War < Education

Why is there always money for war, but not for education?

Andrew Solomon on Depression

As many of you know, a while back I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty mess I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  It’s a very scary and unbelievably alienating disease that affects nearly 10% of the adult American population.  Yet, even with such prevalence, it’s hard to talk about.  Really hard.

People have so many questions and honestly I’ve really struggled to answer.  It’s worse when they try to explain why you shouldn’t be depressed to you.  I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

Tonight I watch a TED Talk by Andrew Solomon, and I want very much to share it with you.  If you know someone suffering and want to learn more, or if you are suffering and feel alone, I think watching this is helpful.  While sharing his personal anecdote, he explores the prevalence in different demographics throughout the world, the stories of those he’s met along the way, and the sad truth about the lack of affective treatment.  He miraculously conveys such a sad message with a sprinkle of humor and sincerity that has potential to reach people from any side of the spectrum.

“I found myself losing interest in almost everything. I didn’t want to do any of the things I had previously wanted to do, and I didn’t know why. The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work. I would come home and I would see the red light flashing on my answering machine, and instead of being thrilled to hear from my friends, I would think, “What a lot of people that is to have to call back.” Or I would decide I should have lunch, and then I would think, but I’d have to get the food out and put it on a plate and cut it up and chew it and swallow it, and it felt to me like the Stations of the Cross.”

“And one of the things that often gets lost in discussions of depression is that you know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous while you’re experiencing it.”

“You don’t think in depression that you’ve put on a gray veil and are seeing the world through the haze of a bad mood. You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you’re seeing truly.”

War on A Woman’s Wardrobe

This month, Montana representative David Moore pushed for a bill that would ban yoga pants and “any device, costume, or covering that gives the appearance of or simulates the genitals, pubic hair, anus region, or pubic hair region or exposes any device worn as a cover over the nipple or areola of the female breast that simulates and gives the realistic appearance of a nipple or areola while in a public place”.  So basically, he would have any article of form fitting clothing banned.

After an uproar from across the nation, he claimed that it was all a joke.  In his defense, while he did say that they should be illegal, the bill doesn’t specifically address yoga pants, but they would be included in the ban.

Unfortunately, America has been fighting this problem for quite some time.  Women had to fight to wear pants, and then mini-skirts, and now, apparently, yoga pants.  This proposed ban only skirts the surface of the bigger issue here, and that is one of human repression in a self-proclaimed free nation.   Continue reading

No Riots When Crime Victims Are Muslim

Three Muslim students were shot and killed in their North Carolina apartment.  While the cause is still unknown, there is a possibility of the this being a hate crime.  It’s a good thing that a Muslim student didn’t shoot three non-Muslims though, because that would have caused riots by now.

Idealistic Campaign Funding

As recently announced, the conservative Koch brothers have announced a budget to contribute $889 Million to the 2016 presidential race.  In 2012, each party spent approximately $1 billion on campaigns, the most expensive year in election history.  The next most expensive election year was 2008.  As trend suggests, 2016 is on track to break new records.

OpenSecrets provides a fantastic graph and chart to show the cost of congressional and presidential elections since 1998.

Taking into account both congressional and presidential elections in 2008, 2010, and 2012, over $15 billion was spent on campaign efforts.  Fifteen billion.  That doesn’t take into account any dirty money passed under the table.  All of this money is being spent on obnoxious campaigns that frustrated citizens mute or exit out of.  Payroll, fees, traveling, etc.

My idealistic self wonders what would happen if they invested this money in the causes they blabber on about.  One billion dollars isn’t going to change the world, but it can change someone’s world.  If a candidate appeared on a tv debate and announced that all of their fundraising money was being invested in the education system, they would have my vote faster than an adrenaline-filled heartbeat.

Unfortunately a tactic like this probably wouldn’t work.  Over exposure seems to be an effective method, especially considering many voters don’t tune in to debates or do their research about candidates.

But, what if?

It Isn’t The Muslims

This morning I read a tweet by JK Rowling.

Eight times more Muslims have been killed by so-called Islamic terrorists than non-Muslims.

She attached an interesting article by Yassin Musharbash.

Duh, this became incredibly evident when I sat around and thought about it.  I just never had before.  There is a long history of violence in the East and it doesn’t seem to be getting too much better.  Continue reading

Is America The Greatest Country?

If you really want to get in the Veteran’s Day spirit, go sleep in the streets.

We, as Americans, have fueled the belief that war is glamorous and heroic, probably because of our fortunate distance from the violence. Men and women proudly sign up to be torn down and ruined. Thank you for sharing this Saxlepres. It is beautifully written and heart-wrenchingly true. The military too often neglects it’s members and hides the recurring atrocities.

Alex Press

Veteran’s Day, a day for honoring an abstracted “heroic soldier.”

For ignoring the tangible homeless (33% of whom are veterans) and the bodies piling up as more active-duty troops kill themselves than die in combat and dozens of veterans end their lives every day.

For keeping quiet on the frequency with which many of our soldiers rape their subordinates as well as civilians.

A day to reaffirm that we’re unwilling to interrogate what such truths, if accepted, reveal about the US military and our beloved boys in uniform.

The countless Facebook posts my friends on the left write as counter-narratives to uncritical holiday celebration aren’t really my thing. However, I figured I’d make use of the holiday to write about a close friend of mine named J, someone who was in no way a hero, but was a veteran, having served two tours as a US Marine in Afghanistan and Iraq. He killed himself on the first day of 2014, leaving me…

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The Problem With Stubbornness

I’ve been involved in quite a few heated political discussions lately.  Throughout them, I have become quite frustrated, as I’m sure the others did too.  What they were saying didn’t change my mind, and what I was saying surely didn’t change theirs. Continue reading

Veteran’s Day

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American Normandy Cemetery

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I’d like to share this photograph with you.  At Omaha Beach, there is a large cemetery where over 9,387 fallen soldiers lie.  Many Americans were put to rest on the very soil that they passed, and it is a very emotional and breathtaking place.  There are 17 sets of relatives buried side by side, thousands of miles from their homes.

It is phenomenal the effort and care that our friends overseas have taken to protect our fallen heroes.  They keep it clean, protected, and true to the American spirit.  Locals buried, remembered, and recorded each soldier that was killed until the end of the war, when they could be given a proper burial.  They brought flowers, prayed over the graves, and cried tears for the families that couldn’t be there.  For that, we should be forever grateful.

This is such a remarkable place.  It’s difficult to imagine the horrors of war on such beautiful land.  Happy Veteran’s Day to our fallen heroes of all sex, race, and religion.  And a very Happy Veteran’s Day to those still protecting us.