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VA whistleblower on reporting wrongdoing: 'Prepare for hell'

Shea Wilkes, foreground, addresses attendees of the Whistle Blower Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Wilkes and 3 other former or current Department of Veterans Affairs employees who have spoken out about malfeasance within the department shared tips on how to report problems.

WASHINGTON — More than a year into a nationwide crisis in veterans health care, the government whistleblowers who exposed deadly faults in the Veterans Administration have had lots of experience in what to expect when speaking out against supervisors.

On Thursday, four of those whistleblowers addressed the annual Whistle Blower Summit in a cramped room just down the road from the congressional buildings where many have testified about malfeasance such as secret waiting lists and abusive workplaces. This time, they were telling potential whistleblowers how to tell the truth while protecting themselves from retaliation.

A new brew for the USS Indianapolis crew

A bottle of Survivor's Tale Pale Ale sits atop an American flag. Mare Island Brewery made the specialty beer to honor the survivors of the USS Indianapolis at their annual reunion in Indianapolis from July 23-26, 2015. Six cases of the beer were to be distributed to the survivors and their families during a banquet Saturday night.

Those who survived the 1945 sinking of the USS Indianapolis tell some pretty incredible tales – unembellished accounts of four hellish days spent adrift in shark-infested waters, where 880 sailors died.

This tall one – Survivor’s Tale Pale Ale produced by Mare Island Brewery in California – is for them.

One year later, women still shut out of quarter million military jobs

Capt. Megan Selbach-Allen, center, confirms her route with the combat operations center during Exercise Desert Scimitar at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., in April 2015. Selbach-Allen, 1 of 9 women assigned to 1st Tank Battalion, said she loves being a part of 1st Marine Division, which could put her in 'the forward part of the fight.'

Less than a year from an integration deadline, nearly a quarter-million positions remain closed to women in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines as of March, along with 25,700 positions still closed to women by the U.S. Special Operations Command, according to Government Accountability Office data.

The four services have opened up 91,000 positions for women since January 2013, when the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rescinded a 1994 rule that prohibited women from being assigned to certain ground combat units.

Vt. college offers grants for veterans interested in farming

A Vermont college is offering grants to veterans who want to become farmers.

Sterling College, in Craftsbury, Vt., is taking applications for its Veterans College-to-Farm Program, in which veterans receive a $10,000 grant to start a farm or food business upon completion of a Sustainable Agriculture or Sustainable Food Systems degree.

Nothing cuddly about MIT's latest cheetah robot

In a screen capture from a YouTube video, MIT's cheetah clears an obstacle.

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s kitty cat prototype just got a little bit scarier.

From an MIT news release Friday: “In a leap for robot development, the MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs — making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.”

Dakota Meyer, Bristol Palin call off wedding

Bristol Palin and Dakota Meyer pose for a photo posted on Palin's Instagram account.

Bristol Palin and Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer's wedding has been called off, according to a Facebook post by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The couple and the former vice presidential candidate announced the news on Monday, a week before the wedding was supposed to take place in Kentucky.

Under Armour pulls ‘Band of Ballers’ shirt after veterans’ backlash

Officials of the activewear clothing line Under Armour pulled a T-shirt design after backlash from customers and military veterans.

The "Band of Ballers" shirt depicts the iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising but with a basketball hoop instead of a flag and basketball players instead of U.S. troops.

Medal of Honor recipient Meyer issues flag challenge

A recent online flag-stomping campaign prompted Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer to issue a challenge of his own last week.

Meyer, the Marine Corps' first living recipient of the military's highest honor since the Vietnam War, posted a video on his official Facebook page urging viewers to post images that “mean something to you, something that represents this country … and show them that we’re stronger than they’ll ever be.”

Duckworth has choice words for women in combat House doubters

Can women hump the 80-pound rucksacks and carry the gear required in combat? Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., an Iraq war vet who lost both legs when her helicopter was attacked, tweeted out some choice words for doubters during a marathon House debate on the defense budget Wednesday:

Derby high rollers: Bet on these veterans' benefit cups

Bourbon maker Woodford Reserve says net proceeds from its $1,000 mint julep cup will benefit the Wounded Warrior Equestrian Program.

You can blow your money betting on horses at this weekend’s Kentucky Derby. Or you can blow a thousand bucks on a mint julep. Well, the cup it’s served in, anyway.

At least with the latter, you’ll be helping out the Wounded Warrior Equestrian Program.

 
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