27 April 2007

Dog Bites Man II

Ham report stirs 'mess'

An obscure online parody of the recent hate incident at the Lewiston Middle School - a parody reported as news on a national Fox broadcast Tuesday - launched an immediate avalanche of angry phone calls and ugly e-mails to the school system....

Levesque said he was bothered not only that the parody took aim at a sensitive issue in Lewiston, but also that Fox and others reported the information as fact without checking. The national media, Levesque said, sees information posted online and “uses it as gospel.” [my emphasis]
Should we add this to the list of Journalism Scandals?

Background References:

'Hate incident' in city
One student has been suspended and more disciplinary action could follow a possible hate crime at Lewiston Middle School, Superintendent Leon Levesque said Wednesday.

On April 11, a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork unclean and offensive.

The act reminded students of a man who threw a pig's head into a Lewiston mosque last summer.

The school incident is being treated seriously as "a hate incident," Levesque said. Lewiston police are investigating, and the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence is working with the school to create a response plan.
Student Leaves Ham Sandwich on Lunch Table Near Muslims, Suspended for Hate Crime (Parody)
According to Superintendent Levesque, "the school incident is being treated seriously as a hate incident." Police are currently investigating the matter alongside the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, who is also working with the school to create an anti-ham "response plan."

"We've got some work to do to turn this around and bring the school community back together again." Said Levesque, "These children have got to learn that ham is not a toy, and that there are consequences for being nonchalant about where you put your sandwich."
Somalis, others reflect on high-tension week in community relations
In the days after last Thursday's report of a hate incident at Lewiston Middle School involving a ham steak left at a lunch table to insult Somali students, a Sun Journal newspaper forum was so filled with hostility it was shut down.

Wessler said he received hate e-mail and two phone messages in which a man threatened to commit violence against him.

And then last Saturday, Brent Matthews, a Lewiston man who became known for rolling a pig's head into a Somali mosque last July, committed suicide at Marden's parking lot.

Do the math ...

We shouldn't deport 10 million illegal aliens, but we should disarm 80 million citizens of 200+ million firearms?


How Many Illegal Aliens?
How to Deport 10 Million Illegal Aliens

26 April 2007

Dog Bites Man

Anonymous VT Massacre Investigator(s) Caught Misleading Media

Two of the nation's top news organizations are telling hundreds of thousands of news consumers demonstrable lies because journalists were/are too lazy to spend the minimal amount of time it takes (three calls in five minutes) to fact-check an anonymous source regarding claims made about two huge retail store chains and their role in this nation's largest mass murder shooting.

Investing in Education

The ARRL Amateur Radio Education & Technology Program

The goal of the Amateur Radio Education & Technology Program (ETP) is to improve the quality of education by providing an educationally sound curriculum focused on wireless communications. The project emphasizes integration of technology, math, science, geography, writing, speaking and social responsibility within a global society.
ARRL Urges Support for Education and Technology Program
Mark Spencer, WA8SME, coordinates the ETP. The program provides participating schools with a turnkey Amateur Radio station and a complete wireless technology curriculum at no cost....

"Contributions by June 30 will place Amateur Radio in more schools and train more teachers in 2007," [ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary] Hobart says. Visit the secure ARRL Development Office Web site to donate.
... a Force for a Bright Future.
Plans are in place for four Teachers Institutes during the summer of 2007. Your contribution will help ARRL ensure another year for this landmark program. With your support another 60 teachers will benefit from the curriculum and activities of the week-long Teachers Institute.

Recognizing a Brother's Religion

Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign

This campaign started when in 1989 Rosemary Kooiman, wife of Abe Kooiman (who passed away in 2002), submitted a request for her now deceased husband, a veteran. She was unable to obtain a headstone with a Pentagram on it...the symbol of her and Abe's religion. For the over 10 years, she has been getting the response that the Veteran's Administration was updating its regulations on religious symbols and that once that was done, the symbol would get approved. Over ten years later, there have been no rules changes and no pentagrams approved... and we keep getting the same answers.
Why the Veteran Affairs Should Approve the Wiccan Pentacle
On August 27, 1997, the Aquarian Tabernacle Churches Archpriest, Pete Davis, sent the first application to the Veteran Affairs. The application was to obtain the approval of "the Wiccan Pentacle [to be] among the emblems of belief that may be engraved on government issued headstones and markers of deceased veterans" (Egbert par. 1). Since 1997, Wiccans have not yet been approved nor denied (par. 2). As a result, Wiccans in the past have not been able to appeal to the courts about a decision because the Veteran Affairs has not made a final decision regarding the approval of the pentacle as the emblem representing Wiccan faith (par. 21). Wiccans want the pentacle to be "recognized in death just as the VA recognizes the faith preferences of other veterans" (par. 2). This is a problem that needs to be resolved immediately!

We Won!
In addition to adding the Pentacle to the VA's approved list, VA agreed to grant the individual requests (and the other pending individual requests) for specific headstones/markers. The agreement (dated April 20, 2007) states:

Within 14 days from the execution of this Stipulation, VA will provide a headstone, marker, or memorial plaque (of a type suitable for placement in the relevant cemetery) inscribed with a Pentacle for Sgt. Patrick Stewart, PFC Jerome Birnbaum, PFC James Price, Abraham and Rosemary Kooiman and any other eligible individuals who have submitted complete applications for Pentacle-inscribed headstones, markers, or memorial plaques, and who have been identified before the execution of this Stipulation. VA will coordinate with the Department of the Army, which controls Arlington National Cemetery, to promptly order headstones, markers, or memorial plaques inscribed with a Pentacle for Abraham and Rosemary Kooiman and for any other eligible individuals who have submitted complete applications for Pentacle-inscribed headstones, markers, or memorial plaques, and who have been identified before the execution of this Stipulation.
Dedication Ceremony for SGT Patrick Stewart

Veterans Win Right to Post Religious Symbol on Headstones
AU Wins Pentacle Veterans Affairs Case
Military Pagan Covens, Groups & Orgs

25 April 2007

Kyra Phillips on Harry Reid's Iraq War Comments

The Democrats' Gonzales

Nor is this the first time Senate Democrats, who chose Reid as their leader over Chris Dodd of Connecticut, have had to ponder the political fallout from one of Reid's tussles with the language.
Dodd: 'I Don't Think The War is Lost'

I Like Pam

24 April 2007

Tillman and Lynch

I'm watching the C-SPAN Video of the House Hearing on Accuracy of Battlefield Information. It's more than 4 hours long. I've been interested to hear what Jessica Lynch and the Tillmans have to say.

For reference, read the March 2007 press briefing, Inspector General report (pdf) and ESPN's four part series on CPL Pat Tillman's death. Also read the July 2003 Army report and Rich Lowry's recent column on the 507th Maintenance Company, the capture and rescue of Jessica Lynch.

I just finished listening to Rep. Waxman's, Rep. Davis' and Kevin Tillman's opening statements. I agree with Rep. Davis' comments. Kevin Tillman's opening statement was very powerful. You can watch a C-SPAN video clip of just Tillman's opening statement via YouTube:

The opening statements by Jessica Lynch and Dr. Gene Bolles were interesting, but nothing close to Kevin Tillman's statement.

Rep. Murphy (D-CT) has a good sound bite, "Truth over personal glorification." I agree with commending the Tillmans and Lynch for seeking and honoring the truth of what happened in their circumstances.

Mary Tillman's statement after Rep. Murphy's time expired (about an hour in) is very informative about the "story changing" from their perspective. The "quest for the truth" began after reading the official investigation report on the airplane going home from an "official" briefing at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Rep. Davis (R-VA) starts off the second hour. Mary Tillman states that the CID concluded the rules of engagement (ROE) were not broken [she disagrees]. BG Johnson stated in the press briefing linked above:

During the course of our investigation, we examined the rules of engagement, or ROE, governing operations in Afghanistan and found no violations of the ROE. We also looked at applicable training manuals and standard operating procedures, or SOPs, and again found no violations.

Therefore, given the evidence at hand, our findings are as shown on this slide. We determined that neither a negligent homicide or aggravated assault occurred in the shooting deaths and woundings of Corporal Tillman and the others. The manner of death was accidental, and we used a probable cause standard of determination.
OK, I was interested in this hearing because of the Army's handling of information pertaining to Tillman's death. Still am. I'm also interested to hear more from the Tillmans about their concerns about violations of the ROE.

However, after an hour, I'm even more convinced that including Lynch is political theater for partisan purposes.

At 1 hour and 11 minutes, Rep. Waxman points out that this investigation was suggested by Rep. Davis when he was still Chairman of the committee and "not a partisan issue in any way, shape or form."

Rep. Issa (R-CA), "Who are they?" Did the soldiers who killed Pat Tillman do something willfully wrong? Kevin Tillman says it "looks like" gross negligence to criminal negligence on the part of the soldiers during the firefight because "they" were "out of control." The other layer of "they" is a 3-star general and the entire chain of command. Jessica Lynch says "they" should have gotten the facts right before spreading a story, but she has no evidence of a conspiracy. Kevin Tillman does think there is enough evidence in emails and a "P4" message of a conspiracy to manufacture a story about Pat Tillman's death.

Rep. Mica (R-FL) references an AJR article, Jessica Lynch’s Story: A Little Too Perfect?
Loeb dismisses accusations that the military used his paper as an organ for propaganda. "I don't think we were spun at all," he says. "I don't think the Pentagon ever set out to make Jessica Lynch a poster child for battlefield heroism."

The Post based its story on battlefield intelligence reports that Loeb says are "almost always wrong in some respect" and need to be handled with extreme caution--possibly more caution, he acknowledges, than he actually used.
Rep. Yarmuth (D-KY) asks Dr. Bolles why he didn't correct the press reports that Jessica Lynch had been shot. Dr. Bolles offers ethical responsibilities to the patient but he was under no constraints. The day before Lynch left the hospital, Dr. Bolles was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement - which he did sign. He doesn't have an opinion whether or not that was unusual.

I don't know, either. Is it?

Rep. Shays (R-CT) asks why the Tillmans aren't happy with the IG investigation. Kevin Tillman highlights page 53 of the report where witness statements are fabricated and Mary Tillman states that the IG should not have accepted the conclusions in the CID report as a valid. She states that the 4 Generals and 5 other officers named as culpable in the IG report are "scapegoats."

That's after 2 1/2 hours ... taking another break.


Note: C-SPAN's liberalized copyright policy.