Billie’s Quickies … Light holiday dishes, big-eyed kids, and clearly defined missions

This continues to be VERY interesting:  “A study put out by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy has found evidence that the majority of teens at risk of unwanted pregnancy are not from low income and/or single parent families.”

  • Animals that are better than you.  H/T Neatorama

UPDATE: Inappropriate Increase Mr. President

bllieddoseOn the heels of the powers that be deciding that senior citizens will not receive a cost of living increase next year, those same powers have decided not only to go ahead and give military personnel an increase – well deserved to be sure – but also an above-average pay raise, to boot.

INAPPROPRIATE!

Stalling seniors’ social security while their insurance rates and pharmaceutical costs will likely increase, and giving military personnel a half a percent increase is reeaaaallly bad form.  Already seniors are stressed out, already ill seniors are stretched to the max, and ALREADY politicians and politicos have wandered around scaring the bejeezus out of them for no reason other than to advance their own agenda.

YES, those who serve in our military should get an increase … ABSOLUTELY.  However, to increase their salary, and more than even expected,  while freezing seniors out is ridiculous!  Granted the President says he intends to dole out a $250 check to seniors to make up for it – and that is admirable and fair if it is in fact done – but, for those senior citizens who were expecting to get $100 more than that to help pay their bills … it’s just wrong.

Instead, perhaps that military personnel pay increase with the additional 1/2 of 1% could be used to take care of seniors who already are struggling.  Please Mr. President, when that request hits your desk … would you not mind passing a portion of the above expected military increase on to seniors?

UPDATE: I informed my own mother, who is both on social security and medicare, of my intentions after writing this post.  She is the one who heard the gossip in the doctor’s office about the stall of COLA.  She  asked me about when and whether it happened, and I said surely something would be done to make up for it … and as of now there sort of is.  However, I was still quite upset after seeing the increase in the military personnel’s salary, and it inclined me to write this post.  Needless to say, my mother, being an ex military wife, and myself being a military daughter, she hesitantly begged to differ.  Hesitantly.  She, basically says she would agree with the United States Government on this one, and as she would from experience, believes that there should be an increase for “hazard pay.”  Of course, mother is right.  And, it’s not where I disagreed with her, or anyone else.

What I disagree with is that my mother continues to go to the food bank, she continues to collect her much deserved social security disability, and medicare … and that recent cut, to me,  didn’t cut it.  Yet, my mother, knowing what it’s like to be a military wife, after hearing me tell her of the one half of one percent increase on top of a 3% expected increase in pay for military personnel said something to the effect of: They deserve it. I understand.  They put themselves in harm’s way.  For that, I am thankful she raised me so. But on behalf of all military personnel that can’t help their parents through old age, and those whose parents have divorced but still are military creatures, I’m doing my best to speak on behalf of ex military wives/husbands and children of divorce – they could use a little help as they age, too … they may not have the VA, but they may be as war-wounded as the veterans who served so well.

New Wrinkle in Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Fight: Just Don’t Ask About the Told

This week, a new strategy emerged in the effort to keep brave and qualified gay soldiers in the military, despite the still-in-effect-for-the-foreseeable-future “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” policy.  From Advocate.com’s Kerry Eleveld:

Seventy-seven Congressional members led by Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida sent a letter to President Barack Obama Monday urging him to take immediate action to stop the investigations of “don’t ask, don’t tell” violations. The letter does not call for an executive order halting discharges but rather a change in how the policy is implemented within the Department of Defense.

“It is a presidential moratorium, it is a significant presidential action, but it’s not an executive order,” said Christopher Neff, political director at the Palm Center, a research institute at University of California, Santa Barbara. “They basically want the military to disregard anyone who ‘tells’ [of someone’s sexuality] as long as there isn’t a [Uniform Code of Military Justice] violation or something criminal.”

Kerry asked Robert Gibbs about it at yesterday’s briefing, explaining it well in the process:
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Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Opinion Poll: 3 Questions

I’m conducting an opinion poll about the military’s “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” (DADT) policy for use in an article later this week.   There are 3 seperate polls, please choose only one.

Click here to take the poll for Self-identified Conservatives.

Click here to take the poll for Self-identified Liberals.

Click here to take the poll for Self-identified Independents.

If you wish, you can click here to see other articles that I’ve written on the topic.

Independent Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Opinion Poll: 3 Questions

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Liberal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Opinion Poll: 3 Questions

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Conservative Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Opinion Poll: 3 Questions



Playboy Gets One Right: Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is Dangerous

Ana Marie Cox (AMC) has just written her first article for Playboy, and in the process, has provided the magazine with a large measure of redemption.  The piece is compelling and timely, especially given the Supreme Court’s denial of cert to a challenge to DADT.

In the piece, Ana Marie frames the issue of the military’s “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” (DADT) policy as both a civil rights issue, and a much more immediate national security issue.  For good measure, she posits that repealing DADT is just good politics:

But one of the key components of recent Democratic victories has been candidates’ refusal to cede military issues to the traditionally hawkish GOP. Repealing DADT should be a part of reclaiming national security as a bipartisan issue. Honestly, would there be a more “efficient use of gays in the Army” than having them hunt down Islamic extremists, arguably the only group more uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality than social conservatives?

That’s probably my favorite passage in the piece, though I encourage reading the whole thing.

There are also a few points that I would add. Continue reading

White House Press Briefing: Strike 3 on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

At today’s White House Press Briefing, Robert Gibbs was asked, again, about “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” at the top of the briefing, and again said that the President was “working with the Joint Chiefs, the Pentagon and others (previously, he’s said “congress”) to bring about a change in that policy.”

Given the news that Congress doesn’t seem to have gotten that memo, I followed up with Gibbs about the lack of urgency: (CSpan had the wrong video, here’s the full briefing. Check the 34:30 mark)

I will get into this a little more deeply later, but suffice it to say I am deeply disappointed in how the DADT is going.

The measure currently in Congress is, likely, a year or more from a vote in the House, let alone passage. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, meanwhile, also appears to be in no big hurry.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but let’s see how this policy looks when actionable intelligence goes untranslated because Daniel Choi isn’t there to do it.// //

Tommy on: Daily Dose:

Bad News on Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell

The policy of discharging otherwise qualified gay soldiers from the military has been a hot topic this week. Last Friday, I asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to explain the difference in the risk to our security between discharging a qualified arabic linguist, and releasing photos of detainee abuse.

Since then, Air America’s Ana Marie Cox has followed up with Gibbs on 2 more occasions, and in all 3 cases, the Press Secretary assured us that a solution was in the works.

Maybe I’m naive, but I took this to mean that a repeal of the Don’t ask/Don’t tell was on the near horizon, maybe a couple of months away. There is a bill in the House of Representatives, HR 1283, that was referred to the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel in March.

I contacted the subcommittee’s chair, Rep. Susan Davis (D-Ca), and her spokesman, Aaron Hunter, gave me some rather deflating news.

He said that the committee plans to schedule hearings on the bill. Later this year.

I was flabbergasted. “You mean, the hearings on this bill could literally begin anytime up to December?”

“Yes.”

That’s just to schedule hearings, let alone hold a vote in the full committee or the House. By then, the midterm election campaigns will be in full swing, with Republicans already signaling that they plan to make gay marriage an issue.

This is not a criticism of Congresswoman Davis, who supports the repeal of this policy. She held the first Congressional hearings on DADT in 15 years last July. Hunter told me that they still need to build support for the bill in the subcommittee.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Ted Kennedy has agreed to sponsor the Senate version, but is still seeking a Republican co-sponsor.

I initially agreed with Gibbs’ assessment, when I thought we were talking about a relatively short time frame. I don’t think our national security can wait that long. When a prisoner makes a confession that there is no-one around to translate, or when a gay medic isn’t there anymore to treat a wounded soldier, how much sense will waiting to change this policy make then?

President Obama should put a stop to these discharges. Period.// //

Tommy on: Daily Dose: