Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Everything is better with Klingons.

D&D goes where practically every other RPG ever invented has already gone before (my emphasis):
Anyways, the Dragonborn ecology hit the bullseye with me. The race’s emphasis on ancestors and honor and action filled what I saw as a missing gap. For sure I could play a character of any race who reveres any or all of those things. It’s just nice that there’s a race to fill the space between the corruptible humans, flighty elves, dour dwarves, impish halflings, and brooding Tieflings. The Dragonborn certainly give me the perfect race for samurai character type I so love to play.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I'm developing a new blogging game called "What would Brezhnev do?" One simply pretends that Barack Obama is a total stooge of former General Secretary of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev. Whenever Obama is faced with some kind of upcoming choice or policy decision, write a paragraph describing Brezhnev's "orders" to Obama and then see if Obama follows them.

For example, Obama is giving a speech at Berlin's Victory column tomorrow. What would Brezhnev order Obama to say?

Brezhnev answers as follows: "The ongoing crisis in Iraq continues to prove that Western imperialist military traditions are a serious threat to progressive movements around the world. Therefore, you are hereby ordered to undermine Western military morale by appropriating symbols of Western imperialism and militarism as agents of pacifistic progressive goals. Use the opportunity of your German speech to link the Victory column with, for example, victory in the fight to preserve the environment against global climate change."

UPDATE: I was one the right track. Obama did say the following:
Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

From the department of "not getting it"...

Here, Matt Yglesias expresses some American independence skepticism (author's italics):
My sense every July 4 is that I could get more jazzed up about independence if it were more plausible for Americans to work ourselves up into a fury of anti-British sentiment. In the real world, however, America's two closest allies are the former colonial power and the segments of British North America that didn't join in our rebellion. Ultimately, I think the United States is a pretty awesome country but it very plausibly would have been even awesomer had English and American political leaders in the late 18th century been farsighted enough to find compromises that would have held the empire together.
In response, the blog "Freespace" defends the awesomeness of the American Revolution (embedded hyperlink in original) :
It should not surprise us that Yglesias would say such a thing, however. Elsewhere he writes of the difference between liberals and conservatives that “liberals do a better job of recognizing that much as we may love America there’s something arbitrary about it—we’re [sic] just so happen to be Americans whereas other people are Canadians or Mexicans or French or Russian or what have you.” But this, of course, is getting the deal exactly wrong. These other nationalities are based on ethnicity and chance, while American nationality is based on choice and the assent to certain basic principles that make up our nation.
The only response to this point is "duh". This in essentially the defining principle of being an American liberal, so of course a liberal blogger like Matt Yglesias knows this.

Observe that Yglesias's point is actually quite similar to what the Democratic-Republican party of Jefferson and Madison would have believed. Jefferson and Madison were insistent that the cult (for lack of a better word) of, for example, July 4, the American flag, and General Washington was a lot of false patriotism designed to camouflage the neo-monarchical intentions of the Federalist party. Jefferson and Madison would probably have been very sympathetic to the view that July 4 is the day for Americans to rage against the enemies of the people (remember that Madison led America into the War of 1812 in order to "defend the revolution").

Presumably, what Yglesias is advocating here is not a political settlement on Britain's terms to avoid an American revolution, but one on America's terms. That is, a Britain that would have immediately embraced progress in the 1770s instead of drifting in the direction of progress over the course of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The swiftboating of McCain continues.

The hypocrisy of the Democratic party is truely and utterly astonishing. It's as if the Democrats think that they have this country so totally screwed that they don't even have to care what you think anymore.

During the 2004 presidential race, the Democratic party was openly proclaiming to the world that only a combat veteran of the United States military was qualified to be president, that clearly Senator John Kerry was qualified to be president on the strength of his war-time military service alone, and that rich, frat boy George W. Bush couldn't even be bothered with his cushy Air National Guard job without going AWOL. Democrats openly mocked and taunted Republicans for nominating a presidential candidate with such a weak military record as George W. Bush for the single most important job in America.

Now it's 2008 and its the Republican nominee who has the impressive military service record while the Democratic nominee didn't serve a day in the military. Now the Democrats are telling us that we shouldn't talk about military service because it's not important for a presidential candidate:
"I think what we really need to work on over the next four, five months, and it goes back to the speech that Sen. Obama gave [Monday] and this little fight that I've been watching and that is, we need to make sure that we take politics out of service," Webb said. "People don't serve their country for political issues."

He continued: "And John McCain's my long-time friend, if that is one area that I would ask him to calm down on, it`s that, don't be standing up and uttering your political views and implying that all the people in the military support them because they don't, any more than when the Democrats have political issues during the Vietnam War. Let's get the politics out of the military, take care of our military people, or have our political arguments in other areas."