Archive for January, 2008

“We Almost Beat The Patriots Once”

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

There are some things that are beyond our ability to comprehend.  One such is why no writer from  The Onion – America’s Finest News Source  has never won a Pulitzer.

In a stunning example of the insightful and unparalleled reporting found in  The Onion – America’s Finest News Source  we invite you to peruse the story:  Giants: ‘We Almost Beat The Patriots Once, We Can Almost Beat Them Again’.

George Was Pretty Smart

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” – George Washington 

The National Priorities Project  conducted a study.  The study indicated that the majority of Army recruits are coming from households with income between 30 and 60 thousand per year. 

The Army has lowered standards for recruits because they can’t meet their recruiting goals.  As a result of the lower standards, we can expect to see a sharp increase in the number of recruits coming from families with household incomes well below 30 thousand.

The populations that will be most affected by this are rural and inner-city. No coincidence that these communities also have the lowest level of college grads.  Also no coincidence that these populations are much less likely to be very well aware of how badly the government is treating our Veterans.  The people that are very well aware are staying out of the military in droves.

So, as it has been before it will be so again.  The bulk of the burden will be carried by the least of those among us.  They will be the majority of people killed in war, and will be the people who are unable to effectively mitigate their demons if they survive the war.  And because our government won’t treat and appreciate these people appropriately, we can expect to see the suicide rates among these groups go on unabated.

Please always remember and never forget: It is cheaper to bury a dead Veteran than it is to take care of a living Veteran.

 

 

 

 

$8,519,708.00

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Committee Staffers Salaries

(Click on image for full size view)

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will pay $8,519,708.00 in salary to committee staffers this year.

The highest paid staffer on the committee, Philip Barnett, receives a salary of  $164,000. 

 We’re talking just salaries now and that amount does not include any fringe benefits.

Based on our interactions with the committee between December 13th 07, and up until a week ago, and the hearing yesterday, the second hearing regarding Veterans Charities, we believe they overspent by about 8 million on salaries for staffers.

The hearing was reduced to nothing but ad-hominem arguments, mud slinging, and hyperbole.  Now, that is true of almost every Congressional hearing, but this one really stood out.

At the first hearing on Veterans Charities, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton stated that Members of Congress receive “modest” salaries.  In this hearing she said she was all about disclosure.  When we tried to get clarification of her “modest salaries” remark we received no response.  No disclosure whatsoever.  Hypocrisy by a Politician? Surely not!

It turns out that we were not the only ones denied requested information by the committee staffers.  According to one of the Republican committee members, his staff wasn’t given any preliminary information on the hearing until Wednesday night. The night before the hearing.

One question that we asked the committee over-and-over was why none of the “Big” Veterans Charities like VFW, DAV, PVA, AMVETS, and American Legion were not hauled before the committee like so many “little” Veterans Charities were.  We never received an explanation.  What we suspect is that the “Big 5” Veterans Charities have amassed so much political power that they are considered “off limits” by the Congressional Investigators.

It also happens that the “Big 5” are all Chartered by Congress, which seems to mean that they are above reproach.  As a result of the amassed political power and the chartered status, these organizations are now able to collude with impunity and actually are allowed to submit what is called an “Independent Budget” to Congress in special hearings held annually for that sole purpose.

Despite that these groups combined only represent about 1.2 million of the total Veteran population of about 20 million, they drive the entire Congressional agenda on Veterans Affairs.

As a result of their collusion among themselves and the “joined at the hip” status these groups have with the VA, most of their recommendations will inevitably include giving the VA more money.

Despite a growing amount of evidence that the VA is one of the most poorly managed bureaucracies ever created and the amount of Fraud, Waste and Abuse of the taxpayers money the VA receives is incomprehensible, the VA propaganda machine has successfully integrated these big charities into their spin and rotation machine.

One Media Rep from the VFW stated on CNN: “All 238,000 employees of the VA are Miracle Workers.”

That statement speaks volumes about how well that VA has seamlessly integrated these groups into the quid pro quo network of self-serving criminals.

We digress.

Until the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform calls some of the most egregious offenders of the Public Trust in front of the committee, takes testimony under oath, and then prosecutes the ones who lie while under oath, it will simply be more posturing and pandering for votes.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to cut some of the fat from the committee staff either.

Congress Keeping Secrets

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Today is the day that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a second hearing in   Assessing Veterans Charities.

From the Committee’s website:

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

We have been trying for weeks to find out who will be witnesses and testifying at this hearing.  The Committee staffers have adamantly refused to release the information to us or post the information on the website.

Why?  Why are they keeping this information secret?

We’ll find out in a couple of hours. 

Conference Championships

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

One at Lambeau.  One at Foxborough.

Forecast temperatures are -13 to 16.  That’s fahrenheit for you Canadians.

No domes.  Open stadiums.

Cold. Snow. Frozen snot.

Number 4 handing it off to number 25.

Now that’s Football.

What Is $38.00 Worth?

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Survivors include his wife, Melonie Deana Horn Pursifull, daughters, Victoria Alexis Pursifull and Franki Seantae Pursifull; mother, Bernice Mills…  

Dawn Wright, manager of the Exxon Friendly Mart from which the youths allegedly drove away, declined to discuss the event and referred comment to Exxon’s corporate office. Exxon officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Two Kentucky Law Enforcement Officers were murdered The 10th of January 2008.   

Bell County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Pursifull, and his K9 partner King.

The two Law Enforcement Officers were parked on the side of a road waiting to join a high-speed pursuit.

The pursued were two juveniles who had put $38.00 in gas in their vehicle and then drove off without paying. During the high speed pursuit, the pursued drove directly into the vehicle that Pursifull and King were in at an extremely high rate of speed. The 17-year-old driver, from Delaware, and a 16-year-old passenger from Pennsylvania were slightly injured.

Leaving wothout paying for gas is commonly referred to as “Drive-Offs”, the number of drive-offs is directly proportionate to gas prices.

Big Oil has spent a great deal of money and energy on pressuring law enforcement and prosecutors to aggressively go after gas thieves.

In this particular case of aggressively pursuing gas thieves, a mother has to bury one of her sons. A wife is now a widow.  Two little girls will grow up without their dad.  Two juveniles and their families lives have, in an instant, been completely altered forever. And the Bell County Kentucky Sheriff’s Department lost 18% of their force.

And in other news, ExxonMobil reported that:  “The Corporation distributed a total of $8.9 billion to shareholders in the third quarter through dividends of $1.9 billion and share purchases to reduce shares outstanding of $7.0 billion.” 

We wonder how much money ExxonMobil will give the family of Deputies Pursifull and King, and Bell County taxpayers, either through generosity or litigation.

We want to express to the family of Pursifull and King our condolences.  And all involved will be in our prayers.
 

Them & US

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

How many politicians and bureaucrats have you heard say that we treat our Veterans better than any other country in the world?

When they say that, they might not have all of the facts.

Example:  The UK pays an GBP equivalent average of $30,000.00 per year.

The USofA pays an average of $ 8,575.oo per year.

Just the facts.

Washington County Wheel Tax

Monday, January 7th, 2008

The Washington County TN Commission passed a $50.00 “Wheel Tax” that is supposed to go into effect July 1st 08.

One of the most staunch arguments in favor of this regressive tax was that people who rent don’t pay property taxes.

Are there really people so unaware that they believe that?  Doesn’t everyone with an IQ over 12 know that property tax is included in calculating the amount of rent charged?

Name me a landlord that reduces the amount of rent and pays the property taxes out of the goodness in their heart.

I’ll leave the light on for you.

We Like Mike

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Strahan. Not Huckabee.  Huckabee said the best military strategy is “Turn the Generals Loose.”

Strahan said “Let’s have some pancakes, bacon and eggs!”

Michael likes to eat.  In addition to pancakes, bacon and eggs. He likes to eat O Linemen, Quarter, Half, and Full Backs. 

We just wish he didn’t play for the Giants.  Because the Giants suck.

Committee Hearing on Assessing Veterans’ Charities

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

For Immediate Release

January 6th 2008

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced that there will be a “Second Full Committee Hearing on Assessing Veterans’ Charities” to be held Thursday, January 17, 2008, 10:00 AM at 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

At the first hearing, held December 13th 2007, Edgar Edmundson, father of, SGT. Eric Edmundson, stated that “ I am concerned. The negative affect that the few self serving non-profits will have on the ability of the legitimate non-profits to obtain funding from the general public. It would be an unfortunate turn of events if the service they provide is not available. As I have shared, the service they provide is immediate and personalized to the needs of the soldiers and their families. I believe that measures need to be implemented to ensure the availability of Non-profits and their services.”

When Mr. Edmundson was given the tax forms of some of these groups to look at, he became obviously upset and stated, “The first thing that goes through my mind when I read this type of thing is… anger.”

We share Mr. Edmundson’s anger and concern. There are far too many professional fundraisers and highly paid executives that are becoming very wealthy off the very generous nature of the general public for Veterans Charities.

Immediately after the first hearing, groups such as the VFW, PVA, and AMVETS, among others, began a very aggressive campaign attacking Daniel Borochoff, President, American Institute of Philanthropy for what they claimed to be “unfair” analysis. The PVA claimed that it shouldn’t have received an F on the AIP Report Card of Veteran and Military Charities because they spent more on programs than another F recipient did.

That’s the equivalent of Susie complaining to the teacher that she shouldn’t get an F because she scored 20 on the essay and Johnny scored 19. An F is an F.

We are calling on all concerned to tell their elected representatives and the entire House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that we demand Congress take every available measure to ensure that the most heinous of the people responsible for these travesties are held accountable.

Do not let them tell you that there are no laws that allow Congress to take action against these groups. That is simply an excuse for non-action.

 

For Media Contact The Reverend Larry D Fagre through http://vetsburg.org/contact.htm

Congressionals

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Congressionals is the word used by VA employees to indicate a Veterans constituent service request.  Congressionals result from pissed off Veterans who are trying to engage their ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES to do what they say they can do and help them deal with the bloat and non-responsiveness of your tax dollars paid for bureaucracy.

My dad used to tell me that there was a “PI” stamped on the cover of his VA chart.  He said that PI was shorthand for Political Influence.  I don’t know if that’s true.  PI could have also meant Private Insurance, Pain In…, Priori Incantatem, et cetera.  

What I do know is if my dad had a problem with the VA, he would call Harold Volkmer, or Jack Danforth and the problem with the VA would be fixed.

The VA now has an Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs. “VA’s Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs is the focal point for Department management and coordination of all matters involving the Congress.”

I have asked several politicians from several states and congressional districts for help in dealing with the VA.  Without fail, the response has been “We can’t make the VA do anything.”

*blink*

*blink*

But, uh, but…  Aren’t you Congress?  Are you not familiar with the concept of “Checks and Balances”?  When you say you can’t make the VA do anything, does that mean that despite all of your self-aggrandizing, elbow-breaking self back-patting, and the constant stream of  hyperbolic drivel about how much you care about Veterans is simply more worthless hot air?

*Hang in there I’m almost at the point*

An excerpt from law:

“TITLE 38–VETERANS’ BENEFITS

                        PART II–GENERAL BENEFITS

   CHAPTER 11–COMPENSATION FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY OR DEATH

               SUBCHAPTER III–WARTIME DEATH COMPENSATION

Sec. 1121. Basic entitlement

    The surviving spouse, child or children, and dependent parent or
parents of any veteran who died before January 1, 1957 as the result of
injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by active military, naval,
or air service, in line of duty, during a period of war, shall be
entitled to receive compensation at the monthly rates specified in
section 1122 of this title.”

Congress made that law. Both houses passed the law and the POUS signed the law into law; Therefore, the Congress MADE the VA do something.

So, Politicians, when you tell me that you can’t make the VA do anything you know what I say?  I say, BULLSHIT.

*Hang in there I’m almost at the point*

The VA generates massive, mind-boggling amounts of words on paper.  One of these things is called “Regional Office Trip Pack”.  The vast majority of Veterans are unaware these things exist because the VA buries them deep in the bowels of the archives.  We here at Fruity Tangentialness can find them because we have a highly sophisticated bowel explorer.

In the most recent Nashville Regional Office Trip Pack, we found this little gem:

“D.      CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENCE

During FY 2007 the Nashville Regional Office provided service to Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, and to Representatives David Davis, John Duncan Jr., Zach Wamp, Lincoln Davis, Jim Cooper, Bart Gordon, Marsha Blackburn, John Tanner, and Steve Cohen.  Nashville RO has a very active veteran population.  The activity is reflected in the large number of inquiries received from the congressional staff.  During FY 2007, the office received  4,217  inquiries.” (Emphasis and color added)

Allow us to translate.  When the Nashville RO says that they have a very active veterans population that caused the office to receive 4,217 Congressionals in one year, what they are really saying is that the Nashville Regional Office is so screwed up that on an inventory of  9,370 claims worked there were 4,217 times that a Veteran or Surviving Spouse or Orphan, asked for help from their elected representatives to try and break through the bloated bureaucratic log-jam of overpaid and under-trained bureaucrats making massive amounts of errors and being guilty of felony stupid.

Can you imagine what it is like for Veterans like me who have a vastly diminished brain capacity and sit around drooling on ourselves to deal with that kind of bureaucracy?

It aggravates our brain capacity diminishment and results in many broken phones.