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December 2010 Archives

December 27, 2010

Epic Synapse Snapper: Bluegrass Cover of Snoop Dogg

By Joe Katzman at 15:42

At first, it's hilarious to hear Texas bluegrass band The Gourds singing about being rap star Snoop Dogg. Then it becomes strangely compelling, even appropriate - and damn, it works really, really well musically. There's a thesis out there that black culture and redneck culture actually have a lot of similarities, and this would be one of the more interesting possible data points. Too out there not to share:

The Dogg's "Gin and Juice" is definitely not safe for work, unless you're wearing headphones.

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  • lewy14: I love America. (*snif*). read more

December 26, 2010

Jihad Bells

By Joe Katzman at 02:39

Sadly, the video may be a parody, but the underlying truth of Islamic religious cleansing that it illustrates is no parody at all in many parts of the world. This Christmas, how about a thought for the Christians facing it in the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Indonesia, Nigeria, etc.

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December 24, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Video

By Armed Liberal at 05:25

The Apollo 8 Christmas message...

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December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the North Pole

By Joe Katzman at 01:23

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December 15, 2010

Carter Strikes Again

By Armed Liberal at 03:03

They say that as you age, you become more of who you truly are.

In that case, we're seeing the preening vacuous fool that James Earl Carter must have always been.
"I guess my biggest failure was not getting reelected," he said in an interview with Big Think, referring to the 1980 presidential election.

Carter, 86, said the loss taught him "not to ever let American hostages be held for 444 days in a foreign country without extracting them." He added, "I did the best I could, but I failed."
When his minion Warren Christopher shined his shoes and explained
Not "maybe we wouldn't be looking down the barrel of a major confrontation with state-supported Islamist radicals." Not "maybe 9/11 wouldn't have happened, and tens of thousands of people wouldn't have died." Not any number of other things involving the United States and our relations with the rest of the world. Ronald effing Reagan's election is as bad a thing as he can imagine.

I can't imagine a more insular view of things. And I'm terrified that one of the actual people who shaped events can't see past the mirrored window of his political party.
If you wonder why some people (not me) want Palin for President, think about what it means that these clowns are the height of Washington respectability.

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  • jan: Jimmy Carter was a decent citizen. But, as President, he read more
  • jan: Jimmy Carter was a decent citizen. But, as President, he read more
  • mark buehner: Wow.. there goes 3 yards of tin foil the world read more

December 14, 2010

CNAS On Afghanistan / Armed Liberal on Afghanistan

By Armed Liberal at 16:43

So last week, CNAS released its new Afghanistan white paper, by Andrew Exum (Abu Mukama) and LG Barno.

There's a surprising amount I agree with in it...and some points of contention.

Let's hit the high notes, and then see what we're left with.

As an opener, it's nice to see them reading this blog:
No immediate solution to the war in Afghanistan is likely. The war increasingly resembles a "wicked problem" in which both the constraints and required resources change over time.
First Judith Curry, and now Andrew Exum!! (Actually, it's a moderately well-known meme, and one I'm a big fan's nice to see others picking it up)

...but they are misunderstanding it just a bit. The issue isn't that the parameters are shifting too fast to calculate; it's that no one can even agree on what the parameters are.

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read the rest! »

  • toc3: For the future, I hope these experiences finally convince the read more
  • David Billington: "Accomplishing the impossible is what the military does, let's not read more
  • David Billington: "Someone needs to explain to me exactly how this war read more

December 12, 2010

Amazing Shuttle Videos

By Armed Liberal at 03:23


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  • J Aguilar: Marcus, about your first paragraphs in #16, I think it read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: J, #15: That means almost losing two wars because, as read more
  • J Aguilar: I don't see the issue that way. I think you read more

December 9, 2010

Iran's Other War

By Michael Totten at 09:33

Iran's most repressed religious minority is also its largest. Members of the community are routinely imprisoned, frequently executed, banned from universities, and ruthlessly repressed economically. Tens of thousands have been murdered by one regime after another. The current government--the Khomeinist "Islamic Republic"--goes farther than any other by vowing to crush these people wherever they live and erase them from the face of the earth.

There are only six or seven million in the entire world, and their spiritual home is in Israel. I am not, however, referring here to the Jews, but to the Bahais.

Their world headquarters is in Israel, and they came during Ottoman times from Persian lands. The nation-state of one of the world's oldest religions now hosts the holiest site of one of the newest, and the nation where the Bahai Faith was born vows to destroy the nation where the Bahai Faith had to migrate.

The strikingly different treatments of these people by Iran and by Israel infuses the looming showdown between the Middle East's two most powerful countries with even more moral clarity than it already had.

read the rest! ยป

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On The Radio

By Armed Liberal at 05:48

I'll be chatting with Uncle Jimbo about Afghanistan (again) tomorrow at 11am Eastern on Frank Gaffney's radio show (online podcast here or AM1260 in DC).

Here's the audio.

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  • Roland Nikles: Jim Hanson's introduction set's up a false dichotomy: 1) Commit read more

December 2, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska & "Country Dumb"

By Joe Katzman at 07:16

Just finished watching the TV show Sarah Palin's Alaska. Stunned at the political brilliance of the concept.

Ray Charles used to use a phrase "country dumb". Which actually meant a country boy (like Ray) smart enough to play to city prejudices when convenient, so they'd underestimate him and end up handing him ground-breaking contracts. He was. They did.

Sarah Palin is "country dumb"...

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read the rest! »

  • Robohobo: Thank you for letting us 'Country Dummies' know what our read more
  • mark: The correlation between electoral success and talent/intelligence/personality is something less read more
  • Glen Wishard: I agree that Palin doesn't have a record as a read more

Network Science And Warfighting

By Armed Liberal at 04:03

Was on a (almost) very interesting DoD call this morning, with Dr. Alexander Kott, chief, Network Science Division, Army Research Laboratory and Dr. Robert Cole, deputy manager, Network Science - Collaborative Technology Alliance U.S. Army CERDEC.

You can listen to the call here - a transcript will be available soon. Sadly, many of the questions were pretty far afield of what the core of their work appears to be, so the insights are at the margins.

But check out their organizations' sites; this seems to be a place where some interesting thinking is going on. I'll be reading up and commenting as I learn more.

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December 1, 2010

Wikileaks: 2 Faces in Islamist Turkey - and Abroad

By Joe Katzman at 00:24

For the last couple of years, there have been growing rumbles of concern about Turkey's internal and external tilt toward Islamist rule, abroad and at home. The changes have not been individually revolutionary, but they have been slow and steady. Taken as a whole, they've been dramatic enough for Michael Rubin to title a major Commentary Magazine essay chronicling this slide "Turkey, from Ally to Enemy." This year the Heritage Foundation published a detailed, multi-leveled analysis called "Countering Turkey's Strategic Drift."

But of course, these kinds of guys are right wing crazies. Or just casual travelers. Don't listen to their arguments. Pay attention to the State Department boffins and "adults in the room" who keep saying everything is fine, and dismissing concerns as alarmism.

Except for the inconvenient truth revealed by Wikileaks documents, which shows us a series of unofficial statements from official sources the that are a lot closer to the analyses put out by guys like Rubin and the Heritage Foundation.

The moral of the story is left as an exercise for the reader.

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  • Glen Wishard: Erdogan "is the only partner capable of advancing toward the read more
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