Showing posts with label American News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American News. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Shooter of Suge Knight May Have Been Hired by Same Person Behind Tupac Shakur Killing

Read Russell Poole's final words on #Tupac & #Biggie murders 

By Michael Douglas Carlin

Some of the details of the Suge Knight shooting have been surfacing. It appears that Suge Knight was the target of the shooting. Keith Middlebrook said, "Two gang members showed up and accused Suge of killing Tupac and called him a traitor. I think they were two guys from Compton. They yelled at Suge, 'You killed Tupac.'"

This is consistent with the premise of the previous article. Why would the shooters mention Tupac? Were they trying to tie Suge to the Tupac killing to steer the investigation away from those responsible for the murder? Clearly Suge would never have put himself in the driver's seat when his passenger was going to be killed. This was clearly a plot to kill both Tupac and Suge and to take Death Row Records and the associated revenue away from Suge and steal Tupac's music. But Suge didn't die back then and he didn't die this time either.

The evidence seems to always point back to Compton. Who ran the Compton Police? Who has deep ties into the Compton Gangs? Quite possibly the shooter(s) in the most recent attempt to kill Suge Knight were hired by the very same people that were behind the killing of Tupac Shakur.

The truth is going to surface. Tupacileaks has received 1000 pages of documents. On December 1st all of this will be released to the public. The pursuit of the truth is underway.

(previous article originally posted on 8/24/2014)
LAPD Leaks Confession Letter In Tupac’s Murder That Might Be Reason Suge Knight Shot?
I just want to begin by saying that I don’t know any of the details of the shooting last night. It seems that getting specific details has been tough from typical news sources.

But I do find it curious that on August 18th a website posts a confession letter, leaked by the Los Angeles Police Department, which gets 6000 views. The letter was given to LAPD by Russell Poole and RJ Bond two months ago and was leaked by someone in the department. The Confession Letter alleges that Reggie Wright Jr. contracted gangs to kill both Tupac and Suge Knight on the night of September 7th 1996. Early this morning on the 24th, just six days after the letter leaks publicly, Suge Knight is allegedly shot six times.

For those of you that don’t know the history I will recap. Suge Knight and Tupac are shot while driving from Suge Knight’s home in Las Vegas to Club 662 on the night of September 7th 1996. Suge is injured in the shooting but walks away. Tupac is shot four times and is given a 50%/50% chance of survival but is only able to hold on for a few days. He dies on September 13, 1996. Michael Moore, a former Tupac bodyguard, tells of standing right next to Reggie Wright at the time of the shooting and hearing, “Got ‘em” come over Wright’s radio. If the confession letter is right and this was an attempt on Suge’s life, there would have to be a cover-up. People that knew about the plot would have to be silenced or killed.

When you look at the shootings in the immediate aftermath of the Tupac slaying, they mostly involved people that might have known something about the murder from Yafeu Fula to Orlando Anderson and many in-between. When you look at the next wave of killings just before Suge was released from prison it involved Suge's inner-circle: Buntry, Heron, Poochie, and Hen Dog. Seems that someone was trying to make sure that Suge was unable to pull together muscle to resume his reign.

"I have a picture that I took of all of the guys. One night we were doing a video shoot... and it was Suge and all of his henchmen. And all the henchmen are dead today. Every one of 'em is dead; Suge is the only one alive. So those were his friends. And if you really think about it you'll be like, Hmmm, that's kinda weird." - Simone Green to AllHipHopDX - December 2011

If there is any truth to the confession letter the killing of Tupac and attempt on Suge’s life may have been kept from Suge for years. Six days ago a puzzle piece emerged that says Suge was in the crosshairs the night Tupac was murdered. In the immediate aftermath of the Shakur killing and Knight’s incarceration for a probation violation, there was total chaos at Death Row Records. Equipment, furniture, motorcycles, cars, and master tapes were disappearing. Once Reggie Wright was put in charge all of the chaos ended.

Details of the shooting last night are not yet available I would hope that the confession letter would be fully investigated by law enforcement. I would also hope that all relevant documents can be released to the public instead of leaked to stall the investigation.

            There is a rash of violence tied to Tupac’s murder including the slaying of Biggie Smalls on March 9, 1997. The similarity of the murders is compelling. There are two differences that stand out. The Tupac slaying was a wide pattern of bullets (bullets hit all over the car) with regular bullets being used. The Biggie killing is the same type of drive-by with a relatively tight pattern (bullets hit Biggie’s door) and armor-piercing GECO rounds used seeming to indicate that this hit was done professionally. The shootings are identical except for an experience modification. If the same people planned both murders, they would have learned something valuable from Tupac’s killing substituting a shooter that spent time shooting for accuracy as well as adding armor piercing ammunition to better pierce the car.

The family of Biggie Smalls sued LAPD and the City of Los Angeles claiming that LAPD officers participated in the killing of Biggie Smalls. A mistrial was declared when it was learned that thousands of documents had been withheld in the discovery process by LAPD. Now LAPD has leaked a document that could be the Rosetta stone to solving the case.

            Here is the error-ridden leaked confession letter: There was a major problem with demo stilling. 2 song’s that 2 pac came out with were written by little half dead. little half dead was a up and coming rap singer. He gave 4 demo’s to 2 pac to look over, because he meat 2 pac at the bonavenchur Hotel. 2 pac promised that he would look over the demo’s. little half dead never heard from 2 pac, and 3 months later, after 2 pac revised the demo’s the song brenda’s got a baby was released. Brenda’s got a baby was written by little half dead. little half dead let that slide. But he continued to go to different recording studios. Finally in 94 little half dead started making money. And he was sponsord mostly by Sh Night. What Night did not know was that little half dead found out that he was being sold to Priority 1. There was a meeting in Reno. And little half dead and 2 pac had dispute about song’s that were taken. little half dead was beaten down by 2 pac Soldiers. As day’s went by there was meeting’s with ICG – gear gang – ghost town – front street – 52 - A Try hoover’s - and South Park, A bounty was put on 2 pac and Night. Mr. Writh Jr. gave Info where 2 pac was going to be. There was 6 different barricades that no matter what would of happened no one would of made it out. I was the shooter that was told to take Night out. little half dead was the one that took 2 pac out. As for gun that was used, will be dropped off at the security booth at fox 11. please do not have stop or talk to one of my droppin off the gun.

Tell X-con how you whant it deliverd. I don’t whant to put it in a box cause I don’t whant you thinking it’s a bomb. If you need any other Info, give X-con a list so I can meet him were I feel I am in more control. If you would like, I can call you on a safe number and give you details of the clothing, cars, streets, and discribe any-thing you need to know to prove that I was there, the night 2 Pac tryed to escape, like a little pee-on bitch.

If we want this case solved I think the public needs to participate in getting to the bottom of the killings. I would invite anyone that has any documents that relate to the Tupac or Biggie killings to submit them to me and we can release them all on December 1st 2014 simultaneously in what what I am going to call Tupacileaks. LAPD withheld documents in the civil trial and started the leaking with this confession letter… let’s all get behind solving the case by putting together the dots and pouring through the documents. There are hundreds of public and private records – court cases, interviews, videotapes, and photographs. Let’s put them all in one place and release them on December 1st 2014. The blood of those murdered demand justice. Send your documents to:

To order Tupac:187 Click on the link below
Available January 5th on 
(TRY Coupon Code BOOKDEAL25 for 25% Off)

To Interview RJ Bond or Michael Carlin call 424.646.0207

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Guard Identifies Fallen F-15C Aviator

By Steve Marshall
National Guard Bureau

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass., Aug. 29, 2014 - Massachusetts National Guard officials today identified the pilot of an F-15C Eagle jet that crashed in Virginia as Air Force Lt. Col. Morris "Moose" Fontenot Jr.

The veteran aviator was killed Aug. 27 when his aircraft crashed in remote, mountainous terrain near Deerfield Valley.

"We all continue to keep the Fontenot family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time," said Col. James Keefe, commander of the 104th Fighter Wing based here.

Fontenot served with the 104th Fighter Wing as the full-time Wing Inspector General, responsible for the implementation of the Air Force Inspection System and as an F-15 instructor pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours. A 1996 Air Force Academy graduate, he was additionally a Weapons School Graduate with more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience. He served as a squadron commander at multiple locations.

Following active duty assignments in Washington D.C., Japan, Idaho, Florida, Alaska and numerous deployments to the Middle East, Fontenot joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February 2014. He was a decorated combat veteran, earning the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal, among others.

An official safety investigation board is being convened and the investigation into the crash is ongoing.
A massive search ensued following the Aug. 27 crash of the jet in dense forest. The search involved personnel from the National Guard, Virginia State Police and civilian searchers, some with dogs and others on horseback.

At approximately 9:05 a.m. Aug. 27, Washington Center Air Traffic Control in Washington, D.C., lost radio contact with the aircraft stationed at the 104th Fighter Wing, and at approximately 9:30 a.m. the wing learned that the aircraft had crashed in a remote site near Deerfield Valley, Virginia.

The single seat F-15C aircraft was en route to Naval Air Station New Orleans to receive a radar system upgrade. The flight was not related to the 104th Fighter Wing's homeland defense mission, and there were no munitions on the aircraft during the flight, a National Guard news release said.

Fontenot was flying a solo mission when he reported an in-flight emergency prior to the loss of radio contact with Washington Center.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The 104th Fighter Wing contributed to this article.)

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pentagon: Russia Intensifies Efforts Inside Ukraine

By Jim Garamone

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2014 - Russia continues to build up along its border with Ukraine and has moved sophisticated weapons systems into the country, the Pentagon press secretary said here today.
Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that Russian military forces are part of those movements. Russian forces are, "facilitating the movement and then helping the separatists use the systems, if not using it themselves in support of separatists," he said.

NATO has released surveillance photos showing these assets inside Ukraine. Kirby tied the Russian movements to the success that Ukraine has had against Russian-backed separatists in the country. "We believe that that has helped foster Moscow's intention to intensify these efforts," he said.

Kirby called Russian actions an "intensification" of the behaviors the Kremlin has exhibited for months.
"Our position hasn't changed," he said. "We continue to look for ways to support the Ukrainian armed forces and the border guards. We continue to look for ways to reassure our NATO allies and partners, and we continue to call for Russia to pull its forces back and to stop escalating the tension there."

President Barack Obama addressed the issue yesterday during a White House news conference. Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the president said. He called on nations of the world to impose new sanctions against Russia.

"As a result of the actions Russia has already taken and the major sanctions we've imposed with our European and international partners, Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War," the president said.

Obama said he would reaffirm U.S. commitment to the defense of NATO allies and said he would speak with fellow NATO leaders at the summit in the United Kingdom next week.

"We'll focus on the additional steps we can take to ensure the alliance remains prepared for any challenge," he said.

Ukraine is not a NATO member, but the United States does "stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them," the president said.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Governor Brown Appoints New Administrator at CalVet’s West Los Angeles Veterans Home

West Los Angeles  On Wednesday, August 27, Governor Brown appointed Thomas Bucci of Solano as administrator at our California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) Veterans Home of California, West Los Angeles.

"Our West Los Angeles Veterans Home is one of CalVet's top priorities, and we are excited to bring such a skilled leader into our community," stated Undersecretary for Veterans Homes Diane Vanderpot. "Mr. Bucci brings years of experience in private-sector long-term care. He has also worked in the public sector as a deputy district attorney and is a former Air Force pilot. The skills he brings to this position should serve our residents and staff well."

Bucci has been chief executive officer at Villa Marin Inc. since 2001. He served as a deputy district attorney at the Yolo County District Attorney's Office from 2000 to 2011. Bucci was executive director of the Quality Care Health Foundation from 1999 to 2000, vice president at Regency Health Services from 1997 to 1999 and regional director of quality assurance at Hillhaven Corporation from 1990 to 1997. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a standards evaluation instructor navigator from 1984 to 1990. Bucci earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Northern California School of Law and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma. Bucci is also a licensed Nursing Home and Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) Administrator.

The West Los Angeles Home is a long-term care facility which admitted its first resident in October of 2010. The Home provides RCFE (assisted living), Skilled Nursing, Memory Care, and, through a partnership with the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs West LA Health Care Center, a Transitional Housing Program for homeless veterans trying to reestablish themselves in the community.


Veterans desiring to be considered for membership must be residents of California, age 55 or older (or younger if disabled), and have served honorably.​ CalVet operates eight residential care facilities for California Veterans. For more information, including home locations, levels of care available, application processes, photo galleries and more, go to


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U.S. Navy Seaman Marten Palomo, right, relays a message to Petty Officer 2nd Class Julius Gomez during an engineering casualty drill on the guided-missile frigate USS Rodney M. Davis in the Philippine Sea, Aug. 28, 2014. The frigate is patrolling in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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Navy Airman Ramey Herrera checks of the wash-down system on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier is off the coast of Southern California conducting carrier qualifications as part of a deployment to the western Pacific region

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Hagel's 16th Overseas Trip Includes Wales Summit

Hagel's 16th Overseas Trip Includes Wales Summit

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2014 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will begin his 16th international trip Sept. 3, a six-day visit to three countries and participation at the Sept. 4-5 NATO Summit in Wales, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, left, shakes hands with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in February 2014. NATO courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Hagel also will make stops in Georgia and Turkey, his first as defense secretary.

On his way to the summit, Kirby said, the secretary will stop in Newport, Rhode Island, to deliver a keynote speech at the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance's Defense Innovation Days Conference.

Stop at Newport conference

At the conference, Kirby added, he expects Hagel to address challenges facing the U.S. military's technological edge and how the Defense Department must meet such challenges.

"He touched on these issues before in his budget testimony and in his speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs this spring," the admiral said, "but this will be an opportunity to talk in greater detail about the need for innovation and how we develop and procure new capabilities."

In Newport, the secretary also will visit the Naval War College.

NATO summit's focus, topics

At the NATO Summit in Wales, Hagel will join President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and their counterparts from NATO and its partner nations for important discussions, Kirby said.

Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Lt. Col. Vanessa M. Hillman said the summit's focus will be Afghanistan, Ukraine and the Middle East, and how to bolster future NATO efforts.

"We view the summit as an important opportunity to address the ongoing crises in the world, but also set the direction for NATO in the coming years," Hillman said, adding that other topics to be discussed at the summit include:

-- An update to DoD contributions to the European Reassurance Initiative and 2015 reassurance measures;

-- NATO's post-Afghanistan mission and role;

-- Russia's continued provocations and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, as a serious terrorist threat, and other emerging security challenges;

-- Defense capacity building; and

-- Ways that NATO can improve coordination among its members during capacity-building efforts with key partners.

An important opportunity

Kirby said Hagel has participated in four NATO defense ministerials leading up to the Wales summit. He said the secretary views the upcoming summit "as an important opportunity to address the ongoing crises in the world but also to set the direction for NATO in the coming years. An important part of that strategy will be NATO's partnerships."

The summit also will pay tribute to the sacrifices and achievements of NATO and partner forces during a decade of unprecedented operations in Afghanistan, according to NATO officials, and will look ahead to the alliance's planned new mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces after 2014.

The previous NATO summit was held in Chicago in 2012.

Stop in Georgia

Hagel will next travel to Georgia, one of the United States' and NATO's most important and capable partners, Kirby said.

"This will be his first visit to Georgia as secretary, but he's met with his Georgian counterpart before and also met with the Georgian prime minister earlier this year while in Munich," the admiral said.

"The Georgian military has been a valued partner of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan," he added, "and the secretary looks forward to thanking the Georgian people for their contributions and sacrifices over the last decade."

Georgia shares U.S. concerns about Russia's actions in Ukraine, Kirby said, and that will top Hagel's agenda during the visit.

On to Turkey

Afterward, Hagel will travel to Turkey, making his first official visit to the key NATO ally.

"Given its border with Syria and Iraq, [Turkey] shares our deep concerns with the regional threat posed by ISIL," Kirby said.

Hagel has longstanding relationships with Turkey's leaders, including the newly inaugurated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Kirby said the secretary views the upcoming visit as an important opportunity to advance the critical U.S.-Turkey relationship

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Settlements with Pair of Related Norfolk, Neb., Pesticide Companies to Improve Pesticide Safety and Reliability


(Lenexa, Kan., Aug. 29, 2014) - Custom Feed Services Corporation and Earthworks Health LLC, two separate pesticide companies based in Norfolk, Neb., with common ownership, have agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $74,513 to settle allegations related to the production and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).


On behalf of EPA, in November 2011 the Nebraska Department of Agriculture conducted a for-cause inspection of the two companies at their shared facility in Norfolk, based on a tip. Custom Feed Services produces and distributes pesticides and agricultural products, while Earthworks Health sells and distributes pesticides and other products.


The inspection and subsequent investigation documented that on multiple occasions Custom Feed Services sold or distributed copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticide products that were not registered with EPA, and that were misbranded in that they lacked valid EPA registration numbers and production establishment numbers. The copper sulfate products also lacked applicable directions for use and personal protection language. In addition, Custom Feed Services produced the pesticide products in a facility that was not registered with EPA as a pesticide-producing facility in accordance with FIFRA. Under FIFRA, repackaging constitutes production.


On multiple occasions, Earthworks Health sold or distributed unregistered and misbranded copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticides, in addition to an unregistered antibacterial product, Foaming DisposALL Drain Cleaner.


The use of non-exempt, unregistered pesticides may result in harm to human health or the environment, as they have not undergone the rigorous risk and label reviews necessary to ensure safe and effective use. Copper sulfate is an inorganic compound that can be used as a pesticide to kill bacteria, algae, roots, plants, snails, and fungi. Improper use of copper sulfate can be toxic to fish and aquatic animals, and failure to take proper precautions may result in eye or skin injury to humans. Diatomaceous earth may cause eye or respiratory irritation if improperly handled.


Custom Feed Services' civil penalty is $55,752 and Earthworks Health LLC's civil penalty is $18,761. EPA calculates penalties by considering a variety of factors, including risk to the environment, size of the business, and ability to pay.


Under FIFRA, distributors of pesticides must ensure that the information on their products' labels contains the same required cautionary information as found on the labels filed with EPA by the pesticides' registrants, and that those pesticides are not distributed with claims that differ from the registration information filed with EPA.


Through their respective settlements with EPA, Custom Feed Services and Earthworks Health LLC have certified that they are now in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations.

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U.S. Special Operations Command Change of Command

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Tampa, Florida, Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thank you. Good afternoon.

Ladies and gentlemen, we first want to tell you how grateful we are that you are here. We are all here first to thank Bill and Georgeann McRaven for their exceptional leadership and their commitment to this country, to the people they lead, and the values that they care about. Their exceptional leadership for US Special Operations Command is a tribute to all of you who serve this country, and a special tribute to them. We're here also to welcome Michele and Joe Votel and their family.

A full account of Admiral McRaven's military career has yet to be written. When it is, however, it will have to be heavily redacted. But his legacy in the special operations community is already pretty secure. He is a warrior-leader that generations of special operators from across the branches of all of our services will strive to emulate in every way.

Bill McRaven's career has been deeply intertwined with the history of special operations in this country in every way. He helped establish and was in the first graduating class of the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum at the Naval Post Graduate School. He literally wrote the book on Special Operations and I'm told that his graduate school thesis, which I've not read, at one point outranked even Clausewitz on Amazon's list of Military Strategy bestsellers. As the commander for Special Operations in Europe, he was the driving force behind the creation of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre. And under his leadership, the Joint [Special] Operations Command carried out perhaps the most important mission in their history hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden.

As SOCOM Commander, Admiral McRaven has led a community transitioning from its essential role in the post-[9]/11 wars to confronting the next generation of challenges dynamic, dispersed, and networked, and very dangerous.

Special operators have long been the vanguard of our military's global engagement, representing the kind of far-reaching work that our military will be called upon to do more and more in the future. Under Admiral McRaven's command, SOCOM personnel have deployed to over 150 countries.

What special operators do every day not only helps make America safer, the world better, it also directly contradicts the uninformed and false narrative that somehow the United States is pulling back from the world. In fact, SOCOM and the entire U.S. military are more engaged internationally than ever before in more places and with a wider variety of missions.

For example, under Admiral McRaven's leadership, our special operations Forces swiftly provided life-saving relief after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. They helped Peruvian forces successfully target two senior members of the Shining Path rebel group. They're working with African partners now to help counter the terrorist activities of Boko Haram. In Iraq, special operators on the ground are helping strengthen Iraqi security forces in their fight against ISIL. And in Eastern Europe, they are reinforcing NATO allies in light of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

For the past three years, Admiral McRaven has organized his forces to be more agile, more flexible, and more responsive. He has better integrated SOCOM with the geographic Combatant Commands, some as you know are here today, and issued the first-ever Global Campaign Plan for Special Operations. He has deepened our relationships abroad, in a very positive way, working more closely with allies and partners to better anticipate and counter threats. As a testament to the growing demand for special operators, SOCOM has grown by almost 8,000 people over the past three years and its growth will continue even as other parts of our military draw down.

The relentless pace of deployments has put a heavy burden on this community, on all of our military communities, and the McRavens, both Georgeann and Bill, have worked tirelessly to help alleviate much of this strain. Bill established initiatives to address the physical and mental well-being of his force, offer support to family members, and provide more predictability on deployments. He modified SOCOM's definition of readiness to include families as a vital part of that equation, something the entire Department of Defense can learn from. Georgeann, with over three decades as a military spouse, you have been consistent in your advocacy for SOF families and you have personally supported many of these important initiatives. The McRavens live by the SOF community's saying, that our people are most important, our people are more important than our hardware.

The University of Texas recently announced that Bill will become their next Chancellor. As a Nebraskan, I'm sorry. Actually, I told the Admiral I'm happy we have now left the Big 12 with Texas, because I know when McRaven shows up, things will change everywhere, as they always do. UT's selection of Bill, however, speaks to his ability, clear ability, respected ability, to lead and inspire those around him. That's been the story of his life, his career.

As we bid farewell to Admiral McRaven and Georgeann, we know that we have a most worthy successor in Joe Votel. General Votel's quiet, decisive leadership combining both operational and strategic expertise is what this command will need as we confront the next generation of very dangerous and complicated threats to our country and our national security.

Like Admiral McRaven, General Votel knows that an institution is only as strong as its people. So let me close by paying tribute to all of you who do so much for this country, paying tribute to the exceptional people that Admiral McRaven so brilliantly led, and who General Votel is now charged to lead.

To all our special operators, thank you for the sacrifices you make for your country, particularly over the past 13 years of fighting in two grueling, long wars. Your skill, your agility, and your dedication are what make you so often the choice of our forces for our highest priority missions. And a special thank-you to your families, who make untold sacrifices and never get the amount of recognition and appreciation they deserve.

In a complicated and combustible world, this community is a precious national asset. All Americans are inspired by your strength, your determination, and your absolute devotion to duty. Admiral McRaven, General Votel, we are tremendously proud of both you and your families, and your stewardship of this community, and all you have commanded.

And to many of our leaders who were announced today at the beginning of this ceremony, I thank you on behalf of President Obama, our country, for your leadership, and for the men and women under your commands and what you do for our country.

To members of the Florida congressional delegation and other political leaders here, thank you for your support of our men and women and this institution. We are grateful for that support and we are grateful for your partnership.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

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Not Just Teachers: Supporting Students’ Success

As summer ends and the school year begins, we often think about teachers and students heading back to school. While teachers prepare lessons and students learn new concepts we can't forget the service employees who provide support that enable the schools to run efficiently.

Instructional support in schools can play a key role in student success. Paraeducators –– support staff responsible for assisting in the delivery of instruction — help provide such support by assisting with classroom management, organizing instructional materials, helping in libraries and media centers, and translating, to name a few of their responsibilities. Perhaps most importantly, paraeducators reinforce the efforts of teachers in the classroom, and help increase student outcomes.

This is why, as President of the California Service Employees Union, I want to take the time to tell the story of one service employee in the Golden State who really shines.

Paraeducator Michele Delao, a 2011 California School Employees Association Member of the Year, uses her knowledge and warmth to help special education students learn. For the past eight years as special education paraeducator at Bear River School in Wheatland, California, she has brought light-heartedness and laughter to the serious mission of showing special education students that they can thrive.

The staff of Bear River School laud Delao's ability to help students focus and grasp instruction.

Michele Delao helps a student on an assignment.

Michele Delao helps a student on an assignment.

"She has a very striking sense of humor that comforts the kids and takes the pressure off," explains Angela Gouker, principal of Bear River School. "Most of these kids know they're a little bit behind or struggling in some areas. She makes learning fun so that they forget that pressure."

Delao says it's satisfying to see the students' progress. With her help, the students can attend mainstream middle school classes even as they're working to master the basics.

With budget cuts and fewer staff dedicated to special education, the paraeducators at Bear River School  have taken on a larger load of students with a broader range of learning disabilities. Despite the challenge, Delao tailors her approach to fit each student.

"They're having great difficulties and there are great variations in each person," she says. "But because there are only three of us, our groups are really not as targeted as we would like. I have to find a middle ground and at the same time try to meet individual students where they are."

Understanding  the needs and challenges of working with diverse learners, including special education students, Delao comes to work each day fired by  the energy, compassion and will to give the students she mentors a boost toward academic success. And, she does it all with a smile.

"She really cares about what she does – she cares about people – and that sense of humor comes through," Gouker said. "It doesn't get much better than that."

Michael Bilbrey is the President of the California Service Employees Union.


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Pentagon Prepares Options for President on ISIL

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2014 - Military officials here and at U.S. Central Command are working to present President Barack Obama with options to contain the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said here today.

Kirby told reporters that officials are taking under consideration the changing situation with the terror group.

During a White House press conference yesterday, President Obama said he had directed DoD to present options to him.

"What the president was referring to yesterday was planning options inside Syria," Kirby said. "Now, I'd be less than truthful if I said to you that we ... hadn't been thinking about that before yesterday. Of course we have been. And we've talked about that."

Still, the department is not at the point where plans are mature enough to have the discussion with the commander-in-chief, Kirby said. A second point is that all those involved, including the president, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have repeatedly said that options in Syria are not limited to the military.

"It can't just be military," Kirby said. "There's not going to be a military solution here to the threat that ISIL poses. It's just not going to happen."

Containing and eliminating the terror group will take all elements of national power, he said. "So while we certainly, for our part, have to work on what those options could look like, there are other parts of our government that are working, as well, on options that they might need to pursue in the future going forward," the admiral said.

In the meantime, Kirby said, operations against ISIL will continue. The United States has been providing humanitarian aid to Iraqis victimized by ISIL's brutal tactics. U.S. aircraft have also flown a number of strikes against the terror group in and around Irbil and around the Mosul Dam area. "We're up almost to 110 air strikes total since they began," Kirby said.

The admiral said U.S. efforts are about degrading ISIL's capability to operate and the terror group's ability "to conduct the sort of brutal violence that they have been doing inside Iraq and the threat that they pose to the region."

Officials said that on a tactical level inside Iraq, the strikes are having an effect on ISIL's ability to operate. "We're being disruptive to their operations, to their command and control, to their ability to move around," Kirby said.

Delivering humanitarian assistance in Iraq and building capabilities of Iraqi security forces are also ways to impact and degrade ISIL. DoD has asked for $500 million for a train and equip program for a moderate Syrian opposition.

"We hope to get that authorized and appropriated for fiscal year 2015, which is coming up here pretty soon, so that we can move out on this," Kirby said. "There are a lot of hurdles that remain to be leaped, in terms of getting us there."

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08/29/2014 02:23 PM CDT

Marine Corps Cpl. Freddy Cantu pushes his body to its physical limits during a workout session on Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 25, 2014. Cantu is a cyber network administrator assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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08/29/2014 02:40 PM CDT

Navy Seaman Marico Dean holds his daughter for the first time as he returns on the attack submarine USS Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., Aug. 26, 2014. The submarine, which arrived at its homeport on Naval Station Norfolk after completing its final deployment, will begin the inactivation process in 2015.

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U.S. Navy Chief Steven Shinault prepares a training room before a firefighting drill at Surface Warfare Officer School for Fire Fighting and Damage Control Training at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, Aug. 26, 2014. The school provides realistic firefighting training for sailors and officers on Fleet Activities Yokosuka.

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An F/A-18C Hornet and an F/A-18E Super Hornet fly in formation over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific Ocean, Aug. 24, 2014. The carrier is conducting qualifications off the coast of Southern California as part of the ship's Western Pacific Deployment 2014. The F/A-18C Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 113 and the F/A-18E Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 22.

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Respect After Death Act Passes, Awaits Governor’s Signature

(Sacramento) Today, California's Respect After Death Act (AB 1577) was sent to Governor Brown for his signature, having now passed in both the Assembly and Senate. The bill will provide guidance to help ensure that transgender people have their gender identity reflected on their death certificates. It was authored by Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins and sponsored by Equality California and Transgender Law Center.

"Once we are deceased, we are often at the mercy of others to treat us with dignity," said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). "The very least we can do is ensure individuals are given basic human dignity by honoring their authentic selves when they pass so that more pain is not inflicted upon grieving loved ones or the community."

"We are grateful for the support of California's Legislature, and the leadership of Assembly Speaker Atkins, in passing this common-sense bill that will help protect the dignity of our loved ones upon their passing," said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. "This brings us a significant step closer to making sure that all transgender people are able to live—and die—authentically in accordance with who they really are."

"Everyone deserves to have their identity respected in death, and this law cleans up a confusing process to ensure transgender Californians get the same respect that anyone else gets," said Rick Zbur, executive director-elect of EQCA. "We thank Speaker Atkins for her leadership on this issue."

AB 1577 will require the official responsible for completing a transgender person's death certificate to do so in a manner that reflects the person's gender identity if they are presented appropriate documentation, such as written instructions from the deceased person confirming their wishes, an updated birth certificate or driver's license, or evidence of medical treatment for gender transition. In the absence of these documents, the gender reported by the person's legal next of kin would be used.

Current law requires death certificates to list personal data such as name, sex and race, but there is no legal guidance about how the official filling out the death certificate should determine a transgender person's sex. This means sometimes the information on the death certificate is not consistent with the deceased's lived gender, and can put funeral directors and coroners at risk of liability if the friends and family of the deceased believe that they listed the incorrect sex. Additionally, when a transgender person is wrongly gendered upon their passing, whether on official documents or in the media, it is not only disrespectful to the deceased person but also to fellow transgender community members, for whom witnessing that kind of mis-gendering can be tremendously painful and stigmatizing.

The bill drew inspiration from the passing of Christopher Lee, a San Francisco artist and transgender advocate who was mis-gendered after his death in 2012. Lee was assigned female at birth, which did not match who he knew he was on the inside and he had long identified and expressed himself as a man. Unfortunately, the coroner wrongly identified Lee as female on his death certificate, despite his driver's license correctly showing his sex as male.

"I look forward to seeing the Governor sign this important law. At a time when we were mourning the loss of our dear family friend, we had to endure the pain of seeing him and his legacy be disrespected," said Lee's close friend Chino Scott-Chung. "We don't want this to happen to anyone else's family or friends."

Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. For more than a decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 100 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment.

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U.S. Department of Education Strengthens Federal Student Loan Servicing

Renegotiated contracts incentivize better support for student borrowers; new initiative led by Under Secretary Mitchell will continue to improve service

 Press Office, (202) 

As a result of President Obama's executive actions to help make student loans more affordable, the U.S. Department of Education has announced several new steps to help federal student loan borrowers better manage their student debt. Following up on the commitments outlined by President Obama in June, the Department has renegotiated the terms of its contracts with federal student loan servicers in order to strengthen incentives for them to provide excellent customer service and help borrowers stay up-to-date on their payments. This action will help ensure that borrowers receive the highest quality support as they repay their federal student loans and help the Department better monitor the performance of loan servicers to help them continue to improve.

In addition to these important steps, today Secretary Duncan has directed Under Secretary Ted Mitchell to explore additional action the Department can take that will further strengthen the federal direct loan program to be even more responsive to the needs of borrowers both now and in the future. In the coming weeks, Mitchell and the Department's Office of Federal Student Aid will announce a series of opportunities to hear directly from student loan borrowers and stakeholders about their ideas for improving the federal student loan program. By the end of the year, he will use this feedback to make key recommendations that will focus on solutions that can help struggling borrowers.

In the coming weeks, the Department will also begin the process to amend its regulations and allow more borrowers to cap their payments at 10 percent of their monthly incomes under an expanded Pay As You Earn repayment plan option, ensuring that students can repay their debt.

"All hard-working students and families deserve high-quality support from their federal loan servicer, and we are continuing to take steps to make sure that is the case," Secretary Duncan said.

In administering the federal student loan programs, the Department's top priority is to help students pursue and complete quality higher education programs. The performance-based contract renegotiations emphasize the importance of helping borrowers stay current on their loans and avoid default, while also incentivizing customer satisfaction. Loans will be assigned to servicers based on how well they perform on these and other metrics. This competitive structure to the contracts will ensure that borrowers receive high quality service while maximizing value for the taxpayer.

The renegotiated terms of the federal student loan servicer contracts are structured to create additional incentives for servicers to focus on the Department's priorities: effective counseling and outreach to ensure borrowers select the best repayment option for them, and enhanced customer satisfaction for student and parent borrowers at all stages of the student loan life cycle. These incentives include:

  • Revised performance metrics that increase the weight of the existing borrower customer satisfaction survey from 20 percent of the overall score to 35 percent.
  • A payment structure that focuses on servicers' success in keeping borrowers in on-time repayment status and helping borrowers avoid default.
  • Additional incentives tied to each servicer's success in reducing delinquency in payments across their portfolio.

In addition, the Department is doubling down on efforts to make sure America's active duty service members are served well, requiring loan servicers to focus dedicated resources and enhance outreach and information efforts for this important population.

The revised metrics will replace the federal student loan servicers' quarterly and annual customer satisfaction survey scores and the default prevention statistics used to determine each servicer's allocation of new loan volume. The most recent scores are published here. Additionally, in an effort to promote transparency and provide easily accessible data for customers and stakeholders, the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) recently shared updated information on its website about student loan servicers, repayment plans status and student loan delinquency rates.

The Department also has contracts with seven not-for-profit entities to service student loans. These entities have operated under separate pricing and performance metrics, but beginning October 1, most of the changes discussed above also will be extended to the not-for-profit entities so that all Department servicers will operate under common pricing and performance metrics. While previously these entities have only serviced existing loans, they will also begin to receive new borrower accounts in early 2015.

Current federal Title IV Loan Servicers (TIVAS) include: Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. (Great Lakes); Nelnet Servicing, LLC (Nelnet); Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA); and Navient, LLC. These companies were first awarded performance-based contracts in 2009. Current not-for-profit servicers include: Aspire Resources Inc, Utah Higher Education Assistance Corporation (UHEAC), Educational Servicers of America, Inc. (ESA), New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (NHHELC), Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA), and Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC).These entities received contracts between October 2011 and October 2012.

More information about the performance of federal student loan servicers can be found on the Department's website at

The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) administers and oversees the federal student financial assistance programs, authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). These programs represent the largest source of student aid for postsecondary education in the United States. The Office of the Under Secretary manages policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education.

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