May 27, 2006

Requiem for Leonard Salle

When I first starting hanging out in the blogosphere in the summer of 2002, one of the first blogs I found was Seeing the Forest. Smartly written by Dave Johnson, Seeing the Forest was a revelation for me. From Dave I learned about the history of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and how one of the problems we liberals have today is that we don't have the institutions that are needed to fight against the right-wing noise machine.

It was through Dave that I met Leonard Salle and his wife, Kate Forrest. Len and Kate founded the Commonweal Institute to address the lack of a progressive infrastructure to promote the values and ideas of progressives.

In 2001, Leonard co-founded and served as the President of the Commonweal Institute, a think tank that seeks to maximize the visibility and the power of progressive ideas and values, promoting fundamental American ideals of community, responsibility, and fairness. The ideals and mission of the Commonweal Institute were also Leonardís ideals: commitment to future generations, environmental protection, balance between business and society as a whole, inclusiveness and fairness, separation of church and state, personal choice and privacy, and a comprehensive and nuanced approach to national security.

Len was a remarkable person, warm and smart, funny and, yet, deeply committed to progressive ideals and values. I will miss his friendship, his vision, and his leadership. The Commonweal Institute is his legacy and it will continue to fight the good fight for reclaiming the soul of America.

Here's Dave's Eulogy for Len.

The San Jose Mercury wrote about Len here.

Posted by Mary at May 27, 2006 06:43 PM | Community | Technorati links |

My condolences, Mary. It sounds like those of us who didn't know him really lost out.

Posted by: natasha at May 28, 2006 03:13 AM

My condolences as well, Mary. It's always so hard to say goodbye to the greathearted among us. May his vision of the world to be reach fruition and his name reach the halls of the heroes.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden at May 28, 2006 11:10 AM

I've been fighting the administration of the Armed Forces Retirement Home Agency--an independent agency under the Department of Defense. National homes, the old Soldier and Airmen's Home in Washington DC and the former Naval Home in Gulfport, Mississippi were gutted by the Chief Operating Officer long before hurricane Katrina hit, severely damaging the Home and forcing evacuation of the residents to the 'other' home in DC.

I am an ex-resident of the Home of Heroes in Gulfport, MS.

Now a DOD IG report H05L95546042 dated 26Sep05 surfaced...and it clearly shows the attempt to cover up the report to shield the COO and let one of the finest Air Force Officers, RN LtCol Wendy VanDyke (who was on President Clinton's staff), hang out to dry after being treated cruelly by the COO, the report determines. But the fact that the report only reached light of day by a fluke--the unexpected Department of the Navy letter to LtCol VanDyke that explained her fight to clear her name in the Article 138 (Uniform Code of Military Justice,) was deemed invalid by the Office of Special Counsel because the Home was not a naval command. That is erroneous, of course. But the real thing is that they told her that the DOD IG report had been completed. Something she did not know because it was never revealed to her, and she was the principal player! This was more than 5 months after completion!

In the report, the COO asked his bosses, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) Charles Abell, and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Families) John Molina for assistance in getting rid of LtCol VanDyke, the Deputy Director of the AFRH Gulfport.

He addresses them as "Charlie" and "John"...

But the big thing is the assignment of the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) to 'take appropriate action' against the C.O.O. Remember, it was 'Charlie' who held that position at the time, the same one who helped the C.O.O. find a way to transfer LtCol VanDyke while her legal UCMJ 138 was pending! Once transferred, (which she could not fight) the article 138 was shelved.

Abell and Molino no longer occupy those positions.

It's my contention that all of them conspired to get rid of LtCol VanDyke--she was a danger to them because she opposed the grand plan to ignore USC 10 provisions for ON-SITE health care in the Home, and they wanted to farm out LTCU residents to CCRC's--her career is ruined because her situation, exonerated of wrongdoing in the report, was not addressed beyond directing Abell to 'take appropriate action.' That action was to 'leak' a mild stream from the office of the C.O.O. to the residents that the poor C.O.O. had been punished. He had a bad mark in his record. That was it. He should have been fired!

Her career was not even considered. She was never contacted by the DOD to say the report existed--had it been available, it could have been used to clear her record and have a better chance for promotion to full Colonel.

It is clear to me that it is a cover-up to protect the C.O.O's job.

He has fired employees for far less serious charges...and has to go! When he goes, chances are good that Donald Rumsfeld goes.

There are other allegations in the offices of Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) and Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) that accuse the C.O.O. of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Get a copy of the report from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA@DODIG.MIL)and tell them Jim Pankey, USN (Ret.) sent ya!

What have you done for a veteran lately?

Have a great day!

Posted by: Jim Pankey, USN (Ret.) at May 30, 2006 07:26 AM