This is from the Words Fail Me Department.  All I feel is disgust when I read this.

Raped in the Military? You’ll Have to Pay for Your Own Forensic Exam Kit
By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted November 11, 2008.

Sarah Palin’s decision not to pay for rape kits when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, was an issue in the campaign for the White House. But allow me to introduce the large pink elephant that has been sitting quietly in the corner of the room: TRICARE, the Pentagon’s Military Health System that covers active duty members, doesn’t pay for rape kits, either.

Spec. Patricia McCann, who served in Iraq with the Illinois Army National Guard from 2003 to 2004, raised the issue at the Winter Soldier Investigation in March. McCann read a memo issued to all MEDCOM commanders clarifying that “SAD kits” — which are forensic rape kits — “are not included in TRICARE coverage.” *

That would put Alaska and the military in a very special category.

Women in the military are twice as likely to be raped as their civilian counterparts. In fact, “women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” Congresswoman Jane Harman, D-Calif., told the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs in May.

Harman said, “The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Health Center where I met female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military, and 29 percent said they were raped during their military service.”

To read more:


New Eagle Scout in the Family

Congratulations to my nephew, Peter Oxford of Fayetteville, who has earned the rank of Eagle Scout. As a former Boy Scout, I respect that his achievement very much.


Quote of the Day

If life were just, we would be born old and achieve youth about the time we’d saved enough to enjoy it. – Jim Fiebig


Barbara Ehrenreich’sNickel and Dimed” – still packs a wallop

Every day, while flicking through the TV channels, I always settle for a while on FOX News. What can I say? I’m practicing for the day when they perform surgery on me without anesthesia.

While the well-fed folk on FOX dismiss minimum wage jobs as “entry level” positions, and spread the canard that nobody holds a minimum wage job for long, all around us men and women are supporting their families – as best they can – on minium wage paychecks.

Of course, even making a few dollars above minimum wage is hardly working at a living wage, either. Hence this excellent work by Barbara Ehrenreich, which was published several years ago. Author Ehrenreich spent time actually working for what passes for living wages in different parts of the country, and trying to live on her paychecks.  To say that she was barely successful would be an understatement.

So – just how do people get by on wages as low as seven dollars an hour? Let’s assume that it’s just you, and you aren’t supporting a family. How are you gonna do it? What kind of life are you likely to have? Where will you live? Are you going to save any money? What kind of food will you eat?

Ehrenreich travels across the country, sampling different jobs and living conditions. Even eating meals that barely qualify as food, and living in sometimes abominable conditions, she is unable to lead what most might define as a “life of quality.” Quality in this case meaning living a healthy life.

And that’s without even getting into the whole healthcare issue.

Along the way, she discovers what many of us have bitterly learned over the years; just because your wages are low doesn’t mean that your job will be easy.

From waitressing to maid service to Wal-Mart, she documents what life is like on the bottom rungs of society. She works alongside folk who have to have more than job, simply to survive.

We also learn some of the tricks of the low-wage trade, from maid service to the attitudes of Wally World employees.

For some writers, “working class” is theoretical in nature, as in “Lo, the poor working class.” A lot of writers care about working class issues without noticing the people all around them who toil for subsistence wages.

Ehrenreich has performed an admirable service by going undercover, as it were, and sharing her experiences with us. Though the book was originally published in 2001, nothing has changed for the better since it was first published.