St. Patrick's Day open thread

Bird Dog's picture

I celebrated by watching Leprechaun's Revenge on SyFy.


Here's a gift tip for today's occasion. For the U.S., how about sending an ambassador to Ireland? This is the second St. Paddy's Day in a row that Ireland does not have a U.S. ambassador.


Today, Putin recognized Crimea as an independent nation. For now.

Given how Putin behaved with respect to Ukraine's independent status, I'd be worried if I were a Crimean and I'd probably kiss Sebastopol goodbye forever no matter what. Sort of like how the mistress (Crimea) will feel after the husband (Putin) cheated on an and left his wife (Ukraine). If the husband will cheat once, he'll do it again.


McCain is hoping he'll get onto Putin's sanctions list, which sort of tells you that Obama's sanctions so far are a joke. The sanctions need to have some real bite.


Republicans talk about having an alternative to Obamacare, but this plan sucks. This is a main reason why I'm against repeal.


I'll take Joe over Rand or Ted, any day of the week. I remember when Scarborough was one of those Gingrich firebrand conservatives, and now he's looked at as a RINO, though I doubt his political views have changed much.


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Stating the obvious, but...

Bird Dog's picture

...Putin lied about Crimea.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

How I wish the Nobel Lit prize went to someone I had read

mmghosh's picture

before they got it.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Heh, having read enough Alice Munro over the years


Now is as good a time to start as any.  She's always releasing new versions of her stories. 

The Chicken from Hell


Well, Hell Creek anyway.  Anzu wyliei

I was avian some fun

brutusettu's picture

while reading that pun.

That was a fowl. nt

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Please, no...


Not those flocking puns again.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Why did God invent the tornado and autism and dementia?


Coz he hates Teh Gayz and 'bortion.


The answer used to be that The Almighty invented the tornado coz he hated trailer parks.  Move over Hume!  The Problem of Evil is solved.  Here comes the GOP predicting plagues of boils upon all our assen unless we Get Right with God. 


EDIT:  to be fair, the GOP has tried to distance itself from this maniac woman's more intemperate utterances.  But she won anyway.  The voice of the people is the voice of God.  And how! 

Obviously God hates everyone

HankP's picture

he hates religious wack jobs like this woman because he didn't give them the sense to rub two sticks together and he hates the rest of us because we have to listen to them.


I blame it all on the Internet

Why did God make the fart stink?


So the deaf could enjoy them, too.

Are We Sure This Isn't From The Onion?

M Scott Eiland's picture

Also, has anyone ever seen this candidate and Bob Beckel at the same time? Just asking.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Isn't this awful? Maybe Ted Cruz gave birth


 to a gay baby out of wedlock - or something.  I don't expect an R to win in IL-9 but godamighty.... well, if it's any consolation, I felt the same way about Jesse Jackson running for Prez in the 80s. 

Yeah. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .the fact that she's running against a D incumbent from a deep blue district in a deep blue state makes this less of a story--she could be Abraham Lincoln's modernized clone and still lose 60-40, and nutty candidates for seats that no "serious" candidate is going to bloody themselves in a futile attempt to win is an old tradition in this country.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

By district, Illinois has quite a bit of red


if you look at it carefully.  It's only blue around the cities.  Republicans can win and often do.  The big kahuna, politically, is IL-13, which has been R since the 1890s.  That's the Illinois election to watch, come November.

I Know

M Scott Eiland's picture

California is the same way--that's why I specified "deep blue district in deep blue state."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Speaking of California....


Much enthusiasm for Tim Donnelly out east of LA.  This is the dumbass who tried to sneak a loaded pistol through Ontario Airport.  Hoo boy. 

Hey Catchy

brutusettu's picture

How's the yellow dust of death?



And how many times has oegugin (weh-gug-in) been said to you by random people that were passing by?

It's officical: Putin annexes Crimea

Bird Dog's picture

Link. So much for separate and independent.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Nobody's going to say it's legit.


Now the interesting part begins:  what will Ukraine do?  Plenty more ethnic Russians within un-annexed Ukraine.  There's an odd, detached little bit of Russia on Poland's border, the Kaliningrad Oblast.  Russia swears it will put nukes in Kaliningrad if the Poles put missiles in their territory.  Well, Biden just happens to be in Poland this very day and by the time he's back on the plane, you can bet the Poles will be planning to rearm


Separate, yes.  Independent, no.  Putin has just stepped on his male appendage.  He's reopening doors nailed shut at the end of the Cold War.  He will not like the results.

Dr Afridi's sentence cut from 33 to 23 years.

mmghosh's picture


Doesn't much help a 50 yr old.  And he thought helping the US was a good idea!



Shakil Afridi, hailed as a hero by US officials, was arrested after US soldiers killed Bin Laden in May 2011 in a raid in a northern Pakistani town.

Pakistan arrested Afridi and sentenced him to 33 years in jail for being a member of a militant group, a charge he denies.


On Saturday, a court in the city of Peshawar reduced his sentence to 23 years after repeated calls by the US and his legal team for his release.


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Moody and bored, missing St. Pat's Day in NOLA


Well, Metairie.  Probably go drink some brew with the neighbour kid later. Found an amazing beer at Aldi's called 1835.  Rather better than Beck's, more like Orangeboom, another Dutch beer.


Meanwhile, the new thing from Phantogram

I've only heard a few of Phantogram's songs before

brutusettu's picture

a live alternate mix of When I'm Small takes the cake



You might like Chvrches.  Their whole LP is good

Chvrches is as good as alt/pop gets these days.


I'm a Rhapsody man, they've got the new Chvrches Recover EP, sweet stuff.  Lately, I've been on a Sinister Pop binge, foraging in that part of the Dark Forest where the Twee Things dwell.   While I'm Alive is reappearing in my tune stack.



I've been on allegedly darker than sinister pop binge.

brutusettu's picture

Anyway some less dark alt-pop songs, GTV5 had some good ones.


Feathers - Dark Matter

Miami Horror - Sometimes

Yacht- Psychic City (Classixx Remix)


Miami Horror worships at the altar of the 70s


Kids these days, li'l bastards.  I know 'em on sight.  Stealing licks from dear old Dad's LPs.  Kraak n Smaak, Chromeo, hoodlums all of 'em.  Little degenerates :)   But they are welcome on the lawn

Speaking of beer,

Bird Dog's picture

my new favorite. Nice hoppy flavor, but not heavy, goes down real good.




"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Have to look for Big Wave. Oh, it's 1839, my typo


Specs here.  Slipped and fell on the driveway ice tonight.  Nothing serious - but this is the part of Winter I can live without. 

Shorter Chemerinsky

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Will no one rid us of this damned cancer survivor?"*

*--apologies to St. Thomas Becket, Henry II, and a rich tapestry of oral history.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

He didn't mention cancer


Your description of a tactful piece is odd.



Let's try it without the cancer or the Shakespeare:   "Hey Ginsburg -  you ain't got no chance to live through another four year term,  so get out now so you don't croak at time that's inconvenient for us".


She's got an ornery streak and I suspect articles like this will only make her more determined to stick it out,  even if she's got to be rolled into court with oxygen bottles and an IV.

Ginsburg endured her husband's death by cancer


and has often said SCOTUS is her anodyne, her way of coping with her husband's death.  Ginsburg is a great person:  despite her differences with Justice Scalia, they are personal friends.  I think she'll stay on the bench until 2016.  She understands the consequences of staying around too long but really, it's been her life's work.  Don't ask someone to leave a job they love just because their replacement would be politically advantageous.  It's in poor taste. 


Ginsburg's on a big kick these days, teaching civics to schoolchildren. 

Funny thing about your life's work,


you have a funny way of not liking the idea that it will be plowed under and turned into a parking lot before your seat has a chance to cool off.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

A few too many overnight coding sessions


and a lifetime of watching pretty much all my achievements become irrelevant have taught me two things.  First, gotta have a sense of humour.  Second, you've gotta teach people if you want to leave a lasting legacy in the world.  The first helps with the second. 


Eram quod es; eris quod sum.  I was once as you are now, you will be what I am now.  Old Latin inscription on many tombstones.  There's no glory in the grave, no matter how high they stack the flowers on top.  Gotta live in the world of the present.  If there's any lasting legacy, it's raising children and teaching students and making other people feel you made their lives a little better, maybe writing a few good books.  Beyond that, there's nothing of any substance.  Not only is everyone replaceable, it's usually best to think of life as a sort of multivariate calculus:  an infinity of moments.  


If Ginsburg dies in office and is replaced by another Scalia, she won't have to endure the political fallout.   She's raised two fine children, for a while, she and Jane were the only mother-daughter pair ever teaching at law school.  Her son runs a classical music recording firm.  They're her legacy but as in law, there's a difference between a person and an estate.  If RBG leaves the SCOTUS bench, most of what gives her day to day life meaning will vanish.  And I'm not sure SCOTUS should be such a political animal anyway.  Hinting at old people's mortality is a discussion between a doctor and a patient, not some tactless commentary.

Like sands through the hourglass,


so are the Days of Our Lives. I can cite the classics too. Still, I have a feeling a lifetime of decisions from the Supreme Court bench looms a little differently in one's mind in contemplating that last big adjournment than redecorating a house or shuffling papers around for a paycheck... or fiddling with lines of code. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Ginsburg has said she wants to stay on and on, trying for 90


as did Justice Stevens.  They'll have to haul her out of SCOTUS on a gurney in a body bag, that much seems clear.  Garrett Epps gives this far better treatment than I could, over at Atlantic. 

It has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with


legacy. What's at stake is the very real probability that the edifice of decisions and razor-sharp opinions she's written over the years could vanish like a child's sandcastle at high tide, if the Dems lose the White House. I have to believe that she not only cares about the country, but about a particular vision of it: one which the Republicans have been struggling furiously to gut and bleed since 1980.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

That's true. Also irrelevant. The wars for control of the law


over and against the interpretation of those laws has put the Liberal vision of this nation in peril.  The GOP has its own vision for the nation, there's always been some faction trying to gut and bleed the USA and they feel the same way about us.  The GOP has already lost the intellectual high ground with their rejection of science and stands to lose the moral high ground with its intransigence on abortion and LGBT rights.  The Democrats have done a poor job of defending our liberties.  If Democrats somehow think they can rely on SCOTUS to defend their viewpoints, let the Citizens United case demonstrate how silly they are. 


Congress could fix these messes if it weren't such a dog's dinner of intransigence on both sides.  In a working democracy, we get the government we deserve.  While we continue to despise Congress in toto but love our own Congresscritters, the Congress will reflect that doublethink.  So, for that matter, will the Presidency.  Telling a sitting justice to stand aside for political reasons is rude and shortsighted. 

Citizens United... How did Justice Ginsburg vote on that?


Right, she joined in Stevens' apoplectic dissent which fumed that the majority had "changed the case in order to change the law." Which they did. And will continue doing. She was also on the good side one of the two other worst Supreme Court decision in living memory, Bush v. Gore. If Ginsburg cares about American jurisprudence, then she cares about the possibility of a generational Republican majority on the court, I guarantee you.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Yes --- and? I put up the link


We all know how it went down.  Which rather goes to my point, the Dems have become over-reliant upon SCOTUS to do their dirty work, forgetting that laws are made in Congress, not in SCOTUS.  McCain-Feingold tried to clean up election money, an earnest good faith effort, we're now worse off than before. Nobody has the cojones or the sesos to clean up elections in this country.  Everyone hates this system yet nobody feels up to the challenge of fixing it. 

180 degrees off the mark

HankP's picture

Democrats aren't over-reliant on the SC, Republicans are. They never would have passed a law that resulted in the effects that Citizens United did in their wildest dreams. On the other hand Obamacare passed in the legislature.


Republican policies are wildly unpopular. That's why they need the SC. If abortion is outlawed again, it won't be Congress that does it.


I blame it all on the Internet

There's considerable merit in that argument


But I still believe the phrase "Activist Courts" translates to "Feckless Congress".  It's been a longlong time since the nation has seen a Congress which could pull the sled of government as was intended by the Cornstitution.


M Scott Eiland's picture

For better or worse, the Democrats decided to bring back the interventionist model of the Supreme Court that FDR intimidated out of existence in the late 1930's, and they've been terrified ever since that Republicans would use that tool against them should they ever get the opportunity--and trying to argue that somehow it's legitimate and democratic when they do it and usurpation when conservative Justices do it. Republicans have made any number of political blunders in the past fifty years--but buying *that* particular flavor of BS ain't one of them.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

90 - not a good target


She's 81 now.   At the end of Obama's term,  she's 83.    Then there's two terms of Ted Cruz,  with Ruth Ginsburg the only thing holding him back from repealing all human progress since the Renaissance.   90 puts her in the seventh year of Cruz.


No,  she needs to retire now or stick it out until she's 92.

Two will get you five the GOP can't win the presidency.


Turd Cruz has already jumped the shark, politically.  After his grotesquely obstructionist filibluster, Cruz earned the lasting enmity of all GOP power brokers.  At this point, the GOP is simply forming up squares, preparing to evict the Tea Partiers come the midterms.  If the GOP can't demonstrate some comity and ackshul fackshul conservatism, that is to say getting some business done, between now and 2016, they won't be able to win POTUS for another generation, so badly have they shot off their own feet.

My FORTRAN will live forever


100,000 lines of eternal elegance,  all starting in column 7.    Well,  it will live forever if someone comes up with a card reader with a USB port and a pre-77 compiler that'll run under Windows 8.


HankP's picture

ah the good old punch card days.


You can make a punch card reader from these instructions or use a punch card reader service. I'll need to know what hardware you were running it on to find a vm or emulator that will handle it, like this one for VAX software. If you just want a compiler most modern Fortran compilers have a switch to allow Fortran 66 semantics.


I'd recommend you leave your old code at rest, it's never as good as you remember it.

I blame it all on the Internet



Some of my college Fortran code is awesome. I still have some listings and they are as good as I remembered, perfectly comprehensible with clear, useful comments.


A key advantage was that they were solutions to fairly abstract, isolated problems. My more recent code looks comparatively sloppy because I am tying together different resources from the "real world".

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Like Blaise said


I was joking.   Straight no indent, no declaration, all caps, Hollerith era FORTRAN has a certain manliness to it but if a freshman handed me code like that now I'd cover it with red ink and then push their nose into the tab key until they got the point.


Actually only a few of the oldest were on cards,  and I didn't take the trouble to move it during the magtape, 8" disk,  5.25" disk,  3.5" disk,  CD,  and thumb drive eras,  so it's kind of late to worry about them now.  Most of my 100,000 lines were on magtape and disappeared when UT decommissioned their CDC Dual Cyber 750 and Cray II computers back in the last century.


Don't think there is an emulator for the CDC Dual Cyber,  it was running a locally developed operating system.  We had Vaxes but they were too wimpy for what I was doing.


The links were fun reading though,  thanks.

You guys are no fun at all

HankP's picture

I love running emulators and vms like DOSBox and some of the more esoteric settings in VMWare.


For example, there is a CDC Cyber emulator as well as a Cray XMP emulator. Even on commodity hardware they appear to run circles around the originals. At least I'm not suggesting that you use a Babbage Difference Engine emulator.


Are you absolutely sure that you didn't come up with a unique and incredibly efficient algorithm back then that you're forgotten?


I blame it all on the Internet

OK, now I'm impressed


that there's a CDC Cyber emulator out there.   Somebody has too much time on their hands.


a unique and incredibly efficient algorithm


1981,  midterm exam in microprocessors (6800 assembly language).  The last question wanted a relocatable routine to divide a 16 bit number by an 8 bit.  Obviously they wanted the whole shift/carry bookeeping business but I was dead tired and only had 5 minutes left.   So I wrote something that just repeatedly subtracted the 8 bit number,  counting each time,  until it got to zero.


The grader was very pissed off and wrote a nasty comment longer than the program,  but they had to give me full credit.

I always liked 6800 !HCF! opcode


A joke best left to those who had to deal with that processor.

HCF: halt and catch fire.

The favorite


op-code for deprived engineering students was the sign extend.

Nothing wrong with that

HankP's picture

repeated subtract can be faster than divide or shift/carry. Just like lookup tables can be much faster than even relatively simple calculations.


The CDC Cyber emulator is nice, but the Cray one is even more impressive because apparently the guy didn't have access to a lot of the technical documentation. Then there's the guy who built the Apollo flight computer from scratch in his basement.


Also, I just realized that I'm older than you are.


I blame it all on the Internet

Younger Than Both Of You


Though not by that much with eeyn.


Still, though I saw punch card readers in use, they were legacy equipment by then and I never had to use one myself.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I learned on this

HankP's picture

IBM 1620. There's even an on line simulator (which looks pretty minimal).


It's the only way to learn. Not because of "manliness", but because it forces you past what modern machines expose to the programmer. Though I will admit using a terminal instead of a TTY makes programming much easier.


I blame it all on the Internet

Emulators are the bane of my existence.


Mostly I've been developing Android front ends with Groovy/Grails back ends these days.  The Android emulators are just horrid.  My development speed doubles using a USB cable to test and debug on a physical device. 

Emulators and VMs are awesome

HankP's picture

you just have a lousy emulator.


Try a real VM in VirtualBox and tell me how that works.


I blame it all on the Internet

He was certainly joking, Hank.


Old code does have its uses, though.  It's awfully useful for refactoring.  I have a solemn rule for development:  at the halfway point or somewhat earlier, perhaps the one-third point, throw away everything and start over.  You'll always do a better job the second time through.  It's my big chance to learn from the mistakes of the prototypes. 

Good Rule


I'm working on something now, we will have demos next week, and I already know I will refactor or throw out most of the code. Never be afraid to rip apart your stuff. If you are afraid to, that means you no longer understand it, which means you no longer control it.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

It really is easier to start over, rather than patching.


I'm a big fan of use cases.  A series of rapid prototypes reveals design deficiencies faster than any other approach.  Client management is sometimes hard to convince - until they see how fast things can come together in prototypes.  If I'm given an Alpha User, someone who has the use cases in her head already, she can get me through what I call the Blind Man and the Elephant part of the analysis, teaching me how to model the Elephant.  It's pointless trying to save a bad description of the Elephant.  It's like those kids who used their pencil erasers more than their pencils: the resulting drawings were always ugly.

I Agree In All Points


No alpha user means the job is less interesting to me because I know it will be unlikely to reach a happy ending.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

It's rather odd, living in Linux as I do now


to still find all my old bash-fu skillz still in style.  Was dealing with a co-worker the other day who didn't know vi, trying to change a config file.  Unless your old Fortran used the old Hollerith constants, you can get it all to compile under gfortran.  Windows 8 is so pitiful.  I just got a Chromebook and a Chromecast dongle the other day, mostly to watch Netflix.  I thought I might enable Linux via Crouton but I'm happy enough developing for ChromeOS.


Some old guys kinda get nostalgic for the past.  Not me.  These are the good old days.  It's trivial to write nice, useful systems these days.  I'm starting to use Groovy and Grails a good deal these days:  it's like Java only more so. 

Like Java Only More So?


That must not be what you mean because it does not sound at all appealing.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

What's the problem with Java? All these wretched frameworks.


Now consider the MVC pattern and its applicability to the Web.  Groovy/Grails is a huge step up from these ramshackle frameworks, much better than Spring w/Annotations or its awkward father, Struts. 


Groovy/Grails is coding by convention.  You compose a Domain object to represent the data, tied out to good old SQL, or to whatever persistence you'd like, MongoDB is also good.  Model solved.  A Grails controller understands its relationship to Domains and Grails Views interact with their Controllers as nature intended.  Starting with a Domain object, I can trivially construct Controllers and a useful CRUD screen automagically.  Then I compose a custom View class, with all the usual facilities of JSP or PHP injection, only far more elegantly than either of the above, with full support for JavaScript and custom tags as needed.   If I needed to do anything crunchy, I can immediately resort to Java within the Groovy code but I seldom need to.  And Groovy does closures properly.


Coding for the Web is an abomination under any circumstances: trying to create Stateful things over a Stateless protocol.  PHP, JavaScript, just terrible languages.  Java, at least, supports proper OO paradigms.  Those who dislike Java have never learned to write it well.  Not really their fault, though, Java doesn't force you to write it well.  Which languages are appealing?  They're all good for some things and terrible at others and even the worst of these languages can be useful in the hands of someone who understands their limitations. 



I'm as agnostic with languages as I am with religion. Their usefulness is a function of the problem you want to solve.


I actually like the stateless model. My first Web applications made me appreciate statelessness and now I seek to make things as stateless as possible even with desktop apps. This makes them more resilient, which was useful back when LANs were unreliable and is again useful now with wireless.


I think I've written enough Java to know I don't like it. It's bureaucratic and the framework proliferation disease is a collateral effect of that. It's a bad language for writing UI code, for a lot of things really, and so people need to reinvent the wheel over and over. C# is better as a language, especially to handle properties and events, but Microsoft can't be trusted, though since Oracle bought Sun I could say the same thing for Java.


I don't like PHP either. JavaScript definitely has some issues, though it is quite powerful too. At any rate on the browser side there are no other choices.


For web server work I really like Python, especially under Tornado, not Django. It's dead simple and gives me no headaches.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Blaise likes java

HankP's picture

that's why he posts here along with the rest of the misfits.


I blame it all on the Internet

All things being equal


fat people use more soap.

One of us has Alzheimer's -nt



"I didn't get smart, the Republicans got dumb."


-- Joe "Norma Desmond" Scarborough

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes