Thursday, May 06, 2010

DoD identifies 1 of the fallen, a family identifies the other

Yesterday, DoD released the following: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sgt. Ralph Mena, 27, of Hutchinson, Kan., died May 4 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 7th Signal Brigade, 5th Signal Command, Mannheim, Germany. For more information the media may contact the 5th Signal Command public affairs office at 011-49-611-705-8033." Stephanie Diffin (KAKE -- link has text and video) reports on his family and friends' reaction to the tragic news including Harvery Barker who states he'll always remember Ralph Mena's laugh and his smile. His wife Amber Mena states, "He was loved by everyone who knew him. He was an amazing husband and father and soldier and he died serving our country and that's honorable." DoD hasn't announced Esau Gonzales' death yet but his family has. Joe Gamm (Amarillo Globe-News) reports, "The family of 30-year-old Esau Gonzales confirmed Wednesday that he died Monday from a wound to the chest, but family members said the military has released few details on the circumstances surrounding his death." Esau Gonzales' survivors include Melissa Gonzales (his wife) and their two children Ava and Sam as well as his mother Sandie Lanier. KDFA notes that arrangements are still being made for when but services will be held at First Baptist Church in Panhandle, Texas.

WABI (link has text and video) reports on members of Maine's US Army Reserve who are deploying for Iraq and had a send-off ceremony yesterday.

Yesterday US President Barack Obama signed the Daniel Akaka authored Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. David Jackson writes about it for USA Today and the question is: WHY???????????

Why write about it if you've got nothing? He's got nothing to say. He offers nothing that wasn't covered by Kimberly Hefling (AP) and assorted others yesterday. Why waste money? News outlets aren't really dying but maybe they should be if they're paying for the 'work' Jackson's done. There's nothing in this 'article' that wasn't covered everywhere else. Some may see safety in the pack but if you're going to write as part of the pack then maybe you should be paid a lot less.

There is not one telling moment, one distinguishing moment that allows Jackson's bad write up to stand out in any way. I'm not talking a 'flourish.' Yes, style would help the piece but I'm talking about any detail not covered over and over. (We included the eight pens detail -- Barack used eight pens to sign the legislation -- because a friend at the White House pointed that out and listed who would be receiving each pen.) I have no problem with meat and potatoes reporting, with basics being well covered. But this isn't meat and potatoes reporting, this is just spitting out what everyone else said and doing so in a style way. This is just grinder and there's no reason for it. People interested in this issue have already read several stories on it and when they come to Jackson's, there's nothing to make it stand out.

Like Laura Fitzpatrick (Time magazine) yesterday, Katherine Gustafson (Tonic) finds a way to cover it without serving up stale bread:

Wednesday was a good day for veterans. President Obama signed into law The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act (S. 1963), which prioritizes the needs of two traditionally overlooked groups: female veterans and caregivers of seriously wounded veterans.

The legislation requires essential improvements in female health care by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and calls for much-needed support for those who take care of severely wounded vets. The Act also requires improvements in access to health care for veterans in rural areas.

Micah reminds he's waiting for the answer to the trivia in Monday's snapshot. I completely forgot on Tuesday. I did remember on Wednesday and it did go into the snapshot but then I returned Shirley's call about the e-mails from some community members wanting a statement re: JT the perpetual failed candidate. That required pulling a number of things (including on the signing of the bill) and the trivia answer got pulled as well. It will go in to today's snapshot. (And Micah, I've already written a reply to you that answers the question -- it'll go out with the next batch of e-mails so check your inbox if you don't want to wait for the snapshot later today.)

The following community sites updated yesterday:

In the US, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee continues to highlight the economy and finances in a number of videos this week. Click here to be taken to the DPC video page. We'll note Senator Robert Menendez.

And we'll note this from Debra Sweet's "Crimes are Crimes, no Matter Who Commits Them" (World Can't Wait):

Today, The New York Review of Books, carrying our full page ad, will start to appear in mail boxes. It will be on newsstands on the 13th. Some have asked why we chose this publication to start with.
As the Review’s website states: "With a worldwide circulation of over 135,000, The New York Review of Books has established itself, in Esquire's words, as "the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language."
We will be reaching academics, intellectuals, and thinking people concerned about humanity across the country and around the world with this ad.

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends