Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Winner-Takes-All Works Against Small States

   I would say, if small states are wanting to weld more influence in presidential elections, they should get away from a winner-takes-all vote count.
   Take the last election, I cannot remember the exact number of states, but it was a small number that either Obama or Romney paid campaign visits to after the nominating conventions. They primarily singled out the swing states, and swung into them.
   It was a tight election, and every Electoral College vote was coveted. But, mind you, if you already know you are going to win or lose a state and all the Electoral College votes from that state are going that way anyway, why campaign there? If it won't do any good, why campaign there. Instead, concentrate just on the swing states.
   Which is what Obama and Romney did.
   But, if it is a tight race, and your state is not winner-take-all, the candidate might think twice about passing you by. If an Electoral College vote is open for grabs in your state, because you offer split delegates, the candidate has incentive to drop in for a visit.
   It redefines the term "swing.state." Now, it is true that if all states offered to split the delegates they sent to the Electoral College, the small states probably would still be overlooked. But, it isn't the scene at the moment. Only two of the 50 states offer split delegations. There is, then, opportunity for a small state to be astute and increase its courting power with the candidates.


Monday, April 29, 2013

 Do What is Right, Not What is Politically Expedient

  I do like it that the Republicans are turning to wooing the immigrants, or the Hispanic vote. But, doesn't it seem a little . . . disappointing that the reason they would think of making things easier for them is just to win their votes.
   It seems, you should do the things that are right because they are right. That's all.
   I hear Rush Limbaugh has said that rather than help the party, allowing those here illegally to become citizens would harm the Republicans, because it would add however many million (he probably used either 11 million or 12 million as the figure) to the rolls of the Democratic Party.
   Once again, do we decide what to do with these people on the basis of whether it will benefit us politically, or do we just do what is right? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) Says Drugs Burned Him Out

   Two minutes into the interview, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) speaks of touring with Jimi Hendrix and "all those flowery and very interesting fellows," and "doing everything." Is he talking drugs (along with other things)? He says the experience burned him out. Drugs burned him out? We hear a lot about pop stars and drugs, and some suggest the drugs help them. Did they help Cat? 
   Don't know but what we didn't lose Cat to drugs. He left music for another life. Now, being in education and charity is a good line of work, but I wish he hadn't quit performing back then. It is fine to join a religion, and joining that religion did lead to his giving up music for 15 years. But I do wonder if his being burnt out from drugs and such also prompted him to leave the stage.
  At any rate, the significant thing is, if he is talking drugs, he acknowledges they and that lifestyle were not a good thing for him. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


We Should Consider Whether Bashar al-Assad Will Change

   I don't believe in firing people. My thought is, if you can get them to do the thing right, keep them. Now, if they simply refuse to do things right, you might have to fire them. But try to get them to change, first.
   So, what of Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria? Should we rein in our warring with him, after negotiating changes in the way he treats his people? If we think we can change him, we should. Our intelligence people probably have a better handle on whether he is reformable. So, if it were up to me, I'd listen to them before making a decision.
   I'd love to see Syria become a democracy, but I do not know we should go to war to achieve that end. And, that leaves at least two possible reasons for our involvement in the war: 
   One, if the majority of the Syrian people support his ouster, then we are supporting them. (I believe if this is the reason for war, it might not be good enough reason. The matter is theirs. But, if there is a promise of democracy, I might change my mind.)
   Two, his crimes against humanity are dark enough to warrant change. (Certainly chemical warfare prompts a want to pull the trigger on him. But, I still say if we, sizing up the situation, believe he might change, then we should go that route, instead. And, even if we can't see him changing, I believe we should consider not being involved in the are. Lives are being lost. War is not better than peace. And, yes, we are meddling in another nation's affairs. Should we be?)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Utah's Caucus System was Beholden to Money

Oh, it would seem Utah's caucus system should give the less-financed, and the candidates without political machinery behind them a better chance to be elected.

After all, they have only to reach a limited number of people. They aren't so dependent on advertising.

But look at the last election. Look at all the money poured into buying lunches for the delegates. Can anyone tell me of one race in which the person who didn't buy lunches won out over the one who did.

The caucus system -- this time around, anyway, proved a playground for politics, for money, for those with political machinery. That is why it is ironic that a group wanting to hold on to the caucus system are lampooning those who favor change as saying, "Utah's caucus system doesn't favor the wealthy. We intent to fix that.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Did This Cat Stevens Tune Give Birth to America's Gun Culture?

Just when I am parading Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam around as a man of peace, I run across this song from his early years.

"I'm gonna get me a gun.
   "And all the people who put me down
Had better get ready to run."

Catchy, it is. 

A post beneath one version of the song on YouTube suggested time must have been different back then, that a person could write a song about getting a gun and shooting anyone who "puts you down," and nobody would bat an eyelid.

Considering how catchy the song was, perhaps -- just possibly -- people back then didn't accept the song because of its lyrics. Probably not. It likely just simply failed to catch on.

If it had been popular, would this song have been a bad influence on America's psychic? I'm not sure. Maybe the fact it is sung in a jest full fashion makes it not such a bad influence. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dc81la0A2w


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Make Peace with the Peace Train

'Tis time to make peace with the man who sang "Peace Train."

"Cause out on the edge of darkness,
  "There rides a peace train.
"Oh, peace train take this country --
  "Come take me home again."

America was never his home, never home to Cat Stevens. And Cat, now known as Yusuf, or Yusuf Islam, has gone through much since he first sang that song. He became a Muslim, said something that was taken as calling for the death of Salman Rushdie (author of "The Satanic Verses"), and when he was flying to America, was turned around when authorities took him for a terrorist.

Forgive him. Let bygones be bygones, with it clear he is not a terrorist and does not live for violence. This is the man who sang "Peace Train." A few years ago, in one of his concerts, he sang, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." I think he meant it, as a statement, as a plea.

'Twill be a tragedy if he goes to his deathbed without peace being made with America. He is not a dangerous war criminal, and should be welcome on American soil.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Love Can Turn Back Violence

   Love can turn back violence. True of false? I think of  Tamerlan Tsarnaev's saying he had no American friends. Was that just him posturing himself in advance of his violence? Or could have large dosages of love have made a difference? Could we, as a society, have changed the course of history with just a little love?
   What things shaped the Tamerlan who bombed Boston, we may not know. But, we can wonder. Did he simply shift into a group that dispised America, and listened to their call? Or, did we nudge him there, hissing about immigrants or Muslims, or both? Which voices did he hear, and which shaped the Tamerlan of the bomb.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

 Love is Solution to Political Problems

  Sometimes, political solutions are not the best answers for political problems.
   Sometimes, moral answers are.
   Take guns and bombs and ricin. Take people who feel ostracized, or rejected, or not listened to. Take them, and give them some love, and maybe that will make a difference.
   Love.
   "Love, love, love. Love is all you need." (Beatles)
   "Love covers a multitude of sins." (I think, actually, the scripture uses the word, "charity," not "love," but the sentiment is the same.) Love also covers a multitude of social needs, and, thus, political problems.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Go to Any Other Country

   Should immigration be made to be easier? Go to any other country, comes the answer, and see how they restrict their immigrants,
   To which I reply, Whenever did America start lowering itself to the standards of other countries? We measure ourselves against the principles of freedom, not the principles of other nations. Other nations can be oppressive, and other nations can treat it as a national offense if paperwork is not in order, but do we want to do this in America?
   I say, If it is just, let's do it. If it is right, and if it is fair, and if it is treating other people correctly, let's do it.
   But, it is not just, right, or fair. It is not treating people properly. Let's not do it. America sets the example for other nations. It doesn't bow to them, or practice their customs, or cross off freedoms simply because some other nation crosses off freedoms.
Abortion is Whose Choice? Certainly Not that of the Unborn

  Here's a post with the thought that while those who favor abortion claim to be pro-choice, what of the unborn? Surely if the unborn were given the choice, they would choose to live.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151646354055087&set=a.10150258300855087.371306.558545086&type=3&theater

Friday, April 19, 2013

 Consider the Undercard of Today's News

  On the undercard (far on the undercard) of the news today, was that of Paul Kevin Curtis having mental challenges, and not being on his medication when he sent ricin letters to President Obama, to Senator Roger Wicker, and to a judge.
  Ahh, how often it is that we find mental challenges in those who commit violence. And, there is no shortage of calls for dealing with the mentally ill.
  I ask not what we can do, but what we should, because I hesitate at some of the suggestions I am hearing. I do not like the idea of taking guns from anyone who is on medication for mental illness, as many of them never have and never will commit violence, and ought to have their Second Amendment rights the same as you and I.
  More treatment for the mentally ill, then? Off top, that seems the right approach. Treat the person, so he doesn't become violent. How much will this cost us, though? I'm not saying don't spend it, but we should consider whether more treatment translates into more government spending. And, perhaps it is warranted, but perhaps not.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765627416/Family-says-accused-ricin-mailer-is-mentally-ill.html




Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Key to Carving into National Debt? Get Everyone into a Job

   How successful you are at placing your people in productive jobs determines the success of your nation, at least to a degree, at least economically.
   If we were all employed, and earning enough that we needed no assistance, and all making enough money to pay taxes, what would it do to the national debt? With a greater number paying taxes, the government's revenue would increase, and with fewer people needing government assistance, government expenditures would decrease.
   So, if we are serious about solving our $16.8 trillion national debt, we should be serious about placing people in jobs. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hmm, Here's One Way to Pay Off National Debt

   So, if each of us, each head of house, plopped down $137,000, the $16.8 trillion national debt would be paid off. It is going to take a little bit, if we really decide to do this, for few of us have that kind of money. So, I imagine the only thing we can do, is . . .
   To march into the banks and get huge personal loans.
   Come on, fellow Americans, we can do this. It's for our country. We have to pull together at times like this. We need to think of the betterment of the whole, not of ourselves. The nation is in debt. Our dear Uncle Sam is in debt. To get our government out of the hole, we need to take ownership, make the debt our own, literally.
   Hmm, some of you are reading along, wondering if I'm serious. Well, I'm not. Then, again, part of me does like the idea. Wouldn't it be something like history has never, ever seen? Now, let me get back to the part about how it is going to take quite a bit of effort. A number of us aren't going to go along with this. So, the rest of us will have to take out even bigger loans. I suggest $500,00 each. And, I suggest, if the banks want to do their part, they will extend us the credit.
   To the banks, fellow citizens! To the banks!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

 If We Could Only Discern Their Motives

 If we could judge the immigrants -- discerning whether they were being truthful -- on their reasons for wanting to come, would we let in every one that had honorable intentions?
   You want to join family members who are already here? Come. You are welcome.
   You want to bring drugs into our country? Nay, we shan't have you. Not at all.
   You have heard all your life our wonderful America is, and you just want to live here? Come, come. Our borders are open to you.
   You have heard about our welfare system, and would like a free ride? No, no. I'm afraid you better not come.
   You want to work and earn and honest living? Working is not illegal in America. Please do join us.
   Frankly, with the concern many have of who comes, it seems it would be good if it were possible for us to be so discerning, if it were possible for us to filter them out by their motives.

Are We Patriots at a Time Like This?

   If where we spend our money, and where we are willing to spend our money has anything to do with our likes and dislikes, what does that say about us come tax time? If patriotism is to be measured by how willing we are to give money to our country, how are we doing?

Monday, April 15, 2013

The National Debt in $100 Bills

   It's often fun to see graphics showing just how massive our national debt is. I like this one:
http://demonocracy.info/infographics/usa/us_debt/us_debt.html
Parallels Between Abortion and Immigration

   Consider the similarities of abortion and immigration, of how the fetus isn't wanted and the immigrant isn't wanted, about how we think of the rights of those who are already here, but not of the rights of those who are coming here. The unborn simply desires to come to earth, but the people on earth don't want them. The immigrants simply want to live on American soil, but the Americans don't want them. The unborn are dependent on the permission of those already here in order to come, and so are the immigrants. The spirits of those in heaven shouted for joy at the opportunity to come here, and even so is the gratitude legend of the immigrant coming to America. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Never, Never Worry

Never worry
Not about the leaves on your lawn, or the plaque on your teeth.
Never, never worry
Not about your health, or your job or the devil beneath.

Don't worry 'bout floods, or wars or such.
Don't worry 'bout family and friends to the point that you worry too much.

Never, never, never worry, and I'll tell you why.
I'll tell you I love you, and I'll tell you I care.
I'll tell you if you worry, you'll lose more than your hair.

Worry?
'Tis the worst thing to do.
Worry? 
Brings death to your friends and to you.

So, all I can say and all you can do
Is never, never, never, never worry, and never, never stew. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Give Them Time Served, Then Let Them Stay

   Hmm, we could put them all on probation, these people here in America without our permission. After all, many of us (maybe most) already think of them as common criminals. So, punish them (waterboarding comes to mind), and then put them on probation.
   Actually, the waterboarding might not be a good idea. But, as an alternative, we could place them in prison for three months. Now, you are going to have to answer this question before you tell that we should deport them instead of just placing them in prison for three months: Why is it that prison is the answer for just about any other crime, but it is not good enough of a punishment for the undocumented Americans? Prison is good for murderers, and burglars, and arsonists. Yet,  if they commit the crime of not having paperwork, well, prison is letting them off a little easy. The average court case for deportation is 550 days (last I heard). That's about 1.5 years. Why not just say, Time served, and let them back in? Fair is fair, and if we accord that justice to all other criminals, why do we suppose those whose crime is not having our permission ought to be treated a little rougher? Are they worse than the other criminals? I mean, not obtaining paperwork is a pretty heavy thing.
   Actually, I'm not a favor of prison. I think it overused for a lot of crimes. I'd rather see them work off their punishment. Or, send them back to their home country for three months. 
   The point is, punish them, if we must, and then let them live among us.
   And, put them on probation, if we must. Since we seem to think they are more inclined to rob banks than the rest of us, tell them that if they have any criminal offense in their first year here -- any -- then, they're out. And, if they have any serious crime -- burglary, home invasion, or whatever -- in 10 years, they're out. If we want, we can add other probationary terms. Maybe we could say they cannot collect welfare or social aid that first year.
   If we must hold to the idea that wanting to be an American and coming to America without permission is such a bad thing, then, put them through the be-punished-and-be-probated ringer, like we do all our other criminals. Why should such a process not be adequate for the paperless?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/22/many-immigrants-facing-deportation-must-wait-550-days-for-their-day-in-court/

Freedom Comes not from the Barrel of a Gun

   Coming home, I thought up the phase, "A nation's freedom lies not in the presence of guns, but in the presence of peace." It had a nice sound to it, but I couldn't really say that I believed the sentiment it expressed.
   So, how else to complete the phrase, "A nation's freedom lies not in the presence of guns"? 
   Arriving home, I sat down at my computer, and about the first thing I read was a quote attributed to Mao Tse-tung, which began, "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun."
   And, I borrowed from that verbiage to rewrite my thought to, "Freedom comes not from the barrel of a gun," and then tacked on the ending, ". . . but from the heart of a patriot."
   Then, I adjusted my quote to, "Freedom comes not to the nation that seeks it with guns, but to the nation that seeks it by seeking truth," meaning that a people that questions what is going on, and seeks the truth in all political issues, is the nation best equipped to remain free.
   Then, I completed my original entry to say, "A nation's freedom lies not in the presence of guns, but in the presence of citizens vigilant against losing it."
   Also, "Freedom comes not from force, but from a mind that will not be forced."
   Or, "Freedom comes not from the barrel of a gun, but to the man who will not be controlled when facing the barrel of a gun."



Thursday, April 11, 2013

When the Reason for Coming is Honorable, Let Them Come

   So, do we import workers for our high-tech jobs, or say that we do not want the imports to compete with the home-grown graduates of our colleges?
   It may be competition, but I do like allowing them to come to America to work. I would not have the legislation pay them to come -- and I don't think it does that. But, let them come. Let them come to America when the reason for their coming reflects well on them. Coming to get a job, coming to join family members, and coming because they want to live among Americans are all honorable reasons for coming to America. Let them come.

http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/05/immigration-bill-would-import-1-million-workers-per-year/#ixzz2QCkgDrRY
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865577821/Chamber-presidents-attorneys-general-urge-comprehensive-immigration-reform.html

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

 Thanks for Catching These People

  For catching some welfare fraudsters, for saving us $21 million in 2012, my thanks goes out to the Utah Attorney General's Office and the Social Security Administration.
   They went after fraudulent claimants and caught them, stuck a few of them of video, and released the videos to the public through this newscast. Oh, the identities of the fraudsters are protected by orbs placed in front of their faces, but the acts of fraud are the opposite, unveiled and unmasked.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=24730409&nid=148&title=videos-show-alleged-social-security-fraudsters

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It is 'Height of Presumption' to Substitute Our Own Rules

    Families are a social issue, and I blog about social issues, and so I think to consider some of the talks from the past weekend's General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    Today, I choose Elder L. Tom Perry's talk. Perry taught that the strength of families is declining "at an alarming rate," causing much damage to society. I pay note to that. Elder Perry might not have spelled out the ways that the deterioration of the family is taking place, but he does say the result is damaging our society. If a thing damages society, then perhaps society has reason to resist it. As a society, then, we have reason to support measures that make the family strong.
   Was Elder Perry speaking of one-parent families? Was he speaking of divorce? It would seem he probably was. What other matters of the family he was speaking of we might also wonder. Some would say there is no causation, that just because certain negative things are happening, it does not mean the condition of the family is the cause.  
   But, Elder Perry says, "I see cause and effect."
   I find that significant. If an apostle of the Lord sees cause and effect, I place much value in his judgement. "As we give up commitment and fidelity to our marriage partners, we removed the glue that holds our society together," Elder Perry says.
   The values the world has for marriage differ from those of God. Elder Perry taught that it is "the height of presumption" for man to substitute his own rules for the laws of God.

The Message the Same in this Day as in Days of Early Church

   Consider the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Blacks. Consider the church just in light of a General Conference talk, given by Elder John B. Dickson of the First Quorum of Seventy.
   I have long thought of the story of Peter, of how he had a vision in which a sheet filled with certain animals, and beasts and fowls of the air was lowered to the earth. And, a voice came to Peter, telling him to eat the creatures.
   Now, there were certain creatures the gospel people did not eat at that time, and Peter replied, "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean."
   And the voice said to Peter, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
   And while Peter thought on the vision, representatives from a man named Cornelius, who was of the Italian band, sought him at his door. This Cornelius was a devout man, and one that feared God, and he had been told by an angle to send his men to Peter.
   Now, this was a time in which the gospel was not among all men. The disciples of Jesus ministered but to the tribes of Israel. Nevertheless, through the vision Peter had seen of the creatures and beasts and fowl being lowered in a sheet, he knew he was to accept Cornellius and his men. "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons," he said. "But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
   When doubt of my church has been expressed, due to the issue of the Blacks, I have thought of that story. I have thought of how one set of people was denied, due to their race, but then a revelation was received, extending everything to them. God has His reasons, but he loves all people.
   Elder Dickson, in his talk, spoke of this story from the Book of Acts. He then spoke of the prophecy in Daniel that the Lord's kingdom would roll forth to all the world. The people from the African nations are "an important part of the fulfillment of that prophecy," he said.
   Then, he spoke of his role as a general authority of the church, of being called to serve in western Africa. And, he could not have spoken more highly of the people. Even as Cornelius in the Bible was said to be a Godly and devout man, so he spoke of the people of Africa as being a believing and faithful people. They have no shame of Christ and the gospel. They have tremendous leadership capacity. They are committed in temple attendance. They understand the gospel. Unlike many of us in America, they are not concerned with cars, and homes and possessions, but are a humble people who just love the Lord. So spoke Elder Dickson of the people he worked with in western Africa.
   Those who would suppose the Blacks are a lesser people in any way, are wrong. Those in every nation who fear God, and are righteous, are accepted of God. It is the same in these days, with a revelation coming to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1978, as it was in the early days, when Peter received his vision.

Monday, April 8, 2013

All Life is Valuable, Including Future Life

   The logic behind abortion does seem a little disjointed: You don't deserve to have life because you do not already have it. The fetus is not alive, is not a living thing, and therefore does not deserve to live. I do follow the logic of such an argument. To me, all life is valuable, whether the person is already alive or yet to be born. All life is valuable, including future life.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

'Tis a Terrible, Terrible Thing, to Want to be an American

   Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz has returned from a trip to the Arizona-Mexico border, and says punishment of those crossing the border needs to be stiffer.
   Who should we be tougher on? Those who are bringing drugs in, or all of them? Are we upset with those coming in to America just to join their families, or who just want to work, or the ones who just want to be Americans? Yes, it is a terrible, terrible thing to want to be an American, and should be punished with imprisonment when not properly done.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/56112796-90/agents-border-chaffetz-com.html.csp

Drugs and Guns are Partners in Crime

   Drugs and guns are partners in crime. Or, that is, often they are.This story tells of a triple homicide in Idaho in which a marijuana grow was found in the home. The story doesn't give much indication where the gun used came from, which was what I was looking for.

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/news/local/article_87e9f38c-9e63-11e2-812d-001a4bcf887a.html
To Look at a Baby is to be Grateful it wasn't Aborted

   I looked over at little Cielo, cradled in the arms of her uncle Brian, and wondered about . . .
   Abortion.
   Would we, as a society, really have chosen to say it would be quite all right if she had never been born? 
   Looking at a precious baby, and realizing it could have been aborted, is to shout praises that it wasn't.

Friday, April 5, 2013

 These Two Stories Lack Enough Evidence to Convict Guns

  (Note: If you are regular reader, I'd skip this blog. Not too interesting. Wrote it more as a matter of record, to help me track what leads to gun violence.)
   Once, the news stories I passed over were the ones about murder. It was issues I was concerned about.
   Then came the great gun debate. Now, I find myself combing the stories of violence in search of hints as to whether owning guns leads to death. So, take these two stories from today's newspapers. 
   First, a five-month-old-boy died after being shot, and his father, Joshua David Peterson, was arrested in the investigation. The story tells me the son was laid on the couch, and then the father allegedly went into another room and got a gun, loaded it, and shot the baby. I find myself saying, The gun was available and if it had not been in the home, the murder might not have happened. But, reading on, I see how the father told investigators he had been considering killing the baby and himself for the past month. Someone reportedly tackled the father after he shot the son and before he was able to pull the trigger on himself. If he had been considering murder-suicide, he had time to buy the gun, rather than already having it. Also, there are those who would say if the gun wasn't available, he would have just used a knife.
   Perhaps, though part of me wonders if guns make the killing easier.
   The father reportedly did have mental challenges, of note since many violent crimes are committed by those with mental illnesses.
   Story two is about a couple men who got into an argument, and one pulled out a gun and was threatening the other. The friend tried to ward off the gun, and it went off, the bullet hitting him in the stomach. Was the assailant wearing the gun? Or did he pull it out from somewhere in the home? Either way, the availability of a weapon made the crime possible. But, if the man had not a gun, would he have been wearing a knife, instead? That seems possible. 
   So, on these two stories, I do not find enough evidence to be confident the availability of guns was a decisive factor.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865577594/5-month-old-boy-shot-to-death-in-American-Fork-home.html

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56113467-78/friend-charges-shooting-according.html.csp

Thursday, April 4, 2013

America: Where We Hate Our Government and Love Our Country


  America, where we hate our government and love our country. We disdain paying taxes, think our politicians are corrupt, and grew up complaining about everything from the mail service to the moon landing.
   Sometimes, I think we just listened to a little too much John Mellencamp. "Ain't that America somethin' to see . . . Little pink houses for you and me," and, "When I find authority, authority always wins." 
   It's like we internalized those words, and grew up hating our government and blaming it for everything.
   All of which goes against what we think of our nation. Say "our government" and "our nation" and its like you are talking about two different things. Our country is George Washington, freedom, and the American Dream, all of which are wonderful. It is freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and American exceptionalism. No country like it, no nation to compare.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Where did This Idea of Federal Drone 'Testing' Come From?

   The industry of taking money from the taxpayers: I wonder if we spotted it in yesterday's news. 
   Utah is lobbying to host drone testing conducted through the Federal Aviation Administration. The story doesn't say whether the testing will determine if the drones can be used safely, or, if, rather, the testing is to see if the drones can do something worthwhile.
   Like fight forest fires, or gather information on crop well-being.
   But, it sure raises my eyebrow that the "testing" will last through 2015. Seems like you should determine the safety of something long before then. And, if the more likely scenario is that you are wondering if the drones will be productive, then 2015 is an awfully long contract for something that might prove unproductive long before then.
  You ought to be able to find out if something is worthwhile in just a year or two, and not be committed to carrying it on all the way til 2015 if it isn't.
   The news story says Congress mandated that the Federal Aviation Authority is to bring unmanned aircraft into airspace and is to "develop technology to move the program forward." That's a little vague, to me. The story also says prospective test sites must publish a privacy policy and follow existing privacy laws. Now, if we are talking about fighting forest fires, and gathering information about crops, I can't exactly see where privacy comes in. Could you tell me what other uses of drones you are considering, so I'll understand the privacy thing?
   I would imagine some folks are going to win government contracts out of all this. Actually, that is a concern. I wonder if in some board room, some aviation corporation had the idea that if they could get the government to pay for it, then they could manufacture and sell drones to gather crop information, fight fires, and so forth. It would open a new market for the aviation industry. Now, as an angle to get the government to do it, tell them the matter needs to be investigated, tested, just to see if it is worthy.
   But, make sure the testing lasts till 2025. By that time, it will be ingrained in the system and hard to remove.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865577222/Utah-hoping-to-be-1-of-6-drone-testing-sites-in-the-country.html
http://www.kaaltv.com/article/stories/S2986139.shtml?cat=10151





Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Music as an Influence on Politicians

   Music, it is said, stirs the soul. It also shapes the man.
   Perhaps you've heard church speakers preach on the power of music. Or, perhaps, you've simply looked around life to see people take on songs, mimicking in their own hearts the very feelings of the song. The feelings of the song become their own.
   The song owns them, and,they become what they sing.
   Now, this is a political blog, for the most part. So, what, you may ask does any of this have to do with politics? Well, what if a person wanted to be a good politician -- what if he wanted to shape himself into a good politician by the songs he listened to -- what songs would he sing?

Monday, April 1, 2013

 Consider the Regnerus Study

  So, I find myself wanting to post quickly, so I can spend the final moments of my day studying on something I am not prepared to post on, Mark Regnerus's study on parenting by those who have had same-sex encounters.
   Alas, I think I shall post on Mark Regnerus's study, anyway.
   Here's my thought: The debate on same-sex attraction and marriage is at a high point, what with the Supreme Court considering the issue, as well as the Boy Scouts of America. Now, I've hardly tucked my nose into the actual debates the High Court is having, but, it does seem to me they should be considering this Regnerus study.
   Not that law, itself, and specifically what the Constitution offers, should not be their concern as they make a ruling, but it does seem they should run across their minds what impact same-sex marriage has on a society. The Regnerus study is one of the most watershed of studies, if not the most. While the authors of it, themselves, say it does not make a determination of causation, from what I have read so far, it does offer insights on that question.
   If same-sex marriage is of importance to our nation, the Regnerus study is very worthy of our attention. I'm told Ray Bradbury once said, "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."
   Well, if you are concerned about a public issue, it seems worthy -- though not required -- to read what you perceive might be the most significant study on the issue. It seems almost a crime that such a study should not be read.
   But, so much for reading the study tonight. I'm due for bed.