Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: March 2010

REAL ID, Version . . .

what version are we on, again? Whatever it is, here’s another increment:

Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.

The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.

The uphill effort to pass a bill is being led by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who plan to meet with President Barack Obama as soon as this week to update him on their work. An administration official said the White House had no position on the biometric card.

I don’t think this will get terribly far (in the near future, that is), but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

KRS-One (Or, How to Tell the London Metro Police to Bugger Off)

Knowledge Reigns Supreme-Over nearly everyone (bet you weren’t expecting that):

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As describe at BB:

Glyn sez, “The Love Police do an amazing job demonstrating how to get out of being searched under section 44 of the Terrorism Act. Stopped by police outside the Tower of London, they avoid being searched, having to give their personal details and having their camera film looked at simply by stating the law, remaining calm and polite. (Although keeping the video camera rolling probably helped too.) The police sent an Inspector (rather senior), two Sergeants, five officers and four police cars. But in the end they walk away.”

We need more of this.  Desperately.

More Like This (VA Democrat Edition)

In all honestly, I didn’t really expect that Del. Patrick Hope (the recent winner in my local delegate contest) would be my kind of Democrat.  In his campaign, he struck me as too soft-spoken and willing to accomodate.  Well, here’s to hoping he keeps proving me wrong:

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If Obama Forces Military Tribunals, Eric Holder Should Resign

One of the few bright spots of principle in the Obama Administration had been its insistance that the American justice system was not outclassed by terrorists.  And now, it seems that Obama’s inability to stand up to even the weakest of criticism has the administration reconsidering.  LG&M suggests the proper response:

It’s every bit as illegitmate for the White House to order Holder what to do in this matter as it was for Richard Nixon to order Elliott Richardson to fire Archibald Cox. Barack Obama (let alone his messenger boy Emanuel — or is the other way around?) is not the nation’s chief law enforcement officer: Eric Holder is. Holder has spent the last three months telling everyone that considerations of basic justice argued for trying KSM in our regular courts, rather than in military tribunals set up for the purpose of disposing of particularly troublesome criminal cases.

Recommended: Notes from the Road

Found a new travel site (through a tweet from Travelvice, long ago rec’d) called Notes from the Road.   It’s pretty much a model of the sort of travel-centric site I’ve long dreamed of putting up myself.   Absolutely beautiful photography, with perfect short texts that capture the experience of a place.  Check out this section on Bavaria, a place near and dear to my own life.

Object Lust

A few snaps from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond, this past weekend.  I’m not really one for things, but this show really made me appreciate the beauty of objects that were the result of much personal time and effort.

Public Education: Cornerstone of Democracy

I’ve often founds mid-life reversals – whether personal or policy-based – rather interesting.  So that’s why I found myself reading this piece on a lifelong standardized-testing/charter-schools advocate who has decided she was wrong:

Once outspoken about the power of standardized testing, charter schoolsand free markets to improve schools, Dr. Ravitch is now caustically critical. She underwent an intellectual crisis, she says, discovering that these strategies, which she now calls faddish trends, were undermining public education. [ . . . ]

“School reform today is like a freight train, and I’m out on the tracks saying, ‘You’re going the wrong way!’ ” Dr. Ravitch said in an interview.

Maybe so, maybe not.  I really don’t follow it enough to know.  But there’s a throwaway in the story that really grabbed me:

In 2005, she said, a study she undertook of Pakistan’s weak and inequitable education system, dominated by private and religious institutions, convinced her that protecting the United States’ public schools was important to democracy.

Democracy is meaningless without an educated population.  It is a basic – and essential – function of society to provide a decent public education to anyone who wants it.  That isn’t to say that private or charter schools should be excluded – if someone wants to bear the cost of sending their child to one, they should be free to have at it.  But not at the expense of a fundamentally sound public school system.  And the undermining of that public school system too often seems to be the motivating force behind so many reform and charter school advocates.  Using private and charter schools to indoctrinate, instead of educate, will only send us more quickly down the path of ruin.

Equality. In DC.

Just one of many happy stories.

Equality in DC


Liz Cheney – As Un-American As They Come

Truly, she is an appalling human being.

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