Metaphor for an Endgame

by on 2008-09-24- Leave a reply

While I am never one to question the wisdom of the great Yogi Berra, we're starting to get a picture of how this Presidential election will play out--and it looks like Obama is clearly in the driver's seat.*Take Nate's analysis of the electoral map and today's Washington Post poll that gives Obama a 9 point lead.Two factors are working in Obama's favor. First, historically, early September polls--after the convention bump has dissipated-- tend to give a pretty solid read on the eventual outcome (PDF). Despite the high profile of the Debates, endless important speeches, millions of dollars worth of advertising,
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Defending Hamdan

by on 2008-09-24- Leave a reply

Complex Terrain Lab is hosting a series of blog posts on the Salim Hamdan trial by Professor Bryan Glyn Williams this week. Williams acted as an expert witness for the defence of Bin Laden's driver, and has chronicled his insights about the US military commissions process:In this five-part series, running each day this week, Brian Williams describes how he became involved in Hamdan’s legal defence. This was a journey of discovery and revelation for Williams, and one in which he came to understand America’s critical responsibility for upholding the values for which the ‘War on Terror’ purports to be fought.
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Monday’s piece of shallow analysis…

by on 2008-09-22- Leave a reply

With an enormous bomb nearly decapitating the Pakistani state and the Pakistani military shooting at US troops, I think it's safe to say that the situation is "not good."
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Real money

by on 2008-09-22- Leave a reply

Bailing out Bear Stearns: $29,000,000,000.A government stake in AIG: $85,000,000,000.Creating near consensus among academic and pundit bloggers: $700,000,000,000. Demonstrating that the correct translation of "deserving poor" is "Wall Street"? Priceless.Update: Good.
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Bestir Yourselves, Ye Councils of Nations, and Smartly

by on 2008-09-20- Leave a reply

International Talk Like a Pirate Day ends at midnight, and once again pirate lovers around the world are gleefully splicing the mainbrace with their mateys and poking fun at the bilge rats who don't get that it's, well, Talk Like a Pirate Day. (Pirate Dictionary here for the uninitiated; a superior and more scholarly resource is George Choundas’ A Pirate Primer.)While that's all in good fun, the time seems right to remind ourselves that maritime piracy is resurgent globally (the International Maritime Bureau reported rates of four attacks per week in April) and that it represents a scourge, not something
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You’re no Harry Truman!

by on 2008-09-19- Leave a reply

Charles Krauthammer is wrong, and I think Matt misses the point as to just how wrong Krauthammer is.Shorter Krauthammer: Bush is like Truman. Unpopular at the end of his term but history will vindicate him as a pretty good president.The fundamental flaw with this argument is that it overlooks the actual history of why this is so. Truman was unpopular largely due to the Korean War, which, by the end of his term, was not going well. Ike won, in part, on his famous pledge "I will go to Korea" capitalizing on public dissatisfaction with the stalemate in the war.Truman
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Scribbles in My Notebook on AIG

by on 2008-09-17- Leave a reply

One of my favorite Cleveland sports columnists often does a column of brief observations and insights after a game or big event. I don't scribble, and I lack a notebook, but watching the AIG bailout has me thinking about a few things:Wow, that's a lot of money. To put this in perspective, recall the 2004 Presidential Election, when Kerry was rolled for being for the $87 billion before he was against it. That was a yearly supplemental appropriation to fund the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Paulson spent about the same to bail out AIG in one day.This may have
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Courting Influence

by on 2008-09-17- Leave a reply

The NY Times has a very interesting article out today reporting that the influence of the US Supreme Court is waning--internationally. While the Court holds no jurisdiction beyond the US borders, for a long time it served as an intellectual leader in world judicial opinion. Other nations looking to develop a strong judicial system looked to the US Supreme Court as a model, and looked to the Court's opinions as cutting-edge legal thought that could--and did--shape legal arguments elsewhere.The signature innovations of the American legal system — a written Constitution, a Bill of Rights protecting individual freedoms and an independent
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Make that “be very, very, very afraid.”

by on 2008-09-17- Leave a reply

If you're on the internets right now, you know that the US government has just effectively nationalized AIG. It seems that the risk of a total meltdown of the global economy outweighed concerns about moral hazard.Correspondents say AIG's demise would have a far greater impact on the world's financial markets than Lehman's.Many banks and investment funds in the US and around the world would lose their insurance cover at a time when defaults on payments are likely to rise.Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the central bank, the Federal Reserve, met senior members of Congress late
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Kabuki theatre, part something-or-other

by on 2008-09-17- Leave a reply

Oh, goody. Another celebrity interview.Bored now.
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In other news

by on 2008-09-15- Leave a reply

Bolivia remains on the brink of falling apart.... and the Ukrainian government collapses. Can't say that I'm surprised.
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Be very, very afraid

by on 2008-09-15- Leave a reply

After the start of the Great Depression, the US government adopted a number of regulations, institutions, and safety-net policies designed to prevent a recurrence of an event that nearly destroyed capitalism and liberal democracy. In the 1980s and 1990s, many of those regulations, institutions, and safety-net policies were eliminated or curtailed. Some call this the triumph of capitalism and freedom over excessive government regulations, others call it "the great risk shift."Now, I'm not saying any of this is directly responsible for the fact that our financial system is teetering on the edge of total collapse at the same time that
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Election perspective

by on 2008-09-14- Leave a reply

The 2004 September 13-15 CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll had George Bush over John Kerry by 14 points. George Bush won the election by around 2.5 points. Current polls give John McCain a -1 to +3 lead over Barack Obama. This election could go in any direction between today and November 4.
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Hurricaine Ike

by on 2008-09-13- Leave a reply

Apropos my earlier post, it can be all too easy to become obsessed with terrorism and, in doing so, ignore other threats (some, in many ways, much more dangerous) that kill, wound, and displace people... not just in the United States, but in the world at large. Today Hurricane Ike is sweeping into Texas, after leaving in its wake a second round of destruction in the Caribbean. Image source: the AP
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September 11, 2001

by on 2008-09-13- Leave a reply

I know it is a little late, but having looked at some other bloggers' "September 11" posts, I thought I should repost the one I wrote two years ago.September 11 - a blogging personal historyOn the morning of September 11, 2001, I drove my wife to the Nanuet train station. We said goodbye and she got on the train to begin her commute into Manhattan. I went home and took a shower.Sometime later that morning I went downstairs to the basement of our townhouse, which doubled as my office. I started working on one of my projects. I can't recall
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“Kill the invaders”

by on 2008-09-12- Leave a reply

The Australian is reporting that Pakistani troops have been told to fire upon US troops attacking from Afghanistan: KEY corps commanders of Pakistan's 600,000-strong army issued orders last night to retaliate against "invading" US forces that enter the country to attack militant targets.The move has plunged relations between Islamabad and Washington into deep crisis over how to deal with al-Qa'ida and the TalibanWhat amounts to a dramatic order to "kill the invaders", as one senior officer put it last night, was disclosed after the commanders - who control the army's deployments at divisional level - met at their headquarters in
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Henry Paulson as “The Stabilizer”

by on 2008-09-12- Leave a reply

The US bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was a massive government intervention into the securities market. Why do this?Dan Drezner gives some insightful instant analysis, noting how the fall-out has reverberated through the global economy, hitting China, Russia, Sovereign Wealth Funds, and many other key international actors. The US Government: is also trying to soothe financial markets and-more important-please foreign creditors. China is far and away the largest foreign investor in long-term U.S. government agency debt-more than $375 billion. In the past month Chinese officials had warned about the implications of a collapse of the two housing giants.Beijing
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More smoke than fire

by on 2008-09-12- Leave a reply

I think Nate is doing some of the best analysis of the current electoral map, and today he makes a critical point: despite all the hype and attention that Palin has given to the McCain ticket, the electoral math is for the most part unchanged from the pre-convention period. Palin has brought home those Republicans who didn't really believe McCain was one of them, but the McCain bounce in the polls is greatest in states where he is already popular. As a result, the electoral college math (which is what really matters, so resist the urge to worry about national
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Georgia, Framing, and the Aftermath of the Conflict

by on 2008-09-11- Leave a reply

A friend emails me to say:I just watched video of Saakashvili's press conference with Sarkozy. Still claiming outright that the Russians started it and that the Russians are the invaders. Speaking English, naturally. Russians are of course indignant about this claim. Georgia is like the younger sibling who constantly pokes and prods the older and then runs to mommy to complain when the older eventually hits back. Then when the older gets grounded for hitting, hides behind mommy's legs and sticks his tongue out at the older. Russia's reputation as a bully (plus the fact that mom likes the younger
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I’ll say…

by on 2008-09-10- Leave a reply

"'Big Bang' Experiment Passes Key TestsLet's see.... No non-metaphorical black holes in Europe yet.Yay!Let's celebrate with some some xkcd....
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