Showing posts from September, 2009

If We Could Make Just One Fix to Health Care, This Should Be It

The best solution for increasing competition in the health insurance industry--to allow insurance companies to sell policies to any resident in any state-- is one to which the federal government holds the key. Not only would this reduce costs by increasing competition, it would be a simple change for Congress to make. Yet so far, the United States congress refuses to make this one change, preferring instead to make health insurance and health care more complicated than it has to be.

Since 1945, as a result of federal intervention, Americans have only been able to purchase health care in their own states. The resulting lack of competition is one of the chief reasons that health insurance has become so expensive here. A simple, one-page federal law allowing Americans to purchase health insurance from any company in any state would help to reduce the exorbitant insurance costs that cause several million Americans to not be able to afford health insurance. The United States Congress,…

I'm Right...and You're Stupid. How Civil is Utah Politics?

Do we sometimes, perhaps subliminally, think that because someone disagrees with us that they are less intelligent? How civil is political debate in Utah? Why does it seem that incivility is more attractive and entertaining? Is a little incivility okay every now and then? If you had to choose between being civil and being honest, which would you choose?

These and similar questions were discussed last night at the quarterly blogger briefing entitled "CIVILITY IN POLITICS: WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?", hosted by the Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City.

Dave Hansen, chair of the Utah State Republican Party, noted that there have been several times in American history where political debate has been much less civil than it is today. The 1968 presidential election at the height of the Vietnam War was one such high-water mark. Early campaigns in our nations history, such as those between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were fraught with name calling and half truths that migh…

I'm Glad That's Not in My Bible!

There are some pretty wacky things in the Bible. That's why I'm glad that my Church teaches that "we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly."

The other night we were reading about the exploits of the steroidally strong Samson in the Old Testament. He fell in love with some floozy from another country, and she got him to reveal a secret, which ultimately ticked him off as only Samson could be ticked off. In the last verse of Judges chapter 14 he dumps his wife out of spite. And you know... That's the first time in my entire life that I realized that before the tart named Delilah came along, there was another bimbo.

And how are these stories of a muscular, oversexed monster supposed to be spiritually uplifting?

In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins points out some the more bizarre entries in the Old Testament. Dawkins chortles:
To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you wou…

Earthly Liberals and Heavenly Conservatives

It is very likely that one's religious perspective of heaven contributes quite substantially to the exercise of their politics on earth. It seems to me that Conservatives, who are more generally focused on earning the rewards of the next life, are not as tuned into the importance of taking care of the here and now as Liberals are.

If you're a Latter-day Saint I'm sure you've heard at least one such story before: person quits job and drains savings account because he has become sure that "The Millennium" and Jesus's return to earth are right around the corner, and that all things will be taken care of for him. Regardless of how many of such stories are true, these stories illustrate a potential shortsightedness of members of any religion that think that heaven is more important than earth.

Enlightenment thinkers, to include our own Founding Fathers, frowned on such exaggerated netherworld thinking. Instead, they realized that ensuring that everyone has su…

The Real Reason that Housing is Not Affordable

Governments are notorious for creating problems (or inventing problems that don't exist) in order to blame someone else for them and to obtain more control over the masses by and setting out to provide a solution to the problem it caused. This is the essence of the current U.S. housing crisis. Government is the primary reason that housing is not affordable for many Americans. It is insanity, then, to expect government to fix the problem--a problem that it created in the first place.

It is a lie--based on unfounded interpretations of a housing study from the 1990's--that mortgage providers turned away minorities on a regular basis who were fully qualified borrowers. So states Thomas Sowell in his cut-to-the-point new book The Housing Boom and Bust. The reality is that equally qualified applicants of any race were being given loans--and equally unqualified applications of any race were being turned away--at roughly the same rates. One thing that markets--even if they are m…

Happy Constitution Day from a Document on Life Support

Some people think the Constitution is almost dead. Some people wish it were dead. And some people are doing their best to kill it. I think, though, that the Constitution is much stronger than we give it credit for since, when its precepts are adhered to, it's still the best bastion of liberty the world has ever seen. Learning this immutable truth might be rather costly in the days ahead, but that's another story...

The current health care debate, as well as the previous and ongoing debate over the global war on terror, show just how little people think about the United States Constitution anymore.

On September 17, 1787, 39 men put their lives on the line by signing the greatest freedom compact known to mankind--the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution eloquently and with wisdom set forth rules under which Americans could live in liberty and peace. But ask many people what they know about the Constitution and "racism" is one of the firs…

Iraqis Remember 9/11All Too Well

Iraqis mourned with Americans on September 11, 2001. It wasn't long, however, before their tyrannical ruler was targeted as a possessor of weapons of mass destruction along with the intent to use them on America. When it was later proven beyond doubt that Saddam Hussein never had either such payload or such intent, it was too late for the Iraqi people. During our mid-stream mission change of bringing them "democracy", we have brought far more death, dismemberment, and destruction than liberty. Yes, Iraqis remember 9/11. It is still tearing their country apart.

When I got to Kuwait in June of 2005, I was surprised that all of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti workers on my transition base couldn't understand very much of my limited Arabic speaking ability. It turns out they were Indians, Pakistanis, Philippinos, etc.

When I got to my combat base in Iraq, the only three Iraqis workers I ever met there were translators who went with the brigade and battalion commanders, or with…

Obama "Fundamentally Changing America"? Balderdash

It's a dangerous political game we play when we pit ourselves as enemies against our actual friends. This is the result of believing the mistake Glenn Beck and others are making with an alarming increase in frequency, in that they claim that President Barack Obama is "Fundamentally Chang[ing] America". He is doing no such thing.

Many of you relatively older folks will remember (fondly?--I do) this video clip that I think was first aired as a commercial during the 1984 Superbowl. In my opinion, it is still one of the best commercials ever made.

This newer commercial remakes the classic, but with the fundamental substance changed in a fatally flawed way.

The problem? The remake portrays a message that is patently untrue. If we believe the essence of the remake then we are walking with too many Americans down the "Road More Traveled"--the wrong road--which will result in us never arriving at the real truth.

Barack Obama may have said that he wants to "fundam…