General Political Commentary, April 22 Edition

Friday, 22 April 2005, 20:45 | Category : Politics
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There have been some political thoughts rambling around in my head, none cogent enough to merit their own post, but persistent enough to need some outlet. So I’ll just dump them all here…

  • This isn’t really related to the Terry Schiavo mess, except that President Bush made the comment that we should “err on the side of life”. Why is it that we only “err on the side of life” when there are no corporate interests or significant money involved? We’ve backed off on clean air standards, clean water standards; we’ve reduced funding for children’s health programs; we don’t even require school buses to have seat belts. Are these examples of erring on the side of life? Or do we only err on the side of life when it’s either an unborn child or a comatose patient in a politically important state?
  • I was the recipient recently of a rant about “liberal judges legislating from the bench”. The more I questioned the rantee, the more it became obvious that his definition of “judicial activism” was “actions by a judge that I don’t agree with”. And that’s at the core of the giant hissy-fit that the Right-wingers are throwing right now. This person claimed that the Founding Fathers clearly intended for the courts to be the weakest part of our government, and that the only role of the courts was to rule on whether passed legislation was constitutional. My question is, what is it that people like Bill Frist and Tom Delay and James Dobson want? Do they really believe that the judiciary should be constituted to only give rulings with which they agree?
  • “People don’t vote for the environment”. I’ve heard this time and time again. But why not? Do people really not believe that they’re affected by the qualilty of the air they breathe, the water they drink, the soil in which their food is grown and on which their children play? Do they think that we can just roll blithely along ignoring any potential effects on the environment of our cumulative activities? I’m not saying we should all be environmental activists, but every political campaign shows that we put many other issues, some of which affect very few people, ahead of any and all environmental issues.
  • John Bolton is such an obviously poor choice for UN Ambassador that I’m wondering what Bush’s real agenda is for sending this choice forward. My first thought was that it would make John Negroponte’s confirmation easier, that the Democrats wouldn’t want to have two big fights going simultaneously. But by all accounts Negroponte is going to sail through regardless. Bolton would be a seriously ineffective UN Ambassador, after all the remarks he’s made about that body. So something else must be going on here. Is it possible they’re really looking to trade Bolton for some judicial approvals?

An Unkown Rose

Friday, 22 April 2005, 18:05 | Category : Gardening
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When I got ready to remove my old garden shed and build my workshop, I found a couple of old roses struggling to survive. I’d planted them years ago and forgot about them. So I moved them to the front yard, in front of the picket fence. One was Queen Elizabeth; this one I just can’t remember the name. But it’s blooming now.

This one is Martha Gonzalez. It’s not a rose garden-type rose, but it’s a great in a mixed perennial bed.

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Why Do People Hate Oracle?

Friday, 22 April 2005, 11:01 | Category : Geek Stuff
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Well, for starters, not everybody hates Oracle. I don’t – it’s been a nice career builder for me. But some people apparently do. Philip Howard of Bloor Research writes:

“I have on my bookshelf a book called “Why do people hate America?” by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies, which explores the cultural and other reasons why large segments of the world – in the Middle East, the developing world and Europe – really do hate America. It occurred to me that while there are a good many people that loathe Microsoft, this is typically at the individual user level, whereas it is Oracle that tends to be the target for competitive vendors.”

Read the entire article here.

He makes some valid points. Oracle is good at what it does, but it’s expensive. And it’s become ever more massive and complicated to install and run. And while the database itself has always been solid, I’ve long felt that their front-end tools (now called Forms, Reports, and Discoverer) were clumsy, too expensive, and just simply not up to the level if competing tools. It’s difficult, however, to see Microsoft, IBM, or Computer Associates making much headway against Oracle in the foreseeable future. There’s just too much invested – money, resources, skillsets, deployed applications – to see much change coming. With databases, Oracle is still the Borg.

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