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The Morning Grumpy – 5/1/13

1 May

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.


1. Local writer Kevin Purdy details seven days without email.

Speaking of anxiety, why does nobody text me, chat me, or call me, four days after I took a no-email pledge? It seems like communication has, overall, died down. I seriously believe some people are treating this as if I were on vacation. Maybe that’s the only way we can collectively deal with someone who’s not responding to email and not a cloistered celebrity: assume they’re somewhere else. I wish I could say I was really somewhere else.

As a slave to one corporate email account, and five other accounts related to side projects and non-profit work and three personal accounts, I’ve begun to hate email. The process of checking multiple accounts, responding to constant requests for my time and attention, it’s fucking ponderous. I look forward to a time when email is no longer the preferred communication medium of choice and we simply send mental notes to one another through embedded 4G chips in our temporal lobe. At least I might respond to your email in a timely manner.

2. The Guantánamo memoirs of Mohamedou Ould Slahi. He was kidnapped by CIA, tortured in Jordan, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay, where he remains to this day. This despite calls from former military prosecutors and Federal judges for his release. His 466-page handwritten memoir of the torture, “classified” for 6 years, has now been released. Amnesty International had previously documented his case.

The Wikipedia page regarding his story is informative. As a federal judge wrote in 2010:

Salahi may very well have been an al-Qaida sympathizer, and the evidence does show that he provided some support to al-Qaida, or to people he knew to be al-Qaida. Such support was sporadic, however, and, at the time of his capture, non-existent. In any event, what the standard approved in Al-Bihani actually covers is “those who purposefully and materially supported such forces in hostilities against U.S. Coalition partners.” 530 F.3d at 872 (emphasis added). The evidence in this record cannot possibly be stretched far enough to fit that test

So, what to do? An Al-Qaeda sympathizer who has been rendered and tortured without direct evidence of his involvement in any terrorist activities is now stuck in a legal and moral limbo. If released, will the treatment he received from our government radicalize him further? Does it matter? Do we have the right to perpetually detain people who may commit acts of terror against America? These are the decisions left behind by the Bush Administration and will challenge our legal system and Constitution for decades to come.

3. Deloitte and Share our Strength have published a troubling report on the societal impact of childhood poverty in America.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a family is “food insecure” if it faces “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” In 2011, 17.9 million U.S. households were food insecure – 14.9% of all households in the country. More importantly, households with children are nearly twice as likely to be food insecure as households without children.

Across children of all ages, food insecurity is linked with lower academic achievement. Hungry children are sick more often and are 31% more likely to be hospitalized, at an average cost of approximately $12,000 per pediatric hospitalization. And food insecure children are 3.4 times more likely to be overweight or obese.

What kind of country are we living in?

4. The sorrowful state of American mental healthcare. In the 1950s, 1 in 300 Americans were being treated for their mental health in hospitals, today there’s one psychiatric bed per 7,100 Americans.  Absolutely astonishing. Between 2009 and 2012, states cut a total of $4.35 billion in public mental-health spending from their budgets. According to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, significant cuts to general fund appropriations for state mental health agencies have translated into a severe shortage of services, including housing, community-based treatment and access to psychiatric medications. “Increasingly, emergency rooms, homeless shelters and jails are struggling with the effects of people falling through the cracks,” the report says, “due to lack of needed mental health services and supports.”

5. How conservative Christians have come to dominate the international child adoption circuit.

6. The Tea Party isn’t going anywhere, and that’s bad news for Republicans.

The survey asked FreedomWorks activists if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “When we feel strongly about political issues, we should not be willing to compromise with our political opponents.” Altogether, more than 80 percent agreed to some extent. Thirty-two percent of respondents “agree strongly” with the statement. Meanwhile, less than 10 percent disagreed even “slightly.”

Uncompromising ideologues unconcerned with compromise or winning bipartisan elections? Great, that’s also bad news for the rest of us.

Fact Of The Day: Glenn Burke, one of the first openly gay professional athletes, invented the “high five” which was a sign of gay pride and identification.

Quote Of The Day: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” – Abraham Lincoln

Video Of The Day: Scripted Disorientation

Song Of The Day: “Roots Radicals Rockers and Reggae” – Stiff Little Fingers

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