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

Monday, May 30, 2005

Protecting Iraqi oil

Max Borders, writing in the second issue of The New Libertarian suggests that one way to reduce the violence in Iraq would be to create a property right in the uninterrupted flow of oil through a section of pipe. These property rights would be auctioned to people living near the pipeline who would then have an incentive to protect it from sabotage.

Illegal war?

Did the military just admit that the war in Iraq is illegal? HT TalkLeft

Your tax dollar at work

Florida taxpayers have flushed $25 million down the toilet with their purchase of new voting machines.


Will the newspaper blogosphere relationship turn upside down?

Outsourcing teachers

Heh. Here's one way to get classroom size down to one teacher for every 5 students.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

In Iran

Honor killings and drugs, here. HT littlegreenfootballs


This article does a good job of nailing down one of the major problems in Mexico that leads to more immigration here. What I don't buy is that money will solve the problem. I think we should try the solutions offered by Hernando DeSoto first.

Henry Kissinger

Here's must read commentary on Henry Kissinger, former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.

Nat Hentoff on Darfur

Nat Hentoff talks about the tangle that is Darfur, Sudan, and the war on terrorism. Seems like Sudan is supplying us with significant information about terrorists, so we're loathe to do anything to rock the boat, like stopping the Janajaweed. HT Sigmund, Carl and Alfred

Cowboys 1, Enviros 0

Here. HT northcoastus

Helicopter game

You gotta try this Helicopter game! HT sarah

Last resort and just war

Discussion here.

Stress Management


15 seconds of fame 3

In the Denver Post. Since they don't seem to keep stuff permanently online, here's what I said:

If the Denver Post editorial board is serious about saving Social Security, it should consider a plan by Alex Pollock at the American Enterprise Institute ( which would, instead of putting your Social Security taxes into a government-owned "trust fund," put an inflation-indexed bond into your own personal trust fund.

The benefits are: 1) government still gets the same amount of money; 2) there is no increase in the total national obligations; 3) there is no need to market more Treasury debt; 4) there are no difficult choices for individuals; and 5) you get a real commitment by the government to pay the benefits in the form a Treasury bond in your name, which you can will to your heirs, not some phony-baloney promise by Congress. Maybe we ought to do the same for Medicare.

Journalists again

Hiawatha Bray, a journalist in Boston, takes on Linda Foley, the president of the Newspaper Guild, for her assertion that the US military is targeting journalists. It's nice to see that some journalists are willing to clean up their own house. HT Instapundit

Carnival Time!

The Carnival of the Recipes is up! Yummy!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Employment at will

In Defense of Employment-at-Will over at the Mises Institute. HT LibertyDog

Top 25

LibertyDog is starting a project to identify the top 25 people who had the most influence on libertarianism. HT misterpterodactyl

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Here. But I have to agree. Some of the LP's foreign policy planks are really out of touch with reality and we need to rewrite them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New Libertarian blog


I haven't tried simple single sign-on yet, but it looks like a real nifty solution to the password problem. I use two, one for the really serious stuff, and one for everything else, but this lets you have a unique password for every site, and you only have to remember one.

Grouchy Geezers

The Grouchy Geezers have a blog!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Libertarian foreign policy debate

Here's a discussion of Libertarian foreign policy. I have a lengthy post there. Follow the links back, too. We needed this discussion 20 years ago. HT Pejman Yousefzadeh

Public Diplomacy

New Sisyphus talks about Public Diplomacy.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Smoking gun memo

Here's the British smoking gun memo

Fruit Ice

I made Fruit Ice today, first time in a couple of years. It's really simple: Put a #2 1/2 can (30oz) of peaches through a blender, add 2 cups of orange juice, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix together well in a pan (3x5x10 approximately) and freeze. Great for hot days. Takes a while to thaw, so plan ahead. It's my mother's receipe.


Here's what John Gilmore has to say about the census. I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Louie, Louie

Read all about it, here. Read the Hat Tip first. HT nadezhda

25 years of history

Read the exciting story of ... Post-It Notes! Really! HT cheznadezhda


Here's a place for all your secrets. HT Jane Galt

Bush should have said

What Bush should have said about Newsweek by Tom Friedman. Why W keeps screwing things up is beyond me. His PR people must be the dumbest in the world. HT InstaPundit

Mr. Madison speaks

on the Judiciary:
Mr. Madison observed that he was not anxious that 2/3 should be necessary to disagree to a nomination. He had given this form to his motion chiefly to vary it the more clearly from one which had just been rejected. He was content to obviate the objection last made, and accordingly so varied the motion as to let a majority reject.

from this marvelous site that contains records from the debates at the constitutional convention in 1787. HT Ann Althouse

How Does Freedom Spread

Part One, Part Two, Part Three. A fascinating and important account of the demise of the Soviet Union, 1988-1991.

Ending media bias

Here's how to deal with Media Bias!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Goal oriented shoes

If you need more exercise, maybe this will do the trick. HT Kevin Drum

Required Reading

Bill Whittle has some required reading for anyone with an open mind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Darfur roundup

Here. HT InstaPundit

DEA scumbags

Here. HT Walter in Denver

BBC gets outed!

Here. HT Andrew Sullivan

Monday, May 16, 2005

Media bias again

With the uproar going on about Newsweek's lousy reporting and subsequent retraction, there was another story you probably never heard. This is what's called media bias.

Social Security

Here's a great new idea to help solve the social security mess. And you'd get a real retirement fund, not just some phoney baloney promise from the crooks in Congress.

What do you do

in this case? Danged if I know. Maybe start chanting for the other side, singing this song, or this one as loud as you can. Any other ideas?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hunger Insurance?


LP Platform Reforms

Ever since I got back from the LPCO Convention, I've been working on reforms to the national platform, in part to support the new chair's challenge which is mentioned in that report. The results of my work can be found here.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Go, anyone?

If you're looking for a game of Go, try this. HT Frank Atwood

Magic and media bias

Geek With a .45 does a bang up job of dissecting media bias, complete with charts and graphs explaining how the magician's bias works.

Condi Rice on Larry King Live

Here. HT Richard Combs

Presidential vote fraud

More on vote fraud in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. HT Mystery Pollster

Need a handgun?

KT Ordnance is offering 80% complete frame/receivers for firearms enthusiasts who wish to build their own handguns. Up to that point, it's NOT a weapon, so no paperwork involved.
Ok..... sounds really cool huh? So what's the rub?

Well the bottom line is... YOU (and only you) have to finish the final machining process on it yourself. There are no serial numbers and the firearm (once it is complete) can NEVER.... let me say that again to be sure you understand it... NEVER, EVER be sold to anyone else.... period! It would be a firearm for "personal use only" and the only other living soul that you may legally give it to would be an heir (to your son in your will for instance).

So if you're handy with tools and have an interest, you might want to talk with them. HT Ralph Shnelvar, who got it from the Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. You can get a 10% discount if you mention JFPO, don't even have to be a member.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Shower them with ?

The Daily Demarche lets guest blogger Brad Lena propose a novel step forward in dealing with North Korea. The comments debunk it a bit, but this kind of outside the box thinking is too much in short supply.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

More media bias

The Center for Small Government has an informative exercise for reporters at the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and every other newspaper in the country, especially this one and this one. Maybe it will teach them something about media bias.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


The larger picture of why I’m uncomfortable with the unlimited proxy power enacted by the Libertarian Party of Colorado has to do with the apparent lack of consideration for the stability and integrity of the organization by some of those who supported proxies. These anarchists, um, people seem to lack the common sense that organizations require to be successful in the long run. We seem to be setting ourselves up for mob rule and should remember the warnings of the founding fathers and others.

Doug Anderson, a long-time libertarian, called me today and suggested that it might be a good opportunity to think about formalizing some system of representation by delegates, which is all proxies are. The Democrats and Republicans do it by precinct, county, and state house district and, I think, elect the same number of delegates from each jurisdiction who then go to the state assembly. Since our numbers are too small to do that, except maybe at the state house district level, other algorithms should be considered. I’m open to ideas.

The National LP allows 1 delegate for every 20 members in each state with additional delegates for presidential votes cast in that state. Colorado could do something similar.

Actually, having, say, 5 delegates from each state house district might work out fairly well. That allows for 325 delegates from a total of 65 districts, more than enough to cover likely attendance for the near future. State House districts are approximately equal in population. If you allow empty slots to be filled by members who are not delegates, everyone should be able to be accommodated. We could also allow proxies to fill empty delegate slots. To give people an incentive for campaigning, allow 5 additional delegates for each elected official in that district.

Another thought occurred to me and that would be to require members attending the convention to bring a minimum number of proxies, which would obviously encourage members to go out and actually do some politicking.

Finally, I just realized that having formal system for picking delegates doesn't quite address the proxy issue, which is the need to allow people who can't attend the convention to have a direct voice. I think it's best to limit the number of proxies that any one individual can represent. As they say, power corrupts.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

LPCO convention report

I attended the 2005 Libertarian Party of Colorado convention in Montrose this past weekend. About 45 members were in attendance. The Western Slope LP is off to a great start. There are, I think, 4 affiliates there, ones in Montrose, Delta, Telluride, and Ouray. The Delta County one is the most successful right now. Debbie Schum is a real fireball and is stirring things up on property rights issues.

There was a cocktail party Friday night with about 30 people at JoJo’s Windmill Restaurant. About half of the convention goers were from the Front Range and the other half from the Western Slope. Michael Badnarik, the LP’s 2004 presidential candidate, was there also.

Saturday morning we had several speakers. Michael Badnarik opened the session, followed by Pete Hendrickson on Cracking the Code (taxes) and Justin Plumlee on community outreach.

The business session started at 1pm and included reports by the board of directors, election of officers and changes to the constitution and bylaws. Travis Nicks was elected as State Chairman. He’s been a candidate for a couple of races and a hard worker for the party. Half of the board positions were up for election, but I can’t recall the names of the people who were elected to those seats.

The Western Slope group brought an extensive bylaws and constitution change proposal to the floor. It included three items: 1) allowing proxy voting at the annual meeting; 2) eliminating dues paying membership; and 3) and requiring 90 day membership in the party to vote at the convention. A motion to divide the question into 3 parts failed. The most contentious proposal was about proxies. A motion to limit proxies to 5 per person was defeated. The whole package ultimately passed with little modification about 3 to 1. I voted against it because of the proxy provision, which could, and probably will, come back to haunt us. Aside from the obvious problem of packing the convention, there’s a larger problem which I haven’t quite put my finger on to be able to express it.

The board of directors was expanded to 10 positions by adding a Western Slope Outreach Director and changing the existing Outreach Director to Front Range Outreach Director. I thought this was unnecessary but the majority thought otherwise. I may be wrong on this because one of the unstated considerations was to make sure the Western Slope had representation on the board. The board members are not chosen by geographic representation but by function and most of the time they all live on the Front Range.

A proposal to add a Membership Director to the board failed. If the national party eliminates the Unified Membership Program as has been talked about, we may have to start handling memberships. That will be a major pain in the you-know-what and one of the reasons I backed the UMP in the first place about 10 years ago. It’s been good for the party for two reasons: 1) handling memberships is a full time job not suitable for volunteers, no matter how good they are; and 2) the UMP meant a full time paid person handled this and we got a steady monthly check from the national party. According to BetteRose Ryan, one of the at-large LNC delegates, some states are irresponsible with the program. Colorado is not one of those.

A banquet was held at JoJo’s followed by speakers Boston-T-Party and BetteRose Ryan. No fundraising was done, which was disappointing. We’ll probably pay for that, too.

Michael Badnarik taught his class on the US Constitution on Sunday. He also did several outreach activities earlier in the week including, I think, a short version of the class at the local high school which was well received. The local paper had two front page stories on the party on Friday, I think.

During one of the many late night bull sessions, Travis Nicks, the new chair, challenged Michael Badnarik to a membership contest – Colorado vs Texas. The loser buys the winner dinner. The challenge arose because of a disagreement over the most effective strategy for membership growth – hardcore vs gradualist. Badnarik takes the hardcore approach; Nicks wants to pursue a gradualist method. Either way, both parties will benefit. I’m not sure of all the details as the discussion was fueled by alcohol, but the results will be measured by growth in registered party members as counted by the respective Secretaries of State. Beat Texas!!

Back from convention

I was at the Libertarian Party of Colorado state convention in Montrose this weekend. About 45 members showed up, more than half, I think, from the western slope. I may have a report later.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

Dr. Demarche has a history lesson about Cinco de Mayo. Stuff I didn't know. Think French.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


If you want to know how useless the new SAT essay test is, read this. HT Instapundit

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Absolutely, Power Corrupts

In Baseball? HT Dave’s Picks

May Day

Some things to think about on May Day. HT Walter in Denver

Fractals and other beautiful pictures

Here. My friend David B. sent me this link.

Live filibuster!

Here. These college kids are showing Sen. Frist how to do a REAL filibuster. When I tuned in, they were at hour 126, 2pm Sunday, Denver time. HT Instapundit


Denver is having a Municipal Election on Tuesday. I'm voting NO on the Jail and YES on the merging the Glendale Fire Department with Denver.
I'm not willing to give the politicians more money for the Jail until they end the war on drugs.