Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East. History nerd, linguistic geek, and devoted news junkie.
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Lady Gaga Opens Up About Her Battle With PTSD

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On Monday, singer Lady Gaga revealed that she suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on a Today segment filmed at a homeless shelter for LGBT youth. Gaga began experiencing symptoms of the disorder after she was raped at the age of 19. “I told the kids today, ‘I suffer from PTSD.’ I’ve never told anyone that before. So, here we are,” she told Today. “But, the kindness that’s been shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends – it’s really saved my life.”

Throughout Gaga’s career she has been open about being raped by a music producer when she was a teenager. She wrote about coping with the trauma in her Academy-Award-nominated song, “Til it Happens to You,” but never discussed her PTSD symptoms. PTSD sufferers often experience nightmares, repeated thoughts of the assault, negative changes in thoughts and feelings, edginess and difficulty sleeping. Studies have shown there to be a relationship between PTSD and heightened suicide risk as well. 

Gaga’s revelation that she has PTSD opens up an important dialog about the disorder. Most people associate PTSD with war trauma, but not sexual assault. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, almost all  women experience PTSD symptoms in the two weeks immediately following a rape and 30 percent of women report symptoms of PTSD nine months after the assaulted. By raising awareness of the link between sexual assault and PTSD we can better care for those affected by the debilitating disorder.

 

 


 


 

 

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hannahdraper
10 hours ago
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Washington, DC
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Central Park Was Once Seneca Village, Home to a Thriving Free Black Community

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hannahdraper
18 hours ago
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Growing Up in a Library Is Exactly As Magical As You'd Imagine

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For a certain type of bookish kid (or, let’s be honest, adult), living in the library sounds like a dream. But when the Clark family moved into the Washington Heights branch of the New York Public Library in the late 1940s, their teenage son Ronald Clark was skeptical.

“Kids are strange,” he says. “We always want to be normal. So at first I was a little ashamed that I lived in a library.” His family had moved from a small town in Maryland, where everyone knew each other, for his father to take a job as the library’s custodian.

When New York City’s branch libraries were first built, each one had an apartment on the third floor for a live-in caretaker, who would keep the library clean and its coal furnaces burning.

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Soon enough, though, Clark realized the advantages of his new home. “I thought—wait a minute, I’ve got a building to myself with every book in the world,” he says. He decided he liked it. “After a few years, my friends would introduce me and say, ‘This guy lives in the library. Literally—he lives in the library!’”

Today, only a small number of these hidden library apartments are left in New York City. They’re empty and neglected now, and are slowly being converted into modern areas for technology and language programs since the library system needs more space.

Just this year, the apartment that Clark grew up in was renovated so that the space could be used for library programming. Clark and his daughter, Jamilah, who spent the first years of her life living in the same apartment, came back for the first time in decades for a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the converted rooms.

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Back in his former home, Clark said that living the library had been a life-changing experience. Before moving there, he had not been a bookish kid, and no one in his family had graduated from high school. But while residing in the library, he started paying attention to books. Every time he read something new, he was amazed. He found himself walking past stacks of books and picking out titles to take to a library table, or going downstairs at all hours of the night to read.

One of the defining moments of his life, he says, is a night that he was lying in bed, thinking about the contradictions between the scientific concept of evolution and the biblical concept of creation. He got up at 2 a.m., went down the stairs, turned on the light, and went to the religion section to pick out a Bible. He laid it side by side with an encyclopedia that detailed evolution and started reading.

“I read each section, and found out—the world was underwater, then fish, then reptiles, then mammals, and lastly humans. I realized, it was exactly the same thing,” in both books, he says. “When I realized that, that changed the way I view the world.”

Living in the library gave him a desire for knowledge, he says, which led him to became the first person in his family to graduate high school and go on to college. During the ceremony, he spoke about passing that desire on to his daughter, who lived in the apartment until she was about five.

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One of her favorite memories is going down to the library’s second floor—the children’s floor—with her grandfather when he was cleaning it. “I would have full run of the floor, and the books, and the puzzles, and everything that was down there,” she said. On Sundays, too, after the library closed, she would go downstairs to hang out, read books, and lay on the children’s mats with the puzzle pieces.

“It didn’t feel weird that we lived in a library because it was all I knew,” she says. “This was our home. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that everybody does not have a lot of books in their house. I didn’t even have the concept of library, just that I lived in a place with tons of books, everywhere, and I could read them and play with them.”

Living in a library, she says, was as great as any book lover would imagine. “It’s magical,” she says. On Sunday, after the library closed, the whole place belonged to the family. Ronald Clark remembers quiet Sunday afternoon dinners, and looking out the windows to see the city resting before them.

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Today, after a $4.4 million renovation, the soaring storage room where Jamilah Clark put on puppet shows and learned to ride a bike has become a bright and open programming area for teenagers. The apartment where the family lived has become a series of modern rooms intended for language classes and technology programs.

But it still feels familiar, in some ways, to the Clarks. “The inside is totally different, but the space is still the same and the windows are still the same, so it has both the old and the new,” says Ronald Clark. “I feel nostalgic about the old but I really truly am excited about the new.”

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hannahdraper
18 hours ago
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Christmastronomy

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Hovertext:
All I'm saying is that it fits the data. What else do you need?

New comic!
Today's News:

Submissions are now open for BAHFest London!

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hannahdraper
18 hours ago
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The Senate Might Be Trouble

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House Republicans have the DC press onboard with the idea that they're going to push through "Repeal and Delay" in the first weeks of the Trump administration and Medicare phaseout later in the year. But in an interview with the Portland Press Herald, Susan Collins seems like lukewarm or a no on both. (Lauren Fox has more on the story here.)

Without making a hard commitment Collins told the paper she is not inclined to support plans to 'privatize' Medicare.

Collins said plans to privatize Medicare – which have been proposed by Price and House Speaker Paul Ryan – have many problems, and she’s voted against similar ideas. Privatizing Medicare would provide skimpier benefits and be more costly to seniors, critics say.

“Suffice it to say I have a number of reservations,” Collins said Friday during an interview by phone. “A complete upending of a program (Medicare) that by and large serves seniors well is not something that appeals to me.”

Just as interesting, she seems like a no on "repeal and delay". Note that she has not and does not support Obamacare. But her focus is not on repeal but on safeguarding the health insurance of people who gained it under Obamacare.

Collins said her “number one” goal for any ACA repeal effort would be to protect people who have purchased Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance. That group includes about 10 million people, while Medicaid expansion covers an additional 15-18 million. Maine is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid. The uninsured rate has plummeted in the U.S. since the ACA took effect.

“You can’t just drop insurance for 84,000 people,” Collins said, referring to people who have signed up for ACA insurance in Maine.

Not surprisingly, Collins seems to associate herself with Lamar Alexander, who chairs the committee through which all health care policy changes will need to go. Alexander has said Obamacare could take "years" to repeal. And beyond these open-ended comments he has made clear that you cannot repeal the law without first having a plan to replace it.

The organizing principle of all Obamacare politics going back six years has been that Republicans oppose it, have no idea of what can replace it and are unwilling to openly say that they want the system to go back to how it was before 2010. That is how you get to "Repeal and We'll Get Back To You." The Ryan/Trump plan seems to be to repeal the law, let the system collapse, with collateral damage for lots of people who were not directly affected by Obamacare and hope that somehow Democrats get blamed for it.

Collins and Alexander are two Senators. There are plenty of signs that there are more in this category. And the GOP majority looks likely to be just 52. Not many votes to spare.

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hannahdraper
18 hours ago
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The Harding Presidency

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As the richest administration in living memory is being assembled in Washington D.C., we look back at how an earlier version of that had fared. 

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For twenty-nine months in early 1920s, the United States was effectively governed not from the White House but from a small house four blocks away. The residence at 1625 K Street was the epicenter of the Harding presidency — and all the shambolic chaos that surrounded it.

Warren G. Harding was propelled into the White House by a deadlocked national convention and machine politics; in many ways, America elected him as a snub to his predecessor Woodrow Wilson, and Wilson’s internationalist views.  A genial man whose friends included George Eastman, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford,  Harding surrounded himself with cronies and sycophants and assembled a federal government which was less than qualified — to put it charitably.

To head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (and later the Federal Reserve), Harding chose D.R. Crissinger, a former neighbor whose prior work experience was as a director of rural shovel and stockyards companies. Harding gave his sister and brother-in-law, previously missionaries in Burma, senior jobs in the government. His chief military adviser was a man named Ora Baldinger — someone so obscure and inconsequential that he doesn’t even have a wikipedia page — who had been Harding’s newspaper delivery boy.

To head the newly formed Veterans Affairs bureau, Harding chose Charles Forbes, who he befriended by chance during a Hawaiian holiday. Forbes was put in charge of a department with $500 million budget (around $6 billion in today’s money), of which he managed to lose, steal, or misappropriate as much as $200 million in mere two years. Another distinguished appointee was Albert Fall, a senator trailed by a dark cloud of possible homicide of a rival. Fall was chosen to lead the Department of Interior where he blundered into a bribery scheme that would soon be remembered as the Teapot Dome scandal, and became .

Meanwhile, at the Treasury, shrewd Andrew Mellon oversaw a huge tax cut, which while kickstarting the economy, greatly benefited the rich. As a political rival noted at the time, under the new tax, “Mr. Mellon himself gets a larger personal reduction than the aggregate of practically all the taxpayers in the state of Nebraska”. Mellon also used the IRS to prepare his tax returns (to minimize his tax bill), and the State Department to get his companies get contracts in China, according to David Cannadine in magisterial Mellon: An American Life. During his long years at Treasury, Mellon’s personal wealth doubled to over $150 million, and his family fortune grew to over $2 billion.

Harding didn’t manage to see most of the havoc caused by his appointees — not Mellon’s tax trial, not Fall’s prison sentence (who holds the dubious distinction as the first cabinet member to go to prison), not Crissinger’s indictment for mail fraud in a crooked real estate financing scheme. Twenty-nine months into his presidency, he died from heart failure — in the hands of Charles Sawyer, an unqualified doctor who relied on archaic medical practices, and who was only appointed official White House physician because he had been Harding’s parents’ family doctor.


Filed under: Politics



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acdha
22 hours ago
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Something tells me we're going to look back at this wistfully…
Washington, DC
stefanetal
18 hours ago
My wife tells me one of her great uncles quit his Federal Reserve job in 1922 to protest how the place was run under Harding's administration. But in general these stories seem to be getting lost...I've found references to him quitting, but none say it was a protest. And googling I see at least some fighting with Fed Gov Strong, probably not the best move for having a happy life in the 1920s. So maybe the family lore is (intentionally) misleading. .
jad
17 hours ago
Harding attended my church when he lived in DC. He sat in the left side of the sanctuary, 3 or 4 pews from the front. He apparently used to wink & wave at his mistress, who sat on the right-hand balcony, throughout service--while he was sitting next to his wife. There has been some speculation (with admittedly no evidence, other than "who could blame her?") that Florence Harding poisoned her husband.
hannahdraper
23 hours ago
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Washington, DC
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1 public comment
rpmalouin
12 hours ago
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amazingly familiar
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