The disposable soldier, the kidnappings we pay attention to, newspaper to Jesse: Get lost, Rick Perry's memory, and the power of power.
"Everybody's talking about (Jerry) Sandusky and everybody's talking about Joe Paterno and, you know, what's the university going to do for these boys?" hockey star Theo Fleury told CBS News this morning.
Fleury, who was sexually abused as a young player by a coach, suggests people should be less concerned about the legacy of football coach Joe Paterno, and more concerned about getting some help for some kids who probably need it.
"I'm sure they have a psychology and psychiatry faculty there where they can draw on those resources and get these boys the help that they need. It took me 27 years to come to a place of... being comfortable in my own skin again. And, you know, my wish is that...somebody takes the bull by the horns here and reaches out to these boys who have gone through what they have gone through," Fleury said.
We've yet to hear from any of the victims of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, but the sister of one victim says she's stopped going to most classes at Penn State because her brother's misery is the stuff jokes are made of:
"I've been going to minimal classes, because every class I go to I get sick to my stomach. People are making jokes about it. I understand they don't know I'm involved and it was my brother, but it's still really hard to swallow that."
Did a regional airline stonewall federal investigators who were trying to determine if the pilot of a doomed flight was qualified to fly?
The Continental Express flight that crashed on approach to Buffalo in 2009, was actually a Colgan Air flight, owned by Pinnacle Airlines (the same airline that has since purchased Mesaba Airlines and closed the headquarters in Eagan). The probe into the crash revealed the pilot probably helped the airplane spin into the ground by pulling up on the flight controls when he should have been pushing.
A lawsuit filed by some of the families of the 50 people who died, however, uncovered e-mails which confirm that the airline had some concerns about the flying abilities of 37-year-old Marvin Renslow, the pilot.
Like this one (click for larger image. You can find more emails here h/t: WGRZ):
The NTSB wants those e-mails. Today, NTSB chair Deborah Hersman criticized Pinnacle for withholding the e-mails during the Board's investigation:
Two weeks ago, we were disappointed to learn of internal documents released by Pinnacle Airlines Corp., parent company of Colgan Air, that were not provided to the NTSB during the course of our investigation into the February 12, 2009, crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407. The NTSB investigation began immediately after the crash and concluded with a public meeting on February 2, 2010.
Today, in a letter to Pinnacle Airlines Corp., the NTSB requested that the company make available any and all information regarding the training and technical qualifications of the Captain and First Officer on-board Flight 3407.
While the content of the newly released email exchanges appears to be consistent with information our investigators learned through other means during the course of the investigation, it is critical that the factual record of this accident be complete. The previously undisclosed documents do not appear to give reason for reconsideration of the NTSB's final report and probable cause determination.
There's a bigger story here, aviation writer Christine Negroni says: the lack of safety of regional airlines:
This is just a few months after the hearing into the Colgan crash where executives of Colgan insisted safety was their highest priority. The same airline who's safety director admitted during the hearing that he had never heard of James Reason, the grand-daddy of human factors and a legend among safety specialists.
Doing the rounds of the television networks after the emails went viral this week, attorney Russ told one interviewer, "Colgan sacrificed safety for profit." He's giving the airline credit by assuming it had safety practices to sacrifice.
I wrote just some of a blizzard of articles that included the excellent Frontline report Flying Cheap, and a lengthy story in the Wall Street Journal. All delved into the many factors making regional airline operations so unsafe. (see my list of accidents since 2000 below) But the focus has narrowed to efforts to require minimum hours for pilots. I've not seen any indication that regional airlines and their relationship to large airlines has fundamentally changed.
One thing that clearly has not changed is the actions of big carriers to minimize the telltale signs that the airplane you might be getting on isn't flown by the airline you think.
It's done. WalMart has killed Thanksgiving -- as expected. The giant retailer has responded to other stores following its lead by opening at midnight on the Friday after Thanksgiving, by announcing today it will open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the Pioneer Press reports.(12 Comments)
It was just another quip from an official in an otherwise typical dog-and-pony show. Peter Rogoff, the head of the Federal Transit Administration, was in St. Paul on Wednesday to drop some money on the state for expanding transit options for returning veterans.
Then he said this:
"Our fighting men and women are more likely to die of suicide after they return home than they are in the battlefield overseas. That means the battle for the lives of our American servicemen and women are being fought right here at home."
That's a shocking and sobering assertion that certainly made me sit up and listen to a story I otherwise might have ignored. Is it true? It's difficult to say. Are we talking about all living veterans or just the ones who went to Iraq or Afghanistan? Over what time frame? A soldier was more likely to die in Iraq, for example, in 2008 than in 2011.
Army Times reported that there were "1,621 suicide attempts by men and 247 by women who served in Iraq or Afghanistan." But only 94 were successful. Presumably, the number of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans was higher than the number of people actually serving in Iraq/Afghanistan at that time. Three-hundred-seventeen U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan alone in 2009. Another 150 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq in 2009.
That's 467 deaths in the war in 2009. That's certainly much lower than the number of suicide attempts reported by the Veterans Administration during that period -- 6,570 -- but it's far more than the number of people who actually took their own lives.
Over a longer period, 1995 to 2007, there were almost 2,200 suicides of active duty soldiers, according to CBS News. That's That averages about 120 a year. In 2004, that many soldiers -- and more -- were killed in just one month twice. And that's just Iraq.
In a paper published just last month, the Army Public Health Department reported the increasing soldier suicide rate of 22 per 100,000 in 2009 -- a figure that had risen from 9 per 100,000 earlier in the decade. That's a rate that appears to be lower than the rate at which soldiers were being killed in the wars, especially since about one-third of the military personnel who kill themselves, have never been deployed to a war zone.
It is true that last year more soldiers died from suicide than war, but that still doesn't necessarily suggest the rate of suicide was higher.
Asked about the information for Mr. Rogoff's assertion, a spokesman for the Federal Transit Administration said he was attempting to locate the source.
There's no question at all that suicide among veterans is a growing problem and one that deserves all the attention it can receive. Reconnecting soldiers with their community, even if it's just improving transportation options, is certainly an important and acknowledged part of preventing suicide. At the same time, there's no real indication that the biggest threat to a service member's life isn't a war zone.
At least, not quite yet. But if you're aware of data that says otherwise, I'd be grateful if you'd post it here.