Wednesday, March 28, 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 pro-contemplation), we realize that a woman will choose. I think it is healthy that her choice can now be informed by more facts.

Crisis pregnancy centers are helping girls and women see that there are other alternatives to taking the life of the baby. New ultrasound equipment enables the potential mother to see the intricacy of the life that hangs in the balance, and in more cases girls and women are choosing to continue on the path to motherhood.

A Time Magazine poll indicates that in 74% of the decisions to have an abortion the fact that "having a baby would dramatically change my life" weighs into the decision. Seventy-three percent of the time the mother feels that she cannot afford another child. In very few cases does the concern of the mother's or the baby's health weigh into the decision. In even fewer cases was the potential mother was raped.

The choice to have an abortion is a poignant one, which affects the erstwhile mother for the rest of her life. I am glad that she now has more information with which to make the choice.

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 that belongs to a certain religion, the greatest initial showing of love that one can have for his fellow men, other than laying his life down for them, is to have one's facts straight.

After the first 15 minutes of the DVD, nearly every single allegation was patently untrue, and several claims were of such inconsequence as to defy understanding as to why they were even in the film in the first place.

It is easy for us to want to be better than someone else. It is easy for us to think that we are more of an authority on something--particularly when it comes to religion--than is someone who belongs to that religion. This could in actuality hardly be the case, however. I have caught myself doing this as I have studied other Christian religions as well as Islam. However, the best I can hope for is to be authority on my own religion. It is the Christlike (or Mohammed-like, or Bhudda-like, etc.) thing to do to ask someone who is a member of a religion that I'm not a member of--rather than holding myself up as the authority, when in reality I would be a fraud.

If these people sincerely had the best interests of the LDS people at heart, the producers of and characters in this vile and dishonest film claiming to be about the Mormon church could have contacted any of a number of actual members of the Mormon church who could have set them straight on the doctrinal and historical facts.

That is what someone who really loves his fellowmen would do.

I am just not feeling the love. To the producers and participants of this salacious screed--please apologize. Do not attempt to drag members of another faith down to the gutter in which you lay. Honestly, you should think better of yourselves than to attempt to divide and destroy with your disingenuousness.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

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 Democrats Don't Want You To Know

US Attorneys are political appointees and are expected to serve at the President's pleasure. Congress can not possibly know or be expected to know the details of the performance of those attorneys who are fired by the Executive. Congress can not require the Executive to retain an employee with which the Executive is no longer satisfied, as the Supreme Court case Myers v. United States makes clear.

What Probably Neither Side Wants You To Know

In last year's revisions of the Patriot Act, a rule was inserted that allows the President to hire new attorneys without senate confirmation to replace the ones he fires. I don't know for sure, but it seems pretty embarrassing to have let something like this become law. So at least one good thing happened out of the whole overly blown scandal--the size of irresponsible government was rolled back just a little bit.

Okay, now can we get on with much more important things, like pork projects?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

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 immorality can hardly affect only ourselves. It has a dramatic effect on our children.

In his recent book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins opined that religion is unnecessary to a civilized society--that people will choose to be moral without religion to remind them. George Washington was of a different mind. He said:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness...

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

I cast my lot with George Washington. Amorality and immorality are at the core of most of the problems we have in this world.

Why is drug use immoral? Because it creates fatherless classroom bullies.

Why is illegal immigration immoral? Because it contributes to an overall sense that respect for the law is not needed.

Why is homosexual fornication immoral? Because it creates a sense of self-centeredness that contributes to societal breakdown. Why are heterosexual fornication and adultery immoral? For the same reason--AND because they create either a child who is not wanted or a child who, because he or she is not wanted, is put to an untimely death by his or her parents.

I am surprised sometimes that far more lawless acts don't occur in America, as they do in some other countries. What's the difference? Morality engendered by religion is a far greater part of American than many other cultures. Do murderers go to church on Sunday? Not usually. How about adulterers? Some of them do, but not most. How about drug pushers? No. A good indicator of a nation's people's respect for each other is their level of religious worship.

Mr. Washington, you are right. Mr. Dawkins, you are wrong. American society functions well because most people are religious, because religion encourages them to act morally toward their fellow men, from not killing them to taking their turn at the stop sign or the traffic light.

In a nutshell, everyone has a right to demand that everyone else be moral, because we should be tired of their mistakes either being killed because they are unwanted, or hitting our kids in the stomach and having to be baby-tended by their grandparents. Let's start standing up for a part of society that is critical, and demand of everyone, including ourselves, that we be moral.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

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 an open field.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that Democrats don't really like John Kerry. The only reason they put him to run against George W. Bush is because Howard Dean gives the occasional appearance of being mentally unstable.

In other words--most of the people who voted for John Kerry didn't really want John Kerry to be president. They just didn't want George W. Bush to be president worse.

Friday, March 16, 2007

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 heart, picked BYU to go significantly farther than losing in the first round, and a few even picked them to win it all. I picked them to lose to Ohio State in the second round.

Based just on the fact that BYU won't go past the second round, I should move up about 10 in the standings.

I promise, though, that while I am checking my scores, and even while I'm writing this post, that I am defying the odds and still being very productive in the workplace during the season of March Madness.

I think... ;-)

What about you?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

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 someone because of his or her religion.

Mitt Romney, a Mormon running for president, is very palatable for a lot of Mormons. I am not necessarily one of them. He's probably not too palatable for a lot of non-LDS Christians. That is probably because a great deal of them surprisingly dismiss the LDS church as non-Christian. I would like to see the poll breakdown between non-LDS Christians and non-Christians--I'll bet more non-Christians (because of lower prejudice) would vote for a Mormon for president.

Mitt is a very polished speaker, Hugh Hewitt reminded me yesterday morning as I listed to "The Right Balance" with Greg Allen. Much more polished than the often-bumbling George W. Bush. Not all presidents have been very good at extemporaneous speaking. Clinton probably was, though. Reagan and Kennedy definitely were.

That's one thing going for Mitt. We probably need someone who can do a much better job of articulating America's place in the world than George W. Bush has done, especially as to what we're trying to accomplish in Iraq.

Mr. Hewitt also told Greg Allen that his perspective regarding Mitt Romney was not that he was a flip-flopper, but that he has changed his opinions as more information has come to him. That's the way I am, so I can respect that out of Mitt. And I generally like where he stands on moral issues, immigration, the war on terror, taxes, and health care as well.

I still am looking at a couple of other Republican presidential candidates that I like better, but I'm beginning to think that at any rate, Mitt Romney might just make an excellent president.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

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 experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. "But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data."

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Gore for "getting the message out," Vranes questioned whether his presentations were "overselling our certainty about knowing the future."

Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe's recent warming. The question is whether Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.
Many global warming advocates admit that it is not clear what is causing global warming. So-called "global warming opponents", as well, admit that global warming is happening--they just don't think man is the cause.

Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

An Investor's Business Daily editorial states (rather caustically):

Hardly a week goes by without a new research paper questioning the assumption that carbon-spewing humans are the cause of global warming. Many blame solar activity instead. Because such reports don't fit with the left's anti-industry agenda, they've been buried in the debate.

Most recently, National Geographic News cited new NASA data showing that ice caps near Mars' south pole have been melting due to milder temps on that planet, too.

As far as we know, no Martians drive SUVs. Or run factories. Or do anything else that could produce evil "greenhouse gases." So what could be warming the two planets simultaneously?

"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," concludes the head of St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia.

In 1991, before Al Gore released his first book, Earth in the Balance, the Danish Meteorological Institute released research indicating that the earth warms in conjunction with increases or decreases in solar activity.

If people on both sides of the debate could tone their acts down and admit when they don't know that they don't know, we'd get to the bottom of this issue much more quickly and with far less headache.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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 Motion Picture Incentive Fund (MPIF). Once a television show, movie or commercial shoot is completed, the production company can apply for a 10 percent rebate on the amount of money it can prove it spent while in Utah.

"For every dollar that goes out from the incentive fund, just under $15 come into the state of Utah," Schain explains. "That's a return on investment of 15-to-one. That's why 44 states offer an incentives. They offer it because of the enormous economic impact a film brings to their state."

The Utah State legislature and the Real Soccer deal? Well, they just give away $35 million of someone else's money and then say, "Trust me! It'll reap huge economic rewards!"

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 interesting, in light of this observation, that Global Warming advocates, who in nearly every case are being paid by government to do their research, charge that Global Warming opponents are conflicted in their interests because they are paid by free market organizations to do theirs. It's probably much more productive to call that argument a draw, and debate Global Warming on its merits.)

In a speech to the Cato Institute, Klaus recently identified

Fashionable and trendy "isms" like environmentalism [that] seek to "radically re-organize human society" in a way that is detrimental to the freedoms that were secured just 17 years ago when Soviet communism fell...

Proponents of the environmental ideology were attempting to sell the public on "catastrophic scenarios" that could be used to justify the restoration of statist practices, he said.

"The hypothesis of global warming, and the role of man, is the most powerful embodiment of environmental ideology," Klaus observed. Although the environmental movement invokes science as a way of advancing policy goals, the arguments in favor of catastrophe rest on "ill-founded assumptions," he said.

"Environmentalism is a religion. It does not belong in the natural sciences and is more connected with social science."

Klaus said very few politicians and journalists understand that environmentalism is a political ideology masquerading as a natural science.
Update 4/19/2007 - CNSNews reports that Barbara Boxer equated global warming advocacy with spirituality.

Boxer said addressing global warming is a "spiritual and moral obligation" and chastised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not setting national pollutant standards for cars and for not allowing states such as California to implement their own standards.

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 the person on the cell phone who doesn't realize that they are in the passing lane of the freeway and that there are 15 vehicles stacked up behind them wishing they could go faster (i.e. the speed limit).

Yesterday I was nearly in a collision because a vehicle on a side street attempted to cross the main road on which I was driving, because the driver was talking on his cell phone. Either he didn't see me at all, or he didn't realize I was turning left to drive past where he should have been waiting at the stop sign.

I've decided then, that cell phones suck our brains out. So next time you use your cell phone while driving, find a nice place to pull off the road and take the conversation.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

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 interviews a plethora of scientists, expert in climatology, several of which were involved in the musings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here's what they say:

Patrick Moore, Co-Founder Greenpeace

I don't even like to call it environmental anymore, because really it is a political activist movement. It has become the strongest force there is for preventing development in developing countries.

Nigel Calder, former editor of The New Scientist journal -

The whole global warming business has become like a religion, and anyone who disagrees has become a heretic.

Ian Clark, Department of Earth Science, University of Ottawa

We can't say that CO2 will drive climate. It certainly never did in the past.

Piers Corbyn, UK Climate Forecaster

None of the major climate changes in the past 1,000 years can be explained by CO2.

John Christy, IPCC Lead author

There is not a concensus of thousands of scientists. Many simply think that [man-made global warming] is not true. We have a vested interest in creating panic, because then money will flow to climate science.

Paul Reiter, who resigned in disgust from the IPCC

Look at the bibliographies of the people and it simply is not true [that the IPCC is an authoritative body]. There are quite a number of non-scientists. Those people who are specialists, but don't agree...and resign, and there have been a number of them that I know of--they are simply put on the author list and become part of the world's 2,500 top scientists.

Global warming is a great business with tens of thousands of people making their livelihood from it. When global warming becomes completely debunked, these people will be out of jobs. Global warming hinders industrial progress in the developing world. Climate change in the past is very natural, so why would we think it would be any different today? Co2 increased rapidly during the industrial boom of post WWII, when the average temperatures went down. Satellite and weather balloon data disprove the theory that greenhouse gas increase cause increase in atmosphere warming.

Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, relies on ice core surveys--Vostok found clear correlation between CO2 and earth's temperature. In this he is correct. But al Gore is incorrect in his analysis--experts have proven that CO2 is not an indicator of temperature, but is a result of temperature. Temperature fluctuation leads CO2 by about 800 years in every study that has been done on the subject. Thus the fundamental assumption of global warming fails.

Volcanoes produce more Co2 than all human sources. Bacteria and animals do as well. But biggest source of CO2 is the oceans. Oceans are so gigantic that it takes hundreds of years for them to warm up and cool down.

In the past, scientists were much more modest in their statements about their ability to predict the climate. All current models assume that man-made CO2 is the primary cause of global warming. Models include variables for twice as much CO2 heating than has actually occurred. As in nearly every other facet of our society, those scenarios which conjure up excitement are the global warming scenarios that are picked up by the media. Nigel Calder, journalist and scientist says that most journalism fails in its integrity when it comes to global warming. To him, the modern occupation "environmental journalist" is a conflict of interest.

What can it hurt to be on the safe side of global warming? It hurts the entire developing world. Nearly every country in Africa is dramatically behind in the technologies and comforts of life. Africans say that it does not make sense that the rich countries can still have their luxuries, but that the poor people must be constrained to live within their existing squalor, never being allowed to achieve the African dream.

It is immoral. Patrick Moore calls the fanatics of global warming "anti-human".

I hereby apostatize from the Church of Global Warming. And I have a clear conscience.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

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? Why was it so easy for them to sign on to Kyoto? Because they had previously been in one case the Soviet Union, and in the other case (in part) East Germany. Terrible government policies made communist countries by far the foulest polluters on earth, so turning to free enterprise allowed them to clean up their acts substantially.

But the United States didn't sign on. But neither did China or India. Because Kyoto is impossible to conform to. Fortunately, if you understand the science of global warming, you understand that we don't need a Kyoto treaty. More fortunately, as despotic governments become transformed into free enterprise, the greatest committers of environmental degredation sink away into the annals of history.

Update: 6/23/2007 - Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao would have loved Kyoto.

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 that he would have vetoed. However, this legislation simply codifies items already in state board rules," said Mike Mower, the governor's spokesman. "It also makes clear that it is not targeting any one club or organization."

"The seventh substitute HB236 ensures parents will have the right to approve of any school club or organization their child participates in," Mower said.

That sounds pretty good to me. There may have been ulterior motives in the sponsoring of the bill, but the end result was not ulterior.

Here are some other highlights of what reads to me as common-sense law:

  • Clubs may not threaten "physical, emotional, psychological, or moral well-being of others."
  • Clubs cannot encourage criminal behavior, bigotry, or be substantially involved with human sexuality.
  • The club's name must be in keeping with its purpose and cannot suggest or encourage violation of school board policy or state law.
  • Faculty monitors of religious clubs can only be supervisors; they may not participate in the club's activities.
  • As regards use of school facilities, no clubs shall be given preference or priority over any others. The same rules will be applied as regards access to yearbooks, newspapers, the school's public address system, etc.

The Deseret News article quotes Margaret Plame, of the Utah American Civil Liberties Union.

The language, it's ambiguous enough that some schools may view it as permission to ban clubs they or their community find to be controversial. Under the Equal Access Act, that's not permissible...(If a district does that) the state will be responsible for defending a lawsuit for which potentially they shouldn't have had to."

She's right. The language is ambiguous in places. For example, the law requires, in the consideration of granting charters to school clubs that the school:

  • "maintain order and discipline on school premises;"
  • "maintain the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior;"

If a school rejects a club because other members of the student body or faculty would be offended by the club's purpose, and might subsequently create a public disturbance about it, Utah would be open to lawsuits. Another ambiguity relates to whether a student could purposefully seek out a club that discusses issues related to homosexuality and then feels that from his or her attendance the club is an affront to his or her "moral well-being." Such an action would be wrong-headed, but it could occur under the current law.

In the future, it would be good to clean up such legal language slightly. But when it comes right down to it, this law is a much better product than I thought it would be. I think that it's something that encourages mature dialog, and it's something mature people can live with, and not just in a begrudging sort of way.

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 of the right contingent upon his or her continued intermittent enrollment in the militia.

It is interesting that the second amendment text refers to a "well-regulated militia". But it goes without saying that it grants to the people the right to own firearms. Let's look back at the original intent of the populace at the time the United States Constitution. James Madison, author of the second amendment, wrote in the Federalist Papers, which were used to influence the representatives of the different states to vote in favor of the new Constitution, said:

The advantage of being armed . . . the Americans possess over the people of all other nations . . . Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, was equally clear.

To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.

There are more quotes to be found in the 1982 report of the Senate subcommittee on the Constitution that make this sentiment beyond clear. History, in politics as in science, is to be valued. The history in this case is incontrovertible.

The District of Columbia was wrong. It's refreshing to see a judicial authority interpret something correctly for once with regard to the second amendment. In yesterday's case, the federal appeals court stated
The operative clause, properly read, protects the ownership and use of weaponry beyond that needed to preserve the state militias. Again, we point out that if the competent drafters of the Second Amendment had meant the right to be limited to the protection of state militias, it is hard to imagine that they would have chosen the language they did. We therefore take it as an expression of the drafters’ view that the people possessed a natural right to keep and bear arms, and that the preservation of the militia was the right’s most salient political benefit—and thus the most appropriate to express in a political document.

There you have it. It's pretty obvious. So why are we still having this argument?

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 influence on global climate." The problem is, that statement is at best ambiguous and does not express the sentiment of the scientists who participated in the project.

Dr. Frederick Seitz, who had been very unjustly caricatured in the American press, said of the IPCC process

I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.

Climate scientist, S. Fred Singer, co-author of the book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, points out that the statement that there was a "human fingerprint" with regard to global warming

was inserted in the executive summary of the IPCC's 1996 report for political, not scientific, reasons. Then the "science volume" was edited to take out five different statements--all of which had been approved by the panel's scientific consultants--specifically saying no such "human fingerprint" had been found.

The author of the IPCC science chapter, a U.S. government employee, publicly admitted making the scientifically indefensible "back room" changes. He was under pressure from top U.S. government officials to do so. (page 10)

This is me just speculating here, but...Al Gore was vice president of the United States in 1996.

There is a great deal to the warming of the globe that can be answered by science. Global warming is a fact. But so is global cooling. It all happens on a cyclical basis, and it can be attributed to natural variations in solar activity, and it can be measured in naturally occurring phenomena, as Unstoppable Global Warming points out with clarity but in great detail.

What is not a fact (although mankind should do everything it can to be stewards of its environment) is that man is a significant cause of global warming.

Science is a fascinating study. But not when it gets overtaken and stifled by politics.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

(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 definitions is "to of authority", so the shoe fits.)

Rocky Anderson came to the announcement festivities, but he doesn't have to worry about it , because it's not his money they stole.

Guess who the only guy was that wasn't invited to the party? Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon. The guy who looked at the deal and decided based on sound economic analysis that it was a lemon. The guy who ultimately had to pay for the deal whether he wanted to or not.

What the state did may have been legal, but it certainly wasn't right.

Another juicy tidbit passed me by in the last couple of news days. It seems that Mary Kay Huntsman, the Governor's wife, had a great deal to do with getting the State to put up the money. The Real Salt Lake soccer organization sent Ms. Huntsman a bouquet of roses--one for every million dollars she was able to influence the State to extort out of Salt Lake County.

Utah's first lady may have had more of an influence than a lavish bouquet of roses gives her credit for. The night Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon denied the county's share of hotel-room tax dollars for the stadium, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. returned home to an upset wife.

"The truth be told, we would not be standing here without Mary Kaye's insistence that RSL stay here," team owner Dave Checketts said the day the House passed the bill 48-24. In the end, the bill garnered bipartisan support from the majority of the House and the Senate.

I wish a little bit more of the truth would be told. I would like to know what that was that she did to influence the desired result. I guess I'll be left to try not to imagine.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

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 heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.

And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.

Pearl of Great Price - Abraham 4:17-18

Noted scientist and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Henry Eyring, in his book, Reflections of a Scientist, stated that scientists "expect the truth to prevail because it is the truth". Church prophet Brigham Young reminded members of the church not to be afraid of truth just because it doesn't come from a prophet's mouth. He said that the gospel embraces all truth, whether revealed to a prophet or not:

How gladly would we understand every principle pertaining to science and art, and become thoroughly acquainted with every intricate operation of nature, and with all the chemical changes that are constantly going on around us! How delightful this would be, and what a boundless field of truth and power is open for us to explore!

[Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, pg. 168, January 26, 1862].

On the same subject, President Ezra Taft Benson said:

Religion and science have sometimes been in apparent conflict. Yet the conflict should only be apparent, not real for science should seek truth, and true religion is truth. There can never be conflict between revealed religion and scientific fact. That they have often occupied different fields of truth is a mere detail. The gospel accepts and embraces all truth; science is slowly expanding her arms and reaching into the invisible domain in search of truth The two are meeting daily -- science as a child, revealed religion as the mother. Truth is truth, whether labeled science or religion. There can be no conflict. Time is on the side of truth -- for truth is eternal.

[Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1966, pg. 129].

On page 125 of Dawkins' book, he quotes Matt Ridley:

Most scientiests are bored by what they have already discovered. It is ignorance that drives them on.

I am glad that this is so. Scientists have made and continue to make excellent discoveries that benefit not only our health, but the comforts of life and our understanding of it.

Ignorance is what drives true religionists on as well. True scientists and true religionists relish and are exhilarated by the search for truth, and applaud the discoverer, whether he or she be from the realms of religion or science. A true religionist does not disparage the truth-seeking scientist. Neither does a true scientist disparage his religious compatriot.

One day, when all is known, our religion will be our science--and vice versa.

Read Part 1 of "God is a Scientist" here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

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 Income Eligibility Guidelines. Based on these guidelines, if we assume that every student who applies for a "scholarship" under the voucher program comes from a family of 4 whose income (for the 2006-2007 school year) is $26,000 or less, there would exist 10,000 fewer students per year in the public school system over the next 10 years (those who meet 100% of the Guideline will get a $3,000 scholarship in 2007). Based on my estimates, this reduction in public school population would mean that approximately 40 fewer public elementary schools would need to be built in that 10-year period, as well as about 25 fewer junior highs and about 10 fewer high schools.

According the National Education Association, the average amount of money allocated to Utah public education per child in the school year 2005-06 was just over $5,000. With the recent education funding increase in Utah, it is well above that amount now, but let's use the $5,000 figure. Assuming 10,000 fewer students per year in Utah public schools, Utah public education would have (10,000 * $2,000 * 10 years) 200 million more dollars over 10 years ($20 million per year), which could go toward reducing class sizes and increasing teacher salaries.

And this is the worst-case scenario. Students from families who make 2 1/2 times the base level of income eligibility guidelines (or $65,000 for a family of four) are eligible for only a $500 scholarship, leaving $4,500 to the public education system per child that is no longer in the public school system.
Private institutions are not held to the same performance and assessment standards as public schools under federal No Child Left Behind guidelines.
This statement, which does not explain what performance and assessment standards voucher-accepting institutions are required, gives the impression that none are required. This is not true. Under the new law, assessment standards are very much like (if not identical) to such public school standards.

53A-1a-805. Eligible private schools.

(1) To be eligible to enroll a scholarship student, a private school shall:
(c) comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000d;
(d) meet state and local health and safety laws and codes;
(e) disclose to the parent of each prospective student, before the student is enrolled, the special education services that will be provided to the student, if any, including the cost of those services;
(i) annually assess the achievement of each student by administering:
(A) a norm-referenced test scored by an independent party that provides a comparison of the student's performance to other students on a national basis;

I know one private school that is seriously considering not accepting vouchers because of the stringent assessment requirements.

Public resources will be used to finance private industry.
Nearly everyone agrees that America owes its children an education, and therefore everyone, regardless of whether they have children, should contribute to our children's education (I actually don't subscribe to that statement like most do, but that's another story). Therefore, it is inappropriate to point to the fact that private industry is being financed without calling attention to the main purpose--these funds are being used to give those who know the needs of the children most--their parents--the ability to choose the best educational alternative for their children.
State funds should be used to address resource equity, teacher recruitment and support, class overcrowding and low per-pupil expenditures in public education instead of supporting private vouchers.
I agree that resources, teacher recruitment and support, smaller class sizes, and per-pupil expenditures are important. In fact, a great deal of money was given in the most recent legislative session to at least significantly remedy what everyone agrees is to some degree a problem. Private vouchers, as I have detailed above, actually make more money available to meet the worthy goals listed by Ms. Williams.

"Voucher program expansion threatens to solidify the abandonment of public schools while leaving behind the majority of low-income students of color," said NAACP National Education Director Michael T.S. Wotorson. "In fact, the majority of these programs offer little or no substantive educational assistance to students with limited English proficiency or those with special needs."

First, as I have stated in this forum before, it is ironic that public educators and public education monopoly supporters have less faith in the public education system than those of us who advocate choice in education. This is the inescapable conclusion derived from statements like those of Michael Wotorson.

Secondly, Utah private education institutions must, by law, publicize the special needs services that they provide.

Thirdly, special needs is a simple issue of supply and demand. Ms. Williams calls attention to a shortcoming of the new law, which is this--Utah public schools spend more for special needs students than they do for other students. Therefore, the current law should be augmented to account for this spending disparity (whatever it is) and allow a special needs student to add this amount to the amount of the voucher for which he or she would otherwise qualify. In such a case, it is very likely that a plethora of private educational institutions would be glad to provide special needs services equivalent to what public schools provide.
The NAACP vigorously resists any measure that results in unequal treatment of poor and minority children in public education. The NAACP is also committed to fostering the multiple benefits our nation obtains through increasing racial and ethnic diversity.

So am I. So are private schools in Utah.

The NAACP National Education Department is calling on the Utah Legislature to hold a special legislative session to reconsider the law and convene a commission of citizens and educational practitioners to make recommendations about implementation of the law and its regulation.

There has been a lot of scuttle lately about putting a referendum on the next state ballot so that the people can decide how their education dollars are spent. Interestingly, I thought that's just what the legislators did, was allow the people (read: parents) to decide how their children's education monies are spent. From my perspective, then, the only unsettled question is whether people who don't have children in school should be required to pay for those who do. Is that what the referendum would ask?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

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 probable that life exists on other planets in the universe someplace.
  • We agree that our existence probably has a significant deal to do with evolution.
  • There is much which masquerades as religion which is nothing more than superstition.
  • A real God would be more pleased with reason and the search for truth than He is with blind obedience.
  • A real God would have a perfect understanding of and be bound by the laws of the universe.
  • A real God would be knowable and understandable.
  • A real God would be a loving God.
After coming to some understanding of the religious environment Dawkins grew up in, I am not surprised that he does not believe in God. If I had grown up in such an environment my reason (my senses) would have told me not to believe, either. Much like Dawkins, Thomas Jefferson saw the prevailing notion of a Christian god as one who was "cruel, capricious, vindictive, unjust." (Dawkins, p. 31) The God that I believe in is none of these, although I find that I am still somewhat influenced by the traditional quasi-superstitious Christian beliefs that abound in our society (i.e. that God scared the crap out of the Israelites at the bottom of Mount Sinai, that the devil has horns and carries a pitchfork, that angels have wings, that when we die we live on a cloud and play a harp all day, that God hates me when I sin, that God might strike me dead if I curse at one more stupid freeway driver.)

My disagreements with Dawkins are more perhaps in degree rather than in substance. He, for example, trusts probability until the evidence is in, while I believe that men exist on earth today to whom some of that evidence has been delivered. To me, faith is not superstition. Any person's beliefs should either be regularly rewarded with evidence or disproven, which in the case of disproof, it was not faith in the first place. We should seldom jump to a swift conclusion that we know that something is (that we have all the evidence) or that it isn't (that it has been categorically disproven). To coin a phrase by a former LDS Church president and prophet: "Faith [and reason] precede the miracle [of knowledge]."

Life on Other Earths

Dawkins states on page 72:

Whether we ever get to know them or not, there are very probably alien civilizations that are superhuman, to the point of being god-like in ways that exceed anything a theologian could possibly imagine.

The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ teaches that indeed life does exist elsewhere in our universe, and that it has a purpose:

That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:24)
How it got there, we probably disagree on, but the likelihood of human existence on other worlds is a point we can agree on.

Evolution as a Contributing Factor to Existence

Dawkins states on page 73 that

Entities that are complex enough to be intelligent are products of an evolutionary process. No matter how Godlike they may seem when we encounter them, they didn't start that way.

For me to say that I know that the above is a false statement would be worse than foolhardy. In fact, it is a statement with which I quite agree.

Many Christians, and even some Mormons, are troubled by the prospect of evolution. Interestingly, however, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has (as far as I know) never taken an official stand on evolution. Former Church President David O. McKay studied the works of Charles Darwin, and had some very interesting things to say about evolution. David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism writes:

Although McKay never made a public statement affirming his acceptance of biological evolution, he was sympathetic to that viewpoint... He kept his views private...for a simple reason..."The thing you need to remember about evolution is that the Lord has never revealed anything about the matter."

I guess that leaves me in the same realm as Dawkins, speculating as to the probability of something for which no revelatory evidence has been given by God--for or against. And I am quite comfortable with that. There is no reason to be offended by--nor to religiously campaign for or against--a subject on which God has not spoken.

McKay, interestingly, also said:

[Evolution] claims: "Man is a creature of development; that he has come up through uncounted ages from an origin that is lowly." Why this vast expenditure of time and pain and blood? Why should he come so far if he is destined to go no farther? ...Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued, slow progress."

In (my) other words: It is entirely possible that life began from a single cell. But if it continues to evolve, why would it not eventually evolve into something perfect, which we can call God?

The LDS Church teaches that:

As man is God once was.
As God is, man may become.

Evolution seems to me to support this thought very elegantly.

As I have written elsewhere, it is difficult to contemplate that if there is a God, where did he come from? Equally puzzling is if the universe came into existence by a big bang, where did the stuff bang from? Oh well. But I think we'll find out some day. Dawkins agrees that "one day we may know the answer." (p. 48)

The following topics will be discussed in upcoming posts in this series:

Superstition Masquerading as Religion
God is a God of Reason
God Understands and Follows Nature's Laws
God is a Loving God

"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 countries means Americans will be better off.

What I'm concerned about, though, is how the Chinese government is subsidizing Chinese trade at the expense of the United States. They do it in two ways:

  1. By devaluing their currency against other currencies.
  2. By subsidizing products and services originating in China
A bill before the United States congress, entitled the Fair Currency Act, has strong bi-partisan support. Democrat Duncan Hunter is one of the sponsors of the bill.

[Hunter] gave an example of what that would mean for an American product versus a Chinese product.

"They're both $100, the Chinese government, in a practical way, walks by and says we just marked down our product to $60," he explained. "It's now cheaper than the American product. Why don't you buy it instead of the American product? That is sweeping the American product off the shelves around the world."

The implication is ripe that the extra revenues generated by this fraudulent scheme are being used to by military equipment to use against the United States.

On a segment of The Right Balance with Greg Allen this morning, Rep. Hunter stated that China provides a 17% subsidy for its manufacturers, a 17% tax on U.S. imports. On top of the 40% currency devaluation, this makes Chinese goods 74% cheaper than U.S. goods. No wonder it seems everything is made in China!

Meanwhile, the US is filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization.

I don't generally believe in tariffs. But in the case of competing with industries whose government subsidizes their efforts, I think the United States would be well off to impose a tariff to offset the subsidy. I think the Fair Currency Act will do this.