Category: News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

Mormonism and Pluralism

Mormonism and Pluralism In the U.S. today, many people are wary of religion because they feel it often supports a kind of intolerance. Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy provides an interesting case study on the relationship between faith and pluralism. On the one hand, we see clear examples of religious intolerance from people like Bill Keller. On the other hand, ironically, the Mormon faith to which Romney adheres is committed in its very scripture to a deep and wide pluralism.

Markets and Consumer Activism

With fair regularity, one hears someone talking of efforts to buy less of some commercial product, either out of a desire for global conservation or because he doesn’t like how it is produced or whatever. Invariably, he comments that his own effect on the market is small, but he wishes to “send a message” or help along some broader movement. Within a plausible model of markets. there are easily understood conditions under which this small effect is actually zero, and remains zero even if he is joined by many like-minded individuals. At which point one wonders if the “message” being sent is “I don’t understand how markets work”.

The ordinary

However well we do in school or our jobs or in our church callings or in any endeavor, most of our lives are and will be ordinary.

Making Money off the Mormons: Sacrament Butt-pads

When I was a senior in college, I worked at Seagull Book and Tape, an LDS book and trinket store across the street from the LA Temple. (The pay was lousy, but working with books was fun. So it turned out to be a decent job.) I was amazed by all the stuff that Mormons buy just because it has some sort of Mormon reference or connection.

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…