For Washington – Avoiding the Seventh Labor of Hercules

Americans across party lines are deeply dissatisfied with Washington. And well they might be, as government incompetence and corruption have become hallmarks of the daily news cycle. Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch is partisan and ineffective, with an Administration's party refusing to address problems within its agencies and the opposition party doing little else. Neither party is offering solutions.. . . Here are a few remedies. Read more »

Trying these shoes on for size — nah!

[ by Charles Cameron — a little semi-private laughing at myself via Madam Secretary ] . I’ve been having some private chuckles watching season 1 of Madam Secretary, and I’m betting Dr Henry McCord, the religion professor / NSA guy, doesn’t have to beg his friends for copies of their journal papers the way I […] Read more »

Lies, Damned lies and non-comparable statistics – reporting diversity at the State Department

Shortly before the Easter weekend, the State Department quietly published a partial breakdown of 2015 diversity statistics on its website. This endeavor was apparently only done at the prodding of a senior Senator. Except for data covering 2009, 2010 and 2011 Foreign Service promotions published in the State Department Magazine in June 2012, these are the only statistics broken down by ethnicity and gender that State has furnished publicly that we have seen in years. And here they are – as minimal an amount of information as could be put out there and still satisfy the Congressional request. But did they and should they be enough to mollify Congress? Read more »

Anne Smedinghoff Didn’t Have to Die Part 2

[ Last week, Zen hosted Pete Turner’s guest post, PRT and State Department Ignorance Fails Us All. Here is part 2 of that article — posted by Charles Cameron for Zen ] . ** Last week I wrote about the tragedy of Anne Smedinghoff, who died on a patrol in Qalat Afghanistan.  This is part […] Read more »

Guest Post: PRT and State Department Ignorance Fails Us All

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“]             Anne Smedinghoff ZP is pleased to bring you a guest post by Pete Turner, co-host of The Break it Down Show and is an advocate of better, smarter, transition operations. Turner has extensive overseas experience in hazardous conditions in a variety of positions including operations: […] Read more »

A misappropriated image?

[ by Charles Cameron — minor correction to a USG CVE tweet ] . pic.twitter.com/ofmYeFGNsx — Think AgainTurn Away (@ThinkAgain_DOS) February 18, 2016 ** I don’t think there’s any room for doubt about the Islamic State enslaving captured women and selling them. The IS magazine Dabiq, issue 4, under the heading The Revival of Slavery […] Read more »

More than undiplomatic moments: State’s diversity record remains behind a hard line

I’d like to know, however, just how helpful Madeleine (1997-2001), Hillary (2009-2013) or, for that matter, Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009) were when they were Secretaries of State to women in the career Foreign Service. Albright, Rice and Clinton, after all, occupied the lofty position for a combined total of 12 years since Albright assumed it as our first female Secretary in 1997. Verbally advocating women’s rights is one thing, but actually righting a long standing injustice in one’s own department is another. Read more »

Guest Post: Duncan Hunter and Human Terrain System by Turner

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“]         ZP is pleased to bring you a guest post by Pete Turner, co-host of The Break it Down Show and is an advocate of better, smarter, transition operations. Turner has extensive overseas experience in hazardous conditions in a variety of positions including operations: Joint Endeavor (Bosnia), Iraqi […] Read more »

Here are the Facts: State Does It Again

This is a summary of a longer article by Joan Wadleton that begins below the fold titled Background on My Case that sets out new developments in my lengthy battle with the State Department’s Bureau of Human Resources (HR), including a July 2015 Report from State’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). Read more »

What We Are Reading

Key Reads U.S., Cuba Quietly Open Historic New Chapter in Post-Cold War Ties Matt Spetalnick / Reuters The United States and Cuba quietly ushered in a new era of post-Cold War relations on Monday, formally restoring diplomatic ties severed more than five decades ago and re-establishing embassies in each other’s capitals. Banks in Greece Reopen, and Sales […]

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