After opening statements, Jim Schaffer, current Spokane Fire Department captain and former member of the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (Maj. Witt's squadron), began his testimony. Before retiring from the Air Force in 2006, he and Maj. Witt served on the same flight crew on a number of missions and were deployed together a number of times. Schaffer spoke about Maj. Witt's stellar career and told stories of how her calm, cool, and collected nature, plus her ability to include all team members, helped their team succeed and save lives. He told of a particular occasion where a Department of Defense civilian went into cardiac arrest while aboard a plane, and Maj. Witt's ability to accurately assess the situation made sure that the person survived.
He also spoke about the nature and culture of the 446th. Particularly moving was his description of his retirement party: He made sure to invite Maj. Witt to the event, and then used the occasion to provide a send-off for her, complete with signed notes and a photograph from members of her unit. Schaffer made it very clear that Maj. Witt was someone he admired and trusted.
Next up was Jenny Kofpstein, who was discharged 2002 from the Navy under Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). Jenny, a decorated Navy Lt. Junior Grade, spent much of her testimony discussing integrity and honesty. After she completed the Naval Academy and served a few years, her inability to talk about her life off-ship became a problem. She spoke of the trust needed to work well as a team. By avoiding routine conversations about weekend activities, partners and dinner plans, she had inadvertently created space between herself and her shipmates.That is Nina Russell-Jenkins reporting on Major Margaret Witt's efforts in a civilian court to overturn her discriminatory discharge for being gay (ACLU Blog of Rights). So that's an ongoing court case. You may remember I blogged about the case where the California judge ruled that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was unconstitutional. That lawsuit against DADT was brought by the Log Republicans. Michael Triplett (Mediaite) reports:
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been one of television’s most vocal critics of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and has featured almost every major figure in the battle to repeal the law. R. Clarke Cooper is a captain in the Army Reserves, the head of a national gay rights organization, and an outspoken advocate for repealing DADT whose organization just won the biggest legal battle so far in challenging the rule.
Despite the obvious match, Cooper–head of the gay Log Cabin Republicans–can’t get booked on Maddow’s show even though she says she’s desperate to get Republicans on her show.
“I’m a little dumbfounded, quite honestly, by why she hasn’t had us on,” Cooper told Mediaite, adding that his press people have been in regular contact with MSNBC and Maddow’s bookers.The Log Cabin Republicans won a historic victory. I don't know what Rachel Maddow's problem is, she needs to have them on her show. Rachel Maddow's an idiot. For more on DADT, refer to this Washington Post article by Ed O'Keefe.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"