Thursday, November 15, 2018


In This Issue: November 13, 2018

November 14 at the National Archives: Remembering Vietnam

 As part of a week-long schedule of activities to celebrate and honor Vietnam veterans, on Wednesday, November 14, at 2:00 pm, at the William G. McGowan Theater, former Senator and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will deliver remarks for a program on support and resources for Vietnam veterans.

Expert panelists include Rick Weidman, ED for Policy and Government Affairs for VVA, and Dr. Linda Schwartz, VVA Special Advisor.
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Vietnam War Veterans' Kids Say Agent Orange Impact 'a Nightmare'

As reported November 12 by Beatrice Peterson for ABC News, More than 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, children of the men and women who served say they are battling a new war for benefits as they grapple with the impact of toxic exposure which has wreaked havoc on their lives.

November 15: National Academies Veterans and Agent Orange Report Update 11

The release of the National Academies report Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018) will take place at 11am EST on Thursday, November 15, 2018. This update— the result of our years-long grassroots effort which resulted in the passage of the Toxic Exposure Research Act on December 16, 2016—includes the panel’s opinion of the feasibility to study the generational health effect of military toxic exposures. Copies of the report will be available for free download in PDF format from links found at (link only available after November 15).

A briefing on the report’s content is scheduled for November 15 from 11:00 am to noon EST at the Keck Center of the National Academies (500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001), Room 101. This briefing will also be broadcast over the web—remote participants will be able to view slides, hear the presentation, and participate in the question-and-answer session that follows.

To view the report briefing, join here or through the details below:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or iPhone one-tap :
    US: +16465588656,,552288898#  or +16699006833,,552288898# Or Telephone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
    US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 855 880 1246 (Toll Free) or +1 877 853 5257 (Toll Free)
    Meeting ID: 552 288 898
    International numbers available:

All are welcome; interested persons who are outside the Washington, DC area are encouraged to participate via the web.

Vietnam, U.S. Complete Cleanup of Toxic Chemical from Airport

Filing from Hanoi on November 7, AP reports that Vietnam and the U.S. said they have finished the cleanup of dioxin contamination at Danang airport. The 74 acres of land, cleansed of the toxic chemical, were handed over to Vietnam at a ceremony. Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh praised the U.S. government's involvement in the cleanup. "It is proof that we are opening a future of good cooperation between the governments of Vietnam and the United States," Vinh said. "Today marks the day that Danang airport is no longer known as a dioxin hotspot, the day that Danang people can be assured that their health will not be destroyed by chemicals left over from the war."

VA Returns Medical Professionals Currently Serving Unions to Serving Veterans

On November 8, the VA announced it will be moving nearly 430 medical professionals from taxpayer-funded union work back to healthcare jobs serving veterans. The move will take effect Nov. 15, when VA repudiates certain provisions of master collective bargaining agreements VA accepted during the Obama administration with the following unions: American Federation of Government Employees, National Federation of Federal Employees, National Association of Government Employees, and National Nurses United.

VA Secretary Expects Budget Increase despite Trump’s Order to Slash Spending

As reported November 9 by Eric Katz for Government Executive, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie expects his agency will see its largest budget ever in 2020, despite a request from President Trump for all agencies to slash spending by 5 percent.

“I Am Not Invisible” Photography Project Spotlights Women Veterans

Women veterans make up ten percent of the veteran population and total roughly two million women veterans. The "I Am Not Invisible" Photography Project aims to instill their joy, professionalism, and service in each photo.
Watch Video &

AARP: Operation Protect Veterans

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is working with the US Postal Inspection Service to raise awareness of common scams that target America’s military veterans, and as such, is asking that if you encounter suspicious emails, phone calls, or mailings targeting military veterans, you report them to or 1-855-800-9023. You can take a picture with your phone or tablet and email it, or call the toll-free number and leave detailed information about the solicitation. You don’t need to have absolute proof that an offer is fraud to report it.
More Information...

Enormous Solar Storm Caused Hidden US Bombs to Detonate During Vietnam War

As reported by Chris Ciaccia for Fox News, the Vietnam War may have been one of the most unpopular wars in U.S. history, but the massive solar event that took place in August 1972, towards the end of the war, may have caused a greater impact than the government let on. According to a new study published in the journal Space Weather, the enormous solar storm may have actually caused old sea mines to detonate unintentionally.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Memories from the last half of the last century.......Feel old?

I added some comments at the bottom.  Some memories, some political commentary.

Black and White

(Under age 45? You won't understand.)

You could hardly see for all the snow,

Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.

'Good Night, David .

Good Night, Chet.'

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would

Have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool

(talk about boring), no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option... Even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention.

We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. – Trophies were only given to the Champions, sometimes 2nd and 3rdbut no Participant trophies.

I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

Oh yeah... And where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked.

We also played other rough full contact games without pads like “Kill the guy with the Ball’, Tackle Town, British Bulldog, Capture the Flag and Buck-Buck We got lots  of scrapes and cuts, that is for sure.

Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $99 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either; because if we did we got our butt spanked there and then we got our butt spanked again when we got home, often with a belt or a paddle.

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off.

Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house.

Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a jerk It was a neighborhood run a muck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family.

How could we possibly have known that?

We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes.

We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even

notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive?


Pass this to someone and remember that life's most simple pleasures are very often the very best

I recall cutting lawns in the neighborhood with our push mower for a small income that kept my bicycle in intertubes that were not all patches.  Then my Father threatened to charge me rent on the tools he had to fix now and then.   Now I have to hire a landscape guy to do this task and it sometimes gets done as needed even through the language barrier.   Mine has a new and very shiny pickup truck pulling his well-stocked trailer filled with all sorts of equipment and tools.  I do not mind paying for things I could do but I am retired and my wife is never happy with the condition of things.  Even after the yard guy leaves, I have to straighten things out.  But I look at this is providing honest work to those who are willing to do it.

At age 13, I got a paper route (Oakland Tribune) where I had to deliver the paper within reach of the customer at their door.  Carrying the papers in the special carrier, an over-the-shoulders canvas carrier, folding the papers neatly as I walked the route or on Sunday, putting a rubber band around it.  No plastic bags back then.  It had to be placed where the rain would not touch it. Not bad money as good service brought good tips.   Bought a bicycle (3-speed) after saving a year for it.  Now I sometimes have to pick mine up from the street from at the 0530 delivery time by some person(s) and vehicle racing around that brings up thoughts that this might be a drive-by shooting about to occur.  This must also pay well as none of the cars I see are older than mine, are usually black and quite loud.

The Black & White TV was replaced by a magical color TV with a 10 inch or so screen as there were boxing on two days a week and Pop was a fan.  It drew neighbors to our living room. Professional football back then was rare as the college game was the big thing.  Kezar Stadium in San Francisco was used by the 49ers.  A 7,000 seat venue they paid rent at.  The big college games drew from 75 to 100,000 fans.  ABC was still black and white then at Monday Night AFL Football.  Then the merger.  It made enough money for ABC to go to color.  If you remember Howard Cosell you have mostly gray hair and arthritis.

Now, a team can move into a new, large stadium supported mostly by my and my neighbor's tax dollars.  Perhaps it is moving back in that direction again.  I hope the Raiders decide to stay in Oakland.   We are spending 1 billion in road capacity enhancement in Vegas and that won't be helped by a 65,000 seat stadium right off the main traffic route through our valley.  After a big sports event here now, there is always a problem serious enough to be noted on TV.

I could watch a news program and viewed-listened to news.   Not many talking heads back then.  Now when I watch "news" on the boob tube, I sometimes substitute the people for comic book characters as every one is an expert that interviews other experts.

So I get most of my news via the internet where I can select stories of interest from some agency that still uses the printed word.  Then there are things like uTube.  Technology, in particular, the Smartphone is great stuff but is apparently affecting our citizenry with reduced attention span, distractions from tasks such as driving and walking across the street.   I was recently at a National Park in Oregon where a sign read - "Selfie Danger Area."  Apparently they lost several tourists over the edge and were trying to reduce their paperwork and body disposals.  I still see drivers apparently texting in freeway traffic.   Personally, I despise telephones of all types although I use mine to give my wife driving directions from home (although she has built-in Nav) and for computer security.  Not all tech stuff is bad.

I read where old school subjects such as cursive writing and arithmetic are being phased out in our grammar schools.  With our local schools ranking in the lower 2% of the USA, and with most administrators drawing six-figure salaries - 3 times that of our teachers - what will they teach?  I can recall the days in grammar school when an occasional new kid from somewhere foreign would show up in class.  We kids taught them English pretty fast - in class and in after-school play and sports.  Mandatory busing has probably stopped this route to learning English.  But when one sees results and costs of teaching ESL, it is apparent that something is wrong. I have often wondered how much money could be saved and that most non-native residents had to learn English as a business language and citizenship requirement.  I believe road sign and traffic laws are available in at least a dozen languages.  This may be for getting more people behind the wheel (more revenue) but I have a feeling that the deep underlying reason for not making newer residents assimilate in language is twofold.  One to garner more votes and to also keep many in that world of second-class citizens economically and socially.

I read of the Swedish approach where they pay immigrants to learn Swedish.  Not just give them handouts.  It seems to reduce their immigrant unemployment rate enough to make it worthwhile.

Lou Rothenstein <>

Wed 11/8/2017, 8:11 AM