And so we slowly become what we fear

ABC News: Documents show US military in Iraq detain wives
U.S. forces in Iraq, in two instances described in military documents, took custody of the wives of men believed to be insurgents in an apparent attempt to pressure the suspects into giving themselves up.
In one, members of a shadowy military task force seized a mother who had three young children, still nursing the youngest, “in order to leverage” her husband’s surrender, according to an account by a civilian Defense Intelligence Agency intelligence officer.
Women and Children.
I think I am going to cry. Or scream.

Settings, and Pre existing characters

Paul Tevis in Episode 23 of his podcast Have Games Will Travel raises some excellent points about running something in existing settings. He talks about it in context of Pendragon and Deryni, but this is applicable to, say, Amber, or Serenity, The Black Company, or any other published setting you might use.
“Just because your players read the same book doesn’t mean that they have the same impressions of it. With any preexisting setting…its vital to identify to identify what gets you and your players excited about playing it, and figure out how to make *that* happen…”
I look forward to Tevis’ podcasts every week, both his RPG and his board game settings.

Our very own Praetorian Guard?

Patriot Act Renewal Includes Creation of a Federal Police Force – TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service.has been around for quite some time, protecting embasssies and do act in DC, but it seems that a clause of the Patriot Act would have their act go National.
I’ve put the entire text of the section of the Patriot act in the Extended Entry. Reading it, not being a lawyer, it sounds like to me, buried amongst more reasonable things is the fact that:
“…empowered to “make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence” … “or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony.”
Does showing up as a protestor at a rally for Bush count as a offense against the United States? How about just wearing a “Bush sucks!” t-shirt outside of the White House? And if you don’t think they would go that far, you’ve not been living in America the last five years.

Continue reading Our very own Praetorian Guard?

The Two Jakes

GameCenter: Recap – Pittsburgh 34 Denver 17
GameCenter: Recap – Seattle 34 Carolina 14
No, not the sequel to Chinatown, but the two Championship games this weekend in the NFL featured the fall of two Jake quarterbacks.
On the AFC side, Jake “The Snake” Plummer could not escape the crushing Pittsburgh defensea s the Steelers break their horrible streak in AFC Championship games (1-4 under Bill Cowher, many of those with them as favorites) with a 34-17 thrashing of Jake’s Denver Broncos
On the NFC side, Jake Delhomme looked even worse as Seattle completely dominated the other Jake’s Panthers 34-14. The final score, if anything, understates the dominance of Seattle, since one of Carolina’s touchdowns was on a late garbage time touchdown, and the other was a on a punt return TD which was originally, and should have been, called back on a penalty.
So, the official BJS prediction for the Super Bowl?
I think that the Bus finally will break down, as the opportunistic and dominant Seattle Seahawks will give Holmgren his first Super Bowl victory since his days with Favre and the Packers, 31-17.

Zork, George Bush Style

defective yeti: Xyzzy
Via Brad De Long, a reinterpretation of the Bush Presidency as an Infocom text adventure game. Miadventure is more like it.
This is funny because I spent years playing these games when I was half my current age.
Here’s just a small sample. But do go and read all of it:
Oval Office
You are standing inside a White House, having just been elected to the presidency of the United States. You knew Scalia would pull through for you. There is a large desk here, along with a few chairs and couches. The presidential seal is in the middle of the room and there is a full-length mirror upon the wall.
What do you want to do now?
You are not able to do that, yet.
Self-reflection is not your strong suit.
It’s not that kind of seal.
They are two several chairs arranged around the center of the room, along with two couches. Under one couch you find Clinton’s shoes.
You are unable to fill Clinton’s shoes.
It is a large, oak desk, with several drawers. In one drawer you find a bag of pretzels.
I don’t think the pretzel would agree with you.

Paragaea: A Planetary Romance

Bowing to the Future: A Princess of Counter-Earth
Paragaea, a Planetary Romance
Via both SFSignal and the Fantasy editor Lou Anders Blog comes notice of a forthcoming novel that certainly gets my attention: Paragaea, a Planetary Romance by Chris Roberson.
The description sounds really exciting (see below) Lou and John compare this book to things like Edgar Rice Burroughs. I read this description and think of Paul McAuley’s Confluence Novels crossed with Jack Vance.

Continue reading Paragaea: A Planetary Romance