Posts from July 2003


: Dan Gillmor found this little ap for a Mac that I want for my PC — namely, the ability to copy multiple items into memory (“clipboards,” the parlance) on one window and then move to another window and paset multiple items from memory. It is the blogger’s dream: copy the url here then one quote and then another and then the author’s impossible-to-remember name and then go over to your blog and paste each into a post. I want that. I used to be able to do that on my old steam-powered, coal-fired newspaper editorial systems. Surely, there’s some way to do it on an all-powerful PC?

: Silly me: A commenter has me read down the page and find a Windows version.

What I meant to say was: Why the hell isn’t this built into the browser or the operating system (now that they’re the same)? That is, I should be able to simply hit control and c and then a number or any letter of the keyboard and save something at that address.

In the meantime, I’ll try this ap.

: UPDATE: Damn, this changed my life!

All you do is (1) download and install the aforelinked ap, (2) when you cut or paste, just hit a number from 1 to 99 before you let up on the control key, (3) pay these people $20 out of eternal gratitude.

To hell with sliced bread.

500 to 1 on a dirty bomb

500 to 1 on a dirty bomb
: Forget a futures market in terrorism, which caused such a hubub today. What they should do is allow Vegas gambling on terrorism.

Bets, anyone:

: Chance a dirty bomb will be used in the world: 500 to 1

: Chance a dirty bomb will be used in the U.S.: 1000 to 1

: Chance a biological weapon will be used in the world: 5000 to 1

: Chance of an Palestinian human bomb in next week: even

: David Weinberger has more.

Liberal suicide

Liberal suicide
: More on the hijacking of liberalism and its values (not to mention its pragmatic politics), first from today’s New York Times:

The moderate Democratic group that helped elect Bill Clinton to the White House in 1992 warned today that Democrats were headed for defeat if they presented themselves as an angry “far left” party fighting tax cuts and opposing the war in Iraq….

“It is our belief that the Democratic Party has an important choice to make: Do we want to vent or do we want to govern?” said Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, chairman of the organization. “The administration is being run by the far right. The Democratic Party is in danger of being taken over by the far left.”

When a reporter asked a panel of council leaders whether Democratic woes were a result of Republican attacks or Democratic mistakes, Senator Bayh responded with a curt two-word answer that silenced the room.

“Assisted suicide,” he said.

And Andrew Sullivan quotes (Marxist, prowar) blogger Norman Geras on the left’s failure to to support the human rights of the Iraqis just so they can hope to nya-nya the Republican administration:

But what these critics of the war thereby wished for was a spectacular triumph for the regime in Baghdad, since that is what a withdrawal would have been. So much for solidarity with the victims of oppression, for commitment to democratic values and basic human rights….

That is caring more to have been right than for a decent outcome for the people of this long unfortunate country.

How horribly true: In the PC era, it is better to be right than to be moral.

If you want to natter at Bush’s butt, how much better it would be to natter not about the war but about doing a better job at building an economy and democracy in Iraq.

Geras delivers deeper thrusts of the knife regarding the left’s reaction to September 11:

The response on the part of much of it was excuse and apologia.

At best you might get some lip service paid to the events of September 11 having been, well, you know, unfortunate – the preliminary ‘yes’ before the soon-to-follow ‘but’ (or, as Christopher Hitchens has called it, ‘throat-clearing’). And then you’d get all the stuff about root causes, deep grievances, the role of US foreign policy in creating these; and a subtext, or indeed text, whose meaning was America’s comeuppance. This was not a discourse worthy of a democratically-committed or principled left, and the would-be defence of it by its proponents, that they were merely trying to explain and not to excuse what happened, was itself a pathetic excuse….

Why this miserable response? In a nutshell, it was a displacement of the left’s most fundamental values by a misguided strategic choice, namely, opposition to the US, come what may.

What’s most pathetic is that one hears this even from the American left.

But this isn’t the left. This is a crackpot cult that calls itself the left and the real crime is that liberals let them.

That is why I won’t yet give up on the liberal label.

In her new condo

In her new condo

We are all Jewish

We are all Jewish
: Douglas Rushkoff writes:

I got an email this weekend from Daniel Pearl’s parents, who are publishing a book called “I am Jewish,” after the Wall Street Journal reporter’s last words before being executed in Pakistan.

The idea is to get a bunch of writers and thinkers to reflect on this phrase, and what it means to be Jewish. They’re hoping that a diverse set of responses will allow some underlying commonality – and pride – to shine through.

It’s hard to know exactly how to respond. The effort, like the Daniel Pearl Foundation, is a way of transforming a heinous moment into the catalyst for positive thought, unity, and pride. But it’s hard for me to use the ‘rebound effect’ in this way. The “I am Jewish” that Pearl was forced to recite had nothing to do with being Jewish – except in that this word and supposed bloodline was something hated by the people who killed him. Of course, there are no Jews in Pakistan, so the hatred had to do with something else. Some idea about Israel or zionism. Most likely an imported form of anti-Semitism.

But how does one approach these words, “I am Jewish,” when they come in this context? How do they become a source of pride? Is tying this senseless murder to some sort of Jewish pride like turning the destruction of the Shoah (holocaust) into a righteous sacrifice?

Why should a collection of this sort by the parents of a murdered person cause me concern? Have I grown paranoid, or is there something amiss in this transition from bloodshed to inspiring reflection?

Rushkoff’s concerns are well-taken and though still unformed, well-said.

I see the challenge differently — in no small measure because I am not Jewish. I tried to write about this in a sermon I gave last month, aimed at the audience of a small Congregational church.

I have always wondered why Christian churches reject the rituals and thus heritage of our Jewish ancestry (and though I’ve never heard the reason why, of course, I fear one reason: anti-Semitism).

There is every good reason for us — Christians and Muslims — to celebrate Passover, for example, and to read Kaddish when we mourn (which I did in the sermon I gave on the first anniversary of 9.11). We should do these things because sharing these rituals will remind us of our common religious heritage; it will remind us that we are all children of God, descended of Abraham; it will build a bridge from worship to worship and people to people.

We are all Jewish.

I don’t mean this in a post-9.11-We-are-all-Americans way; it’s not just about solidarity.

No, I mean this in a more fundamental, connected, intimate way; it’s harder to kill your own.

We are all Jewish.

I am a proud centro-sensible-prowar-unpc-lib

I am a proud centro-sensible-prowar-unpc-lib
: Both Roger L. Simon and Michael J. Totten (damn, I feel so classless, even naked not using a middle initial) answer my challenge — well, actually, my bit of sniveling beggging — that they not abandon the liberal label and instead retake and reform it.

Totten says in the comments:

I’ve been tempted to just start calling myself a centrist, but then you have to go and write stuff like this, so I just don’t know.

The whole labelling this is ridiculous, but I don’t want “liberal” to become synonomous with pacifism just yet. Or ever, for that matter. But at some point, and I don’t know where that point is, my differences with the peacenik crowd may just become too much for me.

And there’s nothing wrong with just being an independent centrist.

And Simon objects more to being called sensible than being called liberal: “I

The Palestinian solution

The Palestinian solution
: Michael J. Totten has a breathtaking column in Tech Central Station arguing that we must be careful, very careful not to reward terrorism:

It is time to ask ourselves honestly: Is it possible to support a Palestinian state without encouraging terrorists elsewhere?

There are many stateless Muslims; the Chechens in Russia, the Kurds in the Middle East, the Uighurs in Eastern China, and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Opinion leaders tsk-tsk the Russians, but no one holds demonstrations for the liberation of Chechnya. The Kurds are good people and they deserve their own state, but nearly everyone agrees it would only make trouble. Few even know the Uighurs exist. Meanwhile, as the Palestinians continue the jihad, the number of their supporters isn’t declining. It’s rising. The lesson for extremists is clear: the squeaky wheel gets greased.

Lest the Arab-Israeli conflict grind on indefinitely, Palestinians eventually need their own state. But we need to find a way to get them that state while discouraging bad actors elsewhere….

The trouble with the road map isn’t that Palestinians won’t cooperate. The problem is there’s no punishment if they don’t….

Before the intifada was launched in 2000, a Palestinian state was not a guaranteed outcome but an option to be negotiated. George W. Bush is the first American president to use the words “Palestinian” and “state” in the same sentence. Bill Clinton never went so far. Bush didn’t do this because the Palestinians are suddenly more deserving of a homeland. He did so because they violently demanded it.

It’s an object lesson for would-be terrorists elsewhere. Terror precipitates a crisis, generates public sympathy, and produces results on a much faster schedule….

Totten offers a different and decisive road map: “First, defeat terrorism. Second, nurture democracy. Third, negotiate a settlement.” Worth the read.

Tehran’s left bank

Tehran’s left bank
: Hooman has an interesting post saying that Iran is the France of the Middle East (and he knows you’ll read into that what you please). He lists the says and here’s the one that amused me:

8- Both countries make “artistic” movies that only the other one can make a head or tail of. That may explain why Iranian movies are so successful in the Cannes film festival.