Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sing at the Inauguration

   Trump did not have my vote, at all. Still, there's a lot of good in this man. Like the president before him, he seeks to do good. Bless him for that. And, honor him as president. We do not need to approve of his personal life to honor him as president of our nation. Some have suggested the  Mormon Tabernacle Choir should sing "Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words" at his inauguration, teaching him to speak better of others. I disagree, I wonder if it is us who ought to speak the kind words in our treatment of Trump.
  Would we even not shake hands with him? Would we not be so civil as to sing at his inauguration if he invited us?
   I see a lot of the Colin Kaepernick thing in this flap over whether the Mormon Tabernacle Choir should sing at the inauguration. I don't oppose Kaepernick for what he does. Let him voice his displeasure over the flaws in our nation by protesting how he will. And, it is the same with the controversy over the Choir singing. Some would have the Choir voice displeasure over Trump's flaws by sitting out the inauguration. That is fine, if they want to leave their TVs off and sit it out, but they should not expect others to have to feel that way. Many just don't feel the inauguration is a stage for decrying the flaws of the nation or its leaders. To them, it is simply a civic event. Even as Kaepernick hopefully does not fault those who participate in the National Anthem, even so we should not fault the Choir for participating in the inauguration.

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The Good Coach Coaches to the End of the Bench

   The good coach coaches to the end of the bench. He says all the things needing to be said to inspire his starters, yes, but then he continues on down the roster and continues to coach, pushing the right buttons for these players, as well.
   I thought of this as I caught a glimpse of a Utah Jazz game, and saw Raul Neto slicing in for a lay-up. Raul, who started at point much of the previous season. Raul, who this year is the fourth point guard on the team.
  Would be easy for him to get disillusioned, feel hopeless, maybe even worthless.
   So, what would a good coach do? First off, he would explain to him what a blessing it is to have George Hill as his teammate. Every day in practice, you get to go up against one of the very best in the league. You can test yourself, measure yourself, pull yourself up to the level of the best. If you can play with the very best, you can be the very best. This is an opportunity to improve to the level of the competition and who knows how good you can get.
  If I were coach, I suppose I would open by saying, "We need you," thus quickly sending a message that whatever you are about to say should not be seen as a negative. We're not thinking of trading you away. The first reaction the player has to what you say is important, setting the stage for how he receives the whole message. So:
   "We need you, Raul. You have been a wonderful player and we need you to continue being a wonderful player. We're expecting that you will continue to see some playing time. And, when you do go in, mark that you are still playing on the NBA stage, against NBA-caliper players. This opportunity remains yours. You go out on the court to measure yourself and stack up to these players every time you enter the ball game.
  "Raul, how long has it been since you played against high school-caliper players? You know, it wouldn't be the same if you were still playing against them. It wouldn't be as fun, nor as challenging, nor as rewarding. The level of the competition is half the fun. Yes, we've brought in Shelvin Mack and George Hill, and Dante Exum has returned to health. Raul, playing against these players in practices can be a plus for you. Playing with them can be good. Players tend to raise their games to the level of the competition. Russell Westbrook gets all kinds of triple-doubles, for example, and the next thing you know, other players are also getting more triple-doubles. Don't let Shelvin's, and George's, and Dante's being here be a negative. Turn it into a plus. When they whip past you for a layup in practice, set your mind that you are going to figure out a way to stop them. Set in your mind that you are going to work on it until you get it figured out. You are going to find a way to stop on a dime when they are guarding you, and push off a shot that sails cleanly through the net. When they steal your pass, you determine to use this as an opportunity to figure out how you can keep them from stealing your shot. When they beat you to a rebound, you ask yourself how you could have beaten them to the rebound. Raul, we need you."
   As a coach, you also want to avoid unrealistic expectations. So, then, the speech might continue: "You might never reach the level of a George Hill. Despite playing with and against him every day, you might not reach his level. That is fine, too. He's one of the NBA's best, and if you don't reach that level, there is no shame. Push for it and try for it, but don't break yourself on it."
  Coaches expect their little-used players to be ready to enter the game, to stay ready. But, the coach who coaches to the end of the bench is most likely to reap that result. A player's preparedness starts with the coach.

You Live in the Presence of Greatness, and You become Great Yourself

   To become a legend, it helps to live in the presence of as a legend. Greatness begets greatness. I cannot help but picking up this morning's paper and reading how Kevin Durant got a triple-double (somewhat rare for him) and how James Hardin got his seventh triple-double of the season and wonder if they have been inspired by Russell Westbrook's stacking up so many triple-doubles.
  You live in the shadow of a legend, and the shadow wears off on you. You live in the presence of greatness, and you become great, yourself.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Are the Nation's Spies doing Their Own Recounts?

  Supposing U.S. intelligence believes Russia tried to influence the election, wouldn't it be concerned that the election voting, itself, might have been rigged? Surely so. Therefore, it seems that in addition to investigating whatever else might have happened, America's detectives would not neglect to look into whether the Russians hacked our election.
   Are they, then?
  All the recount efforts came up short. So, what would the intelligence community do? Would they sneak into a few places and do a few recounts all by themselves? It seems recounting votes is the only way to determine if fraudulent votes were cast.
  Are the nation's spies making recounts even as we speak? Or did they already do them, and come up short of finding anything wrong? They've had plenty of time and we haven't heard anything. Did they not do any recounts? Or did they just not find anything, so they aren't saying anything?
    To me, recounting the votes is part of any real investigation. If you don't recount, you will never know.
   So, how would you do it? I don't know that you would hand count. Not enough manpower. Instead, perhaps you would use optical readers of your own. Why hand count when today's technology allows for the optical readers to come in, look at the ballots and read everything as rapidly as the ballots can be placed before the scanners?
   Want to do it in minutes? That could be done, I would think. So, come in Christmas night, or New Year's night, when there are no custodians. How many would have night security? That would be something you would have to deal with.
   I just wonder what is being, or has been done, for it seems to me, if you are investigating Russia's attempting to change the election, this is the most vital thing to do. You don't leave a recount out and call it a complete investigation.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/recounts-or-no-us-elections-are-still-vulnerable-to-hacking/ar-BBxznL0?li=AA5a8k&ocid=spartandhp


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Why cannot Detractors Verbalize What it is that They don't Like?

   I read the whole of my newspaper's coverage -- maybe two-and-one-half pages, if you include the pictures -- without catching why detractors of the Bear Ears National Monument  think it will have such a negative impact.
    It seems if the monument is going to have such a negative impact, state and local leaders would be shouting those reasons out, decrying just what it is that is going to damage lives. They are plenty vociferous about how the federal government has no right in this case to impose its will on the people. But, just how the monument is going to have a negative impact? On that, I sifted through the whole of the coverage -- looking, and picking and searching -- without finding why the detractors are displeased.
   The closest I came was the comment from Mia Love. "By unilaterally designating the Bear Ears area of San Juan County a national monument, President Obama has undermined the economy and lifestyle of the people who live there, the religious interests of the Native Americans who reside in San Juan County, and ignored local authority," U.S. Rep. Love says in the Deseret News coverage.
  Yes, Mia, but how is the lifestyle going to be impacted? What will be different? How will it change? How will it affect the economy negatively? Exactly what is it about this monument that you don't like? Can someone vocalize the damage that is going to be wrought? If they feel the monument is going to have such a negative impact, they ought to be able to verbalize just how it is going to hurt us.
   The designation as a national monument does mean no new oil, gas and mineral leases will be approved. I'm guessing this is at least part of the objection. If it is, why cannot opponents of the monument just say so?
   I think of how tourism is such a large part of Utah's economy. Will the new designation lead to greater tourism, or will it end up shielding the land from even the tourism it currently has? I do not know. Is more tourism even what we want? If we want to protect this area, maybe we should have less tourism. I'm not sure.
  I'm guessing those decisions are actually ahead. I'm guessing the governing authority of the new monument -- which will include tribal leaders -- will settle some of the usages allowed in the monument. If so, the fight for what you want (to some extent), but ahead. President Obama's declaring the area a monument did not end the debate on what should be done with the land, but just opened a new governing body to make those decisions. Yes, no new oil, gas and mineral leases, but beyond that, where do we go?

 


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Choir's Performance is a Civic Function, not an Endorsement

 There is quite a movement asking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir not to perform at President Trump's inauguration. I think it quite fine, though, that the Choir should perform, We should honor all our presidents, whether or not we approve of their personal lives or political dealings. Would we refuse to shake hands with President Trump?  Singing at the inauguration is a civic activity at a civic event. Those who attend are not all fans of Trump, nor are they all endorsing him.
  I see some similarity in this to those who decline to stand for the national anthem, as they make a statement that blacks are discriminated against. Even so, those against the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing see what needs to be no more than a civic event as a stage for making political statements. It need not be that way. If those who want to protest Trump want to leave their TVs off in protest, that is their decision, but they should not expect others (not expect the Choir) to share their view that this is more than a civic event.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

On this, I Wish Trump were already in Office

   On this, I might wish President-elect Trump were already in office: Israel. I do not side with President Obama in abstaining from voting on condemning Israel for settling the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
   I think it interesting that the Trump camp has suggested in might move the U.S. ambassador from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. I wonder, would moving the ambassador to occupied East Jerusalem or the West Bank be considered? Or, would that be going too far? I think it perhaps would.
   The whole issue of whether Obama should have abstained, or whether he should have had us veto the resolution should be considered in light of whether Israel is right in settling East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Yes, the international community says Israel is wrong for doing so. But, if Jordan occupied the land before the Six-Day War in 1967, and if Jordan is not claiming the land, is it legally vacated to Israel? And, how far back to we go in the mapping of the area. I started to search tonight, but it is getting too late. Does modern Israel have any history of owning the land in question? For that matter, should the question not be limited to modern history, but extended to ancient history?

Is Marijuana a Silent Killer?

   They say that no one ever died from a marijuana overdose. I suppose, it is also probably argued no one ever died from marijuana, period.
   I wonder. And, I confess it is celebrity deaths that in part lead me to wondering. We know George Michael used marijuana. We know marijuana affects the heart. Age 53 is a young age to be dying of natural causes.
   I wonder if we were to study those who die relatively young of natural causes, say by age 60, and determined how many were marijuana users, would that be evidence that marijuana can lead to early death? I think it would be indicative, but not proof.
   As I think to end this blog, I word search and find an article that suggests it is a well-accepted medical opinion that marijuana can, indeed, lead to early death. An article by William Abraham, MD, in everydayhealth.com says a new study "further demonstrates that marijuana use increases the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, heart rhythm disorders, and stroke, particularly in young people without other heart disease risk factors. The extreme seriousness of these events is underscored by a death rate exceeding 25 percent in those affected."

http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/bill-abraham-heart-disease-prevention/marijuana-bad-for-your-heart/

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas and Guns have Something in Common

   Christmas and guns have more in common than you might realize. No one ever denies that Christmas is a time when diets are lost, and pounds are gained. It's a simple thing: More candy, and sweets and food are placed on the table at during the holiday season than what we usually are accorded.
   Having so much food before us, we just eat more. That's simple enough and obvious to see. Shall we say, then, the proliferation of goodies leads our increasing in weight?
   I think you can see where I'm driving. As it is with the holiday season, so it is with guns. The abundance of guns leads to their being used more often than if so many people didn't have them. Flood your nation with guns, and you will have more murders.

I Tend to Agree that Israel should be Allowed to Settle the West Bank

   Quite an accusation, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's suggesting our President Barack Obama is behind the UN Resolution condemning Israel for building settlements in the West Bank.
   I tend to think there is substance to it, to the suggestion the U.S. was a key player in the drafting of Resolution 2334. Rather than sit on the sidelines through the whole thing, perhaps the U.S. did at least weigh in on what it thought should go into the resolution.
   Doesn't all this make us wonder whether Israel should be building settlements in the West Bank? Is it right? Or is it wrong? By abstaining from the vote, it signals Obama believes the settlements wrong.
   And, the international community thinks the settlements wrong. So, are they?
   Israel took over the land in the 1967 war. The Geneva Convention forbids building settlements on conquered lands. But, Israel maintains it was Jordan, not Palestine, that occupied the West Bank before the 1967 war, and that Jordan has declined the land. Plus, I believe, Israel also points to its right to the land going back further in history.
   It is an issue that would be good to study, more. For now? I tend to agree with Netanyahu, that Israel is justified in settling the land.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

At Christmastime, Love the Refugees

  How to divide the terrorists from the refugees? And, how do you prevent refugees from turning into terrorists? A person rejected is a person turned to anger. So, if we would limit how many terrorists come from among the refugees, we must love them.
   It is a wrong thing to reject the whole of them in fear of the few. You almost cannot do so and maintain your humanity. Yet, the danger of there being terrorists among them is real. I suggest, let the refugees come. Vet them all, weeding out the terrorists when you can. But then, love them all, and love them all to bits. Pour out so much love on them, so much acceptance, that they will not have cause to turn against you. Love often is the answer to many of the world's problems. At Christmastime, how timely an answer it is. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Santa Serocci and the Life-Changing Pack He Threw Over His Shoulder

   I should tell you about the South Pole Santa. Tom Serocci by name, he grew up in the back reaches of the South Pole. Unlike the North Pole Santa, Santa Serocci doesn't come around every year. In fact, there was only that one year that he made his rounds.
   I know of him, because my door was one of the relatively few he knocked on. I guess it must have been July -- the middle of summer -- when I heard this knocking on my door. I hustled over to answer his knock to see this guy in a blue Santa suit standing there, looking a little nervous.
  "Hello," he offered, "and merry Christmas!"
   I looked back at him a little dumbfounded.
   "Merry Christmas," he whispered again, nervously. "I hope you'll forgive me for stopping by so far removed from Christmas Day, but if I'm going to visit every home in the world, I'm going to need a world of time to do it. So, I thought I'd get a head start on the other Santa."
   "Other Santa?" I muttered, still recovering from the shock of what I was seeing.
   "Yes, you know, the one in the red suit. He has that flying sleigh and somehow visits every home all in one night."
   "Yeah," I said.
   "Well, anyway, I better tell you why I came, why I'm here."
   "Yeah?"
    "Yeah. I just thought it might be a good idea to visit everybody and tell them what Christmas is about."
   "Yeah?"
   "Yeah. I mean, it ain't about me, and it ain't about that other Santa, and it ain't about toys."
   "No?"
   There was a pause. And I waited to see if he was going to say it was about the Savior's birth.
   "It's about change," he said.
   "Yeah?"
   "Yeah. It's about change. It's all about change. You see, there was this little baby born in Bethlehem. He grew up, and then he died, and his dying changed everything."
   Displaying my big vocabulary, I once again said, "Yeah?"
   "Yeah. I guess he took on the sins of the whole world."
   "Okay," I said, "and what does that mean?"
    He paused, again, and I don't know if he did it for dramatic effect or just because he was nervous.
   "Change," he said, drawing the word out. "It means you can change. You can repent of your sins and change, and he'll forgive you of ever having sinned. You're a changed person."
   "Okay" I said, again, thinking the word "okay" had proven a nice change-up from "yeah."
   He swung his pack over his shoulder and started to walk away. "Well, that's all I wanted to say," he said. "Guess I better be going. I've a lot of folks to visit."
   "Just a minute. What's in that pack on your shoulder?"
   "Nothing." He finished walking down my sidewalk, pulled the gate shut behind him, and was about to walk away. But, then he stopped and looked firmly back at me. "Well, yeah, I guess there is something in the pack," he said.
   "Yeah? -- I mean, okay?"
   "Yeah. There's 365 days in this pack."
    I just looked at him, once again dumbfounded.
    "Yeah," he said. "There's 365 days to do all the changing. See, Christmas isn't just about Christmas Day; It's about what you do and how you change on the other 364 days of the year. You gotta celebrate Christmas all year long if you're going to do it at all."
   "Yeah?"
   "Yeah," he said, and he walked off into the night.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Build a Christmas-Themed Park in Salt Lake City

   If you take the twisting backroads of New York far enough, if you push into the Adirondack Mountains, you will come to a theme park known as Santa's Workshop in a place they call North Pole, which is in Wilmington, NY, where Christmas is celebrated all year round.
    The thing is, the little park attracts maybe 1,000 a day. That is way down from its heyday, when 14,000 came, but it is still a goodly number.
   One wonders if Salt Lake City could set up such a park, and pull in 1,000 people a day. If we were to have an expansive tourist zone west of the airport, where there were all kinds of tourist offerings, this could be one of the attractions. Have Santa's toy factory, complete with Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves and an assortment of reindeer. Maybe even offer sleigh rides year-round, with Donner and Blitzen pulling the sleigh.
   But, don't leave Santa as the only Christmas-themed visitors' attraction. Next door, have a display on the birth of the Savior, replaying the whole of the Christmas story in either video or live presentation -- or both. Build the most authentic-looking replica inn in the world, complete with stage lighting. In my life, I have never witnessed the story of Christ's birth acted out in an authentic, well-crafted setting. I would guess there is room to make the Salt Lake City attraction the most authentic-looking and well-produced in all the world, good enough that those who witnessed it would go home to tell others that it was the best live depiction they had ever seen.
   Other possibilities for Christmas-based tourism? Have a stage for local singers to perform Christmas songs. There would be no usual expense to hire the musicians (although you might bring in name artists on occasion and pay them) and it would provide them a place to perform.
  And, you could have a mini museum, offering the history of Christmas, with displays depicting celebrations of the past. If you included such museums throughout the tourist zone, not just in the Christmas city, you could bill Salt Lake City as the City of Museums.
  Another idea for the Christmas city? Make a tunnel where you could ride a horse-pulled sleigh to grandma's house, the tunnel keeping the temperature cold enough that snow from a snow-making machine would not melt. The tunnel would be complete with a video graphics on the ceiling and sides to make it seem you were traveling through the countryside. If the walls and lighting were done well enough, it might even be more dramatic and fanciful than real life. At the end of the tunnel, have Grandma's House, a restaurant where you are fed a Christmas meal with "Grandma" and "Grandpa" bringing you the food and sitting with you.
    Those of us who live in rural areas might be able to ride horse-drawn wagons at Christmastime, but it is something not availed the average person, and especially not availed to urbanites. Make Salt Lake City the place you come to ride an actual sleigh. If you are the only place on the map offering such an experience, it is certainly should be a draw.
   Those of us who live in rural areas might be able to ride horse-drawn wagons at Christmastime, but it is something not availed the average person, and especially not availed to urbanites. Make Salt Lake City the place you come to ride an actual sleigh.
   You could stretch the sleigh tunnel from the airport hotels, making it the transportation system for the tourists. The sleigh ride then becomes a more integral part of the Christmas experience in Salt Lake. If the walls of the tunnel are done in high-tech fashion, this would truly be a memorable experience. Some of the sleighs could be horse-drawn, and take you to Grandma's House restaurant, and others could be reindeer pulled, maybe even having Santa driving the sleigh. How many places are there where you can actually ride with Santa in his sleigh?
   If you put all these attractions together in one park, you could call it simply Christmas Park. Whether you leave the park open year-round, or just open it for the Christmas season, either way it would be a wonderful draw for tourism.
   And, for the person not given to turning Christmas more into a Santa Claus event, who worries Christmas Park would do just that, consider that Christmas Park would include the story of Christ and the principles of Christianity in a compelling way. The visitor who came for Santa would stay for the Babe Jesus, so to speak, as the display of the Savior's birth would be wonderful and inviting. If it gained fame as the most wonderful display of the Savior's birth in the world, the visitor would be much inclined to not leave town without seeing it.
  (Blog last altered 11/24/16)

This doesn't Justify Reopening the Recount, after all

    Learning more, I no longer feel that since there were more votes cast than voters who turned out to the polls, the recount of votes there should be reopened. If we were talking 25 extra votes in a precinct, a recount would be justified. But, today I read how 77 precincts were but a vote over, 62 precincts were but 2 over, 37 3 over, 20 just 4 over and 52 were 5 or more over.
   Those are hardly large numbers. If they were, there would be cause to think something was up. But, these small differences are more indicative of human error. Perhaps every once in a while, the poll worker failed to sign a voter in and sent him or her to vote, anyway.
  Humans being human, we should not be surprised at such errors.
   If an outside source were dumping fake votes into the system, it seems it would amount to more than one or two votes, unless you had a clever and careful intruder, who realized that if the vote count didn't match the voter count, eyebrows would be raised.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It Seems they Surely Should and Must Recount in Wayne County

   News breaks that the recount in Detroit and Wayne County got far enough to reveal that the number of votes tallied by the optical readers exceeded the number of voters recorded who showed at the polls. I believe in some of the precincts, the votes were fewer than the number of voters who showed, but, overall, the number was greater.
   With this news, it seems they surely should re-open the recount. Trouble is, the court has told them not to. So, what do you do? My understanding is, they are going to do an "audit." I hope and imagine that that "audit" will include a recount.
   It doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton won in Detroit and in Wayne County. Yes, this indicates she, not Trump, was the benefactor if there were election tampering. But, whether there is a recount should not be dependent on who won, or who benefited, but on whether the official tally was accurate.
(Note: See next blog, where I see that this does not mean the recount should be restarted.)
  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

An Honest Heart will Find the Truth

   There are at least three categories if you were to study how opinions are changed. One, you could consider how to persuade others, how to change their opinions. Two, you could study what things lead to change when people do change their opinions. Three, you could study how to govern you own changes of opinion so you arrive at the best of opinions.
   Each category is distinct, and will have different factors that lead to the opinion change.
   It is the last category I contemplated last night, and it is it for which I think I can give some answers.
   Not all opinions are created equal. There often is a correct opinion and an incorrect one. You can argue and each person can have separate opinions, but the truth is often to be lodged on just one side of an issue. Either abortion is wrong, or it is right. Either we should listen to the climate change scientists, or we shouldn't.
   So, you would like to be on the right side of each issue. You would like to -- shall we say -- discern the truth. How do you do it?
   First, you must have desire to have the question answered. If you never give thought to whether abortion is right, if you don't even consider the issue, you are not even on the track to knowing the truth. Likewise, if you already have made up your mind, you will not be in position to consider the issue. So, being willing to consider the issue is the first factor.
   Second, you must be honest. This is the most important factor. It is the key to finding the truth. Honesty is the thing that allows one person to find the correct opinion, while another person does not. Well, maybe class it as honesty and integrity. If you are an honest person, you will be objective. If you have integrity, you will consider things honestly. You will look beyond your biases. You will consider things evenly and fairly.
  Third, you must have enough knowledge on the topic to be able to consider it. If you do not know all things about the issue, you might arrive at the wrong opinion even though you have considered it honestly. Your perception of what is right is going to come from the facts in your hand. If there are others, if there are things you did not know, then you cannot base your opinion on them. So, having truth helps one find truth. The truths you know about a matter guide you to know the truth of what should be done.
  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to Change Our Own Opinions Would be a Wonderful Thing

   The principles of change would be a most telling thing to learn, a most wonderful thing to know. If we learned what it takes to change a person's opinion, wouldn't that be beneficial?
   Now, supposing some political opinions are correct, and others not as good, wouldn't it be wonderful if we trained ourselves in how to change our opinions, how to select the best opinions?

Bless the Child with Love: True Love is not Conditional, but Free

   If you would save the child, save him the stress (or save her the stress). The pressure to succeed can cripple, impair, and even kill a youth.
   I read a wonderful article Sunday in the Deseret News. titled "The Lone Peak story," by Jesse Hyde, about teen suicide. It laid out how expectations on youth at the affluent Lone Peak High School have led to suicides. The students are faced with living up to high standards in education, church and athletics.
   I do not say it is wrong to have programs that call for excellence. But, every child must be accepted, loved and praised, regardless of whether they achieve anything. Love is not something to be given only to achievers, it should be given -- perhaps even more -- to those who don't excel.
   No child left behind? Rather than have all children reach a high level -- and credit that as no child being left behind -- no child should be left behind when the love and attention are being passed around. Love should not be conditional, based on achievement, but it should be free.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Once Boarded, a Train is Hard to get off

   A train boarded, is hard to get off. And, so, it is with our opinions, beliefs and things we choose to do. Once we take up an opinion, it is not easy to change it. I would imagine somewhere someone has studied this, determining what conditions usually need to exist for a person to change their political opinions. If they move from a conservative to a liberal community, are they more likely to change? If they marry into a conservative family, are they more likely to change from being liberal? Or, are the changes usually due to conditions in ones life? If you are put in a position where it is you wanting the abortion, does that change your opinion? If you need welfare, do you become more approving of it?
   How often does someone change their opinion because of a lost argument? I would guess that somewhat rare, but there are times. What are the conditions? Does it take a more humble person?
  Nor is it just in political opinions. All our beliefs can be hard to change. Once we board a train, it is hard to get off. The train starts moving, and since no one wants to jump from a moving train, no one does. So it is with beliefs, once we adopt them, changing them can be painful, for no one wants to admit they were wrong. No one wants to get off the train, so to speak.
   I currently find myself eating more than I should, more than I did in a past day. My weight is up a few pounds. But, I find this a train I am having trouble getting off.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Vote Against Trump, is a Vote for the Constitution

   I'd like to see the Electoral College electors vote for someone other than Trump tomorrow. But, if they do so, they should realize they are not simply saying they don't want Trump, but saying they have a right to vote for whomever they choose. They are, in essence, saying we should do away with the election as it is now practiced, and go back to the way the Constitution set it up, which is to elect electors, and then let the electors select the president. We've kind of got things reversed, as the presidential candidate, in essence, selects the electors instead. (You can only be named an elector if you commit to vote for a certain person. So, that person, in essence, is offering to make you an elector.)
   What got me a little worked up was a story out of Colorado, of how an elector might vote for someone other than Hillary. The story pointed out that that Colorado law says such a person might be jailed and fined $1000. In what country is it, then, that if you don't vote for the person mandated by the state, you can be jailed and fined $1000? Don't say Russia, obviously, but don't miss the point that that sounds like Russia. It is interesting that in a year in which we are talking about Russian interference, this parallel can also be drawn.
   I suggest state laws binding you to a candidate are unconstitutional. If the Constitution says the electors shall select the president -- and it does -- then they should be free to do so. A law that prevents them from doing so should be ruled illegal.  
   So, a vote against Trump becomes not just that, but it also becomes a vote of protest against an election system that long ago strayed from the Constitution.
   And needs to be brought back.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

I'd Like to See a Utah Recount

   If I could get what I wanted for Christmas? One thing I'd wish for would be that states, including Utah, would launch their own investigations of the election voting.
   Even if it is too late for the recounts to count.
   In Utah, Trump won by 8.2 percent more than what the polls said he would. That is beyond the margin of error pollsters give themselves. I believe most of Utah does have paper printouts of the votes, which is what computer expert J. Alex Halderman said should be used in doing recounts.
   Pollsters said Trump would win by about 10 percent. He won by about 18 percent. That is the largest margin of error among any of the swing states. If you were to want to hack the election, you would likely pick the swing states. So, if the election were hacked, it seems Utah would be a targeted state.
   Honestly? I would guess the election was not hacked. Trump won. He campaigned better. But, I am not sure of that. I look at how the U.S. intelligence agencies are saying the Russians did try to swing the election to Trump and I cannot but think if they were making every effort to swing the vote, creating fraudulent votes would be the surest way to do it. It would be something they would try. We no longer live in the same world as past elections. Voting is done electronically, and electronic voting can be hacked into. You can attach malware to the system, and that malware can be programmed to erase itself when the polls close. (That reminds me of old spy TV shows and how they would say, "This message will self-destruct.")
   I think of how -- was it in August? -- the voter data bases in Arizona and Illinois were hacked into. It seems if you hack into voter data bases, it surely might be because you intent to use the information to cast illegitimate votes. Doesn't that follow?
   All this gives us cause for suspicion. While you might realize you will be made to be a fool when the recount comes back showing no significant change, it still seems the right thing to do.

Friday, December 16, 2016

We've a Small Window of Time for Our Intel Community to Investigate

   I've never been so thankful Obama is our president. For, while he remains in office, there is a small window of time to look into the possibility that Russia hacked into election on election night, and stole the election for Trump. When Trump takes office, that opportunity probably will be lost, for it seems possible (likely) he will squelch any such investigation by the intel community.
  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Party Loyalty Trumps National Security

   We are a nation swallowed by party, and in no place is this more evident than in the refusal of Republicans -- both the politicians and the people -- to come eyeball-to-eyeball with the Russian threat upon our presidential election.
   Strip away party loyalty, and a person looks at the danger of what might have happened, and says, "Investigate, of course investigate." But a person blinded by love of party will not concede the danger. "There is no evidence," they shout. "Get over it; the election is finished. Quit with the conspiracy theories."  They are not concerned with whether Russia interfered, only it matters to them that their man won.
  Party loyalty Trumps national security.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

If the Russians Cast False Votes, Recounts Might not Catch Them

    I don't hear a call for more recounts in the wake of the announcement that Russia did, indeed, try to hijack our election. And, I wonder if recounts would do any good. If Putin's agents didn't change the votes, but entered false votes, perhaps the recount would only recount the same false votes.
   Remember that the voter data bases in Arizona and Illinois were hacked? I believe that story broke in August, but didn't get too much play that you should remember it. If you are hacking the voter data bases, it seems it would be to find registered voters to use their names to cast false votes. So, should we be looking at places where voter participation was higher than normal? And, how do you check to see if the voters cast their own votes or if someone voted for them? Do you go back and ask every voter whose votes were registered if they actually voted? Or, is there a way of tracing votes coming in from outside the polling places?


Rescue Aleppo's Orphanage Children

  A video of children at an orphanage in Aleppo asks for their rescue, pleas for them to be evacuated. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it brought a fast response? 
   And, ought to. "Ought" to being different than "will," perhaps nothing will happen.
   I wonder if it would be as easy as driving in or flying in, picking them up, and taking them to safety. If the orphanage is asking for the children to be evacuated, then why not just do it? Providing it can be done, why doesn't the U.S. slip in and rescue the children? If it is not as easy a walking in, use your special forces.
   But save the children.
 

'Faithless Electors' Might be Patriots, indeed, in a Way

   What country would this happen in? You can only vote for the person designated by the state and if you vote for anyone else, you can be charged $1,000 and jailed for a year.
   I've been thinking the past weeks on whether faithful electors should vote for the person they are bound to. My thought has been they should. If state law binds them to do so -- and it does in 28 states -- and if the elector is pledged to do so, then they should vote for who has been designated.
   But now news comes out of Colorado that that state could charge you $1,000 and toss you in jail if you vote for someone other than the person designated. I am somewhat persuaded the concept is so wrong that perhaps the right thing is a little civil disobedience. Vote for who you will, although you should be ready to go to jail if you do so.
   In a year in which Russia has tampered with our election -- at least supposedly -- it is interesting that the issue of the state mandating who you vote for should rise. The way the Constitution was written, the electors choose the president. If they are to choose the president, a strong, strong argument can be made that these state laws are in-Constitutional. Indeed, it can be argued they undermine the Constitution.
   Perhaps the electors should take a swing to protect the Constitution.

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Change the Homeless, and You'll Change How Many are Homeless

   Deseret News columnist Jay Evensen has suggested we need to understand why the homeless problem is growing if we are to solve it. I've wondered if the legislation the state passed keeping drug offenders out of prison is one of the reasons homelessness has increased. The time frame on not sending so many to jail for drugs does match the time frame of the homeless population booming. If you do not house them in your jails, where are they going to be? We can see many of the homeless are on drugs and alcohol, so it makes sense if the prison housing goes down, the Rio Grande population goes up.
  Evensen also speaks of the criminal element preying on the homeless. That would include the drug pushers, since they find a ready market in the homeless. I don't know where the homeless get the money for drugs, but I would guess they do.
  So, what should we do? I don't know, and it is late and I need to go to bed. Do we return to sending them to prison? What about John Florez's solution? Off top, I tend to like it. Evensen says that before Florez died, he spoke of "therapeutic villages" for the homeless, providing not just beds, but work opportunities, education and training. Florez wanted to instill the homeless with self esteem. I laud his solution. If you want them to no longer be homeless, you need to lead them out, and that means showing and helping them become the type of people who are employed, who have interests and hobbies other than drinking and drifting.
   Change who the homeless are, and you'll see change in how many homeless there are.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Blueprint for What Happened Here Might Lie in Russia's Own Elections

   Supposing Russia did influence our election, it seems reasonable to wonder if the things they did abroad are things they first did at home. Vladimir Putin would be even more desirous to win his own election than to win that of Donald Trump.
   So, if our intelligence agencies were to look at Russian elections, they might learn what to look for in our election.
   The tricks you learn at home can be the same tricks you use on your neighbors.

Time to be More Inclusive Toward Taiwan

   If Donald Trump would give Taiwan its place in the communities of the world, I believe I am with him. Haven't studied it much, but, off top, I like the idea.
   Do away with the one-China policy. Recognize Taiwan. Taiwan is the most populous nation in the world not a member of the United Nations. And, it has the largest economy of any state outside the UN.
   Perhaps it is time to be more inclusive toward the island nation.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Truth is in Christ and His Modern-Day Church

  Christmastime is time to consider on the birth of a Savior. Was there such an event? Did a God such as He once walk this earth? Of all things I can blog about, none is more important than this, for if Christ did walk the earth, if he did atone for sins, if he was resurrected, yes, that is important.
   Some say, don't mix politics and religion. I say, both are important. Talk about what you want to talk about, for freedom of speech suggests you can.
   So, I weigh in with some religious thoughts, occasionally, especially on Sundays.
   Today, I just want to say I am a believer. Christ was born, did live, and I am grateful for that. Now, if I were to leave it at that, some would wonder why I stop. They would suppose I do not have a testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So, I will add, I do believe in God's modern-day church.
  

He Who Will not Study a Problem is not Worthy of an Answer

   They want to count the trees down here on earth, at least the ones in North and South America. So -- unless blocked by the incoming Trump Administration -- NASA will begin the counting in a five-year project commencing in the spring of 2021.
   I don't mean a literal count, giving an actual number of trees, but they do want to know how large the forests and vegetation areas are, whether that measurement is in acres or whatever. And, they want to know if the vegetation areas are growing larger. They want to determine whether the number carbon dioxide-eating plants are increasing. Is our carbon dioxide vegetation increasing as a result of carbon dioxide emitting sources increasing? And, how much of the carbon monoxide is being absorbed by the plants?
   (It should be noted, the new mission will monitor not only carbon monoxide, but other green house gases, as well.)
   Only 25-30 percent of carbon monoxide emitted by cars and power plants ends up back in the atmosphere. The rest? I suppose it is absorbed by plants. So, having a plant system that eats up the carbon dioxide is as much of the answer to global warming as is reducing emissions.
   I've always thought our green plants were being chopped down faster than new ones could pop up. We hear about deforestation, and how the Amazon rainforest is being encroached upon. So, what is this: We might actually be experiencing more carbon monoxide-fighting plants? Some scientists seem to believe so. If that is happening, it would play well with the theory that the earth can heal itself.
  The idea is to get data to determine what is going on. The Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory, (GeoCARB) is to offer observations each day on the green house gases and plant life in the Americas.
   If we are to know whether greenhouse gases are a threat, and if we are to know how much of a threat they are, we must study. He who will not study a problem is not worthy of an answer. So, I suggest the GeoCARB program is probably a worthy one. I do have concern for the cost, however. It comes with a $166-billion bill. That is a high expense, and I wonder if there are ways to reduce the costs without hurting the program.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Truth does not Run from Knowledge, and Neither Should Michigan

   He who will not search for truth, will not find it. If you shut the door down on truth, you cannot expect to find it.
   I speak of the decision to stop the election recount in Michigan. And, also, I think of those who oppose NASA's observation role in greenhouse gases. I, too, am apprehensive about that role, but only because I see a big expense in it. Expense aside, I say allow NASA to study greenhouse gases.
   He who runs from knowledge, runs from truth. And, I wonder if this is what is happening in Michigan, with the recount. I wonder but what many of those opposed to a recount aren't opposed because they fear the possibility the recount will indicate there might have been election fraud; they run from truth.
  If you would have the truth of a matter, study it; study everything about it. Truth does not run from knowledge, and neither should we.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Rudolph can't Kick His way through the Ice, so He Starves

   Christmas might not come this year because all the reindeer are being killed off by global warming, and so Santa is not going to have anyone to pull his sleigh.
   Okay, I jest. Still, the part about reindeer being killed off by global warming is true. Some suggest 80,000 have been killed in the past decade. What's happening? They're starving. Typically, they can kick through a thin sheet of ice to get to frozen pasture and eat. But, with warming temperatures, an effect is created that causes evaporation that, in turn, causes more raining. Then, the rain water freezes, and with the increased amounts of rain, the ice sheets are thicker than usual -- too thick for Rudolph to kick through.
   And, the red-nosed reindeer dies. This doesn't make for a pleasant Christmas story.
  

E-Cigarettes Proclaimed an Emerging Health Theat

   With U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy this week proclaiming e-cigarettes an emerging public health threat, we consider anew the dangers of vaping.
   A lot of the danger is in what we don't know. E-cigarettes are relatively new, with no extensive history, and with a lack of studies on their effects. So, we don't know whether they will prove to be an entry drug, leading the people who use them to take up other tobacco products later in life.
  Nicotine is not new, and we do know it is addictive. But, will those addicted to it be addicted to vaping, alone, or will they eventually turn to other things, as well, while they feed that addiction? And, does the addiction to vaping exceed or fall short of the addiction to traditional cigarettes?
   How harmful is nicotine, in and of itself? For one thing, I understand it damages a developing brain, including the brain of a teenager. It has been linked to possible birth defects. In high dosages -- far higher than found in cigarettes and e-cigarettes -- it is lethal.
   Does the moisture taken into the lungs create any damage?
   Somehow, taking just a small amount of a drug that does kill when taken in large dosages seems unwise, to me. I am grateful I never fell into using any nicotine product, as it seems it surely would lessen my health in one way or another.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

We could Save $125 Billion, and That gets Little Attention?

  Here's a story that got away, didn't get the play perhaps it deserved. The Pentagon figured out how to save $125 billion, but buried the plan when it got worried Congress would use it as reason to cut military spending.
  The story was written by Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward, and published in the Washington Post three days ago, Dec. 5.
   Now, if we were a nation set on slimming our national debt, we would all be hollering and shouting, demanding that the blueprint for saving such money be brought back out and used. This $125 billion is a lot of money. It's taxpayers money. Why don't I hear a few Congress members catching on the story, demanding that the cost-saving measures be implemented? Surely, some of them read the story. Surely, somewhere in the large number of Senators and Representatives, someone exists who would demand we do the only logical thing and save ourselves the $125 billion.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/pentagon-buries-evidence-of-dollar125-billion-in-bureaucratic-waste/ar-AAlbC2l?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Make Salt Lake City the Place Everyone Comes to

   The land stretching west from the airport should be designed to serve and capitalize on the airport traffic. Here are some quick ideas on what might be done:
   If we decide it will not hinder convention efforts downtown, or if the hotel space downtown can be converted to other draws, then place a large convention center near the airport. Combined with what is being done downtown, make our convention facilities the finest and largest in the country, ready to host any convention. Offer our city as the finest place in the nation for conventions.
   Look to play host for every hobby and endeavor we can get our hands on. Chess, Monopoly and other board games?  Make this the place to come if you aspire to play on a national level, a national stage. Coin and comic book collecting? Make Salt Lake City the best place in the nation for those hobbyists to congregate and pursue their interest.
   How about making a place where rare documents and items are sold? There is no such place in the world, I would imagine, so make Salt Lake City the place where you come to display and sell that watch once owned by Abraham Lincoln and that guitar Eric Clapton once played. Give the sellers a museum, of sorts, where they can display their wares to buyers who come from around the world.
    Reading yesterday's newspaper, I read how the creation of a prep basketball shootout in Orem five year ago is now being hailed as  a visionary move. Why not host such tournaments in all sports? And, why not make Utah the best site in the nation for them by building sports complexes capable of hosting three or four games at once: Four basketball courts, four football fields, four baseball diamonds, etc. Few places nationwide can offer that. Do it, and you become the best place in the nation for these tournaments. Want to host the NCAA's regional basketball tournament? Offer four courts so games can be played simultaneously and see if that attracts them.
   But, certainly don't just go after high school and college tournaments. Make this the place amateurs come to play in national tournaments.
   And, give those who come things to do while they are waiting for their events. Rather than sitting in their hotels all day for that game in the evening, have venues where they can listen to Utah's finest musicians and its best comedians.
   There is a lot of undeveloped land west of the airport. If you want a place where all this will fit, this is the place. If you develop it with light industrial and general commercial, you sell it short and lose your chance to do this.
  Salt Lake City can do something that has never been done. It can become the city that attracts tourists in a way that has never been tried. Why not turn our city into a place like none other? Why not make it the place where people come from around the nation and around the world to participate and compete in their hobbies and their dreams?

Why take $6.3 Billion from the Taxpayers?

  I wonder if the sweeping new health bill approved by Congress doesn't contain a fatal flaw. I read how the 21st Century Cures Act is a "$6.3 billion act." What does that mean? Is this a new expense? I believe it must be. It authorizes $4.8 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $500 million for the Food and Drug Administration.
  It passed with little opposition. In the Senate, it was approved by a 94-5 vote and in the House, the vote was 392-26. Senator Elizabeth Warren was among the few who voted against it, criticizing it for containing massive hand-outs for pharmaceuticals.
   The bill is expected to speed the approval proves for new drugs and medical devices, allowing clinical trials with fewer patients and less-expensive objectives.
   Why do those things translate into $6.3 billion in additional spending? I'm a little lost as to why is was necessary to tack $6.3 billion onto our debt. Why take $6.3 billion from the taxpayers? Perhaps there is good reason, but at this point I question the spending.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wish I had the Mayor's Ear

   Wish I had the ear of Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the Salt Lake City council. I'd try to persuade them to use land near the new prison for more than light industrial and traditional commercial. This I say in light of the fact Salt Lake has announced that with the prison coming, it makes sense to bring other development to the area. The point city leaders make is, why bring all the infrastructure there just to service no more than the prison?
   Yes, I'd like to see the land developed, but only if done in a big way. That land is just a few miles west of the airport. To me, having so much undeveloped land near an airport is an opportunity to try something that perhaps hasn't been done much, if at all, in America's cities: create a tourist zone. Create a zone that serves air traffic and feeds off it. Create a district attracting international visitors. Now, if you are to create such a district, putting it next to your airport is the logical place, but that opportunity will be lost as soon as you waste it on light industrial and traditional commercial.
   Placing businesses and attractions there serving the flight industry makes sense. I suggest this is the natural and best use of the land. It is a way to capitalize on the resource of the airport and turn the land into its highest value. Instead of being just another place for light industrial and commercial, this land can serve a critical clientele, our air travelers. Sit down and do a little brainstorming. Ask what type of things would be worthy of international (or at least, national) appeal. There are a host of things we could do, a number of sectors of tourism we could appeal to.
   If we want,  we could increase the flow of international visitors to our city. Why not use that land for its highest value, instead of selling it short as simply light industrial and common commercial property?

  

Monday, December 5, 2016

If You Leave the Vault Open, You go in and Recount

  If we left the front door to the bank open all night, and the door to vault, to boot, would we be saying the next morning that we weren't going to go into the vault and see if all the money was there unless we spotted signs on the outside that it had been robbed?
   No, the first thing we would do would be to go in and see if all the money was there. We'd recount it, to see if it matched what the count had been when we put the money in there.
   So it is, we should handle our election the same way. If someone shows us the system in hackable, and is vulnerable, and could have been hacked -- if we learn we left the doors open all night -- then we should recount.
   The question is simply whether the computer scientists are correct in saying the system is hackable. If it is, then you recount.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rather than being Lackadaisical, We Should Recount

   My best guess is that no one tried to steal the election, but we don't know that. That Romney was shut out 19,600 to 0 in 59 Philadelphia precincts in the previous presidential election is most likely just that: No one voted for him. Still, these things leave room to wonder if the system is being hijacked. This makes two presidential elections in a row, then, that Pennsylvania has raised our eyebrows.
   We are told, if the hack is done right, the perpetrator can get away without leaving signs. So, we should not be too lackadaisical just because there is no evidence. Rather than reject recounts, they should become standard practice. If you have a chance of fraud, you guard against it. You place safeguards in your system.  Companies audit their books all the time. Why would we not do the same with our elections?
 

Just Stick to the Facts; To Attack Jill Stein is Wrong

   I do not see the need or reason for attacking Jill Stein for seeking a recount. She seeks but for justice. To accuse her of using this to raise money for herself is uncalled for. To question her motive is wrong and unjust. We live in a society that finds faults where no faults exist, that uses unjust accusations to make arguments instead of just sticking with the facts. This is an example of that.

Why not become the Only State to Elect the President the Right Way?

   If we were operating the way the Constitution suggests, the six Electoral College representatives from Utah would be free to vote for who they thought wise. I do not know that I would encourage them to vote for anyone but Trump, at this point, as they have committed to him, and state law commits them to him.
   Still, such pledges and laws should be done away with. The Constitution is clear on how the electors are to select the president. If the Founding Fathers had intended it to be an automatic process, we wouldn't need people there to do it. We would just translate the popular vote into six electoral votes and be done with it. Clearly, the founders intended us to do it differently than that. Why not just do it the way they intended?
  It would be neat if between now and the next election, Utah changed its laws to conform with the Constitution, and we became the first state in the Union to elect in the manner prescribed by that honored writ of governance. Why not do it right? Why not become the first and only state to do it right?

Would You Check Your Vault to See if it had been Robbed?

   Thanks to J. Alex Halderman, the computer scientist who was watchful enough to realize the opportunity for hacking presidential elections does exist. When you face that possibility, and given there are hackers who will hack if given a chance, of course you do a recount, of course you do everything you can to ensure your election was not hijacked.
  It is being said there is no evidence of interference. I say, No evidence of tampering? Look instead at the fact there was opportunity. If you left a bank vault unsecured, would you be saying, "No, let's not go into the vault and see if anything was taken unless we first find some evidence outside the vault that suggests we've been robbed."

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Bring a Little Doc Adams to Our Health System

   I wonder on neighborhood medicine. I wonder if this is the way to go, if we are really to improve our health system.
   If you want, call it co-op medicine, or communal medicine, or community medicine. What I speak of is a doctor who does all the doctoring to be done without charging the customers a dime at the time of service.
   You remember Doc Adams on Gunsmoke? That's in part what I'm talking about. You have a doctor, and he cares for the people in the community in a way you don't get when you have 50 doctors scattered all across a city. He's the only doctor, because one is all you need. The advantages are that he bonds with the community, feels a commitment to it, and derives his joy and fulfillment from helping the community, by being the one his neighbors turn to in their hour of need.
   There's a pride and an honor there that is lost when you go to a doctor who isn't your neighbor, who you don't run into in your daily life. In today's society, with the work place often being our place of community, maybe these co-op doctors should be at the places of employment, instead of in the actual neighborhoods. The point is, these doctors should be people you run into daily, or weekly, or relatively often.
   With the way we have it now, the doctor's job is but a job. He sees his customers as customers. He puts in his time each day and goes home to a different world, one that they are not a part of. I have often thought where you put your carrots, your incentives, determines much. With this system, the doctor has more incentive to really serve the patient. His driving force is more likely to be love.
   Another benefit of this system, is that it might reduce lawsuits. You are less inclined to sue if the person is your neighbor and friend.
   We need to put care back in health care, and having community doctors like what Doc Adams was for Dodge City might just be the answer.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

There is Reason for Excitement in This, Too

   The chance to revamp our health system, now that Donald Trump has been elected and has signaled that changes are coming, is exciting.
    For those arm-chair politicians such as I, it is an opportunity to think of what we would do, if given chance.
    I think on a friend's comment, of how health-care shouldn't be motivated by profit. It will take some thinking, but perhaps some (or all) health-care providers should be paid flat rates. I only know we should be careful with where the profit-motive is placed, as you want your incentives to be placed in such a way that good care is rewarded.
   Other thoughts? We need to reduce negligence and malpractice. Lawsuits and the insurance it takes to be prepared for them, are too high of expenses. One way to reduce them -- perhaps the best way -- is to reduce the number of times doctors make mistakes.
   A couple things that might help? One, have more second opinions. Make them common practice. For things of significance -- those beyond common colds and such -- you never get a diagnosis without getting two. One doctor diagnoses you and makes a recommendation, and then you see another, and he (or she) arrives at his (or her) opinion without even knowing what the first doctor recommended. Two, during surgeries, have an auditing doctor present. He (or she) observes the surgery as it takes place, offering advice and suggestions.
   A third suggestion came from a friend while I was a the gym last night. Have more preventative medicine.
  

Investigate Trump's charges

   Is this dangerous, as people are suggesting it is? Trump says he would have won the popular vote if false votes were discounted in Virginia, New Hampshire and California. Such outlandish talk undermines the integrity of our election system, it is said.
   I can see that. I see how quickly his followers jump to believe him. They speak of undocumented residents voting.
   I would, the same, that we took what he is saying serious, and looked into it. Did unregistered voters in those states cast votes? I don't know that a simple recount would uncover this. You would have to investigate further than that.
   And, there is expense. I believe we must find a way to pay for it.
   The way to ensure the integrity of the system is to investigate claims against them. What if undocumented residents are casting a large number of illegal votes? Do we not want to know? And, if they aren't, perhaps an investigation can help put the charge to rest.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Perhaps this is a Time for Optimism and Hope

   As Donald Trump names Steve Mnuchin his nominee for Treasury secretary, I find myself being a little excited for the times. Could they rewrite the tax code? Indeed, it seems they might. While I do not look forward to the tax plan Trump outlined during his campaign -- that plan could plunge us $11 trillion deeper in debt -- perhaps they will go a different direction.
  I only know I see this as an opportunity to completely re-haul the tax code. We could do it right, or we could do it wrong. Here's hoping they rewrite it with one goal being to reduce the national debt, and another goal being to make it much simpler.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

May the Recounts be Honest and Thorough

   I worry, when I hear Wisconsin officials are going to allow a recount, but not a hand recount. Why, if a recount is paid for to the tune of $3.5 million deep, why not do it right? Are you suggesting it will only be an electronic recount? Is an electronic recount a real recount, or simply flashing all the same numbers and all the same results back on the screen? Why not be fair, and do a real, thorough, honest recount? Why are they not allowing this?
    I worry when I hear Pennsylvania's top election official taints his impartiality by saying a recount will not change anything. "When everything is said and done, you're going to see that the results are accurate," Secretary of State Pedro Cortes said. I would rather see impartiality in my election judges, rather than being in position to prove themselves right.
   Pennsylvania's ballots lack a paper trail. So, as with Wisconsin's, I wonder if it will be able to be a true accurate recount, or just flushing the same material on the screen again. I suppose there must be some way to undercover false votes, otherwise those calling for a recount wouldn't be doing so. I understand, the malware that could cyberattack the voting system can be erased upon completion of the voteing. Perhaps it is, then, that when an electronic recount is done without the malware being present, the vote would change.
   Bless the recounts, wherever they are done, that they will be honestly done, and thorough.

Perfection lies in the Admission of Imperfections

  The perfect person isn't the one who is perfect in everything, but the one who corrects his imperfections. So, when you find a person who never admits to faults, know you have an imperfect person.

Monday, November 28, 2016

We've Entered an Age When Voter Fraud has New Frontiers

   We are living in an age like none other, in regard to the danger of election fraud. One need only look at the number of U.S. companies suffering cyber attacks to suppose that it is possible someone could attack electronic and online election sites.
   Why, then, the reluctance for recounts? When paper printouts exist, go back and tally them. If electronic and online fraud occurred, counting the paper printouts might likely to catch them.
  We live in a day when such audits might well become mandatory. Just as a businesses audit their books, so we should audit our elections. Given the changed nature of balloting, surely we should see how necessary this is.
   The dangers go beyond the places where electronic and online voting are done. There is danger like we've never seen it simply because of mail-in voting. Ballots can be intercepted at the mailbox, they can be delivered to addresses where people have moved out, leaving them in the hands of new residents. They can be delivered to those who have passed away. They can be delivered to the right place, but then left on the table until a friend or family member says, "Well, if you aren't going to use it, can I?"
   The dangers of fraud in our election system have never been so high. We are beyond the day when our elections can be considered beyond reproach. We have entered an era when dangers exist that never previously had to be dealt with.
   Voter beware. America beware.
   There is nothing wrong with checks and safeguards. Those who suggest we should not be recounting and taking measures to ensure an honest election, leave us prey to those who would capitalize on the fresh weaknesses in our voting system.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

In the Court of Public Opinion, making Mistakes Often isn't Tolerated

   "You have the right to be wrong," the officer said as he arrested me. "You have the right to make mistakes, to err in judgement, and even to . . ." He paused before continuing. "Well, I was going to say you have the right treat others wrongly, but I hesitate on that one. You do and you don't. Its better that you don't, but sometimes the only reason we treat others badly is because we don't realize what we are doing. We don't mean them harm, we just do it because we aren't thinking. Anyway, now I've read you your rights, you're under arrest."
   "Excuse me, officer," I asked. "but what are you arresting me for?"
   "Well," he came back, "the people down at the office have been reading your blogs, some of the old ones. Here's this one. Let me show you. You say in it that one of the ways we could inject competition into the health care system would be to offer more than one choice of companieswhen buying insurance through the workplace."
   "Well, that's right, isn't it?" I asked.
   "Nope. Not at all. You're not too smart, are you? See, there's this thing called volume buying. Walmart does it all the time. You buy in large amounts, and it reduces the cost. Did you catch that? It reduces the costs. Now, competition is not lost, because the company selects among the various insurance companies. You aren't doing the shopping, but someone is. It does the shopping among the competition, but competition is not left out."
   "Hmm," I said, reflecting. "I think you are right. I hadn't considered that."
   "Anyway," he said. "You're under arrest. I'm going to have to take you in. You've pretty much confessed here, anyway."
   "Wait," I said, "What about the rights you just read me?"
   "We have to do that," he said. "We have to read you your rights. But, just because we read them to you, doesn't mean you have them." He pulled out his badge. "See right here on this badge, it says I'm from the court of public opinion. The court of public opinion doesn't say a thing about you having any rights. Some do-gooder suggested you have those rights, and got it so we have to read them to you."
   He waited for me to respond, but I was too flabbergasted.
   "Besides, if it weren't for this blog you messed up on, it would be for something else. There's a lot of things I should be arresting you for."
   "Like?" I asked.
   "How about the time you asked a renter to move out, because you thought he was stealing from you?"
   "Yeah," I replied. "I came later to think it was another roommate who snitched the money from me. I've always regretted kicking him out."
   "Then," the officer went on, "there was the roommate missing a few mental bearings, who spoke of killing on the behalf of God, as a real-life avenger, and who believed Mormons were of the devil. You moved him out because you're a Mormon and you feared for your life."
   "Maybe I was wrong on that one, too," I said. "Maybe I shouldn't have taken all his talk so seriously. I'd now guess that he probably never would have done me any harm."
   "I could go on and on," the officer said. "You've been wrong a million times. What you've done has hurt people. In the court of public opinion, you aren't allowed to be wrong so much as once. So, what am I going to do, let you go scot-free and keep on causing all of this damage?"
   "Hey, I'm just a human," I said. "But, I like to think I try to set things right when I mess up. I don't pretend to be without fault -- at least I hope not. I'm not perfect, obviously. But, at least I try to be perfect by trying to overcome my faults."
   "That ain't good enough for me," the officer said, "nor for the court. Come along. I'm taking you in. Nobody's perfect, but, boy do you mess up. You mess up way too much, and its gotta stop, and so we'll just put a stop to it right here and now."
   "And, just what is my punishment? What are you going to do with me?" I asked.
   "I'm taking you away. The public is no longer going to respect you, nor listen to you, nor give you any credence," he said. "You're outta here."
   I thought on it. Often that is our punishment for making mistakes. I couldn't say it was altogether wrong. Sometimes, we have to pay for our mistakes this way. I will only repeat what I told the officer. I'm human. Whoever that person who suggested we have rights, I only pray the court of public opinion would listen to him.

Every American Should be Concerned if Russia Succeeded

   Back up, if you would, to the story about Russia influencing the election with fake news. Shouldn't a story like that be a little more alarming, a little more maddening? Shouldn't it cause a little more angst, anger, and anguish?
   Shouldn't it be the lead story in every paper, its headline screamed across the top of every front page?
   The Russians, you say? Our old Cold War foe? They tried to corrupt our election? They took our most basic of institutions, the one on which we hinge our freedom (democracy), and tried to make a mockery of it?
   And, did they succeed? Their stories plugged for Trump and Trump was elected.
   Well, much of the response to this news has been, "Get over it, you liberals. Trump won. Crying and whining won't do you any good."
   I don't think that a decent response. Every American should be concerned if Russia successfully compromised our election.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html

http://warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy/

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Castro Weighed Down to His Death

   News breaks of Colin Kaepernick discussing Fidel Castro and the very next day, Castro dies. I think of how the story came out of Miami, and how it noted that of the refugees there do not like Castro.
   Such things may well have reached Castro's ears. I would guess they probably did. Are we to think Castro did not care for what others thought of him? Surely he did. Yes, given the timing of the story -- given that it broke on Thursday and Castro died on Friday -- I wonder. If Castro did see the story, then, perhaps what was being said about him did contribute to his death.
  What others think of us is huge in whether we choose to keep on living. I don't know that the media is making anything of Castro's losing his will to live as a result of the bad publicity reaching his ears. I don't know that we, as a society, even study the will to live and how it is impacted by what others think and say about us. But, it should be studied. It should be noted. We could learn perhaps as much about prolonging life from this as we could from anything.

Friday, November 25, 2016

How Might We Respond? Perhaps by Trying to Correct the Flaws

   I will stand, hand to my heart, when the national anthem is performed. I love my country, and pledge to support it. Colin Kaepernick? I don't know how patriotic he is, but suggest it might not be mine to judge.
   The 49ers quarterback is again in the news, after an exchange between him and a Miami reporter revealed some of his views. Back in August, about the same time the Kaepernick thing on the national anthem was coming forth, he wore a shirt with pictures showing Fidel Castro and Malcolm X meeting. Now, the reporter wanted to discuss Castro being on the shirt. Kaepernick pointed out that Malcolm X was also on the shirt, and that the meeting with Castro showed the civil rights leader was open-minded. The reporter pressed for comment on Castro. "I'm not talking about Fidel Castro and his oppression. I'm talking bout Malcolm X and what he's done for people," Kaepernick responded.
   So, before we paint Kaepernick into too tight of a fit with Castro, we should note the quarterback does believe Castro oppressed Cubans.
   As the discussion continued, Kaepernick spoke of Castro investing money in education, instead of prisons, and indicated America might learn something from that. He also spoke of America incarcerating too many people, and of slavery, and of the genocide of Native Americans.
   Kaepernick believes blacks still face bigotry. I'm not sure I disagree. He believes we incarcerate too many. I might concede the point and wonder if there are other ways to handle criminals. Kaepernick doesn't like it that there was slavery in America. Neither do I. He feels the Native Americans suffered in a genocide. I'm not sure but what he isn't right.
  I can see what is wrong with America, but I believe what is right outweighs it. I love this country, despite its flaws. If I were to add to the flaws Kaepernick has pointed out, I would lament that we are a country that protects abortion, which leads to millions of lives being cut off even before the children are even born. To me, this is one of the greatest injustices in America.
   I compare my views to those of Kaepernick, because I want to make clear where I stand. If Kaepernick wants to not stand during the anthem, if he and other athletes choose to protest by not putting their hands over their hearts, so be it. I don't know that I want to judge them, nor condemn them. Some of these might be just saying they see injustices and would like to see them corrected. Do some of them truly oppose our country? I don't know. I only know they are calling out flaws most of us might be willing to admit to. I say, let us wave the flag, be patriotic and love this country. But, when we see criticisms that are justified, let us acknowledge them and work shoulder-to-shoulder with those who bring them up in trying to correct them.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Perhaps an Investigation should already have been Launched

  You won't remember, or maybe didn't hear about it, but in August, hackers stole information from voter data bases in Illinois and Arizona.
  Federal officials blamed it on the Russians. And, Utah Rep. Chris Stewart said we knew this was going to happen.
   Oh, did we? If so, did we also know the election, itself, might be compromised? Because, if we did, we surely should be investigating. I'm not talking just a formal recount of votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. No, if you have any inclination that a foreign government was going to compromise your election, you investigate it. You don't say the law only allows for a recount if an opposing candidate requests one and pays for it, you put the CIA or FBI on it and do it, regardless whether a candidate asks for it.
   Clinton led in the polls in all three states (Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania) and all three had voted for the democrat at least going back as far as 1996. All three states were decided by 1 percent or less, which means if those states' elections were influenced, recounts could reverse the outcomes.
   Well, I don't know why, back in August and earlier, the federal authorities were concerned about Russia hacking our election. But, if there was concern then, we shouldn't drop the ball now. If there truly was reason for concern back then, then an investigation by the CIA or FBI should already have been launched. Recounts would be but part of that investigation.

The Strangeness of the Election Might Yet get Stranger

  A cloud of uncertainty swept across our just-completed election today, as certain experts called for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
  After all the drama that swirled through the campaign, is the biggest drama yet do come? Could the Russians have hacked our election and handed it to Donald Trump? Probably not, say even those who are calling for the recounts.
  But, at least until the recounts are made, the possibility looms. Strange reality can  be more striking than fiction. So, we wait to see if this is reality, if the Russians really did accomplish such a heist. Trump once a star on reality TV? What with threat of Russian cyber attacks on election night, now it might be said he stars in a reality international espionage thriller.
  Oh, even those calling for recounts are suggesting the election probably wasn't stolen. But, don't let it go unnoticed that they want to make sure. Yes, there is no evidence the Russians hacked us. But, it is also suggested the hacking could have been accomplished without there being any evidence.
  Just three states. That's all they are asking for. Three recounts is all they want. But, I find myself wondering if -- supposing the results in just one of those states is found incorrect -- if other states might decide to double-check their results. Oh, it would be too late for those recounts to officially change the election -- there are time limits on when you can request a recount -- but it is never too late to investigate a crime. If the outcome in just one of the three states is found wrong, I would not be surprised at all if a few states decided to recount their own votes.
   Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, democratic states, all. Wisconsin had voted for a democrat in each election since 1988, Michigan every time since 1996 and Pennsylvania since 1992. Clinton led in the polls in all three states. Yet, by slim margins, each went to Trump. Wisconsin?  47.9 percent to 46.9. Michigan? 47.6 percent to 47.3. Pennsylvania? 48.8 percent to 47.6. Together, they represent 46 Electoral College votes: 10 in Wisconsin, 16 in Michigan and 20 in Pennsylvania. With Trump having won 279 to 228 in the electoral vote, if just two of these states swing from Trump, Clinton wins.
   Yes, we go back to the thought that the current votes will stand up in a recount. That is what is expected. But, as it is said, truth can be more astounding than fiction. So, let us wait for the recounts.
   I think I should end this blog noting that in August, Utah Rep. Chris Stewart warned that Russian hackers could disrupt this election. Before the month was out, news broke that the registration information in Arizona and Illinois had been hacked and stolen -- and the Russians were suspect. "It's hardly a prophecy," Stewart told the Deseret News. "It was just common sense. We just knew they were going to do this. There is no opportunity they won't take."
   We knew the they were going to do it? There is no opportunity they would not take? Does this suggest, then, that we knew the Russians were going to hack the election, itself? I'm waiting to hear what Stewart will say now.

(Note: With most of the composing of this blog having been done after midnight, and with some editing and additions made throughout the next day, this post was really written Thanksgiving Day.)
 
https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-was-hacked-look-at-the-ballots-c61a6113b0ba#.cmvhlbk78

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

       that an election recount  being called for in Wisconsin, Pennyslvania and Michigan Let's hear from Rep. Chris Stewart

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It Would be Good if We Were More Civil in Our Protests

   I wrote praise about protesting, did I not? And, I meant to follow it up the next day with a post about a negative result that often comes with protests.
   I do not like it that we, as a nation, are so divided. I do not like it that we pick at each other, find fault with each other. The disputes escalate as the protesting continues. The Black Lives Matter people condemn those who suggest all lives matter. Those who do not believe blacks are discriminated against try to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement. Soon, there are two sides and neither thinks well of the other.
  In the Colin Kaepernick dispute, he protests and draws the response that he is wrong to do so. Soon, two sides are thinking ill of each other, one side thinking the other is not patriotic, and the other side thinking people part of pattern of corruption for justifying police killings.
   Protesting can be good. But, it would be good if we could do it without all the division. It would be good if we accepted each other's protests, even though we do not agree with them. "So you feel blacks are discriminated against?" could be our response. "You feel blacks are often targeted by police." And, when the BLM people are told all lives matter, they could agree. All lives do matter. Black lives matter. White lives matter. Blue lives matter.
   And, the Colin Kaepernick situation? Why not just let him protest? He is going down on one knee. That is a show of respect. Why suppose he is akin to flag-burners?
   Protesting brings contention. It would be good if we were more civil in our protests, if we were more accepting of the other side, if it didn't spiral and escalate and become infused with hatred of each other.
   Let the other person have an opinion without thinking he or she is the devil in the flesh. Why judge each other so harshly?
   And, could protesters be more civil? Sometimes they use four-letter words, make false accusations, and just spew hatred. It might seem much to suggest protesters be respectful of those they are protesting against, but, yes, I wish they were.
 

Here's to Supporting Trump While not Closing Our Eyes

   I swung somewhat on board with Donald Trump that fateful Nov. 9 day I opened the morning paper to discover he had been elected.
   I say, somewhat.
   He is my president, my commander in chief. As I gave some support to President Obama, so I hope to give some to Trump. Who knows but what he might achieve much. If he succeeds, America succeeds.
   Oh, the road has already had some rocks. There was Megyn Kelly saying he offered gifts to her and to other journalists.
   And, there was the Trump University thing, where he paid $25 million to settle. It was said that with his needing to concentrate on getting his administration underway, he didn't have time for the court case. I'm not so sure. He has lawyers. Let them carry the case in court. Besides, I remember during the debates how it came up that he settled another case, a discriminatory practises case, with a financial settlement.
   This Trump University thing was a lawsuit. If it was fraud, have criminal charges been considered?
   And, there was the news that he had someone accompany him to a security briefing, and legal experts suggested that was against the law.
   And, we were reminded he never did disclose his taxes. It was pointed out that if he is under audit, that becomes interesting since he appoints the head of the IRS.
   I do not believe you have to quit questioning what he is doing in order to support him. To support Donald J. Trump, to a large extent, means to hope he succeeds. It means hoping he can improve America. It also means being civil toward him, and respectful. But it does not mean you must be blind to things negative.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What if We Opened our Power System to a Free Market?

   It would certainly be an interesting experiment in economics, if we did away with one-provider electricity service.
   What if we let every who wanted to sell, sell? Oh, we could hardly let them each create their own distribution lines. We have enough power lines, already.
   So, let them all use the same grid. Now, power lines can only bear so much power, so you would have to limit each company to placing on line no more power than what it sold. But, that certainly should be doable.
   So, the electricity would be the very same electricity regardless who you bought it from. Almost the only difference would be the rate. You could pay Rocky Mountain Power one rate, or Pete's Power a different rate.
   That would make for an interesting market. With people flocking to the lowest price, would the pressure to collude and price fix be at a maximum? Would something need to be done about that? I suppose, though, this is not too different than what we already face in the gasoline industry. When we buy from one gas station, the gas is little different than what we buy from the one around the corner. The big difference between the gasoline industry and this new electricity industry is that when we buy gas, the location of the service station is a factor. The electricity market would not have that.
   Oh, there would be at least one other difference between the companies. While it would be the very same electricity, regardless who you purchased from, some of the suppliers would provide wind-generated electricity, and others would be dominated by electricity produced by coal-powered plants. Some customers would be influenced by this.
   This would be an interesting experiment. As with any system, the kinks would have to be worked out. But, I'm not so sure but what a workable open-market system could not be developed.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Why Charge Solar Owners for being Solar Owners?

  What of the practice of charging solar owners for using the electric grid?
  For starters, I wonder if we should find a way to do away with monopolies. Just one electricity provider in Utah (Rocky Mountain Power)? I wonder if we should investigate how rich the top executives at Rocky Mountain Power are? Who makes the money and how much are they making?
   Secondly, as if it is not bad enough that Rocky Mountain has a monopoly, now they are seeking to squeeze out solar owners, which will diminish the state's move from fossil fuels to green energy. In an age in which we have come to realize the need for clean energy, this is appalling.
  Thirdly, I do not agree with charging the home owners a connection fee.  Since they continue to be power users as the solar panels do not meet all their needs, they are already connected to the grid. They just do not use as much. Do we charge other small users a connection fee? Why is it fair to charge one small user but not the next? Treat them equal. Be fair to the solar owners. Many just want to be good citizens by going green, and for that they are treated this way?

If it Looks Like Paris Agreement is not to be Met, We Should Rehuddle

   An Associated Press story out of Germany says there is growing evidence that power plants, buildings, cars, truck, ships and planes are likely to emit so much CO2 that the targets of the Paris Agreement are not going to be met.
   I find myself wondering on other greenhouse emissions. Isn't agriculture suppose to account for a third of all greenhouse emissions? Aren't termites now considered a major contributor? And, volcanos? If such things as these are bigger contributors to greenhouse emissions, why are we just targeting power plants and cars and such?
   But, the same, I am lost as to why we -- as a world -- are not doing more to curb the use of fossil fuels. If it just be fossil fuels that we are so concerned about, replace them. From all that I know, they are replaceable. Take the automobile: It is not as if the electric car has not been developed. Why not replace -- largely -- the gasoline car with the electric one?
   Are we too shy with what we are doing? Should we not be considering bans (at least limited bans) on gasoline cars and coal power plants?
   Or, are we letting our fear of jobs override our concern of greenhouse emissions? Yes, jobs are important, but are we cutting off our nose to spite our face? Are we so overly concerned with jobs that we are failing to act on greenhouse emissions even though it is a must?
   This is not good news, that we are not going to meet the Paris Agreement targets. My thought is, the Paris Agreement targets are not aggresive enough, to begin with. If the news is that we aren't meeting these goals, we should rehuddle and come up with more aggresive measures to battle greenhouse gases.




Friday, November 18, 2016

Stand With the Founders in Bringing to Pass the Electoral College

  "Notwithstanding the founders' efforts, the electoral college system almost never functioned as they intended." So it says at history.com.
   Reading through two history pieces on the Electoral College, it increases my respect for what the founders did. I see how they weighed the possibilities, considerate of what might take place under different scenarios. I think of how the Constitution is said to have been inspired, and wonder if the creation of the Electoral College wasn't one of the inspired features, judging from how much thought they put into the system.
   So, I say this: Why not do it as it was intended? Why not follow the pattern given us by the Founding Fathers? Why not make it work? If the system set forth by the Founding Fathers almost never functioned as they envisioned, why not give it the breath that it has almost never had? This is an opportunity to function as a government in a way that has hardly been tried, yet which holds great promise, and which may have been very inspired.
   Why not stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Founding Fathers, being partners with them in bringing to pass that which they envisioned?

http://www.history.com/topics/electoral-college

http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_history.php

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Right to Protest is not Lost When a Person Chooses not to Vote

   Protesting is a form of expression, a manner of free speech, a way of displaying opinion. All of those things suggest protesting is wonderful, but if you leave it there, you sell protesting short.
   It is more.
   I think of how is has been said, we should wear out our lives bringing hidden things of darkness into the light. Those who see something wrong, who seek to remove social injustice, often turn to protest as their way of fighting against the wrongs.
   This is not to say they are always right. The cause they pursue can be misguided. Still, it is good that they wear themselves out fighting against what they perceive to be wrong. It is a greater virtue to stand up for what you think is right, even though it might actually be wrong, than to stay sitting down and say nothing when the cause is actually right.
   I think of all the protesting going on in America. I think of the Trump rallies. This is not a moment I choose to protest Trump. Though I protested before he was elected, I am rather inclined, at this time now that he has been elected, to give him a measure of support and have at least some attitude of, Let's wait and see. But, I do not fault those who protest. I hail them for expressing their opinion.
   Some suggest that some of them did not even vote, and if they didn't vote, they have no right to be protesting. What is the expression? If you don't vote, you have no right to complain.
   I disagree. You always have the right to express your opinion, That is not taken away just because you choose not to vote. The right to vote implies you also have a right not to vote. Freedom is freedom. Don't force a person to vote.
   And, in a way, protesting is a form of voting. It is a way of standing up and being counted on an issue. It is a vote without a ballot, but with a placard instead.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Electors Should do the Picking, not Vice Versa

   I would suggest the way we elect a president turns the process upside down from what is set forth in the Constitution. Instead of the electors picking which candidate will be president, the candidates pick which people will be electors.
   If you are bound by state law or by your political party to vote for a certain candidate, you are not free to pick a candidate. To the contrary, if whatever elector is elected has to vote for a certain candidate, it is the same as if the candidate were selecting the elector, for the only people who can be picked are those who are committed to vote for him (or her). If whomever is picked has to vote for him (or her), what more could the candidate ask for in deciding who to pick?
   I wonder but what this ought not be. I wonder but what we make a mockery of the process.