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Some random link in lieu of actual blogging.  General apologies for the slowness; things picking up at school, column takes up some of my writing time, etc.  But I read…

  • Stephen Walt is simple and brutal in his analysis of George W. Bush’s decisions.
  • Why Caprica failed. I think that this is mostly right; the show demanded a lot from an audience that wasn’t so big to begin with. SyFy’s practice of splitting the season didn’t work out well in this case, as it simply gutted any momentum that the story had developed.
  • Does Britain need a military? A lot of my thinking recently has been about the how the idea of American Exceptionalism is deployed on the left and the right, and what American foreign policy might look like if the United States was a “normal” country.
  • Republicans may not care about the deficit. More about this tomorrow regarding the defense budget; short answer is that the chances of a progressive-tea party understanding on defense spending are exceedingly low.
  • A ceremony memorializing Jews who fought for the Kaiser.   I’d be curious to learn how many Jews served in the Austria-Hungary armed forces in World War I.
  • Danger Room says that the LA “missile contrail” was really just a jet contrail seen from an odd angle. But then, they would say that.
  • Ben Wittes and Tom Malinowski talk about the ethics of killing Joseph Kony with a drone strike.
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  • Vance Maverick


    Is that all that’s left of Joseph Kony?

    Also, to continue in the same pedantic vein, it’s a minor annoyance when links are given as redirects through Facebook (as for “Caprica failed” here) or Google. I feel like I’m gratifying Zuckerberg tangentially by even clicking on it.

  • Paul Gottlieb

    I suspect that a large number of Jews fought for the Emperor. My Wife’s grandmother used to show us old sepia photographs of her two brothers in uniform. They were from an upper-middle class Viennese Jewish family, and both of them served in the cavalry during the first World War. And, of course, both were murdered by the Nazis in the second World War.

    I believe that Ann rank’s father had been an officer in the German army during the first World War

  • A Silberman

    I’ve read that Jews were actually slightly over-represented among the officer class in the Austro-Hungarian Army.

  • NBarnes

    Wow. Just over a week for Rand Paul to embrace earmarks for Kentucky. Every time I think my opinion of him has bottomed out, he manages to make me reevaluate.

  • Thlayli

    The early versions of the Nuremberg Laws included exemptions for WWI veterans. These were gradually phased out as the “Final Solution” progressed.

  • witless chum

    I saw a weird contrail that appeared to be going straight up from west of East Lansing, Michigan. It really did look different. Late in the day, too, when the sun is hitting the atmosphere differently.

    The assembled smokers in front of Akers Hall debated and discarded the missile theory. I probably pointed out that their weren’t any SAC bases near Grand Rapids and my friends probably looked oddly at me for knowing something weird for the dozenth time.

  • Nathanael

    Break right-winger framing. It’s the military budget, not the “defense” budget. It isn’t “defending” us in any sense.

  • tenacitus
    • Halloween Jack

      Hmmm… I don’t really agree with his takes on Star Trek; the “Star Trek Fallacy” post overanalyzes the original series and its failure. TOS failed because 1) it was really expensive and 2) the quality dropped off considerably from the first season to the third and last. Even after the franchise got restarted in the wake of Star Wars‘ success, Roddenberry nearly blew it again with the first movie, and other hands had to come in and make the second movie much more fun and actiony.

      Enterprise, like all the other spin-off series, had improved immensely by the third and fourth seasons, after the producers remembered that it had decades’ worth of material to draw on, and was killed mostly due to the collapse of UPN as a network.

      • Umm…Jack.

        The Original Series did not “fail.” My point of the post was that Star Trek’s success was not measured accurately through its initial Nielsen numbers. NBC canceled the show, but it still had much success afterwards, as the other measures of show popularity, such as books, games, and so on would garner.

        My point was that other shows that have come after have misanalysed Star Trek’s measure of success, but use the arguments I’ve laid out in post to justify their hope that their poorly-written sci-fi show will be anywhere near as successful as Star Trek’s TOS was.

        UPN was going to “die” on a vine as it was. However, Enterprise’s 3rd & 4th seasons, while an improvement on the 1st and 2nd, were still nothing to write home about.

        Finally, as far as Roddenberry and movie making goes, understand that there are consequences to wanting to make sci-fi all about soap opera drama or action. They tend to add up to contribute largely to a loss of enthusiasm of space and exploration. I go into this issue here.

        • Halloween Jack

          When I say that it “failed”, I mean that it “was cancelled and did not return (the animated series notwithstanding) for about a decade.” You can natter on about how well Nielsen ratings really judge viewership, then or now, but that’s the metric that they had back then, and, more importantly, that’s what they could justify ad revenue with. It may not have been a fair game, but that’s the board that they were playing on.

          As far as Enterprise goes, well, eye of the beholder and whatnot. At least they were taking a few risks, as opposed to retreads of tropes that had already been thoroughly exhausted on Voyager.

  • Anonymous

    now i have an office that looks out over some trees and a sculpture, which is nice, but i used to have an office with an unobstructed view to the south horizon. the south horizon doesn’t have that much air traffic because there isn’t a whole lot south of us. still every so often a plane crosses it. it took me a couple of days to understand that i wasn’t seeing the occasional rocket plane headed for the atmosphere, but merely a commercial plane headed south to north appearing to rise as it left the horizon and came closer to my location. they look like they go almost straight up.

    so, yes, they would say that, but it is probably true.

  • El Cid

    I actually liked Caprica better than Battlestar.

    Can any of its viewers explain why the dead girl in the Cylon refused to ever let her dad or mother know she was alive?

  • Halloween Jack

    Yeah, everyone’s dragging out the “shocked, shocked” thing from Casablanca with regard to Rand Paul’s open embrace of pork, but really, that hypocrisy is nothing new and not limited to Paul or the post-election period. Earlier this year, Rachel Maddow schooled Illinois GOP rep Aaron Schock for voting against stimulus spending, then going back to his home district and bragging about the pork coming in as if it were his idea. Later this year, Schock had the brilliant idea of where to cut the budget: a few million for all the signs that attributed funding for various projects to the Recovery Act. And he’s not the only GOP member who did that, by a long shot.

  • Not to forget Fritz Haber’s folly

  • mch

    In Ann Arbor between 1972 and 1976 I became very close to Dr. Hilda Adler, whom a group of us grad students used to visit for “high tea” once every few weeks. (Her grandson was one of us — that’s how we got to know her.) Dr. Adler told us that she had treated wounded German soliders during WWI, feeling very patriotic as she did so. I recall her saying something to the effect, “We felt we were Germans — Jews, but also fully Germans.” In the 1930’s, during her breaks from the hospital where she practiced, she often attended sessions of the nearby Reichstag. Because of what she saw happening there, she became convinced fairly early on that she and her family — and anyone else they could convince — had to get out of Germany. She and at least her immediate family did get out in time, eventually finding their way, via Argentina and Canada, to the US.

    Hilda Adler and another truly remarkable Jewish woman from Germany I knew in those years, Gerta Seligson (a professor of Classics at U of M, and a wonderful reader of Vergil, through whose Aeneid she came to forgive professors and fellow students who had turned their back on her when she was a grad student in Germany), are two of the most amazing people I have ever known. Such strength, such courage, such sadness, and hopefulness, too. Although a medical doctor, Hilda Adler (as was typical of educated people in her day in Germany) was fully educated in classics, especially in Greek, and even as a very old woman in Ann Arbor she still regularly tried to Plato in Greek (her Greek remained excellent, but her eyesight was failing her). The Phaedrus was her favorite piece of literature, bar none, and I treasure the copy she gave me. You might have thought that Dr. Adler and Professor Seligson would have been disillusioned with an Enlightenment that had betrayed them, but neither understood it all that way. Both were great-souled people.

    Anyway, Hilda Adler’s story, the little I know of it, is one of service to the Kaiser, or rather to the Germany that, at the time, she believed fully included her as one of its own.

  • herr doktor bimler

    I’d be curious to learn how many Jews served in the Austria-Hungary armed forces in World War I.

    The first two that come to mind are Paul and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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