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Friday Morning News and Views


Good Morning, Conflucians. The big story of the day is the massacre at Fort Hood in Texas. Last night it was reported that the shooter, Major Malik Nadal Hasan, was dead. But he is still alive and in stable condition even though he was shot several times. It still isn’t clear what motivated Hasan, who was a both a devout Muslim and a psychiatrist and was going to be deployed to Iraq at the end of November. A short time ago, the 13th shooting victim died. Reports say that 31 victims were injured.

From The New York Times: Suspect Was ‘Mortified’ About Deployment to War

Born and reared in Virginia, the son of immigrant parents from a small Palestinian town near Jerusalem, he joined the Army right out of high school, against his parents’ wishes. The Army, in turn, put him through college and then medical school, where he trained to be a psychiatrist.

But Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the 39-year-old man accused of Thursday’s mass shooting at Fort Hood, Tex., began having second thoughts about a military career a few years ago after other soldiers harassed him for being a Muslim, he told relatives in Virginia.

He had also more recently expressed deep concerns about being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Having counseled scores of returning soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, first at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and more recently at Fort Hood, he knew all too well the terrifying Da

Hasan may have posted sympathetic writings about suicide bombers on the internet. Someone with the same name did so, according to this and other stories. Hasan had not told his family he was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq.

More Stories on the Shooting and Aftermath:

Army post shooting rampage leaves 13 dead, 30 hurt

Army Doctor Held in Fort Hood Rampage

NYT: Shooting Victims Flood Local Hospitals

Raw Story: Muslims fear backlash in wake of Fort Hood massacre

Other stories on Hasan:

SF Examiner: Troubling portrait emerges of Army psychiatrist suspected in rampage at Fort Hood, Texas

Roanoke Times: Suspected Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan: Social awkwardness kept with him into adulthood

Analysis of the Fort Hood Story

There is an excellent discussion of the significance of the story by Dahr Jamail at Truthout: Mass Shooting Indicates Breakdown of Military

Jamail interviewed a soldier at Fort Hood who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The soldier says that the mood on the base is “very grim,” and that even before this incident, troop morale has been very low.

“I’d say it’s at an all-time low – mostly because of Afghanistan now,” he explained. “Nobody knows why we are at either place, and I believe the troops need to know why they are there, or we should pull out, and this is a unanimous feeling, even for folks who are pro-war.”

After a similar incident in May, in which

a US soldier gunned down five fellow soldiers at a stress-counseling center at a US base in Baghdad. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a news conference at the Pentagon that the shootings occurred in a place where “individuals were seeking help.”

“It does speak to me, though, about the need for us to redouble our efforts, the concern in terms of dealing with the stress,” Admiral Mullen said. “It also speaks to the issue of multiple deployments.”

Commenting on the incident in nearly parallel terms, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the Pentagon needs to redouble its efforts to relieve stress caused by repeated deployments in war zones; stress that is further exacerbated by limited time at home in between deployments.

The condition described by Mullen and Gates is what veteran health experts often refer to as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How much longer will our government continue sending people back to Iraq and Afghanistan even though they are suffering from serious psychological disorders?

We need to end both of these wars, but will President Obama have the courage to do it when it might mean he’ll be a one-term President? That is what Gary Wills claims in a recent blog post at The New York Review of Books blog. Wills foolishly believes that Obama has the will and the guts to do what Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon didn’t do when we were in Vietnam. Poor Gary. He’ll wake up to reality eventually, no doubt.


Wall Street Firms getting H1N1 Vaccine ‘ahead of hospitals’

Pelosi scrambles for health care votes

Details on Health Care Bills in House, Senate

Pentagon pursuing new investigation into Bush propaganda program

Deal Over Honduran Crisis ‘Dead’

Families in Cleveland Wait for ID’s of Victims

Texas polygamist sect member found guilty of sexual assault

After all that horrible news, here’s an interesting story from developmental psychology and specifically my own field–language development.

Babies ‘cry in mother’s tongue’

Babies Cry With an Accent, Study Finds
Newborns Cry With the Melody of Their Parent’s Language

I hope today will be a better day than yesterday.


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84 Responses

  1. Thanks for the round-up, BB. Sobering news. I think we need clear goals in our wars. That line about the soldiers not knowing why we are there is key. “Bush lied, our soldiers died” continues to hold true.

    Yes, it’s Obama’s call now. Is it so simple as pulling our troops out now? What else do we need to do as “pre-emptive strikers” in Iraq; as Al Qaeda hunters and Taliban disruptors in Afghanistan?

  2. My nephew is stationed at Fort Hood.

    He is okay – he didn’t know any of the people involved.

    • Have you talked to him?

      • No – he called my sister because he didn’t want her to worry, but she hadn’t heard the news yet when he called.

        Fort Hood is a big place. Most of what he knows about the incident he got from the news reports and the rest is unreliable rumors.

        • Is he there because he is going to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan? I hope not.

          • He’s going.

            I tried to warn him, but he didn’t listen. Just like I didn’t listen when I was his age. But I enlisted during peacetime. When he said he was gonna join up I asked “You do realize that there is a war going on, don’t you?”

            Thankfully he’s not a combat grunt, but support troops get killed too.

          • myiq, how old was he when he enlisted? Two of my brothers enlisted pretty much out of high school (and didn’t listen to their older siblings or mom either). One is out now and just got a divorce that was pretty much caused by his wife’s PTSD from her Iraq deployment (she was a medic). The other one re-upped a year or so ago because his wife had a baby and he needed the bonus. : (

    • That’s good news, myiq. I imagine he will still be affected though.

  3. On a lighter note, how to watch “V” without having the Secret Service come to your home

  4. I was listening to an interview last night with a former colleague of Major Hasan, and the colleague said that Hasan had been really excited about the election of Obama because he thought it would mean an end to our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe Obama and the Beltway crowd think it’s okay to lie to the voters, and that everyone is supposed to know that “all politicians lie”. Unfortunately, the cult-like worship of Obama–stoked by the media–has made his “betrayals” far more serious, IMO, than they would have been perceived otherwise. This is what happens when an entire country becomes more obsessed by celebrity than substance. So much for the winner of the Nobel Prize for Potential.

    • Obama and Co can’t set any clear goals for anything in Iraq or Afghanistan because then they could be held accountable. That is their first rule – Teflon. If they can’t worm out of it, they didn’t say it much less actually do anything about it.

      I’m beginning to hope for the unlikely – no Obama in 2012.

      The Republicans win with our “muddling” through leaders. They want government to fail – except that they do want wars to be waged unendingly. That’s the only government they believe in.

      Fair Elections Now – take our government back.

      • Obama and Co can’t set any clear goals for anything in Iraq or Afghanistan because then they could be held accountable.

        Unfortunately for Obama, the accountability clock started ticking back on January 20.

        • Yes. It’s going to take a lot of spin to suggest that dithering was the right response. Yet, I heard just that argument from a guest on a Charlie Rose program. That “I forget which problem” was so no-win that Obama was right in doing nothing. Charlie’s still doing his “job”, and living well no doubt.

      • I think it’s getting a lot more likely that he’ll be a one-term President. The real question is, how can we make sure we don’t get another Republican? We have to find someone who can defeat Obama for the nomination or else find a third party candidate.

        This sounds crazy, but I could support Jesse Ventura over Obama. At least he argues for universal health care and against torture and spying.

        • BB, your comment gives me a glimmer of hope. I am cautious though. Once incinerated by my former Party – extremely shy!

        • The problem with the dem party finding an alternative for 0bam is that 0bam owns the party — he bought it.

          Like it or not — 0bam owns the bad stuff (as well as the good).

          The military needs leadership — and as a CiC — 0bam is a failure. The vast majority of troops come from the middle and lower classes — and many of us have ancestors who served in the military.

          0bam has major problems that the majority of voters can see right now — his coziness with Wall Street (the guys who are stealing pensions etc.) and his lack of leadership in the military.

          The midterm elections next year will show us how well the 0bambam propaganda machine works (or doesn’t).

          People will need someone to blame — and 0bam bought the hot seat.

    • “Nobel Prize for Potential”! That’s a keeper.

  5. TGIF… it’s been a pretty grim week.

  6. Jee-bus 10.2 unemployment level. We have now hit the maximum of the freakin’ stress tests that the Treasury department did. I’m still reeling because I heard one of the people there said that unemployment wasn’t really a good indicator for whether or not your house would be foreclosed upon. Uh-yo yo if you are only making a little over a thousand for unemployment for long periods of time and you had a negative savings rate to begin with -How long do you think that is sustainable? The treasury department needs to hire some folks used to living on $40,000 a year or less to explain how the economy works for the majority of people. Most people don’t have a cushy savings plan to fall back on.

    • From Bloomberg: The so-called underemployment rate — which includes part- time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking — reached a record 17.5 percent from 17 percent in September.

      • Awful. I would love to know how long the gov’t has been keeping “underemployment” numbers and how they compare this time around to what they were in the awful economy of the early ’80s.

    • But hey, let’s not let that deter us from pumping those bonuses to Wall Street. Really topsy turvy. Doesn’t look like Geithner and Obama are leading anything. They’re just stand ins, stunt doubles, for the real actors.

      • And making sure they get their flu shots!

        • Grrr. Please don’t provoke the pregnant lady who can’t get an H1N1 vaccine. : (

        • or the pediatrician who’s flabbergasted to hear that Citigroup got more vaccine than my urban office that serves about 5,000 kids.

          Just more evidence that with this so-called Democratic government the uber-wealthy are more in control than ever.

      • So European exchanges nose dived on the US employment data. But so far, US markets are trading higher, probably because more jobless means companies might show sharper bottom lines. Somebody has to stop this madness. We need new directions, new businesses, new categories for new jobs. BO should be the jobs czar, but he’s not focusing.

        • He should have had a jobs czar like yesterday. There should be someone in the Federal government researching the best way to staunch the loss of jobs. With all that government spending, government employment was flat. Despite the fact retail sales improved retail CUT jobs. Is anyone in the executive branch paying attention?

        • He needs to turn loose stimulus money to small business. You coould throw a trillion to IBM and they’d just spend it in India or China. Local small to medium businesses are the only possible out for people now.

    • U.S. Unemployment Rate Hits 10.2%, Highest in 26 Years


  7. I get that this guy might not have wanted to go overseas, but let’s not overlook the religion angle here. I mean we don’t generally have presbyterians and methodists shouting “praise Jesus” while gunning people down or blowing themselves up. There seems to be an unmistakable correlation between the so-called “religion of peace” and violent terrorist acts.

    • Really? Was Timothy McVeigh a Muslim?

    • What about the guy who killed the abortion doctor in church? He was a born again Christian.

    • The Columbine boys didn’t need god to kill a bunch of children and teachers. They just needed guns.

      • Damn it, do you know how much of this I’ve heard recently? I’m terrified for my roommate right now, who happens to be a Muslim, because of the sheer amount of muslim-aimed hate that’s permeating the atmosphere again.

        Does anyone think perpetuating this sort of thinking is going to help us? Does anyone think there’s any kind of solution to be found in vilifying every single Muslim in the US? Why aren’t distinctions being made between those that hate and those that simply want to live their lives? Why is this suddenly fine with otherwise fairly reasonable people?

        Slippery slopes all over again.

        • Totally agree. The only thing for which I ever admired George Bush is that, after 9-11, he got out in front of the issue and pleaded with Americans not to take out their fear and anger against American Muslims. From Obama? Crickets.

        • And when does facing suspicion every minute of every day, just because of where you were born or how you look or how you worship boil down into a sludge of hatred?

      • Good point!

    • bc, you’re usually a pretty astute commenter, but you’re off on this one.

      They might not have been yelling “Praise Jesus!” as they did it, but Ireland and Northern Ireland spent much of the past century in a bloody terrorist war over two different brands of Christianity. The Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Defense League between them massacred a lot of innocent civilians in both Ireland and the UK.

      More recently, Christian Croats massacred thousands of Muslim Kosovars and pursued a deliberate policy of raping thousands more Muslim women.

      Then there’s dear old Jerry Falwell, and his “Blow ’em away in the name of the Lord.”

      Hmmm. Maybe there is a correlation between “the religion of peace” and violent terrorist acts.

      (For anyone who needs the disclaimer–that last graph is sarcasm. Like every religion, Christianity has produced its prophets and martyrs for peace. On the other hand, I do believe there’s a correlation between fantatic montheism of all sorts and violence, but that’s another topic.)

      • I am usually pretty astute and generally very tolerant. I am after all a conservative commenting on a decidedly liberal blog and though I disagree with much, I am sympathetic and not unaware.

        I will not, nor will it be helpful to go point by point in refutation of any particular claims of violence committed in the name of religion. It wouldn’t be useful and besides there are those who would not be convinced either way. For some, all religions are bad or induce negative behavior.

        What I will say though is that if one traces the trajectory of violence committed directly in the name of religion (versus violence perpetrated for other ends and only justified in the name of religion, i.e. the conflicts in N Ireland were more about British imperialism than religion) one would be hard pressed to find a religious ideology more conducive to violent acts against non-believers than Islam.

        The Crusades as a point in fact were largely Western Christendom’s efforts to dislodged Muslims from their recent conquests and total subjugation of Christian populations in the Near East, intertwined with (as always in such cases) political and economic opportunism. Much of what is now the heart of the Islamic world had been in fact Christian prior to the Arab conquest wherein the options were convert, be killed, or live as 3rd class citizens and pay a special tax. Islam has never spread peacefully or through evangelism; always through the sword and always with an all encompassing worldview that is absolutely intolerant of unbelief. Arab Muslims were perpetrators of the most horrific and long lasting slave trade extending all over the Indian Ocean.

        I will accept, and most Christians are willing to accept the decidedly mixed history of Christianity in terms of peace and war. And I will say I don’t believe Muslims generally are in favor of these kinds of violent actions, at least not the rank and file. But the patterns are disturbing and consistent and we are unwise to paint false equivalencies. No woman here would trade off living under a “moderate” Islamic regime for living under a moderate Christian one and Christianity itself does not understand itself as being at one with the state in any event, unlike Islam.

        • There has been a concerted effort on the part of the religious right in this country to infiltrate the military … I think you may want to look into why and what they’re doing…

          the result has been harassment of jewish students and non christians and atheists at places like the air force academy where there has been incredibly pressure for cadets to participate in prayer groups and a general intolerance of gays and women …

          you really need to read up on this because it completely contradicts what you’re saying here…

          Christianity was invented to control occupied people in countries taken over by the Roman Empire. It was and is used to justify slavery and create a patriarchy that enables power within a few religious elites.

        • , i.e. the conflicts in N Ireland were more about British imperialism than religion

          Catholic priests stoked a lot of hatred, and the Rev Ian Paisley (RW Protestant) wasn’t any different.

          Terrorism is always far more successful when propped up by a religious ideology.

        • bc. no woman here with any sense would consent to living under any theocracy, no matter how “moderate.” The fact is that once a theocracy is in place, moderation has long since been left behind. Theocracies, including “moderate” ones, are by nature totalitarian, and totalitarian regimes have never failed to exploit their power in ways that are detrimental to the majority of their subjects and to minorities, ethnic and gendered, within that majority.

          Yes, the conflict between the Irish and the British was about “British imperialism.” What you’re not mentioning is that outright persecution, then repression, of Catholics was a significant element of British imperialism from the 16th Century onward. Read up a bit on Ulster Defense League leader Ian Paisley and his rants against “Papists.”

          There’s not the space to go into it here, but for a balanced view of the Crusades and their continuing effect on contemporary history, I suggest Karen Armstrong’s book, The Crusades. I will note in passing that anti-Jewish pogroms became a form of after-Mass entertainment in Europe at this time, and that the Crusaders slaughtered Jews, Maronite Christians, Greek Christians, Nestorians and miscellaneous others with the same joyful abandon with which they massacred Muslims.

          I will also point out that medieval and Renaissance Jews fled to Muslim territories such as Egypt and Al-Andaluz when they were stripped of their wealth and expelled from European Christendom. Within the eastern diaspora, they made significant contributions to science and philosophy that would have been impossible in England, France, Germany, or any other Christian kingdom.

          • Karen Armstrong’s books is actually titled Holy War.

            My bad. That’ll teach me to post on the run.

        • Thanks for the replies and the book suggestions. I did quite a bit of reading during my master’s degree program in European history to last me for a while, so I’m familiar with the history. There is quite enough bloodshed to go around; but I will not retreat from the essential question about the preponderance of evidence mounting about the inherent – not tangential, not incidental, and not exceptional – issues of Islamic brutality. There are some parallels within Christianity, but comparatively speaking… it isn’t even close, not remotely. And the idea that Christian was invented in order to help subjugate provinces under Rome is laughable on its face. Rome had no problem subjugating anyone, anywhere, of any religion, cult, sect, or creed. Indeed both Christians and Jews were suspect for their adherence to atheistic creeds (they had no visible god) and for their refusal to participate in the cult of the emperor.

          • I will add (on a lighter note) that I think the real issue might perhaps be that periodically, when Islamist radicals feel down, they launch attacks as a way of boosting their appeal…

          • tbc,

            It is common for people to mistakenly think that the Roman Empire fell when Rome fell. Constantinople was created to prevent such an occurrence.

            People who make the mistake of thinking the Roman Empire fell with Rome are blindered from acknowledging the significant, intimate relationship between Christianity and the eastern empire.

            In the eastern empire, Christianity was used as a socializing force to prevent rebellion and unify the empire.

            Click to access GregoryGoalwin.pdf

            In other words, the claim that Christianity was used to subjugate provinces under Rome (the Roman Empire) is true. Given that kat’s claim is not laughable, does this mean your claim about laughability is laughable? 😉


  8. OT: I’m reading that Keith Olbermann missed his own show on election night because he had tickets to the World Series game that night.

    Guess who he attended that game with?

    Sean Hannity.

    Apparently, off camera, they’re buddies.

    Gives new meaning to the word kabuki, yes?

    • I heard about that. And I can believe it. Actually Hannity is a little bit less of a misogynist than Olbermann.

      • Well, they’re both manic ranters, so I can see that they just bark, bark, bark at each other and think it’s a great relationship.

      • He’s a lot less misogynist than Olbermann. But I suspect so was Henry VIII.

  9. What Independents Want


    Obama Faces His Anzio

    If the Democrats lose badly in the midterms, the talking heads will say that Mr. Obama tried to do too much, this is a center-right nation, and so on. But the truth is that Mr. Obama put his agenda at risk by doing too little. The fateful decision, early this year, to go for economic half-measures may haunt Democrats for years to come.


    • May? May haunt Democrates for years to come? The understatement of the year. May kick them in the teeth for a generation is more like it.

      economic half-measures may haunt Democrats for years to come

  10. The State of Hillary: A Mixed Record on the Job
    By Joe Klein


  11. Defectors Among the House Democrats

    The Democrats currently control 257 voters in the House, and one more Democrat, Bill Owens, newly elected from New York, will be sworn in on Friday. With all 177 Republicans likely to oppose the health care bill, Democrats at most can afford to lose 40 of their own caucus members.

    They will definitely lose a bunch. Among them is Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.


    Public option: less than advertised
    By Ruth Marcus


  12. I just finished reading Violet’s post and the first 194 comments. http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/2009/11/04/a-year-later-world-suddenly-gets-what-pumas-were-talking-about/#comments

    Some excellent comments some of which have been discussed on earlier threads. You may need some context, but at #184 Nadai says: is a great read all the way to “But holy mother goddess of the abyss……………..”

    • That was an amazing comment. I hope it sent Vastleft running with his tail between his legs. He acted abominably on that thread, along with Lambert.

    • That was good. Nadai is a talent.

      Exactly. There are plenty of places to talk about the other issues. In fact, each of those issues warrants a whole blog of its own, if not several blogs. However, Violet’s blog is about feminism, so STFU yee men who are trying to hijack the charter of the blog.

      Love it.

    • Her post is great and spot on, as is usually the case with Dr. Socks

  13. It’s the economy, stupid? And the economy is, jobs, jobs, jobs?

    If the Republicans run candidates in 2012 in a campaign like McConnell ran in VA, Dems are burnt toast.

    If health insurance reform raises premiums, we will be set back a millennium.

  14. http://www.dailytopseven.com/readmore.php?newsid=NzU5

    Hillary continues to do her job and shine.



  15. Goodbye Accounting Reforms of 2002. Democratic congress, with Obama approval, are trying to gut Sarbanes-Oxeley.

    Some veterans of past reform efforts were left sputtering with rage. “That the Democratic Party is the vehicle for overturning the most pro-investor legislation in the past 25 years is deeply disturbing,” said Arthur Levitt, a Democrat who was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Bill Clinton. “Anyone who votes for this will bear the investors’ mark of Cain.”


  16. The “newborn” link was disappointing — it didn’t include clips of the French versus German crying, and I couldn’t find another one that did. : (

    • It would be nice to see that. I’ll take a look around. But the researchers may be saving that stuff for themselves.

      • I’m interested for purely selfish reasons — my husband speaks French to our kids, and I want to pay better attention to our next baby’s cries to see if they sound “different.” (Next baby coming up mid-2010!)

  17. http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&aid=173066

    Publishers to start testing Journalism Online’s paid content system
    Poynter Online
    Sometime in the next month or so, between five and 15 online publishers will start testing Journalism Online’s system, reports Steve Myers. He’s told by Steve Brill that “all the sites are going to be offering some combination of free and paid.”



    • It didn’t work for the NYT. I’m not gonna pay, that’s for sure. At one time I paid for Salon and Slate–way back when.

  18. The hero cop who put a stop to the Fort Hood slayings is a woman, Sqt Kimberlt Munley

  19. http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1935698,00.html?xid=rss-business

    Those of you that have kids that go on facebook might want to check this out. Expensive scam.



  20. Wall Street Firms getting H1N1 Vaccine ‘ahead of hospitals’

    The HELL?!!!!
    My school district can’t even get one h1n1 vaccine, my county has zero h1n1 vaccines, not even high risk people are getting them, and Goldman Sachs execs have them?

    Now THAT is ObamaCare!

  21. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Democratic-civil-war-update-MoveOn-raises-36-million-to-attack-party-moderates-69360167.html

    Am I reading this right? Any dem congressperson who listens to the voters will be punished.
    George Soros now is more important than the voters. Gee that makes me feel so important and welcome to congress.



  22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8345190.stm

    In the middle of all the pain and horror and anger, something good to think about just for a minute.



  23. http://gay.americablog.com/2009/11/dnc-misled-gay-community-dnc-treasurer.html

    I know that some here were upset by the vote in Maine last week. Many should be made aware of this article.
    The truth about where the priorities of the DNC.
    another time when if they say it is raining, check out the window and up on the roof to see if someone is there with a hose.



  24. http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/11/pelosi_breaks_pledge_to_put_he.asp

    As usual she spoke, she lied. no 24 hour online look at health care bill and a Saturday vote.



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