The Surge And Signalling

TAP hosts a roundtable on the importance of the surge.

There’s a fairly wide range of opinions there, mostly based on the [preset position] + “but who can say?” view of historical analysis.

I’ll add one notion, just for consideration. In my own experience as a poker player, and in my limited reading on the thinking of negotiators and military tacticians – none of which I’ll claim to be expert in – there’s a common tactic, the “bump”.

When I want to signal to other players that “I’m not going anywhere” it’s useful to do two things – buy more chips, and push some chips forward on the table. Similar signaling works in negotiation, and I’m confident that it works in military tactics as well.

Lots of Iraqis had to decide this year which side they were going to come down on. It seems obvious to me that the relative commitment of the US is one key factor that drove their thinking. If you’re confident that the US is short-timing, then siding with pro-US Iraqi factions probably seems like a path to a painful and bloody death. We sent a successful signal – both by being willing to remake our strategy and by raising troop levels, and that signal allowed people to make decisions feeling like they’re doing so with some promise of protection by our armed forces.

Somehow that seems obvious to me – am I missing something?

Shooting in Knoxville

This isn’t the time for political positioning, but the demented right-wing mucker who walked into a UU church during a children’s play and killed two appears to have given off a lot of signals that he had some pretty serious problems.

The Adkissones’ marriage disintegrated eight years ago after Adkisson had been drinking heavily and then put a gun to Alexander’s head, said Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas.

According to Anderson County Court records, as their marriage went awry, Jim David Adkisson said he had an option.

That choice was to blow his wife’s brains out and then do the same to himself, an order of protection in Anderson County Chancery Court shows.

Alexander filed for the order of protection against him on March 1, 2000, records show.

The legal action was taken in response to an incident that occurred Feb. 22 of that year, according to the petition for the order. Two days later she filed for divorce.

If you own guns and you’re acting like this, please give someone your guns and go get help. If you know someone who owns guns, and you’re seeing things like this, do something about it.

I deeply believe in people’s right to have guns. But responsibilities come with those rights – and when you show that you can’t deal with those responsibilities – as this guy obviously did – you cannot claim the rights. This guy should have been disarmed. One strike, and you’re out.

I’ll have more to say later, but today it is all about those who have lost loved ones or been wounded. If you make issue comments in this thread, I’ll delete them.

Edwards, The Enquirer and Cat Food

I’m still standing fast on the idiocy of Tony Pierce’s email, but I have to go on record for a second and ask one question – if the Enquirer has the goods on Edwards from his little Beverly Hills soiree…where are the pictures?

Until they are out, the story will smell quite a bit like cat food to me, because if the Enquirer folks were there, and they saw what they claimed to see … there are pictures … so, Enquirer – where are they?

Chicago, West Suburbs. Weds Night.

I’m just back from an all-day ride to Jocko’s, home of the best steaks in California, and packing to head to Chicago for a few days next week.

I’m free Weds night, and open to doing a meetup somewhere in the west suburbs (think the junction of the Eisenhower and the Tri-State). Email me at the address in the sidebar if interested, or if you have s suggestion for an interesting place to meet and eat near there.

LA Times Is Relevant – Why?

This is just too damn funny to pass up. Mickey Kaus (Mickey! permalinks, dammit!) shows up in my RSS feed (plus as a link in Instapundit) reprinting the following email from LA Times blog editor Tony Pierce:

From: “Pierce, Tony”

Date: July 24, 2008 10:54:41 AM PDT

To: [XXX]

Subject: john edwards

Hey bloggers,

There has been a little buzz surrounding John Edwards and his alleged affair. Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified.

If you have any questions or are ever in need of story ideas that would best fit your blog, please don’t hesitate to ask

Keep rockin,


Now this is funny as hell on any number of levels. The obvious one is that the newspaper of record believes that it must preclude writers working for it from covering a story – not set standards for how, not make sure that they added facts, not anything at all except gag them. That’s wrong, simply put.

But coming from Tony Pierce, who appeared as the topic of a post here when he made wild fact-free accusations against Pajamas Media (where Insty posts now, completing the weird self-reflective nature of the whole thing) – well, that’s just jam on my morning toast.

Going Solar, Chapter 2

OK, so a few weeks ago we filed all the paperwork with Solar City. It appears that while we have bitchen’ credit, you need really bitchen credit for the lease program, so they had to think about us for a while before we were approved for the program, which we were.

We’ve now scheduled a ‘site audit’ in which one of their people will come to the house and take measurements, etc. so they can design the system and prepare the drawings for the city building permit. I’ll stop in at the City today and find out how challenging that will be (it’s all part of the Solar City package, but if I can help smooth things along – why not?).

So August 5 is the site visit, and we expect to be in permitting several weeks after that…

…to be continued.

Well, I Know Who I Won’t Be Voting For For Governor

The alleged MS-13 member who was arrested for gunning down the father and his two sons in San Francisco wasn’t in the forefront of Gavin Newsom’s mind when it came time to make a statement about responsibility – the NRA was. Go to 2:10 in this news video…and take your blood pressure meds.

Now I’m willing to bet that the guy who was arrested (an illegal immigrant who had been previously arrested several times) probably couldn’t have legally bought a gun. So all the restrictions on the ability of law-abiding citizens to buy guns would have done … what, exactly, Mayor?

Patterico has been all over the issue of one issue that intersects our immigration policy – ‘deport the criminals first’. Go read Justin’s comments at Patterico on this one.

Newsom has shown great judgment all along – he did go to rehab after confessing an affair with the wife of his campaign manager (it’s not the sex, it’s the stupid recklessness of who it was with…). Great hair, though.

My checkbook and I’ll be remembering this when the Gov’s race comes along.

Someone At The New York Times Is A Monty Python Fan…

The NYT published an oped from Obama on his policies on Iraq.

Then they rejected a parallel one from McCain.

I had this image of the editorial conference room at the Times, and it was eerily like this…

Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.

Sir Lancelot: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.

Bridgekeeper: What… is your name?

Sir Lancelot: My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot.

Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?

Sir Lancelot: To seek the Holy Grail.

Bridgekeeper: What… is your favourite colour?

Sir Lancelot: Blue.

Bridgekeeper: Go on. Off you go.

Sir Lancelot: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.

That’s how I imagine things went for Obama’s piece. For McCain’s – not so much…

Sir Robin: That’s easy.

Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.

Sir Robin: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I’m not afraid.

Bridgekeeper: What… is your name?

Sir Robin: Sir Robin of Camelot.

Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?

Sir Robin: To seek the Holy Grail.

Bridgekeeper: What… is the capital of Assyria?


Sir Robin: I don’t know that.

[he is thrown over the edge into the volcano]

The email rejecting McCain’s piece is here, and actually – it really does read like this joke. Here’s the email:

It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory … with troops levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And it would need to describe the Senator’s Afghanistan strategy, spelling out how it meshes with his Iraq plan.

As well as the command roster down to the platoon level, vehicle counts, and ammo loads for each vehicle. No notes – this will be a closed-book test.

It’s the Times’ credibility that gets slammed here a bit, I think…

An Experiment On Blog Diffusion…

Via Patti Anklam’s blog ‘Networks, Complexity, and Relatedness‘, we were infected with David Lazer’s diffusion experiment…

[Addendum by Nortius: “Mr Lazer credits”: Matthieu Latapy for the experiment, by the way.

bq. If you have a website, you can participate– you just need to click “spread it” below, enter your url, retrieve the code that will put the image you see below on your website (please, no trackbacks here or to Latapy’s website, btw).

bq. FYI, the image you see is the diffusion path of the code, which should change as it spreads.

So, viewers of WoC, do that from here if you wish.]