Pi Day news: some rational writing to go w/the irrational number

AintMarchincoverbyAlexOK, that title’s a reach. But here goes:

 

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news: the Monday dozen

AintMarchincoverbyAlexI know I haven’t posted one of these in a few days, but that’s not because there wasn’t much to note. Below is a full baker’s dozen, though some are echoes of stories already on our radar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

our wednesday five

AintMarchincoverbyAlexFrom Civil War women to depleted uranium, nearly all my obsessions accounted for today.

 

 

 

Some actual news, some not quite

AintMarchincoverbyAlexYou can likely guess the “not quite.” (I think I’ll use Alex’ image as the standard-bearer for these news roundups….)

  • First and foremost, there’s hope for Andre Shepherd, and a possible higher profile: Wall Street Journal:  “Now German officials must decideWall Street Journal f whether Mr. Shepherd qualifies as a refugee under European Union law as outlined by the court. That sets up a potential clash between American and European law in such sensitive areas as the Iraq war and military desertions, although U.S. officials have to this point not been heavily engaged in the case.” I’ll write more about this in a full post later: I want to talk to his lawyers first.
  • Gizmodo on DOJ completely redacting their own supposed proof of harm done by Snowden. Reading the headline, at first I thought this item (via VICE) was actually about that doubletalking DOJ attorney you see in Citizen Four, trying to persuade a San Francisco courtroom that the NSA shouldn’t be accountable to judicial review.
  • “At the VA they hand out opiates like candy.” I’ve heard that a lot, and it was good to see MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow highlight the issue, working with Aaron Glant – who in addition to his work with the Center for Investigative Reporting, wrote for Haymarket’s the iconic book on Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • I’ve said often that I didn’t want to write about Bowe Bergdahl without talking to him or his attorneys – something that never stops partisan media from speculating. Now The Hill has chimed in with “news” that a decision about Bergdahl is coming “in the near future.” Looks like all you need is ONE quote from the Army secretary and then pack in all the partisan backstory. and Presto – file and get paid. Journalism? I’m not sure.

Bradley Manning: WIRED folds, and my dilemma is moot.

WIRED has just released the full transcripts of the conversations between Manning and that snake Adrian Lamo – meaning that everyone that cares about Manning, thinks him hero or traitor, has no way of not knowing about the gender issues. They’re mesmerizing reading, though I agree with Gawker that Lamo turns out to be even more unethical than we knew before (and as much of a scumbag as Glenn Greenwald has said all along.)

And here I just got my letter from David Coombs, basically refusing to discuss it – and I was trying to figure out if that was a coded request to honor what was left of his client’s privacy. Now, I feel that writing about this respectfully is the only way to show that respect. What do you think?

More later when I’ve finished reading the transcripts:  comments sorely requested. Was it Hemingway who said, “The writer’s job is to find out the truth and then write it. But that can be very difficult.”?

every day is PTSD Awareness Day

But today’s the official one, apparently. Whatever name one gives combat trauma – there are many that hate the term “disorder” – it’s been with us since our first armies, from “nostalgia” to “soldier’s heart” to “battle fatigue,” which may be my favorite. (Above, the beginning of the movie John Huston made about the latter, after the Battle of San Pietro left him screaming.)  Nowadays mostly we just use the initials — as in a T-shirt I found at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, PTSD: DON’T LEAVE IRAQ WITHOUT IT.

For today, we’re asked to post links to PTSD resources, such as the official one from the Defense Centers of Excellence. Of course, I’m much more inclined to promote the unequalled Healing Combat Trauma,  and for women, Susan Avila-Smith’s powerful VetWow or Service Women’s Action Network. What’s most essential is that anyone reading this reach out, and keep reaching out. If your local Veterans Administration seems unresponsive, keep going. It’s your latest and most important mission.

PTSD in contractors? Who’s surprised?

Yeah, those guys in the fancy non-uniforms and big paychecks and company names that sound like something out of “Caprica.” I’d guessed this was coming; now, see ProPublica’s new investigation of the issue here.

I also commented on their study at my new Alternet blog. From now on, the current-affairs stuff here will often originate there, and vice versa. But only here can you see bits and pieces of the book in process, and tell me what I’m doing wrong.