No Champagne, thanks

One of the developers to pull their app from the Firefox web app store has this to say:

I met with Brendan and asked him to just apologize for the discrimination under the law that we faced. He can still keep his personal beliefs, but I wanted him to recognize that we faced real issues with immigration and say that he never intended to cause people problems.

It’s heartbreaking to us that he was unwilling to say even that.

And that’s why Brendan Eich’s decision to step down as CEO isn’t really a victory. When asked about the issue in an interview, Eich said:

[...] when people learned of the donation, they felt pain. I saw that in friends’ eyes, [friends] who are LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered]. I saw that in 2012. I am sorry for causing that pain.

If Brendan Eich had realized that it was wrong to cause people that kind of pain by trying to get his religious beliefs forced on them by law, that would have been a victory.

If he had made a donation to (say) HRC, in order to make up for his donation to the Proposition 8 campaign, that would have been a partial victory, even if he had stated that he still stood by his beliefs — because this was not about persecuting him for his beliefs.

Nobody is demanding that you should personally believe that gay marriage is a good thing. Heck, I have straight friends I don’t think should have been allowed to get married. But I don’t try to get laws passed declaring some people to be second-class citizens who can never marry. That’s the unacceptable part; that’s what got people so upset. Of course, the social conservatives are already trying to construct a different narrative; they can see that public opinion on gay marriage is following the same trend as public opinion on interracial marriage, and it concerns them greatly. But forget that narrative, this was not a “politically correct” “purge” for “thoughtcrime”.

The job of the CEO of Mozilla is to lead the organization and the broader development committee. Trying to take away the basic rights of many members of that community is going to make it hard to lead them. That’s why Brendan Eich’s private activities — not his opinions, his actions — were a problem, given his job.

Yes, being a homophobic bigot who tries to prevent his employees from marrying is going to be a career-limiting move in San Francisco. That really shouldn’t have surprised anyone. What’s more of a surprise is that Brendan Eich has managed to work there for years, with gay employees, yet he remains so sure that it’s right to take away their freedom to marry that he’d rather step down from his job than make any concession at all. Generally bigots get over their narrow-mindedness once they get to know people who are members of whatever group they view as undeserving of normal human rights.

If only Eich had decided that whatever his personal opinions, everyone should be equal under the law; but he couldn’t even accept that. No, it’s no cause for celebration.

Mozilla selects new CTO

The Mozilla Organization today sought to provide further support to beleaguered CEO Brendan Eich, who has been facing criticism over his donation of $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.

Mozilla announced that Eich will now be joined by a new Chief Technical Officer, the rotting corpse of Fred Phelps.

“Yes, technically he’s dead,” admitted Mozilla HR director Ian Competenza, “But that means his offensive actions are all in the past, and must therefore be forgotten. His last public appearance with a sign saying ‘GOD HATES FAGS’ was in 2012, which is ancient history.”


Asked if Zombie Phelps had the technical skills necessary to head a free software project, Competenza replied “True, he can’t write a line of code, but on the other hand he won’t invent anything like JavaScript, so we feel it’s a wash.”

Activists have renewed calls for a boycott of the Firefox browser, but Mozilla fans are quick to counter that a boycott would be unfair on the organization.

“Everything Fred did over the past decades was completely legal,” said a hacker who declined to give his name but mentioned that he had several gay friends. “That means his actions in no way disqualify him from this figurehead role. Call off the witch hunt, people.”


Mozilla have also announced the revival of their popular “Best viewed with Firefox” web badge campaign. The new “GOD HATES CHROME” and “IE == MALWARE ENABLER” signs will be accompanied by a nationwide advertising and picketing campaign.

Asked whether such divisive moves were good for the health of the open source Mozilla project, an anonymous employee commented: “As it says in big letters on the front page of our web site, ‘Doing good is part of our code’. What better way to do good, than to provide a prestigious well-paid job to a hated bigot?”

Leland Yee: A look back

2005: Taking advantage of the publicity around the “Hot Coffee” mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Leland Yee introduces AB1179, a California bill aiming to regulate violent video games. It eventually gets struck down by the Supreme Court as an unconstitutional violation of free speech

2013: Following the publicity around the Newton CT school shootings, Leland Yee takes to Twitter to argue for the closing of assault weapon loopholes. He also says that he still thinks video games need regulation:

Gamers have got to just quiet down. Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry’s lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest.

2014: Leland Yee is arrested on charges of arms trafficking and corruption following an underground FBI investigation. The affidavit alleges that Yee personally offered to broker illegal firearms sales in exchange for large campaign contributions.

Great moments in US intelligence

« U.S. intelligence estimates conclude that Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine. [...] A senior U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast that the timing of the military exercise, coming only days after the Ukrainian parliament voted to oust the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was suspicious. But nonetheless, U.S. intelligence agencies have collected no information suggesting the training exercises were preparation for an invasion. » — 2014-02-27

« Behind the scenes, Obama administration officials are preparing a series of possible battle plans for a potential economic assault on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, an administration source close to the issue told The Daily Beast. » — 2014-03-02

Sticker shock

It’s health insurance enrollment time again. I’m enrolling us, because let’s face it, I hate freedom. I’ve been watching the news, and I therefore know that Obamacare is a vile plot to make wealthy people pay a lot more for healthcare so that the undeserving poor can shirk their duty to die quietly of treatable ailments.

We’re not part of the 1% — not by a long shot — but I think we’re in the 20%, if that’s a thing, so apparently it’s up to us to pay for those single mothers. Over the last few months I had read that the middle class were going to get squeezed, because we would not qualify for any kind of subsidy because we make more than 4x the federal poverty level. Yes, people with pre-existing conditions on group plans would definitely lose out, getting less coverage and having higher costs. But how much higher?

The predictions were pretty dire — premiums were said to be going up by an average of 26% in Texas. Or maybe 37%, for middle aged people. Yes, 37% for middle aged men. Or maybe 88%, for middle aged men with pre-existing conditions opting for bronze-level or equivalent coverage in Texas. In fact, according to the experts at the Heritage Foundation, I could expect a robust 91% increase in insurance premiums.

So obviously, it was with trepidation that I read about the options available to me. Perhaps I would have to stop paying for the best available plan with the ultra low deductibles? I clicked through and saw the final cost. It has gone up by a massive, punitive 10% compared to 2012.

Obviously I am shocked, shocked to find out that so many dire predictions made by right-wing think tanks appear not to be accurate.