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Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Time Event
Deadly secrets in Afghanistan?

Massachusetts National Guard Spc. Ciara Durkin, 30, was found with a single gunshot wound to her head on a building at Bagram Airbase -- a *VERY* large, very secure military base -- on Sept. 27. She was initially reported as having died “in action,” but later it was revealed that she was killed in a “noncombat” incident that is still being investigated. 

“The last time she was home she said she had seen things that she didn’t like and she had raised concerns that had annoyed some people,” said Durkin’s sister Fiona Canavan, 44, of Quincy.  "She said, and I thought she was joking, that if anything happened to her we had to investigate.”

Durkin was in a finance unit and her family believes that she may possibly have discovered some improprieties.

Canavan said Durkin was openly gay with members of her family, but she did not believe that had anything to do with her death, though the family cannot rule it out.

"Ciara was a lesbian, and that's bound to come out," Canavan said. "It is possible that someone over there found that out, and, you know, maybe they were very homophobic."

The family has appealed to Sen. John Kerry to investigate the matter. A Boston Globe article observed: “Kerry said the Durkin family desperately needs answers to three questions: Why has the Army not responded to the Durkin family's request for an independent autopsy? Why, after not responding to the family's request for an independent autopsy, did the Army fail to contact the Durkin family with the Army's autopsy results? The family was told to be available to receive a phone call between 1 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 1, and the Army never called. Why has the Army refused to make Durkin's will and paperwork available to her family, so they can respect her wishes as they plan her funeral and burial?”

All good questions, really.

The Ruffian on the Hill.

Three big foot taps to Republican Senator Larry Craig of Idaho!

First, he was arrested for trying to solicit sex in a public bathroom, repeatedly denying that he was gay. He inadvertently shot his claims in the foot, however, when he simultaneously denied knowing anything about the signals bathroom cruisers use to hook up with each other, while accusing an undercover officer of trying to pick up on him for giving the same signals!

Craig then tried to keep his toilet shenanegans on the DL by copping a quiet guilty plea, never informing the press, his family, or the citizens of his state about the offense. When the scandal became public knowledge, however, Craig then tried to withdraw his plea, only to be told by the judge today that he couldn't, because the plea was "accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence..."

But, if that wasn't enough of a reversal, he also promised to step down if convicted, only to reverse himself, vowing to stay in power until his term of office expires in January 2009.

(This situation isn't really flipflopping... it's really more a case of swinging both ways.)

Meanwhile, many prominent Republican politicians are not-so-secretly telling Larry Craig that he should step down, because they are afraid of the damage that he'll do to other Republican candidate's chances if this scandal doesn't go away, as well as the possible risks to other prominent Republicans who may be "outed" due to increased scrutiny.  

One rather positive aspect of the whole situation was this backhanded admission by the homophobic, self-hating Senator Craig:
"As I continued to work for Idaho over the past three weeks here in the Senate, I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively." 

Indeed... even in highly Republican states, it is possible to be an effective politician and be gay at the same time. It remains to be seen, however, whether it's also possible to effective while being openly exposed as a liar, a hypocrite, and a convicted criminal.  

I’m to be at King’s Cross station at eleven. I’m meeting a man in the toilet." 
Joe Orton, The Ruffian on the Stair

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