Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Political appointees

I don't understand the political appointee vs. career civil servant rules of the federal government (or state or local government for that matter). Is this tradition/custom or statutory? If statutory, I am embarrassed by how little I know about something so fundamental to our government.

Monday, July 21, 2008

special relationship

News that a countryman will be held in a foreign jail is often jarring - either the listener will somehow minimize the crime or feel the punishment seems too severe.

Most Americans would likely feel less conflicted about hearing of an American being held in an English prison than Mexican. I would guess that a chart showing reactions would be a good predictor of feelings regarding other places. Assuming the validity of this "kinship" test is proven, I think it could be useful in another context: Nationbuilding.

I think most Americans feel relatively (aside from the burdens of travel) indifferent between incarceration in NY or California. But this is unlikely between Basra and Tikrit for most Iraqis. A survey indicating this would be a nice, more concrete, way to show that efforts to build a single Iraq are misguided and that success is somewhere between far-away and never.