Life is a Mystery

27 October 2008 . Comments Off on Refusing the call

Refusing the call

A mother reports that her daughter walked out on her job at an Indiana call center rather than make slime calls for the McCain campaign.

A second worker at the call center confirmed the episode, saying that “at least 30” workers had walked out after refusing to read the script.

“We were asked to read something saying [Obama and Democrats] were against protecting children from danger,” this worker said. “I wouldn’t do it. A lot of people left. They thought it was disgusting.”

This worker, too, confirmed sacrificing pay to walk out, saying her supervisor told her: “If you don’t wanna phone it you can just go home for the day.”

The Talking Points Memo has the full story.

All I can say is: wow. These folks are not making a whole lot of money in the first place, and to give that up for an ethical concern… that’s just magnificent. I think the mom can be very proud and I hope more McCain workers recognize the dirtiness of the muck they are being asked to spread.

27 October 2008 . Comments Off on Smelling the pages

Smelling the pages

I still don’t have an iPhone or iPod touch, but if I did I’d be anticipating the arrival of Classics. This looks to be an ebook reader made for book lovers, with pages you can almost smell. Sebastian de With offers a peek into the design of Classics on his blog.

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How nice to see what publicly usable texts can inspire!

24 October 2008 . Comments Off on Proposition 8

Proposition 8

One of the things Mary and I thought long and hard about before getting married was that we would be taking part in an institution that was barred from some of our best friends. In the end, we turned our vows into a prayer for all those sharing the ceremony with us, so that they could pledge themselves to one another with us. It was an important moment in my life.

These past few years I have loved seeing the institution of marriage break open to the love all around us. Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut are leading the way. I hope all of us can learn to fear less and love more.

Of course, this change is not without opposition. In California there is now a proposition to amend the state constitution so that gay marriages would be banned once more. To support gay marriage you have to oppose this proposition (a bit confusing). I am “NO” on Prop 8. Today Apple also came out as NO, calling this a civil rights issue, not a gay rights issue.

Andrew Sullivan, a consistent NO voice on Prop 8 today shared a few nice ads that mingle the Apple design sense with the NO message. Here’s my favorite of the bunch.

If you live in California, please vote NO on Prop 8. If you live anywhere else, please consider supporting the No on Prop 8 effort. The NO vote has been eroding. They, WE, need your help.

24 October 2008 . Comments Off on Back to the future

Back to the future

Ron Howard produced this gentle and entertaining endorsement of Obama. It’s kind of fun to see old characters speaking about current issues.

(Hat tip to Andrew.)

22 October 2008 . Comments Off on Think again

Think again

I think of James Bennett now and again, often when I’m reading Andrew Sullivan or when a new issue of The Atlantic arrives at our door. Today I came across the beautiful theAtlantic.project which combines image, sound, and provocative questions to get the brain in gear and thinking outside the box. If you have a little time on your hands, give it a peek. Good luck pulling yourself out again.


21 October 2008 . Comments Off on Home Office

Home Office

A nice collection of practical wisdom from home office inhabitants at A List Apart today.

This is me:

Use Grand Central. Grand Central is an application that masks several phone numbers as one. You input all your phone numbers and label them “home,” “mobile,” “work,” etc. The application gives you one phone number, local to your area code, that you can hand out. It’s fantastic for having one phone number and being on the road, at home, at my external office, at the coffee shop, etc.

Too bad Grand Central has not been creating new accounts for over six months now. I hope they get back in the swing of things soon.

This is not me:

Get paid. Run your business like a law firm. I use FreshBooks and Backpack. I run a journal on my daily activities. I schedule what I am working on and when I am working on it. I bill for everything (phone calls, meetings, sketching ideas). I also know how many hours I need to meet my financial goals each month, each week, each day.

OK, I get paid, but I’m not this methodical about it!

This article is a sort-of companion to a piece earlier this summer about working from home.

20 October 2008 . Comments Off on Safe, Prosperous, and Free

Safe, Prosperous, and Free

A wonderful music video for Obama’08. (Thanks, Mary!)

Obama ’08 – Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

20 October 2008 . 2 Comments

David Ifshin

I once had the privilege of going on an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel hosted by a wonderful fellow named David Ifshin. David and I disagreed about a lot of things on that trip, not the least about the impact a Clinton presidency would have on the Democratic party. This trip was somewhere in the years leading up to the 1992 presidential race and my dad was still considering a run himself, probably part of the reason David invited me on the trip. He was keen to have Democrats (well, anyone, really) understand what life was like in Israel, what the challenges were, what the diversity of political opinion on the ground there really was like.

That trip taught me a lot. It preceded by a few months the first intifada, and, as such, it was probably one of the most peaceful periods Israel has seen. Still, I learned a little of what living in fear of terror was like. The tension was palpable and unforgettable. After 9/11 I saw a shadow of that tension in our domestic response to being attacked.

I think of David now and then. He has since died of cancer, but his spirit lives on and I am sure thousands of people understand the situation in Israel and the Middle East better thanks to his work. Today I found a story about David and John McCain that made me miss him all over again. I wish McCain had friends like David around now to help him remember the danger of spreading hate.


[Update: photo changed to one from the trip I described.]

13 October 2008 . Comments Off on HathiTrust


Ever since agreeing to participate in the Google book scan project, John Wilkin and the University of Michigan have been looking for a way to provide access to the vast digital resources they get from the project. They have today announced the HathiTrust, which includes partners from across the country (including Minnesota). This is a great site and a great start on a tough problem: can we, together, maintain free and open access to materials from our library collections? A nice story at ArsTechnica too.

13 October 2008 . Comments Off on FFR: Kosmix

FFR: Kosmix

Another interesting all-in-one search engine in alpha.

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 /