The favorite pastime is connecting with families or friends.
Blackhawk pilot Mark Martella of Glenolden said being separated from his wife, Stacey, is the most difficult part of serving the country overseas.
The above is from Kathleen E. Carey's "Troops spend downtime trying to connect with family back home" (Delaware County Daily Times). And some in the US have trouble spending downtime with their families -- for example Iraq War veteran Jack Barrios would probably love some downtime with his family but the government keeps creating problems as LA's KABC reports (link has text and video):
Subha Ravindhran: [. . .] Frances Barrios considers herself an American. She grew up and went to high school here in Van Nuys but for the past 17 years, she's been living in this country illegally. Now she and her husband, an Iraq War veteran, must deal with the consequences. 26-year-old Army Specialist Jack Barrios can barely talk about the time he served in Iraq.
Jack Barrios: I'll skip that.
Subha Ravindhran: You don't want to talk about that.
Jack Barrios: Yeah.
Subha Ravindhran: But what he can speak about is the battle his family is going through now. His wife, 23-year-old Frances, is facing deporation back to Guatemala -- a country she left when she was just six-years-old.
Jack Barrios: I'm pretty sad and angry that we will get separated.
Subha Ravindhran: Not only will three-year-old Matthew and one-year-old Allanna be separated from their mother, but Jack will also lose his main caretaker. Since he returned from Iraq in 2007, he's been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Frances Barrios: He was an outgoing person, you could say. He used to like being outside with his friends and just, you know, having a good time. When he came back, like I said, he shut down. It wasn't him.
Subha Ravindhran: Their attorney Jessica Dominguez says the chances of keeping Frances here are slim.
Jessica Dominguez: It's just mind boggling to try to understand that in a situation like this, Mr. Barrios cannot be assured that his family is going to stay together because immigration laws do not protect the sanctity of his family at this point.
Help me out, what has Barack done? I'm looking around and the same two illegal wars are continuing, DOMA remains in effects as does Don't Ask, Don't Tell, people continue to be illegally and indefinitely held at Guantanamo, the Patriot Act did not 'sunset' away, illegal government spying continues and the telecoms now have immunity, and he's done nothing to address the immigration issues -- issues that directly effect families like the Barrios. Every time I turn on the TV, there he is at another fundraiser whining about mopping up or else he's leaving the country to go make a (failed) bid for the Olympics. When does he work?
The Barrios don't have time to wait for him to finish date nights and fund raising.
In today's New York Times, John Leland reports on the problems with the US Embassy in Iraq:
The 57-page report details problems with water, wiring, design, automation, sewage, walls, ceilings, power generators, emergency safe areas and structural reinforcement to protect the embassy from earthquakes. It says that First Kuwaiti charged for $33 million worth of design services that were either incomplete or undocumented. Executives at First Kuwaiti did not respond to a request for comment.
The construction was also mismanaged by the government overseers, the report says. In order to speed construction, the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations created a standalone agency to act as contractor, outside of the normal review process. This agency failed to enforce contracts or to maintain quality control, the report says.
The following community sites updated:
Today Carly Simon's latest album is released, Never Been Gone.
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