Heroes

The Artist and her “Portrait Seen ‘Round the World” Courtesy Jane Rosenberg (not for duplication)

A word about courtroom artists, please.

In the wake of “Deflategate” or “Sketchgate” or whatever they’re calling the controversy surrounding New England quarterback Tom Brady these days, I think it’s time to speak up for court artists everywhere.

Disclosure: Jane Rosenberg, the artist at the center of the recent storm over her less-than-perfect depiction of the handsome quarterback, is a pal of mine. I have worked alongside her as the reporter covering a court proceeding, she the assigned artist.  Rosenberg is a 35-year veteran and widely considered to be one of the best in her field. [click to continue…]

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Citizen Angels For Families of the Missing

by Diane Dimond on August 10, 2015

Julie Pendley Lost Her Cousin - Found a Calling

Julie Pendley Lost Her Cousin, Ben, And Found a Calling

Sometimes out of tragedy comes triumph. Such is the case for Julie Pendley of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

In May, her cousin Ben Baber and his best friend Cody Parrick went missing. The two 20-year-olds had driven from their homes in Okmulgee, Oklahoma to attend a concert in Pryor, about an hour-and-a-half away.

That was the last anyone heard from them. A devastating rainstorm had passed through the area about the same time the young men would have been driving home and it was feared that Ben, an inexperienced driver, might have had an accident. [click to continue…]

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Vietnam Vets Returned to Scorn and Ridicule

Vietnam Vets Returned to Scorn and Ridicule

Isn’t it ironic?

In the 70’s Vietnam veterans returned from an unpopular war to society’s scorn and cries of, “Baby killer!” Over the decades, we began to understand they had been brave and selfless and we learned to treat returning vets with understanding and support – wounded or not – as they transition back into society.

Ironically, we never went back to fully support the Vietnam-era vets who taught us the valuable lesson of honoring our warriors. [click to continue…]

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Veterans-Administration-logo

The Veteran’s Administration – Long Mired in Delays

So, the U.S. government has finally decided to help some 2,000 Air Force personnel exposed to Agent Orange residue left over in airplanes used during the Vietnam War. They are now eligible for disability, medical and survivor benefits.

“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” VA Secretary Bob McDonald announced.

Really? Then why didn’t the VA take this step long ago? These new recipients flew in Fairchild C-123 aircraft from 1969 to 1986. That’s between 46 and 29 years ago! [click to continue…]

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More Female Police Officers, Please

by Diane Dimond on March 30, 2015

Female Officers Could Bring Different Culture to Streets

Female Officers Could Bring Different Culture to Streets

When you were growing up and there was a dispute between siblings who stepped in to bring about a peaceful solution? Probably Mom, right?

And when mediation was necessary to decide the evening’s curfew, your punishment if you ignored it or when you were mature enough for driving lessons I’m guessing it was Mom front and center.

Soothing raw nerves, introducing diplomatic distractions and solutions and hugging away bruised feelings are all female specialties. It’s just human nature. [click to continue…]

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The 911 System Needs Help

by Diane Dimond on February 16, 2015

Need Help? Who Do You Call?

Need Help? Who Do You Call?

Each day across this country lives are saved because a dedicated 911 operator dispatched emergency personnel to help a panicked person. Every year there are some 240 million urgent calls made to this ‘one nation, one number’ system. The value of the 911 organization is beyond question.

But how many times have you heard a recording of a 911 call in which the operator seems bored, uninterested or downright rude?

The latest incident occurred when a 14- year-old called from the back seat of a car to report her father and his fiancé had been struck by a hit-and-run driver while changing a tire. Sitting alone on the Baltimore-Washington Beltway she and her little brother were scared to death. [click to continue…]

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One Proud Cop

by Diane Dimond on November 10, 2014

Sgt. Edward J. Burns as a Young NYPD Officer

Sgt. Edward J. Burns as a Young NYPD Officer

Generally speaking law enforcement types are a quietly proud bunch. They are proud to put on the uniform every day, proud to catch the bad guys and proud to dedicate their lives to keeping the public safe.

There might be no prouder cop these days than Sgt. Edward J. Burns, the retired New York Police Department’s media liaison. Besides dedicating 27 years of his life to public service — much of it as the TV face representing the NYPD — Burns has much to brag about. A lovely wife named Molly and three beautiful children. His daughter, Mary, was celebrating her 28th wedding anniversary the day Burns and I last spoke. And, oh yeah, his two sons are famous.

The sons didn’t go into law enforcement but each has dedicated parts of their careers to cops in another way, telling captivating stories about the job to which their old man dedicated his life. [click to continue…]

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Calling It What It Is — War

by Diane Dimond on September 29, 2014

U.S. Airstrike Against ISIS at Mosul Dam

U.S. Airstrike Against ISIS at Mosul Dam

Let’s not kid ourselves. We are back in the business of war again.

Oh, the politicians can call it whatever they want — like a counter-terrorism campaign — but when U.S. fighter plans are dropping bombs on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria we are at war.

When we send Navy vessels out to sea to facilitate the fight we are at war.

When we are simultaneously attacking a secondary group of Muslim extremists calling themselves Khorasan we are, in fact, engaging in a multi-level war.

Washington might cling to the belief that absent battalions of boots-on-the-ground it isn’t really a war. But the fact is, we already have plenty of troops on ground in that region (left over from past conflicts) and what are called “advisers.” [click to continue…]

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A Challenge to Civil Rights Leaders, Police … and Us

by Diane Dimond on September 1, 2014

Taking A Page From Rosa Parks' Civil Rights Book

Taking A Tactical Cue From Rosa Parks

A notion struck me as I studied the continuing stream of news about the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. After his funeral I wondered, could we be witnessing the birth of another historic civil rights movement.

If you are white you may think that’s a ridiculous notion. A recent Pew Research Center Poll reveals that 80% of blacks believe the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that need to be discussed. But, only 37% of whites agreed. Even more troubling: 47% of white Americans think the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

This signals a disturbing disconnect. When 80% of one group of people says there is a basic human rights problem in America the rest of us ought to be willing to listen and discuss. [click to continue…]

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