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                    Posts with keyword: politics


                    The Dangers of Internet Voting

                    I am serving on Lt. Governor Cox's iVote panel, which is looking at whether Internet voting might be used in Utah. I presented the following statement to the panel this morning:
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                    The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer

                    Read this short post on Intel Processors to Become OS Locked, then listen to Cory Doctorow's The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer. Cory's actual talk is about 45 minutes followed by another 45 minutes of question and answer. As Cory points out, computers exercise a particular intersection of property and human rights that makes for some interesting societal questions. Sometimes, the questions are ones for which we've already got a meatspace precedent that we choose to ignore when computers are involved. For example, can your employer spy on what you put in email because they own the
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                    I'm for Howell

                    I've known Scott Howell for 10 years and find him to be knowledgeable, trustworthy, and smart. I'm voting for Howell for US Senate next Tuesday.
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                    Freedom and Violence

                    Government has a monopoly on violence. Consequently, it tempts everyone, whether Republican or Democrat, to take short cuts and force others to buy into their vision (literally, through taxes). We must strongly guard against this temptation for society to prosper.
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                    My Letter to Senator Hatch in Opposition to PIPA

                    Efforts to make copying more difficult by technical means (such as the DNS blocking provisions in PIPA and SOPA) hurt legitimate uses of technology while leaving those who would copy without permission plenty of ways to circumvent those measures.
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                    Students Loans: Debt Peonage

                    I advise my kids to stay far away from student loans. I'd rather they take a semester or two off and work, if necessary, student loans are tantamount to debt peonage and I'd just a soon my children weren't enslaved for a good portion of their life. I can't help thinking that we've yet to see the real cost of this. I think it might make the housing bubble look like a warm-up act.
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                    Productivity and The Distribution of Wealth

                    Wealth concentration is structural and computers have led to and sped it up.
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                    Occupy Something

                    The Tea Party and Occupy Wallstreet crowds ought to ignore their differences and concentrate on what they have in common: changing the current corporatist structure of American politics to better represent people instead of special interests.
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                    E-Verify Isn't the Answer

                    Expanding E-Verify isn't an easy fix to solving immigration problems. In fact, it's likely to make things worse for employees and employers while expanding identity fraud.
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                    On Strict Constitutionalism

                    Yesterday I had an interaction on Twitter with a few folks about strict constitutionalism. The context was the Utah County Republican Organizing Convention happening today. In response to a tweet I made about being leery of strict constitutionalists, Connor Boyack said: You oppose strictly adhering to the party's constitution? Seems odd. :) The point isn't that I oppose strictly adhering to the constitution. The point is that I distrust the motives of people who make strict constitutionalism a point of their platform for office (in the party or otherwise). I don't doubt that there are many sincere people who
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                    Building a Personal Commenting System Using Twitter and Kynetx

                    Earlier today I was talking to Britt Blaser about making the Web friendlier for people who want to organize around political issues. Of course, I immediately imagined a Kynetx application for doing. Doing this as a browser application would have a few advantages: A browser application operates anywhere people wanted to comment and yet still bring the comments together in various, meaningful ways. A browser application can pull information from various contexts and make it available where people are. A browser application would be easily updated as new features were added. What I envision is something that combines the
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                    Killing Conspiracy: WikiLeaks and GRAMA

                    Over the last decade, I've lived my life more publicly than I did before thanks to the rise of technologies like blogging and Twitter. Many of my friends don't understand the level of information I'm willing to just put out for the world to see or what motivates it. The primary motivation--at least the primary reward--has been a life that is richer and more fun because of the connections I've made, the discussions that have ensued, and the friends I have who I'd have never known without blogging and Twitter. That said, like most people, I chose what to
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                    GRAMA, Open Government, and Privacy

                    I'm been asked to serve on the working group to understand what, if any, changes need to be made to GRAMA, the Government Records Access and Management Act--Utah's version of the Freedom of Information Act. This issue has been of considerable interest to me since it came up in the final days of the 2011 legislative session. The Utah lesiglature passed a bill, HB477, that restricted access to records by making some communications something other than government records (and thus out of the perview of GRAMA) and making others specifically protected. The bill also tries to deal with cost
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                    Terror and Consent: a Book Review

                    As I write this, the news about protests in Libya is streaming over Twitter. I've been meaning to write a review of Philip Bobbitt's Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century for a while because it's given me a new vantage point from which to view and make sense of the events I see in the news. I reviewed Bobbitt's earlier work The Shield of Achilles and I have to admit, I'm something of a Bobbitt fan. I like the intellectual scaffolding he erects for hanging up and examining current and historical events. In Terror and Consent,
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                    The Cost of Fighting Illegal Immigration

                    This week NPR is running a story on the unknown price of border convictions. The question is that we're "getting tough on illegal immigration" but what is it costing. Turns out, no one3 knows. But we can guess: But even tripling the number of Operation Streamline defendants wouldn't come close to meeting the program's stated goal of zero tolerance: prosecuting everyone caught crossing illegally. In the Tucson sector, that would currently be nearly 1,000 prosecutions every weekday -- a quarter-million people a year. The presiding federal judge for Arizona, John Roll, says it's his job to carry out policy,
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                    Early Voting in Utah County: Vote for Joel Wright

                    I'm encouraging everyone I know to vote for Joel Wright for Utah County Commission. Joel is running against Gary Anderson. Joel is experienced and believes that the proper role for county government in creating jobs is to keep taxes low, plan for and build needed infrastructure, and stay out of the way. Joel recognizes that Utah county will have 1,000,000 residents (twice our current population) in 20 years and the time to plan for that growth is now. If you're of a mind to vote for Joel, the following table (taken from the Utah County clerk) shows early voting
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                    Google, China, and Trust

                    Yesterday Google redirected google.cn to Google's Hong Kong site after a many month-long war of words between Google and the Chinese government. Google accused the Chinese government of industrial espionage and has been chaffing under the Chinese government's requirement for censorship. There's a lot of commentary about Google destroying their chances to compete in the world's fastest growing economy, but I want to focus on something else. Google was caught between what it thought was the right thing and it's desire--some would say need--to do business in China. Google chose the right thing. One of the
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                    Utah Caucus Meetings Tomorrow! Come Participate!

                    Statewide party caucuses for Republicans, Democrats and others will be held tomorrow, March 23, 2010 at 7pm. The election of a delegate is the first--and the most important--step in the partisan election process in Utah. The delegates elected in a precinct will hold the power to vote on behalf of the approximately 1250 voters in their precinct at the statewide party conventions in May. If enough citizens don't turn out, a few "special interest" people end up controlling the vote for delegates; if special interest people become the delegates, they won't represent the interests of the
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                    HB150 Gives Too Great a Power to State

                    Utah House Bill 150 is a bad bill that will give government too much power to invade your privacy without a warrant. The bill has passed the house and it now awaiting action in the Senate. Read this post, read the bill, and then take a minute to contact your senator and express your hope that they will vote against it. If you don't know who your senator is, you can find out here. HB150 would allow law enforcement agencies in Utah to use an "administrative subpoena" to ask for the records of people suspected of
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                    UtahPolitics.org All Over the Web: A Kynetx App

                    Since 2003, I've been running a site called UtahPolitics.org. The site started off as a blog on which I and others posted articles. When I started UtahPolitics.org there was some speculation about my motives. But my motives are simple: create a place I can experiment with new media in an arena that interests me. Last year, in an effort to continue the experiment, I put up a retweeter for UtahPolitics.org that would retweet any tweet from friends of the @utahpolitics account that contained the tag #utpol. When I did that I also morphed the web site--imperfectly--to a site that
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                    On Science, Society, and Democracy

                    A few weeks ago a friend said something about science that helped me understand why many people misunderstand it. He said "science isn't the only way I have of knowing the truth." He was looking at science as a way for individuals to know things. Certainly science informs us all--and that's at the heart of the misunderstanding--but that's not the point of science. Science is how we as a society can know the truth about the world we live in. Another example of a societal truth-finding system is the justice system. A court of law is
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                    On Health Care

                    Steve Gillmor invited me on the new Gillmor Gang at Building 43 yesterday. The topic was health care. I enjoyed the discussion which even included live music. I've avoided posting anything here about my thoughts on the health care debate, but since I've said them on the Gillmor Gang, I thought I'd better get them out in writing too. First things first: We're long past the point where keeping the current sytem is an option. It's unsustainable and broken. We need to reform the health care system. The current employer supported model doesn't work for small
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                    GM, Its Shareholders, and Slower Rusting

                    As we all know, the US government is now GM's largest shareholder. As someone who has served on the boards of several companies, this gives me great pause. It's unlikely that GM is going to choose me to be on it's board, but if they did, I'm not sure I'd understand what I was meant to do. When you serve on the board of a for-profit company, your fiduciary duty is clear: increase shareholder value. Boards work for the shareholders and shareholders invest in companies to make money. Sure, the law imposes other duties on boards
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                    Interactive Map of Utah Legislators

                    Back in 2003, I lamented the fact that there was no interactive map to finding your legislator in Utah. Indeed, the process involved a lot of steps that introduced considerable friction. Now, thanks to the power of mash-ups and open data, Scott Riding has created an interactive map of Utah legislative districts and the legislators representing them. I typed in my address and was presented with pictures and contact information of my legislators along with a pin in the map showing my house so I could verify everything was right. Thanks Scott!
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                    Geopolitics and Cloud Computing

                    When I first read "Pentagon's New Map" and heard Tom Barnett talk about how he analyzed geopolitics, I realized that here was an theory a geek could love. Tom uses concepts like and system administration to talk about how the world does and ought to work. I got to interview Tom about his second book, Blueprint for Action and I'm anxious to get my hands on the new book, Great Powers. So, I wasn't surprised when a post from Tom called A nice primer on cloud computing and its relationship to SOA showed up in Snackr.
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                    The Conservative View on Guantanamo

                    Yesterday a federal judge--ironically the same one who'd ruled earlier that Guantanamo prisoners weren't entitled to civil review--ruled that five men held there for seven years be released. There was insufficient evidence that they were involved in any crime. In fact, that's maybe too charitable. If you read the details, it seems like the Government had nothing more than a hunch and an uncorroborated accusation. Think for a minute about what this means: five human beings were held in prison for seven years without much recourse. Think about what that means to them and their families.
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                    Leavitt as America's CTO

                    There's been considerable discussion about Obama's intention to appoint a Chief Technology Officer for the United States. Count me as a supporter of that move. It's almost cliche to say that Technology plays a vital role in the US economy and our place in the world. Of course, when I say CTO, I mean CTO and not CIO. And I think that the job would be vastly different than what CTOs do in a high-tech business. America's CTO would be focused almost 100% on policy issues. After all that's what government does. To be qualified, you
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                    Obama to Ditch Blackberry and Email

                    A story in Sunday's NY Times about Obama surrendering his Blackberry caught my attention. Until Jan 20, 2009 whatever he writes on it is private. After that, it's all public. Who among us could live with that kind of requirement? Not many. It's a sad irony that we've constructed a public world--and believe me, this extends far further than the President--where public figures must eschew the kinds of tools we all lean on every day. I know of what I speak. I used to work in Governor Mike Leavitt's office and "channel" was a constant thought in the back
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                    Where Oil Comes From

                    One of the reasons I love reading Jon Udell's blog is that he shares the results of his curiousity. Not only is Jon curious in general, but he's especially curious about data and how your can mundge it to produce information. The latest example is Jon's look at where Oil comes from--not from where you think probably. The answer, if you live in the US is Canada and Africa. 33% of US oil comes from North America (with Canada being the largest "foreign" supplier) and 20% comes from Africa. How did Jon find this out? By importing the data
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                    Has Anything Gone Right for the GOP the Last Few Years?

                    Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (who was re-elected with 78% of the vote) was quoted in a Washington Post article on rebuilding the Republican Party asking "Was there anything that went right for [Republicans] over the last several years?" Utah's Republican governor, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., predicted a "broad discussion of the future of the party" with virtually every big issue on the table. "Was there anything that went right for us over the last several years?" he asked, saying that the party's international agenda has been "flawed" and U.S. prestige abroad "squandered, in terms of where you see our
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                    I'm Voting for the Conservative Candidate--If I Can Find Him

                    I've watched the Presidential Election of 2008 unfold with anxiety. As a life-long Republican, I've never had any question about who I wanted to be the next President. Indeed, I've usually been completely committed to the Republican candidate before the primaries were even over. Not so this year. No--this isn't an announcement that I've thrown in with Obama. Rather it's a confession that McCain and the Republican Party of Bush II have left me cold. Reagan or Bush Part of my problem is that more than a Republican, I am a conservative. I've been a conservative since fifth grade--the
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                    America's CTO

                    There's been a lot of discussion about who America's CTO should be if Obama is elected. He's promised to appoint one. Someone asked me what I thought on Twitter and 140 characters just wasn't enough for a thought out response to a complicated question. First we should be clear on the differences between a CIO and a CTO. Were talking about a CTO job here and that's a different beast than the CIO. At this level, I'd expect th CTO to be mostly about policy. That's a good thing. Technology is a big part of the economy, but more
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                    Silver Lining

                    Fareed Zakaria has a nice little article at Newsweek on the silver lining to this whole economic crisis. He says: If there is a lesson to be taken from this crisis, it's a simple and old rule of economics: there is no free lunch. If you want something, you have to pay for it. Debt is not a bad thing. Used responsibly, it is at the heart of modern capitalism. But hiding mountains of debt in complex instruments is a way to disguise costs, an invitation to irresponsible behavior. At some point, the magical accounting had to stop. At
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                    Buckley Voting for Obama

                    This is old news by now, but it's new to me. Christopher Buckley, son of William F., has declared his intention to vote for Obama over McCain. Says he concerning McCain: John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, "We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us." This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget "by the end of my first term." Who, really,
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                    Did Pelosi Screw Up or Is She Crazy Like a Fox?

                    Legislatures don't run like electing a student body president. Leadership counts votes and generally knows what's going to happen before the bill comes up for a vote. So, what happened with the failure of the Bail Out Bill is a really a failure of House leadership. I see three possible scenarios: Pelosi didn't know if she had the votes and gambled that the pressure of a vote would push people into a "yes" decision. Pelosi thought she had the votes, but got snowballed. If that's true there's going to be some payback from her. Pelosi knew it would lose
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                    Hack the Debate

                    How many times have you been watching a political debate on TV and wanted to get your two cents in? With the rise or things like Twitter, of course, you can at least tell your friends what you're thinking. But for the September 26th debate, you'll be able to have your comments on screen with the debate itself. Current TV and Twitter have teamed up to sponsor something called "Hack the Debate." Just tune into the debate on Current TV (channel 366 on DirecTV, 196 on Dish, 107 on Comcast, and 87 on MStar) and tweet away. Be sure
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                    Russia Gets a Spanking

                    One of the great things about the global economy is that markets serve as great limiters on regimes that don't play by the rules. No where is this more clear than Russia as this piece from the WSJ makes clear.
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                    Larry Lessig on Changing Congress

                    This past week, I published Larry Lessig's talk from ETech on Changing Congress. This is a very good talk on what's wrong with Congress and how it can be changed. The talk is not partisan--it's about the ways that the system, more so than the politicians, is corrupt and needs reform. I highly recommend it. After you listened (or before), head over to Change Congress and fill out this petition on earmarks. Update: To see earmarks more clearly, check out the earmark visualization tool from the Sunlight Foundation.
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                    The Power of Citizen Media

                    Sorry for the back-to-back political posts. I try to keep politics to a minimum on this blog, but as the election heats up I find myself with more and more to say on the matter. Over the weekend, a blogger asked Palin a hard question and got an evasive answer. The result was a widely circulated blog post detailing how Palin and McCain refused to answer the questions put to them. Recently a blogger in Utah had a run in with Utah Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble and posted the encounter on her blog. I think she was surprised
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                    Why the Democrats Keep Losing Elections

                    The thinking typified in this post is why Democrats keep losing elections. They can't accept the facts, so they make up reasons like dirty tricks, or cheating, the complicit media, or (GASP!) a vast right-wing conspiracy. The real reason, however, is fairly simple. In the last 40 years, Democrats have won when the fielded a centrist candidate and lost when they fielded a liberal candidate. This year, they've got another liberal candidate (although one with lots more appeal than Kerry, for example) and they're behind. So they start making excuses earlier than ever. That may make them feel better
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                    Saving Money by Slowing Down: Applying Technology

                    With the high price of gasoline, lots of people are looking for ways to save money on gas. The simplest method is simply to slow down. The drag on a vehicle goes up with the fourth power of the speed. That implies a very crisp knee in the curve. Of course, the standard answer would be "lower the speed limit to 55MPH." But that would really be a bummer for people on long trips. We have better technology than in the 70's. Most people cruising down the highway at 75 don't know that they could slow down 10 or
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                    Understanding the Net

                    Doc Searls must have spent some of his convalescence deep in thought. His recent essay Saving the Net III: Understanding its Frames is a great piece on how we understand and don't understand the Net. This is a long essay. You'll actually have to do some reading if you want to get the meat of Doc's argument. But it's worth the time.
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                    Open Source and The Gap

                    David Eaves posted a piece overlaying the Firefox 3 Pledge Map and Thomas Barnett's map that divides the world into the "the functioning core" and the "non-integrated gap." As you might expect, there's a high correlation. People in the gap aren't connected, so they have less access to computers, use the 'Net less, and participate in open source projects less. There are some exceptions--like Scandinavia on one side and Columbia and Turkey on the other. David makes this comment: Non-Integrated Gap countries with the most pledges are Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Peru, and Indonesia -- interesting list. Seems to suggest
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                    Follow the Elections on '08 Conversations

                    Doug Kaye has turned the resources of the Conversations Network on the 2008 election with '08 Conversations. The idea is to team with the Public Radio Exchange to publish stories about the election you might not otherwise here. Joel Tscherne, who has been a great help to me as th Series Producer for the Technometria podcast, the Executive Producer for '08 Conversations. Right now the shows are coming out about once per week. As the election approaches that rate will increase. Here's a few shows that have been on 08Conversations recently: McCain's Train Wreck Jules Witcover - The Longest
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                    Final: 2008 Utah State Republican Convention

                    Greg Curtis and John Valentine, House Speaker and Senate President(click to enlarge) I'm at the Utah State Party Convention this morning. There are literally thousands of people here. Traffic was backed up off the exit ramp near UVU (where the convention is being held). The convention just opened at 10am, but even at 8am, the parking lots were full. People come early to pick up their credentials and wander the candidate booths. I enjoyed wandering around and talking to a bunch of folks who I normally don't get to see. Lots of old friends and acquaintances here. Chris Cannon
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                    NewsGang Fantasies: The Dream Team

                    I enjoy the News Gang, The Gang, the Gillmor Gang, or whatever it's called. Actually, I think Steve's starting to call it all the Gillmor Gang again and that's good. That's the right name and brand for Steve's podcasts. I usually listen to the Gang, as I can, while I'm driving. There's quite a flow and I can't listen to them all (after all, I have all the IT Conversations stuff to listen to). So, I usually just pull up the latest. Today that was Friday's show. I found myself laughing out loud as it devolved from a discussion
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                    True Grassroots Politics

                    I just got back from my precinct caucus meeting (Republican) where I was elected by my friends and neighbors as precinct Vice Chair for the coming two years. I was conducting the meeting as Chair. I love caucus meetings. This is true grassroots politics. Everyone asking question, voting for delegates to the state and county conventions, paper ballots. There's some good discussion and great participation. I'm always shocked at how few people, relatively speaking, attend. We had a better turn out than I ever remember, but there were still only around 50 people there out of around 2000 in
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                    Utah Holds Caucuses Tonight: Change Congress

                    Utah will hold caucus meetings tonight for the purpose of selecting delegates to the county and state conventions. Your voice is amplified many times over by being part of the process that decides who's on the ballot rather than just selecting from a few candidates in November. The caucus meeting with be with people in your neighborhood--probably people you know. You can find out what precinct you live in by clicking here. Then you can visit the Republican or Democratic Web sites to determine where you should go. (If you're a member of a party other than these two,
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                    Why Electronic Employment Verification Is a Bad Idea

                    When Americans (led by Lou Dobbs) scream "do something about illegal immigration" at the top of their lungs, you know we're going to get saddled with a bunch of awful ideas. One of those is Electronic Employment Verification, or EEV. EEV is a plan to create a big federal database of everyone eligible to work. Before a potential employer could give you a job, you'd have to be "cleared to work" by the Feds. Even worse, it will just be an API call to a big database in the sky. In theory, this seems like a great solution. After
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                    Dreams from My Father: My Attempts to Know Obama

                    I just finished reading Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance over the weekend. Like many I'm intrigued with Barack Obama and would like to understand him better. I feel like reading the book certainly helped in that quest, but I can't say that it made more--or less--inclined to vote for him. First, ignoring politics, this is a great book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, sometimes forgetting that what I was reading was autobiography because the story was so good it felt like a novel. Here's a sample from the book (pg 327), one of many I
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                    John McCain Wants to Be My Friend!

                    I got an invitation from John McCain to be his friend on LinkedIn: So far 103 people are John McCain's friends on LinkedIn. I accepted, naturally, based on our close association in the US Navy--not withstanding the fact that he started at the US Naval Academy the year I was born and was just finishing his service when I was an E-5 attached to a recruiting command in Seattle attending school in the Nuclear Propulsion Program. I've pondered this invitation for the last few days wondering first if it was associated with the campaign at all and then what
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                    Lacy's Woven World Moment

                    Reading Scoble's Audience of Twittering Assholes on the Sarah Lacy botch of the Zuckerman interview adds a data point--and an interesting one--to something I talked about a few weeks ago in a post entitled Organizing Ourselves. The point of that post was that tools that allow crowds to connect shift the balance and power and that can be a good thing. The Lacy thing shows the other side--empowered crowds can turn into mobs (I'm using that word loosely here). The technology in use at SXSW allowed the audience to self-organize and take control of the situation. Previously, you might
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                    Larry Lessig on Changing Congress

                    Larry Lessig on Changing Congress(click to enlarge) Lessig's keynotes are hard to blog, but the message isn't. Lessig's basic message is that government makes poor policy--even when the choice ought to be easy. The problem isn't overt bribery. In fact, we may have the best situation we've ever had in that sense. But even good people are affected by indirect dependence on money. Money in politics causes problems in three ways Divert access - congressmen pay attention to donors over others. Change reasoning - Sets up an perverse incentive where regulation creates money raising opportunities This has created a
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                    Organizing Ourselves

                    I was listening to Jon Udell's interview with Valdis Krebs on IT Conversations and Valdis tell the story of seeing hotels guests self-organize to deal with hotel management about the awful Wi-Fi service. He says: Hotels are used to dealing with disconnected customers -- hotel guests who do not know each other. They can tell these guests anything. Since most guests do not talk to each other, nothing is verified, no action is coordinated. In terms of social network analysis: the hotel staff spans structural holes between the guests -- occupying the power position in the network. When INSNA
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                    Utah May Reject REAL ID

                    Yesterday, the Government Operations Committee of the Utah House of Representatives voted unanimously for a bill (HB449) that would bar the Utah Driver's License Division from implementing the REAL ID act of 2005. Utah isn't alone, a number of other states have opted out of REAL ID by statute, have passed legislation opposing it, or have legislation pending. REAL ID would standardize the identity documents required to get a driver's license across the US, standardize some of the information on the driver's license itself, and introduce a common machine readable technology for driver's licenses nationwide. In addition, REAL ID
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                    Undersea Cables, Connectivity, and the Gap

                    I'm a fan of Thomas Barnett's gap-core lens for understanding world events. My simple paraphrase goes something like this: states that are part of the core (and that's a lot of them) don't make war on each other, don't sponsor state terrorism, and are, in general, predictable players on the world stage. Those who are not connected economically and culturally to the core are the trouble makers. (Tom, if I got it wrong or simplified it to much, forgive me.) Radical Islam, when viewed through this lens, is an attempt to stall and hopefully stop the integration of Islamic
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                    Universal Housing Anyone?

                    Dave says: But there are some things we can change, and if you have a heart, and think about it, I don't see how anyone could be against universal health care and still sleep at night. From Debating health care in 2008 (Scripting News)Referenced Fri Feb 08 2008 19:26:56 GMT-0700 (MST) I respect Dave, but it's precisely this kind of partisan debate that's lead to stalemate for decades on this and other important issues. The implication of this statement is that if you're not for universal health care, then you're not compassionate. If we give you the benefit of
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                    Change, Motherhood, and Apple Pie

                    When I worked at Naval Reactors, we had a shorthand for statements no one could argue with. Someone would say something and someone else would just say "motherhood." Everyone understood the shorthand: what you just said is like motherhood and apple pie. Everyone's for it. If you haven't seen it, this video will make you laugh (and serve as an intro for this post): Change is an easy thing for a politician to sell because we all want change. Hardly anyone you meet is satisfied with the government. We all want it to be different and so, saying your
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                    Utah Election and Caucus Information

                    Utah Capitol Building(click to enlarge) Utah will participate in the Super Tuesday presidential primary on February 5th (as do 23 other states). Then on March 25th, we'll hold the regular statewide caucus meetings to elect delegates to the state conventions later in the year. I'm Republican Precinct Chair for Lindon 4. I'll let you know where the caucus meeting will be held when I have that information. In the meantime, here's some important dates: Jan 29 - Last day for walk-in registration - Last minute voter registration is available for the new voter to register in person at the
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                    Pakistan is Iran 30 Years Ago

                    Here's a very informative--and scary--analysis from David Ignatius about how our experience in Iran 30 years ago ought to inform our interactions with Pakistan today.
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                    Managing the Legislature

                    There was a time that people in the Drivers License Bureau didn't want to be in the ID business. I can remember having the head of Utah's DL bureau tell me in no uncertain terms that the drivers license was not an identity document. Times have changed. I can only imagine that the emergence of REAL ID has given the bureaucrats an idea of how much power there could be in being the primary arbiter of truth. This change is reflected in the sessions at a conference on REAL ID for state bureaucrats that Jim Harper brought to my
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                    Ike: An American Hero

                    I just finished reading Ike: An American Hero, Michael Korda's biography of Eisenhower. I'm a sucker for biographies, particularly US Presidents and I'd not read one of Ike before, although I'd had Steve Ambrose's two-volumn set on my list for a while. I saw this a few weeks ago while I was in DC and picked it up. I wasn't disappointed. Korda delivers a book that tells a great tale by focusing on what made Ike and made him great rather than getting lost in details that most readers won't care about. I came away with a newfound appreciation
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                    Is There Anything Good About Men?

                    This provocatively entitled paper by Roy Baumeister, Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology & Head of Social Psychology Area at Florida State University, is very interesting. A refreshing look at alternative interpretations of data on gender in human relations and how it can be explained. If you don't want to read the full paper, here's a summary from the NY Times.
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                    Justinian's Flea

                    A few weeks ago I was walking through Borders and saw Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe. This, frankly, is the kind of book I can't resist. I was expecting a book about a period of history I'm largely unfamiliar with (the early Byzantium era) with a twist. I wasn't disappointed. Rosen tell's the story of the Emperor Justinian, the world that came before him, the world that came after, and the importance of the bubonic plague in shaping the course of Europe. The book combines a detailed look at history with a respectable understanding of
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                    Fake Colgate and China Wars

                    If you want to understand stories about tainted dog food and fake, poison toothpaste, listen to part I and part II of Moira's interview with Peter Navarro. I bought and read Navarro's book, the Coming China Wars after listening to the interviews. Definitely puts these stories in perspective. I think we're just seeing the beginning of the problems counterfeit products are going to cause.
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                    The Contrarian Solution for Iran

                    Time for some Saturday politics. Almost everyday there's a story on the news about Iran and the showdown that the media is hoping will happen over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, Pakistan is the elephant in the room. The media ought to start asking Presidential candidates what they'd do about Pakistan, not Iran. Ironically, what we're doing in Pakistan is probably the right course (in broad brush strokes): we're engaging them, connecting them, working to bring them more fully into the world economy. Maybe that's why the media's not asking about Pakistan, but I'd still like to hear what Presidential
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                    Black Swans and the Impact of Improbable Events

                    Black Swans(click to enlarge) Yesterday, Nassim Nicholas Taleb was on Talk of the Nation talking about his book Black Swan. Of course, we published Moira Gunn's interview with Taleb a few weeks ago on IT Conversations. The name comes from the fact that for centuries Europeans used the term "black swan" as synonymous with something that was impossible--until they got to Australia where black swans are common. Taleb uses it as an allegory for an improbable event that changes some aspect of our world drastically. It's funny how when you learn a new concept it becomes a way to
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                    Barnett from PopTech!

                    I just finished watching Thomas Barnett's talk from PopTech! I like reading Barnett, but watching him is another thing altogether. He's a very good presenter and very entertaining. If you want a gentle introduction, watch the video. I don't think the audio would do this talk justice. There are some other talks on that page that look pretty interesting. Friedman is always good--I had breakfast with him one day at the Governor's mansion when I was Utah's CIO. I heard Juan Enriquez at the Governor's mansion during the Olympics and read his then new book, As the Future Catches
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                    Pravda on Imus

                    I really hadn't intended to write any more about Imus, but then I saw a pointer to a Pravda story on Doc's blog. You'll remember that Pravda was the feared organ of state propaganda under the Soviets. Now, it appears (by the links that surround the story) that it's becoming Russia's version of Weekly World News. But, to the US War Leaders, Don Imus represented the most serious threat, to date, of the growing assault against them by America's media personalities threatening to expose the truths behind the events of September 11, 2001 and the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars; and to
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                    PodCorps.org

                    Doug Kaye, the man behind IT Conversations is launching PodCorps.org. Th goal is to create a network of podcasting stringers and event producers who can record and publish important spoken-word events anywhere in the world. One of the goals is to cover events related to the 2008 election in the US. Right now, PodCorps.org is recruiting stringers. Later, event producers will be able to tap into that pool of talent to get their events recorded. See and FAQ for more details. If you have the ability to record events and your willing to volunteer your time, take a minute
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                    Imus and Speech

                    Today on NPR, Juan Williams was dissecting the Don Imus imbroglio, including his firing, and the discussion turned to why Black rappers can get away with saying things Imus can't. Lots of pop-psychology, history, race relations, and the like were discussed, but I think it all makes this much more complicated than it is. The issue is very simple. The topic of free speech is moot in this case. This isn't a free speech issue; it's a commercial speech issue. Imus' customers (also called advertisers) are no longer willing to pay to hear him say what he did and
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                    Barnett's Grand Unifying Theory

                    Thomas Barnett, who I interviewed on IT Conversations 18 months ago is in Alaska and writing some very good stuff. I love to see his spin on the news--of course that's because I agree with him so often! The very definition of genius. Just read a few of the postings from April 4th. For example: Those who protest Nixon's trip to China... Plant the flag and give 'em the vector Economic freedom trumps political freedom As I've said before (I think) Barnett's work provides a backdrop on which you can pin a ton of seemingly unrelated global events and
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                    Jim Harper Testifying Tomorrow

                    Jim Harper, who spoke in Utah last November will be testifying before the Utah Government Operations Committee at 8:15 in Room W010 of the Capitol. I'm sure his testimony will be in regard to this resolution against the RealID Act. Jim's an advocate of states taking a firm stance in opposition to the Federal government on the RealID act. He makes very good points about why the RealID act is ill-conceived and will be as ineffective at stopping terrorism as it is effective at invading the privacy of everyone else.
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                    Stubborness Isn't the Same as Resoluteness

                    Barnett on the troop surge strategy: In the normal world, those are all considered big signs that one's thinking is sort of screwed up, but Bush, who confuses stubbornness and incuriosity with resoluteness and certitude, chooses his own path. To me, that's a presidency out of control, lost in its own Gap. From What we're creating in Iraq (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)Referenced Wed Jan 31 2007 11:38:14 GMT-0700 (MST) Later he talks about troop counts and effect: Will someone please tell me what Dick Cheney knows that the none of the rest seem able to figure out? Because
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                    Can You Regulate VoIP?

                    House Bill 119 (First Substitute) would tax VoIP service for E911 service: 3 (a) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(b) and subject to the other provisions of this Subsection (3) a county, city, or town within which 911 emergency telephone service is provided may levy monthly an emergency services telephone charge on: ... (iii) any other service, including voice over Internet protocol, provided to a user within the boundaries of the county, city, or town that allows the user to make calls to and receive calls from the public switched telephone network, including commercial mobile radio service networks. Of
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                    Politicopia: Participatory Legislation

                    Steve Urquhart is the Rules Chairman of the Utah House of Representative. Before I worked in the Governor's office, I had no idea what that meant. It's a very powerful position because the Rules Committee essentially decides what bills make it to the floor and can be voted on. In other words, they're the gatekeepers who decide what legislation gets to a vote. Rep. Urquhart is also one of the Utah politicians most committed to transparency in Government. He was one of the first politician bloggers in Utah or anywhere. Now, he's taken a big step toward making the
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                    Practical Choices

                    Barnett has a great post on Israel and Iran and the choices the Israelis face. Puts it in very stark terms.
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                    Jim Harper on Identity and Public Policy

                    Jim Harper(click to enlarge) Tonight Jim Harper gave a talk on identity and public policy at the Utah State Capitol. I've recorded the talk and will hopefully have it up on IT Conversations soon. Jim starts by telling the story of his book, Identity Crisis: How Identification is Overused and Misunderstood. . A few years ago, Jim joined the CATO institute and was invited by the ACLU to join them at the US Capitol for an event on national ID cards. He read the ACLU briefing and thought it was good, but overly simplistic. He sat down to read
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                    All Your Base Are Belong to Us

                    In case you hadn't heard, Bill Gates is the new Secretary of Defense. Oh, wait...different Gates. All I can say is "it's about time." In fact, it's way past time. I don't care how smart he is or how much the President loves him, Donald Rumsfield lost the confidence of the public and the military long ago. You'd have to conclude that the only reason this happened is because the Dems took Congress and Pres. Bush felt that he had to. As a lifelong Republican, I'm not excited about that development, but if that's what it takes to wake
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                    UN Response to North Korea's Nuclear Test

                    With North Korea's testing of a nuclear device, the UN Security Council will be under pressure to take harsh measures. For example, they might condemn the test in vehement tones.
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                    Campaign Sign Mashups

                    Bryan Catherman's put an interesting article about Pete Ashdown's campaign sign mashup on UtahPolitics.org. I also mentioned it at Between the Lines.
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                    Reaching Into MySpace

                    Ben Rudofsky at EchoDitto is talking about the web as a power base. He uses a specific example of a blogger who isn't just influencing people's opinions, but more specifically their actions. He then makes the obvious leap into politics and talks about the Lamont-Liebermann race: In the political sphere, the sheer level of activity of the web demographic makes it an ideal target, an example dramatized by the Lamont-Lieberman race in Connecticut. Lamont's web presence was far superior, and the tech-consciousness of his campaign stood in sharp contrast to Lieberman's, which accused opponents of a denial of service
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                    Supporting Utah Dinosaur Curation

                    You may or may not know it, but Utah has a huge collection of dinosaur fossils. Of course, Utah is where Dinosaur National Park is located. Unfortunately, the facilities for supporting this important collection are in serious disrepair. The National Park Service is requesting comments on the development of a regional paleontological repository facility in Vernal, Utah in a partnership with the Vernal Field House of Natural History (Utah State Parks). The facility is to be constructed adjoining the newly opened Vernal Field House of Natural History in Vernal and jointly managed. The Utah State Paleontologist, Jim Kirkland, is
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                    Goodbye Al Mansell

                    Al Mansell Al Mansell is retiring from the Utah Senate. He was president of the Senate when I was CIO. My most memorable experience of Sen. Mansell is when I was moving all domains from state.ut.us to utah.gov. Al was very upset about the move, so I went to talk to him about it. I asked why he didn't want to use utah.gov and he replied that .gov meant governor and he wanted to use utah.le for legislature. As techies we may laugh, but to someone outside the voodoo of DNS, that seems like a perfectly reasonable request. Why can't
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                    Our Nets Are Out Strengths

                    Tom Barnett, who I interviewed last year on IT Conversations, has a very rational view on what terrorism really means. We tend to give them too much credit for being strategic and smart when in fact their weak and without hope. He says, in response to the recent train bombings in India: There is a profound reason why we're rich and powerful and connected and the enemy is none of those things. Terrorism is a strategy of the weak, and it earns them only what the powerful decide they no longer want. As I opined in BFA, there are
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                    Electronic Voting and Paper Ballots

                    This story from the Salt Lake Tribune talks about the policy confision and questions surrounding recounts for electronic voting machines in Utah after last month's primary election. While there is some chaos right now, I'm confident that it's going to all get worked out because the proper levers are in place. Utah's law requires a paper ballot and designates it the "official" ballot. Based on that law, there will be some court challenges and lawsuits and precedent will be established. That's how these sorts of things get worked out. Some will decry this as messy and expensive, but that's
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                    No Hablo Espanol

                    Earlier this month Utah launched, with little fanfare, www.espanol.utah.gov, a Spanish-language companion to the state's Web site at www.utah.gov. The site contained 10 pages of information about taxes, health care, and so on in Spanish. A few days ago they took it down in the face of complaints that it violates Utah's "English as the official language" law. I think I'm going to be sick. Don't get me wrong. I think that we'll all be better off if immigrants are assimilated into mainstream culture, including language, rather than forming a separate sub-culture. But I'm also a realist and realize
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                    UTC Calls Hatch a Champion of Technology

                    I just got to the conference center in Edinburgh. The trip wasn't bad--I slept most of the way from Chicago. When I checked my email, I had several emails that people had forwarded to me pointing out an email from UITA requesting that members attend a $500/person fund raising reception for Sen. Orrin Hatch. The announcement read, in part: In recent years I've worked closely w/ Senator Orrin Hatch and found him to be a true champion of technology issues in our country. Since he's had such an important impact on our technology community, I hope you'll join me
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                    It's Not the Fight We Wanted, But It's the Fight We Got

                    If you've never been in the military, you may not appreciate the level of professionalism and training represented in both the officer and enlisted ranks. Julian Barnes has a great piece in US News and World Report on how the Army is shifting it's training in response to things they're encountering in Iraq. This is important because we're more likely to see things that look like Iraq in the future than we are "near-peer" kinds of encounters.
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                    Britt Blaser on Dean Done Right

                    Britt Blaser's speaking at the Berkman Center tomorrow on Lessons from Burlington. This refers to the Dean campaign headquarters and Dean's use of Internet technology. Britt's been very busy trying to generalize those lessons for all kinds of political activity. Should be a good show.
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                    Flushing the 'Net Down the Tubes

                    Doc Searls has written a brilliant piece framing the battle for the 'Net at Linux Journal. The piece is long, but if you take the time to read just one essay on the 'Net and the politics surrounding it this year, read this one. We haven't framed the conversation correctly If you're involved in public policy, it's especially important that you take the time to understand what's at stake here. One of Doc's main points: we haven't framed the conversation correctly and our poor choice of words makes the argument seem overly technical and arcane when it's really about
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                    Rasiej Campaign Post-Mortem

                    Micah Sifry has written a post-mortem about the Andy Rasiej campaign for NYC Public Advocate. Some important lessons there for anyone using the Internet for leverage. Here were a few that hit home for me: We misjudged how much people would care about our initial pledge to not take more than $100 per donors, and we overestimated how much the Internet could compensate for our weaknesses, in terms of spreading our message and assisting with fundraising; Low name recognition plus low voter attention meant that network effects (such as a message spreading virally, or friends of the campaign being
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                    Roadblocks to Ubiquity

                    In a post about Dick Hardt's Identity 20 talk, Jon Udell makes an important statement: Even a tech-savvy person like me has a hard time envisioning, never mind comparing, the interaction scenarios proposed by various identity schemes including Sxip, Microsoft's InfoCard, Shibboleth, and federated PKI. From Jon Udell: Envisioning identityReferenced Mon Oct 10 2005 10:24:02 GMT-0600 (MDT) Johannes Ernst picks up on that and adds: I completely agree, and would add that nobody, not even the "insiders" really understand what consequences all the different proposed architectures have in terms of, say, who gets empowered and whose power diminishes how
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