May 10th, 2005

the mark

Schneier on the REAL ID Act

Good to know I'm not suffering from premature senility. Former fellow StippleAAPA-hacker has some harsh criticisms of the new law, which imposes federal standards on state driver's licenses, on grounds of both security and privacy. While I don't agree with Bruce on everything, he's rarely wrong about the security issues (it's what he does for a living, after all, and he does it very well) and he's a reasonable libertarian when it comes to privacy issues. So pay attention, and as Professor Death advises, RTWT.

UPDATE Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy, on the oher hand, isn't so impressed.
dead wombat

Big Ben, Taco John - you have failed me for the last time!

Went to bed early last night, but the effort to stay awake until 8:30 so I could set the alarm properly gave me my second wind so that I didn't fall asleep until nearly 1 AM...and then, apparently, I screwed up while setting the alarm clock so that it didn't go off, and so Melody got to wake me at 7:45. Urgh. Wound up catching the 535 in to work and arriving at 9:40, so I have and hour and change to make up over the next few days. I say again, urgh.

Changed wallpaper again today, to this. More cartoony.

Still hungry after the brownbag lunch, I wandered over to Taco John's in 6 Quebec so as to take advantage of the cheap tacos. Discovered to my horror that it had become a Pepsi joint, which pretty much kills any reason for going there instead of Taco Bell. Thus the advance of entropy continues.
  • Current Music
    U2 - The Wanderer

Something I've never understood

I'm looking at this story on the liquidation of United Airlines' pension plan. I can sort of understand the employees screaming about this, because nobody likes to see their pension getting cut by over 50%, but what I don't get is why these people trusted United to fully fund these liabilities in the first place. It seems to me that handling pensions is something the unions should have been handling in-house on a pay-as--you-go basis, with the airline either kicking in some cash as a sweetener or leaving it strictly up to the employees and their unions. On top of that, United has had financial problems as long as I can remember. What kind of idiots did the union have negotiating contracts if they couldn't get the airline to change the retirement benefits to a 401K or other defined-contribution system?

For that matter, if the unions aren't taking care of pensions and health care because they've stuck the employers with the bill, what the hell are they collecting dues for?

UPDATE Jane Galt and Will Collier also comment on this, and do comparisons with another underfunded pension fund.