May 28, 2006

The Gap in Iran

Posted by TMLutas

When viewing the Islamist enterprise as a real, human project instead of the stuff of stories to scare little children, it's essential to look at their strategic goals. The strategic struggle of Islamism is a struggle to create a connected 'counter-core' just as functional as the global Core but distinct, disconnected from that Core, and in contention to integrate the Gap to it rather than the Core which it views as infidel dominated. The project seems to have hit a few snags in Iran where apparently President Ahmadinejad cannot even keep a campaign promise to visit every province in Iran to address local problems. The visits were supposed to all take place within his first year in office. Not only has that not taken place but the danger to national government figures has meant that some provinces are unlikely to be visited at all during Ahmadinejad's term of office. Counterinsurgency operations do take a long time as we are learning all over again in Iraq. Iran has similar issues, but inside its own borders.

These restive provinces constitute a Gap within the very heart of the Shia counter-core. They are a weak point that can be exploited by any outside agency that cares to because they are real problems, sore points that can be easily exacerbated at whim. Pushed hard enough, they can even form the basis of a "firm kill" solution where the regime is overthrown due to flames started in this counter-core Gap.

May 16, 2006

Gay Marriage Update VIII

Posted by TMLutas

One of the recurring themes I've had on gay marriage is that we simply don't have a clue as to how it's going to affect things. Marriage is so fundamental to how we see society that we really haven't a clue as to the effects of changing it to that degree. I've gotten a lot of flak over that position. I also seem to lose readers every time I bring this up but what the hey, here's another one.

Maggie Gallagher writes in the Weekly Standard that the conflict between gay marriage and religious liberty is coming and that nobody really knows where it's going to pop up next:

"Future conflict with the law in regard to licensing is certain with regard to psychological clinics, social workers, marital counselors, and the like," Stern wrote last December--well before the Boston Catholic Charities story broke.

Think about that for a moment. Of all the experts gathered to forecast the impact of gay marriage on religious organizations, no one, not even Stern, brought up adoption licenses. "Government is so pervasive, it's hard to know where the next battle will be," he tells me. "I thought I had a comprehensive catalog, but the adoption license issue didn't occur to me."

In essence, we're in a Wile E. Coyote moment. We've pretty much gone off the cliff with Mass. approving gay marriage but we have no idea what happens next.

It's sad.

May 13, 2006

Air Force Kick Starting GTL?

Posted by TMLutas

Gas to Liquid (GTL) processing of various fuel stocks to liquid motor fuels is currently economical. The investment needed to build large plants is slow going because the unpredictable energy market could leave investors holding the bag. What's needed is a big purchaser willing to make a long term purchasing commitment. In steps the US Air Force.

In short, they're testing to verify that the new fuel will work well on their current engine stock and not require expensive retuning. Once that's demonstrated, long-term contracts can be signed justifying the expense of plant building. Once an initial plant is built, it's much less risky to increase capacity and pull in additional customers.

The popularization of new technology can often come on the back of government purchases. Here's hopeing we don't get burned.

A product of BruceR and Jantar Mantar Communications, and affiliated contributors. Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's half-informed viewpoint on the world.

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