Military Families Blog Archives
February 2008

Welcome to our Military Families Blog.

Here you'll find current items of interest to military families, including financial tips to help you deal with the money problems that are unfortunately all-too-common for military members and their families.

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Blog Archives. Some items will remain at the bottom of the blog page for more than a month. That's because they're important enough that we want new readers to find them without having to search through archives.

Support the Anti-Berkeley Campaign

Have you heard about and want to support the TV ad that Move America Forward is running this week to tell the anti-military folks in Berkeley, California, that "We're just not gonna take it any more!"?

If you haven't yet seen the ad, you can do so by clicking on the Permalink below this entry - it will take you to a page on our site with the ad displayed.

If you'd like to make a contribution to ensure this ad gets the widest distribution possible, you can contribute online here.

Or you can contribute via PayPal here.

Both links will take you to pages set up by Move America Forward to accept your contributions specifically for this ad campaign.

We need to support our Marines, and we need to let Berkeley and the rest of America know we won't allow any city in America to treat our Armed Forces in this way.

Semper Fi means something! And we need to make sure those folks in Berkeley understand it.

Please post your messages of support about Berkeley's anti-military stance.

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Want to Show Your Gratitude to the Troops,
But Don't Know What to Say?

Here's an idea that will solve that problem for you.

Seattle resident Scott Truitt, whose father and father-in-law both spent decades in the military, started The Gratitude Campaign as a simple idea to

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Not the First Anti-Berkeley Boycott

Seems this is not the first time consumers have boycotted businesses in Berkeley, CA, due to the bone-headed anti-war actions of its City Council (and probably won't be the last).

In October of 2001, The Daily Californian reported:

"Berkeley has seen an economic backlash in the few days since the council approved a resolution calling for a stop to U.S. bombing in Afghanistan, with hundreds of people refusing to spend money in the city."

It went on to say, "A San Francisco man told city officials that he is organizing a boycott of Berkeley. He will soon begin to distribute hundreds of fliers at BART stations, which read, 'Boycott Berkeley - Support Our Troops - Let Berkeley sell their products to the Taliban.'

A software company already reported losing a $60,000 contract because of the council's anti-war resolution, Dean said. Additionally, she said that a number of restaurants have seen their clientele drop."

And some of the same members were on the Berkeley City Council THEN!

It's definitely going to take some heavy economic damage to the City before the City Council understands it has a responsibility to ALL its citizens, not just the anti-war beatniks.

Perhaps the businesses in Berkeley should sue the members of the City Council in their individual capacities for the losses to their business because of the illegal actions of the City Council (interfering with military recruitment is a federal offense).

Write your Congressional representatives and Senators! Ask them to "Strip ALL federal money going to any entity in the City of Berkeley!"

(If you have no idea what this is about, continue scrolling down this blog page.)

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Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts?

Think for a minute about what the liberals want to do with their Health Care and other tax-and-spend social restructuring of this country. I

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The Real McCain

Although John McCain sometimes takes unpopular stands, he stands on his principles, and he doesn't back away just because his position is unpopular.

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Can a Good Muslim be a Good American?

Can a good Muslim be a good American? This question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The following is his

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Human Trafficking - a woman's vote

And as we skirt immediate human issues, nudge me to Hillary's stand on human trafficking. In her so-called savvy as woman role model, where is her

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Move America Forward takes on
the Berkeley City Council

Move America Forward is taking on the Berkeley City Council. On January 29, 2008, the City Council in Berkeley, California, voted to send a letter to the local Marine Officer Recruiting office, with a copy to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, suggesting that they retreat.

Retreat? The United States Marine Corps? I don't think so!

Actually, the letter called the Marines "uninvited and unwelcome intruders," and suggested that they close the recruiting office in downtown Berkeley. The City Council encouraged citizens to impede the recruiting activity at the center, and went so far as to grant Code Pink, a foul-mouthed anti-war group, a reserved parking spot directly in front of the recruiting office to facilitate their weekly protests.

The basis for this outrageous action? The Berkeley City Code prohibits

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Before You Go - A Tribute to WWII Vets

Dr. Sam Bierstock, of Del Ray Beach, Florida, and John Melnick, of Pompano Beach and a member of Bierstock's band, "Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Blues Band," have written a song inspired by an old soldier working as a parking lot attendant in an airport parking lot.

The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.

"If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them."

Click below to read the story and listen to the song.

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Is budgeting a dirty word at your house?

Most of us think that we don't overspend (OK, maybe secretly we're afraid that we might), but we don't have a good handle on how much "discretionary spending" we actually do, because we're far too busy to keep track of every penny we spend.

And that's precisely why, before we get to the end of the month, we find we've reached the end of our money!

So, exactly how do we go about figuring out how we can spend less money?

The first step to reducing your spending is to

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Leave Berkeley to Defend Themselves

It is a shame that Berkeley is not on some island in the South Pacific, because then they could be given their independence and left to defend

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Marine Sgt. Jeremy Boutwell
Fights to Return to Iraq

Marine Corps Sgt. Jeremy F. Boutwell, 23, knows a thing or two about honor, courage and commitment.

Marine Sgt. Jeremy BoutwellAn intelligence specialist serving with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Boutwell is getting ready for an upcoming deployment to Iraq. He has spent the past four years recovering from severe injuries he suffered during a March 2004 attack in Iraq's Anbar province, and then fighting for the opportunity to go back.

Click the link below to read his story.

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Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
Makes Weak Appeal

If you haven't been following the firestorm of publicity about the Berkeley City Council's actions to interfere with military recruiting, specifically by interfering with the local Marine Corps recruiting station, you can read the background here.

If you have, you'll be interested in the response the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce sent to San Diego businessman Brian Dennard, who has vowed to start a widespread boycott of Berkeley businesses.

The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce is asking that people not penalize the businesses of Berkeley. But, because the city derives tax revenue from Berkeley businesses, this is one way to hit the City in the pocketbook, and to get the business owners to exert some influence to demand that their City Council come to its senses.

Federal and state lawmakers are proposing legislation that would strip Berkeley of federal and state funds.

And the Mayor, a retired Army officer, should face loss of his military retired pay for

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Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Weak-Kneed Response

This weak-kneed response was sent to me by the CEO of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce: The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce has heard from individuals

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The Angry White Man

An opinion piece in the Aspen Times Weekly last week caught my eye, and I wanted to contribute it to your discussion. He makes a good point. With

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VetConnect Aids Wounded Warriors

A new program called VetConnect provides a helping hand to wounded service members making the transition back into their communities. The program "is designed to provide wounded warriors with a critical link to

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I will vote for someone
we really need

Although i really dislike Hillary Clinton, do not want to vote for her, but frankly, I have to. She more likes our family - our mother, our sister

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Granny's Gone Bad

CODE PINK -- what a joke. The main reason for the Pinko's to intervene with the military using the anti-war status, is it interferes with their

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"Berserkeley" City Council
Takes Anti-Military Stance

The City Council in Berkeley, California, recently voted to notify the US Marine Corps that its local recruiting office was an "uninvited and unwelcome intruder." It also encourages citizens, particularly the anti-war group Code Pink, to disrupt the recruiting and enlistment process, which is a violation of federal law.

Read the full story and post your comments.

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Shocker! Romney Bows Out

"WASHINGTON, AP - John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his faltering campaign.

'I must now stand aside, for our party and our country,' Romney told conservatives.

'If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,' Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington."

By "suspending" his campaign, rather than "ending" it, Romney retains control of his delegates, as did Democratic candidate John Edwards.

Click for more info

Super Tuesday

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, the day for Presidential primaries in 24 states, nearly half the country. It's the closest thing to a dress-rehearsal for the national election.

If you're still undecided, or if you're just curious, we have a link to an NPR survey you can take that will tell you which candidate's views align most closely with your own.

And now's your chance to tell our readers which candidate you support and why. Click the link below, and tell our readers how you think they should vote tomorrow!

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What Will That Big-Screen TV Cost on Credit?

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, and all the electronics stores running sales, we thought this a good time to remind you how much you'll pay for that big-screen HDTV if you buy it on credit.

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President Signs Retroactive 3.5% Pay Raise

President Bush has signed the $696 billion defense bill, which makes a 3.5 percent military pay raise retroactive to Jan. 1.

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Single Mom Success Story: Major Lisa Carter

Army Major Lisa Carter:  Why We ServeFrom Single Mom Working for the Post Office,
to Army Major Serving in Iraq

Army Maj. Lisa L. Carter, a two-time Iraq veteran, participates in Why We Serve because she wants to share her life's success story with the American public, hoping her story will inspire others.

A few years after graduating from Fulton High School in Atlanta in 1984, Carter found herself a single mother working at a post office in Atlanta while caring for her 2-year-old daughter.

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Gold Star Siblings

New support group Gold Star Siblings joins Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Wives, who have supported each other for many years when

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Equal & a Better Choice.

Both Hilary clinton and Obama should be given a fair chance. Even so, Hilary clinton should have the upper hand and people should acknowledge her and

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Military Absentee Voting

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) helps deployed service members and their families who wish to participate in their states' primary elections by absentee ballot. Some service members may not be aware that

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Political Corn Flakes

Folks in politics is just like a bowl of granola: Them what ain't fruits er nuts is just flakes!

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Narrowing the Field

With the departure of Fred Thompson, the GOP field took a predictable left turn. Since Bush 41 and Dole, it's been clear that Republicans do not

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2008 Military Pay Chart

The Military Pay Charts for 2008 include a 3% pay raise for active duty service members, and are available for download

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Election Humor

Electile Dysfunction: The inability to become aroused over any of the choices for president put forth by either party in the 2008 election

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Restrictions on Political Activities

With the campaign season in full swing, we thought this might be a good time for a review of the restrictions on the political activities of US military service members. Some are based in federal law, others in military regulations.

The main purpose for these restrictions is to avoid the implication/inference that you, as a military member, represent some official point of view.

The major prohibition is

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Flag Officer Supporting McCain

I know John McCain from my Navy days. While I do not always agree with him on all issues, I feel strongly enough about what is going on in our

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Democrat or Republican?
The Answer is Shockingly Easy

Do our neighbors to the north have a better perspective on our political process than we Americans do? This editorial piece was published in the

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Ron Paul For President!

Ron Paul Supports Our Troops and wants to bring them home! Peace In 08 Ron Paul For President

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John McCain is the man we need!

I have known John McCain for over 40 years. He was one of my flight instructors in the Navy before he was shot down and became a POW in Vietnam.

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Why We Serve:
American Service Members Speak Up

In July of 2006, the U.S. Armed Forces created a speakers initiative titled "Why We Serve." The program was designed to give returning veterans

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Join the Election Dialogue

We don't think anyone can deny the impact this year's Presidential Election will have on the future of this nation, and especially on its military families.

The Global War on Terror is a major issue in this election campaign, and because of its impact on our audience of military families, we felt it appropriate to discuss the campaign here. You may disagree, and if so, please feel free to ignore our pages about the 2008 Presidential Election, a list of which you can find on our site map.

On the other hand, if you'd like to participate in our discussion of the issues and the candidates, please voice your opinions. This will be an adult discussion, so if you're into flame-throwing, please don't bother. Your submissions will see the round file instead of the light of day.

We'd like to encourage you, as members of the military, to express your views specifically about the War on Terror, and the volatile issue of when to bring the troops home. Should we begin an immediate pullout, as many suggest, or should we stay the course and complete the mission?

You're in a better position than the rest of us to know if our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are being effective in stabilizing the regions there. Is this a worthwhile mission and should it continue, or should we come home and leave them to their own devices?

We want to hear from our troops on the front lines, and their families. And we think the candidates should hear from you, too!

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by Michael Marks ©Copyright November 2005 There's no such thing as Santa, jeered the group of older boys there isn't any reindeer, any elves or magic

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A Different Christmas Poem

A Soldier's Christmas copyright Michael Marks December 2000 The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished

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Soldier's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone, in a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone. I had come down the chimney with presents to

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Christmas in Iraq

Christmas in Iraq 'Twas the night before Christmas in an Iraqi town; And our brave U.S. forces had all just hunkered down. Not a Humvee was moving,

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'Twas the Week After Christmas

Twas the week after Christmas, and all through the house, Every creature was hurting--even the mouse. The toys were all broken, their batteries

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President's Holiday Message

On behalf of a grateful Nation, Laura and I send our best wishes for the holidays. In this season of giving, we remember our duty to others, and we

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The Greatest Generation

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who serve. We are proud of you, and thank you for the protection you give us all, defending freedom and

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Naval Air Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, And out on the ramp, Not an airplane was stirring, Not even a Champ. The aircraft were fastened, To tiedowns with

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Warm Christmas Thoughts ---

Warm thoughts coming your way now and at this special time of year. You are always in my thoughts and prayers for your safety and a big thank you

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Thanks for your service at Christmas time!

As a vet who spent several Christmas holidays deployed, I know how tough it really is and truly appreciate the sacrifices you are making for us!

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Thank you so much for all you do

My husband served in the Air Force for 18 years and we have always been proud to be a part of the U.S. Military. I know that what you do isn't always

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