Submitted by Bob Himrod, an outstanding video!
Submitted by Bob Himrod, an outstanding video!
Video of our Christmas memories from 2008-2012. God Bless and enjoy the miracle of the season! – Roger
In the ongoing pursuit of greener and more fuel-efficient vehicle technology, General Motors has joined forces with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) to develop and test new hydrogen fuel cell technology. Both GM and TARDEC will jointly test hydrogen fuel cell-related designs and materials, according to a recent press release from GM. GM’s bold move in pioneering new fuel cell technology is sure to have positive effects on the future of hydrogen-powered cars in the U.S.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology isn’t something you’ll see in today’s new cars. However, it’s a goal that GM has pursued since it first began fuel cell testing in 1964. According to Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, the company ranked number one in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012.
A fuel cell utilizes hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce an electrical current. An anode within the fuel cell breaks down hydrogen gas into positive hydrogen ions and negatively charged electrons. A polymer electrolyte membrane allows the positively charged ions to pass through directly to the cathode while forcing the negatively charged electrons along an external electrical circuit to the cathode, creating an electrical current. At the cathode, both the positive hydrogen ions and negatively charged electrons combine with oxygen, forming water as a byproduct. The majority of fuel cells produce less than 1.16 volts of electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. As a result, multiple cells are bundled together into a stack to deliver the energy needed for an ordinary vehicle.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is held in high regard for its ability to produce clean energy, but one of the many hurdles faced by automakers involves the expensive, complicated and potentially dangerous high-pressure storage containers needed for storing hydrogen onboard. One of the major goals shared by GM and TARDEC is to design a safe storage tank capable of standing up to the rigors of life in combat zones and everyday use in ordinary passenger vehicles.
According to the International Business Times, the U.S. Army’s interest in hydrogen fuel cell technology stems from a desire to develop more efficient ground systems in response to reductions in defense spending. Meanwhile, GM’s collaboration with TARDEC comes in response to Toyota’s efforts in developing clean vehicles. The Japanese automaker is expected to reveal a production-ready hydrogen fuel cell car in Las Vegas sometime in January, with an aim towards bringing it to market by 2015.
The collaborative effort between GM and TARDEC exists for a relatively pragmatic reason – by combining their efforts, both groups believe they’ll be able to work more efficiently and develop viable solutions quicker than with independent efforts. Both groups will conduct their research at TARDEC’s Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory (GSPEL) in Warren, Michigan and GM’s new Fuel Cell Development Laboratory in nearby Pontiac, Michigan.
GM’s partnership with TARDEC comes after the company’s announcement of a long-term, definitive master agreement with Honda to jointly develop next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies by 2020.
About the author: Daniel Sloan
Danny is an auto mechanic who specializes in hybrids and EVs. He’s married with two boys and lives on the East Coast.
50 years ago: JFK’s tragic final hours – FoxNews – 22 Nov 13
Newsletter comment: Anyone that was alive that day remembers this tragedy all too well. I was in Mr. Lumley’s history class when he announced to the class that our President had been assassinated. It hit us all like a blow to the gut. Kennedy was a young, WWII hero President that inspired the youth of our country. He got us through the Cuban Missile Crisis, inspired our space program to go to the moon. He told us; “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Yes, President Kennedy inspired us to believe there was nothing our country couldn’t accomplish, including civil rights, if we all worked together to strive to be a better person, a better country and ultimately a better world.
Something very tragic happened that day. Not only was our young President taken from us but looking back at our history since, a vital part of the American spirit died with him. – Roger Young, co-editor
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Sent to us from a fellow Silver Spur, Clayton Marsh. An excellent YouTube video:
Vietnam Women’s Memorial celebrates 20 years on the Mall – Seattle Times – 9 Nov 13
20-Years Ago, Pam was there:
Courtesy of Pam Young
Courtesy of Pam Young
Courtesy of Pam Young
For Veterans Day 2013, Auburn, WA. once again hosted the 1/2-scale size of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Auburn Veterans Park. Our personal thanks to all those who made this event possible. – Roger & Pam Young
Click on the images for full size photos:
Quilt on display in honor of the fallen War Dogs from Vietnam:
Cracker was included in the quilt:
Auburn salutes veterans with a glorious parade | SLIDESHOW – Auburn Reporter – 10 Nov 13
Took place at the Boeing Museum of Flight on November 10th, 2013:
More than a quarter of military families carry credit card debt over $10,000, a Finra Investor Education Foundation survey found. In addition, a third of those surveyed found it difficult to make ends meet, and half of them had no emergency savings. Active duty service members and discharged veterans face a number of factors that may case financial insecurity, but you don’t have to suffer with debt. There is help available.
Stressors of military life that can aggravate debt include loss of spousal income due to frequent moves, the inability to sell a home when the serving partner is transferred to a new base, low salaries of junior enlisted troops and the lack of employer reimbursement for military moves.
However, you and your family enjoy some debt protection while you are serving, thanks to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Interest is capped at 6 percent for debt the service member incurred before going on active duty, and you can cancel a lease with no penalty. In most cases, your property can’t be foreclosed on while you are on active duty.
Discharged veterans have to resume debt payment within 30 to 90 days after discharge. After leaving the service, vets may need to find new housing, purchase a car and support their family while job hunting, on top of having to pay back old debt. Federal VA benefits may help vets obtain prescription medication, take out or refinance a home loan, receive educational scholarships, take advantage of tax credits or exemptions and receive job training. It can be hard for newly returned vets to get back on their feet, particularly when they no longer receive protection from the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Like all other Americans, veterans enjoy the protection of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which states that creditors cannot publish your name, threaten you with harm, repetitively telephone you in an attempt to goad you into answering the phone, or call you without identifying who they are. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau provides free resources for veterans who are being harassed by debt collectors. These can offer you peace of mind and help you formulate a debt repayment plan.
After looking into the resources listed above, the next step is to calculate your total debt and income. This can be scary, but you will need to know how much you owe in order to achieve financial health. Make a plan for paying down bills.
You might look into selling stocks and bonds or cashing in a lump sum annuity. You won’t receive the full annuity amount if you cash in early, but if you can use the lump sum to achieve financial health, it may be worth it.
You can also work with a debt consolidator to lump all your debt into one mass amount, obtain a lower interest rate and lower your monthly payments. Reducing your interest rate fast-tracks debt repayment, because more funds go to the principal.
About the author: Roseanne Sutton is an former Army brat who’s now married to a career Marine. A stay-at-home mom to two boys, she writes about parenting for a variety of blogs.
UPDATE: Statement by George Little on Death Gratuity Payments – DoD – 11 Oct 13
UPDATE: Obama signs bill to pay death benefits to families of fallen soldiers – FoxNews – 10 Oct 13
UPDATE: Congress votes to restore death gratuities – ArmyTimes – 10 Oct 13
UPDATE: Statement by Secretary Hagel on Death Gratuities – DoD – 9 Oct 13
Shame on You President Obama – Thomas More Law Center – Posted 9 Oct 13
Our fax to Speaker Boehner: Not paying the families of our dead heroes a national disgrace! – 9 Oct 13
Shutdown halts death benefits for military families – ArmyTimes – 8 Oct 13
Newsletter comment: According to Col. Oliver North, the president could have corrected this matter by simply signing an emergency appropriations bill. – Roger & Pam
Submitted by fellow Spur, Clayton Marsh.
Description: On May 24, 1973, President and First Lady Nixon hosted American Prisoners of War held captive in Vietnam for the largest dinner ever held at the White House.
40 years later, the Richard Nixon Foundation hosted what was perhaps their last reunion gathering. The following is a collection of television and print news coverage.
After military service, veterans can struggle with daily life after serving for such a long time, even monetarily. For example, veterans experienced an unemployment rate of 9.9. percent in 2012, CNN Money reports. For veterans who are out of work or looking for employment, saving up for big purchases can be challenging. Cars, homes, education, supporting a family, and saving for the future are all expenses that Americans have to worry about, including vets. Start saving for that car — or any other big-ticket item — with these tips.
Vets shouldn’t shy away from asking for military discounts at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and other local venues. These discounts are intended to honor you, so take advantage. MilitaryDiscountsCentral.com lists all local discounts for vets. Easily search for discounts, keep more money in your pocket and build that savings account by spending less on your entertainment and travel.
The army teaches about responsibility, honesty and accountability. These same skills can help you prioritize your financial goals and save for items you need, suggests Deborah L. Jacobs in Forbes. As part of being honest, take a hard look at your finances and identify areas where you are overspending and should cut back. Cut back and establish a savings goal, such as $200 per month. Also, for each purchase, save the receipt. Once a month, review your receipts and expenses to hold yourself accountable for sticking to your budget.
Thorough research equips you with the knowledge to ask the right questions and make smart decisions as you picture yourself driving a Ford Fusion or Taurus. Read vehicle make and model reviews on Edmunds to narrow down the field of potential cars to a few cars that fit your lifestyle. Then compare the prices of new or used vehicles. Kelley Blue Book organizes used cars by zip code, so you can view used models available near you and see how dealer list prices compare to the blue book value. Acquire all of the information available to you and negotiate a better price up front.
You have a savings goal, you’ve taken financial accountability and you’re narrowing down your options. At this point, you can project how much you’ll pay for the car. Take into account vehicle trade-ins, new vs. used statuses and vehicle mileages. If you plan to take out a loan, investigate military car loans. These offer active duty service members and retirees low-interest auto loans, Military.com’s Ho Lin notes. Most military car loans come with a lower upfront down payment, longer payback period and easier approval. Loans help you purchase that car faster, and you will need to pay back the loan on time to avoid penalties. Keep in mind if you can purchase the car without a loan, you’ll save money because you won’t have interest adding to your principal.
Opinion by Roger Young
September 19, 2013
Today I have been listening to portions of the latest House hearings on Benghazi. What I’ve been hearing brings me to the conclusion that the State Department and administration completely and repeatedly misjudged the security situation in Benghazi letting their liberal agendas give the false appearance of all was well in Libya following our military intervention, rather than dealing with a rapidly deteriorating security problem or recognizing that the anniversary of September 11, 2001 would perhaps be a good time to enhance security in that troubled region of the world.
Then after everything started going sideways that fateful night, they immediately switched into a CYA mode and the lies about the video were created in hopes it would deflect blame for their massive incompetence. A rescue mission likely never crossed their minds as the panic set in leading to our President and Hillary Clinton standing before those flagged draped coffins and their grieving families, and telling us and the world a complete fabrication.
Kind of reminds me of when MACV asked to remove the sheep-dipped Air Force radar technicians from Laos (Lima Site 85) knowing a NVA attack was imminent, and Ambassador Sullivan for the sake of international neutrality appearances refused to authorize the removal of the radar team with similar tragic results. And that tragedy was cloaked for many years from the families because it was a highly classified operation. But I digress.
Perception with the liberals appears to be a much higher priority than dealing with reality. A thinking process that is doomed from the very start. Today we have an electorate that continues to elect unqualified people to the highest levels of government based on their looks, swagger, clothes and gift for gab rather than substance, so this is what you get: complete incompetence.
Unfortunately, the most qualified people want no part of modern day politics. They know they would be devoured by their slick opponents and the press. I saw it done here locally to a very good man that happened to be a Korean War vet and patriot years back running for mayor. By the time our liberal press got done with him they made him come across as some nutcase. And he was anything but.
Common sense, morals and hard work has been replaced by some utopian culture that truly believes “dreams can come true” by simply closing your eyes and clicking your ruby red slippers together. And when they wake up from that dream, which in reality is a nightmare, they run and hide like the cowards they often are.
When the calls came that the consulate was being overrun, their illusion of ‘all is well in Libya’ had become their personal nightmare. And like children they hid under the covers hoping the boogie man would not see them. And when any crisis comes along, our President simply ‘can’t deal with it’ and heads for Las Vegas, the golf course, a fund raiser or best yet, an expensive taxpayer funded vacation. He and his likeminded appointees are absolutely pathetic human beings, in my opinion, and certainly not my vision of “public servants.”
What I am witnessing is an administration that appears to devote every waking moment to how they can cover up such gross incompetence from Fast & Furious to the recent Syria debacle. And why he won’t submit a real budget or write legislation to address the myriad of serious problems we face as a nation, including the many problems with the Affordable Care Act. That takes a thoughtful person, working with his opposition in Congress and simply a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. Why bother! It’s simply not much fun…
If nothing else comes from the tragedy in Benghazi and the blundering with Syria, it exposes this President and his administration for what it truly is: this emperor has no clothes…
Life in the service is dangerous and grueling, but it doesn’t come without a few perks. One such advantage is the opportunity to drive some of the most technologically advanced, innovative vehicles known to man. These diverse machines are built for battle, but we wouldn’t mind driving them to the grocery store. From all-terrain sports utility vehicles that thrive in poor conditions to indestructible tanks that swallow the ground beneath its wheels, these active military vehicles would do just fine on the clean streets back home.
Light, nimble and versatile, the Growler is a sport utility vehicle that resembles the Jeep Wrangler. The Marine Corps developed the Growler after it desired a vehicle that could be transported in the V-22 Osprey aircraft. The Growler’s 2.8-liter engine generates 132 horsepower, and it has a 2,000 pound payload capacity. To navigate difficult terrain, the Growler also features a height-adjustable on-the-fly suspension accessible through a dash control panel. Soup up your Jeep with added suspension, TireBuyer Continental tires and fuel-injection system, and it still won’t be as cool as the Growler.
When consumers hear Mercedes-Benz, they usually think of stylish luxury vehicles. The German automaker is also involved in transporting the U.S. military, however. The Interim Fast Attack Vehicle is produced by Mercedes-Benz and comes equipped with plenty of cargo and firepower. Also known as the G-Class, this sport utility vehicle can travel up to 97 mph and climb 80 percent grade slopes. It doesn’t look like much, but the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle is the ultimate all-purpose ride.
When the first Navy Seals entered Kuwait City during Operation Desert Storm, they weren’t riding in trucks, tanks or helicopters. They were driving high-speed Desert Patrol Vehicles. This sandrail-like vehicle would be perfect for an afternoon in the Arizona sand dunes, but they also play an important role in our nation’s military efforts. In the field, these patrol vehicles usually come equipped with a M2 Browning machine gun and other anti-armor weapons. Capable of accelerating to extreme speeds in any terrain, the Desert Patrol Vehicle would be a great toy to have in your garage.
You remember the Hummer, a monstrous vehicle with terrible gas mileage and huge tires. This was a consumer-facing version of the Humvee, an even more imposing light utility vehicle. The Humvee boasts 16 inches of ground clearance and independent suspensions. It’s the quintessential military vehicle.
The threat of battle is never far away on duty, so the U.S. needs vehicles that protect against threats. The RG-31 Nyala is a armored personal carrier that can withstand mine blasts and small artillery. The Nyala can hold a crew of eight to 10 soldiers and features welded armor hull around the body. This battle-tested vehicle would turn heads on the highway back home.
Like you haven’t dreamed of driving a tank down your neighborhood street? The Stryker is an eight-wheel drive, armored fighting vehicle. It can travel up to 62 miles per hour (fast enough for the freeway) and weighs around 20 tons. One ride in this bad boy, and you’ll have a whole new meaning for the term “power wheels.”
Author: Eric Ford
Eric has three loves: his kids, his dog and restoring classic cars. Eric is a business analyst by day and auto junkie/freelance writer by night.
Once a year, the small town of Cripple Creek, Colo., waves their best red, white and blue banners to welcome bikers from all over the country. All gather with one solitary purpose: to honor the men and women who have fought for freedom. The American Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek begins August 16. For the next few days, the riders will celebrate freedom and the people who made it happen. The only question is: will you be there to party with them?
Cripple Creek is a historic village that sits at the base of Pikes Peak. The area surrounding the village is full of ghost towns, gold mines and rich, picturesque mountains. The climate during the summer is balmy, making it an ideal spot for bike travelers.
The town calls itself a major tourist destination for a couple of reasons. It has a rich history as a gold city. In 1890, a ranch hand struck gold in the area making this town part of the big rush. In 1961, it received recognition as a National Historic Landmark. Nowadays, Cripple Creek’s claim to fame is its annual motorcycle rally to honor veterans.
Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons
The three-day event is officially titled the American Veterans Rally and Festival but many just call it the Cripple Creek Rally. Hog riders fill the streets to give back to those individuals that have put their lives on the line for this country. Hordes of bikes rumble down Highway 67 headed into the historic district.
In 2011, the residents of Cripple Creek welcomed approximately 60,000 riders from every state in the union looking to honor veterans. Highlights for this year’s event include:
While visiting the town, bikers enjoy the historic flavor of Cripple Creek and its sister city Victor while taking in the rally exhibits.
The event includes two key features to honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This year, Cripple Creek will once again host The Wall, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial.
The other key focus of the rally is the POW Recognition Ride. In its 26th year, the state’s largest motorcycle procession starts at the Woodland Park High School on Saturday morning and travels through the mountains of Colorado before entering Cripple Creek. It’s best to stock up on motorcycle parts beforehand at other festivals, especially if you’re new at biking. Other Cripple Creek Rally-goers will surely be at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, where gift cards for motorcycle parts at BikeBandit.com are given away.
This area of Colorado has more going on than historic gold mines and motorcycle rallies. While in Cripple Creek, you will want to take advantage of some of the high stakes gaming. You can play in the Veteran’s Poker Run as part of the rally or visit one of the many local casinos.
The area has plenty of recreation to keep bikers busy, as well. It is a mountainous area, so there is fishing, whitewater rafting and kayaking within minutes of the rally.
This is the 21st year that the small town of Cripple Creek Colorado has opened its doors to motorcycle riders wanting to pay tribute to the brave men and women of the Armed Forces. This year you need to plan your vacation around the American Veterans Rally, because come August, the streets will fill up with shiny bikes and people looking to have some fun.
Author: Bruce Carlson - Bruce collects and fixes motorcycles, and then he writes about them. He could not picture a cooler job.
Do you ever wonder how some of the wildfires that cost a fortune to battle and often inflict large economic impact to homeowners and insurance companies have been started? Here’s a possible explanation:
U.S. veterans personify some of the best qualities of the American people and deserve gratitude for their service. From kind words, ceremonies and financial benefits, vets are being recognized across the States for their sacrifice and duties.
Grateful companies within the auto industry have chosen to honor veterans and their families through exclusive financing programs and special discounts.
The annual percentage rate (APR) on an auto loan varies depending on the lender, an applicant’s credit history and annual household income. DriveTime dealerships are offering active duty service members special financing through the Military Merit Program. Military members with at least 24 months of remaining active duty service are eligible to receive a three percent lower APR compared to other non-military personnel. Service members are approved regardless of credit history and are subject to a low down payment.
Photo of DriveTime in Richmond. Used with permission.
Qualified service members and veterans are eligible for a $500 cash allowance and car service for up to three years. The $500 cash allowance can be applied to the purchase of a new Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle. The three year service package includes lube, oil and filter replacement. Chrysler has specific qualifying criteria for their Military Incentive Program. The cash allowance is offered on top of existing incentives and is a way of honoring veterans for their service. Active duty service members reap the benefits of Chrysler’s gratitude over a span of years.
Ford shows its appreciation for active duty service members and their families through special pricing and discounts. The Military Appreciation Program provides a special offer towards the lease or purchase of any eligible new Ford car, truck or SUV. Discounts and special offers vary but range in the hundreds of dollars. The best way to determine the amount of special offers is to contact Ford directly. Veterans, active duty service members and their families are honored by Ford for their efforts in defense of freedom and liberty. U.S. auto companies go the extra mile to show their appreciation for the military.
Photo of Ford dealership in Ohio by Fan of Retail via Flickr
As of 2011, there were approximately 21.6 million veterans living in the United States or Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These individuals have access to a number of benefits and services offered by the VA. In particular, the VA offers veterans access to compensation for injuries sustained or attributable to service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Compensation is paid based on the severity of injuries sustained and can be applied toward attaining new vehicles or other life-enhancing products. The VA also offers financial counseling and other services that help veterans with financial matters.
Honoring veterans and their families for their sacrifices is just and well-deserved. Veterans and their families have access to many exclusive auto programs and special discounts. Look for special offers and pricing if you are a veteran seeking the purchase of a new or used vehicle.