The Paradox of military service

Today’s refusal of the Supreme Court to rule against this administration’s transgender ban got me to thinking about the paradoxes of military service. It wasn’t that long ago that being gay was not allowed in the military. The reasoning was somewhat along the lines of why women weren’t allowed in combat. As recently as 1948 the armed forces of the United States were segregated. African-Americans were separated from white units because they were judged inferior and likely to affect the combat readiness of our forces. In the past seventy years we have come to realize how ignorant that way of thinking was. When I served in the United States Navy in the 1970’s being gay was not an option. There were gay sailors and when they were outed they were summarily discharged dishonorably. As if one’s gender or sexuality could negatively impact the battle readiness or quality of one’s work.

Recently the current administration wants to ban transgender service members from serving. I think its ironic that a person who was unwilling to serve and went to great length to avoid military service would now take issue with the gender of the members of our military. Members of the military take and an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. Many of those who take the oath find themselves in harms way and some actually end the lives other human beings in the being true to that oath of enlistment. There is no religious or moral tradition that legitimizes murder yet that is often the result of military action. At the same time we hold members of our armed services to much higher standards than the general public. The paradox is while protecting the life of the country service members are often required to end the lives of the enemy. While that may be an expedient for a country it is hardly a moral act by anyone’s definition.

By what sophistry does this administration operate that they would deem that one’s gender determines one’s patriotism or readiness to serve the country in our armed forces. This action has done irreparable damage to the morale of our armed forces at a time when we can ill afford such an affront. I hope that this ruling is challenged and overturned in our courts.

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Another print option for Linux

I recently returned to using Linux as my primary laptop operating system. Over the summer I purchased an Hewlett-Packard MFP M281 fdw and while that works flawlessly with MacOS I had been having some printing issues with Linux. I got HPLIP working on Fedora, but after installing Pop!_OS and most recently Ubuntu 18.10 I was not able to use my printer to it’s full advantage. I was willing to live with it until I could find a solution. The remedy came today and I wanted to share it with anyone else who has had similar difficulties. I found that using Google Cloud Print Connector I could easily get full us of the MFP M281. If you have a cloud print capable printer then this is a solution for you too. I did an APT install of Google Cloud Print and then followed the directions for easily setting up my printer. Here is a link to Google’s cloud printing service. Besides printing from Chrome I can now print from all my other desktop applications using this service.

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A very good read

Faith: A Journey For All

Faith: A Journey For All by Jimmy Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a good read. I warmed up to it slowly. Jimmy Carter is one of my favorite authors and I have read many of his books. He is a real Christian witness. He makes some great points and shares vignettes from his own life to illustrate them. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in biblical justice and peace.

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A need to write

I started this journey thirteen years ago. I started blogging and enjoyed it but in the past half dozen years I have moved away from it and towards social media. I’ve felt something within me calling me to write more and that’s what I’m going to try to do. I write regularly for I’m a community moderator and regularly write about Linux and all things open source. I enjoy that a great deal. It has helped me to continue to learn and grow.

In the past five years I’ve moved from teaching in a public school to volunteering in a variety of places including a food pantry, a soup kitchen, public libraries, teaching digital literacy, Python, Scratch and other open source software. I love open source and continue to write about it and promote it anywhere that I go. I’ve found that there is a great deal more to open source than merely free software. I’ve become a member of a growing community of writers and developers and that’s been very energizing.

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Winter Storm Harper

The concept of naming storms is not new. In the past it’s been tropical storms and hurricanes that were named. I don’t remember winter storms or blizzards being officially named. I remember the Blizzard of ’66. I was in 8th grade and that storm came in January too. According to an article I read earlier on Wikipedia that storm happened January 27  – January 31 of that year. I remember that in our community of Arcade, New York that there were no cars moving on Main Street and that I joined my father and brother snow-shoeing to the local grocery store. We picked up some items that the priest who lived on the other end of our street needed. Had cable news existed back then I wonder what that storm would have been called. I don’t remember the exact snowfall totals but I do remember that the main street of our village was impassable. You can read more about the Blizzard of 66 here.

I hope everyone stays safe in this winter storm. I’m grateful to have a roof over my head and a warm place to stay. Snowstorms and blizzards always make me long for spring and green grass.

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Grateful to be well

Last week at this time I was sitting in the emergency room at Olean General Hospital. My future was uncertain as nurses and staff members examined me. I arrived at the emergency room short of breath. That’s a great way to get quick service at the ER. I’m grateful that one week later I’ve been returned to good health. Tonight I find myself nearly four hundred miles from home at a retreat center near Hartford CT. It was a long ride here and the journey had the feel of a pilgrimage. I’m glad to be here in this peaceful spot surrounded by beauty and care. Peace.

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An urgent read for educators

An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital PedagogyAn Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy by Jesse Stommel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great book. It is a collection of essays and it is thought provoking beyond measure. I’m so glad this book happened to fall into my lap thanks to a tweet that I happened to see. I recommend this book to every K-12 and higher ed teacher and student. There is something here for everyone to chew on. Be sure to follow the authors Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris.

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