SAC-ked

by on 2008-10-25- Leave a reply

Paging Robert Farley.Roughly sixteen years ago, the US military disbanded the Strategic Air Command (SAC). But now the USAF plans to bring it back... with a new name.The US Air Force (USAF) is planning to set up a new Global Strike Command for its nuclear weapons as part of a re-organisation after recent mishaps.The move follows the discovery that six nuclear weapons were mistakenly flown across the US, and that nuclear missile fuses were sent unknowingly to Taiwan.The blunders resulted in the sacking of two of USAF's most senior officials.A three-star general will head the new command, part of a
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I wanna fly into your airspace

by on 2008-10-25- Leave a reply

Russians can make the funny on YouTube too!
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McCain’s fundamental problem

by on 2008-10-24- Leave a reply

is best articulated here.
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Still Going Nucular

by on 2008-10-23- Leave a reply

A couple of weeks back I visited Arlington for the National Science Foundation's Human and Social Dynamics PI conference. The HSD Initiative is one of NSF's "cross-cutting" programs, which means the same pool of money funds political scientists, neurologists, roboticists, physicists, anything under the sun if the proposal is smart enough and vaguely related to the RFP. The point of their annual gatherings is in part to create interdisciplinary "synergy": to provoke conversations among scientists from diverse fields who would otherwise likely never meet.In practice, these gatherings are a bit socially awkward. Try walking up to a biochemist and striking
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The resurrection

by on 2008-10-23- Leave a reply

Nothing like a global financial crisis to make the IMF relevant again.In all seriousness, though, after the 1997 East Asian financial crisis it seemed that the IMF was in danger of irrelevance. Very few countries were willing to accept the conditions required by the IMF for loans. But with the world only a few steps back from the brink, that appears to be changing. And with the outcome of the Ukraine-IMF negotiations pending, we may soon get a sense of how much the IMF is willing to require in exchange for cash infusions.
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Unreal America

by on 2008-10-20- Leave a reply

Perhaps the only response to reprehensible exclusivity, or to the appropriation of common rhetorical resources ('America') for purely partisan purposes, is satire:Unreality Is Expanding.The question is: is satire enough? One clearly can't argue with "real America" language, so what can one do except satirize it?
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Do you live in the “real America”?

by on 2008-10-19- Leave a reply

Remember when Bill Clinton promised to put together a Cabinet that "looks like America"? Then, to his credit, George W. Bush "appointed a more diverse set of top advisers than any president in history."Now, however, Governor Sarah Palin defines "real America" in a substantially less inclusive manner: "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."As anyone paying attention knows,
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“Is there something wrong with some seven year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be President?”

by on 2008-10-19- Leave a reply

Forget Powell's endorsement of Obama. The most noteworthy part of his remarks was his public denunciation of those members of the GOP who have engaged in a sickening pattern of Muslim-baiting over the last year or so.Powell's short, but powerful, defense of Islamic Americans earned back, at least for me, a lot of the prestige he squandered during the campaign to sell the Iraq War.His remarks on the subject start around 4:30.
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Multipolarity versus Hegemony: Is this really the right question?

by on 2008-10-18- Leave a reply

Dan recently commented on how the decline in US economic power will likely lead to a rewrite of the post-war global order. Additionally, there are reports that a new intelligence assessment by US agencies is set to be released after the upcoming elections which notes the coming relative decline of US predominance, particularly in the economic realm, by 2025. Now, there have been numerous predictions of US decline that, like the death of Mark Twain, have been greatly exaggerated. But the current panic in the US economy is on par with the very worst crises we've seen since the Great
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Bretton Woods 2.0

by on 2008-10-17- 1 Comment

If British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have their way, the advanced industrialized nations will come together to negotiate a new economic order. But they will do so in a world in which the US and the European Union enjoy roughly equal GDP (with a slight advantage for the EU right now). When Bretton Woods was negotiated, in contrast, the US controlled about half of global economic production.In other words, any such bargain would be the product less of US hegemony than US-EU comity, with China, Japan, and India as important players in the mix. This
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When do we hit bottom?

by on 2008-10-17- Leave a reply

Switzerland is bailing out UBS, but some say the banking system won't melt down. The lead story on the Financial Times website?IMF ready to help stabilise UkraineThe credit crisis deepened as Hungary and Ukraine turned to international institutions in an effort to avoid following Iceland into financial turmoil and US industrial production suffered its largest monthly decline since 1974.I don't think this is what McCain meant when he told us to "watch Ukraine."
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The really important things in life

by on 2008-10-17- Leave a reply

My second-favorite baseball team is whoever is playing against the Red Sox. Tonight, it's the Rays, on the verge of eliminating the Sox, and already up 2-0 in the second inning.It may be The End Of The World As We Know It -- and the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series is one of the lesser-known signs of the apocalypse, in point of fact -- but as long as the Red Sox are losing, I feel fine.
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Quick Debate Thoughs

by on 2008-10-16- Leave a reply

I actually enjoyed last night's debate much more so than the previous three. Part of it could be that I watched with a real-live crowd of college-aged students instead of by myself at home with only my minuscule live-blog audience. But mostly, I think, it was because it was, finally, more of an actual debate and less of a set of parallel talking points. The two actually had to speak to each other and were given sufficient time to articulate a campaign position, criticize the opponent, and then respond directly to that criticism. It made for a much more lively
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That’s some pretty patchy fabric

by on 2008-10-16- Leave a reply

ACORN is on the brink of "perpetrating the greatest vote fraud" in American history? About to "destroy the fabric of democracy"? As I said before, we're through the looking glass, people.... Oh, and the Asian markets are tanking right now.
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Down With Negativity!

by on 2008-10-16- Leave a reply

I am no expert on American political campaigns, and do not know the literature on political adverstisements. I have, however, done a fair amount of qualitative research aimed at measuring the meaning of things in a reliable, replicable way. So I'm curious to know who is using such a method to keep track of "negativity" in campaign ads?Someone must be. Because the candidates both argued tonight not just that their opponent's ads are perceived by others to be negative (a poll-based description of people's impressions rather than the ads themselves) or that their opponent's ads actually are negative (a subjective
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Oh, wait. There’s a debate on!

by on 2008-10-16- Leave a reply

The third "debate" turns out to be an actual debate. Other than that, no live blogging tonight. Had to finish a midterm for one of my classes.I may post some general impressions after the debate. My gut reaction now is that McCain isn't pushing a consistent line of attack. In consequence, his digs at Obama are rebounding to the latter's benefit by making him look cool, reasonable, and collected. In some respects, this may prove a real problem for McCain, insofar as it gives Obama a platform to answer the least persuasive ones (ACORN, Ayers) head on. At best, the
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Debate preview

by on 2008-10-15- Leave a reply

Given the way the campaign has gone lately, this seems to offer a preview of tonight's presidential debate: I never really previously noticed the parallels between Senator McCain and the Penguin.
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Motives, Action, and Ordinary People

by on 2008-10-15- Leave a reply

I started writing this post as a further contribution to the comment thread sparked by my last post, and in particular to the discussion that Janice Bially Mattern and I were having there. But my reply got too long for Haloscan to process, so I have moved it up a level and made it into a separate post. Plus, in doing so I am able to add this striking graphic, which is, I think, another example of the phenomenon we're wrestling with. Full disclosure, I found this picture over at FiveThirtyEight. Fuller disclosure, as you might guess, the discussion that
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Foucault 101

by on 2008-10-15- Leave a reply

With apologies to Mojo Nixon:Power is everywherePower is everythingPower is everybodyPower is not still the king
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Vox populi?

by on 2008-10-13- Leave a reply

There's this video of McCain supporters in line at a rally in Pennsylvania that has been making the rounds on the 'Net (tip of the hat to Janice Bially Mattern for sending it to me). Here it is now:Figuring out what to make of this is slightly more complicated than simply having a gut reaction to it -- not the a gut reaction is unimportant, or even necessarily wrong, but in this case I think it can obscure some of what's going on in the scene. This is particularly true since the video's author is clearly drawing a contrast between
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