Sick of Wearing a Label

The military isn’t all bad, and nor or the vets all totally disabled. It seems that some disabled vets are sick of being labeled, “disabled.”

On vet served 23 years in the military, and have bounced around eight times, between deployments. He has taken on various work assignments, which include working in the White House, at the 520th Infantry, and several other jobs, before finally retiring, due to physical limitations, including brain injury.
Dr. Daniel Amen assured Banks that it would be difficult for him to return to work again. However, Banks was not hearing that at all. Instead, he began volunteering with various projects like the Wounded Warrior Project, and several others.
His motivation to build his mental and physical state, left him emotionally charged enough to try and go back to school, and attend a sociology course. He soon dropped out of class, because he felt he was not ready mentally, to take on the task.
However, Banks was able to team up with Dog Tag Bakery, a business that help veterans like Banks, acquire workable job skills. After the completion of the course, Banks and other fellow students will earn a certificate in their area of study.
The proceeds from the bakery are actually reinvested back into the program. The proceeds pay for salaries and for small stipends for the veterans, while they are actively involved in the program. It’s a great solution to offer veterans who do not want to be labeled, “disabled.”

Keystone XL Pipeline veto remains

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline that is planned to bring crude oil from Canada’s tar sands oil fields to the Gulf of Mexico will not see a Presidential veto overturned, NPR reports. President Obama had vetoed an initial plan proposed by Republicans in Congress to avoid the long term process of investigating every aspect of the plan and making sure the ecological effects of the proposed pipeline extension was not dangerous of harmful to the environment. House Republicans had claimed they would oppose the veto, but privately admitted they did not have the votes to do so.

The latest vote on bringing down the veto was won by 62-37, but a two thirds majority is needed to overturn a Presidential veto stated Obama vetoed the bill after it was brought in to avoid the regular processes used in investigating and researching the required effects of the pipeline. Republicans have not given up hope of shortening the research period, which has currently been underway for more than six years by attaching their Keystone XL plans to a forthcoming budget bill. The keystone XL pipeline is opposed by most conservation groups, who claim its effects on the tar sands region could destroy the existing ecosystem.

Tom Rothman Named Chairman at Sony

As reported in the New York Times, Sony has officially named Tom Rothman as successor to former chairman Amy Pascal, the former studio head.

Amy Pascal was head of Sony during the hacking scandal that led to the Interview being pulled from major theaters, as well as thousands of embarrassing e-mails that were leaked during the scandal, and which included racially insensitive remarks about President Obama. In February, after weeks of speculation, she announced that she would be resigning in May, after a replacement had been hired.

Rothman is the former chief of 20th Century Fox. He was promoted from within Sony, where he had been running the newly reformed Tri-Star pictures, which is now a division of Sony. At Fox, Rothman was responsible for founding the art house cinema division Fox Searchlight Pictures, and oversaw two of the biggest box office hits during his ten year tenure, “Titanic”, and “Avatar”.

Rothman is known for holding movies to a strict budget, but he is also known for his deep love of movies an was known to host screenings of classic films on the Fox Movie Channel. It is hoped that his deep love and appreciation for films and his ability to help movies stay in budget will help bring Sony Pictures into a new era. Rothman was also chosen because of his previous relationship with the stars, producers, and directors who work for Sony.

As the successor to Pascal, Rothman will work with her for the next few months in order to ensure a smooth transition. Once she has left, he will continue to report to CEO Micheal Lynton, much as Pascal did during her tenure. It was Lynton who made the decision, along with the board to promote Rothman, and who made the announcement. Along with promoting Rothman, Lynton’s contract was extended.

Obamacare to Potentially Fail

Obamacare has been under attack really since its inception, and now, it is in front of the Supreme Court in order to determine whether certain provisions inside the health care law are fundamentally sound or not.

There is a small section inside of the law that created Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) that discusses “health exchanges”. There are arguments about this element that states the federal government is not automatized to provide any sort of federal subsidies in states that did not create state-based exchange services. 34 states did not do this, and while the Supreme Court is hearing the case now and is not expected to rule on it until sometime in May or even June, it is extremely possible for the court to rule against Obamacare due to this issue, which in turn would mean 5 million different individuals in the country would no longer be able to receive any sort of subsidies, which drastically makes the cost of healthcare more expensive, vastly more than what someone might have been paying with their original coverage.

President Obama does not think there is any sort of legal case against his health care services, at least through his talks to reports earlier in the week said many supporters on the President’s facebook page. However, there is a very real and strong chance for the Supreme Court to find the federal government is not able to provide subsidies, which will cause all sorts of problems.

Walmart’s Wage Increases Require More Work Hours to Make an Impact

Walmart, which is America’s largest employer in the private sector, is setting the pace for employee wages. Announcing that they intend on raising hourly employee wages to at least $10 per hour by next year, they have other retailers fast on their heels to keep up. However, the wage increase for many part-time employees, who receive as little as 18 hours of work weekly, represents an increase in pay of under $20 each week. The extra cash will surely be welcome, but still is not enough for many who try to support their families on part-time income.

With middle-class jobs being harder to find, it’s no longer mainly college students looking for extra pocket money, or someone wanting to supplement their spouses income, that look to retailers like Walmart for jobs. It is primary wage earners wanting to adequately support their families who have had to turn to retailers for jobs. However, in an attempt to avoid having to pay for full-time employee benefits and overtime wages, these retailers are handing out hours very sparsely and maintaining mostly part-time employees who would much rather work the additional hours. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of involuntary part-time retail workers reached 1.4 million in 2014. That’s more than double the number that was recorded only seven years earlier in 2007.

Zeca Oliveira ( knows that, if Walmart and other retailers want to retain a good work force, they need to respect the needs of their employees and begin handing out more hours. A Walmart spokesman said that they intent to explore scheduling, training and compensation changes in addition to the wage increases. Without more hours though, many feel they will not have the income they need.

Marijuana is Now Legal in Washington DC

Marijuana is now legal in Washington DC. As of midnight Wednesday it became legal for anyone over the age of 21 to be in possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana. The initiative was approved last November with over 70% voters voted in favor of allowing the drug to be legal in the state.

In addition to carrying around 2 ounces, citizens in Washington DC can also grow their own pot. The new law allows individuals to grow up to six of their own plants. When it comes ot consumption, marijuana must be smoked or consumed on private property. That means that it’s still illegal to light up in public places like parks.Congress has 30 days from today to decide if they would like to reject the bill.

Paul Mathieson has read that there is one complicated wrinkle in its plan: it’s still illegal for people to sell marijuana in the state. That means that growing your own in essentially your only option, and you’ll need to get those seeds from somewhere before you’re able to do so.

Women In China Save 1,000 Dogs

Five women who live in China have dedicated themselves to caring for well over 1,000 stray dogs in order to keep them safe from being swept up and taken to the pound.

Granted that this time of year is a special one in China as the citizens gather with their loved ones to celebrate the new year, these women work hard to tend for their beloved dogs. Marcio Alaor BMG has heard that the five of them get up in the very early hours of the morning, around 4 am or so, and start to feed their crew of their furry companions.

China is known for having very strict and somewhat harsh laws when it comes to domestic homes, and owning pets are no different. According to an article found on reddit and written by, there are even dog laws in each home that say that a household cannot have more than one dog within a certain weight along with its papers. These women have set up a large and contained yard where they keep their hundreds of dogs and with the help of donations are able to feed them all. All five of the volunteers are in between 60 and 70 years old, but are still motivated to get up each day and work long hours to take care of these animals. These women are the proof that there are still great and loving people in the world.

Retired K-9 Cop Recieves Final Guard of Honor Procession

Not only was Judge, a nine year old German Shepherd police dog, an asset to New Jersey in fighting crime, he was also a great friend. Judge and his handler, Corporal Michael Franks, went on over 280 missions, which led to the arrest of 152 people since 2007. The K-9 cop also aided in seizing over $47,000, three automobiles and three handguns during his service to the community.

Due to problems with Judge’s teeth however, Franks was compelled to place Judge on mandatory retirement in 2013. In another heartbreaking turn in health, Judge was diagnosed last June with Cushing’s disease, which is caused by a tumor, or excess growth, of the pituitary gland. Paul Mathieson has heard that testicular cancer was also found in Judge during one of his many treatments for the disease he suffered. More on Mathieson is available on 

Because of Judge’s quickly failing health, Franks had to make the painful decision to euthanize his partner and friend last week. Walking alongside his companion, Judge carried his training sleeve one last time past a Guard of Honor procession of fellow officers, human and K-9 alike. Nearly 100 people showed up to pay their final respects to Judge as he made his way to the Swedesboro Animal Hospital. West Deptford deputy chief Sean McKenna commented to saying, “Judge was a great dog, a really good dog.” Rest in peace Judge, and thank you for your dedicated service. You will be missed.

Turkey Relocates Historic Tomb Within Syria as ISIS Fighters Draw Near


According to my friend Ray Lane, Turkey has sent a small expeditionary force to relocate a historic tomb that was located within Syria. The tomb was the burial place of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, who is considered to be the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The tomb, with its relics is considered to be of great historical importance and a source of national pride for the Turkish people.

On Saturday February, 21st hundreds of Turkish forces in armored personal carriers and several tanks entered Syria through the border town of Kobani. The town of Kobani was the site of a several months long battle between Kurds and ISIS. The Kurds triumphed in the end but the city had been almost completely destroyed and countless lives had been lost.

After entering Syria through Kobani under the cover of the night the Turkish force moved to the site of the tomb. The tomb has long been considered to be official Turkish territory despite being within Syria since a French and Turkish treaty signed in 1921. The tomb, and the soldiers who were guarding it had been successfully relocated to a town near the Turkish border in Syria. The mausouleum housing the tomb had been destroyed after the evacuation. Turkish military forces now stand guard over the tomb in a new location that is under the control of the Turkish army.

ISIS had been rapidly advancing towards the area housing the tomb and have said they would destroy it. Not taking any chances, the Turkish PM ordered the operation which had been carried out successfully. Despite fighting occurring right on its border, Turkey has failed to take any military action against ISIS. The country has come under criticism for failing to take action against ISIS as Kobani was besieged. This latest operation, interestingly has been considered an act of aggression by the Assad regime still in control of Syria.

Kangaroos, Koalas, and Glow-in-the-Dark Ice Cream

Australia is the home of kangaroos, koalas, and glow-in-the-dark ice cream. Melbourne-based company 196 Below is now making ice cream that glows in neon colors. 196 Below already specialized in ice cream that was quick-cooled with liquid nitrogen, which gave their frozen treats a creamier texture and fresher flavor. Now they are adding fluorescein, an ultra-violet reactive liquid coloring to their ice cream. The additive has been certified as safe for human consumption by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and Imaging advantage, the Australian equivalent of the USA’s Food and Drug Administration. Fluorescein is a chemical compound which glows under ultra-violet light and is normally used for tracing blood flow in medical diagnosis.

The glow-in-the-dark ice cream is dairy free and vegan, which means by US standards it is technically a frozen dessert rather than ice cream. It is currently available in three flavors: raspberry, mango-passionfruit, and pine lime. If popular, 196 Below’s co-owners Glenn Storey and Steve Felice may add more flavors to their glowing repertoire. The glow-in-the-dark frozen treat was created for Melbourne’s White Night Festival. To show the ice cream to its best advantage, the 196 Below cart was decorated with UV black light floodlights.