Friday, May 30, 2014

In the Shineki Matter, We React no Better than an Arrogant King

   Back in the day, kings would take off someones head off if they were mad about a matter. If nothing else, it just made them feel better.
  Things haven't changed much since democracies replaced kingdoms. The rulers -- sometimes that's us, the people, and sometimes it's Congress -- still look for a head to lop off when something goes wrong.
   Latest head to roll: that of Eric Shinseki, secretary of veterans affairs. I don't know how many congress members called for his firing, but it was a lot.
   The tradition of firing someone when they weren't directly at fault, though they headed the agency, is a little misguided. In this case, I have to wonder but what Shinseki wasn't as good a person as could be found to clean up the problem.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Don't Just Make Heads Roll, Fix the Problem at V.A. Hospitals

   Instead of just anger with the Veterans Administration, shouldn't we be wondering why 1,700 veteran's waiting for care were never scheduled, why some may have died while waiting for care?
   Would seem that part of the problem is that there were too many patients and not enough doctors. Shouldn't we be calling for an immediate change to that? Firing Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki might give us the satisfaction of knowing someones head rolled, but fixing the problem will do more good.
   If we need hospital expansions, do it. If we need more hospitals, do it. If we need to hire more doctors at the hospitals, do it. Fix the problem.
   Too many times we are so busy pointing fingers that we don't even think to solve the problem.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Divorce High in a State Where You Wouldn't Expect That

   I'm surprised to learn Utah divorce rates are higher than the national average. Is this a new development, with Utah once having done better? I do not know, but I read of how in 1870, Utah ranked first in the nation in divorce.
   I wonder if polygamy played into the 1870 ranking. But, what of the current statistics? I understand in some years, Utah has ranked in the top 10.
   One thought is that more people get married in Utah, as opposed to just living together. It would be fairer to study how many relationships end in a parting of the ways, as it seems those who just live together probably part ways more often. Those partnership failures never make it into the divorce statistics.
   And, the divorce rate of those sealed in LDS temples would be interesting, as it is those marriages that would seem to not have as high of a divorce rate.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Could We Take the Entire Medicaid Program Away from the Feds?

   I wonder about the wisdom of taking Medicaid in Utah away from the federal government, entirely, and administering it at the state level.
   Gov. Gary Herbert has suggesting taking the federal funds and administering them through private companies in a program he calls Healthy Utah. I've wondered if that is worth it, as taking federal funds and giving them to private enterprise puts the mask of private enterprise on what really remains a government program. It is possible such an effort might also add a level of administration, since private administrators and government administrators would both being involved.
   But, the significant thing is that the Obama Administration is willing to let Utah do such a program. The feds are willing to let Utah have its own program. It makes me wonder how much Medicaid autonomy we might be given. Currently, Medicaid in Utah is administered by the Utah State Health Department, with the federal funds coming to that agency. California is allowed to slap its own name on its Medicaid program, calling it Medi-Cal.
   You'll remember Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart wanted to reject the federal program and offer a state-funded program for some of those who need Medicaid expansion if they are to have any coverage. Well, could we take that a step further? Could we suggest that while we like Becky Lockhart's idea, we want all of Medicaid, not just part of it? And -- here's the kicker -- could we suggest that while we will pay for the whole thing, it does mean we want federal taxation for Medicaid in Utah to be discontinued?
   Figure out how much of the tax dollar is going to our Medicaid, and no longer collect it from taxpayers in this state.
   I don't know whether the laws governing Medicaid allow for such an arrangement. Nor am I silly enough not to realize the taxes for a state program are going to be significantly higher than if the federal government does the collecting. You have got to be suspicious that much of the federal funding is coming not from taxes, but from borrowing and from increasing the national debt.
   Which is the whole reason for moving the whole kit and kaboodle to the state. The state's constitution requires a balanced budget. So, we have protection against deficit spending.
   It would be better yet if private enterprise were willing to take the whole kit and kaboodle. But, I'm venturing that if Gov. Herbert's proposed program allows them to take federal funds, it might mean private enterprise knows they cannot insure everyone while still turning a profit.

Monday, May 26, 2014

We Best be Careful Healthy Utah Doesn't Just Add another Layer

   Gov. Gary Herbert's Healthy Utah proposal would take federal dollars and run them to private companies to administer health insurance for those now missing out. He is to be applauded for wanting to have private enterprise provide the insurance. But, if the federal government is providing the money, anyway, it kind of feels like we're just putting a mask on it to make it look like private enterprise is doing it. More, we had better be careful we aren't adding another layer of administration, with government administrators still being being there and private-enterprise administrators being added in.
   More administration is not the way to bring down health-care costs. It, already, is largely the problem.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Gun can Damage Your Heart as Much as the Heart of the Person You Would Shoot

   The gun becomes an enemy to society when it becomes its best friend. When society honors it too much is when it should fear it the most.
   It is an instrument of death; place it not on a pedestal.
   Speak not with pride of how it can rip out the heart of another person, for if you find pride in the act of administering death, the gun has stirred up the dark side in you. An inanimate object? Think not that that means it can weld no power over you. Its power will come as you are tempted to find joy in what it might do to another person.
   If you find yourself expressing joy at the thought of stopping an intruder dead with a shot to his heart, know that the inanimate object does have a real influence and it is welding it for the worse on you. It can change your heart and damage it as much as it can damage the heart of the person you would shoot.
  With the gun, comes the attitude.
   Not always, but too often we start adopting feelings of joy with what the gun can do. True, those feelings are for what it can do to intruders, assaulters and other forms of criminals. But, just the same, it is feelings of hate the gun is extracting from us, if we let it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Everybody Having a Bomb Would also be a Problem

   "When there is a bombing, we blame the bomber. When there is a drunk-driving accident, we blame the driver." When there is a shooting, why do we blame the gun?" says a meme on Facebook.
   As the first comment on the thread, there's a quote from Lucius Annaeus Seneca, "A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand."
   There is a twist to such comments. When there is a shooting, we do blame the shooter, same as we blame the bomber for a bombing, the driver for drunk-driving, and the swordsman for any killing he does. But, there is also danger in the weapon. Yes, some of us do fear there are too many guns. But, what if it were common for people to own bombs? Wouldn't we begin to wonder if there were too many people owning bombs? Alcohol? Some do blame it for alcohol-related deaths. I know I think it is a factor, to put it lightly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Getting Everyone Off Government Assistance Would be a Task

   Getting everyone off government assistance cannot be done, it is not an achievable goal.*
   Wait, wait, I'm not done. There is an asterisk next to that, so let me finish. The thing is, if we are to get people off assistance, it means we must place them in jobs, and they must be jobs that pay the bills. Most every employer has limits on who they will hire. Many won't hire convicts. Many won't hire those with too busy of work histories. Many won't hire those who work too slow. Many won't hire those with bad hygiene. Many won't hire those with mental shortcomings.
   After all, there is such a thing as a hiring criteria, and every company has one.
   So, while most every person is capable of doing some kind of work, that is not the question. The question is not the employee, but the employer. I don't know a single employer that hires all comers.
   So, what do we do? I see three options. One, Let government create the jobs. Two, Appeal to the rich to create jobs that hire all takers. Get the rich to be philanthropists about this, opening companies just to provide jobs, not to turn profits. Three, Create private charities that provide the work.
   I like all three options. Maybe use them all. The federal government is the one I like the least, because of the national deficit. The federal government cannot be the only of the three options, as it should only create companies capable of turning profits so that we do not add to the national deficit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Should Immigration be only for Those Who Lobbyists See a Need for?

   Should you only be allowed to come to America if there is a lobbyist who is willing to ask for you? Because sometimes I think that is the angle of much of the current legislative effort in Washington.
   Should your right to come to America be based on whether you are educated? Or whether you can benefit American industry? I can't help but notice there are likely lobbyists asking for both.
   Give me your hungry, your poor, your huddled masses? Sometimes I think that has been changed to, Give us those who can make a dime for us, and those we can make a dime off of.
    What have we become? What are our morals in this matter? What will be the basis of our immigration policies? Are we to say, come to America, the land of the lobbyist, and come if a lobbyist invites you?
   The poor immigrants. We've already made it so they pretty much need a lawyer. I guess we might as well also make it so they need a lobbyist, as well.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Give the Indians Federal Lands Ahead of the States

   Much is said of states taking over federal land. If we believe in this -- and many do -- then we should look at another group that has much more right to federal land than the states.
   The American natives.
   And, while they might, indeed, run their own reservations, largely, the land is theirs only as a trust, with the Bureau of Indian Affairs involved in the administering and management of the land. I say, the Native Americans owned the land to begin with, so to at least let them fully own and run the reservation property is only just. The Bureau of Indian Affairs should be there to manage the lands only if the Native Americans want to allow that. If at any time, or on any of the reservations, the Native Americans decide they want to manage their own lands, that should be their prerogative.
   Talk of states rights and states having rights to federal lands, the Indians have much more right to federal lands than what the states have.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Righteous Indignation is not Always Righteous

   Righteous indignation is not always righteous.
   I say this as I find myself being too judgemental of a post on the Internet, it proving to be false information and making false claims and accusations. "After a little study, and posting on the errors, I find myself commenting something like, So, we see that this is wrong and that this also is wrong and with both of those things being wrong, it makes us wonder about your third point." Crowing, I'm afraid, am I. And, I'm "righteously indignant" at what he posted.
   Being charitable toward others requires me to go back and erase my crowing comment. I don't know what led him to believe and say the things he did. I shouldn't judge. He may have offered the post thinking surely he was correct, only to be humiliated to learn he was not. That is enough, without me (figuratively speaking) standing with one foot on him, and waving a sword over him, as if I just conquered him by showing the world how wrong he was.
   Better to be a Christian than a conquering, supposed Christian. Better to leave judgement to the Lord. Better to be charitable. Better to not be righteously indignant.
   For all too often, righteous indignation is not righteous.

Never Plant a Plant if You Don't Like its Fruit

   We may be far from having the wars of Nigeria and Libya in America, but I cannot help but seeing that the seeds that led to war there have been planted here, as well.
   Never was a war fought without hatred. No, never was a war fought without hatred being present.
   So, the recipe for war is a simple one: Divide the people into two camps and get them hating each other and, if you get them worked up enough, sooner or later, one of them will pull a gun and fire. Sometimes, the hatred can be all one-sided, and if haters get riled up enough, you'll still have your war.
   In America, we have two kinds of hatred that are common. One pits those of one political persuasion against those of the other political persuasion. Then, there is the hatred that pits people against government -- and, some who oppose government are, indeed, speaking of taking up arms. (Plant a word, reap an action?)
   Yes, we might be a long ways from civil war. We can only hope so. But, the seeds that lead to war are indeed the very seeds we have allowed to be planted. Day after day we are cultivating them, speaking with hate toward each other and our government. How much the seeds will grow, we can only wonder. But, it should be said, never plant a plant if you don't like its fruit.

We may be far from having the wars of Nigeria and Libya in America, but I cannot help but seeing the seeds that led to war there, being here, as well. Never was a war fought without hatred.

We are far from it, but in someways we can see a little of what happens there happening here. People divide into two sides, hating the other and despising them and speaking ill of them, and the hatred spawns war and killing and anarchy. In America, we might never reach that point. I hope not. But, there is hatred of each other, by those of two different viewpoints. . . .

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sometimes You Must Legislate Morality or there will be no Morality at All

   You cannot legislate morality, it is said. I do not know that I agree. I wonder if sometimes just the opposite is true: You must legislate morality or there will be no morality at all, for some people seem to believe, if it is not against the law, there is nothing wrong with doing it. These people might ask, "There's no law against it, is there?" as if to suggest everything is open game if it is not against the law.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

With God as Our Witness

    "Your honor. I know you are wondering how we ever expect to win this case if we base our arguments on scripture, for many would say scripture and religion have no basis for determining the law of the land."
    "I'm sure that will, indeed, be an argument," the judge replied.
   "It is the basis of our argument, Judge. And, I believe the strength of what is said in that scripture comes from who said it."
   The judge was now tapping his fingers.
    "It is the practice in every court of law and in every case of law to call witnesses. We, as the defense, have already called our first witness, our key witness. Is it a witness who should be excluded? I think not. However you stack him up as a witness, he does remain someone whose witness should be included. We, as the defense in this case, give him great value. To us, of all witnesses who are to stand before the court, he is the one whose witness means the most. Judge, there is much that can be argued for same-sex marriage. Social science has declared we are born with our sexual orientations. Why would we, then, oppose something that is natural? Why would we oppose same-sex marriage? People should be free to love each other, it is argued. All couples should be treated equal, it is argued. Those are hard arguments to oppose. Why do we oppose same-sex marriage, then? We simply have faith in the Lord, that he knows what is right better than we do."
   The judge had quit tapping his fingers and was looking intently.
   "This is not the whole of our argument, your honor, not at all. But, the witness from the Bible is key to us. It is a witness we do not believe should be shunted aside."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'd Like to Quote Scripture, Your Honor

   Sometimes, the truth is all you've got. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
   And, if we are to tell the truth in the same-sex marriage question, we must tell the courts why we believe marriage should just be between a man and a woman. And, that means dragging the Bible into the courtroom.
   "As our first and key piece of evidence, your honor, I'd like to quote from Mark 10."
   "Excuse me?"
   "Yes, your honor, I'd like to quote scripture."
   "Well then?! . . . Proceed."
   "These are the Savior's words. He had just been asked if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife. Jesus countered by asking what Moses had commanded. The Pharisees replied that Moses suffered them to write a bill of divorcement. Now, listen to what Jesus said, for he speaks of marriage as being between a man and a woman. These are the Savior's words: 'For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.' Now, judge, this next part begins, 'For this cause,' and I take that to mean that because God made them male and female. He says, 'For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.' " In other words, because they are man and woman, therefore shall they be married. It seems the Savior is defining marriage as being between a male and a female.
   The judge frowned.
    "Your honor. I know you are wondering how I ever expect to win this case if I base it on scripture, for many would say scripture and religion have no basis for determining the law of the land."
    "I'm sure that will, indeed, be an argument," the judge replied.
   "It is the basis of our argument, Judge. And, I believe . . .
   (Blog to be continued. It is bedtime.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Utah does have a History of Loving Those of Same-Sex Attraction

   How would you go before a court to persuade it that limiting marriage to a man and a woman is not discrimination, is not bigotry?
   How would you go before the American public?
   You will make a much stronger case if you have a history of showing love for those of same-sex affection. Discrimination and bigotry often come with hate. You would need to show you have no malice toward those of same-sex. I think of Utah's attorney general, Sean Reyes, reaching out to those of same-sex who were protesting. I believe he was sincere. That was a show of love, and reflected that hatred and malice are not part of Utah's desire that marriage be between a man and a woman.
   Could you show that these are not people who must sit at the back of the bus? That they are not people who you do not want to work with, who you do not want on your job sites?
   Point to the good relations with Evergreen International (an organization for Latter-day Saints who experience same-sex attractions). Point to how there was an invite to a gathering at the state legislature, where those of same-sex were honored. point to how Reyes reached out to them. Point to how the predominant religion has a website showing care for those of same-sex, and how that religion endorsed non-discrimination in housing and employment for those of same-sex in Salt Lake City.
   And, be sincere. Care in earnest for those of same-sex. Love them not because you want the world to see you love them, but because you love them. I look around at Utahns, and do find they do have this sincere love for those of same-sex.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Plants Pollute, So They Might not be the Answer to Pollution

   Here's a surprise: Plants pollute. Plants cause pollution. It is said vegetation accounts for two-thirds of a pollution called volatile organic compounds (VACs). And, unfortunately -- at least according to a study four years ago by the EPA -- plant pollutants can interact with other pollutants to change the chemical make up of the air in a negative way.
   So, some (including me) have been suggesting more trees as a way to fight pollution? We better put that idea on hold, at least until we find out the pluses and minuses. Do plants turn enough carbon monoxide into oxygen to outweigh the pollutants created?
   Also, we know traditional pollutants can harm trees. That said, I don't look around Salt Lake City and see many trees appearing to be dying from the pollution.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Savior Spoke of Marriage as being Between a Male and a Female

   How does this story play into the same-sex marriage discussion?
   Jesus rose up from where He was and went into the coasts of Judea, and Pharisees came to Him, asking him if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife. Jesus asked them what Moses had commanded them. Moses suffered that a bill of divorcement be written, they replied.
   Jesus then noted it was for the hardness of their hearts that Moses suffered the divorces, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife," Jesus said. 
   So, we have the Savior speaking of marriage as being between a man and a woman. The placement of the words, "For this cause," gives us cause to believe He is saying it is because God made them male and female that they should be married.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Both Sides Want to Recapture Recapture Canyon

   They rode into a place called Recapture Canyon as if to say, "We're taking it back. We're recapturing Recapture Canyon." Almost seven years had passed since the Bureau of Land Management had closed the trail after two men were fined $35,000 for what the BLM considered damage to sacred ancient Indian sites.
   Now, did they damage an archaeological site, again? "Ancient artifacts and dwellings may have been damaged by the riders," Utah BLM director Juan Palma reported.
   Ahh, but all they wanted to do was ride for freedom. Like Paul Revere, theirs was a ride carrying a message against the existing government. Some rode their ATVs just on trails open to the public. Others, including the family of Ryan Bundy, reportedly rode right into the heart of Indian artifacts. This Ryan Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, who made so much noise against the BLM in recent weeks, bringing in militia members to help him stand against the government when the BLM had taken his cattle to pay for grazing fees he refused to pay.
   This land is my land, Cliven Bundy had said. And so echoed the refrain in Recapture Canyon, where militia members from the Bundy saga joined to ride again.
   They broke the law, defiantly, and the sheriff's officers just looked on, not arresting a soul. That would be the duty of the BLM, to arrest people, said San Juan Sheriff Rick Eldridge. The BLM folks made the law, so let them enforce it. As if sheriff's officers get to pick and choose which laws they enforce, and which they throw back at the governing bodies making the rules, telling them to enforce their own laws.
   BLM officers noted they were there, though, witnessing and taking names. And, charges will come. Scot-free might have happened in Bunkerville, Nevada, when Cliven Bundy got his cattle returned. But, it may not happen this time, not in Recapture Canyon.
   My take on the Daytime Ride of Phil Lyman (he organized the ATV ride in Recapture Canyon)? Not sure.  I wish I knew what each of the Indian sites were and what they were valued for. I'm told the ATV trail passes through six nationally significant archaeological sites (including ancient dwelling sites) and three religious sites known as kivas. Tell me more. Does the trail go right thru the dwelling and religious sites, or just right close to them? What kind of damage occurred in 2006 and what kind of damage occurred this time?
   I consider that native Americans regard the ride through these sites as a slap in the face. There are thousands of miles of trails in the Blanding area for the ATVers to use. Thus, there is the argument that there simply is no need for people and their toys to be treading into ancient religious and archaeological sites.
   The native Americans, also, would like to recapture Recapture Canyon, keeping it away from the ATVers, for the Indians had it first.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Let the Legislators Offer Their Own Prayers

   This week's Supreme Court decision on prayer prompted me to notice such prayers at public meetings are often given by guests. The court case, in fact, was about such a sitution. I now wonder, how often is it that city council members or legislators offer their own prayers?
   A prayer can be a plea for God's help. It can be a petition asking God to direct the proceedings about to take place. If it is the legislators, themselves, who are wanting that direction, wouldn't it be appropriate for them to make their own plea? Someone can pray of your behalf, but if you are the one seeking direction, it seems appropriate to ask the Lord yourself.
   So, looking around and wondering how many times it is that the participants offer their own prayers, I think it would be neat if it happened more often. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God answers a sincere prayer. There is power in having the person who is to receive the help, ask for the help. Yes, I believe we would be a better-governed land if legislators prayed more -- themselves -- to our God.
  (This post rewritten and added to a little 5/10/14.)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Benghazi's Blame Lies with the Murderers; Not With the Administration

   Another congressional hearing on Benghazi, then. Will it reveal that we did not pay attention to our own intelligence suggesting an attack?  I do not believe anyone in the administration knowingly let the attack take place, just blindly looked the other way. Were there signs that should have been heeded? We shall see what the inquiry reveals.
   Is this hearing just one party playing the blame game? I do wonder but what it is. The deaths were a terrible thing. Yes, no doubt. But, I do not believe anyone in the administration knowingly accommodated them, though they might have made errors in judgement.
   Did the administration try to pin the blame on the video? Perhaps. But, it appears there was, indeed, early reason to believe the attack was a response to the video. Did Obama try to make political hay with what he had Susan Rice say? Making political hay is not a good thing, especially when your premise quickly ends up wrong. But, it goes noted that the Republicans are doing the same, now, looking to make political hay.
   Did information get classified that shouldn't have been? Yes, I wish that didn't happen. It happens all the time. That would be a good thing that could come out of the hearing, if by some chance we changed things up so things are not classified that ought to be open to the public.
   But, are we trying to blame someone in the administration for the murders? Sometimes tragedies happen, and rather than turn on each other and blame each other, we should lament our common loss, for all of us are horrified at the murders..
   I do wish we had found the murderers. I do hope we are still looking for them. I do wish we could bring them to justice.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

If We're a Responsible People, We take the Checkbook from Uncle Sam

    If you have a joint bank account with someone, and they handle it irresponsibly, you are wise to get the account out of their name. If, therefore, your financial partner runs a bill up for $17 trillion more than what you have in the bank, you should have the right to say, "No-no-no! I'm taking the checkbook away from you! I'm taking it away from you and giving it to the states."
   Then, you turn over as much of your governing to the states as possible, noting the Constitution already provides that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. This means all social welfare matters are no longer the function of the federal government.
   I do consider the overspending by the federal government to be serious enough a thing that we should rip such programs from Uncle Sam. Go about it in whatever way is necessary and proper. Demand it by virtue of the Tenth Amendment. Demand it by the states banding together to assert their rights. Demand it with rallies and protests and petitions. Demand that the federal government abdicate all programs states can run just as well as the central government can. (Perhaps consider letting the feds keep programs that are being run financially soundly -- those that are not overly expensive.)
   This is what you do when you have given someone your checkbook, only to see them run up a bill for $17 trillion more than what is in the account. You don't let the spending continue; you take the checkbook away.
   Frankly, if we truly are a responsible people, we do this thing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Let Super Charity Inc. be an Alternative to Government Aid

   What if there were a charity organization whose aim was to do everything the federal government does? If government helps those on disability, the charity would seek to do the same. If government helps with school lunches for needy children, so would the charity. If government offers unemployment insurance, the charity would, likewise.
   What if this super charity sought to replace the whole government social net, or at least to provide an alternative to it? Those giving, could continue to give through their taxes to the federal government, or could be extended tax credits for giving to the super charity. Some of those getting the aid would remain on government assistance, but others would be shifted to the private aid. The super charity would fund as many of the needy as it could. When its dollars were used up, those still needing help would go to the federal government.
   I'd put a work option in the private fund. If those getting the charity were willing, they could agree to work in exchange for the help they received. But, they all wouldn't be required to work until the corresponding federal program also required work. But, yes, that is something I would like to see happen.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Greece v. Galloway Affirms Freedom of Speech

   Prayers in public meetings are expressions by those who offer them. Expressions of belief are what America is all about. Just because the expression reflects a religious sentiment does not mean that expression should be excluded.
   Some suggest public prayer in meetings forces those prayers on the public. I do not see it that way. Just as you might disagree with what is said in the meeting after the prayer, you can disagree with what is said in the prayer. But, that does not mean you should be able to muzzle the prayer-giver.
   So, I do agree with the Supreme Court decision today. I do laud Greece v. Galloway. Not only does it affirm the freedom of having religion, but it affirms freedom of speech.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday is the Lord's Day

   Maybe if I lament my lack of posting on Sundays, it will come out to be an adequate posting, itself. Sunday is the Lord's day. I often think of a scripture in Isaiah that says we should put aside our own desires and pleasures on Sunday and do His will.
   I could post today on a somewhat worthy Sunday topic -- giving donations to charities -- but although that is Sundayish, I would to post on Christ on my Sundays. It is His day. I would that I studied His life more on this day. I once made a habit of reading the Gospel of Mark on Sundays, but have not found it to fit in my schedule the past year. I have been in need of sleeping more on Sundays, using it as a catch-up-on-sleep day, and thus miss my Gospel of Mark study.
   I would to be closer to the Savior. This is not to say I do not have a degree of closeness to Him. But, I certainly would to be closer. I thank Him for His sacrifice, and for the blessings the Father grants me.
   Well, let this post stand as it is, though hurried and not well-written. I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in the restoration of His church in these last days. I know it is in Christ I must put my trust. I pray I will get closer to Him in my daily life, and know Sunday is a day I should push to honor Him more.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Good Governance is in Finding Good Managers, and Trusting Them

   Good governance can mean letting the person you place in charge, take charge. If you have a Utah chief of the BLM, let him or her run the program in that part of the country. Don't require that everything be approved back in Washington before policies can move forward in Utah.
   This is my answer to those who are calling for state control of federal lands. I am not against my country running the lands. In fact, I read the Utah Enabling Act, which spells out the agreement for Utah becoming a state, and find it says Utah and its citizens "forever disclaim" the unappropriated lands. Let us live up to what we have signed.
   There is a guideline some businesses follow. If there is a program to be done, they find the person who can do it and turn it over to them, letting them use their own ideas and own talent and own administrative skills. It requires having a savvy manager and every manager in the company does not fit the mold. But when you find such a manager, utilize him or her. Rather than micromanaging each aspect of  the company, utilize the talent you hire.
   I've suggested this principle should apply to our schools. If we have teachers who want to create their own programs, let them. We hired them, and their ways might be as wise as those imposed upon them. If we have a teacher who wants to teach from his or her own outline of American history, we will want to keep abreast of what is being taught (lest it go astray), but go with the teacher's initiative.
   It is the same with government. If you have a bureau chief in Utah, give him or her as much free rein as possible. One of the keys to good governance is to study each issue well before making a decision. The president is not in position to study every issue in every department in every state. The Secretary of Interior is not going to be as hands-on to the problems. The problems are going to be coming first to the officers in the various locations. If they are the receptors of the information, and complaints and needs, they are in the best position to make the decisions.
   Let them. It's called good governance. It requires that you put a wise person in the post. So, let the Secretary of Interior be more concerned with placing a solid person in the post than in overriding many of that person's decisions.
   Good governance is in finding good managers, not in doing the managing for them.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Love, Then, if You Would Improve Your Education System

   I believe in love. I believe it is one of the most powerful of tools to bring change to people's lives. I believe if we want to improve our society, and really make some changes, we ought to look for places where we aren't using this tool enough, and apply it.
   Places like our schools.
    While the nation grapples to find ways to improve education, is it giving any thought to adding larges doses of love? Why not? If love really is a tool to bring change in lives -- and, I don't know if anyone would disagree -- why wouldn't we seek to ensure we're pouring all the love we can on the students?
   We should teach the teachers how to love and hire teachers who know how to love. Love is largely a matter of exuding warmth, of smiling, of being understanding and not condemning. Teaching with love is so vital, yet probably isn't currently considered in hardly any of our hiring interviews. The ability to love should be a hiring requisite. The interviewer should ask the potential teachers how they would go about extending love and hire only those who provided persuasive answers.
   I would guess there is much room to increase the loving potential in the teachers we already have, simply because many of them are probably just not thinking of it as a tool of good teaching, but they are loving people by nature. It will be easy for the them to up their level of loving since it is an emotion natural to them.
   The expression "no child left behind" should apply when it comes to love. Often, the students who fail are the ones who feel rejected. If we don't want to leave any behind, we should make sure none are not getting ample amounts of love.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Rebellion Against the BLM is a Recurring Theme for 2014

   The Year 2013, the year of the uprisings against the Bureau of Land Management.
   There was that uprising by Cliven Bundy in Nevada, with militia members coming to his aid as the federals backed down and returned his cattle, even though he owed a good $1 million in grazing fees. Then, there is a lawsuit against the BLM for not managing its wild horses. And, some ranchers are suggesting they might reduce the number of wild horses on their own if the federal government doesn't. (I read in the Trib that the BLM has decided it will reduce the number of horses.) Oh, and then there is that San Juan County commissioner, Phil Lyman, who is preparing to make an illegal ATV ride May 10 through Recapture Canyon. They're already threatening to round him up and toss him in jail if he tries it.
   Rebellion against the BLM is becoming a recurring theme for 2014.

Wish We Could Save Both the Wild Horses and the Cattle and Sheep

   Will it be the wild horses? Or will it be cattle and sheep? Which shall dominate the Bureau of Land Management lands in Utah?
   I find myself wishing we didn't have to cut the numbers of either, wondering if something could be done. I guess there's only so much water out there. Is drilling for more or piping some in not an option? Is there any chance we could cultivate more plant life? Or, is this simply a desert and more water and foliage are just not an option?