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Try as I might, and trust me I have tried, I am simply not capable of watching Governor Milorad Blagojevich on television without conjuring up the thought of a game show host. With all due apologies to Wink Martindale, Blagojevich puts me in the mind not so much of the Wink of Tic Tac Dough vintage but, instead, Wink of the short lived show High Rollers. (Something about those oversized dice will always stick with me.) Maybe it is the hair

January 01, 2009 - Posted by Mark Jefferson in Democracy


Not too long ago, okay actually almost three weeks ago, I received an email from an old friend, Fanon Che Wilkins

January 01, 2009 - Posted by Mark Jefferson in Democracy


And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community. We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them

January 01, 2009 - Posted by Mark Jefferson in Democracy


The National Intelligence Council

December 01, 2008 - Posted by Mark Jefferson in Culture


Names are no longer relevant when we look at transnational terrorism.

November 30, 2008 - Posted by Mark Jefferson in Politics


With the pieces of President-Elect Obama

November 27, 2008 - Posted by Mark Jefferson in Democracy


Presidential campaigns are decided by four sets of discussions. Whoever wins those usually wins the race. First is the economic discussion. Second is a discussion over national security. Third is a discussion over American culture and society. And the fourth is a discussion over the biography of the candidates. I want to offer

November 26, 2008 - Posted by David Silbey in Democracy


The election of Barack Obama marks a precedent in a number of ways. The one that has gotten the most play is, of course, the racial one. But there is another one that is equally important. Obama is a generational candidate, who signals the shift from Vietnam-era to post-Vietnam politics. He is the first elected President who has no significant connection to the era that started in Vietnam and defined a generation of political debates over service (or lack thereof) in that war. The last such generational shift occurred in 1992, when Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush. Clinton was too young to have any relation to WWII, the war which had informed political discourse since 1952, but was, instead, defined by his relationship with Vietnam. The 1996 election was a continuation of that transition and a repudiation of any attempt to return to the WWII generation, epitomized by Bob Dole. Dole was not the only evidence of some nostalgia for the WWII paradigm: much of the popularity of the

November 18, 2008 - Posted by David Silbey in Democracy


Part I (Army), here Part II (Air Force) here Part III (Navy) here The services remain largely stuck in their efforts to transform for the 21st century. The Army, though moving closer towards developing an institutional knowledge of counterinsurgency, remains wedded to purchasing high technology equipment and weapons more suited for large conventional war. The Air Force has attached itself to the F-22 air superiority fighter and now, rather than regrouping, spends much of its time desperately seeking an enemy or a mission for that fighter. The Navy has made a few, intermittent steps towards revamping itself, but without any overarching strategic vision. This slow transition has made the United States vulnerable. Most particularly, in Iraq, the inability of the Army to handle

November 14, 2008 - Posted by David Silbey in Militarism


There are three economies in the United States: the rural economy, the industrial economy, and the information economy. The rural economy dominates the South, the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountains, stretching through states from eastern California to the suburbs of Chicago. The industrial economy commands the Rust Belt and Midwest, from Pittsburgh through Gary, Indiana. The information economy prevails on the coasts and the I-95 and I-85 corridors in the East, from Portland, Maine down to Richmond, VA and jumping to the giant metropolitan complex at the end of Florida. There are exceptions to this, of course: Denver, in the Rocky Mountain region, is very much part of the information economy, as is Austin, Texas. Southern New Jersey is rural, despite being part of the I-95 corridor. The South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina coasts are rural. Recent elections have highlighted the different economies. The Republicans have owned the rural economy, controlling in the Deep South, the Great Plains, and the Midwest. The Democrats have owned the information economy, dominating both coasts and the inland islands of the 21st century economy (Chicago, Denver, Austin, Raleigh-Durham, and Atlanta). The struggle has been over states where the rural and information economies are relatively evenly balanced (Pennsyvlania, Virginia), where there is a conflicting external factor (The Hispanic population in New Mexico) and, most importantly, the states dominated by the industrial economy: Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin. In 2004, President Bush won reelection by taking Ohio, Iowa, Florida, and Virginia, and holding the rural states. In 2008, Obama won by pushing McCain and the Republicans back into their rural redoubts, winning the electoral votes of nearly the entire industrial economy in addition to a complete domination of the states of the information economy. The situation becomes clear when we look at two maps. The first is a rural/non-rural map of United States counties: The second is the vote breakdown by county: The two don

November 08, 2008 - Posted by David Silbey in Democracy

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