Life's Better Ideas

Occasional links to, and comments on, ideas that I think will make this a better world, and remarks about things that need fixing, too.

Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Health care

I hope our medical system doesn't become like this. HT Republitarian Renegade

Global War on Terror

Alexander the Average has an excellent post on the Global War on Terror. HT Rachel at TinkertyTonk

Trade deficits

Robert Samuelson discusses The Global Savings Glut.
Like others, Bernanke warns that these trade imbalances -- our huge deficits, their huge surpluses -- seem dangerous. His contribution is to show that their main causes lie outside the United States. To say a country has surplus saving is simply another way of saying that it lacks good investment opportunities at home or discourages its citizens from consuming.
Me? I run a huge trade deficit with King Soopers! The solution may well be something I talked about a few days ago. HT Jane Galt

Protect your child, go to jail

The PC police threw a father in jail for asserting his right to teach his child his values and to prevent his child from learning about values with which he did not agree. This will give homeschooling another boost.

Serious consequences

If you want to know why you should secure the loads you carry in your truck or on top of your car, read this. HT Michelle Malkin

Blood for Oil

Investor's Business Daily highlights the confluence of China, blood, oil, and Darfur in an editorial in Monday's paper. Seems the Chinese have prevented the UN Security Council from passing any resolutions because of their financial interest in the Sudanese oil patch from which China gets 7 percent of its imports. And they ask "Where are all the protesters?"

Friday, April 29, 2005

Foot in mouth disease

The Republicans are digging themselves another hole, by rewriting defeated amendments to make the Democrats look really bad. HT Atrios


Tom Friedman tells what Bill Gates told the nation's governors about our high schools. Think Obsolete. HT Atrios. If Bush needs a big idea, as Friedman claims, try this: Complete separation of school and state. Only world class competition will fix our schools, an idea that the left just doesn't get.

Saddam Hussein

Meet the man who captured Saddam Hussein. HT Geek with a .45


I had a good experience from my city government this week! Two days ago I reported several potholes on Park Avenue West between Washington and Ogden. Today, on my way home from work, I noticed they had been filled! I'd call that excellent service.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Speed trap

Here's a speed trap you'll want to avoid.

Winning the war on terror

Here's how to win the war on terror! HT Carnival of Comedy

Paul Revere

Some interesting stuff about Paul Revere. Longfellow took a lot of liberties with the facts, but the truth is even more interesting. HT little red blog

Overseas military costs

StrategyPage discusses the cost of keeping troops overseas (look for the April 14 entry). It's not as costly as you think because some nations pay us millions of dollars.

Trade limits

New Sisyphus comments on the limits of trade as a stabilizing influence in a discussion about Nationalism in Asia.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Centrism and the Internet

Kevin Drum thinks the internet could provide some traction for a "revived libertarian party" (note the small "l"). He also talks about the unlikely possibility of several other options.

New blog

Dave Meleney has a new blog, Rapid Development. He's a local libertarian. Go visit!

From Here to Liberty

Since its formation, the Libertarian Party has had no coherent plan to get from where we are today to liberty. That may be changing. In 2004 the party changed its platform by dividing each plank into four sections: Issue, Principle, Solution, and Transition. That’s a good first step, as it exposed lots of problems with the language in those planks. The process of fixing the language has begun, and will continue for some time.

The Transition sections ought to be concrete, viable, real-world plans that outline a logical, step-by-step sequence of legislative steps to get from here to liberty. Right now many Transition statements are either a collection of rants or an unorganized laundry list. The rants should be replaced with tasks that will make us more free. The laundry lists need to be put in some sequence that makes sense. Both need to consider what impact those tasks will have on other planks. Transition sections should be able to be placed in a candidate’s campaign literature without modification. If you are not comfortable with putting it in your own campaign literature, that’s a sign it needs to be rewritten.

The LP’s historical focus has rightly been the United States. But some policies demand a larger focus. Is there anything that needs to happen in the rest of the world for us to have liberty in the United States? The world has changed a lot since the party was founded in 1971. Back then, we could largely ignore things like foreign policy, immigration, and trade. No longer. On our much smaller planet, dealing with these issues is a necessity.

Immigration, Trade, and Foreign Policy solutions require interaction with other nations. That interaction, to be useful and productive, requires that both parties have similar values. Freedom House, which conducts annual reviews of freedom around the world, lists more than half of the nations as partly free or not free. Most of these partly free or not free nations are dictatorships and offer their citizens no civil or economic liberties. Until other nations have roughly the same amount of liberty (values) that we have, implementing these solutions will be difficult, if not impossible. That imbalance of liberty needs to be corrected to have more liberty here in the United States.

Immigration. Open borders should be a solution, not a transition. The US is a magnet for people all over the world because of the freedoms we have relative to theirs. If we had the same freedoms they have (or lack), they would probably not want to come here. The reverse is true, too. If they had the same freedoms we have, it’s likely they would come here only to visit. There would be no need to offer political asylum, no need for migrant workers, and no relatively attractive welfare system. There would also be no significant differences in the standard of living or opportunities available. As long as those differences exist, open borders are not possible.

Free trade is difficult unless your trading partners have sufficient productive capabilities to make trade worthwhile. Some nations aren’t free enough to offer the products and services that we want. That’s why we don’t trade with them. Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, understood that you need customers as well as products. That’s one of the reasons why he more than doubled the wages of his employees. They went from an average of $2.34 for a 9 hour day to $5.00 for an 8 hour day, a 140 percent increase. It meant that his employees had more liberty and could buy his products. Likewise, we can only expand our trade with people who can afford it. In order to afford it, they must have the liberty to produce the wealth that trade requires.

Foreign Policy may well be both the most intractable problem and the solution. Over the last 70 years our nation’s foreign policy has been inconsistent at best. Sometimes it’s been noble, like our involvement in World Wars I and II. Other times it’s been incredibly bad, when we’ve gotten in bed with dictators of various sorts without a goal to increase liberty for the citizens of those nations.

So how do we solve these fairly intractable problems? We can continue with what we’ve been doing, which is basically bumbling around without clear, consistent goals. We generally have a laissez-faire attitude towards other nations and how they progress. We figure it’s their business, and not ours. What it means, though, is that progress will be slow. The African continent, for example, has made little or no progress towards liberty, in spite of the fact that the US has virtually ignored that continent. Other nations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia are in a similar place. If we do nothing, it’s likely that nothing will change. Corrupt dictators do not usually move towards liberty without outside pressure. Crafting a viable foreign policy transition will require diplomatic, economic, and military resources. In some cases the carrot may be sufficient to encourage more liberty; in others, the stick may be necessary.

Should we do something? If you believe that all people have the right to be free, then maybe the answer is yes.

If the Libertarian Party wants to become a significant player in the political process, it must present credible transition plans to the voting public. We cannot wave our magic wand. We must offer the voters transition plans that are based on the current political reality that include simple steps capable of being implemented in the next 2 to 4 years. These transition plans should be credible enough that they can be used in our candidates’ campaign literature without modification. It is up to us to take the initiative to do the hard work of planning the future. We can’t get from here to liberty without it.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Identity Theft

If you're a victim of Identity Theft, this Wall Street Journal article will be of interest to you. HT FreedomSight


Perfect for public meetings. Here (ctrl-f, search for hogmeter).

More Darfur

Winds of Change has links to several posts on Darfur here, here, and here. The death toll is at 500 a day.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Readability Tests

I've been working on a lengthy article I plan to post here later. In the course of my browsing yesterday, I found a Readability Test which calculates the readablity of whatever text you give it, which must be a web page. As originally written, the article I'm writing had a "Fog Index" of over 12, which meant that it was generally comprehensible to people with a 12th grade education or higher. I've reduced that to 11, primarily by shortening sentences, and it seems to be more readable. There's also a link to a discussion of readability tests (benefits, limitations, and history) at the bottom of the page, which I found useful. Also listed on Readability Test are Fog Indexes for widely known books and publications.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

More government lying

About fat. here.

Money, Money

The campaign finance wars will continue. HT Chrenkoff

New discovery

Possibly a cheap way to control HIV. HT Carnival of the Optimists

Wanna bet?

An environmental version of the famous Simon-Ehlich bet is available here. No takers yet. HT goyishekop

Road rally!

If you're into adventure, this might be just the ticket. Be sure to check out their list of eligible cars. HT oxblog

Friday, April 22, 2005

VDH on winning the war

Victor Davis Hanson has another thought provoking eye-opener here. Sample: "Diplomatic solutions follow, not precede, military reality." HT LGF

Thursday, April 21, 2005


For the zillions (well, one or two, anyway) of people who are kind enough to link to me, the time below each individual post is a permanent link to that post, in case you didn't know.


Liquid marijuana is now legal in Canada. HT Walter in Denver

Mystery solved!

here. HT Betsy's Page

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Kudo's to Gov. Lamm, here. HT InstaPundit

Monday, April 18, 2005

$34 for a pizza?


Accounting scandal

It looks like the accounting scandal at Fannie Mae might be 19 times larger than Enron. Federal National Mortgage Association was created by Congress to supply additional capital to the mortgage market. Will the taxpayer bail them out? What will happen to the red hot housing market? Will the stock market tank? I dunno, but Fannie Mae's stock is already down more than 30 percent. And since Fannie Mae has close ties to the Clinton administration, it's getting a pass from the MSM. HT Carnival of the Capitalists


There's oil in Darfur, 500,000 barrels a day. Some of it is owned by China National Petroleum Corporation, none by US companies, at least directly.


Here's a discussion of the pros and cons of rendition, the practice of sending people detained for questioning to another country. HT The Volokh Conspiracy

Apollo 13

Fascinating account of the rescue of Apollo 13. HT Instapundit

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Letting go

democracy arsenal has a weekly top 10 list and number 6 on the list is one that Libertarians should let go of as well. There may be a couple more, too.

Creating change

cheznadezhda blogs about Freedom and the "mental" aspects of development and how to get people to accept the changes that are proposed.

North Pole Wi-Fi

Here. HT Goyishekop.

Security cameras

Walter in Denver has a piece on the unintended consequences of security cameras.

Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation is in trouble for its ties with Malaysia. Instapundit, where I found the story, has additional and relavent comments and links, including this one, which is much more positive.


China may be starting to come apart at the seams.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A plan

Chrenkoff's guest blogger New Eagle has A better world in 7 easy steps.


Here's what not actively promoting liberty gets you. View the whole thing.

New blog

My friend Richard Combs has started blogging. He's a longtime and very articulate Libertarian who will be on my regular reading list.

Worth reading

There Are No Barbarians At the Gates HT Geek with a .45.

C-SPAN Infected?

It looks like C-SPAN is becoming infected by the same stupidity as the main stream media (MSM) here and here. I thought they were one institution we could count on. HT History Carnival.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Turing test

Either computers have finally caught up to humans in the IQ department, or vice versa, here. HT The Volokh Conspiracy

Thursday, April 14, 2005

2004 Election Revisited

If you thought the 2004 elections were over, read this. HT New England Republican.

Goodbye Lenin!

Here's a film that might be worth watching. Review here.


Big Cat Chronicles discusses demographic problems in China. There's a whole series of China posts at Daily Demarche.


Just when you've thought you've seen it all. here.


You'll find bi-partisan nepotism here. HT Instapundit.

More Darfur

Bill Hobbs reports on the Sudanese Ambassador's visit to Belmont University in Tennessee. I guess he got an earful. HT InstaPundit. Turns out there's a Coalition for Darfur, so I asked them to put me on their list.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Carnival of the Capitalists has a lot of interesting stuff.

Monday, April 11, 2005


It's this sort of stuff that gets me steamed. HT ISIL


Jane Galt mentions that Economics in One Lesson is now online! Happy reading!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Strategy Page reports on a blood test for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (ctrl-f, look for PTSD) that could be useful, in my opinion, in emergency wards.

Peak Oil

Kevin Drum blogs about Peak Oil. The main question: When will oil production max out? Or will it?

New Media

News Corps International is a relatively new Denver based news outlet which "specializes in covering humanitarian crises wherever they occur" according to their website. I found out about this from Westword, Denver's alternative weekly newspaper. The only listed story is on Uganda, where children are being abducted to serve as soldiers. Maybe we ought to arm the civilian population there, too.

Darfur, a peacekeeping mission?

StrategyPage has an update on Darfur, oops, Sudan. The UN is planning to send 10,000 troops from 39 nations to south Sudan, not Darfur, most of whom may come from Japan. And whether they'll actually stop anything is debatable. Austin Bay, which provided the link, says the posture of this mission is self-defense, which is typical for UN missions. The Air Force Law Review is quoted about what constitutes peacekeeping. Seems to me the mission is mostly about watching what's going on and not actually doing much to stop it. Death toll so far - 180,000.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Republican nepotism

The NYT is reporting that Tom Delay's wife and daughter have collected more than half a million dollars from Americans for a Republican Majority in "fund-raising fees," "campaign management" or "payroll,". I wonder how the average Republican contributor of say, $25, feels about this. HT Kevin Drum

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


The pictures that accompany this are silly, but I like the music, for whatever reason.


The Carnival of the Vanities has a link to the first edition of The New Libertarian (password: tnlv1i1, pdf). Some valid criticisms are offered here. I think you can be a loyal party member and still offer step-by-step practical plans to get from here to liberty. Unfortunately, too many party members equate step-by-step with sellout which, IMO, is why the party hasn't done very well. Since I'm on the Platform Committee (national), I'm going to try and change that.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Darfur, yet again

I should have thought of this as it might be more effective than my other proposal. I guess the UN is incapable of realizing there are evil people in the world. HT alphecca.


Orwell is here for sure. HT InstaPundit.

Common sense

Tragically, sometimes it doesn't pay to practice what you preach. I started wearing seatbelts in 1971, when I bought my first car (with the help of my grandfather) long before any seatbelt laws were passed, and I still wear them even though I don't believe the government should mandate them. It's just common sense. HT Lori via goyishekop.

Your tax dollar at work?

I usually get a good laugh when some government screws up their own projects and this one is no exception. Here's another story, this one a little closer to home, about flushing your money down the toilet. And politicians wonder why they have a bad reputation. HT Reason brickbats.

Insurance costs

If you think that medical insurance costs are driven by malpractice suits, well, maybe you're wrong. HT Kevin Drum.



UN 2

New Sisyphus has the second half of his comments on the UN report here.

BCRA and bloggers

Jed, over at FreedomSight, reveals what the FEC is planning to do.

Media Bias

Cassandra talks about media bias. Here's an incomplete list.

Unintended Consequences

Here. It's a must read. HT Instapundit.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Bigger picture?

Here's a bigger picture that libertarians ought to think about, seriously. HT little green footballs.

10,000 a month?

Here. Maybe the anti-war folks should be demonstrating against these people. HT little green footballs.

Wakeup call

If you have problems getting up in the morning, perhaps you should get one of these. HT goyishekop.

Darfur Update

A while back I made a suggestion about Darfur. These folks say it won't happen (ctrl-f, look for Darfur) and they have an excellent, but limited, track record of accurate predictions. You may recall that the Pentagon was interested in this sort of thing a while back.