Getting the government we deserve, I guess

January 16, 2010

The Coakley loss was not surprising and there's blame aplenty to go around for what Josh Marshal has aptly termed an unforced error. This election was the Dems' to lose, and they lost it. Par for the course, depressingly. But seeing any prospect for health care reform now falling apart is shocking.So far I count Anthony Weiner, Jerrold Nadler, Evan Bayh, Jim Webb, and Barney Frank (!!!!) all coming out against getting this legislation through reconciliation by passing the Senate bill wholesale. Some folks (like Bayh) never wanted it in the first place. And I understand why progressives like Nadler or Weiner prefer the House bill to the watered down Senate bill, but they can't seriously believe that thery're going to get another shot at this. There will not be another, more progressive bill later on: there will be either an even more compromised bill or, more likely, nothing at all. I don't think the Senate bill is even close to what it should have been, but for goodness sake, it's better than nothing.

And Barney Frank's role in this is extrodinarily disheartening. Here's his statement post-Brown-victory statement which Rachel Maddow read tonight:

"I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform. Because I do not think that the country would be well served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the senate rule which means that 59 are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of this process."

He says, "I am hopeful some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform"...?!?! Name one. That's an insult to the intelligence of everyone who has supported you.

As to this: "But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened," your party still has solid majorities in both houses. The election results in Massachusets (which, by the way, has something very like the bill you're are ready to throw out) is not a referendum on national policies, no matter how much idiotic pundits like to say it. Josh Marshall again, hits the nail on the head: "[the] statement he put out tonight that is just an embodiment of fecklessness, resignation, defeatism and just plan (sic) folly." I'm happy that Frank doesn't like the filibuster, but it's not going anywhere anytime soon, so either dems work within those constraints, or they accomplish nothing. Those are the options on the table.

Voters are amivalent about HCR, but I can gurantee these idiots that throwing in the towl like this will win them no votes. Not one.

Update: a couple of constituents were able to talk to Bareny Frank personally, and he layed out his reasoning to them in greater detail. He may or may not be correct that the votes for this just aren't there in the House (himself included), but I totally disagree with his assessment about the likely outcome of November elections if HCR fails: it will be a disaster. And while I don't like the Senate bill any more than he does, it really is better than nothing, not just politically, but in the lives it will save.

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Scenes from a snowy day

December 19, 2009

Taken while walking through Wyman park.

Wyman park in the snow.

 

Wyman Park in the snow

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Relaunch, ho!

December 9, 2009

I've entered the final stretch on my site relaunch. Coding and templating are probably about 99% done and the project currently stands at about 3500 lines of code, including HTML templates. I'm a big proponent of TDD and belleville comes with an extensive suite of unit tests. Using Ned Batchelder's excellent coverage.py library, I can measure my test coverage, which currently stands at about 86%. That's pretty good as far as I'm concerned, and although I'll probably be able to improve that soon, it won't be before relaunch.

So besides a few sections of the site that need a little styling love, the final remaining task is migrating content from my old blog to this one. As of this post, mazelife.com contains 26 blog posts with 16 comments using 21 distinct tags. That's a depressingly small amount of content that could well be migrated by hand (e.g. copy-and-paste) but I'll probably dump the existing blog content as JSON data, then write a script that serializes it and puts it into the new system.

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Site relaunch screenshots

December 3, 2009

Got some screenshots up of the redesigned blog (just filled with test data right now):

Take a look at :

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Now this is an interview

December 3, 2009

I’ve had a big blog post floating around in the back of my mind about journalism (particularly print) today and the issues which have brought it to the rather unpleasant state in which it now finds itself. I worked for one of the newsweeklies for a couple of years and that's given me a first-hand look into the problem, and I still follow the issue closely. Maybe one day I’ll get around to to writing that post, but in the mean time: a small scene I found rather revealing:

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Site Relanch: Update II

November 30, 2009

Apologies, first off, for this blog being so "meta" lately, but I thought I'd offer an update on the site redesign progress. And the update is: meh. The project currently stands at 1069 lines of python, 170 lines of html and 122 lines of CSS. The blogging and tumblelog apps are completely done, including comments, tagging and the ability to cross-post tumblelog entries to a Twitter account. I've templated all the views and done some basic styling. And I do mean basic. Here's a screenshot of a blog entry detail page:

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Pre-Thanksgiving Relaunch Update

November 21, 2009

Progress on my personal site relaunch for Sitesprint II continues apace. At this point all the work has been on the backend code but my gains there have been good. In my last post I set some ground rules which I have so far kept, including five significant commits to my code repository per week. Admittedly, it’s only been one week, but whatever... The result is Belleville, a blogging CMS written in Django. As I mentioned, this site currently runs in a Django-based CMS I wrote a while ago. Does the world really need yet another django-based blogging CMS? Or another blogging CMS at all? Well, no, probably not; but I do. And my hope is that this one represents a good example of code that is idiomatic to Django, is extensible, offers a nice feature set, and is easy to theme; in other words, I hope other folks might find it useful too. It’s open source and free for the taking.

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I require some structure

November 15, 2009

I happened to post about redoing my personal site the same day a coworker pointed me to Sitesprint. The idea behind it is to stop procrastinating and launch or re-launch your personal site by December 15th. The rules are simple:

  1. launch by 12/15
  2. document your process
  3. on launch, share what you did and how you did it

If you followed the progress of my django site-seach module, you'll know I'm the procrastinating type. Definitely. So I signed up and I'm hoping this will give me the kick in the pants I need to knock this thing out. Forthwith a few personal rules:

  • 5 signifigant contribs to the svn repo for my new site CMS per week.
  • One blog post about the prcess per week
  • Feature-complete by 11/25
  • Design (such as it is) done by 12/1
  • Design coded by 12/5
  • Soft launch 12/10

So, we'll see how it goes. The coding part I'm not worried about, to be honest. But design...ugh. I've tried to redesign this site about 5 times since I launched, and I wasn't happy with anything I came up with, which is why the site still looks like it does.

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Work In Progress

November 15, 2009

This blog is written in Django, as mentioned in other posts. Other than a few minor improvements, it's basically the same code I wrote over year ago. I've decided it's time for a rewrite for two reasons. Firstly, I know a lot more about Django now than I did then and there are some things I'd like to improve and some functionality I'd like to add. Secondly, this format doesn't really fit my life. I like doing longer-form entries but rarely have the time, and as a result, there's not a whole lot going on here. My new blog will have a more-frequently-updated tumbleog feed right alonside the normal blog feed (Simon Willison's blog inspired this idea.) There will be RSS feeds for both, separately and together. You can follow my progress or grab the code for your own use.

I'm also planning to move hosting. I'm using Dreamhost now, which is fine as commodity hosts go, but they really don't handle Django well. They force you to use fast-cgi which is bad for a number of reasons and they also like to kill fast-cgi processes, which causes the occasional 500 error to show up around here (just refresh and you should get the page you want). I understand why they want to do this, but the end result is that this just isn't a good place for Django. I'm looking into webfaction, as I've deployed Django apps there before and liked it, but other suggestions are appreciated.

Finally, I'd like to redesign this. Frankly, though, I'm not a good designer—or a designer at all, really—so it probably won't look much better.

Update: Same day I post this, I see Sitesprint. So I went ahead and signed this site up for it.

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Something New

November 12, 2009

I’ve been thinking about learning a new programming language. Python is where I spend the majority of my time now, and while I certainly don’t know every nook and cranny of it, two-and-a-half years of regular use has left me feeling I know it pretty darn well.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love Python and I hope to continue using it for a long while. It’s just that it’s gotten a little...comfortable. I’d like to try something that will expand my horizons and challenge me in different ways than Python has. I figure it takes a good 6 months of regular use to get really comfortable with a language, so I want to be sure I pick one that’s worth it. I’m a web developer, so I’d like a language I can actually use in that context. Based on that, there’s a couple of languages I’ve already decided to cross off my list:

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