"If this referendum fails," said Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, chairman of the House Education Committee. "I don't think you'll see another bill like this. Maybe a pilot program."
Hughes, who was speaking at one of the so-called town meetings he has been leading around the state, again faced a tough room at Draper City Hall. Several opponents of the voucher program joined the crowd of about 30 citizens. Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, who also represents the area and supports vouchers, did not show for the meeting.
Hughes pointed out that if the proposal should win the vote, he doubted its opponents would as readily bow to "the people's voice."
"It will be challenged in court," he said.
Hughes said a defeat of vouchers that is driven primarily by Salt Lake City's high turnout for its heated mayoral election, would not necessarily indicate the idea is unpopular statewide.
"This state is not 60 percent Democratic," he said, referring to a recent poll that indicates 60 percent of voters say they would vote down vouchers.
But several at the meeting, including former Democratic House
member Trisha Beck, challenged Hughes's statement the bill is opposed primarily by Democrats. She said later that Salt Lake's turnout will likely have a marginal effect on the referendum. The important opposition is coming from Republicans, many of whom are public school teachers.
"Potentially," Hughes said, which was greeted with laughter.
"You're going to have schools popping up everywhere, playing havoc with the public schools," Johnson said.
The districts will be changing the way they count students, Hughes said, and that should solve any funding problems over uncounted returning students.
Then, Hughes challenged his critics to come up with a solution to the state's problem of overcrowded, underfunded classrooms.
"If it's not vouchers - then what?" Hughes asked. "Is it a tax increase?"
Beck said the answer was increasing overall spending on public schools.
The legislature put a record cash infusion into the schools last year, but still remains at the bottom for per-pupil spending and teacher pay, Hughes said.
Other audience members suggested the economic growth that would accompany any population expansion would "self-fund" the larger student population.
But Hughes said tax income will never keep up with the cost of educating the influx of children.
"Vouchers will never be the silver bullet," Hughes said. The program only would cost about $12 million out of a $4 billion education budget. "If it fails, it was at least a reform worth trying."
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thompson Backs One-Time Rival Giuliani
By BRUCE SMITH – 1 day ago
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Tommy Thompson endorsed his one-time GOP presidential rival Rudy Giuliani on Friday, saying the former New York mayor can unite the nation — and beat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I want a candidate who can lead and bring America together," Thompson said with Giuliani by his side in this early voting state.
"I want a candidate that's going to be able to stand up and be able to win the Republican primary and take on Hillary Clinton and win," added Thompson, the first former 2008 Republican candidate to make an endorsement.
Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor, served as secretary of Health and Human Services during President Bush's first term. In his presidential race, he struggled to raise money and gain support.
"I was a candidate for president of the United States, and I'm sure most of you didn't even know it," he said to laughter from a crowd of about 150.
Still, he said he got to know the other candidates during his brief run.
"Rudy Giuliani is a leader," Thompson said. "What I like about him is he is a reformer," he added, saying Giuliani cut welfare rolls, reduced taxes and reduced crime in New York.
The two don't agree on some issues, however. Giuliani supports abortion rights, for example.
"If in fact I have to wait around for the perfect candidate — I thought it was me and I lost — I'm going to have to wait another five years," Thompson said.
Giuliani said that while he was mayor he borrowed ideas Thompson used in Wisconsin.
"His endorsement means a great deal politically. His ideas mean a great deal substantively," Giuliani said.
The former mayor could use the Midwesterner's support to try to mollify skeptical Iowans and others worried about his moderate-to-liberal views on social issues.
But Thompson himself didn't have much support in Iowa, languishing in the single digits in polls.
Earlier in Columbia, Giuliani kept up his criticism of Democratic rival Clinton.
The New York senator has "never run a government. She's never run a state," Giuliani told several hundred homebuilders and real estate agents. "She's never run a business."
As if addressing Clinton, he said, "You've never met a payroll. You've never had the responsibility for the safety and security of the people on your shoulders." Of himself, he said, "I've run a lot of different things."
He also called for limits on lawsuits and cited a recent case in Washington in which a lawyer sought $54 million after a dry cleaner lost his pants.
The lawyer lost the lawsuit, but the family that owned the business sold it, citing loss of revenue and the emotional strain of defending the case, the family's attorney has said.
"You should have to pay for the damage that you do in bringing a frivolous and phony lawsuit. We've got to start creating an incentive so that people don't bring the frivolous lawsuits," Giuliani said. "Simple fact is we sue too much in the United States of America."
Associated Press writers Jim Davenport in Columbia, S.C., and Liz Sidoti in Washington contributed to this report.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 8:36 PM
A concern troll is a pseudonym created by a user whose point of view is opposed to the one his/her sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view (for example, Democrats or fans of the Prius), and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals but with some "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group. 
For example, in 2006 a top staffer for then-Congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH) was caught posing as a "concerned" supporter of Bass's opponent Democrat Paul Hodes on several liberal NH blogs, using the pseudonyms "IndieNH" or "IndyNH." "IndyNH" expressed concern that Democrats might just be wasting their time or money on Hodes, because Bass was unbeatable.  Bass ended up losing the election.
A real-world equivalent of a concern troll may been seen in the concept of RINOs and DINOs, where a person claims to be a supporter of a particular party's points of view, and then proceeds to more or less agree with the other side's arguments anyway.
An arena notorious for concern trolls is the boards of the various videogame platforms. For example a person may claim to be an avid supporter of the Nintendo and their Wii console, and yet proceed to say terrible things about almost all of the games and about where the company is going in the future. The troll will typically have the view that Nintendo are doing the wrong thing now, and that now would be a good time to buy a Playstation or Xbox console. They may also undermine Nintendo's credibility by acting as if to say: "I am Nintendo's number 1 fan... but let's be realistic they're not really that good compared to Sony or Microsoft". The troll will often also praise earlier Nintendo games, while having a very dim view of Nintendo's future. In reality this type of troll may not even own a Nintendo Wii or the previous consoles they are talking about, and are just looking to provoke a reaction from long-time Nintendo supporters who are hoping for Nintendo's success to continue. The troll may also hope to allow his/her own gaming platform to succeed better by using this smear campaign. If the troll came in just bashing the other gaming platform, they would have a clear motive if they didn't own the platform themselves and were "biased" against that company.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:12 PM
The term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used to discredit an opposing position, or its proponent, by argument fallacy ad hominem.
Often, calling someone a troll makes assumptions about a writer's motives. Regardless of the circumstances, controversial posts may attract a particularly strong response from those unfamiliar with the robust dialogue found in some online, rather than physical, communities.
Experienced participants in online forums know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore him or her, because responding encourages a true troll to continue disruptive posts — hence the often-seen warning "Please do not feed the troll".
The word troll is often and easily (mis)used as an ad hominem attack against someone whose viewpoints and input cannot otherwise be silenced (i.e., via banning). Its successful use and misuse reveals much about how starkly different the world of technicians is compared to normal social and political discourse.
The term troll should be used with attention since it is a very easy way of undermining an opposing point of view. Sometimes, overly using the word "troll" may constitute trolling in itself.
Established forum users might all agree on one side of a message as being the universal truth; in which case a "troll" might just be some outsider adding an opposing message.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:11 PM
In academic literature, the practice was first documented by Judith Donath (1999), who used several anecdotal examples from various Usenet newsgroups in her discussion. Donath's paper outlines the ambiguity of identity in a disembodied "virtual community":
In the physical world there is an inherent unity to the self, for the body provides a compelling and convenient definition of identity. The norm is: one body, one identity. ... The virtual world is different. It is composed of information rather than matter.
Given the inherit ambiguity of internet identity one might question of anyone can ever be called a troll as opposed to a role-player.
Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group's common interests and concerns; the newsgroups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings, and upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group. Their success at the former depends on how well they — and the troll — understand identity cues; their success at the latter depends on whether the troll's enjoyment is sufficiently diminished or outweighed by the costs imposed by the group.
Trolls can be costly in several ways. A troll can disrupt the discussion on a newsgroup, disseminate bad advice, and damage the feeling of trust in the newsgroup community. Furthermore, in a group that has become sensitized to trolling — where the rate of deception is high — many honestly naïve questions may be quickly rejected as trollings. This can be quite off-putting to the new user who upon venturing a first posting is immediately bombarded with angry accusations. Even if the accusation is unfounded, being branded a troll is quite damaging to one's online reputation." (Donath, 1999, p. 45)
The underground blogger group, the ZeitGhosts, started as a troll group, but eventually moved into more acceptable internet practices. They are responsible for starting the forwarding of hello.jpg and also the dancing baby.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:10 PM
Attributing intent to trolls is a very difficult issue since by its very nature to call someone a troll is to already assume an intent, that they are posting only to cause problems. So once a person is called a troll they have already been categorized by the speaker as someone with a certain intention.
Many people call others trolls, few call themselves trolls, so a troll is not a self-constructed identity but rather is a category constructed via the speech act of calling someone a troll. Perhaps the more interesting question is the motivation for labeling others as trolls. Individuals so labeled find it offensive. Useful advice for dealing with someone considered to be a troll is, rather than using that term, to ask them questions such as: "What is your intent?" or other questions relevant to the discussion rather than using the ad hominem label "troll."
Trolls can be existing members of a community that rarely post and often contribute no useful information to the thread, but instead make argumentative posts in an attempt to discredit another person, concentrating almost exclusively on facts irrelevant to the point of the conversation, with the intent of provoking a reaction from others. The key element under attack by a troll is known only to the troll.
A person who retaliates (using whatever means) as a result of a misunderstanding (or as a way of rebelling against the overzealous application of rules) is not a troll. A troll is a person who approaches a board with the specific intention of stirring things up, either as a goal in and of itself or as a means of attacking the board perhaps motivated by opposition to the ethos of the board. For example, a neo-Nazi approaching a Jewish forum with the intention of attacking the members, purely because the neo-Nazi knows the forum to contain Jewish members, will be considered a troll.
The general element, that determines whether a malicious user is a troll or not, is the level of indignant emotions present in the person, coupled with the person's history with the forum or group. An indignant user who has had a previous normal relationship with the group is not a troll, even if the user uses methods of attack that are characteristic of a troll attack.
A troll's main goal is usually to arouse anger and frustration among the message board's other participants, and will write whatever it takes to achieve this end. One popular trolling strategy is the practice of Winning by Losing. While the victim is trying to put forward solid and convincing facts to prove his position, the troll's only goal is to infuriate its prey. The troll takes (what it knows to be) a badly flawed, wholly illogical argument, and then vigorously defends it while mocking and insulting its prey. The troll looks like a complete fool, but this is all part of the plan. The victim becomes noticeably angry by trying to repeatedly explain the flaws of the troll's argument. Provoking this anger was the troll's one and only goal from the very beginning.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:09 PM
Trolling in the 1990s
The most likely derivation of the word troll can be found in the phrase "trolling for newbies," popularized in the early 1990s in the Usenet group, alt.folklore.urban. Commonly, what is meant is a relatively gentle inside joke by veteran users, presenting questions or topics that had been so overdone that only a new user would respond to them earnestly. For example, a veteran of the group might make a post on the common misconception that glass flows over time. Long-time readers would both recognize the poster's name and know that the topic had been done to death already, but new subscribers to the group would not "get it" and respond. These types of trolls served as a Shibboleth to identify group insiders. This definition of trolling, considerably narrower than the modern understanding of the term, was considered a positive contribution. One of the most notorious AFU trollers, Snopes, went on to create his eponymous urban folklore website.
By the late 1990s, alt.folklore.urban had such heavy traffic and participation that trolling of this sort was frowned upon. Others expanded the term to include the practice of playing a seriously misinformed or deluded user, even in newsgroups where one was not a regular; these were often attempts at humor rather than provocation. In such contexts, the noun troll usually referred to an act of trolling, rather than to the author.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:09 PM
Prior to DejaNews's archiving of Usenet, accounts of trolling were sketchy, there being little evidence to sort through. After that time, however, the huge archives were available for researchers. Perhaps the earliest, although poorly documented, case is the 1982-83 saga of Alex and Joan from the CompuServe forums. Lindsy Van Gelder, a reporter for Ms. magazine, documented the incident in 1985 in an article for her publication. Alex (in real life a shy 50-year-old male psychiatrist from New York) pretended to be a highly bombastic, anti-religious, post-car-accident, wheelchair-bound, mute woman named "Joan", "in order to better relate to his female patients". This went on for two years, and "Joan" had become a hugely detailed character, with an array of emotional relationships. These only began to fall apart after "Joan" coaxed an online friend of hers into an affair with Alex.
|“||"Even those who barely knew Joan felt implicated — and somehow betrayed — by Alex's deception. Many of us on-line like to believe that we're a utopian community of the future, and Alex's experiment proved to us all that technology is no shield against deceit. We lost our innocence, if not our faith."|
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:08 PM
An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who intentionally posts controversial or contrary messages in an on-line community such as an on-line discussion forum with the intention of baiting users into an argumentative response.
The contemporary use of the term first appeared on Usenet groups in the late 1980s . It is thought to be a truncation of the phrase trolling for suckers, itself derived from the fishing technique known as trolling. The latter can be compared with trawling.
The word likely gained currency because of its apt second meaning, drawn from the trolls portrayed in Scandinavian folklore and children's tales; they are often ugly, obnoxious creatures bent on mischief and wickedness. The image of the troll under the bridge in the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" emphasizes the troll's negative reaction to outsiders intruding on its physical environment, particularly those who intend to graze in its domain without permission. The word occurs also in John Awdeley’s Fraternity of Vagabonds (1561) to characterize the first four of twenty-five types of disobedient male servants or "knaves." The first entrant in Awdeley's list is particularly illustrative:
Troll and Troll by is he that setteth naught by no man, nor no man by him. This is he that would bear rule in a place and hath no authority nor thanks, and at last is thrust out of the door like a knave.
It seems a singularly apt description, though no provenance has ever been demonstrated to connect it with the modern usage.
"Troll" was used in Santa Cruz, California, to designate homeless people by anti-homeless individuals, and a T shirt was worn, with the picture of a homeless person, a "not" line drawn through it, and the words "no trolls".
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, is -- is the troll the scary thing under the bridge, or is it a fishing technique?...
MR. PHILLIPS [attorney for eBay]: For my clients, it's been the scary thing under the bridge....
JUSTICE KENNEDY: I mean, is that what the troll is?
MR. PHILLIPS: Yes, I believe that's... what it is, although...maybe we should think of it more as Orcs, now that we have a new generation.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:06 PM