Friday, January 25, 2008


A friend was talking recently about how things influence our lives. the long term impact of our choices are impossible for us to envision or hope to fully understand. Here is a powerful story of how a simple thing like speed bumps in an area can profoundly effect the quality of life for all people in the neighborhood.


In the US, we call these “speed bumps.” In other parts of the world, they’re called “sleeping policemen.” (The model pictured is a Rediweld Sitecop sleeping policeman.)
Through a different mechanism, the sleeping policeman has the same social effect as a human policeman: slower cars and an environment matching collective preferences.
We can take this a step further. Consider neighborhoods. Many sociologists might explain the existence of neighborhoods by appealing to powerful abstract forces like power, class, or racism. An ANT explanation, by contrast, might start with speed bumps.
Consider a car as an “actor” that can affect—push on, act as a force upon—other actors, specifically children. Speeding cars are a danger to children, and they affect their behavior. Children aren’t allowed to play near streets where cars travel fast.
Now suppose speed bumps are put up across those streets. The speed bumps mediate or “translate” the effect of cars on children. The cars become less dangerous. Parents (another set of actors) are more likely to allow children to play outside. As many parents know, children who are playing together outside soon invade houses in packs. Parents come to know the nearby children. And, inevitably, they come to know those childrens’ parents. They begin trading favors like driving children around. They become neighborly.
Now, speed bumps by themselves don’t create a neighborhood, but there are lots of other physical objects that have similar effects, and they keep having these effects, day in and day out. The continual recurrence (”circulation”) of all these forces, all these actors affecting other actors, is (according to ANT) a sufficient explanation for the “assembly” of a neighborhood. We don’t need to bring abstractions like power into the equation.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Romney, McCain and Giuliani

Florida looks like it could be pivotal. It is a huge win because it gives all it's delegate votes to the winner. So even if you have 25% of the vote you get 100% of the delegates at the convention . It's also the next major stop on the way to super Tuesday where almost half of the country's states will vote or caucus. I can't tell what is going to happen with the Republicans. If I had a choice it would go like this John McCain, Rudy, Fred T and then Mitt Romney. I might put Huckabee in front of Romney but I think that is just giving the presidency to Hillary and I suspect Mitt would make a better president then Huckabee.

In this poll McCain is in first and Mitt is second

Republican Candidate FL NY
Pollster SUSA Zogby
Date 1/20 1/19-20
John McCain 25% 24%
Rudy Giuliani 20% 21%
Mitt Romney 19% 14%
Mike Huckabee 14% 7%
Ron Paul 7% 2%
Fred Thompson 7% 7%
Other(vol.) 8% 25%

This poll is after the NV and SC primaries

Republican Candidate FL NY NY
Pollster Rass Marist SRI
Date 1/20 1/15-17 1/14-17
John McCain 20% 34% 36%
Mitt Romney 25% 19% 10%
Mike Huckabee 13% 15% 7%
Rudy Giuliani 19% 19% 24%
Ron Paul 5% 2% -
Fred Thompson 12% 6% 6%
Other(vol.) 6% 5% 17%

Proof that guns are good! or Evolution does work!

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - A man accidentally shot himself in the groin as he was robbing a convenience store Tuesday, police said.A clerk told police a man carrying a semiautomatic handgun entered the Village Pantry demanding cash and a pack of cigarettes. The clerk put the cash in a bag and as she turned to get the cigarettes, she heard the gun discharge.Police say surveillance video shows the man shooting himself as he placed the gun in the waistband of his pants. The clerk wasn't injured.A short time later, police found 25-year-old Derrick Kosch at a home with a gunshot wound to his right testicle and lower left leg.Kosch was released from the hospital Tuesday and booked into the Howard County jail on a charge of armed robbery, criminal recklessness and battery. He is being held on a $100,000 cash bail. A jail official did not know if he had retained an attorney Wednesday.

Let this be a lesson to all you petty criminals out there. Learn the rules of Gun Safety before committing your low ball stupid crimes. Put the safety on your gun before putting it in your pants. Of course this is faster than smoking yourself to death. Why did he demand a pack of cigarettes. Why not a whole carton?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I'm a little surprised by the Michigan results. One is that Hillary won 55% of the vote. However, John Edward and Obama were not on the ballot. Basically running unopposed allowed Hillary to carry 55% of those who came out to vote, almost 40% voted for Uncommitted. Here is the scary thing for Hillary, she only carried 30% of the black vote. That means 70% of all black voters voted for someone other than Hillary. That makes South Carolina, with 50% of the electorate black, a scary place for her.

The interesting thing for Mitt Romney is his win in Michigan. 39% is not bad with McCain coming in second at 30%. This gives him 2 golds and 2 silvers. However I believe he is going to have a bit of bad luck in the next couple of races. I think he might get 3rd if he is lucky in South Carolina and then winner take all Florida does not look good for him.

The problem I have with Michigan is how Romney won it. Here is a good article about it:

Basically Romney pandered and promised to come in and fix all of Michigan's woes. Right now Michigan has been in recession for the last 6 years. They have lost jobs 6 of the last 6 years. Detroit, once a city of 1.8 million is about 900,000 today, once the city with the highest per capita income, it's now 63rd in the US. I believe that is largely due to a failure of it's state gov't to manage it's tax burden and spending programs. So what does Romney do, he offers them more gov't. I love how he promises to fix the problem with more of the problem. This is my problem with Mitt. He panders to whomever is listening and tries to become what he thinks we want him to be. We had that and his name was Bill Clinton. No thank you.

McCain might not have been wise but at least he was honest when he said there have been a lot of jobs lost there and they are probably not coming back. Of course this got a lot of air time and hurt his chances there just like when McCain opposed ethanol subsidies in farm centric Iowa. Later on he did begin offering federal Gov't solutions to there problems.

We really need to stop letting states make a mess of things and then looking to the federal gov't to bail out states. Michigan's problems are state related and the state needs to reduce it's tax burden on business and it's people and begin reducing the size of it's gov't if it wants to attract new business into the state and turn around it's jobless situation. No amount of Federal Gov't interaction is going to solve that problem.

Things like Enterprise zones can provide incentives for behavior that could be very good for Michigan, While we use them in my business, I don't support them because it is part of a completely out of control and way overly complex tax code that the Fed Gov't uses to try and control our behavior. I think that has to stop. I would personally like to see a single tax system that is collected in a simple way and is split between Federal, state and local levels. I would like to see a constitutional amendment that limits the percentage that an individual can be legally taxed. Then I would like to see all taxes eliminated that are not part of this simple system. This includes all sales tax, wine and beer tax, luxury taxes, smoking taxes, property taxes etc... By the way, it should be unconstitutional to add any deductions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A cry heard around NH

It appears that Hilary's tearing up episode combined with the guy carrying the Iron my shirt sign turned it around for Hillary in New Hampshire.

Can she keep it up, not if she keeps comparing her self to LBJ and Obama to Martin Luther King. Talk about the dumbest thing she has said up to this point. Why in the world would you want to compare yourself to LBJ in the civil rights movement which makes the comparison of Obama to Martin Luther King. Then all those black "leaders" who love to get their feelings hurt, decided that she was denigrating the effect Marting Luther King had on the civil rights movement and elevating LBJ. Of course she did no such thing.

The point here to me is how self destructive living your life as a victim is. Playing the victim is just a sick form of passive aggessive behavior. So many of today's black "leaders" try to accomplish change through creating or finding Victims. Martin Luther's great gift to the world was how he changed peoples perceptions and fundamentally changing what we believe about race. He made it a shameful thing to degrade black people. Up to that point it was accepted culturally norm. He changed peoples thoughts and perceptions of black people by speaking the truth, not victimizing. There are legitimate victims in this world and we need people to stand up for them and tell their story, but come on the Jenna 6 and Rugby team at Duke are examples of this victimization gone crazy. Martin Luthers King story wasn't a message of anger and resentment but it was a message of hope. I think Bill Crosby, who sometimes says some very nutty things, is speaking out about the right things. Black men, if you make a baby be it's daddy. Stop spending more time and money on your tennis shoes than on your education. I could go on but you get the point.