Lawmakers Seek To Change Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy

Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 @ 1:42 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 @ 1:51 PM

Since the war in Iraq began, the military has lowered its standards for age, education and criminal history. So, what about the ban on homosexuality?

On Thursday, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will introduce a bill to change that policy.

Here is a look at both sides of the controversy.

Brian’s Story: The view of friends, spouses and children through the plane's window gets larger.

The military aircraft is getting closer to landing and as soon as their feet hit the tarmac, the group of Marines make their way to embraces eight months in the making.

Sgt. Brian Fricke will have to wait a little longer.

"That will always sting a bit. Because I was gay, I didn't have anybody there," said Fricke.

He knew hugging his boyfriend on the flight line wouldn't be discreet. He'd violate the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and face a dishonorable discharge.

His homecoming was the culmination of four years of hiding his true identity to all but his closest friends in the Marine Corps. "When you're out there you can't talk about your loved one. You can play the he/she game. 'Oh yeah, "my loved one" yada, yada..' but you really want to talk about your loved one. But you can't." Now his time is almost up in the military and he says he's not re-enlisting because of the policy that kept him in the closet.

He said on the ground in Iraq, the Marines who he did "come out" to had no problem with his sexuality. A recent Zogby poll backs him up, showing three out of four soldiers back from Iraq and Afghanistan felt comfortable interacting with gay people.

The Service members Legal Defense Network, which advocates against the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, said that since it went into effect in 1993, the Department of Defense has fired more than 11,000 service members because they were gay. The group says on average, 2 to 3 people are dismissed under the law every day. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at least 800 of those had skills deemed 'mission-critical' by the Dept. of Defense, including more than 300 linguists, of which at least 55 were proficient in Arabic.

A Colonel's View: Although he's retired from the military, Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis prides himself on being in touch with the top military leaders and latest Army strategies. In 1993, he argued before Congress that allowing gays to participate would hurt military readiness. He still believes that to be true.

"We already have a lot of sex going on between males and females in forced intimate situations--whether they're on aircraft carriers or in tents in Iraq -- and that hurts readiness," Maginnis says. He said it would be logistically impossible keeping people who are attracted to the same sex out of those intimate situations and it would make other soldiers uncomfortable.

"We're not making a moral judgement about homosexuality. We're making a judgement that as a category of people, they're suitability for the type of mission, the 24-7, very remote location, zero privacy, very demanding never off-duty environment is just not there. And therefore, we exclude them."

Maginnis dismisses a recent Zogby poll that claims 3 out of 4 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are comfortable interacting with gay people. He said it is not a random sample and especially does not reflect the view of senior leaders who have to deal with these issues on a day-to-day basis.

When gay advocates argue the policy hurts efforts in Iraq, Maginnis said the number of people getting kicked out under "Don't Ask Don't Tell" are inconsequential. He says they lose about four times as many women who get pregnant and opt out and far more people who have to leave for criminal reasons.

He also points to February Department of Defense documents that show retention in the armed services remains solid. The Marine Corps and Air Force are meeting or exceeding overall retention missions. The Army met 109 percent of its year-to-date mission and Navy met 93 percent.

Oxford resident plans to challenge Boehner in 2014

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

OXFORD — Tom Poetter announced this week he will run for Congress in next year’s midterm election and while he may not meet incumbent John Boehner during the campaign, Poetter does plan to meet with as many residents of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District as he possibly can.

Boehner has swept to re-election with 60 percent or more of the votes every time and last year, was unopposed. Poetter wants to offer a Democratic alternative and a challenge to the status quo.

Poetter, an Oxford resident for 17 years and an education professor at Miami University, said Boehner has a history of not campaigning and not appearing at voter events, while assuming re-election.

“When I talk to people in the district, the issue of presence comes up,” Poetter said. “I’ll be on the ground talking to people about things that are important to them. I’m not a Washington politician. I’m not a local politician. I will serve two years and if people like what I do, they will re-elect me.”

Poetter said Boehner’s past election domination makes any attempt to unseat him look futile, but he does not let that deter him.

“It looks ominous on paper but we’re not afraid of that. It’s a big step and I did not take it lightly,” he said. “Speaker Boehner has a war chest. People across the country are expressing interest. It will take a national and regional effort. This is really a big, big district, gerrymandered to cover rural areas.”

Poetter said the recent government shutdown cost the country $24 billion and left the country’s security compromised. It was something that could have been averted if Boehner had allowed the issue to come to a vote. That has left some 8th District voters disenchanted and Poetter said he wants to represent those people.

“Really, they took the step of shutting down the government of the greatest nation in the world to satisfy the wants of a small number of people,” he said. “What happens when somebody is 24 years on the job and the company melts down? They get severance and told to leave.”

Poetter is a native of St. Mary’s, Ohio and graduated from Heidelberg University in business and English in 1985. He played baseball there, but is a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame with the 1984 basketball team that went to the Sweet 16. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1988 and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1989.

That began what he and his wife, Chris, call their three-year series — three years as he taught at Culver School, three years in Bloomington as he earned his doctorate at Indiana University and three years teaching at Trinity in Texas.

That ended when he got the job teaching at Miami University and they moved back to Ohio, closer to both of their families.

“I’ve been at Miami 17 years now,” he said. “This is home.”

He led the Miami Partnership office for 10 years, opening new opportunities for the Talawanda teachers and students, as well as Miami faculty and students. It was those experiences melding the varied interests of those involved into a cooperative effort that he points to as a valuable political tool.

Poetter said he has learned much from the politics of university life and enters this campaign with an eye toward talking to as many district residents as possible and talking about leadership and working together in Washington, which is something he feels is a strength.

“Voters will have a lot of responsibility in November ‘14. They have to decide whether to do business as usual. Speaker Boehner can kick the can down the road and be an embarrassment to the nation and not make decisions on spending priorities, especially as we are making our way out of costly wars,” Poetter said. “We need to grow the economy again and be a strong and peaceful nation again. The percentage of debt is dropping. The economy is showing signs of improving.”

Poetter said he refuses to make a quick answer to questions just to please a questioner. If necessary, he said, he will ask for time to consider a question and get back to the person concerned with an issue.

“Leadership is not just about decision-making. It’s about dialogue and consensus-building. It’s about authenticity and working together. It takes time and involvement. I can make a decision, but an informed decision,” he said. “I’m going to be present. I do not take that lightly.”

Local man missing for 3 weeks found

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 5:28 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 5:28 PM

An older man, missing since the fourth of July, has been found three weeks later.

Around 6:00 p.m. Thursday, July 4th., 79 year-old Donald Cooper left his daughter’s home on Beech Tree Court and hadn’t been heard from since that time.

Cooper is a diabetic and concern from his family grew because he was without his medication.

We have requested information on Cooper’s condition and where-a-bouts during the time he was missing. We will update this story as we receive further details.

Supercomputer unveiled at Wright-Patt

Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 @ 9:12 PM
Updated: Monday, July 22, 2013 @ 9:12 PM

Military leaders cut the ribbon Monday on a $25 million supercomputer that’s fast — really fast.

In fact, Air Force officials said the supercomputer known as “Spirit” is able to complete 15,000 trillion calculations every second, making it 36,000 times more powerful than your average PC.

Spirit is named after the B-2 Stealth bomber and is reported to be the seventh fastest in the United States and the 14th fastest computer in the world, according to the base.

WPAFB officials said the computer will allow scientists to virtually perform complicated and expensive weapons tests.

“Instead of going out there and blowing something up, we can simulate it,” said Lloyd Slonaker, head of the supercomputer project. “We save a lot of money that way and we can take a look at the different options available to us.”

The ceremony held at Area B’s Information Technology Complex was hosted by Maj. Gen. William McCasland, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

— Staff Writer William Garbe is a senior at the University of Dayton.

Protesters march along Fairfield Road to bring bus stops for workers

Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 3:48 PM
Updated: Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 3:48 PM

Well over 100 protesters came out to show their support in favor of RTA busing to the Fairfield Commons Mall area.

At 12:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon, a group formed from the members of Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (LEAD) at the corner of North Fairfield Road and Colonel Glenn Highway to start a protest march on North Fairfield Road over the I-675 Overpass toward the Fairfield Commons Mall.

The organization wants to bring attention to what they feel is a need for RTA bus service to three new stops.

LEAD’s Civil Rights complaint with the Federal Department of Transportation found Beavercreek in violation of Title VI.

LEAD members state the new bus stops would bring access to jobs, education and health care.