Friday, April 15, 2011

Maureen Dowd on Asking Pointed Questions

If I was a politician, I'd run screaming in the other direction if I saw Maureen Dowd coming to interview me. She can cut to the quick. Thus, the column she writes here shows that even someone like her, who can take on sitting presidents & cut them to ribbons in print, quakes in the face of asking probing questions of doctors and or giving directions to cab drivers. I think that we can share this reticence in some measure. We want to believe that professionals, whether the holder of a hack license or a medical license or a law license or a teaching certificate, means that the holder knows what he or she is doing all of the time. Wrong. Doctors, lawyers, cabbies: we're all human, all too human. I dislike it when a client questions me, but I know it's smart of them and that they really ought to do it. That person is actually a better client. Sometimes I do miss angles or over look possibilities. We ought to--because we need to--ask tough questions. But, if it's hard for Maureen Dowd, then it must be hard for everyone. (Interestingly, I saw her once on the Daily Show and she came across as almost shy, not the tigress that I expected. I attribute it to print versus personal confrontation.)

Niall Ferguson: Technology as a Two-Edged Sword

Niall Ferguson notes that while technology gets some credit for recent democratic uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, it's not all about sweetness and light. The bad guys (terrorists) use it also, for instance, to recruit, train, plan, and act. Technology make take us to heaven, or to hell (or remain in a sort of purgatory, like watching most television).

The Bane of Iowa: Bob Vander Plaats

This guy is the plague of the Iowa judicial system, and to see him get this kind of publicity disturbs me greatly. His crusade against our judicial system resulted in a vigilante justice for three sitting Supreme Court justices who happened to appear on the ballot last fall. The good news? As I predicted, polling data shows that opposition to gay marriage is not strong in Iowa. Indeed, I maintain that some of the reason for the vote that we saw last fall comes from an I-want-to-vote-out-anyone-I-can attitude. There's a solid 25% or so that will vote against any judge, so it doesn't take a lot to push the number up over 50%. For those of you out of state, Iowa has ilk like this, but it's a close state, and I'm remaining optimistic for the next round of elections.