I Have Some Questions

By Jeffrey Page
–You’ve seen it at Ringling Bros. and now you see it in real life. The people running the Gingrich campaign have stepped into a bucket and are walking funny. Seems Newt didn’t file enough valid signatures to get on the primary ballot in Virginia.

The excuses followed forthwith.

First, Newt’s Boys attacked the Commonwealth of Virginia for running “a failed system.” Translation: One that Newt fumbled.

Then they said – and parse this carefully – “voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates.” Meaning Gingrich. So if Newt is the contender in question, the rules don’t apply, but if, say, Michele Bachmann filed too few signatures, well, the hell with her; she should have known better.

Then Gingrich announced he would wage an aggressive write-in campaign to win Virginia on Super Tuesday, March 6, but he forgot one important matter. Virginia doesn’t permit write-in voting in primaries.

Now it’s just a matter of time before he blames his foul-up on the press. He blames the press for most things.

Question: If Gingrich, the self-identified genius, can’t get the rules of a primary right, what can the country expect of him in such matters as war and peace, jobs, the economy, taxes, the debt, and health care? (Speaking of health care, it now turns out Newt approved of Romneycare but flipped like a flapjack when its carbon copy – Obamacare – was on the table.)

* * *

–Recently, the chief of staff of the Air Force expressed his official sorrow regarding the dumping of incinerated remains of cremated service members in a landfill in Virginia.

This barbarous practice ended in 2008. But the chief’s statement of regret came only recently – last month, to be precise – after the Washington Post reported on the disposal of 274 soldiers’ remains.

“We regret any additional grief to families that past practices may have caused,” said Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones. “May” have caused, he said. Only a three-star general, like Jones, could get away with such an idiotic declaration.

The Times, meanwhile, reported that the Air Force has begun an investigation into this disgrace and found that some service officials at Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies and remains of all dead service members are returned to the United States, had grossly mismanaged their duties.

Question 1: Where is President Obama on this? Surely he has an interest since it was he who stood at attention and saluted at Dover after allowing the press to photograph the returning coffins.

Question 2: How many of the 274 soldiers who wound up amid the day’s garbage and trash were generals? (I’ll take a guess: None.)

* * *

–While we’re on the subject of the shabby way soldiers and veterans often are treated, the Army has informed Congress that there are discrepancies between the information on some of the 260,000 headstones and other monuments at Arlington National Cemetery, and information contained in the cemetery’s office records.

How many instances of error might there be? The army estimates it could be as many as 64,000. In some cases, the mistake is in paper records and fairly easy to correct. But in others, the army says, the mistake – a misspelled name, incorrect birth or death dates, improper rank and/or organization – might be chiseled into the headstones. This will require major repairs or replacements.

This comes a few years after Congress learned of instances in which more than one body was buried per grave at Arlington.

Question: Do any of these mistakes appear on the headstones of generals? Were any generals laid to rest in the same grave as a PFC?

* * *

–While the remains of service personnel wound up in a landfill, the Air Force had important things on its mind. Such as this policy: If you’re in the Air Force you may not “attach, affix or display objects, articles, jewelry or ornamentation through the ear, nose, tongue or any exposed body part.”

There’s an exception to the rule.

“Women,” the Air Force says in classic military prose, “are authorized to wear one small spherical, conservative, diamond, gold, white pearl, or silver pierced, or clip earring per earlobe and the earring worn in each earlobe must match. Earrings should fit tightly without extending below the earlobe.”

Question: Doesn’t the Air Force have better things to do than to write general orders regarding the use of bling?

* * *

And finally, Donald Trump announced he was ending his registration as an enrolled Republican. He is now an independent, and thus holds open the possibility of running for president as a third-party candidate.

Question: When will people – myself included – stop taking Trump so seriously that they find it necessary to comment on his latest expression of self-importance?



4 Responses to “I Have Some Questions”

  1. Tom Bisky Says:

    Jeff —

    To pick up on your comment on the shabby way veterans are often treated, here’s a link containing the name of a young woman who was wounded in Iraq and has yet to receive ANY of the service pay officially due her:


    Her name — Bernadette Beckwell — is mentioned (and she is quoted at some length) in the last section of the linked page, which is about a national “giving back” organization that mentions (coincidentally) that it supports the Warwick Humane Society and the Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center.

    I first heard about Bernadette on a recent visit to my Manhattan dentist, Dr. Clifford Williams. That very morning, he had appeared on NBC-TV with Bernadette because, as a world-class specialist in restorative and cosmetic dentistry, he had agreed to take on her case pro bono — and to help her recover from severe facial wounds she suffered in Iraq.

    He couldn’t believe it when she told him that the U.S. military still owes her every penny of back pay, and has been dragging its official feet to an obscene degree. This is the kind of thing that I know justifiably outrages you — and I hope that, in early 2012, you may turn your investigative lens upon her case. If you wanted to speak with Dr. Williams about his role vis a vis Bernadette, he would be happy to comply.

    Here’s wishing you, Anita and your family the happiest of new years.


  2. EPP Says:

    The Tea Party would complain if we asked for money to properly fund all the programs veterans deserve and have been promised.

    As any employer knows it is payroll and retirements costs that top the costs chart.

    Hey, I got it! Outsource!
    Send VA hospital jobs to Cebu, and then we just have to explain to the vets that the cost of transportation is not included!
    We’d save billions in healthcare costs.

    When the weighing of money against human lives and suffering is finally considered a form of ill treatment, we may make some progress.

  3. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    Just visit any VA hospital and you will see young soldiers with brain injuries wandering the hallways. I cannot look at them with out a feeling of shame and tears in my eyes.

    As for Newt there’s a reasons that’s his name. And as for Trump, my husband’s greatest fear is that somehow our paths will cross. I have vowed to mess his faux hair!

    Happy New Year!

  4. Rich Gigli Says:

    Citizens of the USA

    GOD forbid that Gingrich ever becomes President.

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