It’s March 11, We’re Officially 11 Going on 12, Curious as Ever, But Sadly Funny No Mooo

We must admit, we are losing our sense of humor. Your blogger regrets this deeply. Inevitably as the years go by, we start losing familiar people and things — loved ones succumb to age or go off on their own adventures. We part with cherished objects and pets. Sometimes when we lose an old friend, we don’t even get to say goodbye. So goodbye, E, a lovely and exceptional human being who enjoyed the written words; may you rest in peace in a heaven filled with books.

Last year, your blogger also said goodbye to an old house. And to an old garden that kept one sane. We bid farewell to the familiar hundred-year-old red cedar tree that stood watch over our backyard. But we had moved many times before; one become accustomed to taking leave of familiar places and homes and to settling into new ones. One gets used ti taking leave of old friends and finding new ones. However, these recurring and often sad transitions are not what is make us lose our sense of humor.

Dr. Web told us that the loss of humor could be an indication of the road to dementia. Alrighty, so advised. But we are not taking that road.  No. No. No. Thank you very much, we are in full possession of our faculties.  We may be losing old friends and and at least temporarily, a sense of place, but we have not yet damaged  our brain cells, people.

We are simply having issues with laughing, especially laughing out loud. Life is freaking funny, but we want it “funny ha-ha” like the way it used to be, not “funny kill me now” the way it often seems to be these days.  We’re hoping that ours is only a temporary affliction brought on by our current national circumstances and by the wretchedness  in our daily discourse.

This year, we can’t promise you the funnies, or even that we may become wiser as the year goes by. We do promise you that we’ll keep trying to do both, even if we may not always be successful. This blog began during the last year of Secretary Rice’s tenure, spanned the entire tenures of Secretaries Clinton and Kerry, and through the long, dark and stormy 423 Tillerson days.  And now we are right smack in the Swagger Era. And who knows how long this will last.

This ride is making even mellow bloggers cranky.  So let’s chew on eleven but onward to year 12. We hope you’ll keep us company even if, like us, you just want to be bewitched at times, like Rip Van Winkle in the old-growth forests of the Catskills.

Note: For new dot-gov and related readers who are just getting acquainted with this blog, please read the plain print:  this blogger does not/does not work for the secretary of state or any government-funded entity. This blog is supported by a few ads and donations from generous readers. We conduct public discourse as a private citizen.  And as always, any take down notice will be published in full.



@StateDept’s Chief Diplomatic Recruiter Seeks Diversity, Heads to a State With 91.1 Percent White Population

Posted: 4:01 am EDT


We’ve been ill, so we’re just catching up on this news.  One of the purported reasons for the secretary of state’s recent trip to Iowa is to recruit flesh blood to add to his “75,000 great warriors out around the world” doing, as best we could tell, diplomatic and consular work. We don’t know how the secretary and his smart people on the 7th Floor missed the fact that Iowa is actually overwhelmingly white. Like 91.1 percent white. Also, in January 2019, WalletHub notes that Iowa is not doing really great in bridging racial disparities –the state ranks 48th in racial integration, and number 50 on its racial progress ranking (Maine took the 51st spot, by the way).  WalletHub said it measured the gaps between blacks and whites across 22 key indicators of equality and integration in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  See link below.

We’d like to helpfully note that as of September 2018, at least 81 percent of the State Department’s career foreign service officers are white, at least 75 percent of the career foreign service specialists are white, and 60 percent of career civil service employees are white (see Snapshot: @StateDept Permanent Workforce by Ethnicity, Race, Gender, and Disability).  The agency has  0.10 percent Native Hawaiian representation, and 0.40 percent American Indian representation. Those numbers disappear at the senior ranks. Don’t mind us, but that trip to Iowa would have made more sense if it were a trip to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, or the areas with the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population.

During his trip, Secretary Pompeo told the Iowa Farm Bureau he wants to ensure “people from the heartland” serve within the Foreign Service. Okay, but if it’s important enough to warrant a trip, why have they not created a hashtag to go with it, hey?

So geographic diversity is more important than diversity of thoughts? Yes? No?

Or it it that this time, for this specific trip, geographic diversity is kinda important?

A recent Miles With Mike blog/newsletter/scrapbook rolled into one alerted everyone that “In the next few weeks” he will be  “traveling around our country to meet and speak with Americans in numerous cities, to hear how we can best advance their interests.”

Very confusing. First, it was visit the farmers and the heartland, then also recruit for the State Department, and now it looks like he will be on a listening tour in numerous cities to um, hear how he can “best advance their interests.”

Anyway, this should be interesting. How is he going to ensure geographic diversity remains to be seen. Candidates still have to take the exam. Is the Foreign Service Board of Examiners going to start awarding points to Foreign Service candidates based on their states of birth, or states of residence? Or voter registration? We suspect that Congress would be interested on any potential changes specific to Foreign Service recruitment. Also, with our society being prone to litigation, if this geographic diversity selection ever becomes policy, how soon before the non-heartland people sign up for class action?

Source: WalletHub