[conspire] NYLXS Press Release on the OLPC Project

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu May 1 11:45:26 PDT 2008

Quoting Edward Cherlin (echerlin at gmail.com):

> Rick, I apologize in advance. If you know of a more appropriate venue
> for this sort of meshugas, I would be happy to continue with Ruben
> there.

(Not yet donning the metaphorical listadmin hat, but looking over at it.)

I'd rather not have this become a mailing list for outright angry
political disputation of the more miserable sort that has lead -- to my
disgust -- to most people being able to speak only to people of
extremely like mind.  I personally take great pride in being able to
speak civilly to people I strongly disagree with, and try to cultivate
the knack.  Part of the trick is to be amusing, or tell stories of
interest, or carefully stick to polite discussions of philology that
_bear_ on questions of international politics, and in general approach
the hot topics from non-hot angles.  Part of it is finding common

I think many people have been poorly socialised and never learned that
knack, or have become so incensed that they deliberately forgot it --
and forgot that it's really the only way that one has _ever_ been able
to reach out to others and avoid the trap of preaching to the converted.

I think you've, just now, utterly failed that test.  I think you are
among the many people I know who have that problem, and that you should
fix it.  

You should also have the common sense to never post anything like what
you "apologised in advance" for again -- or I _will_ don the listadmin
hat, and will jump down severely on you _first_.

Believe it.

And don't _ever_ deliberately screw up, pissing on a mailing list I
adminster, and try to excuse yourself with the words "I apologise in
advance".  It's just putting me on notice that you refuse to take
responsibility and are likely to continue doing so.  Take my word for
it; you don't want that to happen.

[1] Some decades ago, I found myself on a job in the financial services
industry at Franklin Resources in San Mateo.  The CPA in charge and I
were chatting, and he mentioned that his dad was Chairman of the
Republican Party for San Mateo County (and shared his views).  I gave
the vibes that I had decidedly different politics but liked and
respected quite a lot of Republicans and their values, which is quite

I showed him my ACLU card, just to convince him that I wasn't just a
conservative adopting liberal drag for kicks, and we chatted.  I
admitted that the ACLU's recurring campaign to prevent municipal
Christmas creche displays on public land was if-fey, that it's a bit
hardcore to assert that it constitutes an "establishment of religion".
We chatted about the recent news of one Brian Willson repeatedly
refusing to move from the tracks of the Navy's Port Chicago train moving
nuclear weapons into and out of storage, and the fact that the train,
being literally unable to stop in time, had cut off both the man's legs.

I opined that someone should get Willson, for his birthday, a wheelchair 
able to straddle the train tracks, so he could attempt to autodarwinate
again more effectively.

My friend looked at me, incredulous:  Him:  "_You're_ a liberal?"  Me:  
"I didn't say I was _stupid_."

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