Friday, October 29, 2010

Sobel Wiki Update 2

It's been exactly two months since I created the Sobel Wiki, an online encyclopedia of Robert Sobel's allohistory For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga. Sixty-one days of moderately diligent work on my part (and I'm still the only editor at the Sobel Wiki) has resulted in a wiki with 108 pages, about a dozen of which are mere stubs.

Some monkeying around with the Magic Google Machine has allowed me to determine that if you type in the name "clifton burgen", the top Google hit is the Sobel Wiki article on C.N.A. Governor-General Clifton Burgen. I view this as significant.

Since the Sobel Wiki consumes much of the little free time I've got, I've decided that when National Blog Posting Month starts on Monday, I'm going to fill my NaBloPoMo blog with 30 newly-written Sobel Wiki articles.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Can't make up my mind

Which would be more entertaining? Watching the Republicans take over the HofR and impeach Obama, or watching them not take over the HofR and freak out? Impeachment would be more dramatic, but it would probably take the GOP months or years to build up to it; they'll probably wait and see if Obama wins a second term, just like they did with Clinton, before they start the main event. The freakout, OTOH, would start right away, so there's instant gratification, but would be an awful lot like the current freakout, only with more voter fraud conspiracy theories and a higher level of violence.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

That darned government

Radley Balko goes full metal libertoonian:

The only coercive power any of these corporations have would be power that they’ve bought from the government.
Yeah, we all remember how Enron used the coercive power of the State to manipulate the California energy market. And why are the Koch brothers trying to buy the government? It must be so they can wield government power. It couldn't possibly be because they want to neutralize the government, thereby freeing themselves to do WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT.

Balko, when your ideology requires you to make obviously nonsensical assertions like that, it's time to get yourself a new ideology.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sobel, Manitoba, and the HBC

Back in the early days of the For All Nails project, Noel Maurer took a good hard look at Robert Sobel's United States of Mexico, and he didn't like what he saw. Bear in mind that Noel is an economic historian who specializes in Mexico, and he's written and co-written several books on the subject. In particular, Noel found the six states of the U.S.M., ostensibly created by Andrew Jackson in 1819, to be completely unbelieveable. No way, said Noel, would the Mexicans go along with Jackson's plan to put 90% of the country's population in one of the six states. (The joke among the FAN Cabal was that Jackson had just discovered the medicinal properties of Mexican marijuana when he drew his map of the U.S.M.) So Noel took the liberty of redrawing Sobel's U.S.M. to make it, if not plausible, then at least semi-plausible.

It's been seven weeks since I undertook my own project to Wikify For Want of a Nail, and I've only just gotten around to starting the article on the Confederation of Manitoba, one of the five original constituents of the Confederation of North America as established in 1782. Writing this article has led me to the conclusion that Sobel's failure to even mention Hudson's Bay Company in For Want of a Nail is at least as egregious as anything involving the U.S.M. Sobel's Manitoba is basically Rupert's Land, the territory controlled by the HBC, with the northern coast of Lake Superior thrown in. Thus, the HBC would own almost all of the land in Manitoba.

Sobel describes Manitoba as "a land without politics," but in reality Manitoba would be highly politicized, and would bear a strong resemblance to colonial Pennsylvania, with the colony's settlers pitted against its proprietors (in Pennsylvania's case, the Penn family). Administering Manitoba would be problematic for any man the Crown appointed to govern the confederation, since he would be constantly butting heads with the HBC's Chief Factors, while the HBC's Governor back in London pulled strings to undermine his authority (unless of course the Company got one of its own men appointed to the post, which is highly likely). According to Sobel, the first Governor-General of Manitoba in 1782 was Francis Legge, who was recalled from Nova Scotia in 1776 due to his tactlessness in dealing with that colony's inhabitants. However, since Legge died in 1783, he would not have been in charge for long. By the early 19th century, the governors of the C.N.A.'s confederations were elected rather than appointed, which would of course make for even more dramatic politics in Manitoba.

Stay tuned for further updates on the Sobel Wiki.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Digital Day 101110


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Digital Day 101010


Thursday, October 7, 2010

An important question

Does this post make me look fat?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Digital Day 100110