Strong opinions, weakly held

Month: February 2003 (page 1 of 9)

Oprah’s book club

Looks like Oprah’s going to turn her book club into a great books course. More power to her. I guess the lip she got from Jonathan Franzen has led her to turn to dead authors who are no longer able to indulge in ingratitude.

You can’t fire me, I quit

A twenty year veteran of the State Department has resigned in protest over the current course of US foreign policy, and his letter of resignation was published in yesterday’s New York Times. It’s yet another scathing critique of this administration’s foreign policy, which seems to revolve around either pissing off or ignoring every other country in the world. The “diplomacy only works at the end of a bayonet” conservatives will probably be pleased that this person no longer represents our country.

Update: I removed the “Saddam-loving” above because the irony intended was not clear enough. It was meant at a barb at those who see diplomacy as a guaranteed failure.

It usually pays to wait

I’m almost never an early adopter of hardware and gadgets, and it usually pays off. For example, Netgear is introducing a line of wifi hardware that works with 802.11a, b, and g. I’ll be able to get a fast wireless hub for home, and I won’t need to worry about compatability issues when I’m away from home. I was actually thinking of buying a wireless access point and card very soon, but I think I’ll hold out a bit longer now. (Link via Hack the Planet.)

Product management

Is being a product manager a step up from being a developer? If you had several years as a developer on various types of projects on your résumé, would you think that doing a stint as a product manager would add something? If you have an opinion on this, send email.

Afghanistan’s recovery

It looks like Afghanistan is funding its own economic recovery by growing lots of opium. Hamid Karzai’s government has banned opium production, but the claim is that the government can’t enforce the ban. Given the state of Afghanistan’s economy and government, I’d imagine that letting opium growers bring cash into the country peacefully is in many ways preferable to fighting a narco war (Colombia style). Besides, the opium farmers are probably better funded and armed than the government in Kabul.

Our Idiot Ottoman Sultan Problem

Interesting thoughts from Brad DeLong on our poor method for selecting our Presidents (this is not an anti-President Bush rant).

Yet another war in Iraq post

The Washington Post explains the pro-war stance taken on its editorial page to its readers today in an unsigned editorial, and they do a better job than the Bush administration of clearly articulating the pro-war case. No crap about the moral righteousness of deposing the evil dictator or of fantastical links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Rather, they go straight for the jugular. Iraq agreed to disarm, and has refused to do so. If they continue to refuse, then we must compel them to disarm. That’s the best argument in favor of war under the present circumstances.

As a liberal, I’d like to buy into the moral argument that the Iraqi people deserve a better government and that they should enjoy freedom, liberty, and all of the civil rights that John Ashcroft wants to take away from Americans, but it’s impossible for me to believe that we really care about that sort of thing.

President Bush has also fully embraced the neocon argument that kicking out Saddam and installing a wonderful new government in Iraq will be the rising tide that lifts all boats in the Middle East, infecting everyone with democracy. That sounds nice, but I kind of wonder if there’s any evidence to back it up. I mean, that’s the best possible outcome, but wishing won’t make it so.

Update: in other news, 122 Labour House of Commons members voted against war in the UK yesterday. At least in the UK elected officials are debating what the government should do rather than lining up behind Tony Blair with their mouths shut.

One more on the war

The US government is using a new sales pitch for its latest UN resolution. The new line is that we’re going to war regardless, and this is the last chance for other countries to pretend that they support us. The Bush administration claims that this is the chance for the UN to prove its legitimacy, but the entire exercise has already proven that the UN is illegitimate. It’s clear that the US is operating outside the will of the rest of the world, and the UN has been utterly powerless to do anything about it. This ought to be my last post on whether we go to war or not, because I think that question has already been decided (not that it really matters, I doubt Dick Cheney subscribes to my RSS feed).

My Big Fat Greek Life

I was one of about a billion people who went to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and laughed until my sides hurt, so I was really looking forward to seeing how much of a train wreck the sitcom based on the movie would be. I had a strong feeling that they couldn’t capture the magic of the movie and turn it into a funny TV show, and based on the premiere, I was right. The show was so bad that I had to question my memory of the movie being funny. Heather Havrilesky points out a few of the show’s problems in her Salon review, but I think she’s too soft on it over. I don’t think I laughed once throughout.

A bipartisan issue

Republicans and Democrats seem to have no problem working together when it comes to protecting the copyright industry from consumers, or, if you prefer the term of art in the industry, criminals.

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