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

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Public Broadcasting

got it's money back, but at what cost?

Private Schools

in Africa. HT Betsy's Page

A Matter of Principle

A book review on "A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq", comes to us from chrenkoff. Read the review, then buy the book.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Saddam Hussein

Here's pretty convincing evidence that Saddam Hussein provided Funds for Terrorists, Diplomatic Assistance for Terrorists, Safe Haven for Terrorists, Medical Treatment for Terrorists, and Training for Terrorists, which led to this headline: "Court Rules: Al Qaida, Iraq Linked".


and Iraq. A comparison. HT Betsy's Page

Legal opinions

Great quotes from legal opinions. HT Betsy's Page

Brainwashing your three year old


More China

The Daily Demarche has a bunch of questions about China. Some important stuff to think about.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Big Picture

The purpose of this document is to provide a high level strategic view of the cause of the war, the reason that the United States became involved in it, the fundamental goals the US has to achieve to win it, and the strategies the US is following, as well as an evaluation of the situation as of July, 2003. HT Instapundit

It may be two years old, but it's well worth the read to understand the big picture.

Teaching History

John Fund speaks. HT Betsy's Page

Marketing and Politics

A must read post over at Crooked Timber. HT Jane Galt (which you should read also)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Future Bets

If you want to make a serious bet about an event in the distant future, here's the place to do it.

Aid to Africa

If you want to know why Africa never seems to make any progress, read this post.

Gitmo tour

Here's a first hand account of the congressional tour to Guantanamo last week. There's plenty of abuse there, too. It's a must read for all the anti-war folks. HT Captain's Quarters

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Terrorism trial

"It has been called 'the most significant terrorism trial' since 9-11: the first time alleged leaders of Islamic Jihad, self-confessed killers of more than 100 Israelis and two Americans, are being tried in an American court; the first time the controversial Patriot Act has lassoed jihadists of this magnitude; and the first time that Arab professors in an American university who have claimed 'academic freedom' for their pro-Palestinians views have been indicted for using their university offices to direct and finance terrorist activity." Here HT Anchoress

Shredding the opposition!


Campaign Finance Reform

From Betsy's Page: "Last year, the Democrats outspent the Republicans by $124 million if you include the 527 money in with what the DNC and Kerry spent. Who thinks that they're not going to spend more in 2008?"

Condi in Cairo

Read Richard Combs on Condi in Cairo.

Save Our Homes

With the recent Kelo decision (pdf) by the US Supreme Court, which gave local governments the power to take any property for any use, perhaps it's time to amend the Colorado Constitution as follows:

Initiative to Amend the Colorado Constitution

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado

Article II of the Colorado Constitution is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:,


Ownership of property acquired through eminent domain proceedings shall remain with the acquiring district, or any other unit of government whose governing body is elected by the people, for not less than 20 years. The appraised value of property shall be a firm offer to purchase the property by the district issuing the appraisal and must, at the request of the property owner, be completed within 90 days.

--- end amendment ---

This will do two things: 1) Effectively prevent governments from handing over property to developers (they have to hold the property for 20 years) and 2) force them to appraise property below fair market values.

If you want to help collect signatures, let me know at daitken at tde dot com, subject: "Save Our Homes". We'll need 100,000. If we can find 10,000 home and business owners to get 10 signatures each, we'll have it done. You must be a registered voter to circulate and sign a petition, so register now (pdf) if you haven't already. We'll also need about $25,000 (wild a$$ guess) for petition printing and other costs. It's too late to do it in 2005 (petitions are due Aug 1st); we'll have to defer to next year. More election info from Colorado Secretary of State. Email addresses and contact information will be used only for SaveOurHomes purposes. This post is intended to judge the amount of support for this idea. If there is sufficient support we will likely proceed.

SCOTUS blog contains discussions by legal experts about Supreme Court decisions. Here's a Yahoo news story and one from worldnetdaily.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Global strategy and Iraq

Tigerhawk discusses global strategy and the Downing Street Memo in a must-read post if you want to get a sense of the bigger picture. HT Instapundit

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Another reason for liberty

Fewer refugees.

Colorado/Iraq connection


Monday, June 20, 2005

Recognizing a stroke

My friend Kimberly sent this to me and others:


Sally is recouping at an incredible pace for someone with a massive stroke all because Sherry saw Sally stumble - - that is a key that isn't mentioned below -- and then she asked Sally the 3 questions. So simple - - this literally saved Sally's life Some angel sent it to Sally's friend, and they did just what it said to do. Sally failed all three, so 911 was called. Even though she had normal blood pressure readings, and did not appear to be having a stroke, as she could converse to some extent with the Paramedics, they took her to the hospital right away. Thank God for the sense to remember the 3 steps!

Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

Ask the individual to SMILE.

Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE.

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately, and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


William Lewis is the director emeritus of the McKinsey Global Institute. His recent book, The Power of Productivity: Wealth, Poverty and the Threat to Global Stability, is based on extensive economic, political and sociological study of thirteen countries over a dozen years conducted by the Global Institute. He talks about individual rights, economics, globalization, Japan, Europe, poor countries, democracy, consumers, and a whole lot more. Read the interview.

I love ...???



The ability to comprehend sarcasm depends upon a carefully orchestrated sequence of complex cognitive skills based in specific parts of the brain. Yeah, right, and I'm the Tooth Fairy. But it's true. HT Econopundit


is NOT bliss. Make sure your kids get an education outside the public government schools. HT Instapundit


doesn't get it. HT chrenkoff

Another thank you

from Arab News. HT Crossroads Arabia


Two individuals from Hampton Roads, employees of the Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, were arrested Wednesday night in Ahoskie, N.C., on animal cruelty charges.

Academic of the Month

The Hate Mongers Quarterly has a new feature: Academic of the Month!

Real Torture

If you want pictures of real torture, see the very graphic pictures here, and here. HT vodkapundit.

There's a world of difference between the actions of a few rotten apples in an imperfect nation, who we try to punish, and state sponsored torture as pictured above. One also has to remember that the enemy combatants at Guantanamo were captured on the battlefield.

Here's what the American Bar Association has to say. Here's some commentary on the President's constitutional authority, and a recent news story on the review of the cases of all detainees. Some additional commentary over at cageprisoners from last year's election campaign. And more about the Geneva Conventions. Over at, David Kopel comments:
The more plausible analogy to Guantanamo is British interrogation of Irish Republican Army suspects in the early 1970s. Then, the British extracted confessions through "the five techniques": wall-standing, hooding, continuous noise, deprivation of food, and deprivation of sleep. The European Court of Human Rights, in the 1978 case Republic of Ireland v. United Kingdom, ruled that the techniques did not constitute "torture," but were "inhuman and degrading," in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Update: Another torture story here. HT NRO
Update: Read Mark Steyn

Recommended reading

Read how the Transportation Security Agency flushes $5.5 billion every year and gets nothing for it. Also The End of Europe. HT vodkapundit

Downing Street Memos

may be fake. HT Instapundit Update: Maybe not.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Iraq as Vietnam

Kevin Drum seems to hit the nail on the head about the Democrats war strategy:

But here's the depressing thought: what happens if Democrats press for withdrawal and get their way? What then?

Liberals are fond of Vietnam analogies, so I've got one handy here: it will play out just like the aftermath of that war did. Something like this:

1. Democrats demand an end to the war. Increasingly, polls appear to back them up.

2. Under pressure, a Republican president finally does just that. After some suitably face saving nation building and treaty signing, troops are withdrawn.

3. As virtually all observers fear, Iraq then falls into bloody civil war. Hundreds of thousands die. Neighboring countries are pulled in. Eventually, a new dictator, perhaps a Shiite ayatollah, takes control and forms a passionately anti-American government.

4. Once again, America will appear to have been humiliated by a ragtag army. And despite the fact that polls seemed to demonstrate support for withdrawal, the aftermath will sit poorly with the American public. What's more, they'll know who to blame: Democrats.

Problem-solving courts

are being pushed by the Center for Court Innovation.

What does this look like in practice? Instead of adversarial sparring, prosecutors and defenders in some problem-solving courts work together to encourage defendants to succeed in drug treatment. Instead of embracing the tradition of judicial isolation, judges in problem-solving courts become actively involved in their communities, meeting with residents and brokering relationships with local service providers. Perhaps most importantly, instead of being passive observers, citizens are welcomed into the process, participating in advisory boards, organizing community service projects and meeting face to face with offenders to explain the impact of their crimes on neighborhoods.

This sounds like an important trend. HT Bradford Plumer

VDH again

Victor Davis Hanson has another great column.


It looks like the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance law passed by Congress a couple of years ago may be nothing more than quack corporate governance. "The gist of the literature, that the proposed mandates would not be effective, was available to legislators while they were formaulating SOX. Yet it went unnoticed or was ignored. With the scholarly literature at odds with the proposed governance mandates being treated as though it did not exist, the quality of decisionmaking that went into the SOX legislative process was, to put it mildly, less than optimal." Seems like Congress went off half cocked again.

I think this is true for most legislative bodies because it's usually only the activists who stay on top of these issues and who have time to get organized and take time off (if they aren't being paid to lobby) and go down to the legislature and testify. Unlike Congress, where you have to be invited to testify, in Colorado at least, anyone can speak out on any bill at the public hearings conducted by both the House and Senate. Whether this changes any minds is debateable. I've had the opportunity to lobby the legislature on several occasions and yes, the saying about not watching laws and sausage being made is true. HT Instapundit

Geezers have a new CD

At the Contra Dance last night I picked up a copy of the Grouchy Geezers new CD. It's called Hayman's Out! It's always good to have the Geezers at a dance!

Strawberry picking

I went to pick strawberries this morning at Berry Patch Farms with Nancy from the Sunday Night Club, a singles group I belong to. Berry Patch Farms grows USDA Certified Organic produce. The strawberries are quite tasty and we picked a flat (6 quarts) in about an hour. We got up there (136th and Sable, north of Commerce City, see map on their website) about 8:15 and were done an hour later. Real friendly people. By 9:30 the crowds were starting to build, so I'm glad we went when we did.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

new blog

Sean Haugh, Libertarian from North Carolina, has a blog!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Gitmo prisoner photos

Here are some pictures of prisoners' lifestyle at Gitmo. That meal looks pretty good to me.

Flag burning

The flag burning amendment is back, according to The-Reaction. The Republicans seem to be getting stupider every day.

Reducing prison populations

I met Bernadette Candalaria tonight at the Progressive Cafe at 38th and Tennyson and she had an interesting idea about one way to reduce our prison population. Her idea? Let certain qualified prisoners, probably those who accumulate "good time" or some other qualifier, serve some time in the military to complete their sentence.

I don't know if the military would be willing to take some of the prison population, and there are legitimate reasons why they might not want them, but I think this idea warrants more investigation. First, it increases the military strength which would offset any recruiting shortfalls. Second, it offers offenders a fairly structured environment to prepare them for the real world. Third, it reduces the prison population and associated costs. There are definitely issues to be thought through, like how much additional burden on the military command this causes, what if they screw up real bad (back to the pokey?), and so forth, but we ought to think about it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Here. HT Pejmanesque

Monday, June 13, 2005

Spreading Democracy

The foreign policy debate on spreading democracy between Total Information Awareness and American Future is available here and includes links to the initial posts and three rebuttals. For those interested in this kind of stuff, it's well worth the read. All brought to you by Daily Demarche who will have more debates in the very near future.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

John Stossel

has the middle ground on regulation. HT Betsy's Page

Health care

A real life comparison of the US and British health care systems. HT Betsy's Page

Monkeys, Money, and Sex

Here. HT Betsy's Page

Mark Steyn

on Gitmo, urine, Quran, etc (reg reqd). HT Betsy's Page

Cheap gas

Interesting stuff on cheap(er) gas and alternate fuels.

Thank you, America

Here's a nice little Thank you! HT lgf


Here's a way to run a town: "-One skeletal town government. It was skeletal, because the town's constitution provided for public votes on the town budget, line by line."

Single Payor health care

From the New York Times
The court ruled that the waiting lists had become so long that they violated patients' "life and personal security, inviolability and freedom" under the Quebec charter of human rights and freedoms, which covers about one-quarter of Canada's population.
HT Hugh Hewitt

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ayn Rand speaks

Observe the nature of today's alleged peace movements. Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, they keep screaming the the nuclear-weapons race should be stopped, that armed force should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity. Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist specturm, from welfare statism to socialism to fascism to communism. This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against armed adversaries, but not against the disarmed. "Consider the plunder, the destruction, the starvation, the brutality, the slave-labor camps, the torture chambers, the wholesale slaughter perpetrated by dictatorships. Yet this is what today's alleged peace-lovers are willing to advocate or tolerate-in the name of love for humanity"

From Caplitalism the Unknown Ideal. 1966.

Libertarians ought to think about this.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

New blog

Bert Wiener, local libertarian, has a blog! And he got an Instalanche, too.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

US role in global democracy

The Daily Demarche has started a debate "on the future of global democracy and the role which the United States should play in the spread of democracy to oppressed or less developed nations". They have invited pairs of bloggers (Left and Right) to comment on the issue. The first two are American Future and Total Information Awareness. Both are worth the read and I suspect others will be as well.

All smoke, no fire

The British smoking gun memo looks like it's all smoke and no fire. HT chrenkoff

Imposing democracy?

Chrenkoff answers Solzhenitsyn here.

South America

Richard Combs has a must read post on Islam and South America.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Saving Africa is on the table. For and Against. HT powerline

Harvard, No

Here's a good reason why you shouldn't go to Harvard. HT powerline

Guess who reminds me of Jaws

Here. Compare.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I knew

I'd find something to write about! My reading of the Mensa Bulletin led me to write this reply to a letter which is not available online:
Don Dibble's (MB 6/05 p6) characterization of brokers and traders as people "who produce nothing" is totally false. As a former and unsuccessful trader, I can tell you that these people take enormous risks to provide you with an efficient market where you can buy or sell any publicly traded stock or bond every business day. They risk thousands of dollars in the process. The wealth is their reward for taking that dog of a stock off your hands. Without them, there would be no market to provide capital to help business grow and provide jobs and a better standard of living for all.

They'll probably print it. Most organizations print all the letters they get because they're hungry for input from their readers. The exceptions are the major newspapers and magazines. A number of years ago, I had letters printed in Forbes, US News, and Investor's Business Daily. You generally only get one shot at those.

Magazine day

Today must have been magazine delivery day at the post office. I got 5 publications - US News and World Report, Forbes, Mensa Bulletin, LP News, and Car and Driver. The first 4 I subscribe or belong to those organizations, but I think I get Car and Driver because I bought some tires from the Tire Rack for my Alfa Romeo. That will keep me from blogging for a day or two. (Not) In fact, maybe I'll find an inspiration for a post or two from all that reading.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


The Denver Post had a column on homelessness today, and here's my response. Don't know if they'll print it since I got published not too long ago.
Roxane White's homeless column conveniently ignores history and how Denver politicians (and others) created the problem they want to solve. 10 or 15 years ago Denver had a number of flophouses that homeless people used. Denver ran them out of business and tore them down. Each year, government regulations cost small businesses (less than 20 employees) $6,975 per employee. Those costs are imbedded in every product and service we buy and make it more difficult for the poor to survive. Government waste is another huge burden. The net result is that the price of a loaf of bread, for example, contains 31 percent taxes. Not direct sales tax, mind you, but the income tax on the checkout clerk and the executive or owner, social security tax on the employee and the store, property taxes on the store, fuel taxes on the gas in the truck that brought the bread to the store, and on and on and on. If you got rid of 20 percent of this burden, there would be no homeless problem. Instead, Ms. White and other economic illiterates that populate the halls of government and editorial boards want to make the problem worse by increasing the burden on the poor as well as the rest of us. They conveniently don't tell you how you're going to pay for it. And pay you will.

Is "On Liberty" a bad book?

Human Events lists "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries". It's a good list, but why did "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill get an honorable mention? This is just nuts. HT digby

Quran abuse

Here's some important stuff you need to know about this story. HT Daily Pundit


Money quote: "It's a tossup whether militant Islam or Old Europe will be next."


Astroturf, noun, phony grassroots campaign. The inside story (pdf) on how Pew Charitable Trusts scammed the Congress on campaign finance reform and violated the will of its founders, who believed in "free markets, limited government, and traditional virtues".

ACLU shredding documents

Here. HT Anchoress

Democrats are dumb

Here's another example of how Democrats offend the average American voter and another reason why they might lose the next presidential election.

Who would you ask for freedom?


Saturday, June 04, 2005

New advertising medium

Here. (reg reqd). (If you run your mouse over the link, you can decide if it's worth it. Yeah, she's good looking.) HT The At Large Blog

Amnesty International

gets hammered by a former member.


Victor Davis Hanson on Our Strange War, a must read. HT lgf


Investing in the Right Ideas is an informative Wall Street Journal article about the history of conservative/libertarian institutions. Read the HatTip, too. HT gwa45


"When you ask if Democrats believe that America is the greatest country, most voters say that they do not." (Italics original). Think about it. Similar question: When you ask if Republicans believe that America is the greatest country, my guess is that most voters say they do believe that. Thirdly, When you ask if Libertarians believe that America is the greatest country, my guess is that most voters say they do not. That, I think, has serious ramifications for the message that Libertarians currently deliver, and the one that they should deliver. From Matt Yglesias via Instapundit

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Another readability test

Fight the bull is a tool for identifying the jargon that pervades many a business document. Strip it out and you'll have much more credible prose.