October 23, 2021

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I Got The News Today remembers our military and consoles their loved ones

I dunno carried on the work himself for several years before a team assembled around him; the mission—to memorialize every soldier, pilot, sailor, and Marine killed in the line of duty—has remained the same since April 2004. Though the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq have ended, and the IGTNT stories have grown infrequent, reflecting the decline in casualties, the group’s efforts haven’t ended. The latest tragic deaths of 13 servicemembers, killed in the August 26 suicide attack at Kabul Airport, brought the team back together, to research and compose tributes just as they’ve done for the past 17 years.

“From the beginning,” the group writes, “the Daily Kos Community has made this series a place of solemn respect for the fallen by expressing their condolences with kind words and images. Those who mourn these men and women have, on occasion, contacted IGTNT to express their gratitude and appreciation. This series would have never flourished without those of you in the Community, many of which have supported us from the beginning. We thank you.” Indeed, the comment sections of the IGTNT series have been marked by compassion, condolence, and dignity. It has reflected the best of the Community, and has remained one of the anchors that has tied the Community to our commitments to both the active military, and to veterans after service.

“I am a member of a local Democratic club, and was asked a few years ago to speak at one of our meetings about my activity on Daily Kos,” Jaxdem said. “Of course I had to talk about IGTNT, as it is so near and dear to my heart. Afterwards I was approached by our club secretary, Steve, who looked me in the eye and said, ‘You wrote about my nephew.’” Jaxdem notes that while she had not personally written about Steve’s nephew, her involvement and the shared bond took hold. ”Steve told me his sister-in-law, the Marine’s mother, never failed to look for and read an IGTNT post for quite a few years. Steve and I served on the board of directors of the Democratic Club for several years, and we were much closer as a result of IGTNT.” 

“I felt I got to know the precious person who had given their life for our country,” Ekaterin said of writing posts for the series, “and although it could be heart-wrenching, it always felt like a privilege to briefly be part of sharing their story. I sent the link of one diary to the mother of the fallen soldier through Facebook, and she wrote back with such appreciation for the honor we had given her son and all the kind comments from Kossacks. I had a friend who was deployed as a Kiowa pilot, and when a pilot on his team was killed in a helicopter crash, I was so honored to write the diary for him, and to honor him for my deployed friend.” Ekaterin added that she is “so grateful to all the faithful Kossacks who followed these diaries and left compassionate comments for the families of the fallen. Daily Kos is truly a special community.”

“On Dec. 31, 2006, our local news reported a story of a 20-year-old Army Specialist, Capt. John Michael Sullivan, from Hixson, Tennessee, [who] was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.” Sandy on Signal recounts. “[Capt. Sullivan was] just days away from leaving Iraq to be with his wife, who was due with their first child. When the two soldiers came to the widow’s door and gave her the news, she went into labor and a few hours later, their son was born.” Sandy on Signal forwarded the information to I dunno, who asked for her help with the writing of Capt. Sullivan’s story. “He told me how to write and publish these tributes. His words still haunt me: ‘It isn’t the mechanics of writing IGTNT that is difficult, it is the content.’ His words remain true to this day. Every tribute is heartbreaking and painful to research, read and publish. It never gets any easier over time.”

Sandy on Signal and i dunno were joined by monkeybiz in 2007. Noweasels soon followed. There were days darker even than those of April 2004; in the middle of the 2007 Surge, “quite often,” Sandy on Signal says, “one would have a day with eight, 10 and more DOD announcements. We had helicopter crashes with 26 killed—those would be broken into a couple of separate IGTNT diaries.  We would all collaborate and pitch in to respectfully cover each one of them. I’m forever grateful for the whole team, who always pitched in … so all were covered. We remain a close-knit group to this day.”

Maggiejean joined the group after attending a Netroots Nation workshop on IGTNT. “Although I was against both wars being fought at that time, I was supportive of the troops doing their best in a bad situation. I thought that, at the very least, I should be part of the team that honored the fallen troops. In those days, there were many fallen and very little attention was given to them as individuals, only numbers.”

For 17 years, IGTNT has cut against the media (and sometimes, the government) impulse to anonymize the military, working to honor the people who gave their lives in service to the country as individuals, not merely numbers. Born of the anger of anti-war sentiment combined with outrage over the callous treatment that servicemembers received from their own government, IGTNT became a glue that cements the Daily Kos Community both to the military and to each other.

“All diaries are difficult to do,” Sandy on Signal says, “but the hardest one which hit home was when my husband and I were at Netroots Nation 2009 in Pittsburgh. My mom called me around 9AM to tell me my cousin’s brother-in-law, Sgt. Bill Cahir, [had] died in Afghanistan. Mom asked me if I wrote about him. ‘No, mom,’ I replied. ‘This is the first I heard of it, but I will.’

And she did, in a special installment of IGTNTRemembering Sgt. Cahir this week, Sandy reflected on the nature of such enduring losses that families endure, and the rituals we enact to keep our loved ones alive in our memories.

Sgt. William Cahir joined the Marine Corps right after the 9/11 attacks. He worked as an assistant for Sen. Edward Kennedy, [as] a news reporter, and [was] a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2008 in Pennsylvania. In 2009, he was sent back to Afghanistan for his third tour of duty and was killed by sniper fire on August 13, 2009, in Helmand Province. He left behind a pregnant wife with twin girls, parents, siblings, extended family, numerous friends, and fellow Marines. His mother received a beautiful and heart-wrenching letter from his commanding officer, something the family will always cherish. Every year, he is remembered with a shot of Jack Daniel’s, chocolate chip cookies, and guitar music. Just this week, my cousin talked with his father-in-law and Bill’s name came up, for his musical talent. The dad then reflected on what a treasure his son was.

The fallen are never forgotten.


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365 Days of Climate Awareness 53: Introduction to glaciers by agramante (2009-72-8)

Day 53 of Agramante’s year of climate awareness introduces us to glaciers: covering the basics of their formation all the way to their terminations, either by evaporation or melting. Along the way, we learn about fluid dynamics and mass deformation. “Glaciers occur in several settings: in mountains, where they are called alpine glaciers’ on the plains, where they are called continental glaciers; when over 50,000 km2 in area, ice sheets; and floating on the ocean, where they are called ice shelves.” The series demystifies earth science in convenient daily doses.

Anti-choice laws are a form of child abuse by TheCriticalMind (2017-248-?)

“If you ask a conservative which woman is the poster child for abortion, I suspect they would say it was a sexually irresponsible teenager who had a one-night stand or short-term relationship.” TheCriticalMind writes in this exploration of the cynical rhetoric behind anti-choice activism. Yet most people who elect to have abortions already have children and live in poverty. “Forcing a woman to have a child that she lacks the resources to raise—often even with the father still in the picture—consigns not only that child to a life of deprivation, but also worsens the outcomes for any child or children she already has,” which explains the story’s title.

Corporate media is not an ally, nor will that change by Peter Olandt (2013-4-1)

Progressives often complain that the media holds Republicans and Democrats to very different standards. The writer, a seasoned follower of progressive politics, explains why traditional media doesn’t treat Democratic administrations or progressive politics impartially: Objectivity doesn’t support the priorities of a corporate-owned media. Looking for even-handedness is an exercise doomed to disappoint, as media outlets tailor their messages to suit the audiences they hope to reach, whether that be Fox News or The New York Times. “One of our few saving graces is that the corporate world is not unified on all issues. So in those cases, those issues have some diversity of reporting—so long as it all contains a proper pro-corporate slant.”

Top Comments: Medicare and drug prices edition by cohenzee  (2006-103-?)

Cohenzee illustrates the value of maintaining relationships with your congressional representative. When their rep, sitting on the Energy and Commerce Committee, voted to deny Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices, cohenzee requested a phone meeting with a staffer and learned that the reason the rep voted as she did was to ensure the entire bill wouldn’t be killed in the Senate. The staffer “specifically named Sens. Manchin and Sinema, and the fact they were both against the House provision as it was written in the Energy and Commerce Committee, and felt having it in could doom the whole agenda.” Having built a relationship with this staffer and the office gave the author the chance to give direct and honest feedback where it counts.

Early childhood education: Our future’s most critical infrastructure by dratler (2016-123-8)

Dratler outlines the many reasons why early childhood education is the best investment we can make in our future, noting what educators have long known: The earliest years of a child’s life are the ones most critical for lifelong success of not only the individual child, but society as a whole. “Starve the brain of ‘input’ during those years, and you have a stunted mind all the way to and through adulthood. Provide it with high-quality education, designed by people trained to nurture young minds, and you create competence, reasoning power, social skills, and even the occasional genius.”

The language of emotions and why it should matter to Democratic leaders by neo laicses (2021-1-1)

First-time writer neo laicses melds Leonard Cohen’s musical genius and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony before Congress to political rhetoric, explaining how music speaks the language of emotion. Republicans have leveraged emotion to drive their messages, and Democrats need to appeal to the heart and not just the intellect if they want to seize the momentum and drive change in the United States. Democrats, the author says, rely too much on pragmatism: “They are presenting so-called rational solutions that do not resonate on an emotional level with American voters. Too many times, they respond to crises with talking points, trying to misdirect attention from the real problems that complicate our lives, and we come away feeling betrayed—we instinctively feel that something is wrong.”

Senate report on Trump’s efforts to use the DOJ to steal the election: Findings and recommendations by KeithDB (2011-211-?)

KeithDB has read the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 394-page report about Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine and overturn the 2020 Presidential election, and summarizes six key findings and four recommendations that are important for the public to understand. While the report is an interim, and not final, report, the author notes that the Committee released it in light of the seriousness of the offenses and their enduring effects, saying that the events were “not merely a policy failure, but also the result of conscious actions by a mix of bad-faith actors seeking to overturn the 2020 general election in favor of their preferred candidate, as well as other actors attempting to placate Trump.” 

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