Wall Street plunge reflects market woes

The Associated Press NEW YORK — Wall Street extended its 2008 plunge Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrials down 306 points and to their lowest level since last March after a regional Federal Reserve report showed a sharp and unexpected decline in manufacturing activity. Downgrades of key bond insurance companies added to the market’s black […]

Attorney battles crime on military, civilian fronts

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CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle Christina Tatum said the military offered her the opportunity to travel and gain courtroom experience. By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers Christina Tatum lives a double life as a crime fighter. Most days she serves as a deputy district attorney, handling 100 to 200 cases at any given time. She also […]

Reservists shorted by deficient GI Bill

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Proponents for strengthening Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits for the National Guard and Reserve say the critical issue is fairness. Reserve rates, frozen for years, need to be raised. Reserve benefits need to be made as portable as MGIB for active forces, their wartime deployment partners. Not so, said a […]

Area Marines could be recalled into service

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Clovis Police Detective Roman Romero plans to re-enlist in the Marine Corps. Romero said the troops in Iraq deserve a break. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Clovis Police Detective Roman Romero said he plans to renew his reserve contract with the Marine Corps in coming weeks even though it […]

Ready reserve activation could break military

By Freedom Newspapers The decision to start calling up Marine Corps reservists who have already served their active-duty obligation but are still subject to being called back is a strong indicator that the war in Iraq is not going well — and that our leaders believe U.S. troops will be required in significant numbers for […]

Raises, benefits top committee agenda

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Billions of dollars in pay and benefits are at stake for active duty members, reservists, disabled retirees and surviving spouses as a House-Senate conference committee begins to negotiate differences in separate versions of the 2007 defense authorization bill. When the process ends, perhaps by late September, military personnel will know […]

GI Bill holds inequities for Reserve, Guard

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Reserve and National Guard members mobilized for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are discovering an inequity in their GI Bill education benefits that needs to be fixed, says Arkansas Rep. Vic Snyder, senior Democrat on the House armed services’ subcommittee on military personnel. “It’s unconscionable how these young men and […]

Lawmakers knocking Guard compensation

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Congressional leaders gave President Bush the green light three years ago to invade Iraq based on what they now know was faulty intelligence. Many of those same leaders appeared last week before a special commission they created to study how Guard and Reserve forces should be organized, deployed and compensated […]

Chairman eyes steps to ‘modernize’ GI Bill

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., chairman of House Veterans Affairs Committee, wants active duty veterans to have more “flexibility” to use Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits. He also will consider making Reserve MGIB benefits “portable” so they can be used after reservists leave service. But Buyer hasn’t endorsed that second change, […]

Nation’s poor better off than thought

By Walter Williams: Syndicated Columnist Despite claims that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, poverty is nowhere near the problem it was yesteryear — at least for those who want to work. Talk about the poor getting poorer tugs at the hearts of decent people and squares nicely with the agenda of […]

Military health spending to be slowed

Tom Philpott: Military Update Congress will worsen a near crisis of runaway military health care costs if it enacts a Senate-backed provision to open the new TRICARE Reserve Select program to all drilling Reserve and National Guard members, the Defense Department’s top health official has warned. In testimony before a House subcommittee, Dr. William Winkenwerder […]

Enormous health care costs needs revisiting

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the Senate armed services subcommittee on military personnel, says he will be “adamant’’ during negotiations with House conferees on a final defense authorization bill that it include his Senate-approved amendment to open a premium-based military health insurance plan to any drilling reservist or National […]

County projects surplus

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer Curry County Commission-ers approved an $8 million budget Monday during a special meeting at the courthouse. More than 50 percent of budget revenues are raised through property taxes, 40 percent through gross receipts taxes, and the remaining 10 percent through motor vehicle taxes and miscellaneous fees, according to County […]

Committee votes to open ‘tricare select’

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The House Armed Services Committee has voted 32-30 to open the new TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) program to any drilling reservist or National Guard member willing to pay the premiums, now set at $75 a month for member-only coverage or $233 for family coverage. An unprecedented fulltime health plan for […]

Base closure list

The Associated Press A list obtained by The Associated Press of military facilities the Defense Department recommended for closure Friday: Alabama Abbott U.S. Army Reserve Center, Tuskegee Anderson U.S. Army Reserve Center, Troy Armed Forces Reserve Center, Mobile BG William P. Screws U.S. Army Reserve Center, Montgomery Fort Ganey Army National Guard Reserve Center, Mobile […]

Better benefits could be on way

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Three weeks before the TRICARE Reserve Select program begins, a key senator predicts Congress this year will embrace his plan to offer even better healthcare benefits to drilling Reserve and National Guard members. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., new chairman of the Senate armed services’ subcommittee on military personnel, described as […]

Health insurance will cost reservists

Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist Thirty years ago, Congress decided the nation could no longer afford to offer military volunteers a robust draft-era GI Bill, so it concocted VEAP, the most unpopular veterans’ education benefit of the last century. Last year Congress decided the nation couldn’t afford to open active duty TRICARE benefits to all drilling […]

Retirees will benefit from new laws

By Tom Philpott When legislative language misfires, Congress can intend to do one and instead does another. That seems to have occurred twice last October with passage of the 2005 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It likely reshaped benefits, in unintended ways, for two groups of disabled retirees. One provision, which executive-branch lawyers continue to […]

Army Guard, Reserves offering bonuses

by Tom Philpott To reverse a sharp drop in recruiting since citizen soldiers became 40 percent of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, the Army National Guard and Army Reserve this month announced increases in enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses. But Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the Army “probably is […]

New military pay system being readied

by Tom Philpott Starting in, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service will phase in a new, more reliable and effective pay system for the military. Called the Forward Compatible Payroll (FCP), it promises far fewer errors, an easy-to-understand Leave and Earnings Statement for service members, and instantaneous adjustments to pay records FCP “should have a […]