Archive for March, 2009

Some People…

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

We have the domain name veteranshelpingveterans.org automatically redirected to vetsburg.org. Actually, Veterans Helping Veterans transmogrified into Vetsburg.

Anyway, someone has been using bogus email addresses with the domain name veteranshelpingveterans.org to send spam and phishing emails. The emails are forged to make it appear they are coming from us.

How pathetic is that?

Pretty pathetic we think.

If you have received one of these emails, please accept our sincere apologies and trust that we will never stoop to such scurrilous tactics.

There is a special place reserved for those who perpetrate these most heinous transgressions.

Gulf War Syndrome May Stem From Chemical Exposure

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

From U.S. News & World Report:

TUESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to certain chemicals during the 1991 Gulf War appears to have triggered abnormal responses in the brains of some U.S. veterans, researchers have found.

They say the discovery could lead to new diagnostic tests and treatments for veterans with so-called Gulf War syndrome.

The study, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, pinpointed brain function problems in veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during the war.

“Before this study, we didn’t know exactly what parts of the brain were damaged and causing the symptoms in these veterans,” Dr. Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology and lead author of the study, said in a UT Southwestern news release. “We designed an experiment to test areas of the brain that would have been damaged if the illness was caused by sarin or pesticides, and the results were positive.”

Jon Agrees With Lars (Or vice versa)

Friday, March 20th, 2009
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
That Can’t Be Right – Veterans’ Health Insurance
comedycentral.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Important Things w/ Demetri Martin Political Humor

The Denial Twist

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Why is the VA unwilling to feature suicide prevention on their website? Suicide prevention used to show up only in the “Top Info Requests” section on the home page, and now it is completely gone.

If you go into the Health Care section of the site, there is a small banner buried within all of the clutter.

Maybe Everett (Call me Ev) Chasen, Ira Katz, or Michael Kussman, have been sending emails to the website people with subject lines like “Shhhh…”

Anyone with a website that gives a rats ass about the welfare of Veterans has a prominent banner linking to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

It is patently offensive and completely unconscionable that the VA does not prominently display suicide prevention on their home page.

When you have Michael Kussman justifying the number of Veterans committing suicide by saying, Well, there are so many of them…, it is no wonder that the VA is burying Lifeline information right along with all those Veterans killing themselves.

suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Should You Pay For Me If… (Note From Lars)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Well Friends, ol’ Lars is fired up! He Who Must Not Be Named and his faithful sidekick Shinseki (nka Wormtail) want private health insurance programs to pay for treatment provided by the VA for service-connected medical conditions.

This is outrageous!

The VA already bills “Third party” payors (i.e. private health insurance) millions of dollars a year that they shouldn’t. Most notably in that amount is charges to private insurance for prescription medication that is supposed to be paid for by the VA. Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation and environmental contaminants while in-service are supposed to receive free medication for conditions that may be related to those exposures. Problem is, nobody in VA or the third party payors knows that. So the VA bills these insurance companies millions every year and they just keep on paying. Primarily because they don’t want to get in trouble with The Gubmint.

Why should you care?

Hang on, Lars’ll tell ya. You should care because those insurance companies are passing that cost on to you!

Whenever the VA bills the insurance company, the insurance company turns right around and increases your premiums. The end result is that you are paying for what the VA (gubmint) should be paying for. Very few people believe that they don’t pay enough taxes, and it is the taxes that we pay that should be funding our defense costs. Included in those defense costs should be gubmint funded health care for people who were injured in-service (service- connected conditions).

Congress enables VA to continue this practice by way of the Medical Care Cost Recovery Program (MCCR). The VA is giddy about the program because they can spend the money they collect any way they want to. Therefore, by expanding the program to include charging private insurance companies for service-connected conditions, they can increase the collections at least ten-fold. They can then use that money to buy fine leather portfolios, and pay big fat bonuses, for the chronic underperformers at the highest echelons of the bloated bureaucracy.

This isn’t the CHANGE we were promised friends. This is more of the same, only worse. This is a step in the wrong direction and unless something drastic is done they are going to get away with it.

Now is the time to STOP THE MADNESS! Tell congress NO. Tell the Administration NO. Tell them that it is the responsibility of government, not the private sector, to bear the cost burden of providing health care to Veterans who were injured in-service.

Celebrating Disposability

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Why do we celebrate disposability? Everything is disposable. Wear it out and throw it away.

Don’t like it? Throw it away.

Wrong size? Throw it away.

Do you live by the motto: “Store Makes More”?

In the words of the most genius Bill Nye (The Science Guy): Where is away?

Trust me when I tell you that the Good Lord doesn’t appreciate disposability. Everything we have, directly or indirectly comes from, or is allowed by, our Creator.

The Creator allows El Diablo to craft, and the handicraft of El Diablo surely includes disposability.

Not to say that you shouldn’t throw anything “away”,  just saying you should spend a few minutes thinking about what “throw it away” means.

Can it be recycled, regifted, reused, or repurposed?

Does it have to be demolished, or can it be deconstructed?

Is there really such a sense of urgency that it has to be completed in two weeks instead of two months?

Does your child have a severe disability because her mother drank contaminated drinking water while pregnant?

If you find yourself thinking you want to learn more, please visit:  Stuff Happens

WGC Championships – CA Championship Wrap up

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Phil Mickelson made a statement in a big way by winning the WGC Championship – CA Championship this weekend. It was his first WGC Championship victory, it was the first time he has ever been able to close the deal at Doral, it was the first time any professional golfer (out of some 3600) that ever managed to win a tournament at Doral by shooting four sub 70 rounds, the victory moved him to second place in Fed-Ex Cup points and he vaulted past Sergio Garcia to claim 2nd place in the World Golf Rankings and closer to Tiger Woods than he has ever been. That is a big weekend for anybody but, considering the fact that he was dehydrated, hadn’t eaten much in three days and had to have IVs due to the dehydration after the third round is really phenomenal.

Nick Watney turned in a very solid performance for 2nd place. He can what if, and if it wasn’t for all he wants, he too has made a big statement this weekend. 2nd place on the biggest stage of his career is pretty darn good. Watney finished one shot back with a 270. Jim Furyk finished 3 shots back with a 272 ironically enough his four rounds at Doral this weekend were also sub 70 rounds it wasn’t enough though. Jeev M. Singh finished alone in fourth with a 274 effort; his highest finish at any PGA Tour event even though he has won several times on the Asian and European tours. Oliver Wilson and Camilo Villegas were T5 shooting 275, Thomas Aiken and Soren Kjeldson were T7 with a 276 and rounding out the top ten were four players at T9 including Tiger Woods, Rod Pampling, Kenny Perry and Justin Leonard.

I actually found myself agreeing with Johnny Miller, after Phil’s tee shot on 18 a fan yelled out “Go in the water” that is just uncalled for and whether a fan supports a player or not, behavior like that is rude and unsportsmanlike. Golf is a game of sportsmanship and integrity; it’s great to see the fans show emotion but do so with aplomb and dignity. Speaking of sportsmanship the post game interviews with Nick Watney and Phil Mickelson were a very good example of that. While Watney was obviously displeased with his performance today he didn’t make excuses and took his lumps like a man. Phil had nothing but praise for his competitors, acknowledged the fact that he didn’t pay much attention to Watney’s shots due to his ill health but still found a couple Atta boys for him and when pushed about vaulting to number two and being closer to Tiger than ever before said that was great, but Tiger is still the best golfer who has ever been and that he had been off for nearly a year. He has definitely found something, I have no doubt he wants to be number one but at the same time he wants to earn it. His sights are set on Augusta in April and make no mistake his desire and determination at this point make him a contender like never before. Whether or not that will carry him to another green jacket can and will be debated until then. I’d be pumped for another Tiger/Lefty showdown and where better than Augusta?

WGC Championships – CA Championship Midway Point

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

At the half way point it is Phil Mickelson with a two stroke lead over Nick Watney. On Thursday Lefty opened up with a round of 65 and that with a double bogey on his card at the par 4, 3rd and nine birdies then he backed it up on Friday with a 66. Get this, he has only 42 putts in two rounds, 20 putts Thursday and 22 Friday. It really helps when you can just leave the putter in the bag and chip in at will. Following Mickelson’s 131 and Watney’s 133, Kenny Perry and Rory McIlroy are T3 with a 134. Camilo Villegas, Rod Pampling and Prayad Marksaeng are T5 at 135. There is a logjam of seven players at T8 including Jeev M. Singh, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen, Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson among those at 136 and still in the hunt.

Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Miguel A. Jimenez are all 3 under, Geoff Ogilvy and Zach Johnson are 2 under par and while it looks as though they are out of contention don’t count them out just yet there is still a lot of golf to be played. Sergio Garcia is at even par shooting par both days and so is Boo Weekely after an opening round of 3 under, he shot 3 over on Friday to even up at 144. Retief Goosen who shared the round 1 lead opening up with a 65 shot a very dismal 76 in round 2, he wasn’t alone as Adam Scott, Trevor Immelman and Kevin Sutherland also had poor second rounds matching Retief’s 76.

If Phil can put together another good round today, he should go into the clubhouse with a nice cushion for Sunday. Watney, Perry and D. Johnson are all hot having won tournaments in this season and are all in position to put pressure on Mickelson, I’m anxious to see the pairings of Mickelson and Watney as well as Perry and McIlroy today. Kenny had not seen McIlroy play other than in highlight reels; he said something to the effect that he wasn’t worried about his distance because all the young players hit it far. This kid has something though, I believe he can be the next TW but he needs to keep his feet on the ground and not let the fame go to his head, his dad has been with him every step of the way and that too reminds of a man named Earl that stood by his son, Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods.

World Golf Championships – CA Championship

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Thur Mar 12 to Sun Mar 15
Doral was originally designed in 1961 by Dick Wilson; it was redesigned in 2006 by the PGA Tour/Doral (no architect listed). Par value is 72 and it currently plays to 7,266 yards has 110 sand bunkers and 11 water hazards. The grass is all Bermuda grass throughout (tees, fairways, greens and rough). The course record is 61 by Stephen Ames in the 2nd round of 2000. There have been nine aces recorded during this event, 3 each on 4, 9 & 15. The hardest hole is the par 4 467 yard 18th, in 2008 there were zero eagles, 31 birdies, 185 pars, 75 bogeys, 24 double bogeys and 1 other. The easiest is the par 5 529 yard 1st which saw 15 eagles, 181 birdies, 107 pars, 9 bogeys and 1 double bogey. Doral is ranked 40 out of 54 in difficulty on tour.

77 players representing 20 countries will tee it up. A venerable who’s who in professional golf; Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson, Camilo Villegas, Kenny Perry, Mike Weir, Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Retief Goosen, Ben Curtis, Justin Leonard, Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Robert Allenby, Paul Casey, Stuart Appelby, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke, Ryuji Imada, KJ Choi and Miguel A. Jimenez just to name a few.

Everyone who enjoys professional golf will find a player to root for during this event. Tiger has won it six times but Ogilvy dethroned him last year. It is also one of the most beautiful golf courses imaginable. This weeks Kodak challenge hole is the 560 yard par 5, 8th which is really a remarkable hole expect to see some extraordinary golf shots.

USS Port Royal Update

Monday, March 9th, 2009

From The Honolulu Star Bulletin:

The Navy said it will cost at least $40 million to repair the Port Royal’s hull, propellers, drive shaft, sonar dome and other parts of the $1 billion warship, taking it out of commission for several months.

The amount does not include $18 million already spent on the guided-missile cruiser.

Story here

Honda Classic Wrap Up

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Round 1 saw Sergio Garcia and Robert Allenby tied with a one stroke lead going into the bear trap only to come out with Allenby in a tie for 1st with several players at -3, and Sergio dropping from a -4 to a -1. Ernie Els struggled shooting 3 over par; the defending champ looked like he was out of contention on day 1.

Round 2 brought South Korea’s Y.E. Yang to the top of the leaderboard at 7 under par followed by Will McKenzie, Robert Allenby and Jeff Overton at -6. Yang is looking strong but has been near the top before only to falter, he has been working on his grip and swing though and it shows. Sergio shot 2 over par today. Ernie Els shot even par to just make the cut at 3 over.

Yang continues his lead in round 3, the wind appeared to be a big factor as the entire field struggled to come in at even par, there were a few exceptions Charlie Wi shot an impressive 65, a half dozen players shot 67’s nice to see Jeff Klauk in that number, a couple 68 and 69’s. Yang looks to be in control with his steady play. Jeff Overton hit 2 into the water on 11 for a triple but recovered with birdies on 2 of his last 3 holes and is T2 with Klauk only 1 stroke back, certainly still in contention, they cannot afford any mistakes in the final round. Sergio is over par again today and most likely out of contention. Ernie hung in there shooting even par and is till 3 shots over, 10 shots behind the leader and it would be a miracle if he is to repeat.

Y.E. Yang held on to win his first PGA tour event with a one stroke lead over John Rollins. Yang at one time had a 5 stroke lead today dropped two shots as he entered the bear trap, he had only 5 bogeys the entire tournament but three of them came today. Ben Crane came in 3rd at -6 and Jeff Klauk came in 4th at -5 to earn his biggest paycheck of his career. Scott Piercy, Robert Allenby, Fredrik Jacobson, and Will McKenzie all tied for 5th at four under par.

Congratulations to Y.E. Yang on your 1st PGA Tour victory, a trip to Augusta, the million dollar paycheck and an exemption from Q school doesn’t hurt none either.

WGC Accenture Match Play Final Round

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Geoff Ogilvy stayed in control of the match all day winning 4 & 3 over Paul Casey on the 33rd hole. At 17-2 he now has the highest winning percentage all time at this event, although officially listed as fifth in wins. Tiger has 32 wins, David Toms 23, Davis Love III 19 and Stewart Cink has 17, but their winning percentage is lower, Cink is 17-9 but officially listed in 4th place. Paul Casey played good golf today as opposed to his 2nd round yesterday, it was just that Ogilvy played better.

Ross Fisher has played better today as well, that match has been back and forth all day mostly with Fisher in the lead, Cink led briefly on the 12th. Fisher tied it on the 13th and took the lead through 14 & 15 but Stewart Cink came back to square the match on the 16th and they remained all square on 17. Stewart Cink won the 18th hole to win the consolation match 1 up.

1st Place Geoff Ogilvy – Australia
2nd Place Paul Casey – England
3rd Place Stewart Cink – USA
4th Place Ross Fisher – England

Congratulations to Geoff Ogilvy claiming his 2nd WGC Accenture Match Play Championship