Thursday, May 31, 2012

NYC Moves to Regulate Soda Pop Usage

The first place in the nation to limit the sale of sugary drinks? Possibly it will be New York City, where a proposed ban on selling drinks larger than 16 ounces would go into effect in March 2013.

Now, America has banned a lot of things. Marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine all come to mind. But those are substances that alter the mind.

Not so, soda pop.

Tobacco? It doesn't alter the mind. And, although it isn't banned anywhere that I know of, the government does limit how much tar and nicotine cigarettes can contain. One could argue the limits imposed on tobacco, though, are not so low enough as to affect the traditional product, whereas the limit of 16 ounces will take away a commonly sold size of soft drink (other than that they can simply buy two 16 ounce drinks instead of one 32 ounce).

Another precedent would be drink limits on alcohol, which are already around, such as a two-drink limit. Alcohol, though, is a mind-altering substance.

Still, a limit on the size of sugary drinks, should it be enacted, would be notable, since it would mark a step towards government regulation of food not considered healthy. The move does mark an inroad into the right of the consumer to buy what product he or she wants and however much of it he or she wants.

The NYC proposal is expected to be enacted.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Suggestions for Reforming Our Lawmaking Process

Here's a quick stab at what a law reforming our lawmaking process might look like. I think many of us would like to see the injustices taken out of the lawmaking process.

In the name of reforming our lawmaking process, be it enacted that:

Article I

1. No rider shall be attached to a bill on a topic other than what the bill is about.

2. Should any member of the legislative body request a line-item vote, the bill will be broken down into parts as the legislator shall require, and a vote taken on each part.

Article II

1. Fillibusters will not be allowed. To ensure bills are not postponed by such political maneuvering, speakers shall be given time limits for each speech and for their responses to other speakers, say 15 minutes per bill being the limit for each speech, and 5 minutes a turn being the limit in responding to other speakers.

Article III

1. Bills will be introduced at the request of the legislator writing them, not needing to go through any committee before being introduced, nor needing approval from the leader of the legislative body. Bills will be introduced on the floor simply in the order they are filed.

2. The legislator can choose to hold off introducing a bill to allow it to go through a committee or through committees if he or she so desires. Those committees can recommend bills, but such recommendations shall have no binding force on the full legislative body.

3. A motion to close debate can be entertained as soon as the bill is presented, thus allowing the body to choose which bills are worthy of debate and/or discussion time.

Article IV

1. Bills shall not come to the floor except announced at least 24 hours in advance, with the the announcement including notice being posted on the Internet site hosted by the legislative body.

2. Matters of emergency, including declarations of war, shall not be subject to the above rule.

3. Whenever a bill has warranted discussion time on the floor, it shall not be voted on until 24 hours shall have passed after the close of that initial discussion, thus allowing legislators to review the bill before voting, and allowing the public to react to the legislation. The exception, again, will be for matters of emergency, including war.

Article V

1. The practice of having bills approved automatically, when they are not opposed, will end for bills that will result in laws. Resolutions (such as those honoring and recognizing people and organizations) that do not have binding power (are not laws) can be approved by voice vote.

2. Bills with binding power can be voted for electronically, allowing legislators to vote simultaneously without time-consuming roll call votes.

Article VI

1. Lawmakers will be encouraged, though not required, to write their own bills.

Article VII

1. In filing their bills, lawmakers shall disclose the names of organizations that have requested or encouraged the legislation.

2.  If there was a petition requesting the legislation, it can included in the disclosure of those supporting the bill.

3. There shall be no punishment for not disclosing backers of a bill, but the legislator will be open to public criticism should it be brought to light that a significant influence was omitted in filing the disclosure.

Article VIII

1. Meetings of both the full body and committees and political divisions of the body shall be open to the public, with the exception being those where the discussion would jeopardize security of the state.

2. All meetings shall be video and audio recorded, with those not closed being posted on the Internet.

3. A court shall have access to the recordings of closed meetings. When the court finds meetings should not have been closed, the recordings of those meetings will be posted on the Internet.

Is There Such a Website as This?

Does such an organization, or website exist?

'Cause it sure seems there ought to be.

 I want one that can tell me the truth about how harmful MSG is. Can I eat a little. Or must I abstain?

And, one that will tell me everything I might ever want to know about boiling nutrients out of feed. Do all foods lose value with heat? Or, do meats or wheat or some other foods retain their nutrients?

I want one that will settle all debate about Monsanto. I would guess there's at least some truth to the claims Monsanto damages our food. But, what are the truths? Is there an unbiased party that will tell me?

Give me a website that knows all about alkalinity. If the body maintains the proper alkalinity, will it be free from cancer and many other forms of disease?

 I don't want just a website that discusses these topics. No, what I think would be neat is an organization behind the website that -- in an unbiased fashion -- rolls up its sleeves and does the scientific testing and studying necessary to give me more specifics on these health food health issues.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Undocumented Residents Help Prevent Jobs from Going Overseas

I don't believe I've heard this argument for undocumented residents before.

They save jobs from going overseas.

The greatest reason many of our jobs go overseas is that our own workforce does not work for such low wages. Well, the person from Mexico sometimes works at about the lowest wage we have, meaning he or she does as much as any American worker to keep jobs from going overseas.

Sometimes the undocumented person does not stay in the U.S., taking much of their earnings with them. But, even then, while they are here they are buying our food, entertainment and other products.

And, some do stay. So, the full benefit of keeping the job in the U.S. is a reality, with them.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Same-Sex Relations Defiled Non-Isrealite Nations

That scripture in Leviticus, of course, has surfaced as the nation has discussed same-sex marriage these past few weeks, and it has been wrongly dismissed by many.

Says the passage:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." (Leviticus 18:22)

Some are suggesting this law applied only to Israel, not to the non-Israelites. It might, then, be worthy to look down two verses, to where it says that for practicing homosexuality and bestiality, "the nations are defiled which I cast out before you."

That would be the non-Israelite nations, the one's whose land Israel was given.

1 Corinthians 11:11 seems enough for me, when wondering if same-sex relations are right. "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord."

And, in a previous post, I spoke of the creation, and how God noted it was not good for man to be alone, so woman was created (Genesis 2:18-24). God provided not another man, but a woman, that the man should not be alone.

Among other scriptures often quoted suggesting same-sex relations are wrong in the sight of God:

Genesis 19:1-11
When certain men wanted to bed with other men, Lot replied (verse 9), "I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly."

Romans 1:26-27
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
"And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."

1 Corinthians 6:9
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind."

1 Timothy 1:9-10
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murders of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
"for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, . . . "

Some who speak for same-sex relations would explain away each of these scriptures. They call use of these scriptures, "abuse of the Bible," and suggest that when read correctly, nothing in the Bible speaks against same-sex relations.

Oh, but the Bible does speak against it, and clearly so. I do not know but what there might be a way to explain away one or two of the verses, but if even per chance that should prove successful, there are too many verses for me to suppose they all could be explained away. And, having read their rebuttals, I am not convinced by a one, not by the rebuttals to any of the above scriptures.

They argue use of the above scripture is done to justify hatred. They refer to them as "clobber passages."

No, I do not hate the person who believes in same-sex relations. I have mixed thoughts on this, but part of me has even wondered if we should not allow them their marriages.

But, no, I do not think same-sex relations are right. I do not.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why, Again, can We not Give Them Work?

Why, again, cannot those receiving Food Stamps work for what they get?

I read yesterday's story, saying how Utah was going to return to allowing those on Food Stamps to collect Food Stamps no more than three months in three years. And, yes, I was surprised that that is all that is allowed.

But, for me, the news story has me once again wondering why people cannot work for the Food Stamps.

Why can't they?

I'm not talking anything oppressive. I'm not talking anything they cannot do.

I'm just asking, why can't we give them work? Why can't we require work? What was it? What is the reason?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Would We Lace Our Sodas with Flame Retardant?

Would we take a flame retardant and lace it into our soft drinks?

"It begs belief that it should find its way into soft drinks," says a website covering the topic. Yet, 10 percent of America's sodas have this ingredient. Mountain Dew, Squirt and Fanta Orange are among them.

Let's look at it this way: What if you had a friend who was coming up with a nice little drink of his own, but having a problem keeping some of the ingredients from separating to the top. Somehow, he gets hold of a flame retardant, and puts just a wee bit into the drink, and -- presto -- the flavoring stno longer floats to the top.

You look on the ingredients to the flame retardant and find it has bromine, a toxic, corrosive, poisonous chemical.

Wouldn't you shake your head in amazement, tell him you by no means are going to drink any of his soda, and try to talk some sense into him?

And, if he said he was adding just a pinch -- just the wee-est of pinches -- wouldn't you refer to him in some derogatory term,  and tell him that you don't care how much he was adding, that he shouldn't be adding it, period?

The drink makers do argue that with no more than 15 parts per million, the BVO in their drinks is not going to do any harm. I think we should tell them, No, you're not going to add poison to our drinks, period."

(Note: The link for the story on BVO and bromine is at
My sister Mary Stewart, who sells health drinks from Yoli, shared the link on her Facebook page.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Two Worthy Links on the SSM Question

Two links on the same-sex marriage question, the first from the Deseret News.

And, the second, from KSL's Doug Wright. Doug has supported civil unions. His comments and coverage was worthy of news coverage from the rest of the Salt Lake Valley media, but I do not know that any other media covered it. "You know the old adage, 'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,' Doug said. "Well, here I am."
The second hour of Doug's program is at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Great Baby Rights Movement of Early 21st Century

One after another, human rights movements have swept through our nation. But, perhaps one has yet to be touched.

Baby rights.

Babies have rights, too, you know. And, while others can pull out their picket signs and march for their rights, while others can call up news stations and issue press releases, while others can scream and cry and protest, babies cannot.

Well, I guess babies can scream and cry, but nobody would know if they were crying for their civil rights.

Now, I ask you, do we short-change babies their rights? Do we abort them before they are born? Do they suffer physical abuse, and even sexual abuse? Are they neglected, and left to grow up feeling unwanted?

It happens.

And, do babies deserve to be treated better? Surely, they do.

So, what would be so wrong with a civil rights movement for babies?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Rights of the Child

If you were to help write a Bill of Rights of the Child, what would you put in it? Here's a draft, of what one might include.

Be it enacted, that we, the people of America, acting in the interest of children, do hereby declare that these rights will be extended to all the children of our nation.

1. That unborn children have the right to life.

2. That children have the right to two parents, one being female and the other male. We pledge to hold divorce to a minimum, even enduring uncomfortable relations with our spouses, in order to provide children this right

3. That children have the right to our love and care. We pledge to love our children, and to make the sacrifices required to provide them care.

4. That children have the right to not be abused. We pledge to never unduly harm our children, neither through mental abuse, nor physical abuse, neither through sexual abuse nor emotional abuse.

5. That children have the right to respect. We pledge to not treat them as subjects, but as a heritage and gift from God.

6. That children have the right to education.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, acting of our own accord, do so proclaim these rights, with this document being signed by every parent, and every adult who should so wish to enter their signature. We proclaim these things in solemnity, not attaching government punishments, but placing our names before the world, that each of us will so treat our children in accord with the promises of this document.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God's Remedy was not Another Man

These are things I learn, from the scriptures, and from prophets, that relate to same-sex marriages. I will give you just two, for that is enough.

One, from Genesis 2, I read how the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him."

The Lord God then caused the man to sleep. And, while he slept, God fashioned a woman to come out of the rib of the man.

So, it was not good that the man be alone. And, God's remedy was not another man, but a woman.

Second, this from those I consider modern prophets. It was given a dozen years ago, in 1995. "God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

"Lawfully wedded as husband and wife," it says.

This passage is taken from "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," dated 1995. That would be a dozen years ago, while the debate on same-sex marriage was already fully awhirl, but perhaps before it had reached the crescendo it now has attained. At church today, Brother Tim Williams noted the timing on the release of the Proclamation, that God's word was in place in advance of us considering the issue today.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Can Leaders Lead without Legislating?

Can leaders who legislate lead without legislating?

I'm thinking on pornography tonight, and how it should be considered one of our nation's gravest problems. But, I don't know that more legislation is what we need. We could use this, though: the nation's leaders speaking out against it.

What would happen if one of our congress members took time off from duties in Washington to make a speaking tour to high schools and colleges, warning youth against pornography, drugs, and sex outside of marriage?

Not looking for votes, but just using his or her stature as a leader to lead in some of the most significant issues facing America. Does the morality of a nation matter? It matters deeply, and the impact is equal to or greater than whether we get a new health care program, or new regulations on banking.

Leaders lead. And, they lead on the issues that matter most. What would be wrong, then, with some of them pitching in to pitch for morality?

What of our president? What if he were to call a press conference just to announce how concerned he is about something such as pornography? What if he spelled out the dangers of pornography, and encouraged the country to avoid it?

I think it would be a wonderful idea.

Friday, May 18, 2012

When it Comes to Pornography, You're the Police.

When it comes to pornography, you are the police.

With most crimes, the police simply move in when they see a law being broken. But, when it comes to pornography, they are more apt to move when you move first, and might not move at all if you don't move at all.

You, then: the policeman.

I had heard this was true. Reading through the state's statutes on pornography tonight, I see why. Read the first part of the law, and consider that when it says "average person," that would be you.

"(1) Any material or performance is pornographic if:
(a) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, finds that, taken as a whole, it appeals to prurient interest in sex . . ."

So, if you are an average person, and see a picture on display, and consider it pornographic, and report it, and the police then decide it probably does go against the standards of the community, an arrest just might result.

I'm not sure how I feel about this law. I can tell you I don't like pornography. But what if I called the police on that billboard along the freeway. You know, the one of the bikini-clad woman laying down. I think it is about liposuction. I have considered myself quite successful at looking the other way whenever I pass it. I just don't think it healthy for me to look at such things.

Does the picture on the billboard appeal to "prurient interest in sex"? My dictionary tells me "prurient" means, "having or encouraging unhealthy sexual curiosity."

I consider it unhealthy for me to look at the picture. That's why I look away.

Am I to be given license to call her pornographic, then? And, if enough people felt the same as me, and we all called in, would our policing efforts result in an arrest?

I will tell you this, if we did get the billboard removed for being pornographic, it would make national news. Most of the nation would not begin to consider it pornographic. Most folks would either have a good laugh at us, or be outraged, or both.

Well, I don't know that I consider that billboard pornographic. I only know it is unhealthy for me to look at it, the dictionary says unhealthy sexual curiosity is the stuff "prurient" is made of, and state law says pornographic material is that material that the average person, applying community standards, finds to be appealing to prurient interest.

For your reading pleasure, I'll post the whole of Utah Code 76-10-1203, the law on pornography. Notice it says an expert authority is not needed to determine whether something is pornographic. Consider that kind of a second shot at what we are saying,  that on matters of pornography, it is you -- not some well-educated authority -- that is to be listened to.

Utah Code 76-10-1203
(1) Any material or performance is pornographic if:
(a) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, finds that, taken as a whole, it appeals to prurient interest in sex . .
(b) It is patently offensive in the description or depiction of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sadomasochistic abuse, or excretion; and
(c) Taken as a whole it does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
(2) In prosecutions under this part, where circumstances of production, presentation, sale, dissemination, distribution, exhibition, or publicity indicate that the matter is being commercially exploited by the defendant for the sake of its prurient appeal, this evidence is probative with respect to the nature of the matter and can justify the conclusion that, in the context in which it is used, the matter has no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
(3) Neither the prosecution nor the defense shall be required to introduce expert witness testimony as to whether the material or performance is or is not harmful to adults or minors or is or is not pornographic, or as to any element of the definition of pornographic, including contemporary community standards.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Here's My Stand on Same-Sex Marriages

I never have wavered on whether same-sex relations are wrong. They are. As to whether government should recognize them, though, by allowing the weddings, I have.

If you read this blog, you know I thought and thought and thought on the issue last week. Wondering what rights were involved, I queried some of my Facebook friends.

"What are the rights lost when we do not grant marriage to those of the same sex?" I asked. "I can think of some. They do not have all the visitation rights at the hospital. They do not have automatic inheritance rights. They cannot file joint income taxes. What are other rights that are lost? It is suggested there are basic civil rights they are deprived of. The right to get married, of itself, might be considered a civil right. What are others?"

The first answer back came from Brian Beckstead, who is gay:

"Not really a 'right' so to speak but the one key component lost without equality is; Dignity! As a Spiritual Pastor I am performing many marriages this spring and summer. I am officiating a right.....a right I myself am not afforded."

Bless Brian. And, I thank him for substantiating what I already perceived was one of the biggest reasons they want the right to marry. More than anything, it seems to me, they want acceptance. 

I continued to think on the matter, not thinking of any right that would fit under the Constitution.

But, now I think I have one: If we are to extend to them the right to worship as they please, we must also extend to them the right to marry. If the First Amendment gives me the right to believe such marriages are wrong, then it gives them the right to believe they are right.

They argue that by not allowing them to marry, we are forcing our morals on them. Why should they be forced to live by church doctrines they don't believe in?
So, of my own, I would say, let them marry. But, since the church I belong to is against letting them marry (it supported Prop 8, and I am guessing it remains in favor of legislation against such marriages), I say, don't let them marry. Call it hypocritical, if you will, but I do not think it hypocritical. I simply think there nothing wrong with thinking a matter through, and coming up with one's own conclusion, then acknowledging that we do not have all wisdom, and God is wiser than us.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Change Sagebrush Rebellion to Pretty Please Movement

I'm thinking the Sagebrush Rebellion might not be wrong to continue on as a request, though it shouldn't be a demand.

Having looked at the Enabling Act Congress passes as the states are awarded statehood, and seeing it says the states forever relinquish right to the lands that were unappropriated at time of statehood, it seems a little much for the states to be demanding the federal government turn over the lands.

Just wrong to do that.

In fact, it seems such a land grab is exactly what the Enabling Act prohibits. It seems the act forbids the states from coming forth at some future time to claim that the lands belong to them.

Yet, with the Sagebrush Rebellion, that is exactly what is happening.

I don't take the Enabling Act to be saying the states cannot ever own the property. After all, the act does suggest the federal government might dispose of the property at some point. Surely, should the feds decide to sell, the states were not intended to be barred from being buyers.

So, let the states continue to petition for the lands from the federal government. But, instead of saying the federal government is shortchanging the states if the lands are not given over, let them simply say, "Pretty please. We know the lands are yours, and we won't argue with that, but, if you don't mind, and if you'd be so kind, can we please, please have them."

That's about as forceful a petition as they should make.

After all, the enabling act says the federal government shall maintain right to the lands until it decides to sell them or give them away.

But, I do not take the enabling act's saying the states forever relinquish right to the property to mean that they cannot have the lands, only that they will not demand the property

Utah's Enabling Act Says No Such Thing

Is this possible? Arguably the biggest piece of legislation coming out of the Legislature this year called for many of the federal lands to be taken over by the state. From what I can find, the state bases its claim to the lands on a federal act from way back at the time of statehood, an act the state maintains gives the lands to the state.

But, the act says quite the opposite.

So, I'm sitting here amazed. This is not a small movement. It has been around for decades in one form or another. Surely, I must be missing something.

But, there it is, in the Enabling Act from 1894 when Utah was granted statehood.  "The people inhabiting said proposed State do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof."

Sweet and simple and easy to understand. Utah forever disclaims right and title to the unappropriated public lands. That is quite a different thing than Utah getting the lands. It is the opposite.

I pointed this out to one of the leaders of the movement. "John Edwin Jackson," he replied, "You need to read the rest of the sentence that states 'until title thereto shall have been extinguished' by the federal government."

So, I have gone back to the Enabling Act and read it again. I remain more convinced than ever that the act is saying quite the opposite of what those who favor a state takeover want it to say. The rest-of-the-sentence argurment is not with them, but against them, for they are leaving part of the sentence out.  Yes, if we edited it down, we can get it to say the states forever disclaim rights to the lands only until the federal government extinguishes title, but we will have to erase parts of the sentence to arrive at such a meaning, and even then we will not have the meaning of turning the lands over to the states.

In front of "until the title thereto shall have been extinguished" are the words "and that," and after them are words critical to what is being said. Include all the pertinent parts of the sentence and it reads, "That the people inhabiting said proposed State do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof . . . and that until the title thereto shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States."

At no time does it say the federal government must give the property to the states. It only says that until the federal government decides to dispose of the property, the property still belongs to the United States. That is quite the opposite of what those who favor a takeover want the Enabling Act to say.

Well, I remain skeptical. I must be missing something. Perhaps there is something else in the Enabling Act that I am not finding. Perhaps this part of the act only refers to ownership of the property, and there is another part that refers to jurisdiction.

'Tis late, and I have not time to read it, again. But, I will tell you, I do think I have read it well enough already, and do not expect to find more when I do find time to go back and read it top to bottom.

Yes, it does seem there must be more. There must be something I am missing. But I cannot imagine what it is.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Strange Case of the Returned Servicemen

We've become aware of the post traumatic stress of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. But, still, these numbers will shock you.

For every serviceman being killed in those two wars, there are 25 veterans committing suicide in the United States. More than 6,500 of our returned servicemen commit suicide every year. That is more in a single year than battlefield deaths in the 10-plus years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

All this according to a story in the New York Times.

But, here's a twist that will baffle you: One-third of the suicides are by servicemen who were never deployed, who never tasted the battlefield. So, is the trauma the trauma of seeing others maimed and killed? Is it the trauma of fearing one's own death?

With one-third not having seen a war zone, that would not seem to be the case, at least not the whole case. Saying images of death and dying seared into the minds of our servicemen is the whole cause . . . well, that cannot be, if one-third of those committing teh suicides do not have images of death and dying.

Unless, perhaps, just the fear of war throws one into a life-destroying stress.

(Read from, if you will, for some of the information in this blog.

I find myself suggesting the veteran needs to be nurtured more upon his return (by us as a society, not necessarily by us as a government). I find myself saying we must study more, search for causes, asking family members of those committing suicides what depressions the veterans suffered. Was it lack of employment? Was it flashbacks? What else? Did they suffer depressions before enlistment?

Truth is, much studying is going on, revealing not only suicides, but about every negative impact imaginable. The vets commit more sex crimes, beat their spouses more, overdose from drugs more. They even crash their cars more. Child abuse is three times above what the average is. Unemployment is higher than normal. Divorce is up.

One in five reportedly have mental disorders.

Homelessness? Veterans account for one in four of all people living on our streets. One in four! Astounding, to me. (See

What is the cause, or what are the causes? What are the commonalities shared by those committing suicide? One would be training. They all go through training, so we should consider that. Do we tear the soldiers down as we train them, demean them too much? Do we push them too hard, demand too much of them?

I doubt it, but do wonder. They don't call it boot camp without reason. I doubt boot camp could cause such deep trauma, but it, like all other possible causes, must be considered.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Concludes Week of Same-Sex Marriage Contemplation

It is Mother's Day, one of the most observed holidays we have. We honor mothers for raising children, for nurturing them, for teaching them to follow paths of goodness.

Mother's Day is about as close of a holiday as there is for observing family values.

And, this year, it comes at the conclusion of a week in which the nation has reflected deeply -- perhaps as much as any time in history -- on whether those of same-sex attraction should have their partnerships recognized through marriages.

Mother's Day honors those who bring children into the world. And, children can only be brought here through a man and a woman, not from two men and not from two women. It is noteworthy, then, that the week in which so much attention has been given to same-sex marriage comes to an end on Mother's Day, a day that -- at least in this way -- attests that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Proverb 3:5 and the Same-Sex Marriage Question

There is yet one more question to ask myself, in deciding whether I think those of same-sex attraction should be allowed to marry.

Once whether it is just thing to do has been considered, and whether they have a civil right to marry has been considered -- and should the thought be that they do have that right  -- then there is this question:

The Lord's wisdom being higher than man's, and higher than mine, does it matter that I have thought the matter through and consider they should be given marriage rights? Should not the Lord's wisdom remain?

I think of the words of the proverbist. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

Trust, then, in the Lord's wisdom.

I do not know what is going on in my church on this topic. That is, I do not know whether the church took a stand in North Carolina, or whether it has taken one in Washington. I have a sister campaigning for the initiative in Washington, and she says the church has not yet became involved in the campaign.

My church is God's religion. Those of you who read this, who are not members of this church, can perhaps understand by understanding how you believe in God, and how you would follow what He says, regardless what it is. You might decline if you do not believe what your church says is coming from God. But, if you do believe what the church is saying is coming from God, you will follow it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Thinking through Same-Sex Marriages

Is same-sex marriage a civil right?

"Freedom means freedom for everybody and you ought to have the right to make whatever choice you want to make with respect to your own personal situation." -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney, when asked his opinion on same-sex marriages

"Gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly, and equally." President Barack Obama

"We simply cannot treat same-sex couples as second-class citizens in our country. Marriage equality is one of the most significant civil rights battles of our time and is critical to guaranteeing the equal protection under the law promised to every American in the Constitution.” — Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey

So, the question becomes, what rights are we depriving them of? Is terming the relationship a "marriage" no more than that, just the granting of a term, or does it come with privileges?

This goes beyond giving those of same-sex attraction certain rights. You can give them equal rights to housing and employment without giving them marriage.

So, then,what things come with marriage? Visitation rights in the hospital, would be one. Being the automatic beneficiary at time of death, would be another.

But, perhaps the biggest thing that comes with being allowed to marry is public acceptance, recognition that the relationship is as legitimate as the relationship between a man and a woman.

Do we grant them that right? Do we dare give them that right? Are we tearing down the institution of marriage by doing so?

I think we must consider whether we are depriving them of civil rights, in general, and constitutional rights, in particular. The Constitution promises all men liberty. Is that the constitutitional right to be cited?

Is public acceptance a basic civil right? Does it fall under the promise of liberty extended by the Constitution?

If we are depriving them of rights, are we just in doing so?

And, when we have sorted out whether they are being deprived of civil rights, and whether we are just to do so, then there is a related question to ask, one Obama mentioned. He noted the Bible says we should treat people as we would have them treat us. Does the Golden Rule apply with respect to the way we treat them, and does it mean we must grant them marriage?

These are questions I have as I go to bed. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which I follow, has repeatedly come out against same-sex marriages. But, I do not think it wrong to think out these questions for myself. May it not be wrong to do so, is my hope.

Friday, May 11, 2012

States Should Keep Call on Same-Sex Marriages

We are an American society, and at times look for answers to include all of our nation.

But, we do have a Constitution complete with Article 1, Section 8, and the 10th Amendment, which give much authority to states. This is not something new, just coming with the advent of advocates of states rights in recent years. That the attitude for states rights has been around is evident in that different states have different laws on the very topic I would talk to you about now.

Even as Obama was about to come out with his statement favoring same-sex marriages, North Carolina voters were passing a state constitutional amendment saying marriage is between a man and a woman. In Washington, an proposed initiative had gathered half the signatures needed to put it on the ballot.

Those two states were considering the issue because it is a state matter. Obama might speak, selling a policy to the nation as a whole, but it is the states that should decide, simply because that is what the Constitution calls for. I have argued that the cry of the public is cry enough to allow such marriages, but when I consider what the Constitution says, I say, Let it be a state by state matter, based on the voice of the people in each state.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Let Same-Sex Folks have Their Marriages

Thoughts upon opening the morning paper.

And seeing the story of President Obama becoming the first sitting American president to endorse same-sex marriages.

I wonder if we should say, Let them marry, then.

I say that as a person who supported Prop 8 in California. I say that as a person who does not believe God intended for men to mate with men and women with women.

I got in the car, to do a little quick shopping, and the Doug Wright program was on. He said something to the likes of, "Fools rush in," referring to his coverage of the topic.

This has been the issue of the week, nationally. At the beginning of the week, Joe Biden gets on Meet the Press and says he is absolutely comfortable with those in same-sex relationships being "entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties."

Then, Arne Duncan, the secretary of Education, said (and he apparently intended no pun), "I do," when asked if he supported same-sex marriages.

And there was North Carolina, where voters voted to raise their law to state constitution status. Their law sticks with the traditional marriage, man and wife.

And, now Obama.

I  do not think same-sex marriages are right. I think of those who would marry their animals. We would not so much as think to extend marriage rights to such relationships. We would kindly (hopefully, kindly), say, "I don't think so, my friend. Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. I know you love your dog, but that love can be expressed in other ways. That you cannot marry your dog, and that it would be best not to have sexual relations with your dog, does not mean you can not care for your dog, love it, and be its friend."

Perhaps, that is about the attitude we, as a society, have tried to offer on same-sex marriage. The difference, though is that dogs are not human. To tell a person they cannot marry their dog is, then, different than telling a human not to marry another human.

But, both marriages, to me, are wrong.

But, the marriage with a same-sex person being wrong, should we allow it anyway. I consider that perhaps we should. When a people chooses something, sometimes -- not always -- we should concede, and let them have it. I could not say the same on many issues, abortion, for example. Abortion is wrong and no amount of public opinion should allow the lives of the unborn to be taken.

But, on this issue, let them marry. They have spoken, or are speaking. If it has not already, then wait until the public is more on the side of same-sex marriage. I understand public opinion is about 50-50. I would guess, though, if a survey is taken now, following Obama's announcement, it will show the majority favors same-sex marriages.

Let them have their way.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Store with "We Make Everything" Slogan would Improve Economy

Give us a store with a sign above the door saying, "We make everything," and the economy will improve.

Well, actually give us more than one such store. We need them all across the country.

And, we need people using them.

This will improve the economy. For one thing, it will reduce prices on selected items. But, it will help the economy in other ways, too. With it easier to make items needed to start a business, it will be easier to go into business.

Let me explain. If I want to buy one of those line-forming, line-directing ropes found in banks, and movie-ticket lines, and I find they cost $208, and I think they ought not cost but $30, I will be able to simply say, "No, thank you. I'll make my own."

And, march down to the mill shop and it made.

If I want to start a cereal company, but find it would cost $500,000 for machinery to mix, mold, and bake my product, I can say, "No. I don't think so. I'll make my own."

So, I march right down to the mill shop. I tell them what I want, diagramming it. And, the machinery is made for me, allowing me to open my business.

Whatever the product, whether plastic or metal, I can walk in, describe what I want built, and they build it for me. With such stores scattered across our country, and with everyone knowing exactly where to find them, and with everybody turning to them for all the hard-to-find and overpriced items . . .

Yes, the economy will be better for it. More businesses will be created, for people will more easily obtain the equipment needed at affordable prices. Inventions will be encouraged, for a person will come up with an idea, take it to the tooling shop/store, and come away with his or her invention.

A change in mindset, then. A turn towards milling shops. If we do this, we better our economy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You can Steal Market, but to What Advantage?

Is this a business opportunity or a lesson in economics?

Those line-forming, line-directing ropes you find at banks, and movie theaters -- the ones that keep the line in a single line . . . well, do you know how much they cost? I'm still shaking my head, but if I have it correct . . .

About $208 for seven feet.

Learning that, I looked for a cheaper one, and instead found a more-expensive version . . .


With a price like that, one quickly sums up that there is a business opportunity in this, for surely we could make them for $20-$30.

I spent a portion of my thought today trying to figure out why they were so expensive. After all, wouldn't market economics dictate that someone come along and sell them for much less?

However is it possible, then, that seven feet -- that's three posts and the retractable belt that runs between them -- could cost $208?

Now, we can't blame it on government regulation. At least, I cannot not at all imagine the government regulating this. I would be surprised to learn a soul cannot just go out an make and market these.

So, what is it? Why are they so expensive?

May I introduce you to the axiom that man will usually follow the path of least resistance? And, may I suggest this should be a principle of economics?

Actually, it pretty much is. But, instead of calling it the law of least resistance, they call it the law of supply and demand. The two might have some differences, but they largely just overlap.

Supply and demand? I would guess there just are not enough buyers for this crowd-control roping. With a shortage of buyers, the price soars up.

The law of least resistance? It takes a little effort to make these crowd-control barriers, then you need a marketing arm, one that gets the product all across the country. Then, when all is said and done, there isn't much money to be made, because -- as we already said -- there are not very many buyers.

Too much effort for too little product.

A person, taking the path of least resistance, is going to find an easier product to market. With this item, he might steal the market, but to what advantage? The market will adjust, the price come down, and the competition win back much of the market.

Still, he will have done something. He will have reduced the price of an item. Some do-good free enterprise-ist could, should they want, do some good by marketing a  $30 version of the line-forming ropes/belts.

Monday, May 7, 2012

America Let's Her Stay

What do we do with a person, born abroad, but brought here at age 3, illegally? What do we do when she is 19? Deport her?

The lady in question is Sara, and her story was told in the Salt Lake Tribune Sunday.

My answer to whether she should stay is:

America -- if you consider what America is about -- is not about crushing people and not about oppressing them. It is not about taking their freedoms away, and not about deporting them. It is about treating people fairly. It is about inviting people to join in enjoying our freedoms. Sara does no harm by living and breathing on American soil. Why should she be an offense to us by simply by living amongst us. America, if America represents what it was founded upon, let's her stay.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Faith in a Man of My Faith Wavers

The old saying, "I felt sick," applies here, as I did feel sickly as I read the accusations and representations of each other from Obama and Romney online tonight.

The old, "I don't want to vote for either one," feeling came over me.

I am especially disappointed in Romney, as he is of my faith and I would like to vote for him. I may not, though. How a person conducts their campaign is more an indicator of their character than is their religion.

Are We Saying They're not Good Enough to be in Our Presence?

Read in the paper of a 19-year-old named Sara, born in Mexico, but brought to America at age 8. She knows no other homeland. She loves America and views herself as an American.

At the end of the online story, I read the comments. One said Sara is just another criminal, and suggested we take everything she owns away from her and deport her, banning her for life. "No pity, no sympathy," he wrote.

Such a stand I do not understand.

When we make it a crime to be born without paperwork, and when we loathe the person without paperwork, then perhaps it us who should be considered the criminals.

Sara grew up on American soil, and grew up loving America. Are we to return that love with hate, telling her to leave, as if she is not good enough to even be in our presence?

Why are People being Paid to Keep Quiet?

Is it not to be considered a grave thing that the Herbert Administration  -- twice now  -- offered money to keep people from talking about the Provo River-Flatiron case?

The first time came to our attention back in 2010. Provo River Constructors had won a record-sized project, getting $1.1 billion to rebuild a portion of the I-15. The runner up in the bidding, Flatiron/Skanska/Zachry, cried foul, saying it had not been treated fairly, squarely and evenly.

So, the state paid Flatiron $13 million to settle.

When Kent Scott, attorney for Flatiron, was approached by the media to discuss the case, he said he sure would like to say something, but couldn't. "I'd love to (talk). It's fascinating," he told the Salt Lake Tribune. A confidentiality agreement required Flatiron's partners to not comment.

So, he zipped his mouth, bit his tongue and winced.

Right now, some say that John Njord should be fired. He's the executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation, and he's taking heat for having -- again --  offered money in exchange for silence.

This latest chapter in the Provo River-Flatiron controversy boiled up about a month ago, a lady by the name of Denise Graham saying she would be getting her job back at UDOT after an administrative judge ruled the state had wrongfully fired her for leaking information about the Provo River-Flatiron case.

But, back pay? UDOT said that before there would be any back pay, she must first sign an agreement to call off those publicizing her case, including the Democratic Party.

Graham did end up getting the back pay, without signing the agreement.

There is another feature of the story that is interesting. Graham didn't get the same position back. That post, after remaining vacant for a year, was filled about two weeks before the administrative law judge handed down his ruling.

Did the state see it coming, and hurry to fill the post to justify shuttling Graham to a lesser position? We can only wonder.

My question -- make that questions -- after all of this: Why all the secrecy to begin with? Why should Flatiron/Skanska/Zachry not be allowed to talk, in the first place? And what of Graham being fired for supposedly not being silent? Isn't that wrong? No, I don't mean wrong because the judge said she didn't actually do it, but wrong because requiring her not to talk is wrong. What kind of information was it that we justify her not being allowed to speak about it?

Perhaps Njord should be fired, for more than once he offered money to keep things quiet. That's a grave thing, to me. But, more importantly, we should be asking why these people are being silenced. We should demand the muzzle be taken off the mouths of the Flatiron folks, allowing them to tell us what happened.

We are the public, the taxpayers, the citizens. So, yes, it is our business. The public servants have spent our money -- a record $1.1 billion for the UDOT project and an unsettling $13 million for the settlement -- and we have a right to know why and how our money is being spent.

Why are we not being included in knowing what happened? Why are people being silenced? I'm guessing it is because negotiations are considered confidential. Negotiations are one of the things for which government bodies are allowed to slip into closed session. Is that the reason why all this secrecy is considered acceptable?

It is not acceptable, and I won't think it is until given good explanation. I haven't noticed that in the press yet, and wonder why.

We speak a lot about open government. It would appear now is one time we should be demanding it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A People being Deprived Justice

Comes a story in the Deseret News, of how a man accused of a crime is not able to access his own case records. In reading the story, one becomes at least a little concerned the man might not be allowed to peak into the files before the case is tried.

We are talking simply of the case records -- information the court probably should have before it just to prosecute the case.

And, it is being denied the defendant.

But, wait, there's more. The story goes on to tell how in cases of this type, the government routinely refuses to release the information, playing hide-and-seek with the files. Sometimes, people are convicted before the government allows them that look into their files.

In cases of this kind.

Now, if you press me, I might just tell you what kind of cases we are talking about. And, when you learn, you might say that changes everything. These are immigration cases, deportation cases. So, do you say these people are not Americans and are not entitled to same due process of law the rest of us enjoy?

After all,  they have no rights to begin with.

I beg to differ. If we mete justice only to those we judge worthy of our justice, then we are not a very just society. Justice is for all, or it isn't just.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Thought from One Sonogram

I share a picture and story making rounds on Facebook. Interesting. It is from One Sonogram, a pro life organization.

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said:

'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together.'

So the doctor said: 'Ok an...d what do you want me to do?'

She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.'

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.'

She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

Then he continued: 'You see, in order for you not to have to take care of 2 babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.'

The lady was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child!'

'I agree', the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.'

The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point.

He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same!

If you agree, please SHARE.

Together we can help save precious lives!

Love says, 'I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person.' Abortion says, 'I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself.'

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Duck is a Duck, and Human a Human

Let's switch the language a little then, and see if this, too, is illegal. Let's pass a law that states:

"As soon as the fetus develops the features of a human being, it shall considered a human being. These features being body parts (head, torso, arms and legs), a beating heart, and a developing brain."

How could such not be considered a human being? How could it be illegal -- unconstitutional -- to declare something that has the features of a human being to be a human being?

Yet, today's news tells of the Oklahoma Supreme Court striking down a ballot initiative in Oklahoma that would have pronounced that life begins at conception. The Oklahoma Court said the initiative was "clearly unconstitutional" and "void on its face."

Pro-Choice supporters have characterized efforts to define an embryo as a human to be part of a war on women, and they say eggs should not be allowed to trump the rights of women.

I say, though, what is wrong with saying if it looks and has the features of a human, then it is a human? Let's write the legislation so it says little more than that a human is a human. If someone were to propose a law saying, "If it looks and acts like a duck, and has ducks for its parentage, it will be considered a duck," would that be unconstitutional?

A duck is a duck, and a human a human. How saying that becomes unconstitutional is beyond me.

The Oklahoma case will be appealed, and if declaring an embryo to be a human is to lead to Roe v. Wade being overturned, that could still happen.

But, should the effort fail, let's declare a human to be a human. It seems the courts would be hard pressed to call such a law illegal. It won't save all the unborn, and it won't end all abortions. But, the lifes of many might well be saved.