Pin-Ups for Vets is not a typical non-profit. The pin-up calendar, now in its ninth year, featuring twelve US Veterans, is a unique community-building tool. The calendar raises funds to improve Veterans' healthcare, donates funds to VA hospital for medical equipment, improves quality of life for ill Veterans across the US through personal visits, and supports other initiatives, all thanks to pin-ups in decadent 1940s-style outfits.
The War of 1812 didn't gain America much, as a country. It didn't address the complaints that led the Americans to declare war in the first place. We didn't conquer Canada. But we did gain a certain amount of what can be called our "national identity" after the war. Right at the heart of this was a new patriotic (and popular) song.
This year's RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) maritime military exercises have ended, and any attention we've given the biennial war games will quickly turn elsewhere. But before we let RIMPAC drop from view, it's worth pausing to consider what we've just witnessed (or not witnessed, since most of the RIMPAC takes place out of sight).
The federal government is one of the world's biggest consumers. These hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases and investments are a driving force of the American economy -- procurement creates jobs, promotes innovation and even has socially beneficial effects. It also is often associated with outsourcing waste and fraud and crony capitalism.