Pentagon nixes medal for dogs
The Pentagon has slammed the door — again — on a request from former military dog handlers to honor U.S. war dogs with an official medal for their service. Hundreds of military working dogs have put in multiple tours in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and are credited with saving scores of U.S. lives by detecting improvised explosive devices, serving as sentries, walking dangerous patrols and even shielding their handlers with their bodies. About a dozen dogs have died in the wars and twice that many have been injured. In light of their contributions, the U.S. War Dogs Association, which was started by former Vietnam War dog handlers, asked the Pentagon to allow dogs to be recognized with one of the official medals awarded to troops for combat service. No way, the Pentagon said, because medals are for humans only. The group — uswardogs.org — has decided to go it alone and has created a 2-inch-diameter medal adorned with a red, white and blue ribbon, which it will award to deserving military dogs.
Don't diss us, fed up federal workers say
Like fed up JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, the nation's largest federal workers union says its members are tired of being dissed and are taking out coast-to-coast radio ads to say so. The American Federation of Government Employees says the ads intend to counter the "demonization" of government workers by politicians and "talking heads," who make bureaucrats the scapegoats for their antigovernment fervor. Representing 600,000 workers in 75 government agencies, the union is spending $200,000 on the 60-second ads, which feature union members describing how they fight terror, minister to ailing veterans, solve Social Security problems and otherwise contribute to the well-being of the nation. The ads will air in more than 30 markets, including Tampa, Atlanta, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Seattle.
School settles with antiabortion girl
A California school district sued by a former sixth-grade student who was asked to remove an antiabortion T-shirt has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle the lawsuit. Attorneys for Tiffany Amador said Friday that officials at Merced's McSwain Union Elementary School called the T-shirt disruptive when she wore it in April 2008. The shirt showed pictures of an apparent fetus and said "ABORTION: growing … growing … gone." Her attorneys cited free speech rights. The district admitted no wrongdoing.