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Permanent link to archive for Friday, July 16, 2004. Friday, July 16, 2004

Russ Beattie says we should be careful not to give the Republicans ammo to kill Kerry. I am sorry Russ, I'm not worried about that. I'm more worried that the Dems are too flustered by the hardball tacticts of the Reps to fight back. I am not a Democrat. I plan to vote for Kerry because Bush is a disaster. If the Republicans see the error of their ways and deny Bush the nomination I plan to consider voting for their candidate. I'm listening. I just won't vote for Bush, no way. He's a bad man. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

THINK!Arrived at the hotel, super wiped-out, lots of driving, and it's hot. Watched William Safire on the News Hour, he's a senior NY Times columnist, Republican, defender of George Bush. Watching him squirm, he's a really smart guy, he was cornered, and resorted to the desperate story about how evil Saddam was, how he killed his own people, and how the US goes after guys like that. What a crock of shit. Let's make a list of all the despots in the world, and then check off the ones that the US has gone after, and while we're at it, add a star next to each one who we've funded while he was killing his own people. And we've stopped reminding losers like Safire about the supposed connection between al Qaeda and Saddam. No more letting him off the hook. He's got a job that you have to be pretty smart to keep. Don't let him play dumb.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Off to New Mexico. See you in Mountain Time! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

1:23PM Central: Miracles of modern aviation, they have WiFi in Dallas airport. Was able to get my email, and even do a tiny bit of programming while waiting for the next flight. It's super hot in Dallas, not that that's a major surprise.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Apparently interment, a term I use below is not what happened to the Japanese. My mailbox is full of notes to that effect. I fixed it. I wrote that passage quickly while waiting for my ride to the airport this morning. No flames from LBJ or FDR or TBL. Whew! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Paolo says the STES conference was great. It's cool to see people experimenting with new formats. We have to try out new ideas now that we have blogs (everyone's a journo) and the rooms have WiFi, and the concept of "audience" is fading.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

An non-nonsense guide to Semantic Web specs for XML people. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BTW, I read the guide above, the writing style is very clear and friendly. Bravo. Not even slightly condescending, I was a math major who focused on graph theory, believe it or not, so the technical concepts of RDF don't escape me, never have. Sad to say even after reading this piece, I still don't get why I should be interested in it. I don't think it's ever going to get built, no matter how much people's eyes glaze over when talking about it. I could explain why RSS was good, and even that took years of hard development work to make it take off. There's no pleasure pill buried inside this stuff. Until you learn what it will do for ordinary people, honest developers won't jump. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Johnson and FDR Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm taking an audio course in the Presidency in the 20th Century, produced by Barnes & Noble. The teacher goes through each of the people who held the office last century, starting with Teddy Roosevelt, skipping William Howard Taft (other than to say he was TR's hand-picked successor, and a man with no vision), going deep on Woodrow Wilson, skipping the three Republican presidents of the 1920's, then going deep on FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and I'm now learning about Johnson and Vietnam, from the historian's point of view.

FDR understood that he couldn't enter World War II until the public was ready. He did all kinds of half-steps, cash-and-carry, lend-lease, and sold it to them and they bought it because he was so cheerful and reassuring. Finally, after Pearl Harbor, the public was engaged, and wanted to get even. "A date which will live in infamy." He fed the frenzy, interning American citizens of Japanese descent, as a way to give the public a sense something was happening as he geared up for war. (History remembers this as a terrible thing, and it was, but the context is often omitted.)

While LBJ wasn't the first President to escalate in Vietnam, he was the one who decided to go to war. But when he did it, he never tested the public's support for the war, was warned that they wouldn't support it, ignored the warning, at the last minute he offered Ho Chi Minh a billion dollars, his own Great Society, was turned down, and the war began, quietly, with no announcement, no great speech. He used the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as his cover. We won World War II, which was a much bigger war, covering much more territory, with a much better equipped enemy; Vietnam was a disaster. In other words, try as hard as you want to be right, but if you haven't convinced the people to fund the war with their wealth and the lives of their children, it ain't going to happen.

I'm thinking of course of the great commander-in-chief of the Semantic Web, Tim Berners-Lee. Like Johnson, he had a vision for a great society, the HTML web, but let it languish while he fought a no-way-to-win war in Semantic Web Land.


Last update: Friday, July 16, 2004 at 9:09 PM Eastern.

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