The U.S. military is well known throughout the world for being the best trained military force on the planet. But recent events are eroding that, and it should cause worry for the average American.
When I purchased my first home, I intended to use a VA loan. I thought that the VA loan was one of those awesome military benefits, but my realtor talked me out of it, saying it would take too long. I thought it was odd at the time, but I went ahead and pursued a conventional loan.
Years later, I’m finally getting ready to close on a new construction house, and I chose to use my VA loan. Unfortunately, everything that realtor said about VA loans came true.
While the Fat Leonard scandal continues to rock the US Navy, and collisions put two US Navy destroyers out of the fight, the CNO asked his leaders to stand down their organizations for a day in what he called an operational pause. His basic message was that we’re taking casualties in “routine” operations that we’re supposed to be good at, and that’s a problem. For my organization, we stood down on Thursday, and my leadership team had some enlightening discussions with our Sailors.
If I had to speculate on what’s happening, I think the high tempo placed on too few platforms, coupled with old-school leadership mentality, is starting to break our toughness.
More junk mail…this time, a letter from our Bishop asking for money in the annual Bishop’s Appeal.
During this last appeal, my high level of annoyance surprised me. I certainly don’t mind donating money to the church, and I’m old enough to understand that the Catholic Church needs money to keep the lights on and run overseas missions. But every year when the Bishop does his annual appeal, it just bugs me.
This week I finally realized why. It’s Cub Scout popcorn time, and my son and I were walking around so he could sell popcorn to the neighbors. We’re in a large neighborhood, so we don’t know everyone. At one home, the lady asked my son where he lived, and when he said that he lives up the street, she brightened up. “I love supporting my neighbors,” I heard her say.
And then a thought struck me: I couldn’t pick my Bishop out from a lineup of people (apparently it’s this guy). With the exception of the video we have to watch in church and Confirmation, I never see the Bishop. To me, he’s just some guy working at the cathedral. When my priest asks for money, I know him, but the Bishop, not so much.
I’m guessing the Diocese is struggling to gather money, because I get plenty of follow-up letters asking for more. I don’t think this is going to be effective long term, certainly not with the younger generation. The Diocese needs to understand that future generations are growing up donating to people. Websites like GoFundMe derive success from telling a good story that compels people to open their hearts and wallets. In stark contrast, the Bishop’s annual appeal lacks a good story, disrupts a Mass, comes once a year and from a person you don’t really know. Not a formula for success.
Check out my blog and be sure to donate to Da Tech Guy, because he has a way better story than I do!
“They used to say that a child conceived in love has a greater chance of happiness. They don’t say that anymore.”
-Vincent (Gattaca, 1997)
This week in the commissary I passed a mother and daughter in the frozen seafood section. Her daughter was probably 9, and by her facial structure I guessed she had Down Syndrome. I made sure to smile at her and wave (if I hadn’t had three kids in tow, I would have stopped to chat). You would think it normal to smile at people, but CBS reminded us that kids like the one I passed by are being murdered at an extraordinary rate.
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.
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.
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.
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