Daily Archives: February 19, 2016

Fight or flight: America’s choice in the Middle East

By Kenneth M. Pollack – Grasping the real choices that the United States faces in the Middle East requires an honest understanding of what is going on there.

Although it is fashionable to blame the region’s travails on ancient hatreds or the poor cartography of Mr. Sykes and Monsieur Picot, the real problems began with the modern Arab state system. After World War II, the Arab states came into their own. Most shed their European colonial masters, and all adopted more modern political systems, whether secular republics (read: dictatorships) or new monarchies.

None of these states worked very well. For one thing, their economies depended heavily on oil, either directly, by pumping it themselves, or indirectly, via trade, aid, and worker remittances. These rentier economies produced too few jobs and too much wealth that their civilian populations neither controlled nor generated, encouraging the ruling elites to treat their citizenries as (mostly unwanted) dependents.

The oil money bred massive corruption, along with bloated public sectors uninterested in the needs or aspirations of the wider populace.

To make matters worse, the Arab states had emerged from Ottoman and European colonialism with their traditional socio-cultural systems intact, which oil wealth and autocracy made it possible to preserve and even indulge.

By the 1990s, popular discontent had risen throughout the Middle East … more> http://goo.gl/GE8UCj


How Hillary Can Win

By Steve Denning – Why is Hillary Clinton in the fight of her life for the Democratic nomination against a 74-year-old senator who calls himself a democratic socialist and who has no realistic plan to achieve his goals?

In a phrase, Hillary is perceived as “a candidate without a cause.”

Hillary points to her competence, her connections, her experience, her gender, and her hard work on specific issues.

No candidate has ever been more qualified to be president. Yet to what effect?

Connections are not a cause. Experience is not a cause. Gender is not a cause.

“I’ve earned it” is not a cause. Working hard is not a cause. The more Hillary points to her past, the more voters worry about the future.

She needs a cause that explains what she stands for and why she should be elected, a cause that will be effective in both the primary campaign and the general election.

Without it, her candidacy risks being defined by others and distracted by squabbles on a multitude of individual issues, such as her emails or whether Henry Kissinger is her friend. more> http://goo.gl/mR2ko5


What’s Making Industrial PCs Get Bigger and Smaller at the Same Time?

By Al Presher – “The megatrends for industrial PCs are that they are becoming both smaller and bigger,” Vibhoosh Gupta, product management leader for GE’s automation and controls solutions said. “With the Internet of Things, more and more applications require some kind of computing edge node. These small nodes can collect data and securely transmit data for better analytics.”

On one hand, while industrial PCs (IPCs) go smaller, customers are trying to consolidate multiple applications into one box, driven by lower maintenance costs and, in some cases, lower cost of capital, thanks to Moore’s law enabling today’s PCs to do 10 times more than their brethren from five or six years ago. more> http://goo.gl/yxzMKD


Replacing a Justice Shouldn’t Be So Excruciating

By Megan McArdle – Running more and more issues through the appellate courts, rather than struggling through the legislative process, has two terrible effects.

First, it federalizes more and more issues, in an era when values and ideologies tend to be sharply partisan and geographically divided.

If you were a pro-lifer in Alabama, you probably wouldn’t get on a bus to Albany to protest New Yorkers’ more liberal abortion laws. But when federal courts decided that abortion law would be substantially the same everywhere in the country, proponents of abortion rights and opponents of abortion became locked in a battle over the court that sets the rules.

And also still squabble at state and local levels, of course. more> http://goo.gl/z0LaUU