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[ 7 ] October 26, 2014 |



[ 11 ] October 26, 2014 |

Interesting on Chip Kelly’s decision to kick the FG on 4th and 1 from the 2 yard line with 2 minutes left against the Cardinals:

“Good call!”

When it’s in the middle to late 4th quarter (or overtime), I use a measure called win percentage, which puts more emphasis on how 4th down decisions affect game outcomes. (This measure isn’t as useful earlier in the game, when the impact of a single play is harder to measure. Check out the methodology page for more details.) Here’s the breakdown for the Eagles’ scenario.
Go for it 70% of the time 55% of the time 64% of the time
Punt 49% of the time - -
Field goal try 83% of the time 100% of the time 35% of the time
* Based on about 600 fourth downs with similar field position and distance to first down since 2002
In this case, teams who attempt a field goal would be more likely to win. This doesn’t mean this is absolutely the right call in every situation. But on average, in situations like these, I recommend doing what the coach did: attempt a field goal!

I would have guessed the other way, and had that guess confirmed by ensuing events…


[ 1 ] October 24, 2014 |

Some thoughts on the dangers of anti-access/area denial system proliferation in East Asia…

The idea of supplying the various regional states that have territorial disputes with China has a great deal of appeal. A China that fears the military capabilities of its neighbors is easier to deter, especially as the commitments of these neighbors are more credible than that of the United States.  The potential for an integrated system is even more interesting, giving the United States and its allies a major geographical advantage over China.

But there are problems.



[ 33 ] October 23, 2014 |
Allied tanker torpedoed.jpg

“Allied tanker torpedoed” by U.S. Navy (photo 80-G-43376) Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

My latest at the National Interest takes a look at military failure:

In this article, I concentrate on specific operational and strategic decisions, leaving aside broader, grand-strategic judgments that may have led the United States into ill-considered conflicts. The United States may well have erred politically in engaging in the War of 1812, World War I, the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom, but here I consider how specific failures worsened America’s military and strategic position.

Scalia Comes Off Rather Well…

[ 16 ] October 20, 2014 |

I’m deeply disappointed that Scott and Paul failed to post this:

With the Icky and the Eeeebola…

[ 62 ] October 20, 2014 |

Well, this sounds like a sensible and reasonable precaution:

Navarro College is not accepting any new applications from students residing in Africa – all of Africa, not just those five countries on the continent with confirmed cases of the Ebola virus.

The Texas community college made the news cycles last week for sending rejection letters to Nigerian applicants that said “Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases.” Navarro initially apologized for “misinformation” provided to prospective international students, but later, Dewayne Gragg, the college’s vice president of access and accountability, issued an updated statement saying that administrators believe it to be the responsible course to postpone recruitment “in those nations that the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department have identified as at risk…. We are eager to resume accepting student applicants from these countries as soon as possible.”

In an interview Gragg clarified that non-African countries with Ebola cases – which would include Spain and, yes, the United States (where Texas has been ground zero) – are not encompassed by the new application policy. By contrast, he said that the college’s policy is to return new applications from any African country.

And the kicker:

Asked why the policy is so broad as to include prospective students in African countries without any Ebola cases, Gragg said the interview was getting into territory that isn’t relevant, but added, “We have made this decision based on what we feel is best for the safety of our students.”

Pity is, this may well turn out to be a remarkably successfully publicity stunt, with Fox News viewers elbowing each other aside to send their little darlings to Navarro…

Friday Links!

[ 72 ] October 17, 2014 |

Some Friday morning reading:


[ 16 ] October 15, 2014 |

Elizabeth Pena, rest in peace.

Gulf War Revisited

[ 18 ] October 15, 2014 |

My latest at The National Interest ruminates on the legacy of the Gulf War:

In short, the Gulf War seemed to suggest that international institutions, underwritten by revolutionary advances in American military power, could finally solve real military security problems. The political and technological foundations for a transformation in the functioning of global politics were in place.

The intervening twenty-three years have given us time to reconsider this conclusion.

Foreign Entanglements: The Bridge

[ 1 ] October 14, 2014 |

On this episode of Foreign Entanglements, I spoke with Tom Nichols about bridging the academic-policymaker divide:


[ 7 ] October 13, 2014 |

My latest at the Diplomat takes a look at efforts to broaden the naval canon:

Last week, the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC), on online think tank on maritime affairs, published a series of articles on forgotten naval strategists. Posts thus far have included discussion of the Athenian statesman Themistocles, Soviet AdmiralSergei Gorshkov, and Portuguese priest Fernando Oliveira. While no one should take this as an excuse to stop reading Alfred Thayer Mahan or Julian Corbett, it’s well past time to inject different voices into the seapower conversation.


“It is a tribute to this great country, that a man who once took a shot at Teddy Roosevelt could win back your trust”

[ 10 ] October 12, 2014 |

The pledge drive to help compensate for the items burglarized from Erik’s home amounted to roughly $1995.  Your generosity was remarkable; who knew that so many of you could tolerate Loomis and his dead horses?  Everyone at LGM is deeply grateful for your assistance.  I’m going to hold open the Loomis-centric drive until midnite tonight (hit the button on the near right sidebar), after which any donations will shift back to supporting the entire LGM community.


The Management

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