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Armed Liberal Archives

September 30, 2011

Comments Closed - Pending a WP Move

By Armed Liberal at 20:36
We're (far too slowly) moving the site and comments to a new instance of WP so it'll be stable and available. That work will be happening over the next week or so, and to that end, I'm closing comments so that we don't lose any in the move... Ping Joe or myself if you have questions or want to post something.
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May 17, 2011

Open Thread To Discuss Winds

By Armed Liberal at 23:46
Here's an open thread to discuss ideas for rebooting Winds; my own thoughts had been more forum-esque, but the ideas below are all interesting. I've been horribly remiss in not reaching out harder to Joe K, the owner of our little home, and will work on that after the election. If you live in CD-36, please vote(for Bowen...)!!!
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  • Ian C.: OK... Here's the problem. Perceived relevance. When it was 'Weapons read more
  • Glen Wishard: The only reason to keep going is to give Roy read more
  • Chris M: Wow, a blast from the past. Juan Cole. Really. In read more

May 9, 2011

Whither Winds

By Armed Liberal at 19:11


[am-uh-choor, -cher, -ter, am-uh-tur]


1. a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons. Compare professional.
I've always considered my blogging habit to be a hobby, rather than work. While it has opened professional doors to me and taught me things that I use in my work, I've never made any significant fraction of my income from blogging, nor have I ever set out a career path for myself that blogging regularly about politics or world affairs was ever a meaningful part of. It's always been fun; I work ideas out in public, people correct them, I meet interesting people in the discussions - how can this be bad?

But for the last few months, it's been a struggle rather than a joy. I've tried hard to power through and rediscover the pleasure but with no success.

It's just not there. And worse, as my activity ramped down, traffic on the site ramped down and the interaction that really drove me to write started to slowly become thinner and thinner - which was no one's fault but my own.

You folks - who are reading this now - are a core group who I enjoy debating, learning from, and too often - lecturing at. I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

But I don't want a job in a think tank writing the occasional paper and responding to the news - maybe when I retire, I'll try and start one. I'm not running for office, there's really nothing I want from you all except the pleasure of dialog.

And to get that, it needs to be a pleasure and I need to be a participant. And, bluntly, I've been an increasingly bad one for the last few months.

Facebook and Twitter have some of the blame here; I fire off quick thoughts on both and that serves as an outlet (not as satisfactory, to be sure, but better than nothing.

But I'm just bored and unmotivated. And since I've always been an amateur at this, the difference between a professional - who delivers when bored and unmotivated - and an amateur - who doesn't - is pretty significant.

So here's my plan. I won't be writing here for a while, if ever. I will move this site to WordPress, so that the archive can be preserved and maintained and others who have author raights may decide to pick up their participation. I will also relaunch the old content from my Armed Liberal site so it's available as well.

And then I'm going to take a break from all this and think about what interests me and where I might fit. I'd love to hear from you what you think I ought to do - suggestions here are most welcome!

For now, some of it will be on Twitter, and I encourage you to follow me at @marcdanziger.

In the interim, some of it may be on other sites - I'm looking around for someplace where I can do the occasional piece and the guys at Blackfive have more than graciously offered to let me post there. I feel kind of weird about it - first, I'm not and have never been a soldier, and I don't want to be perceived as something I'm not. It's also a different audience, although one I respect as well. I'm looking at other sites, and welcome suggestions as to who might appreciate an occasional piece from me.

I'm not done thinking or talking about these issues. We face immense problems - and opportunities - and out political class is as feckless as they have ever been. Radical Islam still battles for dominance within the Muslim world, and the outcome of that fight will matter a great deal to me and to all of us. Middle and working class people here in America have no party that truly supports them - and they should. But I'm not sure where or in what format I can best participate in a dialog about these things. Maybe I'll re-engage here or on a solo site. We'll see.

There will always be commentators worth mocking (hi, Matt Yglesias!) and worth following (hello Leah Farrall). So I'm sure that at some point something will happen.

But this chapter is, as others have said about other events this week, closing. I can't wait to see what the new chapter will bring.

So long, and thanks to everyone who had read me here, agreed with me or better still, argued with me. You're all my teachers, and I've learned a lot.

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  • kparker: Tim (16): That's a fascinating idea. I remarked over at read more
  • mark buehner: It could be more of a panel format with long read more
  • Armed Liberal: So let me present a question to all of you read more

April 19, 2011

Bad Economic News, with Rock Stars and Ferraris

By Armed Liberal at 20:27

When celebrities are advising people to invest in a portfolio of Ferraris, can the brick wall be too far away?? (h/t Barry Ritholtz)

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  • mark buehner: Thanks Marc. I'd be interested in helping out/getting involved if read more
  • Thorley Winston: Mark, could we please get an open thread to discuss read more
  • Armed Liberal: Sorry...trying to figure out what to do. Look for something read more

April 14, 2011

If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention (Again)

By Armed Liberal at 02:47

The regulators are letting the bad guys off the hook - again. From the Post:
Three federal agencies announced agreements with the nation's largest mortgage servicers Wednesday that aim to stem shoddy foreclosure practices. But the plans do not immediately impose financial penalties on the companies or force them to reduce the mortgage debt for troubled borrowers.

The deals require the mortgage servicers to identify and compensate borrowers who suffered financial harm, but the details have not yet been decided. The companies must also provide a single point of contact for struggling borrowers, many of whom complain of getting the runaround when they try to get help. Servicers also would not be able to foreclose on borrowers after granting them a loan modification.
Look, it's simple. When the regulators work for the regulated - or at least plan to do so in their next career cycle - public choice theory makes it unlikely that those of us on the outside are going to get much out of the arrangement.

And the facts seem to be bearing that out.

(and yes, I know about the states AG actions - but unless someone shows me different, keeping this pendant until those were settled would give another lever to move things with).

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  • toc3: Anyone Home? My interface shows no activity since April 19th. read more
  • toc3: Just out of curiosity, assuming for the sake of argument read more
  • toc3: MikeDC, I did not mention Legislation. I also did say read more

April 10, 2011

Will Facebook and Groupon Rescue California?

By Armed Liberal at 00:24

Here's an interesting (and hopeful) article from Chris Nolan (the smart tech finance writer, not the director). In it, she suggests that the coming wave of IPOS for social companies headquartered in California may be just the ticket to dig us out of the fiscal hole we're in.
California Governor Jerry Brown is going to have a very successful third term since he'll probably be able to solve - or claim he's solved - the state's budget mess next year. Brown - the Steve Jobs of politics - is going to be the beneficiary of what can only be called pent-up demand in both the venture capital business and the stock market. In other words, people who need to sell their stock to earn their keep (venture capitalists, angel investors) have plenty of customers (wanna-be shareholders). And the stock market's increasingly looking healthy enough to support large-scale stock offerings.
Basically, one or more of Big Social (Facebook, Groupon, Zynga, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) may go public in the coming year. When they do, the knock-on effect on the regional economy is going to be significant...and that is going to lead to a surge in tax collections.

Now on one hand, that's worth breathing a sigh of relief.

On the other, it's worrisome, because it will - again - delay actually sorting out our fiscal house of cards. I don't want my kids dealing with this; I want us to deal with it now.

...we'll see.

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  • Gbear: Look for 2 more businesses moving out of California. read more
  • Tim Oren: Thanks for warning me never to pay attention to that read more
  • Glen Wishard: Brown is ... the Steve Jobs of politics? If I read more

April 8, 2011

A Soldier Speaks Out On The Shutdown - 'Leaders Eat Last.'

By Armed Liberal at 22:07

From one of my military correstpondents on the Federal shutdown and the military:

I've been trying to get my head around the idea that those of us in the military might not get paid next week. I don't really care about myself, in as much as I'm a single soldier without dependents. I can eat in the DFAC, put my bills (and some beer) on a credit card, throw a temper tantrum and get on with my life. But I am lucky to be slightly above living paycheck to paycheck. I'm a moderately responsible E5 with a girlfriend who likes nice restaurants.

Privates and their new families, on the other hand, are often barely above water. Too much of the time, issues that you deal with as a leader in the military revolve around family issues or privates and their money. These are not people who can afford two weeks without pay. In the area just off post, there are a lot of people who make a living off families not being able to pay the bills, and they charge rates that would make the Mob blush.

That isn't even getting into the soldiers who are deployed.

Ever had to try and resolve a bank overdraft charge on a satellite phone on a combat outpost with about a half day time difference? It's not easy, and again, single soldiers aren't the ones I'm worried about. A late truck payment sucks, but it isn't the end of the world (whether they will get reimbursed for late fees by their employer or bank is another issue for another day).

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read the rest! »

  • mark buehner: True, and a lot of those 'cuts' are mirages- something read more
  • MikeDC: Meh... neither the Republicans (outside of Ryan and the Pauls) read more
  • mark buehner: I think you guys are missing something- this may be read more

April 5, 2011

Michael Totten's 'The Road To Fatima Gate'

By Armed Liberal at 19:36

Michael Totten is a friend - which makes writing reviews of his work hard. Reading this, you might wonder whether I'm writing to boost a friend...or saying what I honestly think.

I get that, and to be honest when I got my copy of his new book, 'The Road to Fatima Gate', I started reading it as a friend, expecting to enjoy reading about the adventures and thoughts we'd already discussed and to be impressed most of all by what he'd done.

That lasted about ten pages.

What Michael has done is to bring his readers with him - concretely, not in abstract - as he tries to explore from the position of a non-Orientalist westerner the culture and human flavor of parts of the Middle East. And that's an incredible gift he's offering you.

To be blunt, I don't trust anyone who writes about the Middle East today. There are so many partisan and cultural interests clamoring for primacy that I can't with any confidence separate out the honest perspectives from the spin. My answer to that is to want to go and see myself, to sit in restaurants, walk streets, talk to people at random they way I typically do when I travel. Because for me those small experiences begin to aggregate into impressions that tell me something I trust.

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Today Is Yuri Gagarin's Day

By Armed Liberal at 15:28


A week from today, Gagarin flew.

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  • Glen Wishard: And three weeks from today Vladimir Komarov died on Soyuz read more

March 31, 2011

Could This Possibly Be True?

By Armed Liberal at 23:51

...I'm not sure I can even believe anyone wonders.
On tipping - and breast size

Yes, it does make a difference, at least according to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The larger the breasts, the bigger the gratuity.
Stunned, I tell you.

Added link.

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  • toc3: This can't be true. I think they should fund a read more
  • juliet: This is how I do it: as a female rater read more
  • juliet: This is how I do it: as a female rater read more

I Told You So

By Armed Liberal at 23:21

Here's Megan McArdle in The Atlantic:
This is one of the reasons that we can't fix all our budget problems with higher taxes on the rich--if we do that, revenues are going to collapse dangerously every time there's a recession.
What I said. Michael Hiltzik, the pathetic excuse for a business columnist in the LA Times, disagrees.

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  • Thorley Winston: I would also be in favor of removing the read more
  • Roland Nikles: Marc, the link to your earlier (early aught's)musings about tax read more
  • alchemist: I still agree that we need to fundamentally change the read more

March 29, 2011

Libya And Strategic Deficits

By Armed Liberal at 21:28

Blake Hounshell's (remember praktike? he's a genuine Big Deal now...they grow up so damn fast...) Twitter stream, I'm sent (approvingly) to Dan Nexon's 'The Duck of Minerva' blog, where he writes (approvingly) about the lack of a doctrinal cover for Obama's intervention in Libya.

Now I have mixed feelings about this intervention; on one hand the lid is coming off the Arab kleptocracies as I discussed back in '03 - which is a Good Thing. But we have no plans or capabilities in place to compete for the allegiance and affection of the lately-oppressed people whose dictators we supported for a generation - which is a Really Bad Thing.

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read the rest! »

  • toc3: And playing the 'Israel will be fine' game will continue read more
  • toc3: Well mark, You may just want not to look at read more
  • mark buehner: And playing the 'Israel will be fine' game will continue read more
Recent Comments
  • TM Lutas: Jobs' formula was simple enough. Passionately care about your users, read more
  • Just seeing the green community in action makes me confident read more
  • Glen Wishard: Jobs was on the losing end of competition many times, read more
  • Chris M: Thanks for the great post, Joe ... linked it on read more
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  • Ian C.: OK... Here's the problem. Perceived relevance. When it was 'Weapons read more
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