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William Deresiewicz writes in the New Republic that you shouldn’t send your kids to Ivy League schools.

Is there anything that I can do, a lot of young people have written to ask me, to avoid becoming an out-of-touch, entitled little shit? I don’t have a satisfying answer, short of telling them to transfer to a public university. [Ed: Heh, the irony] You cannot cogitate your way to sympathy with people of different backgrounds, still less to knowledge of them. You need to interact with them directly, and it has to be on an equal footing: not in the context of “service,” and not in the spirit of “making an effort,” eitherswooping down on a member of the college support staff and offering to “buy them a coffee,” as a former Yalie once suggested, in order to “ask them about themselves.”

Instead of service, how about service work? That’ll really give you insight into other people. How about waiting tables so that you can see how hard it is, physically and mentally? You really aren’t as smart as everyone has been telling you; you’re only smarter in a certain way. There are smart people who do not go to a prestigious college, or to any collegeoften precisely for reasons of class. There are smart people who are not “smart.”

I am under no illusion that it doesn’t matter where you go to college. But there are options. There are still very good public universities in every region of the country. The education is often impersonal, but the student body is usually genuinely diverse in terms of socioeconomic background, with all of the invaluable experiential learning that implies.

If there is anywhere that college is still collegeanywhere that teaching and the humanities are still accorded pride of placeit is the liberal arts college. Such places are small, which is not for everyone, and they’re often fairly isolated, which is also not for everyone. The best option of all may be the second-tiernot second-ratecolleges, like Reed, Kenyon, Wesleyan, Sewanee, Mount Holyoke, and others. Instead of trying to compete with Harvard and Yale, these schools have retained their allegiance to real educational values.

I believe him – he’s spent his entire life in the Ivy League and hasn’t yet learned how to really think.

He’s telling other people to do what he thinks they should do to fix society – Thomas Sowell’s “We”  is on full display here.

Although the funny rejoinder is a bit facetious, Mr Deresiewicz is quite wrong. In fact, if your kids are going to college, you should send them to the best school they can get into, given that that school meets some minimum performance bars for cost and graduation employment rates in the chosen program.

If he’d read my article about sources of value in education, he’d have realized that all his BS about privilege and self-development and “learning to think” is a bunch of crock. To recap – There are 3, and only 3, sources of value in a college education:

1) Actual skills learned

2) The brand or credential

3) The network

Ivies tend to offer a good blend of all of the above. They in effect guarantee that the attendee will be accorded an assumption of a certain level of intelligence and aptitude, and be able to reach out to people in industries. Many other schools offer an Ivy-price tag, but not the benefits.

But what about “learning to think”? Isn’t that valuable?

Let’s turn that around. I’ve named 3 definite, quantifiable metrics that a college experience can be graded on (even discounting the many degree-ROI studies that have been done, which are a subset of “skills learned” + brand). Can anyone who advocates “learning to think” as a benefit of college explain exactly what that means and how to measure it? If they can’t do that, can they really seriously advocate taking on the huge opportunity cost of money and time that college requires?

Telling parents not to send their kids to Ivies (assuming they have the option, which is a bad assumption for a large portion of the population) smacks of this counter-intuitive self-serving (but funny) mindset, except that Mr D appears to be in earnest.

He voices the common lament of old people regarding young people in education, which is chiefly that

There are exceptions, kids who insist, against all odds, on trying to get a real education…

The first thing that college is for is to teach you to think. That doesn’t simply mean developing the mental skills particular to individual disciplines. College is an opportunity to stand outside the world for a few years, between the orthodoxy of your family and the exigencies of career, and contemplate things from a distance.

This is nostalgic idiocy from someone who’s past the point where he to actually make a living after graduating. College, despite the brochures, is not some idyllic place where people sit around and read Ovid and Homer in the original Greek for edification and go on to live a full and rich life.

That perception is manifestly a crock of self-defeating horse-hockey for anyone growing up today, when student debt is non-dischargeable and credential inflation is rampant. Much has been said on this already.

When you’re a kid and you take time to “find yourself” and “get a real education” and “learn how to think”, you’re going to end up with a liberal arts major, debt, and no job. On balance, at that point, you’d rather have the brand of an Ivy behind you than State U, because you’re going to be competing with the Ivy grad, and the Ivy grad goes into the interview with the hiring manager assuming he’s smart – you have to earn it.

 

Should one want a serious relationship culminating in a permanent marriage, and should one be a male in today’s America, one must ask: What are the odds of me finding someone eligible for marriage?

Today’s popular messaging bombards younger men with conflicting messages: Sexy ladies everywhere in TV shows, ads, movies, popular culture… while at the same time pushing messages of acceptance, “man up”, and various other mechanisms to get men to pull the trigger on marriage. This has been well documented at Dalrock, Heartiste, Alphagame, et al. (see side links)

Heartiste, in particular, made the astute observation that obesity has had severely deleterious effects on the dating/mating landscape. To wit:

Which brings me to my theory: Game has been refined, taught and embraced by men in direct proportion to the shrinking pool of attractive thin girls. As the reduced supply of skinny chicks have seen their sexual market value skyrocket, they have adjusted by pricing their pussy out of reach for the average guy.

Etc. This led me to wonder what the actual numbers look like for sex ratios (ratios of M/F) for eligible women. We will stick with Obesity as the defining eligibility (disqualifying) characteristic for time being, and make a couple assumptions:

1) Social misfit-ism is equally disqualifying for both sexes (not quite true, but maybe they pair up together)

2) Obesity is much more disqualifying for women than men. I assume that all obese women are disqualified, and only a fraction for men. This is (or should be) a commonly accepted truth, and the preponderance of fat-acceptance propaganda suggests that women inherently know this. If it was as bad for men as women, I suspect we’d see a whole other set of media messaging centered around how men should get off their asses and work for women.

3) I disregarded looks, education, earnings, social ability, etc  from these figures. Initially, I’d decided to disqualify any women who were <3s on the 1-10 scale, as well as determining a male ineligibility metric, but decided that I could net out both male equivalents and women for simplicity, notwithstanding that men can improve in that SMV area significantly, and women can do so only marginally. So I stuck with obesity as the only disqualifier, because otherwise the numbers go down a rabbit hole.

As usual, this is a ballpark and not intended to get 3 significant figures of accuracy.

Behold, Excel and various government data sources (from 2010 census):

Women1

Notice that the effective Sex Ratio is approximately 12% higher than China’s  with its one-child-murder-your-daughters policy. Obesity by itself, and even given some flex in the numbers, has resulted in a worse sex ratio than a policy that was designed to reduce the population and which resulted in a ratio of 1.2.

People have been speculating about things like war due to China’s M-F imbalance, and lack of available women to marry. What about here in the US? Must be something to do with only 5M men being unable to find suitable mates, instead of 60M, but this is still a terrible landscape to deal with, given that the natural human sex ratio is 1.01 (101:100).

If you want to talk about the marriage strike, if you want to talk about men not responding to incentives to work, there’s the fact right here: There are simply not enough truly eligible women out there, and taking one of the fatties is a non-starter for many men. This is even disregarding any cultural barriers to marriage.

If you believe that 60% of all adults are overweight, and hold that overweight doesn’t diminish men’s marketability as much as it does womens’ , then the ratio grows even more stark. This does not bode well for anyone trying to actually find a wife, and suggests that 30% of men are currently SOL from the get-go.

In conversation with a girl recently, we were talking about why people break up and in a moment of untrammeled linguistic brilliance the word “prebound” danced off my tongue to describe the pre-breakup fling that people (often women) will use to rationalize why they are out of love or “have to” leave their current “relationship.” It’s when a girl knows it’s over for some reason or other, but is searching for a reason to end it (or get the guy to end it), in the name of “finding herself”, “getting to know herself” or any of a dozen other miasmic euphemistria.

Use: “I wasn’t connected with myself, and my prebound convinced me that my relationship really wasn’t making me happy…”

This is obviously in contrast to the “rebound” in which the person (again, often ze womynz) searches for a post-split lover to wean herself off the addicktive oxytocin cocktail (heh) of a warm embrace (if she was dumped) or to convince herself that there’s actually something better waiting (if she’s leaving her betahubhubhub).

Guys can have prebounds, but that’s usually “lovers” or “mistresses” or “fuckbuddies” – they don’t go through the same rationalization process ladies do.

I’ve written about how rape statistics in the military are bogus. Now we have another (of many, actually) voice saying that the hissy fit frenzy of military rape panic is hostile to creating a winning culture in the military and detracts from the military’s mission, which is to, you know, actually fight and win our nation’s wars.

The author of the article “Harassing The Military”  is Gail Heriot, who among other things is on record saying (my paraphrase) that hate crime legislation is idiotic. This of course endears her to me immediately as someone who applies a common-sense, fact-based, rule-of-law lens to circumstances, and not circumstances to law.

In this case she observes that:

No wonder Congress has since been feverishly pursuing legislation to deal with this seeming national scandal—from a top-to-bottom overhaul of the military’s criminal justice system proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to mandatory minimum sentences for sexual assault backed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio).

There is just one problem: Precious little of this story has any basis in fact. Contrary to what many assume, there is no evidence that the military has a higher rate of sexual assault than, say, colleges and universities. Indeed, what paltry evidence there is suggests the opposite.

And later

Insofar as there is evidence, however, it suggests that the military is now more aggressive in prosecuting sexual assaults than civilian jurisdictions. For example, when a rape involving military personnel occurs off-post, civilian and military authorities both have jurisdiction. On those occasions in fiscal year 2011 on which the civilian jurisdiction took the lead, prosecution rates were 11 percent. In contrast, the military’s prosecution rate was 55 percent. Even greater gaps were documented for prosecutions of aggravated sexual assault…

Indeed, some charge that in the military’s zeal to placate its critics, it is now going too far. “[T]here’s this myth that the military doesn’t take sexual assault seriously,” said former Army judge advocate Michael Waddington. “But the reality is they’re charging more and more people with bogus cases to show that they do take it seriously.” Similarly Bridget Wilson, a defense attorney specializing in military law, told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “There is an increasing perception that the deck is stacked against someone accused of a sexual assault.”

The “increasing perception” is a common one among feminists and popular media, but as I’ve observed, it’s absolutely false. Commanding Officers are tripping over each other to appear more tough on sexual assault than the next. Why? Feminist and PC compliance is the flavor du jour of military PC and is therefore key to promotions. No commander wants to be left behind, and so needs to have some hard results for those OER bullets. Prosecuting aggressively shows proactive address of the “crisis”. So the system is stacked to incentivize 1) false reporting and 2) aggressive prosecution. Therefore, the military cultural climate is toxic to actual reporting and investigation, and rewards commanders’ overreaction, resulting in a chain reaction of publicity and further scrambling for promotion points.

This of course is despite the lack of statistical comps that Heriot correctly calls out as she notes that no one is doing comparisons of the military with colleges or cities, much less comparable demographic groups. If that was the case, the military would likely come out looking like a veritable sex-assault-safe haven for our young men and ladies in uniform.

Then later:

The military is a large and complex institution with many priorities. But only one can be No. 1. If combating sexual assault and sexual harassment is the military’s No. 1 priority, that means defending the nation from foreign aggression is not. It’s time to sober up.

Gail is almost spot-on here (except that the military’s “Number 1 Priority” should be “Fighting and Winning Wars,” not “defending from foreign aggression”, but that’s a small quibble and forgivable for a civvie lawyer). However, she leaves out the many other priorities that are ahead of winning wars for our military:

Promoting Women

Putting women in combat roles

Diversity task forces

Generals’  pensions

Homosexual integration and marriage

Downsizing

Choosing the wrong uniform

Celebrating victims

The army’s so tone-deaf at winning wars (not battles) that these things dominate the headlines even as its failures in talent retention (a symptom of much deeper structural organizational failings born of soviet-style central planning and a hierarchical structure that rewards actions not causative of war-winning) and strategic thinking condemn it to continue stumbling over silly bullshit while soldiers die from the incompetence.

An interview with an Air Force fighter pilot:

 

20 years, over 600 combat hours, 151 combat missions, 21 hard kills on surface-to-air missile sites, four Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor, eight Air Medals with Valor, five Meritorious Service Medals, one Purple Heart. Dan Hampton is one of America’s most decorated fighter pilots of modern times and he holds nothing back when it comes to his views on air combat…

#3: What was the most frustrating thing about being a fighter pilot in the USAF?

That flying is not the focus of the USAF. It sounds axiomatic but it’s true. Political correctness, appearances, humanitarian missions, and not offending anyone are the focus.

Certainly not! Warfighting is obviously the first and foremost mission of our brave selfless servant warriors:

The White House has picked the first female general to head the Air Force in the Pacific, which will make her the first non-pilot to command air power in such a large theater of operation…

Gen. Robinson was nominated amid a diversity push by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and a general focus on women’s issues by the White House. Mr. Hagel has vowed to stamp out sexual assaults in the military and said he is open to studying whether transgender people are permitted to serve.

Calling Tony Carr

Now that both of the major conflicts of the new century are virtually lost, and the talent-retention genetic geniuses have decided that cash bonuses and post-of-choice programs don’t actually work in retaining targeted talent, the Big Smart Brass Chief of Staff of the Army (aka CSA, or Gen. Odierno) decides to go to the military’s top-secret, ultra elite talent management cadre in a sort of sensing-session. This reminds me of the scene in Team America where the hero decides to employ a montage to get ready for his assignment.

Article “CSA Taps Captains for Talent Management Ideas” with commentary in Bold

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Army News Service, July 11, 2014) — The Army wants to put the right people in the right jobs at the right time — especially with shrinking budgets and manpower and an uncertain global security environment — but does it do that very well? [Why is this question even being asked at this point? nono,   no]

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno asked a group of captains how they think those talent-management efforts are working and what improvements, if any [heh. Is Odierno referring to the cash bonuses or the post-of-choice options?] , are needed.

Better interaction between the Soldier and his or her branch manager is necessary and the process needs more transparency, said Capt. Paul Lushenko [another military pseudo-scholar], noting this has been a perennial and festering problem.

He added that the Army would, of course, need to balance the aptitude and interests of the officer against operational requirements. Commanders would also need to play a role in the decision-making process.

Odierno cautioned that although it’s important that commanders play a part in talent decisions and scouting, given a choice, they would choose the best 10 captains to be in their command.

That wouldn’t be fair to the captains, who would be competing against their peers for promotions and other opportunities and it wouldn’t be fair to other units where they might be drawn from. [Actually, competition works very well, but the army lacks the underlying framework necessary to make it work]

“Certain units have a history of drawing good officers,” Odierno said, adding that “as chief, I want to spread talent across the Army.” [Why?]

The topic of talent management was one of several discussed at the Army’s second solarium. The first was convened by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1953, across the defense establishment to formulate Cold War strategy.

Solarium 2014 dealt with pressing issues with which the Army is grappling. One hundred five captains from across the Army met here July 9-11, to wrestle with problems and brainstorm ideas and solutions, after interacting with their teams for a month online. The event culminated in each team presenting its findings to the chief.

Seven teams, each with about 15 members, were divided into two teams focusing on talent management, and one team each for vision and branding, culture, mission command, education and training. This is the first of several articles that will cover the topics discussed.

Odierno said he values inputs from junior officers, many of whom will still be around when the Army of 2025 matures. He used the Socratic method of discussion, which encouraged the captains to contradict his own views and argue their own points in a back-and-forth discussion. [Uh huh. I'll believe it when I see action. Odierno's not known for being particularly tolerant of diverging views.]

“My biggest fear in life is [is that] no one’s telling me what’s going on, so I focus on understanding how other people are seeing things and getting their perspectives,” Odierno said, acknowledging that duties and responsibilities in his role as chief often isolate and prevent him from having candid conversations with Soldiers in the field.

Lushenko continued to explain his team’s thoughts on talent management, using captains as examples, offering that the approaches discussed could also apply to other Army ranks.

CAREER PIVOTING

At what point in an officer’s career should talent-management evaluations or re-evaluations take place, he asked: at accessions, after five years, 10, all of the above?

At some point in his career, an infantry officer might realize he’d be better suited at cyber or intelligence, Lushenko said, and there’s also the possibility he may not even realize that latent talent.

Odierno remarked that Soldiers’ talents might evolve at some point in their careers after basic, as they acquire skills, knowledge and experience. That could point to the need for assessment gates at various points.

“People do change, by the way, and you may not realize the talents you have until you get out there,” he said. [Agreed. I got out of the Army.]

The first seven years are formative, with officers developing their “officership and branch fundamentals,” he continued. After that, officers and enlisted often seek growth outside their specialties. Fostering and cultivating that growth is a retention issue as well, since specialty burnout could occur without it.

A problem that’s solvable, Odierno said, is designing the most accurate test that measures abilities, skills and interests with a correspondingly high degree of predictive validity. Those types of tests may already be out there and could be tailored for the Army.

Talent transition is a weighty decision for the Soldier and the Army, Lushenko said. Soldiers pondering this move should have an experienced mentor who can assess and advise. Perhaps the protégé could choose his or her mentor.

Yes, senior leaders reaching out to junior leaders in a mutually agreed-upon way seems to be the right path, Odierno responded.

Besides having mentors, there would need to be facilitators or talent managers within organizations to manage this relationship, Lushenko said. Perhaps senior-officer branch representatives at the unit or installation level or division engineers or staff officers in the G-2 and G-4, he suggested.

Their roles would be facilitating the dialogue between Soldiers, mentors and commanders and they could also champion successful outcomes to representatives at Human Resources Command, Lushenko continued. This process should be standardized and talent managers would take this on as a formal responsibility. [Almost like a brigade hiring manager, one suspects. ]

This type of system was in place prior to 2005 when the Army became brigade-centric, Odierno replied. “We lost this when we assigned people to brigades and left it up to the brigades to handle. There are only so many positions in each brigade” for talent to migrate to “so this is a big problem.” [This would change if the Army stopped forcing promotions and movement along a particular career path, and stopped force-feeding officers into the system.]

The Army began efforts to correct this gap in talent management last year, he said. “I directed that the senior mission commander is the one responsible for managing captains, majors, lieutenant colonels, so in a sense we’re going back to the future. We just have to formalize it. We have to correct this. We can do this.”

LINKEDIN MILITARIZED

Talent management team members then discussed talent identification tools that could make the process more effective.

The business social networking site LinkedIn was mentioned frequently as a useful tool that allows users to share profiles and skills with each other and with talent scouts and employers.

If such a system were implemented by Human Resources Command, it could match positions with talents and would allow Soldiers to get in the loop as well. Jobs and opportunities would become visible as well.

This type of fluid and dynamic interaction would require buy-in from leaders and managers and a culture shift, the captains said. They suggested that the Army isn’t capable of building such a system and partnering with industry would be needed.

[Hey, idiots, where have you been for the last couple years? This EXISTS, it's called Rallypoint, and they've already done the groundwork for you morons. The fact that senior leadership and in fact the 105 subject-matter-specialist captains selected for this discussion are ignorant of this shows how badly the Army sucks at self-awareness or the capacity to change. What the army needs to do is a radical reimagining of how talent would fit into the Army, period, and design a market-like system for talent. Then you'd solve these problems.]

As it stands, iPERMS, Army Career Tracker System and the Officer Evaluation Reporting System are cumbersome, not interconnected and can be unfriendly to the user at times. There needs to be a centralized, one-stop shop to visit, they said.

[See my above point]

Soldiers also need report cards to see where they are at a glance so they’re not surprised by results of promotion or assignment selection boards, they said. The report cards would be accessible at any time and would include professional development scores as well as other data that are fed into the decision matrix used by board members.

[Get rid of promotion boards. have units hire into open slots at a given grade or promote in-house to positions. Period. This would get rid of the need for OERs, boards, etc. Just do away with that needlessly painful process.]
Such a system would allow officers to extrapolate their strengths and weaknesses and would encourage self-improvement.

[5 points for "Extrapolate"! even if used incorrectly]

Although the Officer Evaluation Reports, known as OERs, have recently been modified to better reflect an officer’s standing and potential, “commanders are not making the tough calls” when they fill them out, Odierno said, meaning the marks and remarks are inflated.”OERs look too much alike” and that makes the board selection process very difficult.

[Well duh. No officer wants to hurt their subordinates, particularly when having bad marks on the subordinate only leads to questions like "what's wrong with that guy?" and "why aren't you developing him more?"]
So more work needs to be done in the area of performance reviews and evaluations, Odierno acknowledged.

Recent changes to the OER have been a marked improvement, however, the captains said. Human Resources Command’s Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program is also effective and is another step in the right direction.

YOUNG GUNS

Some of the captains said it is not uncommon in the private sector to see young chief executive officers running large companies. Throughout American military history, young officers have often risen quickly through the ranks to command large formations during wartime. Maj. Gen. George Armstrong Custer is an example.

They wondered if a 28-year-old officer might have the talents and inclination to command a brigade, side-stepping or bypassing the current system year-group and time-in-service requirements in favor of a merit system. Perhaps a commander could take a prudent risk in selecting such a person for command.

Odierno waxed hot and cold on this idea. “I like your argument, but there are some impediments,” he cautioned.

A brigade commander needs to have a certain level and types of experience, he said, including “tactical and technical leadership capabilities that allow you to operate across the broad spectrum of problems.”

[BS. That's what you have staff officers for.]

Broad spectrum, he said, could be anything from understanding how recruiting works and having experience as an instructor at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, to getting a master’s degree in international relations with experience at the joint level or with a coalition partner. Command at the company and battalion levels would be desired as well.

[That'd be an interesting discussion. What are the actual job requirements for a successful battalion commander?]

“You’re entrusting the lives of America’s sons and daughters” to the commander, so taking a risk like that would be too big a gamble, he said.

“We’re not a company like Apple or CISCO that’s about profits and margins,” he said. “Ours is a complex system of life-and-death responsibilities where learning mistakes could cost the lives of hundreds of people. We can’t walk away from the responsibility of command.”

[In oversimplifying and belittling enterprise, Odierno clearly doesn't understand the responsibilities that an exec in a private company faces, or the volunteer-army socialist system he's in charge of. Another example of pedestalizing the military.]

Besides that, there are statutory requirements that prohibit favoritism in deep selecting, he added.

[Favoritism? Who said anything about favoritism? Like identifying competence quickly?]

But the idea of elevating talent quickly is, nevertheless, worthy of consideration in other ways, he said.

Could a cyber expert or financial wizard be quickly elevated to colonel? “I’d be comfortable with that,” he said, meaning developing a fast track for technical specialties where the likelihood of command in battle is near nil.

“We’ve got to figure out how to do that with the authorities we now have and determine what new authorities we need, realizing the process could take five to 10 years,” he said.

PETER PRINCIPLE

Besides fast-tracking talent, the captains suggested that slow-tracking might also be a good option, citing the so-called Peter Principle.

In 1969, Laurence J. Peter authored a book by that title, which proposed that many people rise in rank or position to their highest level of incompetence.

His book cited instances of ineptitude and the damage that ensued, not only to others, but to the individuals themselves. He used case studies to show that ulcers and more serious medical conditions resulted from the stress of being unable to cope with tasks and responsibilities many were ill-equipped to handle.

Talent-management team members offered that there are likely some officers that would make ideal brigade commanders, but lousy division or corps commanders. Likewise, there are specialists who do a great job and love their work, but would make inept sergeants.

The captains suggested there should be a track for them as well, as the current system is limited to up or out.

If the Army has 10 slots for brigade commanders and 50 officers competing for those slots, would the Army want to bank on someone who is ranked eight, but has little potential or desire for service beyond the brigade level? Odierno asked. If the Soldier ranked eleventh has potential for growth beyond the brigade and his record is nearly as good as eight’s, wouldn’t it be wise to pick 11?

[Easy solution. How about this: If someone actively applies for a promotion, he's assessed for promotion. If not, he stays where he's at. More officers are not hired. How is that not even considered?]

In any case, the Army would hate to lose a Soldier who is performing a valuable service at the level he or she is at, but who doesn’t desire or merit a promotion. It’s a “conundrum” with no easy solutions, but is worthy of further discussion, he said.

CARROTS FOR PERFORMERS

There was unanimity among the captains and the chief that more incentives are needed for the Army’s top performers.

[I can't wait to see what they come up with after the afore-linked cash bonuses and assignment opportunities... ]

Incentives could include choice of assignment and educational opportunities.

A paid sabbatical to finish graduate school was one idea. The Army recently initiated the Career Intermission Pilot Program that does just that, but Soldiers do not receive their full pay and allowances.

Odierno said the Army is looking at offering top performers a master’s degree opportunity outside of the traditional graduate degrees received at service schools. Selectees could major in such areas as international relations, business administration, finance or public management with two follow-on payback assignments.

[Of course, you have to have the payback assignments. ]

So someone majoring in international studies could have a follow-on assignment at the J-3 or J-5 with a follow-on at the State Department, he said.

One captain said that the Army Medical Command already has this program in place and that he himself is enrolled in it, studying for a doctorate degree.

“It’s a great motivator, but getting in is highly competitive,” he said.

Odierno promised the captains that their ideas would be given serious consideration [hahaha] and that he would explore their feasibility and provide follow-ups on actions taken.

[Again, I'll believe it when I see it. What's needed in the Army talent management system is drastic action, not weaselly half-steps that maintain the status quo.]

The Army’s got talent, he concluded, and with junior officers like these leading the service in the coming decades, the Army will be in good hands. [platitudes]

Army leaders said it is likely there will be future solariums, perhaps with non-commissioned officers, warrant officers or those of other ranks.

 

 

 

Making the rounds on facebook today is this article, in which a 59-year-old woman discovers that inner beauty is in fact not what matters on an open dating market:

 

We met on a dating site. Dave was interesting, gentlemanly and bright. He held my hand and toured with me on long bicycle rides. He drove many miles to come to my door. He made meals for us both and ruffled my dog’s happy head. I was enticed and longed for the full knowing of this man. And so, we planned a weekend together. That’s when things got confusing, unspoken and just-not-quite there. We went to bed in a couple’s way — unclothed and touching — all parts near. Kisses were shared and sleep came in hugs. I attempted more intimacy throughout the weekend and was deterred each time.

On Monday evening over the phone, I asked this man who had shared my bed for three nights running why we had not made love. “Your body is too wrinkly,” he said without a pause. “I have spoiled myself over the years with young woman. I just can’t get excited with you. I love your energy and your laughter. I like your head and your heart. But, I just can’t deal with your body.”

After the resulting self-pep-talk, the affirming You Go Girls ensue in the comments.

Unasked, of course, is what a 59-year-old woman is doing dating in the first place. Ideally, of course, all relationship-minded women were married 30-40 years prior. Did Robin just suddenly find herself stranded in the dating whirlwind?

A clue:

I am a 59-year-old woman in great health and in good physical shape. I stand five-feet, nine-inches tall and weigh 135 pounds. I wear a size six in both jeans and panties, and my breasts are nowhere near my navel. In fact, they still struggle to make it full-up in a B-cup bra. My thighs are no longer velvet and my buttocks have dimples. My upper arms wobble a bit and my skin shows the marks of the sun. There is a softness around my waist that is no longer perfectly taut, and the pout of my abdomen attests to a c-section that took its bikini flatness — but gave me a son.

So she has a family. What happened? Was she widowed?

From her site’s bio:

I am a renegade and an outlaw. I am a dancing soul with a huge heart and a history strewn with errors and missed steps. I am a lady that did life “wrong” for more years than I care to admit. I tried to do a version of life that my culture and my family thought was valid. I failed miserably with much pain and sorrow to show for it.

From Amazon’s bio:

She is a divorced mother of two, has a friendly rescued dog named Scruffy and a self-assured cat named Sean.

It’s not explicitly stated, but she likely blew up her family for some divorce fantasy and left the framework of a family with someone who would have adored (or at least tolerated) her into her ‘invisible years’. Now she’s 59, without a family. Now she’s shocked that men don’t like 59-year-olds as much as they like 20- and 30- year olds, and she’s looking for sympathy and affirmation. And the man, of course, is the bad guy – unmentioned, again, are the questions about why she’s dating a 55-year-old instead of the same guys she found attractive when she was younger.

Lady, you had your shot and you blew it. You squandered your youth, beauty, and family. Screw.

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