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Author: TriSec    Date: 12/02/2008 11:41:22

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,085th day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the Warron Terra, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4207
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4068
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3747
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3348
Since Election (1/31/05): 2770

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 314
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 627
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 389
Contractor Deaths - Iraq: 445

We find this morning's Cost of War passing through:

$576, 093, 250, 000.00



Last week, we looked over some of the potential candidates for Secretary of Veteran Affairs in an Obama Cabinet. Whoever that may be, they're going to be facing enormous challenges in rebuilding a decimated agency and caring for the returning troops. IAVA posted an editorial at New York Newsday recently about the need for change at the VA.




The system that cares for our veterans - especially the newly physically and psychologically wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan - needs bold, aggressive new leadership. As he builds a national security team, President-elect Barack Obama should work to transform this broken bureaucracy.

In the past few weeks, examples of that brokenness have surfaced. Locally, the Department of Veterans Affairs reassigned the director of its New York regional office and five other managers, because workers had falsified dates on claims. The goal of the backdating was to make it look as if the office had begun to process applications within the required time. An investigation also turned up a lot of unanswered mail, plus some claim documents in shredder bins.

Nationally, the department’s inspector general found that other veterans’ records had been readied for shredding. The department told regional offices to stop shredding until it could install better procedures. But why does it depend so much on paper, instead of moving more rapidly toward an efficient system for electronic processing of claims?

The regional flap sounds like an overworked staff trying - the wrong way - to deal with a huge backlog. We can’t have veterans waiting 180-plus days for claims to get fully processed, while they’re suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or physical ailments - or both - and facing the same economic forces that are oppressing all of us.

The department needs inspiring, transformational leadership. But leadership alone won’t suffice. The department also needs more staffing and better technology to reduce the backlogs. Vets shouldn’t have to wait any longer for real change that addresses their needs promptly.



Staying with IAVA...have you ever wondered where the troops stand on the war? The Bush Administration has worked hard to make sure the soldier's voices aren't heard...but the magazine Scientific American has managed to run a study and they discovered something stunning. In this war, soldiers who have taken another human life tend to support the war more. In all my readings of America's past conflicts...the opposite has been true.


How do soldiers come to terms with having taken a life in combat? Research has suggested that when people consider themselves to be “good” but are forced to do something “bad” to others, they adopt negative opinions about their victims to rationalize their actions. But according to a new study, this tendency may not apply to soldiers or at least not to those who have served in the Iraq War. American soldiers who have killed in Iraq do not think more poorly of Iraqis than Iraq War soldiers who have not killed—they do, however, think worse of Americans who speak out against the war.

Wayne Klug, a psychologist at Berkshire Community College, asked 68 Iraq War veterans about their experiences, their thoughts on the war and their opinions about Iraqis and Americans. Compared with soldiers who never saw combat and those who witnessed a death but were not involved, veterans who “were directly involved in an Iraqi fatality” were much more likely to consider the war to be beneficial to both countries. The finding is consistent with prior evidence that people tend to value outcomes that require great effort or distress. But although previous research predicts that these soldiers might disparage their victims, investigators were surprised to find that these veterans instead resented Americans whose opinions about the war suggest that their killings may have been unjustified.

This change could be a result of the unique circumstances surrounding the Iraq War. “A clue lies in the political and public nature of a controversial war fought by a volunteer army,” says Klug, who presented his findings in August at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association in Boston. For example, in the Vietnam War soldiers were drafted, and people who avoided serving were viewed with suspicion, he explains. But today the situation is reversed.

“The veterans are aware of their status as the ‘stepchildren’ of polite American society, a sense that’s enhanced by their abysmal treatment upon returning,” he posits. Because America’s decision to go to war was the sole reason these soldiers killed, they “now depend on that policy to justify their actions,” Klug believes. Those who disagree with the policy, then, become automatic enemies.



Lastly this morning....seeing that we've hit December now, word about another charity. This one is not entirely for the troops, but for your local community. The media in Boston is reporting that donations to the USMC's Toys for Tots program are running 50% behind their historic averages. While I have no information for other parts of the country, given the state of the economy, I'd imagine your local Marines are experiencing a similar falloff in donations.

If you're out shopping...won't you consider picking up an extra toy and dropping it off at your local recruiting station on the way home? People are hurting this year, and the demand is higher than ever.

141 comments (Latest Comment: 12/03/2008 07:40:08 by livingonli)
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Comment by Shane-O on 12/02/2008 13:37:27
Morning!



It's been a while since I put in a new SFX -- Steph's wheeze and snort -- too funny... here

Comment by wickedpam on 12/02/2008 13:40:03
Morning :hug:





Shane-O that's too funny :lol:

Comment by Shane-O on 12/02/2008 13:44:32
Heya Mala :D

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 13:45:56
Good morning! Shane, that is really funny...



We are off to vote this morning! Go Martin!

Comment by Shane-O on 12/02/2008 13:51:42
Quote by Raine:

Good morning! Shane, that is really funny...



We are off to vote this morning! Go Martin!


Absolutely - GO MARTIN! -- I'll not be so rude as to post what I really think of Saxby.

:crossing fingers: (might take more...however)

Thanks for doin' your part Raine and Bob!!! SIXTY - SIXTY - SIXTY!!!



Comment by TriSec on 12/02/2008 13:58:41
:cheery: Good Morning, oh bloggy ones!



Mmm, mmm, mmm....worm pancakes, worm sausage, Vermont Maple Syrup (hey, I have some standards), steeped worm tea with lemon!



Oh, and a flaming bag of dog poo on the side...



Life has given me shit this week, but I'll make something out of it, dammit!



: shakes little fist :



:pirate:



Comment by TriSec on 12/02/2008 14:23:47
Hmm, OK so a worm breakfast wasn't the best idea.



Donuts on the back table. They're from Kane's.



http://dinerhotline.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/kanes1.gif


Comment by velveeta jones on 12/02/2008 14:27:24
Great post TriSec.



There's a job I would not want........ Sec. of Veteran Affairs! Yikes. What a cluster-f*ck they will have to clean up.



And speaking of the IAVA - has anyone seen the ad they put out? Very interesting.



Keeping GA in my hopes and prayers today!! Good LUCK!! (And you won't need luck if you can get them young'uns out).

Comment by velveeta jones on 12/02/2008 14:30:23
Glad you're day is better, Tri, or at least your outlook.



Yesterday I came damn near telling my job to FO! Little tiff with a co-worker that grates Velveeta's last nerve................





Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 14:30:54
Morning guys! :coffee:



Hey Tri you may be on to something there.. Perhaps you can get into a progressive art groove and turn that pile 'o poo into a painting.

Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 14:33:31
GO MARTIN!

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 14:41:28
Back from Voting and I see we have a loverly wingnut caller on the phone.

Comment by wickedpam on 12/02/2008 14:42:20
wow - anti-semetic much

Comment by TriSec on 12/02/2008 14:43:10
Ah, I love the sound of antisemitism in the morning.



Not.







Comment by velveeta jones on 12/02/2008 14:55:16
Yeah........... and also the Jews don't celebrate Christmas! What's up with that? hmm?







:rolleyes:

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 14:55:45
Comment by velveeta jones on 12/02/2008 14:57:10
May I just give a pre-emptive: YOU ROCK Shane-O!



Love the new drop!! :lol:

Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 14:58:55
Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:03:46
Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:06:48
That is too funny.



I REALLY want a book deal now!



Comment by TriSec on 12/02/2008 15:07:07
*snort*



Well, I just got phished from Wells Fargo...a bank that does not operate within 1,000 miles of my house.



Pity, I composed a sorry sounding email about how desperately I wanted those funds, and to please give me more information about my account....but it was a bogus email so it bounced.



At least I reported it as spam.





(and I don't understand those people that would get that email and say "Damn, our account!" and send off all their personal info...)







Comment by velveeta jones on 12/02/2008 15:07:37
SEE! I Knew I to give Shane-O a preemtive shout out!!



WOOT!!

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:10:15
PUMA still exist?

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:21:28
How can this be??? Franken up by more that 4 thousand votes??



Am I seeing this wrong?

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:41:43
SHUT UP SARAH PALIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by BobR on 12/02/2008 15:47:42
Quote by Raine:

SHUT UP SARAH PALIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Her voice is like audio birth control...

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:51:40
Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:52:47
Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 15:55:37
Quote by Raine:

How can this be??? Franken up by more that 4 thousand votes??



Am I seeing this wrong?
word gets around fast on the intertubes.



Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 16:02:05
Quote by Raine:

Quote by Raine:

How can this be??? Franken up by more that 4 thousand votes??



Am I seeing this wrong?
word gets around fast on the intertubes.



There's an ongoing daily recount thing going on DK that has this info.. They explained it that in what's been counted so far in the recount, Franken's up. But in comparison to the original vote totals from 11/4 Coleman's lead has actually increased by about 100 votes.



So now the obvious course of action is to play "Republican Election" - get out the Billionaires for Bush outfits, march up to the BOE in St. Paul, and start a rally to STOP THE COUNT! :lol:

Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 16:04:07
Windows installation marketshare at its lowest point in 15 years..



It's still nearly 90%, but hey we'll take what we can get.

Comment by BobR on 12/02/2008 16:08:31
Quote by Scoopster:

Windows installation marketshare at its lowest point in 15 years..



It's still nearly 90%, but hey we'll take what we can get.


:rolleyes:



it's just a machine people...

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 16:10:21
Shane!!!

Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 16:11:00
Quote by BobR:

Quote by Scoopster:

Windows installation marketshare at its lowest point in 15 years..



It's still nearly 90%, but hey we'll take what we can get.


:rolleyes:



it's just a machine people...


The machine I'm building for Christmas (which is going to my mom) is gonna be running Ubuntu, plus Wine so she can use Word/Excel... until I can break her in on OpenOffice that is!

Comment by BobR on 12/02/2008 16:11:07
Shane-O! :lol:

Comment by livingonli on 12/02/2008 16:17:18
A belated good morning folks. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning so I was listening to Momma while still under the covers.



The little Anti-Semite caller in the first hour was very creepy.

Comment by Shane-O on 12/02/2008 16:18:26
Quote by BobR:

Shane-O! :lol:


Just SMS beaver jokes stuck together -- nothin' of my own there!!!



Comment by livingonli on 12/02/2008 16:18:40
I think a psychologist could have a field day analyzing the staff at Fox News.

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 16:22:36
It was nice while it lasted. The Cheney Indicments have been thrown out...







Something seems VERY fishy tho... esppecially the defendents trying to force the DA ito never brining these charges up again...

Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 16:27:26
Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 16:36:35
:bang2: PLEASE MAKE THAT ONE SHUT UP!!!!

Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 16:38:02
Quote by Scoopster:

Mel Martinez to announce he will NOT SEEK REELECTION in 2010.



Mondo for U.S. Senate!!
ooh. I like that.



Here I was thinking maybe Wexler... but I like this choice.







Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 16:40:13
http://photos-g.ll.facebook.com/photos-ll-sf2p/v354/83/81/1386177361/n1386177361_1184782_8827.jpg


Comment by livingonli on 12/02/2008 16:42:29
I don't even like using the public bathroom in Penn Station.

Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 16:42:52
Comment by Mondobubba on 12/02/2008 16:45:09
Quote by Scoopster:

Mel Martinez to announce he will NOT SEEK REELECTION in 2010.



Mondo for U.S. Senate!!






Mondo, a troubled man for troubled times!



(paid for by the friends of Mondo for US Senate committee. I'm Mondo and I approve this message.)

Comment by Scoopster on 12/02/2008 16:49:03
Quote by Scoopster:

David Gregory gets MTP.. meh :sleeping:


....or does he?.... from HuffPo:

NBC responded to Politico regarding this report, saying," I don't know where they are getting this. We have nothing to announce." Gregory's agent, when contacted by the New York Observer said he could neither confirm nor deny the report.




Comment by Raine on 12/02/2008 16:49:17
Comment by Shane-O on 12/02/2008 16:50:01
Quote by Raine:

http://photos-g.ll.facebook.com/photos-ll-sf2p/v354/83/81/1386177361/n1386177361_1184782_8827.jpg


That is SO GREAT! -- The one of me was a can -- at least that was a Molson bottle...