Monday, September 1, 2014

War, When Successful, Leaves the People Better Off

   War, when we go to war in foreign lands, should be to help a people. "When our cause it is just," says the song, and so we should not go to war just because someone ruffles our feathers or thumbs their nose at us.
   So, I was happy to hear from an Iraqi or Afghanistan vet tonight, who spoke of how, when he arrived, the insurgents were sniper shooting at school children, but by the time we left, the school children were walking the school yards without being targeted by snipers.
   War, when successful, leaves the people better off than it when it was entered upon.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Words of the First Amendment are Easy Enough to Understand

   How is it that the First Amendment is so misunderstood? The words seem to be straight forward enough.
   Yet, on one side, there are those who say it means there shall be a separation of church and state. And, on the other side, people say it means government shall not pick and favor one religious denomination above others.
   In fact, I don't see it saying either one of those things.
   Read the First Amendment (the part on religion), and see if it says either of those things. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That's it. Where's the part on separation of church and state? And, where's the part that says one religion shall not be favored above another?
  The word "respecting" means "concerning" in the way it is used in the First Amendment. Respecting what we are talking about, it means "in regards to." In respect to this, I say that this is a common usage. Respecting all the meanings being pulled out of the First Amendment, I hold that this is all the word "respecting" was intended to convey.
   The First Amendment does not say, "A law is hereby made that church and state shall be separate." I don't even see a way for reading the First Amendment to come away with that meaning. It just isn't there. There may have been Founding Fathers who felt that way, but they didn't put it in the First Amendment.
   Nor do the words in the First Amendment say one religious establishment shall not be respected above another. That just isn't the way the word "respecting" is being used. Though I would guess the Founding Fathers did not want any single denomination to be lifted above others, they didn't address that when they wrote the First Amendment.
   So, if some Muslim students in Phoenix want to pray during a break in school, remember the law of the land is that we should not be "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. If a child in Florida wants to read from the Bible during free reading time, then bear in mind that the First Amendment says we should not be "prohibiting the free exercise" of his doing so.
   And, if city council members decide to have prayer at the beginning of a meeting, let them, for the First Amendment says not to prohibit the free exercise of religion.
   So, though the wording in the First Amendment seems clear to me, those who are on one side never get it right and some of those on the other side often to not get it right, either.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Healthy Utah Would Put all These Health-Care Recipients to Work?

   I applaud Gov. Gary Herbert for his stand that those receiving a proposed health care coverage be required to work. Herbert is proposing a program called Healthy Utah that would provide coverage to those at a certain lower income level.
   He says the Obama administration, which will need to give Utah permission to go with Healthy Utah instead of having those people on Medicaid, has balked at the suggestion that the recipients work.
   I think it a great idea, to have them work. Speaking at a monthly press conference Thursday, Herbert said if you are going to get free or subsidized help, then, "at least as a minimum requirement, you ought to let the state of Utah help you find a job." (Quote from a Deseret News article.)
   What? Mean the state would actually go out and find them jobs, and place them in jobs? That is a rather big commitment. It seems the Obama administration should be jumping to commit Utah to it. The administration should be saying, "If you wants to guarantee people jobs, by all means, go for it. Don't let us stop you."
   What, with unemployment rates as they are, to take a whole economic category of people and place them all in jobs? Who would ever say "No" to such a thing?
   I like it that people work for what they get. I believe more -- perhaps all -- of our public assistance programs should be attached to work requirements.
   Well, Herbert's work stipulation wouldn't apply to all those in the Healthy Utah program. Some would be deemed unable to work. Still, the requirement would result in a fairly large share of people being inserted into the workforce. Herbert suggested only two-thirds of those in this income bracket currently are working. The rest -- a third -- either would be judged as unable to work or given jobs.
   That should be a fairly significant number of people being placed in jobs. It will make for a "healthier" state. Let's do this.
   (Post was added upon 8/30/14.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm Thinking Alicia Should be Held Accountable for Attempted Murder

   Alicia Marie Englert, the lady with disabilities who tossed her newborn out in the trash, what should be done with her? I'm guessing, the norm in handling cases where the offender has disabilities is to charge them and let the courts sort out if the mental disabilities should excuse them.
   Not guilty by reason of insanity? I do wonder if, even if they do have mental disabilities, they should still should be held accountable for what they do. I don't know, maybe you lesson the punishment, but I'm thinking they still should be held accountable, at least in many cases. It seems probable that Alicia should have been able to realize killing a baby was not a good thing to be doing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lady Who Tossed Baby in Trash Might be a Kindly Person, Despite it All

   When we judge, we sometimes judge wrongly. If you live in Salt Lake, you probably heard of the lady who tossed her newborn out in the trash. Of course, we all judged her to be of a vile nature.
   Then comes word today that she is disabled. Her dad, Robert Englert, who recovered the baby from the trash, not knowing at the time that it belonged to his 23-year-old daughter, says she has a learning disability that prevents her from comprehending the significance of what she is doing.
   Well, I do not know whether she should be let off the hook or not. I feel for the police and the prosecutor's office, who have to make that decision. Bless the baby that it may live.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Man Who has Your Ear, has Your Heart

   The man who has your ear, has your heart. If someone is not in good favor with you, often that would change if you gave them audience, listening to them and learning why they do what they do.
  You are more likely to dislike someone being talk about than someone you take the time to talk with.
  There are two sides to every story, it is said. Yet, too often, we come to judgement after hearing only one side. We believe the face before our face and agree that the other party is guilty.
   What can we learn from this? If you are a person who sits over others, having a position of judgement or leadership, know it is wise to bring the accused in and hear their side of the story. And, if you are anyone who hears negative things of others (that includes us all), if you are inclined to act upon negative information, either by treating the person illy or by passing the gossip along, first talk to the person and learn their reasons and situations.
   And, if you are on the other side, if you are the person being gossipped about, and seek fair treatment, get before those who you fear may wrongly judge you, and explain yourself.
   (Updated 8/27/14)

Monday, August 25, 2014

'Nothing Touched the Trigger, but the Devil's Right Hand'

   Let a great singer teach you the danger of guns. Steve Earle. The character in his song spots his first pistol when just a boy, and figures it the finest thing he ever has seen. He asks if he can have one once he grows up, and his mama drops the eggs she is carrying and blows up, telling him the pistol is the devil's right hand. Well, he ends up getting a gun, anyway, the first one being a cap and ball Colt. The song preaches that, "It can get you into trouble, but it can't get you out," words that speak the truth of the gun, if it is to be used for more than self defense. The second gun he buys is a Colt 45, "called a peacemaker, but I never knew why. Never knew why. I didn't understand, 'cause Mama said the pistol is the devil's right hand."
   Well, Steve Earle's songbook character ends up in a card game, and his opponent cheats, so he shoots him dead. They drag him into court the next morning, and ask him how he pleads. "Not guilty," he says. "You've got the wrong man. Nothing touched the trigger but the devil's right hand."