For What Did They Die?

Monday, November 17, 2008

by Joseph L. Galloway

It is autumn, and the air is crisp and cool at night at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

It gets very quiet at The Wall around midnight. The tourists have gone home, and are all tucked into bed.

A homeless Vietnam veteran patrols the black granite panels. He tells us that he has cancer and is having a hard time getting any benefits from the Veterans Administration. He lives in a mission that houses those who have nowhere else to go, but the doors don't open until 11 p.m.

He sees my interest in Panel 3-East, the third panel to the east of the apex of the memorial, and he asks if I was there at the Ia Drang Valley battles that contributed 305 of the names that are on that panel. I nod, and he grows animated. "Oh, I know these guys well. Or at least I know their names." He begins calling the roll to prove it: "Henry T. Herrick, John Geoghegan, Willie Godboldt, Travis Poss, Carl Palmer, Wilbur Curry, Thomas C. Metsker . . . ."

Twenty, then 30 of the names trip off his lips. "I tell people about them when they ask."

So do I.

We slip a few bucks into his hand for something to eat and he wanders off into the night, heading for the mission and a cot where he can rest his head until 7 a.m., when he and the other homeless are shooed out to begin another day of waiting for something good, finally, to happen to them.

I hope that he lives long enough to collect some benefits and get some medical help from the VA, although given the 6- 8-month backlog in processing veterans' claims, there's no guarantee that he will.

I stand before Panel 3-East and slowly scan those names, remembering their stories, their hometowns, their wives and children, remembering, too, how and where they died and what it all means.

Did they die so that a brother veteran can die waiting in line for a little help from the nation that sent them all off to war in the prime of their youth?

Did they die so that four decades later, an American president and his cronies could start another needless war in a far-off land, a war that to date has dragged on almost as long as the one they fought in Southeast Asia?

Did they die so that wounded veterans of that war could come home to a lot of "Welcome Home" greetings and a lot of "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers, but facing the same fight that America's veterans have always faced when they try to get treatment and benefits from our Army and our Veterans Administration?

Did they die so that an administration full of draft dodgers and draft avoiders and almost bereft of anyone who ever wore a uniform or heard a shot fired in anger could prance around presenting themselves as wartime leaders?

Did they die so that 10,000 craven politicians could stand on bandstands and make speeches full of empty praise for those who protect and defend this country and make empty promises of how they guarantee that our wounded, our new veterans, will be treated better than their fathers and grandfathers were when they came home from their wars?

The men and women who wear the uniform today are, many of them, on their fourth or fifth combat tours in Afghanistan or Iraq. They and their families do all the suffering and sacrificing for the rest of us.

Meanwhile over in the Pentagon, the bean counters run their computers and come up with the good news: The economic meltdown in America, the growing ranks of the unemployed, the complete lack of work or prospect of a decent future in the rural and urban backwaters of a great nation make for a boom in enlistments in our voluntary military.

If you sign on the bottom line because you have no other alternative, no other way out of nowhereville, are you really a volunteer?

The bands will play, and the old veterans will march proudly and the politicians will run their mouths this Veterans Day, just as they do every Veterans Day.

And the 400,000 dead of World War II and the 40,000 dead of Korea and the 58,260 dead of Vietnam and the 4,500 dead of Iraq and Afghanistan will rest silent and uneasy under the modest white marble tombstones that a grateful nation has provided them free of charge.

Across town, an old and ailing veteran of one of those wars will line up tonight for a cot in a mission and wonder whether he can live long enough to collect from the bureaucrats what we owe him.

On Army posts around the nation, the battalions and brigades and divisions are either just coming home after a year or more at war while other battalions and brigades are just saying their goodbyes and heading back out on their third or fourth or fifth deployments.

"Where have all the flowers gone?
Gone for soldiers, every one.
When will they ever learn?"

© Copyright 2008, The McClatchy Washington Bureau


Time Warner Links Web Prices With Usage

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time Warner Cable Will Do Trial on Setting High-Speed Internet Charges Based on Usage

NEW YORK (AP) -- Time Warner Cable will experiment with a new pricing structure for high-speed Internet access later this year, charging customers based on how much data they download, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The company, the second-largest cable provider in the United States, will start a trial in Beaumont, Texas, in which it will sell new Internet customers tiered levels of service based on how much data they download per month, rather than the usual fixed-price packages with unlimited downloads.

Company spokesman Alex Dudley said the trial was aimed at improving the network performance by making it more costly for heavy users of large downloads. Dudley said that a small group of super-heavy users of downloads, around 5 percent of the customer base, can account for up to 50 percent of network capacity.

Dudley said he did not know what the pricing tiers would be nor the download limits. He said the heavy users were likely using the network to download large amounts of video, most likely in high definition.

It was not clear when exactly the trial would begin, but Dudley said it would likely be around the second quarter. The tiered pricing would only affect new customers in Beaumont, not existing ones.

Time Warner Cable is a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., the world's largest media company.

These are cool

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Machine is Us/ing Us

Information R/evolution


Saturday, October 27, 2007

I came across this site looking for a printable Pin the Tail on the Donkey game for my sons 6th birthday party next month. I found myself in stitches after reading the article then immediately looked up Jews.

$200 billion for war, but no healthcare for kids?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The gap between the President's priorities and your priorities has never been more clear. The President just decided that 3 million poor children shouldn't receive healthcare. It's crazy. At the same time he's asking Congress for $200 billion more to continue his war in Iraq, he's vetoing a healthcare program for needy kids here at home that costs just a small fraction of that.1

But for the first time in seven years, the President might not get his way. We only need 15 Republicans in Congress to break with the President to override the veto.

We've helped organize, along with our friends at MoveOn and our new partners at USAction, emergency rallies all over the country tomorrow. Show up and show your support, not just for kids' healthcare, but for the values that make this country great.

Find an emergency rally for kids' healthcare near you.

This isn't just about the 3 million kids who desperately need this program, this is about the direction of our country. It's time for Congress to take a stand and send a message to this President and his Administration that they will not continue to allow our most basic values to be swept aside. This is the moment that we stand up and say: "no more." We can win this fight, but it's going to take all of us.

If you can't make it to one of tomorrow's rallies, or if there isn't one happening near you, you can click here to tell your Members of Congress to override the President's veto.

Let's get our priorities straight,

Ben Kroetz Online Organizer

1. "Bush vetoes child health bill," Guardian Unlimited, October 3, 2007

Please sign

I sincerely trust this guy

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Check this NYC trailer out & share with your friends:

Rally with Barack Obama
Thursday, September 27th
Washington Square Park
Gates open at 5:00 PM

Text NYC to 62262 for more details.

Thanks for all you do!

Scott & Becky @ Obama HQ

He finally sues

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This guy kicks ass. I've been reading his blog for almost 3 years. He collected donations to his blog and bought medical supplies for civilians in Iraq that have needed it thoughout the war. After his brother was arrested at his college and mistreated because they thought he was a traitor him and his brother Raed both became activists for detainee's rights. I'm not finished yet. Raed has moved to the United States since then and has become a human rights activist for us too. Also when first getting here he went straight down to Louisiana to volunteer for the Katrina efforts. This guy rocks and I want to meet him one day and shake his hand.

It's just a shame that only after a few months Raed had to go through this kind of thing.

Activists re-enact grisly lynching in search for justice

Friday, July 27, 2007

The police were only about 50 yards down the road when the gun-wielding white mob stopped the car and dragged the two black men out, shoving them face first into the dirt.

The two women were next to be yanked from the burgundy Buick into the thick, sultry air of a Southern summer, one of them thrashing and flailing as she screamed and pleaded with the mob to spare her and her unborn child.

The lynch mob dragged the sharecroppers through the pine trees down a wagon trail to the Apalachee River and, on their leader's command, unleashed three torrents of gunfire. ...more

Here's a link the video with scenes and sounds from the reenactment.

Just last week I remembered myself as a kid in elementary school singing a song called "Tom Dooley" in the music class we attended once a week. Now, we never sang the entire version and it's clear why but it's not clear to me why we even sang it at all.

Elementary school version
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die
I met her on the mountain
There I took her life
Met her on the mountain
Stabbed her with my knife

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die

This time tomorrow
Reckon where I'll be
Hadn't a-been for Grayson
I'd a-been in Tennessee

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die

This time tomorrow
Reckon where I'll be
Down in some lonesome valley
Hangin' from a white oak tree

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die

Poor boy, you're bound to die
Poor boy you're bound to die
Poor boy, you're bound to die...

Not the Elementary school version
Hang your head, Tom Dooley
Hang your head and cry
Killed poor Laura Foster
And you know you're bound to die

You took her on the hillside
And begged to be excused
You took her on the hillside
Then hid her clothes and shoes

You dug her grave four feet wide
Dug it three feet deep
Rolled the cold clay over her
And tromped it with your feet


Took her on the hillside
Stabbed with a knife
Took her on the hillside
And then you took her life


This time tomorrow morning
Where do you reckon I'll be
Down in some lonesome valley
Just swinging from a white oak tree

You can take down my old violin
And play it all you please
For at this time tomorrow morning
It'll be of no use to me


New Orleans Police Officer Aquitted of the Two Charges

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"I didn't even find this a close call," said District Judge Frank Marullo.

About 6 weeks after hurricane Katrina a group of cops beat up a retired elementary school teacher who was at the age of 64. He had approached the police officers (aka pigs, pricks, nazi's, etc) for a cigarette and some small talk and they ended up trying to arrest him for public drunkenness. The senior citizen tried to express that he in fact wasn't intoxicated and then received the beating of his lifetime.

The officers then noticed they were being video taped and turned on the cameraman.

Surprisingly, I can't find a embedded version of the video 2 years after all this happened but here's a
link to the video....

and here's the latest news story.

"Evangelist and Lance Schilling were fired after being accused of the beating, but Evangelist is appealing the dismissal. Schilling killed himself June 10."

"Davis was booked on suspicion of public intoxication but never charged."

Arkansas Cop Cleared of Choking Skateboarder

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


A police officer who appeared to choke a skateboarder and put two others in a headlock in a video posted online used appropriate force when making his arrests, an internal police investigation found.

The Hot Springs Police Department Internal Affairs Board found the use of force was within the police department's policy on non-deadly force and recommended "no changes to this policy." The decision was released Monday.

Officer Joey Williams confronted a situation that "would have overwhelmed any single officer" when he stopped those breaking a Hot Springs city ordinance by skateboarding on a downtown sidewalk June 21, the report said.

However, Williams was faulted for leaving a handcuffed suspect unattended while chasing another youth in the resort town's historic Bathhouse Row.

Williams has been on administrative leave since the video hit YouTube on June 25. Police said he would return to active duty Thursday in the city's downtown.

"I think it was fair," City Manager Kent Myers said. Witnesses "consistently supported the actions of the officer and his efforts to control the situation."

Video from a business' security cameras shows 10 skateboarders rolling down the city sidewalk at a good clip, followed by Williams, who sprints past the last skater.

A video taken by skateboarders and later posted on YouTube shows Williams on top of one of the skaters, apparently choking him. The video also showed Williams putting another two skateboarders in a headlock, and the officer can later be heard threatening to use pepper spray on a skateboarder lying on the ground.

Police said they arrested Matthew Jon McCormack, 21, and Skylar Nalls, 19, both of Hot Springs, and four juveniles. McCormack faces a misdemeanor battery charge accusing him of pushing or striking a 67-year-old city employee during the melee. Nalls was cited for skateboarding and faces misdemeanor charges of fleeing and obstructing governmental operations.

McCormack has previously disputed many of the police allegations, especially his battery charge. He has said he pulled on the city employee's arm after the man lifted a girl off her feet in a choke-hold.

Hot Springs is a resort town about 50 miles west of Little Rock.