Scripting News for 1/15/2007

Hugh MacLeod’s random notes on blogging. 

Berkman is having a conference today on politics and blogging. They’re also having a podcasting conference on Feb 24. I signed up and paid the $50, not sure if I’ll make it. If you’re in the Boston area, it’s probably worth checking out.  

Advice to Bill G 

One of the services I’ve provided to Microsoft over the years is free consulting. I do it in the open, so everyone gets the benefit. I recommended in 1994 that he give up on OLE and other hugely complicated attempts to control the universe and join the messy world of the Internet. After dismissing the idea, a year later, he turned his company upside-down in an effort to catch Netscape. I’ve done it many times since, and after reading this piece on his desire to chase Google (it’s not going too well), I have another bit of advice.

Find the CP/M of the Internet. It’s gotta be ugly and geek-friendly. A piece of software with a command-line that today’s 12 year old nerd could add something to that would make everyone’s life more fun, and give us something to do with the Internet that you could never sell inside a large tech organization like Microsoft or Google. Something like Visicalc, dBASE, 1-2-3 or Wordstar. MacPaint, MacWrite, Pagemaker or Flight Simulator. Tetris, PacMan, MySpace & Napster.

You aren’t going to get there by zigging where Google zigs, you have to zag to their zig, if you get my drift.

And Bill, fire a few people who are too comfortable in their jobs. They’re running your company to suit their purposes, not for the benefit of users and shareholders. I know because they’re always alarmed by things I say. Hey the things I say have helped your company see opportunities it otherwise would have missed. These people don’t want to think, that’s what you gotta root out. And most people will think, if they believe their livelihood depends on it. 

Last week, when President Bush’s plan for Iraq was coming public, I realized it’s going to be a long fight, and if it’s anything like the fight we had in the 70s with Nixon over Vietnam, eventually it’s going to feel like a war, of ideas, a non-violent war, within the context of the political system of the US.

There were some heroes of the war with Nixon, we got a reminder when President Ford died at the end of last year, Sam Ervin, Peter Rodino, Barbara Jordan, Archibald Cox, even Charles Rangel, who was on the Watergate-era Judiciary committee, who is still in Congress, now the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

We’re definitely going to have a major disagreement in this country, you could see it forming in last night’s 60 Minutes interview with Bush. He’s not going to bend to the will of the American people. I think we’re headed for a Watergate-scale battle between the branches, with the lives of thousands of Americans and millions in the Middle East at stake, and eventually, perhaps soon, our way of life, which amazingly hasn’t yet felt the imact.

As a blogger, my job will be to cover this, and to put my spin behind it. I’ll do that here on Scripting News of course, but I’ve started another site to focus attention on the war between the people of the US and our president..

I’m not sure yet what form this site will take. I’ve thought it might simply be a place to register names of people who are opposed to the President, who, like the author of this site, are sickened by the prospect yet another existential battle for the soul of America.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeff Evans on January 15, 2007 at 10:09 am

    “on the war between the people of the US and our president”
    “the will of the American people”

    Dave, the will of the American people on this issue is divided.

    What is your proposal to deal with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and radical elements of Islam?


  2. Hmm what’s Bush’s plan for dealing with “Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and radical elements of Islam”


  3. And Nixon didn’t get us into Vietnam. Nixon didn’t even do most of the escalation, in fact if my memory serves, he did more to bring the North Vietnamese to the bargaining table than Kennedy or Johnson did.

    Lyndon Johnson is the president who was chiefly responsible for much of the escalation in Vietnam.

    Also the problem with this current war is that the president’s opposition doesn’t have a real plan for dealing with the crisis. Pulling out is simply NOT an option, unless you really want to go back in a la Afghanistan after another 9/11 type catastrophe.

    The big mistake that Bush made (aside from getting us into this war in the first place) was that he got us into a war without a real clear objective, without the means to really achieve even the murky objectives that have been stated and without really understanding the political/strategic realities of Iraq before going in.

    Plenty of experts in the Pentagon and State Department knew pretty well what Saddam would do, what would happen once we achieved “military” victory and what kind of mess we’d be in. It’s why GW’s father didn’t go into Iraq in the “first gulf war”.

    But now that we have this mess, we have to deal with it. It’s our responsibility now. The American people let this idiot get us into a war we couldn’t afford and didn’t need, and now we have to finish what we started, lest we create even more problems down the road.

    And while I can’t stand Bush, the president’s job isn’t to bend to the will of the American people, his job is to do what is right for the American people so that we remain a prosperous, strong and free society. He must do this regardless of public criticism. At least Ford understood this.


  4. I suppose this new website will be headquartered in Haight Asbury. Now where are those tie-dyed t-shirts and rose colored glasses I used to have.


  5. “Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, start loving one another right now. Right Now.”

    “There is a man with a gun over there. Telling me, I got to beware. Its time we stop, hey what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down.”

    “Ah! You say you want a revolution, oh you know. We all want to change the world.”

    “four dead in Ohio”


  6. Advice to Dave W

    Don’t ‘tock’ while those who (actually) support you ‘tick’.
    If you get my drift. 😉

    There is alot of open free consulting and advice out there for you, which might be misconstrued as critisism. (Though unfortunately some people have too much bile, which can cause violent textual reactions)

    Engage humour synapses with eyes and ears, before connecting typing hands to keyboard 😉

    Sir Clive Sinclair’s ZX81 running BASIC taught me how to program back when I was 10 (though it did nothing for typing skills!)

    Find a song (and lyrics) to a song called ‘Hey, Hey 16k’ by MJ Hibbett and The Validators. It’s inspiring.

    Also glad to see that your political comments might find their way to another blog, as opposed to a ‘scripting’ one. I’m sure there are many readers out there who feel the same. Great domain name btw 😉 – but I expect you’ll no doubt get alot of heat from the weird ones out there who still think that Bush is a good man. You’ll know how to deal with that.

    The effects of Bush are not just to do with America. Somehow he’s allowed to act like ‘The Sheriff of The World’ – his decisions and arrogance are being felt globally.

    Why not use the site to collate all the dirty FACTS we know about Bush. It would be great to have a site for us to point people to, instead of constantly regurgitating it to people I meet, who still have the oily hide pulled over their eyes and ears.

    Wear tinted glasses 😉


  7. As a side note to my comment I hate the Snap plugin and wish you’d turn it off. It’s distracting to have an image pop out of a link while I’m reading text.

    To Alexander Scoble — I didn’t read anything in Dave’s post that suggested that Nixon started the war. The specific reference in the post was to the “war with Nixon” and there surely was that.

    As to the question of whether the president should bend to the will of the people, well yes — when it comes to whether or not those same people should be asked to lay their lives down for a cause, the cause should be one based on truth and not lies, principles and not oil profits.

    The difference between Bush and Ford is stark — at least Ford was a truth-teller. Bush doesn’t know how to identify the truth much less tell it.


  8. @Karoli

    Snap Review is a new feature on weblogs, and was defaulted to enabled when it was added.

    For site owners:
    Configure (disable) via the Presentation/Extras link in the administration panel.

    For site visitors:
    You can disable JavaScript in your browser, to prevent seeing the Snaps.

    Snap*, Snap*


  9. Posted by Jeanne Kane on January 15, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    There is a great editorial in Vanity Fair this month which describes some of Bush’s style in attempting to win. Apparently, he is not a gracious loser and when losing changes the rules and/or creates new strategies to prolong the game and the ultimate win or lose. The article describes a tennis match that was going to be just one match. But, when Bush was losing, he cajoled the others to stay and play more games even tho it had started to snow!!! It seems that the old adage about the past being a good predictor of future behavior fits here. He’s one stubborn, egocentric guy.


  10. I think you’re overreaching with the thing Dave. Declaring war on the President of the U.S., no matter whom it may be, is really risky business. You’ve got the right to have an opinion but you’re taking the wrong approach.

    In all the hatred and bile towards George W. I see or hear very little acknowledgment that al qaeda and islamic fascism are real world wide problems. And they’re not problems created by the current President. President Clinton lost the first battle against al qaeda in Somalia in 1993. So we closed our eyes for eight years and they got stronger. Taking the same approach over the next eight years will mean real disaster for this country.

    So good luck with your ‘war’ on the President. You have every right to your opinion. At some point I’d like to see your post outlining what you think needs to be done re: al qaeda and other terror groups over the next eight years. At least then folks like me could get a feel for the far left strategy. Because to date the only strategy I’ve seen is waiting for the President to talk and then slamming everything he says.



  11. “Far left strategy”

    70 percent of those polled in the American south are against the war, and against the President’s proposed escalation.

    You’re off by a mile if you think this is a “far left” thing. Maybe at one point it was a left-vs-right thing, mostly because Fox and Limbaugh used that kind of language, but it isn’t about that anymore.

    When you say “folks like me” — what are you like?

    Let’s hear what you think we should do.

    And what does Iraq have to do with Al Qaeda, since you brought that up.


  12. Dave,

    The people who tend to take the extreme views against the President are the ones I would call ‘far left’. Having a difference of opinion is fine. But the slash and burn ‘Bush is a criminal’ types are doing nothing to forward the debate. This isn’t Watergate and I think you’re stretching by making that comparison.

    As for me. I’m a person served as an enlisted person and an officer with the 1st Armored Division. I’m also a person who believes it was the right thing to take down Saddam. But I don’t like the way the President has conducted the war. So I’m glad to see that he is talking about a change in strategy. And I’m waiting with baited breath to see if the strategy actually changes.

    I think our forces should be used to defeat the enemy militarily. I don’t think they should be used to train police or implement social programs. I follow military blogs and the greatest frustration voiced by soldiers and their families is the fact that they haven’t been empowered to beat the insurgents and stop the terrorists. That needs to change because Iraqis can’t move forward if they can’t stick their heads out the door.

    Al Zarqawi was an al qaeda operative who fled Afghanistan for Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion. You think he was planning a quiet retirement on the banks of the Euphrates? Remember Abu Abbas? Threw an American named Leon Klinghoffer (who happened to be in a wheelchair) off of a ship called the Achilles Lauro. U.S. forces arrested him in Baghdad shortly after we rolled through. Saddam’s support for terror orgs, including Hamas and Ansar Al Islam, is well documented.

    I don’t think Saddam was involved in 9/11. But he could have been involved in the next 9/11. This war is not simply against what people call al qaeda. It’s against all radical islamic terrorist organizations and the nations that harbor them. And they’re not just after America. Have a look at what’s going on in Africa and Asia.

    I’m not hear to dominate the conversation so I’ll cut it there.



  13. Posted by Steve on January 15, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    911 was an inside job, Al Qaeda was created in the minds of Pappa Busch and his circle of friends.

    Terrorism my ass, what will the real power elite come up with next to schock the American Public, and fool the world into allowing them to shape the future the globe and this country into anything they want.


  14. Posted by a z on January 16, 2007 at 5:33 am

    re: Advice to Bill Gates

    Perhaps you should be talking with Mr Ozzie. My totally uninformed opinion is Bill and Ballmer are too set in their ways. Who knows where Ozzie will take them, but his philosophy is different, at least in his attributed business history.


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