Friday, August 29, 2008

Well, that wasn't expected

I didn't expect to find out that Senator McCain selected a woman to be his vice-president. I can only imagine some ignorant cockfag finding himself torn between not wanting to vote for the n***** and not wanting to vote for the c***. Oh, what interesting times we live in. And I hate that.

While doing some Googling I discovered a little blurb from way back in 2005 concerning Governor Palin's neighbors back when she was the mayor of that 9,000 person town. Turns out her neighbors were actually an Oxford House. Oxford House is a religious organization which runs halfway houses for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. As one can imagine, trying to get a house which will house people who are known alcoholics and addicts is not an easy task. That the mayor of a town, even such a small one, would allow them to set-up shop next to her and her family, is kind of impressive to me. For the plethora of faults and foilbes which will be revealed about Miss Congeniality Alaska 1984, there is a very real compassionate streak.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I wonder who they will vote for now?

I wonder if the counter-recruiting folks are finding themselves in a bit of a dilemma. For years they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and tens of thousands of man hours opposing military recruiters in schools. Anti-recruiting initiatives across the country have sought to prevent military recruiters from having the same access to high school campuses that college recruiters enjoy. All of this to prevent military recruiters from being able to offer these eligible students the opportunity to say "yes" or "no".

Senator Obama wants to make every child over the age of 10, attending public school, serve the government.

If military recruiters calling high school students to see if they want information about the military is enough to make someone bomb a recruiting station, I can't imagine what mandatory community service will make these people do. Hell, they might be mad enough to try and blow up court houses.

Looking over the fact sheet, I can't help but think "What government does he think will supervise this goat rope?". The basic premise of "No Child Left Behind" was that there would be a standard way of telling how well students are being educated, and be able to identify and correct schools which fail to meet this objective. They wanted to standardize a way to measure how well schools do their core mission; Educate American children. The government can't even do that right.

Let me say that again clearer.
The federal government can't even determine if schools are educating children to a minimum standard.
And I'm supposed to believe this same government will be able to track and enforce a voluntold program for a couple dozen million students? Just suppose for a second that the Obama-Jugend Universal Voluntary Citizen Service was actually implemented. Americans will sue, and force the government to spend millions of dollars defending, about the Pledge of Allegiance containing the phrase "Under God". How do you think families are going to feel when their children find themselves having to do voluntold service at a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple? How will a pro-life family feel when their son is required to help out a hospital which does abortions? I'm sure there will be some provision which would, nominally, allow a family to not require their child to serve at some organization which is antithetical to their beliefs, however there are only so many places which can handle a sudden influx of volunteers. There will be plenty of families in the position of choosing whether their child will complete their 50 hours of community service or holding on to their beliefs.

It wouldn't be much of a program if students and their families were allowed to just go out and find something they wanted to as a volunteer. The only places students will be allowed to volunteer, and receive the necessary credit for this service, will need to be certified. Who will certify them? The government. I know how I feel about the government suddenly having the power to give a yay or nay to whether a particular non-profit is worthy of being able to tap into this vast swell of free labor.

I wonder what part of the school day is going to be sacrificed to accomplish this goal? I watched a school refuse to allow ASVAB testing because it would consume a four hour block of time for the junior class one day of the year. Elementary school students are so overwhelmed with classwork, homework, books, and supplies that they need to have roller bags for their gear. What will be sacrificed to allow these students the time to fulfill their service obligations? English? History? Science? Math? Maybe extra time can be added to the school day to accommodate this. So, who will pay the teachers for their extra time? How will the janitorial services folks feel about getting home to their families an hour later because they couldn't clean the school until the kids left?

This just leads me to the safety and accountability portion. School districts can't keep pedophiles out of their midst now. Let's go ahead and expand the number of people who will have access to students twofold. Who is going to be held accountable when Little Skipette hurts herself cleaning up a park? I forgot, everyone will have full health insurance. Skipette's medical treatment will be free, however it will take her three weeks to see a doctor, during which time the ligament damage she suffered when she rolled her ankle will be permanent, requiring surgery (which will be delayed), and restricting her to a life of collecting disability. So it will all be good since there will be a plethora of new Skipettes there to care for her needs as part of their requirement to move on to the seventh grade.

Of course, all this good work will be useless if the same crop of under experienced teachers are manning the classrooms. So, to address this, President Obama's Classroom Corps "will enlist retired or mid-career engineers and scientists to provide support for math and science teachers...". Now, there is a reason that engineers and scientists don't choose to work in schools. The pay is crap when compared to what they can make on the free market. There are only a couple of ways to go about doing this. Either those who wish to enter into the science or engineering fields will be compelled to voluntold their time at their local schools, or every school district in America is going to be getting a huge chunk of tax-payer money to support the hiring of these professionals. I don't see the various teachers unions enjoying the sudden influx of non-union members into education, or the fact that they're likely to be paid more than most teachers despite a lack of experience in education.

Senator Obama's Universal Voluntary Citizen Service plan is designed to screw poor people.


I said it.

This will not affect rich people for two reasons. 1: They go to private schools which will likely be exempt from such requirements. 2: If they do go to public schools, they go to schools in wealthy locales who can afford the additional staff to support such activities. This will affect middle class folks because their schools can't afford the additional staff, so they'll have to cut something else from the school day. Probably the non-football athletics and the music programs. But it will still happen for them. Poor people though, they're boned. Poor people don't get to send their kids to good schools. Poor schools already under perform by every measure. They can't afford new staff, and the quality of what they have is already hurting. This is simply going reduce the small opportunity for a good primary education that poor families already have. It is going to reduce the time spent learning in class, while increasing the time spent commuting between home, school, voluntold location, and home.

Heck, the good senator just wants to take 50 hours a year from 10 year olds. He wants to take 100 hours a year from adults. College students will need to do 100 hours a year of voluntold service. Remember collegians after you've paid your tuition for the semester and as you're picking up trash along the highway instead of studying for your finals, you could have joined the military and at least be getting paid for enjoying the suck.

Honestly, this makes me question the critical thinking skills of all those college students who are going to be voting for the junior senator from Illinois. First off, he wants them all to spend 100 hours a year doing voluntold work. He also wants many of them to be required to spend their post-college years working for below-market wages as mentors in schools. Then he chooses as a running mate a man who is in the pocket of the RIAA. The same RIAA who has decided to sue everyone who has ever downloaded a file from anywhere that may, or may not, be music. Even the dead. I don't know much about being a college student nowadays, but I do know they don't like being sued for downloading things.

I'm looking forward to see the counter-recruitment folks move on to trying to block the conscription of 12 year olds to go help out at the local church.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Why am I watching this?

It is a little past midnight here in El Paso. Despite a 0500 wake-up I find myself watching the live feed of the Olympics from Beijing. Now, when it was something interesting like Michael Phelps being superhuman or a bunch of teenagers reaching the apex of their accomplishments at age 13 16 I could excuse myself the indulgence. Right now I'm watching the women's 10,000 meter race. I have no idea why. Could be worse, I could have paid money for a plane ticket to China, a hotel room in Beijing, and tickets to the track and field day and realized that I went on the day of the women's 10,000 meter race.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Catching Up

This was prompted by a comment left nearly a month ago by SSG K. The Sacramento Bee had published a story about the prevalence of people who commit crimes in the military to have had some sort of criminal background.

I've dealt with the "soldier quality" issue for over two years. I've even manged to spot errors missed by people who get large amounts of money to do that very thing. By the way, I never have received another word from any of the parties involved in that.

I read, re-read, and re-re-read the article. My main concern was their methodology. Basically, they selected 250 names, some of the off of some list of recruits, the others were servicemembers who were known to have committed some crime either in or out of the military. The Sac Bee does not reveal how many were randomly selected and how many were not. The result is that, of the 250, 120 had some sort of criminal background. According to the lead reporter, Russell Carollo, none of those were just one traffic ticket so I'm going to assume they were all either charged with, or found guilty of, some crime of minor non-traffic or greater. So, basically, out of 250 mostly random people, 120 of them, over a decade-plus time frame, had some sort of run-in with a law enforcement agency.

Honestly, if the Sac Bee had reported that the Army had ignored 120 people with criminal backgrounds who went on to commit some sort of crime in while in a war zone, I'd have been impressed with their devotion to providing news for the public. However they did not.

One of the Soldier's highlighted in the Sac Bee's story is SPC Mario Lozano. SPC Lozano was the Soldier who fired the fatal shot in the shooting of an Italian Army officer involved in paying the ransom for an Italian journalist who was kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq in 2005. SPC Lozano's criminal history involves him making threats against a man who was reposessing his car in 1994, and then his wife calling the police in 1998 after he slapped her when she admitted to an affair, and owing child-support. Not exactly the sort of criminal background which would lead one to worry he'd be the cause of an international incident.

While I highlight the background on SPC Lozano, his is not unique. The Sac Bee's reporting leaves a lot to be desired. It's scattershot and haphazard, jumping from incident to incident without any attempt to link the past behavior and behavior in Iraq. It's sensationalism and totally devoid of context. It's a great concept poorly executed and then poorly defended with claims of "The Pentagon researches it too!".

*UPDATE 20080811*

Zack reminded me of something which I forgot to mention. One of the people the Sac Bee highlist gets multiple paragraphs because he was a felon. They even get a gotcha quote from the local sheriff asking how the guy can carry a weapon. His crime? Stole something worth under $500. My question is, how the hell is someone considered a felon, and stripped of basic rights like owning a firearm and voting, because they stole something under $500 in value. I guess that's an issue for another expose from the Sac Bee.


Wow, two posts in a month. Call me butter because I'm on a roll!

Mrs. SFC B and I had a little bit of a household project we worked on this weekend. We finally installed window tint. Living in the Valley of the Sun means that summer gets hot. Hotter-than-Iraq hot at time. I can't believe it took us over a year to actually do something about our windows. Mrs. SFC B had seen some window tint at Home Depot and decided it would be a good thing. She was right. We bought four rolls of Gila Titanium Heat Control film and it has made an immediate difference. Our living room and kitchen are noticeably cooler as is the upstairs office. Even being total novices at such installation we managed to do the downstairs windows in only a couple of hours. The AC now runs less and the ceiling fan does most of the cooling in the living room now. It is awesome.

Michael Yon has been a person I have read since around his first embed with "Duece Four". I remember being gripped by his story about LTC Kurilla's shoot-out which left him shot three times and his attacker a eunuch. His book, Moment of Truth in Iraq, is a thing to behold. I ordered it while in El Paso and I wanted to save it for when I return next week. That was not to happen. I am too voracious a reader, and to have left his words unread for a moment longer would be an insult. If you're someone for whom I will buy Christmas presents, this is likely what you'll get. Let me know if you already have it. I guess I will have to wait until Crystal finishes her book before I'll buy my next blogger tome.

It's a lazy Sunday again and I spent a good bit of it working on my fantasy football team. SSG George, your reign ends at one.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Stayin' Alive

Ah ah ah ah stayinnnnnnnnn aliiiiiveeeeee

Sorry, didn't mean to sing like that.

It's been nearly a month since I bothered to write anything. It's not from lack of things to write about, but from a lack of things to write about which I wanted to write about.

That made perfect sense in my head.

I spent two weeks at Camp MacGregor again. This looks like something which will become a semi-regular gig for me. I don't mind the TDY money, but I do wish Mexico wasn't so close to El Paso. My God, looking out over Juarez makes you very grateful for things like "zoning" and "building codes".

Another unit was successfully trained and will be headed to some foreign country at some point in the future. And for anyone from that unit who happened to read that statement, that's how you avoid telling someone things which violate OPSEC. Seriously guys, if someone who identifies themselves as a reporter asks you for deployment dates, times, locations, the strength of your unit, the equipment you're taking, and when you send out patrols and change guards shifts don't tell them. That was AAR comment #3. Don't ask what two things were more jacked up.

Anyways, I'm off for the weekend before headed back to El Paso/MacGregor again next week. It will be more of the same.

The Astros are basically out of it. I knew it was going to be a long season, but they didn't have to trade away two of their very few decent prospects for Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins. The same LaTroy Hawkins was thought he was going to be released and thus available for nothing more than a waiver claim. Seriously, Ed Wade needs to fire up a copy of some MLB console game and try to execute these trades in there first. If the computer won't accept the trade because it violates its "fair trade" rule, then don't execute it Ed. Just don't.

Madden '09 comes out soon. I still haven't forgiven them for that horribly confusing "Vision Cone" a couple years ago. Frankly, Madden has peaked and, were it not for the monopoly EA holds on NFL licensing, they'd be suffering at the cash register from people going to different franchises. However the NFL, taking advantage of the fact their fans are stupid, has sold off their ability to improve the NFL fan experience by gifting the rights to NFL players and logos to a single developer.

I found out what it takes to make me want to give my money to a political cause: The opposing side threatening to "come after" me. I still haven't actually given any money to these "outside" conservative groups, but I'd be thrilled if someone sent me a letter or called me to harass me over such a donation. It would give me something to write about. I wonder how hard it is to form a 501(c)4? I'd like to start one named "Former Recruiters Who Want to Poke Tom Matzzie in the Eye with a Stick". I'll bet I get a phone call about that. And don't think I don't have the sticks Tom Matzzie. I just trimmed the trees in my yard, I have three trash bags full of sticks!