Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Great essay on marriage equlity

There's a very good essay in the WSJ written by one of the attorneys pushing to overturn California's prop 8 at the federal level. He makes some very good points, and takes on some of the anti-gay arguments that aren't, and have never been, valid.

By contrast, there is no legitimate state policy underlying Proposition 8. The occasional suggestion that marriages between people of different sexes may somehow be threatened by marriages of people of the same sex does not withstand discussion. It is difficult to the point of impossibility to envision two love-struck heterosexuals contemplating marriage to decide against it because gays and lesbians also have the right to marry; it is equally hard to envision a couple whose marriage is troubled basing the decision of whether to divorce on whether their gay neighbors are married or living in a domestic partnership.

If we were prepared to consign minority rights to a majority vote, there would be no need for a constitution.
It's worth a read and the entire essay can be seen here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

No comment needed

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Overheard in the lunchroom

"I don't blog because my time and opinions are too valuable to give out for free. Once someone starts paying me to do it, then I'll start blogging."

I never knew undergraduate interns were in such high demand.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The dangers of walking while texting

It really was only a matter of time before we heard stories like this. I see people walking and typing on their phones all the time. Here in Seattle, walking and texting is nothing; I see people driving and texting, riding motorcycles and texting, and riding bikes and texting. This girl was lucky that she wasn't seriously injured, but I'm sure that's already happened somewhere else, and will happen again. People seem to forget how much concentration it takes to type a reply to a message. They seem to think their brains can easily handle doing multiple things at once when most people can barely handle doing one simple thing at a time.

I admit that I'm guilty of using my phone while doing other things. However, I do make a conscious effort to pay attention to what I'm doing when I'm walking, crossing the street, etc. If I'm walking and need to reply I simply step aside and type.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

United Breaks Guitars

Like most people who fly coach, I've not enjoyed the whole flying experience for a long time. I avoid flying and see it only as a necessary evil. I've had some OK flights and encountered some employees who tried to make the experience very nice, but anymore most airlines are just airborne buses. Flying used to be a lot more enjoyable, but it's just not a pleasant experience. The lines for "security" are often ridiculously long, the flights are crowded, and then the airlines leave no leg room between the seats. Beyond that most of the employees are less than customer-service focused. They act as if the passengers are an inconvenience as opposed to the reason their jobs exist. One thing that baffles me is why the employees of the airlines don't at least try to make the experience better for their customers. I understand that the airlines are screwing them over in many ways, but I would think that the employees still need their jobs; if they didn't they wouldn't be there. But, it seems to me that if they piss off enough customers and drive their employer into bankruptcy, or out of business, that they'll lose their jobs. It seems that it's in their best interest to treat the customers better. Yet, somehow they don't.

Anyone who has traveled by air much has his/her horror story, but rarely can we do much about it. The band who made this video, Sons Of Maxwell, is an exception. They weren't happy that the United ground crew was throwing their guitars on the tarmac, or that when they complained they were basically ignored. After getting no resolve from United the lead singer, Dave Carrol, decided to write three songs about his experience and United, this being the first of them, and so he did. You can read the full story behind the song here.

Beyond the lack of customer service that companies like United display, I don't understand why these companies still don't seem to realize that their bad reputation can be very quickly spread on the internets. One disgruntled person can spread his story to thousands of people overnight, and that does have a direct affect on who does and doesn't frequent a business. That direct affect on the business can eventually affect the jobs of the people who are pissing off the customers in the first place. But then again, how could I expect a group of people like airline employees who treat customers like crap to comprehend higher-level thinking such as that?