Friday, June 30, 2006

The world is a terrible place

It always has been, and always will be.

Things were different when I was younger.

It always has been, and always will be.

But, I think the alternative is worse :)

The country is changing. Things are different. Some things are better, some are worse.

But, we are civilized people, in most places around the world. We want the world to be better, and in many ways, it is.

We have our ideals - these lofty goals of how things should be. And we mostly work towards these goals.

The problem is that we don't always live up to our ideal. We don't always reach these lofty goals.

Scratch that. The problem isn't that we don't succeed, the problem is that too many people decide to either quit, which is bad enough, or they decide to lower the goals, which is far worse.

The world will be a much better place if we set high and lofty goals, make real attempts to reach them, and fail than if we set low goals and succeed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's the Devil, I tell ya! The Devil!

I guess one of the unwritten rules of running for public office is, "don't say anything that makes you sound like a nut."

But hey, were human, and we all sound like nuts eventually.

I got a chuckle when I read the story from the 3rd Congressional District about John Jacobs comment.

If I were in the 3rd district, I'd still vote for him.

There is evil and good in the world. Certainly there is a lot of grey area that is open for debate, but there are some things that are just good, and others that are just evil.

An example of good would be Mother Theresa. She showed us one of the potentials of humanity. Personally, there is no way I can reach her levels, but I can still see it as a potential goal for me.

Then there is evil. The torturing of soldiers before killing them is one example. Abusing children. Talking on cell phones during a movie.

Ok, perhaps the third one is open to some debate.

I do not know if there is a personal embodiment of evil out there. If there is, I hope the counterpart is alive and well. Recognizing that evil exists is one of the requirements of civilization. Identifying evil things and saying, "this is the line which we will not cross," is what separates us from... well, I don't know what it separates us from, but I don't want to be one of them, whatever they are.

There are people that do evil, and some of them can be rehabilitated. Others must be removed from our society. We have laws and police and ourselves as tools that can identify and deal with these people.

The really scary ones are the people who do not see that evil and good exists. Everything is dependent on a, "certain point of view." For them, by taking the correct point of view, anything - including the most vile and disgusting acts - can be justified and even accepted. These chameleons are difficult to spot because they can "justify" their actions.

They cannot be rehabilitated - at least not many can. They can only be removed from out society. The problem is, how do we find them?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wish I had a name like that!

If I lived in Weber County, I would consider voting for her just because of the cool name.

Jan Zogmaister

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Charity

Here in Utah there has been a mild uproar about the state legislature and how they declined funding for low income people for dentistry for a "paltry" 2 million dollars, and yet they approved a 15 million dollar parking garage.

Americans are a charitable people. Actually, I think all human kind is. In particular, Americans contributed $241 Billion in 2003. That's a lot of money.

My question is this: why is government responsible for charity? I don't have any issues with the idea of the government helping out in natural disasters, but does the government have the responsibility to help in day-to-day charities?

I wonder how much of federal and state budgets deal with charities.

And should they?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Farmers mess up illegal immigration!

Well, not the farmers themselves, of course.

I had an interesting and very educational discussion with a friend this last weekend about the illegal immigration issue. He asked me a simple question, "What about the farmers?"

He wasn't talking about the low wage jobs that "no American wants." He was talking about the economics of farming.

As an independent software developer, I can raise and lower my rates whenever I want. Construction companies can do the same. In fact, most businesses can do that. The consumer market is such that some clients might go somewhere else, others (most) will pay the higher fees to stay with the company they are used to. Understandable, really.

But then, we get to the farmers. Or more generally, producers of raw materials such as mineral ore (mining), food and livestock (farming and ranching), and timber (which is more like farming every day) to just name a few.

These businesses can't set their own prices. The prices are what they are on the day they sell them. The products are sold on the commodities markets, and therin lies the problem.

Farmers can't organize to raise prices. This has been tried in Utah and Arizona (and probably other places), and the buyers simply bought from other states. Since the commodities markets are becoming more and more international, not even countries can try to set prices.

So, the farmers can only do one thing to increase profits - lower their cost of production. And to do that, there is only one option: wages.

Of course, we could subsidize the farmers, but that is the last solution I want.

Unfortunately, I don't have any idea how to fix this - yet. It seems that farmers (and other commodity producers) require exceptions that other business don't need.

Any ideas?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sneakers!

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm cheap.

I don't like to spend much money on sneakers. In fact, $29.95 is about as high as I am comfortable with.

Way back when, in the dark days of yore, when I was in college, I decided to splurge and spend about $80 on a pair of sneakers. I figured that they were "one of the best brands" and at that price, they would last a while.

At that time I was very physically fit. I worked out with weights at least 7 times a week, I took aerobics in the evening, and I was on the JV cheerleading squad, so I was pretty rough on shoes. My normal "cheap" $19.95 shoes would last me about 2 months.

The new shoes? Three months.

Since then, I've never bothered with the expensive name brands. I could buy cheap sneakers 4 or 6 times a year and still outlast 2 pairs of the expensive ones.

Today, I was trying to find what I call "hiking sneakers". Inexpensive, with some ankle support. 2 stores, and none of them had the right kinds in the size I wear. Who's responsible for that?

So, for my scouting trip this weekend, I'll be wearing my normal sneakers, with no ankle support.

Maybe I should find a good pair of shoes and then buy 5 or 6 sets of them and rotate them. Maybe they would last longer.

It'll definitely be cheaper.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I voted today

Fairly easy. I want to follow the old Chicago Democrat mantra - Vote early, and vote often.

Actually, we have early voting set up with the new electronic voting machines.

First, I was required to supply a picture ID card. Great idea, I said. Does this mean we will require ID cards for all voters? No, just for the early voters.

Well, it's a start.

The machines were laid out in a large room where the voting judges could see everything. If I were inclined to, I would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to tamper with the machines without someone noticing.

So, that went well. I cast my 3 votes (Sheriff, County Commissioner, and School Bond), and that was it.

Now, if only I could trust them to count the votes correctly.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Bitching about the MSM

MSM is a secret code word that bloggers use to indicate the mainstream media. It shows that we are, "In the know".

I have heard many conservative fold complain about the mainstream media. I've done it myself. But few people are doing anything about it.

People ask, "but what can be done?"

Well, go to other sources for your news. There are hundreds, if not thousands of sites on the internet that report news from all over the political spectrum on all sorts of topics. Go to them. Read the ones you like. Personally, I'm partial to the more conservative ones.

And now, the secret:
BUY PRODUCTS that are advertised on those sites!!

The reason that Fox / CNN / ABC / CBS / NBC / PBS / whoever can give whatever slant to the news they want is because of advertisers. Advertisers pay the salaries of all of those reporters, editors, copyrighters, writers, etc, etc, etc.

The news sources that you like will become more capable if you buy products that are advertised on those sites. The sites can show that advertising there works, and can increase prices, making more profit, and reporting more news the way you want.

Simple, really.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

al-Zarqawi is dead

Score one for the good guys.

For those people who complain about the methods and techniques used to kill terrorists, claiming that we violate the Geneva Conventions and other treaties, I have a little news for you:

Terrorists do not qualify for treatment under the Geneva Convention!

To claim coverage, you must follow certain rules, including:

"the prohibition on deliberately attacking civilians; and the prohibition of certain inhumane weapons. It is a violation of the laws of war to engage in combat without meeting certain requirements, among them the wearing of a distinctive uniform or other easily identifiable badge and the carrying of weapons openly. Impersonating soldiers of the other side by wearing the enemy's uniform and fighting in that uniform is forbidden, as is the taking of hostages." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_war).

The terrorists are not prisoners of war, they are criminals and monsters.  As such, they do not qualify for - nor deserve - the humane treatment reserved for real prisoners of war.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Net Neutrality

There is some big hoopla about the concept of net neutrality.

Why?

It seems that there are sume network providers that want to create a "fast lane" for the internet. Downloads will be faster, videos can be played, etc, etc, etc.

Of course, they will charge for it.

And the problem is???

"But then the poor people won't have the high speed stuff..."

So what? The "poor" have always bought / received things that were less than "top of the line." The people who can afford it buy the best automobiles, the best houses, the best seats in an airplane. Knowing that more money can do that is a great incentive. I hope to do that myself, until then, I drive a Saturn (great cars), have a very modest house, and fly coach.

Why should the internet be different? No one is being denied access - that would be wrong, but the people with the extra cash can get faster transfers.

That's the way it is in a capitalist type society - you want more / better? Prepare to fork over more.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ishaqi Raid Probe

Ok, the troops were cleared. Great.

There are some important issues with the ALLEGATIONS of misconduct by the U.S. military pretty much anywhere in the world.

1) The accusations are taken seriously
2) The incidents are investigated
3) If the soldiers acted inappropriately, they are punished - even to the point of turning them over to civilian authorities for further punishment (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/06/01/japan.crime.ap/index.html).

So people like Representative Murtha (i.e. politicians) - shut up until the investigations are completed. They accusations might be true or not, the soldiers might have acted inappropriately, or not, but until the investigations are completed, give the accused the consideration of the phrase, "Innocent until proven guilty." After all, you demand the consideration of your own like Representative William Jefferson (http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/5/22/210853.shtml?s=lh) - even though the FBI has video.

6th grade graduations

I just got back from my sons 6th grade graduation a little while ago.

I don't remember ever having one, it's something new. It was interesting, though. The worst part was the metal folding chairs and lack of air conditioning in the auditorium.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Making money with blogs

Interesting. People will buy just about anything, these days. I just signed up for the AdSense, and since I have sooooo many readers, I guess I can retire now and live off of my opinions, thoughts, and observations.

Nah!

First post

Ok, my first post.

If you are reading this, you either need to get a real life, or you are WAY ahead of the curve.

Things I'll blog about:
* Technology
* Software development
* Politics
  * World
  * U.S.
  * Even Utah
* Life in general
* Just about any other thing that pops into my mind.

You are free do disagree, but any followups should be respectful and thoughtful. Otherwize, don't waste the time - mine, yours, or anyone else who happens to wander across this stuff.