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Tuesday, January 22, 20081201008000

Open Thread XII

My friend Zen has insulted the honor of the Open Thread!

Generally, I shy away from two things here: the excessive blogospheric focus on partisan politics and the lazy open thread post. I am making a one-time exception today ( and NO it is not out of sloth -LOL!).

This is war! Post lazily, mightily, and as off-topic as possible!

07:20 Posted in Vanity | Permalink | Comments (62) | Tags: open thread


How 'bout dem Giants? The buzz around Tennessee isn't Fred, it's that the wrong Manning is going to XLII!

(off-topic 'nuff? :-)

Posted by: deichmans | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I think John Edwards should drop out of the race.

If the noms come down to Hillary vs McCain, I will probably vote McCain -- which would be my first vote for a Republican in a national election. But I want Obama in.

Don't fight the Zen. That would be un-zen-like.

Ok, that's my lazy comment.

Posted by: Curtis Gale Weeks | Tuesday, January 22, 2008


New news on the Battlefield battlefront!

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Any time without the Packers is a year with the wrong team is going to the Super Bowl! :)


The way that can be named is not the true way.
The Zen that heckles the Open Thread is not the true Zen ;-)

The anti-Open-Thread-thread currently has 11 posts. With this comment, the true Open Thread has 3.

We can win. We have the technology!

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Me, I just don't blog for a few weeks when I am lazy.

I just heard Thompson dropped out of the race. I can cross off "check out Fred's views on his website" off my todo list.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I have to say, I'm being swung more to the PS3 every day... BluRay taking off, XBox Live unreliable for 31st day, failure rates still unacceptably high....


Republican race rationalizes further, Ukraine has the green light to join the WTO [1,2]... almost enough to make you forget the Packers collapse!

[1] http://www.neurope.eu/articles/81885.php
[2] http://blogs.stratfor.com/friedman/2008/01/22/the-unraveling-of-russia%e2%80%99s-europe-policy/

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"I have to say, I'm being swung more to the PS3 every day... BluRay taking off, XBox Live unreliable for 31st day, failure rates still unacceptably high...."

My evil plan is now com...oh, well, I hope I enjoy whichever console you choose.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Posted by: Jeffrey James | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

AHHH!!!!!! Just found out that the Axis and Allies computer game is 10 years old!!!!!!!


Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MLK Jr (his vacation day yesterday) kept us US investors away from LYG (LLOY.L's ADR) under 30.

Yields in blue chip financial/bank stacks are rocketing and I'm stocking the pantry, availing myself of the very low l-t capital gains and qualified dividend federal income tax rates this year.

Of course, there could always be a 5GW self-referential singularity that wipes out the shadow banking system.

Posted by: Moon | Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Posted by: Jay@Soob | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"The anti-Open-Thread-thread currently has 11 posts"

Perhaps I am practicing 5GOT ? ;o)

Posted by: zenpundit | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Don't you hate it when you feel drunk, but you know for a fact you're sober? Am looking forward to the end of cold/flu season . . .

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Order of Malta Assails Conspiracy Theories"

by way of:

"Conspiracy Theories Kill"

Posted by: Jayson | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Possible Solutions? (Pros?/Cons?/Etc.?)"

Posted by: Jayson | Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Moon & zenpundit,

All this talk of the 5th Generation of Modern OpenThread Warfare has got be paranoid!




A good massage has a similar effect, but on the pleasant end of drunkenness.


Ironically for DaVinci code nuts, it's really happening -- in Islam! [1]

General update: zen's original heckling thread has 18 responses. With this post, the forces of truth & light have 16. Go team! :-)

[1] http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2008/01/real-da-vinci-code.php

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, January 23, 2008

dan, make that 17 - we're gaining on the forces of sarcasm!!

Posted by: deichmans | Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This is why Romney running in the general would be a comedy act!


...and my Republican dad is always bitching about how the media is biased against him because "They know he would win the general election." LOL!

Be sure to watch the end where a toddler is supposedly sporting the "bling bling"!

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This looks like a good way to start a fight.


Posted by: Michael | Wednesday, January 23, 2008


"This looks like a good way to start a fight."

Your right, because the assertion that one is an isolationist if they don't subscribe to Neoconservative rhetoric ought to bring out a reaction from rational people.

I am not asserting that this is your assertion, I am just talking about the trailer.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We're now only one behind! The hopeful Open Thread XII now has 21 comments. As Deichmans points out, the forces of sarcasm have 22. We're still behind, but we've closed a 8 comment, 267% percent gap into a one comment, 4.5% one.


The only actual racial politics this cycle is the "White-Hispanic Coalition" (in the words of MSNBC!) against Barack Obama, and the Clinton camp's pattern of racially charged comments meant to polarize the Democratic electorate.


I flipped through the site, though obviously haven't seen the film yet. The biggest losses "without us" would be in Africa. I think we could defend ourselves with much less just fine.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well, the video really doesn't show Romney playing racial politics, but rather just racial steriotyping. Who let the dogs out? C'mon!

As far as MSNBC is concerned, I guess you really can't say race isn't a factor in politics with a strait face, and many analyzists/pundits on MSNBC really don't shy away from that the last time I checked.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well, at least Chris Matthews doesn't.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, January 24, 2008

Woohoo! We did it! We've exceeded the forces of cynicism!

With this comment, Open Thread XII surprassing 24 comments, while the Sarcastic Axis has only 22! Wooho!! :D


"Well, the video really doesn't show Romney playing racial politics, but rather just racial steriotyping. Who let the dogs out? C'mon!"

"C'mon!" what? How would you demonstrate this?

Race is definitely a factor, especially since the Clintons began executing their strategy of racially polarizing the Democratic electorate [1], in order to win.

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a86pY4CBoF0U

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Race is definitely a factor, especially since the Clintons began executing their strategy of racially polarizing the Democratic electorate [1], in order to win."

And I agree 100% on both this and the last comment you made about Hillary, and the bitch has got herself in a hole. You have no need to continue persisting on this.

"'C'mon!' what? How would you demonstrate this?"

Oh, I see were you are going with this.

I will probably say something like, "Well, it is pretty obvious when someone makes outdated references to urban slang and phrases he is being selective about the words he uses while campaigning towards certain racial demographs."

And then you will say, "That practice is nothing new and it is racist of you to assume that a white man is using racial stereotypes towards racial demographs.

And then I will say, "Perhaps you are right, but there is still something funny about a suburbanite in a three-piece suite saying outdated urban slang and phrases."

And then you will say, "Oh, it is alright to discriminate against suburbanites but not race?"

And I will say, "Whatever it is, it is still inherently funny."

And then you will think to yourself that I am just copping out of the argument, but I will still think it is funny regardless.

BTW, this Lemonade Crystal Light that I am drinking now is not too bad.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hi Jeff!

Re:"Your right, because the assertion that one is an isolationist if they don't subscribe to Neoconservative rhetoric ought to bring out a reaction from rational people."

How is the global projection of American influence "neocon" rhetoric?

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Thursday, January 24, 2008


I guess it would be "neocon" rhetoric with the assumption that this film is the de facto standard of what global projection of American influence is all about, but I am not making that assumption.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, January 24, 2008


Just to let you know, Front Lines: Fuel of War was just canceled for the PS3, so that might make your decision harder or easier since this is from the same team as Battlefield 2.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, January 24, 2008

Egypt has a problem: Palestine is invading IT instead of the other way around this time:P


Unless it wants to abandon that border altogether (and possible start creeping into failed-state status), Egypt has two options I can see:
1. Re-erect the border with controlled openings for immigration and (non-weapons) trade. Encourage Israel to do the same and strongly encourage Hamas to quit shelling Israeli towns. Hope this is enough to keep pressures within Gaza under control.
2. If the above proves ineffective, bite the bullet (literally, in the case of some of its soldiers) and invade Gaza in cooperation with Israel and Fatah.

Posted by: Michael | Friday, January 25, 2008

With this comment, we're now 8 ahead of the forces of mockery. Hurrah!


Egypt's position is complicated because Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotheres, who killed Sadat and want to bring the Islamic Revolution to the rest of Egypt (Gaza once being administered by Cairo).


My important games are Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and NCAA Football.

DOA is a bonus on XBOX 360, Unreal Tournament is a bonus on PS3.

Really don't care much about the other games.


I recall in the late 1990s "neocon" actually meant something. Those were the days!

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Egypt's position is complicated because Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotheres, who killed Sadat and want to bring the Islamic Revolution to the rest of Egypt (Gaza once being administered by Cairo)."

I don't know that the situation is complicated that much. The Brotherhood's alliance with Hamas just adds a reason why not reestablishing the border's integrity would be bad-- it creates a safe haven for the Brotherhood and a no-go area for the Coptic Christians as well as for the Israelis. Brotherhood sympathisers in their border police would complicate efforts to reseal the border, but they probably complicated efforts to keep it sealed to begin with. Sympathisers in the military would be a problem in the invasion (false flag operations come to mind), but close coordination with the other invading forces was already necessary just to make it work and to arrange post-invasion sysadmin.

Domestic PR-wise: retreat would make the government look weak to everyone. Resealing the border with added trade benefits the economy and looks good from a humanitarian standpoint, as does encouraging the Israelis to do likewise; blocking weapons shipments and discouraging Hamas attacks only upsets those portions of the Brotherhood that are already up to their eyeballs in violence and hatred-- the people who probably already hate Mubarrak out of general principles. Invading would be controversial, but cooperating with Fatah (and maybe Jordan as well) and backing the rebuilding of Gaza to the hilt reduces that controversy while weakening the Brotherhood's allies.

What am I missing?

Posted by: Michael | Sunday, January 27, 2008


The Arab states' disasterous performance in wars make it unlikely that an offensive operation would go well -- an incompetent, corrupt, peacetime Egyptian army without local knowledge would probably do even worse than Fatah's motivated, corrupt (in the sense of tied into local powerbrokers), wartime, local force did. The solution would be more violence, which means more dead civilians, etc.

The Muslim Brothers are already organized in Egypt -- they contested the (fixed) parliamentary elections. A Cairo government politically weakened by a Gaza campaign either has to concede more domestically to the Brotherhood, or risk violence it is unprepared to deal with.

The Brotherood skews upward in education, intelligence, and social mobility viz. the general Egyptian population. I do not know how many people "hate Mubarrak out of general principles," but I imagine a far greater fraction of Egypt's population despises him for his corrupt incompetence. The fact that retreat would make the government look weak to everyone limits Cairo's room for maneuver, complicating the situation.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, January 27, 2008

An article from my hometown newspaper. Points out an interesting contrast between Hillary and McCain and hints at where to get more information.


So is that partisan enough to offend Zen, or should I follow up with a mindless rant or two?

Posted by: Michael | Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good point on the Egyptian's weaknesses in an invasion. They would pretty well have to make themselves junior partners to Israeli forces to make it work-- something that would not go over well with their people.

The comment about hating Mubarrak on general principles was me getting lazy rhetorically-- the point being that the only people who would hate him for being successful in opening trade and stopping the rocket attacks (the best option, it seems) would be those who already hate him past the point of reason (i.e. the reasons you gave above) or who would actively benefit from the current situation.

BTW, Jackpot!

Posted by: Michael | Sunday, January 27, 2008


Israel and Syria worked effectively to expel the PLO from Beirut, so a successful operation is possible, though Hamas is more deeply integrated into Gaza than the PLO ever was in Lebanon. So my guess is that Hamas and the Brotherhood would welcome the chance to bloody Egypt, while Egypt bloodies Palestinian civilians.

PS: Like the Favor Factory! I'm pretty happy with the spending that Senators Johnson and Thune got for my state, so I can't complain about earmarks :-)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, January 27, 2008

FYI:The TDAXP rss feed is readable again by MyYahoo.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Wednesday, January 30, 2008



One thing I've learned in this latest saga with blogspirit support is that blogspirit quietly updates the blog software every week or so (without a public changelog) - so probably it was a known issue that they quietly acknowledged and quietly fixed.

Crummy service, but at least that one problem is behind us.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, January 31, 2008

BBC article touches on a subject we've debated before.


I recognize the potential trouble with monks, nuns and priests not taking their vows seriously, but that's already a problem. If the Catholic Church is going to enforce its standards of conduct more strictly while simultaneously avoiding demographic extinction and maintaining its rules about women in the clergy and marriage by clergy and monastics, SOMETHING has to give. Cutting deals to ensure a free hand in China and other places with excess males may be one. Aggressive marketing of these callings as an option for older adults may be another.

Posted by: Michael | Monday, February 04, 2008


Thanks for the link.

Note the fall is for monks and nuns, as opposed to adherents. Historically, religions that place more demands on people rise while those that place less fall. (Hence the rise of Christianity [1], Scientology, mormonism, etc, and the collapse of Mainline Protestantism over the last two generations in the United States.)

The Catholic Church has a history of working with authoritarian regimes, from Royal France to Communist Vietnam. While the Church has historically been willing to grant governments veto-power over Bishop appointments, Rome's insistence that it is the head of any Church in communion with it seems to be Beijing's problem. (As well as the practical results of this -- for instance, consistent opposition to abortion in a country with a One Child Policy, etc.)

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

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I don't know that those are impossible barriers to surmount if the Vatican really wants to. It already has to deal with parishioners who're unable to have large families for economic reasons (the US comes to mind here), so that wouldn't be anything new. And offering to pay for the exiles of activist clergy, monastics and parishioners allows the government some degree of control over church activities.

On another topic:
Seems like frivolous fluff (not that there's anything wrong with that)-- until you start thinking about the UK's devolution in recent years and ask yourself where regional parliaments in England might be placed. If music is the key to a person's soul, then demographic studies like this might be useful to understanding nations.

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Could you rephrase the first part of your comment? I'm not sure what you mean (Certainly not that the Vatican "would really want to" have Communion with a church that denies Roman supremacy -- there's 2,000 years of history on that subject!)

Re: the second, also reminds me of claims of ethnic discrimination against those Britons who do not speak English in the London manner [1]...

[1] http://kotaku.com/352555/bbc-program-terribly-upset-with-brain-training

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, February 05, 2008

a) How many Chinese can afford large families, single-child or not, Catholic or not? How many Chinese have the time to raise large families? To whatever extent the above questions have to be answered 'no' for Chinese Catholics, the abortion and birth-control debates remain an abstract principle-- same as in much of the rest of the world, including the United States.

b) As mentioned earlier, the Church's could offer to send Catholics who overstep Beijing's boundaries into exile on their own dime. This allows the Government a measure of control over Church activities without forcing the Church to abandon its own people. The Vatican gets a freeer hand, a potential source of new Priests and potentially some dedicated workers for relief activities in the Gap (the exiles). The Government gets additional religious outlets for its people and a means of getting rid of some of its troublemakers without stirring up bad press.

c) Am I correct in interpreting your comment as questioning why the Vatican should bother with China? If so, the answer's simple: over a billion potential converts.

Posted by: Michael | Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Interesting times in Egypt. I heard a week or two back that the Egyptian courts also ruled for a recognition of the Baha'i faith.


Posted by: Michael | Saturday, February 09, 2008


Thanks for the comments!

For a, Most Chinese exist above subsistence level. Further, those potentially most interested in Christianity (that is, those not engaging in farm labor) have the most extra income to spend.

For b, except in cases of mass conversions, the Church requires tension with the outer society to grow [1]. A policy of removing tension would bring to the Catholic Church in China the same consequences as Mainline Protestantism faces in the west.

For c, clearly China is an important target for the Church (this is why, say, the underground Catholic Church is larger than the CPCA). My question is why the Vatican would agree to work as an arm of the state -- including deportation duties -- when such a technique is associated with the far less successful Orthodox faiths.

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

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How much tension would actually be removed, though? Some Catholics would still feel compelled to speak out against actions by the government they feel is wrong and exile from your home- while better than execution- still sucks rocks. I wasn't thinking of this kind of agreement as "church as arm of state" so much as "church intervening on behalf of its most valuable worshippers".

Because that's what those people would be to the Catholic Church. The ones who actually care enough to get involved and not just silently pay their dues are any religion's, any movement's, any organisation's most valuable asset. If preserving that asset means cutting a deal and paying for a lot of one-way plane tickets, that seems a reasonable price to pay. Getting a freer hand to recruit new members (including, possibly, more of the above people) and more people to help out in African is just a bonus.

Consider, also, that a centrally-organised bureaucracy isn't going to have the easiest time running an underground movement in a potentially hostile country. Unless it wants to turn its Chinese assets loose to sink or swim on their own and risk not getting them back later, playing the Protestants' game isn't going to cut it.

Posted by: Michael | Thursday, February 14, 2008


I appreciate you taking the trouble to expalin your plan. Piecewise:

a) When has previous Church assistance in the persecution of its members been a wise policy?
b) When has previous Church assistance in deportation from its diocese helped those diocese?
c) Considering the track record of the RCC and the CPCA over the past few decades, Rome's policy of not persecuting its members and giving the traditional freedom of maneuver to its Bishops seems to be more successful than Beijing's (and your proposed) model of persecuting its own members and removing freedom of maneuver from its Bishops.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, February 14, 2008


Even though I would rather have oral sex with a badger before attempting to play and RTS on a console, I understand you have no plans of touching a gaming PC for some time and, therefore, decided to hand off some new info to help you pick a console.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, February 14, 2008

In console news, the PS3 outsold the XBOX 360 last month...


Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dantaxdp What part of post does "Huh" refer to? All. Probably all. Well the issue isn't who is in favor of war (Iraq, Korea, etc.) Only the insane prefer war. The question is who is in favor of risking greater evil by ignoring this evil, today, whatever it is. "It" in Feb 1936 was the reversing or resisting the unilateral rescission of the two treaties, Germany had signed that established the demilitarized zone on the eastern French, Western German Border. Post war German Generals testified that they were ready to remove Hitler if the French resisted the incursion of one German Battalion into the Rhineland. The French didn't. The Generals didn't and couldn't after Hitler, bloodlessly set aside the Treaties.

Posted by: Robert C. Brenzel, Sr | Friday, February 15, 2008


You are responding to a comment left in another thread [1]. Please post your comment in that thread.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/06/25/geogreen_means_strategic_scientists.html#c1895186

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is it assisting in the persecution of its members or saving them from the worst effects? Compare it with the alternatives:

Church stays underground. People inspired by its message to oppose the Beijing government get imprisoned or executed.
Church comes above ground, on condition of altering its teachings to suit the government. Moral authority is lost, many people who would otherwise have joined wind up in underground churches anyway, with the potential for the aforementioned nasty consequences.

My notion doesn't sound so bad by comparison. The church gets to keep its moral authority by teaching what it believes to be right, but fewer of its members die or rot in jail for acting on those teachings. In effect, instead of a few people martyring themselves for their beliefs, the entire church pays a lesser price for the actions of its most faithful members. By collectivizing the costs of belief, they offer the Government a compromise that allows everyone to get what they need.

Regarding your third point, you may be right. But who's to say that this wouldn't work better for the Bishop's needs than the present alternatives? If the Vatican was willing to cut a deal like this, it could be turned over to their Chinese Bishops for final approval, negotiation with Beijing and enactment.

Posted by: Michael | Saturday, February 16, 2008


Thank you for your comment on point c.

I will respond when you answer my questions in points a and b, as well.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, February 16, 2008

"New Era Dawns for Rail Building: Lines Add Tracks,Upgrade Tunnels To Take On Trucks"
By DANIEL MACHALABA February 13, 2008; Page A1



Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, February 16, 2008

"How to Pay for Health Care, a Conservative Answer"

Well, any thoughts?/Opinions?/Analysis?

Good idea or bad idea?

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Desperately seeking Adolf"

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, February 16, 2008

"A Tool for Turning News into Intelligence"

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, February 16, 2008


What a great series of links!

I'll briefly just comment on the rise of the railroad:-South Dakota would have been the site of the largest rail expansion in generations -- the Dakota, Minnesota, & Eastern upgrading of rail lines to transfer coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to the great lakes -- except for our states' politicians Governor Janklow (R) and Obama-supporter Tom Daschle (D) taking money from enemies of the project in Minnesota, and thereafter working to kill it.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, February 17, 2008

I did respond to a. What happens to people who challenge the system in China right now? Barring the occasional protest or critical news article: death, imprisonment or harrassment. I'm not seeing where changing death and imprisonment into exile is assisting in persecution, not when the persecution is going to happen anyway.

I am NOT talking about playing informant for the state or any of the shit that was pulled in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Nor, as I hoped to make clear in my previous post, am I talking about altering their teachings to make the Government happy. If stooping to THOSE levels is the only way to get a free hand in China, then my idea would be inadequate and you would be right about underground status being morally (and strategically) preferrable.

As for b, I'm not aware of any incidents where the Catholic church actively collaborated with the exile of Catholics. You'll have to enlighten me on that one.

Posted by: Michael | Sunday, February 17, 2008


You did not respond to question (a). Essentially, you argued the question was irrelevant, because an arguably greater degree of persecution exists now. Therefore, I am still waiting for your answer to (a).

My understanding of (b) is the same as yours: such a move would be unprecedented.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, February 17, 2008

"The Right Side of the Tracks: Affluent Neighborhoods in the Metropolitan United States"
Barrett A. Lee and Matthew Marlay


Found via the Winter 2008 issue of the Wilson Quarterly:

Posted by: Jayson | Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"The Coming Revolution in Africa"
by G. Pascal Zachary

Posted by: Jayson | Tuesday, February 19, 2008


For the first half of his leadership, Deng Xiaoping's huge improvement was the liberalization of farming -- much of his industrial policy (outside of the Special Economic Zones) really wasn't too imaginative -- Yugoslavia was doing similar things -- but the free market in agriculture is very powerful.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, February 19, 2008