The U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs will implement changes next month that will simplify the process for how veterans make appeals.

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Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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A Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) crew member mans the rails as the cutter leaves Honiara, Solomon Islands, Nov. 29, 2018 (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West)

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said Wednesday he's won White House and bipartisan support for a bill to pay the nation's Coast Guard personnel during the shutdown.

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President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.

But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.

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U.S. National Guard/Staff Sgt. Rebecca R. Imwalle

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe purchased — and quickly sold — tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock in defense contractor Raytheon this week after advocating for a record-high defense budget.

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Public domain

In November 1862, in the wake of the Union victory at Antietam, President Lincoln fired his general-in-chief General George B. McClellan, for failing to pursue Robert E. Lee’s defeated (and much smaller) Army of Northern Virginia. Fifty-seven years before, in 1805, the Emperor of Austria Francis II fired, and then imprisoned for two years, “the unfortunate General Mack” whose epic blunders at the Battle of Ulm precipitated the surrender of 25,000 Austrian troops to Napoleon.

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