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Of all the news stories out there today, none is as painfall as the one from Niagara Falls where a family was told their son was killed in Afghanistan. He wasn't. And the story has the elusive Minnesota connection.
Robin Jasper said her husband was responding to a message left on his phone by the civilian liaison with whom they had talked once before. That liaison is located in Duluth, Minn.
"She said, 'Call me as soon as you can,' " Robin Jasper said, explaining that the family heard the worst upon calling back. "She said, 'This is a red-line message. I have to read it to you exactly as it says.' "
Then, according to the Jaspers, the voice on the other end of the phone told Raymond that his son had died Saturday, along with a 23- year-old soldier from Kansas.
"I said to [my husband], 'Is he hurt -- how bad?,' " Mrs. Jasper said. "He said, 'He's dead,' and he dropped the phone."
Family and friends posted messages on Facebook. The soldier's girlfriend saw them and called the parents. "He's not dead. I just talked to him," she said.
The military isn't talking.
What might have happened here? A 2008 USA Today profile of the volunteers who make phone calls might have a clue.
After the Army officially notified next-of-kin about a soldier's death, Bana Miller had to inform other families in Bravo Troop about the loss of life -- calls known as red-line message.
"The first that I made I was breaking down," she says. Co-workers drove her home.
Back home in Bryn Mawr that Thanksgiving, her family saw her react to news reports of casualties. "I mean she was shaking, physically shaking immediately after the news segment," recalls her younger brother, Hume Najdawi.
It's quite possible the volunteer in Duluth got a name wrong and was in the process of telling other families about a death in their son's platoon, and the father heard the call incorrectly.
Sgt. Tyler A. Juden, of Winfield, Kan., who was in the soldier's unit, was killed on Saturday.
There's a period at the beginning of session of the U.S. House when members make one-minute speeches to a near-empty chamber. It's the daily "lightning round" of American issues.
Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., objects to what Hamas is teaching in its schools.
Rep. Steven Kagen, D-Wisc., advocates reform in health care.
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., congratulates a teenage tennis player at the U.S. Open.
Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Co., congratulates Congress for passing an economic stimulus
Rep. Christopher Lee, R-NY, pays tribute to a soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-KY, says people are frustrated that they're not being heard and says it's because of campaign contributions from big money.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-TX, notes the high attendance of people protesting Obama's health care "These people don't like the attitude that disagreement with government is frowned upon." He says people object to the characterization of "these people as unAmerican."
Speaking of viral:
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-NC, says people with health care coverage don't know what they've got.
Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mon., says Congress should adjourn for 30 days so the reps can "listen to real Americans" on health care.
Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, says people need health insurance.
Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., says the administration raised taxes by adding tariffs on tires from China.
Rep. John Hall, D-NY (former lead singer of Orleans) says health care must pass.
Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., says proposed health care bill will force small businesses to close.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-NJ, says surging health care costs slow job growth.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX., says 40 percent of medical practice suits are without merit.
Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., says people are mostly worked up over things that aren't in the health care bill. He calls them "hallucinations."
Rep. John Fleming, R-La., says health care reform plan will increase national debt.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Tex., says it's time for insurance companies "to come to the table, spending the millions they're spending to spread falsehoods" and work out a plan on health care.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, who honors a police officer who was killed in the line of duty.
Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-Ohio, honors the late Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunze.
Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., advocates public option in health care reform.
Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, pats himself on the back for passage of a wind energy bill.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., says Democrats are calling everything a crisis. "We still don't get it; the crisis is here in Washington," he says.
Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-NY, recounts stories of problems with people who have pre-existing conditions.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, says 1 of 5 adults lacks health insurance.
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis. recognizes 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Ohio, says a woman who worked for GM and took early retirement, has found she's lost her health care and her retirement savings.
Rep. Rush Holt, D-NY, says Americans are living sicker and dying younger.
And that's today's lightning round.(4 Comments)
Here's the theory:
The price of Titanium Dioxide, a key ingredient of white paint, fell 7.3 percent over the 12 months ending in August, the Labor Department reported today. That would indicate that the demand for white paint -- used on cars and many consumer goods, of course -- is softening.
"I think the white paint index is signaling that the manufacturing recovery may be short-lived," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.
It also spells bad news for real estate. When people are buying homes, one of the first things they do is paint the walls white.
As with everything else, economists appear to be surprised by the falling index. Just a few months ago, an increase in the price had them projecting a significant recovery.
In other economic news, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke says the recession is likely over.
Photo credit:2 Comments)