Tuesday, November 20, 2007

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Most awesome simulation ever

Robert Farley details a "mini-simulaton" at the Patterson School, "informed by repeated viewings of Independence Day."

And suddenly, millions of men who spend their weekends watching FX prick up their ears.

My favorite bit:

We worked out that the Vice President and the Cabinet (with the exception of the Secretary of Defense) have all, perhaps with a straggler or two, been killed. Congress fares much better, as we figured that most Senators and Representatives wouldn't be in DC during the attack. We're guessing about 85% of Congress survives.
No cabinet, little civil service, but a functional Congress? I predict the new capital would be in Bozeman, Montana -- which, as anyone who's been to Bozeman knows, it not an entirely bad outcome.

posted by Dan on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM


OK, now I've got to go track down the comment I just read in the past few weeks -- was it P.J. O'Rourke? -- who made some observation regarding government disaster plans following a major strike on DC. The essence of the comment was that an American government reconstituted by the US Senate may not be worth surviving the disaster for. Sheesh -- where did I read that? ..bruce..

posted by: bfwebster on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

Didn't know who Robert Farley was until I followed your link and read through some of his posts from various years. I pity his students. He seems to suffer from such an extreme case of partisan myopia as to render almost anything he says damn near worthless.

posted by: Notapartisan on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

The Veep bought it, eh? That means only one thing - the aliens found the Undisclosed Location!

posted by: Alan K. Henderson on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]


I was a student for two years of Rob Farley, and you couldn't be more wrong about him. He never brought his politics into the classroom, nor were many of us even aware he helmed a blog. In my opinion, he's already one of the best professors in the program, and he was one of my favorite professors I had in either undergrad or grad school. Bottom line: you wouldn't know his politics if were in his class. He spends his entire classes wanting his students to express theirs.

posted by: W. on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

My Dear Notapartisan-
You present me (a current Farley student) with quite a dilemma: do I attack you as a person or do I respond with the sophistication expected of a Patterson student? As the most creatively intellectual of our professors, Dr. Farley insists on something akin to critical thinking on crack—keeping pace with him in discussion/debate is a rite of passage. Until I asked him directly outside of class, I had no idea where he stood politically—no small feat for an assistant professor of national security. Of course, you’ve never met him, never talked with him, and never asked one of his students how he conducts his classes. Notapartisan, you’re wrong and your gibbering, reactionary, judgmental attitude is exactly the kind of kind of sloppy thinking Dr. Farley teaches us to avoid. Also, you’re ugly.

posted by: Rush Limbaugh on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

W: I'll have to take your word for it. What I read on that blog, however, which goes back to May, 2004, and in which Farley discusses specific events and trends dating back to much earlier periods, revealed what appeared to me to be a series of narrow-minded interpretations of events through an excessively partisan prism that demonized or diminished the accomplishments of those whose politics he personally dislikes while whitewashing the records and airbrushing the reputations of those whose politics he prefers. With such strong stated opinions, often at odds with the easily verified facts, it seemed to me that it would be virtually impossible not to bring them into the classroom, thus my lament. As you have been so reasonable in response, and say such is not the case, I'll take your word for it and say I'm happy for his students.

Rush Limbaugh: You are partially correct that my opinion was "reactionary." I already said as much in my original comment, that I was reacting to what I read and nothing else. There is, of course, a difference between someone being a reactionary and expressing an opinion that is reactionary, as in this particular case, a reaction only to what to has been written. And that, Mr. Limbaugh, is exactly what I said I was doing. If your contention is that I am a reactionary, as in right-wing extremist, you are wrong. I am someone who is as sick and tired of the right-wing partisan Republicans who have been merrily taking this nation to Hell in a hand basket for the past seven years as I am of left-wing partisan Democrats like those posting at Lawyers, Guns and Money. Judging only by your comment, I trust that you are not planning a career in public diplomacy. Be that as it may, here's hoping you have a wonderful career of your choosing.

posted by: Notapartisan on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

My Dear Notapartisan,
It takes a gentleman (or gentlewoman) to admit error, and I am obliged to follow your suit. First, I withdraw my churlish “ugly” comment; you seem reasonable and that was, perhaps, too far. Second, I thank you for clarifying the difference between the words ‘reactionary’ and ‘reacting’—why, scarcely a day goes by when I don’t mistake Communist jargon for simple gerundive adjectives. However, when your first inclination was to strike out at a new idea without taking the time to fully understand its context and ramifications—well, I’ll leave it to you to judge what that behavior (apolitical though it may have been) might be called. As for the last part, about the propriety of my seeking a position in public diplomacy, rest assured that you’ll find Jimmy Hoffa dancing the Charleston in Giants Stadium before you see me fronting for the State Department.

posted by: Rush Limbaugh on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your reply. Given the context of our prior exchange, I do not understand your statement, "your inclination was to strike out at a new idea without taking the time to fully understand its context and ramifications." I was reacting to reading Farley's highly politicized posts on his blog, Lawyers Guns and Money. There weren't any new ideas expressed there that I can recall. I did understand the context of what was written, where it was written, and the potential ramifications of that writing. I was discussing Farley's novel simulation based on the film Independence Day. I thought that was clear. Apparently it was not. FWIW, I agree with Dan - it is awesome. (BTW, as Merriam-Webster verifies, reactionary is not a term confined to communist jargon.)

posted by: Notapartisan on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

NB: Left out NOT in the sentence about Independence Day. Should read: "I was NOT discussing Farley's novel simulation based on the film Independence Day." Apologies.

posted by: Notapartisan on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

My dear Notapartisan,
A simple mistake—I assumed that we you wrote, “almost anything he says damn near worthless” included statements and actions that occurred while in a classroom setting. Fair enough.

Although I fear we’ve beaten the “reactionary” horse to death, I’ll quietly agree with you while directing you towards a more comprehensive definition found in the Oxford English Dictionary. OED points out that while “reactionary” has been hijacked by Socialists, its first [English] usage occurred in 1840 with J.S. Mill's description of Samuel Coleridge. I think we can assume Mill was not a Marxist.

posted by: Rush Limbaugh on 11.20.07 at 02:21 PM [permalink]

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