Friday, October 5, 2007

Kucinich: A Monk On the Road From Burma

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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With all the noise on mainstream media and fake rage from the White House over the slaughter in Burma, still we have only one candidate that has declared himself the peace candidate. Even in this time of the Iraq war where most of the population wants to bring the troops home, we only have ONE peace candidate.

That is a disconnect I cannot puzzle out.

I can understand the Republicans - the reach-around party, wanting to "double Gitmo" and wage continuous war, but the top three Dem candidates are as strong as watered-down tea when it comes to peace.

Is it safe to discuss peace in Burma because it is "near that Viet-Cong place?" Or does BushCo simple want the regime to chill so his corporate junta can get back to business?

As I try to ponder this, I am just going to sit around and Text PEACE to Dennis. God knows my elected officials aren't taking my calls.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Enhanced Interrogation Methods? No, The Word Is "Torture"

I am sick to death of all the pussyfooting around the subject that has occupied the media for the duration of this premeditated, illegal war of terror that we the people of the United States have allowed to be waged against the people of Iraq, in our name, for the last several years.

No matter how much lipstick and rouge we smear on the face of this war no matter how we attempt to  dress up the evil and bestial acts that have been performed in its unholy name, it still has the hideous countenance of an evil swine from hell.

It is an illegal war, begun and conducted under false pretenses, by a group of criminal liars and thieves in the United States Government, abetted by a cowardly congress who abrogated their constitutional duties in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds and furthered by a complaisant press that ignored their obligation to remain independent from government, from their sponsors and report the facts. 

The members of the completely rogue executive department acted in their own self interest in a quest for personal power and wealth, in concert with the usual domestic and international corporate pirates who, in the depths of their insatiable greed, continually amplify human conflict to their own ends and bring poverty, war, suffering and death down upon the world.

There is no such animal as extraordinary rendition, nor do I know of the existence of any beasts called enhanced interrogation methods.

The first is kidnapping, it is illegal, a felony and the second word is torture, its meaning is clear:


  1. Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion.
  2. An instrument or a method for inflicting such pain.
  2. Excruciating physical or mental pain; agony: the torture of waiting in suspense.
  3. Something causing severe pain or anguish.

Torture is illegal in this country, a felonious act, it is illegal in the world at large, according to several conventions that we are legally bound by. Anyone committing torture, causing it to be committed, directing its commission, or training others in its techniques is guilty, guilty of war crimes, of crimes against humanity and crimes against "Nature's God.

The people who lied us into this war are not statesmen, nor are they patriots acting out of a misguided love of country, as I have heard in some quarters. They are murderers, murderers, modern day Nazis or Fascists if you prefer, cold dispassionate sociopaths, heinous criminals, without conscience, without mercy, without humanity.

I read in the press and heard in the media yesterday and this morning of the "murky legal territory" in which the "private contractors" operate in Iraq and the murky area of law in which our dedicated public servants must operate as they determine just how far they can go in the extreme physical abuse of human beings before they stray in to a "gray area."

Bullshit, I think that when a lying pig of a lawyer like David Addington describes a "murky legal area" it means that he thinks he can get away with it. The legal situation in Iraq was intentionally  designed to protect the mercenary scum that we send there to perform high priced serial murders as they fulfill bloated contracts to protect our criminal leadership, thieving diplomats and cowardly congressmen.

I believe that the actions of following people must be investigated and, if warranted by the evidence, tried in criminal courts, and if convicted, face the full consequences of both US and International law:

George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Eliot Abrams, Scooter Libby, John Hannah, David Wurmser, Andrew Natsios, Dan Bartlett, Mitch Daniels, George Tenet, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, David Addington

There are more, in every corner of the executive, the congress, among the highest levels of the military as well as the intelligence community, various think tanks, news organizations, public and private corporations and other NGOs.

This is a cancer that must be quickly, loudly and publicly removed from the heart of America.


Bob Higgins

Worldwide Sawdust

Related stories,sources and links:

The Architects of War

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

Convention Against Torture

Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations

Red, white and mercenary in Iraq

Yet More Impeachable Revelations

Bush's Fascist, Private Army of Paid Cutthroats, Murderers and Mercenaries

Going Up River with Al Gore

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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I cannot escape Vietnam... and I was never there.

My first memory was the assassination of JFK and the memories following dealt with adventures in the backyard, a fist fight over a teddy bear (don't ask) and Cronkite signing off every night with the dead and wounded tallies of the Vietnam War.

We all went "up river" and more than 50,000 dead came down river. This nation is still up river - the Mekong Delta is very much ingrained in our culture and our actions. It is a hinge on which our society swings - served vs. deferment is still a gold standard to many Americans, a standard in which Republicans scoff at.

Al Gore went up river, he went to Vietnam - he VOLUNTEERED to go even when his family reserved him a spot in the National Guard. Others fled service or took spots reserved for them by their families. Gore went up river.

Time is becoming short for Al Gore to run for the Presidency. From Daily Kos:

This is what so many of us have waited so many long - and I mean long! - months for. It is very likely that within three weeks, we will know whether Al Gore will enter the 2008 fold and seek the presidency again. Many of us have been trying to read the tea leaves and keep up enthusiasm and hope. If you're still waiting and hoping and haven't given up, thank you. I'm confident that I can speak for everyone within the Draft Gore movement when I say that - we have worked tirelessly for months, some of us years, to get Gore to run; that there are still thousands of people here, and millions of people nationwide that are still receptive and hoping for a Gore run means a lot to us and our work.

We are in another American misadventure in a far-off land and we can't find our way out. The Republicans want to continue the war in a direction that will not lead to a solution. The current crop of front-runners in the Democratic Party seem unable to commit to an action of quick withdrawal.

We are still under the spell of the Nine Dragons and the claws of the beasts hold us still.

Al Gore met the Dragons head-on and he came back.

This country needs someone who has gone up river. Only they can show us the way out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blackwater, The Privatization of War And Public Enemy Number One

When we evaluate the facts, the use of private military contractors appears to have harmed, rather than helped, the counterinsurgency efforts of the U.S. mission in Iraq, going against our best doctrine and undermining critical efforts of our troops. Even worse, the government can no longer carry out one of its most basic core missions: to fight and win the nation's wars. Instead, the massive outsourcing of military operations has created a dependency on private firms like Blackwater that has given rise to dangerous vulnerabilities.The dark truth about Blackwater

The idea of privatization of American public and governmental functions has been at the center of the neo conservative movement and over the last decade has been presented as the cure for everything that ails us from Social Security to Medicare, prison administration to public education, law enforcement and even the waging of war.

This idea that private enterprise can accomplish governmental functions more efficiently, at less cost while providing better service is, of course absurd and, in fact, is nothing but an enormous lie, and, like all enormous lies, if repeated often and loudly by the right authority figures and affirmed in "scholarly" studies performed by the Heritage or American Enterprise think tanks, it will take hold and seem, to a sizable portion of the uncritical public, to be the truth, simply because they have heard it so many times from so many familiar voices.

The marketing/propaganda professionals of the Cheney /Bush administration have carefully studied their Goebbels and know that the truth is what they can sell to those gullible enough to believe it especially when delivered in a climate of xenophobic, racist or religious fear, and due to the fact that a large percentage of our citizenry are either unable to look at their government and the wider corporate culture which largely dictates public policy, with a properly suspicious eye, or simply doesn't give a damn as long as no one threatens to take away their snowmobiles, shotguns and cheap access to the mind numbing inanity of popular culture and celebrity, the great lies become public truths and "common knowledge."

Seven years ago the people of this country nearly elected a federal administration that came to office expressing a hatred of government and an intention to reduce the size and influence of it in regulating the affairs of the ruling capitalist class, while at the same time charting a course to invade the lives and privacy and reduce the fundamental freedoms of the lesser classes. How anyone could expect those who despise government and representative democracy to govern effectively and efficiently is well beyond my understanding.

After their near election and illegal appointment to the highest offices in a government that they had absolutely no respect for, Cheney and Bush along with their corporate mafia criminal associates began to strip the federal regulatory agencies of dedicated professionals who took the job of regulating business and industry in the interest of public health and safety seriously, and started replacing them with industry cronies who simply stopped enforcing the laws so that businesses could achieve greater profits.

Pause for a brief digressive rant

"The business of America is business," Cal Coolidge said eighty some years ago, and these guys heard the phrase in Grandpa's Sunday sermons and Grandma's lullabies before they learned to read.

"Need a comprehensive national energy policy? Just holler down the hall from Cheney's office and a half dozen current and former big oil Poobahs will write it up for you including emphasis on the necessity of gaining pipeline routes through Afghanistan and control of Iraq and Iran's oil. They'll phony up the intelligence, everything, a turnkey operation"

"Need to increase profits for some buddies in the coal industry? No problem, we'll put one of our boys in charge of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Make a recess appointment, you'll get any mining plan you need approved, no matter the cost in death and injury to the miners who have to implement it."

"Having trouble with the EPA, the FDA, OSHA or any other pesky collection of bureaucratic acronyms? We'll gut it for you and have our boys in industry pay for bogus scientific opinions to justify our continuing rape of the environment and pollution of our air and water supply."

"Labor costs out of line, we'll loan you money at low interest, what the hell, make it no interest to build factories and send the jobs offshore. We'll get you a subsidy to take your jobs to Asia or Central America where you'll have no environmental regulations. You'll be able to pollute at will and you can pay people in dirt. No kidding these people will work for dirt, you'll love it there, the government over there shoots the bastards if they're late for work. Its an entrepreneur's Disney World."

"The Iraqis won't agree to your terms for oil leases? Fuck em, We'll send in the troops, give em a little taste of shock and awe. Iran too? No problem bring it on. If these pussy Generals drag their heels we'll send Blackwater.

During the first Gulf War the ratio of "private contractors" to regular troops was something like 6 or 7 to one, in Iraq today it is closer to 3 to 1.
"They use their machine guns like car horns."
America's Private Army - Psycho Cowboys For Hire

When she saw the gunmen turn toward the bus, Ms. Sattar looked at her mother in fear. "They're going to shoot at us, Mama," she said. Her mother hugged her close. Moments later, a bullet pierced her mother's skull and another struck her shoulder, Ms. Sattar recalled.

As her mother's body went limp, blood dripped onto Ms. Sattar's head, still cradled in her mother's arms.

"Mother, Mother," she called out. No answer. She hugged her mother's body and kissed her lips and began to pray.The bus emptied, and Ms. Sattar sat alone at the back, with her mother's bleeding body.

"I'm lost now, I'm lost," she said days later in her simple two-bedroom home.

"They are killers," she said of the Blackwater guards. "I swear to God, not one bullet was shot at them. Why did they shoot us? My mother didn't carry a weapon." 8 deadly days for Blackwater

Blackwater claims that they were attacked by armed insurgents and acted only in self defense. As reports surfaced of indiscriminate firing from Blackwater helicopters they denied that the choppers had fired at all. How to explain the large holes that had been blasted in several car roofs from above? That pesky al Oaeda in Iraq Air Force up to its usual mischief I suppose.

An Advertising Pitch For Serial Killers In Corporate-ese?

Blackwater Worldwide efficiently and effectively integrates a wide range of resources and core competencies to provide unique and timely solutions that exceed our customer's stated need and expectations.

We are guided by integrity, innovation, and a desire for a safer world. Blackwater Worldwide professionals leverage state-of-the-art training facilities, professional program management teams, and innovative manufacturing and production capabilities to deliver world class customer driven solutions.

Our leadership and dedicated family of exceptional employees adhere to an essential system of core corporate values chief among them are integrity, innovation, excellence, respect, accountability, and teamwork.

Blackwater USA website

By now you've probably seen videos of Blackwater and other mercenary outfits racing down Iraqi roads firing indiscriminately at innocent civilians to the tune of rock and roll music and raucous laughter. Paid at a rate four to ten times what we pay our legitimately serving soldiers, Bush's army of "rent a thugs" has become yet another hairy wart on the perception of America in the eyes of the international community.

A clerk in the Iraqi customs office in Diyala province, she was in the capital to drop off and pick up paperwork at the central office near busy al-Khilani Square, not far from the fortified Green Zone, where top U.S. and Iraqi officials live and work. U.S. officials often pass through the square in heavily guarded convoys on their way to other parts of Baghdad.

As Ms. Hussein walked out of the customs building, an embassy convoy of sport utility vehicles drove through the intersection. Blackwater USA security guards, charged with protecting the diplomats, yelled at construction workers at an unfinished building to move back. Instead, the workers threw rocks. The guards, witnesses said, responded with gunfire, spraying the intersection with bullets.

Ms. Hussein, who was on the opposite side of the street from the construction site, fell to the ground, shot in the leg. As she struggled to her feet and took a step, eyewitnesses said, a Blackwater guard trained his weapon on her and shot her multiple times. She died on the spot, and the customs documents she'd held in her arms fluttered down the street.

Before the shooting stopped, four other people were killed in what would be the beginning of eight days of violence Iraqi officials say bolster their argument that Blackwater should be banned from working in Iraq. 8 deadly days for Blackwater

You may have also seen pictures of hired goons from the same company swaggering their way through the streets of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The fact that private security firms were being hired to perform public law enforcement functions made my skin crawl two years ago and everything that I have learned since increases my sense of dread about this company, its political connections to the Cheney/Bush gang and the prospects of what its future "missions" may mean for Americans and our fundamental freedoms.

The House began a round of hearings yesterday before the Oversight and Reform Committee chaired by California Democrat Henry Waxman. The hearings come as a result of the deaths of as many as 20 Iraqi civilians in what looks like yet another in a long series of "shoot first and cover it up later" operations which seems to be the stock in trade of many of these "private security" firms. The committee will also be looking into the dozens of unanswered questions regarding the funding and even the number of "contractors" engaged in Iraq and elsewhere.
The hearings may be another toothless effort on the part of our limpwristed legislature as they have already agreed to defer to the FBI and the State Department. If they believe that they will get the truth from Blackwater's enablers at State or any part of the Bush Department of Justice.. well, I have a bridge for sale.

So, Blackwater was a subcontractor to Regency, which was a subcontractor to ESS, which was a subcontractor to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary, the prime contractor for the Pentagon -- and each company along the way was in business to make a profit.
U.S. Pays Steep Price for Private Security in Iraq, WAPO

Privatization has led directly to the doubling of our national debt during the Cheney/Bush era. Rather than performing public business more efficiently they have embroiled the world in a series of brutal and illegal wars while engineering the rape of the American treasury in the conversion of enormous amounts of public treasure to private hands. Fraud, waste and theft abound and what is done within the confines of the law is shameful.

For all the hubbub over the recent Blackwater incident, the American public remains largely unaware of the private military industry. While private forces make up more than 50 percent of the overall operation in Iraq, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, they have been mentioned in only a quarter of 1 percent of all American media stories on Iraq.

Yet, at the same time, contractors are one of the most visible and hated aspects of the American presence in Iraq. "They seal off the roads and drive on the wrong side. They simply kill," Um Omar, a Baghdad housewife, told Agence France Press about Blackwater in a report in mid-September. A traffic policeman at Al-Wathba square in central Baghdad concurred: "They are impolite and do not respect people, they bump other people's cars to frighten them and shout at anyone who approaches them ... Two weeks ago, guards of a convoy opened fire randomly that led to the killing of two policemen ... I swear they are Mossad," he said, referring to the Israeli spy service, which is a catch-all for anything perceived as evil in the Arab world.The dark truth about Blackwater

I don't know what it will take for the people of this country to reverse this course, to stop this mad dash into the the abyss of fascist tyranny that I see on our horizon. Aside from responding to public opinion polls people seem to be sleepwalking through the ongoing destruction of our Constitution. During the Vietnam war the voices of protest increased every year until the government was forced to heed the crescendo and bring an end to the madness. Perhaps the press, the media in those days was more independent of the mega corporations that now determine public policy by buying every available politician, they are certainly quick to preach the Bush doctrine today, they are greatly to blame.

I don't see anything from the general public but meekness, fear of being impolite, of creating a disturbance and that meekness is sustenance for those who would enslave us, our meekness is the very bread and wine of their existence.
I think though, that we, all of us are public enemy number one, I did not work hard enough, write effectively enough or shout loudly enough, we acquiesced quietly in the face of authority figures and "experts" when we knew better.

The fundamental rule of democracy is to distrust authority and demand accountability and somewhere along the line we forgot that and abrogated our responsibility to stand firm and demand freedom and justice in the face of would be tyrants.

I hope that I get interesting cell mates in the gulag. The guy on the left may be our guard.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

Related stories, sources and links:
Subcontracting the War

Blackwater Banned In Iraq

U.S. Pays Steep Price for Private Security in Iraq

Amid uproar, Blackwater stops land deal

Pentagon Issues Blackwater New $92 Million Contract

Death From All Sides

GOP Occupied America: Does the GOP "Vision Thing" Include Blackwater Patrolling America's Cities, Innocent People Awaiting Death?

Private contractors threaten U.S. democracy

The Bush administration's ties to Blackwater

Blackwater Portrayed As Out of Control

From Errand to Fatal Shot to Hail of Fire to 17 Deaths

Guards in Iraq Cite Frequent Shootings

limbaugh is no comedian!

we are quite fed up with the left trying to propigate the meme that rush limbaugh is a comedian.

we know that it's an earnest attempt to diffuse the idea that rush is a pundit...after all, if you call someone a comedian, who would take him seriously?

if we can divorce limbaugh from the label of pundit or analyst, the conventional wisdom seems to say, then he won't have the power, or at least, the punch that his influence seems to indicate. so, call him a comedian, and insult him and dilute him at the same time.

that's all well and good. unless you're a comedian!

skippy is, among other things (husband, patriot, actor, citizen, licensed quantuum mechanic, home owner, writer of wrongs, para-paralegal, proud holder of a poetic license, beloved children's icon), a comedian. and believe us when we tell you, not many comedians think limbaugh is funny.

dennis miller is funny. even ann coulter can write jokes (come on, that bit about having to go to rehab if she used the f-word for edwards was funny). but limbaugh is no comedian.

a true comedian says things that are funny irrespective of the political premise. in other words, a joke has to be funny even if you don't agree with the politics of the joke teller, for the joke teller to be called a "comedian."

we didn't like bob hope's conservative agenda. but we loved bob hope's delivery. but we wanna tell ya...

we have not heard anything limbaugh said that comes close to being funny, unless you subscribe to the moronic self-involved view of political thought (all for me, and if you disagree, you are evil). he is not a comedian.

therefore, we are proposing a new label for rush, which we hope will become the meme of the day:

limbaugh's not a comedian, he's a story-teller. he tells tall tales. he makes stuff up.

this way he's not even given the credit for the wit and intelligence it takes to make a good joke. and, he's labeled as someone who fabricates constantly.

he's a story-teller. he makes shit up. period.

this categorization (and marginalization) of limbaugh will not only dilute his standing, it will pay tribute to real comedians, like jon stewart, steve colbert, mort sahl, margaret cho, ellen degeneres, bill maher and skippy.

of course, it may not sit well with garrison keillor. but we can live with that.

addendum: speaking of comedians, conservatives, and the multi-millionaire media, we can't tell if whoopi goldberg was being purposely ironic or just serendipitously clueless when she,a black woman, said to larry king on his show "i have a lot of friends who are conservatives."

ah, but, whoopi, would you want your sister to marry one?

Jena 6, Political Activism, Internet Activism and the Afrospear

Jena remains in the news. Through the great efforts of students, community activist, and yes black bloggers like

Now Ryan Grim of Politico not only covering the Jena issue, he is taking a look at the AfroSphere Bloggers Association and AfroSpear Black Blogger Shawn Williams of More HERE

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC WaPo reports, About 80 protesters chanting "No justice, no peace" gathered outside the Justice Department on Tuesday to demand that federal authorities aggressively investigate the racially charged "Jena 6" case.

"We're here today in solidarity with the Jena 6," shouted Howard University senior Eugene Puryear, the organizer of the event. "All charges should be dropped and the Jena Six should be free."

The event, sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, comes four days after civil rights leaders met with top Justice Department officials to push for more action on behalf of the six black teens arrested for beating a white classmate in Jena, La. More HERE

Dego Olivares, 3, joins his father and others in a protest outside the U.S. Justice Department to demand all charges be dropped against the Jena six in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Dego Olivares, 3, joins his father and others in a protest outside the U.S. Justice Department to demand all charges be dropped against the Jena six in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson) (Lawrence Jackson - AP) More HERE

It is 1984 - all over again!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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We went to go see Van Halen this past weekend in Greensboro and it was a dynamite concert. If you haven't got tickets yet, you may be shit out of luck.

I have been in a good mood for five days now.

It is just like 1984! Even though the Dems are in control of Congress, the Neo-Con in office is still trouncing all over the Constitution while the Dems stand impotently by. The Cold War is back on and what else? Oh yeah, there is another Middle East crisis.

I guess David and Eddie need to break up (again) before the nation will get back on course. Sad.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Liberal Wine-Sippers vs. Gun-toting Rednecks

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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The Great Dismal Swamp used to be known for hideouts for Revolutionary spies, Civil War spies, cypress trees and the nemesis of Stephen Colbert - bears. It was also a place of fondness for Thomas Jefferson for his love of the scuppernong grape and the "affordable" wine it produces.

Jefferson lamented on occasion that when his finances warranted, he enjoyed the best of the wines Europe could produced, but when times were hard, he enjoyed the unique American sweet flavors of wines produced from the scuppernongs grown in the Great Dismal Swamp. Over the years, the size of the swamp has diminished with the constant harvesting of timber and many attempts to drain the swamp. Currently, it is a less than half its original size.

But now something else is harvested from the Great Dismal and it is mercenaries produced by Blackwater USA of Myock, NC.

North Carolina has a great history of defending this country - Pope Air Force Base, Cherry Point Marine Air Station, Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune. To this day the coast of North Carolina is dotted with old submarine watch towers that were active during the Second World War. NC even has a sunken WWII German submarine lying off of Beaufort, NC. Blackwater, however, it not such a point of pride.

I cannot think of a point in American History when a siting President controlled the American military while also commanding a private Army. I can think of plenty of OTHER world leaders, but none come to mind for history of American democracy.

It is something North Carolina and the United States of America can do without.

Note: Yes, the wine glasses are period correct for Monticello, in fact, Jefferson used glasses of this kind for his guests.

Monday, October 1, 2007

HRC - Planetary Saviour?

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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From the Draft Gore Campaign:

We are entering the final stretch of this campaign, energized by a wave of enthusiasm and the hope that a Gore candidacy may be just weeks away. No, we cannot promise you that. But our candidate has left the door wide open and now it's up to us to try to persuade him to walk through it. Events over the next few weeks could affect this decision - and with it, the course of history. Some of them are out of our hands, such as the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 12. But what we can do is make our voices heard to let Al Gore know that our call to service is backed by our willingness to fight for him.

The war is more or less my number one issue, however, the environment really trumps it. Regardless of the death toll in Iraq, the death toll from global warming could be exponentially greater. Not just for humans, but for other species as well. The war definitely sucks, there is no arguing it. But if the Great Conveyor stops, we are hosed on a scale that cannot be imagined.

Somehow, I doubt Hillary Clinton has the environment at the forefront of her thoughts.

Maybe she just hasn't been able to figure out how to triangulate it yet?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Drowning in "sleep debt"

Originally posted at My Left Wing

Well, this is a timely subject for me to be covering with my introductory psychology students.

Each of us has a specific daily sleep requirement. The average sleep requirement for college students is well over eight hours, and the majority of students would fall within the range of this value plus or minus one hour. If this amount is not obtained, a sleep debt is created. All lost sleep accumulates progressively as a larger and larger sleep indebtedness. Furthermore, your sleep debt does not go away or spontaneously decrease. The only way to reduce your individual sleep debt is by obtaining extra sleep over and above your daily requirement.


So, here I am, up to my eyeballs in sleep debt. How am I supposed to get out of debt? By sleeping, one would presume. Except that I get into this ironic-sounding but very real state of "overtired" and I can't. But now, at least I have something new to worry about during those sleepless hours.

Like, if I can't get sleep on my own, and I have to pay off this sleep debt, what options do I have? Go to the sleep bank to take out a loan? Maybe my credit isn't good, and I'd be forced to go to a sleep loan shark. What do they do if you can't pay on time. Instead of breaking your legs, maybe they burn your mattress...

Sleep researcher William Dement--who wrote the article I excerpted above--has said that a large sleep debt "makes you stupid". At very least, as evidenced above, it is making my jokes stupid.

Jokes aside, though, this has been on my mind a lot lately. I think we hear these things about how much sleep we need, and how unhealthy it is to rack up a huge sleep debt, many of us are inclined to nod seriously, but then file that away with all the other "shoulds" that most of us ignore. And I wonder if there's something in the Western, "rugged individualist" mindset that tells us we're supposed to be able to "conquer the natural world", even when it comes to our own biological needs. I can't say exactly where, but I picked up an idea like that somewhere along the line. The idea that I should be able to "overcome" tiredness by sheer force of will. Or the idea that, if my schedule is packed and I can't fit everything in, sleep is an area where I can cut some corners.

I'm coming to realize that I can't, and that I need to listen to what my body is telling me.

Anyway, as I said in a comment that's attached to the My Left Wing essay, the upshot of all of this of all of this is that, when I take a realistic look at where I have to "cut corners", I realize that blogging is one area where I need to do that. Along with following political and news stories and getting outraged about them. Hopefully I can work some of that back into my life once I regain some "balance".