Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memo to DesNews: Paper Ballots are not Ludite

Last Thursday's editorial in the Deseret News painted me, and people like me, who want voter verifiable paper audit trails as being afraid of technology. That's funny because I love technology and have made it a major part of my career.

Back in '04, many Computer Science professors at the U and BYU got together to ensure that our legislature understood the difficulties of getting electronic voting right. I was one of those professors and still believe that a voter-verifiable paper audit trail is important in establishing the legitimacy of an electronic election. Not because of public perception, but because it's just too easy to get electronic voting wrong.

Phil's post, Phil Windley's Technometria | Saying Yes to Paper Ballots, reminded me that I needed to say something about this.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Welcoming the New Utah County Democrats

The New Utah County Democrats were elected as the party leadership last night. Welcome! It's good to have a viable second party in our county.

They say, on their website, "even our moderate Republican friends and neighbors are now grumbling about how out of touch their own party is to the needs and opinions of real Utahns."

Exactly correct. As a moderate Republican, I was dismayed by statements at my party's convention last week. We are very close to "Republican means anti public education" That's an extreme position I don't agree with. (Not just the "Satan's role in immigration" thing but also just about everyone's statements on education and vouchers).

A viable second party in our county will pull the Republican far right back towards the middle. They won't like it, but it will be good for our state.

The other way to pull the county Republican party back to the middle is to get moderates elected as delegates and then as party leadership. Unfortunately, moderates tend to be uninvolved other than voting every 2 or 4 years in November.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

War Criminal?

Memo to those who call President Bush a war criminal:

It's a serious thing to call a sitting president of the United States a war criminal during a time of war. Unless you are correct, it borders on treason.

If you really believe that he's a war criminal, then you should be doing more than leaving comments on blogs, writing blog entries, holding rallies and debating radio talk show hosts for charity.

You should be presenting a case to Congress and the UN to help you get a war criminal out of the Oval Office. You should be prepared to see it through until Bush and Cheney are imprisoned, probably for life.

If you commitment to Bush/Cheney as war criminals isn't that deep, then let's all continue to oppose/support the war but let's tone down the rhetoric a little.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Usage rules for incite versus insight

The BYU newsnet today has the following headline: BYU NewsNet - Speakers to Share Incite at Women's Conference.

I think that they meant "insight" but "incite" is much more interesting especially if you watched "The Mormons" documentary and listened to the bits about women in the church as described by a former Church member.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Mormons

The Mormons documentary wasn't too bad. The first night was far better than the second. Ken Verdoia did an excellent job of speaking about LDS history in a way that I think non-Mormon people will relate too while remaining correct and positive. I was extremely impressed with Ken's pieces.

I think anti-Mormons will be disapointed with the coverage and I think that some Mormons will be as well. That means that they probably got it about right.

Elder Oaks' on Mountain Meadows was good. I thought they made Will Bagely look pretty dumb. They let him say "Brigham Young ordered it" but didn't let him give any justification. I guess you just have read his book if you want to find out how he formed his opinion.

The bit on dancing in the middle was odd but fun. Both my sister (in Boise ID) and brother (in Seattle WA) had their spouse turn to them in that part and say "but you can't even dance!" My wife was asleep by then.

The second night was pretty slow and less balanced. The disaffected intellectuals got lots of air time to comment on the state of the church generally.

Mormon intellectuals are fine. The problem is that one can't actively advocate positions that oppose the LDS Church _and_ remain a member of the LDS Church. People are free to oppose the LDS Church, you just can't be a member while you do it. It's neither complicated nor oppressive. I am probably over simplifying the situation, but if you oppose the LDS Church and don't believe it's fundamental claims or positions, then why do you care if you remain a member or not? I am sure it's more difficult than that because Toscana seemed to sincerely struggle with the actions of others, her decisions and their consequences.