Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Different Way to Honor Veterans

By Richard A. Lee

In a classic Twilight Zone episode titled “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” fear of an alien invasion makes the residents of a suburban neighborhood so paranoid and suspicious that they end up turning on each other and destroying their community – much to the delight of the aliens who observe the chaos and self-destruction from afar, where they conclude that the best way to conquer earth is simply to let its inhabitants destroy themselves.

The show was broadcast during the Cold War, but its message remains strong in today’s era when partisanship, polarization and anger pit Americans against each other. To illustrate my point, take a look at this short item that circulated earlier this year on the internet, social network sites and letters to the editor pages:

“Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news because she's a celebrity drug addict. While Justin Allen, 23, Brett Linley, 29, Matthew Weikert, 29, Justus Bartett, 27, Dave Santos, 21, Chase Stanley, 21, Jesse Reed, 26, Matthew Johnson, 21, Zachary Fisher, 24, Brandon King, 23, Christopher Goeke, 23, and Sheldon Tate, 27, are all Marines that gave their lives this week, no media mention.”

The post makes a good point. In terms of importance, the exploits of the Lindsay Lohans of the world pale in comparison to the life and death issues of war, but the post also generated the same type of anger and finger pointing that spelled doom for the residents of Twilight Zone’s Maple Street. And there was no need for this to happen. Once one examines the facts, contrary to what the post says, there were plenty of news reports about these 12 individuals.

In fact, the reporting was compelling, emotional and gut-wrenching. In many ways, it illustrated just how valuable good journalism can be. The stories painted pictures of these 12 individuals -- as people, as fathers, sons, spouses and friends – instead of merely as numbers, statistics or words in Facebook posts. They also captured the emotions and sense of loss felt by their loved ones and the communities they called home.

Here is a sampling of what the media reported about the lives and deaths of these 12 young men:

·         JUSTIN ALLEN was an Army Ranger who was planning to get married when he returned home to Ohio. He had hoped to use his military college benefits to launch a career in sports medicine. After Allen’s death, a yellow ribbon on a tree outside his parents’ home was replaced with a black one. (Sources: Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch; Portsmouth [Ohio] Daily Times)

·         BRETT LINLEY was a British Royal Marine serving in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment. He died from a bomb explosion while clearing a route in Afghanistan – the type of task he performed frequently. Once, after a fellow soldier was killed by an explosive, Linley risked his own life to recover the soldier’s personal belongings, diffusing additional bombs as he walked delicately through an area filled with explosive devices. “In the space of an hour, on his own, he found three more IEDs (improvised explosive devices),” a commanding officer recalled. “There was no fanfare, he simply dealt with each device, and then silently moved on to the next.” (Source: Evening Standard, London, England)

·         When MATTHEW WEIKERT was laid to rest in Jacksonville, Illinois, thousands of people turned out to pay their last respects. So large was the crowd that police closed traffic on one of the community’s main thoroughfares. There was even talk of forming a human chain along the route of the funeral procession. The size of the crowd prompted one of Weikert’s grandparents to remark, “You think God will let Matt take a peek at this?” (Sources: Jacksonville [Illinois] Journal-Courier; State Journal-Register, Springfield, Illinois)

·         JUSTUS BARTELT was the first native of Polo, Illinois, to die in combat since Larry Mackey was killed in Vietnam in 1970. Born on the Fourth of July, Bartelt’s last words to his mother before leaving for Afghanistan were, “Don't worry, mom.” After his death, yellow, and red, white, and blue, ribbons were tied to anything that could not move on city streets. The fire department and a local bar hung signs in Bartelt’s honor, and American flags flanked the grounds of and the entrance to his former high school. (Sources: Journal-Standard, Dixon-Sterling, Illinois; Sauk Valley Newspapers, Freeport, Illinois)

·         DAVE SANTOS had a knack for making people laugh. He once offered to bring back a set of goat teeth from Afghanistan for a friend who was missing front teeth. Santos, who had a three-year old son, allegedly was stabbed to death by a fellow Marine, making the loss even more difficult for his family to accept. His father said he wants to meet the Marine accused of killing his son. “I want closure,” he said in an interview. “Like I said earlier, I don't have any hatred, I just want to know the truth, I want to see and talk to the person who killed my son and ask him why he did it.” (Sources: Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.; Filipino Reporter, New York, N.Y.; U.S. Fed News)

·         CHASE STANLEY grew up in the Napa, California, region, where he enjoyed hunting, fishing, participating in 4-H activities and riding dirt bikes. Friends described Stanley as a joker who could easily make them laugh, recalling with great detail his antics on a camping trip in 2008 after he returned from Iraq. Throughout the evening, he kept his motorcycle goggles on and gave each of his friends special nicknames for the weekend. (Source: Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California) 

·         Because JESSE REED loved to golf, five of his friends hit golf balls into the distance as part of a funeral tribute that included bagpipes, a three-volley rifle salute, and the sounds of “Forever Young” and “Born in the U.S.A.” The same priest who baptized Reed's infant son presided over the ceremony. Reed wanted another child, and this past Christmas, his wife Heather shared the happy news that one was on the way. The soldier’s father David praised the military for the care they offered during such a trying time. “The best explanation I can give you," he told reporter Jenna Portnoy of the Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania, “is it's hell on earth to see your kid in a box.” (Sources: Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania; Express-Times, Easton, Pennsylvania)

·         MATTHEW JOHNSON enjoyed hunting, fishing, snowboarding, skateboarding and basketball, but his father remembered how he always seemed to enjoy tinkering on projects. “He'd show you what he'd done, to impress or get approval,” he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “You could see the smirk on his face, and you could see that was the thing he liked best in life -- making his family and friends happy and proud.” While serving in Afghanistan, Johnson talked by video conference with the 14-year-old twin daughters of his girlfriend’s aunt. They recalled that his head was shaved, his nose was broken, and that when they asked him what the war was like, he compared it to the video game Call of Duty. (Source: St. Paul [Minnesota] Pioneer Press)

·         ZACHARY FISHER was considering a post-military career in the medical field, but as a child there was little question about what path he would pursue first. As a boy, he told his father he wanted to be an Army man. When his father explained that he was too young, Fisher answered he wanted to be a policeman, but again his father informed him he was too young, so Fisher asked if he could become a “kid cop”. His father, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, obliged and conducted a special ceremony, appointing his young son a “kid cop”. (Source: The Telegraph, Alton, Illinois)

·         The death of BRANDON KING served as a warning that the war in Afghanistan might be entering a new phase.  Unlike so many of his fellow soldiers who died from explosives, King was killed by a single, long-range gunshot, raising concerns that the Taliban was being reinforced by foreign fighters armed with AK-47s that they fire with exceptional skill. (Source: Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

·         CHRISTOPHER GOEKE was bright and well-rounded. He was captain of his high school mock trial team, an accomplished drummer, and a deeply religious man who led services for his platoon. At West Point, where he graduated sixth in his class, Goeke once successfully bet a cadet that if he won a tournament, the cadet would have to attend his next Bible study class. Over the summer, he told his father that he planned to build a cabin in the Colorado mountains with him when he returned home. (Source: St. Paul [Minnesota] Pioneer Press)

·         One of SHELDON TATE’s final actions was to lead a fellow paratrooper to safety in the midst of the insurgent attack that claimed his own life. His company commander called him a hero; a loved one back home simply called him “Shelly Boo”. Pamela Walck of the Savannah Morning News described this emotional scene in a story documenting the return of Tate’s body: “Tate's mother, Valerie Moore, clutched her daughter, Ebony, as they sobbed together over the casket. Their muffled cries rolled across the silenced airfield and hung heavy in the air. Walter Moore, Tate's father, wrapped his arms around both women as Chaplain Capt. Brannon Bowman, chaplain for the 165th Airlift Wing, paused to pray with the family. Then the paratrooper's remains were saluted and carried away by an Army honor guard unit to the white hearse waiting nearby.”  (Sources: Savannah [Georgia] Morning News, Associated Press)

* * *

This month as we observe Veterans Day, there are plenty of ways to honor the men and women who served in our armed forces. Calling Lindsay Lohan a celebrity drug addict is not one of them – nor is making false accusations about the media.

If you want to gain an appreciation for the sacrifices that veterans and their families make, I highly recommend taking some time to read the full news stories written about the 12 young men whose names became a popular Facebook post. The stories won’t pop up with a simple Google search. It takes some work to find them – in databases, libraries and archives. But it’s a task that pales in comparison to what has been done by these 12 men and thousands of others before them.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey.  Contact him at

Antonio Margarito Vs Manny Pacquiao Live Online Boxing HBO Pay-Per-View Streaming 2010 TV Brodcast .

The fight between MannyPacmanPacquiao and Antonio Margarito is scheduled on November 13, 2010 Saturday(November 14, Philippine time). Margarito has 38 wins, 6 losses with 27 KOs while Pacquiao has 51 wins, 3 losses and 38 wins by KO. This will be held at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington. They are fighting for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Title, which gives Pacquiao the chance to win a world title in his eighth weight class, the light middleweight or super welterweight division.

Pacquiao vs Margarito live Fight
Date : 13 November , 2010
Time : 9:00 p.m. (ET)

Click here >> For Internet TV

French president Sarkozy accepts cabinet's resignation

PARIS, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy accepted the resignation of current cabinet presented by Premier Francois Fillon on Saturday, the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

"Pursuant to Article 8 of the constitution, Mr. Francois Fillon presented the President of the Republic the resignation of the government," the statement said.

Sarkozy has accepted the resignation in the night, meaning the end of Fillon's responsibility, it added. This has paved way for the expected government reshuffle.

France is planning a profound ministerial reformation in which Sarkozy hopes to inject fresh blood into the cabinet to brace up for next presidential election in 2012.

The cabinet reformation was scheduled in the wake of the pension reform, the bill of which has been signed into law by Sarkozy on Wednesday.

Though the presidency didn't reveal a precise date for the long- awaited reshuffle, it's widely predicted that new list of minister names will emerge on Sunday or Monday.

According to local media, Sarkozy has been consulting with Fillon over new ministerial team through the whole day after returned from Seoul Summit.

A majority of local media foresee Fillon to secure his leadership of the new government in spite of ex-premier Jean Pierre Raffarin's disapproval of Fillon's stay.

If Sarkozy wants to win next presidential election in 2012, he should choose a "new line" with another cabinet leader, Raffarin said in an interview published Saturday by French daily Le Monde.

Recent surveys showed Fillon was much more favorable than the other hot candidate Jean-Louis Borloo, ecology minister. Among ruling UMP partisans, his supporting rate exceed 50 percent.

Considering another ex-premier Alain Juppe's implication of his return to the government, local speculation says he might be the next defense minister.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Privacy’s Zeitgeist Moment in the US?

By Fran Maier President
White House Tours
In the last year industry has been on notice that privacy legislation is coming.  The recent elections have not significantly diminished the “threat” of legislation since privacy has become a bipartisan issue thanks to vocal media, advocates and consumers who have made the case for greater regulatory action.  It’s no surprise then that today the Wall Street Journal announced that the Obama Administration will seek to establish a new federal position to oversee privacy matters. Of course, Congress would have to pass a law to grant this position any real authority so it remains to be seen whether such a position could in the future have the same authority as the privacy commissioners we see in countries around the world like Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

On a related note, earlier this week the New York Times published an article claiming the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Commerce are in a “showdown” to see whose vision of privacy protection wins out (visions to be outlined in their respective and forthcoming privacy reports). I think that’s a misleading characterization of the situation as do my fellow privacy colleagues Jules Polonetsky and Chris Wolf – what we’ve seen so far indicates compatibility, not disharmony . There are distinct privacy roles for the Federal Trade Commission (domestic enforcement) and Department of Commerce (international standards) as well as an opportunity for collaboration. Ultimately, I think an effective combination of bottom-up (self-regulatory) and top-down (federal regulation) efforts will carry the day.

Recently I attended the International Conference of Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners in Israel and “co-regulation” was one of the buzz words that came up a great deal.  With “co-regulation”, legislators, federal regulatory bodies, and industry self-regulation all have a role to play, with regulation providing a “backstop” for privacy enforcement and protection.  This concept goes a long way to satisfying a number of constituents including the international privacy community and provides a framework for more politically meaningful self-regulatory programs.

A Commerce Department official quoted in the Wall Street Journal article made the case that “consumer trust in the Internet is essential for businesses to succeed online”. We couldn’t agree more here at TRUSTe. The Internet is powered by an information economy and the advancements and innovations that it brings will cease if we cannot protect provide meaningful transparency, choice and accountability for privacy.
With a flurry of recent privacy activity in Congress, forthcoming privacy reports from major federal bodies, and implementation of the advertising industry’s opt out (including TRUSTe’s TRUSTed Ads Program) 2011 is shaping up to be a breakthrough year for privacy. To echo a comment made by Jules’ in his blog post I referenced earlier,  ”the US is finally ‘in the game’!”.

U.S. Catholic Church: More Exorcists Needed

NEW YORK (AP)– Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.

The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

“Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult,” DiNardo said in a phone interview before the conference, which is open to clergy only. “The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite.”

More than 50 bishops and 60 priests signed up to attend, according to Catholic News Service, which first reported the event. The conference was scheduled for just ahead of the fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which starts Monday in Baltimore.

Despite strong interest in the training, skepticism about the rite persists within the American church. Organizers of the event are keenly aware of the ridicule that can accompany discussion of the subject. Exorcists in U.S. dioceses keep a very low profile. In 1999, the church updated the Rite of Exorcism, cautioning that “all must be done to avoid the perception that exorcism is magic or superstition.”

The practice is much more accepted by Catholics in parts of Europe and elsewhere overseas. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the longtime private secretary of Pope John Paul II, revealed a few years after the pontiff’s death that John Paul had performed an exorcism on a woman who was brought into the Vatican writhing and screaming in what Dziwisz said was a case of possession by the devil.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who organized the conference, said only a tiny number of U.S. priests have enough training and knowledge to perform an exorcism. Dioceses nationwide have been relying solely on these clergy, who have been overwhelmed with requests to evaluate claims. The Rev. James LeBar, who was the official exorcist of the Archdiocese of New York under the late Cardinal John O’Connor, had faced a similar level of demand, traveling the country in response to the many requests for his expertise.

The rite is performed only rarely. Neal Lozano, a Catholic writer and author of the book “Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance” about combatting evil spirits, said he knows an exorcist in the church who receives about 400 inquiries a year, but determines that out of that number, two or three of the cases require an exorcism.

No one knows why more people seem to be seeking the rite. Paprocki said one reason could be the growing interest among Americans in exploring general spirituality, as opposed to participating in organized religion, which has led more people to dabble in the occult.

“They don’t know exactly what they’re getting into and when they have questions, they’re turning to the church, to priests,” said Paprocki, chairman of the bishops’ committee on canonical affairs and church governance. “They wonder if some untoward activity is taking place in their life and want some help discerning that.”

Many Catholic immigrants in the U.S. come from countries where exorcism is more common, although Paprocki said that was not a motivation for organizing the conference.

Exorcism has deep roots in Christianity. The New Testament contains several examples of Jesus casting out evil spirits from people, and the church notes these acts in the Catholic Catechism. Whether or not individual Catholics realize it, each of them undergoes what the church calls a minor exorcism at baptism that includes prayers renouncing Satan and seeking freedom from original sin.

A major exorcism can only be performed by a priest with the permission of his bishop after a thorough evaluation, including consulting with physicians or psychiatrists to rule out any psychological or physical illness behind the person’s behavior.

Signs of demonic possession accepted by the church include violent reaction to holy water or anything holy, speaking in a language the possessed person doesn’t know and abnormal displays of strength.

The full exorcism is held in private and includes sprinkling holy water, reciting Psalms, reading aloud from the Gospel, laying on of hands and reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Some adaptations are allowed for different circumstances. The exorcist can invoke the Holy Spirit then blow in the face of the possessed person, trace the sign of the cross on the person’s forehead and command the devil to leave.

The training comes at a time when many American bishops and priests are trying to correct what they view as a lack of emphasis on the Catholic teaching about sin and evil after the Second Vatican Council, the series of meetings in the 1960s that enacted modernizing reforms in the church. Many in the American hierarchy, as well as Pope Benedict XVI, believe that the supernatural aspect of the church was lost in the changes, reducing it to just another institution in the world.

A renewed focus on exorcism highlights the divine element of the church and underscores the belief that evil is real.

DiNardo said some Catholics who ask for an exorcism are really seeking, “prayerful support. They’re asking for formation in the faith.” Still, he said sometimes the rite is warranted.

“For the longest time, we in the United States may not have been as much attuned to some of the spiritual aspects of evil because we have become so much attached to what would be either physical or psychological explanation for certain phenomena,” DiNardo said. “We may have forgotten that there is a spiritual dimension to people.”

Posted By Pat Dollard.

Running dry? California water supply at risk

Posted by: Aqua Blog Maven
From KQED’s Climate Watch blog:
“Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the country. It’s located on the Colorado River, which provides water for about 27 million people in seven states, including millions of Californians. In fact, California gets more than a trillion gallons of water from the Colorado River each year, directly from Lake Mead via the Colorado River Aqueduct which snakes across the desert. Eighteen million people in Southern California are dependent on the Colorado for 40% of their water. And for some agricultural operations, that percentage is more like 100. Needless to say, it’s a critical source of water.
The thing is, after 11 years of dry conditions in the region, Lake Mead dropped to its lowest level ever in October. And so far, it’s stayed there. … “
Continue reading from KQED’s Climate Watch blog by clicking here.

WaPo: Obama Should Be a One-Termer


You've got to know that the White House is in a tizzy about this editorial. Shocking is the word that comes to mind. Granted that it's by moderate Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen but the Washington Post still ran it. And that really says something.

Instapundit writes:
BAD NEWS FOR OBAMA IN THE WASHINGTON POST: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012. “We do not come to this conclusion lightly. But it is clear, we believe, that the president has largely lost the consent of the governed.”

Go to Instapundit to access the entire editorial.
by matthew archbold

FBI Brings in Plumber After Busting Prominent D.C. Area County Executive and Wife

Jack Johnson
By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON – The FBI on Friday brought in a plumber to try and keep some evidence from going down the toilet.

According to the Washington Post and an FBI affidavit,  the  FBI summoned the  plumber after agents arrested Prince George’s  County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife Leslie Friday on charges of trying to destroy bribe money from a developer.

Both Johnson and his wife were heard on a wiretapped phone talking about flushing a check from a developer down the toilet as FBI agents waited outside the house, according to an FBI affidavit. Johnsons’ wife is a  County Council member in Prince George’s County, a suburb of Washington.

The plumber, Steve Wilson of Gene’s Plumbing in Harwood, Md.  told the Post: “I’m checking the toilet to make sure there is nothing in them.”  He said so far he hadn’t found anything.
Agents arrest Jack Johnson/
The arrest came as a shock even though Johnson’s questionable relationship with developers had surfaced publicly in the past.  Johnson, who was the state’s attorney for Prince George’s County before becoming the county executive, had been a well respected political figure in the Washington area.

An FBI affidavit by agent Wendy Munoz of the Baltimore field Division stated that Johnson took a $100,000 check from a developer in exchange for helping get government housing funds for a development.  And on November 5, the FBI recorded Johnson taking $5,000 in cash from the developer, according to the affidavit. A week later, the same developer gave Johnson $15,000 in cash.

Agents entered the room after the $15,000 payment and confronted Johnson, who said the cash was for a party marking the end of his tenure as county executive, the affidavit said. He also said he had no business with the developer, which was a false statement, according to the affidavit. Agents then recovered the $15,000.

On Friday morning at 10:10 a.m., FBI agents knocked on the front door or Johnson’s home in Mitchellville, Md., a Washington suburb, according to the affidavit.

Two minutes later, Johnson’s wife called Johnson on an FBI-tapped phone.

The wife told Johnson two women were at the door.

“Don’t answer it,” Johnson said, according to the affidavit.

Johnson then told his wife to go upstairs and go to “my drawer” and find a check from the developer the FBI believes was the $100,000 check. He said the check was in the underwear drawer.

The wife then asked if she should remove any cash and Johnson said “Yes.”
Johnson then told his wife to put the cash in her underwear.

After she found the check, Johnson told his wife: “Tear it up! That is the only thing you have to do.”
She then asked if she should remove the cash from the basement and Johnson said: “Put it in your bra and walk out or something and I don’t know what to do.”

Leslie Johnson then said: “What do you want me to do with the check?”
“Tear it up,” Johnson replied.

Then Johnson told her to flush the check down the toilet.

“Yes, flush that,” he said, according to the affidavit.

He then told her to put the cash in her underwear.

“I have it in my bra,” she replied.

FBI agents entered the home and found $79,600 in Leslie Johnson’s underwear.
Read FBI Affidavit

Sarah Palin Offers Outstanding Advice To Newly Elected Republican Reps

Via Facebook, Sarah Palin sends an open letter to newly elected Republican Representatives that will seated next year on keeping the promises they made and not letting themselves become distracted from that path.

She reminds them to never forget the people that sent them to Washington and the promises Republicans made to the American people to be afforded a second chance, these include, reining in out-of-control government, repealing and/or defunding Obamacare, cutting the deficit, decreasing government spending, stopping earmarks, checking the growth of entitlement programs and preventing tax hikes.

At the end of Palin's open letter is some advice on the lessons she learned first hand:

In all this, you should extend a hand to President Obama and Democrats in Congress. After this election, they may finally be prepared to work with Republicans on some of these issues for the good of the country. And if not, we will all be looking forward to 2012.

Remember that some in the media will love you when you stray from the time-tested truths that built America into the most exceptional nation on earth. When the Left in the media pat you on the back, quickly reassess where you are and readjust, for the liberals' praise is a warning bell you must heed. Trust me on that.

Well written and very good advice all around.

Republicans asked for a second chance and promised to stand up and fight for what Americans want. Americans made it clear on November 2, 2010, crystal clear, what happens to politicians that defy the majority of voters.

Republicans must keep those promises if they want the support of the American people. We all will be watching them. We also will be voting in 2012.