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There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

They Rule
Topic: Society 5:15 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

Map of corporate connections between boards of directors and people.

Click on "Open They Rule 2004" to begin using the tool.

They Rule

Porter's House
Topic: Politics and Law 4:44 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

The partisanship will continue. But changes are coming. These changes are long overdue. And though you wouldn't know it from recent media coverage, many CIA officials support them.

The CIA failed to penetrate the senior-most levels of the former Iraqi regime or of al Qaeda. Former CIA director George Tenet has admitted this.

The clandestine service exists to penetrate our enemies and collect their secrets. Some armchair spooks pretend this is easy. It's not. But gaps in our knowledge are gaps in our security. Tenet told the 9/11 Commission it would take five years to revamp the clandestine services.

Faster, please.

Porter's House

Generational Media Study
Topic: Media 4:34 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

Lots of graphs and tabular survey results. A few tidbits:

83.4% of males 18-24 have Internet access; 18-34s with broadband access spend 52% more time than dial-up peers

Importance of newspapers differs by age group; only 17% of 18-24s say that "reading the newspaper is an important part of my day."

Generational Media Study

Newspapers Should Really Worry
Topic: Media 4:26 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

If you can shape their info-seeking habits when they're in their teens or twenties, you'll nab them for life. So the thinking goes.

But there is trouble afoot. The seeds have been planted for a tremendous upheaval in the material world of publishing.

Young people just aren't interested in reading newspapers and print magazines.

Print media will die off within 30 years, "when the dead-tree readers will die off."

Newspapers Should Really Worry

Give Thanks for Immigrants
Topic: Education 4:20 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

Enjoy this holiday message from Rupert Murdoch.

Our modern public school systems simply are not producing the talent the American economy needs to compete in the future. And it often seems that it is our immigrants who are holding the whole thing up.

60% of the top science students, and 65% of the top math students, are children of immigrants. More than half of engineers -- and 45% of math and computer scientists -- with PhDs now working in the US are foreign born.

Asian Marines, Arab Marines, Latino Marines, all united in the mission of protecting the rest of us.

Give Thanks for Immigrants

Why We Must Take Falluja
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:10 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

Mark Bowden wrote this op-ed for the November 12 edition of the LA Times.

We should not be surprised if, even after the offensive is over, the roadside bombings, kidnappings and murders continue.

Does that mean that retaking Falluja accomplishes nothing?


The target isn't just the terrorists, it's that vast middle ground of Iraqis.

Why We Must Take Falluja

Two, Three, Many Fallujas
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:05 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

Media accounts also routinely describe the fighting outside Falluja as a "rebel counteroffensive" that surprised the US military, implying that the reduction of Falluja merely created more insurgents.

But the view conveyed by these headlines is myopic.

The rebels can attack on a broad front for a while, but they will not be able to keep it up for long. What is going on in the Sunni Triangle is not so much a "rebel counteroffensive" as it is the last desperate gasp of a group running out of time and space.

Drawing on lessons from World War II, this writer disputes the implication of my "Slog" poem.

Two, Three, Many Fallujas

Regime Change at the CIA
Topic: Politics and Law 4:02 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

Bush knows the CIA needs dramatic reform, that the American people will welcome such reform, and even that they expect him to do it and to do it quickly. And he knows that those inside the CIA opposed to Goss's reforms will fight hard and will fight dirty.

The improvements at the CIA must be both quantitative and qualitative. The CIA, and in particular its clandestine service, exists to penetrate enemies and collect their secrets. In recent years, it has signally failed in this task.

George Friedman is saying similar things, although absent the partisan haggling over Michael Scheuer. Basically, the DO needs this shakeup, but Goss's methods are having a rather detrimental effect on morale. However, I can't imagine getting it done quickly without ruffling lots of feathers in the process. And we don't have time to wait.

I haven't found any non-partisan analysis of the "shakeup". The truth is somewhere in between the Weekly Standard and the New York Times, but it seems no one is reporting from that trench.

Regime Change at the CIA

Thanking Our Troops
Topic: Military 3:49 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

We have become used to having a high-quality military filled by dedicated young women and men willing to put their lives on the line for less money than Donald Trump hands out in tips every week. It is worth remembering how extraordinary and unusual our service members really are -- and how much we owe them this Thanksgiving.

In their post-Vietnam agony, all the services had trouble attracting recruits, and those who signed up tended to come from the bottom of the barrel.

By the 1991 Gulf War, those problems had evaporated and the first-rate military we know today had been created.

Anybody who has spent any time around today's soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines cannot help but be awed by their dedication, courage, and professionalism.

Thanking Our Troops

Among the Hostage-Takers | Mark Bowden | Atlantic Monthly, December 2004
Topic: History 3:07 pm EST, Nov 26, 2004

Twenty-five years ago in Tehran a group of Iranian students stormed the US embassy and took hostage the entire American diplomatic mission -- igniting a fifteen-month international crisis whose impact is reverberating still.

Now, for the first time, many of the leading hostage-takers speak candidly about their actions -- which a surprising number deeply regret.

Among the Hostage-Takers | Mark Bowden | Atlantic Monthly, December 2004

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