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Comment Why do we still have thousands of nukes? (Score 1) 122

I remember the end of the Cold War. I thought we would eventually start dismantling most of the nuclear arsenal that's cost trillions of dollars to build and maintain. (I'm not even going to mention the cost of cleanup at this point.) So why do we still have the massive stockpiles? I understand that Russian nukes are a problem. I understand that Putin is not the nicest guy in the world, to say the least, and may not be that amenable to reducing his stockpile. But god knows the Russians will need to save money. As do we. Our roads and bridges are crumbling, but we still maintain these ICBMs... for what exactly? It's up to Congress to change this. I say it's time.

Comment Re:Never used this keystroke (Score 1) 521

I'm a Mac user, you insensitive clod. And it's funny, but continual saving by a recently purchased Chromebook prevented me from losing anything when due to its hyper-frequent crashing. It's a defective unit, nothing to do with Chrome OS. Suffice to say that soured my slight migratory experiment; I'm typing this on my trusty MacBook Pro.

Comment Re:um... (Score 2) 76

Milwaukee alders are very powerful in their community and on the city council. What's different here is that Milwaukee is the largest city in the state. It's the state's economic driver. So what happens here has resonance.

What may not be so different is that here, the taxi scene is dominated by one company with a de facto monopoly made possible by previous city action. Ald. Bauman is interested in expanding the choices available to consumers. Hence this action.

I serve on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. That body has been maligned so many times it's not funny. One of my colleagues was just elected as an alderman. But that's another story.

Meanwhile, I've got this open data resolution that I'm working on...

Comment Perspective from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Score 1) 336

Milwaukee has a number of parallels to Detroit, but just enough differences that we are not, and will not be, the "next Detroit." Milwaukee is on the upswing. The city has a growing population once again, following its decline during the era of deindustrialization and urban-to-suburban flight. Milwaukee still has good bones, and as more people come here, they find it has a real vibrancy to it. We're truly blessed with a number of great local coffee roasters, including Anodyne, Stone Creek, Sven's, and Valentine, in addition to the ubiquitous Colectivo (formerly Alterra). Pabst, Schlitz and Miller made Milwaukee a beer capitol, and now we've got fantastic microbreweries, Lakefront Brewing, Milwaukee Brewing Company, St. Francis Brewery, and the crowdfunded Brenner Brewing Company. There's five colleges and two major universities within city limits, and a great publicly-owned international airport.

Milwaukee's Green Corridor along S. 6th Street is our sandbox for sustainable development. Among many attributes, it has the world's largest slab of water-permeable concrete, which was made part of the stormwater containment system that runs a beautiful stream and provides water for the on-site community gardens. A food hub is being developed just across the street from there, and we're showing true green development is replete with benefits.

The 20th century saw Milwaukee's first apex, and we're building toward a larger, more sustainable one right now. I'm thrilled to be part of it.

Comment And after all that, I forgot to add: (Score 1) 3

Before Hurricane Katrina, fuel prices followed a predictable rhythm, where gas was cheaper in the summer and diesel was cheaper in the winter. After Katrina, it all went to hell, and pretty soon everything was US$4 a gallon. Diesel has crept back up to that or higher, so even though I still get 42-45 mpg, it still costs plenty to fill up. And I think it blew away the ROI calculations.

Comment Here's me $.02. ($3 with inflation) (Score 1) 3

About eight years ago, I was addicted to the idea of biodiesel. Loved it loved it loved it. Got a VW TDi just to eventually be able to run biodiesel in it. The mileage was great. Still is great, as I still have the car. But the cost of maintenance has lessened my interest in having it.

To be fair, part of it is problems that I've brought upon myself. I didn't listen when they said "after doing this upgrade, UPGRADE THE FUEL INJECTOR AND THE EXHAUST, or you will pay thousands in repairs." To be fair, I wanted to verify their claim. Which proved to be true.

If that weren't enough, part of it for me will be the cost of repairing body damage, which was not caused by the upgrade in HP/torque that I had done a few years back, but rather a side-effect of the car crash that I was in thirteen years ago (as seen on Slashdot!), which shredded my left eye and wrecked my depth perception. (Tight turns in and out of my garage are a bitch.)

That's got nothing to do with diesel vs. hybrid. It's all about my vision, or lack thereof. But take into account that at least with the TDi, you need to get synthetic oil, and religiously have it changed. You'll need a new fuel filter each year -- North American/European ppl, do this in October. And there at long last, the infamous VW ,,Elektriksystem nicht funktioniertin" problem is creeping in on my car. Or maybe the right headlight really is burned out. Either way, it's getting time to move on.

So now, I still want a car with great mileage. And I'd like get an American car, a UAW car. The Ford C-Max hybrid is of interest, as it satisfies both interests. Even if the mileage may not be all that it's billed to be. And the looks aren't all that great either. But, what can you do? Perhaps -- maybe -- deal.

Comment From Linux politics to metropolitan politics! (Score 1) 503

I was elected a Milwaukee County Supervisor in April 2011. It is a non-partisan office. This was done in the 1930s (possibly the last time the two big parties worked together) to destroy the Milwaukee Socialist Party, which had dominated the mayor's office and the city council for a few decades in Milwaukee. By making municipal candidates non-partisan, there was no easy way to pick out the Socialists from the Republicans or Democrats. Between the Cold War and the non-partisanizing, it worked. And contrary to what you may think about socialists now, the Milwaukee Socialists ran the most efficient and cleanest government we've ever seen. They got elected because they promised to run a clean government, which they did. (The previous mayors had been friends of the brothels and casinos!) New Haven, CT also had a socialist mayor, though I don't know anything about that administration. The lakefront bridge connecting Bay View to downtown Milwaukee is called the Hoan Bridge, named in honor of Daniel W. Hoan, the city's third socialist mayor, and arguably the best. So there you go!

Comment Elections! Four in a row. (Score 1) 239

Okay, only two of them were contested, but... I am now the Milwaukee County Supervisor for the 14th district on Milwaukee's South Side, an area that includes a bit of Bay View, Mitchell Field (GMIA), Humboldt Park, Wilson Park, and eight other county parks. (People that knew me in my LinuxPPC days may be astonished to see a photo of me wearing a suit. Aye, I've traded t-shirts for ties much of the time, though I've now got a framed xkcd comic ("sudo make me a sandwich") in my office that I puzzle people with. County supervisors are elected to four-year terms, although I won a special election to serve the last year of my immediate predecessor's term. This meant that I had to run for re-election just eight months later. Fortunately, I was unopposed the second time around, meaning that while I did vote for myself in the primary and general, my victory was virtually assured. And indeed, I'm in. So now I am trying to drag the County into the late twentieth century, technology-wise. We may even make it into the early twenty-first! Inertia has been our major opponent; things were done as they were done for decades. Some departments, such as the county clerk's office, still rely entirely on paper forms; there is no digital input option. That is going to become a major project of mine as far as the technology committee goes. It's a lot of work, for sure, though I usually enjoy it, even love it. I'm up for re-election in April 2016. We'll see!

Comment Look into government work. Seriously. (Score 1) 506

There was a story here on /. a few days ago about New Hampshire's big move to open source. I know Wyoming is moving toward it, and Washington, D.C. has adopted an entirely Google-based platform. Other governments may be on their way.

Here in Wisconsin, we've had some movement as well. The city of Kenosha has had an extensive OSS IT platform in place for years. And here in Milwaukee County, where we have a Windows-centered IT policy, I scored a significant chip at the monolith. In my days since being the guerilla marketer for LinuxPPC, I won election last year as a Milwaukee County Supervisor. That means I'm one of 19 members in charge of policy for a $1.3 billion body of government. Because I now help craft policy — code, even, for code = law — I couldn't let the all-MS policy continue.

In the 2012 budget, I had an amendement that directs our IT department to do a study of open source software integration. I just got an update on the progress of the study: it turns out that rather than writing a white paper, we're going to have a working production model in place within a few months. It will be built entirely upon open source products (some flavor of Linux, Apache-Tomcat, MySQL, PHP, Alfresco, and so on). So we'll have actual documentation of the cost of production, and cost of maintenance. Beyond that, once it's tested, it will be ready for deployment to replace a set of commercial packages that the County Department of Administration uses. The coding will be done entirely in-house, which is a big win. And the programmers are very excited to do it!

That's only the beginning. Milwaukee County still uses Lotus Notes. (Pause to allow groans and shouts...) It's easy to imagine possibilities to replace Notes. And MS IIS. This is going to make a great story for Slashdot in a few months, and I hope it will make a great story to share with my constituents. The trick there will be to put it in terms that they can understand, as most of them don't have what I presume is our shared background. But, that's part of what they elected me for.

I suppose the story here is "get elected, and make a subtle policy (with profound future impacts) that you can sell by saying it will save money." With any luck, the rest will come like gravy.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.