"Oh." She looked taken aback. "Er . . . yes. I support civil unions."
"I don't," Darwin put in.
"Thank you," I added, and we walked away.
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I was wondering how this would work:
Short version: Apple engineers are murmuring among themselves that there's no way in hell they'll spend weeks working for the FBI to create a code that'll destroy iPhone security. A number have said they'll quit first. And since this kind of engineer can basically walk into any computer company and name a price, finding a new paycheck isn't any kind of problem.
I kind of thought something like this might happen. I mean, the government might--MIGHT--be able to force Apple into complying iwth its demand, but how can you force people to create computer code that doesn't yet exist? How would you enforce it? If the engineers quit and Apple said, "Sorry--we have no one qualified to fuflill the court order. You may as well order us to fly--all the ordering in the world can't force us to do the impossible."
How would the government know Apple can't do it?
Or, even more simply, how would the government know if the engineers worked and worked and worked and nothing came of it?
"Hey!" says the FBI. "It's been two months! Where's that code?"
"Sorry," says the engineer. "We're still working on it. Lots of bugs, you know."
"When will it be ready?"
Engineer shrugs. "When it's ready."
A year later, the FBI comes back, angry now. "Where's the freakin' code?"
"Sorry. It still doesn't work."
"Let me see that code!"
"If you want." Engineer shows a screenful of code that looks like utter gobbledygook. "So. Can you read computer code?"
FBI agent, hesitantly, "A little."
"Well, then, you'll no doubt be able to see where we're running into problems. Here, here, and here the bugs keep showing up. You can understand how difficult the solution is."
" . . . sure . . . "
"We'll let you know when we've made progress."
The FBI agent slouches out. The engineer laughs behind his hand, clears the screen of gobbledygood, and goes back to his Candy Crush game.
I mean, how can the government force anyone to create something that government agents don't understand? It would be like the government ordering me to write a transcendentalist novel. Yeah, they could order me to do so, but if I said it would take twenty years to do it, how would they know?
The reporter adds, "[Knollenberg] says he feels his words are being taken out of context. He had just seen statistics that said that most kids in struggling districts are of color, and they led to his words."
DING! My statement was taken out of context. Because a statement that you could "fix" black kids by making them white can be taken out of context. But let's look at the context Knollenberg means.
The committee was hearing testimony about students statistics. State and federal law require schools to keep track of student test scores and classify them by race, economic status, and other groupings. Many African-American students score lower on tests than their Caucasian counterparts, usually because more caucasian students enjoy a higher standard of living which frees them from worrying about whether they'll eat that day or sleep that night, and instead lets them concentrate on learning--and on scoring higher on tests. This disparity is called "the achievement gap," and it is NOT due to race. It is due to economic status. Black students who are raised in affluence do just as well as affluent white students, and white students who live in poverty do very poorly in school, just as poor black students do.
In other words, even taken in context, Knollenberg's assertion that his comments were taken out of context and are therefore not racist is an utter lie.
Additionally, Knollenberg said, "I have an African-American employee who works for me."
DING! I know a bunch of black people, so I'm not racist. But we all know very well that hiring a single African-American employee doesn't mean you aren't racist. Racism has never precluded hiring minorities. Ask Henry Ford.
Knollenberg finished digging his racist's grave with this final statement: "I can apologize to people who felt that way. My passion is for improving education and making sure every single child gets a good education. We should not have failing schools anywhere."
DING! The non-apology, which never actually admits to a mistake or makes a true expression of sorrow or regret. Knollenberg did NOT apologize. He said "I can apologize," and then further weakened the statement by adding "to people who felt that way." This is a variation of the standard GOP non-apology that goes, "If my remarks offended anyone . . . ," which means, "My remarks weren't bad--you're only taking it that way." This is what Knollenberg is doing. He is NOT saying his remarks were offensive. Instead, he's saying some people might find them offensive, and if so, he might say he's sorry to such people.
A proper apology would go something like this: "What I said was wrong, and I know it hurt a lot of people. I wasn't thinking, and I wish I hadn't said these things. I apologize for making these remarks. I hope everyone will forgive me."
But Knollenberg is a coward who hides behind his committee chair, and he won't say these words. Neither will any other racist GOP senator.