News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

An Experiment in Blog Discussion

June 14, 2005 | 60 comments
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 »

Hooray for Dialogue! No, not that Dialogue

December 14, 2004 | 201 comments
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No, we’re not talking about the journal Dialogue—we’re talking about lines of dialogue from film, television, or books that creep their way into our homes and stick around for years, much like food supplies from the cannery. The lines that resonate with us can reveal a lot about ourselves and our families. Read more »

Stem Cells, part 1

December 7, 2004 | 294 comments
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Until recently I had the good fortune to be a member of Matt Evans’ Elder’s Quorum class. Matt asked me a question once that I couldn’t answer, and still can’t. I’m hoping T&S can help (and I hope Matt doesn’t mind!) Read more »

Modern Gadiantons?

November 30, 2004 | 81 comments
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One last post, before my non-philosophical blogging stint is done. One thing I’ve thought of with recent events in the middle east was the parallels to the Book of Mormon. I know that’s not exactly an original point to make, but I think the Book of Mormon has a lot of parallels both regarding our enemies as well as how we act towards our enemies. Dan Peterson has long written about the strong parallels between the Gadianton movement and various guerilla movements and insurgencies. I’ve listened to him describe extensive parallels, for instance, between Mao’s insurgency in China and... Read more »

Holocaust as Metaphor

November 20, 2004 | 60 comments
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I know it’s the weekend and blog activity drops way down on weekends. However I thought some might find this discussion interesting. I’ve been blogging about it on my website the past few days, but have primarily been focusing on abstract phenomenological and semiotic aspects of the problem. The basic issue gets back to the whole Sheri Dew Nazi reference. Over on LDS-Phil we had this (to me) extremely interesting discussion of why her comments were inappropriate. Quite a few people I really respect strongly suggested that to use the holocaust as a metaphor diminishes and denigrates the holocaust. Read more »

Political Lessons of Mormon History

November 19, 2004 | 11 comments
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One nice thing about blogging here is that I can talk about topics I don’t get to on my blog – specifically politics. However what I find interesting is what Mormonism can bring to the political arena. One thing that has long been on my mind are the lessons of our past. The example of Mormon history was often discussed back in the days following Waco and the tragedy there. However what has been little discussed is how the problem of Mormonism and pluralism in places like Illinois, Ohio, or Missouri can help us learn how to deal with... Read more »

The Senate Sits in Solemn Session and Considers the Questions Facing the Nation

November 16, 2004 | 17 comments
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This afternoon, one of my secret contacts on Capitol Hill (secret because he likes his current job and doesn’t want to lose it and return to K street) sent me the following message. I think it speaks for itself: Read more »

Dinner Theater, or Do We Consume Media?

November 8, 2004 | 89 comments
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It was late spring in London, and just as the weather outside started warming up, things inside started heating up, too. Read more »