In the interests of compliance with the Pundit-Blogger Accountability Act of 2010, here are my revised election predictions. For the Senate I’m going to go wildly optimistic: Dems -6, winning both Colorado and Illinois, but losing Nevada. For the House, I dunno: Maybe -56? And let’s remember; on Election Day in Kentucky, only the sale of alcoholic beverages during polling hours is prohibited. I recommend that you stock up ahead of time in order to weather the difficult 6am to 6pm electoral window.
Category: Robert Farley
It’s not as if there are a lot of good arguments for war against Iran, but Broder has constructed what has to be the worst. Duss does the necessary demolition work. Prepping for war against Iran in order to improve the economy is not unlike staying in on a 2-7 offsuit in order to maximize your chances for a straight flush.
Friday Cat Blogging… Starbuck and Nelson
Friday Daddy Blogging… Miriam and Elisha
Just a note of mild irritation in response to a number of recent tweets on the subject; while failure of outreach to his base may have been a significant strategic error for the Obama administration, that’s not really the message of this poll:
Critical parts of the coalition that delivered President Obama to the White House in 2008 and gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 are switching their allegiance to the Republicans in the final phase of the midterm Congressional elections, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Roman Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents. All of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for Congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls.
To be clear, “base” does not equal “everyone who voted for Obama in 2008.” Base, by any reasonable definition, is a subset of that total; politicians win by motivating their base in addition to chipping off bits and pieces of the opponent’s coalition, as well as by winning the very small sliver of genuine independents. According to the poll, as far as I can tell, the losses from the Obama coalition include two of the most conservative segments (Roman Catholics and “independents”) as well as women, and I’d argue that the latter is too large and diverse a category to be appropriately termed part of the “base.” In other words, I suspect we’re seeing the loss of the most conservative parts of the Obama victory coalition, rather than the base. Although Obama could have done more both to shore up his base and to convince swing elements to remain in the fold, loss of these elements is entirely predictable in context.
I dunno… let’s say, Rangers in six? I do know that Josh Hamilton’s health will in some way be decisive in the outcome, unless Roy Hallday’s pitching is more important.
So, the Air Force is still having problems with its nuclear weapons:
The Air Force swears there was no panic. But for three-quarters of an hour Saturday morning, launch control officers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming couldn’t reliably communicate or monitor the status of 50 Minuteman III nuclear missiles. Gulp.
Backup security and communications systems, located elsewhere on the base, allowed the intercontinental ballistic missiles to be continually monitored. But the outage is considered serious enough that the very highest rungs on the chain of command — including the President — are being briefed on the incident today.
A single hardware failure appears to have been the root cause of the disruption, which snarled communications on the network that links the five launch control centers and 50 silos of the 319th Missile Squadron. Multiple error codes were reported, including “launch facility down.”
Whatever the specific cause of this incident, the wider pattern speaks to an organization no longer particularly interested in this mission. ICBMs are no longer sexy; the best officers go into other fields, training and recruitment suffer, and maintenance becomes a problem. Further incidents like this are inevitable.
Moreover, I fail to see the logic of this:
The incident comes at a particularly tricky time for the Obama administration, which is struggling to get the Senate to ratify a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. In conservative political circles, there’s a distrust of the nuclear cuts — and a demand that they be matched with investments in atomic weapon upgrades. Saturday’s shutdown will undoubtedly bolster that view.
Really? The failure of the Air Force to maintain control over 50 ICBMs will bolster the view that the United States needs to invest in a new generation of nuclear weapons? You’ll excuse me if I fail to see how we get from A to B on that one. The nuclear warheads atop the missiles did not fail; communications to the delivery systems did. Having the spiffiest RRW in the whole darned world wouldn’t have mattered a bit, and indeed would have been a profound waste of money if the missiles hadn’t fired. I wasn’t aware that we had to buy into the “This is excellent news for John McCain!” trope every time the Air Force screwed up. New START opponents may well invoke this incident, but there’s no reason that sensible people should pretend to take them seriously.
I have some thoughts on the aftermath of the Wikileaks Iraq release over at World Politics Review:
The release reaffirmed much that we already knew, including the high incidence of civilian casualties in Iraq, the brutality of the Iraqi security services, and Iran’s intervention in the Iraqi civil war. But if on the banal level the Wikileaks logs do not reveal anything new, the release of information in such a concentrated manner has a political impact, because it reopens a series of sometimes-bitter debates about the Iraq War. The Wikileaks release has brought the Iraq War back onto the front page, literally. And more important than questions about Assange’s personality or ethics is that of the effect the Wikileaks Iraq logs will have on future policy.
I couldn’t be more happy:
Tony Scott has confirmed he will direct a sequel to his 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. The film, he told the Hitfix blog, could focus on a new era of aerial warfare in which pilots control unmanned planes remotely.
Earlier this month it was reported that Tom Cruise might return as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell for the sequel, though not in a leading role. Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie is to write the film with original producer Jerry Bruckheimer also said to be on board…
“I’m not waiting for a script. I’m going to do my homework. I’m going down to I think it’s Fallon, Nevada, down near New Mexico and it’s a whole different world now.
“These computer geeks – these kids play war games in a trailer in Fallon, Nevada and if we ever went to war or were in the Middle East or the Far East or wherever it is, these guys can actually fly drones. They are unmanned aircraft. They operate them and then they party all night.”
Scott said the film would also be about the end of the era of fighter pilots. He said: “These guys are still test pilots and they manned the drones when they were first running them.”
Fortunately, I’ve already written a script; Tony, your people should get in contact with my people so that we can discuss terms. I’ve made some updates, including the addition of a prison break scene for Viper and an A-Team style montage on the reassembly of a museum-piece F-14. The unmanned drone focus works perfectly; Iranian F-14 pilots take advantage of a US Navy and US Air Force so slashed by Obama-era defense cuts that they can no longer afford manned fighter aircraft. I even have a cameo for myself as an effete leftist professor questioning the utility of airpower…