WELCOME TO OLE' BILL'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

SEPTEMBER 2010

FIRST THIS MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSER.

We will now resume our regular scheduled programing


THIS MONTH IN QUARTER HORSE HISTORY

2Sep03: 1st Bde Cbt Team main body begins deployment to Iraq.
3Sep44: Battle of Mons, Belgium. entire Division cited.
10Sep06: 2nd Bde Cbt Team closes in Kuwait for its 2nd deployment to Iraq.
11Sep01: Terrorists attack World Trade Center and Pentagon.
11Sep01: TF Centurion (1-34 AR) in Kuwait-intrinsic Action TF.
11Sep03: 1st Bde Cbt Team closes Kuwait. Attached to 82nd Abn Div.
12Sep44: 1st Inf Div crosses German Border.
13Sep68: MG Ware, Div Cmdr, KIA near Loc Ninh.
15Sep65: Main Body 1/4th Cav departs USA on USNS Sultan for Vietnam.
26Sep04: 1st Bde Cbt Team returns to Ft. Riley from Iraq.
29Sep67: Opr Shennadoah II begins. Entire 1/4th Cav involved.


FIDDLER'S GREEN

JOHN BARTON

John Barton, SP4, A Troop 1/4th Cav, Nov 65 to Nov 66 died peacefully in his sleep on 10 August 2010. While in Vietnam John served as a Scout in the 3rd Platoon. John provided many of the A Troop Photos found on our website and he was an avid photographer. If it were not for John we would have very few photos of the Battle of Ap Tau O, aka. Benchmark 69 fought on June 8, 1966. We welcomed John to the 2009 reunion in Detroit,MI and within a very short time from then he began failing. We will miss the "Decon".

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Retired, US Army Infantry
of Springfield, VA, formerly of Jamaica Plain, MA, died suddenly on August 5, 2010. Devoted husband of Sally (Grennon) Burke of Springfield, VA. Loving father of Maryalice (Burke) Carmichael of Fairfax Station, VA, Michael Burke of Springfield, VA, the late Edward J. Burke, Jr. and the late Sean E. Burke. Col Burke is also survived by his son-in-law David Carmichael of Fairfax Station, VA, two grandsons Sean and Brendan Carmichael of Fairfax Station, VA, his sister Eileen Burke of Milton, MA, his cousin James MacDonald of Quincy, MA, as well as numerous other relatives.
A 1961 graduate of Boston College, Col Burke entered active duty in January 1962. He was a decorated combat veteran (VN) and served with the 1st Infantry Division. He spent a second tour of duty as a Military Advisor to the South Vietnamese. In 1982, Col Burke graduated from the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA.
In 1972 Col Burke established the 28th Infantry Association which he tirelessly maintained as President. For the past 10 years, Col Burke had also served as the Executive Director for the Society of the First Infantry Division working to perpetuate the memory of the 1st Infantry Division, US Army and to honor the service and sacrifice of its soldiers and units.
Col Burke will be interred with Full Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery on November 15, 2010 following an 8:45am funeral Mass at The Old Post Chapel, Ft. Myer. In keeping with his wishes, there will not be a memorial service.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the 28th Infantry Association (www.28thinfantry.org), or to the Society of the First Infantry Division (www.bigredone.org). Both are non-profit organizations. The family very much appreciates the outpouring of support they have received from everyone during this difficult time.
Arrangements by Jefferson Funeral Chapel in Alexandria, VA.


OLE' BILL'S CORNER

We had a great Reunion this year. 33 Troopers attended and there were many wives in attendance also. We were very honored with the attendance of Mrs. Bill Kampfert and Mrs. Stephen Row, widows of 1/4th Cav Troopers. We had 12 Active Duty troopers sign in from the 4/4th Cav and 5/4th Cav including two Commanders and their Command Sergeant Majors. Least I forget we also had two Active Duty 34th Armor tankers with us. The only rut we ran into was at the Grand Buffet. There was only 30 chairs set aside for the Cav. We had 39 registared attendees including wives and guests plus all the active duty which may have been 20 or more, none of which and we were given tickets to attend the Grand Banquet. We ended up borrowing unused chairs from Hq & Hq Co, 1st Infantry Div, so or troopers were scattered throughout the room. I had a phone call from Jenifer Sanford this week explaining that the room wasn't adequate and she was having trouble getting the Active Duty numbers for attendance. She also said she and General Rhames had discussed this problem and he said that every effort will be made in the future to insure this dosen't happen again. Thanks to all that attended and we hope to see you next year at Buffalo, NY. President John Conley said we might possibly commandeer something that floats and take the plunge at Niagra. I volunteer to take photos from the river side, so come one come all. Below is a list of those who attended. Let me know if I missed you or you forgot to sign in. BB

(Headquarters and Headquarters Troop)

Jorge D. Esquilin
Jim Wileman
Fred Westbrook
Ron Davidson, CO, 65-66
Wayne Witwicki
Robert Shirley

(A Troop)

Ralph Sturgis, CO-65to66
Richard Gerine
Gary Warne
Bob Corbin
Terry Empey
Jerry Friday
Paul Miller, A Trp, 4th Cav Regmt
William Riley
Bill Baty
Ed Novak
Charles Jones, aka. Zippo Reb
Jerry Kintz
Joe Dabney
Duke Snyder
Bob Bowling
Terry Valentine

B Troop

Jim Keech
Jeff Kramer

C Troop

Charles Brigance,FSGT-63-66
Alan Benoit
Dan Baker
Karl Listl
Ron Johnson
James Wright
Jim Capps

D Troop (Air)
Jim Smith
Orlando Gallardo

Active Duty

LTC Mark Borowski, CO, 5/4th Cav
John Brownell, CSM, 5/4th Cav
LTC Michael Katonda, CO,4/4th Cav
Charles Cook, CSM, 4/4th Cav
Phillip Kemack, B Trp, 4/4th Cav
Cole Cribelar, HHT
Andre Chaison,HHT
Gaetano DiCarlo, C Trp
Joseph Hunter, C Trp
Jeff Johnson, HHT
Matthew Vogt, B Trp
Adam Koenig, B Trp
Andrew Tomb, D Trp
Jason Nadeau, A Trp
Diego Estroda, D Trp
Edgar Gamboy, 100th BSB

Effective with this issue the Weekly Newsletter as we have know it will become the "Monthly Newsletter". I never imagined that putting the newsletter together would ever become so time consuming but it did, to the extent that I was working on it for two days each week, leaving me very little time to do the maintenance aroung our home and I have fell way behind in updating our website with so much material, so now I will have more time to accomplish that. I am also hoping to be able to mail our newsletter out each month to our troopers who aren't on line. Also, Beginning with the September Issue, there will be 12 months of Monthly, Newsletters on the WebSite for those of you who like to graze. Thank you for your understanding and support for this change. We'll try this for awhile to see how it works. BB


QUARTER HORSE REUNION 2010 PHOTOS

Please send your photos to me via e-mail if you can please reduce the resolution to 480 X Pixel. This will save me tremendious amount of time. The following photos were taken by me. BB

Charles Jones, aka: Zippo Reb, A Trp, 67-68, Also pictured, Richard Guerine and Alan Benoit

Bob Corbin and Alan Benoit have a chat in our CP

Jorge Esquilin, (Our new Secretary) and Ron Davidson

Gary Warne chats with Bill Kampfort's Grandson

Bob Corbin and Ed Novak with friend. Bob is going to mount this on the hood of his car!

Gary Warne, Bob Corbin and Terry Valentine with some of our guest Active Duty Troopers

Ellen and Jorge Esquilan, Wayne Witwicki, Alan Benoit, Ukn Couple,Rich Guerine (going), and Joe Dabney (coming).

Active Duty Troopers, Wayne Witwicki, Alan Benoit and Ukn Couple
Terry Valentine, Mrs. Joe Dabney, and Ron Davidson

Karl Listl with more of our Active Duty Troopers

Mrs. Paul Miller (seated), Sweetheart and Kissing/Hugging Grandmother to all Troopers
Terry Valentine chatting with some of our Active Duty Guests

Ellen Esquilin-Ralph Sturgis, A Trp CO,65-66
Duke Snyder, Joe Dabney, Gary Warne and Jerry Friday,(The guy seated with his back to the camera was one of the 1st Inf Div Staff who just came down to our CP to set down and get some work done?)

Ralph Sturgis, Duke Snyder, Joe Dabney and Gary Warne

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Miller
Active Duty Troopers and Terry Valentine

Ralph Sturgis, Duke Snyder, Gary Warne, Jorge Esquilin, Bob Corbin, Active Duty Trooper
Bob Bowling seated facing camera and Our very own Kissing Grandmother - Mrs. Paul Miller

Trooper Paul Miller
A Troop, 4th Cav Regiment, 1SG during several year of the 1950's


TROOPER DATA CHANGES

FRANK ALVA

New E-mails: vet66@dc.rr.com or vetfrank@gmail.com
New address: 578 Charles Street....Moorpark, Ca. 93021
phone number: 805 222-5536


TROOPERS SOUND OFF!

I'll start this off. You might want to share this with your grandchildren. BB

WhenI was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning....Uphill...Barefoot...BOTH ways.
yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of fifty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!

And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen!

Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 7 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents or the Principal beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up! There were no CD players! We had 8-track tape decks in our cars.. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby!
Dig?

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!

There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD !!! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please!
You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics!
Oh, yeah, eventually we had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever! And you could never won. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died!
Just like real LIFE!

You had to read a newspaper to find out what was on TV! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your rear and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons

And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove!
Imagine that!

And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!

And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were luckily, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!

See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in the 60's or any time before!

Regards,
The Over 50 Crowd

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Oops! I screwed up folks. Gotta set the record straight! BB

Hey Bill,

As to the Silent Column.

The help I received was from the 1st Cavalry Division Band, not the 1st ID Band.

It was the 1st Cavalry Division Band Commander, WO2 Michael J. Moore, that came up with the idea of, and prepared, the power point presentation, Not me. This was all on his own without any suggestion from me.

And the lead singer is not me. I wish it was.

I am the coordinator and the force behind it all, but we need to place the credit, where credit is due.

Please set the record straight.

John Conley

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I like this one sent in by Tony Moscicki. BB

Most of the old time entertainers were made out of a lot sterner stuff than today's crop of activists and whiners.

The following is from an Army Aviator friend who takes another trip down memory lane:

It was just before Thanksgiving '67 and we were ferrying dead and wounded from a large GRF west of Pleiku. We had run out of body bags by noon, so the Hook ( CH-47 CHINOOK) was pretty rough in the back. All of a sudden, we heard a 'take-charge' woman's voice in the rear.

There was the singer and actress, Martha Raye, with a SF ( Special Forces) beret and jungle fatigues, with subdued markings, helping the wounded into the Chinook, and carrying the dead aboard. 'Maggie' had been visiting her SF 'heroes' out 'west'.

We took off, short of fuel, and headed to the USAF hospital pad at Pleiku. As we all started unloading our sad pax's, a 'Smart-Ass' USAF Captain said to Martha.... Ms Ray, with all these dead and wounded to process,there would not be time for your show!

To all of our surprise, she pulled on her right collar and said.....Captain, see this eagle? I am a full 'Bird' in the US Army Reserve, and on this is a 'Caduse' which means I am a Nurse, with a surgical speciality....now, take me to your wounded. He said, yes mam'.... Follow me.

Several times at the Army Field Hospital in Pleiku, she would 'cover' a surgical shift, giving a nurse a well-deserved break.

Martha is the only woman buried in the SF (Special Forces) cemetery at Ft. Bragg .

Hand Salute!

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Danny Horn sends us an interesting observation. It's kindof long but I think you will agree that there is a simularity between this issue and the Agent Orange issue from Vietnam, Is being wounded by exposure to Agent Orange any less eligibe than concussion injuries. BB

Brain Wars: How the Military Is Failing Its Wounded

The military has failed to diagnose brain injuries in thousands of soldiers returning from overseas.

The Story So FarTraumatic brain injury is considered the “signature wound” of soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Official military statistics show that more than 115,000 soldiers have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries since the wars began. Shock waves from roadside bombs can ripple through soldiers’ brains, causing damage that sometimes leaves no visible scars but may cause lasting mental and physical harm.

Army regulations say that a soldier is entitled to the Purple Heart if injured by hostile action. The soldier must require treatment -- no matter how minimal -- by a medical officer, and the injury must be documented. Medical officers can offer advice on whether an injury merits recognition. The soldiers' commanding general typically makes the final decision to award or deny a Purple Heart.

The Army's official list of wounds [3] that "clearly justify" the award includes, "Concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions."

In an e-mailed response, Caravalho, who now commands one of the Army's top hospitals, said he was trying to help medical personnel understand some of the complexities involved in the diagnosis and treatment of mild traumatic brain injuries. He did not specifically address whether his order created new restrictions on the award of the medal.

"I was trying to make the point that medical providers in the field needed to ensure they documented the event, the findings and the treatment rendered," wrote Caravalho. "Without this corroborating documentation, I felt it would be increasingly difficult to support a Purple Heart request based solely on subjective, and potentially temporary symptoms."

Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's second in command, said it is "very, very clear" that soldiers who have sustained documented concussions from enemy action should receive the Purple Heart. He said he was not aware of Caravalho's order until NPR and ProPublica brought it to his attention.

"This is a good catch," he said, saying he had asked Army lawyers to review the policy to see whether it should be changed. A Chiarelli spokesman said Wednesday that, as of last week, the review was continuing.

Chiarelli, the Army's point man on the treatment of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress, acknowledged there is ongoing resistance to awarding the Purple Heart for so-called "invisible" wounds.

He saw it firsthand when he served as commander in Baghdad from 2004 to 2005 and said he overturned many denials for the medal stemming from concussion injuries. There has been progress since then, he said, but more work remains.

"There still are some commanders, okay, who -- and there may be some doctors, too -- who don't feel that a concussion should entitle somebody for a Purple Heart," Chiarelli said. "But we have far more commanders that understand that the concussion is a real injury today than we had in 2004 and 2005."
"We are moving in the right direction to fix this."

A Certain Level of Tough

Created by George Washington in 1782 and revived 150 years later by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Purple Heart carries extraordinary significance.

Unique among military honors, it is an entitlement earned by all soldiers who meet the basic criteria. It does not depend upon a recommendation from a superior officer.

The Purple Heart confers practical benefits, gaining recipients a higher priority in obtaining medical service from Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

But for many soldiers, the Purple Heart is, first and foremost, a badge of courage: A tangible recognition of service, honor, and bravery.

Nearly 25,000 soldiers have been awarded Purple Hearts for all types of wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Army's Human Resources Command [4]. A spokesman said the military does not know how many soldiers have received the Purple Heart for mild traumatic brain injuries, or how many have been denied. He said the Army doesn't keep track.

The number of Purple Hearts awarded is dwarfed by the number of soldiers who have suffered concussions. Official figures show about 90,000 Army soldiers have sustained mild traumatic brain injuries since 2002 -- though all those soldiers likely do no meet the criteria for the award. Tens of thousands of additional troops have gone undiagnosed [5], NPR and ProPublica reported in June, based on unpublished military studies, internal e-mails and interviews.

Some soldiers who have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries have received Purple Hearts. Sgt. Victor Medina, who was profiled in a previous story by NPR and ProPublica [6], received his award after his wife wrote to his commander insisting that he deserved the recognition. "It would have been easier to get one if I had lost an arm or a leg. Then they could have seen it," Medina said.

The military's regulations to document the wound and treatment can make it difficult for someone with a mild traumatic brain injury to prove that the award criteria are met. Treatment for a head injury in the immediate aftermath of combat can be as little as bed rest, or pain medications which are not always noted in medical records.

Once they return home, some soldiers don't realize they have problems until months or years after the injury -- making it difficult to prove a link between the blast and their symptoms.

Sgts. James Hopkins and Derrick Junge are among those who have been diagnosed with concussions, but were passed over for the Purple Heart.

Hopkins and Junge suffered their injuries in January 2009 when a rocket slammed into a wall near their trailer at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. At the time, a senior Army neuropsychologist, Lt. Col. Mike Russell, was conducting a study on concussions. He diagnosed the men and three fellow soldiers as having suffered mild traumatic brain injuries during the attack, according to medical records.

Yet only one soldier in the trailer, who suffered shrapnel wounds in the attack, received the medal. The other men have been turned down by senior commanders.

Hopkins received a form letter telling him that his documentation was not sufficient. The letter did not tell him what documents he was missing or exactly why he was denied. "I'm over there. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I'm giving everything that I'm supposed to," said Hopkins. "But I feel I'm not getting that same thing in return." Hopkins had splitting headaches and trouble walking for days after the explosion. He still forgets details today. He repeats himself in conversation, forgetting what he told his wife moments ago. Not getting a Purple Heart, he said, "That's a big slap in the face."

Like many soldiers who suffered a concussion, Junge has trouble remembering details of what happened after the explosion. He believes a medic might have given him headache medication, but has no documentation of the treatment.

Nor has Junge received rehabilitation or other treatment for ongoing mental difficulties. A former B-2 bomber mechanic, he sometimes struggles with simple tasks, such as building a tree house for his kids. He gets irritated easily. He forgets details and the names of common household items.

Junge said he didn't see a doctor because he wanted to keep leading his unit. "As a soldier, you're expected to be a certain level of tough. It's across the board from top to bottom. If it's not a visible injury, it's kind of looked as a non-injury," he said. "For soldiers, it's like, are you a puss?"

For the families of soldiers with mild traumatic brain injuries, the Purple Heart is sometimes the only outward sign of the serious internal trauma endured by their loved ones. "He thinks nothing is wrong. And it's like, I'm married to a totally different person," said Holly Junge, Derrick's wife, breaking down in tears as she spoke. "That's scary."

Junge is scheduled to deploy back to Afghanistan later this month.

If You're Not Bleeding, It's Not Serious

Congress, the military and veterans groups have wrestled for decades over how to define which injuries are worthy of the Purple Heart.

After the 1989 invasion of Panama, a debate erupted when a soldier received the medal for heat stroke. Two years ago, an Army psychologist raised a furor by suggesting that the Purple Heart should be given to soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The Pentagon specifically banned giving the award for the disorder, saying that PTSD is a secondary effect not directly caused by the enemy. The decision remains controversial.

Mild traumatic brain injuries, however, are not supposed to be part of the debate. For at least 50 years, military regulations have recognized concussions as an injury meriting the Purple Heart.

But now, in wars in which roadside bombs are the enemy's best weapon and with tens of thousands of soldiers suffering mild traumatic brain injuries, some military officials argue that giving the Purple Heart for concussions would lessen its value, according to sources and internal documents reviewed by NPR and ProPublica.

Sgt. Nathan Scheller was passed over for a Purple Heart twice although he has lasting cognitive problems from two roadside explosions in Iraq. (Frontline/PBS)

Mild traumatic brain injuries have become more common in Iraq and Afghanistan because of insurgents' heavy use of explosive devices and armor which has better protected soldiers from life-threatening injuries.

In late 2007, Col. Edward Neely, an Army neurologist then serving in Iraq, sent an impassioned e-mail to a group of fellow medical officers with the subject line "More Purple Hearts for Those Who Deserve It."

Neely said some senior medical officials opposed giving out the Purple Heart for invisible injuries. He said one fellow medical officer -- whom he did not identify -- told him that he feared creating "another John Kerry" by giving out the Purple Heart for concussions.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, some political opponents mocked Sen. Kerry, D-Mass., the Democratic nominee, for receiving three Purple Hearts for shrapnel wounds he got during the Vietnam War, which critics deemed too minor to deserve recognition. In the last of these actions, Kerry also received a Bronze Star. "We need to give these troops" the Purple Hearts "they rightly deserve," Neely wrote.

Neely declined to comment for our story. But a fellow officer said that "no more John Kerrys" became a catchphrase among some medical officers in Iraq who felt that mild traumatic brain injuries were not serious enough to merit Purple Hearts.

The officer, who did not want to be named for fear of damaging his career, said commanders often relied on technicalities to block awards. For instance, the military defines a "medical officer" as a physician with officer rank. That means that soldiers treated by nurses or combat medics would not necessarily qualify. "They were trying to find ways not to give the Purple Heart," the official said. "There was a lot of semantics going on."

Russell, the Army neuropsychologist, and Col. Rodney Coldren, an Army epidemiologist, alluded to this attitude at the 2009 National Academy of Neuropsychology conference. They told the audience that the Purple Heart "clouds everything" in diagnosing concussions in the field.

Coldren, who traveled to Iraq in 2009 to study testing for mild traumatic brain injuries, said he found "vast under-diagnosis" of concussions, and not just because electronic reporting systems were failing. "Another issue we found in Iraq as far as under-diagnosis is the issue of the Purple Heart," Coldren said, according to a transcript of his remarks obtained by NPR and ProPublica. "There was a push by higher level commanders to not be seen to be giving these out for just any old injury."

When contacted by NPR and ProPublica, both Coldren and Russell declined through spokesmen to comment on their remarks.

Veterans groups that focus on the Purple Heart support awarding it in cases of concussions, as the regulations spell out. "A guy rolls over an IED and maybe the concussion isn't so bad, but he can't go back to work the next day," said John E. Bircher III, spokesman for the Military Order of the Purple Heart [7], a congressionally chartered veterans group. "He's entitled to a Purple Heart, (just like) the guy who gets hit by shrapnel and gets six stitches and goes back to work right away."

Other veterans groups expressed anger that soldiers with brain injuries were not being recognized for their wounds. "It's an outrage," said Paul Sullivan, a former Department of Veterans Affairs official who now heads Veterans for Common Sense [8], an advocacy group. "What I'm afraid of is that the military intentionally is concealing casualties in order to conceal the enormous human costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan war."

The system for awarding Purple Hearts can be opaque, especially for soldiers in war zones. They often do not get a response in writing, receiving only verbal notifications that they have been turned down. Even when they do get letters, the reason for denial can be vague, such as a lack of proper documentation.

NPR and ProPublica contacted more than a dozen officers to determine who, exactly, had turned down the Purple Heart applications of Scheller, Hopkins, Junge and other soldiers. The officers either did not comment, or said they could not recall the cases.

Soldiers turned down for the Purple Heart can appeal, but face a grinding administrative battle to reverse the decision.

If they have no documentation of their wounds, they must find witnesses and gather sworn statements, an especially daunting task for those who have cognitive deficits as a result of brain injuries.

After surviving two roadside blasts in Iraq in 2008, Capt. Jonathan Brooks fought for 14 months to receive a diagnosis [9] confirming that he had suffered a concussion that resulted in lingering symptoms.

His wife, Jayna Moceri Brooks, decided to apply for a Purple Heart. The process was so complex that she co-founded a group, Recognize the Sacrifice [10], to help other soldiers apply for the medal.

In some cases, soldiers she is helping have spent more than two years working through the appeals process. (The Army Review Boards Agency still gets applications to honor soldiers injured in World War I and World War II.)

Brooks, a registered nurse who has worked in military hospitals, said the recognition was worth the effort. "A Purple Heart medal would symbolize support from the Army and from the greater civilian community as we endure the frustrations and hardships of living with a (traumatic brain injury). It's pretty lonely without having that official recognition and support," Brooks said. "It's exhausting to have to fight and ask for everything ourselves."

Last year, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., the co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, demanded that the military explain how it decides whether soldiers with mild traumatic brain injuries are awarded the Purple Heart.

The military's report [11], delivered in June, noted that the Army and other service branches had different requirements. The Marine Corps, for instance, requires that a service member must have been knocked unconscious to receive the Purple Heart for mild traumatic brain injury.

Yet, according to an internationally accepted medical definition, a person can suffer a mild traumatic brain injury with or without a loss of consciousness.

Pascrell said he is pressing for consistent regulations [12] regarding the Purple Heart. He called the military's report "unacceptable." "There are people being overlooked because of the criteria being so vague," Pascrell said. "We have let too many of our soldiers fall through the cracks and it's not acceptable."

Michelle Dyarman is one of those soldiers. A major in the Army reserves, Dyarman was injured by two roadside bombs in Iraq in 2005. After years of fighting with the military, she was eventually diagnosed as having suffered a mild traumatic brain injury that caused lasting cognitive problems. Dyarman still has trouble concentrating, following directions and remembering words.

She is still fighting. Commanders have repeatedly denied her application for a Purple Heart, sending her into a bureaucratic maze. The Purple Heart, she said, would prove to everyone what she already knows: She sacrificed for her country. "I know I'm not the only one it happened to," she said. "It's very frustrating. It's very disappointing."

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This may have been posted before but it's good for a repeat. Jim Dempsey sent this in. BB

VIETNAM VIRTUAL WALL

Click on the hyperlink below. Click on a state.

When it opens, scroll down to the city and the names will appear.

Then click on their names. It should show you a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals.

This really is an amazing web site. Someone spent a lot of time and effort to create it.

I hope that everyone who receives this appreciates what those who served in Vietnam sacrificed for our country.

Virtual Wall - those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bio's and other information on our lost heroes.

Those who remember that timeframe, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site.

THE VIETNAM VIRTUAL WALL

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The following entry was sent in by Jim Smith. BB

What exactly is inside a can of Whoop-Ass?




 
 
 
 

 








"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It"

"Happiness Is A Belt-Fed Weapon"

""Artillery Brings Dignity to What Would Otherwise Be Just A Vulgar Brawl"

"My Kid Fought In Iraq So Your Kid Can Party In College"

"Machine Gunners - Accuracy By Volume"

"A Dead Enemy Is A Peaceful Enemy - Blessed Be The Peacemakers"

"If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher.. If You Can Read It In English, Thank A Veteran"

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the U.S. ARMED FORCES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




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Thanks to Smokey for this forward. BB

If you know a Homeless Veteran or know someone that does there is help available for them. Please see the article below and pass it on.

New Pilot Program: Homeless Veteran Alert

If you are a homeless veteran, or a veteran who is in need of urgent help to prevent homelessness, our Homeless Veteran Alert (HVA) system may be able to help you. Through multiple partnerships throughout the United States, we will detail your situation with a charitible organization that may be able to assist you. The charitable organization that may be able to assist you and your family will do so in a variety of creative ways. Additionally, through the use of the HVA system, you may gain access to multiple streams of assistance. Currently, we have no limits on who may help or how often. Your immediate needs are first and foremost.

Before proceeding, be sure you have contacted the following organizations for help:

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans - 800.838.4357
VA Homeless Veteran Program Coordinator - 877.222.8387
Department of Human and Health Services - 800.662.4357
Social Security Administation - 800.772.1213
Homeless Veterans Call Center - 8770424.3838
Your local Veterans Affairs facility - 800.827.1000

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Here's another one you can pass along to someone who need the help. Thanks to Charles Murowski for the submit.BB

I stumbled upon this site, from what i can see they do free help but only so many vets a month, i figured it don't cost to look and see what they offer. Just trying to help out when i can. GOD BLESS

Social Security Disability Claim Help

Get the money you deserve. You may need Legal help with the claims process. Preparing your claim

Were your social security disability benefits denied? Here's what to do now. Continue fighting for what is due to you


NOTICE!-TROOPER JOKE AREA-SOME JOKES MAY BE EXPLECIT!

Jim Smith sent this one in. BB

CALM IN OUR LIVES

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calm in our lives.
By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now.

Pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.

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Here's one from Wayne Paddack. BB

On the first day, God created the dog and said:

'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'

The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said:

'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'

The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said:

'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.'

The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years.. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created humans and said:

'Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'

But the human said: 'Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'

Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family.. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service.

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Check this one out sent in by Howard Greenfield.BB

A little guy is sitting at the bar staring at his drink when a large, trouble-making biker steps up next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig.

"Well, whatcha gonna do about it?" he says, menacingly, as the little guy bursts into tears.

"Come on, man," the biker says, " I didn't think you'd CRY. I can`t stand to see a man crying."

"This is the worst day of my life," says the little guy.

"I`m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting, and my Boss fired me. When I went to the car park, I found my car stolen and I don't have any insurance, I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the milk man and then my dog bit me.

"So I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all . I buy a drink, drop the capsule in it and while I sit here watching the poison dissolve; a smart ass like you shows up and drinks the whole bloody lot.

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How a couple quickies from Rob Furgeson. BB

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Fred Currier sends in some blond jokes. BB

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I think Bob Corbin may have it figuared out. BB

About getting old.....

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I think Ron Breuer may be "onto something" also, or, maby he's just on something....BB

Einstein's Theory

Einstein was born March 14, 1879. He would be 131 if he were alive today.

Few people remember that the Nobel Prize winner married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, after his first marriage dissolved in 1919. At the time he stated that he was attracted to Elsa because she was so well endowed.

He postulated that if you are attracted to women with large breasts, the attraction is even stronger if there is a DNA Connection.

This came to be known as....

Einstein's Theory of "Relative Titty."

Oh, quit groaning! I don't write this crap, I receive it from my warped friends and then I send it on to you. It sure beats the political stuff I've been receiving!

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Got this one from my Aunt Jo down in Arkansas. BB

Girlie Wisdom!

1. A friend of mine confused her Valium with her birth control pills... she has 14 kids but she doesn't really care.

2. One of life's mysteries is how a 2 pound box of chocolates can make a woman gain 5 lbs.

3. My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely.

4. The best way to forget your troubles is to wear tight shoes.

5. The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.

6. The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then your body and your fat are really good friends.

7. Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today...

8. Sometimes I think I understand everything and then I regain consciousness.

9. I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting fire to my panties.

10. Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks 2 sizes!

11. Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like 'You know, sometimes I forget to eat!' Now, I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name and my keys, but I have never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat!

12. The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing, and then they marry him. **********************************************************

Have you noticed of late that most our jokes are about "Old Age". Now why in the world could that be?? BB

Men's Age as Determined by a Trip to Home Depot

You are in the middle of some kind of project around the house - mowing the lawn, putting in a new fence, painting the living room, or whatever. You are hot and sweaty, covered in dirt or paint. You have your old work clothes on. You know the outfit - shorts with the hole in the crotch, old T-shirt with a stain from whom knows what, and an old pair of tennis shoes.
Right in the middle of this great home improvement project you realize you need to run to Home Depot to get something to help complete the job.
Depending on your age you might do the following:

In your 20's:

Stop what you are doing. Shave, take a shower, blow dry your hair, brush your teeth, floss, and put on clean clothes. Check yourself in the mirror and flex. Add a dab of your favorite cologne because you never know, you just might meet some hot chick while standing in the checkout lane. And you went to school with the pretty girl running the register.

In your 30's:

Stop what you are doing, put on clean shorts and shirt. Change shoes. You married the hot chick so no need for much else. Wash your hands and comb your hair. Check yourself in the mirror. Still got it. Add a shot of your favorite cologne to cover the smell. The cute girl running the register is the kid sister to someone you went to school with.

In your 40's:

Stop what you are doing. Put on a sweatshirt that is long enough to cover the hole in the crotch of your shorts. Put on different shoes and a hat. Wash your hands. Your bottle of Brute Cologne is almost empty so you don't want to waste any of it on a trip to Home Depot. Check yourself in the mirror and do more sucking in than flexing. The spicy young thing running the register is your daughter's age and you feel weird thinking she is spicy.

In your 50's:

Stop what you are doing. Put a hat on,wipe the dirt off your hands onto your shirt. Change shoes because you don't want to get dog doo-doo in your new sports car. Check yourself in the mirror and you swear not to wear that shirt anymore because it makes you look fat. The Cutie running the register smiles when she sees you coming and you think you still have it. Then you remember the hat you have on is from Buddy's Bait & Beer Bar and it says, 'I Got Worms .'

In your 60's:

Stop what you are doing. No need for a hat anymore. Hose the dog doo-doo off your shoes. The mirror was shattered when you were in your 50's. You hope you have underwear on so nothing hangs out the hole in your pants. The girl running the register may be cute, but you don't have your glasses on so you are not sure.

In your 70's:

Stop what you are doing. Wait to go to Home Depot until the drug store has your prescriptions ready, too. Don't even notice the dog doo-doo on your shoes. The young thing at the register smiles at you because you remind her of her grandfather.

In your 80's:

Stop what you are doing. Start again. Then stop again. Now you remember you needed to go to Home Depot. Go to Wal-Mart instead and wander around trying to think what it is you are looking for. Fart out loud and you think someone called out your name. You went to school with the old lady who greeted you at the front door.

In your 90's & beyond:

What's a home deep hoe? Something for my garden?

Where am I? Who am I?

Why am I reading this?

Did I send it? Did you?

Who farted?


Medical News and Information

here's a nice little artilcle sent in by Danny Horn. BB

The Truth About Belly Fat
What's the best way to trim your tummy?
By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Having a flat belly or so-called "six-pack abs" is a dream of most adults. If you're middle-aged, have ever been pregnant, or sometimes indulge in too much food or one too many beers, you probably have a spare tire you'd like to get rid of. So what's the best strategy for banishing belly fat? Is it as simple as adding certain foods to your diet, or doing particular exercises?
WebMD turned to the experts for answers on belly fat -- and the best ways to lose it.

The Answer to Flatter Abs
Don't despair; you can lose that spare tire, experts say. But there's no secret formula.
"There is no magic bullet, diet plan, specific food, or type of exercise that specifically targets belly fat. But the good news is belly fat is the first kind of fat you tend to lose when you lose weight," says Michael Jensen, MD, a Mayo Clinic endocrinology specialist and obesity researcher.
Whether you're an "apple" shape with excess belly fat, or a "pear" with wide hips and thighs, when you lose weight, you'll most likely lose proportionately more from the abdominal region than elsewhere.
"Ninety-nine percent of people who lose weight will lose it in the abdominal region before anywhere else -- and will lose proportionately more weight from the upper body," says Jensen, also a professor of medicine.
And why is that? "Visceral fat, the kind tucked deep inside your waistline, is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin, especially if you have plenty of it," explains Penn State researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD.
And the more weight you have to lose, the more quickly you're likely to start losing your belly fat, experts say.
"People who are significantly overweight may see quicker results in their belly than someone who has less to lose in that area, such as a postmenopausal pouch," says Georgia State University nutrition professor, Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD.

Can Whole Grains Help You Lose Belly Fat?
A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains trimmed extra fat from the waistline of obese subjects.
Study participants who ate all whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry) lost more weight from the abdominal area than another group that ate the same diet, but with all refined grains.
"Eating a diet rich in whole grains while reducing refined carbohydrates changes the glucose and insulin response and makes it easier to mobilize fat stores," says study researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, a distinguished professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University.
"Visceral fat is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat, especially if you have plenty of it and the right conditions are met, such as the ones in our study."

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Provided by Dr. Edmund Hays.

How Drug Companies Sell Psychiatrists On Their Drugs
In 1993, the FDA approved Neurontin for the treatment of epilepsy. This should have been a cause for celebration at Warner-Lambert, the drug company that introduced it, but the celebration was muted. The FDA had downgraded the approval, saying that since Neurontin's data was not strong enough, the drug could only be used as an add-on drug for patients who had failed to respond to a primary epilepsy drug.
This limited indication was a problem for executives at Warner-Lambert, because it meant that Neurontin was unlikely to find its way onto doctors' prescription pads. The market for such adjunctive epilepsy drugs is small, and the company estimated that it could make no more than about $500 million over the drug's patented lifetime.
That may seem like good money to you and me, but it is positively mediocre for drug companies, which define very successful drugs as those bringing in $1 billion or more in sales per year. Measured by this exalted standard, Neurontin was a turkey.
The executives, therefore, came up with a new marketing plan. A number of small studies and case series had shown that Neurontin might be effective for several other conditions, such as bipolar disorder, migraine headaches, neuropathic pain, and ADHD. The evidence was poor, and it did not meet the FDA's criteria for proof of effectiveness, but the executives decided to try to convince doctors to prescribe it for these disorders anyway. After all, doctors are free to prescribe medications for anything they want, even if there is no official FDA indication. This is called "off-label" prescribing.

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Ancient Chinese Herbal Recipe Eases Side Effects of Chemotherapy
A combination of Chinese herbs in use for more than 1,800 years reduced the gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy in mice, while actually enhancing the effects of the cancer treatment, Yale University researchers report.
The formula used in the experiment consists of four herbs, called PHY906, and is based on a herbal recipe called Huang Qin Tang, used historically to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The study, published August 18 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, asked whether the use of the formula could reduce gastrointestinal effects of a common chemotherapy drug without affecting its ability to kill cancerous cells. Video: Yung-Chi "Tommy" Cheng, Henry Bronson professor of pharmacology, co-director of the Yale Cancer Center's Developmental Therapeutics program and senior author of the paper.

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A Promising Target For Developing Treatments Against Parkinson's Disease
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown that using specific drugs can protect nerve cells in mice from the lethal effects of Parkinson's disease. The researchers' findings are published in the August 22 issue of Nature Medicine.
The newly discovered drugs block a protein that, when altered in people, leads to Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease causes deterioration of the nervous system that leads to tremors and problems with muscle movement and coordination. There is no proven protective treatment yet. Only recently have genetic causes of Parkinson's disease been identified that have the potential to be used for developing targeted therapies for patients with the disease.
The protein LRRK2 (pronounced lark 2) is overactive in some Parkinson's disease patients and causes nerve cells to shrivel up and die. Why exactly overactive LRRK2 is toxic and leads to Parkinson's disease is still unknown.

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Study Explains Why Alzheimer's Drug is Both Safe and Effective
Alzheimer's disease destroys brain cells and their connections (called synapses), causing memory loss and other cognitive problems that disrupt work, hobbies and daily life. Symptoms can be alleviated, in part, by the drug memantine (marketed in the United States as Namenda), which is currently FDA-approved to treat moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's disease and was, in part, developed by Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Del E. Web Center for Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham). Memantine improves symptoms by blocking abnormal activity of glutamate, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells. In a study appearing August 18 in The Journal of Neuroscience, a team of investigators at Sanford-Burnham led by Dr. Lipton unravel exactly how memantine helps Alzheimer's patients without causing serious side effects.
"While memantine is partially effective in treating Alzheimer's disease, one of its major advantages is how safe and well-tolerated it is clinically," said Dr. Lipton.
In treating any disease, one of the most difficult parts of designing a new drug is finding ways to maximize its beneficial effect while minimizing harmful side effects. Memantine is a particularly safe treatment for Alzheimer's disease because it dampens excessive glutamate signaling that occurs away from synapses without blocking glutamate activity at the synapses. This is important because interfering with synaptic glutamate signaling would disrupt normal brain activity.

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Garlic May Play Vital Role In Treating Hypertension
A University of Adelaide study shows that aged garlic extract may help lower blood pressure in the 3.7 million Australians who suffer hypertension.
Research trials by Dr Karin Ried and her colleagues from the University's Discipline of General Practice show that garlic could be used as an adjunct to conventional drugs for hypertension.
However, raw or cooked garlic, and garlic powder are not as effective in treating high blood pressure as aged garlic extract.
In a 12-week trial involving 50 people, Dr Karin Ried's team found that those with systolic blood pressure above 140 who took aged garlic extract capsules experienced an average systolic blood pressure 10.2mmHg lower than the control group, who took a placebo.

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Studies Pinpoint Key Targets For MRSA Vaccine
Two recent studies provide evidence for a new approach to vaccines to prevent infections caused by drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - better known as MRSA - the leading cause of skin and soft tissue, bloodstream and lung infections in the United States.
One demonstrates a way to counteract the bacteria's knack for evading the immune system. The other shows how to disrupt the germ's tissue-damaging mechanism. Each approach dramatically reduced the virulence of staph infections in mice. The combination may protect people from MRSA infections and provide lasting immunity to this virulent and drug-resistant organism, which has become the leading cause of death from infectious disease in the United States.
Since the 1960s, development of a staph vaccine has been a priority for the medical profession - but less so for the pharmaceutical industry, which has veered away from vaccine research. Previous attempts at a MRSA vaccine have failed. In the last decade, however, as staph increased its ability to resist multiple antibiotics and drug-resistant strains came to dominate the community setting, the search for a protective vaccine has moved to center stage.


COMPUTER TIPS

Create an Accessible Toolbar
(Works with all Windows versions)

You can create your own accessible toolbar on your desktop that will show the content of any folder you choose by following the below steps:

1. Go to your Windows Desktop and create a folder (right-click while at the Desktop, then select New > Folder).
2. Click on the new folder and drag it to one of the edges of your screen and let go of the mouse button to create the toolbar.

Your toolbar is now created. Now right-click inside your new toolbar and you can customize it some some more. Select Auto-hide so that the toolbar only appears when you move your mouse over to that side of the screen. Select Always on Top to always have your toolbar showing. You can even drag your new toolbar to any other side of your screen, or to the middle where it will turn into a box.


DA-VA-VETERAN NEWS

S.407 : Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009.

A bill to increase, effective as of December 1, 2009, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen Akaka, Daniel K. (HI), (introduced 2/10/2009) Cosponsors (17) Related bill H.R.1513 Committees: Senate Veterans' Affairs Senate Reports: 111-24
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 111-37 [GPO: Text, PDF]

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VA Benefits Advisory Committee Update
Disabled veterans were thrilled in 2007 when the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission asked Congress to enact an immediate quality of life increase to disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The special increase, said commissioners, should be across the board, benefiting all veterans with service-connected health conditions, and it should be as large as 25% for the most severely disabled. The commission argued that current disability pay compensates for average loss in lifetime earnings but fails to provide any added monetary award for diminished quality of life. Quality of life is 3 addressed in a limited fashion by Special Monthly Compensation payable for loss of limbs or lost use of limbs, said the commission. But it called for development of a systematic methodology for evaluating and compensating for the effect of disability on quality of life. Meanwhile, Congress should allow an interim increase of up to 25%. What happened to that idea? It fell flat, said retired Lt. Gen. Terry Scott, a former Army Ranger who chaired the benefits commission. The terms across the board and up to 25% were not well-received anywhere outside the veterans community, Scott said.
His own position on an across-the-board increase for diminished quality of life also has changed, Scott said. That‘s significant because he not only had chaired the benefits commission through years of hearings and study, but Scott now chairs the Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation. That panel was created by Congress in 2008, part of the Veterans' Benefits Improvement, which directed that the VA secretary modernize the disability compensation system and address its mammoth backlog of claims. Scott‘s fallback position to an across-the-board raise, which the advisory committee also seems to embrace, is to pay something extra to recognize loss in quality of life only for the most seriously disabled veterans. That could be done by expanding the Special Monthly Compensation portion of VA disability pay or by adopting a similarly rigid model for compensating for noneconomic loss. Where I have retrenched, based on this committee‘s studies and the things we‘ve done, (is to) pretty much agree that the additive monetary benefit for quality of life should be based on really severe disability.
The good thing about using the Special Monthly Compensation model, Scott said, is that it is very tightly prescribed. There is not a lot of latitude to deal with. You fit inside the parameters of one of those categories, or you do not. It is not subject to a lot of subjectivity (or) any sort of gamesmanship. The 11-member advisory committee is a lower-profile entity than was the benefits commission. It has met 20 times since fall 2008 with responsibility both to advise and to pressure the VA secretary on steps, schedules and priorities for modernizing VA‘s Schedule for Ratings Disabilities (VASRD). VA claim adjudicators have used the VASRD for more than 60 years to set disability ratings, which in turn determine the size of monthly disability payments. Critics have long argued it needs to be reformed to take into account modern medical knowledge. VA officials last year developed a master plan for overhauling the VASRD over six years. Scott‘s committee, which includes medical and scientific experts, is monitoring that effort closely.
[Source: military.com Tom Philpott article 29 Aug 2010 ++]

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Postal Rates Update
The USPS has filed to increase the cost of postage effective 2 JAN 2011. The request is for 4% for most products and services and to increase first class postage from 44 cents to 46 cents (4.55%). You can do a little something by stocking up on those "Forever" stamps at current prices. The USPS request is still subject to Congressional approval.
[Source: Tip of the Day Herbert Hayes article 24 Aug 2010 ++]

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Flu Prevention Update
Flu season is fast approaching. The swine flu pandemic is considered over, but both the seasonal and H1N1 flu strains are still a threat. Each year, the seasonal flu vaccine is different. The Center for Disease Control takes note of flu strains that are originating overseas and can forecast with some reasonable assurance the form of the flu that will impact the USA in sufficient time to manufacture vaccine. This years' vaccine is not yet available, but children over six months of age should normally (check with your doctor) receive the swine flu shots now and the seasonal shots when the vaccine is available. Check with your doctor about which immunizations should be administered; and check with the day care or school about what immunizations are required for children to attend those facilities. When one child in the family comes down with something, be sure to monitor and be prepared for the other children (and the adults) in the family to deal with the same problem -- strep throat, ear infections, flu, and other communicable diseases.
[Source: Tip of the Day Herbert Hayes article 24 Aug 2010 ++]

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USFSPA & Divorce
Jerry Bohr, a State of Iowa Veteran‘s Service Officer with an office in Winneshiek County, has been ordered to report to jail on 4 SEP to begin serving a 30 day sentence for contempt of court. The sentence was handed down 2 weeks ago by Judge Richard D. Stochl, 1st Judicial District Court of Iowa, for noncompliance of a previous child support order. He refused to comply with his divorce settlement agreement which wrongly calculated his VA disability compensation into his divorce as income‘ and therefore a divisible asset‘. Bohr was found in contempt of court for not honoring the attachment of his veteran‘s benefits to his divorce settlement. This in spite of the fact that according to Federal Code this practice by state court judges is a violation of the Federal laws which protect veteran‘s benefits from the claim of creditors, from attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, either before or after receipt by the beneficiary. Bohr, as an Iowa VSO had many years of experience dealing with the needs of Iowa veterans and is very well versed in the laws and regulations contained within USC, Title 38, which is the Federal Code that regulates and protects the benefits and entitlements earned by our men and women in uniform after they are discharged from the military. He is also an Honorably Discharged disabled U.S. Army veteran with a service connected VA disability rating. Between his VA disability compensation and his job with the state, Bohr has no other assets.
The disagreement between Judge Stochl and Jerry Bohr centers around USC, Title 38, 5301, which clearly states that veteran‘s disability compensation, is protected from attachment under any circumstances, and by/under any legal or equitable process whatsoever. Unable to acquire an attorney willing to go up against the judge, Bohr was forced to represent himself in court. Although he was well prepared and presented his case in a respectable manner, it did seem to matter with the judge who would have had to reverse himself. Bohr was ordered to serve 30 days in jail with work release and to pay all of his ex-spouse‘s attorney‘s fees. If Bohr doesn‘t pay the court ordered support by the 30 days, he will be sentenced to another 30 days, or more, until he pays the court ordered support. According to Judge Stochl the federal law carries no weight in his courtroom and Jerry Bohr was merely attempting to hide behind a very old outdated federal law. Jerry Bohr has never refused to pay child support. However, Bohr has stated he will only pay the court order if the amount of support is calculated without the inclusion of his veteran‘s benefits as income.
According to Operation Firing for Effect (OFFE), National Chairman, Gene Simes the judge got part of it right, 5301 is a very old law - which dates back to the founding of our nation. Unfortunately, civil courts across this nation are choosing to totally ignore this pledge to our combat disabled veterans. If indeed Federal law takes precedence over State law, then a majority of civil courts across the U.S.A. are in direct violation of federal code by forcing a disabled veteran to use his/her tax-free VA disability compensation as income to pay alimony, spousal support, child support, or to pay third party attorney fees, or face jail. OFFE is following over 100 cases nationwide where disabled veterans have been unjustly stripped of their veteran's benefits by civil courts judges.
[Source: OFFE News release 77 dtd 19 Aug 2010 ++]

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Saving Money:
Following are some tips on how to shave dollars and dimes from your daily expenses:
• Cooking. Use up to 60% less energy by boiling water in a microwave rather than on an electric stovetop. When you do use the stovetop, make sure pots and pans fully cover the heating element. A 6-inch pan on an 8-inch element translates to an energy waste of more than 40%.
• Freezing. Improve freezer efficiency by keeping it as full as possible - with bags of ice if necessary, But keep 1-inch open space on each side of the interior for better air exchange.
• Heating. Lower your thermostat in the winter. For each degree that you drop, you cut your heating bill by 3%. To feel more comfortable at lower temperatures, place pans of water near heating outlets or radiators. Water-filled air retains heat better, and the added humidity reduces itching and dry skin.
• Gardening. Mix your own garden dirt. Those enriched bags of soil boost flower and vegetable growth at about $8 a bag. Instead for each one part of dirt or topsoil mix in about two parts of compost shredded from leaves and branches. This is available at no charge from many municipal recycling centers.
• Gardening. Buy torn bags of mulch. Home centers usually set these torn bags aside, then sell the day's mishaps at a bid discount. Your best chance to get these deals is at the end of a weekend shopping day. Bring duct tape to close them and a tarp to keep your car clean.
• Water. Save on flush in an old toilet by putting a plastic bottle full of water, weighted with pebbles, in your tank.
• Water. Connected to your storm gutters, it will collect water for later use on you lawn, vegetable garden, or car.
• Water. Sixty drips a minute will waste 6,426 gallons of water per year according to the U.S. Geological Society. Most water companies charge by the CCF (hundred cubic feet = 748 gals). In southern California this equates to $10 a year or more per dripping faucet.
• Water. Shower quickly and save. A 15 minute shower a day costs about $310 per year, even with a low flow head.
• Rent extra space. Rent that extra room or space on your garage, basement, or back yard. Visit www.storeatmyhouse.com to list its availability and your asking price at no charge.
• Printer ink. Save on printer ink by using Century Gothic font, which a recent study showed consumes about a third less ink than the standard Arial. that saves about $20 a year for a home user printing 25 pages a week.
• Do it yourself or hire someone? You can get estimates of the difference in cost for a home improvement project at www.diyornot.com as well as advice on whether or not you should go it alone.
• Furniture disposal. Get your castoffs picked up at no cost by more than 60 nonprofit furniture banks nationwide. Items generally need to be in good condition. Find one near you at www.nationalfurniturebank.com.
• Education. Obtain online college courses at no charge. However, you may have to buy books are download special software. Tale, MIT, and Stanford are among dozens of universities offering no-cost knowledge. Visit www.education-portal.com and click on, OpenCourseWare", for a list of offerings by topic.
• Sell your junk, but first get an idea of what it‘s really worth by going to www.itaggit.com for packrats and collectors. The sire analyzes recent sales at online markers.
• Photos. No cost photo editing is available online at www.citrify.com, where your uploaded photos can be tweaked with effects like teeth-whitening and wrinkle removing. www.Pixorial.com provide no cost video online editing and up to 10 gigabytes of storage.
• Sell your books. At www.cash4books.net or www.sellbackyourbook.com you type in an unwanted book‘s ISBN number to get an offer. If you like what you see fill out a prepaid mailing label, box the books and send them off. Payment comes by check or as a credit to you PayPal account.
• Computer. Save on common computer problems at www.fixya.com where volunteer techies give no cost advice.
• Don’t dump, recycle. Join the local bulletin board at www.freecycle.org and post what you want to give away or something you are looking for. No money changes hands.
[Source: AARP Bulletin Jul-Aug 2010 ++]

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Vet Insurance-Life Update
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are putting Prudential Financial under the congressional microscope for the company's policy of placing the death benefit payments of fallen troops and veterans into interest-earning accounts instead of immediately turning the money over to the deceased's next-of-kin. A "ton of documents" was turned over to the House Committee on Government Oversight on 23 AUG as part of its investigation and the ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has called for hearings next month to investigate the practice. The documents turned over to the House oversight committee were requested by committee Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) in an 10 AUG letter to Prudential. Requested documents include copies of standard Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and Veterans Group Life Insurance policies and of all materials sent to the deceased's next-of-kin.
In his letter to Prudential, Towns said he was "concerned that some beneficiaries of active duty service members and veterans life insurance may not fully understand their right to obtain immediate, lump-sum payment of their benefits. Moreover, these retained asset accounts are essentially low interest bank accounts that, unlike bank deposits, are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, although they may be protected by state insurance guaranty funds." Towns also pointed out the company's policy of paying the beneficiary 0.5 percent on investment earnings while keeping more than 4 percent. Depending on what investigators find among the documents, Towns could call for hearings into the retained asset accounts next month. The Senate is already headed that way. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the ranking member of the Senate banking committee, said he will hold a hearing when Congress returns from its August break in September. In a letter to committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Shelby said he was concerned over media reports suggesting that insurance companies may be unjustly profiting through retained asset accounts. He noted the claim that the accounts allow insurance companies to earn interest on the proceeds from the accounts which the insurers invest at a higher rate than they pay to the beneficiaries.
Prudential concedes that it earns more on the investments it makes using the accounts than the survivor owner of the account. Prudential earns 4.5 percent while the survivor earns 0.5 percent. Prudential spokesman Bob DeFillippo said that the retained asset accounts are no different in this way than any bank savings account. In these, too, he said, the account owner receives a smaller percentage in interest on the money than the bank, which is investing it. "It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the way we're able to provide interest to the family is to invest it," he said. "We provide a fairly competitive interest [rate] to beneficiaries." He also said the beneficiaries can take out the entire amount of the death benefit immediately. "If you write a check for the entire amount to yourself and go to your bank, you have taken all the money from the death benefit and it's yours," he said. "Also, the idea that it's not your money when it's in the [retained asset] account is wrong. It is yours." In a 29 JUL press release, meanwhile, Prudential acknowledged that the retained asset accounts are not FDIC insured, but said the funds are covered by state guaranty funds "of at least $250,000 in most states." Unless a service member opts to reduce the amount, however, he is automatically insured under SGLI for $400,000.
[Source: Military.com Bryant Jordon article 26 Aug 2010 ++]

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ALS Update
Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at Boston University School of Medicine have provided the first pathological evidence of a link between repeated head injuries—such as those experienced by athletes in contact sports such as boxing, football, and hockey—and a disease (chronic traumatic Encephalomyopathy) that resembles amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig‘s disease. The results will appear in the September issue of the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. This initial research shows great promise for further understanding what people go through after a traumatic brain injury, whether sustained on the battlefield, during a contact sport, or from other injury, said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. Advancing our knowledge in this area is the key to better treatment outcomes. The brain has long kept scientists baffled, as its elaborate structure makes it uniquely difficult to study. Brain biopsies are too risky as general practice, and diagnostic images often fall short of providing the desired details for full understanding of brain function. So, neurology researchers rely heavily on brain banks, including some housed at the Bedford (Mass.) VA Medical Center, for collecting clues about the biological nature of brain-related medical conditions.
For the new study, Dr. Ann McKee and colleagues at the CSTE examined the brains and spinal cords of 12 athletes donated by family members to the CSTE Brain Bank at the Bedford VA Medical Center. The researchers found that all 12 athletes showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by repetitive trauma to the brain. The condition can result in large accumulations of tau proteins, killing cells in regions of the brain responsible for mood and emotions. In addition to CTE, three of the athletes had been afflicted by motor neuron disease, with severe and progressive muscle weakness and 16 deterioration for several years before their death. The brains from patients with CTE and motor neuron disease showed a unique pattern of tau and deposits of another protein, TDP-43, in the spinal cord and brain. The pattern was different from that found in the most common form of ALS. Previous epidemiological studies have suggested a possible link between repetitive head trauma experienced by athletes and combat veterans and the development of motor neuron diseases such as ALS.
McKee said, This is the first pathological evidence that repetitive head trauma might be associated with the development of an ALS-like disease, she said . Although much more work is necessary to completely understand this association, if repetitive head trauma can trigger this kind of neurodegeneration, then by studying the effects of repetitive mild brain trauma, we can learn about the early triggers of ALS and how to slow, reduce and reverse them. Future work based on these observations offers a significant opportunity to develop treatments to benefit Veterans and all Americans well into the future. McKee and her colleagues are also studying whether military troops with traumatic brain injury from blasts or other exposures on the battlefield experience the same types of effects. We can‘t treat what we don‘t understand, says McKee. The idea with these brain banks is to learn as much as possible about brain diseases, including their origins and any environmental or genetic triggers. McKee is director of neuropathology at the Bedford (Mass.) VA Medical Center, where this research was conducted. She is also director of the Bedford based VA brain banks, and CSTE co-director, as well as an associate professor of neuropathology and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.
ALS affects about 30,000 people in the United States. It is relentlessly progressive and is nearly always fatal. The disease causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that leads to muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, and spontaneous muscle activity. The cause of ALS is unknown and there is no effective treatment. In 2008, VA established ALS as a presumptive compensable illness for all Veterans with 90 days or more of continuously active service in the military.
[Source: VA News Release 19 Aug 2010 ++]

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Military Funeral Disorderly Conduct
A federal judge has ruled Missouri‘s ban restricting protests at funerals to be unconstitutional. The 16 AUG ruling affects restrictions targeting a Kansas church whose members have picketed outside the funerals of people killed during the Iraq war. A church leader filed a lawsuit challenging the law. Missouri‘s law bars protests near any funeral, procession or memorial service from an hour before until an hour after the service. A complementary law specifically states that protesters must stay back at least 300 feet. But Judge Fernando Gaitan ruled that the Missouri law infringes on free speech rights.
[Source: Boston-Herald AP article 17 Aug 2010 ++]

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U.S. Savings Bonds Update
The Department of the Treasury has changed its policy concerning the issuance of paper savings bonds through payroll savings plans. After 30 SEP 2010, the U.S. Treasury will no longer issue paper savings bonds to federal employees through payroll deduction. In anticipation of this change, DFAS discontinued bond allotments 31 JUL 2010. However, you can still purchase savings bonds and other Treasury securities through a deduction from your retired pay by creating a TreasuryDirect account. TreasuryDirect is a secure and reliable on-line system that allows you to purchase Series EE and I savings bonds, Treasury bills, notes, bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). To continue your payroll deduction, you must open a TreasuryDirect account by visiting www.treasurydirect.gov. On the TreasuryDirect home page, click "TreasuryDirect" under the "Open an Account" menu on the right side of the page. After following the instructions, you will obtain a unique account number that you can use to review the Treasury securities available for purchase.
Once your account is created, you can inform DFAS to establish your TreasuryDirect deduction. Be sure to indicate that you want to start a TreasuryDirect allotment, the monthly amount you would like us to deduct from your retired pay, the month in which you would like us to start your allotment and your Social Security Number. Mail your request to: DFAS U.S. Retired Military Pay, P.O. Box 7130, London, KY 40742-7130. You may also call the Retired and Annuitant Pay Contact Center at 1(800) 321-1080. There are several advantages to the TreasuryDirect deduction over the previous paper savings bond deduction plan, such as the ability to monitor your account activity on-line. If however you prefer not to use TreasuryDirect, paper bonds are available for purchase through participating financial institutions. Bonds that DFAS is currently holding for safekeeping for customers are already in an electronic format and will not be affected by this change. The Treasury expects to save $400 million in taxpayer money and cut the use of 12 million pounds of paper over the first five years the change is in effect.
[Source: DFAS Newsletter Aug 2010 ++]

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CRDP Update
Beginning with the 1 JUN 2010 paycheck, Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP) was rounded down to the nearest dollar amount, rather than paid to the exact penny. This change is being applied to all future payments including any future retroactive computations. Because this change represents less than one dollar per month, DFAS will not attempt to recoup previous payments that were not rounded down. The law requires that all amounts computed under Chapter 71 of Title 10, including CRDP, be rounded to the next lower multiple of $1. However, a recent review showed that CRDP was being paid to the exact penny. This change is being made to adhere to the legal requirements for the entitlement.
[Source: DFAS Newsletter Aug 2010 ++]

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Tricare User Fee Update
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signaled that the department's fiscal 2012 budget request to be sent to Congress early next year will include recommendations to raise TRICARE premiums for some beneficiaries. If past proposals are a reliable guide, the target of higher fees is likely to be military retirees rather than active duty families. The Bush administration tried for three straight years to raise fees for working age retirees. Congress blocked those efforts. Defense officials hope lawmakers, facing with mounting federal debt and tightening defense budgets, will be more receptive to the argument that TRICARE fees haven't been raised since they were set in 1995. During a Pentagon press conference where he unveiled a host of initiatives to cut overhead in defense budgets, including shutting down the Joint Forces Command, Gates said proposals to control burgeoning health care costs will be unveiled in the months ahead.
"Health-care reform is on my agenda," Gates said. It will be part of a new track of cost-cutting reforms identified by the Quadrennial Defense Review and endorsed by other reports for curbing defense spending. There are no sacred cows, and health care cannot be excepted from cost-control plans, not to lower overall defense budgets but to free up funds for more pressing defense needs. Everybody knows that we're being eaten alive by health care. I believe there is a growing understanding on [Capitol] Hill about this. It cost us $19 billion in 2000 or 2001. It'll cost us over $50 billion in FY '11, and will cost us about $65 billion in FY '15. And particularly when the top line [of defense budgets] is only growing at a percent or thereabouts, it's unsustainable and therefore it has to be a part of our effort.
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, nominated to take charge of health care policy as the new assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, stayed mum on the hot-button issue of higher TRICARE fees during his 3 AUG confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Asked by Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) how he would address rising health costs, Woodson said, "What we need to do is work with a number of constituents and try to stem the rise of that cost. He referred to more cost-efficient therapies and addressing waste in the way we deliver care because of the culture of medicine. And there's opportunity to decrease the variability of care that might result in cost savings. Sen. John McCain, ranking committee Republican, said, "Woodson's major challenge will be getting costs under control." McCain questioned whether he can do it, given the steady rise of national health costs. Woodson, an Army Reserve brigadier general and vascular surgeon who has deployed in most every recent conflict, is Army assistant surgeon general for force management, mobilization, readiness and reserve affairs. In his written responses for the committee, Woodson said retirees and their families are 53% of all TRICARE beneficiaries and account for 57% of the DoD health care budget.
[Source: Military.com Tom Philpott article 16 Aug 2010 ++]

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VA Data Breaches Update
The Veterans Affairs Department (VA) has started posting monthly data breach reports on the Web as part of the agency's ongoing transparency initiative, according to a report from 22 Nextgov. The July report shows the department lost two PCs, 13 BlackBerry smart phones and six laptops, all of which were encrypted. The report is available at www.vawatchdog.org/10/nf10/nfaug10/aug10files/DataBreach072010.pdf viewing or download but does not appear in the VA website www4.va.gov/ABOUT_VA/. The VA has drawn renewed scrutiny of its data security practices after losing two unencrypted laptops in APR 2010 containing the personal information of more than 600 veterans. VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker has made improving the agency's data security a priority since taking office last year. Baker said the VA has lost 129 BlackBerrys so far this year after losing 189 in all of 2009. VA has about 35,000 of the smart phones in use. The laptop thefts also recalled the MAY 06 incident where a VA employee had a laptop stolen from their home containing data on more than 26 million veterans. The breach prompted an outcry from Congress, a review of VA's data breach procedures, $28 million in notification costs and $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit.
[Source: The Hill Gautham Nagesh article 13 Aug 2010 ++]


THIS WEEK'S INSPIRATION


Grant Us True Peace O God! O our Master! You are eternal life and everlasting peace by Your essence and attributes. The everlasting peace is from You and it returns to You. O our Sustainer! Grant us the life of true peace and usher us into the abode of peace. O Glorious and Bounteous One! You are blessed and sublime. Amen

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Prayer for the Beginning of the Day O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen


Thats all the news for this week. Check back next Saturday. Thanks, Ole' Bill


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