Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Morning Quick Hits

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out [.pdf alert] Republican hack, election tamperer and voter-disenfranchisement expert Hans Von Spakovsky has asked the current occupant to remove his name from the list of FEC nominees. Democrats had held firm and refused to approve him to the post, effectively shutting down the FEC in an election year, so odious did they find the prospect of Von Spakovsky on the FEC. In his letter to the aWol, he did the obligatory whining that it wasn't fair, but he would take on for the team, asnd hoped to serve America again some day. Yeah, whatever. Be never served the American people. He served The Party. So as the brits say, good riddance to bad rubbish, since his mission for the republican party was to keep people who were born here before his family even landed on our shores from exercising their hard-fought right to vote, we are glad to see him go and hope he has as hard a time finding employment as Bradley Schlozman and has to go on Wingnut Welfare in Wichita.

Screwing Vets just comes natural to these assholes, apparently
Our friends at VoteVets have received a forwarded copy of an email that originated from a psychologist at a facility in Texas in late March with the subject line message "Suggestion." In the email, this so-called helping professional suggests that clinicians avoid diagnosing Veterans with PTSD because so many are returning with problems and seeking disability payments.

"Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out," Norma Perez wrote in a March 20 e-mail to mental-health specialists and social workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Olin E. Teague Veterans' Center in Temple, Tex. Instead, she recommended that they "consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder."

VA staff members "really don't . . . have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD," Perez wrote.

Adjustment disorder is a less severe reaction to stress than PTSD and has a shorter duration, usually no longer than six months, said Anthony T. Ng, a psychiatrist and member of Mental Health America, a nonprofit professional association.

Veterans diagnosed with PTSD can be eligible for disability compensation of up to $2,527 a month, depending on the severity of the condition, said Alison Aikele, a VA spokeswoman. Those found to have adjustment disorder generally are not offered such payments, though veterans can receive medical treatment for either condition.

I would like to remind everyone that five years ago, the VA was a highly effective healthcare delivery service and a model for single payer healthcare, and we were damned proud. Then they ruined it by dumping a lot of high-need patients into the system and didn't increase the funding to cover it, and now the system is broken, and wingnuts point and say "See! It doesn't work! Free markets are the answer!" Bullshit. It works fine, but it takes money and staff. Elect people this fall who will provide those things because yellow ribbons on SUVs just aren't cutting it.

Culture can't keep up with technology, and Iraqi women pay with their lives
She was the latest victim of a huge increase across Iraq in the number of "honour" killings of women for alleged immorality by their own families.

Many are burnt to death by having petrol or paraffin poured over them and set ablaze. Others are shot or strangled. The United Nations estimates that at least 255 women died in honour-related killings in Kurdistan, home to one fifth of Iraqis, in the first six months of 2007 alone.

The murder of women who are deemed to have disobeyed traditional codes of morality is even more common in the rest of Iraq where government authority has broken down since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

A surprising reason explaining the massive increase in the number of honour killings is the availability of cheap mobile phones able to take pictures. Men photograph themselves making love to their girlfriends and pass the pictures to their friends. This often turns out to be a lethal act of bravado in a society where premarital or extra-marital sex justifies killing.

The first known case of sex recorded on a mobile leading to murder was in 2004. Film of a boy making love with a 17-year-old girl circulated in the Kurdish capital, Arbil. Two days later she was killed by her family and a week later he was murdered by his.

Since then there has been a sharp increase in the number of women suffering violence – it is almost always the women rather than the men who suffer retribution – as a result of some aspect of their love life being pictured on mobile phones.

In 2007, at least 350 women, double the figure for the previous year, suffered violence as a result of mobile phone "evidence", according to Amanj Khalil of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, citing figures compiled by women's organisations and the police directorate in Sulaymaniyah.

[h/t Juan Cole for directing me to the Independent article]

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