Typical Troops, Atypical Scouts

SunriseAbout 1 in 8 kids these days have a “special need” or “invisible disability” or something else that poses a challenge in traditionally structured situations like school or Scouting. In ages past, a Scout leader could expel or “ease out” a Scout that presented behavior problems or otherwise didn’t “fit.”

It’s important to talk about how we will work with kids in the normal troop environment with special needs.  ADHD, autism down syndrome. Leaders need tips on how to handle kids, their parents and medication. 

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Respect For Friends Who Transition

I’ve found it challenging as an aging baby boomer to confront gender transitions. I posted some of my own “lessons learned” during the Transgender Day of Visibility. My suggestions won’t necessarily help traditional cisgendered people understand, but it might help minimize blunders.

Here are some things I’ve learned about gender transition:

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For kids with ‘something’

I’m always looking for better ways to understand invisible disabilities with an eye towards helping Scouts and Scouters succeed in the movement. This one is pretty general, but it gives me some food for thought: The Ultimate List of Gifts for Sensory Seekers, from Mama OT’s blog.

I especially like that the second paragraph warns of overstimulation. There’s a tendency to think that if “a little of X” makes things good, then “a lot of X” makes things better. It’s important to know when and when not to indulge.

An Arrest

Our block is surrounded by churches, trees, and homes. It’s also right next to US 61. I see people pulled over for speeding or whatever, but this is the first time we’ve had a genuine arrest – guns drawn, cuffs, other suspects under guard, crying toddler in the vehicle. It all started, like most things these days, with Ginny barking.

I was cooking burgers on the grill, and I chased her in the house. She was barking at a red pickup. More precisely, she was barking at the people standing around it. I assumed the people were either awaiting church or had pulled off of 61 to rest or make phone calls. I chased Ginny in, but left another door open. A few minutes later (burgers turned), she was out back barking again. This time I heard shouts and saw flashing police lights. “Uh, Ginny, it’s time for us to get out of here.”

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When we visit San Francisco,

…these are the two restaurants at which we always try to eat.

  1. Pacific Cafe on Geary St near Land’s End for seafood.
  2. House of Nanking on Kearney near Columbus for Chinese.

We first visited the Pacific Cafe about 30 years ago and it’s still terrific. I love the scallops. We ‘discovered’ House of Nanking only 6 years ago and I still dream of their spicy calamari.

Pacific Cafe, Geary St, http://www.pacificcafesf.com/mhome.html; and House of Nanking, Kearney and Columbus, http://houseofnanking.net/ . Both serve simple but tasty food at a reasonable price.

Time to end “Above Top Secret” ?

Radio intercept marked Top Secret UltraAt the start of World War II, Britain set up a large and highly secret codebreaking operation. Every document related to the project was “above top secret:” they were all marked “Top Secret Ultra” and handled by separate security teams from merely “Top Secret” military information. This strategy seems to have kept the activity secret, at least from the general public. Military adversaries seem to penetrate such measures more quickly.

The intelligence community’s arrogance about secrecy grew from the Cold War. Very few intelligence agency secrets leaked to the general public back then, regardless of whether they had leaked to adversaries or not. This has had a profound political impact.

No one discusses or questions the intelligence community’s value proposition.

Given the recent dumps of classified information into Wikileaks, newspapers, and everywhere else, I think it’s time to kill the “above top secret” idea. History shows it hasn’t really worked that well anyway. There are much easier and cheaper ways to restrict access and control sharing. We also need to share more information with the public so we can judge the true value of our intelligence community.

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Where is the “Trump national Alliance?”

Why Trump Isn’t Hitler

Many progressive voices fear that President Trump is moving America towards totalitarianism and/or fascism. Trump has brilliantly sold “America First” as a form of patriotism, while others say it’s really anti-American. Serious discussions may draw parallels between Trump and the history of Nazi Germany, even though it’s a conversation-stopper to call him the new Hitler. The hint is always there.

I don’t think Trump is a new Hitler for a fundamental reason: He doesn’t have an organized cadre of thugs to suppress dissenters. The early Nazi Party participated “hugely” in every counter-demonstration and politically-motivated street brawl it could find. That requires a giant organization Trump lacks.

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