Author Archives: Steven Dell

Check Those Graphics Man!

pong

By: Steven Dell

As video games have progressed so too have the graphics. If you look back at some of the different systems they almost seem laughable. But at the time they were a source of enjoyment for those that wanted to play them. As the time and technology progressed so did the amount of information that able to be put on those video games. It is to a point now that it is starting to get more and more difficult to tell a video game from a real life situation. (not really but you get my point)

Where this gets more interesting is when you throw this into the 24hour news cycle. I like to think of news as not entertainment. The content can be very entertaining, but I’m not looking to sit down with popcorn and a beer to watch the NBC nightly news. I want the broadcast to give me the information they have for the day. Clear, direct, and to the point NEWS that tells it how it is. People died in some war torn nation, scientific breakthrough in new field of plant research, or maybe 5th grader spells word most people can’t pronounce. I want simple and effective journalism. Throw a picture on the screen, or put a correspondent in Somalia to drive the point home.

So now the news networks (pick your poison) are giving me something else. It used to be that the anchor gave a story and moved on; seriously that is how they did it. Now we seem to be A.D.D. or something or at least that is how they think of us. If the news anchors don’t have some big board with lights and graphics and Vana White turning letters it must not be news, I’ll change the channel and watch the more entertaining guy give me the low down.

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This progresses to an almost ridiculous point. First it was the running ticker on the bottom of the screen, then the side bar on the coming attractions. Now laser light pens and touch screen boards the size of a wall in my house. Also on election night CNN unveiled their secret weapon in the ratings war “Holograms”. This honestly did not seem too great of a thing, but I’m sure it cost too much money and maybe people enjoyed seeing Will I. Am in the room with Wolf Blitzer when he actually was not in the room with him. I remember seeing Princess Leah doing it and that was pretty cool. I guess I won’t change the channel.

Where do I go from here? My choices a severely limited as to how I get my information. My first Idea is to go to the news paper, now that is the last bastion of true journalism. Short articles with the main information right away more detailed information after that. This is tried and true news gathering. But how do they compete with Monday night Football style graphics? They have got to do something to keep their name in the ranks and to keep the next few generations captivated.

So it is a lost medium anymore, print that is. People have become lazy and don’t seem to want to actually think about what the information is that is given to them. So they let the broadcast companies tell them their opinion. This is a pretty harsh statement but I think that if it wasn’t true people like Kieth Olberman and Bill Oreiley wouldn’t have a job.

On a side note could you imagine if Walter Cronkite had all of the crazy graphics they have today when he announced the assignation of JFK? Very bleak indeed.

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How we lost our election

By: Steven Dell

Mike Coffman the Secretary of State for Colorado is the one who is in charge of all of the voting coordination. This includes registration, voting locations, and machines programmed to record the vote of the civic minded citizen. This is not a job to be taken for granted.

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Do politics play a role in the determining of the “elected official” that is the Secretary of State? Normally they do not but is it true for the current one Coloradoans have working for them? Can it be said that any “elected office” is free from partisan politics? These are questions that need to be wrestled with and people may find the conclusion they come up with is not one in which they like.

First what is the office of the Secretary of state? The SOS website says this

The Secretary of State is an elected member of the Executive Branch of Colorado’s state government. Elected every four years, the Secretary of State serves as the chief executive of an office that oversees and administers many laws including Colorado’s business and commercial statutes pertaining to profit and nonprofit corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, trade names, secured transactions under the Uniform Commercial Code and miscellaneous liens, Colorado Election Code, Voter Registration Law, Campaign Finance Laws, Lobbyist Regulation, Colorado Charitable Solicitations Act, Bingo and Raffles Laws, and Notaries Public Laws.

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So He or She will deal with laws that involve and are not limited to Colorado election code, voter registration, Campaign finance, and Business and Non-profit licensing. These are all things that could be swayed by a zealous lobbyist, or an interested corporation. The fact is most governmental if not all governmental actions will have at least two sides on how to proceed to attain the best possible outcomes. So the argument could be made that all things in government can and will be influenced by partisan politics, but has Mike gone too far?

Mike Coffman has had a very good career, after being in the army reserves and graduating from the University of Colorado as well as studies abroad in India and Mexico. He then became an officer in the Marines and served in the first gulf war. He was elected twice to the state house of representatives, and served in the Iraq war as a Marine Corps officer. He was elected to the state Senate and became the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Elected as the state Treasurer and then to the Secretary of State. The list is long and it should be noted that he is a very good citizen when it comes to his public service.

What about election issues? Does he deserve praise for the things that have happened in the past election? There weren’t any lines like 2006 or if there was I didn’t hear about them. From what I can gather the Election Day went smoothly so he did do his job right? More than half of all of the votes cast in Colorado were done so in early voting and with mail in ballots. Some people have a problem with this. A potential problem might be that early polling results may eventually be used to suppress voter turnout on Election Day. I personally think that there is no difference between early voting and actual Election Day voting maybe it is more convenient is all, and we all like convenience.

However, there is that issue of registration.

The office of the Secretary of State specifically told people who were out registering people to vote about the infamous box, but they told them it did not matter weather the box was checked or not. As turns out that if you use a social security number and don’t check the box you aren’t registered. I guess it does matter then. That just doesn’t seem fair now does it? When we talk of a democracy fair is VERY important.

So it turns out that Mike Coffman’s party had a struggle in the state as well as the nation so there isn’t much of an outcry about this kind of behavior, but things like this are damaging to our freedom and our legitimacy. Some of the most basic things that make us A free people are compromised then the whole thing can come crashing down.

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What will they think of next, again?

By Steven Dell

The poll numbers are slipping and what can he do about it. While you may think I am talking about John McCain I am actually referring to the public approval rating of George W. Bush. Recent opinion polls have him clocking in at a whopping 24% approval. To give you a feeling as to how low that is Nixon’s approval was at 23% when he was FORCED to resign.

So what does this have to do with the campaign? Well the obvious answer is that the “R” after Bush’s name is drastically different then the “D” after Obama’s name. For that fact alone Obama should be able to win the election without even campaigning, but then why is his lead in national polls not more of a blowout? Are there some people still not ready to let an African American in the Whitehouse, or are there still different issues that Americans are wrestling with?

It seems to be in the last few days the McCain camp has decided to take a turn south. The talking points and the stump speeches seem to go towards a negative light. This kind of campaigning is usually reserved for the last couple weeks of the race but we are seeing it a bit more now. Does this type of mud slinging work? The simple answer would be yes because if it didn’t they wouldn’t do it. And the fact that the polls are showing Obama up by a slight margin anywhere from 5 to 8 points and the lead is seeming to grow. So what is an unpopular party to do with their candidate? (this is a long clip start at 1:25 to get the idea)

If you listen to these guys Obama must be a terrorist. But has Obama ever been a part of an organization that has terrorist roots? The evidence doesn’t seem to support that and yet the campaign message still makes it to the American public. Yes Obama has worked with Bill Ayers and even lives in the same neighborhood as the man, who by the way was awarded a citizen of the year award in Chicago in 1997 for an education project, but does that mean that he is a terrorist? Guilt by association I guess, but that seems to be where the reasoning seems to end.

Who exactly is Bill Ayers? He did belong to a radical group in the 60’s and 70’s known as the weather underground. This group was considered a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI. There was some illegally obtained evidence that linked Ayers to bombings where no people were hurt. All charges were dropped though. He is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois Chicago, and is active in education projects throughout Chicago. Mayor Daly has said

There are a lot of reasons that Americans are angry about Washington politics. And one more example is the way Senator Obama’s opponents are playing guilt-by-association, tarring him because he happens to know Bill Ayers.

I also know Bill Ayers. He worked with me in shaping our now nationally-renowned school reform program. He is a nationally-recognized distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois/Chicago and a valued member of the Chicago community.

I don’t condone what he did 40 years ago but I remember that period well. It was a difficult time, but those days are long over. I believe we have too many challenges in Chicago and our country to keep re-fighting 40 year old battles.

So the point is that the McCain campaign is doing what they feel is in their best interest to win this race. The numbers aren’t that going that well for them, and if they stick with the issues they seem to lose almost every time.  The result is swift boat politics to use the vernacular. You and I may feel it is wrong but the point is to get the undecided over to their side.  It really is too bad when the defamation has long since been disproved and yet it is still used.

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Why Democracy is Bad

By Steven Dell

Walking through the Tivoli Student Union on Campus yesterday I saw a group handing out stickers and postcards. They were campaigning against Amendment 48 to the Colorado Constitution. This Amendment is on the ballot for this November election.

The Amendment is written

“Define the term ‘person’ to include any human being from the moment of fertilization and apply this definitions of person to the section of the Colorado Constitution that protect the natural and essential rights of persons, allow open access to courts for every person, and ensure that no person has his or her life, liberty, or property taken away without due process of law.”

Actual text can be viewed here.

How could such an encompassing amendment even make it to the general election? The Daily Camera reported on May 30th

“Secretary of State Mike Coffman said backers of the proposed state constitutional amendment turned in an estimated 103,000 valid signatures, far more than the 76,000 required.”

The answer is that proposed amendment that gains enough signatures can be voted on by the people of Colorado to amend the constitution. Once it is amended it is law. Special interest groups can then take their ideas to streets to collect signatures so that it can be voted on in the general election. A good video of how it is done can be viewed here.

This is where I have a problem with our legislative process. People think too much with their emotions. If you get someone riled enough they will vote to pass anything no matter how ridiculous. People would argue this is true Democracy and is the way it should be. Are average people (including me) at all qualified enough to write laws? Isn’t this why we have a representative government in the first place? Why can’t my representatives do the job I’m paying them for?

I don’t pretend to know any thing about Doctoring either. So how in the world would I decide on any particularly health oriented amendment such as 48? Do Doctors think at the moment of fertilization an egg is a person?

Is this definition even valid legally? Think of a pregnant woman who has cancer, should a doctor have to call a third party lawyer (who has nothing at all to do with the doctor patient relationship) before administering any kind of chemo-therapy because it could endanger the “person” in the womb? I think all are relevant questions and I know I am not the person that should be answering them.

Referendum O would limit this process, I don’t think it goes far enough but it is a start. In that ref O link it does talk about how the Colorado Constitution is one of the easiest constitutions to amend. It is too easy for my taste, especially when you look at the US constitution as a model.

One last video by the late George Carlin, if you know him you know his language can be colorful at best so watch knowing you have been warned. It is relevant to the post. All of his fans will miss his witty cynicism.

Let me make clear where I stand on this.  People should collect signatures and contact their representatives if they feel their government needs to change, they should not be able to change it directly.  I do not agree with abortion, and I know that I personally could never make the decision to terminate. I do not feel it is my decision to make when it comes to other people. The decision should be between the doctor and the patient, and maybe the patient’s family but even that is a streach.

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Has The Sleeping Giant Awakened?

Barack Obama’s poll numbers have slipped in the last few weeks. Where he had a commanding lead over, self declared underdog John McCain, it is now almost dead even. So what happened? How can a country leaning overwhelmingly democrat right now not have the same support for the candidate that party is trying to run for president?

There are many answers to that question but I think a major part is the credentials that Barack would bring to the white house are not what people are used to. America has not been very liberal when it comes to their commander in chief and this election I don’t feel is really any different.

One thing is horribly clear in world politics today. When a Super Power wants to do something there is no real way to stop them. When China wants to flood a valley so they can build a dam it is China that makes that decision and not any one else.

When Russia invades a sovereign nation the same could also be said. The world has drawn a clear line in the sand when it comes to sovereign states. You are not aloud to invade any more, and the world will stand together and react accordingly. When Iraq invaded Kuwait this is the kind of reaction that happened. The World stood together and forced the Iraqis to leave. This is the only reaction the world can do now with the recent invasion of Georgia.

Extend this out to the extreme and the picture is not one that either country really wants to look at. Russia remains in these 2 provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and shows no sign of returning. The first option is to ask nicely for them to leave. This has been so far kind of successful. Humanitarian efforts seem to be getting through and there has been, to say the least, dialogue between Russia and the rest of the EU/USA. But that is where the action stops. But what happens if they don’t leave? Is there a compromise that can happen, remember Europe compromised once before.

Russia has said that they will begin to move troops back by August 18 but at this point there is no evidence that they are actually doing this. So how does the world react to such blatant disregard of sovereignty by the Russians? More importantly how does the next potential United States president react to this?

What does this mean to the next possible president and how does it relate to their hopes of becoming president? McCain’s polls are way higher in the national defense and foreign relation field. Voters seem to trust him more on this than Obama. With a very close race this may be just what the republicans and McCain need to gain that edge to win the presidency.

The Democrats have sent a Potential VP candidate, Joseph Biden, to Georgia. With Joe’s foreign policy and defense experience maybe Obama can capture some of the waning defense voters. But at this point it doesn’t seem like it. If McCain wants to win this bid he has to jump all over this.

Prime Minister Putin has shown his colors in Russia as to what kind of leader, albeit popular, he is. The democracy level in Russia is lower than it has been in years and with this new action who is to say that he won’t maintain the road he has chosen.  The only people who are going to make the Russians stop are the Russians, unless the choice is war. So the world NEEDS a US president that can talk to them. The question then is who do you want to sit across the table from Russia? I don’t want to use fear but that is what it will come to. It is also the acknowledgment of what the ultimate price to pay for inaction is.

A large portion of the voters that are supporting Barak Obama are young 18 to 29 years old. Many of these people were not even alive during the Cold war. A large portion of McCain supporters remember all to well the constant threat of total war. If McCain wants to win this campaign These are the issues he needs to rely on. He is not winning in on the issues that are broadcast everyday. Issues like economy, energy, or the unpopular Iraq war do not get him elected. Make his base and the middle ground realize what he would do for them and he will turn out voters.

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