Scripting News for 8/14/2006

Sounds like the SEC is wanting to re-invent RSS? “Few people really need 1 terabyte of storage. But it sounds cool–sort of like you could be running a ballistic missile tracking site in your den.” 

David Weinberger: “If I had a nickel for every million dollar idea I’ve had, I’d be rich by now!” 

Will we survive George Bush? 

Every time George Bush opens his mouth I think of how many Americans are going to have to die to pay for that gaffe, and how many billions it’s going to cost us to dig out of all the messes he’s already created and the ones he’s yet to create.

The latest, Lebanon, really was Israel’s problem, but he’s insisting on getting us on the hook for that one too. After helping get a cease-fire, working with France (bravo!), he says that Hezbollah was responsible for all the death and destruction, and they lost the war! Holy shit. Now we have to back that up? With what? More money and more death?

Everything we do seems predicated on the assumption that we have an infinite amount of money, and that an American (or British or Israeli) life is worth an infinite number of Muslim lives. We don’t have an infinite amount of money, and an American life and an Arab life have exactly the same value.

Inspiration from new places 

I’m working my way through Ken Burns’s documentary about baseball. As a lifelong fan of the sport, I’ve been learning a lot, filling in huge blanks in my knowledge of the history of the sport.

No one knows who invented baseball. An early commissioner of professional baseball, a man named Spalding, created a myth that a Civil War hero named Abner Doubleday invented it in Cooperstown, which is why the Hall of Fame is there, but it’s not true. The game had already been invented when he supposedly invented it.

Babe Ruth wanted to be a manager, but for some reason they wouldn’t let him. He spent his last year in Boston, playing for the Braves, that’s where he hit the 714th home run. The Yankees must not have known how great Ruth was. His greatness is still something you can feel, so many years later. But he sat by the phone, in retirement, waiting for a call that would never come.

A very wise man said that baseball isn’t a matter of life and death, but the Red Sox are. So true. That explains the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, imho.

I come from a family of Brooklyn Dodger fans, on both sides, and having just watched episode 6 of the Burns series, I understand why this is a matter of great pride, because the Dodgers were the team that broke the race barrier in baseball. Of course I knew the basic facts, everyone who cares about baseball knows that Jackie Robinson was a great courageous player, but what I didn’t know is that, according to Arthur Ashe, they were, unequivocally, black America’s baseball team, because of their act of greatness. But that’s not the point of this piece.

What was remarkable to me was how this got to me emotionally. I’m white, not black, and in my lifetime baseball has always been integrated. Robinson wasn’t just a great player in that he could hit and run, and was smart on the bases, he was a great man because he didn’t play for himself as much as he played for his race. And they so desperately wanted to be part of our country, how they rose to the good news! The Negro League no longer was needed, as long as Jackie Robinson was playing on the Dodgers. It’s just a feeling, there’s so much love around the memory, and it’s not even my memory, it’s my parents memory, and their parents.

Then I thought of something that grabbed my heart in the same way, at Gnomedex earlier this summer. I didn’t fully understand why until a few minutes ago, watching the story of Jackie Robinson.

Probably because it’s a user conference and because Seattle is so close to British Columbia, this year there were lots of Canadians at Gnomedex. They’re different from us, but you can’t tell from looking at them, because they look exactly like us, unlike black people who usually have darker skin. That they’re different is something I’ve come to appreciate, having spent considerable (for me) time in Canada over the last couple of years. They don’t seem to mind that we think they’re just like us, but they don’t feel that we’re just like them.

Anyway, the last day of Gnomedex happened to fall on Canada Day, and in celebration, Chris and Ponzi brought out a big cake and the Canadians rose, and sang their national anthem, Oh Canada. I had heard it before, but never in its entirety and for some reason this time it really grabbed me. Patriotism is moving, even when it’s not your patriotism. Maybe even more so, because it doesn’t get all mixed up with personal stuff, you get to experience love of country through someone else’s eyes, and it’s really beautiful. But then I saw a friend of mine from Berkeley, Kaliya Hamlin, standing, and singing. I had to look twice and think, and then I remembered, she’s Canadian! That’s right. I’ll never forget that image, Kaliya is tall and strong, opinionated, a bit nutty (in a nice way), a leader, and underneath it all, she’s even more different from me than Jackie Robinson was, because she’s patriotic to a different country, and Robinson and I are both from the United States.

We can be very different from each other, and loyal to what makes us different, as Robinson was to his race, and Kaliya to her country, but then that devotion can be an inspiration even if you aren’t black and aren’t a Canadian.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Vicki on August 14, 2006 at 10:53 am

    Great post! I lived on Whidbey Island for years and spent many happy times in Canada and I know what you’re saying. Again, great post … great people.


  2. Very true. Thanks for taking the time to write and link such rich journalism. I hope the eyes that subscribe to your data actually allow themselves to feel it; fully.

    Cultures, races, nations, religions, and professions are all available for mixing and collaborating. I’m glad to meet people like you, people that not only allow for their internal constitutions to be amended, but that also seem to be in a constant state of checks and balances and quality control. Despite their heritage, despite their concrete thinking, nationality or PhD, This universal Love continues to command revisiting.

    Your work: blog/podcasts/vid clips/and links are more meaningful than I suspect you are aware of. Sure, you may be most known for creating some really simple computer talk, but you really should receive more credit in the field of post modern journalism and interplanetary philanthropy.

    The type of inspiring and informing content that you consistently generate with Scripting News invokes a level of loyalty that surpasses race and country. Like a universal entwiNation, like water and light and mirrors, every embedded link is really just humans moving to and thru one another, taking note of what is good within, and bringing to light to heal that which has grown hollow and broken.

    Dave Winer is more than just geek news, He’s a real person dedicated to connecting the dots inside of us all. Transparent, Interoperable, Accountability is our connectivity and it can bleed through any wall. Thank you for your constant courage and committed candor.

    Just as Jackie Robinson was a symbol of freedom to the African American of the 20th century, Dave Winer will be a symbol of freedom to the 21st century journalist.

    Best regards,


  3. Thanks for this. It’s a post in line with many that you have done, but which I haven’t seen with much frequency lately. I admire your ability and willingness to share the personal, emotional, and human side. There’s no writing quite like it anywhere. I think it is this kind of post that I will miss most when you stop blogging.

    I have to admit that when I first encountered this strand of the Winer tapestry I was a little embarrassed. Much too uptight to enjoy. But you’ve worn something down in me and you’re getting through.

    We become a human family when we can share and transmit memory and emotion across time and space. Burns captured much in that (and other) documentaries. But your have in some mysterious way added to it and deepened it for those of us who spend time enjoying it through you.


  4. Posted by Don on August 14, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    “Every time George Bush opens his mouth I think of how many Americans are going to have to die to pay for that gaffe, and how many billions it’s going to cost us to dig out of all the messes he’s already created and the ones he’s yet to create.”

    Sounds more like you’re referring to Jimmy Carter who is really the one that led us to the Middle East problems we face today. He is the worst person I ever voted for (1976). Because of his wimpy leadership in dealing with Iran, I stopped being a Liberal Democrat and shifted to a Centrist Republican from 1980 onward. Any more Presidents like Carter and America is finished.



  5. Hi Dave,

    If you want to learn more about baseball, look for a book called, “The Historical Abstract” by Bill James. If you like Ken Burns’ series, you should like the book.

    If you would like to get another perspective on the Dodgers of Jackie Robinson, look for the autobiography of Leo Durocher, “Nice Guys, Finish Last”. You’ll also get some insight on characters such as the Babe and the Georgia Peach as well as a look at the early Yankees and the Giants after the move.

    Regarding the other stuff, you get the government you want. Bush the Younger has been voted in twice. I wonder how many people now think that the two-term limit should be removed. I’m not sure what a centrist Republican is these days but I can guess based upon the post above. Anyways, you’re always welcome up in the GWN. Don’t stop learning.



  6. Hezbollah IS responsible for the war. Israel didn’t do a damn thing but defend itself and its interests. Now who “won” the war? Who knows That was a stupid thing to add on. Nobody wins in war. Hopefully Israel was able to degrade Hezbollah enough so they won’t be such a threat again. Not likely, however, with Syria backing them up.


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