Newsreel III

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — The girl in the gold Lexus waved at Husam Thobaity.  She was in the back seat, covered by a black veil that hid everything but her eyes.

"She had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen," Thobaity recalled.  "So I gave her my number by Bluetooth."

Cellphone technology is changing the way young people meet and date in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most insular, conservative and religiously strict societies in the world.  Calls and texting — and more recently, Bluetooth — are breaking down age-old barriers and giving young men and women discreet new ways around the sentries of romance.

"This is clearly a way of going around the social barriers, and it is unstoppable," said Alex Shalaby, chief executive of Egypt-based Mobinil, one of the largest cellphone providers in the Middle East.  "The tide is just too strong."

Kevin Sullivan, "Saudi Youth Use Cellphone Savvy to Outwit the Sentries of Romance, Washington Post, A1, August 6, 2006.


Wikipedia has the potential to be the greatest effort in collaborative knowledge gathering the world has ever known, and it may well be the greatest effort in voluntary collaboration of any kind.

A quarter century ago, it was inconceivable that a legion of unpaid, unorganized amateurs scattered around the globe could create anything of value, let alone what may one day be one of the most comprehensive repositories of knowledge in human history.

Marhsall Poe, "The Hive", The Atlantic Monthly, p. 86, September 2006.


The National Federation of Independent Business is beefing up its election-year outreach effort.  The small business group … has spent $250,000 to acquire e-mail addresses [and] expects to spend $250,000 on Internet banner ads.

Bara Vaida, "NFIB Reaches Out", National Journal, p. 47, August 5, 2006.


A victory by businessman Ned Lamont on Tuesday would confirm the growing strength of the grassroots and Internet activists[, who] are on the brink of claiming their most significant political triumph, one that will reverberate far beyond the borders [of Connecticut] if Lieberman loses.

Dan Balz, "Lieberman Loss Could Be a Party Watershed", Washington Post, p. A6, August, 6, 2006.


HARTFORD — In a stark repudiation, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) narrowly lost the Democratic Senate primary here Tuesday night[.]

Dan Balz and Shailagh Murray, "Lieberman Defeated in Democratic Primary," Washington Post, p. A1, August 9, 2006.    

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.