This is a keeper

>> Saturday, November 7, 2009

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If it wasn't suicide by cop, then this could be it

>> Thursday, November 5, 2009

Consider this -- the shooter is a Muslim who, as a mental health professional has been listening to the confessions and testimony of soldiers who have participated in tens-- or hundreds of thousands of murders, maimings, rapes, and other assorted brutalities against other Muslims. He has had to listen to some soldiers curse and denigrate the "hajis"-- of which he is one. He has had to watch dozens of whole human beings break down and disintegrate under the stress of enabling and participating in atrocities. And now he has been ordered to report to Iraq, to further assist numberless atrocities against fellow Muslims.

Doesn't this seem like a motive? Doesn't it seem reasonable that a man in this position might just snap?
Hairhead at Hullabaloo

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There's really nothing good to say about this

At this point, I'm leaning towards Maj. Hasan attempting "suicide by cop." But who knows. Everything currently known could change later on.

But the PTSD issue is a serious one. One that the military doesn't really give it the importance that it should as Mark Benjamin has noted in his reporting.
Together, the need for combat troops and the desire to control costs create what David Rudd, chairman of the Texas Tech department of psychology and a former Army psychologist, calls "huge institutional pressures" for the Army to ignore PTSD and the psychological impact of war whenever possible. "The military is not geared to treat psychiatric illness," Rudd said. "They continue to have difficulty accepting the psychological costs of war."

Rudd sees this same state of denial in the military's reaction to the most obvious and disturbing consequence of seven years of war -- escalating suicide rates among ground troops. Last year, 140 Army soldiers committed suicide, which was the highest rate on record.

Last month, the Army announced that the trend continues. Forty-eight soldiers have already killed themselves this year. If that pace is not slowed, at least 225 soldiers will be dead by their own hands by the end of 2009.

Top military officials, however, continue to fluctuate between admitting that combat stress might be one in a series of factors leading to suicides to categorically denying any correlation between war and suicides.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month, Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, stated, "We are at war, and we have been at war for the past seven-plus years. That has undeniably put a strain on our people and equipment." But he blamed the spike in suicides on other factors, such as marital discord, family disagreements, legal, financial and work problems.

Rudd said those kinds of statements become "a little bit more deceptive-looking each month these [suicide] numbers go up." Lurking behind the Army's denial, he said, is the fear there won't be enough boots on the ground in Iraq. "We were not ready for a five-to-six-year campaign," said Rudd. "We were ready for a two-month deal."
The above is from this past April. Just imagine how the suicide numbers will rise if the US decides to increase the number of soldiers in Afghanistan.

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I voted today

>> Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And, for the first time ever, I voted at the polls. Ten plus years of voting by mail and had to vote in person today. I'm pretty sure I registered for absent ballot last year, but oh well. There was a whopping two items to vote on, both for city council positions.

But yesterday I was talking to my dad about voting in Utah. I thought that early voting would be available on Monday. Nope. Why not I don't really understand. But Utah now requires identification in addition to your voter registration card at the polls. Whatever makes it more difficult to vote in this state you know.

Recent Utah laws, however, have made registration more difficult. The legislature ended satellite registration, which allowed citizens to register in their own neighborhoods a week before an election. Mail-in registration must now be completed 30 days before an election, instead of the previous 20 days. Voters can still register in person up to 15 days before an election, but only in the county clerk's office. Each change raises the barrier to the polls just a little higher. An additional hurdle to voting might trip other voters this year. A new law, enacted in May, requires that voters bring proof of identity to the polls, such as a driver's license, a concealed weapon's permit or a passport. The list of approved documents is available on the lieutenant governor's Web site.
So of course Utah has low voter turnouts.
According to the most recent U.S. census, Utah had the lowest voter turnout in the nation in the 2006 elections, and at 36.7 percent, that number is more than double those expected to report to the polls on Election Day 2009.
And according to the Census Bureau, Utah tied with Hawaii for the lowest voter turnout in 2008. Minnesota, the state with the highest voting rate (75 percent in 2008) allows registration on the day of the election. But since that encourages many people to vote, Utah would never allow it.

It just keeps things easier for the Mormons and the Republican Party to keep a hold on the state. It's the same reason why they gerrymandered the boundary lines of Utah's 2nd congressional district.
There's no reason why Utah's 1st and 3rd congressional districts should contain portions of Salt Lake County. The only reason Utah divided the districts in such a fashion was to try and get rid of Jim Matheson after the 2000 Census.

Of course, these bizarro boundaries have created some problems for selecting local offices in Utah for the 2010 Census. The main office for Utah, which is in Salt Lake City, is actually not in the 2nd district boundary lines because of the gerrymandering.

Utah will definitely be getting another congressional district after the 2010 Census. Hopefully the fucktards in the state legislature will have the sense to draw decent boundary lines this time. Not that I'm holding my breath...

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The sparkly vampire featured on the next Vanity Fair

I'm so thrilled.

Not!

I was looking at the cover of the current issue (with Penelope Cruz) and wondering who would be on the cover for the next issue. Question answered.

But, ugh, two more years of this crap. Poor Robert Pattinson. I bet he just can't wait until this is all over so he can go and hide some more.

Whatever will help him get away from the crazies...

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Robert Reich for Treasury Secretary

>> Monday, November 2, 2009

I've read that a lot of people think Paul Krugman should replace Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. I think that's a mistake. Krugman does his best work as a critic. I don't think he's ever had to oversee a government agency, which is more difficult than some people like to believe. Robert Reich has since he was Bill Clinton's first Labor Secretary. He's contributed a lot of commentary along the lines of what Krugman has also been saying on his blog.

It seems to me that Maria Cantwell has been doing more national media appearances this year. Not that I keep track. Generally, I like her and her work as a senator. I wonder if she still has a Prada handbag...

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