Have you no shame, Senator?
It really would be nice if the media would serve as more than a
transcription service. Here, The New York Times passes along some character
assassination, in an article with a nasty-sounding headline, but
absolutely no substantial charges against Richard Clarke. This is
really an amazing bit of work from Senator Frist. Consider this
Far from accepting his own responsibility for any failures before the
attacks, Mr. Clarke was “consumed by the desire to dodge any blame”
even as rescuers were sifting through the rubble of the World Trade
Center, Dr. Frist said in a speech on the Senate floor.
That would be the same blame-dodging Richard Clarke who said before
the 9/11 commission:
Your government failed you ... and I failed you. We tried hard, but
that doesn’t matter because we failed. And for that failure, I
would ask ... for your understanding and for your forgiveness.
Note all the blame-dodging, there.
So, while he’s not busy insulting people with false statements,
what’s Frist’s serious charge against Clarke here? Does he dispute
the accuracy of what Clarke’s said? Does he have a smoking gun that
would show Clarke to be lying for inexplicable purposes? Anything?
Dr. Frist said he would seek to declassify testimony that Mr. Clarke
gave in July 2002 in closed meetings of the intelligence committees of
both the Senate and the House. The majority leader said he wanted to
compare that testimony with Mr. Clarke’s testimony this week before
the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a
10-member, independent, bipartisan panel investigating 9/11.
Perhaps, Dr. Frist said, inconsistencies will be found. “Until you
have him under oath both times, you don’t know,” the Tennessee
In other words, he’s got nothing, but really hopes that if he pokes
around a lot, he can at least muddy the waters. Note that this
continues the pattern of Republicans 1) not addressing Clarke’s actual
charges, and 2) utterly failing in their efforts to make him look bad
personally. Note also, in that same article, Frist’s transparently
dishonest complaints about the book’s timing, even though he knows
perfectly well it was held up in publishing for months while the
government made sure it was clean of classified information.
Sane Thoughts on the Linux Platform
Havoc Pennington forthrightly addresses the rapidly
growing problem of the Linux desktop platform being neither Linux,
nor a desktop, nor a platform.
Well, okay, so maybe it’s a desktop. But anyway, the problem is
that the existing C++ infrastructure underlying the current Linux
desktop platform is showing its age, and people want a modern,
memory-managed infrastructure to build on — a fact I touched on en
last September. As Pennington notes, the problem isn’t just
technical, it’s political. There’s no consensus in the Linux community
about what should be done. You’ve got Sun, which is both a big backer
of GNOME and committed to Java; you’ve got Novell/Ximian, which is a
big backer of GNOME and the primary force behind Mono; and you’ve got
the open source community, which views both Java and Mono as too
proprietary to put into the core layers of the OS.
The solution Pennington advocates is in the grand tradition of open
source: A half-crippled and generally lousy reimplementation of
existing technology; in this case, Java. This is an obviously losing
idea — the new and improved infrastructure for Linux will be an
incomplete and buggy version of a platform that’s never made
significant inroads on the desktop despite a decade of effort — but
the frightening thing is, I agree with Pennington that it’s probably
the best course of action practically available.
Actually, no, the frightening thing is: I doubt his analysis is
going to snap anyone out of their current plans. Linux moving whole
hog to a Java-clone infrastructure on the desktop is the unlikely best
case scenario; the more likely case is that everyone carries on doing
what they’re doing, and the core desktop stack becomes an unwieldly
mish-mash of C/C++, Java, and .NET, thereby making it virtually
impossible to program cleanly against and ensuring that applications
don’t work together well and all require a huge pile of incompatible
The Problem With Open Source
Or at least, a problem: You never know how serious anything is. Take
Groovy. Up until a week
ago, I’d never heard of it (or possibly had heard of it in such
experimental toy-related terms that I didn’t bother remembering
hearing about it). And then Java.net has an article entitled “Groovy — A New Standard
Programming Language for the Java Platform”, which pointed out that it’s been submitted as a JSR.
Well, that’s all official-sounding and shit, but upon further review, I realize that it’s not an accepted JSR (that is, they just wrote up a proposal); and that Groovy isn’t even at 1.0 yet. And at least one person is, er, slightly contemptuous of the JSR submission.
So what am I to think? Is Groovy the Next Big Thing in the Java world, or is it just a little wannabe toy project that’s getting too big for its britches? I’ve just spent an hour trying to find out, and I still don’t know.
Bad Policy is Bad Politics
A recent article over at Kevin Drum Magazine explains the tension between politics and policy, and illustrates how the Bush administration has come down on the side of politics consistently.
The amazing thing about this politics uber alles view, as the Slacktivist points out, is that it’s self-defeating. We’ve already seen this on the economy — if you work really, really hard, you can sort of spin a terrible employment situation so that it only makes you look somewhat bad; but it’s a lot easier to spin a good employment situation to make you look great. And now it looks like we’re soon going to see that blowing off national security for cheap political gain is not only a terrible idea from a security perspective, but from a political one.
You wonder why I hate the Bush administration? This is why. I can
respect people who come to different conclusions than I do, who think
that the problems of the day call for solutions that I wouldn’t have
prescribed. But not even trying to solve the problem, greeting every
issue with, “How can we use this to make ourselves look good and
advance our agenda?”, that’s deserving of nothing but contempt.
The Terrible Difficulties of the Rich
The Wall Street Journal again focuses our attentions on the nation’s pressing problems:
Mitchell Leit thought his silvery green Bentley coupe would be the
envy of the neighborhood, with its hand-buffed walnut interior,
muscular 12-cylinder engine and $150,000 price tag. But looming large
in the rear-view mirror is a crowd of mass-market rivals, including
Audis and BMWs for $120,000 — and even a $140,000 Ford. “Suddenly,”
says the 60-year-old Los Angeles real-estate broker, “the Bentley is a
What Does $200 Million Buy You?
So, Bush has kicked the campaign into... well, second gear, anyway. The result? Headlines like this one:
Bush Campaign Defends Use of 9/11 in TV Ads
Yes, that’s right. They’re on the defensive from their own ads. This has been your Political Super-Genius moment for the day.
Notes From All Over
I don’t have much interesting to say at the moment; but fortunately, the Internet is just chock-full of people who do.
- Adam Cadre explains why Lost In Translation isn’t about Japan, and why the Marvel Universe is a great setting for comic book writers to play in; and he gets in a few smug-liberal jabs at mainstream culture while he’s at it.
- Tim Bray deciphers Yahoo’s messages explaining how pay-for-placement will help companies get better search engine placement than they deserve, but simultaneously won’t distort the results for its search users.
- Brad DeLong lays out a highly readable and fascinating brief history of modern economics.
- Fred Clark shakes his head bemusedly at the ongoing conservative obsession with Hillary Clinton. I always imagine that if conservatives ever went face to face with Hillary, they’d start shouting and ranting at her; then, overcome by their passion, they’d sweep her up into a deep kiss. Then she’d slap the bejesus out of ‘em, of course.
- Nick Confessore takes Dick Cheney at his word regarding the effects of Bush’s policies on the job market.