Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fell on black days

September 24th, US Spc John Carrillo Jr. and Pfc Gebrah P. Noonan were shot dead while serving in Iraq. A third US soldier was injured in the shooting and he or she has not been identified at present. US Spc Neftaly Platero's name has been floated in the press as the shooter. Yesterday, USF issued the following:

BAGHDAD – A U.S. service member, Spc. Neftaly Platero, is in pre-trial confinement, in connection with the shooting and killing of two service members and injury of another here Thursday.
The incident remains under investigation.
"Our condolences go out to the families of those service members whose lives were lost. We are saddened by this tragic incident," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan.

Lindsay Wise (Houston Chronicle) notes
Platero was on his second tour of Iraq. Joe Goldeen (Stockton Record) reports:

Carrillo's mother, Desiree Carrillo, and his wife, Reylene Carrillo, both of Stockton, were made aware Tuesday that charges were pending, and they issued a short joint statement Wednesday:
"We just want justice for our son and husband," they said.
Goldeen has been covering this story from early on. Which may be why he knows the date of the shooting but a national outlet apparently telegraphs how little they care about Iraq by not even getting the date incident correct.

Carrillo's family has already expressed their dismay that the US military, when informing them of the death of John Carrillo Junior, was not frank about the circumstances of his death.

Dragging me down
That's not the way it used to be
You can't even remember
What I'm trying to forget
It was a dirty day
Dirty day
-- "Dirty Day," written by U2, from the album Zooropa

Yesterday was the day the White House's hypocrisy truly was evident. Gillian Losh (Badger Herald) reports the latest in the ongoing Don't Ask, Don't Tell story:

A federal appeals court ruled to temporarily suspend a judge’s ban overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military.
The U.S. Justice Department filed an emergency motion with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the decision, arguing the injunction on the policy has caused “confusion and uncertainty” in the Pentagon and the military, according to the appeals filing.
The three-judge panel approved the short-term motion to stay while they study the issue and consider suspending the injunction for a longer period.

Devin Dwyer (ABC News -- link has text and video) offers
an analysis:

The administration's handling of the case has angered critics on both sides of the issue. Gay rights advocates, infuriated by what they see as hypocrisy, and some legal scholars, insist the "duty to defend" has already been fulfilled and that there is ample precedent for the administration to let Judge Phillips' decision stand. Meanwhile, supporters of the law say the administration's invocation of their "duty" is a smokescreen for a halfhearted defense.
"It happens every once in awhile at the federal level when the solicitor general, on behalf of the U.S., will confess error or decline to defend a law," said former George W. Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson, who is leading the legal challenge of California's ban on same-sex marriage. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state attorney general have both declined to defend the law in court.
"I don't know what is going through the [Obama] administration's thought process on 'don't ask, don't tell,'" Olson said. "It would be appropriate for them to say 'the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.'"

Chris Johnson (Washington Blade) reports that US House Rep Barney Frank states Barack shouldn't have allowed Phillip's decision -- not just the injunction, the entire decision -- to be appealed: "First, President Obama made a mistake in appealing the decision of Judge Phillips, ruling it unconstitutional. While presidents do have the obligation to defend even laws they dislike, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' has already been repudiated as bad policy by the President himself, by a decisive majority of the House and by a Senate majority just short of the votes necessary to break filibuster." Writing for the Palm Beach Post editorial board, Rhonda Swan also feels the decision should not have been appealed and argues, "It defies logic that an administration opposed to this bigotry would fight to maintain it. President Obama has said the policy 'weakens our national security.' The Justice Department said it has a duty to defend the laws enacted by Congress. The department did so, and lost. The right thing would have been to accept defeat. In this case, defeat would have been a win for the country."

Just when everyday
Seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded
And now I'm doing time
Now I'm doing time
'Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days -- black days

-- "Fell On Black Days," written by Chris Cornell, first appears on Soundgarden's Superunknown

The following community sites updated last night:

And we'll close with this from the campaign of John Anthony La Pietra:

John Anthony La Pietra for
Fairer, Better Elections
Secretary of State * Green Party
386 Boyer Court * Marshall, MI 49068

News Release: October 20, 2010

La Pietra Posts Status of Responses from County Clerks
to Request for Voting-Conditions Survey Information
UPDATE: A Dozen More Counties Heard From -- Only 24 Still Silent
on Precinct Lists, Polling Places, or How Many Voters Registered

After yesterday's reminders and last night's news release, a number of county clerk's offices have contacted John Anthony La Pietra -- the Green Party of Michigan’s candidate for Secretary of State -- today with information on how many voters are registered in each precinct in their counties, and where the polling places are.

John has now heard from 59 out of 83 counties -- and 50 of them have already provided all the information he asked for in a copy-and-paste-able format as he requested, so he can use it to develop a statewide precinct database for his Survey of Voting Conditions.

One more county may also have sent John full information, but he hasn’t looked at the file yet because that county proposed to charge him for it. John points out two reasons why no fee would be appropriate:

* There is no copying cost involved, since the information
is being sent electronically.

* And the clerks would be assembling and using this same
information themselves at this time to plan and prepare
for the election: deciding how many ballots to buy for
each precinct, writing the required Notice of Election
advertisements and having them published, and so on.
So giving John the information too doesn't involve
any unreasonable added labor costs.

"Besides," he adds, "the survey is being done for the general benefit of the public -- and I've pledged to release the results to the public and give them to the new Secretary of State, if it isn't me. So any fees that might otherwise be justified should be waived."

Voters who want to know how their clerks have responded to this request so far can see an updated status report on John's campaign Website at

John's initial request to the clerks is also on line, at

And a copy of the survey sheet for individual voters to take with them to the polls November 2 is posted at

# # #

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends