Monday, November 22, 2010

NYT helps those who help them


(Troy Yocum photo taken by John Crosby)

Hike for our Heroes is a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who is hiking across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues. Kate McGinty (Palm Springs Desert Sun via USA Today) reports:

During his 16-month journey, which included his arrival in Palm Desert last week after walking 3,527 miles of his 7,000-mile goal, the Kentucky native has faced his share of obstacles.
Kidney stones sent him to a hospital for nine days in Colorado, his RV has broken down more than a dozen times and his dog was temporarily sidelined with a bladder infection.
Along the way, Yocum has gotten married, climbed 12,095 feet along Colorado mountains and received more than 30,000 e-mails from supporters.
As of Nov. 18, he said, he had raised more than $105,000 for Soldiers' Angels, a non-profit group that helps servicemembers, veterans and their families, and given money to 14 military families in need.

Embassy Suites Santa Ana sent the following press release to the public e-mail account:

Santa Ana, CA (Vocus) November 22, 2010

On April 17, 2010 Iraq War Veteran Troy Yocum took his first step on what will be a 16-month, 7,000-mile hike across the United States. Along the way, he bangs a drum to sound the call to raise $5 million to help military families in need.

Yocum, his SuperDog Emmie and his support staff and RV recently arrived at the Embassy Suites Santa Ana Orange County North Airport, greeted by cheering hotel staff and guests.

Recalling an emotional and rewarding experience, Regina Samy, General Manager of the hotel said, “We were approached to host Troy on his team on Veteran’s Day, which made it even more appropriate to support him on his important journey across America to raise awareness of the need our returning troops face when they get home.”

Yocum established to accept donations and keep his supporters up-to-date on his progress across the country. His mission is to further spread the word that American Heroes are fighting just as hard at home as they do overseas. Yocum and his volunteer team hope to provide a peace of mind and lay the foundation for military families to succeed, connecting with people across the United States to spread the importance of helping our military families.

The staff asked him what he missed most while traveling. His answer? Macaroni and cheese. That night he was treated to an old-fashioned mac and cheese dinner, courtesy of Tim Wagner, the Embassy Suites Santa Ana Food and Beverage Director and James McIver, the hotel’s Chef.

Yocum and Emmie were surprised with hand-packed baskets of healthy (and not so healthy) snacks for both hikers. Additionally, Samy presented Yocum with four gift certificates for a one-night stay at the Embassy Suites -Santa Ana hotel. Yocum would be able to select 4 families of soldiers or supporters that would be re-energized from a one-night getaway from their daily routine.

Veterans are dear to Lisa Rowe, Director of Human Resources for the hotel, who spearheaded the special event, “I too have a son who served in the Army and came home from Iraq disabled and not able to ever work again, so I know what Troy is seeing out there and how our soldiers need help.”

The Embassy Suites Santa Ana Orange County North Airport is one of more than 20 hotels owned by Windsor Capital and managed by its hotel management company Windsor Management Services. The company has pledged to help arrange a place to stay if his next step is near one of its hotels.

Windsor Capital Group is a hotel management and development company that owns and operates full-service, focused, upscale branded hotels throughout the United States, with most flying the Embassy Suites and Marriott flags. It also runs Windsor Management Services, a top-performing hotel management company that customizes hotel management services to meet the needs of the properties.

Windsor Management Services is an award winning, comprehensive hospitality management organization that operates full-service, upscale hotel properties throughout the United States. With more than 30 years of experience to call on, Windsor Management Services is known for unmatched results for its owners and unparalleled service for its guests delivered with a personal connection.

For more information visit or Additionally, please contact Bill Upshaw, President & Chief Operating Officer or Craig Stechman, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at 310-566-1100.

# # #

Good for Troy for creating a mission and sticking to it. He's done this by himself with local and regional press only. The New York Times hasn't been interested in his story. Today they file another in a long line of useless and pretend they covered Iraq, Noam Cohen's " Keeps Tally in Iraq and Afghanistan." Like the organization it's covering, the article is a crap-fest. We're told about brave Mr. Michael White. And how he keeps at it. Even though "donations have dried up" -- no, donations dried up because he's not doing his job. We walked away from that crap-ass site for that very reason. Reuters reports a military death, ICCC notes it and then ICCC pulls it. And they breezed through a revamp which meant you could no longer check their count -- a count that changed on a whim and never noted that it had dropped one or two deaths from the count -- something that happened repeatedly.

It's a piece of trash site and it's completely outlived its purpose. So why is White getting the New York Times' most needy profile while they ignore Troy Yocum? Cohen explains, "People are counting on him -- reporters, that is."

See, the only thing more _____ than White and his organization is lazy ass reporters. AP keeps their own damn count and, in past wars, that what news organizations did. But it's too much work for the New York Times apparently. So they write a 'report' that's actually an appeal for money. Reality, now that White has taken away most of the features -- including the ones that allowed you to verify his count -- DO EDITORS KNOW THAT THEIR REPORTERS ARE USING A 'DATA BASE' WHICH CAN NO LONGER BE VERIFIED? -- there's no point in any outlet using it. DoD issues a count repeatedly during the week. On the weekends, you won't find it updated. But during the week they do update. There's no reason for anyone to be using ICCC or donating to it anymore and that's why donations dried up.

White wants to play like he kept doing what he was doing and people walked away from him. No, that's a deception lie. He tried to ride the press bandwagon, he dumped Iraq (making that portion bare bones) in order to hope on the Afghanistan War where all the press had gone. When he did that, he lost his the bulk of his audience. And that's based not only on e-mails to this site from visitors and community members, it's also based on criss-crossing the country and speaking to people who give a damn about Iraq and hearing how they too walked away from ICCC and why.

The article tells you that that the New York Times has quoted the site "27 times in 2010." Again, the question: DO EDITORS KNOW THAT THE SITE'S COUNT IS NO LONGER VERIFIABLE?

This isn't a minor issue. I've discussed this with Washington Post and Los Angeles Times executives in the past -- back when the count was verifiable -- and it shifted suddenly (a decrease). And I noted back then that if the count changed for any reason, although you wouldn't get any kind of a note that the count had changed, you could click on the month and scroll through -- with links -- to each death reported. You can't do that anymore. The things slapped together in a sloppy manner and it's not verifiable.

If White thinks things are bad now, wait until reporters start to have to explain why they're using a count that's not verifiable especially when DoD issues its own count several times a week -- issues even if there's no new deaths.

It's too bad for Troy Yocum that he decides to walk for veterans and not reporters. If he'd done the latter, Noam Cohen would be writing about him in the New York Times today and proclaiming, "People are counting on him -- reporters, that is." As screwed up as that is, it does reveal the paper's priorities.

The latest Law and Disorder Radio begins airing this week (on WBAI this morning at 9:00 am EST and on various stations throughout the week) and Heidi Boghosian, Michael Ratner (click here for an ISR interview with Michael) and Michael S. Smith cover a number of important issues including questioning by government agents (Heidi and the NLG have prepared a new pamphlet). Thank you to Tori who e-mailed to ask, "What graphs?" in reference to "TV: To Know, Know, Know Her Is To Avoid Her" at Third. Ava and I wrote, we didn't type it up. Everyone was exhausted and they must have forgotten. I uploaded the graphs to Flickr this morning after reading Tori's e-mail and then put them in the piece. I then published it again . . . without putting in a note. Fine, I'll just pull it back up. Wrong, I can't get back in this morning and am tired of trying. I'll do a note this evening if one's not been done by someone else before then. Thank you, Tori, for catching that.

And . . . I know Jill Biden, I've noted I am not commenting on her, I am not writing about her. I like Jill, I've known her for many years. I've known Joe as well and much better and much longer but his position -- Vice President -- requires that he be commented on (and he'll probably be slammed by me in today's snapshot, sorry, Joe). I try to treat him the same as I would any other person in that position. But there's no need for me to cover a spouse and I have made the decision and announced it that I will have nothing to say about Jill -- good or bad. If I said the good things, I would be required to -- in fairness -- cover any missteps. I'm not going to do that. And I've made that clear. We note Military Families Speak Out regularly and we're noting their latest release, I have no comment with regards to Jill but we do support MFSO:

Jill Biden, there are military families opposed to the wars!

On November 18, Jill Biden was on Larry King Live, and spoke about her and Michelle Obama's work with military families. Larry King, referenced Iraq & Afghanistan, and asked if she ever heard from military families who didn't support them and she responded “Never”.

Did she mean support the troops? Because then of course we do. And we believe that supporting the troops means bringing them home now. But if she meant support the wars, then no -- there are families opposed to the wars that have communicated that message to her.

In August, 2008, MFSO members Pat Alivso and others spoke with Jill Biden at the Democratic National Convention. They spoke about their work with Military Families Speak Out, their opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their belief that the troops should be brought home and taken care of when they get here. She said she would do what she could.

In addition, on August 21st, 2009, a delegration of military families met with White House staff and talked with them about what Michelle Obama could do if she really wanted to support military families.

We need to let Jill Biden and the rest of the country know that there are a growing number of military families who are speaking out against these wars. Whether you are a member or a supporter, you can help spread the word.

We've made it easy for you. Go here to send a letter to the editor to the papers in your area.

Thank you for your efforts, please contact us if you would like information about how to get more involved.

On behalf of Military Families Speak Out,

Jack Amoureux, Rosanna Cambron, Debbie Carruth, Rosalie Donatelli, Sarah Fuhro, Adele Kubein, Jeff Merrick, Emiko Ortega, Diane Santoriello, Larry Syverson, Katy Zatsick -- MFSO Board of Directors
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson – MFSO Co-Founders
Deborah Forter, Samantha Miller, Nikki Morse, Zaskya Perez -- MFSO Staff

P.S. You can also sign our petition to Obama and Congress asking them to bring our troops and our tax dollars home. Sign today!

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