U.S intelligence officials use “novel incentives,” but this is not limited to Viagra. Sometimes, “notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains” can be won over with tools, school equipment, and surgical assistance. But it appears the “pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos” can be effective with older tribal officials.
Why not just hand out cash? It doesn’t work as well — Afghan leaders with U.S. dollars are recognized for having cooperated with the unpopular Americans. And with Taliban commanders, drug dealers, and even Iranian agents offering enticements, too, U.S. officials have had to get creative.
The key, one American said, is to “find a way to meet the informant’s personal needs in a way that keeps him firmly on your side but leaves little or no visible trace.” Viagra obviously fits the bill.
It’s all about the patriarchy, I guess. Via NB.
…I was also wondering about this.
Voting in The Soggy Biscuit sweepstakes — dedicated to anointing the “biggest circle-jerk of the year” — is now open.
I’ll admit to having something of a soft spot for the African Press International scam. The fact that these folks are still at it — and are now requiring that anyone who wants to read their Michelle Obama coverage ask for a password from the editor — is worthy of admiration and underscores the resiliency of their devoted American readers. That said, the API thing was really just an opportunistic subset of the “Whitey Tape” fiasco, which strangely enough didn’t make the list. If it had, this year’s contest would be a no-brainer.
I’d also be tempted to vote for the “Fake Obama Birth Certificate” story, which EvenTheDerangedWingnut Bob Owens dismissed. It’s a sensible choice, and I suspect it will eventually carry the title Let’s be honest, though. Any circle jerk that doesn’t include Confederate Yankee isn’t really worthy of the name. For that reason alone, my vote will go to “Bill Ayers Ghost Wrote Obama’s Book,” a rumor that Owens entertained and for which a couple of idiot Republicans were willing to waste $10,000.
Since I need to go open presents and such, allow me to delegate to Roy’s old appraisal. Make sure to stick around for the decimation of the inevitable Aesthetic Stalinism that followed his Nobel Prize (“Why don’t Kimball and Steyn go make a Thatcher Prize medal out of paperclips and a yogurt lid and give it to Tom Clancy?”).
Frankly, I blame the Democrats.
Also, given that I’m thus far 2-5, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to blame my Bowl Mania failure on the fact that I misunderstood the instructions.
A happy one to all of our loyal (or intermittent) readership.
Bye-Bye Norm. That is, unless the Supremes discover another mysterious “no, the Republican has to win” clause in the 14th Amendment…
A back of the envelope calculation indicates the New York Yankees are now committed to approximately $875 million in guaranteed salaries over the next several years. To wit (all numbers in millions):
St. Derek: $37
The way things are going we’ll all be bailing them out too in a couple of years.
Whoops, forgot Wang. Throw another five million on that pile — now there’s a real bargain!
Quebec premier Jean Charest has, for the second time, selected a cabinet with equal numbers of men and women, perhaps establishing this as a norm for future premiers. Lysaine Gagnon is displeased:
This development is being touted as a progressive move by Mr. Charest. It certainly added a touch of gloss to what would have been a rather lacklustre event, since most senior cabinet ministers were simply given their former posts. But it’s sending our governments down a very bad path, because it means that some of these appointments will be made regardless of merit and qualifications.
Oooh, fetch me the smelling salts. Are you telling me that a cabinet appointment in Canadian government may be based on any factor other than “merit or qualifications”? What an unprecedented development! When I read this I was planning a string of snark about what an amazing coincidence it was that every Liberal who managed to get elected in the prairies turn out to be remarkably qualified for the federal cabinet, etc. etc., but the striking thing about her argument is that Gagnon completely recognizes this: “There are many factors apart from merit that must be taken into account when a premier creates his cabinet – geography, political considerations and so on.”
At this point, then, one is compelled to ask why exactly the train of political considerations should stop with the inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups. This is a classic Charles Murray move: justify the exclusion of African-Americans by citing a non-existent American tradition of judging people on their individual merits. Somehow, the door always stops in front of discriminated against groups (legacy admissions are OK, but suddenly when more people of color start attending universities standardized tests are absolutely sacrosanct.) One can quibble with Charest’s precise mathematical equity, I suppose, but in general it seems likely that appointing more women is as likely to improve the quality of people serving in the cabinet as anything, and certainly redressing the gross gender inequality in political institutions is certainly a more compelling consideration than, say, rewarding the premier’s cronies. Which brings us to the last point: what exactly are the “qualifications” to be a lower-level cabinet minister anyway? Cabinet appointments are always in substantial measure political, and this is not only inevitable but not particularly undesirable.
Russian submarine launched ballistic missile tests not going well:
“After its firing from the submarine Dmitry Donskoy, the Bulava missile self-liquidated and exploded into the air” – Russian MoD spokesman to Interfax 23 Dec 08
That’s three successful launches out of eight tries. Three out of eight actually works in terms of nuclear deterrence, but you’d still like to see the success rate a bit higher. But more importantly, I’m going to try to work the term “self-liquidated” into as many conversations as possible over the next few days; it’ll be my Christmas-Hannukah theme for 2008.
Surface to Air Missile technology is one of those areas where small shifts in tactical capability could have large strategic effects; if reliable, effective, difficult to counter surface to air missiles become cheap and available, the most common manner in which rich countries pound the bejeezus out of poor countries loses much of its attraction. This possibility is not lost on the USN or the USAF. David Hambling:
Soon after radar-guided anti-aircraft missiles became a threat, planners realized that the simplest way to stop them was to take out the radar. These radars make an easy target; in radio terms, they are equivalent to lighthouses, radiating brightly. So in 1958 the U.S. introduced the Shrike, an “Anti-Radiation Missile” that homed in on enemy radar and proved invaluable in the Vietnam War. The modern successor is the AGM-88 HARM High Speed Antiradiation missile, which has longer range and a speed of over mach 2. “No U.S. aircraft has ever been lost to surface-to-air missiles when HARM has been flying cover,” Mike Vigue, HARM Growth Manager at Raytheon, told me.
The problem with this type of missile is that it relies on the enemy radar being turned on. Once they spot a missile barreling towards them, the operators can turn off the radar so it has nothing to home in on. So the mission is known as Suppression of Enemy Air Defence or SEAD: you’re not likely to kill them, but you can force enemy radar to shut down, making the skies safe for friendly aircraft.
All that changes when you can fit HARM with a GPS module that allows it to accurately pinpoint the location of the radar emitter. The addition means that even if the radar turns off, the missile can still hit it precisely.
Raytheon’s upgrade is called HDAM, for HARM Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses Attack Module. It’s being built for the Air Force. And it incorporates both GPS and an inertial measurement unit with a fiber-optic gyro. Raytheon won’t say exactly how accurate it is, but unlike other anti-radiation missiles which rely on a shrapnel warhead, HDAM has achieved “metal on metal” hits on radar targets, both emitting and non-emitting.