Obama’s New Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Things have been fairly quiet here—all of us here at QP have been pretty busy with the end of the year and the onset of summer.  Anywho, I came across this article today and wanted to offer a few quick comments. Obama has named Admiral Mike Mullen's replacement as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as is often a general trend, a Democrat  has appointed an Army officer.  General Dempsey was actually just named to be the new Army Chief of Staff after General George Casey.   I don't really have too much to say about this appointment, Continue reading Obama’s New Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Libya Update

A quick update on goings on in Libya.   US Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman visits rebels in Benghazi.  Members of the rebel "organization" have apparently been invited to open offices in Washington DC.  The article also discusses the deployment of attack helicopters by France and the UK to Libya to directly assist the rebels.   Similarly, the EU has apparently also opened offices in Benghazi.    

Evolution, Secrecy, and Bureaucracies

This sort of reminds me of this.  Really one passage in particular, I suppose: We tend to marvel at the Darwinian perfection of organisms now, saying 'this must have been highly selected for, it's a tuned and sophisticated machine'.  In fact, it's a mess – there's so much unnecessary complexity. Bear with me.  The preceding passage is from an article I found on the BBC regarding flaws in proteins that are believed to be linked to more complex biological structure emerging.  While not directly related to Walt's post on bureaucracies, the passage quoted above just sort of struck me as Continue reading Evolution, Secrecy, and Bureaucracies

Quick Word on Elite Actors

Dan Drezner has the most recent in a line of posts discussing the role of elites vs. masses in policymaking (See Drezner for links to the other posts in the series–they're worth reading). I don't really have much to add to the pile here–these are some pretty smart folks and they've said a lot of good things already.  I just have a couple of thoughts: With respect to Drezner's question, "who are the elites?" I think they tend to encompass both the policy mandarins and the lobbyists/special interests.  In fact, the line in this area is quite blurred.  I've been Continue reading Quick Word on Elite Actors

Poker is a game of skill

The New York Times (this may cost you one of your monthly alloted articles) reports on a new article by Levitt and Miles that argues that poker is a game of skill and not a game of chance.  The policy-relevant implications for the study deals with legalization – several prohibitions against poker are codified with terminology that prohibits gambling and randomized lotteries while allowing for skilled based gaming. The authors track a set of known players from the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP).  The study indicates that "good" poker players do get returns on their tournament buyins (seen as Continue reading Poker is a game of skill

Linear Time and Games

I am glad to see someone has taken the opening episode of Deep Space 9 and created a clip of one of the more theoretically interesting segments of the episode.  Granted, this was uploaded 4 years ago, but I had not come across a short version of the clip until now.  I watched the show when I was in middle/high school and had the opportunity to rewatch it all the way through when we picked up the complete series a few years ago.  While the longer story arcs are compelling and the show gains some decent steam in the 4 Continue reading Linear Time and Games

Aid to Pakistan

Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy has a piece up regarding the changes to US-Pakistani relations that may be coming out of this week's events.  Rogin is specifically discussing the debate in Congress over cutting military assistance to Pakistan.  Clearly this discussion has a long way to go, and the article indicates that significant divisions are emerging in both houses of Congress over what the appropriate response is.  More below…

Body Fat and American Presidents

On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Colbert interviewed Amy Farrell, Professor of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Dickinson College, and author of the newly published book Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture. Here is an excerpt from the summary of the book on Amazon: “Tracing the cultural denigration of fatness to the mid 19th century, Amy Farrell argues that the stigma associated with a fat body preceded any health concerns about a large body size. Firmly in place by the time the diet industry began to flourish in the 1920s, the development of fat stigma Continue reading Body Fat and American Presidents

A bit more on Messrs. Y.

I previously wrote a bit about the document released a few weeks ago by Colonel Mykleby and Captain Porter.  Well here is a NY Times article (a brief one) on the issue.  I suspect the quick references to Bin Laden were added after this article was essentially finished, but there's probably more room here to discuss how the timing of Bin Laden's death with alter this article's impact.  I also think it's interesting to see, as the article indicates, that these officers have a fairly broad vision underlying their article.  The article itself was pretty broad/vague, but getting to hear Continue reading A bit more on Messrs. Y.