Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Remembering Corporal Pat Tillman: Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer

Corporal Pat TillmanToday would’ve been Corporal Pat Tillman’s 33rd birthday.

Tillman was an American professional football player who gave up his own freedom (and millions of dollars) to serve with the United States Army Rangers after 9/11 during the so-called “War on Terror.”

Tillman’s journals show that he quickly became disillusioned with the presence of the U.S. military in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but even when offered a discharge before his time was up–after a tour of duty in Iraq–Tillman refused, and was sent to Afghanistan.

He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April of 2004, but from the moment of Tillman’s demise, circumstances surrounding his death have been debated, to say the least. The government initially told the world (including Tillman’s family) that Tillman died a hero, protecting his men from enemy fire; it turns out that, actually, everyone on the ground knew the truth immediately: Tillman had been shot by one of his fellow platoon members–and yet General McChrystal pushed through paperwork to get Tillman awarded a Silver Star, which isn’t given in fratricide situations.

Here is the heartwrenching testimony of Cpl. Tillman’s brother Kevin, who served beside him with the Rangers, in front  of the 2007 Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing entitled “Misleading Information from the Battlefield”:


And here’s an interview by Jim Rome with Mary Tillman, Pat and Kevin’s mother, talking more about the cover up after her son’s death:


There is also a fabulous new book about Pat Tillman’s life and death called Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer; I first heard about the book during Krakauer’s interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show–and ordered it from The Book Depository the next day.

It is an amazing, highly emotional, highly recommended book.

Where Men Win Glory by Jon KrakauerMuch of the information in the book comes directly from Tillman’s handwritten journals, which show him to be a smart, sensitive, driven man with a great love for his friends, his family, and above all, his beloved wife. It also demonstrates how disgusted Tillman would be with how his death was used by the government to ramp up support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tillman’s family has created the Pat Tillman Foundation “to carry forward Pat’s legacy of leadership and civic action by supporting future generations of leaders who embody the American tradition of citizen service.” The Foundation provides scholarships, programs, and resources for students to develop leadership skills; it also holds an annual Pat’s Run, “a 4.2 mile run/walk around Arizona State with a finish on the 42-yard line of Sun Devil Stadium (#42 was Pat’s number while a Sun Devil).”

Pat Tillman Foundation

Rest in peace, Pat Tillman, and all of our fallen.

**Edited one year later to add a video of Bill Maher’s interview with Pat’s brother Richard, who stars in The Tillman Story about Pat’s life and death.

Inauguration Day and Birthday Wishes

Just two quick notes today:

Made at

Be sure to go to My Bella Vita and wish Cherrye a happy, happy birthday!

And to everyone excited for a new administration in America:

Made at

It’s finally here! Wheeeeeeeee!

Are you going? Will you be watching?

eh cumpà, auguri on that cia thing!

Leon Panetta President-elect Obama recently named Leon Panetta, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Panetta, 70, is a former Congressman from California, prominent attorney, First Lieutenant in the US Army, and founder of the Panetta Institute, a nonpartisan public policy center that operates out of California State University.

But most importantly to us in southern Italy, he’s Calabrese!

Panetta’s parents were born in Calabria before they emigrated to the United States. His father worked in a copper mine in Wyoming before moving to Monterey, California (Panetta’s hometown) and opening up a restaurant.

So how close is Panetta to his Calabrese roots?

He reportedly doesn’t get back here as often as he’d like, but he does speak Calabrese according to his cousin Domenico Panetta, former mayor of Siderno, which is about 50 km from me.

Of course Panetta’s nomination wasn’t without its detractors, but things now seem to be going smoother on his road to lead la CIA (pronounced “CHEE-ah” in Italy by the way).

And here in Calabria, we couldn’t be prouder. So in honor of Direttore Panetta, please join us in a traditional Calabrese tarantella:

Veniti tutti ‘cca e ‘mparativi abballari!


In bocca al lupo, cumpà!

Buon weekend a tutti!

the votes are in…
yes we did!

For those who don’t speak Italian, this sign means the Way of Hope:

And now, after eight LONG years, it feels like America is on it again.

Congratulations President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden.

Do us proud.

i’m not going to tell you who to vote for…

But my Obama dogs will.

A message from Lol-Luna:

And Lol-Stella:


Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake