Politics

A businessman running for President

It’s an unusual event, having a non-politician has the presidential candidate for one of American’s two main political parties in the election this year. Donald Trump has never held office. He’s from a wealthy family, he started his business career with a loan from his father, and he’s has his financial ups and downs over the years, to include 4 instances of filing for bankruptcy. But in his first run for office, he’s swinging for the fence – with some backing from the Republican party, he’s running for President of the United States. In reading today his posted policies

Intelligence

The Clinton Email Investigation

Back in July, I read with great interest the statement from James B. Comey, the Director of the FBI, regarding the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, their cyber analysis in support of their investigation, and his ultimate decision to not recommend that she or others involved in this series of events be brought up on charges or prosecutes. I read this with interest because, unlike others, I am not a self-described political blogger. I am a retired intelligence officer. I spent a lifetime living, eating, breathing these exact types of classified information, for 25

Pokemon Go / Portland

Sellwood Riverfront Park – Pikachu Nest

Sellwood Riverfront Park is an open dog run park, with a great walking path around it, that features more than half a dozen Pokestops know for dispensing a high rate of various balls. Oh, and it’s the local nesting place for Pikachu. What do I mean by nest? I mean you can very likely catch 4 of a specific but uncommon Pokemon in a 60 minute period. That is what I mean by a nest.

Intelligence

The Congressional Report of Bias at CENTCOM

For my friends and colleagues still in the business, it might be worth the time to read the newly released report from the Congressional Joint Task Force that looked into allegations that CENTCOM senior officials and senior intelligence analysts slanted intelligence analysis and the intelligence process.   This is good reading, and key to understanding – and remembering – so many of the things that led to the debacle of the poor intelligence support to policy and decision makers in 2002.   This speaks to the role analysts play in supporting policy and decision makers; to analysts vs those

Pokemon Go / Portland

Laurelhurst Park – Scyther Nest

The Laurelhurst Park in NE Portland is a Scyther nest. Spanning from the Pokestop where SE 33rd meets SE Pine streets, across the park to where SE Cesar Chavez Blvd crosses SE Ash St., those little buggers can be found just about everywhere in the park, north of SE Oak Street. What do I mean by nest? I mean you can very likely catch 4 of a specific but uncommon Pokemon in a 60 minute period. That is what I mean by a nest.

Education

Teaching: End of your first year

We often have this discussion, my friends and I, about the reflective nature of summer for teachers. The great myth is that teachers run from the classroom as soon as the last bell rings, but in truth, the spend the summer months reflecting on their prior year and preparing for the next. For many, it’s a chance to embrace time spent with those who will coach them in their personal and professional development, and to soak up time with mentors, as they move forward in the long journey of their lives. On Twitter tonight, I asked three of my

Education

Getting started with Pokémon Go & Students: Using Lures at your school Pokestop

One of the neat things about Pokémon Go is that the it’s built upon the game Ingress. For Ingress, players nominated public places of interest – statues, buildings, fountains, public buildings, artwork, etc – to be portals to be used in the game, and that dataset carried over to become gyms and pokestops in Pokémon Go. And this includes a lot of schools. And a lot of things of school campuses – art murals, statues and the like. School principals are this week discovering that people – and kids – are coming to school voluntarily, to play Pokémon Go. What to do

Education

Getting started with Pokémon Go & Students: Data & Batteries

It’s no surprised to anyone who plays Pokémon Go that the game is brutal on battery life. Lots of apps that are GPS intensive are like this – Apple’s own map program, Google Maps, running and walking tracking programs, etc. all suffer this fate. It’s the nature of the beast – and it’s something that programmers wrestle with, trying to fine-tune their code in order to have as little impact as possible on as users battery life as possible.   But battery life is a great conversation to have with students and kids – one of two. Phones are, after

Education

Getting started with Pokémon Go & Students: Logins

Update: There’s an iOS update for the app out, resolving the Google-all-access coding problem. 7/12/2016 Noon PST. Schools and school administrators will still want to talk about the implications of having students use their own accounts to play this game, if they want to have it be a part of a school’s learning program, or in using school Google-based accounts. Those a entirely different and policy-based issued unrelated to this coding issue. Since its launch this week, Pokémon Go has achieved a level of popularity on par with chocolate and bacon. In two days, users installed it on 5% of

History / Intelligence / Iraq

The Chilcot Report

Professionally, I do a lot of work on the decision to go to war with Iraq. That involved a lot of work with now-declassified documents pertaining to Iraq, its alleged nuclear, biological and chemical programs in the 1990s, efforts to procure something called yellowcake, alleged connections to al-Qaeda, and so on. I read books, I watch videos, I study memoirs, and I swim through history. This morning, the British government finished and posted to its website (here) a 6505 page, 6.5 million word report summarizing British involvement in Iraq, from the run-up and decision to invade, to the withdrawal

Intelligence

Explaining the Hillary Rodham Clinton emails

In his statement to the press today (here), FBI Director James Comey laid out what he described as the background of the FBI efforts associated with their investigation of the emails on and security for the email server maintained by and for Bill and Hillary Clinton, primarily while she served as Secretary of State. As background, it seems that Clinton wanted to be able to use a Blackberry as her primary means of communications – for voice and email – and both the Department of State and the National Security Agency were against this, specifically on the basis of

Education

ISTE2016: Why connections still matter

I am in Denver, attending the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, known as ISTE2016. It’s a tech conference, through and through. But with 18,000 educators – mostly teachers – important to not overlook one key part of events like ISTE2016 – the needs to network and make connections as a part of personal and professional development, in lieu of looking for a gadget or widget as being some magic bullet.

Iraq

Tehran and Yemen

I’ll be honest – I was pleasantly surprised to see that the good folks at Huffington Post had, um, convinced someone to let them post one of an article about Iran and Iranian support to the “civil war” in Yemen, right there on the Huffington Post website. They convinced Dr. Majid Rafizideh, president of the International American Council of the Middle East (it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page – so…) to write an article, Six Reasons Why Iran Will Not Leave Yemen, presumably for free. I’ll skip linking to the original post – not just because it’s on Huffington, but

Iran / Iraq / Syria / etc.

Frontline: The Secret History of ISIS

It is good to see organizations like PBS take on the history of ISIS, with their piece this week, The Secret History of ISIS. It’s not horrible, and it’s good to see that they were able to interview some of the key players – original sources matter. You should make time to watch it; it’s about 45 minutes in length, and it will stream on just about any device. Three things, though, after you watch it. 1) Frontline does a good job of pointing out that Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) / Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) had been

Education / Teaching / Writing

Writing college essays

I teach college. My classes involve a lot of writing; there’s no getting around there. I read and grade a lot of writing. Midterms and finals are often essays, and they’re often in the 4 to 12 page range. And I often hear from my students, after the fact, comments like this. “I didn’t get the grade I was expecting.” “I usually do much better than this.” “This grade was disappointing.” “For the amount of effort I put into this, I was expecting a higher grade.” Let’s talk about this. I’ll use my recent round of midterms as a

Intelligence

Hillary Clinton has 2,093 problems ¯\_(?)_/¯

On Monday, the State Department finished their review of the 30,300 work-related emails and attachments that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had kept on her “private” email server at her house, and released to the public the last of the ones that the were able to release. Of those 30,000, all but 2093 were released. Those 2093 could not be released because they were determined to contain classified information. [1] The standard for this is, of course, zero. None. As someone with access to classified information, Hillary Clinton – and those who worked for her – are required by