The disposable soldier, the kidnappings we pay attention to, newspaper to Jesse: Get lost, Rick Perry’s memory, and the power of power.
1) THE DISPOSABLE SOLDIER
In a week of scandals, the treatment of the remains of returning – and dead – soldiers has hardly gotten any attention. Let’s change that.
Three Air Force officers were disciplined this week for “losing” the remains of some soldiers killed in the wars and returned to Dover Air Force base. But that announcement came days before this nugget was dropped: The remains of soldiers were dumped in a landfill.
Says the Washington Post…
Lt. Gen. Darrell G. Jones, the Air Force’s deputy chief for personnel, said the body parts were first cremated, then incinerated, and then taken to a landfill by a military contractor. He likened the procedure to the disposal of medical waste.
Jones also could not estimate how many body parts were handled in this way. “That was the common practice at the time, and since then our practices have improved,” he said.
The families of dead soldiers seem to understand the problem more than the Air Force brass. “My only peace of mind in losing my husband was that he was taken to Dover and that he was handled with dignity, love, respect and honor,” one said. “That was completely shattered for me when I was told that he was thrown in the trash.”
Yesterday Defense Secretary Leon Panetta congratulated the Defense Department on the thoroughness of its investigation. And that, apparently, is that.
Oh, three whistleblowers who brought the problem up were either terminated or disciplined for doing so.
What does it take to get people motivated to protest? Fire a football coach.
2) KIDNAPPING CURRENCY
About an hour before word came that former Minnesota Twin Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped in Venezuela, NPR broadcast this story, detailing what happens to many of the 400,000 people deported from the United States and dropped on border communities.
Avila says that when the deportees were out during the day, many of them were abducted, beaten or robbed. But by keeping them in the shelter, the nun says, they’ve been able to avoid that.
Mexican kidnapping gangs often target people who have family in the United States under the assumption that most can quickly raise a ransom of $500 or $1,000.
This part of Mexico isn’t dangerous just for migrants. Even the former mayor and his son were kidnapped over the summer.
The Ramos kidnapping is tragic, no question. The ones in Mexico are, too. The story is worth listening to.
3) PAPER TO JESSE: GET LOST
The Marshall Independent is so upset at former Gov. Jesse Ventura’s declared refusal to stand for the National Anthem again, that it wrote an editorial about it today.
Last Friday, Ventura said he plans to apply for Mexican citizenship so he can live there more often. We say, “fine, go right ahead.” This Friday, we will honor our veterans who fought and sacrificed for the very freedoms Ventura enjoys as an American (or part-time American) – the freedoms that allow him to go in front of all those cameras to let everyone know what his feelings and opinions are. We don’t know what the former governor will be doing on Veterans Day, but we hope he takes a little time out of his busy day to count his blessings and remind himself that without our veterans and their military service he wouldn’t be able to do or say half the things he does.
Go ahead, Mr. Ventura, slap this country in the face again, it’s your right, just be sure those verbal jabs don’t include those who fought for our freedoms.
Ventura took his displeasure to the WCCO newsroom yesterday…
4) OOPS, INDEED
Really, what more is there to say?
Watching the unfolding disaster last night, I couldn’t help but think of Admiral James Stockdale, a war hero and a vice presidential candidate in 1992, who was laughed out of the race for less.
Sen. John McCain told the New York Times that Perry’s performance last night was “the human equivalent of shuttle Challenger.” (Correction: It was Mark McKinnon, a onetime McCain strategist.)
Let’s just pause for two minutes and four seconds to think about that little quip:
I would suggest the space shuttle Challenger doesn’t have a human equivalent because it was the human equivalent.
5) THE POWER OF POWER
Two men of the cloth are making news today. Rev. Greg Oats, a Roseville pastor, has been charged with stealing the money of an elderly man with Alzheimer’s, then spending thousands at Wal-Mart, Burger King, and other stores, the Star Tribune reports. He had been named the man’s power of attorney, and also nearly got him evicted — he also has Parkinson’s, diabetes, and is mentally ill — from his home.
The Pioneer Press, meanwhile, reports on the trial of Christopher Wenthe, a former Nativity of Our Lord priest. A woman who suffered from bulimia and had been sexually abused as a child, sought counseling from him. He’s charged with sexually assaulting her. The newspaper has a compelling analysis of what is involved in deciding whether it was a crime.
Bonus I: The story of Monique White is getting plenty of attention on the InterTubes since it was posted earlier this week.
Monique worked for 11 years as a youth counselor at a group home to help troubled teens transition back into their communities. In February 2010, the nonprofit shut down due to state budget cuts. Although Monique still has a part-time job at a liquor store where she has worked for the past 8 years, this has not been enough to afford her mortgage payment.
Monique has gone through the process of trying to get a loan modification writing a hardship letter and sending document after document to US Bank, yet they still refused to work with her and have foreclosed on her home.
Bonus II: Because a flying rhino is something you don’t see every day…
Meanwhile, the western black rhino has officially been declare extinct.
In other animal news: Two same-sex penguins who appear to love each other are being split up.
The Ford Motor Company is getting ready to put its Twin Cities Assembly Plant up for sale. After the final Ranger pickup rolls off the line next month, the 86-year-old factory will close for good, leaving St. Paul with 135 acres of land in a good location. Today’s Question: What should be done with St. Paul’s Ford plant?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
This is the last 5×8 of the week. I’m off tomorrow.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Looking for the truth in 2012 campaign advertising.
Second hour: Chris Paine’s new documentary follows four entrepreneurs from 2007 through the end of 2010 as they fight to bring the electric car back to the world market during a global recession. Paine and auto columnist Dan Neil discuss the film and the future of the electric car.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson talks about Minnesota’s financial situation.
Second hour: Rebroadcast of the GOP presidential debate in Michigan.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour (portions pre-empted by Midday): The nuclear evidence against Iran.
Second hour: Homeless veterans.