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  • Archive for June, 2009

    Show “South Park” in Sunday School!

    Posted by Shannon Love on 22nd June 2009 (All posts by )

      From South Park Season 2 Episode 12 “Clubhouse

      Sharon (Stan’s Mom): [sighs] Stanley, you know you’re the most imprtant thing to me, right?

      Stan: If that’s true, then get back together with Dad for me!

      Sharon: Now Stanley, you have to understand how divorce works. When I say, “you’re the most important thing to me,” what I mean is, you’re the most important thing after me and my happiness and my new romances.

      Stan: Oh.

      I think South Park is the most moral show on TV. Even with all the cursing and gross-out humor, I think it should be shown in Sunday School.

    Posted in Media, Society | 40 Comments »

    Let the FTC Regulate Where It Would Do Some Good

    Posted by Shannon Love on 22nd June 2009 (All posts by )

    So, the bright bulbs at Obama’s Federal Trade Commission have decided to regulate blogs based on the premise that undisclosed financial relationships between bloggers and businesses could lead bloggers to deceive their readers as to the value of products they blog about. [h/t Instapundit]

    If we’re going to regulate speech based on inducements to bias why stop with mere financial relationships? I think we should require all media sources to reveal all possible sources of bias starting with the political affiliations of the publishers and reporters. After all, the media sells stories they advertise as accurate and objective. Shouldn’t consumers have ready access to the information they need to decide if those claims are true?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Media, Politics | 10 Comments »

    Summer Book Recommendations for a Friend

    Posted by Lexington Green on 21st June 2009 (All posts by )

    One of my pals asked me for a list of ten good books for possible Summer reading.

    This is what I came up with for him.

    ………….

    Here are some recommendations. Not really a “top ten” but ten good ones that I have liked especially well that you may find interesting.

    David Kilcullen, The Accidental Guerilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One (Gen. Petraeus’s counterinsurgency advisor provides an overview of where we are now, how we got here, and what to do next. Half memoir, half primer, this is the best book on the current military conflicts the USA is engaged in. Highest possible recommendation. I am going to see him speak tonight.)

    Robert Coram, Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (2004) (John Boyd was an eccentric genius who had a major impact on US military thinking, this is his story, and a case study of integrity in the face of social and professional pressure. If you like this, the book to drill down on Boyd’s thinking and theories is Frans P. B. Osinga, Science, Strategy, and War: The Strategic Theory of John Boyd.)

    Joseph Roth, The Radetzky March (Novel. Written in the 1930s, set in the era just before World War I, the story of a family whose destiny was woven with the Habsburg monarchy, a love story about the love a father for his son, a topic not usually dealt with in fiction, and a portrait of a time which I have some nostalgia for.)
    .
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Photos, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

    Nuclear Energy Update

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 20th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Background on Nuclear Energy:

    Nuclear energy provides a significant portion of the world’s base load power capacity, along with coal power, gas, and hydro-electricity. While “renewable” energy and conservation receive the lion’s share of the media coverage, in fact they make up a minuscule proportion of our total generation.

    In the United States, for various reasons, there has been little or no investment in new base-load energy capacity, other than natural gas, and our existing plants are continuing to age. Since the plants have a long lead-time, if no new plants are started soon, we will have retirements and no reasonably priced options to replace them, which will drive up the total cost of energy and make our economy less competitive.

    There are two viewpoints that I see frequently on this topic:

    1) “The Greens” who view nuclear plants as a possible solution for greenhouse emissions and less “dirty” than coal, and I will put most of the government and media dreamers in this category
    2) “The Engineers” who talk about new plant designs and how efficient they are and how technology can help us resolve this situation, which seems plausible given that most of the technology behind nuclear and coal plants actually in operation today stems from the 60’s and early 70’s

    One viewpoint that I don’t see very often is what I will call “the bitter realist”. I am definitely in this camp, based on decades of experience with the utility industry, focused primarily on the financing side, which also requires a fair dose of regulatory experience (since they are closely intertwined). You can see much more detailed posts (50 and counting) on the energy industry in the US here.

    Recent Events in Nuclear Power:

    One event that didn’t receive the coverage that it deserved is the decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain storage plan in Nevada for spent nuclear fuel. Obama made this decision not to fund Yucca Mountain in the 2010 budget, although this has not been finalized. Over $9 billion has been spent on Yucca Mountain and work has proceeded on this effort since 1987. Utilities have been paying into a Federal fund to contribute to this storage site, and now each individual utility will need to determine how to store their own fuel on their own location indefinitely. There will also likely need to be some resolution to the amounts that the utilities have paid into the fund and whether these contributions will continue.

    This plan was the signal monstrosity of the “greens / government” combined with the “engineers”. The site was studied to death but even 2 seconds into it the “bitter realist” could have told you that there was no way that thousands of shipments of nuclear waste were going to be shipped all the way across the USA and dumped into Nevada; this process could be halted anywhere by 1) bitter fighting by the state of Nevada (note that Harry Reid is now a big power in the Democratically controlled Senate, and he is celebrating) 2) lawsuits or even protests along the tracks 3) any sort of snafu (which seems inevitable, considering the logistics) along the way, the same way that the Three Mile Island incident was used to be the death knell of nuclear power in the USA.

    So, now effectively we have abandoned any type of central storage (don’t believe the nonsense by the new energy secretary about a new plan; this one took 22 years to die and we haven’t even started thinking of another one) and now each of the utilities effectively need to plan for their own spent storage on site, indefinitely. This will also be something that the protesters can use to try to slow down / stop any new construction (do you want radioactive fuel in your neighborhood FOREVER? – I can see the signs in my head, now).

    Another problem is that utilities have to plan for decommissioning their existing sites and pay for it “as they go”, unlike the Federal government, for example (which just issues debt and more debt). The cost of decommissioning is gigantic; you can only imagine the feast of lawyers and regulators that swoop to the site like seagulls at a garbage dump. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently cited 18 nuclear power plants to address these funding shortfalls – since they are not able to invest in risky securities, the current low interest rates will also mean that additional cash infusions will be required at some point in the future (although these policies mean that they didn’t lose money in the recent crash, either).

    US Government Selects Four Companies for Federal Loan Guarantees:

    The US Government recently selected four companies for Federal loan guarantees for new nuclear plant construction. Per the WSJ article titled “US Chooses Four Utilities to Revive Nuclear Industry”:

    Seventeen companies applied for $122 billion of federal loan guarantees for 21 proposed reactors. In creating their short list, federal officials sought companies with strong development teams and plans that could be implemented quickly. They also wanted a mix of traditional utilities (Scana and Southern) and newer “merchant” generators (NRG, UniStar) that sell electricity at unregulated prices. Merchant operators have reaped big productivity gains in nuclear power in recent years. Foreign partners that might be able to contribute loans or equity were also considered a plus.

    Hmmm…. when I saw this list I was pretty confused.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation | 7 Comments »

    Blogging and Marginal Cost

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 19th June 2009 (All posts by )

    A recent article in the NY Times titled “Blogs Falling In An Empty Forest” described the apparently common phenomenon of people starting blogs, and then abandoning them. Per the article

    According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned

    The article went on to describe some common situations; a stay-at-home mom trying to earn some money from her blog, or talking about their personal beliefs and such. The blogs seemed to promise profitability, but didn’t deliver, even if they had a reasonable amount of page views.

    The writer of the article was clearly a journalist and not an economist – the economist would have immediately proffered the explanation for why this occurs

    The marginal revenue for this product ultimately will be equal to the marginal cost

    And what is the marginal cost for setting up a blog? Why it is roughly zero, of course. And with millions setting up blogs and “chasing” (or not, in the case of LITGM and many other blogs we know and like) page views and advertising dollars, the market was instantly overloaded with choices and soon became a mass of abandoned blogs.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Internet | 12 Comments »

    Ten Books I Want To Read Again

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th June 2009 (All posts by )

    I have too little time to read, let alone re-read. But there are certain books that had an impact on me, that I think about from time to time, and that I have an urge to re-read. I suppose that re-reading, or at least wanting to re-read is a sign that a book is part of a person’s quantum library. I have more, but I will pick ten:

    • Charles Norris Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture: A Study of Thought and Action from Augustus to Augustine
    • Eric Rucker Eddison, The Worm Ouroboros
    • Robert A Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
    • Homer, The Iliad
    • George Orwell, 1984
    • Quentin Reynolds, They Fought for the Sky: The Dramatic Story of the First War in the Air
    • Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions
    • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
    • Evelyn Waugh, The Sword of Honor Trilogy
    • H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

    A few years ago I re-read Starship Troopers, which had a huge impact on me when I was 11 years old. It was just about as good as I remembered it. I also re-read 1984 about five years ago. I first read 1984 when I was ten years old. I read it a couple of times afterwards. It is absolutely foundational to my thinking. In the ensuing years, I have read almost everything else by Orwell. I found that 1984 was much better than I remembered it being — So much so that I will certainly to go back to it one more time.

    For some reason, the ten books above are nagging at the back of my mind to be re-read.

    Please feel free to provide your own lists and observations in the comments.

    Posted in Book Notes | 16 Comments »

    Questions – Medicine

    Posted by Ginny on 18th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Having questions, I was going to comment on Shannon’s post, but it seemed hijacking. This is just curiosity talking.

    First, comment: I’m not that cheerful that decisions about my level of productivity (by then no doubt charmingly redefined as “quality of life”) no longer warranted the expense to keep me alive. Sure, I might make such a choice, but I’d just as soon it was mine. That health care and especially research seems guided by political factions seems important – but maybe I’m wrong about that. I’m curious about others’ opinions.

    Question: Something that has gone through my mind a lot in these debates is America’s responsibility (and its future role) in developing techniques and drugs. I know I’m better off than many of my relatives were at this age. (And I’m not sick, just getting old.) So, I’m thankful. Cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, by-pass & pace-makers – the list is endless. Indeed, I remember when mental hospitals dotted the landscape of America. Sure, some of the crazies are living on the street, but many take their medication every day and go off to work. Cancer survivors surround me – but also remind me of how terrible the cure can be. And doctors describe advances in those treatments that are still in the trial stage.

    So: Am I right to think these made a difference? What policies (public or private) encourage development and innovation? How much is research driven by the greatest good for the greatest number – now? in the future? How much will any of the health plans politicians are coming up with affect these? Won’t they? I assumed we were paying for innovation and that leads to some of the expense. Is that true? Probably, the short question is – what percentage of innovation and discovery in these fields comes from America? If we didn’t do it, would it make much difference world-wide?

    Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

    There are More Ways to Go Wrong Than to Go Right.

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Megan McArdle makes a very good general point in her post on the illusion that socialism will reduce health-care costs:

    We have been trying to control health care costs since the 1970s made it clear that Medicare was going to get really, really expensive.  And any idea that you care to name, from comparative effectiveness research to healthcare IT to preventive medicine . . . these have all been on the table for more than thirty years, under one name or another.  They haven’t happened.
     
    The answer that those promising magical cost reductions need to ask is “Why haven’t they happened?” and “What has changed to make them feasible now?”  But when I ask this question, I get angry demands that I put forward my plan for cost control, rather than merely critiquing everyone else’s.  This seems rather like demanding that I put forward my design for a perpetual motion machine before I am allowed to point out problems in the US energy market.

    I was reminded of this style of argumentation by Harry Angstrom’s comments in my previous post, where he makes this exact argument. In thinking about it, I realized that a lot of debates with leftists often come down to this type of, “I have an idea and you don’t, therefore I must have the best plan,” argument. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Leftism, Political Philosophy, Rhetoric | 19 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Primitive Culture

    Chicagoboyz conduct extensive field research on the totems and customs of primitive cultures.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 8 Comments »

    Some Obama Infomercial Predictions

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Allow me to make some predictions about how ABC will make sure its Obama infomercial examination of health care issues will be “ informative and fair, thoughtful and thought-provoking.” [h/t Instapundit]

    ABC will frame the entire infomercial in leftist terms. They will use leftist definitions of what is and is not a health-care problem and they will present only leftist solutions to those problems. The “balance” will come when they deign to let non-leftists argue within the bounds that leftists set. 

    It will go something like this:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Leftism, Media, Politics | 10 Comments »

    To Serve Man

    Posted by David Foster on 18th June 2009 (All posts by )

    In a famous episode of The Twilight Zone, aliens come to earth and declare their desire to help humankind in every possible way. Their benign intentions seem confirmed when it is discovered that they have in their possession a book titled To Serve Man.

    Turns out it’s a cookbook.

    Allen West, who is running for Congress in Florida, very cleverly uses this episode as a metaphor for the current political situation.

    Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »

    Speaking of “Those Dumb Brinks Home Security Commercials”…

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Not only are the ads stupid and misleading, they perpetuate the stereotype that, no matter what else is happening, a woman will always drop everything to answer the phone. If someone just broke into your house, and the alarm goes off and you’re trying to figure out what to do, are you going to run to answer the phone if it rings? I’m surprised there hasn’t been more comment on this point, if only for purposes of ridicule.

    I understand the commercial rationale behind these ads. They seem to be directed at women who are concerned about being victimized but who don’t like guns and aren’t willing to take other serious measures to protect themselves. They want to feel safe, but either the mere feeling of safety is enough for them or they don’t understand that alarms by themselves do little to protect them. And because most such customers will not be victimized they may conclude that their alarms are worthwhile.

    One of the reasons why there are few criminal break-ins of occupied homes in the USA is that many Americans do have real security systems, particularly firearms. If you prefer not to own firearms, which may be a perfectly reasonable choice for you, you still benefit from the likelihood, which most criminals probably understand, that some of your neighbors are armed.

    Of course, an argument about the positive externalities conferred on communities by community members who are gun owners would be difficult to convey in a simple-minded TV commercial, and it might not help the alarm company’s business to point it out. But it’s a valid point and that’s a good thing for all of us.

    Posted in Business, Media, RKBA | 33 Comments »

    David Kilcullen at the Pritzker Military Library

    Posted by Lexington Green on 17th June 2009 (All posts by )

    I saw Dr. David Kilcullen speak last night at the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago.

    The full presentation is available as a video, here.

    He talked about his new book, The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One. I think it is the best book I have read so far about the current wars the USA is engaged in, why they went wrong, and what to do about it. The phrase “must read” is over-used. I try not to over-use it. “Accidental Guerilla” is a must read.

    It is very much worth listening to, and I won’t summarize the talk here, which is itself a summary of the book.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Middle East, Military Affairs, Society, Video, War and Peace | 7 Comments »

    Another Obama/Ayers Connection

    Posted by Shannon Love on 17th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Here’s another example of Obama and Ayers running in the same political circles.

    I’ll say it again:

    …, the real troubling aspect of the Obama-Ayers relationship is that Obama comes from a political subculture in which Ayers is an accepted and unremarkable individual. Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts.

    Ayers clearly wasn’t an outsider in leftist circles in Chicago. In this case, no one found it odd that an Illinois state senator was sharing a forum with an unrepentant, stalinist terrorist. One has to wonder how an political culture so accepting of Ayers shaped Obama’s world view.

    Clearly, Obama has to have had some sympathy with Ayers or he would not have shared a forum with him or endorsed his work.  In any other context, everyone would find this a highly questionable decision. I don’t think that Obama would let off the hook a Republican that shared a forum with someone who tried to kill abortion doctors and never expressed any regret for doing so. I doubt it would matter to Obama whether or not the anti-abortion terrorist went on to do humane work in another field. Obama would view a political culture that embraced an unrepentant anti-abortion terrorist as immoral and any politician that came out of that culture as strongly suspect.  

    We should hold Obama to the same standard.

    Posted in Academia, Leftism, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Well, at Least We Know ABC is Immune to Intellectual Embarassment

    Posted by Zenpundit on 16th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Creeping Chavezismo in the MSM in regard to President Obama. From Drudge:

    On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care — a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm! Highlights on the agenda:

    ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

    The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

    Imagine if ABC news delivered a report on religion from the Vatican and excluded non-Catholics. What message would that send? This is an amazing level of sycophancy toward a president by a major media outlet, even a Democratic president.Let us hear no more whining about bias on FOX or talk radio, this stunt by ABC amounts to unpaid advertisng and a de facto government TV program. Why is this happening? Simple Obama-worship at ABC? Unlikely.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Leftism, Media, Politics, The Press, USA | 9 Comments »

    Farming And Africa

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 16th June 2009 (All posts by )


    MEDIA HEAD FAKE

    Recently there have been a flurry of articles about farming and “returning to the land” in various Western magazines and newspapers. This headline in the most recent Monocle is typical of the trend – a few city-dwelling Japanese are considering a return to farming given recent economic events and also the fact that farming seems more eco-friendly and popular nowadays.

    While returning to organic farming in the West on a modest scale or hobby farm is more of a “personal growth” type activity, the farms in the West are of course extremely productive, using intensive agriculture, fertilizer and optimized seeds, as well as mechanization. The small organic farmer movement is more for media show than a viable long term strategy for feeding Earth’s billions, although certainly it has its place as long as people want to pay the requisite higher prices it entails.

    AGRICULTURE & INDUSTRY IN AFRICA

    In Africa, the population is exploding – from what I have been able to gather it is north of 880 million and probably closing in on a billion soon – and most of Africa is importing critical foodstuffs. African “governments”, which are mostly a collection of individuals who achieve power and utilize it to enrich themselves and their cronies, do not focus on agricultural needs since most of the population has migrated to vast cities and shanty-towns and their power base moved with them (they DO focus on mineral rights and oil, of course).

    This article from the Economist called “Outsourcing’s Third Wave” is eye-opening – it describes how foreign governments are negotiating with African leaders to buy / rent / run large tracts of land for the purpose of growing food in Africa for importation back to THEIR home countries. From the article:

    The Saudi programme is an example of a powerful but contentious trend sweeping the poor world: countries that export capital but import food are outsourcing farm production to countries that need capital but have land to spare. Instead of buying food on world markets, governments and politically influential companies buy or lease farmland abroad, grow the crops there and ship them back.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, China, International Affairs | 7 Comments »

    Report Relayed from Tehran

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 16th June 2009 (All posts by )

    I just received the appended message in e-mail from a friend in Europe. I have left it entirely unedited. Right now I feel so grateful that we don’t have to do things like this here. Never forget those who died for your freedom.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Elections, History, International Affairs, Iran, Middle East, Personal Narrative, Politics | 1 Comment »

    More Micromanagement

    Posted by David Foster on 16th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Investors Business Daily (6/15) has an item on proposed legislation which would force the reduction of the interchange/discount fees which are charged by credit card companies to retailers. The legislation would “let merchants collectively negotiate take-it-or-leave-it fees with issuers”–something that would surely be a violation of the antitrust laws if not specifically enabled by legislation.

    The proposal would be harmful to banks which are MasterCard and Visa issuers, but would be particularly harmful to American Express because of the way in which its business is structured. (Disclosure: I’m both an Amex shareholder and an Amex bondholder, although these positions do not represent a very substantial portion of my overall portfolio.)

    What this legislation will do, if passed, is to transfer wealth/income from the investors, executives, and employees of American Express to the investors, executives, and employees of retail companies. If passed, if would reinforce again the growing impression that the most important single factor in the success or failure of an American business lies in the strength of its relationship with the politicians.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Political Philosophy, Politics | Comments Off on More Micromanagement

    They Don’t Call It “Fisk-ing” For Nothing

    Posted by Shannon Love on 15th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Robert Fisk (yes, that Robert Fisk) is apparently in Iran. As is routine for Fisk with his delusional world view, he finds himself shocked at the violence directed against demonstrators

    Robert Fisk, a writer and journalist who was observing the rally, told Al Jazeera he had heard shoots fired and seen demonstrators break out into a run, but that things had continued to be largely peaceful.
     
    “It’s extraordinary to me that anyone would start shooting at such a huge crowd of people,” he said.

    Gee, Fisky, do you think it might have something to do with the people doing the shooting being are… what’s the technical term for it… oh, right, Evil?

    It says a lot about Fisk’s world view that he finds it extraordinary that a brutal, authoritarian regime would open fire on protestors. It explains a lot as well.

    Posted in Leftism, Media | 10 Comments »

    Modern Lovers: Roadrunner (non-album version)

    Posted by Lexington Green on 15th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Posted in Music, Video | 2 Comments »

    A Significant Sign in Iran?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 15th June 2009 (All posts by )

    There are reports coming from Twitter that the Iranian regime is using Arabic-speaking paramilitary troops to put down the demonstrations over the latest election. 

    If true, this report is a significant sign that the regime’s power has grown shaky. Using foreign troops with no native loyalties save to the leader that employs them is an age old practice of threatened leaders. The use of foreign troops would indicate that the Iranian regime no longer trusts it’s own native forces to suppress the people. 

    The current election squabble is clearly a power struggle within the ruling oligarchy. The people of Iran have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the oligarchy’s regime. One faction in the oligarchy has decided to deploy that dissatisfaction against its opposing faction. Regardless of who wins, the oligarchy will have lost membership. Once-powerful insiders will find themselves as outsiders.

    Such a contracting oligarchy has fewer and fewer people it can trust within the military and security forces, so they resort to importing troops they can trust. 

    Things might be looking up.

    Posted in Iran | 10 Comments »

    Frankly, My Dear Readers, I Don’t Give a Damn

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 15th June 2009 (All posts by )

    After the Shah was deposed, a constitution was enacted in Iran which set out the details of their government.

    It pretty much takes the form of a parliamentary system, with a President and elected legislature. But I’ve always just assumed that all of it is for appearances sake. A dog and pony show to placate the rubes.

    The reason why is due to the fact that, try as they might to cloak their government in the guise of a functioning democracy, real power is wielded by a single man. No one is able to do jack unless the Supreme Leader approves. Every position of any note, from high ranking military commanders to the people who run the media to the head judge in the country, is appointed by this guy.

    All new laws have to be approved by something called the Guardian Council. People running for parliament have to be approved by the G.C. before being allowed to take their posts. And who makes up this unelected body? It consists of six people hand picked by S.L. and another six hand picked by the head judge. And, in the paragraph above, who did I mention picks the head judge?

    It is possible that some form of dispute can arise between the Guardian Council and parliament, although that seems extremely unlikely. But, should it happen, then the dispute is decided by the Expediency Council. And who appoints every single member of the E.C? If you can’t guess, then you haven’t been paying attention.

    Besides having a title that sounds exactly like a comic book villain that Captain America would have fought, who is the Supreme Leader? A cleric. A religious leader. Iran is in the iron grip of a theocracy. The only people in the entire country who have direct control over the citizenry, from the military officers who control the guns to the media moguls who control the news, serve at the pleasure of a religious fanatic.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Elections, Iran, Middle East | 3 Comments »

    A Strategic Clarion Call: Part I

    Posted by Smitten Eagle on 14th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Looking at my own intellectual journey, I find that creativity usually comes in short bursts that punctuate long periods of reading, reflection, and hard work. About two weeks ago the National Security Blogosphere saw a great burst of creativity by the mind of Zenpundit. In this post (read every word!), Zenpundit identified several issues that the last couple of years of operations in Iraq have brought to the fore:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, International Affairs, Iraq, Military Affairs, Politics, Society, War and Peace | 3 Comments »

    Happy Birthday to the United States Army

    Posted by Lexington Green on 14th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Gen. Odierno remembers the day in Iraq.

    Those of us in safer places — safe because of our Army over more than two centuries — recall the work and sacrifice and victories of our soldiers with gratitude.

    Posted in Military Affairs, Society, USA, War and Peace | Comments Off on Happy Birthday to the United States Army

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 13th June 2009 (All posts by )

    Perhaps the best and only thing that the old can bequeath to the young is a good fight, a truly good struggle in something that matters, a fight that carries a person beyond the confines of a little, self-serving life into something deeper and more lovely.

    Fr. Bob Sprott, God, Country, Notre Dame.

    Posted in Academia, Education, Morality and Philosphy, Quotations, Religion | 1 Comment »