Wanted: A marathon for the masses, to help Americans lose weight

*Note: This essay was published in the New York Daily News print edition on November 5, 2017. It can also be found online here.

Sunday, 50,000 physical elites will line up to run the New York City Marathon. Watch and you’ll see the best of the endurance world: lean, lithe and little in the way of body fat. At a start line a few miles from the site of the Occupy Wall Street protests, another enviable 1% will congregate.

Most runners will be fairly uniform; spectators won’t see many, if any, overweight competitors. Slower movers don’t make the cut: The “sweep bus” pulls anyone out of the race taking over 15 minutes per mile. Police support and precious volunteer hours drive down the time the course is open. This deters the obese, the overweight and aged. Continue reading “Wanted: A marathon for the masses, to help Americans lose weight”

Manitou race proves politics can be decent

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on November 3, 2017. It can also be found online here.

We’re now repeatedly reminded that Americans are intensely divided: a recent poll found “seven in 10 Americans say the nation’s political divisions are at least as big as during the Vietnam War” and a writer recently opined that too many believe “politics needs to be weaponized to be enjoyed.”

Not in Manitou Springs. You may not have heard, but there’s a tight race for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Nicole Nicoletta, elected in 2015 to a two-year term, seeks another on Tuesday against a challenge from long-time resident and retired lawyer Ken Jaray. Continue reading “Manitou race proves politics can be decent”

Four Deaths in Niger and the Savage Logic of Military Operations

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site. It can also be found online here

The furor over the recent loss of four Army Special Forces soldiers’ raises the grandest question of them all: Why?

To answer, we have to peek through the fog that often clouds military operations—to reveal an uncomfortable truth.

Two rigid, bloody axioms govern the logic of military operations: time is often more valuable than human life, and the good of the many nearly always matters more than the few. Continue reading “Four Deaths in Niger and the Savage Logic of Military Operations”

Colorado Springs can lead in the fight against obesity

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 20, 2017. It can also be found online here.

America’s got a bigness problem. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual study on obesity. The numbers were chilling: nearly 40 percent of adults are obese, and when that figure is added to the overweight numbers, the total climbs to 70.7 percent (meaning it is abnormal nowadays to be an American adult at a healthy weight). Continue reading “Colorado Springs can lead in the fight against obesity”

Grateful for those in public safety and service

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 16, 2017. It can also be found online here.

While wearing my military uniform, I often hear a distant, direct, “thank you for your service.” It’s always appreciated, but, during a painfully long week, containing the aftermath of the tragedy in Las Vegas, wildfires tearing across California, and a personal emergency closer to home (not to mention the immense recoveries in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico) – it’s high time that someone in the military paid forward that common compliment. To all those involved in our nation’s public safety and service, please accept a full-throated, deeply heartfelt, “thank you for your service.” Continue reading “Grateful for those in public safety and service”

90 years of a life well lived and some wisdom

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 8, 2017. It can also be found online here.

My grandmother-in-law turns 90 this weekend, so I called and announced myself with a self-deprecating ice breaker: “It’s your good-for-nothing grandson-in-law.” Before I got the last syllable out, she pushed back with infectious positivity, telling me, “What do you mean good-for-nothing?” and then how excited she was for the great-grandkid pictures I’d recently posted.

The young don’t spend much time with the aged outside gift-giving events, which seems almost criminal in that it robs younger folk of the real presents on offer: wisdom and experience. Continue reading “90 years of a life well lived and some wisdom”

North Korea is a dangerous threat

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 4, 2017. It can also be found online here.

A recent Gazette story on the risk of North Korean nuclear weapons included the opinions of a retired Air Force general who minimized the threat, calling it “nowhere near as scary as it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis” and “a hiccup in comparison” to the Cold War.

Having recently returned from a year’s service just south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the North from South Korea, I can report that this characterization requires a little balance.

North Korea is a dangerous threat to our allies, the global economy, our interests and homeland. This is no “hiccup.” Continue reading “North Korea is a dangerous threat”