this week i

published a little something about the health insurance coverage of small business owners.

immediately unwrapped the new rmonetdb and sqlsurvey packages written by dr. thomas lumley.  just like christmas morning.  he thanked me in his announcement of the release, but he'd done all the work so far.  time to convert the larger survey data sets in usgsd to monetdb.  latest progress on this new development branch.

visited the embassy of kazakhstan with morgan.  morgan friend profile - level of friendship: best friend.  frequency of hanging out: not enough.  hair: red.  permasmile: yes.  traditional kazakhi outfits in current wardrobe: zero.

biked to baltimore n back.  100 miles in all.

drank coffee in business backyards.

cheered on the ravens w purple pup paint.

walked on water.  kinda.


smiled.  sometimes it's easy.

concede new york may be the greatest city on earth, but baltimore's clearly the greatest in america..

..and hey look what we found on the sidewalk.


this week i

wrote a sql-based version of sascii, to import sas data into r without overloading ram.

added massive ftp download automation scripts to most datasets in my archive of usgsd.  these scripts download every file available from the government, name it according to a consistent pattern, and - depending on filesize - import it into an r data file or a sql database.  especially proud of the scripts that pull every file in the 2001, 2004, and 2008 sipp panels into a single database.

spent a few days with my old cubicle twin.  we three used to share in programming marathons. those sql databases weren't going to query themselves.

argued about whether the y in her last name - hyun - is a consonant or vowel.  for ab-talk's sake:  nabiabomabi habiyabun versus nabiabomabi hyabun.

had never considered adjective ordering rules, but now that you mention it, it's always the bright, pink suit never the pink, bright suit.

went northeast: only true believers make it over to h street.

spotted my first ladybug corpse.  huh.  still pretty.

ate my childhood favorite.


this week i

closed the door on the 2012 employer health benefits survey, with coverage from wsj, nyt, wp, etc. etc.  oh and scroll to the end: well aren't we schnaz?

presented everything i know in a crowded lecture hall at the u.s. census bureau.  (calendar)

contributed to yes another syllabus.

say something (1/3rd of the way down), then a month later, bill clinton steals my line.  perfect.


this week i

replicated census american community survey estimates with r, then provided boatloads of analysis examples.  five down, at least as many to go.

fuckin' love ray charles.

scooped up one, two more spots in data analysis syllabi.

updated our medicare health plan tracker with 2012 enrollment data.

checked out of the cottage..

..and into a modern workspace for a private code-a-thon.  christ, wdidtdt?

have a palm full of twelve dollar bills.

said "hello" to a few people who then responded, "fine, thank you." what a shortcut!

walked downtown, faster than traffic.

saw zero foreigners on foot for about two miles, yet attracted no attention.  what's up with that?  and thanks.

bought coffee, sat outside.  nairobi ignores you, you feel welcome.

wonder about those last two..

..and only if there's a divorce lawyer in the linens aisle.

suppose they're serious about outdoor smoking bans.

woke up for nairobi national park.  slow at first..

..but then things picked up.  final tally --

dozen or so giraffes

couple herds of zebra

two families of monkeys

miscellaneous ungulates

one li'l leopard

see him or her?

three rare black rhinos

a pride of lions, notice the airport in the background and

..holy moly, hello ladies, fine, thank you, well look at the time, gotta catch my flight.


(1) the new battlefield rules

obama has done many things to distinguish his administration's policies from his prdecessor's

killing may be cheaper and easier than capture, but does that justify an execution without trial?

we take years to decide whether to put an american citizen to death in our criminal justice system, insisting upon multiple layers of inter-branch review.  when we are meting out death far from any battlefield, and with time to spare, should not someone in the executive branch be assigned to advocate for the target in order to limit the risk of groupthink?  we require the police to get a warrant from a judge before they can search a man's backpack; if there is time, should not..some level of judicial required before we take a man's life?

the legitimacy of the program requires transparency

(2) romney's education white paper

subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school; encouraging the private sector to operate schools; putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program; holding teachers and schools accountable for students' test scores; and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers

privately managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools

states have reduced their investments in higher education and shifted the burden from taxpayers to students

"restore" suggests a return to the past.  when in american history did the for-profit sector run american schools?  which state ever permitted it until the advent in our own time of for-profit charter corporations and for-profit online corporations?

(3) dear texas: why so proud

texas state legislator debbie riddle went for the jugular of entitlement in the preferred style: "where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever?  it comes from moscow, from russia.  it comes straight out of the pit of hell."

if you want better schools in texas, you have to pay for them.

(4) foster children

about one third of cases are thrown out, but because of the backlog, decisions may take six months to a year

the rate of physical abuse in foster care was four times higher than abuse by parents in the city's toughest neighborhoods

marijuana in the house can be grounds for removal

the consequences of family separation

when she was first dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and taken away

swat team tactics

now eight and taking four psychotropic medications to control her behavior-including one that ccan cause irreversible catatonia and drooling

more than half of children in juvenile detention in the state were previously in foster care

in other western countries..the primary goal of the child protection system is to help poor families care for their own children, not split them up..children are removed from the home only as a last resort

(5) cultural limits of capitalism

the brochures were advertising bull semen

money-shots of their 'donor of the month' online

sweepstakes on which celebrities will peg out in the current year

the position we reach when i get the £2000 and you haev my kidney is pareto-optimal

cosmic bliss

one can farm out certain friend-like services to therapists, prostitutes and cab-drivers

at least education will continue to exist even if its deliverey is perverted by money: people will still learn things, even if they have to pay.  but some goods, like friendship, might cease to exist, since their status as goods depends on their not being paid for

invent a new activity..which is just like doctoring, except that its internal goal is to earn money for the schmoctor.

try to do origami in a tornado

(6) opium: palliative to recreational

by 1860, the needle and vial were transforming palliative care and surgical recovery, but the vector for their widespread adoption was war: in particular the american civil war, which claimed 620,000 fatalities and created fifty thousand amputees, and during which more than ten million doses of morphine were consumed

(7) america's middle eastern original sin

western-educated asians who returned home, primly moustachioed, to sell freedom to their compatriots

mossadegh was backed by 95 percent of the population

the new york times and the wall street journal compared mossadegh to hitler

we are not liberals like allende and mossadegh, whom the cia can snuff out..khamenei warned

(8) chile too

many latin americans thought democracy and socialism were the same thing

turn chile 'into one big school'

a dagger pointed at the heart of antarctica

our hand doesn't show on this one

cuba in 1952; guatemala and paraguay in 1954; argentina and peru in 1962; ecuador, the dominican republic, honduras, and again guatemala in 1963; brazil and bolivia in 1964; and argentina in once more in 1966

unlike allende..each time lula ran and lost and ran again, he gave up a little bit more of the pt's founding principles, so that the party went from pledging to overturn neoliberalism to promising to administer it more effectively

(9) bradley manning and public data

a down-the-line information libertarian