Wounded Times


Monday, August 31, 2009

4 charged with attempted murder of Chicago cop

4 charged with attempted murder of Chicago cop
August 30, 2009 8:59 PM
4 charged with attempted murder of Chicago cop
August 30, 2009 8:59 PM 102 Comments UPDATED STORY
Four men were charged today with allegedly trying to kill an off-duty Chicago police officer in a Southwest Side shooting that one police source said erupted when they mistook the gang-enforcement officer for a gang rival.

The officer -- whom Chicago Police Department officials declined to identify -- was driving home about 3 a.m. Thursday through a section of Little Village carved up as turf by the Latin Kings and Two-Sixers, rival gangs that have been fighting to dominate the local drug trade for decades.

The officer, who was wearing a jersey-type shirt over his police uniform, sensed he was being followed by a car with four people inside, the source said.
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4 charged with attempted murder of Chicago cop

Sailor dies in crash after alleged assault leaves 12-year-old son dead

Sailor dies in crash after alleged assault leaves 12-year-old son dead
By Travis J. Tritten and Chiyomi Sumida, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, September 2, 2009
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS Denver sailor died in a motorcycle crash after he allegedly assaulted his family in an attack that left his 12-year-old son dead Sunday at Sasebo Naval Base in Japan, base officials said Monday.

John W. Bench Jr., 39, died after his motorcycle collided with oncoming vehicles on a Sasebo expressway, Japanese police said.

The Navy would not confirm the identity of the sailor or name his family members Monday, citing an ongoing investigation. But the USS Denver’s Web page in early August listed a John W. Bench as the ship’s command master chief.
read more here

Wildfire with 'mind of its own' doubles in size

Wildfire with 'mind of its own' doubles in size
A fast-moving wildfire more than doubled in size on Monday and has burned through 164 square miles in Southern California since it started. Fire officials ordered mandatory evacuations for residents of 10,000 homes, and five people who refused to evacuate were trapped by the fire. The blaze "has a mind of its own," U.S. Forest Service official Mike Dietrich said. full story
Schwarzenegger: Heed fire warnings
Explainer: All about fighting wildfires
Fire time-lapse mirrors volcano eruption

Family suspects PTSD in murder suicide of Iraq vet and wife

Family suspects PTSD in couple's murder-suicide

03:22 PM PDT on Monday, August 31, 2009


REPUBLIC, WA. -- Family members say a young man suspected of killing his wife and then himself in an apparent murder-suicide in Republic may have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning from Iraq.

Jessica Armstrong and Chad Olson.

Chad Olson, 21, and Jessica Armstrong were found shot to death in the home they shared with Olson's parents early Saturday morning.

Olson's brother called 911 after hearing gunshots in the home. He went to check on the couple, but saw blood through the window.

Authorities say they found several rambling notes in the house, mostly incoherent, but many starting with the words "I'm sorry."

According to Olson's MySpace page, he logged on about an hour before police say he shot Armstrong and killed himself.

Last month, Jessica posted several messages about how excited she was to marry Olson on July 10th. But less than two weeks later, authorities say Armstrong filed for separation.

read more here
Family suspects PTSD in couples murder-suicide

How many more times will this happen?

Fort Bragg Iraq war vet kills girlfriend, then himself
Fort Bragg Iraq war vet kills girlfriend, then himself
Published: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 1:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 1:27 p.m.
A Fort Bragg couple was found dead Monday evening in what authorities believe is a murder suicide.Mendocino County Sheriff’s authorities said Tuesday 26-year-old Jacob Gregory Swanson, an Iraq war Army veteran, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his living room. His girlfriend, 36-year-old Amy Rochelle Salo, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the face in a bathroom at the home.
Iraq vet struggled with PTSD then killed wife, himself

TORTURED SOUL: Iraq vet struggled with PTSD then killed wife, himself
Wartime tragedy followed airman home to North Las Vegas
By KEITH ROGERSLAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL...........The fire was so intense it melted plastic reflectors on another truck in the 35-vehicle convoy.When the flames subsided seven hours later, "Klink," as he was called, recovered Jurn's remains and hauled them back to their base in Balad.Jason's parents, Art and Monette Klinkenberg of Tooele, Utah, noticed the change in their son upon his return from Iraq in early 2006.

Fort Hood Reservist and Iving Police Officer Kills Wife and Self
WFAA-TV Investigators say an Irving police officer murdered his wife while their two children were present in their Fort Worth home.
By DAVID SCHECHTER / WFAA-TV WFAA-TV FORT WORTH — Investigators say an Irving police officer murdered his wife while their two children were present in their Fort Worth home. Then, police say, the officer killed himself. The officer was a 36-year-old Army reservist currently on active duty at Fort Hood.

Sgt. Steven D. Lopez was thought to be suicidal before murder-suicide ended two lives
Inquiry reveals soldier was thought suicidal
By Ruffin Prevost - The Billings Gazette
Posted : Wednesday Aug 20, 2008 18:51:28 EDTCODY, Wyo. — Lovell police and an Army sergeant worked unsuccessfully last year to persuade a suicidal soldier to return to his base in North Carolina, fearing that he might harm himself or others. One week later, the soldier killed his estranged wife and himself.Recordings of telephone conversations between police and Army personnel, along with a separate report by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, offer some insight into the circumstances leading up to the fatal encounter.

There are more, far too many more on this blog alone. It's only been up for two years and here are over 42 posts on murder suicide and several more on investigations. There are Iraq veterans and Afghanistan veterans, Vietnam veterans, cops, you name it. The most troubling part out of all of this is that too many other people will just not get it and understand how serious this all is.

These are not your average run of the mill common criminals. These are men and yes, women, willing to lay down there lives for the sake of someone else all of a sudden turning into someone not only wanting to die, but to take someone they are supposed to love with them. See any reason to respond to all of this better than we have done? Do people kill other people? Yes. There is an enormous problem when it ends up coming from someone willing to die to help a stranger though.

We will keep reading more and more reports like this unless we finally get our act together and address the deeper emotional issue behind most of this. PTSD is not going away and will end up being one more generational carry over when kids grow up with a Dad or Mom veteran that never saw the help they need.

If you want to read more about murder-suicides, try reading Screaming in an Empty Room because that blog goes back over a few years. There are many more there.

Fort Hood soldier found dead in room

Hood soldier found dead in room ID’d

Staff report
Posted : Monday Aug 31, 2009 17:34:29 EDT

Officials at Fort Hood, Texas, on Monday identified a soldier who was found dead in his barracks room.

Pvt. Stephen Alexander Blake, 24, of Chicago, was found unresponsive Aug. 26 in his barracks room on post by a member of his unit.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of Blake's death was unknown Monday, and his death remains under investigation, officials said.

Blake joined the Army in August 2007 as an infantryman and had been assigned to 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, since January 2008.

His decorations and awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

Shipping out nearly killed him, but not good enough says DOD

If he died, well then that's a different story but he lived. The part about him almost dying because of the injection he had to get, that didn't count and this is simply wrong!

Missouri veteran injured by vaccine ineligible for benefit
The Star’s Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON It wasn’t a bullet or roadside bomb that felled Lance Cpl. Josef Lopez three years ago, after just nine days in Iraq.

It was an injection into his arm before his Marine Corps unit left the United States.

It left Lopez in a coma, paralyzed and unable for a time to breathe on his own. He can walk now, but with a limp. He has to wear a urine bag, has short-term memory loss and must swallow 15 pills daily to control leg spasms and other ailments.

Yet the Springfield, Mo., man does not qualify for a special GI benefit of up to $100,000 for troops who suffer traumatic injuries.

Seemed “pretty traumatic to me,” Lopez said.

“I could have easily died or not been able to walk because of that. It destroyed my world.”

Lopez suffered a rare reaction to the smallpox vaccine. The vaccine is not mandatory, but the military strongly encourages troops to take it.
read more here

Georgia slayings 911 call

Georgia slayings 911 call: 'My whole family's dead'

Story Highlights
NEW: Police identify one of deceased as 19-year-old Michael Toller

Guy Heinze Jr. heard on 911 call telling dispatcher he arrived home to find bodies

"I don't know what to do, man," Heinze tells 911. "My dad, he's laying there dead"

Police say "no known suspects" in the attack; 7 dead at scene, 8th died later

(CNN) -- In an anguished 911 call, a Georgia man told dispatchers that he arrived home to find "my whole family's dead."

"I just got home," a man identified as Guy Heinze Jr. told the emergency dispatcher in the Saturday call, released Monday by authorities. "I was out last night. I got home just now, and everybody's dead. ... My whole family's dead. It looks like they've been beaten to death."

Seven people were found dead Saturday at a residence at the New Hope mobile home park in Brunswick, Georgia, authorities said. Two others were hospitalized in critical condition; one of them, identified by police as 19-year-old Michael Toller, died Sunday.

The remaining survivor remained in critical condition on Monday, police said.

A neighbor of Heinze's placed the call and put him on the phone, as well as the mobile home park's maintenance man. The park manager also called 911, sobbing as she told dispatchers, "Please hurry."
read more here

Armed robbers tie up customers at Family Dollar

Armed robbers tie up customers at Family Dollar
Bianca Prieto

Sentinel Staff Writer

3:31 p.m. EDT, August 31, 2009
Thieves tied up several people during an armed robbery at a Family Dollar store on Curry Ford Sunday, stealing cell phones and money from the register.

Orlando police are investigating the armed robbery that occurred at the discount store around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
read more here
Armed robbers tie up customers at Family Dollar

Missing boaters clung to thread of hope

Missing boaters clung to thread of hope
Story Highlights
Three fishermen spent week on on capsized boat in Gulf of Mexico

Men rationed water, crackers, beer to live

Boater spotted fishermen about 180 miles from coast of Port Aransas, Texas

Coast Guard had called off search for men on Friday
CNN) -- They kept their bodies alive with rationed crackers, bubble gum, beer and three gallons of water. But spiritually, the three men lost at sea for eight days had something else to keep them going.

"We just kept praying, and we kept hope alive," rescued boater Tressel Hawkins told CNN on Monday. "Even though hope had managed to thread down to a little bitty string, I mean, that little bitty string could be just as strong as the rope you hung on to the first time you got started."

What was supposed to be a fishing expedition to catch swordfish and marlin became instead a test of survival.

Hawkins, 43, and his fellow boaters, Curtis Hall, 28, and James Phillips, 30, set out on August 21 from Matagorda Bay in Texas and went about 100 miles south. Their first night in the Gulf of Mexico almost proved fatal.

While Hawkins was sleeping, he said, he felt the bean bag he was resting on floating. He awoke to find water in the 23-foot catamaran knee-high. The water extractor had malfunctioned. He woke up Hall and Phillips and they tried to stop the flooding but it was too late, Hawkins said.
read more here
Missing boaters clung to thread of hope

VA's Suicide Prevention Program Adds Chat Service

VA's Suicide Prevention Program Adds Chat Service

New Service Expands Online Access for Veterans

WASHINGTON (August 31, 2009) - The Suicide Prevention campaign of the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is expanding its outreach to all
Veterans by piloting an online, one-to-one "chat service" for Veterans
who prefer reaching out for assistance using the Internet.

Called "Veterans Chat," the new service enables Veterans, their families
and friends to go online where they can anonymously chat with a trained
VA counselor. If a "chatter" is determined to be in a crisis, the
counselor can take immediate steps to transfer the person to the VA
Suicide Prevention Hotline, where further counseling and referral
services are provided and crisis intervention steps can be taken.

"This online feature is intended to reach out to all Veterans who may or
may not be enrolled in the VA health care system and provide them with
online access to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline," said Dr. Gerald
Cross, VA's Acting Under Secretary for Health. "It is meant to provide
Veterans with an anonymous way to access VA's suicide prevention

Veterans, family members or friends can access Veterans Chat through the
suicide prevention Web site (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
). There is a Veterans tab
on the left-hand side of the website that will take them directly to
Veteran resource information. On this page, they can see the Hotline
number (1-800-273-TALK), and click on the Veterans Chat tab on the right
side of the Web page to enter.

Veterans retain anonymity by entering whatever names they choose once
they enter the one-on-one chat. They are then joined by a counselor who
is trained to provide information and respond to the requests and
concerns of the caller.

If the counselor decides the caller is in a crisis, the counselor will
encourage the Veteran to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline, where a
trained suicide prevention counselor will determine whether crisis
intervention techniques are required.

The pilot program, which has been in operation since July 3, has already
had positive results. In one instance, the online counselor determined
that a Veteran in the chat required immediate assistance. The counselor
convinced the Veteran to provide the counselor with a home telephone
number and then remained in the chat room with the Veteran while the
hotline staff called the number and talked to the Veteran's mother. The
hotline counselor worked with the Veteran's mother to convince the
Veteran to be admitted to a medical facility for further treatment.

"The chat line is not intended to be a crisis response line," said Dr.
Janet Kemp, VA's National Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the VA
medical center in Canandaigua, N.Y., where VA's trained counselors staff
the chat line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. VA's suicide
prevention hotline is also staffed continuously.

"Chat responders are trained in an intervention method specifically
developed for the chat line to assist people with emotional distress and
concerns," Kemp said. "We have procedures they can use to transfer
chatters in crisis to the hotline for more immediate assistance."

Both Veterans Chat and the VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline have been
established under the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which was
established through collaboration between VA and the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Department of
Health and Human Services.

Since becoming operational in July 2007, VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline
has received more than 150,000 calls, resulting in 4,000 rescues.

Cop shooting suspect kept 'Shooter's Bible'

Cop shooting suspect kept 'Shooter's Bible,' weapons in storage unit
By Jamal Thalji and Rebecca Catalanello, Times Staff Writers
Posted: Aug 31, 2009 01:59 PM

TAMPA — He had a book called the Shooter's Bible, a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle, and a load of ammunition stored in a Pinellas County rental space.

The man accused of killing a Tampa police officer Aug. 19 kept weapons and several firearms-related items in his storage unit located at Public Storage, 4080 E Tampa Road in Oldsmar, according to a search warrant filed in Pinellas County Circuit Court.

Police Cpl. Mike Roberts was on the ground when Humberto Delgado, 34, shot him to death, the warrant says.

The night Roberts encountered Delgado pushing a shopping cart on Nebraska Avenue, police say he was armed with four guns, including a Taurus .45-caliber pistol police now believe was the gun he used to shoot Roberts.
read more here
Cop shooting suspect kept Shooter's Bible

Orange County firefighters say 10-year-old girl is a hero

Orange County firefighters say 10-year-old is a hero

Walter Pacheco

Sentinel Staff Writer

7:57 a.m. EDT, August 31, 2009

A 10-year-old girl ran apartment to apartment Sunday night, warning residents of the flames and smoke that had engulfed their south Orange County apartment building.

Fire and smoke damage displaced six families from their Lancaster Villas apartments, reports show. The little girl, whose name has not been released, is in the hospital this morning for minor injuries she suffered during the overnight blaze.

Neighbors and Orange County firefighters said the child is a hero.

"This little girl, a really great person, saved us," Lancaster Villas resident Jessica Phelps said in a televised newscast. "She ran knocking on all the doors."

Orange County Fire Assistant Chief Jeff Holton called the girl's bravery "really amazing."

Firefighters said her decisive actions saved lives. Her quick response to the fire is due in part to their ongoing campaign to teach Orange County Public School district students fire safety and medical emergency tips.
read more here
Orange County firefighters say 10 year-old is a hero

Local author recognizes that pain of war spans the centuries

Local author recognizes that pain of war spans the centuries
By Chris Bergeron/Daily News staff
The MetroWest Daily News
Posted Aug 31, 2009 @ 12:03 AM
After he began working with Vietnam veterans, Dr. Jonathan Shay heard in their stories the same feelings of grief and betrayal that triggered "the rage of Achilles" in Homer's ancient epic, the "Iliad."

At the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston in 1987, former grunts spoke to him of the betrayal of "what's right" by officers and politicians. They revealed lingering sorrow over lost comrades and simmering rage that made their homecomings so difficult.

A Harvard-educated psychiatrist who'd never been in the military, Shay made powerful connections with them by writing stories about Homer's heros, Achilles and Odysseus, warriors like them scarred in body and soul.

"From the beginning, I had an interest in the idea that war could damage good character. War hasn't changed in 3,000 years," he said. "The Iliad is about what war has always done to people. Everyone is changed by combat but not everyone is injured."

Looking back, Shay remembers the veterans in that first program as "very rough men who'd experienced severe combat trauma and were given to rages."

"Everyone was an outpatient. There were no locked doors, no court orders. Almost all were from Vietnam," he said. Later, there were a few from World War II and Korea, he said.

Now retired, Shay credits "dumb luck" for helping him reach troubled veterans through stories from Homer's 2,700-year-old poems about the Trojan War and its aftermath.
read more here
Local author recognizes that pain of war spans the centuries

Therapy online: Good as face to face?

Actually in some cases, it's better. The anonymity online help provides is a door opened wider than seeing someone face to face depending on what is behind the therapy needed. People do not have to wonder if they are being judged looking into someone's eyes, feel intimidated or feel as if they have to quickly respond to a question without having time to really think about it.

I am not a therapist. I am a Chaplain, focused on PTSD, as well as the spiritual issues trauma causes. When people come to me, it's online, private and I help them from across the country as well as internationally. In most cases, I don't even know their real name, which is fine with me. The only problem I have with this is when I feel deeply concerned for someone on the ledge. There have been times when I had to try to find out where the person lived so that I could contact law enforcement to do a welfare check on the person. This is rough when I have very little to go on. I try to get as much information as possible but I can't push them. I may have a phone number and a real name, but sometimes it's just an email address.

The other problem with this is when others ask me how I know someone is telling the truth or not. That one is easy because they have nothing to gain by lying to me. I cannot help them with a claim, get them medication, have no money to give them and 99% of the time, they don't even want their story told. There is nothing in it for them to not be truthful. Often it's a matter of gaining trust from them, which is usually a very slow process. The more they trust me, the more they open up. It's also one of the reasons you never see a story from me online talking about any of the people I help unless it is in totally vague terms. A slow posting day is a busy day on the emails. It just works out that way all the time.

The most important thing aside from trust is to know who you are asking for help. If it's a site linked to veterans groups you can go through, like Give An Hour, usually you know you can trust them to give you the best help possible. If you turn to someone just because they have a website or blog, you need to first know as much as you can about them. There have been too many times when someone gives out totally wrong information or gives you the wrong advice even though they may mean you know harm. They just don't know enough and can cause you more pain than you already had.

This is not to slam all bloggers because most of them know what they are talking about when they get into this line of work. Some carry insurance and are licensed. This is done because they are trained to do what they do and take it all very seriously. Others give out great advice because they have been there and can tell you what worked for them. If you run into any advice coming close to suggesting they know the only "cure" for you, run as fast as you can. With PTSD there is no "one size fits all" at all. The only thing that really can be fit into the category of this would be when someone tells you that taking care of your mind, body and spirit works best, but there is no one way of getting there. There are all different faiths and levels of faith/spirituality. Some people say they believe there is a God but have no faith in religious groups. Each one has to be treated where they are as they are. There are also some hacks out there with deep emotional problems of their own and on some kind of power trip. Just keep your eyes open and see if their agenda is to help you or themselves.

PTSD has gotten so out of control that this is going to take all the help the Internet can offer, so the more help available, the better as long as that help is really supportive to you.

Therapy online: Good as face to face?
Story Highlights
Study: Online therapy has same benefit as could be expected from traditional therapy

There are legal issues with offering therapy online to people in other states

How health insurance companies deal with online therapy will affect its use

By Elizabeth Landau

(CNN) -- Your therapist's name is ELIZA, and she interacts with you through text on a computer screen. However embarrassing or difficult your problem may be, ELIZA will not hesitate to ask you a question about it, or respond graciously, "That is very interesting. Why do you say that?"

Computer-based therapy has come a long way since ELIZA, a 1960s computer program designed to emulate (and parody) a therapist. Today, with the Internet, people can use the instant message format to communicate with real therapists.

A new study in The Lancet suggests that real-time chat therapy with a psychotherapist is successful in helping people with depression.

Participants were randomly assigned to either receive online cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to usual physician care -- which may include antidepressant medication -- or to continue their usual care and be placed on a waiting list. The intervention consisted of up to 10 55-minute sessions, five of which were expected to be completed by the four-month follow-up.

Of the 113 people who did online therapy, 38 percent recovered from depression after four months, compared with 24 percent of people in the control group. The benefits were maintained at eight months, with 42 percent of the online therapy group and 26 percent of the control group having recovered.
read more here
Therapy online

UPDATE on murder of Rev. Carol Daniels

Slaying details of Oklahoma City pastor shocking
Slain pastor was discovered nude in a ‘crucifix position’ at Anadarko church
Published: August 30, 2009
ANADARKO — Police found the mutilated body of the Rev. Carol Daniels in a "crucifix position” behind her church altar last Sunday, The Oklahoman learned from sources close to the investigation.

Sources confirmed that Daniels’ bloodied corpse appeared to have been left in the form of a cross with both arms outstretched to the sides. Sources also said investigators were disturbed by two other facts at the crime scene:

• The killer took Daniels’ clothes, perhaps to hide evidence or as a grisly trophy.

• The killer methodically took time to spray a dissolving chemical around the body in an apparent effort to destroy any DNA evidence.

Police found Daniels’ nude body at 12:09 p.m. after being notified by an elderly couple who found the Christ Holy Sanctified Church doors locked and the reverend’s vehicle parked in front. A medical examiner’s report obtained through an open records request showed that the killer inflicted deep, gaping wounds to the throat. The wounds nearly decapitated Daniels’ head, said Dr. William Manion, a forensic pathologist in Burlington County, N.J.

Severe lacerations were also found on her left breast, back, stomach and hands — the latter a sign that the 61-year-old Oklahoma City woman likely tried to fight her attacker.

Daniels’ hair was also burned.
read more here
Slaying details of Oklahoma City pastor shocking
linked from RawStory

Shake the Devil Off

Book reviews: 'Shake the Devil Off' by Ethan Brown and 'The Year Before the Flood' by Ned Sublette

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, August 30, 2009
By BEATRIZ TERRAZAS / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
Beatriz Terrazas is a former Dallas Morning News photographer and writer whose work will be published in TCU Press' upcoming Literary El Paso.

Just in time for Hurricane Katrina's fourth anniversary come two ambitious books set against New Orleans. Both lay bare collective wounds.

In Shake The Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder That Rocked New Orleans, veteran journalist Ethan Brown examines post-traumatic stress disorder through Zackery Bowen, a charismatic soldier in the U.S. Army's 527th MP Company.

Zack, a New Orleans bartender before his enlistment, did tours of duty in Kosovo and Iraq. While overseas, his marriage derailed. Discharged in 2004, he returned with his family to New Orleans only to divorce and begin a turbulent relationship with artist Addie Hall. They were among the holdouts who made headlines by riding out Katrina.

A year later, having survived Kosovo, Iraq and Katrina, Zack made news again by killing Addie, dismembering her body, then killing himself.

One psychiatrist tells Brown that Zack's downward spiral probably had several causes, including the loss of friends in Iraq, the collapse of his marriage and the transition to civilian life. Zack's fellow soldiers express feelings of being forgotten by the rest of America.

But Brown discovers the military, too, is at fault. He cites a VA memo cautioning against PTSD diagnoses: "Consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder ... we really don't have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD." At the same time, the National Institute of Mental Health warned that inadequate mental health care could lead to "postwar suicides among Iraq and Afghanistan vets" exceeding combat deaths.

read more here

Shake the Devil Off

Two firefighters die battling blaze in Los Angeles County

Two firefighters die battling blaze in Los Angeles County
Story Highlights
NEW: Two dead firefighters identified

Fast-growing Los Angeles County wildfire has become 42,000-acre conflagration

So-called Station Fire threatens up to 10,000 homes and 2,000 other structures

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Fire officials late Sunday identified two firefighters who died accidentally while battling a fast-spreading wildfire in Los Angeles County.

Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, and Spc. Arnaldo Quinones, 35, were in a vehicle that "went over the side" on Sunday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Country Fire Department.

They were fighting what is known as the Station Fire, which had spread to 42,000 acres by late Sunday.

Hall was with the department for 26 years and Quinones for eight years.

The accident happened near Acton, about 25 miles north of central Los Angeles, during "intense fire activity that was occurring near Mount Gleason," Deputy Fire Chief Michael Bryant said.
read more here


LA firefighters killed trying to save inmate crew
By CHRISTINA HOAG and JACOB ADELMAN, Associated Press Writers
Monday, August 31, 2009

As the roaring wall of flame raged through the Angeles National Forest, firefighters Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones worked feverishly to protect their fire-crew camp, made up mostly of prison inmates.

read more hereLA firefighters killed trying to save inmate crew

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Police: 'No known suspects' in 8 Georgia deaths

Police: 'No known suspects' in 8 Georgia deaths
Story Highlights
Police: Someone not in custody may have information about the deaths

Seven found dead Saturday at mobile home park residence in Brunswick, Georgia

One other victim died Sunday, 9th victim still in critical condition Sunday

Police said they have been called to the home before, but would not say why

(CNN) -- Authorities believe at least one person not in custody may have information about the deaths of eight people in a Georgia mobile home, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said Sunday.

Seven people were found dead Saturday at a residence in a mobile home park in Brunswick, Georgia.

"I'm confident to say that there's somebody, at least an individual, that we would like to know about that's not at the scene," whether or not they were directly involved in the case, Doering said.

Seven people were found dead Saturday at a residence in the New Hope mobile home park in Brunswick, Georgia. Two others were hospitalized in critical condition, and one of them died Sunday, authorities said.

Police have "no known suspects," Doering told reporters Sunday afternoon. "We are not looking for any known suspects. That doesn't say that there are no suspects. They're just not known to us."
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Veterans Demand Apology from GOP and FOX for Lies About VA

Veterans are not stupid. Stop treating them like they are
Veterans groups blast right wingers
Senator John McCain, uses VA but thinks veterans are stupid

Veterans Demand Apology from GOP and FOX for Lies About VA
Written by Veterans for Common Sense
Thursday, 27 August 2009 12:36
August 27, 2009 - The claim that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a manual encouraging veterans to "commit suicide," made by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, is an asinine assertion with no basis in fact.

Steele made the charge two days ago (August 25th) on FOX News. Steele's egregious comments are an outrageous slander against VA designed to create an atmosphere of mistrust and fear among the millions of our veterans who rely on the VA for medical care. Veterans demand an apology from Steele and FOX News.

"Let me be absolutely clear, Steele lied. There is no VA manual encouraging veterans to commit suicide," said Paul Sullivan, the executive director of VCS, a non-profit based in Washington, DC providing advocacy for veterans, especially veterans with mental health conditions.

Here is the full text of Steele's comments:

"If you want an example of bad public policy, let's look at this situation with our veterans where you have a manual out there, telling our veterans stuff like, ‘Are you really a value to your community?' and, you know, encouraging them to commit suicide. This is crazy coming from the government, and this is exactly what concerns people, what puts them in fear of what government controlled health care, of health care, will look like."

go here for more

Veterans Demand Apology from GOP and FOX for Lies About VA

Law keeps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder out of jail

Law keeps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder out of jail
By Chris Roberts / El Paso Times
Posted: 08/30/2009 12:00:00 AM MDT

EL PASO -- Combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder who are accused of certain crimes may soon have a choice between a trial or mental-health treatment.

El Paso judges last week took the first step in creating a Veterans Mental Health Treatment Court. They authorized the program for Judge Ricardo Herrera's county criminal court.

"I just think we need to get ahead of the curve a little bit and get this in place," said Herrera, who proposed the idea to the Council of Judges.

He said the court would make sense for El Paso because of Fort Bliss and its explosive growth. The post has about 20,000 active-duty soldiers and is expected to grow to 34,000 by 2013.

The court would be geared to active-duty soldiers or veterans who served in combat zones or other hazardous assignments and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, said Cesar Prieto, who works in Herrera's court.

He said the court for veterans would include felonies and misdemeanors, but not the most serious crimes, such as murder and rape. Prosecutors would have to approve a defendant's participation in the program.
read more here

Miami Heat's Tim James from NBA to Spc. Tim James in Iraq

Former NBA player now with Army in Iraq

By Tim Reynolds - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Aug 30, 2009 13:49:27 EDT

MIAMI — Tim James apologized for being late. A rough day at work, said the Miami Heat’s 1999 first-round draft pick. Vehicles broke down, problems flared up, and he simply fell behind.

“It happens,” James said. “Even here.”

Even here — on the front line of the Iraq war.

A former NBA player who often wondered about his true calling, Tim James is now a soldier, a transformation that even many of the people closest to him never saw coming.

“I got my degree, lived the life I was able, have my freedom and became a professional athlete,” James said last week from Iraq. “I’m the example of the American dream.”

James is at Camp Speicher, the massive base near Tikrit, 85 miles north of Baghdad, not far from Saddam Hussein’s hometown and where insurgents still are a perpetual threat. For Miami Northwestern High, the Miami Hurricanes, three NBA teams and some foreign clubs, he was forward Tim James. For the Army, he’s Spc. Tim James of Task Force ODIN — short for Observe, Detect, Identify, Neutralize.
read more here
Former NBA player now with Army in Iraq

Woman finds way to help following her own tragedy

We all play the "what if" game after things happen and wonder what we could have done differently, said differently to prevent it, especially when someone commits suicide.

A neighbor back home in Massachusetts, went to wake up her son for work and found him hanging in his closet. She had no idea he was in such pain emotionally. No one in the family did. His friends didn't know. They all looked back asking "what if" and wondering what they missed. He didn't let them know. He hid it well.

My husband's nephew, another Vietnam vet, was the same age as my husband. He knew what I did with PTSD and veterans, but no matter how hard I tried to talk to him, he just wouldn't listen. I kept trying, wondering what I was saying wrong, or not saying, wondering how I could reach him. He committed suicide because he had given up. His girlfriend was a therapist. She was lost after this happened and wondering what she missed, what she could have done differently and so was I. The truth is, I still wonder and play the "what if" games in my head. His death still affects everyone.

We can't reach everyone but we can try. We can do the best we can, listen to them, be there for them, try to get them to talk, but we cannot force them. Sometimes I think we are always looking for that magic word that will open their mind and unlock the hold darkness has on them. Wanting to find the key is not the same as finding it and then we are left with regret even though we did all we could.

I still want to save everyone, but I know I can't. No one really can and experts tell us to focus on those we save. While comforting enough to keep doing this work, it is the losses that hang on.

When someone in your life commits suicide, you need support too. It is a shock. You do not come past any of this unchanged. Acknowledge that. Talk to someone you trust and if not, then talk to a professional. Above all, understand that you are not God and do not know everything, nor are you expected to. We all do the best we can in that moment with what we understood in that moment and we cared enough to try.

Dealing with suicide
Woman finds way to help following her own tragedy
By R.E. Spears III (Contact) Suffolk News-Herald

Published Saturday, August 29, 2009

Russell Neblett was a well-respected man in the Suffolk’s Bethlehem community.

A deacon and Sunday School teacher at Bethlehem Christian Church, he had led a youth group with his wife, Therese for several years. He was a member and past president of the Bethlehem Ruritan Club.

He was a devoted father, encouraging his two sons and one daughter through years of baseball, piano, band, field hockey and soccer.

“We had a love that most couples don’t have these days,” Therese recalls. Her husband, always a bit of a joker, would send her flowers each Groundhog Day, just to be different from all the other husbands who would be sending their wives flowers on Valentine’s Day.

Somehow, shockingly, everything fell apart on May 10, 2008.

That was the day that Neblett’s wife came home and found him dead by his own hand in a recliner.

For Therese and her children, the months that have followed have been a struggle. They’ve tried to understand what was going on in Russell Neblett’s mind when he shot himself. They’ve tried to overcome feelings of anger and guilt.

The wounds left on the survivors have often been kept fresh by the constant picking of “What if … ?” in the backs of their minds, especially for the woman he left widowed after 31 years of marriage.
read more here

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tammy Duckworth: VA official, war amputee is flying again

Tammy Duckworth: VA official, war amputee is flying again
'I leave my wheelchair behind up in the air," Hoffman Estates woman says
Tammy Duckworth flying again

Veterans Target Of Mold Lady

Not sure what to make out of this. Scams happen all the time. I did a quick search but didn't find much on this woman. I never heard of her, read anything about her, but that doesn't mean that much. I focus on PTSD, but take a great interest in Agent Orange. My husband was exposed, is in the registry and we get the updates, which has hung over our heads ever since the VA doctor said "No health effects yet!" and that was a long time ago. I also take interest for another personal reason. My friend Capt. Agnes Irish Bresnahan who suffered because of PTSD and Agent Orange until the day she died, March 11, 2009.

This link was sent to me by another friend of Irish and a champion for Agent Orange awareness.

Agent Orange Quilt of Tears
This is one of the reasons I feel it should be posted. People taking advantage of veterans are just as bad as the ones that claim to be veterans when they are not. What do they hope to gain? I will never understand this.

The other part of this article is that it says the only way to know is a blood test and that is true. The VA also finds where the veteran was and if there was spraying in the area at the time the veteran was there.

Veterans Target Of Mold Lady
by Paul C. Clark
Staff Writer
August 27, 2009
The woman who thrust herself into the center of the Oak Ridge Elementary School environmental mystery, terrifying parents, is at it again.

Linda May, a self-proclaimed "mold expert" who drove the news coverage of the longstanding health problems at Oak Ridge for weeks, trying to get herself hired as an expert witness and to sell $345 medical tests of questionable validity to worried Oak Ridge parents, has moved on to another target audience: elderly, ailing veterans.

On August 11, May appeared on Veterans for Veteran Connection, an internet radio program, selling the same test kits for Agent Orange exposure. Agent Orange is a pesticide chemically unrelated to mold and was used as a defoliant during the Vietnam War.

On the show, May claimed that the test kits are approved by the US State Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). "We are approved to do the testing for Agent Orange T-2 toxin for all government agencies in the US," she said of her company, Warbler of Illinois. T-2 is a toxin found in mold and is chemically unrelated to Agent Orange.

All that sounds impressive, but May, as usual, didn't provide anything to back up either her personal qualifications or the claims she made for the test she is selling. She said the Warbler of Illinois lab is in Pontiac, Illinois, in a secret location. On the show, as in Guilford County, she repeatedly turned down requests to verify her credentials and those of her purported laboratory by saying they were deep government secrets. When she was operating here, she refused to provide her resume, the number of the patent she claims to hold on the urine test, any US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for the test, or proof of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) registration for the claimed laboratory – a registration that is required for labs offering medical tests in the United States.
read more here
Veterans Target Of Mold Lady

Toyota Accused of Hiding Evidence of Rollovers

Toyota Accused of Hiding Evidence
Former Lawyer at Automaker Charges Evidence in Rollover Cases Was Concealed, Destroyed

(CBS) By CBS News Investigative Unit Contributor Myron Levin

A former attorney for Toyota has accused the automaker of illegally withholding evidence in hundreds of rollover death and injury cases, in a "ruthless conspiracy" to keep evidence "of its vehicles' structural shortcomings from becoming known."

The explosive allegations are contained in a federal racketeering suit filed in Los Angeles by Dimitrios P. Biller, former managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., who claims his complaints about the company's legal misconduct cost him his job.

Toyota, which is second to General Motors in car and truck sales in the U.S., called Biller's charges "inaccurate and misleading," in a statement issued late Friday to CBS News. "Toyota takes its legal obligations seriously and works to uphold the highest professional and ethical standards," the company said.

Company lawyers have not filed an answer to Biller's lawsuit, but have brought a motion to seal the complaint, claiming it is "rife with privileged and confidential information" that Biller, as a former Toyota lawyer, has no right to divulge.

A hearing on the motion has been set for September 14.

Biller, who did not return phone calls, worked for Toyota Motor Sales, based in Torrance, Calif., from 2003 to 2007. He was involved in defending rollover lawsuits that blamed injuries and deaths on instability and weak roofs of the company's SUVs and pickups.
read more hereToyota Accused of Hiding Evidence

Seven slain, two injured, at Ga. trailer park

Seven slain, two injured, at Ga. trailer park
Police: ‘We've never had such an incident with so many victims'

updated 36 minutes ago
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Seven people were found slain and two critically injured Saturday at a mobile home located on a historic plantation in southeastern Georgia, police said.

Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering called it the worst mass slaying in his 25 years of police work in this coastal Georgia county. He wouldn't say how the victims died and released few other details.

"This is a record for us. We've never had such an incident with so many victims," Doering told reporters. "It's not a scene that I would want anybody to see."
read more here

Fort Bliss, Iraq Vet, charged with murder found incompetent

Bliss E-4 charged with murder found incompetent

The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Aug 29, 2009 16:21:27 EDT

FORT BLISS, Texas — A Fort Bliss soldier charged with murder in the shooting death of a local high school student has been found incompetent to stand trial, the Army announced Saturday.

Spc. Gerald Polanco, 37, will be transferred within the next week from the Otero County Detention Facility in New Mexico to the Bureau of Prisons and hospitalized for up to four months, the Army said in a news release. Justice Department officials plan to place Polanco in a medical center in Missouri or one in North Carolina, Polanco’s attorney John Convery told the El Paso Times.

Polanco’s family has requested the North Carolina center because they consider it more modern, he said.

Convery told The Associated Press that he had already talked to the newspaper and that was all he was prepared to say.

He said previously that Polanco and his family tried unsuccessfully to get the soldier help through his unit before the shooting. Polanco’s family also has tried to get treatment for him at the Otero County jail, Convery said.
read more here
Bliss E4 charged with murder found incompetent

Fallen soldier worried about lack of equipment

I will never understand how the men and women we send into combat are not given everything they need while they risk their lives, any more than I can understand how this same nation can abandon them when they come home.

I said a long time ago that this blog is not about politics but holding them accountable for what they do and do not do. If this is true and these soldiers did not get everything possible to protect them as well as everything they needed to fight with, then President Obama and Secretary Gates have a lot to explain.

Fallen soldier worried about lack of equipment
By Keith Eldridge Watch the story FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - The grieving family of a local soldier who was killed in Afghanistan says he often expressed concern about a lack of ammo and other resources to fight the war.

Pfc. Dennis M. Williams, 24, of Federal Way, was one of four soldiers killed Tuesday in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan. It was Williams' first tour there.

Although he was only a private first class, his family says Dennis was wise beyond his years when it came to the military.

"What he was told and what he heard is that ammo was low, conserve your stuff, and he just didn't feel that they were equipped like they should have been - like it was a low-budget war," says Dennis' brother, David Williams.

Dennis and the 4,000 members of the 5th Stryker Brigade from Fort Lewis have only been in Afghanistan a month and have already lost six soldiers.

The other three soldiers killed in Tuesday's roadside bombing were identified as Capt. John L. Hallett III, 30, of California; Capt. Cory J. Jenkins, 30, of Arizona; and Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer, 38, of Trenton, Mo.

Two other Stryker Brigade soldiers were killed last week

read more here

Marine officer receives Bronze Star

Marine officer receives Bronze Star for leading attacks in Afghanistan
August 29, 2009 8:28 am

A Marine officer at Camp Pendleton has received the Bronze Star for bravery for leading multiple assaults on Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Maj. James W. Eagan III was a platoon commander with the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion in southern Afghanistan in 2007. While other Marines were assigned to help tutor Afghan security forces, the Special Operations forces were assigned to seek out and confront the Taliban.

read more here

Bay Pines VA Doctor wins lawsuit against Times

Times Publishing hit with $10 million judgment in libel suit
By Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Saturday, August 29, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG — The former chief of medicine at Bay Pines VA Medical Center prevailed Friday in a libel lawsuit against Times Publishing Co.

The jury found against the parent company of the St. Petersburg Times and awarded Dr. Harold L. Kennedy more than $10 million in damages.

"We are very disappointed by the verdict," said Times Executive Editor and Vice President Neil Brown. "We believe our reporting and editing of these stories met the highest journalistic and ethical standards.

"The Times will appeal the jury's decision.''

The lawsuit was filed over three articles that appeared in the Times in December 2003 about Kennedy's reassignment from chief of medicine to his subspecialty of cardiology. Kennedy filed suit in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court in 2005.
read more here
Times Publishing hit with 10 million judgment in libel suit

Public suicide in Pasco agonizes family, haunts stranger

Public suicide in Pasco agonizes family, haunts stranger
By Camille C. Spencer, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, August 30, 2009

NEW PORT RICHEY — David Miller was getting ready for bed on Aug. 14 when one of his mutts started barking.

Miller, in boxer shorts and flip flops, peered outside a front window at his house on Widgeon Way. He spotted a German shepherd yelping and opened his garage door.

The German shepherd ran from Miller's garage back to a pavilion across the street in River Ridge.

Miller, 41, went inside his house, put on a pair of pants and grabbed his glasses and cell phone. He drove toward the pavilion and shined his headlights toward it.

A man's body was hanging by the dog's black nylon leash, tied to a set of white rafters in the pavilion. His blue and white tennis shoes dangled to the ground. A beer can and a cell phone, still ringing, sat on a forest green picnic table nearby.
read more here
Public suicide in Pasco agonizes family

Police seek suspects in Virginia Tech students' deaths

Police seek suspects in Virginia Tech students' deaths
The bodies of two sophomores with bullet wounds were found in a campground area of the Jefferson National Forest.
By Shawna Morrison

The bodies of two young Virginia Tech students from central Virginia were found Thursday in a remote area of Montgomery County, and authorities are considering their deaths to be a double homicide.

The victims are David Lee Metzler, 19, of Lynchburg and Heidi Lynn Childs, 18, of Forest, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

In the Virginia Tech student directory, Metzler's major is listed as industrial and systems engineering. Childs is listed as a biochemistry major. Both were sophomores.

Sheriff Tommy Whitt said both victims appeared to have been shot where they had parked in a day-use area of Caldwell Fields. The area is a large group campground in the Jefferson National Forest more than eight miles down Craig Creek Road, where a shooting range and Camp Tuk-A-Way are located, off U.S. 460.
read more here
linked from AOL news

Suicides climb in New Orleans

Suicides climb in New Orleans 3:24
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the effects on mental health caused by Hurricane Katrina.

4 years after Katrina, NOLA mental health system still in crisis
Story Highlights
New Orleans continues to face crisis of mental health needs, resources

Study: Before storm, area had 487 inpatient psychiatric beds; now,190

Police officer's slaying by mentally ill man renewed spotlight on city's needs

By Stephanie Smith
CNN Medical Producer

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- As the storm raged outside her hospital room four years ago, an equally consuming force hijacked Alesia Crockett's mind: deep depression.

For days, Crockett lay in darkness and a tangle of sweaty hospital bed sheets, one among hundreds of desperate patients trapped inside Charity Hospital in 2005, while outside, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath battered the city.

Crockett had been admitted to Charity's inpatient mental health unit after having a psychotic episode. She had struggled for years with bipolar disorder, an illness that causes her to volley between euphoria and profound depression.

She said she barely remembers Katrina.

"Most of the time, I was in a fog, but I do remember some things," Crockett said. "Where my room was, I could see thousands of people wandering, and I could see the waters rise."

Crockett, and many other New Orleanians suffering from chronic mental illness -- and those with what is called "soft depression," or nonchronic mental illness -- say Katrina may have relented days after it hit New Orleans proper, but their mental health issues have not.

In January 2008, a New Orleans police officer was killed by a man suffering from psychosis due to schizophrenia, New Orleans police said. The officer, Nicola Cotton, approached 44-year-old Bernel Johnson for questioning about a rape. A struggle ensued, and Johnson overpowered and killed Cotton with her own gun, police said.

read more here

NOLA mental health system still in crisis

Victims of repeated abuse suffer complex trauma

Victims of repeated abuse suffer complex trauma
Story Highlights
It's challenging for people freed from captivity to adjust to a new life

Experts in child sexual abuse cases say perpetrators mentally manipulate kids

Recovery is possible, but it could take several years.
By Madison Park

(CNN) -- For 18 years, a girl who was whisked away into a secret backyard compound was forced to grow up in isolation.

By the time authorities discovered Jaycee Lee Dugard, she was a 29-year-old mother of two who had spent more than half of her life in sheds. One of the alleged abductors, Phillip Garrido, is the father of her two daughters, according to police.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, face 29 felony counts, including kidnapping for sexual purposes, forcible rape and forcible lewd acts on a child. They pleaded not guilty Friday. The maximum penalty for each defendant, if convicted, is life imprisonment.

Dugard, who disappeared from South Lake Tahoe, California, in 1991, faces a challenging road to recovery. Dr. Kerry Landry, a child psychiatrist in Durham, North Carolina, said that repeated abuse causes complex trauma.

"They can really feel like they have no control and there is no escape," Landry said.
read more here
Victims of repeated abuse suffer complex trauma

39 years after jungle battle, unit awarded

Looks like this news site is a bit late on reporting on this. This came out a day after Army Times had announced it was already approved.
Veterans who saved 100 soldiers ask Obama to present citation
Sunday, August 30, 2009
By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ray Tarr, 59, has a fake eye, a dent in his head, a withered arm and wince-inducing scars on his back, all courtesy of a rocket-propelled grenade that slammed into his tank in Cambodia in 1970.

"We had a saying in Vietnam," he shrugged last week in recollection. "When someone died or something bad happened, we just said, 'It don't mean nothing.' "

But the actions of his unit on March 26, 1970, a few months before he was wounded, did mean something -- resulting in a Presidential Unit Citation issued in March, 39 years after the fact.

Now the veterans of that battle are asking President Obama to present the citation to them personally in the East Room of the White House this fall. It could happen as early as October.

With a First Cavalry infantry company pinned down, outnumbered and out of ammunition, Mr. Tarr's Alpha Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry rushed to save 100 men.


39 years after jungle battle, unit awarded

By Michelle Tan - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Aug 29, 2009 8:17:21 EDT

The news filtered down to Capt. John Poindexter and his troops around noon.

Four kilometers away from their position, an infantry company was surrounded by a battalion’s worth of North Vietnamese fighters. The Americans were running low on ammunition, and casualties were mounting.

Poindexter reached a decision — a decision he and his soldiers knew they had to make.

“The choice, to me, was one of [the] certainty of suffering versus a lifetime of guilt,” he said. “It was a collective realization of what we were getting ourselves into, but the consequence was to see a hundred men killed.”

For the next eight hours, Poindexter and his soldiers would battle the jungle and a determined, dug-in enemy force as they fought their way to their fellow soldiers.

The battle that day, March 26, 1970, was fierce and bloody.

But almost 40 years would pass before Poindexter and his men would be recognized for their courage and valor.
read more here

Mother Of Fallen Marine Sets Up Fund For Veterans

Mother Of Fallen Marine Sets Up Fund For Veterans
Fund Will Benefit Easter Seals' Veterans Services
POSTED: 10:53 am EDT August 28, 2009
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The mother of a Marine from New Hampshire who was killed in Afghanistan has started a fund to benefit veterans.

The fund is named in honor of Michael Ouellette, a 1999 graduate of Memorial High School in Manchester. He was serving his third tour of duty since 2006 when he was killed in combat in March.
read more here

Camp Pendleton's Marines and Sailors giving to community

Record High Temperatures Won't Stop Camp Pendleton's Marines and Sailors From Building a Park in San Juan Capistrano
From Iraq to San Juan Capistrano, These Marines and Sailors Are Happy to Serve Their Country and Their Community as They "Come Back to Give Back"

SANTA ANA, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 08/28/09 -- Approximately 400 Marines and Sailors from Camp Pendleton will brave the heat this week as they volunteer to build a private park in the Habitat for Heroes and Foundations for Families(TM) development of homes in San Juan Capistrano.

For four days -- August 31-September 3, 2009 -- approximately 100 Marines and Sailors per day will trade their uniforms for blue jeans and travel to San Juan Capistrano to build a neighborhood park for the families who will live in this 27-home development. In addition to assisting on the five homes under construction, they will plant grass, flowers and trees, and pour the foundation for a flagpole for the new park at 24611 Calle Rolando.

The Marines and Sailors are from the 1st Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton. They will be working on site from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on those four days.

"These Marines today are the best of our society," said Kevin Stewart, LtCol, USMC, Commanding Officer of the 1st Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group. "They raised their hand to serve their country. Many will be going to Afghanistan and Iraq to serve. And this week, they have taken it upon themselves to come out here and give back. It shows the high quality of today's Marines. You can be proud of the Marines who are serving our country."
read more here

The passing of Senator Kennedy

The tributes and speeches for Senator Kennedy were very moving, but above that, they proved political divisions should not divide people. The emails have turned even more disgusting about Senator Kennedy totally ignoring what he accomplished, what he did for others and how when it came to being human, politics didn't matter at all. He could argue with another Senator one minute and then call them to find out how they were doing the next. He cared about "people" more than he cared about sides.

This is from last night when Senator Orrin Hatch spoke about his friend.

Senator Orrin Hatch on Senator Ted Kennedy's life

I really wish that people would return to being human all the time and stop allowing politics to take over everything. The passing of Senator Kennedy showed that even senators can rise above it. These are the political leaders. If they can do it, why can't the rest of us? Republican Senators showed how deeply they care about Senator Kennedy, but there are some in this country more willing to hate than even contemplate how remarkable he was. This even though so much about their own personal life has been changed because of him. They never bothered to look up all the parts of their own lives he made better.

Whenever I post about someone in politics I am not sure of, I look up their record. This is how we can get politics out of everything. There are some you may not agree with all the time but on the issues that matter to you the most, you should know what the truth is. There are some with great voting records for veterans and some poor ones. You cannot tell by the party they belong to because they are humans like the rest of us. What I really hope to do with posting on records is to stop the hatred one side has for the other.

I didn't know too much about Senator Hatch, so I looked him up on VoteSmart. This is something we all need to do no matter what party we belong to. My primary issue is veterans. Use the links for what you care about most. It is not a matter of getting someone out of office but it is holding them accountable for what they do once they get there. It's the responsibility of all of us to make sure they do what they say they will do once they get there.
VoteSmart Senator Orrin Hatch

Veterans Issues

Date Bill Title Vote Outcome
09/27/2008 Continuing Appropriations
HR 2638 Y Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate
(78 - 12)
05/22/2008 GI Bill and Other Domestic Provisions
S Amdt 4803 N Amendment Adopted - Senate
(75 - 22)
01/22/2008 Defense Authorizations Bill
HR 4986 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(91 - 3)
10/01/2007 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
HR 1585 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(92 - 3)
05/11/2006 Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005
HR 4297 Y Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(54 - 44)
05/04/2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2006
HR 4939 NV Bill Passed - Senate
(77 - 21)
02/02/2006 Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005
HR 4297 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(66 - 31)
02/02/2006 Tax Rate Extension Amendment
S AMDT 2735 N Motion Rejected - Senate
(44 - 53)
11/17/2005 Additional Funding For Veterans Amendment
S AMDT 2634 N Motion Rejected - Senate
(43 - 55)
10/05/2005 Health Care for Veterans Amendment
S AMDT 1937 N Motion Rejected - Senate
(48 - 51)
11/08/2001 Veterans Affairs and HUD Appropriations Act of 2002
HR 2620 Y Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(87 - 7)
10/15/1999 Veterans Affairs and HUD Appropriations bill, FY 2000
HR 2684 Y Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(93 - 5)
07/07/1998 Space Station Termination Amendment
S Amdt 3062 N Amendment Rejected - Senate
(33 - 66)
09/27/1994 Fiscal Year 1995 Appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development
HR 4624 Y Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(90 - 9)
08/04/1994 Fiscal Year 1995 Appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development
HR 4624 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(86 - 9)
09/22/1993 Veterans Administration and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill Fiscal Year 1994
HR 2491 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(91 - 9)

Veterans issues ranking

Veterans Issues

2007-2008 In 2007-2008 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Senator Hatch a grade of C.

2006 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 50 percent in 2006.

2006 In 2006 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Senator Hatch a grade of D.

2006 Senator Hatch sponsored or co-sponsored 12 percent of the legislation favored by the The Retired Enlisted Association in 2006.

2005 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 33 percent in 2005.

2004 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 0 percent in 2004.

2004 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the The Retired Enlisted Association 0 percent in 2004.

2003-2004 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 100 percent in 2003-2004.

2003 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the The American Legion 100 percent in 2003.

2001 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 76 percent in 2001.

1999 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 33 percent in 1999.

1997-1998 Senator Hatch supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 0 percent in 1997-1998.

1989-1990 On the votes that the Vietnam Veterans of America considered to be the most important in 1989-1990 , Senator Hatch voted their preferred position 50 percent of the time.

Here is Senator Kennedy's record
VoteSmart Senator Kennedy

Veterans Issues

Date Bill Title Vote Outcome
09/27/2008 Continuing Appropriations
HR 2638 NV Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate
(78 - 12)
05/22/2008 GI Bill and Other Domestic Provisions
S Amdt 4803 NV Amendment Adopted - Senate
(75 - 22)
01/22/2008 Defense Authorizations Bill
HR 4986 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(91 - 3)
10/01/2007 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
HR 1585 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(92 - 3)
05/11/2006 Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005
HR 4297 N Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(54 - 44)
05/04/2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2006
HR 4939 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(77 - 21)
02/02/2006 Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005
HR 4297 N Bill Passed - Senate
(66 - 31)
02/02/2006 Tax Rate Extension Amendment
S AMDT 2735 Y Motion Rejected - Senate
(44 - 53)
11/17/2005 Additional Funding For Veterans Amendment
S AMDT 2634 Y Motion Rejected - Senate
(43 - 55)
10/05/2005 Health Care for Veterans Amendment
S AMDT 1937 Y Motion Rejected - Senate
(48 - 51)
11/08/2001 Veterans Affairs and HUD Appropriations Act of 2002
HR 2620 Y Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(87 - 7)
10/15/1999 Veterans Affairs and HUD Appropriations bill, FY 2000
HR 2684 NV Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(93 - 5)
07/07/1998 Space Station Termination Amendment
S Amdt 3062 Y Amendment Rejected - Senate
(33 - 66)
09/27/1994 Fiscal Year 1995 Appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development
HR 4624 Y Conference Report Adopted - Senate
(90 - 9)
08/04/1994 Fiscal Year 1995 Appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development
HR 4624 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(86 - 9)
09/22/1993 Veterans Administration and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill Fiscal Year 1994
HR 2491 Y Bill Passed - Senate
(91 - 9)

VoteSmart Senator Kennedy
Veterans Issues

2006 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 80 percent in 2006.

2006 In 2006 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Senator Kennedy a grade of B+.

2006 Senator Kennedy sponsored or co-sponsored 35 percent of the legislation favored by the The Retired Enlisted Association in 2006.

2005 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 92 percent in 2005.

2004 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 100 percent in 2004.

2004 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the The Retired Enlisted Association 0 percent in 2004.

2003-2004 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 0 percent in 2003-2004.

2003 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the The American Legion 50 percent in 2003.

2001 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 84 percent in 2001.

1999 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 100 percent in 1999.

1997-1998 Senator Kennedy supported the interests of the Vietnam Veterans of America 60 percent in 1997-1998.

1989-1990 On the votes that the Vietnam Veterans of America considered to be the most important in 1989-1990 , Senator Kennedy voted their preferred position 100 percent of the time.

Enhancing Mental Health Care
For decades, Senator Kennedy was a national leader in the cause of mental health care. He understands the unique challenges faced by the 54 million Americans with mental disorders.
Also in 1996, Senator Kennedy joined Senators Domenici and Wellstone to enact Mental
Health Parity legislation to help eliminate unjust annual and lifetime limits on mental health coverage which differ from those imposed on other covered illnesses.
In 2000, Kennedy and his same Senate colleagues, Senators Domenici and Wellstone,
introduced the comprehensive Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000. The bipartisan legislation addressed a wide range of mental health issues, including an antistigma campaign, training for teachers and emergency services personnel to identify and respond to individuals with mental illness, continuing education on mental health care for primary care physicians, suicide prevention, centers for post-traumatic stress disorders, funding to develop integrated treatment of serious mental illness and co-occurring addiction, funding for community based services for adults and children at high risk of adverse outcomes, and jail diversion initiatives.
In 2001, Senators Domenici, Wellstone and Kennedy introduced the Mental Health
Equitable Treatment Act to strengthen and make permanent the mental health insurance parity protections passed five years earlier. Congress enacted a one-year extension of the existing law, but Senator Kennedy continued to fight for lasting legislation with the Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act Amendment of 2006, which would eliminate the discriminatory treatment of mental illness by requiring insurers provide parity between mental health benefits and medical and surgical benefits.
In 2008, after more than 10 years of effort, Senator Kennedy championed historic legislation to reform the inequities in the way mental health and substance use disorders are treated by the insurance industry. This legislation co-sponsored by Senator Domenici, assured individuals living with mental health and substance abuse issues that their mental health benefit would be treated equally with the medical-surgical benefit regarding treatment limitations and financial requirements.
This means that co-pays, out of pocket expenses, and deductibles cannot be treated differently than they way medical and surgical coverage is provided. This legislation assured equity for 113 million Americans.
Better treatments and potential cures for mental illnesses are also of great interest to Senator Kennedy, who has championed increased mental health research funding. This funding increased from 2004 – 2009, from $35 million dollars to over $70 million.
Response to Mental Health Needs Following 9/11: Senator Kennedy’s commitment to the citizens of Massachusetts affected by September 11th, particularly the families of victims of the terrorist attacks, has been critical to the success of the Commonwealth’s mental health response to the tragedy.
Soon after September 11th, the Senator called together disaster relief and mental health organizations to plan a coordinated response to September 11th for the families of victims of the tragedy. His leadership provided immediate avenues for collaboration between disaster response agencies and ensured a timely and comprehensive response.
Senator Kennedy made his Massachusetts staff completely available to assist with the
Department Of Mental Health’s (DMH) FEMA funded crisis counseling program. His staff were in almost daily contact with DMH, as well as the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA), in order to facilitate referrals of families to counselors, assist with entitlement and relief fund issues and help to coordinate with other state and federal agencies. His office prepared services and
referral guides for families of victims, developed a comprehensive Web site, and assisted DMH and MOVA in providing training to counselors.
In 2005, Senator Kennedy sought to extend the period for COBRA coverage for spouses
and children of victims of the terrorist attacks for an additional four months.
Supporting Massachusetts Hospitals and Health Providers
Senator Kennedy worked closely and diligently with Massachusetts hospitals and health
providers to sustain their unparalleled achievements in quality health care. No state has a greater commitment and as impressive a record of success in training quality health care professionals as Massachusetts.
Senator Kennedy fought hard for the Balanced Budget Refinement Act of 1999, which
restored many of the excessive cuts made by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. As a result of the 1999 law and Senator Kennedy’s efforts, Massachusetts hospitals received over $250 million over five years in payment increases under Medicare. Home health agencies in the Commonwealth received approximately $15 million over five years.
Senator Kennedy also pushed for passage of the Benefits Improvement Protection Act of
2000, under which $212 million over five years was intended for Massachusetts hospitals, $33 million for Massachusetts home health agencies and $54 million for nursing homes in the Commonwealth.

Helping Military Families
Senator Kennedy was always a champion of military families and children. In 1985,
Kennedy introduced legislation to improve the lives of military families. The bill included provisions that would make it easier for military wives to get government jobs, required the military to pay attention to the children who moved with their parents, and reduced the costs that servicemen had to pay when they were transferred from one base to another. In addition, Kennedy was a successful voice for bumping up the date of a three-percent military pay raise, arguing that military pay lagged more than 10 percent behind civilian pay for comparable jobs.
In 1989, Kennedy won passage of the National Military Child Care Act. This important
legislation established the DOD child-care system that is still viewed as one of the best in the country today. Military families make difficult decisions and numerous sacrifices to defend our freedom, and the Military Child Care Act is just one way we can begin to compensate them for this.
Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has fought tirelessly to ensure that families who have loved ones deployed overseas get access to the best care and services possible.
In April of 2008, Kennedy introduced the National Month of the Military Child, which honors and recognizes the achievements of children of service members. Senator Kennedy deeply understands and cares about the effects that the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan have on military children.
Protecting our Troops and Modernizing our Armed Forces
Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, Kennedy worked to guarantee effective vehicle armor and body armor for our troops to protect them from improvised explosive devices in Iraq. Again and again, Pentagon procurement has fallen short, and troops have suffered needless casualties and deaths.
In 2003, Senator Kennedy met Brian and Alma Hart at the burial of their son John at
Arlington National Cemetery. On October, 18, 2003, the Bedford, Massachusetts resident was killed in Taza, Iraq when enemy forces attacked his patrol using small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades. Before his death, John asked his parents to do something to improve the availability of armored humvees to American troops in combat. After hearing this story and John’s plea, Senator Kennedy invited the Harts to testify before Congress and later secured over $1 billion in funding for armored vehicles for our troops.
Said Mr. Hart in 2008, “Senator Kennedy taught me that government can function for the common man.”
In 2005, the Senate Armed Services Committee continued to provide additional protective gear to our troops. The committee, with Senator Kennedy’s support added nearly $835 million for Army and Marine Corps armored vehicles.
In 2007, Senator Kennedy offered an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act, calling for additional funding to the Joint IED Defeat Organization’s (JIEDDO) budget to explore ways to mitigate the effects of Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs).
Again and again, Pentagon procurement has fallen short, and troops have suffered needless casualties and deaths. He has been a consistent champion of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle or MRAP. The services were slow to recognize that these heavily armored vehicles could protect our troops better than up-armored humvees. Senator Kennedy has pressed for a full and fair investigation into why the Marine Corps disregarded a universal, urgent needs statement calling for MRAPs in 2002 because he feels that quicker and more complete fielding of MRAPs could have saved soldier’s lives. He continues to press for streamlining for the urgent needs process to insure that our soldiers receive the best equipment possible as rapidly as possible.
Senator Kennedy led the fight to preserve the Air Force’s newest, most capable airlift platform, the C-17, a unique aircraft that facilitates the delivery of necessary materials to our troops all over the world. Senator Kennedy was a strong proponent of a reasonable and affordable mix of strategic airlift. He authored language requiring the testing of C-5A and C-5B aircraft undergoing the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) and Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining
Program (RERP) before any aircraft can be retired. Only after understanding the outcome of these two programs to modernize our C-5 fleet can the Congress and the Air Force make responsible decisions on the proper mix of the two platforms.
Protecting Equal Opportunity for Women in Combat In 1991, Kennedy strongly supported legislation to repeal the ban on women serving as combat aviators. The bill made it possible for women to play a full and complete role in our national defense by discontinuing an archaic law preventing women from combat aviation. By repealing these outdated statutes, Sen. Kennedy helped to achieve equal opportunity for women in the military.
Caring for our Wounded Warriors
In 2008, Senator Kennedy was a champion of Wounded Warrior legislation contained in the FY08 Defense Authorization bill. In response to alarming statistics of increased suicides in the Army and the lack of adequate mental health care, he introduced National Guard and Reserve Mental Health Access Act of 2008 to improve access to mental health care for our returning Guard and Reserve men and women by requiring the prompt implementation of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program, a pilot program for tele-mental health, create mental health Directors in each state and territory, and provide for an anti-stigma campaign.

You can read more about what Senator Kennedy did in his life here

With all of this, people who claim to care about veterans and our military push the hate and forget about truth.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Family, colleagues mourn Southampton police officer

Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan | Victoria Nemes, the wife of officer Michael Nemes, follows the coffin after the funeral mass in Rocky Point. (Aug. 28, 2009)

Family, colleagues mourn Southampton police officer
August 28, 2009

A motorcade of police motorcycles and cars pulled into St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church. And the hundreds of white-gloved police officers lined up Friday outside of the Rocky Point church stood tall and saluted as they prepared to say goodbye to one of their own.

Michael Nemes, 37, a five-year veteran with the Southampton Town Police Department and a former New York City Police Department officer, was killed last weekend in North Carolina while riding a personal watercraft. Officials have said Nemes, of Eastport, drowned but they are still investigating his death.
read more here
Family colleagues mourn Southampton police officer

Utah soldier mourned by family, including 60 foster siblings

Utah soldier mourned by family, including 60 foster siblings
Crossfire » Kurt Curtiss told family his Afghanistan tour was 'brutal.'
By Matthew D. LaPlante

The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 08/28/2009 06:26:33 PM MDT

As a boy, Kurt Curtiss didn't understand all the tragic stories that guided dozens of children through the open door of his mother's foster home in Diamond Valley, Arizona.

All he knew was that he had plenty of brothers and sisters to play with, to fight with, and to lean on in difficult times.

Today, Curtiss' four siblings and more than 60 foster siblings are leaning on each other once again, as they try to come to terms with the 27-year-old soldier's death in Afghanistan.
read more here

Soldier back from Iraq, father dies on way to meet him

Father of soldier returning from Iraq killed
(AP) – 4 hours ago

FORT CARSON, Colo. — A soldier returning home from Iraq received grim news as soon as he arrived — his father died in a car crash while en route to greet him.
read more here
Father of soldier returning from Iraq killed

Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein found dead

August 28th, 2009
DJ AM dies
Posted: 09:14 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNN) — Nearly a year after surviving a plane crash in South Carolina, disc jockey Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein was found dead in his New York apartment Friday afternoon, his publicist said.

His publicist,Jenni Weinman, said the circumstances of his death were unclear.

Goldstein and Travis Barker, the former drummer for rock band Blink-182, were the only survivors of a September 2008 plane crash in South Carolina that left both critically injured.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DJ AM Says He Was 'Saved For A Reason' after plane crash

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blink-182's Barker critically injured in plane crash

Senator John McCain, uses VA but thinks veterans are stupid

McCain is a Vietnam Vet, was a POW, but when you listen to him, you'd think he never met a veteran needing the VA. I guess he never reads what Vietnam Vets have to say either. His voting record is usually against veterans anyway. The big problem for him now is that he has shown politics comes before veterans and that is sickening. Now he makes it even more clear by pushing the talking points painting veterans as stupid fools willing to believe anything when they can find the real truth in their own hands and straight from any VA hospital, provided by their doctors honoring their end of life decisions knowing they are fully capable to do it. This is what the Vietnam Veterans had to say and then there is a link to the post I did with the real facts on the so called "death book" some politicians have been using to put fear into our veterans instead of honoring their intelligence.

Shame on John McCain! The veterans finally figured out that while he is a Vietnam veteran, he has never had their backs when it came to his votes. Shame on FOX as well because they are really pushing this for what they think they'll gain instead of understanding they are insulting veterans instead.

Veterans Group Blasts Right Wingers Pushing “Death Book”

Veterans are not stupid, stop treating them like they are

McCain perpetuates 'death panel' for veterans myth

Speaking with Fox editorialist Sean Hannity on Thursday, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a beneficiary of government-funded health care, supported the myth that President Barack Obama's health insurance reforms would establish some kind of nebulous, undefined "death panel."

Hannity was specifically talking about the literature, "Your Life, Your Choice," which he insinuated somehow encourages sick and dying veterans to not be a burden on society.

The claim is an echo of the latest attack on the proposed insurance reforms.

First came Palin's allegation that a so-called "death panel" would have killed her down syndrome baby.

More recently, RNC Chairman Michael Steele alleged that a VA pamphlet dredged up by the Obama administration is encouraging vets to "commit suicide."

Hannity's cleverly-worded question merely piggy-backed on this fallacy, albeit through the use of softer terminology.

Addressing McCain, the Fox pundit asked, "Is that the kind of death panel that people were maybe afraid of ... ?"

McCain, a veteran himself, answered: "Yes."

He added: "But, I think they're also concerned because they're well-read, they're knowledgeable, they're informed. They know what's happening in other countries where basically there is a rationing of health care, particularly when people reach a certain age, as to what kind of treatment people can get and if they can get it, and the incredible delays seen in acquiring that kind of care. So, I think it's not just that. I think it's the example of government-run health care in other countries, which is not ... Wa ... America is not ready for that."

read more here

McCain perpetuates 'death panel' for veterans myth