• July 26, 2016

Military Buzz

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President Obama places bet on Iran

As a presidential candidate seven years ago, Barack Obama shook up the foreign policy world by declaring that he favored “direct diplomacy” to reshape U.S. relations with long-standing adversaries like Syria, Cuba and North Korea. Critics, including Hillary Clinton, called him naive, and unt…

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Wednesday 11/12/2014
Site of Russia’s next land grab likely will be an island in the Arctic
Posted: November 12, 2014

Russia is poised to make another land grab. This time it’s an island. But don’t get too alarmed. The island’s in the Arctic. No one lives there. And it may not even be an island at all.

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Congress should provide nudge on foreign policy
Posted: November 12, 2014

Presidents and not Congress should direct foreign policy, and that’s true for President Barack Obama even after the walloping he and his party suffered in the midterm elections. Nevertheless, the end of the campaign and the change in the leadership of the Senate create opportunities for both the lameduck and the new Congress. They can authorize the war against the Islamic State, give Obama a needed nudge on military aid for Ukraine and weigh in on the endgame of negotiations with Iran.

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Wednesday 06/04/2014
‘Really big field’ experience gives kids new focus
Posted: June 04, 2014

In the wake of some schools across the country canceling things like academic awards night and valedictorians at graduation because people might not be able to handle the exclusivity or “unfairness” of it all, I witnessed something that helps prove this theory wrong.

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Wednesday 05/28/2014
Checking in with military widow for Memorial Day
Posted: May 28, 2014

In September, I introduced you to my friend Theresa. Three days after her Navy husband and Dustin’s former squadron-mate, Landon, was killed overseas, Theresa co-wrote a column with me about her experience. It was a fresh, raw glimpse at what being a new military widow really looks like, and the story spread quickly on the Internet.

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Wednesday 05/21/2014
Dinner with an entomologist
Posted: May 21, 2014

Entomologist James “Jim” Dill and I serve on a board together at United Technologies Center, a technical school in Bangor, Maine. James also is a state representative. That much I knew.

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Wednesday 05/14/2014
Proposed military budget cuts would be devastating
Posted: May 14, 2014

‘Will you encourage your three boys to join the military?”

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Wednesday 05/07/2014
When mom’s away, siblings will play
Posted: May 07, 2014

As the kids get older, there are some things, thankfully, that get easier. One of these is doing errands — alone.

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Wednesday 04/30/2014
Depression doesn’t play favorites, but insurers do
Posted: April 30, 2014

When I wrote about depression three months ago, I was still, for the most part, in the throes of it. Happily, with time and distance comes more perspective — some good, some not-so-good.

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Wednesday 04/23/2014
On parenting: It doesn’t get easier
Posted: April 23, 2014

Last week, I posted the following on Facebook: “Why didn’t anyone tell me that this parenting stuff just keeps getting harder?”

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Wednesday 04/16/2014
Shootings violate sense of security
Posted: April 16, 2014

In more ways than one, the military has sometimes been an institution that change forgot.

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Wednesday 04/09/2014
Oldest son shows who he’s becoming
Posted: April 09, 2014

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I took a picture of you standing next to the window in your nursery. The sun illuminated half your face, and you were holding a wooden train in one hand. When you heard my footsteps, you turned around, threw back your head and giggled. Your smile was all gums.

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Wednesday 04/02/2014
Marines and fathers are always faithful
Posted: April 02, 2014

I wrote the following column in 2005 after my friend Marc Tace died of muscular dystrophy. This week marks 20 years since Marc’s dad, a Marine colonel, died of a heart attack while serving overseas.

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Wednesday 03/26/2014
ID card: rite-of-passage for military brats
Posted: March 26, 2014

For the average kid, pre-adolescence and the teen years are marked with many rites-of-passage: facial hair, deodorant, pimples, crushes and braces.

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Wednesday 03/19/2014
Disturbing trend at retail stores
Posted: March 19, 2014

A disturbing trend is happening for people like me, people who majored in mass communication, not one-on-one communication.

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Wednesday 03/12/2014
Spouse survey misses things
Posted: March 12, 2014

Somewhere at the Pentagon, someone with a lot of medals on his chest is shaking his head, wondering why I was chosen to take the 2014 Navy Spouse Personal and Family Readiness Survey.

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Wednesday 03/05/2014
At 94, grandmother, Doris, still fighting
Posted: March 05, 2014

My favorite story Doris told me was about their new phone number in Boston.

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Wednesday 02/26/2014
Nothing compares to state dinner
Posted: February 26, 2014

The invitation read, “The President and Mrs. Obama request the pleasure of the company of Ms. Smiley at a dinner.”

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Wednesday 02/19/2014
Smileys attend state dinner
Posted: February 19, 2014

When the first invitation came via email, I thought it was a joke. I mean, how often does one get an invitation to the White House? Then the formal invitation, printed on the finest paper I’ve ever held, arrived in the mail.

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Wednesday 02/05/2014
Family dog’s letter to his boy
Posted: February 05, 2014

To the Littlest Boy in the Striped Shirts,

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Wednesday 01/29/2014
Middle child gets his own room
Posted: January 29, 2014

If you have three children, you know the youngest one often gets robbed. His scrapbook is half as thick as the others, and by the time he’s old enough to care, the family has already done all the cool vacations and sight-seeing trips.

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Wednesday 01/22/2014
Treasured art a gift through time
Posted: January 22, 2014

Two weeks ago, I shared with you three of my favorite, nontrending stories of 2013. One of them included an elderly woman in a retirement home who had a surprise for me in her apartment: a wall full of paintings her husband had made — many of them of his wife — throughout his life.

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Wednesday 01/15/2014
Lincoln’s lessons on depression
Posted: January 15, 2014

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Actor Marlon Brando. Comedian Jim Carrey. Princess Diana. Charles Dickens. Leo Tolstoy. Billy Joel. And President Abraham Lincoln.

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Wednesday 01/08/2014
Wonderful, quiet stories of 2013
Posted: January 08, 2014

On New Year’s Eve, a round-up of 2013’s “trending” stories and people — including Miley Cyrus, Paula Deen and Phil Robertson — got me thinking ... and discouraged.

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Wednesday 01/01/2014
Life lesson: Clean while no one watches
Posted: January 01, 2014

I am skilled at purging things from cupboards, closets and basements. It’s something I learned from my mom, who has never been afraid to set a Dumpster below a second-story window and throw out armloads of junk.

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Wednesday 12/18/2013
Stuffed animal a member of family
Posted: December 18, 2013

After a monthlong string of serious columns, my youngest son, Lindell, 6, has brought it to my attention that I haven’t yet addressed the most pressing issue of all: The fact that his stuffed bird, named Lindiddy, needs a bath, and no one can bring themselves to do it. Because no one wants Lindiddy to fall apart.

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Wednesday 12/11/2013
Government-run health care has pros and cons
Posted: December 11, 2013

Long before the debate over the Affordable Care Act, the military’s own government-run health care system has been, for me, a mixed bag. On the one hand, my health care has always been “free” (if you can call paying with duty, deployments and, sometimes, life “free”).

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Wednesday 12/04/2013
Great Stuff: Last line of defense
Posted: December 04, 2013

Of all the household chores and repairs I’ve had to face on my own in Dustin’s absences, the one that I still feared the most, until last week, was using Great Stuff Foam.

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Wednesday 11/27/2013
My feelings about the military: It's complicated
Posted: November 27, 2013

People sometimes wonder if I love or hate being a military dependent. It’s a good question, and one I’ve asked myself.

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