Lee Kuan Yew

When historians name the most important leaders of the 20th Century, they’ll put in the top ranks the man who ran one of the smallest nations. Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew cast an outsized shadow in world affairs.

More in my Sunday column.

World Economic Forum

As it happens, Lee Kuan Yew will be among the people gathering for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, which starts later this week in Davos, Switzerland. Last year’s high spot was a speech by Bill Clinton, the first appearance at the meeting by a sitting U.S. president.

I’m heading over to Europe later today and will be covering the meeting. I’m moderating a panel called “Ode to the Algorithm,” featuring Keith Devlin and Raj Reddy. Devlin is a prolific author of books on math and science, and Reddy is a longtime computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. I can scarcely wait for our session, which is scheduled for Jan. 29, and will let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, I’ll be reporting on the forum and the annual meeting.

Patent Outrages Continue

Dave Winer: The U.S. Blues. David Weatherall thinks he owns search engines. All of them. And the U.S. goverment agrees.

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office might not go that far. It simply issues patents, willy-nilly, and figures the courts will sort out the mess.

This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

President Bush

George W. Bush is president of the United States. It’s time for the people who don’t like that fact to accept it and move on.

It’s also time for the people who don’t like Bush’s right-wing inclinations to hold him to his claims of being a compassionate conservative. What did that mean, anyway? That he’d frown with empathy as he launched regressive, reactionary policies?

Bush has already shown his contempt for the people in the middle of the political spectrum, with his appointment of John Ashcroft to attorney general, among other nominations clearly designed to keep the right wing happy. His socially moderate cabinet members, with the exception of Norman Mineta, are in jobs where social moderation means zilch — and they are plenty far to the right on the issues they will exert influence.

I am convinced Bush will preach inclusion and togetherness. But if his cabinet appointments are an early preview, his policies will be so far from the mainstream that they will make the happy talk sound like sheer hypocrisy.

This could be a long four years.

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