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About AlFansome

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    Danville, CA
  1. Go to https://summit.scouting.org/en/Jamboree2013/Pages/Council.aspx and scroll down to "Webinars". Each month there is a webinar that contingent leaders can listen to and ask questions of National jambo organizers. The transcripts of these sessions are at the above link. They won't provide all the answers, but there are useful nuggets in there and (in particular) you can read leaders' questions and at least know that you're not alone in wondering what the deal is.
  2. FWIW, here's a longer article from a local magazine with some background from the family: http://www.diablomag.com/Diablo-Magazine/January-2013/Excluded/
  3. For the whole blog post from Rabbi Pruzansky, go here: http://rabbipruzansky.com/2012/11/07/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-american-empire/ Putting quotes around an incomplete and edited quotation isn't good form, in general.
  4. From the 2011 Guide to Advancement: Revising Merit Badges Through a process managed by the national Advancement Team, all merit badges are reviewed periodically to improve relevance, consistency, and requirement and content accuracy. Merit badge counselors, unit leadership, parents, and youth are encouraged to send suggestions or comments to merit.badge@scouting.org . All submissions are reviewed and considered as merit badges and pamphlets are revised. Feedback has been invaluable in correcting errors, updating material, and enhancing content. Alternately, write to the address listed in the front cover of all the new color merit badge pamphlets.
  5. Registering seems a bit unnecessary, IMHO, since there's no major benefit and just hoops to jump through. However, our troop leadership requires YPT for any drivers on troop outings from the troop meeting point to wherever we happen to be going. It's been very well received by the parents with no push-back at all. It didn't hurt that the pack at our same school recently had a Den Leader arrested and convicted for child porn. It also helps to get the parents to understand what the leaders' restrictions are with regard to YPT and might open a few eyes if something were to be a bit off. 45 minutes of time once every two years isn't much to ask, I don't think.
  6. Fred, Except for a couple of extra peices of paper, there's absolutely nothing in the BSA structure to prevent exactly what you suggest. A Chartered Org has complete control over which adults are in which positions in their units. If a CO wanted the same person to be the Committee Chair of all their units, then it's a done deal. If a CO wanted their COR to also be the Committee Chair of all their units, it's a done deal since a COR can dual-register as a CC or a Committee Member. The issue is that 90+% of all Chartered Orgs don't take the time to understand the program and actually "run" the program to their likings.
  7. Going back to Beavah observation that there are more Republicans in the House, yet more Democratic voters (and electors): Just an unsubstantiated (and unresearched!) theory: Maybe it has to do with the fact that Dems tend to (generally) dominate the large cities and perhaps are more "dense" with their voting and therefore tend to win those districts with 70-30 or 80-20 splits?? As a simplistic example, if you have 4 Democratic districts with 70(D)-30® splits and 8 Republican ones with 60®-40(D) splits, you get the same overall total vote totals, but twice as many Republican representatives (assuming the same population in each district). It'd be interesting to see what the average percentage margin of victory is for Dems vs. Republicans in house races to see if this theory is correct, or if (perhaps), the total Democratic vs. Republican vote split at the presidential level doesn't correlate with the total Democratic vs. Republican vote split in House race. Another theory is that currently, Republicans control something like 29 out of the 50 state legistatures and perhaps this control allowed for some extra special gerrymandering after the 2010 census which would help to solidify their control on their districts and even extend the map further in their favor. (The Dems do the same thing, of course, but with fewer states under their control, the effect is less).
  8. I know that California bashing is popular and all, but we here in the Golden State have solved the problem that you've mentioned. First, the electorate passed a proposition whereby the legislature doesn't create the congressional districts at re-districting time. An independent, bi-partisan, 8 member Redistricting Commission sets the final lines. The 8 members are randomly selected from pools of Democratic, Republican and non-affiliated nominees. A website with way too much gory detail is at http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/. There were many court challenges which were eventually all rejected and if you compare 2010 vs 2012 district maps, you can see that there are many fewer gerrymandered districts and much more geographical integrity to quite of few of them as well. Regarding Pelosi: She's not from a gerrymandered district. Her district is 4/5 of the city of San Francisco, and I'd say that the 1/5 that's not in her district has more in common with the area to the south that with the rest of the city, so her district makes sense from an objective point of view. Pic of the district is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:United_States_House_of_Representatives,_California_District_8.png (copy and paste the link...clicking won't work) You can insert whatever comment you want about how SF pics their congressperson, of course. :-) Secondly, in an attempt to get more moderates elected as opposed to the wingnuts on either end of the spectrum, another voter-approved proposition was passed whereby the top 2 vote-getters in the primary REGARDLESS OF PARTY are the ones in the general election. So, in an extremely, heavily Republican or Democratic district, you'd get 2 Democrats running or 2 Republicans running in the general election, with the idea being that the minority party and perhaps many independents would vote for the more moderate of the 2 candidates. An indeed, that's what has happened already this year. Pete Stark (42-year House member) and a Democrat just got defeated by a young Democrat on Tuesday. No way that happens without the new law. (This message has been edited by AlFansome)
  9. Instead of chanting for llama ads, you can simply click the little 'x' on the upper right of the banner ads that are most prominent on top and bottom of the page. (Note that some ads don't have this little 'x'). It will "mute" that particular ad. I clicked through about 6 political ads and haven't seen one since. After clicking the 'x', the Google service that provides these ads to the website will also present you with a link you can click that allows you to customize what ads you will see in the future (by topic). After all, the point of ads is to get you to click on them. If you are served up ads that you have no interest in, it defeats the purpose of the ad for the advertiser. In addition, realize that anything you do a Google search on or any little crumb of info that Google gets about your computer's online activity will also feed into the ad choices that you see. (Note in this discussion Google is used since that's the company that is providing the ads to Scouter.com....other sites use other companies to collect data from your online activity to feed into their ad-generating algorithms.) (This message has been edited by AlFansome)
  10. Not sure if this counts as a "sponsor", but it's pretty close with regard to the Chess Merit badge: "The USCF (United States Chess Federation) provided the primary contributing writers for the Merit Badge pamphlet. They will be helping to promote the badge through communications with the Chess delegate teams (similar to BSAs National Committees and Boards) and e-mail blasts, plus website and "tournament news" announcements." BSA Supply Line, July 2011 There are certainly some badges that could benefit an outside organization (for instance, Geocaching can drive traffic and interest to geocaching.com). Likwiese, I can't imagine that Composite Materials was something though up by the folks in Irving, either. We'll have to wait and see on the requirements for the new Sustainability badge to see if it passes the sniff test.
  11. Implicit in Beavah's reply is the notion that being gay (and being honest about it) is not in keeping with the Oath (i.e. morally straight) and that being gay is somehow a bad example for other scouts and that homosexuality is a choice. (Don't mean to put words in Beavah's mouth...so correct me if I'm wrong). I think there's enough evidence that quite a few scouters don't hold Beavah's position to be true and therefore it's not cut and dry what the "right" thing to do is. As an example, my troop is in the same council as the scout that's all over the news. So far, a majority of our registered leaders have have written to the SE directly in opposition to current policy. Likewise, the CO is also opposed to the current policy. If a Scout were to come out as gay, there'd be no way he'd be removed from scouting or denied Eagle just based on that fact alone if it were up to troop leadership. The only way this would happen would be if a parent or outside source complained to the SE. If the SE were to revoke the scout's membership, then there is 100% certainty that our CO would walk away from scouting and stop chartering the 6 units it currently sponsors.
  12. Looks like 40+ Eagles from his troop and 180+ total are returning their Eagle medals in support: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/09/14293913-gay-scouts-come-out-rally-around-teens-eagle-scout-bid I'm about 10 minutes from the Troop's town, so this has been getting quite a bit of play here locally and of course inside our Council as well. It will be interesting to see if there's a push in the council to take a position like the Northern Star council did. FWIW, the troop website has been taken down at this point, but it's an "interesting" troop on a couple of levels not related to it's current notariety.
  13. Where are the parents? Are they all in a big group in the back of the room? It's much easier to have the scouts sit in a horseshoe with all the activity happening in the middle, with you at the open end of the horseshoe. Parents should be sitting behind/near their sons. When you put "signs up", if the boys quiet down, but the parents don't, just say: "Boys please turn around and tell your parents to be quiet so we can continue with the meeting/get on to our next game/hand out some awards. Maybe they don't know that signs up applies to them, too." Parents will get the hint and things will quiet down, especially if you are very consistent about stopping the meeting whenever noise and chatter from the parents starts up again.
  14. Sorry, BadenP, but OakTree is correct. For every hour volunteered for an organization, Intel will donate $10 to the organization in question. (See http://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/index.ssf/2012/06/intel_foundation_donates_22_mi.html and http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/06/12/intel-foundation-donates-thousands-to-nonprofits-including-sunnyvale-farm/) I'm a chartered rep for 6 units with 40 miles of Intel HQ and we typically receive these funds from Intel through the 501©(3) chartered org and pass them through to the units. Other funds come in through employee matching, for instance, if a volunteer donates money to the unit instead of via FOS. The contributions most certainly do not go to National, and only to Council if the employee decides that's where the money is to go (i.e. FOS matching). In cases where the Chartered Org isn't 501©(something), then the situation probably becomes a bit more muddled.
  15. I'm COR for 6 units (2 packs, 3 troops and a crew). At the Council level, I attend the annual business meeting, where "votes" are held regarding next year's budget, required IRS mumbo-jumbo, and other mundane topics. These votes are really just rubber stamps, anyway, since there are never more than 5 or so CORs in attendance and it's the Executive Board members who dominate the meeting. Most of the real work in our Council is done in committee and the Board and CORs primarily follow their recommendations. BadenP is correct in that there is supposed to be one appointed COR per CO to act as the "head of the Scouting department" for the CO. I was even told by our Council registrar that ScoutNet wouldn't accept multiple CORs from the same CO, either. (Not sure if this is 100% accurate)
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