Friday, September 30, 2016

Fluoride? We Should Err on Side of Caution and Leave it Out

   Perhaps we should quit adding fluoride to our water. It occurs naturally in water, at about 3 parts per million, and we up the dosage to 6 or 7 parts per million. The reason we add it, is fluoride fights tooth decay.
   But, does it also cause osteoporosis? Some suggest that theory has been debunked, but I am not so sure. Some say it also leads to higher levels of lead being stored in the body, but others say that has also been debunked. They might be right that it has. Some says it is linked to cancer, and I believe some studies back them up.
   I understand it is an acid. Does that add to the argument that it might cause osteoporosis?
   One might think that if it lessens tooth decay, it certainly shouldn't be causing osteoporosis. If it builds strong teeth, it should build strong bones, right? The thing is, though, while it does become a part of the bone, that is not how it fights cavities. Rather, it fights cavities by putting a coating on the teeth, to protect them.
   At any rate, fluoride is a toxin. I just wonder if we shouldn't be more hesitant about adding toxins. We might not know for certain that it has ill effects, but if we are to err, let us err on the side of caution.

Should Charges be Filed if Victim does not want to Pursue Case?

   Should we prosecute rapists even when they do not want to press charges? Ultimately, the state decides whether to file charges, but it is not common that they do so unless the victim is in favor.
   My thought is, a crime is a crime. If someone commits a crime as significant as rape, he or she should be held accountable. If the victim resists pressing charges, then you have what is called a hostile witness, someone testifying against their will.
  I have thought on this topic before, and am reminded of it as I read a story about how Juanita Broaddrick alleges she was raped by Bill Clinton when he was running for governor of Arkansas.
 

Juannita Broaddrick's Going Public Should have Attracted Greater News

   In July, Juanita Broaddrick for the first time went public with her account of allegedly being raped by Bill Clinton, providing new details to what was already known. Should the major news outlets have covered it?
   In 2000, Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays went on a local talk show and disclosed the alleged rapes (Clinton allegedly did it twice before leaving her room). Shays said his information came from the Clinton impeachment trial. The rapes, if they did take place, were back when Clinton was running for governor of Arkansas.
   So, among other questions, we might ask, Should the rest of the media have picked up on the Breitbart News and Drudge Report stories in July? Should they still pick up on them? Or, is it just old news? Is it old news, even though she is going public for the first time, even though there are new details? And, isn't this matter something the public has a right to know about, since Clinton was our president?
   Which brings us to the questions: Should Congress have the right to keep such things under wraps? Or, does the public, indeed, have a right to know?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our Scientists Warn Us, and We Hardly Lift an Eye to Blink

   While the world warms, some worry none about it, and some think it a hoax, Those who think it real? They set the goals for reducing it off in the future.
   I suggest we ought to just pull the plug on greenhouse emissions, rid ourselves of them in every way we can.
   Now.
   I read this past week how what we have done already -- even if no more is done -- will leave us crippled, at best.We have gone so far down the road, we cannot step clear of definite damage catching up with us in the future. The emissions are in the atmosphere, already, and cannot be called back.
   I say, we are a blind world, an unwise world. To have let ourselves get this far -- Why? I look at all the alternative forms of energy and do not understand why we do not just go green as immediately as we can.
   If a patient who smoked were diagnosed with emphysema, would the doctor tell him he probably should quit smoking in a few years? What we should do, we should do now. The other forms of energy are before us. We could use them today. What kind of foolishness is this that we do not? Our scientists have warned us, and they've warned us there will be consequences, though they might not know the exact measure of what is going to happen. That should scare us the more, for we do not know what retributions await us.
  Pull the plug on greenhouse emissions, now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Global Warming? The Die is Cast, the Harm Crippling, at Best

   I look wistfully at a special edition from USA Today in the news rack. Says the cover:
   CLIMATE CHANGE 
   ARE WE TOO LATE?
   I look at the price, $4.95, and ask the clerk if it is correct. It seems a little much. Then, I decide I want it anyway, and bring it over to pay for it.
   Days later, I conclude the news on the cover is worth more than $4.95. If the special edition were to carry no more than what it suggests on the cover, the message is important enough that $4.95 does not cover its worth.
   Inside, I find a short article titled, TRUTH IS, THE DIE IS CAST ALREADY. At best, the article suggests, the damage is not terminal, but only crippling.
   " 'We're committed to a path that is taking us into parts unknown, and there's no turning back,' says Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climatologist. 'There are only choices about how much of an unknown situation we put ourselves in.' "

 

We Should Change the Law so the Rich also Must Pay Their Taxes

   I've a belief that a good public servant is one who looks for things that are wrong, and changes them. So, Trump says, "That makes me smart," when the idea that he pays no taxes is brought up.
   That indicates pretty much tells us he is not paying not a dime.
   So, the question becomes: Is it wrong? Is it just that a rich person should pay no taxes while the rest of us do?
   Or, is it something that should be changed? Is it an injustice?
   Of course it is an injustice And, if it is an injustice, of course it should be changed. If we were a country that reacted to such injustices, if we sought out injustices and changed them as quick as we could find them, we would be all over this one. We would change things up, and quickly. I do wish we were such a nation. It is not a hard thing to see this is wrong. And, it is not a hard thing to change it. Congress could convene, pass a law mandating a minimum payment of, say, 10 percent, and justice would be better served.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Give the Navajos Their Polling Places

   Reading how Navajos in San Juan County are asking a federal judge to restore polling places near them, I am perplexed that it has come to this. It seems, if they want polling places near them, they should need to no more than ask. It shouldn't come to a lawsuit.
  The at-home voting places were lost as the county went to a mail-in voting system, leaving some native Americans to make a three-hour round trip if they want to got to a poll to vote. My thought is, not offering them a closer voting place is simply wrong.

What of Out-of-Court Settlements

   What of these out-of-court settlements? What of them being a part of our legal system? Is this justice? Is it right for a payment of money to end a determination of right and wrong?
   No, I don't think so.

McMullin's Attacks on Hillary Turn Me the Other Way

   I continue to warm up to Hillary. She made points with me in the debate yesterday. I remain leaving toward Evan McMullin, but after reading a piece he wrote for USA Today today, I waver. His attacks on Hillary repel me. However, not completely. He speaks of the Clinton Foundation as being corrupt "unlike anything else in modern political history," and I think I should look into such an accusation to see if I consider it true.


Monday, September 26, 2016

He Who Lies the Loudest Sometimes Wins

   Lie loud enough, and people will believe you. Just say something, don't back down, and insist you are telling the truth. Speak forcefully and firmly. That's all it takes, sometimes, to persuade people you are telling the truth.

If Iran was that Close to Nuclear Weapons, it Wouldn't Stop

   When Hillary suggested the agreement with Iran was good because Iran was right on the cusp of having nuclear weapons, and we stopped it, I doubted it.
   If Iran was all that close to having nuclear weapons, I do not believe it would let someone stop them just shy of their goal. I just don't. And, I think it foolhardy to believe otherwise.

You can Buy 'Justice,' but You cannot Buy Truth

   When Trump said a settlement of a court case allowed him to not make any confession of guilt in a case involving racial discrimination, I thought, That's the way money works, isn't it? You want a case against you settled, and you reach a settlement. That usually involves a payment of money.
   Well, money might be able to buy justice -- or at least the "justice" of the court, but it cannot buy truth. You either discriminated or you didn't. However much money you paid to have the case dismissed, what you did remains the same.
 

Trump is Taking Advantage of Us, Alright

   When Hillary, speculating as to why Trump does not release his tax records, suggested one possibility might be because he paid no taxes, Trump responded that that would be smart not to have to pay taxes.
  That somehow seems a confession he didn't pay taxes. It seems this would be one of the large stories out of tonight's debate.
   Later, Trump spoke of taking advantage of existing laws in the business world, and I thought, Take advantage? yes, take advantage of the tax laws and come away without paying any taxes. Take advantage of everyone else by leaving it to them to pay for government services by paying their taxes while you don't. Rich people shouldn't have to, because they are too smart and can out-smart the rest of us and leave it to us to foot the bill. I see what you mean about being smart.
   Trump says he isn't releasing his taxes because he is under audit. I wonder, though, if he might be going back and amending his taxes, so he does pay some taxes.
   And then, and only then, will he release his taxes.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Scientists are the Prophets When it Comes to Global Warming

   The scientists are the prophets, this time. I think of the stories of prophets warning of calamities, only to be mocked and dismissed and ridiculed. I'm thinking, it sounds a lot like what is happening with global warming.
   It is like a story from the scriptures, except, like I say, it is the scientists who are making the warnings.
   I shake my head in disbelief at what is going on. The planet is in jeopardy, according to the scientists. They are warning against it. And, the people are dismissing them, mocking them -- even getting angry with them.
   Sounds a lot like something out of the scriptures.

Voters are the Motors

Voters are the motors. They are the engines of democracy.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Chief Putney was Correct in Holding off on Releasing Video Footage

  I believe Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney did the right thing in holding back for a time on releasing video footage of the shooting, that is, supposing the reason was that witnesses were yet to be interviewed.
   Had the witnesses not first been interviewed, their testimonies of what they saw might have been tainted by saw in the video. You want their testimonies to be of what they saw, what they witnessed, no more.
   Once their testimonies were on file, then the video could be released. I don't know waiting for the witnesses to be released is why the video footage was not released early, but I suppose that the reason.

Friday, September 23, 2016

We have Entered the Day of the Armchair Jury

   We enter, then, the age of the armchair jury. With the advent of videos, and in a day when virtually anyone can take them, and with police cams, much of justice is evident to all.
  I heard a news commentator denouncing someone for saying someone should be convicted in one of the police-involved shooting cases. They suggested it is wrong to make such a judgment before the trial has even taken place. I do not know that I agree. Although the whole of the story is not told in most of the videos, they often catch much of what has happened. The videos sometimes do offer enough that you can begin to come to a judgment, as to whether what happened was just. Nor do I think it wrong to have an opinion, or to express it, when you view a video.

Did You Say Private Intelligence Services? Why do We need them?

   A report that the U.S. is contracting for "intelligence analysis service" in Syria draws my surprise. What? With all the intelligence agencies the U.S. has, there is need for a private contractor?
   The Daily Beast reported in a Aug. 8 post that Six3 Intelligence Solutions Inc., out of McLean, Virginia, is providing the "intelligence analysis service."
  And, if I am surprised at so much as one incidence of a private contractor doing intelligence work, then it adds to my surprise to read how, "The intelligence community is particularly reliant on contractors today." (The source for that? David Isenberg, author of Shadow Force: Private Security contractors in Iraq.)
  I wonder on all this, on the need for private intelligence services. Why do we do this? What can they provide that the CIA or some other agency cannot provide?
   I do not know the answer. Maybe there is a good one. I find myself wondering, though, if it all comes down to a combination between someone in government with someone seeking to make a buck.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Are there Times When Fear Should not be Given Free Rein?

   I do not believe Terence Crutcher should have been killed. But, should it turn out that Officer Betty Shelby feared he was reaching for a gun, many of us will conclude the shooting was justified. I believe fear must have its limits. Of course I believe the officer should defend him or herself. But, are there limits?
   Are there times when fear should not be given free rein?

We should Study what the Officers are Taught, and What they Believe

   We are not investing these police violence shootings adequately. Indeed, in one way, hardly even begin to investigate them.
   If we would know why the officer pulled the trigger, perhaps we should go back, in each incident, and study what the officer was taught, and what his friends and fellow officers believed should be done. When do you pull the trigger? And, what had the officer -- him or herself -- confided to others on their feelings as to when you pull the trigger.
   Such studies would lend to understanding better the problem we have. Do you pull the trigger if the detainee is resisting your orders? Do you always assume the detainee could be reaching for a weapon if he goes to his pocket, or his vest, or reaches inside his car? And, if the answer to that must be yes, then do you always shoot him dead in such cases?
   We should be studying what our officers were taught, what they believed, and then we should be asking ourselves if these are correct things to be believing and if they are correct principles in determining whether to kill people.

On the Theory that a Limber Body Leads to a Longer Life

    I've the theory that a limber body leads to a longer life. Muscles that are loose lend to a life that is long. For one thing, if the muscles around the heart are tight, perhaps that would wear on the heart. And, so it is with the rest of the body: If the muscles are not relaxed, they will wear the body out.
   This is not to say muscles do not benefit by tightening. Flexing your muscles is a form of tightening them. Lifting weights is a form of tightening them. Most any exercise requires a tightening of muscles.
   But, if the muscles do not return to a more relaxed state, that is not good.I notice how us senior citizens tend to walk with stiffness while youth do not. That speaks for itself, does it not? Of course, the limberness of the body is an indicator of health.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This Commission on Presidential Debates seems a Little too Powerful

   Why do we need a Commission on Presidential Debate? Why can't we have a presidential debate without the Commission on Presidential Debates?
   There hasn't been a presidential debate since 1988 the commission hasn't presided over. Now, to begin with, this smacks of a monopoly. Why should one group be all so powerful and dominating? Why should we have to go through this commission if we are to want to host a debate? Why cannot the New York Times or the Washington Post or the Deseret News just invite the candidates, and if the candidates agree to come, have a debate?
   Now, I don't know that there is any rule against that happening. I only know there hasn't been a presidential debate in almost 30 years that the commission didn't lord over.
   And, I just think something is wrong with that.

Perhaps the Danish allow more Bigotry than We do

   Ah, perhaps this shows other countries tolerate more bigotry than what we do, for I cannot imagine this happening in the U.S.: Three months ago, a Danish youth group sang a song calling President

Pay the Teacher Better

   Investing more money on Utah's teachers perhaps is part of what we should do to reform education in the state. While we might not know who funded the study, in order to determine if it was unbiased, a study by the Economics Policy Institute shows teachers are paid 17 percent less than those in other jobs requiring similar education.
    In Utah, the gap is about 30 percent.
   While a large reason for the current teacher shortage in Utah appears to be that many teachers just reached retirement age, and therefore retired -- and that is not a matter to be corrected so much by raising salaries -- still, I believe pay increases are in order.
   While I believe the argument that if you want high quality personnel, you must pay them well can be overstated, still I think there is some truth in the the principle.
    So, hike the pay for Utah's teachers. Whether we bring it up so much that it comes all the way to leveling with the pay of other comparable professions, at least raise it some.

(Slight change made in blog 9/25/16)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Officers Nationwide Should Sit Their Officers Down and have a Talk

   I suppose I feel every police chief in the nation should take sit his officers down, perhaps showing them the video of the Terence Crutcher shooting, and tell them they are not ever to perpetrate such a shooting.
  I'm a believer in teaching. And, I believe if you don't teach, the lesson needing to be learned often doesn't get learned. We are deep enough into these officer-involved shootings, that it would seem such a thing as happened in Tulsa would not occur. By now, it seems officers would have learned to avoid doing such things. Now, maybe if every police chief in the land were to warn his officers against such things, they indeed would not happen. They certainly would be much less likely to happen.
   Nothing taught is nothing learned. Sit them down, and have a talk with them. If you don't tell them they can't do such things, there's a chance they might. Don't assume they know better; Teach them.
   My solution for all the officer-involved shootings? This, as much as anything is it.

Should Fear be allowed to Trump Reason?

   So we wonder what led to the shooting of Terence Crutcher? Was officer Betty Shelby frightened? Did she think he was going to reach for a gun? Why did the officers trail him to his vehicle? Was he suspected of doing anything wrong?
   And, why, why, why was he shot?
   And, I wonder what training might have led to the incident unfolding as it did. Under what situations was officer Shelby taught to shoot?
   I do not know if she feared for her life, or for those of the other officers. It does seem if she had such a fear, it did not have good basis. Do we allow fear to trump reason in our search for justice? Do we say the shooting was justified if shot because she was fearful?

Bring on Competitive Education

   Perhaps,we should go both directions, making education more competitive, and less competitive, more competitive for those who are better students, and less for those who are not. Perhaps we can see how competitive sports leads our youth to excel in sports. Even so, competitive education can be used to bring students to their best in education.
   But, there is a danger to bringing such competition to education. The pressure to perform well on tests can be debilitating, even leading to suicides. I think of the No Child Left Behind criteria, and believe we should go just the opposite direction. We should allow some children to do well without believing all have to. We should accept the performance levels of all students, even if they are failing to grasp the most basic principles.
   But, competitive education? We have ventured into it. We have ACT, and other such tests. And, students already feel competition to do better than each other on assignments. We might even have school math teams that compete with other schools. That is the type of thing I am talking about. And, that is something we have not really tried much.
   I say, have school academic teams competing with each other. Olympus High vs. Timpview High? It need not be just in football and basketball. Bring the competition to academics. Perhaps having weekly competitions would be too much, and perhaps dual meets need not be the norm, but have inter-school competition. Have regional and state championships.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Betray the Badge, and the Badge is no Longer Yours

   I read with amazement how an unarmed black man was killed by a white officer in Oklahoma. The man was walking away with his hands up when he was first tasered, then shot dead.
  Despite the sweep of events in the media, I still find myself shocked that an officer would so blatantly kill a person.
   Justice should be swift. The officer who fired the fatal shot, Betty Shelby, should have been arrested on the spot by the other officers. Lacking that, if she has not already been arrested, she should be immediately. When citizenry commit such an act, they are arrested on-spot, if caught in the act. Should we treat our officers any differently? Shelby should be placed in jail and a trial should be quick in coming.
   And, I cannot imagine there not being a conviction. The video is clear. We may not yet know all the details of the conversation between the officers and the victim, Terence Crutcher, but we can see the murder was not justified.
   The proceedings should be quick. We speak of how criminals must know they cannot get away with these things. Officers, also must know they cannot get away with them. But, it will take more than court justice to bring about change. Officers must be trained. I wonder if Officer Shelby sat through many training sessions where she was told you do not kill, you do not pull the trigger if you do not have to, and if you do inflict death unnecessarily you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
   You do not betray your badge. And, when you take your conduct to the other side of the badge, the badge is no longer yours.
 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

   Wrote my blog today at a different blog site, one I created for religious offerings. Go to lastoftime.blogspot.com if you are interested.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is Trump Leading the Nation Away from Birtherism?

   I have never understood how birthers stick to the argument. Regardless of a birth certificate, there were birth notices published in the Honolulu newspapers. That was 55 years ago. They are still there, in copies of the newspapers to be found in Honolulu's library.
   To suppose they were planted, to suppose that someone got into the library and planted them there in these past few years . . . 
   Or, to suppose that 55 years ago his parents had the birth notices placed in the Honolulu newspapers . . . that's a large stretch, one that I can see no good reason for making.
   I do wonder about Trump's confession. I wonder if it will lead more people to drop their belief in birtherism. Sometimes, all the logic in the world has no affect. But, when someone in a leadership position changes their stand, others follow.

Get Snowden out of Russia, Posthaste

   If Edward Snowden has 1.7 million documents, some of which could be of interest to Russia, it seems it would be imperative to get him out of that country..
   You might not be able to bring him back to the United States without prosecuting him, and he probably isn't going to come here if not granted immunity. So, talk to other countries, persuading them to take him in.
   But, get him out of Russia,posthaste.

Alcohol Factors in Most Opiate 'Overdoses'

   Prescription drug "overdoses" in Utah claim 24 lives every month. Nationwide, prescription drugs are the leading cause of accidental deaths, killing more than automobile accidents, and more than gun violence.
   I word search, wondering whether this means patients are getting extra amounts, and, if so, how we could avoid that from happening. I learn instead that usually, an "overdose" comes with just the normal dosage, or maybe even less. Keith Humphreys, a leading researcher on addiction, told the Washington Post that often the user loses tolerance, sometimes from abstaining from the drug, and then returning. Another leading cause is the mixing of the drug with other substances, notably . . .
   Alcohol.
   "Most of what we call 'opiate overdoses' are really polydrug overdoses: alcohol and heroin, alcohol and oxycontin, bezodiazepine, alcohol and Vicodin, combinations like that," Humphrey says.
   I wonder, then, if these deaths are counted when the count of deaths by alcohol is tallied. It is said, 2.5 million deaths each year are alcohol related. Four percent of all deaths are alcohol-related. Do those figures include those in the prescription drug overdose count?
   At any rate, that alcohol partners in so many prescription drug deaths underscores the severity of our alcohol problem.
   In light of so many deaths coming from prescription drug poisoning, finding a way to reduce such deaths is important. Finding a way to keep alcohol from mixing with other drugs will go a good distance in solving the problem.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/02/07/100-americans-die-of-drug-overdoses-each-day-how-do-we-stop-that/

Friday, September 16, 2016

13-Year-Old Bitten in Face by Dog During Standing Rock Protests

   A thirteen-year-old girl was bitten in the face by a guard dog as native Americans protested a pipeline being constructed in North Dakota, I'm told. I'm told, she was hospitalized.
   Rumor or truth? While that one specific incident might not be verified, it doesn't seem contested that some of the protesters were bitten.
   Bringing in the dogs seems a little much. If it were the police, perhaps there would have been charges of police brutality. Do we excuse it because it was simply a private security team committing the violence?

The Verdict on Edward Snowden is Not Yet in

   I do not believe the verdict in on whether Edward Snowden is a hero or a villain. When he took the security job, he signed a non-disclosure form, I'm sure, promising he wouldn't share the information he would come upon.
   Breaking that promise does not lend to being a hero.
   And, a just-released congressional report paints him as a disgruntled and belligerent employee, with warnings against his being hired elsewhere in the intelligence community when he left the CIA.
   That does not point to his being a hero, either.
   He has been living in Russia, of all places. Here he has in his possession maybe 1.7 million classified documents and one of America's biggest enemies has taken him in. In hosting him, the Russians have greater opportunity of claiming any of the secrets.
   That does not lend to him being a hero.
   But, I read in a letter he wrote to former New Hampshire Republican Senator Gordon Humphrey  that he will not release vital information. "You may rest easy knowing I cannot be coerced into revealing that information, even under torture," he wrote.
   I wonder. And, I wonder whether something in the future will happen, a dire event brought on by Snowden's release of information. I hope not, but who knows.
   I know it is human nature to find blame with those who fall from your friendship, and to find fault in order to justify your own position. I am not beyond wondering if the intelligence community reacted to Snowden that way. Bless him if he is holding back information that is damaging. Bless him if the congressional report is painting him as bad when it shouldn't.

(Some rewritting of blog done 9/17/16)

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/06/snowden-still-outwitting-u-s-spies.html

Youth is not in an Elixir, but in Lightness of Step

   Youth is not in an elixir, but in lightness of step.
   There will come a day, I suggest, when science will determine those who display no stiffness in their walk, are more likely to live longer. To begin with, those able to walk, period, surely live longer than those relegated to beds and wheelchairs.
   The ambulatory person lives longer than the bed-ridden.
  But, it goes beyond just being able to walk. How you walk is also an indicator of long life. Or, so I theorize. The person with a light step, not hindered by stiffness, is more inclined to live longer. We say that stress kills, and perhaps we can see stress causes a damaging tightness on the mind. Perhaps, as it is with the mind, so it is with the body. A person whose body is loose, not tight, will have a tendency to a longer life.
   How do we achieve a relaxed body, and lightness of step? There are probably many factors, but one is just stretching. Stretch out often, and you won't be stretched out on your death bed so soon.
   (Blog rewritten a little 9/17/16)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

McMullin Campaign Points to Bias of Commission on Debates

   Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin's campaign today pointed out that the commission on the presidential debates is owned and operated by the Democratic and Republican parties. If that is correct, the commission would have a conflict of interest in deciding whether to include minor candidates. 
   "Let’s get this out of the way up front: the presidential debates are rigged," wrote Joel Searby, chief strategist for the campaign. "The Commission on Presidential Debates will never let anyone but the two major party nominees into the debate. Why? Because the “Commission” for Presidential Debates isn’t a public commission at all — it’s a corporation owned and operated by the two major parties."
   Searsby pointed out that in during the campaign for the Republican nomination, all the credible candidates were placed on the stage, although some were on the undercard, joining in a debate before the main debate.
   If we believe in fairness, and we can see the commission governing the debates has a conflict of interest, we should call for replacing the commission with an independent commission.
   Below is the full email sent to supporters by the McMullin campaign.


Evan McMullin for President
The American people deserve to hear from all the candidates in the debates.
Add your name if you agree.
John,
Let’s get this out of the way up front: the presidential debates are rigged.
The Commission on Presidential Debates will never let anyone but the two major party nominees into the debate. Why? Because the “Commission” for Presidential Debates isn’t a public commission at all — it’s a corporation owned and operated by the two major parties.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is not an honest broker, and it doesn’t serve the public interest. It exists to protect Hillary and Trump — not to look out for the American people.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans hold unfavorable views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And when the media present them with alternative voices, hundreds of thousands of them tune in to listen.
The American people are hungry for new ideas and new leadership. It’s time for a change.
During the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary, the major networks held frequent, televised debates for all candidates. They split the stage in two: a prime time debate for the candidates with the highest poll numbers, and an earlier debate for the other credible candidates. (And rightly so, since one of the candidates in the undercard debates ended up a top-three finisher in the primaries.)
Add your name and ask Gary Johnson and Jill Stein to join us in demanding debates for all candidates — whether the “Commission” approves them or not.
Joel Searby
Chief Strategist, McMullin for President

Bernie Sanders Joins with the Standing Rock Tribe

  Ah, this not just in. It was in two days ago, but I missed it. Bernie Sanders joined the movement to stop a pipeline affecting native American property rights in North Dakota, as he spoke at a rally in Washington hosted by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

I Felt Better about Trump than Ever

 I hear Donald Trump conceded today that Obama was born in Hawaii. I react by feeling better about Trump than I ever have. It is a good characteristic to admit you were wrong. Plus, it shows he is able to look at things objectively.
   Then, I look up the story. It is not Trump, himself, but his campaign that concedes Obama was born in Hawaii. And, the CNN article suggests the concession is an attempt to take the issue off the table ahead of the first presidential debate.
    I suppose we have yet to see whether Trump will flatly say Obama was born in America.

Whatever became of the Yazidis?

   Whatever happened to the Yazidis? You know, the tribe of people threatened by the Islamic State in 2014. Remember, the U.S. considered a rescue mission to save them.
   I read how as of last November, more than 5,000 Yazidi men had been killed and an estimate 7,000 women and girls had been made sex slaves. I read how there were about 650,000 Yazidis in all of Iraq when the Islamic State started its quest to eradicate the Yazidi culture. I wonder if any of them became refugees to other parts of the world. Or, are they largely holed up, hiding from the Islamic State?
   It is a story that could use a better update than what I am finding.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why not Pattern Teacher Pay after the NBA Pay System?

  With teachers being underpaid, why don't we injected more competition into the pay system? Why not model the pay system in which the employees are paid the best of all?
   I speak of the NBA, NFL and MLB, of course.
   So, what if teachers were encouraged to sign with the district that offered them the most? What if there were ways of judging the teachers who produced the best students? What if there were bidding wars for the top teachers?
   I toss this out as an idea. Don't know if it would work. Am left wondering whether it is even a good idea. Still, it seems worthy of consideration. After all, we sometimes lament that NBA players are paid so much while teachers are not. No, we are not going to make millionaires out of teachers simply by adopting the pay system used in the NBA. But, it stands to reason teacher salaries would go up.
 
 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Of Conspiring Men and Secret Combinations

   There are times I am grateful I have no significant position in my church, that I might wonder about things without there being cause to suppose I speak for the church. Such is the case for what I am about to say. These are simply my own thoughts.
   I have been wrong about many things. I only say, it is good to reflect on what the scriptures might mean. Sometimes we are right; sometimes we are wrong.
   And sometimes we don't pretend to be right in the first place. Rather, we are just tossing something out as a possibility. Such is the case for what I am about to say.
   I pick up the newspaper, and read on page three of how the sugar industry years and years ago suppressed evidence of sugar's role in causing heart disease. As the day rolls along, I think of how these were conspiring men, conspiring to withhold the truth and conspiring to sell a product at the expense of consumers.
   I think of a reference in a book of scripture called the Doctrine & Covenants. I come home and, looking it up, read that, "evils and designs . . . do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days." That reference is found in Section 89, better known as the Word of Wisdom, and many have suggested the "conspiring men" could be the tobacco industry. They point to how the tobacco industry painted smoking as a good thing for many years, how they sold the product based on a falsehood.
  I will only say, if conspiring men exist in these last days, they likely aren't all packed away into one small corner called the tobacco industry. They are in other places, as well. And, what the sugar industry did parallels what the tobacco industry did. So, considering sugar industry to be "conspiring men" seems fair, as well.
   I will venture further, into an area I have almost blogged on in the past month, but haven't. I have sometimes wondered what the combinations are that are spoken of in the Book of Mormon. I do not know. I do know, though, that if there are combinations in this day, they must be among the things I have before me in the world about me.
   I wonder about the sugar industry, the tobacco industry, and others. I wonder about how people combine into groups and conspire for their own causes. Oh, don't think it stops there, just with people combining just into industry groups and conspiring. No, I wonder about other times people combine into groups, and those groups do not pursue good causes. Sometimes, they combine just to spew hatred at each other.
    And, I think about those who buy and sell influence in government, about deals being made behind closed doors. Secret combinations? I don't know. It might not at all be what the Book of Mormon refers to. These are secret meetings, though, and they do involve one person combining with another to make the arrangements. Just on that, they do fill the description of being secret combinations.
   When you look at "secret combinations" from this perspective, seeing everything from the tobacco industry being a secret combination to a person paying off a legislator being a secret combination, we see that secret combinations are all around us. They are pervasive, scattered throughout our society. They are harmful. If an ancient prophet were to see our day, yes, he might well see it as being such a large and looming problem that he would want to warn against it.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Whether at One Site or Many, Take Care of Them

   After writing my blog last night, it occurred to me there might be another reason plans have been dropped from scattering homeless shelters throughout the valley: The government services are downtown, so that makes Salt Lake City the best place to serve the homeless.
   I believe only two new homeless facilities are now planned, and they will both be in Salt Lake City, proper.
   And, I wonder if the plan for scattered sites wasn't dropped for yet another reason. An election is just around the corner, and if someone thought it might affect their chances, they might have changed things.
   I do believe locating the homeless should be considered from the vantage of what is best for them, as much as on any other basis. But, not being well acquainted with all the services, I am not ready to endorse all of them. I want the homeless to have all the services they need, but I am wary of the homeless becoming an industry. The different services can get government money for what they do. I think we should be mindful that each "service" truly serves the homeless.
   As for whether we have one central site for the homeless, or many, I do not have a strong opinion. Take care of them, whether in one site or in many.
 

Health Records? Trump is being Less Open than Clinton

   In the morning and in the evening, the dominant news I caught was of Hillary's pneumonia, and how more troubling than the pneumonia, itself, was the fact she tried to cover it up.
   I wondered who is covering up their medical history more. Hillary, or Donald? Clinton already has released more of her medical history than Trump. Today, Trump announced he will release results of a physical. Is that a way of sidestepping the release of all your medical history? Hide behind a single physical. Just go have a single physical, and if you are fine at the time, no health issues you've had int he past will get reported. If Trump has nothing to hide in his medical history, why doesn't he just release it, all of it, just like everyone is expecting Clinton to do? Is he hiding something?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Instead of Instituting Good, Let Them Choose it of Their Own Free Will

   If we take the words of the hymn and apply them to how we, as a society, take care of the homeless, what will we do?
  "Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care
"I cannot see another's lack and I not share
  "My glowing fire, my loaf of bread
 "My safe shelter overhead"
   In Salt Lake City, as you know, homelessness is a major issue, and has been for years. If the city ever thought it had the problem solved, it was wrong. There was word a year or two back, though, that we had solved chronic homelessness. Also, more recently, there was a plan to create satellite stations throughout the area, instead of letting the Rio Grande/Pioneer Park deal with most all the homeless. Apparently, that vision has been tempered down to a plan for two smaller homeless shelters, both to be within Salt Lake City, itself.
  So, listening to the words of the song, as a society, what should we do? Or, are the words speaking to us just as individuals, and it becomes a responsibility of individuals to open their doors and let them in? There is nothing wrong with individuals taking people under their roofs, but I think often placing them under a roof can be something "the village" does.
   So how do you, as a village member, feel about the words of the song?
   "I cannot see another's lack and I not share . . . My safe shelter overhead."
   I think how those seeking reformation of the homeless here in this valley might have approached individual communities about siting shelters, only to be shut down. Or, perhaps the communities rushed to tell committee members not to even think about it, before they were even asked.
   I wish better for this valley. I wish the communities were of a mind to want to help. I wish the communities were approaching the committee on homelessness, saying, "What can we do? How can we help?"
   And, maybe in that there is a clue as to how to approach the individual communities. Don't go in heavy-handed, telling them what they must do. Rather, ask them if there is anything they want to do. Explain the problem. Explain how many people are without shelter, how many go without food, and how troubling their plight is to you, as a committee member. Then ask them if they want to do anything to help alleviate the suffering.
   Let them decide how they go about helping. If they want to host a homeless shelter, let that be the answer. If they aren't sure what they want to do, let them think about it for a few months. If they want to do nothing, so be it.
   Instead of bringing your answers, and saying, "This is what you need to do," let them provide their own solutions, let them use their own initiative. Instead of instituting a program from above, dictating what they will do, leave them to do good of their own free will.
   If the words of the song come echoing in their ears, I'm thinking they will help.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

We are Paralyzed by Studies, When it Comes to the Salt Flats

  Sometimes, you need to take action without waiting for a study. Such is the case with the Bonneville Salt Flats. long home to the fastest vehicles in the world.
  The races have been held this year, but the surface of the Salt Flats has been thin and not up to standards. As a result, racing at the Salt Flats remains in danger of being discontinued. And, so what are we doing about it? Another study, one that might be concluded by 2018.
  What is the saying, when it's time for action, the time for talking is over?
  Intrepid, the mining company, has been restocking the flats with the salt. But, is the water being mixed with the salt impairing the results? Don't wait for a study. Consider reducing the amount of water used in the mix, in hopes of alleviating the problem. And, if you have more stockpiled salt, get more back on the Bonneville International Speedway.
   We can be paralyzed by studies, when all we need it to do it try a few things and see which one works.
 

Diplomacy Doesn't Always Work, but it Should Always be Tried

   Diplomacy might not always work, but it should always be tried. When a nation is pursuing nuclear weapons, and you don't like it, you ask for a meeting. And, not with just diplomats, but with the big man himself.
   We should have such a meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Go in, sit him down, and diplomatically tell him not to do it. Quit testing, and quit seeking such power. Reason with him. Tell him how the U.S. is no threat to him, how China and Japan and South Korea are not threats, how United Nations sanctions could hurt his country.
   Reasoning does not always win, but it will never win if it is not tried.

Friday, September 9, 2016

McMullin holds the Best Chance of all the Minor Candidates

   Evan McMullin has the best chance of all the minor presidential candidates, and it is because of Utah that he does. It matters little if an independent or minority party candidate pulls 5 percent or however much nationwide, because that does not come close to winning a single Electoral College vote.
   McMullin, though, holds the potential of taking Utah. Currently, he is not polling well enough to do that, but the potential remains. Why should not Utah voters vote for him? He aligns with them on the issues, hails from BYU, and is the third choice many voters were crying for. He is but an endorsement or two away from being a viable candidate. If Romney and a prominent Utah politician or two ot only endorsed him, but emphatically endorsed him, the Utah electorate would warm up to him.
   If he took the six Utah Electoral College votes, and it was a tight race between Clinton and Trump, who knows but what the election wouldn't be thrown to the House of Representatives.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Time Magazine Suggests Exercise is Like a Miracle Drug

   Wonderful feature article in the current Time magazine, about how exercising can help overcome diseases and such. I took the article to the gym, telling some fellow workout artists about it, seeking their reaction.
   None seemed really impressed.
   Now, most of us agree exercise is good for your health. Nothing new there. But science suggesting exercise can help cure diseases? That's news, to me, and fantastic. Bring out the drums and throw a parade.
   The article quotes a doctor who treats genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy as saying gene therapy hasn't delivered for him in 25 years, while the most effective treatment available to his patients is exercise.
   "If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed," says the article by Mandy Oaklander.
   The article tells of a study of mice suffering from a genetic disease, and of how half of them were left sedentary, while the other half were coaxed to run three times a week. The sedentary mice remained in bad shape, while the running mice improved so much they became almost indistinguishable from healthy mice.
   "Doctors, researchers, scientists -- even ancient philosophers -- have long claimed exercise works like a miracle drug. Now they have proof," says the subhead to the article.

Are American natives Often an Entitled People

   Are native Americans often an entitled people? I mean, do they lean on government welfare? Do they cry for rights, such as protecting sacred sites, that are a little overboard?
   I ask the questions because I wonder, not necessarily because I agree.
   I do think how we take care of the American natives is an important issue. Going along with this, I think we should consider questions such as this, whether they are an entitled people, taking advantage of the government's giving them limited sovereignty and such. I think of the protest going on in North Dakota, where the American natives are angry over a pipeline that they say might endanger their water supply and would threaten sacred sites. I would guess the developers and many others view the protesters as spoiled, expecting rights and privileges beyond what other people have.
   Do we grant American natives too much? I will only say, I think we should take care of them, giving them a good place in our society and chances to succeed. The issue of how we treat, and how we care for the native Americans should be a larger public issue, for their care is important.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Protest features 'largest gathering of Native Americans'

   The BBC reports that a protest by native Americans in Dakota is "the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years." The protest has attracted a presidential candidate, and that candidate has been charged with a crime during the protest.
   All the hubbub is over an oil pipeline that the native Americans say will run through land within their treaty boundaries. Hundreds of native Americans have been protesting. This past week, the developer's security force brought in dogs in an attempt to drive off the protesters.
   The presidential candidate, Jill Stein of the Green Party and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, were charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief for spray painting construction equipment on private property.
   The Native Americans say the pipeline will disturb sacred land and drinking water.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Solving Alcoholism Goes a Long Way Toward Solving Homelessness

 Two of society's biggest problems are intertwined. You solve one, and it will go a long way toward solving the other: alcoholism and homelessness, for such a large portion of our homeless population is made up of alcoholics.
  The other day, I suggested life treatment centers for our alcoholics. Or, call them alcohol life centers. Rather than treat-and-release centers, life treatment centers would not require the alcoholic to move along at some point. Rather, the alcoholic could stay there and be treated for the rest of his life. Whenever possible, the resident works -- and that should be the case in by far the majority of situations.
   And, with the money earned, the resident pays for his stay, making this not a free ride.
   Working is one of the needs a person has if they are to overcome alcoholism. They need to have things to occupy them, so they are not just sitting around drinking. Another need the alcoholic has, if the alcoholism is to be successfully battled, is to have someone overseeing him on an hour-by-hour basis. That often cannot be achieved in a home, but requires them to go to a treatment center.
   And, another need they have, is help in finding their jobs. On their own, they often go jobless. Often companies reject them because they are alcoholic. We need centers that ferret out jobs with those who will employ them even though they are alcoholics. That takes a sales effort that the alcoholic, himself, is not equipped to handle.
  Centers such as these answer not only our need to care for alcoholics, but they solve much of our homelessness. If all the drunken among our homeless could go to places such as these, if all of them could just walk in and be accepted, how many homeless people would be left? There would be a lot less.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Perhaps We should Free the 567 Nations We Subject to our Rule

   Perhaps we should set the Native Americans free, give them their own sovereignty -- I mean, entirely so, not even requiring them to remain part of the U.S.
   America being America, should it go in and conquer another nation? Are we a nation of conquest, one that takes over other nations and subjects them to our rule?
   Hmm, yes, indeed we are, at least when it comes to the Native Americans, From the time Europeans set foot on this land, we have been conquering, taming and ruling the people this land rightly belongs to.
   Perhaps, it's time to give their independence back.
   To this day, we are ruling over them. We have an agency, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, that presides over them, regulating their every move. The Native Americans on some of the reservations are not even allowed to own that land. Rather, the U.S. owns it.
   Perhaps, it's time to give their lands back.
   A year ago this month, it was announced that after all these years of oppressing them, we were going to give them $1 billion to make better, $1 billion to assuage how we have treated them. I would ask, is that enough? They once owned the whole of the land, It was theirs.
   Perhaps, it's time to give them their nations back.
   Pause on that one, because if we did give them full independence, that would be 567 nations, for there are 567 recognized tribes in America. Be that as it may, one could argue, we owe them their freedom. This land is their land -- or was -- from sea to shining sea. If we cannot give them the whole of it back, don't we at least owe them the freedom of being their own nations?
   If we have unjustly conquered a nation, we must do the just thing and give them back freedom back. And, if we have done this to as many as 567 nations, maybe we should allow 567 nations to go free.
  I guess we could leave it up to them. Ask each tribe whether they want their own nationhood, or whether they want statehood, or whether they simply want us to deed over the land they live on to them, taking it out of the hands of U.S. government ownership and giving it to them as individuals.
   I'm just saying. And, if this all sounds a little bizarre, maybe do it anyway. Sometimes, doing the right thing differs a little from making sure to not do anything too radical.
  (Article corrected and changed Sept. 6, 2016)

Offer Alcohics Permanent Stay in Life Treatment Centers

   It seems to me, all our alcohol-treatment centers are treat-and-release facilities, not permanent homes. May I suggest, alcoholism is a disability. With that in mind, consider that when it comes to other disabilities, the patient can be placed in a care center for life.
   Why not the alcoholic?
   Would this be something new? I think it would. I don't believe we have places where the alcoholic can go on a permanent basis. No such safe-haven. No such service. Let's innovate and add them to our society.
   Now, some would be offended to even hear that a "safe-haven" would be provided to alcoholics. They would say that the alcoholic got him or herself into this, and they need to be responsible for their actions rather than being rewarded for them, rather than being given a free place to live the rest of their lives.
   But, am I advocating a free place? Read on.
   I have seen more than one person go into the Volunteers of America treatment center, then come out and return right back to drinking. Permanent solutions might require permanent care. No, not every situation would require permanent care. There are times when the alcoholic would be released, either because he was choosing to, or because he was healthy enough to leave.
  But, leaving him or her there for life? That would come at tremendous cost. My thought, though, is that we not give them something for free, whenever we can avoid it. For the most part, and maybe for the all part, they can work. Whether we place them in community jobs during the day and have them return to the center at night, or whether we have jobs for them right in the treatment centers, let them work.
   If they are working and paying for their own way, the objection to providing them a free ride is lost. So, I say create these permanent alcohol life homes, life treatment centers.
 










More. Didn't finish writing. Will not finish now, either, but will get a titch more in. maybe go down and read the first part of the email before reading this.

In the little time I am catching him awake, hope I am being pleasant and accepting. I continue to think being loving is a must. 

When he got out, he suggested you can only stay at VOA for a certain time, perhaps two weeks. Then, you must leave but you can come back again. I couldn't help but thinking, it seemed like a recipe for recidivism. Go, but if you get drunk again, you can come back? Maybe I don't understand the policy. 

Brent and Carolyn, today, while sitting in church at the Sandy Rehabilitation Center, I thought how the alcoholics need some place permanent they can go to, same as the people coming to the Rehab center often need permanancy. Some of them come to rehab for just days and some of them come to live there the rest of their lives, because they need it. It is no different with the alcoholic. Some need treatment that might last but days or weeks, but others need lifelong care. (I will confess, I am thinking about deleting this part of the message to you, as I don't know you would agree with what I am saying.)  When Bevan first moved in, it occurred to me alcoholism is a disability. It is more than what we make it out to be. It is a disability. Oft-times, then, it must be treated as disability. When a person gets other disabilities, they often are placed in permanent centers, such as Sandy Rehab. I don't no whether society has such a center for alcoholics, though. I think they are all treat-and-release centers. Maybe everyone who is drunk can be released at some point. I am not sure they need to stay there for life, or even long term. I only see that Bevan might have been released too quickly, and I can see there might be a need for some patients to need long-term or rest-of-life care.
Bevan just came out to talk. I ask him about his slipping back into drinking and whether he will be able to slip right back out of it, and he said it is complicated and is a process to overcome. I agreed. Bless him, bless him.
  




Sunday, September 4, 2016

Quotes Attributed to Mother Teresa

One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.


Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

There are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things.


God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.


If you judge people, you have no time to love them.


People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

One filled with joy preaches without preaching.

It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.


At the hour of death when we come face-to-face with God, we are going to be judged on love; not how much we have done, but how much love we put into the doing.

If we love, we will serve.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight; build it anyway.

Be faithful in little things, for in them your strength lies.

She gives most who gives with joy.

Work without love is slavery.

Patience achieves everything.

Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.

Everything that is not given is lost.

We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully.


One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.

The poor give us much more than we give them. They're such strong people, living day to day with no food. And they never curse, never complain. We don't have to give them pity or sympathy. We have so much to learn from them.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Here's a Voting System to Keep Everyone on the Edge of Their Seats

   One could make an argument for a very unconventional election system, one in which you wait for all the results to be counted, then you go through and change a number of the ballots and count them all again.
   It would work like this: When the voter cast his ballot, he could say that if the person he wanted to win, didn't win, then he would want his vote changed to candidate C.
   Oh, it sounds too much a mess and way too complicated to carry out, you say. Hair-brain, simply hair-brain.
   Let me tell you why I like it, though. Voters want their votes to count. They often vote against someone as much as they vote for someone. They know a vote for a minor candidate is not going to contribute to that person's winning, so they want their vote to go to someone who can win. So, they ditch the candidate they really want in favor of someone who can defeat the person they don't like.
   When someone suggested this idea of letting the voter have a back-up plan, I had to think about it before warming up to it. It's novel. It's unconventional. It's complicated.
   Say we had a race between two very unpopular candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Now, let's say a lot of folks didn't want to vote for Trump, but, even more, they didn't want Clinton to win. And, vice versa.
   Now, going by the simple system we have now, the voters would bite the ill-tasting pill of voting for someone they didn't want just to avoid the one they didn't want even more from winning.
   But, enter the new, improved system. Let's suppose, on first ballot count, Clinton won 32 percent, Trump 31 percent, Jill Stein 12 percent, Gary Johnson 12 percent, Evan McMullin 12 percent. And others split the final 1 percent. Now, we would have to go back and count again, as a lot of the Stein, Johnson and McMullin voters voted for those candidates with the provision that they be allowed to change their votes if those candidates didn't win. So, we recount, and Trump wins. His vote goes up to 46 percent on the recount (second ballot), while Clinton only rises to 45. Johnson, McMullin, Stein and others all drop drastically, now combining for only 9 percent.
    I don't know. Actually, there is a lot more drama in this system. You want suspense and excitement? It might actually be a good thing. This will keep everyone on the edge of their seats at least one extra day.
(Blog corrected and changed Sept. 4, 2016)

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Vote for McMullin is a Vote that Could Make a Difference

   So, ye shan't vote for Evan McMullin because he has no chance? Too often, the argument that we are just throwing our vote away if we vote for a minor candidate is used against those candidates.
   Okay, vote for Clinton or Trump, if you think it'll make a difference. My guess is that of the millions of votes being cast, your vote is not going to decide this election, anyway. So, if you think your voting for Clinton or Trump is going to make any more difference than voting for McMullin, tell me how.
   Writing McMullin off as having no chance is a strategy for those who don't want him. And, if people buy into it, it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. People hear he doesn't have a chance, and that therefore they should cast a vote that can make a difference, and they therefore don't vote for him.
   McMullin would have a chance, if everyone who doesn't like Hillary and Donald decided not to vote for Hillary or Donald. Would Utah voters vote for McMullin, if they supposed he had a chance? He stands with the majority of them on the issues. He would appoint someone to the Supreme Court they would like. If they thought he could win, there is a very good chance they would vote for him.
   And, that would be six Electoral College votes.
   If the sentiment that you shouldn't vote for him because he doesn't have a chance could also be dispelled in other states, McMullin might well pick up Electoral votes in those states, as well. There simply are a lot of people who want neither Clinton nor Trump. If enough of them jumped to campaign for him, if enough of them who are rich jumped to contribute to his campaign, who knows what might happen.
   It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win. Bless it that it be a close race. If it is a close election, yes, it it becomes possible -- if McMullin wins a few Electoral College votes -- that he could hold the deciding votes and throw the decision to the House of Representatives.
   McMullin is the former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives. He knows people there. He's worked with them. If Republicans hold onto the House, they would hold enough votes to decide who is the next president.
   A number of them don't want Trump. Would enough of them abandon Trump to vote for McMullin?  Look at how many Republicans have balked at supporting Trump. If they had an alternative, sitting right there looking at them in the eye, and he was a Republican -- if it were now all up to them to select McMullin over Trump . . .
   No, it is not inconceivable that it could happen. It probably would happen, in fact, if people just believed it could happen. If all the people who believe McMullin doesn't have a chance could be persuaded he does have a chance, McMullin would stand a very good chance of winning.
(Last two sentences added the morning of Sept. 3.)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Keep the College Courses, but Hire the Best Regardless of Degree

   I continue to see wisdom in throwing out the requirement that teachers be credentialed before being allowed to teach. Now, I imagine the reaction such a suggestion could have, with some some blasting it as surely a way to reduce the quality of our education.
   Listen, I am not suggesting prospective teachers not be vetted. Nor am I suggesting that we do away with our college courses that train our teachers. Perhaps it will be that the most prepared teachers available will be those who graduate with degrees in teaching.
   I suggest though, that what makes a good teacher is his or her knowledge of the topic and his or her ability to teach it effectively. Why hire with another criteria in mind? If the teacher is self-taught, but knows as much as the college graduate, if the teacher is as talented at presenting the material as the person who graduated from college, then hire him. Hire the best, regardless. Hire the best, because you tested them, interviewed them, vetted them, and determined they were the best.
   (Story edited, and slight added to the morning of Sept. 2.)