Monthly Archives: November 2012

Emotional Politics

A theory on why politics today is so polarized:  Polarization is how the political parties have learned to motivate people.  This is crucial to countering apathy.  And because campaigns can be won simply by increasing turnout, they’ve learned to emphasize the differences.  As a result, a lot more people care, and care more deeply, and are therefore motivated to vote.

I haven’t heard this theory elsewhere, it would be interesting to look at data and test it.

Review: No Easy Day by “Mark Owen”

No Easy Day by the pseudonymous Mark Owen is the book about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden from one of the Navy SEAL’s who was a team leader on the raid. The book is a quick, easy read and the writing flows like an action novel. It’s also gripping and entirely believable. Once I started reading I could not put it down. My main take-away from the book is that the CIA and other intelligence agencies deserve a lot of credit for tracking down Bin Laden. As the author puts it, the Navy SEAL raid was just the last 40 minutes of a 10 year hunt. The author praises the CIA but sheds little light on what must have been a tremendous, global investigative effort. Nor does the book give any insight into the decision-making process in Washington other than some restrained and mild criticism of the slowness of the process. The book makes me curious to check out the other books on the Bin Laden manhunt to see if any can provide a similar first-hand account from the perspective of the CIA.

I recommend the book as a fast, entertaining read (yes, the Navy SEAL’s are bad-asses :) but not essential reading.