Saturday, July 20, 2013

Egypt and the Army War College

War College connection gives U.S. influence in Egypt's struggle

When the Egyptian military removed the country’s divisive but democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi, the action was led by a general who had studied for almost a year at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle.

The close personal relationships General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi developed through his time at the War College could help the U.S. influence the course of events there, according to retired Col. Stephen Gerras, who teaches at the college.
I wrote this a while back:

Since World War II, the US military has used its schools to strengthen our alliances and to integrate allies into our military structure. Students from allied countries can be found at all levels-- from the service academies to the war colleges. Similarly, each branch opens the doors of its war college to members of the other branches.

The benefits are obvious. It is much easier to cooperate with Peru on counter-insurgency if the Peruvian generals have been exposed to American doctrine and methods. The cooperation can be even more effective if some of the officers know each other from their time in the classrooms at Leavenworth or Newport.

In many cases, study at the American military schools helps foreign officers in their quest for promotion. Over the long-term this strengthens the ties with allied forces: the top ranks of their services are populated with graduates of our schools.

One more not so innocent victim of McCarthyism

How a Stealth communist wrote the New Deal National Labor Relations Act, and Hid his True Beliefs

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Florida's Nifong

A must read article on Angela Corey

Angela Corey’s Checkered Past
Corey's history is the sort of juicy story that the MSM claims they love.

Yet, somehow, they are wholly uninterested.

No bias, you understand. Just, well, SHUT UP!

Rick Scott and Pam Bondi have a lot of explaining to do.

Variations on a theme

Joseph Epstein

Worldliness, alas, pales and very quickly stales. It is a fine thing to know the score; but the problem is, the score is always changing.
Harvey Mansfield

What Bowdoin produces in its students, according to the study, is a certain "knowingness," a word that nicely captures an attitude I see a lot of at Harvard. Students have learned that to see means to see through, instead of to have a good look.
Michael Kelly

Knowingness, of course, is not knowledge—indeed, is the rebuttal of knowledge. Knowledge was what squares had, or thought they had, and they thought that it was the secret of life. Knowingness is a celebration of the conceit that what the squares knew, or thought they knew, was worthless. In The Graduate the career advice ("Plastics") of a family friend, Mr. McGuire, to Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, is classic square knowledge. Benjamin's mute disdain toward that advice—and his elaborately played out disdain for all that McGuire and the Robinsons represent—is classic anti-square knowingness.

You can see in this example the problem that a return to square poses: anti-square is so much easier and more fun. Knowledge, even on McGuire's level, is notoriously difficult to acquire. Sixteen years of hard, slogging schoolwork, and what do you know? Not enough to carry on ten minutes of intelligent conversation on any subject in the world with any person who actually knows something about the subject. Knowingness, though—a child can master that. (Can and does: there is an obvious inverse relationship between age and knowingness; the absolute life peak of knowingness generally arrives between the ages of twelve and sixteen for females, fourteen and eighteen for males—whereas, as these cohorts can attest, grown-ups don't know anything.)

This is why Benjamin Braddock had to ignore, with prejudice, Mr. McGuire. McGuire may have been a fool, but he was, in the limited area of business and economic trends, probably a knowledgeable fool. Had Benjamin been obliged to respond to McGuire's advice in terms of knowledge, he would have been utterly lost—he would have been the one exposed as a fool. But for Ben—and more to the point, for the movie's audience—knowingness offered a lovely way to not only counter McGuire's knowledge but also trump it. Ben didn't have to know anything about McGuire to show himself intellectually (and aesthetically, and even morally) superior to McGuire. He only had to know that what McGuire thought he knew was a joke and McGuire was a joke because—because the McGuires of the world are definitionally jokes, and if you don't understand that, I can't explain it to you, because you are a McGuire. That's knowingness, and for no-sweat self-satisfaction you can't beat it.
Photon Courier

Why is theory (which would often more accurately be called meta-theory) so attractive to so many denizens of university humanities departments? To some extent, the explanation lies in simple intellectual fad-following. But I think there is a deeper reason. Becoming an alcolyte of some all-encompassing theory can spare you from the effort of learning about anything else. For example: if everything is about (for example) power relationships--all literature, all history, all science, even all mathematics--you don't need to actually learn much about medieval poetry, or about the Second Law of thermodynamics, or about isolationism in the 1930s. You can look smugly down on those poor drudges who do study such things, while enjoying "that intellectual sweep of comprehension known only to adolescents, psychopaths and college professors" (the phrase is from Andrew Klavan's unusual novel True Crime.)
Harvey Mansfield:

Political correctness with its present-minded exactness, its not quite selfless objectivity, and its esoteric jargon is science for non-scientists.
Robert Heinlein:

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship.

"Shut up", they explained


Like Obama, when Holder says “conversation,” he means “shut up while I lecture.
Flashback to the Duke lacrosse case:

It is embarrassing to be caught short on facts by the audience you intend to lecture. Preachers and priests do not go to the pulpit to debate; they go to preach and admonish.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Leonard Garment, RIP

Leonard Garment, former adviser to Richard Nixon at height of Watergate, dies in NY at 89

Garment lived an interesting and eventful life which he wrote about in an incredibly engaging memoir.

Barbara Walters adds to her legacy

Michael Moynihan:

It's good to see The View getting back to its Rosie O'Donnell-era roots by hiring a dumb, unfunny conspiracy theorist

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Moneyball: Now you know the rest of the story

Steve Sailer:

Moneyball A's celebrate 28th year as PED pioneers

Everybody knows that the Oakland A's baseball team are plucky underdogs who use advanced statistics to outsmart the big budget teams, as Brad Pitt showed when playing Oakland general manager Billy Beane in 2011's hit movie Moneyball.

Of course, when statistical analysis isn't enough (and when is it?), the A's just cheat, like they've been doing since Jose Canseco came up in 1986.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The iconoclast as willing idiot (UPDATED)

Jack Shafer is a contrarian. That usually makes his media column a valuable read. But in his latest offering, he pushes so hard against the conventional wisdom that he comes off as obstinately perverse.

In praise of tabloid TV

If you read HLN’s transcripts from Nancy Grace’s shows about the Zimmerman case, you’ll absorb enough information about how the criminal justice system works to write a MOOC on how to defend or prosecute a murder case. Most of what a layman needs to know about police investigations, police interrogations, witness rights, evidentiary standards, jury selection, and courtroom strategy can be found in Grace’s shriekings and those of her commentators. A week’s worth of her Zimmerman coverage probably contains as much civic education as any half-dozen Frontline documentaries on PBS.
Any one who has watched Nancy Grace in action knows that this is bull.

First, Frontline documentaries actually uncover and convey information to their audience. The cable tabloid shows are all about holding an audience when you have little or no information to impart.


Cable news, vox populi, and professional sleaze

Cable news: get it fast, get it wrong

Media's Shifting Business Model
Nancy Grace differs from her sleazy competitors only in the particular and malignant bias she brings to the story. When Grace sets her sights on a defendant, truth and fairness go out the window. The facts presented and the commentary are as fair and balanced as a Stalinist show trial.


Jay Rosen replies to Shafer here:

Criticizing CNN: Goodbye to that
Also Dan Gilmor:

CNN’s transition is now complete. The entire channel is basically a version of the Nancy Grace show.
Which raises a question for Comcast, et. al. Why  are cable customers forced to pay for both networks when they have merge-morphed into the same channel?

James Joyner:

Shafer is right: journalism is a first and foremost a business and ignoring the wants of the audience is a surefire way to go out of business. But, at some point, you’re no longer in the news business at all. And it’s quite possible CNN has reached that tipping point.