Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Choosing the Candidates

The Utah Taxpayers Blog has an article on the nomination process for the school board. They claim that the canidates for the board are chosen by the UEA (Utah Education Association). The general election is just a rubber stamp for the members chosen by the UEA. Since one stakeholder in education conrols the nomination process, they pretty much control the whole shebang. The fact that other stakeholders are cut out of the process is probably a major reason why the current trend is for parents to pull their students out of public schools and put them in Charter or Private Schools.

Some people want to make the school board nominations partisan. The different parties would put up candidates. So, I guess we would start seeing Republican School boards in republican districts and Democratic boards in Democratic controlled districts. Others don't like this reform because it makes yet another part of the system divided on the silly Republican/Democrat partisan rift. The big benefit of being partisan is that it would be easier for a person who wants to be on the board to run for the position.

I brought this up because it shows the type of decisions that need to be made in building a system that is open to public discourse. It seems to me that there should be other ways for a system to be open than the party system. You could allow nominations from more than just the UEA, or have an independent non-partisan primary.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Studied Intransigence

My last post on Flip-Flopping noted strategic mind-changing can destroy discourse.

Today, I thought I would point out the obvious that intransigence destroys discourse as well. This case is easier to make. When one party in a discussion fails to listen, no communication takes place.

It is really sad, but in far too many cases the person who is best at not listening to others ends up making the decisions. I've been in companies that have made some really bone-headed decisions because one of the prime decision makers failed to understand the ramifications of the different options.

Some people have successfully used studied intransigence to weasle their ways into positions of power. The person who fails to listen to others is often mistaking for a man of action.

There are some cases where methodological intransigence works. Parenting is a good example. Parents (or teachers for that matter) will put forward a resolute face while, in fact, they are listening to the child. J.J. Rousseau pretty much suggested that this was the best way to educate children. It works up to the point that the child figures out that you are two faced manipulators. Studied intransigence works up to the point where the child strats mimicking the parent's intransigence. From that point forth, you simply have dysfunction.

Studied intransigence is often used in hierarchical systems. The prince listens to the people while not appearing to listen to the people. Mormons seem to like to be treated this way. They clearly like to treat others this way. As I understand, the way the system of revelation works is that the prophet pretends to be receiving revelation while in fact the prophet is simply testing political waters. They then declare that the decision they come to is a dictate from God.

Studied intransigence seems to work in assymetrical power relations. It fails miserably in situations that require serious adult to adult communications.

It seems to me that both George Bush the first and George Bush the second use the method of studied intransigence. It is a primary reason why so many people find the two politicians annoying.

Just as the vice of flip-flopping is related to the virtue of open mindedness, the vice of intransigence is related to the virtue of being resolute in one's actions.

The ability to act with resolution is a virtue. After the making a decision, we need people who go for it and make the decision a reality. If we decide to build a bridge, we want it to span the whole river. A builder who is still waffling between making a suspension bridge or arch bridge while in the middle of construction will simply create an engineering catastrophe.

The ideal leader is a person who is open minded in the design phase of a process, but resolute in execution.

In many cases, the difference between a vice and virtue is the timing. The best leaders authentically listen during the design phase but concentrate on execute during production.

Since the quality of an action is determined by the timing, when judging the actions of a potential leader, we need to pay attention to the timing of their actions. When something occurs is almost as important as what occurred.

Unfortunately, when looking at life, it is very difficult to determine the current phase. For this reason, people benefit by having a structured design process. In politics, we have an election cycle. Other industries have developed other structured decision making processes. Having a structured designed cycle can help determine who is a good leader and who is trying to play the system.

Developing a good structured design cycle is itself an art. The design cycle has to be structured so that it gets input from all the stake holders of a project, but you can't just be forever in design. The design cycle also has to be evolutionary. Each step of the decision making procession is contigent on previous steps. For example, if the first cycle of the design process decided to make a suspension bridge, it would inapropriate to rehash all of the arguments for an arch bridge in a meeting where you are to decide the color of the bridge.

Needless to say, politicians have learned that they can manipulate the debate subliminally by manipulating the design structure. Manipulating the design process is one of the most underhanded tricks in any politician's bag of tricks.

Unfortunately, the partisan political process seems to favor those who are best at manipulating the debate. A partisan politician cares more about their side winning than the quality of the debate. The partisan process favors those who are intransigent in the design phase, but who waffle in execution.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Flopping about on Flip-Flopping

I started to write a reply to a post by Reach Upwards about flip flopping candidates. The reply really didn't fit his post. So, I decided to make it a post on my own blog.

Personally, I dislike the current obsession with flip-flopping. Flip-flopping is a necessary part of the process of deliberation. A world with a healthy system of discourse would see people flip-flop on a regular basis.

The ability to weigh different sides of a debate is the very heart of deliberation. People who never "flip-flop" simply are not engaged.

There is a whole slew of issues that pretty much demand flip-flopping.

Take the charged issue of abortion debate for example. This debate involves two distinct issues: The first is whether or not abortion is wrong. The second is the question of whether or not it should be legal. A person who holds that abortion is a great moral wrong must address the question of whether or not it is better to handle the question as a personal moral issue, or if it demands laws being in place. A person who is resolute on the underlying issue may flip flop on the secondary issue.

In most cases, it is bad for a politician to have too many solid positions on legislation. A politician who has too many solid positions will be intransigent in their actions.

IMHO, the best thinkers can see more than one side of an issue. If you give them compelling reasons to support your side; they will agree with you. When your opponent gives compelling reasons for their side, the thinker might agree with the opposition.

In some cases a person will agree with an argument simply as an acknowledgement that they understand or are processing the argument. A person who agrees with your argument but disagrees with your conclusion appears to flip-flop.

Agreeing with an argument is not the same thing as agreeing with the conclusion. For that matter, I don't think it is possible to properly understand any argument if you don't make an effort to understand and agree with the perspective of the argument.

When a person is engaged in the process of research, they should be flip-flipping all over the map. The necessary flip-flipping that occurs during research should not be confused with flip-flopping on fundamental issues.

The best thinkers will appreciate all of the sides of an argument.

Unfortunately, the converse is also true. The worst thinkers will tend to flip flop. Both the far left and far right use a really nasty form of manipulation called "the material dialectics." This method was perfected by Marx. With material dialectics, you wrap discourse in paradox. To a dialectician, words are weapons. When you engage in the method you spout whatever words give you an advantage.

The dialectician appears to be engaged in deliberation because both forks of their tongue wag at the same time. Such a dialectician is not engaged in an authentic search for the best path, they are simply engaged in dropping words as they attack enemies and reward friends.

A politician who is weighing every word against polls is not engaged in a pursuit of truth, but a pursuit of power.

The question of what leads to the flip flopping is much more interesting than the flip-flopping itself. For that matter, understanding why a candidate changed their opinion on an issue provides a deeper insight into the candidates mind than the stated positions themself.

The question we must answer when we see flip flopping is if it is an act of discourse or an act of manipulation. Unfortunately, this is difficult to determine.

In the 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry's enemies were trying to make the case that his flip-flopping was part of an over all pattern of manipulation. Unfortunately, Republicans seem to have fallen into a trap. They seem to have made the overt act of flip-flopping the issue and not the underlying duplicity.

The mainstream media, which is primarily Democrat, seems to have encouraged this misstep since it puts Republicans at a disadvantage.

By allowing flip-flopping to become the primary issue of the presidential race, Republicans have thrown up a block to their best thinkers.

In my opinion, this current thread of debate which makes the overt act of flip-flopping the issue ends up undermining our ability to engage in deliberation. Deliberation by definition requires weighing the different arguments. The best thinkers regularly engage in acts that can be labeled flip-flopping when they examine issues.

The trap is even more insidious. Since Republicans are caught in the trap of weighing the relative degrees of flip-flopping of their candidates, the enemies of the Republicans will be able to kick sand in the face of the Republican Party with accusations of absolutism.

I think more people are worried about more worried about the absolutism of a one dimensional thinker who is incapable of finding the best path for the nation than they are about this idiotic question of flip flopping.

I wish the leaders of the Republican Party had the wisdom to avoid such obvious traps. Unfortunately, just as the Democrats routinely drive their honest politicians away, the Republicans systemically drive their best thinkers away.

Both parties seem to be structured at the moment so that their worst elements float to the surface.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Governor Cyborg

Jon Huntsman, jrGovernor Jon Huntsman was in the parade; so I took his picture. When labeling the picture, I noticed something odd. The governor is waving with his left hand, and there is something keeping his right arm immobile in some sort of black device.

This made me think that perhaps the governor had been in an accident. So I googled "Governor Huntsman Arm" and it brought up this press release. It didn't say anything about an accident, but it talked about research projects Huntsman has helped along:

It also led to critically important research in cancer treatment, diabetes, genetics, as well as the robotic arm just to name a few.

Huntsman had been involved in the development of a robotic arm. My undoctored photo shows Huntsman with his arm in something.

Could it be that Huntsman is turning himself into a cyborg?

Since we are back into an age of conspiracy theories, I am left wondering if maybe Huntsman becoming a cyborg isn't part of a larger Republican conspiracy to turn all the governors into cyborgs. The Dick Cheney I read about on lefty blogs is the type of person who would engage in such a conspiracy.

Anyway, if looking at the first entry on a google search followed by linking together two disparate facts qualifies as research (which it just might these days) then I just may have stumbled on to something.

Parade Pics

The Finish LineAs I indicated in my last post, I decided to the go the the Native American Festival that runs in conjunction with the Pioneer Day Parade.

I realize that I have a reputation as a culturally insensitive clod. I just want to ease the readers mind and assure the world that I was on my best behaviour. It just so happens that I know all about the intricacies of the pale face/native interrelations. So just prior to the Powwow, I went to the liquor store to get some fire water to trade for beads. Unfortunately, Pioneer Day is a holiday and the liquor stores where closed!

My best laid plans fall one after another.

Even worse, I got to the powwow early. I ended up watching the parade and filled up my memory stick with parade photos. Anyway, I just started labeling the photos. My first picture of the parade is at the finish line of the Pioneer Day 10K.

It will take awhile for me to finish labeling the shots. Here are the Parade Pictures and Powwow pictures. Sorry about skimping on the powwow pictures. I couldn't get a good angle on the dance area, and I hate taking pictures of people (unless they are part of a public event).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Utah's Big Powwow

I think that there should be some taxpayer financed public support of the art. The problem is that when the public financing of the arts gets too large, that financing starts to dominate the arts. This is what I was trying to hint at with my last snide post. When public financing of the arts dominates the arts, the arts will tend to move from artistic statements to political statements.

I was extremely supportive of the first years of the Twilight Music series and other public concerts. These concerts were accomplishing the goal of extending the spirit of the 2002 Olympics by pulling people into an otherwise vacant downtown. Five years down the line, I find myself looking at a very slick tax subsidized business with an unfair competitive advantage. All of the other arts related businesses have to pay higher taxes so that they can be dominated by a state run business.

What gives?

I intentionally juxtaposed the concert series with the "Mormon Day" celebrations. Readers of this blog have probably noticed that I have a distinct distaste for Brigham Young. The first Pioneer Day in 1847 was clearly a staged event. I have more reason to dislike Pioneer Days than the Twilight Concert series. So, I find it it strange when I find myself feeling that Pioneer Days is more of an authentic cultural event than the concert series.

Even though I don't like Brigham Young, Pioneer Days has evolved into Utah's State. This makes the day transcend its original message. The celebration encapsulates both the original message and the reaction to the message as the people who rejected Brigham Young were also pioneers.

Mankind has a long history of staging community events to deliver a propaganda message. Because we are human, we can't simply squirm out of a history filled with humans. As we will never be able to liberate ourselves from history, we might as well celebrate it.

Pioneer Day is the recognized state holiday for Utah. And I love the fact that the state is filled with community events. Even though something starts as a staged event does prevent it from gaining authenticity with time. I think that a gathering of communities throughout Utah on a recognized state Holiday is a great thing, especially since there have been a concerted effort to make the events inclusive. Pioneer Day includes a marathon, a rodeo and a ton of other events.

One of the most interesting Pioneer Days events is a thing called The Native American Celebration in Liberty Park. This celebration starts with a Powwow at 10:00AM. It includes storytelling, drum competitions and other cool things.

The Mountain Rendezvous, powwows and other community gatherings have always been an important part of our pioneer heritage. Part of The Spirit of Powwow is that people put aside their differences to communicate with eachother and simply celebrate community.

From my perspective, the state funded free concerts seem to be loosing its authencity as it grows, while Pioneer Days has gained in authenticity.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

State Sponsored Religious Services

I think it is important for a community to support its arts. A primary means for supporting the art is communtiy festivals like the upcoming Days of 47 festivities, and I would even give the sponsoring community bands and buying art from local artists is a very good idea since it helps employ local artists.

Anyway, I was looking at the Salt Lake Twilight Concert Series. This seems like it is going a bit overboard. The stated goal of thise series is to provide a venue for "nationally and internationally acclaimed performing artists" (not local artists).

The concerts are not part of a community celebration. It is just a weekly series of late night entertainment. The mission of the program is to provide "sustenance for the body and soul." At this state sponsored event you can get body art and psychic readings. The web site'ss goal behind this event sounds more like a religious service than a community event.

The line up has some really big names like Left Over Salmon. It is not like these are groups that have difficult selling tickets. Quite frankly, the state paying for top talent makes it harder for all the little local bands to get paying gigs at local night clubs.

The events aren't overcoming a deficit of live music. Salt Lake is on a crossroads which all but guarantees that music venues will fill up with top talent.

I do everything I can to support local art. I just am not sure if providing free tickets to top international talent is the best use of taxpayer's dollars. I guess my affinity is with the artists on the outside of the political structure.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Anti Universal Coverage Club

I had to take a break from reading The Chomsky and bopped on over to Cato at Liberty for a little bit of sanity. The Cato blog is still a bit too partisan for my taste. To my delight, a Michael F. Cannon at Cato has started an Anti Universal Coverage Club.

I want to be a part of the club.

IMHO, The health care problem is largely the creation of the insurance industry. It is the insurance companies that jack up the price of health care and limit access to service. The AMA and other elitist bureaucracies also add to the problem by creating a scarcity of doctors.

Accepting that the health care crisis is caused by the insurance companies, then universal care is the complete backward solution. Universal care simply transfers more power into the hands of the people who caused the problem.

Putting it another way: The insurance companies are corrupt. Each year they gain power and each year are less happy with our health care system. Giving these wanks absolute power in the form of Universal Coverage leads to absolute corruption.

The current health care crisis fails the most basic back of the envelop test. Health care is primarily a human to human service. The service is greatly enhanced by information. However, the primary cost of a human on human service is labor. If there is a large number of people being locked out of receiving a human to human service is an indication that something artificial is interfering with basic economics. The three artificial things in our present socio-economic structures are the AMA (which is set on preventing people from getting educated as doctors), the legal community which is very good at take a piece of everyone they sue, and the insurance industry.

One could also throw into this mix all of the centralized health care monopolies and bureaucracies which seem more adept at looking after themselves than the patients who are under their care.

The cost of information has dropped dramatically. The efficiencies of production have freed a large number of hands for health care. The one and only one reason that we would be seeing so many people blocked from access to health care is that there is something false in our economy. The artificial elements are the insurance bureaucracies, artificial shortages of doctors, a corrupt legal system and excessive taxes. Get rid of those things, and back of the envelope calculations show we would be in health care manna.

Anyway, I need to get back to reading Chomsky. I will be in a super bad mood until I can start reading something more positive and down to earth like the Death Hallows. Yes, bright and happy literature like the Death Hallows will be a welcome relief from The Chomsky.

The Projectionist

I should warn everyone. I am reading yet another work by Noam Chomsky; so I am depressed at the moment.

When The Noam projects his philosophy onto others, the world looks like a horrible place.

The single biggest problem in the world today is that Noam Chomsky is the single most influential thinker of our era.

I have to admit, the technique of The Chomsky works. When a skillful dialectician projects his ideology onto his opponents, the world ends up hating the victim of the projection and not the projectionist.

Apparently Chomsky's thesis is that evil Republicans want to oppress the people by making government smaller. Chomsky calls a smaller government a "diminished public arena." This, of course, is nothing but an old twists of even older paradoxes.

The Chomsky says of the United States: "Destroying hope is a critically important project. And when it is achieved, formal Democracy is allowed."

The Democracy and Free Market that Chomsky despises were built on hope. It is socialism that feeds on despair.

Of course, for the during of my reading this work, I will be in a state of despair. Our publicly funded universities are filled with people who fall on their knees in worship of every word that emanates from this wank.

The Chomsky is probably the single most influential intellectual since Marx (with the possible exception of Russell). When you look at how messed up Washington is today, I hope people realize that a great deal of the mayhem is a direct result of people pulled into action and reaction to the ramblings of Chomsky as he spouts paradoxes and projects his thoughts onto others.

Can U Turn a Bad Religion Good?

This is actually a post that I thought about writing when I first started this blog in 2003. President George Bush had just invaded Iraq with the belief that he could shock and awe the radical out of Islam, and that the people of Iraq would join the world on the path to becoming a modern liberal democracy with a free market, respect for human rights and all the things that traditional America used to hold dear.

I thought the venture was dubious as I don't believe one can kill hatred out of a people. Nor do I think it possible to force people into freedom.

Winning the war of ideas is something far too subtle for an army. The war of ideas is won through reason and not force. Unfortunately, with the left still under the sway of material dialactics, there is no way our country can engage in the discourse necessary to win the war of ideas raging in the middle east.

Unfortunately, the decision of how to procede in the Middle East was a decision left up to our elected officials. Bush won the diplomatic effort with Iraq and Hussein was reducing his stockpiles of WMDs. We invaded anyway with the hope that we could liberate and liberalize an oppressed people.

Bush's decision made me deeply depressed. Looking at the map we can see that if Iraq were to transform into a liberal democracy it would mean a new age of prosperity for the world. Yet the idea of forcing freedom on people is a tenuous affair.

Unable to see a great deal of hope for Iraq, I decided to look closer to home for hope.

One reason that I had some hope for the Iraq venture is that this little Valley of Salt Lake underwent a transition from an extremely oppressive theocracy to becoming a state that appreciates the American way.

My view of Utah history is that Brigham Young had created one of the most oppressive states ever conceived. By claiming to be the mouthpiece of God, he had set himself up as the head of state, church and local military. By spouting socialism, he was able to claim people's property and he even set himself up a sugar daddy with scores of wives.

The American army invaded Utah. Using means that by all rights should be labeled oppressive, the US government put an end to polygamy and most of the excesses of the LDS theoracy that had taken hold in Utah.

With Brigham Young's grab for absolute power stifled, the Mormons were turned from the path of totalitarianism to simply being a group with a highly active church and a with a tendency to vote as a block.

Although Mormons occasionally pull nasty tricks on their fellow men, Mormons have also become staunch defenders of liberty. So, in its short history, Mormonism essentially turned into its opposite.

Although I strongly disagreed with Bush's decision to invade Iraq, I thought that if we could just get Iraq to its second election with under a hundred thousand dead, there was a chance that democracy might take root.

It is the first official peaceful transfer of power than matters most. When Bush committed our nation to war, he committed our troops to providing security at least until the second election.

People, political parties and alliances are always changing. The value of an elected government is that it creates a peaceful mechanism for realizing that change. Even when a group of people do not hold to Democratic ideals, they often become appreciative of the fact that democracy solves the problem of succession. When people become appreciative of elections, they often turn from totalitarianism.

Of course, my thesis that you can draw any correlation between the Mormon experience and Iraq is quite weak. A very large number of the immigrants who became Mormon did so because they wanted to part of the United States. The United States had purchased the land that the Mormons wanted for their country from Mexico; So the invasion of Utah was a little bit more legitimate than the invasion of Iraq.

The idea that Bush could turn a bad religion good through force becomes even more dubious when one realizes that the vast majority of people on this planet reject and even outwardly hate the ideals of liberal democracy. Go to a Democratic fundraiser and talk about the ideals of freedom and small government held by Thomas Jefferson. You are guaranteed to be tossed out on your arse.

There is a staggeringly large number of Americans (especially in the academic world) who still are deeply committed to realizing socialism. These people would reject the argument that Mormonism was a bad ideology that has been tempered with time but was a good socialist ideology turned bad.

I did not finish this post, because the idea that social engineers can force a bad religion good is too tenuous to deserve serious discussion.

Dammit, the Republicans were supposed to be the party that rejected social engineering. George Bush the first fell short of toppling Iraq after Desert Storm simply for that very reason.

There may be one case where a group of people was forced to change and they changed for the better. Yet this is not the way to win the war of ideas. In the long run, force seems to bring the worst ideas to the surface.

Look at how all of the bad ideas like socialized medicine, massive government regulation, wage and price controls, protectionism, ..., are all back on the table in the wake of Bush's attempt to change a group of people by force.

Prior to Bush's decision to invade, the classical liberals of the world had the world engaged in a dialog. It was a dialog they were winning.

Bush's listening to the neocons and invading Iraq, when diplomatic efforts were succeeding, has thrown it all into reverse.

I didn't post this idea in 2003, because I know in my heart that is actually to turn good things bad than to make bad things good.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thought for the Day

To some, the cup is half empty. To other it is half full. To the transcendentalist the cup is locked in an epic struggle to bring out its inner cupness.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Key is the Election

I thought I would re-iterate a previous post.

It is widely acknowledged that the new Iraqi government is a failure.

Most government initiatives fail. For that matter most of the governments in history really should be chalked up as failures.

The whole point of the Republican form of government is that it is possible to get rid of failed governments.

Our focus in Iraq from this point forward should be to get the country to the next election. Our efforts should concentrate on assuring that the second election is clean.

The next election should include a referendum on whether or not the US retains troops in the country. The decisions we make should include formalized polling from the Iraqi people.

It is the second election that matters most. IMHO, When Bush committed our nation to the war in Iraq, he committed the country to doing everything we can to get to the second election.

In other words, the time table for US withdrawal from Iraq should be based on Iraq election cycles. Our decision to stay or leave the area should include input from the Iraqi people.

I think Bush was correct to stave off early demands for a time table. The earlier time tables would have us pulling out before the second election. Bush's troop surge was a success because it got us over the midterm slump that occurs when people realize that their elected officials are really just a bunch of self serving, ineffective cads.

The second election is in January 2009. It falls between the 2008 US election and inauguration. Having a referendum and new government in Iraq means that the next US president will be dealing with a new government. The new president would also have direct input from the election.

If President Bush was wise, he would start directing our attention to the next Iraqi election. If the presidential candidates were wise, they would state openly that their Iraqi policies would be driven from the input of the January 2009 elections.

Monday, July 09, 2007

778 - Define Rich Theory

The purpose of yesterday's announcement was to motivate myself to start working on a new project.

I made the announcement on 7/7/7, I figured I better pound out a second essay on 7/7/8.

Me being me, I procrastinated. So, just a little bit after 11:00PM on 2007-07-08, I forced myself to sit down and start working on the opening page for the work.

This opening page is quite difficult to write as the work itself is somewhat bizarre.

Rich Theory started as observations I had about the foundations of mathematics. In researching the history of ideas, I realized that my observations on mathematics were relevant to a large number of fields. For example, the conflicts between classical and new math is surprising similar to the conflict between Marxism and classical economics. It is also similar to the conflict between classical and modern liberalism.

The conflict between classical and new math is simply one manifestation of the conflict between classical and modern thinking.

So, while Rich Theory started as a math theory, I've chosen to expand the scope of the work.

What I intend to create is a collection of essays on the history of philosophy, logic and mathematics intermingled with a small number of more advanced articles on mathematics and programming.

Anyway, I completed the opening page of Rich Theory. In this chapter I give an introduction to the term Rich Theory. Unfortunately, I will not be able to fully explain why I chose this strange name until the end of the work.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

777 - A New Start

I spent the day working on the Community Color Calendars. I am rewriting the calendars from scratch as the original prototype of the calendars depended on the "Register Global" feature of PHP. The project is taking a long time simply because I've found that I've lost interest in the project.

I looked at my clock, and realized that it would soon be 7PM on 7/7/7.

I love working on web sites, but I want to do something different.

Several years ago, I purchased the domain name y-intercept.com to work as a community based research web site. I never found a community interested in doing research. So, I decided I am going to do something different with the site. I will use the site to write a project that will be called "Rich Theory."

Rich Theory is a rather involved and ambitious project. Unfortunately, I am being called away for the evening. So, will use this moment simply to announce the beginning of the project. The announcement is on a page called start start.

I will tell you what will be in the project in the upcoming days.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Slow Foods

One of the really cool ideas that is taking off on in the information is the idea of Community Supported Agriculture. CSA is a way to get fresh locally produced foods from the farm onto kitchen tables. Rather than shopping at a store for vegetables, you buy a share of a farmer's crop. You pick up your portion of the crop throughout the year.

CSAs are a bit information intensive. The farms that engage in this practice need to send out newsletters and harvesting schedules so that their customers can have some idea of what to expect. Farms are also wise to share recipes.

The site Slow Food Utah has information on CSAs, Farmers Markets and other techniques to reacquaint people with food. I've had food from East Farms.

The only real problem with slow foods is that you end up needing to schedule yourself around the food. IMHO, the effort needed to sync one's life to the harvesting cycle of the land has all sorts of benefits. It saves a great deal of engery. You get better food and probably live a healthier life.

Since this is a political blog. I guess I need to say something political. When I was a kid big agriculture and processed foods were seen as progressive. Small farms were seen as quaint, old fashioned relics. Preserving such farms was a Conservative issue. Today, it things seem to have flipped flopped and the progressive community has embraced the idea.

I think that supporting small farms and encouraging the consumption of local produce is a good idea regardless of one's personal's political perspective. Here are some Salt Lake Agriculture Links.

Monday, July 02, 2007


So, did you join the rush and buy an iPhone this week?

Personally, I am waiting for the aiPhone.

In addition to voice, music and video, the aiPhone includes an advanced form of artificial intelligence that has an IQ slightly higher than then average college graduate.

Of course, with the aiPhone, it is not so much a question of you buying the aiPhone, as the aiPhone buying you.