Friday, June 25, 2004

Give Iyad Allawi -- and the Bush administration -- their due

Last month I blogged about the designation of Iyad Allawi as the Iraqi president until January of next year, and the extent to which the U.S. did not want to be seen as puppetmaster. Other Iraq watchers were skeptical of the new government's ability to command legitimacy -- at the time, Spencer Ackerman wrote, "Any interim prime minister would surely face the accusation of being an occupation stooge. With Allawi, the charge is likely to have serious currency."

Well, it looks like Allawi was underestimated. The Washington Post's Robin Wright reports that Iraqis do perceive the new government as legitimate (link via Robert Tagorda):

A large majority of Iraqis say they have confidence in the new interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi that is set to assume political power on Wednesday, according to a poll commissioned by U.S. officials in Iraq.

The results are a significant victory for the United States and the United Nations. Together they negotiated with squabbling Iraqi factions in an attempt to cobble together a viable government that balanced disparate ethnic and religious groups.

The first survey since the new government was announced by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi about three weeks ago showed that 68 percent of Iraqis have confidence in their new leaders. The numbers are in stark contrast to widespread disillusionment with the previous Iraqi Governing Council, which was made up of 25 members picked by the United States and which served as the Iraqi partner to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. Only 28 percent of Iraqis backed the council when it was dissolved last month, according to a similar poll in May....

But 73 percent of Iraqis polled approved of Allawi to lead the new government, 84 percent approved of President Ghazi Yawar and almost two-thirds backed the new Cabinet. These impressive showings indicate that the new leaders have support spanning ethnic and religious groups, U.S. officials said.

"What comes across in the poll and what we've sensed for a while is that Iraqis remain open-minded about the new government," a senior coalition official in Baghdad said in an interview.

Four out of every five Iraqis expected that the new government will "make things better" for Iraq after the handover, with 10 percent expecting the situation to remain the same and 7 percent anticipating a decline, the poll shows.

U.S. officials are particularly encouraged because the poll showed high name recognition for the new leadership, in contrast with many members of the former council, U.S. officials said. More than 70 percent of Iraqis polled have heard or read a significant amount about the new leaders, who were named about three weeks ago.

"That's huge penetration -- and it happened quickly," said the coalition official, who asked for anonymity because of the rules on naming officials in Baghdad. "It's partly because Allawi is on all the Arab media every day talking about security. He's visiting sites, and there are constantly images of the prime minister tackling security, which is what Iraqis care most about right now. It resonates, and it comes across in these figures."

In a sign that Iraqis are more optimistic generally about their future after the occupation ends, two-thirds of Iraqis believed the first democratic elections for a new national assembly -- tentatively set for December or January -- will be free and fair, the survey shows.

Despite the growing number of attacks on Iraqi security forces, including several yesterday, public confidence in the new police and army has reached new highs, the poll shows. Seventy percent of Iraqis polled supported the new army, and 82 percent supported the police.

Hey, this and banking reform -- two in a row for the CPA!

There's one reason why Allawi is likely to be able to sustain this popularity -- he has a built-in scapegoat for his biggest headache, which is the security situation. If problems continue in that area, all he has to do is publicly harangue the Americans.

What will be particularly interesting is whether the new government and security forces' legitimacy gives them greater access to informants who will rat out insurgents.

The new government's popularity might go south in the future -- but this is certainly good news as June 30th approaches.


posted by Dan at 11:58 AM | Comments (25) | Trackbacks (4)

Trading up to some informative links

Want to know more about American attitudes towards outsourcing and trade? I'll make you a trade -- I'll write, you read [This kind of thinking explains your decision to go into academia for the money--ed.]

Outsourcing info: The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey about offshore outsourcing and employment came out earlier this month -- but note the caveats in this post. I addressed the guesstimates made by management consultants in my Foreign Affairs essay, "The Outsourcing Bogeyman." The preliminary results of the Colorado inquiry on IT jobs and outsourcing comes from this Rocky Mountain News op-ed by one of the principal investigators. The Detroit study can be found at the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference web site. I blogged about both in this guest-post for at MSNBC. On the costs that states are now facing from protectionist measures -- click here for California, and here for Kansas. Finally, I blogged about the the E-Loan experiment on consumer behavior here and here.

Polling data: In an interesting coincidence, the Employment Law Alliance poll about outsourcing and the Associated Press poll about outsourcing were conducted within a week of each other; I blogged about both of these polls last month. You can read about the change in public opinion about trade between 1999 and 2004 by reading this Peronet Despeignes story in USA Today from February of this year. Ron Fournier wrote the Associated Press story about the poll showing Americans believe the economy has lost jobs in the past six months. As for older polling data, Kenneth Scheve's Globalization and the Perceptions of American Workers has a nice review of public attitudes towards all facets of economic globalization in the 1990s. The data about the 1950's comes from I.M. Destler's 1986 book American Trade Politics: System Under Stress. The data on Bush's polling numbers in late 2002 and now can be seen in this Washington Post graph (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan).

Kerry and outsourcing: John Kerry's tax proposal can be found at his campaign website -- here's a link to the press release as well. My initial reactions to it can be read here and here. My assertion that the proposal would not have the desired effect on unemployment comes from this Institute for International Economics policy brief by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Paul Grieco.

Trade politics: An excellent primer on the role that ideas play in the crafting of American foreign economic policy can be found in Judith Goldstein's Ideas, Interests, and American Trade Policy [Full disclosure: Goldstein was one of my professors when I was a graduate student at Stanford]. Robert Rubin's observations about the state of American trade politics can be found in his engaging memoir In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington (co-authored with Jacob Weisberg) . The point about praising imports can be found on page 394. Robert Zoellick's op-ed can be found in the digital archives of the New York Times for a fee -- or the USTR web site for free. Finally, on the current state of play for the Doha round, see this post from earlier this month, as well as Jeffrey Schott's excellent backgrounder for the Institute of International Economics.

[Ahem, didn't you promise to take a break on the outsourcing stuff?--ed. That was almost two weeks ago!! In blog years, that's quite a stretch.]

UPDATE: Brad DeLong has some trenchant criticisms of this essay over at Semi-Daily Journal. My major beef is with his last point:

[One problem is] Drezner's failure to mention one obvious thing that he could do, personally, to help the situation: vote for Presidents like Bill Clinton, who understands the substantive policy arguments and will choose people like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers to be the Grand Economic Vizier. Don't vote for people like George W. Bush, who will never be briefed-up enough to understand what is at stake and will appoint people whose career high point was the formation of a global aluminum producers' cartel.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure that neither John Kerry nor George W. Bush will embrace the merits of free trade with the same enthusiasm of President Clinton. Neither Kerry's rhetoric nor his policy proposals to date make me particularly sanguine about his future foreign economic policies.

posted by Dan at 11:43 AM | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (1)

The state of play on trade

My latest TNR Online essay is up -- this one is about why, even with the outsourcing furor dying down, we're not likely to see any groundswell of support for trade liberalization. Go check it out.

Footnote link will follow shortly. UPDATE: Here it is.

posted by Dan at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

Actual financial reform in Iraq

I've been pretty hard on the CPA as of late, so it's only fair to highlight an area where they played a clearly positive role. The Economist reports on the state of reform in the banking sector:

During the looting that followed the fall of Baghdad in April last year, the ten-storey headquarters of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) was burgled and torched before it collapsed into a pile of soot-stained rubble. Fourteen months later, the charred ruins have been cleared, and the CBI's staff work on American-provided computers in a building nearby....

Despite the unpromising conditions, the CPA, which will be dissolved next week to make way for an interim government run by Iraqis, has made some headway. It has drawn up a framework of laws and rules for the new banking system. A law that came into effect in March established the CBI's independence and laid down its procedures for everything from the management of foreign reserves to bank supervision. A new commercial-bank law governs the functioning of Iraq's 17 private banks, which were legalised by Mr Hussein in the early 1990s in response to a cash crunch following UN sanctions.

A huge training effort has been going on. Advisers from America's Treasury and bank regulators have given classes on subjects ranging from the use of Microsoft Word to the basics of Basel 2, a new treaty on bank supervision. “It is a big challenge, a new way of thinking,” says one American adviser. “Banking based on risk and judgment is radically different from bank decisions based on Saddam's say-so.”

A basic currency reform was also necessary. Under Mr Hussein, there were two lots of dinars: one in the Kurdish north, another elsewhere. Because there were only two or three denominations, worth up to at most $5 or so, even basic purchases required thick wads of notes. So the CPA set to work designing a new, unified currency with several denominations. After frenzied printing in factories from Germany to Kenya, 27 Boeing 747s crammed with bank notes flew to Baghdad. Armed convoys delivered the cash to 240 bank branches across Iraq and officials distributed, in all, two billion pieces of paper. The exchange was completed by January this year with virtually no hitches, a remarkable feat given the insurgency already in progress.

The creation of a single currency has permitted the CBI to carry out a basic monetary policy. The central bank carries out daily currency auctions, receiving about a dozen bids a day according to the CPA. The new dinar has appreciated by 25% or so since its launch, and has traded steadily at around 1,450 to the dollar since January. Inflation has been kept in check, no small thing given that hyperinflation often occurs during and after wars....

Some observers worry that once the guiding hands of American advisers have gone, the CBI will become politicised and print money to pay off state debts. It is also possible that the new bank laws will one day be overturned altogether, because of nationalistic bias against foreign ownership or their lack of reference to Islamic teaching. And important as the state of the banking system might be, Iraq's economic health is sure to rest, in the final analysis, on political stability. The future, in other words, is still in the balance.

Of course, that last paragraph is kind of important -- and that goes back to the CPA's mistakes. Bill Powell and Aparism Ghosh are the latest to dissect Paul Bremer's errors in Time.

posted by Dan at 12:59 AM | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (2)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Arnold Schwarzenegger likes it rough

Charlie LeDuff and John M. Broder write a pretty favorable story about the governor from California in today's New York Times (link via Andrew Sullivan). Two points stood out:

1) Arnold and W. -- not so much with the friendship. Here's what the Governor has to say about the President:

Mr. Schwarzenegger, in an interview in the Bedouin-style smoking tent he has set up in the courtyard of the State Capitol here — smoking is banned in state buildings — made it clear that he expected a prominent role at the Republican National Convention in New York in late August.

"Whether I'm speaking, I'll leave that up to them," said Mr. Schwarzenegger, a global celebrity who has emerged as perhaps the most intriguing new Republican face of the political season. "If they're smart, they'll have me obviously in prime time."

But Mr. Schwarzenegger, who has been defining himself as a moderate, also made it clear that when prime time is over, he intends to keep some distance from Mr. Bush, who is not particularly popular in Democratic-leaning California.

Mr. Schwarzenegger said that while he would appear with Mr. Bush if the president comes to California, he had no plans to travel outside of the state to stump for him.

2) Those budget cuts are hitting deep. The story closes out with a priceless anecdote:

On fiscal matters, Mr. Schwarzenegger considers himself an old-school Republican determined to ferret out waste. No item is too minor to escape his attention.

For instance, since Mr. Schwarzenegger took office on Nov. 17, the toilet paper in the Capitol has been switched from two-ply to one-ply, a saving of thousands of dollars over the years. "It's not anymore the two-ply," he said. "Because you know what? We're trimming. We're living within our means."

posted by Dan at 12:44 PM | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)

Philip Carter weighs in

Philip Carter manages to meld together the theme of my last two posts -- troop levels and the crisis in Sudan. On the first question, Carter has a Slate piece criticizing pretty much everyone inside the Beltway for using fuzzy math on the question of optimal troop levels. The highlights:

[A]dding more troops for their own sake may not be the right answer, despite the current strains on the military from the Iraq and Afghanistan missions. So far, no one is asking the most fundamental question of all: How many troops does the United States really need? Those who want to make the Army bigger assume that adding more troops will magically solve the military's overstretch problems, but that's not necessarily the case. Without an honest assessment of U.S. military requirements, we have no way of knowing how many troops to add (and what kind) or whether drastic measures (like a draft) might be necessary. More important, an honest study of U.S. military requirements may tell us that added manpower is not the answer and that other solutions will buy more bang for our taxpayer buck....

The [current DoD] 1-4-2-1 model also provides very little help in predicting a force size because the range of possible post-9/11 missions is so vast—everything from formal major regional conflicts to small special forces and civil affairs deployments (as in the Philippines) to ongoing peacekeeping (as in the Balkans) to special ops works all over the world. The 1-4-2-1 model still sees military requirements through the prism of state-based warfare. But as the post-9/11 deployments show, that prism may be anachronistic. Tomorrow's major military deployment might not be for combat at all—it might require the deployment of an expeditionary nation-building force to stave off a humanitarian crisis. A new military planning model ought to take these kinds of missions into account, too.

In many of these places, firepower might not be the answer, and the 1-4-2-1 model also fails to predict the other kinds of forces which might be necessary for a given situation. If America decides to intervene somewhere like Sudan, it will need a mix of civil affairs troops, military police, engineers, and medical personnel, not just pure combat forces. Furthermore, military forces alone may not be sufficient; we may need to create units with the Treasury Department capable of managing the economic aspects of nation-building, or within the Department of Justice to manage the legal parts of the job. The 1-4-2-1 model also assumes the mission will end when major combat operations end—something which has proved to be wildly off the mark....

It would be very easy to throw more money at the troop-strength problem by hiring more infantrymen. But doing so won't fix the deeper structural issues which make today's military inefficient—like the decades-old decisions to concentrate critical support functions like military police and logistics in the reserves. Nor will throwing more troops at the problem take into account the revolutionary changes in warfare that have taken place just in the past 15 years. We may need more ground troops today to win wars and decisively manage the postwar aftermath, but we may not need more support personnel, sailors, and airmen. The only way to find out is through an intellectually honest assessment of America's military requirements. This is an assignment the next president—whoever he is—should give his Secretary of Defense immediately.

In a follow-up blog post, Carter ties the debate about troop levels into the case of Sudan.

Go check it all out.

posted by Dan at 10:56 AM | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (1)

400 villages destroyed in Sudan

Things are getting very bad in Sudan, as Edith Lederer reports for the Associated Press:

NASA photos of the Darfur region of western Sudan show destruction in nearly 400 villages, and there have been reports of fighting or threatened attacks in every camp for displaced people, the U.S. aid chief said Wednesday.

Andrew Natsios, administrator of the Agency for International Development, warned that time is running out to help 2 million Sudanese in desperate need of aid in Darfur. He said his agency's estimate that 350,000 could die of disease and malnutrition over the next nine months "is conservative."

Fighting between Arab militias and African residents has killed thousands of people and forced more than 1 million to flee their homes. International rights groups say the government has backed the Arab fighters in an ethnic cleansing campaign against the African villagers.

Natsios put the blame for the crisis squarely on the Sudanese government, saying U.S. and U.N. reports from the country show clearly that the Sudanese military is directly connected to Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, that are fighting in Darfur.

"They arm them, they use them, and now they have to stop them," Natsios said in an interview with two reporters after meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan....

On Saturday, Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir ordered the military to begin disarming all militia groups. But Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, a U.S. State Department expert on Sudan, said "until now, we have not seen any systematic action to rein in the Janjaweed."

"What we've seen is a series of half-steps by the government in response to international pressure," he said.

U.S. officials have been highlighting the plight of the displaced Sudanese, mindful that the world's inattention to Rwanda a decade ago may have contributed to the genocide that occurred there.

Natsios said the U.S. government has spent $116 million on the relief effort in Sudan — more than all other donors combined — "and we pledged $188 million between now and the end of next year."

The United States is moving "with a maximum sense of urgency to try to save lives," said Ranneberger, who accompanied Natsios. "We don't have time to sit around also and decide, is this ethnic cleansing or is this genocide, or what is it."

posted by Dan at 10:47 AM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I'll say it again -- it's good to have more troops

Over the past year one of my constant refrains about Iraq is that the administration had failed to put sufficient numbers of troops to deal with the occupation phase of the campaign. This argument inevitably triggered comments from readers saying that more troops would have minimal effect on peacebuilding while increasing the number of inviting targets for insurgents.

I would urge those skeptics to read Rowan Scarborough's account in the Washington Times about how the U.S. army effectively destroyed Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi militia. The highlights:

Once he had targets, Gen. [Martin] Dempsey [commander of the 1st Armored Division] could then map a battle plan for entering four key cities — Karbala, Najaf, Kufa and Diwaniyah. This would be a counterinsurgency fought with 70-ton M-1 Abrams tanks and aerial gunships overhead. It would not be the lightning movements of clandestine commandos, but rather all the brute force the Army could muster, directed at narrowly defined targets.

Last week, Sheik al-Sadr surrendered. He called on what was left of his men to cease operations and said he may one day seek public office in a democratic Iraq.

Gen. [Mark] Hertling [one of two 1st Armored assistant division commanders] said Mahdi's Army is defeated, according the Army's doctrinal definition of defeat. A few stragglers might be able to fire a rocket-propelled grenade, he said, but noted: "Do they have the capability of launching any kind of offensive operation? Absolutely not."

The division estimates it killed at least several thousand militia members.

Gen. Dempsey designed "Iron Saber" based on four pillars: massive combat power; information operations to discredit Sheik al-Sadr; rebuilding the Iraqi security forces that fled; and beginning civil affairs operations as quickly as possible, including paying Iraqis to repair damaged public buildings.

"As soon as we finished military operations, we immediately began civil-military operations," said Gen. Hertling. "We crossed over from bullets to money."

Only time will tell if Sadr has been truly defanged -- and it's worth pointing out that his armed resistance appears to have caused a steady increase in public support for him. Still, Sadr's decision to try to attain power through legal rather than extralegal means seems a pretty powerful argument for the virtues of more troops.

posted by Dan at 01:19 PM | Comments (39) | Trackbacks (0)

Thank you, Fareed Zakaria

The New Republic has a special issue this week devoted to the question of "Were We Wrong?" -- ruminations, defenses, or mea culpas by supporters of Gulf War II in the wake of the past year's events. Contributors include John McCain, Kenneth Pollack, Fouad Ajami, Anne Applebaum, Thomas Friedman, Joseph Biden, and Paul Berman.

As someone who's engaging in a similar cognitive exercise, Fareed Zakaria's contribution is the one that most closely approximates my own position. I may differ with Zakaria on big-think international relations questions, but he is right on target in his dissection of the ins and outs of Iraq. The highlights:

I did not believe Saddam had a lethal arsenal of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and I wrote as much in the months before the war (though, like everyone who is being honest, I am utterly astonished by what appears to be the lack of any weapons). But Saddam was an erratic, unpredictable leader who had been actively working against the United States and its interests--and peace in the region--for two decades. That meant he was a looming threat. Given the collapsing sanctions regime, at some point the United States would have to decide to move in one direction or the other. It could either welcome Saddam back into the community of nations and let him do what he would as a free agent. Or it could gather an international coalition to replace him. I wish that this latter policy had been pursued slowly and deliberately, with a genuine effort to forge a broad coalition and get the United Nations behind it. But, in the end, you have to decide whether to support the policy the president is pursuing--not the variation of it you wish he were pursuing. And I decided that, while timing and circumstances were not perfect, getting rid of one of the most ghastly regimes in the world, one that was a continued threat to U.S. interests, was worth supporting. Morality and realpolitik came together in the case against Saddam....

The biggest mistake I made on Iraq was to believe that the Bush administration would want to get Iraq right more than it wanted to prove its own prejudices right. I knew the administration went into Iraq with some crackpot ideas, but I also believed that, above all else, it would want success on the ground. I reasoned that it would drop its pet theories once it was clear they were not working. I still don't understand why the Bush team proved so self-defeatingly stubborn. Perhaps its initial success in Afghanistan emboldened it to move forward unconstrained. Perhaps its prejudices about Iraq had developed over decades and were deeply held. Perhaps the administration was far more divided and dysfunctional than I had recognized, making rational policy impossible.

But, since we are listing mistakes, the biggest one many opponents of the war are making is to claim that Iraq is a total distraction from the war on terrorism. In fact, Iraq is central to that conflict. I don't mean this in the deceptive and dishonest sense that many in the Bush administration have claimed. There is no connection between Saddam's regime and the terrorists of September 11. But there is a deep connection between his regime and the terrorism of September 11. The root causes of Islamic terrorism lie in the dysfunctional politics of the Middle East, where failure and repression have produced fundamentalism and violence. Political Islam grew in stature as a mystical alternative to the wretched reality--secular dictatorships--that have dominated the Arab world. A new Iraq provides an opportunity to break this perverse cycle. The country is unlikely to become a liberal democracy any time soon. But it might turn out to be a pluralistic state that gives minorities limited protections, allows for some political participation, and has a reasonably open society. That would be a revolution in the Arab world.

The right lesson of Iraq so far is not that nation-building must fail, but rather that President Bush's approach to it, unless corrected, will fail. The right lesson is not that U.S. military intervention always ruptures alliances and creates an enraged international public, but rather that this particular intervention did. Most important, it is not that American power aggressively employed does more harm than good. Rather, the right lesson is that American power, because it is so overweening, must be used with extraordinary care and wisdom. Most of the world's problems--from aids to the Israeli-Palestinian issue--would be better served with more American intervention, not less. But, because of the blunders in Iraq, it is possible that most of the world, and far too many Americans, will draw the wrong lesson on this final point as well.

Read the whole essay.

UPDATE: One of my commentors mentions David Corn's critique of the TNR issue -- here's a link. The commentor goes on to ask:

Dan, while you are rumminating (sic), I highly suggest you READ EXACTLY what you wrote before the war, don't rely on your memory.... The arguments and excuses given now are completely divorced from what was said before the war.

I blogged an awful lot about Iraq prior to the war, so I don't have the time to completely fulfill this task. However, perusing the posts in which I recall making a substantive argument -- here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here -- I'm still feeling reasonably secure. Readers should feel free to disagree.

posted by Dan at 12:41 PM | Comments (46) | Trackbacks (0)

Going medieval on AFI

The American Film Institute has cannily raised its public profile through a series of television tributes and the releases of myriad "top 100" lists. Their latest -- which suggests they're running out of ideas -- is "100 Years... 100 Songs.."

As a courtesy to readers of --- or burden, take your pick -- the following is a reprint of my interior monologue as I was perusing the list:

"Hmmm.... "Over the Rainbow," yeah, I can sorta see that being #1, though my vote would have been for "As Time Goes By."....

Hold on -- Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" comes in at #14? I'm sorry, I will not raise my children in a world where a Celine Dion song is ranked higher than Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft"!! These AFI people are some dumb mother-- [Shut your mouth!--ed. But I'm talking 'bout Shaft. Then I can dig it!--ed.]

OK, "Fight the Power" from Do the Right Thing belongs there... Yes, yes, "Goldfinger" is a good choice.... "I Will Always Love You" from The Bodyguard???!!! That's like the fifth over-the-top ballad they've put on this list.... I know a few of them belong here, but is "It Had to Be You" from When Harry Met Sally really one of the top 100 songs in film?

Glad to seee Mel Brooks gets "Springtime for Hitler" and "Puttin' on the Ritz." Too bad "I'm Tired" from Blazing Saddles -- or even the Esther Williams tribute in the Spanish Inquisition sequence from History of the World, Part I -- wasn't included.

Ah, somewhere Kevin Bacon is smiling about "Footloose." Still, Kenny Loggins appearing on any top 100 list about anything seems.... wrong, somehow....

No, no, no "All That Jazz" from Chicago is fine, but "Cellblock Tango" is the real showstopper from that movie.....

Wait a minute, wait a friggin' minute -- that's it?!! THAT'S IT??!!! Oh, man, did AFI leave a lot out!!! How the hell do they get through this kind of list without anything from either a Quentin Tartantino or Cameron Crowe film? That's just wrong. Where's "Stuck in the Middle With You" from Reservoir Dogs? "Jungle Boogie" from Pulp Fiction? Man, is Quentin Tarantino going to go seriously medieval on John Travolta for hosting the AFI's TV special.....

As for Crowe, I mean, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High alone, there's "Moving in Stereo" and "Somebody's Baby"! "In Your Eyes" from Say Anything!! Even "Secret Garden" from Jerry Maguire is better than a quarter of the ballads on AFI's list!!

There are whole soundtracks better than a lot of this list!! South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Eve's Bayou, What's Love Got To Do With It, Rock N Roll High School, Run Lola Run, Victor/Victoria, The Blues Brothers, Monsoon Wedding -- hell, even Vision Quest is better than some of the dreck on AFI's list....

And what about the great musical set pieces? "Twist and Shout" from Ferris Bueller's Day Off? "Shout" from Animal House? "Making Whoopee" from The Fabulous Baker Boys? Was there anyone under the age of 70 who contributed to this list.....

Now random great songs are coming up.... "In the Garden of Eden" from Manhunter -- AFI has nothing from any decent action movie.... "I Got You, Babe" from Groundhog Day -- both of these are better than any sugar-frosted confection from Carly Simon in Working Girl!!

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with AFI's dumb-ass list....

If you'll all excuse me, I have to go cut someone's ear off -- well, that or alert Roger L. Simon to the crimes committed on this list.

While I'm away, readers are hereby invited to submit other glaring omissions (or glaring inclusions) from AFI's list.

posted by Dan at 11:25 AM | Comments (27) | Trackbacks (3)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Respect Eugene Volokh's authority!!

Kudos to Eugene Volokh for his latest coups:

1) Prompting Will Saletan at Slate to respond to Volokh's criticism of Slate's Kerryism feature:

Eugene Volokh, gets the joke and doesn't like it. "Another possibility is that 'Kerryisms' has evolved into an attempt to show simply that Kerry uses a lot of qualifiers, instead of giving very simple answers," Volokh writes. "But often, as in this case, the right answer isn't simple. It's actually not terribly complex, but it's not one-word simple. Is it really good to fault a politician for refusing to oversimplify?"

That's a good and fair question. I prefer to let each reader decide for herself, case by case.

2) Eugene has secured the services of University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein as a guest-blogger for the Conspiracy (here's a link to Sunstein's first post)

Cass, Jacob, myself -- Eugene has now managed to have 10% of the poli sci faculty at the University of Chicago blog for him.

posted by Dan at 11:07 PM | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)

Barack Obama's lucky star

Last month Noam Scheiber penned a lengthy but fascinating cover story in The New Republic on the rise of Illinois State Senator Barack Obama (he's also a senior lecturer at the U of C's law school). Obama is currently the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in this state. Scheiber's essay was about how Obama, an African-American, was able to surmount the tricky hurdles that a minority candidate can face in a statewide campaign.

While Scheiber stressed Obama's considerable talents as a politician, he also acknowledged that Obama had been the recipient of some good fortune as well on the way to winning the nomination: "Obama ran into a bit of luck. The media turned up evidence that [erstwhile frontrunner Blair] Hull's ex-wife had sought a restraining order against him, and Hull's campaign, which had built a ten-point lead, imploded after the candidate essentially admitted to having abused her."

It now appears that Obama has once again received a huge dollop of fortuna -- again from the divorce courts. Obama's Republican opponent Jack Ryan may experience some political difficulties sustaining his campaign after the unsealing and partial release of records from Ryan's divorce from Jeri Ryan -- yes, the same Jeri Ryan who's starred in Boston Public and Star Trek: Voyager. [I'm still hazy -- who is this again?--ed. Inserting shameless photo here:]


John Chase and Liam Ford report the sordid details in the Chicago Tribune:

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jack Ryan's ex-wife, TV actress Jeri Ryan, accused him of taking her to sex clubs in New York and Paris, where he tried to coerce her into having sex with him in front of strangers, according to records released Monday from the couple's California divorce file.

Jack Ryan denied the allegations when they were made in 2000, when the couple was engaged in a bitter child custody battle a year after their divorce....

Among the hundreds of pages of documents released was a legal filing dated June 9, 2000, in which Jeri Ryan said she knew her marriage was over by the spring of 1998. She went on to contend that her then-husband--whom she repeatedly refers to as "respondent" in the filing--surprised her with trips to the cities but didn't tell her he planned to bring her to sex clubs while there.

"They were long weekends, supposed `romantic' getaways," Jeri Ryan said in the filing. "The clubs in New York and Paris were explicit sex clubs. Respondent had done research. Respondent took me to two clubs in New York during the day. One club I refused to go in. It had mattresses in cubicles. The other club he insisted I go to."

In releasing the files, Schnider allowed many passages to be blacked out. In the portions that were released, Jeri Ryan gave details of the trips she says she was taken on to clubs in New York and Paris. She also alleged that Jack Ryan took her to a sex club in New Orleans, but no elaboration on that trip was included in the released portion of the file.

In responding to Jeri Ryan's charges, Jack Ryan six days later described the accusations as "ridiculous" and accused her of trying to "libel" him with what he called "smut." He implied that his ex-wife had made them to ruin his reputation as he contemplated a political career....

In her 2000 filing, Jeri Ryan alleged that after she and Jack Ryan left the first sex club they entered in New York, he asked her to go to another. She said he told her that he had gone out to dinner with her that night even though he didn't want to and "the least I could do in return was go to the club he wanted me to go."

She described the second place as "a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling."

"Respondent wanted me to have sex with him there with another couple watching. I refused," Jeri Ryan continued. "Respondent asked me to perform a sexual activity upon him and he specifically asked other people to watch. I was very upset.

"We left the club and respondent apologized, said that I was right and he would never insist that I go to a club again. He promised it was out of his system."

But later, Jeri Ryan said, Jack Ryan took her to Paris where he again took her to a sex club without first telling her where they were going.

"I told him I thought it was out of his system. I told him he had promised me we would never go. People were having sex everywhere. I cried. I was physically ill. Respondent became very upset with me and said it was not a `turn-on' for me to cry. I could not get over the incident and my loss of any attraction to him as a result. Respondent knew this was a serious problem. I told him I did not know if we could work it out."

Click here to read Jeri Ryan's statement responding to the story.

Obama wisely told the Tribune that "Obviously Mr. Ryan and his supporters will be discussing this and I don't think that's my role." There's no mention of it on his campaign blog as well.

Now it's hardly Obama's fault that he has political idiots for opponents -- and it's to his credit that he hasn't perpetrated anything as stupid in his personal or professional career. And it's worth pointing out that the latest poll (conducted last week) had Obama ahead of Ryan by eleven points -- so it's not like he really needed this to happen.

Still, politicians of every stripe must be burning with envy, marveling at Obama's run of good luck.

Readers are invited to submit other politicians who have similarly benefited from this kind of self-destructive behavior by opponents during a campaign.

UPDATE: Over at Tapped, Nick Confessore frets that this may hurt Obama:

[T]he release of these documents gives the Illinois GOP a chance to get Ryan to drop out and put somebody else on the ticket. On the other hand, the state party is bereft of real talent -- that's how retiring incumbent Peter Fitzgerald got elected -- and it's hard to imagine who they would get to replace Ryan.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mark Buehner posts a comment that reflects my thoughts on the matter:

[A]s a Chicagoan let me just mention how depressing it is to have the most clueless, lunkheaded republican party in the country. Worst of all they cant seem to find a candidate for any office not named Ryan (former Governor George Ryan was plagued with graft and corruption). Newsflash GOP, many voters dont bother to see what a guys first name is, if a Ryan keeps showing up on ballots every couple of years, a significant number of semi-apathetic voters will check the opposite column just out of habit. Idiots.


posted by Dan at 04:59 PM | Comments (47) | Trackbacks (7)

Lou Dobbs is a big fat hypocrite

If I wasn't busy trying to get tenure and all that, I'd be sorely tempted to write a quickie paperback with that title. Never mind Dobbs' tendentious reporting about outsourcing -- now he's got bigger ethical quandries.

Back in March, James Glassman pointed out in Tech Central Station that Dobbs was praising companies like Boeing and Washington Mutual as worthy stocks in his eponymous investment letter -- even though he was bashing these very same companies for offshore outsourcing on his CNN show, Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Last week, Zachary Roth at CJR's Campaign Desk followed up on this tendency of Dobbs to say one thing to his viewers and another thing to readers of his investment letter:

Unlike most investment advisors, Dobbs goes beyond talking up the earning potential of these companies. He typically goes out of his way to praise them as good corporate citizens. The newsletter keeps a running tally of the companies profiled, under the heading, "The following companies have been featured in the Lou Dobbs Money Letter as those 'doing good business with good people.'" The appeal is alluring: You're not just buying a smart investment choice, you're buying a piece of good citizenship.

Dobbs devoted a column in the March issue to touting the prospects of the Minnesota-based Toro Company, which makes outdoor landscaping-maintenance equipment. He told subscribers that Toro was a "long-term wealth-builder," and praised Toro's "formal code of ethics, something I think is sorely needed at more of America's companies," and its "...exemplary corporate governance structure, which aligns the interests of shareholders, employees, and customers." He concluded his interview with Toro CEO Kendrick Melrose by frankly telling him, "I like the way you treat your shareholders, employees, and customers."

One wonders whether Dobbs' admiration extends to Toro's 2002 decision to move 15% of its workforce -- about 800 jobs -- to Juarez, Mexico. Indeed, CEO Kendrick Melrose might be interested to know that Toro appears on Dobbs' own list of companies that are "exporting America."

And Toro is not alone. Of the 14 companies Dobbs has highlighted for investors since starting his newsletter last year, eight appear on his CNN website as companies that outsource jobs (emphasis added).

Read both Glassman and Roth. We here at are appalled -- there are actually people out there who would pay $398 a year for Lou Dobbs' investment advice?! To be fair, however, Glassman does point out in another column that on his TV show, Dobbs is the perfect anti-predictor when it comes to investment decisions.

Amazingly, Dobbs is proving to be somewhat two-faced in his response to the Campaign Desk post. In a follow-up post, Roth writes, "When we contacted him, Dobbs was unrepentant, saying that he didn't see a problem with using one hand to reprimand companies for outsourcing, while using the other to promote the same firms." However, when the Wall Street Journal came a callin', Dobbs changed his tune:

In an interview, Mr. Dobbs said he would change his newsletter in response to critics' concerns. In the future, Mr. Dobbs said, every examination of a company and every interview in the newsletter will include mention of that business's offshoring record. "It makes absolute sense," Mr. Dobbs said. "If this is a concern -- and it certainly is a concern of people -- I will respect that. It's something I will begin implementing in the newsletter."

Lou, Lou, Lou -- it's never the original scandal that brings you down -- it's the cover-up to the scandal.

I'll give Roth the final word of this post:

It's nice that Dobbs will now inform the thousands of subscribers to his newsletter about the offshoring records of his featured companies. It would be even nicer if he informed the much larger number of people who watch his anti-outsourcing crusade on CNN that he promotes some of the companies on his "exporting America" list.

posted by Dan at 11:06 AM | Comments (33) | Trackbacks (2)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Strong stuff

Spencer Ackerman, filling in for Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, scores an interview with the anonymous author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terrorism. The author -- let's call him Mr. A -- believes both Afghanistan and Iraq to be complete disasters in both policymaking and the application of military force.

While this no doubt warms the cockles of those who oppose the Bush administration, Mr. A's policy prescriptions are likely to scare the ever-living crap out of those same critics. A sample:

To secure as much of our way of life as possible, we will have to use military force in the way Americans used it on the fields of Virginia and Georgia, in France and on Pacific islands, and from skies over Tokyo and Dresden. Progress will be measured by the pace of killing …

Killing in large numbers is not enough to defeat our Muslim foes. With killing must come a Sherman-like razing of infrastructure. Roads and irrigation systems; bridges, power plants, and crops in the field; fertilizer plants and grain mills--all these and more will need to be destroyed to deny the enemy its support base. … [S]uch actions will yield large civilian casualties, displaced populations, and refugee flows. Again, this sort of bloody-mindedness is neither admirable nor desirable, but it will remain America's only option so long as she stands by her failed policies toward the Muslim world.

Needless to say, this provoked Matthew Yglesias to write an epithet I was thinking after reading that passage. Kevin Drum is similarly rattled -- and Drum follows up with an e-mail missive from Ackerman confirming that what I just quoted was not taken out of context. The following is from Mr. A's interview with Ackerman:

My argument, I think, taken from the whole book, is that we've left ourselves with no option but the military option, and our application of military force against our foe, whether it's Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else, has not been particularly intimidating. They've ridden out two wars. They're on the offensive at the moment. What are we left with? If we don't use our military power, we really just sit and take it.

This kind of rhetoric makes even the most "out there" neoconservative -- except perhaps for Jim Woolsey -- look like a peacenik by comparison. Even the most imperial-sounding neocons don't talk about "a Sherman-like razing of infrastructure."

I think this kind of thinking is nuts -- forget whether it would actually work in the Middle East and consider the collateral damage such actions would create in every other region of the globe. If you want an actual alliance -- not mere rhetoric, but actual alliances, coordination of territorial defense, and actual balancing -- of every other significant power in the globe arrayed against the United States, well, Mr. A's strategy is the way to go. Don't worry about soft power if this strategy is implemented -- worry about whether the U.S. government would have sufficient hard power resources to simultaneously ward off threats from China, Russia, India, Japan, North and South Korea, France, and Great Britain while simultaneously imposing martial law in this country following the insurrection that such a strategy would undoubtedly inspire.

That said, I'm betting that this logic will resonate with a healthy fraction of Americans.

posted by Dan at 06:10 PM | Comments (55) | Trackbacks (2)

The golden age of cartoons?

Justin Peters makes a strong case in the Washington Monthly that we are currently experiencing a golden age of animation, beginning with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim:

The Adult Swim entourage is only the latest in a series of consistently witty and original cartoons that have emerged on television in recent years--from "The Simpsons" to "South Park" to "King of the Hill." And this is on top of the plethora of fine feature-length animated films that have graced movie theaters such as Monsters Inc., and the Shrek series. Indeed, if novels, pop music, and live action movies have been going through a bit of a fallow period, we are arguably living in a golden age of cartoons, one that rivals in creativity and appeal to the era of "Looney Tunes" and "Betty Boop" over half a century ago.

Read the whole thing -- indeed, my only criticism of the article is that it failed to mention the renaissance in high-quality superhero cartoons -- X-Men, Batman, Superman, Justice League, and the awesome Batman Beyond.

However, Peters does give appropriate props to Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law, a surreal 15 minutes of genre-busting. My personal favorite -- and the only successful Sopranos parody I've seen -- is when Harvey defends suspected mobster Fred Flinstone. Best line -- "You're dead to me, Barney!! [Actually, the best line is "Ewwww, Gleep juice!'--ed. Well, yes, but understanding why that line is funny requires a knowledge of bad Saturday morning cartoons that the sophisticated readers of should never admit to possessing.]

posted by Dan at 05:26 PM | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (1)

The blogging of the convention

The Associated Press reports that the Democrats will offer media credentials to "a handful of bloggers" at this year's convention in Boston. Andrew Sullivan is unimpressed at the opportunity:

For my part, I think bloggers could make more of a statement by not going to these elaborate infomercials. All they are are schmooze-fests for journalists, pundits and political types and then many layers of corrupting parties for donors. The only political importance is as television shows, and you can better understand that by, er, watching television.

Andrew is largely correct -- the conventions because of their effect on the television audience. That said, I don't think this is an either/or kind of situation. I'm happy some bloggers will be inside the tent, as it were -- mostly because I'm betting that they'll be able to provide the kind of "local color" that can seem blasé to the veteran journalist. Bloggers also shouldn't care about whether such anecdotes offend the sensitivities of the powerful and the privileged. Plus, bloggers can also report on an issue that mainstream journalists would be reluctant to cover --how mainstream journalists behave at these shindigs.

Incidentally, I got a call last week from a Washington Post writer asking me if I'd be attending. I patiently explained that my wife is not keen for me to go to Boston and/or New York on our own dime just because the political parties might let me through the front door.

posted by Dan at 12:44 PM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (2)

Karl Rove's nightmare come true

A huge component of the Bush re-election strategy is the overwhelming support the president receives from white evangelicals -- both its leadership and rank and file. If, for some reason, this group were to grow either disaffected or less politically active, states that were previously thought of as Republican locks would suddenly be in play.

Which is why Karl Rove can't be too happy about Larry B. Stammer's article in the Los Angeles Times about a new white paper on political action that's coming from the National Association of Evangelicals:

The National Assn. of Evangelicals is circulating a draft of a groundbreaking framework for political action that strongly endorses social and economic justice and warns against close alignment with any political party.

Steeped in biblical morality and evangelical scholarship, the framework for public engagement could change how the estimated 30 million evangelicals in this country are viewed by liberals and conservatives alike.

It affirms a religiously based commitment to government protections for the poor, the sick and disabled, including fair wages, healthcare, nutrition and education. It declares that Christians have a "sacred responsibility" to protect the environment.

But it also hews closely to a traditional evangelical emphasis on the importance of families, opposition to homosexual marriage and "social evils" such as alcohol, drugs, abortion and the use of human embryos for stem-cell research. It reaffirms a commitment to religious freedom at home and abroad.

In the midst of a presidential election year, war and terrorism, the framework says Christians in their devotion to country "must be careful to avoid the excesses of nationalism." In domestic politics, evangelicals "must guard against over-identifying Christian social goals with a single political party, lest nonbelievers think that Christian faith is essentially political in nature."

"This is a maturing of the evangelical public mind," said Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, one of the nation's principal evangelical schools. "Instead of just assuming an automatic alliance with a specific party — and that's been traditionally the Republicans — it says evangelicals ought to be more thoughtful."

Read the whole piece -- there's a quote at the end from a former NAE president saying, "I think short term it probably won't have a lot of impact. In the long term it will have a fairly significant impact." This is probably true -- but I can't help think the symbolism and the timing of the document will have some short-term impact -- not so much from converting Republican voters into Democrats, but rather reducing voter turnout.

posted by Dan at 10:25 AM | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (1)

Competence gets rewarded in Iraq

Despite the management screw-ups that have taken place in Iraq, there are a few silver linings. I linked to one of them -- dealing with Iraq's economic future -- in my last post.

Another one comes from Lieutenant General David Petraeus -- the former commander of the 101st Airborne who was in charge of Mosul for ten months. I've blogged about him before here and here -- he clearly seemed to "get it" when it came to the postwar occupation.

In a nice example of competence rewarded, Vivienne Walt reports in Time that Petraeus was asked by President Bush to "assess" the Iraqi security forces back in April. Given their perfomance, the General has taken a hands-on approach:

"The President told me I could have anything I wanted, and I took him at his word," Petraeus told TIME during an hour-long interview this week in his office. As an economist with a doctorate from Princeton, Petraeus knew what he needed: Money, lots of it, and fast. During 14 months of occupation, U.S. forces had made several attempts to kick-start Iraq's military. Many had faltered over financial issues: At one stage last year, hundreds of new military recruits went AWOL after learning that their monthly pay was well below that of regular police officers. Others quit after determining that there was barely a corner of Iraq in which they were not prime targets for assassination — and that they were a lot more poorly equipped than their foes.

The change has already been felt. Shortly after Petraeus's arrival, units of the new Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and beleaguered police stations have suddenly received shipments of new weapons and vehicles. Last week, Petraeus dispatched thousands of rounds of ammunition and hundreds of bullet-proof jackets to the Najaf police station — whose officers recently fled in terror from the Shiite militia of the Mehdi Army. With only 287 American police advisors in Iraq, the training for the country's critical new force is still patchy. That will finally catch up, says Petraeus. Meanwhile, gleaming new weapons and ceramic-plated vests will boost the officers' morale. This time around, Petraeus is also using a cherished principle from his other alma mater, West Point: Stand by your fellow soldiers, no matter what. "They have to feel they are not going to be hung out to dry," he says of the new Iraqi forces. "Early on we are going to have to keep on enabling Iraqi forces and backing them up when necessary, even when we are building from the top."

Petraeus' effect can already be felt in this plan to scale back Iraqi Interior Ministry forces by 30,000. [Why is that number being reduced?--ed. Fewer trained personnel is better than a lot of untrained personnel.] Unlike last year's disastrous dismissal of the Iraqi military, this reduction is being accomplished through generous severance payments.

posted by Dan at 12:17 AM | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (1)

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Ugly CPA autopsies

Last month I posted about the ideological litmus tests that were applied in hiring for the Coalitional Provisional Authority. I said at the end that, "This is a story crying out for further investigation."

Today the Washington Post (link via Matthew Yglesias) and Chicago Tribune both have front-page stories focusing on the CPA -- and this issue comes up in both articles.

In the Post, Rajiv Chandrasekaran paints an ugly picture of poor planning and inadequate resources. As for recruitment, Chandrasekaran observes:

On the eve of its dissolution, the CPA has become a symbol of American failure in the eyes of most Iraqis. In a recent poll sponsored by the U.S. government, 85 percent of respondents said they lacked confidence in the CPA. The criticism is echoed by some Americans working in the occupation. They fault CPA staffers who were fervent backers of the invasion and of the Bush administration, but who lacked reconstruction skills and Middle East experience. Only a handful spoke Arabic.

Within the marble-walled palace of the CPA's headquarters inside Baghdad's protected Green Zone, there is an aching sense of a mission unaccomplished. "Did we really do what we needed to do? What we promised to do?" a senior CPA official said. "Nobody here believes that."....

The CPA also lacked experienced staff. A few development specialists were recruited from the State Department and nongovernmental organizations. But most CPA hiring was done by the White House and Pentagon personnel offices, with posts going to people with connections to the Bush administration or the Republican Party. The job of reorganizing Baghdad's stock exchange, which has not reopened, was given in September to a 24-year-old who had sought a job at the White House. "It was loyalty over experience," a senior CPA official said....

Instead of building contacts at social events in the city, CIA operatives in Baghdad drink in their own rattan-furnished bar in the Green Zone. Instead of prowling local markets, CPA employees go to the Green Zone Shopping Bazaar, where the most popular items are Saddam Hussein memorabilia.

Limited contact with Iraqis outside the Green Zone has made CPA officials reliant on the views of those chosen by Bremer to serve on the Governing Council. When Brahimi, the U.N. envoy, asked the CPA for details about several Iraqis he was considering for positions in the interim government, he told associates he was "shocked to find how little information they really had," according to an official who was present.

In the Tribune, Andrew Zajac focuses more closely on the recruitment of CPA personnel. Again, not a pretty picture:

Although many CPA posts have been held by career government civil servants, numerous crucial slots have been filled by officials with strong GOP or conservative pedigrees. Passed over, in some cases, were diplomats and foreign policy specialists with backgrounds in Middle East issues or nation-building....

Without question the coalition took on arduous and sometimes dangerous assignments. The difficult working conditions likely shrank the pool of talent willing to trade the comfortable routine of American life for months of austerity in a scorching desert climate amid a bloody insurgency.

But already even some supporters of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq say the occupation's troubled course and the country's uncertain prospects for stable self-rule can be traced at least in part to a leadership team that valued political credentials over foreign policy expertise.

Occupation planners often selected "ideologues without international experience who see the world through blinders," said Peter Galbraith, a senior career diplomat and an adviser to the Iraqi Kurdish leadership.

"I don't think the Iraq venture was doomed to fail," Galbraith said. "If we had had qualified people with time to plan and a coherent strategy, the situation . . . would certainly be better."

Read both pieces.

It's still worth keeping in mind that despite these missteps, the situation in Iraq is still not hopeless. Go check out this Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder on the Iraqi economy, compiled by Esther Pan. The final paragraph:

What are the economic forecasts for next year? Very promising, experts say—if the security situation is brought under control. Iraq’s economy had been declining for years as a result of international sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s regime. In 2003, the war and subsequent looting caused the economy to shrink by 22 percent. But the economy is projected to grow by 45 percent in 2005 and 25 percent in 2006, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, a financial research division of The Economist. “I think the economy is very positive,” [CPA’s acting director of private sector development in New York Richard] Greco says. “There continues to be a steady stream of interest from international investors, not just in oil, but also the agriculture, petrochemical, glass and cement industries. There’s so much potential.”

posted by Dan at 10:40 AM | Comments (30) | Trackbacks (3)