Archive for January, 2013

President Signs Burn-Pit Registry Law

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

US Army burn pitPresident Barack Obama signed a law last week directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to set up and maintain a ‘burn-pit’ registry. This is a list of veterans who have been exposed to potentially toxic fumes emanating from diesel fuel, human excrement, and other waste and debris in Iraq, Afghanistan and other austere areas of operation.

Although burn-pits are nothing new – they date back to ancient times – NBC News has referred to burn-pit exposure as “this generation’s Agent Orange.”

This isn’t necessarily about the small latrine pits made out of 55-gallon drums. Some contractors in Iraq actually maintained massive burn pits that were hundreds of yards wide, and did so very close to troops working and living areas, in some cases. These pits used diesel fuel to burn plastics, tires, chemicals, excrement, batteries – including rare earth and heavy metal batteries.

One study measured the cancer rate among troops stationed at Balad – a major Forward Operating Base in Iraq and home to perhaps the largest burn pit in the country – and found the cancer risk was eight times higher among those troops stationed at Balad for more than a year than among the general population, controlling for age and sex. Dioxin and particulate exposure were also each 50 times higher than acceptable levels, according to a 2007 study.

The new law follows a series of lawsuits against prominent military contractors, Kellogg, Brown and Root and Halliburton, alleging that these burn pit operators failed to properly maintain these pits, mitigate hazards or warn servicemembers of the potential harmful effects of the fumes.

One suit alleges that KBR built a large burn pit upwind of troops’ living quarters – in violation of their contract and DoD directives.

The burn-pit directory will give the Department of Veterans Affairs a database of individuals with exposure to the pits, help them track long-term medical issues among this population and compare them with other groups, and facilitate communication if effective treatments are discovered.

A series of academic studies has been undertaken, and some of them have been published within the last year. At least one study found an increase in incidents of asthma and other pulmonary disorders after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VA has not yet issued instructions on how to sign up for the burn-pit registry. It will publish instructions when the registry is up and running.

Obama to Snub Medal of Honor Ball – Again!

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

The dancing ObamasThe President will not be attending the 2013 Salute to Heroes ball, held every inauguration week since 1953 to honor America’s recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for bravery. The President has traditionally made an appearance at the Salute to Heroes ball every year it has been held – until 2009, when President Obama became the first president in history not to attend.

The event was first organized by the American Legion, in honor of the election of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is now cosponsored by a number of veterans groups, including Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Granted, in 2009 – the first time in any Commander in Chief was MIA from the Salute to Heroes Ball, the President’s schedule was full of more pressing obligations – he and Michelle attended ten other balls during the inauguration festivities that year, including the Biden Home State Ball and the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, which allowed the Obamas to be seen with Alicia Keys, Shakira and Beyonce.

However, a number of dignitaries are scheduled to attend, including 25 living recipients of the Medal of Honor, former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation, Representative Jeff Miller (R-Florida), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Senator Bernie Sanders (I – Vermont), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

The following Medal of Honor recipients have confirmed they will attend:

  • John Baca
  • Donald Ballard
  • Gary B. Beikirch
  • Patrick H. Brady
  • Sammy L. Davis
  • Roger H.C. Donlon
  • Walter D. Ehlers
  • Harold A. Fritz
  • Salvatore A. Giunta
  • Thomas J. Hudner Jr.
  • Joe M. Jackson
  • Jack Jacobs
  • Walter J. Marm Jr.
  • Thomas R. Norris
  • Robert E. O’Malley
  • Robert M. Patterson
  • Leroy A. Petry
  • Alfred Rascon
  • Ronald E. Ray
  • Gordon R. Roberts
  • Ronald E. Rosser
  • James M. Sprayberry
  • Kenneth E. Stumpf
  • Brian M. Thacker
  • Hershel W. Williams

Click on the American Legion link at the top of this article to read the Medal of Honor citations for each of these men.

The Obamas will be attending the Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball, however, at the Washington Convention Center. He will also attend the Inaugural ball, held for his supporters, also at the Washington Convention Center.

 

What do you think of this? Is this a snub or even controversial to you? Should the President attend this ball over many of the others, especially when we still have troops overseas and more wounded warriors than ever? Tell us below.

Walmart Will Hire Any Honorably Discharged Veteran within Their First Year off Active Duty, Starting Memorial Day

Posted by Kelli McKinney

walmart vows to hire veteransSay what you will about the big box retailer out of Bentonville, Arkansas, but they know the value of hiring veterans. Walmart has consistently been the largest private employer of our nation’s former military members, but now they are raising the bar even higher – and challenging others in the industry to work together to hire our nation’s heroes.

Starting May 31 – Memorial Day – Walmart will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty. Most of these jobs will be in Walmart stores and clubs, and some will be in distribution centers and the Home Office.

Over the next five years, Walmart projects it will hire more than 100,000 veterans. Walmart CEO Bill Simon believes hiring veterans will be critical to help rehabilitate the sagging US economy. “I can think of no better group to lead in revitalizing our economy than those who have served in uniform. Through their service, veterans give us a land of freedom. When they return, it must be to a land of possibility.”

Simon adds, “Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make. Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training, and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever.”

The White House has expressed interest in working with the retailer and the business community in hopes of building upon this commitment. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and major American employers will meet at the White House in the next few weeks to encourage businesses to make significant commitments to train and employ America’s returning heroes.

First Lady Michelle Obama stated, “As our wars come to an end and our troops continue to come home, it’s more important than ever that all of us – not just government, but our businesses and nonprofits as well – do our part to serve those who have served us so bravely. So today, my challenge is simple: for every business in America to follow Walmart’s lead by finding innovative solutions that both make sense for their workplaces and make a difference for our veterans and their families.  Given what we’ve seen from Walmart and so many other companies over the past two years, we know that they will.”

Simon sums up his vision for retail and passion for the troops by saying, “Imagine what retail could do together. We could leave an incredible legacy as an industry. We can be the ones who step up for our heroes. And we can do this now.”

Alderaan to Be the Only Casualty, if Obama Gets His Way

Posted by S.E. Davidson Parker

Death Star a no-goIn a blow to Star Wars dorks everywhere, the Obama administration has officially rejected a citizen petition to build the Death Star. Public response has been limited, “as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” It is rumored that the now defunct petition will be encased in carbonite before being archived. However, an anonymous source close to the situation states that “always in motion is the future,” alluding to the possibility of future episodes action.

The petition, uploaded to the White House webpage We the People; Your Voice in our Government, requests the development and construction of the iconic Star Wars “star” for job creation and national defense. Uploaded on November 12, 2012, by a man only identified on the web page as John D. of Longmont, Colorado, over 34,000 people quickly signed the petition.

Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget and not a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder” as earlier reported, lists several reasons why the White House will not pursue building the Death Star in his official response. They include costs, estimated to be $850,000,000,000,000,000; the fact that the Obama administration “does not support blowing up planets”; and ultimately, “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” Good point.

In this time of potential sequestration, adding more debt is not fiscally responsible. We owe too much to China and the Outer Rim, both of which have questionable human alien rights records. Comments from Outer Rim fiscal collections representative Boba Fett were limited.

And anyway, it’s more important to get Utopia Planitia fleet yard up before the next class from Star Fleet Academy graduates.

Photo credit: AtlantaBlackStar.com

Three New Year’s Resolutions Worth Starting Now

Posted by Kelli McKinney

military new year's resolutionsWe’re two weeks into the New Year and already some of my fellow resolution-makers have effectively called their new year’s plans DOA. That’s a tough place to find yourself this early in the year. Most people start their new year’s resolutions with a blaze of energy and good intention, but no real planning or consideration. That leaves them just like my friends: only a few days into a new year and already frustrated and burned out.

This is exactly why I prefer to give myself some time during the month of January to scrutinize my current situation and formulate some appropriate, tactically-achievable plans. If you’re like many who gave some serious thought to making a couple of changes this year, then put the thought aside to tend to your daily family or military service obligations, rest assured it’s not too late to make and start positive changes. After some careful consideration, the list below offers a few that are worth starting today. Make them, start them, keep them, and next year at this time you’ll be glad you did.

1: Get serious about your financial future. Good financial planning starts with a hard look at your financial situation. If you haven’t already, take stock of your finances. Know what your military financial benefits are and for crying out loud, use them.

2: Get serious about giving up bad habits. You know the ones I’m talking about. Everybody has something they just can’t seem to quit. It’s time to do it. Break those chains of bondage, whether it’s to cigarettes and alcohol or sodas and sugar. You’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, not to mention in some cases you’ll improve your health. If you need some help, the military has services that can provide you with the tools and support to get you through.

3. Get serious about learning something new. Studies show that people who commit themselves to lifelong education make more money, have a more positive outlook, and experience less stress than those who do not. Who doesn’t want that? Although the financial impact of education can be discouraging, the military offers education benefits that are second to none. If you haven’t already, put those benefits to good use – you’ve earned them – and consider pursuing or completing a degree or certification. It’s an investment in your future health, wealth and happiness.

If the thought of all three of these makes your head spin, consider tackling them one at a time. Or pick the goal that would result in the most important, meaningful change for you and create a plan around that one. Remember what Bill Murray’s character says in the movie “What About Bob:” Baby steps. Take each goal, create simple, achievable, measureable steps to accomplish it, and tackle those steps one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be one of the happy few who can truly claim they kept their New Year’s Resolution – and all the benefits that come with reaching your goals.

Hot Jobs for Veterans 2013

Posted by Kelli McKinney

veteran job opportunitiesThere are some employers who just get it: If you want highly skilled, well-trained employees who work hard and learn fast, you want to employ ex-military personnel. Our military men and women have incredibly adaptable, translatable skills that make them very valuable to any industry.

What are some of the more popular careers for ex-military members who want to take what they’ve learned in the service and grow in the civilian world?  Take a look at these five career paths that are not only in-demand even in today’s economy, but also offer service members an opportunity to continue growing and learning.

Information Technology

The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics names computer scientists and database administrators among the “fastest growing occupations through 2014.” You would be hard pressed to name any successful business or organization that does not rely heavily on computer technology or data. The US Armed Forces uses some of the most technically advanced systems on the planet, which makes service members who have experience with IT part of an elite crew. Take this expertise into the civilian marketplace as an IT professional, whether as an entrepreneur, a certified contractor or a specialist.

Computer systems analysts, for example, are named by Economic Systems Modeling Specialists, Inc. as the fourth largest job opportunity in the country. Nearly 30,000 new jobs have been added in this field since 2010, and data indicates that the industry will continue to see growth. The biggest job opportunity, according to ESMSI, is in applications and systems software development, which has seen an addition of more than 70,000 jobs since 2010.

Police Officer

Law enforcement and military personnel seem to be cut from the same cloth. Both have a heart for service and an appetite to protect their community. Perhaps this is why veterans are offered hiring preferences with most police departments like bonus points on entrance exams, retirement perks, and even GI Bill benefits.

Plus, similar to the military, within law enforcement there are a number of specialized departments that offer professionals a chance to demonstrate specialized expertise.

Teacher

How about a career that offers its professionals the chance to make a difference in young peoples’ lives, summers off, and the chance to earn extra income? Many veterans find immense satisfaction in the education field, particularly those who have science, technology, or math backgrounds. Think about it: Who is better suited to maintain order in the classroom, thrive under pressure and motivate young minds than our former military personnel?

There are also programs like DANTES Troops to Teachers that not only help train veterans and help them gain their teaching certification but also assist with placement in areas where the need for motivated, qualified teachers is greatest.

Entrepreneur

The American Dream at its finest: Owning and operating your own business. Once you’ve gained invaluable experience in the military, why not take what you’ve learned and live the dream?

Nearly 25% of all US veterans either seriously considers buying or starting their own business – or they actually do it, says SCORE, a nonprofit partner with the US Small Business Administration. They do this for good reason. Government regulation requires that a certain percentage of all federal government agencies must do business with a small, minority-owned or veteran-owned company.

Plus, if there’s anyone who has what it takes to navigate the stressful first years of business ownership, it’s military servicemembers. Not only do they have the discipline, they have had exposure to some of the finest examples of leadership (and possibly an example of how not to manage people), and they have access to some of the best entrepreneurial resources out there.

Civilian Public Service

It’s no surprise that many veterans opt to continue serving their country through civil service. The sense of altruism and public service that drives so many men and women to join the military in the first place is also what motivates many public servants to work in the hundreds if not thousands of federal agencies and organizations across the country.

EMSI ranked accounting, market research/marketing, and human resources among the top five job fields for 2013 – numbers 2, 3 and 4, respectively. And all of which, of course, are fields that can be found within the federal civil service.

Plus, some veterans qualify to receive special hiring preference when they apply for federal jobs.

Former members of the US military hold a number of highly desirable skills. This list is just the beginning of possibilities. With some additional education and training, even more doors can open to a huge array of potential second careers.

170,000 Getting Booted from TRICARE Prime

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

Tricare booting members despite Obama's promise“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” That was the promise Barack Obama made in 2009, selling his health reform plan that became the Affordable Care Act.

It turns out that’s not even true for federal TRICARE beneficiaries.

If you live more than 40 miles from a military installation, chances are you are no longer welcome with TRICARE Prime. Pentagon officials have announced that most of these retired and surviving widow(ers) will be booted from TRICARE Prime as of October 1.

Most of those affected will have to enroll in TRICARE Standard.

The change will not affect those enrolled in Medicare and using TRICARE for Life, nor will those on active duty. However, the change will affect any adults under age 26 enrolled in the TRICARE Young Adult program, if they are over 40 miles from a military installation.

This is actually a six-month reprieve – officials were originally considering forcing enrollees off of TRICARE Prime as of April 1.

TRICARE officials are looking at making an exception for those within 100 miles of primary care managers if they sign a drive-time access waiver.

What does this mean? According to the Reserve Officers Association of America, you may have to find a new doctor.

Also, your costs will change: You will no longer pay flat co-payments per visit and an annual enrollment fee. Instead, you will have to pay a deductible of $150 per year (for singles) or $300 per year (for families), as well as a 25 percent co-insurance – up to $3,000 per fiscal year.

There is the potential for an exception for retired servicemembers, military families, and young adults to remain in Prime if they reside within 100 miles of an available primary care manager and sign a drive-time access waiver.

The Pentagon estimates that limiting TRICARE Prime coverage to those outside of 40 miles of military installations will save taxpayers some $56 million per year.

TRICARE Standard, incidentally, has higher customer satisfaction ratings than TRICARE Prime, according to the Military Officers Association of America.

Ironically, even as the U.S. government kicks 170,000 of its own retirees, survivors and adult children of servicemembers off of their preferred health insurance plan, the White House still maintains on its website that rumors of people being forced to change doctors or forced off their health care plans is a “myth.”

Obama SECDEF Pick Wins Critical Iranian Endorsement

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

chuck hagelPresident Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Senator Charles Hagel (R-Neb.) appears to have won the endorsement of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, according to reporting by CBS News. The Iranian nod is considered by many to be critical in shoring up support within the White House for what is expected to be a hotly contested nomination.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry appears to be backing President Barack Obama’s pick of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as secretary of defense.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in an interview Tuesday that he hopes the Hagel nomination will improve relations between the United States and Tehran.

“We hope there will be practical changes in American foreign policy and that Washington becomes respectful of the rights of nations,” Mehmanparast said, according to Reuters.

Hagel, a longtime Republican, has distinguished himself as perhaps the only Senate Republican whose nomination is not acceptable to Senate Republicans.

As a Senator, Hagel has come out against the formal designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, despite its known involvement in a series of lethal terrorist attacks against Israeli noncombatants. Hagel also opposed even the discussion of a military strike against Iran in order to halt their nuclear weapons program. He has also spoken critically of the political influence of the “Jewish lobby.”

His comments have earned him significant opposition even among some Democrats, and longtime Clinton ally and legal advisor Lanny Davis has called his remarks “offensive to the Jewish community.”

Writes Davis:

As to why so many American Jews are highly offended by Hagel’s use of the expression “Jewish lobby,” if he doesn’t understand its historical association with virulent anti-Semitism and the scurrilous libel of “dual loyalty” used by anti-Semites against Jews, then I would ask him the following question:

Have you ever used the expression the “Catholic lobby” when describing pro-life lobbyists? If you did, would you understand why Catholics would be offended by that expression — because many Catholics are pro-choice and would be offended for you to invoke an expression describing their religion rather than their views on the abortion issue? Do you recall how offended John F. Kennedy was at the notion that he would have dual loyalty as president — to America and to the pope — a charge JFK vigorously denied and considered to be emblematic of anti-Catholic bigotry?

Additionally, Hagel has supported efforts to have Iran join the U.S. at the table for Afghanistan peace talks.

Opposition from GLBT Americans

Senator Hagel has also alienated some Democrats for comments he made in 1998, opposing the Clinton appointment of James Hormel to Luxembourg because of Hormel’s homosexuality.  Said Hagel of ambassador’s generally: “They are representing America. They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly, aggressively gay…”

Hagel’s opposition has earned him criticism from openly and aggressively gay individuals across the country. Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank has come out strongly opposing Hagel’s nomination on those grounds, as have the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP-aligned group advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians. UPDATE: Frank Reverses!

Hagel’s Record on the Iraq War

Senator Hagel warned against invading Iraq, calling any operation that sought to impose democracy on the Iraqi people as a “roll of the dice.” Consequently, he voted in favor of going to war.

In 2006, with the Army and Marine Corps locked in a brutal counterinsurgency, Hagel called publicly for a phased withdrawal, calling the Bush/Petraeus “surge” that, paired with the Sunni Awakening, destroyed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as a significant combat force, “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”

If his nomination is approved, Hagel, who served as an infantry squad leader and was twice wounded in Vietnam, will be the first enlisted warrior to serve as Secretary of Defense, according to the White House.

Hagel will join Obama’s Secretary of State nominee Senator John Kerry – perhaps the one Vietnam War veteran most universally despised among actual Vietnam War veterans –as President Obama’s first two cabinet nominations of his second term.

All eyes now are on Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat from Iowa, to see whether Hagel will win the all-important phony veteran constituency.

 

Tell us what you think of Senator Hagel’s nomination. Should he be confirmed? Who else would you like to see nominated instead?

DC Prosecutor Prosecutes Troops and Veterans on Gun Laws – Lets David Gregory Off

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

If you are a big-shot journalist and liberal-leaning TV personality, the District of Attorney issues you a get-out-of-jail free card. If you’re a wounded warrior or veteran, not so much.

David Gregory hosts Meet the Press, a Sunday news and issues talk show that airs on NBC. In the wake of the Newtown school massacre last month, Gregory interviewed Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, on camera. During the course of the interview, in which Gregory attacked LaPierre’s suggestion that we take steps to provide schools with armed security or allow teachers to carry weapons, Gregory produced a 30 round AR-15 or M-16 magazine and waived it around on camera.

In so doing, Gregory, whose own children attend a Quaker school protected by armed guards, was committing a crime: The mere possession of high-capacity magazines within the District of Columbia is a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine, or up to 1 year in prison.

The Washington D.C. Metro Police Department investigated the alleged violation, and found that the violation of the law was clear. They then referred the matter to Washington D.C.’s Attorney General, Irvin B. Nathan – who evoked prosecutorial discretion and declined to take Gregory to court.

Nathan’s opinion: Gregory didn’t really pose a threat.

Here is the statement, issued at close of business on a Friday, from the Office of the Attorney General:

“OAG has made this determination, despite the clarity of the violation of this important law, because under all of the circumstances here a prosecution would not promote public safety in the District of Columbia nor serve the best interests of the people of the District to whom this office owes its trust.”

Unfortunately for the rest of us, people who don’t have high-profile TV shows and don’t send their kids to school with the President don’t get the same leeway from the District of Columbia.

nathan wilkinson

David Gregory’s wife Beth Wilkinson poses with family friend D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan at a theater fundraiser in 2011.

 

SPC Adam Meckler

SPC Adam Meckler, an Army medic, hadn’t been off of active duty for a month when he was handcuffed, arrested, and frogmarched off to jail by Washington D.C. police. Why? He was going through a security checkpoint at the VFW, according to the Washington Times, and the X-Ray identified a few forgotten rounds of ammunition in his medic bag he had used on countless shooting ranges.

No weapon – just the ammunition.

The Washington D.C. Attorney General considers a medic and veteran a threat, and is vigorously prosecuting him, but not David Gregory.

From the Washington Times story:

The federal police officer asked Spc. Meckler if he knew that ammunition was illegal in the District. He said he did not. The officer replied that it was and began to read his Miranda Rights. Spc. Meckler said he interrupted to ask, “Am I really going to be arrested for this?’” The officer confirmed he was.

The D.C. attorney general’s spokesman, Ted Gest, told me that prosecution for unregistered ammunition is “common.”

Ultimately, Meckler – who didn’t have money or connections like David Gregory, pled guilty to one count of possession of unregistered ammunition. He got 30 days unsupervised probation, paid a $100 fine and was forced to make another $100 “donation” to a fund for victims of violent crime.

According to the Washington Times reporting, Meckler’s case wasn’t unusual: “There were 594 arrests for unregistered ammunition in 2011, according to MPD, but of those, only 64 of those were the top charge.”

The “top charge” means that the possession of the unregistered ammunition was the most serious offense these citizens were accused of.

That’s 64 Americans that didn’t receive the benefit of prosecutorial discretion from the AG.

Only one of them sends his kids to school with the President’s to our knowledge: David Gregory.

Additionally, at least 115 people were arrested in Washington D.C. for possession of an unregistered magazine. The Attorney General prosecuted 15 of them.

The Attorney General’s office even brags that they have a history of “aggressively prosecuting” the possession of magazines with capacities greater than ten rounds when circumstances warrant.

Lt. Augustine Kim

Augustine Kim, a lieutenant in the South Carolina National Guard is another veteran who was prosecuted for violating gun laws in Washington, D.C. He also doesn’t send his children to school with the Obamas. He was wounded in combat while serving as a tank platoon leader, and had to spend weeks at Landstuhl and at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for reconstructive surgery on his face.

In the summer of 2010, after getting discharged from Walter Reed, he wanted to pick up some of his personally-owned weapons at his parents’ home in New Jersey and take them back to Charleston, South Carolina.

On the way back south, he wanted to stop at Walter Reed again to visit some of his wounded buddies. His firearms were stowed in the trunk, inaccessible, in accordance with federal firearms transportation guidelines.

Washington D.C. Metro Police officers stopped him and asked to search his vehicle. Kim consented to the search, thinking he was innocent. The District of Columbia sees this wounded warrior as a criminal. Not David Gregory. Lieutenant Kim. And treated him as such.

He was booked on four felony counts and faced up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $20,000.

His attorney was able to convince prosecutors to reduce charges, allowing him to plead guilty to one misdemeanor. However, South Carolina congressmen had to browbeat District of Columbia officials for months to get them to return Kim’s firearms to him.

James Brinkley

The Washington Times also details the case of James Brinkley, another Army veteran who was arrested and charged in Washington D.C., specifically for possession of high-capacity magazines – the exact same thing Gregory was doing on camera (I keep citing the Washington Times because The Washington Post is AWOL on these stories).

From the Washington Times:

Unlike Mr. Gregory, Mr. Brinkley followed the police orders by placing his Glock 22 in a box with a big padlock in the trunk of his Dodge Charger. The two ordinary, 15-round magazines were not in the gun, and he did not have any ammunition with him.

As he was dropping off his family at 11 a.m. on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Brinkley stopped to ask a Secret Service officer whether his wife could take the baby’s car seat into the White House. The officer saw Mr. Brinkley had an empty holster, which kicked off a traffic stop that ended in a search of the Charger’s trunk. Mr. Brinkley was booked on two counts of “high capacity” magazine possession (these are ordinary magazines nearly everywhere else in the country) and one count of possessing an unregistered gun.

Despite the evidence Mr. Brinkley had been legally transporting the gun, his attorney Richard Gardiner said the D.C. Office of the Attorney General “wouldn’t drop it.” This is the same office now showing apparent reluctance to charge Mr. Gregory.

No word yet on where Mr. Brinkley’s children go to school. But we’re betting it’s not Sidwell Friends.

Brinkley chose to go to trial – where he won. All the firearms charges were dropped, and all the DC Metro Police had on him at the end of it was a traffic ticket.

Jamison Koehler, a defense attorney who takes firearms cases in the District of Columbia, relates a case here of a severely wounded veteran who was sentenced to six months’ probation for possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition in his own home.

 

Want to sound off on the state of gun owndership and gun control laws? Here’s your chance to give your opinion. Comments are open.

Two TRICARE Programs Will No Longer Take Your Check

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

no more checks to TRICAREHere’s a little post-holiday gift for you! Your check is no longer welcome at two TRICARE programs.

If you are enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) or TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) and you have been mailing in your premiums, you must switch to an electronic form of payment as of January 1st, 2013.

Starting this New Years Day, TRICARE will no longer take your check. You can only pay your premiums via automatically recurring payments by credit card or debit card, or via electronic funds transfer. TRICARE recommends that you check with your bank to ensure that they send EFT payments electronically.

If you don’t pay the premium by the due date, or you send in a check, rather than convert to an electronic form of payment, you will lose your coverage.

To enroll in an electronic payment program, contact your regional TRICARE administrator. You can get their contact information at this web page

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