Monday, November 23, 2009


I see an increasing amount of time spent on local news about the impacts of social networks and the postings or boasts people are putting on them. It is almost as if it is wrong of employers to use the Internet to see what people are saying about themselves. For example, a federal employee who is collecting disability for her depression, and posts pictures of herself at Chippendale's is distressed when her disability is called into question, and her benefits are rescinded. Newly graduated college students are bewildered when their drunken festivities, posted for the world to gaze on, call into question their claims of sound and mature judgement.

We all have ghosts and skeletons in our closets. I am sure there is only one who has walked among us that has nothing to regret, nothing to wish they had not done. The difference between my youth and the youth of today is we had time to consider the error of our ways before the entire world was made aware of them. We did not grow up believing that everything we thought, everything we did, everything we tried to do was worthy of public discourse. Obviously this must be a problem brought on by Soccer Mom's and Dad's who want everyone to be winners!

One truth I have always understood was the young had to find their own identity. They would not accept the advice of the elders, and would often choose a contrary path just to show their independence. Unfortunately for too many, that need to take a contrary path, and the desire to share their perceived triumphs collide now on the Internet with a record that will last far beyond the moments of fame they seek.

To all the American youth who want the world to know they get drunk every night, work hard to contact every available STD, or hate their boss, job, life, parents, teachers or spouse I offer this thought. Hope it works out for you in the future! Don't whine when it is thrown back at you.

To every American scamming the disability system who get caught because of a stupid posting. Too bad, so sad, maybe they will offer federal disability for stupidity in the new health care plan! Call your legislator for clarification.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When did news become opinion?

This has been a long standing question for me. As I watch the major network's broadcast their evening reports several obvious things jump out. First, apparently there is only one set of writers who they all share. They routinely have the same subject matter to broadcast, even on days when there is no overwhelming national story. Its almost like price fixing, sometime in the day they must have a conference call to lay out the common agenda they intend to present.
My real question is why has uninformed public opinion become central to the reporting on almost every story? Is this a national conspiracy to attempt to get every living American a chance for their 15 minutes of fame? For example, this evening ABC broadcast a story on mammograms and a medical panels recommendation they were not critical for woman younger than 50. As part of that report they must have asked 10 patients what they thought of a report none had read, but were only informed of by the reporter. The fact all 10 were about to receive their annual mammogram certainly can have no influence in their assessments and opinions, can it? Personally, I would rather have seen them interview 10 men who had survived breast cancer and asked them about how critical the mammogram was, at least that would have required some research on the part of the news staff. If this issue is worthy of national news coverage, why aren't recognized experts called in to discuss the reasoning and implications? Is it because it would not be as emotional as interviewing someone in a medical gown walking into the examination?
This same sense of fair reporting was evidence last night when they asked a series of New York city residents about Sarah Palin's new book. Certainly you can expect measured, well thought out positions from the average NYC person on the street. NYC is legendary for its central American view and as a bastion of conservative thought. Personally I can think of no compelling reason to report on Palin, but at the same time attempting to make her a cartoon only strengthens the argument the liberal press is out to polarize the American population into two camps.
Wait a minute! Maybe this is all like the Colbert Report. It is all a parody of an actual news report and their real intent is to make us question the statements and come to a conclusion buried deep in the false logic of their dialogue. My hat is off to you Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, Bryan Williams, your subterfuge almost had me...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is the day set aside to remember the end of the 1st World War, the war to end all wars. We have made it a day to recognize the sacrifices, service and commitment of our men and woman of the American Armed Forces.

I spent the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in a jet, headed to Dallas, TX. Somehow, that seemed okay to me, working on this Veteran's Day. As I gazed out the window, crossing just north of Mobile AL I thought of friends I've lost in defense of this nation. I would like to take a few minutes to reflect on them and what I've learned from them.

In a nameless desert in the middle of Iran I watched Capts Hal Lewis, Rick Backe, and six others die when the EC-130 flight deck was crushed by an RH-53 helicopter that was disoriented as it took off in the sand. Rick was my original instructor as I trained to fly the MC-130E Combat Talon. He was patient, knowledgeable and had a passion for life. He made sure I was good enough to join a pretty small group of people qualified to navigate the C-130 as it flew 250' above the ground, in weather and at night. Hal was one the aircraft commanders in the 1st SOS when I arrived. He was a very good pilot, steady hands and made sure his crew knew what was expected and ready to perform. He partied hard, had his share of faults, but was about doing whatever it took to accomplish the mission.

About nine months later, in January 1981 an MC-130E, returning from a training mission flew into the Ocean, off the coast of the Philippines. On board were Major John King, Capt Greg Peppers, Capt Jeff Blume and TSgt Jack Felton, all friends and people I had flown with for the past year. Greg and Jack were with me on the Desert One fiasco and Greg was probably the best partner I had ever flown with. If he had survived I think he could be a General today. Greg taught me to enjoy the moment. Jack Felton was our Flight Engineer, he had a marvalous sense of humor and was a great mimic of Father Guido Sardouchi. This crask taught me if your number is up you are going to die, if not you won't! for there is no other way to explain how Jeff survived the crash. I think it had a serious impact on his outlook from then on.

Please take a moment to think of your friends and loved ones and what you gain from them.

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