David Rodeback's Blog

Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Friday, February 25, 2011
Hi! Remember Me?

Presidents Day was earlier this week. It's almost March, and I haven't blogged since Veterans Day, November 11, 2010. Am I still a blogger? I hope so. I feel like a blogger, but I'll understand if you're inclined to wonder what I've done for you lately, and if your answer is, nothing whatsoever.  Listen to an audio podcast of this post.


It's not that I died or quit thinking or caring. Nor did I swear off politics or develop an inexplicable, sudden disdain for my readers and listeners. I have not stopped writing; I have drafted several blog posts since Veterans Day, and I have four more outlined. A few of these will see the light of day soon, I hope. Others have been overtaken by events and will eventually fall victim to that coldest and most necessary tool of the modern writer, the delete key.

When the school board campaign I managed for six weeks last fall was over, my body and mind had some catching up to do, mostly due to sleep lost along the campaign trail. Some professional projects had been waiting for extra attention, too. Then I changed jobs, but not employers. Now, instead of spending my days programming in C#.Net and Perl, I'm spending most of my time managing some large pay-per-click Internet advertising campaigns (first on Google, and now also on Facebook and Bing). I never pictured myself in an advertising role, but someone decided that an alpha geek whose eyes don't roll back in his head when you need him to analyze thousands of interrelated numbers, day after day, might be good at this. I've been tutored by an expert, and the learning curve is getting shallower, and revenues are sharply up . . . so maybe the aforementioned "someone" was right.

On the homefront, I have a new used desk in my home office, to replace the 4'x2' folding table I've been using for years, and I'm almost starting to feel organized. I've also upgraded my podcasting equipment slightly, for a cleaner sound.

On the webfront, I've decided that I can bear no longer capitalizing Web, as in World Wide Web, but I'm not yet ready to make web site a single word. Someday, maybe. I'm funny that way. And I was hoping by now to announce a new web site (see, two words), which, among other things, would be a new home for my blog. LocalCommentary.com is fine, I guess, but I'm not doing that much local commentary any more, not about American Fork anyway, so it doesn't seem like a great fit these days.

And I have this bad case of blogger withdrawal. Thanks for being my fix.

Scattered Thoughts

Now that I've spent about 400 words easing myself back into the blogosphere and my gentle reader's consciousness, some housekeeping looms. In fact, a lot of housekeeping looms. We won't finish it today, but here are some scattered, mostly short thoughts. Some of them might have turned into blog posts, but now probably will not.

Item: The LocalCommentary.com Groundhog Day Limerick Contest did not happen this year. LBB interfered in a big way, as I've explained. So did the shame of finding one of last year's prizes in a stack of papers on my desk, some 11 months after I should have sent it to the winner. I don't foresee a revival of the contest, but it was fun while it lasted, at least for me.

Item: At my house Groundhog Day itself was reincarnated on the following Saturday as Groundhog Day (Observed). Dinner's mystery meat this year was roast sirloin of Tibetan yak -- but grown in Montrose, Colorado, not Tibet. It's so much like beef that I probably could have passed it off as beef with most of the family and some of the guests, but it was a little more tender and had a slightly different taste. There was just enough left over for me, after sending some home with my guests, to discover that yak is tasty even cold, in a sandwich. I will hazard a guess that few if any of my nonetheless seasoned and cosmopolitan readers have ever had yak-and-cheese for lunch, but I recommend it.

Item: Some things are simpler than they seem. Some things are not. Of the latter, a local example: A few weeks ago a school district claimed that no one was harmed by a nasty little computer error which affected the grade point averages on student transcripts sent to various universities. They know there was no harm, they say, because no one complained. There is no practical way to be sure that no admission or scholarship decisions were affected in any degree by the erroneous transcripts -- at least some of which arrived at their destinations -- so "no harm done" is a wildly unrealistic claim. And coming from an institution with a long-standing reputation for telling droves of people, one at a time, that theirs is the first complaint heard on a given issue, the assertion that "no one complained" gives a whiff of something sterner than naive optimism. If that school district had been writing the news articles out of Egypt this month, the same spin machine would have called the massive crowds of demonstrators "a few malcontents."

Item: Speaking of Egypt, we tend to assume that the protestors are good-hearted lovers of freedom and democracy, and the regime they oppose is the embodiment of tyranny. One of those thoughts may be mostly true, but before you decide which, read Andrew McCarthy's recent piece in National Review and these poll results from Investors Business Daily.

Back at home, more or less . . .

Item: If Craig Frank's seat in the state legislature had to be vacated because the district boundary wasn't where Utah County thought it was for about a decade, I still don't see why Republican Party delegates should choose his replacement. Parties choose their candidates; shouldn't it be left to the voters at large somehow to choose the winners? My friend Tiani Coleman questioned the approach, too, and she knows more about this than I do.

Item: I'm still bemused by the puzzlement the Big Media Acronyms (BMA) have expressed at the great number of women involved in the Tea Party movement. It's not a mystery. Listen to some of those women. Even the ones who were uninvolved before became involved when they saw a real and present threat to their nation and their children's future. I realize that acknowledging that perceived threat would induce unbearable cognitive dissonance among the talking heads at the BMA, but . . . this might be one of those things that really is simple. One Tea Party rally sign read, "My kid isn't your ATM."

Item: Speaking of big government and its costs,David Brooks wrote a nice piece back before the election about government bloating itself into impotence. Here are a few particularly good lines, ending with the important words, "desperately overcommitted in all the wrong ways."

Decades ago, when the federal and state governments were much smaller, they had the means to undertake gigantic new projects, like the Interstate Highway System and the space program. But now, when governments are bigger, they don't. . . .

Over the past few decades, governments have become entwined in a series of arrangements that drain money from productive uses and direct it toward unproductive ones. . . .

Many of us would be happy to live with a bigger version of 1950s government: one that ran surpluses and was dexterous enough to tackle long-term problems as they arose. But we don't have that government. We have an immobile government that is desperately overcommitted in all the wrong ways.

Item: That reminds me of some well-meaning folks with whom I sparred on Facebook the other day. They claimed that public parks, public streets, public libraries, etc., are all unacceptable manifestations of socialism. I tried (in different words, alas) to suggest that one of the words in the phrase "free society" is society, and not everything done by a society is socialism. Then I gave up and went to bed.

This housekeeping is kinda fun, and I'll be doing some more right away. But for now I leave you with the best 2010 year-in-review article I read: Dave Barry's. It's not too late to read it, if you haven't already, and last year will probably make more sense to you after you've read it.

Next time, I'll even confess my rather pathetic method for remembering all this stuff, despite not having blogged in over three months.

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