Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Here I go again. I'm in train-up to go overseas again. This time we're headed to Kosovo, so again, no CIB4ME. I'm also a squad leader now, an E-6 type. The pay is really nice. The rest of it isn't terribly hard, although the paperwork is tedious and some of the battle drills seem a bit dated. I have a couple of really reliable team leaders, two solid assistant team leaders, and a squad full of solid performing soldiers. I'm also learning Serbo-croatian and finding that I like it a lot. Hopefully I can find more classes and learn more while I'm there. Anyway, it's been a long time. I'm back.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm now banned at RedState

Well. I'm disappointed, frankly. I read RedState regularly, because the people there tend to aggregate news faster than other sites, and so being up-to-speed on that site tells you a lot of conservative news before you hear it from other sites or on the news. By following RedState for the last 6 months, I've been 1-to-3 days ahead of the TV media on most important stories.

But now, I'm banned. For posting something that I thought was relatively innocuous.

A debate had come up about whether or not it was appropriate for citizens to have a position on President Obama's birth certificate, with the website promoting a diary that said, in essence, that in order to help the Republican party win in 2010, we should leave the issue alone, completely.

Many people responded, saying that it boils down to the US Constitution, and do we follow it or do we not care? Several people responded that, in essence, if you care about the issue, then you are a fool, with a "lower IQ than a toaster."

To me, it's not something the republican party should focus on, but it is something that should be looked into. And no, the "Certificate of Live Birth" that's been posted on the web doesn't count as a "Birth Certificate." When I have to take my kids to get them signed up for TriCare or any military support, I have to have their LONG-FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE. A short form doesn't count. The COLB is a "Short-form" birth certificate, and not a legal document proving that you are a US Citizen.

Anyway, I won't belabor the point. I am just disappointed, because I enjoyed reading RedState. I made the mistake of thinking it was a conservative website, when actually it's a Republican website. Won't do that again!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Warhammer 40K

So, I'm getting back into Warhammer 40,000. Great game, lots of fun. It involves modeling, painting, and tactical thinking. I've gotten my wife and three of the kids involved, too.

My oldest is playing Space Marines. Next oldest is playing Tyranids. Youngest kid who's playing, is playing the Orks. I'm playing Tau, and my wife is playing Imperial Guard. Of course, I'm still the only one who's read the rulebook or the army guides, but hey, gotta take baby steps, right?

Fun game though. Wish I could afford to spend hundreds of dollars on it, but there's lots more important stuff.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Health Care costs. Do the math, and engage your brain.

I was on my way back to the house after dropping the kids off at school this morning, and I heard this story on NPR.

It's a sad, sad story about how health insurance is costing more and more. How paying health insurance premiums is eating up more and more of an employee's total compensation package. About how, if health care premiums would just drop, and the amount that the insurance company paid stayed the same, employees could make more in take-home pay.

An electrical contracting firm was interviewed in the article, very sad story. The cost of health insurance for the firms employees has gone up, and the amount covered has gone down. The owner said she would love to be able to pay the employees more, but so much of what the company makes goes into paying the insurance premiums.

Well. Let us take the business owner at her word, since she is on NPR and therefore presumably NOT a greedy capitalist, despite being a business owner.

Twenty minutes later, I heard this article on the same NPR station. Now, let us ask the question that was left out of the "snoring causes poor quality sleep" article.

"Were the treatments for snoring covered by health insurance?"
"How much did the diagnosis and treatment cost, in total?"
"How much did you, the consumer, pay out-of-pocket for those diagnoses and treatments?"
"How much did your insurance company pay for those diagnoses and treatments?"
"Are you satisfied with the care you received for these sleeping disorders?"
"What would you have done if your health insurance had not covered treating these disorders?"
"Would it have been worth it to you to pay for the entire treatment out of pocket?"

And finally:

"Do the producers of NPR realize the cognitive dissonance created by juxtaposing an article that complains of how expensive health insurance is, with an article detailing expensive (presumably) treatments for quality of life issues, rather than actual critical care issues? Do the listeners of NPR realize the disconnect here, or do they accept both as gospel and blithely drive on by?"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Israel and Iran

Hamas, I have heard, is a front for Iran. I've even read that Hamas has been threatened with losing their "sponsorship" from Iran (read: weapons and money shipments) if they give up in this recent conflict with Israel.

Israel, according to NPR this morning, has suffered 13 fatalities in this latest round of fighting. The "Palestinians" have suffered over 900, about half of which were civilian. Which means that, at the cost of 10 soldiers, Israel has killed approximately 450 Hamas militants. 45 to 1 is a fantastic ratio, and in all fairness, probably at least 5 of those IDF deaths were caused by fratricide, rather than by the enemy.

It also appears to me that Israel is pressing the advantage hard, in an attempt to send a political message to Iran. "When we decide to whip you" they are saying, "we will whip you badly. It may take us a long time to decide to move, but when we do move, we will be nearly unstoppable."

In my opinion, this is a poorly thought-out plan. I don't think Iran will respond to the "message" the way Israel expects. In fact, if Iran is demanding that Hamas fight to the last man for their weapons and money, it seems likely that Iran is using Hamas as a distraction from something else they are about. Never waste a good diversion.

I wonder if Israel really has a plan to take out Iran's nuclear capability? And I wonder how they could do that short of some sort of space-based weaponry...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sex and the single child...

Psychologists have known since the '90's that we "model" behavior that we see, and that we're more likely to model behavior that we witness from those actors whom we respect or like more. Actor, in that sense, meaning anyone who executes a given action, so it can refer to computer game characters, television show characters, or real people.

I was a pyschology student in the early 1990's, at The Citadel, and the obvious logical conclusion of the research in question (which was mentioned repeatedly in our texts) was that people behave in a manner similar to that which they witness their idols/heroes behaving.

Now, the primary objective of the research then was, I think, to convince the education establishment that corporal punishment was evil and resulted in our raising violent children who would respond with force every time they became angry. This belief is reinforced by the fact that, as I am now a teacher, fellow teachers tell me that it was the mid-'90's when corporal punishment was phased out completely. Even here in South Carolina where it is still legal by state law, school boards everywhere have banned it, and professional education organizations speak of it as if it were akin to pedophilia.

I find it amusing in a dark way that, while we have removed that tool from our toolbox as educators, children have not become any less violent, and are instead modelling behavior based now not on their teachers, but on the games they play and the television they watch. But no one in education wants to address that, because it's not our place to tell parents that their precious little snowflakes should watch less TV, play fewer violent videogames, and play outside more. It IS our place to criticize parents if they use corporal punishment or any other physical punishment (I thump my kids in the head as a "warning," for example. Have been given the evil eye by several teachers for it, too).

Finally, I'd like to point out that the abolishment of corporal punishment has fundamentally changed the nature of the relationship between teachers and students. When someone can cause you pain at will, they are not likely to be your friend. You fear them. You might respect them, especially if they are fair, but you have a big wall of separation between you. The loss of corporal punishment in the schools has led to the loss of this "wall," and that leads directly (in my opinion) to the epidemic of young teachers having sex with their students.

The confluence of the loss of corporal punishment, driven by a misunderstanding of the studies you mention in your column, and the continued and even increased sexualization of popular culture, is sowing the seed of a tremendous change in teacher-student and even adult-child relationships. The worst part is that we won't recognize the impact of these two factors until 5 or 10 years AFTER we reach a point where we say "this behavior is beyond the pale."

So, in short, our culture is unavoidably going to continue to become more septic.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stupid America

Kids in Florida were arrested for vandalism in a school bathroom today. No more of that inappropriate corporal punishment, nor any of that stupid "make them clean it up" stuff.

Nope, now they go DOWNTOWN to lockup.

Imagine what would've happened if they'd have made this on the playground: