Tag Archives: politics

Read Books, it’s Good For You!

I’ve known this anecdotally for a long time. I think it extends beyond bloggers needing to read, and read fiction. It applies to every single person, everywhere.

The points outlined in the article all speak for themselves, so i don’t need to re-hash those.

Reading is good for you. Reading anything is better than nothing, but like all things, there needs to be a balance.

Reading only business books, is no better than reading only comic books. I haven’t read as many business books of late, but still keep 1 or 2 around at any given time, just to keep my brain working on business, I went through a phase where I read mostly business books, and fiction was the minority. Right now it’s the opposite, but that changes as availability of good fiction changes.

Read too many or only business books, and I think you lose an edge. Creativity. Business books, like business school (which I’m against) tell you how things have been done, what’s worked for someone else, how you should do X and Y and how you shouldn’t. Fiction opens your mind to possibilities. Sure i can’t sick a dragon on my competitors, but reading fiction at least keeps my mind able to consider other options.

Creativity is as valuable as knowing how Lou Gerstner brought IBM back, and unless your next job is running IBM, I’d argue that creativity, and a mind open to new thoughts is better than knowing how Lou did what he did.

This relates to the “I don’t have time to read” crowd. You’re fooling yourself, I’m sure you think it makes you look cool, and important that your every waking hour is consumed with something, but really you look like a Douche, and at least to me, and probably most ‘readers’ look like an imbecile. There’s time in the day for everything, and reading is one of those things you should make time for, maybe not daily, but heck, reading a page a week is still better than not reading a page a week…

 

Go grab a book, and be a better person, in business and in life.

Free speech, so long as you don’t say anything

I read this article the other day about a dude getting arrested for a tweet.

My first reaction was, What. The. Fuck.

My second and third, after reading the article, the same.

The most obvious sign of retardedness to me is, in all the terror attacks of late, dating back to 9/11. Have the terrorists been telegraphing their moves? I mean they outfox our CIA, FBI, and groups I don’t know exist. Our TSA doesn’t seem able to stop a determined terrorist, so why on earth do we think terrorists are tweeting their plans?

I mean is someone tweeting, considered a good lead? Is there no place left where someone can make a flippant comment (often out of frustration, or in this case, concerns over weather)?

Is twitter the intelligence and law enforcement communities only source of leads?

Come on folks, really? This is getting out of control. I fully understand it’s a crime to yell fire in a movie theatre, and you’d be daft to walk thru security making jokes about the bomb in your luggage, but now we can’t even tweet without fear the police will come and confiscate our laptops, phones, etc?

Boo on anyone associated with the mentioned incident, and boo on our police and intelligence communities if they can’t filter a real threat from someone making a flip remark on twitter.

I wonder if any terrorists are following me on twitter? If so, please (anonymously is fine) leave a comment and let me know if you routinely announce your plans in a tweet.

Our Country’s new CTO, un qualified for the job

Saw this on Techcrunch and had to voice my disgust.

While I think a great many Silicon Valley CEOs are douchebag tards too busy telling each other how great they are, I think a great many (and many non CA CEOs) are highly intelligent, savvy guys (and gals). All very much people I’d be happy to see serve their country as our CTO.

Instead, President Obama has selected Aneesh Paul Chopra.

So who is Aneesh Paul Chopra? Good question, one I’m sure echoed around the country a lot when it was announced. Lots of “Who?”

Chopra currently serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, and has previous acted as the Managing Director for the Advisory Board Company, where he advised executives on health care operations.

So he’s experienced in our frakked up healthcare system, great.

According to Virginia’s state website, Chopra was recently recognized by Government Technology Magazine’s for excellent ‘use of technology to improve government’, and he was awarded Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2007 State Leadership Advocacy Award.

So a group government bureaucrats think he’s a great guy, and has ‘improved government’ through technology. Let’s see, healthcare is still expensive and inefficient, hospitals are slow and disorganized, electronic records are non existent. Wonder what he’s been up to? Wonder what makes him even remotely qualified to be our CTO?

I’m sad that President Obama, has chosen a bureaucrat as our CTO. He had an awesome chance to really take us forward technologically.

According to this article published in the Washington Post in 2005, Chopra was not a career technologist before he became Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, but he has extensive experience in policy making.

Great, a clearly non-innovative, non technological person.

When I worked out Ameriquest, one of the worst parts, was the CIO. Like Chopra she wasn’t a coder or technologist. Rather she saw the ‘benefit’ in management over actual experience or expertise. Chopra’s “primary understanding is from customer need, not bits and bytes”. Which == crap. I know because our CIO spouted the same crap when asked what her experience.

The CIO was terrible, her skill was kissing ass, and managing up, coming up with grand schemes that wasted time, wasted effort, wasted money, and in the end got her ousted by a ‘better’ (and equally as technologically inept) ass kisser.

Sadly I doubt President Obama will fire Chopra and replace him, so our first CTO, for the next 4 or 8 years, is a bureaucrat, with little to no TECHNOLOGY experience. I’m not sure what the ‘T’ in Obama’s CTO is, but guessing it’s not Technology.

I know Obama is a politician, but so far he’s two for two as far as I’m concerned, working to squash the illegal wire tapping program Bush started, and now this clear political ass grab.

How would I change education?

What happens when you have a bunch of United Air miles that are about to expire, but aren’t enough to use for anything? They offer you magazine subscriptions, lots of them. One of mine was Time. The latest issue, had an article that really struck a nerve with me, it was on education, specifically the Chancellor of the Washington D.C. school district.

As a product of public education, I’m 100% opposed to private schools and vouchers. I’m more opposed to our current school system, which I think needs to be completely scrapped. Not just a little, but scrapped and started over, get rid of the teachers, the principles, the assistant principles, and even some of the guidence counselors (though that’s just cuz I think they’re lame).

One of my biggest beef’s with my pals the democrats, their allegiance to teacher’s unions. They’re as bad the auto makers unions, and unfortunately for us, they’re mess ups, are children, not just crappy cars.

Teaching is one of those jobs, where all you have to do is make it 10 years, or 15 years, and you’re set. You can suck as much as you like after you’re earned tenure. Man I wish I had that deal, so my job well enough to not get fired for a while, then coast until retirement. SURE not every teacher is that way, a great many are heroes in the truest sense, and have my undying respect, but easily as many, are terrible. I’m not being over dramatic, I’ve suffered through them, their not really caring about the students, or the curriculum, simply fullfilling the lesson plan requirements, whether we learned something or not.

What should we do? Make teachers live in the same world we do. If I start sucking at my job, EUI will fire me. If I’ve worked there for 10 years, they’ll still let me go if I start to do a poor job. Why should a teacher be any different? Why should we give them that break that gives them the freedom to stink it up?

My idea? It’s easy, make teaching pay what it’s worth in the market like any other job, and make it no more guaranteed than any other. Teachers should be paid what they’re worth, and fired when they stink, it’s really that simple. We shouldn’t promote poor teachers to principle, and poor principles to super-intendant. Sure every industry has it’s share of “promoted to highest level of incompetence” but teaching seems to have institutionalized the concept, and codified it into their very fiber.

This quote is awesome,

She says things most superintendents would not. “The thing that kills me about education is that it’s so touchy-feely,” she tells me one afternoon in her office. Then she raises her chin and does what I come to recognize as her standard imitation of people she doesn’t respect. Sometimes she uses this voice to imitate teachers; other times, politicians or parents. Never students. “People say, ‘Well, you know, test scores don’t take into account creativity and the love of learning,'” she says with a drippy, grating voice, lowering her eyelids halfway. Then she snaps back to herself. “I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t give a crap.’ Don’t get me wrong. Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”

Damn straight!

The data back up Rhee’s obsession with teaching. If two average 8-year-olds are assigned to different teachers, one who is strong and one who is weak, the children’s lives can diverge in just a few years, according to research pioneered by Eric Hanushek at Stanford. The child with the effective teacher, the kind who ranks among the top 15% of all teachers, will be scoring well above grade level on standardized tests by the time she is 11. The other child will be a year and a half below grade level–and by then it will take a teacher who works with the child after school and on weekends to undo the compounded damage. In other words, the child will probably never catch up.

I can’t agree more. I came from what I consider a pretty bad district, my high school opened with not enough teachers, and an empty library. I sat on the floor for more than a month in my 70ish kid english class. Several of my classes the first year, we had to share text books. The Gym, never had showers, etc. etc. I had a history teacher, and while I thought he was nice and a cool guy, he never spoke to the class. He assigned chapters, and tests. I went to that class about once every two weeks and passed with an A, and don’t recall a damn thing! I was in an AP class that so horribly prepared me for the AP exam, that I failed miserably. What Senior AP Lit class spends the class reading a loud? Mine did.

Teachers are brave souls, and I think we treat them mostly like dirt, but I think too many of them are doing our (actually ‘your’ since Nicole and I aren’t breeders) a terrible disservice, and we as a society have empowered them to do so. We bitch and moan about the state of education, yet parents don’t get involved, we throw money at “no student left behind” which really means, “pass the dummies so they’re some one elses problem”, rather than holding students AND teachers accountable. Every job has metrics, every single one. Yet somehow teachers don’t? Test scores aren’t good metrics, blah blah blah. There MUST be a metric, and we owe it to students, and teachers a like to find it, and make it standard, and hold all parties to it. That’s it, it’s not rocket surgery, it’s not impossible.

The American CTO. Not the Technology Czar?

saw this on techcrunch. Business week is talking about soon to be President Obama’s plan to create a cabinet level post of CTO, and who the front runners are for the job.

The top names according to BW are:

Vint Cerf – Cheif Internet Evangelist for Google. I’m not sure I want some one from Google in that position. Google’s great and all “Do no evil” but I’m getting less and less convinced as time goes by that their motives are so altruistic.

Steve Balmer – uh no. Maybe CCO; Chief Crazy Officer, but CTO? Sorry Steve, you seem smart and all but I wouldn’t put in in front of a crowd of anyone. Microsoft fanboys seem to like you, but from the outside looking in, you seem a bit crazy, and not really in touch with technology that doesn’t come from Redmond.

Jeff Bezos – CEO of Amazon. I’d buy that for a dollar. I’ve never met Jeff, but from everything I’ve read about him, he’s down to earth, cool, and generally a fun guy, with a good head for business.

Ed Felton – Comp Sci professor from Princeton. I don’t know a single thing about him, but A Princeton Prof, can’t be too bad a choice.

Lawrence Lessig – I’d buy that for a buck too. I read his blog (when it’s not over my head) he seems to be spot on with technology, and politics, which seems to be sorely lacking in Washington, just look at most of our existing tech legislation, and oh god, the Patent and Copyright office.

Techrunch has a poll, so go take a look, and drop your opinion.