Mr Howard: Could and Should Have

4 AM August 19, 2004

This whole nit-picking back-and-forth about what Mr Howard did and didn’t know concerning the children overboard affair is really starting to get me down. It’s completely beside the point. In fact, I suspect it is exactly what Mr Howard wants in the run up to an election.

This is the point: Mr Howard could and should have known the truth, and he could and should have told the truth.

Mr Howard could and should have known the truth because all the key players in the military and public service knew that Mr Howard was making false statements to the public. Mr Howard claims that nobody told him that he was making false statements.

Mr Howard could and should have told the truth, because elected leaders of democratic nations are supposed to represent the citizens, not keep them in the dark, or treat them tools in a quest for power.

I am left to conclude one of four things:

  1. Mr Howard acted incompetently, failing to discharge his responsibilities to the Australian people.
  1. The federal beauracracies withheld the truth from Mr Howard, and he has reacted with a complete absence of any concrete action to rectify the situation, a failure in his responsiblities as leader of the Australian Government.
  1. Mr Howard knew that he was not telling the truth, and is still lying.
  1. Mr Howard deliberately kept himself ignorant of the truth, and knows it. This is worse than a straight lie.

Can anyone offer an alternate explanation that is kinder to our Prime Minister? I am distressed with my own conclusions and would like to believe my country is not run by an someone who is either incompetent, weak, a liar or worse. Give me an option!

Whatever the truth, Mr Howard’s handling of this matter has not displayed the qualities I would like to see in an Australian Prime Minister.

By alang | # | Comments (3)
(Posted to Rants)

Multiline Vim Regexps

12 AM August 19, 2004

My current (paid) project involves interpreting messages that have been formatted for humans to read. Of course the format is completely documented and needs to be reverse engineered by inspecting a large number of sample messages. I've got all the sample messages sitting in a large text file, which I manipulate with Vim.

This morning, I found myself seaching through the file with this command:

/^\nF\d\_.\{-}\_^\n\zs.*/+

It means "Find a block of lines that start with F and a digit, then scan forward to the next blank line and select the line after that." This is how it works:

^\n Matches the start of a line, followed by a newline - i.e a blank line
F\d The next line starts with an F followed by a digit
\_.\{-} '\_.' is like '.', but also matches newline. '\{-}' matches the minimum number of the preceeding '\_.'. (If I were to use '*' instead of '\{-}', it would match to near the end-of file.)
\_^\n Matches a blank line. '\_^' is like '^', but '^' only works at the start of a regular expression.
\zs When the match is finished, set the start of match to this point. I use this because I don't want the preceding text to be highlighted.
.* Matches the whole line.

The '+' after the regular expression tells Vim to put the cursor on the line after the selection. This gets the cursor out of the way so that I can see the selection easily.

By alang | # | Comments (3)
(Posted to Software Development and javablogs)
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