Monthly Archives: March 2012

  • / Comments Off on “I am Tall” by Dr. Nesha Jenkins-Tate

“I am Tall” by Dr. Nesha Jenkins-Tate


BSSE welcomes to its pages Poet Dr. Nesha Jenkins-Tate.  Her inspiring poem, “I am Tall” came to my attention last week while writing the second episode of the James Darby prequel (Make Me A Soldier) to the novel First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story.  In both the prequel novella and the novel, James Darby stood tall.

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? ~ ? I am ~Tall~

AFFIRMATION: Today I am standing tall for something inside me: a principle, a virtue, a value.

Today I am standing tall for something outside of me: a cause, a child, a community.

Each time that I take a stand for something bigger than me, for something greater than my own fears, I feel myself growing stronger.

And because I am a person willing to take a stand, today I can stand TALLer.

~ ? ~

Copyright © 2011 Dr. Nesha Jenkins-Tate

Nesha Jenkins-Tate, PhD, is a contemporary philosopher and poet who blogs life-coaching poetry about love and peace under the name, Dr.neeesh.  You can experience more of her poetry at the publicly accessible site at:


  • / Comments Off on From Enslaved to Entrepreneurs: Hiram Young and Ben Montgomery featured in First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story

From Enslaved to Entrepreneurs: Hiram Young and Ben Montgomery featured in First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story


5 black stars

First Dark cover

First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier's Story

Former actual enslaved men Hiram Young and Ben Montgomery thrive as entrepreneurs.  See them as role models for characters in the new the 5-Star historically correct action novel, First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story and follow Buffalo Soldier Isaac Rice and the women who love him as they struggle to make a life against determined enemies amid the violence of the U.S. Civil War, Indian Wars, America’s Reconstruction period, and spillover bloodshed from a Mexican Revolution.

Available for PCs, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, NOOK, Sony, and ePUB readers from:


Barnes & Noble:




  • / Comments Off on Veterans Affairs NEWS: VA Participates in Settlement with Mortgage Banks

Veterans Affairs NEWS: VA Participates in Settlement with Mortgage Banks


VA Participates in Settlement with Mortgage Banks

February 16, 2012

Secretary Announces Protections for Veterans

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced its participation in the largest state-federal legal settlement in history that deals with problems within the mortgage industry.

“Through this historic settlement, VA has ensured that Veterans, Servicemembers, and National Guard and Reserve members will continue to receive every possible opportunity to retain their homes,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

VA joined with the Department of Justice, a coalition of state attorneys general and other federal agencies in the settlement.

The nation’s five largest mortgage servicers have agreed to this landmark $25 billion settlement that addresses past mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses, provides substantial financial relief to borrowers, and establishes significant new homeowner protections in the future.

In addition to cash payments to avoid litigation, the banks also agree to undertake other activities, such as principal forgiveness, interest-rate-reduction refinancing, and forbearance during unemployment.

The settlement also enhances protections available under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and provides additional assistance when Servicemembers are forced to sell their home at a loss due to reassignment to another location.

“VA will continue its oversight of lenders and servicers to ensure that Veterans and Servicemembers are able to enjoy the benefits of VA’s home loan program, including access to no-downpayment loans and assistance in retaining their homes should they encounter payment difficulties,” added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.

VA has always provided assistance to Veterans and Servicemembers who experience trouble paying their mortgage, whether they have a VA loan or not.  Depending on the situation, VA’s loan specialists can intervene on a Veteran’s behalf to help pursue home-retention options such as repayment plans, forbearances and loan modifications.

To get help, Veterans and Servicemembers – even those without a VA guaranteed loan – may call a national toll-free number, 1-877-827-3702 to speak with VA loan specialists who will provide information about the process of obtaining a VA-guaranteed home loan, or assistance in retaining their home loan or avoiding foreclosure.

Information about the VA Home Loan Guaranty program is also available online at  To see videos of Veterans who reached out to VA and were able to keep their homes or avoid foreclosure, please visit

Since 1944, when home loan guaranties were first offered under the original GI Bill, VA has guaranteed more than 19.4 million home loans worth $1.18 trillion.  VA helped over 72,000 (83 percent) Veterans who were in default on their VA guaranteed loan avoid foreclosure in FY 2011, a 10 percent increase from FY 2010.  This assistance resulted in a 30 percent reduction in foreclosures over the same year.

VA’s foreclosure rate for the last 14 quarters and serious delinquency rate for the last 11 quarters have been the lowest of all measured loan types, according to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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  • / Comments Off on MILITARY NEWS: DOD to Improve Nutrition Standards Across the Armed Services

MILITARY NEWS: DOD to Improve Nutrition Standards Across the Armed Services


DOD RELEASE No. 093-12 February 09, 2012 MILITARY NEWS

DOD to Improve Nutrition Standards Across the Armed Services for the First Time in 20 Years

Part of military’s new obesity and nutrition awareness campaign

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and TRICARE® Management Activity director Dr. Jonathan Woodson announced today the Military Health System’s (MHS) new obesity and nutrition awareness campaign.  It will feature cooperative efforts with each of the armed services, as well as our partners in Military Community and Family Policy, to encourage service members, our retired beneficiaries and dependents make better nutritional choices and take a more active role in their personal health. This campaign will include improving nutrition standards across the services for the first time in 20 years.  New changes will bring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and entrée choices that are lower in fat to the 1,100 service member dining facilities in the coming months.

“Our primary focus is on the health and well-being of service members, their families, and our retirees,” Woodson said. “Obesity is a preventable problem which, if combatted, can help prevent disease and ease the burden on our overall Military Health System.”

“The Department of Defense is making a groundbreaking commitment to the health of our troops and their families.  And in doing so, they’re not just sending a powerful message throughout the military community, they’re sending a message to our entire country,” First Lady Michelle Obama said.   “Whenever our men and women in uniform step forward, Americans take notice.  When our service members make healthy eating a priority in their lives, the rest of us are more likely to make it a priority in our lives.  Simply put, this is America’s entire military once again stepping forward to lead by example.”

The MHS obesity and nutrition awareness campaign will feature cooperative efforts with each of the armed services to achieve the following:

Update menu standards at military dining facilities for the first time in 20 years; Assess the nutritional environment of military facilities; Ensure healthier foods are available in dining facilities; Department of Defense schools, and other places where service members and their families purchase food on base, including vending machines and snack bars.

“We are intent on focusing on preventable illnesses to help our people stay out of our clinics and hospitals by improving their physical condition,” Woodson said.  “We have the legal and moral responsibility to do our part to maintain the health and well-being of everyone in our military community.  And, we are committed to a strategy that changes the direction of healthcare to health in the military community, and, in many ways, for all Americans.”        # # #