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To All The Depressed Millenials

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Many of the millenials I know were fervent Bernie Sanders supporters. I get where they were coming from. Bernie made a lot of good points and had a lot of good things to say, but he didn’t become the nominee. One can argue that the system was rigged against him and to some degree it was but he knew that going in. He was always a long shot although at times it felt closer than it really was.

Now, with six weeks to the general election, many of those same millenials are still trying to figure out what to do. Vote for Gary Johnson? Not vote at all? Many of you harbor quite a dislike for Clinton. I’m not going to argue whether you should like her. You’ve got your reasons and I respect them even if I disagree with many of them.

I’m happy to try to convince you why I think Clinton would actually be a good president. She’s smart. She’s experienced. She has done a great deal of good work over the years. But, she’s also saddled with a perception problem. With decades of political life behind her she’s been in some ethically gray areas at times. Truthfully, any politician you see with that much experience will have the same issues. However, in my life, I’ve never seen a person who has been so systematicallly smeared by her political opponents as she has been. President Obama comes close but it’s been going on far longer for Clinton. These smears have been going on for so long that many people assume they are true. After all, people have been saying these things since before some of you were even born. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s ignore all that and assume there’s at least some truth to them. How should that influence the vote in November?

Let’s run through the options. The most appealing candidate to many Bernie supporters might appear to be Gary Johnson, but in fact he’s very much opposed to most of Bernie’s policies. Social safety net? Not so much from the libertarian. And let’s not forget that he’s less informed on foreign policy issues than the average 6 o’clock news viewer.

Jill whatshername from the Green Party? Her campaign strategy seems to be to get arrested to get any kind of news coverage. If I can’t remember her name then nobody else can.

And then there’s the orange candidate. Trump seems to think that disaffected Bernie supporters will flock to him. But Bernie supporters have far more sense that that. The only thing that Trump and Bernie have in common is that both have tapped into latent (and sometimes not so latent) anger in their supporters. But, they are angry about different things.

So that leaves Clinton or not voting as the only other options.

The only practical option is to vote for Clinton. Welcome to American politics (probably all politics) where there usually isn’t a candidate that feels like someone you can really support. However, you need to.

Let’s be clear: not voting or voting for a third party candidate only helps Trump. It might let you feel morally superior but that feeling will go away quickly when Trump manages to create even more chaos in the world. Where Clinton might be morally gray he is morally corrupt. All politicians lie to a degree but he lies more than any other in Amnerican history. Clinton is actually relatively truthful for a politician according to Politifact. Clinton’s foundation does real humanitarian work but Trump’s pays his legal bills and buy portraits of Trump. Where Clinton has policies Trump has slogans. She is substance. He is vaporware and hyperbole.

So, if you are a millennial and don’t want to vote for Clinton, do it anyway. But, then stay involved. Change the system. Build a viable third party (and fourth and fifth). It will take years of work but this country needs political options beyond what we ave  because our current two party system has become so polarized that there is no room for sanity. Trump’s very existence is an example of that. In any sane system a politician who is overtly racist and misogynistic and morally bankrupt would never rise to be a major party’s candidate. Clearly the system needs change. But, just as clearly, the time for that change is after the election. For this one, hold your nose if you have to, but vote for Clinton. Then change the world.

Libations With Linda, Episode 2: Rachel


The podcast has made it to episode number two!

In this episode I speak with Rachel about same-sex marriage in the Episcopal Church where she can speak from personal experience. Along the way we enjoy some Stash Chai Spice Black Tea.

On a technical note, while the audio quality is a bit better in this episode the need for better lighting is obvious. Apologies for the quite noticeable video noise. Hopefully some better lighting can be obtained before the next episode.

Here are the links mentioned in the episode:

IOS 10 iBooks Woes


There is a lot to like abou the iOS 10 update. The new maps layout is better and one can finally set the routing to avoid tolls. But, I opened the book I was reading in iBooks on my iPad and instead of the normal two-column layout in landscape orientation I get one giant column.

I don’t recall there being a setting for this but I go looking for one to no avail. The iOS 10 iBooks app seems to have taken a giant step backwards. Reading a single column in landscape mode is, well, awful and an iPad pro is too large for me to comfortably read in portrait orientation.

Fortunately, I won’t buy books with DRM that locks me in to a single provider so I was able to move my ePub over to MapleRead which is a decent ebook reader. It has a lot of great features that iBooks lacks though it sometimes gets the formatting not quite right. But, in this case it continued to properly do two-column layout in iOS 10 so the problem is an iBooks-specific bug (don’t even try to tell me there is a good reason for it).

So, if like me, you are having issues with iBooks and you have the option to use any non-DRM ebook reader then check out MapleRead. I have the SE edition since I keep my books in Calibre and MapleRead can talk to Calibre directly.

Libations With Linda, Episode 1: Mike


This is the first episode of a podcast I’m putting together. This is somewhat experimental. How often it happens or even if it continues to happen will depend largely on feedback and whether I can find guests on a regular basis.

The idea for the show is to sit down with someone to enjoy a beverage and discuss the topic of the day along with the beverage.

Future episodes will hopefully cover a wide variety of topics so if you have an idea for a topic or want to sit down with me to enjoy a beverage then let me know!

In this first episode I sat down with my nephew Michael and we discussed his coming out. Our libation was Premium White Peony from Teavivre.  This was a great white tea that we both enjoyed. It’s one of the better white teas I’ve had in my limited sampling of white tea so far.

Here are links to the sites mentioned in the podcast:

Apologies for the video noise and background hum. This was a first effort and I need to work a bit on the videography end of things still.

HB1414 – Marshall’s Anti-Gay Attacks Continue

Delegate Bob Marshall, the notoriously anti-gay legislator from Manassas has apparently recovered from his apoplectic fit he threw when the court struck down his beloved anti-marriage equality amendment. For the 2015 session he has introduced HB1414. This little piece of work seeks to exempt state employees or officials from having to help gay citizens.

Here’s the text:

Provides that a person shall not be required to perform, assist, consent to, or participate in any action or refrain from performing, assisting, consenting to, or participating in any action as a condition of obtaining or renewing a government-issued license, registration, or certificate where such condition would violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex marriage or homosexual behavior.

He has the gall to call it a “conscience clause”. The irony is that the judge who struck down his anti-marriage amendment cited an animus on the part of the state to its LGBT citizens. I guess animus never goes out of fashion.

Even if there were a legitimate religious reason for having such a law (and the legitimacy of any such reason is up for healthy debate), freedom of religion is only one of the freedoms that we enjoy in America. It is just one among many and must be balanced against the other freedoms we enjoy.

However, even bothering to have that debate gives Marshall more legitimacy than he deserves. This bill is state-sponsored discrimination, pure and simple. To call it anything else is to miss that Marshall is using religion to attack a group of people simply because he doesn’t like them. It is more than past time for Virginia to be done with this nonsense.

I urge everyone in Virginia to write to your state delegates and senators to urge them to vote against this bill.

Fitbit: No Healthkit = No Sale

I’ve been a big fan of fitbit. I had a One and later upgraded to the Force. I’ve put up with fairly lame software and fairly fragile hardware because I got something out of it. However, fitbit’s recent decision to not implement health kit for iOS will end up costing them future sales. Mine to name just one.

Fitbit’s decision was posted here. Elsewhere they basically said they didn’t want to implement something that was only of value to iOS users. I get that companies have limited resources and need to prioritize their efforts, but in this case turning away from iOS users is probably a mistake. I chose to remain with iOS, in part, because of new features like health kit and home kit that will integrate across products. Fitbit’s decision to remain a private information silo is shortsighted and limits their product’s usefulness to me. Enough so that when it is time for me to upgrade, fitbit won’t be on the radar.

Of course, there are other factors. My first fitbit force wouldn’t sync. The replacement worked properly until this week when it decided not to sync. The strap likes to pop open on its own with only the slightest brush against something.

We’ve directly bought five fitbits over the years for ourselves and as gifts and probably been responsible for several other sales.  The newly announced Surge looks interesting but if it doesn’t fully support  the environment I use then I don’t see the point.

Rant: Stop Preventing iPad Zoom

This has gone from an occasional nuisance to an epidemic. Too many websites are deciding they know best and preventing the user from zooming in. While there may be legitimate reasons for some web applications to do this, none of the sites I’ve experienced this on actually are in that category.

To make matters worse, these sites tend to use a small font. While this might make the whole page look nice and balanced it also makes it a major squint zone for those of us with less than perfect vision.

While there are some things the user can do to mitigate the problem, they are workarounds that are quite awkward. Here are the two options I’m aware of:

You can enable zooming in the accessibility section of the Settings app. This lets you zoom into any app with a three finger double tap and zoom out the same way. The problem is that navigation is now awkward and the whole experience isn’t as clean as the normal double tap or unpinch to zoom.

The other option is to get a browser that allows you to specify the user agent. Then your iPad can pretend not to be an iPad and websites won’t prevent your zooming. The problem here is that any app that uses the default browser internally won’t get the benefit.

Ultimately, this is a decision by some designer thinking he knows best and foisting the choice on all of us. I, for one, am tired of the eyestrain headaches this is causing.

Just stop! Apple developed an elegant zooming system and unless you have a very good reason to prevent zooming then leave it alone!

Hypocrisy: Virginia

Recent events in the effort to eliminate Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban have done nothing but reinforce the findings of the judge in the Oklahoma case who found that same-sex marriage bans serve no purpose other than demeaning a class of society.

The roar started when the newly elected Attorney General, Mark Herring, announced that Virginia would switch sides in the case from being a defendant to arguing with the plaintiffs. The usual suspects immediately began criticizing Herring, some going so far as to begin an impeachment attempt.

Their “reason” is that the Attorney General does not get to pick and choose which parts of Virginia’s constitution to defend but must defend them all. On the surface this actually sounds reasonable. But, it’s only part of the story. In addition to defending the Virginia constitution the AG must also defend the US constitution. In this case Herring has decided that Virginia’s constitution is in conflict with the US constitution.

There’s plenty of precedent for this. Most recently, then AG Ken Cuccinelli refused to defend a Virginia law in 2013 saying that he believed it was unconstitutional. Yet there was no outcry. No call for him to be removed from office.

What’s different in this case?

The Gays.

This outcry over Herring’s action and the soon to be wasted time and money by the General Assembly in a unwarranted and unwinnable effort to oust him just go to prove that the judge in the Oklahoma case was correct. The lawmakers like Bob Marshall only care about preventing gay Virginians from having any rights under the law and will go to any lengths to attempt to preserve that status quo.

The arguments hold no more water than they every have but it is certainly a sign of their desperation that the volume has increased to such a level.

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