Shinseki appointed head of the V.A.

Eric Shinseki, a former chief of staff of the Army, Japanese-American and first Asian American four-star general, Hawaiian and wounded Vietnam Veteran, has been appointed to head the Veterans’ Administration on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Here is what he said to Congress just before the Iraq War:

Sen. CARL LEVIN (D), Michigan: General Shinseki, could you give us some idea as to the magnitude of the Army’s force requirement for an occupation of Iraq, following a successful completion of the war?

Gen. ERIC SHINSEKI, Army Chief of Staff, ’98-’03: In specific numbers, I would have to rely on combatant commanders’ exact requirements, but I think–

Sen. CARL LEVIN: How about a range?

Gen. ERIC SHINSEKI: I would say that what’s been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We’re talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that’s fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground force presence.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, Deputy Secretary of Defense: It’s hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.

THOMAS WHITE: All of us in the Army felt just the opposite, that there was a long history of that being absolutely true, that the defeat of the Iraqi military would be a relatively straightforward operation of fairly short duration, but that the securing of the peace and the security of a country of 25 million people spread out over an enormous geographic area would be a tremendous challenge that would take a lot of people, a lot of labor, to be done right.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ: In short, we don’t know what the requirement will be, but we can say with reasonable confidence that the notion of hundreds of thousands of American troops is way off the mark.

It wasn’t about the war, it was about the peace. And Eric Shinseki was right.

Terry the bully

Am I an intellectual bully?

The two faces of PHP
The two faces of PHP
District Bar, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G
f/2.8 at 1/50 sec, iso 12800, 45mm (45mm)

Certainly some of the comments expand on that by attributing all manner of atrocities to me, the accusation by “Joe” is especially amusing:

funny, i’d never heard of chay but stumbled upon a few posts he made about ruby on rails whilst researching the value of ror vs php. i found his posts fit very much into the “intellectual bully” category. he was more concerned with “being right” as you put it, with fairly basic arguments actually “the top 10 companies use X, therefore X is right”.…i agree with the previous poster, coding is not a competition. we want to solve problems with the right solutions. there are many solutions to a given problem, much as that would break chay’s heart.

Yes, Joe, I’m a bully! 😀

Let’s take the evidence at hand (i.e. reality) instead of the arguments based on fallacies (ad hominem: “i’d never heard of chay” or false equivalence: “there are many solutions”) and such. As I see it, the examples of bullying here are:

A) Asking a candidate to define design patterns
B) Asking a candidate to distinguish C++ vs. Java
C) Writing an article comparing Rails vs. PHP

My bully nature after the jump

Defining Design Patterns

My friend and colleague, Paul M. Jones, calls me out as a bully. Apparently from the way interviewees complain to their headhunter about me, I am.

Like W after 2004, and fully intend to use this new capital accumulated by my just-annointed “bully-mandate” to tell him (and the interviewees) off as being sore losers who can’t handle the new asshole I tore in their shit last night. 😉

In the real world, when a candidate fails to answer a question, I say, “Don’t worry. It’s okay,” and move to a different topic area as I have lots. I’ll also point out that none of these candidates actually were around when I gave my evaluation. They’d see that the only trouble they get into is if they lied to me or express something wrong with absolute confidence. Those show a lacking the ability to be able to work well in teams or learn new things. The question is designed to test those qualities in a candidate—not whether they can recite some book definition of a design pattern.

Okay, fine, but what about Paul who stands up to The Great Bully? Well let’s get down to the nitty gritty of defining (programming) design patterns…

Three Wise Monkeys
Three Wise Monkeys
District Bar, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G
f/2.8 at 1/50 sec, iso 12800, 29mm (29mm)

Defining Design Patterns after the jump

Challenges and Choices (Making Frameworks Suck Less Part 2)

As promised, as the election is over, I will get back to blogging non-political things.

And hey, I haven’t posted a continuation of my web frameworks presentation yet!

Good thing too because, if you don’t know, I’m giving a talk on that tonight at CBS Interactive (CNET) in San Francisco. Come see it or watch online at 7:30PM Pacific.

Software is about making choices

"Making Frameworks Suck Less" 2
Challenges and Choices

So the second thing is Challenges and Choices. When I wrote my Rant on Rails, some people jumped on me, but I don’t think they gathered the basic assumption I was coming from.

It is not so much an assumption as a fact: when you develop software, it is about making choices. It is about tradoffs. You can do “A” but you can’t do “B.” You can’t have both A and B. I know it sounds like it’d be great and I’d like to have my cake and eat it too, but really, I’d rather be playing Counterstrike—I only have so much time to devote to writing software, that software can only execute so many times, things like that. I can’t make something do everything.

One example of that is in design patterns.

More part two after the jump.

Elane Photography

A friend of mine, a colleague and excellent photographer who happens to be a defense-of-marriage person posted a status update that erupted into a firestorm of comments on Facebook. His claim was that people like me are “intolerant” of his beliefs.

To those people, I might say disagreement is not intolerance. I’m not asking you to change your beliefs, I only hope that you be tolerant to others theirs. As for the bible, it says many things about marriage, some of which you’d be hard pressed to defend now. Some of “the other side,” you know, love us some scripture too. 😉

But more interesting than that rehash would be the part I find fascinating. In the course of the comments he brought up an interesting case that apparently has been making the rounds:

A same sex couple in Albuquerque asked a photographer, Elaine Huguenin, to shoot their commitment ceremony. The photographer declined, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. The couple sued, and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found the photographer guilty of discrimination. It ordered her to pay the lesbian couple’s legal fees ($6,600). The photographer is appealing.

Hmm, at first blush, I side with the photographer. But then a little thought breaks it all apart.

The first amendment defense after the jump

Voting in America

California is the swingiest of swing states. In recent memory, two Republican presidents were governors here. Now it is bluer than the balls of all those fratboys voting for Sarah Palin. Even though the Presidential election in this state is a foreground conclusion, you still get a lot of mail

Voting mailers
Election mailers
North Beach, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S, Canon 500D diopter
1/80sec @ f/2.8, iso 360, 28mm (28mm)

Especially egregious is the phone book the city of SF gave me. Not that the California ballot measures were that thin either. Luckily, I had a stomach flu this morning, so I had time to read and research this stuff.

Election packet
Election Packet
North Beach, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S, Canon 500D diopter
1/80sec @ f/2.8, iso 320, 32mm (32mm)

There was no line at my polling place. It was next to Trader Joe’s.

My polling place
My polling place
North Beach, San Francisco, California

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1
1/200sec @ f/4, iso 80, 6.3mm (28mm)

Yes, I voted for “That One.”

Yes, I’m voting for “That One.”
Yes, I’m voting for “That One.”
North Beach, San Francisco, California

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1
1/30sec @ f/2.8, iso 80, 6.3mm (28mm)

After I scanned in my ballots, I grabbed an “I Voted!” sticker. At the street corner an old lady noticed me holding it and thanked me.

I’ve never been more proud to be living in America.

The party of ideas

I was reading this article which makes reference to something I just had to look up.

Ahh, yes! The unlicensed monkey with the plunger telling me that a 3% increase in the marginal tax rate is somehow equivalent to collective ownership. Oh so amusing…

Graphic and text from SadlyNo:

Obama’s proposed hike of the top marginal rate to 39.6 percent doesn’t represent the highest it’s ever been, not by a long shot. Joe the Plumber might be interested to learn that, in fact, when the top marginal rate was lots and lots higher, America did all sorts of cool shit, like win two world wars, invent the Internet and play golf on the Moon.

Now it may be that Joe the Plumber, John McCain and Sarah Palin don’t like kicking Nazi ass, cheap porn, and Tang. But real Americans do, even if they sometimes forget how we got to do and have those things. It took tax money to achieve the national greatness we all know and love. Conversely, when we stopped taxing rich people, lots of terrible crap happened

Favorite comment:

I’m worried about being taxed more under Obama, because I was planning on winning the lottery in the next couple years.