Choens (Nullius in verba)

Quid Pro Quo?

This evening, I started reading some disturbing allegations regarding an apparent quid pro quo between Russia and the victorious Trump campaign in the New York Times, Politico, etc. As of this evening, these allegations have not been verified by anyone. But if true, they would be startlingly illegal.

Trump Received Unsubstantiated Intelligence on Ties to Russia

The New York Times is hardly the only news organization covering this story. As I type this story is on the front page of CNN, Politico, and even the Albany Times Union. Not surprisingly, I cannot find this story on Fox News.

OF course, the FBI cannot comment on an investigation in public, or even confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. Unless, of course, the investigation happens to involve Hillary Clinton and an election is only a few days away. In that case, the FBI can definitely publicly comment on an investigation.

I’m just one guy, sitting at a keyboard. And I do not think anyone actually reads what I write here. But if these allegations are proven, Trump has to go. I don’t care about the hookers. I don’t care about the kompromat. I do care that Trump may have accepted information on American political rivals from Putin, in exchange for adopting policies favorable to the Kremlin. If that is true, Trump must go.

First, we need to wait. We need to see if these allegations can be verified. If they cannot be verified, this is just more smoke. But if these allegations can be verified, Trump MUST go. He can go voluntaril, by impeachment, or we can all march on Washington and reclaim our democracy. But first, I want some proof. This is no time to go off half-cocked; I like think I’m a little more mature than the President-elect.

Sadly, if proven, the only winner in this discussion is Russia. It seems increasingly clear Russia worked hard to undermine our faith in our democratic institutions.

Mission Accomplished!

  1. If this is disproven, many Democrats/Progressives will never really get over it, and they will continue to feel that they were robbed of a legitimate victory.
  2. If this is proven, and Congress fails to impeach Trump; many of us will lose whatever vestigal faith we did have in Congress.
  3. If this is proven and Trump steps down before inauguration, we enter into a political/constitutional crisis.
  4. If this is proven and Trump is impeached, it will leave a lasting scar on our democratic processes. Trump’s die-hards will never believe these allegations. People like me won’t accept anything less than impeachment.

This could get ugly. I hope not, but it really could.

Now, Mr. Trump, It Begins

It was a rough night. I don’t like Hillary Clinton, but I wanted her to win. Because Donald Trump is, I fear, cancerous to Democracy. But either way, now it begins.

My father was right. We’ve heard these fools bitch for eight years about how they can do it better. Well, here’s your chance. Republicans have control of both houses of Congress and a President who will apparently sign any fool thing push across his desk.

Game On.

Meanwhile. I’m looking for a few good progressives. You know. The ones with the ability to communicate. Progressives with a spine. Donald Trump was literally the worst candidate ever, and he beat her.


No, I don’t think it was Comey or the emails, or any of that. Trump promised change. His changes are nearly all bad, but they ARE different. And he was bold about it. Unapologetic.

Clinton’s policies were not, for the most part, bad. But I have NO IDEA what she would have done with her first 100 days. I know exactly what Trump will do with his. This seems obvious. Boil the policies down to some key ideas and push them. PUSH THEM HARD. For all his lack of focus, Trump was a better communicator in this campaign than Hillary.

Because . . . . other than 1) she would have been the first woman president and 2) she is NOT a fascist . . . why would anyone vote for her? Admittedly, these ARE compelling reasons but not to an electorate hungering for change.

They needed a message of HOPE. They heard a message of FEAR. And many. Far too many. Embraced it.

Style Guides (Natty Bumpo Edition)

Software code (aka syntax) is a set of instructions for a computer. It is also a way to communicate with other people. Any language, computer or natural, enables the writer to express ideas using rules and structures. Within the confines of these rules and structures, the writer makes stylistic decisions (consciously or not). This is as true for natural languages as it is for computer code. For example, take the first three sentences from the second book from the Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper, published in 1826:

It was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet. A wide and apparently an impervious boundary of forests severed the possessions of the hostile provinces of France and England. The hardy colonist, and the trained European who fought at his side, frequently expended months in struggling against the rapids of the streams, or in effecting the rugged passes of the mountains, in quest of an opportunity to exhibit their courage in a more martial conflict.​

This is a classic example of 19th century English literature. To modern readers, it is also a damned hard read, because of the verbose sentence structure and other stylistic choices made by the author. In the 19th century these choices were unremarkable. Today, they are anachronistic. Steven King’s next novel will be stylistically very different.

The same is true with code. How you write (and document) your code (work) matters. In the Open Source world, where we ASSUME other people will read/use our code, these style choices are regularly discussed and debated. Below, I present links to two R style guides:

The Google style guide is similar to th one used by the R-Core team. It is a conservative style. I prefer the T​ogaware guide over-all, because it is more stylistically progressive. That said, both present a cohesive set of expectations for programmers.

You WILL write better code/documentation if you assume someone will inevitably read your code and try to use it. Even if your work is “for your eyes only” having better written and documented code can be helpful. And if anyone ever inherits your work, they will thank you, not hate you.

Folks, there's never been a situation like this in the history of our country.

Mr. Trump,

I thought I would start with a quote from you, Mr. Trump. I use this quote to highlight just how out of line you and your campaign are. You will get defeated in November. Hell, you’re going to get flattened, because you are not a winner. Not this time.

In the meantime, please don’t break our democracy. This election has been one ongoing shit-show from top to bottom. This debacle has been driven by the deplorable policy positions taken by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee. Since the beginning of his campaign, I have argued that his campaign has been a traditional Republican campaign. The only difference was that it embraced, openly, the deplorable ideology that other Republicans only wink at. Let’s be clear, Donald Trump is the nominee the Republican Party deserves. Paul Ryan, John McCain, and all the others are running away from their candidate, but this is the logical end-result of the reality-distortion play that has been run time and time again by the Republican leadership.

He didn’t come out of nowhere. He was created by the Republican leadership. It took years for their crazy train to go this far afield, but there ain’t no stopping the crazy now. Do establishment Republicans WANT an openly sado-masochistic, racist nominee? Probably not. But they have long winked at the right-wing cultural crazies, and now they run the party.

Congrats. This is what the Republican Party deserves. It isn’t what we as a nation need. I don’t particularly like Hillary Clinton. I might have even been open to voting for a responsible Republican this season.


In the past few days, Trump evolved as a candidate. He metastasized from being a cancer of the Republican Party to a cancer of the electoral system. His baseless claims that he is losing the election for any reason, other than the obvious (he is a terrible person), undermine the trust our democracy rests upon.

At this point, I’m worried. Could there be violence on election day? I truly hope not. But if there is, I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Donald Trump and the establishment Republicans who created him.

Don’t break our democracy. Please.

September 1st Friday!

Spread the word! We are celebrating 10 years of 1st Friday Albany at the UAG! This is shaping up to be one for the history books. School is back in session (meaning more people on the street) and we have several new participants this month, combined with some old participants we haven’t seen in a while. I am really looking forward to this.

A flier for 1st Friday Albany, celebrating 10 years of monthly art nights.

This month's 1st Friday Albany theme.

Almost There

Success! We spent most of the day at Albany Med (of course). Leila is doing great. More on that later. But we are still chilling in the NICU. Today, I spent some of that time working on the laptop and wrote lots and lots of backposts. I still need to get Karen’s AWESOME videos up and a few of her pictures, but this finishes most of my old pictures.

Ha! Old . . . none of them are more than two months . . . old. Whatever.

I’ve got a picture or two from today I’d like to share and some AWESOME video, but for some reason my phone is NOT wanting to sync to Google’s cloud. Not sure why. Once I figure that out, I’ll update / tweak this post with a pic or two and a video.

One Eye Open

She may or may not be looking at me.

Leila, on her side, with one eye open.