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Entries in terrorism (35)


Failed states keep neighborhoods bad, allowing AQ sanctuary, while rising states allow connections, but it's civil strife that remains AQ's bread-and-butter dynamic

Trio of articles worth differentiating in their meaning. First via Chris Ridlon and other pair from WPR's Media Roundup today.

Underlying question is, Which states do we care about in the Gap?

Some argue that failed states are THE threat. The Patrick piece is clear enough on the record and it's right out of PNM: Yes, at any one time there are several dozen failed states, but, on average, only about a half-dozen fall into the transnational terrorism pool. Why? Only so many in the al-Qaeda network worth mentioning.  

The same dynamic was true in the 1990s, or what I cited in PNM: Usually about three-dozen failures out there, and, on average, the US gets involved in some short-to-medium duration intervention in about a half-dozen each year, mostly on humanitarian grounds.

Why tend to these states?  They are the crack house on the inner-city block:  they bring everybody down to their level on trust, criminality, bad investment climate, and the like.  Regions hook up to the Core in clumps, not individually.  A critical mass of improvement is needed in a region, and failed states prevent that critical mass.  They do, therefore, create conditions that encourage backwardness, disconnectedness, corrupt, smuggling, and civil strife.  These are where AQ do their real business.  Yes, we are concerned about their ability to strike inside the Core, but these are episodes and nothing more.  There is no real struggle to be had there, just good police work. The real struggles are in the Gap.  And so we deal with failed states when they get above the crap-line, otherwise we mostly ignore and hope they eventually present something the Chinese want so they'll come in and rehab the place a bit, like they did in Sudan.  I know, I know. China in Sudan is evil, except Sudan is much better now and the only big delta in experience is Chinese investment and purchasing of oil.  And China has gone along with the divorce - a very good precedent.

Patrick is also right that AQ prefers up-and-comers, or states with just enough connectivity and technology and corruption to give them access to the Core.  Pakistan is perfect in this regard, much better than Afghanistan (my column Monday).  Under the right conditions, we need to worry far more about Pakistan than Afghanistan, which is a solution for locals.  

But as the Yemen article shows, a certain amount of strife is necessary for a semi-connected state (Yemen is valuable for its close location in the Persian peninsula) to be truly useful.  If the state comes together and gets itself a decent government, then the Core security aid will flow and AQ will have its moments but no great advantage.

Better, as the third article suggests, to work a true civil war, where, in the heat of battle, sides get less picky about their allies.

It's been my argument for a while now (meaning about a decade), that AQ is doomed in the Middle East due to demographics - or the middle-aging of the youth bulge. That forces revolutionary change and job creation, because the alternative is too scary for the world, especially with the coming nuclearization of the PG.  In that overall dynamic, AQ becomes an element but a small player. It needs to go "back in time" a bit, like any revolutionary group that is seeing its moment pass (think Lenin looking at Germany and then recognizing the opportunity in Russia).

As the Middle East middle-ages, AQ goes to either Central Asia or Africa.  I say Africa, because in Central Asia, there are too many great powers willing to kill and repress to keep it out (actually, all of them).  In reality, that was the dynamic that led to the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Africa, by way of contrast, is a looser and easier place to infiltrate.  Fortunately, for us, most of the Islam there is relatively mellow and not easily whipped into AQ shape, and yet, AQ must try, because here is the last gasp. What Africa provides is huge churn, a lot of globalization remapping and plenty of opportunities for civil strife - like Libya.  Central Asia will be a backwater by comparison.

No, I'm not worried about Africa.  Many great things happening there, but with the good comes the bad and the processing must occur along the way.  But not any "WWIII" or "perpetual war" or any of that nonsense. It's just what is left over with globalization's continued advance.


Esquire's Politics Blog: Seven Reasons Why Qaddafi Would Be the Best Domino Yet

Please, spare me any dread over this goofy dictator's hopefully looming and well-earned demise. Muammar Qaddafi has had over four decades to do right by his country and he ranks right up there with old-man Castro as one of the worst leaders ever to keep a people down. Team Obama should have zero qualms on this one, no matter what any of our alleged allies in the region may say, because if they're worried about the Qaddafi family's influence powering on, they know damn well what needs to be done (or not done). Here's why you, Mr. and Mrs. American, should cheer on this revolution along with your careful president.

Read the entire post at Esquires' The Politics Blog.



The Politics Blog: America in Yemen: The Perfect War We've Been Waiting for?

Before the ink could dry, it seemed like the secret war had already begun. Just a couple of toner cartridges haplessly headed for American synagogues, and suddenly the headlines are shouting it: TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT YEMEN and OUR INVOLVEMENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE LONG-TERM. I suppose that's what it's come to in this country these days — that, as soon as an obscure Al Qaeda offshoot in Yemen claims responsibility for some UPS packages in Chicago, Americans assume we have another all-encompassing, mega-expensive affair on our not-so-bloody hands. Because when it comes to nation-building, the United States doesn't do anything small and beautiful anymore.

Read the entire post at Esquire's The Politics Blog.


Report: NATO members foil Mumbai-style wave of attacks on Europe


From Michael Smith, the gist of the Sky News report:


Intelligence agencies have intercepted a terror plot to launch Mumbai-style attacks on Britain and other European countries, according to Sky News sources.


... militants based in Pakistan were planning simultaneous strikes on London and major cities in France and Germany . . . the plan was in the advanced but not imminent stage and the plotters had been tracked by spy agencies "for some time".

Intelligence sources told Sky the planned attacks would have been similar to the commando-style raids carried out in Mumbai . . . the European plot had been "severely disrupted" following intelligence sharing between Britain, France, Germany and the US.

It is not known whether the attackers are already in Europe.

News of the planned strikes came as the Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated because of a bomb scare for the second time in two weeks . . .

When the terror plan came to light, the US military began helping its European allies by trying to kill the leaders behind the plot in Pakistan's Waziristan region.

There have been a record 20 missile attacks using drone aircraft there in the past 30 days.


Why it's important to pay attention:


  • It's long been my contention that extremists operating in NW Pakistan, most likely in some collusion with al Qaeda (not a big leap), will keep trying to make some big splashy strike in the West.  Many experts saw the Times Square bombing attempt as a practice run using an expendable. Figuring how hard that is to pull off--in a relative sense, and with AQ and its net falling from our collective memory thanks to the economy, the default alternative for such groups to regrab the headlines is to do something easy and cheap like Mumbai II and to do it in Europe.  So yeah, I find this whole logic believable.


  • I think Obama is right when he says, we can absorb another attack without freaking out.  I don't think we would, having gone through Afghanistan and Iraq since and understanding that such unilateralism just leaves us holding the bag.  So the next strikes, I believe, can lead to more interesting and better cooperative opportunities with Russia, China, India, Turkey, et. al, if done well.  Is Obama the guy to do it?  While I don't think Americans would freak, I fear another attack would simply give the man another chance to come off as far-too-Vulcan for the average American voter.  While I think we're still in philosopher-king political mode and will be for a while, I think his off-putting style will mean we'll stop reaching for the smartest-guy-in-the-room option, because that guy should be the brilliant adviser (which Obama lacks because his smartest-guy-in-the-room mindset attracts other big egos and sycophants and apparently not much in between) and not POTUS himself, who should be all about leading and not aspire to such a title.  Therefore, I do not see a rally-round-the-prez dynamic unfolding when it eventually happens.  That bad feeling will simply be piled upon the existing glut of bad feeling about the economy.


  • The other side's ability to sked our counter-reactions is a real problem, because, in our habits, we feel the need to "keep all balls in the air," so terror competes with WMD in NorKo and Iran competes with our growing fears of Chinese military build-up competes with global warming competes with . . .. What was nice about the post-9/11 period was the willingness of great powers to clear the decks on most everything else, keeping them in some big-picture perspective mode, and exploiting the common threat opportunity embodied by AQ to contemplate a serious recasting of the great power relationships for the better.  But then Bush-Cheney went wild on the unilateralism/primacy and that moment was largely wasted.  Can it happen the next time a crystalizing attack occurs?  Sadly, I don't see the leadership anywhere in the world to take advantage, so we go on with the current situation, where everybody is juggling balls and no serious progress is being made on anything. Meanwhile, mutual suspicions pile up, and increasingly we've all got enough gripes with every other great power to make cooperation an almost tortured affair. I'm not secretly wishing for something bad to happen; that is a dangerous intellectual route to go for someone who thinks seriously about the future. The point is, I don't have to. Globalization's penetrating speed has not abated one whit with the great recession--anything but. We're only dimly aware of that here in the States because we think that drawing down in Iraq and hoping to do the same in Afghanistan is a big deal for the system, when, in truth, it barely notices it right now and continues down its aggressive integrating path.  In short, we assume it's Old-Core-does-Gap-or-nobody-does-Gap, when in truth, it's New-Core-does-Gap-systematically and compared to that, the West's efforts are marginal and concentrated in bits and pieces.  I'm not looking to go back to the frantic push the US made after 9/11.  I'm looking for a better marrying up of those two efforts, because the mismatches in resources are vast and the big opportunities for new collaborations are slipping away.  AQ or others will accommodate that need whether we want it or not.  That's the dynamic we're in right now with globalization pushing into previously disconnected places with such force that serious blowback will be the norm for the foreseeable future.  Yes, we can dream it'll all come down to some naval battle in the South China Sea, but that's just habit talking.  And that's what I find so sad right now:  that whole "juggling the balls and keeping all of them in the air" mentality of Clinton and Obama is just a placeholder for real leadership, which events will eventually demand.  Why?  Because they will keep trying and eventually they'll get our attention.  As always, what we'll do in that moment will be far more important than the vertical shock laid on us.  Nation-states still run horizontal scenarios to ground, meaning the question of the day is, "When the next vertical shock comes, where will go with it?"



And that's why I pay attention to stories such as this.


Chart of the Day: Somali piracy = sole rise in global piracy

WSJ story where chart caught my eye:  pull out the Somali bump-up and the rest of global piracy is basically flat from 2005 through 2009.  Because of Somali pirates, the total number of attacks has been increase by about 50%, meaning Somalia alone now accounts for roughly one-third.

The twist:  al Shabaab, the youth militant successor to the Islamic Courts Union (kicked out of Mogadishu by the Ethiopian military three years ago) used to just tax the pirates, but now it fields its own boats and speaks of "sea jihad." This is viewed primarily as a revenue-raising effort, because few American-flagged ships pass by there (Maersk Alabama was a relatively rare passage).  And with average ransoms paid now up to $2m (double the average of last year).

The good news?  The booming market for pirates suffers a talent dearth, as multinational navy response officers are noticing a steep decline in proficiency.


Al Shabaab branching out

Although al Qaeda made more than a few threats and feints in the direction of the World Cup in South Africa, prompting all sorts of warnings from friends about my traveling there for the Global Forum, all the group could manage was a soft-target attack in Uganda, not all that far from where I ended up traveling with Vonne a couple of weeks earlier in southern Ethiopia next door.

At once, it's unimpressive and troubling, because it suggests the usual regionalization strategy of somebody looking to internationalize their domestic fight--al Shabaab controls the southern quarter of Somalia but can't seem to expand that control.  One way to overcome such resistance or lack of success is to plunge the country into worse violence as a result of intervening troops.  Another way is to push those troops out, like Uganda's African Union peacekeepers.  By bombing soft targets in Kampala, al Shabaab gets it both ways:  trying to intimidate Uganda into leaving and trying to create enough fear in the West to go back to Somalia.  For now, it's a fat chance on both.

Most of the reporting on these strikes highlights the "new" linkages between al Shabaab and AQ, but they've been there all along, by most expert accounts, in that usual fellow-traveling way.

All this goes back to a long-standing prediction of mine (in all three trilogy books):  as you squeeze AQ with failure in the Persian Gulf, it can go NE into Central Asia or SW into Africa. More regional powers up north willing to fight to stop that than in the south, so the path of least resistance in through the Horn.  

Back to my "Americans Have Landed Piece" logic, this is why we set up Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in the first place, and ultimately, it's why we set up AFRICOM in a strategic flanking maneuver, just like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was set up by China and Russia in a pre-emptive fashion before even 9/11--same geostrategic instinct.

Point of this story being, expect more of the same over time.  Our hope is that we strengthen local security to handle it just well enough, and their hope is a direct fight.


Saudis success rate at militant rehabilitation? About 90% normally, dropping to 80% with the toughest cases.

Reuters by way of Michael Smith, who I know wants me to focus on the 20% versus the 80%:

Around 25 former detainees from Guantanamo Bay camp returned to militancy after going through a rehabilitation program for al Qaeda members in Saudi Arabia, a Saudi security official said on Saturday.

The United States have sent back around 120 Saudis from the detention camp at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, set up after the U.S. launched a "war on terror" following the September 11 attacks by mostly Saudi suicide hijackers sent by al Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has put the returned prisoners along with other al Qaeda suspects through a rehabilitation program which includes religious re-education by clerics and financial help to start a new life.

The scheme, which some 300 extremists have attended, is part of anti-terrorism efforts after al Qaeda staged attacks inside the kingdom from 2003-06. These were halted after scores of suspects were arrested with the help of foreign experts.

Around 11 Saudis from Guantanamo have gone to Yemen, an operating base for al Qaeda, while others have been jailed again or killed after attending the program, said Abdulrahman al-Hadlaq, Director General of the General Administration for Intellectual Security overseeing the rehabilitation.

He pinpointed strong personal ties among former prisoners but also tough U.S. tactics as the reason why some 20 percent of the returned Saudis relapsed into militancy compared to 9.5 percent of other participants in the rehabilitation program.

But honestly, I read the piece and I have to agree with the Saudis calling the program "a success," a claim pretty much mocked throughout the US press.  We're talking probably the most committed (the ones we went after) and the ones with the biggest resulting gripes (time in Guantanamo) and the Saudis still got 4 out of every 5 to walk away from the cause?  To me, that's a pretty amazing success rate.  Good God, I'd take that for the average American convict (more like half go right back to crime once out of prison), so I guess I don't see where we get off pointing fingers on this one.

I think we're awfully unrealistic on this score (indeed, one version of this story in NY state proclaimed that "scores" of Saudi terrorists were back at work, because apparently 25 equals "scores").  Any program that sidelines 90% of a population (only those returned by America scored a mere 80%, as the Saudi standard is 9 out of 10 successfully rehabilitated) has to be deemed a serious success.  I doubt we get that share in most of our efforts in Af-Pak right now, so retract the finger!


Foot-and-mouth threatens Japan's cattle industry

NYT story on foot-and-mouth (called hoof-and-mouth where I came from) outbreak in Japan threatening to tank it's prized beef industry.

The fear is legitimate.  Similar thing happened with mad cow in the US in the early part of last decade and our beef exports dropped dramatically overnight, and still haven't totally recovered--last time I checked.

You see the rising networks and the incredibly vulnerability and you think, this is where terrorism will go in this century.


The IED killer we've been waiting on?

USA Today article with very good news:  “The military has developed technology that uses a high-tech beam to detonate hidden IEDs . . ..”

The only downside: it seems to operate on a wide space, revealing the bombs in the process and—under the right conditions—puts locals in danger IF they’re not forewarned about such countering operations (you know, a blaring voice in the local language announcing that in the next five minutes, everybody should stay clear of roads).

US Marine Corps general James Mattis says, “This is an offensive capability that will change the face of this war.”

I wouldn’t call it “offensive” but resiliently defensive—in effect, we tell the enemy, “All your long and hard and stealthy work gets negated by the flip of our switch, meaning you kill nobody in the process.”

But the “offensive” part comes in the beam’ ability to trigger IEDs while insurgents/terrorists are potentially carrying them or even when they’re under construction.

Mattis advocates putting the technology on aircraft (presumably drones too) and having them sweep areas proactively.

Naturally, the Pentagon announces the capability while providing no details, as countering tactics will invariably ensue.  To what effect?  We shall see.

But this is indeed good news and a development that bears close watching.

The Office of Naval Research is credited with the development.


The Politics Blog: 5 Things You Didn't Know About the Next Al Qaeda

Two Jersey boys by the names of Carlos Eduardo Almonte and Mohamed Mahmood Alessa were arrested over the weekend at JFK Airport as they sought to begin their jihadist pilgrimage to Somalia via Cairo. Before getting on the plane, they had dutifully lifted weights, played paintball, and — unfortunately for them — unwittingly bragged to the Feds about their dreams of killing Americans. Their training was to be completed by al Shabaab, the infamous hardcore "youth" militia that owns south-central Somalia. Because al Shabaab made our State Department's terrorist organization list in 2008, these lost boys face enough "conspiring to..." terror charges to land them in jail for the rest of their lives.

Setting aside your natural fears that America is suddenly crawling with any number of Islamic sleepers, here's five things you should know about al Shabaab.

Read the full post at's The Politics Blog.

NOTE:  Got this assignment Monday morning as I flew out to Baltimore.  Vonne pushed cites to me, and I wrote it on my laptop while sitting alongside the Pentagon on a beautiful sunny day.  Sent it off that night and it went up yesterday morning, while my travels continued.


The ally we rely upon to save our bacon in Afghanistan

NYT story about Pakistan's vibrant and debilitating conspiracy culture.

America competes with India and Israel as the source of all perceived woes and indignities and injustices in Pakistan--in addition to the wider Muslim world.

This is the country we're betting on to make our withdrawal from Afghanistan work.

Americans may think that the failed Times Square bomb was planted by a man named Faisal Shahzad. But the view in the Supreme Court Bar Association here in Pakistan’s capital is that the culprit was an American “think tank.”

That is seriously infantile thinking from a group one would assume represents the best thought leadership in the country.

But it appears to be perfectly acceptable public dialogue inside Pakistan.

“When the water stops running from the tap, people blame America,” said Shaista Sirajuddin, an English professor in Lahore.

The problem is more than a peculiar domestic phenomenon for Pakistan. It has grown into a narrative of national victimhood that is a nearly impenetrable barrier to any candid discussion of the problems here. In turn, it is one of the principal obstacles for the United States in its effort to build a stronger alliance with a country to which it gives more than a billion dollars a year in aid.

The crux of the problem:

It does not help that no part of the Pakistani state — either the weak civilian government or the powerful military — is willing to risk publicly owning that relationship.

One result is that nearly all of American policy toward Pakistan is conducted in secret, a fact that serves only to further feed conspiracies. American military leaders slip quietly in and out of the capital; the Pentagon uses networks of private spies; and the main tool of American policy here, the drone program, is not even publicly acknowledged to exist.

The sad truth is that we are limited in our interactions with Pakistan to the tools and methods employed by that regime in its governance of the country.

The alternative is India, which has its own psychological peculiarities, like any long-abused colony.

But there are nothing in comparison, and virtually all of India's internal evolutions are trending in the right direction--unlike Pakistan, which seems to be regressing by the day (despite its bright future of just a few years ago).  Some of that dynamic, stretching back decades now, can certainly be blamed upon the United States.

But it would appear that we are past the point of reason with this "ally."


AQIM as an organizing principle for West African security cooperation

Theme of mine going back to Blueprint: You squeeze al-Qaeda out of the Middle East progressively (thanks in large part to the middle-aging of the population and globalization's penetration and whatever success in democratization out of the Big Bang beyond Iraq) and it naturally gravitates in two directions (paths of least resistance--namely to the NE and Central Asia via Af-Pak or to Africa.  These two regions provide the bulk of Paul Collier's "bottom billion," and many are, in my vernacular, "fake states" created by outsiders (Europeans in Africa, Brits and Stalin in SW/Central Asia).

So you get two similar strategic flanking maneuvers by great powers:  Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia (Russia and China lead) and America's Africom in Africa.

For a long time, even the precursor US effort in Africa (Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which I wrote about in Esquire (see "The Americans have landed")) was considered a bit of overkill.  Simply put, there weren't hardly any terrorists to work, outside of the foreign fighters in Somalia by way of Yemen.

This Economist article suggests that a critical mass is appearing in West Africa, or at least enough activity to become an organizing impetus for regional cooperation--naturally with Africom involved:

OPERATION Flintlock has begun. American special forces have been descending on Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal in a joint exercise, expected to last another week or so, to combat Islamist terrorism in the region. It is the latest stage of an evolving partnership between America and much of west Africa. Over several years, Americans have been training their counterparts in these countries in everything from marksmanship and parachuting to the more touchy-feely stuff of winning over hearts and minds.

When the Americans first started talking about al-Qaeda’s threat in the Sahara, many were sceptical. But a sharp increase in the rate of attacks in the past 18 months by what the jihadists call “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”, usually abbreviated to AQIM, have convinced even cynics that a threat of sorts does exist.

When AQIM emerged three years ago out of a ruthless Algerian guerrilla outfit called the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, better known by its French abbreviation GSPC, it seemed intent on uniting north African jihadists to wage war on Europe. It has largely failed on that score, having been squeezed by Algeria’s security forces, who have broken up many of its cells. Instead, the group is now concentrating on softer targets in a belt of countries farther south.

Armies in the Sahel, that wide stretch of land just south of the Sahara, have increasingly often clashed with Islamist fighters.

A lot of AQIM activity is typically banal, as in, kidnapping Westerners for ransom (not exactly a new trick for the neighborhood), so we already see some obvious devolution into organized crime.  Then there's the usual drug trade.

What AQIM brings to the table beyond criminality is the playing on local grievances (there is never a shortage of causes "celebre").

To be monitored.


We will be played for fools by Pakistan--and by China by extension

From a WAPO article: 

A man who guided Shahzad from Karachi to the country's northwest, Pakistani officials say, was arrested this week at the mosque, which is affiliated with Jaish-i-Muhammad. The al-Qaeda-linked group is one in a mosaic of domestic jihadist organizations that were created or cultivated by Pakistan's intelligence services to antagonize Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir but have gone increasingly rogue.

U.S. officials say they are worried about these militant groups based in Punjab province, many of which are banned but still operate freely. The most prominent among them is Lashkar-i-Taiba, suspected in a deadly 2008 siege in Mumbai. The group has changed its legal name, but its leaders remain free.

Some elements in Pakistan's security establishment continue to view such groups as assets against India, and Punjabi politicians court them for political support. It is uncertain whether Pakistan would take aggressive action against the organizations, even if they are found to be definitively connected to the Times Square bombing attempt.

We are being held hostage to this fight.

And given the choices, why note choose India and force China to step up more and deal with Af-Pakistan?  Or should we fund all the security (or lack thereof) and let China build the ports and dig the mines?


The "what if?" counterfactual on the Times Square bombing

Mohammad al-Corey Feldman, according to Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update"; a "clean skin" according to AG Eric Holder. 

The bomb-training unit that supposedly prepped Faisal Shahzad was previously targeted by CIA drones, so there's that sense of payback.

The counterfactual to consider:  What happens if a max death count ensues?  Say, maybe a couple hundred bodies?

Well, first off, Obama is mercilessly targeted by the GOP in the usual, turnabout-is-fair-play mode.

Second, the Obama administration is required to make a big show of bombing the hell out of the direct links back in Pakistan.

Third, the US puts on a big show of calling Pakistan on the carpet.

Fourth, the US announces some sort of strategic review of our approach to NW Pakistan.

Fifth, we move according to the decisions of that review, and Pakistan counters with its own charges, moves, and diplomacy--likely to involve the Chinese?

Put the death total at a lot higher (better, bigger bomb and it works) and you just turbocharge that whole process.

But when the event fails, everybody breathes a sigh of relief--especially the Chinese!

And yet, if we move into the many-and-small-attacks world, every once in a while they will be successful, and so we'll need to get used to that, and develop some sense of proportional response that doesn't unduly freak out ourselves, the host nation, or its allies.


Esquire's Politics Blog: 5 Missing Links Between the Times Square Bomber and Pakistan, Connected

My first post to Esquire's group blog.

As useful idiots go, Faisal Shahzad is proving himself in all directions: the naturalized terrorist who stirs up anti-immigrant fervor; the ex-pat who puts Pakistan back on America's hot seat, the screw-up bomber who almost escapes President Obama's grasp only to be Mirandized (the horror!) upon arrest, the sleeper jihadist who scores a global media bonanza for his handlers back in Waziristan (not a fake name), and the super-talkative detainee still spilling his guts to the G-Men. This numskull's got something for damn near everyone. Hell, I even feel sorry for BP, fortunate as it was to have 53 hours and 20 minutes of semi-relief from non-stop media glare.

Read the rest at's The Politics Blog.


I got the heads up last night around 6pm and turned 725 in around 9pm. Was feeling decidedly under the weather (allergens are death right now in Indy), which is why it took so long. Still, fun to be included in this new group blog at Esquire.

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