Showing posts from March, 2007

Choosing with the Aid of Facts

Have you ever been afraid that your child would choose something that you didn't want them to, and so you have withheld facts from them? I think that they should be armed with the facts, even if by so having the facts they choose that something I wish they wouldn't.

For 24 years now, females have been able to make a poignant choice without all the facts. In the age of technology, the ability for them to make a fully informed choice is becoming nearer to the reality. Because of the technology some of them are making a different choice than they otherwise might have. Crisis pregnancy centers encourage them to look at the alternatives before making the choice.

"They connected," nurse Joyce Wilson says, recalling the reaction of the women who saw the filmy image of their fetus onscreen. "They bonded. You could just see it. One girl got off the table and said, 'That's my baby.'"

Despite whether we are pro-choice or pro-life (I prefer to call myself …

Anti-Mormons--Honestly, Think Better of Yourselves

Last Sunday, as we got home from church, we noticed a plastic bag hanging on the front door knob. Inside was a very attractive DVD. Based on the title of the DVD, as well as the paucity of any other information on the cover, I guessed that it was an attack on Mormonism. I was right.

The first 15 minutes of the video were actually pretty good. It seemed to me a very fair comparison of what (I think) traditional Christianity believes versus what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe. They got the Mormon part right, anyway. It is actually something I wouldn't have minded showing my children--except for what followed. Flowing music and beautifully professional cinematography couldn't cover up the scurrility that made up most of the rest of the video.

A Deseret News article this morning quoted the producer of the video as saying that he produced the video out of love for the Mormons.


When it comes to showing love for a group of people, in this case one…

US Attorneys Make Excellent Political Footballs

Why is it so difficult for us to tell both sides of the story? Because it's more entertaining in the long run when we have to spend countless hours ferreting out sometimes meaningless truths? Because congress and the White House are trying to steal the top spot in the ratings from CSI Tijauana, Lost, Deal or No Deal, and Survivor Las Vegas?

It has been a pain in the butt for me to find any facts surrounding the firing of 8 United States attorneys by the Bush Administration, but let me break down what either side seems not willing to admit.

What the Republicans Don't Want You to Know

Everyone admits that Bill Clinton fired all 93 US attorneys upon taking office. George Bush came nowhere near firing that many, right? Well, technically speaking, yes. If this link is not a phishing site created by CBS News, then we can rest assured that, "continuing the practice of new administrations", Bush only fired 91 of the attorneys when he arrived at the White House.

What the Dem…

Why Morality is Critical--The Children

It is becoming increasingly common to claim that morality is not important. What is worse, some claim that religion is not important to the maintenance of morality. This view is at best a risky proposition, and at worst a recipe for disaster. Amorality is taunting our society more and more as time goes by.

Yesterday my son called his mother and said he was feeling sick and needed to come home from school early. It turns out that a classmate had been hitting him in the stomach. I told my wife, "I'm glad that our son is a good kid and didn't strike back. But find out who his father is, and I will visit with his father, and tell him 'if it happens again, I'm coming after you!'

My wife said, no one knows who the father is. The school child is a former drug baby, who is being raised by his grandparents.

That makes 6 sets of grandparents that I know that either are or have recently been raising their grandchildren. This is why morality is critical. Because our…

Why is Kerry Not the Democratic Front-Runner?

If your presidential candidate did very well in the last election despite losing, wouldn't you want him to run again? Not if he was simply a not much more palatable alternative to the other guy.

Despite the fact that I think a lot of the things the Swift Boat veterans said about John Kerry are exaggerated or false, I still don't think he would have made a very good president. (Truth be known, I didn't vote for George Bush either--for the same reason.)

Some people I know said that Kerry would have been a much better president than George W. Bush. Well, now's his chance--but he's not taking it.

John Kerry did very well in the 2004 presidential election. He came pretty close to winning. He should be this round's front runner, shouldn't he? Why then is he not even running again?

If he had to run against George Bush, I might be able to understand why he wouldn't want to try it again. But George Bush can't even run this time. Kerry could run against a…

My March Madness is Maddening

So far, I am way behind in the office polls for March Madness. But my prospects are good. I think I can make up some significant ground in the next week or so. How about you?

Did your office have a poll on the NCAA men's and or women's basketball tournaments?

Always go with your first impression--that's what they always say, right? My first impressions were not real good a couple of days ago when I entered the men's office poll (I entered the women's one as well). After day 1 of the men's tourney, I am in 25th place out of 27 people. What went wrong? Well...

Duke has been playing poorly as of late, but they always make a good showing in March. Think again, Staheli! George Washington did well last year, so they have the knack of winning come tourney time. Choke! These turned out to be my worst two picks, because I had these two teams winning three games!

Things are looking up for me, though.

Some of my poll opponents, being true blue BYU cougar fans at hea…

Run! He's a Mormon!

Some members of the LDS church are lining up behind Mitt Romney and are glad that he's running for President of the United States. Others are saying, 'Run away! It's a Mormon running for president!' Should Mr. Romney's religion matter? Not really. What really matters is if he would make a good president. I'm not sure...

For those of you who hadn't already heard it, I thought I'd pass this one on:

"There's no doubt history is in the making with the 2008 presidential race. We may have either the first Black president, the first Woman president, or the first Mormon president. Why not kill three birds with one stone - elect Gladys Knight president and call it a day." --Lloyd Benson & Kyle Stephens
I heard rumors that a recent Gallup poll stated that two-thirds of Americans would not vote for a Mormon for president. What I found is that (at least most recently) 72% would. But that's still 3 out of 10 who wouldn't vote for som…

Tone it Down a Bit, Mr. Gore--and Everyone Else

Former Vice President Al Gore is very educated on the subject of global warming. He makes a good presentation. It is interesting, then, that many of his associates are encouraging him to reduce the amount of exaggeration they think he is using. Non-US entities are staking an ever stronger claim that much of the warming we see is natural. It people on both sides of the issue would tone it down, we could have a much more productive debate.

Many scientists and others praise Al Gore for his having raised our consciousness with regard to global warming and how it might affect climate change. I suppose I am one of those people.

But some of those same people think he should tone down his rhetoric somewhat, considering parts of what he claims as either exaggerated or erroneous.

They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

"I don't want to pick on Al Gore," Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of expe…

Measuring Economic Impact: Movies vs Soccer

Some economic incentives the state of Utah offers are as perverse as they are difficult to quantify in regards to their effectiveness. Others are clearly good incentives, because they can be measured. Let's compare the Utah Film Commission with the Real Salt Lake soccer deal.

There are two ways to provide economic incentives. The first way is to offer them at the back end of the deal. This is what the Utah Film Commission is doing, and it is reaping huge dividends. The second way is to give away the farm and then hope that economic dividends will be seen far in the future. It helps to offer platitudes for the duration of your hopefulness.

The first incentive provides a way for measurement of its benefits. The advocates of the second one hope you don't notice that theirs doesn't.

The Utah Film Commission offers rebates to successful film companies following the filming of their show.
Utah began offering post-production performance incentives three years ago with the Moti…

Environmentalism is a Religion - Czech Leader Says

Environmentalism--especially of the Global Warming variety--is a religion. It has all the trappings of statism and reduction of personal liberties that Communism had. This according to a man who defied and witnessed the overthrow of Communism, Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

Update 4/19/2007 Senator Barbara Boxer says global warming deals with the "spiritual and moral".

Vaclav Klaus was born in 1941 in the midst of Czechoslovakian Communism. He saw all of its deficiencies when compared with republican democracy, and he joined the fight to see it overthrown. He sees in environmentalism many of the same problems that were traits Communism. He is now President of the Czech Republic.

Intellectuals he said, quoting economist Friedrich von Hayek

(we would probably say public intellectuals nowadays) [are] the professional second-hand dealers in ideas. They look for ideas, which enhance the role of the state because the state is usually their main employer, sponsor or donator.

(It is…

Cell Phones Suck Our Brains Out

I've seen a lot of examples lately of people who appear brain-dead while talking on their cell phones while driving their cars. In an effort of full disclosure, I'm sure I fall into the same category now and then.

Have you ever been driving down the road late at night and you suddenly realize you don't remember the last several minutes of your trip, and you ask yourself "How did I get here?" You know at that point it's time to pull over and take a short snooze.

But how often do you do the same thing when talking on your cell phone while driving? The lack of awareness is probably not as bad as when we're extremely tired, but it is still dangerous.

Have you been lane-changed on by a cell-phone driver? I have. It did not end up being a near-death experience, but it was nonetheless dangerous to me and the drivers behind me that I had to slow down abruptly in front of.

The thing that bugs me the very most, because I see it probably 3 or more times per week is…

Worshipping in the Church of Global Warming

What is worse than having blind faith in religion? It is the establishment of falsehoods, and then masquerading those untruths as evidence to encourage the masses to subscribe to your religion. Churches throughout history have used this tactic. Now, the priests and priestesses of global warming are doing just that.

Hat tip to anonymous for their comment to my previous post about carbon footprinting for bringing to my attention the video, The Global Warming Swindle, which I have watched in full.

What if something you believed in was shown to be demonstrably false? Would you still cling to your beliefs? There is a religion that is succumbing with ever more alacrity to increasing mountains of evidence against it. That religion is called the Church of Global Warming.

Global warming has become the church that brooks no dissension. We are persecuted for thinking we are allowed to doubt the global warming orthodoxy. Enter a new documentary, called The Global Warming Swindle, which int…

Holy Cow! My Carbon Footprint is Ginormous!

Summary:Those who are positive that the theory of man-made global warming is real have come up with an idea of a carbon footprint. If it's too big, you can use or purchase carbon offsets. It's interesting that when it comes to the Kyoto environmental treaty, that's what some countries have done, too.

I took the carbon footprint test, and I am a huge environmental offender. But at least I'm not as bad a violator as those pesky Brits on the average. (See the table below.) Nonetheless, I have to reduce my footprint by 13,000 units to do my part to reduce man-made global warming. I can plant 14 trees to pay for my offenses. Kind of sounds like the medieval sale of indulgences to me.

Not only can individuals reduce their carbon footprint. Some countries reduced their carbon footprint with regard to the Kyoto treaty. The United States was not one of them, though.

Among those who reduced their carbon footprints dramatically were Russia and Germany. How did they conform…

Governor Chooses Well to Sign "Gay-Clubs" Bill

According to the sponsor of Utah House Bill 236, the new law codifies policy of various Utah school districts, requires the upholding of Utah State law, and allows parents the opportunity to know what extracurricular groups their children are involved with. As long as schools don't violate any equal access laws, I think this will be a good thing.

I searched the entire text of the seventh substitute of House Bill 236, and I was not able to find either of the words "gay" or "homosexual". Yet the Deseret News did its darndest this morning to paint the bill as nothing but a "gay clubs" bill (and their headline didn't even have quotes). Oh, the politicization of politics by the supposedly unpoliticized media, huh?

The new law, which governor Huntsman signed yesterday is much more than that, but who's in the mood for detailed analysis? WE WANT OUR SOUND BITES, NOW!!!! The governor's spokesman stated

"There were prior versions of the bill …

Federal Appeals Court Understands Second Amendment

The original understanding of the public's right to keep and bear arms as embodied in the second amendment to the US Constitution got some breathing room yesterday. Finally, a court that understands that "people" are different from a "militia".

The second amendment to the United States Constitution says:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the [militia] to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Well...something like that. (For those of you who didn't know, the second instance of the word "militia"--in brackets--really says "people". It's said that for about 220 years.)

Two of three judges on the federal appeals court understood this distinction when, yesterday, the court overturned a handgun ban in the District of Columbia.

In a rather "duh" moment, the court stated that Second Amendment activities

are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment …

IPCC and the Politics of Global Warming

The findings of the 1996 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that man has made significant contribution to global warming. Ironically, these were not the original findings of the scientists who contributed to the report. Unfortunately, politics has so far gotten the best of the global warming debate.

Fairly recently, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson was a guest host for the Bob Lonsberry show on KNRS AM 570. He spent a significant portion of the show discussing global warming and the unassailable 'facts' of the findings of the Intergorvernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cover me, I'm about to assail them!

There are some things that I agree with Mayor Anderson about, and there are some things I don't. The mayor seems to be a reasonable guy, so I hope at some point he can admit to the politicized 'findings' of the IPCC.

The final report of the IPCC in 1996 stated that "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human infl…

(Corroon)(-1)/(State of Utah) + (Mary Kaye Huntsman) = $35,000,000

I missed a significant detail behind the Real soccer stadium story: I thought House Bill 38 required $35 million of STATE monies to be pledged to the stadium. It is also interesting to know what little we know about what the Governor's wife had to do with the deal. Instead of knowing details, we are forced to control our urge to speculate.

The more I learn about the Real Soccer Stadium, the angrier I get.

I missed a very important detail in a story I posted that contained a link to a news story that gave that detail. Which is this: the money the state of Utah allocated by state law to fund the Sandy soccer stadium is Salt Lake County hotel tax money. It would have been dunderheaded enough if they had allocated $35 million of surplus state funds--which is actually what I thought happened--at first. I'm tempted--so I will--to call what the State of Utah did to Salt Lake County extortion. (Actually, I looked "extortion" up on and one of the definitio…

God is a Scientist - Part 2

Make no bones about it--I disagree with several of the sentiments brought up in Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion. But where is the productivity of accentuating the differences? It is much more beneficial to highlight the commonalities, because there are many of those, as well. I fully expect that, truth seekers as we both are, we will eventually come to an agreement on what is true.

God Understands and Follows Nature's Laws
Richard Dawkins makes this statement on page 104 of The God Delusion:

"What if God is a scientist who regards honest seeking after truth as the supreme virtue? Indeed, wouldn't the designer of the universe have to be a scientist?"

If God indeed did create the earth upon which we live, he would have had to know an immense amount of science. It seems clear that if he exists, he does know science, as illustrated in this excerpt from the scriptures of the LDS church:

And the Gods set the [sun, moon, and stars] in the expanse of the …

Utah Education Vouchers: To Tell the Truth

I'm sure I don't have the whole truth when it comes to Utah's new education voucher law, but it has become clear to me that many who are opposed to educational choice in Utah don't have the facts, either. Partial truths, mis-truths, and hatred abound when it comes to opponents of Utah educational vouchers.

In this morning's Deseret News opinion section there appeared a "My View" by Jeanetta Williams of the NAACP that didn't do a very good job of telling both sides of the education voucher story. I would like to dissect it paragraph by paragraph.

Over the next decade, approximately $300 million in public funds will be directed to private education facilities at the expense of public education.

I'm not sure where the $300 million figure came from, but it's a good number to work with. It's an estimate, and so are the following numbers, but they're good ones.

Utah education vouchers are based on the the US Department of Agriculture's …

God is a Scientist - Part 1

Summary:After reading Richard Dawkins' excellent contribution to religious and scientific debate, I have come to the (to me surprising) conclusion that he and I agree on much more than I thought we would. I recommend The God Delusion to anyone seeking to further their understanding of life in general and how both religion and science can contribute to life in the fullest sense.

I recently finished reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and I found it surprisingly refreshing (perhaps because I enjoyed his sarcasm at various religions that I interpreted not to include mine.) Obviously I disagreed with him on issues, but in probably more cases I agreed with his thesis (at least my interpretation of what he said). I was perhaps most surprised with his admission that he does not claim to 'know' that God does not exist, but rather rates the probability of such an existent entity as very low.

Here are some ways that I agree with Richard Dawkins:

We both think it is entirely…

"Subsidized in China"

Why are so many of the things that are made in China delivered to American shores? Because China subsidizes its industries that make products for delivery in the United States, and because China devalues its currency to its own benefit.

Even when I was a kid, I noticed that a lot of stuff had the label "Made in China." As I got a little older, I discovered that a lot of what is made in China was not of very high quality. I've probably indoctrinated my kids a bit too much, because they can be heard to say, if a toy or electronic device breaks, "Oops! Must be made in China!"

The truth is, the quality of most Chinese products is improving dramatically. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that Chinese workers can demand much higher wages than in the past. This is a good thing. Higher wages bring higher standards of living, which brings parity among the workers of the world. In other words, higher quality products produced by workers in other countri…