Showing posts from April, 2007

"Checketts" Your Integrity at the Door

Perhaps it's blatant shysterism, and then again expectations regarding a contribution of $7.5 million for a soccer complex may just be two sets of expectations that have passed like two ships in the night. As you may infer from the title of this post, I think it is the former.

I don't know Dave Checketts, and if I did, I might probably think he was a pretty good guy. But in my experience in city government, I've met a fair number of people who either did a great job pretending to be good guys, or who were good guys except when they got into a business deal where a lot of money was involved.

With all the posturing, bullying, and name calling that went into finally acquiring county funds for a soccer stadium--by 'virtue' of state dictation of how such county funds be used--I suspect Dave Checketts is involved in a deal that involves too much money for his integrity to handle.

I was surprised (...only for a minute) the other day, when I found out that Mr. Checketts th…

Bush Says "Reform Immigration." Riiiiiiiiiiiiight!

In today's weekend radio address, President Bush stated that we needed to reform United States immigration. Somehow I don't think he's very serious about his noble-sounding words.

Part of President Bush's address today was this;

In Washington, we are in the midst of an important discussion about immigration. Our current immigration system is in need of reform. We need a system where our laws are respected. We need a system that meets the legitimate needs of our economy. And we need a system that treats people with dignity and helps newcomers assimilate into our society.

The system can only treat people with dignity if we have laws that are enforced. This requires that we not only make it possible for non-lawbreaking immigrants to easily immigrate and assimilate into society (while being encouraged to keep their ethnic traditions, by the way), but that we make it much more difficult than it currently is for gang members, drug dealers, and other miscreants from planting t…

The KGB Never Went Away

What was George Bush thinking when he said that Vladimir Putin was a good man? Despite the fact that Communism fell, one of its greatest enablers, the KGB, never went away. Russian society is more closely resembling Communism now than in any of the

It's ironic that at the death of "The Man Who Killed Communism", Boris Yeltsin, it has become necessary to comment on a totalitarian resurgence in the former Soviet Union.

The Russian judiciary used to be independent. No longer. Can you get the truth from the news in Russia? Not nearly as much as before. What about people who disagree with Putin? They get shown the door or a prison cell or are asked to resign if they're lucky. If not, they are served chemicals, such as polonium, (or more often lead) for dessert. What about people who get rich providing an important product or service to the people of Russia? They get a prison cell. All the while, the KGB gets its cut of everything--capitalism, legal judgment, and …

Further Cheapening Respect for Life

In a society that considers murdering innocent children even outside the womb as "abortion", it's not hard to imagine that some psychopathic killers will also develop a wanton disregard for the preciousness of life.

As many as 1 in 30 babies being aborted actually survives outside the womb and is left to die an agonizing death (in some cases as agonizing as the abortion procedure itself may have been).

Researchers found that one in 30 of babies aborted by this induced labor abortion were delivered alive, living an average of 80 minutes. A few lived several hours. This statistic increased to one in 10 when babies were aborted at the gestational age of 23 weeks, the current medically drawn line of viability.

In at least one case, a baby was sealed in a large zip-lock bag so that it would suffocate. In many others, they are just left to languish until they expire. Regardless of how you feel about a woman's right to choose, how can you support something as egregious as …

Reporting the Simple Salient Facts in a Case of Self Defense

The way some outlets (oh, let's just take a random about.....Associated Press) report crime stories, you'd almost get the impression that the reporter thinks that those killing their assailant in self-defense are unjustified in doing so. At least the story makes it look like the self-defender didn't know how to use the gun. And now, the rest of the story...

The Associated Press story begins thusly:

The owner of a popular pizza shop opened fire on three robbery suspects, killing one of them and apparently wounding his own son.

What does that conjure up in your mind? That he recklessly endangered his son's life? That he didn't know how to use a firearm? That he shouldn't have had a firearm on the premises?

I remember working as a college student at a 7-11, whose policy at the time was that we could not bring firearms on the premises. My employment was not in a particularly high-crime city, but I remember thinking how stupid that poli…

China Will Soon be The 'Biggest Polluter'

China was a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is projected to overtake the United States this year in such emissions. Is China going to be able to live up to its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol?

Of course! Their job is to look at other countries and tell them to stop polluting. Their other job is to thumb their noses at everyone else and say 'Neener, Neener, Neener'. It was actually easy for China to sign on to Kyoto, because they don't have to reduce their emissions a bit. Looks like they can increase them just as much as they want, as well. Kyoto is a farce.

The Chinese government made it clear that they have no intention for now of reducing emissions, because that would make a huge dent in their economic development. Wouldn't it for everyone! That's the whole point.

Good for them. I'm glad China is growing. But why did they sign on to Kyoto in the first place? I salute the United States for having the guts to l…

What're Your Favorite Children's Stories?

I was listening to the radio this morning, and one of the guests talked about how important reading to your children is. By the end of the segment, I remembered. It was important to me as I was growing up, and instilled in me a desire to read.

Mothers and fathers who read to their children will find that their children are more well-rounded and kind to each other. Not only that, they will get to sleep more easily and will sleep better. Children who are read to have less fear and greater optimism.

It took me a while to think back, but I remember when my mom (and every once in a while my dad--about the same as it is in our household now) would read me stories. It had almost escaped my memory, but now that I think back about it, it brings back fond memories.

I remember some of those stories even now. Here are my favorites.

Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
The Sneetches (along with The Zax, the Pale Green Pants, and Too Many Daves - Dr. Seuss
Are You My Mother? - P.D. EastmanThe…

Scrambling to Turn Off the TV

It's interesting what we will and will not let our children watch on TV. Sometimes our conscience blinders get a little thick in places.

In the opinion section of Monday's Deseret News was this ironic gem:

I was curled up on the couch watching "American Idol" with my 9-year-old twins on Wednesday evening. Ryan Seacrest had barely said good night when Fox 13 News abruptly began flashing images of the Virginia Tech shooter. I scrambled to turn off the set...
If the writer were really concerned about her children not watching salacious fare that will ruin their psyches, she should have "scrambled to turn off the set" an hour earlier--when American Idol started.

Clearing the Air on Utah Education Vouchers

A couple of weekends ago my family and I traveled to southern Utah for an extended-family Easter celebration. It was extremely enjoyable. A fringe benefit of the weekend was for me to learn not only how many members of my extended family are public educators, but how they feel about the new education voucher law in Utah.

My mother retired a few years ago after several years as a public school teacher. She and I have discussed school choice in detail before, so I was not surprised that she is open-minded when it comes to school choice.

My sister has been reading previous weblog entries that I have done on education vouchers. She understands my point of view, and has shared them with several of her friends.

Others, however, I was not sure about.

I have come to understand a little bit more about their points of view as well. Some of them are concerned that interests from out of state have been involved in pushing Utah Education vouchers. This concerns me as well. This helps me underst…

Hitler and Homeschooling

Originally Published March 17, 2007. Update: Homeschooler flees foster care to reunite with her family. Both sides are sure they have the monopoly on truth when it comes to the taking of a homeschooled German girl by State authorities. The undisputed truth is that Germany is not friendly to homeschooling families.

She was falling behind in two of her subjects at school. So her parents took her out of school and began homeschooling her where they could devote more time to her education. Her five siblings are still in the German public schools.

It is being claimed by some news organizations that a Hitler decree about home-schooling is still in effect.

In 1937, the dictator said, "The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is …

Go Ahead: Desecrate Us Some More!

The Virginia Tech murders have given rise to the obviously misguided way in which so-called news organizations report what is going on in our world. Finally, though, someone speaks up against the filthy way that the filthy networks behave themselves!

The Accent Radio Network is reporting this hour that the families of the fallen in the recent Virginia Tech murders have canceled an appearance on NBC, due to the fact that NBC yesterday aired videotape from the murderer. Good for them!

I have not been able to listen to the radio for scarcely more than 5 minutes in the last 24 hours than I am bombarded by "shocking video", "chilling video", or "vengeful video". Good grief! Get out of my face!

I salute the families of the Virginia Tech dead for standing up to such greed and salacious salivation. Broadcasting video of the debauchery and demonic plans of a murderer is not news. It is titillating entertainment not worthy of people who appreciate liberty and it…

A Good Change to the BYU Honor Code

Some people don't like the BYU Honor Code, mostly because they just don't like BYU. I like it. I encourages students and faculty to be the best they can be. Including those with homosexual inclinations. But sometimes the meaning of policies is not clear.

The LDS Church has more understanding for homosexuals that most people give them credit for. In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley stated the position of the LDS church with regard to homosexuality.

"We believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. We believe that marriage may be eternal through exercise of the power of the everlasting priesthood in the house of the Lord.

"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If …

We Need Alternative Energy Sources

I've written enough about global warming on this site, that I have probably created in some of my readers a false notion. So let me disabuse it. I think it is wise that society pursue alternative energy sources. It won't do a dadgum thing about global warming, but it will clean up the air. And it will reduce a significant source of revenue for terrorists.

There are a lot of excellent alternative sources of energy besides coal and oil. Although known reserves of these two energy sources are sufficient for a long time, it's still good to reduce our dependence on them.

Hybrid Vehicles. I've just started looking into used hybrid vehicles. I'm not sure I trust a used hybrid, because they're still pretty expensive to maintain, but this will improve with time. This is the general inevitability with good ideas in a free market. Admittedly, my reasoning for wanting a hybrid is not primarily to clean up the air (that's secondary). It's cause I hate the pr…

How Do You Feel About Gun Control Now?!

This I gotta hear. At least 32 people are dead at Virginia Tech University today, and it's all because only one guy had a gun. So tell, me: how can you still defend gun control?

Update April 17, 2007: Virginia General Assembly voted in 2006 to not allow handguns on campus...

Good thing he finally turned his gun on himself. Bad thing was there were a least 30 other people at Virginia Tech who didn't have the legal authority to defend themselves with equal force.

I think I know what they would say if they had another chance at life.

"Who is the lunatic who thinks that gun control works?"

Not everyone is going to carry a gun if they are legally allowed to. But some will. And with that knowledge, the murderer has a lot more to think about. He may still have gone on his senseless rampage, but chances are there would be a lot more people alive at Virginia Tech today.

Update April 17, 2007: In 2006, a member of the Virginia General Assembly submitted a bill that "would…

Add Me to C, I'm Crap. Add E to Me, I'm Rape. What am I?

Everyone has a right to speak freely. But when that speech advocates wanton violence, should it still be free? If I can't yell fire in a crowded theater, why should I be able to advocate the abuse of women?

This morning on The Right Balance, I heard the host, Greg Allen, make an excellent point about rap music. "It's one letter away from crap. And it's one letter away from rape." It is beyond irony that we allow the degradation, not only of women, but of (mostly) black entertainers by giving rap music the time of day.

If everyone is free to say and do whatever they want, we will soon be captive to the lowest common denominator. To avoid such captivity, we need to start using our freedom of speech, and speaking out against crap when we hear or see it.

Rap music is crap. The artists can make much better of themselves and their lives.

A caller recently called into the Michael Medved show claiming that when a rapper refers to women as "hos", he is only r…

Let's Leave No Child Left Behind Behind

The federal No Child Left Behind Act does very little to ensure that children are properly educated, and at the same time takes away decisions that have been traditionally, and rightly, the purview of state and local education authorities. Considering the near pittance that the federal government actually injects into Utah public education, Utah should find a way to tell the federal government to keep its money.

At one time, I thought the state of Utah got a substantial portion of their money--even a predominance--from the federal government. It received 8.4% of its public education budget (see page 4) from the Federal government in 2006, which amounts to about $220 million. I would just as soon find ways to get the federal government out of Utah public education, so that Utahns can make decisions as to the best way to educate our children. In a time of state surplus, it would be easy to whittle away at the federal contributions to our public education system, as well as the string…

Let's Get One Thing Clear: The Earth is Warming

Global warming is kind of like stem cell research. Which kind are we talking about? Well, in both the cases of global warming and stem cell research, it's a shell game. When it suits the supporters of the wrong kind either, the supporters dissimulate. It makes for entertaining confusion, but not for a very good deduction of the facts. On purpose.

Did you ever notice that it's pretty hard to tell which kind of stem cells the media and the Democrats and Barbra Streisand are talking about? It's on purpose. Isn't it interesting that (a) embryonic stem cells have never been a therapy or cure for anything, so they make it very difficult to know that there are actually two different kinds of stem cells, and (b) that adult stem cells are almost never identified as cures despite the fact that all stem cell therapies and cures in existence today are of the "adult" variety. Ergo, each news headline simply says something like "Patient Responding Well to Stem-…

What Sort of Dirt Does Jesse Jackson have on Mike Nifong?

It happened early on that District Attorney Mike Nifong knew there was no evidence with which to convict the Duke Lacrosse players of raping a stripper. How did it take so long for the players to be exonerated? I have a theory, but the theory is based on sound historically circumstantial evidence. If anyone can prove my theory false, I will be glad to receive correction, but there is some merit to investigating it, because it involves Jesse Jackson. And Jesse Jackson has a motive.

About a year ago I wrote that the Duke players should never have been in the situation they were in, and they would never have been accused. But neither should they have been railroaded when they clearly were never guilty.

Why would the district attorney continue to press for their guilt when it could do nothing other than make him look like an eventual buffoon?

Here's my theory...

Mike Nifong felt pressure to continue his stance against the Duke lacrosse players. It was clear early on that there was n…

Bill O'Reilly Schmoozes with Shyster Sharpton

Al Sharpton is one of the biggest shysters, ignoramuses, and extortion artists in the history of the United States. We've heard a lot of him lately in the news for some reason. Like Jesse Jackson and Don King, he makes a lot of money extorting others. Unfortunately, they're all black. I'm sure there are white extortion artists, but they're not as fawned over by the media as Don, Jesse, and Al.

Al Sharpton, Don King, and Jesse Jackson are human desecrations of the dream espoused by Martin Luther King. Yet they are wildly popular in the media. Why?

And why would radio and TV talk show host Bill O'Reilly even give Al Sharpton the time of day? Why does he even have him on his show? Oh, ratings.

O'Reilly is a pretty smart guy, but his shows are a waste of time. He hardly lets his guests finish a sentence. His often extreme rudeness is an affront to the political views he allegedly espouses. So it should actually not surprise me that, along with Democratic S…

US Passes on New Adult Stem Cell Treatment

It's too early to tell how generally effective a new form of adult stem cell therapy will be, but for 13 of 15 Type-1 diabetic patients in Brazil, it is working quite well. The question is, why didn't the United States, who was given first crack at the therapy, decide to do it? Ironically, Congress has been looking into stem cell research itself--research of a different kind.

When the media discusses "stem cells", which ones are they referring to--embryonic or adult? I suppose the layman could figure it out, maybe? What kind of stem cells can be harvested from and used on the same patient? If you said "adult" you are correct. If you didn't know, that's just what the media and embryonic stem cell research advocates want.

In a recent adult stem cell treatment program, the first patient needed more insulin. Another patient relapsed. But 13 Type-1 diabetics in Brazil no longer need insulin. Some haven't had to take insulin shots for three yea…

Anna Nichole Benet Spears Imus

Some people look at it as the nicety that there's nothing else going on in the news, that we have nothing else to worry about. The problem with that sentiment is that its wrong. At any rate, some of the garbage that gets called news makes me sick to my stomach.

The religion of Jesus Christ teaches that we should love all people. I confess that under some circumstances I have trouble loving certain people, but through no fault of their own. It is, rather, the fault of the "news" and "entertainment" media, who report upon warts that no one should ever see, much less care about.

I find myself turning off the radio a lot lately. This occurs generally when a non-news story is reported as news, and especially when such a story is reported for the umpteenth time or day in a row. I have to realize that yelling "Shuuuuut uuuuup!!!" at the radio does me no good, because the people on the other end can't hear me.

How important is it to us that a playboy p…

Further Proof that Judges are Not Good Scientists

I recently cited a US Supreme Court decision to indicate that judges often do not make good scientists. Two cases do not a certainty make, but the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals went a great way toward substantiating my theory today.

The State of South Dakota appeared in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals today to defend its requirement that a doctor remind a woman prior to her receiving an abortion of the following:

That abortion takes a human lifeThat women have a right to continue the pregnancyThat abortion may cause psychological harm to the mother
It might have been billed as an excellent waste of time brought on by the bullying of Planned Parenthood--who sees its main livelihood reduced as more and more women become more contemplative--simply because it can. Remind me again how Planned Parenthood has any standing in this case?

But then the following conversation ensued (a recording of which I heard on the CBS radio news at 6:00 PM mountain time this evening):

Chief Justice Loken: Th…

Glimpses of Integrity

There's enough wrong in the world than to compound it with a bunch of unruly and disrespectful children. Sometimes it seems they're everywhere. But they're not all that way. Here's a glimpse of a few moments of integrity that I have seen lately, however.

The other day I saw my 7-year-old's school teacher in the checkout line at Wal-Mart. We got talking about my son, and she said, "Your son is one of the best students I've ever had." At which point I told her that we talk with our children about being respectful of their elders, particularly their teachers. "Thank you!" she said. I know that she doesn't receive this kind of respect from some of her other students, and I think this is a travesty.

My 10-year-old son ran for class president at school today. They don't know who won yet, but he was afraid that he wasn't going to win, because nearly every other candidate handed out some sort of candy, gum, or other treat as part o…

Adults 58 - Embryos 0: Who's Winning in Stem Cell Therapy?

Question: How many maladies have been cured using stem cells? Answer: Hundreds. Question: How many maladies have been cured using embryonic stem cells? Answer: ...

Zero. An attempt to treat Parkinson's was made using embryonic stem cells, but had to be stopped when further damage was caused to the patients. Adult Stem Cells, however, are being used to successfully treat 58 different human diseases.

Why the big hype, then? Because there's big money to be made from the harvesting and cloning of embryos. And the alleged promise of embryonic stem cells is an attempt to justify continued unnecessary abortions.

Even if it's not a moral issue, which I think it is, which therapy would you trust?

If you were a family, one of whose members needed therapy for which stem cells may effect a cure, which therapy would you choose?

Answer: Adult stem cells.

Perhaps we shouldn't call them "Adult" stem cells, because it leaves the impression that they are hard to come by. The…

Christianity + Reason = Freedom & Capitalism

Why was it that when Enlightenment Europe stopped long enough to notice, they found out that no one else possessed the technical innovations that they did? Because while all other world religions embraced mysticism and the unknowableness of God, Christianity (to a greater or lesser degree) developed the idea that reason and logic can help us to come to a better understanding of God, science, and everything else.

The ingredients of capitalism existed in nearly every society, but in only one region of the globe did it actually take root. Christian Europe, which was admittedly influenced by Greek philosophy, was its breeding ground, and that not by chance. Western successes, including in the realm of science, cannot be explained any way other than by their being influenced by reason and individual freedoms inculcated by Christianity.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels actually express some approbation over Capitalism in The Communist Manifesto. They just felt like Capitalism could be impro…

Do These Pants Make My Carbon Offsets Look Big?

For any of you husbands, has your wife ever asked you 'Do these pants make my butt look big?" The correct answer is "No", but have you ever been tempted to say, 'Well, maybe a little." (I don't have that problem; my wife and I go to the gym nearly every day.)

At any rate, imagine how much more complicated it would be if butt sizes were like greenhouse gas emissions.

"Honey, do these pants make my butt look too big?"

"Well, actually sweetheart..."

"Don't answer that--first you have to realize that Denise is thirty pounds underweight, so I'm offsetting my posterior by her thirty pounds, and I borrowed fifteen pounds from Terri."

"Well, in that case, dear, those pants make you look just fine!"

Such is the logic (ergo folly) of most carbon offsets. The only reason that the Kyoto Treaty got enough signatories is that some nations got to count their relatively skinny butts. Russia got to count the fact that great …

Cheney Good? Cheney Bad? Let's Be Civil

BYU hosted two political demonstrations today--one (sponsored by BYU college Democrats) opposed to the appearance of Vice President Dick Cheney ( imagine that!) at upcoming graduation commencement exercises, and one (BYU college Republicans) in favor (imagine that, too!). I thought about going up to main campus to see what was going on, but I decided against it.

The BYU Daily Universe on Monday stated that it had received a lot of letters to the editor regarding Vice President Cheney and implied that many of them could be classified as hate mail, many of which were followed up with correspondences by the same submitters "pleading that we won't publish the first."

I used to think that only the craziest of people would fashion themselves conspiracy theorists, claiming outlandish things with no proof. It seems that for some on both the left and the right that this is becoming de rigueur (the left is more cacophonous right now only because a Republican is in the White House…

Third Branch of Congress Settles Issue of Global Warming

It is the duty of the Supreme Court to interpret the laws of the United States (those laws can only be created by Congress). Yesterday, in MASSACHUSETTS ET AL. v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ET AL. four Supreme Court justices did this, while five did not. It is the duty of the Supreme Court not to give opinions on facets of science that are still controversial and unproven, let alone to use such opinions for making new law (which the Constitution of the United States leaves to Congress). Yesterday, four Justices fulfilled their Constitutional duty, while five exceeded it.

I'm not sure why Al Gore visited congress recently, unless he's trying to run for President of the United States or Secretary General of the United Nations. Surely he must have known that "the third branch" of the legislature would "solve" the issue that he was trying to get the regularly elected Congress to decide. By a 5-4 decision yesterday, the Supreme Court decided once and for…

Democratization Does Not Mean Westernization

In a recent radio interview that I participated in, I discussed my feeling that all people are born with a sense of goodness. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches that a power exists in the universe that we call The Light of Christ. Not only is this Light the power by which the entities in the universe are governed, it is also the power by which the minds of men are enlightened. Another name for the Light of Christ is "conscience". I believe that all people are born with this Light of Christ to enable them to distinguish good from bad. We can all, for example, understand that liberty is good.

Liberty, however, does not have to be American-style liberty. In fact, in our day and age of progressive law and Hollywood permeation of American society, it would be well for the rest of the world to not look too closely at America as a pattern for the kind of liberty they should like to enjoy.

This is the essence of Islamic ambivalence (and sometimes hatred) for…