FM newswire for June 24, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Psychologies explain why people assume that McChrystal’s Rolling Stone profile resulted from personality quirks (e.g., stupid, rash) rather than his rational intent:  Fundamental attribution error.
  2. Symbiosis = media whore scientists and desperately-losing-money news media:  “Frank Fenner sees no hope for humans“, The Australian, 16 June 2010
  3. About the McCrystal affair, an excellent analysis of the author’s intent and the article’s content:  “What happened in Paris…“, Peter Feaver, blog of Foreign Policy, 22 June 2010
  4. Military suicides remain high, especially among reservists“, McClatchy Newspapers, 22 June 2010
  5. A valuable idea:  “Can Government Make Essential Choices?“, Philip K. Howard, blog of The Atlantic, 22 June 2010 — Inability to clear away obsolete laws and government agencies shows the Republic’s deteriorating vitality.
  6. Climate records are of poor quality everywhere:   “Tasmania’s Devil of a Weather Station“, Watts Up with That, 22 June 2010
  7. An increasingly politicized military“, Bruce Ackerman, op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, 22 June 2010
  8. This is consistent with what experts have been saying since the initial blowout:  “BP Spill May Be Less Than Doomsayers Think“, Tadeusz W. Patzek (Chairman of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department of the U Texas-Austin), Bloomberg, 23 June 2010
  9. We spend twice as much for mediocre results:  “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, 2010 Update“, Commonwealth Fund, 23 June 2010
  10. Analysis of the Democratic Party’s strategy for November:  “Centrist and clueless“, Harold Meyerson, op-ed in the Washington Post, 23 June 2010
  11. Jeb Bush: It’s ‘Childish’ to Hold My Brother Accountable for Decisions He Made as President“, firedoglake, 23 June 2010
  12. Warlord, Inc. – Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan“, Report of the Majority Staff of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, June 2010
  13. People still talk about this:  “Let’s seal the Gulf oil well by using atomic weapons!“.   Because the news media loves ignorant media whores and sees real experts as boring.

Today’s feature stories (the good stuff) appear below the fold.

(14)  Have we heard this somewhere before?

“At this moment, as we enter into perhaps the most crucial six months of the entire war, I hope and pray that President Obama will decide we cannot afford to be without the leadership of such an amazing American.”
— Michael O’Hanlon, op-ed in USA Today, 23 June 2010

It was the mantra, mindless repeated, of our experts and leaders during the Iraq War.  For 50+ quotes from 2003-2006, see This is a defining moment in Iraq. The next six months will be crucial. Again. And Again.

(15)  About the Navy, preparing for a new world

Excerpt, today’s interesting factoid, from the CNO’s speech:

On any given day for the past few years, we have had more Sailors on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the Horn of Africa than we have at sea. In fact, today there are 14,000 Sailors on the ground with ground units and at headquarters in those three areas and they are doing absolutely incredible work. 14,000 on the ground and 10,000 at sea on any given day.

(16)  More about the US employment situation

  • There are 7 million people unemployed for over 26 weeks, 4.4% of the labor force.  The previous post-Depression peak was 2.6% in 1983.  Aprox 1 million unemployed workers have given up seeking work, and are classified as “discourage” and not counted as unemployed.  They could logically be added to the total of both unemployed and labor force (numerator and denominator of unemployment rate, which would increase the long-term unemployment rate to 5.2%.
  •  The current population survey employment data has a discontinuity in January 1994, when the questionnaire and definitions were revised.  As a result the number of discouraged workers was cut in half.  If we double the number of today’s discouraged workers from 1 to 2 million, the LT unemployment rates rises to 5.8%.  
  •  This revision had little effect on the headline unemployment number (until our currently extraordinary situation).  For more about this revision (which is widely misunderstood), see “BLS introduces new range of alternative unemployment measures“, John E. Bregger and Steven E. Haugen, Monthly Labor Review, October 1995.

This was added as an update to A look at US unemployment.

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