Monday, November 16, 2009

Army Drops the Ball

Army Sends Infant to Protective Services, Mom to Afghanistan

Friday 13 November 2009 by: Dahr Jamail | Inter Press Service

Ventura, California - US Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother, is being threatened with a military court-martial if she does not agree to deploy to Afghanistan, despite having been told she would be granted extra time to find someone to care for her 11-month-old son while she is overseas.
[read the rest]

For the sake of argument let's just say Specialist Hutchinson was trying to get out of deployment. How is the Army brass justified in their actions? Hopefully the media spotlight this story is generating will shame someone into doing the right thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why We Care

A touching, inspiring video passed along from my friend Sharilyn, a fellow USAF Veteran and wonderful human being who is becoming a doctor. Let this five minutes move you on this Veterans Day.

Veterans Day POV

PBS' Point of View series is running a program tonight called "The Way We Get By." Give the preview a look-see and tune in tonight. Check your local listings.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Looking for Trouble...

...not really just the title of the Sunday night music mix. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Veterans Day


In spite of all the recent tragic incident at Ft. Hood, all of our Veterans and their families deserve our thanks and support. Thank you to all that have served.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Women Warriors


Paul Rieckhoff, exec. director at IAVA is hosting a press conference call,"...revealing IAVA’s pioneering Issue Report: "Women Warriors: Supporting She ‘Who Has Borne the Battle’” on Wednesday, October 14th, 11:00am E.S.T.

This groundbreaking report promises to reveal how the other 11% of the active military deployed in war zones lives. I plan on participating and will report and update here at DeepCon. Stay tuned

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Uncommon Valor


Paul Rieckhoff of IAVA has posted a story on the latest, tragically posthumous, awarding of the Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti, 10th Mountain Division. Please take a few moments to view the video and acknowledge the more than sixty other male members of the 10th, the two women soldiers and the US Air Force airman who died in Afghanistan in 2006. I knew a woman Army doctor from the 10th who died in 2007. Hell of an outfit the 10th.

From Paul's write-up:
Courage, sacrifice, hero—three words thrown around carelessly these days. Politicians that cross party lines to force compromise on the divisive issues of our day are labeled “courageous.” A professional athlete that makes a bold play, leading his team to victory is deemed “heroic.” An actor who forgoes a big paycheck for the summer blockbuster to work on a small budget documentary is seen as making a “sacrifice.” Don’t get me wrong, these acts are worthy of admiration. But for a nation at war, using these terms irresponsibly does a big disservice to those that serve. [read the rest...]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are You Happy?

DADT Disproportion Revisted


I posted a few days ago on a report of lesbians being disproportionately discharged under DADT. I commented at the SLDN blog and received some comments I wanted to share here. Interestingly enough, these comment were made presumably, by gay men:
Bla Bla Bla.....I dont doubt that there are many women being separated for DADT violations, as a 23 Yr Vet, I have to note that the Military has always routinely turned a blind eye to Lesbians and Lesbian Conduct.....(Marine Womens Softball...anyone) Conduct Unbecoming is a Good Read....And as I recall even Rany Schilts observed that the militray turned a blind eye to most Lesbian Issues! But then again; What do I know I’m just a big ol homo...right!
I responded:
Stickman:Which part of ‘disproportionate’ are you not understanding?

When the military turns a ‘blind eye’ to lesbians, it is merely reflecting the larger social policy of ignoring lesbians i.e., women are lesser creatures than men. When you ask the average Joe or Jane about “gay,” most people think about gay men; Lesbians are an afterthought. And I wouldn’t consider Randy Shilts an expert on lesbians--in or out of the military.

Lesbians are eroticized by men--right up until they become a threat to manhood or job security. If you don’t get that, you might want to look up another word in the dictionary: Misogyny
It went on from there with different commenter:
Whether or not it’s politically correct, stickman is not coming out of left field with his statements. After 7 years in the Army, that’s the same thing I’ve noticed.

A company commander had her (in her words) “life partner” show up to a company picnic and nothing was said or done.

She did everything short of saying “I am a lesbian.” No one really cared. Had she been a male, maybe people would have been stirred up. I don’t know.
And then I said:
Both you and stickman are viewing this story anecdotally. The report is about how lesbians are DISPROPORTIONATELY discharged under DADT. A higher percentage of the DADT discharges are women. This is simple math. Whether or not lesbianism is overlooked is not the issue and it’s also not about “political correctness.” DADT is a policy which by its very existence is discriminatory. I’m not calling for gay men to be expelled at the same rate as lesbians, but rather that a highly unfair and counter-productive policy goes away.

I’m assuming since your company commander never told you she was a lesbian, you don’t know for certain. Also she must be pretty good at her job to have been able to rise to the level of company commander. Job performance is supposed to be what distinguishes one, not sexuality.

Furthermore, the fact that we are discussing who is treated worse by the military, lesbians or gay men takes away from the real issue of discrimination by the DoD, who would rather have us fighting with each other than them, so bravo for taking the focus off the real issue.
Stay tuned for,"...and then he said..."

Quote of the Day

From Simon Owens:
When a couple went to Bush rally wearing anti-Bush t-shirts, they got arrested. Guys at Obama rallies openly carry guns and get interviews.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adult Content


"When did we come to extol stupidity ahead of information? [] When did we start to listen to, to elect, the impregnably dense? [] The time has come to rise up and take this country back. To again make it safe for people who actually completed the 7th grade." 'Nuf said.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"Finding Hope"

What would it look like?
What if humanity decided to go left instead of ...right?
What if Unity came from Diversity
What if the world embodied our highest potential?

This may be a bit too touchy feely for some but think of this 20 minute video as a meditation, a single long breath of life and hope injected into your spirit. If you have the guts and patience to sit still to watch and listen. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

What is it about women...

...in the military that so threatens men in the military? Found over at the SLDN Blog


Women Disproportionately Fired under DADT

As the nation celebrated Women's Equality Day last week, I couldn't help but think of the women proudly serving today. I was also reminded of a devastating truth: DADT continues to disproportionately affect women in the military. While they only represent roughly 15 percent of the armed forces, women account for nearly half of all DADT discharges in the Air Force and Army.

Countless women have experienced this discrimination first hand. Take Cathleen Glover, who served as an Arabic linguist until 2003 when she was honorably discharged after coming out. Former National Guard specialist Amy Brian, who served in Iraq and was out to all of her comrades, was discharged earlier this year after it was reported she kissed her partner in a Wal-Mart checkout line.

As women expand their roles in the military, it is important that they be judged by their performance on the job.

09-04-09 By Liz Feuerbach, Communications Intern

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Unbelievable Irish

Just when you you're out, they pull you back in... A great Irish PSA for Gay marriage, courtesy of Chelsea O' Hara:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Godspeed Senator Kennedy, You will be missed.

I sit here in Massachusetts, a mere 40 minute drive from where Teddy today died in Hyannis Port. I awoke to the news early this Cape Cod morning and started to cry. While not a perfect person, he was an amazing Senator and stalwart supporter of us here on the left and ALL Americans who have ever been in need.

I've always felt a peculiar affinity to all the Kennedy's, but to Teddy in particular. His birthday is two days before mine, I've always felt we shared a similar outlook and spirit. Not to mention, me growing up Catholic and at least a quarter Irish. Okay, maybe part of it is the Pisces thing, but in fact, his passion in politics and his often bellicose, but always compassionate response to those less fortunate, his ever-present cheer leading for change and willingness to let others take the lions share of the credit for valuable legislation, will not soon , if ever be replaced in the US Senate.

I can't say enough about the personal and political loss of Edward Moore Kennedy and what repercussions of his death will have on what he considered his life's work-- health care. Another thing Teddy and I have in common is we have both always had health care. His provided by being from a family of means, and later provided by the government, and mine, always provided by the US Military in a single-payer system that has most recently provided me with a new titanium knee. I pray his legacy is the passing of the President's health care bill that will become a living tribute to a legacy he would be proud to to take credit for.

Tomorrow, I will visit and leave flowers at the gate of the Kennedy compound where we lost maybe the last, best, hope for an America we all have really hoped for all along. I hoist a shot of good Irish whiskey as I wish us all peace in our sorrow and condolences to his family and all Americans who lost the Lion of the Senate today. Godspeed Teddy, though I know you're already there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting Well and on to more important matters

Hello!!! I cannot tell you how difficult the last month has been, and maybe I will post on it later but suffice to say it has been difficult at best. The second-to-the- worst-part was that most opiate drugs commonly used for pain I am allergic to so I am left with the monster morphine to deal with my pain which made me loopy and nauseous. As of today, I am four days off morphine, ten days ahead of schedule. I'm left with the popular but underwhelming Motrin to ease my pain with the decidely better exchange of active bowels and no vomiting, not to mention being out of the M-hole which made me feel like an alien and a bit hyper-aggressive. I'm a bit wan and stamina-less but that will soon change. Big sigh of relief and much love for all my lovely get well wishes.



What I would like to post on right now, is audio of a local NPR (KQED-FM, SF) show Forum, done in salute to the unsung heroes of the United States Coast Guard. Host Michael Krasney, interviews author David Halvarg about his book, Rescue Warriors. Great sound for a very deserving bunch of true, unsung, American Heroes. Before deciding to opt out please remember that the Coasties have saved over a million people and were first on the scene after Hurricane Katrina with 33,000 saves after Bushie and Brownie dropped the ball. Thank you USCG, Semper Paratus: Always Ready. Give it a listen.



Mwwaahhh to you all for ever vigilantly carrying the heavy mantle of support and hope to all lovers of truth and freedom everywhere by blogging and supporting your fellows.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Bionic Woman

So here I go, off to the hospital for my early morning Total Knee Replacement surgery. I'm young to be having this surgery and I've been hearing I've needed it for the last ten years, so finally after my last knee injury in February, I'm having it done.

My first knee surgery was when I was 19 and it was as a result of an aircraft accident, volleyball and motorcycles. I have had traumatic osteo-arthritis ever since and six subsequent surgeries. Wish me luck and send virtual flowers if you feel like it. I'll be back in 5 days and bionic. BTW, Happt Gay DAy to all my peeps!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Which is the Gay One?



Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has posted a number of DADT items on their site. Most interesting to me was the OpEd in Friday's Washington Post by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , General John M. Shalikashvili.

Gen. Shalikashvili says, "the climate has changed dramatically since 1993." He goes on in his article that,
While the proper timing of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" remains uncertain, it is evident to me that a policy change is inevitable. More than three-quarters of the public favors the change. Polls show that even a majority of Republicans support allowing openly gay people to serve. Within the military, the climate has changed dramatically since 1993. Conversations I've held with service members make clear that, while the military remains a traditional culture, that tradition no longer requires banning open service by gays. There will undoubtedly be some teething pains, but I have no doubt our leadership can handle it.
Read the rest of the story here.
In a related DADT story 60 Minutes did a last year ago tells a lot about the latest struggle in dismantling the backward policy. Give it a watch.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cape Cod Bound

Leaving for Provincetown tonight. It will be my first time in the Eastern Gay Mecca. I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Aim High

Aviator hopes gay ban will end soon enough for him Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is posting on the Lt. Col. who wants to fly in spite of being Gay.

By JESSIE L. BONNER

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Barack Obama's campaign promise to scrap the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy gave Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach hope. Now the aviator is wondering if the president will deliver in time to save his 18-year Air Force career.

The winner of nine air medals for distinguished service in flight, including one for heroism the night U.S. forces captured Baghdad International Airport in 2003, Fehrenbach is in the process of getting kicked out of the military a year after an acquaintance told his bosses he was gay.

He thought he could hang on until the government eliminated the military's policy forcing gays and lesbians to keep their sexual orientation secret, but now he isn't so sure.

Obama "was someone who had experienced discrimination firsthand and that's why I had a lot of faith," Fehrenbach said. "I thought, OK I can fight this, and maybe by January Obama could be inaugurated and this won't matter.

"That hasn't happened."

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group seeking equal treatment of gays in the military, estimates that more than 200 service members have been discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" since Obama was sworn into office.

The White House insists officials are working to overturn the policy, but when that will happen is unclear. The reassurances mean little to Fehrenbach, who has flown on missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and is about to lose the only way of life he's ever known just two years before he would be eligible to retire.

Fehrenbach, 39, is the son of an Air Force veterans — his father was a lieutenant colonel who died when he was 9 and his mother is a former military nurse who lives in Ohio. Last week he told his relatives he is gay, was being discharged from the Air Force and was going on national television to talk about it.

"Now, I'm not hiding anything," said Fehrenbach, who has appeared on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC's talk show and remains on active duty at the Mountain Home Air Force Base in the Idaho desert, about 60 miles southeast from Boise. "For 18 years, I played by the rules and I kept my private life private."

Most of the estimated 13,000 service members discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" since the law was enacted in 1993 have opted to leave quietly and close the final chapter of their military careers in private. Groups calling for the repeal of the ban, however, say Fehrenbach is among a growing number who are going public with a newfound sense of urgency.

In September, Fehrenbach had decided to accept an honorable discharge and waive his right to a military hearing, where he would have to lie about being gay in order to stay in the Air Force. He refused.

"I just wanted this to go away, I didn't tell anyone, I didn't want anyone to know," Fehrenbach said.

He quickly changed his mind and with encouragement from five close friends, one a fellow service member, he rescinded the waiver and tried to stall the hearing that would determine his military fate.

The military hearing was delayed until April, when Fehrenbach was told he had been recommended for an honorable discharge. The process could take about five months to complete because of his record and rank, he said; he doesn't know whether he'll be able stay in the Air Force if "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed before then.

"I will fight this in uniform and I'll fight it without," Fehrenbach said. "I swore an oath to defend and support the Constitution, I'm going to speak out and fight this until the law is repealed because it is not constitutional."

He said "don't ask, don't tell" denies American service members their constitutional right to privacy, due process and equal protection, and forces them to lie about who they are when honesty is part of the code they serve under.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is representing Fehrenbach while he explores his legal options, wants Obama to begin working with Congress to repeal the law.

"He said he was going to fix it," said Aubrey Sarvis, the group's executive director. "We need a plan and a timeline from the White House on how we're going to get this done."

A bill that would allow gays to serve openly has been introduced in Congress.

Obama's top advisers want the president to move more slowly in overturning the policy than many gay-rights activists would like, citing other priorities including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We have a lot on our plate right now," retired Marine Gen. James Jones, the White House's national security adviser, said this month.

On the other side of the debate, the Michigan-based Center for Military Readiness gathered signatures earlier this year from more than 1,000 retired military officers urging the president and Congress to keep the ban.

"It's really not fair to the women and men of our armed forces to be part of this social experiment," said center president Elaine Donnelly. "Military life is difficult enough without having this additional burden. This is harmful to good order and discipline and morale."

In the midst of debate over whether gays should be allowed to serve without fear of retribution if their sexual orientation is disclosed by them, or someone else, a family rooted in military tradition is mourning the loss of a career.

Fehrenbach's family supports his decision to speak out and try to get the ban repealed, said his sister, Angie Trumbauer, a 47-year-old Air Force veteran who lives in Ohio.

She said she wasn't surprised when her never-married brother told her he was gay, but when she realized he would not retire with full military honors, it was almost like there was a death in the family.

"This is the only thing he's ever known in life," Trumbauer said. "it's all he's ever wanted to do."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day: "Honor the Fallen"

The best way I can think to honor those who have died serving their country is to care for and acknowledge those who still serve and those who are injured. Our vets and the still-active duty Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have sustained devastating injury need all that we can offer. CSPAN re-aired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with witnesses who have served and share their personal stories and opinions on what policies need improvement or outright change in the military care system. Please watch and get first-hand information about the America's nearly forgotten, ongoing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan that have taken the lives of almost 5000 young Americans.
The main issue as pointed out by Col. Andrew Bacovich (Ret.) during his testimony at the hearing is the fact that very few Americans have a personal connection to the conflicts in which we are currently embroiled, which leads to an certain apathy or "war fatigue." This is personal for me; I have people I love either serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I have lost people too. Let true respect flood your senses today if only for a moment.

To all who have served and are still serving, thank you for your service and may we all find Peace sooner rather than later.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dropping the Ball...and picking it back up



I have been Absent With Out Leave for quite a while now, but life had become overwhelming. A move, an injury, some big family stuff and other things made blogging a luxury I could not afford. Thankfully things seemed to have smoothed out a bit.

Despite my absence, others carried on with their eyes ever on the ball. Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are blogging respectively, about the DADT debacle, and the continuing need of our newest veterans. Please give this stuff a look-see and remember just because the "war" and the military are seemingly off the American public's radar does not mean we can turn our backs on those who serve us ever-faithfully.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Veterans' new war is a bad economy


American Public Media's Marketplace has gives us the story via our friend Paul Rieckoff at IAVA. Have a listen.
Services for homeless veterans have improved over the last decade, but the stagnating economy and job losses have created a rise in needy vets. Steve Henn explores the issues vets may have upon return from duty.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stimuldiculous

I give you the perfect theme song for the "stimulus package" and the ensuing Troubled Asset Relief Package nonsense.

I know this will be something
I remember in my head (something I remember)
Sharp words push me back
Hanging on to anything I can (anything I can)

Why do you tell me
Only things I want to hear
Why don't you tell me
This could just disappear

At the same time
You keep tracking treasure down

Cant stop I'm soaked tonight
Wanna find something I believe (something I believe)
Open up take me in makes no sense
Help me understand(help me understand)

Why do you tell me
Only things I want to hear
Why don't you tell me
This could just disappear

At the same time
You keep tracking treasure down

You tell me of pirate-ships and fairy tales
You have me wishing that everything was real

At the same time
At the same time
You keep tracking treasure down
At the same time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine Songs


Okay, so I moved, lifted my washing machine by myself and tore cartilage in my already chronically damaged knee. My only excuse for being so long-absent is lameness--literally. Happy Valentines Day nonetheless. Hugs and kisses to all my peeps. Here is my musical message.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Of Aardvarks and Such

On the recommendation of fellow blogger Jon Swift, I found and am sharing with you, the blog that "tells cute animals what's what," Fuck You Penguin. Here's Jon's take on FYP: "Who knew that existential despair could be so irresistibly, so heart-breakingly cute?" Here's a sample that made me chuckle:

What are you, Aardvark, some kind of anarchist Marxist fascist? Obviously, you must have known that uploading this picture of yourself onto the internet would single-handedly bring down the modern world. Moments after this baby updated its Facebook profile, millions of people stopped what they were doing to email this picture to everyone they knew. MANY OF THEM WERE GRANDMOTHERS, AARDVARK, WITH NO DEFENSE AGAINST YOUR POWERS. Have you no shame? We are already in a depression, Aardvark, what more do you want from us?
read the rest...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Negligent Homicide: Soldier Electrocuted by Cheney's Former Company

...An Army criminal investigator said the manner of death for Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh, has been changed from accidental to negligent homicide because the contractor failed to ensure that “qualified electricians and plumbers” worked on the barracks where Maseth died, according to the document.

...The Green Beret died of cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, 2008. He was electrocuted while taking a shower in his barracks in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky.

...KBR was previously owned by Halliburton Co., the oil services conglomerate that former Vice President Dick Cheney once led. Congressional Democrats long have complained that KBR has benefited from its ties to Cheney. Read the rest...

This is only one of more an a dozen deaths in barracks showers due to unqualified electricians and plumbers used by KBR, the former subsidiary of Dick Cheney's Halliburton. The former vice president still has an undisclosed amount of Halliburton stock and has directly financially benefited from the billions of dollars paid to Halliburton and its subsidiaries over the duration of the occupation in Iraq. Any doubts about why this "war" was waged? The next thing on the Obama agenda should be investigations, prosecutions, and jail time.

Nah Nah Nah Hey Hey Goodbye

Shamefully stolen from the Unruly Mob: Bush' FINAL departure from the White House. Don't miss the crowd's 2 million-strong chant.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Will Obama Lift the Military Ban on Gays?

"I take the president-elect on his word," he said. "I think he'll do it."
So says Aubrey Sarvis, director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network from an article in the Air Force Insider. SLDN has been on the forefront of the challenge to rescind the regressive Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy enacted under Clinton in 1993.

President Clinton was the first major party presidential candidate to court the Gay vote when he ran in the 1992 election. After his election, he went back on his promise to eliminate the ban on Gays serving in the military. DADT was supposed to be a compromise that has ultimately been responsible for the discharge of 12,500 servicepersons, including some 800 key positions as Arab translators, medical personnel and pilots. Oddly enough, the military seems to enforce DADT only when it's politically or perhaps personally expedient. As in the case of USN's PO2 Jason Knight who was recalled to serve in Iraq after he was discharged for being Gay.
Backers of reform said the move toward loosening restriction reflects a change in societal attitudes."There has been a sea change in the way this issue is viewed, especially in light of our national security needs," said Democratic lawmaker Ellen Tauscher."We shouldn't be forcing good men and women out of military service," Tauscher told AFP.

The lawmaker is the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would replace "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
SLDN has a petition to sign and shooting off an email to Congresswoman Taucher couldn't hurt.

I'm pulling for Barack to keep his promise. [Related reading]

Saturday Night Music

Do it into the night--chill-out to mid-tempo dance mixes with a few up-tempo jams that will lull you into a false sense of security. Enjoy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

KO's Bush Round-Up

Keith Olbermann does in eight minutes what I've been blogging about for 3 years--a Bush's Greatest Hits compilation. With luck this list won't get any longer. In the immortal words of Dubya's favorite band, The Dixie Chicks, "Cowboy Take Me Away." Thanks for putting most of it in one place K.O. Two days and counting...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Israeli's Ram Aid Boat

CNN -- An Israeli patrol boat struck a boat carrying medical volunteers and supplies to Gaza early Tuesday as it attempted to intercept the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, witnesses and Israeli officials said. CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat Dignity when the contact occurred. When the boat later docked in the Lebanese port city of Tyre, severe damage was visible to the forward port side of the boat, and the front left window and part of the roof had collapsed. It was flying the flag of Gibraltar.

The Dignity was carrying crew and 16 passengers -- physicians from Britain, Germany and Cyprus and human rights activists from the Free Gaza Solidarity Movement -- who were trying to reach Gaza through an Israeli blockade of the territory.

Also on board was former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.
Israel has denied the report and changed their story about the attack three times to date.

For a little backstory on what's been going on in Gaza vs. Israel/Godzilla, read "The gift that keeps on giving" and "viciously stupid Israel."