Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 7/27/08 - 8/3/08

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Women in the U.S. Military "...are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire..."

These are the words spoken on the above video by Rep. Jane Harman (D-California) during her testimony at a hearing on sexual assault in the military held by the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs this week.

She shared this information as the result of a recent visit to a VA hospital:
"My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military," said Harman, who has long sought better protection of women in the military.

"Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and downward spirals many of their lives have taken since.

"We have an epidemic here," she said. "Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.

This testimony, along with the heartbreaking stories of family members and the women soldiers themselves who were victims of rape don't even give the full scope of the problem.

Back in 2006, a little-reported finding from testimony at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration came from former commander of Abu Ghraib, Col. Janis Karpinski. It demonstrated that the fear of assault by their comrades-in-arms was so great, it led to the deaths of some women soldiers:
...several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark.

The latrine for female soldiers at Camp Victory wasn't located near their barracks, so they had to go outside if they needed to use the bathroom. "There were no lights near any of their facilities, so women were doubly easy targets in the dark of the night," Karpinski told retired US Army Col. David Hackworth in a September 2004 interview. It was there that male soldiers assaulted and raped women soldiers. So the women took matters into their own hands. They didn't drink in the late afternoon so they wouldn't have to urinate at night. They didn't get raped. But some died of dehydration in the desert heat, Karpinski said.

Later she testified that "Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death..."

This week, we also saw how the military is taking a cue from the Bush Administration, going to any lengths to cover up the extent of the problem including breaking the law:
As part of their investigation, the subcommittee invited and then subpoenaed Dr. Kaye Whitley, the director of the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, to testify. But Deputy Defense Undersecretary Michael Dominguez ordered her not to appear before the committee, claiming that the responsibility “rests with me.”

Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) responded by asking, “What is it you’re trying to hide.” Waxman then took him to task, even threatening to hold him in contempt:

WAXMAN: We subpoenaed her. You’ve denied her the opportunity to come and testify and put in a situation where we have to contemplate holding her in contempt. I don’t even know if we could hold you in contempt, because you haven’t been issued a subpoena. […]

I don’t know if we need to subpoena the Secretary and then hold him in contempt; Mr. Chu, and hold him in contempt; you, and hold you in contempt. Those are better options to me than to hold her in contempt, when she’s put in this untenable position, when her — in the line of command — instructs her not to comply with a subpoena of the United States Congress.

Watch the video below:

The final slap-in-the-face happens when women veterans seperate from service.

In May 2008, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash talked to Veterans Affairs Department officials about her bill to specifically provide care to women combat Veterans, an underserved population. She was surprised to find resistence.
...they brought up several concerns:

* Providing child care for women seeking mental health counseling could take away from direct care for VA patients.

* There’s no need for a study of female veterans’ needs because VA is already working on one.

* Staffing requirements for health care workers who can handle military sexual trauma would force VA to take a “cookie-cutter” approach.

Specifically regarding sexual trauma:
Cross also said VA opposes staffing standards for military sexual trauma therapy, which has become an issue since post-traumatic stress studies have found that women may have a higher rate of PTSD because of prior sexual trauma or attacks that occurred in the line of duty.

In light of the amount of sexual trauma inflicted by fellow soldiers, this resistence is suddenly not so surprising.

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From the Desk of Senator Johnny Ellis:

I am fortunate enough to live in Midtown Anchorage, District 24 which is served by Alaska Progressives Senator Johnny Ellis and Representative Berta Gardner. I am also lucky in that both of them send out informative newsletters, frequently discussing issues on which they are much better informed.

Here's Senator Ellis's newsletter regarding the huge step taken by the Senate to endorse TransCanada as the constructor of our gas pipeline.

Note: I'm one of the folks who wanted--still wants--an All-Alaskan pipeline. I will continue to hope that this vote does not close the door on that possibility.

August 1st, 2008


Friends and Neighbors,

This afternoon the Alaska Senate voted 14-5 to grant a license to TransCanada to pursue a natural gas pipeline in line with the state’s requirements. I was a “yes” vote on this bill, and I believe this is the beginning, not the end, of a race to a gas line. Alaska is closer than ever to realizing this long-held dream. This process has given us two pipeline projects racing toward the finish line.

Over the nearly two months that the Legislature discussed this issue I kept an open mind about TC Alaska’s proposal, as well as those from the Alaska Gasline Port Authority and the Denali group (British Petroleum and ConocoPhillips). After countless hours taking testimony from oil industry consultants and executives, Administration officials, and Alaska residents, I believe the Legislature has chosen the best course to deliver a gas line.

Some of the most convincing testimony we heard came from Dan Dickinson, who was an oil and gas consultant for Governor Murkowski, and who now consults with the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee. Mr. Dickinson and nearly every other expert we consulted said TC Alaska’s proposal can only move a pipeline forward, and will not crowd out competing proposals, like Denali .

Under the state’s terms, TC Alaska will receive $500 million to take it through an “open season” and to apply for a federal (FERC) license. The terms that come along with this money include some of the “must haves” in my book: Alaska hire, a pipeline with an expandable capacity, enforceable benchmarks, distance-sensitive rates, reasonable transportation rates, the possibility of an LNG Y-line from Delta to Valdez , and take off points for spur lines around the state. It has always been my priority to build a gas line on Alaska ’s terms, and today we took a major step in that direction.

It’s important to keep in mind what today’s vote did not do. It did not crowd out alternate proposals like the Port Authority and Denali . It did not inhibit a bullet line to deliver in-state gas to Southcentral. And it was not a “giveaway” of $500 million. This money buys the Alaska must haves listed above and will be recouped in the form of lower transportation (tariff) rates.

Over the last year I have voted on two of the most important issues during my time in public service. Last fall we reworked the state’s oil tax regime to give the state a more equitable share of our oil resources. And today the state moved closer than ever to a natural gas pipeline. We’re trying to spur new exploration for gas, or a “Gas Rush,” and I believe we are moving closer to making that a reality.

Next up: we’ll be working all weekend on energy relief.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm evoking an old (Southeast) Alaska tradition...

Anchorage is literally having the coldest, cloudiest summer on record.

We even got "termination dust" (snow) on the Palmer mountains in mid-July. That's wrong on so many levels...

Patti Greene spent many years living in the Southeast (Juneau and Kodiak) where sunny days are rare and relished. On this oh-so-rare sunny day in this oh-so-cold summer of 2008, she reminded me of our late Governor Jay Hammond's habit of suspending government business on a sunny day in Juneau. Heck, a sunny day in Kodiak even meant that the kids got out of school!

In fond memory of the spirit of Gov. Hammond, I am declaring today a "sunny-day-holiday" from the computer...at least until nightfall!

Happy Weekend, everyone!!!!

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Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a @#$%^&* idiot

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Memorial Service for BG Thomas L. Tinsley--KTUU Channel 2 video

It can be found at Channel 2--mouse over the video section on the right and find the "5:00 report 'A block' (July 31)". Click on it and you'll find the story at 5 min 15 sec.

There were interviews at the 6:00 hour with those who knew him best, including (I believe--I missed it) former Chief of Staff Moseley (he spoke at the memorial). They will post it all on the web after the 10:00 news (which I will watch--it's on in two hours) and I will update this post.


Mouse over the videos on the right and watch "Elmendorf general remembered."

HERE'S both the written story and the video on their website. No interview with Moseley but he does appear briefly.

HERE is the story on KTVA, Channel 11's website.

Also, here's the story on US Army Alaska site, via the 3rd Wing Public Affairs Office.

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Ray Metcalfe: We should have known...

This has been a big week for Ray Metcalfe as he's watched Ted Stevens indictment by a grand jury on 7 counts of "false statements." I can imagine Stevens being arraigned in a D.C. court is a sight Metcalfe has waited to see for a long time. He's earned it, I'll give him that. Muckraking is what he does best.

However, it seems that Metcalfe is less-talented in the areas of candidacy for Senate, party loyalty and most importantly, following Federal Election Commission rules.

Tsk, tsk...

First off, Ray has never been a serious candidate. I'm not referring to other people taking him seriously; I'm suggesting that Ray never entered this race to be a serious candidate. A visual example is the campaign picture at the top of the post. Now I've seen much better pictures of Ray and what serious candidate would use one that looks like a cross between Nosforatu and Yoda?

Back in 2007 when Ray Metcalfe first announced his candidacy for the Senate, we should have seen what he was up to after all, he told us:
"I intend to do to the Democratic Party what Sarah Palin is doing to the Republican Party," Metcalfe said in an interview with local media on Sunday. "I expect the leadership of the Democratic Party is just about as happy to see me as Randy Ruderich and the Republican Party was to see Sarah Palin."

Interestingly enough, we heard almost nothing from Ray throughout most of the campaign and not because he was being ignored--he wasn't doing anything.

Now, of course, when we are close to the primary and Ray hasn't got a chance-in-hell of winning, he comes out with paid ads promoting unfounded accusations against Mark Begich.
Ray Metcalfe is now advertising his "three hour tour" on KUDO AM and KABA AM, according to Tati Broadcasting. That's the tour where people are supposed to get on his bus, called the USS Minnow, and Metcalfe drives them to places around town where he alleges shady real estate deals went down.

He also spends a chunk of those three hours (after taking campaign donations) trying to paint Mark Begich and Ted Stevens with the same brush.

Significant difference: there are NO investigations going on in any level of government regarding Mark Begich and that includes Ray's allegations against Begich.

There are those who argue that Ray is running for office and this is just more campaigning. I agree that is true...to a point. I've spoken to a number of campaigners working for various Democratic candidates in the state right now and Ray is doing something that is crossing the line...he's handing the Republicans their anti-Begich talking points in the general election. It doesn't matter whether or not they are true--we can see that in what's being used against Barack Obama. He's tainting the probable Democratic candidate in the general election...and Ray is doing so when it's obvious that he's never been a serious candidate in his own mind, much less in public. It's no wonder that a number of Dems never trusted him, he's using this platform to grasp for another "15 minutes."

According to the FEC letter, it seems that he should do less fame-searching and more bookkeeping and paperwork to keep himself from deeper trouble. The other "cleaner" he compared himself to, Sarah Palin, has already found herself on the wrong end of an investigation.

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The Firedoglake "Ted Fest" winners--and our hero, Phil Munger, delivering "toobz" to Ted's office

Video recorded by Dennis Zaki

So "Ted Fest" is at it's triumphant conclusion--yet much more triumphant than even it's creator, Phil Munger, could have expected; I don't think anyone believed it would end with an indictment!

Phil and intrepid reporter/videographer, Dennis Zaki, went to Stevens campaign office to deliver all of the poems wrapped up on a "series of toobz." Watch the video.

Oh, and here are the winners:


Ted Stevens glows at midnight.
Son already sunk.
Glaciers calving justice

--- Prairie Sunshine


Of all the congressional critters
Ted sure knows his Toobz and transmitters
His scandals are breakin
His booze, getting taken
And now there’s no wine-ing and bitters.

--- egregious

Short Verse and Ephemera:

Veni, vidi, Veco.

--- Valley Girl


There are odd things done in the midnight sun
By the men whom Oil has sold
Their fishy tales meet with hearty gales
from wise heads when they are told
The FBI’s knights have recited some rights
but the queerest they ever had read
was that night by the mouse of a Girdwood house
that belonged to Senator Ted.

--- Darkblack

Overall Winner: - Darkblack!


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Diane Benson and Ethan Berkowitz "discussion" on KUDO 1080 AM, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Diane and Ethan are running in the primary for the chance to meet Don Young in the general election for the Alaska At-Large (AK-AL) Congressional seat.

If you're by a computer instead of a radio, go to KUDO1080.com for the internet feed.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Alaska Real's Writing Raven---dispelling modern "myths" about Alaska Natives

Part 1 of Writing Raven's series on "myths" about Alaska Natives is HERE. Today, we bring you Part 2.

Real Native Myths and Legends, #2 - Native corporation dividends

The first of this series is a pretty easy one to answer. Do all Alaska Native people receive big checks from Native corporations?

In a word - no.

And I'd like to add, if this were true, the college loan office wouldn't be calling quite so much.

All the background about why these corporations exist in the first place is incredibly rich and complicated, and most Native people my age don't know half of the history, much less the general public. I took a semester long class on the subject, and we barely scratched the surface. But here's an attempt at boiling a huge, generations-long battle into a few sentences:

The 12 original regional corporations were created in 1971, under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA.) The act is what it sounds like, the settlement of Alaska Native Land Claims, although that's a much tighter package to wrap it in than what it encompasses.

Every Alaska Native person born before the act was passed in 1971, and met the qualifying amount of Native blood, was eligible to apply as a corporation shareholder. All those born after the date (like yours truly) can not be original shareholders, and (until last year) could only receive shares through inheritance or gifts. The original funds were a legal exchange between Alaska Native people and the government, payment for land. The corporations invested in many different ways. Now, all the regional corporations - there are now 13 - as well as the dozens of village corporations, have different ways of distributing dividends, if they get one at all.

But I can gaurantee one thing - very, very few corporations are distributing big checks. And ALL of what any shareholder may receive is dependant on how the corporation operated during the year. If they invest well, the shareholders do well. If they do poorly, you see my point...

This is not an attempt to rehash what you might know, but it is an extremely common question, or assumption, about Native people and corporation checks.

Did I leave anything out?--Writing Raven

What are the Repubs thinking? Someone needs to teach them about "safe YouTube."

First, the RNC's "parody" about Obama in Germany (which also features David Hasselhoff) is actually just damn funny in...OK, I'll say it...a positive way for Obama.

Someone needs to tell the McCain people that a "parody" isn't supposed to make people laugh at the people who are making the "parody."

Then, McCain compares Obama to Britney and Paris, claiming that he is as big of a superstar as they are:

Has someone told them that calling Obama a celebrity isn't necessarily a bad thing...that people spend millions of dollars on tabloids and magazines tracking the movements of celebrities?

Can you say D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E?

I like the Obama Campaign's response a lot!

In a statement, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor had this to say:

On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, "Oops! He did it again."

Also, a group called Progressive Accountability came up with a great video rebuttle--comparing Britney rather successfully to John McCain:

And then there is my favorite...McCain doesn't speak for the McCain Campaign.

When it comes to just about everything about Sen. McCain's campaign, he has not chosen wisely.

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Ted's back at work...with a whole new media posse

Here's NBC Today's coverage this morning:

per Alaska Politics Blog:
Sen. Ted Stevens returned to work Wednesday morning as though he hadn't been indicted the day before -- although he had a bigger-than-usual crowd of reporters and photographers trailing him all day.

Stevens will be arraigned at 1 p.m. tomorrow in federal court here in Washington. Federal arraignment hearings are typically short, and about all that happens is that defendants face their charges and then are asked by a judge to enter a plea.
If I only had a port key to D.C...(I felt a geek reference was needed to break the tension).

So, since the indictment:

- Ted put out a statement.
"I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that," he said in a prepared statement. "I have proudly served this nation and Alaska for over 50 years."
- Ted stepped down from his "ranking Republican" positions on committees.

- Ted decides not to resign from his Senate seat, in spite of calls to do so from the Democratic Party. (Yet, he threatened to resign when he wasn't getting his way.)

- And ever the unselfish man, Ted decides to remain in the Senate race, much to the delight of his rivals' campaign managers. (Because only the campaign managers/workers feel "glee" over this. The candidates, Republican and Democrat, are properly respectful and sad...we swear! OK...maybe not Ray Metcalfe...)

For the next 100 days, this is going to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride...as if it wasn't already!

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Memorial Service for BG Thomas L. Tinsley held tomorrow, public invited

Video from the KTUU news story originally announcing his passing:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Elmendorf's commander will be honored later this week in a memorial service on base.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Tinsley was found dead in his home Sunday night. Tinsley died of what appears to be a self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to Air Force officials. They say no note was found.

Representatives of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology will make a final ruling on the cause of death.

A memorial service for the brigadier general will be held 2 p.m. Thursday at hangar one. The service will be open to the public.

I understand how many people are saddened and concerned about BG Tinsley's passing because of the explosion of blog traffic I've had from around the world over this story--80% of the traffic over the last two days. It also indicates to me that many folks out there who respect and admire BG Tinsley are wondering the same thing I am...why?

As someone who worked on Elmendorf in a civilian capacity for almost 13 years (the Feds for over 15) I plan to continue to research this story and follow it matter how long it takes to resolve.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich introduces several initiatives while Candidate Begich releases a short statement regarding his rival's indictment

When news of the grand jury indictment of Ted Stevens hit the fan, the first person everyone...and I do mean EVERYONE...wanted to talk to was Demo candidate for Stevens seat, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

We would have a brief opportunity, we were told. He was exercising his mayorly duties at 1:00 PM at the under-construction wing of the Art Museum. We would have an opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

It was a clever way to get everyone to cover more of that excellent (but not-very-exciting) "green stuff."

Efficient Buildings, New Streetlights Save Taxpayers Money. The Begich administration this week introduces two energy-saving initiatives to improve the city’s bottom line and create a healthier environment. A Sustainable Building Ordinance will move the city to more energy efficient buildings by requiring “green” city buildings and incentives for private sector builders. The other initiative upgrades city streetlights with high-efficiency LED fixtures. The fixtures will replace 16,000 roadway lights and use 50 percent less energy, saving the city $360,000 annually.

First, however, he released a very brief statement regarding Stevens (per his campaign blog):
U.S. Senate candidate Mark Begich today released the following statement regarding the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens:

“The indictment of Senator Ted Stevens is a sad day for Alaska and for the senator after his 40 years of service to our state. The people of Alaska are resilient and strong.

I have great faith in our state and our people, and we will continue to move forward.”

After he was done, he briefly answered questions. He said he felt his statement spoke for itself and that "...at the end of the day, we are resilient, we are Alaskans, we have a pioneering spirit and we'll keep moving forward." He didn't feel that it was "appropriate" to talk about the campaign, "It's an issue that Senator Stevens will have to go through."

The Sustainable Building Ordinance will be introduced to the Assembly today and should be up for public comment sometime in August.

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What a day to be on the radio and away from my blog; Ted Stevens indicted on 7 counts!!!!

So I was on my regular Tuesday "Democratic Hour" on Cary Carrigan's Show, KUDO 1080, with Alaska Dem Leader Patti Higgins and we had just ended. Suddenly, producer Rishi Maharaj got a phone call saying that "Stevens" had been indicted. Rishi asked "Ben?" but the caller yelled "NO, TED!!!!"

None of us believed it.

Immediately afterwards, CNN top-of-the-hour news came on with, you guessed it, breaking news that Ted Stevens had been indicted!!

We were stunned.

Here is the FBI/DOJ press conference:

From CNN:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was indicted Tuesday on charges that he lied about receiving gifts worth more than $250,000 from an Alaska-based energy company on whose behalf he intervened in Washington.

The indictment, returned Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Washington, says the veteran lawmaker "schemed to conceal" the fact that Veco paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work on his home.

The indictment follows a wide-ranging investigation into ties between the company and lawmakers in Alaska.

The indictment does not accuse Stevens of accepting bribes, Matt Friedrich, the acting assistant attorney general, emphasized in a news conference announcing the charges.

"Bribery is not charged in this case," he said, adding that such a charge "requires proof of a specific quid pro quo. This indictment does not allege that."

That is significant because bribery is very hard to prove. However, "making false statements on Federal documents" is one of the violations every new Federal employee is told that if proven would get them automatically fired, if not jailed and fined.

Think of it as Capone getting busted for tax evasion.

The Anchorage Daily News has the official documents on their website.

Per the ADN article:
With the felony indictment, Stevens, an icon in Alaska politics, becomes by far the most powerful politician charged in a broad investigation into corruption of Alaska public officials that began more than four years ago and that has so far led to convictions of three state legislators and charges against two others.

At a news conference in Washington today, Matthew Friedrich, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's criminal division, said Stevens would be allowed to turn himself in. Stevens' attorney, Brendan Sullivan of Washington, was notified of the indictment this morning, Friedrich said.

Reading the charges made me sad and angry at the same time.

I'm sad because this is a perfect example how power and money can corrupt a once great man--and I say that very seriously.

I'm angry because I remember when a co-worker (project manager) had become friends with one of the contractors working on one of his projects. The co-worker's truck "blew up" and he had no transport (in the middle of a messy divorce) so this contractor had an extra, really beat-up truck that she lent him. (I saw it--it ran--that was the extent of it.)

I think she lent it to him for no longer than a week.

Sure enough, they opened up a conflict-of-interest investigation that (of course) only turned up that she lent him the truck.

According to the charges, Ted Stevens has been receiving items like free remodeling on a home, a friggin' Land Rover, and a Viking grill from 1999 to 2006. These are just the things that we know of.

Questions I have asked (and have been answered):

1) Can Stevens resign from or can the Republicans pull him off the primary ballot? No.

2) If he wins the primary, can Stevens pull himself off the general election ballot? Yes, up to 48 days before the election.

3) Can the Republicans pull him off of the general election ballot if he doesn't want to go? The general consensus is "no" because the Alaska voters will have spoken in the primary. However, I haven't seen the related statute on that.

Question I have asked that no one can answer:

Is Ted Stevens the biggest fish or is there someone else out there?


I turned on MSNBC to see their coverage on Stevens. Right now, they are friggin' "all earthquake, all the time"--busily covering a total non-event.

No real damage, no injuries...nothing friggin' happened.

So they are spending all of their time going from county to county talking about how nothing happened in each county and what services were not effected.

I want to scream.

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Tragedy on Elmendorf--BG Thomas L. Tinsley, 3rd Wing Commander, dies of a gunshot wound--UPDATE: Was Tinsley under extra pressure?

Photo courtesy of USAF, Tinsley Bio

Per the ADN:
The commander of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base died of what is being described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his on-base home Sunday night, the Air Force said this afternoon.

The Air Force is investigating and can't say whether the shot that killed Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Tinsley was accidental or a suicide, Col. Richard Walberg said in a press conference.

Tinsley did not leave a suicide note.

Tinsley was declared dead around 10:30 p.m., according to a statement issued by the Air Force early this morning.

A video of the press conference with Col. Richard Walberg can be found HERE.


I know that this is an ongoing investigation and they are unsure if it is suicide or an accident. However, I knew that the Air Force has been under a huge shake-up for the last two months and wondered if that had put any extra pressure on BG Tinsley. Here is a story from June 5th:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates ousted the Air Force's top military and civilian leaders Thursday, holding them to account in a historic Pentagon shake-up after embarrassing nuclear mix-ups.

Gates announced at a news conference that he had accepted the resignations of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne - a highly unusual double firing.

Gates said his decision was based mainly on the damning conclusions of an internal report on the mistaken shipment to Taiwan of four Air Force electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads. And he linked the underlying causes of that slip-up to another startling incident: the flight last August of a B-52 bomber that was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

The report drew the stunning conclusion that the Air Force's nuclear standards have been in a long decline, a "problem that has been identified but not effectively addressed for over a decade."

These incidents began in August of 2006.

Later in the article:
Gates also announced that "a substantial number" of Air Force general officers and colonels were identified in the Donald report as potentially subject to disciplinary measures that range from removal from command to letters of reprimand. He said he would direct the yet-to-be-named successors to Wynne and Moseley to evaluate those identified culprits and decide what disciplinary actions are warranted - "or whether they can be part of the solution" to the problems found by Donald.
This from BG Tinsley's resume:
August 2005 - May 2007, executive officer to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
I found this headline, from today:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Air Force's logistics chief resigned Monday, saying the recent leadership shake up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates has hurt his ability to do his job.

In a sharply worded memo obtained by The Associated Press, William Anderson said the changes limit his ability to take care of the airmen and their families with the vigor they deserve.

"I can no longer draw on a critical mass of leadership within the Pentagon who share your vision for the support necessary to lean forward to aggressively support these American heroes," Anderson said in a memo to Bush.

This could all be coincidental and completely unrelated to the sad events of Sunday. However, the timing struck me as potentially significant.

Let me also be clear: I am NOT insinuating that BG Tinsley did anything wrong. It is also far from my intention to add to the pain of the family at this time. As an almost-15-year former employee of the military, I learned that excellent, caring officers are tarnished by controversy because the responsible big-wigs deflect the blame. I hope this is not the case with BG Tinsley.

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Petty, Bitter, Mysogynist--Yup, it's another McCain moment

"Senator McCain, Elizabeth Holmes with the Wall Street Journal"

**McCain turns away**

McCain: "Who else has a question?"

At least he didn't use the "C" word this time!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Sens. Stevens and Murkowski Stand in the Way of “Advancing America 's Priorities”

Here we go again...

While Stevens earlier in the month praised an agreement to combat online child pornography, today he (along with Sen. Murkowski) HELPED TO BLOCK "Advancing America's Priorities Act" (S. 3297) which includes a provision to "combat child exploitation."

Enhancing Child Pornography Prosecution Act/ Child Pornography Prosecution Act/ PROTECT Our Children Act, which would have cracked down on child pornography, closed a legal loophole to ensure child pornography offenses are prohibited to their fullest extent under the law and streamlined the protection and investigation of child exploitation cases by establishing a Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention within the Department of Justice
This afternoon, by a vote of 52 - 43, Republican Senators stuck with Tom Coburn and voted against moving forward of the Omnibus package, which included numerous vital bills sponsored by some of those same GOP Senators.

The roll call vote is here. Susan Collins (ME) burnished her right wing credentials by sticking with Coburn.

Those Republicans filibustered the bill and wouldn't even allow debate to proceed.
So once again, Stevens supports a "fluff piece" that would happen with or without his support, then votes lockstep with the Republicans AGAINST the issue he pretended to support...on a bill that actually could make a difference.

Other things in the Bill that Ted and Lisa voted against:

Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, which supported and enhanced cooperation in paralysis research, rehabilitation, and quality of life programs for people with paralysis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Registry Act, which established a national registry to collect data to improve the study of ALS

Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Act, which would strengthen the ability of the Federal Government to investigate and prosecute unsolved murders from the civil rights era

Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, which would have helped provide support services to women suffering from postpartum depression and educate mothers and their families about these conditions

Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act, which was aimed at improving the care of patients presenting with stroke symptoms

Vision Care for Kids Act, which provided access to eye exams, treatment and vision services for children

Drug Endangered Children Act, which authorized grants to help transition drug endangered children into safe environments

Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act, which communities address the needs of the mentally ill in the justice system.

Some history: Called the "Tomnibus Bill" by the New York Times because of Tom Coburn's vehement resistence:
Congress has dealt for decades with catchall bills known as omnibus legislation. Now, for the first time, comes the Tomnibus.

A product of Democratic frustration with the tactics of Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican and physician who has become the Dr. No of the Senate, the Tomnibus is a $10 billion collection of Coburn-blocked measures assembled by the Senate leadership in an effort to break his solitary grip on the legislative process.

Americans United for Change said it best:
“Another bill, another Republican move of obstructionism,” said Caren Benjamin of Americans United for Change. “This legislation would have helped millions of Americans from all avenues - including protecting our children from being exploited and providing funding to those suffering from spinal cord injuries and ALS. By voting against the bill, Alexander, Corker and their Republicans colleagues turned their backs on those most in need and stood in the way of real progress on countless fronts. It is a sad day when voters can no longer count on their representatives to stand up for them when they at their most vulnerable.”

Contact Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski to let them know how you feel.

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Our friend from Chicago is on the plane...

So I'll be back to blogging tonight...I've gotten behind...

Upcoming posts--interview with Diane Benson, Responses to my "6 questions" from Ethan Berkowitz, Diane Benson and Mark Begich

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Let's be accurate, this is REALLY about a woman (and family) scorned!

Photo courtesy of KTUU Channel 2

Per the Law Encyclopedia: Motive--An idea, belief, or emotion that impels a person to act in accordance with that state of mind.

Here is a comment (and my response) that I received in regards to Chuck Kopp's firing:

Polarbear said...:

In the Palin family, as for many of us, children come first. I think the Palin family felt, with some justification, that the children were in danger. The Commissioner was caught up in representing the trooper and the labor contract rather than the public. The issue is about who speaks for and protects the children. When the State Troopers did not rise to that task, the Palins formed rank around the children, wholly predictable given their family values. It was at that point when Commissioner Monegan should have had a tool to bring in an external investigator, but he did not have that tool. The problem ought to be de-politicized a bit, and approached with a little more understanding. The causes of this problem can be fixed, so that it does not happen again. I recommend dropping the perception of political advantage on this problem. I am hoping that 'Progressive' means fixing problems, and not falling into the same old pattern of partisan politics accompanied by polarization.

7/26/2008 10:24 AM

CelticDiva said...


I know all about "trancending partisan politics" as during this entire issue, folks who generally hate me on the ADN site were actually giving me compliments in their comments.

I felt the need to take a shower.

While I believe that maybe the Palins have talked themselves into thinking this was about the children, Sarah's email to former Col. Julia Grimes betrays otherwise.


Sarah is reacting as the sister of a "woman scorned" and while I agree that cheating parents do not provide the best role models, cheating in and of itself does not necessarily put the child in "danger."

The "righteous" Palins were perfectly OK with Wooten shooting a moose on his wife's tag...up to that point. Nothing was said about any tasering issue...up to that point. The more-than-36 charges didn't start flying...until that point.

What's more accurate here (and every piece of newly-discovered behavior is backing this up) is that the Heath/Palins act like the traditional Norwegian or Celtic clans of old--if you insult any member of the "clan" you will "suffer" until the last member's dying breath.

7/26/2008 11:43 AM

I later corrected "Norwegian" to "Norse"--Viking.

Today's Anchorage Daily News confirms the timeline:
The troopers' investigation into Wooten began after Chuck Heath -- Wooten's father-in-law and Palin and McCann's dad -- alerted troopers about a domestic violence protective order McCann had obtained against Wooten on April 11, 2005. McCann filed for divorce the same day, according to the court docket.

The trooper had not physically assaulted his wife but intimidated her and threatened to shoot him, Heath told troopers, according to a memo about the complaint.
And we know when and why that alleged threat, argument and ensuing accusations occurred thanks to Sarah Palin's email to Col. Julia Grimes...right after his affair was discovered:

"When confronted with this affair that others in the community were talking about, Wooten threatened to kill his wife's father, Chuck Heath, if Mr. Heath followed through with his offer to help Molly get an attorney to help her if they were to divorce."
Notice that I highlighted the text "When confronted with this affair that others in the community were talking about." I did so because that phrase shows great insight into what was REALLY bothering the Heath/Palins. Not only did he cheat on his wife, he flaunted it and shamed the entire "clan."

The Daily News article today shows the timeline of every charge that was found to be "sustained." That timeline provides the evidence that the safety of the children was NOT the primary motive behind all of this. Everything started right after the discovery of his affair, LONG AFTER THESE INCIDENTS OCCURRED! (other than the "threat")

Why this is significant is that it helps to explain both the known and "alleged" behaviors of Governor Palin and "the First Dude" in this matter. They do not reflect a family filled with concern but they smack of a family ("clan") obsessed with revenge. Walt Monegan, who is learned in the subtleties of human behavior, must have identified this.

Regarding Wooten: Yes, it looks to me like Mike Wooten is a real bastard. However, having known a number of police officers, his story is not that unusual when it comes to the ability of officers to have interpersonal relationships and a decent family life. Officers are well-documented has having a high divorce rate.

As far as the other issues go, the investigation is over and he's already served his punishment. I think the "one more incident and you'll be fired" understanding is enough of a Sword of Damocles hanging over his head.


Lisa Demer is normally an excellent reporter for the ADN. However, I'm not so sure about today's story on Wooten. Several commenters on this story have questioned Lisa Demer's motives for writing it.

I'm kind of wondering the same thing.

If it's for the sensational value, I can understand that. This story is at 130 comments and climbing.

However, it does make Trooper Michael Wooten the target of even more speculation, possibly seriously compromising his on-the-job effectiveness and his credibility. Couldn't that hurt him in a custody case? Also, it takes the focus off of the real story, whether or not Sarah and Todd are abusing power and giving illegal access.

Isn't that what the Heath/Palins want?

I wonder how hard it is to remain neutral after covering a story like THIS?

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