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Panetta to the rescue

I don’t care if he’s doing it because of bad PR or because he genuinely cares, just as long as it’s done:

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Tuesday announced a new layer in the Army’s investigations into a Madigan Army Medical Center behavioral health program that changed post traumatic stress disorder diagnoses for certain soldiers who were seeking medical retirements at the Army base south of Tacoma.

Panetta told a Senate committee that he asked a Defense Department undersecretary to look at whether the military is diagnosing post traumatic stress consistently.

It was not clear Tuesday whether that inquiry overlaps with at least two other ongoing investigations into Madigan’s forensic psychiatry unit. Pentagon and Army Medical Command spokesmen were not able to describe the latest investigation.

Panetta’s remarks came at a defense budget hearing at which Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., pressed him about his knowledge of the forensic psychiatry team at Madigan, on the grounds of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. That unit, created in 2008, reviewed PTSD diagnoses and sometimes adjusted them to other diagnoses.

The decisions were costly to some service members who were no longer entitled to the level of disability benefits the government provides to soldiers who suffer from PTSD. One psychiatrist in the forensic unit this fall encouraged other behavioral health specialists not to be a “rubber stamp,” and said a PTSD diagnosis could cost taxpayers $1.5 million in benefits over the lifetime of a retired soldier.

“I never want to hear anyone in any service say we’re not going to give you a PTSD diagnosis because we have a budget problem,” Murray said at Tuesday’s hearing.

Panetta replied that he was troubled by the Madigan reports and said he asked his undersecretary for personnel, Dr. Jo Anne Rooney, to look into the situation at Madigan.

Zuccotti Park

So the NYPD feels perfectly safe in ignoring the court’s order?

Ha ha

Krugman is so good at making wingnut heads explode.


Just when I think I’ve heard everything about Washington, something even more stupid comes along.

Fig leaf from Israel

I don’t know about you, but I sure feel a lot better now. Because there’s simply no way an attack on Iran (a country our government still insists is not building nuclear weapons) would ever bite the U.S. in the ass, right?

WASHINGTON — Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel’s potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the message to a series of top-level U.S. visitors to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House national security adviser and the director of national intelligence, and top U.S. lawmakers, all trying to close the trust gap between Israel and the U.S. over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu delivered the same message to all the Americans who have traveled to Israel for talks, the U.S. official said.


As I say, I will always love Hillary Clinton for how hard she fought to get dental care covered in her failed health care plan. Nothing more depressing than losing your teeth simply because you can’t afford to take care of them. From the report: One-quarter of adults aged 65 and older have lost ALL their teeth.

Happy leap day!

Go do something crazy! I’m going to ask Sean Connery to marry me.


Still oppressing women who want an abortion. And as with most states where unthinking fundies run the show, it will only continue to get worse.

Samantha Bee vs. Grover Norquist

This is a must-see:

How it’s done

Athenae on how you call a politician a liar without calling him a liar.

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