Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday Ken Ballard

I'm all for hoisting conservative "hatemongering a-holes" (as one local newsperson described them) on their own petards. But it was still disappointing to see chickenhawks Michelle Malkin and Melanie Morgan get coverage when they came to town a month ago to dumb down our national discourse, while a heartfelt birthday celebration for native son and actual patriot Ken Ballard go ignored.

I had the privilege of joining Ken's other Karen Meredith along with other family and friends Saturday at Cuesta Park, who gathered to hear stories and release gold balloons in his honor. This somber annual tradition is documented in Neil Young's new film "CSNY: Deja Vu," now playing at the Aquarius in Palo Alto.

I had the privilege of meeting two of the other Bay Area Gold Star Mothers in attendance: Mary Tillman, whose new book about the simultaneously inspirational and infuriating story of her son Pat just arrived in the mail, and Nadia McCaffrey, who made international news when she invited the press to see her son's flag-draped coffin and is in the midst of launching a hospice for veterans in upstate New York. These mothers are linked in their loss, their antiwar activism, and the indignity they suffered when the Pentagon lied to them about how their sons died.

I did not get a chance to talk to Dolores Kesterson, who was also there, but the 2005 interview in which she humiliated Bill O'Reilly through the simple act of remaining sane is still a revelation to watch.

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