Archive for January 8th, 2009

Wingnut Logic

(Before I begin, let me just point out that I’m Jewish, so the proper epithet would be “self-hating” rather than “anti-semitic” – just wanted to clear that up in advance.)

Nazis killed Jews.
Hamas kills Jews.
Ergo, Hamas are just like the Nazis, and anyone who opposes Israel bombing Gaza into tiny bloody pieces is objectively pro-Nazi. (Because if there’s one thing the Nazis were known for, it was their excessive pacifism and compassion.)

I really do believe that this false equivalence is at least a piece of the psychology behind Israel’s Gaza policy and those who cheerlead for it – it’s a massive loss of perspective.

In the late 30s and early 40s, Nazi Germany was a heavily industrialized military power, and the Jews had no country, and no army – they were completely defenseless.  Today, the Jews have their own country and not just any army, but the fourth-most powerful military in the world.  They can defend themselves just fine now.

And Hamas and the Gazans?  They’re raggedy and starving, and their Wehrmacht is mostly rocks, light arms, and a few rockets.  Yes, they wish Israel ill, but they are not an existential threat.  (It’s probably also worth mentioning that the Jews in 30s and 40s Germany weren’t restricting the Nazis’ movements or food, much less bombing them.  The Nazis hated the Jews solely for being Jewish.)

But as long as Israel and their apologists can conflate Hamas with the Nazis, then no action against them can ever be excessive.  Bombs away!

2 comments January 8th, 2009 at 09:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Foreign Policy,Republicans,Wankers,War

Verizon Fail

So, let’s recap:

AT&T got an exclusive deal to carry the iPhone.

Sprint got an exclusive deal to carry the Palm Pre, which is probably one aggressive product cycle away from being an iPhone killer, if it isn’t already (more on that later).

Verizon got an exclusive deal to carry… the Blackberry Storm.  Way to go, guys.  Great “get.”

This was not a great week for Apple either.  First they basically stood pat at MacWorld, now Palm announces a new phone that addresses a lot of the iPhone’s shortcomings.  Currently, I have five reasons not to buy an iPhone, and Apple seems pretty determined not to address any of them:

1) No Copy & Paste. I like being able to blog from my phone in a pinch, even if it probably is something only crazy people do.  Pretty hard to blog without being able to copy text.  Pre has copy & paste.

2) No Removable Battery. Sometimes you just can’t get to a charger, so it’s nice to have a spare.  Pre has a removable battery.

3) No Keyboard. When I get rolling, I can type in bursts of up to 45-50 words per minute on my Treo keyboard.  I’d probably be lucky to manage 10 on the iPhone’s virtual keyboard.  Pre has a slide-out keyboard that makes it look a bit like an ultra-long Treo Pro.

4) Crappy Video Codec Support. The iPhone doesn’t play DivX, Xvid, WMV, or Flash video other than YouTube.  Neither does the Pre, although I’m hoping someone can write an application for it… and get it published in the app store.

5) Lousy Carrier. I think Sprint has a better network than AT&T, but still not as nearly as good as Verizon’s.

Some other Pre highlights:

Screen: Slightly smaller than iPhone (3.1″ vs. 3.5″), same resolution (320 X 480).  Bigger and better than the Centro or any previous Treos.

Multitouch: Yes.

GPS: Yes.

On-Board Storage: 8GB, with MicroSD expansion slot, which currently means a max capacity of 24GB.

Browser: Webkit-based – apparently it’s tabbed, fast and capable.  I’d like to try it on some of the sites that always give me trouble before I pass judgment on it.

Operating System: Pretty slick, but hard to explain.  I’m still not entirely sure I follow it all myself, but it sounds like it’s amazingly good at multi-tasking, and making it easy to manage all the open applications.

Now, if they can just get the Pre close to the $199 price point…

UPDATE: D’oh! My bad, the Pre does not have a MicroSD slot. I saw MicroUSB and misread it. 8GB onboard is pretty damn good for a smartphone, but not so much if it wants to take on the iPhone as a multimedia device. Still, it’s only a first-generation device, so hopefully that will improve.

January 8th, 2009 at 07:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology

Technology MADNESS!!!

I have spent a good chunk of two nights messing around with it, but I finally managed to install Ubuntu Linux (“Intrepid Ibex”) onto a USB thumbdrive that I can actually boot and run my laptop from.  In fact, I’m writing my post in Linux running off my USB drive RIGHT NOW (well, not exactly right now, as this is a time-release post, but it is written in Linux).  It’s not all the way there in terms of user-friendliness or hardware compatibility, but Linux has come a long, long way since I first started dabbling with it in the days before Windows XP came out, and it’s pretty close to a normal Windows/MS-Office experience now.  I just have to mount my Windows partitions so I can get at all my stuff, and then I should be golden.

Also: I totally want a 2-terabyte(!) SD card now.  God only knows when we’ll actually see SD cards that big, but I love the idea of being able to store all my data on one tiny little card.  And if I could  put a 2TB card in my camera, I would probably never have to delete a photo off of it for as long as I live.  And just think about iPods and iPhones with capacities measured in TB instead of GB.  Awesome.

1 comment January 8th, 2009 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology

Wanker Of The Day

Snarlin’ Arlen:

Specter said in prepared remarks Tuesday that Obama did not consult with him before choosing Eric Holder Jr. to be attorney general, and he tells Legal Times that Obama also did not consult with him or notify him before announcing four other Justice Department nominees Monday.

“History demonstrates that presidents who seek the advice of members of the Senate prior to submitting a nomination frequently see their nominees confirmed more quickly and with less controversy than those who do not,” Specter (R-Pa.) said. “A recent example is that of President Clinton who consulted with then-Chairman [Orrin] Hatch prior to nominating Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Justice Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court. Both nominees were confirmed with minimal controversy.

“In contrast, on the nomination of Mr. Holder, President-elect Obama chose not to seek my advice or even to give me advance notice in my capacity as Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, which is his prerogative.”

Interesting that the most recent examples Specter could think of both took place during the Clinton administration.  Other than Mukasey (WTF was Schumer thinking, anyway?), has Dubya consulted with the ranking Democrat on any of his major nominees for, well… anything? And has Specter ever taken him to task for failing to do so, if he’s so concerned about comity and propriety?

(h/t Adam Bonin)

1 comment January 8th, 2009 at 07:12am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Specter,Wankers

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