Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Women and Money

Any progressives reading this blog: Suze Orman is a person that needs struggling against. We need to struggle against her big time. This blog will discuss who this peoples' enemy is. What this peoples' enemy is doing and why it is so horrible.

Suze Orman is the peoples' enemy who keeps showing up on TV giving advice on how to save money, avoid debt and become financially independent. This is diametrically opposed to progressivism which aims to reduce people to depenency on the state. Financial independence leads to independent thinking, which leads to the questioning of progressivism itself! We can't have that! There is a reason why PUBLIC SCHOOLS don't teach basic money management skills!!!!

What this peoples' enemy is currently doing is a major threat that has the potential of creating disunity in the progressive movement. Suze Orman is launching a major iniative to encourage women of lower incomes to save. This is the plan: First you buy and read Women and Money. Somewhere in each book is a special code that qualifies the reader for a special high interest TD Ameritrade Account. Participants who manage to transfer $50.00+ a month into the account for 12 months will get a $100 bonus transferred into the account. Low income women save $600 over the year. They end up with $700.00 plus interest! The Save Yourself web site has the full scoop on this plan.

The real danger with this type of program is that when people become used to saving money and financial planning; there is a chance they will continue doing it and enter the middle class. Once in the middle class, they will stop being peoples and start being individuals.


Now for the reason why this is horrible and must be stopped: If women figure out how money works; they no longer need men!!!! This is like the greatest conceivable threat to the survival of men.

If you know of any low income women. Warn them against buying this book. This is not the type of information we want in their hands. Suggest that they spend their money on lingerie to attract a sugar daddy. A sugar daddy can protect them.

PS: Don't let any right wing kooks know about this program. Right wing kooks and free marketeers might just go out an tell low income women to buy the book as saving money will help low income women get on the road to a better future.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Name on a Banana

Reach Upwards is in an ethical quandary about people who offer him money to blog about their company, product or issue. Fortunately, for me, since I lack integrity, no one has ever offered me money to compromise my integrity.

This idea of advertisers buying spots on blogs is interesting from several different angles. Personally, I like the idea of independent people getting money for their blogs. Such a market helps distribute wealth and it provides bloggers with more resources for their activities.

The fact that bloggers are faced with ethical decisions about writing for money increases the overall awareness of the economic forces on the information around us.

Personally, I would love to find clever ways for people to "monetize" their web projects without a minimal impact on their integrity.

After reading Reach Upwards blog, I stumbled onto one such clever idea. The Site is a clever idea. For a price, the company will write your name on a banana. Take a picture of the banana, then post the picture of the banana on their blog.

The Community Color Banana

BTW, blogs aren't just influenced by money. Inbound links have a tremendous economic value. If you stick to the talking points of a particular political interest, you will get a large number of inbound links. This increases the influence of your blog. People who stray from the party line by talking about issues from multiple angles lose the precious inbound links.

On the issue of links as an economic concern, Newspapergrl is lamenting about link stinginess in local papers. The newspaper will report on a local business, but will rarely link to the local business--despite the fact that such a link would improve the story and help support the local economy. (NOTE, Newspapergrl has her name on a banana. That is where I found the NoaB site.)

Perhaps one of the greatest things about the blogging phenomena is that it has us thinking about the influences on the information around us. In just one short web session, I found discussions of blog advertising, link stinginess and entrepreneurs writing names on a banana for manna.

Friday, February 23, 2007


A legislature in Maryland wants the state to take any breakage on unused gift cards. I agree with Cato At Liberty that the move is silly. In some industries (like the phone card business) the breakage is the profit margin. In some cases, gift certificates are sold at less than face value because they are figuring in the breakage (eg

Of course there is a sense of unfairness that businesses profit from lost gift certificates (just as the US benefits when people lose money).

If I were a business selling gift certificates. I would actually do the following. I would give the breakage to a charity. I may even let the gift certificate buyer select the charity to receive the breakage.

Giving the breakage to a charity makes the gift certificate more attractive to buyers, it helps give funds to charities and would pull the gift certificate breakage off the table as something for the state to take.

Dusk Photos

I tried crashing the Jibber Jabber Gabbing and Blawging meeting in Sandy. I couldn't find anyone. There was still a little light left so I decided to practice some late night photography. Dusk is my favorite time of the day. It is when the colors come out. Unfortunately, I had wasted the best light twiddling my thumbs in the waiting area at Mimis. There was about ten minutes between this first and last shot.

Mimi's Cafe - SandySouth Towne MallChilis in SandyMimi's Cafe - SandyTexas Road House - Sandy

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Enterprise Photos

Lower Enterprise DamSince I have photo gallery site, I decided I should read a couple of books on photography. The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby does an excellent job describing methods to get the SHARP AS TACK photos that professional photographers and photo viewing public crave.

I know that this will sound a little bit odd. But I have never been too terribly fond of the sharp as tack photos. There are times when you want texture and detail to stand out in a photo. For the most part, I am interested in composition and prefer softer images. Of course, one should learn to take photos the way the public desires. The book convinced me to start taking photos in Raw format; so that I will be able to use the light balancing features of Adobe Photoshop (assuming I ever become rich enough to get Photoshop). Photoshop costs $650 bucks!

Mountain MeadowsAnyway, I decided to do a quick round of picture labeling. The new galleries include shots of the new Mountain Meadows Massacre Memorial, The Enterprise Reservoir, Honeycomb Rocks, and The Pinto Road.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Technology Catching Cheats

William Patry has a cool story on copyright infringement detection. It seems that the CD upload device in iTunes caught a pianist who was passing off someone else's work as their own. Apparently, when you load a CD into iTunes it compares data on the music against a massive repository to identify the music. This database then sends information on the track back to the computer. When a music lover lover added a CD of the plagerist, iTunes sent back the track information for the original recording.

This confirms my thinking on copyright. It seems to me that one of the best ways to preserve the rights of content creators is to start by maintaining massive timestamped databases of content. When the work of a plagerist gets popular, computers that compare bits of data here and there will flush out the plagerists.

It seems to me that the way to protect content creators is to create repositories that record and archive date stamped information. I actually know of only one such entity. Unfortunately, the Copyright Office charges an outlandish $45 per submission. I've copyrighted certain piles of work, and it is a hassle.

Both cost of creating content has dropped dramatically. The price you get marketing orginal content has dropped with the cost of creating content. Unfortunately, the cost of filing copyrights is increasing.

The copyright office charges $45.00 for a service that the free market could provide for a nickel. Which I guess is good for a government agency.

The secret to protect copyright is to have easy to use mechanisms where people can date stamp content in a relatively secure manner. The fact that the copyright office is full of incompetent political drones who are incapable of providing services to match market needs means that the public goes unprotected. Meanwhile the free enterprise system simply stumbles on ways to protect the people.

Who'd a thunk such a thing would happen?

NOTE: I do not think any of the mindfarts on this blog are worth the $45 it costs to protect them. However, I think it would be great to have mechanisms that catch people or companies that harvest and sell writings from online. Since the copyright offices overcharges for their service, the government has effectively created a class of people that the thieves of the world can exploit.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bad Oversight Guarantees Bad Results

Have you noticed that just about ever post I’ve written on FISA begins with the statement that I think third party oversight of foreign surveillance is a good idea?

My experience in life, however, is that that bad oversight is worse than none at all. The first generation of FISA was a bad model. FISA is trying to impose the methods designed to oversee wire tapping in criminal investigations onto foreign surveillance. This is a recipe for disaster. The two systems have radically different objectives and exist in radically different spaces.

Criminal justice is driven by a desire to convict criminals for criminal acts. In this system a judge will issue a warrant for a wire tap based on probable cause that the person being investigated committed or is about to commit a crime.

Foreign agents abroad and their operatives in the United States are no more criminal than American agents and operatives abroad.

Foreign intelligence is not about convicting a defendant of a crime. It is about identifying threats and preventing foreign interests from doing bad things in the United States. A system that evolved to weigh the needs of a defendant and plaintiff just doesn’t fit.

Trying to impose such a system on foreign intelligence creates a logical absurdity; such absurdities in law enforcements tend to lead to major problems.

Oversight should be based on developing best practices for foreign surveillance. It seems to me that a primary concern of foreign surveillance is to determine if there foreign agents are inserting communications in innocent civilian communications. It seems to me that monitoring such communications will involve examining a large number of innocent communications.

If this is the case, then the goal of oversight is to prevent the misuse of any information that America’s snoops glean from the innocent communications that they examine. Rather than having the third party control determining where the snoops can look, the third party control should be between the gathering and use of the information.

IMHO, foreign intelligence should be restricted primarily to identifying threats and preventing attacks from foreign agents.

Now, let’s look at the system where a court starts issuing warrants for investigations. The issuing of warrants changes the nature of the data collected. The FISA court doesn’t want to be seen as impeding necessary surveillance for national security. They will be issuing warrants right and left.

It seems to me that a snoop with a warrant will be far more intrusive than one without a warrant.

In his last post Democracy_Lover finally let on that the primary reason that he finds FISA such an important issue is that he does not trust Bush or Cheney.

Let’s assume for a moment that Bush really is the horrible person of progressive nightmares. Let’s assume, Bush is out to do as much harm to the US as possible during his presidency.

I contend that if this nightmare is true, then the re-instatement of the FISA court actually throws us into the worst of all worlds. Bush and his snoops just had four years where they can identify all of the people who they want to harm. The problem, of course, is that since Bush and his henchmen gathered this information without warrants, they really can’t do the harm that they want to do.

A re-instated FISA Court will be wanting to prove that it is not an impediment to national security; so it will be liberal on issuing warrants.

Bush and his henchmen will then be able to use all of the stuff that they gained during their unsupervised snooping to get warrants against all of their enemies. So, if DL is right and Bush is not a human but an evil cartoon character, then Cheney and Bush will be wringing their little cartoon hands, and letting loose with fiendish cartoon laughs because the broken FISA court will give them the tools to attack their enemies.

I agree that we should have third party oversight of foreign surveillance. Unfortunately, from the inception of FISA in 1978, to Bush’s FISA backpedaling since 9/11, the FISA court has been an example of politics at its worse. The FISA is structured as such that it will prevent the work that needs to be done (the examination of civilian communication channels for embedded messages) and will be far too lenient on issuing warrants for criminal or political investigations.

The fact that the current structure of FISA has created the worst of both worlds is not surprising. First of all, first generations of all systems are buggy. This is especially true of the FISA court because the court was born of political motivations and designed as a political tool to attack Republicans in the wake of Nixon’s misuse of executive authority.

I think we should fix the court. Sadly, Bush’s neocon philosophy is one obstacle to fixing the problem. We must also remember that Democrats are another obstacle.

Look at how much animosity the FISA debate has created for Bush. Democratic thugs love the FISA court because there is an entire legion of paranoid buffoons who will interpret any effort on the part of Republicans to fix a broken problem. The FISA court is a great political tool.

A final note … for those foolish enough to think that courts are the height of reason and will protect us from the government: I just walked by a TV and saw some of the grandstanding by the judge deciding when and where to bury Anna Nicole Smith. The judge was behaving like a buffoon. He was grandstanding, and posturing for the cameras.

Judges are human! If we want to have foreign surveillance that protects us with a minimal impact on our privacy; we avoid designing a system that depends on the integrity of the judge. What we need are systematic constraints that prevent nonrelevant data collected in foreign intelligence from being misused by the government.

Because the judges, the snoops and the executive are all humans, the foreign surveillance system will lead to bad results if the system of oversight is structured in the wrong way.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Setting Kookery in Stone

Imagine, if you would, that the religious kooks got their way and passed a law banning the teaching of evolution in schools.

Imagine now having an enlightened Democratic president who is reluctant to enforce the anti-evolution law since he thinks it will diminish the value of education.

The religious kooks then call for an impeachment.

The religious kooks who wrote the anti-evolution bill might think their bill was the best law ever passed. They may even think it was passed by direct revelation from God!

When you get down into the nitty gritty politics of impeachment, however, you would find the people who think that the evolution ban was a bad idea, would not support the impeachment.

This wrangling between legislature and administration is pretty much what you expect in a democratic republic. For that matter, I suspect the founders would expect push back as being par for the course, and would not consider such things an impeachable offense.

I hate that Bush has chosen to push back on FISA. I hate Bushisms, I hate how Bush appears to avoid engagement in debates with people (except, of course, on Fox and CSPAN).

As much as I hate all of that, the FISA court thang is one of the reindeer games they play in Washington. We may hate reindeer games, but it's not quite impeachment fodder. Examine the logic of the FISA system, it is pretty much equivalent to a pro science administrator pushing back against anti-evolution legislation.

Many people see the FISA as passed in 1978 as a recipe for disaster. Yes, I agree that it is wise to have third party oversight of intelligence. The problem is that we have a court trying to impose the requirements for criminal investigation on foreign intelligence. It doesn't work because foreign intelligence is different from criminal investigation.

Looking at this from a different angle: Should the same methodology applying to criminal investigations be used for health inspections? Should the health inspector have to prove probable cause to get a warrant to inspect a restaurant? Or should health inspections be routine?

What a food handler does in the bathroom is their own business ... except when it comes to washing their hands.

Should health inspectors have probable cause that a bird has the flu before testing a chicken coop for bird flu? I think not. In my opinion, a good health inspection system has a great deal of random sampling. There should be a body of laws with ample protection for the rights of restaurants, farms and what not. That layer of protection shouldn't be at the issue of warrants for health inspection.

A jurist cannot derive from the aether the proper number of health inspections needed to optimize public safety.

Anyway, Conservatives look at the FISA thing as a bad law that will diminish public safety. Impeaching a president for failing to enforce a law that many believe will adversely affect public safety would fly as well as impeaching a president because he allows the teaching of science despite in a world with anti-evolution laws.

I think 3rd party oversight of foreign intelligence is a great idea. The first generation of FISA is buggy and danger. I hate that Bush is playing reindeer games rather than trying to fix the problem. Regardless, the FISA issue falls short of impeachment fodder as the law itself is in dispute.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mindfarting Blog Sites

Mind Farting blogs (like this one) are primarily about creating strange links between ideas with an occasinal weblink to real information sources. I think that there is some value in this process. Linking ideas together is the way that we learn.

The greater portion of mind fart links really are nothing more than white space, and many are squarely off base. For example, Natalie Collins was thinking about the new Mountain Meadows Massacre movie when the Trolley Square shooting hit the news. She links the two in a post. This post really failed for me.

I suspect that Natalie was also responding to all of the people who were trying to find a faith promoting angle to the senseless killings at Trolley Square.

I have no thoughts on the killing spree, other than thankfulness for the office duty officer who brought the event to a quick end.

While the act was senseless. I think there is merit in examining the way that we react to such events.

Violence throws all sorts of raw emotions into the air and we start linking to them and feel an overwhelming desire to act.

We shouldn't stop feeling emotions, but we need to be wary of letting violence drag us into action.

For those unfamiliar with revolutionary theory, a praxis is the realization of theory into practice: Standing in a mall and killing people is a revolutionary praxis, Burning the American flag is a praxis, Throwing an impeachment party is a praxis. These are all activities that pull out emotions and have the effect of putting revolutionary theory into practice.

The goal of a revolutionary praxis is to throw society into a state of mindless action/reaction. During the process of action/reaction, the revolutionary party is to rise to the fore.

The theory works remarkably well. Both the radical left and the reactionary right have used the theory to gain power.

When an event like the Trolley Square Shootings occur, we need to keep from responding in ways that the revolutionary theorists desire.

Our minds immediately try linking the event to the things going on in our own personal lives, or political activities. All of the links we build in this emotional state are suspect.

I am neither distraught about people who try to find something faith promoting in the killings, nor am I distraught by those trying to find something faith demoting in the killings. This is the way that we humans work by nature.

However, since these links are suspect, we need to train ourselves to avoid falling into the action/reaction mode.

As people write out their thoughts and examine the links that they made in the aftermath of the event, I hope they take the time to go back, re-examine their thoughts to make sure they are not just falling into the mode of reaction, as the killer had desired.

Speaking of Trolly Square, I've gotten a ton of hits on the pictures I took of the Trolley Square Trax station pictures I took some months ago. The gallery includes only a couple of outside shots of the mall. I thought about driving to Trolley Square to take more pictures. I am just not into capitalizing on suffering.

Trolley Square is a happy place filled with ecletic art shops in a fun upper end environment. Our jobs as living people is to keeping the haters of the world from taking these things away.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Radical Links

It is true. I am being far to critical of Progressive. I am not giving the progressive groups their say. So, I will have a two part post with a progressive and a conservative link.

Here is the progressive link: The Progressive says that progressive groups that hate George Bush should start holding grassroot impeachment hearings. It is very easy to do. You get your group together. You find someone who wears little square classes and speaks with righteous indignation, like Keith Olbermann. That person will sit in judgment. Everyone in the room would say something that they hate about Bush.

You then find Bush guilty.

Chances are, if your local paper is progressive, you will get on the front page. If not public radio will give you some coverage.

Don't ask me to join your jury because, even though I dislike Bush, I would probably vote against the impeachment because he really hasn't broken US laws. He has simply violated my sensiblities. Even worse, I would probably end up questioning the legitimacy of the fantasy court.

I think Rocky Anderson would be a good jurist on a fantasy court.

I am a little bit more sympathetic to my conservative link: The Other Iraq is a site put together by a Kurdish economic council who wants to attract business and tourism to the Kurdish area of Iraq. These people love their independence, and the prosperity that it is beginning to bring.

They have a history of being abandonned by the West, and are scared shitless that it will happen again as the Democrats take control of the US for the decades to come. Several hundred thousand Kurds were genocided during the Clinton years, but one really cares about that.

I guess I must be conservative because I would not join a progressive impeachment party, but, if I had the means, I would be trying to find ways to invest in Kurdish area of Iraq. That area looks extremely beautiful.

The progressives are smooth, and the kurds lumpy, but I think I like the kurds better. Jason A. Atkinson has an interesting story on the Kurdish Forgotton Democracy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How Taxes Create Incentives for Self Destructive Behavior

The Utah Taxpayer has a bizarre post. They say that sales tax structures create a false economy where cities prefer to have retail stores move in than industy. This helps explain why there is so much RDA money sunk into building Malls and Walmarts, while real industry is left to sprawl on its own on the outskirts of town. The industry may bring in more money into the community. The retail store brings in sales tax directly into the pocket of the city.

This weird economy leads to strange behavior where cities give incentives to retail, and throw up zoning challenges to manufacturing.

The post has a great quote: "Retail happens on its own. It does not need to be subsidized."

To a large extent, retail has a zero sum gain. Pulling a new store into the Salt Lake Valley really doesn't bring in that much new money. The new store might shuffle sales tax dollars between the municipalities in the valley, but does not bring in much new wealth.

Now, I do understand that not all retail is a zero sum gain. Local First notes that locally owned stores tend to keep a higher percentage of consumer money in town because both salaries and profits stay in the community.

A city planner, however, who is only looking at sales tax revenue may not take into the account the positive effects of local ownership. Sales tax from a chain store looks just like sales tax from a locally owned business. City planners just looking at sales tax would see that local stores are already there. So, he-she-or-it would be tempted to spend some of the taxes collected from local businesses to attract in remotely owned competition. Every city planner knows that the city that gets the Walmart gets the sales tax revenue.

It is all hopeless, you know...

One of the reasons that I opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq was that by invading Iraq, we put ourselves in a position where we could not respond to and stop the genocide in Sudan. About 400,000 people died during this genocide.

Imagine, if you would, that the US had stayed out of Iraq, and tried to prevent the genocide in Darfur. Imagine if US troops had stepped in and save 9/10th of the people killed in the genocide.

If the US had stayed out of Iraq, and prevented the genocide in Sudan:

There would be massive protests on the lawn of the whitehouse protesting the occupation of Sudan. Jane Fonda would be using that ugly little face of hers to claim that Bush killed the 40,000 Sudanese that we failed to save. There would be ten thousand or so progressive blogs linked together professing a collective hatred of the United Stats.

Meanwhile in Iraq, Mr. Hussein probably would have killed another 60,000 or so of his citizens to maintain power. Who knows, maybe George Clooney would have made a trip to Baghdad and would make high profile speeches about how the US should have done something about Hussein ... because Hussein is our fault.

It is all hopeless. It is absurd that we are in the middle east trying to stand against radical Islam.

In that case, there would have been both a genocide in Sudan and the 60,000 deaths in Iraq. There would be massive protests on the White House lawn. There would be ten thousand or so progressive blogs linked together in a collective hatred of the United States. Jane Fonda would be using her ugly mug to accuse George Bush of all of the deaths.

All post 9/11 paths lead to the same result, with worldwide hatred focused at the US and the revolutionaries being glorified.

Here is a speech from Dinesh D'Souza on this process of demoralizing the west.

Startup Princess

I've been reading posts on Start Up Princess. This site from Provo is putting together a network of women entrepreneurs.

Yes, I know, I am not supposed to be there. I was actually harvesting links from the site. That's where I found Raw Melissa. Anyway, I think groups like this show entrepreneurship at its finest. The basic metaphor for the site is that the market is a magic kingdom. The goal of the start up princess is to help motivate startups by providing resources including access to venture capital and a to a network of fairy godmothers. A fairy godmothers is a successful entrepreneur willing to help other women achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

It is a fun metaphor, and people are putting together some really worthwhile ventures such as the Now I Can Therapy Center.

Unfortunately, many of the start ups listed on the site seem to be in marginal industries like scrapbooking. One thing that I worry about is that, since so many of the primary industries in our society are dominated by a few well financed conglomerate, we end up burning our entrepreneurial spirit on on low margin markets.

Again, I was on the site to do link harvesting, and a large number of the links are already broken as people's stab at marginal markets failed to manifest. Anyway, I thought I would blog on this resource because it might add more power to the Start Up Princess's magic wand.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Raw Melissa

I wonder if this young lady has a hard time finding a date? I worry about her having to sit at home eating alone on a Friday night, Munching on carrots. The Raw Melissa Blog talks about her cooking classes and the joy of small green plants peeking out from under the snow.

Raw Melissa reminds me a bit of that poor Rachael Ray girl on the food network ... You know, the girl who has to travel around with only $40 a day to spend on food. Every show ends up with poor Rachel Ray dining alone with no-one to talk to.

Anyway, this Raw Melissa stands out as a gem. The site is working on perfecting healthy desserts and cuisine made from whole organic foods. It looks yummy indeeed. I think this type of site is much more interesting than this blabber about politics site. It has great photography and promotes healthy food.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Peacekeeping Missions

The United Nations reports that there is a short of peacekeepers for all of the peacekeeping missions on their plate.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan have high unemployment rates at the moment. Many of these disenfranchised youth are drawn into militias.

I have wondered if it would be advantageous to draw recruits from these nations to be trained as international peacekeepers. lists peacekeeping forces by nation. There is a strong correlation between unemployment in the nation and the number of peacekeepers. The CS Monitor has an article on refuges from Iraq. While we struggle with the security issue in Iraq, it would be worthwhile to find productive things for the refuges to do.

Hmm, maybe we could give them computers and teach them to blog ... no, that's not constructive.

Troop Surge Article

The CS Monitor has a good article on the changes to our counter insurgency effort. The article describes what the troop surge was intended to do. It was not designed to escalate the conflict but to put a counterinsurgency plan in place to try and stabilize Baghdad. Since the troop surge has pretty much been scuttled, the new commander will have to try and change policies without having the personnel in place. The article says that the new commander General Petraeus will have to try his counter insurgency with only about 3/4s of the manpower he thinks the task will require. The general will try to make up the gaps with a contract work force made up from the militias.

It is human nature that you have to invest a great deal of manpower to affect a successful policy change.

Now, the one real big problem I have with Bush's troop surge is that request did not include an indication of how long the troops need to be surged. The term surge implies a short duration, I wish reports on this issue included the duration.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Documenting the Undocumented

The way that the debate on immigration is going, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to solve this monumental social crisis. Our problem is that people debating the issue are far more interested in attacking their opponents than in solving the issue. For example, Reach Upwards tried writing a post about illegal immigration. He immediately gets a reply that tries to frame the post as anti-immigrant. Being against illegal immigration does not make a person anti-immigrant. Personally, I am opposed to illegal immigration because it creates an exploitable underclass. Having an exploitable underclass in our society allows negative elements in our society to undermine our society.

With this in mind, I will write Kevin's very simple and clear method to handling the undocumented worker crisis:

There are two pools of people we need to think about in an immigration debate. The first is the large line of people wanting to migrate into the country legally. There is a second pool of people who are in the US without permission. Immigration policies should be geared toward balancing the needs of these two groups. There should be a preference to people who are going through the legal process.

The first step in solving the problem is to measure it. The people who are trying to immigrate legally are super easy to measure. They willingly fill out forms, stand in lines and give accurate contact information.

Our immigration system should give preference to people in legal channels. For example, we might give people in the legal channel twice the chance of getting approval to a person who crossed the border illegally.

The challenge is documenting the undocumented. To handle this challenge we should start by creating a documentation process. This process would not be handled by the INS. It could be handled by the Census bureau, drivers license divisions or other such agency. The documentation is at a level below a work permit or amnesty. The primary goal of the documentation is to identify people and for the people to state their intent. The documentation should take biometrics, such as a finger print, or snippet of hair for DNA analysis.

The documentation process should include both negative and positive incentives.

The first goal is to document the undocumented. I think this is what Bush is trying to do with the worker program. I would actually make it simpler. We should have documentation program. We should require everyone who is in the country to get documentation. The documentation would include biometrics (like finger prints). It would ask for the person to express their intent. Do they wish to migrate to the US or are they here temporarily. The documentation program would have to have both positive and negative incentives. The data from the documentation program should not be available to law enforcement. You might give people a one month visa for getting the documentation.

To help give incentive to getting the documentation, we should increase the penalties for people who fail to get documentation.

Once we have measured the problem we should then set liberal immigration and work permit quotas.

We would then use a lottery mechanism based on documentation to let people into the country. We should also establish an repatriation program for the people who lost the lottery so that they can find a new home in an orderly manner.

The process of documentation followed by a lottery and repatriation service is not amnesty. The program is not anti-immigrant as it must be built on a liberal immigration quota. By weighing the needs of the people in legal channels over those who crossed the border illegally, the mechanism rewards law abiding behaviour.

Since this process includes greater penalties for not getting documentation, it punishes illegal behavior.

The whole goal of the documenting the undocumented process is to get all of the people in this immigration mess onto a path that will set them up for a better future either in the United States or outside the United States.

There are two other important issues that we must address. We need to greatly curtail the influence that national and local politicians have in granting visas and immigration permits. The second thing is that we should get rid of the policy where having a baby in the US immediately qualifies the mother and child for immigration status. Our world is overpopulated, we need to get rid of artificial incentives for people to have children.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mean Bloggers Rehired

According to this article, Edwards rehired his mean bloggers. I think it is good to stand up for people in your circle of influence.

The group I cited is protesting the rehire. They even use strong wording to condemn Edwards for associating with the bloggers.

This thing about denouncing people is one of the worst aspects of the group think mantality. (Both religious groups and far left groups have the same tendency. When you read through what went on in Maoist China, Russia, the Stasi, la terreur, etc., you find that leftist groups routinely denounce people).

In other words, people should be fired for what they do and not what they say.

If I were a candidate, I would not fire people simply because they have strong opinions. I would fire them in a heartbeat if ever I found them trying to push their agenda into my campaign.

In the case of Fidelis, I agree wholeheartedly in their pointing out the mean bloggers. However, when a group stands out and demands doing harm to individuals, they are on the far side of thuggish behaviour themselves.

One of the things I really like about the classical liberal tradition is that you can disagree with someone, and they don't hate your for it. Classical liberals don't try to undermine your career for disagreeing. For that matter, classical liberals have this strange tendency to promote people they disagree with because it keeps the debate interesting.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Strawman Arguments

One of the weirdest things about the strawman arguments is that is a large mass of people willing to play the role of that strawman. Cato-At-Liberty points out that Max Boot is more than willing to be the Neocon kook. The fact the people want to jump in and play various roles is probably good for discourse since it lets us examine ideas in greater depths.

It seems to me that the main thing our country needs to avoid is being ruled by the kooky extremes that exists in all parties, religions and ideologies.

Making a Living Blogging

Newspapergrl laments about the difficulties of trying to make a living blogging. I too once shared the illusions that blogging was a job you could do with a fancy new computer while visiting exotic resorts, that it was a chance to meet exciting people, that it was something you could do in the buff.


I can still hear the little girl exclaiming: "Look ma! There is a naked man with a computer."

... then there was the exciting meeting with the security guards at the resort ...

... the meeting with the police ...

... the meeting with the judge ...

... then they took my computer ...

As I said in a previous post: "Don't Quit The Day Job. It is all an illusion."


BTW, if you are wondering, yes, the character actor who did this commercial spent a week studying my fashion sense before filming.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Responsibility to Protect

One of the primary reasons that I was opposed to the Iraq War in 2003 was that by invading Iraq, Bush tied the international community's hands on stopping the genocide in Sudan. Although I think we have to continue our dubious ventures in Iraq, I hope that Bush's reputation remains forever tarnished for his actions.

That said, I've come across a few good resources on better ways to address atrocities. One notable option is an idea called "The Responsibility to Protect." This concept states affirmatively that nations have a responsibility to protect their citizens. In cases where nations are engaged in mass atrocities, the international community has a responsibility to intervene.

This policy overturns the Westphalian view of International Relations which pretty much gave nations sovereignty over its citizens, allowing them to kill with impunity.

The first resource I wanted to point out is the University Channel podcast titled The United Nations and the Prevention of Atrocities dated 2007-01-30 which features a conference call with Lee Feinstein. This podcast explores the application of The Responsibility to Protect in Darfur.

You can also read the 2001 report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS).

The Responsibility to Protect makes a very profound change in the way that we view international law. The traditional approach was pretty much like criminal law. You would wait for the crime to happen, then punish then try and punish the criminal for their action. This is pretty much the model of the ICC. If a genocide occurred, we would slap the dictator's hand and give them a villa in France while sternly saying "bad dictator." The responsibility to protect moves the international community away from this vague notion of post genocide justice to a proactive stance of protecting people.

Lee Feinsteion states, and I agree here, that the principle to protect really did not apply in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's atrocities had occurred prior to the US invasion. It appeared to me in 2003 that Hussein had had his fill of genocide for the time being and was content to luxuriate in his palaces, while his sons killed a small number of people for sport. Trying Hussein for past atrocities is something that would fit in the ICC model of trying people for international crimes.

This ICISS model and ideals like the responsibility to protect shows the type of thinking that I wish was going on in Washington in lieue of the neocon and progressive nonsense that dominates modern discourse.

Mean Bloggers

I am sad, apparently John Edwards fired his provocative bloggers. People shouldn't be fired for opinions that they've expressed in the past. IMHO, Edwards' firing the bloggers to protect his image was a far bigger blunder than whatever political capital he spent hiring provocative bloggers.

It is interesting that the press is trying to lay the blame John Edward's firing of Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan on conservatives thugs. The two stood out like flashing cartoon characters on a Boston freeway bridge. Conservative bloggers are like progressive bloggers ... they will swipe at any low lying fruit.

IMHO, the hiring of these progressive bloggers was a proper subject for political discourse. I suspect that John Edwards hired the bloggers because he was hoping to tap into the political capital that the bloggers had been accumulating. Hiring people with substantial public exposure into a high profile position was a political move, and should be opened to scrutiny.

Regardless, John Edwards is the one responsible for any personnel decisions made by his campaign group.

BTW: I loved Michelle Malkin's hotair parody of Amanda Marcotte. I think she caught the angst of the overwraught progressive blogger.

Emerging Markets

Did anyone else notice that the Federal Reserve rate hikes failed to lower long term interest rates. The phenomena had many people puzzled. The reason for the change is that our interest rates are no longer determined by the Federal Reserves ... but by China.

The Emerging Markets is a new must read by Antoine van Agtmael that explores the fundamental economic shifts occurring as the emerging markets (once called the third world) rapidly eclipse the first world. Funds investing in the emerging markets have been realizing an astounding 37% growth per year. The emerging market is no longer simply using cheap labor to replicate inventions from the first world. The third world has become the primary stage for research and development. For that matter, most of the real cutting edge technology showing up on shelves these days (such as the plasma TVs, iPhones, etc.) are coming from the emerging markets.

The United States is even likely to lose its edge in education as emerging markets build universities that rival those of the first world.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jordan River Temple

Jordan River TempleOn the same day that I took the shots of the Intermountain Medical Center, I drove out to the Jordan River Temple hoping to get some good shots of the temple framed against the Wasatch. Unfortunately, I discovered that the layout of the grounds doesn't lend itself to evening photos. The best time to photograph this subject would be in the mornings. Since they light the temple, it would also be possible to get some good shots at dusk and dawn.

I managed to get lost on my trip to South Jordan. That place used to be all farm lands. It will soon be larger than Salt Lake City proper.

Republicans, STOP BLUNDERING!!!!!!

The nonbinding resolution on the troop surge was an adequate vehicle for starting the debate that must occur if we are ever to get back on track to rebuilding consensus in this nation. Yes, I realize that the Senate Rules call for a 60 person vote to get an issue on the floor, and that the Democrats used the procedural device time and time again to derail legislation when they were the minority (without a squeak from from the press).

Unfortunately, we live in a day when progressives control the media. Republicans cannot play like Democrats because will shred you apart.

Remember, at the heart of the progressive movement is the belief that they are more equal than others. Yes, that means that when Republicans follow standard Senate procedures, every press in the nation will scream that the Republicans are playing dirty tricks. Conversely, when the Democrats used the same procedures to block Social Security reform, etc., there was nary a peep. Republicans, you cannot play by the same rules as Democrats.

Bring on the Debate

I am very pleased that Congress is finally debating Iraq.

Personally, I think that the primary reason that we haven't made strides in rebuilding Iraq is that Bush and the neocons have stifled debate. Since the debate had been stifled, the political players in the world were reduced to base posturing and behind the scene maneuvering.

Democracies are born in debate.

I've said in previous posts that Bush's proposal of a troop surge was brilliant as it changed the debate from one of how we will retreat to one about winning the peace.

It seems to me that peacekeeping takes two components: The first is a consensus, the second is a great deal of analysis. You can't achieve either of these components without discourse.

Just as violence is infective, so is discourse. Drawing people into a debate about the future turns people from violence to peace.

The only problem with debate is that people expect debate to end with action. In most cases, new legislation and new laws just get in the way. I hope the debate continues to focus on nonbinding resolutions, and not on Bills.

The thing that really puzzles me is that the Republicans had been systemically winning each of the debates on the economy and economic policy up to Bush's invasion of Iraq.

I watched about a dozen speeches from Democrats and Republicans who were really engaged in spirit of the debate. The obstructionist Harry Reid was the only speach I could not stand. Worms like Reid, however, have their greatest effect when discourse is stifled. They slink back into the dung pile of obscurity when real debate takes place.

BTW, when you listen to the debate, notice how Ried tries to trip up the debate on linquistic nonsense. My guess is that, like Hugo Chavez, Reid is a disciple of Chomsky. One of the nonsense soundbytes that Reid repeats is that there is not a military solution, only a political one. Of course, if you look at history of the human race, you will find that militaries (peacekeeping forces) are pretty much always present at the start of any sustained peace process.

If we really want to engage in word mincing, I think a better description is that we won the war quite easily. The war mission was accomplished a long time ago. We have been failing the peacekeeping mission that must follow a war.

Reid's second mantra is that the "sectarian violence" has turned into a "civil war." This is supposed to trigger some sort of neuron in our brain that tells us that we must retreat because it is unwise to get involved in a civil war.

Again, if we see our current situation as one where we won the war a year or so ago, and that we are now engaged in a difficult peacekeeping mission, you would see Reid's arguments as dust. Peacekeeping missions have stopped civil wars. For example, in post the Rwanda genocide, Peacekeepers were able to stem the number of retribution killings that could have easily doubled the body count.

But, why is that ugly obstructionist Reid sticking in my mind. I just saw 19 beautiful debates where Democrats and Republicans were starting to find consensus. We have to break from this situation where neocon clowns like Bush and progressive jokers like Reid rip us apart.

The pieces of the debate I saw (Harry Reid excluded) were great.

Monday, February 05, 2007

UN Peacekeeping Missions

Jane Holl Lute, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, gives a presentation on the challenges of peacekeeping. The United Nations is getting pulled in to more and more peacekeeping efforts each year, which is sad because things have been getting better economically. Unfortunately, we are in a situation where politicians are ripping at the heart of the world's community as never before.

Ms. Holl Lute had a very good observation that the primary problem in the United Nations is that UN has lost the consensus that existed when the charter was first signed. The podcast is 89 minutes, but worth the listen.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Slippery When Wet

I think the Colts should take on a new motto: "Slippery When Wet."

Of course the real meat of the Super Bowl is all of the right wing conspiracies that took place. There is already good coverage of the hidden messages in the prudential ad. The ad keeps repeating the words "A Rock." But we all know that the ad really is some sort of right wing conspiracy thing about Iraq!!!!!!!!!

Did anyone else notice that the game began with a 92 yard touchdown. When Devin Hester was asked about the play he said "I caught the ball, then I ran!" Does anyone else see the pattern?

The right wing government is trying to hypnotize us through the Superbowl!!!!!

BTW, did you notice that the CareerBuilder ads jumped from an office full of monkeys to an office jungle without any interim steps. These people clearly are in the pockets of the Intelligent Design crowd who want to remove science from the school. They even used the sacred phrase "survival of the fittest" in the Office Fight video specifically to denegrate Darwin.

The other thing that has me worried is the fact that it rained through the whole game. Readers of the progressive left press will remember that, just about two years ago, George Bush and his brother conspired together and threw a hurricane at New Orleans because they hate black people. So, I am wondering why George Bush decided to make it rain on the Superbowl. Was he trying to dampen progressive unity?

We need a Democratic President so that future superbowls will be sunny!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Intermountain Medical Center Photos

Shift ChangeFriday was a beautiful day; so I went out to do some photographing. The primary subject of interest was the new Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. This is a stunning campus with 5 medical centers. The hospital will replace the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake as IHC's flagship hospital (Salt Lake Health Links. The result of placing this $325 million dollar facility in Murray is that Murray will come of age as one of the primary cities in Utah. Murray has always had a hoping art scene. The IHC facility will also attract in more restaurants and business to the town. My favorite picture of the set is the workers piling out of the building at shift change.

Hiking in Neff CanyonUnfortunately, it takes longer to label photos than to take them. I labeled a few pictures that I took during a walk up Neff's Creek Canyon. I was wanting to get some winter scenes.

BTW, if you are looking for a job in Salt Lake, I understand that IHC will be doing a hiring blitz between now and the center's opening later in this year (Salt Lake Employment Resources). If you are looking to start a business, Murray looks like its an area that is at the start of a sustainable boom.

Progressive Science

A large number of posts on this blog complain about something that dubbed "progressive science." I realized I needed a post to define the term.

Science is a proven method where people try to understand and solve problems through objective analysis of nature and other physical phenomena. Good science improves our understanding of the universe and tends to lead to progress.

Good science is boring and tedious work. Some of the best scientific inquiry leads to dead ends. For example, a great deal of good science went into to exploring the hypothesis that the earth is only a few thousand years old. This was a dead end. However the good science led to a more compelling theory that the earth is several billion years old.

There is a large number of politically minded folks who love to be associated with progress. This group of progressive scientists consists of two types of clowns: The first is relatively harmless group of science promoters that seek to get their name associated with scientific progress. For example, the Internet is progressive. A person might claim that they invented the internet. Climate change is something we have to deal with, therefore they are the voice of climate change. Science populists serve a good role of increasing awareness of science. They can get a little over the top at time. Sometimes scientific populists lead people in the right direction, sometimes in the wrong.

The second more diabolical group of progressive scientist is a group that adheres to a progressive cause, then tries to back fill their ideology with “science.” Hegel and Marx are prime examples of this. Both gained legitimacy for their ideologies by claiming them to be scientific.

This second group of progressive scientists has a tendency to muck with the foundations of reason to support their dubious causes. These are the people who would intentionally falsify data, or ignore data counter to their claim.

There are reactionary scientists who react to the progressive scientists. By adopting the same method as the progressive scientists, reactionaries often become part of the problem.

My definition of a progressive scientist is essentially someone who is willing to pervert science for a cause. In most cases their causes are dubious. The primary cause of most progressive scientists is the progression toward socialism. You will find people using the same techniques as the progressive scientists in other causes. For example there is a cadre of radical Islamic progressive scientists trying to prove that the Holocaust never happened.

The reason that progressive science upsets me is not simply that I reject the various causes of the progressive scientists. I dislike these clowns because they tend to undermine science and the process of reason.

Unfortunately, when a large number of people chose to follow the path of progressive science, it becomes extremely difficult to sort out good science from bad.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cartoon Characters

I guess the big cultural news of the day is that a bunch of marketing wanks from TBS brought Boston to a crawl with an army of electronic cartoon characters flipping us off. This bird flipping cartoon character stunt will be recorded in academic history as one of the highlights of the new progressive movement. The unbridled success of this campaign pretty much guarantees that it will be emulated in years to come.

While browsing local web sites today, I came across several blogs promoting an article on scienceblog called pharyngula. Progressive blogs are describing the post with superlatives like the “best blog post ever written.” Having come across three sites calling this the best blog post ever written, I decided that I had to read it.

The post was a big disappointment. The author talks a little bit about his feelings while examining a fossil collection, then launches into a politically correct attack of the Bible and Christianity.

I have read a ton of good science writing. This article is not good science.

The piece is really nothing more than an example of the straw man fallacy. The writer pretends that Christians are two dimensional characters, then ridicules them for being two dimensional characters.

The author makes the one good point. You will not find any useful scientific information in the Bible. Of course, that is not what the Bible is about. I’ve found no useful scientific information in the Harry Potter series, nor have I found decent scientific information reading blogs. You won't find good science on the Cartoon network. That's because these things are not about science.

I’ve known many good Christian thinkers. They use the Bible as a link to a long standing and proven moral tradition. I would even agree with the statement that students should not spend too much time reading the Bible, because there are better sources for the technical information that we need in life.

Quite frankly, I did not find the essay that original. I wrote several essays similar to that in College. If you have a progressive professor, you can get an easy A by scribbing out a quick essay on the joys of science followed by an attack on Christianity. Progressive educators routinely reward students who write essays that attack traditional western values.

The real question in my mind is why so many people linked to this article claiming that it is the best blog post that they ever read?

As far as I can tell, this essay simply continues a tradition of hatemongering wanks trying to use pseudo-science to justify their hatred.

If you dig into the history of science literature, you will find similar wanks using the same formula to justify hatred of blacks, the hatred of Jews, or hatred of any number of groups.

Good science writing rarely has the objective of attacking any group or culture.

Come to think of it, really good science is quite boring. Good science often comes in the form of a large table of numbers followed by equations.

Good science does not put up then attack straw men. This is the type of game that crappy essayists pull.

Yes, progressive love pushing a stereotype that Christians are laughable two dimensional characters. When you really dig through western history, you will find that the Christian tradition has produced many of the most interesting multidimensional creatures that have ever walked on the planet. Yes, the character list includes many intolerant jerks. It also includes many open minded, generous people.

One of the most common character in Western history is the Machiavellian prince. These are people who pretend to be religious to gain power, but are not.

Close minded jerks and duplicitous characters exist in every society, including the scientific community. You will find a large number of people claiming their ideas to be "scientific" when they are just fluff.

Every culture has its jerks. An accurate scientific analysis of a culture shouldn’t begin with the jerks. It should look at what the culture does. The western tradition, which is largely Christian, produced many of the greatest advances in civilizations because Christianity provides a multidimensional framework that allows for advances on multiple cultural fronts.

The progressive movement has produced two great cultures: Communism and Fascism ... neither of which I would care to repeat.

Anyway, to get the post back on track: We began by looking at an extremely successful ad campaign by Turner Broadcasting System in which cartoon characters gave the bird to the people of Boston.

Next we looked at an article on that got a large number of inbound links from progressive sites as it uses the straw man fallacy to inspire politically correct intolerance.

Now, lets hit the real reason for today’s blog post: The biggest danger of the straw man fallacy is that straw man fallacies often result in self-fulfilling prophecies. When you create prejudicial stereotypes, you will find that there is a large number of people willing to play your stereotypical role.

So, I want to end this post on cartoon characters with a link to a free song by Spaff (warning explicit lyrics) called Super Televangelistic Sex-and-Drugs Psychosis. This little ditty is about the cartoon characters who march in front of congregations to play the televangelist stereotype, then get caught with their pants down.

If you want to show your support for the bird flipping cartoon stunt. You can buy episodes of the program on itunes. The button below brings you to their iTunes page:

Aqua Teen Hunger Force - Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Season 4

Hmmm, I think I might get “You Can Call Me Al” (Paul Simon - Graceland - You Can Call Me Al) from Paul Simon's Graceland. I agree with Al. I don't want to end up a cartoon character in a cartoon graveyard.

Why are we letting our cultural elite do this to us?