Two Years

A Foolish Consistency’s first post–about net neutrality–appeared on September 8, 2006.  This post, two years later, is the 402nd I’ve published on A Foolish Consistency, slightly more than one post every other day.  Not prolific output but not bad either, given the number of blogs that come and go and the ease with which I can be distracted.

Starting Over

Today, the second day of the semester, I was not in the classroom.  I held office hours.  It was a spectacularly beautiful late summer day.   Judy and Josh were at Fenway watching the Sox come from behind in a 5-4 walk-off win against the Orioles while I sat in my airless office 400 hundred yards away, listening to game audio over the Internet.  I had few walk-ins and was able to read some articles, write a post, handle some administrative chores, and work on the AFC Legal Resources site.  About 2:30  I was logy and went to the SMG Starbucks on the second floor.  Only a half-dozen tables were occupied and I did not recognize anyone.  That’s the September Story.  Hundreds of the familiar faces I would have seen last April have graduated and gone, new seniors are working, looking for jobs, or otherwise occupied off campus, dozens of juniors are abroad, and it’s too soon to know many of my first-time students.  It hits me each September that we have to start again to build relationships, get beyond facades, forge the personal links that make teaching an emotionally satisfying pursuit.  Soon when I enter Starbucks and walk the halls this feeling of re-generation will have passed but, this week, it defines my relationship to the school.

Web Sites and the ADA

As reported by last week Target Corp. settled a federal class action lawsuit brought by The National Federation of the Blind, who claimed that Target’s website was inaccessible to the blind in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  At issues was Target’s failure to code its website to enable use of keyboards and software that convert websites into speech or Braille.  Target agreed to pay $6 million in damages and recode the site to accomodate those with vision disabilities.  Target was prompted to settle in part by the trial judge’s ruling that the ADA applies to a business’s website, agreeing with the plaintiffs that there is a nexus between physical Target stores and its online presence.  The article reports that other companies such as and RadioShack have agreed to improve their web sites to enable use by visually impaired customers.  (Source:  Evan Hill “Settlement Over Target’s Web Site Marks a Win for ADA Plaintiffs,” The Recorder, 28-Aug-08.)

Is McCain Serious?

Sarah Palin is John McCain’s VP candidate?  Is it April Fool’s Day?  This cynical, craven capitulation to the far right underscores the  deep flaws in McCain’s judgment.  Do any of the pundits crediting McCain’s boldness honestly think Palin is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency?  This decision is bold only in the context of politics as a game.  In the context of statesmanship, leadership, judgment about the future of a nation, it is criminally negligent and insulting.

A friend asked me to state my problem’s with McCain’s candidacy in a sentence.  I said that he hasn’t shown any ability to comprehend the complexity of either national or international issues.  A few moments later I said it more succinctly:  John McCain is a binary thinker in a non-binary world.  I understand the emotional appeal of yes/no, black/white, good/bad answers, the desire to reduce bewildering complexity to simple bit-sized solutions, but that’s not economic, political, or social reality.  John McCain is like Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies–whose character is, ironically, named “John McClane”–except John McCain is not running for a celluloid presidency, the USA is not the Nokomura Tower, and the bad guys are not Eurotrash in $400 haircuts led by Alan Rickman.