Be excellent to each other

Lord only knows how I stayed married this long without such expert advise.

Also: if you’re a complete wanker then wank about religion, because it’s not like anyone is going to prove you wrong.

Friday Afternoon Open Thread

(Nick Anderson via
What’s on the agenda for the upcoming weekend?

Friday Morning Open Thread: Fairness!

Another shot from the calendar submissions. From commentor Josie:

Here is Teddi, my Akbash goat-guarding dog, who guards me and any other creatures who take up residence here, currently consisting of two other dogs, two cats, two parrots and several doves. Also included is Emma, my son’s pug, who is with us temporarily. Teddi is not overly fond of her, but she guards her just as seriously as she guards the rest of us. Teddi reluctantly shares her bed with the little pest – note how they divide the bed exactly in half, as though they were the same size. Teddi is very old and arthritic and has a bed in each room, which Emma finds very handy.

Magical thinking: a case study

Daniel Larison wrote a post explaining how The Professor’s understanding of foreign policy and the problems facing the world is an endless stream of dangerous bat-shit crazy thinking. It is spot on, but Newt’s world view is shared by pretty much every Republican running for office (and most of wingnutopia). Newt gets the attention because he is rising in the polls, but his views are not very different from any American Conservative. They all crave simple answers, simple villians and simple talking points and share Newt’s passion for replacing reality and critical thinking with nonsense.

Into this mix comes Andrew Sullivan. He cites a bit from Larson’s piece commenting on Newt’s idea that America lacks a “unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism”. It is more of the crazy talk one expects to hear from conservatives these days. It is all they know. Sullivan calls out Newt’s crazy talk, but does so with some deep magical thinking about the definition of “conservative”. I felt sorry for him as he tried to make the case that Gingrich’s world view is anti-conservative:

Which makes him the perfect antithesis of conservatism. Conservatism is concerned with reality, which it understands shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life. When a conservative approaches a problem like Jihadist violent Islam, he will seek first a grasp of its divisions, analyze the most effective way of defusing and disarming and fighting it, ensure that a strategy in one part of the world is not necessarily salient to another, grapple with unintended consequences, and so on. What Gingrich does is the opposite. What he always longs for is the absolute, eternal principle, the clarifying concept, the rhetorical rallying cry that speaks to the ideological gut rather than the reality-based frontal cortex. And Gingrich’s notion of foreign policy – making John Bolton his secretary of state – is essentially a policy of open hostility to the entire world, including allies who differ, and a maximalist military solution to most problems.

Saddest of all, was Sullivan clinging to the notion that “Conservatism is concerned with reality”. Perhaps that is how Conservatives think across the pond, but not here. In America, reality has a Liberal bias and any Conservative embracing reality is likely to face primary challenge. I think is is impossible to name a conservative of note in America who thinks about issues with an understanding of “shifts with culture, history, region and all the immense complexities of human life”. It just isn’t done. An occasional blogger may flirt with reality and a column here and there from a conservative pundit might brush against the real world for a turn of a phrase or two, but that’s about as close as it gets. When Newt is the nominee they will all fall in line–reality be damned.

Sullivan’s notion that his definition of “conservative” is shared by ANY self-described conservative in the Republican Party or the modern American Conservative movement is magical thinking. As Joe Scarborough showed yesterday the new meme is that Gingrich is the ONLY Republican hero since Reagan.

The term “Conservative” used to have meaning, but that is no longer the case in America. Here it is just a mask for grifters. And while I appreciate Sullivan’s effort to reclaim the term, it is a losing battle. American conservatives celebrate grifters, illusions and reward appeals to their fear. They celebrate Newt Gingrich as a hero. Sullivan’s hope that Wingnutopia will embrace his definition of “conservative” is just magical thinking, but I guess everybody needs a Grail.


Game Theory

What kind of games do people play?  Card games, board games, sports, mind games, computer games, console games?

What kind of computer if that’s your thing?  What kind of console?

I’m currently playing left4dead and left4dead2 from my steam account on PC.  I have a pre-order in for Star Wars The Old Republic, and as soon as my new computer parts get here, I’ll build a new PC for the game–I needed a new PC anyway, this was just an excuse to go big on it.

If games aren’t your thing, what is?