order.
Go learn about what our female soldiers did and still do and how we, as a country, and the VA, specifically, fail to acknowledge what they did and to support them fully from someone who's in the midst of dealing with it.
Jonathan Van Meter spent some time trailing around after Hillary both in her office at the State Department, at the UN and on a long trip through multiple countries in Africa. The resulting article which includes an interview with Hillary is a good look at a fascinating and accomplished woman.
It's worth some time to read ... particularly for those Obama supporters who still struggle with what happened on the campaign trail. Actually for Clinton supporters too but I suspect they already know about it.
You probably didn't hear about this story which happened at Bagram military base in Afghanistan. One of Andrew Sullivan's readers wrote a letter that all should read:
I really have to chime in on this topic. I spent the better part of last year deployed to Afghanistan, where I was stationed at Bagram. Part of my job, actually the most important part, was to coordinate the transfer of my unit's fallen back home. This was something that I never, ever looked forward to, but it was a duty I took very seriously. Part of this duty was a departure ceremony as our fallen left Afghanistan for Dover. I don't think you can ever realize how powerful these ceremonies are until you've taken part in one.
At Bagram, all personnel not performing an essential task would line up on the main drive through Bagram. As the open backed HUMMV carrying the flagged draped transfer case slowly proceeded from the mortuary down the main drive to the airfield, everyone would come to attention and render a salute. There would be thousands of people, soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, lined up as for this. The fallen hero would be taken on to the tarmac and driven to an empty C-17 that had its ramp lowered, waiting to receive the transfer case. An honor guard and a cordon, as well as hundreds of servicemen and women, would be silently standing at attention as an honor guard carried the remains to the center of the aircraft. Whenever possible I would arrange for the honor guard and cordon to come from the fallen's team or platoon. Always, always, always, they wanted to be the ones to perform this service.
The last fallen hero ramp ceremony I put together still stings in my memory.
Ramadan had just ended, it was the first few weeks of autumn. A few kilometers from our base one of our police mentoring teams (PMT) was almost attacked by a vehicle bourne improvised explosive device (VBIED). I say almost as the attack was thwarted by one of our HUMMV drivers who took evasive action. Unfortunately, this resulted in the rollover of the HUMMV which caused the death of the driver. I was at the mortuary when the MEDEVAC helicopter brought this young man's broken body in to be prepared for the journey home.
The rest of his team were brought to Bagram as well. They were very adamant that they be the ones to escort the fallen brother to the C17. Although dirty and disheveled from their encounter, I agreed as I am certain their brother would have had it no other way. To a man, they wanted me to know one essential fact about him: he was Muslim. They insisted that he be sent home with a Muslim cleric presiding. We had one at Bagram, a major who was an Islamic chaplain - in fact I had dinner with this man just a few nights prior. We were able to grant the PMT's request.
I do not have the words to adequately describe the emotion in the night air on the tarmac. Under a crescent moon the fallen hero was carried onto the C17 by his team brothers, followed by the honor guard, the Commanding General and Command Sergeant Major of the 101st Airborne, and of course the Muslim chaplain.
Not a lot more needs to be said.
Tara McKelvey delves into why the Veterans Administration under George W. Bush had so much trouble getting help to returning soldiers who were suffering from PTSD. Turns the men in charge didn't think it was a real diagnosis but just something made up by psychologists and psychiatrists when what was really needed was deeper faith in God. So instead of making additional mental health resources available to our soldiers, they were referred to chaplains for a spiritual assessment and given a copy of The Purpose-Driven Life.
Oh yeah, that's going to help someone suffering from nightmares of blood and battle and explosions. The level of incompetency that was installed in all branches of our government by the Bush administration is criminal.
For awhile, I collected the news reports and background stories of soldiers who committed suicide after being unable to get mental health care of any sort from the VA. The devastation to them and to their families was and is horrifying. Now to read that Bush appointees thought that it was just a liberal scheme to make them look bad for getting the country into war is to no longer wonder, but know for certain fact, that the conservative wing of the Republican party has lost its capacity for reason and compassion.
Get ready, George Bush. I don't think God's going to be too lenient.
It's not too often that I find myself wiping away tears as I read but that happened this morning when I read a post from ginmar, an American female vet. I'm not going to excerpt it. It's powerfully written and I'm willing to bet that it makes you pause in your day.
Then think about what you can do to help the female vets in our midst, the ones who are being ignored. Ilona Meagher has some ideas for you.
As for the management of the VA, helloooooo. This is a MAJOR fail in your mission to take care of our soldiers.
Listen up. Paul Krugman expresses just what I've been feeling after hearing about the new climate change report.
Every once in a while I feel despair over the fate of the planet. If you've been following climate science, you know what I mean: the sense that we're hurtling toward catastrophe but nobody wants to hear about it or do anything to avert it.
And here's the thing: I'm not engaging in hyperbole. These days, dire warnings aren't the delusional raving of cranks. They're what come out of the most widely respected climate models, devised by the leading researchers. The prognosis for the planet has gotten much, much worse in just the last few years.
What's driving this new pessimism? Partly it's the fact that some predicted changes, like a decline in Arctic Sea ice, are happening much faster than expected. Partly it's growing evidence that feedback loops amplifying the effects of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are stronger than previously realized. For example, it has long been understood that global warming will cause the tundra to thaw, releasing carbon dioxide, which will cause even more warming, but new research shows far more carbon dioxide locked in the permafrost than previously thought, which means a much bigger feedback effect.
The result of all this is that climate scientists have, en masse, become Cassandras -- gifted with the ability to prophesy future disasters, but cursed with the inability to get anyone to believe them.
And we're not just talking about disasters in the distant future, either. The really big rise in global temperature probably won't take place until the second half of this century, but there will be plenty of damage long before then.
But the larger reason we're ignoring climate change is that Al Gore was right: This truth is just too inconvenient. Responding to climate change with the vigor that the threat deserves would not, contrary to legend, be devastating for the economy as a whole. But it would shuffle the economic deck, hurting some powerful vested interests even as it created new economic opportunities. And the industries of the past have armies of lobbyists in place right now; the industries of the future don't.
Nor is it just a matter of vested interests. It's also a matter of vested ideas. For three decades the dominant political ideology in America has extolled private enterprise and denigrated government, but climate change is a problem that can only be addressed through government action. And rather than concede the limits of their philosophy, many on the right have chosen to deny that the problem exists.
So here we are, with the greatest challenge facing mankind on the back burner, at best, as a policy issue. I'm not, by the way, saying that the Obama administration was wrong to push health care first. It was necessary to show voters a tangible achievement before next November. But climate change legislation had better be next.
And as I pointed out in my last column, we can afford to do this. Even as climate modelers have been reaching consensus on the view that the threat is worse than we realized, economic modelers have been reaching consensus on the view that the costs of emission control are lower than many feared.
So the time for action is now. O.K., strictly speaking it's long past. But better late than never.
It is long past time so get ready. Next up, climate change action. And you thought the health care reform was tough? I suspect that it will seem like a cakewalk next to the climate change initiatives that need to be implemented.
Here's a great video from Paul Hipp that celebrates our #37 ranking in the Health Outcomes by Country survey done by the WHO. Of course, we're #1 in spending on Health Care ... just not so good on the delivery and outcomes side of it.
Via math4barack with more good stuff in his diary "You're trying to make sure everybody has health care and they're putting a Hitler mustache on you."
The people in this video bring home the need for a genuine public option in health care reform in a very real, down-to-earth way,
Senator Lieberman, they're talking to you. Why aren't you listening?
The inability to articulate anything logical beyond the Glenn Beck yelling points is amply illustrated though perhaps to be expected.
Major kudos to the young interviewer and his calm and non-confrontational manner.
From 2003 to 2006, the Bush administration quietly tried to relax the draft language of a treaty meant to bar and punish "enforced disappearances" so that those overseeing the CIA's secret prison system would not be criminally prosecuted under its provisions, according to former officials and hundreds of pages of documents recently declassified by the State Department.
How many years will it take to uncover the damage to our government and to treaties with our allies -- damage which was master-minded by Cheney and his cabal?
A light has gone out.
February 22, 1932 - August 25, 2009
the work goes on,
the cause endures,
the hope still lives,
and the dream shall never die."
-Sen. Ted Kennedy
1980 Democratic National Convention
Picture and quote courtesy of Huffington Post
Margaret. Forgive me honey for I have sinned... I realize now that President Obama is not perfect. I was wrong to suggest that Obama would rid the world of evil and walk on water while doing it. I was wrong to believe he was the Messiah. I can now say that he is not the smartest human to have ever lived and quite frankly he throws like a girl. Whew. That feels good to get off my chest.
I am a big enough woman to admit when I am wrong. But there is one thing wrong with all of this. I never said any of those things in the first place and neither did any Democrat I know. I never said he was perfect. I never expected him to solve all the problems of the world. And I know lots of women who can throw a ball better than most men. I recognize that he is human and I am sure most people in their right minds know that as well. But you would never know any of this if you listen to Rush Limbaugh. Evidently we Democrats are deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to Obama.
I am not giving Obama a free pass. I'm giving him a chance. He has four years to "make it or break it" as they say. And considering what George Bush did to it, breaking it is the least of our worries. Healthcare in the United State is broken. Our reputation around the globe is broken. The banks are broken. The tax system... the school systems... the environment - all broken. Someone needs to try and fix it. So why not Obama?
When George Bush was President I didn't want him to fail. I wanted him to stop acting like an idiot. I wanted him to be honest and listen to the debate of the people. I didn't expect him to act like a Democrat. I expected him to act like an American. And I expected him to at least try to keep his campaign promises.
Exactly Margaret. She has more to say. Read the rest here.
Via Jay Rosen on Twitter, contrary to the Financial Times editor's assertion that most news organizations will be charging for online content within the year, John Gruber gets "it" and states it clearly:
Undeniably, there is money to be made in digital publishing with free reader access, but whether that revenue leads to profits depends upon the scale and scope of the organization. The potential revenue does not appear to be of the magnitude that will support the massive operations of existing news organizations. What works in today's web landscape are lean and mean organizations with little or no management bureaucracy -- operations where nearly every employee is working on producing actual content. I'm an extreme example -- a literal one-man show. A better example is Josh Marshall's TPM Media, which is hiring political and news reporters. TPM is growing, not shrinking. But my understanding is that nearly everyone who works at TPM is working on editorial content.
Old-school news companies aren't like that -- the editorial staff makes up only a fraction of the total head count at major newspaper and magazine companies. The question these companies should be asking is, "How do we keep reporting and publishing good content?" Instead, though, they're asking "How do we keep making enough money to support our existing management and advertising divisions?" It's dinosaurs and mammals.
And it's not really surprising that they're failing to evolve. The decision-makers -- the executives sitting atop large non-editorial management bureaucracies -- are exactly the people who need to go if newspapers are going to remain profitable.
Precisely. Pay attention guys. Josh is showing you what to do.
This is really amazing.
I wonder what the status will be in just 5 years and how long it will take for these medical advances to be available to average health care consumers.
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