Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reads for a Sunday Afternoon

President Obama greeting President Hu

Nick Kristof

North Orange County Military Support Group

  The following stories caught my eye and in turn I share them with my readers and casual visitors.

With the state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao last week just over, I thought this post by Feng of the information dissemination blog was a very insightful view of U.S. China rivalry.
As President Hu Jintao visits USA this week, I have seen a wave of articles about China vs US. They often try to explore the following the following subjects:
1) Has China surpassed USA?
2) China's unfair trade policies and currency manipulation.
3) China may seem impressive on the outside, but the communist system is hiding a lot of brewing problems.
4) What should US do about the growing PLA?
5) Is a crash imminent in China?
Read more
Some Thoughts About Growing US China Rivalry

And in a continuing thread about China comes this from Tom Barnett who notes that respected journalist and China expert Jim Fallows are of the same mind.

Jim Fallows was supposed to be on that NPR segment with me and Gideon Rachman, or so I was told by host Guy Raz. It didn't happen for whatever reason, but clearly Mr. Fallows was tuned in and came away feeling that we shared a very similar perspective on China.
Read more:
Fallows and I are of similar minds on China

And to show that China with all it's contrivances about advancements, is still provincial as any of their ancient dynasties ever were when it came to freedom of expression. Nicholas Kristof gets "harmonized" for starting a blog in China.

Psst. Don’t tell the Chinese government, but I started a Chinese-language blog here in China, and it contains counterrevolutionary praise of dissidents. It’s at
Now let’s count — 1, 2, 3 ... — and see how long my blog stays up. My hunch is that State Security will “harmonize” it quickly. In Chinese, Web sites are mockingly referred to as “harmonized” when the government vaporizes them so as to nurture a “harmonious society.”
Read more:
Banned in Beijing

Turning to home. This next read comes from blog friend Kanani Fong from the Kitchen Dispatch where she reports on the recent United State Army suicide study.
"Psychologists will tell you we're putting them (soldiers) under as much stress in a six year period as if they were 80 years old and living their entire life in Seattle, Washington. But what's hopeful is our programs are beginning to work, and our leaders are fully engaged with the problem, and we're getting at the stigma associated with the issue." -GEN Peter Chiarelli

Here is a sketch of some of their findings
As stated by MG Carpenter, among the Army's finding were:•There was no single cause for suicide, rather it was a combination of things.
•Most of the suicides in the study took place among soldiers who had not yet deployed.
•Most of the suicides took place early in a soldier's career.
•The economy alone could not be pointed out as a reason for a person taking their life.
•Families claim that the Army was something the person had been very proud of.
•The majority were young, white males.
•Over 50% had a relationship problem with a spouse or partner.

Most helpful is the view from the surgeon's wife, who peels away a layer of general terms to reveal one of the root causes of suicide.
While the Army was very good at concretely describing triggers for stress, they did not use the word depression. This was akin to giving a definition without using the word itself. Perhaps they didn't want to couch it in such general terms, but talk about it in specifics.
However, while one may talk about "resilliency training," to not mention depression misses the mark when it comes to expunging the stigma of mental health. In 2008, Dr. Ian Cook, a psychiatrist at UCLA stated that untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide.

Kanani concludes with this caution.
In a time of funding cuts, mental health services is one of the areas that states often cut first. Not only does the public, but all military families and friends need to be made aware of the threat being made to mental health services, as well as keeping tabs on whether or not the insurance industry is increasing or decreasing coverage.
Read more:
Generals Reveal Findings of Suicide Study

Kanani is putting more that her keyboard to use when she is writing about service people and veterans. She recently single-handily founded the North Orange County Military Support Group.
OC MSG is a non-political support group is for families and friends of those who serve in the U.S. Military. We also welcome families of military contractors. Positive, supportive and project-oriented, we meet to send letters and boxes to troops. In addition, we focus on stress reduction through wellness; help people find creative outlets for their experiences; and give moral support for those whose loved ones who are deployed.
The NOC MSG honors the men, women and families who opt to serve their country through the military even though each of us has a different perspective about war and politics.
This group will gladly work with other troop and veteran support groups such as VFW, American Legion, Blue Star Mothers, Gold Star Mothers, Quilts of Valor, and IAVA to name but a few. No dues are required, and meetings will happen as soon as we have a dozen or so like-minded folks.
I urge anyone who is in the area of North Orange County California and wants to offer a hand and support for Kanani's group to get involved.

Visit the site
North Orange Country Military Support Group


1 comment:

Kanani said...

Thank you for mentioning my new group. Most of the groups to join require military service of some kind, so this just seemed to be a logical thing to do. There are many people in this area who are doing things --or they want to. This will not only be a group to provide support, but hopefully if we can get some of the VFW, AL's, IAVA's to add their names, then we'll also have the pulse for efforts in the NOC area.