FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ilona Meagher

5193hy48jtl_aa240_.jpg (Please welcome author Ilona Meagher who is here to discuss her book, Moving a Nation to Care:  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops — JH)

He was known simply as "the Marlboro Man," the "Face of Fallujah. No one knew his name. Everyone was introduced to the myth. Back home he was simply known as Smokey. He was 20 years old when the photograph was taken. It was the real life version of a recruitment poster. But Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, a member of Charlie Company, 1st Platoon, 8th Marines, was also a flesh and blood man underneath the bravura of the soldier everyone saw and was now worshiping, even wanting to be like. How Miller became the myth is recounted in the first pages of Ilona Meagher's amazing book Moving a Nation to Care. It's not the story George W. Bush and the Republicans pushing escalation want to tell, but it's the reality of war, especially the Iraq war as it is being fought today. The real life recruitment story as seen through the picture that became synonymous with military heroism and self sacrifice long ago crumbled in on itself. "The Marlboro Man," "the Face of Fallujah," the war hero, Smokey, now has PTSD.

Miller has now become the chronicler of another war–the war within. He now appeals to the country that declared him a hero because of a photograph, asking that they look beyond the image and see the human cost of war. "I want people to understand what PTSD is and what it can do to you–what it can to do your life."

Moving a Nation to Care, by Ilona Meagher (p.10)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ilona Meagher

5193hy48jtl_aa240_.jpg (Please welcome author Ilona Meagher who is here to discuss her book, Moving a Nation to Care:  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops — JH)

He was known simply as "the Marlboro Man," the "Face of Fallujah. No one knew his name. Everyone was introduced to the myth. Back home he was simply known as Smokey. He was 20 years old when the photograph was taken. It was the real life version of a recruitment poster. But Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, a member of Charlie Company, 1st Platoon, 8th Marines, was also a flesh and blood man underneath the bravura of the soldier everyone saw and was now worshiping, even wanting to be like. How Miller became the myth is recounted in the first pages of Ilona Meagher's amazing book Moving a Nation to Care. It's not the story George W. Bush and the Republicans pushing escalation want to tell, but it's the reality of war, especially the Iraq war as it is being fought today. The real life recruitment story as seen through the picture that became synonymous with military heroism and self sacrifice long ago crumbled in on itself. "The Marlboro Man," "the Face of Fallujah," the war hero, Smokey, now has PTSD.

Miller has now become the chronicler of another war–the war within. He now appeals to the country that declared him a hero because of a photograph, asking that they look beyond the image and see the human cost of war. "I want people to understand what PTSD is and what it can do to you–what it can to do your life."

Moving a Nation to Care, by Ilona Meagher (p.10)

Chat with Rand Beers on Iraq

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There are disturbing stories out of Iraq every day, but this one is more alarming than most. It's called an "honor killing," which isn't anything new, but is still terribly disconcerting.

A 17-year-old girl has been stoned to death in Iraq because she loved a teenage boy of the wrong religion.

As a horrifying video of the stoning went out on the Internet, the British arm of Amnesty International condemned the death of Du’a Khalil Aswad as "an abhorrent murder" and demanded that her killers be brought to justice.

Reports from Iraq said a local security force witnessed the incident, but did nothing to try to stop it. Now her boyfriend is in hiding in fear for his life. … ..

The moment a teenage girl was stoned to death for loving the wrong boy

We've really made a mess out of things in Iraq, but still Mr. Bush is determined to escalate. McClatchy's round up of violence will make you wince, as well Juan Cole's contribution today. Amidst efforts to stop the war, as Democrats and Republicans try to come to an agreement and a bill Bush will (more…)

Conservatives Freak Out Over Fairness

It's been my week to awaken the wingnuts.  But I just love starting these types of fights, especially when the wingnuts don't have a leg on which to stand. We got a good dose of how dangerous right-wing radio can be when Spocko made news and took on The Mouse. But this is something else.

The Democrats are in charge and the Fairness Doctrine is back in the discussion.

Over the weekend, the National Conference for Media Reform was held in Memphis, TN, with a number of notable speakers on hand for the event. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made an surprise appearance at the convention to announce that he would be heading up a new House subcommittee which will focus on issues surrounding the Federal Communications Commission.

The Presidential candidate said that the committee would be holding "hearings to push media reform right at the center of Washington.” The Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee was to be officially announced this week in Washington, D.C., but Kucinich opted to make the news public early.

In addition to media ownership, the committee is expected to focus its attention on issues such as net neutrality and major telecommunications mergers. Also in consideration is the "Fairness Doctrine," which required broadcasters to present controversial topics in a fair and honest manner. It was enforced until it was eliminated in 1987.

Kucinich said in his speech that "We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" and added "we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible."

Congress To Take On FCC

The conservatives are freaked out about the Fairness Doctrine becoming a reality again. I received a serious and unintelligible troll attack over my post on the Fairness Doctrine because I dared to link to the freaked out anti-fairness conservatives, which included Red State, Captains Quarters, that unhinged Jeff guy (yeah, him), Right Wing News and others (links are here if you must). I just can't help offering entertainment to my readers. But seriously, the wingnuts just don't get it. The short story on the Fairness Doctrine is that Reagan got it nuked and shortly after that Rush entered the picture, which opened out on a conservative monopoly on radio, because the Democrats were still trying to figure out direct mail. Anyway… (more…)

The Gathering Storm

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You want a fight, Mr. Bush? On escalation, you've got it.

We all witnessed Mr. Bush's insulting performance on "60 Minutes."

Presidential hopeful John Edwards has come out strong against escalation.

Senator Chris Dodd, another Dem in the '08 race, wants to cap the number of troops in Iraq.

Republican Senator Hagel joined the Democrats against escalation today as well.

The AP is reporting about the Democrats resolution "against the Iraq war." But it's specifically about being against any escalation.

Well, not too long ago, Senator Hillary Clinton took part in the press conference that was postponed from yesterday. Here's the video. Below is the letter she sent to Gates. No, let me rephrase that one. Evan Bayh signed on to the letter with her.

January 17, 2006

The Honorable Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary,

We recently returned from an important fact-finding trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our trip has been extraordinarily useful in helping us assess the situation on the ground in each country and in giving us another opportunity to thank the brave men and women of the United States military for their service. While we (more…)

Obama Ups the ’08 Sweepstakes

 

Let the headlines begin: "Barack Hussein Obama: The Feel-Good-About-Yourself Candidate," compliments of GOPbloggers. I've gone after the conservatives for taking out after Barack Obama's middle name, starting with Glenn Beck. In fact, one of my posts opened out onto a lawsuit threat against me by one wingnut, which happened just yesterday.  Not to worry, progressives came to my aid, including Bob, Mash, Joe, Roxanne and many others, including in emails that got me (and my attorney) in touch with the right copyright and First Amendment lawyers.  But Obama entering the '08 race is the beginning of what will be a very nasty campaign, not only because his middle name, "Hussein," will be used against him time and time again, but because Republicans are highly prejudice, and our candidates are so formidable.

John Edwards has already gained a lot of ground, especially with his strong stance against escalating the war in Iraq, as well as his proclaiming Mr. Bush's escalation "The McCain Doctrine." His strong support of unions also helps.

Barack Obama has not been nearly as strong on the escalation, evidently preferring "symbolism" to action, or confusing one as being as strong as the other. (I won't say "I told you so," but I did warn you.) But Obama did strongly push back against escalation after Mr. Bush's speech last week. Certainly the fact that Obama was against the Iraq war from the start helps, but he wasn't in the Senate, so it's difficult to know what he'd have done if he were.

As for Hillary Clinton, she planned a "newser" today about her recent trip to Iraq, but one in her group fell ill so it was canceled. However, assuming she'll run in '08, I hope her group gets better at messaging. Wolfson's recent swipe at Edwards was just pathetic. (more…)

Back to Work: Who is Brent Yessin?

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This coverage sponsored by the SEIU. 

Tonight the SEIU nurses will hold a candlelight vigil.  Tomorrow they go back to work.  However, the people who locked them out are still going strong, ready to live and fight against unions another day.  That's only one reason it's so good to say goodbye to the 109th Congress and hello to Pelosi's 110th.  What comes along with it is a 5 day workweekRepublicans are in shock.  But Democrats are going to fight for the middle class, baby, which means unions are back and The Employee Free Choice Act is in. We're blogging about it, with a terrific Kos diary, Tula's amazing input, Sirota, with something I wrote this morning here, with much more to come, including Senator-elect Sherrod Brown sending a message to BigPharma.

But the SEIU nurses in both Desert Spring and Valley Hospitals, both of which are run by Universal Health Services, will tell you their fight, at its heart, isn't about unions. It's not even about money.  It's about the patients they serve and providing the best patient care possible. There's just one catch. Universal Health Services in Las Vegas, run by David Bussone, which is a microcosm of the entire U.S. healthcare industry, has decided to make it about the union. This interview with Bussone is very telling and foreshadows the troubles to come. 

Enter the union-busters.

Enter Brent Yessin and Brent Yessin & Associates. He's also a former Vice President of the Burke Group, an anti-union firm. People at these anti-union firms are sometimes called "persuaders." Quaint, isn't it. In California, these "persuaders" have been used repeatedly to undermine the California Nurses Association. In California, nurses are made to attend mandatory meetings where they are lectured by these "persuaders," whose fees range from $118 – $210 per hour, with expenses going into the millions for these anti-union campaigns. Mr. Yessin has earned quite a reputation. He's a master of anti-union campaigns.

It had been brewing for years. Notorious union-busting consultant Brent Yessin was hired by VHS in January 2006, when the two hospitals' contracts with nurses gave up, but the union says agreements were made in the summer of 2005 to bring him in. In September of that year, 39 nurses at Desert Springs made news when they were suspended from work for wearing SEIU pins on their uniforms. In 2003, Desert Springs tried without success to rid themselves of the union, and in 1999, when SEIU was defying the medical field's historical resistance to unions, they and Valley led an unsuccessful charge to keep unions out of hospitals.

Caring for the Caretakers
Nurses and hospitals continue the war over union demands

I've learned a lot about David Bussone's Universal Health Services in a very short period of time. Brent Yessin comes as part of the package. They're fighting very hard and mean, but what they didn't count on was public support and the progressive blogosphere getting in the act.  As one person on the political end of the fight told me this week, but who didn't want to be identified: UHS miscalculated.  They're image has suffered a lot.  But when the blogosphere got involved, that's when everyone knew this was going to be big. Assembly speaker-elect Buckley and Commissioner Rory Reid (interviews with them here), among others, got UHS back to the bargaining table with SEIU, with two 30-day periods now in place to get a contract signed.

(more…)

Why SEIU Nurses Fight

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This coverage sponsored by the SEIU.

If you haven't been following the SEIU nurse lock-out story in Las Vegas, it's time you got up to speed. Because this isn't just about Las Vegas. It is about the fight for accessible healthcare in this country that has the patient's best interests at its core. It's also about supporting the caregivers who get caught up in tragedy because for profit hospitals have the bottom line in focus before patients. But the bottom line isn't about unions or for profit hospitals. It's about allowing nurses to do their jobs, which is much more than showing up and punching a time clock. It may sound hokey, but for nurses, caring for patients is a calling. Anything that gets in their way is not only counter-productive, but it can actually costs lives. That is just what might have happened recently on one November day.

The good news is that the public outcry of support and the progressive blogosphere's wholehearted backing of the SEIU nurses in the Valley Health System finally forced David Bussone and Universal Health Services back to the bargaining table. But considering Bussone has people like Brent Yessin involved in this fight, it's impossible not to get the real point of Bussone's lock-out of the nurses. He wants to keep unions out of his hospitals. We need to make certain Bussone not only loses the battle in Las Vegas, but the war he's waging against unions in hospitals. Because there is more and more evidence that SEIU nurses are not only important, but critical to saving lives.

This one is going to break your heart. It happened at another of Bussone's Universal Health Services hospitals in Las Vegas, which happens to be non-union. It's also going to make you ask if this tragic story could have been prevented.

Richard and Kathlene Shinn were eager to visit their first-born baby the morning after physicians removed breathing tubes from her delicate 21-day-old body.

But they weren't prepared for what they witnessed when they entered the intensive care unit at Summerlin Hospital at 9 a.m. that November day.

"Alyssa's hands and feet were white. She was critically ill," Richard Shinn said Wednesday.

Within hours, their daughter was pronounced dead.

(snip)

Now, the Shinns said they are desperate to learn what happened to their baby between the night of Nov. 8, when they left the hospital, and the morning of Nov. 9, when they returned. Alleging hospital officials have not answered their questions, the couple hired attorney Richard Harris.

The trio spoke to the media Wednesday to notify the community of their ordeal and warn others to beware of what could happen to their infants.

"People need to know what happened to Alyssa. They need to hear her story," a sobbing Kathlene Shinn said.

Harris acknowledged that he and the couple know little about the tragedy but speculated that the nursing shortage and overcrowding in the neo-natal intensive care unit might have contributed to Alyssa's death.

"Most people come to see me because they want to have answers," he said. "I urge the hospital to be forthcoming."

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Summerlin Hospital officials acknowledged the death.

"We are aware and saddened by the situation and extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family," the statement said. "As is the case with any adverse outcome, we take this very seriously. Therefore, we are thoroughly investigating the circumstances of this case." …

Parents plead for answers (more…)

BREAKING: O.J. – Regan Events CANCELED

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Free speech is not for the faint of heart.

You have to defend everyone's right, including those who say, print or publish something that you find disgusting. It's the way it works.

Enter the coupling of Judith Regan and O.J. Simpson. A match made in free speech hell. 

My friend and former colleague, Roxanne, has a Dear Judith Regan post up, which was the beginning of a blog swarm over the outrage. It was a call to action to get Ms. Regan to donote ALL OF THE PROCEEDS of O.J.'s book to organizations that help women escape abusive relationships. But 10 minutes ago, MSNBC announced that the book and the Fox program has been canceled.

Ms. Regan has taken so much heat that she felt compelled to explain. In fact, just last week when I did my first post on the subject, Fox had this URL publicizing the event: http://www.fox.com/oj/. It's now been nuked, referring instead to the Fox homepage. Frankly, the public deserved an explanation, because what was to be broadcast next Monday on Fox was nothing short of an outrage. The heat was on. Regan was put on the defensive. (more…)

When Corporate Hacks Attack

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You can get caught with your fly open and diddling a teenage page and elicit sympathy, while a drug hoarding radio host gets a pass for using his housekeeper as a pusher. That same host can then get caught with sex drugs in a bogus bottle at an airport, coming back from an all male weekend in one of the child sex capitals of the world, but his radio show doesn't miss a beat. Meanwhile, the former (we assume) foot fetishist Dick Morris is still Sean Hannity's favorite hack, pontificating out his pie hole about all things anti-Hillary. Oliver Iran-contra North has his own TV show, with former felon G. Gordon Liddy holding court on radio. A compulsive gambler is not only kept on radio, but given a spot on CNN, while telling the world about morals. Newt Gingrich, the disgraced speaker of the House and multiple marriage man, is still the go-to guy for Hannity on Fox. A man who reportedly married his third cousin (then divorced her), one of 2 (or is it 3?) marriages, just announced his presidential bid; the other GOP bidder a self-proclaimed philanderer, as well. But God help you if you're a woman against a war with a champion you want to promote to leadership; a person who helped raise the war debate to a campaign issue that carried your party to power, but loses that race. Let the corporate clucking begin.

Make no mistake about it, Murtha falling short of majority leader was a loss for Pelosi. So what? She stood by the man who brought the Iraq war into the debate and changed the subject from "stay the course" to "change course and redeploy." Steny Hoyer was gracious in his overwhelming win, as was speaker-elect Pelosi, making it clear that Murtha's power lives on to fight the fight in his subcommittee, where he holds the defense purse strings for the war. Pass the president the Tumms.

Photo op. Press conference. It's done. Next item.

But no-no-no. Cue the hack attack.

"Speaker Pelosi Tempts Disaster.": Nancy Pelosi has managed to severely scar her leadership even before taking up the gavel as the new speaker of the House.

Her Own Worst Enemy – Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi lost big on the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha race, is the headline from Howard Fineman. But he doesn't stop there, describing the majority leader contest as "the fiasco known as the Hoyer-Murtha Race."

Then there is Timothy Noah's Dump Pelosi? Let's put the new House speaker on probation.

The ever obtuse TNR spews that Murtha's loss is a "real embarassment (sic) for Nancy Pelosi. … How can Pelosi recover."

Digby, Glenn Greenwald, Think Progress, The Nation, have the antidote for this drivel (so does Sirota).

Oh, and by the way, so does Tom DeLay. (more…)