Saturday, February 14, 2004

Uncivil Union

Sometimes situations are too political to have a solution.

For those who have been more lucky than me and missed hearing incessantly about this saga, the Mass. Supreme Court ruled that the State had no ability to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. As I understand it, being neither from Mass. nor American, the reasoning behind this had to do with the setting up of a second class civil union status for other forms of marriage being unnacceptable under the state constitution.

So the whining and bickering and spitting and rock-throwing continues. And the weeping, hair-pulling and knashing of teeth on TV.

The religious folks feel quite put upon, after all. Ignore for the moment that the number of folks getting married is dropping like a stone. I can't be bothered to find actual links, but I hear that in the US the rate has dropped to 50% or so. In Canada somewhat lower. And in Scandinavia the rate of those living together actually being married is reputedly down around 20%. So marriage is under threat - not the threat that some seem to imagine these days, but the threat of disinterest in the institution of marriage or the institution of the Church.

But the religious right are so busy being belligerent about the whole thing they'll never never notice the real enemy.

Neither will they nor the politicians come to the obvious solution: take civil benefits away from those entering into non-civil unions.

Wouldn't that be easy?  This whole problem occurs because the State conveys rights and benefits to those entering into what is essentially a private relationship (marriage) conveyed by a private individual (priest). If the State only conveyed those rights and benefits to those entering into a civil union, then fine, straights could go down to the courthouse to enter into the civil union, and then wander over to the church to come clean with God. Non-straights could go down to the courthouse to enter into the civil union, and later go have whatever non-traditional ceremony they might want. And they can do so without reflecting anything at all on the sanctity of the private ceremony the church-goers believe is their duty to God.

And we all can stop worrying about people's private acts and private lives.

Well, except Michael Jackson's. *sigh*

For the record, I'm married, though I didn't get married until the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) required it of me. Happily, my partner was and is of the gender they appreciate. That is, not mine. Het privilege indeed.

[Comments from my previous blog]

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Saturday, 21 February 2004 1:18 am
It's nice
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Friday, February 13, 2004

Apples and Oranges

Those who have had the fortune (I waffle between good- and mis-) to work with me know I don't always take well to being asked the same stupid question more than twice. So in the hope of heading off a whole lot more unhappiness, I want to put this one to bed.

Why do people insist on asking whether J2EE technology performs better than .Net? Or scale, or have better up time, or whatever?

All these are useful measures of a product. And if there is one thing that Microsoft gets right in their marketing FUD against J2EE it is that ...

MS: "J2EE is not a product."

Me: Well Duh! It is a standard.

Not that Microsoft seems to know much about standards sometimes. So I'm a little unclear as to the point they are trying to get across with their 'not a product' criticism. There are over 25 products that implement that standard compared to what, 1 .Net? But I digress.

Performance and RAS (Reliability, Availability, Scalability) are great ways to measure and compare products, depending on your needs. And some product implementations of the J2EE standard will be optimised for different kinds of uses, and have RAS or performance or footprint differences that may help or hinder your desired deployment.

And that's what's so meaningless about making these sorts of comparisons to between J2EE and .Net this way. The scalability of an application server intended and optimised for small-footpring embeddable use is nothing to do with J2EE, it is a product feature.

The Honda Accord is much more nimble than a tractor, and keeps the rain off better than a motorcycle. Visit your local Honda dealer today.