The Beloved Warrior’s Theme (Lyrics for "All The Way Up to Heaven" by Guster)

All The Way Up to Heaven,” by Guster, Lost and Gone Forever, 28 September 1999, (lyrics).

Why is monotheism positively correlated with violence?

Because when God loves you this much, you can do anything for Him.

He said to only look up
He said to never look down
Down is where he came from
He said to hope for the best and take a load off my chest
Soon I could be happy
And go all the way up to heaven
And go all the way back home
He thought I might need his help
No one gets high on themselves
I just seem so lonely
He’s just trying to be nice
And spread around his advice
I could be that happy
And go all the way up to heaven
And go all the way back home
Stay the way I am today and serve to more disaster
He could tell a fairy tale that’s happy ever after
Just relax and green of grass will grow here for a change
Maybe then we’ll last a million years or more..or more..or more
And go all the way up to heaven
And go all the way back home
Yes, I do believe what he says
I want to be happy
I could show you this hell
No one gets by on themselves
He can make me happy
(It’s a long silent peace)
And I will only love him
(It’s a weakness in your knees)
And I will never look down
Down is where we came from
(It’s a perfect place to go for everlasting love)
Because it’s all in the past
(Nothing to fear, nothing to hide)
He took a load off my chest
(You just say what’s on your mind)
(Needn’t think before you speak)
Ooh cause it’s not happy
(This is how it’s meant to be)
Cause I had needed his help
(Never high, never fall)
No matter how by myself
(You can do no wrong at all)
I am going nowhere
(In this heaven up above filled with everlasting love)
And now I’m changing my plans
Because we only live once
Ooh could be this happy
Once, I could live by his side

It might be the theme of Saint Paul and Heavan.
It might be the theme of Mohammad Atta and Paradise.

It’s the theme of any super-empowered monotheist faith-warrior.

No wonder the polytheist Romans were spooked.

No wonder the faithful can embrace struggle and pain.

Computer Games Are Good For You (And Your Children)

Chasing the dream,” The Economist, 4 August 2005, (from Slashdot).

A wonderful article on The Economist and intellectually empowering computer games, and their critics:

First, an interesting divide between the Generations of Virtual Warriors and strangers to such mental dexterity

Start with the demographics. Attitudes towards gaming depend to a great extent on age. In America, for example, half of the population plays computer or video games. However most players are under 40—according to Nielsen, a market-research firm, 76% of them—while most critics of gaming are over 40. An entire generation that began gaming as children has kept playing. The average age of American gamers is 30. Most are “digital natives” who grew up surrounded by technology, argues Marc Prensky of games2train, a firm that promotes the educational use of games. He describes older people as “digital immigrants” who, like newcomers anywhere, have had to adapt in various ways to their new digital surroundings.

Then, statistical evidence that computer games physically pacify the population, as generations are raised up used to fighting with their minds, not hands

Game players, it turned out, were no more aggressive than the control group. Whether the participants had played games before, the number of hours spent gaming, and whether they liked violent movies or not, made no difference. The researchers noted, however, that more research is still needed to assess the impact of other genres, such as shoot-’em-ups or the urban violence of “Grand Theft Auto”. All games are different, and only when more detailed studies have been carried out will it be possible to generalise about the impact of gaming.

But as Steven Johnson, a cultural critic, points out in a recent book, “Everything Bad Is Good for You” gaming is now so widespread that if it did make people more violent, it ought to be obvious. Instead, he notes, in America violent crime actually fell sharply in the 1990s, just as the use of video and computer games was taking off. Of course, it’s possible that crime would have fallen by even more over the period had America not taken up video games; still, video gaming has clearly not turned America into a more violent place than it was.

And some concrete examples of the benefits of being a Virtual Warrior

Another area where games are becoming more popular is in corporate training. In “Got Game”, a book published last year by Harvard Business School Press, John Beck and Mitchell Wade, two management consultants, argue that gaming provides excellent training for a career in business. Gamers, they write, are skilled at multi-tasking, good at making decisions and evaluating risks, flexible in the face of change and inclined to treat setbacks as chances to try again. Firms that understand and exploit this, they argue, can gain a competitive advantage.

Not that facts will stop the Puritan Left from attacking

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
He Knows What Is Best For Your Children,
So You Don’t Have To

This summer there has been a huge fuss about the inclusion of hidden sex scenes in “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”, a highly popular, but controversial, game in which the player assumes the role of a street gangster. The sex scenes are not a normal part of the game (see above for a typical image). But the offending scenes can be activated using a patch downloaded from the internet. Senator Hillary Clinton and a chorus of other American politicians have called for federal prosecutors to investigate the game and examine whether the industry’s system of self-regulation, which applies age ratings to games, is working properly. Mrs Clinton accused video games of “stealing the innocence of our children” and “making the difficult job of being a parent even harder”.

In June, Senator Charles Schumer held a press conference to draw attention to the M-rated game “25 to Life”, in which players take the role of a policeman or a gangster. “Little Johnny should be learning how to read, not how to kill cops,” he declared. True, but little Johnny should not be smoking, drinking alcohol or watching Quentin Tarantino movies either. Just as there are rules to try to keep these things out of little Johnny’s hands, there are rules for video games too. Political opportunism is part of the explanation for this double standard: many of gaming’s critics in America are Democrats playing to the centre.

Happily, in this fight time is on the side of the right

Like rock and roll in the 1950s, games have been accepted by the young and largely rejected by the old. Once the young are old, and the old are dead, games will be regarded as just another medium and the debate will have moved on. Critics of gaming do not just have the facts against them; they have history against them, too. “Thirty years from now, we’ll be arguing about holograms, or something,” says Mr Williams.


Counter Culture,” by Gaijinbiker, Riding Sun, 14 July 2005, (from apostropher).

Tokyo Mayor Shintaro Ishihara is the greatest man alive.

He’s not just the man who responds to North Korean aggression by daring them to attack. Now he insults the French.

A group of teachers and translators in Japan on Wednesday sued Tokyo’s outspoken nationalist governor for allegedly calling French a “failed international language,” a news report said.

Twenty-one people filed the lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court, demanding that Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara pay a total of 10.5 million yen (US$94,600) compensation for insulting the French language in remarks last October, national broadcaster NHK said. In their suit, the plaintiffs accused Ishihara of saying: “French is a failed international language because it cannot be used to count numbers.”

Shintaro Ishihara rocks. I’ve long criticized froglandish myself.

Dan tdaxp: Holocaust Denier?

An interesting discussion about , , and reason:

Original Claim, by Forbush:

Many people know that Pope John Paul II declared the Iraq War an unjust war before he died. Many Anti-War activists have argued that the Iraq War was not a “Just War,” since it was proposed at the end of 2002.But most people don’t even know what a “Just War” is and how the Iraq War matches up to the ideas behind “Just War Theory.”

Question, by me:

” Pope John Paul II declared the Iraq War an unjust war before he died”


Somehow, I expect you’ll either refuse to cite on, or give a reference to something else…

His first reply:

From here as one source, but there are many. You really should learn to use Goggle.

“Just before the war, the pope sent an envoy, Cardinal Pio Laghi, to ask Bush to exhaust every last means of diplomacy and work through the United Nations for a peaceful solution. The Vatican called the war illegal and unjust. But before the cardinal even touched down in Washington, the administration said the meeting would not matter. The White House countered the pope’s claim that an invasion was unjust with apocalyptic visions of needing to stop a Hitler.”

My second reply

So to back-up your unsourced allegation you give… another unsourced allegation?

Where did the Vatican Say this? Was it by the Papal Nuncio? By a formal letter? Through the Vatican Secretary of State?

Please, provide a reference, or do not make such claims about my faith.

His second reply

I’m sure you don’t believe in the Hollacaust either, deal with it!

For the record, here’s Godwin’s Law

Godwin’s law (also Godwin’s rule of Nazi analogies) is an adage in Internet culture that was originated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states that:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (i.e. certainty).”

There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. In addition, it is considered poor form to invoke the law explicitly. Godwin’s law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. Many people understand Godwin’s law to mean this, although (as is clear from the statement of the law above) this is not the original formulation.

Confucian Terrorists Claim Responsibility For Toronto Attack

Confusionists Claim Responsibility For Toronto Air Fire,” by PopeBenedictXVI, Cyber-Pope, 3 August 2005,

FAA: ‘More than half do will you?’,” by Mark Cross, I’m So Here Blog, 4 August 2005,

Finally, a statement for the monsters responsible for this attack on the flight

In the name of Bunkum, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Cyber-Pope, God’s peace be upon him.

Confusionists: Rejoice! Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the Canadian government in retaliation for its support of the Belgian Infidels who refuse to hand over 800,000 Confusionists being detained in Belgian labour camps. The heroic Confusionist warriors have carried out a blessed raid in Toronto. Canada is now burning with quite a lot of fear, some terror and a little panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters – and those feelings will eventually cross over to their Belgian allies.

We repeatedly forgot to warn the Canadian Government and people, but anyway, we have carried out our blessed military raid on a French plane in Canada after our brave warriors exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.

We continue to warn the governments of all the anti-Confusionist governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not pressure the Beligian Government to meet our demands. He who warns is excused.

While Mark Cross sums up how to avoid boarding the next doomed flight

When boarding a plane, count the number of times you hear the flight attendant utter the phrase “Oh my God. Oh my God we’re going to die.” while passengers are still boarding. Often overlooked this is a good indicator that the flight could be a risky one. This would be a good time to disembark and take a layover.

A commentator on Cyber-Pope sums it up

Fuckin Canooks

Indeed. Indeed.

To: "Just Say No" Democrats; From: American People; Subject: "We Don’t Like You"

It’s not just George McGovern the American people dislike

Liberalism: Not Popular

Liberal Democrat (if, like George McGovern, heroic veteran) Paul Hackett has lost to Republican Jean Schmidt. Schmidt’s predecessor, Rob Portman, is now President Bush’s Trade Representative.

The election was interesting to South Dakotans because our leftwing blogs shut down to elect an Ohioan Democrat. (As someone who volunteered in Iowa, I am shocked!) What can I say? I’m happy it didn’t work out for them.

Not that such comments will stop instarevisionism

New Ohio Democratic superstar Paul Hackett went into the lion’s den of pure Red Southern Ohio and scared the pants off of the GOP losing by less than 4 points in the face of a NRCC promise to “bury him.”

No spin – the GOP is on the run.

Congratulations to Southern Ohio Democrats, the Lefty blogs, especially Swing State Project, and Dems everywhere. We have delivered a lesson – Fighting Dems will win the day.

On to 2006, when we take back the Congress.

If Democrats keep “winning” like this, looks like easy days ahead for us Righists. 🙂

Not that the rank and file believe that

The very first comment on Daily Kos began…


Miscellaneous updates

Today evaporated in unfinished code optimization for Jim River Reports, a Greencine online-rented dvd viewing of

House of Flying Daggers

plus being dragooned into the enjoyable National Treasure.

And some blogosphere reading:

Josh from OFK has some insightful thoughts on President Bush’s recess appointment of John Bolton for U.N. Ambassador.

The problem is that Options 1 and 3 could mean a real weakening of U.S. interests at the United Nations, with every word from Bolton facing colonoscopic scrutiny in the media and Congress. In such a climate, Bolton will find himself under debilitating restraint when deciding whether to call for the resignation of corrupt U.N. officials, block potential Security Council memberships, or call for sanctions against Iran and North Korea. If Bolton enters the stage with incendiary flourish, it’s likely a sign that he’s contemplating accomplishing much in the year before he departs for the Great Think Tank in the Sky.

And before Bush nominates Rudy Giuliani to replace him.

All the more reason for Kim Jong Il to take a pragmatic view of the talks in Beijing.

John Robb notes the pragmatic nature of 4th Generation Warriors in Iraq

“Am I here to make social change so women can smoke cigarettes and drive cars? No.” said Becker. “We’re here to provide security and build infrastructure and a democratic society.”

From the comments, apparently, it’s working.

The decreasingly interesting Bitch PhD may be a bitch, may be a PhD, but she also misses the point

The bottom line about abortion is this. Do you trust women to make their own moral judgments? If you are anti-abortion, then no. You do not. You have an absolute moral position that you don’t trust anyone to question, and therefore you think that abortion should be illegal. But the second you start making exceptions for rape or incest, you are indicating that your moral position is not absolute. That moral judgment is involved. And that right there is where I start to get angry and frustrated, because unless you have an absolute position that all human life (arguably, all life period, but that isn’t the argument I’m engaging with right now) are equally valuable (in which case, no exceptions for the death penalty, and I expect you to agonize over women who die trying to abort, and I also expect you to work your ass off making this a more just world in which women don’t have to choose abortions, but this is also not the argument I’m engaging right now), then there is no ground whatsoever for saying that there should be laws or limitations on abortion other than that you do not trust women. I am completely serious about this.

No, it’s about criminalizing the dismemberment murder of child. If we “trusted” everyone not to murder, then why bother will capital offense laws at all?

Bitch. Poor rhetoritician.

Let no one say tdaxp is impolite.

Curtis Gale Weeks at Phatic Communion has a brilliant article on 5GW that makes me think

The disenfranchised (whether by self-determination or by exterior exclusion), the subcultural or countercultural elements, the criminals and hermits of a society, are likely to be the canaries in the mine: A 5GW force will use the weight of the dominant segment(s) of society against that society and not waste effort on the seemingly powerless members of that society, and the oddball elements of a society are more likely to be sensitive to changes in the majority opinion than those who hold the majority opinion. (I’m not excluding the 5GW potential for using criminal elements and homeland terrorists against a society, however.)

The National Journal picks up South Dakota/Nebraska blogger Ryne McClaren

Robert Novak’s 7/30 column essentially adds little to the SD blog controversies, but liberal SD Watch relates a phone conversation with one of Novak’s reporter: “The Novakista didn’t know who [one anonymous blogger was but knew of him. He wanted me to spill the beans. … My lips are sealed. … So, I upheld the leftyosphere’s vow of omerta. Novak Researcher Dude also thought I was a former Daschle staffer. I am not, just a friend and supporter who did a very small amount of legal work for the campaign committee much prior to the election.” A few pro-Daschle bloggers self-outed before the Novak column was published, which only names 1 and doesn’t say which blog he wrote. Conservative Ryne McClaren comments on the outings: “Now here’s my question: If you start a blog, wouldn’t it just be a hell of a lot easier to start signing your name to your posts on Day 1?


Mark reprises his Ann Landers impression (or is it of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani?).

Interesting comments here at tdaxp today on pedophilia, static noise in SecretWar, and the purpose of the Congress.

Slashdot reports on a bad part of CAFTA (Battle Panda knew first), scurrilous anti-Microsoft myths, and amazingly awesome news from Skype

Start Your Week with the Blogosphere!

New South Dakota Blog: The Jim River Report

It’s like Google News and Drudge report for South Dakota


It’s still a “beta,” but I think it has potential. Check it out.

Over at Coming Anarchy, Chirol as written A History of Empires: Part 1 and A History of Empires: Part 2. I already responded. ZenPundit enters the debatetwice! Is “2nd Generation Empire” a new concept or a new name for “confederation”?

Both The World is Grey and I Hate Linux find a lot to like in IE7.

Ever google for cobuyitaphobia? If you do, you’ll see tdaxp blogs in the top positions.

Josh from One Free Korea covers Chinese Riots and weird Korean politics

Pakistan and Democrats both oppose free trade in sugar. But economic connectivity is so sweet!

Did I mention the Jim River Report?


Empires of Connectivity and Generations of Empire

All Roads Lead to Rome,” by Jeff Vail, A Theory of Power: Jeff Vail’s Critique of Hierarchy & Empire, 5 October 2004,

The blogosphere is abuzz with empires. Chirol started it by talking about themtwice. Zen Punditthree times. Jewish Blog jumped on the bandwagon. Even Dr. Daniel Nexon, someone with formal education who actually knows what he is talking about, offered his thoughts.

I offered my humble thoughts earlier. So for this I’d just like to highlight an article I found that discusses how Empires manage connectivity.

Author Jeff Vail first notes that Rome was a new type of Empire. Previous empires were largely thirst-based, but Rome became connectivity-based

Many of the major empires that preceded Rome shared a common source of formational energy. As described by historian Karl Wittfogel, they were all “hydraulic” empires. The mechanism of centralization [of the old Empires] was their shared need to pool massive labor and resources to build and maintain the irrigation works upon which their agricultural sustenance depended. Rome formed in the absence of great public-irrigation projects. As such, it required a new mechanism of political centralization to provide formational energies and counter the distributed spacing and centrifugal tendency of economic organization. Rome pioneered a new form of Empire, a connectivity empire, laying the groundwork for modern hierarchical state-economies (See Figure 4).

If we use Chirol’s concept of “generations,” we might call a Hydraulic Empire a “Zeroth Generation Empire” or a “Pre-Modern Empire.” In a Pre-Modern, Hydraulic, of 0G Empire, the most important “flows” are the flow of labor into the center and the flow of water into the periphery. However, in a Connectivity or 1st Generation Empire the flows become much richer. Now the main flows are wealth and security, with a flow of wealth into the center and a flow of security into the periphery.

However, this is not done in a vacuum. In the Roman Empire, for example, this was done through roads.

If Rome had allows the market to function naturally, the power of the City of Rome would have gradually been reduced as other cities enjoy the economic benefits of security. A natural ebb-and-flow of exchange creates a decentralized Empire.



However, the Romans did not want this. The Romans did not want ;the Empire’ to become a decentralized polity. They wanted the Empire to remain a tool of Rome.

So the Romans purposefully warped their economy through their road network, purposefully undercutting minor hubs and linking as many nodes as possible directly to Rome.


So, some open questions

  • Chirol described First Generation Empires as defined by “hard power” and Second Generation Empires as defined by “soft power.” But the fact that Pre-Modern Empires exported water, without which a painful death is almost immediate, shows that their power was even “harder” than Rome. So instead of “hard power” and “soft power,” do we simply have a continuum of “power hardness”?
  • Likewise, the arteries of Pre-Modern Empires were canals that carry water, and the arteries of 1st Generation Empires were roads and ocean-routes that carried goods and men. Does this mean that the arteries of 2nd Generation Empires are telecommunication lines that carry ideas? But we know thatideas spread through the Roman road system. And many claim that information itself can be deadly. Is this another example of a continuum of power-hardness?
  • If America wanted to “calcify” (in Vail’s words) her world power, could she arrange ultra-high-speed fiber-optic lines to all run through the continental US? Or is this form of geographic power now obsolete?
  • How does Rome’s strategy of isolating competitive nodes harmonize with Chirol’s statement that “Great empires don’t compete against other systems per se, they strive to become “the system.””

Update: Mark at ZenPundit alerted me to Dr. Daniel Nexon’s new post on Empires

As he agrees with me on the Mongols

Might there be a pattern in the phrases: Pax Romana, Pax Mongolica, Pax Britannia and Pax Americana?

That three of them were largely connected through internal waterways, high-tech roads, and/or oceans, while a fourth is a revisionist defense of a temporary barbarian occupation built-to-fail?

(compared to)

Chinggis Khan, for example, combined steppe cavalry techniques with a reorganization of the tribal structure of his forces, a not-so-healthy does of sociopathic paranoia, and, eventually, Chinese siege techniques. Despite Chirol’s assertion about the Mongol imperium (which lasted, as such, for an extremely short period), it is pretty hard to know whether it was really a net positive. The Mongols did enormous damage to regions of China, destroyed the Kievan Rus’, crushed the Abbasid Caliphate, and just plain killed a lot of people. The factors that led to Mongol success in warfare had very little to do with whatever contributions they brought to the world by making the east-west trade routes safer for a time.

he’s clearly a genius. He also picks up this post’s theme of a hydraulic Empire, if critically

I wasn’t aware of Vail’s work – and his book – until Dan linked to it; Vail shares some of the same sensibilities that Patrick Jackson and I have articulated in some of our collaborative pieces. That being said, the hydraulic theory of empire is, as a comprehensive account of the formation of ancient empires, probably wrong

Go read!