PRETTY GIRL BARRY O SIGNED THE RENEWAL OF THE USA PATRIOT ACT WHILE IN FRANCE.
SAID CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O, "THE PATRIOT ACT MAKES A GIRL LIKE ME GET ALL ITCHY IN HER LADY PARTS. NOW EXCUSE ME, I HAVE TO GO SHOP FOR NEW PANTIES."
CRITICS NOTE THE PATRIOT ACT GOES AGAINST THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND THE BASIC ROOTS OF DEMOCRACY. OBSERVERS NOTE THAT BARRY O APPEARED TO BE WEARING A THONG.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
"M. President, I come to the floor today to honor and commemorate the men and women who died fighting for our great country.
"Memorial Day is a day to honor those American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
"It's because of their sacrifice that we can safely enjoy the freedoms our great country offers. And it is because of their unmatched commitment that America can remain a beacon for democracy and freedom throughout the world.
"M. President, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but also a day for reflection. When our brave men and women volunteered to protect our nation, we promised them that we would take care of them and their families when they return home.
"On this Memorial Day, we need to ask ourselves, are we doing enough for our nation's veterans?
"Making sure our veterans can find jobs when they come home is an area where we could do more.
"For too long, we have been investing billions of dollars training our young men and women to protect our nation, only to ignore them when they come home.
"For too long, we have patted them on the back and pushed them into the job market with no support. This is simply unacceptable, and it doesn't meet the promise we made to our servicemembers.
"M. President, our hands-off approach has left us with an unemployment rate of over 27% among young veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"That is over one in five of our nation's heroes who can't find a job to support their family, and who don't have an income to provide the stability that is so critical to their transition home.
"That's why earlier this month I introduced the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, which was cosponsored by 17 senators and garnered bipartisan support.
"This legislation will rethink the way we support our men and women in uniform when they come home looking for jobs.
"I introduced this critical legislation because I've heard first-hand from so many veterans that we haven't done enough to provide them with the support they need to find work.
"I've heard from medics who return home from treating battlefield wounds who can't get certifications to be an EMT or to drive an ambulance. And I've even had veterans tell me that they no longer write that they're a veteran on their resume because they fear the stigma they believe employers attach to the invisible wounds of war.
"These stories are as heartbreaking as they are frustrating. But more than anything they're a reminder that we have to act now.
"M. President, my bill would allow our servicemembers to capitalize on their service.
"For the first time, it would require broad job skills training for everyone leaving the military as part of the military's Transition Assistance Program. Today, nearly one-third of those leaving the Army don't get this training.
"My bill would also require the Department of Labor to take a hard look at what military skills and training should be translatable into the civilian sector, and will work to make it simpler to get the licenses and certification our veterans need.
"All of these are real, substantial steps to put our veterans to work. All of them come at a pivotal time for our economic recovery and our veterans.
"M. President, I grew up with the Vietnam War, and I have dedicated much of my Senate career helping to care for the veterans we left behind at that time.
"The mistakes we made then have cost our nation and our veterans dearly. Today we risk repeating those mistakes.
"We can't let that happen again. Our nation's veterans are disciplined, team players who have proven they can deliver under pressure like no one else.
"M. President, let's not let another year, and another Memorial Day, go by without us delivering for them.
"Thank you. I yield the floor."
Committee Chair Patty Murray: I know that VA and DoD have big challenges facing them: servicemembers and veterans continue to take their own lives at an alarming rate, wait times for benefits continue to drag on for an average of a year or far more, and the quality of prosthetic care continues to be inconsistent between the Departments. Now, in some instances, DoD and VA have come to the table to make headway on these issues, and they should be commended for that. But we still have work to do. In fact, sometimes it is the simplest fixes that for some reason the two Departments cannot come together on. A good example of this is the Traumatic Extremity Injuries and Amputation Center of Excellence that was mandated to move forward on October 14th, 2008. This new center was supposed to be a place where best practices could be shared and a resitry of these injuries could begin. But here we are two and a half years later -- and we have not seen any substantial movement toward the creation of this center. When I asked Secretary Lynn last week what progress had been made he could not provide an answer. This is unacceptable. But as our witnesses' testimony today will show, this is unfortunately not the only area where we need better medical collaboration. We have a lot of work to do to ensure that each Department knows what the other is providing to our service members and veterans. [. . .] Today, we will also further discuss the efforts to exand and improve mental health care. We do not need the courts to tell us that much more can and should be done to relieve the invisble wouds of war. Although some steps have been taken, the stigma against mental health issues continue within the military and VA care is still often too difficult to access. This had had a tragic impact. Last month, VA's Veternas Crisis Line had the most calls ever recorded in a single month -- more than 14,000. That means that every day last month, more than 400 calls were received. While it is heartening to know that these calls for help are being answered, it is a sad sign of the desperation and difficulties our veterans face that there are so many in need of a lifeline. I look forward to speaking with all of our witnesses about this most pressing issue.
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