Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Bipartisan Express"

Over the past week or so, there have been advertisements on the radio for the Democratic Candidate for the Govornor/Lt. Governor for Utah. The gimmik they are using is quite clever, even though I oppose the candidate (Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon).
This is obviously a take of of the "Tea Party Express", and I believe it should resonate with some of the voters. Unfortunately for Mayor Corroon, he is trailing by more than 30%.
I do enjoy, however, the basic idea of the commercial. It is positive and uplifting and a welcome change from some of his previous commercials.

A year? Wow.

Let's try this again. 1 post a day - I can do this.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I almost quit on Saturday

I have been running for various positions in the county and state Republican parties (Davis county, Utah) over the past several years.
Precinct chair (numerous times), precinct vice chair, county delegate (4x), state delegate(4x), county vice chair (2x), county chair, state chair, state central committee (3x), state executive committee, state Constitutional and Bylaws committee, legislative vice chair, and senate vice chair.
To say that I have performed poorly would be an understatement. So far, I have won Precinct Chair a couple of times, won precinct vice chair the one time I lost precinct chair, won state central committee only when a previouis member became state vice chair and I was next in line, won re-election to state central committee, and lost everything else. And lost badly.
This last saturday, for C&B committee, I garnered 11 votes during the first round of balloting (6 of the 7 slots were filled), and 3 votes on the secon round. When I only got 3 votes, I desided to drop out of the race.

I was then seriously considering quitting. I have been learning about the issues, people, and processes of our political system. I have been carefully identifying problems that I can solve, and proposed numerous solutions - all of which have passed. So, why couldn't I get elected to a higher position? What was I doing wrong?

People that I talked to liked my ideas, generally. Even people who disagreed with me liked me, since we could discuss the issue and where and hy we disagreed. So, why couldn't I get elected to a higher position? What was I doing wrong?

So, I went down a checklist of possibilities. There was only one remaining issue: religion. I am not a member of the local predominant church. I can't/won't joind a church just for political asperations - that would be very wrong. So, if this was the case, what chance do I have?

So, I was seriously considering quitting.

But, right at the right moment, someone spoke to me. I won't tell his name, but I will say he is of considerable importance in the party, and I value his opinions and work very highly. (I may post his name if he ever gives me permission, though).

So, what did he say? "Tom, I was one of the three final votes for you. I think you have great ideas and have been doing excellent work." (note: paraphrasing).


Just some simple words. It made my entire year.

Look out world - you ain't seen nothing yet!

My speech to the Utah State Republican Central Committee

This is what I was supposed to say for my speech for the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.

Robert Heinlein once wrote, “Never appeal to a man’s higher nature, he may not have one.”
I can’t convince you that I have a higher nature. I will tell you that I do have enlightened self interest.
Any system that can give me an unfair advantage can also give someone else an unfair advantage over me. I want to help build a system where people and ideas can compete honestly and fairly.
Along with our Republican ideals, this system will result in the greatest ideas and the finest people that will preserve and improve our unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, Property, and the pursuit of happiness!
My name is Tom Clay, and I want your vote.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I am tired, but I have an idea.

I read a lot of news online. I read a lot of blogs online (thought: where else can I read them?)

I also read the comments.

I shouldn't.

Most of the comments are nothing but name calling. And inane name calling. I've heard better name calling from 4th graders.

And I just called the name-callers a name. Actually, no. I called the name callers name calling a name.

Note: I can easily understand the previous lines. Being a software developer, I am fully knowledgeable of recursive structures and words having multiple meanings. Anyway, it made sense to me at the time. When I reread it in a few months, I will probably say to myself, "Huh?"

Most of the comments sections on news sites and on blogs allow people to "vote" on a comment. They also allow you to "hide" comments that are too negative. What if someone had some computer software that could look at a commend and objectively rank it according to name calling? I could then hide all of those "comments" and then read the 5% that have something interesting to say (even if I disagree with it).

More research will be done.

EDITED: corrected spelling.

EDITED: A good example: http://www.breitbart.tv/go-home-dc-crowd-drowns-out-cnn-reporter-during-live-report/ - As Captain Hook would say, "Bad form, gentlemen, bad form."
We don't have to be disagreeable.

Tea Party March on Washington

ABC news says it was "60 to 70 thousand" (their source is the Washington DC Fire Department). http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/tea-party-protesters-march-washington/story?id=8557120

CBS news says it was "tens of thousands" according to their item from the Associated Press http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/12/politics/main5305732.shtml?tag=stack

NBC news has an item from the Associated Press http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32811199/ns/politics-more_politics/

Now, here is a street (traffic?) camera view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoPud1TeubM&feature=player_embedded

Parks and Recreation put the estimate at 1.2 million. DC police at 1.5 million.

You decide.

EDITED: Added Parks and Recreation and DC Police numbers

Norman Borlaug has died

Um, who?
Apparently, he is (or was) an agricultural scientist that, according to some people, has saved over 250,000,000 people. That's a quarter of a billion! Others put the numbers at a billion!

So, I did a little research. He was the founder of the Green Revolution. Uh oh! Red (or green) flag! Another one of those eco-freaks, right?

Well, no. He vigorously applied the scientific method to the agricultural production of food. His techniques and research increased crop yields by 200% to 300%. And what's best, he didn't do it by fording anyone to do anything: he made convincing arguments about how farmers get compensated for their crops and he developed pest and disease resistant strains of food!

So, the "Green" part of his Green Revolution wasn't a political agenda (mainly), but it was a scientific application of stuff that worked.

It wasn't just agricultural science, either.:

He insisted that governments pay poor farmers world prices for their grain. At the time, many developing nations--eager to supply cheap food to their urban citizens, who might otherwise rebel--required their farmers to sell into a government concession that paid them less than half of the world market price for their agricultural products. The result, predictably, was hoarding and underproduction. Using his hard-won prestige as a kind of platform, Mr. Borlaug persuaded the governments of Pakistan and India to drop such self-defeating policies.

That's a Green Revolution that I can get behind.

Friday, September 11, 2009

President Obama will chair the United Nations Security Council for September, 2009

For September, 2009, the United States of America will chair the United Nations Security Council. As I understand it, the position rotates through the 15 members of the security council every month. My initial thoughts are that a one month rotation sounds goofy, but considering the strange world of international politics, I can't think of a better solution off the top of my head.
I did some research and I also discovered that the United States has a person that was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to be the Ambassador to the United Nations. In fact, our ambassador, Susan Rice, was confirmed unanimously! Since I know next to nothing about what makes a qualified ambassador, I will take the confirmation by the Senate to mean that she is extremely qualified for the position.

So, why is President Obama doing her job?

Doesn't he have other things to do?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Governor Mark Sanford - Step Down Please

On a moral issue, what he did was bad enough. He cheated on his wife. But, morality issues are debatable. What is moral for one person may not be moral for another. It is subjective.
There are many objective reasons for his resignation.

  1. He broke an oath. He swore "to forsake all others" when he got married. If he breaks his marriage vows, what other oaths will he break?
  2. He misappropriated state funds. He used his state provided vehicle to drive to his "liaison" with his mistress (or at least to the airport). If he did it this once, he probably did it before (people rarely get caught the first time they do something wrong).
  3. He put valuable state resources at considerable risk. He is the head of the state of South Carolina. As such, he is a very important resource. By travelling to another country, unescorted by any security, he put himself, and the state of South Carolina, at grave risk. As a private citizen, I could do what he did and only be at risk to the wrath of my wife. But elected officials are not private citizens!
  4. Dereliction of duty. In South Carolina, during an emergency, all power resides in the executive. If there had been an emergency, the state would not legally have been able to do anything. He told no one where he was, and he was out of communication. If the airplane had crashed or if he had been killed in Argentina it would have taken perhaps weeks for the state to replace him.

So please, Governor Sanford, step down. Although you have made some very wise decisions, the recent adventure you went on shows that you are unfit to govern.

And if you don't, I urge the South Carolina legislature to work towards an impeachment.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Obamacare

Ok, according to recent estimates, the cost of President Obama's health care plan over a 10 year period will be over $1 trillion over a 10 year period. That seems like a LOT of money. If fact, it IS a lot of money - even by the standards Washington, D.C.

There are also estimates that it will only cover 10 million people.

So, I did some thinking.

Let's make some ridiculous assumptions.

1) Every person of this 10 million people is in a 4 person family, giving us a total of 2.5 million families.
2) Overall, the families have average medical needs.

Now, according the National Coalition on Health Care, http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml the average cost of health insurance for a 4 person family is $12,700 per year.

Now, some math:
Number of families: 2.5 million
Average cost of insurance: $12,700
====================================
Total annual cost: $31.75 billion
====================================
Total 10 year cost: $317.5 billion

So, my question:
Why not save a bunch of money and just buy private insurance for them?

(edited a couple of times to to correct spelling mistakes and other typos - my keyboard can't spell)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Sutherland institute

I am dismayed at some of the comments I have heard about the Sutherland Institute and their current approach to illegal immigration.
On this one issue alone, many people have chosen to excoriate them and completely remove their support.

That is their choice.

However, my take is a bit different. I do not agree with the Sutherland Institute on illegal immigration, but there are many other political issues that I do agree with them on. Whenever they make a statement about illegal immigration, I will read it with an extremely critical eye. I might agree with the statement, but I probably won’t.
Limited government, private property, free markets, family, traditional marriage, global warming climate change – these are all issues on which they are correct.

For any group, why can’t we support them on issues where we agree with them, and oppose them where we disagree? It is difficult enough for us to find issues where we agree.
Republicans have (in recent history) been our own worst enemies. It seems to me that if we couldn’t agree 100% with a candidate, then we must oppose them. John McCain was not my first choice for the Republican candidate for President (I liked Fred Thompson). But, he would have been immeasurably better than President Obama. That is why, once Senator McCain became our candidate, I supported him.

Don’t like the position of the Sutherland Institute on illegal immigration? Fine – I don’t like it much, either. I will not completely condemn them, though, since I agree with them (to some degree) on so many other issues.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sotomayor fractures ankle at New York airport

My opinion on SCOTUS nominee Sotomayor: Based on what I've read (a lot) and what I understand about judges (not so much), I do not think believe that she would be a good addition to the supreme court. In fact, I believe she would be very detrimental. (I struck out "think" because I don't know or understand enough to have anything but a rudimentary opinion).

All that said, I do not consider her to be an "enemy." I have nothing but the best wishes for her health.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We have a president elect

Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama.

I sincerely hope that he turns out to be the best president the United States has ever seen.

I don't expect it to happen, though.

I will support him on issues where we agree, and oppose him where we disagree. Since I am just a minor political malcontent from Utah, that end up to be very little support or opposition that I can give.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Obama is...

Obama is, according to his own speech, black!!!!
So what?
I have no doubt that there are people out there that will hold that against him. In fact, last night I was at a friends house where a "friend of a friend" declared that a mixed color couple is "disgusting!" I asked him why - he had no answer.
Fortunately, I don't think he actually votes.
I believe I am speaking for the vast (90%+) majority of Americans when I say, with regards to race, "I don't care."
I don't care that Barack Obama is black (and white, and Arab). I don't care that Nancy Pelosi is white. I don't care that Jesse Jackson is black. I don't care that Al Frankin is white. I don't care that Al Sharpton is black.
You get the picture.
What I do care about is ideas, ideology, proposals, and actions. And when I look at the ideas of these people, I cringe. When I look at their ideologies, I wince. When I look at their proposals, I worry.
And when I look at their actions, I get confused. They say one thing - how people should behave, how people should act, how people should live, and yet they don't even try to live according to the rules they want the rest of us to live under.
I'm not talking about the "hypocrisy" of a chain smoker (or any other type of drug addict) who tells others not to smoke or do drugs. Those people are speaking from experience, saying, "look what it did to me!"
No - the hypocrisy of the "leaders" on the left (and, unfortunately, some on the right), seems to be saying that there are several sets of rules: one for the unwashed masses, and others for the "privileged few" at the top.
Race? Who cares. Religion? Ditto.
I do not judge them by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

And I find it wanting.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Why Term Limits are a Bad Idea

At least on a local and state level. I don't know if my argument works on a national level.
Term Limits is an attempt to get rid of what many people call "professional politicians" or "political careerism". In reality, as long as people believe that someone is doing a good job, they typically don't care how long that person is in office.
I am of the opinion that it isn't the political careers that people are opposed to, but the undue influence that special interest groups have on career politicians. And, of course, a "special interest" group is one that you don't agree with. Few people consider the Boy Scouts of America a special interest group, but even they have their own lobbyists.
So, how do we get rid of the special interest groups? To paraphrase Shakespeare, "Kill all the lobbyists!"
But, that probably won't work. There are few times that an extreme reaction would ever work, and I can't think of any situations where they would.
So, what to do?
100% disclosure.
(Note: this is not my original idea, but I have added stuff to it. I originally heard it from my Congressman, Rob Bishop)
Remove campaign limits. Allow any citizen of the United States to give any amount of money to whomever they want. Just require ANY donation to be published online, in an easily searchable format, within 72 hours. Any corrections must be made within 7 days. No more of this quarterly filing BS. We have the technology, and it is actually pretty easy to use. In fact, I'll even write it! (another note: I am a software developer, and a good one at that)

"But that means people will be donating millions to a campaign!!!"

So? It gets done now. Soft money. Donating to a candidate directly, the county party, the state party, political action committees, special interest groups, 527 groups, "get out the vote", and more. It adds up. The only thing is, it's extremely difficult to determine who is funding whom.

Bill Gates has a lot of money. Billions. So does Warren Buffet. Soros. And many, many others. You like them? Dislike them? Fine. Either way, it would be easy to see who gave what money to whom. Don't like the fact that the NRA gave money to a candidate? Don't vote for them. Don't like the NEA? Find out who got their money, and vote against them.

Many years ago in a computer magazine, Penn Jillette had a column. A particular column that I remember (actually, the only one I remember - it's been 25 years) dealt with censorship. To paraphrase, "The best way to deal with words that you don't like isn't with censorship, it is with MORE WORDS!!!!"

More rules will not make politicians and their campaigns more honest. They will simply hire more consultants to figure out ways of hiding and moving money. We don't need more rules - we need more exposure.

And if it is one thing less than honorable politicians hate, is exposing themselves.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Demogogery - I'm going to fight

I am sick and tired of reading phrases like "Republicans always..." or "Democrats always..."

Demogogery is killing our country.

There is nothing wrong in supporting your preferred political party, or standing by and supporting members of it, but we go too far.

Representative Jackson, from Louisiana, caught with $90,000 wrapped in aluminum foil in his freezer. He was removed from various committee positions in congress. My question - why is he even IN congress? I know, innocent until proven guilty, but members of congress are supposed to know better.

Senator Craig, from Idaho. Ok, he's a creep, and possibly a closet homosexual, and it was a "sting" operation, etc, etc. But, he is a Senator!!!!! His actions AFTER his arrest, and how he handled it were juvinile. I would expect such behavior from a 19 year old who didn't have a clue about the legal system, but a senator??

And to all of you who "stand by" your man - stop it already. Hold them to higher standards than "normal" society. Actually, if we held our government "leaders" to the same standards that we have for other people in our neighborhoods, I doubt many would ever be re-elected.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Talked my client out of hiring me

Yesterday, I finished a contract job. I spent a total of 11.5 hours working for them. The contracting agency gets a bit over half, but for a short job, that's fine.

I had the opportunity to have the contract extended - perhaps as long as a month, maybe even more. But, they asked for my "expert" opinion, and I told them: you can't do what you want to do the way you want to do it. Basically, because of some tools that they must use, they would have to take their current system (technology which I am very familiar with) and replace it with a new one based on another technology, which I am only slightly familiar with. I told them that although I could help with the new system, their money was better spent on other consultants who knew more.

That's the way it should work, isn't it?

Too many soldiers dying in Iraq = racism?

I had a thought a while ago. There are a number of people that want the United States to pull out of Iraq because, "X amount of soldiers have died! That's too many!"
Now, as far as I understand it, most "experts" in the Middle East believe that Iraq will implode into a horrendous civil war if the U.S. pulls out. More people would die than if we stayed. The detractors have responded, "but they aren't American soldiers!"
Aren't they implying that thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are "worth" less than a few thousand American troops? That is something that can be inferred easily enough.

I'm not going to call any of those people racists. I seriously doubt that they ever thought of things this way. They are just people that think that a war is the worst possible thing imaginable, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another dry spell

I've got to stop not doing this.

That's a difficult sentence to parse :)

So many things going on. Murderous rampages, news "alerts" every 15 minutes with discussions including "experts" on murderous rampagers, junk science, junk sociology, witch hunts with federal appointees, senate leaders surrendering our "war" on terror, convictions of high powered white collar criminals, and more.

I can remember back in the "good ol' days" whan I was a child. We didn't worry about those things, but then again, children never do :) Our parents only had to worry about inflation, junk science, junk sociology, Vietnam vets going on murderous rampages, big businesses being broken apart because of anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws, and more.

More of the same.