Sunday, February 25, 2007

poverty in the United States

Read a pretty depressing story the other day about poverty in the United States. While perhaps there are 37 million in poverty in the United States in severe poverty in the country is at a 32-year high and the numbers have grown 64% since 2000. Additionally, the ranks of the severe poor have grown 56% faster than than the numbers of poor. This is truly very disturbing and points out the fact, again, that while productivity has increased during that time period, real earnings have dipped
This is the "two Americas" rhetoric which John Edwards touched on in his 2004 Presidential campaign. He was widely ridiculed for this position but it's clear that poverty is growing, and at a tragic pace and scale.

More news...while the Bush administration loves to demonize the terrorists (which he says with not a hint of irony), it turns out that, a la Hamas, otherwise objectionable militia groups such as the Shi'ite ans Sunni gangs are offering benefits and health care to their supporters when the West has betrayed them and doesn't have the resources or capacity to help the men who are working in their interests. This counters the notion (not that anyone with any sense really believes it) that rebel groups representing the legitimate interests of a group (such as Hamas, or some of the Iraqi groups, don't care about people and are at root, nihilistic. This is obviously just not true and once, again, along with the fact that there is an increasing humanitarian crisis in Iraq and that the United States will not accept more refugees itself, seem to make a prescient point about the more humane civic institution.

There's been a lot of news about the shortcomings of the Veteran's administration to help returning vets and the consequent damage effecting vets and their families. A story from Playboy Enterprises notes that VA and Dept. of Defense doctors are being pressured to limit their diagnoses of PTSD. In spite of that, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine states that between 13 and 20% of soldiers are being diagnosed as having PTSD. In spite of these diagnoses, only about 2000 soldiers have been diagnosed as having PTSD, which would suggest that a great number of soldiers who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have not been diagnosed as such. This would seem to uphold the findings of the New England Journal of Medicine and their conclusion that many soldiers are evading the PTSD diagnosis.

The other big story about the failure to help Veteran's is about the terrible conditions at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. Apparently there was mold on the walls, bugs infesting the rooms, and not nearly the amount of
medical care to attend to the injuries afflicting the many who had been injured in America's name. It's truly disgraceful that America's finest should be so cast aside in such a cold manner.

Oh yes, and go and see "Children of Men." Fantastic, inspiring, sobering film.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Racism is dead...

long live racism. And this from a supposedly progressive, or at least somewhat sophisticated webzine. What a disgrace. Analyzing every nuance of his body language as though that can provide definitive insight. And suggesting he was uppity? Are they completely racially tone-deaf. good lord.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Got $9 bn. to burn?

  • No, you probably don't, but Paul Bremer did. And, um, oops, apparently he did a whoopsy wiff da $8 billion (yes, with a b). Indeed, $2 million was moved around in a bag. Imagine what he would would have got if he had looked after that money. But this is a family blog, we don't talk about that sort of thing here. You can read about it after hours I'm sure somewhere on the Internets, or just visit one of those "adult" stores with no windows.....I'm sure you could see what ol' Pauly might have gotten if he'd actually held onto that money. Even though Wolfowitz said the war would pay for itself. Remember that? Maybe $2
    (yes, with a t), perhaps we'll be clear of that cost. And that estimate was made assuming the US wouldn't escalate the saber-rattling on Iran. Really, the escalation of the war effort is so similar to what happened with Iraq. And as the Raw Story link two links above notes, the NY Times report is completely outside their usual standards of journalism in that they have standards for anonymous citation. They supposedly require verified sources for controversial stories but, as was the case four years ago (it was the same reporter who co-wrote the WMD stories with Judith Miller...coincidence?), and in spite of the responsibility that the Ol' Grey Lady took for her fawning coverage of the propaganda served up in '02, here it goes again. The usual suspects are citing anonymous sources, using misleading evidence and making claims that are just flat-out lies. And yet the Government Public Relations Dept. networks continue to peddle the same tired, BS stories to promote.....what? Death for poor and middle class people in Iraq and Iran. Fantastic.

  • Juan Cole notes that if Iranians had been killing Americans to the extent that the Tired Grey Lady says, they would essentially have been solely responsible for American deaths in Baghdad. And really does the NYT reporter not think Iraqis have enough reason to want to kill Americans by themselves? I would think so. As people noted Iran wanted to co-operate in handling Saddam, but we rejected them out of hand-not that the Iraq War was ever a good idea but at this point we're looking for the best of many bad options. It seems, however, that Monkey Boy wanted chaos in the Middle East. More criticism of the NY Times from Glenn Greenwald who points out that the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times seem to have learnt from their stenography sessions for the Cheney administration in 2002 and early '03. The NYT though, as he notes, remains the fair hand-maiden for Dear Leader.Think Progress also criticizes the NYT for their stenography. This article mentions a National Journal article which says that it was the intelligence community and not Stephen Hadley (as he claims in an Los Angeles Times article cited by Think Progress) which demanded that the overstatements about Iranian involvement in Iraq were removed. Yeesh, haven't we been down this road before?

  • Yet another reason Clint Eastwood rules. Neil Cavuto tries to lead him to pander to right-wing talking points but Clint's having none of it. He's frank and to the point and won't be led down the fanciful path Cavuto walks. Dickhead

Saturday, February 03, 2007

to unload my head....

with apologies to Robert Zimmerman, there is so much stuff going on that I've been meaning to blog about, or at least express some regret about. Herewith:

  • Would Jesus really lie about what the police were allowed, or not, to do? I think we know the answer to that.

  • R.I.P. Molly Ivins. She has encouraged and enlightened me since I became politically conscious maybe 15 years ago. Anyway, there are multiple tributes to her, as is fitting. Here's the Rude Pundit who I have a soft spot for; he's obviously as torn up as I am about her death. Here's Maya Angelou in a graceful tribute; Here's her magazine, The Texas Observer with its tribute to her. Here's The Nation's tribute to Molly as well as a podcast featuring John Nichols of The Nation commemmorating her. Here is Firedoglake (an excellent liberal blog (also they're second-to-none for coverage of the Libby trial) with a tribute and clips of her columns. And Arianna Huffington, a woman similar to Molly in lots of good ways.

  • Yeah, obviously since we're there, we have to keep order, but here's The Bull In The China Shop, yet again.

  • The President wants more money. $250 billion. Just to put that in perspective, the annual education budget is $70 billion. Think about how much more wisely this money (the war money, not the could be spent.

  • Plus ca change.... I wanted to write a post like this. The man has culled all the contradictory and misleading reports about the threat of Iran. The networks are drinking the regime administration's hype on Iran, just as they did on Iraq. You know someone is making so much money off these wars because people are not this stupid for no reason.

  • And dunno if you guys saw the marketing campaign which The Cartoon Network undertook for a TV show. Y'all probably know the story, but anyway, they arrested a couple guys who were responsible for the marketing campaign. Some people got really bent out of shape. The press conference of the "marketing gurus" was really funny:

  • And enough badness and negativity, here's Jon Stewart on Dick Cheney's false indignation over Wolf Blitzer just mentioning his daughter. Here's The Daily Show on the State of the Union:

    And then here The Daily Show on Dick Cheney's and W's refusal to consider withdrawing, you know, coz we have to avenge every death.

  • I'm glad they're finally doing this. I blogged about this some time ago. The President won't veto, he just claims false authority to ignore parts of laws he doesn't like. What a wonderful example to kids ("Mom, no, I'll do the dishes every week except for the second week of the month".)

  • Nice to see we're aiding the Iraqi cops so ably.