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Showing posts from December, 2006

Madame President and 'The Glass Ceiling'

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I get really irritated for some reason when I hear about women and the Glass Ceiling. It really irks me when the term is used in conjunction with becoming President of the United States. May the best woman or man win!

A ceiling seems to me to be a symbol of a barrier that cannot be broken through. A glass ceiling seems to be symbolic of being able to see the goal, but not being able to break through.

In this vein today, the Deseret News editorial staff published a piece entitled "Awaiting Madame President". The staff opinion begins thusly:

India had Indira Gandhi, England had Margaret Thatcher. Israel had Golda Meir. Today, Chile has Michelle Bachelet. Even Spain once had Isabela. But the United States, a nation that prides itself on being ahead of the curve, lags behind in having a female chief executive. Other countries have dismantled the glass ceiling, but women in the United States continue to bump their heads.
I think it is excellent that these great women have been le…

C'mon Putin-You Can Do Better Than That!!

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Normally the KGB isn't that stupid. So maybe I'm missing something when the Putin Administration blames someone with nothing to gain for the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko.

Vladimr Putin has recently started a campaign of "sovereign democracy". It sounds very lofty--perhaps meaning to some at first glance that Russia will make its own decisions unimpeded by the pressures of other nations. What is becoming more clear, however, is that "sovereign democracy" has become the mantra behind ensuring that Putin and his cabal will make their own decisions unimpeded by the pressures of the Russian people, whom he is supposed to be serving.

Several months ago, because he was becoming too much of a vocal critic of the Putin administration, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, CEO of Yukos Oil, was arrested for supposed income tax evasion. He is still in prison. Putin's government controls Yukos oil now. Today word is out that a partner of Khodorkovsky, Leonid B. Nevzlin is be…

Utah Should Come by its House Seat the Right Way

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A lot of scuttle has been made lately about Utah gaining a fourth seat in the US House of Representatives. This would be a great boon to Utah, but only if it is done the correct way.


Updated December 28, 2006.

Utah governor John Huntsman Jr. has been very interested in drawing up plans for a fourth district for the United States House of Representatives. He has been so aggressive that it has caught some Utah legislators by surprise.

A plan actually already exists. In 2001, following the 2000 US census wherein Utah narrowly missed getting that 4th seat, and in anticipation of winning a subsequent appeal at the Supreme Court (Utah missionaries living out of country were not counted in the census) that plan was drawn up. Utah Senate President John Valentine says the 2001 plan "is the official four-seat plan."

It is interesting to note why there is currently a new push for a 4th Utah seat in the House, considering that the 2010 census is about 4 years away. In conjunction with …

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get...Propagandized

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It is not a bad thing that people become wealthy, unless they achieve their wealth at the expense of others. Politicians and others with ulterior motives want you to believe the rich become rich at the expense of the poor much more often than this actually occurs.

During the Christmas season, as always, it is important for us not only to be thankful for the things that we have, but also to be aware of those around us who are in destitute circumstances. Often, through no fault of their own, families fall on hard times. Politicians and pundits often point to a widening gap between the proverbial rich and the proverbial poor to claim that, not only is the incidence of poor people in America increasing, but that somehow it is the fault of the rich, as though the rich steal an ever greater slice of a static pie.

When a rich person acquires money by ill-gotten means, such as--ironically--by using government to expropriate property from lifelong home owners, he is guilty of theft and should…

A Look at Hamas

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How would you define Hamas? A sponsor of suicide bombings against Israel? A charitable organization that is highly respected by international organizations as taking good care of its own? If you answered yes, you are correct.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States. Considering that Hamas sponsors suicide bombers who have succeeded in killing several Israelis seems to make that designation appropriate.

But what about the other side of Hamas? Is there one? Yes.

In the Gaza, many people have a great deal of love and respect for Hamas. Those whose loved ones have died in the conflict with Israel received an approximate $200 per month stipend. Their children are each given another $30 for food and clothing, and receive a free education.

This year, however, tourism is way down. After Hamas took over the Palestinian Authority Parliament, and after more recent clashes with rival group Fatah, the hope of a year ago that 2006 would be somewhat of a return to norma…

Religion Healthy for Families

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Religion is dangerous to society, right? Well, it depends on whether there is freedom of religion. Evidence is clear that freely religious families benefit in nearly every way over those who are less religious. Why don't we tout that more regularly in public life?

There is a great misnomer in the world today--the claim that religion is detrimental to society. After all, religion has been behind nearly all of the wars in history, right? Well, actually...no. With the exception of current Islamic Fundamentalists, in distant history, despots who have hijacked religion have caused a lot of problems, but in more recent memory, the furthest things from religion--Communism and Nazism--caused more deaths than probably all previous wars combined.

Evidence today is clear that among those nations where freedom of religious practice is the norm, religion is of great benefit to society. Even where certain forms of religion are prescribed, such as in the Middle East, it has an overall benef…

NCAA Persecution of Mormons!!!

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BYU always comes up short in statistics regarding those who graduate in a timely manner. Recently it almost caused problems for the football program. But the statistics are unfair to a predominantly Mormon university, from which a LOT of students interrupt their studies to serve missions.

I have to admit, I gave the post its title in hopes that it would generate a lot of search engine hits. But the truth of the matter is, it wouldn't take much for the NCAA to make a sensible program that takes into account that BYU has a lot of missionaries who leave the team for three years.

The Deseret News recently posted an article claiming that BYU avoided NCAA sanctions by the skin of their teeth. On a 1,000-point scale, BYU scored 3 points above the minimum of 925 on the NCAA graduation statistics scale. A major factor in the scale deals with how many athletes graduate in 5 years.

Do the sanctions mean anything, or does the NCAA not really hand out sanctions? I hope so, but it doesn'…

Tithing and Bankruptcy

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I don't know much about bankruptcy, but it seems that someone who is in bankruptcy should be required to pay off his creditors before he contributes to his church.

Following a recent court case in which the judge declared that a person in bankruptcy could not continue to pay tithing to his church, Senators Orrin Hatch and Barrack Obama sponsored a bill that would allow such payment of tithing to continue. The bill was recently also passed by the House of Representatives.

Congress has the authority, under Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution, to set the laws governing bankruptcy. Hatch and Obama's bill was inititated, because, according to Obama, "in a country where 37 million citizens live in poverty, we should be encouraging charitable giving, not limiting it."

I'm glad that Congress is in this case performing a clearly delineated role, but I'm not sure if I agree with the outcome.

From what I understand about bankruptcy, the bankrupt party is…

Republican Candidates for President in 2008

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Initial polling data are out for the upcoming presidential election. Do you have any idea who you are going to vote for? Does religion play any role in the potential vote you will cast?

It's interesting that polling is already begun for president in 2008. A recent poll on MichaelMedved.com asked the following question:

Q: In this early stage of the presidential campaign for 2008, which republican candidate would you prefer?
AnswerPercentMitt Romney45%Condoleezza Rice25%Rudy Giuliani19%John McCain7%Bill Frist4%
It's even more interesting, considering all the negative press that Mitt Romney took for being a Mormon, that he is leading in this poll.

Will I vote for him because I'm also a Mormon? Not necessarily. There are much more important reasons to support a political candidate than just because you share the same religion.

But I'm curious...at this point, would you be able to support any of these candidates? Why or why not?