Morning in America

Today’s Sacramento Bee has a very interesting article about a sharp rise in calls to the State Department of Personnel Management asking for grief counseling assistance for state employees dealing with suicides of co-workers.

The Bee writes:

California government departments  in 2009 made 33 requests for “critical incident stress debriefings,” in which counselors meet with employees traumatized by the suicide of a colleague.

In 2008, the state made 14 such calls. In 2007, when the Department of Personnel Administration began tracking the incidents, government departments made 18 requests for such grief counseling.

The data are drawn from such a relatively small population and over such a brief period that it’s impossible to determine any trends, said mental health experts interviewed by The Bee. Identifying a single cause for the kind of hopelessness that leads to suicide can be next to impossible.

But it’s clear, they said, that the state’s unprecedented labor unrest – on-again, off-again furloughs that cut state worker pay nearly 15 percent, fractured labor relations with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, rising public disdain for civil servants – has increased tension for a group of people who tend to value security and predictability in their work.

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Our guest columnist this afternoon is the spawn of Irene Flaugher and John Bourgholtzer, credited to Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman.

Hello, I am Michael Reagan, eldest son of President Ronald Reagan and like you I am deeply concerned about the future of our country.

Unfortunately we have another problem. People who believe in true Reagan Conservative Values are unwittingly supporting the Obama, Pelosi and Reid liberal agenda! What do I mean? Well, every time you use your email from companies like Google, AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Apple and others, you are helping the liberals. These companies are, and will continue, to be huge supporters financially and with technology of those that are hurting our country.

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“A Republican congressman from North Carolina has proposed legislation that would replace the image of President Ulysses S. Grant on the fifty dollar bill with that of President Ronald Reagan.” 79 percent of Americans think that’s a bad idea. As do 71 percent of Republicans. [Marist Poll, via Political Wire]

Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP [The Onion]

Come to think of it, Disney World is Alan Grayson's district.Last we checked, governors don’t have a vote in Congress. And of the two empty congressional seats up for grabs last night, Demrats won both. For that matter, the Repugs pulled off the amazing feat of backing two losers in upstate New York. So what does that mean for Michael Steele? Par-tay!

“The GOP renaissance has begun. This election was not about ‘the change we need.’ It’s about the change the American people want.”

We couldn’t agree with him more. And with a dozen more GOP candidates on the Teabagger Hit List, we’re looking forward to a very renaissaucy 2010.

Steele: ‘GOP Renaissance Has Begun’… And I Helped [TPM]

I'm being paid for this microphone!Picking up one of our favorite subjects from the past couple of weeks, a new poll asks 909 voters what they really think about socialized medicine:

Do you think the government should stay out of Medicare?

Yes: 39%

No: 46%

Not Sure: 15%

If we grant the wish of 4 out of 10 Americans (and 6 out of 10 Republicans), we’ll have enough left over to cover everyone else and keep costs down. Let’s do it!

Obama’s approval…increases [Public Policy Polling (PDF), via TPM]

brisenia The picture you see to the left is that of a beautiful child named Brisenia Flores. She beams an awkward little smile for the photographer that is common in chidren of that age, and she reminds me very much of my own five year old daughter (whose last name, by sheer coincidence, is also Flores). But unlike my daughter, Brisenia will never again flash that beautiful smile to a photographer or anyone else for that matter. That is because on March 30 of this year Brisenia, who was nine at the time, was murdered by members of a Right-wing terrorist, anti-immigrant, paramilitary group called the Minutemen American Defense, a group with ties to the larger Minutemen paramilitary vigilante organization that patrols the U.S. border on a self proclaimed mission to halt illegal immigration into this nation. This is how the blog Crooks and Liars describes the 9/11 tape of the call that Brisenia’s mother placed on the night of the shooting:

She explains that the killers walked up cold-bloodedly to her daughter, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores, as she cowered and cried, and shot her two or three times anyway.

Stinquers will forgive me for relying on that blog’s description, but I have not been able to bring myself to listen to the tape. As I said, I have a daughter who is probably the same age as Brisenia was when the above picture was taken and I don’t think I could bear to live her mother’s experience even voeyeuristically.

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