“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Could use some good thoughts

Bigger post coming soon, with some transitions in the works.

But until then, I could use prayers, good thoughts, and all that other stuff til things get figured out.

More to come. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Two different approaches

One of those "topics I don't rant on" much lately has been the growing prevalence in society, particularly in the college student ranks, of "I must be protected from words and ideas that hurt or challenge me." Whether it is Internet censorship of conflicting views, the establishment of "safe spaces" where one needn't face differing ideas, or even the trend of hounding people out of jobs who are not in line with the appropriate group think, it all makes me fear the direction of our world. I know it isn't representative of everyone or everything - but when you see this much of academia and the media doing everything they can to avoid offense it can only lead to bad things down the road.

That's not what I want to see in our future though... and there are other things that give me hope.

One of the news stories I read this week involved young Yazidi women who had escaped or been rescued from their captors in the Islamic State. As opposed to facing words or ideas which they didn't like, these women have faced evils and horrors beyond description and which no one should ever have to deal with. Any sane and decent person could easily forgive them for hiding from society, for seeking a safe space and avoiding conflict and the threat of ever being harmed again.

Instead these women have gone to their fellow Iraqis and Kurds, have sought the opportunity to not only remain in their world, but to go forth and challenge their demons in battle, to serve alongside their countrymen in a fight for their nation against the greatest threat of our time. These women warriors are doing their best to ensure others don't suffer the same fate through actions, not words; and with the full knowledge many of them will die in the cause of freedom.

I'm not saying violence is the only answer by any means - and I have had the privilege and honor of meeting a number of people in life who are doing incredible things to change the world through peaceful means. But it is inspiring to know that where there are people afraid to even consider the idea of facing things which make them uncomfortable, there are still those souls who will stand at the gate when the enemy is near.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Things I hate re-learning

As some folks know, I have a severe case of arthritis which is (typically) well-managed by medication. Severe, as in without modern medication I wouldn't be able to work most likely. But, thanks to modern science I normally don't have to deal with more than moderate pain, some immune system issues, and remembering certain limits on my activities.

I say this, because as part of the surgery I had late last year, I've had to be off my arthritis medication for the recovery period. And, in the last week, it has definitely taken a toll on me... I'd forgotten exactly how debilitating this can be, in terms of the pain, the limits on my endurance and daily activities, and all the other things that come with it.

Not bringing this all up to gripe... more I think an appreciation of what science and medicine can do for us. Within my own lifetime my prognosis for this disease would have been pain management at best, and even that would have limitations. Yet nowadays I'm looking at dealing with six weeks of what is really an inconvenience in the big scheme of things, and then being back on track.

All in all I'm pretty lucky.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Guess I should plug this thing back in again

Honestly just haven't known what to write about lately. Not that I don't have things going on, or opinion - but just seems more effort than it's worth to rant...  But maybe getting back in the habit will be good for me.

Been off work lately recovering from some surgery. So far healing well, but waiting on the final prognosis soon.

Going to try to re-set my brain and get back to this thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

Today I say thank you.

- To the ones who went before me, setting the standard we still strive to uphold, and giving me a country where I may be free.

- To the ones who served beside me. Some of you taught and led me, some of you got dirty and tired along with me, and I had the privilege and honor to lead some of you. I wouldn't give up those years no matter what the cost.

- To those serving today, at home and far away, continuing a tradition of sacrifice, courage and honor over two centuries in the making.

Every veteran matters. No matter what your job, time of service, gender, role or anything else, each of you gave something of yourselves so that others could be safe.

Be proud my brothers and sisters. You have earned it.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Unexpected results

I caught a murderer once.

It wasn't part of any long-term investigation.

I wasn't responding to a call, or chasing someone down, or anything like that.

I stopped a car for a simple traffic violation one night, and the passenger wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Getting his information for the ticket he gave me a fake name, which led me to investigate further. Ended up he had just committed a gang-related killing a couple of days prior and was wanted for it. So, off to jail we went.

I'm relating this story not as anything exceptional on my part; rather, this is an example of what happens every day around the nation. Serious criminals are arrested as a result of routine traffic stops and taken off the streets.

This is relevant, because we seem to be going through another cycle in the press and in public opinion regarding police behavior during traffic stops. That we need to "let people go," or "not push things further" when we run into people on these encounters; because "it's only a traffic violation."

But, the point is, if we don't investigate things further, many times we would miss out on such criminals. Which means the community would be less safe, and that we wouldn't be doing the jobs you entrust us with. Because until you finish looking at things, even if sometimes it's just trusting your gut to investigate further, you never know. Walking up to the car that night I had no idea that one of the occupants was a killer.

"Routine" traffic stops get killers off the streets. They interdict drugs which ruin our communities. They recover stolen property, find wanted people, and do all the other things that society expects of police. Because, in America, almost everyone is in a car at some point, and so it's our most frequent location to encounter criminals.

Now, it is also our most frequent encounter with normal, law-abiding citizens - and this is vital too. I'm not in any way justifying police excesses on traffic stops, or saying they should be without rules and norms. And, for 99% of the officers encountering the public during these events, it is a polite (even if unwelcome) event which is quickly resolved.

But don't miss the possible importance of these stops. Don't ask society to take away this tool which ultimately makes everyone safer.

Oh - one more example. Timothy McVeigh - the worst American terrorist in history. Stopped after the Oklahoma City bombing for a license plate violation by an alert officer.

Food for thought.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ten Years Ago Today - We Remember

On June 28, 2005 one of the worst days in the history of Naval Special Warfare occurred, with the loss of eleven SEALs and eight Army aviators during Operation Redwing in Afghanistan. This is the event which was later memorialized in the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, and the follow-on movie.

LT Michael P. Murphy29Part of 4-Man SEAL team, killed in an ambushPatchogue, New York
SO2 Matthew Axelson29Cupertino, California[42]
SO2 Danny Dietz25Littleton, Colorado[42]
SOC Jacques J. Fontan36Killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot downNew Orleans, Louisiana
SOCS Daniel R. Healy36Exeter, New Hampshire
LCDR Erik S. Kristensen33San Diego, California
SO1 Jeffery A. Lucas33Corbett, Oregon
LT Michael M. McGreevy, Jr.30Portville, New York
SO2 James E. Suh28Deerfield Beach, Florida
SO1 Jeffrey S. Taylor30Midway, West Virginia
SO2 Shane E. Patton22Boulder City, Nevada

SSG Shamus O. Goare29Killed aboard the helicopter when it was shot downDanville, Ohio
CWO3 Corey J. Goodnature35Clarks Grove, Minnesota.
SGT Kip A. Jacoby21Pompano Beach, Florida
SFC Marcus V. Muralles33Shelbyville, Indiana
MSG James W. Ponder III36Franklin, Tennessee
MAJ Stephen C. Reich34Washington Depot, Connecticut.
SFC Michael L. Russell31Stafford, Virginia
CWO4 Chris J. Scherkenbach

One of these men, Jeff Lucas, was a friend and former classmate of mine. The others all left behind their own friends, families and loved ones. All of them are a reminder of the sacrifices made by our warriors over the years to defend us at home, and to bring liberty to those abroad.

This wall is in the living space occupied by these men before their deaths - since this day other NSW members deploying to the area have added their own words.

Rest in peace warriors. Ten years on and you are not forgotten.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Best Web Browsers?

I've been running Chrome for a couple of years now - I like the cross-platform commonality of things. But, it's become a bit of a resource hog I've noticed, and several of the changes in system function (such as bookmarks) are a bit frustrating.

So what is everyone else using for browsers these days?