Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm Still Sorting Out Court's Decision

Late for bed, but did take a little time to try to wade through the texts of the opinions offered by the Supreme Court on Obamacare.

Of what I did read, it does seem yesterday's post was correct. But, bed is catching me too quick and perhaps I will update this later today when I am more sure.

It seems Chief Justice John Roberts does join not those who joined him in the basic premise of the ruling, but rather with those who dissented, in holding the Commerce Clause does not license the federal government to involve itself in such matters as the individual mandate.

It seems those who joined Roberts in the basic ruling opted out of agreeing with him on the Commerce Clause. I choose to call it a line-item veto. So, do we say the joining of the dissenting opinion to Roberts's view constitute a overriding of the "veto"?

Does it have the weight of being law, then? From what I am seeing, I do not think so. Roberts's opinion comes divided in part, and the four justices who join him sign on as to which of the parts they agree with, but none of the dissenting justices sign on as agreeing with any of the parts.

Still, this from Judge Thomas's opinion is of note. Thomas joined in the dissent with three judges, then added a dissenting note separately and of his own. "I write separately to say a word about the Coommerce Clause," he said. "The joint dissent and the Chief Justice correctly apply our precedents to conclude that the Individual Mandate is beyond the power granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Thomas lamented that a "substantial effects" test  (whatever that is) "has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits."

The Commerce Clause says simply that Congress has power, "To regulate Commerce . . . among the several States."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Has Line-Item Vetoing Reached the Supreme Court?

Has line-item vetoing reached the Supreme Court? I don't know that that is what happened in today's ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but I'm sitting here wondering.

So, the individual mandate (the part of Obamacare that requires people to have insurance) was ruled constitutional, but ruled so under the taxing powers of the Constitution, not under the Commerce Clause.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in writing the majority opinion, said, "The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it."

So, the individual mandate was struck down?

Not at all, says a Deseret News online article titled, "Supreme Court upholds individual mandate in President Obama's health care overhaul." Says the article, "In the moments following release of the decision, Twitter was buzzing with contrary reports of what happened, some major outlets reporting incorrectly that the individual mandate was overturned."

Roberts joined four other justices in ruling that the Affordable Care Act does allow the individual mandate to stand, but Roberts asserted that it was because the Constitution gives the federal government the right to tax that the law stands, not because of the Commerce Clause.

The other four justices wrote a separate opinion, a "concurring opinion," penned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, saying that in addition to agreeing the individual mandate has license under the taxing provision of the Constitution, they also would have upheld the it under the Commerce Clause.

Would we say the four line-item vetoed the majority opinion? They agreed the individual mandate stands due to the taxation powers, but they line-item vetoed Roberts' contention that the Commerce Clause does not authorize the individual mandate.

Here's how I got wondering about it. From, written by someone calling himself I.M Citizen, I read that while the ruling allows the individual mandate to stand under the tax law, it struck it down under the Commerce Clause. Writes I.M. Citizen:

"Chief Justice Roberts actually ruled the mandate, relative to the commerce clause, was unconstitutional. . . . This is critical. His ruling means Congress can’t compel American citizens to purchase anything. Ever. The notion is now officially and forever, unconstitutional. As it should be."

Is I.M. Citizen simply one of the many who incorrectly reported? What of the dissenting opinions? Did they concur with Roberts that the Commerce Clause does not extend authority for the individual mandate? Because, if they did, that makes five votes saying the Commerce Clause gives no such permission.

So, did Roberts side with four justices in deciding that the individual mandate stands under the taxing rights of the federal government, but side with the other four justices in determining that the Commerce Clause only extends to regulating existing business, not creating new business?

'Tis late at night. The mystery must remain, for now.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Will Alcohol Make You Wise?

You must consider this, taken from a webpage on fact and fiction about alcohol:

"The moderate consumption of alcohol does not destroy brain cells. In fact it is often associated with improved cognitive (mental) functioning."

Now, lovers of marijuana have been know to argue it increases their ability to think, Carl Sagan  among them.

But, alcohol?

Studies have shown light to moderate alcohol consumption increases one's ability to think. Do you think it so? I will neither accept nor reject the notion right now. But, I will wonder.

Further down the page of the fact and fiction article, I find it says the body naturally creates alcohol. So, all of us have alcohol in our bodies, even if we have never so much as sipped the stuff. I find myself wondering if the body naturally creates alcohol, then does this mean it does have a positive effect?

I also find myself wondering that if the body naturally creates alcohol, can it not -- if functioning ideally -- create all that is necessary for maximum cognitive function?

I then read a webpage that says the that it is only in rare cases that the body produces alcohol, and the whole idea that if the body produces the stuff, it must be for a reason comes -- well, not crashing down, but stepping down a notch.

Now, as I reflect on my own mind's ability to function at a maximum level, I quite think it capable of doing so. A little false pride, you might say, but I think not. I think not just I, but most of us do have this capability of thinking at a high level -- without taking either alcohol or marijuana. I'm thinking the thing that makes the difference it whether we practice. As the saying goes, "Use it or lose it."

So, whether alcohol or marijuana can increase cognitive thinking, those two drugs are not necessary. We can think at the highest level without them and not run the risk that such drugs rather than increasing our cognitive function, might weaken it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just a Thought: Have Runoff Instead of Primaries

I became a Republican today. As I walked in and out of the polling place, a nice-as-the-sky lady who arrived at the same time spoke to me about how she had voted all these years. I don't know that she said voting was the patriotic thing to do, but I could tell that is what she meant.

So, forgive me. If I had not changed my affiliation from independent to Republican for just this one day, I would not have been able to vote.

Should this be allowed? After all, the Republicans want to nominate their own candidates, and some don't like the notion that those who are not party members should have a say. Others say, Let everyone vote in the primary. Whether they are Republican, Democrat or whatever, let them cast their votes.

The danger, of course, is that some not belonging to a party might vote for the weak candidate in hopes of increasing their own party's chances come November.

Here's a possible way around that, and it's just a spur-of-the-moment thought, not something I've given a lot of thought to. Have a runoff in place of the primaries. Have a Democrat and a Republican running for one opening on November's ballot, and another Democrat and Republican running for a second spot on the November ballot.

Come November, this would often (in Utah) mean two Republicans would be facing each other.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Favor Sean Reyes Over John Swallow

   For attorney general, I'd vote for Sean Reyes over John Swallow.
   Early this month, Swallow said he would move the state Division of Consumer Protection under the umbrella of his office, if elected.
   That might sound fine enough, but it is who Swallow was speaking to that matters. Swallow was talking to a potential campaign contributor who had been maligned by the Division of Consumer Protection.
   In our political world today, many would say offering to make a situation more comfortable for a potential contributor is okay. I disagree. I think when we see such things, it can be good reason to not vote for the person.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Reasons to Vote for Liljenquist Over Hatch

I favor Dan Liljenquist over Orrin Hatch.

Now, I like Orrin Hatch, I do. He played a key role in one of the most significant pieces of anti-abortion legislation in our country's history, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. That law outlawed one form of abortion, and Hatch was recognized as a key proponent bringing the law to fruition.

And, Hatch is a major Congressional player in the fight against pornography. He has been credited with getting about half the Senate to sign a letter calling for greater enforcement of obsenity laws.

A third thing I like about Hatch, is that he has been a leader in the fight against the national debt, introducing legislation to amend the Constitution to prohibit deficit spending.

I like Orrin Hatch, I do.

But, then, this . . .

I'm reading along in Facebook, and see a post of how, in 1976, his campaign ads called him, "Anti-Establishment" and "Anti-Incumbent." The ad said, "We need more debates! 18 years is too long!"

Then, a Facebook post links to a news article from 1976, in which Hatch is saying seniority doesn't matter, and that while his opponent is hoping to move up to number 3, the committee chairmanship he has might not matter, anyway, as the committee might be abolished.

I am not a dead-set proponent of term-limits, but with how hard Hatch campaigned against the 18-year seniority of Frank Moss in 1976, I think his stand back then reason to vote against him in 2012. The Orrin Hatch of 1976, in essence, campaigned against the Orrin Hatch of 2012.

Another reason for supporting Hatch's opponent is that Hatch has introduced and supported legislation coming from some of his biggest financial backers. I do not believe legislation should be bought and sold. To introduce and be a key proponent of legislation coming from those who are financially contributing to you does leave open the question of motive in introducing legislation, and it should. We should question our legislators when this occurs.

Friday, June 22, 2012

George Washington Might Not have been Pot User

My hero, you say, smoked pot? Him and Thomas Jefferson, both?

"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
- George Washington

"Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country."
- Thomas Jefferson

I was running scared and hurt when I heard George smoked pot. But, a check of a few websites revealed he and Thomas Jefferson might not have been pot smokers, afterall, but rather just a farmers who raised hemp for its other uses: making paper, making rope, etc.

Here's one of the links:

I also found out the above quote from George is not altogether accurate, being a shortened version of the words he actually said.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alcohol Far Exceeds Pot in Traffic Deaths

About 1 percent of all traffic deaths are attributed to marijuana-alone-impaired driving. Marijuana and other drugs are factors in about 18 percent of vehicle driver deaths. Marijuana often teams with alcohol in those deaths.

Alcohol? It accounts for 32 percent of traffic deaths. Don't know whether that is alcohol-alone, but I believe that might not be just alcohol-alone.

But then again, I did find a website saying alcohol was found in 52 percent of  driver fatalities, so maybe that is the figure for alcohol when other drugs are also involved. Fifty-two percent! That is a whopping percentage and makes a strong statement as to the damaging affects of alcohol.

So, You've Heard No One Ever Died From Marijuana

So, you have heard no one ever died from a little marijuana. So, you have seen the posts, such as this one:

Next time you see such a post, ask how that can be possible. How can it be that the risk of a heart attack increases fourfold within the first hour after smoking marijuana, yet no one has ever died from the stuff?

So, people die by the minute (I would guess) from heart attacks, and marijuana causes a fourfold increase in the risk of a heart attack, yet no one has ever died from marijuana use? There must, indeed, be something magical about marijuana that it increases the risk of a heart attack and yet none of those who have the heart attacks, none of them ever die.

Truth be told, documented cases of death by marijuana do exist:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Heckler v. Chaney

So, it turns out Obama's right to act on immigration does have basis in law, of sorts.

In fact, less than three weeks before Obama's decision, almost 100 law professors sent him a letter, appealing to him to take exactly such action and laying out the legal basis for doing so.

If I could, I would stand up to the law professors, and tell them they got it wrong.

They cited Heckler v. Chaney, a 1985 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that inmates on death row could go ahead and receive lethal injections, even though the Food and Drug Administration, by law, was not suppose to allow the use of any drug that was not "safe and effective."

The law simply said all drugs needed to be "safe and effective," with no provision as to what they were being used for. The inmates argued the drugs clearly were not going to be "safe and effective" on them, so, therefore, the FDA was obligated to step in and disallow use of the drugs.

It does seem a stretch, to me, to say that since the Court ruled the FDA should not be required to enforce rules where they never were intended to be applied, then that means the executive branch no longer has to enforce any law it doesn't want to. It is a little much that Heckler v. Chaney is being used to justify "administrative discretion" to not enforce other laws.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Obama Got Away with Calling them Americans

From the lips of a president, as persuasive a voice as I have heard for these people.

"These are young people who study in our schools. They play in our neighborhoods. They are friends with our kids. They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts and in their minds. They are Americans in every single way but one: on paper."

Obama went on to note they are here not of their own choosing, but because their parents brought them here. They grow up, only to suddenly face sudden deportation to a land they know little about and to a language they often do not even speak.

Obama not only made a change in policy, but his words went a long ways toward persuading a nation that what is being done to these people is wrong, and must be changed.

"For all intents and purposes, they are Americans," he said. For most every time in the past someone has suggested that these people are Americans, there has been a quick and bitter response of outrage.

But, I read of no such indignation at Obama's calling them Americans. By the time the president got to calling them that, he had already built such a strong case that his listeners were much more inclined to accept the term.

Americans, then, are these young DREAMers. Let us not call them illegal aliens, but undocumented Americans. They are a paperless people, but Americans, the same.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

When No Earthly Father Around, Heavenly Father Remains

Some grow up without fathers. Some lead solitary lives without families. But, those are earthly fathers and earthly families. Through prayer, every person can have a Father, and Family.

"A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitations. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains." (Psalms 68:5-6)

I heard a story today, from a young woman who was kidnapped, in essence, in 2005, and (thinking she was but taking a job in Tijuana) forced to come to the United States. She fears telling her story, lest she should be deported. And, she fears going back to Mexico, lest the cartels might extort or harm her.

Who did she turn to when she arrived in America? She made contact with her church, and eventually escaped her captors in a wheelchair. (Her leg was broken when she was forced to jump the border fence to get into America.)

She has not seen her family since, although she has, of course, been able to speak to them. She has, in some ways, had a "solitary" life and a life "bound with chains."

Who has she had to turn to? I would say God has been family to her, and provided family for her, giving her one family and then another to live with, and then a husband to be with, while she has searched for comfort in a land that refuses to accept her.

God has been her father. On Father's Day, I would say no person has a better father than the Father of us all.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Saying it is 'Prosecutorial Discretion' is Not Enough

We cannot do this. For the same reason that states should not take authority on naturalization if it belongs to the federal government, the executive branch should not take such authority if the matter belongs with the legislative branch.

Saying it is "prosecutorial discretion" is not enough. Does the executive branch have the authority to pick and choose which laws it will implement, and which ones will be ignored?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Protect Existing Businesses from New Competition?

Small freedoms, I called it, two days ago.  Today, I was pleased to see an article in the Deseret News.

I do think opening a business, and running a business should be considered a freedom, and government should only infringe on it when it is in the interest of the public. Much of the licensing should be done away with. Why, for example, do we need to license barbers? The article points out that often the licensing serves mostly to protect existing businesses, making it hard for competition to open shop.

Why would we, a nation of free enterprise, protect existing businesses from new businesses coming in to compete against them?

I posted in the past that the right to open a business could be considered a basic civil right, even a constitutional right. The Constitution ensures us the right to life, liberty and property. If a business is considered property, then we have the right to not be restricted from owning it simply because the competition does not want us around.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Run from the Topic of Same-Sex Attraction

We might be letting go of this topic too quickly, not wanting to deal with it since there are things about it shaking what we have believed all our lives.

Now is not the time to let it go. If things challenge the way you have thought all your life, that is okay. I once came up with a saying, Truth does not run from knowledge, and think it applies here. Let's not shut down our learning on this topic. Let's pick it up.

If you are an honest seeker of truth, when something challenges your beliefs, you do not run from it, you learn from it. This is not to say you always change your position, but it is to say you give respect and consideration to the knowledge presented to you.

I'm speaking of same-sex relations, this time around. About a week ago, this post appeared on Josh Weed's personal blogsite:

Read it, if you will. If you do, I suggest you will come away thinking most favorably of Josh, and judging him to be a strong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since reading it, I have reflected on reports that same-sex church members are going to the temple, and serving in significant local church positions.

But, more, I have thought on whether same-sex attraction might be something that comes from birth. I do wish they will understand if I still do not believe it so. I am not yet persuaded it comes from birth. But, science is saying it is so. More convincing than that, perhaps, is that Josh Weed is saying it is so. I cannot read his blog without thinking of him as being an honest person, and one who is being honest on this issue.

I think the scriptures are very clear that same-sex relations are wrong. But, what if, despite this being true, some people are, indeed, born with same-sex attractions?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Would We Fought for Small Freedoms Such as This

Utah took it on the chin, if you will, in today's New York Times, coming in as the example of over government regulation.
A bill in the last legislature would have saved us from this embarrassment, but it failed. Of all the bills that were introduced, it seems this one should have been a slam dunk. It seems we would have been glad to exempt hair braiding from the cosmetology licensing law. In fact, it seems we would be quick to remove the licensing of cosmetology altogether. Utah is one of the toughest states in the nation to get a cosmetology license in? That's what I understand. It costs $16,000 in tuition to get the education required for a cosmetology license? Why do we allow this? Sometimes, it is not the large freedoms we need to fight for, but the small ones. Holly Richardson is gone from the Utah Legislature, but would that we would rally behind getting new legislation next year, bringing an end to cosmetology licensing altogether.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sex-Selective Abortions Gaining National Attention

So, abortion is not only legal, but it is a constitutional right.

That puts it right up there with the right not to be discriminated against.

So, what should happen if someone were to get the notion that it should be illegal to discriminate in performing abortions based on the sex of the child? In other words, you can't abort a child just because it is either male or female.

That would pit constitutional right against civil right, wouldn't it?

And, someone did happen on this idea, and a congressman did introduce legislation to ban such abortions.

They call this type of abortion sex-selective abortion, and although it might not be overly common in the United States, it does occur. The idea is to allow parents to select the sex of the child, tossing out the unwanted sex until the favored one comes along.

The bill failed, but who knows but what the issue will be raised again.

I find it difficult to take a stand on this issue. I'm certainly against abortion, but this approach seems to suggest a simple law can trump a constitutional law. As long as Roe v. Wade stands, it carries with it the weight of the Constitution. I would rather see efforts against abortion seek to remove the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Three Book of Mormon Prophecies of Christ

What think ye of Christ? There is much thinking of Christ that can come from the Book of Mormon. Among the great sermons on Christ, the great prophecies of Christ, are those in 1 Nephi 11, 2 Nephi 25, Alma 7. Taking just from those three messages, we learn:

1 Nephi 11. Prophets knew Christ would be born of a virgin who was living in Nazareth. And, there would be one who would come before the Redeemer, and who would baptize Him. And, the Lamb of God would heal the sick and afflicted of all manner of diseases and unclean spirits. And, the Son of the Everlasting Father would be judged of the world, and crucified by the people

2 Nephi 25. Prophets knew Christ would come among man in the flesh and would be rejected of men, who would crucify Him. And, He would lay in a sepulchre three days, and then rise from the dead, and all those who would believe on His name would be saved. We learn the were told when He would come (600 years from that time), and they were told what His name would be (Jesus Christ).

Alma 7. The time was not far distant that the Redeemer would come. This prophecy even gave us the name of His mother, Mary. And, the prophecy taught that He would suffer pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind. And, He would loosen the bands of death, and blot out the transgressions of the people. The prophecy also taught that the people must repent of their sins.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Only While Spouting Curses do We Give to America

We give to the Food Bank, to United Way, and to the poor in Haiti. We give to our church, and to the Boy Scouts. If the high school football team needs a donation, we donate. If Wikipedia wants money, we give it. If politicians come calling, sometimes we even donate to them.

But, our country? 

Only grudgingly to we give to our country, only while spouting curses.

Checks and Balances Don't Allow for Some of the Executive Decrees

Two days ago, I posted on how if immigration law allows those three sisters who faced deportation to remain for a year, then those who favor rule of law should be satisfied. After all, if it is rule of law they want, and this is within rule of law, then why not be happy?

I confess, though, to wondering whether the law does, indeed, allow for the three sisters to stay. If it doesn't, then I do not favor what happened. I wonder how the law is set up. Does it simply give ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) authority to deport, leaving it to the agency to come up with its own rules, exemptions and exceptions?

Or does the law say all people who overstay their visas will be deported, period?

The legislative branch should legislate, not the executive. I sometimes wonder if the Obama Administration operates too much by executive decree. I don't know that, but wonder, and wish I had time to look into it.

I don't know that Obama is any more at fault than past or aspiring presidents, though. Seems I remember hearing of Romney planning to curb Obamacare the day he takes office, returning the maximum power possible to the states.

Romney would do that by executive decree. I wonder how an act passed by Congress can be set aside, even in part, unless Congress or the Supreme Court is the power setting it aside.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Conversation With My Government

"Hello, government. I'm calling about your decision to give those three sisters a year's stay here. You know, the three who were to be deported in a week."


"Yes. I need you to answer me some questions. I need to know which laws are being used, so I'll know if you're going about this in the right way."

 I see. And, may I ask who you are?"

"Well, I'm John Jackson."

"Are you a member of the media?"

"No, I'm John Jackson."

"You've reached our media relations department. I'm afraid you need to be a member of the media if I'm to help you."

"I see. Well, I looked through your website and you don't have anyone else I can contact. Yours is the only phone number the agency lists."


"I'm one of your stockholders, so I thought maybe it would be okay if I called, even if I'm not a member of the press."

"What do you mean you are a stockholder? Actually, the government doesn't have stockholders."

"Actually, it does. Well, maybe not in the strict sense of the term, but this is my government and I run it."

"I see. I wonder who appointed you to such a high position."

"Abraham Lincoln did."

"Abraham Lincoln?"

"Yes, he was giving something called the Gettysburg Address and he said something about government of the people, by the people, and for the people. That would be me."

"I see."

"Ever since then, I've pretty much thought of this as my government."

"I see. Well, you're not a member of the press. Do you realize what a nightmare it would be if we tried to take calls from everyone in the public, answering every question they have? We simply don't have time."

"Make time. I'm one of your stockholders."

"Have you filed a Freedom of Information inquiry."

"Too much paperwork. I'm a stockholder. I'll just call you up and you'll answer my questions. It's a lot simpler that way."

"I see. If you a member of the press, I'd be glad to help you."

"What if I were a congressman, or a mayor or head of a government agency?"

"Yes, I suppose I could help you then."

"Well, those are my people. Think of them as my minions, if you will. I tell them what to do."

"I see."

"I don't like the way you think you only have to answer to them. And, I especially don't appreciate the way you think you only have to answer to the press."

"Well, yes, like I said, we've only got time to answer to so many people. The press represents you in getting information."

"I didn't elect them. I never gave the press permission to take anything from me."

"And, what are they taking from you?"

"My right to talk to you, to get some answers. You said you'd help me if I were a member of the press, but since I'm not, you're not going to help me."

"But, this is media relations . . ."

"The press doesn't run this country. I do. So, I'm going to have to ask you to quit answering so much to them and start answering more to me."

At that point, the government hung up on me. I was left thinking that if government truly were government of the people, by the people and for the people, then, yes, it would make information more accessible to us, the public.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

If Rule of Law Allows This, Why Oppose It?

Do we want and demand that all our immigration laws be enforced, and kept -- or just the ones that are hard on the undocumented residents?

What if it was within the law to take undocumented people, and grant them a deferment, allowing them to stay an extra year? Would we say, "Yes, if the law allows this, let's do it. Let's let them stay. For this, too, is our law, and we believe in rule of law."

The news is of three sisters, brought to the United States legally as children, who overstayed the visas and grew up as undocumented residents. When the law caught up, they faced a June 15 deportation.

But the law -- that would be ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) stepped in and offered a deferment, allowing the three sisters to stay another year -- not staying as illegal residents, but as legal ones.

I am imagining if ICE made such a decision, it did it because the law provides for it. Why, then, should those who argue for rule of law be upset? If it is rule of law they want, and if rule of law provides that this can happen, why should they oppose it?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sagebrush Rebellion Completely Amiss?

A whole movement demanding the federal government turn over its public lands to the states, sometimes even citing the "enabling acts" as the power that gives the states right to the lands, and yet when I read Utah's enabling act, I find just the opposite. I find it says Utah forever relinquishes the right to those lands. Says the act: "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." What am I missing?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Still Thinking about Directional Sales Taxing

Since taxes must exist, perhaps placing them on those things we would to discourage would be advantageous.

We already tax alcohol and tobacco. Sugar -- or some forms and concentrations of it -- could be next.

I head to bed thinking about this type of taxing, wondering if it would be good to shift some of our tax burden to it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mormon Tab: What Could Become

What could the Mormon Tabernacle Choir become? As I sat watching them this morning, reflecting on the talent of the conductors, the beauty of the songs, and what is being done to make the product as wonderful as it can be . . .

It hasn't been picked up by a major network, but just might be so worthy.

"America's Choir," Ronald Reagan dubbed it all those years ago. And, who knows but what that title is more a thing of yet-to-come than already-has-been.

They sang a lilting, light and fast moving arrangement of "Give Said the Little String." It sounded not like a children's song, but a beautiful, beautiful choral piece.

The Tab's music, for me and for many, is about as beautiful as music gets. Not only because it is well-crafted,but because much of it is about the Savior. Some would tell you that, alone, will keep it from ever being picked up by a major network.

But, its weakness is its strength. Much of America does remain religious, and Christian. Much of our country does still want beautiful music about the Savior. Christian singers abound, but there is not so much choral music such as this, as beautifully arranged and presented as what the Mormon Tabernacle Choir offers.

Who knows what could become. It might not happen, but the music and product are worthy. The Choir has been great all along, but I wonder if it hasn't stepped it up a notch as it moved from the 19th to the 20th Century. The Orchestra at Temple Square was added. Mack Wilburg gained acclaim as a talented arranger.

Now, a product awaits the nation, a program offering beautiful choral music like none other. Reality shows for some, perhaps, but, this, too, is what America is about. Many of us would, truly, love a program like this ahead of what is now offered.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Targeted Sales Taxing Might be the Thing

The soda pop tax being considered, what then shall we make of such taxes, of sales taxes that target certain products?

Alcohol, tobacco, gambling, or whatever.

I am inclined, at this point, to think maybe such taxes should be used more. These taxes can aim at non-essention products, whereas a sales tax on everything hits food and other essentials.

Gasoline, though, is an essential, and it is a targeted sales tax. So, although these taxes can be used to pick on non-essentials, they sometimes pick on essentials.

If soda pop is to be taxed, how about all of the very sugary items? A sugar tax.

Now, I hear you saying we don't need new taxes, and we don't need more taxes. We need less. Then, I say, if we move more toward targeted sales taxing, let's just make sure we cut back on the other taxes.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bring On Tax on Soft Drinks

The sin tax comes to soda pop. Well, perhaps calling it a sin tax might be a little much, as we don't consider drinking soda pop a sin. We just consider it unhealthy.

But, if we tax alcohol and tobacco, because they are harmful, how about soft drinks?

In 2011, Rep. Dixon Pitcher of Ogden proposed a bill that would have placed a 1 percent tax on carbonated drinks and sports drinks. His fellow legislators didn't go along with the idea at the time, some suggesting they didn't want to be adding taxes at a time of economic downturn.

One percent? I say let it rip. Soda drinkers will hardly notice. Of course, that means they likely won't cut back on consumption, either, but bring the tax on.

Give the money to education, as Rep. Pitcher is proposing. And, should the public turn from from soft drinks  (I understand that nationally, a wising-up America is taking in 20 percent less calories per capita via soft drinks than a decade ago) then pick up the lost revenue by taxing energy drinks or some such.

Taxes on non-essentials are fine. Sin taxes like this one are fine.