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The First Lady Announces New Funding for Military Families

First Lady Michelle Obama attends the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon at Bolling Air Force Base January 26, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama announces that the President’s 2011 budget will include a record $8.8 billion for military family support programs in remarks to the Joint Armed Forces Officers’ Wives’ Luncheon.

She discussed new support for military spouses and children to be included in the upcoming budget:

  • Increasing funds for military family support programs
  • Reducing shortages in military child care
  • Increasing funds for youth programs for military children
  • Increasing funds for spousal career development
  • New funding for quality Coast Guard housing

The First Lady called for Americans to support military families and thanked the spouses and children for their service to their communities. “You put your own priorities aside. You take care of one another. You take care of America. And as First Lady, I can’t thank you all enough and I promise you that I will use every ounce of my being to make sure that America always takes care of you.”

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The Right Time To Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Is Now by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Posted by Audiegrl

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Daily Kos/Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—Since 1994, almost 13,000 gay servicemen and women have been discharged from the military based not on their performance but on their sexual orientation. In 2009 alone, we’ve had more than 400 of our brave men and women leave the military under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This is simply unacceptable. It is time to repeal this outdated and immoral policy once and for all and end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly and honestly in our armed forces.

To that end, I’ve secured the commitment from Senator Carl Levin, Chair of the Armed Services Committee, to hold the first hearing on the policy since it began 16 years ago. Chairman Levin expects to hold the hearing soon and it’s my hope that it will be instrumental in demonstrating the level of support that exists for repeal not only throughout the country — where polls consistently indicate that solid majorities oppose the policy — but within the military itself.

I’m happy to see that, as the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing approaches, there are signs of momentum building toward repeal.

On September 24, Majority Leader Harry Reid sent letters to the President and Secretary Gates reiterating his support for repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and requesting their recommendations to Congress on the policy. I agree with Senator Reid. I know the President opposes DADT, and I am confident he and his Administration will work to engage Congressional and military leaders in this debate.

donataskdonttellThen, just last week, an article was published in the Joint Force Quarterly — a publication considered to be the scholarly journal of the Pentagon and released by the Joint Chiefs — that goes beyond addressing just Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but overtly calls for a repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the US military. In the article, Air Force Colonel Om Prakash writes:

After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly. Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.

It’s heartening to see such a strong statement coming from the top levels of the military. Not only did this article appear in a publication published by the Pentagon, but it was written by a man currently working under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and was reviewed by the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen. Supporters of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell often cite the lack of support for repeal among the top levels of the military. With this article, those leaders are sending a clear signal that that’s simply not the case.

Then, yesterday, the New York Times published an editorial in which they cited the Joint Force Quarterly article and called for a reversal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Read more of the diary @ dailykoslogosmall

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Pentagon Airs Criticism of ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ in Journal Article: Backs Gay Troops, May Signal Brass Open to Debate

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Pentagon Airs Criticism of ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ in Journal Article: Backs Gay Troops, May Signal Brass Open to Debate

Posted by TheLCster

Joint Force Quarterly Magazine, Issue 55,  4th Quarter

Joint Force Quarterly Magazine, Issue 55, 4th Quarter

Boston Globe/Bryan Bender—An article in the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal calls in unambiguous terms for lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, arguing that the military is essentially forcing thousands of gay men and women to lead dishonest lives in an organization that emphasizes integrity as a fundamental tenet.

The article in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, which is published for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was written by an Air Force colonel who studied the issue for months while a student at the National Defense University in Washington and who concludes that having openly gay troops in the ranks will not hurt combat readiness.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs’ “flagship’’ security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military.

While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journal’s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nation’s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published.

“After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,’’ writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. “Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.’’

More @ bostonglobelogo

related story: Sen. Reid Letter Appeals Directly To Obama: “Help Us Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Full Text here:: Sen. Reid’s Letter to President Obama

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Senator Ted Kennedy’s Letter to President Obama

Posted by Audiegrl

President Obama and his friend Senator Ted Kennedy

President Obama and his friend Senator Ted Kennedy

In what many are saying was President Obama’s most powerful speech yet, the President ended his speech on Health Care Reform by telling viewers about a letter he received from Senator Ted Kennedy. The letter was to be delivered to the President after the Senators death. Many viewers were touched by the sentiments in the letter, and members of both Congress and the Senate were seen wiping their eyes. Below is the text of the letter referenced by President Obama in last night’s address to a Joint Session of Congress.

May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.

There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat – that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.

And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes, we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.

In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign- and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.

So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend- and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.

At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.

And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

With deep respect and abiding affection,

Ted

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