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DMN endorses Burgess ...

... And I know some people who are not happy about it.

Read the endorsement here.

Steve Southwell, who runs the Who's Playin' blog, tore the Morning News a new exit-cavity in his rebuttal, which can be found here. My favorite tidbit ...

The most disingenuous part was DMN's assertion that Barnwell is unemployed. Running a Congressional campaign is a full-time job. Having sacrificed paid employment for the patriotic calling of running for U.S. Congress - Barnwell has missed out on well over six figures in income, and has put up over $10k of his own money for this campaign, having not received a dime from the national Democratic organizations.

The Editorial Board should know that a private citizen, non-insider, who doesn't have hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate money to throw around like Burgess does, would find it necessary to forego employment and focus on the campaign full-time. Burgess, who has raised over $720,000 spent about $100,000 just on fundraising consulting with one of his consulting firms. Burgess can afford to have a paid campaign staff.

Tim Barnwell must write his own material, do his own research, make MANY more public appearances than the incumbent, make his own fundraising calls, and rely on volunteers for as much as possible. In fact, almost all of Barnwell's outside campaign funding has come from individuals in small contributions of $50 and under.

To say that Barnwell is "unemployed" is to imply to the reader that he was looking for work, but unable to find it. It's a statement engineered to make the reader think that Barnwell has less worth. It is a statement that shows the ivory-tower contempt that DMN Editorial board has for the non-connected everyday citizen, would-be public servant who sacrifices for the good of their country.

Well said, Steve.

With that, I give you my own, rather personal reason (among many other, less-weighty reasons) why my conscience simply will not allow me to give Congressman Burgess a solitary inch.

He voted against the Depleted Uranium Screening and Testing Act of 2005. (If you don't know what depleted uranium is, click here.) Had that bill been passed into law, it would have created a program that could have saved the life of one of my best friends. If you are a reader of this blog or any of the publications for which I write, you may remember my past writings about Charles Brooke Wood (pictured left).

Hopefully, you can understand why this is personal. This is not just politics-as-usual. I went to school with Brooke. He was the first person to be nice to me back in the 9th grade. We graduated together. We hung out all the time. We were totally different people, sure, but that never drove a wedge between us.

After graduation, Brooke signed up for the Army. He went to boot camp the day after we walked the stage. That was in May of 2001, back when the world was still sort-of sane.

So much has changed.

Three tours in Iraq as a demolitions expert will take a toll on anyone. Say what you will about the war, but killing is what Brooke signed up for. He had the bloodlust, and he was thrilled at the opportunity to blow up anything in a combat situation. He also had a dead-eye at long ranges. This guy was the epitome of lethal; everything a soldier seeks to be. He was the real deal.

During his third tour he started getting sick a lot. From what his sister and ex-girlfriend tell me, that is one of the reasons he came home. As a demolitions expert, he was around Depleted Uranium munitions all the time. Two months after he returned to the states with an honorable discharge, he was dead.

Doctors discovered a rapidly-developing brain tumor. One day, he was doing just fine. Then, the next morning, he woke up to blinding flashes of light, uncontrollable shaking, vomiting, horrible fever and a mind-warping headache. Within 48 hours his doctors induced a coma. His brain had swollen so much he could no longer bear the pain. And just like that, he left this world.

Depleted Uranium causes many different illnesses. Some soldiers just get cysts all over their bodies. Others get lung infections or other respiratory diseases from inhaling uranium powder in the air. A whole range of cancers are also associated with the munitions. It also affects human DNA and the reproductive system. Pictures of Iraqi babies born horribly mutated due to DU contamination are among the most mortifying things I have ever seen. And now it is happening in the U.S., with our men and women coming home not knowing they have been contaminated. Their children will pay the price.

If you have an iron stomach, click the following links to see the cold, unyeilding reality of what Depleted Uranium does to unborn children ...

Perhaps more painful, Brooke has a son on the way, due to enter the world sometime in March, 2007. His ex-girlfriend recently had a check-up and conveyed to me her relief that the baby is healthy, so far. Not a day goes by that I do not have that kid in mind. I'm not a praying man, but every single day I hope to the heavens that boy is born without the telltale signs of DU contamination.

Because Congressman Burgess has broken his Hippocratic Oath to "first do no harm" in voting against the Depleted Uranium Screening and Testing Act of 2005, and has a three-year record of voting against the best interests of our soldiers, I beseech you, the good people of District 26, to vote against him.

Even if you are a party loyalist - and I know there are a lot of you out there - for the sake of our nation's soldiers, just abstain from casting a ballot in this race. I beg you to follow your conscience, if indeed yours has not been purged as so many others' have. Listen to our soldiers. Listen to groups like the Disabled American Veterans, which gave this man a ZERO PERCENT RATING.

If your vehicle has a yellow ribbon anywhere on it, I challenge you to back up your convictions and vote to support the troops. That means voting against Congressman Burgess, who wishes to continue this war, but cannot find it in his heart to vote for the soldiers' best interests.

My grudge against Burgess is not partisan. It is not unfounded and it is very well thought-out. I am not an irrational man. It is simply on the basis of his dogged support of the Bush war (non)strategy and repeated refusal to support our troops that I will do everything within my power (and code of ethics/U.S. law) to ensure he is not my representative in Congress during the next session.

Congressman Michael Burgess must go.

I stand with America's veterans. I stand with everyone who has or will have their lives destroyed by Depleted Uranium. I stand with Brooke, who voted for Bush, supported the war, and dedicated his life to destroying our enemies. He died from a sickness that could have been prevented had our Congress chosen to support our soldiers.

Will you join me?

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