03. January 2005 · Comments Off on More Good News – A Place to Find It · Categories: General, Iraq: The Good

Another note about my student in Iraq —

He has established a website that he hopes will be a clearinghouse for good news about Iraq. He just got it started, but it looks pretty promising. Some of the stories are his own, I think. Others he has gleaned from various sources. And he’s soliciting more!

Here’s the URL: www.iraqgoodnews.com.

03. January 2005 · Comments Off on Good news from Iraq (and some perspective) · Categories: General

I have a former student who is a reservist now serving in Iraq. He has given me permission to include some of his news in my posts. Here’s some good stuff from his December newsletter (arrived today):

During the month of December they held Grand Opening Ceremonies for the Albu Seffa and Al Ahbab Water Compact units which were renovated and started the renovation of the Ishaki Water Compact unit. The renovation of the Al Raffei and Tedmur schools were started, and the construction of the Al Bouhitry, Al Kharzig, Al Eaatedal, Al Qudas, Al Esraa, and Maan Bin Zaeedh schools were started. A good month!

The next(and hopefully last) big hurdle for us is the elections at the end of January. Preparation have been underway to help ensure that they are successful and safe. Of course the insurgents don’t want to see this happen and are doing everything that they can think of to disrupt things. We expect things to be rather interesting around here for the next month.

He also points us to an online comic that puts some perspective in the Christmas giving season. Check it out.

31. December 2004 · Comments Off on Happy New Year! · Categories: General

Finally, a moment to post something! After a harrowing end of semester followed by a two-week trip to Florida to visit the parents, we are settling back into a routine (I hope).

My life management skills are in need of renewal. I cannot have another semester like this past fall. I’m going over some of Stephen R. Covey’s material, including his new book, “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness” (got it for Christmas; so far, I like it) and trying to figure how to improve my ability to manage my activities better.

Anyway, I’m hoping to finally and fully adopt the 7 Habits. I’ve always felt they held a great deal of promise, and I think it’s time to see if that’s the case. As a (somewhat modest) start, I make the following New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Get to bed by 10 each weeknight, up by 6 every weekday (this will be the hardest — I am by nature not a morning person, but I know I’ll be able to get a lot more done if I get up earlier than if I stay up later).
2. Post something of significance to this website at least twice a week.
3. Do 20 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a week.
4. Learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, or develop some as yet unknown talent (I’m considering learning to play the mandolin — what do you think of that?).

And I’m asking you to hold me accountable.

Feel free to share your own resolutions. Fellow Daily Briefers?

And of course, have a great and prosperous 2005!

From Lt Col Sage and the whole Sage family.

08. December 2004 · Comments Off on Tenure: The Second Gauntlet · Categories: General

Received word today that my college Tenure and Promotion Committee and Dean have approved my application for tenure. Next, it’s on to the University-level committee and the Provost. They tell me I’m over the hump, but it will be nice to have that final letter sometime in Feburary.

It’s an odd process, tenure. Evaluation in the academic setting is quite different from the military setting just from a process standpoint. Only recently has it hit me how I’m being evaluated primarily by my peers instead of by my superiors. While a strong adminstrator is critical, faculty have a tremendous influence over the running of the university.

Faculty governance is a big deal in academia. As you can imagine, the faculty are very concerned over what is in their domain of influence and what is not. I was really taken aback by this when I first arrived at here.

Anyway, one more goal reached. If I can just make it through the rest of this week and then Finals week, I can relax for a while, and maybe even post more to the blog.

03. December 2004 · Comments Off on Michelle’s “Lump of Coal” Campaign · Categories: General, General Nonsense, Stupidity

Michelle Malkin (and others) reports on Denver’s decision not to allow a church group in its “Parade of Lights” this “holiday season” (in years past, this would have been known as a CHRISTMAS PARADE!!!!). Might offend, you know.

Michelle writes:

I am hereby launching the Lump of Coal campaign. Later today, I will box up a lump of charcoal, mark the package “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” and send it to the Denver Mayor in protest of his idiotic policy. Please join me in doing the same (and if you take a photo of your creatively designed package, I will link/post).

The Mayor’s address is at Michelle’s website.

A closer reading of the DenverChannel article makes me want to post a couple of clarifications:

  1. It’s not the mayor who is keeping the group from participating, it’s the parade “organizers.” I guess Michelle is doing this lump of coal thing because of the mayor’s decision (since rescinded) to replace “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” on the city building (maybe on a banner?).
  2. This decision to ban this group appears to be consistent with policy from years past in Denver:

    “Our policy, which we have applied consistently for years, is to not include religious or political messages in the parade –in the interest of not excluding any group,” said Jim Basey, the president of the Downtown Denver Partnership.

    Orwell is spinning in his grave! “We won’t include because we don’t want to exclude.”

Anyway, maybe it’s premature to send the lumps of coal. Or maybe the mayor is the wrong gift recipient. Or maybe we can let the good people of Denver (there must be a few sane ones) deal with this.

… or maybe it’s time for me to go to bed.

— one more update (before going to bed):
I decided to change the title: Was previously “Send a Lump of Coal to Denver’s Mayor” — I guess I’m not on that bandwagon anymore. Sorry , Michelle.

16. November 2004 · Comments Off on Garrison Keillor — Ceasing to be funny · Categories: General Nonsense, Politics, Rant

I continue to be reminded of why I don’t support National Public Radio. Here’s a story about Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor:

Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Keillor proposed a solution to what he deemed a fundamental problem with U.S. elections. “I’m trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to born-again Christians,” Keillor smirked. “I feel if your citizenship is in Heaven—like a born again Christian’s is—you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If born again Christians are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?”

(Hat tip again to Instapundit)

How brave, Garry, to take on born-again Christians. I wonder if you’d get the same sort of laughs with a similar joke about another religious or ethnic group. All in jest, I’m sure. Right?

I used to be a big fan of PHC, but for the past few years, Keillor has been speaking out about his politics more and more, including on the show, so I don’t find it very interesting anymore. It’s hard to separate the two in my mind.

Like Laura Ingraham says, “Shut Up and Sing” .

15. November 2004 · Comments Off on Corporate Support of the Troops · Categories: Military

Home Depot tops the list of the “most military-friendly employers.”. Worth checking out. Probably worth thanking these empolyers in whatever way you deem appropriate.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

11. November 2004 · Comments Off on Arafat is Dead, and I Weep … · Categories: General, Israel & Palestine

… for the Israeli Olympians murdered Munich in 32 years ago.

… for the countless other Israelis killed at the hands of Arafat’s thugs.

… for the Palestinian youngsters who have been (and probably will continue to be) misled into thinking that this man was their hero.

… for the Palestinian people, who could have already been living at peace with Israel were it not for Arafat’s scheming and stubbornness.

… and for Yasser Arafat, who (as far as I know) never repented of any of his actions.

Let us pray fervently that peace can now come to the Israeli and Palestinian people.

11. November 2004 · Comments Off on Sorry · Categories: General

Haven’t posted anything since election night. We’re getting into the really, really hectic part of the semester.

Students think they’re the only ones looking toward the light at the end of the tunnel, but the profs are also anxious for the break. This has been a killer semester for me, and I’ve been overwhelmed.

Anyway, probably a few posts between now and mid-December. After that, I’ll try to get onto a more regular schedule (as if anybody cares). I am formulating some ideas related to the university community’s tendencies towards liberalism (the mood has been really dark in some parts of the campus since last Tuesday) and the contrast to another somewhat homogenous community — the military. There was an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education related to liberalism on college campuses that I think needs some more dissecting (see here).

Glad to see the site is back up and running.

More later.

03. November 2004 · Comments Off on Stop It, Fox! · Categories: General

I wish Brit Hume would stop referring to states as “Too close to call,” when the actual situation is “Not enough precinct reports to make a prediction.”

It’s very disheartening.

There’s a big difference between a tight race and an unknown result.

29. October 2004 · Comments Off on Early voting · Categories: General, Politics

The General and I took advantage of early voting in NC and cast our votes for our candidates today. Here are some of my thoughts on the process:

1) I have mixed emotions about voting early. After spending twenty years voting by Absentee (because I maintained residency in one state as I moved around the country with the Air Force), I have really looked forward to heading into the voting booth on Election Day each year I have that opportunity. Early voting at least allowed me the option of voting at my polling place in a booth, but there’s something to be said for having an Election Day (as opposed to an Election Week or Election Month, or whatever we’ve effectively had this year).

I agree with Tony Snow, who wondered whether we have gone overboard in making it so convenient to vote. Voting may be a right, but it’s one that should be taken seriously. I went out of my way while in the military to request Absentee Ballots, to fill them out appropriately, to obtain the appropriate signatures, and to get them in on time. The more “convenient” we make it, the less people will take it seriously. And this doesn’t even touch on how it increases the risk of voter fraud. (Another subject, another day, but #4 below).

I’m not saying that we should deny any eligible citizen the right to vote, but really, it’s just about as convenient as it’s gonna get. Folks should be willing to invest a bit of effort in registering properly, finding out about the candidates and issues, and finding out where and when they can vote. It’s not that hard.

So anyway, I took advantage of this convenience. I’ll try to reconcile whatever moral quandary I have about early voting after the dust has settled.

2) I had the option of voting straight party — that is, touching one button to vote for all Democrat (yeah, right!) or all Republican candidates on the state slate (judicial races and the Presidential race still had to be voted for separately). I was tempted, since I planned to vote straight party, but I guess it’s that convenience thing again. I went through and voted for each candidate individually. It just feels right to me.

3) As I was writing this, we got a campaign phone call. I was able to cut the caller off by saying “We’ve already voted.” I guess this early voting thing isn’t so bad after all.

4) As in earlier elections, neither of us was required to show any form of ID. This continues to disturb me. It was probably my greatest motivation for voting early. In case someone decided to vote in my place, I wanted to have a few days to try to straighten it out. I’m just paranoid that way. I know we don’t have national ID cards, and I know all the reasons why, but really, shouldn’t you be required to prove who you are when you’re doing something so important? At the very least, couldn’t they ask for my voter registration card?

I could go on, but that’s probably enough.

19. October 2004 · Comments Off on If you look up “Useful Idiots” in the dictionary… · Categories: General, Iraq

… you’d likely see one of these pictures (hat tip: Instapundit who directs us to the very funny Tim Blair).

These pictures are to be made available “for broadcast and publication in Iraq.”

I’d like to think that many of the people in these pictures are simply clueless and have not considered what this will do to help the opposition in Iraq (thus hurting our troops). This is certainly the case for the unfortunate children in these reprehensible photos.

My guess is that the adults, though, have given little thought to our brave men and women fighting for Iraqi freedom and democracy. So much for the phony “we support the troops” cry of the anti-war crowd. This undermines everything our troops are doing in Iraq. It places them in danger. It hurts morale. Thus, it aids our enemies.

Wonder how many of these people even care.

I think Hindrocket at Powerline says it best:

Frankly, I find it hard to imagine how Iraqis will react to this scheme. Probably it will confirm their impression that America is a rather weird place. I do think I can predict how our troops will respond, however. I think they’ll share my contempt.

Mine too, Hindrocket.

12. October 2004 · Comments Off on Does the truth mean nothing to these people? · Categories: General, Politics, War

I happened upon an interesting story coming out of the Associated Press today (for instance, see this story at foxnews.com). General Tommy Franks has been critizing Senator Kerry for his views on Iraq and his anti-war statements after returning from Vietnam:

Franks praised the Democratic challenger’s military service during the Vietnam War, but said Kerry’s later anti-war activities upset him.

“The men I served with in Vietnam weren’t war criminals and I’m proud I served with them,” Franks said.

Of course, Kerry’s people jumped right on this:

Kerry spokesman Sean Smith accused Franks of distorting Kerry’s Senate voting record.

“He reads (Bush political aide) Karl Rove’s talking points very well,” Smith said…

But the best part comes a couple of lines further down:

Kerry never branded any U.S. troops in Vietnam as war criminals, Smith added.

The dishonesty and hypocrisy of that last statement is breathtaking. These are the same people who complain that when Republicans criticize Sen. Kerry’s record on defense votes, they are accusing him of being unpatriotic. It’s OK to draw wild inferences from Republican statements.

But apparently, we must parse Senator Kerry’s statements much more carefully. When he accused troops in Vietnam of committing atrocities and (dare I say it?) war crimes, he wasn’t branding them as war criminals. How does that make sense?

I would just accuse Senatory Kerry’s spokeman of being in denial, but that would be unfair to people in denial. He’s just plain lying.

04. October 2004 · Comments Off on Attention Michael Moore and CBS News (Re: The Draft) · Categories: General, Media Matters Not, Military, Rant

Dear Michael Moore and CBS Newsman Richard Schlesinger:

I had hoped you might see my earlier posting on the idiocy of all this draft talk  (“Putting the Draft Rumor to Rest).   Alas, it appears you don’t bookmark sgtstryker.com, or you’ve been too busy lately to read it.

Michael, you seem to find it necessary to frighten college kids into voting for Sen Kerry by telling them President Bush will reinstate the draft.

Richard, for your part, you are building news stories based on discredited email rumors about a “revival” of the draft.


OK, Mike and Richard. Let me suggest you sign up for the quarterly US Air Force Perspectives email. Just send a blank email here: join-perspectives@mercury.afnews.af.mil.

My copy arrived late last week, and I found the following article to be very interesting:

AF seeks best options to reduce manning
Taking care of Airmen remains highest priority

By Tech. Sgt. Mona Ferrell

U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs

— A decrease in recruiting rather than
forced reductions is the right way to
reduce manning, said Air Force Chief
of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper.

Throughout this process, ensuring
America’s Airmen know they are
appreciated is a No. 1 priority, he said
during a recent visit here.

“Retention and recruiting for the Air
Force throughout this crisis over the last
three years has remained superb,” the
general said. “Even after stop-loss was
lifted, people feared that Airmen would
be leaving the Air Force in great
numbers, especially in the Guard and
Reserve; it just didn’t happen.

“And so we find ourselves in a
position where we have 20,000 people
more than we should have by law,” he
said. “I want to try and deal with it
without any forced reductions in the
force. I don’t want anybody to be forced
to leave (who) doesn’t want to. The
Secretary of the Air Force (Dr. James
G. Roche) and I are absolutely dedicated
to making sure we don’t break faith with
our Airmen.”

(rest of article omitted — the story can also be found here)

Considering that we’re having to find a way to cut 20,000 AF troops, I’d say we won’t be needing a draft anytime soon. I don’t know the Army and Navy numbers, but it seems unlikely they’re undermanned if the AF is that much overmanned (just to be sure, I checked the Army website, where I learned that the Army just recently met its FY recruiting goals).

01. October 2004 · Comments Off on Debate · Categories: General, Politics

I’m not watching it tonight. It is on upstairs, where the General and my parents (The Major and Mom, who are visiting us this week) are watching.

In principle, I don’t like the whole Presidential debate thing. We already know who these two candidates are and where they stand. Well, OK, maybe we don’t know exactly where Sen Kerry stands, but it seems unlikely the debate will reveal anything new (or if it does, what’s really new about that?).

Quite frankly, I don’t care if my President is a crack debater. I just want him to be a principled leader whose vision of the nation is much the same as mine.

So, I’ll be downstairs listening to the 70s station on XM and working on my lectures for tomorrow.

I have little doubt I can skulk about the web tomorrow and find out anything I might need to know.

26. September 2004 · Comments Off on Putting the draft rumor to rest · Categories: General, GWOT

I had planned a much longer, more thoughtful, more cogent, more eloquent essay about some other subject this weekend, but time has (yet again) gotten away from me. I am behind in all three of my classes (students are waiting patiently on returned papers AND I have a test to finish preparing) and I’m supervising Sageling on my own this weeken while the General is on a retreat.

But enough whining.

In place of that, a quick thought on the draft.

Senator Kerry’s rumor-mongering on the draft was covered on this site (and many others — see here for example) earlier this week. Late in the week, on one of the Fox shows, I heard Pat Caddell (whom I’ve grown to like in spite of the fact that we’re on opposite sides of the political spectrum) mention that the draft is a subject that may yet need to be addressed by the candidates. His reason? We will need more troops in Iraq or elsewhere.

Mind you, I don’t think Caddell is engaging in rumor-mongering like Sen. Kerry was, but why does everyone think that a draft is the only solution to our manpower problem? What about just increasing our recruiting efforts and perhaps “sweetening the pot?”

Furthermore, I’ll bet that there are many of us who have retired or separated who would be willing to sign up for another hitch in while we’re engaged in the war on terror. I’d be honored to be recalled to AD (the General might not be so thrilled, but she’s a patriot, and she’d salute and follow right along with me). Warning to the Air Force — the longer I hang out with these academics, the quicker I lose my edge. Hurry!

So, let’s not hear any more about the draft. OK? Except maybe from Charlie Rangel, just for entertainment value.

22. September 2004 · Comments Off on Another Introduction · Categories: General

I’m honored to be among the new crop. I’ll begin by telling you a bit about myself, so that you’ll know where I’m coming from when you read my frothings. Much of this is info I provided to Sgt Mom when I “auditioned.”

I’m a retired AF Lt Col with twenty years of experience (1980-2000), all stateside, all focused on computer programming and (later) R&D program management. I did a four-year stint as a computer science professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology in the middle of my career.

I’m currently a computer science prof at a small state school in the south (I’ll leave it at that for now). I mostly focus on undergraduate teaching, but my research interests help me keep abreast of developments in military computing.

I’m a Southern boy: born in South Georgia, spent most of my childhood in Central Florida. I’m also a military brat. My Dad is retired Air Force and former Army Air Corps (he flew as a Ball Turret gunner on a B-17 and has my undying respect and love).

My faith in Christ is the driving force in my life (although I stumble – often). My politics are solidly conservative. So, yes, I’m part of the vast right wing conspiracy.

I’ve been married for almost eight years to a wonderful woman (I’ll call her General SWMBO or The General) who shares my faith, my politics, and my love for our daughter (more in the next paragraph). The General was just elected Chair of our (largely Democratic) county’s new Republican Women’s Organization. I’m so proud of her (sniff!).

I’m the father of a beautiful 6 1/2 year old daughter (I’ll call her 2Lt Sageling), whom we are homeschooling for the first time this year. She would want me to report that she just lost her first tooth (TF payment: $2.00).

I have a professional and academic interest in how the internet (and blogging) is changing the face of information dissemination. In fact, I teach a course for our graduating seniors on social, legal, and ethical issues of computing. We had some interesting discussions last week regarding CBS vs. the bloggers.

I hope to write on a number of subjects, including post-military life, the academic community, computing in general, politics, and faith. I may share some of my adventures in homeschooling as well. I hope I will be found worthy.