Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dr. Biden Appears in 'Army Wives' Episode

By Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown of Army News Service
WASHINGTON, July 30, 2010 - Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, attended a special screening at Fort Belvoir, Va., last night for an episode of the Lifetime series "Army Wives" in which Dr. Biden plays herself.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, speaks about her experience while filming an episode of Lifetime's "Army Wives" during a special screening of the episode at Fort Belvoir, Va., July 29, 2010. Dr. Biden continues to hold a full-time position as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and his wife, Sheila, hosted the screening of the episode titled "Mud, Sweat and Tears," which is due to air Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. EDT.
In the episode, Dr. Biden visits the fictional Fort Marshall to host a fun run and to meet with members of the base's Gold Star Wives, a group composed of widows of servicemembers who died on active duty.
"In the last 18 months, I've done a lot of things I never dreamed I would do or could do," she said. "But when I got the opportunity to create awareness of the lives of military members and their families, it's something that I couldn't pass up."
Dr. Biden, an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, said the experience of filming was wonderful and the cast members were "truly wonderful and supportive."
In introducing Dr. Biden at the screening, Sheila Casey said the role she plays in the "Army Wives" episode is one that she and the vice president play all around the country as they visit with and listen to soldiers and their families. She also noted her common bond with Dr. Biden, as both have sons who serve in the Army.
"She and I know firsthand of the triumphs and challenges of soldiers and their family members," she said, adding her thanks to Dr. Biden for putting military families in the spotlight.
General Casey noted that the television series presents a realistic portrayal of Army life.
"I was very impressed with the commitment of the production crew and the cast to accurately replicate the challenges of Army families," he said.
Dr. Biden said she agreed to go on the show because she wants to do all she can to keep America thinking about servicemembers and their families. To that end, she has started a national challenge with First Lady Michelle Obama to encourage Americans to perform small acts of kindness for military families.
"I wish [the American people] could see what Jill and I see as we go into Army hospitals or Thanksgiving dinners with soldiers," Vice President Biden said. "What absolutely blows me away is the continued sense of patriotism and the desire to serve, even with those who are mortally wounded."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vice President, Dr. Biden Welcome Soldiers Home at Fort Drum

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
FORT DRUM, N.Y., July 28, 2010 - Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team received a rousing welcome home from Iraq here today, not only from fellow soldiers, family members and community leaders, but also from Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, are welcomed to Fort Drum, N.Y., for a homecoming celebration marking the return of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team from Iraq. Joining the Bidens on the stage are Army Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, 10th Mountain Division commander, and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher K. Greca, the division's command sergeant major. DoD photo by John D. Banusiewicz
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The brigade is one of the Army's most-deployed units, having served three deployments to Afghanistan and four to Iraq, and had been deployed to eastern Baghdad since October.
Army Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, 10th Mountain Division commander, noted that the 2nd Brigade served well in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, in 2006 and 2007, and again from last fall until now.
"During the most recent deployment," Terry told the brigade's soldiers, "you have done a magnificent job laying the foundation for transition to Operation New Dawn – from training Iraq's security forces to enabling public works projects and providing simple services to the people of Iraq, your efforts have been critical."
The vice president noted that because their son, Beau, is a National Guard officer who served a year-long deployment in Iraq, he and Dr. Biden have a special appreciation for the service and sacrifices the 2nd Brigade soldiers and their families have made.
"I think you underestimate just how much you do," he told the more than 2,600 soldiers and family members attending the ceremony. "You underestimate the awe that you inspire. You underestimate the notion that the American people, when they get to see up-close and personal what you do, have incredibly high regard for all of you. The sacrifices you and your family make on behalf of the American people are hard to measure."
Biden said he didn't have to study up to know about the 10th Mountain Division's proud history, because he'd already heard about it from his longtime friend and colleague in the Senate, former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who was severely wounded by enemy fire while serving in the division as a platoon leader.
"You are today's warriors," he said to the 2nd Brigade soldiers, "and worthy of the proud legacy you represent."
The military's mission in Iraq has been complex and challenging, the vice president said.
"[The mission involved] a war zone with no safe havens and no front lines, an invisible threat from explosives that turned highways into death traps, and an enemy that used suicide as a devastating weapon, requiring – and most people don't understand this – split-second decisions that could save soldiers' lives or cause the death of innocents," Biden said.
More than a million U.S. servicemembers have served in Iraq since the war began, the vice president noted.
"You and your colleagues have persevered and succeeded," he told the 2nd Brigade soldiers. "With your help, Iraq's leaders and security forces persevered and are succeeding. And therefore, those who sought to make chaos and destruction a hallmark of the new Iraq have failed because of you."
Noting that he's been to Iraq on numerous occasions, including four times as vice president, Biden told the soldiers and their families he's seen the dividends of their service.
"I know what you've sacrificed, and I know what you've accomplished," he said. "You and your families have endured multiple deployments – four to Iraq and three to Afghanistan for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team alone. You have felt the strain of missing anniversaries and holidays, birthdays, and even the arrival of a newborn child or the loss of a parent.
"You have enabled the Iraqi people to replace a tyrant with a new constitution, a new parliament, and two national elections conducted freely, fairly, and, by and large, safely. And perhaps most importantly, you have prepared Iraq's security forces to safeguard their future as a sovereign, stable, self-reliant country."
It's now up to the Iraqi people and their leaders to move forward in establishing a new permanent government, the vice president added, and he expressed confidence that they would do so.
The homecoming here is one of many this summer, as the United States ends its combat mission in Iraq and draws down to 50,000 troops remaining in the country by Aug. 31, in accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments. The agreement calls for the remaining U.S. troops to advise and assist Iraq's security forces until all U.S. forces leave Iraq by the end of next year.
Dr. Biden introduced her husband at the homecoming event, and took the opportunity to offer her own words of welcome to the returning soldiers and to share her impression of today's servicemembers.
"In my travels to military bases across our country and abroad," she said, "I have been truly overwhelmed by the courage of our men and women in uniform and inspired by the dignity and the sense of patriotism that our military families exhibit every day."
She noted that she and the vice president celebrated the recent Fourth of July weekend with troops in Iraq. "I was humbled by their dedication, their resilience and their pride in the work they were doing. ... We are honored to be in your presence today, and are thankful for the opportunity to thank you and your families for your service to our country.
"So to all of the families," Dr. Biden continued, "we know you are serving too. And this country appreciates your courage, your strength and your sacrifice."
No military family should have to bear its struggles alone, Dr. Biden added, noting that she and First Lady Michelle Obama have been working together to ask all Americans to do what they can to make the load lighter for the families that are providing for the nation's defense.
After the homecoming event, Dr. Biden visited Fort Drum's Chapel Drive School Age Center, one of many child-care facilities on the sprawling post. She toured the facility -- which includes a gymnasium, a technology lab and a homework center among its features – while about 135 children were participating in the center's summer camp program.
Robin D. Moor, the facility's director, showed Dr. Biden around, and at every stop, the children eagerly explained what they were doing as they participated in a wide range of activities – some recreational and others educational.
"We make sure that when they come here, they have a lot of fun things to do while their parents are at work or deployed," Moor said. She also noted that the summer camp program has a full-time family and youth behaviorist with whom children can talk about their feelings and concerns about their parents' deployments or other aspects of an Army child's life.
The children weren't shy about asking questions, and were delighted to learn that Dr. Biden is a career educator and an Army mother. When she told a group of children that Beau Biden had served a year-long deployment in Iraq, a girl shot up her hand to ask a question – but it wasn't about deployments.
"How old is he?" she wanted to know. Told that Beau Biden is 41, the girl exclaimed, "Wow, that's 11 years older than my mother!"
Dr. Biden then conducted a private meeting with 10 wives of Fort Drum soldiers to hear their concerns and ideas. Before she left, she urged all of the women to stay in touch with her and invited them to pay a personal visit if they're ever in Washington.
Biographies: Army Maj. Gen. James L. Terry 
Related Sites: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states.....!!!

Water demand has started to exceed supply. In the future the adequate supply of water will become more and more of an important issue.And yet you have 1000,s of litres of it hitting your roof and running into the ground every year from the sky!Rainwater harvesting is simply collecting rain which falls onto properties, then storing it and using it as a free resource.
The advantages of rainwater harvesting are:

  • Save up to 70% on your water bills every year

  • Constant flow of rainwater even in a power cut

  • No pump noise with our system

  • Beat any hose pipe bans the water is yours to use as you wish

  • Gains Eco-homes rating points for your property

  • Clean flush option 

  • Rainwater is better for your garden as it has a balanced ph and is free of chemicals such as chlorine.

  • Helps reduce flooding in the area you live in

  • Helps you sleep soundly as you help reduce demand on the planets resources.

 Rain is considered in some of the renewable energy but now the situation changing.Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I'm about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials,that rain belongs to someone else.Read full story.

Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have developed a new "super sock" technology that helps to prevent pollution from flowing down storm drains and back into water supplies. These socks wrap around storm drains and trap pollutants like pesticides, heavy metals and petroleum products from making their way into oceans and rivers.

Published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, the study on these socks found that these compost-filled mesh tubes remove most of the clay, silt and other particles that are present in surface waters.To know more about storm water pollution and to read full story click here

How to Get Blood in Emergency!!

Now it has become easier to get the blood we need. 

All you have to do is just type "BLOOD and send SMS to 96000 97000" (in India ) 



So please pass this message to all. It certainly would save many lives. 

It's a Must to Know & Share. Do it now.... 

Forward this to all your friends whom you care the minute you spare to share this information can save somebody's life with rare Blood Group !  
                                                                               --Sent bySanjeeve Batra

Monday, July 26, 2010

Combat training

U.S. Sailors assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 9 clear a building during a Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) integrated exercise in San Diego, Calif., July 13, 2010. The exercise provides NECC personnel with realistic combat training in preparation for upcoming deployments. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Carmichael Yepez, U.S. Navy/Released)

Chemical Battalion

Click to download the publication quality image in a new window.U.S. Soldiers from the 457th Chemical Battalion sponge off their level A protective suits after a simulated nuclear detonation scenario at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana July 19, 2010, during exercise Vibrant Response 10.2. Vibrant Response is a U.S. Northern Command training event for the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield-explosives (CBRNE) consequence management response force. The exercise focuses on Department of Defense support of civil authorities in response to a catastrophic CBRNE incident. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence, U.S. Air Force/Released)

Prepare to load an AGM-84D Harpoon missile

Click to download the publication quality image in a new window. U.S. Navy aviation ordnancemen assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 prepare to load an AGM-84D Harpoon missile onto the wing of a P-3C Orion aircraft in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, July 14, 2010. Air crews assigned to VP-47 launched Harpoons and other ordnance during a sinking exercise as part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercises. RIMPAC is a biennial, multinational exercise designed to strengthen regional partnerships and improve interoperability. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Meagan E. Klein, U.S. Navy/Released)

Iraqi soldiers with the Bomb Disposal Company

Iraqi soldiers with the Bomb Disposal Company, 9th Iraqi Army Disposal, assisted by a U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team, place C4 plastic explosives on unexploded ordnance for disposal outside Bassami, Iraq, July 13, 2010. The Iraqi Bomb Disposal Company, which is supported and guided by U.S. Soldiers with 725th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, 441st EOD Battalion, Task Force Troy, were tasked with destroying unexploded ordnance found in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (DoD photo by Pfc. Gary Silverman, U.S. Army/Released)

During a memorial service

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak, commander of the 20th Engineer Battalion, delivers remarks during a memorial service on Forward Operating Base Mogensen in Afghanistan July 17, 2010, for four fallen Service members. The service was held to honor Sgt. Zachary Fisher and Spcs. Chase Stanley, Jesse Reed and Matthew Johnson. The Soldiers, who were all attached to the 20th Engineer Battalion, were killed in a roadside explosion July 14, 2010, while conducting a route clearance mission. (DoD photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jeremy L. Wood, U.S. Navy/Released)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spouse Jobs Program to Relaunch in October

By Elaine Wilson of American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON: The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program will resume Oct. 25, but with some significant changes to the popular spouse employment program, a defense official announced today. Video

Changes include a reduction in the amount of financial aid, a change in the population eligible to receive that aid – from all military spouses to spouses of junior servicemembers -- and more robust counseling services.

These changes bring the program, commonly known as MyCAA, back to its original intent of equipping military spouses of junior servicemembers with portable careers, such as in real estate or health care, Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said. The program was launched in November 2007 for spouses of junior servicemembers, and was expanded to all pay grades and programs of study in March 2009.

"We're trying to empower, to give spouses in particular, an opportunity to be immediately impactful as soon as they get into a community," Stanley said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service. "We want to make sure they have opportunities to work when they get to a new duty station."

Officials temporarily halted the program Feb. 16, pending a top-to-bottom review, after an enrollment surge overwhelmed the system and caused the program to nearly reach its budget threshold. In March, with the review still under way, officials resumed the program for the more than 136,000 spouses who already had established an account.

The review took time, but officials wanted to ensure they could sustain the program for the long-term, particularly in light of fiscal realities the government is facing, Stanley said.

"We want to help people be employed, but at the same time we have to be cost conscious," he said.

The aim is to sustain the program, he said. "We don't want to start it and stop it. This is something we want to continue because it's important to take care of our families and our spouses."

The previous program offered all spouses of active duty servicemembers a lifetime benefit of $6,000 to be used for education purposes.

Under the new parameters, spouses of junior servicemembers can apply for a maximum financial benefit of $4,000 for up to three years from the start date of the first class, with a $2,000 annual cap, Stanley explained. Spouses pursuing licenses or certifications requiring an up-front fee of greater than $2,000 may apply for a waiver of the annual cap up to the maximum benefit of $4,000, he added.

Financial aid will be limited to spouses of active duty servicemembers in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2, Stanley said, as well as the spouses of activated Guard and Reserve members within those ranks. Spouses of Guard and Reserve members must be able to start and complete their courses while their sponsor is on Title 10 orders, he added.

Those spouses eligible to receive aid can use the money to fund associate's degrees, licenses and certification programs, not higher degrees. The program wasn't intended to support bachelor's and master's degrees, Stanley said. However, he added, spouses pursuing higher degrees can explore a plethora of other education opportunities -- such as scholarships, federal grants and the G.I. Bill -- with help from Military OneSource consultants.

"The counseling piece is probably the most important, and pivotal, part of this program," he said in a roundtable discussion with reporters today.

Spouses currently enrolled in the program can continue their participation through Oct. 21, when MyCAA will ramp down and prepare for the Oct. 25 launch. As of Oct. 25, those spouses who fall within the eligible pay grades can continue their program participation. Spouses who no longer are eligible for financial aid still can participate by accessing career and education counseling services, Stanley said.

"There are still opportunities," he said. "This one program is just one small part of the overall equation of taking care of our family members. It's an important part, but it's a small part."

To fund the program, officials have budgeted about $210 million for 2010 with an increase to $250 million for 2011 due to an expected spike in enrollments, Stanley said. For future years, officials are estimating a budget of about $190 million per year.

To ensure the vitality of the program, Military OneSource counselors will encourage spouses to explore other funding resources, including federal benefits. And staffing levels have been increased to handle the anticipated call volume and enable more one-on-one counseling with spouses, Stanley said. Officials also will monitor the program much closer now to ensure they can maintain it, he added.

The program became "wildly popular" before, mainly through word of mouth, Stanley said. People heard about the program and immediately recognized it was a good deal.

And "It's still a good deal," he said. "We always tend to look at the glass as half empty. We are doing the best we can with what we have – I wish we had a lot more money, but we don't -- but this glass is still half full." 

(Issued on :July 20, 2010)

Spouses can learn more about MyCAA on Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647 or
Biographies: Clifford L. Stanley 
Related Sites: Military OneSource MyCAA Website 
Related Articles: Defense Department Pauses Spouse Employment Program 
Gates Reviews Military Spouse Career Program 

An all hands call

U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answers questions during an all hands call with soldiers assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud, South Korea, July 21, 2010. Mullen is in South Korea with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to particpate in counterpart talks underscoring the alliance between the two nations. DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley 

Read more detail

Upcoming vote: Stop sexual violence against Native women

Amnesty International USA: TAKE ACTION NOW!
A critical vote aiming to crack down on sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women could happen as early as tomorrow!
Tell your Representative to support the human rights of Native American and Alaska Native women.

Dear Rector,

We are hearing from our sources on Capitol Hill that a critical vote on the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) could happen as early as tomorrow!

At the beginning of this month, the Senate voiced its support for addressing the horrific rates of sexual violence perpetrated against Native American and Alaska Native women – overwhelmingly voting in favor of the Act. Now this same piece of legislation will be voted on by the House and we need to guarantee its passage.

Currently, Native women face a complex jurisdictional maze of federal, state and tribal laws that allows for crimes of rape and sexual violence to go unpunished and unabated. It has resulted in countless cases of rape and sexual violence falling through the cracks.

Now it's up to us to convince at least two-thirds of House members that this cycle of impunity has got to stop. 

Send an urgent email and ask your Representative to help stop violence against Native American and Alaska Native women.

We're so close. This is the final step before President Obama can sign this bill into law. But first, we need you to speak up and tell your Representatives that this cycle of violence won’t end unless we take action now!

Thanks for your support,
Rachel, Cristina, Angie and the rest of the Stop Violence against Women team

 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Take ActionDonateBlog

Monday, July 19, 2010

Amphibious Ready Group

Click to download the publication quality image in a new window.U.S. Sailors assigned to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) maneuver a rigid-hull inflatable boat during visit, board, search and seizure training in the Atlantic Ocean July 16, 2010. Carter Hall is part of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group, which is participating in a composite unit training exercise off the East Coast. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristin L. Grover, U.S. Navy/Released)

Use compasses

Click to download the publication quality image in a new window. Guatemalan marines use compasses to find predetermined points in a field during a U.S. Marine Corps subject matter expert exchange in Guatemala July 16, 2010, in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010. SPS is a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kim Williams, U.S. Navy/Released)

A low cost aerial delivery system

Click to download the publication quality image in a new window.U.S. Air Force Staff Sgts. Ryan Grubaugh and Josue Balbas move a low cost aerial delivery system (LCADS) bundle into the cargo compartment of a C-130J Hercules aircraft at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan July 16, 2010. The Airmen are both aerial porters deployed to the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron and the aircraft is assigned to the 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. LCADS bundles are designed to provide supplies to remote forward operating bases in a timely, safe and cost-efficient manner. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Chisholm, U.S. Air Force/Released)

Dismounted patrol in Qalat City

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clarence Washington, a squad leader with Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, provides security during a combined dismounted patrol in Qalat City, Afghanistan, July 18, 2010. (DoD photo by Senior Airman Nathanael Callon, U.S. Air Force/Released)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Closer to freedom. More fragile than ever

Go the last mile for Filep and other human rights defenders with a gift to Amnesty International.
Filep Karma is closer than ever to being released from prison, but his health is deteriorating. We’re running out of time.
Go the last mile for Filep and other human rights defenders with a gift to Amnesty International.

Dear Rector,

We’re getting closer to securing the release of Filep Karma, and need your help to go the final mile.

The good news is that fellow Indonesian prisoner of conscience Yusak Pakage was released from prison earlier this month. 

Soon after his release, Yusak sent us a warm message of thanks and added:

"[This message is] from someone who has suffered and who now smiles again thanks to Amnesty."

The power of these words says it all. Yet as Yusak celebrates freedom, Filep suffers with urgent health problems in an abusive, squalid prison in West Papua. Indonesian authorities have delayed his travel to Jakarta for treatment.

While we've made significant progress in gathering support for a Congressional resolution condemning Indonesia's imprisonment of peaceful political activists, more support is needed.

Filep's freedom - and possibly his life - are on the line.
Freedom for Filep!
Fellow prisoner of conscience Yusak Pakage was released in July. Help us ensure that Filep Karma's freedom is soon to follow.
Donate Now!

Support our work and give hope to Filep and other prisoners of conscience in Indonesia. 

We hear time and again from former prisoners of conscience how grateful they were to have Amnesty on their side. Your messages of hope buoy them through unimaginably grim circumstances.

It's your financial support that makes this lifesaving work possible. Amnesty succeeds, and perseveres, because of your steadfast commitment to human rights.

Let's keep the human rights victories coming. Make a gift to Amnesty International and support our life-saving human rights work.


Michael O'Reilly
Senior Campaign Director, Individuals at Risk
Amnesty International USA

Donate now
Please watch it:Prisoners of Conscience