The Syrian Air Force (SAF) has, since the current civil war began in 2011 relied heavily on Russia and Iran to keep its aircraft flying and to replace combat losses. For example Iran upgraded several SAF Mi-17 helicopters with armor plates and FLIR cameras as well as basing Mojaher 4, Yasir and Shahed 129 UAVs in Syria and even providing an Il-76TD transport aircraft for the SAF to bring equipment in from Russia and Iran.
Lately Iran has also provided the SAF with ten Su-22 ground attack aircraft. These aircraft are from the 40 Iraqi Air Force Su-22s flown to Iran during the 1991 war. They were sent to Iran “for safekeeping” but Iran considered them war reparations and kept them. Due to embargoes and money shortages Iran was unable to refurbish these Su-22s until recently. Initially (in 19913) Iran consulted a Ukrainian firm about how long and how much it would cost to overhaul the Su-22s. It was too expensive and eventually (in 2013) Iran decided to restore ten Su-22 to operational condition without any foreign help by using other Su-22s and Su-20s as a source for spare parts.
These are our peace partners.
Did you know that the State Department was required by law to inform Hillary Clinton of “federal laws and regulations requiring her to use an official email account,” when she became Secretary of State? That might seem a little arcane or dry or whatever, but it gets a little more interesting when you get into the details, which Mark Tapscott provides for you today:
Patrick F. Kennedy was under secretary for management during Clinton’s State Department tenure but it is not known whether he conducted the briefing of Clinton or was present during the discussion. He did not respond to a Washington Examiner request for comment.
Other senior officials responsible for the department’s information technology and record-keeping programs may also have been obligated to contact the archivist if they had reason to believe Clinton was not complying with the record-keeping requirements. It is not clear what if any penalties would apply if those officials failed to contact the archivist.
Trey Gowdy needs to lean on Kennedy, hard. He needs to lean on some “other senior officials responsible,” too, just as hard.
Gowdy still might not get Hillary Clinton, who belongs in jail, but he just might re-instill such much-needed fear of Congress in the Executive branch.
I sat on this Greg Jaffe and Missy Ryan piece for the Washington Post all weekend, waiting to see what would happen with that March 31 negotiating deadline.
And sure enough, the new official Administration policy is “Deadline, Schmedline.” Here’s that harder line for you:
Claiming enough progress had been made to warrant an extension after six days of intense bartering and eager to avoid a collapse in the discussions, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his British and German counterparts huddled with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in the Swiss town of Lausanne to continue a marathon effort to bridge still significant gaps and hammer out details of a framework accord.
Now Obama and Kerry are giving the Iraqis until June — and this time, they mean it.
Microsoft has just announced a slower, cheaper, less flexible Surface 3, for those who want a laptop they can’t use on their lap and a tablet they can’t use without a keyboard, but who don’t want to spend more money than they would on a iPad.
The all-but-mandatory keyboard is still an extra $129 though.
By world communist standards, the CCP has indeed entered its endgame. After 70 years, for instance, communist rule in the Soviet Union ended on December 26, 1991. In six months, the Chinese Communist Party will have ruled the People’s Republic of China for 66 years. With rampant corruption at all levels of the party and the government — where a typist has taken bribes in the amount of four million yuan and a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission took cash bribes weighing more than one ton — the CCP seems unlikely to outlive its Soviet counterpart by a large margin.
Nevertheless, by Chinese dynastic standards, the CCP’s rule is not in its endgame. Instead, it might very well be in its beginning. The last dynasty, the Qing, lasted for 267 years; by that standard, CCP rule is still in its infancy. In 1710, 66 years into the Qing Dynasty’s rule in China, the country was at its peak as a prosperous and powerful nation under the wise leadership of Emperor Kangxi. The dynasty would last another 200 years.
Read the whole thing, even though Zhiyue doesn’t even try to provide any definitive answer to his own question. He’s smart — prognosticating about the fate of the CCP is a fool’s errand. But exploring the issue anyway is smarter still.
If you’re trying to stabilize nuclear waste, don’t use organic kitty litter.
That’s the take-away of a 277-page report, just released by the Department of Energy (DOE), on a radioactive leak that occurred at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, on Feb. 14, 2014.
Investigators confirmed that a 55-gallon metal drum of nuclear waste burst open after it was packed with the wrong kind of cat litter, as had been suspected since last year.
I don’t want to badmouth my cat or anything, but we could sure use some of that nuclear-proof litter here at Casa Verde.
Hillary Clinton, who belongs in jail, seems to be developing some trust issues with voters in three crucial states:
The former secretary of state’s leads in matchups with possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates are down in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a new Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released Tuesday. Clinton is heavily favored to win the 2016 Democratic nomination.
In Florida, former Gob. Jeb Bush garners 45 percent to Clinton’s 42 percent support — last month she edged him, 44 percent to 43 percent. Once leading Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in his home state by 10 percentage points February, Clinton now holds a 46 percent to 44 percent lead.
In Pennsylvania, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul gets 45 percent to Clinton’s 44 percent.
Though she still has a lead in Ohio (46 percent to 41 percent over Paul), no voters in any of the three states find Clinton honest and trustworthy.
I’m not interested in the head-to-head numbers per se, since we don’t have any actual candidates yet on either side. But the trend lines for Clinton are clearly not good, especially the ones regarding her honesty and trustworthiness — of which she has neither.
Once lost, trust is difficult, nearly impossible, to get back — and that’s when a President already has the full weight of the Oval Office behind them. For candidates, it’s probably a deadly loss.
Are you starting to think the biggest question left in her political career is how to bow out gracefully?
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush stated that he is “nervous” about criticism of the NSA and that he wished the president would do a better job defending government surveillance systems on Monday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show.”
Bush said that lone wolf terrorism “is a serious threat in a world where we’re so connected with the rest of the world. We have people moving in and people moving out. People get their information now, not everybody gets to listen to your show to get all their information. People get their information in different ways. They get disaffected, disillusioned, preyed upon, and so yeah, I think that this is an ongoing threat, and I hope that our counterintelligence capabilities are always vigilant. I’ve always been nervous about the attacks on the NSA, and somehow that we’re losing our freedoms by keeping the homeland safe. I think we need to be really vigilant about that.”
“I think we need to be really vigilant about” what, exactly?
If I’m reading Bush’s statement correctly, he thinks Americans knowing the truth about an essentially unlimited domestic surveillance program is more dangerous than the essentially unlimited domestic surveillance program itself. Bush also seems to have essentially unlimited trust in the NSA, and that its unprecedented doings really are “keeping the homeland safe.”
His position then is for Americans to shut up so the NSA can go about its business without having to worry about little things like what the hell the voters think. On top of that, he seems to have a deeply uncurious mind, at least about this matter — which is an important one to me.
I held my nose and voted for Romney in 2012, but I’m increasingly doubtful that I could do the same for another Bush.
The Clinton lies, they never stop:
Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton’s correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.
While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton’s correspondence while secretary of state.
Limited? You bet you’re ass they’re limited — she deleted 32,000 of them, despite a subpoena from Congress.
Hillary Clinton belongs in jail.
PunditPress ran the numbers behind PolitiFact’s so-called fact-checking, and they ain’t pretty:
PolitiFact’s Obameter has been ongoing for six years now. I remember looking at it in 2009 and thinking about how it would stand near the end of Obama’s term in office.
Today, looking at the chart, there are many more “promises kept” than there are “promises broken.” Yet anyone who has been paying attention over the last few years would surely see that Mr. Obama had broken a tremendous amount of promises.
So why does PolitiFact still have Mr. Obama’s promises kept at nearly twice those broken? I decided to take a look.
The first thing I did was see what promises were considered broken. It’s a fairly hefty list, but some of the very largest are completely missing. The biggest, and most famous, broken promise is that “if you like your doctor, you can keep you doctor.” That was proven irrefutably to be a lie.
According to PolitiFact, that wasn’t a broken promise. In fact, that promise doesn’t exist; it’s no where to be seen on their “promise broken” page.
Read the whole, devastating thing.
David Schenker and Gilad Wenig report that The Arab League is getting serious about putting together a standing “intervention force” to fight terror — and Iran:
Washington has served reliably as the guarantor of Gulf security for much of the past 25 years. But lately, as the Obama administration has moved closer to a nuclear deal with Iran—and as Tehran has expanded its influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen—Washington’s traditional Sunni allies are increasingly concerned about a diminished U.S. commitment.
The willingness of Arab states to finally sacrifice blood and treasure to defend the region from terrorism and Iranian encroachment is a positive development. But it also represents a growing desperation in the shadow of Washington’s shrinking security role in the Middle East.
The old joke about NATO was that it was supposed to “keep the Americans in, the Soviets out, and the Germans down.” And it did exactly that until recently, due to feckless leadership on both sides of the Atlantic.
Something similar is happening in the Middle East, where our “President who ends wars” doesn’t seem to comprehend what prevents them, or what kind of leadership is required to prevent a small war from becoming a regional one.
What I’m not saying is that there’s any solution, any fix, for what ails the Middle East. That dysfunctional region isn’t a problem to be solved, but rather a problem to be managed. Obama giving free rein to Tehran and promising he won’t “do stupid shit” isn’t exactly sound management — and the result, a region descending into chaos, is there for the whole world to see.
Meanwhile, every time I pull up Bing News or Drudge or Instapundit, I dread the almost inevitable headline: “Washington, Iran Reach Nuclear Deal.” Because when I see what the Administration has given up already, I know what they’re willing to give up to get a deal, any deal.
If you think Iran is bold now, just wait until they’re on the Washington-approved path towards nukes.
It doesn’t seem likely that Tehran has the financial, military, or cultural wherewithal to be the regional hegemon they’re trying to be, but this Administration has given them every incentive to keep on trying. The Arab states are putting together a valiant, if perhaps belated effort to do what Washington won’t. But as we’ve seen in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, once an Arab state is pulled apart, like Humpty Dumpty it doesn’t go back together again.
We — “we” being the sane world — are counting on this new Riyadh/Cairo Axis, this Pan-Arab Army, to hold the line. But if either Riyadh or Cairo falls, then it’s going to be one giant Syria from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from Mosul to Sana’a.
The IAEA turned responses into this colorful chart which proves Iran was working on a nuclear missile. pic.twitter.com/ozbs2mjeDn
— John Sexton (@verumserum) March 30, 2015
Obama has allowed Iran to run wild through the Middle East in hopes of making a deal with them regarding their “peaceful” nuclear program.
The IRS is collecting record revenues again, although I’d wager a big part of the post-crisis increase is not due to healthy growth. Median and average wages are stagnant, the labor participation rate is shrinking, and welfare dependency is growing. Add all that together, and the reason tax collections continue to grow is mostly due in to the Fed re-inflating the equities bubble. If — when — this new bubble pops, revenue will take another big hit.
Meanwhile, dependency will continue to grow, eating up larger and larger chunks of the federal budget — in both relative and absolute terms.
And here are the latest details from Jason Russell:
Compared to historical averages from 1965 to 2014, spending is rising much faster than revenues. Spending is projected to rise almost 6 percentage points higher than its historical average, whereas revenue is projected to rise only 2 percentage points above average revenue.
Furthermore, revenue is not projected to rise enough to meet the historical average from 1965 to 2039, let alone the much higher spending projected in 2039.
From 1965 to 2014, federal spending averaged 20.1 percent of GDP. Revenues never once reached that level, averaging 17.4 percent of GDP over the same time period.
Tax rates weren’t constant over that time period. Whether taxes were relatively high, as in the 1960s, or low, as in the early 2000s, revenue levels were fairly constant with some swings for economic booms and busts.
In other words, we can have high tax rates and lots of loopholes resulting in collections of about 17-18% of GDP. Or we can have lower tax rates and fewer loopholes resulting in collections of about 17-18% of GDP. What we can’t have is high tax rates and no loopholes, because “selling” loopholes to the donor class is the primary reason Congress raises tax rates. Also, if you think growth sucks now, wait until we try that high rate/low loophole recipe. Money would flee the country like Grateful Dead fans during a drug raid.
The longterm solution then is to get spending in line with revenues, which would go a long way towards goosing the economy enough to grow our way out of our problems of debt and dependency.
Or we can go bust, which seems like the smart bet.
When it comes to government regulation of wearable health devices, there might be grounds for cautious optimism:
Bakul Patel, who oversees the new wave of consumer-focused health products at the Food and Drug Administration, said most wearable gadgets such as the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch and health-focused applications for smartphones have a way to go before warranting close scrutiny from the agency.
“We are taking a very light touch, an almost hands-off approach,” Patel, the FDA’s associate director for digital health, said in an interview. “If you have technology that’s going to motivate a person to stay healthy, that’s not something we want to be engaged in.”
Two worries. The first is that as wearables become more functional, the FDA might decide, just one of those fashionable regulatory whims, that wearables no longer have “a way to go.” In that case, bend over for your “close scrutiny.”
The other worry is that the FDA might just decide that a truly functional wearable counts as a “medical device” and becomes subject to the onerous medical device tax.
We have got to start repealing laws and eliminating agencies while there’s still a chance for real innovations.
The IRS collected about $2,500,000,000,000 in taxes last year, with half of that coming from income taxes. So you’d think they’d take computer security seriously.
OK, stop laughing — of course they don’t give a damn:
The IRS is failing to secure its massive computer systems leaving our private information wide open to hackers and fraudsters looking to exploit their system, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
I’m not sure which lapse is most egregious: that the IRS does not always delete employee access when workers have quit or been fired (including for snooping into private records), that its passwords can easily be compromised, or that it is using software without proper security functions. Not only do former employees have access to our sensitive information, but current employees who aren’t authorized to see this data can log in and snoop around.
These vulnerabilities mean that hackers – and those who aren’t too sophisticated – can get into the IRS systems and meddle with the kind of information which they can then use to file false tax returns, apply for credit cards, secure loans, and more.
GAO says that while the IRS developed and documented a comprehensive agency-wide security program, it hasn’t effectively implemented elements of it.
Abolish the income tax and nuke the IRS.
My headline is unfair to Bill Clinton, who is usually a tremendous asset to his wife’s campaigns. Bill is that once-in-generation combination of instincts and wonkery, in exactly the way Hillary isn’t. Still, his appetites do cause trouble:
Mr. Clinton is hungering once again to play a central role in his wife’s presidential campaign. And Hillary Rodham Clinton’s advisers are once again grappling with how to deploy Mr. Clinton, a strategic imperative that was executed so poorly in 2008 that it resulted in some of the worst moments of her campaign.
In that race, the former president was at times a frustrated and unpredictable presence, operating on his own, calling up some of his wife’s aides to second-guess strategy and shifting the news media’s focus from her to him with stray remarks, such as when he set off African-American anger by diminishing Barack Obama’s success in South Carolina.
This time, advisers and political associates say both Clintons understand how critical it is to harness both the rare gifts and rash impulses of a former president on behalf of a potential one.
That’s the gist of a sharp NYT writeup by Patrick Healy and Amy Chozick, but Hillary’s real Bill Problem might be right in the lede:
Bill Clinton’s hearing has faded. With his head of white hair and frail frame, he looks older than his 68 years — “truly grandfatherly,” as one friend said. He often jokes about what would happen if he were to “drop dead.”
In 2008, Barack Obama’s appeal spread far and wide past his “natural” base of African Americans and overly-credentialed progressives. He was young, he was hip, he was the furthest thing from “truly grandfatherly” anyone could imagine. He looked younger than his 47 years.
Hillary struggles to appeal outside of her natural base, which near as I can tell consists of not much more than women of a certain age and Arab oil interests. The progressives don’t trust her, the anti-war left thinks even less of her, and Bill might hurt her with younger women.
I know the press doesn’t like to talk about it, but that “truly grandfatherly” former president is the same guy who was getting blow jobs from an intern half his age, and can still be spotted — let us put this gently — hanging around with scantily-dressed women who are now a third of his age. Other than the kind of women who don’t mind “giving their body for the cause,” the reaction to Bill Clinton of most younger female bodies might best be described as “ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.”
That’s not to say Hillary won’t win a majority of single female voters; in fact, I’m sure she will. But they won’t be turning out in the same droves they did for Obama in 2008 and 2012, either — and a part of that is certainly due to the aging former White House Blow Job King.
For Ford Motor’s new chief executive, Mark Fields, reviving the Lincoln division is one of the last pieces of unfinished business handed to him by his predecessor, Alan Mulally. Under Mulally’s eight-year reign, the company sold most of its luxury brands — Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Aston Martin — and killed Mercury, pouring virtually all of its resources into strengthening the namesake Ford brand around the world.
Starved of resources, Lincoln somehow hobbled along, selling tarted-up versions of Ford models. But without worthy offerings to match those offered by Lexus , Mercedes and BMW, Lincoln largely missed out on the explosion of worldwide demand for luxury vehicles. In 2013, Lincoln sold fewer than 82,000 units, compared to well over 300,000 for the big foreign luxury brands.
It’s been a long time since there’s been a genuine American luxury sedan. Cadillac moved to econobox-like front-wheel drive back in the ’90s and tried to claim in their print ads that it was Stuttgart who had the problem. Lincoln spent the last ten years trying to sell bloated crossovers with chromed-up whale’s mouth grills up front, and pizza-sized chrome nameplates around back.
Cadillac has been making a good-faith effort with the CTS lineup, which competes with nearly the best the Germans have to offer. But for every CTS there’s a pseudo-luxurious ATS and XTS — bad attempts at aping BMW’s 3- and 7-series, again with econobox/family sedan front-wheel drivetrains. The ATX and XTS might look like luxury cars, but I’ll never believe that “luxury” and “FWD torque steer” can coexist. Driving with all the appointments, effortlessly directing big power to the rear tires — that’s luxury.
There’s a lot riding on Cadillac and Lincoln’s genuine luxury efforts, because if it hadn’t been for SUVs, both brands would likely have died in the ’90s.
The concept Continental at least looks the part of a luxury sedan. It makes me think of Bentley on the front end, Mercedes S-class around the greenhouse, and Maybach on the rear end. (You can see the hindquarter in the Forbes link above.) Hopefully Lincoln will tighten up the rear before it goes into production, because the Maybach was so ugly, not even Mercedes could sell the thing.
Then again, we here in America are only a part, maybe only a small part, of the new Continental’s target market — or Cadi’s either:
Mr. Fields said China will probably be Lincoln’s biggest market by 2020, a date by which he hopes to sell 300,000 Lincolns annually throughout the world, tripling today’s volumes. Lincoln officials declined to provide sales numbers because they are just getting started in the Chinese market.
Cadillac sold 73,000 cars in China last year. To gain a foothold in China, Cadillac has used its large XTS sedan, which represented 45% of Cadillac’s 2014 sales in the country. Mr. de Nysschen said more luxurious and capable offerings are needed if the brand is to be taken seriously.
It’s a shame, really, when American luxury sedans are no longer designed and built for American buyers.
Salena Zito has the story of Martina White, a 26-year-old Republican who overcame a 2-to-1 Democrat registration advantage to become Philadelphia’s first GOP Assemblyman in 25 years. Here’s how:
“[Politics] was not something we sat around the dinner table talking about,” the newly elected representative said of family conversations. “The only position I’ve ever won, I didn’t run for, and that was captain of my field hockey team in college.”
The granddaughter and daughter of business owners, she was inspired by working as a financial planner and seeing middle-class families struggle to pay for kids’ college educations or wrestle with how to build a safe retirement: “They weren’t able to make the numbers work, time after time.”
White said she listened more than talked when she went door to door, asking for votes. “I went to over 3,000 homes,” she said, and “safe communities, education and infrastructure” were the top concerns.
Despite not deciding to run until December, she overcame Democrats’ 2-1 voter-registration advantage, her own inexperience and the powerful Philly Democrat machine to not only win but to win by 14 points.
Her victory was no stroke of luck: Republicans have turned the tables on the one thing at which Democrats were really great — dominating local politics.
Retail politics and concentrating her message on what voters care about, “safe communities, education and infrastructure.” That’s a far cry from the messaging of the national GOP, which can’t seem to score many (any?) wins against President Obama, despite comfortable majorities on Capitol Hill.
Anyway, do read the whole thing — and keep an eye on Martina White. She has a bright future in politics, if she wants it.
Professor Hans-Werner Sinn has the shocking truth about Europe’s woes:
Revealingly, of all the crisis countries, only Ireland managed to turn the corner. The reason is obvious: its bubble already burst at the end of 2006, before any rescue funds were available. Ireland was on its own, so it had no option but to implement massive austerity measures, reducing its product prices relative to other eurozone countries by 13% from peak to trough. Today, Ireland’s unemployment rate is falling dramatically, and its manufacturing sector is booming.
In relative terms, Greece received most of Europe’s bailout money and showed the largest increase in unemployment. The official loans granted to the country by the European Central Bank and the international community have increased more than sixfold during the past five years, from €53 billion ($58 billion) in February 2010 to €324 billion, or 181% of GDP, now. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate has more than doubled, from 11% to 26%.
Read that again: Greece, recipient of very generous bailout packages equal to almost double its GDP, is still in crisis mode. Ireland, which didn’t get one thin dime, is enjoying an increasingly lovely recovery.
You can’t spend your way to prosperity, not even with other people’s money.
Fixing MCNBC’s disastrous ratings slide — down in primetime 50% in the key 25-to-54 demo — isn’t going to be easy:
Phil Griffin, MSNBC president, has lately sought to broaden MSNBC’s outlook by taking on a greater variety of stories, even hiring a food correspondent, and there’s been some uptick in the ratings the past few weeks. He changed the daytime lineup, ditching opinionated programs hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy-Ann Reid and establishing a news-focused bloc with Jose Diaz-Balart, Andrea Mitchell and Thomas Roberts.
Griffin has run MSNBC since 2006. Normally, executives at networks with his ratings are looking for another job, especially with a new boss coming in. But he and Lack have a long relationship, and Griffin has credited Lack with kick-starting his career by assigning him to supervise NBC News coverage of the O.J. Simpson case.
The shift in focus during the day has led some fans to fear MSNBC may abandon its liberal focus altogether.
The first point of interest isn’t the dancing schadenfreude this story makes you feel. Instead, it’s that this barely-seen network will still generate $509 million in revenue this year — thanks to cable bundling. If it weren’t for that monopolistic practice, it’s difficult to see how MSNBC could stay on the air. Is that a great argument for unbundling or cutting the cord, or what?
The second item is the more important one: Where does MSNBC go from here? With its tiny and shrinking audience, the network can’t continue to sell itself as the “counterbalance to Fox News.” MSNBC doesn’t have the resources to even pretend to match CNN’s news gathering reach. And as the record shows, even when Big Bad Bush was invading the Middle East all willy-nilly, there just isn’t that big an audience for screeching & preaching progressives.
And eventually, that sweet bundling deal will come up for renegotiation. Absent a turnaround, any new deal will likely be… less sweet for MSNBC.
Looks like the bloodletting there may have only begun.
Is it possible to take an overproduced, over-orchestrated, and over-sung Barry Manilow disco number and turn it into pure awesome?
Yes. Yes it is.
All you have to do is strip the music down to its Caribbean essence, then subtract Manilow and add Liza Minelli at her timeless prime.
Oh, and you have to add Muppets, too.
Lots of lots of Muppets.
I hope this puts a smile on your face like it always does mine.
EXIT QUESTION: Do you think Ridley Scott consciously stole Liza’s look for Sean Young in Blade Runner, or was it just a happy accident?
President Barack Obama has yet to meet with the new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and won’t see Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week, even though he is in Washington for three days. Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House, two sources close to the NATO chief told me.
The leaders of almost all the other 28 NATO member countries have made time for Stoltenberg since he took over the world’s largest military alliance in October. Stoltenberg, twice the prime minister of Norway, met Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa to discuss the threat of the Islamic State and the crisis in Ukraine, two issues near the top of Obama’s agenda.
In all fairness to the President, those NCAA games on ESPN aren’t going to watch themselves.
One senior Obama administration official described the difficulty of trying to develop a coherent strategy during a period of extreme tumult.
“We’re trying to beat ISIL — and there are complications,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We have a partner who is collapsing in Yemen and we’re trying to support that. And we’re trying to get a nuclear deal with Iran. Is this all part of some grand strategy? Unfortunately, the world gets a vote.”
If I had said something that incoherent, I’d have kept my name off the record, too. But really, you can’t blame some “senior” official for incoherence — because in this case incoherence starts at the top.
In any case, this story perfectly illustrates an Administration whose thinking doesn’t even rise to the level of amateur. Strategy isn’t something you come up with on the fly to deal with a deteriorating situation; strategy is your grand design — not the little details — for creating the situation you desire. Operations are how to put your strategy into practice, and tactics are the small-scale methods used in your operations.
Barack Obama was quoted saying, “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” And yet the Bestest Guy Ever at Everything somehow sits at the head of an Administration which doesn’t know the difference between strategy and tactics, then marvels when it can’t formulate a strategy for dealing with the chaos resulting from its failure to formulate a strategy.
Unless of course chaos is Obama’s grand design. In which case: Mission accomplished.
I can’t remember who I need to tip my hat to, so let me just say thanks — and that if we ever meet in outer space, the first round is on me. Here’s why:
For the stylish space voyager, sucking liquids through a straw out of a foil bag is never going to cut it. But a new Kickstarter venture hopes to smarten things up by raising money to produce a zero-gravity-friendly martini glass.
Created under the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project, the glass is designed with a series of grooves that prevent the liquid inside from forming into a floating blob and instead guide it neatly towards the mouth.
“The glass is a stepping-stone to say that, Hey, this is possible, you can create these things for space,” Samuel Coniglio, COO of Cosmic Lifestyle Corp., the company designing the glass, says in a promotional video.
They’ve raised $2,707 of their $30,000 goal, and I’m giving some serious thought to kicking in a few bucks myself.
But the real genius, the real benefactor to mankind, will be the person who comes up with a martini glass you can hold at a crowded cocktail party without having to worry about the slightest elbow jostle sending its contents sloshing all over your hand.
C’mon, American entrepreneurs — get on that.
David Harsanyi dissects the failure of climate change alarmism:
Since 1989, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming. To put this in perspective, note that the most expensive public-relations campaign in history—one that includes most governmental agencies, a long list of welfare-sucking corporations, the public school system, the universities, an infinite parade of celebrities, think tanks, well-funded environmental groups and an entire major political party—has, over the past 25 years or so, increased the number of Democrats who “worry greatly” about global warming by a mere four percentage points.
During this era, they’ve gone from gentle nudging to stern warnings, to fearmongering, to conflating the predictive abilities of scientists with science itself, to launching ugly campaigns to shame and shut down anyone who deviates from liberal orthodoxy—which includes not only the existence of anthropogenic global warming, but an entire ideological framework that supposedly “addresses” the problem.
And considering the absurd amount of media this crusade continues to garner, its ineffectiveness is doubly amazing.
Everybody bitches about the weather, but only vile progs want to mandate it.
When the Apple Watch drops on April 24, you’d better have an April 10 pre-order in already:
If you want to buy the Apple Watch model of your choice at an Apple Store at launch, you should consider pre-ordering online or through an Apple Store reservation, sources have told 9to5Mac. Due in part to the number of different models, Apple Watch inventory at many Apple Stores in the United States will be heavily constrained at launch, with priority given to reservations, meaning that Apple Watch availability for random walk-in purchases on day one will be noticeably tight.
As one source at a flagship Apple Store said, “we’re told to treat launch day as if there will be no walk-in stock.” That doesn’t necessarily mean there will be absolutely zero Apple Watch units to buy at launch if you don’t have a reservation, just that the specific Apple Watch variant a person wants will be far harder to come by at launch than some previous iPhone models.
I’ve window-shopped the stainless steel version with both the link and Milanese loop (drool) bracelets, but I’m definitely in wait-and-see mode on Cupertino’s new wearable device. Without having tried one on yet, I’m still pretty sure I’d like something thinner and perhaps with more health monitoring sensors. At this early date, Apple Watch 3 (or whatever they end up calling it two years from now) seems like the best bet.
Then again, those things are so pretty and smartly engineered that it’s a sure thing Melissa and I will end up at our local Apple Store sometime in May or June — you know, just to try on one or two models.
And I make no promises that the Amex will remain in my wallet the entire time.