May 18th, 2010
08:07 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Richard BRichard Blumenthal lumenthal

A New York Times report alleging that the Democratic candidate lied about serving in Vietnam added fuel to a contentious Connecticut Senate race Tuesday. Blumenthal's campaign criticized the article, while political opponents demanded answers.

"The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal's record of service," campaign manager Mindy Myers said. "Unlike many of his peers, Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, South Carolina, and six years in the reserves. He received no special treatment from anyone."

The newspaper report says Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general, never served in Vietnam but said he did in several speeches before veterans groups and military families. Reached by phone Monday night, Blumenthal told a reporter that he had always said he was a "Vietnam-era" veteran and that his intention was always to be straightforward about his military service, according to an article on the website of the Greenwich Time, a Connecticut newspaper.

The New York Times: Candidate’s words on Vietnam service differ from history

CNN.com: Allegations about Blumenthal's military service rock race

Doug Sterner

The Vietnam veteran keeps the largest private list of military decorations in the country. The Washington Post reports that Sterner’s database took him 15 years to create, contains more than 200,000 entries and is so comprehensive that FBI agents regularly consult with him.

According to the newspaper, Sterner, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, also helped to craft the Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 law that makes it a federal offense to claim an unearned military decoration. Sterner told the paper his goal is to prevent the “real heroes” from “being lost to history.”

The Washington Post: One man's database helps uncover cases of falsified valor

Adam Wheeler

A former Harvard University student compiled world-class academic credentials - including perfect grades and two prestigious Harvard prizes - by fabricating his own history and plagiarizing others' work, according to a Massachusetts prosecutor.

Wheeler, 23, of Delaware is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in Woburn, Massachusetts, on 20 counts, including larceny, identity fraud, falsifying an endorsement or approval and pretending to hold a degree, according to Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone.

Wheeler is accused of falsifying transcripts that detailed an outstanding academic career at some of Massachusetts' finest institutions, Leone said in a news release. He was exposed after submitting applications and references for the Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships while a Harvard student in 2009, according to Leone.

CNN.com: Prosecutor: Former Harvard student faked prestigious academic career

Bob Tokarczyk

The former supervisor for Gifford Pinchot National Forest was in charge when the eruption of Mount St. Helens 30 years ago Tuesday became one of the most destructive in U.S. history. Triggered by a magnitude-5.1 earthquake a mile below the volcano at 8:32 a.m. PT on May 18, 1980, the huge explosions reduced the summit in Washington state from 9,677 feet to 8,363 feet. Fifty-seven people died, along with an estimated 7,000 big-game animals and millions of fish.

Tokarczyk told CNN on Monday, “We had long days before that - the mountain was busy, starting in March.” His work involved making sure fire teams were ready, assisting on rescue operations and just keeping people safe and away from the dozens of roads that led into the area.

He officially studied forestry so “to take “Volcanology 101 on the job was a little tough.’  Tokarczyk, who retired after 35 years with the U.S. Forest Service in 1983, will be appearing Tuesday at commemoration ceremonies in the Mount St. Helens area.

U.S. Forest Service: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Peter Boyer

The composer said “yes” last year when Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart asked him to create a musical work based on the words and work of John, Robert and Edward Kennedy. The new multimedia creation, “The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers,” by Boyer and lyricist Lynn Ahrens, premieres Tuesday night in Boston, Massachusetts, and features narrators Robert De Niro as John F. Kennedy, Ed Harris as Robert Kennedy and Morgan Freeman as Edward Kennedy.

Broadwayworld.com and The Boston Globe report the multimedia piece combines quotes from speeches by the Kennedy brothers with original text and video, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral and choral score. The title is based on the closing lines of Ted Kennedy's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The Boston Globe: The Kennedy legacy, set to music

Broadwayworld.com: Cherry Jones joins De Niro, Freeman, Harris & Boston Pops for Kennedy tribute

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller

    The Kennedys? Those inane losers? Only in Boston...

    May 18, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. fred astaire

    Why is this a surprise?
    Embellishment of ones deeds, no matter the size of the lie, are a slap on the wrist. Ethics and moral mean nothing as long as we obtain our goals in life no matter the path.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ben Hoffman

    The N.Y. Times with their damned liberal bias is once again senselessly attacking another... Whoops, he's a liberal.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ralph Moerschbacher

    Let's stop using the term Vietnam-era veteran. I AM a Vietnam veteran and am proud of it. I don't have to make up any stories or stretch the truth by saying I am a Vietnam-era veteran to impress anyone.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |