Tuesday Reads

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Good Morning!!

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is topping the headlines today. The Obama administration announced this morning that it will send military troops to deal with the situation. Reuters Reports:

The United States announced on Tuesday that it would send 3,000 troops to help tackle the Ebola outbreak as part of a ramped-up response including a major deployment in Liberia, the country where the epidemic is spiraling fastest out of control.

The U.S. response to the crisis, to be formally unveiled later by President Barack Obama, includes plans to build 17 treatment centers, train thousands of healthcare workers and establish a military control center for coordination, U.S. officials told reporters.

The World Health Organization has said it needs foreign medical teams with 500-600 experts as well as at least 10,000 local health workers, numbers that may rise if the number of cases increases, as it is widely expected to.

Liberia is where the disease appears to be running amok. The WHO has not issued any estimate of cases or deaths in the country since Sept 5 and its Director-General Margaret Chan has said there is not a single bed available for Ebola patients there.

Liberia, a nation founded by descendants of freed American slaves, appealed for U.S. help last week.

A U.N. official in the country said on Friday that her colleagues had resorted to telling locals to use plastic bags to fend off the killer virus, for want of any other protective equipment.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, the charity that has been leading the fight against Ebola, said it was overwhelmed and repeated its call for an immediate and massive deployment.

More details from The Washington Post, U.S. military will lead $750 million fight against Ebola in West Africa.

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The president’s decision to enlist the U.S. military, whose resources are already under strain as it responds to conflicts in the Middle East, reflects the growing concern of U.S. officials that, unless greater force is brought to bear, the epidemic could wreak havoc on the continent….

Global health experts and international aid groups who have been urging the White House to dramatically scale up its response praised the plan as described. They have said charities and West African governments alone do not have the capacity to stem the epidemic.

The U.S. military, with its enormous logistical capability, extensive air operations, and highly skilled medical corps, could address gaps in the response quickly.

“This is a really significant response on the military side,” said Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a book about the first Ebola outbreak in 1976 and another on the global public-health system. “This is really beginning to seem like a game-changer.”

But much depends on how quickly personnel and supplies can get there.

“The problem is, for every single thing we’re doing, we’re racing against the virus, and the virus has the high ground right now,” she said. “I would hope this would reduce transmission, but it’s all about how fast people can get there and get the job done. If it takes weeks to mobilize, the strategy won’t even be within reach.”

Unfortunately, according to Reuters India, <a href=”http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/09/16/health-ebola-spread-liberia-idINKBN0HB1CD20140916&#8243; target=”_blank”>it make take weeks or months for the operation to get up to speed</a>. For more background on the Ebola virus, you can read a <a href=”http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/qa.html&#8221; target=”_blank”>”questions and answers” page</a> at the CDC and a <a href=”http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/&#8221; target=”_blank”>fact sheet</a> at WHO.

For the past week or so, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the NFL’s domestic violence problem, and in recent days, we’ve focused on Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson’s indictment for beating and injuring his four-year old son. Yesterday we learned  that Peterson was also investigated in 2013 for causing head injuries and scars to another four-year-old son from a different mother but was not charged. According to ABC News, Peterson has five children, only one of who lives with him.

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As is usually the case with abusers, Adrian Peterson was also a victim in his childhood. Sadly, based on his public statements, Peterson has not yet accepted that what his parents did to him was wrong, and he has continued the cycle of violence with his own children. In fact, he has even praised his parents for the whippings they administered. From ABC News:

Adrian Peterson’s apology for the “hurt” he inflicted on his young son when he punished the boy with a switch was the result of the respect Peterson had for similar discipline his parents had applied to him.

The football star even praised his parents’ tough discipline in his statement today, saying that it prevented him from being “one of those kids that was lost in the streets.”

“I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man,” he said in a statement.

How bad was it? From USA Today, Whippings part of Adrian Peterson’s childhood.

PALESTINE, Texas — David Cummings and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson still talk about the frequent whippings Peterson’s father administered — and one whipping in particular.

Cummings says he and Peterson were leaving football practice while in middle school when Peterson’s father, Nelson, was waiting near the parking lot.

School officials had called Nelson Peterson to report that Adrian had been disruptive in class, recalled Cummings, who played football and basketball with Adrian Peterson during their youth and through high school.

“His dad asked what happened, and Adrian told him,” Cummings said.

With that, Nelson Peterson unstrapped his belt and whipped Adrian Peterson in front of more than 20 students, Cummings said.

Imagine how humiliating that must have been! But Peterson had to suppress his anger at this mistreatment in order to survive in his violent family. Peterson also experience severe childhood trauma, according to ABC News.

When Peterson was 7, he witnessed a drunk driver fatally hit his 9-year-old brother while he was riding his bike. More recently, Peterson’s half brother was fatally shot in Houston in 2007 shortly before the NFL draft.

He told USA Today that when he was 13, his father was sentenced to 10 years in jail after selling crack cocaine for a drug ring and getting caught on drug laundering charges. Visits to the Texarkana Federal Correctional Institution and regular letters kept the pair close, but family friends remembered his father Nelson as “a firm disciplinarian.”

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USA Today interviewed Peterson’s childhood friend David Cummings about the corporal punishment their parents used when they were growing up.

PALESTINE, Texas — When Adrian Peterson got whippings as a child, it often involved an assignment: Go find a “switch,” a tree branch that would be used to inflict the punishment.

David Cummings, one of Peterson’s longtime friends in their hometown of Palestine, Texas, tookUSA TODAY Sports on a tour of the wooded area near their homes. Switch heaven. Or, depending on your perspective, switch hell.

“It wouldn’t be a shock to be seen anywhere to get a switch,’’ he said.

But the prime spot were the two trees in the frontyard of Cummings’ family home, across the street from the split-level red brick home where Adrian spent many weekends with his father and grandmother. During the tour, Cummings tugged a branch off the one of the trees and sized it up.

“You’re going to get a bruise from it more than likely,’’ he said.

Oh, and Cummings said they gladly found their switches in light of the alternative: get whipped with a stinging, leather belt.

Unfortunately, Peterson has carried the cycle of violence into the next generation, inflicting abuse on his own children. He needs serious therapy, but first he needs to break the denial and admit that what he experience is child abuse and it is wrong.

Child abuse obviously is not just an African American thing, but I found this interesting op-ed at NOLA.com by Jarvis DeBerry on corporal punishment in black culture, Where did black folks learn of whippings, and why are they still a thing?

When I saw the news that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had been arrested for whipping his young son with a switch, I immediately thought of a 1998 feature story by Washington Post writer Deneen L. Brown.  It’s called “A good whuppin?” Editors at The Washington Post thought of it, too. When I did a search for Brown’s story after the Peterson arrest, I happily discovered that her feature story is now on the newspaper’s website.

Better than anybody else I’ve seen, Brown gives a history of corporal punishment in African-American communities. She also does a good job explaining how stories of a “good whuppin'” become the best-told stories of our adulthood.

But there’s another reason the story has always lodged in my head: In doing her research about this kind of punishment, Brown talks to a chair of the department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University who says that black people did not bring this kind of punishment over from Africa. He asserts that black people learned it here.

“There is not a record in African culture of the kind of body attack that whipping represents,” that scholar told Brown for her 1998 report. “The maintenance of order by physical coercion is rare in Africa.”

The belief is that black people began whipping their children out of fear that the overseers and masters would whip them worse. If so, it’s easy to empathize with parents who made that choice.  But if those parents inflicted the same punishment that the slave master would have inflicted, how is that punishment a good thing? Is there a difference between a hateful beating and a loving one? Does the latter feel less painful than the former? Does the skin heal differently?

There’s much more. Read it all at NOLA.com.

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Here are a few more links to check out, if you’re interested. I need to wrap this up before it gets too late or WordPress decides to wipe out this post again.

I haven’t read all of this yet, but I thought it looked really interesting. From Collectors Weekly, Women Who Conquered the Comics World, by Lisa Hix.

Scotland will vote on independence from Great Britain on Thursday, and England is pulling out all the stops to get them to vote “no.”

The New York Times, London Repeats Offer of New Powers if Scotland Votes No on Independence.

The Independent UK, David Cameron delivers emotional plea for Scotland to stay.

An update on the child sexual abuse scandal in Britain from the New York Times, Police Chief Quit Over Child Abuse Scandal in English Town.

On the Ukraine crisis, The BBC reports, Rebels granted self-rule and amnesty.

USA Today, U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State in Iraq

NBC News, Ray Rice Isn’t Alone: 1 in 5 Men Admits Hitting Wives, Girlfriends.

Advertising Age, Radisson Suspends Vikings Sponsorship Over Peterson Charges.

Io9, Schizophrenia is Actually Eight Distinct Genetic Disorders.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a terrific Tuesday!


41 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Fannie says:

    Sorry about the mess up BB, you’ve done a super job here for us Skydancers. There were 16 female senators who sent a letter of NFL commissioner Goodell last Thursday, calling for a “zero tolerance” police for domestic violence within the NFL.

    There are 20 female senators: Four didn’t sign the letter, and I am wondering why NOT?

    Lisa Murkowski, R. Alaska
    Mary Landrieu- D. La…………………..Dak could you find out why she didn’t sign?
    Deb Fischer, R. NE.
    Clair McCaskill, D. Missouri – called her office awaiting feedback.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s strange. I wonder why they didn’t sign–pandering to the abuser vote? Thanks for calling McCaskill’s office.

      • Fannie says:

        Lisa Murkowski was in Canada and the letter was rushed, and that is why is didn’t sign. The other thing I thought of is maybe they had to “be present”. The others are suppose to get back to me.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m not sure why but she’s in such a tight race right now that it might be a matter of her just being on the road. I know my friend in Shreveport said she’s up there right now because he’s going to an event. I’ll have him ask her.

  2. janicen says:

    WordPress has been crazy lately. Thank you for persevering and posting this. I’ve heard and read all of the reasons we should try to understand why people continue the cycle of abuse as Peterson has but I just can’t get there. I don’t forgive, excuse, or even understand it. I realize that kids don’t understand that they are being abused. Hell, we used to think that our mom was being compassionate because she had a special belt without a buckle that she used on us. The abusive parents used the ones with buckles you see. But at some point we have to take responsibility and ownership of our own behavior. I agree that Peterson needs lots of therapy, but using a belt on a four year old strapped into a car seat? That’s pretty damned sick.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m definitely not suggesting forgiving or excusing abusive behavior. I’m just saying that there is a cycle of violence in families that must be broken. IMO, the way to do that is bring the behavior out from the shadows. That is what’s happening right now with these high-profile cases getting into the news and people talking publicly about them.

      As for Peterson, I think he should go to jail for what he did, he should never set foot on a football field again, and he should be prohibited from being around children. Finally, if he really has a child living with him, that child needs to be put into a safe home immediately.

      You experienced something like what happened to Peterson, and you were able to break the pattern. You probably did that with self-awareness. Peterson obviously didn’t do that. Instead he identified with his abusers. I’m just trying to explain how the cycle is perpetuated. One way would be to run public service ads on radio and TV. Abuse needs to be stamped out in the same way we have been able to get people to stop smoking.

    • bostonboomer says:

      My position is that children most of all need positive reinforcement. BF Skinner’s research clearly demonstrated that punishment simply doesn’t work to change behavior except under very well defined conditions. Positive reinforcement–praising the wanted behavior works best. Corporal punishment only causes the victim to fear and distance him/herself from the abuser and hide behaviors that abuser disapproves of. Even small children can be reasoned with to a point. If punishment is required a time-out can help.

      http://www.education.com/reference/article/time-out-punishment-time-away/

      BTW, this holds true in adults as well. Bosses who use positive reinforcement have employees who trust them and are open with them. Employees who are punished avoid and distrust the boss and hide any behavior the boss might disapprove of. They are also less likely to want to work hard for a punishing boss.

        • NW Luna says:

          Fascinating, BB. I’ve read a few similar articles but they were more on the order of pilot studies. This one was well designed and executed — it has a good n and used a 3T MRI. I really hope we can develop effective interventions soon. It would be better, of course, to eliminate child abuse but I’m cynical at how long that will take.

        • janicen says:

          bb, you are so awesome for posting this link and all of your brilliant insight into this discussion. Personally, from my heart, thank you. Not only was I both physically and mentally abused throughout my childhood and adolescence, but hubby was abused in more subtle ways but the repeated message blasted at him throughout his childhood and adolescence was that he didn’t matter. It was all about his parents’ egos. He went to a different school every year, year after year, up until high school, where he finally got to spend the last 2 years in the same school. Can you imagine that? And why? It all had to do with his parents’ egos, and living in the right place and having him in the right school. What madness. That’s emotional abuse. Don’t even get me started on his fucked up parents. I am so incredibly proud of myself and of him for breaking the cycle of abuse and going in completely the opposite direction for our daughter. We fell in love with her long before she was born. My husband would read children’s books to my tummy when I was pregnant. Every step in life we have taken since her birth has been taken with her needs in mind. So far I have not been disappointed with the results. She’s pretty amazing. Reading articles like the one you linked to just brings it home for me. We did okay for a couple of idiots who didn’t know what we were doing. Thanks again, bb.

          • Fannie says:

            Janicen that’s what I was getting around to. Sometimes because of the stroke, I have a hard time finding words, etc. The abuse is indeed a cycle that seems to destroy families. I tell you what else does, when your parents/families, deny it, and they don’t want you to talk about it, even when other children see it and experienced it in your family, they don’t want to talk about it.

            I had a family split, because I called it out. When family said they didn’t do nothing because this was disciplining, and blamed the child, I knew they were sick. They wanted to “keep it in the family”………I refused to sweep it under the carpet, and they kicked me out of the family, all because a young girl needed support, needed love. I stood up and said NO, it’s not right, and it was fucked up, and when I got her to call the police, they blamed me. That was their only recourse, blame me, they refused to handle the truth, and see the trap that they had set up years ago. The young girl got out, and moved on with her life. I tried to protect the child, and that just pissed them off even more. I didn’t own the problem they did, and I walked away from this mean ass family.

          • NW Luna says:

            Fannie, thank you for speaking up and for telling your story. Gentle hugs to you.

          • bostonboomer says:

            You did great, Janicen. And you and you husband should be proud of what you done and how your daughter turned out. I really appreciate your sharing your story.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Yes, thank you Fannie. My parents too used to say that you never tell what goes on in the family. One of my sisters is still in denial. She actually told me that I caused my Dad to hit me because I “talked back” and rebelled. She was little miss perfect with straight A’s. That was her way of trying to control her situation.

            But she ended up running away just like the rest of us. We all left home by age 19. I couldn’t wait to get out and as far away as I could. I give my parents credit that they helped me move to Boston and got a friend who was a Prof at Boston College to help me get settled and find a job.

      • dakinikat says:

        It’s hard work to overcome the cycle. I’m still reminded of how much good Sir Patrick Stewart is doing on the domestic violence issue. It’s hard to reconcile that the people that are supposed to love you and take care of you can turn into your tormenters. His story is so compelling. I know that you have to be mindful not to let things burble up in the heat of the moment. It’s easy to react from what you knew rather than rethink the entire thing. Like I said yesterday, I wish they’d teach child development/psychology to all students in high school.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    I just tried to edit this post, and now the links are all fucked up. I’ll fix them as soon as I can figure out how to do it.

  4. Fannie says:

    Should we wait till afternoon to post BB, and make it easier for you?

    • bostonboomer says:

      No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the comments. It’s something about the WordPress editor. Please don’t stop commenting.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Responsible gun owner accidentally hits baby while aiming for her boyfriend. Bullet hits him in the groin, goes through him and then hits baby.

    http://crooksandliars.com/2014/09/responsible-gun-owner-accidentally-hits

  6. Fannie says:

    The NFL, and the media is out drawing all kinds of lines. These are very bright lines, with the the faces of Adrian Peterson (Minn. Vikings) child abuse; Greg Hardy (Carolina Panthers) convicted of DV Jun 2014 and threatening to kill his girlfriend’ Ray Rice (Balitmore Ravens) Knocked out his girlfriend; Ray McDonald (49ers), arrested Aug 31 felony DV with his pregnant wife.

    We have 16 female senators asking the Commissioner for Zero Tolerance Policy, we have several women’s groups speaking up (Ultra Violet/NOW), we have had a number of specialist in the field of abuse, and a number of members who represent the sports arena. Here’s Charles Barkley:

    “I’m from the south. I understand Boomer’s rage and anger, but he’s a white guy and I’m a black guy. I don’t know where he’s from, I’m from the south, whipping, we do that all the time. Every black parent n the south is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”

    Let me make it clear, this is about abuse, it is appalling and disturbing, and damaging no matter, your color, your sex, your age. It is, in my opinion (from my very own experiences) totally a mistake, that many people including myself really never recover from, and will always have difficulties in relationship, be it family members, friends, or spouses. It is difficult because as you see it shapes ones life, especially when the behavior (be it physical, verbal or emotional) happens, and is DISMISSED.

    Here’s Cris Carter (I stand with this man)

    “My mom did the best she could raising 7 children by herself, but she was WRONG about stuff, abuse, and I won’t teach my kids this mess. You can’t beat your kids, this is the 21st century, and I say take them off the field, that’s what a man respects.”

    My point is together we can fight against abuse, and I ask are you with us, can you help us, and as we can see there are people in high places with money, there are parents, grandparents, and family, and even the victims of abuse who have a need to “COVER” the abuse. There are many reason why. I seen this time and time again, and I have lost family, and have doubted my own self. But often for adults it’s about losing a job, income, and as I listened to Rick Spieldman, the Vikings General Manager, he like a few others are covering under “due process of law”………….He said it was a DV is a serious matter, and that the players must have due process. Are you hearing echo’s of this too? I am so disappointed and ashamed of these men, as though they can’t sit down like logical people and help in the fight to stop ABUSE. They need to stop pretending that abuse doesn’t hurt the victim, nor the family, nor the community. Rather than say let’s help these abusers and families and communities, they are all so concerned about their JOBS and MILLIONS they bring in. And what about the sponsors, why don’t we hear from them.

    We won’t to stop abuse, we need “INTERVENTION/PREVENTION”, they have a ton of money to help with programs, medical and community to policy strategies, like Zero Tolerance Policies.

    • bostonboomer says:

      People like Charles Barkley are invested in pretending they had happy childhoods. I didn’t admit my parents abused me until I was past 40. I always thought they were perfect and I was a bad kid. If only I hadn’t been so worthless, my parents would have treated me better. I don’t want a single other child in this world to grow up feeling that way.

      • RalphB says:

        I’m sorry you had such a tough time cause I’m sure it was never deserved! Luckily I was not abused, even though I had a kind of mean stepfather once but he was scared to death of my Grandfather. That situation didn’t last very long.

      • NW Luna says:

        It’s horrible the brainwashing and conditioning that parents can do. Children have no defense and can’t reason out — yet — that Mom or Dad, or both, are taking their problems out on the kids and it’s not the kids’ fault.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Here’s something you don’t read about every day:

    Extraordinary story of the husband who was ‘raped to death’ by five wives because he was paying too much attention to the sixth

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2178201/Uroko-Onoja-death-Husband-raped-death-5-wives-paying-attention-sixth.html#ixzz3DVfWtKac
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  8. RalphB says:

    This is great, with pictures.

    NYMag: Couple Pays Hundreds of Dollars for Goldfish Brain Surgery

    A 10-year-old goldfish was going to die from a brain tumor if it didn’t undergo a complicated operation. Knowing their beloved pet could live for 20 more years if the surgery was successful, George the goldfish’s owners decided to pony up hundreds of dollars to save the little guy. …

    Now for why I have been MIA for a bit. My daughter had brain surgery Friday before last and a tumor removed. It was completely benign and she is doing fine now but needed a little helping hand. She’s still recovering but it won’t be too long now.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Wow. I’m so glad the tumor was benign, but it must have been serious surgery. I’m glad she’s OK.

    • Fannie says:

      Thankful that your daughter is doing fine after surgery, that’s a rough procedure. You are a deeply loving Dad, and she appreciates all you do to help her make it. Get some rest/sleep.

    • NW Luna says:

      You are a wonderful father to her! That is delicate surgery — so glad to hear there is no malignancy. All the best to her as she recovers. And take time for your own health, too.

    • janicen says:

      I’ve been wondering where you were. I hope they were able to get all of the tumor and she has a quick recovery. She’s lucky to have you there to help.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    This is big. Anheuser-Busch and McDonalds have both expressed deep concern over the NFL’s domestic abuse problems.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2014/09/16/anheuser-busch-increasingly-concerned-over-nfls-domestic-violence-issues/

    http://www.chron.com/news/article/Anheuser-Busch-Visa-voice-NFL-disapproval-5759781.php

    When the beer and fast food companies are starting to complain, the NFL will have to react.

  10. dakinikat says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/09/16/democrats-now-have-a-51-percent-chance-of-holding-the-senate/?hpid=z1

    “In addition to that trio of moves in Democrats’ direction, Louisiana has moved slightly in Democrats’ favor (from a 57 percent chance of losing to a 53 percent chance), as has North Carolina (a 97 percent chance of winning now as opposed to a 92 percent chance on Aug. 27).”

  11. bostonboomer says:

    At 2AM, the Vikings came to some kind of agreement with the league and they once again deactivated Adrian Peterson without having to lose a roster spot. They still have to pay him.

    Meanwhile Roger Goodell has disappeared from the face of the earth. He hasn’t said one word about the Peterson case. The sports stations are still talking about this 20-7. It’s unreal.

    This morning they are saying Goodell’s job may really be in danger because he’s leaving the owners out there hanging, with no guidance. They’re saying the Carolina Panthers will be next, and they have to decide what to do with Greg Hardy before the media comes down on them. San Francisco is still playing McDonald, and they’re going to have to deal with that.

    Thanks to Goodell’s failure to deal with the domestic violence issue, the owners are likely to start turning on him, according to what I’m hearing this morning.