Strong opinions, weakly held

Month: March 2002 (page 1 of 11)

I find the Unisys/Microsoft ad campaign deriding Unix as inflexible to be good for a laugh. Obviously it’s aimed at idiots, but that’s never hurt an advertising campaign.

Thomas Friedman: Suicidal Lies

Let’s be very clear: Palestinians have adopted suicide bombing as a strategic choice, not out of desperation. This threatens all civilization because if suicide bombing is allowed to work in Israel, then, like hijacking and airplane bombing, it will be copied and will eventually lead to a bomber strapped with a nuclear device threatening entire nations. That is why the whole world must see this Palestinian suicide strategy defeated.

I have respect for the desire of the Palestinians not to live under occupation, but I strongly believe that suicide bombing is a tactic that must be repudiated.

So I finally got around to reading The Great Terror, a long article from the New Yorker by Jeffrey Goldberg. It’s a wide ranging article that covers Iraq’s chemical (and possibly biological) attacks on its Kurdish population back in 1988. It goes on to talk a bit about the miserable history of the Kurds (they’ve been betrayed by just about everybody, just like the Afghans), Iraq’s possible collaberation with Al Qaeda, and Iraq’s ongoing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs.

The article seems to be well researched, but it’s also obviously slanted. The article seems to be written so as to justify going to war against Iraq, and is uniformly pro-Kurd. There’s no question that the Kurds have been horribly mistreated by Turkey and Iraq, but Kurds have committed plenty of bad acts themselves, none of which are mentioned in the article. It also paints the most dire picture possible of Iraqi’s relationship with Al Qaeda, and of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.

Maybe the article is completely accurate, and every other estimate is wrong, but it seems to lack balance to a certain degree. Anyway, regardless, it’s an article that’s worth reading. Just keep in mind that it’s a data point, not the end all and be all.

Yahoo played a dirty trick on its users recently by “resetting” all of their marketing preferences — in other words, turning them all on, regardless of what you had chosen earlier. An alert Slashdotter caught this, and submitted instructions for turning them off. I use Yahoo for a lot of things because it’s convenient and generally trouble free. I’d rather they just start billing me than surreptitiously setting me up to be bombarded with unsolicited commercial email.

Eric Alterman has a handy list of columnists broken down based on whether they support Israel or the Palestinians. It may be useful to people who are reading a column and don’t know where the author’s general bias lies, but I can’t say that any of the names on the list surprised me.

Paul Krugman reviews David Brock’s book on the vast right-wing conspiracy, Blinded by the Right today in his column, and manages to whine a bit more about his own persecution at the hands of Andrew Sullivan, without mentioning Sullivan by name.

Bud Selig is the Jack Valenti of the sporting world — he’s the commissioner of Major League Baseball, and is utterly bent on alienating fans and destroying baseball. This man is so venal, and so stupid, and so incompetent that literally anyone reading this page could do his job better than he does. Never seen a baseball game before? You’re perfect. It’s that bad. Anyway, he did some sort of town hall meeting the other day on the Web, and Joe Sheehan rebuts his ridiculous utterings.

NewsForge has a review of the bootable business card, a Linux distribution that fits on a business card sized CD.

Stepwise has an article on AspectJ, an aspect-oriented programming implementation for Java. (It’s a replacement for javac that can compile aspects.) It’s a pretty good illustration of how AOP works, but not such a great illustration of where it provides value. Still, the whole AOP thing probably bears further examination.

Daniel Pipes doesn’t hold much hope for the Arab Summit this week. He’s right about one thing, until Arabs truly accept Israel’s existence, there can be no long term solutions.

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