4 Aug 11

A random thought hit me today while driving home listening to a story about the just “resolved” debt crisis. I thought I would love to help shape the path this country was taking, but I do not want to be a lawmaker. I do not want to make laws. I would want to help make policy and get it implemented. In this country we do this primarily by making laws. Kinda weird when you think about it. The same process that makes rape illegal also defines how much to pay seniors their pensions. Anyway I digress.

I was thinking I would like to be an anti-lawmaker. I would spend my time as a legislator making laws that got rid of laws (I believe that is how it works). Now what laws would I get rid of? Well I would run a contest like California Senator Joe Simitian’s “There Ought to Be a law” contest, just in reverse. Put down in writing what law you would like to see wear the proverbial concrete shoes along with full statistics and analysis on why and how it would improve conditions in the country. These would be fully vetted, fact checked and analyzed and then if they pass muster sent on their merry way to becoming a bill.

Now I get to my point. What if ALL communications to our legislators happened this way? Everything in writing with full facts, stats and analysis. So Mr. Lobbyist, you think that I should sponsor a bill to give big pharma an extension on patent protection when you change the color of your pill? Well, make your case, in writing with full analysis. Oh and by the way (and this is the real kicker,) I am going to immediately post it to my web site. Once my staff has finished their analysis, that will be posted on the web site. All correspondence about it will be posted. Called me up to try and bypass the paper trail. No problem, the audio of call will be posted.

All communications will be made public this way with a few exceptions. Citizens who call their representative for help with personal matters would not have their problems broadcast unless they request it. Contract negotiations and some other similar sensitive issues will not be made public right away, but would still be fully recorded and made public as soon as possible.

The same communication line that a lobbyist would use could also be used, as easily, by any citizen. A small group of concerned citizens could just as easily propose legislation as a multi-billion dollar company.

If every local, state and federal legislator, committee member and board member followed this model our government would work much better and it would work more for the betterment of everyone rather than a select and wealthy few.

I call this the 1 billion candle-power sunshine law.

What are your thoughts? Could this work? (Assuming anyone had the cojones to actually try this.) How would you make this idea better?

Brad Mathews

Filed under: Politics

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9 Apr 10

Imagine this scenario. You are having angioplasty surgery to prevent yet another heart attack. On the way to operating room the surgeon boasts that he got straight A’s in med school, never scoring below 90% on any test.

Huh? He got as much as 10% wrong? And he is going to cut you open?

Well luckily, by the time he has been through internships and residencies he will most likely have filled in those holes and proven some competency before he takes you into that operating room. Probably anyway.

After all we demand nothing less than perfection in such a critical situation.

How about something less critical. Would you accept getting incorrect change 5% of the time because the clerk got a B in basic math?

How about getting a defective car? Would you accept that 20 percent of the cars you purchase might crash driving home?

Would you want to be driving your children on the same road as a person who only knows 75% of how to drive?

Of course not. .. continue reading ..

Filed under: Education

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24 Mar 10

I have been using Thunderbird for my e-mail for a few years. Before that it was several years with Eudora. There was even that misspent summer with Outlook. To the best of my ability I have kept every email I have sent or received, excepting spam, and other non-archive worthy material.

My e-mail is my mind. It stores much of my collective knowledge and therefore is an extension of myself.

I have 6 e-mail addresses for my various hats. Oops, now that I have this blog, make that 7. That does not even count forwarding e-mails. I have needed a high powered, multiple account behemoth to handle it all.

So one day on a whim (ok, I might have had some good reasons in there somewhere,) I decided to see if I could replace Thunderbird with GMail so I could easily get any of my e-mail from anywhere. Let’s call this post a journal for that adventure. I will tell you what worked and did not. For me anyway. .. continue reading ..

Filed under: Computer Help Desk

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21 Mar 10

I will not beat a dead horse or try to convince anyone that the health care industry is a cancer that is not so slowly consuming the GDP of this country. Pretty much everyone (except possibly those who are part of the health industry) will agree on this.

The 640 billion dollar question is how do we cure the patient?

Here are some basic principals on which to base any solution.

  1. The federal government is not particularly good at micromanaging complicated systems. It is a rather blunt tool. And it is too subject to special interests who make sure their piece of pie is protected. Some may argue that Medicare and social security are proofs against this, but I claim the way they are run supports my argument. .. continue reading ..

Filed under: Politics

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