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.


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