Thanks to Rare for publishing my latest:

Apparently my generation is a real handwringer. We’re the “cheapest generation.” We’re the “self[ie] generation.” We’re the “me me me generation.”

Basically, we’re the worst.

But what, specifically, are we doing that’s so terrible? Well, for starters, many of us aren’t joining either major party: A full 50% of Millennials consider themselves political independents.

And we’re not going into debt for big purchases like cars and houses. (Something tells me the youth unemployment crisis and college costs which have inflated way past summer job earnings could have something to do with this—just a guess.)

We refuse to believe we aren’t the victims of the greatest Ponzi scheme ever—by which I mean, of course, that more than 50% of Millennials know we won’t get any Social Security benefits.

And—horror of horrors—we have ever-diminishing faith in establishment politics.

Now, to me, this all sounds like great news. I’m happy to see my generation thinking outside of the two-party box, trying to manage their money sensibly and taking a realistic view of our future and our government. After decades of mismanagement by our elders, which has produced a state of constant warfare and a $17 trillion-plus national debt, this kind of reevaluation of what it means to be a responsible (young) adult in America strikes me as a good thing.

But my optimism isn’t shared by everyone.

Read the whole thing here.

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Here are 7 reasons why drones are scary and awful

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 4.41 pm

Thanks to Rare for publishing my latest:

By now you’re likely aware that our government has an extensive drone campaign in the Middle East and North Africa. Targets are selected personally by the President using a secret “kill list,” and though drone strikes are currently on the decline in Pakistan, they’re unlikely to go away entirely (particularly in Yemen) during Obama’s presidency.

But why do drones get so much attention? Bombs and planes have been around a long time—what makes drones so special?

Here’s seven reasons why drones are such a big deal:

1. Drones offer scary new surveillance capabilities. People are pretty much a fixed size. You can’t make a manned aircraft smaller than the person manning it. Drones, however, can be tiny. Super tiny. The size of bugs, in fact. When it comes to surveillance (and potentially assassinations), this makes drones much more of a threat than manned aircraft. You won’t miss the chopper hovering outside your window; you will miss the fly on the wall.

2. Drone warfare is bad for the drone pilots. Dropping bombs by remote control allows drone operators to be thousands of miles removed from their targets. It’s inherently uncertain and minimizes the very real psychological cost of hitting the kill button. Said one former drone operator, “We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.” When the American military is already suffering from a tragic suicide epidemic, adding the psychological strain of drone warfare can only make matters worse.

3. Speaking of the victims, the ratio of civilians to terrorists killed may be as high as 50:1. In Pakistan, a major target for US drone strikes, as few as 2% of those who die by our drone strikes are high-level terror suspects. As for the other 98%, it’s difficult to determine who’s a civilian and who isn’t. That’s because the Obama Administration classifies every male from 18 to 60 who is killed as a terrorist, regardless of evidence. This “guilty until proven innocent” rule gives the President free reign—all while pretending that every kill is a success. Many of these men are simply poor farmers in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some estimates put the civilian to terrorist kill ratio as high as 50:1!

Read the whole thing here.

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Culture War Neighbors

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 3.20 pm

Thanks to ReKnew for publishing my latest:

The first time I was aware of meeting a gay person, I was 18. I took a summer job waiting tables, and it turned out two of my coworkers were attracted to people of the same sex. One, a waiter in his 40s, fit every stereotype on Will and Grace. The other was a girl maybe five years older than me. She had model good looks, a sweet personality, and a girlfriend.

When I realized my coworkers were gay, my immediate reaction was worry. They’d find out I was a Christian sooner than later. Was I supposed to tell them the church I attended prohibited same-sex relationships? That seemed really awkward. But if I didn’t tell them, was I ashamed of my faith?

Every shift we were scheduled together, I was concerned about how I could both honor God and have good work relationships. But as one lunch rush led to another, I realized my coworkers weren’t particularly interested in my opinions.

They were interested in whether I’d help them when they were swamped.

They were interested in picking up a shift for me if I needed time off.

They were interested in being decent to their coworkers and giving their tables a nice experience at our restaurant and making good tips—just like me.

Scurrying to refill drinks, polishing silverware and sweeping floors, begging the cooks to hurry up on that new batch of bread, we were neighbors.

If I’d worked at that restaurant longer than a few months and had a chance to get to know those two better, the day may well have come to share my convictions. But for the time I was there, it was enough that they knew I was a Christian, and that a Christian could be their neighbor.

Read the rest here.

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