FM newswire for March 16, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis, collected from around the Internet. If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Why do we pay attention to these people?  “Defending the Reagan Deficits“, Brian Riedl, Heritage Foundation, 16 June 2004
  2. Potentially serious, certainly bad:  “Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model“, Ibrahim Sami Nashawi (College of Engineering and Petroleum, Kuwait U), Energy and Fuels, 4 February 2010 — “The presented method is a viable tool to predict the peak oil production rate and time. The model is simple, accurate, and totally data driven, which allows a continuous updating once new data are available. The analysis of 47 major oil producing countries … (indicates that} world production is estimated to peak in 2014”
  3. Atlas Shrieked: Ayn Rand’s First Love and Mentor Was A Sadistic Serial Killer Who Dismembered Little Girls“, Mark Ames, The Exiled, 26 February 2010
  4. They Spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools“, Adam B. Schaeffer, CATO Institute, 10 March 2010
  5. Big news if correct (and it looks accurate):  “The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story“, Mark Perry, blog of Foreign Policy, 13 March 2010
  6. Analysis of the above story:  “Israel is putting American lives at risk“, Paul Woodward, War in Context, 14 March 2010 — “What Mark Perry’s report indicates is that for the Obama administration a tipping point has been crossed in its perception of Israel’s effect on the conflicts that span the region.”
  7. We want great services, but prefer not to pay for them:  “Saving U.S. Water and Sewer Systems Would Be Costly“, New York Times, 14 March 2010
  8. That’s a feature, not a bug:  “Fears over non-Muslim’s use of Islamic law to resolve disputes“, Guardian, 14 March 2010 — “Muslim Arbitration Tribunal reports 15% rise in non-Muslims employing sharia law in }civil} cases … {some argue} that the recognition of sharia law decisions in Britain is regressive and harmful to women.”
  9. The $2 Trillion Hole“, Jonathan R. Laing, Barron’s, 15 March 2010 — “Promised pensions benefits for public-sector employees represent a massive overhang that threatens the financial future of many cities and states.”
  10. Money is power in motion:  “The Money Fighting Health Care Reform“, Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books, 8 April 2010

Today’s hot rumor

Final destination Iran?“, The Herald (of Scotland), 14 March 2010 — “Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.”

Background information about a possible US strike at Iran:

  1. ISIS: “Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program? Probably Not.”, 8 August 2008
  2. Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities“, Anthony H. Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan, Center for Strategic & International Studies, 16 March 2009
  3. For more information see the FM reference page Iran – will the US or Israel attack Iran?  Esp note the many other hot rumors about a strike at Iran.

Factoid for the day

The end of the housing crisis looms ahead, as shown by these stats from HousingWire, 15 March 2010:

  • a whopping 7.4 million loans are now non-current, compared to just 4.1m on average between January and June of 2008.
  • On average, severely delinquent borrowers have gone more than 9 months without making a mortgage payment—and yet foreclosure has not yet started for them.
  • For those borrowers who are in the foreclosure process, it’s been an average of 13.6 months—more than one full year—since they last made any payment on their mortgage.

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