Weekend Potpourri

Welcome to Monday – time for another potpourri edition from the past weekend! When there are several stories out there that I want to comment about, I combine them into a “potpourri” column.

Today’s topics include:

  • A Veteran’s Nightmare
  • The Patriot Act
  • American Pharoah
  • Naked and Afraid

A Veteran’s Nightmare:

The Great Falls Tribune has the story about Charles Gatlin, a Ranger-qualified former Army captain who suffered a brain injury after a large truck bomb knocked him unconscious near Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006. Gatlin was retired from the Army with a 70% disability for his traumatic brain injury (TBI). After the Montana VA conducted a “short exam” that rating was dropped to 10%. Then Gatlin started the nightmare of appealing this decision.

The VA Appeals Board ruled that Gatlin’s case be re-adjudicated based on a new examination. The Board also wrote the following about Fort Harrison: “There is no way for Charles to be able to receive a fair and unbiased evaluation by anyone in that system.”

You can read the whole story HERE. There’s more. Read on.

Gatlin and his wife filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all VA correspondence relating to them. What they received was not good. You can read that story HERE.

If a veteran is mistreated or does not get adequate attention because he/she contacted his/her elected officials, there should be hell to pay for the VA officials. That’s a freedom we have in this country. Back when I was a Senate staffer, I told veterans who had contacted my boss if anyone at the VA chastised them or if they felt the VA was mistreating them because of their contact with their elected officials’ office to let me know. I would make sure that crap ended quickly – and it did.

I’ve said this before, but it is time to get rid of most of the higher level managers and bring in new blood because there are serious problems at Fort Harrison. Throwing more money at it won’t help. There needs to be a major shakeup – and a major attitude adjustment for those who are left.

Patriot Act on Life Support?

The Hill reported on Sunday that without action by the end of the month, key provisions of the Patriot Act will expire and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argues that would put the United States at a pre September 11, 2001-footing.

They also report that McConnell has no definite path to extend those provisions. Read the story HERE.

The Patriot Act is about our security. Back in November 2007, I wrote about the Patriot Act and said, “If you are breaking the law, then you should worry. If not, don’t sweat it.”

I still feel that way today. Freedom is not free…

American Pharoah:

We once again have a chance for a Triple Crown winner! American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby in early May, and this past Saturday American Pharoah won the Preakness Stakes. Now all that is left is the Belmont Stakes on June 6.

The New York Times reported this piece of information:

For the fourteenth time in the last 36 years, a horse will pull into Belmont Park with an opportunity to become the 12th Triple Crown champion, and the first since Affirmed in 1978.

Naked and Afraid:

Last year I started watching the Discovery Channel show “Naked and Afraid.” I was kind of hooked – and it’s great to follow the comments on Twitter while watching the show.

In case you’ve not heard about the show, two people (a man and woman) who are strangers are naked and have to survive in a remote location for 21 days. They are allowed to bring one item each to help them survive. Some bring a knife or fire starter – something they feel they can use to survive. They have to find food and water and make shelter.

Spoiler Alert – Last night Trenton Harper of Missoula, Montana, was on the show and he and his partner made it for 21 days in the wilds of Udhampur.


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