Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PL/SQL Challenge Update: Roundtable discussion on naming conventions

The second Roundtable discussion at the PL/SQL Challenge focuses on an issue that every developer grapples with: how to name our identifiers. That is, what are our naming conventions?

There have been many approaches to creating names, including CamelCase and Hungarian notation.

A longtime PL/SQL Challenge player, John Hall, offers a very different approach:

Identifiers can be considered a form of documentation, which raises the question, "What should an identifier's name document?"I propose this core principle: "Identifier names are based solely on the problem domain concept." No prefixes for scope. No suffixes for type.

In other words, while I would usually write a block of code like this:

   TYPE employees_t IS TABLE OF employees%ROWTYPE;
   l_employees   employees_t;
     BULK COLLECT INTO l_employees
     FROM employees;

John would, instead, do the following:

   TYPE employee_table IS TABLE OF employees%ROWTYPE;

   all_employees   employee_table;
     BULK COLLECT INTO all_employees
     FROM employees;

He's already got me thinking differently about how to write my code, though I am not yet ready to force my fingertips into drastically different patterns of typing.

I encourage you to visit the Roundtable, check out the discussion, and add your own thoughts.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ryan a Smart and Courageous Policy Wonk?

Here's a list of some of the people and organizations who have publicly questioned the brilliance, honesty, seriousness, and/or courage of Paul Ryan’s policy proposals (with thanks to Eric Alterman of the Nation):

Analysts at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office

Analysts at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center

Analysts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Analysts at the Citizens for Tax Justice

Analysts at the Economic Policy Institute

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic “Nuns on the Bus”

David Stockman, former budget director, Reagan White House

Peter Orszag, former budget director, Obama White House

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, New York Times columnist (multiple times)

Mark Zandi, economist at Moody’s Analytics, adviser to both McCain presidential campaign and
Obama administration

Mark Thoma, professor of economics at the University of Oregon

The Economist’s American Politics column

Ron Paul, 2012 Republican presidential candidate

Newt Gingrich, 2012 Republican presidential candidate, former GOP Speaker of the House,

John Boehner, current GOP Speaker of the House

Donald Trump, erstwhile Republican presidential candidate, stopped clock

Republican political insiders

Majority of the American people

And, yes, Paul Ryan himself

Is a Tax Amnesty the Skeleton in Mitt's Closet?

Back in 2009, the US Government offered an tax amnesty:
Wealthy U.S. taxpayers, concerned about an Internal Revenue Service crackdown on the use of secret overseas bank accounts as tax havens, are rushing to meet a Thursday deadline to disclose those accounts or face possible criminal prosecution. The concern was triggered this summer when Switzerland's largest bank, caught up in an international tax evasion dispute, said it would disclose the names of more than 4,000 of its U.S. account holders.
The decision shattered a long-held belief that Swiss banks would guard the identities of its American customers as carefully as they did their money, and it raised concern that other international tax havens might be next. Under an amnesty program, the IRS is allowing taxpayers to avoid prosecution for having failed to report their overseas accounts. As a result, tax attorneys across the nation have been besieged by wealthy clients who are lining up to apply even though they will still face big financial penalties.
Mitt Romney should release all of his tax returns; it's hard for me to believe that any independent voter would even consider voting for him if he refuses to do this. But I would expect that for the most part his tax returns will show that he took advantage of every possible loophole written into the tax code by wealthy Congresspeople on behalf of their wealthy friends.

And when Romney says: "I didn't pay one dollar more than required." many Americans will agree: Why would I pay more than I have to my government?

But what if Romney took advantage of the 2009 amnesty? This is a completely different matter. American citizens took this action specifically to avoid paying taxes that they owed the government (us, in other words, the taxpayers).

And it sure wasn't an issue of not being able to pay those taxes. He just didn't want to.

That would make Mitt Romney a tax dodger.

And that could lose him a whole bunch of votes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Not Ready for the Presidency: Cheney Says Palin, I say Romney

Well, sure, Palin, too.

But, seriously, after Romney's trip to London, Israel and Poland, it is now rather clear that Mr. Mitt does not have intelligence and judgement needed to be President.

After putting his foot in his mouth over and over and over again on this trip (London unprepared for the Olympics, Palestinian culture cause of poverty, etc.), he actually tried to justify it by explaining that he says what's on his mind.

Oh, good. That's what we need for our President, who is First Diplomat, in addition to everything else.

But what amazed more than anything else is that he didn't just trash talk Palestinians and their lack of "culture" (as if the military occupation and strangulation of the Palestinian people has no impact on economy). He also shat upon Mexicans, and I quote:

"And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel, which is about $21,000, and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States."

Ah, yes, Mexico, you and your un-vital culture.

Well, it's not like Romney was expecting to get many votes from Latinos (the majority of which are Mexican). Now he'll get even fewer, maybe set a new record for Republicans.

And, really, Mitt - Mexico's culture isn't "vital"? It's vital enough to be going viral in the United States: food, music, language, you name it.