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

Friday, January 27, 2006


neo-neocon has written another article in her change series.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bill Whittle

is working on a new movie. Sounds interesting, too.


With all the recent news about privacy invasions by the government and by corporations like Google, I thought it might be worth mentioning that I do all my searches through dogpile. They run your search through more than one search engine. It has the added benefit of being one level removed from Google which may, or may not, mean that Google does not know who is doing the search.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

15 more seconds of fame

The letter below will likely be printed in the Denver Post next Sunday in response to "Is our democracy up to the task?" by Dick and Dottie Lamm.

Dick and Dottie Lamm's column "Is our democracy up to the task?" reminds me of a quote by Ben Franklin. When asked what kind of government we would have, he replied "A republic, if you can keep it." The difference between republics and democracies is simple. Republics vote only on matters that are properly in the public domain. Democracies vote on anything they want to. That's why democracies don't last. They collapse in orgies of feeding at the public trough. So decisions like where to invest your retirement money (social security), who you can marry, how to manage your land, how to educate your children, and what medicines you can use, are private decisions that should not be subject to a public vote. But today we vote on these private decisions, so we're going to hell, in style. What's next? Voting on what's for dinner?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

More Foreign Policy

The principle of self-determination in a world of perpetual peace may not in fact be the panacea for mankind's ills, but rather a means for prolonging these ills unnecessarily, by sanctioning a status quo of despotism and tyranny, by virtually underwriting the brutal caprice of petty dictators and by furthering the fantasies of ruthless fanatics. Self-determination at the level of the nation state may entail complete loss of freedom and dignity at the level of the individual - and all in the name of liberalism.

Here. HT americanfuture

Transformational Diplomacy

Secretary of State Condlezza Rice has been speaking recently about reorganizing the State Department by moving about 100 posts from Europe to assignments in the Middle East and other more critical areas. Dr. Demarche responds.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Third World

"It has the feeling of a software application that's being patched up by a very bad developer, with lots of hard-wired logic, legacy code and obsolete standards." HT instapundit I can relate to that. Ugh!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Campaign Finance Reform

that might work. "And when it is campaign time, incumbents would be under a complete ban on raising money. You read that right. No president or member of Congress could accept a single red cent from individuals, corporations, or special interests. Period."

It's radical enough that I just might buy it. HT washingtonmonthly

Why boys

are losing ground. HT washingtonmonthly

Jury Duty

I had jury duty today, at the Denver District Court, in Denver's City and County building, 14th and Bannock, on the south side of downtown. I was looking forward to being on a jury, never having done that, although I've been called twice before, 10 to 15 years ago. Colorado has a "one day/one trial" system, which means that you serve for either one day or one trial.

I prepared by reading some of the info from the American Jury Institute formerly the Fully Informed Jury Association, digging up a copy of the US Constitution to take with me, and bringing a book to read, The Anglosphere Challenge.

8:15: Arrived at the City and County building. Walked from home, a pleasant journey. Had to go through security, an annoying and demeaning experience. We were supposed to be in the jury hall at 8:30. Fill out paperwork to get paid, up to $50 per day.

8:50: Watch a 10 minute video about some of the changes the jury system has undergone. Colorado is apparently considered a leader in jury reform. Jurors can take notes and ask questions during civil trials, and possibly criminal ones as well. That's good, imo.

9:40: Selected for criminal court. Jurors are assigned a number and that number is used throughout. No one is called by name. About 20 of us were selected and go down to just outside the courtroom where we are told that we won't be needed until 11:30. I went over to the Denver Public Library, which was 2 blocks away. Had to wait until it opened at 10am. Spent a half-hour on the internet reading news and checking the stock market, which was down.

10:40: Had an early lunch at the Subway in the Webb building, named after Wellington Webb, a former Denver mayor. More security. Ugh.

11:25: Back in the hall just outside the courtroom. We were told it would be another 10 minutes. Turns out we weren't called for over an hour.

12:30: Enter courtroom. The judge thanks us for our patience and tells us that the parties have finally reached a plea bargain deal and that we are not needed. The case was a domestic violence case where the defendant (apparently fairly well educated) tried to represent himself. Reminds me of an old saw, something like "He who hires himself for a lawyer has a fool for a client."

12:40: Done for the day. Walk back home, though they did give me two RTD ride tickets, which now carry what looks like a holographic sticker on them and are numbered, and are valid until the end of the year. Except for the security, not a bad experience.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Pope

says Islam cannot be reformed. HT neo-neocon

Saturday, January 14, 2006

VDH on Iran

He doesn't have much good to say about the situation, but that makes it all the more a must read. HT neo-neocon

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tomorrow's news Today

Read all about 2006 here.

Libertarianism in France?

Here. HT instapundit

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I'm dreaming of a

White Trash Christmas. HT publicola

LP Platform - Social Security

I'm serving on the Libertarian Party Platform Committee again this year. Some of my readers know that each plank has 4 sections as a result of reforms enacted 2 years ago at the national convention held in Atlanta. This year's convention will be in Portland, I think in June. The 4 sections are Issue, Principle, Solution, and Transition. You can find the full platform here.

An article which is having a significant impact on the Platform Committee is by Thom Gray, who is or was Vice-President of the UTK College Libertarians. The article is titled WHERE DO WE STAND? A Rhetorical Analysis of the Libertarian Party Platform.

One on the planks I'm in charge of is Social Security. Below you'll find the current version of the plank and my revised version, which must be approved by both the Platform Committee and convention delegates. Feel free to add comments.

Current Issue: Social Security is a bankrupt, immoral pyramid-scheme that has trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities and yields below average returns for those trapped in it. Any financial advisor who suggested investing in a program like this would go to jail, but the members of Congress get off scot-free.

Revised Issue: Social Security will start paying out more than it receives in revenues in about 2018 and will exhaust the “trust fund” in about 2042. At that point, benefits will have to be reduced about 25 percent. The “trust fund” is actually spent on government pork and other wasteful programs.

Current Principle: In a free society, retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government.

Revised Principle: No changes.

Current Solution: We favor replacing the current fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, government sponsored Social Security system with a private voluntary system.

Revised Solution: We favor replacing the current government sponsored Social Security system with a private, voluntary system.

Current Transition: Pending that replacement, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary. Victims of the Social Security tax should also have a claim against government property.

Revised Transition: Our 5 point program will help you lower your taxes and save more for retirement. Shift from wage indexing to price indexing. Begin raising the retirement age by 2 months each year. Move non-retirement benefit liabilities to the general fund and the associated taxes to the income tax and reduce the payroll tax. As the retirement age increases, reduce the payroll tax to the point where it just covers the projected retirees. Allow you to put any payroll tax reductions into a Roth IRA.

Please note that these are proposed changes only. All changes must be approved by convention delegates.

Friday, January 06, 2006


helps defeat gun control in Brazil. HT instapundit

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Whither the future?

Mark Steyn. HT anchoress

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Homeschooling Carnival

Here. HT drhelen via instapundit

Monday, January 02, 2006

Absolutely Critical News

from the UN. HT betsyspage

Roger Kimball speaks

After the Suicide of the West. HT austinbay