CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O, DESPERATE FOR NEW HEADLINES, IS REFASHIONING HIMSELF. CAROLINE JAMIESON WROTE TO BARRY SEEKING HELP WITH HER HUSBAND HERVE FONKOU TAKEOULO'S IMMIGRATION STATUS AND THE WHITE HOUSE DISPATCHED FEDERAL AGENTS TO THE WOMAN'S HOME TO HAUL OFF HER HUSBAND IN HAND CUFFS.
REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS, BARRY O EXPLAINED, "SNITCH IS THE NEW ROCK STAR. SNITCH IS THE OCCUPATION FOR THE 2010s, TRUST ME. AND I WANTED TO GET IN ON THE CRAZE. IT'S A HOT-HOT PROFESSION AND OH-SO-SEXY. HAVE YOU SEEN ADRIAN LAMO? HE'S SO SEXY, I'D GO DOWN ON HIM UNTIL HIS PUBES TICKLED MY NOSE. THERE'S NOTHING HOTTER THAN A SNITCH! YOU KNOW MICHELLE'S MAMA CHEATED ON HER TAXES. I'M THINKING OF TURNING HER IN TOO!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
AKAKA AND BIPARTISAN COMMITTEE MEMBERS URGE INCREASED VA/DOD COORDINATION FOR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Senators call for specific actions from Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to the secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs sent yesterday, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and a bipartisan group of Veterans' Affairs and Armed Services committee members urged stronger coordination and better follow up on traumatic brain injury (TBI).
"For the past nine years we have been a nation at war, and traumatic brain injury has become the signature wound. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have taken commendable steps to understand and treat TBI, but they must improve collaboration and share what they have learned. Veterans and their families should not have to wait nearly a decade for the government to adapt to the needs of the wounded," said Akaka.
The Senators called for specific improvements from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, including:
- Prompt action to finalize and implement DOD's draft policy mandating evaluation and rest periods for individuals with TBI, and to ensure that existing policies are being adhered to by each military service branch;
- Action to ensure documentation of TBI and follow-up during Post-Deployment Health Assessments and Reassessments;
- Expedited establishment of DOD centers of excellence for military eye injuries, and for hearing loss and amputations;
- Quicker progress to make VA/DOD collaboration and data transfers more robust, comprehensive, and seamless; and
- Making full use of authority granted by Congress for VA to partner with state, local, and community providers to improve access to care and reduce the burden on veterans receiving treatment for TBI, and their family members.
Last month, the Veterans' Affairs Committee held an oversight hearing on the state of care for troops and veterans suffering from TBI. In January 2008, Congress passed provisions authored by Chairman Akaka and approved by the Veterans' Affairs Committee to reform VA/DOD collaboration and care related to TBI as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Akaka continues to work with committee members and others to ensure effective implementation.
To view the letter, click here: LINK
Communications Director and Legislative Assistant
U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Chairman
In addition, Wednesday the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing which Chair Akaka brought to order noting, "Today we will discuss VA health care in rural areas. Rural settings are some of the most difficult for VA and other government agencies to deliver care. I beieve, and I know many of my colleagues on this Committee share the view, that we must utilize all the tools at our disposal in order to provice access to care and services for veterans in rural and remote locations." We covered the first panel in Wednesday's snapshot and we'll grab the second panel now. The second panel was made up of Brig Gen Deborah McManus, Yuckon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation's Dan Winkelman, the VA's William Schoenhard, the VA's Verdie Bowen and Dr. Robert Jesse (Dr. Jesse also appeared on the first panel). This section of the hearing was chaired by Alaska Senator Mark Begich. Verdie Bowen explained that it could be difficult getting veterans to register for the programs and Dan Wikelman noted obstacles for rural areas including access to basic services and the cost of them. As Brig Gen McManus noted, there are areas in Alaska that, forget the internet, do not even have phone service.
Mr. EDWARD COLLEY: I'm Ed Colley. I'm the father of Stephen Colley, Private First Class, United States Army. Stephen committed suicide three years ago in May of 2007.
TARABAY: The last time Colley saw his son was at a family gathering in April 2007. Stephen, a helicopter mechanic, had been back in the country for about five months since a tour in Iraq. Colley says Stephen was detached. He spent the days watching cartoons. He fought with his wife.
Mr. COLLEY: He had texted his wife that suicide was an option. She immediately called the appropriate folks at the base, but Stephen - unfortunately in this case, Stephen was a very, very smart boy. And he had figured out how to make sure that nobody else would interfere with his plan.
TARABAY: The plan was to overdose on medication and then hang himself from a tree. He was 22 years old. The military ruled his death a suicide. But for Edward Colley the hardest thing about his son's death is he believes it could've been prevented. The day before he killed himself, Stephen Colley took an Army mental health assessment - multiple choice questions, including some about intent to harm yourself. There were four possible answers.
Mr. COLLEY: And he picked the most severe, that he was thinking about committing suicide more than half the time.
TARABAY: And instead of acting on that information, the social worker who did Stephen Colley's assessment put him down for a sleep study in three weeks' time. The Army's own investigation said the established procedures failed to address his mental condition.
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