BlogNotes: External Links

A reader recently called my attention to the dead links in this blog. Thanks for the note and my apologies to all. Two websites that I link to quite often, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) have recently undergone a make over. As a consequence, some of the links especially those relating to the nomination hearings may no longer be working. As this blog is a one-person operation, I cannot go back over a thousand posts and repair the dead links. I hope to update or redo the nomination hearing page and put that back up as soon as I can. Cheers!

Quickie: Unwed FS Couples Want Benefits, Too

Seal of the United States Department of State.Image via Wikipedia

Paul Richter writes in today’s issue of the LA Times: Benefits for gays? Us too, say the unwed. He reports that opposite-sex partners in the Foreign Service say they should be treated the same and that at least one FS couple has threatened to challenge the rules in court as discriminatory.

I don’t know what the numbers is for the Foreign Service but according to this report census data show that unwed heterosexual couples in the United States comprise about 10% of opposite-sex couples living together. I though think that this issue, because it has to do with people and benefits has the potential to get rather messy. Quick excerpts below:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton won praise in June after pushing to extend many federal benefits traditionally provided to diplomats’ spouses to gay and lesbian partners.

Since then, unmarried heterosexual couples have been lining up to ask for benefits too. They have approached the State Department’s personnel office and the diplomats’ union, arguing that they are entitled to equal treatment. At least one couple has threatened to challenge the rules in court as discriminatory.
The family benefits, although a small part of diplomats’ overall benefit package, are important to Foreign Service officers. Benefits include paid travel for the partner to and from overseas posts; visas and diplomatic passports; emergency medical treatment; shipment of household possessions; emergency evacuation in times of danger; and education benefits for minor children. Health insurance is not included for gay partners, although spouses are covered.
The American Foreign Service Assn., the diplomats’ union, has not yet taken a position, said spokesman Tom Switzer, but it “has heard from a number of members who believe that the same benefits should be extended to opposite-sex, unmarried partners as well.”

Read the whole thing here.

Video of the Week: Steve Jobs on how to live before you die

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. – Steve Jobs

At his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself.

The once-and-again CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs has spearheaded a few of the most iconic products in technology, entertainment and design. Full bio and more links

The pundits of Silicon Valley have a term for Steve Jobs’ charisma: the reality distortion field. But the truth is, most of us like living in Jobs’ reality, where exquisite design and sheer utility make for some addictively usable tools.

Jobs’ famous persuasive power is equalled by his creativity and business brilliance — apparent in legendary hardware and software achievements across three decades of work. The Macintosh computer (which brought the mouse-driven, graphical user interface to prominence), Pixar Animation Studios (which produced Toy Story, the first fully-3D-animated feature film), the iPod and the iPhone (and who knows what’s next?) all owe credit to Jobs’ leadership and invention.

In recent years, Jobs has battled with a rare form of pancreatic cancer — adding to an epic life story that mirrors the story of Apple itself: ever the underdog, ever the spectacular success.

“The past decade in business belongs to Jobs.”
Fortune Magazine


Stanford University, Filmed Jun 2005; Posted Dec 2009

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