Reed Holway spent 13 months in Iraq. He says PTSD brought on a drinking problem when he returned to the States — and that eventually led to a bad-conduct discharge. Vets with "bad paper" have trouble getting any VA health benefits — even for PTSD.
Credit Marisa Penaloza / NPR
Brandon Bailey worked as a flight nurse evacuating wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. After a blow to the head and being diagnosed with a TBI and PTSD, he was court-martialed for theft and drug use, sentenced to three months in prison and dismissed from the Air Force.
Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.
None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."
As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.
But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.
On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. This morning, in Soweto, South Africa, crowds continue to congregate around the family home of Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday. During the struggle against apartheid, Soweto became a symbol of the separation of the races, both physically and economically.
We're hearing a song that was popular in South Africa in the 1980s, popular even though it was banned. The song was called "Asimbonanga," which means "We Have Not Seen Him." He was Nelson Mandela, who by then had been in prison for more than two decades. This morning we reached the writer of that song, Johnny Clegg, in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela is universally admired today, but was a controversial figure for much of his life. To reconstruct what that controversy was about, we turn to Bill Keller. He's a New York Times columnist and former executive editor who once covered South Africa and wrote a youth biography of Mandela. He's on the line.
MONTAGNE: Especially at Costco. Will Ferrell's "Anchorman" character is out with an autobiography, which wound up in the non-fiction aisle at a Los Angeles area store. The L.A. Times first noticed the misplacement of "Ron Burgundy: Let Me Off at the Top." This after Costco caused a stir last month when a store displayed the Bible in the fiction section.
Tomorrow night, star quarterback Jameis Winston will lead the Florida State Seminoles against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game. It's a big deal, mainly because Winston's participation was in doubt. Until yesterday. That's when a Florida prosecutor announced he would not charge Jameis Winston with a felony. A young woman had accused the player of rape after a sexual encounter a year ago. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Never has so much been said about something that didn't happen.