The ad I’m now seeing off I-95 in Connecticut, found on this blog

For anyone who has to travel on I-95 in the western portion of Connecticut, you know there is always traffic, and often it is at a standstill. Well placed ads on the side of the freeway make sense there, and I started to see black and white ads (like the one above) rabidly promoting veganism as a way to prevent animal cruelty.

Normally I don’t care much about veganism or other fad diets in general, but what I’m starting to notice is that a lot of really smart people my age (the Xenials if you will) are pushing veganism in various forms for their families. They think it’s healthier, gets back to our “agrarian roots,” and that if we only just stopped killing animals and eating processed food, world peace would rain down like manna from heaven.

OK, I made the manna part up, but it’s not far off the vegan ideal. Continue reading “Angry Vegans and Light Beer”

No, not the NFL draft…that one where we take people and put them in the military.  Well, most people anyway…

Dennis Laich seems to think bringing back the draft is a great idea, as he is quoted  saying so here in this Military Times article.  He argues that it will be cheaper (due to making pay cheaper), close the civil-military gap, and bring in talent from Ivy League and other places.  I’m in the military and live it every day, and I personally think the draft (and the current Selective Service) should go away completely.

Continue reading “You can keep your draft”


So let’s start with the obvious: I wasn’t a fan of President Trump’s speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree. It started off OK, until he said “hell,” and then it went downhill. Personally, I’m more disappointed that he missed an opportunity for a great speech than with any one thing he said.

Now that is off my chest, here’s another thought: Catholic Churches need to stop abandoning Scouting. In fact, I’ll say that if you’re a Catholic Church and don’t have a Scouting program, you’re probably guilty of neglecting your parish’s young men.

Continue reading “Don’t abandon Scouting”

President Trump swore into office six months ago, and his foreign policy has been interesting to watch, since he:

  • Started with solid Secretarys of State and Defense
  • Didn’t have an immediate 9/11 event to respond to
  • Has had a chance to travel and negotiate high level deals

The past six months have shown he has a fairly regular negotiating style:

  • He walks into every deal saying “I’m going to change this deal”
  • He makes an initial offer
  • He changes the deal in some way, although it might be more symbolic than actual

So how has he done so far?
Continue reading “Challenging the status quo: Trump’s Foreign Policy”

So I’m a Millenial. Well, or a Xennial (or maybe an Oregon Trailer!) since I’m a bit older, or maybe something else. But in this crazy world, I can identify as a Millenial, so that should be good enough for you, and you’ll just have to accept me as I am.

I work with lots of younger Millenials. I like them, and I think most of the Millenial criticism has more to do with coming from broken families. But I’m seeing a few trends that seem to be unique to this upcoming generation. More importantly, I worry that these are holding people back when they have to work with older people.

Continue reading “How Millenials hurt themselves socially”

Poor Charlie Gard. First he is born with a nasty genetic defect, one so rare that only 16 people are known to have it. Then, when there is a chance to save him with an experimental surgery, the British Health Care System tries to override his parent’s decision and pull the plug on his life support. Luckily, he’s caught the attention of Pope Francis and President Trump, so perhaps he might still make it.

Health care remains divisive in America. Plenty of people want a single payer system, while others argue for privatization, and still others a mix or other variety. The media doesn’t help one bit, whether it says that uninsured people are robbing us blind, or that privatization would condemn poor people to death. That sort of over-the-top talk doesn’t contribute to the conversation.

Continue reading “Removing cost from the equation”

I don’t fondly remember college. I was in engineering, and engineering is hard. During my summer indoc course, we had two “welcome” presentations. The first one was this long skit put on while the whole indoc class was present, and it was really bouncy and cheery, like somehow college was all about the social aspect, with classes barely mentioned.

The next day I went to the engineering campus, and the welcome was different. We were brought into a room, the door shut, and the professor let us know that most people don’t last the first year in engineering. He told us that we could expect to work hard without a lot to show for the first three years. But one thing that stuck out was him telling us to “Just do when you have a lot going on.”

Seems easy right? But it isn’t easy, at least for most people.

My workday is pretty busy, and yet I get a lot done both at work and at home. I’m still amazed by the number of people that say “I could never get all that done.” But I’m not special. I don’t have a high IQ, and I wasn’t a brilliant savant in college. I wasn’t blessed with a lot of money, and I didn’t have parents that spoke lots of languages or taught me higher level math.

But what I do best is just do. Everyday, I focus efforts and make things happen. Sometimes it’s getting the family out the door for a trip. Other times, it’s replacing trucks and equipment at work. I take problems, break them down, and just start doing the small pieces. It’s not easy, and I don’t “do” it right the first time, but there is something to be said for just doing.

And yet, I see too many people that don’t “do” in their day to day life. From shipyard workers to government bureaucrats, I’ve seen people spend their days not getting much done. They also tend to be unhappy, even if they get paid well.

Doing leaves me with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Instead of analyzing, strategizing, or some other “ing,” perhaps we need to get back to doing.

This post represents the views of the author and not the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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Millenials seem to leak like a cheap diaper. Manning, Winner, Snowden are only the latest in  a line of people that think it’s OK to send whatever information they want to the press. I recently received a personal-for message (sometimes called a P4) expressing dismay at people who were leaking information about the investigation into the USS FITZGERALD collision. While looking for answers as to why someone would do this, I stumbled on this quote:

“In 2016, Gallup found adults under 29 least likely to say they were “extremely proud” to be American, with just over a third agreeing. If managers in the national security industry think they can count on patriotism to dissuade potential leakers, they are mistaken.”
Continue reading “Stopping the leakers with mandatory service?”

USS FITZGERALD after collision, as shown in Japanese media

A forward deployed, global Navy is going to have problems. Ships are expensive, and occasionally they will go “bump” in the night, like the USS FITZGERALD did recently. While we can hold ship CO’s responsible and fire them when they screw up (and we do), the Navy’s dangerous business means that we’re going to occasionally take damage.

We take more damage during war. Looking back to World War 2, CDR Salamander (another blogger) wrote a great article at USNI about carrier losses during the war. Japan obviously lost 100% of their carriers, with 2/3rds of those in the first year. But the US and Britain suffered as well, losing over half of their carriers by the end of the war. That means that with our current inventory of carriers, we could expect to lose 5 carriers in a war with China or Russia, with 3 in the first year of the conflict.

Each carrier has about 5,000 people on it, so just carrier losses account for 25,000 Sailors. To put that in perspective, that is about half of our Vietnam era casualties, and 5 time the number of people we’ve lost in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And this reality is not an “if,” but a “when,” if we go to war with China or Russia (both of which seem eager to do so).

But the sheer volume of losses isn’t the point of this article. We won World War 2 in the Pacific because we could replace those losses quickly. Carl Vinson, a Georgia Representative, saw our aging fleet and built it up inside the limits of existing naval treaties, at a time when the nation could have cared less about the Navy. His efforts ensured that the Navy had warships on par with the Japanese, and when they lost these ships, they could be replaced, something that Japan was never able to do. Carl Vinson created a “tough” Navy, one that could take a punch.

Secretary Mattis called out Congress recently for not doing their job of passing budgets. We can design the best ships, but the reality is that a major war is going to deplete them. We’re becoming increasingly vulnerable at sea, and we don’t have a good plan to get healthy soon.

We need a new Carl Vinson in Congress, now more than ever.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. Please take a moment to keep the Sailors of the USS FITZGERALD in your prayers.

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If you missed it, read part one here.

Your child is learning to act like an adult. So make them do so.

When we lived in Hawaii, I quickly became addicted to Japanese Ramen. Not the crappy 15 cent stuff you ate in college because you were poor (I cooked mine in a coffee pot, so I got my daily dosage of caffeine and salt at the same time!), but the hand made noodles, slow cooked broth and sauteed vegetables that characterize really good Ramen.

Real Ramen looks like this…
Continue reading “Child raising for the Millenial, part 2”