The Skinny: Brain Rehab, Enviro-Villians

Brain memory healthwatch

The Skinny is Joel Robert's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

A new week brings new stories of the sorry state of medical care Iraq war veterans are receiving.

The New York Times reports on problems faced by soldiers with severe brain injures, which the Times says, has "become a signature wound of this war," largely because of the improvised explosive devices used by insurgents in Iraq.

According to interviews with relatives of some of these wounded soldiers, the military health care system "has been scrambling to deal with an unanticipated volume of traumatic brain-injury cases that it was ill equipped to handle." The relatives said these wounded soldiers were either "written off prematurely" by the military or "not given aggressive rehabilitation or options for care." They fault the government for failing to join forces "with civilian rehabilitation centers instead of trying to ramp up its limited brain-injury treatment program alone during a time of war."

Campaign Updates

Twenty months before the election, the 2008 presidential race continues to be front-page news. The Washington Post reports on the early sparring between Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, with the two already trying to make inroads on each other's turf and fighting hard to contrast their candidacies.

USA Today, meanwhile, reports on how the field of candidates is the most diverse in history, even beyond Hillary and Obama.

"The first woman may well be elected president in 2008," the paper says. "Unless the first black, the first Mormon, the first Hispanic, the first Italian-American, the first thrice-married man or the first person over 70 is elected instead."

Coming To A Theater Near You: Eco-Doom

The Al Gore-ization of Hollywood continues. In the wake of the Oscar the former vice president and friends picked up for the global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," The New York Times reports a slew of films with environmental messages are in the works. The villain, in most cases, is a greedy corporation, while the victim — and sometimes the hero — is the Earth itself.

In a remake of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," for example, the monstrous sea creature is spawned by a pharmaceutical company.

"It's about the rain forest being exploited for profit," said Gary Ross, a writer and producer of the film.

In James Cameron's "Avatar," humans have exhausted all the Earth's natural resources and take to raiding other planets for theirs. Even the eagerly awaited "Simpsons Movie" has an environmental theme as Homer threatens to destroy Springfield by unleashing ecological disaster. And, of course, as the film's trailer warns: "The fate of the world hangs in the balance."

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