Monday, July 28, 2008

Samantha Power in the NY Review of Books

Samantha Power reviews a few books in the NY Review this month. It was a good review of the abuses of the Bush administration (and how they are not an exception, but the culmination of conservative foreign policy), but also notable for a few great quotes that I hadn't read elsewhere:
Here is the full article
The quotes:

"Based on my experience in talking to al-Qaeda members," John Cloonan, an FBI counterterrorism specialist testified to Congress recently,

I am persuaded that revenge, in the form of a catastrophic attack on the homeland, is coming, that a new generation of jihadist martyrs, motivated in part by the images from Abu Ghraib, is, as we speak, planning to kill Americans and that nothing gleaned from the use of coercive interrogation techniques will be of any significant use in forestalling this calamitous eventuality.[4]

and this from everyone's favorite worthless neocon, Douglass Feith

In 2003, for instance, when the reporter Jeffrey Goldberg told Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense, that US troops in Iraq had not been greeted with flowers, Feith said that the Iraqis had been too spooked by the presence of Saddam supporters to show their true emotions. "But," he said, "they had flowers in their minds."

There you have it. It is the liberals who are wishy washy, but "flowers in their minds" from one of the architects of the Iraq War. That quote should have had more legs, because to me it just epitomizes the refusal of any of the civilian officials in the Pentagon to take in anything from the outside world to inform their beliefs and policies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Onion predicts the future...

From January 17th, 2001, the Onion headline:
Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'

Sadly pretty accurate. One could look today and think "You couldn't even make this stuff up." But then... someone did, just for the sake of comedy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Walkable is San Francisco?

What I have always wanted when we go into San Francisco, is an easily readable topographical map. This is a reasonably good start... except note that basically, most of the city is barely walkable. This is from some guy named Lee Byron... mashing up some different maps.
Here is his site, and the large version of the map:
Mapping Walkability in San Francisco
Of course, the best would be if Google maps had a whole set of options built right in, so that you could click to view "walkability", or "playgrounds with mulch or rubber, but not sand or dirt", or something like that. That would be awesome.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"Make a n**%a wanna invest in PBS"

Nas' new video about Fox News (Sly Fox). I don't think I would have ever heard the above line, but it is there, and other good ones too.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ira Glass on practice, failure and storytelling

I think this is a great little piece on storytelling, the value of failure, and how to get good at something. I am going to find some excuse to make my students watch it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Interesting takes on Bill Gates, on the occasion of his retirement

Anil Dash says that by combining Microsoft with the gates Foundation, what he has essentially done is impose a 100 dollar per white collar worker "cure AIDS tax" or "stop malaria tax" on every corporation in the developed world.  Interesting reading...

And I enjoyed reading a rant of an email that Bill himself sent on one frustrating episode he had with a Windows product.
You can read his whole 4 page email here: