31 October 2006
John Kerry has walked into a political minefield by associating uneducated, uninformed folks with members of the US Military.
Pretty sad. I don't know about Major John's academic credentials, but I've got a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA, along with graduate work in environmental engineering, two professional engineering licenses and a Six Sigma Black Belt.
Guess I'm too dumb to know any better. What I have found of interest in recent DoD surveys is that there is a higher percentage of individuals with graduate degrees among the US Army's NCO corps than any single enlisted segment. Additionally, US Navy requirements for the advancement to E7 will now require a bachelor's degree and all officers must have some language proficiency.
Now if I was only smart enough to figure out what John meant by his comments...
UPDATE - The prevailing opinion is that Kerry let his own context and sarcasm get the best of him. Perhaps this is even more damning as it reveals to me his own contempt for the military. I suspect he is still holding on to old ideas from his time in service during Vietnam and shortly afterwards.
By the way, acknolwedgement to Major John over at Miserable Donuts - his JD trumps my MBA!
Dang Army guys...
At least we still have the best chow.
27 October 2006
The bottom line is that the congressional races are heavily skewed towards the incumbent. Should a majority of voters rise up in anger (as they did with Joe Liebermann and Cynthia McKinney) they can affect the outcome of the election. However, in both those cases the overturned candidate was outed by their own party in a primary!
My prediction, no major changes in majority.
And if the majority should change - no major changes in policy.
This is not to be feared or reviled, we must adapt out policies in the face of the evolving situation. There is much to correct. And much to reinforce.
26 October 2006
Many of these articles are about the conflict we find ourselves engaged in at this moment. I find much to agree and disagree with in almost everything I read. As Citizen Une says, I am a hybrid - although she claims firm entrenchment in the Democratic camp - I find her views ranging to the libertarian on many issues. She has a keen intellect and a real clear notion of justice. She is also a seeker, unafraid to quest into uncharted territories.
25 October 2006
Miserable Donuts: More Evidence of Low Morale and Uncaring Soldiers
I think the best example of American help comes from being able to rapidly identify needs, take action and make a difference. The work done by CA (Civil Affairs) units needs more support, more press and more encouragement from the body politic and we citizens. There is only the highest good in the efforts of these men and women.
By the way, check out the recent issue of Foreign Affairs for an indepth article by Colin Kahl on our conduct in the most recent conflicts is actually going.
23 October 2006
18 October 2006
I like computer games.
I like them a lot.
In fact, I grew to like one game so much it may have damaged my life. I am talking about World of Warcraft. It is an immersive, exciting and engaging environment which will suck time out of your life like a turbo-charged Hoover.
It was only recently that I realized how hurtful the game had been to me. In fairness, I was not a "dedicated" player, having only played on and off throughout a week. But given my other commitments, which were legion, it was time ill spent.
Why am I telling you this? It was this post at Soul Kerfuffle which made me stop dead in my tracks today and say.
"Crap, that could have been me."
In fairness, I broke off this heinous relationship about a month ago, but the residue lingers. I originally signed up in April of 2005. I had one character who made it to level 43, pretty low considering most get to level 60 in less than a year. But this is beside the point.
The game provided escape. It allowed me to escape from a lot of unpleasantness. It made me feel like I was accomplishing something, when in actuality I was not. I did write some good side stories, that at least felt good, but overall the time was idled away. Almost as bad as watching TV, but worse because the interactions forsook the flesh and blood of those near and dear to one.
So here I blog, that may be worse. But it seems manageable (I can quit anytime!). At least Citizen Une never said "I think you may have an addiction problem with blogging" as she did with WoW. I dismissed her comment at the time, but now I think she was right.
WoW is a great game. It is a triumph of computing and creative genius. It may form the basis for a broader virtual world where people can work out real problems. But it was too seductive for me. I never spent a whole day playing, but I know folks who did. They also posted on the forums, maintained fan sites, wrote stories and generated art.
Creative to be sure, but not of this world.
Ironically, in the cancellation process, Blizzard asks why.
One of their choices is addiction.
I pulled down the selection and submitted my confession.
Boy it's bright out here.
17 October 2006
11 October 2006
09 October 2006
Well, Kim Jong Il has crossed the Rubicon. North Korea has detonated a nuclear device. Even now, somewhere deep in the E-ring of the Pentagon a list of contingency plans are being reviewed and forwarded to the NCA (National Command Authority). It would be irresponsible for me to speculate on the contents of these plans, I certainly have no first hand knowledge of them. However, the implications of our actions will be felt around the world.
In one sense the Hermit Kingdom has hung up a “Nukes for Sale” sign to anyone willing to pony up sufficient cash for its collapsing economy. Considering the value of that economy is approximately $23.5bn, a $100mn price tag represents a pure cash infusion of almost 0.5%.
The key questions we should be asking ourselves is can we get the rest of the world to pay attention to this dangerous condition? Recall that the Korean Conflict has never been reconciled with a peace treaty. In essence, the war continues under an ongoing truce. The security of the world demands that North Korea step away from the edge and place their materials under international controls.
Even with a bucket of nuclear weapons, North Korea could never hope to win a conflict with the EFW. After an initial delivery of destruction their military infrastructure would be obliterated by a combined conventional and nuclear fusillade. South Korean forces would likely occupy the remnants of the North and the economic impact to the region would be staggering. Japan would emerge as an even stronger player and the United States would be forced to withdraw from the area for a time.
No, the greater concern is the release of one or two weapons to the individuals who have sworn themselves to our destruction. The Islamo-Fascist Alliance, sufficiently well funded and capable, could deliver blistering destruction to Los Angeles, Sydney, or any other city sufficiently close to a port.
This situation is not the fault of republicans or democrats, the right or the left. It is the long lingering result of a world emerging from conflict and change over the past several centuries. In one sense, I am optimistic. If we can rationally resolve these challenges (conflict between IFA and the EFW, North Korea, the globalization of our economy, etc.) then there is a real chance for an exciting new era in social evolution.
If not, then we are poised to enter a modern dark age in which modern states isolate themselves from the rogue entities, who are allowed to wither and die or are eliminated in brutal conflicts.
My dad was visiting me this past week, providing cover for Citizen Une and myself to take a much needed break. He served in the 3rd ID, 139th Field Artillery as a battery commander during the Korean War. We shared a brief moment of irony as we looked at the headline, sidebar column of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
I know Navy ships are even now being tasked to that part of the world.
I embraced him as he left, each of us wondering what would be required in the days and months ahead.