Browsing All Posts published on »January, 2013«

Why Allowing Women In Combat Won’t Make Much Difference in The Number of Female Generals

January 31, 2013

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The observation comes up repeatedly that while women make up some 14% or so of the Army, they only make up 5% of the Army’s General Officers (GOs).  This is usually swiftly followed by an assertion that if women were allowed to go into the Combat Arms, it would give them greater opportunities for promotions, […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: Sharing Life’s Special Moments With the Women of Iceland

January 30, 2013

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By Joan Larsen Life comes down to a few great moments.  I think I can speak for all women when I say that the intensity, the immensity of those times that we, as women, have had together – has brought to each of us the laughter, the tears, the joy …  those precious things that […]

Women in Combat: SecDef’s Signature Just Recognizes Reality

January 29, 2013

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SecDef Leon Panetta’s decision to lift the ban on women in combat positions has been hailed by some in the press as “long overdue.”  I think it’s just an acknowledgement that after a decade of fighting in two vicious wars with no front lines, of women patrolling with men,  of women returning fire, of women […]

School Lockdowns: Can We Please Calm Down?

January 28, 2013

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Run a quick search on “school locked down” and it seems that this has become a commonplace occurrence lately.  Sometimes the lockdowns make sense: a violent crime is committed nearby and the perpetrator is at large.  Someone makes a threat.  Someone reports seeing a student with a possible firearm.  Some of those reports turn out […]

It’s Official: “Terrorist” is the Most Inappropriately Over-Used Word in American English

January 25, 2013

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Time to retire this useless and harmful word ter-ror-ism, noun \ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm\  :   the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. —ter·ror·ist   adjective or noun —ter·ror·is·tic   adjective The word “terrorist” has a definition, but how we apply it has always been a little fuzzy.  Scholars and professionals might argue the finer distinctions among […]

The Modern Paradox: Cleaner and Better Fed = Sicker

January 24, 2013

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Well, here’s something interesting in the search for the causes of our present-day epidemic of obesity, not only in America but in many other developed countries, as well:  Nicholas Kristof, writing in The New York Times, notes a recent study on mice in which two genetically identical mice in identical environments and on the same […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: A Case of Love – Love

January 23, 2013

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By Joan Larsen Just so you know,  I am wildly in love with tennis… and so what you see above in that fun photo is what I call a little bit of heaven that makes me smile every time I look at it.  The setting:  the Palm Springs, California airport arrival gate about 16 years […]

General Allen CLEARED in Email Scandal

January 22, 2013

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Way back in mid- November, we wrote about USMC General John Allen being dragged into the mire of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair, when it was noted that he had exchanged some emails with Tampa socialite and name-dropper Jill Kelley.  Reports on the content of those emails swung wildly between “innocuous” and “the equivalent of phone sex.”  […]

A Game… By Any Other Name

January 22, 2013

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By Lauriate Roly “Kick the Can” and “Red Rover” are games I played when I was a kid. You might enjoy a little story about another popular game played by the kids in my neighborhood. You have to understand that I lived in a neighborhood inhabited by French and English kids. We played together and […]

The Eloquence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21, 2013

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I am struck sometimes by the eloquence of our forebears, by their mastery of language, the dignity of their expression, their ability to use their words to persuade and convince. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 84th birthday, here is his most famous speech, delivered 28 August, 1963 in the measured cadence of a […]

On Identity, Looks, and Impressions

January 18, 2013

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We’re told from an early age not to judge a book by its cover, but we do anyway.  Oh, how we do. I read with interest Phoebe Baker Hyde’s article, “My Year Without Makeup.”  In it, she starts out by detailing “This is who I am,” followed by a long list of roles she has […]

Sandy Hook “Truthers” – Too Stupid to Own Guns

January 17, 2013

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Well, this is something I did not  expect to come out of the Sandy Hook shooting incident.  As Alex Seitz-Wald reports in Salon, a man who helped shelter children and their bus driver on the morning of the shooting is now being targeted… by conspiracy theorists. You know, in the wake of the incident, there […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Life and Near Death – On the Edge in Patagonia

January 16, 2013

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By Joan Larsen   In a place near the very tip of South America lies what is considered earth’s scenic masterpiece, Torres Del Paine National Park in Patagonia –arguably the second most beautiful place on our planet.  I had said for years that I would give almost anything to get there.  Never in my wildest […]

Indonesia: Aceh’s Sharia Law Demonstrates Danger to Secular Society

January 15, 2013

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You may have heard of Indonesia’s Aceh province in connection with the magnitude 8.7 earthquake last year.  Or possibly the devastating tsunami of 2004.  Or maybe in the context of its separatist “Free Aceh Movement (GAM),” which finally reached an accord with the Indonesian government in 2005, partly driven by the utter necessity for recovery […]

“One in Three Military Women Raped.” Really??

January 14, 2013

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It’s interesting, when confronted with what seems like an outrageous claim, to pull the string and follow it to where the statistics come from.  Sexual assault in the military is a terrible thing, damaging, unforgivable, under-reported, too rarely prosecuted.  Yes, it is all those things.  But one in three military women are raped during their […]

Yes, There Is Such a Thing As Fat But Fit

January 11, 2013

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Yesterday we looked at the insanity of a surgically implanted stomach pump to allow the gluttonous to empty 30% of their stomach contents after a meal, in the endless search for an effortless, sacrifice-free perfect Body Mass Index (BMI).  Today, we look at a rising assertion that many people who are labeled as slightly overweight […]

Anti-Obesity Stomach Pump: Wasteful, Risky, Disgusting

January 10, 2013

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Okay, we 21st-century denizens are officially more decadent and wasteful than the worst epicureans of the Roman Empire.  As ABC News reports, the AspireAssist stomach pump enables patients to eat a full meal, then about 20 minutes later, attach a pump to a surgically implanted port on their abdomen, and suck about 30% of their […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: To Big Sur With Love

January 9, 2013

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By Joan Larsen   How could any one of us resist a world that is totally breathtaking?  Just a plane’s flight away to California – not that many hours from any of our homes – lies a piece of heaven on this earth called Big Sur.  A warning though:  once seen, once under its spell, […]

Please, No Cell Phones on Airplanes

January 8, 2013

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Once again, the FAA is being challenged to allow the use of electronic devices – including cell phones – on airplanes, even during takeoffs and landings.  Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is just the latest to question the prohibition against electronics, saying that the devices are increasingly “interwoven” into our lives and years of […]

The Cornucopia Ditch

January 7, 2013

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We live on a well-traveled rural corner, or at least, as rural as one can get in busy Northern Virginia.  Okay, it’s more like an island of less-developed land amid the crush of pavement and strip malls everywhere else, and we do see the effects of the commuters passing through. The traffic doesn’t bother me […]

Yes, Indian Culture DOES Contribute to Rapes Like the Delhi Case

January 4, 2013

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Rape is about violence and domination.  It is not – not – about sex.  Now that details are emerging about the horrific attack in Delhi, anyone who thinks otherwise is being willfully blind.  Beating a man and a woman into bloody unconsciousness with an iron bar is not sex.  It is violence.  And ramming that […]

DOMA, Gay Marriage, and Baby-Mamas

January 3, 2013

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We are culturally all over the map when it comes to marriage and child-rearing.  On the one hand, gays have been fighting for the rights to be married and raise families, while the promoters of DOMA have been fighting to preserve a Federal definition of marriage as “one man, one woman.”  Meanwhile, the whole institution […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel Stories: A Toast With Chilean Red Wine

January 2, 2013

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By Joan Larsen   For most of us, Chile is little more than a place name in South America.  It was for me.  And then I journeyed that far south – first once, then again and again.  I found I had fallen in love with Chile.  It is so easy to do. Imagine – just […]

Our Russian New Year’s Custom

January 1, 2013

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At the turn of the millennium, I had been on assignment in Moscow for some months.  The work was interesting, the city was vibrant, the people were engaging, and I think I must have mailed off matryoshka dolls to everyone I had ever met, and then some.  But as my assignment drew to a close, […]