Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When Freedom is Won, it Should Not be Hoarded

Freedom should be free, I suggest, in making an argument that we should not make it so hard for people to come to America.

Only to have a Facebook friend fire back, "Uh, freedom wasn't exactly free for the Founding Fathers. They pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, and it wasn't idle rhetoric."

And, another replied, "Freedom is never free, it must be purchased with blood through every generation."

Good thoughts, those are. In such a sense, freedom is not free. But, the freedom to come to America is not one that needs to be earned through spilling blood to get here. Freedoms that need to be won are won by those who don't have them from those who won't just give them away. But when freedom is won, it should not hoarded, but shared, freely.

The man who shares not his freedom knows not its meaning.

Monday, January 30, 2012

If We Find Silly Alcohol Laws, Get Rid of Them

We should loosen up our alcohol laws in Utah.

Oh, I do not mean drop our government agency that distributes. Nor, would I like to see us make it much easier to get alcohol.

But, I would like to see us wash from the books any law that is just silly. We do ourselves no favor by having silly laws on the books.

I understand bar owners, home brewers and others sat down earlier this month with the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Review Committee. They asked some pretty hard questions. Why should restaurants pay double for license renewals? Why is it illegal to serve two shots of, say, Jack Daniels, but okay to give the patron one shot of Jack Daniels and another of vodka. Why are curtains or walls required to be placed between the people mixing the drinks and the customers?

If we have silly and unreasonable laws, let's change them. We should look into such questions as were brought up, and, if they are correct, change the laws to make them equitable.

(Source for this story item: Peg McEntee's column in the Jan. 12 Salt Lake Tribune.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life is Not in Petri Dish, but in Womb

If a heart is beating 23 days after conception and a brain is forming 21 to 24 days in, and, if we judge a person to be dead if his heart stops beating, why would we have a different take on whether an unborn child is a living being if he or she has a beating heart?
So I asked in a Facebook post.
Scott Peterson fired back a good answer:
"One of my favorite points that pro-lifers make is the 'beating heart' premise.
*Individual* cardiac muscle cells beat. I've seen it in a petri dish with my own two eyes. Doesn't mean that the cell can function in any way on its own."
I think Scott has a valid point. I am partially persuaded. But, it should not be overlooked that the beating heart, in the unborn, is yet within the unborn's body. Comparing apples to apples, that seems of note.

And, I wonder but what, if the little heart were to quit beating while within the womb, there wouldn't be a miscarriage. If so, that would indicate the beating heart in the unborn is not to be equated with a heart still beating in a petri dish, but to be equated with one that stops beating resulting in death.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ron Paul Not as Dangerous as Suggested?

Read today how it is not that Ron Paul supports legalizing drugs and prostitution, but that he simply favors leaving the issue to the states, being a believer that such powers are delegated to the states by Article 1, Section 8 and the 10th Amendment.

This tempers my feelings toward Paul, but doesn't alleviate them. I have heard him say we should free those who are in jail for marijuana. I do fear our country and government would move more the direction of not fighting drugs, not fighting gambling, and such other things if Paul were elected.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Of Newt and Paul: Morals of Candidate, Nation Matter

I do not want Newt Gingrich for president because the morality of a person is important, and I do not want Ron Paul because the morality of a nation does matter.

Gingrich's turned his campaign around by castigating CNN's John King for opening last Thursday's debate with a question on whether Newt asked a former wife for an open marriage, condemning King for "the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media" and saying he was appalled that King would open a presidential debate with such a question.

But, I think the morality of a candidate is a valid issue. I think whether Gingrich asked for an open marriage is a valid concern. More so, I do not think I should forget Gingrich was having an affair while, as speaker of the House, he was leading impeachment proceedings against President Clinton for having an affair with Monica Lewinsky.

It is one thing to say these things were wrong, and to apologize each time the topic comes up. But to say such things are "destructive, vicious and negative" is not where I chose to leave them. They are destructive and negative to a campaign, certainly, but they are important to determining the character of the person.

And, in electing a person to fill the Oval Office, character is something I desire.

Nor can I vote for Ron Paul. If we were to elect him, our nation would swing towards legalizing drugs, and perhaps legalizing gambling, as well. Paul's views on limited government do not end with making the government smaller, but extend to limiting government's efforts to bring morality to our land. The idea of making cocaine legal, to me, is dangerous. The idea that we could become a nation riddled with gambling casinos, street corner drug markets, and open prostitution is not a pleasant one. It is not the America I envision.

I believe in an America with values. Freedom to some might seem to be the right to be "wicked," the right to indulge in whatever thing a person might want. I say, though, having government restrictions on those things is not going to take away your indulging, but it is going to curb it, it is going to keep it from being an open and assessable part of our society, a thing that advertises itself by being right out in the public, thus attracting and promoting more of the same.

No, I am not for the immoralization of America, and I am not for Ron Paul.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

George Albert Smith Aspired to Loftiest of Goodness

Don't know that I have heard of any other person -- other than Christ -- aspiring to any higher ideals than did George Albert Smith, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1945 to 1951.

You must read his personal creed to decide if you agree. In it, we find as lofty of ambition to do good as you should find most anywhere.

I first read his creed as a young man, probably while I was at Ricks College, and the line, "I would be a friend to the friendless," has been a positive influence on me ever since.

Though the creed is little known, I think it worthy of great attention. If it were popular, and given mass attention, and considered a great document, I think that would be worthy.

The creed:

"I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.

"I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.

"I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.

"I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and happy life.

"I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.

"I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.

"I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.

"I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.

"I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.

"I would not be an enemy to any living soul.

"Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth."


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hooray for Freedom, Freedom on the Internet

I posted this at the end of an Deseret News online Associated Press story about how Wednesday's protest on the Internet reaped such success:

"Hooray for freedom. It might be well, yet, for legislation against pirating, but that legislation should be focused on those doing the pirating and those downloading the pirated material. It should not be directed at the websites such as Wikipedia, and should not make them the policemen for what is a government responsibility, You don't go after the maker of a soapbox when someone jumps up on it and slanders another person, and neither should you go after the new-fangled soapbox makers (the Internet sites) when someone gets on them and commits a crime. Punish the party committing the crime, not someone else. Freedom ceases to be freedom when you take away the rights of a person not committing the offense."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Newt's Novel Idea: Privatizing Immigration

Now, how about if we were to privatize immigration, and maybe have American Express, Visa or MasterCard run the show?

"I favor a guest-worker program and I would outsource it to American Express, Visa, or MasterCard, because they can run it without fraud and the federal government is hopeless," said Newt Gingrich, offering his novel idea during the CNN presidential debate Thursday.

Privatize immigration? Of course, Newt advocated it only for a guest-worker program. But, privatizing immigration of workers takes in a good portion of immigration, most immigrants needing work if they are going to stay here long.

And, if the federal government is so riddled with fraud and hopelessness in one portion of immigration, I imagine it is with them all. So, why not just privatize the whole thing? Maybe that, indeed, is what Newt was suggesting.

With such a program in place, Newt said, "You then say to employers, 'If you hire somebody who's illegal, we're going to have an enormous economic sanction,' because there will be no excuse once you have a guest-worker program that's legal."

Newt's suggested most undocumented people would go home under such a program, but would they? First, there would be a program in place, making it legal for those who are now illegal to be here. Second, by its nature, private enterprise drums up business. It sells all the product it can. If the product is entrance into America, it might even advertise it to bring more people here.

American Express: Don't leave your home country without it.

As a postscript, added Jan. 26:

For all its unique appeal, I do not favor privatization of immigration. Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's, or that to government that which is government's. This is a matter for government. Private enterprise would be no less apt to fraud.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Anti-Abortion Needs to Become a Movement

If we oppose abortion, if it has now been 38 years since it became legal, if nothing is being achieved, is there something that can be done, that will, indeed, bring change?

Is abortion just to be a debate topic, not a movement? A movement has a goal. Those who oppose abortion certainly need one. Abortion can be argued till you're blue in the face, but nothing will be won unless you have an objective.

Is there one? Is there a proposed constitutional amendment people are rallying behind? Is there a court case that might bring the issue back to the Supreme Court. (I haven't studied that, but perhaps the Supreme Court has already turned down hearing such cases.)

Shall 1.2 million unborn continue to die each year while we do nothing but debate?

And, even if there were an objective, is there any action taking place? Have I ever heard of a public protest? Is there any concerted effort to contact Congress members?

How is it that an issue this big has no direction?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Was Today's Outrage Most-Successful Internet Protest?

Perhaps never in America has a protest on the Internet reaped so much as today's onslaught.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a co-sponsor of PIPA, a bill that placing restrictions on Internet websites, dropped his sponsorship. And, he was not alone.

"SOPA protest rattles Congress," reads a headline in Politico. It says the day began with 40 co-sponsors of PIPA, and ended with four of them changing their minds, the well-known Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida being among them.

Hatch's defection was the most noteworthy, he being co-chair of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus. Bless Sen. Hatch for his change of heart, as changing stands brings wrath from a public that seems to thinks such changes are reflect political weakness. I say changing opinions is a strength, taking courage, and showing you are open to reason.

The House version of the bill, SOPA, lost two co-sponsors, out of 30 it began with, Politico said.

Several contact sites of congress members crashed under the load of protests, according to one report. It seemed based on having tried to contact the congress members, and finding the sites to be down. Perhaps the sites were down for other reasons, though. I do not know.

Thus, the Internet, key to bringing us the Arab Spring, notably the protesting that led to the downfall of the Egyptian government, saw its most successful protest to date in America, I would guess.

Among the other outrage: Hundreds rallied at the offices of New York's two senators, who are supporters of the PIPA, expressing their disapproval.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Save the Maker of the New-Fashioned Soapbox!

Please help save the maker of the new-fashioned soapbox. Come to his aid, if you will.

I called my congressmen tonight, asking them to oppose SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act).

Now, the idea behind SOPA (the House version of the bill) and PIPA is worthy enough. Congress simply aims to stop piracy, to keep people from infringing on copyright laws.

But, they go about it wrong. They go after the websites people are on when they commit the infringements. That's a like going after the maker of a soapbox that someone is on when they slander someone.

You can't do that. When you regulate the people who aren't doing the wrong, when you take away a freedom from people who shouldn't have the freedom ripped away, you are infringing on all of our rights as Americans.

And, when you require the person who owns the soapbox to be responsible for what is said by the people who jump on it, you certainly are going after the wrong person.

We have built a truly wonderful thing in this new-fangled soapbox, the Internet. Let's not let our Congress rip apart both it and our freedoms at the same time.

Oppose SOPA. Oppose PIPA. Call your congressman today.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Four Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, here are four of the quotes he gave us:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."

"All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another."

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tim Tebow's John 3:16 Game

Here's a story of a scripture and a quarterback. John 3:16 and Tim Tebow.

You know how football players sometimes put some paint under their eyes to shelter their eyes from the glare of the lights? Well, back in college while at Florida,  in the BSC championship game in 2009, quarterback Tim Tebow had "John" written under the right eye and "3:16" under the left eye.

You probably know what John 3:16 says, but if you don't: "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoso believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Well, Timmy is now a Denver Bronco, and has enjoyed one of the most legendary seasons a player could have. The Broncos were 1-4 when Tebow became the starter. He immediately engineered an overtime victory.

Thus was the beginning of what has come to be known as "Tebow Time." The Broncos got stomped the following week, but then reeled off six straight wins. Two of the wins came in overtime. During this stretch, Tebow had one of the worst quarterback ratings among starters -- but if you just took the fourth quarter, he had the third-best rating of all.

And, all the time, Tebow was giving thanks to God. He would go down on one knee and thank the Lord after . . . well, I don't know if it was after every touchdown, because I don't watch football, but he did it a lot.

The act of going down on one knee to pray has become know as  "Tebowing."

Well, I have saved the best of this story for last. Hope you're still around. Last week, was another overtime victory, except this time it came in the playoffs. Timmy tossed an 80-yard touchdown strike just 11 seconds into the overtime, bringing to close the shortest overtime in NFL playoff history with the longest pass in NFL playoff history.

Quite a legend, this Tim Tebow.

But here's the part I should have started with, instead of stuffing it way down here in our story: Remember John 3:16? Well, Tebow passed for 316 yards, and since he completed just 10 passes, that's 31.6 yards per completion. The man who caught the winning 80-yard toss, Demaryius Thomas, was born on Christmas Day. One more: The final 15 minutes of the game enjoyed an overnight rating of 31.6.

Now, I could leave the story there, without commentary . . . and looking at the clock, I think I shall. I may come back and add the commentary later, maybe even rewriting the story so the best part is at the start, where it belongs. But must go to bed for now.

Before closing, the Broncs did lose today, and Tebow was but 9-26, I believe. But John 3:16 still made it into the game, Focus on the Family putting an advertisement on featuring children quoting John 3:16.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Day the Supreme Court Turned on Its Own

If I asked you, would you be able to tell me any way in which Constitutional civil rights are being ignored by our government?

If you can think it, is there any way in which millions of lives are being lost, and yet the federal government is not stepping in to save them? It, in fact, is the force behind why the lives are being lost.

The answer: Abortion. About 1.2 million lives are lost each year to abortions. These lives are not only not protected by our government, but it was our government that decided they should not be saved. It was the government that gave these lives away. Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton -- two court cases decided by the Supreme Court the same day, Jan. 22, 1973 -- reversed laws in all 50 states protecting the unborn.

The Court turned on its own, you could say, as the Court is there to be the protector of rights. It turned on the very people it is there to protect.

For, it says in the 14th Amendment, ". . . nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

The court got around that by not considering an unborn child to be a person. Now, what if we were to concede that an unborn child indeed is not yet a person? Wouldn't it still remain the unborn will become one, will become a person? Is not the Court sworn to uphold the rights of all persons, even those who have not yet arrived at that status?

"Nor shall any State deprive any person of life?" The Court, itself, is depriving an estimated 1.2 million people of their lives each year. Ironically, the states were protecting the lives of the unborn, until the Court, itself, forbid them from doing so.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pro Life is Pro Declaration of Independence

 Would we think the right to life an inalienable thing, not to be contested, and would we say this includes life for the unborn, those within the womb, those who we label no more than fetuses?

 "Being born is a gift, not a right," I just read at a pro choice website.

So, we disagree, them and I. They hold it is not a right. I hold it is the most basic of rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are, life . . . life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Like a presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, I repeat the word "life" twice as I quote the Declaration of Independence, for emphasis.

Life not a right? When it says it is in the Declaration?

But, I am aware the Supreme Court, circa 1973, did not view the unborn as having the right to life. That court, in Roe v. Wade, ruled for that it was abortion that was a right, not birth.

I so disagree.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Abortion is Number One Cause of Loss of Life

An estimated 1.2 million unborn babies lose their lives to abortions each year in America.
How does that stack up with the other causes of life being lost?

Compare it to the 37,792 lives lost to drug overdoses and other drug-related deaths in 2010, or to the 35,080 lives lost in car accidents, or the 31,513 lives lost to guns, or the 25,440 lives taken by alcohol.

Against those figures, abortion's loses are staggering.

Tobacco use accounts for about one in every five deaths annually in the United States. That's about 443,000 deaths per year -- but still less than half the number of lives lost to abortions.

The number one cause of death in the United States? That would be heart disease. It claimed 631,636 people in 2006, making it the cause of 26 percent of all deaths. More than one in every four deaths is from heart disease.

Abortion: 1.2 million lives lost each year. On average, an abortion claims a life somewhere in the U.S. about every thirty seconds. Abortion dwarfs so many other causes of life being lost, and beats them all. And, unlike the "leading" cause of death, it doesn't usually claims its victims in the late years, but before they can even begin to live.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Day Abortion Became a Right

Search through that Constitution, if you will, to find just where it is that it says there is the right to have an abortion.

You'll find rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms. But is there, somewhere alongside them, the right to an abortion?

But since 1973, the right to abortion has existed, and as a constitutional right, at that. It was established by the famous Roe v. Wade and the less well-known Doe v. Bolton.

I give you a thought, offered in a dissenting opinion by Justice Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White. Lest you finish this blog and not be sure where I stand, I agree with Justice White. Whizzer noted the Court was deciding that "the Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim, or caprice of the putative mother more than the life or potential life of the fetus."

"With all due respect, I dissent," White wrote. "I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court's judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers. . . ."

Abortion became a right that day, Jan. 22, 1973 (the justices found that personal rights had been violated in the due process clause of the 14th Amendment), and has been ever since.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Obama Not Making End Run Around Congress

Ahh, so we jump to say President Obama is circumventing the Constitutional process with this new rule change allowing some immigrants to remain in the U.S. while waivers are being approved.

I'm among those who wondered about this, when I first heard of the rule change. What I've learned since then, though, leads me now to think that we were wrong. Obama is not making an end run around Congress.

Many a law has been written without every little detail being considered. My understanding is that the law does not spell out where the undocumenteds must be -- state side or in their home country -- so the administrators of the law must make that determination. In the past, they have required the person to return to their home country, but now they will allow the process to take place while they remain in America.

This sounds wise and legal and fair to me. I am not faulting Obama for the rule change based on what I know at the moment.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This Scripture Will Cure What (Incivility) Ails You

If being rude is a problem . . . no, if being impolite is a problem . . . no, even less than that -- if being uncivil is a problem, have I got a scripture for you.

On incivility. This one will cure you of any incivility. I trust, of course, that you will be willing to follow its advice.

 "Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment:and . . .whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:22)

 Now, you need to know, of course, just how this scripture will cure you. Perhaps it is just my judgment, but from bantering back and forth on Facebook, I have noticed that two of the most common forms of incivility are anger with the opponent and relegating the opponent to stupidity, or saying he or she is being absurd, or some such.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Obama Policy Not Momentous as I Thought

So, how momentous is it that the Obama Administration is going to allow those in the U.S. illegally to remain here while getting their paperwork in order, instead of requiring them to return to their home country while this is being done?

If I understand the situation correctly, currently, a person who is illegally here often is required to return to their home country. The catch is, if they have been illegal for six months, they then must remain in their home country for 3 years before they can come back to the U.S. And, if they have been illegally in the U.S. for a year, they then must wait 10 years before being allowed back in our country. There is a way around the 3- and 10-year waits, however. One can get a waiver. There were about 23,000 waivers applied for last year and about 17,000 of them were granted.

Now, with this new Obama Administration policy, they will not need to go back to their home country to get the waiver. So, will there be a big impact? If 17,000 of 23,000 are already being allowed to return to the U.S. without the 3- and 10-year waits, it would not seem so. It would seem that the difference will not be whether they wait 3 or 10 years, and perhaps not even how long they wait for the waiver. The only difference is that they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. while waiting the waiver to be approved.

That's a plus, and a good thing, as it keeps them from being separated from their families while they wait for the waiver. But it is not as momentous of a thing as I thought when I first heard of this new program, and thought it ended the 3- and 10-year waits, themselves.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Corporations More than Just Paper

People are people and corporations aren't, goes the argument of those who favor an amendment to the Constitution taking all Constitutional liberties away from corporations.

The counter argument, of course, is that corporations are made up of people. One Facebook poster countered the counter argument, suggesting to me that you could take all the people out of a corporation, and the corporation would still exist on paper. 

If they are wanting to take away freedom of speech and freedom of religion from the pieces of paper that make up corporations, why? They know the pieces of paper cannot talk or write. If they seek to take away the civil rights from the paper that makes up the corporation, that paper cannot do any harm, cannot speak. Why, then, have the amendment in the first place?

I do not believe it when I am told the proposed amendment would not take away civil liberties from the people who compose the corporations. You cannot take away the liberties of the corporation without taking away the liberties of the component parts of that corporation -- and that is people.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Is there Anything Like the Corporate Personhood Debate?

Know ye anything so interesting as this corporate personhood debate? Listen up to the history and know it is so.

Citizens United produces and schedules airing of a movie critical of Hillary Clinton right before the 2008 Democratic primaries. But before the video-on-demand can reach TVs, the government blocks it.

The Citizens United folks are outraged, of course, so they take their case to court.

 And, a great case it is. It goes all the way to the Supreme Court, where (two years too late) the court rules the First Amendment has been trampled on and violated.

Now, it is the opponents of Citizens United who are outraged. So much so, they start a movement to amend the constitution, preventing those such as Citizens United from ever again being able to claim such a thing as First Amendment privilege.

Citizens United is but a corporate personhood, they argue, and should not be parading around as though it were due any First Amendment rights. Rights are for people, not corporations, they argue. Citizens United is not a person. Corporations are not people.

It's simple: People are people and that's where peoplehood ends.

To them, corporate personhood is the great American evil.

Now, here's an entanglement: ReclaimDemocracy.org -- one of the organizations set up to fight corporate personhood, was registered as a private, nonprofit organization -- same as Citizens United. If Citizens United is a corporation, and therefore not entitled to free speech, why should ReclaimDemocracy -- being the same type of an organization -- have free speech?

And, here's another twist: Citizens United suggests its mission is to restore the American government to "citizens control." That's hardly different than what the anti corporate personhood people aim to achieve.

So, know ye anything so interesting as this debate over corporate personhood?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Line-Item Taxation Might be Way to Go

Hmm. How about line-item taxation? On your return, you check the things you are willing to pay for, and that is where your tax dollar goes.

Don't want to pay for Planned Parenthood? Don't have to. Don't want to pay for wars you don't support? Don't have to.

Now, this could be a dangerous thing. After all, can we just bounce programs in and out of existence? If the people choose to pay for a program one year, but squeeze it the next, then decide to spend on it again the third year, what happens? Say it is welfare, and one year the taxpayers give enough so everyone is funded, but the next year we not only have to lay off government workers, but we don't have enough money for all the welfare recipients, yet the criteria for who qualifies hasn't changed, so they are all equally qualified. So, which ones of them get the funding and which get left out?

But, though we can see some real problems, don't toss this novel little idea out. I still think it might (possibly)  have some merit. Maybe, we could buffer it, so only half your tax dollar goes where you want and the other half goes to ensure consistency. This would make us equal partners with our congresspeople: They appropriate half the money, and we appropriate the other half.

Now, the other problem that might come up is that government agencies might start advertising their services, reasoning they need to sell the public on what they do, or they are going to be out of jobs.

Guess we could outlaw that, though. We could say only the people and Congress (or the legislature, if it is a state) have the power to appropriate money for advertising.