Friday, December 21, 2007

Automated Candidate Selection

I tried two different automated candidate selectors for the '08 presidential race. First was one from USA Today that they put together a while ago. Here are my results from that one:
  1. Mitt Romney
  2. Rudy Giuliani
  3. Mike Huckabee
Not surprising results.

I then took the quiz from American Public Media hosted at KCPW. I didn't like that quiz as much since I had a hard time finding answers I liked, or several answers were very similar, but I think a candidate only got points if you chose their exact answer. Here are those results:
  1. Duncan Hunter
  2. John McCain
  3. Fred Thompson
Thank goodness for automated candidate selection! At least it let me know that I'm a Republican.

My wife took the tests too. In USA Today she should be for Romney, Hunter, Thompson. In the KCPW survey she should be for Tancredo, Huckabee, Hunter.

To take the USA Today poll and compare your answers against mine, click here. For the KCPW poll, click here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Morley's Worker's Comp Bill

The Trib is reporting on a bill that Mike Morley is going to put forward in the upcoming session. The bill will cut off worker's comp payments for people who go to jail or who are illegal immigrants. (Anybody got a link to the actual proposed bill?)

I'm awfully torn on this issue and I'd be interested to hear some other perspectives on this. Let me try to sum up the arguments on both sides of the debate. First, in favor of the bill: If you are hurt and getting compensation payments to make up for the fact that you can't work, and then you get thrown in jail, why would you still receive compensation payments? You can't work in jail either! The bill stops people from getting paid while they are in jail.

Likewise, if you were illegally working in the country, got hurt, got on worker's comp, and then got deported, you aren't able to work in the US anymore. Even if you don't get deported, you shouldn't be working here anyway. Since you are unable to work because of your own choices and actions (rather than merely those of your employer), we're not going to give you worker's comp.

I find the arguments in favor of the legislation quite compelling. The arguments against it also have a lot of bite. If we pass a bill like this, we give employers with higher incidences of worker's comp claims an incentive to hire illegal immigrants since they will likely be able to weasel out of making the payments. This backwards incentive encourages exploitation of the most vulnerable people in our society.

The argument against the bill continues: If I get hurt on the job, you're going to pay workers comp not just to replace the income I'll lose because I can't work, but also as a sort of punitive measure against employers who don't have sufficiently safe work environments. This is a very capitalist motivator for employers to make their workplaces as safe as reasonably possible to minimize comp claims. Just because I'm in jail doesn't mean the employer should be spared the punitive effect of the comp claim.

Does that sound like a fair summary of the pro and con positions? Do you find it hard to pick a side here? I'd say we ought to end the payments to guys who end up in jail. I'm less convinced that we ought to end the payments for illegal immigrants.

I should note that a couple of arguments were mentioned in the article that I found to be totally bogus. One person noted that "the people who would be hurt by the bill would be family members of a worker who gets arrested for drunken driving or drug use." Let's be clear: the person penalizing the wife and children was the jerk who chose to drive drunk. Injured or not, you're responsible for your own actions. Naturally, I don't want to see innocent women and children being hurt, but they were going to be hurt just the same by the person getting thrown in jail if there was no comp claim involved.

The other bogus argument was "that
the measure discriminates against injured workers who don't speak English, primarily Latinos and Asians." C'mon! We're not cutting off a comp claim because you don't speak English. We're cutting off the claim because of something you DID not something you ARE. Pulling the race card or the language card is just silly in this instance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

COL Takashi on Global Warming

COL Takashi has an interesting post up about global warming. I don't think he's saying anything new, but he sure makes an articulate argument and pulls together current information in a compelling way.

Some of the more interesting or amusing points:

Sea level rise? Only 10 inches by 2100, versus the same rise during the 20th Century. If your beachfront house can't cope with one inch a decade, how do you cope with the storm surges of 10, 15 and 20 feet that are normal? Indeed, wouldn't it be simpler to put your beach house on stilts than make the rest of us go without heating and air conditioning and cars and beef?

The most important point is this: The US could shut down its economy, and CO2 buildup would continue, because China is determined to become the world's superpower, it is building a new major coal-fired power plant like the ones in central Utah EVERY WEEK, and it has told the Europeans that it is not going to worry about warming. China's output is going to overwhelm anything the US does. All we will accomplish by following Al Gore is send all industry to China, and impoverish the US.

Additionally, the CO2 in the atmosphere already, according to the UN IPCC, is enough to keep warming going indefinitely, so we won't even see warming slow down until 50 years in the future! Basically, Al Gore wants us to kill our economy and make us all poor and hungry so that summer air conditioning bills will be 5% lower in 2050 (although our winter heating bills will be higher).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bloghive Board Announced

The results are in! A new Bloghive Advisory Board has been elected. It was interesting to watch the results shift as the week of voting went on. If I didn't want people to learn how the voting system worked, I would have hidden the results until the end of the election to keep people from gaming the results. Having said that, I do trust that the results of this election are a good representation of the opinion of the users of the site.

The winners, in order of election:

Rob Miller (Utah Amicus)
JM Bell (JM Bell)
Tom Grover (KVNU's For the People)
Jesse Harris (Coolest Family Ever)
pramahaphil (Green Jello)

If you want to review how the ballots were distributed, view the detailed results page.

Congratulations to the winners! I'm looking forward to working with you on this project. Will each of you please send an email to with the email address you want to use for our communications as a board. Perhaps the thing I'm most excited about is being able to finally figure out how to pronounce pramahaphil--or figure out what it means. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Explaining the Vote

There have been a few questions about how a preference choice election works. As you know, we are using a preference choice voting system for our Bloghive Advisory Board election that closes tonight. I'm such a fan of the voting system that I was glad to have an opportunity to let others try it out firsthand.

I created a video clip to explain how the voting system works. The biggest mistake people have made in interpreting the results of the election was to only look at the "first round" and assume the top five vote getters were the five winners. You've got to scroll all the way to the last round of the results page to see who the winners are.

Here are the current results for the election. Starting tomorrow, you'll be able to cast ballots in the poll without affecting the outcome, just to see how your vote would be counted. It is a really fun exercise. The video is below. Click this to see a slightly larger version.