BART strike remarks
This post is primarily a response to the article on the BART Strike from The Nation that seems to be making the rounds on Facebook, Twitter, and all of the other blagoblag echo chambers. I've adopted this post from a Facebook message conversation I had, so it might be a little strangely-phrased. I apologize for any inaccuracies, I do not speak for my employer, and all of that necessary prelude.
I found the Nation article on the BART strike this week frustrating and inaccurate and, because someone is wrong on the Internet, I had to write a response. The BART strike is one of the more visible bits of organized labor work in the last few years, and it makes me embarassed as a stereotypical liberal that those defending to it are doing such a bad job. If the union is striking for more money, then say that. But don't misrepresent statistics to justify it. And if the union is striking for other reasons, then it would be lovely as a Bay Area resident and news-reader to know exactly what those reasons are. This well-disseminated article is nothing more than one-sided, poorly-researched editoralism masquerading as news.read more
What I Want: The Moonbat List
It's 11:39PM on the eve of the Great Tea Revolt. As I sit here, fresh off of my 12-hour shift at work, the national media is reporting headlines like G.O.P. Captures House and "Midterm Train Wreck"; the Republicans (particularly in their hard-right Tea Party libertarian wing) are winning this battle. And I thought to myself, "You know what the world needs? More amateur political commentary!" So here's my wingnut list, my moonbat list, my this-will-be-embarrassing-if-I-ever-run-for-office list. Here's what I wish the country, and the world could do. It's no more achievable than are ...read more
Trust, Government and Health Care
There's currently something going on in Washington that Twitter has called "912dc" (New York Times story); it's a protest against not any particular act by government, but against government itself. More Jeffersonian than anarchistic, though.
This protest bothers me a lot, and I thought that maybe if I wrote down my ideas as to why, it'd bother me less. There are a few reasons why people protest what they call "big government":
- They feel that they don't need the services provided. -- This covers a lot of the rich-white-libertarian group and doesn't get a response
- They feel that private industry can provide the services better than public government.
- They actually only disagree with some action of the government, but are protesting the whole thing anyway. — The foreign-born-Obama and 912dc intersection falls here
- (most rarely) They actually think the government is too big.
I'm sure that there are people at this rally for all of those reasons (and probably a few that I haven't considered), but there's really one that bothers me, and it's one that I hear espoused a lot.read more
On Teaching and Value
A few minutes ago, I was reading an article from my hometown's newspaper, the Fall River Herald News. It was an article indicating that half of the schools in Fall River have been classified as "needs improvement" by the state. I'm not here to talk to you about the article so much; it was hardly good news, but nothing new for Fall River. Instead, I'd like to talk about the comments. You see, I was reading this article online, and the online edition of the Herald has a comments field. Here are two of the posted comments, reproduced for analysis' sake:
- city gets what it pays for--- city gives the least amount of money to education in the state-and the money they do have they misuse
- Thanks duclos, I knew that was the problem with our schools. We have to start paying our teachers more in order to get them to teach! I figure $80,000 to $90,000 a year might get us off the failure list.
I think that this represents an interesting divide in the perception of schools, and one which I've seen a lot, at least anecdotally. So I thought I'd do some research.read more
A brief thought on the new Microsoft "Interoperability" documents
If you haven't seen the recent Microsoft Interoperability announcement, I suggest you read it. It's been Slashdotted, so I figure there's a decent chance that everybody on the Internet has seen it already. This is, of course, an extension of the Microsoft Office Binary Formats release of a few days ago, and I'm equally leery about it. There are some interesting comments on the Office Binary formats on the web, including these by Jeff Licquia, and those he links to by Joel Spolsky.
On the one hand, this is an amazing opportunity for F/OSS developers ...read more