Friday, August 21, 2009

US military announces another death

The Defense Dept issued a statement yesterday:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Spc. Matthew D. Hastings, 23, of Claremore, Okla., died Aug. 17 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 582nd Medical Logistics Company, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, Fort Hood, Texas. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation. For more information media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 287-2520; or via the internet at Fort Hood's news center online at .

The announcement -- which never came from M-NF, brings the number of US service members who died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4333.

Kevin Canfield (Tulsa World) reports on the death and quotes Hasting's mother Lawanda Lowry stating, "He was just an all-American kid. He was so proud to be in the Army and he was so proud to serve our country. [. . .] He called me when he was graduating from basic training and said, 'Mom, I have accomplished far mroe and greater things than I ever thought possible'."

Wednesday the US military announced a death as well. DoD identified the fallen yesterday, "Pfc. William Z. Vanosdol, 23, of Pinson, Ala., died Aug. 19 at Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy rocket fire struck his quarters. He was assigned to the 172nd Support Battalion, Schweinfurt, Germany. " Tom Gordon (Birmingham News) notes he was "a 2005 graduate of Pinson Valley High School" and " His survivors include his mother and two sisters. His father died in mid-April, and VanOsdol was in Iraq at that time." Chris Pollone (NBC13) quotes Pinson Valley High School assistant principal Karen Mardis, "He just lit up on those stories and got very animated in the conversations that we had. He was a big fan of Beowulf and Lord of the Rings. That struck a chord with him."

Charlie Gibson has embarrassed himself again. No, he didn't fall asleep on live TV. No, he didn't get caught lying to Gore Vidal (in the midst of an interview on Timothy McVeigh when Charlie didn't like what Gore was saying) that the satellite signal was going out. No, he didn't step into a job held by a man who'd been injured reporting in Iraq and by a woman who was being 'eased out' for the 'crime' of pregnancy. He didn't walk around an eatery with toilet paper on his shoe either (that happened at the start of the month). No, this time he just shot off his big, uninformed mouth.

Conservative Byron York (Washington Examiner) reports that Morning Chat Charlie went on the radio yesterday and declared "Enough already" about Cindy's planned protest at Martha's Vineyard. I'm not aware of Charlie owning property there (I do) so I'm really not aware of why he feels the need to weigh in? It's not as if he's the voice of the Vineyard and, from calls I've had, most are at worst curious. I'm referring to the people who own. Not the hangers on who rush out this time of year to play "Look at me!" Possibly including Charlie and surely including Barack and Michelle. As someone who owns property there and wouldn't be caught dead there at this time of year due to the influx of outside posers, I'd say the "Enough already" needs to go to them and not to Cindy Sheehan who's neither posing or pretending but utilizing her First Amendment political free speech.

York notes Cindy Sheehan's "Enough Already" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):

"Enough already?" Hmmm…I don't know Charlie Gibson and I don’t pay any attention to his career, but I seem to agree with him on this one: "Enough already."
Enough with the killing, torturing, wounding and profiting off of the backs of our troops and off of the lives of the people of Iraq-Af-Pak: as our brothers and sisters in Latin America say: "Basta!"
Somehow, I don't think that this is what Charlie Gibson meant, though. I am sure that he just wants me to go away like most of the rest of the anti-war movement has done under the Obama presidency.
One of the things I hear quite often from people from all over the political spectrum is: "Why don’t you just go away, you’ve had your 15 minutes of fame."
Yes, that's exactly what I thought as soon as I heard that my son was killed in the US's illegal and immoral war in Iraq: "this is a perfect opportunity to get my 15 minutes of fame." Actually, after I slowly recovered from the shock and horror, the pain always remains, I thought that I had to do everything I can to end this nightmare so other mothers/families wouldn’t have to go through what I was going through and what I am going through.

We've noted the protest (which starts Tuesday) in snapshots all week but we'll note the press release today:

For immediate release:

Next week, Cindy Sheehan will join other like-minded peace activists to have a presence near the expensive resort on Martha's Vineyard where President Obama will be vacationing the week of August 23-30.

From her home in California, Ms. Sheehan released this statement:

"There are several things that we wish to accomplish with this protest on Martha's Vineyard.
First of all, no good social or economic change will come about with the continuation or escalation of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We simply can't afford to continue this tragically expensive foreign policy.

Secondly, we as a movement need to continue calling for an immediate end to the occupations even when there is a Democrat in the Oval Office. There is still no Noble Cause no matter how we examine the policies.

Thirdly, the body bags aren't taking a vacation and as the US led violence surges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so are the needless deaths on every side.

And, finally, if the right-wing can force the government to drop any kind of public option or government supported health care, then we need to exert the same kind of pressure to force a speedy end to the occupations."

Cindy Sheehan will arrive on the Vineyard on Tuesday, August 25th.

For more information, or to request an interview with Cindy Sheehan please contact:

Laurie Dobson
(207) 604-8988

Bruce Marshall
(802) 767-6079

To donate to help with logistical support, or to help Cindy and other Gold Star Families (families who have lost loved ones in war) get to Martha's Vineyard please go to:

Or go to and put in the email:


Mail a check to:
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, LLC

55 Chumasero Dr STE 5D

San Francisco, Ca 94132

Families who oppose the wars and have lost a loved one during the Obama Regime are especially encouraged to attend.

Please forward this far and wide!

Again, we've noted Cindy all week in the snapshots. I'm not sure who else has. Did Amy Goodman say a word? (Are we still pretending she gives a damn about ending the Iraq War?) Did The Nation or The Progressive offer up anything? Golly, Matthew Rothschild was all jazzed on Cindy when he could use her to rip apart Hillary Clinton. The c-word, he'd have to link to The Weekly Standard for that and he was desperate by that point, but when he still thought he was in control (silly Matt), he was all over Cindy. Not just running her article but noting it on the cover, noting it online, writing about it in the issue itself.

Surely Matt wasn't only interested in Cindy to take out a political enemy? Right? He was seriously concerned about ending the Iraq War . . . which is why The Progressive has led the way in the last months . . . Oh, wait. It hasn't.

Cindy's not changed her politics. She wants to end the illegal wars. She wants to do that because she doesn't want any parent (American, Iraqi, Afghanistan, British, whatever) to go through the loss she had to. She's remained consistent on this.

So why is it that Byron York has covered Cindy repeatedly this week and those pretending to be against the Iraq War when it's time to beg you for money again haven't done a thing?

On the front page of today's New York Times, Rod Nordland reminds you why, with Alissa J. Rubin gone to Afghanistan, he should be running NYT operations in Iraq. His article is entitled, "Bombs Hurt Maliki Case That Iraq Can Guard Itself." He reveals the Nouri al-Maliki did ask US forces for help on Wednesday, long after the bombings. He also reports:

The Iraqis also kept quiet about a decision by the prime minister late Wednesday to suspend his earlier order that all blast walls and similar fortifications be removed from the city by mid-September. An Iraqi government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss security matters, said the suspension took immediate effect. There was no official announcement, but blast-wall removal that had been under way in the Salhiya area of Baghdad did not resume Thursday.

We're not posting Michael Winship's "Tom DeLay and the Woodstock Nation" and we're not linking to the PBS show as a result of his latest stunt. Winship's problems with women have been noted repeatedly. In his latest bit, his target is Tom DeLay. So why's he going after country singer Sara Evans? Her marital issues are her business and its cheap and tawdry for him to drag her into his attack on Tom DeLay. Sara Evans has never served in the US Congress. She had some marital problems as do most Americans who are lucky enough to get legally married. I am not interested in promoting an attack on someone -- anyone -- based on their martial issues. I find it disgusting that Michael Winship is repeatedly allowed to do this and that the only time he ever mentions women in these columns is to rip them apart. He has serious issues with women and Bill Moyers Journal needs to start asking itself: Does this represent what PBS is supposed to be about?

That doesn't mean he can't have an opinion. The Journal's not a news show. It's an opinion show. Winship can have an opinion and he can target any politician he wants to. But women are repeatedly attacked in these columns and, to make these attacks, he has to leave the topic -- which is how a column supposedly about Tom DeLay's corruption becomes an episode of his sniffing Sara Evans' panties and the briefs of her ex-husband. And not only sniffing them, but holding them out and asking you to sniff as well. He pulled that nonsense with Eva Longoria Parker -- who I do know -- and included her just to trash her and make fun of her. I don't know Sara Evans but that doesn't change the fact that's it's offensive, what Winship has done is offensive. Sara Evans' former marriage is her business and her ex-husband's business. It is not the business of PBS and when Bill Moyers Journal acts as if it's TMZ, it cheapens PBS. It's crap and it's sexist crap and it needs to stop. (Ava and I have called out the sexism in Winship's columns repeatedly. I believe most recently was "Bill Moyers Locker Room.")

NOW on PBS re-airs their program from April on rape kits:

A terrible statistic: one in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. But an even more shocking reality: A backlog in processing rape kits—crucial evidence in arresting violent predators—is delaying and sometimes denying justice for tens of thousands of American women.
This week, NOW travels to Los Angeles County to investigate why it has the country's largest known rape kit backlog. An internal audit found that more than 50 of their cases have already exceeded the 10-year statute of limitations on rape.

That begins airing tonight on most PBS stations as does Washington Week, where Gwen sits around the table with Peter Baker (New York Times), Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), Jeanne Cummings (Politico) and Ceci Connolly (Washington Post). In addition, we're asked to note that tomorrow at the Washington Week website there will be a an "Extra!" you can stream which will be an extended version of the roundtable.

If you don't know, Washington Week has been offering basically an hour's worth of programming for some time. They claim it's a web bonus for their audience but the show really wants to expand and if any PBS friend is upset with me for stating that, let me suggest you look up the "extra" from earlier in the year when Gwen herself spoke of that in replying to a question a viewer e-mailed. An additional thirty minutes wouldn't be a bad thing if they'd be serious. If you've ever watched the extra each week, you know that doesn't always happen. It will be posted online tomorrow. If you watch the extra each week, you most likely grab the podcast and maybe thinking, "Huh?" That's because you can download the podcast (with extra) shortly after the show goes off. The difference this week is that instead of waiting until Monday afternoon for the extra to go up at the website, it will be up tomorrow. (And streaming from the website is easier for some computer users than podcasting. Catching a video podcast requires certain system requirements and certain types of connections unless someone wishes to spend hours downloading.)

Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe and her guests Karen Czarnecki, Cari Dominguez, Irene Natividad and Patricia Sosa the week's news on this week's edition of PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

  • Don Hewitt
    60 Minutes will devote its entire hour this week to the news magazine's creator and former executive producer, Don Hewitt, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 86.

    The 60 Minutes correspondents are working on individual segments that will tell the story of the legendary newsman's life, lasting contributions to the television news industry and especially their favorite stories about their boss and his times at the broadcast. | Watch Video

    60 Minutes Sunday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

60 Minutes is a news magazine, it could and should note Don's passing and can do so for the hour. There's a difference between that an evening news broadcast spending over 9 of their 22 minute broadcast on the death.

The Diane Rehm Show begins broadcasting this morning on most NPR stations at 10:00 a.m. EST (and it streams online at the same time). The first hour is domestic issues and her panel is Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), Jeanne Cummings (Politico) and Juan Williams (NPR and Fox). The second hour is the international focue and the panel is Thom Shanker (New York Times), Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) and Brian Winter (USA Today).

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