Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Men and women are different - another view 

I posted earlier about an online article I read examining the difference between men and women in combat. The site has posted a reply by former Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner. It is a good read and represents the other side of the debate.

However, in her zeal to counter the earlier arguments of Kingsley Browne, Capt. Mariner twists some of his more important points (in my opinion).

One commenter on the site posts:

The number of women who can meet the standard is going to be a lot closer to 2.5% than 25%. Few people understand that women are vastly weaker in upper body strength. Running ability is closer but the difference are non-trivial.

In any case, if the standards for men make sense, and a vanishingly small number of women can meet them, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend the extra money (recruiting, female specific facilities/equipment, etc.) to allow a tiny number of women into the Armed forces even if they could do the job.

If we took Capt. Mariner's advice as policy, the number of women serving in the military (especially combat related units) would plummet. If the US military set physical standards for each job, the percentage of women who would qualify to serve would be trivial.

No one that has credibility is declaring all women to be weaker than all men. Nor is it a strong argument to claim that most men can out-perform most women. But it is a scientifically valid fact that men have more upper body strength and after training have much more so. A group of highly trained, conditioned males will out-perform a group of highly trained, condition females in combat related tasks. The cost to the military in accommodating the very few females who would qualify to serve in combat related branches is prohibitive.

Quick bottom line - Women play a valuable role in the US military. They have contributed greatly to the freedom we all have. I have no doubt that those statements are true. I also believe the system currently in place will most likely stand until military funding is no longer a political football.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

A great Christmas movie 

About a week ago, Julie and the kids were stopped at an intersection. A log truck was in the lane next to them. Emily glanced over and said to no one in particular "lot of sap in there."

We have been singing Christmas songs with the kids while in the car. Today, Julie heard Emily singing and suddenly stop. Her last words were "take it, Russ."

It is moments like this when you know you have been exposing your children to quality entertainment. It is one of our favorite Christmas movies and we tried to watch it today after church. Nap time cut us off early.

Julie has a related post here.



Mitt Romney is a Mormon and so what 

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you should know that former Governor Mitt Romney is running for the Republican nomination in the 2008 presidential race. And, he is a MORMON. How another person feels about this issue is often revealed in the delivery.

Dismissive - Who? Romney? Oh, you mean the Mormon.

Shocked - I never believed I would live to see the day a MORMON could be in the White House.

Conspiratorial - Have you heard he is a (turn head both ways to check who may be listening and then lean in closely to almost whisper) mormon?

I would hope that your response to this issue (Romney is a Mormon) is a qualified "so what?" He is by all accounts: 1) a decent person 2) an effective elected official and 3) willing to stay out of my personal life. That would be my short list of qualifications for president. Not just POTUS. I would want the president of the neighborhood association to score high on those 3 issues.

A very smart person has written a brief article and a very long examination of the issue from all sides. Worth reading in my opinion.

My 2 cents on the issue is actually worth $1200 a month. That is how much in contracts I gave to my trusted assistant when I turned to him and said "I am moving my family back to Mississippi. Have the business. You have worked hard for me and you will do well. My customers trust you and I trust you to do well by them." Chris had to think about it and finally agreed. Yes, I gave him my business that I started in Knoxville. Contracts, tools, and a truck. Actually, my good friend (Gary) had just given me the truck for the business. I gave the truck to Chris with new tires.

Chris Yeager and I first met at Pellissippi State Technical Community College. He was a student in several early childhood courses that I taught. He made straight A's in my classes and was a constant positive influence on in-class discussion. I would learn through our ongoing conversations that he remembered just about every classroom discussion. Especially some of my sharper comments. I encouraged him to pursue a program that was more demanding because he obviously had more ability than most other students in the ECE program.

As soon as I started my business, I asked Chris to work part-time for me. I was stunned at how trustworthy he was. He was gracious to my customers, respectful to me, and kind to those around him. Yet, we shared a smart-elleck wit and humor. He was a model employee. A few minutes early was late to him. He balanced his commitments to his young family, education, and work without incident.

Julie and I had a stunning development and betrayal. I may post one day about it. Our immediate response was to move back to Mississippi to be near our loved ones. I had really just developed a good footing for the business and my customers supported me. I asked each one to consider allowing Chris to assume the contracts. Without fail, they all switched to Chris. I gave him the business. Some shirts, tools, a truck with high mileage, and my customers. I have checked back on the playgrounds that he maintains each time I am in Knoxville. The playgrounds look better than when I ran the operations.

The point - Chris is a faithful, practicing Mormon. And so what.

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