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Thursday, June 14, 20071181833800

Open Thread VII

What do you want to say?

10:10 Posted in Vanity | Permalink | Comments (58) | Tags: open thread

Comments

http://nymag.com/news/politics/32864/

GOOD article. It looks at the difference between politicians' public and private lives, the toll that difference takes on the politicians and how these facts can relate to the current Presidential campaigns.

I've had an opinion in the back of my mind for a while now that's only been strengthened by this article; this extended primary season is a good thing.
a) It gives us time to judge the candidates who's public and private personas are seemingly alike. Are they really alike, or are they just really good actors? Is this a persona I actually want in the Oval Office?
b) It also gives us time to judge the other candidates. Is the distance between public and private a matter of shyness, or deception? Are they learning from their mistakes and growing into their new role? Can we live with whatever awkwardness they don't get over, and can we live with that private persona that keeps leaking through?

Posted by: Michael | Thursday, June 14, 2007

I find his consistent mis-analysis of Iraq and the WOT amusing but he's generally a fair commentator on other issues like the military and various other foreign affairs; soe here's Austin Bay on Chavez and the Falklands:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/4887987.html

Always the possibility that Chavez's misrule leads to serious domestic discontent a few years down the road and he decides to play the nationalist card by seizing some land or the Antilles islands..

Posted by: Eddie | Thursday, June 14, 2007

Here's a story from 2005, from New York Magazine, about elite parents (at least those in NYC) having their children learn Chinese:

"Great Toddle Forward"
http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/11629/

(Wonder what's become of this trend....)

Posted by: Jayson | Friday, June 15, 2007

There have been overblown reports of domestic rancor in Venezuela for the last 10 years, and with each election cycle Chavez has garnered more votes in what every watchdog says are free and fair elections.

The people who don't like him don't have enough votes to get rid of him, so they yell and shout and pout like weaklings. They would love for the United States to take out little Hugo.

The vast majority of the American press and American political establishment harmonize with this pathetically weak display of impotence.

He makes fun of George Bush. It's an act. Get over it. You are watching a master of South American political theater.

I would put the odds of Chavez invading his neighbors at one in a trillion. The worlds demand for oil is escalating faster than the price per barrel is escalating. Venezuela can afford all the economic experiments it wants. Not much can go wrong. He builds ball diamonds for poor kids and stocks them with baseball equipment. He brings in Cuban doctors and hands out free medicine. Big damn deal. Are people insane?

If you want to identify a weak American, listen to what he says about Hugo Chavez. The man is harmless. He is fairly elected by a free people, and it ain't our country. If he's thriving off our F ups, well, whose fault is that?

Pull in and fill'er up for Venezuela.

Americans need to shut up about Hugo Chavez. Just about every word written about him benefits him to the nines.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Friday, June 15, 2007

Dan, I want to know what software you use to visualise data on this blog. For instance whatever software you used to visualise the network attacks post or the freaknomics drug hierarchy post.

Posted by: Eek_the_Cat | Friday, June 15, 2007

Eek_the_cat,

My most common tools are OpenOffice.org [1] (for charts and drawings) and Paint.net [2] (for editing, resizing, etc.) The clipart in the freakonomics post was from the openclipart library with Inkscape. However, I would say that 99% of my graphics are done with just the OpenOffice.org + Paint.net combo.

All of these tools are free.

sonofsamphm1c,

If the one-child policy is the greatest argument for Chinese democracy, Venezuela is the greatest argument against. "You want a peasant republic? Look at Caracas."

If the coup leaders actually had Hugo Chavez in custody at any time, it was a catastrophic mistake not to kill him.

I'll take you at your 1:1,000,000,000,000 odds of Venezuela invading a neighbor. I'll bet you one dollar. You up for it? :-)

The Chavez regime is destroying the country's middle class, deracinating the social infrastructure, and bankrupting the country's social capital.

"Big damn deal" is correct to the extent that people value the lives of those in the Gaps (not much, of course).

Jayson,

Very cool article. The German/French language programs in most high schools are relics of a time when German was the language of physics and French the language of diplomacy. Language progams come and go, and have some use -- the French speakers have the basic cognates for reading Spanish signs, and anyone who learned Japanese in the 80s at least has a few hundred Chinese characters under his belt.

Eddie,

I hadn't thought of "Bolivarian" island adventures, but it is a concern. Islands seem to attract troublesome regimes (America -> Cuba, Argentina -> Falklands, etc.) because, unlike typical landgrabs, possession really is 9/10ths of reality.

Michael,

The Britains chose their leaders by who can jump up and be witty the fastest, we have a this odd marathon of saying as little as possible. It seems arbitrary, but both are work for a reason:

Politics ultimately isn't about choosing the best leaders, but avoiding the worst. Anything that exposes candidates to repeated interactions weed out risk-takers, structurally ensuring leaders will cautious. Mediciore isn't great, but it's a lot better than awful.

[1] http://www.openoffice.org/product/draw.html
[2] http://www.getpaint.net/index2.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, June 15, 2007

I see your point, but I'm not sure to what extent risk-taking is actually being discouraged this time around.

Giuliani isn't trying real hard to get away from his moderate social policies as mayor. Paul is being spanked for openly opposing the war, but more by his party leadership than by the extended primary cycle. McCain, if the article is correct, is going back to being a maverick (though it also says that style works better for him). The only people adhering closely to Republican convention are second-tier candidates and Romney (who's idea of escaping his liberal past is to pretend it doesn't exist); how many of you are betting on Romney or Brownback to win the nomination? The Democrats are tending to be more cautious, but even there one can see differences between the candidates on hot-button issues.

While this increased risk-taking may not be related to the lengthened primary season, it's not impossible. If a candidate takes a calculated risk, and fails, he isn't necessarily shot down right then and there. He has time to make it up.

Posted by: Michael | Friday, June 15, 2007

Dan,

I can't get this song out of my head!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OzkivWf78A

Recently released, many people are trying to come to the conclusion of the song's meaning. I think it is a satire of the ineffectiveness of the current anti-war movement. I could be wrong though.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Saturday, June 16, 2007

Chavez is actively destabilizing his neighbors. While I will allow that much of the criticism towards him is often overheated, this is one area where it is considerably understated. The man is a menace to the peace of the region and one day will overstep his bounds.

Posted by: Eddie | Saturday, June 16, 2007

A question if I may for the overachievers and all-around bright minds that inhabit TDAXP's comment threads:

I received my SAT results from this spring (I had to take it again because my old SAT score is older than 5 years) and wished I'd taken the ACT, but I did quite well on the Reading/Writing, though my Math score left much to be desired.
When I submit my undergrad enrollment applications next week, would it be helpful to my cause if I add a short note about planning on taking a freshman level Math class while on deployment this fall before I get out in December?

Posted by: Eddie | Saturday, June 16, 2007

Eddie,

I referred your question to Mother of tdaxp, who knows more about this than I do. Her advice follows:

If you are trying to get in, a note wouldn't matter. If you're score is good enough to get in, you get in. If it's not, you don't.

However, if you are going for a scholarship, it is something you should note. There's more grey areas in scholarships, so it would help you more.

If you are looking to do something before December, try to take a CLEP test -- say, in Algebra or so. (Sister of tdaxp took one just a few weeks ago.) It's quicker and cheaper than taking a college class, plus the CLEP gives you college credit if you pass, and says a lot more about your knowledge, skill, and /drive/ than any standardized test score. Take a practice CLEP test in Algebra or whatever field you're interested in, and if you feel comfortable, buy a study guide, and take the test.

Jeffrey,

Thanks for the link!

Do you know how to convert youtube videos to mp3s?

Michael,

An even better system for selecting mediocre (read: less dangerous) candidates are the pre-progessive caucus system with "backroom deals." In our enlightened day we know this is antidemocratic, so we just make them beg for money for months on end. A similar effect, but it hides the corruption inside a bucket of wastefulness.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thank you Dan and to Mother of TDAXP. I'll be looking at the CLEP tests then this summer underway.

Posted by: Eddie | Sunday, June 17, 2007

More problems in the VA system that's preventing vets from moving on with their lives.....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/16/AR2007061600866.html

Perhaps a group of retired and ex-vets could launch an online site that tracks the cases of vets having problems with the system. Attention could be centered on each case with the assistance of advocates from local business leaders to church heads and politicians. Now that would be a real way to support the troops.

Posted by: Eddie | Sunday, June 17, 2007

Eddie,

No problem on the CLEPs. In fact, I probably should blog about Family of tdaxp's experience with those things...

You have a good idea on vet care. Taking care of veterans doesn't matter much in short, big wars (because its not like their morale in a few years will matter -- you will have already won or lost). However, it matters a lot in the long war. A good veterans health system is part of the military-industrial-sysadmin-complex we need so badly.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, June 18, 2007

CLEP. There's a term I haven't seen in some time! I took several while in the Army, got some college credit -- and then basically self-annihilated when I made it to college! I don't even remember which CLEPs I took and passed. Are the credits still good after 17 years? heh.

Posted by: Curtis Gale Weeks | Monday, June 18, 2007

I don't, but it is funny that you mention it since I have been trying to figure out how to download youtube streams and convert them to wmv format, which I have been unsuccessful at as well.

BTW, this PS3/Bravia deal that they have at Best Buy is, though expensive, quite a bargain if you do the math.

http://kotaku.com/gaming/deal/hdtv-pack-includes-free-ps3-269739.php

...and that DOA question you had earlier. I heard the rumor in the rumor mill section of an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, and I would say that 60% of their rumors hold a certain degree of truth. So far, Team Ninja (the team behind DOA) has had a good relationship with Microsoft since they put out three DOA games and a Ninja Gaiden title on Microsoft platforms, though their current project is a Ninja Gaiden remake for the PS3 and DOA2 made it to the PS2 earlier in its life. I would say that there is a 75 percent chance that the DOA series is coming to the PS3 in one form or another. The EGM rumor mentioned exclusivity, but I would guess that such a title would probably be multi-platform. Either way, they have a better relationship with Microsoft, though they are just as well on the Sony bandwagon.

Know what? I think I need to get off my ass and start a game blog.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Monday, June 18, 2007

Jeffrey,

I saw that deal in the Argus on Sunday -- about twice what I'd pay, but it's neat to see prices steadily falling. :-)

If PS3 can get DOA, that + Oblivion + NCAA Football + BluRay is a killer combination. While Nintendo cleans up the lower market, PS3 and MS are in a big fight for the high end -- and, as always, the customer wins.

I'd like to read a game blog by you. I'd link to it, too :-)

Curtis,

I think CLEP's more than two years old expire, but learning is much quicker the second time around, so you can always re-take. :-)

Between AP, CLEP, and challenging, I finished my first week of undergrad with 40 credits. I loved my college, but getting out of there in two years was great.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I only play one game, Madden. I have a PS3. I don't really want to watch movies on it, so the BluRay thing is lost on me.

As a child in my 50s, show me a kid who wants to stop playing video games so his family can watch a movie. Not me, man.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Tuesday, June 19, 2007

sonofsamphm1c ,

How big is your HDTV?

When I was a kid, two great decisions may parents made were

a. buy the kids consoles from 2 generations back, and
b. make sure there is a TV for everyone in the house

Two constant sources of fights -- I want a videogame, and I want to watch my show --- were completely done away with.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm not into big TVs. It must be about 27 inches.

Your parents were thinking ahead.

Imagine this. My dad was making a ton of money right out of school in 1950, but they did not buy a television until a few days before the Nixon-Kennedy debate. The lessons of the depression sank in deep.

There were two stations: KELOLAND out of Sioux Falls and KORN (I think) out of Mitchell.

We were too dumb to fight over shows. A few years later you knew you were somebody when the family that had the only color TV in town invited your family over to watch Bonanza. That was bragging rights - seein' Ben and Hoss in color.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Greetings Dan,

I have found several ideas in the past several months that I think would interest you, especially if one were to apply these to a workable OODA loop interactive software engine.

I would be interested in you opinions regarding the following:

1) The Docuburst

http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~ccollins/research/docuburst.html

Specifically, what are your thoughts vis-à-vis Information Visualization (InfoViz)?

2) Wikinomics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikinomics

Do you feel this is a trend for the future?

3) Freebase

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaweb

And how about this ?

4) I am also curious to your opinion on my idea of the creation of a software capturing system of the 70% of non-verbal communication in face-to-face human
discourse that I posted March 25th, 2007.

http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/03/25/catholicgauze-hacks-google-earth.html

Sincerely,
Taylor

Posted by: Taylor | Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Andy Bacevich offers a worthy argument for getting rid of the JCS system... Remember the suggestion from "Adventures of Chester" a while back about a Sgt. Major who works for the President?

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/06/17/joint_failure?mode=PF

Posted by: Eddie | Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sometimes success blankets a pretty mediocre body. During WW2 the JCS malfunctioned in some alarming ways. We won the war, so it never got fixed.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Taylor,

Your interest in information visualization and the long tail as it applies to internet resources definitely appears to be the right idea at the eight time. Just yesterday Sean Meade [1] linked to a fantastic video [2] of Blaise Aguera y Arcas, a researcher at Microsoft, showing off his web long-tail information visualization software at TED.

I haven't used the specific products you mentioned, but is what's in the video similar to your idea?

Eddie,

The danger of replacing the JCS is that it works -- if our nation's foreign policy goal is to deny our enemies of success, rather than the implementation of our will. An American-heavy SysAdmin force would need something besides hte JCS, of course. A SysAdmin force that accurately reflects America's non-will to empire, however, may be served by the current system just fine.

sonofsamphm1c,

How would you rate the Goldwater-Nichols reforms?

And on TVs... my family had cable, but when I was young my tv was a black-and-white antenna that could get KELO, KSFY, and KDLT (the renamed KORN) on a good-day if I used aluminum foil.


[1] http://seanmeade.blogspot.com/2007/06/seadragon-ratatouille-and-google.html
[2] http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/129

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I think I heard Andy Bacevich on the radio last night.

He might have suggesting the the CoS just be the the Cos and not be a senior advisory group to the President.

He was suggesting a separate statutory group (requiring senate conformation) that would advise the president. They may or may not be ex-military (and don't have to be generals). Partially, I think he wanted a check on presidential power by having a a seperate "wise men" group considering other views he held.

His analysis of WW2 compared to Iraq was uneven and faulty.

The JCS of WW2 was ad-hoc mashup by FDR of Marshall, King, Arnold, Vandergriff, and whoever was that admiral that acted as FDR's chief of staff. They didn't have a giant bureaucracy.

The Prez has other related advisors (defense policy board, national security council staff, the cabinet, the council of economic advisors, etc.

I think what maybe is needed is a cross-domain kitchen cabinet (look at the domains for conflict in "Unrestricted Warfare") that is future strategy focused. There is nothing to stop the pres from appointing one.

Is there a future strategy group in the executive branch?

Posted by: purpleslog | Wednesday, June 20, 2007

General Vandegrift was not on the JCS. The version I remember was made up of Admirals King and Leahy, and Generals Marshall and Arnold. General Vandegrift returned from combat operations in the Pacific and became the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

My father was a Navy corpsman for a marine Corps infantry outfit on Iwo Jima. He survived their collective incompetence.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In relation to DOA,

Not that it is a bad game or anything, but I challenge you to play a Soul Calibur title just to see how your love for DOA holds up.;)

I have a feeling that you became obsessed with DOA after playing the 4th game in the series on your friends 360.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I believe the Commandant sat in on Marine matters. Maybe that was the post-1947 version though.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Commandant of the Marine Corps wasn't an "advisory" member of the JCS until 1952, by an act of Congress. He was only treated as a "co-equal" on matters directly related to the Marine Corps. This did not change until October 1978, when (by another act of Congress), the Commandant became a full-fledged member of the JCS.

OOOrah!

sf/ shane

Proud Descendant of a Long Line of PFCs and Lance Corporals (see http://deichman.net/gifs/us/usmc-gma.gif for a photo of my grandmother and grandfather -- both Marines in the Pacific Theater in WWII).

Posted by: shane | Thursday, June 21, 2007

Great picture, Shane.

My father served in the Pacific with the 5th Marine Division, 28th Regiment. He is a vetran of the Solomons campaign and of Iwo Jima.

Those were the days when many in the military/Washington viewed the Marines as upstart ship guards.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Thursday, June 21, 2007

My dad was 1st Marine division in Korea (Inchon, Seoul, Chosen).

I have seen him get together with other old marines. They mostly still have the same haircuts which I thought was cool. Then my sister said it was cute. That didn't go over well with him.

Posted by: purpleslog | Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dan,

Even though you don't care much for Jon Stewart, I think this is right up your alley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-JgTnR2jkk

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Friday, June 22, 2007

>"Your interest in information visualization and the long tail as it applies to internet resources definitely appears to be the right idea at the eight time. Just yesterday Sean Meade [1] linked to a fantastic video [2] of Blaise Aguera y Arcas, a researcher at Microsoft, showing off his web long-tail information visualization software at TED."

I was completely stunningly blown away by Photosynth (based on Seadragon technology). Holy shit ! Its amazing. I can imagine the possibilities that it can be put to. Vids, music, sounds, etc. put into that software, it only demands experimentation.

>I haven't used the specific products you mentioned, but is what's in the video similar to your idea?

Well after seeing that Photosynth demo from Blaise at TED, I can only just reiterate the main crux of the problem, which would be grammatical syntax to be understood by both sides when giving a series of sounds vids, etc. to each other.

Its the syntax algorithm which I believe the OODA loop can deliver.

Have you been working on utilizing the OODA loop as the engine behind an interface ?

Can you imagine the uses of the OODA loop behind that Photosynth software ?

Posted by: Taylor | Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dan,

Don't really know what to say about this one, but it "almost" seems "up your alley" (so to speak):

"PERVERSION and ICONOCLASM" by Daniel Mitsui
6/22/07

http://danielmitsui.com/hieronymus/index.blog/1711196/perversion-and-iconoclasm/

Make of it what you will.

Posted by: Jayson | Sunday, June 24, 2007

And something else:

"From Russia Without Love"
Andrew Osborn
Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2007; Page B1

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118239157195142942.html
http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB118239157195142942.html

Posted by: Jayson | Sunday, June 24, 2007

ExxMob just made a big mistake by not continuing its operations in Venezuela. They aren't dealing with Chavez; they're dealing with the express wishes of the Venezuelan people, and the people of Venezuela do not want foreign countries to own a majority interest in their reserves. They've had enough of that.

Oh well, some other company will get the business, and it's extremely good business. Very foolish.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, June 27, 2007

sonofsamphm1c,

"They aren't dealing with Chavez; they're dealing with the express wishes of the Venezuelan people"

Why (and how) does this matter?

Jayson,

From the article "The Lion & The Cardinal" [1], this line:

"By inflicting sufficient ugliness upon us, the modern artists believe, they will wear down our capacity to see beauty. "

Reminds me of this comment [2] regarding atheist modernism as a form of Mainline Protestantism [3]:

"Self abuse has to be the most powerful - ubiquitous - and certainly most accessible form of religious expression on the planet -- whether it's whipping yourself with barbed wire like the penitent Shiites -- or filling your most honored personal and public spaces with the gross, deformed, repellent, absurd, and banal."

Taylor,

"Have you been working on utilizing the OODA loop as the engine behind an interface ?"

No, I honestly haven't. Most of my thought with OODA has either been in the context of the generations of war [4] (early on), or more recently as a way to criticize the idea of man-as-rational (upcoming)

Jeffrey,

Thanks for the Youtube link!

Stewart's sympathy for Crystal Gain Mangum seems odd.

And Nancy Grace is a thug.

And I didn't know that "Nazi Germany" still existed, lol!

----

And amazing military service records, both my commentators in this thread and their ancestors. I -- a warmongering coward -- am honored. :-)



[1] http://danielmitsui.com/hieronymus/index.blog/1711196/perversion-and-iconoclasm/
[2] http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/06/ultracalvinist-hypothesis-in.html#2670828003748707893
[3] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/06/27/chrsistian-intellectual-death-squads.html
[4] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/07/18/go-deep-ooda-and-the-rainbow-of-generational-warfare.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, June 28, 2007

>No, I honestly haven't. Most of my thought with OODA has either been in the context of the generations of war [4] (early on), or more recently as a way to criticize the idea of man-as-rational (upcoming)

Your provide the abstract philosophy, I will provide the mundane practicality.

I will keep you posted.

Posted by: Taylor | Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's been a neverending complaint/criticism/observation that one of the biggest weaknesses of US culture is that "most" Americans are practically incapable of "long-term" thinking. That all we (or most of us) ever want are "short-term" profits or "short-term" results.

And, y'see, that's why the Japanese are going to conquer and occupy us in the future, doncha know?

Or is it the Chinese? Or the Russians? Or the Wahhabists?... Or the Persians?....Or the.... Well, some _other_ people/nation/regime/culture known for "long-term" thinking.

All facetiousness aside, it's obvious that long-term thinking is important. There is indeed too much of an ADD-like quality to American culture that is detrimental to US business and politics.

Now here's a thought experiment I'd like you folks to consider: suppose that one was *somehow* made "education czar" with _carte blanche_ to "completely" reform the nation's education system. *One* of the *overall* results you're aiming for is to "improve" the long-term thinking ability of the "average" US citizen. (So that *finally* the US need not be a *sucker* anymore to the above mentioned rivals). What can be done?
And can this be done so that it _wouldn't_ be at the cultural expense of the American indentity? (ie, you want the schools to turn out long-term thinking Americans, not future would-be Japanese MOF civil servants or future would-be Chinese spies [or future would-be Drakas, for that matter...]).

Posted by: Jayson | Sunday, July 01, 2007

Jayson,

My first answer was going to be that the discount rates are lower for those with higher intelligence on average, so a true "Czar" would engage on a massive program of eugenics," but you nixed the "Draka" idea already ;-p

Generally, two things affect performance about equally: inborn ability and practice (not that "identity," "self-esteem," etc. isn't on this list). If you're unwilling to change inborn ability through eugenics, then you have to increase practice. Physical excerize, whether team sports or martial arts, would be the best way to teach patience, delay of gratification, endurance of hardship, etc.

(As the American economy does quite well even with this ADD I'm not sure the goal is necessary, but if you want it, there it is.)

A last point: perhaps the reason that there is an inborn ADD quality to American culture is that ADD is an inborn in Americans. [1,2]

Taylor,

So we're brothers in arms -- or at least Boydian psychology!

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/08/20/are-americans-hyperactive-neanderthals.html
[2] http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/1/309

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, July 01, 2007

"The Declaration of Independence & The Imperial Contract"

http://johnreilly.info/04July07.htm

Posted by: Jayson | Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jayson,

I liked the link a lot, but have qualms on one of its conclusions:

"It is difficult to argue with the proposition that the United States needs an immigration holiday if it is going to maintain its internal integrity, much less its ability to function as a serious international actor."

What matters more than some patriotic identity is whether a country is dynamic or static, growing or shrinking. America's constitution is meant to rule more states than the fifty she does now, but as of July 4th the 50-star flag has been the longest serving in history. We do not just need more immigration, we need more land.

If even the old European Union can grow to 27 member-states, why can't we?

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, July 06, 2007

http://www.missouriskies.org/rainbow/february_rainbow_2006.html

Posted by: ElamBend | Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dan,
I agree, especially with such ripe pick'ens to the south and north, but particularly to the south.

Posted by: ElamBend | Sunday, July 08, 2007

Folks, last night my Wife and I saw the Most Expensive (and Longest) General Motors/Hoover Dam Tourism/eBay Ad Ever Made....

Wow. What a rush! (LOL!)

And I wanna see it AGAIN! (LOL!)^2

(And if that just makes me an adolescent again , then so be it!)

Lovely. 'Twas SO lovely....

PS: Pay no attention whatsoever to film critics!

Posted by: Jayson | Friday, July 13, 2007

John Reilly critically reviews Glen Reynold's "An Army of Davids:How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths":

http://johnreilly.info/aaod.htm

Jayson

Posted by: Jayson | Thursday, July 19, 2007

Remarkable less-than-lethal weapons development (via a mailing list I subscribe to):

"Taser International has come up with a self-contained taser round which can be fired from a shotgun to a range of about 30 meters and delivers 20 seconds of shock, which should leave the target in no shape to resist apprehension."
http://www.newscientisttech.com/article.ns?id=dn12243&feedId=online-news_rss20
http://www.taser.com/products/law/Pages/XREP.aspx

"Taser International is also about to offer the Taser Remote Area Denial (TRAD) shockwave, which can fire six darts at a time over a 20 degree arc and looks a bit like a small claymore mine."
http://www.taser.com/products/military/Pages/TASERShockwave.aspx

"Looking even more like a claymore mine is the M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition, which fires 600 PVC balls to a range of 5-15 meters across a 60 degree arc." http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m5.htm

Posted by: Jayson | Friday, July 20, 2007

The less-than-lethal weapons industry should be a vital part of the MISC [1,2] -- very good news!

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/07/16/give-homeland-security-an-army.html
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/07/20/the-military-industrial-sysadmin-complex-in-the-context-of-i.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, July 20, 2007

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/20/AR2007072001808.html?nav=rss_opinions/outlook?nav=slate

Something we don't get very often in the West; a view of Salafism from someone who used to BE a Salafist.

Posted by: Michael | Monday, July 23, 2007

Michael,

Thanks for the link.

A comment on the very first line:

"Saudi Arabia Islam needs a Reformation. It needs someone with the courage of Martin Luther."

They had him. His name was Muhammed ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. He started wars of religion just as surely at Martin Luther did.

Saying "Islam needs a Martin Luther" is like saying "China needs a Mao Zedong."

One point that Dr. Stark marks in his analysis of Christianity [1] is that religious organizations require friction to thrive. The Muslim world is a place where friction means violence. The problem goes beyond the individual religions. The problem is in the Muslim world itself.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/07/23/review-of-the-rise-of-christianity-by-rodney-stark.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, July 23, 2007

Hey Dan,

Thought you could use this bit of info, but be careful of your purchase.

http://kotaku.com/gaming/rumor/50-price+cut-for-360-in-august-282178.php

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What an interesting day... The most effective Sony counterattack imaginable [1,2] is also released...

[1] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TFINY6/103-8474019-7008662?ie=UTF8&tag=lostbooks-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B000TFINY6
[2] http://darkufo.blogspot.com/2007/07/is-lost-getting-blue-ray-release.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lee Harvey Oswald, 5th Generation Warrior?

When I came across this Ed Driscoll essay the other day I immediately thought of some of your 5GW ideas.

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=071807C

"Oswald turned out to be one of the most consequential assassins in history," Piereson says. "He's a communist who shoots the president of the United States. You would think that there would be a reaction against communism. But there is no reaction against communism in the United States after Kennedy's killed. In fact, communism is the vogue," particularly on college campuses. "Kennedy's death sparks a kind of anti-Americanism, and creates among the youth a vogue for the left which was completely unpredictable."

http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/07/25/secretwar-plain-jane-tries-to-kill-the-yakuza-boss.html

"Imagine the 5th Generation Warrior as an assassin on the large, crowded, dance floor. She cross the floor and get close enough to the yakuza boss to kill him. However, she is weak and unable to defend herself in a fight."

But instead of an expected blowback against the assassin's ideology and cause, the opposite occurs:

Driscoll: "Liberals had great difficulty assimilating this idea that a communist would kill Kennedy. It made sense to them that an anti-civil rights person might do it, or an anti-communist might do it, but not a communist."

But that's exactly who Oswald was, having defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 and then spending two and a half years there, and attempting to denounce his American citizenship along the way. Piereson says that his April 1963 attempt to kill Edwin Walker, former army general, anti-civil rights leader, and head of the John Birch Society in Texas says much about Oswald as well. In addition to his anti-civil rights action, Walker also gave frequent speeches calling for the overthrow of Castro. Piereson believes that Oswald's attempt to kill Walker sheds light on why he killed Kennedy: his policies towards Cuba and his leading the nation's other Cold War actions of the time.

"However, that is not how the Kennedy assassination was interpreted," Piereson says, with enormous understatement. Instead, a sense of collective guilt is imposed on the nation through its liberal elites and media. "And this is really the first time that you get on the liberal-left this idea that America is guilty. But this however now becomes a metaphor for the left for everything that happens moving on in the 1960s."
End Driscoll.
...

So Oswald's act serves as a catalyst at the right cultural moment, so that the liberals most effected by Kennedy's assassination become more open to the radical left's ideology and vision of society, rather than react against it. 5GW jujitsu?

http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/07/27/the-yakuza-boss-s-assassin-was-only-a-girl.html

"This is the ultimate form of jujitsu, and shows how in SecretWar one can subdue (take-down) the enemy through subverting (taking-over) him.
...
"How might one use this jujitsu to conspiratorally subvert a society so that it destroys itself totally, and the society feels good about it afterwards?
 
"The conspiracy's goal could be to engineer the rise of a disasterously misguided leader, who would kill millions (including possibly loved ones of the SecretWarriors, destroy the country's infrastructure, etc), all to permanently weaken that state and engineer the rise of another..."

If we re-write the last paragraph as:

"The conspiracy's goal could be to engineer the rise of a [mass cultural revolution furthering the assassin's own ideology] all to permanently weaken that state and engineer the rise of another..."

then it looks like that is what might have actually happened.

Posted by: phil | Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I think it is a gigantic stretch to say Communism was in vogue on college campuses in 1963. There was gigantic change in activism, which cannot be seriously considered Communist as it wasn't, between 1963 and 1968, but most of that change happened after 1965.

People keep trying to turn the 1960s into something they weren't.

In 1963 you had boys coming to age like my brother. They were patriotic and clean cut, and they wanted very much to be like their WW2 fathers. Roughly 70% of the boys who fought in Vietnam were volunteers. In 1963 kids stood up in class and read little speeches about how the commies had to be stopped no matter what the cost. I heard dozens and dozens of those speeches.

I think at the time people figured out pretty quickly that Lee Harvey Oswald was a deeply troubled Korean War vet. Newspapers and magazines carried pictures of him in his USMC uniform. There was talk about him being brainwashed, but his oddities are what caught people's attention. Like his own brother indicated, LHO was headed for that day for most of his life - just a deeply troubled individual.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Wednesday, July 25, 2007

But GTA IV becomes the second title I'd be interested in (after NCAA Football 07) to work better on xbox 360 than ps3 [1]:

""They're identical games," Simon continued. "We're not hardware makers, and we're not like a pawn between these companies, we try not to be as much as we can. We make great games for people to enjoy on whichever system they want.

"But I guess if you want the complete experience with the episodes, then yeah, you should buy the 360, I suppose," Simon said."

[1] http://www.gamesradar.com/us/ps3/game/news/article.jsp?articleId=20070725111542242077§ionId=1006&releaseId=20060313153735796095

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, July 26, 2007

sonofsamphm1c,
"I think it is a gigantic stretch to say Communism was in vogue on college campuses in 1963"

That is not what is being said. In the book review I linked to, Driscoll quotes James Piereson, author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism":

"In 1963, you have a fairly conservative country, culturally," Piereson notes. "You have a communist assassinate the president, a popular president. In 1968, the country has kind of gone off the rails, especially liberal-left culture as you find in the universities, and places like that. The students are taking drugs, and they're demonstrating, and they're rioting against the war in Vietnam.

"Their hero is Castro, and people like Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse Tung," Pierson says, noting the surfeit of Castro and Ché-style army fatigues being worn on campuses. "So how do you get, really, from this place in 1963, where Kennedy is shot by a communist, to '68 where communists like Castro are heroes to the left?"

Posted by: phil | Thursday, July 26, 2007

Phil,

"So how do you get, really, from this place in 1963, where Kennedy is shot by a communist, to '68 where communists like Castro are heroes to the left?"

A call to sacrifice. The criticism (mostly from the Left) that Bush has not made Americans "sacrifice" more for the war is self-serving, as such as call would have sped up Qaeda chic.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, July 27, 2007

Lee Harvey Oswald was mentally ill first, and whatever next. JFK was shot by a deeply troubled man who thought he was a Communist. He was as odd and out of place to Communists as he was to us. A misfit is pretty much the same everywhere.

The Communists did not order and organize the assassination of JFK. A Communist agent did not shoot JFL; a garden-variety fruitloop did that.

As for Castro being a hero to the left, that is also another rather weird stretch. Do you have a scientific poll done in 1968 that reflects the notion that Castro had become a hero to a significant percentage of the American public, or are you talking about a small smattering of college students in a photograph who wore fatigues one day instead of their prized bell bottoms? I would believe a consensus of Americans came to believe it was wrong to assassinate him, but that does not mean they thought of him as a hero.

The 1960s were controlled by the Greatest Generation; not by college students.

All of this is why I think the right is just as debilitated by Vietnam syndrome as the left.

And you are dead wrong about the call to sacrifice, but I was not making any sort of statement about that.

Posted by: sonofsamphm1c | Friday, July 27, 2007