Item #1: Asian carp are on the move and it’s getting so bad there are suggestions that we permanently block off the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes.
Item #2: VERY interesting article on market forces driving Somali pirate activities. Quote demonstrating why this is so hard to wipe out:
Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel.
“I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation,” she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony.
“I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the ‘company’.”
Where do we even start with this. When you’re handing out RPGs as part of your divorce settlement, we’ve got a problem.
When you can parley that RPG into $75,000 in cash in little over a month we’ve got a BIG problem.
Item #3: Before we get too deep in the ‘If we succeed it’s all because of the generals and if we fail it’s all because of Obama’ meme, check out James Fallows sharp eye in Admiral Mullen’s testimony:
Mullen’s prepared testimony was posted on the Pentagon’s site. It began with a fairly anodyne statement of support for the policy that Barack Obama announced last night, similar to what Mullen said in person this morning: “Let me state right up front that I support fully and without hesitation the President’s decision.”
But in his live performance…Mullen went out of his way to defend the way Obama had made the decision, and implicitly to contrast it with the previous Administration’s approach:
“I have seen my share of internal debates about various national security issues — especially over the course of these last two years. [Eg, including the Iraq "surge."] And I can honestly say that I do not recall an issue so thoroughly or so thoughtfully considered as this one.
“Every military leader in the chain of command, as well as those of the Joint Chiefs, was given voice throughout this process … [all ellipses in original] and every one of us used it.
“And given the stakes in Afghanistan for our own national security – as well as that of our partners around the world – I believe the time we took was well worth it.”
Shorter version: ‘Go dither yourself, Dick Cheney’
Item #4: Are we really to believe that it’s entirely a coincidence that Billy Joel wrote a 5:17 song titled ‘Prelude/Angry Young Man‘ in 1976 and by total coincidence in 1977 the band Styx wrote a 5:29 second song titled ‘Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)‘? Both songs just happen to have lengthy instrumental preludes? Did someone think that angry young men really needed an anthem to rally around in the late 70s? Both songs are good but what gives?