Elections blather: demystifying PDC data!

I've never really looked at candidate Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) filing data much before. Generally I depend on news reports or summaries from others. But I realized that until filing week, you don't really know whose running unless they get media attention. But, state law requires a candidate to file with the PDC within 2 weeks of "declaring" which includes any public statement of intention to run or accepting any donations. Most competitive candidates are going to have lots of data in the PDC database long before formally filing to run for an office (and currently elected officials are possibly taking in donations all the time so are regularly submitting to PDC data). So I went to look.

Seattle, let's not pass a soda tax

A while back Mayor Murray proposed a soda tax. I haven't talked a lot about it because it didn't seem to be going very far very fast. Just another thing that Murray proposed at the beginning of the year. But today's Seattle Times had an article about it pushing the health benefits and apparently on Thursday at a parks forum, mayoral candidate Mike McGinn said he'd keep pushing the soda tax to pay for parks.

Migrated the site ... again.

Having my website be static using Jekyll as generator was nice. Except that I couldn't really edit and publish posts on mobile. I've been working a lot, and doing lots of politics things, and have a toddler, and have miscellaneous other things going on so I honestly spend 99% of my non-work computer time on a mobile phone. The majority of posts in the last year or more have been composed in whole or part on my phone and published on Medium, then gradually moved over when I had time to spend.

Nerdy Reminders

Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Part of me broke on the day of the election. Hillary Clinton quoted that verse in her concession speech. While I would have gone on if she hadn’t, those words have sometimes given me the ability on some days to not snap at someone or not snark or dismiss or even just to stop crying and get up. I’m not really religious anymore but I went to a Presbyterian church for many years and went through confirmation. Even as an adult many of the ethics underlying and certainly the words of Christianity resonate with me.

Toward a feminist future

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day which is a much bigger deal in every country that isn’t the United States. I only learned about it as an adult at a company with offices all around the world. It’s not really surprising that a day created by socialists is ignored here. This year in the United States, a “women’s strike” or “a day without women” is being organized for the same day. I guess we can thank one of the more openly misogynist political campaigns and administrations for all the newly activated feminist agitation.

We should accept more refugees not make it harder for them

We already require refugees to go through absurd hoops. We admitted just barely over 12,000 people last year. I say admitted because clearly many Americans do not wish to welcome them. The Syrian war — which partially exists because of our war in Iraq — has caused millions of refugees to leave Syria (plus millions more who have had to move within Syria). Most of the external refugees have gone to neighboring countries and some to Europe.

This week in Congress, Jan 3–6, 2017

In case you were under the misapprehension that Trump is the anomaly — that the things he’s advocated and said are beyond acceptability in national politics and don’t represent the Republican party or that Republican leaders just went along with him because they hope he’ll rubber stamp their different agenda — here are a few things that happened in the first week of the new Congressional session:

Tactical Primary Voting for the Busy

Primary voting is important. But unless you’re really into politics – and you’re probably not if you have a job or career and a family and maybe a hobby or two – it’s kind of boring and eats into time you’d rather be doing something else. Plus you feel like you don’t know enough to be making these decisions anyway, and the candidates suck and, ugh, why even bother. But maybe you tick off some choices anyway. Do your duty.

Write. Your. Reps. Right. Now.

I’m guilty of not writing my elected officials often enough. I don’t tell them what I think. I don’t give them money or buy their swag or volunteer or even talk to my neighbors often enough.

Raising the Bar on Leaving

My shields went down the morning of October 19th, 2015. I went online and found a piece by Jay Carney. I’d been at Amazon more than five years. It was possible I was going to work there for much longer. I had my problems with the company. There were things I would change. I’d found places where I could thrive and work past the problems. But this piece destroyed what was left of my shields. That was the day that made it much more certain that I was leaving Amazon someday. I just needed a few more pushes and the right opportunity. One came quickly. Opportunities in tech are not hard to find.

Dreaming the Same Dream

No job is perfect. That seems like an obvious thing to write. But if you read tech job postings, you’d believe that every job is one where you build a product that is dramatically changing the world, the work environment is better than all others and your coworkers are all smarter than everyone else (echoes of Lake Wobegon where all the children are above average). Oh, also they pay you better than everyone else and the stock might make you rich!

Don't Be a Bystander

My friend Cate wrote a few tweets about bystanders. This is a little story about a time when I worked with some bystanders and why little things matter.

Good Intentions Fail at Scale

You’re an internet company. You have a hot product and a busy website viewed by thousands a minute. Unfortunately it’s having outages regularly. The website is slow. It goes down at least once a week. The backend systems are even more a mess. We’re going to fix this you say! We’ll send all the teams to a training provided by some vendor. They have a mediocre flash-based training tool that barely runs on modern browsers. It’s not ideal but that’s what we have. We’ll give the managers a bit more training maybe. Some random folks from various teams will get some mentoring from a few of our more senior engineers.

Cincinnati Chili Experiment!

If you’ve ever heard of Cincinnati Chili you probably know it’s not really chili. It is neither the bean heavy stew or the meat and spice version. It is however delicious and I haven’t had it in ages. You can do an internet search, but in short it’s a meat and spice heavy sauce served over pasta, almost always spaghetti, with cheese (and often onions and beans). Wikipedia has a long section on how it is made in different “ways”.

My family used to make it at home but I never got the recipe and I think it is lost to time. But I found a recipe a while ago that fairly well matches my recollection of the ingredients. Tonight we made some (with heavy modifications for our cabinet and to make it vegetarian).