• What did you do before the war?
    I was a chef, I was a chef

    Tom Waits’ “Hell Broke Luce” remains a surreal, searing personal favorite.

  • Three children’s books for Veterans Day.

  • The Business Model of Education: A Moral Bankruptcy & Looming Financial Disaster

    Calling a halt to on-campus operations and going totally online, thereby waiving on-campus fees, was the right, moral choice. And yet it was the option that this reckless system could never take, because those inflated fees were needed to pay the fixed costs of the business model. Without sufficient state funds, universities are reliant on federal grant money, which requires students to enroll. If online courses drive away even a fraction of those students, the house of cards will collapse. For the university to do the right thing would be financial suicide.

    The article’s title is misleading. The business model of education is the root problem, but it did not start with state universities. State governments — enthralled by neoliberalism, harried by zealotical anti-tax lobbyists & myopic voters — have spent forty years divesting from funding education as a public good, forcing public universities to rely on a mix of federal funding, out-of-state/international tuition, an amenities arms race, & ever-inflating service fees.

    I don’t agree with the article’s proposed solution, but something must be done in the wake of the havoc on budgets — state and university — that will follow the pandemic.

    Correctional, police, & military budgets bloat without restraint while the viability of the Post Office and public universities are jeopardized. One can only conclude American society cares more about imprisoning & killing people than we do connecting & educating them.

    The Corner That State Universities Have Backed Themselves Into | The Atlantic

  • Hallmark of Fascism

    Lawlessness in the name of law and order is the hallmark of fascism.

    ‘It’s Spooky Right Now’: Inside the Creepy Federal Crackdown on Portland Protesters | The Daily Beast

    Illegal abduction of protestors by Homeland Security agents deeply disturbs me — it erodes both the rule of law and legitimacy of government. More deployments appear imminent. That these agents’ non-sensical camouflage attire & lack of agency identification renders them indistinguishable from “federal troops” in the general public’s eyes is disquieting; this is a slow slide to de facto perception of martial law. Worse, the camo & non-affiliated look opens the door to similar abductions of citizens by non-government actors (“militia” & other domestic terrorist types).

  • James Mattis, the general I served under in Iraq (who later became Secretary of Defense), just compared the President to the Nazis in a public letter. He would not say it this way unless he was worried we are on the precipice of national political collapse.

  • My daughter is crying because she wants a sword and we had to tell her she’s a boot and doesn’t rate one.

  • Serving under a number of different superiors in the Marines taught me this lesson:

    Leadership ceases to have meaning when one equates possession of a title with possession of a trait.

    I continue to reflect on this periodically.

  • When Wisconsin called, they answered.

  • If I had stayed … I’d probably have ended up as a taxi driver or working in a kebab shop. So when a Royal Marines recruiter turned up at college and talked about the commando training and parachuting, my mum lost me to the military.

    Saddam Hussein: My part in his downfall|1843

  • My journey home from Iraq began 15 years ago:

    “Home” is a state of mind, nearly an abstract idea at this point, rather than a place, always on the horizon of realization, while the terrain between it and me plays tricks with perspective to make it seem closer or farther away.

  • Fifteen Years on the Journey Home | Driftless Meditations

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