Conservative cold-bloodedness, Hillary Clinton’s achilles heel

Workout notes: 2000 yard swim; 500 fist, 10 x (5g, free), 5 x (fly/free/back/free), 5 x 100 (100 pull, 100 free). Very sluggish; then a sluggish yoga session. That 5K on Sunday is being felt today (two-day lag rule; one feels a hard workout two days later rather than a day later).

Politics: I sometimes listen to Randi Rhodes on Air America via I-tunes. She brought up the story of how wounded U. S. troops are treated at Walter Reed that I had previously blogged about.

While the hospital is a place of scrubbed-down order and daily miracles, with medical advances saving more soldiers than ever, the outpatients in the Other Walter Reed encounter a messy bureaucratic battlefield nearly as chaotic as the real battlefields they faced overseas.

On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of “Catch-22.” The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers’ families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment.

“We’ve done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it,” said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. “We don’t know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don’t have the answers. It’s a nonstop process of stalling.”

Soldiers, family members, volunteers and caregivers who have tried to fix the system say each mishap seems trivial by itself, but the cumulative effect wears down the spirits of the wounded and can stall their recovery.

“It creates resentment and disenfranchisement,” said Joe Wilson, a clinical social worker at Walter Reed. “These soldiers will withdraw and stay in their rooms. They will actively avoid the very treatment and services that are meant to be helpful.”

Danny Soto, a national service officer for Disabled American Veterans who helps dozens of wounded service members each week at Walter Reed, said soldiers “get awesome medical care and their lives are being saved,” but, “Then they get into the administrative part of it and they are like, ‘You saved me for what?’ The soldiers feel like they are not getting proper respect. This leads to anger.”

This world is invisible to outsiders. Walter Reed occasionally showcases the heroism of these wounded soldiers and emphasizes that all is well under the circumstances. President Bush, former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and members of Congress have promised the best care during their regular visits to the hospital’s spit-polished amputee unit, Ward 57.

“We owe them all we can give them,” Bush said during his last visit, a few days before Christmas. “Not only for when they’re in harm’s way, but when they come home to help them adjust if they have wounds, or help them adjust after their time in service.”

Along with the government promises, the American public, determined not to repeat the divisive Vietnam experience, has embraced the soldiers even as the war grows more controversial at home. Walter Reed is awash in the generosity of volunteers, businesses and celebrities who donate money, plane tickets, telephone cards and steak dinners.

Yet at a deeper level, the soldiers say they feel alone and frustrated. Seventy-five percent of the troops polled by Walter Reed last March said their experience was “stressful.” Suicide attempts and unintentional overdoses from prescription drugs and alcohol, which is sold on post, are part of the narrative here.

Vera Heron spent 15 frustrating months living on post to help care for her son. “It just absolutely took forever to get anything done,” Heron said. “They do the paperwork, they lose the paperwork. Then they have to redo the paperwork. You are talking about guys and girls whose lives are disrupted for the rest of their lives, and they don’t put any priority on it.” […]

So what is going on here? Does any of the above sound familiar? For example, have you heard of the extremely poor airline service these days?

So what does that have to do with the military wounded? Here is what: remember the conservative mantra: “government has to be run more like a business”? Well, what do businesses do? They deal with costs and profit (outcomes); income statements and balance sheets. So, in the world of business, wounded soldiers are really nothing more than liabilities (things that go on a balance statement) and it just doesn’t make “business sense” to spend lavishly on them. Cut costs, right?

So it goes with the cold blooded reptiles in this administration.

I am not suggested that the average Republican is like this, but my feeling is that much of the current Republican leadership sure as heck is.

Just who would people NOT vote for: follow up. This Daily Kos diary by plf515 is a nice follow up to the poll which asked people: if there was a well qualified candidate in group X (“group X” being “female”, “black”, “Mormon”, etc.), would you NEVER vote for this person.

It has a nice chart too:


There are some lessons here, but first, let’s look at the data. The dark line at the top is Baptists. This has been very high, and pretty steady, for the whole time period. The red line is Catholics. Notice that there is spike when Kennedy got elected. More on that later.

The green line is Jews. This shows a steady increase in the 1960s and early 70s, rising from about 65% to about 80% where it plateaued. The light blue line is for women, which rose steadily until quite recently, and has now plateaued, or may even be declining slightly. The purple/pinkish line is for Blacks, which shows the most rapid and steadiest rise, going from about 40% in 1960 to around 90% now. The yellow line is for atheists. I guess I better not run for President!

The two other lines (dark blue for Mormons, gray for Homosexuals) are based on fewer data points, and should be interpreted more cautiously.

What lessons can we draw from this?
First, we had better not count Romney out, just because he’s a Mormon. Mormons are now were Catholics were just before JFK. When people see a particular representative of a group, some of them will lose their prejudice. The percent willing to vote for a Catholic spiked by about 12% very quickly, with Kennedy.

Second, homosexuals appear to be trailing Blacks by about 30 years. If this keeps up, the prejudice against gays will disappear around 2030. Maybe we can speed that up, somehow.

Third, even for the most accepted groups, about 8% still refuses to vote for them. I’m guessing these are the hard-core bigots – the people who don’t want to vote for anyone who isn’t just like them.

Fourth, it’s nice to see that the percentage saying ‘no’ is going down, over time, for nearly all questions (and the exceptions may be errors). But the order is interesting: In 1960, the order was

1. Baptist

2. Catholic

3. Mormon (extrapolating)

4. Jew

5. Woman

6. Black

7. Atheist

8. (extrapolating a little) Homosexual

1/2/3. Baptist and Black and Catholic
4/5. Woman and Jew
6/7. Mormon and homosexual (making some guesses)
and, once again, atheists at the bottom.

Hillary Clinton’s Achilles Heel

Quite frankly, Senator Clinton is getting lots of heat over her war vote and her unwillingness to admit that it was a mistake, or to even see it as a mistake:

“If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from.”

So says New York Senator
Hillary Clinton, who appears to be campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination on the theme that she would rather be wrong than president.

Perhaps, in this post-modern moment, Clinton is on to something. Henry Clay, a frequently unsuccessful contender for the Oval Office in the first half of the 19th century, suggested that he would rather be right than president and he lost. Maybe Clinton believes that by reversing the scenario, she can achieve the victory that eluded Clay.

At the very least, Clinton’s steadfast refusal to admit that she was wrong to vote to give George W. Bush the power to launch a preemptive war against
Iraq sets a news standard for stubbornness.

The last thing that we need to to elected another “The Decider”. An article at the Smirking Chimp continues on:

Last week Hillary came as close as she’s gonna to apologizing or recanting her Iraq War vote, saying “I have said, and I will repeat it, that knowing what I know now I would never have voted for it… I have taken responsibility for my vote, the mistakes were made by this pResident…”. Now the NYT is touting Hillary’s “New Answer on ’02 Vote”. That “new” message is No Apologies, “If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from…” Well, Hillary, seems lots of folks think it’s rather important…

And the article includes a couple of youtube videos: the first is about 9 minutes and the second (which is from Fox News) is about 2 minutes.

My guess is that this is going to bite her.

Peoria Democrats Dinner:

Last night, I went to the Peoria County Democrats dinner. It was more low key this year; people were a bit fired up in 2005, and energized by the 2006 election. Still we got to hear State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. He won office at 29 years old! This guy is going to be our governor someday, I think. He talked about how great our party is (of course), how this country gave his immigrant parents a chance, and a bit about some of the changes he making (e. g., the Bright Start Savings Program which helps parents save money for their child’s college education).

Blueollie “Moran” award:

The Peoria Pundit relays an article that has a Georgia lawmaker calling evolution a Jewish conspiracy, and a Texas lawmaker who believes in such nonsense:


While most of those who want the Christian creation story taught as science in our schools are busy trying to make it more palatable (and Constitutional) by dressing it up as science through vehicles like the Discovery Institute, Rep. Warren Chisum – chair of the Texas House Appropriations Committee and author of the 2005 gay marriage ban – is taking the opposite approach:

The second most powerful member of the Texas House has circulated a Georgia lawmaker’s call for a broad assault on teaching of evolution.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, used House operations Tuesday to deliver a memo from Georgia state Rep. Ben Bridges.

The memo assails what it calls “the evolution monopoly in the schools.”

Mr. Bridges’ memo claims that teaching evolution amounts to indoctrinating students in an ancient Jewish sect’s beliefs.

“Indisputable evidence – long hidden but now available to everyone – demonstrates conclusively that so-called ‘secular evolution science’ is the Big Bang, 15-billion-year, alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion,” writes Mr. Bridges, a Republican from Cleveland, Ga. He has argued against teaching of evolution in Georgia schools for several years.

He then refers to a Web site,, that contains a model bill for state Legislatures to pass to attack instruction on evolution as an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Mr. Bridges also supplies a link to a document that describes scientists Carl Sagan and Albert Einstein as “Kabbalists” and laments “Hollywood’s unrelenting role in flooding the movie theaters with explicit or implicit endorsement of evolutionism.”

The site referenced in the memo also explains how evolution is part of an ancient Jewish conspiracy against Christian teachings.

(If you’d like the see the letter, here is page one and here is page two.)

When questioned about this, Chisum insisted that actually, he doesn’t want to teach religion in schools. Just stuff from the Bible:

Mr. Chisum was asked if Mr. Bridges’ memo reflects his own views.

“No, absolutely, although I’m a Christian, and I believe in creation,” he said. Creation science is the idea that the Earth was created in six days some 6,000 years ago.

“You ought to teach creation as well as the fact of evolution,” Mr. Chisum said, though he said “all of those kinds of sciences have holes in them. … But I’m not about teaching religion in schools.”

It must be an interesting variety of Christianity that Mr. Chisum follows, in which the Bible is not religion.

Yes, people, this is the second most powerful person in our state legislature.

Which might explain why Texas ranks near the bottom of the country in things measures of child health and welfare. Perhaps Mr. Chisum will worry about things like that when he’s done protecting Texas schoolchildren from Jewish conspiracies.

You know, there are worse things than putting up with cold weather.


February 20, 2007 Posted by | hillary clinton, morons, politics/social, swimming | 1 Comment