If you help me come up with three more, we can call them Commandments.

But first . . .


With your subscription to this site come a free drink and a fashion show. (Match that, Andrew Sullivan.) SAKS FIFTH AVENUE presents CHARLES NOLAN Fall 2004 tomorrow, September 28, at 5:30pm. RSVP: 212-451-3949. If your husband’s got the Gulfstream and you can’t make it to New York, just click here to see it. (How ironic: I spent the first 47 years of my life trying desperately to know as little as possible about women’s clothes and now all I can think about is the ‘sell through’ on the yellow waffle coat.)


Unsigned: ‘I know you hate our commander-in-chief with every fiber of your being, but for you to reprint this E. L. Doctorow garbage is very disappointing.’

☞ I don’t hate him with even one fiber. But I do hate to think of all the damage he’s done. I thought the Doctorow piece was insightful. After all, what kind of man does kick kids off after-school programs in order to cut taxes for the wealthy?

What kind of man can sleep, let alone vacation, when just $16 million of the $4.2 billion designated for water and sanitation projects in Iraq – and just $2 million of the $786 million earmarked for health projects – has been spent? (In the words of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, quoted here a few days ago, ‘It’s beyond pitiful.’)

What kind of man calls on the United Nations to ban the stem cell research that could spare your family the agony of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s? Or takes cops off the street and allows assault weapons back on?


Read Nuclear Terrorism by Graham Allison, a former top Pentagon official and long-time Harvard professor. Click here to see what a 10-kiloton nuclear blast would do to your zip code.

Lynn writes (or cuts and pastes, I couldn’t tell from where):

*President Bush has, at least twice, attempted to cut funding for the Nunn-Lugar program, which continues to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union.

*President Bush has secured less plutonium and bomb-grade uranium in the two years since 9/11 than in the two years before.

*President Bush has kept funding for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which secures loose nukes and fissile material, flat at around $1 billion, even after a 2001 Department of Energy advisory board recommended an annual allocation of $3 billion.

*President Bush insisted that the proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty have no verification regime, thereby gutting a treaty that would have curbed new fissile material, even in countries that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, such as India and Pakistan.

*President Bush (and his Republican leadership in the House) defeated a Democratic measure to double the number of containers at ports and airports checked for WMD. The one billion dollar cost would have been paid for by reducing the tax cut of 200,000 millionaires by five thousand dollars each.

*President Bush has no coherent strategy to prevent nuclear terrorism and has shown disdain for arms control treaties.

☞ I assume that some of this is overdone or one-sided. But the general thrust rings all too true . . . and makes ludicrous the notion that only ‘Bring ’em on Bush’ can keep our children safe. Not to mention that our children may soon be hearing from their local draft boards, thanks to the largely unilateral way President Bush rushed into war without a plan to win the peace.


The President’s by now famous remark downplaying negative reports from Iraq – ‘I saw a poll that said the ‘right track-wrong track’ in Iraq was better than here in America’ – makes particularly poignant the description you may have seen of what the war would be like if we were the ones being liberated (3000 American deaths last week, etc.). Click here.

And now, at last . . .


We’re all, busy, okay? Life is short. Sometimes we want long rambling rants like mine. But ow much more efficient our lives could be if we all adhered to these simple rules:

1. If your entire message can fit on the subject line, put it on the subject line-followed by EOM (end of message). Nothing more. For example:

  • SUBJ: Thanks, Sanji! EOM
  • Or append it to the existing subject line:
  • SUBJ: Dinner Thursday? ← YES! THANKS! CU THERE! EOM

2. Make the subject line descriptive. If you make it: SUBJ: check this out and it turns out to be yet another copy of Bush’s resume (“I was arrested twice for drunk driving . . .”) that we’ve all seen 50 times by now, it is annoying. But if you make it: SUBJ: Bush’s resume, then we can smile faintly and delete it in three-tenths of a second.

This is especially true if you’re forwarding a link – let alone sending an attachment. Tell us what it is, so we know whether it’s worth opening your e-mail, following the link, or downloading the attachment.

  • Instead of: SUBJ: Funny! How about: SUBJ: Jewish haikus
  • Instead of SUBJ: do you know this guy? How about: SUBJ: do you know Danny Shindler? Or even (if there’s no more to your message than that): SUBJ: do you know Danny Shindler? EOM.
  • The obvious reason is to save time, but the other reason is to make searching easy. Say this grows into a spirited exchange about Danny Shindler, because you do know him. And that a month later, one of you wants to go back and find that thread. Isn’t the logical thing to search on “Danny Shindler” rather than trying to remember that the thread was entitled “do you know this guy?”

3. If your message is to one person, begin the subject line with that person’s first name:

  • SUBJ: Jane – separation of church and state

That way, she instantly knows you are speaking to her, and this is not a blast e-mail to the 300 people on your list.

This is especially important if you are forwarding something that the recipient may have seen – the Bush resume – but also have a personal message. (“Have you seen this? And by the way, Thursday’s meeting has been moved from 3pm to 2pm.”) Otherwise, the recipient may see it’s a “forward” she’s already seen and delete it – and miss the meeting.

4. If you’re sending to a large group, use “blind copies” (unless there’s an awfully good reason to have everyone see the e-addresses of all 215 recipients).

5. If you’re responding to a group e-mail, hit REPLY rather than REPLY ALL unless you really think the whole group wants to see your reply. (Ah, the boorish irony of those who REPLY ALL with the message, “I do not appreciate your cluttering my inbox – please take me off your list.”)

6. If you’re attaching a letter or a newsclip, also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail to spare the recipient’s having to open the attachment.

7. Place post scripts before your sign off, for reasons amply elucidated in the only really important column I have ever posted in this space.

Other candidates for this list? Fire away. Three more and we can burn them into tablets.


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