Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Line Item Veto...and other thoughts.

We can't be seriously considering this. This is the Holy Grail of almost every president since I've been old enough to vote. Sure, lets vote to give the president the power to veto specific clauses of legislation. Brilliant! That way we ensure that the only items to go to law are those that the president and the controlling party agree with. Talk about creating a partisan government.

While we're talking about partisan politics, the president just mentioned that we need to put aside party politics and work together to help create a more stable America (I'm paraphrasing here, but the meaning is about the same). Yes, by all means, let's put aside party politics since going all the way back to George Washington, we have had party politics and Washington himself said that we shouldn't move to a multi-party political system.

Great...I'm finally hearing about how we need to improve the healthcare system, pass medical liability reform, strengthen social security, and lower the energy costs. But HOW are you, the government, going to do that? We're going to invest in nuclear energy, ok...not bad, but more coal burning plants? Ok...we'll reduce our natural resources even more. Alternate fuel sources? We've tried that before and the problem has always been that the Big 3 automakers and the big energy companies don't have enough profits in changing so they buy the technology and bury it. Just ask Mr. Tucker.

I've heard about lots of initiatives but nothing about what they really are and how they are going to be paid for? The 140 "unnecessary" programs that you are planning on cutting from the government (great! trim the government "fat", it certainly needs it) to save $14 billion to help cut the deficit in half by 2009. Um...pardon me, but I thought we had a surplus prior to the first Bush administration which turned in to one of the largest deficits this country has seen by the middle of the second administration.

Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State? I realize that everyone has their own religion, but our Founding Fathers took great care to ensure that religion wouldn't influence government decisions. It seems that is something our current president and our two new justices don't seem to remember.

State of the Union?

I'm sitting here watching the State of the Union address being given by President Bush. I can't help thinking "isn't this supposed to be the state of the Union"? It seems to me that most of the speech has been spent telling the "terrorist" nations of the middle east what they should do to ensure democracy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for democracy and peaceful relations in the middle east, but shouldn't we be hearing about what our president is going to do about the state of the United States? Where is the plan to help bring fuel prices down to a reasonable amount, especially in the wake of my electricity bill almost doubling this month so the energy company can help offset their costs? Where is the plan to help reduce the costs of medical insurance?

So far, all I've heard about is how the president wants to re-authorize the Patriot Act and continue to suspend civil liberties by appointing the most conservative judges to the Supreme Court.

The most amazing thing was how partisan the speech and the applause has been. The only topics that have brought applause from both parties were those that extolled the virtues of our soldiers, and rightly so. Whether they are there for the wrong or right reasons doesn't matter. They are still American citizens and soldiers following their hearts in defending the country they love and deserve our respect and appreciation for doing a job that not everyone is willing to do.

Monday, January 23, 2006


In the process of cleaning up some of the source code for one of the projects I manage, I came across the following comments:
MAB 08-05-2004: Who wrote this routine? When did they do it? Who should I call if I have questions about it? It's worth it to have a good header here. It should helps to set context, it should identify the author (hero or culprit!), including contact information, so that anyone who has questions can call or email. It's useful to have the date noted, and a brief statement of intention. On the other hand, this isn't meant to be busy work; it's meant to make maintenance easier--so don't go overboard.

One other good reason to put your name on it: take credit! This is your craft
and then a little further down:
#include "xxxMsg.h" // xxx messages

MAB 08-05-2004: With respect to the comment above, I gathered that from the filename. I think I need either more or less here. For one thing, xxxMsg.h is automatically generated from the .mc file. That might be interesting information. Another thing is that xxxMsg.h should NOT be added to source control, because it's auto-generated. Alternatively, don't bother with a comment at all.

and then yet again:
MAB 08-05-2004: Defining a keyword?? This seems problemmatic [sic], in principle if not in practice. Is this a common idiom?
So, what does this tell us? Well, for starters it sounds like MAB wasn't very happy about having to work on this particular file and was doing some serious ranting. I can rant about things as well, such as the benefit of good, pertinent code comments. I've maintained enough code (both someone else's code and my own) that I understand the value of good comments.

However, to paraphrase "Marry Poppins"...
I've always said that there is nothing like a good comment. And that was nothing like a good comment.
- Bert and Uncle Albert "Mary Poppins"
Honestly, those comments weren't any better than not having them there in the first place. While the points made by MAB are, for the most part, valid there are much better ways to make them.

One good reason to not put your name on it: Your bad comments living on for posterity.
No comments at all: 0 minutes
Ranting about the lack of comments: 10 minutes
Laughing at the rants years later: priceless