Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ron Mortensen:Avoiding the appearance of evil

Ron Mortensen is running an interesting campaign for the House of Representatives in that he won't accept campaign contributions from special interest groups. This accomplishes two things. First, he can't be said to be under the influence from any group. Second, Mortensen sends a clear message that he will be frugal with taxpayer dollars as well.

Spending by Candidate can be found here. Those who want to help by dedicating some time to Ron's campaign can can send an email to protectfamilies@gmail.com

Ron Mortensen

Monday, May 29, 2006

Clippertoday:Inside Story-Manipulation of online polling hurts all of us

Treasure the Clipper

The Clipper is an amazing paper!

No, really! I am astounded when I do read it. One never knows what can, and will, be printed in it's pages. Let me offer one example.

Rolf Koecher at the Clipper wrote an article about me last week without contacting me for comment. He did seem to have talked to one other party regarding the incident (Rob Miller), but did not quote anyone else. The article was about an opinion poll that pitted Dannie McConkie against Bret Millburn and Rob Miller. I would think that a balanced reporter would also have tried to get a comment from Millburn after writing, "In a Monday afternoon conversation with Rob Miller over this incident, he told me he had seen an outpouring of support from all quarters — not just from those in Davis County — judging from the huge volume of e-mail he had received over the poll." There was not a single statement from Millburn in the entire article!

Two is not a few?

Apparently, the Clipper has had more incidents than this. (italics are mine)

"The company that hosts our Web site manages sites for well over 100 newspapers across America. They’ve had few problems in their other markets — except for here. So we’ve asked them to beef up their security measures a second time. "

If I'm to understand the above paragraph correctly, other markets haven't been without incident regarding security. They've had "few" problems elsewhere. The implication is that we've had two incidents with security on the Clipper website. What was the first incident? If we've, actually, only had this one incident, then it is impossible that we have had more problems than other markets that have seen "few", not zero, incidents. It seems to me that our market isn't that different at all.

No online poll is perfect but this is the worst I've ever seen. The least the Clipper Poll could do is record IP addresses when votes are cast so to prevent duplicate votes from the same machine. This is already done by other online polls.The Clipper has repeatedly demonstrated it's own mediocrity in it's reporting. It seldom gives all parties a fair hearing. It should at least try to give those it opposes the credit that it gives itself.

Clippertoday:Inside Story-Manipulation of online polling hurts all of us

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Separated at Birth: Presidente Fox and President Bush's Radio Address

I talk about the fact that I don't post pictures to my blogs here. But I've been jealous of Ethan at SLSPIN that I couldn't participate in any 'Separated at Birth' Memes until now. Notice the similarity between Presidente Vicente Fox (rendered as ASCII below), who is visiting Utah to not talk about immigration reform, and President Bush's latest Radio Address on Immigration reform. It's uncanny!


Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Clipper Online Poll

I have had a few assumptions regarding the state of Utah political thought.

First, there are more Democrats in the blogosphere than Republicans. Second, there are more Republicans who will vote than Democrats. Third, online insta-polling is flawed.

Thinking I knew enough, I sabotaged the Clipper online poll.

It was always my intention to make this known, but not for the reason that I am now. I knew that the results of the poll could not be trusted and I knew many across the divide knew that as well- but they weren't saying anything about it as long as their guy was winning. I figured two things would happen if ballots were stuffed in Milburn's box. First, that the ballot stuffing would be recognized and exposed. Second, that one or more people would retaliate and that Miller's box would become very full. At this point I thought that the poll would be seen as a loss, the results in question, and shutdown.

On the last point I was very wrong.

The poll was shutdown but, somehow, the results of that poll seem to be held inviolate. I wish to apologize to any whose opinion has been changed, or not, as a result of my manipulation. What I did may not have been illegal, but it was wrong. Just because a process is flawed does not mean that trust in that process should be violated without regard. It was not my intention to swing favor in the direction of any one candidate (I placed a number of votes in McConkie's box with that in mind), but I did swing favor and I feel awful about it. I ask of any that read this to not let a tainted poll show a candidate's quality, but let the candidate's themselves show it. It wasn't "cheating", for any one candidate, it was monkeywrenching for none.

Revealing my part in this charade was supposed to be satisfying. It has been anything but that. It has, however, been entirely voluntary. If I did one good thing, in the end, it was to come clean anyway.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

kutv.com - Halfway House Refuses To Take Capitol Hill Rapist

A halfway house refused the serial rapist, known as the 'Capital Hill Rapist', who had served 16 years for 13 rapes and five attempts, but Davis County Jail is under contract with the Feds to hold him. I don't mean to sound cynical, but at least we get full reimbursement as opposed to 1/2 the cost that the State gives.

kutv.com - Halfway House Refuses To Take Capitol Hill Rapist

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ashdown: Right Medium-Wrong Message

Needed Reform

Consider how earmark reform could be expedited by the use of collaborative software (like Wikipedia) in crafting legislation. Congressional staffers would make changes to legislation in a medium that would be transparent to the public. Pete Ashdown is using Wiki software in formulating talking points for his campaign. The examples below(pdf) illustrate how transparency is needed to reform the Legislative branch. On this point Ashdown is spot-on.

"...In 1997, Jason Alderman, a staffer for the late Rep. Sidney Yates (D-Ill.), had an altercation
with a policeman after being stopped for walking his dog without a leash in Meridian Hill
Park in Washington, D.C. Alderman later got language added to a House appropriations bill
ordering the National Park Service to build a dog run at the park “as expeditiously as
possible.” Rep. Yates was unaware of the earmark until it appeared in a column by the late
journalist (and CAGW co-founder) Jack Anderson."

"More recently, a staffer held up passage of the fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Act after
he added an obscure line to the 3,000-page bill that would give the chairmen of the
Appropriations Committees and their staff assistants the authority to access the income tax
returns of any American. The language was discovered only hours before the original vote
was scheduled and Republican leaders had to convene a special session to remove the

A chink in Ashdown's armor

Ashdown's strength is is his familiarity with technology-despite what he says about himself, "...I don't view my expertise on tech as the big motivator for swing voters in Utah. I think the fact that I'm a native Utahn who has run a business for over a decade here is." (Pete Ashdown Chat - July 15th, 2005.) A candidates business success is not a big differentiator in Utah politics anymore since Governor Huntsman has taken to the stage. In fact we have many business men and women involved heavily in Utah politics. However, Ashdown's technical prowess is unsurpassed. Where Ashdown begins to fail is in choosing to be a Democrat.

Take, for example, Ashdown's stand on a couple of issues.

"The death penalty is not a deterrent for violent crime. It has also been used in cases where innocence was proven later. We can let someone out of prison, but we can never give them back life. If it is not a deterrent and there is potential for a grave nonretractable mistake, then I see no reason to continue its use in America.

It should also be noted that in spite of the extended use of the death penalty in the United States, our country does not have lower criminality rates than other countries where it is not in use. According to a study conducted by the Taiwan government, the United States annually witnesses as many as 6.32 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, whereas countries such as Spain (1.08) or Japan (0.58), which do not use the death penalty, have dramatically fewer murders. (Japan does have a death penalty, but it is systematically commuted to a life sentence.) In fact, only the Russian Federation (18.07) has higher murder rates. This tends to prove that death penalty does not dissuade people from commiting crimes. Other approaches should be considered to solve our criminality issues.

The financial cost of executing a prisoner in the United States has been shown repeatedly to be far higher than life imprisonment. All issues of deterrence and morality aside, the financial cost is not worth it."

Yesterday, we saw sentence passed on Zacarias Moussaoui-Life without parole. We must, at a nexus such as this, consider the message that is being broadcast by this act. Not on an individual basis, but to groups such as Al Qaeda. Is it this? In Moussaoui's words, "America, you lost. I won." The death penalty would have sent an unwavering message to those who attempt to destroy human life. Financial costs aside, it is innocent human life that Ashdown should want to protect.

Ashdown would also like to see America's military presence in Iraq go to a vote of Iraqis. "The answer to Iraq is simple: let the Iraqis vote on how long they want the US to stay, then do what they say." Perhaps the Iraqis should also vote on whether they want the insurgency to stay in Iraq? Ashdown also proposes that we might move into Kuwait if the Iraqis ask us to leave. Before doing so we, certainly, should put that to Kuwait for a vote too!

Anyone else would be better?

I feel as much as anyone that there ought to be a better person for Senator than Hatch. But, Urqhart isn't running anymore. I don't believe that a candidate should gain my vote because I don't like the other guy. I'm still looking for my candidate.