Strong opinions, weakly held

Category: quotable (page 3 of 6)

The bottom line

The problem here is that the Republican strategy of holding out for total surrender is working just fine. They had an interesting theory that if you refuse to cooperate with efforts to make the country better, things won’t get better and the out-of-power party will benefit. The theory appears to be true.

Matthew Yglesias hits the nail right on the head.

Funny people are bitter

Bitterness is an almost universal trait among funny people. They hate it when their friends become successful. They grow positively apoplectic when success comes to someone they consider unworthy. The bigger the success, the bigger the resentment and Leno has attained a level of fame most comics can only dream about. Even more unforgivably, that success came at the expense of more worthy souls: first Letterman and now O’Brien.

Nathan Rabin in Why Some Comics Aren’t Laughing at Jay Leno Essay.

Lowering the barriers to philanthropy

As cellphones become ever more entrenched as our indispensable interface to the networked world, this kind of smart-mob-philanthropy will only increase. It’s hard to imagine anything that takes less physical or mental effort than texting a five letter word to a five digit address. (HAITI to 90999). (Why, it just took me seven seconds to do it in between writing the last sentence and this one.) You’d have to be pretty lazy, or pretty flint-hearted, or pretty destitute not to do it. You don’t need Internet access, you don’t need a computer, you don’t need to tell your credit card number to anyone… you just need a cellphone.

Andrew Leonard on how “text to donate” lowers the friction of making a donation. I would love to see a graph that showed how much less likely people are to donate the longer they consider a request for a donation. Making it easy for people to give is the key to successful fund raising.

Zakaria on the underpants bomber

As for the calls to treat the would-be bomber as an enemy combatant, torture him and toss him into Guantanamo, God knows he deserves it. But keep in mind that the crucial intelligence we received was from the boy’s father. If that father had believed that the United States was a rogue superpower that would torture and abuse his child without any sense of decency, would he have turned him in? To keep this country safe, we need many more fathers, uncles, friends and colleagues to have enough trust in America that they, too, would turn in the terrorist next door.

Fareed Zakaria in Don’t panic. Fear is al-Qaeda’s real goal. That’s the smartest thing I’ve read on the underpants bomber to date.

A statement I reluctantly agree with

At this point, Stewart is doing more harm than good by giving people whom he thinks are liars and frauds a platform on his show.

Ezra Klein on Jon Stewart’s interview with John “Banality of Evil” Yoo.

Stupid and industrious

I was trained that the worst officer is stupid and industrious. Stupidity makes them do ridiculous things and industry makes them do lots of ridiculous things. The very best officer is brilliant and lazy. Whenever possible, I try to have stuff done by other people.

Stewart Brand on what he learned in the military, in an interview with the Financial Times.

View source is essential

First, my position: ceteris paribus, view-source was necessary (but not sufficient) to make HTML the dominant application platform of our times. I also hold that it is under attack — not least of all from within — and that losing view-source poses a significant danger to the overall health of the web.

Alex Russell in View-Source Is Good? Discuss.

In the early days of the Web, we all learned with view source. The essential piece that got the Web off the runway was that all you needed to create a Web site was a browser, a text editor, and a server that was connected to the Internet.

What the media can learn from Avatar

That doesn’t just make James “Titanic” Cameron the first man to direct two billion-dollar movies. It also sends a clear message to all those industries getting remade from top to bottom by the pressures exerted by the Internet and associated computer technologies: Keep innovating, and you will keep finding customers.

Andrew Leonard on what the news business could stand to learn from James Cameron.

Why term limits are a bad idea

As a California budget-watcher pointed out to me, when you get Arnold Schwarzenegger in a room with the leadership of the Senate and Assembly, Schwarzenegger has the most budget and legislative experience in the room. A guy who was starring in Terminator films as recently as 2003 is now the most seasoned elected official during one of the worst crises California has ever had.

Ezra Klein in The folly of term limits.

Why passing laws is not like making sausage

The crux of the difference, I would say, is that comparing the operations of the US Congress to those of a sausage-maker is a huge insult to the sausage industry. You may or may not think that the sausage-making process looks “gross” in some sense, but the fact of the matter is that sausage is delicious.

Matthew Yglesias in Sausage is Delicious, Mediocre Legislation is Problematic. Read the whole thing.

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