Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Utah Redistricting 2010

All you people who are angry at the map. I hope you submitted your own during the many weeks the public was invited to do so? No? hmm. Utah's population patterns are unique. Some thing to keep in mind before you dismiss the whole effort:

1. The districts have to have equal population, Geography is secondary.
2. Salt Lake county has to be split at least in two. There are too many people to have it in one district.
3. The districts have to have both urban and rural, That's just how the population is. All the districts need part of the Wasatch front in order to have enough people. All counties in the state except the 5 on the Wasatch Front (SL, Utah, Davis, Weber, and Cache) put together do not have enough people for one district.
4. More than just SL county must be split. Utah county is too small. Davis and Weber together are too small, Cache and Washington are too small. The only other way to do this is to have 3 mostly urban districts along the Wasatch front and one containing the rest of the state plus chunks of the Wasatch front counties adding up to about 50,000 people. Having 4 urban/rural districts is at least as logical as having 3 urban and one rural with selected chunks of urban gerrymandered in.
5. There aren't enough Democrats living close to each other to have a safe democratic seat. So, even if that was a valid concern, it just isn't possible.
6. There aren't enough Democrats in the legislature, and they aren't united enough to make a difference. That's why the map from the Rep. caucus was passed, all they need are most of the Republican votes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conservative Multiculturalism

No, it's not an oxymoron. In this article, Eugene Volokh perfectly captures the way our country has benefitted from multiculturalism, and how it's written into the Constitution.

Friday, August 06, 2010

I Wonder Why People Mistrust the Government?

Maybe because some governments (Multnomah county, Oregon) threaten 7 year-old girls with a $500 dollar fine for running a lemonade stand without the proper permit.

Darn kids, always flouting regulations, that's what's wrong with young people today . . .

But, you say, "the county apologized, and no real harm done, right?" (except for fixing permanently in that girl's mind a terrifying first impression of government - oh, wait, that's not harm, sorry). Yes, this was a mere county government worker just acting "by the book." It was easily cleared up by Jeff Cogen, chairman of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

(By the way, when you need a board to manage all your commissioners, doesn't that tell you something?)

But this was one smallish county in a meduim sized metro area in a smallish state. Very few levels between the health department employee and Mr. Cogen. Imagine the same quick corrective action happening in LA county, or New York City . . . yeah, I can't either.

County regulations are simple when compared with State regulations, and nothing compared to the massive and ever-expanding river of regulations continually spewing from Federal agencies.

The photo above is of titles 12 to 26 out of 50 titles of the Code of Federal Regulations. Yes, that's only about one fourth of the Federal Regulations out there - and this is before agencies start creating regulations for "Health Care Reform." (the bill itself was 2000 pages, but it left most of the rule-making to Federal agencies. 2000 pages? That's nothing compared to the regulations that will come out of it - wait and see).

This site gives some scope to the problem:

According to the Office of the Federal Register, in 1998, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the official listing of all regulations in effect, contained a total of 134,723 pages in 201 volumes that claimed 19 feet of shelf space. [Note: 10% or 13,458 pages are IRS regulations alone]. In 1970, the CFR totaled only 54,834 pages.

The General Accountability Office (GAO) reports that in the four fiscal years from 1996 to 1999, a total of 15,286 new federal regulations went into effect. Of these, 222 were classified as "major" rules, each one having an annual effect on the economy of at least $100 million.

134,723 pages?!?! A person could literally be crushed by the weight of Federal regulations, ha ha . . . . sorry bad joke. But seriously, if you could read 1 page a minute, 24 hours a day, you'd finish reading it in a little over 93 days.

There are entire paid publications dedicated entirely to informing industry attorneys that a single Federal agency is going to change regulations. There are currently about 14,800 notices, rules, or proposed rules open for comment on regulations.gov. According to that site, "On average, federal agencies and departments issue nearly 8,000 regulations per year." (Double what they issued in 1996 - 1999).

But why fear the government? Those 134,723 pages of regulations (plus 8000 new regulations per year) plus all the state and local regulations would never affect the average person, would they?

Lets ask the little girl from Oregon . . .

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy Independence Day

"All honor to Jefferson--to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re- appearing tyranny and oppression."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 06, 2010

And the Award for the "Most Appropriately Named Head of State" goes to . . .

. . . Nigeria's new president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Given that Nigeria faces a crumbling energy infrastructure, epidemic corruption, and Muslim-Christian division,

And given that he is a Christian taking over for a popular Muslim president who was elected in the first peaceful electoral transition in Nigeria since independence,

And given that he and his cabinet are accused of using the former president's illness as a political tool to seize control . . .

I think we can all join in wishing Mr. Jonathan Goodluck

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Can Anyone Still Take the U.N. Seriously?

No, it is not April Fools Day, and this story is not a joke.

Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged "immodest."

Just days after Iran abandoned a high-profile bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, it began a covert campaign to claim a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women, which is "dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women," according to its website.

Apparently this move was unopposed by everyone, including the United States. Nice job standing up for human rights.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, BSA, Select, Start...

For those of you who aren't males who were teenagers in the 80's, the title of this post is taken from the sequence of buttons you press at the beginning of the game "Contra" on the original Nintendo to get unlimited lives. (the only way anyone I knew could ever beat the game).

I've added the BSA to it, because the Boy Scouts and cub scouts have added a video game award that scouts can earn.

The cub scout award actually looks like it might be helpful:

1. Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
2. With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher

We've been thinking about creating just such a schedule for Reed and Douglas to limit their time on "Club Penguin"

The higher award though is much less useful the scout must do 5 of the following:

1. With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
2. Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
3. Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
4. Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
5. List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
6. Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
7. Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
8. Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturers warranty.
9. With an adults supervision, install a gaming system.

Coincidentally, 5 of the options include the phrase "play . . . video game" I wonder which 5 the scouts are going to choose?

Oh, well. Plenty of other awards to earn.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Never Thought I'd Say This...

...and get ready for Hell to freeze over ... but Keith Olbermann makes an excellent point.

Yes, you read that right. The guy is a raving left-wing loon, but he is right about the senate healthcare bill, specifically the requirement that all Americans purchase government approved insurance. He lays out what it will cost the President:

[T]his bill costs you the [support of the political] left —and anybody who now has to pony up 17 percent of his family’s income to buy this equivalent of Medical Mobster Protection Money.

Olbermann continued:

The mandate in this bill … must be stripped out...It is above all else immoral and a betrayal of the people who elected you….

And this sounds awfully rebellious:

I am one of the self-insured, albeit by choice. And I hereby pledge that I will not buy this perversion of health care reform. Pass this at your peril, Senators, and sign it at yours, Mr. President.

I will not buy this insurance.

Brand me a lawbreaker if you choose.

Fine me if you will.

Jail me if you must.

Wow, I couldn't have said it any better myself. What a weird feeling to agree with him...

Granted his reasons for opposing it are much different than mine, as you can see reading the entire post. He's ticked that it is not fully socialized. But I understand his dislike of the mandate. The enemy of my enemy is my friend? . . . well, maybe not quite yet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Trying the 9/11 Terrorists in NYC is a BAD Idea

An excellent analysis of why trying Khalid Shiekh Mohammud in New York is a colossal mistake. The legal jargon is a little dense, sorry.

The writer is an attorney who lays out how the trial will inevitably play out. I think he's exactly right. We've seen this already in the trial of Zacharias Moussoui (however it's spelled), the alleged 20th hijacker. In short it will be a massive media circus, cost incredible amounts of money, give the confessed terrorists an international platform and publicity, and require that the U.S. disclose our secret intelligence gathering techniques. Not to mention setting the defense attorneys up for life financially, and ruining the reputation of the U.S. legal system.

He also speculates on the President's motivations for bringing the trials here, and concludes that it is part of a sinister left-wing plot. On that point I think he gives President Obama too much credit. A plot requires competence and planning. I'm not sure it's a plot, so much as just plain stupidity, naivete, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the world and of human nature coupled with a disdain for any policy or measure enacted by President Bush.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'd rather see them tried at the International Criminal Court. It's reputation has no where to go but up, and when the terrorists are all freed, it would help cement public opinion against international institutions, and strengthen faith in America. All the opposite outcomes of a trial in NYC.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Random Quote:

From a National Review Blog:

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—November 12 [Ed Whelan]

1908—In Nashville, Illinois, the human fetus to become known as Harry A. Blackmun emerges safe and sound from his mother’s womb. Some sixty-five years later, Justice Blackmun authors the Supreme Court opinion in Roe v. Wade. (See This Day for Jan. 22, 1973.) Somehow the same people who think it meaningful to criticize Justice Thomas for opposing affirmative-action programs from which he putatively benefited don’t criticize Blackmun for depriving millions of other unborn human beings the same opportunity that he was given.