Net neutrality is not a top priority to many in the United States, Colorado, and the 4th Congressional District especially when up against the many other issues we face in the United States such as our non functioning congress, our failing infrastructure, and our climbing national debt. However, it is an issue that could have a significant impact on our economy, education, and rights in the future.Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should allow access to the internet at the same speed regardless of content and that there should be no preference given to any websites over any other. An example of where net neutrality has allegedly been abused is Comcast restricting the use of Netflix and required Netflix to pay for better access.Some argue that ISPs should not be required to provide the same access to all website when many website demand much more bandwidth and infrastructure, and that the Federal Government should not regulate ISPs. On the flip side is is argued that if a user pays for a certain speed of internet service they should get that regardless of what sites they visit. Both are great arguments and the validity for both could definitely be argued. One of the greatest things about the internet is that it is one of the only level playing fields for all companies regardless of how big or small of a company they are. The main question really is should internet users have access to the entirety of the internet regardless of the website with the same speeds and access they have to every other website or should ISPs have the ability to regulate speeds and access to various sites based on their sole discretion? There are great arguments for and against both sides to this. An open market not overseen by the government in theory makes a ton of sense. It can help push innovation and competition, however where it starts to fall down is due to greed..."for the love of money is the root of all evil." Government regulations often do go too far, but are intended to protect the citizens and consumers. This is why advertisements for prescription drugs include a list of side effects to help inform and protect consumers.The internet and the free flow of information is probably the greatest revolution since the industrial revolution. Like the industrial revolution, the internet has completely transformed the United States and has launched us into an age of abundant information. Much of our economy relies on the internet and the future of our education system will likely lean heavily on this resource as well. The internet is a great and powerful tool and resource that is often taken for granted, but one of the major reasons the internet is so great is due to the even playing field it provides to everyone. Allowing ISPs to regulate service based on demand or even their own competition could hinder future economic growth and our education system. At an extreme level allowing ISPs to regulate content through bandwidth would allow your ISP to regulate/censure your First Amendment right as an American. This is unacceptable to me.Here are a few varying sites on net neutrality with various takes:The Net Neutrality Debate in 3 MinutesInternet Citizens: Defend Net NeutralityHere's How Net Neutrality Can Still SurviveFCC Comcast/Verizon and Netflix InvestigationLeave Net Neutrality to Antitrust Agencies
I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
The Doherty for US House campaign would like to ask everyone for their support this coming November as well as in the months leading up to this election. Many are tired of the same nightmare that is Washington politics, and it is not exclusive to either party. Party politics have gotten out of hand and have become too far from the government of, for, and by the people it should be. This is why I ask for your support for the upcoming election.Running a successful campaign is not an easy undertaking, especially when you consider what each candidate must do to earn the votes of the public. This campaign is no different but does also face unique challenges in the race to represent the people. While campaign finance is always a big topic for debate in campaigns, it is definitely a difficult issue to overcome for us. Many candidates will either take time off from work to run their campaign or are wealth enough on their own to support their campaign financially. This is not the case for me. I currently work during the week as a structural engineer as well as run the campaign. I am not independently wealth and though this is a large hurdle I feel that it does bring me close to constituents of the 4th Congressional District.Finances are an even bigger issue when one considers that I am running not affiliated with a party. This can be very difficult due to the lack of organized support and funding. Though running as an underdog does have its difficulties it really gives me the freedom I had hoped for when I decided to run for office and run unaffiliated. By this I am able to fully represent the people, instead of just a specific party. However, this does also bring the difficulties that lie with gaining unaffiliated votes. To that, John Quincy Adams once said, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."While attempting to bring both parties together as an unaffiliated representative, as well as working full-time during the week, I with the help of many others have built this campaign. Though it will be quite difficult it is not one that I plan to give up on. With all the difficulties and setbacks to the campaign our determination and drive only prove my desire to represent the people of the 4th district. As a typical Colorado resident I hope to represent other typical Colorado residents and not the interests of the large political parties or interests groups.There are many issues that are important to the diverse 4th Congressional District, issues such as water conservation, the farm bill, and current energy policy. These are all very important issues, but the one issue that impacts everyone across the United States is the ineffectiveness and polarization of Congress. Albert Einstein is often credited with the quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In November, we hope to break this trend of voting Democrat or Republican, which allows them to push their own agendas, by instead electing a candidate that will represent the 4th Congressional District and not a party agenda. I believe I am this candidate and believe I would do the best job in representing the people of the 4th Congressional District.If you are interested in supporting the campaign please contact us by following on twitter @gdoherty2014, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DohertyForUSHouse, our website dohertyforushouse.com, or emailing the candidate at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost" - John Quincy Adams
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" - Albert Einstein
As has happened after most of the recent school shootings, many of us ask why and wonder how it could have been prevented. After Sandy Hook last year there was a large out-pour for resolution, and tons of proposed solutions, most of which were reactionary.
A good friend of mine recently sent me a voice mail from a teacher (Sally) that talked about the current state of the education system and how the teacher's unions have affected it. Given that both of my parents have given their lives to education, I am generally one to stand up for teachers. Due to this, I have long understood the premise of teacher's unions because, at least in theory, they help give a voice to our educators. Unfortunately, as is often the case, there are abusers to this system which give the unions and the other teachers a bad name. As a result these unions are often seen as protectors of bad teachers rather than protectors of good ones.After the I-35 bridge failure in Minnesota a few years ago, one of my professors talked to our class about the Engineering Code of Ethics and why he felt that this collapse caused such a media frenzy. He said that there were really about three different highly respected and highly regarded professions in the United States: engineers, teachers, and clergy. However, with this high level of respect, comes high levels of scrutiny when things go wrong. When looking at these three professions, there is one thing that make teaching slightly different and is where many problems occur...professionalism.Teacher's unions in the United States do often fight for the bad teachers and for job security rather than fighting for a higher professional standard. From my understanding, there is not much a teacher can do to lose their license to teach, and though the detriment of a bad teacher may not be as blunt as that of a bad engineer they should be no less accepted. Sally states that the fate of society rests on a well educated population, which I fully agree with, and is why the teaching profession needs to start holding themselves to a higher standard of professionalism. Many professions such as engineers, lawyers, doctors, and clergy have a code of ethics which these communities hold in high regard and are a requirement for licensure. If education had a similar, rigidly adhered to, code it could help the teaching community as well.Education is such a fundamental building block to a good economy and has recently, because of highly publicized teachers who preform poorly in the class room or have bad ethical judgement , been looked down upon due to a sense of an "entrenched mediocrity" in the system. The education system should not harbor those who failed to meet industry standards and should hold themselves and their peers to a much higher standard of professionalism than is done currently. Doing this would help protect the majority of teachers that do need a voice and protection, and weed out those who are a drain on the system, and would ultimately protect the students leading to a better educational system.
As many of you have hopefully heard, I am planning on publicly announcing my candidacy for US House on Monday (October 28th, 2013). At this announcement I will first talk briefly about who I am, my background, and why I am running. I feel that especially running unaffiliated that it is important to get to know the voters and for the voters to get to know me at a higher level than typical, and really an elected position is similar to any other job, the only difference is that we have many more people to persuade to hire us.The second portion that I would like to talk about Monday is the current state of politics in Washington. Though I do not believe that we are any more divided that we have been in the past even though it often seems that way, I do believe we are much more reluctant to come together. As I have said before, there is always talk about how un-American one side is or the other, and how things are so much different than our forefathers. However, the difference isn't really in our overall goals for the United States or even in our policy, it is in the fact that we no longer seem to have the ability to come together for the greater good and actually get things done. The truth is, there are many differing views in the United States, way more than the two silos we try and put everyone into, and really neither side is any more right or wrong than the other, they are just different. The recent shutdown as well as the other inefficiencies in our government currently is because of this reluctance to compromise.It has been nearly 50 years since Kennedy was assassinated but he once said:
Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future
Drug testing for those on welfare seems to becoming more and more common throughout the United States. As of April, there were around eight states that have legislation that encompass some sort of drug testing for public assistance and around twenty-nine that have proposed legislation. Some require this of all applicants and others try and use judgment, requiring only those believed to use drugs.
In one of the prior posts I talked about my fascination with YouTube and some of the interesting information that you can find on there. A while back I stumbled across a video that talks about US currency and the cost of making it. Up until recently I didn't think this there was much discussion on the issue or it even being a topic worthy of lobbying in either direction. To my surprise there are actually are many out there that have strong arguments for and against getting rid of some US currency such as the penny. Personally, I am not a big fan of having change roll around in my pocket, and am also a person that likes nice neat round numbers. Neither of these reasons, though valid ones, are logic based reasons similar to wanting to keep the penny because of it having Lincoln on it, so we won't discuss these further.First, let us discuss the impact of eliminating the penny and the nickel. It is felt by many that this would have a significant negative impact on the US economy since it is believed that eliminating these would cause an increase in prices due to the rounding need. However, when the half cent was retired in 1857 (US Mint) it had more buying power than today's dime, and the effect of this on prices was negligible. Some prices were rounded up and some prices were rounded down, having almost no net effect.On the flip side it is argued that because the cost of creating the penny ranges from 2 to 5 times the actual value of the penny it seems to be a major waste. It is argued that this reasoning is flawed because it discounts how much usage a penny receives during its life, which if we look at the life span of a penny significantly reduces the impact of the initial cost of the penny. This is until we might figure that 90% of a penny's life span is spent at the bottom of a jewelry box, penny jar, or a vehicle's cup holder.In the recently released treasury budget it is outlined that the US Government spent $3.1 billion in 2012 on the materials, administrative costs, and investments for US change currency, a budgeted $3.5 billion in 2013, and $2.9 billion budgeted for 2014. As stated above, these budgets are purely for US change currency (coins). In each of these, the costs are overwhelming due to material costs.This leads into the second part. Let's say it is decided not to retire the penny, nickel, or other US coins. That's fine, but lets still try and at least address the cost. The materials that go into manufacturing US coins are: copper, zinc, nickel, and manganese all of which are all metals. To me, metals equate to expensive, so why not look at alternatives such as silicon, ceramic, or hard plastic? These other options might reduce the manufacturing cost of our coins while still being just as durable.Either of these choices, retiring of coin currency or switching to alternative less expensive materials, seem to be another legitimate way of reducing the budget without program cuts or increased taxes.Resources:2014 US Treasury BudgetFederal Reserve FAQUS Mint FAQ
I came across this YouTube clip with Ron Paul and felt that it deserved sharing. Ron Paul has to be one of the most constitutionally intelligent people, especially if you were to put him against others that have ran for US President in the past decade or so. Though I do not really see eye to eye with Paul on many issues such as how to go about education reform or his thoughts on the legalization of many illegal drugs, I do have to give him credit when it comes down to knowing his stuff.Below, Paul is taking about the recent headline with the NSA allegations. I find this entire things to be interesting because I am stunned with how this all of a sudden came to a head as if it was so unheard of. If the allegations are true that the NSA has been collecting data from personal phone calls of US citizens, it most definitely treads on the Constitution as Paul says. However, to think this is all that new is where I am confused, did nobody read through the Patriot Act? Let us not throw the NSA and the current administration under the bus as if this is all a new thing, because in reality this has been going on for years, and on both sides of the political fence.
Most people, when they get home from work try to find relaxing things to do before bed. Many read, talk with their spouse, listen to music, or watch TV. However, for myself I love going on to YouTube and browsing the different videos and by far my favorite are informative and educational videos. Even when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep I will often turn on my YouTube channel on my tablet and browse around. Recently, I came across a user CGPGrey and have watched the majority of his videos. Two of those videos had ideas on educational changes, and even though I have not really taken these videos in and processed them to come up with my conclusions and opinions yet, I did find them intriguing and thought I would share them.
Today I read a news story about a valedictorian that was told that the graduation ceremony would not be allowed a prayer session. As a reaction to this decision the student recited the Lord's Prayer as part of his valedictorian speech. I must commend the student for standing up for his beliefs and his religion, but we should also take a minute to take a look at the other side. What would have happened if rather than the Lord's Prayer the student recited a passage from the Torah or Koran? I would venture to say that the student would not have been praised, and, most likely would have been ridiculed.Religion in public school is an extremely volatile subject, as it seems as though there may not be a great way to please everyone. The key to this is to respect everyone's First Amendment right to the freedom of religion without treading on another's rights to freedom of religion. Personally, I am all in agreement with Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists on the matter:
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." (Library Of Congress)
This past week an article game out in the Greeley (Colorado) Tribune with statements from prominent political figures from the northern part of Colorado proposing to split from Colorado and form a new state "North Colorado." I am hopeful that this is more of a political ploy than a serious thought, because if serious it shows a lack of judgment and a lack of knowledge of Statehood requirements.The reasoning behind seceding from Colorado is because a few northern rural counties feel left out, a second thought to the state. The largest issue that I have with this premise is that nearly every state that has both urban and rural areas deals with this problem. Political views are frequently closely related to population density; the higher the population density the more liberal the area often is, the more rural an area is, the more conservative they tend to be Though most see California as a powerful liberal state, the truth is that by land area, the majority of the state is fairly conservative, especially in the far north and in Orange County, and this trend follows pretty well with the majority of states. That having been said, the feelings that these northern Colorado counties are feeling are not exclusive to them nor to Colorado.Education is huge to me, as discussed in the previous post, and so I sympathize with school districts that believe that they are not receiving adequate funding for their school. However, I would venture to say that a large majority of schools feel that they do not receive adequate funding, and most of them are probably right. I also understand the frustrations of the lack of funding for road maintenance such as that for I-76, (I drive on it nearly every day to work). Again, the amount of roads that need funding and attention far exceed the amount of funding given. (Most want better schools and roads, but don't want raised taxes...) To divide up where money goes for roads the government should look at severity and usage, and since much of our roadways are in shambles, we then look to usage. There is a lot of traffic on I-76, but on my way to work I travel on I-76, I-270, and I-70 across Denver and occasionally I-25 (if I can't avoid it), and I would speculate that the amount of traffic that travels on I-70 and I-25 between 6:00am and 9:00am during the week more than likely far exceeds the amount of traffic that travels on I-76 the entire day. I understand the need to improve major infrastructure such as I-76, but can also understand that areas of higher traffic will typically be improved over those with lower traffic volumes.The premise of North Colorado forming it's own state is equivalent to recall elections due to political disagreement, the threat of seceding from the US (Texas), and the threat of moving to another country due to presidential election results. Every few years the political pendulum swings and a different set of people are unhappy with how things are done, and given how our political system is set up, somewhere around 50% of citizens are always going to be unhappy. However, this is not because of how polarized we have became, but because of how unwilling each side is to compromise and come together as a collective to find agreement as they have done in the past.Greeley Tribune
As someone who was raised in a family of educators (my father, mother, grandfather, grandmother), I feel that through my upbringing I was exposed to the inner workings of the educational system. From this I feel I was given the opportunity to really see the system from the point of view of the administrators and teachers, and also from the students' point of view.Personally, if I were to line up all of the departments of government and choose which one I feel should get the largest focus and backing it would be education, with the one possible exception of the Defense Department. A good education is paramount and would single-handedly address and curb many issues facing this country such as drugs, violence, outsourcing, the economy, and probably many other issues we face here in the United States. Today I read an article on Huffington Post about Jeb Bush's comments and thoughts on education. I would first like to say that I agree with J. Bush in that the educational system is broken and needs fixed. Honestly, there are many things that we agree on when it comes to education reform and here are a few of those:
In this past month I have started to learn more about a process called a Recall Election or Recall Referendum that I was unaware of. Currently there are recall elections for both the Colorado State Senate member John Morse as well as two local city council members for my town. Since I was unfamiliar with these I decided to do a little reading on these, and now that I have read into it, I am not sure if I really see the reasoning behind it. The impeachment process and process of removing an elected official from office is understandable. There needs to be a way to remove someone from office when he/she does not represent the office which they hold in a respectful and legal manner. However, at least with the two current recall election attempts in my area, it seems as though this is used to remove people from office that you disagree with politically. Personally, this seems like a cancer to the democratic process. If you don't agree with someone politically, don't vote for him or her. If one has been elected that typically shows that the majority of voters agreed politically with that person (for the most part). The entire reason to have elections is so that the citizens choose an elected official, and having a recall election to hold another election to try and get different results is a waste of time and waste of taxpayer money. In the US we have elections every two, four, and six years (depending on states and position) that allow for the citizens to remove elected officials, and personally I don't feel that this is exercised nearly enough. Though it can be rough having an elected official in office that you disagree with, that is how a democracy works As John Kennedy once said "The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all," and though these recalls are not about security the point is still valid in that we all live under the decisions of all voters whether or not we always agree with the results.
One of the larger arguments for opposing stricter gun laws is that in all likelihood the more restrictive laws will not keep those who plan on doing harm from doing it. Though both sides of this argument are pretty much impossible to prove one way or another, the true is that this is most likely correct. Harsher gun laws will most likely not keep those that premeditate acts with gun from following through. However, the larger issue is that this is based on the reasoning that we have laws in place to restrict people from doing them, but in reality this is not really the point of most laws. All laws probably have some impact of curving peoples actions when relating to them. If we were to get rid of speed limits the amount of people that would go much faster than the limits are set currently would probably not go up significantly. If drunk driving were made legal the amount of people that drive drunk would probably not go up significantly either. This is because the majority of citizenship understand the dangers of these and wouldn't do them regardless of law, and this can be applied to almost every law in place. On the other side of the coin, having drunk driving laws do not keep everyone from drunk driving, and nor does having a speed limit keep everyone from speeding, but this also does not mean there is not point of having these laws.There is probably no law out there that works if we are to look at it from the standpoint of it keeping people from breaking it. The point of nearly all law is not to keep people from doing things, but rather to give consequences and punishments to actions. Why is it that many people involved in shootings obtain guns illegally? It is because there are laws in place that make those actions illegal, otherwise they wouldn't be obtaining them illegally. When asking yourself whether or not we should make a law, don't ask if the law will keep people from doing it, because more times than not, the answer is no, but ask, "Is this something people should be held accountable for and be punished for if not done safely?"
First, I have to give credit where credit is due. This idea came from one of my cousins as we were on our way back from a hunting trip in Kansas. While I have expanded slightly from his original thought, the root idea is simple yet brilliant.As we are all probably aware, there are many different energy sources and energy demands here in the United States. For sources we have the organic fuels, hydro, solar, wind, nuclear, and a few others. For the energy demands there are transportation, buildings (residential, commercial, and industruial), and energy loss. The largest consumer of energy of these three is, by far, buildings, which include energy consumption from construction, heating, cooling, and lighting. Since buildings have the largest demand of our energy and building operational costs over the life of a building far outweigh that of construction, a significant portion of US energy policy should aim at that.This particular proposal looks only at the residential portion of the buildings subset, which accounts for around 22% of our energy consumption. However, this proposal could be applied to the other building types as well. If the US Government would offer better savings and perks to residential energy production that would allow home owners to install their own energy producing mechanisms (geothermal, solar, and wind) the tax payers would pay substantially less in the long run. First, the home owner is fronting the majority of the cost though getting some tax breaks or other perks from the government which takes this burden from the government, and secondly, for the majority of homes, the infrastructure is already in place. Unlike building new dams, wind turbines, or other energy sources that require infrastructure to be built up to sustain these, the infrastructure is already in place which takes an even larger burden off the government, ie the tax payers.It is true that there are already incentives, but looking at how few houses have taken advantage of these options, it is clear that these incentives are not enough to push these goals forward. The other issue is that these services are limited. When I looked at installing photo voltaic (PV) panels on my house, I was limited to how many I could buy based on my previous year's consumption. This restriction resulted in around 1/3 of my house's south facing roof being able to be covered, rather than all of the south facing roof, which is what I would have preferred. I was told the reasoning behind this was that they did not want home owners to be "tricked" into buying more than they needed for their own consumption resulting in them paying more for the system. However, to be honest, this sounds more bureaucratic that logical (imagine that).We need to provide decent enough perks and savings to energy consumers such as homeowners while not limiting the amount they are allowed to contribute. Setting forth a goal to have a larger percentage of houses have these alternate methods would not only reduce the demand on the power grid, but could also provide additional power sources at little cost to the taxpayers, while also helping reduce utility bills for home owners over the long term.2008 Energy Consumption
This second portion of my budget savings plan is one of many ways that the government could save by simply using technology better and more efficiently. One of these ways is by simply reducing their paper consumption, though this does not necessarily mean going completely paperless. Throughout the different branches and departments of the government, they all have numerous forms that are required for administrative purposes, such as hiring. A good exampled would be paperwork such as I-9s, EEO forms, and numerous others. These forms are typically mass ordered so when hiring takes place the department has a sufficient supply, but when these forms expire, what do they do with them? Most of the time they are either thrown away or recycled. What if rather than having to order reams of pre-printed forms, they were to just use a PDF? When someone or many people are hired, the forms can be printed off in a volume corresponding directly to how many people are being hired. Using this method, the waste is significantly reduced, if not completely eliminated.
For me, after having gone to a few political party meetings for my previous affiliation as well as watching parts of the below 60 minutes video, it drove home the dysfunction of the congress and how the political parties have become. These reasons among many others are why I changed my affiliation to being an Independent. Having gone to a few party meetings prior to this last election it became clear to me it really was not about the people, but rather about getting/keeping the party in power. This is a problem, as Senate and House are both there to represent the people of their state and district, not their party. In an interview on 60 Minutes with former Senator Evan Bayh, Bayh commented that even members of congress who vote party lines over 95 percent of the time are shunned by their party leaders.