Blackwater, Harkin v Limbaugh, and Yout Make the Call

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Good Morning!

Another fun one on the Today in Iowa set. We won’t get into everything we talked about while the cameras were off but we’ll talk about a little bit of it.
In the news:
Blackwater in Congress
So let me get this straight…we get a bunch of paid soldiers(mercenaries, I think, is the word you’re looking for) and ask them to take care of securing American diplomats in Iraq.
They work in a place where people have been shooting at them for years and where they might be killed at any time…then we are outraged when they get into a “firefight” with Iraqis? Am I missing something here?
This isn’t Rodeo drive. They didn’t walk up to a busload of kids and kill them. I’ve never read anything on the incident that started this inquiry that didn’t also start with, “the people in the car didn’t stop when Blackwater agents signaled them to stop at a checkpoint.” In Iraq, they start shooting when you do that, because your car could be full of explosives. I’m not suggesting Congress just rollover and not exercise it’s oversight power here. I’m simply suggesting that it might be more complicated than, a bunch of US Cowboys went up to a car full of innocent Iraqis and started shooting.
Blackwater may, in fact, deserve some sort of reprimand. They may deserve to be kicked out of Iraq. As I’ve written here before…I wouldn’t be so quick to boil it down to simple terms.

Harkin v Limbaugh
We got a lot of emails overnight about a story we ran at 10pm. It talked about the comments Rush Limbaugh made referring to “phony soldiers”. Iowa Sen Tom Harking then went to the well of the Senate last night and admonished Limbaugh for his statements. He also, in my opinion went too far.
Our emailers were pointing out that The Limbaugh comments are being taken out of context. They are. Sort of. Here’s what he said on his show…this is, by the way from Limbaugh’s website:

RUSH ARCHIVE: It’s not possible intellectually to follow these people.
CALLER: No, it’s not. And what’s really funny is they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media.

RUSH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER: The phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they’re proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq, they understand their sacrifice and they’re willing to sacrifice for the country.

RUSH: They joined to be in Iraq.

RUSH: It’s frustrating and maddening, and why they must be kept in the minority. I want to thank you, Mike, for calling. I appreciate it very much.
That’s the conversation that started all of this. I actually checked that against a couple of other sites as well to see if it was accurate. Critics point to Limbaugh’s reference to Phony SoldierS as proof he was criticizing any soldier who’d been critical of the war. Limbaugh says he was referring to one soldier…again from Limbaugh’s website:

This is a story of who the left props up as heroes. They have their celebrities and one of them was Army Ranger Jesse MacBeth. Now, he was a “corporal.” I say in quotes. Twenty-three years old. What made Jesse MacBeth a hero to the anti-war crowd wasn’t his Purple Heart; it wasn’t his being affiliated with post-traumatic stress disorder from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. No. What made Jesse MacBeth, Army Ranger, a hero to the left was his courage, in their view, off the battlefield, without regard to consequences. He told the world the abuses he had witnessed in Iraq, American soldiers killing unarmed civilians, hundreds of men, women, even children. In one gruesome account, translated into Arabic and spread widely across the Internet, Army Ranger Jesse MacBeth describes the horrors this way: “We would burn their bodies. We would hang their bodies from the rafters in the mosque.”
Now, recently, Jesse MacBeth, poster boy for the anti-war left, had his day in court. And you know what? He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and his Army discharge record. He was in the Army. Jesse MacBeth was in the Army, folks, briefly. Forty-four days before he washed out of boot camp.

So then Tom Harkin Stepped in last night to verbally slap Rush Limbaugh around from the Senate floor. Harkin said:
HARKIN: I’ll just close, Mr. President, by noting that in August, seven soldiers published an op-ed in the New York Times criticizing the current strategy in Iraq. Tragically, two of those soldiers were subsequently killed in action, making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
I can only assume by Mr. Limbaugh’s definition that they too were “phony soldiers.” Now what’s most despicable is that Mr. Limbaugh says these provocative things to make more money. So he castigates our soldiers, this makes more news, more people tune in, he makes more money.
Well, I don’t know. Maybe he was just high on his drugs again. I don’t know whether he was or not. If so, he ought to let us know. But that shouldn’t be an excuse.
So you decide…What was Limbaugh really saying and how did Iowa Sen Harkin Reply?

I’d throw this out there… If you really believe Limbuagh is criticizing all soldier who are critical of the war…there’s no excuse for taking a cheap shot at him for his drug abuse problem. If you really believe it, shouldn’t a statement admonishing Limbaugh be a very serious thing? You’re a US Senator…shouldn’t you be outraged? It sounds like the Senator was making a joke. It’s not funny.
The Right Call?
West Des Moines Umpire Tim McClelland was in the middle of arguably the biggest call of the race to the playoffs last night in Colorado. In the 13th inning, a sac fly to short right field brought home the Rockies’ Matt Holliday. The play was close at the plate, and a slow replay shows that it’s at least questionable whether Holliday hit the plate. I’d be interested to know what you think. I think McClelland made the right call simply because the catcher dropped the ball and the runner beat the play. We may never know if his hand really hit the plate, but I think it’s the “right” call in the sense of fair play.
Alzheimer Study
This story reminds us of the power of the mind.
A new study out this week in The Archives of General Psychiatry shows us that self-disciplined and organized achievers have a lower risk of developing Alzheimers. The co-author of the study thinks this kind of personality actually protects the brain. This really isn’t a surprise. People who continue to keep their minds sharp might be able to fight off the effects of Dementia. With that said, I don’t think preventing Alzheimers is that simple and people who have loved ones suffering from Dementia would argue that is will rob ANYONE no matter what their personality. But I have to think about my grandfather Sjoerd who is in his mid-eighties and still sharp as a tack. He reads the paper everyday, still works on the farm and doesn’t smoke. Clean living and keeping your mind sharp certainly doesn’t hurt!
I can’t believe I’m even writing about this except to say…I guess this is what happens when the fantasy world these people live it gets a good dose of reality. There are a lot of stars that have managed a lot of Hollywood success without the theatrics.
Why is this story so fascinating to so many people? And I have to admit, I am one of them. On one hand, I say, “grow up.” But you also have to think that Britney is at the very least having substance abuse issues and she needs help. I pray her kids get the care they need and deserve.
Change out at the Meters
Downtown Des Moines is trying out three different kinds of new parking meters. all of them take credit cards, bills and change. It’s a major shift in convenience for anyone who’s parking downtown. the thing is, you have to pick the one you like the best. So if you frequent downtown…come up with an excuse to visit City Hall. Maybe the Mayor would like to have coffee. Go down to the East Village, and then maybe catch lunch on Court Avenue. You’ll get to see the new systems and the differences among them. Then you’ve got to comment to the city so they know which one you like the best. If you don’t…no complaining about the new meters when they go in. You have six months.
I think this is a great idea. Des Moines is keeping up with the times. People use their bank cards to pay for just about everything, and I have a feeling they’ll use them to pay for the 50 cents it takes to park for half an hour downtown.
Down the Drain
We finally fixed the drain in our upstairs shower. That means my morning was a lot more routine. And let me be clear…when I say “we” fixed the shower…I mean the professional plumber I called. He figured out our drain stopper broke and was actually catching everything that went down the drain. The resulting pile of muck and hair looked as if it might actually come alive and try to kill me. Thankfully the plumber took it away.

Baby Doing Well
Thanks to everyone who blogged on Friday in response to my story about Evan. In case you missed it, I fell down the stairs and Evan was along for the ride. I appreciate your personal stories and feel a lot better knowing that these things can happen easily even to the most protective and cautious parents. Evan is doing well and couldn’t be any more healthy. In fact, he was laughing in the ER just 15 minutes after the accident. Babies are truly resilient and as one doctor put it, “They don’t break easily.” That’s fortunate for those of us who are caring but clumsy. Have a great day!

Hope you have a good day.


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