Robert Kaplan writing about Blackwater:
Mention private military contractors to many civilians, especially to liberals, and they’ll think of red-state good old boys working for a firm like Halliburton—the Texas-based corporation formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney—who appear to constitute a rogue, mercenary element favored by a Republican administration.
In fact, the former Halliburton subsidiary of Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) consummated its veritable marriage with the U.S. military during the Clinton administration, when the firm’s logistical capabilities were indispensable to the Balkan interventions that many liberals supported. The KBR-designed military bases in Bosnia and Kosovo became templates for those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rather than mercenaries who will fight for the highest bidder, private contractors like KBR and Blackwater are composed mainly of retired American noncommissioned officers (NCOs), working alongside the same military to which they used to belong. Just as other professions tap the wisdom and expertise of retirees, so does the American military. Indeed, some contractors, like Triple Canopy, are known to hire veterans of the most elite Special Operations units in the U.S. military. “I’m hiring the elder statesmen of the combat arms community,” one Army colonel told me, referring to some private contractors he was taking on to supplant his uniformed troops in a noncombat capacity. “They won’t have to go through any sniff test when they arrive in the field as consultants. They’ll be instantly looked up to.”
Using exclusively active-duty sergeant-majors and master sergeants of the quality and numbers that this Army colonel required would have drained the Army of some of its best NCOs. The most-seasoned people can’t be produced overnight. Meanwhile, there is a ready-made retirement pool from which to draw, courtesy of the private sector. In the case of this colonel, the contractors were to be under the operational control of active-duty personnel; they would be allowed to fight only in their own self-defense.
The quasi-privatization of war has a long history and is consistent with America’s efficient capitalistic economy. The idea of a large American military presence anywhere without contractors is now unthinkable. Without firms like KBR, the support tail in Iraq would be infinitely longer than it is, with tens of thousands of more troops required to achieve the same result. Buildings need to be maintained; chow halls have to be run; showers and restrooms need to be cleaned. Mundane activities like these account for the bulk of what private contractors do. Of course, that raises the question of bidding fairness: Precisely because only a few such firms, including KBR, can handle massive logistical operations in sync with American military guidelines, taxpayers need to be protected from what are, in the absence of real competition, essentially no-bid contracts.
For high school students everywhere, this revealing amphibian may be a cut above regular frogs.That’s because the see-through frog does not require dissection to see its organs, blood vessels, and eggs.
Masayuki Sumida, a professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology at Japan’s Hiroshima University, bred the frog to be a humane learning tool.
For African bat bugs, the battle of the sexes is quite literally a violent struggle—and now it appears that the bugs are using gender-bending tactics to defend themselves.
Bat bugs are small, reddish-brown parasites related to bed bugs that suck the blood of bats and sometimes bite humans.
Researchers have long known that male bat bugs ignore females’ conventional parts and instead use their sharp penises to stab the females’ abdomens, injecting sperm directly into the bloodstream.
So the females evolved a defense: structures called paragenitals that guide a male’s needle-like member into a spongy reservoir of immune cells.
But the females aren’t the only ones in need of protection. Observers documented males performing the same injurious sexual acts on other males.
The whoopie cushion gets an update.
Ahmadinejad at Columbia provided the entertainment, but Sarkozy at the U.N. provided the substance. On the largest possible stage — the U.N. General Assembly — President Nicolas Sarkozy put Iran on notice. His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, had said that France could live with an Iranian nuclear bomb. Sarkozy said that France cannot. He declared Iran’s nuclear ambitions “an unacceptable risk to stability in the region and in the world.”
His foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, had earlier said that the world faces two choices — successful diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program or war. And Sarkozy himself has no great hopes for the Security Council, where China and Russia are blocking any effective action against Iran. He does hope to get the European Union to join the U.S. in imposing serious sanctions.
“Weakness and renunciation do not lead to peace,” he warned. “They lead to war.” This warning about appeasement was intended particularly for Germany, which for commercial reasons has been resisting U.S. pressure to support effective sanctions.
Sarkozy is no American lapdog. Like every Fifth Republic president, he begins with the notion of French exceptionalism. But whereas traditional Gaullism tended to define French grandeur as establishing a counterweight to American power, Sarkozy is not adverse to seeing French assertiveness exercised in conjunction with the United States. As Kouchner put it, “permanent anti-Americanism” is “a tradition we are working to overcome.”
This French about-face creates a crucial shift in the balance of forces within Europe. The East Europeans are naturally pro-American for reasons of history (fresh memories of America’s role in defeating their Soviet occupiers) and geography (physical proximity to a newly revived and aggressive Russia). Western Europe is intrinsically wary of American power and culturally anti-American by reflex. France’s change from Chirac to Sarkozy, from Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin (who actively lobbied Third World countries to oppose America on Iraq) to Kouchner (who supported the U.S. invasion on humanitarian grounds) represents an enormous shift in Old Europe’s relationship to the U.S.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 “baby bond” from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.
Clinton, her party’s front-runner in the 2008 race, made the suggestion during a forum hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus.
“I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home,” she said.
The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program or how she would pay for it. Approximately 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.
4 million x $5,000 = $20,000,000,000.
Do illegal babies count, too? That would sure help seal the border.
Go ahead, laugh.
More than 13% of workers at LA’s Department of Water and Power make more than $100,000.
As the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power seeks a hefty taxpayer rate hike, a Daily News review of salary data shows the average utility worker makes $76,949 a year – or nearly 20 percent more than the average civilian city worker.
More than 1,140 of the utility’s employees – or about 13 percent – take home more than $100,000 a year. And General Manager Ron Deaton, who is on medical leave, rakes in $344,624 a year – making him the city’s highest- paid worker.
DWP salaries are on average higher than city and far higher than private-sector workers’ even as the utility has come under fire for recent power outages and another round of rate hikes: A 9percent, three-year electric-rate hike and a 6 percent, two-year water-rate hike.
Here’s how it breaks down in real terms. The first figure is private sector salaries, the bold is DWP salaries:
And government will make healthcare more efficient?
Powerline illuminates the craven nastiness of Mike Nifong, disgraced prosecutor in the Duke (non)rape case.
Yesterday, Stuart Taylor spoke to the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Federalist Society about the Duke lacrosse “rape” case. In my view, Taylor is probably the pre-eminent reporter of legal/political matters, an enterprise to which he brings to bear great intelligence, strong knowledge of the law, and stubborn fair-mindedness.
Along with K.C. Johnson, he has written Until Proven Innocent, Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. Today, he provided an overview of this wretched affair which, in essence, was the product of three rotten forces — a corrupt prosecutor, a rotten academic institution, and the liberal MSM.
The prosecutor, Mike Nifong, brought charges after a woman who was about to be committed to a mental institution claimed she had been raped. In the hours immediately after making this claim, she changed her story often enough that the police officer in attendance was certain no charges would be brought. Nor would they have been, but for the fact that Nifong was facing an election he was almost certain to lose to an opponent he had once fired and who probably would have fired him, thus costing him his pension. Nifong brought the charges because he believed that pursuing a rape case, however baseless, involving a black woman and white defendants would enable him to win enough black votes in Durham to maintain office. As the accuser’s story unraveled, Nifong persisted, suppressing evidence and launching an all-out media assault on the wrongfully accused Duke student-athletes. The suppression kept the case alive; the media assault furthered Nifong’s political aims.
The academic institution, Duke University, contains two sets of villains — (1) the 88 faculty members (about one-fourth of the arts and sciences faculty) who, without regard to the evidence, publicly adjudged as guilty the three accused Duke students, the entire Duke lacrosse team, and white America in general and (2) university president Richard Brodhead, who “enabled” this rabid portion of the faculty and did nothing to defend Duke’s students even as their innocence became clear.
The execrable behavior of the professors is exemplified by one Houston Baker (now at Vanderbilt). The demagogic Baker excoriated the lacrosse team for their “silent whiteness” and their “white, male, athletic privilege.” He called for the “immediate dismissals” by Duke of “the team itself and its players,” to combat the “abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us.” After the innocence of the accused players had become clear, Baker received an email from the mother of a member of the lacrosse team (who hadn’t been accused) asking if he would reconsider his earlier statements. Baker responded, by typing “LIES” and indicating that his correspondent was the mother of a “farm animal.” Eventually Baker, a post-modernist if nothing else, fell back to arguing that it didn’t matter whether the rape allegations were true.
The New Yorker has an engrossing story about the discovery of an unknown piano virtuoso and her eventual acceptance by the musical establishment.
How could Joyce Hatto, by then in her 70s, have recorded such a broad repertoire of great recordings and not be better known?
The answer is fascinating, and to say anything more would be to spoil it.
Ethanol was supposed to help save the planet. It’s a boon for agribusiness and a bust for the poor and hungry. Oh, and it’s energy-inefficient, too.
Soaring food prices, driven in part by demand for ethanol made from corn, have helped slash the amount of food aid the government buys to its lowest level in a decade, possibly resulting in more hungry people around the world this year.
The United States, the world’s dominant donor, has purchased less than half the amount of food aid this year that it did in 2000, according to new data from the Department of Agriculture.
“The people who are starving and have to rely on food aid, they will suffer,” Jean Ziegler, who reports to the United Nations on hunger and food issues, said in an interview this week.
Corn prices have fallen in recent months, but are still far higher than they were a year ago. Demand for ethanol has also indirectly driven the rising price of soybeans, as land that had been planted with soybeans shifted to corn. And wheat prices have skyrocketed, in large part because drought hurt production in Australia, a major producer, economists say.
The higher food prices have not only reduced the amount of American food aid for the hungry, but are also making it harder for the poorest people to buy food for themselves, economists and advocates for the hungry say.
Reverend Al only shows up where he won’t be contradicted.
As over 150 heads of state and government gather at UN headquarters in New York to discuss climate change, former Vice President Al Gore, the most prominent proponent of the theory of the human-induced, catastrophic global warming, continues to refuse repeated challenges to debate the issue.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who addressed the General Assembly on climate change September 24, is but the latest global warming skeptic to receive the cold shoulder from Gore. In ads appearing in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Times, Klaus has called on Gore to face him in a one-on-one debate on the proposition: “Global Warming Is Not a Crisis.” Earlier in the year, similar challenges to Gore were issued by Dennis Avery, director of the Center for Global Food Issues and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Lord Monckton of Brenchley, a former adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. All calls on the former vice president to face his critics have fallen on deaf ears.
…For his part, President Klaus has not minced words on what he sees as the real agenda of those promoting climate hysteria. In an op-ed in the Financial Times (June 13, pointedly titled “Freedom, Not Climate, is at Risk,” Klaus said: “Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.” Arguing that the issue of global warming “is more about social than about natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature,” Klaus rejected the notion of a “scientific consensus” on climate change as an effort by a “loud minority” to impose its will on a “silent majority.”
Lately, there have been a lot of nasty rumors floating around about Rudy and Judith Giuliani. I’ve heard, for instance, that he’s been having an affair. I’ve also heard that she, wife number three, is a royal pain in the butt who goes berserk if anyone dares call her Judy.
Now, I enjoy gossip as much as the next fellow. Maybe even more, depending on whom that fellow happens to be. But when it comes to electing a president, I don’t really care about his personal life or his wife’s idiosyncrasies. I don’t care, believe it or not, if Fred Thompson and Dennis Kucinich are married to women decades younger than themselves. Frankly, I didn’t even care that Bill Clinton dallied with Monica Lewinsky. I took his perjury seriously, but not his philandering. I did figure he could have done better than Ms. Lewinsky, being commander in chief and all, but that’s neither here nor there. I simply don’t expect politicians to be saintly. Besides, a lot of saints weren’t the least bit saintly before they had their epiphanies.
I’m not taking this position because I have had two divorces of my own, although that does give me a perspective that others might lack. The fact is, in many cases, there are probably better, more rational, reasons for people to get divorced than they had for getting married in the first place.
It stands to reason that people who share my politics might not share my point of view. After all, conservatives tend to put a premium on morals and so-called family values. I happen to believe that I am an honorable man of sterling character. I am, after all, friendly, loyal and extremely dependable. Is it any wonder that, if the Hindus are right and that reincarnation really exists, I’d like to come back as a dog? Who wouldn’t want to have all of his virtues cherished, while being fed, bathed and having his tummy rubbed, on a regular basis?
I realize that a fair number of Americans could never bring themselves to vote for a man who’s gone through one or two divorces. They’d view him as a deeply flawed individual. On the other hand, there might be something to be said for electing such a man. After all, it shows that he is able to acknowledge that he’s made a mistake, but that he has an optimistic spirit and is ready to pick up the pieces and move on. He is the sort who can say, and mean, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Although even I can see where there is such a thing as saying it too often.
For those who believe that divorce is reason enough to write off a presidential candidate, let me remind you that Ronald Reagan was a divorced man, and that FDR and LBJ weren’t, and Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton aren’t!
We should all keep in mind that politics is not the clergy, and being president is not a sacred calling. All I ask of the man in the Oval Office isn’t that he be my moral superior, but that he has the courage of my convictions.
LAUSD has 1700 credit cards in play, and CBS took a look at the monthly statements, finding charges at The Sharper Image and Yoga Ed, among others.
A gluttonous American pseudo-jellyfish, giant Japanese oysters, and an unidentified virus killing seals: strange intrusions are threatening Sweden’s seas and fishermen are concerned.
The biggest threat is called mnemiopsis, an animal that measures about 10 centimetres (four inches) and is not technically a jellyfish but has a gelatinous and translucent appearance. It is not harmful to humans.
…Originally from the United States, it has already shown just how much damage it can do in the Black Sea where it spread at the end of the 1980s, likely dumped there by ships emptying the water in their holds while in port.
No, but Leftist activists are saying he is.
I started to write a post about the O’Reilly-Media Matters kerfuffle earlier in the week, but eventually decided that Bill is a big boy and can defend himself. Besides, who’s really surprised that left-wing Media Matters, a wholly owned subsidiary of George Soros, turned to the only play in its book, character assassination? And is anyone really surprised that CNN, NBC News, the Washington Post, and the New York Times actually reported the Media Matters smear as a legitimate story?
I listened to the radio segment in question, and it’s very clear that Bill O’Reilly didn’t make any kind of racist remark. My guess is that most of those people now calling him a racist haven’t even bothered to listen to what he said.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, CNN has a man on to talk about how Bill O’Reilly is a racist who proceeds to call Juan Williams a “happy Negro,” twice.
And for all the Liberals out there jumping on the Media Matters bandwagon on this, shame on you. How quickly you have forgotten.
Let’s say I call up the Washington Times and tell them that Hillary Clinton is a drug dealer. I have no proof other than my word. The Times, in turn, calls Hillary who denies the charges. The Washington Times publishes a he said, she said story. Is that legitimate? No, and the Left would be plenty upset by it, and rightly so.
Using race as political cudgel harms both the person being defamed and real victims of racism.
Our well-informed readers, Buddy among them, occasionally refer to “Gramscian tactics,” or describe something as “Gramscian.”
It is difficult to understand what has been happening politically in the US and in Europe for the past 30 years without understanding the influence of Gramsci (1891-1937) on Western Leftist thinking and strategizing.
Gramsci was a clever Italian neo-Marxist who realized that the West, due to its prosperity, its increasingly-wide access to education and opportunity, social mobility, and its readiness to repair injustices (due to its Judeo-Christian morality), would never be amenable to a violent proletarian socialist revolution.
So he came up with Plan B, which is often termed “Gramscian tactics.” These were based on the idea, as the good Wiki entry says:
Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense‘ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.
Thus Western “hegemonic culture” became the enemy – even more so than “the ruling class,” which was simply a reflection of bourgeois culture. And defeating that enemy could not be done with guns. It required a “long march through the culture” to slowly discredit and undermine its institutions, values, and foundations. This was a brilliantly destructive idea. Eventually, the society would fall apart, opening the way to totalitarian socialism to rescue the mess. Thus the nihilistic flavor of the Western Left which is always seemingly-incomprehensively mingled with extreme Statism.
One might well ask why he wasn’t satisfied with the remarkable outcome of Western regulated markets, the growth of the welfare state, unionization, etc. – but he wasn’t. He was determined to remain true to Marx and to find a non-revolutionary path to economic totalitarianism.
Read it all.
Ace of Spades, on what Democrat candidates now say about getting out of Iraq, after meeting privately with President Bush:
Obama: “I think it’s hard to project four years from now,” said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation’s first primary state.
Hillary!:”It is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting,” added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Edwards:”I cannot make that commitment,” said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.
You can pander all you want if you don’t have a shot at winning.
“I’ll get the job done,” said Dodd, while Richardson said he would make sure the troops were home by the end of his first year in office.
Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm asks:
What did Bush tell them? To produce that kind of dramatic about-face in one week, they must have been told something that the public has not yet been told.
Sippican Cottage writes about Boston’s “new” city hall, a building that’s 40 years old. He hates it, as do most people apparently:
I’ve been in the New City Hall. I’ve talked to lots of people that have been in it, and plenty more that have worked in it. And it’s been unanimous. It’s the most hateful, anti-human, drafty, cold, forbidding dungeon in the world.
They should demolish it. But that’s not enough. They should exhume the corpses of the architects, and the politicians that hired them, and shoot them into the sun. If they’re not dead, all the better. They constructed the worst place on earth. Expiation of that kind of guilt requires a substantial gesture. Not the sun though, now that I think of it. It’s too warm there. The sun never shines in that building. Pluto.
Let’s say you’d never seen that building before. The monstrosity, not the pleasant one. I could tell you it was a prison, and you’d not only believe me, you’d write your congressman to complain about how poorly treated prison inmates must be to be housed in such a place.
If I told you secret police in East Germany tortured people in there, what visual clue could you glean from the photo that would give away the misattribution? No one would enter an upside-down abattoir looking place like that unless they were handcuffed and screaming, would they? If it said Arbeit Macht Frei over the door, would it surprise you?
It was midnight and I was looking at a two-hour drive. The theatre where I was working had given me keys to a condominium so I wouldn’t have to make the long trip, but something was calling me home.
Traveling is hard and I miss my family. When I am away, I think of nothing but kissing my sons’ chubby cheeks, of watching them dress up in costumes and run and laugh through the house. My heart pines for my wife’s smile and the sway of her hips, of waking in the morning and seeing the tuft of red hair lying beside me. When I hear that dulcet call, there is no amount of highway that will keep me from getting home.
As I sped down the highway, I thought of the last time I made this drive so late at night.
The last leg of a 10-day business trip left me only a two-hour drive from my home. At about 11 p.m., I called my wife from my hotel to say goodnight. What was it Percy Sledge sang about what a man would do for a woman? A few soft words from my wife and my bags were packed, and I was flying down the dark highway towards her loving arms.
As I once more raced along the same stretch of road, I couldn’t help but smile at the memory. A man discovers himself in the arms of his wife. He grows in the arms of his children. Family demands he put away childish things, that the values he espouses be given life.
Percy of course sang the truth. But whomever it was that said absence makes the heart grow fonder was certainly no liar. Amidst all the romantic notions I have of chubby cheeked little boys frolicking in the yard and a wife whispering sweetly in my ear there are precious few visions of the reality that awaits me.
My midnight run was followed by the chaos of getting three children ready for school in the morning. There was whining and crying. Shoes were lost, teeth were not brushed and homework was missing. With milk and cereal all over the floor, the house looked like a tornado had just blown through.
That evening, I decided we should take a family walk through the neighborhood. Now that the evenings are longer, there is no better way to savor the family time. Not two steps past our house, the mood is shattered with more whining and crying. I must referee a fight because someone was pushed down too hard when someone karate kicked someone else in the head.
Why is it, I wondered, that when I am away I do not think of the bickering and arguing about who is the boss of whom or toys that seem to be strategically placed so that I will step on them with bare feet in the middle of the night. Nor for some reason do I wistfully hold in my heart the wife that wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, sucks her teeth when the laundry has not been done as was promised and gets too tired and irritable to drop a coin in the love machine.
The answer is that it may not be what I focus on, but I do miss it. I miss it all, the hustle and chaos, the sweet talk and the teeth sucking, the bickering and the laughter. This is family. It is what grounds me. Without it I am lost, rudderless, adrift and unconnected.
The following morning, I woke and saw the tuft of red hair lying next to me. I heard my boys stir in their bedroom and begin to laugh and play with each other. The morning sun streamed into the room and I thought to myself, “It’s good to be home.”
Susan Gerston sent us a link to this clip of a 7-year old boy singing the national anthem. If only the pro’s respected the song the way he does.
Nova Science Now has a fascinating report on how paleontologist Mary Schweitzer discovered that soft tissue could be recovered from dinosaur bones.
Urban birds are regular tough guys compared to their country cousins. The avian urbanites adapt to changing environments and noisy, crowded habitats, a new study shows.
Birds that hang out on stoops and city streetlights have to deal with a set of challenges that feathered friends in more natural landscapes never encounter.
“The urban habitat is usually more severe than the habitats these birds historically occupied,” said study team member John Wingfield of the University of Washington. “Urban habitats aren’t easy, so the birds have to have developed coping mechanisms.”
Americans tend to think of England and Great Britain as the same. Not true.
In 1999, Tony Blair’s government installed a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Similar parliaments have since been installed in Wales and Northern Ireland. This has led to the anomaly, pointed out by the “West Lothian Question,” that, while English members of the Parliament at Westminster have no say about Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish domestic affairs, parliamentarians from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the power to vote on issues that affect just England.
Several proposals have been made to solve this anomaly. One of them is to abolish the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Another is to give England its own parliament, which would imply that the United Kingdom become a federation of four states – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The solution proposed by the Labor government in Westminster, currently led by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (a Scot) and previously by Tony Blair (also a Scot), is to dissolve England by splitting it up into nine regions, each with their own parliamentary assembly. In a 2004 regional referendum, however, the voters in the Labor-dominated North East of England overwhelmingly rejected the plan to install an elected North East Assembly. Consequently, the British government shelved its plans for the other assemblies, but this means the West Lothian dilemma has still not been solved.
The whole issue has led to a rise of English nationalism. Though many English do not demand an English Parliament, since they consider the British parliament at Westminster to be their English parliament, the attempt to split up England has made them aware that Britain is being threatened and that the very survival of England is in jeopardy.
Iowahawk has a photo gallery…
After 42 years farming a handsome little square mile of western Iowa, my old man hung up his clodhoppers a few years ago for a well-deserved rest. Like a lot of retirees, Hawkdad decided to take up collecting, with a focus on primative farm equipment and toys.
Since then he has amassed an impressive collection of unique agricultural objects; unusual hand tools, planter lids and tractor seats, turn-of-the-century advertising signage, antique toy tractors and horses.
Negotiation strategy is one of those areas of business the people treat like it’s a religion. Everyone has their opinions, is convinced they are right, and has tons of anecdotal evidence to back them up. Regardless of whether you take the hardline approach, something softer and more win-win, or something tricky, a new research paper explains how to get the most out of your negotiation. The secret? Mimic the mannerisms of the other party.
According to the research, “mimickers created more value and then claimed most of that additional value for themselves, though not at the expense of their opponents.” Of the test negotiations, 67% of the negotiators who mimicked their counterparty closed the deal, compared to 12.5% of the non-mimickers. But, a word to the wise – keep it subtle. Obvious mimicking may be interpreted as mocking instead.
Hillary voted against condemning the MoveOn.org “Betrayus” ad. This leaves Bill to finesse things. As Newsbusters reports, Willie went on CNN’s Situation Room and blasted Republicans as “disingenuous.”
“This was classic bait-and-switch…. These Republicans that are all upset about Petraeus – this is one newspaper ad. These are the people that ran a television ad in Georgia with Max Cleland, who lost half his body in Vietnam – in the same ad, with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. That’s what the Republicans did.”
Really? MoveOn called General Petraeus a liar and traitor. What did the Republicans say about Max Cleland? See for yourself:
Sounds to me like the ad was discussing Cleland’s voting record. If that’s off limits in a campaign ad, what’s left?
Remember, this is the ad that has Democrats whining that Republicans question their patriotism.
The issue in Cleland’s votes was the Department of Homeland Security. Bush had first resisted the idea of creating a new bureaucracy, then seized the issue from the Democrats and made it his own.
Democrats held things up because they wanted employees of the new bureaucracy to be unionized — that was the substance of Cleland’s no votes. The ad simply noted the stakes (Osama et al) and cited Cleland’s legislative record.
Democrats regularly accuse Republicans of wanting to destroy Earth, of not caring about children, of not caring about cripples and of not caring about black people in New Orleans.
If they can’t take it, they shouldn’t dish it.
Democrats should run Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for president. He’s more coherent than Dennis Kucinich, he dresses like their base, he’s more macho than John Edwards, and he’s willing to show up at a forum where he might get one hostile question — unlike the current Democratic candidates for president who won’t debate on Fox News Channel. He’s not married to an impeached president, and the name “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” is surely no more frightening than “B. Hussein Obama.”
And liberals agree with Ahmadinejad on the issues! We know that because he was invited by an American university to speak on campus.
“I’m ready to vote for her if she maintains that hawkish edge. That is, I think there’s a hawkish edge in there somewhere, since she [is] going to so much trouble to hide what must be it.”
Normally a smart, smart person, Ann must be having a bit of brain fatigue after her Herculean efforts earlier this week parsing Lee Bollinger. How else to explain this statement, this capitulation, this shriek of existential distress disguised by the tatterdemalion meme of the moment?
I agree that the netroots are “ineffectual,” but then they always have been. Filling tinfoil hats with flatulence never a lethal grenade doth make. And certainly the Hillary campaign will use the netroots for money and pleasure and then lose them. It is in the nature of a Clinton to use and toss away people like so much soiled Kleenex. It works for them and so many of their camp-followers yearn to be used Kleenex. But it is first, foremost, and always in the deepest nature of a Clinton to do one thing better than anything else: to lie.
For all the “Bush lied” corned-beef hashcrap slung about wherever netroots keyboard, the real professional, star-class liars in the American political system these days are all to be found in the Clinton machine. And Hillary is first among equals. Bill comes up for air every now and then and delivers a whopper, true, but these days he’s merely quaint.
The pro with the go-girl attitude is the Hill from the Hill. After learning the central secret of lying from Bill — how to fake sincerity — she then ramped it up by learning how to lie to herself. Once you can lie sincerely to yourself, anything is possible.
The Clinton lie was first perfected by Bill — Oh, the paced parsing. The moistening of the eyes. The slightly bitten lower lip. The acting skills that almost rise to the level of David Caruso. The the awe-shucks bashful smile. The glad-handing. The charm that sucked dogs off of meat trucks. The meaning of is-is. — These are Olympian feats of lying. But the best, the most innovative, of Clinton lies is the lie laid out so long and slow that it makes it possible for the listener to lie to herself. Not the “Big Lie” but a new trick for that old dog — the Long Lie.
This is accomplished by a careful, long, slow pacing to the lie, a lie that is not so much told as allowed to emerge over weeks and months — a bit here, a pause, a morsel there, another pause, a nod and a wink, and a silence on a central issue that is so long and pregnant that the auditor finds herself filling in the blank. It is indeed the lie of the blank. A lie told so well you end up telling it to yourself. A lie the liar never told you. An aikido lie.
Read it all.
In addition to the dependency it breeds and perpetuates, pouring food into Third World nations crowds out local farmers, many of whom are struggling and would benefit if they could sell their food to hungry neighbors.
After years of reflexively donating U.S. food for relief groups or governments to sell or give away, an administration is finally trying to move past the old thinking.
“I propose an innovative initiative to alleviate hunger under which America would purchase the crops of local farmers in Africa and elsewhere, rather than shipping in food from the developed world,” Bush said Tuesday in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.
“This would help build up local agriculture and break the cycle of famine in the developing world. And I urge our United States Congress to support this initiative.”
After hearing Bush’s plan, South African U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo noted that it “is interesting, new stuff, a good idea because some countries can supply the food, and it will help their economies.”