In Which I Agree With Marc Lynch (Abu Aardvark)

There is a lot of heat on the milbogs now about the official reaction to the Ft. Hood atrocity – an official reaction which plays down, rather than playing up, the Islamist chain of causality that led to Maj. Hassan stepping up on a table and drawing his gun.

I disagree. I think it’s the right thing to do, and Lynch explains why decently well:

Since the Ft Hood atrocity, I’ve seen a meme going around that it somehow exposed a contradiction between “political correctness” and “security.” The avoidance of Nidal Hassan’s religion out of fear of offending anyone, goes the argument, created the conditions which allowed him to go undetected and unsanctioned in the months and years leading up to his rampage. American security, therefore, demands dropping the “political correctness” of avoiding a confrontation with Islamist ideas and asking the “tough questions” about Islam as a religion and the loyalty of Muslim-Americans.

This framing of the issue is almost 100% wrong.

There is a connection between what these critics are calling “political correctness” and national security, but it runs in the opposite direction. The real linkage is that there is a strong security imperative to prevent the consolidation of a narrative in which America is engaged in a clash of civilizations with Islam, and instead to nurture a narrative in which al-Qaeda and its affiliates represent a marginal fringe to be jointly combated. Fortunately, American leaders — from the Obama administration through General George Casey and top counter-terrorism officials — understand this and have been acting appropriately.

It’s worth walking through the connection once again, because how America responds to Ft. Hood really is important in the wider attempt to change the nature of its engagement with Muslim publics across the world. Get the response right, as the administration thus far has done, and they show that things really have changed. Get it wrong, as its critics demand, and the world could tumble back down into the ‘clash of civilizations’ trap which al-Qaeda so dearly wants and which the improved American approach of the last couple of years has increasingly denied it.

Note – importantly – that I flatly disagree with the notion that ‘political correctness’ had nothing to do with the reluctance of Maj. Hassan’s peers to report his increasingly bizarre behavior up the chain of command.

I do believe that we need to accept that certain kinds of behavior are unacceptable – most of all in the Armed Services – and that whether you’re white and sporting a Christian Identity t-shirt, black and wearing Rolling 60’s tattoos, or Muslim and spouting Salafi and Islamist ideology – in any of those cases you’ve stepped over a line and need to pulled out of uniform.

But I do agree that firewalling between Hassan’s Islamist craziness and his Muslim beliefs is important.

I believed in 2003 and believe today that the goal is to keep the conflict from widening into a “Muslim’ v. “Western” one. Within the Muslim world, the Islamist crazies are a small minority, and the primary goal should be to make them a smaller one. By painting all Muslims with the murderer’s beliefs, we make that harder.

I ask you; should we ban all white fundamentalist Christians from the Military because of the actions of a few extremists? All African-Americans so that no members of street gangs serve? You see where I’m going with this…no, of course not.

We need to ruthlessly seek out and stamp out Islamist believers who wear our uniform. We don’t need to – and would be worse off if we did, morally and practically – do the same to pious Muslims.

Now the question is how we can tell the difference.
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Yesterday’s Heroes

When I took shooting classes with Jeff Cooper back in the 80’s he dismissively referred to female LEO’s as “copchicks.” Today, many look at the women who serve in harm’s way in the military and police forces questioning their ability to perform in extremis.

Well, we’ve written about female soldiers in combat before, but today’s news brings us this:

alg_cop.jpg

(photo:

Ft. Hood Murders

There will be plenty of time to discuss what this means and what to do. Right now, we need to mourn the dead and aid the wounded and bereaved. If you live in the area, Scott & White Hospital In Temple is looking for blood donors.

I’m going to ask people here to shut down the politics and sociology of what happened for at least a day. We have no idea what happened yet, so let’s take care of people and then argue.

Please.
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$389,679

As a part of what I’m reacting to in the Watertown Times editorial last week (note that I’m not necessarily weeping and rending my garments over the election outcome – I don’t know enough about Owens to have an opinion yet), let me toss this out. In the LA Times today, there was an op-ed which – to a large extent I agree with. the author complains about the political idiocy that’s ruling California today:

The ineffective response to the current financial crisis reflects trends that have been hurting California public education for years. To win votes, political leaders mandated long prison sentences that forced us to stop building schools and start building prisons. This has made us dumber but no safer. Leaders pandered by promising tax cuts no matter what and did not worry about how to provide basic services without that money. Those tax cuts did not make us richer; they’ve made us poorer. To remain in office, they carved out legislative districts that ensured we would have few competitive races and leaders with no ability or incentive to compromise. Rather than strengthening the parties, it pushed both parties to the fringes and weakened them.

When the economy was good, our leaders failed to make hard choices and then faced disasters like the energy crisis. When the economy turned bad, they made no choices until the economy was worse.

In response to failures of leadership, voters came up with one cure after another that was worse than the disease — whether it has been over-reliance on initiatives driven by special interests, or term limits that remove qualified people from office, or any of the other ways we have come up with to avoid representative democracy.

So what’s not to like?

He goes on:

My story is not unique. It is the story of California’s rise from the 1960s to the 1990s. Millions of people stayed here and succeeded because of their California education. We benefited from the foresight of an earlier generation that recognized it had a duty to pay it forward.

That was the bargain California made with us when it established the California Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960. By making California the state where every qualified and committed person can receive a low-cost and high-quality education, all of us benefit. Attracting and retaining the leaders of the future helps the state grow bigger and stronger. Economists found that for every dollar the state invests in a CSU student, it receives $4.41 in return.

So as someone who has lived the California dream, there is nothing more painful to me than to see this dream dying. It is being starved to death by a public that thinks any government service — even public education — is not worth paying for. And by political leaders who do not lead but instead give in to our worst, shortsighted instincts.

But there’s a problem…let me give some examples.

CSU LA, one local campus of the California State University – the author was a Trustee of the statewide institution – has 119 employees who make over $100K in annual salary – plus 40% burden, I’d guess. The campus President makes $389,679.

Take a look at the job descriptions and salaries below (I’ve deleted the names, but all this information is available courtesy of the Sacramento Bee). And there’s the rub.

I don’t mind a whit supporting the cost of building out a university system that could be available to everyone in California (side issue: does everyone really have to go to college?). I think that ladder of opportunity is vital to our success as a state and as a nation.

But when the ladder-builders are getting this fat, lots of people are going to look at their demands for better ladders and wonder whether those ladders are really worth funding.











Job Title

 Total Pay 

PRESIDENT  $        389,679
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        230,262
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        209,862
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        197,296
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        193,482
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        191,022
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        188,916
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        184,600
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        164,964
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        163,983
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        163,806
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        163,128
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        161,272
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        159,816
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        159,234
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        159,048
PHYSICIAN  $        157,036
NETWORK ANALYST -12  $        155,508
GRANT-RELATED/SPECIALLY
FUNDED INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY
 $        151,987
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        150,875
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        147,246
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        145,746
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        142,289
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        140,952
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        139,866
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        137,742
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        136,902
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        136,884
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        136,392
DEPARTMENT CHAIR – 12
MONTH
 $        135,191
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        134,816
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        134,463
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        134,124
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        133,296
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        131,862
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        130,254
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        128,862
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        128,634
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        127,747
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        126,726
LIBRARIAN – 12 MONTH  $        126,416
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        125,334
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
12 MONTH
 $        123,817
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
12 MONTH
 $        122,426
DEPARTMENT CHAIR – 12
MONTH
 $        122,126
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        121,254
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        120,972
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        120,138
SERGEANT  $        119,900
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        119,082
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        118,759
DEPARTMENT CHAIR – 12
MONTH
 $        118,508
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        118,434
ADMINISTRATOR IV  $        117,160
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        116,466
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        114,812
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        114,424
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        113,603
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        112,602
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        112,434
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        112,117
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        112,038
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        111,925
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        109,620
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
12 MONTH
 $        109,217
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        109,104
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        109,086
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        108,816
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        108,786
ANALYST/PROGRAMMER -12  $        108,624
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
12 MONTH
 $        108,127
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        107,594
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        107,426
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        107,411
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        106,360
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        106,296
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        106,204
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        106,103
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        105,159
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        105,071
LIBRARIAN – 12 MONTH  $        104,485
HEAD COACH – 12 MONTH  $        104,365
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        104,072
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        103,976
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        103,868
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        103,758
SUPERVISING LIBRARIAN –
12 MONTH
 $        103,575
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        103,412
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        103,410
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        103,410
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        103,290
ADMINISTRATOR III  $        102,631
LIBRARIAN, PROGRAM
SERVICES – 12 MONTH
 $        102,365
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        102,354
LIBRARIAN – 12 MONTH  $        102,209
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        102,090
SERGEANT  $        101,861
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        101,532
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        101,484
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        101,484
PHARMACIST II  $        101,449
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        101,400
ANALYST/PROGRAMMER -12  $        101,373
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
12 MONTH
 $        101,299
SERGEANT  $        101,292
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        101,070
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,975
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,819
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,819
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        100,794
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,790
STUDENT SERVICES
PROFESSIONAL, ACADEMIC-RELATED II
 $        100,676
ADMINISTRATOR II  $        100,565
ANALYST/PROGRAMMER -12  $        100,548
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,514
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,334
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,286
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,234
INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY –
ACADEMIC YEAR
 $        100,053





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Is Small Business Happy With Its Social Media Results?

So as I’ve been trying to do a “Big Business Social Media” deck, the news is full of a study that seems to show that small business doesn’t use social media very much and doesn’t much like what it uses.

I’m shocked, just shocked (not really). Actually, it kind of confirms what I’ve been seeing in talking to small business owners out in the wild.

Here’s the lede (sorry, the study doesn’t seem to be available; I’m just piecing together clips about it from press releases and blog posts):

Sites like Facebook and Twitter have taken off among individuals for personal use. But what about the use of social networking at small businesses?

A survey commissioned by Citibank and conducted by GfK Roper found that some small businesses see little reason to hop onto the social-network bandwagon.

Based on interviews in late August with 500 executives running businesses with fewer than 100 employees, the survey said that 76 percent of them found sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to be of little help in finding new business leads. Further, 86 percent of those questioned have not used social-networking sites to look for business advice or information.

(from cNET)

Here are the numbers:

Citi_helpful.JPG

Now you can’t tell from this how many are using social media and not finding it helpful (we can assume it’s more than 25%). but there’s another study – one done by contacting social-media savvy businesses which are part of MerchantCircle – and it found that while 53% of the respondents were using social media, only 22% found Facebook profiles to be an effective marketing technique. The hard truth is that not many small businesses today are drinking the social media Kool-Aid, and those that are aren’t seeing the results they hope for. Why?

Well, the core reason is that social media marketing is wildly labor-intensive. The Citibank executive quoted explains it pretty well:

“What this survey indicates to us is small businesses are very, very focused on running their business and on generating sales and managing their cash flow and doing the things that are really important, especially in these economic times,” Veltre said. “I don’t think quite yet the social media piece of it has proven to be as significant.”

Here’s my earlier take on the subject, in a response to Chris Brogan:

[Brogan is] just mistaken about the capability and priority of small businesses. Look, for me or for Chris – who are online 17 or 18 hours a day (I’m in front of the monitor for 9 or 10, but have my Blackberry with me the rest of the time) these are great suggestions. If you’re a new-media consultant, they are terrific.

But the for locksmith down the street from me, these are 180 degrees wrong. He doesn’t have the bandwidth to do these things – to sit in front of the computer long enough to meaningfully blog, Tweet, listen and promote – while he’s also fixing locks and cutting keys. It’s not that he’s not capable or smart enough to – of course he is. But his day’s activities don’t involve sitting in front of a screen, and if he did, he’d be neglecting the things he needs to do to actually make money.

Or to make it simpler, a slide from my presentation:

SMB_online.jpg

Does that mean no small business today has build its customer base using social media – of course not. But what it does mean is that small businesses need to be thoughtful about how they spend their dollar’s worth of attention. And it’s critical that those of us who are trying to guide small businesses make it clear that there’s lots more to small business marketing using social media than Facebook and Twitter.
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Aftermath

So since I’m still getting emails asking how I’m doing after last week, let me take a moment and tell everyone.

Shortest version: pretty much fine. Thursday and Friday were hard; I’ve got to say that I am in awe of the emotional strength of people who deal with stuff like this every day. I doubt that I could. But the tips that I got from the professionals on managing my recovery were all extremely useful.

Saturday I went to the racetrack with my motorcycle. On one hand, I was distracted enough to get black-flagged and moved down to the beginner group, where I pretty much just rode around. On the other hand, I managed to transfer a fair amount of my stress onto the pavement:

tire.jpg

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I’d been feelling…but here’s what made a difference.

First, I got a lot of attaboys. In On Combat, Grossman talks about the fact that many officers and solders who go through hyperstressful events walk out and don’t get those. No one shot at me, nothing blew up, I took no meaningful risks – but I got a lot of warm feedback, and it made a difference. Friday morning I was furious with myself for not, somehow, doing better and changing the outcome and making that guy one of the 4 or 5 percent who survive traumatic arrest. Hearing, over and over, from people who’d BT and DT that I’d done the right things, and that there was no simple magic “McGuffin” that I’d forgotten or didn’t know to do showed me how irrational that response really was. And once the logical underpinnings of the bad feelings were kicked away, the sheer emotional support made a huge difference.

That’s a lesson, people. When you see a EMT, or a police officer, or a soldier, all those dumb-a** “thank you for your service” remarks that we’re all a little embarrassed to say – well, say them. That man or woman you’re saying them to has or will go through some things that make what I went through look like Pla-Dough time at preschool.

Second, I talked about it. Ad nauseam. I blogged it, and Facebooked it and talked it into the ground with TG. I processed and processed it and at some point became kinds desensitized to it. I’m sorry I subjected everyone to that, and appreciate the patience.

Third, I tried to learn from it. there are some concrete things that I took away as I’ve played it out that I know I’d have done differently, and while I hope like heck that there is never, ever a next time, if there is I have a few new cards in the deck. Specifically, I should have mobilized some of the other bystanders immediately, instead of waiting – I should have had one or two people helping me; I should have cut away the whole side air bag and had better access to the victim; I should have gloved up before I went into the car, rather than halfway through the process; and if I can find a c-collar that folds flat enough to carry in the back pouch of my Aerostich, I just might get one. I’m not at all sure I would have used it in the situation Thursday – the injury was just too traumatic for me to really do much at all. But on a lesser but similar injury it could be useful.

Finally, I’m going to keep working on my skills, and am building a library of classes I want to take.

There’s always more to do.
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We’ve Got Ours In NY-23

The special election congressional race for New York’s 23rd District has gathered a lot of attention; with the liberal Republican (a New England stereotype) withdrawing in the face of a widely-supported Conservative candidate.

I have no dog in this fight; I don’t live there and can’t speak to the qualities of the candidates (Iowahawk made his judgement based on wheel wells and secondarily, ideology). I have a mild predisposition to seeing Democrats win, but that has been badly eroded over the last decade.

So why am I writing about this, you ask?

Because a local editorial encapsulated what has me so furious at our political classes that I do think we simply need to turn our statehouses over and shake them very hard.

Here’s quote, from the editorial in the ‘Watertown Daily Times‘:

The Democratic candidate has demonstrated a willingness to listen to people about ways in which he could help the district as their representative in Washington. Mr. Owens has remained focused on the economy and job creation throughout his campaign. At the same time, he has shown an understanding of the military, a keen desire to help dairy farmers, an ability to work with labor unions and an eagerness to learn more about the vast, 11-county district that he hopes to represent.

Mr. Owens seems to approach politics and challenges with an open mind, a generous spirit and a can-do attitude. He has conducted a dignified campaign in comparison to Doug Hoffman.

Mr. Hoffman is running as an ideologue. If he carries out his pledges on earmarks, taxation, labor law reform and other inflexible positions, Northern New York will suffer. This rural district depends on the federal government for an investment in Fort Drum and its soldiers, environmental protection of our international waterway and the Adirondack Park, and the livelihood of all our dairy farmers across the district, among other support. Our representative cannot be locked into rigid promises and policies that would jeopardize these critical sectors of our economy.

For a member of Congress, there may be a time to promote reform in Washington, but there is also a time to work within a system that best serves the people you represent.

(emphasis added)

As I read this, in other words – “yeah, there are fatal problems with the overall system, but as long as we get ours, we’re OK with that.

And if that doesn’t make you feel like hoisting the jolly roger and sharpening your cutlass, I’m not sure what will.

At the Press Club event where I felt I was too harsh on the LA Times guy, what I said was:

Are you really saying that the LA Times offers quality journalism? Really? I don’t agree, and have evidence. Because if the LA Times was a good newspaper over the last 20 years, how is it – exactly – that they were so silent as Los Angeles and California managed to become so f***ed up?

The attitude it the Watertown Daily Times? – that’s exactly how.

If we’re going to get out of this, we need to kick that attitude to the curb, and quickly.
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