This news item in the Washington Post is an interesting and ironic example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Helen Beristain voted for Trump despite the fact that her husband, who is from Mexico and is undocumented, warned her that Trump wanted to “…get rid of the Mexicans.” She apparently thought somehow that Trump only meant the “bad” Mexicans.

Too bad for her, because her husband, who has no criminal record of any kind has been deported. It also appears from the WP story that his deportation was expedited so that court rulings to prevent the deportation, at least temporarily so he could have his day in court, would not take place until he had already been removed from the U.S.A.

It is a tragedy that a man who has lived in the U.S. for almost 20 years, raised two children who are American citizens, and paid his taxes, is being forcibly removed from his family. I am not sure how much sympathy I can scrape up for her but that does not make it any less of an injustice.

So much for those “family values” the Republicans keep talking about.

Read the entire article  in the Washington Post and see what you think.

 

04. March 2012 · Comments Off on Pitiful Apology · Categories: Opinion, Rants

It is about the most pitiful apology I have ever heard. My mother would never have let me get away with it nor would I have let my children get away with it.

I am talking—of course—about the non-apology apology. Specifically the alleged apology made by Rush “the slut” Limbaugh to Sandra Fluke, who was just trying to testify to Congress; to a bunch of men only; about women’s issues; and who did not want to hear what she had to say. At least the Democrats invited her back to speak to them despite the fact that the Republicans still do not want to hear her.

Rush apologized. But not for calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” No, he apologized only for selecting those specific words.

So Rush, what words would you have used to call Ms. Fluke those things? Would that have made it any better? Would it have been different in any way? Perhaps, if you had used different words your sponsors would not be pulling out. Is that what you are sorry for? The loss of income? Would using different words have enabled you to call her a “slut” and a “prostitute” while keeping your sponsors?

And this does not even begin to cover Rush and the other morons telling women to put aspirin between their knees to prevent pregnancy. Why don’t we just cut off your penis instead—if it can be found?

Rush’s comments are disgusting, reprehensible, filthy, slanderous (I would sue if I were Ms. Fluke), and so far out of the realm of reasonable discourse that he should be taken off the air permanently. At the very least he and the network and every station that carries his show should be fined. This venomous attack is so much more obscene than the occasional language on TV or even the “wardrobe malfunctions” that leave folks thinking they might have seen something, that it deserves significant punishment.

Are you there, FCC?

If you want to help prevent this monster from airing more malignant sewage, here are a couple web sites that tell which companies sponsor him so that you can boycott them write them letters.

Stand up to the morons.

13. January 2012 · Comments Off on I was Laid Off By Mitt Romney · Categories: Opinion, Politics

Well, actually it was Bain Capital which fired me, but Mitt was largely responsible for many of the actions of Bain.

I started working for Interpath Communications, Inc., a local ISP/ASP here in RTP, North Carolina, in October, 1999. Interpath was a subsidiary of Carolina Power and Light, which is now Progress Energy.

In about May of 2000, Bain Capital purchased an equity share of Interpath from Progress Energy. I knew we were in trouble when we heard that a capital company out of Boston purchased such a large equity share. It was a common subject of discussion around Interpath in those days to speculate on when the first layoffs would be.

On the morning of August 11 of 2000, we came in to work and each found a sealed envelope on our desk. We were locked out of our computers and there were armed guards at the entrances to the computer room.

Interpath Layoff Letter

Interpath Layoff Letter. Click to view enlarged.

After opening and reading the contents of our envelopes, about 80 of us went into one meeting room and the rest went into another. I was in the group of 80 that were being “laid off,” “restructured,” “downsized,” “rightsized,” “released,” “let go,” “terminated,” or any of the other words used to say you were fired.

No one even had the common decency—or guts—to sign the letter.

Yes, Mitt does like to fire people. He fired me and eighty others in one day at one company!

It took only two years to dismantle a perfectly good company. Here is a link to a 2002 story about the divestiture of most of Interpath’s then remaining assets, As Interpath Fades, Employees Offered Severance or Move to Maryland.

________________________________________________

Disclosure: I still own shares of Progress Energy, most of which were purchased through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan while I worked at Interpath.

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4 1776 by a small group of people who possessed great courage and foresight. The Constitution was framed and signed after the Revolutionary War, on September 17th of 1787 by another group of visionaries.

The United States of America was founded and has been nurtured by small groups of people working together to solve common problems and to promote the greater good. They understood and practiced the precepts of participatory government. However the idea of participatory government was not new even then. Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

I was privileged this past weekend to be involved in a 21st Century version of participatory government.

CityCamp Raleigh (http://citycampral.org/) brought together government, business, neighborhood, non-profit, and academic communities to re-imagine the ways in which open source collaboration and technology will shape the future of our city.

CityCamp is a series of events, first started in Chicago, focused on innovation for government and community organizations in our cities. Each CityCamp has four main goals:

  1. Bring together government officials, municipal employees, experts, programmers, designers, citizens and journalists to share perspectives and insights about the cities in which they live
  2. Create or maintain government transparency and effective local governance using the web as a platform
  3. Foster communities of practice and advocacy on the role of information and open data in cities
  4. Create outcomes that participants will act on during and after the event

CityCamp Raleigh was an “unconference” with little planned structure other than the first day in which we learned about unconferences, CityCamps in other cities, and problems facing citizens and the state and local governments. The organization required to identify and solve problems was created on the fly as we listened to panels and speakers. The simple low-tech expedient of a grid of masking tape on one of the walls of our venue allowed participants to post ideas and for others to self-select into groups based upon those ideas.

Each group focused on one problem in which they shared a common interest and generated a presentation to define the problem and their possible solution. Some groups even provided a simple level of implementation or a non-functional prototype to demonstrate their solutions. Sunday afternoon, June 5, each group presented its ideas to a panel of judges and the other groups.

The winning team, named “Open it Up,” proposed making public data from NC Education Report Card open and easily accessible. Although the data is currently available, it is cumbersome to obtain and difficult and expensive to manipulate.

School data can currently be obtained from a web site that does not allow any direct comparison of various measurement and tracking criteria. All of the data from the web site can be obtained directly from the Department of Public Instruction on a CD for a $10 shipping and handling fee. Once the CD is in one’s hands, however, it is still not accessible. You must spend several hundred dollars on proprietary software merely to access the database. You must learn to use the software and then figure out how to manipulate the data to meet your needs. This is not open data because it is not easily accessible.

The Open it Up team demonstrated a method to convert this data into an open data format that can be used by anyone, Comma Separated Variable (CSV). Any spreadsheet program can import and export data in this format and a large number of Open Source programs can use it as well. They made the data available on the open data web site http://ncschooldata.wordpress.com/ where it was easily transformed into graphs allowing parents to easily compare school performance. You can download the data yourself from the website and use it in any way you choose.

Ideally the data should be in an open format to begin with so that proprietary tools would not be required. The raw data should be made publicly available from the internet in this open format. This allows citizens and entrepreneurs to create inexpensive apps to access the data in any variety of ways so that parents could compare schools without having to invest a great deal money and time in proprietary software.

The $5000 prize was awarded on creativity, execution, and feasibility. Jason Hibbits a CityCamp Raleigh committee co-chair and judge said, “The Open It Up team epitomized the CityCamp Raleigh event. The issue was mentioned in the panel on Friday by Jimmy Goodmon as a parental concern, stated by a government employee in a breakout session on Saturday morning, and a team of strangers came together to propose and prototype a technology solution by the end of the following day.”

Another group suggested ways to implement Open Source Software in the City of Raleigh. They recommended supporting the resolution before the City Council this Tuesday to include Open Source Software as an option in the city purchasing process.

Open Source Software can be of higher quality and less expensive than proprietary software. In some cases it is even free of charge such as many versions of Linux, and the Firefox web browser. I use Free Open Source Software exclusively to run my business and on all of my home computers. Yes I have many computers.

One of the more interesting problems was increasing bus ridership and making it easier for those who already use public transportation. The solution was to use QR codes on stickers and the realtime GPS data that will soon be made publicly available from the CAT buses. The QR stickers would be pasted on each bus stop sign and each sign has a unique code embedded in the sticker.

A simple app would let cellphone users snap a photo of the QR sticker and that data would be used to determine which routes serve the stop and the arrival time of the next bus for each route. A similar app in use in San Francisco allows users to get to the bus stops just as buses arrive. For many people this means less wasted time waiting at bus stops.

Other groups worked on ways to support local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups, provide easier citizen input to their city council members, and even use telepresence in public places to connect with people in our sister cities.

Many of the participants worked far longer than just the official CityCamp hours to hone their projects. Emails and tweets flew at all hours of night and day.

Much of the success of CityCamp was the diversity of people who attended. Citizens and government employees brought the problems that the technical people had know knowledge of. Then together with the more technical attendees they synthesized workable solutions in way that the techies alone would not have imagined. CityCamp is a perfect example of how Open Source works.

I was amazed at the creativity exhibited by these groups and the amount of energy surrounding these projects. I was exhausted by the end of the three days and yet exhilarated by the results that all of the teams achieved. I met and worked with some old friends and made many new ones.

Thanks to all who participated in planning and staffing CityCamp Raleigh. I would like to thank the sponsors and the state and local government officials who supported the first CityCamp Raleigh. Without them this event would not have been possible. I enjoyed myself so much that I have volunteered to help plan future CityCamp Raleigh events. I really hope to see you at the next CityCamp Raleigh in 2012 or at one of the meetups between now and then.

All of the groups are excited by the results of CityCamp Raleigh and will continue working to implement their projects to make Raleigh a better place to live than it already is. Look for the results of their efforts during the coming year.

**PRESIDENT** Obama released his long form birth certificate today so bozos like Trump cannot complain about him not being a citizen anymore. Well some will complain anyway but they are clearly too stupid to think for themselves.

But without the “birther” crap for ammunition, Trump is now saying that he wants to see PRESIDENT Obama’s grades because he does not think the PRESIDENT was smart enough to get into Harvard Law School.

Here is an interesting article by my Representative in Congress, Democrat Brad Miller. I intend to hold another house party to support him for 2012.

“Dump the Trump”

I use Linux on all of my personal computers. Whether on my NetBook, my very old Dell laptop, my much newer ThinkPad, to my personal workstation and my email and web servers, Linux runs them all.

I am forced to use Windoze on my laptop at work, despite the fact that my job is a Linux Engineer. Go figure.

But every day I use Winblows at work is another day that I am thankful I have Linux at home; primarily because of the daily frustration of using a crappy operating system. Windows 7 is supposed to be better, but it does not take much to be better than before. Just because you are happy with it due to the fact that it is now better, does not make it good; it only means you probably don’t know what a good operating system is.

Well, this did not start out to be a rant but that is what it has turned into. I guess it is all the frustration from being forced to use it at work. My original point was to be that there is an interesting article about switching from Windows to Linux for your desktop.

Read the article here: This is your Brain on Linux Desktop

Don’t let my rant stop you from trying Linux. Or perhaps you should not try it at all. Things this good, like Linux, should really be kept for only those who are wise enough to use it; after all what could be better than something that costs nothing and works better than anything similar for which you could pay any amount of money?

With all of the discussion about Obama and his Blackberry I have to add my 2 cents worth.

One reason I voted for Barack Obama is because he is in touch with reality. He sees his Blackberry as a connection to that reality which circumvents the normally insular buffering of the Oval Office.

If our leaders lose touch with the real people and the reality of the United States we get what we have had for the last eight years – and imperial dynasty that assumes it knows best because nobody can get through the layers of protection to tell it that it does not. And what a freaking mess it has been.

Obama is starting from a more populist viewpoint to begin with but we, the people, cannot afford to let any president and his administration fail to hear our voices.

Let the man keep his Blackberry!

CNN is reporting a story out of the McCain camp about Palin going “rogue.” According to a McCain staffer who chose to remain anonymous, there are complaints inside the McCain-Palin campaign that Palin is getting off-message and is perhaps more interested in the top of the ticket in 2012 than she is in VP in 2008.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/25/palin.tension/index.html

Sounds like the definition of a maverick to me. Can’t take your own maverick ways, eh, John? I guess we should not expect anything else from a campaign and a political party that are both in meltdown.

Good luck on finding stations with gasoline available so long as credit availability is locked down tight.

At least one person has mentioned to me this morning that gasoline is becoming more scarce. Many gas stations on his normal commute route were out of gas this morning. This is despite the reopening of the Gulf pipeline and greater supplies.

Has the credit crunch extended to the gas stations already? Can they not afford to purchase gasoline from their suppliers due to the fact that the credit markets have totally dried up?

If gas stations had to pay cash on the barrel head (pun intended) for gasoline from their suppliers it would take a huge amount of cash. Cash that no station I can imagine would have on hand or even in the bank.

If you figure a 10,000 gallon delivery at a steeply discounted price of $3.00 per gallon, that works out to $30,000 dollars for a single delivery. Perhaps company owned stations can deal with this, but the independents will be totally unable to purchase gasoline so long as credit is unavailable.

Perhaps this is part of the plan by the large oil companies to put the independents out of business. If so the timing of the credit crisis could not be better.

Look for long gas lines, and incredibly high prices when gasoline is available. Food will become scarce as will other necessary items. Many businesses of all types will fail and we will truly have a depression. This despite the fact that the current administration does not admit that we are already in a recession.

It will not be pretty.

The best thing we can do now is vote the republican greed machine who caused this crisis out of office on November 4.

Get out and Vote for Change

Vote Democratic

on November 4

Here is an interesting Op-Ed piece from Today’s New York Times.

Obama Outwits Bloviators

You will need a free login account to view this.