BRENDA RUSSELL WANTED TO HAVE DINNER WITH GERSHWIN, BARACK OBAMA SET HIS SIGHTS MUCH, MUCH LOWER.
BARACKA JOINED SUCH NON-LUMINARIES AS DAVY BABY TEETHED BROOKS, WILLIAM NEOCON IS GOING TO GET YOU KRISTOL, AND GEORGE WILL.
JUST GEORGE WILL?
TOO BLAND FOR A NICKNAME.
MS. MAGAZINE COVER GIRL BARACKA ENTERTAINED THE FELLOWS WITH A FAN DANCE WHILE SINGING "I'M JUST A GIRL WHO CAN'T SAY NO" FROM THE MUSICAL OKLAHOMA.
Moving over to medical care. Yesterday's snapshot noted, "The CBS Evening News reported (link has text and video) on PTSD December 26th and noted, 'There were 115 military suicides last year, and 93 through just August of this year'." Suicide among the military is in the news today. Starting with Marines and dropping back a bit to when Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported on the 2004 Marine suicide rate (reported Feb. 25, 2005) noting it had increased by 29%, that 31 Marines had taken their own lives and 83 more had tried to do so. Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond) reports there are 41 "possible or confirmed [Marine] suicides" for 2008. As Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) points out, none of the 2008 numbers are final yet. Zoroya tells Army combat soldier and Iraq War veteran Josh Barber's story of taking his own life because the "smell of death" couldn't be escaped and grieved over his PTSD and the military's being unable/unwilling to treat it. Zoroya explains, "Marines and combat veterans who have killed themselves in recent years, at a time when the Pentagon has stretched deployments for combat troops to meet President Bush's security plans in Iraq. The Marine Corps reported 41 actual or suspected suicides in 2008, a 20% increase over 33 in 2007. In 2007, the Army counted 115 suicides, the most since tracking began in 1980. By October 2008, that record had been surpassed with 117 soldier suicides. Final numbers for 2008 have not been released. Suicides among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans doubled from 52 in 2004 to 110 in 2006, the latest statistics available, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)." This comes as the Defense Dept and the Dept of Veterans Affairs is in the midst of their multi-day Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs Annual Suicide Prevention Conference in San Antonio (through the 15th). Michael Tolzmann (Defense Media Activity) notes that Dr. Loree K. Sutton (Army Brig Gen) explained that "toxic leadership" creates stigmas "that can kill" such as when "[a]n Army staff sergeant who had lost Soldiers in the war zone was called a coward, a wimp and a wuss form a leader when he mentioned he might need psychological help."
Meanwhile Iraq War veteran Nathan Ryan Smith is AWOL in the US. Scott Michael (ABC News) reports he is "charged with kidnapping, rape, arson and tampering with evidence." Michael quotes a rape victim stating he allegedly told her, "I have killed several people in Iraq. I'm crazy in the head, and if I get caught by police I will come looking for you and kill you." Ian Demsky (Tacoma's News Tribune) reported last week that court records describe the police involvement beginning as follows:
Police responding to a missing persons report Jan. 1 found the woman they were looking for. Her body bore the signs of torture. Rope burns on her arms were "deep and distinct." She had scratches on her back and sharp red lines running across her chest. There was blood inside her coat and on her pants.
The officers took her to Tacoma General Hospital.
She told police she had been walking to the store when she noticed a silver pickup truck with a canopy pull into the parking lot behind her. A man got out and shouted for her to come to him. He then grabbed her and choked her unconscious.
She said she woke up in a strange room. She was naked and her arms and legs were bound with plastic zip-ties. She tried to free herself, but a male voice told her, "If you fight, you'll die."
Her abductor held a butcher knife to her face and promised she'd go home if she cooperated. He picked her up by the ties and carried her to another room. She told police she saw Army patches in a windowsill.
She said she was dropped onto a bed, gagged, sexually abused and raped. She told police she was tortured with a device hooked up to a battery.
When the man was done, he let her get dressed. She said he told her he'd kill her and her family if she told anyone.
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