Links, 7/1/10

  • Megan McArdle, “American Austerity” – from the article: Austerity is an expensive form of insurance against a true fiscal crisis.  And though it doesn’t necessarily seem like it when you’re not having one, fiscal crises are much, much worse than austerity budgets.  Fiscal crisis means that rather than unpleasant cuts, you have sudden, unmanageable collapses in things like public pension plans.  The resulting suffering is not unpleasant; it is disastrous.
  • Michael Scherer, “Faced With the Blagojevich Scandal, Did Barack Obama Tell The Whole Truth?” – no, I’m not posting this here because I want to see the President impeached or anything like that. But I have received a few e-mails pretty much asking how on earth I could possibly be disappointed in Obama, given that he’s not Bush. I’d be lying if I thought the Obama administration seriously focused on policy more than publicity, and there is something less than admirable in that prioritization alone.
  • Bill Ardolino, “Initial Security Impressions: Musa Qala and Surroundings” – from the article: The conflict in Helmand is exceedingly complex. Before providing extended commentary I will need many more patrols and interviews under my belt. But some standout impressions are shaping the coverage thus far. Positives: USMC culture and counterinsurgency doctrine, and the well-reviewed capability of some Afghan National Security Forces in the region, specifically within Musa Qala. (Very big) Negative: the opium economy and its symbiotic link to instability.
  • Mark Bauerlein, “My First Conference” – another uplifting story about life in the academy.

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