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2006 October 17 — Why Now?
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Rumsfeldian Algebra

Since you are reading this on a computer you are obviously aware of the seminal work of Claude Elwood Shannon, A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits, that combined the Boolean algebra of George Boole with the binary numeral system that was presented by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in his work, Explication de l’Arithmétique Binaire, and applied it to switching circuits, which is the basis for digital computer design. So there’s no reason to go into it.

Rumfeldian algebra is another synthesis of Boole’s concepts, but it uses known and unknown rather than true and false, and is applied to government decision-making.

Rumsfeld expressed the basic concept of the system in his award winning summary:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

This single statement covers three of the four conditions, known-known, unknown-known, and unknown-unknown, but fails to mention the unknown-known required to complete the set.

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October 17, 2006   2 Comments

It’s Better Than the McDonalds Drive-thru

Laura Rozen was wondering about the connections between Curt Weldon and the Italian corporation, Finmeccanica SpA. It’s quite straight-forward.

His daughter Kim needed a job, so he convinced the Finmeccanica subsidiary, Agusta/Westland to build a plant in his congressional district to bid on the new contract for a replacement for the Marine One presidential helicopters.

After they agreed, he used his position as the vice-chair of the House Armed Services Committee to push the Agusta/Westland bid to the detriment of the American company, Sikorsky.

After they won the bid for 23 helicopters worth billions of dollars, Agusta/Westland gave his daughter a job.

What’s wrong with a father helping his kids get employment opportunities?

October 17, 2006   Comments Off on It’s Better Than the McDonalds Drive-thru

Stalin Would Be Proud

Attaturk, posting at Eschaton, has a picture of the Goat Ropers of the Crapulence: Cronyism, Hubris, Incompetence, and Corruption. He mistakenly thought they were their more famous cousins, the Horsemen. The fifth Goat Roper, Clueless was buying new boots and couldn’t be bothered showing up for the picture.

You have to wonder if the Cold War was worth the effort when an American government passes a law to establish a new GULag. The Shrubbery keeps trying to convince people he is the new FDR or Churchill, but he has been following the path of Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili almost from the beginning.

October 17, 2006   5 Comments

0 for 3

Early this morning on the BBC they had a discussion with Ian Bremmer that covered the same ground as Dr. Bremmer’s earlier BBC interview on Newsnight about his book, The J Curve.

On the official site for The J Curve is the promotional blurb:

American policymakers have long sought to meet international challenges and manage threats to U.S. national interests with a simple formula: engage your friends and isolate your enemies. Weighing their options, those states still debating whether to adopt the role of friend or foe will choose profitable cooperation over damaging confrontation.

So the theory goes.

The J curve reveals why this approach has never yielded positive results. It is a tool designed to help us understand how the world’s political decision-makers make choices – and why nations rise and fall. It demonstrates why and how the U.S. can re-imagine its foreign policy.

The “curve” shows the relationship between stability and openness for a dozen countries around the world and why any move from a stable, repressive regime to an open society will almost invariably result in a period of chaos which should be planned for in advance.

The “0 for 3” is the “batting average” for the Shrubbery on the War on Terror™, Iraq and Afghanistan. As the man says “this approach has never yielded positive results.”

While looking for The J Curve, I came across the Davies J-curve Revisited, a piece by Michael H. Glantz from June 27, 2003. It makes for interesting reading.

Oh, I’m sorry, “no one could have imagined” any of what has happened.

October 17, 2006   2 Comments


From CNN, in Iraq: Coalition deaths hit 3,000

The combined death toll includes 2,759 U.S. troops and seven American civilian contractors of the military.

Other coalition deaths include 119 British, 32 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, and 11 Spaniards, as well as service members from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Holland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, Salvador, Slovakia, and Thailand.

October 17, 2006   2 Comments


Welcome to the three hundred millionth American.

Listen to the story here.

October 17, 2006   5 Comments