Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 01:16 AM
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Number of posts: 1,279
Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.
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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)
Regulations.gov Docket Info
Docket NameCivil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees' Retirement System; Opportunity for Annuitants to Elect Survivor Annuity Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses
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
•FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Posted by James48 | Wed Aug 7, 2013, 10:01 AM (0 replies)
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
The New York Times article adds some details - check it out.
I am at a loss for words.
Posted by James48 | Tue Jul 2, 2013, 09:47 PM (10 replies)
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
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.
Posted by James48 | Tue Jun 4, 2013, 12:10 PM (0 replies)
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.
Posted by James48 | Thu May 9, 2013, 11:03 AM (33 replies)
In an effort to draw attention to himself to score political points and satisfy donors and lobbyists, junior Congressman Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) has repeatedly accused the Army of failing to provide Soldiers with the latest intelligence processing technology.
He's obviously shilling for the company he references, Palantir.
Rather than compete for work like all other commercial product providers, Palantir spends nearly $600,000 per year lobbying Congress to force the Army to buy their product. Here's a link to Palantir's chief lobbyist, Terry Paul campaigning for Junior.
In return, republican Congressman Duncan Hunter Jr. now tries to get the Army to buy Paul's products.
Paul is a close Hunter family friend and has donated thousands to Hunter's congressional campaigns.
From General Odierno's response, it's pretty clear that he has had enough of the Congressman's nonsense.
Watch the whole thing. General Ordierno eats up Duncan Hunter.
Posted by James48 | Wed May 1, 2013, 12:31 PM (10 replies)
Source: Stars and Stripes/ Associated Press
BEIJING — China slammed the human rights record of the United States in response to Washington's report on rights around the world, saying that U.S. military operations have infringed on rights abroad and that political donations at home have thwarted the country's democracy.
The report released Sunday in China — which defines human rights primarily in terms of improving living conditions for its 1.3 billion people— also cited gun violence in the U.S. among its examples of human rights violations, saying it was a serious threat to the lives and safety of America's citizens.
The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012 said the U.S. government continues to strengthen the monitoring of its people and that political donations to election campaigns have undue influence on U.S. policy.
"American citizens do not enjoy a genuinely equal right to vote," the report said, citing a decreased turnout in the 2012 presidential election and a voting rate of 57.5 percent.
Read more: http://www.stripes.com/news/us/china-criticizes-us-for-its-human-rights-record-1.217503
China hit's the nail on the head- we are losing democracy here to the money holders.
Posted by James48 | Sun Apr 21, 2013, 12:01 PM (38 replies)
Source: The Hill
The Senate voted Friday night to oppose cutting entitlement benefits for veterans using a new method of calculating inflation.
President Obama has put the new method, known as chained consumer price index, on the table in deficit talks with Republicans. Using it reduces entitlement benefits like Social Security over time and also raises revenues by reducing the value of tax breaks.
The vote on the amendment was by voice vote, so its usefulness in quantifying Senate opposition to the proposal is minimal. The amendment is non-binding because it is attached to the budget resolution, which does not have the force of law.
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sponsored the amendment.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/289981-senate-on-record-opposing-use-of-chained-cpi
By voice vote- Senate votes down "Chained CPI"
Posted by James48 | Fri Mar 22, 2013, 11:08 PM (12 replies)
Source: Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The key players behind a purported veterans charity accused of setting up illegal gambling rooms pumped more than $1 million into the campaign accounts of politicians who had the power to regulate or put them out of business.
As the untaxed, barely regulated industry mushroomed into a billion-dollar industry, money went to the campaigns of (GOP) governors in Florida and North Carolina as well as dozens of state legislators, and state political parties.
"They certainly were involved in the process there's no doubt about that," said Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, who himself received a $500 check from one of the companies involved.
An Associated Press review of contributions showed more than $1 million went into Florida campaign accounts from 2009-2012 and more than $150,000 in North Carolina.
Allied Veterans of the World ran nearly 50 Internet parlors in Florida with computerized slot machine-style games and gave about $6 million to veterans out of nearly $300 million in profits. Investigators said much of the money went to charity leaders, who spent much of it on boats, beachfront condos and vehicles such as Maseratis, Ferraris and Porsches. The operations were shut down this week and nearly 60 people arrested. Jennifer Carroll, Florida's Republican lieutenant governor, abruptly resigned after being questioned by investigators. Carroll did consulting work for Allied Veterans while she was a state legislator. She was not charged with wrongdoing.
Read more: http://www.mycenturylink.com/news/read.php?rip_id=<DA514QSG0%40news.ap.org>&ps=1011
Turns out the reason the Florida Lt. Governor resigned suddenly, was the connection to this fake Veterans organization that pumped money into GOP campaigns.
Sad- and not unexpected, that people would defraud veterans to fund the GOP.
Posted by James48 | Thu Mar 14, 2013, 10:46 PM (14 replies)
Source: Livingston County Press
By all accounts, Lauren Jasenak makes a great Scout. She's friendly, courteous, helps others, and loves being outdoors.
In addition, the 2011 Brighton High School graduate lives her life with honesty -- and it's that last quality that got her fired July 18 from the Boy Scouts of America D-bar-A Scout Ranch south of Lapeer.
Sometimes, honesty may not be the best policy.
Lauren Jasenak was preparing to work her third summer at a Michigan Boy Scout camp when the camp director learned she was a lesbian, and fired her.
The 19-year old broke down in tears as she was forced to sit in camp manager Bill Licht's office until she signed a letter stating she had violated Scout policy. She asked for a copy of the policy she had broken, but she didn't receive one. She was told to pack up her items and leave that evening.
Read more: http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20130310/NEWS01/303100326?odyssey=mod|mostcom
No, it is not illegal to fire someone in Michigan...simply for the crime of who they love.
We need to fix this.
Posted by James48 | Mon Mar 11, 2013, 02:47 PM (18 replies)
Source: Stars & Stripes/ Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Italy’s former spymaster gets prison over rendition
By Alvise Armellini
Published: February 12, 2013
ROME — The former head of Italy's military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari, was given a 10-year jail term by an appeals court on Tuesday for his involvement in the U.S.-sanctioned kidnapping of a terrorist suspect.
Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, an Egyptian Muslim cleric also known as Abu Omar, was illegally abducted by the CIA in a Milan street in 2003, and flown to Egypt via the U.S. air base at Ramstein, Germany. He was held until 2007 without charges and alleges he was tortured. For their involvement in the affair, Milan judges also sentenced Pollari's former deputy Marco Mancini to nine years’ imprisonment and handed six-year jail terms to three other Italian secret agents.
Italian judges have already tried in absentia and issued final guilty verdicts against 23 U.S. citizens, producing the first-ever official convictions against "extraordinary renditions," the practice employed by the CIA in the war on terrorism.
The policy, adopted under the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush and now dropped by his successor Barack Obama, involved kidnapping a suspect in one country and flying the individual to a third nation for interrogation.
Read more: http://www.stripes.com/news/europe/italy-s-former-spymaster-gets-prison-over-rendition-1.207678
First convictions with jail time. Now if we just can get G.W. and Dick Cheney to go on vacation to Europe...
Posted by James48 | Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:51 AM (3 replies)