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James48

Profile Information

Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 12:16 AM
Number of posts: 1,094

About Me

Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.

Journal Archives

The line this morning in Ann Arbor, Michigan

stretches around the block at the County Clerk's office.


Amazing picture-
People waiting in line this morning for marriage licenses in Ann Arbor, following yesterday's ruling that threw out Miichigan's prohibition on same-sex marriage.

LOVE rules.




Happening now- Korea

HAPPENING NOW: Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans are participating in a general strike to protest the government's election-rigging and union-busting.


The South Korean police - 4,000 of them- attacked a Union Labor HQ's several days ago, without a valid search warrant.

Today, hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike and are protesting the action.

:large


SHARE to show solidarity with workers standing up!

More photos here: http://bit.ly/1dJROcd

NO Ransom for extortionists.

FAA Inspector furlough violates treaty

Source: Forbes

Furloughing FAA Inspectors And NTSB Investigators May Violate International Aviation Treaty


FAA’s furlough of 3,000 aviation safety inspectors and NTSB’s furlough of its accident investigators may put the United States in default of its treaty obligations under the Chicago Convention and the obligations of member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The Chicago Convention is the main aviation treaty setting the standards for air safety among the 192 contracting states of ICAO, an agency of the United Nations. Violating its treaty obligations could have significant repercussions for US airlines if the inspectors and investigators are not immediately put back to work.

ICAO requires that the US have a system for insuring that all aircraft operating over its territory regardless of country of registry, and all US-registered aircraft wherever they operate, comply with applicable safety regulations. The FAA’s system requires adequate numbers of aviation safety inspectors. According to Loretta Alkalay, the FAA’s former top lawyer in NY, “it’s hard to imagine that the FAA can meet its ICAO obligations without 3000 inspectors. After all, it’s impossible to perform required surveillance and oversight functions without inspectors.”

In addition to safety oversight, the US is required by ICAO to insure that persons who violate air safety regulations are prosecuted. It is these furloughed inspectors whose job it is to investigate and prepare violations of the federal aviation regulations for prosecution by the FAA’s lawyers (who are also largely furloughed by the government shutdown). The US is also required by ICAO to conduct accident and incident investigations. Furloughing NTSB accident investigators could run afoul of this requirement.

Failure to comply with ICAO standards could have repercussions for US airlines. After all, the US has aggressively audited the Civil Aviation Authorities of ICAO member states. If a country’s CAA does not meet minimum standards, airline operations from that country to the US are limited and no new entrants are allowed. Among the areas looked at by the FAA in its audits of foreign countries is whether the CAAs have adequate infrastructure to insure proper compliance with safety requirements – that infrastructure includes adequate and properly qualified personnel. Calls to the FAA for comment were not returned.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoglia/2013/10/02/furloughing-faa-inspectors-and-ntsb-investigators-may-violate-international-aviation-treaty/



---------

No one is watching the airline industry.

Checks and balances are all gone .

Sen. Warren calls it like it is...."hostage taking"

Amazing Senator.

#t=24

They've got the whole world in their hands.....

New, from the Kinsey Sicks




(I just love 'em !)

Federal Employees/ Retirees- OPM Notice

Same-Sex Married Federal Employees/Retirees- OPM notice

The U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) put out a notice a few days ago related to the Supreme Court overturing the DOMA act.

Now, if you are a federal employee who is in a same-sex marriage, or a retiree, you may tell OPM so that they can recognize the various federal benefits such as survivor's annunity properly.

Here is the Federal Register Notice- please pass along to anyone that you know many be affected:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees' Retirement System; Opportunity for Annuitants to Elect Survivor Annuity Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

A Notice by the Personnel Management Office on 08/02/2013


•PDF DEV Print Public Inspection

Publication Date:Friday, August 02, 2013
Agency:Office of Personnel Management

Dates:All federal retirees who are in legal same-sex marriages have through June 26, 2015, to inform OPM that they have legal same-sex marriages that now qualify for recognition and to elect survivor annuities for their spouses based on their recognized marital status.Entry Type:NoticeAction: Notice.Document
Citation8 FR 47018
Page:47018 (1 page)
Document Number:2013-18665
Shorter URL:https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-18665


Regulations.gov Docket Info

Docket NumberOPM-2013-0015

Docket NameCivil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees' Retirement System; Opportunity for Annuitants to Elect Survivor Annuity Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

Action: Notice.

Summary


The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is providing notice of a 2-year opportunity for annuitants who are in legal same-sex marriages to elect survivor annuities for their spouses under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS).


Table of Contents
DATES:
•FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
•SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:


DATES:
All federal retirees who are in legal same-sex marriages have through June 26, 2015, to inform OPM that they have legal same-sex marriages that now qualify for recognition and to elect survivor annuities for their spouses based on their recognized marital status.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Information by Phone: Call the Retirement Information Office toll-free at 1-888-767-6738. If you use TTY equipment, call 1-855-887-4957. Be sure to have your claim number (CSA number) on hand when you call a specialist. Information by Email: retire@opm.gov.

Information or Elections by Mail: U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Retirement Operations Center, PO Box 45, Boyers, PA, 16017-0045. Please include your full name and your claim number (CSA number) in your correspondence.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:


Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provided that, when used in a Federal law, the term “marriage” would mean only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and that the term “spouse” referred only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. Because of DOMA, the Federal Government has been prohibited from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of retirement benefit programs.

On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. __ (2013), the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. As a result of this decision, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is now able to extend benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who are legally married to spouses of the same sex, regardless of the employees' or annuitants' states of residency. Consistent with OPM's long-standing policy of recognizing the legal foreign marriages of opposite-sex couples for purposes of the retirement benefit programs that OPM administers, OPM will also recognize legal same-sex marriages granted in countries that authorize such marriages, regardless of the employees' or annuitants' states of residency, for purposes of these programs.

As OPM stated in its June 28, 2013 Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, all retirees who are in legal same-sex marriages will have 2 years from the June 26, 2013 date of the Supreme Court's decision (i.e, through June 26, 2015) to inform OPM that they have legal marriages that now qualify for recognition and to elect reductions in their CSRS or FERS retirement annuities to provide survivor annuity benefits for their spouses, based on their recognized marital status. An annuitant should be aware that electing a survivor annuity will require a reduction of his/her annuity to provide the survivor annuity, or an adjustment of the amount of reduction currently being made to provide an insurable interest annuity to change the reduction amount to a survivor annuity reduction. Before an election is made, we recommend that the annuitants carefully consider what effect the reduction or change in reduction will have on the amount of their net annuities.

Annuitants should consider their language carefully before sending OPM written requests regarding survivor benefits for their spouses. An annuitant who contacts OPM and only request information about the effect a survivor election would have on the annuity will receive a statement describing the cost of the election and an election form that would need to be returned to OPM by June 26, 2015, to elect the survivor benefit. An annuitant who sends a signed statement or letter to OPM and indicates that he/she wants to elect a survivor benefit for a spouse will also receive a statement describing the cost of the election; he/she will not be able to change his/her mind about providing the survivor benefit. Unless otherwise specified, OPM will consider any requests for information about survivor benefits or any signed elections of survivor benefits as requests for information or elections of the maximum survivor benefit. More information about the election and the survivor reduction is provided at Life Events.

A request for information about survivor annuity benefits or signed, written elections of survivor benefits should be accompanied with a copy of the marriage certificate proving the same-sex marriage. Please be advised that an election of a survivor annuity is irrevocable. An annuitant will not be able to change an election later. We strongly urge annuitants to carefully consider elections before submitting them to OPM.Show citation box


U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Elaine Kaplan,
Acting Director.
--------------------

Source: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/08/02/2013-18665/civil-service-retirement-system-and-federal-employees-retirement-system-opportunity-for-annuitants

Health Mandate For Employers Delayed to 2015

Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — In a significant setback for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative, the administration on Tuesday abruptly announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in his health care law’s mandate that larger employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties. The decision postpones the effective date beyond next year’s midterm elections.

Employer groups welcomed the news of the concession, which followed complaints from businesses and was posted late in the day on the White House and Treasury Web sites while the president was flying home from Africa. Republicans’ gleeful reactions made clear that they would not cease to make repeal of Obamacare a campaign issue for the third straight election cycle.

While the postponement technically does not affect other central provisions of the law — in particular those establishing health-insurance marketplaces in the states, known as exchanges, where uninsured Americans can shop for policies — it throws into disarray the administration’s effort to put those provisions into effect by Jan. 1.

“I am utterly astounded,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University and an advocate of the law. “It boggles the mind. This step could significantly reduce the number of uninsured people who will gain coverage in 2014.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/us/politics/obama-administration-to-delay-health-law-requirement-until-2015.html?_r=0



Incredible.

The New York Times article adds some details - check it out.
I am at a loss for words.

Pride Month

Presidential Proclamation -- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2013
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2013

- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

For more than two centuries, our Nation has struggled to transform the ideals of liberty and equality from founding promise into lasting reality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans and their allies have been hard at work on the next great chapter of that history -- from the patrons of The Stonewall Inn who sparked a movement to service members who can finally be honest about who they love to brave young people who come out and speak out every day.

This year, we celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done. Support for LGBT equality is growing, led by a generation which understands that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." In the past year, for the first time, voters in multiple States affirmed marriage equality for same-sex couples. State and local governments have taken important steps to provide much-needed protections for transgender Americans.

My Administration is a proud partner in the journey toward LGBT equality. We extended hate crimes protections to include attacks based on sexual orientation or gender identity and repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We lifted the HIV entry ban and ensured hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients. Together, we have investigated and addressed pervasive bullying faced by LGBT students, prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Federal housing, and extended benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Earlier this year, I signed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the implementation of any VAWA-funded program. And because LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration is implementing the first-ever Federal strategy to advance equality for LGBT people around the world.

We have witnessed real and lasting change, but our work is not complete. I continue to support a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as well as the Respect for Marriage Act. My Administration continues to implement the Affordable Care Act, which beginning in 2014, prohibits insurers from denying coverage to consumers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which addresses the disparate impact of the HIV epidemic among certain LGBT sub-communities. We have a long way to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people will look to the future with the same sense of promise and possibility. I am confident because I have seen the talent, passion, and commitment of LGBT advocates and their allies, and I know that when voices are joined in common purpose, they cannot be stopped.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA
---------------------------


God help me- I lost another one.

I learned last night that I lost ANOTHER one of my "boys".


Ben was a "professional PFC". He's one of those guys whom served under me in my platoon when I first was commissioned as a 2LT in the Army National Guard in 1991. He was one of my favorites, because he was Soooooo.....American.

Ben had a habit of being very dependable- right up until the moment he was not. He roller skated one time behind a duce-and-a-half truck. Another time he came back a bit tipsy from a night on the town, and got out water pistols, and screwed around, and got in trouble. He was actually a PFC I think three times, having been demoted after getting into some trouble of one kind or another. He always had a great smile, and moved on.


But he was generally a great kid. I loved him like I loved all of my "kids", who served under my command as a Platoon leader, and later as a company commander. He was one of the 40 or so in my original platoon, and later one of the 160 in the Company I commanded. He was a wire-dog and a mechanic- able to fix just about anything electrical or diesel powered, or if it rolled on wheels, or had wires hooked up to it. Ben could figure it out if you gave him time, and maybe a beer.


Ben struggled with weight a couple times, and it took years for him to get cleared long enough to go to school, and eventually make Sergeant. That was one proud day when I was able, after about 14 years, pin the sergeant stripes on him.

Ben served in Bosnia as a volunteer when they were looking for folks to go. He came back to our unit six months later, and did very well. Although he was older, Ben was always a kid at heart, and did a lot of crazy things- but he was always first and foremost an energetic kid ready to help anybody who needed it, whether they thought they needed it or not.

Early in the Iraq war, Ben joined the unit in deploying to the desert for more than a year. There, the dust and the pressure and the experiece hit Ben hard, but he was a super-trooper, and took care of anyone he had contact with. And we were all overjoyed when Ben came home .

Two weeks before he was back, Ben's son departed for Iraq too. These days, many National Guard folks are second or third generation military. The lack of a draft means that whole segments of our society - generations- now serve in Uniform when most others do not.

And a few months later, Ben's son was killed in an IED explosion in Iraq.


Ben, and the mom never really got over that.

I wrote a letter to the editor about the sacrifices Ben's family had made. That all Americans ought to serve in uniform- and that we needed to bring all of our soldiers home. Later, Ben read it and sent me a thank you note.

Ben went back for a second tour in Iraq. Not sure if he needed it to live. A lot of my boys are like that- once they've been in the sandbox you just can't go back to living "normal" every day. Ben came back from the second tour in Iraq- changed and different.


He struggled back here. He ended up retiring from the Guard. He moved to a farm to raise chickens and goats, and deal with the monsters in his foot locker.

The PTSD monster hit him from time to time just like they crawl into bed with us all. I became facebook friends and watched his comments from time to time, and really didn't think too much of it- as one after another more of my "boys" had something bad happen, or just lost it, or suffered in silence.

Day before yesterday, Ben died. I don't know how, or why, just that he did. He was like five years younger than me.


Now he's the sixth, or seventh of my "boys" who has died waaayyy too young.

For 21 years I served our nation, and met some of the finest young men and women in the entire world. Ben was one of those . All my "kids" are special.



I will miss him greatly.


I am still in shock.


Goodbye my brother.

Rest in peace now.






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