Trump's big VA meeting at Mar-a-Lago weirdly canceled at last minute after this awkward moment

Well, that was awkward.

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Veterans remind Pokemon players of memorial park's sanctity by shouting obscenities, throwing punches

Everyone behaves badly in this one—snotty youngsters v. violent veterans—but that older guy throwing punches and threatening a pregnant woman should be in jail. Come for the Pokemon rage, stay for the expert demolition of a portable gazebo.

A story at the Winona Daily News appears to concern the same park; it looks like there's a concerted effort afoot to ban more or less any unapproved "gatherings" there, and it's all about the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

The ordinance would cover a wide array of activities, not all related to increased traffic from Pokémon players, and some which is already prohibited. ... recent crowds that suddenly began gathering at all hours earlier this month when the game was released include prohibitions on hammocks and tents, sleeping and sunbathing, recreational activities and games (electronic or not), having pets in the area and playing music.

Why would you bother asking the Pokemon company not to use that location as a gym when it's so much easier to pass sweeping teen-menace legislation? Read the rest

Powerful photographic portraits of Veterans For Bernie Sanders

My photographer friend Clayton Cubitt, whom I met here in the Boing Boing comments a decade ago, did an amazing project to support the campaign of U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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Veteran transforms wheelchair into snowplow

In wintry Omaha, Nebraska, a local veteran is using his modded wheelchair to help neighbors with snow plowing.

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America's broken promise to veterans who survived race-based chemical weapons testing in WWII

"It took all the skin off your hands," says former Army soldier Rollins Edwards. "Your hands just rotted."

Watch this cute missing dog reunite with her U.S. veteran owner after 5 years apart

Praise pet microchipping!

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Are you donating to one of America's worst charities?

The Tampa Bay Times has done some excellent investigative reporting on the 50 worst charities in America — organizations that took in more than $1 billion over the past 10 years, and gave almost all of that money to their own staffs and professional solicitors. The series explains how charities like this operate and skirt the regulatory system. But if you're feeling TLDR, there's also a PDF that can help you quickly figure out if you're donating to one of these scams. A large portion of the 50 worst is made up of charities devoted to cancer and veterans' issues. Read the rest

US military continues to abuse and abandon wounded soldiers

In 2010, The New York Times uncovered systemic abuse within units meant to help wounded Army soldiers transition through months-and-years-long treatment and rehabilitation. Today, The Colorado Springs Gazette has a profile about one of the soldiers who stood up for Warrior Transition Units back then. The abuses exposed by the Times weren't fixed and Jerrald Jensen ended up becoming a victim himself. After questioning the mistreatment in the system, he was nearly given a less-than-honorable discharge, which would have cost him long-term Veteran's benefits — a pattern that the Gazette has found happening over and over among the most-vulnerable wounded Army men and women who need the most care in order to rehabilitate from their service injuries. The treatment described here is disgusting, all the more so when you compare it to Jensen's service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Exposing this kind of crap is why journalism exists. Read the rest

Stress on special ops troops 'worse than we thought' in 2012

Snip from a report by USA Today's Gregg Zoroya: "According to Pentagon data, there were 17 confirmed or suspected suicides this year among commandos or support personnel through Dec. 2, compared with nine suicides each of the past two years. That's a suicide rate among these troops of about 25 per 100,000, comparable to a record rate this year in the Army and higher than a demographically adjusted civilian suicide rate." Read the rest

Iraq war veteran Kayvan Sabehgi beaten by police at Occupy Oakland, left with lacerated spleen

Video from The Guardian: "Protester and three-tour American veteran Kayvan Sabehgi was beaten by Oakland police during the Occupy protest's general strike on 2 November. Sabehgi, who was 'completely peaceful', according to witnesses, was left with a lacerated spleen." Read the rest

The War Project: Interview with Staff Sgt. Jason Deckman

Susannah Breslin's "The War Project," a series of interviews with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has a new feature up: the story of Staff Sgt. Jason Deckman. The 38-year-old veteran has been in the Army for 16 years. "I dream about my weapon," he tells Susannah.

Deckman is a combat engineer who has deployed five times--to Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Iraq twice. He has served with the 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 54th Engineer Battalion in Bamberg, Germany, and 420th Engineer Brigade. In early 2007, he transferred to the Army Reserves and is currently assigned to the 980th Engineer Battalion at Camp Mabry in Austin. Later this year, he will deploy to Afghanistan. He lives in Killeen, Texas.
From Deckman's story:

One of the things that I got was I had nightmares for a while. I've been having a few more lately. It's a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. It's not normal to think you're going to be killed in the very next second. It does weird things to your brain.

I dream about my weapon. I can point it at the enemy, and I can see him coming at me, and I pull that trigger, and it feels like someone jammed gum inside there, and I can pull it, and pull it, and pull it, and it only budges a little bit at a time.

I didn't dream about IEDs while I was in Iraq. It wasn't until after I'd come back.

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Veterans, some with brain injuries, curate neglected Army archaeological collection

Steve sez, "Brain-injured vets are curating a huge, neglected archeological collection from Army Corps of Engineers:"
The collection dates to the 1930s, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started building dozens of locks, dams and reservoirs, and the ground beneath them was excavated for archaeological treasures.

Prehistoric and historic pottery, stone tools, arrowheads, Indian beads, necklaces, earrings and ear spools, and ceremonial artifacts, even human remains, were collected. The items then sat in boxes and paper bags in university museums as well as private basements, garages and tool sheds.

In recent weeks, U.S. veterans - many with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder - have begun processing, cataloguing, digitizing and archiving the collection as part of a one-year $3.5 million project, funded with federal stimulus money.

US military vets working on archaeological project (Thanks, Steve!)

(Image: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo by David Knoerlein) Read the rest