Detroit has just filed for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history:
The filing begins a 30- to 90-day period that will determine whether the city is eligible for Chapter 9 protection and define how many claimants might compete for the limited settlement resources that Detroit has to offer. The bankruptcy petition would seek protection from creditors and unions who are renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities.
Detroit’s bankruptcy is by far the largest of its kind in U.S. history, in terms of the city’s population of about 700,000 and the amount of its debts and liabilities, which Orr has said could be as high as $20 billion. Because of the stakes involved, and the impact on residents statewide, as well as 30,000 current and retired city workers and Detroit’s ability to stay in business, the case could be precedent setting in the federal judiciary. It could also set an important trajectory for the way troubled cities nationwide settle their financial difficulties.
It's hard to see how Detroit comes back from this. Decades of mismanagement and white flight, with an indifferent (and sometimes larcenous) state government letting it happen adds up.
Security guru Bruce Schneier suggests Snowden might not have considered all the likely outcomes:
Edward Snowden has set up a dead man's switch. He's distributed encrypted copies of his document trove to various people, and has set up some sort of automatic system to distribute the key, should something happen to him.
Dead man's switches have a long history, both for safety (the machinery automatically stops if the operator's hand goes slack) and security reasons. WikiLeaks did the same thing with the State Department cables.
I'm not sure he's thought this through, though. I would be more worried that someone would kill me in order to get the documents released than I would be that someone would kill me to prevent the documents from being released. Any real-world situation involves multiple adversaries, and it's important to keep all of them in mind when designing a security system.
Possibly spending a few years at the Moscow airport might be his safest option. But then again, his whole strategy seemed flawed from the start.
The Met issues a heat warning as London experiences its fifth consecutive day of 30°C weather? Nope.
Heathrow will finally get a third runway, with new plans submitted this week? Nope.
The Queen has given her assent to a law making same-sex marriage legal in England and Wales? Yep:
The Queen's approval of the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill was a formality, and now clears the way for the first gay marriages, the first of which are expected to be conducted by Summer 2014.
The bill enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales. It also will allow couples who had previously entered into a civil partnership to convert their relationship to a marriage.
However, religious organisations will have to 'opt in' on performing gay marriages.
Nice map (from Wikipedia). I hope it gets filled in a lot more over the next few years.
At 10th Magnitude, we have used Beanstalk as our central code repository. We transitioned to Mercurial about a year ago, which Beanstalk supported.
Today they sent around an email saying they're ceasing Mercurial support—including existing repositories—on September 30th, and would we care to switch to Git?
No. No, no, no. No Git. I'm not asking people to learn another damn version control system. (Plus Git doesn't quite suit us.)
But fortuitously, this forced re-evaluation of Beanstalk coincides with a general self-reflective re-evaluation we have underway. That doesn't mean we're going to Git, or (angels and ministers of grace, defend us!) back to Subversion, but as long as we have to move off Beanstalk, why not take a look at our issue tracking, external bug reporting, project management, and document sharing?
I'll have more about this as we get closer to the September 30th date, along with some awesome stuff about how we have developed an Azure application that does single sign-on with...just about any identity provider.
No, not more modern Pinkertons, repeating bad policy from the 1880s. This time we're repeating ancient Rome's mistakes, a parallel Atlantic writers Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane draw out:
Before their empire fell, the Romans built walls.
They began by erecting barriers along the border following the death of the Emperor Trajan in 117 A.D., notably Hadrian's Wall, which belted Britain. Later emperors erected internal walls, even around the great city itself, to ward off barbarians. After 300 A.D., the Emperor Diocletian effectively converted the entire Roman populace into feudal serfs, walling them off from internal movement in a vain effort to stabilize the chaotic economy.
Sadly, many Americans are all too eager to repeat history.
Witness the immigration bill slowly making its way through Congress, and the feverish reactions it has inspired. In exchange for granting undocumented workers a path to citizenship, Republicans have demanded a so-called "border surge" that would double the number of patrol agents in the Southwest and build an extra 700 miles of fencing.
They make a succinct argument with a good hypothesis about why, exactly, Republicans want a useless wall on our southern frontier.
Today begins baseball's All-Star break, with the All-Star Game tomorrow in New York and 2/3 of the season behind us in purgatory.
Despite yesterday's 10-6 loss to St. Louis, the Cubs have improbably won 14 of their last 21 games, bringing them nearer .500 than at any point since the fifth game of the season back on April 6th, ending the first half of the season at 42-51 (.452):
So after 93 games, with 69 left to play, the Cubs are in 4th place, 4½ games away from a winning season, but unfortunately 10 full games out of 3rd place. With the Cardinals just ahead of the Pirates as the best team in all of baseball right now, and with both of those teams in our division, we have no hope of anything this year.
Last night was typical Cubs play, though. I went to most of the game, bailing after the 7th with the score 5-4 Cardinals. That became 6-4 Cardinals while I waited for the bus, so I guessed I'd made the right decision.
One of Josh Marshall's readers says Florida's self-defense rules are insane:
I’m a criminal defense lawyer in Wisconsin... In Florida, if self-defense is even suggested, it’s the state's obligation to prove its absence beyond a reasonable doubt(!). That’s crazy. But ‘not guilty’ was certainly a reasonable result in this case. As I told in friend in Tampa today though, if you’re ever in a heated argument with anyone, and you’re pretty sure there aren’t any witnesses, it’s always best to kill the other person. They can’t testify, you don’t have to testify, no one else has any idea what happened; how can the state ever prove beyond a doubt is wasn’t self-defense? Holy crap!
By contrast, in the civilized world—I'm including Illinois here, bear with me—"self-defense" is an affirmative defense requiring the defendant to prove it by preponderance of the evidence. (720 ILCS 5/9-2 outlines how Zimmerman would probably be convicted of 2nd degree murder in Illinois given the facts of the case.)
When I learned the result last night, I posted a Facebook status saying: "I wonder if we should have waited until Florida was a mature, civilized democracy before admitting it into the U.S." My friends have added more than 20 comments so far, including a clip of Bugs Bunny cutting Florida loose. (I love my friends.) I wonder if this reading of Florida law changes anyone's opinion?
After adding 25 original braverman.org posts from May 1998 yesterday, this morning I added another 32 posts from June and July, including a review of an Antigone Rising performance I saw at the Bitter End when they were first starting out. It's a little trippy.
The Spectralia theater company gave their fifth performance of Comedy of Errors yesterday at Touhy Park, Chicago. Don Johnson's adaptation clocks in at 90 minutes and zips along through Shakespeare's farce of two sets of identical twins who meet for the first time at the end of the play.
Yesterday's Chicago weather could not have been better for the
Mary-Kate Arnold as the Courtezan:
Don Johnson, the adapter, playing Doctor Pinch:
After a short experiment yesterday at lunch, in which I put up three original braverman.org posts from 1998, I've added all the content from May 1998.
A couple of things came up during this process:
1. dasBlog, whose open-source project has ceased active development, won't display any of the entries for a particular day if any one of them has any errors in its HTML. That is really annoying.
2. In frustration, I started looking for other blog engines, and came upon Orchard. I'm intrigued. The extension model seems like it would work really well for me, it's in active development, and it's cool. I have a little time this weekend to play with it.
For now, enjoy the jokes from 15 years ago.