Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 2007

He knew, and he did nothing

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From Salon.com:

Though he has since dodged the question in a television interview, the officer in charge of medical care for the U.S. Army was told more than two months ago that the Army’s outpatient medical care program was dysfunctional, yet he apparently took no action in response. The Army’s outpatient services include the substandard treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that has been the subject of a number of recent articles in the Washington Post and a series of stories in Salon in 2005.

At a meeting last Dec. 20, a group of veterans advocates informed Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, former commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and now the Army surgeon general, that soldiers returning from Iraq were routinely struggling for outpatient treatment and getting tangled in the military’s byzantine disability compensation system — and that their families were suffering along with them.

“We are here to tell you that our soldiers and our veterans, and some of their families, are falling through the cracks,” Steve Robinson, director of veterans affairs at Veterans for America, told Kiley at a meeting of the Department of Defense Health Board Task Force on Mental Health. Kiley co-chairs the panel, which was created by Congress to probe military mental-healthcare capabilities. “Hundreds and potentially thousands of soldiers are facing barriers to mental healthcare,” said Robinson, “and are facing improper discharges” because of the Army’s complex discharge and compensation system.

Robinson also warned Kiley, who ran Walter Reed from 2002 through 2004 and still has responsibility for it as Army surgeon general, that the scandalous situation threatened to become a media firestorm. “If we identify something,” said Robinson, “we would much rather bring it to the chain of command than see it reported in [CBS’] ’60 Minutes.'”

Kiley called the veterans’ remarks “very important testimony,” and allowed speakers to go beyond their allotted time limits, but there’s no evidence that he has followed up. Since the Post stories broke, Kiley has mostly insisted that the outpatient problems are confined to poor building maintenance, and has denied any evidence of poor healthcare treatment.

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2007 at 2:01 pm

So many, many lies

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What has happened to government honesty?

The mystery of how and why a government wiretap summary falsely attributed anti-Jewish slurs to officials of a Muslim charity remained unanswered Tuesday as federal prosecutors pledged to look into the matter.

In court papers filed late Monday, the U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas said it was trying to determine how the recently declassified summary of a 1996 FBI wiretap of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development included vitriolic language that was not found in a verbatim transcript of a recorded conversation.

“The government is attempting to determine the reason for the discrepancy between the summary and the transcript,” prosecutors said, adding that officials wanted to locate the language specialist who prepared the summary.

Meanwhile, the unexplained discrepancies have brought potential controversy to the government’s biggest terrorism funding case to date.

According to the discredited summary, Holy Land officials referred to Israel as “the government of the demons” and to Jews as trying “to rob as much money as possible from the American taxpayers for the illegitimate excuse of protecting and preserving the chosen people of God.”

One Muslim charity official supposedly told a colleague: “Even Jesus Christ had called the Jews and their high priests … the sons of snakes and scorpions.”

None of those comments was contained in a 13-page verbatim transcript of the conversation recorded April 15, 1996, by the FBI. In response, defense lawyers demanded declassification of large portions of the government’s documents in the case.

On Monday, federal prosecutors argued that the discrepancies were not serious enough to justify such sweeping declassifications.

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2007 at 1:56 pm

Good reminder from Kevin Drum

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Good point (and more on Cheney, by Glenn Greenwald, here):

It’s hard to remember now, but during the first few years of the Bush administration Dick Cheney was widely viewed as a wise old man, the steady hand at the Bush tiller. As we’ve been reminded repeatedly in the past few weeks, that conventional wisdom is laughable now — but if you had been subscribing to the Washington Monthly back in 2002, you would have read Josh Marshall’s “Vice Grip” and you would have known just how laughable it was even back then:

Why, though, has the press failed to grasp Cheney’s ineptitude? The answer seems to lie in the power of political assumptions….It doesn’t take long for a given politician to get pegged with his or her own brief story line. And those facts and stories that get attention tend to be those that conform to the established narrative. In much the same way, Cheney’s reputation as the steady hand at the helm of the Bush administration — the CEO to Bush’s chairman — is so potent as to blind Beltway commentators to the examples of vice presidential incompetence accumulating, literally, under their noses. Though far less egregious, Cheney’s bad judgment is akin to Trent Lott’s ugly history on race: Everyone sort of knew it was there, only no one ever really took notice until it was pointed out in a way that was difficult to ignore. Cheney is lucky; as vice president, he can’t be fired. But his terrible judgment will, at some point, become impossible even for the Beltway crowd not to see.

Josh has since gone on to build a blog empire over at TPM Cafe, but you can still read this kind of reporting ten times a year in the Washington Monthly. So subscribe and stay ahead of the curve! The stuff we publish today won’t be in the New York Times until next year.

And it’s only 30 bucks. It helps support the cause of good liberal journalism and it helps keep this blog in business too. You can subscribe for yourself here. Order a gift subscription here.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2007 at 1:46 pm

Group calendar management

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I know a lot of people who will find this group calendar application useful: Rota Board, Web 2.0, free, and easy to use. Not only can all sorts of workplaces use it, it would also be very useful for a busy family with lots of activities—especially since it can be updated from any computer with an Internet connection.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2007 at 1:35 pm

Beautiful Ladies’ Gillette

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Ladies Gillette

The Ladies’ Gillette was introduced in 1963, and this one was made in 4th quarter 1962, so it was in the first batch on the market. Extremely good condition, as you see: 44 years old, and still looking new. Just thought it was extremely nice. Click the photo and then click it again to see it full size and appreciate the detail.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2007 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Shaving

Joe Conason calls out Dick Cheney

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Via Firedoglake, the column:

Americans frustrated with the Democratic Congressional leaders for dithering over Iraq should never forget who actually drove us into the Iraqi quagmire. Even those Democrats who voted for the President’s war resolution in 2002 did so only after the President publicly and repeatedly promised—with the deepest insincerity—that he would only invade Iraq as a “last resort.”

Responsibility for that lie and many others rests squarely with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, their aides and enablers, who have spent nearly four years, thousands of lives, and hundreds of billions of dollars to create catastrophe. Today, every policy alternative, including a phased withdrawal, is likely to impose costly consequences on us, on the Iraqis, on the region, and on the world.

So perhaps the Democrats deserve more than a month or two to determine how we might best extricate our troops from that complex and perilous situation.

Besides, as the White House has loudly proclaimed, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney will ignore any Congressional action that would cut short their bloody misadventure. Rather than engage in honest debate over a saner course in Iraq, the Vice President has resorted to the same discredited rhetoric used by him and his allies from the beginning.

Seeking to intimidate the Congressional leaders last week, he recited the misleading old formula conflating war in Iraq with the struggle against Al Qaeda. His theories on that subject have been blown up with the same force and frequency as those daily explosions on Baghdad’s streets. Only a few days ago, the Pentagon Inspector General issued a devastating report describing how Mr. Cheney’s agents in the Defense Department distorted intelligence to “prove” the mythical linkage between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

Moreover, every credible analysis of the Iraq insurgency estimates that only a tiny fraction of the fighters are linked to Al Qaeda in any significant way. While the jihadist movement is growing, Mr. bin Laden and his lieutenants can profit from our mistakes without leaving their strongholds thousands of miles away.

But Mr. Cheney cares nothing for those facts. As the official who most vehemently assured us of the certain existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he remains immune to the kind of embarrassment that would have required an honorable man to resign from office long ago.

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2007 at 1:10 pm

Good tips

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I continue to get good tips from Daytipper.com. Today’s:

Family
Always smile when your child enters the room
It makes you feel great and makes them feel wonderful. You will be amazed at how many more hugs and kisses you get to give and receive.

Household
Use car wax on your snow shovel
During the winter storm we had in the Midwest, I had to shovel 12 inches of snow. The snow was wet and kept sticking to the shovel and was slowing me down. So, I got some car wax and put it on pretty thick on the shovel, let it dry and the snow didn’t stick. The snow slipped off easily and I didn’t have to stop to scrape off the build up.

Pets
Use a stone to make your dog eat slower
We have an Old English Sheepdog with a very sensitive stomach. If he eats too fast, he hurls. So we took a fist-sized stone and put it in his bowl. Now, he must eat around it and as a result, it takes him about 5 minutes longer to eat his meal. This has eliminated the vomiting and thus the carpet stains.

Buying & Selling
Use Retailmenot to obtain coupon codes

Many online stores allow for a “coupon” or “promotion” code when you order to automatically assign discounts, deals and freebies. A great website, RetailMeNot.com, is a one-stop shop for finding and sharing these coupon codes.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2007 at 11:10 am

Posted in Daily life

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