Dean and the need for party building

Kos and others have been lamenting the lack of direction and focus in the Democratic Party. Dean ran a successful DNC head campaign at least partially on this principle, stating that at times the party had been captured by their left wing and prevented from being centrist enough to win over moderate voters.

There are also dissenters who say that the oldest Party lacks a message and simply stands for contrarianism today. Daschle was blasted for being obstructionist and it seems like President Bush can’t get a word in edge-wise without threat of filibuster or harassment. But one must wonder, and I do, if this is not simply multiple ploys by the Majority Republicans to villainize the Minority Democrats even further.

It seems to me that if the President were interested in bipartisan progress, as he claimed post-election, he would be nominating U.N. Ambassadors with clean slates and exemplary service records, not chicanery and cover-ups. John Bolton might be a hardliner and might be what the U.N. needs, but there wasn’t a no-nonsense diplomat somewhere in the stack that both parties could agree on? Additionally, the nomination of judges who lean a bit too far right for people’s tastes, even one Republican (Lincoln Chafee), seems to be a direct challenge to the Democrats. Does Mr. Bush really believe in Priscilla Owen, et al, or is he just pushing our buttons and keeping us from doing anything meaningful while the far-left and middle-left bicker amongst themselves?

Which brings me to the point of party loyalty. In the Republican Party, stepping outside party lines is risky business. On the other side of the fence, where we still believe in democracy (apologies, Dan) that’s not out of the ordinary, it’s the norm. Democrats regularly vote for Republican ideas if the ideas are sane. I wonder what blowback Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Mike Castle will face for trying to move toward scientific progress in the stem cell debate.

As a loyal and fierce Democrat, not a Bush contrarian, I must agree that our Party is lacking direction and cohesion, but I am afraid to take the steps that brought the Republican Party from nowhere to everywhere post-Nixon. At this point, I don’t know where the answer is, but I’m not sure that Dean has it. He claims that he isn’t too far left to take the party somewhere and grow it, but his track record isn’t great on that front. Even before the famous scream, leftist voters were leaning toward Kerry. I don’t want to toe a Party Line, but it feels like our hands might be tied until we gain some ground. Is it OK to declare martial law and put up a dictator for the Party if it takes us from rabble-rousing to revolution? And once we’re there, can we keep him leashed? I’m sure there are old-style Republicans (fiscal responsiblity, small government, state’s rights, privacy) out there that are regretting their decision to back Bush no questions asked. I met some in Texas. I’m sure there are Republican politicians who cringe at Frist and DeLay taking advantage of the religious right in the Schiavo case… But they’re being mostly silent.

If we want to get somewhere as a party, do we abandon democracy as well?



Note: This is an excerpt from a draft of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior. The introduction and table of contents are also available


I am thankful for so much help. I regret any accidental
omissions from this list, but I would especially like to thank

  • my family, especially my parents, grandparents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins for their help, love, inspiration, and support,
  • my thesis committee, including Dr. Richard McBride, Dr. Doug Goodman, and Dr. Larry Bradley, for the tremendous amount of time and patience they put into helping me,
  • my other instructors at the University of South Dakota, especially Dr. Nan Jiang, Dr. Douglas Peterson, Dr. Timothy Schorn, and Chairman of Computer Science John Lushbough, for a fantastic and enjoyable education,
  • the experts who agreed to lend me their wisdom and years of experience, Dr. Noel Burleson, Dr. Francesco Padovani, and Dr. Schorn,
  • my friends who I have never met, including David Norman and Angus Maddison, whose personal help was invaluable in writing this thesis,
  • my supplier of high performance computers, Midcontinent Communications and specifically Aaron Thoreson, for lending the system that allowed the simulation to execute in a reasonable amount of time,
  • my mentors from my undergraduate education, including Dr. Rick Christoph, Dr. Robert Lahm, and Dr. Jerald Tunheim, for help, friendship, and encouraging me to continue my education,
  • my teachers from years ago, Roger Leistra and Stephen Boint, in whose classrooms I first had an idea similar to the one described in this document,
  • and my fellow students at USD’s Computer Science graduate program, for friendship and inspiration.

Thank you.

Computer Science Thesis Index


Why I Blog,” by Bill Rice, By Dawn’s Early Light, 15 May 2005,

Say, sometimes the blog really does piss readers off!,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 23 May 2005,

I’m going on vacation. In the meantime I will be posting my thesis. Here’s why:

Bill Rice from DEL gives the following reasons for blogging

This blog is a natural progression of engaging in the larger debate, of being a part of something larger than oneself. I have met many extremely competent and intellectually challenging people with high personal integrity in the blogosphere. I am fortunate to have a group of bloggers who are supportive and encouraging. The interaction with all of them has made me a better blogger (with much room to grow) and spawned friendships around the world.

This blog will not change the world, but it does have the ability to contribute positively to an important debate, not only here in America, but around the world about freedom, democracy and values. Liberty is dear, and I am thankful for the freedom, paid for at great cost, that I can be a part of this international debate over the future of individual freedoms.

Thomas P.M. Barnett gives a simpler reason

In the end, the blog only has to work for me. The minute that stops is the minute I stop. A simple rule, but it’s the only one that should matter in this very idiosyncratic medium.

My reason would be somewhere in the middle.

I will be out of communication from Friday, May 27th, until Monday, June 6th.

I’ve been considering what to do with tdaxp in the interim for a while. I don’t want it to become static, either for readers who actually care or search engines. I also want it to be useful for me, somehow: for automatic posts to reflect my ideas somehow and maybe even help develop them.

So just not having any posts for 10 days isn’t an option. Nor is just quoting wikipedia articles. I’m too impatient to save interesting (to me) topics until I leave. So then what?

I will post the main section of my thesis — from the table of contents to the bibliography — otherwise known as the first 78 pages (out of a total of 307). Splitting each of the seven chapters up into their constituent sections, this gives about 29 posts, or roughly three a day.

I’ve referenced my thesis four times already (on nations, neural nets, publishing, and banners), so this way I will be able to trackback from it. Additional benefits include

  • Additional text may generate some additional search engine hits
  • Maybe some poor kid somewhere is working on a similar concept, and can use the work
  • By posting the bibliography, I further thank the sources I used.
  • Google cache, and maybe even the wayback machine, will give some existance that it actually existed.

Maybe more importantly, a blank blog entry is less intimidating than a blank word processor document. Maybe getting some of the work up here will encourage me to write more on it, and bother with publishing it.

Thank you for your visits. They are appreciated.

Update: In light of Aaron’s guest blogging, I have pre-blogged two posts a day until the first saturday in June. Enjoy!

No Ko in Koku

High court rejects registering babies by surrogate mother,” Japan Times, 24 May 2005, (from Japundit).

Case Could Freeze Sperm Donation,” by Wendy McElroy,, 26 May 2005,,2933,157553,00.html.

A typically Japanese story from increasingly childless Nihonkoku.

Every major nation struggles with the birthrate. Too few children are being born in Japan, Europe, America — anywhere where people are rich, they are not having enough children. So how does Nihonkoku Japan respond to new technologies that allow more citizens to have children?


The Osaka High Court has turned down a couple’s request that the twin babies they had via an American surrogate mother be registered in Japan as their children, court officials said Monday.

A surrogate mother gave birth to the twins in October 2002 in California after doctors conducted in vitro fertilization using eggs from an American woman of Japanese ancestry and the Japanese husband’s sperm.

In rejecting the couple’s appeal against a decision last August by the Kobe Family Court, presiding Judge Sota Tanaka of the Osaka High Court said, “Surrogate birth poses a serious humanitarian concern as it treats a person as a reproductive tool and causes danger to a third person through pregnancy and giving birth.

The contract for such surrogate births violates public order and morals and is invalid, as it could cause a serious feud over the child,” Tanaka said.

A typically American story from increasingly childless Beikoku

Every major nation struggles with the birthrate. Too few children are being born in Japan, Europe, America — anywhere where people are rich, they are not having enough children. So how does America Beikoku respond to new technologies that allow more citizens to have children?


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court (search) is currently considering a legal appeal that could set a wide-reaching precedent for both child support policy and fertility clinics in the United States.

As one report states, “sperm donors who thought they were getting $50 for their genetic material” — a standard clinic fee — and nothing more may be in for a real shock.

The case involves sperm donor Joel L. McKiernan (search) and his former lover Ivonne V. Ferguson (search). Ten years ago, they entered a verbal contract that a three-judge panel of the Superior Court said was valid “on its face.” In exchange for McKiernan donating sperm that led to the birth of twins through in vitro fertilization, Ferguson released him from any obligation toward the offspring.

Both the trial court and the Superior Court called Ferguson’s actions “despicable” and expressed sympathy toward McKiernan. Yet both found him liable to pay over $1,500 a month in child support plus arrearages to the now-divorced Ferguson. (McKiernan has married, moved, and now has two other children he is raising.)

Why was McKiernan considered liable? The original contract was deemed unenforceable due to “legal, equitable and moral principles.” The main abrogating principle: Biological parents cannot waive the interests of a child — a third party — who has an independent “right” to support from each one of them.

Introducing Guest Blogger Aaron

As I mentioned, during my vacation tdaxp will post my thesis. Additionally, I am happy to announce a guest blogger: Aaron. While a liberal Democrat, Aaron is very intelligent and we agree on the systematic nature of most issues. Aaron is an intelligent, creative, vertical, and horizontal thinker. He also runs, a social blog that tdaxp spun off from. To use the cool hip lingo, Aaron would be my blogfather.

Please give him a kind welcome.

No Doesn’t Mean No in Europe

EU call to re-run treaty referendums,” by John Thornhill, George Parker in Brussels, and Betrand Benoit, Financial Times, 25 May 2005,

The EU’s lack of respect for democracy isn’t new news, but it’s good to keep tabs on it. Hat-tip to Catholicgauze

France and the Netherlands should re-run their referendums to obtain the “right answer” if their voters reject Europe’s constitutional treaty in imminent national ballots, Jean-Claude Juncker, the holder of the EU presidency, said on Wednesday.

The Luxembourg prime minister said all 25 EU member countries should continue their attempts to ratify the treaty whatever the outcome of the French and Dutch votes.

But it’s get better

The countries which have said No will have to ask themselves the question again. And if we don’t manage to find the right answer, the treaty will not enter into force,” he said in an interview with the Belgian Le Soir newspaper.

To borrow the most annoying of the anti-Iraq-Liberation slogans,

Love without consent is Rape

Network Discovery (Nmap, Cinema, Iraq Warriors, and American Feminists)

What You See Is What You Get — or Is It?,” by Margaret Heffernan, WITI Careers mailing list, 24 May 2005,

In The Matrix Reloaded, our heroine needs to take over the city’s electricity network to turn off alarms.


While in Battle Royale, our hero’s friend needs to subvert the system’s security network


What do both characters use? Nmap, a network discovery tool. Network discovery lets you know what a network is like. Is it just one computer? Many? Are they secure? Easy to penetrate and subvert?

Likewise, they can be social networks, whether Family/Steep/Pre-Modern Nets…


Ideological/Flat/4th Generation Nets…


or combinations of these…


I’ve written before that in war, the style of network takedown depends on the style of network. But how can we quickly determine what type of network we are dealing with?

In an otherwise bitchy whiny article, Margaret Heffernan gives us a very low tech version of nmap

If offered a drink, always accept — and see who goes to get it. You may be told the hierarchy’s flat, but it isn’t that flat if only assistants get the coffee.

Of course, this won’t always work. Lawrence of Arabia famously includes a scene of Prince Faisal, the head of a very steep network, serving a guest himself. But if a warrior knows the local culture, he can quickly do network discovery with very little technology. This is vital to winning the Second Battle of Iraq in the Global War on Terrorism.

Mutant Frog on Slate (Kind Of)

Slate mentions me but forgets to link,” by Adamu, Mutant Frog, 25 May 2005,

Congrats to Adamu’s Mutant Frog for being mentioned in Slate, just like Coming Anarchy and tdaxp before him

Mutant Frog Travelogue‘s Adam Richards, who posted a video of a North Korean public execution on his Web site earlier this year warns, “Watching idly and wondering if everyone’s OK is unacceptable because we know exactly what’s being done to the North Koreans. Think before you watch.

Well, kind of

One problem, however: SHE FORGOT TO LINK TO MY SITE! What gives? Every other site got a link but mine. Funnily enough, I’m still experiencing a surge in hits from those with the patience to copy-paste “Mutant Frog Travelogue” into their favorite search engine.

Bidisha Banerjee, I beseech you: link to me! If not this time than the next, please! As someone who covers blogs, you should realize how precious links are to bloggers.

Well, Slate got what I said wrong. Slate’s more MSM than blog, so we shouldn’t expect a correction.

Minnesota’s Habit of Strange Pedophilia Laws

Minnesota court takes dim view of encryption,” by Declan McCullagh, CNET, 24 May 2005, (from Slashot).

Minnesota, South Dakota’s neighbor to the east, is regionally known for quirkiness. Swedish-style leftism, prairie populism, and Great Lakes industry trade makes the state, which means Sky-Reflecting Water in Sioux, a mirror into the least practical fads of the moment. I early blogged of the Minnesota Legislature encouraging pedophiles to kill their victims. Now, a common privacy tool is evidence of criminal intent

A Minnesota appeals court has ruled that the presence of encryption software on a computer may be viewed as evidence of criminal intent.

Ari David Levie, who was convicted of taking illegal photographs of a nude 9-year-old girl, argued on appeal that the PGP encryption utility on his computer was irrelevant and should not have been admitted as evidence during his trial. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy and is sold by PGP Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.

But the Minnesota appeals court ruled 3-0 that the trial judge was correct to let that information be used when handing down a guilty verdict.

“We find that evidence of appellant’s Internet use and the existence of an encryption program on his computer was at least somewhat relevant to the state’s case against him,” Judge R.A. Randall wrote in an opinion dated May 3.

Randall favorably cited testimony given by retired police officer Brooke Schaub, who prepared a computer forensics report–called an EnCase Report–for the prosecution. Schaub testified that PGP “can basically encrypt any file” and “other than the National Security Agency,” nobody could break it.

Shaub either perjured himself or is dangerously ignorant for his position.

So do you have criminal intent? Yes, if you use a Mac

The court didn’t say that police had unearthed any encrypted files or how it would view the use of standard software like [Apple Macintosh] OS X’s FileVault. Rather, Levie’s conviction was based on the in-person testimony of the girl who said she was paid to pose nude, coupled with the history of searches for “Lolitas” in Levie’s Web browser

Other programs that use encryption are some file compressors, the web browser you are reading this page with, some media players — basically, anything involving credit cards, online business, or electronic personal security. As dahnmich writes, under a rule that ‘personal security equals criminal intent,’ even possession a gun would be evidence of criminal intent.

Short Review of "2009: Lost Memories"

2009: Lost Memories is Racist Anti-Japanese Terrorist Propaganda.

2009: Lost Memories

While stylish, it’s also sickening. The protagonist, the hero, becomes a murderer whose objective is starting a war between Japan and the United States. It plays like Arab nationalism — angry, backward-looking, unconcerned about the lives of others, petty.

Josh from One Free Korea has the deteriorating relationship between South Korea and the United States in his Death of an Alliance series. 2009 brings the same message, but as a jump through the gut.

It is a rare movie that makes you want to root for the Empire of Japan. The sickening nationalism of 2009 makes Lost Memories just such a movie.