Eric Alterman’s “Altercation” column at Media Matters has a letter of mine addressing a remark by regular contributor Charlie Pierce on the grounds for impeachment. Sometimes the arrow you shoot into the sky sticks.
Rick Perlstein, the Pulitzer-winning author of the forthcoming Nixonland, is blogging at the new Campaign for America’s Future site, where he has a post up about how conservative philosophy leads to things like food contamination.
In the post, he links to a news article about how the salmonella outbreak in peanut butter last year was traced back (by the manufacturers) to a leaky roof at a factory in Georgia that gave dormant bacteria in raw peanuts a growth medium.
That sounded kind of familiar. Where else had I heard about peanuts lately? Oh, yeah, Republican politicians talking about the supplemental appropriations bill Bush has promised to veto:
This legislative request was to be focused on the immediate needs of our troops on the ground and their military leaders, not pork projects like the $74 million for peanut storage costs.
Were talking about war and the safety of our troops, not peanut butter, Morin said.
C-Span’s Steve Scully didn’t want to cause any offense with his choice of entertainment for the White House Correspondents Association dinner so, according to the New York Times, he plucked impersonator Rich Little from Vegas obscurity after catching him on the David Letterman show.
Little’s appearance on “Letterman” came at the start of the show’s “Impressionist Week”, which was preceded by a popular “Ventriloquist Week”. Perhaps next year the dinner planners can have Dick Cheney and George Bush perform in that style and save themselves the cost of a flying in outside talent.
Yesterday, on the same day that a gunman killed and wounded dozens of victims at Virginia Tech, President George W. Bush issued a presidential proclamation that flags should be flown at half staff as a “mark of respect” for the victims.
As I pointed out in September 2005 in posts titled “Half-Staff or Half-Assed” and “Did the Proclamation Have to Be Requested, Too?”, six days elapsed between the time Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and the proclamation honoring the dead in that disaster. This chart from the latter post links to a series of similar proclamations.
This is a compilation of presidential proclamations ordering flags to be flown at half-mast, from the White House’s “Proclamations issued by President Bush”:
Death of Thousands in 9/11 Terrorist Attack 11 Sep 2001
12 Sep 2001
1 Death of Former Senate Majority Leader Michael Mansfield
05 Oct 2001
05 Oct 2001
0 Death of Former Supreme Court Justice Byron White
15 Apr 2002
17 Apr 2002
2 Death of the Columbia Shuttle Astronauts
01 Feb 2003
01 Feb 2003
0 Death of Senator Strom Thurmond
26 Jun 2003
30 Jun 2003
4* Death of Bob Hope
27 Jul 2003
28 Jul 2003
1 Death of President Ronald Reagan
05 Jun 2004
06 Jun 2004
1 Death of Hundreds of Thousands in Asian Tsunami
26 Dec 2004
01 Jan 2005
6** Death of Pope John Paul II
02 Apr 2005
02 Apr 2005
0 Death of Thousands in Hurricane Katrina
29 Aug 2005
04 Sep 2005
6*** Death of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist
03 Sep 2005
04 Sep 2005
* Apparently, no love for Strom.
** Technically, since the earthquake took place on Sunday morning in the Indian Ocean, the tsunami struck late Saturday (25 December 2005) Washington time. And it didn’t strike US soil, although a number of Americans died in the disaster.
*** Katrina hit the coast on Monday morning, but since many of the victims in New Orleans may not have drowned or died from neglect for several days, the number of days elapsed would vary. Some people likely died from results of the storm as he signed the proclamation — and afterward.
Who was it that beat the Rutgers team of “nappy-headed hos” to win the NCAA women’s basketball championship?
In a New York Times article this morning on hearings held by the Shalala-Dole panel looking into the treatment of wounded soldiers, the pushback of blame from the upper echelon to the front line was in evidence.
One of the veterans speaking in front of the panel was former Army captain Marc Giammatteo, who is quoted as having observed “lack of caring or compassion in some of the work force” at Walter Reed Medical Center, where he underwent numerous surgeries for injuries caused by an rocket-propelled grenade.
“On several occasions,” Mr. Giammatteo said, “I, and others I have spoken to, felt that we were being judged as if we chose our nations foreign policy and, as a result, received little if any assistance. Some individuals, most of whom are civilian workers and do not wear the uniform, judge the wounded unfairly and treat them similarly, adopting a ‘Cant help you, youre on your own’ attitude.”
That said, it’s entirely possible that some members of the staff of a large medical facility — even one dedicated to treating military personnel — might be the kinds of jerks who would callously ignore wounded veterans of Iraq. It’s possible that Mr. Giammatteo and “others” felt that they weren’t getting the attention they should have been getting and ascribed it to being blamed for foreign policy judgments by the civilian staff.
In a properly-run institution, however, complaints about those types of problems would have been investigated and addressed, if needed. If people in charge at Walter Reed had been paying attention to ensuring that the veterans at the medical center were satisfied that they were getting the best in care and treatment, not being ignored, forgotten, or left waiting in some rathole.
I don’t know whether Mr. Giammatteo made any complaints of the above nature prior to the breaking of the scandal. I don’t have any idea how he can ascribe motivations behind the lack of assistance he describes unless there are more specific points not covered in the article. But if he did complain and the complaints were of a valid nature — i.e. he wasn’t getting the types of assistance he deserved — that is not simply an act of a malign “civilian worker,” it is a failure of the Walter Reed administration in not overseeing the very services they’re supposed to provide. It’s a lack of supervisory authority.
In a way, I hope that Mr. Giammatteo’s story is true. I’d rather believe that the staff at Walter Reed contained individuals who were thoughtless, bitter, or just bad hospital workers (there are definitely people who fall into those categories who go in to the care professions — don’t ask me why) than that he is the opening edge of a concerted attempt to push the blame for the Walter Reed scandal onto the “civilians” who didn’t support the war in Iraq.
My friends Annie and Eric have opened up 3 Fish Studios on 3rd Street in San Francisco. I’m glad to have played my little part in helping out.
Happy birthday, Stan Ridgway.
Five years and eleven months to the day after we first saw smart cars in Amsterdam; after waiting for a variety of failed attempts to bring them to the US market that finally bore some fruit last year; and waiting for a Portland-area dealership to carry them; Oswego Luxury was the first to actually get them in stock, and they’ve got a lotful. We stopped by on our way to Phillip Kerman‘s house, and sat in one for the first time. It it hadn’t been for the torrential rain and the fact that Barbara couldn’t fit her purse into the model in the showroom, we’d have taken them up on their offer to take it out for a spin, but we’ll be back.