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|20,000 servicemembers, vets lost homes in 2010
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20,000 servicemembers, vets lost homes in 2010
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."
Foreclosure rate in zip codes near military bases increased 32%
By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today-Jim Kelly- Patriot Freedom
Posted : Thursday Feb 3, 2011
More than 20,000 veterans, active-duty troops and reservists who took out special government-backed mortgages lost their homes last year — the highest number since 2003.
The rate of foreclosure filings in 2010 among 163 zip codes located near military bases rose 32 percent over 2008, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure research firm. This compares with a 2010 increase in foreclosures filings nationally of 23 percent over 2008.
The housing crisis has hit military families particularly hard in part because of transfers and the loss of civilian jobs left behind by reservists.
About 12,000 military families applied to the Pentagon’s expanded Homeowners Assistance Program. It makes up most of the difference in price for servicemembers who must transfer and sell their homes for less than they owe, or buys their houses outright.
“Our demand, in terms of (military) families coming to us for assistance went up 19 percent in 2010 over the previous year,” says Bill Nelson, executive director of USA Cares, a charity that provides financial assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan war-era troops.
Loans from private banks that are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration have historically outperformed other categories of mortgages, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Through programs that include mortgage counselors, the VA helped 66,000 families avoid foreclosure last year, said Mike Frueh, VA assistant director for loan and property management.
“The 20,000 could have been much higher without that help,” Frueh said.
About 9,000 of some 12,000 military families who sought assistance under the Pentagon’s Homeowners Assistance Program were found eligible, said Don Chapman, an assistant program manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the plan.
“I hear so many sad stories every day of people calling me and telling me why they should be eligible and why we should be helping everyone and why we should be changing these dates,” Chapman said.
Former Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. William “Tim” Wymore nearly lost his home last year in St. Charles, Mo., after his health declined following six months in Iraq.
Weak, confined to a wheelchair and suffering chronic headaches, Wymore, 44, was forced to quit his job as a machinist. His wife, Shanna, left her job to care for him.
More than $1,800 in grants from USA Cares helped pay utilities and their mortgage. They managed to keep their home.
“There were points where we thought everything we had worked for was going to be gone,” Wymore said.
|WOMAN Stars Without Makeup - SEEING IS BELIEVING
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ALTERNATIVE NEWS SECTION
Stars Without Makeup
She's a diva on the red carpet and wherever she shows up, everyone notices. But she needs to thank her stylist, because without any makeup, she looks extremely pale and quite different from the artist so many girls want to imitate and boys wanna meet.
Drew Barrymore was named one of the most beautiful people on Earth by PEOPLE magazine; she even graced the cover. In fact, to prove her beauty they published pictures of her without any makeup. They "only" applied base to cover her imperfections and to add a little color.
After appearing in several music videos with rock band Aerosmith, the cute actress instantly made her way into the dreams of thousand of men everywhere and even won the award for 'Most Desirable Female' at the MTV Movie Awards. Well, we're sorry to turn those dreams into nightmares, but this is how her face looks without makeup.
She's one of the most desired women according to AskMen.com. Yes, Jessica Alba has a spectacular body, and also great fashion taste. But we wonder if they ever saw her with no makeup. For the record, we only recommend light makeup for her.
Yes, that's Salma Hayek without makeup on a typical beach day. What a difference! It's a rather drastic change. We hope she doesn't go out like that again, otherwise many will be disappointed.
With no makeup Cameron Diaz shows the world her acne. Also, her blue eyes are less noticeable, her skin color very pale, and her nose looks wider. Oh ... the magic of the shades and shadows!
Eva MendesAs you can see, Eva Mendes knows how not to abuse herself with makeup, although she loves to look tanned. Mendes' makeup gives her that bronze glow.
Change that little face Halle Berry, because we already saw your natural look and we do see the difference. The sexy actress, also considered one of the most desirable, knows how to take advantage of makeup.
They have said that the rumors about Katie Holmes not having a
perfect marriage with Tom Cruise are not true. But she cannot deny her tired look in the image at the left.
We know her as the pretty young singer, actress and entrepreneur. Her image, until now, has been radiant. But Hilary Duff's natural look tells us how miraculous makeup can be. At least we can tell many girls that with well-applied color, many flaws can be covered.
Britney Spears not only doesn't have makeup, she's also pretty untidy. The "Pop Princess" needs to improve her look now!
|The Homeland-Security Follies - Al Qaeda openly boasts of using tunnels to smuggle WMD’s into US
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The Homeland-Security Follies - Al Qaeda openly boasts of using tunnels to smuggle WMD’s into US
Just after Thanksgiving, a 2,200-foot cross-border tunnel was discovered in San Diego, complete with lighting and ventilation -- and even a rail system.
For most Americans, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's inaugural "state of US domestic security" speech yesterday will be notable mainly for marking the end of the useless "color code" threat system. But such trifling changes can never make up for the simple fact that her department -- despite its 200,000 employees and yearly budget of $56 billion -- isn't up to its task.
Just consider our most urgent security challenge: the Mexican drug cartels.
By our government's own estimates, the cartels are a deadly multinational conglomerate already present in at least 200 US cities. They've been at war with each other and with their own government for over four years, with no end in sight -- and 30,000 lives lost so far.
Napolitano: Runs a department that can't do its job.
They brazenly defend their interests on US soil -- sometimes with sophisticated military technologies, sometimes with ancient technologies like the huge catapult captured south of the border yesterday. The Texas Rangers are now using armed helicopters against the cartels -- while DHS' Border Patrol choppers are engaged in pointless "catch-and-release" missions against illegal immigrants.
Indeed, DHS efforts to secure our southern flank have failed miserably: In October, the department admitted that more than 1,000 miles of the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border were not under "effective federal control." Just after Thanksgiving, a 2,200-foot cross-border tunnel was discovered in San Diego, complete with lighting and ventilation -- and even a rail system.
The problem isn't just limited to the cartels: Al Qaeda openly boasts of using drug tunnels to smuggle weapons of mass destruction through our porous defenses. Fortunately, those boasts have proven empty -- at least so far.
To improve things, DHS tried to build a high-tech "virtual" border fence covering only a fraction of the border. The effort was recently canceled after wasting a billion taxpayer dollars.
The department seems uninterested in cost-effective solutions. For example, it's investing hundreds of millions to adapt the Predator UAV for border surveillance. Howard Whetzel, a retired US Army officer, developed a lower-tech alternative: Sentinel, a commercially produced, powered glider (with state-of-the-art sensors) that could perform Predator missions at a fraction of the cost. (Full disclosure: Whetzel is Allard's occasional business partner.)
Ten of the Sentinel gliders could provide stealthy surveillance of the entire border, for roughly $10 million -- while DHS wants 23 Predators to do that job, at a cost of at least $200 million over five years. Although Sentinel could be fully operational in 18 months, DHS won't even consider the idea.
The department's problems have nothing to do with which party is in power. Back in 2007, it admitted having made little headway in solving the communications "inter-operability" problems that plagued police and firefighters on 9/11. Yet it continues to waste millions on expensive, top-down, technical "solutions" to deeply embedded organizational and cultural problems.
DHS' own audit recently found that the process of providing intelligence reports to local police "fusion centers" is so slow that the information is largely worthless when it arrives. The main culprit: "the lengthy DHS headquarters review process."
Congress created DHS after 9/11 out of 22 different federal agencies -- without taking much care to see if the new creature would actually work. History shows this is no easy task. The modern Defense Department, created in 1947, needed three major shakeups over the next 40 years, until the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols reforms finally ended controversies that had simmered for over 40 years. Among the principal benefits: tighter partnership between the armed services -- and quantum leaps in information-sharing and communications interoperability.
Congress needs to see if those same lessons can apply to DHS. Just as it does elsewhere in the national security establishment, Congress should scrutinize DHS to determine what works, what does not -- and what must be changed to ensure our survival.
|Top 10 uncracked codes
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Top 10 uncracked codes
Although the internet has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry in creating and cracking codes, crypologists have yet to solve some of the oldest riddles. Below are ten of the most notable:
1. The Phaistos Disk is considered the most important example of hieroglyphic inscription from Crete. Discovered in 1903, both sides of the clay disc are covered with hieroglyphs arranged in a spiral zone, impressed on the clay when it was damp. Forty five different types of signs have been distinguished, of which a few can be identified with the hieroglyphs in use in the Proto- palatial period.
2. Linear A is one of two linear scripts used in ancient Crete discovered and named by Arthur Evans. Linear B was deciphered in 1952 by Michael Ventris and was used to write Mycenaean Greek. Linear A is partially understood but parts of it produce works unrelated to any known language.
3. Kryptos is a sculpture by the American artist James Sanborn, located on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia. Since its dedication in 1990, there has been much speculation about the meaning of the encrypted messages it bears.
4. Chinese Gold Bar Cipher. In 1933, seven gold bars allegedly issued to a General Wang in Shanghai, China. These gold bars, which contain pictures, Chinese writing, some form of script writing, and cryptograms in Latin letters, appear to represent metal certificates related to a bank deposit with a U.S. Bank and the Chinese writing has been translated, and discusses a transaction in excess of $300,000,000.
5. Beale Ciphers are said to be three encrypted messages which pinpoint where a man named Beale buried two wagons-full of treasure at a secret location in Bedford County in the 1820s. It is claimed one of the messages has been solved, which detailed the tons of gold, silver and jewels that were buried, along with a general location. The still unsolved messages supposedly give exact directions, and a list of who the treasure belongs to.
6. Voynich Manuscript is at least 400 years old and is a 232-page illuminated manuscript entirely written in a secret script. It is filled with copious drawings of unidentified plants, herbal recipes of some sort, astrological diagrams, and many small human figures in strange plumbing-like contraptions. In 2004 there were some compelling arguments which described a technique that would seemingly prove that the manuscript was a hoax, but to date, none of the described techniques have been able to replicate a single section of the Manuscript, so speculations continue.
7. The Dorabella Cipher was written by the composer Elgar in 1897. He sent a letter to a young friend, Miss Dora Penny, the 22 year-old daughter of the Rev. Alfred Penny, Rector of St Peter’s, Wolverhampton, and with it a cipher which to this day has remained unsolved.
8. Chaocipher. John F. Byrne invented Chaocipher in 1918 and tried unsuccessfully for almost 40 years to interest the U.S. government in his cipher system. He offered a reward to anyone who could break his cipher but the reward was never claimed. It has latterly been re-examined by members of his family to determine whether there is any commercial value in it.
9. The D’Agapeyeff cipher is an as-yet unbroken cipher that appears in the first edition of Codes and Ciphers, an elementary book on cryptography published by the Russian-born English cartographer Alexander D’Agapeyeff in 1939. Offered as a “challenge cipher” at the end of the book, it was not included in later editions, and D’Agapeyeff is said to have admitted later to having forgotten how he had encrypted it. It has been argued that the failure of all attempts at decryption is due to D’Agapeyeff incorrectly encrypting the original text. However, it has been argued that the cipher may still be successfully attacked using computational methods such as genetic algorithms.
10. Taman Shud. An unidentified male body was found on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, Australia in 1948 wearing a sweater and coat despite the hot day, carrying no identification. There were no clues as to his identity and dental records and fingerprints matched no living person. An autopsy discovered bizarre congestion, blood in the stomach and enlarged organs but no foreign substances. A suitcase found at the train station that may have belonged to the man contained a pair of trousers with a secret hidden pocket, which held a piece of paper torn from a book imprinted with the words “Taman Shud”. The paper was matched to a very rare copy of Omar Khayyam’s ‘The Rubaiyat’ that was found in the backseat of an unlocked vehicle and on the back of the book was scrawled five lines of capital letters that seem to be a code. To this day, the entire case remains one of Australia’s most bizarre mysteries.
The Telegraph- TWO MORE PHOTOS HERE