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


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.