It's been too long in coming, but Congress has taken an important step to improve health benefits for veterans of the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars.
House members have unanimously passed a bill that adds Type II diabetes to the list of diseases thought to be service-connected for Vietnam vets who were exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange and other herbicides in the 1960s and early 1970s. ...
The ailments are among many that fall into the category of Gulf War Syndrome, which has affected tens of thousands of vets who served in the 1991 conflict and who may have been exposed to everything from toxic nerve gas to depleted uranium from munitions.
The House bill extends the period to provide compensation for Gulf vets to Dec. 31, 2003, to give newly eligible vets time to have their claims considered.
Such moves are vital because the Veterans Affairs Department has been too rigid in helping Gulf vets qualify for compensation, an experience Vietnam vets know all too well.
The men and women who served in Vietnam and the Gulf put their lives on the line in the service of their country. They deserve nothing less than the best medical care their nation can provide.
-- Florida Today, Melbourne
Can it really be? MTV marks 20th anniversary
If you're into anniversaries, another one to celebrate (or cry over, your choice) is 20 years of MTV. Highlights since the station went on the air Aug. 1, 1981, are dubious, if one considers the strictest definition of ''highlights,'' i.e. something of interest, a must-see, a top-of-the-line event.
But for millions of homes (at last computation, 302 million of them) in America and 82 other countries ''I want my MTV'' is more than just a line in a song; it's the rallying cry of a generation. ...
We have so much to thank them for, including pop singers who perform in underwear, million-selling CDs about violence and racism and all sorts of little goodies, including lots and lots and lots ... and lots ... of sex. ...
In the beginning, MTV was simple -- an innocuous, constant commercial promoting the latest song from yet another ragged and loud group, with one or two from actual musicians thrown in for show. Now it's become an icon and its 20th anniversary is a celebration of sorts, at least for those who like shows like ''Jackass,'' in which people deliberately hurt themselves doing stunts.
-- Independent-Mail, Anderson, S.C.
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