Recent blog entries for rcaden

Jake Tapper Asks Trump 7 Straight Horse Race Questions

I began watching the Sunday talk shows again last weekend because of Antonin Scalia's death, which propelled the U.S. into an exceptional time in our history. We'll be living with the consequences of how the next Supreme Court appointment is made for a long time.

Watching one of the shows today reminded me of how terrible political reporting on television can be.

On CNN's State of the Union, host Jake Tapper asked Donald Trump 10 questions:

  1. Mr. Trump, congratulations on your victory. What do you think this means for the race going forward? Are you unstoppable?
  2. Your campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said that you have not gotten the credit you deserve from the party for leading the race. Why do you think that is? Do you think some Republicans still don't take you seriously?
  3. Last week, Senator Rubio said he didn't think a brokered convention would necessarily be a bad thing. Are you concerned at all that party leaders might try to block your nomination at the convention?
  4. Senator Cruz says that you attack him every day because you know he's the only one who can beat you. Is that right?
  5. Governor Jeb Bush dropped out last night. He was once the front-runner, once expected to win the nomination. Many would point to you as the primary reason his campaign sputtered. Do you think, by labeling him low-energy and targeting him so quickly, do you think that's what did him in?
  6. You also took on Jeb's brother President George W. Bush in South Carolina, a state that he won in 2000. And then you won it handily, even though you took on George W. Bush. Do you see Jeb's loss and your victory in South Carolina as a vote on the entire Bush legacy, in a way?
  7. There's a lot of concern, as you know, among Republican Party leaders in Washington about, can you win a general election? Let's talk about demographics for a second. If the next Republican nominee wins the same share of the white vote that Mitt Romney did in 2012 -- that was 59 percent -- that nominee would need to win 30 percent of the non-white vote. Now, with all due respect, sir, a lot of Republican leaders in D.C. struggle to envision you accomplishing this, especially given the fact that there are white supremacist groups and individuals like that who support you, some of whom you have even retweeted.
  8. I want to get some clarification on comments you made this week at the CNN town hall about Obamacare. Take a listen. ... So, sir, what did you mean when you said, "I like the mandate"?
  9. But -- but, just to clarify, you're saying now that you would not support requiring every individual in America to have health insurance? You wouldn't support that?
  10. Last question, sir. We heard from your wife, Melania, last night, which doesn't happen a tremendous amount. Are we going to hear more from her going forward?

By my count that's seven straight horse-race questions that are solely about who's leading and who's trailing, one policy question with a follow-up and then a nice softball question that lets him say something nice about his wife.

Trump is the Republican front-runner and the favorite to win the GOP nomination. There's a great deal of importance in the media getting beyond his vague policy statements to pin him down on actual things he would do as president. Making America Yuge Again is not a concrete policy objective.

Tapper had an opportunity to do this, but he thought the bulk of his time with Trump was better spent with such queries as "Are you unstoppable?"

That's the kind of dumb-ass question a non-journalist would never ask. Political reporters ask them all day long.

The one time Tapper delved into Trump's actual policies on health care and the individual mandate, we got to see that Trump is completely out of his depth. After he took insurance away from millions of Americans by killing ObamaCare, the only things Trump could suggest are to let states compete and offer healthcare savings accounts.

The answer Trump gave was as floundering and repetitive as the Marco Rubio debate answer when he was accused of being robotic. Trump twice repeated that we're going to have great health care if he's president, and three times said people won't be dying in the streets.

Or the sidewalks: "They're not dying on the sidewalks, and they're not dying on the streets if I'm president," he said. "They're just not."

Unless he shoots them, I guess.

The Sunday show reporters should ask candidates as many questions about policy as they do about winning and losing. If they did, it would be clear to millions that Trump's a bag of hair whose ideas never go beyond braggadocious posturing.

Syndicated 2016-02-21 21:08:15 from Workbench

My Web Server is Older Than Your Web Server

This post is dedicated to the dedicated server I just shut down. A single Linux box at a server farm in Dallas was for many years the center of my one-man media empire. Over time I moved sites and services off of it, but it remained the home of my weblog Workbench, my 25 computer programming books, a client's business site and an email server for six users. Every month as the billing day approached, I told myself I was going to move everything to another server I own and save myself $69 a month. But I managed to successfully avoid the task until now.

On Wednesday I got up at 6 a.m., two hours earlier than usual. Waking up abnormally early always makes me feel like I'm getting a jump on the rest of the world. Before that mood passes, I dive into something ambitious. That morning felt like the perfect time for a server move.

Eighty six hours later, I am punchy from exhaustion, completely devoid of ambition and remember why I never did this before. But the move is complete!

The following command on Linux revealed the date and time a file system was installed on the server's main hard drive:

/sbin/tune2fs -l /dev/hda2 | grep created

The server was born on Friday May 14, 2004, at 7:10:10 a.m.

I submitted the request to shut it down today at 8:52 p.m.

Ray Dureault in 2004 glasses, photo by John Tlumacki of the Boston Globe

During those 4,237 days, the server went from being cutting edge to a museum piece. It has a Celeron P4 processor and just 72 gigabytes of disk space. (Today you can buy a thumb drive with 128 gigabytes for $30.) The operating system it runs is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (Taroon) from 2003. At least five years ago Red Hat stopped taking my update requests, so I had to do my own software upgrades.

I did a lot more than web hosting on the little server that could. As I wrote books about Internet technology, I installed the software and developed sites and web applications on the box. Digging through the server this week looking for things I might want to save, it felt like archaeology. I unearthed layers from the days I was using Movable Type, WordPress, Radio UserLand, Java Server Pages, Blogger and server-side includes. There were programs and scripts I had written in PHP, Java, Python, Perl and Bash.

I won't be letting any more of my servers become senior citizens (one year is equal to 10 in PC years).

Instead, this is the new plan:

1. Only store content on a server that's currently being shown to the public. If I take something down, I will move all of that data offline along with scripts and software that are no longer needed.

2. Jump to a new server every 1-2 years.

This is an overcorrection. I'm replacing too little ambition with too much. But I no longer have to do the two things that were the most difficult: serving email and domain name queries. During this move, I found ways to offload both of those tasks. So all I have to focus on are the web server, database program and any server-side technology that's required.

A server move always improves my sites. I find mistakes and things that were written poorly, like a database login script with a hard-coded IP address in it.

I also like the added security of running on a new Linux box, where security updates are still available and there's less chance a hacker snuck in and installed something nefarious.

In 2026, if I write a blog post about retiring the septuagenarian server that's hosting this blog, consider that a sign my plan failed.

Syndicated 2015-12-20 01:26:28 from Workbench

SportsFilter's NFL Pick 'Em Contest

SportsFilter is giving away an official NFL Game Football in this year's NFL Pick 'Em contest:

— Rogers Cadenhead (@rcade) September 8, 2015

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