Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Trick or treaters are welcome, please come by, there is plenty of candy at our house.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obama honors our Fallen

igtntPhoto courtesy of New York Times

Last night, Obama met privately with the families of the fallen at a chapel at Dover Air Force Base. Afterwards, the President greeted the 18 flag draped coffins when they arrived back home at Dover Air Force Base. It is good to see Obama paying his respects to the Gold Star Families. More from the New York Times

This has been a horrible month for us in Afghanistan with over 55 killed, so far, we still have three days to go. Fort Carson, the Army base out of Colorado, has had 17 of their soldiers killed this month. You can read about all of the fallen, here at IGTNT. Sadly, we have an enormous amount of work to do these next few days, there will be multiple IGTNT diaries this weekend.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Going Rouge: An American Nightmare


Two editors from the Nation magazine (Richard Kim and Betsy Reed) will be releasing a book "Going Rouge: An American Nightmare" about Sarah Palin on November 17th. This the same day Sarah Palin will be releasing her own book called "Going Rogue: An American Life".

The book will be available soon to pre-order. Should be a great Christmas gift for that special woman in your life. Remember, Palin drove women away from the GOP ticket in 2008. The RNC assumed by putting a woman on the ticket, it would be enough to move the Hillary voters towards McCain. The whole plan backfired on them. She was so grossly under qualified and stupid that most women saw this as an insult to our intelligence. What is even worse for women is the GOP has plenty of fine, smart, experienced women who were up and ready for the job: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchins, Sen. Susan Collins, or Sen. Olympia Snowe, come to mind. They are far more deserving than Palin, but Palin was chosen. The lazy vetting (if any) and Palin's own polarizing speeches ended up costing McCain the election. She was and is an Epic Fail. I thought it would be impossible for the GOP to come up with someone dumber than Bush, but they found that person and her name is Sarah Palin.

The only book I want to read on Palin, would have to be written by the Nation editors. It should be a good read. Oh and it isn't a parody. Kim told Politico:
“The cover is a parody of hers and it certainly takes some shots and mocks Sarah Palin, but it is a very serious book and the book itself is not a parody,” Kim said. “It is not at all intended as a joke or a parody.”

The publisher’s website teases the book as “the most honest, revealing account of the Palin story to appear this fall? You betcha!”

The books look similar. I doubt Republicans will notice if they buy the wrong book.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From Voted Out of the Class to Honor Roll

cross-posted at Autism Chatt
alex barton

Two years ago, Alex Barton was in kindergarten, when his teacher placed him in front of the class and asked if Alex should be voted out of the class. The children voted Alex out of class. Many kids later apologized and said they felt pressured by the teacher. Alex Barton has autism. From the Palm Beach Post:

Alex Barton, now a second-grader, has made the honor roll at Jupiter Academy, where he enrolled this year.

This year is his first in a mainstream classroom setting after being voted out of his classroom as a kindergarten student.

Way to go, Alex.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

IGTNT: we shall not sleep, though poppies grow

Tonight, we honor two brave men, Pfc. Brandon Owens and Sgt. Roberto Sanchez, who died in separate incidents in Afghanistan. Since 2001, there have been 871 American troops killed in Afghanistan. Since 2003, there have been 4348 American troops killed in Iraq. Please take a moment to honor their sacrifice.

Thanks to IGTNT writers: Janos Nation and SisTwo for their help with this writing, researching and comments for this tribute. The burden is lifted when we help one another.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Roberto D. Sanchez, 24 of Satellite Beach, Fla., died Oct. 1 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield Ga.

Sgt. Sanchez was on his fifth tour of duty when he was killed in Afghanistan. He served three tours in Iraq, and this was his second time in Afghanistan. The 24 year old Army Ranger was remembered for his commitment, courage and caring for others. Florida Today spoke with Sgt. Sanchez's cousin, Zack Monninger, who said he wanted to be a soldier ever since he was a child. With his dedication and leadership, he became an Army Ranger. Besides being a good soldier, he is remembered for his thoughtfulness and compassion.

"We will always remember him as the life of the party," Monninger said. "He put family and friends above all."

At the funeral service, Army Chaplain Maj. Dave Bowlus remembered Sanchez for his courage, dedication and selflessness.

"He died doing exactly what he felt he needed to do," Bowlus said.

Chaplain Bowlus urged friends and community to support and care for Sgt. Sanchez's family during this painful time.

Sgt. Roberto Sanchez
Rest in Peace, Sgt. Roberto Sanchez

From the The Department of Defense:
Pfc. Brandon A. Owens, 21, of Memphis, Tenn. He was assigned to the 118th Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Pfc. Brandon Owens died in Wardak province, Afghanistan, on October 2nd, from injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked their unit using small arms fire.
Pfc. Brandon Owens was laid to rest this morning in Memphis, Tennessee. Congressman Steve Cohen TN-09 attended the military funeral and honored his sacrifice on the House Floor.

The funeral was not about mourning Pfc. Brandon Owens, but rather a celebration of his life and praise for his service. From WREG- Television
"Brandon already knew the possibility of death was there. He went on anyway. We have to stand up and give Brandon glory today, because Brandon had already made up his mind that was a cost he didn't mind paying," says Pastor Norman. Private Brandon Owens' final committal service was held at the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.

His parents and fiance, April, shared stories and sang songs in honor of Brandon. Coaches, teachers and friends remarked about his "infectious smile" and big heart. He was loved and is dearly missed.

His fiance, April, was his childhood sweetheart. They were planning a wedding for next April. His mother told the Eye Witness News
"He wanted to be a father," says Owens, "and a husband. God saw fit to do something else for him. And I think he's better with God than here with us. So, he did his part."

About a week before his death, Pfc. Owens called home to his mother. He had already been shot once while in Afghanistan, but now he was ready to come home. Lynda Owens told Eye Witness News:
"He had called," says his mother, "and was kind of frightened. He wanted to come home. At the same time, he knew he had something to do and he wasn't afraid to do it."

Pfc. Brandon Owens
Congressman Steve Cohen honored Pfc. Brandon Owens on the House Floor.

Here is a beautiful tribute of Pfc. Brandon Owens final trip back home.

Rest in Peace, Pfc. Brandon Owens.

In Flanders Fields Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind. Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.

All of the U.S. fatalities can be seen here and here. They all had loved ones, families and friends. The DoD news releases are here. I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect and remind. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries.

Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, greenies, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, True Blue Majority, Janos Nation, Proud Mom and Grandma, and me, Sandy on Signal. .

Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

Thank you, Timroff, for our beautiful logo.

cross-posted at Daily Kos

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Latest in Prison Garb

Ditch the orange jumpsuit and the thick black stripes. Here's indicted Tom Delay to show us the latest wear in fashion: red stripes with a big, old elephant imprinted on the backside.

"Why can't we be friends?" :the song asks. We used to be friends until Tom Delay and his hammer tactics divided the nation. This once bug exterminator wreaked havoc on bipartisanship when he became Majority House Leader aka House Whip. He is involved in several corruption scandals which sent big names like Jack Abramoff to prison.
Remember, justice Delayed is justice denied.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Hamburger Horror Show

The New York Times featured a story of a beautiful, 22 year old Minnesota woman, Stephanie Smith, who ate a hamburger tainted with E. Coli and became seriously ill. E. Coli ravaged her body and left the young, dance teacher paralyzed from the waist down. How did this happen? Here's some choice cuts from the story:

The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

and then
Those low-grade ingredients are cut from areas of the cow that are more likely to have had contact with feces, which carries E. coli, industry research shows. Yet Cargill, like most meat companies, relies on its suppliers to check for the bacteria and does its own testing only after the ingredients are ground together.

So Cargill relies on their suppliers to be honest and check for E.Coli. Hmmm? That raises a red flag for me, but the USDA does not intervene, instead, the USDA is satisfied with this self-regulation by the beef industry. There is another problem with the self-regulation, read on:
Many big slaughterhouses will sell only to grinders who agree not to test their shipments for E. coli, according to officials at two large grinding companies. Slaughterhouses fear that one grinder’s discovery of E. coli will set off a recall of ingredients they sold to others.

The NYT tried to get Cargill to speak to them, but the company refused. Imagine that. They next pursued the Department of Agriculture, read on...
While the Department of Agriculture has inspectors posted in plants and has access to production records, it also guards those secrets. Federal records released by the department through the Freedom of Information Act blacked out details of Cargill’s grinding operation that could be learned only through copies of the documents obtained from other sources. Those documents illustrate the restrained approach to enforcement by a department whose missions include ensuring meat safety and promoting agriculture markets.

The NYT did their own investigating into the hamburger ingested by Stephanie and found three different meat packing companies were involved in this one Cargill burger. The supposed "Prime Angus Cut",ended up being 50% fat and 50% beef or trimmings. The trimmings came from a Greater Omaha meat company. This corporation is facing a lawsuit by employees for the fast way they process cattle (2600 per day) which does not ensure contaminant free knives and equipment, nor a safe work-place environment.
The second slaughter house is Lone Star Beef Processors, which according to the NYT "specializes in dairy cows and bulls too old to be fattened in feedlots".
Urp.., gross.

The third slaughterhouse was down in Uruguay. Read on about Uruguay...
... government officials insist that they have never found E. coli O157:H7 in meat. Yet audits of Uruguay’s meat operations conducted by the U.S.D.A. have found sanitation problems, including improper testing for the pathogen. Dr. Hector J. Lazaneo, a meat safety official in Uruguay, said the problems were corrected immediately. “Everything is fine, finally,” he said. “That is the reason we are exporting."

There was another company involved in this hamburger known as Beef Products. Cargill has ruled out this company as the source of e coli; however, back in 2006 school officials found Beef Products was the source of e coli in our public schools. The Dept. of Agriculture took away their contract to sell hamburger to our children after the E. Coli outbreak. Given their past history, should we really trust Cargill concerning the Beef Products Corporation? I don't think so.

What can one do if the USDA is letting the foxes run the henhouses? One can give up eating hamburger all together, one probably wants to after reading this. Who wants to gamble on getting bloody diarrhea, seizures, kidney failure, comatose, and paralysis, especially in these days of no single payer care? We Americans have a special dilema, if we do have a life threatening illness, how are we going to pay for it? Even with insurance, there is a good chance you will be bankrupt from this catastrophe.

Another option if you are a die-hard carnivore is to go to a good grocery store and have the butcher make ground beef for you from a steak.

Or what our family does is buy and eat only local ground beef that is grass-fed. Grass-fed has half the saturated fats of feeder lot raised cows. Plus, grass has an enzyme in it that works in the cow's stomach to neutralize the E. Coli. A study performed at Cornell found grass -fed cattle had much, much lower instances of E.Coli verses feeder lot. It stated:
two researchers conducted a test tube study showing that E. coli from grass-fed cattle is more likely to be killed by the natural acidity of our digestive tract and therefore might be less likely to survive and make us ill.

So one doesn't have to give up on hamburger, but one should use caution and pick carefully. Remember, it can be costly to haphazardly consume any old fast food burger. We buy our hamburger from Sequatchie Cove Farm, but if this isn't available to you, look for grass-fed, local at reputable grocery stores. Our local Sequatchie Cove is proud of their humane ethics and environment. They even produced a video to counter the hamburger horror shop. Enjoy, their slaughter house:

Bon Appetite.