Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CNN plays dumb

Dylan Byers (POLITICO) reports that despite CNN contributor Roland S. Martin's homophobic Twitter tirade, CNN has issued no statement on the matter.

“They haven’t responded to requests for comment from us. We think it’s important for the public to hear from them,” says Herndon Graddick, a spokesman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Graddick formerly worked for CNN). “Every 15-year-old knows what ’whip the ass of the guy in the pink suit’ is code for.”

Exactly when does CNN plan to issue a statement? Ever?

Or are they just going to ignore it?

It's coming off like they're planning to just ignore it.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: The Sensual Roberta Flack" is an amazing review of an amazing album by Roberta Flack singing songs of the Beatles and giving them her own unique approach.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, rumors abound that the State Dept is cutting the size of the Iraq Mission. supposedly the US Ambassador to Iraq will change, Iraqiya resumed attending Cabinet hearings, Jill Stein wins a primary, and more.

Today Tim Arango (New York Times) reports that the US officials in DC and Baghdad were reconsidering the size of the US 'diplomatic' mission in Iraq and that "the Americans have been frustrated by what they see as Iraqi obstructionism and are now largely confined to the embassy because of security concerns, unable to interact enough with ordinary Iraqis to justify the $6 billion annual price tag." Jeremy Herb (The Hill) adds, "The size of the State Department's presence at the US embasy in Iraq, the largest in the world, was intended to maintain U.S. influence within the government of Iraq, as well as to counter outside influences like Iran."

The US State Dept is not the only foreign 'force' in Iraq. Or even the only American one. With the CIA, the FBI and Special Ops still in Iraq, with Marines guarding the US Embassy (meaning they are in Iraq still) and the US military 'trainers' (which Nouri has declared publicly is 700 more US soldiers), with 17,000 'State Dept' workers still in Iraq, the occupation continues.

So do the risks. Ted Koppel reported on Iraq in December for Rock Center with Brian Williams (NBC). Excerpt.

Ted Koppel: If those Iranian backed militias were to launch a full scale attack on this consulate, would the US calvary ride to the rescue?

US Ambassador James Jeffrey: We depend upon the Iraqis and if we need security support, we will turn to them and we will tell them, "I've got a problem in Basra and you need to help us.

Ted Koppel: The question is will they?

US Ambassador James Jeffrey: I believe they will.

Ted Koppel: That's what an ambassador has to say about his hosts. This is the man who might actually have to deal with that nightmare, Lt Gen Robert Caslan. General, how are you going to get 1320 people out of there? I mean if you've 24 hours notice that something like this was going to happen, you're telling me the Iraqi government would evacuate immediately? Would get them all out of there?

Lt Gen Robert Caslan: I would argue that we do have, in theater, whether it's in Kuwait or elsewhere in theater, that we fall under the central command, Centcom, and I feel confident that Centcom has the necessary assets to take whatever measures they need to to counter that attack.

Aswat al-Iraq reported what US outlets wouldn't last month: "Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr clled his 'resistance' followers to be prepared to face the US Embassy in Baghdad, if they did not stop their breaches. In response to a question made to his followers, received by Aswat al-Iraq, he expressed rejection that US officials walk in Baghdad streets with their weapons."

Now since then, a US helicopter emergency landed in Baghdad (with another transporting the Americans away), reports of F-16 jets flying overhead are coming from the Iraqi Parliament and there is the drone issue which enraged Iraqis last week. Today,Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports that the US is stating that they are only flying planes and drones and helicopters in Iraq airspace to provide protection for the US Embassy in Baghdad (and its various consulates throughout the country). Parliaments Security and Defense wants answers as to exactly what the US is doing in Iraq's skies.

In this climate, a decision may (or may not have) been made. Equally true, we were informed last week that the US and Iraq were back in negotiations regarding the US military presence. If a pull out of diplomatic 'forces' is going to happen, at present, the American people have no idea whether this is happening on its own or as part of the negotiation process for US troops in Iraq. The issue was a large portion of the US State Dept press briefing today that spokesperson Victoria Nuland handled (link is transcript with video options).

QUESTION: The New York Times is reporting that -- quoting U.S. officials as saying that the State Department is considering slashing the number of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq from what it says is about 16,000, including contractors, by as much as a half. Is that true?

MS. NULAND: Well, we saw this reporting just as we were preparing to come down today. First, let me say that with regard to our diplomatic presence, there is no consideration being given to slashing our diplomats by half. What we are doing -- and Deputy Secretary Nides is leading this process -- is looking at how we can right-size our Embassy in Iraq and particularly how we can do more for that mission through the hiring of local employees rather than having to be as dependent as we've been in the past on very expensive contractors. So we're trying to do our best to save the American taxpayer money in the way we support our diplomatic personnel. We're also looking to acquire more of the supporting things for the Embassy, including food supplies, et cetera, from the local economy, so trying to do more locally with local Iraqis and on the local economy and save the taxpayer money. So what ultimate numbers will result from this in reductions in contractors, we don't know yet. This process has just begun, but we are trying to ensure that it is rigorous and that it gets us to a much more normal embassy, like some of our big embassies around the world.

QUESTION: So just talking about the diplomats for a moment, so you're not considering slashing their numbers by a half?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: Are you considering slashing their numbers by 40 percent, by 30 percent, by 20 percent, by 2 percent, by zero? I mean --

MS. NULAND: Again, if we can find efficiencies, we will. Obviously we're still working with the Iraqis on some of the programming that these diplomats are charged with managing. So with regard to whether we may be able to reduce some of the diplomatic staff, we will look at that. But I just wanted to make clear that we have a lot to do in Iraq, so some of these reportings about the level of diplomats is -- were exaggerated.

QUESTION: Okay. And then the number of contractors – are you looking to slash those by as much as a half?

MS. NULAND: We're looking to save the taxpayer money and do the same work as efficiently as we can. I can't predict where this review will come out, but obviously we will brief you fully on it when we get to the end of it.

QUESTION: I can't predict where the review will come out either, but the report is that you're looking to cut the number of contractors by as much as a half. I mean, is that right?

MS. NULAND: Again, we --

QUESTION: That would save the U.S. Government a lot of money. It would cut the amount presumably you're paying for contractors in half.

MS. NULAND: We want to save as much money as we can without sacrificing the quality of the work or our support for our people. So that's what Deputy Secretary Nides is looking at now. It's going to be a bottom-up review. And I can't tell you where it's going to come out, because it's really just started, okay?

QUESTION: Is it not -- does the fact that you are considering this not suggest that the U.S. Government grossly overestimated how many people it would need in Iraq?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think what we have here is an embassy structure that was built for a different time and that relied a lot on expensive contracting for a whole range of reasons, some of them historic, some of them security-related. Our judgment now is that we can adapt that for today's Iraq, do our diplomatic business just as well and just as rigorously, but far more efficiently. So that's the task that Deputy Secretary Nides has been tasked with. I don't want to get ahead of what he's going to conclude as he looks at this and as he works with our mission out there.

QUESTION: You're talking about a different time, but the Embassy only opened, I think, in early 2009 or at the -- maybe it was 2008. It's not that long ago. It's only three years ago.

MS. NULAND: Well, we've had a diplomatic presence in Iraq all the way through, and it's waxed and waned. But our view is that it is currently too dependent on contractors. We can do more with Iraqi staff. We can do more on the local economy, and it'll make it cheaper.

QUESTION: When did this start?

MS. NULAND: Deputy Secretary Nides has been working on it informally for a number of months, but he's now put together a real bottom-up review team in the last couple of weeks.

QUESTION: Okay. And then when did the magic light bulb go off of somebody's head that 16,000 contractors might be a few too many?

MS. NULAND: Well, we've been working on rightsizing this mission all the way through as we looked at the transition. Obviously, this is a time of transition for us too.

QUESTION: Where -- do you know where the half figure that Arshad kept alluding to, which is actually in the headline of the Times story but never appears in the body of the story -- where would that have come from, if you know?

MS. NULAND: Sounds like a question for The New York Times, not for me.

QUESTION: Well, no. But --

QUESTION: Toria, it's in the lead of the story, also.

QUESTION: Well, it's nowhere --

MS. NULAND: Guys, I'm going to leave you to dispute this with the Times.

QUESTION: The lead is part of the story.

QUESTION: No, no, no, no. It's not about that. It's just that it came from somewhere. It's not -- but it's not mentioned again. I mean, is it -- is that the optimal?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think I've spoken to this for about the last 10 minutes. We don't know yet where this is going to go on the contractor side.

QUESTION: All right. And then --

QUESTION: Different topic.

QUESTION: One simple one on this. How do you tell the American people that you weren't grossly mistaken here?

MS. NULAND: We have been in the process of transitioning this Embassy from a civilian staff that worked within the context of an entire American footprint that included a very large military footprint, which has been going down. So at a certain point in time, we had diplomatic staff out in many, many parts of Iraq, co-located with our military staff. We have, over the last few months -- as you know very well, Arshad -- been pulling this staff back to consulates. They continue to cover all of Iraq, but they do it in a different lay down than we did it before. The military has traditionally been dependent on a lot of contractor support, some of which stayed to work with us as we move to a civilian structure. So now in the context of getting ourselves to a purely embassy and consulate structure, we are able to take that next step, which is to look at whether contracting is still as necessary.

QUESTION: It's not as if this was a great surprise to you that the number of military was going down. I mean, President Obama campaigned on it.

MS. NULAND: That's right. And this process of looking at the right size of our civilian presence has been going on for many months and this is the stage that we're at right now.

QUESTION: Quick clarification on this. You said that you want to cut down in the contractors. Many of these contractors provide protection and security and so on. And you say that you want to hire local. So would you rely on Iraqis to provide security for the U.S. Embassy? Is that what you're saying?

MS. NULAND: I'm not going to get into, in advance of Deputy Secretary Nides's review and his recommendations to the Secretary, what functions might be able to be done locally. But we're looking at the whole thing.In the back.

QUESTION: Hold on.

MS. NULAND: Is it still Iraq?

QUESTION: Thank you. It's different topic. It's about the Summit of the Americas.

MS. NULAND: Hold on one second. Let me just finish Iraq. I hope finish Iraq.

QUESTION: So, in the story that they're talking about the examples of hardship faced by people at the Embassy included dwindling lettuce at the salad bar, the cafeteria, and the lack of Splenda sweetener for their coffee. Does the State Department consider not enough arugula to be a hardship in Iraq?

MS. NULAND: Frankly, I saw that story, and it was -- looked like some, some wingeing that was inappropriate. Let's put it that way.

QUESTION: Inappropriate on the part of who? Embassy employees?

MS. NULAND: On the part of Embassy employees, with regard to the quality of the salad bar.

QUESTION: Does -- okay. Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Thank you.

In addition, Laura Rozen (The Envoy) reports US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey is out of a post and that he may be replaced with Robert Ford who had been the US Ambassador to Syria ("on American and two Iraqi sources told Yahoo News that the Obama administration is considering tapping Ford as Washington's next envoy to Iraq"). This issue was also raised today at the State Dept press briefing.

QUESTION: Can I ask about Ambassador Jeffrey? The same article mentions that Ambassador Jeffrey is going to be stepping down in a couple of weeks. Has he communicated that intent to the Secretary?

MS. NULAND: Ambassador Jeffrey is on a regular diplomatic assignment. It was of a particular duration. Frankly, I don't have at my fingertips here when his assignment is completed. But obviously in the context of regular rotation of ambassadors, when his tour is completed or in the context of his tour being completed, the President will nominate a new ambassador for Iraq, who will have to have the consent of the Senate. So we're not at that stage yet. The President hasn't put forward a nominee yet, and I can't actually tell you what the end of tour date for Jim Jeffrey is. But this is normal and in keeping with the commitment that he made when he took the job.

And the political crisis continues in Iraq. Al-Manar reports that Iraqiya Ministers are attending Council of Ministers hearings again. That doesn't end the crisis. Iraqiya agreeing to attend Parliament sessions didn't end the crisis. Nouri started the political crisis by refusing to honor the Erbil Agreement which ended the political stalemate that lasted eight months following the March 2010 elections when Nouri didn't want to let go of the post of prime minister despite the fact that his State of Law came in second to Iraqiya. The US brokered a deal, the Erbil Agreement, which allowed Nouri to remain prime minister in exchange for other trade-offs that would benefit the other political blocs. Since this summer, Kurds have been calling for Nouri to honor the agreement. Nouri insists that its unconstitutional -- a claim he didn't make when he used the Erbil Agreement to stay on as prime minister.

Though Parliament attempted to be in session yesterday, there wasn't a quorum. Dar Addustour notes that Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman is stating that this was shameful and that he believes some of the MPs who were not present were deliberately attempting to keep the session from taking place.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi have been saying since December that the way to end the political crisis is to hold a national conference. Al Sabaah notes that participants are stating yesterday's planning session for the national conference -- only the second meeting -- went well and that they agreed to stand united against terrorism and militias, that the process outlined in the Constitution is how disputes should be resolved, that all elementsof Iraqi society must be represented in the political process and that the Iraqi judiciary is a separate and independent body. In a sign of just how much nonsense this whole thing is, Dar Addustour reports that it was again asserted yesterday that Nouri al-Maliki can be prime minister for a third term. For those who've forgotten, this was supposed to be Nouri's second and last term. And, in February of last year, as unrest rocked the region, Nouri declared he would not run for a third term. Since then -- and the distraction of his failed 100 days of 'reform,' his attorney has asserted that Nouri isn't bound by any promise and that no law prevents him from seeking a third term. Little Saddam is well on his way towards lifetime rule.

Meanwhile Aswat al-Iraq reports that Sajida Saleh Hassan was assassinated in Baghdad today. She had been Director of Kazimiya Women's Prison. Her driver was injured in the attack. They also note a mortar attck in Baquba has left twelve people injured. Reuters adds, a Baghdad roadside bombing left two police officers injured, a second Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left three more injured, a Baghdad attack on an amry officer's home killed his wife and 1 corpse (police officer) was discovered in Hilla.

We're now going to turn to veterans issues. And there are real veterans issues. There's health care, there's recovering the fallen and so much more. But there's veterans issues and then there's an attitude of entitlement. Grasp real damn quick that the public only cares for so long. About the time they're bored with the politicians using veterans to wrap themselves in the flag, they're bored with the whole damn issue. When that happens significant ground is lost.

And that's not key to this war, it's true of all wars. And politicians know that, especially White House occupants, which is why veterans of every US war or combat deployment have complained and/or protested their treatment by the government. (Click here for the example of President Herbert Hoover's relationship with veterans.) So how about this group of veterans be a smart group of veterans?

The best way to do that is to grasp that your moment in the spotlight is limited and brief outside the Fourth of July and Veterans Day and to realize that's the way it has always been and always will be. That predates the creation of the United States and goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. It is not a plot against you. It's the simple reality that you've bought into the empty praise politicians have given you. You are not gods because you served, you're not even heroes because you served. You may have done something heroic while you served and been decorated as a result (or not) but service alone doesn't make you a hero and that reality was grasped by past veterans. What you are is a veteran. As such, you are owed certain things that were promised to you. You're not going to get them all because, pay attention, no group of veterans in this country ever has. Which is why this group needs to be smart.

Paul Reickhoff can't shut up about a parade. Apparently having grown up singing along with every sixties musical Barbra Streisand ever made, Paul loves a parade. And he ridiculously showed up last week in a variety of outlets (here for Huffington Post) with a bad column whining that, after the Superbowl, the Giants or the Patriots would get a parade.

Let me take a moment here to cloud up and rain on Paul's parade: a sports competition produces a winner and a loser. The winners often get parades.

I'm sorry that Paul can't grasp the obvious, there was nothing won in Iraq. Thank goodness so many Americans made it out alive. But there was nothing won in that illegal war. If a parade were to have taken place, the best time would have been after the fall of Baghdad. Had Bush pulled all the troops out of Iraq then and returned them to the US, the spring of 2003 could have seen a parade.

But there's no win in Iraq. And you have to incredibly uninformed as to the rising violence and the political crisis and so much more to not grasp that Iraq can't be seen as a "win." There's no end zone dance for you to do, Paul Reickhoff. (68NamVet has the best reply to Paul.)

Now you can continue to insist upon a national parade and maybe even get one. (NPR's Talk of the Nation offers a bad program on the topic today -- not every veteran is calling for a parade and some are stating that it is not needed.) But don't think you're going to be applauded around the country for that. The country's in a huge recession and while Barack Obama may try to spend 8.3% official unemployment rate as 'good news,' it's anything but. And the American people are suffering and have been suffering and are about to suffer even more because basic groceries are going up which kicks the price of everything up (that's how the cycle of inflation works). And with people barely holding on the idea that the country needs to spend millions for a parade is not going to go over universally well.

It will go a long, long way towards putting most Americans in the attitude of, "What do they want now?" Even more so than in past wars because there wasn't a draft. As those of us who spoke up for war resisters repeatedly know, the attitude is out there: 'There was no draft, you signed up and you were paid for it.' (In fact, I believe that's what Paul Rieckhoff dismissively said about Lt Ehren Watada.) And now veterans are coming back and a small number are making public fools of themselves. There's Paul prepping for the tugboat scene in Funny Girl as he demands his parade. There's also Darcy Kempa who demonstrates that Richard Daley didn't teach style or substance to his underlings. Kempa writes at PolicyMic that Veterans are having a difficult time getting jobs today because of the "ignorance and arrogance among many Americans."

Notice how I used "some" to describe a tiny number of cry babies who've fallen to the floor and are now throwing tantrums whereas Darcy Kempa believes you describe most Americans as 'ignorant and arrogant' and that's the way to get what you want from them. No, you idiot, that's how you piss the general population. If that's how stupid you are, you have nothing to share in public. Every word out of your mouth hurts veterans because no one ever taught you how to speak persuasively and you think you can snarl and hiss like Richard Daley but seem unaware that nepotism explains Richard's rise, not his personality.

Having called "many" Americans ignorant and arrogant, Darcy Kempa (a man, by the way, maybe having a Jane Austen character's first name has left Darcy feeling he has to be overbearing to prove something), wants to further insult the American people: "There is also the arrogance, or overbearing self-importance, that some civilians hold against veterans."


Don't look for Darcy to start a charm school anytime soon and only an idiot at this point would want to take part in any action with Darcy because he is off-putting, he insults the American people and doesn't even have the good form to say it's just "some" or "a small number," he says "many."

When then-Senator Evan Bayh proposed a burn pit registry, we supported it -- check the archives. I still support. But what we noted about when Bayh was championing it was how long it took to get that for victims of Agent Orange. And we pointed out that right now is the best chance for a burn pit registry. That once the wars wind down, the limited attention they and those who served in them receive, dwindles. And it's a lot harder to fight for a registry afterwards. We noted then that health issues need to be covered -- beyond burn pit issues -- and that this needs to be addressed now.

There is no time to waste -- in the limited amount of time that veterans will receive from the public -- to be embracing a bunch of nonsense. Veterans groups need to be talking to their members and figuring out what the most important things are to membership and pressing for those now. Two years from now, people aren't going to care. They will have moved on with their lives and the attitude will be (as it with each group of veterans), "Are they ever going to stop begging?" Politicans count on that attitude. A number are relieved when that attitude sets in among the public. Because then they don't have to do a damn thing.

Paul Reikoff doesn't know a thing. The VFW actually has members who can talk about this at length (and some of them would favor a parade -- if they felt veterans needs and a parade could both take place, that would be their vote, I'm sure). But in three years, Paul's lonely little column's going to run in less outlets. And, at the rate we're going, we may have a new group of veterans in a new group of wars. And especially when that comes, forget about getting your needs met. Senator Richard Burr fights a lonely battle trying repeatedly every year to bring attention to long standing issues and the media really doesn't care. He continues to fight and good for him. But even when Republicans controlled the Senate (Burr is a Republican) his own colleagues couldn't get it together to support him. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has done heroic and amazing things during the last nine years. That's chiefly due to members like Burr and leadership at the start of that time from Senator Daniel Akaka and now Senator Patty Murray. But look at the Hire Heroes Act that Murray and the entire Veterans Affairs Committee championed and still it needed a push and a push there to get it through the Senate. And that's while the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War were semi on the public's mind.

This is your fifteen minutes of fame to put it most crudely. You need to be prepared to make the demands you want right now. So if that's academic pursuit, better benefits in terms of retirement (medical or otherwise), medical treatment, etc., this is the time to make them. If a national parade is the most important thing to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, then that's what they should be going for. But before they make that decision, someone needs to explain very clearly that Christmas won't come every year. The nation will be Santa Claus once and only once and then they'll move onto something else. And that's not out of "arrogance" or "hatred" or anything else. That is the human condition and it has been the human condition.

And once the public moves on to other issues, you'll quickly realize how rare a Patty Murray or Richard Burr in the Senate actually is. When there's no more strong applause for politicians using today's veterans to campaign off of, watch how quickly they instead rush to another topic that's currently getting media attention. (And, no, the answer isn't "Elect veterans!" Senator Jim Webb is the reason there is no burn pit registry. He felt it would cost the government to much money to assume responsibility for the illnesses. Just as he publicly attacked VA Secretary Eric Shinseki for expanding the number of people recognized as suffering from Agent Orange.)

Across the country, teachers are suffering, schools are being closed down. If you really think this is the climate to insist on a national parade, go for it. But make sure you realize that the next request veterans attempt to make as a unified group may be the one that Americans respond to with a sigh and, "Didn't we just give them a parade? What more do they want?"

and i know what this means
me and jesus a few years back
used to hang
and he said "it's your choice babe
just remember
i don't think you'll be back
in 3 days time so you choose well"
-- "Me and a Gun," written by Tori Amos, first appears on her Little Earthquakes

In the real world, there are real issues and real suffering. A father says, "All we're asking for is: Bring him home." A mother says, "Five years we have been waiting patiently. Patiently waiting for the Air Force and everyone over there to do their business. Find our son." Ronnie and Kaye Gilbert's son was killed in Iraq in 2006 when Maj Troy Gilbert flew overhead assistning US service members on the ground under fire ("credited with saving about 20 American commandos") and flew dangerously low so that not only was he protecting the US service members but to avoid injuring nearby Iraqi civilians. He died in the plane crash and Jim Douglas (WFAA -- link is text and video) reports on how they buried a small, tiny amount of tissue that was in the plane after the enemies carted off Troy Gilbert's body -- a body that they used a year later in a video. The US government has taken the attitude that there's no body to find. They say the tissue allows them to classify Troy Gilbert as "body accounted for." And his parents have to plead with the US Defense Dept later this month to change the classification.

Just last month, in the State of the Union address, Barack declared, "Those of us who've been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn't matter if you're black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you're marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you're in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind." See, politicians love to say words like that. It's their way of absorbing some of the glory of others. But even while Barack was saying it, the Defense Dept was fine with leaving Troy Gilbert's body behind. Don't ever be tricked by the pretty words of politicians. Most care about you only if caring about you at that moment helps them get re-elected.

The Gilbert family's suffering is real and the government needs to address it. Rosie and LeRoy Torres are up to their necks in reality. Patricia Kime (Marine Corp News) reports:

Army Reserve wife Rosie Torres, 38, stood in line Jan. 19 at a Texas Health and Human Services office to apply for assistance with her mortgage, bills and groceries.
Mounting debt related to her husband's medical bills has pushed the couple into arrears; between insurance deductibles, house payments and overages, they owe more than $55,000.
LeRoy Torres, 39, a Reserve captain and former Texas state trooper, was assigned to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, in 2008 and believes exposure to the camp's open-air burn pits left him with debilitating respiratory problems. He can't walk long distances, perform daily tasks or even roughhouse with his kids.
But although he can't work full time, between his drill pay and Rosie's part-time pay, they make too much to qualify for a grant.

Rosie Torres is with BurnPits 360 which addresses the issues of exposure to burn pits and, next week, the first ever Burn Pit Symposium takes place:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on
Lung Health after Deplyoment to Iraq & Afghanistan
February 13, 2012

sponsored by

Office of Continuing Medical Education
School of Medicine
Stony Brook University


Health Sciences Center, Level 3, Lecture Hall 5

Anthony M. Szema, M.D., Program Chair
Stony Brook
Medical Center

This program is made possible by support from the
Sergeant Thomas Joseph Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.


* Register with your credit card online at:

* Download the registration form from:

http://www.stonybrookmedicalcenter.org/education/cme.cfm and
fax form to (631) 638-1211

For Information Email:

1st Annual Scientific Symposium on

Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan
Monday, February 13, 2012
Health Sciences Center
Level 3, Lecture Hall 5

Program Objective: Upon completion, participants should be able to recognize new-onset of lung disease after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast (Honored Guest, Congressman

Tim Bishop

9:00 - 9:30 Peter Sullivan, J.D., Father of Marine from The Sergeant Thomas Joseph

Sullivan Center, Washington, D.C.

9:40 - 10:10 Overview of Exposures in Iraq, Anthony Szema, M.D., (Assistant

Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Stony Brook University)

10:10 - 10:40 Constrictive Bronchiolitis among Soldiers after Deployment, Matt

King, M.D. (Assistant Professor of Medicine, Meharry Medical College,
Nashville, TN)

10:40 - 11:10 BREAK

11:10 - 11:40 Denver Working Group Recommendations and Spirometry Study in

Iraq/Afghanistan, Richard Meehan, M.D., (Chief of Rheumatology and
Professor of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO)

11:40 a.m. - Microbiological Analyses of Dust from Iraq and Afghanistan, Captain Mark

12:10 p.m. Lyles, D.M.D., Ph. D., (Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone Endowed Chair of

Health and Security Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI)

12:10 - 12:20 Health Care Resource Utilization among Deployed Veterans at the White

River Junction VA, James Geiling, M.D., (Professor and Chief of Medicine,
Dartmouth Medical School, VA White River Junction, VT)


Graduate students Millicent Schmidt and Andrea Harrington (Stony Brook
University) present Posters from Lung Studies Analyzed for Spatial
Resolution of Metals at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National
Synchrotron Light Source

1:20 - 1:40 Epidemiologic Survey Instrument on Exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan,

Joseph Abraham, Sc.D., Ph.D., (U.S. Army Public Health Command,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

1:40 - 2:10 Overview of the Issue Raised during Roundtable on Pulmonary Issues

and Deployment, Coleen Baird, M.D., M.P.H., (Program Manager
Environmental Medicine, U.S. Army Public Health Command)

2:10 - 2: 40 Reactive Oxygen Species from Iraqi Dust, Martin Schoonen, Ph.D.

(Director Sustainability Studies and Professor of Geochemistry, Stony
Brook University)

2:40 - 2:50 BREAK

2:50 - 3:15 Dust Wind Tunnel Studies, Terrence Sobecki, Ph.D. (Chief Environmental

Studies Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research
and Engineering Laboratory, Manchester, NH)

3:15 - 3:45 Toxicologically Relevant Characteristics of Desert Dust and Other

Atmospheric Particulate Matter, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Ph.D. (Research
Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

3:44 - 4:15 In-situ Mineralogy of the Lung and Lymph Nodes, Gregory Meeker, M.S.

(Research Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO)

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The school of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brooke designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Turning to the political race for president. It is primary season and Ian Wilder (On The Wilder Side) reports on an important primary in Ohio last Saturday, the Green Party's primary.Ian notes there were four candidates in that race, Roseanne Barr, Kent Mesplay, Harley Mikkelson and Jill Stein and that "Stein scored a very big win [. . .] winning 90% of the vote in a four-way race in presidential balloting." Of those online in this community, Jess and Ann are both Greens. And they discussed the Green Party and the race, along with Trina who supported Stein's recent campaign for governor and Ruth who's supporting Roseanne's run, in Sunday's roundtable. We do try to note third party and independent candidates here because I don't believe less choices is the answer ever. We need a vibrant democracy and you won't get that from two-party rule. But thinking back to 2008, I remember how difficult it was to note independents and third party because sometimes they had nothing and that meant you were accused of ignoring them and blah blah blah. So it's good to know that we have someone we can ignore. As with many important realizations and discoveries in 2011, this one comes via John V. Walsh (Antiwar.com). I wasn't taken in by the Rocky Anderson fad when Bush was in office. Walsh documents a War Hawk Rocky Anderson. Anderson praises Samantha Power. That alone is enough to make him dead to this community. Samantha Power is a War Hawk. She uses human rights to justify her war lust. She has no respect for other countries or their sovereignty. And she's Rocky Anderson's ideal. As Walsh establishes through a series of e-mails, there is nothing antiwar about Rocky Anderson.

in these times
rebecca burns
the st. louis post-dispatch
doug moore
aswat al-iraq
al mada
dar addustour
al rafidayn
al sabaah
jim douglas
burn pits
marine corps news
patricia kime
john v. walsh
rock center with brian williams
nbc news
ted koppel

1 comment:

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