Flyin’ Here, Flyin’ There

You’ll never guess where I’m going next week. No, really, you won’t. Give up? I’m going to France. Better yet, it’s not just France, it’s the Riviera. And the best part? It’s for work, so I won’t be paying for it (well, I’ll be paying for some of it, and then being paid back, but that’s a minor detail). Why am I going? That’s an excellent question. You are looking at the newest member of the W3C CSS Working Group, and I couldn’t be happier. It feels good to be involved (OK, I’m not really “involved” yet, but I will be), and to get out there in the world. I’m so used to working just within my own little world and peering out but not participating, that this should be a lot of fun.

And I’m still going to Texas, then Northern California in August and November. At this rate, I’ll be a “premier” level frequent flier in no time. Yippee!!

Just Can’t Read Anymore

You know, the post was disheartening enough, but to see the utter deflation in the comments is too much. I’ve posted about it before, but I’m too outraged/baffled/depressed to go look them up now. I had high hopes for the Dean campaign. I wanted it to be successful enough to show that we can change politics from the bottom up. I wanted it to show that you can beat corporate donations and cynical politicing with determination, small donors and honesty. It looks now like it was all a pipe dream. And, if it’s not a pipe dream, this is a horrible first example of the way to go.

It looks like (and these are leaks and reports, so I could be all wrong in my interpretation here), that the operatives working for the campaign messed up, and big. They took this huge grassroots campaign and destroyed it with their giant egos, greed, and poor decision-making ability. It reflects poorly on Dean, not that he particularly did anything wrong, but he apparently picked the wrong people to deliver his message. Decision making, and being a good judge of character is an important characteristic in a President. It looks like Dean picked the wrong messengers, and it’s going to cripple his chances of being President.

I have two weeks to decide who to vote for on 2/10. I’m no closer to that decision than I was a month ago. Part of it is that I like the top four, and all for different reasons. Part of it is I really, really, really want to vote for the guy who win in November. Dean doesn’t look like that guy anymore. Of the other three, I’m not so sure who has the best chance, and who I can really believe in.

I’ll let you know what I decide… not that it matters all that much.

Why I Love Cluetrain

Information wants to be free, sure. But it wants to be free because it wants to find other ideas, copulate, and spawn whole broods of new ideas. — the cluetrain manifesto – chapter five

It’s all the things I think I thought, but were too chicken to come out and say… and that’s scary. If you’re in business, and your business is online, you’re missing out if you don’t read it (all online, and all for free).

Gay Marriage: A Threat to Families?

In church yesterday, we had a lesson about strengthening the family. It was all going fine until it was derailed by a comment about gay marriage and an upcoming “assault on the family” waged by legislation and the courts. Being a good little Mormon, afraid of outing myself as a liberal to this room full of men, I kept my mouth shut until I could come up with a diplomatic way of expressing my utter shock at the suggestion of two folks that our families were somehow impacted by gay couples having the same rights we do as straight couples.

I ended up saying something like (paraphrasing, because I’m not sure exactly what I said – my face was red), “I’m going to try to say this very carefully. I would think that as members of a Church that has been legislated against in the past to the point that it was once legal and encouraged to kill Mormons, we would be suspect of government intervention in the name of ‘morality’. We are Christians. And as Christians, we’re not about judging people. I would think that if we want to bring more people into the Church, and to Christ, we would want to embrace them as people, and not try to further marginalize our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay. I think we should be very careful about supporting these proposed laws, because they are often viewed as a license to hate, and that’s not what being a Christian is about.”

What I didn’t say during the lesson, but wanted to, was that I don’t see how allowing a gay couple to have the same legal rights as a straight couples when it comes to survivor benefits, power of attorney and the rest of the legal rights that come with a marriage (to the state, really a “civil union” anyway), threatens our families. Homosexuals are easy targets because they’re “different” and “not like us”. If we really wanted to strengthen the “family”, we should look at the problems that already afflict families. We should look at ways to decrease the divorce rate, which is currently well over fifty percent (meaning your marriage is more likely to fail than to succeed), provide more help for single parents, and look at ways to promote marriage over co-habitation (since a couple is 33% more likely to divorce if they live together before marriage than not). We need to look at ways to strengthen family bonds, and create healthy and stable home lives for children. We need to break the chain of poverty, which causes so much stress on family life. I don’t see any of that happening through legislation. I don’t see what allowing homosexuals couples equal protection under the law has to do with my family. I’m not going to be forced to marry a man, and my wife doesn’t have to go marry a woman. It will most likely not have anything to do with my family or marriage.

We already have enough hate in our country. We have enough Fred Phelps to go around. Being Christian means hating the sin, not the sinner. By marginalizing those who choose different lifestyles than our own, we show them, and ourselves, that we lack charity. Since Christ himself said that we should love our neighbors has ourselves, and said it was the second of all commandments (Mark 12 30-32). Shouldn’t that pretty much trump anything you find in the Old Testament. Mark 12 is pretty much a refutation of the Ten Commandments, yet, those who proclaim their hatred for homosexuals constantly use the Old Testament in their attacks. Charity is the pure love of Christ. If we constantly attack those who are different from us, threaten to make illegal the love they can’t help but feel, and judge them ceaselessly, where is our charity?

This is way too much time to spend on a piece of legislation that is nothing more than a sop to the President’s religious conservative base. If he was truly interested in saving the institution of marriage, he would make it harder to get divorced, outlaw co-habitation and force everyone to be nice, happy, well-balanced people. But, of course, we know that no law will ever do that. By legislating something, it doesn’t make it go away. Homosexuals won’t just “see the light” and become straight because they can’t have the same rights we do as straight people. If we allow this law to pass, or the amendment to be added to the Constitution, they will know that we do not have charity, that we do not love our neighbors, that we are not Christians.

Of All The Things NOT to Keep Secret

I love it that the President wants some ribs. I’m not one to deny a man his ribs, but could the President answer one question? What’s the point of posting it to the White House website when he says absolutely nothing of substance? Was it that Karl wasn’t there to give him the answers? One of the most disconcerting things about the President is his inability to answer a question off the top of his head without sounding like a chronic stutterer. Some of his biggest gaffes have come when he’s not reading froma script. If I were to vote for anyone in his Administration, it would be his speechwriter, who apparently is quite eloquent. The President? Not so much.

Six and Counting

6 years ago today, she became my wife, and we haven’t stopped laughing. It’s been the shortest and longest six years of my life. Shortest, because it still feels like we’re newlyweds, even though we’ve got a four year old son. Longest, because life before her is a distant grey memory.

She is more than I could have ever dreamed of in a wife. She’s smart, funny, my better, and she loves football more than I do. She TiVo’s games, and even though she frequently knows the score, will watch the games on Monday while I’m at work just to “see the plays”. She always speaks her mind and doesn’t play those silly games some women like to play. She’s not coy or too sweet. She’s the perfect mix of caring, sarcasm, blunt honesty and a shady diplomat who always gets her way – without manipulation – just because she’s so damned right all the time.

Today is 1/23/04. The next “lineup” year is 1/23/45 – which will be our forty-seventh anniversary. May we make it there, with more wrinkles, some grandkids, a lot of friends, and laughing the whole time. I love you, sweetie. Happy anniversary!!

“Don’t Feel Bad, Howard”

“Don’t feel bad about hootin’ and hollerin’. If I’d spent the amount of money you did in Iowa and only got 18%, I’d still be hootin’ and hollerin’ too. Don’t feel bad, Howard” — Al Sharpton to Howard Dean in tonight’s debate.

Sharpton, Kucinich and Lieberman should drop out of the race after this week, but Sharpton sure is entertaining to have in a debate. And yes, that statement had absolutely nothing to do with the question he was asked (and when he did get to the answer, it didn’t really relate to the question asked either).