Thursday, June 29, 2006

Let Geekdom Ring

One reason I read the geek news regularly is because I find things there that help me feel as if we're not trapped after all in a spiral of corruption and corporate greed. Yesterday, there was just such a story: it was about Craig Newmark, the extraordinary founder of Craigslist. Here's what the head of this mega-million dollar company does at work:

He could be at the helm of the company or sit around as its "glamorous figurehead" (as the self-proclaimed nerd has said jokingly), but instead, he spends his days reading e-mails and answering customer complaints--a practice he says even the most high-powered CEO should partake of from time to time.

And here's his advice on success in life and business. I offer it as my quote of the week, and I'm going to print it out at the office tomorrow and post it in a visible place at my cubicle.

"If you want to be successful try to do the right thing," he said. "In the short term you can succeed by screwing people, but it doesn't work too well long term."

Passing from the sublime to the tyrannical, I found this quote in a story about Arlen Specter's intention to sue Bush for violating the very laws he signs into being:

Bush has issued more signing statements than all previous presidents combined. But he has never vetoed a bill, depriving Congress of any chance to override his judgment.

Good luck, Senator Specter. You'll need it, because it seems we live in a time where the only congress that gets anything done is of the sexual variety. The one in Washington, as we have repeatedly said here to our small audience, and as John Sweeney said today to a much larger one, is a hapless swamp of self-consuming stagnation.

But a great transformation is under way in the field of consciousness. We don't quite see it yet, but it's there. And what, you may ask, makes me so confident? Well, I asked. The I Ching, that is, a 5,000 year old (give or take a few centuries) collection of insight that was created to speak to situations just such as we have now in America. Tomorrow, in the Friday Reflection space, I'll offer as much as I was able to understand of what the old oracle had to say.

Finally, some thoughts on a rather ominous overture from a very promising young politician to some very dangerous religious groups, at my Daily Kos diary. Even if you don't have time to read the piece, check out the comments—they're a riot. Most of them bash the shit out of me (perhaps with good reason), but nevertheless I like that Daily Kos community. I guess it's a relief to see spirited, truly democratic disagreement, rather than that Coulter-esque psychotic ranting that you find at other blogs' comments sections. Sure, they get over-excited, and some reveal a worrisome inability to truly read what they comment about (as in the person who accused me of "atheieistic [sic] hostility to religion"); but at least they're trying to read and understand the issues, rather than vent mindlessly over some new collection of inflammatory videos such as you see at many sites on the web.

Anyway, here's a brief selection from the Kos diary piece:

God is no more to be found in the church than the nation is to be found in the State. So, to my mind, the challenge for a society that wishes to truly grow is not merely to separate church from state (though that's a good first step); but rather to separate from them both.

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