Sunday, December 31, 2006

Oppositional Logic Ruling Utah Communities

The reason for yesterday's post was that I had decided to explore some of the local podcasts. While chasing down locally produced videos, I stumbled onto a rather scary lecture from a Robert Millet to the Missionary Prep Club. Apparently this is a standard speech given to Mormon missionaries. (video).

I admit, I have been worried in recent years about the nonsensical issues that seem to be tearing our society apart. IMHO, this particular video highlights some of the issues that tear at the roots of Utah's culture.

I believe strongly in reading and supporting local literature and film. Since I live in Utah, that means reading about LDS history from multiple perspectives. Contrary to what my posts sound like, I do not hate Mormons. I believe that members of the LDS Church are people who authentically want to be good people. They joined the LDS Church because they were hoping that the LDS Church would provide a framework that allows them to be good people.

The thing that drives me batty in this state is that the foundational systems created by Smith and Young use awful, base, negative techniques which end up undermining both the LDS society and the other people who have the misfortune of living in LDS dominated areas.

Smith and Young were typical 19th century rogues with dreams of becoming kings and emperors—like Napoleon. In their little grub for power, they replicated a formula that has been around since antiquity. They divided their followers from the mainstream culture by promising worldly riches and sex in the present life, and the outlandish claim that their followers would become Gods—just like Jesus and the Heavenly Father—in the afterlife.

Smith cemented his power base by creating a division between his follower, who he calls the righteous, and the gentile. The righteous are saints on earth and will be Gods in heaven. The gentiles will be smited by a mean, terrible, evil, hate filled God.

With this in mind we enter Robert Millet's speech to the missionaries:

As Latter Day Saints you already know more about God and Christ and the plan of salvation than anyone who will attack you [...] you already know more than your attackers will ever know.

Millet starts by telling a group of 18 year-old boys that being part of the LDS church makes them superior to all others. This is a total ego feed to a demographic group with minds already filled with teenage know-it-all fantasies.

He then presents the oppositional logic at the roots of Mormonism by projecting that oppositional logic onto his enemies. Essentially repeating Joseph Smith's mantra that the gentiles are conspiring against the righteous!

It shouldn't be a shock to us that people oppose us [...]

In 1945 the Quorum of 12 Apostles issued a proclamation to all the world. [...] "As this work progresses in its onward course and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interests and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject, no community or individual will stand neutral. All will at length will be influenced by one spirit or another and will take sides either for or against the Kingdom of God."

The real gem is the quote from the Quorum of Apostles (yes, Joseph Smith bought the loyalty of a group of people by naming them Apostles).

This quote from 1845 shows precisely the way that this oppositional logic works. If a power monger can successfully create a division between their followers and the world at large, that division might resonate throughout the culture at large.

The way you gain absolute power is by dividing your little group off from the community. You project your motives onto your opposition. If you are lucky, the division you created will provide opportunities to grab power and wealth.

Notice how many times in the lecture Millet reinforces his efforts to project oppositional logic onto his opponents. The important part of the training is that when you finally do get someone to respond to the bait and oppose the Mormon plan, you pounce. See how evil and effective this methodology is. You quietly sneak the oppositional logic into the debate. When your opponent calls you out, you can effectively project to the world the illusion that they are the source of the opposition.

We need to be surprised if we are opposed in this work.

Another Introductory Thought: The things of God can only be known in a real way by the power of the spirit of God. [..] The truthfulness of a matter is really only to be known by the quiet whisperings of the Holy Spirit, but how significant that thing is may often be known by the loud opposition that comes in response to it.

Millet also introduces another really nasty trick above. Truth is something that is whispered by a spirit only to Mormons. Truth is relative to the LDS hierarchy and gentiles cannot know the truth, as they are not in the hierarchy. Truth comes in quiet, all but imperceptible whispers. Both Millet and Joseph Smith reject the western tradition that finds observation and logic a pretty good path to truth.

The lecture jumps into a short interlude where he tries to claim that the LDS Church is singled out for persecution by citing cities that were opposed to building grand LDS Temples. If you know anything about modern city planning, every single proposal to build something in modern US cities gets inundated with opposition. This is especially true with a structure like an LDS Temple which is designed to dominate the land around the temple. If a Muslim group were to build a grand mosque in downtown Salt Lake (with people singing from the minaret, etc.) You can bet the plan would be nixed.

In an underhanded trick, Millet ignores the fact the fact that the opposition to temples is that they are constructed to dominate the land and the people around the temple. The typical temple is a big white shape tower. Towns in Utah generally have strict zoning codes which prevent land owners near the temple from building things that obstruct the view of the temple. I like the phraseology that Brigham Young uses to describe his efforts to create opposition by dotting towns with massive white eye soars:

Brother Brigham is reported to have said that every time we announce the building of a temple, all the bells in Hell begin to ring, and, oh, how I love to hear those bells.

The next part of Millet's claims the Book of Mormon is singled out for persecution. He first claims that all it is just a book.

Why would it be that the Book of Mormon receives such opposition from people? [...] Well, If I didn't already know by the quiet whisperings of the Holy Spirit to my soul that the BoM is another testament of Christ ... The same is true with the concept of "only true church". [...] If I did not already know by the whisperings of the Spirit to my soul that the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is in fact the kingdom of god on earth, that we hold the fullness of the gospel, that we hold the priesthood of almighty God. If I did not already know that in a quiet way, I might suspect that is the case by the kind of loud opposition that that very concept elicits from people.

After the claim that the BoM is just a book, he reverses himself and says that it is not just a book, it is a new testament from Jesus Christ.

Now, I really know of no opposition to the BoM as a book. It is the claim that the BoM is a testimony of Jesus Christ, and that the BoM imbues one group with special rights and privileges over all other people that gets people rankled. Millet obviously knows that because he says that. It is sickening.

The claim that Joseph Smith was to establish a Kingdom of God in the United States in the fledgling American Democracy is the type of thing that should rightly rankle American patriots who fought to establish a democracy.

Anyway, the data stream from BYU broke after the following quote, which I think is a fitting end to this post:

Then the prophet Joseph uttered this great principle : "The nearer a man approaches the Lord, the greater the power of the adversary will be manifest to thwart the accomplishment of God's purposes. So opposition will come with the turf."

The escalation of conflict with oppositional logic is a primary theme of Millet's speech and of the Book of Mormon. This makes me so terribly sad. Is the primary plan of Jesus Christ to create hatred and opposition so that we hate and kill each other?

I really don't think so.

For that matter, I think very few members of the LDS Church really understand the full implications of the mean, nasty, manipulative side of their Church. It seems to me that Mormons are trying their hardest to be good people, but they keep finding their efforts undermined by the quiet whisperings that undermine both their efforts and the community around them by creating a climate of opposition and conflict.

Friday, December 29, 2006

All About Mormonism

While looking through a directory about Provo, Utah, I stumbled onto a site called Since I make directories for towns in the Mountain West, I decided to look and see if the site was a fit from the Provo, Utah dot US. I could not find a contact page, and the Domain Registry information indicates that the site is from Washington. Since the site did not have contact or registration information supporting the claim that it is from Provo, I decided against listing the site in the directory.

This decision was troublesome because the site made the accusation that Mormon sites get the shaft from folks like me (I am not LDS). On the Anti-Mormons page, the site put forward the complaint that anti-Mormon web sites rarely have a link pasted prominently on the masthead of the site. The complaint is that a web site is not objective unless it cites the LDS church as the primary authority on Mormonism, as if there really are any organizations that hold objective views of themselves.

On the issue of linking, the LDS Church sued anti-mormon sites for deep linking (Note despite having been sued, the Utah Lighthouse Ministry seems to have a link to

Quite frankly, very few people link to sites with opposing views. For that matter, it is rare for people to link to sites that try to present multiple sides of any issue. People want to link to resources that confirm their world view. Sadly, people often want to misrepresent the views of their enemies.

A second accusation from is that non-Mormon sites rarely objective and fail to report the whole story. Interestingly, the Anti-Mormon quotes page takes many quotes out of context to try in an attempt to make it appear as if Mormonism is the subject of unjust persecution. Predictably, the list leads off with the "extermination order" issued by Missouri Governor Boggs. When you look at the history of the LDS in Missouri, you find a very complex situation: Gov. Boggs wanted Missouri to be a slave state and was worried that groups sympathetic to abolition would settle in the state and disrupt the plan. Meanwhile, Joseph Smith wanted the Mormons to settle in lands that were being claimed by other people. In this climate of sharp divide over slavery and of massive land grabbing, things got tense.

In this tense climate, Sidney Rigdon, the leader of the Missouri colony, called the Mormons to enter into a War of Extermination against others with claims on the area Joseph Smith claimed was Eden. Boggs' "Extermination Order" came in response to the call for an "Extermination War".

I do not like the slave owning bastard named Lucien Boggs. However, I think the massive effort thrown into reporting the "extermination order" came after calls for an "extermination war", provides an incomplete, subjective view of the times.

Pro-LDS sites love to point out that 60 Mormons were killed as the result of this exchange of an Extermination War and Order. There were also gentiles killed in the war. No-one gives a crap about them. On May 6, 1842, Governor Boggs was shot by an unknown assailant. It is romored that the assailant was Porter Rockwell under order from Joseph Smith. Of course this is just a rumor. A bit like the rumor that OJ killed Nicole.

The harsh divisional rhetoric employed by both the Mormons and the slave owners of Missouri during the pioneer land grab of the 1830s led to horrible incidences of people killing each other. Really bad stuff. It seems to me that an "objective" look at the extermination war / extermination order and assassination attempt would find the situation complex. The fact that the one-sided view pops up left and right tells me something is not quite right.

That something that is not quite right leads into the second reason for today's post. It seems to me that Mormonism is one of the most intense religions of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Letters From A Broad makes an insightful comment. She states:

My LDS friend and I talked about what we had heard, and we agreed without hesitation that if the church were not true, the most logical alternative would be atheism.

This quote creates a itch that needs scratching. I keep coming across exmos with stories of bad things happening to them while in the LDS Church. When reality shatters their belief that LDS church is absolutely right, they then jump to the other extreme in believing that it and all religions are absolutely wrong.

It seems to me that exmormons have a tendency to jump from the extreme of absolute certainty in their beliefs to atheism.

This is interesting in contrast to an observation made by sociologist Rodney Stark. Stark's work on the growth of Mormonism indicates that Mormon Missionaries have their greatest success in converting people who grew up in a non-religious environment.

What seems to happen is that people who are in an extremely intense religion jump to atheism when they start questioning the actions of their church. People from non-religious backgrounds jump to the most intense religion they can find when they decide that their non-religious life was unfulfilling.

Anyway, reading the site aLetterFromABroad and AllAboutMormons has me thinking of the forces that tear societies apart. First is seems that when you have groups promoting extreme belief systems, you create a society where people start toggling between the extremes. In such environments, rhetoric and intentional misquoting of one's opponents often leads to escalation of the extremes. The challenge for a civil society is in finding ways to temper the extremes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Punishment for Aiding the Sick is Death!

This is a bizarre story. Apparently, in 1998, 400 plus children at the Al Fateh Children's hospital in Benghazi, Lybia became infected with AIDs. Lybia had a trial and has sentenced one Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses to death for the outbreak. These doctors and nurses are now known as the Tripoli 6.

So the question is, when something really bad happens, what do we do?

The families affected by the disease are overcome with emotion. A common emotion after a tragedy is the demand for justice. The knee-jerk reaction of sentencing the doctor and nurses to death is understandable when we look at the case soley from the victim's point of view. This view says: "I suffered; therefore those suffer!"

The International community views this and sees a different beast. They see the fault lying with the bad sanitary conditions and practices of the hospital. Should nurses, who are willing to work abroad in poor sanitary conditions, be punished for the results of those poor sanitary conditions? The reflexive paradox kicks in here. If you punish people willing to work with the poor in poor conditions, you end up destroying the path to better conditions.

The case also shows the idiocies of conspiracy theories. Khadaffi, the progressive leader of Lybia, had decided that a disease of the decadant west could not exist in his moral, progressive society. 400 children getting sick could not be the result of poor hygiene in a Lybian hospital. Therefore, the contamination must be part of a plot by the CIA and Zionists. Early in the case, Khadaffi's claimed that the CIA infected the children with a genetically modified strain of HIV. Such conspiracies play well in the Arab media.

Jeff Weintraub sites a number of references which seem to indicate that the children were affected by more than just HIV. Some of the children have different strains of HIV. Possibly some were infected before entering the hospital. (Hmmm, if one of the patients was the primary vector for the disease; shouldn't that patient, if still living, be included in the group being executed for the contamination?)

A growing portion of the Arab media seems to be on the side of the doctors.

The Bulgarian News Agency has a informative report on the case. (The english version is currently missing the frameset). Judith has a good piece on the problem in the WSJ Opinion Journal.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Micro Loans v. PayDay Loans

My last post pointed out how Progressives want us to hate PayDay Lenders. What is funny is that change minded individuals have started to embrace and idea called micro-loans. In the 1990s, the United Nations finally came to grips with the fact that the big loans made to third world governments and to big businesses wanting to exploit resources in the third world made things worse for the people living in the third world. The United Nations and World Bank had made gigantic loans to governments on projects that effectively displaced the people they claimed to be helping. The big loans ended up feeding corruption, increasing the gap between the rich and poor. Even worse, the big loans saddled future generations with onerous debts.

Conversely, entrepreneurs and well meaning NGOs found out that making small loans to small community minded businesses end up having a very profound positive effect. Best yet, a lower percentage of the microloans go into default than the big loans from big banks with big government consent and security.

The United Nations is now ringing the bells of MicroCredit. They even declare 2005 as the Year of Microcredit. Much of the worldwide economic boom of the last 6 years is a direct result of the explosion of microcredit.

As with all things, MicroCredit is likely to be overdone. The first microcredit loans by Grameen Bank came from a good lender to good borrowers. This universal declaration of the goodness of Microloans is likely to attract sharks wanting to lend at absurd rates to subprime borrowers.

It is interesting that local progressives are systematically slamming all the doors that provide credit to the poor in our local communities in the United States, while progressives on the international scene have figured out that George Bailey (It's A Wonderful Life reference) style banks working within a community to help it thrive lead to true, sustainable progress.

Pay Day Loans are the Result of Progressive Regulation

I just read an article in the Salt Lake Tribune (The Tribune's policy is to break all inbound links after 90 days: Easy Money With Strings Attached.)

The article does a good job pointing out the idiocies of progressive government. The article begins by deriding the excessive interest rates of PayDay loans companies. I happen to agree. PayDay Loan rates border on the ludicrous. The loans are for small amounts, and a short duration. The loaner charges a lending fee, as opposed to interest (like bonds). That fee might be something like $8 to borrow $100 for two weeks. This is an outrageous interest rate! PayDay Loan companies often provide check cashing services along with the loans. If a person is unable to pay their loan in 14 days, they have to borrow again. In just 13 cycles (182 days) the fees on the loan have exceded the amount of the loan.

I agree with this part of the article. PayDay Loan companies are a big rip off. I would never do business with one. I strongly advise people to avoid such institutions; if they can.

These Check Cashing / Pay Day loan companies exist because there is a growing segment of the population that is underserved by traditional banks. A personal with marginal finances will end up paying more in the way of fines and fees if they tried using traditional banks.

It is after making the case that PayDay Loan companies are bad for consumers that we get into the idiocy of Progressive politics. After making the case that payday loans are bad for consumer, the article presents the progressive solution to the problem: Limit the number of companies that make PayDay loans!

The progressive solution to usery in the subprime lending industry is to prevent new competition from entering into the industry.

A person with even a little bit of common sense (which excludes all Progressives) would realize that preventing people from entering the field of subprime lending industry has the effect of eliminating compentition...which will keep the interest rates ridiculously high.

I do not like the PayDay lending scheme.

Rather than playing the game of calling the people in the industry evil, I want to first look at the reason why people use these companies. The primary reason that people use subprime lenders is that they are underserved by main stream banks.

The next question I ask is why there are no banks ready to serve these people?

The answer here is simple: The regulations of the banking industry have raised the bar of entry so high that it is now impossible for small investors to get together to create a new bank that serves this underserved population.

In many ways, the evils of the PayDay Loan industry come directly from past efforts to regulate the industy and the ways the loans are defined. For example, the loans are designed for a two week period. Imagine that you just got a new job. Your first paycheck will come in one month (30 days). You need $100 to buy a new outfit for the job. Since you check will not show up for 30 days, you will need to run your payday loan through 3 cycles ... incurring a $24 fee.

The payday loan is a very good deal when you have the specific need of a one time loan for exactly 14 days. The loans are a bad deal when your needs differ from that tight definition.

Does the above argument make sense? A person with marginal finances needs a great deal of flexibility from their lenders. Extremely tight regulations often have the effect of eliminating that flexibility. Since the regulations prevent the person in need from getting the loan that best fits their needs, they end up getting the wrong loan ... and it costs them big bucks.

The financially maginal groups in this world need greater flexibility in their lending than is provided by our hyper-regulated banking system can provide. Limiting the number of banks serving the low income (as Progressive suggest) will only worsen the problem.

The article does point a few good solutions. One of the big problems with the PayDay Loan program is that borrowers will often make multiple loans from different companies. A person needing more money than is allowed by the regulated cap on payday loans is apt to run from store to store until they've borrowed the money that they need. This game increases the fees that they will pay, and increases the risk of default.

Some states require lenders to record the loans in a common database.

It's the Christmas season, which means reruns of It's a Wonderful Life. This Christmas classic was recorded in the days of black and white, when it was still possible for George Baileys of the world to make a difference in their community. Unfortunately, the snearing Progressives of the world have choked our society with so much regulation that there is no longer a place for George Baileys who would go out of their way to help the marginal in our society with finances.

Speaking of snearing progressives. Did you note how Lesley Mitchell went out of her way to point out that the owner of one of the PayDayLoan companies was a Republican?

Yes, a large number of businessmen in industries being battered by progressive politics become republicans. Of course, Ms. Mitchell is playing a different game. We are supposed to hate PayDay Loan companies for using the poor by lending them money (when no-one-else will). We are supposed to come away from the article hating the companies and above all hating the evil-Republican companies that try to serve the underserved. Personally, I've gotten to the point in life that I like the businessman who is trying to serve the public more than the progressive critic.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Preserving Main Street

I love the traditional American Main Street lined with independent shops hawking their independent versions of the American dream.

Conversely, I dislike the sprawling soulless American suburbs with cookie cutter strip malls and box stores.

Needless to say, I’ve been greatly disappointed to see that the majority of growth that has occurred during my lifespan has happened in the suburbs. In most cases, the downtowns that I loved as a youth are less than they were when I was born.

The sprawling suburbs have consumed a large portion of the farmland and open space that excite the imagination and charge the soul.

For that matter, one of the primary reasons that I’ve wasted time creating community directories has been an interest in finding ways to preserve the great traditional cultural centers of America that I strongly believe are important to the American psyche.

Anyway, while surfing through the net today, I happened on two interesting sites. The first is the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) from Bozeman, Montana. This organization proclaims the importance of supporting local independent businesses. (Something that my little directories do, and do quite well).

I digging through the various AMIBA sites, I found that many were intensely involved in efforts to preserve traditional main streets such as the Colorado Preservation Council.

My brain began juxtaposing two ideas: Supporting independent businesses and preserving Main Street.

It finally dawned on me what was wrong. The two ideas are oppositional.

Traditionally, Main Street has been the most dynamic, happening and changing place in a city. The reason that people used to flock to Main Street was because it was the happening place that was constantly changing. People used to flock to Main Street to see what was new, innovative and exciting.

The precipitous decline in Main Street began when preservationist councils and aggressive zoning boards started the process of hyper regulation of growth in downtown. Sadly, in most cases, the goal of the zoning board is to preserve the market share of a few powerful players in a city. While zoning boards have proven incapable of attracting business and people to an area, they are extremely adept at shielding powerful concerns in a city from competition.

The goal of preservation councils is generally to stop growth and preserve the character of an area as it existed at some point in the past. The goal of the preservationist is simply soak the town in bureaucratic formaldehyde; so that the downtown will never change. The fact that such sterile environments are neither conducive to the growth of business or to the public at large does not matter.

The traditional American Main Street is not simply an architectural style that existed at a given period of time. Main Street is a process of continual change. If Main Street is first and foremost a process of change, then the very cry to preserve Main Street is an oxymoron. How do you preserve an entity when change is the central to the nature of the entity?

If we really want to renew our downtowns, we need to find ways to reignite the process of continual renewal that defined the traditional Main Streets. We need to get back to the world where we see Main as a center of innovation, growth and improvement, and not as an ideal that existed in the past, that has been lost.

To preserve the dynamic character of downtown, we need to break from the modern mind set that values preserving old buildings to one that preserves the beating heart of Main. That living, beating heart demands continual growth and change.

The Planning commissions are not the ally of small business. Planning and preservation committees are the primary enemy of growth and small business.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why We Are Losing

I put this answer on an article on Tom I liked the way it sounded so I expanded and am repeating it here:

I think people are supportive of the troops in Iraq, but are upset that we did not have sufficient deliberation before the invasion. Our justification for the invasion was that Hussein was not decreasing his stock piles of WMDs fast enough. That is a weak justification for the violence that ensued. There is also the question of whether or not Iraq was the best target. Personally, I think stopping the genocide in Sudan would have been a better move. There are arguments that Iran was a greater threat to world stability than Iraq. The energy wasted in Iraq would have been better spent trying to counter Iran.

Americans hate the fact that we aren't on the moral high ground with the invasion.

Because we did not go through a sufficient process of deliberation, we ended up leaving our political flanks open, and the left was able to attack with a vengeance.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

P-C News Update

Arch conservative John Bolton is using his last days as U.N. Ambassador to counter growing demands for genocide of Israelis from radical Islam.

Meanwhile progressives are inching closer to the proclamation that genocide is good. An Aussie scientist wants to start involuntary sterilization programs and hints at the need to let middle aged and elderly people die in a timely manner.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

An Afternoon Spent Witch Hunting

I watched the Da Vinci Code DVD last week. The videography was great. Unfortunately, the good videography could not overcome the mediocrity of the book.

In this work, Dan Brown makes the accusation that witch hunting is a primary tenet of Christianity. He even points to a book called the Malleus Maleficarum with the claim that Christians, following Constantine, used the Malleus Maleficarum in a massive persecution of pagans of the ancient world. I reject the Malleus Maleficarum led to the ascendency of Christianity in Europe. The Malleus Maleficarum was published in 1486, a full millennia after Constantine.

1486 is toward the end of the Italian Renaissance and near the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It seems to me that the Malleus Maleficarum was part of the effort to rid a Christian Europe of the superstitions that had calcified society during the "dark ages." It does not fit in an explanation of why Christianity won out over Roman and Greek paganism.

The fact that some people were caught by the lure of witch hunting in Renaissance Europe does bring up the question of the role that witch hunting plays in the Christian world. Christian Europe seems to have a very interesting pattern. There would be a fury of interest in witch hunting, followed by a widespread condemnation of the witch hunters. The lack of sustained interest in witch hunting leads me to believe that witch hunting is a central theme of Christianity.

I read a little bit about the Malleus Maleficarum. I found it interesting that the work makes multiple references to witch hunting in Rome. A central theme of the work is that if Christian Europe is to be great like Rome, Christians much persecute its witches ... like Rome. This is typical Renaissance literature.

Multiple references to witch hunting in Rome made me start thinking that witch-hunting is not unique to Christianity. Research on witch-hunting in Christianity must compare the witch hunting incidents in Christiandom to those of other cultures.

In this regard, I was intrigued with a podcast that showed up in National Geographic podcast list called the Witches of Ghana. This video shows the plight of a woman accused of witchcraft then banished to the witch town of Gnani. I have always associated the term witch hunting with Christians run amok. However, it makes sense that culture that seriously believe in witchcraft would resort to persecuting people accused of black magic.

I suspect that quality research would end up finding that witch hunting is more common in societies that actually believe in the practice of witchcraft.

Perhaps it is because witch-hunting is out of character of the Christian tradition that we have a more detailed account of the abuses of witch hunters than societies that believe in witchcraft. In the modern world the accusation of being a witch hunter has more of a stigma than the accusation that a person is a witch.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Glorification of Crimes

One of the primary reasons that I am against the death penalty is that the death penalty all but begs for politicizing the enforcement of law. Michelle Malkin has been reporting on the glorification of American murderers in France. On the right, you find people campaigning for the death penalty. The William Andrews case is a good example. Andrews was the accomplice in a horrible murder, he left the room right before the murders. Andrews had a viable case that he was bullied by his friend Selby into committing the murders. Executing Andrews was a borderline decision.

The primary reason Andrews was executed was because the family of the victims spent years actively campaigning for the execution. I do feel for the family. I hope that the closure of the execution brought them some comfort.

Andrews was not local, and he was black. This meant that there was not a local political base to campaign for a stay of execution. Andrew was a horrible person who enabled a terrible crime spree. His case, however, was borderline. The combination of a pro-execution campaign with no balancing counter-execution campaign tipped the scales.

The reason I turned against the death penalty during this execution was the observation that political campaigns for or against a criminal determines the life or death of the prisoner.

The international glorification of murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal shows the opposite side of this coin. In the political campaign for staying the execution of this cop-killer, the left has turned Mumia Abu-Jamal into a cultural icon. He is a revolutionary hero who kills policemen for social justice.

Michelle Malkin is right to point out that this campaign to glorify Mumia Abu-Jamal is a prime example of the extent to which the left is willing to undermine society the grub for power; however, we are faced with the problem that the death penalty creates a venue for such political moves.

Despite the fact that the death penalty gives solace to the families of the victims, the high road is to take the issue off the table.

This situation, where every border line death penalty case turns into a political campaign, will always tear our society apart and simply results in unnecessary damage the families of the victims involved in crimes. In cases where the political campaign stays the execution, the victim's family is left wondering why their loved one was not important enough to receive justice. In the cases where the execution occurs, the families and supporters of the murderer will fall into the belief that they are unjustly persecuted. In too many cases, the death penalty seems to magnify the horror of the crime. Too often it results in glorifying the murderers.

Yes, the progressives of the world are a sickening lot. They advocate creating and destroying millions of innocent lives in laboratories for experimental purposes, then go ballistic at the idea of executing guilty people.

In such a politically charged environment, it is always best to take the high road. Taking execution off the tables is costly, but it saves our society the damage done for and against the execution of prisoners.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mozy on over

I decided to try out the Mozy backup service. This service will backup files onto a remote server which happens to be in Provo.

Using the internet for backups is a very good idea. A good backup system stores the data in a remote location. If something bad happens at your home, it could affect both your computer and your backup disks.

What I've done in the past is to zip and encrypt files, then save the file at my webhost. Webhosts are notoriously insecure places. This system makes me entirely dependent on the compression of the zip file and my ability to keep my password secret. BTW, I also save a zipped copy of my websites on my home computer. For that matter, I've had to restore my web site twice already. The Mozy system is a lot easier to use than my kluged system of zipped files.

The only big downside to the Mozy program is that sending a backup over DSL takes a long time. My one suggestion for people using the service is to do a small backup first. After backing up some data, you should make sure you can retrieve the files you backed up.

This Mozy system was a lot cleaner than any of the tape backup systems that I've used in the past. The program gives 2GB of storage for free. You then pay modest amounts for additional backup space. The referral program is cool. I get 250MB additional backup space for recommending the service. Since backing up data is an important thing for people to do; I am more than happy to recommend it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Political Process of UN Nominations

While I wait for customer support, I thought I should expand my post on the Bolton shafting.

I don't think that Bolton is some type of saviour who has a magical formula to turn the United Nations back to the classical liberal roots that it abandonned. He is just a gruff outsider who is both patriotic and has been vocal in pointing U.N. abuses. The months he spent as a presidential appointee shows that he garners the respect the US needs if it is to support reform.

The divisive games that democrats make by shafting nominees in commission seriously undermines the credibility of the United States. The problem is not that Bolton was the best man, but the political games played by the Democrats almost always results in a situation where either a lesser candidate wins the nomination, or that the process ends up undermining the effectiveness of the nominee.

Bolton's months of service have shown that he was not the loose cannon we initially feared. He was showing that he was the extremely forthright and upstanding ambassador that Bolton's supporters claimed that he was. The Democrats who undermined Bolton's nomination in committee undermined the ability of our nation to affect UN reform.

The result is that the United Nations might become an extraordinarily strong force against the United States and the few remaining democracies in the world.

More Down Time

My photo web site was down for half the day yesterday. Something on my shared server hogs the connections ... then causes total failure. I've thrown hours scouring my site to see if there is an errant query that hogs connections. It is probably an errant query on a site that shares my database.

I've gradually come to the conclusion that the dynamically generated web model does not work on shared servers. On shared hosts, one is dependent on all of the other sites sharing the host. I need to redesign my web sites so that I don't need to connect to a database for each page.

The super frustrating thing, of course, is the need to harrass technical support to reset the database connections.

My strategy had been to concentrate a large number of domains with one host with the idea that I might get better service doing so. That idea hasn't panned through.

Anyway, I figured I would break up my web site structure and use different hosts. It would be a good opportunity to play with different control panels and figure out how different companies work.

I am currently trying to move a couple sites to out of Provo. The selling point for BlueHost was that they offered both PHP4 and PHP5 hosting. I wanted to try my hands at the new PHP5 language.

Sadly, their sign up process never gave me a chance to select my preference. They threw me on a PHP4 server by default. After wasting a couple hours finding out that there was no way to upgrade the account myself, I find myself, once again, at the mercy of the help desk of a discount web host. ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

The main problem with all discount hosts is the thumb twiddling for customer support. Of course, I haven't a clue how any discount host can survive at the low rates that they charge. It seems to me that all web sites will have technical issues here and there. I suspect that this one PHP4-PHP5 technical issue that occurred during sign up will wipe out the company's profit margin on the account.

I admit, I would be much happier with a dedicated hosting solution. That way I could be my own tech support. Unfortunately, all the dedicated hosting places I've found cost $75plus a month ... plus the cost of the server.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sad to See Bolton Shafted

While I am more than happy to dance on Rumsfeld's tomb, I am sad to see Bolton getting the shaft (Yahoo). The Yahoo article and other sources I've found seem to indicate that people at the UN like working with Bolton and see him as someone who is capable of reforming the United Nations.

Bolton's main fault is that he is an outsider who hates seeing the abuse of the United Nation's by powerful insiders. Bolton's gruff personality along with his ability to see through BS laid on by the insiders is precisely what this world needs; if we wish to affect reform of the United Nations. Denying the nomination shuts down the possibility of reform for the foreseeable future.

Which, I guess is what the corrupt political machine of the far left wants.

IMHO we need to listen more to the gruff like Bolton and avoid the lure of slick insiders like Rumsfeld.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

IED = Landmines

The reaction to recent Rumsfeld memo leaks is quite interesting. These memos show that there actually were efforts underway to change course in Iraq. Interestingly, the talking points published by the NY Times center on the idea that changing the course simply leads to more dysfunction. Conservative bloggers try to point out that the NY Times show the two-faced nature of the left. The Bush administration could not talk publicly about ways to change the course because open discourse gets attacked by the Left. The administration's silence on the issue before the election gets attacked by the press. I doubt, however, that Rumsfeld will get much vindication from these leaks.

Despite the qualities that Rumsfeld brought to the table, he failed the US in two big aspects: First, He made it appear that the conservative movement in America advocates the use of torture (most do not). He also blundered by coming out in support of the use of landmines.

On this thought, I was just watching a TV news report of the latest bombings in Baghdad. The TV cameras quickly surveyed the carnage, some talking heads spoke about the IEDs used in the attacks, then the show switched to a commericial.

I switched off the commercial. The term IED bounced around in my brain, then struck the memory of Rumsfeld's idiotic support for the development of smart landmines. These IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that are wreaking so much havoc in Iraq are essentially the same smart landmines that Rumsfeld endorses.

Properly speaking, a landmine is an IED that a terrorist plants in the ground hoping to kill whoever walks by (soldiers, children, etc.). Killing with landmines is a slow tedious process.

The IEDs of the Jihadist is a smart landmine. They are bombs that Jihadists place in cars and park in a public places. They get exploded with smart devices like cell phones or timers. The most dispicable IEDs are bombs that Jihadists strap to idealistic thirteeen-year-olds. The Jihadist puppet masters direct the thirteen-year-old to a crowd, then cowers under a veil of hatred as the young child goes boom.

Rumsfeld's idiotic support for the development of smart IEDs blurs the moral clarity of the war on terror without giving us a strategic advantage. Likewise, Rumsfeld's blundering on the torture blurred the moral clarity of the war. It fragmented his base. In return it gave us only questionable gains.

The only way for the West to win in this struggle is for the Mideast to realize that the ideals of classical liberalism lead to widespread prosperity. It is impossible to win when we have leaders like Rumsfeld who routinely blur the moral clarity that sits at the foundation of the classical liberal ideals. Had the US renewed its stand against landmines, then we would be in a better position to denounce the use of IEDs (smart landmines) as a terrorist weapon. Instead we watch have to watch the carnage in Iraq without even the ability to denounce the tactics since the technocratic leader of our war came out in open support for the use of "smart landmines."

The left may be two-faced, but Rumsfeld is the primary that we are losing the peace.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Down Again

I would be working on my web sites. Unfortunately, my discount web host is down again. Instead of complaining, I should be happy. I've averaged only about 2 serious outages a month at The are up over 90% of the time! Of course, as I write this blog post, blogger goes down. My experience is that Avidhosting is down probably only three times more often than Blogger.

Being down so much of the year is frustrating. Perhaps I should rethink the idea of having all the pages dynamically generated. Now that I have more diskspace available, I could change the design so that it generates static pages. That way the web site wouldn't be down when the database failed. Delivering static pages might be faster. Of course, doing that means that I could not deliver custom pages to users as I currently.

I had pulled out most of the custom page code because I was scared that Googlebot would give me demerits for delivering slightly different pages to their webcrawler than to the end users. I hate having to make compromises for a flippin' robot, but that is the way the web works. Designers have to consider google first and the experience of users at the site second.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Of Popes and Turkeys

Pope Benedict's Apolistic Journey to Turkey is something of note. I have been listening to Anders podcast on Byzantine rulers, I have also been reading works that fill in the gaps on western history including Stark's The Victory of Reason.

In school, I bought into the line that civilization flourished in Rome. Then Christians took over causing the Dark Ages. Reading past modern progressive propaganda, I've realized that history is more complex than the one dimensional view held by Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.

The first realization was that what we call Ancient Greece was not simply the modern country of Greece. Much of the history of Greece actually happened in Turkey. After the conquest of Alexandria (Aristotle's student), Alexandria Egypt became the intellectual capital of the world.

As Rome deteriorated its imperial corruption, the better part of the Roman Empire moved to Constantanople (modern Istanbul). So, during the Middle Ages, Constantanople was the place to be. What modern scholars call the Byzantine Empire was the remnants of the Roman empire. The people in the empire called themselves Roman, they spoke and learned Greek. The ongoing wars with Persia, the fall of Alexandria and eventual fall of Constantanople made the area disappear from our history books.

From the days of the days of the ancient Greeks to the fall of Constantanople, Turkey was a primary center of world culture.

The modern drama of a secular Turkey joining the European Union is extremely important in world history. Can a country that is 98.9% Islam tolerate the existence of other faiths and join the free world, or will it turn Jihadist and reject the west?

As I understand, one of the primary messages of Pope Benedict is that you cannot separate faith from reason, or reason from faith. I am sympathetic to this argument as I see a great danger in efforts to elevate science to a religion. Conversely, removing reason from faith leads to dictatorial cults like the FLDS. In my opinion, Pope Benedict's visit to Istanbul brings up many of the issues that must be addressed if we are to break from the ongoing religious wars between west and east and develop a world where ideas compete on their merits and not by the sword.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Everything and Nothing to do with Cedar

Cedar Breaks National MonumentI decided to spend the day labeling photos. In the last several days I've labeled pictures from the Canyon Glen Park near . Most of the pictures, however, are from the Cedar City Area. The gallery which I suspect will get the most traffic is the Cedar Breaks gallery which includes images of the awe inspiring Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Downtown Cedar City
Labeling pictures from Cedar City is difficult as there are no cedars near Cedar City. The town and things around the town were named for the Juniper trees that grow in abundance around the town. Most of the stories on the name of Cedar City hold that the early pioneers were too stupid to properly identify plants. Personally, I think the reason for the names is more complex. The Mormon Pioneers were out to build a new Zion and loved naming the features in the area with a biblical motif. Since there has always been a great deal of latitude in common plant names, the pioneers took to calling the local Junipers "cedar" with the hope that the name would stick. The name "cedar" probably would have stuck except the taxonomists developing the scientific classification system chose to distinguish between the Pinaceae (pine) and Cupressaceae (cypress) families. The scientific naming system is having the same crisis with plant classifications with the current push to classify plants with phylogentic system.

SUU LibraryI was duly impressed with Southern Utah University. SUU seems to be evolving from a small regional community college into a true world class university. This makes sense as the school is in a good location and a fun town. SUU is the home of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which has a stellar reputation in theatrical circles.

Jay Dee and Alice Harris CenterOne of the most prominent features of SUU is the Eccles Coliseum and Harris Center. The coliseum and event center were built with a Greek theme. The site has obelisks, columns, etc..

Friday, November 24, 2006

International Justice

This sounds like a bonehead decision. A French Court decided that it wanted to try Rwanda's President Paul Kagame for the 1994 assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana. This assassination was used by Hutu radicals to spark the genocide which killed 800,000 Rwandans (Yahoo News).

It would have been great a dozen years ago if international forces were willing to try Kagame for the assassination. If the international community, during Clinton's administration, was willing to do more than take bribes for Saddam Hussein, we might have been able to stop both the genocides in Rwanda and the genocides in Iraq.

The assassination of Habyarimana was a horrible thing. However, the world owes Kagame a debt for not reciprocating the Hutu genocide of Tutsis with a Tutsi genocide of Hutu. Rwanda is a country where everyone one (including the international community) has blood on its hands. As much as Kagame's acts demand justice, we really are left in a spot where administering the justice will destabilize the region.

This is the same bad thinking that led Bush to invade Iraq. There were plenty of reasons to invade Iraq in the Clinton administration. Bush's effort to administer justice to Saddam Hussein for the genocide that occurred during Clinton's watch has so far only led to instability.

In international affairs the timing of efforts to enforce justice is far more important than the administration of justice. Had the ICC been place to try Kagame before the genocide, we may have prevented the genocide. The post genocidal world is one where everyone's hands are bloody and courts seeking justice tend to hinder efforts at rebuilding. Kagame did not reciprocate the genocide. Yes, the EU may be embarrassed that they cut and run in Rwanda and hundreds of thousands of people died as a result. The problem is that there is never any clear way for humans to administer justice decades after an event. Efforts to do so generally leads to Balkanization where each faction remembers centuries of wrongs committed against them, but fails to see the atrocities committed on their behalf.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Intentional Insults

I listened to a news clip (FoxNews) by John Kerry about his botched xyz is stupid joke. You remember, this is the guffaw that Kerry made when he was trying to insult George Bush but ended up insulting the US troops.

Mr. Kerry's comment was as follows:

"Let's be honest about this ... The whitehouse knew that I did not set out to or into insult anybody. [...] What those troops heard they heard because the White House attack machine took those comments and turned them into what they want."

Kerry is right about the horrible effects that attack machines can have on discourse. I suspect that never ending onslaught of attacks is a primary reason why Bush fails to engage the public at critical points like the aftermath of Katrina and the build up to the Iraq invasion.

The key to Kerry's comment, though, is that bit I emphasized in bold. The words: "I did not set out to or into insult anybody."

In the speech with the guffaw, Kerry had a long string of insults aimed directly at George Bush. Kerry was trying his hardest to insult someone. For that matter, he was even trying to hurt somebody at a subliminal level by heaving a series of insults directly at George Bush.

Kerry complains about Republican Attack Dogs. However, Kerry was playing the role of an attack dog when he made his Freudian slip. The fact that Kerry was playing the attack dog when he made his freudian slip is the exact reason why he is fair game.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This is Our War

go to Overstock.comI am at the downtown library again. There was a copy of the work "This Is Our War" by Devin Friedman on the desk. I ended up reading that book rather than working on the project that I had planned. This is a coffee table book with images taken by US soldiers during the first year of the war in Iraq. A large number of soldiers brought digital cameras and this is one of the most photographed and documented wars in history.

The images reminded me of how upset I was during the invasion of 2003. The Shock and Awe campaign that caused so much destruction in the country ripped my heart apart.

It is strange how I tend to be out of sync with the rest of the nation. The Shock and Awe Campaign that shot Bush's approval ratings through the roof, was the low for me. The fact that Bush stayed the course during and after the Iraqi election, and the fact that he is still standing behind the Iraqi government and against the terrorists boosts my approval.

Anyway, I just put this portfolio from the US soldiers on my recommended reading list.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kolob Canyon

Kolob in FallHere is a set of pictures of Kolob Canyon near Cedar City. The Kolob Canyon region is just off I15 (exit 40). If you are driving across Utah and really only have time for a quick stop, this is the place to do that stop. The canyon features some spectacular views of Navajo Sandstone. I was lucky to visit the canyon at the end of October when the leaves were turning color.

The American Burka

I was taking a walk on an absolutely beautiful Fall day. This was one of those crisp afternoons where the sky was crystal clear, the sun was muted with sufficient high cloud coverage to minimize the glare. The temperature was in the mid sixties.

I passed a group of disaffected youth on the street. They were all bundled up in the fashion statement of the day ... the venerable hoodie. One of the members of the group was clearly male. Two were clearly female. The other shuffled in a nondescript asexual method.

As I approached the group, the hooded figures aimed a feeble shrug in my direction to avert any human to human greetings ... as if I did not already know that people in the United States were not supposed to acknowledge eachothers presence when we passed on the street.

This was not the first time I have seen the hoodie. I have seen a large number of kids sulking around with their identities safely guarded in the tiny haven of a hoodie. I have even seen been the subject of a hollow stare of a meth-infected eyes daring a glance from beneath of a hoodie in my direction.

If it was a beautiful day that was actively driving in my mind the beauty of this planet earth, I would not have noticed the disaffected teens sulking around oblivious to the world around them. It was such a beautiful day that I really began wondering what type of fashion statement would make teens shut off the world to close themselves in the anonymous shadow of a hood.

As I thought of the hoodie, a vision of the oppressed women forced to wear burkas in the mideast shot into my vision.

Yes, it makes sense that, as our nation declares defeat to the forces of radical Islam, American youth would begin cloaking themselves in the American Burka.

David Horowitz
has a few pictures of the two hoodie clad activists who tried to disrupt his speach at Ball State. Yes, as we declare defeat, it makes sense that we both act and dress like the victors.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman ... Passing the Torch?

Milton Friedman passed away. It is sad.

Just the other day, I was trying to think of any current intellectuals who are actively defending the ideals of classical liberalism ... like Mr. Friedman. David Horowitz does a great job showing the extent to which the left wing has infiltrated and effectively controls large portions of the academic world. I like the guy. Horowitz is a former Communist intellectual who realized that the classical liberal tradition was a better path to peace than the modern progressive path. Horowitz does a great job showing the methodologies used by the left to infiltrate and control schools and media. His works, however, does not lay the foundations for returning to the classical liberal ideals.

There's armies of neocons who realize that something is deeply wrong with our modern culture and are marching around as culture warriors. These people are marching around and arguing negative issues like efforts to prevent gays from having "gay marriages." The culture warriors are right on many, many issues, but they are not really laying a good foundation for freedom. The clumbsy messages given by culture warriors can easily be manipulated by the left. A great example is the way the left manipulates efforts to defend the traditional family and marriage as hatred of gays.

I like the Cato Institute. Unfortunately, they've been marginalized from the right because they were opposed to the Gulf War, the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq War. They are marginalized from the left because the sheep on the left associate them with George Bush.

Recently, a number of historians have come forth to challenge the one-dimensional histories held by progressives. A great example is The Victory of Reason by Rodney Stark. This work argues that the Dark Ages were quite as intellectually dark as progressives claim. It is in these Dark Ages that we find the roots of capitalism and freedom that made the west a great success. Aristotle's Children by Rubenstein explores the history of reason in Western culture that has been censured from the schools by modern progressive. Other works like "The God that Did Not Fail" and "How the Irish Saved Civilization" take stabs at showing how Christian communities worked to preserve and teach the great works of culture despite constant onslaught by plagues and the various thugs that routinely sacked cultural centers in the Dark Ages.

These are worthy efforts that counter progressive thinking by arguing that there may be portions of Western culture worth preserving. You can gleen from the works a little bit about why the west was successful. However, they aren't really a good systematic treatises on why we should preserve freedom.

A decade ago there was a slurry of books like "Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century", "Death by Government" and "The Black Book of Communism" that enumerate the atrocities committed by communists in the last century. Unfortunately, the progressives of the modern century are too stupid and sheepish to realize that the clever little methods they use to attack Bush and rise to power are simply a rehashing of the same tricks that led to the genocides of a century ago and that continue in Sudan.

In recent years, we have seen George Soros turn the efforts of Karl Popper to defend an Open Society into its opposite. George Soros is an interesting character. He was born in Budapest Hungary. He escaped to the west where he perfected a slew of anti-market tricks to manipulate financial exchanges. These tricks made him extremely power. He has learned to manipulate markets against his enemies and all sorts of fun Machiavellian tricks. Under the guise of a 401C called the "Open Society Institute", Soros now use his wealth to support a variety of "progressive" efforts to turn the US and world into the Budapest of his childhood.

In some ways, I fear that all efforts to preserve freedom will be turned into its opposite. I am sure that there are ways to twist the works of Milton Friedman into its opposite. If you have read the works by Karl Marx, you will enjoy the systematic way that he twists the philosophy of Adam Smith into their opposite.

The word "progressive" once referred to efforts to create an even playing field in the market by removing inherent inequities in the market. Today, the word is more often used in efforts to destroy the free market. The word "liberal" once referred to efforts to liberate, and not to enslave people.

I am said for Milton Friedman's passing.

I simply wish that I knew of people successfully carrying on the defense of freedom. I look around me. The few defenders of freedom there were lurking around here and there appear to be in retreat.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Going Wireless

My new computer has a built in Wifi connection. So, I decided to run out and go wireless for the afternoon. I first set out to Liberty Park (which is on the SLC Wireless List. I found out that I could not see the screen ... even under the big shade trees; So, I headed to the Salt Lake Library (Salt Lake Library photos). I went to the top floor, thinking that the electomagnetic waves on the top floor would have more potency than the bottom.

Anyway, I am feeling super cool and jacked in at the moment...despite the fact that I am doing something relatively unproductive ... blogging.

Being perched in a wifi zone like this, you would think that I would do something kewl like writing the first chapter of a book. Hmmmm, maybe that is what I should do next.

Or better yet. Since I am on a fast connection, perhaps I should use this time to delete my way through some of the spam that has accumulated in my filters. The last I looked, there were 30,000 spams since my last spam deletion at the end of October.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Republican Non-partisanship begins (wink, wink)

This is odd. (Yahoo). Apparently Democrats just managed to sideline legislation to help normalize trade relations with Vietnam. Apparently, the point of blocking the legislation was to embarras Bush on his upcoming visit to Hanoi.

The sheep of the progressive blogosphere will be working overtime to find ways to spin their acts Republicans being partisan. That really isn't too hard to do. In progressive speak ... Any act by someone who is not a socialist is partisan. It is called "projection" which is pretty much the mainstay of the Democratic propaganda machine.

Tech Update

I just switched from the traditional blogger to the Blogger Beta; I thought my first post with the new interface should be a technical update.

First off, I got my new Dell Inspiron (Dell). Wow! Things are going a lot faster, I am not battling against bad sectors on the disk. Above all, the monitor resolution is astounding. I am now having to rethink my picture site protophoto. I had edited all of the pictures on the site with a monitor with really lousy resolution. Using a leading edge of 640px filled up the screen; now it is just a little box in the center of the screen.

I ordered 2 gigabytes of memory with the computer as I have been hearing rumors of some software failing with just 1 GB in Vista beta. Of course, I may decide to just stick with XP, and have an overkill on memory. With the diskspace and memory, I will be able to upload some server side software; which I was scared to do on the old computer.

As for the web: You may have noticed that I had several posts to Michelle Malkin. I did so, because I've been investigating the different trackback mechanisms on the web. She's a firecracker who seems to realize that there is something wrong with our methods of discourse.

When I first started blabbering on this blog, I went through the brain damage of writing my own comments/trackback program. None of the trackback/comment mechanisms had the same features as my experiment. I turned off the experiment as it was not getting a great deal of use. My web host couldn't handle the traffic if people started using it. Anyway, playing with trackback has me think of reviving the program I started. Of course, Google Beta seems to have a new linkback method. I will play with that thing next.

The problem with trackback is that the technology was built by people who've been hypnotyzed into thinking that XML is something other than a great big hassle. As with most XML projects, by building trackback mechanisms on XML, programmers have created a mechanism that is extremely difficult for humans to use. The trackback link mechanisms seem to be used by computers to generate trackback spam, but are not being used by people to link blogs.

A good linkback mechanism would be intuitive for humans to use. For that matter, a good linkback mechanism would require human interaction to register a linkback. An intuitive human driven mechanism would end up making meaningful links between blogs and web sites while minimizing computer generated spam.

Gender and Party Confusion Combined

This is odd. The SF School Board (Michelle Malkin) wants to toss out the Junior ROTC from the SF School system because the miltary's Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy. As I recall, this policy was set up by Bill Clinton as a compromise between conservatives who want a complete ban on gays in the military and liberals who would like the military to become a gay institution.

In the ever repeating history department, it is interesting that San Francisco Liberals are trying to set Nancy Pelosi's rise to power off on the same misstep that tripped up Clinton.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Al Quaida's Victory

al quaida is celebrating its victory in the 2006 US Elections and hopes to have genocides in full swing throughout the world in a few years.

It is interesting how so much of the propaganda generated by radical Islam matches to the propaganda of modern progressives. It is almost as if many of the revolutionary leaders of radical Islam went to school in the west. Oh, wait a second. Many of them did learn their revolutionary thinking in modern leftist schools.

The big similarities that I see in this Yahoo report is that the al qaida propagandists repeat the same attacks on Bush's intelligence that Nancy Pelosi successfully used in her rise to power..

Anyway, while listening to the post 2006 election reports, I am startled by the large number of reporters who accept that a complete withdrawl from Iraq is a done deal.

Changing direction does not necessarily mean surrender. It could mean that we try to find different ways to fight the enemy.

A much smarter idea is to stay in Iraq, but to simply move our troops out of harm's way. Bush's course involved directly engaging terrorists. Chaning course could mean that we leave offensive engaging the enemy to the Iraqis. Our forces would stay in Iraq but would be in well defended places. In other words, we get out of the businesses of trying to protect the Iraqis from themselves. We would only be there to help prevent an invasion from Iran and our forces would really only be in places that we have well defended.

The idea that the 2006 election means we must retreat is very naive.

Lets quickly review the problem: Al quaida and other terrorist groups are willing to kill millions of civilians to take power. This war in Iraq is simply one where terrorists kill civilians by the thousands while we watch in horror and want to get out. If we follow our impulse and set the precedence that we will retreat whenever we encounter a force willing to kill large numbers of people, we will eventually end up surrending the whole world to these forces.

Yes, surrending will stop our newspapers from reporting the killings. It does not stop the actual killings. When we followed John Kerry in a retreat from Vietnam, our press stopped giving us daily reports on the deaths in Vietnam and Cambodia. However, after the retreats, the there was an exponential increase in the killings. Not seeing the killings reported in the paper does not mean they did not happen.

So, lets say we give Iraq to Al Quaida. The terrorists will see that their technique of killing large numbers of innocent civilians is successful. They will then start killing tens of of thousands of people in Afghanistan. Because we can't stand reading about murders, we will follow John Kerry in another retreat and give that country back to the Taliban. Next the terrorists will move on to Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, etc.. Terrorists will start killing tens of thousands of people in these countries until we retreat. With the Mideast secure, the Arab terrorists will be in the position to practice their mojo in Spain, France and Turkey.

The technique is simple. If you are willing to kill large numbers of people, the west will run, just as the West ran from Rwanda, Sudan, Cambodia, Vietnam and Somalia. Any fool who stands up to the tides of history, as Bush tried, will simply be labeled by the left as an incompetent.

Now, most of the Democrats who won in 2006 are moderates. They are not seeking a Kerry style retreat. The fact that our left leaning press is treating the election as a victory for the left leaning al quaida is really absurd.

The 2006 Democratic victory should be reconized as an opportunity to create a bipartisan policy to support the struggling young democracy in Iraq. The yammering of talking heads who've concluded that we have no option except retreat might create a self fulfilling prophesy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is Bolton Next?

I think that Axing Rumsfeld was a good idea.

I think the new Democratic majority would do very well at this point to approve the nomination of John Bolton as the Ambassador to the United Nation.

The UN is in dire need of reform. Having a gruff UN critic as our UN ambassador could help the United States achieve that goal. The majority of Bolton's complaints are dead on. The standard dried in the wool internationalist who usually serves as UN ambassador would be less effective in inducing positive change.

Remeber, the UN stood by to watch genocides in Sudan, Rwanda and even in Iraq. IMHO, the corruption of the UN by the oil for food program was one of the contributing factors to the current mess.

There is value to having a harsh critic or two. Bolton is one of those harsh critics who can induce change. Rumsfeld, on the other hand, is the typical insider technocrat who has the magic ability to turn victories into defeat.

Rumsfelds Gone. Hurray!

Rumsfeld's Out!

This is the best news I've heard for several months.

Michelle Malkin is correct that the Rumsfeld served honorable! The problem is that the guy has that neocon/Machiavellian approach to issues that tends to accomplish the opposite of what our nation needs.

Rumsfeld kept coming out and doing stupid things like appearing to favor the use of torture, and the use of landmines. Neither the use of torture nor the use of landmines is in the United State's interest.

There are reasons why bans on torture and landmines fall short.

Instead of pointing out these reasons, Rumsfeld would blunder into prattle that made the Bush Administration look like it supported the use of torture and landmines.

(The reason that bans on torture don't work is that different countries have different definitions of what is and what is not torture. Members of the international community wanting to embarrass the US could define any interrogation techique as torture. Conversely, when our intelligence community is working abroad, say in Saudi Arabia, we have the problem that they do commit torture. A total ban on torture prevent us from working with an ally.

The Landmine Ban has an overly aggressive schedule for removing the landmines between North and South Korea. The international community should not be destabilizing that area, even for the worthy cause of a landmine ban.

The Bush Administration would have done well to rid itself of Rumsfeld a long time ago.

So far, the change in leadership of the House is serving our nation well.

Nancy Pelosi has come out and said that the Democratic leadership will change its tact from an unending attack on the adminstration to one of cooperation. If this is true, there is hope for a peaceful resolution to the problems in Iraq.

Conversely, if the next two years degenerated into a two year Democratic campaign for the presidency, then the world would become a more divided and hateful place.

I belittled Howard Dean for a backhanded call for civility. If the Democratic controlled Congress does behave in a civil manner, then things can get better.

The US is Very Lucky

I voted with the new Deibold machines. The vote was extremely clean. I voted the usual mix of Democratic, Republican mixed candidates.

In this regard, I am happy that the Democrats won. The left wing has thrown millions of dollars and millions of man hours into a disinformation campaign to convince the world that the elections are rigged.

The truth of the matter is that the Bush administration has done a horrible job convincing the public that there is value to the traditional values that had made the United States such a wealthy nation. Bush earned this kick in the rear.

During the Bush administration, the Republicans had abandonned too much of their ideology and tried to buy continued power through expensive idiocies like the presciption drug gimmick, and tax cuts without corresponding cuts in spending. The Republicans have a difficult, but not impossible task, in the next two years to convince the American people that freedom is a good thing.

Since the left has a winning strategy of claiming all electoral losses as fraud, the Republicans have to have a strategy that goes beyond their last minute get out the vote campaign.

The 2006 election really goes down as one of the most pathetic things in history. The primary campaign for the Democrats was simply hatred for Bush, and the primary campaign of the Republicans was the fact that the Democrats are worse.

On the plus side, we only have to deal with Nancy Pelosi for two years. Unlike Nicaraguan vote for Ortega that effectively ends democracy in that country, this vote didn't end US democracy. It was a pathetic, idea free stage in a series of elections. We can only hope that the Republican leadership realizes that their abandonning the ideals of limited government and freedom for the people led to their losing the election.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Democratic leader Howard Dean just said this on TV:

"We are going to be civil ... Unlike the Republicans."

The fact that this claiming of civility is immediately followed by a jab at his enemies makes me interpret both the statement and the smirk on Dean's face as an instance of a politician projecting his methods onto his opponents.

We are not going to be able to return to civil discourse until we get people who realize that the incivility is coming from the foundations of the modern system of reasoning. It is not just a matter of those Republicans lacking civility.

In my modern liberal schooling, I had learned to attack my enemies by creating an undercurrent of subtle barbs in their direction. The constant assault of subtle jabs, however, eventually closes off discourse.

Everything I have seen of Bush 1 and Bush 2 is that the Bushes are primarily civil. The main fault I see in George Bush is that he instinctively deflects the constant bombardment of subtle jabs with Bushisms. That is not incivility. It might be insecurity. More likely, it is a studied method that the Bush's have developed to thrive in an era when the foundations of discourse have been eroded. Unfortunately, the method shuts off one's ability to engage in discourse.

The years of Bush rule has been so frustrating for most of the Conservatives and Classical Liberals that I know because Bush has failed to engage the world in the good ideas that the Conservatives and Classical Liberals have.

I doubt we will see a new age of civility in Washington. I think it will be a question of whether the Democrats decide to continue the barrage of subtle barbs, or if they blossom into two years of loud criticism in the style of Keith Olbermann.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Activists Watching Polls

Conservatives have made a big mistake by not taking more time in the last several elections to assure the integrity of the voting apparatus. Meanwhile the left has made big strides in a relentless misinformation campaign to imply that anyone against socialism cheats on elections.

The truth of the matter is that dirty politicians on both sides of the great partisan divide cheat.

Michelle Malkin just pointed out that we now have a new problem with the 2006 elections: An ongoing campaign to associate the Republican Party with voter fraud has created a new brand of activist set to prove (at all costs) that Republicans cheat.

I do worry about voter fraud. To have honest elections, you need a group who's focus is on the accuracy of the vote count. By definition, activists are looking out for the partisan concerns. An activist is not interested in the accuracy of the vote, but on the success of their party.

The other thing one must fear when one digs through accusations of cheating is that people inclined to cheating themselves often have a tendency of projecting their methods onto others.

I do believe that there are members in both party willing to commit fraud. In a previous post, I noted that Republican controlled districts often have the newest voting machines because the people who control the district are sticklers about the accuracy of the vote. Democratic districts often have older voting machines as the leaders see themselves as the proper representative of the people and counting the vote is just a formality.

I think the Republican voters feel that they are assuring a more accurate vote by investing heaving in voting machines. Oddly, this massive investment in trying to assure voter accuracy opens Republicans to even more accusations that they are cheats.

I think Michelle Malkin is correct to bring up the fact that we need to watch activists who are claiming to be watching the polls. With activists who have a strong political motivation to accuse their opponents of fraud, we are left with a very volatile political situation with the counting of the vote.

I am an independent. I always vote a mix of parties. When approached by exit pollers, I've always lied about my vote.

This year, I hope people are honest with their votes. Regardless of whether or not there is fraud, any disparity between exit polls and counted votes will be reported in the media as fraud.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cruelty to Puppies

Puppy v. Snow PlowReaders of this blog have probably guessed that I am a mean and cruel person at heart. Readers wanting proof of my innate cruelty will probably want to file this photo in the "Mr. Delaney is Sadistic" folder. Coco was such a nice dog. We will all miss her ... but, hey, I got the shot I was looking for. That is all that matters to me.

I will probably get death threats from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), and recipe requests from PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals).

Yes, it is a cruel, cruel, cruel world.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Yes, I did know it was a bad joke

Discourse in the US really has deteriorated to new lows. This is my prediction about the 2006 election (It was pretty much the same for the 2004 election). If voters are thinking about Bush at the time they vote, they will vote Democrat. If they are thinking about what will happen if the Democrats gained the House and Senate, they will vote Republican.

Think about this for a moment. The primary complaint in this election is that the Republican party has been taken over by a think called a Neo-Conservative. Neocons include groups like the Dixiecrats and Mormons that are essentially Democrats who became Republican because they were either kicked out of the Democratic Party or they saw the Republican party as an easier host to dominate.

We are upset that the Republicans have become Democrats. But how are we to fix this problem by electing Democrats? Of course, the Democrats have taken a leap to the left, I don't see that as much of an improvement.

Election 2006 is a game of the Democrats trying to keep the Bush-hatred they've cultivated for the last several years in full force, while Republicans have to get America thinking about the horrible thing that the Democratic party has become under the leadership of Kerry, Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi.

Kerry's anti-troop gafaw got this ugly side of the Democrats on the front page.

The counter response by the media (the majority of whom are Democrats) is to repeat the mantra that Kerry's anti-troop Freudian slip was really a missed time Bush bashing joke.


The majority of Conservatives know that Kerry's Freudian slip was a bad joke gone wrong?

The modern progressive method of argumentation is to sling ridicule at their opponents. Look at the blogosphere, each day progressive pundits pop forth with several hundred mean little insults or anti-Bush jokes. The ones that get people stirred up go viral and increase the hatred and division in the world.

I dislike this method of argumentation. Yes, Kerry was trying out ways of insulting Bush when he made a Freudian slip and insulted the military instead. I find the fact that his ugly method of gaining power by ridicule backfired and Kerry is in retreat is wonderful.

The neocons (Democrats who became Republicans) and the Progressives are both destroying our ability to engage in discourse.

Because the methods of both parties are undermining discourse, my hope is that the Republicans retain the Congress. If this happens, the Republicans will spend the next two years challenging Bush ... and the Democrats might reconsider their leap to the left. While if the Democrats gain control of Congress, we will have two more years where this ugly method of rhetoric continues to escalate.

An Impassioned Plea

Thankfully, there is a little bit of free press left in the world. Michelle Malkin is running an image that was smuggled out of Iraq showing US Troops pushing their limited intellects to the max in a desperate plea for John Kerry to come and save them. While I prefer to invest my time reading great thinkers like Noam Chomsky (praise to the Chomsky), I admit I am often inspired when I see the lower uneducated classes (like the US Army) trying to formulate complete sentences. A whole US army troop was able to put together almost one complete sentence.

(Link to Photo)

As for the mayhem in Iraq. The reality in Iraq (the large number of civilian casualties and sectarian violence) is a lot less than I thought it would be when we invaded in 2003.

Saddam Hussein had suppressed his people by infesting the country with a very violent nihilistic philosophy (an Islamic version of Stalinism). The people in Iraq have to make their choice of following this nihilistic way of life or of trying to establish a classical democracy. What is going on right now is that Iraq and the world are seeing on the big screen the inevitable results of this left leaning version of politics.

I was against invading Iraq in 2003 because the violence we are seeing at the moment really was inevitable. Quite frankly, I am amazed that that American troops have actually been able to keep the violence contained to the extent that they have. I am proud of the fact that American soldiers are standing up against nihilism of the Jihadist philosophy ... even if it takes a whole troop of soldiers to write one sentence.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Yesterday, I read a news release saying that computer vendors would include upgrade coupons for the new Vista operating system. So, I decided to take the plunge and buy a new laptop. I ended up going with Dell. This will be my first Dell.

I hope to set up the Zend Studio, PHP and MySQL on the computer, so I went with the XP Professional and tricked out the computer with 2GB memory. The computer includes MS Word as I will be helping someone edit a book in the upcoming months.

As for my old laptop. The laptop is vintage 1998. It was the display model at Circuit City for a year before I bought it (meaning it was always quirky). The computer has a growing problem with bad sectors. Both the keyboard and mouse are broken. The real kicker is that I had purchased a wireless card some years back, and the card seems to have disappeared. I want to use the computer on the road, but a new wireless card costs more than I could get if I tried selling the computer. If it was not for the bad sectors and the missing wireless card, I would probably be happy with the old computer.

My expensive ($993 buck-a-roos) laptop is in the Dell plant being assembled as I write. Now, I have to figure out how to pay for it. Maybe I could get a squeegie and hurl myself infront of cars and threaten to clean their window if the driver doesn't pay me off.

Political Thoughts

I wish we had a Democrat in the White House.

If we did the press would be reporting about how the war in Iraq was going swimmingly. We might even hear an occasional tidbit of news about how the economy is going gangbusters. Do you remember when Clinton was president, and the press was more than willing to report good news to help bolster the regime of their man in the White House? The press was even willing to ignore the growing financial scandals and poor numbers posted by companies to keep the hype in the market high; so that small investors wouldn't pull their money from the Clinton stock bubble.

In this day where the press is driven by an overriding collective hatred of George Bush, I find myself wishing that we had a Democratic president ... just so we can start hearing some positive spin on news.

Hear is the problem. The midterm elections doesn't provide us an opportunity to vote out the president. It is about Congress.

I was watching a newscast a few weeks ago. While the reports were slinging their snarl words and trying to find clever ways to spin their Bush-hatred in a seemingly objective style (ie, snarl words), one of the news casters turned to his cohort and said "If the Democrats lose in 2006, they are going to have to sit down between now and 2008, and completely rethink their strategy."

This thought has been stirring in my mind since.

If the Democrats lose in 2006, two things will end up happening: Most important, the Democrats might end up changing their core tactics and message. The second is that the Republicans will spend the next two years trying to distance themselves from Bush.

If the Democrats win in 2006, they will simply up the amplitude of their hate-Bush message, and will simply spend the next two years making life miserable.

I usually simply want the best candidate to win (parties be damned). My hope now is that the Republicans win in 2006. It seems to me that if the Republicans win in 2006, the next two years could be years where both Democrats and Republicans engage in discourse. If not, it will be a prolonged election where the primary issue is simply hatred of George Bush.

Hating George Bush is okay. Making political decisions based solely on Bush hatred is a bad idea. Regardless of the outcome of 2006, Bush will be a lame duck in 2006-2008. He cannot run for office again. The real question for 2006 is how the parties position themselves for 2008 ... which is the important election.

If the Democrats fail to win in 2006, there is a really big chance that both parties will change significantly in upcoming two years. If they win, we will see both parties retrenching, and politics becoming even uglier.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fillmore, Utah

Territorial State HouseI just added a gallery for Fillmore, Utah. Fillmore is the county seat of Millard County. It was the Territorial Capitol in 1852. One page I read said that the territory was called Deseret and included good chunks of Colorado, and Nevada along with the missing corner of Utah that is now in Wyoming. I knew that the territory was larger, I did not know that it was called Deseret. Brigham Young had wanted to call his empire Deseret.

Fillmore of Millard County was named for President Millard Fillmore who was sympathetic to the Mormon cause and gave money to help build the state house. If you are traveling on I15, I think it is a much better place to stop than Scipio. While in Fillmore, I stayed at the Capitol Motel which only cost $20.00. I love a good clean cheap motel.

I visited my site from a computer with a better monitor (I have a 15" LCD monitor). I decided that the pictures were too small. Since I now have a little bit more diskspace and bandwidth to play with, I made the pictures 700 pixels wide. I am happy with the result.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

No Rest for Scipio

Scipio Rest StopWhile traveling on I15 in Central Utah, I stumbled on an intriguing development. The Utah State Department of Transportation (UDOT) had closed Rest Stops along the freeway. In lieue of the traditional rest stops, Utah was advertising private/public rest stop partnerships. One of these rest stops was in Scipio, Utah. I decided to stop and see how a public/private partnership improved upon the traditional rest stop.

Scipio Rest Stop
I pulled into Scipio to find out that the state had simply named a convenience store in the town a "Rest Stop". A "public/private" partnership means that one convenience store gets the title "Rest Stop." In the typical slap-in-the-face style politics that dominates Utah politics, someone had pushed a single green pinic table into a vacant lot. Travelers in need of rest will follow the blue highway signs to a single exposed table where they can wonder what is going wrong with this nation.

The US Interstate Rest Stop system was set up to address the safety concern of weary travelers driving on highways at high speed. In the past rest stops have been funded by the taxes placed on fuel (placing taxes on fuel has proven to be the most efficient way to collect the tolls needed to maintain roads. There is, after all, a direct relation between the fuel consumed by vehicles and the amount of damage that they do to roads.)

Rest stops are often filled with families letting their children release pent up energy or bleary-eyed truck drivers that would be a danger if they kept on truckin'. Refreshing naps and leg stretching are necessary but non-commercial activities.

This pile of tires seen from the Scipio Rest Stop is a prime mosquito breeding area. I wonder if West Nile is here yet?The key to the rest stop system is that that rest stops are non-commercial. The stops allow people to conduct the necessary, non-commerical activities of travel (a rest break) in a relatively calm, pleasant environment. It is important that these stops have limited commercial activities. First, you can't really rest in a commercial environment. More importantly, state sponsored facilities should not be competing for revenue that would otherwise go to the large number of businesses that feed off interstate traffic.

The Scipio experiment of declaring one of the convenience stores in town an official Utah State sponsored Rest Stop has had two negative effects: The stop does not provide adequate facilities for drivers a break. People who stop at the convenience store and get another cup of coffee rather than taking a nap are still a danger on the road.

The second big negative of a state sanctioned convenience stores is that state sanctioning gives one convenience store an unfair competitive advantage over other stores. After visiting the state sanctioned convenience store, I decided to drive across the freeway and look at the non-state-sanctioned stores. It had no business and would most likely fail as a direct result of the actions of the Utah Department of Transportation.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a fan of the free market. Utah State's effort to give one convenience store in town official state scantion as a "rest stop" is not free market. The effort destroys competition.

During my trip, the gas prices at this Utah-state-sponsored and preferred convenience store were 14 cents a gallon higher than the gas prices in the towns north and south of Scipio. News reports often site Scipio as having high gas prices.

If this is generally the case, then travelers who are duped by the "Rest Stop" signs on I15 near Scipio and who decide to buy gas at the officially Utah sanctioned convenience store are being ripped off!!!!!!!

FYI: I did some research. Apparently this Public/Private rest stop initiative was set up in 2003. It is possible that Scipio has plans for more than just an unsheltered green table for their public/private rest stop initiative ... though I doubt it. There is a nice public park about a mile off the freeway in Scipio.

In conclusion, if anyone is traveling on I15, I suggest filling up in either Fillmore or Nephi and avoiding Scipio.