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Monday, September 25 2017 @ 04:38 am PDT

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Huge advance

General NewsResearch Ties Gulf War Illness to Brain Damage
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Good Stuff from The Onion

General NewsFind the Thing You're Passionate About, Then Do It Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life

'What You're Doing is Weird and Wrong' Small Voice in the Back of Kim Jong-Un's Head Reports

Authorities on Alert as Hundreds of Crazed Sociopaths Enter Congressional Chambers

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5 things you don't know

General NewsI've seen this idea on a few other blogs...thought it might liven things up a bit...

5 things you probably don't know about me:

1) Blame the bad vision

A few years ago, a friend made the comment, "How can one person be so stealthy and yet such a klutz?" Well, she didn't know that when I was born, I was legally blind in one eye. As I child I was diagnosed with "lazy eye" and spent years with corrective lenses, patches etc. It improved to the point where I don't need any kind of lens, but my brain never caught on to the idea of using both eyes with reasonable equality. So while I have great situational awareness in most scenarios, I am that person who catches her shoulder on door frames or makes a big gesture and knocks something over. Sigh... it also encourages humility and the ability to laugh at myself.

2) Close encounters in the Red Sea

You know that bad thing that happens when you're exhausted and you let your guard down at the wrong time? I have very...sharp... memories of a sea urchin (or two or three) in the Red Sea. I stepped on one and got several punctures in my foot. I recoiled... and fell back into more. For those of you don't know, sea urchins don't just puncture; they inject their poison into you. So I got to limp out of the Red Sea (no help at hand) and back to my hotel room, bloody and REALLY hurting, only to figure out that I couldn't reach most of the wounds. I went back out, finally tracked down a friend, and got the bartender to mix up some of the local topical remedy. We were able to draw out most of the poison, but I still have a couple scars from some of the nastier spots.

3) Family heroes

I won't go into all the details, but both my grandfathers fought in WWII and were decorated for valor. Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star, and I believe there's at least one Bronze Star in there as well, not to mention several Purple Hearts. It's an awesome and sobering legacy.

4) Juvie

I had a couple nefarious years as a young teen. I don't have an official record, but I should. Long, long story.... imagine a smart, bored teen who had good reason to disrespect the legal system. It was never violent or malicious, for what it's worth. And for the record, I do behave myself now.

5) Pvt Six-year-old

When I was six, my older brother decided he wanted to become an officer. Officers need soldiers to command. I learned to salute, follow orders, answer questions on the chain of command and do PT on the swing set. The funny thing is that back then, options for women in the military were still pretty limited, but BrotherCat didn't seem to see the issue with training me. But somewhere along the line I decided I'd join the USO so I could stick with him around the world.
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You thought Obama's Nobel Was Wrong?

General NewsBradley Manning Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Delusional... some people have been drinking their own Kool-Aid for far too long.

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Benghazi

General News

Just finished reading Benghazi: The Definitive Report Although I was rushed I found that it was worth my time. The background and operational details were very helpful in understanding what really happened at the "consulate." Although I do not have the access to independently verify the details, virtually everything rang true. A few things were set up to be shocking revelations but were not surprising to me, at least.

A few reviewers have sniped over the book's need for a copy editor. Yes, there are some errors but they rarely detract from the story. I would like to see a second edition that would 1) correct those errors, 2) expand the research on Brenner, and 3) extend the biographies of those who died. I would prefer to see source citations, but since it comes from the world of SpecOps, I understand why that's not happening.

To sum up, if your feeling about Benghazi is something other than "what difference does it make?" this e-book should be on your reading list. Of course, if you really don't think it makes a difference, then this book will be a game-changer. It cuts through a lot of the rumors and assumptions and gives a vivid, believable account of the events in Libya. $2.99 from Amazon, and if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the ap for your computer or other device.

I purchased my own copy and have not received any compensation for this review.

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Keyboard musings....

General NewsEvery once in a while, I sit at the computer and just...type. Too many issues are at hand to do a cut-and-dried single topic post.

There are calls to action, friends taking valiant stands, reminders of past failures. Voices of friends of long ago, stoic remembrances of following honor rather than the heart, dreams of doing better, turning regrets into victories.

This thing called life is a gift but its fabric is woven at great cost. I'm losing time for pleasurable reading as my "important reading" list grows. A good friend quietly stepped away for reasons that were probably more my fault than his; I can do nothing but be thankful for those years of friendship while I ache for the lost camaraderie. Yet other emails still go unanswered. Not enough time? Perhaps. Or perhaps I'm trying to avoid a repeat.

We make choices: one important work versus another. At least if we've had a smidge of courage to find something that matters. And we wonder...probably forever...if we are supposed to do more. "I should have been a great many things," we say... but what counts is whether we have the courage to choose one of them.
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Chris Kyle

General NewsI wish I had more to offer as the Special Operations community mourns Chris Kyle.

Check out SOFREP, check out http://NavySEALs.com
Put his name into a Twitter search, Google his name with Mike Monsoor's.
You'll begin to get an idea of what has been "lost."

Not lost, really. Just a little further outside our grasp. Less in our hands and more in God's.

As details emerge of his death and the man he was trying to help, the earlier question of "How does a SEAL get murdered?" morphs into a realization of a different kind of hero's death. I don't know what Chris Kyle's last thoughts were, but we do know that his last afternoon was all about helping a fellow veteran. He lived and died as an uncommon man, risking and ultimately losing his life in this world for the sake of others.

A couple days ago I saw a Facebook meme that said, "This country has a mental health problem disguised as a gun problem." I don't want to politicize Chris Kyle's death, and I don't want to lump everyone with PTSD into the same category. But there is a lot of truth to the statement. We don't need pat answers. We need to delve deep into the root causes of violence, and that requires questions that many people will not want to answer.

A very liberal friend of mine made the comment: "I'm sick of the gun control debate and I don't know if gun control will work, but we have to do something." Yes, we do have to do something, but it can't just be something that makes people feel better without actually making them safer. Chris Kyle was taking the next step. He gave his life trying to help someone with mental illness.

Are we going to just cower in our homes while asking politicians for more laws, or are we going to get out there in an effort to save someone? Yeah, it's tough. Chris Kyle was an uncommon man. But how will you live the days God has given you?

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Panetta, Leigh Ann Hester and Robert Burns

General NewsI expect that just about everyone has now heard about the lifting of restrictions on women in combat.

I've been doing a lot of listening on the subject, gauging the sides of the argument while maintaining a certain matter-of-fact acceptance that all our arguments won't change what happens.

I'm torn. As a somewhat "unusual woman" there's a sense in which I would want my chance to serve in ways that have previously been forbidden. I've heard combat guys comment "why would any woman want to do all the things that combat infantry entails?" and it's a valid question, but it ignores the truth of a heart of service: it needs to be done.

As for physical standards, well, I agree with most of the guys that a woman in combat should be able to meet the same strength and endurance requirements as the men. Issues such as height, weight and BMI are a separate issue, but unless a woman in combat has a different role, she needs to be able to hold her own.

One friend made the apt comment that this is the natural result of other societal changes, and that we must make the experiment rather than continue to argue the point. I agree. It is an experiment, and I'm inclined to think that it will cause damage. It will cause damage to our fighting capability, and it will do damage to many of the women who serve. But the real question is, will the rebuilding be stronger?

There are extraordinary women, such as Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester and Capt. LInda Bray, who have unquestionably proven their worth in combat situations. Some women can't make the cut, but many others do. A good friend of mine is 40 and running rings around the men she serves with.

Another side of the debate is that women have been kept out of combat not due to inferiority, but rather due to their importance. Has modern feminism done women a disservice in encouraging us to believe that the prohibition from combat and other "dirty jobs" is an attempt by men to keep us unequal? Unfortunately many men encourage this thinking when they try to argue that monthly cycles and hormones make a woman unfit for combat. I put up with a lot of mysogeny in certain circles because that seems to be the price of admission. But I learned years ago that if I don't expect respect, I'm unlikely to get it. Yet there are exceptions. Last night was Robert Burns' Night, and this toast was a reminder that some men truly do esteem women:


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So remains one sanity...

General NewsFrom a friend's friend's blog: http://crosscrafter.com/blog/2012/07/...s-in-time/

Disappointments: A Prodigal Reflection (by Matushka Elizabeth)

I do not think
any of us intentionally set
out to disappoint one
another.

It happens
none-the-less: in time,
events, conscious & unconscious
activities,

In ways seen
& unseen alike, foreseen
& unforeseen, we fall far short
Of our & other expectations,

& perhaps
never will return to some
unfulfilled glory, some pre-envisioned
simplistic Fate.

It is true
Beyond all Truth
That each life is cut from
A fallen mold, each struggle

With this one
Reality: Even fallen,
Broken, mending or not,
With or without

Excuse or reason,
God is God, even now.
His ways, means & mercies move
beyond human comprehension.

A firm promise pulling
constant towards Good, He offers hope
even to we whose only consistent yields
fail an illusory perfection.

So remains one sanity;
the path of deep life: Find peace
& trust patience even while walking
within frail footholds.

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Doing It Right

General NewsIt's been a crazy, exhausting week, but I want to give very public accolades to a couple of companies who have earned my business:

Dutch Bros Coffee... they have a great product, always have a smile and upbeat attitude for me, and have sometimes given me free drink-size upgrades when I'm having a really bad day.

Les Schwab Tires... While they had to special-order a replacement for me, they loaned me a used part to get me back on the road immediately.

(I'm also very thankful for cop friends who take care of me so I don't have to wait for a tow truck.)

Chipotle... They comped a meal when I forgot my wallet.

Costco... Their return policy makes product failures an annoyance rather than a financial hit.

In a world where life has cheapened and consumer goods aren't meant to last, I appreciate such companies all the more.