I wrote some background about myself and then learned it was too long for the "About Me" section.
"Idealistic, not ideological". The world can be a better place and I accept responsibility for doing my part to make it better.
Both my parents are idealistic, strong-willed, independent thinkers. Both of them, especially my scientist father, quickly spot weaknesses in arguments... and point them out.
I was raised in Oak Park, Illinois which believed in technically competent government actively improving the community.
I have Attention Deficit Disorder. While the ADD makes it more challenging to complete projects, the quirks in my neurochemistry also enhance my creativity and allow me to see possibilities and make connections other people might miss.
At the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland) I studied engineering. After graduating I was an active duty Navy officer for 7 1/2 years. During that time I served on two ships homeported in Japan, as a UN peacekeeper in Cambodia and as a recruiter in Chicago.
It was during this final tour in recruiting that I became a whistleblower about extensive corruption in Navy Recruiting Command. Being a whistleblower and witnessing the cover-up educated me about the potential for unethical behavior in organizations.
My first job after leaving the Navy was working for the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines. I was lucky to be part of activism that culminated in the Ottawa Treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines and the Campaign to Ban Landmines receiving a Nobel Peace Prize. From this experience I internalized that the world can move quickly on an issue when society's paradigm shifts.
I later went on to working in many political campaigns, lobbying the House of Representatives, being on a political action committee and being an activist in the Reform Party. I have seen how politics works from a number of perspectives. I also worked for the Oak Park township assessor preparing property tax appeals.
The world can be a better place, but ideology has its limitations. Human nature contains contradictions that can't be contained in something as simple as ideology.
Since March, 2003, I have hosted Collective Interest, a program on WUIC, the radio station of the University of Illinois at Chicago.