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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Women in Sports

A story in the news is raising the question of how to figure out if a person is a man or a women for the purposes of athletic competition. That further raises the question of whether or not women and men should compete separately at all in a society dedicated to the equality of men and women. Here is a Slashdot commenter weighing in. He ways, in part:
And if you really think about it, we don't actually have women competing against women in one group and men competing against men in another group. What we REALLY have is women competing against women in one group, and EVERYONE ELSE competing in another group. Men are not set up as a protected class, it is only women who are set up as a protected class. If a sufficiently gifted female runner wanted to compete against men, I very much suspect that she'd be allowed to do so.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reasons I'm Uncomfortable with John McCain

John McCain sponsored the McCain-Feingold legislation that prohibits many forms of political speech. I think this is an affront to liberty.

He seems to have a quite immoral past. I don't have any reason to believe he isn't faithful to Cindy, but I'd like to have a leader that is trying to be righteous. I don't know if that is a goal of John McCain's.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Reasons I'm Uncomfortable with Barack Obama

[I'm updating this post continually, so the original publication date isn't entirely accurate.]

Single-issue voting isn't healthy. It encourages wedge issue thinking and closed-mindedness. I think party platforms are a great place to start in understanding a candidates views. I don't think our evaluation of the candidates should end with the party platform. I'm keeping an ongoing list in this post of issues that make me uncomfortable with Barack Obama as our country's president. We'll weigh the positives and negatives of each candidates and then we can make a more informed decision.

Obama's voting record (extreme pro-abortion) doesn't jive with his rhetoric (moderation in abortion policy)
As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as "persons" babies who survive late-term abortions. Babies like Gianna. Mr. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother's wombs are "persons," and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution's 14th Amendment.
Obama has since argued that he had legitimate reasons for voting against that legislation, but his assertion has been disproved.

Obama's position on Iraq is irresponsible. He seems unwilling to own the current situation on the ground and instead argue about what we should have done.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.

Affiliation with a church for apparently political purposes, exposing his children to blatant racism in a time when healing is needed.

Obama hasn't thrown himself fully into anything. I wonder if he's an "idea person" without the ability to see things through to completion. David Brooks elaborates on the difficulty in placing him in any community of practice. He was a law professor who was liked by students, but who never produced scholarship nor engaged with the other faculty. He was a community organizer who had ideas about improvement, but didn't stick around long enough to see them through. He joined a church for political reasons, never really became a part of that community, and then abandoned it when higher political aspirations beckoned. He skipped through the state legislature without really getting into it. His career in the US Senate was nothing more than a stepping stone to the presidency. He hasn't really engaged with his colleagues there on either side of the aisle save a handful.

By his own standard of judgment, Obama lacks sufficient experience for a high and responsible post. When asked about Supreme Court justices, Obama singled out Justice Thomas. He said, "I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don't think that he, I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation." The Wall Street Journal editorial board responds to the accusation of insufficient experience.

So let's see. By the time he was nominated, Clarence Thomas had worked in the Missouri Attorney General's office, served as an Assistant Secretary of Education, run the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sat for a year on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation's second most prominent court. Since his "elevation" to the High Court in 1991, he has also shown himself to be a principled and scholarly jurist.

They sum it up by noting, "Justice Thomas's judicial credentials compare favorably to Mr. Obama's Presidential résumé by any measure."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Utah Election 08 Resources

US House District 3 Race

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fun Links

Spontaneous Mall Musical

Friday, March 14, 2008

Barack Obama

On the Wright controversy:

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Global warming winter 2008

From RIA Novosti, Oleg Sorokhtin writes:
Astrophysics knows two solar activity cycles, of 11 and 200 years. Both are caused by changes in the radius and area of the irradiating solar surface. The latest data, obtained by Habibullah Abdusamatov, head of the Pulkovo Observatory space research laboratory, say that Earth has passed the peak of its warmer period, and a fairly cold spell will set in quite soon, by 2012. Real cold will come when solar activity reaches its minimum, by 2041, and will last for 50-60 years or even longer.
Take it with a grain of salt, but the basic science seems on the ball to me.

From Investor's Business Daily, more about sunspots:

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

U of A Recommended Reading

From a list given to Bradley while in high school in Page, Arizona.

Achebe: Things Fall Apart
Aesop: Fables
Agee: A Death in the Family
Anaya: Bless me, Ultima
Anderson: Winesburg, Ohio
Austin: Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin: Notes to a Native Son
Bellow: Henderson the Ram King; Mr. Sammler's Planet
*: Bible
Borges: Dr. Brodie's Report
Boswell: Life of Johnson
Bronte, C: Jane Eyre
Bronte, E: Wuthering Heights
Buck: The Good Earth
Capote: In Cold Blood, The Grass Harp, and other short stories
Carson: The Sea Around Us
Carroll: Alice in Wonderland
Cather: Death comes to the Archbishop
Cervantes: Don Quixote
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales
Conrad: Heath of Darkness, the Secret Sharer
Cooper: last of the Mohicans
Crane: The Red Badge of Courage
Dante: The Divine Comedy
Dickens: David Copperfield; Great Expectations; Oliver Twist; Tale of Two Cities
Dickenson: Collected poems
Dostsyevsky: Crime and Punishment
Elliot, George: Adam Bede
Elliot, T.S.: Collected Verse: Murder in the Cathedral
Ellsion: Invisible Man
Emerson: Essays
Euripedes: Medea
Faulkner: The Bear: The unvanquished
Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
Franklin: Autobiography
Frost: Collected Poems
Gaines: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer
Grimm: Household Tales
Hardy: Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Return of the Native
Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables, The Scarlet Letter
Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms
Homer: Iliad, Odyseey
Huxley: Brave New World
Isben: A Doll's House, Enemy of the People
James: The Turn of the Screw, Portrait of a Lady
Kipling: Jungle Books, Kim, Captain Courageous
Lewis, C.S.: The Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet
Lewis, Oscar: The Children of Sanchez
Lewis, Sinclair: Babbitt, Arrowsmith
London: Call of the Wild
Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
McCullers: Member of the Wedding, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Melville: Moby Dick, Billy Budd
Millay: Collected Poems
Miller: Death of a Salesman, The Crucible
Milton: Paradise Lost
Mishima: The Sound of Waves
Mitford: American Way of Death
Momday: House Made of Dawn, The Way to Rainy Mountain
Morehead: The Blue Nile, The White Nile
Murasaki: Tale of Genji
O'Neill: Emperor Jones, Beyond the Horizon
Orwell: 1984, Animal Farm
Paton: Cry, the Beloved Country
Plath: The Bell Jar
Poe: Tales
Polo: Travels of Marco Polo
Plutarch: Lives of the Caesars
Riesman: The Lonely Crowd
Rivera: "..and the earth did not part."
Roth: Call It Sleep
Sagan: Dragons of Eden
Salinger: Catcher in the Rye
Sandburg: Lincoln
Saroyan: The Human Comedy
Sekaquaptewa, H.: Me and Mine
Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night's Dream
Shaw: Pygmalion, Saint Joan
Singer: Gimpei the Fool and other stories
Sophocles: Oedipus Rex, Antigone
Sheridan: The Rivals
Solzhenitsya: One Day in the Life of Ivan Devnisovich
Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
Stevens: Collected Poems
Stevenson: Treasure Island, Kidnapped
Strachey: Victoria
Swift: Gulliver's Travels
Thacheay: Vanity Fair
Thorau: Walden
Tolkien: Lord of the Rings
Tolstoy: War and Peace
Tuchman: The guns of August, The Distant Mirror
Twain: Huckleberry Finn, Tom sawyer
Virgil: Aeneid
Welty: Collected Stories
Wharton: Ethan Frome
White, T.H.: The Once and Future King
Whitman: Leaves of Grass
Whittier: Selected Poems
Wilder: Our Town, The Skin of Our Teeth
Williams: The Glass Menagerie

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Boo for Yahoo

I was looking at the Yahoo Kids site today and left annoyed. I sent the following letter on their feedback form.
I visited the site to check out the possibility of letting my kids hang out here. The answer will be no. The front page of your site featured a music video from the "Naked Brothers Band." That the incongruity of the band's name didn't leap out at the editors leaves me with no trust in the rest of your site. The LAST thing I want to teach my children on the internet is that it might be okay to click on a naked-anything link. /smacks forehead

P.S. Yes, I watched the video and I realize it doesn't contain pornographic content. The point is the false association with risque titles and innocent content.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My latex-free boy

Our son has a heightened chance of developing a latex allergy (he has spina bifida). To combat this, we treat him as if he already has the allergy (without panic if something latex happens to touch him). We've learned to be on the alert for the innocent-looking-but- evil-latex-lurking-in-the-shadows--or, you know, just making sure we avoid latex where possible.

Latex free (as per websites or contact with customer service representatives):
  • Member's Mark Diapers, from Sam's Club
  • White Cloud Supreme Diapers, from Wal-Mart
  • Parent's Choice Diapers, from Wal-Mart
  • Kids II toys
  • Schleich animal toys
  • Bumbo chairs
  • Nuk oral massager
Not latex free:
  • chewing gum
  • Koosh balls
  • non-Mylar balloons
Good information to have about latex:
  • EVA foam doesn't have natural rubber latex--even though it sometimes is called "foam rubber"
  • "In rare instances, people who are allergic to latex may also react to rubber bands, erasers, rubber parts of toys, various rubber components in medical devices, rubber elastic in clothes, or feeding nipples and pacifiers. Products molded from hard, crepe rubber, such as soles of shoes, are unlikely to cause reactions. Almost all latex paints are not a problem since they do not contain natural rubber latex." from AAAAI
  • American Latex Allergy Association lists

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Of Mice and Mormons: Religion in Higher Ed

A scary tale of religious and social discrimination against a Latter-day Saint student in higher education. A seven part series, with all seven parts linked here for convenience. By Mike S. Adams at

Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Arbinger Books

A few of the Arbinger Institute books have been published serially in Meridian magazine and are available there.

Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves

The Peacegiver (That is a link to the end of the book which has links to all the earlier chapters.)

The Anatomy of Peace (Again, this is the last chapter.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Global Warming roundup 8/07

In an interesting exchange on Steve U.'s blog, a commenter left a huge comment that really articulated well some of my feelings on the climate change issues. First, one commenter wrote, "There is one major fact about the global warming debate: no one debates the dirty air, water, and land created by greenhouse gases. If we are not the worst air quality in the nation, we are close to it."

That person made the mistake of confusing greenhouse gases with pollutants. Here is a snatch from the huge rebuttal that I really liked.

CO2 is NOT an "air pollutant" in the sense that carbon monoxide and particulates are. It is a trace element in the atmosphere. All animals (including people) generate high concentrations of it when they breathe. All carbon in plants and trees (including the food we eat) comes from this thin reservoir of CO2 in the atmosphere! All the carbon in carbohydrates was taken from the air by plants. Thus, CO2 is literally the basis of all life on earth. When we add a marginal amount to the atmosphere, we are adding the stuff that plants and animals are made of. It is the source of carbon that rains into the oceans and allows calcium carbonate to be turned into the shells of marine creatures and coral reefs.

The rest of that comment by Raymond Takashi Swenson was equally good.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sun Spots, Schwabe Cycles, and Global Cooling

From the Financial Post, R. Timothy Patterson's article "Read the Sunspots":
Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.
Meantime, we need to continue research into this, the most complex field of science ever tackled, and immediately halt wasted expenditures on the King Canute-like task of "stopping climate change."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Why the government shouldn't do health care...

Mark Steyn says:
There are immigration laws on the books right now, aren't there? Why not try enforcing them? The same people who say that government is a mighty power for good that can extinguish every cigarette butt and detoxify every cheeseburger and even change the very climate of the planet back to some Edenic state so that the water that falleth from heaven will land as ice and snow, and polar bears on distant continents will frolic as they did in days of yore, the very same people say: Building a border fence? Enforcing deportation orders? Can't be done, old boy. Pie-in-the-sky.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hero Hypocrisy

We haven't seen a lot of TIME or Newsweek cover stories about the heroics of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thomas Sowell points out the insincerity of calling our soldiers "heroes" only when we are painting them as victims.

The front cover of Newsweek’s March 5th issue featured a woman with amputated legs and a sweatshirt that said “ARMY” across the front. Inside, there were pages and pages of other pictures of badly wounded and disfigured military veterans, in a long article that began under the big headline: “Forgotten Heroes.”

The utter hypocrisy of all this can be seen in the word “heroes.” There have been many acts of heroism among our troops in Iraq — but those heroes didn’t make the front cover of Newsweek.

One man fell on a grenade to protect his buddies, smothering the fatal blast with his body, so that those around him might live when he died. But that never made the front cover of Newsweek. It was barely mentioned anywhere in the liberal media.

They are not interested in heroes. They are interested in depicting victims — in the military as in civilian society.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Global warming roundup 03/07

"The Great Global Warming Hoax" shown on Channel 4 in Britian (opens in YouTube)

A tale of two markets on the, about carbon offsets
You are a carbon-emitting American, currently purchasing Q quantity of carbon-emitting electricity in your home market, which we'll call Market #1. You want to consume more electricity, but you worry about global warming. So you buy electricity in your local market, but offset this purchase by paying someone to build the equivalent generating power in windfarms in another market.
In your home market, your purchases are sending a signal: build more (dirty) power. You have shifted the demand curve outwards, so that at any given price, more power is consumed.

I guess I was too optimistic about the Senate and House hearings (opens in RealPlayer) on global warming on March 21--I honestly thought that the congressmen (both Republican and Democrat) would ask meaningful, intelligent questions, that they would attend the entire hearings, that they would be polite, etc, etc. Just goes to show that I'm awfully naive about our government. Anyway, here's some more coverage:

Iain Murray "Al's Warming Lies and the Real "Inconvenient Truth"
John Podhortez "Al Mighty Preacher Running out of Power"
Live-blogging the hearings at Powerline forums
"Cooler Heads" briefing on "An Inconvenient Truth"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Joe Wilson File

Mona Charen article at National Review
The prosecutor accepted Joe Wilson’s “retaliation” theory from the start, looking for a White House conspiracy to harm Wilson. Fitzgerald tamely followed this line despite learning later that Wilson lied about how he was chosen for the mission to Niger (contrary to Wilson’s hot denials, it was his wife’s suggestion according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report), lied about what he found there (his report actually tended to confirm not deny Iraq’s uranium shopping), and lied about discrediting certain forged documents (they did not even appear until months after Wilson’s trip). Yet Wilson’s word was good enough for Fitzgerald.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Global warming roundup 02/07

Jonah Goldberg main column "Global Cooling is Too Expensive"
Europe's emissions vs United States' by Iain Murray
Dirty work at the green crossroads by Melanie Phillips
Climate of Opinion WSJ Editorial
A mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste by Peter Suderman
The Church of Climate Panic by Rich Lowry
A Carbon Cop-out by Michael Hanlon
It's the Science, Stupid by Thomas Sowell
NRO's new blog, Planet Gore
Ah...Bad Doomsday Predictions by Jonah Goldberg
Sydney Residents Wake to Laughingstock by Mark Steyn
An experiment that hints we are wrong about climate change in the London Times Online
Carbon offsets on Ecotality

plus some older ones:
Competitive Enterprise Institute debunking "An Inconvenient Truth"
Iain Murray on "An Inconvenient Truth"

You can only give us money if you...

Victor Davis Hanson has an insightful post about the attitude of the current Palestinian government on Western aid. The whole thing is incredible (in that I have a hard time believing it is even possible), but here's a key paragraph:

What has America done to suggest to a terrorist organization that it has an inherent right to American taxpayer money because it has found a way to market or soft-peddle its intention to destroy a democracy? The money quote of Hamas is the key phrase "they cannot..." Only in the Middle East does the recipient announce to the benefactor the conditions of the hand out.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Frustrations of a climate geologist

John Marchese from the Philadelphia Magazine interviews a geology professor in Al Gore is a Greenhouse Gasbag:

When Gieg gets to this point in his argument, as he often does when talking about global warming, he gets a little frustrated. “I always get sidetracked because, first of all, the science isn’t good. Second, there are all these other interpretations for what we see. Third, it doesn’t make any difference, and fourth, it’s distracting us from environmental problems that really matter.” Among those, Gieg says, are the millions of people a year who die from smoking and two million people a year who die because they don’t have access to clean water.

Another interesting, but less persuasive article on the same subject ran in Canada Free Press.

Teacher Pay

An OpnionJournal piece cites some interesting stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about pay for public school teachers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public school teachers earned $34.06 per hour in 2005, 36% more than the hourly wage of the average white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty or technical worker.

Of course, public school teacher earnings look less impressive when viewed on an annual basis than on an hourly basis. This is because teachers tend to work fewer hours per year.... That time off is worth money and cannot simply be ignored when comparing earnings. The appropriate way to compare earnings in this circumstance is to focus on hourly rates.

While these stats sound interesting, I was unable to reproduce them myself on the BLS website. You can try your hand too, if you like. That site requires Java to be installed.

According to my search, "Teachers, except college and universities" make $31.51/hr. Still, the number is reasonably close.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Favorite Internet TV channels

Here are a few sources for online video that I like to watch.
  • BYU-TV - Religious programming for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Annenburg specials at - Tons of TV documentaries for education use. Of course, they are lots of fun for self-edification as well!
  • PBS has some video online for several of their specials. Usually, these are just supporting clips, but sometimes the whole program is available for online viewing. For example, they have a cool NOVA documentary about string theory called The Elegant Universe.
  • - with economics videos from Milton Friedman. They also have the biographical special about Friedman's life.
  • WGBH on Google - They have put a bunch of their documentaries up there, including some cool ones about the ancient world. Some of the documentaries are NOVA documentaries that don't seem to be available at above.
  • AOL In2TV has some fun old programs available online, like Gilligan's Island and the Flinstones.
  • ABC puts up full episodes of some of their popular prime-time programming. They don't stay there forever, so you have to watch them while they are around.
  • NBC Rewind features full episodes of a few of the current shows and 2 minute recaps of other recent shows.
  • Comcast Fan isn't a huge favorite, but sometimes I'll browse it for little news clips from recent events. I don't know if you have to be a Comcast subscriber to be able to see this one.
  • has recently started putting up video on their website. Only one video is there as of this writing.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Race in America

Shelby Steele wrote a fabulous piece at about racial politics in America.
Racial identity is simply forbidden to whites in America and across the entire Western world. Black children today are hammered with the idea of racial identity and pride, yet racial pride in whites constitutes a grave evil. Say "I'm white and I'm proud" and you are a Nazi.

The underlying irony here is that white guilt has given America a liberalism that revives as virtue the precise moral formula at the core of fascism: power justified by race alone. Today a wealthy black will be preferred over the son of a white mailman at all of America's best universities. This of course is illiberalism of the same sort that segregation was.

Classic liberalism (today's conservatism) sees atavistic power as illegitimate because it always steps on individual freedom. The mailman's son is not free if his race is held against him. But the problem with classic liberalism is that there is no room in it for white redemption.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fewer People Should Go To College

That is the conclusion of Charles Murray in this piece for the Wall Street Journal. The following sums up the most persuasive part of the article for me.
For a few occupations, a college degree still certifies a qualification. For example, employers appropriately treat a bachelor's degree in engineering as a requirement for hiring engineers. But a bachelor's degree in a field such as sociology, psychology, economics, history or literature certifies nothing. It is a screening device for employers. The college you got into says a lot about your ability, and that you stuck it out for four years says something about your perseverance. But the degree itself does not qualify the graduate for anything. There are better, faster and more efficient ways for young people to acquire credentials to provide to employers.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Single payer vs health insurance

An interesting article in the Economist discusses why Canadians and Britons love their system of health insurance, and why Americans love ours.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Avenging Prosecutors: The Duke Rape Case and Charges of Child Molestation Compared

Dorothy Rabinowitz has written a smashing piece comparing the Duke rape case to the now-discredit child molestation cases of the 80's and 90's.
For all the public shock and fury over his behavior, there is little that is new or strange about Mr. Nifong. We have seen the likes of this district attorney, uninterested in proofs of innocence, willing to suppress any he found, many times in the busy army of prosecutors claiming to have found evidence of rampant child abuse in nursery schools and other child-care centers around the country in the 1980s and throughout most of the '90s. They built case after headline-making case charging the mass molestation of small children, and managed to convict scores of innocent Americans on the basis of testimony no rational mind could credit. Law officers who regularly violated requirements of due process in their effort to obtain a conviction, they grasped the special advantage that was theirs: that for a prosecutor dealing with molestation, and wearing the mantle of avenger, there was no such thing as excess, no limits to what could be said of the accused. In court, rules could be bent, any charges presented, and nonexistent medical evidence proclaimed as proof positive of the accusation.

I guess her warning is against turning prosecutors into avengers. It is a point very well taken.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

War Crimes Trials

Mario Loyola makes an excellent point in the Corner about how war crimes trials should not be about due process, but about publicity and memorialization.

Monday, January 01, 2007

We Don't Compare Our Trials

M&M just gave me a great reminder in a post she wrote a few months ago about a friend of hers that passed away from cancer. It is so easy to to think we should feel guilty for having a hard time with our trials when we know that others are having a harder time.
So who was the one who came to comfort me and to listen? You guessed it. Here she was, facing the possibility that her cancer would not go away this time around, and she was listening to me sob and vent my concerns and doubts and fears. Of course, it's because she understood. As I apologized for complaining about my life, given what her life entailed, I realized that the severity of her trials didn't change what my trials were to me. (We can't compare suffering.) She never made me feel that she "won" because her health problems were worse. She just cared.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

50 Things

A fascinating list of discoveries from 2006--my favorite is the hen's teeth.

The Legal System Doesn't Always Work Well

The case of alleged rape against some Duke university lacrosse players has been a sad story of politics mixing with the justice system in an unhealthy--even destructive way. The piece at Opinion Journal makes the point.

In a later news piece, it looks like the DA may get disbarred. That it should get so far in the first place isn't a compliment, but at least something may happen to this out-of-control prosecutor. (The news piece gives some things that he said that were WAY out of line.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Language of Newborn Babies

An Associated Content piece explains the theory of Pricilla Dunstan about how to understand the cries of newborn infants. Dunstan has appeared on Oprah and at least one of the morning shows to demonstrate her skills. She asserts there are 5 "words" that babies say to indicate their basic needs.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Digital Effect From ILM

There is a way cool website that Industrial Light and Magic put up to let you explore how they made Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Big Pharma

I completely agree with this post by TigerHawk--I am infinitely grateful for new drugs and new drug research. And I don't even take anything that is not generic right now. But I have in the past, my family has, and the idea of new discoveries is comforting.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Survivial guide

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Asbestos litigation fraud

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Self-righteous people hate self-righteousness

Please enjoy the irony of this letter to the editor published in the Deseret Morning News.
Brigham Young University is not hated for its superiority as Frank Millward says (Readers' Forum, Nov. 23). It is hated for its arrogance and holier than thou attitude.

My wife was offered a scholarship to attend BYU but turned it down to attend Utah State University. Two of my friends were accepted by BYU and went to the University of Utah. I, too, was qualified to go to BYU but pursued my academic career elsewhere. All four of us dislike the Y., not because we could not get in, but because of the self-righteous attitude that Millward and other BYU students, alumni and fans display.

Robert Cottrell
South Jordan
Why did all those people apply to BYU if they all dislike it? Does Cottrell think pride is a trait unique to BYU among the universities of America?

Law of the Harvest

From CNN

Police shot three young men who had just left a bachelor party at a
strip club early Saturday, killing one man on the day of his wedding,
according to police and witnesses.

So... on the day he was going to commit himself to a woman for the rest of his life he's at a strip club?

Bell and his fiancée had two children, ages 5 months and 3 years.

So... he has already committed himself to his wife-to-be and had two children with her... and he was at a strip club?

No, it is not a death penalty offense. But, going only off the information provided in this one report, we see a picture of a man who lived his life in contradiction to the principles of righteousness. He reaped a bitter harvest from his actions, for him and his family.

It doesn't even matter if this man knew that the life he was living was wicked. He may have been raised to know little better. But life has natural consequences for many actions. You are a zillion times less likely to be shot by the police, accidentally or otherwise, if you are living the sort of life that doesn't include strip clubs at 4 AM on the day of your wedding.

I'm sorry for this man's family and for his community. I truly hope that they can grow from the shock of what has happened and cast off whatever wicked traditions they may presently perpetuate.

As I write this, I imagine in the my head the indignant response that could come. "How dare you moralize to this man and his family! How dare you defend the evil police officers that did this thing! How dare you assume you know this man's heart! I knew him and he was a good man that loved his kids and his fiancée."

Let's look at each of those possible responses. As to the charge of moralizing, I can only point out the the end result of the life he chose to live is no longer hypothetical. The "moral" of his story has been written. I just hope others can avoid the risk factors that put this young man in harm's way.

As to the officers, it doesn't matter if they were wicked or righteous in this exchange. Sometimes accidents happen, so even if these officers were perfectly straight, you can't dispute the fact that you are more likely to get shot by cops in front of a strip club at 4 AM than you are at home in your bed with your wife. (After all, they should have been married before the first child was born, not after the second was born.)

As to the man's moral character and how much he may have loved his family, I'd only note that he didn't love them enough to refrain from selfish behaviors that resulted in events that will now permanently scar their future.

Does all of that make me an intolerant jerk? No more than I'd be a jerk for pointing out that people who eat raw meat are more likely to die from food poisoning. It may still be tragic when it happens, but it is no surprise. Life has natural consequences. We'd do better to pay attention to them rather than smearing people who point them out.

Guelzo on Lincoln on Agency

We pass this test, Lincoln said, not by dedicating cemeteries, but by dedicating ourselves. That dedication lies first in seeing that equality is an imposition of self-restraint. It means refusing to lay upon the backs of others the burdens we do not wish laid on our own. Slavery was an outrage on the notion of equality, not just because it treated members of a different race as unequal, but because it allowed one race to exploit another without any restraint at all. "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master," Lincoln explained in 1858. "This expresses my idea of democracy." Popular government is not about what we want, or about our demands for ourselves, but what we should not want and not demand of others. Dedication lies, second, in the enforcement of self-restraint. Democracy is a discipline. One cannot opt out on the plea of liberty whenever the political score goes against us. The Southern secessionists imagined that they were protecting their liberty by seceding from the Union, but they were in fact negating it. Secession, Lincoln argued, was the essence of anarchy, not liberty, since the only liberty the secessionists had in mind was the liberty to do what they pleased, without restraint, and to people whom they deemed unequal. Against that, a democracy must take up the sword, or cease to be a democracy at all.