Friday, January 31, 2014

If You Don't Fess Up, You Should Stay in the Can

   If you don't repent, you do it again. If our judicial system were wise to this, Cory Wride might yet be alive.
   Police officer Wride's life was taken after he stopped to investigate a pickup parked along the road. After he went back to his patrol car to get information, the pickup's rear window slid open and someone shot a handgun at Wride, killing him.
   The suspected shooter? Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui, the same Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui who about six years ago ran over a man, then stabbed that person maybe 21 times with a screwdriver. Attempted murder, of course.
   Jose Angel Garcia-Jaurengui. Four and a half years in prison. Yes, just 4 1/2 years.
   Well, I don't know that Garcia-Jaurengui didn't eventually fess up and say he was sorry and express remorse. Perhaps, if he got out after only 4 1/2 years, he must have. I suppose I don't even know what the standard term is for attempted murder. But, I do know this: While in prison, Garcia-Jaurengui got into a fight (and he is believed to have been the instigator). It does seem clear he had not learned not to resort to violence in solving a problem. It does seem, then, he not repented.
   If a person doesn't at least verbally express remorse, they will be more prone to do it again. Those who commit violent crimes should not be released without a confession and a show of remorse, not only for the individual crime they committed, but for reacting to problems and confrontations in a violent way, period. True, they would often express the remorse just to get out. But, there is power in expression. Sometimes, the confession and pledge to refrain do take hold. Our own words can be our greatest persuaders.
    So make them fess up or stay in the can.
    I'd even make it part of their parole that they not be allowed to express any sentiment indicating they were not remorseful. True, it would not be often their friends would turn them in. But, just knowing it was against their parole would serve as a deterrent.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let the Students Specialize in Their Dreams

 As the U.S. scrambles to find its way back to the top in education, it ought to take a tip from a genius, or, that is, from the story of how Jacob Barnett became a genius.
   Jacob's is a story you've probably not heard -- yet. But, the way some talk of him, you'd think he will be the next Stephen Hawking. Although he is only about 15 years old, some say he has the stuff that will someday make him a Nobel Prize winner. Now, Jacob didn't start this way. He has autism. His parents reportedly were told he probably would never learn to tie his shoes. And, his mother was pressed to not try to teach him more than the basic skills.
   Well, enter that mother, and continue this story.
    Kristine Barnett took her son to the a planetarium where a professor was lecturing one day. The teacher threw out some questions -- and little Jacob's hand shot up, and he offered answers. Kristine soon was letting Jacob lead the way, as to what he studied. The things that interested him were the things she encouraged him to study.
   And, therein lies the model for a good education system. Find what it is that will interest them, and turn them loose on it. Turn them loose on their passion as early as they display a passion.
   Find their heart's desires, and you've found the key to having them learn. 'Tis a principle that makes difficult all the canned programs and set curricula and standard tests, for you cannot measure one person against another when they all are on different paths, excelling in different things. Not to say all such programs and testing are bad, but they are if they don't leave room for individuality.
   You encourage genius when it is young. You don't tell a 14-year-old Bobby Fischer that chess is a man's game, or a six-year-old Wolfgang Mozart that he must wait to write his first musical composition, or a 15-year-old Pablo Picasso that he must learn more before he will really be a painter. You don't tell the teen-aged Beatles they are too young to perform, and must first get musical degrees. Talent comes without license, and so does genius. You don't tell eight-year-old William James Sidis, who some say was the smartest person to ever live (with a IQ of 250-300) that he is too young to be messing with logarithms.
   You don't suppress dreams, you open them.
   Oh, I would argue genius can come late, as well as early. But, the point is that most all geniuses developed  by pursuing their interests. You get to genius by starting with something you love. So, shouldn't the model for good education be that you find each person's starting point and set them off on that path? As soon as you find their key, you help them turn it.
(This is a repost, slightly changed, from Oct. 25, 2013)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

To Help Them Reach the American Dream, Saddle Them With Debt

   What have we wrought? We have been unwise. We created a college-education system students cannot afford. Then, to pay for it, we offer them debt they cannot afford. Our economy suffers under the threat of insolvent loans, and the graduates suffer under the strain of loans they cannot pay. As it is said, ye have sown the seed and must reap the wrath. Well we should expect to have graduates such as the one in this meme.
How is saddling them with debt
a way of helping them?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Does a $10.10 Minimum Wage Amount to Government by Fairy Tale?

    Our president argued well. "No one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty," he said. And, later, "Give America a raise."
    He wants to increase the minimum wage to $10.10. Perhaps you, with me, consider that in a just society -- an enlightened and highly developed society -- everyone who works full-time should be living outside of poverty.
   But is this allure from President Obama something that can be achieved? Is it, as we say, something that is true? With a wave of the wand and a simple stroke of the pen, can we end poverty in America? For, if it is, we should surely do it. Or, is it a mirage? If we raise the minimum wage to $10.10, will it drive some businesses under? Or, will it instead simply spark inflation till $10.10 means no more than $7.25 does now? A few years down the road, will we find ourselves saying, "It is still true. No one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty." And, we decide to up the minimum wage to $13.13?
   Is there bad fortune in this? It might be that we cannot simply legislate an end to poverty this way. Have we not looked around at the world's economies and saw the danger of spiralling inflation? Do we not see ours teetering enough with the national deficit? We have imagined we can spend seemingly unlimited amounts, and no grim result will find us. Do we now want to add spiraling inflation to the mix?
   I sit wondering. Surely there are things government can do to reduce poverty. If they are sound decisions, let's make them. Is this one of them? Perhaps it is. But, on the flip side, I wonder if we should refamiliarize ourselves with the story of the Pie-eyed Piper, and consider that that storyline might be our lot.
   Of course we would love it if everyone working full-time lived outside the poverty line. If we think up solutions -- sound ones -- and work hard enough to achieve them, I believe it can be done. But just saying it is going to be so -- declaring it by executive order or by legislative decree -- is not going to make it so.
   Oh, forgive, but I do wonder but what this amounts to government by fairy tale, as if government can wish for a thing, and it becomes so.
   Well, though my fears are well-placed, though I have stated them well, perhaps this "giving America a raise" might work. The federal minimum wage has long been around. As it was instituted in 1938, someone could argue it helped lift us out of the Great Depression. Among the recent increases are upages in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Notice: no mass inflation.
   I do wonder if the price of fastfood has increased, and if there have been raises in other products affected by the minimum wage. I do consider that that first minimum wage in 1938 was but 25 cents an hour. I have no time to study, but the U.S. has had inflation. I would imagine studies exist on whether they have been associated with minimum-wage hikes. I just have no time to study that for purposes of this post.
   I think perhpas to study whether fastfood has increased of the past few years. Perhaps I will not get around to it. Perhaps I will. Hamburger Inflation, we could call it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Perhaps Oil Honey and Fuel System Cleaner Can Reduce Our Pollution

   If oil honey can prevent a car from throwing a cloud of smoke, and if fuel system cleaner can reduce emissions, can they reduce pollution not only from the wildly polluting cars, but also from the average vehicles on the road?
   With all the discussion of ways to reduce pollution, I haven't heard this suggestion. I wonder if any study has been done to determine what percentage of our pollution we could rid ourselves of if we all used these two additives, or if the worst-polluting cars on the road all used them.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

We Need Government to Remain in the Marriage Business

   Some suggest government should get out of the marriage business. Leave it to churches and wedding chapels and others to run the business of marriages, for it is no business of government to do so.
   But, I do see a negative in divorcing government from the marriage business. That which encourages the lifelong commitment between a man and a woman is a plus. My thought is that having the government extending marriage licenses does increase the commitment level.
   Strengthening marriage? This is one thing we can do to strengthen the institution of marriage.
  The idea of having couples exchange vows of fidelity is a good one, whenever society came upon it and however long it has existed. A commitment verbalized is a commitment more likely to happen.
   And, simply, the contract does gain strength with the level of the authority of the party issuing it. The higher the issuing authority, the more weight it has with the couple. To have government as an issuing authority does add to the commitment level (and therefore the strength) of the marriage.
    I think we subtract from the importance we can give marriage when we subtract government. And, I do not understand why it should be wrong for government to be an issuing authority and yet, instead, it should be quite alright for Jonathan Anybody down the street to be that authority. You cheapen the value of the contract and therefore the commitment level when you say anybody and everybody can issue the license as long as it be not the government. Government is one of the most authoritative sources. Jonathan Anybody is not. His being the issuer contributes little weight. Government's being the issuer adds great weight.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Where There are Enemies, Make Freinds

   Where there are enemies, make friends. Where there are those who hate you, give them no cause. Where there are those who misunderstand you, explain yourself. Where there are those who envy you, praise their good traits and achievements to help them understand they are good in their own right, and need not envy others. Where there are those who look down on you, give them a warm but firm smile to let them know you feel both fine about yourself and fine about accepting them regardless how they feel about you. Where there are those who abuse you, treat them right. Where there are those who see the faults you surely do have, spend enough time with them that they learn you have a balance of good. Where there are those who think ill of you in any way, love them.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Outlaw Woodburning Furnaces and Stoves

   I say, outlaw wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. And, yes, I mean it.
   This news I'm going to give you now seemed to spread like, well, wildfire today. Perhaps it is just that I heard it twice, or two versions of it, and concluded it must be on the tip of a lot of tongues. Version one said that, as far as pollution, an hour of wood burning equals about eight hours of driving a car. Version two said that one hour of burning a fireplace equals -- would you believe it? -- 1,000 miles of driving a car. Either way, it is surprising.
    And, pollution from wood burning might be more onerous than most.
    If I could pass legislation outlawing wood stoves and fireplaces (just in the Salt Lake area and in other hard-hit parts of the state where we have a pollution problem, as opposed to having a statewide law), I would. But, I'd make my law somewhat unenforceable. A share of the wood burning is done by the elderly and poverty stricken. So, my law would outlaw wood burning except when economically, it is necessary to keep the home warm. Since most could claim they were just trying to keep warm, that would make my law somewhat unenforceable. The irony would be that while fireplaces can be a nicety, providing little more benefit that ambiance for the well off, this law would make it so the rich would be the ones who couldn't have them: They who can afford them just for ambiance, are the ones who can't have them.
   In addition the law, I'd start a charity, accepting contributions to replace the poor's wood burning fireplaces with energy sources causing less pollution.
    If I'm correct, only maybe 5 percent of our pollution comes from fireplaces. Still, you cut back 5 percent, and that is a step in the right direction. I have heard, though, that as much as 10 percent of the Salt Lake area's pollution is being generated by wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. That is a reasonably sized slice. And, it is one we ought to be able to eliminate almost entirely if we took a good effort to it.

Could it be Wrong to Listen to the Bible on the Same-Sex Question?

   So, we have the Bible, and what it says against same-sex marriage. And, we have me, having indicated that in a study of this matter, we should consider all things anew. I have suggested that even though it is only of recent years that fields close to science have determined sexual attraction is predetermined, the matter should yet be considered afresh, to see if it is correct.
   So, then, of the Bible: Should we consider it afresh, also? And, should I? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If I am to reconsider one side of the question, I should reconsider the other. This means I should reconsider three things: One, whether that is really what the Bible is saying. Two, whether, though it was said, was it really inspired or, if instead, it just made its way into the Bible. Three, whether Christianity is true to begin with, that I should even be listening to the Bible in the first place.
   That last question might seem preposterous, that I should question my testimony. Never entertain thoughts of doubt, some would say. As I sat reading a portion of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon this morning, I found myself drifting to this question. I concluded that reconsidering a matter is not wrong. Asking afresh if something is true is not wrong. But, asking the question does not mean you put down all you know, but rather than you pick it up. Asking afresh the question of whether Christianity is true, and whether my denomination -- the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- is God's own-created church, is not wrong. It does not require that I let go of what I know, only that I reconsider the points, and whether they are valid.
    For purposes of this quick blog this morning, I cannot fully reconsider Christianity and my church and give the effort sufficient time to be sufficient. But, I will say I believe I do and have reconsidered Christianity and the church from time to time.
    So, then, the middle question, whether what is said about same-sex marriage was inspired. Were these simply things that were said by prophets who were letting their own experiences and the beliefs of the world around them get into what they were writings? I think not. Especially is it hard to imagine that with regard to the creation. God created man, then, seeing that man was alone, created woman. He didn't create another man, that the man might not be alone, but a woman. That is a report of what happened.Yes, it is not beyond all chance that society's norms at the time of that scripture's writing might have influenced the passage to say a reason for the woman being created was to provide a partner, but that possibility is but very faint. The scripture is, as I said, simply a report of what happened.
   So, that leaves but one matter, whether the Bible really comes out against same-sex sexual activity. Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, it says. That seems very clear. Other passages might not seem so clear. To say "vile affections" are wrong leaves wiggle room as to what vile affections are. I read such phrases in the background of what is being said in the rest of the verses, however, and do conclude they are, indeed, speaking of same-sex relations.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Leave the Curtain Up; Shield the Child from Alcohol

   Leave the curtain up.
   The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a news release Tuesday, arguing that Utah's liquor laws are beneficial. One of those laws requires that the preparation of and dispensing of alcohol in restaurants not be done in view of customers, inasmuch as children are present.
   That provision has come to be known as the Zion Curtain.
   "They are catering to everybody, including children," Elder D. Todd Christofferson says of restaurants. Elder Christofferson's comments come in a video that is part of the news release.
   Some have made light of the law, laughing that mixing the drinks in view of children should be prohibited. One can imagine a parent with children in a restaurant without the Zion Curtain, saying, "Cover your eyes, children. Please. I don't want you to see such a thing."
   Truth is, though, seeing alcohol being mixed does give the children more reason to think alcohol consumption is normal and acceptable. If we consider the damages alcohol has, we should want to protect children from liquor. Yes, the fewer times it is brought before them, they fewer times the child will consider alcohol. No, seeing a drink mixed doesn't mean the child is necessarily going to turn to alcohol. But, it is an influence. We would be wrong not to realize it is an such. Sometimes, it takes many such influences before a child is persuaded. But, well it could be that a child might see the alcohol being mixed, then see it served to someone, and say in his or her heart, "I don't see what is wrong with that. They seem to be doing fine. No big deal."
   Bless the child, and raise him or her right. And, yes, shielding him or her from alcohol for as long possible is wise. There are a lot of bad influences we shield children from, and alcohol should be one of them.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Capitalism does have the Greed Element

   I've failed to read the articles on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, but wonder if the current debate on economic equality has more people than common expressing some warm feelings towards what some would call socialism.
   Depends on how we define socialism, though.
   I, myself, have two thoughts coming to me on this topic. One, there is an element of greed running through much of capitalism. There is also a tendency, in capitalism, to make decisions based on making money, ofttimes with disregard to the effects on people. However good capitalism might be, if we are to be honest and objective, we should realize and acknowledge the negatives of capitalism.
   My second thought is . . .
   I look at the clock and decide my second thought will have to wait. 'Tis bedtime.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Honor King Not with a State Holiday, but with a State Recognition Day

   So, is Martin Luther King Jr. worthy of a day to himself? Who else gets one? Even Washington's day of honor is often tossed in with Presidents Day. I found myself, today, thinking of King as one of our greatest American heroes. I tried to remember why some didn't like him. I suppose I'm not as student on the subject as I should be. I came home to study a wee bit and found he was a socialist. I should have remembered that.
   Well, I'm not ready to make MLK Day a holiday bringing a day off from work, nor even one to close banks over. I do think what he did was very significant, though. Civil rights are as American as anything these days, and King helped make that so. I say, give him a day of recognition all to himself, not labeling it as Human Rights Day, but as Martin Luther King Day. Or, if we need to set it apart from those days that bring a day off from work, call it Martin Luther King Recognition Day. Run a short parade down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and bring in a speaker. No, I'm not opposed if the speaker notes he was a socialist, and even indicates that is something some of us don't honor him for.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Bible and the Same-Sex Marriage Question

   I oppose same-sex marriage because of what I find on page 173 of my Bible. "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).
   And, 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."
   Then, turn back to the beginning of the Bible, where it tells 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. A man and a woman are needed for procreation, but this is not the reason God gives at this time for the creation of woman. Rather, he gives compansionship as the reason.
   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." Effeminate means having the qualities or characteristics more often associated with women, than men. And, as used in this scripture, seems to indicate those who take on the sexual attractions of women will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • 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, . . . " I consider that "them that defile themselves with mankind" might be a reference to those who practice same-sex sexual activity.
   Those of same-sex attraction can be wonderful people, same as can anyone else. I do not believe their practice of same-sex sexual activity is right, just the same. I cannot, while reading the Bible.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Misuse of Guns? Police Officers are At-Risk Members of Society

   In some ways, perhaps, law enforcement officers are at-risk members of our society. No, I am not referring to their putting their lives on the line, though it is true they are at risk in that manner, also. I mean, they are at risk to misuse guns.
   The gun is part of their lives, more than it is for most of us. They live with a tool that was engineered to bring about death. That is its purpose. Should ever they have a thought toward death, it is there waiting for them. Since it is so much a part of their lives, the shadow of its purpose is forever with them. An inanimate object is not literally capable of tapping someone on the shoulder, saying, "Use me," but that is the essence of the effect a gun sometimes has on those who make it so much a part of their lives. It may not affect all of them that way, but some of them, it does.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Guns can Turn Good Guys into Bad

   Guns do have a good side, but it seems we should recognize they have an inherently evil influence on society, as well. What else would we expect? The were created as an instrument of death, and usually it cannot be said they have achieved their purpose until someone is lying in a pool of blood. They are a bad influence on many a good person.
   Case in point: Curtis Reeves. It is said that if we outlawed guns, only the bad guys would have guns. But, Reeves brings up another thought, as he is an example that "good guys" can  become bad when they have guns. Reeves was a former police officer, and former head of security, yet he took the gun with him into a movie theater and ended up shooting someone who was texting. Yes, I think the gun was a bad influence on him. Even if he, despite being a cop, per chance was a somewhat wicked person all along, he probably wouldn't have killed another person that day in the theater if he had not had a gun with him.
   After posting the above comments on a Facebook debate site, I opened my online newspaper and happened upon another example of how guns turn good people into bad. In the article, Lindon Police officer Josh Boren is described as a mild-mannered, teddy bear good person. But, his good didn't stop him from a heinous act. It is believed he took his gun and killed his family and himself.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dinner Tables in a Row for This Same-Sex Study

   All I wanted to do was to test the sexual orientation of Utah's same-sex couples. I spared no cost. I used my millions to make it happen. I invited 100 same-sex and 100 opposite-sex people to a lavish dinner and international fashion show at the Salt Palace.
   The convention rooms were not long enough to stage it the way I wanted, so I used the hallways. I lined the participants one to a table and all in a single row. In between each participant's table, I placed a partition. Then, I slowly paraded two rows of beautiful people down the hallways, passing each table, one row on one side, and the other row passing on the other side of the table.
   Females all in the one row, and males in the other.
   The dinner guests could look to the right and see the females, or they could turn to the left and see the males. Which would it be? Of course, they could turn their heads back and forth. To give purpose for having them there, I asked them to judge the models, picking a country that had the best fashions. So, models wearing fashions from Egypt, Britain, Japan and so forth paraded past their tables, each country's females and males passing at the same time. So, when the females from Canada were passing on one side, the males from Canada were passing on the other. The dinner guests were to pick which single country had the best fashions. Of course, that might cause them to look back and forth, but my hope was that many of the dinner guests would look more one way than the other. And, my hope was that their facial reactions would be revealing.
   It was my first study of same-sex attraction. There would be others. I had learned to love those of same-sex. I had learned they were precious. I also had learned how we should question our preconceived beliefs about them, and that included the most recently arrived at preconceived beliefs. For thousands of years, most of society judged same-sex partnering as not natural. Now, most accept it as normal. If it is normal, there should be no reason to fear studying it, again. Truth does not run from knowledge.
   So, I did the study again and again. The second time, I invited couples, with half being paired with someone of their own sex, and the other half with someone of the opposite sex, to see if they would sense a need to please the person they were with by which direction they were looking. The third time, I invited both some couples and some singles. But, this time I told them what the experiment was, that I was seeking to see which way they would look in order to know what their natural attraction was.
   (Story amended Jan.18th)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Person's Affection Direction can be Altered

   This is a point worth repeating. Most, perhaps, now believe we are born with the sexual orientation we must have for the rest of our lives.
   I beg to differ, at least in part.
   Oh, perhaps it is that the attraction we have for one sex or the other never leaves us, not from birth till death. That might be so. But, I suggest the preference of sexes might be changed. Very possibly.
   Here why:
   I'm thinking we all are born with sexual urges, sexual desires. So, we are all born with two things: sexual orientation, and sexual desires. (Perhaps not everyone is, but it does seem so.) Now, these are not the same thing. Sexual desires are related to sexual orientation, yes. But, no, they are not the same thing. One can affect the other and one can dominate the other.
   And, if one can dominate the other, that means it can be the controlling influence.
   Plus, there is another factor: Choice. Everyone has this, too. Now, if a person has sexual desires, that person can choose how they will be fulfilled, including whether to fulfill them with a male or a female. You may counter that there is no such choice, that the affection direction you were given is the affection direction you must practice.
   But, remember, I said sexual desires are not the same thing as sexual orientation. Sexual desires are there regardless of the sexual orientation. Sexual desires are just this: the desire for fulfillment of sexual interaction.
  And, that can be achieved with either sex, if you choose to let it.
  A person might not even be looking for sexual gratification outside their given orientation, and it happens upon them, and they find it was enjoyable. So, their mind adjusts their sexual orientation to include the gratification they just had. How far that change goes, and whether it can make the original orientation dormant, I do not know. But, the new partnering choice can be the one the person settles into and ends up practicing. And, if you practice something, that is what you are.
   Well, I think I have made a strong argument that sexual orientation can be altered. But, if I didn't persuade you, at least I came up with a new term for sexual orientation (affection direction).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Never Bring a Bag of Popcorn to a Gunfight, They Say

   Did you hear the one about the two men who were arguing in a movie theater, and the one pulled out some popcorn and tossed it at the other, and the other pulled out a gun and shot the popcorn-tosser dead? (Never bring a bag of popcorn to a gunfight, they say.) Well, the guy who shot the popcorn-tosser is claiming self defense.
   Attorneys for the shooter, Curtis Reeves, say their client "had every right to defend himself" against Chad Outson, who they say was the initial aggressor.
   We are not a wise country to write laws that escalate violence, instead of defusing it. Our Stand Your Ground Laws, in effect, encourage people to pull out a gun and shoot the other person. It might take no more provocation than throwing popcorn at them, and they decide that means they should kill you. Welcome to the wild west frontier of the 21st Century.
   We teach each other that these are good laws. Retired police officers (which Reeves was) are as likely to believe this (that deadly force should be used) as anyone. What we sow, is what we reap. We teach violence, and we reap just that.


Monday, January 13, 2014

At Least Some with Same-Sex Attraction were not Born that Way

   What if everyone is born with an attraction toward the opposite sex? What if no one is born with same-sex attraction? It would mean, of course, that there are oh-so-many people who believe and swear they were born gay, yet who were not.
   I think of Josh Weed, who posted his story of how he is of same-sex attraction. I read his witness, and have a hard time concluding he is wrong -- have a hard time concluding he was born straight, but something changed that after he was born.
   Still, if we are to know all things, we must consider all things. If there is a chance everyone is born with opposite-sex attraction, I must consider it, or I might miss out on the truth.
   So, on with the premise.
   Could it be that rejection by those of the opposite sex could prompt a mind to take to liking those of the same sex? I do know this: We are creatures of choice. There has to be something for us to like about a thing, but, once there is, we can choose to like it.
   And, I know there is a sexual desire in each of us (at least, I suppose we all have this). That sexual desire can, indeed, be expressed -- gratified -- by getting intimate with the same sex. I know that often with human behavior, when we get positive result from doing something, it immediately is something we like to do. And, by the same token, if we have a negative experience, we tend to immediately set a fence against having that experience again.
  If this principle is true in other areas of human behavior, it seems certain it is true of sexual orientation, as well.
   But, while this line of thought causes me to believe at least some of those with same-sex attraction have become that way since birth, it does not prove they all were not born with same-sex inclinations.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Nine Expressions of Love

   The Greeks have already sat down and told you what love is, dividing it into four types. C.S. Lewis picked up and treated the topic in his famous treatise, The Four Loves.
   Now it comes my turn to class the types of love.
   It is care and concern, the desire that another person have comfort and that all may be well with them. "Bless them in their work," says the person who loves another. "Prosper all they do. Bring them life's pleasures. Bring them life's treasures." This is love.
   And, so is this: It is passing kind judgement upon another, being charitable in our thoughts, and not dissing them. It is forgiveness of their faults and not manufacturing faults that do not exist. It is, when a fault is seen, looking for a reason for what caused it. Love is not a rush to judgement, but a judicial search for reason.
   Love is warmth. It is exuding a sense of happiness when seeing another. This is the third type of love.
   Love is work -- work for another. It is when you do something for another, or give them a gift. This type of love can come out of the other types, but it deserves to be classed as a type of love in itself.
   Love is companionship. It is sharing time, thoughts and emotions. It is being there for the moments in another's life. It is spending your existence with another. This might be the most common expression of love of all, the type of love practiced the most.
   Love is appreciation for the accomplishments of others. This type of love is related to the type where you do not diss another. But, a person can not dis another without having an appreciation for what they do. So, this is a category of its own.
    Well, I'm running out of thoughts. How about a tenderness, almost a reverence for another? Should this be considered as a class of love in and of itself? It is the gentleness of feelings for another. If warmth of feelings toward another can be a type of love, so can gentleness.
   Do we add one more, the physical excitement one can have toward another? It is on any listing, I would imagine, that anyone has ever made of the types of love.
   As I close, I remember as I sat down to write, opening an article on C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves. Thankfulness for what another has done for you is a type of love. Those who depend on others for care often have this type of love.
   These are the nine lives of love, then. It is bedtime, and if I am to think of others, it will have to come another night.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What if Someone has no Sexual Attraction at all?

  Here's a line of thought perhaps fresh to the same-sex debate.
  We have long accepted that most people are not attracted sexually to those of their own sex. So, if we now add to that that some are not attracted to the opposite sex, does it follow that there might be someone who carries no sexual attraction for neither their own nor the opposite sex? Scientific logic might suggest we explore the question. If there is a gene that determines sexual orientation, what if that gene is missing? Or, why could it not be programmed so there is no sexual orientation at all?
   Does such a person exist. If so, the undiscovered human being, for has such a person ever been found? Perhaps they themselves don't even know they have no sexual orientation. Their feelings are normal enough to them. Never having known a feeling, they might not even know what they are missing. And, they are taught to match off and marry someone, so they do it.
   If there are such people, there is another type of attraction that perhaps would substitute. Every person, it seems to me, has an innate desire to be loved, an attraction to the companionship of others. Maybe the person born with no sexual attraction confuses this attraction to be his (or her) sexual attraction.
   Well, I am just considering all possibilities. I, for my part, rather guess no one is born without sexual attraction.
    It seems to me, though, that we should be considering this, as we attempt to come to the right determination on whether same-sex marriages are normal and should be allowed. I think you explore all you can think of, every avenue, if you truly want to do what is right.

Friday, January 10, 2014

In Defense of Washington and Jefferson Regarding Marijuana Use

   Tonight, I come to the defense of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, for it is said they smoked marijuana.
   They raised hemp (which can used to make paper, ropes and other things), there is no question of that. But, unless you cultivate it right, the plant will not become marijuana. To get marijuana, you have to separate the male and female plants before the males pollinate the females. If the females are pollinated, they go to seed and produce but very, very little THC. If the females are not pollinated, they bloom and produce a good amount of THC.
   THC, as you know, is what makes you high. It is said that if you smoke hemp, you won't get high, you'll just get a headache.
    So, did George Washington smoke marijuana? Writing in his diary, he says, "Began to separate the male and the female . . . rather too late." The quote is, of course, used to argue that he was a marijuana user. I think, though, the quote might indicate just the opposite. If Washington enjoyed marijuana, he would not have been late at separating the plants, but would have made sure he cultivated some into marijuana. Nor do we know, to begin with, that the reason he thought to separate the male and female plants was to cultivate marijuana.
   Now, let's consider this quote -- this supposed quote -- from Thomas Jefferson: “Some of my finest hours have been spent sitting on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.” The quote doesn't appear to be authentic, not being found by in any of the online papers of Jefferson. The indication is that the quote likely is a complete fabrication.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

'Go Ahead, Make My Day' Influenced America

   Can we trace the values we learn on television and movies to the values we share as a society? I can think of one example, the 1983 movie Sudden Impact.
   And, the phrase, "Go ahead, make my day," uttered by Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood).
   The line, along with Dirty Harry's penchant for killing criminals may have influenced society to accept laws that perhaps encourage taking a criminal's life.
    In 1985, a Colorado law took on the phrase. A statute justifying deadly force when it is believed that a person invading a dwelling or business is committing a crime became known as Colorado's Make My Day Law.
   Yesterday, I listened a little bit to a video discussing the politics of the first Dirty Harry movie, the 1971 one titled just that, Dirty Harry. "Harry enjoyed a righteous kill," said one analyst.
   Yes, I wonder but what the Dirty Harry series of movies furthered the believe that killing is justified when a person committing a crime is the one to be killed.$FILE/077_01.pdf

Colorado Revised Statute 18-1-704.5

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Never Let What is Good Lead Us to do What is Bad

   Family? 'Tis a good thing. Home? 'Tis a good thing. But, never let a good thing lead you to do a bad thing.
   I think we sometimes teach each other that the slightest provocation to home and family is going to quickly result in a bullet being blown through someone's head.
   I have heard many a person exclaim how if someone enters their home and in any way threatens their family, they will not hesitate to shoot the intruder dead. I sometimes even sense in them a sense of pride for what they are saying, and a sense of pride for what they would be doing -- killing the intruder. I don't remember whether I've ever heard someone expressing a sense of remorse that they might have to take someone's life in order to protect their family. I do think -- much, do I think -- that even the thought that you might have to kill another person should weigh you down.
   Yes, you might have to kill another person, but it should not be a thought you relish. If you relish the thought of killing someone, hate is in your heart, even if that someone is an intruder in your home. More, such an attitude could lead you to commit the biggest sin there is to commit. If you are trigger happy, you could end up killing an intruder when the intruder doesn't need to be killed.
   Yes, not all intruders need to be killed.
    Now, it is a wise parent who teaches the child to prepare to say "no" when someone offers the child a drug, or a when a stranger offers the the child a ride. We know that preparing the child for such scenarios will make them more likely to make the right decision when the moment comes. We, as adults, are no different. So, if killing is sin, instead of training ourselves on how quick we will commit it, shouldn't we be considering all the scenarios when killing will not necessary? Along with preparing our minds for when we might have to kill, we should also prepare our minds against those moments when it will be a sin.
  All this makes me imagine up a scene that could easily have fitted into a C.S. Lewis book, with a master devil teaching his apprentice that, "The good can be used to justify the bad, my dear apprentice. You must sell the human on the good and then he will buy the bad right along with it. His love of family can be used to justify the killing of an intruder. Imagine, murder in the name of love,"
  Rather than listening to the master devil, I think it better you listen to the voice telling you, Don't let that which is good justify you in doing that which is bad.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bibles are Hands On at One Point, and Hands Off a Little Later

   My friends, if we go to court appealing this same-sex marriage decision, do we dare tell the judge why we are really there? I mean, if the judge were to just stop the proceedings, look us in the eye, and ask us why we believe same-sex marriages are wrong, what would we say?
   Would we say, "It's in the Bible, Sir"?
   "I've wondered about this the past day or two. I wonder if being honest includes somewhere along the line stating the real reason you have for being there in court. You might argue on other lines, telling the judge that here are some reasons that might make a difference to him. But, it just seems somewhere you should 'fess up as to why you are there.
   There's that question common in courts, the one they run by you before they let you testify. "Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"
   It does seem strange that we place our hand on the Bible, promising to tell the truth, but yet we will be in big trouble if we say that the truth is, it is that same Bible that got us there, and it that same Bible we'd like to use as part of our evidence.
   Just saying.

Monday, January 6, 2014

There is Strength in the Same-Sex Marriage Argument

   Reason there is to wonder but what we shouldn't let the same-sex marriage folks have their way. Reason there is to consider dropping the appeal of Judge Robert Shelby's decision legalizing same-sex marriage. They make a strong argument, they do, with science suggesting people are born with their sexual orientation. They make a strong argument, they certainly do, in saying that we shouldn't keep two people who love each other from loving each other. They make a strong argument in saying this is discrimination, to not allow them the same rights as others.
   I do not favor same-sex marriages. I do not think they are right. But, I do see the strength of the argument of those who do favor these marriages and who do think they are right.
  I also see public opinion as having swung over to same-sex marriages. Perhaps it is time to let go, and give the people what they want.

Will Marijuana Make Us a More Indolent Society?

   While using marijuana, a person is often less ambitious. So, one wonders if one consequence of legalization of marijuana is a more indolent society, a less industrious and less enterprising nation.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Guilt is the Medicine of the Soul

   I come to tell you how good guilt is. Wonderful stuff. It is the agent of change, the force that nudges us to do differently. Before a person will change, they must decide to change. And, before they will decide to change, they must see the need to change.
   Seeing the need to change -- call that guilt, and call guilt good.
    But, just how much is the proper dosage? All medicines have dosages. If you overdose, that is not a good thing. The answer? The smallest amount that will bring about the change. You will not be experiencing enough guilt (or at least not experiencing it in the right way), if you do not change.
   See, this is the thing about this medicine called guilt. It can be overused. It can be used when not necessary. It can be abused. You've heard of drug abuse? Well, then consider there is such a thing as guilt abuse. Though it can be the most wonderful of medicines, there are dangers in this little friend of ours. Guilt has a dark side. It can destroy a person as easy as it can pick him up.
    I come today, to warn you, to ask you to stay clear of this overuse, abuse of guilt. Guilt is the antidote to the mistakes in our lives. But, it must be used, not abused. Never let it tell you that what you have done is inherently who you are. Never let it tell you you cannot change. How you harness this thing called guilt is up to you. You can use it, you can abuse it, or you can toss it aside.
   As with all the miracles of modern medicine, if you toss it aside, you will running away from the cure that can save you. Don't do that. As with some other medicines, it must be topically applied. Use it in the mental parts of your mind that are open to change. Do not rub it in on those spots in the mind that will result in believing that you cannot change, that you are no good, and that you are a worthless human being.
   If guilt is to be an agent of change, it must be used for change, not for assigning oneself to not being able to change.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Has High Court Already Ruled Utah has Right to Define Marriage?

   If the High Court has already ruled the federal government cannot set aside state laws on same-sex marriage, as it so ruled in Windsor vs. the United States six months ago, then has it not already ruled that states do, indeed, have the right to set the standard on whether same-sex marriages are to be allowed?
   Judge Robert Shelby, then, would be wrong in saying Utah's Proposition 3, which outlaws same-sex marriages, is wrong.
   Utah is pressing this point as it argues for a stay. I think it is valid to make such an argument. The hitch is, the Supreme Court also based its decision in Windsor on the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments. The Fifth Amendment says no one is to "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Fourteenth Amendment says, "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
   Arguing on the states rights issue is prudent, but Utah will also need to address these three issues from Amendments V and XIV:
1. Why life, liberty, or property should not be equal with same-sex couples, same as heterosexual couples.
2. Why the privileges and immunities for same-sex couples should not be the same as those for heterosexual couples.
3. Why equal protection under the laws does not mean same-sex couples should not be treated equally with heterosexual couples.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Being Big Brother America has These Two Problems

   The problem with being a big brother is being a bully. Well, that is one of two problems. The other is, the problem with being a big brother is that you end up with too many little brothers.
   Just the same, I like the idea of America playing big brother, of trying to protect the innocent and downtrodden of the world. I like the idea of America stepping in when bullies pick on the little brothers. But, there's rub number one: Sometimes, in trying to stop the bully, you become a little bit of a bully yourself. You get to where you try to impose your will where your will has no business being imposed. Be careful. Sometimes, those you suppose to be in need of your help are not calling for it at all. They are quite satisfied with their way of life, even though it doesn't have the word you value so much in it. Consider, America, that "freedom" might be a cherished value to you, but others might be quite comfortable living without it.
   I'm just saying, freedom isn't something you impose on others. Step in when they want it. Step away when they don't. After all, if you try to impose freedom all over the world, you are going to be one busy body of a big brother. Once you get in the business of helping others, there will be more than enough who come calling for your assistance without helping where help isn't needed.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Those Who Favor a Strong National Defense Usually Favor Strong Personal Defense

   I am perhaps an anomaly. Most who support a strong national defense, also favor strong personal defense. Those who favor armed forces well prepared for any possible attack tend to be the same people who own guns and speak of needing them for personal defense. I have never owned a gun, and believe too many people own guns. I believe we all have the right to own guns; I just don't think we all need to, and I believe that it is not a good thing that  so many of us do own guns.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fructose in Sugar is Poison

   Pour poison on half the food you eat. Pour it on your cereal, your pancakes. Take it in your cookies and donuts, and soft drinks. Have it in your pretzels and dinner rolls.
   Poison, I say, poison.
   Actually, it is not me that says it, but Robert H. Lustig, if you've ever heard of him. He would have us to know that sugar does more harm than just adding calories, and more harm than just making us fat.
  Sugar is literally poison. Class it with cigarettes and alcohol, because it is a killer, same as they. "Alcohol without the buzz," he calls the fructose in sugar.
   "The only difference is, alcohol is metabolized by the brain," Lustig says, "so you get the alcohol effects. Fructose is not metabolized by the brain, so you don't get those effects. But everything else is the same."
   He says, if you've got a beverage in the house with fructose sugar in it, get rid of it.
   He suggests that when God made fructose, he provided an anecdote right with it. You see, fructose occurs naturally in fruits and many plants, and in each place it is found, the same plant also has fiber. Fiber is the anecdote. I did not fully understand what he meant by that, whether fiber is a cure, or, more likely, if it is that one cannot consume too much sugar because eating the plant is mostly eating the fiber.
   Well, I left off listening to his video, Sugar: The Bitter Truth, without understanding a lot of what was said. I'm not sure whether I am to be allowed some sugar, just not too much. But, I left off the wiser, believing what he says about sugar being a poison.