Orange Gearle

family, friends, politics, music and technology... that's what it's all about

Friday, June 30, 2006

A Marine 'waiting around for chow': the Final Chapter

(Crossposted at DKos)

On May 17, I posted a diary at Daily Kos called A Marine `waiting around for chow'.  It was Matt's story.  Matt is my cousin's son, and unfortunately his story is not unlike many others that I have heard since this whole thing began.  Since then I have posted a few updates (part duex, part trios) and a call for help.  On this blog there have been almost daily updates, as it has been one thing after another with this fiasco.  However, it is not imperative that you read each post to gain something from this one.  I only link them here, so that you may be as informed as you'd like.  

So now the final chapter:  A Marine Coming Home?

A brief overview for those that have missed the story:  Matt was injured last August in Afghanistan.  Shot twice in the leg.  He was ordered back to Hawaii on November 11 (yes, Veteran's Day) still in a wheelchair.  Since he's been there, he has gotten very little medical attention and when able, was even forced to purchase his own bicycle to get him to and from therapy.  He hasn't been getting his mail, and has been fairly isolated.  On a positive note, since my first diary, he purchased a laptop and has been able to communicate via email and instant messaging.  He calls our house, drunk, and tells us about the horrors of war.  PTSD is most certainly present.  They have him doing absolutely nothing.  All he does is `wait around for chow'. No one disputes the fact that he needs a medical discharge, it just isn't happening.  My most recent call for help was asking people to write their congress critters.  The current hold up has been waiting for a paper to get signed, releasing him of liability regarding his missing gear, so that he can finally come home.  Kossacks and non-Kossacks alike responded in droves.

This evening (afternoon for him) I saw Matt get online.  I instant messaged him and asked if he'd gotten his plane tickets.  Honestly, it was a question asked in jest.  Matt and I frequently begin our conversations in that manner.  It keeps the mood light, despite all the chaos.   His response was simply "Thursday".  Excited, I thought he meant that he would be receiving his tickets, or at least know more on Thursday.  But as our conversation progressed I realized that he will be coming home on Thursday, July 6, 2006.

It worked, my friends.  We got him home.

Thank you for all the phone calls made and emails sent.  Thank you for all the advice and support all along the way.  Our family appreciates you all.  No matter what anyone says about Kos, Daily Kos, or blogs in general, this place is truly a community.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


'major rebuke' anyone?

Following yesterday's depressing Supreme Court ruling, I was very thankful to read this after hearing the story on NPR today...(emphasis mine)

In a major rebuke to the Bush administration, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the president overstepped his power in ordering war-crimes trials for Guantanamo detainees without specific authority from Congress.


Five justices of the Supreme Court agreed. Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said that the Constitution gives the Congress, not the president, the authority to make rules concerning captured prisoners and the implementation of the laws of war.

Well, yeah....many most things that this administration does is beyond their authority and against the law. Bush is always overstepping "his power" and he does it all while thumping the bible, invoking fear in Americans and smearing those that don't agree with him. Did I mention that most times, someone in his circle of friends benefits financially from his unlawful activity? I suppose I am preaching to the choir on this, since everyone that reads this (all 5 people) pretty much agree with me. So, moving on......I'm glad that 5 Supreme Court Justices were able to nail him on this one. I love it that the author of this article used the words "major rebuke."

In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush set up procedures for war-crimes tribunals that were opposed internally by military lawyers and externally by civil libertarians.

When will people see that Dubya and his clan (and many members of congress) are no longer working for the people? War-crimes tribunals were opposed internally by lawyers working for the military and externally by people that make it their job to protect people's civil liberties. Hmmm....yeah, I think that if these two groups of people oppose something, we should do it anyway...are you kidding me???

Admittedly, I don't watch much tv, but I do wonder just how much coverage this story got from the main stream media....compared to, let's say.....who made Nicole Kidman's wedding dress or Brad and Angelina's new baby??

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Now, about detaining them indefinitely.....

sunday bloody sunday

Someone went to a lot of work. I really don't enjoy U2 (or Bush)...but this combination is pretty amazing, IMHO

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

texas' redistricting plan

This makes me feel sick to my stomach. (emphasis mine)

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld most of a controversial plan that drew new lines for Texas congressional districts, saying there was nothing about it that violated the Constitution, even though Texas Republicans did it unusually in mid-decade and in ways that gave their party a massive electoral advantage.

The 7-2 decision cleared the way for states to redraw political maps just about anytime they want. It also failed, as the court has for years, to define the legal limits of political gerrymandering, or the drawing of district lines for partisan ends.

I know that I should go on to comment on this....throw in some humor or disgust...maybe make a point or two...comment about DeLay....bash the neocons, theocons, repub thugs...but I can't. Seriously, this makes me feel sick to my stomach.

We need a regime change.


more fun with video

Bush On The Border

Make sure you watch the background.

Helen Thomas on the Daily Show

"It depends on what you mean by permanent."

fun with links, videos and pics

What's this? Controversy about a Mexican Retaraunt in Arizona? Why does Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross hate Mexicans? Or is it something else that she's afraid of??

I'll post the Daily Show video about this topic as soon as it's available.

However, here's a Daily Show clip that many of you have probably already viewed, but just in case....

zoOTDAze has the Rush on this story.....the picture caption is more funny if you read this too...

Even though I think you know who will get my vote in November.....Chet not stupid....extra funny if read aloud.

And finally....a couple of pics

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

matt update

I assume if you are reading this you are aware of the saga that my cousin's son, Matt has been through. Mostly recently, this is what he has needed to get home (in chronological order):

1. "Missing Gear Statement" signed
2. A letter saying it is ok that he doesn't have his gear
3. That letter then given to the cif, who would give the final signature regarding the missing gear.

My last post stated that I might have some good news today…

Yesterday Matt spoke with a Staff Sergeant and told him a lot of what he's been through. The SSergeant sent an email to the Regiment CO. They were hoping that the Regiment CO would say that that he could sign the paper work. The SSergeant got the ok this afternoon, and signed off on the "Missing Gear Statement" along with a Captain. But remember, we are dealing with the Marines and every time we turn around there is another problem. Today was no different. This afternoon, I chatted with Matt....

Matt went on to explain that the Staff Sergeant was very pissed off at the cif for not signing off on the gear. I'm glad. Someone needs to get pissed (besides his family). The Regiment CO has been very busy this week because a General is in town. However, The Staff Sergeant had a meeting with both the Regiment CO and the General today. He said he would take the paper work to them and see what they could do (it's about time Matt had an advocate down there)!

I’m writing to say…..the Staff Sergeant was successful.

I spoke with Matt this evening. Everything is signed! Now he has to wait for "processing" which could put him home before the Fourth of July. I hesitate to write any of this because I do not want to create a situation where I have to write another update saying "Ok, so we thought he was coming home, but now......." However, this news was just too exciting to keep to myself.

He isn't home yet....therefore....

Monday, June 26, 2006

matt update

It is quite possible that I may have a wonderful update tomorrow. It seems the wheels of the government might have turned an inch or so today. But....I don't want to make a premature until then....

Sunday, June 25, 2006

matt update

I spoke with Matt early this morning (via phone), then again this afternoon (via IM). It's not that he really wants out of the Marines. He just wants to get home and get on with his life. He's told that it's possible that he may be eligable for a couple of surgeries that could help him.

Let's get him home.

dave loebsack

Get your yard sign. Tell all your friends to Vote Loebsack for change. Each year Jim Leach is up for election, 30% of Democrats vote for Leach. No more. It's time for a regime change. That's all I have to say about that.

del mccoury band

Amazing. Simply amazing. I almost didn't go because I was so tired...but I'm glad I did. It was very enjoyable. I ended up staying in town and closing the bars. I learned of a new (to me) beverage called Lambic Framboise Beer. It tastes a lot like the Bonny Doon Framboise wine that I drink sometimes, but it's actually a beer, or so I'm told. I have no idea how it could be a beer. It tastes NOTHING like beer. But my two new 'friends' Shawn and Ron tell me that it's beer. :-)

Seriously, though all I can say about the Del McCoury Band is they are amazing. Everyone that gets a chance to see them, should see them, no exceptions. Spectacular musicians. The microphones were cool. None of their instruments had any sort of pick-ups so they moved, fluently and flawlessly around the stage so they had access to the mics as needed. (I know that's "normal", but it's still cool. Plus it worked so well, they may have had hidden trick us. LOL) They are truly exceptional performers and communicators, with each other, as well as with the audience. I wish I could remember each and every song they played and give you a play list, but anyone that knows me knows that there would be NO WAY I would be able to remember all that. A couple in particular that I do remember were Love is a Long Road and Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die. After getting started, they took a lot of requests from the audience and did their best to do them all.

I got there pretty late, so there were NO seats. So I sat on the dance floor. I could stand no longer, and no one was on the dance floor, so I sat on it. Then several others joined me. What can I say, I'm a trendsetter. Heh. Enjoy the pics:

The Del McCoury Band astounds me.

Ronnie McCoury, my favorite, on mandoline. Now, it could be that I like him best because I desperately want to learn to play the mandoline.

The Del McCoury band plays "When I'm 64" in honor of Paul McCartney's 64th birthday.

Just Del.

Del and Me. :-)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

-2 the matt update

Ok, this is going to be very short. Today I learned that Harkin's office has officially been in contact with The Marines (which I already knew, but didn't hear officially until today). I also learned that The Marines have responded to Harkin's office. Here's the depressing part: The Marines responded by saying that they were going to "investigate" and get back to Harkin's office in one and a half to two weeks. So, my best guess is (based on our experience with The Marines thus far) it will be at least two weeks until we hear anything at all. This rules out Matt being home before the 4th of July.

The worst part: Matt is pretty down about the whole thing. He's buddies are in training (in California) and his "separation class" is over. So he's alone. He has even said that he needs to get home because it's a "health issue." And he is right. His mental and physical health deteriorates with each day that he spends there. As of two days ago, he really could've been home (the class was over). So everything is complete except for one signature.

The "-2" in the title of this diary indicates the amount of days The Marines are officially in the hole regarding Matt. Really, he's been waiting much longer....but now that everything is completely in order........they are completely in the red.

my feet hurt

Today was the Freedom Festival parade. The performance company in which Hollyanne participates was in the parade. Mom and I perched ourselves at the begining of the parade route, in front of Democratic Headquarters. There were a couple of interesting adventures in store for us today.

Pictured at right is the performance group. They did the "All Dance" portion of their program. As they walked in the parade, they sang and danced to many familiar tunes such as YMCA and the Chicken Dance, as well as Grease Lightenin’ and The Time Warp, and a few others. There were many, many participants in this parade. Being an election year, there were several politicians walking, including many of the candidates that Hollyanne and I are promoting, she as an intern, and me as a volunteer. Of course, the competition was there too. Jim Leach, being one, is up for re-election this year. Dave Loebsack is running against him. Lobsack better win! Hey Iowans in the 2nd district, did you know how Leach's career started??? Check this out:

1973-1976 Flamegas Companies, Inc., Bettendorf, Iowa, President
1973-1976 Adel Wholesalers, Inc., Bettendorf, Iowa, Chairman of the Board
1975-1976 Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Director, Midwest Region
1975-1976 U.S. Advisory Commission on International Education and Cultural Affairs, Member
1971-1972 Foreign Service Officer assigned to Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
United Nations General Assembly, Delegate
Geneva Disarmament Conference, Delegate
1969-1970 Special Assistant to Donald Rumsfeld, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity
1968-1969 Foreign Service Officer, Department of State
1965-1966 Staff, Congressman Donald Rumsfeld

That's right, with Ronand McDumbsfeld! Maybe everyone knew that except me...but I certainly didn't. I think I may do a bit more research on this and write an entire diary about it. Why? Because I think there is a lot to learn about Jim Leach -- a lot that the people of Johnson County (especially) probably don't know. At least I hope not. There are a lot of people that support Leach that I wouldn't think would enjoy his real politics if they knew it. However, I should do the research first. Then I'll get back to you! Link to his professional biography here. Before I knew the above information, I saw Mr. Leach along the parade route. Now, you all know that I have been writing letters about Matt...Jim Leach was on the list. I do find it a bit interesting that I've heard from Harkin (D), but not Grassley (R) or Leach (R). Don't you? Well, during the parade, as Leach's crew was walking by, I proudly held up my CULVER sign. I wasn't vocal, but I was visual. :-) Until one of the Repubs walking with him (some congress guy...not sure of his name) came over to me and tried to put his arm around me and said, "We should get a picture taken...who has a camera?" Now, keep in mind...we are in front of Democratic Headquarters. I didn't say much, until Leach came over. He held out his hand, I shook it and said, "Hey, I've been waiting for an email from you. I'm in your district and I sent you an email on Monday. It was a plea for help for a Marine." Now, to his credit, the parade was continuing....he kept waking, however, he did walk backwards as he asked, "What does he need?" I told him that Matt is injured and needs to come home. I also said, "Check your email for his story." He asked my name (now almost around the corner) and I yelled it his way. Interesting. We'll see if I hear from him.

Back to the favorite float is picatured to the right. This was the float entry from the Czech Heritage Foundation. I like it because it has everything. Very patriotic, very Czech, very creative. It helps that I am of Czech heritage, however, my mother and I were remarking on it's beauty before we knew where it was from. :-)

When the parade concluded the work began. Our agenda: Open House at Democratic Headquarters, meet and listen to Chet Culver, canvass the area promoting absentee ballot voting. Any extra time? Make phone calls!!

Hollyanne and I both changed into our Democrat gear and got to work. There were many candidates present including but not limited to Ro Foege, Rob Hogg, Art Staed and Jan Kvach. Chet was due to arrive around 11:45, so we had about an hour and a half or more to wait for him. Hollyanne and a (paid) "canvesser" went around, on foot, promoting Chet's arrival.

About 11:20 we heard from Chet's "people". They had a flat tire around Williamsberg and weren't going to be able to make it. Chet had a really tight schedule today, so he was going to have to skip us and move on to his next location. Very disappointing! We were so looking forward to meeting him! So the announcements were made. Chet's Aunt, a Cedar Rapidian, spoke briefly about Chet. Several of the state legislators that were present said a few words, and a plea went out for volunteers. The "Thank you for coming, Chet isn't going to be here, but please help us anyway" speech.

About fifteen or twenty minutes after the announcement was made, another announcement -- Chet was going to be able to make it after all. So, Hollyanne, the canvassers and a few volunteers began making phone calls while we waited for Chet to arrive.

Above: Chet arrives. Below: Chet and The Crew

Matt's parents and grandmother were there to meet Chet, too. Below is a picture of Chet meeting The Wilson's, a picture of "our fearless and very young leaders" at headquarters, as well as one a bit more personal to me. After the photo ops, we all went out canvassing. We knocked on the doors of registered Democrats encouraging them to vote absentee. Why? If you vote absentee, you save the party time, money and people. If we sign you up, then we don't have to worry about you any more. You are taken care of, saving us time spent calling you. :-) Hollyanne and I knocked on many doors and gave out absentee requests to quite a few people. Tomorrow, we meet Loebsack and knock on doors again! I'm hot, I'm tired, and my feet hurt! Enjoy the pictures...a Matt update will be posted soon.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Today has been a weird day. Mostly I'm feeling a little bit depressed and like I could use a bit of wine and whine time with a friend. However, there were some good things. For example, today Hollyanne began her internship with the Democratic Party. She really enjoyed it. She worked about 6 hours or so and felt really good about the people that she is working with. I'm very proud of her. Even my dad, the Republican, said today that he thought it might be good for her. (This was after a little devilish chuckle, so whatever that means). :-) I volunteered a bit tonight also. It was nice being around people that basically have the same political views as me. That doesn't happen very often. I've inquired about being on the committee for my county. I'll find out more about that as we go, I suppose. I know it will mean time, but I have a lot of that, right? LOL

I got a letter from Tom Harkin today, via snail mail:

Dear Orange Gearle,

Senator Beall forwarded your concerns regarding Matt Wilson's difficulties obtaining a discharge from the United States Marines to my office since this is a federal issues rather than a state issue. According to the provisions of the privacy Act of 1974, I am prohibited from releasing private information regarding an individual without that individual's signed authorization.

Rest assured that I give prompt attention to any constituent that contacts my office. Your concerns are very important to me. If I can be of further help to you in any other federal matter, feel free to contact me again.

Tom Harkin

Ok, so it didn't really say "Orange Gearle", I just changed that part for fun. but the rest is verbatim. There was even a typo, which I bolded for you. :-) I'm impatient and I it frustrates me when I am not 'in the know' and up to date on information. So, this probably added to my mood. Plus Fridays just suck for me all around, I suppose.

However, I did put some added touches on my deck today. So let's focus on that. I'm sitting on my deck listening to Redbird as I write this, to cheer me up! Listen to a bit here and here. Here are some pictures.

Hanging in the middle is a tomato plant. The tomato plant comes out of the bottom of the planter and crawls up it's sides. For some reason my whole family got these from my sister this year. Kinda different. I can't wait for actual fresh tomatoes!!! There's a hanging basket hidden on the other side of the tomato plant. It is some sort of Gazania. It has yellow daisy-like flowers that close as the sun sets, which is happening as I type. And the fireflies are thick!

On the far right of the above picture you can see the Boston Fern that I purchased. Check it out, it's still alive. Look again and come back to this picture often. A picture might be the only way to keep it alive. I decided that I would try one more time to keep a Boston Fern alive. We'll see. It's never worked before, but the mere fact that I purchased another confirms my optimism. :-)

I bought some herbs this year. My previous supplier is no longer around, so I figured I'd start my own business. Ok, I totally wrote the last two sentences because it was just fun to say 'herbs', 'supplier' and 'business' in the same paragraph. I'm such a dork. Anyway, I have four different kinds, in four different pots -- yes I said pots -- teehee. Ok, I'll stop that now. For some reason the pot on the far right, containing oregano, looks like it's yellow in this picture. No matter how I mess with the color of this picture it looks yellow. It's actually a magnificant lime green color. Wish you could see it.

Zinnias! I bought them just for their name (and the fact that these contain a bit of orange helps). I bought Zinnias because next to Gerbera Daisies, they are my favorite. They always make me think of a song from the Broadway musical Barnum. I was fortunate growing up to have a mother that loved music. Her brother lived in NYC and both times that she visited him there, she went to musicals. One of the times she brought back the soundtrack to Barnum. I know every song, trust me. One of the songs, called There is a Sucker Born Every Minute has this verse:

If I allow that right here in my hands
The smallest living human man
The sight of that is surely worth a dime
If I present an educated pooch
Who’s trained to dance the hoochie cooch
What better way to waste a bit of time
If I imported monumental cost
A lady, fair, who’s head was lost
While crossing railroad tracks to pick some zinnias
Who eats farina through a hose
And wares pink tights instead of clothes
If that ain’t worth a buck my name ain’t Phineas

If you are familiar with this musical about the life of P.T. Barnum at all, you know this song. It is sung very fast! So, anyway, that is why I bought Zinnias. They make me smile.

you know you need prozac when...

....trying to put new strings on your guitar literally reduces you to tears.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

matt update

Since my last diary I have heard from the Governor's office and another state legislator or two. Matt has finished his separation class, and now it's just a waiting game. Harkin's office is aware, and has made some sort of contact with the Marines. But that's all I know. Everythings classified'n'shit. Whatever!

Another friend from the DailyKos, Donnie (aka Louisiana Fury or Katrinacrat) has written a couple of diaries on The Democratic Daily (and Katrinacrat) about Matt's story, and linking to my diaries. Thank you Donnie. Part one Part two

Zoot Daze has also encouraged his readers to get involved. Thanks Zoot.

I talk to Matt daily via instant messaging. He seemed a bit down and anxious tonight. Keep him in your thoughts. Wouldn't it be nice if he was home by the Fourth of July?

stacey and mark

I got an email from Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart (Mark, specifically, I suppose). They are going to be in Eastern Iowa next spring and are wanting to get a gig at CSPS and are asking for my help. I wrote an email to John and Mel at CSPS...we'll see if it helps. I'm excited because I am going to see them soon. Shhh....don't tell. I'll diary about that in a couple of weeks! I'm just saying, I think it is ever so cool that they emailed me out of nowhere. Here, take a listen. I like this one. Is It Enough (I Luuuv You)

stephen colbert

Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report is a genius. Seriously. Here's his take on Small Government vs. Big Government.

"Speaking of pay per view genitals..."


"Mentioning Jesus in your speech is Small Government; doing what Jesus asked is Big Government."

Ha! So funny! Also, I really want one of these shirts.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

this is good

It's been an intense couple of days!

As most of you know, (the five people that read this) yesterday I sent out emails to every state legislator and several federal congressmen. Since then I have either been on the phone, instant messenger or email...stopping only to work or volunteer. This is good.

Before I continue, I would like to say thank you to everyone that has already sent emails to congress critters! However slowly, the wheels are beginning to turn. Here are a few highlights from the last couple of days....

As previously posted, I received many emailed responses from State of Iowa congressmen and women yesterday. Today was no different. I think I have 70 emails in my inbox right now, and probably 50 of them are Matt-related! So I've been responding to them, one by one. This is good.

Tonight Hollyanne and I volunteered for the Democratic Party for a few hours. While I was there, a State Representative and his family walked in to check the place out. After meeting him and speaking with him for a bit I asked him when he last checked his email. LOL :-) He said "This morning". At the same time I was asking him why he hasn't emailed me back, he asked if I had sent him an email. So, I explained some of Matt's story. He was appalled, of course. He said, "You should be talking to my wife, she works for....." you guessed it....Sen. Harkin!!!! I turned to her and she said, "What's his name?" I told her, and come to find out, she is the person that Matt's mother spoke with on the phone, Friday! She has been out of town the last couple of days, so she isn't exactly sure where we stand with Harkin. However, she is back in the office tomorrow. This is good.

I received a phone call upon returning home. When the area code is 515, I jump! It was the Director of Veteran's Affairs for the State of Iowa. One of the senators that I emailed yesterday had forwarded the letter to Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, as well as the Director of Veteran's Affairs. He was following up. The Director asked a lot of questions, and was also amazed with the story. He took down Matt's parent's phone number and called them directly after we completed our conversation. I instant messaged with both Matt and his mother this evening. She expects a call back from the Director in a couple of days. This is good.

do you know what this is??

I think it looks like ocean waves.

You don't see ocean waves? Turn the monitor upside down. See it now??? At the very least it is truly art by mother nature. :-)

This is what the sky looked like this morning, right before a minor disturbance went through. It was a spectacular show. I just had to share. (click for bigger pics)

Monday, June 19, 2006

a marine needs help getting home

(crossposted at Daily Kos)

Many of you have been following the story, A Marine 'waiting around for chow'. Links to: Part one. Part two. Part three.

We have now entered part four: Operation Calling in the Troops.

Today I sent a letter to Sen. Harkin, Sen. Grassley, Rep. Leach (federal congressmen from Iowa), all of the State of Iowa Legislators, as well as Sen. Kerry (Matt met Kerry while he was home on convalescent leave-- see pic). I also sent the letter to all of the staff that work in my school district (Matt attended school in the same district). I have heard from several teachers, many that do not know him but have sent out emails!

Although they are not currently in session, I have received several responses from state legislators. I even received a phone call from a Senator on the other side of the state. Everyone has been very supportive of the situation.

Here's how you can help: Cut and paste this letter into an email (or write your own if you'd like) and send it to everyone. He isn't home yet. I won't stop until he is.

To get you started:
Here's Harkin
Here's Leach
And Grassley
And Kerry

Dear Senator,

A marine wounded in the War on Terror needs your help. Three months after deployment to Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Mathew Wilson from Fox 2/3 was out on a mission with his unit. Insurgents surrounded them, and a firefight broke out. During the exchange, he was shot first in the front of his lower left leg, just missing the shinbone. The bullet exited through his calf. A second bullet entered his left buttock and out through his thigh. He lost a lot of blood and nearly died while waiting 3 hours for the helicopter transport. The good news is he is alive.

After hospitalization, Matt was sent home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for sixty days of convalescent leave. On November 11 he was ordered to return in a wheelchair, to his base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Due to the severe damage to his sciatic nerve, it was clear to all that a medical discharge was in order.

Since November there have been many unnecessary delays. I won’t go into every detail; I will just explain how he needs your help now.

Although Mathew has received and signed his Medical Discharge papers, he is still in Hawaii. Mathew needs one more signature to come home. When he was injured, his government issued gear was lost. He cannot complete the check out process until his CO, Captain Davis, signs a "Missing Gear Statement" which would officially affirm that the equipment was lost due to his wounds and was not medivaced out with him, thus he can't be held liable for it. Although Mathew followed the chain of command to ensure that these papers were delivered to Captain Davis, they were not signed before the captain’s departure to California. Captain Davis will be in California for further training for one month. With this signature, Mathew would be able to come home as soon as he completes his separation class (on June 22). Mathew cannot wait another month to return home – he has already waited seven months.

I urge you to use your influence to help Mathew come home to his family.

your name
your address
your phone number
your email

Sunday, June 18, 2006

steve earle

Thanks to a friend from DKos, webranding, I ran across this video of Steve Earle last August. He's at some event for/with Cindy Sheehan. He speaks, then plays The Revolution Starts Now, with just the acoustic guitar. I'm pretty sure he also played Christmas in Washington, my favorite song of his about heroes, but unfortunately it was cut out!

Truly one of my favorite artists of all time. I just had to share.


I was lucky enough to see my nephew this weekend. He is growing up so fast! His mommy and daddy are expecting their second, a girl, in late September or early October. He loves remote controls. He carries them everywhere he goes. I didn't get very many good pics because he was on the go, constantly. And then of course, I realized that I had my camera on the wrong setting, so I got a lot of blurry ones! However, I did get a few good ones to share.

Not only does he love remotes, he is also a budding photographer. When I gave him my camera, he slowed down a bit, and took pictures. I got a few good ones of him (with my mom's camera that we got her for mother's day).

He is talking a bit. "Uh-oh" is his favorite. He especially likes to say it when he knows he's done something wrong. ☺ He can point to every part of his body when asked "Where's your eyes? Where's your nose?" etc. Also, he likes to tell you what different animals (and vehicles) say. VERY cute. Maybe next time I'll figure out a way to get either a video clip or audio clip of him doing it. Anyway, enjoy the pics! (He took the picture of his mommy.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Marine "waiting around for chow" Part Trois

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)

I should not have to write part three. I just shouldn’t have to write this…

May 19th I wrote the first part of this saga. Kossacks responded in droves. The diary was about my cousin’s son, a Marine, who was badly injured in Afghanistan, August of 2005. The diary goes on to explain the complete hell this kid’s been through since then, and the treatment and/or lack of treatment that he’s received, physically, mentally, and spiritually, since then. He belongs home.

Fast forward to this past Monday, June 12. I wrote part deux. In this diary I shared that Matt will no longer be ‘waiting around for chow’, he is coming home.

Or not….now part three….
(sorry, Mom, f-bombs ahead)

Late this afternoon I opened up iChat to see if Matt was online. I hadn’t communicated with him since Monday and I was looking forward to a happy update. Here is the beginning of our conversation (typos and all):

I went on to tell him that I was going to do all I could…call in the troops…whatever it takes to get him home the minute he gets out of the “separation class” that he has next week.

I told him:

(He always signs off “peace”.)

Right now, Kossacks, you are the troops of which I was speaking. What do I do?? What do we do??

His CO and unit are all in California training for Iraq…for a month. This means he's without his buddies, AND he'll have to wait a month for his CO to return. I did confirm that his mother went to Senator Harkin's office and spoke with “the ladies” there. (Not sure exactly who, his mother just said, “The ladies”) Matt had to email something to Harkin’s office basically saying that they had his permission to act. Now what?

He has been 'wainting around for chow' for seven months. Seven months! We need to get him home! If you haven't yet read part one, please do. It will help you realize the urgency of my request. By saying...
well u can do more bitchin than me cuz im still in and i cant chew out higher ranks then me

I know he wants help. That's the closest he's gotten to asking for it. He's a Marine, you know. :-)