Saturday, March 31, 2012

Going Against Constitution Shouldn't be Only Concern

George Washington, are you saying, then, that instead of just asking if something is against the Constitution, we should also ask if that something is wise, and, if it is, just change Constitution?

I ask this question of George because of the quote I blogged on a few days ago. Washington said the Constitution is not perfect. He suggested the populace  might should alter the document, because, "I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or possess more virtue, than those who will come after us."

That's us he is talking about. Well, it is us along with all the others who came after the founding fathers. The founders were no more inspired, had no more wisdom, and possessed no more virtue than us. And, yes, Washington said, change the Constitution if changes are warranted.
Taking such words to heart, we should do more than to ask if something breaks the Constitution. We should not be satisfied just to keep everything in line with the Constitution. If we can see something should be, but isn't allowed under the Constitution the way it is currently written, then we should amend that venerable document.

Friday, March 30, 2012

George Washington was Hardly Apologist for Alcohol

George Washington was hardly an apologist for alcohol.

"Refrain from drink which is the source of all evil -- and the ruin of half the workmen in this Country," he said.

And, he also said, "An aching head and trembling limbs, which are the inevitable effects of drinking, disincline the hands from work."

Should be noticed both quotes speak of how alcohol can take a person out of the workplace. Drugs can do the same. That drugs and alcohol can affect the productiveness of society should be a concern

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too Many of My Facebook Friends Seek Armed Rebellion

I frown and fear when Facebook friends post such comments as,  "My muskets are primed and ready for the 2nd Revolutionary war coming soon to America."

That came across on a FB post just the other day.

Another Facebook friend a couple weeks ago spoke of going to Washington, gun in hand and anxious to have others join him. He spoke of taking hostages until federal authorities returned to Americans rights that are being lost.

This came just days after he posted something that sounded suicidal.

I Facebooked him back, saying I hoped he was speaking in frustration, but was not serious. He replied that he was serious, indeed. I felt like a counselor of some sort, trying to say things to talk him out of what would be a horrible crime.

Fortunately, I suppose, his ambition was too much to actually undertake. At least, we've heard nothing on the news about anyone taking congressmen hostage -- yet.

I also think of another Facebook friend, more than a year ago posting something calling for a revolution -- an armed revolution -- against the government. I was astounded, astonished, aghast.

But, it seems such thoughts are no longer uncommon. No longer do you have to live in Hayden Lake, Idaho, to have such thoughts. They are so common that you run into your own friends posting them.

That was three of my friends -- three, three of my FB friends talking of taking up arms against the government. This is just among my Facebook friends, so imagine how many people might think this way.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

They Will Still have Their Agency

How does one respond to those who say marijuana should be legalized, and prostitution should be legalized, and gambling should be allowed, because people should have their agency?

After all, wasn't it Satan who sought to take away agency?

I would say, in answer, to look a little closer, and watch much of the argument be flipped on its head.

Read the story on Satan's plan to take away agency.  Everybody would have been saved. No one would have been lost. That is not so unlike legalizing drugs, is it? If we make them legal, those who use them will all be "saved."

Satan's plan would have taken away accountability for sins. By legalizing drugs, we would, likewise, take away much of the accountability. If you remove the crime, you remove accountability.

Satan's plan did not win. Instead, the plan chosen allowed people to sin (to break laws, if you will), but it provided that there would consequences actions.

Adding consequences does not remove agency.

Case in point: marijuana. Many a person is smoking marijuana though smoking marijuana is illegal. If they lack the agency to smoke pot, however are they doing it anyway?

So, truth be told, laws against drugs and such do not take away agency. They add to the accountability. They provide more punishment. But they do not prevent a person from choosing to do what they will.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Washington Called on Posterity to Change Constitution

What would the forefathers think of us tampering with their Constitution? Take George, for example. What would he think?

"The warmest friends and the best supports the constitution has," Washington wrote in a letter in 1787, "do not contend that it is free from imperfections; but they found them unavoidable, and are sensible, if evil is likely to arise therefrom, the remedy must come hereafter; for in the present moment it is not to be obtained; and, as there is a constitutional door open for it, I think the people (for it is with them to judge), can, as they will have the advantage of experience on their side, decide with as much propriety on the alterations and amendments which are necessary, as ourselves. I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or possess more virtue, than those who will come after us."

Perhaps, then, to some degree, in order to preserve the greatness of the founding fathers, we need to be equal to them, not buried with them.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

George Washington Weighs in on Immigration

Here's a quote from George Washington that might fit into the immigration debate:

 "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment."

That's taken from a letter Washington wrote Dec. 2, 1783.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mitt Romney Disappointed Me Today

My roommate told me of how Mitt Romney wants Obama's energy secretary, interior secretary and head of the EPA all fired.

Romney called them the "gas-hike trio,' saying, "No question in my mind that these -- I call them the gas-hike trio ... are on a mission to drive up the price of gasoline and all energy so that they can finally get their solar and their wind to be more price competitive."

I suppose I would be a little surprised if the three Obama administrators actually wanted gas prices to rise in hopes of helping solar and wind power gain a footing. It's an accusation, but is it a fair one, and is it plausible?

Or, is it just picking enemies and picking a fight with those on the opposite side of the aisle? Our nation has become so polarized, each side finding false faults with the other. Of all the problems our nation has, this is not least among them.

If you don't want them to divide up and fight in partisan fashion, don't elect them in partisan fashion. Elect a few independents.

Mike Lee Disappointed Me Today

Mike Lee disappointed me today.

I opened the newspaper to see how Sen. Mike Lee voted against President Obama's nominee, David Nuffer, for federal judgeship in Utah. Now, Lee actually supports Nuffer, saying he would be an excellent judge, but Lee has committed himself to voting against every Obama judgeship nominee as his way of protesting the way Obama made an appointment. Obama appointed someone to head a consumer watchdog agency, under a law that allows him to make appointments without congressional approval if Congress is in recess. The Senate was meeting for minutes every few days in order to technically remain in session, and thus thwart Obama from making such appointments, but Obama refused to recognize that as actually being in session.

Lee says he will vote against all Obama court appointees until Obama reverses his recess appointments.

Wish Obama and Lee did not have to fight like this. Would be better if the Senate had not concocted the plan to thwart an appointment. Would be better if Obama had not made the appointment when the Constitution forbids it. Did he do it just to spite the Senate? I don't know. Would be better if Lee voted for judgeships based on their own merit and not on a spat with the President.

Wonder what would have happened if Sen. Lee had just called Obama up and asked him, in person, to reverse the recess appointments? Would be a wonderful thing if two elected officials could actually talk over their differences, man to man, instead of sending messages through what they do.

This means, we don't like you making appointments when we're in recess.

This means, I don't like you pretending you're in session when you're not.

Yeah? Well, this means I didn't like the way you made that appointment.

Messages, messages. Have we become so polarized that we can't even sit down and talk with each other? Among the problems our nation has, this, too, is one we should work on.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reframe Sex Education into Morality Training

How about we retool sex education into morality training?

As I sit and write, I wonder what the reactions to this might be. On one side, there would be those who ask just who I think I am, that I should thrust my values on others. Another segment of them would be on the verge of disapproval, but would want to know a little more what I had in mind before opting against the idea.

Then, there would be those who say morality training is what we already have. They would say it is already being done right. I hope they are right, but fear sex ed isn't always geared as much toward high morals as I would like.

Somewhere along the line, someone would agree with me. If we are to teach sex education at all, the emphasis should not be on what sex is all about, but what morality is all about. Rather than sex being the main topic, and morality fitting in here and there, I would like morality to be the chief topic, with the how-to of sex being discussed only within the framework of how it is done in a moral way.

Discuss everything you like -- contraceptives, same-sex relationships, etc. -- but teach them only as how they fit into a moral lifestyle. Teach love and respect for all people, and allow students to have their own views, but teach morals.

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of sex education being taught in a major American city, Chicago having introduced it in 1913. (I don't know whether it was taught in smaller cities at all before that.)

Why not mark the anniversary with a sweeping shift towards morality?

This is important, to me. I cherish that a nation should teach itself values, that it should strive for them, and teach its children them, and practice them as adults. I wonder if we, rather, at times only teach what sex is, if in some of our classes we teach too much of the how-to and not enough of the when-to.

Let us turn it around. As we mark the 100th anniversary of sex education in public schools, let us reframe sex education into morality training. This would be significant, a worthy matter, an endeavor helping the people of our state become, as a whole, a better people.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fighting Abortion is 'Duty of Strong to Protect the Weak'

"When we look to the unborn child, the real issue is not when life begins, but when love begins." So said former Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey.

Does does our love of a child begin when he or she is born? Or can we love the unborn? Should we care about someone as soon as they are conceived? Should we want to protect them? Should we, as a nation, protect them?

Here's another quote, this one from George W. Bush: "The most basic duty of government is to defend the life of the innocent." He made the comment while signing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Earlier in the same short speech, he spoke of "the duty of the strong to protect the weak."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teaching of How-to in Sex Education is not Enough

Why should the maxim, "As a man soweth, so shall he reap" not apply to sex education?

The art of teaching the topic should be touched with the same care and respect as you would have it practiced. If you show no care in your teaching for when there should be sex, you should expect the person to learn no regard against having sex with whomever he or she will and as often as he or she might want. If you teach, "Here is what sex is," you will have taught the how-to without the when-to.

That is not the way to raise the child. It is like throwing seeds to the wind, carelessly. The result cannot be good. "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind," says the prophet Hosea (Hosea 8:7).

I have never sat through a sex education class in Utah. But, I think this matter of grave concern. The topic of sex is not to be dealt with lightly, not without care. I think of a person who might teach a child about guns, and how to shoot them, and then give the child the gun to have and to shoot at will.

Would that be all the parent teaches, just the how-to? Would not the parent also teach when to use the gun, teach that it is not a toy, teach of the harm that can be done, the damage?

Someone might tell me those things are well taught in our schools, but, I wonder.

Monday, March 19, 2012

If We Refuse to Fight Drugs, the War will be Lost

I think of the many times we hear of drugs, alcohol and pornography being associated with crimes, everything from the soldier in Afghanistan who murdered the civilians having been "on" alcohol to Josh Powell having been involved in pornography.

Time after time after time, of late, I've noticed so many of the news stories about crime have had connections to drugs, alcohol and porn, so often that, yes, I do wonder if crime would drop if only we could eliminate such things as drug and alcohol abuse, and pornography.

Or, at least curb them, turn them back.

Yes, there are those who say you cannot legislate morality, and there are others who say you shouldn't, that in doing so, you deprive people of agency.

I will say this: If you do offer legislation against things immoral, it can have a positive impact, and it does. If houses of prostitution were legal, they would be out in the open, on the corner. Yes, more people would participate if they were driving past them daily. If legal, prostitition would be advertised, and the only reason companies advertise is that advertisements work. They do bring in more business.

If you legalized drugs, they would be sold on the corner, just as prostitution would if it were legalized.  If nudity were legal, we would have people running around naked.

No, those are not things I want. I do not want them out in the open. Yes, criminalizing them does have an affect. You can, to an extent, legislate morality.

And, for all laws this country has, mankind in America has not lost its agency. While many drugs are illegal, and prostitution, and gambling, and even some pornography, people still participate in them. Their agency is not lost.

But if we refuse to fight against these things, the war against them will be lost.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Teaching Morality Should be Part of Sex Education

Coaches coach. And, in teaching sex education, that's what our teachers are doing. A good coach tells the player what he wants him or her to do, and helps him or her envision the player he or she can become.

If you want the youth to steer clear of sex before marriage, you teach that. You teach abstinence. If you want them to want them to not have sex outside of marriage, you teach that, too.

Teaching morality should not be a crime. Thankfully, Utah's law sees this. It says instruction shall stress "the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage . . ."

I like that. I do wonder if they should knock out the next few words,  ". . . as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases." Is steering clear of sexually transmitted diseases to be the only reason for staying moral?  I'm hoping it is quite alright to teach morality for morality's sake. Yes, teach that communicable diseases can come from indiscriminate activity, but let rightness and morality -- and even righteousness -- be at least among the reasons for not having sex outside of marriage.

And, do teach the other reasons for being moral, like that it will make the marriage stronger if the partners do not have affairs. Teaching that they should not have sex outside of marriage is a good thing, but also teach that to even go out with another person, once you are married, it wrong.

Coaches teach their players what they want them to do. If we do not want our children to become people who have sex outside of marriage, we should teach that.

And, we should be allowed to teach that, free to teach it. It should not be illegal to teach children to be moral. If sex is to be taught, the perimeters of its use should be taught. If it is good to stay within those perimeters, why would we not teach that? If we want the youth to cherish marriage, and cherish chastity, why would we not teach that marriage and chastity are things to cherish?

Don't just teach what sex is. Teach when it is right and when it is wrong

Coaches cannot expect their players to become any better than what they teach them. Coaches coach, so let's coach them.

Our current system allows school districts to offer sex ed if the districts so choose to do so. I wonder, of the districts teaching sex ed, do they teach such things as that love between an man and a woman is simply a beautiful thing, and that it will make the marriage stronger? Maybe such things are taught, but maybe they are considered taboo. I haven't been told and haven't sat in one of the classes to know.

Now, truth be told, isn't one of the reasons for chastity and morality simply that God says such things are right. He even makes it a commandment that we live chaste lives, and that is one of the reasons for remaining chaste.

Yes, it is not only one of the reasons, but probably the biggest reason. But we can't teach that? Can we teach the truth or is it to be taboo? We should be able to teach the whole of the matter, reasons and all.

Here's how we can do it, in a way that should make no one mad: Use the opt-out/opt-in approach. You know, the same one we already have in place for some of the things that are taught. Let the opt-out or in approach also be used here. Let the parents decide if their children will be in a track that teaches them that God commands them to be chaste, just the same as parents can dictate whether the child learns about contraceptives.

The opt-in/opt out idea is not the answer, though, to deciding everything that should be taught in Sex ed. What about teaching the youth what things are inappropriate things for adults to be doing to them, sexual abuses. Should we be teaching that it is wrong for adults to touch them in certain places? Should we be teaching them to recognize if they are being abused? If so, that would be one of the topics parents should not have an opt in or out choice.

And, parents should not have an opt in or out on teaching about communicable diseases. That is a danger they should be taught, period.

Friday, March 16, 2012

In Shunning 'Illegals,' do We also Shun Constitution?

Here's a pitch for the 'illegal' immigrant that might someday receive attention, maybe even making them legal.

This argument sits there in the Constitution, patiently waiting.

Pick up that venerable document, if you will, and go down to the 14th Amendment, which was enacted at the end of the Civil War, and which brought citizenship to those freed by the war.

Doesn't that last part of the amendment say no state shall deprive any person in its jurisdiction of equal protection under the laws? That means any person living in that state. Any. All you need to qualify, is to live there. It doesn't break it down into those who have been invited and those who haven't.

Strictly reading the words, for what they say and what they're worth, wouldn't that give undocumented residents the right to remain?

Then, right before that part of the 14th Amendment, there's the part that says no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process. Deporting folks is (surely), depriving them of liberty. If you disagree, you are going to have to argue that as long as they get due process, they can still be deported. But, I will reply that that is not enough. Due process is for those accused of having done harm to society. Simply living and breathing on American soil is not a harmful thing. Existing on American soil is not a harm. In fact, "existing" falls under the perimeters of "life" when the 14th Amendment mentions life, liberty and property.

Back up to what comes right before that in the 14th Amendment. Read how it says no state shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens. You might argue that it says "citizens" and they are not citizens. I would reply, Just what was a citizen back then, in 1868 when the 14th Amendment was ratified? I think of all the emigrants out of England and Scandinavia about that time, of how so many of them made their way to Utah, and I don't remember hearing any stories of how they were detained for immigration questions, or considered undocumented or illegal. Seems they became "citizens" quite automatically.

If that is what the writers of the 14th Amendment had in mind, why make it different now?

There's one part of the 14th Amendment left, the first part. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." I'd say everyone who lives here is subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. So, if you are subject to our laws by living here, that and a little more should be all it takes to consider you a citizen.

And, what is that "little more"? It is that you must be born here or naturalized. Back then, what did it take to be naturalized? In the beginning of our nation, naturalization required not much more than living here for a few years. You weren't stopped at the border, but rather you came in freely and it was your staying a few years that was the qualifier for being termed a citizen. Was that still the process in 1868?

It was.

So, it does seem the writers of the 14th Amendment had in mind that everyone who lives on American soil should be allowed to remain, and should be considered citizens within years of arriving.

That would include those who we call illegals and who we accuse of not respecting by our laws when they come here illegally. Maybe, instead of accusing them of not living by our laws, we should consider that it is us who are not living by the law. Perhaps it is us who ignore the highest law, even the Constitution.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I'm Going to Have to Disagree With Myself

I think I must disagree with myself (which is another way of saying, change my opinion), and agree instead with an unidentified Channel 4 personality.

Months ago, I blogged against the current caucus system, arguing that it amounts to little more than getting all dressed up and going to a meeting in the name of participating in the democratic process, only to accomplish little more once we get there than surrendering to political activists our right to vote at the next step in the process.

Let him (or her) go on to the convention and cast my vote? No, thank you, I said. I can cast my own vote, if you don't mind.

Why not invite everyone to the convention, teleconferencing it to fit everyone in? I wondered.

Monday, while filing to run for office, I had a discussion with a Channel 4 personality. (Someone there told me he was on Channel 4, but I didn't ask his name). He argued that my system would take away people's ability to discuss things neighbor-to-neighbor. Instead of going to an everyone-come state convention, he wanted us to return to more community-oriented caucuses. He didn't like throwing precincts together, into mega caucuses.

Well, after attending this week's caucuses (I went to those of both the Democrats and Republicans as an observer, not voting), I find I must agree with the man from Channel 4. The Republican caucuses were precious. They divided into precincts. Mine drew but about 20, but one was packed with 79 (yes, that was a single precinct). With so many being at the same school, just in different rooms, I wandered into more than a half dozen. They were precious, simply said, because people were discussing issues and congressional candidates candidly, but civilly. I didn't run into a single heated, barbed debate. It was simply beautiful to see people learning about the process, about the candidates, and discussing it all.

Tell me, what other meeting is there where neighbors discuss politics? We might want to change some things -- maybe still going to a everyone-comes state convention -- but, whatever we do do, we do not want to lose these community caucuses.

They are too precious. As the Channel 4 man said, the meetings should not be so large that people cannot express themselves. Take this away, and we lose a gem.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bush, Santorum, Hatch Played Leads Roles in Victory

Supposing the life of the unborn to be one of the great remaining fights for justice in America, pat George W. Bush on the back for what he did in 2003.

Oh, and bless Rick Santorum, too. He was the chief Senate sponsor. And, bless Orrin Hatch. He was a key proponent. Bush simply signed it into law after both houses of Congress approved it.

The law banned what is known as partial-birth abortion. Read on, if you would know what "partial-birth abortion" is. For when you learn, you likely will agree such a thing, indeed, needed to be ended.

With the signing of this law, no longer would America allow a child to be pulled part way out of the womb, then, while the head was the only part of the baby's body not "born" (still in the womb), the head was pierced with scissors and the brain then sucked out.

Just bring the baby out part of the way? But, since the head is still in, that part is not born, so it should be legal to kill that part? Such logic.

The Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 with a ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart, April 18, 2007, which means next month will mark the fifth anniversary.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bring Transparency Right to the Bill, Itself

Let's move the our concern for conflict interest and campaign contributions  to where it will have the greatest impact -- to when the legislation is filed.

Having candidates disclose their conflicts at the time they file for office is okay. But I don't know that I have ever heard of such disclosures leading to anything. I've neither heard of them warding off a legislator working for the cause of those he has conflicts with, nor am I remembering any such disclosures leading to an office holder being "busted," shall we say, for any conflict of interest he or she has had.

Campaign contributions? Occasionally, there are news stories about their ties to political favors, but for the most part, no.

Now, we can see that conflicts of interest can be a bad thing, and special interest money a bad thing. Otherwise, we wouldn't have the laws calling for disclosure of them.

So, why not move the disclosures right up close, right to the point of impact, right to the bills themselves? Why not have legislators disclose as they file each bill which lobbyists lobbied for the legislation, and who out of those who gave them money are going to benefit from the legislation?

Why not? If we are concerned about the money and influence affecting our legislation -- and we ought to be -- why not bring the transparency right to the point where it can do the most good.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Disclosures at Time Bills Made Would be Barrel of Fun

In Utah, as you file for a state office, you disclose your conflicts of interest. Then, periodically throughout the campaign, you file disclosures revealing who is donating and how much they are donating.

Ever wonder what would happen if we moved the whole "transparency" process right to the point of the legislators introducing legislation? I just wonder what would happen if legislators were required to say which campaign contributors would be affected by the proposed legislation? And, which lobbyists approached them about the legislation?

This could be a barrel of fun.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thoughts on Caucuses as Caucases Approach

1. Don't know that I've ever, in my time in Utah, seen the caucuses so well promoted, what with the radio promos the Republican Party is doing and all.

2. The timing of this year's caucuses, in the future, might could be considered. If those attending the meetings were to want to encourage candidates to run, it would be better that the meetings were a little earlier. As is, the filing deadline is two days after the Democratic Party caucuses and the day (and in the evening after the elections offices have closed) of the Republican caucuses.

Rather than holding the meetings earlier, so those attending could encourage fellow citizens to file as candidates, the other option is to hold them late enough that all the candidates could attend. With the filing deadline being after the caucuses, it is possible some might decide to run after the meetings and thus not even be considered in the caucus discussions.

3. Would be interesting to know the impact the caucuses will have on party affiliations. About half of Utah's voters are not affiliated with any party. Though they do not need to affiliate to attend the meetings, one of the two major parties, the Republican Party, does ask them to join in order to become convention delegates. I heard the party chairman, Thomas Wright, say on KSL that you need to become a party member to vote on who is sent to convention as delegates. He noted you will be able to register as a Republican right at the meeting, it would be interesting to know if there will be a shift of registered voters from independent to Republican resulting from the caucuses. I might call up and get party membership totals the day before the caucuses and then a few days after the meetings, to see if there was much of a shift.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Seven Months After Debt Ceiling Agreement, We Get This

'K. Let's say it's seven months after President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011. You haven't forgotten that, have you? You know, all that talk, all that political wrangling, all the hope that government was finally getting serious about reining in its spending.

Well, how are we doing, seven months later? Surely, we're not running the debt up quite as fast as we were. Right?

Wrong. Read this: Govt. sets record deficit in February - Washington Times.

Seven months after about as much attention was showered on the deficit as has even been showered on it, we have a new one-month record, $229 billion for February. Februaries are not good for the nation's budget, the previous record being $223 billion in February 2011.

I think to say the explanation is that the debt ceiling only limits our ability to pay our bills, not whether we will run up the bills in the first place. The real place to limit the budget is when it is set each year, not when it comes time to pay the bills for things already purchased.

But, I think that is only a partial answer. The Budget Control Act may have authorized the paying of bills, but it did also control spending. In fact, it has been reported that it cut spending more than it raised the debt ceiling.

At any rate, it would be nice if a few Congressmen would show up on the chamber floor Monday morning, waving the news story, and demanding that we immediately revisit the budget and curb current spending.

We now have a record 41 consecutive months of deficit spending. That has got to stop. The previous record was but 11 straight months.

You don't preserve the future by wasting the present. If we are going to turn the deficit around in some future year, we should not be spending at record levels now. The word "stop" has to be put in present tense.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Contraceptives More than Yea--Nay Thing

Do I favor contraceptives?

That question would have to be broken into many parts before I could answer it, and on some of the parts, I would want to think more before deciding.

Do I favor contraceptive use being allowed in a marriage? Yes.

Do I favor contraceptives being paid for by the government? No. But are there situations where government should pay? Perhaps. This is an area that needs more thought, before I decide. I do, though, think contraceptives should not be paid for by government, as a general rule.

Do I favor contraceptives being paid for by insurance? Yes, if the insurance company so decides and is not being mandated by the government in its decision.

Do I favor contraceptives being used by unwed partners? I wish there were no extramarital affairs, but, if they should want to use contraceptives, they should be allowed to.

Do I favor allowing teenagers to use contraceptives? Yes.

Do I favor contraceptive use being taught in schools? I pause on this one. I've already blogged that I am against it. Am I going to change my mind? At that time, my reasoning was that you don't want to be teaching them to have sex, period, so why teach them ways that having it will make it okay?

I think I will reconsider, and offer it more thought. If I should say yes, it will come with a provision. It should be taught right, if it is to be taught at all. Abstinence should be taught. Morality should be taught. Forbid that we should not be allowed to teach morality, that those who would say we should not force our morals on others should win this argument.

If contraceptives are to be taught, do not say, "This is how to do it, if you are going to do it." If we borrow from another discipline, that of salesmanship, we must know to choose wording that "assumes the sale." So, let us choose wording that assumes they are going to make the right choices. Instead of using the second-person, "If you find yourself in a situation where you are going to have sex, at least protect yourself from venereal disease by using contraceptives," perhaps offer the third-person, "You in this classroom can all be wise and stay away from sex until you are married. But, there are those who are not always as wise as you, and when they make the mistake of having sex, many of them find it serves them better to use contraceptives, in order to avoid such things as venereal disease."

Well, I must think on this more, before I  join the teach-them-contraceptives crowd. Even broaching the subject means planting the seed of thought of having sex.  Perhaps we must venture into that space, in order to teach them, but get in and out of the subject as quickly as possible. Take their questions, answer their questions, and don't brush them off -- but move on as quickly as possible.

In teaching contraceptives, teach morality. Don't let the discussion be left without stating reasons for morality, without saying that those who wait for marriage usually have better marriages, stronger marriages, and have the joy of being committed to that one special person in a way that can only be achieved by saving sex for marriage.

Well, those are my thoughts for the night, having thought as I typed. Time may change them, but they are my thoughts for the night.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Poster Mother for Abortion Now Pro-Life

Once upon a time, Norma McCorvey was the poster mother of the pro-choice movement. Now, she is pro-life.

McCorvey, under the alias, Jane Roe, made her fame as the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in 1973.

Since then, McCorvey converted to Catholicism, and that led her to becoming pro-life. Last year, she played an elderly lady in a movie, "Doonby," in which she tried to talk a lady out of an abortion. The movie was filmed in McCorvey's hometown in Texas and was set in the 1960s.

McCorvey's case against Texas, demanding that the state allow her to have an abortion, was filed in 1969. By the time it reached the Supreme Court, it was long too late to prevent the birth, and the child was adopted.

"I abused alcohol, sex -- everything," McCorvey recalled for the Hollywood Reporter. "I understand the role that I've played in history. Of course I have  regrets, but I'm so glad that I don't have the regret of having had an abortion on my conscience."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Her Name Attaches to Abortion, But She is Pro-Life

The woman who supposedly sued the state to allow abortion in that famous case Doe v. Bolton says she never even wanted an abortion.

She is, in fact, pro-life, having a ministry opposing abortion called Wonderfully Made Ministry.

How is it, then, that her case FOR abortion went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the Court ruled in her favor in one of the two cases that overturned bans against abortion?

Doe v. Bolton was decided by the Supreme Court Jan. 22, 1973, the same day the Court ruled on the more-famous Roe v. Wade. They are partner cases.

Mary Doe was the name Sandra Cano was assigned by the court. If the name was false -- and so was the identity of her being a key supporter of abortion, if we are to believe her, and I have found no reason not to.

Cano says her lawyer lied to her to get her to sign the papers initiating the case. She says she had sought legal help in order to get a divorce and to get her children out of foster care. "Abortion never crossed my mind," she says.

In fact, she would flee to Oklahoma to escape her lawyer's efforts to have an abortion performed, she says. She ran from the abortion, literally, only to end up a poster child for those who favor it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Did You Catch the Week's After-Birth Abortion Debate?

How about we start aborting babies just after they are born?

After all, a babie has no more sense of its own existence just after being born than it does before leaving the womb. And, 1/3 of infants born with Down syndrome are not diagnosed until after they are born. Why should the mothers who give birth to a Down syndrome child -- or to a child with any other serious abnormality -- have to keep the child, while the mothers who find out about the condition before birth have the freedom to abort? Is that fair? Equality demands that both be allowed to make the choice.

Such is the contention of an article by Australians Alberto Giubilini of Monash University and Francesca Minerva of the University of Melbourne, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. They were arguing from a position of logic, and later suggested they did not mean that after-birth abortions should actually happen.

When the media spotted the article, and reported on Giubilini and Minerva's article, it caused an outcry. While the pair might accept abortion, itself, as a given, it is the argument against abortion that has benefitted most from the firestorm, as people can see many of the arguments for before-birth abortions make just as much sense for "after-birth abortion."

The article hopefully helps people realize abortions just should not be allowed. They should be illegal. The life of a person should be preserved, not only after birth, but before.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Prescription Drugs, Like Illegal Counterparts, Dangerous

So, let's say prescription drugs lead an individual to do things he or she normally wouldn't do -- like committing murder. Should the doctor be held liable?

A Utah Supreme Court ruling this week increases that possiblity, as the case in question was for a person using standard dosages, as opposed to being given too much. David Ragsdale killed his wife in a church parking lot in 2008. "I want you to know," Ragsdale said at his sentencing, "that I am confident I would not have taken Kristy's life had I not been on the medications I was on. But, that being said, I take full responsibility for my actions."

Just as illegal drugs might at times lead a person to do things they normally wouldn't, including murder, so do legal drugs. It makes an argument that we should look at our legal drugs, and not prescribe them unnecessarily. Along with fighting illegal drugs, we should also fight the overuse of prescription drugs, for they, too, can be harmful.

Do I like it that this case could put a scare into doctors, prompting them to think twice before prescribing medications? I have mixed feelings. We are too much a litiguous society, already. And, I read a statement from the Utah Medical Association spokesperson saying the new court ruling could lead to the loss of medication for many who need it and for whom it works well. A regimen that has been helpful to many, might be lost because of the reaction of just one patient, said Mark Fotheringham of the UMA.

But, I also think of the doctors who prescribe medication not because they know the patient needs it, but just to ensure the patient doesn't complain about not getting it. I think of a visit I had to the hospital last year, and how I was prescribed Oxycodone even though I had no pain at all.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Little More Government Would Cure DABC Problems?

Too often, we step in with more government when something goes wrong.

So, it should be no surprise that as a result of the fraud and corruption found in the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, there's a move to add more government to the existing pile of government in order to pull things under control.

The legislature is considering giving the DABC its own auditor. Now, an auditor just for that department might, indeed, solve the problem. It would seem if you have a person whose sole function on an 8/5 basis (not 24/7, but 8/5 is quite alot, being full time) is to look at your books and audit your doings, he or she ought to catch any and everything.

But, if an auditor just for the DABC is such a good idea, why not have one for every state department? That would be overkill, wouldn't it? If the DABC is being singled out, it must be that that department is just not trusted. I would suggest there is nothing inherently wrong with the DABC that isn't inherently wrong with any other state agency. There is no more need for the DABC to have its own auditor than for all other agencies to each have their own.

The proposed bill would also expand the state liquor commission from five to seven members. That's not much of an expansion of government, but I still object.

So, leave the membership at five. As for an auditor, instead of creating a new auditor's position just for the DABC, use your elected state auditor. Assign that person to make the DABC a concern that won't be overlooked.

If you already have a government officer to fill a role, why create another to do the same thing? Government will never be small as long as we double it everytime something goes wrong.

While the easy solution is to add more government, the real solution is to add more vigilance. This goes beyond the elected state auditor. It means all the elected and appointed government leaders who become concerned need to take it upon themselves to be more vigilant, to accept responsibility for watching the chicken coop, so to speak. If a chicken farmer were to discover his chickens were getting out, he could do one of at least two things. One, he could hire a security guard to come and watch the coop 24/7, or, two, he could do his own searching and find how the chickens were getting out and just fix the problem.

When fraud is found in government, vigilance, not more government, is sometimes the better answer.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Roommate is True American Hero

My roommate is a true American hero.

He gets up early, and walks over to Labor Ready, taking grunt work for little pay.

Look around at society, if you will, and see the many who would not do such work, at such wage. Look around at the many who would understandably take an unemployment check, or a government assistance check, or find another way out of such work.

I confess I would not want to be a day laborer, not at the pay they get.

But, if you will, all the ways out of such work that our society has created only make the day laborer who remains that much more precious,  that much more of a hero. When you talk of the economy and how it is doing, you are more likely to talk of the stock market, and the housing market, and the gross national product. But, as much as anything, what holds our economy together is the willingness of people to work. You cannot measure this simply by the unemployment rate, as there is no distinction in that between those who are willing to work who can't, and those who simply seek a way out of work.

If we all were willing to work, taking the hard, ill-paid jobs, that would be a mark of a good, sound, solid economy. Not the only mark, but a good mark just the same.