Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wake Up America: SEALs Prosecution Disgraceful

Washington (CNN) -- Three U.S. Navy SEALs face criminal charges after the alleged mastermind of one of the most notorious crimes against Americans in Iraq accused them of punching him after his capture, the military said Wednesday.

Ahmed Hashim Abed -- thought to be behind the slayings and mutilation of four U.S. contractors in Falluja in 2004 and captured in summer -- made the accusations against the three servicemen, said Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command.

A civilian lawyer for one of three SEALs said his client and the other SEALs declined a nonjudicial resolution to the case, a step sometimes called a "captain's mast." The servicemen say they did not harm the detainee in any way and they want their names cleared in a court-martial so they can continue their careers in the Navy, said the attorney, Neil Puckett.

Because the charges[*] against Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe and Petty Officer Julio Heurtas are the military equivalent of misdemeanors, they will go before a special court-martial, which is for less serious offenses than those heard in a general court-martial. If found guilty, they could be sentenced to a maximum of a year in a military prison, demotion to the lowest Navy rank, a cut in pay and a bad conduct discharge.

But if found innocent of all charges, they would be able to continue their careers with no record of the case in their personnel files.

The three SEALs are with their unit in Norfolk, Virginia. They will make an initial appearance before a military judge on December 7. The court-martial is scheduled to begin in January.

The attorney said he expects the SEALs will not waive their constitutional right to confront the accuser in court, which could cause a logistical challenge. Abed is believed to be in a U.S. military detention center overseas, and it is unclear if the military would want him brought to the United States for the court-martial.

The four contractors, one of whom was a former Navy SEAL, were working for the Blackwater company when they were attacked in Falluja in 2004. After they were killed with hand grenades and rifles, their bodies were set on fire and dragged through the streets. The bodies of two of them were hung from a bridge in Falluja, an image that was broadcast around the world.

Four days after the attack, the U.S. Marines launched a major offensive inside Falluja, in part to help find the killers.


*The Charges:

Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.

Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.

Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brookfield Bypass Open!

As I wrote on November 4, the Brookfield Bypass opened mid-day today.

Now we'll see if it creates a huge bottleneck at the Bridge.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's Ahead For the NMDTC?

It was not a good election year for the Town’s Democrats. The losses by incumbent John Lillis of his Town Council seat, incumbent Shelly Pruss’ loss of his Board of Finance seat, incumbent Janice Vance’s loss of her Zoning seat and Larry Stillman’s loss of his bid for a Board of Ed seat have far-ranging implications for the Town’s Democratic Party. Lillis, also the DTC Chair, got more votes than the other Democratic Council candidates on the Dem line but lost because others got votes on the New Milford First line and these were added to their final counts.

Pruss, a devoted Dem and former Mayoral candidate, has served the Town for many years in various capacities including the Town Council and his name was on the NMF ballot. Stillman, also a former Democratic Mayoral candidate, is a retired foot doctor whose business was in Town, has served on the Board of Ed and his name was also on the NMF ballot. Despite this history, he failed to get more votes than two newcomers. Vance was also on the NMF ballot.

Say what you may about candidates running on more than one party line – I think it is wrong – it is clear that despite New Milford First’s utter failure to get one of its people elected and that being on its line was the kiss of death for others, the Party may now be able to achieve an unintended goal: the takeover of the Town’s Democratic Party.

Think about it.

Who are the DTC’s two major players? John Lillis and former Mayor Liba Furhman. Furhman is not on my list of favorites but I credit her for arguably knowing more about how to play the political game than anyone else in Town. With Furhman distracted by employment that requires her to stay away from politics and Lillis being discouraged by his recent loss and without meaningful support, who of the real Dems is left to waive the Party’s flag? Certainly not Councilmen Mullen or Lundgren who really aren’t participating Members and whose distaste for the “old guard” was palpably visible at the Council Meetings. Pruss and Wargo can’t do it alone and appear to have lost their enthusiasm for Party politics. So what will happen? Who will fill the void? My guess is that it will be filled with the likes of New Milford First’s Gerry Monaghan who used Bob Kostes’ money to finance the only negativity heard throughout the campaign season. I predict that New Milford First will close its shop if its Members successfully step into the DTC.

The message for the DTC is simple. Don’t allow the NMF malcontents into your tent. If you want to continue to lose, continue to allow your candidates’ names to appear on its ballot; you can’t run as a team if your team players are on another team. If you allow this, you will be relegated to mediocrity for years to come.

It is important to remember in 2011 that New Milford First’s only mission in 2009 was to try to confuse New Milford voters but that the voters saw right through it. Remember not only the ploy in 2011 but the names of the players, no matter what their political affiliation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Health Care Bill Does Create Jobs: The Wrong Kinds

The House Republican Conference has compiled a list of all the new boards, bureaucracies, commissions, and programs created in H.R. 3962, the Government takeover of health care:

1. Retiree Reserve Trust Fund (Section 111(d), p. 61)
2. Grant program for wellness programs to small employers (Section 112, p. 62)
3. Grant program for State health access programs (Section 114, p. 72)
4. Program of administrative simplification (Section 115, p. 76)
5. Health Benefits Advisory Committee (Section 223, p. 111)
6. Health Choices Administration (Section 241, p. 131)
7. Qualified Health Benefits Plan Ombudsman (Section 244, p. 138)
8. Health Insurance Exchange (Section 201, p. 155)
9. Program for technical assistance to employees of small businesses buying Exchange coverage (Section 305(h), p. 191)
10. Mechanism for insurance risk pooling to be established by Health Choices Commissioner (Section 306(b), p. 194)
11. Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund (Section 307, p. 195)
12. State-based Health Insurance Exchanges (Section 308, p. 197)
13. Grant program for health insurance cooperatives (Section 310, p. 206)
14. “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 321, p. 211)
15. Ombudsman for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 321(d), p. 213)
16. Account for receipts and disbursements for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 322(b), p. 215)
17. Telehealth Advisory Committee (Section 1191 (b), p. 589)
18. Demonstration program providing reimbursement for “culturally and linguistically appropriate services” (Section 1222, p. 617)
19. Demonstration program for shared decision making using patient decision aids (Section 1236, p. 648)
20. Accountable Care Organization pilot program under Medicare (Section 1301, p. 653)
21. Independent patient-centered medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302, p. 672)
22. Community-based medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302(d), p. 681)
23. Independence at home demonstration program (Section 1312, p. 718)
24. Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (Section 1401(a), p. 734)
25. Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission (Section 1401(a), p. 738)
26. Patient ombudsman for comparative effectiveness research (Section 1401(a), p. 753)
27. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1412(b)(1), p. 784)
28. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for nursing facilities (Section 1412 (b)(2), p. 786)
29. Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1413(a)(3), p. 796)
30. Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section 1413(b)(3), p. 804)
31. National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities (Section 1422, p. 859)
32. Demonstration program for approved teaching health centers with respect to Medicare GME (Section 1502(d), p. 933)
33. Pilot program to develop anti-fraud compliance systems for Medicare providers (Section 1635, p. 978)
34. Special Inspector General for the Health Insurance Exchange (Section 1647, p. 1000)
35. Medical home pilot program under Medicaid (Section 1722, p. 1058)
36. Accountable Care Organization pilot program under Medicaid (Section 1730A, p. 1073)
37. Nursing facility supplemental payment program (Section 1745, p. 1106)
38. Demonstration program for Medicaid coverage to stabilize emergency medical conditions in institutions for mental diseases (Section 1787, p. 1149)
39. Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund (Section 1802, p. 1162)
40. “Identifiable office or program” within CMS to “provide for improved coordination between Medicare and Medicaid in the case of dual eligibles” (Section 1905, p. 1191)
41. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Section 1907, p. 1198)
42. Public Health Investment Fund (Section 2002, p. 1214)
43. Scholarships for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 1224)
44. Program for training medical residents in community-based settings (Section 2214, p. 1236)
45. Grant program for training in dentistry programs (Section 2215, p. 1240)
46. Public Health Workforce Corps (Section 2231, p. 1253)
47. Public health workforce scholarship program (Section 2231, p. 1254)
48. Public health workforce loan forgiveness program (Section 2231, p. 1258)
49. Grant program for innovations in interdisciplinary care (Section 2252, p. 1272)
50. Advisory Committee on Health Workforce Evaluation and Assessment (Section 2261, p. 1275)
51. Prevention and Wellness Trust (Section 2301, p. 1286)
52.. Clinical Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 1295)
53. Community Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 1301)
54. Grant program for community prevention and wellness research (Section 2301, p. 1305)
55. Grant program for research and demonstration projects related to wellness incentives (Section 2301, p. 1305)
56. Grant program for community prevention and wellness services (Section 2301, p. 1308)
57. Grant program for public health infrastructure (Section 2301, p. 1313)
58. Center for Quality Improvement (Section 2401, p. 1322)
59. Assistant Secretary for Health Information (Section 2402, p. 1330)
60. Grant program to support the operation of school-based health clinics (Section 2511, p. 1352)
61. Grant program for nurse-managed health centers (Section 2512, p. 1361)
62. Grants for labor-management programs for nursing training (Section 2521, p. 1372)
63. Grant program for interdisciplinary mental and behavioral health training (Section 2522, p. 1382)
64. “No Child Left Unimmunized Against Influenza” demonstration grant program (Section 2524, p. 1391)
65. Healthy Teen Initiative grant program regarding teen pregnancy (Section 2526, p. 1398)
66. Grant program for interdisciplinary training, education, and services for individuals with autism (Section 2527(a), p. 1402)
67. University centers for excellence in developmental disabilities education (Section 2527(b), p. 1410)
68. Grant program to implement medication therapy management services (Section 2528, p. 1412)
69. Grant program to promote positive health behaviors in underserved communities (Section 2530, p. 1422)
70. Grant program for State alternative medical liability laws (Section 2531, p. 1431)
71. Grant program to develop infant mortality programs (Section 2532, p. 1433)
72. Grant program to prepare secondary school students for careers in health professions (Section 2533, p. 1437)
73. Grant program for community-based collaborative care (Section 2534, p. 1440)
74. Grant program for community-based overweight and obesity prevention (Section 2535, p. 1457)
75. Grant program for reducing the student-to-school nurse ratio in primary and secondary schools (Section 2536, p. 1462)
76. Demonstration project of grants to medical-legal partnerships (Section 2537, p. 1464)
77. Center for Emergency Care under the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (Section 2552, p. 1478)
78. Council for Emergency Care (Section 2552, p 1479)
79. Grant program to support demonstration programs that design and implement regionalized emergency care systems (Section 2553, p. 1480)
80. Grant program to assist veterans who wish to become emergency medical technicians upon discharge (Section 2554, p. 1487)
81. Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (Section 2562, p. 1494)
82. National Medical Device Registry (Section 2571, p. 1501)
83. CLASS Independence Fund (Section 2581, p. 1597)
84. CLASS Independence Fund Board of Trustees (Section 2581, p. 1598)
85. CLASS Independence Advisory Council (Section 2581, p. 1602)
86. Health and Human Services Coordinating Committee on Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1610)
87. National Women’s Health Information Center (Section 2588, p. 1611)
88. Centers for Disease Control Office of Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1614)
89. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Research (Section 2588, p. 1617)
90. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1618)
91. Food and Drug Administration Office of Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1621)
92. Personal Care Attendant Workforce Advisory Panel (Section 2589(a)(2), p. 1624)
93. Grant program for national health workforce online training (Section 2591, p. 1629)
94. Grant program to disseminate best practices on implementing health workforce investment programs (Section 2591, p. 1632)
95. Demonstration program for chronic shortages of health professionals (Section 3101, p. 1717)
96. Demonstration program for substance abuse counselor educational curricula (Section 3101, p. 1719)
97. Program of Indian community education on mental illness (Section 3101, p. 1722)
98. Intergovernmental Task Force on Indian environmental and nuclear hazards (Section 3101, p. 1754)
99. Office of Indian Men’s Health (Section 3101, p. 1765)
100. Indian Health facilities appropriation advisory board (Section 3101, p. 1774)
101. Indian Health facilities needs assessment workgroup (Section 3101, p. 1775)
102. Indian Health Service tribal facilities joint venture demonstration projects (Section 3101, p. 1809)
103. Urban youth treatment center demonstration project (Section 3101, p. 1873)
104. Grants to Urban Indian Organizations for diabetes prevention (Section 3101, p. 1874)
105. Grants to Urban Indian Organizations for health IT adoption (Section 3101, p. 1877)
106. Mental health technician training program (Section 3101, p. 1898)
107. Indian youth telemental health demonstration project (Section 3101, p. 1909)
108. Program for treatment of child sexual abuse victims and perpetrators (Section 3101, p. 1925)
109. Program for treatment of domestic violence and sexual abuse (Section 3101, p. 1927)
110. Native American Health and Wellness Foundation (Section 3103, p. 1966)
111. Committee for the Establishment of the Native American Health and Wellness Foundation (Section 3103, p. 1968)

E-Mail From Retired CMS, USAF About Hasan

Every day we get garbage e-mails of doubtful origin. This one appears to be real and, if not, hits the mark nevertheless. It was written last Friday, November 6, long before the revelations about the extent to which the warning signs were known to various branches of the Government.

These are sad days for our nation and especially for the families of the victims at Fort Hood. I wrote a letter to my congressman to get some things off my chest and have decided to share it with all of you. I am doing this because I am troubled by the seemingly passive reporting of this act of treason.

Anyway, here it is. Please feel free to share your outrage over this incident with your representatives, newspapers, etc.

Honorable Rob Bishop,

I am a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant with 30 years of active service and am currently in my 10th year of teaching at a local Junior High School. I feel by background, experience, and love for this nation have earned the right to say what I am about to say.

I am deeply concerned about the lack of outrage being displayed over the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. I can understand it from those who are grieving, but It seems that people (reporters, officials, etc.), even our president, are trying very hard not to condemn him, but are looking for excuses for his actions.

This man is a coward and a traitor. He challenged his country's position on an enemy during war time, speaking out in a way that would get any enlisted man or woman courts marshaled or at a minimum a general discharge. Then he turned against his own troops, those he was given authority over by virtue of his rank and, while yelling the battle cry of the enemy, he mowed them down in cold blood as the enemy.

Our Commander in Chief needs to recognize this not only as a horrifying act of terrorism, but as an act of treason. If he doesn't, if he plays the politically correct game and shows any sympathy for him, he is not a leader, has no love, respect, or compassion for his troops as Commander in Chief and should be removed from office immediately.

Those who knew about Hasan's adamant claims against our military actions and his political comments against our Country's military actions while in uniform, and during wartime posture and position, were obligated to report him. They should be thoroughly investigated and if they don't have the ability to make hard decisions (this one should have been easy) they should be removed from their offices. If they had done their jobs, Hasan might have been stripped his rank and drummed out of service before he had an opportunity to plan out his traitorous actions. He should have been under investigation based on those comments, and those who failed to act on them carry the guilt of his crimes.

Please pass my feelings on to the rest of Congress and our President. Thank you for listening.

Patrick D. Crawford, CMS USAF (Ret)
PS, I may forward this E-mail to a few others whom I think need to hear my feelings.

If I missed any important facts, please don't hesitate to let me know.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Super 7 Extension to Open November 19

It's not a date that's written in stone says DOT, "But that's what we're shooting for."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Murphy Wins Big; Republicans Sweep

In a major thrashing, Mayor Pat Murphy defeated challenger Bob Coppola 4032, 1734. That's the unofficial count. It was a big night for the Republicans who won every seat they ran for but one.

The new Town Council will consist of 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Republicans: Esposito, O'Brien, Buck-Taylor, Szendy, Guendelsberger, Bass. Democrats: Bayer, Mullen, Lundgren. Venerable Councilman John Lillis lost.

It was certainly not a happy night for the School Superintendent...Republicans now have a 5-4 majority on the Board of Ed.

And how did New Milford First fare? It scored a big zero. Not even close.