In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Links of the Day 4/16/2008 John McCain opposes educating troops so they won't leave the military

I hope I've fixed the problem with spaces between my links. The spaces are there when I preview but after I publish post they are gone. I've asked several people about it but no one knows why this is occuring.

John McCain you and your elitist attitude make me want to retch! You oppose the Webb 21st Century GI bill because you don’t want to make things so good that soldiers leave the military.

You should be ashamed of yourself. McCain you already have a 25% yes vote history when it comes to veterans issues and now you want to deny them a better education.

You’re a dirty ROTTEN traitor and do not deserve to be commander in chief.


Momentum Grows for 21st Century GI Bill with Strong Bipartisan and Bicameral Support:

Senator Akaka signs on as co-sponsor, House introduces revised bill

Washington, DC - Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) this week was pleased to announce that Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, signed on as a co-sponsor of the "Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act" (S.22) after some administrative concerns in the legislation were addressed.

Senator Akaka's official support brings the total number of bipartisan cosponsors to 55 including 11 Republicans and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The bill also has strong bicameral and bipartisan support with Representatives Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) and Peter King (R-NY) re-introducing the "21st Century GI Bill" in the House this week with 182 cosponsors.

"I hope that we can now move expeditiously to get this vital piece of legislation passed this year for our returning Iraq and Afghanistan service members," continued Webb.

"This educational benefit reflects the desire of all of us to serve as proper stewards to those who have done so much since 9/11. These men and women have earned this benefit and deserve it to help readjust to civilian life after their active duty service." The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act would provide service members who have served since September 11, 2001 with improved educational benefits similar to those provided to World War II-era veterans.

To view a Fact Sheet on S.22, please click here

To view a full list of co-sponsors, please click here

To listen to NPR's segment today entitled "GI Bill Proposal Expands College Benefits for Vets," please click here

To watch the PBS NewsHour story on the shortcomings of the current GI Bill (February 12, 2008), please click here

New York Times Op-Ed: A Post-Iraq G.I. Bill by Senators Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel (November 9, 2007)

Washington Post Editorial: Reward for Service, Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan deserve an improved GI bill (November 11, 2007)

Prominent GI Bill Beneficiaries (Edward Humes, Over Here: How the GI Bill Transformed the American Dream)

Chart on WWII Veterans in the Senate--How Much the GI Bill Would Cover Then & Now

I signed this important petition will you? As usual the MSM is ignoring the CRIMES of the Bush administration.

Where’s the outrage over Bush’s knowledge and approval of torture? Please join C&L and the ACLU: Time to write…

By: John Amato on Sunday, April 13th, 2008 at 12:15 PM - PDT

Please join the ACLU and CrooksandLiars and demand a call for an Independent Counsel to investigate the Administration’s approval of Torture and Abuse.

In a stunning admission to ABC news Friday night, President Bush declared that he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details of the CIA’s use of torture. Bush reportedly told ABC, “I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.” Bush also defended the use of waterboarding.

“We have always known that the CIA’s use of torture was approved from the very top levels of the U.S. government, yet the latest revelations about knowledge from the president himself and authorization from his top advisers only confirms our worst fears,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “It is a very sad day when the president of the United States subverts the Constitution, the rule of law, and American values of justice.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on Congress to demand an independent prosecutor to investigate possible violations by the Bush administration of laws including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws…read on

I haven’t heard so much as a peep out of the fanboys and villagers about this? Have you? Really, where is the Media on this issue. Why aren’t they running segments demanding answers to questions? How often did we hear that Abu Ghraib was a few bad apples? And as we know, John McCain approves of the CIA’s use of torture now.…I think it’s time we start a call/email/fax/letter writing project to demand an Independent Counsel on this issue from Congress and a blitz to the media asking them why they have been silent on this fact. Many thanks to the ACLU for jumping in the middle of this. Also, what is Hillary, Obama and McCain’s thoughts on this? They need to weigh in?

Please join C&L and the ACLU in getting the word out:

Join the ACLU and our friends at Crooks & Liars: Call on your members of Congress to demand an independent prosecutor to investigate possible violations by the Bush administration of laws including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act and federal assault laws.

Please sign on.

Direct link to crooks and liars

Direct link to the ACLU petition.


-- Vet's widow: "I blame the doctors. If he

was a high-risk patient like they said, he should have been

watched and monitored. They haven't called me to offer

condolences. They won't even respond to me."

Dallas VA closes psychiatric after 4th patient kills himself

The Dallas Morning News

The Dallas VA Medical Center has effectively closed its psychiatric wing after a fourth mentally ill patient this year committed suicide.

On April 4, a man fastened a bed sheet to the bottom corner of a door frame, draped a noose over the top, and hanged himself. Before that, a veteran hanged himself on a frame attached to his wheelchair. And in January, two men who met in the psychiatric ward committed suicide in Collin County days after being released.

Officials said the government hospital, which was rated the nation's worst VA facility in a 1995 study, stopped admitting patients the day after the most recent suicide.

Ten veterans remain on the north wing on the 51-bed psychiatric unit. The south wing is closed.

Joseph Dalpiaz, director of the VA North Texas Health Care System, ordered the shutdown a day after the latest suicide.

"He decided he wanted to ... give us some time to assess the environment of care and make sure things were as safe as possible in our patient unit," said Dr. Catherine Orsak, head of mental health for the VA's North Texas health system. "It's a horrible tragedy and it may not have been preventable, but we wanted to look again to see if anything can be done to increase safety."

Investigators from the national Veterans Affairs office will be in Dallas next week to assess the safety of the Dallas psychiatric ward. Doctors sent patient records and other documents to Washington last week for review.

Dr. Orsak said VA hospitals around the nation have been examining their care and treatment of veterans after a Washington Post investigation last year found wounded Iraq war veterans living in ramshackle housing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

At the Dallas VA, she said, more than $250,000 has been spent during the last six months to eliminate suicide risks at the 68-year-old hospital in southeast Oak Cliff. Door knobs have been replaced, shower curtains and plumbing retrofitted, and light fixtures modified in an effort to remove rigid outcroppings that veterans could use to hang themselves.

"That's what makes this even more shocking and painful," said Dr. Orsak. "No one was ignoring this, and everyone was working hard on the fixes. And then you have a tragedy and you realize there's more you can do, and some patients have such a will to end their lives, it's hard to protect them."

Dr. Orsak said she did not know when the psychiatric ward would begin admitting patients again. In the meantime, veterans are being treated at government hospitals in Waco and Temple, as well as Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and private treatment centers such as Green Oaks and Timberlawn.

She did not know how much the outsourcing of psychiatric care is costing the hospital.

Dr. Orsak acknowledged that mistakes have been made.

The wheelchair used by one veteran to commit suicide was not supposed to be allowed on the third-floor unit. After his death, wheelchairs of that type were disassembled and removed from the hospital.

Doors like the one the veteran used to take his own life this month will be removed or retrofitted. To avoid hanging suicides, many psychiatric hospitals use doors with a half-moon shaped top, or buy spring-loaded doors that collapse under weight.

Dr. Orsak said the 10 veterans remaining in the psychiatric unit should be safe.

"What we've done is increased the staffing and increased the checks," she said. "We're as confident as we possibly can be to say they are safe."

The Dallas VA is building a 29-bed psychiatric floor near the eastern entrance to the hospital. The $6.5 million project should be finished about this time next year. Three years later, another floor is scheduled to be built.

Shirley Bemps, who said her husband, Larry Johnson, committed suicide in the psychiatric ward on Feb. 5, said the Dallas VA's work is too little, too late.

"I blame the doctors," the Arlington woman said. "If he was a high-risk patient like they said, he should have been watched and monitored. They haven't called me to offer condolences. They won't even respond to me. I just feel cheated."


posted by
Larry Scott
Founder and Editor
VA Watchdog dot Org

Ex-Secret Service agents ran black-ops against green groups

Thousands of Children Pack Seattle Arena to Hear Dalai Lama

Lawmakers Hold Tax Day Press Conference on Cost of Iraq War

Torture and Democracy, Part II: Scholar Darius Rejali Details the History and Scope of Modern Torture

I’ve been reporting for weeks now about food shortages and riots all over the world. Well if this does not convince you that a food shortage is coming to America nothing will.

And oil hits $114 a barrel. Well, Bush gave Osama bin Laden just what he wanted.

Biggest grain exporters halt foreign sales

By Javier Blas in London, Isabel Gorst in Moscow and Lindsay Whipp in Tokyo, Financial Times, 16 Apr 2008

The global food crisis intensified on Tuesday as Kazakhstan, one of the world's biggest wheat exporters halted foreign sales and rice prices shot to a record high after Indonesia stopped its farmers from selling the grain abroad.

In another sign of turmoil, a big food company in Japan, Nihon Shokuhin Kako, said high corn prices had forced it to buy cheaper genetically modified corn for the first time, breaking a social, though not legal, taboo and signalling that opposition to GM foods could weaken in the face of record food prices.

Meanwhile, fresh wheat export curbs in Kazakhstan, the world's fifth largest exporter, and the rice bans in Indonesia, threaten to trigger bans in other food exporting countries, which will now face much higher demand from importing countries.

Hussein Allidina, at Morgan Stanley in New York, said pressure for export bans was likely to increase elsewhere as developing countries suffering high inflation tried to combat rising local prices by cutting back on exports of agriculture commodities.

Indonesia – which joins Vietnam, Egypt, China, Cambodia and India in banning foreign sales – was expected to export the grain this year due to a bumper crop. Corn futures prices in Chicago last week hit a record $6.16 a bushel, up 30 per cent in the past three months.

Indonesia's export ban boosted the price of rice futures in Chicago to a all-time high of $22.17 per 100 pounds, up 63 per cent since January. Wheat prices moved higher to $9.11 a bushel and traders warned prices could rise further as the Kazakhstan ban together with restrictions in Russia, Ukraine and Argentina have closed a third of the global wheat market.

Additional reporting by John Aglionby in Jakarta

Warning if you go watch the video it does have strong language.

High profile celebrity follower turns on Scientology

Wednesday Apr 16 08:00 AEST

By ninemsn staff

A celebrity former Scientologist in the US has blasted the religion in an internet video as "a rip off" that destroys people’s lives.

Film and television actor Jason Beghe, 48, features in a YouTube video in which he describes the church as a dangerous institution that "doesn’t deliver what it promises".

"Scientology is destructive and a rip off," Beghe says in the three minute teaser video of an upcoming interview.

"It’s very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health and evolution … I think it stunts your evolution.

"If Scientology is real, then something’s f***** up."

Beghe appeared in the Hollywood movies Thelma and Louise and G.I. Jane, and recently has featured in television programs CSI and Veronica Mars. In 2005 the actor appeared in Scientology promotional videos.

He spent 14 years with the church and achieved a similar "level" or status as Hollywood supporters Tom Cruise and John Travolta before he turned on the religion.

Beghe, a childhood friend of Californication star David Duchovny, said in the video that after reaching the level of "OT 5" he found that "the further up the bridge [you go] the worse you get".

BLOGGED BY Brad Friedman ON 4/15/2008 8:05PM

GOP Congressman: Private Voting Companies That Fail 'Should be Fired'

Rep. Vern Ehlers Steps Briefly Off the Reservation at Recent Congressional Hearing, as Election Integrity Advocates Condemn the Privatization and Outsourcing of America's Electoral System VoterAction's John Bonifaz Testifies: 'Growing Influence by Private Companies in How We Conduct Elections Puts Democracy at Serious Risk'...

Last week our friends, voting rights attorney John Bonifaz of and Greg Moore of the NAACP National Voter Fund, testified at a U.S. House Administrative Committee hearing on the 2008 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses and "What we've learned so far."

What we've learned, as Bonifaz explained in his opening statement (written version here [PDF], full video at the end of this article) is that "jurisdications across the country are increasingly outsourcing, to private vendors, key election functions, and in the process, compromising the transparency and public control of our elections."

While all of that is likely old hat, by now, to readers of The BRAD BLOG, where our hair has been on fire about same for many years now, there was an interesting moment during the Q&A with a Republican congressman and panelists Moore and Bonifaz, as seen in the very short exchange (just under two minutes) in the video clip posted above right.

The Congressman --- at least momentarily --- stepped off the GOP reservation, to admit that the private corporations that fail in their outsourced election duties "should be fired"...

Continued and go watch the video.

I really hate politicians! They do not want to uphold the Constitution or our Democracy!

Voting safeguards measure fails in House

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday April 15, 2008

TRENTON, N.J. - Legislation sponsored by a New Jersey congressman that would have reimbursed states wanting to adopt voting safeguards before the November presidential election failed to win approval Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, dubbed the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass, even after clearing a House committee unanimously. The vote was 239-178 in favor, with all but two Democrats supporting it and all but 16 Republicans opposed.

The two Democrats who voted nay on H R 5036 were Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Nick Rahall. The 16 Republicans who voted in favor of the bill were Reps. Vern Buchanan, Steve Chabot, Tom Cole, Tom Davis, Charlie Dent, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart, Jim Gerlach, Dean Heller, Tim Murphy, Marilyn Musgrave, Jon Porter, Jim Ramstad, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chris Shays, and Chris Smith.

The bill would have allowed states and jurisdictions to be reimbursed by the federal government for converting to a paper ballot system, offering emergency paper ballots or conducting audits by hand counts.

The measure was designed to ensure that every vote is properly counted. Voters in all or parts of 20 states including New Jersey now cast ballots electronically without backup paper verification, according to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.

The bill would have provided reimbursements for states to provide voter-verified, audited balloting for the general election, but it would not have mandated standards for the states.

Republicans opposed the bill because of the cost.

The White House on Tuesday noted that a 2002 election reform act had authorized $3 billion to help states upgrade their voting systems, and that about one-third of that money was still available.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost of the legislation at $685 million, but supporters said that applied only to a worst-case scenario where many states opted to change their systems.

Holt said he was disappointed and somewhat surprised at the result.

"This increases the likelihood around the country that there will be unaudited elections and lingering questions in many jurisdictions about the validity of the vote, and no way to answer the questions," Holt said. "There is no reason this shouldn't have passed."

Elections officials in many states are grappling with their voting systems. Concerns have been raised over the security and reliability of electronic voting machines, and voting rights advocates in New Jersey and elsewhere have pushed for a return to paper balloting.

Some states have scrapped electronic voting machines. Among them are Florida and New Mexico, which switched to paper ballots that are counted by optical scanners.

Holt's bill would have reimbursed states for making a similar switch by November.

New Jersey recently acknowledged it would not meet a June deadline for retrofitting 10,000 touch-screen voting machines with paper printers. That means millions of New Jerseyans will cast ballots in November without paper receipts.

Six counties reported problems with electronic voting machines after the presidential primary in February. The number of votes tallied in dozens of machines did not match the number counted by the machine's internal control.

The manufacturer, Sequoia Voting Systems, has resisted efforts by voting rights advocates to have the machines tested independently.

I’m so glad that Congress is tackling the most important issues instead of wasting their time on crap like Iraq, people losing their homes, high energy costs and the economy.

Go watch the video.

House on proper Pledge of Allegiance technique

David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday April 15, 2008

No pause between 'one nation under god,' lawmaker reminds

A freshman Georgia Republican wanted to stress the importance of divine oversight of the US as he saw it portrayed in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Leading the pledge on the House floor Monday, Rep. Paul Broun lectured others in the chamber about the "correct way" of saying the pledge.

"There should not be a comma between 'one nation' and 'under God,'" Broun told his colleagues before beginning his rendition of a pause-free pledge.

It may seem a minor issue, but some have argued that saying the pledge as Broun prefers -- and as it was written when "under God" was inserted in 1954 -- implies a fealty to religion that is inappropriate in the US.

"Without a comma, the phrase indicates that the central characteristic of the United States as a political community is its subordination to God," wrote history professor Matthew Dennis, after the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to strike "under God" as unconstitutional. "In short, the political community is defined by its religious charge. A pledge that states this becomes, in the words of the 9th Circuit, 'impermissible government endorsement of religion,' functioning to 'enforce a religious orthodoxy of mono- theism.'"

The pledge had no reference to a deity until 1954, when Cold War fever saw its inclusion to separate Americans from "godless Communists." The Supreme Court dismissed a case arguing that the phrase violated the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of religion because the plaintiff had no standing to argue the case, not because of any inherent legal justification for the phrase.

A Broun spokesman even said there should be no pause to emphasize there is "no separation or implied separation between nation and God." So his House floor lesson may be more than just a penchant for details.

“As a Marine, clearly, he’s had to face a lot more difficult challenges than instructing Members of Congress on the proper way of saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” spokesman John Kennedy told Roll Call's Heard on the Hill column. “There is, in fact, no comma in that section. So correctly, it’s said, ‘One nation under [God],’ no separation or implied separation between nation and God.”

A first-term lawmaker from the northeastern corner of Georgia, Broun's House floor admonition was not his only attempt to insert God further into American life. Last November, he supported a resolution honoring a group promoting the Ten Commandments.

"I commend the Ten Commandments Commission for their efforts to remind Americans that we are, in fact, 'one nation under God,'" he said at the time.

This video is from C-SPAN, broadcast April 14, 2008.

Letter to Rick Davis, McCain 2008 Chairman

April 14, 2008 - 7:28pm

Sent 6:45 p.m. 4/14/08

You just lost an eight-year-long McCain supporter.

I spent a good deal of time in the McCain 2000 office in Northern Virginia. Not as a volunteer, but as an enthusiast. When that effort fell through, I followed McCain and cheered him every TV appearance. No longer.

If this pabulum you're sending is indicative of your campaign this year -- and it probably is -- then you've lost my vote. Americans weren't bitter during the Great Depression? Check your history. As many cursed America as any sane, thinking grown-up might expect during that period of deprivation.

You're making political hay out of Obama's remarks, which were a sincere effort to tell the truth. But you can't really do that in politics. The Straight Talk Express will apparently see to it.

You and John McCain and your whole inner circle thinks that to be president it is sufficient to be a character and a sonofabitch. That's why you love him. You think that delightful character is enough to be president. Well, it's enough to be loved by the history books. But in the faces across generations is true legacy writ large. You people aren't offering one thing to help the common man. There is no more concern evinced in your campaign for the common man than in any other mediocre politician's campaign. And so, I am led to reasonably expect that McCain's presidency will be just like any other large-personality president's: long on colorful historical anecdotes and memorabilia, short on concrete benefit for your fellow man.

What are you really going to do with the power of the presidency? What positive, original works will you create? Is the rare phenomenon of a politician with character, a real human being truly enough to justify your confidence in your campaign? Or is it just a more virtuous sense of entitlement, which you ridicule in Clinton's? Beware this Achille's heel: personality is in the final analysis just vanity; you will be judged by the works you create.

> Dear Friends,
> We've all said things that we've regretted. Sometimes they result from a
> mere slip of the tongue and sometimes they reveal deeply held beliefs that
> you'd rather not communicate to the world.
> A few days ago, at a San Francisco fundraiser, Barack Obama described
> Americans who live in small towns or other areas that have experienced a
> loss of jobs as "bitter" people, adding that it didn't surprise him that
> they, "..cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like
> them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to
> explain their frustrations."
> These words are revealing on a number of levels, and expose the
> out-of-touch beliefs to which John McCain offers stark contrast. Today,
> John McCain offered a different account of small town America:
> "During the Great Depression, with many millions of Americans out of work
> and the country suffering the worst economic crisis in our history, there
> rose from small towns, rural communities, inner cities, a generation of
> Americans who fought to save the world from despotism and mass murder, and
> came home to build the wealthiest, strongest and most generous nation on
> earth.
> "They suffered the worst during the Depression, but it did not shake their
> faith in, and fidelity to, America. They did not turn to their religious
> faith and cultural traditions out of resentment and a feeling of
> powerlessness to affect the course of government or pursue prosperity. On
> the contrary, their faith had given generations of their families' purpose
> and meaning, as it does today."
> These hard working men and women aren't "bitter". They love their country,
> their faith, their family and their traditions. They are the heart and
> soul of this country, the foundation of our strength and the primary
> authors of its essential goodness - Barack Obama should get to know them.
> If Barack Obama is the Democrat nominee in the general election, the
> American people will have a clear choice between two different visions -
> Senator Obama's liberal, elitist philosophy and John McCain's faith in the
> small town values that continue to make America great. John McCain will
> not forget them or write them off. Neither should Barack Obama.
> We are up against a large fundraising hurdle if Barack Obama is the
> nominee and we need your help now. Even before the general election
> begins, the differences are clear, we must do everything we can to make
> sure these beliefs don't make it into the White House.
> I hope you will make a contribution today.
> Sincerely,
> Rick Davis
> Campaign Manager
> P.S. - Barack Obama's belief that small town Americans are "bitter"
> exemplifies the differences in this election. We cannot allow this elitist
> philosophy to make its way into the White House. Please contribute today.
> Please visit this page if you want to remove yourself from the email list.
> Paid for by John McCain 2008
> John McCain 2008
> P.O. Box 16118, Arlington, VA 22215
> Phone: (703) 418-2008
> Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal
> income tax purposes. Federal law requires us to report the name, address,
> occupation, and employer of any contributor who gives more than $200 in an
> election cycle. An individual may contribute up to $2,300 for the primary
> election and up to $2,300 for the general election. Couples may contribute
> up to $4,600 for the primary and general elections, respectively. Federal
> PACs may contribute $5,000 for each election. Contributions from
> corporations, labor unions, federal-government contractors, national
> banks, and foreign nationals without permanent residency status are
> prohibited.


heinrich66's blog


Cat Dies when Misfired Artillery Shell Hits Family Home in New Jersey

April 12, 2008 - Rockaway Township, NJ -- The Army is suspending outdoor weapons testing at a northern New Jersey base after a wayward artillery shell fragment crashed through the roof of a home miles away, fatally injuring a pet cat, the base's commanding officer said Saturday.

Picatinny Arsenal officials will investigate how a 2-pound piece of an artillery round fired from the base ended up crashing through the roof of a Jefferson Township home Friday afternoon, Brig. Gen. William N. Phillips said in a statement.

The Star-Ledger of Newark says the 6-by-4-inch object landed on the bed of a 10-year-old girl. She had left about 20 minutes earlier to go to a sleepover at a friend's house. But the family cat was injured and had to be put to sleep.

The house is about two and a half miles from the Picatinny Arsenal, which was conducting weapons tests at the time.

Phillips said he visited the home Friday night and apologized.

Picatinny is the site of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, which conducts research, development and engineering for weapons systems.

HBO Plans Film About Walter Reed Fiasco

April 13, 2008 - HBO Films has acquired rights to a series of Washington Post articles about the neglect of wounded soldiers moved from Walter Reed Hospital to outpatient facilities.

Ron Nyswaner has been set to write a telepic.

The Post's series won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull, along with photographer Michel du Cille.

The series created outrage that reached Capitol Hill and prompted Congressional hearings and reforms, after the investigative articles revealed that there was no support system for disoriented and gravely injured vets who were left feeling angry and disrespected by bureaucratic ineptitude that left them fending for themselves.

"The film will be about how four ordinary people, who put their lives on the line for their country, came back injured and were then abused and ignored by the crown jewel of the military," said 4-Screen Media's Larry Lyttle, who'll exec produce with Helpern Co.'s David Helpern. "The system ignored them until they took on the military at the highest levels, and at Congressional hearings."

One of the protagonists will likely be Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, a 43-year-old sniper whose eye and skull were shattered by an enemy bullet. Told there was no record he was a soldier, he had to produce his Purple Heart in order to get a free uniform to replace the blood-soaked one he arrived in. He and others set up a support system to help the neglected vets.

Nyswaner most recently scripted "The Painted Veil."

Sometimes the rules should be broken!

High School Student Suspended for Answering Cell Phone Call from Dad in Iraq in Campus Hallway

April 14, 2008 - Austin, TX -- A call from a parent stationed in a war zone has landed a Texas high school student in hot water, and his mother is asking the school to ease up on the punishment.

The Copperas Cove High School sophomore received an urgent call from his father and was suspended after taking the call during class.

Master Sgt. Morris Hill is a world away in Iraq, so he had no idea that a simple call from the battlefield to his son, Brandon, would land the 16-year-old in a heap of trouble.

"He called me during class, because that's the only time that he could," said Brandon Hill, suspended for using a cell phone. "I answered the call as I was walking out of class. The teacher followed me out and said, ‘Oh what are you doing?' I said my dad was calling from Iraq, and I know he needs to talk to me."

At the high school, which is 85 miles from Austin, students are not allowed to carry cell phones.

Yet Pat Hill said before her husband left for Iraq, he made a special arrangement with the assistant principal.

"He had spoken with Mr. Fletcher," said Pat Hill. "He thought there was an agreement understood that if he called either Joshua or Brandon at school, that everything was fine.

Brandon Hill was sent to the office and suspended for two days for answering his father's call.

"It's crazy with everything that's going on," Brandon Hill said.

"If this would have been the last phone call from my husband, and he's in trouble for it and then has to deal with something happening to his dad that would be even harder," Pat Hill said. She added that she was outraged her son was suspended, and then it took a week to get a meeting with the principal.

In a written statement to KXAN Austin News, Kathy Blake, the secretary to the Copperas Cove district superintendent, said: "In an emergency situation there are procedures in place to address those individual situations. This is true for all of the students in our district. The incident in question occurred almost two weeks ago and has been resolved."

Brandon Hill has returned to school, but he still has the black mark on his record. His mother said she wants it removed and for the school to recognize the special needs of military children.

"These schools have to stop and realize, especially when you are in a military community, we support our soldiers, we support our troops," Pat Hill said. "What about them when they are in Iraq trying to reach their family?"

Yet Pat Hill said the school will not address her request to have the suspension removed from her son's record, a battle she is fighting here while her husband is away.

This story did it for me today. I know there’s more news out there but I woke up in a not so blogger friendly mood today.

I’m just sick of our do nothing politicians and our media that would rather spin a story than actually report the truth.

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Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home

Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home
If Not Now When?