Friday, April 30, 2004

FCC Requires Firewire on All Cable Boxes

From Gizmodo: FCC Requires Firewire on All Cable Boxes

firewire_cablebox.jpg imageAs of April 1st, cable companies are required to provide a Firewire-enabled cable box to anyone that asks, as per an FCC interpretation of Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. What this means to you is that easy ripping and recording of HDTV streams is just a phone call to your cable company away--at least those streams that are unencrypted (broadcast stations are required to remain unencrypted, and while most premium channels are open now, too, they likely won't be for long). Not only can you record shows and watch them on your computer, but the Firewire port allows you to stream video back to your TV, making the cable box, if nothing else, an extremely easy way to get a high-quality signal back into your existing A/V setup.

MacOSXHints has a howto for Apple users with more information, but there's no reason that, with a little futzing here and there, users of any OS wouldn't be able to take advantage of this rare consumer advocacy from the FCC. Thanks, Dan!

Read [MacOSXHints]

very cool.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

You're No Psychic: Juan Non-Volokh writes.
From Jim Holt's review of


by Georges Charpak and Henri Broch (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press) in today's

Wall Street Journal

Have you ever had a premonition? Did you once have, say, a passing thought about an uncle, only to receive a phone call five minutes later informing you that the beloved relative has dropped dead? If so, this probably struck you as eerie. You might have vaguely believed it was ESP.

Was it? Let's see. Suppose you know of 10 people who die each year. Furthermore, suppose you think of each of them once annually. There are 105,120 five-minute intervals in a year. A simple probability calculation shows that there is a 10 in 105,120 likelihood that you will, as a matter of chance, have a thought about one of these people in the five minutes before you hear of their death. Multiply this likelihood by the population of the U.S. (about a quarter of a billion people) and you find that roughly 25,000 people each year -- about 70 a day -- will have a "psychic" experience of this sort. In fact, it's pure coincidence.

One can quibble with Holt's back-of-the-envelope calculation, but the underlying point is a good one.

It seems to me that this is an incorrect interpretation of the phenomenon since the feeling in question is not based on how often it happens to other people, but to yourself. Going through a similar, and more generous time allowances, we can estimate that there is a 10 in 365 chance for a person to think of the deceased within 24 hours preceeding their death. That comes to roughly once every 36 years - thus at least once in a lifetime for most people. If one were to go into the 5-minute intervals as the original author suggested, a chance per individual is about one in 10,000 per year. If we give a person 50 years in which deaths do come as a surprise (figuring childhood does not count and after a certain age you think about it too much to really count). Subsequently, if my lifetime chance is about one in 2,000, then I would need to discuss this occurrance with more than 2,000 people before finding another one who had a similar experience. I think this works for most people to consider as a pretty unique occurance.

Obviously, one can build more elaborate models pretty easily, but I think the point remains - even if one is far from unique in having had the experience, it *is* a rare one for an individual involved.

ps. much like lightening striking the earth 100 times every second * does not mean that some places get very little lightning and some a great deal. Same goes for rain.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004



Constructivist Gem Makes Final Bid for Utopia

Narkomfin, a huge six-story building in a courtyard just off Novinsky Bulvar, was built in the heyday of Soviet modern architecture at the end of the 1920s. Constructivism was still just about in favor, and the building was the first attempt to create not just living quarters, but a communal house where workers could live, work and move toward socialism together, even in their sleep.

One of the sad legacies of the USSR, lies in crushing of one of the most active schools of art, literature, and architecture that thrived in Russia from the beginning of the 20th century and into the 20's. What makes it even sadder is the fervor with which many of these artists and people embraced the revolution - and the fate it dealt to many of them.

Built between 1928 and 1930 by architects and engineers led by Moisei Ginzburg, Narkomfin was, as the WMF has written, "a six-story blueprint for communal living as ingenious as it is humane."

Even as the building for nearing completion the purges would begin - and having a name like Moisei (Moses) Ginzburg was definitely not an asset.

'Living Bandages'

Living bandages

Ravlik writes to mention this article - Living Bandages

This is pretty interesting piece of medical technology. The article doesn't actually explain how it works, but the British took self-healing wound dressing one step above the Americans. Pity that this technology will not make it to the states any time soon, if ever, and has very little incentive of being actually developed here. Start-up companies with good ideas such as this one can't survive the ten year process necessary for the FDA approval.

I think he is right in general, but in this case this is the same technology/science as Pentagon has identified as part of its warrior of the future program. With billions of dollars allocated to research in areas of accelerated wound healing, we can hope that these types of applications will get some of the funding. And we all would benefit.

Good Article from Slate

Good Article from Slate: Democracy Inaction

Understanding Arab anti-Americanism.
The remarkable fact is that there are Arabs who like America. I don't just mean those who cherish our bloody action movies and blond pop stars or want to immigrate to the United States because there is little work or chance for advancement at home. Rather, I'm referring to those Arabs whose admiration of the United States as an embodiment of justice and liberty is so idealized that it sometimes seems to bear no relationship to an America that, as we admit, has made many errors around the world.

good over all read

Monday, April 26, 2004

Pay difference by gender

Pay difference by gender

Marginal Revolution points to a paper about a possible reason women make up less than 3% of highest paid executives in the US.

Politically Incorrect Paper of the Month, v.2

Less than three percent of the highest-paid U.S. executives are women. Why? In Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences, a new paper in the Aug. 2003 QJE, the authors suggest an intriguing answer.

The authors compare male and female performance at solving mazes across different incentive systems. In a simple piece-rate system men perform slightly but not markedly better than women, on average the men solved 11.23 mazes in 15 minutes compared to 9.73 for the women, a difference of 1.5. But in a tournament, in which only the highest-paid performer wins, the men significantly improve their performance and the women hardly improve at all. As a result, the gender-gap in performance rises (men complete 15 mazes, the women only 10.8 for a difference of 4.2, stat. significant at p=0.034).

Now here is where it gets really interesting. One might think that this shows that women are less competitive than men. To test this the authors run single-sex tournaments. Surprisingly, in the single-sex tournaments the women's performance improves considerably relative to both their performance in the piece rate system and to their performance in the mixed tournament. Women do like to compete just not against men! Men's performance stays about the same as in the mixed tournament. As a result, when comparing the peformance of the all-male groups versus the all-female group, the gender gap shrinks considerably. Results are summarized in the figure below.


What could account for these differences? Tournament theory suggests one answer. In a tournament only the best player wins so if some of the players are known to be better than the others this reduces the incentives to compete. Why expend effort if the other player will amost surely win anyway? The men are slightly better at the task than the women and this effects is magnified by the numbers - there are 6 players, 3 men, 3 women so the women have to contend with 3 people who on average have slightly higher maze solving ability.

If this explanation were the case, however, then we would expect men and women of the same ability to perform similarly but in fact women compete less aggresively than men of the same ability. This suggests another possibility. Relative to women, men may be more (over?) confident. As a result, they think they have a greater chance of winning the tournament and therefore they compete more vigorously. When given the option of choosing what level of maze to solve (with increasing rewards for more difficult mazes) the men do systematically chose more difficult mazes than the women.

What do we make of all this? First, we have an additional explanation for wage differences between men and women, especially at the highest levels where competition for promotion is a tournament. Second, we have added support for single-sex education and perhaps even single-sex firms (Astute readers will recall what happened to the women on The Apprentice before and after the groups were mixed).

The authors focus on a third potential implication - the benefits of making women feel more confident (e.g. in reducing drop out rates in science and engineering). The latter, conclusion, however, doesn't take into account the costs of effort. If men are over-confident about their abilities then they put too much effort into tournaments. Increasing women's confidence would only make them (and the men) worse off. Other than restaurant customers, would anyone be better off if more people thought they could become a Hollywood star?

very interesting.

S. Korea drops Sun-only software mandate

S. Korea drops Sun-only software mandate:

Who knew that S.Korea was limiting some of its cell-hone software to exclusive Sun Microsystems code?

"South Korea's telephone ministry has reversed its decision to force South Korean cell phone service providers to use only Sun Microsystems download software to sell ring tone, games or other downloadable software.
The United States would have sought redress in the World Trade Organization had South Korea's Ministry of Information and Communications not reversed its April 2003 mandate giving Sun exclusive presence in its Wireless Internet Platform for Interoperability cell phone standard, said a U.S. trade representative. Benefiting the most from the flip flop, announced Friday, is San Diego cell phone chip and software maker Qualcomm, whose BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) download software is popular in South Korea and other Asian countries. "


Iron Chef America Review

Verdict: Iron Chef America fails to translate the original's quirky brilliance.

Most cuisine-themed television tends to fill me with a sense of claustrophobic despair—those airless soundstage sets, that histrionic chatter, those long static takes of glossy telegenic food—but coming across an old episode of Iron Chef during a channel-surfing session is always a moment of pleasure. There's so much to dig about the Japanese Iron Chef: the opening shot of the flamboyantly costumed Chairman Kaga Takeshi biting lustily into a yellow pepper; the high theatrics and samurai machismo of the cooking competition itself; the glorious inanity of the celebrity tasters. But minutes into the first episode of Iron Chef America (on the Food Network), a four-part series in which famous American chefs Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, and Wolfgang Puck face off with Iron Chefs Masaharu Morimoto and Hiroyuki Sakai, I realized that the appeal of the original Iron Chef (which, alas, ceased production in 1999 and is now available only in reruns) has nothing to do with food. I can't weigh in on what made Iron Chef so popular in Japan, but its success as an American import has everything to do with language and with the mysterious gulf that separates one culture from another. Sadly, everything that was charming, exciting, and moving about the original show has been, quite literally, lost in translation.

read the whole article

Friday, April 23, 2004

Aftermath for Japanese held hostage in Iraq

NYT reports: Freed From Captivity in Iraq, Japanese Return to More Pain

[free registration required to view the article]. Link via Slate

According to the NYT, the Japanese public is treating its returned civilian hostages—one of whom had started a nonprofit to help Iraqi street children—with disgust and revulsion. "You got what you deserve!" read one sign at the airport where they landed, on a return flight for which the government says it will bill them each $6,000.

Read the whole NYT article. Fascinating.

Word of the Day

The Word of the Day for Apr 23 is:

 cloud-cuckoo-land \klowd-KOO-koo-land\ noun                                                             
: a realm of fantasy or of whimsical or foolish behavior

Example sentence:
If the boss really thinks he can up productivity and increase profit
after the company is downsized, he is living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

Did you know?
In Aristophanes' 5th century B.C. comedy Birds, Peisthetaerus (a
human) convinces the king of the birds and his followers to help him
build an ideal city juxtaposed between heaven and earth. They plan to
intercept all of the sacrifices rising from the earth to the gods on
Olympus, thereby starving the gods into cooperating with them. The
newly built city is dubbed "Nephelokokkygia," (from "nephos," meaning
"cloud," and "kokkyx," the native European cuckoo). By the late 19th
century, English speakers had translated the town's name as
"Cloud-Cuckoo-Land" and had begun using it as a general term for any
similarly unreal or whimsical place or situation.

New eBook

New eBook from Sony

Gizmodo writes about this new ebook, pointing to an article in the Guardian

The Librie EBR-1000EP is Sony's first 'electronic paper' technology, essentially a scaled-down PDA with a highly-readable reflective screen (the Librie's screen is 170 dots per inch, as opposed to your monitor's 72-90dpi). The reader displays more than static text with its screen of oppositely charged black and white particles, suspended in an oil solution; color animations are in the works, opening up the possibility of Diamond Age-esque moving picture books.

and its light and battery efficient

Still, at only 300 grams and with battery life enough to read 10,000 pages on three AAAs, the Librie is promising technology

this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Photo: The CD-R Lifetime Myth

The CD-R Lifetime Myth
from DP Review:

There is an interesting story today in the UK newspaper, The Independent, about the claims manufacturers make about the lifespan of their CD-R's. They are the easiest means of archiving digital photographs today, but if disc is useless after 2 years, perhaps another archival medium is required. If CD-R is still your chosen media, then purchase the best, record at the recommened speed for your drive, and store in a cool dry environment.

Read the whole article here

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Gravity limits tree height

Fascinating - Gravity limits tree height

FOR trees, the sky is definitely not the limit. Scientists have discovered that no tree on Earth can grow beyond about 130 metres (430ft) - no matter how ideal the conditions.

Redwood trees are the tallest on Earth, but none could ever grow beyond that limit, because gravity would prevent water reaching their top-most branches, the scientists claim.

By the reckoning of the research team involved, the "Stratospheric Giant" - a 112.7m (370ft) tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California, which holds the world height record - still has a bit to go.

Dr George Koch, of the Northern Arizona State University, led a serious of climbs up five of the world’s tallest redwoods to carry out tests on their crowns.

The scientists, who report their findings in the journal Nature today, said the tallest trees struggled to get enough water to their small top leaves.

It can take 24 days for water entering the base of a redwood trunk to reach its crown.

The researchers write: "As trees grow taller, increasing water stress due to gravity and path length resistance may ultimately limit leaf expansion and photosynthesis."

Observations show that the tallest trees, which may be more than 2,000 years old, are growing at about 25cm per year.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Job Opening

Job Opening

My company has a job opening and I thought I would post it here. Given the trickle of traffic on this site I doubt it would be useful to anyone, but perhaps one of the infrequent readers would know someone... I hurry to add that my employer has no participation, input or stance on any views, opinions, or items posted on this weblog

Job Description:


Required Skills

Responsibilities Include:

  • Installing and configuring the Websphere Suite on Win2k, Win2003, and Linux
  • Troubleshooting Platform based issues whose services include FTP components
  • Planning and Deployment of Applications into all environments (DEV, QA, and PROD)
  • Working with the development team to adhere to enterprise-wide development standards
  • Application/Platform Administrator
  • Senior WAS 5 administrator w/ Strong EJB and WAS application tuning experience.
  • Strong Messaging experience (Java Messaging Service/Websphere MQ Series)
  • Strong FTP experience
  • Strong understanding of WAS development standards
  • Database Knowledge (Sybase/Oracle)


  • Job Scheduler Experience
  • Domino 6.5.1
  • Experience in Installing and Configuring Websphere Portal
  • Development Skills

Please contact me at the email address listed on the top of the weblog. The position is in New York, NY, USA, and requires the legal permission to work for any american-based employer.

Good article from VentureBlog - Venture Lending 101

Good article from VentureBlog - Venture Lending 101
Many of the companies in which I invest spend more money than they make for considerable periods of time. Given the early stage at which I invest, this is neither surprising nor necessarily concerning (even those companies that could be cash flow positive if they so chose, often go negative in an effort to accelerate their growth). Nonetheless, it is an important factor with which I must deal as I try to help my portfolio companies move forward. After all, at some point any company burning more cash than it makes will have to acquire more money or go out of business.

read the whole thing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

BBC NEWS 'Naked sushi' restaurant fined:

RDK sent in this tidbit.

The Yamato Wind Village restaurant in Kunming city attempted to launch its "body sushi" dinner earlier this month, provoking lively local debate.

Chineses authories were not so amused:

authorities in China said the restaurant's actions violated women's rights, as well as laws on advertising and food sanitation.

They also said the women used to display the sushi were not suitably dressed for restaurant employees.

When confronted with advertisements for the sushi dinner, the people of Kunming seemed equally undecided.

Some "were indignant, claiming it is humiliating to women," the official China Daily newspaper reported at the time

and of course, there is always a but...

'But others were curious and tempted to have a try,' it added. "

Scary article about Columbine

Scary article about Columbine

from Slate - The Depressive and the Psychopath

At last we know why the Columbine killers did it.

The author says. But it is the conclusion that is chilling,

Their view of Harris is more reassuring, in a certain way. Harris was not a wayward boy who could have been rescued. Harris, they believe, was irretrievable. He was a brilliant killer without a conscience, searching for the most diabolical scheme imaginable. If he had lived to adulthood and developed his murderous skills for many more years, there is no telling what he could have done. His death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse.

I do not know if I can go along with such a conclusion. It smacks of too much too faith into providence, of desperately searching for justification for something that cannot be justified, explained, or truly comprehended. The concluding phrase is typical, "... there is no telling what he could have done. His death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse." Is not that something that is true for *everyone* ? There is certainly no telling what might happen to me, to Dave Cullen (the author), or Dr. Robert Hare (psychologist). Any untimely passing can be thought of as having stopped the person from "doing something worse" or "doing something better." The choice of adjectives is controlled largely (purely?) by the speaker's relationship with the deceased.

I imagine there are quite a few more pathological liers and genuine psychopaths in the world than just Harris. The question the article does not get to adressing is whether there indeed was something in his world, his environment that turned him from a liar into a murderer. And that is precisely the question other people try to answer when they talk of the "Trenchcoat mafia" and bullies.

Monday, April 19, 2004

The New York Times > Week in Review > Looking for a Villain, and Finding One in China

Worth a quick read -The New York Times: Looking for a Villain, and Finding One in China

Friday, April 16, 2004

word of the day: cock-a-hoop

Word of the day: cock-a-hoop

cock-a-hoop \kah-kuh-HOOP\ adjective

*1 : triumphantly boastful : exulting

2 : awry

Example sentence:
Team members, still cock-a-hoop over last week's victory, need to regain their focus and win one more game for the championship.

Did you know?

The adjective "cock-a-hoop" comes from a curious 16th- and 17th-century expression, "to set cock a hoop," which meant "to be festive" or "to drink or celebrate without restraint." Etymologists, however, are not entirely certain about the origin of that old expression. Although no one knows if it originally had any connection with the "rooster" sense of "cock," many people thought it did -- and this perceived association influenced the current meaning of "cock-a-hoop." The cock is known for its triumphant crow, and "cock-a-hoop" is now used to refer to something triumphantly boastful.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

MSNBC - Alleged bin Laden tape offers truce to Europe

MSNBC - Alleged bin Laden tape offers truce to Europe

I might be very wrong, but if this is not proof that US strategy is working and squeezing terrorists everywhere ... I do not know what would work as proof (short of instantenious world-wide victory of communism, or barring that - rapture).

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Uncertainty Factor

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Uncertainty Factor

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

shutterbug: Coffee, Tea, Or Vitamin C

Photography: shutterbug: Coffee, Tea, Or Vitamin C

Very cool article on how to develop B&W film without using the rather nasty chemicals. Use cofee instead!’s a recipe for making a half pint of developer, enough to process a roll of 35mm film in a typical developing tank.

8 oz of water

4 teaspoons of instant coffee crystals

2 teaspoons of washing soda

Stir the ingredients until uniform, then develop film for 25 minutes, agitating every 30 seconds.

read the whole thing for more interesting tips.

ps. I knew people used tea for toning, but was not aware you could replace the whole development process with cofee and soda.

Security Pipeline | Trends | Google Challenges Microsoft Monopoly

Security Pipeline - Google Challenges Microsoft Monopoly

Interesting article, if a bit overblown on hype.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

If the limos were for high scores (SAT not football)

If the limos were for high scores (SAT not football)

well-written article considering an alternate universe
Meanwhile, high school athletes go to after-school workouts as usual, dreaming, naively, that the public and media will one day place as much importance on throwing a football as on the skills that made these other students the center of attention.


The Spaghetti Harvest

via Brad DeLong

Patrick Belton of OxBlog writes about "...historic April Fools pranks, my personal all-time favorite - the BBC's 1957 Swiss Spaghetti Harvest, which the news show Panorama broadcast drolly in a segment which showed rustic Swiss peasants harvesting that year's bumper spaghetti crop, brought on by a mild winter. (You can watch the original broadcast on the BBC's website.) Of course, the entire broadcast was just a joke. But soon after the broadcast ended, the BBC's offices began to receive hundreds of telephone calls from their puzzled viewers, who either wanted to ask whether spaghetti actually did grow on trees, or who were eager to learn how they might grow their own spaghetti tree. To this, the BBC is reported to have replied they should 'place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.'"

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Flash and XAML

John Udell comparesd Macromedia Flash to Microsoft's upcoming XAML - Macromedia Flex

This is an interesting article with XAML posing some serious questions for the future of Windows-based programming.

Cases: Jittery? Peevish? Can?t Sleep? What Are You Drinking?

Cases: Jittery? Peevish? Can?t Sleep? What Are You Drinking?:
"After the habitual two cups of Starbucks coffee, Adam set to work. So far, so good. But as the academic pressure mounted, he had to work longer hours, and that meant more coffee ? a lot more coffee than he had ever consumed in his life. In fact, for six weeks, he had been drinking up to 10 cups of Starbucks coffee daily."

Is not 10 cups of starbucks cofee kinda on the expensive side for a grad student? At least $15-$20 per day worth? That is a pretty heavy habit to carry.

No Coalition?

No Coalition?

from Skirmishes in Iraq Kill 7 More U.S. Soldiers Since Weekend:

"Elsewhere in Iraq, fighting flared up between coalition troops and guerrillas. Italian troops clashed with Mr. Sadr's Mehdi Army militia, Reuters reported. Four Italian vehicles were set ablaze during the pre-dawn fighting and 12 Italian soldiers were injured, Reuters said.
Militants also clashed with British troops in Amara, Ukrainian troops in Kut and Polish troops south of Kerbala, the news agency said"

What other countries should we have in the coalition? Whenever the "no coalition" cry is raised what people mean is the absence of France and Germany. Just as a reminder, countries listed in the following article have more people (148m) than Germany and France (141m), Spain would put the coalition well over the top as would Italy (mentioned in this article but not as a fighting force)

1 populations taken from here

Monday, April 05, 2004

Angle of View //

Angle of View for lenses

A nice display tool for angle of view for diferent lenses, and how the work for different film and digital cameras (taking into account their multiplier)

Canon Lenses :: Angle of View //

Nikon Lenses :: Angle of View // -- includes Fuji Sx Pro series - Doctors switching to cash-only payments - Apr 5, 2004

Interesting - - Doctors switching to cash-only payments - Apr 5, 2004

This is actually something I have recommended to my brother who is an independent consultant. All doctors accept cash, of course, so he is getting a high-deductable insurance policy (being that he is 25 year-old non-drinker, non-smoker, runner, etc.) for a huge discount to what he would pay for comprehensive insurance.

Another downside to the insurance collection nightmare is that in order to recoup the costs of collection doctors often add procedures to the bills they send to the insurance companies and ask for more money. In the end, everyone loses. Doctors do not make more money, insurance companies pay out more and spend billions on fighting insurance fraud, and workers and employers pay more in insurance premiums.

Age of the Universe

Age of the Universe

I am in full-out Passover mode. This is an article that, to a layman like myself makes sense, lays out reconciliation between biblical timing and scientific one. At least insofar as big bang is concerned. I am aware that this is a commonly held view, and perhaps is commonly controversial. Nevertheless this is an easy-to-read primer on the topic.

Every time...

Every time I think I say about a political blogger, "well, he is partisan, but at least he is honest with himself and his readers" I get disappointed. Joshua Marshal of the Talking Points Memo, who is usually excellent cannot help himself to take cheap shot. He writes,

The Associated Press on the...The Associated Press on the hyper-politicized Coalition Provisional Authority.

Dan Senor, a former press secretary for Spencer Abraham, the Michigan Republican who's now Energy Secretary, heads the office packed with former Bush campaign workers, political appointees and ex-Capitol Hill staffers.
One-third of the U.S. civilian workers in the press office have GOP ties, running an enterprise that critics see as an outpost of Bush's re-election effort with Iraq a top concern. Senor and others inside the coalition say they follow strict guidelines that steer clear of politics.

As the gibe around Baghdad has it, they don't call it the Republican Palace for nuthin'.

Aghm... Joshua, given how the country has voted, should not it be 49% or more who have GOP-ties? What is the point of this barb? Even the article you quote says with

"Is that a surprise? No. Would Democrats do it? Yes.

So what, pray tell is the story here? Is it because the AP report ends with,

"'s particularly noxious because people's lives are on the line."

Well, I agree with that sentiment. But it is not clear to me why it is not noxious to slam anyone with "GOP ties", although it is clear to me that trusting anything Talking Points mentions in the future should be trusted not to include the same type of spin it consantly accusses its opponents of.

Friday, April 02, 2004

On the trail

Slate Assessment ofFormer Sen. Max Cleland is an interesting analysis of the situation, also providing many details I was unaware of.

As a Vietnam vet who tried and failed to fend off attacks on his national security credentials, he undermines the claim that Kerry's own war record insulates him from similar attacks. What Cleland brings to Kerry's campaign is the emotional power of victimization—a throwback to the worst of old-time Democratic Party politics, to its emphasis on victimhood over ability and virtue. But whereas in the past it was specific interest groups—minorities, women, gays—who were the noble victims, today it is the Democratic Party itself. Cleland is a reminder to fellow Democrats that they have spend the past three years being persecuted and that it's time to start avenging their humiliations. That's fine as far as it goes. But eventually Kerry will have to stand for something more than Bush hatred and payback. Revenge is not a campaign platform.

maybe. Maybe not, but certainly putting the Cleland vs Chambliss Senate cmapaign into a more full-featured perspective.