"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come."
Which means that a much sadder day is coming, sooner than any of us would like. Steve Jobs is the Edison of the modern age. Edison turned electricity into a part of every household, and defined it. Steve turned computing and the Internet into ubiquitous personal accessories, and defined them (within that mode as ubiquitous accessories).
Neither Apple, nor our world, will be the same without him in it.
UPDATE: Steve's best quotes.
Caroline Glick's "Caution: Storm Approaching" looks at the economic convulsions that underpin the Arab world's current political convulsions. Her conclusion is that those convulsions are about the get worse before they get better. It doesn't help that the same hate-spawning, dysfunctional political systems are big contributors to the Arabs' lack of economic progress as well. Nor does it help that key economies around the world cannot pretend away problems forever, but appear to be trying. The reckoning always comes, and the fallout from each side is about to affect the other.
Of course, replacing current governance in Arab/Islamic countries with an even more hate-filled and more dysfunctional system of Islamic theocracy - all that does is double down on human disaster and misery. It remains to be seen which way things tip. Revolution =/= progress; they are linked but ultimately separate variables.
On which topic, Brett Stephens had a useful reminder the other day, about courage...
"The Face of Pakistan's Courage" is about Shehrbano Taseer, the daughter of Punjab's governor. He's the man who was assassinated for suggesting the repeal of Pakistan's infamous blasphemy laws, whose legal and socio-cultural framework effectively sanctions torture and death for non-Muslims on a whim. I wish that was an exaggeration, but the evidence suggests otherwise: Asia Bibi currently sits on death row in Pakistan for nothing more than being a Christian, courtesy of the whim of a spiteful local villager. She isn't the first. She won't be the last.
Shehrbano Taseer is staying in Pakistan, and will continue fighting for her father's vision of the country. As Stephens correctly notes:
"Nearly a decade after 9/11, the West's exhaustion with the war on terror - at least in its more grandly conceived, nation-building and culture-shifting versions - can be traced to episodes like the Taseer killing and the underlying, politically incorrect question they prompt: What is it with these people? It's not an entirely unfair question.... [At the same time, people like Ms. Taseer, and the protesters in Syria] are exercising the virtue of courage as Aristotle would have understood it. And they are a rebuke to cultural pessimists in the West who often feel vindicated by the perfidies of the Muslim world but could stand, on occasion, to be humbled by examples of its courage."
The nature of Islam ensures that we'll be asking "What is it with these people?" for some time. The cultural disconnect is profound, and no, everyone does not want to be like us. Glick's realism - the genuine kind, not the school of foreign policy thought that calls itself realist because we wouldn't notice otherwise - is a necessary component. The very first thing is to look at what we see, and then not lie to ourselves. To date, it seems we've done little except lie to ourselves. That has to end.
While we keep that in mind, we must remember that Shehrbano Taseer is also real. As are the people Michael Totten talks to and writes about, here and elsewhere. There is a human element in all of this, and it's important to see it. That, too, is part of looking at reality and not lying to ourselves. People like Ms. Taseer matter in both a moral and political sense, and are worth our support.
Even if our realism doesn't think they're going to win in the near term, and urges us to prepare accordingly.
This is just great, and sums up so many things - including, most especially, my gratitude. Plus, I just thought y'all might like to understand the lyrics for once. :-)
As you might expect, there's more to this video than meets the eye. More music, and more of a story...
The folks at Playing for Change.com explain how the tech revolution fueled something entirely new:
"We built a mobile recording studio, equipped with all the same equipment used in the best studios, and traveled to wherever the music took us. As technology changed, our power demands were downsized from golf cart batteries to car batteries, and finally to laptops. Similarly, the quality with which we were able to film and document the project was gradually upgraded from a variety of formats - each the best we could attain at the time - finally to full HD...."
From communities, to the world, in shared music. Not bad. In time, the playlist will be more 2-way. But...
"Over the course of this project, we decided it was not enough for our crew just to record and share this music with the world; we wanted to create a way to give back to the musicians and their communities that had shared so much with us. And so in 2007 we created the Playing for Change Foundation, a separate 501©3 nonprofit corporation.... Now, musicians from all over the world are brought together to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities that are in need of inspiration and hope."
You could do a hell of a lot worse than that. Real hope usually requires policy changes, and often cultural changes, which is why economic development projects so often go nowhere. There's always a place for art & music in a human life, and I like a project that, pretty much no matter what, always goes somewhere.
Now, if you liked that video, check out the full 24-song YouTube mix. It's a visual album that I promise you will not regret.
People who truly possess a green thumb, usually live life with a full heart. The late SGT James Nolen of the 2/508, 82nd Airborne had one, and anticipated gardening at his house near Ft. Bragg, NC when his deployment ended. His wife Rachel writes:
"When we moved into our new house before James deployed all he could talk about was how much he couldn't wait to plant trees, have nice gardens, and a beautiful yard. James had a green thumb so there was no doubt that he would have done it. But unfortunately things got so busy before he deployed we never got to begin his gardens."I'm going to post the punchline to this story because I want to make sure the name of Gellen Lawn Care gets broadcast far and wide...here's Rachel:
"This afternoon the nicest thing happened to me. Over the weekend I signed a contract for lawn service with Gellen Lawn Care. Well, today, Patrick (the owner) came to cut my lawn. He noticed James' memorial garden. After telling him all about James he thanked me for his sacrifice. Then he gave me back my contract and offered to cut my lawn for free as long as he was in business. It truly means so much to me that a complete stranger would be so nice. I know James is smiling down from heaven. I'm telling you it's the little things that mean so such."Some things, thankfully, speak for themselves.
Gather round my children for a story that is true.I'd be remiss not to mention that Littlest Guy's mom and stepdad have adopted two delightful (and energetic!) children through the foster system, and that my brother is hoping to do the same thing this year.
A story about Santa Claus and the gift he gave to you.
You said that last year Santa didn't come your way,
That there was nothing 'neath the tree for you on Christmas Day.
When last year Santa saw you in that foster home, he knew what you were feeling -- so sad and all alone.
You wrote down what you wanted, made your list of toys, and oh how Santa wished that he could give you back your joy.
Santa's toys are made with love, each a work of art.
But Santa knows that none of them can mend a broken heart.
So Santa doesn't always bring just what you ask him to, he searches deep within your heart to find his gift for you.
He watches when you're dreaming, hears you when you pray.
And that's how Santa chooses what to bring on Christmas Day.
Back and forth Santa paced, then sat down in his chair.
Scratched his head, thought and thought and fiddled with his hair.
Soon he closed his big blue eyes, his cheeks all flushed and red.
In a flash, he fell asleep, as if he were in bed.
And as he slept more deeply, he began to snore.
Till the roaring of his snoring shook the workshop floor.
Suddenly he woke up with a twinkle in his eye.
"I'll give those kids a present money cannot buy."
He grabbed his coat, rushed outside and disappeared from view.
All night long he searched and searched to find his gift for you.
He'd watched you in your dreaming, heard you as you prayed, and that's how he decided what to bring on Christmas Day.
All at once he found it and stuffed it in his sack.
It was a gift that you could hug, and it would hug you back.
A present you could play with, and it would play with you.
A gift that you could love and love, and it would love you too.
A present you had asked for, but only in your dreams.
Exactly what you wanted more than any thing.
You thought that he forgot you, that Santa passed you by.
But that's because you didn't see the twinkle in his eye.
Santa gave you something that you had never had.
He gave you what you wanted most.
A loving Mom and Dad.
Long-time Winds of Change readers will remember colleague/contributor Hossein Derakshan, the father of the Iranian blogosphere, who is noted in the column to your right.
It occurs to me that while I was away, you may not have been updated about this:
"Mr. Derakhshan, 35, is widely known by his online name "Hoder." He was born in Iran, but moved to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in early adulthood. He is a staunch advocate of free expression in Iran, and became known as the "blogfather" of Iran's on-line community for training pro-democracy advocates to blog and podcast in the late nineties. Later, he apologized for his dissenting views, and emerged as an unlikely supporter of the regime, at one point comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a modern-day Che Guevara.
So when the Iranian government invited him to travel to Iran in 2008, he accepted, thinking he would help his country reach out to the world, according to friends and family. Upon his arrival, however, another branch of the government arrested him.
On Tuesday, he was convicted of insulting Islamic thought and religious figures, managing obscene websites and co-operating with "enemy states" because he visited Israel five years ago...."
He has been sentenced to 19.5 years in prison.
Hoder's attempt to find a locus of collaboration with the Islamic regime dilutes his status as a prisoner of conscience, but does not erase it. Or touch the legacy he leaves. He remains in my thoughts - and I hope, in yours.
Something interesting from GQ, looking into the cybernetic Wild West:
"f you were desperate and hopeless enough to log on to a suicide chat room in recent years, there was a good chance a mysterious woman named Li Dao would find you, befriend you, and gently urge you to take your own life. And, she'd promise, she would join you in that final journey. But then the bodies started adding up, and the promises didn't. Turned out, Li Dao was something even more sinister than anyone thought."
Ah, but if this is the Wild West, there's bound to be a posse... and therein hangs a tale. Fantastic work by Nadia Labi.
Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker passed away last month before many needed repairs could be completed on his house in St, Maries, Idaho.. His wife, Heidi, did not have the funds to travel to Arlington National Cemetery for his funeral. Many local an national folks have stepped up including Congressman Walt Minnick to cover the cost of her flight and hotel...well done everyone.
However, Vernon's house is still in need of repairs estimated at more than $19,000. We need to help this hero's widow and be sure she is taken care of. The Idaho National Guard, which has been raising funds and is being assisted by American Legion Post 143 in Post Falls, Idaho.