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Thousands of surviving spouses currently ineligible for VA home loan benefits would gain access to the program if a U.S. House bill passed Wednesday becomes law.
The VA Loan Guaranty program has helped more than 18 million service members become homeowners since 1944. The program provides no-down payment, government-backed mortgages and features less stringent credit and underwriting guidelines than other loan programs.
But in its present form, the loan program is only open to surviving spouses of veterans whose death is linked to a service-connected disability. The bill, the Disabled Veterans’ Surviving Spouses Home Loans Act, would eliminate that stipulation and grant eligibility to all surviving spouses of permanently disabled veterans.
The bill passed by a 418-6 vote as part of the wide-ranging Veterans Opportunity to Work
My younger daughters are obsessed with their iPad Smurf Village. They build things, create and sustain communities, plant virtual peas that need to be watered. In general, they have an excellent SIM experience, only with little blue guys. Civilization building is fun for boys and
It is no secret that the new music community has found a vital home in New York City in recent years. The creative minds behind what is known as “contemporary classical music” are innumerable, and gaining prespective can be an overwhelming task for audiences.
Beginning on October 14, however, the SONiC Festival (Sounds of a New Century) ventures to make sense of the scene-particularly as it pertains to composers under the age of 40-with a 9-day festival in New York featuring a staggering 100-plus composers and more than 17 word premiere performances of newly commissioned works.
Part One — I spoke with composer Oscar Bettison about his 65-minute opus O Death, excerpts of which will be performed on Wednesday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. by Ensemble Klang at Symphony
If Sylvester Stallone ever decides to make Rocky VII perhaps he should cast Mitt Romney in the lead. The former governor of Massachusetts and sometimes Republican front runner came out swinging in Tuesday night’s GOP debate in Las Vegas, deftly schooling Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum on how to dominate and control your opponents while still keeping your cool and looking presidential.
The evening began with Cain having to vigorously defend his controversial 9-9-9 plan which, according to the Tax Policy Center, would raise taxes on 84% of taxpayers, hit the poor and middle classes the hardest, and benefit the rich. When challenged by his opponents, Cain kept dismissing as incorrect such independent research and instead urged voters to look at “our analysis” on his
Signaling a game-changing shift in the Democratic Party’s efforts to retake the northeastern Arizona congressional district from Tea Party freshman Rep. Paul Gosar, Wenona Benally Baldenegro’s campaign announced the prized endorsement of U.S. Rep. Ral Grijalva
In August 2010, Time magazine announced that the search was over; Jonathan Franzen was the “Great American Novelist.” In response, The New Yorker reported that “the white whale has been vanquished. Ahab, bless his addled soul, can rest easy.”
“I’ve never finished Moby Dick,” Franzen admitted on Friday to Lev Grossman, the Time senior writer and book critic who penned the cover story. Grossman spoke with Franzen in front of a mostly young audience in Austin, Texas in a discussion co-presented by Texas Performing Arts and the Texas Book Festival.
“That’s appalling!” Grossman said.
“I won’t spoil it for you.”
Such was the tenor of Franzen’s uncensored and candid discussion with Grossman. Franzen was awarded the National Book Award for his 2001 novel The
The covers we choose for our books are much more significant than many authors think. Over the years I’ve seen everything from a finely designed book cover, to one the author created himself. Now, there’s nothing wrong with designing your own cover — if you’re actually a cover designer. Otherwise, you should leave it to the
Happy Wednesday everyone, here’s my Top 5 for October 19, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
The World Series begins tonight, Game 1, Texas at St. Louis, 8:05 pm Eastern FOX.
Red Sox pitchers deny a Boston TV report that they were drinking beer in the dugout during games. What next, on the mound?
A group of
Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with some bloggers in an online event co-hosted by our friends at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). We discussed the challenges we at the State Department face in the current budget environment, as well as the work we’re doing to keep our nation secure and our economy strong. It was a great opportunity for me to share my thoughts on these important issues and, more importantly, to hear from the foreign policy community.
One of the most critical questions — and one I hear often — focused on how the State Department and the
When is official Washington going to do more than talk about Clarence Thomas?
After all the issues raised this year about the Associate Justice–including apparent perjury on his financial disclosure forms, his intriguing connections to the Koch Brothers and to Harlan Crow, and apparent bribery–you’d think the Justice himself would be calling for an official investigation just to clear his name.
But no. Aside some elliptical references to the waters rising around him, Mr. Justice Thomas seems to think silence is his best bet.
We’ll see if that’s true, because the whole thing is sounding a lot like Bogart’s line in The Maltese Falcon after he lists all the reasons he’s turning in Brigit O’Shaugnessy: “Maybe some of them aren’t important–I won’t argue that. But look at the number of them.”
On Thursday, for instance, ProtectOurElections.org (POE), a progressive group that’s been busily building the case against
When you hear the word golf, what comes to mind? Most people would say that it’s just a sport where you hit a little white ball in a hole, but it’s much more than that. Golf consists of focus, concentration, patience, luck, and most importantly, skill. Not only do you need all of these traits, but you also need the right set of equipment to suit your game. In this blog, I will teach you how to get the best out of your game.
To begin, building your skill from the start is the most important thing to do for
About two weeks ago my best friend Dee was beginning to get into what I call a “summer coma.” As a student of summer she was preparing herself for the return to school, and not just any return, we were returning as seniors. To cheer her up, I reminded her about that saying on Facebook, “The best days of school are the first and the last.” I also said ” Dee, we’re going to have so much fun, well… at least for the first week.” I was not about to lie — after three months spent on the beach, it was going to take time getting used to being back at school. She gave me this look and then said, “True, but that’s just as depressing.” I replied with “Que? Why is that sad, Dee?” and then before she said anything, I read her
The final desperate act of the Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17, 2010 touched off a wave of civil unrest in Arab countries. The self-immolation of the young fruit-and-vegetable peddler sparked the Arab Spring that is roiling the Middle East. Thanks also to the new communication technologies, there has been a domino effect that has spread the protest movement through all the Arab streets.
Million of citizens, often with women and youth in the lead, took to the streets chanting for jobs and democratic rights. Two dictators — Ben Ali of Tunisia and the Egyptian “pharaoh” — were forced to surrender or
My parents are amazing. They help me when I am stuck on homework, fund my various extracurriculars, and always give good advice. That does not mean we get along all the time. The stereotypical teenager ignores his or her parents and rebels in whatever way
In recent months I’ve been referred to as a “Mini-Bradshaw,” which basically is equivalent to a mini, more family-friendly, version of Carrie Bradshaw in terms of my supposed lifestyle. Which I actually find funny — I’m only 18, how can I even have a set lifestyle, when my brain hasn’t even fully finished developing?! But as such, when I do manage to channel my inner Bradshaw I’ve found that my strutting throughout the Manhattan streets at times becomes more like trudging… Glamorous, right?
If you tuned into my last post, I failed to mention that sometimes living in Litas isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be. And of course this applies to life in general, as it continuously presents its trials and tribulations.
One can argue that life’s tests derive from overcoming the hardships and conflicts that sometimes accumulate based on either circumstance or even by
Bristol Bay, Alaska — Voters in the Lake and Peninsula Borough in rural Alaska have voted to block the salmon-threatening Pebble Gold Mine, by a vote of 280 to 246. The company behind the mining project is calling this result “very narrow,” although it is actually 53 percent to 47 percent — not really that close. And surveys by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, which represents 7,000 indigenous people from the region, show that at least 70 percent of its members oppose the mine. In response to this local sentiment, the two mining giants behind the project continue to make it abundantly clear how little respect they have for the people whose communities they plan to disrupt and perhaps destroy.Iliamna Lake, the largest sockeye salmon nursery in the world, lies directly in the path of any spill or other mishap that might occur while creating the world’s largest man-made pit, potentially covering 15 square
I was asked weeks ago by some in the Occupy Wall Street movement to make suggestions for how to frame the movement. I have hesitated so far, because I think the movement should be framing itself. It’s a general principle: Unless you frame yourself, others will frame you — the media, your enemies, your competitors, your well-meaning friends. I have so far hesitated to offer
Cruises usually attract a mixed bag of attendees: retirees, bachelor and bachelorette parties, college kids on break, carousing cougars, casino gamblers and families with toddlers will often find themselves sharing the same buffets and pool decks. But when you want to sail with a relatively like-minded group of individuals, a theme cruise might help to reduce the on-deck dissonance. The latest trend in cruising is to get groups — of every size and persuasion — together to sail the high seas and indulge in whatever might be their thematic passion. Caribbean Travel + Life’s editors recently rounded up their favorites and found several unique picks.
Most of the special-interest cruise themes we’ve seen look fun, while still being fairly
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Ed is from the Bronx and Deb from England, where we lived many years ago. Going there we thought it would be a great chance for Ed to immerse himself in a different culture and Deb needed to be closer to her elderly parents. As Ed had lived in India and NYC, the melting pot of the world, he thought that moving to another country would be easy. But in retrospect it was somewhat nave, perhaps a matter of ignorance is bliss!
The move turned out to be a much bigger challenge than either of us had anticipated and gave rise to an even bigger shift as Ed felt isolated, had no reference points, the English were far too reserved and he was unable to reach out to
If your house is on fire, do you ask the firefighter if he or she is an atheist before you accept his or her help? I doubt it.
Similarly, I’m wondering about the real reasons The American Cancer Society will not work with the atheist charity organization, Foundation Beyond Belief. It appears that the foundation would be able to raise up to $500,000 for the Relay for Life, with $250,000 of that being matched funds from Todd Stiefel of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.
The ACS initially seemed amenable to the idea, but then suddenly decided not to move forward with the relationship. Atheists are not happy with the outcome, reminding ACS that cancer strikes everyone, regardless of one’s views on
Since his death, a quote from Steven Jobs’ famous graduation address to Stanford in 2005 has been flying around the Internet:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and
As a high school IB student and varsity golf captain, I know how stressful life can get. Everyone wants to get into a good college, so we work ourselves to death trying to make it happen. By the time I get home from school there’s homework and studying to be done, but my mom encourages me me to relax and take a study break. The one time l listened to her and tried my hand at not stressing, sure enough, I ended up with a C on my chemistry