Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union

I've not heard nor read the president's State of the Union speech yet, though some USA Today outside Noah's Bagels flashed news of a hopeful tone. Sounds good; I could use some uplifting. Yesterday left me in a cranky mood, what with the sudden firings in the small world I frequent. Both Dawn and I had friends put down.

If you've watched The Apprentice (I haven't yet) and concluded that it's only inside these Trumpy for-profits that people get vicious and paranoid, around money issues especially, you'd be wrong. Life gets just as ugly in the NGO and GO worlds, as any veteran could tell you.

Plus I have some hopeful news of my own to report. Our battle for hearts and minds under the No Child Left Behind initiative is going well. So on that front at least, the Union is lookin' good.

You may well wonder why a self-proclaimed liberal like me is keeping company with "the right wingers of the NCLB" (sounds like a Playboy issue). Well, I'll tell you why. It's because I'm a liberal that I think our kids' education is way too important to become a mere political football. I'll work with whatever cards I'm dealt to make sure we don't lose stray sheep to the wolves (although in Oregon, if you do see a wolf getting lucky, you're no longer allowed to shoot it -- the law sides with the grays out here).

And so I've got my capable herd dogs working overtime, shepherding the flock along. Just call me The Pastor (some Quakers are pastoral BTW, the majority in fact -- we call them programmed Friends, vs. those of the more liberal unprogrammed variety).

So that's how to talk out of the right side of your mouth I'm learning: just work in lots of Biblical allusions and you'll be fine (and if you're talking to imams, better bone up on your Qur'an). And if they paint you with horns and a tail, just say you're flattered to be associated with FreeBSD. Like our geek saint Richard Stallman, I believe any good religion is meant to be free and open source -- free as in freedom.

Followup the day after: Yeah, lots of gray in the mirror over here too. Those DCers program in a strange language I don't quite follow (lots of significant standing up and sitting, like a Catholic mass on steroids), but the tone was up beat and I parsed the bit about upgrading the electrical grid. I'm thinking grid talk might be a good ice breaker for when I'm partying with ayatollahs (a rare event in PDX, I admit -- Ed was here once). Speaking of Ed, Synergetics at Bob Gray's site has been down all day; I asked Chris Fearnley if maybe we could set up a mirror at SNEC and he agreed that'd be feasible, desirable. I'll probably go roller skating tonight (I'm getting better at it).