2015 US Government Budget



Why Paul Ryan’s Budget Is A Fantasy

Rep. Paul Ryan, the chair of the House Budget Committee, released the fiscal-year 2015 House Budget proposal on Tuesday, a largely political document that will help shape the partisan debate ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

As with some of his past budget proposals, Ryan will have trouble explaining the details and the means that get to the end — a balanced budget. This year, the consensus on the most implausible parts of his plan comes on two fronts.

The first are the levels at which non-defense discretionary spending is set in the budget. Discretionary spending is comprised of  spending on programs that have to be reauthorized by Congress every year, not including entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The second is an accounting trick that is likely to be controversial, and that some call a gimmick.

The last year of the budget window, 2024, gives a good example of what Ryan does to balance the budget:

  • He ups non-defense discretionary cuts by $50 billion in 2024.
  • He assumes lower war spending by about $25 billion that same year.
  • He still needs a trick to get the budget to complete balance. Ryan uses a “dynamic” scoring method that helps balance his budget — one that could generate controversy. The “macroeconomic feedback effect” assumes the macroeconomic effects of cutting deficits will lead to about $74 billion in savings in 2024.

The non-defense discretionary spending levels, especially in the last year, seem to be the most implausible part of the budget. In 2024, per the budget, the non-defense discretionary spending levels would be $467 billion — a 22 percent cut from post-sequester levels.  In raw dollars, that’s lower than it was in 2005. It’s also much lower than the 2013 level of $576 billion.

Loren Adler, a research director at the  at  Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Business Insider it would “c ertainly be one of the toughest pieces to feasibly achieve.”

In inflation-adjusted terms, it amounts to about a 29 percent cut from current levels. According to a Senate Democratic aide, it’s also 28 percent below the average amount of the non-defense discretionary spending levels during the Bush administration.

By 2024, the Ryan budget adds $483 billion to defense spending beyond sequester-set spending caps. But to get overall savings, the budget cuts $791 billion from non-defense discretionary spending.

“NDD levels by end of budget window totally implausible — damage to safety net as well,” Jared Bernstein, a former Obama administration economist and now a senior fellow at the left-leaning  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in an email.

Ryan also uses the accounting trick to achieve balance. It’s a method he hasn’t employed in past budgets, and one that usually isn’t used by the Congressional Budget Office when scoring legislation. Ryan says the “macroeconomic feedback effect” of the deficit-cutting provisions in his budget will amount to $175 billion in savings over the 10-year budget window. And about $74 billion of that will come in the last year — coincidentally providing the U.S. with a $5 billion surplus.

Here’s Ryan’s reasoning for doing so:

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated several times over nearly 20 years that congressional action to reduce deficits will ultimately result in lower interest rates and faster economic growth by freeing up savings for use in productive investment. In addition, CBO has estimated that the positive economic effects of deficit reduction will feed back into the budget and further reduce deficits and debt over the medium and longer term.

Ryan notes the CBO used such dynamic scoring, for example, in 1998, when analyzing the 1998 bipartisan budget resolution that planned to balance the budget. But in general, the CBO says it does not usually analyze the macroeconomic effects due to several reasons (emphasis added):

Doing macroeconomic analysis of all proposed legislation would not be feasible; nearly all legislation analyzed by CBO would have negligible macroeconomic effects anyway (and thus negligible feedback to the federal budget); and estimates of macroeconomic effects are highly uncertain.

In his budget last year, Ryan included guidance about the macroeconomic effects to argue how his budget would be even better for deficits than the numbers showed. However, he did not employ the scoring method to achieve a balanced budget.


Republican budget proposes deep cuts in domestic programs

4/1/14 2 hours ago By David Lawder – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representative Paul Ryan, the leading Republican voice on budget policy, rolled out a new fiscal blueprint on Tuesday that calls for deep cuts in domestic programs, increased defense spending and a goal of erasing annual deficits in 10 years.

Ryan’s budget, called the “Path to Prosperity,” has almost no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate but is expected to serve as a campaign manifesto for Republicans in November’s congressional elections.

It proposes to kill President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reforms and revives cuts in social programs such as the popular Medicare entitlement for the elderly that Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has proposed in other recent budgets.

The plan calls for savings of $5.1 trillion over a decade, with the goal of reaching a balanced budget by 2024 with no new tax revenues but increased defense spending.

Nearly $2.1 trillion would be saved over a decade by the proposal to kill Obamacare, according to the plan.

A sweeping overhaul of Medicare has been slightly revised, with phased-in changes applying to workers 55 years old and younger, compared to last year’s proposal which affected workers who were 54 and younger.

The document aims to bolster Republicans’ credentials as the party of fiscal prudence, but could open them up to fresh attacks from Democrats, who are calling for steps to reduce the gap between the rich and poor.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/republican-budget-proposes-deep-cuts-social-programs-143537137–business.html;_ylt=AwrTWVVA.TpT_kMAeebQtDMD


Pelosi Statement on Ryan Republican Budget

April 1, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released this year’s version of the House Republican budget:

“Today, Republicans have laid out their vision for a less prosperous America, demonstrating, yet again, the weakness of their arithmetic and the strength of their indifference to the concerns of struggling middle class families across the country.  They are proving the lengths they will go to protect the special interests at the expense of the public interest.  They are undermining seniors, students, and the middle class, crippling our economic competitiveness, and gutting our nation’s investments in the future – all to protect loopholes for the wealthy few and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

“Under this Republican budget, the wealthy and well-connected wouldn’t be asked to pay even a little more.  But seniors would be asked to pay more for preventive services and prescription drugs and see the end of the Medicare guarantee.  Families would witness devastating cuts to research, innovation, education, clean energy, and manufacturing, ceding economic leadership to other nations.  All Americans would see a budget that rejects comprehensive immigration reform, with its promise of job creation, stronger small businesses, a growing economy, and a shrinking deficit.

“Democrats have a better approach: creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, investing in our infrastructure and our children’s education, closing the opportunity gap, and responsibly reducing the deficit.  Together, we can reignite the American Dream and build an economy that works for everyone.”


Hoyer Statement on Republican Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

April 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2015:

“No one ought to be surprised at the budget unveiled by Chairman Paul Ryan and House Republicans today, which once again asks those with less to give more and those with more to give less.  This year’s Republican budget builds on the disastrous approach Republicans have followed over the past three years, embracing the painful and irrational sequestration cuts and slashing funding that supports investments in opportunity, growth, and security.

“While anyone who looks at the FY2015 Republican budget can readily see that it would do serious damage to our economy and society, Republicans do their best to hide the extent of the damage.  As in previous years, Chairman Ryan relies on gimmicks, magic asterisks, and spurious accounting assumptions to presume that his budget will achieve its anticipated deficit savings.  Additionally, his budget ends the Medicare guarantee as we know it, turns Medicaid into a block grant, repeals the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare], fails to invest in job creation, and does not include any new revenue.  His budget simply doesn’t work – and would lead to significant harm for our country.

“Last week, I delivered a speech in which I called on both parties in Congress to maximize every opportunity to move us closer toward the long-term fiscal sustainability that our country needs.  Our budget process is just such an opportunity; unfortunately, House Republicans chose to make it a partisan messaging exercise rather than a real effort to achieve balanced deficit savings and invest in the programs that strengthen our economy, grow our middle class, and help more of our businesses and families Make It In America.”


Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the House Republican Budget

April 01, 2014

To build real, lasting economic security for the middle class, the President and Democrats in Congress have a plan to grow our economy from the middle out, not the top down, and create more opportunities for every hardworking American to get ahead. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress do not have a plan that works for the middle class and the House Republican Budget is the same old top-down approach. Because of a stubborn unwillingness to cut the deficit in a balanced way by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well connected, the House Republican Budget would slow the economy, stack the deck against the middle class, and threaten the guaranteed benefits seniors have paid for and earned.

The House Republican Budget would raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million. It would force deep cuts to investments in our roads and bridges, scientific research to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and at every level of education from early childhood to community college. It would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program and risking a death spiral in traditional Medicare. Instead of ensuring that Americans earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work and lifting millions of people out of poverty, the House Republican approach undermines Americans working hard to support their families by slashing food stamps and Medicaid. And rather than expanding health coverage for all Americans and making it more affordable, it would repeal the Affordable Care Act, raising health care costs on families and businesses and eliminating coverage for the 3 million young adults who have gained coverage by staying on their parent’s plan, the millions of people who have signed up for private insurance plans through the Marketplaces, and millions more who can continue to gain coverage through Medicaid.

The House Republican Budget stands in stark contrast to the President’s Budget, which would accelerate economic growth and expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans, while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way. The President has put forward a Budget that rewards hard work with fair wages, equips all children with a high-quality education to prepare them for a good job, puts a secure retirement within reach, and ensures health care is affordable and reliable, while at the same time asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share and making tough cuts to programs we can’t afford. And by paying for new investments and tackling our true fiscal challenges, the President’s Budget builds on the progress we’ve already made to cut the deficit by more than half since 2009 and cuts the deficit as a share of the economy to 1.6 percent by 2024. It also stabilizes the debt as a share of the economy by 2015 and puts it on a declining path after that.

Budgets are about choices and values. House Republicans have chosen to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle class families to get ahead. The President believes that is the wrong approach and that we should instead be making smart investments necessary to create jobs, grow our economy, and expand opportunity, while still cutting the deficit in a balanced way and securing our nation’s future.


A State-by-State Breakdown of the Damage That Would Be Caused by the House Republican Budget

Amy Brundage April 09, 2014 05:13 PM EDT

House Republicans this week are voting on a budget that protects tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle-class families to get ahead. It is the same old top-down approach and would raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million.

As in previous years, the House Republican Budget proposes deep funding reductions that would result in severe cuts to critical areas that are needed to support job creation, economic growth, a strong middle class, and assistance for lower income individuals, especially when compared to the overall level of investment in the President’s budget. Since House Republicans aren’t willing to identify specifically what they actually want to cut, one way to assess the potential damaging impact is to look at what would happen to key programs if the cuts compared to the President’s budget were applied evenly across the board.

The results show the potential extent of the damage across the country. Within a few years:

  • In Florida, 290,000 seniors benefited from the closure of the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole in 2013 alone and at least that many likely would have to pay more for their needed medications in future years.
  • In California, more than 50,000 fewer students would receive Pell Grants to help them pay for college.
  • In Ohio, the proposed Medicaid block grant would cut federal Medicaid funding for the state by more than $30 billion over the next decade, likely resulting in more uninsured individuals and less care for those still covered.
  • In Texas, 12,000 fewer children would receive Head Start services.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 people would lose job search assistance.
  • In Missouri, 1,700 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

A full list of state-by-state impacts can be found here.



President Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposal


24 Army Veterans Awarded The U.S. Medal of Honor


The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

Members of all branches of the armed forces are eligible to receive the medal, and there are three versions; one for the Army, one for the Air Force, and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress; and is then personally presented to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States, on behalf of the Congress, representing and recognizing the gratitude of the American people as a whole.

On March 18th, 2014, President Barack Obama will award 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. These veterans will receive the Medal of Honor in recognition of their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Each of these Soldiers’ bravery was previously recognized by award of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award; that award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to:

Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia
Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris
Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela

President Obama will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to:

The following individuals distinguished themselves by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving during the Vietnam War.

Sergeant Candelario Garcia
Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado
Staff Sergeant Felix M. Conde-Falcon
Specialist Four Ardie R. Copas
Specialist Four Jesus S. Duran

The following individuals distinguished themselves by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving during the Korean War.

Corporal Joe R. Baldonado
Corporal Victor H. Espinoza
Sergeant Eduardo C. Gomez
Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz
Master Sergeant Juan E. Negron
Master Sergeant Mike C. Pena
Private Demensio Rivera
Private Miguel A. Vera
Sergeant Jack Weinstein

The following individuals distinguished themselves by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving during World War II.

Private Pedro Cano
Private Joe Gandara
Private First Class Salvador J. Lara
Sergeant William F. Leonard
Staff Sergeant Manuel V. Mendoza
Sergeant Alfred B. Nietzel
First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab

For more information on this event and it’s recipients: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/21/president-obama-award-medal-honor

To see photos of the  recipients: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/03/18/president-obama-awards-medal-honor-24-army-veterans


‘Victims Protection Act’ Passes Senate


Senate approves McCaskill sexual assault bill in 97-0 vote

March 10, 2014, 06:25 pm By Ramsey Cox and Jeremy Herb

The Senate on Monday unanimously approved legislation that boosts protections for victims of military sexual assault.

In a 97-0 vote, the Senate approved S. 1917, the Victims Protection Act. The new bill eliminates the ability to cite a soldier’s good record when defending that soldier against assault charges.

It also allows the victims of sexual assault to say whether they’d prefer their cases handled in a military or civilian jurisdiction, and includes sexual assault as part of commanders’ performance assessments.

The legislation from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is a less controversial bill than Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill, which the Senate rejected last week, although 55 senators voted in support of it.

Gillibrand’s bill would have taken the decision to prosecute sexual assault cases outside the military’s chain of command. The Pentagon and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) opposed that change.

Gillibrand and her supporters argued that the proposal is necessary because victims aren’t reporting sexual assault crimes for fear of reprisal, while opponents and Pentagon brass said that commanders needed to maintain accountability to curb the problem of sexual assault within the military’s ranks.

McCaskill’s bill keeps the current military justice system intact.

Ahead of Monday’s vote, Levin spoke in support of McCaskill’s bill, saying it adds “important new protections” in addition to what was accomplished in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last year.

“We can approve legislation that adds important new protections for victims of sexual assault,” Levin said. “They will surely make a major contribution in protecting the troops who protect us.”

McCaskill has said the changes in the NDAA are “historic” and will help the military curb the number of sexual assaults within its ranks. The law stripped commanders’ ability to overturn guilty verdicts, required the discharge of those convicted of sexual assault and expanded a special counsel program giving victims legal representation.

It’s unclear if Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will bring up McCaskill’s bill for a vote on the House floor. The legislation may instead be incorporated into this year’s Defense authorization bill, which the House Armed Services Committee expects to take up around May.

For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/200393-senate-votes-97-0-for-military-sexual-assault-bill 

Contact your legislator Contact your Congress person to PASS LAWS TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT!!

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Monuments Men

Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer James Rorimer supervises U.S. soldiers recovering looted paintings from Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany during World War II, April-May, 1945.

Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer James Rorimer supervises U.S. soldiers recovering looted paintings from Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany during World War II, April-May, 1945.

The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program under the Civil Affairs and Military Government Sections of the Allied armies was established in 1943 to help protect cultural property in war areas during and after World War II. The group of about 400 servicemembers and civilians worked with military forces to safeguard historic and cultural monuments from war damage, and as the conflict came to a close, to find and return works of art and other items of cultural importance that had been stolen by the Nazis or hidden for safekeeping.

Many of the men and women of the MFAA, also known as Monuments Men, went on to have prolific careers. Largely art historians and museum personnel, they had formative roles in the growth of many of the United States’ greatest cultural institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York City Ballet, as well as in museums and other institutions in Europe.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monuments_Men


Monuments Men: On the Frontline to Save Europe’s Art, 1942–1946

February 7 to April 20, 2014
Coming soon to Washington, D.C. at the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery

During World War II, an unlikely team of soldiers was charged with identifying and protecting European cultural sites, monuments, and buildings from Allied bombing. Officially named the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Section, this U.S. Army unit included art curators, scholars, architects, librarians, and archivists from the U.S. and Britain. They quickly became known as The Monuments Men.

Towards the end of the war, their mission changed to one of locating and recovering works of art that had been looted by the Nazis. The Monuments Men uncovered troves of stolen art hidden across Germany and Austria—some in castles, others in salt mines. They rescued some of history’s greatest works of art.

Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are the papers of Monuments Men George Leslie StoutJames J. RorimerWalker HancockThomas Carr HoweS. Lane FaisonWalter Horn, and Otto Wittman. These personal archives tell a fascinating story.

To see photos and hear interviews: http://www.aaa.si.edu/exhibitions/monuments-men


The Monuments Men Foundation

The Monuments Men Foundation honors the legacy of the men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section, known as the “Monuments Men,” and their unprecedented and heroic work protecting and safeguarding civilization’s most important artistic and cultural treasures from armed conflict during World War II. Raising public awareness is essential to the Foundation’s mission and its completion of the objectives listed below.


The Foundation plans to honor all the heroes by completing biographies and obtaining photographs of all 350 or so men and women from thirteen nations and making that information public. The Foundation will also encourage those cultural and educational institutions impacted by the Monuments Men and women to honor their wartime service and professional legacy through some form of permanent on-site recognition. The Foundation is in a race against time working with members of the House of Representatives to honor the Monuments Men and women with the Congressional Gold Medal.

For more: http://www.monumentsmenfoundation.org

Other Resources

The US gives Poland back a painting stolen by the Nazis

February 07, 2014 David Leveille – pri

It sometimes takes a while for stolen paintings to come home. The Nazis looted Poland’s National Museum in Warsaw 70 years ago, during World War II.

Among the many works of art that went missing was a painting by an 18th-century German artist.

On Thursday, US Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations James Hayes returned the painting to Polish diplomats in the US. And the timing of the return may have had something to do a with new movie.

“It gives me great, great pleasure to be able to return to the people of Poland this valuable painting that was stolen more than 70 years ago during World War II. Stolen art, antiquities, and fraudulently-acquired artifacts, these are the little known casualties of war,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to return this cherished painting to our partners from the Republic of Poland.

“Homeland Security Investigations will continue to work tirelessly to track down objects stolen during World War II and return them to their rightful owners,” he added.

The oil-on-copper painting, titled St. Philip baptizing a servant of Queen Kandaki, was created by German artist Johann Conrad Seekatz. The Nazis occupied Warsaw from 1939 to 1945, along with much of the rest of Europe. When they occupied a country, they often took cultural works of significance and brought them back to Germany. Sometimes, they destroyed or removed works as they withdrew in the face of Allied attacks.

US officials apparently timed the repatriation ceremony to coincide with the release of a new Hollywood movie, The Monuments Men. The film recounts the true story of a US military unit of art historians assigned during World War II to recover artwork stolen by the Nazis and return it to the original owners.

For the entire article and photo of the painting: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-02-07/us-gives-poland-back-painting-stolen-nazis


Artists Turns Trash Into Homes For The Homeless

Greg Kloehn, who takes discarded trash and turns it into rolling shelters for homeless people in his west Oakland, Calif. neighborhood, greets "Wonder," a homeless woman who now lives in the shelter he built for her, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

Greg Kloehn, who takes discarded trash and turns it into rolling shelters for homeless people in his west Oakland, Calif. neighborhood, greets “Wonder,” a homeless woman who now lives in the shelter he built for her, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

Oakland artist turns trash into homes for the homeless

1/8/14 By Matthew Artz – san jose mercury news

OAKLAND — Gregory Kloehn can turn just about anything into a home.

The Oakland artist spends his summers in Brooklyn living in a dumpster he outfitted with granite countertops, hardwood floors, a rooftop deck, plumbing and a barbecue grill.

But his proudest creations are even cozier structures that he gives to homeless people in his neighborhood.

Kloehn’s “little homeless homes” are about the size of a sofa, but they come with a pitched roof to keep out the rain and wheels so recipients can roll them around town.

So far Kloehn has built 10 of the tiny houses using mostly illegally dumped trash that piles up on the streets in a semi-industrial section of West Oakland. The foundation is usually discarded wood pallets to which Kloehn will add accouterments such as windows, a mirror and a cup holder. Several homes are insulated with discarded pizza delivery bags.

Wonder, a homeless woman Kloehn has known for several years, parked her new house on the sidewalk next to her old home, which consisted primarily of a tarp draped over a couch.

“This is the best home I’ve had in five years,” Wonder said as she opened the front door — made from a discarded picnic table — to reveal the pizza bag insulation. “It gets real hot in here,” she said.

All the homes have gotten rave reviews. “They say this is just night and day, especially when it rains,” Kloehn said. “Once your mattress gets wet, it’s just terrible.”

Kloehn, a 43-year-old transplant from Denver, is a sculptor who “got on a housing kick” after building his five-unit live-work condominium complex from scratch.

For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_24869274/oakland-artist-turns-trash-into-homes-homeless?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com


Homeless Assistance

Looking for Homeless Assistance?

If you are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or know someone that is homeless, help is available. HUD, along with many other Federal agencies, funds programs to help persons who are homeless. Local homeless assistance agencies provide a range of services and assistance, including emergency shelter, food, housing counseling, and job training and placement assistance. For general information on available resources, please visit the Resources for Homeless Persons page on the HRE.

Purpose of Programs

As amended by the HEARTH Act, Subpart C of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act establishes the Continuum of Care program. The purpose of the program is to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

For the entire article: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/comm_planning/homeless



Homeless People’s Voting Rights http://www.nationalhomeless.org/projects/vote/court.html


On any given night, approximately 107,000 Veterans across the country go to sleep on benches, in back alleys and under bridges. Roughly twice that number will experience homelessness at some point this year. Drastic action must be taken not only to drive down the amount of homeless Vets, but keep a new generation off the streets. And the action we took on a cold night last week was just one of the many programs we’ve undertaken at VA.

In the U.S. today, homelessness is a serious issue for Veterans and non-Veterans alike. But all too often, the homeless are invisible—or a nuisance associated with city living. It’s especially troubling to me when I consider each was once an ammo bearer, a radio operator, a team leader, or a rifleman—and that each one potentially once wore the same patch I did.  For this reason, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki pledged over a year ago to end Veteran homelessness within five years—and he did it as part of a government-wide effort to find solutions to the problem once and for all.


Dogs Are A Veteran’s Best Friend

Jon Tyson, 27, an Army veteran from North Carolina who served in Iraq, shares a moment with a Golden-Lab mix named Krucker in his room at the VA’s Menlo Park campus (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)

Jon Tyson, 27, an Army veteran from North Carolina who served in Iraq, shares a moment with a Golden-Lab mix named Krucker in his room at the VA’s Menlo Park campus (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)

Dogs ease veterans’ trauma at Palo Alto VA center

11/19/13 By Mark Emmons - mercurynews.com

MENLO PARK — The black Labrador retriever knew something was wrong. He refused to leave the side of Sandro Navarro, repeatedly nuzzling the troubled man, trying to comfort him.

It was the anniversary of that terrible 2003 day in Iraq when Navarro was the first to arrive at a blast scene that killed two friends in his Army unit and severely wounded a third. Somehow, the dog named Jason realized he was distraught.

“It was like he was telling me, ‘I’m going to keep licking your face until you stop feeling down, and I going to make you smile by doing something goofy,’ ” said Navarro, 36.

Some of man’s best friends are playing an innovative role in the VA Palo Alto Men’s Trauma Recovery Program as four-legged therapy for veterans finding their way through the darkness of post-traumatic stress disorder, thanks to Paws for Purple Hearts. The dogs are so perceptive they even will awaken vets from nightmares.

But there’s also a dual purpose to the program. Some of the veterans who come to the VA’s Menlo Park campus from around the country for military-related PTSD treatment are helping train the canines to become service dogs for physically disabled vets.

For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_24557427/dogs-ease-veterans-trauma-at-palo-alto-va?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

Paws for Purple Hearts

Paws for Purple Hearts (PPH) is the first program of its kind to offer therapeutic intervention for Veterans and active-duty military personnel by teaching those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to train service dogs for their comrades with combat-related injuries. PPH is built upon the trusted and time-honored tradition of Veterans helping Veterans.

Founded in 2008 as a program of Bergin University of Canine Studies, the pilot PPH program at VA Palo Alto Health Care System, California, continues serving Veterans today. PPH initiated and trained staff to operate canine therapeutic programs at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (Maryland), the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (Maryland), and Fort Belvoir (Virginia). These programs have changed the lives of many Veterans struggling with PTSD. The PPH program has been requested at several other sites.

Under the guidance of PPH instructors, service members engage with specially-bred Golden and Labrador Retriever puppies. Together they undergo an intensive 18-to-24-month service dog training regimen—learning more than 90 commands–while the veterans reintegrate into civilian life. Once training is complete, the service dogs are given to veterans who have sustained mobility-limiting injuries. These service dogs reside for the rest of their lives with their new owners.

Since PPH’s inception, service dog training and connections have directly impacted hundreds of veterans’ lives.

Paws for Purple Hearts is a powerful therapeutic intervention for those suffering the effects of PTSD unresolved by conventional treatments. For the men and women suffering from PTSD, the process of training the puppies results in therapeutic benefits which can include:

  • less anxiety and depression,
  • increased patience, impulse control, emotional regulation
  • improved sleep
  • decreased dependence upon pain medications
  • greater sociability and a more positive outlook
  • a mission-driven focus and renewed sense of purpose
  • a decrease in emotional numbness
  • decreased startle responses
  • improved parenting skills and family dynamics

For more: http://www.pawsforpurplehearts.org/about-us/

Paws for Purple Hearts Facebook
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Paws for Purple Hearts LinkedIn

Bo Approved

Bo & Sunny Approved

Sorry but ProPresObama thread comments &
WH daily schedule not available 12/1/13 – 1/5/14


USS Arizona Memorial – 51st Anniversary


USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial Names

The USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor in HonoluluHawaiʻi, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by Japanese imperial forces and commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oʻahu was the action that led to United States involvement in World War II.

The memorial, dedicated in 1962, is visited by more than one million people annually. Accessible only by boat, it straddles the sunken hull of the battleship without touching it. Historical information about the attack, shuttle boats to and from the memorial, and general visitor services are available at the associated USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, which opened in 1980 and is operated by the National Park Service. The sunken remains of the battleship were declared a National Historic Landmark on 5 May 1989.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Arizona_Memorial


USS Arizona Memorial

The Visitor Center operated by the National Park Service is free to the public and has a museum with exhibits about the Pearl Harbor attack, such as the ship’s bell from the USS Arizona. The Pearl Harbor National Monument Bookstore revenue helps support the museum.

USS Arizona Memorial Restoration project: http://restore.arizonamemorial.org/

USS Arizona Memorial Discovery Packet 

Learn more: http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm

Sorry but ProPresObama thread comments &
WH daily schedule not available 12/1/13 – 1/5/14


Holiday Mail for Heroes 2013


For a sixth year, American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are partnering to hold the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program to ensure all Americans have an opportunity to send a touch of home this holiday season to members of our U.S. military, veterans and their families, many of whom will be far away from home this holiday season.

The process is very simple and takes no time at all – All you need is a pen and piece of paper to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the U.S. Armed Forces make to protect our freedoms The Holiday Mail for Heroes mail box is open and ready to receive for your cards. Please send all mail to:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Card Guidelines:
Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

* All cards being sent in for 2013 Holiday Mail For Heroes program should be postmarked no later than Friday, December 6, 2013.

* Ensure that all cards are signed.

* Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.

* Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.

* Do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.

* Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.

* Participants are encouraged to mail as many cards as they are comfortable sending. If you are mailing a large quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes or use a flat rate box from the post office. Each card does not need its own envelope, as cards will be removed from all envelopes before distribution.

* Please refrain from sending holiday cards with glitter. Many of these cards will be delivered to military and veterans medical facilities and the glitter could interfere with a patient’s recovery.

* If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.


Thank an American Hero

Posted by Kori Schulman on November 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM EST

This Veterans Day, we hope you’ll take a moment to join First Lady Michelle Obama and thank an American hero. Sending that message is easy. You can send a note on JoiningForces.gov by clicking on the “Share Your Message” tab. Or go to Facebook to create a card using Shutterfly’s Thank The Troops app. Either way, your card will be delivered to service members and veterans throughout the holiday season.

To get you started, we’ve pasted the First Lady’s card below. Check it out, then send your own on JoiningForces.gov or on Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/thankthetroops

Veterans Day 2013


Veterans Day 2013

.Veterans Day 11.11.13

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.


United States Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.va.gov/

 Women Veterans Hotline1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636)

History of Veterans Day 

National Resource Directory  - https://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov

National Resource Directory app - http://apps.usa.gov/national-resource-directory.shtml

Volunteer for the USO


The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO Show) is a nonprofit organization that provides programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), relying heavily on private contributions and on funds, goods, and services from various corporate and individual donors. Although congressionally chartered, it is not a government agency. The USO operates 160 centers worldwide.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USO


During World War II, the USO became the G.I.‘s “home away from home” and began a tradition of entertaining the troops that continues today.

Throughout our country’s history, Americans have felt profound appreciation and gratitude for the dedication and sacrifice of our troops and their families. The USO provides a tangible way for all of us to say thank you, as it has for 70 years.

Thanks to your generosity, the USO fulfills its mission of lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families. Through the USO, you touch their lives through an extensive range of programs at more than 160 locations in 27 states and 14 countries, and at hundreds of entertainment events each year. Thousands of USO volunteers do everything possible to provide a home away from home for our troops and to keep them connected to the families they left behind.

The USO makes sure your help goes to those who need it the most: troops serving in combat, their families, our wounded warriors and their families, and families of the fallen.

As a nonprofit, non-political organization, the USO is now, and always will be, about our troops. Wherever and whenever they go, the USO will be there, until every one comes home.


There are countless ways volunteers support the USO, but they all share an abiding dedication to our troops and their families. Whether it’s helping out at a special event, cheering troops at homecoming, manning a front desk or providing a listening ear, our volunteers are the reason troops know they can count on the USO.

Interested in becoming a USO volunteer? Read over our Volunteer FAQs, to get the answers commonly-asked questions, or simply visit usovolunteer.org to submit a volunteer interest form.

For those who aren’t able to volunteer their time, remember there are many other ways to get involved and support the USO. Please click here to learn more about other options, including making a monetary contribution, sending an eGift, using our easy fundraising toolkits, joining Team USO, and more.

Learn more: http://www.uso.org/ways-to-volunteer.aspx

October 25th at 1:45 PM ET
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr Jill Biden greet the USO Volunteer of the Year, The Spirit of the USO Award honoree, and 6 USO service honorees and their families.



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