05 May 2004

Arabs, we are told, are "outraged" by the abuse of Iraqi detainees by American military police. As they should be. As civilized people everywhere should be.

But when was the last time an Arab leader was outraged about conditions in his own prisons or the prisons of his neighbors? When was the last time an Arab general's career came to a screeching halt over the treatment of prisoners under his control? When was the last time an Arab leader permitted the level of public protest that is routine in American-occupied Iraq?

Posted 04:36 PM

This is one of the most condescending press releases I've read in a long time. Yahoo studied Internet use by women, and came to such shocking conclusions as "a higher percentage of women visit sports sites than astrology sites" and "areas such as news, financial services and games also top the list of online destinations."

This is 2004, people! Hasn't the notion that women are only interested in makeup and cleaning products been dead for, oh, twenty years?


Posted 11:04 AM

Microsoft has posted a good introduction to spyware, discussing what it is, what it does, and how to reduce the chances of an infestation. The tips are obviously Microsoft-centric, but the article as a whole is not.

(Aimed at less experienced users. If you are already running AdAware or Spybot, you probably don't need to read this. If you don't know what AdAware and Spybot are, you probably should read it.)

Posted 10:47 AM

04 May 2004

I finished off April with another 1200 words, giving a total of 43,895 through the first four months of the year. Add another 750 since then, for a year-to-date total of 44,645.

To get to my original goal of 300,000 for the year, I need to average almost 32,000 words per month going forward. Guess I better get to work, huh?

Posted 09:23 AM

Those of you who don't live in New England may not be familiar with the peculiar institution of the Town Meeting. An open Town Meeting is democracy in its purest form. Any registered voter in the town can show up, say pretty much anything they want about the issues facing the town, and vote on everything from the town budget to minor zoning changes.

My town's was last night. I came away from it with a real appreciation for my fellow citizens, who demonstrated both a solid grasp of the budget realities and an abundance of common sense. I also realized that some characteristics of democratic debate don't change, whether the forum is a small town in New England or an international deliberative body.

  1. Don't irritate people if you can avoid it. You'll need their votes later.

  2. Be polite. Don't hog the floor or throw your weight around unnecessarily, no matter how righteous your cause. You'll irritate people, and they'll punish you for it at the first opportunity. See rule #1.

  3. No matter how well-informed and passionate you are, you only get one vote. See rule #1

  4. The more influence you want, the more involved you have to be. Someone's got to do the grunt work of attending committee meetings and slogging through spreadsheets. If you won't do it, don't throw rocks at the people who did.

Posted 08:56 AM


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