I’m having trouble focusing enough to write a real post, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been reading this afternoon. I’ll begin with some very good news from Reuters: Shot Pakistani girl can recover, UK doctors say
A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban has every chance of making a “good recovery”, British doctors said on Monday as 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai arrived at a hospital in central England for treatment of her severe wounds.
Yousufzai, who was shot for advocating education for girls, was flown from Pakistan to receive specialist treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital at a unit expert in dealing with complex trauma cases that has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.
“Doctors…believe she has a chance of making a good recovery on every level,” said Dr Dave Rosser, the hospital’s medical director, adding that her treatment and rehabilitation could take months.
The article says the doctors haven’t actually evaluated Malala yet; but they are nevertheless confidence she can recover because she has made it through “the removal of the bullet and the very critical 48-hour window after surgery.”
Treatment for the schoolgirl is likely to include repairing damaged bones in her skull and complex follow-up neurological treatment.
“Injuries to bones in the skull can be treated very successfully by the neurosurgeons and the plastic surgeons, but it is the damage to the blood supply to the brain that will determine long-term disability,” said Duncan Bew, consultant trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London.
Malala’s youth increases her chances for full recovery, because young brains are more plastic than older ones.
Mitt Romney has chickened out on his scheduled appearance with the “sharp-tongued women” of The View
One of the nuggets overshadowed by the 47 percent dis in the secret Mitt Romney fund-raiser video had the candidate telling his wealthy donors how he picked his television appearances, and why he shunned the likes of SNL and Letterman. The View was “high risk,” he said, because “of the five women on it, only one is conservative, and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative. Whoopi Goldberg in particular.” To make amends, the Romney campaign said both Mitt and Ann would come on the show in October, and a summit was planned for this Thursday. But as Barbara Walters announced on today’s program, the appearance has been canceled, and Ann will have to do.
“We were looking forward to it,” explained Walters. “Over the weekend, his people said that he had scheduling problems and would not be coming on with us. Nor at this point did he feel that he could reschedule.” She added, “He can change his mind and we hope he does. It would be our pleasure to have him on the program.” (“It was no longer going to work in the campaign schedule but Mrs. Romney is very excited to join the ladies of The View,” a Romney spokesperson confirmed.)
What a wimp!
There’s a lengthy article at by John Boher at BuzzFeed that explodes a number of myths about George Romney’s political career, and it is well worth the read.
Everyone agrees: Mitt Romney is not like his father.
The late Michigan governor and 1968 presidential candidate George Romney is remembered as a principled man of spontaneity and candor. His example is regularly invoked by both admirers of his son’s disciplined campaign style and critics of Mitt’s back-and-forth pandering. George, it is said, told the truth about the Vietnam War before it was popular to do so, with an unfortunately worded comment about “brainwashing” by U.S. government officials that cost him the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. “Mitt learned at an impressionable age that in politics, authenticity kills,” historian Rick Perlstein wrote in Rolling Stone earlier this year. “Heeding the lesson of his father’s fall, he became a virtual parody of an inauthentic politician.”
This rejection of his father’s example, the thinking goes, is what has made Mitt a more successful presidential candidate — self-controlled but hard to pin down, flipping from moderate to conservative to moderate once again. It is observed that Mitt would never draw a line in the sand like his father did in 1964, when George dramatically “charged out of the 1964 Republican National Convention over the party’s foot-dragging on civil rights,” as the Boston Globe’s authoritative biography, “The Real Romney,” put it earlier this year. Outlets from the New York Times to the New Republic have recalled this story of the elder Romney’s stand against Goldwater’s hard-line conservatives. Frontline’s documentary “The Choice 2012” reported it as a formative event: “when Goldwater received the nomination, Mitt saw his father angrily storm out.” A Google search for the incident produces hundreds of pages of results. In August, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne cited the episode to write that Mitt “has seemed more a politician who would do whatever it took to close a deal than a leader driven by conviction and commitment. This is a problem George Romney never had.”
Except that none of it is true. George Romney was known by his political peers and by journalists as a flip-flopper with no real ideological core. He never stormed out of the 1964 Convention.
He stayed until the very end, formally seconding Goldwater’s eventual nomination and later standing by while an actual walkout took place. He left the convention holding open the possibility of endorsing Goldwater and then, after a unity summit in Hershey, Pennsylvania, momentarily endorsed the Arizona senator. Then he changed his mind while his top aides polled “all-white and race-conscious” Michigan communities for a “secret” white backlash vote against LBJ’s civil rights advances — a backlash that might have made a Goldwater endorsement palatable at home. Finding the Republican label even more unpopular than civil rights in Michigan, Romney ultimately distanced himself from the entire party, including his own moderate Republican allies
No one knows how that story got started, but it was Mitt who repeatedly spread it around once he began running for office. George Romney never marched with Martin Luther King either. There’s much much more, and it’s really interesting. Mitt may just be a chip off the old block after all.
There a little bit of good news for Obama in today’s polls. Reuters/Ipsos shows Obama leading by two points
President Barack Obama retained a slim lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll on Monday, as he appeared to have stemmed the bleeding from his poor first debate.
Three weeks before the November 6 U.S. election, Obama leads Romney by 2 percentage points, with 47 percent support from likely voters in the national online poll, to 45 percent support for Romney.
The margin was small enough to be a virtual tie, but Obama’s slight edge broadened from Sunday, when he went ahead of Romney by 1 point after falling behind in the wake of Romney’s decisive victory in their first presidential debate on October 3.
“Romney received a bump from that first debate, but the very nature of a bump is it recedes again,” Ipsos vice president Julia Clark said. “We’re now seeing Obama regaining a little bit of a foothold as we go into the second debate. They go into the debate on equal footing.”
The Washington Post-ABC poll released overnight had Obama with a 3 point lead, 49-46 percent. Chris Cillizza has some “deep(ish) thoughts” about the results. For some crazy reason, more people still think Mitt Romney would handle the economy better than Obama, but not by much, and everyone is anxious about the future no matter which candidate gets elected. Obama is still seen as far more likable than Romney, 60-30 among registered voters and 58-32 among likely voters.
The bad news for Obama, if the USA Today/Gallup poll of the swing states can be trusted, is that Romney has made huge gains with women voters.
Mitt Romney leads President Obama by five percentage points among likely voters in the nation’s top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank.
As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the survey of voters in 12 crucial swing states finds female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney. The Republican nominee now ties the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-48%, while he leads by 12 points among men.
Why those issues would favor Romney is a mystery, since all the experts say his tax cuts would explode the deficit.
The battle for women, which was apparent in the speakers spotlighted at both political conventions this summer, is likely to help define messages the candidates deliver at the presidential debate Tuesday night and in the TV ads they air during the final 21 days of the campaign. As a group, women tend to start paying attention to election contests later and remain more open to persuasion by the candidates and their ads.
That makes women, especially blue-collar “waitress moms” whose families have been hard-hit by the nation’s economic woes, the quintessential swing voters in 2012′s close race.
Ralph posted a couple of very interesting poll-related links in the previous thread:
Sam Wang: The Passing Storm
In national polls, the race has swung back three points since the Presidential debate to a narrow Obama lead. This return has been steady over time, and so the role of the VP debate is unclear. Combined with state polls, the data suggest that the effect of Mitt Romney’s performance was an instantaneous jump of 5.5 points, which has now subsided back to where polls were in August. The decline in the state poll meta-analysis has been blocked by Ohio. Today, President Obama’s November re-elect probability is 84% – still a Russian-roulette situation for the Democrats.
And and “exclusive” at Democratic Underground: Gravis Marketing exposed as a fraud Part I. Very interesting and creepy too.
Everyone has advice for President Obama for tomorrow night’s debate. Lanny Davis offers some ridiculous suggestions at The Hill
1) Be respectful and gracious to Romney — look at him while he is talking and listen to what he is saying — not because it is better than the appearance of disrespect you conveyed in the first debate by looking down and taking notes, but because he is a good man, a good dad, a good husband and a successful businessman and politician who is deserving of respect.
2) Be firm and strong when you challenge him on his policy positions — but don’t interrupt or raise your voice, and concede him the merits once in a while (since it is neither true nor politically effective to declare that he is 100 percent wrong and you are 100 percent right).
3) Most heretical of all — concede a little when you can when the truth requires that you made some mistakes in your first term — and aver that will make you a better president in the second term.
For example, you could say you regret not making a greater effort to break the logjam of the supercommittee on dealing with the then $15 trillion debt. You could say you wished you had done more to reach out to the Senate and House Republicans on the committee and intend to do so in your next term — and to do a better job seeking the counsel of senior Republicans who are, in fact, interested in achieving solutions and bipartisan consensus, particularly on making real progress on reducing the nation’s unsustainable national debt, such as Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).
I think he’s actually serious too!!
Howard Fineman has a column on the many “fans” who are now second-guessing the Obama campaign strategies.
What are you hearing? This is an open thread, of course.
This will just be a quick post without a lot of psychological analysis, because I haven’t had time to read all the articles about this carefully. I have to admit I’m somewhat flummoxed at the moment. From ABC News:
Mac McClelland, a civil rights reporter who has seen the impact of sexual violence around the globe, couldn’t shake the image of Sybille, a woman who said she had been raped at gunpoint and mutilated in the aftermath of Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake.
While on assignment for Mother Jones last September, McClelland said she accompanied Sybille to the hospital when the woman saw her attackers and went into “a full paroxysm — wailing, flailing” in terror.
Something snapped in McClelland, too. She became progressively enveloped in the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress — avoidance of feelings, flashbacks and recurrent thoughts that triggered crying spells. There were smells that made her gag.
McClelland, 31, sought professional help but said she ultimately cured herself by staging her own rape, which she writes about in a haunting piece for the online magazine Good. The title: “How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD.”
Here’s the article: I’m Gonna Need You to Fight Me On This: How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD
She writes that a guy in her hotel in Haiti kept trying to get her to have sex with him, and finally he said “We can do this at gunpoint if that sells it for you.” And McClelland says it did appeal to her.
On that reporting trip, I’d been fantasizing about precisely what the local guy proposed, my back against a wall or a mattress with a friendly gun to my throat. But the plan was vetoed about as soon as it was hatched, when I asked him if his firearm had a safety and he said no. Like I say: I am not completely nuts.
I don’t want to judge, because clearly McClelland witnessed horrendous violence. Her reaction sounds more like survivor’s guilt than PTSD, but I have no way of knowing. Maybe it was both. McClelland’s description of her stress reaction to all the violence she had experienced and witnessed is harrowing, and I can understand why she broke down. She felt completely numb and unable to feel her emotions. From her description, it sounds like she was dissociating and experiencing depersonalization and derealization. Finally she told her therapist the only thing she wanted was to experience violent sex.
“All I want is to have incredibly violent sex,” I told Meredith. Since I’d left Port-au-Prince, I could not process the thought of sex without violence. And it was easier to picture violence I controlled than the abominable nonconsensual things that had happened to Sybille.
Meredith was wholly unmoved by this.
“One tried but true impact of trauma is people just really shutting themselves down,” she says when I interview her about it later for this piece. “Also, stuff comes up for people like the way it came up for you: Folks can have a counterphobic approach, moving toward fear instead of away from it. And sometimes people have fantasies like that after trauma, putting themselves in dangerous situations, almost to try to confirm with themselves that they were not impacted. ‘Look, I did it again. It’s fine. I’m fine.’”
Finally she asked a former lover to rape and beat her. Of course this was a role-playing situation and she was in control to some extent. I’m not going to post the description here, because it’s extremely graphic. I’ll leave it to you to decide if you want to read the article. But McClelland claimed she made a major breakthrough. Her PTSD was cured and she was able to return to work.
According to Conor Friedersdorf, writing in The Atlantic, a group of women who have worked in Haiti were so offended by McClelland’s descriptions of life in Haiti, that they wrote her a letter in protest, essentially accusing her of racism.
Marjorie Valbun reacted to McClelland’s piece with a critical article in Slate titled What’s happening in Haiti is not about you, in which she calls McClelland’s confessional article “Offensive.” “Shockingly-narcissistic.” “Intellectually dishonest.”
At Feministe, Jill counters with “But sometimes it is about you.”
McClelland didn’t have a “need to feel victimized.” She spent years reporting from war-torn and devastated countries, and she become psychologically overwhelmed. It’s not narcissistic or intellectually dishonest to discuss the very real impacts that can result from seeing suffering day in and day out.
Criticism that McClelland focused too much on herself at the expense of actually covering the situation in Haiti would be more warranted if the piece about PTSD was one of McClelland’s only journalistic contributions. But she has covered human rights issues tirelessly. She wrote a book about Burma. She has written dozens of articles about Haiti, including articles about sexual assault. She is not the central character in the vast majority of the pieces she’s written. The GOOD piece has gotten more attention that most of the other articles McClelland has penned, and that’s a worthy criticism, but it’s not McClelland’s responsibility or fault. To suggest that she used her time in Haiti just to write a narcissistic sex piece is wildly inaccurate. To further suggest that there’s something selfish about leaving after recognizing that you’re traumatized? That’s cruel and irresponsible. The argument that “Haiti is not about you!” is one that I’d usually be sympathetic to; but here, the article wasn’t about Haiti, it was about Mac and her experiences and her mental state and the strange position she found herself in. Haiti was a backdrop for that, but I don’t see how she was under any obligation to fully represent the complexities of the situation there in a personal piece about her own mental health.
What do you think?