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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 13, 2013/ 2 Nissan, 5773

VA's growing backlog needs attention now

By Martin Schram




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Poor Ike," Harry Truman is said to have famously mused as he sat at his Oval Office desk and thought about Dwight Eisenhower, the legendary five-star general who was about to succeed him as president. "It won't be a bit like the army. He'll sit here and he'll say, 'Do this!' 'Do that!' And nothing will happen."

A half-century later, Truman's words no doubt offer more insight than comfort to yet another commander-in-chief and the four-star army general he picked to be his Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In announcing his selection of Gen. Eric Shinseki on Pearl Harbor Day, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama basically gave the general just one overriding order -- to fix what he had repeatedly called the "broken VA bureaucracy."

To which the general replied with a commitment to "my fellow veterans: I will work each and every day to ensure we are serving you as well as you served us."

Surely neither envisioned that some four years later their efforts would be heralded by an independent investigative article that was published online Monday beneath this headline: "VA's ability to quickly provide benefits plummets under Obama."

Aaron Glantz, a reporter with the independent Center for Investigative Reporting, obtained a number of internal VA documents that show that not only has the backlog of veterans' unprocessed benefits claims soared -- but that many veterans are waiting longer than the department has publicly acknowledged. While the VA reports its average wait time is 273 days, internal department numbers show that veterans filing their first claim wait two months longer than that. And veterans filing for the first time in big cities wait up to twice as long before their benefits claims are processed -- New York City veterans experience delays of 642 days; Los Angeles veterans run 619 days.

Sometime this month, the VA documents show its backlogs will exceed 1 million veterans' claims. And 97 percent of all veterans' records are still on paper although the VA has spent $537 million in a four-year effort to convert all records to digital.

The VA confirms the accuracy of the documents Glantz obtained. But VA spokesman Josh Taylor notes that much of the increased backlog problem is the result of a large increase in the number of claims now being filed and the increased range of benefits the Obama administration has opened up for veterans.

But what Obama and Shinseki's VA have failed to act on is the reality of that enormous backlog that simply will not go away unless they change their bureaucracy's approach and order it done.

For years, the cumbersome appeals process of benefits claims initially rejected by the VA adjudicators has produced horror stories that I have written about in columns and in my 2008 book ("Vets Under Siege"). And three-fourths of all appeals are found to be in error and are overturned or sent back to be adjudicated again. Extraordinarily wasteful.

The best -- and probably only -- solution at this point must be some variation of a plan devised in 2007 by Harvard professor Linda Bilmes. It calls for the VA to process benefits claims the same way the Internal Revenue Service processes taxpayers' returns -- closely examine just a random sample, but generally process them all. At least all of those that are relatively straightforward. Bilmes estimated that 88 percent of the claims could be processed and paid within 90 days, at a cost of just $500 million.

Gulf War veteran Paul Sullivan, a former senior VA project manager who became a leader in veterans causes and now works on those issues at the Washington area law firm of Bergmann and Moore, said in an interview, "The VA's claim delays and error rate is a crisis and something must be done."

Obama and Shinseki can reverse the backlog tide that has all but swamped the VA -- but only by taking bold action. The Harvard professor's unorthodox, unconventional-but-common-sense plan may now be the VA's only way to achieve the goal Obama laid out for Shinseki in 2008: "Veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan ...deserve a smooth, error-free, no-fail, benefits-assured transition into our ranks as veterans."

They clearly aren't getting that now. Yet, after fighting our battles half a world away, that is precisely what they deserve from us.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Previously:


03/06/13: When a presidency and press corps collide

02/27/13: Washington unintentionally but predictably triggering a coast-to-coast tsunami, freezing job hiring

02/21/13: Cold War vestiges still afflict 2 nuclear cities

01/16/13: Turnabout sucks

01/09/13: Education must be America's new national security priority

11/29/12: Building a budgetary bridge to somewhere

11/24/12: Voters share blame for negative campaigns

10/24/12: Romney displays unusual strategy for winning

10/17/12: Russia drops a bombshell on U.S. nuclear safeguard plan and few notice

10/11/12: A new debate game plan for a new comeback

07/25/12: Washington news, sanitized for officials' comfort

07/18/12: By withholding, Mitt Romney taxes campaign

06/20/12: Cruel consequences spring from an old leak

06/13/12: Gaffes, not facts, dominate presidential race

06/06/12: Command decisions mark new era of video-game warfare

04/25/12: Safeguarding us all in the nuclear age

04/18/12: The battle for the honor of enraging us more

03/28/12: Eavesdropping on diplomacy and politics

02/22/12: Drawing Romney's big picture

01/25/12: Candidates proving that time-tested Marxist theory

01/12/12: Even with primaries still to go, history's longest year starts now

01/05/12: Iowa caucuses reveal news media lapses

12/14/11: How Gingrich stole Mitt's Christmas

11/16/11: Supercommittee's super-sized surrender

11/16/11: Romney talks Texas-tough on Iran

11/03/11: The Silent Majority speaks at last

10/20/11: Outsourcing our democracy; hijacking our holidays

10/13/11: Decline and fall of presidential press conferences

09/28/11: Washington's Monument to broken government

08/17/11: Tax credits for job creation

07/06/11: Obama's on-the-job retraining from Clinton

06/29/11: Obama, Nixon suddenly joined in posterity



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