Today is day 220 of Ron Zalski’s journey across the country. Without shoes, he’s traveled about 2,000 miles. He has another 1,000 to go.
Zaleski is 58 and a grandfather. He left Massachusetts in June. His long journey is intended to bring attention to the high suicide rate of veterans, particularly those who come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s been wearing a sandwich board as he walks alongside America’s roadways. It says “18 vets a day commit suicide.”
Today, he’ll be speaking at the New Mexico Veterans’ Integration Center in Albuquerque (13032 Central SE, near Tramway). And then he’ll keep on walking.
He’s collecting signatures on a petition demanding mandatory counseling for members of the military. He’d like to present them to President Obama on Veteran’s Day in 2011. You can sign the petition electronically at thelongwalkhome.org.
This afternoon, the Pentagon released a study showing that most servicemembers are fine with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. About 70 percent of the military said repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would have a positive effect, a mixed effect or no effect at all.
A poll earlier this month revealed that 58 percent of Americans support an end to the rule, too. President Obama says, “With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all.”
Sen. John McCain and other top Republicans say the report is flawed.
The Alibi spoke with Lt. Col. Steve Loomis about this issue earlier in November. He offered suggestions for how the change should be implemented. Earlier this year, we spoke with New Mexico’s congressmen about their positions on the matter.
Another gas explosion snuffs out hope for the 29 trapped New Zealand miners. All are presumed dead.
Deep sea robots discover a new species in a new genus: the “squid worm.”
Animal Planet discovers world’s ugliest cat. Kinda looks like Sonny Bono.
International pissing contest: U.S. says it’s sending an aircraft carrier for “joint military exercises” off Korea.
“100-proof turkey” takes three days to prepare and is served with 100-proof vodka gravy.
Ohio State president mouths off about college football contenders.
Sarah Palin’s new book insults Betty Friedan and devotes several pages to complaining about Murphy Brown.
American workers are out in the cold, but the companies they work for just had their best quarter ever.
... Not surprisingly, Wall Street execs are already back to buying $40,000 cell phones and renting dwarves for their parties.
John Travolta, 56, and Kelly Preston, 48, salve the grief of losing their oldest son last year by having another baby. This one doesn’t have a stupid name.
Music nerd makes homemade Blue Man Group instrument thingy for a talent show.
Lt. Col. Steve Loomis was discharged from the military in 1997, five days before he was eligible for retirement. He'd been in the Army on active duty for almost 20 years and in the Reserve for another 10.
For 17 years, openly gay, lesbian or bisexual men and women have been barred from serving in the military. On Thursday, May 27, the House of Representatives passed a defense bill that included a repeal of that policy. The Senate Armed Services Committee followed suit the same day.
The Alibi contacted New Mexico’s five congressmen to get their views on the issue.
It's been in effect for 17 years. Openly gay, lesbian or bisexual men and women can't serve in the armed forces. Specifically, they’re barred from showing a tendency toward homosexual acts. The policy also prevents the military from rooting out those hiding their sexual preferences. Still, estimates suggest as many as 13,000 people have been discharged, and thousands more decided not to re-enlist because of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
In Sir Richard Branson's new National Geographic reality tv show Virgin Galatic, as Sindicator points out, Spaceport America ("the world’s first and only civilian space exploration site") is located in southern New Mexico.
Only In New Mexico tips us off to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, headquartered in Albuqueruque, and are currently lobbying to stop Bible references from being inscribed on high-powered rifle sights used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers.
7000 BC reports that New Mexico's seminal & lively 'undergound' comics scene is alive and well with a meeting this Sunday at the Santa Fe Public Library and a UNM Continuing Education class next month: Creating Comics Panel by Panel.