Friday, March 21, 2008

Other Items

War resister Melanie McPherson, an Army reservist from Tofte, will speak at 7 p.m. in UMD's Montague Hall, Room 70.

That's from Duluth's Budgateer News' "Community Calendar" and McPherson's been noted here before including in the October 19, 2006 snapshot and this is timeline she blogged of her military experience:

August 16, 1999

Joined Army Reserves. 8-year contract; 6 years as a Reservist, 2 years as an Inactive Ready Reserve

January 2000

Reported for Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC

April 2000

Attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for Journalism at Fort Meade, MD

August 2000

Graduated AIT
Joined the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort Snelling, MN with the Mobile Public Relations Department

August/September 2000

Attended two-week ULCHI Focus Lens Annual Training in South Korea

October 1, 2001

Moved to Vermont to work with Eckerd Youth Alternatives as a counselor for youth whom commited sexual offences

Summer 2002

Attended two-week Public Affairs exercise in Germany

May 15, 2002

Changed soldier status from Army Reservist to Inactive Ready Reservist

May 15, 2002 April 1, 2006

No military involvement

April 1, 2006

Received orders dated March 28, 2006, to report to Fort Jackson, SC on May 28, 2006, for an 18-month tour with Operation Iraqi Freedom (O.I.F.)
Orders for mobilization with 131st MPAD had been cancelled a month prior on March 4, 2006
Military contract extended from original exit date of May 27, 2007, to November 23, 2007, for fulfillment of O.I.F. orders
Assigned to the 131st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) out of Mobile, AL

May 28, 2006

Reported to Fort Jackson, SC
Received orders while at Fort Jackson to report to a MOPERS non-unit at Fort Meade, MD on July 8, 2006

July 8, 2006

Reported to Fort Meade, MD

July 14, 2006

Received new orders to integrate into the National Guard 34th Brigade (BDE) 1st Infantry Headquarters (IN HHC) stationed in Iraq since March 2006
Ordered to report to the CRC 875th RC at Fort Bliss, TX on July 23, 2006, for movement to Kuwait en route to joining the 34th BDE 1st IN HHC in Iraq

July 23, 2006

Reported to Fort Bliss, TX

She was trained as a military reporter and they wanted to send her to Iraq as military police with no additional training, a role she had no training in.

She's not the only one who will be speaking out this month. Rob notes the Burlington Free Press' "War Resister to Speak at Green Mountain College:"

The first U.S. soldier court-martialed for desertion during the Iraq War plans to speak at Green Mountain College on at 7 p.m. on March 27 in Ackley Auditorium.
Camilo Mejia comes to campus as the featured speaker for a Voices of Community plenary. His talk will address his nine-month jail sentence, his views on torture in Iraq, and his reasons for refusing to fight. It is free and open to the public.

Mejia was stop-lossed and couldn't be extended legally due to not being a US citizen. He is now the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War who staged Winter Soldier Investigation over the weekend. Clifton Hicks and Steven Casey testified at Winter Soldier and below is a Real News Network clip of that.

Mike wrote about Hicks last Friday. Protests took part in the Bay Area and independent journalist David Bacon has posted photos here.

On PBS tonight in most markets NOW on PBS offers:

Why does the United States remain one of the few developed countries to allow children to play with toys that some scientists say may cause infertility in boys? The toys in question contain substances called phthalates (pronounced "thal-ates"). While the European Union has banned these substances in products meant for children, there is powerful resistance from the chemical and toy industries to doing the same here.
NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels from California, where citizens have successfully gotten the state to pass a ban on phthalates in children's toys, to New York City's prestigious Toy Fair, and to Washington, D.C., to uncover some answers.
Phthalates help make plastic toys like some rubber ducks and teething rings soft and pliable. But scientific evidence suggests that exposure to phthalates (which are also used in dozens of other consumer items like, makeup, shampoos and shower curtains) may interfere with the sexual development of boys. Last year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban phthalates in toys. The toy and chemical industry sued the city to block implementation, claiming there's not enough evidence to warrant any action. A similar ban is set to take effect throughout the state of California in 2009.
Investigative Journalist Mark Schapiro, author of "Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power," tells NOW, "By refusing to close the loopholes in EPA laws that regulate chemicals in toys (and other products), the U.S. government is jeopardizing our health, alienating us from the global market, and erasing our role as a world leader in environmental protection."
Is the U.S. falling behind the European Union in regulating chemicals found in products we give our children?

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