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Grassley Seeks Explanation for Agency Preference for Paper Over Email PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:03

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the Department of Homeland Security to explain an apparent preference for providing Congress with paper rather than electronic documents, an irony given the agency’s interest in boosting its cybersecurity funding and expertise.

“It’s ironic that the agency striving for expertise on cybersecurity is reluctant to send emails to Congress,” Grassley said.  “It would be like if CBO presented estimates to Congress with an abacus or if the transportation secretary rode around town in a horse and buggy. The purpose of the letter is to find out what’s behind the apparent preference for paper over email.”

Grassley, with Rep. Darrell Issa, wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to ask why the agency tells members of Congress that it is unable to produce documents to Congress electronically.  The apparent preference for paper is in contrast with the President’s executive order asking agencies to use electronic documents when possible and the Administration’s interest in increasing funding for Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity programs by $300 million.

Grassley’s encounter with the Department of Homeland Security’s apparent preference for paper responses is related to his December 2011 request in the Operation Fast and Furious inquiry.  The agency is beginning to respond, and the responses are coming in paper form and will result in thousands of pages if the entire request is fulfilled.  Agency representatives have told Grassley’s office that the paper preference is a policy, and the Grassley-Issa letter seeks verification and details.

The text of Grassley’s December 2011 request to the agency is available here.  The text of the Grassley-Issa letter to the agency this week is available here.


Dear Mr. President -- From One Dad to Another PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Gordon Filepas   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:55
By: Gordon Filepas

As a father, you understand the incredible importance of keeping your family healthy, happy, lean and long-lived as easily and inexpensively as possible.   As the president of our country, you understand the importance of educating U.S. citizens about how to do the same.

My concern then is, as the most prominent role model in the land, why do you smoke cigarettes?  Why do you eat so many fatty foods, as physicians have publicly noted?  Why are there so many campaign tour photos of you eating unhealthy foods?  At the same time, your wife is campaigning to end childhood obesity.  Doesn’t this send a mixed message to most everyone in America?  This at a time when America’s disease, obesity and health insurance rates are skyrocketing, with no end in sight?

Why does America spend only 4% percent of its health-care budget on prevention and education yet over 75 percent on disease treatment? Is the goal to make Americans authentically healthy, or to make a few industries wealthier? These are questions my own children have asked me around the dinner table, so now I’m asking you Mr. President.

From all the research I just completed, I now know that Americans aren’t getting fatter and sicker because they’re lazy; they’re getting fatter and sicker because of the steady stream of misinformation that is fed to them and that defies common sense. They’re confused about the true biological causes of poor health and disease.  You can understand then why, to the American public, it almost appears that governmental health policies are designed to cultivate disease and illness, purely for profit, rather than to authentically protect the health of American citizens.

The signs are everywhere. A recent example is the fact that food manufacturers don’t have to label GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods in America, when other countries do.  Why?  People certainly deserve to know what’s in their food!  A country as a whole is only as strong as the health of its individuals.

As a concerned father, I wanted to ask you these questions. Because, when I give my children a kiss or a hug or tell them I love them each day, I want only the best for them.  As a father, I know you want the same for your own children.   And, every other parent in our country wants the same for their own children.  What does the future hold for our children if America doesn’t change its ways right now and do what it needs to do to end its disease and obesity epidemics?

As a concerned American citizen, I know that you have the power to make America healthier, leaner, fitter and stronger.  You can also choose to do nothing and give into the various lobbying interests purely for their profit and political purposes, while the citizens of our country continue to get sicker, fatter and weaker, thereby making America even less competitive in the world.

The long and short of it is, Mr. President, the choice really is yours. You are the ultimate role model for America.  The buck starts and stops with you.

Whoever becomes the next President in the upcoming election, I wonder what the parents on their staff and throughout all the other influential government offices would wish for their own children’s future: profit or health? Frankly, it really is easy to have both if America’s health-care system were to be redesigned properly and if all Americans were taught to give their bodies what they need biologically in the first place to prevent disease and illness.  Providing everyone with health insurance is a noble proposition but it does nothing to prevent or end even a single disease state.

Wouldn’t it be great to be remembered as the president who solved America’s health and obesity problems, and made America the longest-lived country in the world with among the lowest healthcare costs?

The choice is yours.

About Gordon Filepas

Gordon Filepas spent 20 years researching Lean And Healthy To 100, (, interviewing physicians, attending seminars, and reading medical journals and other health-related literature. He is the founder of TGM Partners, a consulting and investment firm. Filepas says he was motivated to learn more about the specific requirements for optimal health following the deaths of his father and brother from cancer within three years of each other. He hopes to ensure the good health of his family, including his wife of 25 years and three sons.

Understanding Mormons PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:33

Critics say the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney seems “stiff” and out of touch. Some say it’s because of his immense wealth. Ross H. Palfreyman, a Mormon author of Two Years in God’s Mormon Army (, thinks it’s something else.

“People get distracted by religion, especially the Mormon religion, because, hey, we do some quirky stuff,” Palfreyman says. “I think Romney has stayed away from the personal stuff because much of it has to do with being Mormon. But if people knew about his experiences as a Mormon, they’d see his softer side.”

Like Palfreyman, Romney served two years as a Mormon missionary, a rite of passage that teaches young men compassion and self-discipline, among other values, Palfeyman says. That time away from home – no visits allowed and only two phone calls a year on Mother’s Day and Christmas – can be the most memorable in a Mormon’s lifetime, he says.

Palfreyman offers facts for voters about Mormonism and Romney’s relationship to it:

Romney served his two-year mission in France. No matter where a young man serves his mission “it prepares you for a life of service,” Palfreyman says. The missionaries witness abject poverty, learn selflessness and hard work, and learn how to accept rejection.

Romney also served five years as bishop of his congregation in Belmont, Mass. It was an unpaid position where he managed nuts-and-bolts-type issues like administrative tasks and more delicate duties, including financial counseling and assistance, and marriage relationship help.

Mormons revere and exalt the Bible, and see it as the bedrock of Christianity. They also believe in a revelation given from God to Joseph Smith, which is found in the Book of Mormon.

Children are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age 8. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a potential running mate for Romney, was baptized into the LDS Church while living in Utah with his family. Rubio converted to Catholicism as a teenager.

Mormons believe God wants human beings to follow a health outline called “The Word of Wisdom,” which discourages use of alcohol, tobacco or coffee. Adherence to this health code is especially important for baptism, full-time missionary work, church school attendance and entry into the church’s temples. Violation of the code is not grounds for excommunication or other disciplinary measures. Other guidelines include limited meat consumption, the restriction of narcotics and an emphasis on eating herbs, fruits and grains.

Romney is far more than the stiff businessman in a suit often seen in public, Palfreyman says.

“Clearly, there’s a softer and more developed side to Mitt Romney, because he was a great bishop from all I’ve heard,” he says. “His religion is the elephant in the room, but he’s got to keep it from distracting from his message about what he would do as the nation’s leader.”

About Ross H. Palfreyman

Ross H. Palfreyman is a Laguna Beach, Calif., lawyer who began his mission work in 1973 in Thailand, during the Vietnam War and the Thai Revolution of ’73. Two years of trying to convince devout Buddhists that they’d be better off as Mormons was trying enough, he also was threatened at gunpoint and fended off parasites and rabid dogs during his “indentured servitude.” He initially wrote about his experiences for his six children. Palfreyman’s youngest son returns from his mission in Mexico in August.

Jasmine Babers, 16, of Rock Island, IL, Wins SparkOpportunity Challenge to Connect Young People to Education, Employment PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Caitlin Johnson   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:27
10 Winners Announced at White House Youth Summit, Featured in Jon Bon Jovi Video

June 4, 2012 (Washington, DC) - Jasmine Babers of Rock Island, IL, is a winner of the SparkOpportunity Challenge, an innovative "crowdsourcing" competition that asked young people to share their ideas on how to create local jobs and opportunities for youth. Babers, 16, won for Love, GIRLS Magazine, which teaches teenage girls about work skills, marketing, sales, writing, and photography.

The ten winners, all between the ages of 15 and 35, were announced at the White House Youth Summit and in a video featuring Jon Bon Jovi, musician and member of the youth-focused White House Council for Community Solutions. The winners receive an iPad, start-up grants of $1,500, and mentoring from recognized business and civic leaders to help make their ideas a reality.

At a time when more than 6.7 million young people are unemployed and not in school, Jon Bon Jovi traveled the country talking to thousands of young people who had practical, yet inventive ideas to help their struggling peers. Again and again, they asked how they could share their solutions and where they could be heard.

The Challenge created an opportunity for youth to turn their ideas into concrete solutions and generate support through their social networks. One hundred and thirty-five people from across the country submitted ideas on topics ranging from making higher education more affordable to helping autistic youth find meaningful employment. More than 10,000 votes were cast in just 10 days.

To all who entered, Jon Bon Jovi said, "Your ideas are promising and inspiring solutions to the employment crisis for young people."

The Challenge was developed by SparkAction and The Youth Leadership Institute in partnership with 35 leading youth organizations across the country.

The organizers developed the Challenge in support of the White House Council for Community Solutions' call for the nation to do more to reconnect young people with the education, training and comprehensive social supports that are critical for long-term employment and lifelong economic independence.

Visit to see Jon Bon Jovi announce the winners on video and for more detailed information on the winning ideas.

# # #


The SparkOpportunity Challenge is led by three organizations:

The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21®: ready for college, work and life. It was founded by Karen Pittman, a nationally recognized pioneer of the field of youth development in the United States.

SparkAction, which developed the Challenge idea and platform, is a collaborative journalism and advocacy website to mobilize action by and for children and youth. Its stories and action tools help concerned young people and adults get informed and get involved across the full range of issues affecting children, youth and families.

The Youth Leadership Institute has been an innovative leader in field of youth development for over 20 years, working to build communities that invest in youth and support young people in their work for effective community change. YLI serves youth and communities through advocacy, training and consulting services, and through community-based programs.

Statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on June 3 Air Tanker Crash in Utah PDF Print E-mail
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Written by USDA Communications   
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:45
“I send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the two brave pilots who lost their lives Sunday protecting Americans from an extremely dangerous forest fire. As we pay tribute to the memory of these two firefighters, USDA will continue to support the brave men and women fighting forest fires around our nation by working with our aircraft contractors and firefighters to manage these natural disasters as safely as possible.”  - Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agricultural Secretary

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