aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Silent Witness @ Central PA PrideFest
While home in PA for my nephew’s wedding last weekend, I stayed with a high school friend. As it happens, it was pride weekend in central PA and my friend - a married heterosexual mother of two - both sang in the Voices United concert and volunteered as a silent witness for the Unity Parade…
“Free” or “Open Source”?
We’re soon ready to open our new Ubuntu Lab (built with used machines) and the question that has come up is whether to call it “free” or “open source.” Who knew that it could be a debate?
Here’s Richard Stallman on Why “Free Software” is better than “Open Source:”
While free software by any other name would give you the same freedom, it makes a big difference which name we use: different words convey different ideas.
In 1998, some of the people in the free software community began using the term “open source software” instead of “free software” to describe what they do. The term “open source” quickly became associated with a different approach, a different philosophy, different values, and even a different criterion for which licenses are acceptable. The Free Software movement and the Open Source movement are today separate movements with different views and goals, although we can and do work together on some practical projects.
The fundamental difference between the two movements is in their values, their ways of looking at the world. For the Open Source movement, the issue of whether software should be open source is a practical question, not an ethical one. As one person put it, “Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement.” For the Open Source movement, non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the Free Software movement, non-free software is a social problem and free software is the solution.
It looks like we’ll wind up saying “free or open source software” abbreviated as FOSS.
Thanks Jason! (btw, Stallman’s text has line breaks too.)
Sicko Health Care Card
A nifty idea in so many ways:
You now have the opportunity to print and carry your very own "’SiCKO’ Health Care Card." Playing the ‘SiCKO’ card has worked for a family in DeBary, Florida, whose daughter suffered profound hearing loss and was denied a cochlear implant. Her father sent a letter to Cigna asking, "has your CEO ever been in a film before?" Before he knew it, his daughter’s denial was overturned. It also worked for a family in Flint, Michigan who was stuck with a $66,000 medical bill until they posted their healthcare horror story on YouTube. Click here to see what happened next.
Download the PDF of the card below and follow these simple guidelines:
1. Carry the card in your wallet with your insurance card.
2. If denied treatment, show your SiCKO card to your doctor/insurer.
3. Ask your insurer if they’d like to be in Michael Moore’s next movie, DVD, or appear on MichaelMoore.com.
4. Tell them that, if denied, you will seek coverage from your local media.
5. E-mail your story to .
How to deal with conservative courts
Cass Sunstein says that we’ve hardly noticed a stunningly successful conservative refashioning of the Supreme Court that has radically changed the terms of our legal and political discourse:
According to conventional wisdom, the Supreme Court is equally divided between a conservative wing and a liberal one, with Justice Anthony Kennedy acting as the swing voter. But there is something extremely strange about this view of the current situation. By the standards of the recent past, the liberal wing isn’t liberal at all.
According to conventional wisdom, the Court has long been evenly balanced between left and right, and it has finally shifted a bit to the right under Chief Justice John Roberts. But there is something strange about this view as well. The Court shifted quite dramatically to the right between 1972 and 2000, indeed between 1980 and 2000, and yet people continued to speak of an alleged “balance” even as the dramatic shift was underway.
He goes on to detail “how much has happened, and how little we have understood it.” In a Times OpEd on Friday, Jean Edward Smith sees a way back to the center:
[T]here is nothing sacrosanct about having nine justices on the Supreme Court. Roosevelt’s 1937 chicanery has given court-packing a bad name, but it is a hallowed American political tradition participated in by Republicans and Democrats alike.
If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues might do well to bear in mind that the roll call of presidents who have used this option includes not just Roosevelt but also Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant.
My problem is that the Supreme Court is not the only court where this conservative shift has taken place. The same shift has taken place throughout all levels of the judiciary. The Supreme Court hears so few cases that a change there won’t solve the problem.
I am thinking that liberals will need to abandon their faith in the courts and build legally binding, alternative institutions - based on mediation and rooted in social norms - that resolve issues before they ever even get to the courts.