The Islamic State is the combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell of 21st-century geopolitics. It’s a terrorist organization and a state. It’s a brutal army and a pious theocracy. It’s our enemy, but it is also our fault. The only way ISIS is not like a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell is that it is not profitable. Back in January, it cut its fighters pay by half. Last week, the Washington Post announced that it was paying $50 a month—more if you have a wife and/or sex slave—and was struggling to supply electricity and medicine to the regions it controls. It turns out ISIS is good at taking over Iraq but bad at running it. Of whom does that remind me?
Adam Nagourney gets big points for including the clause “tucked away on a stretch of gun stores and pornography shops” in his report on midterm elections at the state level, but otherwise he has depressed the fudge out of me. The overall thrust of the article is that this year’s elections will provide parties with opportunities to control both statehouses and the governor’s mansion in several states—opportunities they will use to stymie each other. By “parties,” we mean the Republican Party. And they’re not just stymying each other; they’re also passing legislation that conflicts with federal law. Welcome to a world of black despair: the Times series on single-party control of state governments.