Sam at the temple

November 30, 2011

Last Friday Sam took out his endowments. Some pictures:

Sam at the San Antonio Temple

Sam at the San Antonio Temple

Sam with his mother at the San Antonio Temple

Sam with his mother at the San Antonio Temple

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Technocracy

November 25, 2011

This article was linked by Smitty at The Other McCain, and it’s good enough to deserve re-linking: What is Constitutional Conservatism. It points out something true that is not often recognized: the big difference between the Left and the Right in American politics is that the Left believes that if we put smart people in power to make the right laws and regulations, we’ll create an ideal society, while the Right believes that humans are fallible and therefore human government needs restraint. Please read the article.

Shortly after reading that article, I saw this one, which describes how the whole “Climategate” fiasco resulted from a confluence of science and bureaucracy: Climategate: A symptom of driving science of a cliff.

Climate science broke away from meteorology in the early seventies. The Met Office’s Professor HH Lamb set up the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in 1972, making CRU a pioneer. But what happened to “climate science” over this period is merely an analogue of what took place in other fields. The relationship between science and public policy making is now very different to what it was 40 years ago, and climate research reflects those changes.

Again, you should read the whole thing for his explanation of how technocracy distorts science. The bottom line is that fallen human beings will never create utopia in this mortal world. First, we need to allow God to make us into something better, and then we will be able to build Zion.

Recital

November 24, 2011

David and Jonathan had a piano Sunday. It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to upload the videos I took, but here’s a picture of them afterwards:

David and Jonathan

David and Jonathan after their recital.

After the blue model

November 21, 2011

Great article: Occupy Management

Imagine a system in which our current top down, administration heavy school districts and large schools were replaced by networks of teachers who band together to offer instruction to students in a given neighborhood or district.  A cooperative firm of anywhere from half a dozen to a few score teachers might open for business, receiving a government payment for each student they enroll.  Parents would have the right to enroll their children with the coop of their choice.  The test scores and other information would be available so that parents could assess the firm’s track record.

These firms could compete by offering different educational and disciplinary philosophies.  A group of like minded teachers who wanted to use a particular curriculum or approach would be free to do so; if enough parents bring kids, the firm is in business.

These firms could set their own policies about how many teacher aides they had, or even about class size.  (Smaller classes would mean smaller revenue, but creative teachers who believed in the importance of smaller classes could find ways to cut other corners.)  Teachers would be free to teach as they thought best; they could recruit congenial and like-minded colleagues into their coops.  Rather than being evaluated by political hacks and administrators, their coops would stand or fall based on their ability to recruit and retain students from the community that knew them best.

What largely disappears in this model is management as we know it.  Some sort of skeleton administration would be necessary, but its size and powers would be greatly reduced.  Teachers in this system would have much more autonomy than they do now — and parents would have much more choice.  Because less money will be sucked up by administrators, consultants and large bureaucratic offices of enforcement and conformity promotion, more money can go to the people and services on the front lines.

Read the whole thing.

Good intentions

November 19, 2011

We all know the old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. This seems to be particularly true when the good intentions are implemented through legislation. A current case: Conflict mineral laws haven’t helped Congolese. Summary: some mines in the Congo are operated by militias that use the profits to buy guns and such. So the Dodd-Frank legislation included a provision that makes it illegal to buy minerals from them. However, it doesn’t include any way for a company buying minerals to prove they didn’t come from a militia, so as a result no one’s buying minerals from anywhere in the Congo anymore. This is putting the more numerous honest mines out of business, and in a place already as poor as the Congo is threatening to lead to starvation for many miners.

Back in the saddle

November 15, 2011

Yes I know it’s been a long time, here I am blogging again, this time on my new iPhone.

For anyone who hasn’t heard yet, Sam got his mission call. He’ll be serving in the Utah Salt Lake City mission and he starts Dec. 7.

I’m going to try to get back to blogging more often.