Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Work

I find myself looking forward to weekends more and more. Not because of the time off, but because I can actually do something to make myself feel useful. For far too long, now, my “real” job has been not only boring, but there has been no meaningful work to do. I suppose I am grateful that I am still employed, but it is degrading to go, day after day, and just put in time with no problems to solve, no one to feel grateful for whatever you do.

I get whatever feeling of worth my life has not from the 40 hours a week I put in at the office, but from doing websites for nonprofits, loving my children, working with the scouts, and, almost embarrassingly, putting in a few hours a week at the homebrew store – talking to customers when I can, and filling bags of corks (or whatever) when there is no one in the store. How sad that counting corks and weighing hops is more satisfying for someone with four years of college,three years of graduate education, and a quarter century of experience in the computer field, than what you supposedly do for a living.

Today I picked up one son from school about 11:30 when he was sick. I was almost grateful, as it gave me an excuse to leave the office. But then, I have only put in one 40 hour week so far this year, and am way overboard on sick time used, and have used too much vacation.

I honestly don’t know how much longer I can take this. :(

Weblog issues

When I downloaded this blog software, I didn’t realize it was a very new release –

Bad news: There is a bug that randomly forces the sidebar to the bottom of the page.
Good news: I kludged a way around it, using absolute positioning commands.

If my vast legion of loyal readers was in any way confused by this, I apologize. :crazy:

What next?

Just when I thought that nothing the Bush administration could do would shock me, it turns out they have been involved in bugging the private conversations of the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Unbelievable. Is there no level to which these people won’t sink?

Presidential Economics

Apparently Mr. Bush has opened his campaign with the usual statements about Democrats and a “Tax and Spend” attitude. The following chart provides a graphic rebuttal to this:

chart of budget deficits

Apparently if the Democrats are tax and spend, the republicans are just “spend and spend.”

What the hell, Bush never had to worry about where his money was coming from before, why should he now?

See the page this graph came from.

Terrorist Organizations

Wow, a fun day for news. Education Secretary Rod Paige has labeled the NEA a “Terrorist Organization.” I guess he just missed hanging out with Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Powell, and so forth, and wanted to show himself true to the cause. Anybody that disagrees with him is unamerican and a terrorist too! Now will they let him back in the club?

And oh, by the way, the investigation against Halliburton is now considered a criminal one.

Bush on marriage

So, our (and I use that term loosely) president (and I use that term loosely too) feels that we need a consitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. With the exception of the 18th, all amendments to the constitution have been designed to limit government intrusion, but Bush feels we should at this time write discrimination into it.

There are really two aspects to marriage, which need to be considered separately. The first is the economic advantages we grant to married couples. These include benefits of various sorts from the Social Security system, recognition of inheritance rights, medical benefits from a working spouse, and so forth. To deny these to someone because they are not married is discriminatory, plain and simple. We favor one class of citizen, married, over all others, be they homosexual, straight and single, or whatever. The only conscionable solution is to allow unmarried people to assign those economic privileges to someone else, whether it is a same-sex partner, a maiden aunt, a brother, or whatever.

Having dealt with the economic/political aspects of marriage, what remains is the moral/religious/committment portion of it. This is something, at least by the separation of church and state, that the government has no business getting involved in. If a particular religious body wishes to recognize same sex unions, or refuses to do so, it is irrelevant to the government, it is a matter between the individuals and their community. If a couple does not wish to be married under the care of some religious organization, then their committment is a private one, as long as they can obtain the economic benefits discussed above. Again, it is no business of the government.

Some churches will not choose to recognize these unions as a “marriage”, but that is a matter for them to decide. Others will. Personally, I hold with St. Paul when he wrote:

But the harvest of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

and will judge any union not by types of genitalia involved, but by this evidence of the spirit.

What, miss me?

A busy weekend, with nothing remotely approaching deep thoughts. My homebrew club, the Keystone Hops held their annual competition this past saturday. I was the judge coordinator. This year was the largest in 5-6 years with 308 entries, 25 categories, and 34 judges, all of whom actually showed up, more or less on time.

In addition to herding the judges, I personally judged belgian dubbels and tripels in the morning, and american pale ales in the afternoon, with 3-4 absolutely wonderful beers out of the lot.

The only downside of the competition was that our chief organizer had not tried all the functions of the software we were using, and it was 11:30 friday night before we discovered that some crucial printing functions would not work on Windows XP or 2000, which were the only laptops we had. So, at midnight before the competition, we were transferring all the data to a very old desktop in the house, and at 2:00 AM finally finished the organizing and printing needed for the first round. The next day we hauled the desktop to the competition, and it more-or-less worked for the event.

It was an exhausting day, especially with the lack of sleep beforehand, but it went well, and we got a lot of positive comments.

Oh yeah. I took four ribbons – A first in “Foreign and Dry Stouts”, a first in “Barleywines”, a second in “Brown Ales” and a third in “Strong Scotch Ales”. Not too bad.

“Vent” Article

Yes, I did have a letter printed in the Feb 19 issue of the Intelligencer, in the “Vent” column. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is a chance for those of us with no writing ability or brains to make it obvious in the local paper. They say they reserve the right to edit or condense, and boy do they mean it. Here are the articles as sent, and as printed:

As Sent As Printed
To the reader who suggested someone who should do their homework regarding President Bush’s Air National Guard record; that is sound advice. Yes, General William Turnipseed is now sadly in the beginning stages of Alzheimers. He made his statement regarding President Bush four years ago, though. How long do the beginning stages last? I would trust his statements of four years ago more than I would those he makes now. The “numerous” others that claim to have seen Bush in Alabama amount to just one, John B. Calhoun. You may have noticed that the administration has not picked up on this. Unfortunately his claims include seein Bush months before he was actually transferred to Alabama. Oops. It sounds as though he should have done his homework before concocting his story. The statement that “records may have been destroyed” is not simply slander, they are the testimony of Bill L. Burkett LTC (Ret.) who served in the record department at the time.

Even the records provided by the administration show a nine-month gap in payments to Bush. Where was he? How long does someone need to be absent to be considered AWOL? If details of his military service are lost, the issue could be addressed by the release of his IRS records during that period, something the president has refused to do. How can a very expensively trained pilot just “decide” to not fly for the final two years of his service? I’m sure many current pilots would like to have that option. Why did then Lt. Bush fail to take his medical exam in 1972 (coincidentally, I’m sure, the same year mandatory drug testing was implemented by the military) which disqualified him from flying?

Your letter sounds like an irresponsible expression of wishful thinking to me.

To the reader who suggested someone who should do their homework regarding President Bush’s Air National Guard record; that is sound advice. Yes, General William Turnipseed is now sadly in the beginning stages of Alzheimers. He made his statement regarding President Bushfour years ago, though. I would trust his statements of four years ago more than I would those he makes now. The “numerous” others that claim to have seen Bush in Alabama amount to just one, John B. Calhoun. Unfortunately his claims include seeing Bush months before he was actually transferred to Alabama. Oops. The statement that “records may have been destroyed” is not simply slander, they are the testimony of retired Lt. Col Bill L. Burkett who served in the record department at the time. Even the records provided by the administration show a nine-month gap in payments to Bush.

The reference to “irresponsible expression of wishful thinking” is a quote from the original vent, to which I was replying.

Oh well, maybe they just made me seem less of a flaming lunatic.

An update on the pilots who don’t remember Bush

This is an update of the story below about the ANG duty of President Bush. It’s worth reading.
The story.
I find it not so surprising that Bush dodged service this way – anyone who could do so was doing it – but rather that he cloaks himself as a warrior and “War President.” This dishonors those who really did serve, and who understand that real combat and death are not the video-game equivalents that the president seems to think they are.

Sept 11: 11 hijackers kill nearly 3000 people, approximately 270/hijacker
Bush’s illegal war: 538 american deaths, thousands upon thousands of Iraqi dead.
Who is the greater terrorist?

“I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well placed … managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units. Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to their country.”
–Colin Powell, My American Journey

my anger management…

Not a great day. What does it say about my committment to Quaker ideals that I can lose my temper in a discussion group before worship? Penn “fighting Quakers” indeed…. :(

The only upside is that I expressed my displeasure by saying “Excuse me”, and getting up and leaving. I guess that showed ‘em!