Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

September 29, 2004

World Bank

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 5:40 am

The World Bank, a UN agency, has concluded something remarkable about the Middle East.

“If only half of the region

September 28, 2004

Other Links

Filed under: General Rants — Bunker @ 6:38 pm

I added Cathy Seipp to my links list. I ran across her blog from seeing it as a referrer. She is in LA, and has an interesting take on things.

I also added The Middle East Media Research Institute for those of you interested in what the media in the Middle East have to say.

For the time being, while James is finishing AIT, I removed Porphyrogenitus. He’ll be back, and will immediately return to the list at that time.

Blog posts

Filed under: General — Bunker @ 4:57 pm

Chrenkoff has asked, “Does anyone actually read blogs?”

Why he asks is that he gets many view times of 0:00 and that seems odd. His commenters have lots of responses and possible answers, but none, including me, really know why that is. I know I see the same thing here, yet the average visit time is about two minutes. Seems odd, does it not?

Actually, I wonder about many of these things that get tracked. Another example is the Ecosystem. I don’t really know what kind of measure it really is for the popularity of a site. It tracks links from other sites. Someone like Glenn Reynolds doesn’t get a hit from me there unless I link to his site in a post because I access InstaPundit through a bookmark. Same with PowerLine and others. On the other hand, revolving blogrolls as on Blogs for Bush create a new link any time a new post is generated. I’ve seen my own go from Marsupial to Mammal and back in the space of 24 hours.

In Arthur’s case, as well as that of other more popular blogs, is the number of comments they get. I think that’s probably the most reliable indicator of traffic.

Strategic Forecasting

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 2:32 pm

I once read StratFor regularly. Sometime a year or two ago, they went to being a subscription service. I check there from time to time to see what kind of analysis they have available for use, as it is generally spot on.

Today I thought I would check to see what they might have in regards to Syria’s most recent moves toward civilization and ran across an analysis of the Najaf standoff with al-Sadr. They were pretty comprehensive in their detailing of Iran’s loss of influence, and Saudi Arabia’s problems which will now grow.

Their conclusions regarding the status of combat in Iraq fits well with mine, however, and not with the doom and gloom we hear from MSM.

The violence will drag on. In all three factions there are diehard elements that are committed to continued resistance. Indeed, as in other countries, it is altogether possible that some level of guerrilla violence will become a permanent feature of the political landscape. Consider the IRA or ETA in Europe, or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines. The wars are not strategic. They do not threaten the regimes or even have much opportunity to hold terrain. They are essentially forces of habit, unable to end, having no real negotiating platform, having no purpose, but continuing. The world is filled with such movements and there is every reason to believe this is happening in Iraq. But there is a vast difference between a purposeful, strategic campaign that threatens the survival of the regime and this sort of war by habit: The former makes history; the latter is history.

I think that optimism is well placed. How many suicide bombs have Israelis suffered in the last five years? That government isn’t in jeopardy. And the StratFor analysts see some potential for more movement in the months following our election. Maybe this is what Assad fears in Syria.

If the situation stabilizes in Iraq before elections, U.S. President George W. Bush will be more likely to win. However, win or lose, we must remember that on the day after the election, Bush will be president and will never face election again. He might be president for two months or four years, but he will remain president. In either case, he will be more concerned about his place in history and his own sense of what must be done than in political considerations. It follows that he will try to shape the war decisively in either case.

Al Qaeda will be facing, in either case, a world in which it has failed to ignite the Islamic masses and in which the general political tendencies in the Islamic world have not only not fulfilled al Qaeda’s hopes, but have moved against them. At some point, they will have to assert themselves somewhere. Al Qaeda has political goals and it must generate some movement toward achieving them.

With those two imperatives in mind, the decline in the importance of the Iraqi theater of operations will generate massive forces pointing to further military confrontations after the elections, quite apart from the threat of terrorist actions.

I don’t believe Bush worries about his place in history a la Bill Clinton. In fact, he has said history, rather than opinion, will be written decades from now. And I do believe he will follow his sense of what must be done. Assad has reason to worry.

Florida recount

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 11:38 am

Neal Boortz has a piece on the new Democratic initiative to play on people’s emotions, especially that of blacks, regarding the recount in Florida in 2000.

Yes, the political urban legend that black voters in Florida were harassed and intimidated on Election Day four years ago is making a comeback. Only yesterday Jimmy Carter, fresh from blessing Hugo Chavez’s dubious victory in Venezuela, moaned that in 2000 “several thousand ballots of African Americans were thrown out on technicalities” in Florida, and that this year more black than (Republican) Hispanic felons are being disqualified to vote–as if all felons weren’t supposed to be barred, regardless of race.

This carries on the claim that Bush was “selected, not elected” which has become quite popular over the last four years. So, I thought I’d spend just a few minutes (that’s all it took) doing a little research on the web. It is, once again, an accusation based on lies. Even CNN admits the recounts all showed Bush beat Gore in Florida.

A comprehensive study of the 2000 presidential election in Florida suggests that if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed a statewide vote recount to proceed, Republican candidate George W. Bush would still have been elected president.

And as for blacks being targeted, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found no such conspiracy.

In an OpinionJournal editorial, the “bad ballot” claim takes a major hit:

Which leaves the “stolen election” crowd with these inconvenient facts: In 24 of the 25 Florida counties with the highest ballot spoilage rate, the county supervisor was a Democrat. In the 25th county, the supervisor was an Independent. And as for the “felon purge list,” the Miami Herald found that whites were twice as likely to be incorrectly placed on the list as blacks.

And for an explanation of the US Supreme Court rulings, check this from the BBC. Talk about fair and balanced.

This is going to be pounded daily by MSM and DNC advertising. The NAACP and all the anti-Bush 527s will be adding to the noise. Jimmy Carter is looking for relevance in the US, and will be in Florida to monitor the election as he was in Venezuela. Count on it. The only problem with it is that the whole thing is a huge lie.

Unless you just want to believe it.


Filed under: Military — Bunker @ 9:06 am

I remember the look very well. It is one you see in the eyes of young men (and women) with a job to do, and the confidence they have in themselves.

You can tell without asking what these guys think. They look you in the eye. And if you can stand to look back you’ll see into the eyes of the undefeated. There is no quit here, no early out, no cut and run. These are young men with an ugly job, America’s finest sent to do our worst and best, and they make me feel old and inspired all at the same time.

Greyhawk reports from his new home in Iraq.

Community College

Filed under: Education — Bunker @ 7:55 am

I haven’t written about education in a while, but Lago had a segment on our local community college this morning and made me think about people’s perceptions.

I have an associates degree, bachelors degree, and masters degree. The toughest one for me was the first. But it led to the others. It was tough because I was working, and I had to get back into the school mentality. I had to catch up on the math I had forgotten. I had to write much more than I had before.

But the teachers I had getting my schooling in a community college were the best. Almost all had real-world experience, and many taught part-time while working in their field. The students at community colleges across the country average about 27 years of age. The classroom discussions and student goals reflect that maturity.

The real question about where to attend school comes back to expectations.

Most jobs in this world do not require a bachelors degree. They require an education. There is a difference. If you look at any 4-year college in this country, the majority of students are in the College of Arts and Sciences. A large portion of those are in several “soft” degree programs, that is programs which have no direct tie to any particular career path. A sociology, pyschology, even biology degree is but a step toward a higher degree. There are few jobs around where people hire someone with only a bachelors in those areas. English Literature and Women’s Studies offer almost nothing in the way of employment.

That’s okay. An education is of value regardless of the type degree someone gets, if what you want is simply an education in something that interests you.

But a large number of freshmen don’t get past the first year, even in these programs. I don’t have any numbers handy at the moment, but when I was working in education the number who survived was around 25%. They have heard all their lives that a college degree is essential, but they really have given no thought to why, or what they want to do with it.

I’ve found that community colleges offer a much better route for education than 4-year schools for most folks. There are programs in all forms of technical work, nursing, and even journalism. For most jobs in this country, the education a student gets with the diploma is enough to take them to the highest levels within that career path. And most also provide the kind of education they need to start and run their own business. It is cheaper, and a good way to immerse yourself in the academic environment. And it is a good way to sample a variety of options.

Let me offer a little unsolicited advice to current high school students and their parents. Unless you know precisely what you want to major in, and what your future employment prospects are with that degree, consider a local school for the first two years. If you want to get into computer programming or systems development, you will get as much hands-on experience and instruction from someone actually using those tools at a community college as you will in a complete 4-year program at a university. Of course, you will need more education later in some specific areas, but you will go into that better equipped.

I took care of all my basics as a part-time student–English, math, physics–then went on and got my engineering degree. And I was able to focus on my core engineering courses. But I had excellent teachers for calculus and physics at a community college, better than I had later on in more advanced courses. My instructor for the first of my calculus-based physics course taught part-time. In real life he worked an the Air Force’s airborne laser system.

Don’t think the quality of instruction suffers.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress