US and Iran - common ground

Interesting intersection of soccer and politics - Iran names an Iranian-American as their national soccer coach.  There's also an interview of Afshin Ghotbi conducted before he was named as Iran's coach at the NYTimes Goal blog.  Ghotbi has previously coached in both Iran and the United and was an assisant for the US World Cup team in 1998 (which was so bad, maybe Ghotbi was an Iranian mole!).

Whenever US-Iranian relations start to thaw, I think a big part should be a friendly match played between US and Iran.  The ideal result would be a tie.

My thoughts on the AIG bonuses

The yahoos in the AIG Financial Products division who helped destroy the world's financial sector got big bonuses. Here are my thoughts on the mess:

(from here)

We're getting fewer problems by the minute

My friend Flanders, who delights in the misery of others, sent me this link noting that stock indexes are down to their levels in 1997. That, of course, was the year the Notorious BIG posthumously released the single "Mo Money Mo Problems."

The stock market: creating fewer problems since September 2008!

IEDs in America?

The prospect of domestic use of Improvised Explosive Devices (roadside bombs as seen in Iraq) in the United States is one of the drums that Michael Tanji keeps beating. Tanji's recent post has spurred me to post something that happened last Friday. I was doing a ride-along (where I ride shotgun with a police officer on patrol) and he said "I bet it's only a matter of time before one of us is hit by an IED. Actually I take that back, these [gentleman] are too stupid to build IEDs, they'd blow themselves up 10 times first." At Tanji's blog he posts a link to this story in which a returning vet has apparently hired out his services building IEDs for whatever criminals would like to purchase one.

One of the aspects of that story strikes me as very likely. Apparently the IED-maker was planning on selling it to criminals to blow up other criminals who owed drug money. I do think that if IEDs are used in America, the first instances will not be against police or in assassination attempts, but will be gang vs. gang violence. In counterinsurgency that would be a good thing (divide & conquer) but in law enforcement homicides are obviously a bad thing. However it means at least police will have warning before they themselves are targeted by an IED.

Also I half posted this just so the month of February doesn't go by without me making a blog post. I've been busy lately and my internet isn't working. Posting will pick up... eventually.

President Obama

Barack Obama is now President, which is awesome. His job would be hard enough if he didn't have to clean up after one of the worst US Presidents in history. But in addition to cleaning up Bush's mess, the world is changing extremely rapidly, including in the international security realm. Michael Tanji was gracious enough to invite me to contribute to a book he edited and which is now available for purchase. So purchase away! The title is "Threats in the Age of Obama" and it's published by Nimble books.  My chapter specifically looks at how a rational person can become involved in terrorism, gang violence, etc. (i.e. it's not all about "the crazy Moozlims" or "thug culture").  Click "read more" to see the book cover.

From Politics & Soccer

Best email I've got from Amazon yet

Amazon sends me lots of emails that recommend various books based on other books I've bought or rated on Amazon. Here is the best one so far:

Dear Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated "Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era" by Robert Buzzanco have also purchased "Snuggly Bunny (Little Scholastic)" by Jill Ackerman. For this reason, you might like to know that "Snuggly Bunny (Little Scholastic)" will be released on February 1, 2009. You can pre-order yours by following the link below.