Saturday, November 24, 2007

Great News

John Howard's government has been defeated at the polls, and Kevin Rudd will be the next Prime Minister.

Rudd has named global warming as his top priority, and his signing of the Kyoto Protocol will leave the U.S. as the only industrialized country not to have joined it.

Rudd said he would withdraw Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq, leaving twice that number in mostly security roles. Howard had said all the troops will stay as long as needed.

Good news for everyone, not just Australians.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Chris Hedges

Says The Corner:
Who is Chris Hedges? Not only was he a New York Times reporter for 15 years, he was its Middle East bureau chief in the 1990's. Yikes.

Adds Instapundit:
Yeah, kind of makes you wonder what's going on with their current reporting staff that we won't find out for years.

Yeah - for example, maybe we'll found out that Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper were neoconservatives working for the administration.

In general, I find it very funny when the Bush Right attack the NYT, as the Times has been such a friend of the hawks.

Kindle Sold Out

Apparently the Kindle sold out in less than six hours. This definitely seems like an intentional shortage, and Amazon isn't disclosing how many were actually prepared to sell as of the launch. But it seems unlikely that after three years of preparation they would inadvertently have a shortage immediately after the launch. My guess is that the engineered shortage is partly in response to all the negative coverage of the past few days. They're trying to change the optics and create a sense that it's a cool, must-have gadget.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Right-Wing Obsession

Via Eschaton and Sullivan, we see which Conservapedia pages are the most viewed:
Most viewed pages

1. Main Page‎ [1,903,406]
2. Homosexuality‎ [1,548,733]
3. Homosexuality and Hepatitis‎ [516,892]
4. Homosexuality and Promiscuity‎ [420,349]
5. Homosexuality and Parasites‎ [387,906]
6. Homosexuality and Domestic Violence‎ [354,376]
7. Gay Bowel Syndrome‎ [346,289]
8. Homosexuality and Gonorrhea‎ [331,232]
9. Homosexuality and Mental Health‎ [279,922]
10. Homosexuality and Syphilis‎ [265,186]

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazon Kindle

Amazon has launched its e-book reader, Kindle. While the electronic-paper technology looks very cool, and the Sprint partnership sounds like an interesting way of delivering the content, I just can't believe how ugly the thing looks. It's been getting grief in a lot of corners for not accepting pdf formats and for being generally expensive, but I just can't believe that somebody would design it to look like this. Now, Amazon is not Apple and doesn't have much experience with designing products like this, but they spent enough time and money that they should have got it right. It looks like something from another era. A lot of people wouldn't think about paying such a steep price if it were a flashy piece of kit, but in the iPod and iPhone age it's just plain hideous.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pipe Dream

To the three bagpipers playing on the castle esplanade at 8 AM this morning: what the bloody hell were you thinking?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ron Paul and War

When John Derbyshire has become the voice of reason over at The Corner, you know things there have become pretty dire.


It sounds like a Google phone announcement is imminent.

I'm sure Google's announcement is deliberately timed to steal some fire from the UK iPhone launch this week. Speaking of which, The Guardian has a piece about UK hackers preparing to unlock the iPhone as soon as it's released. Even though the iPhone has garnered plenty of rave reviews, I can't help but think that Apple has badly misstepped by creating a dynamic where hackers and tech-heads are allied against them. I'm not sure they'll be able to go back to being the geek's favourite brand very easily, especially if the Google phone is a lot more open.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Double-Standard on Troops

It's interesting that right-wingers who insist that any mention of those US troops denigrating the armed forces via illegal and immoral acts is somehow unpatriotic are the same folks who believe that any illegal and immoral acts by UN peace-keepers reveal the UN to be an evil institution. Apparently Glenn Reynolds thinks it's okay to disparage the entire institution if the institution is the UN, but not if it's the US. If the peace-keepers had been American soldiers, you can bet he wouldn't have posted on it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Week in Clinton

It's been interesting to see the sort of slow-burning change in perceptions of Hillary Clinton's performance in the last debate over the course of this week. The immediate response among most analysts seemed to be that she performed well and that Obama and Edwards missed an opportunity to really market themselves as distinct alternatives, and that she may have tripped a bit on the immigration question, but that overall she should've been happy. As the week went on, that characterization gave way to her having received a beat-down by her opponents and really seriously stumbled in the debate. I think this was partly due to bloggers and MSM writers wanting to liven up the race by making it seem as if Clinton was really on the ropes rather than firmly in the lead, but possibly also due to a poor choice of response by Clinton's team: trying to make her seem the victim of her Democratic opponents.

Now the consensus is that Obama actually did very well and that his tone in the debate was well-received by viewers. Maybe that's true, but it's just strange that the story has fundamentally changed over the course of a few days.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


So this is the talk of the political blogosphere at the moment. Keep refreshing that LA Times website.

Update: I have no idea what the scandal involves, but if you want to do some detective work on Ron Rosenbaum's teasing post, you can start here, here, and here.

Update II: A lot of the rumours are about the Clintons. I'm very skeptical of these, as the Clintons would be extremely stupid to be involved in such behaviour with Hillary aiming for the presidency, especially after everything they went through in the Lewinsky affair.