I don't always test ...


That pretty much sums up the current Obamacare debacle. As a programmer for a mission-critical web-based EHR, and one in charge of deploying updates to production, I feel a bit of sympathy for the actual programmers who worked on this monstrosity. And monstrosity is the perfect description. At 500 *million* lines of code, there is no possible way this could have been released without problems. 500 *million* lines of code says that this was not only poorly built but that it was poorly designed, poorly managed, and poorly tested. It's just not possible. Yet it happened anyway.

However, in this case, the sheer ineptitude on display is astounding. This would certainly be one contract job I'd omit from my resume if I were one of the programmers!

What a perfect metaphor for our government in general.



Borepatch sums up the issues with the "surge" very well. Highly recommend reading this post and his blog in general

Denver, CO vs Canton, OH

Denver, CO and Canton, OH both had great entries in the "Cops Gone Wild" category.

Denver was a strong contender with this one:
A Denver police officer fired for driving 88 mph above the speed limit while intoxicated has appealed his dismissal, arguing that the penalty is unfair and overly harsh.

Derrick Curtis Saunders, who had previously been cleared of charges he pointed a gun at a McDonald's employee in 2009, was arrested for speeding and DUI by the Colorado State Patrol. He couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Saunders was traveling 143 mph in a 55-mph zone on June 17, 2010, according to the order terminating him, issued by Manager of Safety Alex Martinez on Dec. 7.

Source: Denver Post

Canton brought out their big guns with Officer Harless :
Officer Daniel Harless, who is currently under investigation for threatening to execute a concealed handgun license-holder during a traffic stop, and for a separate incident in which he threatened to send the suspects "to the grave" if they moved, adding, "I will shoot you in the face and I'll go to sleep tonight," is now also under investigation for a THIRD incident which was also caught on tape.

Source: Buckeye Firearms Association

So, to summarize:

Denver - a Denver cop drives drunk at a massively high speed (143 mph in a 55 mph zone) and gets fired, sentenced to five days in jail, fined $300 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. Seems a bit lenient to me, but at least it was some form of punishment.

Canton - a Canton cop threatens to execute people on THREE separate occasions and gets to keep his job while awaiting the results of a "hearing" and the only reason the hearing even happened is because of the publicity surrounding the THIRD incident. Had that youtube video not gone viral, it's likely that Canton would have swept this under the rug AGAIN.

So, what's the lesson we learned? If you're a supreme, power-mad asshole of the highest order who threatens to beat, torture, and execute a man ON CAMERA (like Officer Harless), then you should choose the Canton, OH police department over the Denver, CO police department.

Big Week for Officer Harless ... Maybe

Looks like Officer Daniel Harless, a Canton Ohio police officer, may FINALLY get his disciplinary hearing. Buckeye Firearms reports that, after being postponed several times, it is currently scheduled for December 15th. The reason for previous postponements? He's on sick leave due to a PTSD disability.

As I've said before, Officer Harless is a supreme, power-mad asshole of the highest order who threatens to beat, torture, and execute a man ON CAMERA. He's the one making threats like this:
I swear to God this little bull crap you pulled has me so hot. You know what I should have done? I tell you what I should have done. As soon as I saw your gun I shoulda taken two steps back, pulled my Glock 40, and just put ten bullets in your ass and let you drop. And I wouldn't of lost any sleep. Do you understand me? And he would have been a nice witness as I executed you because you're stupid.

- Buckeye Firearms article
- YouTube video of the incident
Officer Harless should be jailed for threatening and intimidating someone as an officer of the law. At the very least, he should be fired and never employed as a police officer again. Of course, that's what should have happened the last time Officer Harless went nuclear on the job. Good luck, Canton Ohio. Hopefully the thin blue line won't sweep this one under rug ... again. And hopefully Allen Schulman has stopped crying in his wheaties.

Allen Schulman, Canton City Council President, is unclear on the concept

Allen Schulman, President of the City Council of Canton, OH, cries in his Wheaties. He's unhappy that one of Canton's police officers, Daniel Harless, was caught on camera threatening a man, numerous times, with death and serious injury. Officer Harless informs the man that he should have stepped back, drawn his gun, and put ten rounds in the guy. He goes on to say that he would have executed the man and slept soundly that night. All of this while being filmed by the camera in his own patrol car.

Let me say this again: Officer Harless, a supreme, power-mad asshole of the highest order, threatens to beat, torture, and execute a man ON CAMERA. And, as these sort of videos are prone to do, the dash cam video went viral, bringing well-earned shame and ridicule down upon the town of Canton, the police department, and Officer Daniel Harless.

One would think that Allen Schulman, the President of the Canton, OH City Council, would be angry and outspoken after this incident. And you would be correct! However, Council President Allen Schulman is NOT speaking out against Officer Daniel Harless nor his behavior. He's angry that people from outside of Canton have been calling him to complain about Officer Harless and his atrocious, criminal behavior.

I'm sorry Allen Schulman, but having a Canton mailing address and voter registration is not a requirement to observe and be outraged at the behavior of a psychopath such as Officer Daniel Harless. Rather than stand up, acknowledge, and condemn the outrageous behavior of one of your town's officers, you've chosen to circle the wagons and attempt to divert attention away from Officer Harless by whining and complaining about the very people with whom you should be agreeing.

Mother Nature Has Rights Too!

I honestly don't even know what to say to this. Only two things come to mind:
  2. Are you fucking kidding me?
LTE: A planet's rights
A planet's rights

The June 20 article "Defending Mother Earth" reports on the Bolivian president and Parliament passing a "Bill of Rights for Mother Nature." But this is only the first step in a process of getting the United Nations to make a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, during the World People's Conference on Climate Change in April, Bolivia and other Third World countries passed a resolution to move the process to the world forum at the United Nations.

The PG article quotes "local stakeholders" such as Matt Pitzarella of Range Resources, who states that the Bolivian policy "is a little out there." Also quoted is Joe Osborne, who states that "the practical effects will probably not be very significant."

My opinion, however, is that this is a development of monumental significance for humanity and the planet. Further, the passing of such a universal declaration is well nigh a necessity if the planet is to be saved from the depredation enshrined in our economic and social policies. It is possible to dismiss this movement as rhetoric, but could one not say the same of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1947? But in the aftermath of that declaration came the decolonization of the world, the civil rights movement and the feminist movement, to name just a few of its profound effects.

To get a perspective other than the kind of voices quoted in the article, the Thomas Merton Center is bringing to Pittsburgh on Nov. 3 Vandana Shiva of India, one of the pioneers for the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. She will be receiving the annual Thomas Merton Award and giving this movement a jump start in Pittsburgh.


The writer is a board member of the Thomas Merton Center.
Props to Matt Pitzarella for the understatement of the day.

Marine Corps uniform? Not at North Allegheny High School

UPDATE @ 20:15 (Original Post follows)

Looks like North Allegheny has posted a response
For several decades, the graduation dress protocol for the North Allegheny graduation has been simply defined and clearly enforced to maintain an emphasis on the class as a whole and to establish a sense of decorum for the ceremony. The only deviation from this protocol has traditionally been the addition of a gold cord designating membership in the National Honor Society, for graduates who have earned that distinction.
The purpose of Mr. Sieminski's call to this family will be to inform them of the following:
  • There is a new state law passed in March 2010, which prohibits the restriction of wearing military uniforms on school property. Therefore, there will be no restrictions imposed on this student in regard to the wearing of her uniform to graduation. She may choose what she wishes to do at graduation.
    • The student may wear her uniform; she may wear a cap and gown; she may wear her cap and gown with her uniform under it and remove the cap and gown upon receipt of her diploma.
  • As calls came in to the District today, the Marine Corps League made contact with us. This ultimately led to communication with and counsel from the Marine Corps Uniform Board, located at the Pentagon, regarding the issue of wearing Corps uniforms to these types of events. Their statement offered recommendations for compromise and permission for the student to wear her uniform under her cap and gown at the ceremony until after she accepted her diploma, if she desires to do so. This information will be shared with the student to provide her with a point of reference.
  • The student's decision will have the full support of the Principal. North Allegheny requests that the family would communicate with the school regarding the student's plans.
Looks like they ended up doing the right thing. Whether it's for the right reasons or not is another debate, but at least this young woman will have the option to wear her uniform.


Looks like the very high school from which I graduated made the front page on Fox News: Semper No: Pennsylvania Marine Barred From Wearing Uniform at High School Graduation
Lindsay Starr told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh she wanted to wear her dress blues during Friday's graduation ceremony at North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, but that school officials denied her request, citing the requirement of wearing only the traditional cap and gown.
Here was the response I sent to Ms. Joy Ed, the Director of Public Relations:
Dear Ms. Ed,

As a graduate of North Allegheny's 1996 class, I was saddened and disappointed to see that the current administration is not allowing Lindsay Starr to wear her Marine Corps uniform to the graduation ceremony.

I can understand the reasoning behind the policy - I remember the beach balls that some of the more immature students tossed around at my graduation - but I think that this "zero-thought" approach is doing more harm than good. I would think that showing that the school district can use good judgement and allow a student to wear her dress uniform would set a good example for the student body.

This student has already graduated, has made it through one of the more grueling boot camps, and will almost certainly see combat - and possibly be killed - very soon. Military uniforms are acceptable, if not honorable, attire for weddings, funerals, and award ceremonies and they should be no less acceptable for a high school graduation ceremony.

Please do the right thing and let this young woman wear the uniform of the country to which she has committed much of her life.
Now, I really do understand the reasons that policy was likely put in place. High school students, especially today, are often incredibly immature and lack any sort of common sense or respect for others. This policy will help prevent people showing up for graduation in jeans, bathing suits, costumes, etc. Likely, prior to the policy, one or more of those happened.

But one of the differences between an adult and a grown up is the ability to employ critical thinking, common sense, and to make decisions that uphold, enforce, and prove the principles that for which you stand.

You would think that the administration of a high school would be able to differentiate between a clown costume and the uniform of a branch of our military.

You would think that the administration of a high school would be able to argue successfully, and with ease, against the likely "Why can't I wear my Hooters uniform? You let her wear a uniform!" argument.

You would think all of that and, if you're talking about the administration of the North Allegheny School District, you would apparently be wrong.

I hope the school district doesn't double down on stupidity and reverses its policy.

If you'd like to contact the Director of PR, please be courteous in doing so:

Ms. Joy Ed
Phone: (412) 369-5445
Email: jed@northallegheny.org

Electric cars now run on rainbows!

The New York Times has an opinion piece, Electric Avenue, on electric cars that has both feet firmly rooted in fantasy land.
THE American response to rising gas prices has been depressingly predictable. We’re shocked to see prices top $4 a gallon, as if it’s never happened before. We demand that something be done — not to reduce our dependence on oil, but to cut the cost of a fill-up. Fortunately the White House is standing behind a goal that could genuinely transform the nation’s automotive fleet: putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
Purely electric cars like the Leaf never consume gasoline; plug-in hybrids like the Volt can run primarily on electricity. Department of Transportation statistics show that 78 percent of Americans commute 40 miles or fewer a day, so most people who drive a Volt won’t need to burn any gas on a normal day.

When cars like these are being driven on a large scale, the benefits will be substantial. The Electrification Coalition, an electric-vehicle advocacy group, estimates that if, by 2040, 75 percent of all miles driven in the United States are powered by electricity, oil consumption by light-duty vehicles will drop from the current level of nearly nine million barrels a day to two million. But getting there will require a mass rollout of these cars, and it will take government assistance to make that happen.
Sounds great as long as people understand that replacing gasoline-powered cars with electric-powered cars really means that you're creating coal-powered or nuclear-powered cars. Which means our dependence on coal or nuclear will increase significantly. That sounds like a fair trade-off to me, but it needs to be a conscious decision.
The Obama administration already supports incentives to encourage drivers to buy electric cars, and it has devoted $2.4 billion in stimulus money to the development of a domestic electric-car industry. The president’s 2012 budget request increases financing for battery research and proposes good ideas for accelerating the spread of electric vehicles, including the transformation of the existing $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of a plug-in vehicle into a point-of-sale rebate, which would give buyers their refund immediately rather than at tax time.

These investments may be too much to expect from a Congress that can barely keep the government running. At the very least, however, President Obama and the Senate must resist pressure to gut renewable energy programs in the name of reducing the deficit — an urge expressed most clearly in Representative Paul D. Ryan’s budget plan, which proposes a sizable and profoundly shortsighted cut in financing for energy research and development.
Sorry folks - I'm not a scientist, but everything I've read would indicate that generating enough electricity through cost-effective renewable means to cover 75% of the miles driven in the US is a very long-term project. By 2040? Possible, but I highly doubt probable.

Switching to electrically-powered vehicles will also require a significant overhaul of the nation's electricity transmission grid - a non-trivial expense.

And, when less gas is sold, that's less tax revenue for the government, so be prepared to pay for that some other way - either increased electricity costs, some sort of mileage-based tax, or something else entirely.

So, while I think switching to electric-powered cars is a great idea, I can't see any way it could possibly happen in the near-term nor be any sort of cost-saving measure.

Hungry? A Primantis Follow-up

Looks like I was a bit hasty yesterday when I pulled my recommendation of Primanti Bros as a good place to eat for attendees of the NRA Convention. The MAIG photo-op at one of the locations certainly made it seem like the restaurant was supportive of Bloomberg and his group. Posts from several bloggers, including me, thrust Primanti Bros into the spotlight and the restaurant responded quickly and, despite a large number of negative comments, politely.

The restaurant left comments on several of the blog posts and quickly echoed them in an official release on their Facebook page.
It has come to the attention of the management of Primanti Bros. Restaurant that a cook in one of our restaurants was photographed in a Mayors Against Illegal Guns t-shirt. This is not an endorsement of this issue by the Primanti Bros. Restaurants. Primanti’s is in the hospitality business and welcomes guests from all walks of life, with a mission to make every one of our guests feel welcomed. It is not infrequent that our guests ask the Primanti staff to pose for a photo. There are photos of the Primanti staff with Glenn Beck, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Billy Gardell. This is not an endorsement of the CBS Show Mike & Molly although we do think it’s very funny. The fact that this request was accommodated by the staff is not an endorsement of this organizations position nor was this picture posted by an employee of Primanti’s. Primanti Bros. Restaurant has no opinion on this issue; however if you ask us about sandwiches we will have a very passionate opinion.

We welcome all conventioneers to our restaurants and will continue to be an ambassador of the Pittsburgh community. The community of Pittsburgh has embraced the Almost Famous Primanti sandwich and we feel strongly that we embrace all visitors into our community.
After speaking with them, I'm certain that they were simply being friendly with a group of customers that day. Gun bloggers definitely understand the anti-rights stance of the group, but without knowing the context, Bloomberg's group's name, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, could certainly sound innocent enough. As one of the commenters put it:
that t shirt was "mayors against IL...LEGAL guns" not "mayors against guns" or "mayors for gun control" or anything else. and I know my NRA family members are all AGAINST IILEGAL firearms. I would hope that Primanti Bros. is against ILLEGAL guns as well.
As I said earlier, I would love it if they'd tell anti-rights group to go piss up a rope, but I can't fault them, from a business perspective, for just wanting to serve the largest audience possible.

And if you're in the mood for an excellent sandwich, I highly recommend Primanti's pastrami sandwich!

Off-broadway Security Theater getting more expensive

Looks like the cost of forced hoop-jumping is growing faster than expected.
Choosing to carry your luggage onto a plane instead of checking it with an airline might save you a few bucks at the ticket counter but it's costing taxpayers about a quarter-billion dollars a year.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress this week that luggage fees have prompted more passengers to hold onto their bags, which means more items for Transportation Security Administration officers to inspect at security checkpoints at a cost of about $260 million annually.

"When you have to pay to check a bag it increases carry-on luggage and that means there is more to inspect at the gate and so forth for passengers to get on planes," Napolitano said during testimony before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security.

Napolitano was addressing a question from Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat and chairwoman of the subcommittee, who asked whether airlines should help make up for some of the extra costs.

"Checked bagged fees are increasing, it looks like, the cost to TSA because people don't want to pay the fees so they are not checking bags and putting more on the planes," Landrieu said the hearing Wednesday. "My question is, do the taxpayers have to pick up this fee? Or should we be looking at the airlines for some of the profits that they make from these fees to offset the cost the taxpayer."
Source: More Carry-On Luggage Costing Taxpayers, TSA Millions a Year

And in other news, water is also wet ...

Why is airfare rising? Because you keep paying
The cost of a plane ticket keeps jumping, and it seems the sky's the limit for price. Why? Because you're willing to pay.

The major U.S. airlines have hiked fares six times so far this year, already doubling the total number of increases for 2010, according to Rick Seaney, chief executive of Farecompare.com.

But consumers have continued to pay the increased fares, so the airlines have become bolder in driving the prices up even further.
Amazing, isn't it? Supply and demand actually DO control pricing! I'm surprised they didn't label it "price gouging."