Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Funday

Hey folks. Again, I apologize for the infrequent postings, but as always, I blog best when there is mucho strife in my world, and, frankly, I'm so close to being gone from here that, there simply isn't much that can be strifey. I almost want to roll a couple nuts in a row so that I can sit in Zero-roller training and have my long-term plan be "not be in recruiting anymore suckas." However, between my desire to not fail and my desire to be left alone, I can't let myself nut out.

In recruiting news, the Glendale Recruiting Station managed to his phaseline (the new word for mission box) for the second month in a row. First time it's done that in my time in recruiting. To make things even better, the company and the battalion hit phase line as well. We're even in a position to hit phaseline for the entire quarter. It's a fight every day though and the station still isn't in a posture which SFC SC3 wants. However, life is always better when the problem is we're not making mission early enough in the month, rather than not making mission at all. When forced to play a hellish game of "Let's Make a Deal" USAREC style, I'd rather box on the last day of the month, than not at all.

In browser news, Opera continues to frustrate me. I continue to use it though because its less of a memory hog than Firefox. I love Firefox, but it's just such a memory hog on my system that I have difficulty playing EQ2 and using Teh Intertubes at the same time. Opera, while it sucks something fierce takes up very little memory and doesn't make my game slow down.

In Thanksgiving news dinner was fantabulous. Mrs. SFC B out did herself with a delicious turkey, green bean cassarole, and, best of all, sticky buns! Oh my god those sticky buns were sinfully good. I contributed by preparing the sweet potato cassarole (her receipe, I just executed it well) and some slightly needing more mashing mashed potatos. I could have swore I got all the big chunks of potato, but apparently I missed a good bit. I didn't pay as much attention to the potatos as I should, and we paid the price. Oh well, everything else was near perfection.

In SFC B news I managed to hurt my back a little over a month ago while playing football for a FS function. SSG Patton threw a pass behind me, I turned to catch it and... tripped over my own two feet. Wound up straining a muscle, suffering a buldging disc, and aggravating my sciatic nerve. A triple threat I am! After a month of favoring the injury, and a good bit of drugs, it finally feels almost normal. It still bothers me when I have to drive for a long time (and as fate likes to make me its bitch, I'm working a prior service who lives in Yuma), but I'll live. Which is good.

Anyways, hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. This is a fun time of year for me personally. I do like the holiday time and try to make it a point to be slightly cheery as I go about my business.


I did some work on the ol' blog roll. Added a couple of cop blogs. In "small world" fashion, Officer Gary hails from my current neck of the woods, and Jason hails from near my home town of Sugar Land, TX.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Blocked Again

Well, reality has blocked me in many ways today.

First, the nut I was on grew bigger.  The one glimmer of hope I had chickened out.  Normally I'd feel harsh using a judgemental term like "chickened out", but those were his words, not mine.  So I feel fre to use them.

Second, as I was driving home I thought of something.  I thought of an awesome idea for a blog post (it's been a while since I had one of those so I was excited).  I knew that USAREC met its mission for the year, but I didn't recall hearing anything about it outside of the recruiting world.  I figured that "The Media" had allowed the event to pass unnoticed.

I was wrong.

A quick Google Search revealed that, indeed, Mission Box was covered.  While I was thrilled to see that an event this important wasn't allowed to pass unnoticed (including by myself), I was saddened to discover that the idea I had was now less topical.

Then, I actually put my semester of journalism in college to use.  I dug further.

Hit 1:  From NPR.  It's actually from May 2007 and refers to only that month.
Hit 2:  From the San Antonio Express.  I'm going to expand on this one in a minute.
Hit 3:  Fox News.  Although it touches on the waiver issues, there's a lot less editoralizing than the piece.
Hit 4:  Defense Link.  The DoD press release of the entire DoD's recruiting numbers.
Hit 5:  A Google Group discussion of Hit 1.
Hit 6:  Never heard of them until just now.
Hit 7, 8, 9:  Hot Air, Strategy Page,

I decided to do a bit of an experiment.  I like experiments.

Here's my thesis.  Media coverage of Army recruiting has a negative bias.

Here's my experiment.  Using a popular internet search engine, I will search for three terms related to the Army and recruiting.  There will be a search for the positive term "Army meets Recruiting", the negative term "Army fail recruiting", and a control term "Army recruiting".

If my thesis is correct, there will be noticably fewer positive results when compared to the negative.  Further, within those positive results, there will detectable negative commentary (for example, comments like "althought the Army met their recruiting goal, they accomplished it by enlisting illegal immigrants").  

I searched the national news webpages for three things.

1.  Army Meets Recruiting
2.  Army Fail Recruiting
3.  Army Recruiting

1.  221 hits with the "Most Recent" headlining "More Army Recruits Have Criminal Past".
2.  322 hits.
3.  4750 hits.  Most of them were just stories that mentioned the word "Army" and "recruiting", but not related to the topic I'm interested in.

1.  0.
2.  0.  
3.  66.  Top hit:  "Army Has Record Low Level of Recruits".

1.  1,146 pages of results.  Top hit?  "Army Meets Recruiting Goals -- Surprise Success or Accounting Trick?".  The date of the story?  December 15, 2005.
2.  1,755 pages.  The top hit that's related to the topic at hand?  "Army Marks Record Low Level of Recruits".  The date?  October 31, 2007.  We're not even out of the first quarter, yet the "Army will miss recruiting" meme has its first entry from the AP.
3.  1,573 pages.  Top hit?  "Army Defends Recruitment Standards".  This is nearly the same story that Fox News ran from the Google search above.  The headline in that story?  "Military Meets Recruitment Goals for the Year".

1.  84,100 hits.  The top hit is Fox News.  Second is NPR.  This makes sense since, apparently, uses Google as its search engine for its website.
2.  145,000 hits.  The fourth hit? which is a right-wing whackjob website run by someone very familar with the good guys at Screw Loose Change.
3.  177,000 hits.  The first hit?  The first non-Army or non-military website?  SF Gate with a story titled "U.S. is recruiting misfits for army".  They don't even have the common courtsey to capitalize the proper noun "Army".

1.  18.  Top hit?  The story from the initial Google search.
2.  8.  None of them actually related specifically to Army Recruiting.
3.  448.  Top hit?  The AP Story I mentioned in the ABCNews section.  

This is some painfully bad research on my part.  I have no illusions about this Googling to be taken seriously.  It's just something I did to give me something about which to write.  But, I'm pretty confident that, even with a poorly done experiment, I proved my thesis.

We are in Year 6 of the War on Terror.  Six years of sustained combat operations using an all-volunteer force.  This is a war that can be accuratly described as "unpopular", being fought under a lame-duck president who is called The Devil by those who disagree with him, in a good economy, with daily "butcher's bill" accounting of casualities, helpfully with combat and non-combat deaths combined, and split between total and "Mission Accomplished", and Soldiers are called stupid or inhuman by elected officials and media personalities.  Despite this enviroment 116,141 people chose to enlist into the Army and the Army Reserve this past year.  You would not know this if you were to read or watch most news outlets.


That would make Armyenlistmentburg the 206th largest city in the United States.  Actually, it should probably be called Armyenlistmentville, but I digress.

The entire city of Evansville, IN enlisted into the Army last year.  And the major theme of the stories reporting this incredible accomplishment is that 1,620 of them required a Serious Criminal Misconduct waiver.  Here is my tale of the Serious Criminal Misconduct waiver I enlisted two years ago.
I enlisted one person last year with a serious offense waiver. He’d been involved in a robbery when he was a juvenile. He enlisted when he was 28 years old. His offense was over 10 years old when he enlisted, and it still required a waiver. I’m confident that an analysis of those serious offense will show a large number of people who committed crimes a long time prior to their enlistment.
I still stand behind that last sentance.

Anyways, it's late, I'm tired. 

Normally I'll take full responsibility for formatting errors, but I've been trying Opera, and it sucks.  It sucks horribly and does terrifying things in Blogger's posting window.  I fear it.


I added a line I'd forgotten to when I wrote it.  It's in bold italics.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


is there any body in there?

Just smile if you can hear me.

Is there anyone home?


I'm still here.

Oh?  The thing I'm sitting on?  It's a giant nut.

Aside from that?  Life isn't going too shabbily.  The station boxed last month, and with a little bit of luck we should fall not too short of making it this month.

Did I say "box"?  I meant "phase line".  I guess we no longer box, but instead, phase.  If I had my way I'd phase myself right into Kathy Ireland.  Two objects can't occupy the same space my ass.  Phase Line baby!

Tonight was our company award ceremony.  My usual response to such things is "darn, I'd prefer to just be left alone."  And I kept to my usual self.  It was a good time though, even if we did spend most of the evening watching one station take all the awards.  And of course I sound bitter about that because it wasn't my station.  I might despise recruiting and be counting the picoseconds until I'm done (7.884e*10^18 in case you were curious), but I still don't like having it rubbed in my face that I'm not assigned to a mall a suckass recruiter.

A couple weeks ago we had a Future Soldier function where we played touch football.  I'd like to lie and say that I injured my back on a glorious play to score a winning touchdown.  However, there are too many witnesses and I must confess:  I tripped over my own two feet.  But it wasn't just my back that was twisted in a way it didn't want to go.  Thanks to a secondary effect, I discovered how to spell sciatic.  Yay.

Anyways, I'm still alive.  I'll be working on the blog a bit over the weekend.  No, I won't be changing the colors.