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Showing posts from November, 2010

The Fruits of Dependency

Don't tell my wife I've written this because it will make her unnecessarily self-conscious about her "situation." You see, over the years, she has learned to become quite dependent on me. She needs me, and I don't want to burden her with the thought of it now. There's no point in stirring the pot and making her self-conscious. The story begins in 1980 when I found her as a shiftless wandering waif on the campus of the University of Missouri where we were both students. We met one day when I rushed in to her rescue as she brooded over a college algebra book. I've always been a humanitarian. Well, those few minutes of assistance turned into a lifetime of dependency for her. She spent the next two years stalking me relentlessly until she broke me down. Not able to take it any more, I finally asked her to marry me, and so at the ripe old age of 19, she had found and married the man of her dreams. After about a year of marriage, I saved her from the dreary


Something stinks here. About every other week or so, we hear that the website WikiLeaks has bared another bundle of secrets on its website. By the time the reporting is completed on one of these episodes, we're often reminded that Army PFC Bradley Manning has been charged with feeding secrets to the website with the implication that he and WikiLeaks are solely to blame for the security breaches. Manning is a PRIVATE FIRST CLASS. Nothing against PFCs - I used to be one - but how did this one work around so much classified material without supervision and oversight? Who was in charge of him? Any idea how many tens of thousands of soldiers outrank PFC Manning? I'm becoming very concerned about what is  not  being said by the government and what is not  being asked by the media. Why isn't the media pressing the government for answers regarding how the release or compromise of this information to WikiLeaks could have ever happened in the first place? Who was the accountable cu

Calm Before the Storm

I had never been to combat before I was deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in late August of 1990. I had flown quite a lot of rather difficult tactical missions, however, where we needed to be intense and absolutely focused on what we were doing. The missions we flew as we trained to deploy and those we flew while on deployment were especially challenging because of all of the moving parts and because of the complexity we deliberately dialed into our scenarios. Before launching from the ship on those missions, I used to go down to my state room (living quarters) to gather and put on my flight gear and to "get my mind right" for the mission. A lot of pilots listened to a little bit of "mood music" before flying. In my own case, I usually cranked up the volume to U2's "New Years Day" before heading to the flight deck to start the mission. Most of us believed getting zoned in with good mission planning and the right mood was

Abraham Lincoln: Tea Partier?

A headline last month read, "Obama: Abraham Lincoln Would Have No Place in Today's GOP." The suggestion, of course, is that not even Lincoln would be comfortable in today's "party of Lincoln." It seemed to be a provocative statement in a way so I thought I'd look into it to see whether Lincoln really would not have fit in with today's Republicans as the President suggested. History tells us the Republican Party was formed in 1854 at a convention of disgruntled Whigs and Democrats who disagreed with the standard Democrat position of the day supporting the expansion of slavery west of the Mississippi. The Republicans presented their first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, in 1856 who lost a three-way race that showed that if the Republican candidate in 1860 could carry two more large states like, say, Illinois, it could win in 1860. In 1860, the Republicans trotted out a relatively unknown senator from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, as its presid

One Pat or Two?

Some thoughts about the TSA body scan/radical pat-down drama. Change you can believe in . It's ironic that the same people who squalled on and on about the Patriot Act think it's okay to conduct revealing body scans of every person who passes through certain airports whether there is probable cause or not. Of course, the safety and security argument prevails; it's just interesting to see these people use that argument. Let's be dignified about this . Of course, we need to conduct these expensive and technologically elaborate full body scans because we believe it's beneath the dignity of our national security initiative to extract a template of our enemies and apply that profile to travelers.  We have the odd sense that it is better to impose radical search techniques on the general public than it is to know our enemy well enough to recognize him, his behaviors, his patterns, etc. True believers . I wonder to what extent the commercial interests of former politici

Way to Go, GEICO!

I'm sure you've seen the GEICO Insurance commercial where the squirrel runs out into the middle of the road, causing a car to swerve and run off the road. After the car crashes, the critter's little squirrel buddy runs out and they high-five and dap each other. They're pretty proud of themselves as GEICO goes on to preach about how easy it is to get GEICO. So, I was driving down a narrow road early yesterday morning when a squirrel ran out in front of my car just like that one did in the GEICO commercial. The road was fairly narrow so I didn't even hesitate in my decision to bear down on that squirrel rather than steer out of my lane to miss it. Before you judge me as insensitive and cruel, let me say that there was no way that I was going to veer off the road into a ditch or a tree and leave a couple of tree-climbing rodents to high-five each other in the middle of the street at my expense. Instead, I lined up on that squirrel. He got all bug-eyed when he realiz

The Dreaded Next Generation

As I walked into the grocery store the other day, I stopped to grab a shopping cart at the same time a woman next to me reached for one. As we turned to walk into the store, three women walked out. I didn’t really take note of them because they were fairly unremarkable to me, but the woman standing beside me did. As I turned toward her to allow her to enter the store ahead of me, she just looked at me and shook her head as though we shared a sense of dismay at something we had both heard or seen. I had no idea what specifically she might be shaking her head about, so I simply greeted her with a “how’re you doing today?” She answered that she couldn’t believe the way women dress when they go out today. I assumed she was referring to the three women who had just left the store, so I went along and shook my head saying as sincerely as I could, “it’s amazing, isn’t it?” I still really had no idea what she was talking about. She went on to tell me that she is a 73-year old woman and t

Six Days to Today

With increasing pressure on Israel by the Obama Administration (and the Bush Administration before it) to stop building settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights because the United States (and the European Union) considers the settlements to be provocative toward the Palestinians, it's interesting to quickly review how we got to this point... In 1948, David Ben Gurion, who became Israel's first prime minister, declared Israel a state in keeping with the United Nations' 1947 partitioning resolution that divided the land that was known as Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Arab League members Egypt, TransJordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq almost immediately invaded the territory that fell under this partitioning rule, but the Israelis repelled them for the most part and established new borders that held up for another eight years. With the Israeli state only eight years old in 1956, tensions simmered, complicated by European interests in the region. The Britis

A Place in the Electric Chair

So, I guess I just haven't been keeping up. I saw a movie the other evening for the first time in my life. I hadn't even heard of it, but I was sort of eavesdropping on the Turner Classic Movies station as the host - I think it was Robert Osborne - introduced the next feature saying that it was his favorite movie of all time. That got my interest up, so I paid some attention. The movie was A Place in the Sun and I checked the description of the movie to see if it had a chance of being interesting to me, and it did. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, but the thing’s been out since 1951 so it’s not like you haven’t had a chance to see it already… Anyway, Montgomery Clift plays George Eastman who is an uneducated directionless young guy who hitchhikes to his Uncle Charles’ place. Uncle Charles owns a swim suit factory (that turns out to be ironic) and puts George to work. The company has a “don’t date the other employees” policy, but George ends up secretly making tim

Those Boys Ain't Quite Right

As I was proofing a previous post, I remembered another story that I probably shouldn't tell because someone might think that my brother, Michael, and I were not quite right in the head as kids. I was probably 14 years old when an older kid who rode our school bus invited Michael and me to his house to swim in his pond. We were surprised because we were pretty sure this kid didn't like us. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to make friends with a guy who had gone out of his way to be unkind toward us in the past, so we decided to ride our bikes to his house to swim. When we got there, he was friendly enough. In fact, he showed us around his family's property as we made our way down to the pond. Near the pond, they had a little out building that wasn't quite finished on the inside, but it struck us as kind of a cool place because you could use it as a club house or place to camp out when you're fishing at the pond. He showed us inside, but then (to our