Imus Gets Sacked

Yawn.

Let me repeat. Yawn.

The Story So Far

So, Imas said something stupid. What else is new? He’s been saying stupid, offensive things for his entire career. He’s called a shock jock for a reason! However, I’m not writing this about what he said, or expressing an opinion as to whether he should be fired or not. That argument is boring. It’s going to take a little bit to get to my point, so please bear with me.

So, he said his stupid thing, and immediately there was outrage from the left. They started picketing CBS and MSNBC, going on talk shows and demanding his immediate dismissal, and intimidating political candidates into making statements about the mess. They succeeded, and he got fired.

Next came the outcry from the right in which they cited the [[First Amendment]] and freedom of speech saying that Imus shouldn’t be punished so harshly for something he said.

Dixie Chix Redux?

Remember a few years ago when one of the Dixie Chicks at a concert in France said something about being ashamed about Bush being our president? Now, we can argue whether or not that was stupid or prescient, patriotic or unpatriotic, but I’m not worried about that. That discussion is completely pointless. Why? Because whichever stance you take, it’s entirely a matter of opinion, and everyone has a right to their opinion.

What happened next is much more interesting. There was a backlash here in the [[United States]] from the right that called for boycotts of radio stations that played their music and of sponsors on those stations. This continued until their music got pulled from a lot of those stations, and their record sales plumetted.

And finally, there was an outcry from the left in which they cited the [[First Amendment]] and freedom of speech saying that the Dixie Chicks shouldn’t be punished just for expressing their views.

Reaction to the Reaction

Do you see the similarities in the stories above? Do you see the problem with both of them? The reaction to the reaction is completely wrong and downright un-American. Why? you ask? Here’s why: freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences of that speech. It means that the government won’t come knocking on your door and arrest you for something you said.

In each case above, both Imus and The Dixie Chicks got exactly what they deserved because the markets decided that’s what they deserved. In each case, enough people used their own right to free speech, and the right to assemble, and the right to petition to affect a change. There is nothing wrong with that, whether you agree with them or not.

Ultimately it comes down to this…

Lighten up people. This national outrage over some stupid words by an irrelevent, inconsequential, has-been of a radio-host is mind boggling. Yes, what he said was totally offensive, and my first reaction was that I couldn’t believe that he was stupid enough and insensitive enough to say those things. But ultimately, words have power over us only if we let them have that power. Do you think the hip-hop artists would continue to use these offensive phrases if suddenly the only reaction they got was deafening silence? Their goal is the same as Imus, to shock us. And if they can’t shock they lose their power.

Our society is losing its civility. There’s no question about that. But its our own moral indignation that’s allowing that to happen. People will always do and say stupid things, and when it rises to the level where it deserves it, we should react. But if we react to every little thing, the reactions lose their impact, and then the reactions to the reactions just escalate the stupidity.

Save the outrage for things that really matter, like what happened to the Duke lacrosse players over the last year. But that’s another article.

Hanks, Howard Mull Angels

From [Sci Fi Wire](http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/:)

The Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard are in final negotiations with Columbia Pictures to return for the prequel film Angels & Demons, sources told The Hollywood Reporter.

Yeah baby! OK, so let’s be honest here. [[The DaVinci Code]] was at best a servicable adaptation of a fun read. But when it came out, my only hope was that it would do well enough for them to decide that it was worth it to film [[Angels and Demons]] which I consider to be a far superior work. Let’s just hope that [[Tom Hanks]] can avoid sleep walking through the role the way he did in [[The DaVinci Code]], and that the script captures the essence of the book better as well.

Dave talks OPML Editor and Open Source

From [Scripting News](http://www.scripting.com/:)

The point of developing Frontier was to create the perfect development environment for me to spend the rest of my career in. It worked… But now we have a problem with the OPML Editor on Windows, and … We’re getting help from a surprising place — Microsoft!… Now I think it makes sense for the platform vendor to help make sure open source stuff works on their platform, maybe even help make it run well on their platform, but I’ve never seen one offer to help. It’s a very good thing.

C’mon Dave. Get with the program. [[Apple]] has been doing a huge amount of work to make sure that open source stuff runs well on its platform, and in fact has been giving lots of stuff back to the open source world. How about [[OpenDarwin]], [[WebKit]], [[ZeroConf]]? I know you’ve had your issues with [[Apple]], but you gotta give credit where credit is due.

Well, anyway, back to the first part… I have to agree. I always find myself getting drawn back to [[Frontier]] in one way or another. To paraphrase [[Michael Corleone]]: “Right when I get out, it pulls me back in!”. This time it’s hacking on **wordPress.root**. Hopefully I’ll be ready to release an updated version soon.

Some Work on the OPML Editor

I’ve been doing some work on the [[OPML Editor]] / [[metaWeblog]] integration provided in [[wordpress.root]]. So far, I have what I think is a better outline renderer (kind of based on the old [[HALO]] renderer and [[docRenderer]]) which uses the structure of the outline to format html headings and other things. I’ve also updated the software that saves posts to do weblogUpdates.pings to the various ping servers (like rpc.weblogs.com). This feature is configurable per blog, and the pings run in the background so you don’t have to wait for them to finish.

Why am I doing this?

Well, I find that I love [[MarsEdit]] for doing blog posts for comments on various articles I read in [[NetNewsWire]], but I don’t find that I like it as a writing tool. For writing, I really need an outliner (wouldn’t [[Dave Winer]] be proud [[:-)]]).

Eventhough the [[OPML Editor]] feels a bit klunky by today’s user interface standards, it’s still the only tool I can think of that allows me to open up the hood and rewire the engine if I feel like it. So, that’s exactly what I’m doing. The hacker in me loves this.

When I finish with these updates I’ll find a way to get them to [[Dave Winer]] or up on the opml editor support site somehow so others that are interested can take advantage of these changes.

Other changes I’m considering

  • Better multi-blog management (I maintain more than one blog, and opening up the object database and modifying a variable just seems so… so… blech [[:-)]]).
  • Better category menu support. Right now the right-click menu gives a list of categories for exactly one blog. If you have more than one blog you have to reload this menu.
  • Right-mouse button setting of item attributes
  • Right-mouse button to define HTML block types in OL attribute instead of special text
  • Anything else I can think of.

Masters Postmortem

A few thoughts about this year’s [[Masters]] tournament

  • Another year, another [[Masters]].
  • No [[Tiger Slam]] this year
  • All hail **The King*’! It was great seeing [[Arnold Palmer]] back at [[The Masters]], which, as the starter and chairman of Augusta said, is where he belongs.
  • Hopefully [[Jack Nicklaus]] will follow suit and be there as the ceremonial starter in the future. Wouldn’t it be great to have Nicklaus, Palmer, and Player, the big 3 of their day, reprise the roles of Snead, Nelson, and Sarazen, the original big 3?
  • I miss the days of old when there was no rough and the pros could make attempts at insane shots when the got in trouble. Now there’s just enough rough to make those sorts of shots so difficult that they don’t try them much, and if they do, they fail most of the time taking away the opportunity for a thrilling result. If you’ve ever read [[The Spirit of St. Andrews]] by [[Dr. Alister MacKenzie]], you’ll know that those changes are completely against his whole philosphy of golf course design. Note to [[Augusta National]]: Change it back. We need more insanely great shots!
  • I don’t have any problem with the increased length of the course. The players are now hitting clubs into the par 5’s that players like Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan had to which keeps the course from becoming obsolete.
  • I don’t know what you need to do [[Tiger]], but you gotta figure out a way to stop losing your drives to the right. That cost you the tournament.
  • Congratulations Zach! You zigged when everyone else zagged and now you have your green jacket. Given your post-victory interview in Butler Cabin, I’m sure this was the ultimate Easter celebration for you and your family!
  • That eagle by [[Tiger]] on the 13th hole was magnificent
  • The bogey/bogey finishes by [[Tiger]] on Thursday and Saturday were not
  • If only Tom Watson had taken his time a little bit on the 18th on Friday, he would’ve been there for the weekend
  • How many putts did [[Tiger]] attempt where the ball burned the edge of the cup as it rolled by? Had those fallen, he’d have finished at least 5 under for the week.
  • This applies to golf broadcasts in general, not just [[The Masters]]. I wish the director of the broadcast would take a look at some of the great footage from years past when the camera didn’t zoom in tight on the ball throughout its flight. By backing off and showing us a wide angle shot, we can see much more of how the shot is behaving: is it hooking or slicing? is it flying low or high? What about the effect of the wind? C’mon guys! We know you’re great with the camera work, but stop trying to ”’show”’ us how great you are. Let us ‘*see** what’s going on with the shot!

Agony at Augusta

Remember the **[[Carnage at Carnoustie]]*’? Or how about the ”'[[Shamble at Shinnecock]]”’? How about the ”'[[Pasting at Pinhurst]]”’? These major championiships where the pros were made to look like mere mortals on the golf course? Well, this year’s [[Masters]] joins the ranks of major championships that has completely kicked the collective asses of the best players in the world.

I’ve never seen anything like this.

Has [[Tiger]] ever gone bogey/bogey on the last two holes in a round, ‘*twice** in one tournament? Yeah, I know, 2 years ago he did that in the final round to bring [[Chris DiMarco]] back into the tournament and almost giving him the win, but that wasn’t twice.

And beyond that, when he walked off the course at the end of that disaster, did you think he’d end up playing in the final group as all those that came in behind him fell apart also?

Prediction: Tiger wins his fifth.

What’s Happening with Tiger?

More than half way through the second round of the [[The Masters]] and [[Tiger]] is falling apart! +3 on the day bringing his total to +4 and putting him in the T30… T30? Is he in danger of missing the cut? I bet he’s close to the cut line… if he blows the next few holes the way he did yesterday, he’s going to be watching this weekend instead of playing.

But don’t count him out yet. When he won 2 years ago, he started like this and then came thundering back on the weekend.

Solar Power-Cell Breakthrough

From [Slashdot](http://slashdot.org/:)

An anonymous reader writes “Researchers from the Nanomaterials Research Centre at Massey University in New Zealand have developed synthetic dyes that can be used to generate electricity at one tenth of the cost of current silicon-based solar panels. These photosynthesis-like compounds work in low-light conditions and can be cheaply incorporated into window-panes and building materials, thereby turning them into generators of electricity.”

Absolutely outstanding. Technology will solve the problems that technology has created. It’s the only way. The only question I have is one that James Burke posited many years ago in his landmark series [[Connections]]: Will the rate of change of society due to technology eventually increase to the point that it will be unable to react fast enough to catastrophic changes to fix them? Only time will tell, but let’s hope not!

Apple’s Move May Make AAC Music Industry Standard

From [Slashdot](http://slashdot.org/:)

stivi writes “BusinessWeek has up an article about a war: a standards war in the online music business. Apple’s recent deal with EMI to sell DRM-free songs from the publisher’s catalog on iTunes may clinch the iPod’s AAC format as the industry standard… With time, practically all music stores will be selling iPod-compatible songs. This will be considered a Richter 10 event at Microsoft.'”

Anything that brings [[M$]] down a notch is a good thing. If it helps [[Apple]], it’s a better thing. If it makes more music available without DRM and lock in, it’s the best possible thing. Let’s hope this happens.

(A)Typical Tiger

So, the first day of [[The Masters]] is complete, and if I was a competitor there, I’d be scared. Why? Because [[Tiger]] is pissed. He had a great round going until the final two holes, when the wheels came off and he bogeyed them both. His response to reporters after the round? “I let that one get away from me. I’m going to go to the driving range and break a few things.”

When [[Tiger]] gets mad, he gets really, really good.

Augusta was as difficult as I’ve ever seen it. Did you see the putt that [[Tiger]] had on the 15th hole? A good 50 feet and he barely touched it and it ended up next the the hole! I was **sure** that he left it 20 feet short.

Today should be interesting.