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VETERAN LEGISLATION

US-DeptOfVeteransAffairs-Seal-15-AugIn each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced or submitted, and acted upon. These include bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Resolutions are not laws but rather the statements of intent or declarations that affect the operations of Congress. Joint resolutions are legislative measure that requires approval by the Senate and the House and is presented to the President for his approval or disapproval, in exactly the same case as a bill. Concurrent resolutions are legislative measures adopted by both houses of a bicameral legislature that lacks the force of law (is non-binding) and does not require the approval of the chief executive (president). Concurrent resolutions are typically adopted to regulate the internal affairs of the legislature that adopted it, or for other purposes where authority of law is not necessary-such as awards or recognitions.  Simple resolutions are used to delegate official internal Congressional business.   view or download full.pdf

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There are two concurrent receipt programs available to Navy and Marine Corps retirees who have VA-rated disabilities.  They are the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP) program and the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) program.  Retirees who receive VA disability payments have their retired pay “offset” (reduced) by the amount of VA pay.  These concurrent receipt programs “restore” some or all of that retired pay.  The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) calculate and pay monthly CRDP and CRSC compensation. It is highly recommended that you have a myPay account set up with DFAS to manage your retired pay.

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Interracial Marriages in the USA


Interracial MarriagesWhile it might seem implausible today, but not until very long ago it was illegal to marry someone from a different race in the United States. Only on June 12, 1967 in the landmark case Loving vs. Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. As the court stated, “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” With that ruling, many people were finally free to marry whomever they wanted—no matter their race and ethnic background—with no fear of being legally prosecuted for their actions.

19MIXEDRACE1113Anti-miscegenation laws were adopted in the United States since 1660s—first in Virginia and Maryland and later in all the original thirteen states—to prohibit people from entering into interracial (i.e. between white and non-white people, mostly blacks, but sometimes Native Americans and Asians) marriages, sex, and cohabitation. As a trial judge in Lovings vs. Virginia case asserted, “Almighty God created the races of White, Black, Yellow, Malay, and Red… and He placed them on separate continents…And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages…The fact that He separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” As such, the sentiment against interracial marriage ran deep within the American population, especially in the South. For example, in 1958 Gallup polls as many as 96 percent of white Americans were against interracial marriage. However, starting in the 1960s this attitude started to change and today we have a society in which interracial marriages are no longer taboos.

interracial-marriageAccording to 2010 census, almost 15 percent of marriages in the United States were interracial. There are many configurations of interracial marriages in the country, some of which are more prevalent and some are less so. For example, 9.4 percent of whites, 17.1 percent of blacks, 25.7 percent of Hispanics and 27.7 percent of Asian
s married someone outside their race. Some of the combinations are more prevalent while others are rarer (for example, white male/asian or black female are much more prevalent than asian male/black female). In any case, given the melting pot which the United States is made of, it is not surprising that interracial marriages are on the rise.

Aarathi3.jpgInterracial marriage is still a hot topic for many people. Whether you are pro- or against them, there is a good chance that you will encounter different races’ couple in the course of your life. No matter what one’s beliefs are, one needs to be respectful and treat interracial couples no different from others. Today, when the boundaries between ethnicities and races become more and more obsolete, one can envision a future where race and nationality do not play a role at all. In The Time Will Come That Everyone On Earth Will Be A Shade Of “Beautiful Beige”

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VETERAN LEGISLATION

In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced or submitted, and acted upon. These include bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Resolutions are not laws but rather the statements of intent or
declarations that affect the operations of Congress

  • Joint resolutions are legislative measure that requires approval by the Senate and the House and is presented to the President for his approval or disapproval, in exactly the same case as a bill.
  • Concurrent resolutions are legislative measures adopted by both houses of a bicameral legislature that lacks the force of law (is non-binding) and does not require the approval of the chief executive (president). Concurrent resolutions are typically adopted to regulate the internal affairs of the legislature that adopted it, or for other purposes where authority of law is not necessary-such as awards or recognitions
  • Simple resolutions are used to delegate official internal Congressional business.

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Acting VA Secretary Sloan D. Gibson VFW Annual Convention Remarks 22 July 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs is in the midst of its most serious crisis in more than a generation. I know that, and I know you know that.

But here’s something I want to make sure you also know: The Department of Veterans Affairs has before it perhaps its greatest opportunity to enhance care for Veterans in its history.

I’m not the only one who thinks that. Two weeks ago, I met with Dr. Harvey Fineberg, the distin guished clinician and healthcare leader who just completed 12 years as the President of the Institute of Medicine. When I commented that we could accomplish more in the next two-to-three years than we could have in two-to-three decades, he immediately interrupted and corrected me, “No! VA can accomplish things now it never could have accomplished.”

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Suicides in the military dropped by 6 percent last year, a decline that Pentagon officials hope signals a reversal in a tragic trend — but that some advocates say does not reflect the true scope of the issue in the military and veterans’ community. According to data published 22 JUL by the Defense Department, 479 service members — 259 active-duty troops, 87 Reserve members and 133 National Guard members — died by suicide in 2013, down from 319 active-duty members and 203 non-activated Reserve and Guard members in 2012. The rate per 100,000 — a measure used to compare incidence across the services and the civilian population — also dropped for the active-duty force, from 22.7 to 18.7. The civilian rate, adjusted for demographics similar to those who serve in the military, is 18.8 per 100,000, according to calculations by the Army and the National Institutes of Mental Health.

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Community College: Is It for You?

Howard_Community_College_QuadHigh cost of college education in the USA is a subject of concern for the majority of ordinary people. According to the College Board, an average price for an in-state public college in 2013-2014 was about $ 22,826 and an average cost for private college was about $44,000. Compounded by rising cost of living, troubled economy and unclear job perspectives, college education can become an unattainable dream for many people.

However, there are many reasons for getting a college degree: the main one is that, on average, a four-year college graduate earns $ 800,000 more than a high school graduate by the retirement age. As such, it is certainly better to explore your educational opportunities and maybe consider less expensive options such as community colleges, on-line educational institutions, and such.

Many people believe that the quality of education one receives at a community college is much more inferior to the one at four-year colleges and thus is not worth the effort and time. Also, there are many additional negative stereotypes associates with community colleges such as that only those who could not get into a four-year college resort to them; if you decide to transfer to a four-year college, only few transfers will be allowed; quality of teachers is much worse; and that community colleges provide little benefits career-wise.

615_Harvard_Geneticist_Professor_ReutersHowever, if one approaches the decision to attend community college with due diligence, he or she can certainly be assured that they can present an excellent basis for a lifetime of gainful employment and good earnings. First of all, the cost of attending community college is much less than the one associated with four-year colleges (generally, it is about tenth of the amount). Also, community colleges offer greater flexibility and students can work full-time while taking classes—another huge financial incentive.

Besides, many people who attend community colleges are already living close-by thus saving the cost of living at the dorms, etc., which can be quite expensive in many areas of the country. However, the excitement of living on campus is something many students look forward to; but on the other hand, there are fewer distractions from studying when one lives at home.

Moreover, if one chooses college courses carefully (in consultation with a counselor, for example), he or she can transfer most of college credits to a four-year school thus saving a lot of money while getting the same education as others who attended the four-year college from the start. And, one can experience the life on campus as well, just a bit later and with fewer financial hardships.

joe-redishAnother surprising fact is that the instructors who teach at community colleges might well be the ones who teach at neighboring universities and supplement their incomes by providing classes at community colleges.

There is a downsize of communities colleges hiring older math and science professors; it has been shown the teaching and grading methods used by the majority of these teachers were out dated and difficult for many work force, and veterans to learn. Studies have proven that older methods do not work for today’s students even at four-year institutions.

It is estimated that nearly fifty percent of students attending community collages, attend to either upgrade skills for better job opportunities or increasing the amount of income they earn, and have no plans to attend four-year universities. Older methods for teaching and grading these students did not allow and even learning curve students coming from work forces and veterans.

Most have had very limited contact with academic science or math for many years, and as researchers suggest they have more difficulty adjusting to older teaching techniques. The research did also suggest that younger Instructor or adjunct instructors connected better and these students’ grade points were higher with younger professors teaching at community collages.

Community-CollegeMany students are happy to discover that the quality of classes is the same or close to those at four-year colleges while classes tend to be smaller than at large public universities. Also, a person at community college will have this extra time needed to understand what kind of career one wants to get into (many universities pressure students to choose their majors from the start). Many popular professions such as dental hygienists, veterinary technologists and others often only require community college degrees thus allowing a person to start their professional life earlier.

All in all, community colleges provide good alternative to those who, for one or another reason, are unable to attend four-year colleges but still want to get practical and useful education.

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VETERAN LEGISLATION

In each chamber of Congress, four forms of legislative measures may be introduced or submitted, and acted upon. These include bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Resolutions are not laws but rather the statements of intent or
declarations that affect the operations of Congress

  • Joint resolutions are legislative measure that requires approval by the Senate and the House and is presented to the President for his approval or disapproval, in exactly the same case as a bill.
  • Concurrent resolutions are legislative measures adopted by both houses of a bicameral legislature that lacks the force of law (is non-binding) and does not require the approval of the chief executive (president). Concurrent resolutions are typically adopted to regulate the internal affairs of the legislature that adopted it, or for other purposes where authority of law is not necessary-such as awards or recognitions
  • Simple resolutions are used to delegate official internal Congressional business.

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The United States isn’t trying to build a military force of centenarians. It just seems that way after the Selective Service System mistakenly sent notices to more than 14,000 Pennsylvania men born between 1893 and 1897, ordering them to register for the nation’s military draft and warning that failure to do so is “punishable by a fine and imprisonment.” The agency realized the error when it began receiving calls from bewildered relatives last week. Chuck Huey, 73, of Kingston, said he got a notice addressed to his late grandfather Bert Huey, a World War I veteran who was born in 1894 and died in 1995 at age 100. “I said, ‘Geez, what the hell is this about?’ It said he was subject to heavy fines and imprisonment if he didn’t sign up for the draft board,” he said. “We were just totally dumbfounded.”

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The Business Of Drinking Water

The most pressures substance of life on earth that makes up 94% of our body, and continually needs replenishing is water. Water In many parts of the world are at an all time shortage due to long lasting droughts; but that is not what this article is about.

This story is about the many varieties of manipulated waters, which claim to be the elixir and remedy for a variety of ailments. There is Vitamin-Water, Sparkling Water, Mineral Water, Coral Calcium Water, Detox Footbath, Energized Water, John Ellis Electron Water Machine, Magnetized Water, Penta Water, Pi Water and ASEA to name a few that are out in the market today. I am not recommending these products are how effective they are, it is just acknowledging that these water products do exist in todays market.ASEA_Water_Reviews_-_what_is_ASEA-slide

This months Health Update focus’s on ASEA water. Quoting ASEA “ ASEA is a “life-changing” health aid for everyone. ASEA is trillions of stable, completely balanced Redox Signaling Water Molecules suspended in a pristine saline solution—the same molecules that exist in the cells of the human body. Redox signaling is a function that is central to all life. Signaling molecules are created within every cell in the body. After the age of 12, our cells make fewer and fewer of these molecules. ASEA is the world’s only source for replenishing these molecules.”

In other words, the pure water is allowed to cure, before undergoing a patented process that oxidizes and reduces the saline solution mix into the final product that is ASEA Water.This must be some strong remedy stuff; if they both oxidize it and reduce it before they bottle it?

ASEA; from my understanding, ASEA does increase or add anything to the water they produce; They only reorganize the molecular structure so it is still just water that may provide health befits to select individuals as each persons body is bio-chemically different. What may not work for one person may actually make a difference in another person’s life.

Several long time friends introduce me to ASEA; which one use during a bout with depression after the birth of her first child; which actually happens to many women after they give birth. She is a firm believer that ASEA help her through the trying times and recommends it to anyone that suffers with emotional distress.

People that suffer from depression general turn towards drugs that can lead to dependency that is not something that should be recommended to new mothers especially those who are nursing.

In my opinion a useful water product has to better to fight depression and other aliments in these situation ASEA is far better than drugs that can be passed on to their offspring, harmful to own your health or cause a multitude of problems to users. If that is ASEA and it works for you then so be it.

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Movies and Their Impact on People

the-passion-of-the-christ-movie-poster-2004-1020194251Film industry plays crucial role in today’s economy, society, and culture.  Not only a source of employment and revenue for thousands of people, films are a major form of art, which can inspire, provoke debates and deep reflections, expose societal and other problems, open up new cultural horizons, and lead to future endeavors. Of course, not all movies necessarily become cultural phenomena, but many of them have big impact on their audiences and deserve the acclaim they receive from critics and/or people who come to value them.

Given the diversity of human condition, there are many subject matters, which can serve as a basis for a film. However, one of the riskiest decisions for any movie director is to make a film on a subject which is controversial, ideologically or culturally divisive, or unpopular with general audience. At the same time, such movies, when done right, can truly demonstrate their creators’ talents and instigate a meaningful discussion among moviegoers. Among some of the recent movies, which fall into this category, are such movies as “12 Years a Slave” and “Son of God.”

12-years-a-slave-quadThe movie “12 Years a Slave” has been released in 2013 and received three Academy Awards—Best Picture (Steve McQueen directed), Best Supporting Actress (played by Nyong’o) and Best Adapted Screenplay (screenwriter John Ridley). The movie, which depicts the life of Solomon Northup, a free man from Upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery where he spent horrible 12 years, was a huge success and made a lot of money (shot for a budget of about $ 20 million it earned, as of May 2014, over $56 million in USA and about $187 million worldwide). The subject of the movie is definitely a difficult one because it shows, unflinchingly and sometimes cruelly, the malice humans can inflict on one another and the depravity of slavery. However, at the same time it demonstrates the strength of human spirit and perseverance.

“Son of God,” released in 2014 is a movie based on mini-series “The Bible” which aired on History Channel and became quite popular. It was produced by husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Romy Downey and depicts the life of Jesus Christ. The movie was widely promoted in the USA through church groups and Christian leaders and earned more than $59 million (as of May 2014). Inevitably, it was immediately compared to another Christian movie produced by Mel Gibson “The Passion of the Christ,” which was produced in 2004 and became one of the highest grossing movies in the film industry earning more than $600 million. While both movies are devoted to the same subject, i.e. Jesus Christ, they are very different in their style, message, and focus. While Mel Gibson’s movie concentrates on the last hours of Jesus’ life, “Son of God” covers the whole life of Jesus Christ. Both movies drew their followers and critics; however, most people agree that “The Passion of the Christ,” despite being very graphic and violent in its portrayal of Christ’s death, was a much more powerful and memorable movie.movie-reels

One of the marks of a great film is, certainly, the impact they have on people who have watched them. If the movie makes a person to learn something new, consider previously known issues from a different perspective, or allows one to open up his/her mind to new ideas and concepts— the movie can certainly be considered a success. Undoubtedly, “12 Years as Slave,” “Son of God,” and “The Passion of the Christ” have been such films.

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Washington State Veteran’s Benefits & Discounts

The state of Washington provides veteran benefits. This section offers a brief description of each of the following benefits.

  • Veteran Housing Benefits
  • Veteran Financial Assistance Benefits
  • Other State Veteran Benefits

Washington Veteran Housing Programs

Homeless Veterans Program

WDVA provides outreach services for homeless veterans in Puget Sound. These services are designed to assist homeless veterans to become employable and reintegrated back into the labor market. Services include needs assessments, enrollments in appropriate programs, shelter and transitional housing placements, employment and training support services.

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Wyoming State Veteran’s Benefits & Discounts

The state of Wyoming provides veteran benefits. This section offers a brief description of each of the following benefits.

  • Veteran Housing Benefits
  • Veteran Financial Assistance Benefits
  • Veteran Employment Benefits
  • Veteran Education Benefits
  • Other State Veteran Benefits

 Wyoming Veteran Housing Programs

 Veterans’ Home of Wyoming 

This home is located on the historic site of Fort McKinney at 700 Veterans Ln, Buffalo. It was built in the summer and fall of 1878. The home was established in 1895 with the first member being housed at Fort D. A. Russell (now F.E. Warren AFB) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The home and its resident were transferred from Cheyenne to the home’s present location in 1903. It is located three miles west of Buffalo, one-half mile south of Highway 16, at the base of the majestic Big Horn Mountains. Clear Creek from the Big Horns runs through the center of the area surrounding the home and supplies the fresh water for the resident trout pond.

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Mid-Term 2014 Elections and Media Coverage: Do Big Money and Corporations Rule Politics?

Rupert_Murdoch_-_Flickr_-_Eva_Rinaldi_Celebrity_and_Live_Music_PhotographerOn November 4, 2014, American citizens are going to re-elect their representatives in Congress, where all 435 seats at the House and 33 out of 100 seats at the Senate will be up for grabs. Currently Republican Party controls the US House; 232 Republican seats, 201 Democrat seats, 2 vacancies; and Democratic Party, 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 Independents control the Senate. In the Senate, Republicans need to gain six seats to obtain majority; in the House, Democrats need to get that much desired 218th seat in order to gain control. Given current political climate in the country, the upcoming elections are of great importance.

It is not a secret that many American citizens are disillusioned by the course the government has taken: for example, 2013 annual job approval rate for Congress of 14 percent was the lowest since Gallup started taking the poll in 1974. Similarly, Obama’s job approval rate was only mere 40 percent in December 2013. Divided nature of Congress—where Republican Party controls the House and Democrats control the Senate—is often to blame for inefficacy of American government. Practically every initiative proposed by either party is met with opposition from its political counterpart. The situation clearly manifested itself in October 2013 when the government shutdown over Obamacare showed that both political parties are predominantly driven by their ideologies instead of constructive concern for the well being and progress of the whole country.

Consequently, the 2014 elections will be instrumental in ensuring that Congress, instead of being torn by bipartisan bickering, might at last become productive and effective. As such, it is imperative that American people vote and unequivocally tell their government what is expected of it. However, therein lays a big problem. Special interests, big money, and powerful corporations, thus effectively shutting down the voices of ordinary citizens, contaminate political campaigns in the USA. In January 2010, Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission has declared that corporate political spending does not affect political representatives and has given corporations, labor unions, and other influential groups the same rights as to individuals to spend their money on political campaigns, including TV commercials, print advertisement, and such. Now, the big companies have means to effectively buy political campaigns and elected officials in order to promote policies advantageous to their corporate interests.120629_kochs_adelson_trump_ap_605

Moreover, American media is highly consolidated. For example, today, six major companies (Comcast, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS) control most of the media in the USA, thus effectively managing what kind of information is available to people.  The same goes for cable, radio, and Internet, —which for all their seeming diversity—are in fact owned and controlled by just few large corporations. According to Common Cause Initiative, since 1990, the entertainment industry, including television, motion picture companies, music industry, etc., has put $283.5 million into federal elections. And in 2008-2010, about the same amount was spent by the industry on lobbying. In fact, Telecommunication Act of 1996, which lifted the limits of ownership, has had an opposite effect by allowing rich and powerful corporations to monopolize. As such, political ads, which run on TV, radio, and other media outlets, are often financed by big money and fail to provide unbiased views and diverse opinions.

It is of utmost importance to have access to true information regarding who, why, and how influences and finances political candidates and their campaigns. 2014 elections are fast approaching and American people need to act quickly.

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DoD Benefit Cuts Update 42  ►   Are Benefits Extremely Generous?

Retired Army Lt. Col. Tom Slear has touched the third rail of military and veterans’ issues with an opinion piece arguing that a “very small decrease in pay” for military retirees would be reasonable, considering the need for the U.S. government to cut spending. Slear wrote in the Washington Post that his retirement benefits are extremely generous, especially considering that he was never deployed to a combat zone. He pays $550 a year for family medical insurance under Tricare, while the average family paid $4,565 in 2013 for private health insurance. “Budget deficits are tilting America toward financial malaise,” Slear wrote in the June 6 piece in the Washington Post. “Our elected representatives will have to summon the courage to confront the costs of benefits and entitlements and make hard choices. Some ‘no’ votes when it comes to our service members and, in particular, military retirees will be necessary. We can afford it.”

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