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Veteranness : Representations of Combat-related PTSD in U.S. Popular Visual Media

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Veteranness : Representations of Combat-related PTSD in U.S. Popular Visual Media (PDF)
Source: Michigan Technological University (Keranen)

Posttraumatic stress and PTSD are becoming familiar terms to refer to what we often call the invisible wounds of war, yet these are recent additions to a popular discourse in which images of and ideas about combat-affected veterans have long circulated. A legacy of ideas about combat veterans and war trauma thus intersects with more recent clinical information about PTSD to become part of a discourse of visual media that has defined and continues to redefine veteran for popular audiences.

In this dissertation I examine realist combat veteran representations in selected films and other visual media from three periods: during and after World Wars I and II (James Allen from I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Fred Derry and Al Stephenson from The Best Years of Our Lives); after the Vietnam War (Michael from The Deer Hunter, Eriksson from Casualties of War), and post 9/11 (Will James from The Hurt Locker, a collection of veterans from Wartorn: 1861-2010.) Employing a theoretical framework informed by visual media studies, Barthes’ concept of myth, and Foucault’s concept ofdiscursive unity, I analyze how these veteran representations are endowed with PTSD symptom-like behaviors and responses that seem reasonable and natural within the narrative arc. I contend that veteran myths appear through each veteran representation as the narrative develops and resolves. I argue that these veteran myths are many and varied but that they crystallize in a dominant veteran discourse, a discursive unity that I term veteranness. I further argue that veteranness entangles discrete categories such as veteran, combat veteran, and PTSD with veteran myths, often tying dominant discourse about combat-related PTSD to outdated or outmoded notions that significantly affect our attitudes about and treatment of veterans.

A basic premise of my research is that unless and until we learn about the lasting effects of the trauma inherent to combat, we hinder our ability to fulfill our responsibilities to war veterans. A society that limits its understanding of posttraumatic stress, PTSD and post-war experiences of actual veterans affected by war trauma to veteranness or veteran myths risks normalizing or naturalizing an unexamined set of sociocultural expectations of all veterans, rendering them voice-less, invisible, and, ultimately disposable.

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New From the GAO

October 20, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Food Safety: USDA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach to Protecting Human Health from Pathogens in Poultry Products. GAO-14-744, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-744
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666230.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/666518

2. Changing Crude Oil Markets: Allowing Exports Could Reduce Consumer Fuel Prices, and the Size of the Strategic Reserves Should Be Reexamined. GAO-14-807, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-807
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666275.pdf

CRS — Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (October 15, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and in resource extraction payments. Supporters of the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that such disclosures could have an impact on the amount of violence involved with the mining of conflict minerals. Opponents of the statute and rule argue that they require disclosures that are arbitrary and capricious and that some of the required disclosures violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. Supporters of the resource extraction statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that they are needed to achieve the goal of the transparency of payments made by resource extraction issuers to governments in order to foster reform and anticorruption and to improve the tax collection process. Opponents believe that they are arbitrary and capricious and violate the First Amendment. Legal challenges to the statutes and regulations have occurred, based primarily on administrative law and First Amendment grounds.

CRS — Nuclear Energy Policy (October 15, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Nuclear Energy Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Nuclear energy issues facing Congress include reactor safety and regulation, radioactive waste management, research and development priorities, federal incentives for new commercial reactors, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks.

CRS — Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (September 26, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to recover oil and natural gas from underground low permeability rock formations. Its use along with horizontal drilling has been responsible for an increase in estimated U.S. oil and natural gas reserves. Hydraulic fracturing and related oil and gas production activities have been controversial because of their potential effects on public health and the environment. Several environmental statutes have implications for the regulation of hydraulic fracturing by the federal government and states.

Beverage Industry Pledges to Reduce Americans’ Drink Calories, CRS Insights (October 6, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Beverage Industry Pledges to Reduce Americans’ Drink Calories, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Obesity rates in the United States remain high, with roughly two-thirds of adults and one-third of children overweight or obese. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are approaching $200 billion, and this has been characterized as the first generation of children who may not outlive their parents.

Congress and the Obama Administration have shown a strong interest in developing policies to address the obesity epidemic. Various legislative, regulatory, and industry initiatives have been proposed, including efforts targeting sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. The term “sugar-sweetened beverages” refers to drinks sweetened with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners. They are considered a source of “empty” calories and have been implicated as a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic. Although there is no recommended amount for sugar intake, the World Health Organization proposes that sugars should comprise less than 10% of daily calories. A single 12 ounce can of soda provides up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, and sugary soft drinks account for 6% of daily calorie intake among Americans.

At a recent meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, leading beverage companies pledged to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened drink calories consumed by Americans by 20% by 2025. Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Snapple, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association are teaming up with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Payback Time? What the Internationalization of Climate Litigation Could Mean for Canadian Oil and Gas Companies

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Payback Time? What the Internationalization of Climate Litigation Could Mean for Canadian Oil and Gas Companies
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This report explores scenarios in which the legal landscape concerning climate damages litigation could suddenly and dramatically change—and finds that Canadian oil and gas companies could be liable for billions of dollars of damages for their contribution to climate change. This study is part of CCPA’s Climate Justice Project and is co-published with West Coast Environmental Law.

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