News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

A Peek Inside the Temple

June 11, 2010 | 15 comments
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A Peek Inside the Temple

On May 28, a press conference was held in the South Visitors’ Center on Temple Square to unveil a new public exhibit: a cut-away scale model showing the interior architecture and layout of the Salt Lake Temple. The LDS Newsroom and Deseret News posted detailed stories with additional images; in this post I just want to toss out a few ideas for discussion. Read more »

Zion and the Limits of Intellectual Agrarianism

June 7, 2010 | 38 comments
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Zion and the Limits of Intellectual Agrarianism

There is a strand of progressive Mormon thinking that associates Zion with an exaltation of agrarian virtues.  I am thinking here of folks like Hugh Nibley or Arthur Henry King or my friend Russell Arben Fox who argue that small scale, local economies, ideally based in large part on agriculture provide the best possible model for building Zion.  At least one way of understanding this line of thinking is to see it as a kind of Mormonization of agrarian thinkers like Wendell Berry.  It is striking in this regard that Leonard Arrington, whose works on nineteenth-century Mormon communitarianism provide... Read more »

Carlos Boozer on Utah

June 3, 2010 | 20 comments
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As one who has turned into something of  Boozer-apologist this past year in the face of attacks on him by some disgruntled Jazz fans, I was buoyed to see an account of a recent Boozer interview yesterday in the Deseret News. When the Miami-area sports station host interviewing Boozer called Utah  “gorgeous” but “a horrible place to live, horrible,” Boozer said: “Nah, it’s not that bad. You know, I’m raising my kids out there. It’s pretty nice.  We have a good time out there with our basketball team, successful of course. That’s the frontcourt of it, the most important... Read more »

Saying RINO, DINO, MINO is KINO!

May 17, 2010 | 21 comments
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Saying RINO, DINO, MINO is KINO!

One comment I saw recently, after Senator Bob Bennett lost the Republican nomination to retain his seat, approved the move by the Utah Republican Party, saying that Bennett is a RINO. Read more »

Four Dead in Ohio

May 4, 2010 | 35 comments
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Four Dead in Ohio

What if you knew her and  / Found her dead on the ground?  / How can you run when you know? Today is the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre. Have we learned what we should have from the tragedy? Read more »

Do daughters make you more conservative?

April 5, 2010 | 20 comments
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Do daughters make you more conservative?

Tyler Cowan revisits the topic in a post today (HT: Sheldon). I vaguely remember someone in the bloggernacle posting on this in years passed, but my cursory search didn’t turn up much. So, as I’m curious what others make of the research, I thought I’d throw it out to the wolves again. Cowan quotes a new article that states in relevant part: Washington (2008) finds that, controlling for total number of children, each additional daughter makes a member of Congress more likely to vote liberally and attributes this finding to socialization. However, daughters’ influence could manifest differently for elite... Read more »

Remembering Stewart Udall

March 22, 2010 | 19 comments
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Remembering Stewart Udall

Stewart Udall, U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Kennedy and Johnson and a prominent member of a prolific Mormon political dynasty, passed away Saturday morning at his home in Sante Fe, New Mexico, according to a statement from his son, Senator Tom Udall. Known affectionately as “Stew,” he was ninety years old and the last surviving member of Kennedy’s original cabinet. While he did not remain an active Latter-day Saint in his later life, he nevertheless kept close ties with the Church and continued to self-identify as a Mormon, claiming that he was “Mormon born and bred, and it’s inside... Read more »

Cardinal George on religious freedom at BYU

March 18, 2010 | 14 comments
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Cardinal George on religious freedom at BYU

A loyal reader requested that I blog about His Eminence Francis Cardinal George’s speech at Brigham Young University last month, available to download here.  Ever the faithful servant of my reading public, all three of you, I respond with alacrity! BYU often invites prominent figures to address the university community on topics of mutual interest, and Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, graciously contributed to the long-running series with his February 23 remarks entitled “Catholics and Latter-day Saints: Partners in the defense of religious freedom.” Cardinal George framed his remarks within the cooperative efforts... Read more »

If Glenn Beck followed his own instructions, he’d be an ex-Mormon

March 9, 2010 | 161 comments
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Well known LDS political pundit Glenn Beck recently told his radio listeners that they should leave churches with the words “social justice” or “economic justice” on their websites: I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!” This overheated rhetoric has already drawn fire from Catholics and Protestants. But it’s not just Protestants and Catholics who are in trouble. In fact, if... Read more »

The Tebows and Other Good Omens

February 3, 2010 | 92 comments
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The Tebows and Other Good Omens

I never expected to see the day that Kate Michelman, past president of NARAL, would write, “all sorts of well-educated and progressive people are comfortable calling themselves pro-life.” Michelman’s opinion piece in the Washington Post is fascinating not only for her openly acknowledging the eroding support for her movement (she says recent polls shows 51% of Americans identify with the label “pro-life” and only 44% with “pro-choice”; the pro-life number would be a historical high), but by how hamstrung she feels defending abortion. She attributes the shift in public opinion primarily to technological progress: “cience played a big role,... Read more »

Actions for Haiti

January 15, 2010 | 10 comments
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Actions for Haiti

I think that viewing the magnitude of human trauma in Haiti right now is similar to trying to mentally envision the difference between a 1000 and a 2000 sided object – we can’t really do it. Read more »

Bizarro World Meets Utah County

December 8, 2009 | 75 comments
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Bizarro World Meets Utah County

A Utah County today’s residents would hardly recognize: A onetime famed FBIman, Reed Ernest Vetterli, whose career could yield a dozen detective yarns, is in the middle of his hardest case: trying to get elected to Congress as a Republican in Utah’s heavily New Deal Second District. His platform: support the President in the war; get new blood into Congress…. Republican Vetterli, with State G.O.P. backing, practically has the nomination in his pocket; so has the Democratic incumbent, stocky, stodgy J. Will Robinson of Provo. But G.O.P. chances in the election are—according to the recent past—slim: many a former... Read more »

Midwest

November 11, 2009 | 60 comments
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Utah is not part of the Midwest.    Idaho is also out.  That is all. Read more »

Same-sex Marriage and Change

October 27, 2009 | 97 comments
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Will same-sex marriage change the institution of marriage? Melissa Harris-Lacewell writes in The Nation that maybe, hopefully, it will. Read more »

The Nasty Side of Christian Ethics

October 26, 2009 | 31 comments
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The language of turning the other cheek and Christian ethics in general can really get quite nasty. Read more »

Gays and the Church: Whose Ox is Being Gored?

October 14, 2009 | 165 comments
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When people talk about Prop 8 or gay-Mormon relations generally, a common theme is that a smaller, less powerful group is the victim of an unfair attack from a larger and more powerful aggressor. This theme is used repeatedly on both sides of the debate. It was a central theme in Elder Oaks’ recent talk about religious liberty. And it was immediately raised in criticisms of that talk, with church critic Fred Karger telling the Associated Press, “They are trying to be the victim here. They’re not. They’re the perpetrators.” It’s clear that this basic framing is employed by... Read more »

Peace Prize Shock

October 9, 2009 | 102 comments
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Peace Prize Shock

At first I thought it might be a joke of some kind. I waited for a “just kidding” qualification from the radio news announcer. Then the news item finished. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barack Obama. Read more »

When Should We Fear Discourse?

September 8, 2009 | 55 comments
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In Nephi Anderson’s short story, “On the Border-land of Light,” his protagonist meets a woman who knows little of Mormons: “Have you never been down in the lower valley?” he asked. “No, never. You see we were afraid of the Mormons at first,… Read more »

Remembering Ted Kennedy

August 30, 2009 | 50 comments
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I was sad to hear of the passing of Ted Kennedy this week. While his policy views often stood in stark contrast with those held by many Latter-day Saints in the United States, he was, nevertheless, a consummate legislator who truly knew how to put political differences aside and reach across the aisle to find common ground on pressing issues facing our country. More importantly, though, and in spite of whatever mistakes he may have made in his life, Ted Kennedy struck me as a good man intent on making America a better place. He is also one who... Read more »

Baseball History and Personal Significance

August 24, 2009 | 30 comments
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Yesterday, baseball history was marked when the Phillies’ Eric Bruntlett recorded the rarest play in the game–the unassisted triple play. If you think about it, there is a bit of a life lesson in this. Read more »

A Mormon Don Quixote

August 17, 2009 | 28 comments
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Last week I was in Cedar City for my annual visit to the Utah Shakespearean Festival, which has brought a lot of pleasure to my family for the past 24 years, thanks to the nearly 50-year-old impossible dream of a returned missionary, Fred Adams. His success is, today, an interesting counterpoint to other impossible dreams. Read more »

Notes From All Over For Week Ended August 2

August 2, 2009 | 14 comments
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Comment here on the Notes From All Over for the past week. Read more »

What I Found Interesting and Unusual in the Pew Report

July 28, 2009 | 46 comments
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For Pioneer Day, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religious & Public Life released its report on Mormonism, based on responses to its 2007 Religious Landscape Survey. I was surprised that the initial coverage was so mundane, but when I read the report, so many details were fascinating! Read more »

Notes From All Over For Week Ended July 25

July 25, 2009 | 3 comments
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Comment here on the Notes From All Over for the past week. Read more »