# Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Thomas Jefferson v James Madison

This question of direct democracy versus representative government that Dad and I are talking about is not a new one. As I said the founding fathers of this country struggled with the very same question. The Federalist Papers contain James Madison's debate with Thomas Jefferson on this point.

Jefferson wished for a pure democracy whereby the citizens could assemble and administer the government in person. All people could then have a direct say in how they are governed and share in the power that is used to govern. He talked all about a new revolution every 10 years, yadda yadda yadda. No wonder he liked the French-they are still fighting the French Revolution and the Revolutionaries at the Bastille in July 1789 were quoting Thomas Jefferson (who was in Paris at the time as George Washington’s ambassador) as if he were their spiritual leader. So the French?  How many constitutions have they had since 1789? Last I counted it was 6, not to mention all that Napoleon crap. (Let’s also not forget the Reign of Terror.)  How many have the United States had? One quite successful one.

James Madison believed that we are all prone to faction--"citizens...united and activated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or adverse to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community" (Federalist Papers #10). "No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause," said Madison, "because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity."

Duh. Madison argued that the remedy to the risk of faction (or"special interests") was a representative government where a small but carefully determined number of citizens are elected by the rest to act on their behalf and in the interest of the public good. He won, Jefferson lost. Basically Thomas Jefferson gained some ground in a 215 year old debate last week with the election of the Terminator.

Sorry Dad.

So everyone, just remember the United States is not a democracy, but a Representative Democracy. (And yes we are a republic too, but so are the commies in China.)

 

 

posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 7:27:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [16] Trackback

Total Recall

 

My Dad did not agree with my thoughts on the Recall Vote- see his email below.

 

I disagree 100% with Dad. For starters, there is a recall every 4 years. The founding fathers would not be proud, they deliberately created a representative democracy, not a true democracy. The Federalist Papers warn of mob-rule (I know Dad I still have your copy, I should give it back to you to re-read). Remember that the founding fathers did not trust the electorate (only white males at the time) the Senate was not even elected, but appointed! They did not trust the electorate, why should I. Plus I have 230 years of history to judge the electorate by.

 

I do not support referendum and initiative, just look at Switzerland trying to vote to enter in the UN, enough said.

 

Dad's message:

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Albert J Forte

Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 9:14 AM
To: Stephen Forte
Subject:

 

you have spent too much time at high altitude. Our founding fathers would be

proud of caliiiiiifornia.

Only 4 recalls and one succesful in  40 years. Comparing this to 9/11 is

rediculous. when did you lose faith in the electorate. Jefferson would love

this. The voters want recall on the books. I also support referendum and

initiative. Get some sleep ; you are nuts.

 

A little direct democracy once in a while might shake up the flow of special

  interest money.

 

I dare you to print this reply on your blog

posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 3:14:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [7] Trackback
# Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Case for Case

 

Ok I have gotten a lot of press because I love the Rozenshtein Method for creating cross tab queries. I have even traveled the world and spoke about it all summer at TechEds around the world.

 

I have gotten flack, especially from annoying Australians, about how “complex” the Rozenshtein Method is. So today I found myself writing a crosstab and used the Case Method.

 

It was an ad-hoc query that I have to run a few times over the next few weeks. It never has to run in another database like Access or Oracle. It was needed to be quick and dirty. I decided NOT to use the Boolean aggregates and use a Case statement. The basic structure of a case statement is as follows:

 

CASE  FieldName WHEN ValueYouAreChecking THEN TrueExpression ELSE FalseExpression END

 

Pretty easy no? Here is a sample:

 

SELECT tlkpWeekEnding.WeekEnding_DT as Weekending, DiceCat.DiceCat_NM as 'Job Category', Sum(tblData.TotalListings) AS 'Total Listings', SUM(CASE  Service_ID WHEN 1 THEN TotalListings ELSE 0 END) AS HotJobsTotal,

SUM(CASE  Service_ID WHEN 2 THEN TotalListings ELSE 0 END) AS MonsterTotal,

SUM(CASE Service_ID WHEN 3 THEN TotalListings ELSE 0 END) AS CareerBuilderTotal

FROM DiceCat INNER JOIN ((tlkpWeekEnding INNER JOIN (trelServiceURL INNER JOIN tblData ON trelServiceURL.URL_ID = tblData.URL_ID) ON tlkpWeekEnding.WeekEnding_ID = tblData.WeekEnding_ID) INNER JOIN DiceCatDetail ON trelServiceURL.JobCategory_ID = DiceCatDetail.CorzenJobCatID) ON DiceCat.DiceCat_ID = DiceCatDetail.DiceCat_ID

WHERE tlkpWeekEnding.WeekEnding_ID=75

GROUP BY tlkpWeekEnding.WeekEnding_DT, DiceCat.DiceCat_NM

Order by  DiceCat.DiceCat_NM

 

Here are the results, we move rows to columns:

View1

Weekending

Job Category

Total Listings

HotJobsTotal

MonsterTotal

CareerBuilderTotal

10/12/2003

Accounting/Auditing/Finance

37226

10021

9694

17511

10/12/2003

Banking/Mortgage

10657

2026

2886

5745

10/12/2003

Biotech/Pharmaceutical

7569

2290

2644

2635

10/12/2003

Engineering

20549

3513

5800

11236

10/12/2003

Healthcare

44080

4415

8028

31637

10/12/2003

Information Technology

34309

10637

8924

14748

10/12/2003

Insurance

8364

1900

2718

3746

10/12/2003

Legal

7962

1976

2498

3488

10/12/2003

Science

4636

0

1074

3562

10/12/2003

Telecommunications

3650

1005

1137

1508

 

 

So if this is so easy why oh why do I insist on using the Rozenshtein Method? Well, I don’t insist on using it all the time. I like it because it is super fast and make sense to me (I was into Math as a kid, sorry). I think that you should know both and use the one that you think is most effective for the job at hand.

 

Happy Crosstabbing!

posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 8:40:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, October 13, 2003

Firehose Security and Privacy

 

Everyone is going a little too far with security and privacy. Some idiot hacker sends out an email virus and lots of ignorant people click on it and then lots of people blame Microsoft. The bigger problem is that then Microsoft responds with more firehose security methods. (Ever try to send an email attachment in Outlook now?)

 

Regardless, now the anti-virus people are trying to make our lives yet even more painful. Now if you install Norton Anti-virus, by default its Firewall software makes any web site that uses the HTTP_REFERER blow up. Like it is such an invasion of my privacy to tell a site where I clicked on the link to get there from.

 

So we had to change the code on our site to:

 

AbsoluteUri = Request.Url.AbsoluteUri

 

instead of

 

Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_REFERER")

 

This clearly has to stop. The privacy police have gone too far. I am also worried about potential legislation in Congress (which I have personally lobbied against through ACT) on Privacy. Sharing my medical records and financial information is one thing, but quadruple opt-in is another. Give it a rest.

posted on Monday, October 13, 2003 2:04:24 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [6] Trackback
# Friday, October 10, 2003

Open Up Mt. Rainier

 

Rainier Mountaineering, Incorporated (RMI) has a monopoly for guiding people up Mt. Rainier. (Unless you do it yourself.) This contract was due to expire in 2001, but is currently on its second 1-year extension. The NPS has recently proposed a range of alternatives for guiding at Mt. Rainier which will greatly affect the choices that we have when looking for a Mt. Rainier climbing guide service (see page 36):

 

 http://www.nps.gov/mora/current/CSP.pdf

 

The Preferred Alternative, #3, I enthusiastically support.  This

alternative, among other things, splits the RMI concession into three

concessions.with three equal companies having the ability to run trips on

Emmons, Kautz, and Muir routes. 

 

So send a letter saying that you support Alternative #3...and send it to:

 

Superintendent

Mt. Rainier National Park

Commercial Services Plan Comments

Tahoma Woods, Star Route

Ashford, WA  98304

 

or, you can send it by e mail:

 

mora_commercial_services@nps.gov

 

 

 

posted on Friday, October 10, 2003 11:27:34 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback
# Thursday, October 9, 2003

Want a Dell for under $200? (Offer expires today)

Do you want a new Dell for testing or just as an MP3 player in your home? Go to this site and follow these directions. (I of course added a few things like RAM and mine came out to about $300):

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&l=en&oc=3D46A11&cs=04&kc=9&X=4&Y=9

Under "Dell Dimension 4600 Series" section, change the selection to "Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.40GHz w/800MHz front side bus/ HT Technology [subtract $50]"
Under "Mail-In Rebate Offer" section, check the box for "$100 MAIL-IN REBATE"
Under "Memory" section, change the selection to "256MB Dual Channel DDR SDRAM at 400MHz (2x128M) [subtract $100]"
Under "Keyboard" section, change the selection to "Dell® Quietkey® Keyboard [subtract $20]"
Under "Bundled Software" section, change the selection to "SAVE $100!! Microsoft® Office Basic Edition 2003 [subtract $15]"
Under "Hard Drive" section, change the selection to "40GB Value Hard Drive [subtract $70]"
Under "CD or DVD Drive" section, change the selection to "48x CD-ROM Drive [subtract $200]"
Under "Monitor" section, change the selection to "No Monitor [subtract $160]"
Under "Video Card" section, change the selection to "64MB DDR NVIDIA GeForce4 MX™ Graphics Card with TV-Out and DVI [subtract $15]"
Under "Modem" section, change the selection to "No Modem Requested [subtract $30]"
Check each and every option to make sure you are getting everything that you need
Scroll Down and click on "Update Price"
Scroll Down and click on "Continue"
On next page, Scroll Down and again Click on "Continue"
On next page, Scroll Down and Click on "Add to Cart"
There is a $100 Rebate on this system
Dell Small Biz is offering Free Shipping on new system purchases
Your Final Price: $239 - $100 = $139.00 + Free Shipping
Note: Dell Small Business charges tax on ALL purchases!

posted on Thursday, October 9, 2003 3:59:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [8] Trackback
# Wednesday, October 8, 2003

The Biggest Threat to Our Democracy

 

While I am a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies (I have seen each and every one more than once), read his work-out book for travelers and am counting the days until Pumping Iron is released to DVD (33 days), I think that the California Recall of Governor Davis is a larger threat to our democracy than the 9/11 attacks and all of the controversial steps taken to ensure our safety (like keeping the prisoners in Cuba, etc).

 

For starters, I tend to be a centrist, but lean more to the right, so technically I should be happy. I am not. I am losing sleep over this. This threat to our way of life has nothing with Democrats, Republicans or the Terminator. It has to do with the “What have you done for me lately, “ short attention span, need results now, Internet culture that is evolving in this country.  Now people’s short attention span has turned to elections. This is bad.

 

Another problem is that people don’t like to take responsibility for their actions anymore. The voters have the option to recall an elected official, every 4 years! Governor Davis was elected barely 11 months ago and less than 4 months after he was elected the recall movement was started.

 

This clearly has to stop. The “what have you done for me lately” culture was seen during the recent war in Iraq. While not taking any sides on the war issue, about 6 days in the news media and popular culture were saying that it was taking “too long”. Six days to invade and take over another country? They can’t be serious. But alas the news media and popular culture were.

 

People have way to much of a sense of entitlement and this attitude will only come back to haunt us. What is next? Why not elect the president via TV ratings like predicted in the late 80s TV show Max Headroom?

posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2003 3:31:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [18] Trackback
# Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Why didn’t they do this the first time?

 

I love DataReaders. You know this; I am a DataReader snob. I feel like a superior coder when I use a DataReader. Maybe it is my hatred of the false hype behind WebServices and XML that make me shun the DataSet. Or just my rather strange way of living my life. Who knows. Like most things you love in life, nothing is perfect. I have been using .NET 1.1 for over a year now since my company was an early adopter of Visual Studio 2003 and have gotten use to the HasRows property. For example if you want to test for an empty DataReader after you open it you can use code like this. (This code is more useful when you are NOT looping, but opening a DataReader for a single record.)

 

             if (dr.HasRows())

             {

                 txt1.Text=dr["MyField"];

             }

             else

             {

                 txt1.Text="No Data!";

             }

 

But what I forgot is that for .NET 1.0 (Visual Studio 2002), there is no HasRows property. You have to call the Read method which will return False when there are no rows. Here is the code. (Once again if you are in a loop, you would use a while Read=True and be done with it.)

 

             if (dr.Read()==true)

             {

                 txt1.Text=dr["MyField"];

             }

             else

             {

                 txt1.Text="No Data!";

             }

 

 

So this works, but my ultimate question about HasRows is why didn’t they do this the first time?

 

posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2003 3:30:52 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [13] Trackback
# Monday, October 6, 2003

I hate LA, but love the PDC

Get yourself to the PDC this year (and hurry it is almost sold out). And add your blog to http://pdcbloggers.net/.

posted on Monday, October 6, 2003 2:36:14 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [14] Trackback

 

The Buddhists say that the Earth has a song and that to hear it, you have to go to the Himalayas, away from the noise and commotion of the busy world. They also say that once you hear it, you don’t want to stop hearing it. Well, I heard it and want nothing more to hear it again and again.

 

While I was on my trek, I learned a few lesions from the simple life of the Khumbu Valley and the power of nature on the mountain. Here they are with some commentary following:

 

  1. Live your dreams
  2. Just do it
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Be thankful of what you have/make the most of what you have
  5. Its not about you

 

  1. Live your dreams. The first lesson that I learned was to live your dreams the best you could. I have wanted to go to Mt. Everest since I was 7 years old. I have finally did and when I got there a little voice in my head said “What were you waiting for?” Life is too short, live your dreams. No excuses, make it happen.
  2. Just do it. Damn those Nike people are smart. There were a few scary things on this trek. The first time I saw the Khumbu glacier, it looked very intimidating. A friend told me, “Just do it.” Just have no fears and inhibitions and face your fears and challenges head on. Once again, life is just way too short.
  3. Keep it Simple. When I was trekking in the Khumbu valley there were no cars, roads, phones, etc. I now fully appreciate the term “dirt poor.” The day of the week doesn’t matter much to these people. For the first time in my life I went days not knowing what day of the week it was or the day of the month. The folks in the valley are so poor, yet so happy. But you can see the look of joy on the kids faces living a hard but uncomplicated life. I noticed if you keep life as simple as possible, your life will be good.
  4. Be thankful of what you have. It is impossible to come to Khumbu and not pick up this concept, Once again the people are poor, yet they make do and are very happy. They make the most of what they have, don’t complain and live great lives. It may take 2 hours to cook the evening family meal, but it is a social event just preparing it and the family and friends bond while preparing and eating.
  5. Its not about you. This is the most important lesson you can learn from coming here. There is a whole universe out there, don’t spend too much time thinking about yourself and your needs. In the Khumbu there is an overwhelming sense of community (to the point that I still feel it here in New York). In the west we live in such a materialistic and selfish society, take it down a notch and see what you can give to the community at large.

 

posted on Monday, October 6, 2003 12:28:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [10] Trackback
# Sunday, October 5, 2003

Over the Boot Penetration

 

The hike on Saturday was awesome. We started at 4am with headlamps and it was cold but beautiful. I had to free climb over a 50’ rock face in the dark without any rope (there were tons footholds-photos will be up soon) and we got to the top of our first summit at about 5:30am in the pitch black. (Thanks to Walter who gave me extra headlamp batteries!) We summited the next peak at about 6:30am where we stayed and watched the sun rise.  This is where things went bad. It started to snow. And snow, and snow, and then rain. Then 30 mph winds. We summited the next peak at about 9am in the pouring rain and had no views and did not even stay on the summit it was so cold and windy. At 11ish we got to the spot where were suppose to meet Dorothy and we were 2 hours late and she left us a not that she had left. This should have been a sign. We summited the 4th peak at about noon, about a full hour behind schedule since it was so difficult to cross the terrain being so wet.

 

By 1:30 we had completed about 18 miles and 4 peaks and called it a day since it had now been raining/snowing for 7 straight hours and by now our gore-tex was failing Ned had stepped in mud so deep that the mud had reached “over the boot penetration”. Anyway, 18 miles, two summits in the dark, 4 peaks total and great conversation on the trail with friends made it an awesome day.

 

Since we finished early, I was able to attend a family gathering in the area for my Grandmother’s 85th Birthday. So it turns out that like everyone in my family reads my blog. (That fact alone is scary.) What is really funny is that they first say that “oh I just stumbled across it, I skimmed it, it is stupid anyway." But then they spent time telling me how I spelled this word wrong on this day and how this entry was stupid, etc. Hummm, I guess they were doing something more than skimming. :) It was great to see everyone.

posted on Sunday, October 5, 2003 2:28:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [20] Trackback