Treo 600 Is (Finally) Shipping

The day is here — you can order a Treo 600 smartphone from After all the teasing little “previews” and “first looks”, it’s about time!

Well, At Least THAT’S Over

The polls have closed in California, and if you believe exit polling it looks like the recall has succeeded and Arnold Schwarzenegger has won with a wide margin over Cruz Bustamante and the other one hundred and thirty-three candidates.

To all you good people in California, all I can say is: now that the circus has left town and the hard work of putting your house back in order lies ahead, good luck! I have a bad feeling you’re gonna need it.

Minimize Thunderbird to the System Tray

This is neat: someone’s hacked together a little tool to let you minimize Mozilla Thunderbird down to the Windows System Tray so that it’s not always cluttering up your task bar. Nice work!

UPDATE (Sep. 1 2005): Setting up Thunderbird to run minimized in the tray has gotten a lot easier since I wrote this originally. Today, you just need to install the minimizetotray extension and you’re all set! (Oh, and the same extension can be used to run Firefox in the tray, too.)

The Most Basic Mistake

The President of Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants, Edna Morris, was fired last month after only 18 months on the job. Ms. Morris was replaced by Dick Rivera, the COO and President of Red Lobster’s parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc.

What did Ms. Morris do wrong to earn the axe so swiftly? She underestimated the appetite of the American people:

Darden Restaurants Inc. Wednesday said it had replaced the head of Red Lobster, its biggest chain, after an all-you-can-eat crab promotion went awry…
Darden executives said Red Lobster management had badly miscalculated how many times customers would refill their plates after paying $20 for an “endless” crab entree. Meanwhile, crab prices were going up, sending the profit margin crashing.
“It wasn’t the second helping on all-you-can-eat but the third,” said company chairman Joe R. Lee on a conference call.
“And maybe the fourth,” added Rivera.

Jeez louise, people — four helpings? I can understand seconds, but thirds and fourths? I mean, that’s so far beyond gluttony that we’d need to invent a new word for it.

I feel bad for Edna Morris, losing her job because she had the temerity not to imagine that the average diner at Red Lobster would down four helpings of crab. Shame on her! Clearly she is out of touch with her clientele. Perhaps they should provide some cud for people to chew on while they wait for a table, too.

A Cool Project

My friend Oscar Merida has posted some neat pictures on his blog of a project he’s been working on — building a full-size arcade cabinet to house a computer running MAME, the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator software that runs every classic arcade game ever made. This is waaay cool, looks like it’s gonna be something to see when it’s done! Keep an eye on Oscar’s blog to follow his progress as the cabinet takes shape.

Finally, A Challenger Everyone Can Get Behind

And he needs your vote.

Nazis Take Paris, Again

Looks like the high school band in Paris, Texas sure knows how to spice up a halftime show…

ABC News — Texas Band Chief Apologizes for Nazi Flag:

A high school band director has apologized for a halftime performance that included Adolf Hitler’s anthem “Deutschland Über Alles” and a student running across the field with a Nazi flag.
Charles Grissom, Paris High School’s band director, said his intention was to have a historical performance featuring the flags and music of the nations that fought during World War II.
The show, titled “Visions of World War II,” nearly caused a melee at Friday night’s football game at Dallas’ Hillcrest High School.
“We were booed,” Grissom said Monday. “We had things thrown at us. We were cursed.”

I’m just surprised that, when the kid ran out with the Nazi flag, the entire town of Paris didn’t surrender en masse!

At Least Someone’s Having A Good Week

You know who’s gotta be feeling like his career prospects are looking dramatically better this week than they did last week?

John McCain.

I’m just sayin’.

Department of Shameless Plugs Dept.

It’s October 1st, which means you’ve only got two weeks left to sign up for my class on blogging — it only costs $37 ($27 if you’re a First Class member already), will only take one evening of your time, and should be a lot of fun (not to mention, you know, educational). The blog phenomenon continues to explode — the blog search engine Technorati just announced that it’s indexing a million unique blogs, and that a new one is created every twelve seconds. If you’re at all interested in finding out why so many people find this medium so much fun, or seeing how you can get involved, this is a great way to do it.

End of plug 🙂

Thanks Joy!

Over on her blog Confessions of a G33k, Joy Larkin held a little contest the other day asking people to leave a haiku in the comments section describing why they like her blog. The author of the best poem, she promised, would receive a Linux polo shirt.

Guess who won?


Yep. Thanks Joy! It fits great, and now I’m the coolest geek on the block 🙂

Seriously, if you don’t read Confessions, you should — it’s a great blog, very funny and insightful. Definitely worth your time.

I’ll throw in a funny story here. A few years ago I was a consultant with Computer Sciences Corporation. They were big into doing things with Microsoft products, but I was very enthusiastic about Open Source and was always evangelizing how Open Source solutions could save clients time and money. I got so well known for this routine that my nickname within our business unit was “Open Source Man”.

Time passes. I then return to Forum One Communications in Virginia, a shop that works exclusively with Open Source technologies. Occasionally, I see a problem that there’s no good Open Source solution for yet, and I mention a Microsoft solution I’ve used at CSC or another company as an example of how the problem could be solved. The result? I’m now tagged as “Microsoft Man”.

Given the tides of history, I fully expect my next job to be 100% Microsoft, and the picture at the top of this entry to haunt me as long as I’m there!

On Creativity

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” — Howard Aiken

The Plame Affair (Finally) Getting Traction

Well, if you followed the news this weekend you’d have seen a story come out of nowhere about how the Bush Administration compromised an undercover intelligence operative just to get back at one of their political opponents, who happened to be that operative’s husband. It’s been picking up quite a bit of buzz.

Of course, readers of this blog will be familiar with this story, since I told you about it way back on July 30. So that’s two months that the Washington establishment has let this matter lie. Today, though, Bush looks a lot more vulnerable than he did then, so now people who didn’t have the backbone to do the right thing back then are suddenly scrounging some up. Good for them.

The bigger question is, of course, whether they’re willing to push this matter as far as it needs to be pushed. Betrayal of undercover intelligence agents by members of their own governments is bad enough when it’s motivated by ideology — say, if this were 1950 and it turned out that a key advisor to the President were an undercover Soviet agent. But even in that case, there’s at least some kind of high motivation involved. To betray your own people for no better reason than petty politics — that’s just despicable. The arrogance behind that kind of behavior is so completely appalling that I’m having trouble finding the words to describe it.

So I’ll use someone else’s instead:

We need more human intelligence. That means we need more protection for the methods we use to gather intelligence and more protection for our sources, particularly our human sources, people that are risking their lives for their country. Even though I’m a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors.

Whose words are those? George H. W. Bush’s, from his 1999 dedication speech of the George Bush Center for Intelligence. They sum up the matter pretty well.

It’s About )(@*#()*& Time

Well, whaddaya know… after umpty-ump years of waiting, we finally get a half-decent open-source IDE for Perl, the cunningly named Open Perl IDE (will the creativity of open source project naming never end???). Thanks to Don Park for the pointer.

Amina Lawal Is Free

Some fantastic news on an otherwise dull Thursday afternoon — Amina Lawal, the Nigerian woman who had been sentenced to death by stoning by a Nigerian sharia court for the crime of adultery, has had her sentence overturned on appeal. Sharia courts apply strict interpretations of Islamic religious law to what would in the West be seen as petty crimes, things like adultery, theft, and “fornication” (which I presume means any sex act someone powerful does not approve of).

It’s important to note that the court’s decision does not strike at the sharia laws themselves — her acquittal was based on the judges’ belief that she did not have the proper chance to defend herself in her original trial, not that the law she was convicted under was somehow unjust. In other words, she got off on a technicality. Still, given the strength and popularity of the sharia movement in Nigeria, it’s unlikely that anyone could confront it head-on, so this is probably the most positive outcome Ms. Lawal could have dared hope for. Let’s give thanks that she is free tonight, and hope that other women in Nigeria will be spared the kind of horror that she’s had to go through in the future.

Why I Love the Software Biz

I’ve been asked by several people why I love the software business so much, given all its frustrations and the fact that currently the economics of selling software are pretty similar to the economics of selling ice in Alaska.

The answer has a lot to do with the way that really good software can strike a chord in people. People fall in love with really good software. It becomes not just a product they use, like a pencil or a shampoo or a desk lamp — it becomes, for some people, something more important, more intimate; something more like an extension of their mind. Losing that software, or having it taken away, can therefore feel like a real blow.

I was reminded of this recently by an e-mail exchange I had with a woman who found me through this blog. Almost a year ago, I wrote a piece entitled “Mitch Kapor Returns” about the founding of the Open Source Applications Foundation, the not-for-profit group backing several major open-source projects (including Mozilla). OSAF’s founder and leader is Mitch Kapor, who back in the 1980s founded Lotus Development Corporation, the makers of the legendary Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. One of OSAF’s current major projects is to build a personal information manager (PIM) in the spirit of another Lotus product, Lotus Agenda, that was not nearly as successful as 1-2-3 had been; Agenda was the first real PIM, it was groundbreaking and revolutionary in a lot of ways, but the market never really figured out what to make of it and it was discontinued long before the PIM market would be established by products like Microsoft Outlook (which aren’t nearly as ambitious as Agenda was).

I wrote about all that in my piece last year, and posted a link to a site where interested folks could download a full version of Agenda (Lotus made it freeware a few years back). A couple of months ago, a comment was posted to that piece by a woman named Maggie Green, asking me if I knew of anyplace where Agenda was still available for download: “I used to rely on Agenda for everything and I think I’d like to try using it again.” We corresponded by e-mail, and it turned out my link wasn’t broken, the download site was just temporarily down for some reason; a day later it was back up again and Maggie had her copy of Agenda.

Once she had it up and running she wrote me back:

I wound up getting Agenda (after 10 years, its like seeing an old pal!) and am using it now. If I can just figure out how to print from DOS… Funny how the brain goes soggy after not using it for a few years!

Let me reiterate this, because I think it’s important. This woman is excited about software that is more than ten years old. It runs completely in MS-DOS — no Windows here. It has no graphics at all and runs completely in text mode. It’s so old it doesn’t even know how to interface with a mouse! And yet, for Maggie, it is terribly exciting stuff. More exciting, probably, than if you plunked down the latest shrink-wrapped copy of Office 2003 on her desk, with all its bells and whistles. That’s because, for whatever reason, Agenda works the way her mind does. For her, it just “clicks” in a way that no product has since.

That’s why I love designing software — because with each new project, there’s the chance to build something that could have that impact on somebody. It’s the kind of opportunity you get in damn few lines of work these days.

UPDATE (April 9, 2007): Here’s a great page with tons of links for Agenda-philes, including links to a Wiki and a Yahoo Group where you can turn for help with your favorite PIM.

Ultimate Tech Lust Object

Oooooooooh… what can I say? I want one of these.

The “Cinerama” display alone makes it drool-worthy. Take that Mac-heads 🙂

Sony Geeks Out

Sony today officially crossed the line from “huh, that’s cool” to “huh, that’s… wait, that’s waaaay too geeky.”

They’ve long been pushing the boundaries in power and form factor for PalmOS devices, and most of their experiments have been great successes. Today, though, they announced a new accessory that costs almost as much as most as their PDAs do. The PEGA-VR100K will — get this — hook up to your TV, cable box, or satellite dish, and record up to 16 hours of TV programming onto a 1GB Memory Stick, so that you can then carry it with you and play it back on your Clie PDA. That’s right, it’s a Tivo for your PDA. And all for a cool $299.

Now, this might be interesting if it connected somehow with the PVR I already have (which this doesn’t), or with the PDA I already have (which this doesn’t), but alas, Sony continues down the One True Proprietary Way, so this goes from potentially interesting into the Geek Novelty Bin. The price doesn’t help either, although I suppose if you’re the sort who has $800 to drop on a PDA, you probably can afford to shell out a few hundred on gizmos like this too. As for me, I’ll keep cruising eBay to see if I can pick up a used T665C for less than $100, I suppose…

Get Over Your Damn Self

Look, if you want to buy an SUV, that’s your business. I’m not gonna lecture you about it on the basis of their poke in the eye to Judeo-Christian morality or their laughable fuel economy or their miserable safety records or any of that stuff. Instead, let’s talk about something more practical.

The parking garage in my apartment building has assigned spaces for all residents. As I’ve mentioned before, I drive a Subaru WRX, which is the height of a standard sedan. My assigned space puts me smack between two SUVs. And not any of the semi-acceptable, mini-SUVs that are starting to show up these days, either; no, I’m talking about the full-out monstrosities that are apparently de rigeur for suburban moms these days. These damn things are both so tall that there’s no way I can see over them.

The result is that, every morning, when I go to pull out of my space, I’m essentially pulling out blind — I have to back out veeeeeeeeeery slowly, hoping that some nut bar who’s late for work isn’t speeding through the garage and not seeing me Until It’s Too Late. Because if they are — if they’re barreling down the lane at 20 MPH, and are already on top of me, and don’t know I’m pulling out — there’s really not a damn thing I can do about it except put my head between my legs and kiss my ass goodbye.

You could say the same thing, of course, about other types of vehicles; vans and commercial trucks spring to mind. But this problem never seemed to arise with vans to the degree that it has with SUVs. (This doesn’t just happen to me in my garage; I can’t count the number of times in other parking situations I’ve had to gently nudge my way out of an SUV canyon with no idea what I’d find when I could finally see what was coming.) This is mostly because these other types of vehicles were intended to be the exceptions on the road, and were priced and regulated accordingly.

SUVs, however, are increasingly the rule, which is why there’s a problem; we have a road system now where drivers of passenger cars are suddenly confronted with the quite threatening possibility that their class of vehicles may be de facto obsolete, and that the only way to safely drive in America is to “adjust” and buy an SUV of their own to meet the new height “standard” set by the marketplace. Unfortunately, though, the cost of this adjustment isn’t going to be found in the nice supply-and-demand curves from the Econ 101 textbooks; barring some change in course, it’s going to be found in the injuries and deaths on the roads that result as SUVs muscle passenger cars off the road.

So, here’s the thing. As far as I’m concerned, you can buy any car you want. Go nuts. Far be it from me to stand in the way of you being able to own the Arab-oil-guzzling Ben Hur-meets-Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome bling bling war wagon of your freaking Walter Mitty dreams. But when the SUVs get so tall that drivers of ordinary cars (who the roads are theoretically designed for) can no longer see around them and are forced to make dangerous maneuvers as a result — in other words, if the cost of your automotive preference is my safety — well then, my sympathy runs out, soccer mom. Either learn to squeeze tubby little Tyler and Madison in the back seat of a Chevy Cavalier, shell out the extra dough for a proper van, or (shudder) learn to think the unthinkable.

Personal Best

I was holding off saying anything about this until I was sure it wasn’t a fluke, but now I’ve been able to pull it off twice in a row, so I figure it’s safe to crow about it a little 🙂

Going to the gym two or three times a week has been part of my routine for many years now. It was never anything I took particularly seriously — I wasn’t out to win Mr. Universe, just to keep in check the general sluggishness and doughiness that are the occupational hazards of the computer programmer. And for the most part, I managed to do that, so I was happy.

About seven months ago, though, I got tired of my routine. It started to feel like a waste of time. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that the reason was because I didn’t have any particular goal — I had sets of exercises, but nothing I was really pushing myself to achieve. The result was that I felt like I was just going through the motions more than anything else, which is a serious drag on your motivation to make sure you make it to the gym at the end of the day.

So, I decided on a goal. I wasn’t particularly scientific about it. I just picked something that sounded like something I’d like to be able to do, and set out to get to the point where I could do it. The goal was to be able to run an eight-minute mile.

Now, anyone who knows me will recognize the… ahem… ambition inherent in my adoption of that goal. I’ve never been a particularly enthusiastic runner; my feet are somewhat misaligned (V-shaped “duck’s feet”, instead of straight), which makes running at speed more of a challenge for me than it is for most people. Plus, I’m a freaking computer programmer, for God’s sake! It’s not like I’m out getting bouts of intensive cardio on a regular basis. When I started out, I couldn’t even run an entire mile, at any speed, without having to slow to a walk to catch my breath.

I suppose, though, that it was that ambition that attracted me to the idea. I have always been most attracted to goals that are just close enough to impossible that half the people you ask think they’re daring and the other half think they’re ridiculous. It’s something about the nature of the Grand Project, the Impossible Dream, that stokes the fire in me like nothing else. And this Dream certainly seemed Impossible when I first dreamed it up, that’s for sure.

But, as in most things, persistence pays off. Over the last seven months, I’ve been gradually increasing my distances and speeds, working my way inch by inch towards the milestone I set so long ago. Along the way, there were periods of frantic progress, and periods of frustrating standstill; but I had that objective in mind, so I kept going back, hitting that treadmill three times a week, cranking the speed up another fraction, shaving another few seconds off my time — until last week, when I finally did it, I finally ran the mile in under eight minutes. (Just to see if I could keep it up, I kept going, and tacked on another half mile on top of that for just over 12 minutes 20 seconds.) And then, today, I did it again. So I can honestly say that I can do it, I can run an eight-minute mile. It hurts like hell, but I can do it.

So many things in life today are designed to pay off immediately. We demand instant gratification. Things that once took a day or an hour now take five minutes — and we wait impatiently, wondering why can’t they speed this up? Things that once required muscle and sweat now can be delivered to our air-conditioned doorstep with the click of a mouse, and we think, I have to click? Can’t they make this easier? I’m certainly as guilty of this as anyone else.

That’s why it’s been so weirdly satisfying to have a project where progress takes place over weeks and months; where improvement is measured in a second here and a second there; and where the only way forward is through the effort of bone and sinew. Plus, I lost a few pounds to boot, which ain’t bad either. So, all around an excellent exercise, well worth the effort.

Now I just gotta figure out what I’m going to do next time I go to the gym!

Score One for Al Qaeda

From United States of America vs. Zacarias Moussaoui (filed December 2001):

3. One of the principal goals of al Qaeda was to drive the United States armed forces out of Saudi Arabia (and elsewhere on the Saudi Arabian peninsula) and Somalia by violence.

(Emphasis above is mine)

And now, from The New York Times of September 18, 2003:

The last few American combat troops pulled out of the Prince Sultan Air Base here earlier this month, officially closing the Persian Gulf headquarters used by the Air Force during both Iraq wars and concluding a nearly 13-year run of extensive United States military operations in Saudi Arabia…
The Prince Sultan base, which at the height of the war this spring housed 10,000 American troops and 200 planes, has now been supplanted as the Middle East’s main American military air operations center by Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
This last phase of the American departure from the base occurred with almost no fanfare, attracting only minor mention in the Saudi press. “It was as if they were never here,” a senior Saudi official said. “They left very quietly.”
The drastically reduced American profile could simplify the government’s position among Saudis who espouse Osama bin Laden’s contention that the American military foothold was an affront to the kingdom’s sovereignty. For years, the American presence not far from Islam’s two holiest sites, at Mecca and Medina, has provided Al Qaeda with an important rallying cry.
Partly for this reason, members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family had rarely acknowledged the large number of American troops who used the base as a launching pad for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 50 miles southeast of here, the sprawling high-security installation does not appear on most Saudi maps and is marked on a barren desert road by an unassuming Arabic sign.

So, the war in Iraq actually helps al Qaeda achieve what the U.S. government has claimed was one of its primary aims — the ejection of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia — and they actually achieve it much more easily than they must have ever thought possible. They had planned, after all, to drive the forces out “through violence” — in other words, through the holy sacrifice of their own believers. Instead, though, the U.S. took all the casualties itself! And, as a bonus, they knocked off a secular Arab tyrant (which al Qaeda would otherwise have had to do itself eventually), and look likely to leave behind a confused power vacuum that militant Islam can easily fill (much as it did in the shattered world of post-Soviet Afghanistan). And our troops — those that aren’t getting sniped at in Iraq — can huddle down in Qatar and allow the House of Saud to get back to the business of funneling ungodly amounts of cash to the bad guys without those pesky Americans asking annoying questions.

Not only did bin Laden get away, he scored a hat trick on us. Unbelievable.

The Saudi Bomb?

The Guardian — Saudis consider nuclear bomb:

Saudi Arabia, in response to the current upheaval in the Middle East, has embarked on a strategic review that includes acquiring nuclear weapons, the Guardian has learned.
This new threat of proliferation in one of the most dangerous regions of the world comes on top of a crisis over Iran’s alleged nuclear programme.
A strategy paper being considered at the highest levels in Riyadh sets out three options:

  • To acquire a nuclear capability as a deterrent;
  • To maintain or enter into an alliance with an existing nuclear power that would offer protection;
  • To try to reach a regional agreement on having a nuclear-free Middle East.

There’s really nothing I can add to this, except that every time you think that the Middle East can’t get screwed up any worse than it is already, it seems to find a way.

If You Flew JetBlue, They’re Watching You

Wired News: JetBlue Shared Passenger Data

Apparently the ever-competent, completely non-Orwellian Transportation Security Agency partnered with JetBlue via a third-party defense contractor (Torch Concepts) to take data on JetBlue passengers and use it as the basis for a study of the feasibility of passenger-profiling systems such as the infamous CAPPS II — that’s the one that would assign you a color code, and if you got the wrong code you’d never be able to fly again. Anyone who flew JetBlue before September 2002 could have had their data handed over to TSA as part of this project, which JetBlue acknowledges violated its own privacy policy, and the data included “incomes, occupations, vehicle ownership information, number of children and Social Security numbers.”

So what color do you think they would assign to “billionaire construction mogul”? Because that’s Osama bin Laden’s income and occupation…

More on the Wes Clark Boomlet

Today’s supposedly the day we’ll get the official, for real, no-foolin’ announcement from Wesley Clark that he’s running (update, we’ve got it), so it’s as good a time as any to revisit the issue of what his candidacy would mean for the race overall.

First up, Kos has an excellent analysis of what Clark’s early staff picks tell us about what kind of campaign he’s going to run. The short version is that it looks like the Clinton-Gore machine is gearing up for Clark (unsurprising considering Clark’s an Arkansan himself). You can be charitable and call this the team that won the 1992 and 1996 campaigns, or be uncharitable and remind everyone that it’s the team that bumbled its way through what should have been a victorious 2000 campaign. But either way it’s definitely the Team That Brought You Clinton/Gore, which, frankly, many of us would prefer to get as far away from as possible. (The fundraising excesses of 1996 haven’t been forgotten by everybody, you know.)

Kos also points up an interesting fissure in how Clark is dealing with the “Draft Clark” people. Apparently the General (or his handlers, at any rate) is expecting to run a good old fashioned top down campaign, and now that the soldiers have served their purpose they’re expected to fall back into ranks and take their marching orders. Some of them are apparently fine with this, while others would prefer to run a more decentralized, bottom-up campaign. You know, the kind of campaign you’d expect from a candidate that was “drafted” by a “popular movement”. Oh well!

(Full disclosure: Kos was a Clark backer, long ago, but has since shifted to Dean after tiring of waiting for Clark to make up his mind.)

The bigger problem with the Clark boomlet, I think, is that I can’t see what exactly it stands for. It’s like the old joke about how the best candidate the Democrats had to run against Bush was “Unnamed Democrat” — run a poll asking people to choose between Bush and “Unnamed Democrat” and they go for U.D. because they can fill up the void with whatever they want to, but as soon as you put a name on that void the gap closes as people realize they have to choose an actual candidate and not just a proxy for their political fantasies. Up to now, Clark has served mostly as the human stand-in for “Unnamed Democrat” — as the person people could support if they didn’t think they liked any of the other Dems. It was easy, since he seemed likeable enough, stuck mostly to positions any Democrat would support (“we should have international support in Iraq!” Well, duh), and was never pressed on the same questions that the other candidates were.

Don’t believe me? Consider this. Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall has been beating the drum for Clark for months. Why? Because:

As I’ve written before, I think there’s a niche waiting to be filled just to Dean’s right.
The folks whom I respect most on this question believe Dean’s mix of Vermontly social liberalism and staunch opposition to the war will make it exceedingly difficult for him to appeal to the swing voters who will eventually decide the election in battleground states like Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

OK — so we need Clark because the problem is, Dean’s just too darn liberal — no way those Rust Belt states are gonna go for a flower child like him!

But… wait a minute… over on his site, Michael Moore is showing much love to Wes Clark too. Why? Because — wait for it — Dean’s not liberal enough:

In addition to being first in your class at West Point, a four star general from Arkansas, and the former Supreme Commander of NATO — enough right there that should give pause to any peace-loving person — I have discovered that…
1. You oppose the Patriot Act and would fight the expansion of its powers.
2. You are firmly pro-choice.
3. You filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the University of Michigan’s affirmative action case.
4. You would get rid of the Bush tax “cut” and make the rich pay their fair share.
5. You respect the views of our allies and want to work with them and with the rest of the international community.
6. And you oppose war. You have said that war should always be the “last resort” and that it is military men such as yourself who are the most for peace because it is YOU and your soldiers who have to do the dying. You find something unsettling about a commander-in-chief who dons a flight suit and pretends to be Top Gun, a stunt that dishonored those who have died in that flight suit in the service of their country.
General Clark, last night I finally got to meet you in person. I would like to share with others what I said to you privately: You may be the person who can defeat George W. Bush in next year’s election.
This is not an endorsement. For me, it’s too early for that. I have liked Howard Dean (in spite of his flawed positions in support of some capital punishment, his grade “A” rating from the NRA, and his opposition to cutting the Pentagon budget)…

Ah, yes, those unfortunate “flawed positions” that one finds oneself taking up when one is actually out in the arena rather than loftily making the talk show rounds mulling over whether or not to get one’s hands dirty running for office!

See, that’s the thing — at this point, Wes Clark is less a candidate than a mirror. People look at him and see themselves reflected back. Clearly both Marshall and Moore can’t be right — Clark can’t be both more and less conservative than Dean at the same time, unless he’s mastered some kind of crazy kung-fu four-dimensional political metaphysics that our puny human brains can’t begin to grasp — so it’ll be interesting in a few months to take a look, once Clark’s been forced to actually commit himself to some real positions instead of vague platitudes, and see which one of them turned out to be right.

All The News That Was

The invaluable British publication The Economist has put the complete text of their very first issue, dated September 2, 1843, on their Web site. Hot stories of the day included an expiring Latin American trade agreement, unintended consequences of the income tax laws, and the “Movements of the Anti-Corn-Law League“. I guess some things never change! Except for that last one, of course 🙂

(Thanks to Sandy Smith for sending me the pointer to this!)