Saturday, May 10, 2014

This is a map of the highest paid public employee in every state.

The Perfect Storm

Does anyone actually believe the one man that was absolutely correct about Iraq is going to abandon veterans for a cushy salary?

The backlog was the result of a perfect storm of circumstances that flooded the VA with benefits claims like the storm surge from a category four hurricane:

1 . A rapidly aging population, many of whom are wartime veterans

Baby Boomers 

2. More veterans requiring need-based benefits due to weak economy 

3. A massive influx of younger veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

4. Obsolete, paper based tracking system

5. A 1973 fire at the National Archives that destroyed up to 18 million veteran’s military records

VA officials made statements about their commitment to reduce the backlog, but heavy skepticism surrounded their ability to do so.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a nationwide system of health care services and benefits programs for America’s Veterans.Through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA),VA provides health care to approximately 5 million Veterans annually. VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system with more than 1,400 sites of care, including hospitals, community clinics, nursing homes, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and various other facilities. VA health care facilities provide a broad spectrum of medical, surgical,and rehabilitative care....
There are only 50 states and few territories. Hello?

...VA manages the largest medical education and health professions training program in the United States and maintains affiliations with more than 107 medical schools, 55 dental schools and more than 1,200 other schools across the country. Each year, about 90,000 health professionals are trained in VA medical centers. More than half of the physicians practicing in the United States had some of their professional education in the VA health care system....

I think the VA is doing a great job and getting stronger and more efficient everyday. While there may be issues with some employees and agencies, that can be found in any large system. It is called ethics and when ethics means nothing the system breaks down and our veterans suffer.

There is a provision in the standards at the Veteran's Administration allowing physicians to refer a veteran to a private concern for treatment if there is not enough resources at the time to treat them.

Authorizations and Referrals (click here)

...To ensure that VA pays for the appropriate care needed, services should always be preauthorized, except in the case of an emergency. This process helps to ensure that the Veteran, provider,and VA know what care VA is responsible for providing. If a Veteran is being treated at a VA medical facility or is under the jurisdiction of a VA provider and the provider determines that the Veteran needs care that is not available in the VA medical facility, VA is responsible for obtaining and paying for that care.Veterans cannot self-refer for medical care or services....

INTAKE of veterans needing health care is vital and should be expedited at every opportunity which means 'acute' needs, such as cancer and mental health, are addressed BEFORE other non-acute needs. Veterans get their medications at far less cost than the USA general population, too. Why? Because the 'known' population in need of those medications provides advance ordering and in large amounts to reduce costs.

The VA system respects the taxpayer while providing necessary services.

WASHINGTON (Dec. 11, 2013) – At a hearing today (click here) before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison A. Hickey, outlined progress made by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) in reducing the backlog of Veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims by 36 percent since March — attributing the success to the combined impact of VBA’s transformation initiatives and increased employee productivity.

...Key accomplishments highlighted in the testimony included:

  • Decreasing the pending inventory of claims by 22 percent;
  • Decreasing the number of claims in the backlog (those pending over 125 days) by 36 percent;
  • Increasing claim-level accuracy from approximately 83 percent in 2011 to 90 percent today;
  • Increasing medical issue-level accuracy to approximately 97 percent today;
  • Completed processing of 99.9 percent of all claims that were pending over two years;
  • Completed processing of 97 percent of all claims that were pending over one year through the end of October;
  • Converting over 360 million images of paper claims documents into a digital format for electronic processing; and
  • Establishing over 3.2 million Veteran, Servicemember and family member accounts in eBenefits, the joint Defense Department/VA web portal for accessing and tracking VA benefits.
Also, VA’s web-based, paperless electronic claims processing solution, the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), was successfully deployed to all 56 of VA’s regional benefits offices across the country, six months ahead of schedule....

Interesting point. The question I have is how much of cash benefits to recipients are used for gun purchases?

Posted on 5/9/2014, 4:47:44 PM by 2ndDivisionVet

...The firearms ban (click here) is a blatant violation of the Second Amendment. Cash benefit recipients presumably have the same rights as the rest of us to purchase guns for hunting, sports shooting, or even self-defense. Obviously they don't have much money to spend on that, but they do have the right under the Second Amendment to do so.... 

I doubt he is really endorsing gun sales with cash from government subsidy programs, however, his point is valid. Once the cash is provided to recipients, the government loses control of it. I am interested in knowing how many of the poor are armed by the cash benefits of government subsidies?

Walmart gets welfare for it's employees and now so does the NRA. 

I think Arne Duncan had it right.

July 24, 2009

...Today (click here) we cross an important threshold in education reform. Today we are announcing the draft guidelines for states to apply for the $4.35 billion dollar Race to the Top fund. Today we are here to announce—and celebrate—a new Race to the Top in schoolhouses across America....

He provided an incentive for states to participate in funding that could IMPROVE their educational systems. An incentive. "Race to the Top" never dictated standards like Common Core does. It provided a venue to which states could evaluate their shortfalls and seek to change them. That is a reasonable place for the federal government to be.

I am sure he as well as President Obama endorse Common Core, but, it isn't endorsed as a imposed demand on schools.

Disclaimer: This is not meant to endorse one particular bill over an other. (click here)

And I think the states are handling it well.

The states are examining the standard and deciding whether or not they want to institute it. The states can tailor make their standards and apply them as needed. 

What bothers me more and more about this thing called "Common Core" is it's mass application. If I wanted to corporatize education for Wall Street I'd be a big supporter of Common Core. 

It isn't the place of the federal government to demand local school districts to COMPLY with a standard. It is the place for the federal government to do exactly what Secretary Duncan did and provide an opportunity for state educational departments to participate and find ways for local governments to bring improvements to their school systems. 

Get for real. We are talking children. How is a federal standard ever going to 'trickle down' to being effective at the local level?

Children learn because their teachers care about them. They learn because they have parents that engage their local school boards when their children are struggling. When the local school boards are replaced by CEOs at charter schools and/or corporate educational companies the local school boards become meaningless. 

As a standard, "Common Core" is fine for examination and application as every state and local school board reviews their CURRICULUM. But, to demand "Common Core" as the law of the land is hideous. No different than No Child Left Behind.

There was a study conducted comparing drop out rates in 1982 to 1992. The drop out rate fell by 50%. EXCEPT. For one group of students.This study was by the National Center for Education Statistics (click here).

This report (click here) examines the changing demographics of high school students over the last decade and investigates the impact these changes may have had on high school dropout rates. We show that while during the 1980s a growing number of students with characteristics traditionally associated with school failure began attending high school, at the same time, high school dropout rates decreased by almost 50 percent. These declines occurred among students with a variety of characteristics for minority and majority students, for students in intact families and non-intact families, and for students with children of their own living in their household. Many groups of students traditionally considered “at-risk” for school failure dropped out at lower rates in 1990 than in 1980. However, there were other groups of students whose dropout rates did not improve. These were students from poor families, who had histories of poor academic achievement, and who had multiple risk factors in their backgrounds. These students seem to have been left untouched by the factors that have led to lower overall dropout rates during the last 10 years.

The reason children do poorly in the USA educational system is because they don't have resources. It has absolutely nothing to do with teachers.

The USA educational system is built on PARTICIPATION. It is build on local school boards providing every advantage to the children of their town or city.

When I was being educated I was measured according to PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS set down by the people who educated the teachers. Did I make that clear?

"When I was (in my primary education) educated it was according to PROFESSIONAL standards set down by (the ethical) those that educated the teachers." In other words, teachers are professionals with knowledge of growth and development and at what age it is appropriate to teach children lessons in math, english, science and social skills. The PROFESSION of teachers knows these things. It is called TRUST and witnessing the effectiveness of our graduates that tells parents and educators they are 'spot on.' 

I took two standard tests growing up. The PSAT and the SAT. I took each once, won a state scholarship and went to college. 

The USA educational system, NO MATTER WHOM IS TEACHING IT OR HOW, falls apart when parents are not a part of it and there are no resources at the home. Why? Homework. 

My father didn't necessarily understand the new math, but, he knew he could come to understand it enough to make sure I was applying my studies correctly. He 'was interested' in how my education was progressing and while he worked in a job that did not require a college degree, he was smart enough. 

The USA adult population is falling further and further into an impoverished state, working more and more jobs to support what my Dad did with one job. When parents don't have time to 'participate' in their children's outcome, the outcome is not good. When parents aren't 'available' to provide supervision to their children, the children fall to a predatory social structure that uses them for it's own purpose.

The ONLY problem with the USA school system is poverty. Charter schools increase the poverty of educational systems and set students within them apart and superior to what the public educational system can provide. 


Parents need good wages to support their families with upward movement WITHIN IN A 40 HOUR WORK WEEK, of which my family enjoyed, so there are parents available to participate in their children's education.


The Public Education System needs to be REFUNDED to pull it out of poverty so it can actually educate every student EQUITABLY.

The USA is corporatized and the profits are amazing. But, the profits are at the cost of OUR COUNTRY'S brain trust and the quality of life of it's people.

It is so easy to be a savior of children. Now. Politicians need to be a better savior and rather than creating 'government schools' where money flows to corporations, they need to actually GOVERN!