Friday, September 28, 2007

On Cue, It Changed Again

Remember "What's Right Keeps Changing"?

Well, it happened again.

This time it's alcohol. It used to have "a number of health benefits", but new research shows that alcohol is linked to cancer.

Hopefully, in our rush to trust science, we didn't all just kill ourselves.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Marion for Kirilenko? Um, Yeah

Andrei Kirilenko wants out of Utah. He thinks his style of play doesn't mesh well with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's offense. He might be right. Really, though, he just wants to shoot more, and the Jazz already have a few more reliable scorers than he is, so all they want from Andrei is the slashing, defense, and blocked shots. Andrei is amazing at those things. That's how he became my favorite Jazz player. But last year he took a look around him at guys like Memo, Deron Williams, and Boozer, and he got jealous. He wanted to be the 20 point scorer. Note to Andrei: That's not why Jazz fans loved you.

Now Shawn Marion of the Phoenix Suns wants a trade too. He feels disrespected because he doesn't get the same pub that the other two stars of the team get, and because the Suns dared talk about trading him over the summer for Kevin Garnett. As in Kevin "One Of The Greatest Players of All Time" Garnett.

There had been rumors a few weeks ago of a Marion for Kirilenko trade, and now they are back in full force. Should the Jazz do it? Kirilenko was the bridge from the Stockton to Malone era, an All-Star in 2004, and a really exciting player. Like I said, he was my favorite Jazz player. Would I really trade him?

In a heartbeat.

Marion is a better scorer, rebounder, and on the ball defender. He blocks shots, gets steals, and can make a 3 pointer when called upon. He is every bit the athletic, slashing, exciting player that Andrei is, plus he's better.

This is a no-brainer. Do it Utah. Seriously, do it now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What's Right Keeps Changing

I sent in a modified version of one of my posts as a letter to the editor in the Deseret News. They printed it last week, and it can be found here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Listen Up!

I often sense that my children are here to enlighten me with respect to my relationship with God. I love my children completely. I want them to be happy, safe, and a benefit to those around them. Because of my experience, and their lack thereof, I can guide them through the various dangers the world presents them that would harm their chances at that safety and happiness, and that they would not otherwise recognize and avoid.

But sometimes they just won't listen.

My kids are often stubborn. They think they know better. They want to do what they want to do. I try to warn them, to teach them the wiser course, but there are times when my voice gets drowned out amongst the various distractions. They listen to their own desires, or to friends, or to how they think everyone else does things. Inevitably, this leads to consequences they most assuredly would rather do without.

That, unfortunately, is exactly what I do to my Father in Heaven. I will sometimes listen to everyone and everything but the very person that matters most; the very person that knows the most. I'm sure he feels just as frustrated and saddened by my disobedience as I am by my children's. And I'm quite certain that I would rather do without the consequences of my own stubbornness.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Thanks to Bubblehead for writing about and linking to this.

Which reminded me of this cartoon and the discussion it sparked on this blog, as well as over at Geoffrey's place.

Faithfully Guarded

Sept. 21, 1966: The U.S. Senate votes to prohibit voluntary prayers in U.S. Public schools.

“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.”

-- Joseph Story, 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution

Monday, September 17, 2007

We the People

Sept. 17, 1787: The Constitution of the United States is signed by 39 men after a summer of debate. It is then sent to the states for ratification.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Some cool Constitution-related websites:

National Constitution Center

Library of Congress

From the "coincidence or not?" department:

Sept. 17, 1796: President George Washington delivers his "Farewell Address" to the press before concluding his second term in office.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September 11, 2001

I was on a bus. I was standing in a crowded bus from downtown Salt Lake City heading to the University of Utah campus, and I overheard other students talking about a bomb in Washington. When I arrived at the campus I went to the library to study a bit before class started, and they had a tv set up just outside the computer lab with a pretty big crowd around it. As I walked through the library towards my usual study table I stopped off at a bank of computers to check email. A library worker came by and told us that "because of what happened" there was a lot of traffic that morning and so the internet wouldn't work very well.

The rest of the morning is kind of a blur. I slowly began to get more information as word trickled through about what had happened. I skipped my first class. I later went to my behavioral management class where the professor told us not to be afraid because that's what the terrorists want.

At that time I worked as an intern in the federal building downtown. I got there around 12 or 1 and it was a very somber place. I wasn't there very long before they sent us home. I found out later that shortly after I left someone called in a bomb threat.

I rode the train home and watched the news with my family the rest of the day. I was stunned. It was as if the earth itself had paused in disbelief.

The next days were powerful and emotional. Thousands of people had died at the hands of Middle Eastern terrorists. My boss at the federal building was called to active duty. Before he left, he told us of being on the train with a middle eastern man and noticing everyone was quiet and staring at him uncomfortably. My boss spoke up and told everyone they were being stupid. Others later succumbed to the same stupidity and started a Pakistani restaurant on fire.

The next day, or the day after, the LDS Church held a memorial in the Tabernacle. Most of my office mates and I walked to Temple Square to attend. The First Presidency spoke, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang. We all joined in with the choir to sing "America the Beautiful", and few eyes were dry at the end.

The next days and weeks were unsure ones. Body counts were updated from the Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the passengers' actions on Flight 93 made news. I arrived on campus one morning to find the sidewalks covered in messages from anti-war activists urging no retaliation for the attacks. Radio stations began playing songs with audio clips from that day and the days that followed.

Nine days after the attacks, President Bush addressed the country. He confirmed that the attacks were planned and carried out by a terrorist group called al Queda, with a leader named Osama bin Laden- the same organization responsible for numerous attacks on American, and foreign, targets around the world. He praised the American spirit and resilience shown in the face of the attacks, but also pointed out that the attacks killed hundreds of citizens of other nations. He thanked foreign governments that had shown support, and criticized those that harbored terrorist groups like al Queda's. He singled out Afghanistan, and demanded they turn over all terrorist leadership in their country, but he also spoke out against any and all nations that supported terrorism, saying, "Our war on terror begins with al Queda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated."

In October, the LDS church held its General Conference. As church prophet Gordon B. Hinckley began to speak, he was handed a note saying the US had begun its attack on Afghanistan. President Hinckley then gave his prepared talk about the times in which we live. He concluded by saying,

"Now, brothers and sisters, we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Ps. 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God.

Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).

Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"I trust these wonderful promises...God our Heavenly Father knows us by name. Jesus Christ lives; He is the Messiah; He loves us. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real; it brings immortality to all and opens the door to eternal life.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is again on the earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and living."

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"The Opportunity to Testify," Ensign, November 2004

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde Environmentalism

It's so hard to care for Mother Earth these days. What's in is out, what's out is in. Good is now evil, and evil good. There seems to be no solid ground to stand on for those trying to save the planet.

For years we were told the right answer to "paper or plastic" was plastic. Now San Fransisco has banned plastic grocery bags. For years we were told that having too many kids would be our ruin. Now the UN says, whoops, never mind, and ohbytheway the developed world's economy just might crumble because there's too few people. Walk instead of drive? Apparently, because of the replacement cost of the calories you burn, walking is far more harmful to the planet than driving is. Even diesel fueled buses can be more earth-killing than driving a Hummer. You health conscious organic food eaters? According to global warming scientist Chris Goodall, it's your fault the world will soon be on fire.

Flatly stated, it's just too hard to do what's right, because what's right keeps changing. It's to the point where even Al Gore can't escape criticism.

Of course, that might be the point. Environmentalism has long had the rap of being anti-people. Extremist, even. Why do their pronouncements and predictions seem to be wrong so often? It might be explained by ethics like these:

"Now, in a widening sphere of decisions, the costs of error are so exorbitant that we need to act on theory alone, which is to say on prediction alone. It follows that the reputation of scientific prediction needs to be enhanced. But that can happen, paradoxically, only if scientists disavow the certainty and precision that they normally insist on."

or, put more directly:

"We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

But these scientists are well intentioned. Right? I mean, they've found a possible catastrophic problem, so what's the harm in trying to prevent or fix it?

The harm is that science once thought overpopulation was a grave problem. A finding which led to theories like, "To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem." Science once convinced the world to stop using DDT, despite its proven prevention of malaria. A policy which led to millions of deaths in Africa, to which the lead scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund said, "This is as good a way to get rid of them as any."

Science is the answer you say? Well, which answer? The one that said we're all gonna die from global cooling, or the one that says we're all gonna die from global warming? The one that says DDT kills humans, or the one that says DDT saves humans? There's a lot of money, and a lot of lives, riding on the answer. Choose, as they say, but choose wisely.

BYU Cougars

A few vids of BYU over the years to get ready for the new season:

1980 Holiday Bowl w/ Jim McMahon:

1990, Ty Detmer, BYU beats #1 Miami:

2000, Lavell Edwards's final game, 4th and 13...

2001 vs. Utah. I watched this game at Joe's Crab Shack. BYU was undefeated going in, and it looked like they were going to lose for most of the game. But in the end, Doman and Staley pulled it out:

BYU vs Utah 2006, perhaps the greatest game in the rivalry, would have been the best finish to a game all year if not for that little team from up north: