Tag Archives: suicide

Republicans Ready Themselves For Self-Destruction

Rep. John Boehner

According to Robert Costa over at the National Review, the Republican leadership has given up: Boehner will allow the lunatic tea-party bandits in the House to move a resolution to keep funding the government, save for Obamacare. And, once that falls apart in the Democratically controlled Senate, and the next step is a government shutdown, the Republican leadership will try/pray/hope/beg/borrow/steal enough votes from their party in order to keep the government open. If you’re looking for an apt word to summarise this, might I suggest “stupidity”.

From Costa:

Here’s how my sources expect the gambit to unfold: The House passes a “defund CR,” throws it to the Senate, and waits to see what Senator Ted Cruz and his allies can do. Maybe they can get it through, maybe they can’t. Boehner and Cantor will be supportive, and conservative activists will rally.

But if Cruz and company can’t round up the votes, the House leadership will likely ask Republicans to turn their focus to the debt limit, avoid a shutdown, and pass a revised CR — one that doesn’t defund Obamacare.

The really mind-boggling truth to all this is that everyone knows what the deal is here: the bill will survive the House and Tea partiers who have done a really amazing job convincing stupid people that Obamacare is a bad thing will have a day of celebration. Then Harry Reid will light the stupid bill on fire and toss it in the trash in the Senate. In the end, we’ll be right back where we started, only that much closer to a government shutdown.

And unless the Republican leadership — which has pretty much lost all leverage and control over the party — can convince the loons of the far-right to relent and pass a funding bill, the government will indeed shutdown. The silver-lining? If-and-when that happens, only one party will be to blame.

(Photo: Medill DC)


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Evaluating The Motivations For Suicide

A groundbreaking study from the University of British Columbia becomes the first scientifically tested measure for understanding why people commit suicide, as “different motivations require different treatments and interventions”:
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Battling clinical depression with illustration


Allie Brosh, the brilliant cartoonist, is back doing what she does best. Check out this amazing array of illustration and insight as she battles clinical depression with some really awesome drawings.

At first, I’d try to explain that it’s not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you’re horribly bored and lonely, but since you’ve lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you’re stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is.

But people want to help. So they try harder to make you feel hopeful and positive about the situation. You explain it again, hoping they’ll try a less hope-centric approach, but re-explaining your total inability to experience joy inevitably sounds kind of negative; like maybe you WANT to be depressed. The positivity starts coming out in a spray — a giant, desperate happiness sprinkler pointed directly at your face. And it keeps going like that until you’re having this weird argument where you’re trying to convince the person that you are far too hopeless for hope just so they’ll give up on their optimism crusade and let you go back to feeling bored and lonely by yourself.

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Your daily quote

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant.

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The tragic story of Sunil Tripathi

The statement released by the family of the young 22 year old Brown University student found dead in the waters off of India Point Park, quite honestly moved me to tears.

“As we carry indescribable grief, we also feel incredible gratitude,” the Tripathi family said in a statement on a Facebook page set up to help find Tripathi, who went by Sunny. “To each one of you — from our hometown to many distant lands — we extend our thanks for the words of encouragement, for your thoughts, for your hands, for your prayers, and for the love you have so generously shared.”

Even copying and pasting those lovely, honest words was a difficult task. Sunil’s family had been vigorously searching for their son since the middle of March, aided by the FBI and his many worried friends at Brown. We don’t know what happened to Sunil, but we do know from his sister, Sangeeta, that he just walked out of his apartment one night, wandered down a dark street, and disappeared, leaving his phone, wallet and all belongings behind. Sunil suffered from depression.

We know his story because last week, in the midst of the confusion and horror of the Boston Marathon bombing and our need for justice and answers, the internet site Reddit swirled around photos of Sunil Tripathi and labeled him as one of the prime suspects. His family became victims of abhorrent abuse on the Facebook page they created in order to find their missing son, and were given a faint glimmer of hope that their son was alive, even if he was suspected of killing innocent people.

If we can take away one thing from this entire tragic story, it should be the words expressed by his amazing family..

“Take care of one another. Be gentle, be compassionate. Be open to letting someone in when it is you who is faltering. Lend your hand. We need it. The world needs it.”

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Poem of the week – April 7

Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

– Siegfried Sassoon

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The surmounting costs of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan

According to this new study, we’re looking at somewhere in the vicinity of 4 to 6 trillion. Aside from that, the costs perhaps more damaging are those felt by our veterans, and the tens of thousands killed throughout all theaters of war. Here is the abstract of the study:

he Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history – totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion. This includes long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs. The largest portion of that bill is yet to be paid. Since 2001, the US has expanded the quality, quantity, availability and eligibility of benefits for military personnel and veterans. This has led to unprecedented growth in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense budgets. These benefits will increase further over the next 40 years. Additional funds are committed to replacing large quantities of basic equipment used in the wars and to support ongoing diplomatic presence and military assistance in the Iraq and Afghanistan region. The large sums borrowed to finance operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will also impose substantial long-term debt servicing costs. As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives. The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.

One of the more harrowing statistics is related to military suicide – now an epidemic. In 2012, there were more suicides in the military than there were causualities in Afghanistan. 292 combat deaths to 349 suicides. The pervasive problem of PTSD is something our veterans will struggle to shrug off, some for the entirety of their lives. Ackerman argues that it’s the American mindset that’s led us to the pass:

Money, ultimately, is power. In context, it would take a nuclear strike on the United States to inflict the kind of economic damage that the wars have reaped. The only nations capable of inflicting such damage are disinclined toward doing so; and no non-state actor will plausibly obtain the capability to match such a threat. All of that damage is the result not of what bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or the insurgencies that began in their wake did to America, but because of how American strategiests chose to respond. As Radiohead once sang, you do it to yourself, and that’s why it really hurts.


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