Friday, September 28, 2007


Not only the CIA, but the State Department needs to rethink what it is doing. I like this proposal that a new type of diplomat is needed. American diplomats need to get off cushy sofas in Washington and hit the streets in countries that are not seen as great posts. Also the time has come to rethink our national security and diplomatic paradigm. Whether Giuliani is the president to do this remains to be seen.

Even the State Department's chardonnay and brie brigade suspects we have entered a new era of grimy, street-level foreign policy. It's an era where effective diplomacy starts with long days in bad neighborhoods, as culturally-savvy diplomats identify the hopes, fears and trends that seed future crises, and -- preferably -- create American-influenced opportunities to positively shape events.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


A number of good points are made about the failure of the CIA from this blogger. The bold face is my note.

Last night, Hugh had longtime CIA employee and George Tenet advisor Mark Lowenthal on as a guest. At the end of the interview, Lowenthal provided an unintentionally hilarious (albeit chilling) summation of the CIA’s pathos. While discussing Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, Lowenthal posited that the Mullahs remain seven years from “mission accomplished”. Hugh asked if we could afford to take the chance that the CIA’s “guess” on this matter was correct. Lowenthal bristled, reminding Hugh that at “the CIA we don’t guess. We estimate.”

I feel so much better! Because there’s such an enormous difference between guessing and estimating. And, let’s face it, the CIA’s track record on recent estimations is rock solid. Oh sure, they severely underestimated Saddam’s proximity to nuclear weaponry in the early 1990’s. And the Agency over-estimated Iraq’s WMD capabilities in the run-up to the Iraq War. And regarding Al Qaeda’s plans and abilities, the Agency was effectively clueless. But I’m sure the Agency has made some estimates in the past few decades that haven’t completely stunk.


They may not be the allies we think they are in the war on terror.

There's new evidence the Saudis aren't cooperating in our battle to eradicate terrorists or those who bankroll them. Their negligence is shocking even to cynics.

According to the Treasury Department's top anti-terror official, the kingdom has not prosecuted a single person named by the U.S. or the United Nations as a terror financier. Asked by ABC News how many Saudis have been charged with funding terror since 9/11, Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey said, "There have not been any." Not one? "No," he asserted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I am really beginning to feel sorry for Katie Couric--both the right and the left ridicule her.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Hillary Clinton said that her childhood dream was to
be an Olympic athlete. But she was not athletic
enough. She said she wanted to be an astronaut, but at
the time they didn't take women. She said she wanted
to go into medicine, but hospitals made her woozy.
Should she be telling people this story? I mean she's
basically saying she wants to be president because she
can't do anything else."
--Jay Leno

"Well, the big story -- Hillary Clinton will be
running for president in 2008. You know why I think
she's running? I think she finally wants to see what
it's like to sleep in the president's bed."
--Jay Leno

"Top Democrats have mixed feelings about Sen.Hillary
Clinton running for president. Apparently, some
Democrats don't like the idea, while others hate it."
--Conan O'Brien

"In a fiery speech this weekend, Hillary Clinton
wondered why President Bush can't find the tallest man
in Afghanistan. Probably for the same reason she couldn't
find the fattest intern under the desk."
--Jay Leno

"Former President Bill Clinton said that if his wife,
Hillary, is elected president, he will do whatever she
wants. You know Bill Clinton -- when he makes a vow
to Hillary, you can take that to the bank."
--Jay Leno

A student from the University of Washington has sold
his soul on eBay for $400. He's a law student, so he
probably doesn't need it, but still, that's not very
much. Today, Hillary Clinton said, 'Hey, at least I
got some furniture and a Senate seat for mine."
-Jay Leno

"Hillary Clinton said today that she wants legislation
to allow all ex-felons to vote. See, this way all the
Clinton's former business partners can vote for her
in 2008."
--Jay Leno

Hillary Clinton's 506-page memoirs have come out.
So much of her personality shines through, that in
the end, you, too, will want to sleep with an intern."
-- Craig Kilborn

In Hillary Clinton's new book 'Living History,'
Hillary details what it was like meeting Bill Clinton,
falling in love with him, getting married, and living
a passionate, wonderful life as husband and wife.
Then on page two, the trouble starts."
-- Jay Leno

"In the book, she says when Bill told her he was
having an affair, she said "I could hardly breathe,
I was gulping for air.
No, I'm sorry, that's what Monica said."
-- David Letterman

"Hillary Clinton, our junior senator from New York,
announced that she has no intentions of ever, ever running
for office of the President of the United States. Her
husband, Bill Clinton, is bitterly disappointed. He is crushed.
There go his dreams of becoming a two-impeachment family."
-- David Letterman

"Last night, Senator Hillary Clinton hosted her first
party in her new home in Washington. People said it
was a lot like the parties she used to host at the
White House. In fact, even the furniture was the
-- Jay Leno

"Senator Hillary Clinton is attacking President Bush
for breaking his campaign promise to cut carbon
dioxide emissions, saying a promise made, a promise
broken. And then out of habit, she demanded that
Bush spend the night on the couch."
-- Craig Kilborn

"CNN found that Hillary Clinton is the most admired
woman in America. Women admire her because she's
strong and successful. Men admire her because she
allows her husband to cheat and get away with it."
-- Jay Leno

"Hillary Clinton is the junior senator from the great
state of New York. When they swore her in, she used
the Clinton family Bible....the one with only seven
- -David Letterman

Friday, September 21, 2007


Anybody want to play?


I am bothered that free speech advocates at Columbia seem to have certain biases in favor of only certain free speech. I guess even Columbia has standards.

As most readers know, those worldly "progressives" [sic] at Columbia University are hosting a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the Iranian president addresses the thugocrats and parking violators in the General Assembly. Freedom of speech, doncha know? At Columbia it evidently extends to Holocaust deniers and adherents of the belief that global chaos will bring on the Mahdi (Shiite messiah).

I have a question for the Columbia crowd, since Holocaust deniers are welcome, would you allow a speaker in favor of a return to black slavery? I hope not. Well, that's how I feel about Holocaust deniers.

What are the speaker rules at Columbia? Does anybody know? How far can you go? Please leave the info here, if you have it.


I am beginning to think we are in more economic trouble than anyone realizes. The Canadian dollar is now equal to the US dollar for the first time since 1976. The Euro is at $1.41--it was $1.20 or so in the spring of 2006. And Dubai investors are buying a chunk of the NASDAQ.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Michael Scheuer is a voice that needs to be heard on Iraq. He is the only analyst I have seen that sees a threat in the last video tape of bin Laden.


It seems like every year another one of these reports comes out.

Students don't know much about history, and colleges aren't adding enough to their civic literacy, says a report out today.

The study from the non-profit Intercollegiate Studies Institute shows that less than half of college seniors knew that Yorktown was the battle that ended the American Revolution or that NATO was formed to resist Soviet expansion. Overall, freshmen averaged 50.4% on a wide-ranging civic literacy test; seniors averaged 54.2%, both failing scores if translated to grades.

"One of the things our research demonstrates conclusively is that an increase in what we call civic knowledge almost invariably leads to a use of that knowledge in a beneficial way," says Josiah Bunting, chairman of ISI's National Civic Literacy Board. "This is useful knowledge we are talking about."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The Dallas Morning News has a well-researched story on the trial of the Holy Land Foundation in Dallas. It has printed the documents showing how the Muslim Brotherhood was attempting to replace the constitution with sharia law. I am not sure they would have been successful in accomplishing their goals.

The documents – introduced in recent weeks as part of the prosecution's case in the trial of the now defunct Holy Land Foundation and five of its organizers – lay out the Brotherhood's plans in chillingly stark terms.

A 1991 strategy paper for the Brotherhood, often referred to as the Ikhwan in Arabic, found in the Virginia home of an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, describes the group's U.S. goals, referred to as a "civilization-jihadist process."

"The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions," it states. This process requires a "mastery of the art of 'coalitions,' the art of 'absorption' and the principles of 'cooperation.' "

Success in the U.S. "in establishing an observant Islamic base with power and effectiveness will be the best support and aid to the global movement," it states.

Monday, September 17, 2007


I thought this was an interesting interview with Raymond Ibrahim on C-Span. He has written a number of books, including the Al Qaeda Reader. The interview is a bit long, but I thought he was more insightful regarding theological issues than most people talking about this subject.


Newsweek had a very interesting article on General Petraeus and his advisors. They are an impressive group of men from an educational standpoint. Almost all of them have Ph.D.'s--several in history, but economics, cultural anthropology, etc. are represented. Petraus has his doctorate from Princeton. I know a Ph.D. is not a guarantee of correct policy decisions, but I sense they are dealing with the social, economic, religious, and cultural aspects of the war in Iraq. These are not just generals who have only studied military strategy. I wish Congress and the White House had as equally impressive people dealing with the Middle East.


Allan Greenspan is predicting that the Euro will replace the dollar as a reserve currency. I saw this coming after spending 4 months in Vienna over a year ago. Americans seem to be living in the past with regard to the U.S.'s economic strength and vitality. The dollar is no longer the currency it was. Once oil countries and China figure this out, the US economy will be in for a serious challenge. I don't see Democrats or Republicans facing this issue.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


This is an unusually good discussion of Iraq by the media--MSNBC. It takes into account historical background.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007


Some very good insight into applying to graduate school. However, I would argue that a Master's degree is a good middle ground that can help one ask the right questions before pursuing a Ph.D. and all of its pressures and commitments.