two cents



A personal reflection on politics...

Why did I get back into politics?

It's dirty, it's ugly, it's dependent of flawed people and I'll never be satisfied.

Some dirt on Ron Paul came out that is frustrating and in my opinion can be justified mostly with some logical explanation. These include his history with earmarks and the newsletter scandals. Some parts of these stories are unacceptable and can't be overlooked. He has denounced, denied, what candidate is squeaky clean? I've never met one...

All that to say I can't believe i'm jumping back in head first here. I was burned by Bush, constantly defending his actions, and constantly let down. The neo-conservative platform I thought I espoused to has crumbled and I see it for what it is. Today I have a much more classically conservative, libertarian-leaning view.

But that will probably crumble also one day on the shoulders of another flawed politician who i believe in, give my vote to and am let down by again.

Does it make me a hopeful romantic? Or does it make me naive and stubborn?

I'd imagine every american feels a twinge of this...


When will we just let the free market work?

According to the Economist's article "The End of Cheap Food", the food index has raised drastically in the last few years, a sharp turn from the decline enjoyed in 1974-2005. This hurts many (including entire industries) but especially the poor.

This is, of course, a result of America's constant meddling in the free market. We've allowed politicians in Washington to decide that ethanol will save us from oil dependency, and lo and behold it's not working.

...the rise in prices is also the self-inflicted result of America's reckless ethanol subsidies....The trillions of dollars spent supporting farmers in rich countries have led to higher taxes, worse food, intensively farmed monocultures, overproduction and world prices that wreck the lives of poor farmers in the emerging markets.

When will we let the free markets work? When will Washington quit interfering? Remove the costly subsidies, get rid of the special interests in Washington, quit giving the oil industry a break, and let the free market work. In this case, it's even leading to a worldwide food problem.

Not surprisingly, this is Ron Pauls stance too...for those of you in Florida, be sure to get out and vote in the primaries today.


Brilliant Ad

I can't attest to the Nation's views or quality of product, but this ad is brilliant. There is backlash against Fox News for their bias, neo-conservative stance from all sides, and for good reason. They showed their true colors to me when excluding Ron Paul from a debate and instead included Guliani and Thompson for "space" considerations. They will be further exposed when Dr. Paul is the only one of the three standing come crunch-time...

As a corporation, I support their freedom to have a viewpoint and make editorial decisions. Just don't call yourself "fair and balanced." It's insulting.

The diebold mess, and a humble suggestion.

More reports on election fraud and failings of diebold electronic voting machines.

To me, the failings of the technology is only partially at fault. The process is also at fault. I admittedly don't know exactly how these things work, and each district has their own methods, but an effective process to me seems simple:

1) Station 1 - voter confirmation. At station 1, you swipe your drivers license, confirm you're in the right place, and it spits out an official ballot (special paper that is either watermarked or stamped and kept secret to avoid fraud).

1b) if not found, or if voter has no license, voter goes to an election official who confirms they are eligible to vote in this location.

2) Station 2 - electronic voting machine, as secure as an ATM. (Banks dont have this problem with fraud, do they?) Voter puts their official ballot into the machine at station 2 and votes electronically with an on-screen confirmation. It spits the vote out onto the ballot you put in. Voter reviews and confirms that their vote is as intended, and places that vote into a ballot box (this process is carefully monitored by election officials).

3) Counting machine. Election officials run these ballots through a counting machine to double check the numbers. Not as part of a recount, as part of the confirmation process. Also could confirm that the ballot is valid.

4) Hand count if necessary. Election officials can hand count the ballots to triple check the numbers if a recount is needed, or for overachieving states as part of the process.

Use the technology where appropriate, double-count, generate an accurate paper trail and employ intense security measures. They need to get this right. To me, this is as serious as almost any government function. Democracy is at risk.


An Audience of One

This documentary and film both look fascinating.

It's brilliant because this is not an atypical story - it's an exaggeration of a commonplace attitude within the Church. How many churches, pastors, leaders, or Christian bosses have done this same thing with slightly less crazy visions? Persuaded people to act unjustly towards others for the sake of a dream that's "From God"?

I dont doubt that sometimes God does speak and ask people to do crazy things, but in particular the part about "not paying rent for 5 months" - that hurts others in the process of following God - so is it following God at all? I have a hard time saying yes.

I can't wait to see it.

Thanks yewknee for the link

A note to thunderbird...

I use the thunderbird email program for one of my email accounts. Thunderbird: you guys might want to move the "junk" button away from the "print" button. Today when reaching for the junk button, i almost accidentally printed (to a shared printer) an email about increasing the size of my masculinity....

Just a thought.


24 and the presidential campaign: life imitates art?

Does anyone see the similarities?

President David Palmer: Strong leader, focus on hope, ignoring insults and petty politics, uniting, unifying, unwavering.

President Charles Logan: Swayed by situations, came across as patronizing and weak, defensive and a little clueless...

Let me be clear. I'm not implying that Huckabee is a traitor - I'm really thinking pre-traitor Logan on 24. As a matter of fact, i really like some of huckabees stances on taxes, and am not comfortable with many of Obama's policies. But the similarity to me is uncanny.

Anyone else see this?


Ron Paul

I am wrestling with seriously getting behind Ron Paul. The guy is really intriguing. He is smart, passionate, steadfast and grounded in his Constitutionalist convictions. He has great monetary and foreign policy stances. He's not playing the politics game. i think i really like him. He's willing to address the issue with the dollar that noone else is:

Watching debates and interviews with every other candidate is like watching a bad actor audition. They're all stiff, b-movie actors that wreak of just more of the same. Let me know what you think of the dude.

One great point he raises is how the government has systematically undermined churches and other charitable institutions by imposing reliance on government and doing a poor job of providing. LOVE IT.

He was interviewed by PBS' Bill Moyers last night, and it was quite good:

See Part 1 at

See Part 2 at

What do you think?