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January 31, 2013

Women In Combat

 

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Women In Combat: It’s Been Happening for Decades; But Now Women Will Get Credit

January 31, 2013

Women in Combat: Its Been Happening for Decades; But Now Women Will Get Credit

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Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill), a disabled Iraq War veteran                            photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Stephanie Stone served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, and comes from a military family. She writes from experience when she says she’s glad women now officially face enemy fire because that means women will continue to do what they have always done in the military – but now they will do it with real training, acknowledgement of their role in combat, and they will receive the proper care when they’re through.

Here’s an excerpt from her essay on Zócalo Public Square:

“… For example, in the war in Iraq, women have been attached to Marine battalions and thrown into intense fighting in places like Ramadi. These young women, despite having no infantry training, have fought in some of the bloodiest counterinsurgency battles of the  Iraq war and returned home as part of this country’s first generation of female combat veterans. … yet they don’t receive proper training to do so, and they have not received formal recognition of their battlefield experience. Back in the U.S., they will be less likely than their male counterparts to get promotions, and they will not receive the veteran benefits given to males who have seen combat.

“That’s why the news on Wednesday that the Pentagon has lifted its ban on female soldiers in combat roles made me very happy. I noticed many people posting online that this is a dubious achievement for women—that placing yourself at greater risk of being shot or blown up is hardly a step forward for women’s rights.

“But these commenters are missing the point. Women already are in combat. …”

To read the full article on Zócalo Public Square, click here.

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Guns, Rage, and Stephen King

January 29, 2013

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The king of the horror novel (and horror novel turned flick), has released a 99-cent e-book on gun violence in America. And, of course, any book on gun violence in America includes opinions on what can be done about it. In this case, King gives us a list of possible Congressional bills starting with the one most likely to pass and ending with the one most needed, but least likely to end up law.

But it is the first chapter of this short and astute essay that truly horrifies with its brutal, unembellished clarity. Called “The Shake,” it gives us a play by play of how each of these shootings is identical. Different names, different places, yes; but each committed by a boy or young man, with automatic weapons swiped from an adult relative, usually a parent; how the crime enters the public sphere, and then, just as quickly, fades away. And, ultimately, how none of the inherent problems that lead to the endlessly repeating scenario is ever honestly addressed.

I read it last night. It seems we take care of the problem of gun violence in America the same way we take care of the mortgage crisis, or the fact that corporations don’t pay taxes. That is to say, the public makes a lot of noise, and Congress pretends to address the problem for just as long as the tragedy remains fresh in the public mind. As the memory fades, we move on. Congress capitulates to the gun lobby as easily as it is bribed by Wall Street. Repeat as needed, ad nauseam, forever.

And the rest of the world shakes their heads and says, “What’s the deal with Americans and all their guns?”

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One word: Paranoia.

Americans love guns for the same reason the Apocalypse is their favorite Bible story. The world is coming to an end, man! If it’s not God, then it’s some foreigner, or it’s the government itself! Only the people with the most guns will survive. Arm yourselves! Get into your homemade shelter!

Two words: High School

There is a new study out that says high school is the worst place you could possibly send an adolescent. It can mess with your mind in ways that are permanent. And, for the more fragile of the population, can send certain boys over the edge into violence. It’s only the boys who walk into school armed, with a machine gun stolen from their paranoid mommy or daddy or grandpa; the bullied, the weak, who suffer abuse at home as well as in the classroom. In the end, they usually turn the gun on themselves.

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Matt Taibbi Exposes More Lies About the Big Bank Bailout

January 15, 2013

In the latest edition of Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi breaks down what really happened during the bank bailout, and how the government is helping the banks lie about their balance sheets to prevent “panic.” In Taibbi’s analysis, the bailout was never about jump-starting the economy. Ultimately, the banks took tax-payer money to keep them from going out of business, and now get deferred tax credits, so that they don’t have to pay anything into the economy. Sound like a raw deal?

The seventeen minute video above by Democracy Now! is worth every minute.

There’s also the transcript.

And here’s the Rolling Stone article: “Secrets and Lies of the Bailout: The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come.”


Two Jackasses Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

January 10, 2013

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Johnny Knoxville of “Jackass” fame, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, also of jackass fame, are a team in this new movie with big guns. From the looks of the marketing, the jackasses battle other, unseen, un-movie-poster-worthy jackasses. I’m guessing the “star” jackasses win.

It hasn’t opened yet. And, no, I won’t be seeing it.

(See also “Arnold the Barbarian“)


Evidence Of Organized Galaxies Freaking Out Scientists Worldwide

January 6, 2013

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photo: University of Utah/AP

A team of scientists have discovered thirteen dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda at the same speed and in an organized ring – defying current astrophysics models that argue that galaxies form and arrange themselves randomly.

“They found a beautiful structure … and did a very nice job of data analysis,” astronomer Dr. Chris Stoughton told the Christian Science Monitor. The team’s report appears in the January 3rd issue of the journal, Nature.

In addition to blowing apart current galaxy theory, the scientists discovered that Adromeda and the Milky Way are set to collide in 4.5 billion years. So, I guess the Mayan prediction of the end of the world was WAY off… but it’s still gonna happen.

A member of the LA-based Alternative Media Network quipped: “Now that the galaxies are organized, I wonder which union they’re going to join?”