December 18, 2012, 10:35 am
(Originally from 2009. Worth a republish today)
On this day in history, Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye, a Japanese-American from Hawaii, led his platoon into action near San Terenzo, Italy. Inouye, a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, had left his medical studies to enlist in 1943, rising to the rank of Sergeant and then getting a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant. The war in Europe would end within the month, but the Germans were still defending their remnant of Italy fiercely. That day…but let Inouye describe the action:
We jumped off at first light. E Company’s objective was Colle Musatello, a high and heavily defended ridge. All three rifle platoons were to be deployed, two moving up in a frontal attack, with my platoon skirting the left flank and coming in from the side. Whichever platoon reached the heights first was to secure them against…
December 16, 2012, 5:41 pm
Using the invaluable running tab of votes kept by David Wasserman of the Cook Report, I did a map outlining turnout difference between 2008 and 2012. Blue states are where turnout was higher in 2012, red states are where it was lower. New Hampshire matched its 2008 turnout:
A few comments:
- The Atlantic seaboard states with large African-American populations (South Carolina to Maryland) increased their turnout
- Western swing states with large Hispanic populations increased their turnout and brought Utah along with them.
- The Upper Midwest came out in droves (excepting MI)
- New York and New Jersey saw substantial drops, likely due to Sandy
- Florida had nearly $170 million advertising dollars spent in it, which may have driven people to the polls (if only to get away from their TVs)
Notably of the swing states, Ohio turnout was down 2.23% from …
December 8, 2012, 1:06 pm
Yesterday was the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, something that has been marked at Edge a number of times (here, here, and here. I may have missed some). There are numerous remembrances around the web as well (though this one, which blames Pearl Harbor on Harry Dexter White (!?) is just farcical.)
Today, I want to take a slightly different tack, by way of following up on H-War’s recent logistics roundtable. Why did Japan feel the need to attack the United States? There was nothing particularly inevitable about it. Japan and the United States had gotten along extremely well during the Boxer Uprising (yes, I know, self-promotion) and Japan had been an ally during World War I. The militarization of the government had increased Japanese regional aggressiveness, though this can be overstated. They had empire in mind even with the previous civilian government and it had not noticeably…
December 4, 2012, 3:10 am
November 29, 2012, 4:26 pm
H-War is running a roundtable on military logistics, both historically, and in the modern world. The introduction (by Jill Russell, the convener) is here, and discusses the importance of studying the movement of materiel:
Shaking off its dull and drab reputation, logistics has arrived upon the
contemporary historical and analytical stage with emphasis and perhaps a small
amount of dash. Nowhere is this point more clear than in the publication of a
work like _The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the
World Economy Bigger_, Marc Levinson’s study arguing the revolutionary changes
wrought by the containerization of global trade. On the world stage, there is a
rising tide of writing on the subject, such as the many articles discussing
logistics as the key issue for any exit from Afghanistan. That logistics is
most assuredly on the ascendant in contemporary military …
November 19, 2012, 7:01 pm
The wolves are out for David Petraeus now that he’s shown such horrendous personal judgment and lost his untouchable position. There are two forms that I’ve noticed thus far. There’s the “I served under Petraeus and he was awful!” form. There’s the “Petraeus wasn’t a man’s general, he was an effete-namby-pamby-type general.”
The “I Served With Him” Genre
In the former category, we have this (warning! Naughty language), written by “Hawkeye Pierce”:
I’ve detested Petraeus for a long, long time. I’ve tried writing about him for a decade, but nobody seemed to listen. He was bulletproof back then—not so anymore. Now’s the time for me to tell you all about this self-serving shithead and what it was like being his bitch for years.
Pierce’s complaints? When Petraeus took over, he made his soldiers get uniform haircuts, practice holding the grips of their rifles consistently, had them…
November 15, 2012, 11:01 pm
Eisenhower at the German surrender. Summersby in the background
Oh shoot. Almost immediately after nobly declaiming on how too many blog posts are about “someone is wrong on the Internet” I find myself writing another one, this time about the historical parallels between the Petraueus scandal and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s relationship with Kay Summersby. Amy Davidson, at the New Yorker, argues that comparing the two is “sophistry.” Davidson starts with the quite reasonable argument that:
Is it good that a scandal about Eisenhower didn’t disrupt the war in Europe? Yes, but that means we were lucky, not that Ike did everything right. It’s a reason to be glad that an earlier general was reasonably careful about his (still alleged) affair—not to give a later one license to cheat.
She is exactly right. The “everyone is doing it” defense is not one that carries much weight past, well,…
November 8, 2012, 4:28 am
I tend to think that the “someone is wrong on the Internet” meme dominates too much discussion (wait, am I saying that people are wrong about people being wrong?), and so blogs become one long death march about failings, being disappointed, and other general wrongness. Having said that, there is some use in pointing out particular examples. So, perhaps, an aggregate post? Oh, okay.
The GOP evaluates its polling:
Exit polling data also showed that most people continue to blame George W. Bush for the country’s current economic condition. The President’s team was masterful in getting that message out over the last four years. Team Obama also used the abortion issue to their advantage (as Republicans have done in the past) and this helped drive up the base vote.
You mean people actually remembered who was at fault for the economic crash, and understood what the Republican…
November 7, 2012, 10:36 pm
This map is not of the actual results, though it does contain some of them. I flipped Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. I wanted to point out that Obama would still have won EVEN IF he had lost those three seemingly critical states.
That’s a remarkable statement for a Democratic candidate. That’s a remarkable statement for *any* Presidential candidate.
November 6, 2012, 8:15 pm
In 1917, Arden Andrews went to enlist in the US Navy, to help fight World War I. He was 17 years old, and, unfortunately, underweight. His daughter wrote of it later:
When Arden tried to enlist in the Navy late in 1917, he was turned down because he was 3 pounds under the minimum weight requirement. He promptly went to the nearest grocery store, bought 4 pounds, (just to be sure) and sat down on the curb and ate them.
Returning to the enlistment office, he was weighed again and found just over the minimum. Bananas, it seemed, had saved the day.
 Library of Congress, Veterans History Project, AFC 2001/001/3046 Andrews, Arden Dudley, Memoirs.
November 6, 2012, 1:47 pm
The use of words and phrases, associated with presidential elections, over the last century, from the Google Ngram viewer:
More as I think of them.
UPDATE: Per tadlegler’s suggestion in the comments, “flip-flop”:
and, on my own, “vote fraud”:
UPDATE II: per chemstudent’s suggestion, “bipartisan,” and “campaign contribution:”
November 4, 2012, 4:20 pm
The really big development this Presidential cycle has been the popular rise of such statistically-oriented political analysts as Nate Silver. They mix math, polls, GDP, magic sauce, wizardry, SCSI-termination mojo into a prediction about the election that is SCIENTIFIC.
This is not a post about those people, or not entirely about them. Instead, this is a post about aggregating all their (and other pundits) predictions and seeing if the magic of crowd-sourcing and the wisdom of the crowds works in political prognosticating.
So, I gathered as many predictions as I could: Nate Silver’s; Sam Wang’s, Drew Linzer’s, John Scalzi’s, Michael Barone’s, Karl Rove’s, Dick Morris’s, Bickers/Berry, Real Clear Politics, DeSart and Holbrook, Jackman, Election Projection, Lanny Davis, and, finally, the prediction of the students of Cornell in Washington’s Policy and Politics class. [UPDATE: added …
October 24, 2012, 3:26 pm
We hear that lots of states are now in play that weren’t before: Pennsylvania, Arizona, and so on. But where do the candidates think the votes are? Where are they actually going to rally the faithful and convince the unconvinced? Just about exactly where you would expect. President Obama is winging around the country:
California and Illinois are likely fundraising visits; the others are exactly the swing states that everyone’s been watching all along.
How about the campaign with the Big Mo? Governor Romney is heading over the next few days to Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia, exactly where you would expect. Sorry, I couldn’t find a fancy graphic on the Romney campaign web site.
But perhaps the VP candidates are stealthily heading to newly viable swing states? Nope. They’re both in Ohio today.
The odd thing is that, after all the muss and fuss of the past six months, all the …
October 17, 2012, 12:06 am
The last lines of Shiloh by Charles Allen:
The birds are singing today,
Where wounded and dying men
Once laid and breathed their life away,
A quiet peace with music now and then.
The cornfield this past weekend, a month after sesquicentennial celebrations, was mostly silent, too.
October 13, 2012, 7:34 pm
During the Battle of Antietam, McClellan’s left wing, commanded by General Ambrose Burnside, had a tough time getting across Antietam Creek. In particular, they found it difficult to rush successfully the Lower Bridge, and were held up for several hours by a minimal Confederate force on the heights overhead. But, did they need the bridge to cross the creek? Well:
I think the answer is pretty clear, if slightly damp.
(In response to reaxx’s question. Photo by Elisabeth K. Boas).