James Ron on loyalty in the civil service

James Ron, a former professor at Carleton University, has written an interesting piece on the situation faced by bureaucrats who personally object to the policies of the government of the day. It is an interesting read.

One major justification he leaves out is the view that while a particular policy might seem objectionable to the person thinking about it, they simultaneously see that policy as the product of a democratic system of decision-making that they endorse overall. I have written before on why this view is problematic, but it is nonetheless another way of squaring the circle Ron describes.

The end of the mail lockout

In the case of Canada Post, the use of back-to-work legislation to end the labour dispute seems inappropriate. Quite likely, it is a violation of the right to collective bargaining that the members of the union possess.

Losing postal service has not been a catastrophe. It definitely wasn’t too problematic before the management-initiated lockout. As such, the only serious disruption to service that has taken place has been the result of a management decision. Canada Post’s workers don’t deserve to be forced back to work through legislation because of that.

Entirely unsponsored endorsement for DreamHost

DreamHost is a pretty good hosting company. They aren’t super easy to use, but they offer a lot of configuration power and good value for money. I get some glitches and downtime, but they have mostly been very solid.

If you are thinking of setting up a website on a server you largely control yourself, they are a good place to start (though you will have to do some reading to figure it out).

DreamHost is better than GoDaddy, I think, though some of my complaints about GoDaddy were a bit unfair at the time. I didn’t know enough about caching, database lookups, and the technical side of building sites.

Note: It is much easier to START ON DreamHost than it is to MOVE TO DreamHost. You would think requiring the use of a command line interface to shift over a WordPress installation would be something that you wouldn’t see anymore now that better hosting tools are available.

Macs are also vulnerable

If you think your computer is secure because it is a Mac, you are dead wrong. The latest patch for OS X – 10.6.8 – contains 29 patches for security holes that allow arbitrary code execution. Any of those holes could be used to totally own your computer, circumventing any antivirus or encryption software you may be running. These 29 have been patched, but you can be sure there are others in the OS and in popular software like Flash and Adobe’s PDF reader.

If you want to keep a system safe, keep it physically disconnected from the internet.