Friday, July 22, 2011

Sgt Steven Luna Talamantez laid to rest

5 US soldiers have died in the Iraq War this month. One was buried yesterday. Scott Huddleston (San Antonio Express-News) reports 34-year-old Sgt Steven Luna Talamantez was laid to rest yesterday at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. Approximately 200 people turned out to pay their respects and Leticia Saavedra remembers, "He was the first person I called when my car broke down, because I knew he would come get me if he could." The article also features a slide show of photos taken by Jerry Lara. Eileen Gonzales (KSAT -- link has text and video) reports his survivors include a wife and two teenage children. Gonzales notes, "He joined the military four years ago and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq." James Munoz (KENS 5 -- link has text and video) spoke with Talamantez' friend John Cruz Wednesday There was always this part of Steven that if I needed something, he was there to give it to me. He really was thinking of others long before he had to make this sacrifice." KENS 5 offers a slide show here.

Meanwhile veterans of the Iraq War may return with "a rare respiratory disease," the State reports, according to a medical study by Vanderbilt University's Dr. Robert Miller. AP adds that approximately two-thirds of those who have developed constrictive bronchiolitis were "exposed to a sulfur-mine fire near Mosul, Iraq, in 2003" leading to the belief that sulfur dioxide may be responsible. Steven Reinberg (US News & World Reports) notes much remains unknown at this point including whether or not the condition is permanent. The UK's Chad notes fears that British troops may also have been exposed to dangerous chemicals:

AN Iraq War veteran from Skegby has spoken of his fear he may develop cancer as a result of the deadly chemicals he was exposed to while serving in Basra.
Cpl Jon Caunt (35) undertook five tours of Iraq between 2003 and 2007 when he and other members of the RAF Regiment were exposed to a distinctive orange powder at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant.
British troops, who were working alongside US forces and staff from private contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), did not know the orange powder was in fact Sodium Dichromate, which contains a cancer-causing compound.
It is banned in many countries and had been used to stop pipes rusting.

The following community sites -- plus and On The Wilder Side -- updated last night and this morning:

And we'll close with this from David DeGraw's "Austerity and Deficit Hawks Say, 'Let Them Eat Cake,' The People Will Say, 'Off With Their Heads'" (Prison Planet):

The vultures are circling above the debt ceiling, along with the austerity and deficit hawks, ready to pounce on what little remains.

Before I get into the tragic comedy that is the deficit debate, I must say that it is both fascinating and horrifying to watch the global financial elite incrementally destroy the United States. The American people remain passive while enduring a slow death by a thousand cuts. Each year brings another step down in living standards. The efficiency of the Neo-Feudal Technocratic-Fascists is impressive. They always seem to know just how much they can get away with without causing “civil unrest.” They bribe 45 million people with food stamps, 10 million with unemployment checks. They give you just enough to keep you passive and weak, so they can continue their plunder.

They’re masters of slow economically-induced death. They’re like vampires, sucking our blood slowly, turning us into beaten down zombies. You wake up one day and realize that you are thousands of dollars in debt, working harder for much less money, while everything costs more. You’re struggling to get by and make ends meet. Your future prospects are increasingly dire and you don’t have the ability to retire without living in poverty. So you jump on prescription meds or turn to alcohol or other drugs to deal with all the stress and anxiety. You try to escape by watching increasingly trivial and absurd “reality” TV for hours daily, you need to get your soma and delude yourself some more. Next thing you know, you have failing health and can’t afford treatment. At this point, every penny of your Social Security and Medicare counts, but now, as billionaire Charlie Munger recently said, sorry, you’re going to have to “suck it in and cope.”

Yeah, he’s talking to you.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends