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

Sunday, July 30, 2006

All Pork, All the Time

I see that my US Congressional Representative, Diana DeGette, is All Pork, All the Time. Depressing, and clueless.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Blogger Bash


Friday, July 28, 2006

LP Foreign Policy

UPDATE: There is a platform discussion group at LPplatform-discuss -at-

I posted the following to the LP Platform Committee discussion group. It started a good discussion on crafting a new foreign policy plank because the last one got deleted at the Portland convention.

Issue: Around the world, tyrannical governments, dictators, and terrorists murder thousands of innocent people every year and threaten human rights and free trade. These threats may take the form of military, religious, or cultural trends that may adversely affect the freedom we enjoy. Rogue nations are building nuclear weapons. Genocide is happening in Africa. Terrorists, organized in private groups, aided and abetted by tyrannical governments, have declared war on all peaceful people. Pirates attack ships in Southeast Asia, particularly the Malacca Strait. Terrorists increasingly target infrastructure chokepoints including transportation corridors and financial hubs in the nations we trade with. Failed states are breeding grounds for anarchy, fascism, socialism, and dictatorships which threaten free trade, human rights, and peaceful relations.

Principle: Dictatorships, rogue nations, terrorist groups, and other purveyors of fascism forfeit their right to sovereignty by virtue of their actions. Members of civil society, as nations, groups, or individuals, have the right to act against them to change their ways or remove them from power. In any society, one of the basic functions of government is to protect the people’s rights.

A non-interventionist foreign policy is possible only when there are no threats to free trade and human rights from abroad. Those threats include military, terrorists, non-freedom oriented belief systems (communism, socialism, fascism, jihadism), and immigration from failed states.

Diplomatic relations are the primary means of building a non-interventionist foreign policy. Diplomats should express ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and encourage other nations to achieve these ideals which will help reduce war, genocide, terrorism, and immigration.

Solution/Long Term Vision: A non-interventionist foreign policy is our long term vision. The United States will have diplomatic relations with all free and partly free nations. All people enjoy a full range of choice through democratic governments, civil liberties, human rights and free trade.

What's missing from this is how we get there. That's the transition section and it will be the most difficult part. I would say that the above was reasonably well received by other committee members. Discussion will take place over the next 2 years. While it's likely that the above will not survive intact, I hope that the tone carries through to the final draft.


Here's a nifty tool that lets you give it a bunch of letters and it comes back with all the words that can be made with those letters.

Computer Recycling

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 29th, Aurora is having a free computer recycling day from 9am to 2pm. I'll be taking out 4 green screen dumb terminals and a 25mhz pc that ran the Pick OS.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Back in 2002, Stephen den Beste did a better job of making the case for war against Jihadism, or Arab Traditionalism as den Beste called it, than Bush ever has. Please go read it, here and here.

Panhandlers and Property Rights

Stephen Terence Gould had a column in this morning's Denver Post about panhandling. He says, contrary to the Denver Commission to End Homelessness, that we should "Give 'em a few bucks".

There's a simple solution to panhandling. Create a property right in the air space over the sidewalk and deed that property right to the adjacent business. Technically, anyone who walks through that air space is trespassing and the property owner, in this case the business, then has a legal right to tell that person to leave. The deed could grant an easement for sidewalk maintenance and law enforcement.

UPDATE: The Waterglass has more!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


My friend Leif, over at Pattern Research wrote this:
Curiosity, wonder, intelligence, integrity, humor, compassion, and energy are adequate substitutes for government. But when a culture lacks a population rich with expression of these virtues there seems to be no course but to expand the powers of the state. So it is when a body becomes ill and nothing is known of healing nutrients: The solution seems to be drugs that produce illusory healing while advancing degeneration.

which he says was inspired by something I said many years ago: "Taxes are the price we pay for an uncivilized society."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

You can't make this stuff up

The Department of Homeland Lunacy Security just gets better and better.
A federal inspector general has analyzed the nation's database of top terrorist targets. There are more than 77,000 of them — up from 160 a few years ago, before the entire exercise morphed into a congressional porkfest.

And on that list of national assets are ... 1,305 casinos! No doubt Muckleshoot made the cut (along with every other casino in our state).

The list has 234 restaurants. I have no idea if Dick's made it. The particulars are classified. But you have to figure it did.

Why? Because here's more of what the inspector general found passes for "critical infrastructure." An ice-cream parlor. A tackle shop. A flea market. An Amish popcorn factory.

Seven hundred mortuaries made the list.

Go read the whole thing. HT Debbie

Friday, July 14, 2006

Chess and Politics

It occurred to me today that politics is a lot like chess. Checkmate is not possible on the first move! Lots of libertarians, particularly the hard core variety, seem to think that it's possible to either a) abolish the IRS, b) bring the troops home, or c) do something equally unrealistic, as the first move. Sorry, the real world doesn't work that way. You've got to move the pawn first. Yes, you can still have those goals as the long term vision, but it's going to take lots of little steps and detours to get there. Just like chess.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

LP Convention

I went to the Libertarian national convention in Portland, July 1-2. The platform committee met the two preceeding days (I'm a member). The big news is that the delegates voted, by a slight majority, to delete about 44 of the existing planks. What's left is 13 planks that have been rewritten over the past two years.

I have been supportive of platform reform and am a member of the Libertarian Reform Caucus. In the platform retention vote (an up or down vote on each plank), I voted to retain most planks and remove a few of the really obvious ones (Secession, Indian Rights, Space Exploration, etc) and all all of the planks on foreign affairs.

What happened was much less nuanced than that. A bare majority was convinced to dump the whole thing and start with a clean slate.

Each plank in the platform consists of four sections: Issue, Principle, Solution, and Transition. The Solution is supposed to be the long-term vision and the Transition is how to get there.

I've read a few of the comments going around and think that the purists are overreacting somewhat. There is still a place in the platform for the long-term hardcore view. I have no problem with having a hardcore view in the platform in the Solution section. However, the Transition section should, imo, be used for the incremental steps to get there. Almost by definition, those incremental steps are not going to be purist, and I think that's some of what has the purists upset.

I also do not believe most of the delegates know what a transition step might look like. For example, I introduced an amendment to the Transition section of the new immigration plank that read "Use diplomatic persuasion to encourage less-free nations to change their economic and civil liberties polices so people would be less likely to emigrate." It was voted down in committee, 4-7, and on the floor (voice vote, near as I can tell) 5-95, or maybe 10-90.

I have no problem with having a non-interventionist foreign policy SOME DAY IN THE FUTURE. But right now, nobody has a credible plan to get from here to there. All some folks know how to say is "bring the troops home, now", which, imo, demonstrates their lack of knowledge on the issue. One of these days I may post a plan; I've been working on something for about a year, off and on. Attending the convention has pointed out some flaws in what I had written, so I'm working to address them.

There were were also some bylaws changes. One was to change the membership to include anyone who pays $25 per year as a sustaining/subscribing (not sure which) member for delegate counting purposes and to include anyone who registered to vote as a Libertarian as a basic (not sure of actual word) member. Another change was, ironically, to scrap the current plank retention vote scheme and use a ticket method where, if I recall correctly, each delegate would receive 5 tickets which could be voted to remove any plank; all tickets could be cast for the same or different planks and any plank receiving 20 percent or more of the votes would go to the floor for an up or down vote. Don't quote me on this; lets look at the bylaws when they get posted.

Guerilla primer

Global Guerillas links to a collection of articles that comprise a primer on guerilla warfare.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sobering thought

A world without America. HT austinbay The non-interventionists in the Libertarian Party ought to think long and hard about this.