News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

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

October 26, 2005 | 15 comments

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. Read more »

Anne comes home

October 24, 2005 | 12 comments

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. Read more »

Health Care: What to Do?

September 15, 2005 | 121 comments

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.” Read more »

Blood on the Doorposts

August 2, 2005 | 142 comments

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.) Read more »

The 12th Article of Faith and East Germany

July 22, 2005 | 25 comments

“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” This statement of our belief never troubled me until I lived in the German Democratic Republic, otherwise known as East Germany. Read more »

I Shall Be Free

July 19, 2005 | 25 comments

I got my bill today and it turns out that there really is something cheaper than a Germanist these days. Read more »

A Beautiful Place

July 4, 2005 | 22 comments

This week I spent a few days in Nauvoo, the last place the Latter-day Saints tried to build a temple before being forced to leave the United States. Read more »

An Experiment in Blog Discussion

June 14, 2005 | 60 comments

One thing usually missing from discussion on this blog and, from what I have seen, all others, is extended, thoughtful discussion. Read more »

Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Bob Dylan

June 6, 2005 | 13 comments

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. Read more »

Mormons and Markets, III: Strangers and Neighbors

May 26, 2005 | 8 comments

In my last post on this subject, I argued that one of things that markets do well is coordinate dispersed information. Another thing that markets do fairly well is facilitate cooperation among strangers. This is worth thinking about. Read more »

Fat Makes a Comeback

April 20, 2005 | 13 comments

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. Read more »

Macrocosm and Microcosm

March 24, 2005 | 44 comments

Every so often, I have one of those horrifying little experiences that leads me to question my firmly held belief that most of Freud’s thought is utter nonsense. Read more »

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

March 22, 2005 | 80 comments

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... Read more »

Terry Schiavo and the Good Death

March 21, 2005 | 137 comments

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,... Read more »

The bankruptcy bill

March 16, 2005 | 58 comments

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? Read more »

Education Funding

March 15, 2005 | 27 comments

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. Read more »

A Legal Primer on Same Sex Marriage

March 14, 2005 | 28 comments

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. Read more »

Some Wore Red, Some Wore Blue

March 8, 2005 | 88 comments

Thanks for the introduction and the opportunity, Rosalynde. I feel lucky to have a big sister who precedes, exceeds, but includes me in just about every important thing. Read more »

Violating the First Amendment

February 2, 2005 | 137 comments

What I’m about to tell you are two true stories in which public employees clearly violated Supreme Court rulings on the First Amendment. The names and a few other details have been changed to protect the guilty. Read more »

The Millennium will have come by then

January 28, 2005 | 120 comments

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. Read more »

Film Festival Musings

January 21, 2005 | 18 comments

Those of you who are more culturally aware probably know that there’s a film festival going on here in Utah. No, not that Sundance thing — I’m talking about the Fourth LDS Film Festival. Read more »

Ads Targeting the LDS Market

January 20, 2005 | 41 comments

Since I often listen to KSL radio on the way to and from work, I tend to hear quite a bit of advertising aimed at members of the Church. Most of it is for products that are of little interest to non-members — LDS novels, for instance. But there are a couple of LDS-targeted ads that stood out because the products were of general interest. And I found myself appreciating one of those ads while disdaining the other. Read more »

An Interview with Neil LaBute

January 19, 2005 | 3 comments
An Interview with Neil LaBute

Writer, director and playwright Neil LaBute has been producing provocative and critically-acclaimed theater, film and fiction for more than a decade in the US and abroad. Read more »

Prodigal Artists

January 19, 2005 | 66 comments

First, let me say thank you to my hosts. I feel like a celebrity. A couple of weeks ago, the Deseret News ran a column in its Religion & Ethics session about Mormons participating in the arts. The author, Jerry Johnston, put forward the theory that good Mormons will fail at convincingly portraying bad people. Read more »