NY Times – A Young Reporter Makes a Soft Query and Pleases an Upset President

Amidst the rancour and assault on an open media, I found this to be a refreshing respite.

Yet in an era of fake news, overheated partisanship and general rancor, Mr. Mazza seems unfailingly earnest and without an agenda — aside from trying to become a reporter, with his own notion of what that means.

He’s 19 and has always wanted to be a reporter. We should all take a step back and remember the importance of what that means.

Sure, it may have been a softball question, but remember, Senator Chuck Grassley has been tweeting at the @POTUS account asking when it was going to be open (among other things), so there was a angle there. He either avoided it or didn’t know about it. Would have been a good way to tie the two together.

Maybe when he gets another chance.

NY Times

#HoldtheFloor – DeVos Nomination

holdthefloorAs I write this at 11:30pm, Cory Booker is speaking on the Senate floor. The Democrats have been holding the floor since noon today, and intend to do so until the 24 hour debate period ends. I’ll be honest, I’m not an expert on Senate rules, I find them to be back room voodoo, albeit steeped in tradition. Either way, the Senate Democrats drew a line in the stand on this nomination. Conceivably because there have been 2 Republicans(Murkowski and Collins) already voice their decision to not vote for DeVos, the thinking is it might be possible one more stands up to right wing nominee.

What stands out to me, and I’ve had the luxury of following the hearings, debates and floor speeches, that not one Republican has been able to articulate an argument for DeVos. All I’ve heard from them is “Obama got his nominees…had 9 confirmations by this point…”. But not one solid argument for her, her philosophies or her experience to ably manage the Department of Education. Sure, they’ve thrown out, “she loves children”, but that doesn’t make her qualified to lead a Cabinet level department of the United States or play a primary role in shaping public education.

Even Sessions, who I disagree with on practically every issue, could be argued as qualified to lead a department. Hell, even CEO Tillerson has the practical experience to lead a huge department and the background to lead large scale negotiations. (I simply disagree on principles that they should be in the respective offices.) So why are the Republicans standing so pat for DeVos? Spite?

Unfortunately, it most likely all about the money.

Scrubbing Pots & Pans

For the better part of my adult life, I worked in kitchens, starting as a dishwasher, working my way up to chef. And like any good chef, I never forgot the importance of that first position. Hell, I often referred to myself as chief cook and head dishwasher. I always explained to owners and other staff, dishwasher is the most important position in a kitchen. Everything breaks down if that person is missing, fails, or is simply mistreated and unhappy.

Thus I never strayed too far from the pots and pans. Often times, I would jump in and scrub pots, both as an example to the rest of the staff that no one person was above any job in the restaurant, and as a way to ground myself. While it isn’t a creative job, it gave me that mental break to think about a dish that was bouncing around my head, or an opportunity to breath mentally.

I’m still looking for that in web development. A task to bounce to that is both familiar and productive yet affords me an opportunity to consider a problem I’m tackling. I’ve experimented with coding standards, as I now use linters, but since it wasn’t something I’ve been doing since I started as a self-taught developer, I don’t have the muscle memory or comfort level to dive into a project and start cleaning up. That is more of something I do as I go.

The closest thing I’ve come up with is working on my own blog. It’s a place to experiment, break things, and most importantly, not a project with a deadline. If you are reading this on the site (or even via the feed) you most likely see the rough edges. I’ve become comfortable with them. I want to smooth them all, and have a running list of them, but as soon as I knock one item off, I find 2 more.

And that’s OK. It will always be that way, as again, I’m constantly experimenting, tweaking and most importantly, it is mine. My own personal space to do as I please and retreat to when I need a mental break.