Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Unfortunately, a 17-Percent Shutdown Might Well Elude Us

   Another opportunity is going to pass us by, I suspect. We have a chance to shut down about 17 percent of our government, but I suspect we are going to pass it by.
   I haven't seen any polls, but it seems obvious Americans are overwhelmingly against the shutdown of a portion of our government. Part of it, might be the spin. It is referred to as a government shutdown, period -- as if the whole government comes to a grinding halt.That is misleading. Last time, only about 17 percent was put on hold.
   Another thing, I suspect some of money that wasn't spent during the shutdown last time, was spent, anyway, once the government reopened. I say that because we were continually told that the shutdown cost us big bucks. Now, if government was really not being financed during the shutdown, there should be a savings, not a loss. I find it clever salesmanship if it is true that they went ahead and after-the-fact paid for things that weren't even being done, then incited the public to indignity that the whole thing unavoidably cost us a lot of money.
   Fiscal fiasco, then, I just wonder: Was it a fiscal fiasco because they made it that way? They arranged, that if they were going to shut down, they would make sure it didn't come at a savings? Clever salesmanship, indeed. And, we fell for it.
   We have an $18 trillion debt. Sooner or later, we should realize we have to scale back our government. When a chance comes to cut it back 17 percent, we should take it. Of course, it will only last a couple weeks, perhaps, but take what opportunity there is, run with it, and push to get a little bit of it to stick.
   Oh, and correct the mistakes made last time. One, was shutting down the national parks. Inasmuch as visitations to the parks brings tourist dollars to restaurants and gas stations and hotels near the parks, leave the parks open.
   But, don't spend a dime on them. Let local law enforcement officers step in to man the national parks.
   And, the people whose jobs are on the line? What about them? Do we simply let them go unemployed a couple weeks without any reimbursement? They have mortgages to pay, the same as the rest of us. Do we say, "Tough luck, buddy. Suck it up"?
   I wonder if we could place them in jobs. I would even like to think there are companies that would step in to employ them simply to be doing a service.
   We need to cut the size of our government. No, it isn't an easy thing. And, if the overwhelming majority of Americans find it horrendously unpalatable that we cut the size of our government by 17 percent for just a couple weeks, what hope have we?
   What hope do we ever have?
   We are addicted to our government. We complain and complain about our national debt, but when it comes time to make just a little inroad against it, then we shout and shout so loud, that I cannot help but wonder if we shouldn't be truer to the notion that something has to be done about the national debt.

What if We Were to Recall Cigarettes?

   Not enough, that warning label on cigarettes. Not enough at all, a friend told me. It is like placing a warning label on Charlie Manson.
   No other product would get away with this. If another product killed, it would be recalled, and wouldn't be returned to the market until it was made safe. So, that instead of merely placing labels on cigarettes 50 years ago, warning that they were dangerous to health, cigarettes should have been recalled.
   Now, there a thought. Recall them. What if we were to recall the current batch of cigarettes?

(Note: blog slightly altered 10/5/15, as I took my friend's first name out.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

50 Years ago, the Warning Labels Went on Cigarette Packages

   Fifty years ago, July 1, 1965, cigarette companies were forced to place labels on their cigarette packages, warning that the surgeon general had determined that cigarette smoking was dangerous to your health.
   Forty-two percent of America's adults smoked at that time. For whatever reason, what a dramatic decline there has been. By 2012, only 18 percent were smoking.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Consider Making Them Well-Dressed, and Well-Coiffed Prisoners

   If the dress of a man, and the hygiene, and the haircut and the looks of a man make a difference in his self esteem . . .
   If those things affect who we are . . .
   Then, this, too, should be used as a principle for correcting the prisoner. If we want to use every tool available to us, in reforming the criminal, then, perhaps, those orange suits should be reconsidered.
   Maybe keep them, maybe not. But, definitely consider going with more professional dress. A prison where everyone wears white shirts and ties? I don't know. Maybe.
   As for hygiene and a well-coiffed hairdo, yes.
   I heard today how a study showed prisoners receive better sentencing when their appearance is good. That shouldn't be. They should be sentenced according to their crime, not according to their looks.
   But, it got me thinking on how the prisoner, himself, might judge his own self by his looks

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tonight's Moon is a Wonder in the Heavens

   There have been a lot of red moons like the one tonight. That doesn't mean it isn't possibly the blood moon referred to in the Bible. Others? One came in 1503 and Columbus, perhaps knowing of it from his almanac, predicted it to the natives of Jamaica to get him out of a pinch.
   Is tonight's moon what was referred to in the Bible when it spoke of the moon turning to blood? Who knows. It is red. That's about all we know, as we consider whether it is the blood moon of the Bible.
   President Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which church I am of, once said the Bible passage that includes the blood moon prophecy has been fulfilled. Was he referring to other things in that passage, and not the blood moon? If he was referring to the blood moon, these red moons are one of the things he possibly could have been referring to, since they were around before he said the verses were fulfilled.
   Either way, though, whether these are the blood moons referred to in the Bible, the scriptures also speak of wonders in the heavens in the last days. Seems to me, this moon at least fits into that category.
    I looked at it at 1 in the morning. It had a red tinge on one side, a yellow hue next to it, and a blue tinge on the far side. I looked again at 4 a.m., and at first found no moon at all, and wondered if the eclipse has it hid. Then, it poked its head out of the clouds -- but was not red at all, but rather just a normal whitish moon.

Christopher Columbus and the Lunar Eclipse of 1503

   A lunar eclipse is upon us this night, so I bring you a story of one of the most famous lunar eclipses of all. It is famous because it was foretold by Christopher Columbus. If the Wikipedia historians from whence I got this story judged Columbus fairly, the story won't say much for Columbus' honesty, but it will speak to his cunning. 
   In 1503, Columbus' ships were grounded in Jamaica. The folks there greeted the newcomers, fed them, and treated them well -- only to have Columbus' sailors cheat and steal from them. So, understandably, the Jamaicans cut off the free food.
   Columbus, having an almanac with him, happened to read how a lunar eclipse was about to occur and used it to prophesy. He told the leader of the people his God was not pleased with them for cutting off the food, and that to show it, he would give a clear sign. The God would take the rising full moon and make it appear "inflamed with wrath."
   Apparently, Columbus' almanac told him it would be a red moon. Well, the red moon came out and then disappeared as Columbus prophesied, and the people screamed in horror and fear and ran to Columbus' with their food, begging for him to ask his God to pardon them. So, Columbus, knowing when the eclipse would end, told them they were, indeed, going to be forgiven. And, just as the moon began to come out from the shadow of the earth, Columbus told them his God had forgiven them.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

If America is to be Pure, it Must Grieve at the Task of being at War

   When you go to war, you better go to war with a clean heart. If hate is your motive, or hate is in your cause, then it will mold you into a killer of men. Those who go to war, must be careful for their souls. They must not glory in the blood they spill, they must lament it, for, if they spill it any other way, they also spill the blood of Christ.
   So it seems to me.
   Oh, I stop and pause and think of a young Moses, who caught a slavemaster smiting a Hebrew. Moses looked this way, and then that way, and saw no one watching, so he killed the slavemaster, and buried him in the sand. Did Moses have anger in his heart and kill when a killing did not need to take place? Or did his killing of the slavemaster save the Hebrew? I like to think Moses killed the slavemaster as an act of love that saved the Hebrew from death. At any rate, I doubt Moses gloried in the death of the slavemaster.
   I do not know all. I may be wrong. Still, it seems to me hatred and war should not be mixed. They may seem natural companions, but that is the problem. They fit together so easily if you let them. Hatred of those you war with is natural, so guard against it.
   Hatred is the danger you must guard against if you go to war. If America is to be pure, if it is to be rightful in the words from its national anthem  ("When our cause it is just . . . "), then it must not revel in killing. It must grieve at the task of being at war.
   For those of you who are LDS, I think of the scripture in Alma 48, verse 23, saying:
   "Now, they were sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and this was not all -- they were sorry to be the means of sending so many of their brethren out of this world into an eternal world, unprepared to meet their God."

Friday, September 25, 2015

I'm at a Loss as to Why We Should Oppose a Good Government Shutdown

   I'm of a loss of understanding as to why we should oppose a good government shutdown. I'd just ask that we do it right, this time.
   Leave the parks open, for one thing. Instead of federal workers manning them, have a skeletal crew of local law enforcement officers step in to monitor the national parks.
   Back pay for federal workers, once the shutdown is over? Not for the most part. If they can go out and get other jobs during the lay-off, let them. And, then, if their posts are non essential, then discontinue the position at the end of the shutdown.
   I view a shutdown as an opportunity, not a looming disaster. We've always wanted smaller government. We've always felt there's trimming to be done. I understand the last shutdown only shut down about 17 percent of the government. Come on now. Can't we do better than that?
  Pass a bill ahead of the shutdown keeping everything open that needs to be open. If you feel some services need to remain, designate them. I haven't figured out how you can have a shutdown and yet leave as much open as we did, but if that is possible, then just be prudent on what remains open. I know there is already a law that specifies what remains open and what closes. Update that guideline. Maybe, your bill to keep some things open will require you to approve funding for those things. Do that, then, and leave Planned Parenthood and the rest hanging.
   Yes, those against full funding are going to demand that its all or none, or that the current groupings for funding remain. They will cry, "How dare you endanger our country with a shutdown." Put the onus back on them. Tell them, "These are services we agree should remain open, let's do it. Let's fund them. Let's not wait for a catastrophe. We are not the ones saying close them. We're ready to vote right now to fund them."
   Let's not let the Planned Parenthood question and the other questionable items hold the rest of the economy hostage. Let's do what we can, approve what we agree on, and save the economy.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hospice Care is not a Good Fit for Nursing Centers

   It's just one more place the nation could save money. It's just a little money, perhaps, but if we cut out the waste each time we saw it, eventually, we might make a difference in the national deficit.
   Today, I speak of hospice care at nursing homes. The nursing home workers are already providing care for the patients, and I do not see anything the hospice workers can do that is not already being done.
   Except, maybe, another person being there to say, "I care," another set of eyes to watch how the patient is doing, another visit from another person.
   But, it comes at a cost. The patient is already paying, what?, maybe $225 for a bed. He is already paying for all the nurses that are seeing him, and we just add another laying of expense when the hospice workers come in.
   And, I'm told the hospice companies are paid oh-so handsomely. When the regular nurses hear how much, they sometimes wonder why they should not be paid so well. Who pays the bill? Hospice gets the money from Medicaid. I don't know if there are other payees, but I know Medicaid is a payee.
   Tell me, why we shouldn't be able to put an end to this waste? Why we shouldn't be able to just call up our representative or senator and say, "Put an end to this"? It seems it will be hard to justify continued use of hospice in nursing centers. It seems Congress should see as much and waste no time and little debate in ending this bit of government waste.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Don't See a March Coming in a Month, But Wish There Were One

   Would we were so tender in our feelings toward others, as a nation, that we when we saw an injustice such as this, we would mark the day for years to come.
   We mark 9-11, and this would not be as big, but it would be wonderful if we did, as a nation, mark the dates and remember such things as that Oct. 24 2012 day when 8-year-old Nabila Rehman, her siblings,and their grandmother were picking okra near their home in Pakistan.
   And a Predator drone flew over, dropping its payload, and killing the grandmother, Momina Bibi, and injuring seven children.
   Or, if not marking date of the tragedy, itself, then marking the date a year later when the Rehman family, having traveled all the way from Pakistan, testified before Congress.
  Only to be slighted to the tune of only five of the 430 representatives even bothering to show up and hear them.
   I would that we, as a people marked our own injustices. Wish our hearts cried out when things like this happened. I wish that if our leaders would not recognized or apologize, then we, as a people, would. Now, I don't see a march coming a month from now, marking what befell the Rehman family.
   But, it would be wonderful if there were one.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

For This, People are Signing Away Their Right to Medial Treatment?

   I'll delve in, then, and do a better job in a future night than what I do tonight, for I must hurry at the moment.
   The hospice program in America is not good. It is a scandal waiting for the media to catch on and notice. It takes two things to qualify for hospice: 1.) The attending physician and a hospice doctor both need to certify the person has only six months or less to live. 2.) The patient and family need to agree the patient will only receive palliative care. Look it up in the dictionary. Palliative care means you are are only given pain medication, but no effort is made to cure the cause of your pain.
   So, our hospice program is depriving people of medical attention. Some, it seems most surely, are being relegated to death though they otherwise would live. Is this conduct fit for a civilized nation?
   To make matters worse, the hospice workers traditionally are paid more money than other care givers. If you were to bring in someone to bath them and change their diapers, it would be less than what the hospice worker gets.
   Who pays the bill? Medicaid. I don't know if there are other payees, but I know Medicaid it one. Uncle Sam pays for this waste.
    I say waste, because often it is. Say, a person is in a nursing center and yet on hospice, what can the hospice worker offer? There is already someone there to change the diapers, bath the patient and prop a pillow under his head. There is a call button right at the patient's bed side, and he can call the nursing center workers for whatever the need. The hospice worker does little more than come in and say, "hello."
   For that, people are signing away their right to medical treatment -- sometimes, at the expense of their very lives?
   These are good salesmen, these hospice companies, that they have been able to talk so many of us into this.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Craters of the Moon should not get this Study

   I opened a weekend newspaper to learn that a team has been sent to Craters of the Moon in Idaho to study the terrain in preparation for a NASA launch to Mars many moons in the future.
   I'm guessing this is government funded.
   I wish every time our Congress members learned of such wasteful spending, they would run back to Washington, go into session, and put an end to it before the day was out.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Value of Life is in the Experience

  Thought I wrote this quick poem in 10 minutes, but, looking at the clock, it took about 30. Earlier today, as I drove to see Michael, I thought to write my Sunday blog on the things that make life so wonderful. Wish I would have written down the thoughts I was having at that moment. Then, as I prepared for bed, I got thinking on the value of the life my brother who is so mentally ill that it could be questioned whether his life serves any good purpose. This poem doesn't mention things necessarily that apply to Michael, but there is much for him to live for. He, too, experiences the things around him. They, too, give value to his life. I dedicate the poem to him. And, maybe someday I will come back to finish and polish the poem, for there are other things that make life worth living. I only stopped the poem short because it is way past bedtime. But, if I don't finish it, I don't think it such a bad poem just the way it is.
The value of life is in the morning sunlight,
And feeling the morning breeze.
It is in the beauty of the mountains
And in swimming of the seas.
All beauty lies about us,
And to experience it, is to live.
The value of life is in overcoming
It is in facing a foe
And in seeing a challenge
And telling them, "No."
All obstacles lie before us,
And to overcome them, is to live.
The value of life is in saying "hello" to a neighbor
And, "Welcome," to a friend
It is in saying, "Good going," to a stranger,
And in meeting often with our kin.
Associations are all around us,
And to have them is to live.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

As Many as 44,000 Abortion Survivors?

   I wonder if this number is correct: There might be as many as 44,000 abortion survivors in the U.S. Two of them gave their testimonies before Congress within the past weeks.

Cloud Burst Washes Out a Premier Land Speed Event

   If not for the cloud burst this week, world land speed records likely would be being set on the Bonneville Speedway this weekend.
   The week's rains postponed Mike Cook's Bonneville Shootout, an event bringing in the fastest cars and motorcycles in the world. The races were scheduled for Sept. 17-21.
   "It's always a highly successful event, said Ken Saillant, track racing manager for the American Motorcycle Association, which was among the sanctioning associations.
   Mike Cook noted that while he also holds races at El Mirage Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert in California, and at Edward Air Force Base near Lancaster, California, when it comes to producing world records, most all of the those from his events come at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
   James Holter, director of communications for the AMA, noted his organization has just two land speed racing events at Bonneville, with the AMA Land Speed Grand Championships in August being the other event. That event also was canceled this year. It is not like motocross racing, he said, where there are numerous races. "There's pretty much just one event and people prepare all year long for just that one event," he said.
   Mike Cook's Bonneville Shootout has been held at the Salt Flats for about 10 years. It never missed a year until last year. This year's event has been rescheduled for Oct. 12-16.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bush, Fiorina, Huckabee and Santorum Scored Points with Me

   Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee . . . A number of the candidates at yesterday's debate scored points with me. Rick Santorum on the undercard impressed me.
   So, while one common attitude is to say that we don't like any of them. I think to buck that trend and say I like a number of them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Race Should Go to Debate Winner More than to Candidate with Money

   Do we have many more debates than we did, say, 30 years ago, and does it mean the debates shape our opinion more than the advertisements?
   If so, I think it good. The race should go to the winner of a debate, more than to the candidate who spends the most money.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Doesn't the Doctor Prescribe Induced Happiness?

   So, here is the question: If doctors agree that stress and anger kills, if they can see that love and positive thinking and being excited and upbeat make for a healthier heart . . .
   Why don't they prescribe happiness?
   If hospitals want to use every tool available to them, why don't they use these tools, as well?
   I wonder if the answer is that these things are easier said than done. How to you make a person excited? How do you force them to be happy? (Forced happiness?  Now, there's a thought. Cn you force someone to be happy?)
   At any rate, trying to instill happiness and excitement into a heart patient's life is something I think they should endeavor to do, with most every patient and in most every case.
   We choose our attitudes, to a large extent, so we, as patients, can choose to be positive and to be excited. We can take whatever good news we hear, and say, "I'm going to be excited about that." We can hear of someone who lived through a disaster, and we can say, "Wow! Wonderful, that is a great thing." If we act excited, we might get excited.
   And, if we get excited, we might get healthier.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Let Naguib Sawiris Build an Island City for the Syrian Refugees

   Naguib Sawiris, he third richest man in Egypt has an idea for solving the Syrian refugee crisis. Buy an island from Greece or Italy and bring the refugees there.
  If he will do it, let him. I don't think a story has broke saying whether Greece or Italy is taking him up on his offer. Wish the media was pressing the two countries for a response.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why not Offer Entertainment that Helps People become Better People?

  I've spoken of turning the area west of the Salt Lake Airport into a tourist center without peer. Oh, and more than just tourists here for entertainment, bring them to learn and to meet and to share. But, much of it would be entertainment, and it has occurred to me that once you open your doors to entertainment, you might not be able to strain out that which you might not want.
   Comedians telling dirty jokes.
   Everyone wanting a cup of alcohol.
  There is also another thing that occurs to me. With every entertainment we add, we provide something that detracts us from worshiping the Savior. Not that there is anything wrong with being a chess player, or a skateboarder, or a formula 1 race car fan, but with all we do and choose to do, Christ should remain the center of our lives.
   And, it occurs to me that if we are going to try to bring people from all over the globe to participate in (or watch) their hobbies, why not also seek to bring some here to learn more about Christ, and to learn how doing good, and to participate in doing good.
   And, perhaps some of those who come to see the races at the Salt Flats, or whatever, will end up taking in one of the museums that helps make them a better person, or that brings them to Christ.
   Yes, having the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here gives that thought a boost. There is already much the visitor can do as a result of that church being here.
   But, I've got some other ideas. Some might be hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ, if that church should so like, but others would not.
   Have a worship center, inviting people to come worship God in a non-denominational way. Not a wailing wall, but just a simple place where everyone is invited to come and worship God.
   Have a movie theater where a single wonderful, well-made movie about the Savior plays over and over. Make it a movie so well made, you are willing to travel across the nation to see it.
   Have a theater where various Christian movies are played. Is there any theater in all the world that is dedicated just to such films?
   Have a club where you come after watching movies with morals and movies that teach values. At this gathering, discussion of the movie helps reinforce the values the movie taught.
  Have the same for good books: a place -- club, if you will -- where you come to discuss good principles taught in books.
  Have a Museum of Human Values, where the good values of various societies are depicted in displays. With all the good museums in the world -- some geared towards dinosaurs, others toward wars or whatever -- is there no museum such as this? Have a museum that displays and documents the good characteristics of the Roman Empire, and the Greeks, and whatever other society we might find good in.
   Have a museum that documents how Christ has been worshiped through the ages.
   And, another hall or museum that honors social achievements of individuals. Helen Keller's teacher would be one display, and the guy who saved so many lives in the holocaust would be another, etc.
  Have a hall of inspirational poetry, where the world's most inspiring poems are on display.
  Have a museum where the best songs are played, songs that teach values, songs that have social consciousness.
  Have a room or hall or museum where nursery rhymes teaching values are presented. Or, perhaps better, have a theater where they are acted out for children.
  Have a Christianity Center, where the history of Christianity is on display.
  Have a  Center of World Religions, which depicts the good in the various religions.
  Have a Hall of Charities, a museum where the good that charities are doing is on display.
  Have a place where you can come and sign up to join a charity, not so much to donate to them financially, but to join in going to Africa to build water wells or whatever. This would be the place where you could come, see what great charity efforts exist, and take your pick to join.
  Yesterday, I posted on how entertainment affects our values, how we draw our values out of the things we see on the screen and the things we hear on the radio. If we are to change a society for the better, what more direct way to do that, than to inspire good thoughts and good values through the good entertainment we provide.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Could the Bonneville Salt Flats Benefit from 'State Monument' Status?

   Does the federal government need to relinquish the property to the State of Utah before the state steps in to save Bonneville Salt Flats?
   Seems there are many instances where you are answerable to state as well as to federal agencies. The difference might be that not only does the federal government own the land, but the contract that the mining company (Intrepid Potash) has is with the BLM. (I don't know if that is the case, but I assume that the contract is with the BLM.)
   Actually, I don't know enough for certain, yet, to know that the state doesn't already have one or more of its regulatory agencies involved. But, at this point, I am thinking if it does, it is not feeling like messing with Intrepid's right to disturb the Salt Flats.
   So, with much of the racing on the Salt Flats having been suspended this year, and with some of the blame being tossed toward the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the Bonneville Salt Flats, and with some state leaders already riled up against federal land management . . .
   Is there some kind of designation Utah could give the land? Like, say, naming it a state park?  I don't know, but I doubt any of our other state parks are on federal land. But, that doesn't necessarily mean it can't be done.
  Or, if the designation "state park" comes grants more authority than what you actually can attain, then give it a new designation, say, "state monument."
   You wouldn't be saying you're taking over ownership. You'd simply be saying that as the state government, you do have an interest in the land, and whatever maximum influence you are entitled to exercise, you are going to exercise.
   Maybe your influence would extend no further than decreeing powerless resolutions, such as, We hereby ask that the mining efforts next to the Bonneville Speedway not be done in such a manner that they negatively impact the ability of the Salt Flats to be used for racing.
   Or, maybe you could enforce the existing agreement. If it calls for Intrepid to restore salt to the Flats, then enforce that, if you so have the power.
   Now, it is true that layers of government often have negative impacts, so be careful if you create a "state monument." Maybe even consider whether you will allow the new agency to be able to conduct studies. Maybe don't even let the new agency require heavy paperwork of Intrepid or other parties involved. While, off top, I'm not sure on what limitations there should be placed on the new state agency, I do wonder but what there should be some.

To Change the Values of a Society, Change the Entertainment

   Fixing the entertainment of a society can be as important a social issue as there is, for we take our values more from entertainment than from most anything.
   Religion? Yes, when a person is religious, that is often an even bigger influence on his or her values. But, other than religion, entertainment perhaps molds our thoughts, values and judgments as much as anything. While religion would seem the more logical place from which to gather our values, entertainment often affects us more. Entertainment is the religion of our times.
   Gossip -- if I can use that word so loosely -- is perhaps the only other big factor. What we say to each other other is what we teach each other. The beliefs we share in chit-chat are a dominating influence in deciding our values.
   So, the three big influences on our values: religion, entertainment, and what we say to each other.
   If you change the entertainment of your society, you will change the values. If you would have a better society, one with fewer social ills, you should be conscious of the messages sent in your entertainment.
   Your song writers and movie writers: these are the molders of mankind. Your singers and your actors: these are your role models.
   If you change the entertainment of a society, you change that society, itself. I don't know if anything so molds a society as the songs it listens to and the movies it watches. To change the values of a society, change the entertainment.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bonneville Speedway 'Dried Out to a Point'

   With an eye on the condition of one of the world's treasures, how are the Bonneville Salt Flats? I spoke to Wendover Mayor Mike Crawford and learned that more events were canceled this year than in any year previous. But, then, they didn't have so many events in years past, so there were more to be canceled this year than back then.
  Yes, the big events such as Speed Week, World of Speed, and the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials were canceled due to the condition of the Salt Flats. But some events were not lost, including Mike Cook's Bonneville Shootout, which bills itself as featuring the world's fastest cars and motorcycles. Look for that Sept. 17-21.
   Some rumors have suggested that while Speed Week was canceled just weeks before it was to take place, by the time that date rolled around, the Bonneville track was dry. Is that true? "It dried out to a point," the mayor said. He said the usable track areas this year include a spot that is wider than it has been in a long time, but there are other sections that are not so well off.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Speed Week was not all that was Canceled

   I'm still getting a handle on what is going on at the Bonneville Salt Flats, not having time to do much calling to find out.
   Of the news that broke last night, I don't know that the angle that this is the first year there has been / will be little or no racing at all was played. The lead for the Fox 13 story I saw didn't mention this, but just said an effort is being made to determine what can be done to save the Salt Flats, which this year saw cancellation of the sports biggest event, Speed Week.
   Speed Week was canceled a month or two ago. I'd say the news angle this time should have been that all events were canceled for the first time in history, if that is, indeed, true. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Desert Star Playhouse Worthy of Tourists' Attention

   With family in town, and with my consideration of what would make Salt Lake City the city of destination, I've played the tourist the past week.
   Tonight, the Desert Star playhouse.
   In a word, it was wonderful. The playwriting, acting, singing, production . . . all were wonderful.
   But, the question is, was what I saw destination-worthy? And, it was. Desert Star plays are worth coming from other states to see. Though they rest on local themes or sub-themes, they remain worthy of out-of-state visitors. In fact, the Utah flavor could be a draw to the LDS living out of state. Just as LDS movies caught on, so could this theater. It is good enough that the steady stream of LDS visitors could come to make it one of the must-see things to do.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Press Conference to Discuss First No-Race Season in Salt Flats History

   For the first time since opening, there will be no racing season at the Bonneville Salt Flats, no races sponsored by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association. And, I don't believe there will be any by the Southern California Timing Association, either.
  A press conference is set for tomorrow, 3 p.m., at Totem's nightclub, 538 South Redwood Road. I just happened to get wondering today about the racing season, and happened to call someone, and was told there will be no racing season and learned about the press conference.
  While I was considering calling, I got thinking how maybe one of the reasons the Salt Flats gets so little attention is that it is right across the border from Wendover, There's a distatasteful association: Wendover, a gambling town, is host city. I wondered how this affects how Utah's leaders feel about events at Bonneville Speedway. And, now we learn the press conference is going to be at a night club? Is that a poke in the eye at the powers that be in Utah that don't approve of gambling, and drinking, and nightclubs?
   Maybe. All I know is that the Salt Flats are an international treasure. If they are threatened, it should be a major concern. When Speed Week was cancelled short months ago, I thought how it was an important enough issue, state legislators should have gone into special session. It turned out to be big enough a deal that National Geographic wrote an article. Why not more attention from state lawmakers?
   Maybe, there was nothing they could do. An inordinate rainy season is largely cited as a lead cause that the race-able portion of the Salt Flats is so short this year. In its heyday, one of the speedway courses stretched about 13 miles, but now but about 7 miles in length. Were there not enough winds this year to dry the speedway out? That's also being cited as a reason.
   And, so is the mining. That concern will surely be expressed at the press conference. A group called Save the Salt will be involved in the announcement.
   My thought is, if it takes money to save the Salt Flats, or if damming the mud from reaching the speedway would help, or if reducing the mining is necessary -- if any of these are things that could save the Salt Flats --  then state leaders should at least be considering this issue. You don't have an international treasure in your state and not do something to save it. If nothing else, since you are already complaining about how the BLM is not a good caretaker of lands (some state leaders so argue), then isn't jumping up and down about how the BLM is mismanaging this property in line with your agenda?
   Do something, though. Call for an investigation, a study, or jump in with funding. But, do something.
    I also wonder about a national monument. Fears are flying about what Utah land might be designated a national monument, yet I've never heard the Salt Flats considered. It must not qualify, for some reason. But, it certainly seems, if one of the wonders of the world is endangered, that certainly is cause for protecting it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

There is More Good to be Done in Unity than There is in Division

   I think of the fallacies of logic, and of how one is to question motives. That seems to be what is happening. Some question seem to believe that when you say, All Lives Matter, your motive is really just to dismiss the Black Lives Matter movement.
   I hope it ain't so.
   Oppose the All Lives Matter effort? Why? If someone seeks to do a good thing, let them. Rather than object to someone doing something good, let them. If someone is concerned about the Christians in Africa, that is a good thing. But, if we are in the Black Lives Matter camp, that does not mean we have to give up our own effort, or compromise it. Reason with the All Lives Matter people. Ask them politely if black lives matter. Ask them if the Black Lives Matter campaign offends them. Reason with them, for surely black lives do matter. Let them know that when you say Black Lives Matter, you are not saying all lives do not matter, nor are you saying black lives matter most. Ask them if black lives are included in All Lives Matter.
   Be respectful and polite.
   Try to win them over instead of taking them for enemies. There is more good to be done in unity than there is in division. If you see something good about All Lives Matter, join in it. And, as you march for, say, the Christians in Africa and the Middle East, remind the person who march next to about black lives. Gently tell them why there should be concern. Say, "I hope you will join me. This is a wonderful opportunity to fight for something that is right."
   Black Lives Matter is a good thing. But, if someone can be won to a friendship, if foes can be brought to work together in two good causes instead of just one, if there can be peace between two groups instead of hatred, that, too, is a good thing.
   Seek for peace, so to speak, not war. Look to make friends, not enemies. As the Beatles once said, "Love, love, love, love is all you need." And, as Rodney King once asked, "Can we all get along?"

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I Have a Savior

I have a Savior
  Someone who died for me
Who came to earth, and lived most clean
  Who never faltered from doing right
Who lifts from the night

Raised out of the darkness am I
 By Him whose goodness did not fail
By One born on earth, who lived most pure
  Then for me, was slain
The Redeemer is His name

Black Lives do Matter, and All Lives Matter, as Well

   Black Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter. I'd like to think the two campaigns can stand together. Instead, we see them fighting. Many in the Black Lives Matter effort see the All Lives Matter as an attempt to derail their effort, to discredit it. And, some in the All Lives Matter effort see Black Lives Matter as an effort to put some lives ahead of others, to suggest that black lives are more important.
   "Can we all get along?" Rodney King asked years ago, after he, as a black person, was brutalized in what some would term to be the original police beating. (Not that there weren't some before it, but the King beating was a precursor of what was to come.)
   Black lives do matter. Blacks do yet face discrimination. We should be concerned as to whether blacks are more likely to be victims of police brutality.
   And, we should be concerned about all lives. We should be concerned when we see police attacked simply for being police. Some have suggested that that is a hate crime (attacking a police officer for no more reason being a police officer), and they are right. It is. We should be concerned about that.
   And, rather than dismissing the Black Lives Matter campaign, we should be looking more deeply into what is happening. Some might say blacks are not attacked by police any more than whites are. Is this true? For, if blacks are attacked more, we should want to end it, and we will never end it if we don't even look into the premise.
   Actually, it doesn't matter if it is disproportional. Even if black people are not attacked any more than white people, we should be concerned if ever someone is attacked simply for being black.
   Just the same as we should be concerned if an officer is ever attacked simply for being an officer.

Friday, September 4, 2015

If a Bank had an Outbreak of Robberies, What Would it do?

   The militarization of America, would it be a good thing? Would it be good if there were more weapons all across the board, both among the good and the bad? For, if we call for more weapons, it won't be just the good guys who answer the call.
   I do not favor gun bans. But, I would fear a society where everyone owned a gun and everyone packed it. Do I think it would be a safer society? No, not at all. I would fear for my life living in such a society, knowing if I tipped someone the wrong way, they might just reach for their gun to answer my offense.
   Society would not be safer if everyone carried guns, and it follows that it would not be safer if half the of them carried them. Yes, we need guns to respond when criminals use guns, but militarizing our populace is not the answer. I much favor placing more police deputies and/or private security guards at key spots. Yes, that too is a militarization of America, but I believe it is a wiser one.
   If a bank were being robbed continually, it could do one of two things. One, it could tell all the customers to bring their own weapons, and be prepared to use them, Or, two, it could hire an armed security guard.
   Which are we going to do?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

An Athlete's Body Reaches High Level, then, at Retirement, Low Level

   When Darryl Dawkins died the other day at the age of 58, I thought how athletes tend not to live long lives. (I could be wrong, for that is not a studied observation.)
  And, I wondered if it is because they beat and pound their bodies too much, or if it is also because sometimes they quit exercising when they retire. The body gets used to a high level of exercise, only to find itself with little to none. It does seem that could be dangerous.
   We already teach that when a runner finishes a long, hard run, he should "cool off" by walking a ways. We are taught that the sudden stop -- the sudden ceasing of exercise -- can be harmful to the heart. I just wonder if a similar scenario sometimes plays out when well-conditioned athletes suddenly stop exercising.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Let Kim Davis Maintain her Religious Convictions

   I've considered in the past, that while church officials should not be required to accommodate same-sex marriages, those who are in government should. If you are a clerk, you should either issue the license, or get a new job.
  The case of Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, is making me think, though, that perhaps her religious rights should be honored. She should not be required to issue marriage licenses.
  When there are reasonable alternatives available, public officials should not be required to do something they do not believe in. In this case, the same-sex couples can drive to a neighboring town to get their licenses. Yes, it is not as convenient, but it is reasonable.
   When both sides can be accommodated -- the same-sex couples and the public officials with religious beliefs against same-sex marriages -- then that should be done.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Chiasmus is Solid Evidence for Book of Mormon

   In this video (just released today), Greg Welch says his dad's discovery of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon does not prove the book to be true. I'm not so sure. Maybe it doesn't prove it, but it certainly comes close.
   Proof is where you find it, though. Some will accept solid evidence, and others will reject it. I think of the phrase in the Bible: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Proof is for those who will endure sound doctrine. Others, with itching ears, will hear what they want to hear, and believe what they want to believe. You cannot force truth on a person.

Coddling Them or Cussing Them, Which Will it be?

   Aye, I see some would whistle over my suggestions for prison reform and dismiss them as being too much coddling of the prisoner.
   Never mind that I would have them work, every last one of them, if possible. Trouble with my suggestions is that I preach love for the prisoner, respect for the prisoner. I speak of bettering him and the path of life ahead of him, and some fancy that that means giving them advantages they don't deserve, things like education.
   I speak of giving them meaningful hobbies, so they will have interests to turn to when they get out, so they will have something purposeful to occupy them on the outside. Alas, my suggestion is dismissed as more coddling. Why should we show them to a good time, give them things they might enjoy doing, when the object is to make them so miserable they will never want to come back?