August 10th, 2009

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Blackwater Continues to Be Creepy

I am disturbed, though not surprised, by this article about further Blackwater mayhem.

Jeremy Scahill | US Still Paying Blackwater Millions
Jeremy Scahill, The Nation: "Just days before two former Blackwater employees alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court that the company's owner, Erik Prince, 'views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,' the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for 'security services' in Iraq, according to federal contract data obtained by The Nation. The State Department contract is scheduled to run through September 3. In May, the State Department announced it was not renewing Blackwater's Iraq contract, and the Iraqi government has refused to issue the company an operating license."
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Discussing Mental Illness

Blog Explosion is a traffic engine that has given me some great viewers over on Gaiatribe and Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews. It also introduces me to some interesting blogs along the way. A couple of these deal with various flavors of mental illness; anxiety seems big right now.

One of them gave me a shout-out today for a comment I left. We're talking about how and why the treatment of mental complaints lags behind that of physical complaints, and it started with a previous discussion about whether and why drugs can be helpful.

Basically, I have noticed certain patterns in dealing with friends who have mental challenges, and that has built up a little basket of ideas on the topic. Sometimes when an opportunity arises, I set one of them out. One of these days I need to flesh these out and present them in full. You can see bits of several here: different solutions work for different people because there are many different causes of mental complaints, and there's a difference between mental illness and mental </i> injury, and we just don't have ways of perceiving exactly what needs to be fixed let alone the ability to reach in and repair it. So we ... muddle.
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Poem: "Life's Ledger"

This poem came from the August 4, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by janetmiles. Her prompt about modern milestones in life included examples that involved money, so I wondered what a list would look like that was all about money, since so many people are so fixated on it.


Life’s Ledger



In this way we are written into life’s ledger:

The time when we collect money from the tooth fairy
The time when we earn our first paycheck
The times we pay our dues
The time we buy a car
The time we buy a house
The time we cash out

Because you can’t take it with you,
But it’s all written down just the same.
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Pimp-a-Friend: marina_bonomi

Today is Pimp-A-Friend day. LiveJournal is a wonderful place to connect with interesting people. Feature one of your Friends, with a brief description of what makes their journal worth reading, and share the joy. Readers are encouraged to visit the featured journal and/or reply to this message with recommendations of their favorite Friends.

marina_bonomi is a cosmopolitan blogger with a strong interest in China. She is Italian and also shares her love of countryside and culture. She is further fascinated by languages, both natural and invented, including those of Tolkien. Blog posts include much about literature and whimsies.
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This Week on Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews

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Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for August 2009

You have elected to vote on a package of one $5 poem and two $10 poems. Here is your poll. I have put the $5 poems in a radio-button question, since there are only two of them. I have put the $10 poems in a check-box question, because you get to vote for TWO of those.

Poll #1442347 Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for August 2009

Which one of these $5 poems would you most like to see published?

"GRADUATION"
1(9.1%)
"Ugly Ducklings"
10(90.9%)

Which TWO of these $10 poems would you most like to see published?

"The Activist After Death"
1(9.1%)
"Bracketing the Passage"
0(0.0%)
"Filling the Gap"
0(0.0%)
"Maternal Metamorphosis"
1(9.1%)
"Milestones of Gold"
1(9.1%)
"A Night's Courage"
0(0.0%)
"When Mommy Says NO"
0(0.0%)
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How to Treat Someone with a Mood Disorder

This post contains much great advice for dealing with someone who has a mood disorder, or other mental illness; and for that matter much of it generalizes to any situation in which someone is going through such a bad time that you feel awkward about dealing with them. Not all the suggestions may apply to a particular case; just tuck this stuff in your toolbox in case of need.

Other links to similar resources are welcome. Several people are expressing keen interest in the mental health discussions, so feel free to chime in.