Archive: May, 2011
While America is busy high-fiving or running victory laps or spiking the football or whatever the metaphor of the day is over the killing of Osama bin Laden (even though increasingly it looks like bin Laden in 2011 was a lonely guy watching re-runs of his most popular videos between beard applications of Just for Men...but I digress), anyone notice that the much hyped Arab Spring is wilting in the desert heat?
In Syria, in a shocking development, the guys with the tanks are winning:
Knight-Ridder (anyone remember them?) is the name of a company that used to own the Daily Newa, the Inquirer and a bunch of other newspapers until five very long years ago. Up until the early-to-mid 1990s (coincidentally or not, right before I began working here) they were making more money than God, and when they weren't burning that excess cash in large bonfires, they would spend it to "re-think" the newspaper of the future, and then do absolutely nothing about it, because that's what newspapers do. (Did I say "do -- I meant "did". Sorry.)
One of their "brilliant" ideas....um, actually was brilliant. It was, for all intents and purposes, the iPad:
Titled The Tablet Newspaper: A Vision of the Future, this video imagines a world in which people carry around portable computing devices that will "weigh under two pounds," have a display "comparable to ink on paper," and will be able to "blend text, video, audio and graphics." Oh — and the prototype demo looks exactly like an iPad.
Finally, some good news out of the Tea Party. Its stupidity -- and by that I mean Florida's inexplicable rejection of $2 billion in federal dollars for high-speed rail -- is Philadelphia's gain:
The $450 million for the Philadelphia-to-New-York stretch will pay for signal and track upgrages, improved power substations and overhead wire systems to increase capacity and boost speeds on a 24-mile section between Morrisville, Pa., and New Bunswick, N.J.
I've written several posts over the years about why more conservatives aren't in journalism (at least on the basic reporting side -- there's a fair number of conservative opinion writers, even in a Commie hotbed like Philadelphia). I wish there were more, frankly -- it would make life easier for everyone. But the basic things that get reporters amped up to come intro work in the morning (at least before then becoming jaded or high-paid Beltway stenographers) -- questioning a certain kind of authority, challenging the established version of events -- aren't part of the conservative mindset. That's not intended as an indictment of the right -- it just means that logically there have to be differences in human nature that makes some people more liberal and others more conservative, and there's an overlap between liberal traits and journalist traits.
Turns out the same things is true with science. Here's an interesting take on why only 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans:
Who said it?
UPDATE: It was the 43rd-a-half president of the United States, Sen. John McCain -- former POW and torture victim:
Osama bin Laden, that's who!
I think I'll wait for the Taiwanese animated version before I decide whether I believe it.
Also, um....Michael Jackson knew how to drive a car? Never really thought about that before.
UPDATE: Here's the story, which is getting a wildly enthusiastic response so far (thank you!). Meanwhile, because so many of my commenters and emailers have expressed an open mind about both the effectiveness and the morality of torture, I thought you'd also like to read this excellent editorial in the New York Times:
There are many arguments against torture. It is immoral and illegal and counterproductive. The Bush administration’s abuses — and ends justify the means arguments — did huge damage to this country’s standing and gave its enemies succor and comfort. If that isn’t enough, there is also the pragmatic argument that most experienced interrogators think that the same information, or better, can be obtained through legal and humane means.
Four dead in Ohio -- 41 years ago today:
But could anything, in fact, justify the guardsmen, without warning, or apparent provocation, firing on unarmed students?
It's time to tear down a myth right now before it spreads.
Torture had absolutely nothing to do with killing Osama bin Laden. Nothing. Zero. Ziilch. Nada. In fact, it was during the era of waterboarding and other "extreme interrogation" methods that we commonly call torture (at least when other nations do it) that the trail for bin Laden grew ice cold. It was in the years that the government changed course and stopped torturing -- beginning with George W. Bush's second term and continuing into the Obama era -- that the hunt for the 9/11 mastermind got back on track: The tools involved were traditional, legal methods of interrogation, improving our human intelligence network in Pakistan, high-technology including wiretapping of foreign terror suspects (not law-abiding American citizens) and satellite surveillance.