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Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 03:49 PM PDT

Saying Goodbye to My Hero

by Jeff Latas

I first wrote about Jesse 22 months ago in a diary, My Hero is Coming Home.

Nearly a week has passed since the funeral and nearly two weeks since Jesse’s death. I know what people mean when they say that they can’t imagine losing a child, but it happened to me. The door to Jesse’s physical life has now been shut, forever. The door to Jesse’s emotional life I choose to keep slightly open. I keep it open because I know part of him is with me and part of me died with him. I know he will never be here with me physically. Emotionally, it is another story

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We invaded Afghanistan to eliminate support for Osama Bin Laden and to capture the symbol of international terrorism. That is the last thing we did right. Having expelled, for the time being, the Taliban, and set a new government into action, we immediately let Osama Bin Laden slip through our fingers, pulled back our commitment to Afghanistan and embarked on a Middle East agenda that has led to disaster after disaster.
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We are now paying nearly three dollars a gallon for gas. But the cost is really much higher. What most Americans don't see is the additional cost of the occupation of Iraq, a misguided attempt to stabilize the Middle East to keep a steady flow of oil to fuel our economy. This occupation has a price tag of $160 billion a year. That's over $500 per American citizen per year!

The highest and latest cost of our oil addiction is being paid by the families of the nearly 2400 Americans who died in Iraq, the untold others who have died after returning home, and the 17,000 severely injured young men and women who are facing a dreadfully underfunded military medical system.

Jeff Latas for Congress

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In the next few days or weeks, some people will start to notice that our campaign doesn't have a whole lot of money. But I want to share this with you: the buzz around here is about our campaign! Why? Because we have and incredible pool of clever volunteers. I am just astonished at the talent that joins this campaign everyday. Just yesterday, a well known Tucson entrepreneur, concerned activist, and true patriot joined our campaign. He sought us out our after other candidates tried to persuade him to join their campaigns. He is only one of the many talented, progressive people I am very proud to associate with. Now is your chance to help spread the truth.

Jeff Latas for Congress

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Thanks to my fantastic team of professionals working pro bono, we have three campaign ads "in the can."

We're making the media buy tonight!

You can help by viewing the three, 30-second ads, and voting for your favorite.


Which ad should we run first?

58%90 votes
6%10 votes
35%55 votes

| 155 votes | Vote | Results

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It is now time we take our stand as citizens, to stop our government officials from even considering poorly planned military actions once again. Let me say loud and clear, any military action against Iran will have consequences that will only promote a continual decay in international relations for the United States, and I will not stand down and be force fed this new rhetoric. Iran's capability to manufacture a nuclear weapon is a possibility, but not in our near future. We must tell our leaders to start peaceful dialog. We can not tolerate an attack on Iran, conventional or nuclear.
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Today is a milestone for my family and for my campaign.

Today, our son, Jesse, will be getting another chance at life. I have written about Jesse'e medical evacuation from Iraq and his time at Walter Reed. Today, Jesse will receive stem cells from two donor umbilical cords that will become his new bone marrow.

Stem cell research is just one gift that progressive thinking has given us. And yet, most hospitals are still not encouraging new parents to donate umbilical cord blood for a chance to save the life of someone like Jesse. This life-saving technology is a value that I will promote as public policy in Washington.

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Mon Mar 06, 2006 at 07:23 AM PST

New Orleans Animals Starving Again

by Jeff Latas

My wife just received this message from one of her animal advocacy groups:


Subject: New Orleans Animals desperately need volunteers to help feed/care for them

Please forward this to everyone you know:

Below is a message telling just how bad things really are for the animals in New Orleans.  Some are only getting to eat once a week. And not just there - there are many miles of surrounding areas where pets and animals are not being fed/watered at all, due to a lack of volunteers.

Under the message is info on two groups that send convoys to feed horses, livestock, etc., in different parts of Vermilion Parish.  Note their web sites for info on donating food for livestock and supplies, plus dog and cat food - there is a great need for it.  --In addition, note the drop-off points for donations in Mississippi (also hit hard by Katrina), and in Harahan at ARNO, just outside of New Orleans. (ARNO just needs donations of dog and cat food.)

The media has dropped this story like a hot potato, so please publicize it any way you can.


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There have been some questions here in the race for Arizona's District 8 about whether or not candidates support the right to organize. Let me clearly state my belief that workers have every right to organize and this is one reason our country became as strong as it is. Because of our freedoms, the people won a struggle to keep the balance of power from shifting entirely towards corporate interests.

You bet I support the right to organize. I grew up in a family where my father was a member of a union. He started out as a school teacher after earning his degree on the GI bill, granted to him because he served his country during WWII. He was never motivated by money, but he was motivated to do the right thing. I never heard him once complain about his income. He just wanted to do the right thing.

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Enough is enough. In my short political life, I have gained an incredible amount of enlightenment. There are entities that will do everything in order to maintain their power, even at the expense of democracy. Why?

It is quite simple: the string pullers think they have the intellectual corner on what is best for our country, my country. They will block funding, media, and do what ever they can to keep our voices silent. One area they have not controlled is here in the blogoshere.

Like many of you, I am mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more! I made a pledge in Washington less than a week ago, a pledge to back my band of brothers. I will not try to talk Maj. Hackett back to political life, but I will share my experience in how the party works in recruiting and dismissing possible candidates.

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We have reached a new point in our campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Congressional District 8. Up until this point we have been building a vast network of grassroots support. I am overwhelmed by this support and consider this collaboration to be part of a bigger movement of which we are now a part, a movement sparked by the energies of earlier campaigns of Howard Dean and Wes Clark as well as organizations like the Progressive Democrats of America and Democracy For America. This is the progressive movement, and we are making changes.

Last week, I met with nearly 40 other veterans now running as Democrats for Congress. It was the largest gathering of veterans running for public office since 1946.

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I'm encouraged that the President is finally speaking of a promoting independence from Middle Eastern oil and touting cleaner technology. These have been the cornerstones of my campaign. But we have yet to see these words in action.

Despite the fact that the American people are faced with rising energy costs, our elected officials continue to ignore policies that promote energy efficiency, alternative fuels, and clean technology right now.

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