Friday, May 6, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: The PLA Steps Its Game Up

Happy Friday, folks. Let's get it on!

What did Trump do, when confronted by the actual sacrifice of John McCain? He simply negated it, ex tempore, with bluster. Thus Trump completed the boomer triple play: He evaded service; he nonetheless arrogates to himself the language of military valor; and he treats those who actually served as chumps.
This whole article is unbelievably negative towards Baby Boomers in general and towards Donald Trump in particular, but the line above is a particularly gratuitous.
And also this, which appears a little further down:
The great majority of children born before, say, 1920 achieved economic selfhood by working, often as children. The boomers achieved economic power—enormous economic power, in fact—as consumers, and long before they acquired any as earners. Needing to be clothed, fed, and above all educated, they were little Keynesian pump-primers; and as they grew, the American economy grew with them. To the degree they were “sheltered,” it was not only from poverty, crime, industrial grit; they were sheltered from anything like the free market. Their childhood represented a massive and ongoing transfer of resources, both public and private, into child-rearing. The world they were born into was a suburban stage set. That stage set—its public roads, public streets, its schools, everything down to its public entrails, its gutters and sewers—had been subsidized, in one way or another, by the public purse. Almost half of suburban housing was underwritten by Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs financing. Onto the suburban stage set came the boomers, who completed the brochure of postwar fulfillment. They were the first generation to grow up in suburbia, a spatial and social arrangement without precedence in human history.
Does the conditioning environment of suburbia conduce a sense of well-being and life adjustment? Or of incipient terror, passivity, anonymity, feminization?

2.  Donald Trump's Vice President Shortlist Is Getting Shorter By The Minute & He Has Only Himself To Blame (Bustle)

Newt Gingrich, who hasn't held elected office in seventeen years and likes to talk about moon bases, has said that he'd be willing to run with Trump. So have Ben Carson, who's never held office at all, and Rep. Pete Sessions, who might be able to alienate minority voters even more than Trump can on his own. That leaves Trump's sidekick, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who's both tainted with scandal and hideously unpopular in his own state.
The New York Times and Washington Post also did pieces on would be Trump running mates, but I liked this one because it’s so relentlessly mean-spirited.  Bustle explicitly rules out Nikki Haley and Jon Kasich, but this is being a bit premature, I think.  Haley in particular would be an inspired pick, but having denounced Trump so publicly in the past, her endorsement of his leadership would be an exceptionally facile and craven change of face.  Also, it’s hard to imagine Trump deciding to put a woman on his ticket.

3. Ravens draft Navy QB Keenan Reynolds — as a wide receiver (Washington Post)

The Ravens drafted Reynolds in the sixth round (182nd overall) on Saturday, listing him at wide receiver, where he’s expected to play in the slot. Major college football’s all-time leader in total touchdowns (88) becomes the second Navy player selected in as many years following long-snapper Joe Cardona to the New England Patriots last season in the fifth round.
Reynolds is also the first Midshipmen quarterback picked since Hall of Famer Roger Staubach went to the Dallas Cowboys in 1965…
Reynolds has a five-year service commitment following graduation but could be granted a waiver allowing him to play in the NFL simultaneously. Cardona, for instance, played in all 16 games for the Patriots as a rookie while working one day a week at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I. He then reported to Bath, Maine, to be stationed on the USS Zumwalt when the season ended.
I was incensed about Cardona’s deal when I first read about it, but it seems like all of the service academies are thinking a little differently about this than they once did.  I doubt Cardona’s commanders are particularly pleased with the arrangement he has, but someone has decided to allow it, and others are now getting similar deals.  I suspect at this point that all of these guys are just taking career risks and that the services are letting it happen because the country as a whole hasn’t decided exactly how it wants to man its armed forces going forward.  I'll call that an odd artifact of sequestration.  However, if the national security situation changes, these deals will likely change as well.
Reynolds has said several times that he considers service his first priority, and that’s laudable.  I also think it’s in his personal best interests.  Consider what happens if he doesn’t make the team or gets cut before making a full year's salary.  If he’s also made no effort to maintain his Navy career in good standing, he’ll be out of luck.
I suspect that is more or less what happened to former Army quarterback Trent Steelman, and it’s where Cardona will likely find himself as well, barring a long career with the Patriots.  Steelman wound up doing two years as a Maintenance Platoon Leader while trying to catch on with various pro football organizations, including the Ravens.  Eventually, he wound up as an assistant football coach at Jacksonville University.  That’s fine, and I'm sure he's enjoying it, but it’s hard to argue that it’s better than he’d have done either by staying in the Army or by serving his full five year commitment and then heading to Business School like many of his classmates will.  

Plenty of Army Football players have done well for themselves without the NFL.  By comparison, NFL sixth round picks are hardly guaranteed to break the bank.  In the end, you have to weigh the value of your opportunity against its cost and be realistic.
For what it’s worth, Army point guard Kelsey Minato is also negotiating this issue.  She didn’t get drafted, but the San Antonio Stars worked with the Army to get her down for a free agent tryout, and now they’re trying to figure out how to give her a chance to compete.  Even Stars coach Dan Hughes understands that this comes with some potential career risk:
“I wanted to make sure this opportunity — which I thought she deserved — also didn’t mess up the rest of her life as far as her military obligation.”
Of course, Hughes’s son is a high school senior committed to Air Force.

4. PLA Recruiting Video

Opinions vary.  Either this is a Chinese attempt to entice educated city kids into the military to handle their increasingly technical hardware, kind of like the American military did when it went to an all-volunteer force a few decades ago, or it’s Information Warfare aimed at regional and American audiences as a way of showing off contemporary Chinese capabilities.  
Or it’s both.
Either way, the video kicks ass.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  As the Marine Corps Times put it“U.S. military recruiters take note: It's time to up your game.”
Paging Keenan Reynolds.  You and your buddies at the Navy’s Information Warfare School might want to get to work on putting together some kind of American response.  I’m just sayin’…

5. Army Football Update

Coach Jeff Monken gave his end-of-spring press conference yesterday.  There weren’t many surprises.  The biggest news of the day is that Monken hasn’t yet named a starting quarterback.  The biggest surprise--at least for me--was that rising firstie fullback Aaron Kemper isn’t listed anywhere on the three-deep roster.  Kemper was last year’s leading rusher and had the most yards in the Black and Gold Game.  

It makes me wonder, in all honesty, what my man has to do to stay on the field.  As of this writing, Kemper is stuck behind rising yearling Drue Harris, who didn’t even participate in Spring Ball.  Harris is a fine player, don’t get me wrong, but Kemper’s performance should have landed him on the roster somewhere, even if he’s not listed as the go-to guy.


Bonus Points

I'm stuck on the train this morning without anything critical to work on.  Yesterday was an exceptionally crazy day on social media, so here's a smattering of what's caught my eye.

Yeah, I probably ought to work on that new Sneax & Elaina Emboo story I've got outlined in my notebook.  However, I just can't seem to find the motivation...

[A]lthough the frequency with which couples have sex does not have much correlation with how satisfied they claim to be with their partner, it correlates well with their automatic attitudes towards one another. Those who said they had sex with their spouse two or more times a week reacted more quickly to positive words and more slowly to negative ones after seeing an image of said spouse. The opposite was true for those who had sex once a week or less. None of these effects emerged after people saw an image of themselves, or during the initial control.

That "taco bowl" tweet was insane.  I mean, this has to be self-parody, right?

I'm starting to think that I've been approaching this Trump thing all wrong.  He doesn't want to be president.  He wants to troll the major-party political system in a way that enhances the value of his personal media brand.  Having accomplished that--magnificently--he's now trying to unwind his campaign as quickly as possible without losing media coverage.  Meanwhile, the joke is on us for taking all of this seriously.

This isn't politics; it's art.  It's triply ironic!

How do we know this?  Because they don't even serve taco bowls at Trump Tower, as I'm sure Mr. Trump himself is all-too-aware.

It's good news, but there are still a lot of people who're under-employed.  Analysis I heard on NPR this morning suggests that new college grads are getting jobs and that folks who have jobs are finding increased mobility, but folks who've been chronically under-employed remain a tough sell based on holes in their resumes.

Once we start to work through the backlog of skilled laborers doing under-skilled work, we'll really be getting somewhere.  Of course, that assumes that global economic expansion keeps pace, letting America herself continue to grow.

That's all I've got. We're headed to see Captain America: Civil War on Saturday at the matinee, and Sunday is Mother's Day.

 Enjoy your weekend!

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