Democrats & Liberals Archives

War Games

Right now, I’m working my way through a game called Starcraft. Some of you might be familiar with it. For those of you not familiar, it’s a real time strategy game. You build a base, you field units, and you battle with another player or a computer. It’s admittedly not very real. It’s science fiction, complete with two alien races and a human race equipped with out there technology. But the simplified nature of the game deals with its share of real world issues.

It has to, to be the challenge that it is. Let me go into greater detail about the races.

The humans (or Terran) characters are, for the most part, redneck cariactures, but they're also nothing to be messed with. They alone can move their production facilities around, and can build anywhere there is open ground. They can repair some of their units, and an expansion pack extends this repair capability to their troops. Their base unit, the Marine, is the only one with ranged attack. The units are middle of the road in cost and firepower, so they suffer from the trouble of needing greater numbers to defeat the higher tech race, and more firepower to avoid being overwhelmed by the lower tech one.

The Zerg, nasty creatures that they are, give new meaning to the term biological warfare. They multiply quickly and cheaply, and trade per unit firepower for speed and mass attack. They can burrow most of their ground units into the ground and both their units and their buildings heal from non-fatal attacks. They have their limitations. They must build on the Creep, which is essentially a living medium that expands from around special buildings called Creep Colonies. This can be a problem when dealing with terraces, and every creep colony must build from a hatchery. This brings up another problem for this race: centralized production. Though you build buildings to enable the production of different units, you have to hatch them from larva at that hatchery. This can become a bottleneck. The creatures are relatively weak, compared to other units, so concerted firepower from a few enemy units or defense can create an effective barrier to victory. Lastly, to produce a building, you must sacrifice your main worker unit, the drone. Terran SCVs can repeatedly create buildings without such a sacrifice, though they remain occupied with it for a period.

The Protoss are high-tech, psychically powerful beings. Their technology and psi-attacks are hideously powerful. Throw a bunch of weak units at some of their craft, and you'll watch your armies die for their country. Their main worker units can open up portals for new buildings and just walk away, which is convenient when rebuilding defenses. They don't heal or repair, but they have shields that can be recharged as if nothing ever happened. That said, they have some problems. First of all, everything is expensive with them, and so is the research that it takes to get everything to full power. Secondly, they share a dependency, like the Zerg, upon a building structure, Psi Pylons in this case. Buildings must be constructed within the radius of the pylon. That includes your defenses, and your production facilities. The pylons are necessary both to build units, and to power your buildings. Destruction of that pylon means your building becomes an inactive architectural curiousity, for however long it survives. Third, they're not immune from being ganged up upon. They'll take a lot of enemies with them, but not before you've lost a major investment.

So what are the lessons?

Already, we are being taught to think in terms of economy, between numbers and firepower. You have to balance both to win. No race is powerful enough that it can afford to rely on its technology, and any race can lose if it fails to bulk up its units with upgrades and added capabilities in due time. Wars are won and lost through the concentration of force and firepower. Here in the real world, we got real tech-happy, but we failed, over the eight years of the Bush administration, to bulk up the numbers sufficiently for the job we wanted done.

You have to face numbers with numbers, whether those numbers are yours, or those of the folks working with you. In WWII, we did not skimp on the numbers of soldiers we sent into combat, but we also didn't skimp on productive efforts, post-war, to enlist our former enemies in their own reformation. Invading with our small numbers, high technology, and deficient post-war planning, we put ourselves in the interesting position of being able to destroy the technological forces in Iraq fairly easily, but not what you might call the base units. In WWII, the base units, due to formal surrenders and the cooperation of those left in the government worked for us in opposition to the malcontents that might have broken the peace, and in reconstructing Germany and Japan as outposts of American influence. In the Iraq war, due to a number of screw-ups and corrupt cronyistic decisions, these base units ended up fighting against us, with nothing better to do.

Long wars are never good wars. Long wars drain resources. To some they may symbolize an epic struggle with the enemy, but as Sun Tzu put it, nobody every brilliantly protracted a war. The current war has gone on longer than WWII, and with considerably lesser results.

The difference between victory and defeat on one level was how quickly my forces were able to take over the positions of the enemy. When I simply stood there and hunkered in, I found that I ran through my resources faster than I managed to mount the invasion of these areas.

Every race in Starcraft depends on two resources: Minerals and Vespene Gas. More complex and higher tech units require more of each, as do upgrades. Your central base, whether it is the Command Center of the Terrans, the Hatchery of the Zerg (which upgrades as your nest evolves), or the Nexus of the Protoss, is where your resources must be taken. Each of these is fairly expensive to build. From race to race, this varies little: relatively weak units scouring the landscape for your building materials. These resources are always limited, and they become strategic centers of gravity, targets for the enemy. If I take too long to plant myself in a new resource field, it can severely affect my ability to replace and reinforce units, much less build up armies and squadrons of new ones to overwhelm the enemy. It doesn't help, either, when necessity or mistakes on my part force me to go down to the wire to make the transition from one set of resources to another. Such a transition can become a serious bottleneck, and potentially a strategic breaking point that one devastating attack can turn into a rout for my side.

It's best to make such transitions when one has plenty of other resources left to make the transition. It helps not to get too hasty in building things, either, unless the risk is justified by an emergency or a fleeting opportunity.

It's not always clear when its best to let one's soldiers or one's defenses choose their target, and when direction and concentration is needed. One Protoss unit, the Carrier, sends out a swarm of small fighters to destroy the enemy. The fighters are hard to target, but automatically, that's what your units will aim for. What I've found, though, is that concentrated fire from a number of units can destroy the overall threat more quickly, if it's concentrated on the Carrier itself. The fighters automatically die when it falls, so despite the risk it involves to units, its often the best thing to do. Sometimes, though, in face to face engagements, such intervention keeps the units from wearing down the other side as a whole. Each situation presents its own challenges, and the solution is not always what we train ourselves to think. Sometimes people do need direction, do need to be told what to do, and what's what. Sometimes they don't. Whether you lead or follow, intervene or let alone, judgment and perception matter, and a dose of humility in either role, on either side of such decisions, can be critical to things working out. You can try and work things out merely according to your agenda, but may never get the results you desire just doing things your way, according to your opinions.

Information is important. Many units can cloak or hide in Starcraft, and its a pain in the neck to face them under these conditions. Having observers buildings or units capable of seeing through such concealment is critical to success. It's also important to check out your enemy's defenses and the layout of their base. A few critical structures destroyed first can save a lot of trouble later. It helps to take a systematic look at things, in war and in peace, and see what things depend on what. Too many enter politics with nothing more than an understanding of rhetoric. But everything in society depends on something else, and what that is can be both surprising and a key to properly focusing efforts. Whether it's denying the enemy in war a needed resources, or the support of a key faction, or recognizing the critical role that infrastructure or the rules of a system play in how it operates, the best strategies are ones that identify the correct centers of gravity and change the situation with the least trouble for effort given.

Things are more complicated in the real world, of course, but some things remain true as we scale up the reality of that game, and the complexity of the interactions. In its essence, there's not much difference between the result of relying on a limited, waning resource when your a nation dependent on oil, and relying on the same in a well put together game. In reality, as in this game, the drop in resources means every unit and building you still have becomes more precious, but no less vulnerable. Our sunk costs in a war or in our reliance on a particular resource pool no more relieves these threats in reality than they would in a game. If you're running out of them, you had better be winning or on your way to securing your economic goals, or you will be quickly out of luck.

We can't afford economic plans that don't recognize instances of scarcity or potential bottlenecks of resources. We can't afford military plans that fail to confront the realities of the situation. We can't afford to behave as if the every failure can be replayed, as in a game, until success comes. We must recognize that we only get the chance to play this particular game once, and when we play it we should play it with the best lessons learned from whatever fictional versions of real life we start from.


Final notes: The game is the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment, and all units and buildings described are trademarked. So anybody from that company who comes by this, understand that I respect your claims on them. All commentary I make, I make on my own behalf, not yours, and I do not claim your endorsement of what I have written.

I recognize that it's just a video game, but I don't share the low opinion many do of video games, having watched the artform mature considerably from my early days.

I also recognize that it is fiction, and do not claim that playing this game makes me an expert on war. I don't think, though, that you have to be an expert to think over something and analyze it. Just don't hand me command of an army anytime soon! The last paragraph reflects just how many times I've had to restart certain levels to win them. In the real world, we are often stuck with the consequences of our action, and even if we seek to redeem our situation, we'll have to start by dealing with the mess as it is. Expertise is often poorly credited in our day and age.

We need neither the rejection of the need for experts, nor an unquestioning deference towards them, but dialogue and outreach about the realities of different profession. Today's economy and civilization encourages a great deal of division of labor, intellectually speaking, so one of the greatest challenges is seeing eye to eye with those who have specialized and learned much that is typically esoteric to people. To me, it is important to learn not just in school, but from any credible source one can find. Even, as this article suggests, a video game.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 13, 2008 10:51 AM
Comment #258442

Stephen -

As you said, many look down upon video games as true art and as a source of learning…but I well remember how much I learned from comic books, and I am often surprised at the knowledge my youngest son garners from cartoons. There’s this Spongebob Squarepants episode about Wal-Mart and China…but that’s for another time.

An even better example would be the anime series “Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex” which builds a highly cerebral plot around J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”. Few adolescents would be able to follow the plot, much less understand the finer points and observations therein. This is not kid stuff.

Ah, Starcraft - a decade or so old right now, and still the most popular videogame in South Korea, I understand. Truly a landmark in the genre, and I’ve just got to figure out how to justify a PC with enough horsepower to run the soon-to-be-released Starcraft II.

If I were to allow myself to be more cynical, the Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss would be directly analogous to the less-educated conservatives (and their brilliant but power-mad leaders), the Evil Empire (whichever group of nations that may currently be), and the elitist liberals, respectively. But game designers wouldn’t be so subtle as that, I’m sure.

BTW - when I watched Starship Troopers when it first came out (the book was MUCH better), I first saw it as a testosterone-filled ultra-patriotic splatfest.

I watched it again last year and suddenly I saw it in a totally different way - as a satire against the neo-con mindset. Watch it once more and compare the failure of brute force by a white male general compared to the success of understanding one’s enemy by a black female general. There’s more to it than that, but the satire becomes fairly obvious once one knows to look for it…and I remember the reviews at the time did not seem to mention the satire - the critics apparently saw only the surface story and missed the deeper levels of meaning. Perhaps some critics did see it. Suddenly I have a much greater respect for the director Paul Verhoeven.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 13, 2008 3:53 PM
Comment #258457

Nowadays, in the real world, wars guarantee more war, because you are always creating more enemies for yourself. After WW2, we had a falling out with a tenuous ally. This became the excuse for the building up of the military industrial complex, a new idea to an old general who had been around for long enough to remember when wars ended and most of the troops went home, expenditures decreased, and the debts incurred could gradually be paid off. Today, we look at where we are going to have to go to war next, to save the world and especially ourselves from the aliens, the outsiders, the axis of evil, the ism of the decade, which resents our way of life, and wants to destroy us all. I only wonder what the next ism will be after terrorism.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 13, 2008 6:36 PM
Comment #258461

ohrealy -

“I only wonder what the next ism will be after terrorism.”

Conservatism? Republicanism? Libertarianism?

I don’t think it will be ‘Democratism’ or ‘liberalism’ because we’re more into “-asms” than “-isms”


Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 13, 2008 7:03 PM
Comment #258462

ohrealy -

Sorry - should have included proof, which would be any of our favorite sites that end with “.org”

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 13, 2008 7:05 PM
Comment #258463

When I am bored I play video poker online thru AOL games. I am up about $2.5 million at this point. Unfortunately, the winnings are no more real than the war games you describe. When I play for real at the riverboat casino’s in Shreveport I am lucky to break even. No deep message here, just the observation that arm-chair warfare while obviously fun, is no substitute for the real thing.

Posted by: Jim M at August 13, 2008 7:05 PM
Comment #258466

Peace has generally been the result of war becoming so costly that the folks involved just say “screw it” and tend to policy by other means, to echo Von Clausewitz’s famous aphorism. Of course, if peace broke out in a video game, it’d kind of defeat the purpose.

The orders you give the units aren’t typically that complex in this video game, but the special talents of each unit add to what I’ve heard described as the “rock-paper-scissors” play of the game- in essence, each race, played properly, can stand up to its rivals in a fair fight.

Everybody’s been trying to refight WWII for the last half century, but in the end, nobody’s going to oblige us in that regard. War will inevitably come to us. What we have to be clear on, when it does, is what kind of outcome we desire, and what kind of means we have at our disposal to gain that.

The Bush Administration’s problem is that it looked at it as a war of attrition when it was really a war of territorial control. At the end of WWII, the Allies controlled Europe. We didn’t just throw sovereignty back to them on a timetable, and hope for the best like this administration unfortunately did. We looked at this situation quantitatively, and with an eye to not having the same problem pop up to bite us in the rear when we turned around.

I don’t think much of the idea of justifying military expansion based on a cavalcade of threats. A military that doesn’t stand down in peacetime isn’t doing its country much favors. What we need is to adjust our military to our current needs, and to the proper obligations.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 13, 2008 7:21 PM
Comment #258483


I’ve been involved as a player in my own game. I live in a Kansas county that’s nearly 90% Repubican and being a Democrat is downright scary!

This is “gods land” where it’s appropriate to say things like, “They set traps around the White House to keep out the Beavers and Coons”!

Neither of the local newspapers even reported the outcome of the Democratic primary even though our candidate to possibly replace Pat Roberts was contested!

There is no longer a true democracy in the USA!

You just watch!

The supposedly “smaller government conservatives” are actually increasing government control over internal affairs …………. and it’s no mistake that Russia is gaining new power.

Remember Bush looked into Putins eyes!

We’re either puppets or NOT Republicans!

Posted by: KansasDem at August 13, 2008 11:14 PM
Comment #258494

I can understand your pessimism, but I can’t agree with it for two reason.

The first reason is that even if Kansas doesn’t go as desired, there are plenty of other states that will. Your neighbors will just have to live with the new resident in the White House.

The second reason is this: those who don’t compete should not be surprised if they don’t win. We’ve been losing too often because we expect to lose. We expect them to eventually overpower us, so we cut to the chase and act like doormats. Democracy is only alive for citizens who participate. When we are disillusioned or intimidated into not participating, we remove our weight from the system, and thereby reduce our influence.

Things have changed, though, and not in their favor. You’re living in a very Republican insulated area, so it’s no surprise you’re not perceiving it, but as one Republican said, if the Republican brand was dog food, they’d be pulling it off the shelves. Republicans are being advised to pull back their candidates from association with the party.

Don’t lose heart. Things have changed. The question now is whether we have the courage and commitment to make things right.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2008 10:26 AM
Comment #258499

Now that just doesn’t make any sense at all.

Posted by: kctim at August 14, 2008 12:08 PM
Comment #258504
Russia is gaining more power because the Liberal’s of America and the Liberal media have weakened America,by weakening the President of the U.S.A.

Get real….Dumbya has done this all by his own little self!! Which takes us back to the Forrest Gump theory that stupid is as stupid does!

Posted by: janedoe at August 14, 2008 12:39 PM
Comment #258507


If you haven’t figured out that the so-called ‘liberal’ media…isn’t liberal…and isn’t media…I’m sorry.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2008 1:05 PM
Comment #258509


I recently wrote a ‘letter to the editor’ of my local paper. It pretty much explains how Obama, pelosi and other dems might think of a compromise:

There is a lot of hot air floating around about the good and bad of drilling for oil in North Americas’ only coral reef and the wilderness of the Alaskan tundra. I find both arguments to be compelling, so I have a question or two, and perhaps, if I get some answers from those of whom I ask, It will help us all understand a little better.

My first question is to Republicans such as John McCain and George Bush:

If we do it your way and allow drilling in those areas, how long will it be before we see a lowering in our energy prices?

My second question is to the CEO of Exxon Mobil:

If you and the other oil corporations are given permission to despoil these two pristine areas of America…will you assure Americans that we will benefit directly from any oil you pump?

It is my opinion that there would be zero short term benefit to anyone in the world, and that our oil companies would suck up all the oil, put it on the world market, where it would dilute any direct benefit to Americans, to an insignificant amount. We would give away our natural wonders, and receive zilch from the give away. But, perhaps our republicans and our big oil nabobs can enlighten me.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2008 1:09 PM
Comment #258510


Take a lesson from history. It is not dems who are afraid of war or of fighting. It was a dem who put us into WWII (FDR), Korea (HST), Viet Nam (JFK & LBJ), & Kosovo (WJC). The difference between dems & reps apparently is dems go because they think they have to, and reps because they want to???

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2008 1:15 PM
Comment #258511

Sorry, Stephen, I let someone influence me off thread.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2008 1:17 PM
Comment #258512


Russia is gaining more power because the Liberal’s of America and the Liberal media have weakened America,by weakening the President of the U.S.A.

Bush alienated his allies, undermined his military strength through a long-term engagement he failed to back with sufficient manpower. America itself is not weak, and could likely rise to the occasion if forced to defend itself, but Bush has put us in a weak position to be ordering around Russia.

He took too soft a line with the man. Remember “Looking into his eyes and seeing his soul?” Guess who said that?

Russia also has some leverage that it didn’t have some time before, in the form of its fossil fuels reserves. That’s what’s keeping the European powers from smacking this down themselves.

The Liberals of America Celebrate the Victories of America’s Enemies.

Do you need me to loan you some capital letters? You seem to be running out. Seriously, though, I don’t celebrate our defeats, and neither do most Democrats. I’m not thanking Bush for humiliating us in the Middle East. When the drumbeat of the war was starting up, I opposed it on the grounds that we had Afghanistan to win and neutralize. When Colin Powell made his vivid presentation, and the war was starting, I was interested in seeing us win. Even after I became disillusioned about the evidence and the tactics of the Administration, my opposition to them came from the fact that I didn’t want to lose the war. And finally, when I became convinced that we could not gain military victory in Iraq, I favored withdrawing carefully and gradually to avoid further defeats elsewhere, especially in Afghanistan.

Never has my position been that it is a good thing for America to lose. Unfortunately, Republicans like yourself aren’t satisfied that this is true unless people want to continue your favorite war indefinitely. Anything else, you’ve arbitrarily defined as “wanting America to lose.”

The Russians and the Iranians beleive that if either Country were to invade America,Half of the American population would fight against America.The sad part is this could be true,as the Liberals of America and the Liberal media has been fighting a proxy war on behalf of Americas enemy since George Bush took office in 2001.

If they believe that, and I highly doubt it, they’re fools. If you believe that, you’re wrong. Worse yet, such sentiments serve to sow division and encourage groupthink among the folks of the right, helping the conservatives to bubble themselves away in their own world, where everything they do is a service to their country, and everything the liberals do is a betrayal.

We don’t need this sort of adolescent self-indulgence. We need agreement and compromise, cooperation and respect to get through this. The Bush Administration has failed to treat liberals with even the respect that Reagan accorded his counterparts. In the end, we are one country, and a house divided against itself cannot stand.

The losers of the Viet-Nam war are front and center in this fight against their own Country.Do you really think losers like John Kerry,Wesely Clark,John Murtha,Nancy Pelosi,Harry Reid want America to win in Iraq?

Well, they virtually all voted for or supported the war when it came up for a vote. But on point of fact, let me make something clear for you: both Democrats and Republicans lost Vietnam. The final fall of Saigon occured under a Republican’s administration, and our decline and withdrawal came during the Nixon years.

Our problem is,Like Stephen the world of the Liberal Democrat and the Liberal Media is a dream world.Hell George Cloony is giving Obama advice on how to deal with Iraq and Iran.Imagine a super hero on the stage making life and death decissions on behalf of the American people.Is this a Game or is it real life?Its time for Batman to rescue America and it looks like Barack Obama will be Robin in the Whitehouse.

The real dreamworld is those who think they can hit reset or restart on the consort every six months, and undo the previous four or five years of policy failures.

We don’t need a superhero. We need an intelligent man with an open mind. We need somebody who preserves the law against our enemies rather than destroying it in a vain attempt to gain ultimate power over them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2008 1:22 PM
Comment #258513

Pardon me: console. Consort is a lover or spouse, especially of a noble or royal.


janedoe What do’es it say about a party who beleives deep in their heart a War is unjust,but continues to finance that war for five years?Dems. either lack the courage to stand up for what they beleive in or they are poll watchers who stick their finger in the wind daily to see which way the political wind is blowing.Which ever it may be it shows lack of leadership on the part of the Dems.For example,Drilling for oil offshore,Who would have thunk Nancy Pelosi,Barack Obama and most Dems. are now ready to allow off shore drilling.They are now willing to continue the march of Victory in Iraq.How long before the Dems. side with Russia against their own Country?Its like watching reruns the Liberal Dems.will always take the side of America’s enemy.It is inbedded in their History.

So, we want to see America lose and be humiliated, yet we’re not willing to yank American troops out instantly and defund right this very moment? Like my candidate says, we’re trying to be as careful getting out as we were careless going in.

As for oil drilling? Don’t expect much enthusiasm on that count. They’re tossing out that they could support some, but with great big restrictions on it and conditions… essentially, they’re just trying to look reasonable.

As for siding with Russia? Give me a break. Who was it, again, who said he could look into Putin’s eyes and see his soul? It was Bush who gave Putin the chance to recklessly expand his power, and Bush who promised the Georgians something he couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2008 1:30 PM
Comment #258517


Some naive souls really believe in drilling…as long as drilling is the cheapest or easiest form of energy extraction, our government and oil companies will drill. As long as they drill all other choices go on hold (why bother with alternative sourses when we can DRILL).

Better to save what we have in the way of tundra and reef, put our efforts into something positive and get on with our lives.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2008 1:42 PM
Comment #258522


Grow up about the oil thing.

Liberals didn’t aleinate our friends or encourage our enemies, Cheney/Bush did that with the unilateral move on a soverign nation, and they continue to do so today. Liberals have done nothing but tell the truth. Truth will out…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 14, 2008 1:58 PM
Comment #258527

As a once seasoned veteran of the game, I wonder if you make yourself at least imagine the corrolary standard with which you hold America’s Commanders in this war, when you send your Firebats, Hydralisks and yes even mine gathering peons off to die as an acceptable loss and/or distraction to help you achieve victory. If you don’t, I guarantee you will not beat the game without using cheat codes, and you certainly will never beat a seasoned player.
I make this comparison not for a lack of remorse for American lives, but because in order to win in the Game you took a fari amount of time to explain, you have to make sacrifices. You then go on to explain the lessons learned. You admit you’ve had to restart levels multiple times to win them. Have you learned the lesson of collateral damage, of acceptable loss?
I think much of strategy games, and their ability to teach you to think critically, and think quickly, and yes they are just games, and insanely simplified versions of ficticious battle, but I hope when you consider how hard it would be to be effective in the simplified version of computer game battle (the first time though - I might add) you are at least humbled by the task undertaken in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only do we not get to “Awww damn it, start over” but we have the media and people in your political community doing everything in their power to undermine the effort.

When you put the whompin on the game and graduate to the broodwar expansion, you’ll really like the clip after you crush the zerg at the end of the protoss campaign. It’s killer. After starcraft, try Sid Meyer’s Civilization IV - it’s like comparing addition to calculus.


You (if you are rational) would agree that we currently have a petroleum based economy. Gas, textiles, everything comes from oil. Currently.
Remove oil from the equation and our economy collapses. Saying that people are naive souls because we, as conservatives, are less focused on instant gratification vs. planning for the future, is the pot calling the kettle black if ever the saying were true. Forget the pristine reefs, had we been able to drill in the arctic wastelans, I have actually with my own two feet stood on the ground less than a mile from where they plan on drilling and FIELD MICE DON’T EVEN LIVE THERE! It is a wasteland. It is a frozen wasteland. Anti-drilling lobbyists have shown these beautiful pictures of the south of ANWR where there are mountains and trees and wildlife and said “don’t drill, you’ll spoil all this!” When the actual drillsites are literally a hundred miles north in the frozen wastelands at the ice shelf. History has shown that an oil pipeline (though liberals promised it would decimate caribou herds) actually improved habitat for them, but herds don’t even migrate up that far because the lichen they eat is so scarce from wind and lack of light! Had we been allowed to drill in ANWR fifteen years ago, we’d be better prepared now, but all liberals can talk about is fix it now, fix it now, fix it now. As though the Obamessiah can snap his fingers and lower your gas prices. It’s ludicrous. No one is thinking or planning to avoid renewable energy, but GAS and DIESEL are only a piece of the petroleum based pie that our economy needs to survive. And you call us naive souls…

Posted by: Yukon Jake at August 14, 2008 2:25 PM
Comment #258529

And here I was thinking Starcraft was just a well designed game.

Some… interesting connections you draw, Stephen.

Posted by: Zeek at August 14, 2008 2:32 PM
Comment #258548

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc. Latin for “after this, therefore, because of this.” I use the latin because its the technical term for a logical fallacy.

Let me give you an example. The terrorists crashed planes into the WTC. Oil prices have risen considerably after that. So is this to blame? Not necessarily. You could factor in drops in supply, elevations in demand, and a market setting the prices that can manipulate those prices upwards whether or not supply and demand justifies it.

One thing it isn’t is Bush’s lifting of the executive ban. It might be a reaction to that, but then you could logically suppose that it was a speculative rise, and just about anything the energy traders could justify in their own minds could do it. Or you could look at the reduced demand caused by the huge increase in prices, and find yourself a more likely reason.

You’re buying into the rhetoric, but rhetoric, even when it sounds good and feels good, doesn’t necessarily have to reflect reality.

As for seven years ago, the price of gas was about two or three dollars cheaper.

Like I said in my entry, the time to take action on moving over to new resources is before you hit the bottleneck. However, if supply is the problem that keeps our prices so high, then it can be argued we’ve already hit that bottleneck. Delay, in that case, is unlikely to make things better. We start the transition now and take it seriously, or we had better prepare to be a second-rate power from here on in. If that.

We’re not against oil per se, but reliance on it as our fuel for the near future. We want America’s economy to stay strong, its climates to stay favorable, and its energy prices to remain affordable to consumers. Fossil Fuels are becoming uneconomical, and hazardous to our continued economic development. Keeping a remnant of it around is forseeable, but employing it as our main economic feedstock? No. That will have to change.

As far as Unilateral moves, go, Bush threw up a number of smokescreens to disguise it, but our action was basically unilateral. We always provided the bulk of the forces, the bulk of the financing for the war, and finally, we were the main country pushing for this. Compare the Coalition of the willing to that of Bush’s father, if you want to see the difference. They picked up costs, they composed major portions of the armed forces involved, and Bush Sr. Got most of the UN behind the whole bloody affair.

As far as the political situation went with the war, I recall distinctly how difficult it was to get Democratic politicians to oppose it, even after it became unpopular among the American people. That’s part of what made Howard Dean such a newsmaker: he said what the others wouldn’t.

As far as alienating allies? I recall the whole “Freedom Fries” thing, the wholesale hiding that the Republicans gave Europe. I mean, you might just be talking about the coalition of the willing, which as I recall it has largely disbanded (even Poland. Don’t forget Poland), and was largely token to begin with. But I’m talking about our allies in general, the people who helped us fight WWII, helped us fight the Cold War.

But I guess you folks are just interested in being friends with those who profess to agree with you on everything. Even if its agreeing to Putin, looking into the soul of an ex-KGB agent and seeing the goodness in his heart.

If you want flatterers, you’ll get them, and backstabbers to boot. If you want people who will tell you you’re making a mistake, you’ll have to make compromises and do the whole give and take, but they’ll serve you better than those who kiss your butt to get something out of you.

Yukon Jake-
I’m on six and seven in the Protoss Campaign. I’m currently trying to completely defeat both my enemies in that battle. I managed, despite my misgivings, to pull out a victory, and this being a video game, I’ll replay it and destroy everybody instead! But I don’t do things the way you do them.

I’ve found that if you disregard the lives of your soldiers, you end up losing, more often than not. It’s not merely that these imaginary grunts would lose heart at the lack of gratitude, it’s also that economics dictates that you only get so many chances to triumph. If you’ve lost nearly your entire forces smashing one position, you have to reconstitute that force with your limited resources, then weather the casualties of that.

One particular destructive force for the basic units are the defensive positions. Some of these buildings are detectors, which means cloaking or hiding within its view is a waste of time. Some are focused on air, some on ground, and some do both. In any case, you can lose a lot of ground units, in addition to the more expensive aircraft trying to attack them.

So, when I have them available, I employ whatever unfair unit I can find. If I’ve got a Terran Battleship with a Yamato Cannon equipped, I’ll blast the Missile Turret or Spore colony or Proton Cannon from down the block and then exploit the opening.

Unfairness is essential in war. All too often, Republicans take an approach to war where we flash our strength and try to intimidate people into accepting our terms because we’re so tough. We do this instead of taking control, thinking that somehow we’d end up looking bad for imposing our force on them. But really, you don’t want to give somebody the chance to make a choice unless you have some clear idea of what choices they will make, and how you will respond.

I get sacrifice. Believe me. I know its necessary in part. I just don’t think its necessary all the damn time and for any damn reason. Really, few of the four thousand plus dead should have ever died for their country. They died because whoever planned for this war, screwed things up royally.

For my part, when I play the game, I’m very protective of my troops. I’m more than willing to send them into battle, mind you, but until I feel their strength is great enough and their fire power will make a dent in my desired target, I wait. In the meantime, I’ll support them with appropriate units so that the enemy’s big weapons don’t annihilate them before they can take down the target. I’ll also set up my own defenses so I don’t get an enemy knocking down my door and prematurely whack the lot of them.

Why? Because I’m sentimental? No. Because in a contest of unfairness, the side that can make things the most unfair for the other side and in the most crucial ways wins. I subscribe to Von Clausewitz on this: destroying enemy forces isn’t merely killing them all. It’s denying them supplies. It’s sneaking around. It’s learning about key information that can be used against them. It’s depriving them of the ability to fight back.

Not depriving yourself of it. Bush heightened the disadvantages for our troops by requiring them to try and occupy and keep order without the numbers to do so. He also balked at efforts to work with the local power structure, preferring to try and impose changes on the Iraqis without gaining their cooperation, or at the very least having the muscle present to force them into it. Bush naturally didn’t intend to put our soldiers at a disadvantage, but nonetheless his policies have had that effect. There seems to be a very superficial appreciation for the needs of the soldier among too many Republicans, which means that although they love them to death and put magnets and bumper-stickers on their cars, they overlook such mundane things as their emotional and physical welfare after they’re home, or the proper construction and maintenance of facilities at bases and hospitals. My political communities, for the most part, reach out to the troops and report on the corruption and double-dealing surrounding them. This is one reason why Obama is prefered six to one by those giving money in the military, reaping the majority of donated money from them: The Democrats are talking about the things that really are troubling our soldiers, while the Republicans are doing their best not to talk about it, sometimes not even to acknowledge it.

Ironically enough, you fellows are doing this to improve their morale. But morale can be good in spite of bad PR. It rarely remains unaffected, though, when troops are forced to go into battle underequipped, undermanned, disillusioned by policies that force them into moral hazards, haunted by battlefield stress that the screwed up logistics of the Bush administration has made worse through extended and repeated deployments.

Believe me, I know a lot more about the humbling task of running an effective war now than I did before the war. But it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind was blowing, and it didn’t take a degree in military strategy to know that not being able to stop looters in a city you ostensibly controlled wasn’t a good sign. I’m always skeptical when people start talking about paradigm shifts in the economy and the military allowing folks to get away with different things, because at the end of the day, certain things will remain true in battle and business regardless of the level of technology or the changes in academics.

I wouldn’t blame the media. They helped you cheer-lead the whole thing, served as the conduit for Pentagon controlled (I’m not being paranoid about this) military analysts. Without their help and your television campaign, you wouldn’t have had a war. The media started giving you negative press, and Americans started turning against the war, when it became apparent that the war was chronically failing to achieve the stated objectives of the leaders.

There’s a term in filmmaking: “dressing the corpse”. All the fancy editing and screenwriting, special effects and sound mixing cannot turn a bad movie into a good one. So, too, it is with any attempt to turn a practical failure into a public relations win. Even if you succeed, the rotting corpse of the consequences will rise from the dead to haunt you.

As for oil drilling? It won’t be enough oil, and it won’t justify the potential for things to go wrong. What you talk about is the best case scenario, what will happen if the oil companies don’t cut corners, if misfortune doesn’t strike, etc. Even the best, most responsible oil company cannot guarantee the sanctity of the wilderness.

The time has come to stop depending on any kind of oil, foreign or domestic, for our energy. As a realist, though, I must volunteer that this won’t happen all at once. Given that, we cannot simply wait around for supply to catch up to demand. It never will, not while we depend upon it. Only when we offload more of our energy needs onto other sources, preferably renewable, will we be on a better footing for the future. The trajectory of oil, whether we drill in ANWR or not, will inevitably be downwards.

It is a well-designed game. You could say that this is part of the reason it’s so useful for the examples I bring. All games take some element of the real world and simplify and modify it for play. The resource system in Starcraft ensures that it’s not just a race for who can produce the most units, but also who can produce the best and/or most appropriate units. Strategy and simulation games like this can present a good education on such matters. If you don’t plan properly, if you don’t operate with the right discipline, things won’t gel like you want them to. These are basic lessons that often get lost in the fantasy land game of politics, where often, stupid choices of words snowball into even more foolish policy decisions.

At some point, the rubber of rhetoric has to meet the road of economic reality, and if the tread is thin or just a retread, the wheels can come off the policy fairly easy.

In both game and reality, there are the things that you want to happen, and there are the things you can and/or should make happen, and often you need to give up on the first if you want to make the best outcome occur in the second sense.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2008 6:03 PM
Comment #258569

If you really do ascribe to the idea (in game) that you must have a massive force prepared before you wage a campaign, then I GUARANTEE you are not beating the game without cheatcodes. That might work with the protoss because they are comparably indestructible, though expensive to build, but you’ll never beat the game without an almost constant assault of troops on a base. Think 5 barracks all churning out firebats and marines at the same time with rendezvous points set-up at the enemy gates.

And I don’t disregard the lives of our troops in Iraq, as I don’t disregard the marine in Starcraft, but sacrificing 20 men to pull enemy forces away from key elements so I can drop ship 6 tanks with seige capability onto their mineral and gas deposits not only feels good, but works fantastic. And all 20 of my men will die. And the enemy base will be utterly annihilated. And I will win. And by the time I actually find every outlying structure and decimate it, I will have replaced all 20 men.

Once you’ve played that game for some time (incidentally, you won’t ever really get better until you start playing the computer in deathmatches 2 or 3 versus just you melee - not free-for-all) you will learn that to truly win, you can’t waste your time “sneaking around” - your ghosts will almost always die after a nuke, so you set and forget and if they are still standing there after the blast undetected, then hooray. You’ll learn all this if you can actually beat the computer 2 on 1 melee. The first time you win 3 on 1 melee, you’ll become a conservative.

Enough of Starcraft.

As for oil, you are living in la-la-land. The north slope hasn’t in over 30 years had a major spill even a tiny fraction of the Exxon-Valdez - which I witnessed firsthand as a teenager living there. And most of my friends work for Conoco Phillips or BP and employees literally lose their jobs if they spill one measurable drop of oil and don’t take measures to report and mitigate it. One drop. It’s in the policy handbook for operators and linemen. There is no nation half as stringent as we on environmental regulations.

You are thinking (or at least speaking) from the heart and not from the head. Would I love to wake up tomorrow and have an electric car and and a geothermal house - hell yes I would - but it isn’t going to happen in the next 20 years regardless of who’s in charge because too many processes have to be completely restructured. To illustrate that point, I am actually building a house right now that will be off-grid and earth sheltered, because I cynically believe that the good ship America is doomed and when it gets violent, I want to be able to defend my home and keep my kids warm at the same time.

As far as wilderness in ANWR, you (LIKE ALL LIBERALS) miss the point entirely. I almost can’t help but muse that you must be dying for a cause to fight for if the only thing you can find to object to is the “potential” for an oil spill over icy gravel and windblown grass in a place that is for all intents and purposes devoid of life. Here’s an idea for you, have T-Shirts printed that say “STOP PLATE TECTONICS” and distribute to all your friends.

There has been GREAT cause to drill in ANWR for decades, but it has ALWAYS been stymied by liberal politics - as though Alaskans wanted to defile Yellowstone, or some other such pristine treasure. We need to drill because we will need the oil - period. Some for energy and some for textiles, or are you suggesting that we stop wearing shoes and clothes made from oil byproducts as well. I’d love to see you dressed up like davy crockett all in leathers with a beaver cap on your head to keep it warm in winter, at least you could have cotton underoos. There’s more to oil than energy, and having it around and available yesterday, would mean less of a predicament today. Again, I’ll say it, you are thinking with your heart, does it ‘feel’ good, as opposed to with your head, does it make sense. We should be entirely renewable before my grandkids are born, but that will probably be 30 years, and we’ll need and exhaust ANWR for textiles alone in that time if things get as bad worldwide as I suspect they may.

Here’s a big nasty conspiracy theory I just thought of, and I’m serious, what if the ridiculous price of oil we’re seeing, still $4.65 a gallon in Alaska and the highest in the nation, is the result of an effort to make people so sensitive to the price of fuel that public opinion will sway and people will finally allow the extraction of our natural resources in this country on the promise of lower costs. That has merits. If it’s true, it’s diabolical, and a shame that it had to come to that.

And I do blame the media, and will continue to blame the media for much of our difficulties in Iraq. You saying we couldn’t stop looters in Baghdag because we had it controlled, means we were failing, is so laughable it almost doesn’t bear pointing out, but #1 - looters are thieves, not suicide bombers, and #2 - can be found in every large and small city in this once great nation.

An interesting repeat offense that I constantly fall victim to on watchblog is the idea that because I am conservative, and think practically, that I am a Republican. That we all are. Anyone who doesn’t think their SUV is going to burn up the atmosphere is a Republican. It is a ridiculous assumption. I don’t claim your positions make you a Democrat, I claim them to be liberal positions - which they unfailingly are.

Best of luck 2 on 1, try it in free-for-all for awhile on a map with 8 stockpile bases. When you can beat that twice in a row, stay free-for-all and drop to a 4 base map. Beat THAT, and you’re ready to try 2 on 1 melee on an 8 base map.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at August 15, 2008 1:19 AM
Comment #258575


I think you forget that many of those ‘looters’ you disparage were looting one of the largest weapons depots and ammo stashes in the world. We were not tending to the things we needed to after the initial invasion.

Oil…damn that vile stuff…yes we need oil now. ANWR nor offshore will give it to us NOW. The only thing it will give us is another excuse NOT to pursue other means of developing energy. Conspiracy??? How about Cheney/Bush providing a national energy policy with only energy and oil executives allowed to input (and that in secret). Where are we now on energy??? Please get off that drilling is an answer…it is not…it is part of the problem.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 15, 2008 10:46 AM
Comment #258584

Yukon -

“The first time you win 3 on 1 melee, you’ll become a conservative.”

Um, no.

Want good examples of cold, heartless actions in the cause of victory by Democrats? How about WWII? We did a lot of cruel, cold, heartless actions there…the worst of which was NOT the atomic bombings, but the firebombings of Japanese city that caused forty-nine times more damage to Japanese cities than did the atomic bombs (see A Torch to the Enemy by Martin Caidin).

There’s more…but that’s the best example.

One last thing - I may be a hardcore liberal Democrat, but I also know the worst president we’ve had in terms of civil rights was Woodrow Wilson - a Democrat. Among other things, He put many people in jail for years just for speaking out against our involvement in WWI, and never once spoke publicly about the Great Influenza that killed well over half a million Americans (most of them in a span of four months).

What’s the point of that last one? Protect the Constitution (not just the Second Amendment) against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic, Republican or Democrat.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 15, 2008 1:29 PM
Comment #258604

Starship Troopers was a great movie on many fronts, and I’m glad you noticed those little things. I noticed them too the first time I watched it.

I too agree you do not need to be an expert on something to notice or recommend something. I think gaming is an artform, there can be good art, and bad art of course.

Posted by: Allen at August 15, 2008 5:49 PM
Comment #258605


It is easy to forget sometimes that our Commander-In-Chief in his oath of office swears to protect the constitution…not his office, not his friends, not oil companies…just the constitution. Our current President has forgotten that…oh, thats right, he thinks the US Constitution is just that ‘God-damned old rag’…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 15, 2008 5:52 PM
Comment #258607

“Our current President has forgotten that…”

As will be the case with the next President, no matter which one wins.
Some change.

Posted by: kctim at August 15, 2008 5:58 PM
Comment #258610

kctim -

Yours are what I call ‘throwaway assumptions’, based not at all on fact, but on personal likes and dislikes.

Unless you’ve got something to back up your assumptions, of course.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 15, 2008 6:26 PM
Comment #258616


Don’t blame tim, he can’t help it, he wants Bob Barr or Ron Paul or Ralph Nadar or Shirley Mckinney to win the big LOTTO. It makes him bitter and he bites anyone in his area.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 15, 2008 7:18 PM
Comment #258619

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc was also an early S1 ep of TWW.
Consort was a pretty serious insult in Romeo and Juliet, although Al Swearingen didn’t like cahoot and collude in David Milch’s Deadwood.
For what Alaska looks like after the oil companies get to work, see Oil on Ice,
It’s amazing that WWilson has such a good historical rep. It seems to be based more on theory than reality.
That’s Cynthia McKinney, not Shirley.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 15, 2008 7:39 PM
Comment #258632

Excuse me about McKinney…It makes no difference if drilling will ruin wilderness or the beaches or not. It is foolish to continue to expend limited resourses on limited results, if the same resourses can provide unlimited results. Why are we still talking about oil???

Posted by: Marysdude at August 15, 2008 9:20 PM
Comment #258675

Yukon Jake-
I don’t use cheat codes. It’s not that I’m pure as the driven snow. I’ve got the Strategy guides for both the game and the expansion pack, which I purchased as part of the “Battle Chest”. I prefer, though, to win my own way. It’s more fun to win because you learned what worked, and figured your wager correctly.

I do a lot of reconnaissance. The lay of the land answers many questions about where defenses should be placed, where the attack should be focused. Whatever mobile observer I got, I’m sending that puppy for a ride around the map, skirting the edge of whatever fixed observers they have.

I’ve learned about the units backwards and forwards. I know what each one does and can do. Knowing this, I can take that siege tank, find a nice perch for it, and let that artillery piece use its range to take out whatever I’m looking to remove.

I don’t use numbers for the sake of insulation on the cannon fodder front. I use them to maximize the firepower. Twelve Dragoons will destroy even a scout or carrier fairly quickly. Twelve Zealots will destroy a poorly defended building fairly quick. They’ll also make mincemeat out of most ground units, when they attack them in force.

I keep up the upgrades. If my guy can do six more points worth of damage with every hit, an equal number of mine and his ends with my guys surviving. And since I do my best through both manuevers and production to not have equal numbers lying around, It makes a bad situation worse for them.

I’m not phobic about my units dying. I just take Gen. Patton’s famous aphorism to heart: It’s not my job to die for my country, but to make the other guy die for his. If I send in twenty and lose twenty, typically I missed something. I want to send in twenty, lose maybe a quarter, but kill four or five for every one I lose.

On oil? You’re talking to somebody who’s lived all but four years of his life in Houston. My grandfather ran refineries before he retired. My father sold parts during part of his career for cathodic protection. That is, he sold parts that keep the oil from corroding the pipelines. I believe that you have to be thinking with your heart if you think that nothing will ever happen. Tight regulations like we have only make such things considerably less likely, not impossible. As a Houstonian, I’m also familiar enough with what happens when corners are cut and standards are not kept. With some organizations, folks comply with the regulations. With others, we might not be so lucky. Refineries blowing up became a regular occurence during the course of my childhood and adolescence. It was almost a seasonal thing. So do I trust the oil companies? No. Not when I see what’s going on in my backyard.

I’m a big science buff. I keep track of all different kinds of technologies, including the silicon engineering that underlies photovoltaics. That stuff is happening alright. I happen to have read in another magazine that there already is a way to configure an SUV engine so that it gets 40 MPG, even without a hybrid system. The main difference will be how one puts together the electrical system.

We have the technology now to reduce our dependence. We have hybrid engines now, and people have successfully developed plug-in hybrids that are even more efficient. Those exist now. High capacity wind generators exist now. Fairly efficient solar panels exist now. Fuel cell technology exists now, and in fact has existed for quite some time.

We have a choice: avoid the cost and hard work of making this transition, or confront it now, while we still have the energy resources to prevent it from becoming a crash energy diet. People like you, confused by the rhetoric of lobbyists and industry hacks are the ones not thinking with your heads. Your party has been beholden to the buggy-whip manufacturers for quite some time now, the people who have a vested interest in America not moving out until they’ve gotten all the profit they wanted out of it.

If we wait for the oil market to make itself obsolescent, even if Global Warming isn’t real, it will be an economic disaster. The price for transporting everything will rise through the roof, and we’ll be forced to engineer the alternatives while trying to simply survive economically as a nation. With Global Warming a reality, though, you can add on whatever effects maintaining those carbon emissions brings. Those, by their nature will be unpredictable, but undoubtedly, they will be as violent and sudden as all the transitions the climate has made in the past.

Essentially, not making the transition now means that somewhat later, we’ll be doing the economic equivalent of juggling chainsaws(making the transition under the pressure of a severe energy crisis) while being shot at by a sadistic sociopath(weathering the change in climate created by global warming) That’s something neither my heart nor my head can agree with.

You have the luxury of being able to isolate yourself from some of your problems. Most Americans will not. We will have to deal with whatever crisis you fear, and nature will not sustain everybody doing what you want to do.

I’d just as soon not panic. I’d just as soon keep America going. I’d like to see our economy change for the better, getting away from fuels we can’t make more of, and energy that won’t get replaced from somewhere, when it gets used up.

Now you can say, oh, you’re just wanting to protect gravel and such. This is the National Fish and Wildlife Service’s Opinion of the place:

The Fish and Wildlife Service has stated that the 1002 area has a “greater degree of ecological diversity than any other similar sized area of Alaska’s north slope.” The FWS also states, “Those who campaigned to establish the Arctic Refuge recognized its wild qualities and the significance of these spatial relationships. Here lies an unusually diverse assemblage of large animals and smaller, less-appreciated life forms, tied to their physical environments and to each other by natural, undisturbed ecological and evolutionary processes.”[35]

And what are we risking that for? For unproven reserves that probably will only last for a few years at best, which will take years to develop and will do practically nothing to change the price of oil and therefore the price of gasoline on the world market. Switching to higher mileage vehicles, maintaining our current vehicles well will probably do the trick better.

As for heart vs. head? The truth of the matter is, what this drilling is intended to do is deflect blame for the current energy crisis away from dependence on oil and on to environmentalists. It’s the same old trick, really. Don’t blame us for getting you addicted to this stuff, for setting up energy trading markets where prices spike without rational reason, etc.

These companies are after one thing: continuation of the status quo. But it’s not sustainable. It’s not possible to sustain it. The technology is here to create energy independence, energy sustainability. Why are we waiting? Why are we turning back to drilling like a junky to his syringes? Let’s move on, before it becomes even more painful.

As for Global Warming? Ask your neighbors about the temperatures, the natives about how they rememember things. Ask a scientist about thermo-karsting and the progressive melting of permafrost. It’s happened, and its happened in places that for hundreds of thousands of years have managed to keep a certain climate. This is not some mere cycle bringing back warmth, this is a complete shift in the way some climates on the planet are operating. The sad thing is that so many people have bought this “controversy” line when the evidence is so good it’s almost uncontroversial among most scientists. Make it into a definition of liberal vs. conservative, and many people get extremely gullible for some reason.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 16, 2008 10:45 AM
Comment #258679

>Make it into a definition of liberal vs. conservative, and many people get extremely gullible for some reason.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 16, 2008 10:45 AM


It’s because you sell your points with data and common sense, and they sell theirs with fear and hysteria. Fear sells in the short run, which is what they count on.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 16, 2008 11:25 AM
Comment #258859

Fear sells best when there’s a lack of leadership from the other side. We need to make sense, and plenty of it, and reassure people with the strength of our ideas. it also helps to project an aura of courage, of not letting ourselves be afraid. If all we can offer people is uncertainty, that only feeds into fear.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 7:53 AM
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