28 July 2007

Securing Iraq: A Pivotal Moment in Time

via SWJ

Plans for Christmas 2008?

Star Trek XI Movie IconStar Trek XI

J.J. Abrams and his creative team for the new Star Trek movie wowed the audience at Comic-Con in San Diego this afternoon as they revealed a casting coup: Heroes star Zachary Quinto will be playing Spock! And, to the delight of all 6,500 in the capacity crowd, Leonard Nimoy joined Quinto on stage as Abrams confirmed the elder Spock's involvement in the new film.
Transcript and Video
J.J. Abrams reveals the movie's first two stars, Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy, to a very appreciative capacity crowd.
IGN interview with Matt Damon:

Emmy Nominated: When Parents Are Deployed

'Sesame Street' Deployment Show Nominated for Emmy

A television special that looks closely at challenges military Families face when a parent is deployed has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.
Outstanding Children's Program
  • Hannah Montana • Disney Channel
  • Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: Private Worlds: Kids And Autism • Nickelodeon
  • That's So Raven • Disney Channel
  • The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody • Disney Channel
  • When Parents Are Deployed • PBS • Sesame Workshop
Should be a "no-brainer," When Parents Are Deployed wins!

Related: Giving Our Troops a Break
Giving military members a break from their dangerous daily routines—Borgwardt’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit diffuses and disposes of improvised explosive devices, booby traps and munitions—is just what Tom Fick had in mind when he created Project Hollywood Cares.
Previous: Elmo Helps Military Kids Through Deployments

Another Tricare Data Compromise?

There's really no excuse for this.

Some TRICARE Beneficiary Data Put At Risk

Data for nearly 600,000 households enrolled in TRICARE stored on a government-contractor's unprotected computer server could have been exposed to hackers, defense officials announced Friday.
What can I do to protect myself against identity theft?

There is a wealth of information available about identity theft for you and your household members at the consumer protection web sites of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Defense (DOD), and TRICARE:

These sites provide valuable information regarding identity theft prevention and steps that individuals can take should problems develop.

Monitor your credit
Common advice includes routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements for suspicious activity. Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and how you pay your bills. The law requires each of the major nationwide consumer reporting agencies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Best practice recommends requesting a credit report every four months, rotating through the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies with each request.

To order your free annual report from one or all the national consumer reporting companies:


Pentagon Hacker Compromises Personal Data (April 29, 2006)
An intruder gained access to a Defense Department computer server and compromised confidential health care insurance information for more than 14,000 people, the department said Friday.
Reward offered in theft of medical records (January 2, 2003)
Computer hard drives containing the medical records of more than 500,000 military members were stolen last month from TriWest Health Care Alliance Corp., which administers the military's Tricare health plan in 16 midwestern and western states. The files, which contain sensitive information including patients' claims histories and Social Security numbers, disappeared from the Tricare Central Region health contractor's Phoenix offices on Dec. 14.

More Bloggers' Roundtables


Perhaps over generalized, but tell me how many of the "Left" actually care to listen to DOD information? How many of the "Right" actually hear the concerns of the Left?
UPDATE: Ken Silverstein, "In focusing on the blogger calls I’ve unintentionally ..."
Unintentionally? Bull.

Again, Silverstein has issues with the Blogger Roundtable
More attacks on DoD blogger outreach
Give OSD's PAO A Break
And this is classic:

Pentagon Holds ‘Bloggers Roundtables’ To Cater To Right-Wing Noise Machine

UPDATE: Since publishing this post, ThinkProgress has been in contact with the Pentagon, and they have agreed to allow us to participate in the bloggers roundtables.

Previous: Blackfive Schools Harpers on Blogging

President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors

Message from the Co-Chairs

Next month, this Commission will convene to publicly discuss our recommendations. In doing so, we must fulfill the following objectives of our charter:
  • Evaluate and recommend improvments, where needed, to the transition from wounded warrior status back to military service or civilian life
  • Evaluate and recommend ways to ensure access to the highest-quality service for returning wounded warriors
  • Analyze the effectiveness of the process through which health care services and benefits are delivered.”
Commission Urges Improvements to Servicemembers' Care
Today, the nine-member panel outlined six recommendations:

• Create comprehensive health recovery plans and develop a corps of highly trained coordinators to help servicemembers transition back to military duty or civilian life every step of the way.

• Simplify the way disabilities are determined and make the compensation system less confusing.

• Improve the system for diagnosing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, and work to make servicemembers less vulnerable to these two signature ailments of the war on terror.

• Significantly strengthen support for Families.

• Develop "My eBenefits," a one-stop Web site and information source for servicemembers that combines Defense Department and Veterans Affairs databases.

• Keep Walter Reed staffed with first-rate professionals until it closes in 2011.

Movie: No End in Sight

MountainRunner Movie Review: No End in Sight

This is a must see movie even if you have been paying attention. This is not Michael Moore emotional hyperbole but a factual account of failed leadership. If you haven't been paying attention, which is probably not many readers of this blog, Ferguson creates an easily digested synopsis of how America managed to create an insurgency in Iraq.
Intel Dump's Phil Carter Movie Review: "No End in Sight"
Bottom line up front: go see this movie.
James Fallows: 'No End in Sight': Definitely, see this movie
It covers almost exactly the same terrain, including many of the same sources and anecdotes, as did my book Blind Into Baghdad. But rarely have I seen a clearer demonstration of how much more powerful the combination of pictures, sound, music, real-people-talking, etc can be than words on a page.

23 July 2007

Morally Retarded

What should we say to our soldiers in Iraq?
Arguing About War
Just And Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations

Previous: Bookends

On Civility

"With us or against us":

This points to a serious breakdown not just on civility, but in the ability of people to properly debate various issues.
Heh: "black helicopter" crowd.

Lippman-Dewey Blogosphere
Thoughtful words ...

More Web Ethics and Deletions ...

Author discusses blog posting that links military service, serial killers

The blogosphere is going crazy today over a posting at the liberal Daily Kos entitled: "Killitary: How America's Armed Forces Create Serial Killers and Mass Murderers."

The posting was removed from the blog at some point after it was published Thursday night. (It also appears to have been removed from the author's personal blog. Here's the cached version.)

A cached version of the Daily Kos posting is available through Google....

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: The posting is back on the In Cold Blog.
Well, not exactly. The current post has been changed compared to the deleted post. For example, here's what the first few paragraphs might look like if the original post was modified using Rebecca Blood's guidelines:

Friday, July 20, 2007

KILLITARY: How America's Armed Forces Create Serial Killers and Mass Murderers Are America's Armed Forces Creating Serial Killers and Mass Murderers?

[Update: I decided to repost this after being excoriated by both left- and right-wing blogs. After speaking with various military personnel who read this post they assured me that it is very obvious and clear what I was getting at. The military trains people to kill and some of our men and women return home and don't receive the proper care to deal with the horrors of war or even the intensity of training. Not a single one of them thought I was trying to smear the soldiers or call them serial killers. They thanked me for pointing out a serious problem that gets overlooked by the military and needs to be dealt with.]

[Update: This article in no way is meant to suggest that all mil[i]tary members will become serial killers or mass murderers. It does point out a serious problem with what is happening in our armed forces and seeks a solution to help the brave men and women on their return back home.]

According to the July 30, 2007 issue of The Nation magazine, damning photos of a U.S. Soldier using a spoon to literally scoop out the brains of a dead Iraqi and pretending to eat the gray matter were recently acquired.

Of course, everyone is appropriately appalled and make all claims of disgust and finger-wagging. Research shows, however, that such unacceptable behavior happens more often than the United States military wants you to know.

When it comes to training killing machines, the military really does create "an Army of one."

The list of serial killers and mass murderers borne from who have spent time in the military is astounding....

The rest of the post is similar to the deleted one until the conclusion, where a sentence and two paragraphs have also been added:
Here Are a Few More Not So Good Men:

All served in the military. All went on to become serial killers, mass murderers, or assassins. [Update: Others were already killers who became even worse after their time in the service.

Of course, the number who become serial killers or mass murderers compared to the rest of the hundreds of thousands of troops who do not is minimal. But isn't one serial killer one too many?]

John Allen Muhammad ("The Beltway Sniper"), Arthur Shawcross, Lee Harvey Oswald, Randy Kraft, Dennis Rader ("BTK"), Howard Unruh, Robert Lee Yates, Gary Heidnik, Charles Cullen, Charles Ng, Henry Louis Wallace, Julian Knight, Courtney Mathews & David Housler, Daryl Keith Holton, Wayne Adam Ford, Richard Marc Evonitz, etc.

This list is by no means comprehensive and does not include military personnel who murdered their families, loved ones, or friends upon their return from training to kill or war.

[Update: This article in no way is meant to suggest that all mil[i]tary members will become serial killers or mass murderers. It does point out a serious problem with what is happening in our armed forces and seeks a solution to help the brave men and women on their return back home.]
The author, Corey Mitchell, also told USA Today's On Deadline blog:
Mitchell says he may decide to republish the piece on his blog, but is weighing the effect of all the negative attention on his wife, who works on a military base, and their young daughter. "I have to weigh my family's stress level versus how necessary is it to have that piece up," he writes in a follow-up e-mail.
Apparently, Mitchell decided it was necessary ... with some modifications. The modifications came from being "excoriated by both left- and right-wing blogs."

Was deleting the original post and then reposting a modified version the best recourse? I think not.

Previous: Web Ethics and Deletions ...

Related: Correlating serial killers to a profession ... adding perspective.
Serial homicide by doctors: Shipman in perspective
Hospital serial killers are big threat, study says

22 July 2007

Blackfive Schools Harpers on Blogging

Blackfive starts with Ken Silverstein's conclusion:

Before these bloggers start to complain that they’ve done nothing wrong, I’d like to ask how they would feel if a group of handpicked, administration-friendly liberal bloggers had done the same thing during the Clinton years. I believe they would have objected vociferously–and I would have agreed with them. No one, on any side, should let themselves be used to spread the administration’s gospel. At least not anyone who can pretend to journalistic standards.
Journalistic standards?

Does Silverstein remember Lanny Davis' "deep-background private placement"? Or the sit down Kerry had for two hours in Al Franken’s living room (see here and here)? I must have missed Harpers' objections on those.

Then there's the secretive Townhouse listserv (nothing at Harpers) and blogger conference calls with Democrats (here, here and here).

[UPDATE: Should we even mention the Journalists who wrote political checks?]

Silverstein's concern for journalistic standards seems thin and self-serving when it comes to bloggers.

I like the DoD bloggers' roundtables with transcripts and videos published online. I like the interaction and certainly feel there's more transparency about who's asking the questions and answering than the anonymous sources that feed "professional" journalists. I certainly like them more, and find them more informative, than the often inane White House press conferences and press briefings.

Full disclosure: I've never participated in a DoD bloggers' roundtable.

I suppose I could, just never asked. The contact information provided on the transcripts would be a good place to start if you're interested in participating in a blogger roundtable:
Department of Defense New Media Team
Phone: 703-325-0103
Email: bloggeroutreach-at-hq.afis.osd.mil
I don't see the conspiracy Silverstein sees, but then I wasn't impressed by the hype-debunking in MoJo's Politics 2.0, either.

Must just be me.

UPDATE: Harpers digs deeper ... the hole, that is, that Ken Silverstein put himself in and gets another response from Grim at Blackfive. This is good:
Danger Room notes that OSD approved their request to add two progressive milbloggers to the roundtables in under half an hour.
See, Ken? How hard was that?
But how hard is it, really, to get other critical voices added to the conference call list?

Well, it took exactly 23 minutes to get Jason "Armchair Generalist" Sigger and Matt "Mountain Runner" Armstrong signed up. And neither is what you would call a fan of this administration.

I am a fan of both Jason Sigger and Matt Armstrong and have linked to them in the past. They will make great additions to the bloggers' roundtables and Ken looks even more foolish than he first did.

UPDATE: More Bloggers' Roundtables

Previous: "New Media" Thoughts