Archive for February 28th, 2007
Top officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, including the Army’s surgeon general, have heard complaints about outpatient neglect from family members, veterans groups and members of Congress for more than three years.
A procession of Pentagon and Walter Reed officials expressed surprise last week about the living conditions and bureaucratic nightmares faced by wounded soldiers staying at the D.C. medical facility. But as far back as 2003, the commander of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who is now the Army’s top medical officer, was told that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds, according to interviews.
Steve Robinson, director of veterans affairs at Veterans for America, said he ran into Kiley in the foyer of the command headquarters at Walter Reed shortly after the Iraq war began and told him that “there are people in the barracks who are drinking themselves to death and people who are sharing drugs and people not getting the care they need.”
“I met guys who weren’t going to appointments because the hospital didn’t even know they were there,” Robinson said. Kiley told him to speak to a sergeant major, a top enlisted officer.
A recent Washington Post series detailed conditions at Walter Reed, including those at Building 18, a dingy former hotel on Georgia Avenue where the wounded were housed among mice, mold, rot and cockroaches.
Kiley lives across the street from Building 18. From his quarters, he can see the scrappy building and busy traffic the soldiers must cross to get to the 113-acre post. At a news conference last week, Kiley, who declined several requests for interviews for this article, said that the problems of Building 18 “weren’t serious and there weren’t a lot of them.” He also said they were not “emblematic of a process of Walter Reed that has abandoned soldiers and their families.”
But according to interviews, Kiley, his successive commanders at Walter Reed and various top noncommissioned officers in charge of soldiers’ lives have heard a stream of complaints about outpatient treatment over the past several years. The complaints have surfaced at town hall meetings for staff and soldiers, at commanders’ “sensing sessions” in which soldiers or officers are encouraged to speak freely, and in several inspector general’s reports detailing building conditions, safety issues and other matters.
If you are a follower of TV crime shows, it is likely that you’ve come across one of the CSI offshoots (CSI stands for Crime Scene Investigation) and a slightly less well known show called ‘Cold Case‘. In both these shows, difficult crimes (usually murders) are solved using the most up-to-date forensic methods and incredible detective work. However, it will be obvious to even the most jaded TV watcher that the CSI crew get to have a lot more fun with the latest gadgets and methodologies. The reason for that is clear: with a fresh crime scene there is a lot more evidence around and a lot more techniques that can be brought to bear on the problem. In a ‘Cold Case’ (where the incident happened years before), options are much more limited.
Why bring this up here? Well it illustrates nicely how paleo-climate research fits in to our understanding of current changes. Let me explain….
The silence is starting to get a tad deafening. Fired US Attorney says two members of Congress contacted and nudge him on getting a Democrat indicted before election day. Everyone seems to be denying it was them. Except for two folks. No one seems to be able to get a call returned from Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) or Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM).
Here’s the Post‘s succinct, if vaguely oblique, summary of the relevant reporting …
Spokesmen for Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and the state’s two Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Tom Udall, said the lawmakers and their staffs had no contact with Iglesias about the case. The offices of New Mexico’s two other Republican lawmakers, Sen. Pete V. Domenici and Rep. Heather A. Wilson, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
why we have to keep a careful eye on the government—especially when the GOP is involved, since it a protector of Big Business. Lead in school children’s lunch boxes:
In 2005, when government scientists tested 60 soft, vinyl lunchboxes, they found that one in five contained amounts of lead that medical experts consider unsafe — and several had more than 10 times hazardous levels.
But that’s not what they told the public.
Instead, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released a statement that they found “no instances of hazardous levels.” And they refused to release their actual test results, citing regulations that protect manufacturers from having their information released to the public.
That data was not made public until The Associated Press received a box of about 1,500 pages of lab reports, in-house e-mails and other records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed a year ago.
The documents describe two types of tests. One involves cutting a chunk of vinyl off the bag, dissolving it and then analyzing how much lead is in the solution; the second test involves swiping the surface of a bag and then determining how much lead has rubbed off.
The results of the first type of test, looking for the actual lead content of the vinyl, showed that 20 percent of the bags had more than 600 parts per million of lead — the federal safe level for paint and other products. The highest level was 9,600 ppm, more than 16 times the federal standard.
But the CPSC did not use those results.
Last week, we reported that Walter Reed had refused to let talk show host Don Imus (a frequent advocate for servicemembers and veterans) tour the hospital and investigate conditions there.
In our post, we linked to the unofficial Imus Blog, whose author Big Roy acknowledges that he “routinely slam[s] liberal politicians and media.” Yet, on Friday, Roy wrote a post titled, “Why Don’t Conservatives Support The Troops?”
During the past week I’ve gotten several links from some of the biggest liberal blogs/websites on the internet, Crooks & Liars, Think Progress, and Daily Kos. These are not sites that would normally link to this blog. As anyone who reads my blog knows I routinely slam liberal politicians and media.
But these guys rose above politics to try and bring awareness to the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Some might say they’re doing it as an opportunity to slam the Bush Administration. I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s a genuine concern for active duty soldiers and veterans.
I wondered why I hadn’t received a single link from a conservative blog or website. I thought well they just didn’t like any of my posts. So I went and checked the right wing blogs I normally read when I get time, Redstate, Pajama Media, Hot Air, and Michelle Malkin. Except for Ms. Malkin, not one of these sites even mentioned the Washington Post Story or anything about Walter Reed that I could find. When Malkin talks about it. She was not able to rise above politics and used it as an opportunity to slam the liberal media and democrats.
I recently brought a bottle of Cynar to a gathering of old friends whose collective taste in spirits tends toward the esoteric. Together we’ve toasted the winter holidays with cheese fondue and kirschwasser, celebrated birthdays with Goldschlager, marked one couple’s engagement with grappa and watched Fourth of July fireworks with rhubarb wine. I was fairly surprised, then, when the Cynar met with an underwhelming response. Hearing what it was made of, some individuals went so far as to refuse even a perfunctory sip. Undeterred, I turned to an expert, and that’s when it became clear that we were dealing with more than “an acquired taste.” Asked to say a few kind words about Cynar, Dennis Mullaly, a veteran bartender currently working at Otto Pizzeria, replied, “I can’t. It’s vile, unpalatable stuff.”
Fortunately, not everyone feels that way about the herbaceously bittersweet, cola-brown liqueur whose inaugural tagline was “Cynar: against the stress of modern life.” Introduced in Italy in 1949, Cynar is made from the leaves of the artichoke plant, or Cynara scolymus, and bottled at 16.5% alcohol by volume (33 proof). In recent years, thanks in part to Americans’ growing knowledge of Italian culture, Cynar and the like have begun to command a larger share of domestic bar shelves. According to Heaven Hill Distilleries, whose subsidiary, Premium Imports, Ltd., is responsible for it presence in the US, sales have gained by about 1% per year for the last three years. This may not seem like a significant increase, but it’s worth noting that the brand functions on a small case sales level, making even small gains meaningful.
Frank K. Flinn, Ph.D., adjunct professor of religious studies, provides insight on the controversy surrounding a new Discovery Channel documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, which airs March 4. Flinn, a consultant in forensic theology, is an expert on religion and the law, including issues related to the separation of church and state, government funding of faith-based social program and the display of religious symbols in schools, courtrooms and other public places.
On March 4, 2007, the Discovery Channel will air a program The Lost Tomb of Jesus, made by Simcha Jocobivici and James Cameron, the maker of the film Titanic. A companion volume of the same name by Jocobivici and Dr. Charles Pellegrino has just been released by HarperCollins.
In 1980, Israeli archeologist Amos Kloner examined a tomb in the Talpiyot district of Jerusalem where construction for new housing was underway. Archeologists have noted some 900 such tomb sites in this area of Jerusalem. Not much was done about the find until the children of Tova Bracha, playing in the construction debris in her basement, found an opening and wiggled down into the space beneath where they found 10 ossuaries with bones in them. Six had inscriptions on them.
In 1st century Palestine it was customary to bury a person of some means wrapped in linen and spices, let the flesh decay, and then, a year or more later, place the bones in a stone ossuary, which literally means “bone-box.” After the second discovery, archeologists moved in and the debate about the meaning of the find started bubbling to the surface. Meanwhile, the bones were buried by Israeli Rabbis following Jewish ritual law. Fragments of the bones, however, remained in the boxes that were not washed out. The boxes are now kept in an archeological warehouse in Jerusalem.