How I Lost 12.5 Pounds & Regained My Soul

Naked, as in truth, and uncensored, I share my daily quest to survive as a woman and artist, while dealing with the complications of a full life, meddling in politics, loving my children to excess, totally permanently married and on a never-ending diet. While my soul is in constant need of repair and redemption, I struggle to do the right thing. In the meantime, let's all double the love. (Love, not sex, you fool). All posts are copyrighted material.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Senator, Patty Murray, is trying to help Vets...

Good morning, my cherished little piglets~

Senator Patty Murray has a soft spot for Veterans, as we all should, as they serve us with the greatest risk of all. Here is a snippet of testimony and updates from her emails to constituents on what she is trying to do:

"We have a lot of veterans who are coming home from serving us overseas and when they do they find themselves fighting their own government. To me that's just wrong," Murray said at a hearing of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

"For me, it's about keeping the promise to those who have served us. When I talk to my veterans at home today, they often tell me that they are forced to wait months or even years to get their claims processed. We're hearing about veterans who are getting different ratings and different benefits across the country and arbitrary limits on too many benefits."

When Murray turned to question the VA's Undersecretary for Benefits, Daniel Cooper, she expressed her concerns about bonuses paid to top VA officials.

"I am hearing from a number of our soldiers who've returned home who can't get their benefits because of a backlog at the VA. They're literally going for months without any income because of that backlog. When they hear about a senior VA official getting a bonus while they can't even get a benefit to keep them in their home or feed their family, it's pretty disturbing," Murray told Undersecretary Cooper.

On Wednesday, Senator Murray and U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA) introduced legislation to name the soon-to-be-opened VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Wenatchee after Elwood "Bud" Link.

A World War II veteran, Mr. Link had to drive 6 hours roundtrip to receive care through the VA. In 2001 VFW Post 10445 created a healthcare committee, with Bud taking the lead. The committee investigated a variety of ways to improve VA accessibility, and eventually approached Senator Murray and Rep. Hastings with their findings.

The healthcare committee, working with Murray and Hastings, began pushing for a clinic to be located in North Central Washington. Bud was instrumental in keeping the region's veterans motivated, active, and informed about how to successfully make a clinic a reality. Mr. Link championed the clinic until his death in 2003.

Today, Senator Murray said: "Bud Link dedicated his time and energy to helping other veterans, and now that the clinic he fought for is going to open, we have a chance to honor his lifetime of service." "Recognizing Bud Link's longtime commitment to hometown health care for local veterans, it is absolutely fitting to name the clinic in his honor," added Hastings.

On Wednesday, Senator Murray questioned Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the training of Iraqi security forces, the lack of progress on meeting political benchmarks, and the need to end the stigma surrounding mental health care in the military. Senator Murray also discussed training concerns with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace who was also at the hearing of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Murray also asked about the amount of progress the Iraqi government is making on meeting the political benchmarks necessary to achieve a stable democracy.

Murray asked: Have you seen any progress on the political benchmarks that have been set for the Iraqi government -on oil revenue sharing, national reconciliation, new elections...?

Gates: "Clearly it hasn't moved as far and as fast as we would like."

Gates: "We are buying them time for political reconciliation and every day we buy them we buy with American blood"

Senator Murray, who has been a national leader on caring for service members with PTSD, asked Secretary Gates about how the Department of Defense is working to ensure that troops are getting the mental health care they deserve.

"I've been very concerned because I have been hearing directly from soldiers that they feel that the effects of PTSD are being dismissed by military care providers as being 'all in their head' " Murray said. "I want your assurance today that you will make sure that is not the case?"

Senator Murray began her questioning by asking for answers on the painfully slow pace of training and equipping forces in Iraq.

"Our troops have been training forces now for more than four years in Iraq," Murray said "In your opinion where are we in having an Iraqi security force that is able to stand up on its own?"

Pace: "the current proposed size of the Iraqi army will be met by the end of this year."

It is certainly not reassuring to know that VA officials are getting huge bonuses while the average 'grunt' cannot even get post-amputee medical care, or that our forces are being denied mental health treatment, or that our soldiers have to drive huge distances for treatment as the VA 'consolidates' its treatment facilities.

As a cancer survivor, I must admit that going for radiation treatment five days a week for a few months, while I was unable to sit in the car and in agonizing pain? That was a hell of its own making. I cannot imagine what a 6 hour trip, rather than my own excruciating 25 minute trip, would have been like.

It occurs to me that one of the reasons our little bush cannot identify with those who are suffering is because he is genetically well and fit. He has probably never had even an appendix removed, and as the privileged child who failed upward, he has no ability to relate to anyone else's suffering or needs.

Okay, no matter how compassionate I would like to be? You're right, there is no excuse for bush's actions and 'leadership'.

Clark County Diva



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