Category: News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

The Real Danger?

[NOTE: After initially posting this, I soon removed it because I was made aware that it was unnecessarily divisive. This was not my intent. However, I am putting it back up, unaltered, in the interest of debate. Additionally, one commenter pointed out that it was unfair to delete the post after people had commented, something I hadn’t considered when I took the post down. “For the record,” therefore, if for no other reason, I am reposting this.]

Tomorrow morning, at 2 AM

Once a year, after enduring a grueling six hours of church in one day, I lay down to sleep knowing that during the wee hours of the night I will be robbed of one whole hour. It is time to forever abolish Daylight Saving Time.

Defining terrorism

By request, this morning I am going to talk about defining terrorism. The first important thing you need to realize is that there is no single widely accepted definition, either in academia or in the policy world. Everyone uses their own. So we’re going to talk about how you can build your own definition of terrorism.

Infertility

Infertility is a huge topic, as large in its own way as the topic of birth control. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do it justice. I fully recognize that this can be an extremely sensitive issue for couples for many reasons. I absolutely do not judge any patients for making choices in dealing with infertility that I would not recommend professionally. I also fully celebrate the life of all children of God, regardless of how they were conceived. With this background in place, I wish simply to make three points.

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press

I see that Slate now puts the odds of Harriet Miers confirmation at 70%. Silly Slate, don’t they know that niche is taken? As I’ve mentioned before, the best bet, literally, is to follow the gamblers. And as of press time, they are betting that Miers has a 3 in 10 chance of making it to the Big Bench. Want a second opinion? It’s pretty much the same as the first.

Anne comes home

I read and enjoyed Orson Scott Card’s book Sarah. In fact, that book sparked an interest in me to find out more about what exactly we knew of ancient times, both New and Old World.

Health Care: What to Do?

This from a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research Educational Trust: “The average cost of health insurance for a family of four has soared past $10,800 — exceeding the annual income of a minimum-wage earner, according to a survey released Wednesday.”

Blood on the Doorposts

Let’s call her Sister Jones. We both taught seminary in Northern California a few years ago. I liked her from day one: faithful, funny, and willing to lend out anything from her complete collection of Sunstone back issues. (This was in the days before full Internet access, you see.)

Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, published last year, is not so much a memoir or autobiography, but rather a series of snapshots, each drenched in cultural references, that together create a approximation of Mr. Zimmerman’s character. One of those snapshots gives us Dylan living in an apartment in Greenwich Village owned by a mysterious autodidact named Ray. It’s 1960, Dylan is new to New York, and unknown to the burgeoning folk scene in New York. He hasn’t yet written his first song, but he knows about Joseph Smith and the Adam-God theory.

Fat Makes a Comeback

The CDC is airing its dirty laundry this week, as a new report comes out claiming that last year’s CDC report on obesity is basically hogwash. In the old numbers, obesity was this bomb descending on America that was going to wipe us out. It claimed that obesity caused 400,000 deaths/year, making it the number two cause of death. Thus, obesity wipes out the equivalent of Utah Valley every year.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks: Right to Life, State Responsibility, Family Input

Despite John Welch’s admirable asserted desire to keep the Schiavo thread on the topic of “what does LDS theology tell us about end of life care options?,” much of the discussion has predictably become a political slugfest. So be it. However, it hasn’t been, in my mind, a particularly useful political discussion. And a primary reason is because so much of the Schiavo case depends on the particular evidentiary nuances of that case. What did she tell her husband, who is he sleeping with, blah blah blah. Evidentiary questions are boring. So let’s filter them out and see where people stand on the broader issues of right to life (assuming state responsibility to enforce any right) and family wishes in general. In particular, let’s try to figure out exactly what rights are at stake in the Schiavo case. Is it Ms. Schiavo’s right to live? If so, then what do her parent’s wishes have to do with it? Is it…

Terry Schiavo and the Good Death

Last weekend at the conference of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, Richard Sherlock presented a stimulating paper observing and explaining the complete absence of an LDS casuistry of medical ethics–that is, the absence of a body of literature exploring in a careful, ethically- and scripturally-bound way the trade-offs inherent in the excruciating panoply of choice that modern medicine demands of bereaved families and dying patients. This sort of literature abounds in most other religious traditions, made available to priests, pastors and rabbis as they counsel with congregants staggering through the worst day of their lives; Mormon bishops, on the other hand, rely on their own personal views, experience and inspiration of the moment to shepherd members through the throes. This has been on my mind during the last few days, as I’ve asked myself–as all of you surely have, too–“What would I do if Terry Schiavo were my daughter, my husband?”

The bankruptcy bill

You may have read about the new bankruptcy bill which is headed for the House. Major provisions include a required means test designed to certain filers from using Chapter 7, as well as added attorney certifications and disclosures. What should we, as church members, think of this?

Education Funding

Commenting on an earlier post, someone stated that it was tough to get Utah voters worked up about education funding. Though that statement was off the mark, I figured the learned readership of this site would have strong opinions on education funding in the Beehive State and, I hope, even a few ideas. Let me lay out a challenge and, then, a few facts and observations.

A Legal Primer on Same Sex Marriage

As Kaimi has already pointed out, today the San Francisco County Superior Court declared that Proposition 22, which defines marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman, unconstitutional under the California Constitution. My point in this post is not to open up a debate about same sex marriage, but rather to explain the legal issues in this — and other state cases — so that non-lawyers can understand what is going on in these opinions.

The Millennium will have come by then

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during my first feeble attempts at writing science fiction, I sometimes encountered members of the Church who objected to science fiction about the future because “the Millennium will have come by then.” In their view, for me to write about something happening a hundred years from now was essentially a denial of faith — unless, of course, the story took place during the Millennium.